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Fund polar exhibit?at the Buffalo Zoo

Once again, one of our cultural gems, the Buffalo Zoo, is in danger of losing its polar bears. This exhibit is one of the main attractions that draws visitors from across the area.

Donna Fernandes, zoo president and CEO, has formulated a plan to construct a new exhibit called "Arctic Edge" allowing the zoo to showcase the polar bears in an exhibit that closely resembles their natural habitat. Funding for this is nearing its goal of $18 million. If we can't raise this amount and build this exhibit, polar bears may become an extinct species in Western New York.

Because of Fernandes' leadership, every visitor leaves the zoo with a newfound respect for the relationship between animals, their environment and what may happen as the world's population increases.

The zoo has already raised $12 million and is asking Erie County for $6 million to reach the needed funding so that it can continue its role as a steward for more than 1,200 species and as a leading educational resource.

If we want to showcase the Buffalo area, we must continue to support our cultural community. The Buffalo Zoo, along with the Burchfield Penny Art Center, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Historical Society and Theater District, are essential in keeping Western New York a place to live, work, play and visit. Our lawmakers and political leaders cannot allow these institutions to fail.

Six million dollars sounds like a large amount, but compared to the $200 million being asked for to renovate Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Buffalo Zoo is a much better investment for future generations.

Carl Borowicz

Colden

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New blood is needed ?on Common Council

An underqualified candidate from a political family has just been chosen as the leader for the people of the South District. We want transparency in our government, but the only thing that's transparent is the Common Council member's own self-interest. I am a candidate for the South District seat and I was a part of the first round of Council interviews. I have firsthand experience in how these people operate. The majority group wanted guarantees that I would vote with it. This is not to excuse the other Council members who committed themselves to another candidate long before the interviews ever took place. They're all implicated in this farce.

We need a candidate who will bring new ideas and real change to Buffalo. I'm proposing a municipal development bank of Buffalo that will take the city's holdings into its own institution and develop new revenues. It would be similar to the Bank of North Dakota. Google it; it's worth the read. I am also proposing a municipal broadband system that would again increase revenues and offer real options for the people of Buffalo. There are plenty of good ideas and good leaders to move Buffalo forward. Unfortunately, we have to stand up to the powers that be and tell them that they can no longer use this city for their own selfish ends.

Patrick "Paddy" Burke

Buffalo

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Niagara Falls continues?to mishandle tourism

Well, here we go again. The powers that be in Niagara Falls are doing their best to squelch tourism. Giving out parking tickets and harassing the Wallenda team is the same kind of behavior that has been ruining Niagara Falls' tourism industry for years. Back in 1962, I started a tour guide service with a group of clean-cut and well-trained college kids. When I tried to ensure that I had all the proper local licenses, I got threatened by the Police Department, which refused to give me the proper solicitor's license and threatened to arrest my guides without it. I received bodily threats from the local limousine tour companies who called my home, repeatedly.

However, the Canadian authorities welcomed me with open arms. The Canadian commissioner of parks even invited me to his office to let me know if I ever got harassed by the Canadian Parks Police to call him. All this support for a "foreigner."

Today, Niagara Falls, N.Y., is a pitiful sight, while Niagara Falls, Ontario, looks glamorous, beautiful and prosperous. Yes, let's run Nik Wallenda out of town and ruin what might be the best exposure for Niagara Falls! The people in authority are good at that.

Bill Cosentino

Depew

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Child Safe Products Act ?is unnecessary legislation

The Buffalo News editorial board recently missed the mark by urging the State Legislature to pass a flawed, non-science-based bill to regulate chemicals in children's products.

It's important to consider that the chemical manufacturing industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually in testing and research. In addition, the federal government has a regulatory safety net comprised of more than a dozen laws that govern the use and manufacture of chemicals.

Federal regulators have used this authority to impose restrictions, and have instituted significant reporting, testing and regulatory requirements on chemical manufacturers and processors.

Legislation such as the so-called Child Safe Products Act would ignore the federal role in ensuring the safety of products distributed nationally. Instead the bill burdens New Yorkers and ill-equipped regulators with having to process reams of data without enough toxicologists to determine actual harm posed by trace elements of chemicals in children's products. In reality, chemicals are essential to the efficacy of 96 percent of all manufactured products.

Where we do agree, however, is that the Toxic Substances Control Act needs modernization. We need an effective, science-based chemical regulatory program that will provide state and federal lawmakers, and consumers across New York, confidence in the safety of products for their intended use.

Stephen Rosario

Executive Director

New York State Chemical Alliance

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Heather Briccetti

President, Business Council of NY State

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A simple smile makes?the day much better

This morning I went to Tim Hortons for a coffee and bagel. The person who waited on me did not smile. When I was ready to leave, I suggested a smile would be a great help for me today. She had a smile that filled her face. It was wonderful for both of us.

When I arrived at my office, I shared my feelings about her smile. We decided a smile tells all of us that everything is going to be OK. We are being bombarded with negative words that are never backed up with a smile. We can't be negative and smile at the same time.

We all meet people every day under different circumstances. We are all filled with our own personal situations. The person who waits on you, no matter where you both meet, would melt a little if you would just smile. Everyone is busy and in a hurry. Why not take time to smile anyway?

I attend a meeting where we all have different levels of problems. The purpose is to help each other. I have often heard others say, I want to be like that person because they seem so relaxed and happy. Happy means a lot of smiles. You don't even have to talk. Just smile. It's a wonderful feeling.

Donald M. Harvey

East Amherst