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Everybody's Column

Buffalo has a critical role in renewable energy usage

The United Nations published its most recent climate report this week, and the news is grim. Meanwhile, Congress is halfheartedly considering a bill that would reduce carbon emissions to 70 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Although federal regulation is a necessary and long-awaited step, it is not a prerequisite for local action. With or without mandates from Washington, we can counteract global warming now.

Many simple actions reduce carbon emissions: bike, walk, or car pool; shut off your car engine when idling or waiting; buy products grown or manufactured locally (this also keeps money and jobs in the community); replace lights with fluorescent bulbs; turn down the heat and wear a sweater; wash clothes in cold water.

Buffalo can also fight global warming by investing in renewable energy sources. Wind turbines in Lackawanna are a great first step, but wind, solar and hydro are not the only possibilities. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas generated by local dairies, wastewater treatment plants and landfills. Methane can heat buildings and power on-site electrical generators, decreasing emissions and alleviating dependence on our fossil fuel-powered electrical grid.

Local actions have global implications, and renewable energy should be part of Buffalo's plan.

Priscilla E. Hampton

Buffalo

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None of the O.J. fiasco makes any logical sense

After listening to the trial that O.J. Simpson is involved in, has anyone asked how he can afford a team of lawyers? I thought he had to pay the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson millions of dollars in the wrongful death suit. If I or any average person were charged with these crimes, how many attorneys could we afford?

Talking about Simpson, shouldn't his conduct have an effect on his name remaining on the "Wall of Honor" at the Ralph? I saw him play in the Hula Bowl when he was coming out of college and followed his football career. He was a very good player. But his conduct since leaving the playing field warrants his name coming down. Leaving his name, in my opinion, dishonors all of the other people who are there.

One last thought: While listening to the news, I noted that his defense lawyer said the character of the prosecution witnesses is questionable. Yet they are the people Simpson enlisted to retrieve his possessions.

Jim Hoage

Kenmore

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Judge's ruling proves the validity of a contract

State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek's ruling on pay step increases for city workers and teachers affirms the fact that a contract is a contract. Contract language was agreed to by both sides and cannot be abrogated.

City and School Board leaders signed the contracts and presumably they were mentally competent at the time. If cost savings are important, negotiate new contracts and move on. Don't throw contract law out the window.

Larry Finkelstein

East Amherst

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There is also a right not to smell smoke

Why is it that every time I need to walk from one building to another on the Erie Community College Campus, I have to walk through a cloud of smoke? Even though there should be no smoking within 10 feet of a door, it is never enforced. In fact, at most doors, there is a butt receptacle within a few feet. There should be a designated campus smoking area: an area away from where everyone must pass through, yet not too far away to rule out time to smoke between classes.

I have nothing against people who choose to smoke; I used to smoke for almost 20 years. Smoking is their right. But it is also my right to not smoke, especially secondhand smoke. People don't have to congregate around the doors to smoke, but I have to go through those doors to get to class. Having a specific area for smoking would give smokers a place to smoke, and nonsmokers a smoke-free entrance. I'm not telling people not to smoke; just don't make me.

Tami Seagrave

Depew

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Water should be the key to energy supply needs

As our oil and coal supplies and also natural gas diminish and our nuclear power plants become more expensive and leave enormous amounts of radioactive waste material behind, isn't it time to seriously consider the possibilities of new alternatives? Perhaps in the form of the vast supply of our powerful oceans and seas?

I've been working on plans and new alternatives for about 10 years. The idea is to harness the power of our oceans and seas to produce electrical energy, so we can meet the demand for the future good clean, green power for our homes, schools, factories, businesses, etc.

Most of us know that all the fuels we use today to produce the biggest share of electricity in our country are emitting into our atmosphere tons of toxic fumes every day. However, we can curb this problem of greenhouse gases by turning our attention to the oceans, seas and even our Great Lakes, and begin to tap into what is available to us.

We hardly hear anything in the area of conserving energy on the home heating oils and diesel fuels that are now powering huge generating plants 2 4/7 , 365 days a year. The current process wastes tremendous amounts of our precious and expensive fossil fuels and makes us dependent upon foreign oil.

Russell E. Dietz

Orchard Park

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Biking against traffic is ill-advised and unsafe

Let's be clear on one thing. Cycling is not inherently dangerous. Each year about 45,000 Americans die in traffic accidents in their cars. That's more than the total number of traffic deaths of bicyclists since 1932. In recent years, the number of bicycle fatalities has typically been in the 600 to 700 range.

One thing that helps keep cycling safe is following rules while biking. One of the most important is the legal requirement to bike with traffic. This is not an opinion. Years and years of accident statistics establish that biking against traffic is implicated in more cycling accidents than any other cyclist behavior.

Cyclist behavior, however, is secondary to motorist behavior when it comes to causing accidents. Motorist fault accounts for about 60 percent of car-bike collisions. A recent My View writer was nearly involved in one of those. From her account, a dangerous driver did something totally stupid and unacceptable and illegal when he passed by her.

Her response should have been a resolve to continue to bike in as safe a manner as she can. It should not be to advocate putting herself and other cyclists in harm's way by biking against traffic.

Thomas Krehbiel

Buffalo

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