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LETTERS

LETTERS

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Seneca Niagara gala was a world-class event

Imagine, if you will, more than 900 of your neighbors from the Greater Niagara region, dressed to the nines in tuxes and evening gowns, gathered in a five-star setting for a gala evening of food, fun and entertainment.

Now imagine almost every one of them dancing to beat the band -- a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, no less -- in front of the stage, up and down the aisles and out into the mezzanine.

That was the sight that greeted us the evening of Jan. 20 at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel during The Premier, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center's annual black tie dinner and entertainment extravaganza.

As the chairs of this event, we were absolutely energized by what we experienced that evening: singing, dancing and gourmet dining; a musical extravaganza featuring three bands in addition to the headliners, the Four Tops; and enough energy and excitement to light up Times Square! Truly, this was a major-league event, a celebration marking the renaissance not only of Memorial Medical Center but of Niagara Falls itself.

A first-class event such as this doesn't happen by accident. Seneca Nation of Indians President Maurice John and Seneca Gaming Corp. Chairman Barry Snyder were perfect hosts. Their staff, led by President and CEO John Pasqualoni, Chief Operating Officer Joe D'Amato and Karen Nordaby, director of catering and special events, was outstanding. Thank you for a job well done!

We were honored to have the opportunity to publicly and personally thank U.S. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter that evening for her ongoing commitment to improving health care in Buffalo-Niagara. Our thanks also go to Niagara Falls native and WGRZ television host Maria Genero for doing such a wonderful job of emceeing our program.

We apologize to those we were unable to accommodate due to a reservation cap. We hope to see you next year.

Thank you, Western New York, for shining the spotlight squarely on Niagara Falls for this world-class event!

Claudia Andres, Dr. Jerry Andres, Carl A. Sheusi and Margaret Sheusi

Niagara Falls

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Trevino deserves praise for fighting urban blight

I am the president of Great Lakes Real Estate and we are proud to be working with Niagara Falls Redevelopment and Roger Trevino, its executive vice president. We have been successful in securing over 90 of the almost 500 properties NFR has bought in what many would consider a "blighted" area.

From personal experience, I can tell you that NFR, and more specifically Trevino, have been more than fair in negotiations with landowners in the area, including several properties I sold to NFR. I cannot recall any instance where they paid less than fair-market value.

Further, Trevino has been a complete gentleman in meetings with the seller. While he may disagree with some of the asking prices, I think he has presented fair and equitable resolutions, such as allowing the seller to get an appraisal with NFR incurring the cost.

The true essence of what is really happening in this [142-acre development tract] is assemblage in what has always been a questionable part of Niagara Falls, and NFR is investing its own capital to do so. They have not asked for one subsidy nor incentive to do so, and, in the process, NFR has spent tens of millions of dollars in a blighted area to do what no one else here has ever done in Niagara Falls. They have also become one of the city's largest taxpayers in the process.

I am not sure if everyone is completely aware of the tremendous progress NFR has made in the area to date. They have spent millions in environmental surveys, asbestos abatement and demolition to clear the way for development. Again this is being done without any public assistance.

In my opinion, NFR has made tremendous progress getting to where they are and I think the community should be happy with the progress to date. Remember, this is the same tract of land that two other noted developers tried to secure before leaving town in frustration. Let's not have the same thing happen here.

Bruce J. Andrews

Broker/Owner Great Lakes Real Estate

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Legislators waking up to voter dissatisfaction

The Niagara County Legislative meeting Tuesday night, in which the Legislature voted 12-6 to seek an injunction that would block AES Corp. from receiving a property tax break on its power plant in Somerset, showed legislators whose positions are jeopardized in the upcoming elections by their very actions now scrambling to demonstrate a semblance of remorse.

The truth of the matter is these legislators are waking up to the fact that residents of this community are tired of the abuses of power by the arrogant Legislature majority that has so adversely affected the county, all in the self-serving name of politics.

It is apparent that this majority serves at the pleasure of power brokers, namely State Sen. George Maziarz, County Republican Chairman Henry Wojtaszek, and money-man Henry Sloma [chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, which approved a tax break for AES estimated to amount in a tax savings to the company of $43 million or more over 12 years].

Voters of Niagara County: do not allow these people to continue their stranglehold on this county. Vote in the primary and general elections. Most of these guys fall through the cracks by the reluctance of voters to vote at primary time, thus limiting the choices in the general election.

If you're content as taxpayers to continue to fund the clandestine pork barrels of this majority, then by all means -- don't show at the polls.

Robert S. LaBarbera

Town of Niagara

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