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Everybody's Column

Preserving history is good, but we must focus on future

As a young girl, I remember going with my father to watch as part of the abandoned H-O Oats building burned. Ever since, when visiting my parents, I drive by the remains of the half-charred building. You can feel one way or the other about the casino, but the fact of the matter is these buildings sit unused and aren't even acknowledged until someone wants to develop the area.

I feel very strongly about preserving our history. I know how important it is to our future. But when the past stops the prospect of a future, where does that leave us? There are about 15 grain elevators that line our waterfront and very few people are doing anything to make them a productive part of our future. If these buildings are so important, why haven't these people been doing something to maintain them and utilize them?

In the Dec. 6 News, one resident was quoted as saying that it is like living in a historical museum. Well, what good is a museum if there aren't any people left to come see it? This isn't just about H-O Oats; it is about every recent project in Buffalo. It seems that every time we turn around, someone is holding up development for a building that has no alternative plan of use.

As a daughter of a longshoreman and someone who grew up right alongside the grain elevators, I appreciate and probably value them more than the next person. But there has to be some way we can preserve our history and further develop our future.

Sara Heidinger

Buffalo

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Longtime politicians could learn a lot from Higgins

The Buffalo waterfront has long been a gross reminder of the ineptitude and wastefulness of our elected officials. Driving down Route 5 from downtown Buffalo, you can see all that could have been on our dismal coast. The old Pier restaurant and empty lots covered in gravel give way to dilapidated mills and factories. On a hot summer day, you can almost envision a long stretch of beach looking out to Lake Erie or a large park, a place for residents to relax.

Welcome to 2006, Buffalo. Thanks to the efforts of Brian Higgins, a first-year representative from South Buffalo, the city finally will have what we have dreamed of and imagined for so many years: a usable waterfront only minutes away from downtown.

If a freshman congressman got this much done in his short tenure in office, maybe he should be the standard of our politicians to come. Reps. Tom Reynolds and Louise Slaughter could learn something from Higgins. Or maybe we can elect more people of Higgins' ilk, rather than the generic, spineless politicians we have in the past.

Daniel Sheron

Buffalo

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Sometimes it's difficult to identify a foreign car

I have been following the debate about whether American consumers should demonstrate their loyalty to the American worker by buying an American car or if they should make a decision based on price, quality, reputation, features and technological innovation. Many people are missing an important point: What is a foreign car?

I own a Mercury that was manufactured by Nissan in a plant in Indiana. It rolled off the same assembly line next to Nissans. Aren't these American cars? They were built by American workers who spend their wages in America. What about a Toyota made in Kentucky? Although it has a Japanese nameplate, many experts contend that it has the largest proportion of American parts and labor of any vehicle sold today. There are over a dozen large automotive plants in the United States that are owned by foreign corporations, but they are employing our workers and paying taxes in our country.

Competing with American-made "foreign" cars, we have a significant number of American-nameplate vehicles that are partially or wholly produced in Mexico, Canada or other foreign countries. Their production is not benefiting the American worker or economy. Manufacturers have saved millions by exporting jobs and importing cars, which they then turn around and sell as "American."

We need only look at Delphi to see the implicit threat of shifting more production overseas. People whose jobs are outsourced to Asia to save money will be expected to purchase General Motors vehicles out of loyalty to America. How ironic!

Tom Hall

Hamburg

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Clinton, Schumer need to take responsibility

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials have ties to a group called the Project for a New American Century. In the late 1990s, the group urged an American invasion of Iraq. It stated that for the United States to assert itself properly as the world's lone superpower, "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor," would be required. Although 9/1 1 had no connection to Iraq, it was the kind of event they'd hoped for.

Despite contrary evidence, the Bush administration made false claims about Iraq including: it possessed aluminum tubes used for nuclear weapons, had sought uranium in Africa and was six months from developing nuclear weapons. Easily fooled representatives then abdicated their most important power -- declaring war -- to the executive branch.

The State Department has concluded that America's invasion of Iraq has increased al-Qaida recruitment, worldwide terrorism and potential attacks. It has become clear that American occupation is causing the Iraqi insurgency. Yet New York's senators inexplicably choose to "stay the course." Demand Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer take responsibility for their ignorance, gullibility and stubbornness by calling for immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.

Terry Todoroff

Cheektowaga

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Shoppers have forgotten what Christmas is about

'Tis the season, and I have a few reasons for no purchased gifts. I watched in horror while the news covered stories of people getting trampled in a Wal-Mart after Thanksgiving. More recently there have been stories of eager children shoveling snow for cash, only to be mugged at gunpoint. Banks and stores are being robbed every day.

I suggest we all reflect inward and ask ourselves: Is this really what our society has degraded to? Instead of bags full of plastic toys, we could teach a child how to bake homemade banana bread. As I sit in front of my glorious, modest tree, I conjure up holiday memories no gift can ever replace. Sounds and smells of meals and gatherings will always outweigh a temporary item lavishly bought online or in some chain store.

The past shapes our future. Let's try to create a non-commercial future for us all. Cook a crazy meal that takes all day. Be merry and exhausted while you embrace it. Talk, listen, play. Leave the dishes in the sink.

Karen A. Kuehmeier Rosolowski

Buffalo

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Doctors shouldn't put patients in the middle

Why do physician groups continue to put patients in the middle of their business disputes? I have had the same physician for more than 12 years. He was part of a medical group. When he chose to leave the group and open his own private practice, I had to complete a form to release my medical records.

At no time was I advised by the group that I would have to pay for the copying of my medical records. At no time did I change physicians. I am fortunate because I can pay the charges, but there are elderly patients who are being billed hundreds of dollars. All that changed was the physician's geographical location. We did not change our doctor.

Karen Rowley

Orchard Park

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