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Everybody's column

State must expand bottle recycling law

During my recent three-day visit to Niagara and Erie counties, it was clear that our state parks and historic sites provide much more to this community than recreational opportunities. Indeed, they are hugely important to the economic future of the region, as well.

In addition to finding the necessary funding to ensure that the capital and operational needs of state parks are met, more must be done in the area of environmental stewardship. One way to do this is to expand the state's bottle recycling law to include bottled water and other noncarbonated beverages.

Since 1982, more than 25 billion containers have been recycled and not ended up as litter. As successful as this law has been, consumer practices have changed dramatically and the law needs to be modernized.

Each year a growing number of bottles and cans end up in the trash or marring our state's parkland, roadways and neighborhoods. From an environmental standpoint, we must do better. But we also must do better from a tourism standpoint. Significant investment is needed in our parks in order to maximize economic potential. Under the proposed bottle bill expansion, unclaimed nickels would be used to provide much-needed increased funding for state parks. I urge the Legislature to pass this important initiative.

Carol Ash

Commissioner, New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation


It's smart to keep U.S. forces in Iraq

Our country should maintain a powerful military force in Iraq because it is greatly in our interest to do so. This is true for two reasons.

The first is its proximity to Iran, whose capital is within 300 miles of Iraq's border. This theocracy, whose mullahs lead the faithful in ardent chants of "death to America" at Friday prayers, is committed to acquiring a nuclear bomb. Iran's elected president, a holocaust denier, may well be mad. We will be well served by maintaining the broadest range of options for dealing with this threat.

The second is its proximity to Saudi Arabia. That country is home to the Wahhabi sect, which finances al-Qaida and supports religious schools throughout Asia that preach the destruction of the West. The nearby presence of American forces will encourage the Saudi government to continue its efforts to eliminate the most virulent elements of this group.

Neither of these goals requires sending American troops to patrol amidst the Iraqi populace. Both objectives can be fully served by maintaining our forces in secure garrisons until they may be deployed against identifiable concentrations of hostiles. In contrast, exposure of these soldiers to roadside bombs in the pursuit of a dispersed and secreted foe is simply daft. We should be in the Middle East with military force because that's where our enemies are.

Joseph V. Sedita



Modern science played role in abortion ruling

So, Ellen Goodman blames "PR" for the recent Supreme Court decision barring a form of partial-birth abortion. Nonsense! The decision came about because of modern facts and the greed of the abortion movement.

For years, abortionists have fought to keep the science of fetal growth limited to circa 1970. Science now shows that, from conception, the fetus has different DNA and never has the same fingerprints as the mother. Miniature TV cameras inserted in a womb show that the fetus immediately grows without any control from the mother. Moreover, when the fetus feeds, it decides "when" and that connotes brain power, which evidences life.

In regard to "greed," Goodman had the audacity to claim that abortionists were willing to have the now constitutional federal statute include exceptions for "serious" maternal health concerns. Nonsense, again! They never wanted health modified in any way because that would signal an end to abortion on demand for any reason and eventually lead to further restrictions.

If they want to protect a woman's reproductive rights, they need to end Hollywood efforts to glamorize adolescent sex and replace it with a mature and sacred respect for the procreation method.

Robert F. Mogavero



Videos of tragedy were too graphic

The death of an Amherst toddler hit by a car was the top news story all day Tuesday. I know the media have a job to do, however, I work as an advanced emergency medical technician with Twin City Ambulance and I am absolutely disgusted by the way this story was handled. There were graphic pictures and videos on every channel.

As emergency personnel, we are trained to see and deal with these horrific tragedies, yet seeing it is unbelievably hard to comprehend. I can't even begin to imagine what people who don't have this training are feeling when these images are thrown at them.

As for the friends and family of this child, well, imagine the worst few moments of your life, and then try to imagine the whole world watching as you relive them over and over. Now multiply that by a thousand.

I have personally worked with everyone who was there that terrible day, and I want you to know that baby had very qualified paramedics and firefighter/EMTs with her. Nobody could have asked for a better crew; not that you would know that from the stories. I hope the next time something so horrible happens, the reporters stop to think about how many people are affected by what they show on televisions everywhere.

Elizabeth Rattle



Unions stop Mohan from reducing taxes

It is eye-opening to realize that in a democracy where someone is elected on a platform to reduce taxes, a few hundred municipal workers can ignore 100,000 Amherst voters who pay the taxes that fund their salaries, benefits and pensions.

Ed Guzdek and Chris O'Neill are no doubt effective union leaders looking out for the self-interests of their members, but they are typical of myopic union leaders who sit by and watch the decline of Western New York and refuse to live in the 21st century.

What will it take for these people to put the good of the region and its future ahead of their personal interests? This region must lower the cost of doing business to reverse 50 years of decine. That means lowering the property and sales taxes, which can be done only by reducing the cost of government. That requires consolidating, eliminating some services, reducing others and having fewer municipal employees who cost taxpayers less.

Town Supervisor Satish Mohan was elected by a wide margin of voters who want taxes lowered in Amherst. It's time the voters took back control of our taxes and stopped letting municipal unions dictate the cost of government.

Aaron Walker


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