G.M. Retirees Weigh Buying Its Stock Again

As G.M. retirees met Thursday near Wilmington, Del., views on buying stock were mixed.

G.M. is about to become a public company again.  After going belly up last year, do thousands of G.M. retirees dare put the reorganized company’s stock back in their nest eggs?  Many of them are wrestling with the fact that they cannot afford to make the same mistake twice.

It is a decision being talked about at retiree clubs, union halls, and G.M. plants and offices across the country as the nation’s biggest automaker prepares to become a public company again.

More than 500,000 retirees and surviving spouses, as well as about 90,000 active workers in the United States and Canada and 3,000 dealers, have been given a chance to buy shares in G.M.’s initial public stock offering.

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Junior Democrats in Senate Seek To Change The Way Chamber Does Business

Sen. Tom Udall (N.M.)

The times, they are a-changing.  Young Democrats, many of whom will be on the ballot in 2012, reject the view that the Senate must move at a glacial pace.

Upstarts such as Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.),Udall, his cousin Tom Udall (N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Mark Warner (Va.) are expected to wage a fresh campaign to change Senate operating procedures and give first-term lawmakers a greater say over Democratic strategy and how the party communicates with voters.

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Maybe Bill Clinton Didn’t Inhale, But He Did Snag A Cameo In ‘The Hangover 2′

Former President Bill Clinton will play himself in the highly-anticipated sequel, 'The Hangover 2.'

Former President Bill Clinton will play himself in the highly-anticipated sequel, ‘The Hangover 2.’

Where do former Presidents go when they want to expand their wings in the public eye?  Former President Bill Clinton is taking on a cameo role in the raunchy comedy ’The Hangover 2.’

The media-friendly politician pulled double-duty this weekend, delivering a speech on economics and climate change to Thailand officials and shooting his cameo Saturday.

Clinton will play himself in the raunchy comedy, which is currently filming in Bangkok.

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Overflow Crowd at Public Hearing on the Budget and Holiday Party Next Tuesday

Thursday was Veterans Day, a day in which we honor those who have served our country to protect the freedoms that are the bedrock upon which our nation is built. I hope you all had a good Veterans Day and reflected upon the sacrifices of the men and women who have served, and are still serving, on our behalf. We can’t thank them enough, and to each of you who receives this e-mail and is a veteran – thank you.

On Wednesday, over 400 of your friends and neighbors in some way helped honor the sacrifices of those veterans by participating in the democratic process and speaking out on the issues that matter to them. 

As you may have heard, that night hundreds packed the chambers of the Erie County Legislature at a public hearing to discuss the county executive’s proposed 2011 budget. It was one of the most well attended public hearings in anyone’s memory and lasted well over 4 hours.

There were many eloquent speeches on a variety of subject matters that will be negatively impacted if this budget is passed as proposed, including many speakers about the impact of the cuts on my office.

I want to thank everyone who spoke at the hearing for performing your civic duty and informing the members of the legislature about what type of community you want to live in and how you want your hard earned tax dollars spent. 

Whether it was on behalf of the libraries, cultural institutions, needed social programs or other services, your voice was heard and it will make a difference.

Holiday Party Next Tuesday, November 16 from 5:30 – 7:30

I am getting an early start on the holiday season by holding my annual holiday party next Tuesday, November 16 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. I hope you will consider attending this event as we celebrate the season among friends and neighbors and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Food Bank of WNY to help them meet the needs of the community during this always very busy time of the year. Here is more information on the event:

What: Celebrate the Season Holiday Party with Mark Poloncarz

When: Tuesday, November 16 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Where: Morrisey’s Irish Pub & Grille, 30 Mississippi Street, Buffalo

Cost: $99 per person/$175 per couple

Once again, thank you for your support and if you have any questions on how you can still have an impact on the 2011 budget process, please send me an e-mail in reply.

Sincerely yours,

Mark Poloncarz

Erie County Comptroller


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Congressman Higgins Presents Veteran with Purple Heart Earned 66 Years Ago

WWII Sergeant Giumento of West Seneca Receives Long Overdue Recognition

 Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) personally presented Sergeant Guy Giumento, of West Seneca, with official recognition of the Purple Heart awarded to him for wounds received in action while serving in the Army during World War II’s infamous “Battle of the Bulge.” 

 “We are extremely grateful to Mr. Giumento for his sacrifices and selfless service to this great nation and, while it is long overdue, it is our honor to give him the medals, documentation and recognition he truly deserves,” said Congressman Higgins.

 Mr. Giumento was wounded by enemy fire on December 1944, while stationed in Verviers, Belgium, when a nearby building was struck by an 88 bomb, throwing him out of his weapons vehicle.  Mr. Giumento sustained serious facial injuries, a blow to the head and a fractured wrist. His Lieutenant along with thirty others were killed or wounded during the explosion. 

 The Purple Heart was left to him on his hospital bed after the attack.  There was no ceremony and his discharge papers did not reflect that he received a Purple Heart. 

 Earlier this year Mr. Giumento’s family contacted Congressman Higgins. The Congressman’s office was able to correct his discharge papers and recently Congressman Higgins presented Mr. Giumento with a Purple Heart Certificate, a discharge certificate reflecting the Purple Heart, and a full complement of medals.  Mr. Giumento’s wife Louise Giumento, daughter Francine Giumento, and son-in-law Theodore Swiatek, also of West Seneca, were present at the special occasion.

 In a letter to the Congressman, Mr. Giumento wrote, “The presentation of the Purple Heart and certificate from you my Congressman is a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.  I was so thrilled to receive them as well as the four additional medals.  Thank you all from the bottom of my ‘Purple Heart.’”

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What Is Grupo Bimbo’s Connection With The United States

 Grupo Bimbo operates dozens of bakeries in the United States, including one in South Fort Worth, Texas, that makes Mrs. Baird’s bread.
Grupo Bimbo operates dozens of bakeries in the United States, including one in South Fort Worth, Texas, that makes Mrs. Baird’s bread.

How many Americans have heard of a company called Grupo Bimbo?  Well up until today I never did.  Grupo Bimbo is one of the largest baking companies in the world.  They are located in Mexico City, Mexico. 

Grupo Bimbo is in the news today because they purchased Sara Lee Corp for $959 million.  This makes Grupo Bimbo the largest baker in the United States.

They plan to invest more than one billion in the U.S. over the next five years adding bakeries, upgrading plants and improving its infrastructure and technology. 

Ay Carumba!

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Teacher’s Death Exposes Tensions in Los Angeles

A tribute in September to Rigoberto Ruela, who taught at Miramonte in South Los Angeles.

Is there an honest method available to evaluate teachers?  Should it be based on student performance?  Does parent involvement have anything to do with student achievement?  A teacher in Los Angeles  was found dead, an apparent suicide, because his “value-added analysis”  was rated “less effective than average.” 

The facts of the case tell us a sad truth.  He was well respected by many.  He was a devoted teacher who tutored students before school, stayed with them after and, on weekends, took students from his South Los Angeles elementary school to the beach.

Mr. Ruelas’s death became a flash point, drawing the city’s largest newspaper into the middle of the debate over reforming the nation’s second-largest school district.When The Los Angeles Times released a databaseof “value-added analysis” of every teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District in August, Mr. Ruelas was rated “less effective than average.” Colleagues said he became noticeably depressed, and family members have guessed that the rating contributed to his death.

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Larger, More Graphic Health Warnings on Cigarettes

In the last couple of decades there haven’t been any mjor changes in the warning on cigarette packaging.  That’s about to change.  Federal health officials announced plans Wednesday to require cigarette packs and ads to carry bigger, much more prominent and graphic health warnings.

The Health and Human Services Department, which announced the initiative, called the new warnings “the most significant change in more than 25 years” in cigarette packages and advertising.

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41 Years On The Job. It’s Time To Call It Quits, Jim Allen

Monday afternoon’s  Amherst Town work session was interesting.  Jim Allen, Director of the Amherst IDA for 41 years, spoke to the town board on the history of the AIDA and what  functions it supplies for Amherst.  Allen forgot the main purpose of the ADIA is to bring JOBS to Amherst.  He has failed miserably in that task.  He is paid an outrageous amount of money for not doing his job.

Councilman Guy Marlette asked Mr. Allen how many employees the AIDA projects have brought to Amherst.  Mr. Allen said developers lied as to how many new employees will be used by the company.  Allen never challenged the information because he didn’t want any problems with the developers.

Their expectations are always greater than the reality turns out to be.  Mr. Marlette asked if Mr. Allen kept a record of how many new workers were brought in by the developers.  Allen, who felt trapped, responded that he didn’t keep records.  He then attacked Guy by saying a new bureaucrat would be needed to maintain lists of numbers.

Mr. Allen was embrassed because he couldn’t answer many questions asked of him by the Town Board.   He was clever enough to bring an employee with him, who helped by answering many questions that Jim Allen couldn’t.

It’s time to bring in new blood in from the outside and replace  Mr. Allen.   41 years on the job is a life time of work.

Mark Manna said something about Allen which wasn’t understood by the audience.  It sounded like a pitch for a donation to his November 2011 election campaign.

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Laptops Threat to Men’s Linage

Laptops may be one of the most useful inventions in the world, even more useful than TiVo and Jiffy Pop. However, a quite frightening study was released yesterday that linked laptop usage to infertility in males. The study, released by the State University of New York, suggests that the heat generated from laptops can significantly elevate the temperature of one’s scrotum, potentially putting sperm count at risk. While the laptop may be making us more of a mobile technology generation and more efficient in the workplace, when it comes to bringing home the bacon and expanding the family unit – laptops may make male sperm count drop.

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