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Everybody's Column

Work under way is part of waterfront project

An April 2 letter writer seemed unaware of the dramatic improvements that are under way at the 120-acre parcel of waterfront owned by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. The activity that was reported is part of an environmental restoration and cleanup of a previously industry-utilized area.

With the $14 million Environmental Restoration Program funding in place, the project began in September 2006. In addition to the work that has been completed, over the next eight months the public will be able to see the following:

*Completion of a paved recreational path for public use along the shoreline for walkers, bikers, etc.

*Completion of landscaping, to include native plants to attract local wildlife and provide an improved natural setting.

*Construction of a shallow-water fish habitat along the shoreline within the existing embayment known as the Bell Slip.

*Replacement of the shoreline embankment with an engineered heavy stone layer to minimize erosion.

This brownfield development project, when completed later this year, will have transformed a once industrial area into a clean and scenic path providing green space for our community to enjoy.

Lawrence M. Meckler

Executive Director, NFTA

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Shooting had nothing to do with Drill-A-Rama

I am disheartened at the media coverage of Drill-A-Rama. This annual event was held in HSBC Arena last week and was well attended. As an adviser to a high school team that was there to compete, I was overwhelmed by the positive energy expressed by the participants. Membership on a drill or step team means hours of commitment. It also requires the support of interested adults such as parents, teachers, coaches and choreographers.

Many people do not understand the cultural significance of this art form, and that includes the media. The Buffalo media dish out countless hits regarding inner-city youth, therefore the scant and misleading coverage was a missed opportunity. Here was an opportunity to showcase talent, dedication, parent involvement and kids doing something safe, clean and fun.

What I heard when I arrived at school the next day was: "I heard there was a shooting at Drill-A-Rama last night," not: "How did the kids do last night?" Drill-A-Rama was used as a weak link to this shooting. This altercation was rooted in a problem that started months ago and had nothing at all to do with Drill-A-Rama. Ironically, the crowd in attendance was much more civilized than the crowd at the last Sabres game I attended.

By the way, our kids performed great, thanks for asking.

Susan Paul-Saladino

Buffalo

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Criticism of Termini is simply sour grapes

If one can manage to get past the false characterizations and general inaccuracies in two developers' recent criticisms of how Rocco Termini does business, you will discover a raging case of sour grapes.

A walking tour of the Genesee-Oak-Ellicott Street area puts into stark contrast the real estate holdings of Bruce Adler and Brian Fitzpatrick to those of Termini. Adler and Fitzpatrick own deteriorating buildings that contribute nothing to, and in fact, detract from the neighborhood.

On the other hand, Termini's efforts have yielded the Washington Market and four new or renovated buildings with more than 100 apartment units, revitalizing a previously decrepit area of the city. What Mark Goldman is to the commercial revitalization of Chippewa Street, Termini is to the residential revitalization of the Genesee-Ellicott area. Simply put, he has created a neighborhood where none previously existed.

In fact, some in that neighborhood fear that Adler and Fitzpatrick are not really developers but merely real estate speculators who are sitting on their holdings, waiting for property values to increase as a result of the successful development efforts of Termini.

Steve and Nancy Siegel

Buffalo

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Gallery could display art at Richardson Complex

I read with great enthusiasm the story in the March 30 News about the H.H. Richardson Complex and its planned renaissance. The investment in this historical complex will add to our community's rebirth in a variety of ways if we simply use our imagination. It is encouraging that $20 million already has been allocated to fund an architectural center and a visitors center.

I would like to suggest, as a third concept, a satellite of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Works of art that are not part of the gallery's essential works could be displayed in a special section of the proposed visitors center. Non-essential works and artwork that do not fit into the mission of a cutting-edge modern art gallery could be removed from the basement and put on display, promoting the area's historical and cultural diversity. Let us use the past to promote and fund our future. It's an idea I would like to see the Buffalo Art Keepers embrace.

Bruce Kolesnick

Tonawanda

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Don't grant tax breaks with hospitals set to close

The state Commission on Health Care Facilities has recommended the closing of at least three emergency rooms in Western New York, and people are already using the crisis in our health care system for profit. The Amherst Industrial Development Agency has granted $196,864 in sales, property and mortgage tax breaks to Exigence LLC so that it can build an urgent-care facility at 2099 Niagara Falls Blvd., less than three miles from the DeGraff Memorial Hospital emergency room that is being forced to close using taxpayer funds.

Furthermore, for-profit facilities can turn away the uninsured, who end up in hospital emergency rooms, which cannot turn them away. The taxpayers get to pay once again. It's not fair. Gov. Eliot Spitzer says he wants to save taxpayers money; perhaps he should start looking here.

Kate Lichententhal

Tonawanda

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Region is losing an excellent doctor

With sadness, I am writing to say farewell to one of the best doctors in Western New York, Dr. Alan Baer. He is leaving for a position with Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. His departure will be a great loss for his patients and anyone who knows him. He is a caring, sensitive healer who has a wonderful rapport with his patients. It is rare these days to find a doctor who actually takes the time to listen to what you have to say. He has always had time for questions and returned every call, no matter what the day or time.

I know he's only one man, but he leaves a large void in the medical community. I can only pray that someone will be able to step up and try to fill his shoes. Meanwhile, I wish him well in his new job. He really is one of the good guys.

Faye Finley

Sanborn

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