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LETTERS

Helping hands can fill community's needs

With the holidays once again approaching, families in our area are in need of a helping hand. Those I refer to are the working families who just make it from month to month. The holiday season is stressful enough just trying to pay the high cost of utilities over the winter months, let alone trying to purchase gifts with money that just isn't there. I know there is enormous help given to the bigger cities during the holiday season, but the simple truth is the long arm of generosity never seems to be long enough to reach our rural communities.

In these communities is where we see a tremendous need for very deserving families. That is why we work so hard to bring help to these wonderful people every year.

Working along with the First Baptist Church Missions Committee in Newfane, we again need to reach out to everyone who may have the ability to help. We are collecting new and gently used clean toys. Monetary donations are welcome and used to purchase special requests and clothing for the older children. These children come from hardworking parents who just make enough to scrape by; presents can only be a miracle.

Our community clothes closet is also in desperate need of clean, gently used winter clothing, especially children's winter coats of all sizes and bedding. Every year we have children in need of winter coats and clothing, and there just isn't enough to offer them.

Another enormous concern is the Migrant Food Pantry that is housed in our church. With retirees having their retirement and health care benefits cut so drastically, these people have been forced to make potentially unhealthy choices. While watching the cost in medications, utilities and groceries rising and seeing their monthly income and insurance benefits being cut, these retirees and working families can't help worrying about the lingering questions continuously running through their minds -- What are we going to do? How are we going to make it?

If you have any questions or would like to make a donation, feel free to contact me at 940-8286. Donations also can be dropped off at First Baptist Church on East Avenue in Newfane -- the church with the big red door -- from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. Checks can be made payable to The First Baptist Church Mission Committee.

Denise Noble, mission committee chairwoman

Newfane

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Do your part to save Robert Moses Parkway

On Nov. 30, I attended the Niagara Gorge Corridor Scoping session that is part of the process to determine the fate of the Robert Moses Parkway between Niagara Falls and Lewiston. Issues regarding lane configuration, public access and landscaping were discussed along with ultimate goals and objectives for the communities involved. They are not the heart of the problem.

Make no mistake, the question here is whether a shrill, extremist minority is going to impose its will on the general population by forcing the total removal of the roadway along the gorge, or are we going to retain a right of way for automobile access? There is no compromise on this. Advocates for total removal have made it quite clear. They feel they are righteous in their cause and have no qualms misleading the public with "facts" they gathered and spun to bolster their arguments.

Of course, the Niagara Heritage Partnership considers any argument for retaining the parkway as absurd regardless of how valid those arguments may be. To them, somehow allowing one of New York State's most scenic natural wonders to become an unkept wood lot is a sensible use of public land.

I urge everyone opposed to removing this vital link between our northern communities to contact your local, county and state elected officials expressing support to maintain access. Those who wish to remove this useful infrastructure need to be confronted and defeated. There is no middle ground.

John J. Dumbrosky

North Tonawanda

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Disabled access to gorge doesn't require parkway

At a recent Lewiston Town Board meeting, Councilman Michael A. Marra once again repeated the falsehood that gorge parkway removal "would eliminate any access to the gorge by people with disabilities." He intended this remark to be critical of the Niagara Heritage Partnership proposal for total gorge parkway removal.

For the record, it has been repeatedly pointed out that all points of gorge access presently accessible by vehicle would continue to be accessible by vehicle should the parkway be removed. A list of these points is available in the statement NHP made to State Parks regarding "scoping," posted at www.niagaraheritage.org, one of the first two documents listed under Recent Postings.

Additionally, The Injured Workers of New York Inc. has supported total gorge parkway removal for years, a position the organization would have been unlikely to endorse if the needs of wheelchair users and the handicapped were being neglected or negatively impacted.

Bob Baxter, NHP conservation chairman

Ransomville

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