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Animal abuse registry is a step in right direction

I was pleased to read about the proposal to create a countywide "animal abuse registry," an idea pitched by Legislator Terrence McCracken and modeled after a similar one enacted two years ago in Suffolk County. Too many times, we have watched or read about animals suffering mercilessly at the hands of abusers. We recently have witnessed dogs left to starve to the point of near death in Buffalo. We have heard about hoarding and animals being dragged behind vehicles. We know all too well that there are sick "humans" fighting dogs and performing countless other disgusting and inhumane deeds that leave these poor, innocent animals reeing in pain or dead.

The current laws for animal abuse are in need of drastic change, because the fines and punishments are pathetically insufficient. The registry at least, is a step in the right direction to curb animal abuse. Animals cannot speak for themselves and, therefore, we must as a civilized society speak up for them and do everything we can to protect them.

Tammy L. Nikischer

West Seneca

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Reducing air pollution benefits people, planet

In two well-timed but separate actions that are protective of health, the state budget declined to include funds for the Power Authority to purchase electricity from the Dunkirk coal plant, and the Environmental Protection Agency proposed standards that would reduce carbon dioxide pollution by limiting emissions by new power plants to 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity produced.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the new standards will "reduce [the] pollution in our air, protect the planet for our children and move us into a new era of American energy."

The Dunkirk plant currently emits more than 2,100 pounds per megawatt-hour, or 3.6 million tons per year, along with large amounts of other pollutants that contribute to attacks of asthma, chronic lung disease, heart attacks and strokes of those who live downwind of the plant. Although the Dunkirk plant would not be affected by the new standard, closing it will reduce this burden of disease and the associated expenses.

Alan H. Lockwood, M.D.

Director, Environment and Health Committee, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Buffalo

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Don't debate the law; slow down, move over

As a past chief/captain fire-police, I was disturbed by the letter, "Move over law leads to unsafe lane changes." The law requires drivers to "slow down and move over" to provide a safe environment for law enforcement and emergency services providers.

As a volunteer for almost 30 years, I have witnessed numerous near misses and devastating injuries. I have read too many articles about injuries and deaths of first responders, firefighters, EMTs and police officers. I have also viewed videos of tragedies perpetuated by distracted, confused or inconsiderate drivers.

Fire districts, municipalities and rural areas spend many taxpayer dollars on safety equipment and apparel approved and required by laws implemented by OSHA/NIOSH and other safety regulatory agencies.

I suggest that drivers follow and obey the rules implemented to provide a safer environment for everyone. Number one, the loss of anyone is not acceptable. Death causes despair and grief for a loved one's family, friends, organization and community. Injuries cause pain and suffering not only to the individual and his family, but to friends, organizations and communities. Instead of drivers thinking of their own convenience and needs, think of others' safety and lives. Individuals in law enforcement and emergency services are there to preserve and protect the livelihood of all of us. Don't debate the reasons for the law; just be considerate of others and "slow down and move over."

Paul O. Prautzsch

Town of Tonawanda

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Confrontations, rallies often polarize people

On the very day The News carried a front-page photo of protesters rallying to "condemn" a threat to religious freedom, there was an article in the business section reporting that Fidelis, a Syracuse-based Catholic health plan and the "largest provider of government sponsored health insurance coverage in the state," was going on a hiring binge.

I believe that the disagreements that some religious groups have with the state and federal government could be handled more successfully than in the recent confrontations and rallies. These often polarize people.

Since many religious groups seem to eagerly participate in governmental programs, a rational and thoughtful solution should be used. The energy put into these confrontations could better be channeled into visiting the sick, caring for the dying, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry and loving one's neighbor. This seems to be the very example that Christ gave in his public life.

Joseph M. Yonder

Depew

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Too many candidates do about-face after election

For as long as I can remember -- I think it began in fourth grade, a very long time ago -- I was taught that the right to vote was a privilege and that I had an obligation to become informed and make my decision and choice based on the issues and what was best for the country, or the county, or the city and my fellow citizens.

So, in the recent special election for assemblyman in the 145th District, I listened, I read, I watched both candidates lay out what they felt were the most important concerns of the district and how they would approach and work to fulfill their goals for their constituents. On March 20, I and about 12,000 other citizens cast our ballots for the person we felt could best serve us.

Two days later, in this very paper, I read that the winner, who adamantly stated over and over again that if elected he would never work with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, proclaimed, "that was stuff that was said during the campaign." I'm not so naive as to believe that everything said in the heat of a campaign is carved in stone, but this really hit me in the pit of my stomach. Two days after the election, a complete turnaround without missing a beat. Makes you wonder, does it even matter anymore? I still think it is a true privilege to vote, but I would hope that those who seek public office, which is a public trust, would speak honestly about their real intentions.

Patricia Crowley

Buffalo

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The sad truth is some things will never change

It would be nice to eliminate racial profiling. It would also be nice to do something about all those guns out there. But neither of these things is going to occur. It's called reality.

Jack Spiegelman

Buffalo