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Visit Buffalo Niagara produces tourist guide

I'm writing in response to a My View column on March 1 titled, "Create great guidebook to attract more tourists." While I appreciate the writer's interest in promoting our region, I would like to address some misinformation in his piece.

He suggests that our region lacks a printed guide to welcome visitors. Visit Buffalo Niagara annually produces the Buffalo Niagara Visitors Guide, which includes information about Western New York's art, architecture, culture, dining, sports, entertainment and hotels.

Last year, the VBN updated the design of the guide, giving it a magazine-style format with striking full-page photos and in-depth stories. The VBN printed and distributed 300,000 of the guides to distribute at info tables at local conventions and amateur sporting events, and at locations throughout New York State, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey and Ontario. It can also be viewed online at www.visitbuffaloniagara.com.

Speaking of our website, it also received an overhaul in 2011. This sleek, content-rich, mobile-enabled, social media-friendly site now allows visitors to purchase hotel and attraction packages and find local attractions. The site attracted more than 660,000 unique visitors in 2011, a 33 percent increase over 2010. In addition, the VBN has been an industry leader on YouTube and social media.

I'm happy to report the VBN is now in the second phase of a targeted Ontario marketing and public relations plan. Last year, our efforts resulted in extensive Canadian media coverage.

We don't expect Buffalonians to be in the know about what we are doing and how we do it; our marketing messages are targeted to visitors outside the region. So we encourage everyone who is interested in tourism to become a Buffalo Ambassador (www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/ambassador) and receive our monthly Tourism Insider newsletter.

Dottie Gallagher-Cohen

President & CEO

Visit Buffalo Niagara

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Perry's work ethic helps local citizens

The News' profile of Adam Perry, "Lawyer to the leaders," needs correction for readers to have a clear understanding of his contributions to the community.

I first met Perry when he came to Albany to help advocate for funding for the New York Council for the Humanities, where he volunteers as a member of the board of directors. In between meetings, he regularly took calls or replied to email, demonstrating not only how hard he works, but exactly how much of a burden this two-day volunteer mission on behalf of the community had placed on him. It was a mission he completed with good cheer and careful attention to detail.

Now The News intimates the business relationships he has built are based on nothing more than "pay to play;" that the $4 million in business his firm received in the last six years was based on $24,000 in campaign donations over that time. If getting business from the city was really that simple, then some other law firm would certainly come along and donate double, or even quadruple that amount to get the city's business, and still make a tidy profit! Especially in this economy.

That's how readers can know the business Perry and Hodgson Russ have been awarded is about their success as attorneys, and not their largess as campaign donors. Saving your clients tens of millions of dollars in avoided litigation losses gets you noticed in the legal arena.

The story claims that Perry and his law firm have profited from his ties to city government. But the citizens of Erie County have profited even more.

Tom Shanahan

The Shanahan Group

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NYPD is just trying to keep nation safe

I'm sick of people whining about the monitoring of Muslims by the New York Police Department. Let's face the facts -- certain Muslims have made it very clear that they want to destroy our way of life and kill us if at all possible. There can be no debate about this.

While I'm confident that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding people, how do we know for sure who is who? It is the job of the police and the government in general to afford us a safe place to live and raise our kids. It is only through investigation that we can determine the good from the bad. My guess is that the NYPD has some reason to monitor the people in question. It has neither the time nor the resources to monitor or investigate all Muslims.

Law enforcement agencies must be proactive to prevent further attacks on our country and people. They are doing their jobs and I applaud their efforts.

When another attack does inevitably occur, these same people who are complaining will be shouting, "how could this happen" and "why wasn't it prevented?"

David Bystrak

West Seneca

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Inmates who cooperate will not have problems

I was deeply disturbed by the front-page News story on Feb. 23, "Fair force, or foul?" This article reminds me of the Rodney King story back in 1991. A 17-second video clip was shown where it appeared that police were using excessive force in arresting him. What wasn't shown or told to the public was that the video of that situation was 20 minutes long. King was high on drugs and extremely combative for most of the time he was being arrested. The police did what they had to do to subdue him.

Watching the Mack video, what I saw was a very combative Marquez Mack. There is a reason, probably a real good reason, that you saw the number of officers in this video doing what they probably had to do. Did the video show the officers punching and kicking him? I did not see any. Was there excessive force? I did not see any.

This whole situation could have been prevented if Mack would have cooperated in a civilized manner while being placed in the holding cell. What the video does not have, which would have been very beneficial, is audio.

The News should not criticize the good people of law enforcement or try to make them look bad. Criticize the bad people for what they are.

Richard Mudd

Amherst

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Boards need to make members' duties clear

With the recent media exposure of some not-for-profit boards of directors, anyone interested in being on a board should insist on adequate board orientation covering one's role and responsibilities, including legal areas, such as director and officers liability insurance and employment practices liability. Some boards can quietly skirt these rather recklessly, so Niagara entities are not alone -- dysfunctional boards also exist in Buffalo.

One's original reason to become involved can get diluted and diminished by rogue board members furthering agendas and fomenting toxic environments to the disservice of an entity's mission. Like caveat emptor, potential or existing board members beware. Unfortunately, many quality not-for-profits will suffer from what is a paradox of either a dearth of committed volunteers or too many bad apples.

Deanne Plonka

Buffalo