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Umpire merits praise for demeanor at game

I was struck by the photograph on the front page of the Aug. 31 News, which shows a young baseball player in a wheelchair at bat being assisted by a celebrity Buffalo Sabre. The accompanying article describes the opening celebration of a new league for kids with disabilities. What really impressed me about the photo, though, was not the athlete with the bat or the one standing behind him, but the umpire.

The ump appeared to be all business. No coddling. No condescension. No pity. He seemed to be there to call a baseball game, oblivious to the limitations of the young athlete. The photo did not seem to capture a ceremony, but rather a game. If I were the batter, I would have felt like one of those fabled boys of summer under the scrutiny of a tough but fair judge. Let's hear it for the umpire.

Mark O'Brian

Buffalo

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CAPS is independent of Boys & Girls Clubs

While all of us at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns very much appreciate the Aug. 9 News article about the Buffalo Bills Youth Foundation donation to our organization, I am writing to clarify a significant part of this article.

The CAPS (Challenged Athletes Participating in Sports) organization is a separate, independent entity and not operated in any way by the Northtowns Clubs.

Although CAPS is housed and supported by the Northtowns Clubs and has a long and proud history of mutual support with us, it is a rent-paying, completely independent organization.

Phil Penichter

Chief Professional Officer

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns

Buffalo

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Hydrofracturing poses far too many dangers

The News is mistaken to support hydrofracturing natural gas on the basis of increased jobs, mistaken that "safeguards are in place." Gov. Andrew Cuomo's logic for banning the fracking process in the Syracuse and New York City watersheds is that many people drink unfiltered water in those two areas. Hello? Most if not all of us in rural upstate New York drink unfiltered water, a necessity we take for granted given our abundant supply. Yet our drinking water is now in jeopardy, and even showering in polluted water can sicken us. Meanwhile, billions of profits are at stake for the gas industry. Guess who will win?

Yes, some businesses will profit, mainly a few local restaurants, casinos, massage parlors, housing rental agents and health care providers, since gas workers are mostly out-of-staters who will work, play and get (or cause) injuries here. Meanwhile, we will pay for the extra infrastructure for increased police presence, for building/rebuilding roads for the gas companies to transport water, gas and wastewater over our land, yet giving up massive amounts of our fresh water required for the process. How many upstate tourists will come here if the water is known to be poisoned with toluene, benzine and other carcinogens?

Also, fracking causes small earthquakes. Gas wells leak, polluting our air. Spills happen, polluting our soil and watersheds. People sicken or die due to exposure to the deadly substances used in the process. These have already happened in other states. Does The News really support this for New York? I do not. My neighbors do not.

Maril Nowak

Branchport

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How can state afford to give judges big raise?

I read with utter dismay the Aug. 27 article, "Panel grants state judges 27 percent raise in pay" over the next three years. I wish I could have a panel set up like that for Social Security recipients, with people receiving Social Security on the board. Wow, what a no-brainer, having a judge sitting on this panel.

Let's see, in three years they go from $136,700 to $174,000. That's a $37,300 increase. Many people try to live on that alone, without the perks. This is absurd. There are 1,200 state judges -- you do the math!

New York State never ceases to amaze me, especially in these trying times. Where will the money come from? The state, through budget cuts, is laying off teachers, police and firemen, and state agencies are supposed to be cutting back 10 percent in every department, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

I think our lawmakers are deliberately trying to bankrupt our Empire State over selfish gains. How much more can they put on the taxpayers' shoulders? The cookie jar is just about empty, thanks to greed at the trough.

Tom Ford

Derby

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4-H Cafe at fair offers plenty of healthy food

An Aug. 27 letter writer said she was searching for healthy food options at the Erie County Fair. There is a wonderful alternative to deep-fried Snickers and cheesecake. Where? The new 4-H Cafe inside the 4-H Youth Development Building inside Gate 2.

Customers dine on very affordable fresh fruit cups, garden salads, veggie wraps and a variety of sandwiches on white, wheat or rye. No soda drinks are sold here, but there is 2 percent white or chocolate milk, bottled water, apple juice, fruit punch, lemonade and iced tea. There are bargain daily specials. Freshly baked muffins (carrot/raisin, zucchini, apple cinnamon) and bagels are also offered.

The stand is run by the 4-H kids, leaders and their alumni. Nutrition is stressed, and you can't beat their homemade milkshakes. The 4-H Cafe offers in-house seating in a clean, air-conditioned building. Feel at home in this blue-ribbon cafe -- it's a breath of fresh air. Come visit in 2012!

Ellyn Charette

Eden

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Too bad Collins won't support library system

I just loved those two little girls at the beach looking into the camera saying, "thank you, Chris Collins!" They are having a fun day at a clean Erie County park provided by Collins. They would look so cute at an Erie County Public Library reading and laughing at a Dr. Seuss picture book. Oh, wait. That couldn't happen. Collins does not want to provide funding for our fine and free library system.

Linda Perkins

Williamsville

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How should we dispose of the new light bulbs?

The two opposing views on the incandescent light bulb were interesting and raised the problem of disposal of the new bulbs. But a service to the readers would be the answer to that question. How do we dispose of them? Many people have the new bulbs but just throw them in the garbage when they burn out because there are no instructions for disposal. How about the rest of the story, please.

Patricia Kreinheder

Cattaraugus