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Everybody's Column

Hamburg made a wrong turn with Town Board decision

The Hamburg Town Board has given a thumbs down to the Seven Corners reconstruction plan. This is a huge mistake. The intersection is confusing and very dangerous. A few years ago, my son was involved in a crash with injuries there. A car slammed into the side of his car trying to beat the light from Big Tree Road.

This is a common occurrence because the intersection is so large that cars can't make it to the other side. This is one of the deadliest intersections in Western New York, with at least one serious accident a week, and there have been several fatalities. It makes Sheridan Drive and Niagara Falls Boulevard look like a ride in the country.

At last, the State Department of Transportation has a plan to relieve this abominable situation. It plans to bring Big Tree and Route 20A into Southwestern, forming new T-intersections away from McKinley and Southwestern and making it safer and much easier to navigate. Of course, the Hamburg Town Board has come up with a few lame concerns. This area is having a building boom and there is more to come. Traffic is intense now, and is worse during Bills games and the Erie County Fair.

John Tewey

Orchard Park

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Yearning for the past is nothing to relish

The superficiality of Lisa Earle McLeod's March 26 Lifestyles column reached a new level with "Fading reflections of a has-been hottie." As a 26 year-old, I can only hope that in 20 years, I will be occupied with more enlightening thoughts and feelings than a yearning for a time when construction workers checked me out.

Molly Donnelly

Buffalo

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Various groups enjoy an Irish celebration

This city of good neighbors was founded with many nationalities. As people migrated to this country during the 19th and early 20th centuries, they settled within this city, clustered by their ethnicity. Toward the end of the last century and with families affected by member mobility, fewer connections to others of the same nationality existed within the neighborhood.

However, for the past nine years, an increasing number of Irish, Italians and Poles have gathered for an annual St. Patrick, St. Joseph Dyngus Day and Party at the Buffalo Irish Center. This event includes a wonderful collection of ethnic music, food, dance and tradition and is co-sponsored by the Irish Center, the Polka Boosters of Western New York and the Federation of Italian American Societies of Western New York. Bands like Erie Road, Formula and the Knewz as well as Rince Na Tiarna and the Polish Heritage Dancers remind many of us of our heritage and roots.

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Next year will be its 10th anniversary. That event will celebrate the ethnicity that is alive and well in Buffalo and show why Buffalo remains the city of good neighbors.

Paul Synor

Elma

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Youthful car vandals discourage city visits

On March 18, I ventured forth into Buffalo to experience an outstanding BPO concert in Kleinhans Music Hall. It was conducted by JoAnn Falletta and featured the works of Rachmaninoff and Rossini. For two hours, I was transported into a world of beauty and serenity. After the concert, I said to my companion: Why don't we do this more often?

My question was answered five minutes later. As I approached my brand new car (four days old), which was parked on Plymouth Avenue, I saw four boys pummeling it with a boulder. They squealed with glee as they noted the resulting damage. As I approached, they quickly scattered into the darkness. My serenity was shattered, and I was both angry and frightened.

What has happened to our children? Are their values so jaded that inflicting harm on others is their only source of pleasure? Who are their role models? What are our children being taught and who is teaching them? Would it help if our resources were redirected from the war back to our schools? Would it help to have more police patrols?

These are complex questions; it is time that we raise our collective conscience and attempt to answer them. As for me, I will have to consider the risks carefully before I decide to spend another evening in the city.

Marian C. Meyers

Derby

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County lawmakers should act openly

The March 26 article, "Keeping the people's business in the public eye," should be required reading for all Erie County residents. Taxpayers need to know what kind of closed-door shenanigans some members of our County Legislature consider acceptable.

Although these actions follow the letter of the law in terms of legality, they certainly do not follow its spirit in terms of the democratic nature of our government.

One comment, made by Lancaster's Kathy Konst, was particularly offensive: "It is important that we get together in a comfortable setting where we feel we can talk freely. It needs to be non-threatening. And being exposed on all sides to people observing may stifle the process of brainstorming." She should have thought of that before she ran for office. If citizen observation intimidates her or any of her colleagues, it is time for a career change.

Jennifer Fecio McDougall

Buffalo

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Spitzer misrepresented what is truly Appalachia

The March 22 News article, "Is upstate really another Appalachia?" reflects that some have taken issue with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's recent comparison of the sights of upstate New York to Appalachia.

The answer to the question is, no. Much of upstate is truly part of Appalachia. In fact, many readers of The News live in Appalachia. The Appalachian Regional Commission defines Appalachia as a 410-county area stretching from Mississippi to New York and including the New York State counties of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, Tompkins, Tioga, Cortland, Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie. So, if you drive across New York on Interstate 86, it should look like Appalachia because it is. If you take the Thruway, as Spitzer implied, you will not be driving through Appalachia, but the scenery will be much less appealing.

Michael P. Santa Maria

Amherst

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News' poor arithmetic is akin to government

It's interesting that The News reported "more than 200 people" attended the anti-war rally in Buffalo when the March 19 picture clearly shows almost 350. Given that there were more people on either side of the crowd who were not included in the picture, the true number was probably close to 500.

Still, "true" numbers are hard to come by with this war. The U.S. government refuses to count or estimate the number of innocent Iraqis killed in this war. A British study estimated that over 100,000 were killed at the start of the war. It would not surprise me if we have killed 100,000 more in the last three years.

On March 19, 2003, The News underreported the number of war protesters at a rally by a factor of 10. The "official" story said that there were 200 protesters, when I counted over 2,000. I suppose I should be happy that this time The News reported half the true number instead of one-tenth, but then I remember that the lies and distortions printed in The News are part of what caused this horrific war, and I am angry.

Joseph DeMare

Alden

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