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Editorial: It seem to us – Snowy sidewalks, pet chicks and the return of the chestnuts

Erich Krueger came up with a surefire way to get businesses to shovel their snow-clogged sidewalks. The method is very 21st century, disruptive and effective.

As reported in The News, he took his campaign online under the name “WatchfulResident,” and started a Facebook page about a month ago with photos of mainly Maple Road businesses in Amherst, near his workplace, that have been naughty and nice.

Clearing snow-clogged sidewalks is a safety issue. People forced to walk in the street have been killed after being hit by drivers. Krueger has come up with a method to make businesses more accountable. It’s Facebook shaming without being tawdry, unless you consider snow-clogged sidewalks tawdry. Krueger, who tries to reach 10,000 steps a day, is on a mission that stands to have an impact.

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It seems dubious. The pitch by an Amherst pet store to allow families to rent a chick for Easter is drawing criticism, even though Steve Lane has been doing it for 15 years. The promotion has received more attention this year, likely because he created a Facebook event.

Lane pitches it as a way to provide the chicks “some loving” from children for a few weeks before continuing their journey within the food service industry. But Gina Browning, a spokeswoman for the SPCA Serving Erie County has a different view. “We don’t think it’s right,” she said.

It’s certainly strange. It may be better than giving chicks or ducklings as pets to be kept, then ignored, then given away, but only marginally. And it doesn’t seem right to suggest to children that a living creature’s purpose is merely to entertain them for a few days.

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Erie County is planning an effort to restore chestnut trees to its namesake park. After County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz discovered the existence of a blight-resistant hybrid, the county began planning to bring the trees back to Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park.

The 1,200-acre park once bristled with the trees, but like billions of others chestnuts, they were largely wiped out by a fungal infection in the 1940s. The park lost its last one in the 1990s. Now, maybe, a return. Here’s hoping.

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