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Everybody's column

Region would benefit from new ethanol plant

The prospect of a new ethanol plant in Buffalo is the most exciting economic development idea we've seen in a long time. ("Debate brews over proposed ethanol plant," April 9 News).

Currently there are several biofuel production facilities in various stages of development across upstate New York. Having one potentially sited in Buffalo, within a stone's throw of the biggest corn- and soybean-growing region in the state, makes sense.

We hope the mayor and the Common Council recognize that the economic impact of this project will greatly benefit not only downtown Buffalo, but the rural areas as well.

Right now, ethanol production is one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy. Venture capital is flooding the sector, as entrepreneurs race to get online with facilities to take advantage of an exploding marketplace for biofuels.

Farmers in Western New York are eager to capitalize on these boom times. We hope that our urban neighbors see the same opportunities and don't let them slip through their fingers.

Hans Mobius

President

Erie County Farm Bureau

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All theaters should offer listening devices

As a hearing-impaired person, I applaud notes of open and closed captioning in The News movie listings.

The Regal on Elmwood Avenue offers open-captioned films -- everyone in one auditorium sees "subtitles." The AMC on Maple Road shows closed-captioned films in one venue. By obtaining a special viewing device from the box office, customers can see subtitles while those without the devices hear the regular sound track. The devices take some acclimation and explanation from theater staff.

More than 30 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Captions enable them to spend their money enjoying movies that they would otherwise avoid. Some other local theaters offer assistive listening devices. Some don't. All should. We who are hard of hearing must remember to ask for listening devices so that theater managers know they are needed and used.

Janet McKenna

Grand Island

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Falletta has made quite an impression

I wanted to write a note about Buffalo's Philharmonic maestro and music director, JoAnn Falletta. On Sunday, my 5-year-old son was able to meet Falletta at a local bookstore as part of a promotional event. Despite there being a line of people, she took the time to sit down with my son and talk with him about the various children's shows he has attended for the last three years and showed a special interest in him as a person.

After I made his breakfast this morning, I came out to find my son had covered the kitchen table with autographed pictures and was having an imaginary conversation with the conductor. In that five-minute encounter, his life was touched.

Through our Philharmonic Orchestra, my son has gained a deeper interest in music. Through the example and actions of Falletta, my son has now made an association between good music and caring adults. Buffalo is indeed a rich city to have a fine orchestra and an outstanding conductor. Bravo.

John Roden

West Falls

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Clark doesn't have much to brag about

West Seneca Supervisor Paul Clark points to his occupation as a CPA and the fact that he has produced 15 "on time" budgets to recommend him for the position of Erie County executive. It seems to me he may be damning himself with faint praise.

West Seneca taxpayers spend about $150,000 per year on Town Board salaries and fringe benefits. Shouldn't we get at least that much for the money? Memory may fail me; but I can't think of a single county school district comprised of nonsalaried board members that has failed to produce an "on time" budget for voters' consideration. Come to think of it, I can't think of another town with that dilemma.

Clark also likes to portray himself as "just a numbers guy." Town taxpayers are now responsible for the soccer park after the Soccer Association's financing plan predictably failed. Yet Clark signed off to move forward a plan for private investors to build a $40 million ice skating rink that would have been financially guaranteed by West Seneca taxpayers through the sale of municipal bonds.

It wasn't a CPA that saved West Seneca residents from this risky business. It was the common sense of the taxpayers, who recognized the lack of private financing as indicative of the proposal's risk.

Larry S. Fallon

West Seneca

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Now that Imus is gone let's target hip-hoppers

The recent media circus surrounding Don Imus and his insensitive remarks is an excellent springboard for the media to help clean up the degradation that is spouting from the hip-hop industry. In their quest for money, corporations have sponsored the degradation of not only women, but of all of us. Making derogatory remarks toward another race is bigotry and racist, but making derogatory remarks toward one's own race is outright stupidity. Hip-hoppers have no respect for women, education, law, authority or life. What kind of future is there in that for the young listeners of that trash?

I think humanity should lift itself to heights that will advance the next generation, not drag it into the gutter. The media have an excellent chance to turn the tide and point out the damage hip-hoppers are doing to the youth of all races when they include disrespect in their lyrics. They called out Imus. I hope they don't stop there.

Norman Machynski

Cheektowaga

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Letters on religion simply prove a point

A fascinating bit of irony occurred in Everybody's Column recently. First, religious people denying that conflict is inherent among people of differing religious belief systems. Then, religious people of differing belief systems conflicted over the use of the word "bishop." Things that make you go hmmmm.

John Marschke

Niagara Falls

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Promote ethnic cultures in a waterfront market

Boost Buffalo, it's good for you. Forget Bass Pro. Let's promote the many ethnic cultures this area has to offer with a downtown, year-round market. Sheltered in the winter, open-air in the other months. Let's give Buffalonians something to be proud of and something for visitors to take home.

Mary Kohl

Williamsville

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