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Best way to go green is to move to the city

You may know that Buffalo has a population of about 261,000, and that the region has a population of 1.2 million. What you may not know is that New York City, with a population of 8 million, is the "greenest" city in America per capita. How could "the city that never sleeps" be our nation's greenest? One word: density.

Downstate residents live closer to their places of employment and are within walking distance of their favorite restaurants. Here in Western New York, most of us live in the suburbs, and we drive from our suburb to neighboring communities to get to our friends, work and favorite attractions.

Many suburbanites make daily efforts to be greener, but here is an opportunity to be green in a very big way: move to Buffalo. If you return to the city, you will reduce not only the amount of time you spend each day in traffic, but also your carbon footprint (or in this case "carbon tire track"). You will find that our city is home to spectacular neighborhoods, filled with beautiful and architecturally significant homes.

If you want to take this "leap of green" even further, look into buying a home in one of Buffalo's many historic districts. Under New York State's Historic Home-ownership Rehabilitation Tax Credit, the owner of a home in a qualified historic district is eligible to receive a 20 percent tax credit for rehabilitation projects of more than $5,000. Renovation of an existing house has a much smaller impact on the environment than building a new one, and the tax credit makes it more cost-effective to have a beautiful home in a historic neighborhood.

In the end, reversing the trend of flight to the suburbs and coming back into the city will create a greener, better Buffalo.

Bob Grimaldi

Buffalo

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Phillips is poster child for capital punishment

The article in the Oct. 19 News, "From behind prison bars, Phillips still making trouble," is a prime example of the need for capital punishment.

Regardless of the millions of dollars spent on Ralph "Bucky" Phillips' capture in 2006, which could have funded many educational projects, we are now subjecting the correctional world to put up with this useless human being. He is the poster child for capital punishment.

Frank Maddock

Lancaster

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Williamsville students are compassionate, too

Much has been made, and rightly so, of the atrocious conduct culminating in the death last month of a Williamsville North High School student. With the attention of the country on our high school and community, and our system of public education generally under fire, it would be a shame to lose sight of the exceptional efforts by so many members of the student body and faculty at Williamsville North.

As the parent of three North students over the last five years, I have had the opportunity to observe first-hand just how supportive of each other those students can be. One of the best examples of this is the athletic program. Under the leadership of faculty coaches, I have observed the swim and cross-country programs welcoming and encouraging developmentally disabled students who themselves would have been the subject of bullying back in the days I was a high school student in the 1970s.

Their participation has been highly celebrated by teammates and opponents at athletic competitions. It has on more than one occasion brought a lump to the back of my throat to see a young lady swimming her final lap as the entire team of 50-plus strong lines up along the pool lane deafeningly chanting her name and cheering her on. In cross-country, more than a dozen members of the team went back to run the balance of the course while encouraging their slower teammate. When she crossed the finish line 15 minutes later, all of the members of the opposing team (Frontier High School) lined up to cheer her in.

This conduct does not occur in a vacuum. It is thanks to parents, coaches and the leadership in our schools that so many of our children are learning the most important of life's lessons.

John J. Christopher

East Amherst

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Marcellus Shale is key to our economic future

I had the privilege of attending the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission annual meeting, held in Buffalo on Oct. 17 and 18, at which the incoming chairman, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, was the keynote speaker. The fact that this important conference, which attracted oil and gas industry executives and professionals from across the United States, was held in Buffalo demonstrates the importance that responsible development of the Marcellus Shale plays in our economic future.

We should urge our state officials to move to finalize the proposed rigorous regulations. We should also request that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation use the data gathered by the oversight process to revisit the regulations and amend them as appropriate.

The conference focused on being good neighbors, with four environmentally focused awards given for innovative and responsible development. T.J. Barrett, president of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., stated in one session, "The only truly non-renewable resource is time." I am hopeful that the public will consider all of the information available and support the expeditious development of this important natural resource, and the many jobs the industry will bring to our area.

Bruce J. Przybyl

Springville

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Using the term 'fetus' dehumanizes the baby

I am writing in regard to the Oct. 11 News article pertaining to the death of a "fetus" and a mom in Milwaukee. It was a very sad and disturbing article, and using the word "fetus" lessens the tragedy of the baby's death.

It seems to me that the vocabulary referring to an unborn human being has changed over the decades. I wonder whether it is to assuage the discomfort of our collective consciences and make it easier to deny the humanity of an unborn child. Years ago, when a woman got pregnant she was said to "be with child." Using that term humanized the baby that was growing within her womb. Today we use other words to bypass the reality that this is a new human being growing and developing.

It's a tragic loss for the young woman whose life was stolen, for the baby who will never realize his promise and potential and for the family who experienced the loss of a mother and a child. As a society, we have become desensitized and calloused to the tragic loss of lives that take place. This is a huge loss for us.

Caroline Calamita Cheektowaga