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Everybody's Column

Geese drive golfers ?away from Audubon

So, the Town of Amherst is concerned about the drop in rounds played at Audubon Golf Course. One of the remedies proposed by the town, according to a recent News article, is to borrow money so that they can repair the sand traps. Well, that is a good thought, but I doubt seriously that rounds of golf will increase after this work is done. The sand traps have been a mess and unplayable for as long as I can recall. Certainly that was the case 10 years ago when rounds played were about double what they were last year. There must be another reason.

I wonder if the powers that be in Amherst have taken a walk around the golf course recently to look at it from a golfer's point of view. If they would do that, they would have to be careful not to step in the myriad of goose droppings that litter the course. Maybe they would realize that a round of golf is no fun when you have to dodge this filth and the squawking of the geese.

Other courses in this area have had similar problems with geese and seem to have been able to deal with the problem. Perhaps what the Town of Amherst needs to increase the rounds of golf played is not better sand traps but a couple of trained border collies. They have been used successfully at other golf courses, why not Audubon?

Ed Drozen

East Amherst


Let's extend tax credit? for clean-energy firms

Wind energy creates pollution-free energy and jobs for New Yorkers. For the last decade, New York's wind-energy industry has been bolstered by a federal tax credit. Unfortunately, the credit is scheduled to expire at the end of the year, putting our environment and clean energy economy at risk.

Many of New York's wind farms were made possible by this tax credit, like the Steel Winds project in Erie County and the Sheldon wind farm in Wyoming County.

On May 24, President Obama stood at a wind-turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa and called on Congress to extend the tax credit. If the credit is not extended, job-creating, clean-energy businesses like these will be less common.

Congress, led by Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, should move quickly to extend the production tax credit and check this legislative priority off of Obama's to-do list for the sake of our environment, our health and our economy.

David VanLuven

Director, Environment New York


Parental notification ?for abortion is vital

Bravo to The News for the May 15 editorial in favor of legislation to protect minors from the potential harms of indoor tanning booths. As a parent and registered nurse, I would hope The News would be consistent and support protecting those same teenage girls from the potential harms of abortion.

In New York State, parents are required by law to give permission when their 12-year-old daughter has a tooth drilled or a bone X-rayed — and when she steps into a tanning salon — but they do not even have to be notified when their daughter is pregnant and considering the invasive surgery of abortion.

Young girls may not know of their family history, allergic reactions and other important medical information. Surely, parents should have the right to know about a medical decision that could affect their daughter physically and emotionally for the rest of her life.

Just as the tanning industry has thus far successfully fought off the ban for minors, so, too, has the abortion industry defeated measures to allow some common sense and safety measures to the issue of abortions for minors. It seems the almighty dollar is more important than human life.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled parental involvement laws for abortion constitutionally valid, and 37 states now have them in place. There is parental notification legislation pending in the State Legislature (Assembly Bill 2128 and Senate Bill 4028.) It's time for New York to get with the program and protect our young people.

Michele Staskiewicz



Enact laws to reduce ?wrongful convictions

As president of the New York State Bar Association, I wish to commend The Buffalo News on its well-researched and insightful editorial on the importance of reducing wrongful convictions. (A Tragic Injustice, May 24.) The Bar Association has long advocated for such reforms. We urge the Legislature to enact two measures that would reduce the incidence of false eyewitness identifications and false confessions — two of the most common contributors to wrongful convictions.

Here in Buffalo, we had one particularly infamous instance of a wrongful conviction. Anthony Capozzi spent more than 20 years in prison for a series of rapes committed by someone else. Victims mistakenly identified Capozzi from a police lineup a year after the attacks. He was convicted without physical evidence linking him to the crimes.

While Capozzi was in jail for crimes he didn't commit, the real perpetrator remained at large, committing more rapes, and at least three murders. Capozzi was eventually freed, and the state paid him more than $4 million in compensation.

One of the bills endorsed by the Bar Association is A.5886-C, which includes the State Bar proposal to require police to videotape interrogations. This would ensure that innocent subjects are not coerced or forced into making false confessions. Videotaping also will make genuine confessions more credible to juries.

The other bill, A.5317-A, seeks to improve eyewitness identification procedures through so-called "double-blind" lineups, which require that neither the eyewitness nor the officer administering a lineup knows which individual is the actual suspect. This will reduce the chances of police deliberately or inadvertently directing a witness to identify a specific individual.

If even one innocent person is sent to prison, that's one person too many. I encourage citizens to contact the governor and their state representatives, and urge them to support this important legislation.

Vincent E. Doyle III



No reason children ?can't walk to school

What a novel idea! Kids walking to school. I think this is a great idea. Kids getting exercise and fresh air. Kids not sitting in front of an electronic device, and actually doing something healthy. I remember being a kid, living too far from school to walk but being envious of all the kids who got to walk to school every day because they lived close enough to walk.

A big problem with kids today is that they are coddled too much and are not encouraged to exercise. Let them walk! The elements won't hurt them if they are dressed to be protected from the weather and all the sidewalks are cleared of snow and ice so sidewalks can be used as they were meant to be used. Everyone could use them safely all year. Walk, kids!

Elsie Soboleski