>Train-car collision was handled poorly by NFTA
The Jan. 13 News included a brief article reporting that an apparently confused elderly male driver collided with a Metro Rail train shortly after 1 p.m. Friday. It mentioned that the driver was not seriously injured and also was not cited for a traffic misdemeanor. He was lucky.
I wonder if the driver was told about the 20 or more train passengers who were forced to exit the train -- stopped somewhere between the Allen and Theater District stations -- walk in pitch darkness over the train tracks to the tunnel entrance, and walk farther to Main and Tupper to wait for a Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority bus to take them to their destinations.
I was one of those passengers. After waiting in the cold for more than 15 minutes, I decided to walk to my destination, the Humboldt Station. An hour later, I reached the station without seeing a single NFTA bus passing on that side of Main Street. This experience leads me to question the NFTA's capability to respond to future emergency situations that could be worse.
>Don't move Bass Pro to prime land in harbor
I can understand the frustrations of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. in its last-ditch, desperation Bass Pro discussions with the city's dream of an anchor retailer. That pressure, however, should not deserve the sell-out of a significant percentage of the inner harbor's limited prime land to a big-box retailer. This alternate location is not appropriate for that type of operation on land officially designated for public access to the waterfront and already proposed for other interpretive venues.
As one who stood on the deck in the Naval Park when the governor came to Buffalo five years ago to redirect this historic redevelopment of the waterfront for public access use, I will be extremely disturbed if this change should happen.
At this point, after significantly delaying this project's development, Bass Pro should simply be introduced to the designated developer to negotiate suitable space in one of the several newly proposed sites adjacent to the historic district if it still wants to be a part of it.
Carl F. Burgwardt
>Pop Warner football is a true success story
There has been a host of complaints against the current leadership of Little League Football. I am proud to be affiliated with the Pop Warner Western New York Bills and have seen none of the problems in this organization that have been attributed to others.
Our boys and girls are taught discipline and respect even before their equipment is issued. Coaches undergo a background check and new coaches are required to attend a workshop.
Smoking is prohibited inside Johnnie B. Wiley Stadium, and there is zero tolerance for cursing, violence, drugs or alcohol. We also have academic expectations. If a child receives an unacceptable report, he or she is unable to participate that week and is referred to an after-schooltutoring program.
We had a very successful 2006 season, with two teams advancing to the eastern region semifinals and another to the playoffs. Three cheerleading squads advanced to the region finals, one of them qualified for the national spirit competition. We have had no complaints from the community and have been praised by many.
>Healthy food welcome at the Taste of Buffalo
Happy New Year! It should be a healthier one, too, according to a recent commentary by Janice Okun. This year, the Taste of Buffalo is going to be healthier than it's been in the past. There will be at least one "healthy choice" food item from each restaurant. It's really great that Buffalo will be the first major food festival in the country to make this rule. I appreciate what Independent Health Foundation is trying to create at the Taste of Buffalo. I wholeheartedly support this improvement and look forward to trying these healthy menu items.
>Stricter penalties needed for all who drink and drive
Time and time again, people are driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. If they get caught, they get a slap on the wrist. Then they are likely to do it again. It's been too acceptable in society. People who are under the influence are making a choice to get behind the wheel. The people they hit are killed or injured, and they and their families have to live with the life-changing consequences.
Twenty-six years ago, my friend and I were hit on a motorcycle by a person charged with DWI and we are now living with the permanent, life-changing injuries. It's time to get even tougher on drunken drivers. How about a felony charge and a $25,000 fine? Hopefully that will make people think twice before getting behind the wheel. I don't want to hear about the lawyer fees they pay now; it's not enough of a deterrent.
>Letter writer reveals his own hypocrisy
I read the Jan. 15 letter, "Both Kopp, Slepian have extinguished life" three times to be sure I understood the writer correctly. As a self-identified "individual who respects the sanctity of human life from the point of conception," he concludes his facile comparison of James Kopp and Dr. Barnett Slepian with this statement: "In fact, to emphasize the value I put on human life, I think Kopp's deed requires the death penalty." Sorry, I am afraid all the writer has emphasized is his own hypocrisy.
>Who does Reynolds really represent?
In the last election, Rep. Tom Reynolds took a gerrymandered district with 60,000 more Republicans than Democrats, spent almost $8 million compared to $2 million by a man who never held public office and managed to win by 7,000 votes or 2 percent.
How is he doing? One bill required new programs to be on a pay-as-you-go-basis, to keep from having to borrow more money. Sounded like a Republican concept, but Reynolds voted no.
Although the 9/1 1 Commission recommended scanning all cargo on passenger planes and screening containers coming into the country, Reynolds voted no. He also voted against embryonic stem cell research and an increase in the minimum wage. Did he favor the pay increase for Congress? The reason Reynolds won was, of course, his ability to bring aid to Western New York for the October storm.
The irony is his gerrymandered district caused the creation of the earmuff district of Rep. Louise Slaughter, who lives 85 miles away in Rochester. I hope we do not need more money for storms.