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Great children's museum would draw many tourists

Everyone I've ever referred to Explore & More Children's Museum in East Aurora has come away enthralled, energized and more than eager to return. Everyone, without exception. How often does that happen? Especially when dealing with the toughest-to-satisfy demographic of all: kids.

The problem is that many people in our area perceive Explore & More simply as a Southtowns family destination when it needs to be recognized as so much more. It might have sprouted and burgeoned like a country garden in Elbert Hubbard's back yard, but today it's poised on the brink of becoming what it's always needed to become: Western New York's regional children's museum.

If children are our future, we must identify a more central, more accessible location where many more children can encounter and enjoy all the wonderful learning experiences that Explore & More has to offer. A pending proposal to establish a children's museum near the Buffalo waterfront, at the site of the old Aud, seems ideal.

In its current facility, Explore & More's dedicated corps of staff, administrators, board members and conscientious volunteers have demonstrated that Erie County has a solid foundation for a world-class children's museum -- efficiently managed, energetically imagined, thoughtfully directed. The talent and the vision necessary to create a landmark resource that will attract individuals and larger audiences from near and far are already in place. It's time to give them room to achieve their untapped potential.

If we install Explore & More in a prime location on Buffalo's waterfront, we and our children -- and their children -- will never regret it.

Michael C. Mahaney

Lancaster

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Florida should repeal Stand Your Ground law

Who would have thought wearing a hoodie would be so suspicious? I am a 27-year-old Hispanic male who wears hoodies all the time. If you are from Buffalo or have visited, you know it can get cold. So when you see me walking down the street, does that give you the right to follow me or even kill me?

As the world should know, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed on Feb. 26, walking from a convenience store to meet his father at his father's fiancee's house in Sanford, Fla. The shooter, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, called police and told them that there was a suspicious person wearing a hoodie, walking through his neighborhood, whom he later identified as a black male. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, followed Trayvon after being told not to by police, confronted him and shot him.

Zimmerman is claiming self-defense from an alleged altercation with Trayvon. Florida's Stand Your Ground law states, "a person is allowed to use deadly force if he is in a place he has the right to be and feels reasonably threatened with serious harm or death." Zimmerman has been questioned, but has not been charged or arrested. A lot of people are outraged. How can he claim self-defense when police arrived and found Trayvon unarmed and carrying only Skittles and ice tea?

It should be up to the courts, and not the Police Department, to prove self-defense. I feel that justice has not been served due to a ridiculous law that gives people the right to shoot first. Changes need to be made before this happens again.

Antonio Colon

Buffalo

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'Mad Men' is accurate depiction of the '60s

Jeff Simon's review of "Mad Men" left me cold. He does not know what he's talking about. He says that "he
was there" in the '60s. I think it is very telling that he may have been there, but as a college student, which cannot be compared with the corporate side of the '60s.

I do enjoy "Mad Men," not only for the nostalgic sets and fashions, but also for the accurate portrayal of corporate America in the '60s. It was a time of affluence and excess, especially on Madison Avenue. I worked at a local bank, which will remain nameless, in that era and it was very much like what is portrayed in this series. Without elaborating, alcohol, smoking and infidelities were all part of the office life of that time.

Such behavior would not be acceptable in today's office. Men hitting on their secretaries would not be tolerated either by the company or by the secretary. I was there. So lighten up, Jeff, it's supposed to be entertainment.

Toni Mohney-Teleha

Williamsville

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Athletes awarded millions while soldiers earn peanuts

Just one more reason we sports fans need to get our heads out where the sun shines -- a football player was recently awarded a contract worth approximately $100 million. In the minds of many, he may be a premier player. So let's compare premier players. Take, for example, a premier soldier. A Congressional Medal of Honor type. Maybe a mere handful in the last two wars. Elite enough, I expect. What's in their future? Not a penny more than a less-proficient soldier. They are part of a team. They come up through the ranks like everybody else. From day one, they are taught their very existence depends on their teammates. For their efforts, returning to civilian life gives them nothing more than medical coverage and some spending money.

Like many American veterans, I watch the daily sports goings-on while the protectors of all we have in this country wind up bag men at worst, low-to-middle income at best. We Americans can't even see fit to afford them gainful employment, even after many sports icons admit: "What we do is entertain; what soldiers do is protect the lives we live." God forbid we have to go without being entertained. We collectively have allowed this disease to go beyond reason and beyond disgraceful. What a shame!

Joe Coia

West Seneca

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Old joke about dentists is neither true nor funny

Talk show hosts and other media personalities constantly repeat the phrase, "What do you call a medical student who failed? A dentist." This utter nonsense is insulting a profession that is most difficult to attain. In the first year alone, dental students must learn gross anatomy, biochemistry, neuro-anatomy, physiology, histology and embryology. The next three years of education in dental medicine are even more demanding. In addition to mastering these sciences, dentists must also develop unusual motor skills hardly required anywhere else.

I challenge those who make such comments about this important profession to pass even one of these courses. Evidently the broadcast journalists who make such pronouncements have no interest in the facts. Such misinformation demeans the public, which would be better served to learn the truth about dentistry and its important role in maintaining our health.

Gerhard Falk

Town of Tonawanda