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Testing older drivers? is a reasonable approach

The News' two articles on July 10 concerning a wrong-way crash on I-190 have rekindled the argument over testing elderly drivers. I fully support Catherine Roth in her efforts to require such testing. I also agree with her contention that this is not age discrimination, since New York already places driving restrictions on young drivers.

We all need to remember that driving is a privilege, not a right. New York's current system of only testing driving competence based on a referral is totally inadequate. The aviation community provides a working example. Depending on the complexity of the aircraft they fly, pilots are required to accomplish a flight evaluation every 24 months (for simple aircraft) or every 12 months (for complex aircraft). A pilot who fails to accomplish the required evaluation may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft until the evaluation is complete.

New York has given many reasons for not implementing a mandatory retesting program, but I suspect the primary reason is money. Again, the aviation community has a system that works. Evaluators are not employees of the Federal Aviation Administration, but are certified flight instructors. The pilot receiving the evaluation pays the instructor for his or her time. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) could establish a similar program for retesting elderly drivers through licensed driving schools. Such a program already exists for would-be motorcycle operators, who can bypass the DMV road test by successfully completing an approved motorcycle training program.

American drivers are some of the poorest trained in the developed world. Correcting this pathetic state of affairs will require significant effort in many areas. Retesting can be a valuable part of this effort and should be implemented as soon as possible.

Karl Hutchinson

Williamsville

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Patriotism is no longer?celebrated as it deserves

Have patriotism and love of country died?

Independence Day used to be a day of celebrating the birth of our great country. Sadly, now it is just another day of picnics, parties, car sales and mattress and furniture sales. Most offensive are the furniture store ads depicting Presidents Washington and Lincoln as dancing fools that later sit on the bench drinking!

What is being taught in our schools that allows such disrespect to occur? Will such reprehensible activity be accepted as harmless advertising, worse yet normal?

As a senior citizen, I remember parades featuring patriotic themes and bands playing patriotic music. Floats featured patriotic themes and carried children and adults portraying our founding fathers. Let us once again remember our true heritage by rejecting these unpatriotic practices.

Mary A. Kless

Lancaster

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Checking documents?is not unreasonable

The writer of the July 6, 2012, article titled, "Immigration decision missed a major point" is also missing many points.

With 20 million illegal aliens and more on the way, how can our nation maintain any semblance of law, identity and sovereignty if police are not allowed to question illegal presence by using common sense or any other reason during the normal performance of their duties? Does the writer suppose the purpose of the Constitution is to protect the rights of people who violate our borders and laws? Does she suppose she could wander into any other country undocumented, not learn their language and utilize hospital, educational and other benefits without penalty?

Without rule and enforcement of law there are no rights.

These permissive "politically correct" views are not uncommon. The idea is everyone gets a free ride. All that's necessary is a sprinkling of fairy dust and bumper stickers to make things right. These are a symptom of a nation that has abrogated citizenship responsibility to a degree we are becoming detached from the reality of what it takes to maintain and defend our once-vibrant democracy.

Hence an ideal case for a return to the full shared participation in our country's defense and maintenance, afforded by the draft. We the people are what this country is supposed to be all about!

Louis L. Boehm

Orchard Park

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Unfunded mandates?end up hurting kids

Recent articles talked about the business climate in New York and how Gov. Andrew Cuomo was agreeing with the Business Council of New York that the state has too many unfunded mandates.

However, after the election was over the governor discovered that reduction in state aid to education was an easy way to reduce the cost of government. Public school districts would have to do with less. Since labor is 75 percent of a public school cost it would mean cutting staff and that would only affect the children.

Districts can reduce sports programs and negotiate less-expensive health care contracts. But with severe cuts in aid to education, staff has to be reduced and it's the children who suffer under these types of budget reductions.

At this point, the governor does not want to discuss unfunded mandates, such as the Triborough Amendment, the Wicks Law or real pension reform, which affects school districts more than other government bodies. He wants to discuss consolidation, which is a band-aid fix. The problem is unfunded mandates, which cost school districts millions of dollars every year and have nothing to do with educating the children. Of course, some of these mandates protect the adults who vote, not the children who cannot vote.

Raymond Carr

Cheektowaga

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Romney characterization?on Buffalo visit was unfair

The News chose a headline to characterize the recent Romney visit to Buffalo as one where he "meet(s) with only the wealthy." When these contributors are giving upwards of $10,000, what would you expect? President Obama has had more than a hundred fund raisers in the $25,000 range and The News does not accuse him of meeting with only the wealthy.

Dick Mauer

Angola

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There is more news?on cars on Main Street

The recent News article about the return of traffic to Main Street enumerated the benefits of the project, but did not describe any of the downsides.

It did not even mention the fact that Theater Station will be eliminated or that trains will be forced to share the right-of-way with traffic.

The article touted a special drop-off zone that will allow Shea's patrons who come by car or livery to enjoy curbside convenience but did not mention that everyone coming by train will now have to walk to Shea's from the Fountain Plaza Station.

Doug Funke

Amherst