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New disc golf course should be relocated

In June 2010, the Erie County Legislature authorized an 18-hole disc golf course in Chestnut Ridge Park. As the wide-open legislation authorized, the then park commissioner selected a site and, in addition to the disc golf course, created a new park entrance and parking area, cut trees inconvenient to the disc golfers and built the course along areas at the edge of a gorge that is a stream bed.

All this was done in the Eternal Flame area that has been a joy to birders and hikers for decades and is one of Bruce Kershner's "Secret Places," a very special spot for many of us.

During the 1990s, increased off-road bicycling and horse riding led to degraded conditions in many county parks and in 2002 many recreation groups met with the Parks Department and helped develop a master plan that was to ensure the quality of the parks and consider the impact of recreation on the habitat it affects.

But the disk golf course development ignored this assessment. Increased activity in a heavily treed area will result in a loss of surface vegetation with increased activity leading to obvious stream bank deterioration. The challenge of all parks is preservation, but also to ensure recreation opportunities available to the greatest number of people for the longest period of time. Imposing this activity in this area provides exclusivity to one group and virtually excludes previous passive users of the area who need only a trail.

If disc golf is gaining in popularity and must be installed in dedicated, exclusive areas, it may be better to be developed in its own dedicated parks or on private lands, rather than public parks that already are filled with other users.

Art "Happy" Klein

Tonawanda

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Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion

Regarding the letter supporting sonograms for women considering abortion, I believe the writer is using the pro-choice term incorrectly. Pro-choice means making a choice one way or the other. Many of us believe the right to choose is our privilege. It doesn't mean pro-abortion, which is an incredibly difficult decision for any woman. The Texas law is yet another invasion of women's privacy, which, as the old saying goes, if this were men, this conversation would not take place. Men can do their part by becoming more contraceptive-savvy and not always putting the blame for pregnancy on their female partners. We all need to work for strengthening women's health issues and availability. By the way, that is the goal of Planned Parenthood -- strong available medical care for all, regardless of belief or political affiliation.

Saxon Cobb Deck

East Aurora

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Is medical corridor a silver-bullet plan?

Local developers, University at Buffalo officials and health care executives have preached the benefits of a downtown medical corridor while extolling the mantra, "build it, and they will come." This aspiration has materialized with Millard Fillmore closing, UB planning to move its medical school downtown and Kaleida seeking millions in state aid to move Women & Children's Hospital. Though the area around Buffalo General Hospital will experience dramatic development, what will the costs be to other city neighborhoods? And is there sustainable, long-term growth potential in this plan past the initial construction and relocations?

Millions spent on construction will be a boon for developers and boost employment during the construction phase. But much of the need for construction arises from relocating functional, operating hospitals from other parts of the city. Though more restaurants and shops will open near High Street, establishments near the former hospital sites will lose customers.

One must also question if this is the best use of millions in state aid. Buffalo has no dearth of underfunded municipal projects. The state should not spend millions on this project unless it is fairly sure that it will create new, long-term jobs. Furthermore, one must question this project's effect on local health care delivery. It is not self-evident that the quality of health care in Buffalo will improve by concentrating emergency rooms and service providers in one dense campus.

Admittedly, I have offered more questions than answers. But sometimes questioning is important. This plan assures millions to developers, cachet to politicians and a higher profile for UB, but can it really deliver for the people?

Michael Charles Cimasi

Amherst

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Russert's office display is highlight of Newseum

The News' Spotlight section on Feb. 19 included an Associated Press article detailing the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and its presidential politics exhibit. I realize we cannot expect to have a "local" connection shown with each article, but had to comment regarding what I felt would be of more interest at the Newseum to many of us in the Buffalo area.

In Washington, a city with numerous fantastic museums that are free to visit, it takes something special to get folks to pay admission to go to the Newseum. My visit was in November 2009 on the day that the Tim Russert office display opened -- and even today I would expect more folks from Buffalo would be encouraged to see that than the costume Tina Fey wore to portray Sara Palin on "Saturday Night Live." The Russert display will be open through 2013 -- and this gives folks with great memories of Russert many months to take the time to visit.

Gerard W. Bent

Williamsville

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Parents play a key role in student achievement

Thank you, Rod Watson, for finally including a parent's role in the conversation about teacher evaluation systems. A parent is, after all, a child's first and foremost teacher. The connection from school to home is critical for student success. If a child knows that education is a priority, then he will come to school ready to learn. As a teacher, I have witnessed positive and poor parent engagement that cuts across all financial and racial lines. We really do all need to work together to support and prepare our children for the future.

Diane Hyzy

Kenmore

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Tripathi should not be tied to business groups

Regarding The News editorial titled, "UB union is mistaken," perhaps President Satish Tripathi is the one mistaken. The University at Buffalo is a public institution and not a corporation, thus it should not be treated as such.

As a New York State taxpayer for more than a half-century, it appears to me that Tripathi violated the public trust by using the name of the university in a political setting, suggesting the university backed a particular party or candidate.

If Tripathi wants a seat at the table of the political organization mentioned in the editorial, he should do so, by all means -- but as an individual, not at the expense of the taxpaying citizens.

Sybil L. Peterson

Buffalo