Drivers must learn ?to share the roads

As a taxpayer, I have to say that I was dismayed, but not surprised by the letter writer with the get-off-of-the-road attitude. It is his belief that his right to drive supersedes my right to run, walk or bike safely on shared roadways.

As an active Western New Yorker, a day will rarely go by in which I don't take to the roads and have a close call with a distracted, rude or entitled motorist. I choose to commute on my bicycle and there is no direct bike path from my door to my work's door. If there were a direct bike path to work, it is not always the safest option for the type of cycling that I participate in. These paths typically have blind curves and are shared by a wide variety of users and all levels. It would not be prudent to fly through these paths at nearly 20 miles per hour or more.

I spend a lot of time running and to confine me to a track is unreasonable for numerous reasons, including availability and my own schedule. I will even go as far as to say that an active, healthy runner and cyclist-friendly community is a positive presence and should be celebrated.

I will assume that the writer is not a cyclist or runner. If so, he would have not have written his letter. The writer should be challenged to step out from behind the steering wheel to walk, run or bike a mile in my shoes to experience the freedom that my lifestyle brings and the perils of trying to share the roads with motor vehicles. In the end, car versus person, car wins every time, but the roadways of Western New York are plentiful enough for all of us to share safely.

Jeff Tracy



Take steps to conserve? water during drought

More than 60 percent of the U.S. mainland is under drought conditions. Corn and sugar cane crops are slim in our nation's breadbasket. A simple thing we can do for our home gardens is this. Save your empty juice and gallon milk jugs, rinse them clean, poke one or two small holes in the bottom, fill them with water and let them slow feed water into your garden plants and vegetables. You'll conserve water and keep those roots fed. Until good heavy days of rain, mind your water usage. Aquifers, wells and water reserves are reaching heavy demands since we are hydrofracking and drink more bottled water products than ever before. Be considerate, because water this season is becoming a precious commodity.

Philip James Jarosz



Restoring Great Lakes? should be a top priority

In a recent column "Great Lakes system faces serious threats," Douglas Turner correctly stated that the Great Lakes face significant threats ranging from phosphorus pollution to invasive species. He also recognized that action must be taken to address these problems before damage becomes irreparable. Fortunately, we have workable solutions that already exist.

The International Joint Commission's proposed lake level plan for Lake Ontario, known as Plan Bv7, provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore the lake ecosystem. For 60 years, damaging regulation has forced unnatural water fluctuations in Lake Ontario, causing severe ecological damage and limiting lucrative recreational opportunities. Plan Bv7 can bring back more natural cycles that will restore thousands of acres of wetlands, revive fish and wildlife populations, and provide significant economic benefits, including enhanced hydropower production.

Congress has provided more than a billion dollars for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) in recent years, which supports aggressive efforts to address the most pressing threats facing the lakes. The GLRI is producing results for both the environment and economy, and has supported more than 70 restoration projects in New York. According to the Brookings Institution, every dollar invested in restoration will provide at least two dollars in economic returns. Yet the House of Representatives is proposing a shortsighted $50 million cut to the GLRI in the upcoming federal budget.

The Great Lakes provide drinking water for millions of people, support-billion dollar industries, offer unparalleled recreational opportunities and enhance our quality of life. There is no question that the lakes are in trouble, and need our help. The only question that remains is if we have the leadership to implement solutions. Plan Bv7 and a fully funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative deserve everyone's support.

Brian P. Smith

Program and Communications Director

Citizens Campaign for the Environment


Students have built ?an amazing beehive

After reading The News article about a beehive that was moved to an architecturally designed home, I was curious to see it and thought it would be something unusual to show our out-of-town guests: a bee tower designed and constructed by students of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and built with Rigidized steel panels.

Finding it, though, proved to be the challenge. We were looking for a tower amongst silos – and hunting on one of the hottest days of the summer. People we asked had never heard of the bee tower, but we finally found someone who directed us to Rigidized Metal. Our luck changed when Rick Smith took us under his wing and led us to this amazing structure, which we could even go into and see the bees busily at work overhead. He patiently answered our questions and told of his plans for developing the adjacent silos. We had lunch at Larkin Square and saw the change and progress there already. We hope it continues on to Smith's beehive and silos, which will add to the plethora of sights already in Buffalo.

Janet Holland

Niagara Falls


Legislator is exercising ?his right to free speech

In a recent letter, Niagara County Legislator John Syracuse was castigated for referring to the United States as a "Christian nation" in a Memorial Day speech he had given. The writer accused him of ignoring the concept of "the separation of church and state" and of "disenfranchising many of his own electorate."

In voicing his opinion, I fail to see how Syracuse was doing anything to attempt to "establish" a religion. I also fail to see how voicing his opinion denied any of his constituents their legal privileges or rights. I wonder at times if the pursuit of the separation of church and state has in reality, for some, become a pursuit for separation of nation from God.

I have to ask, in a time in our history when we are confronted by dishonesty, greed, rampant drug abuse and senseless violence, do we have that much to fear from the virtues of love, brotherhood, compassion, mercy, loyalty and self sacrifice that are inherent parts of the Christian message?

The writer concluded by suggesting Syracuse read the Constitution and keep his personal religious beliefs to himself. I believe that the Constitution and the liberty it was created to protect are the sum of its parts. The last time I checked, I thought freedom of speech was included in those rights.

William Duthe

North Tonawanda