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Sports, cultural groups ?both play a role in area

Aside from an Aug. 5 letter writer's clearly delusional statements such as "only a minuscule amount of residents care about" the Buffalo Bills, more troubling is her belief that government funds should only go toward projects or organizations that she is interested in.

While I don't normally attend classical music concerts or live theater performances, I strongly support government funding for cultural organizations like Kleinhans Music Hall and Shea's Performing Arts Center.

The value that organizations like Shea's, Kleinhans and the Buffalo Bills add to our community is well worth the taxpayer money that is spent on them.

In order to make this a vibrant community that is attractive to the young people who were raised here, outsiders looking to relocate and tourists looking to visit, we must continue to support a broad range of interests, including professional sports and the arts.

Patrick J. Curry

Buffalo

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City streets should be? made wheelchair-friendly

I work with persons who have the need for the use of a wheelchair daily in their lives. A co-worker and I recently took two individuals who utilize wheelchairs to the Central Wharf for an afternoon. We were able to park for free in a nearby parking lot, which was nice.

When exiting the parking lot, it was observed that the sidewalk began almost to the corner requiring us to walk with our individuals in the street. Once the sidewalk began, where it was wheelchair friendly, it was observed there was no outlet only a curb at the stop sign. Therefore, we had to return to the initial area of the sidewalk and again re-enter the street to get to our destination at Erie Street and Marine Drive. On the opposite side of the street there are two areas that are wheelchair-use friendly and none across the street.

Shouldn't the city have provided a ramp at the stop sign to allow persons who use scooters and wheelchairs to exit, rather than have to travel in the street, which is dangerous?

Marianne Jeziorowski

Buffalo

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Peace Bridge debate ignores? vehicle emission advancements

Air quality from commercial vehicles, including diesel trucks, has been identified as an issue of concern in the Peace Bridge project ("Bridge plan finds detractors, supporters," Aug. 7 News). As such, it's important to consider the major advancements in clean diesel trucks and fuel.

In the last 10 years, emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses have been reduced by 99 percent for nitrogen oxides an ozone precursor and 98 percent for particulate emissions. Today, it takes 60 of the new clean diesel trucks to equal the same emissions from one pre-1988 truck a 60-to-1 ratio.

Nationwide, only about 6 percent of all fine particles come from diesel engines. In areas of higher vehicle traffic, this percentage could go up, but the trends on diesel emissions are definitely moving downward.

More improvements are coming. In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency helped establish a national program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and establish new fuel efficiency standards for commercial trucks and buses beginning in 2014. Because of the sheer magnitude of commercial vehicles, this regulation will result in significant reductions in diesel fuel consumption and vehicle emissions in Buffalo and throughout the United States.

Some estimates indicate more than 30 percent of all trucks on the road in the United States are clean diesel technology. When the Peace Bridge project is completed, it's likely more than 50 percent of all vehicles crossing that bridge would be new generation diesel trucks with near zero emissions. Retrofits can reduce emissions in older trucks up to 90 percent.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation looks to be keeping close watch on air quality at the bridge and it has an experienced and aggressive roadside truck enforcement program to identify and fine gross emitters of excessive emissions and compel vehicle repairs.

Allen Schaeffer

Executive Director

The Diesel Technology Forum

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Candidates' backgrounds? make election choice easy

I believe everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Yet there comes a time when an opposite viewpoint bears merit.

One, the "birther" issue. If President Obama was not native born, he would still qualify as native born because his mother is an American. Picture anyone being disqualified from public office because their parents went to Canada for the week while mom was pregnant and had them in Toronto. That wouldn't make you Canadian.

Two, Mitt Romney may be a nice man but he has never "worked." His parents staked him, as he and his wife have staked their own children, as is their right because they have the money to do it.

Job creation is not his business. His business is making money for investors who want huge returns, and investment capital firms are not charities "helping" business but seeking investments to line their own pockets. If a business succeeds or not, they still get paid.

So, when you are thinking about who could run the country, do you want the guy who couldn't make money on the auto industry and said it should go bankrupt or the guy who stuck his neck out and saved it?

Teresa H. Lukasik

Hamburg

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Schumer's NFL statement ?definitely went wide right

Sen. Charles Schumer's recent letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suggests he and his staff must have forgotten one of the important professional lessons we all hopefully learn: details in how we interact with others, including grammar, often matter as much as the merits of our ideas.

The letter and its errors make it clear that Schumer did not prepare his case for creating an additional financial incentive to keep the Bills in Western New York with the same care as he expects reporters to treat his press conference announcements.

The senator's thought is that an NFL-structured loan with generous terms (repayment from future visiting-team ticket sale revenue) that is transferable to the new owner(s) will update the stadium, ease the burden of those updates on taxpayers and make it more attractive to keep the team here.

Although such an arrangement could help potential owners who would keep the team here anyway, it likely means little to those determined to buy the franchise as a vessel to bring the NFL to a different city.

Regardless, the biggest knock against the Bills is that they are a second-class team that the NFL does not need to take seriously. Why would the NFL when the Bills' own senator doesn't?

Matthew F. Burke

Kenmore