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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Police make progress in the war on drugs

Hopefully life in the Southtowns will be a lot better for our children and their parents, who can sleep a little better now that law enforcement officials have made a major drug bust in Concord.

Over the past few years, I have personally known five people, all still young, who overdosed on drugs. They had two things in common -- they were good people and they were addicted to a drug. The first four were not as lucky as the fifth. They died. Their bodies became dependent on the drug and the only place they could obtain the fix was from the dealer, the doctor of death, the kid killer.

Police say the person who was arrested was a major supplier. Her own husband lost his life to a heroin overdose. The narcotics she is charged with dealing were all deadly. How can a person lose a loved one due to the use of drugs and still continue to have them in her life? Why? Because dealers are so consumed with their own addiction that they don't care about anyone's life.

This generation of children is exposed to many drugs at an early age. This has to stop. Some day, you are going to lose a classmate or a friend to addiction. If you're in school and you know who the druggies are, pick up the phone and tell the police. Don't be worried about being labeled as a snitch -- no one will know. By helping the law, you are helping a friend. If you get a dealer behind bars, you are a hero. If you save a life, you are a superhero.

The Buffalo News and the Sheriff's Department did our communities an outstanding service in the last few weeks against the growing scourge of drugs. Congratulations on a job well done.

James Nabozny

Town of Boston

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Peep-eating contest was a very bad idea

When I saw the picture in the April 17 paper of the little boy, cheeks bulging, with a Peep sticking out of his mouth, I thought it looked like an eating contest; but they certainly wouldn't have an eating contest for children. Wrong. It was, in fact, a Peep-eating contest at the Broadway Market, and there was even a 6-and-younger age group. Outrageous!

An eating contest for children is an obscenity. A candy-eating contest is another obscenity. What were the sponsors thinking? What were the parents of the children thinking? How were those little ones when they got home? Throwing up? Running in circles? Sleeping well?

What a wonderful way to lay the foundation for that next crop of world-recognized obese Americans. What is the point? Why hold a contest to see who can stuff the most food in his mouth in the shortest length of time? At the risk of being repetitious, it's obscene.

Peg Mergenhagen

Williamsville

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Two 'obstructionists' did not block project

As the host of the meeting about the proposed Front Yard Competition in the Peace Bridge/Columbus Park neighborhood, I must clarify some points raised recently in an article and two letters in The News.

Twelve neighbors, representing nine of the 12 owner-occupied homes facing Columbus Park, attended. A representative from the Olmsted Parks Conservancy and the executive director of the West Side Community Collaborative also attended. They informed us that they had just learned that the Peace Bridge Authority had offered $30,000 of the approximately $90,000 needed for the project.

We never got to discuss the contest and landscaping details, since the proposed funding dominated the conversation. Those who feel the bridge plaza expansion project will hurt the neighborhood thought accepting funds would be hypocritical. Others, pro-bridge or neutral, did not object.

By a show of hands, six people opposed accepting Peace Bridge Authority money, three favored it, and three didn't vote or left early. Opinions were clearly divided. A consensus of those who stayed for the entire meeting was that accepting money from the authority would be, at the very least, controversial, and that alternative funding, if available, would be preferable.

Three weeks later, the director of the National Garden Festival wrote me that "the project would not be received as positively as intended " and that it would explore other options for 2011. It is clear that strongly held opinions on both sides brought down this project, not the efforts of two so-called obstructionists.

William M. Murphy

Buffalo

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Verizon should expand FiOS service in Buffalo

Verizon FiOS is crucial for jobs and economic development. Without access to the highest-speed networks, businesses -- particularly small business -- will not be able to offer the services that City of Buffalo residents expect. The deployment of broadband technologies is a key to economic redevelopment in the city and, with it, Western New York -- especially since health care and higher education, both very dependent on cutting-edge technologies, are leading employers in Western New York.

FiOS service has been available in the towns of West Seneca and Tonawanda, the Village of Kenmore, the towns and villages of Orchard Park and Hamburg, Lackawanna, parts of Amherst and other communities. Verizon has built FiOS wiring only into very small parts of Buffalo, but the "triple play" is not available there as it is in the suburbs. Verizon has already built a FiOS video hub in Buffalo, which is a major part of the FiOS infrastructure, but Verizon is leaving the City of Buffalo, its residents and businesses, on the wrong side of the digital divide.

James J. Ring

Hamburg

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U.S. must act now on climate change

Thanks to The News for publishing the science- and fact-based article "Generation Hot" as the lead article in the April 17 Viewpoints section. The author, Mark Hertsgaard, is a serious journalist who, in best journalistic tradition, consults with and learns from the best sources available, both scientific and sociopolitical. His recent book, "Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth," gives a much more extensive and deeper analysis than what could be included in the article and is well worth reading.

I have grandchildren about the age of his daughter and share with him the deep concern for the terribly difficult life they will have to endure as the result of our current widespread denial of the best science that is available to guide us.

Given the overwhelming evidence confirming the serious climate change in progress and the nature of the climate change to come in the next 50 years, it is a shame that special interests, dominated by big oil and coal, have been able to dupe (or bribe?) so many in Congress, so that in the United States the necessary action to protect ourselves lags so far behind the rest of the developed world.

Paul H. Reitan

Professor Emeritus

Amherst

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