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We should all protect?earth's plants, animals

As an organization whose mission is to promote the appreciation of the natural world through stewardship and education, the Buffalo Audubon Society is outraged about the recent killing of hawks in Niagara County.

It is widely known that all raptors, including the targeted Cooper's hawk and red-tailed hawk, are protected species. It is also known that hawks are beneficial because they feed on rodents and occupy the important predator niche in the avian ecosystem.

For these reasons, we sincerely hope these shootings were isolated and that those responsible will discontinue these acts. Now this remains as a teachable moment to highlight and educate everyone to protect and enjoy these beautiful raptor species.

For the past four years, Buffalo Audubon naturalists have taught our For the Birds! curriculum in elementary schools across Niagara County. This program includes a module on raptors and birds of prey. We expect that the youth who have completed this program will be good stewards of the region's birds and will be corrective influences on anyone who might choose to harm raptors out of misguided fear or to experience a cheap thrill.

We join the Humane Society's Wildlife Land Trust and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in encouraging people to provide the information needed to apprehend the perpetrators. Whether one worships the Creator or the creation, whether one is Republican or Democrat, whether young or old, we all enjoy, appreciate and are enriched by our natural world.

Just as we all try to recycle, seek to conserve energy and otherwise reduce the negative effect human activity has had on the earth's ecology, likewise we must all protect the plants and animals that are a beautiful and necessary part of the landscape. Please do your part in this vital work.

David A. Gordon

President

Buffalo Audubon Society

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Akin erred in his words,?but highlighted critical topic

Though Rep. Todd Akin's words about abortion as the result of rape were badly put, to say the least, they highlighted an important issue. That is, the "exception" for a pregnancy resulting from rape.

My first thought when this comes up is "excuse me for living!" This is because I am the living example of the "hard cases." I was conceived as a result of rape.

Because there were several assailants, I will never know my father. Plus, I am a foster home veteran, subjected to abuse and neglect. I am a living incarnation of the "hard cases."

Once pro-choice, I converted for two reasons finding my birth mother, thus finding out the circumstances of my conception, and secondly, devoting myself to the study of fetological medicine, the specialty that medicates and performs surgery on the unborn. Obviously, they are alive and human when wanted; what magical transformation comes upon them when they are unwanted, as was I? Scientifically, factually, there is none.
As I look over my life, never did I conclude that I'd be better off dead. Never did I conclude that the brutal act of another should result in the death penalty for me.

And just a note to pro-lifers those who accept the rape exception, using my life and countless other lives as a political bargaining chip, you totally undermine your own position. If the unborn is human and alive, as we have scientifically demonstrated over and over, then the rape-child is just as much so, and just as deserving of protection.

Helen Westover

Buffalo

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Government employees? work hard for taxpayers

Lancaster Town Supervisor Dino Fudoli misspoke when he said government employees are a "nonproducing part of society." Certainly a town supervisor should not be ignorant about the value of the work force that makes his town the gem that it is.

The men and women who work for the town are hard-working and dedicated. They provide essential services every day, around the clock, to residents. It's often a thankless job, and the fact that the town supervisor believes they are "nonproducing" is simply appalling.

In recent years, many people have moved into Lancaster. More people means more services are needed. There are more streets to plow, parks to maintain and roads to repair. Town employees clearly must be doing something right if people and businesses keep moving in.

Fudoli also needs to remember that Lancaster town employees are also taxpayers. They invest in their communities by buying homes and supporting local businesses. They volunteer for local fire companies, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, in their churches and throughout Lancaster. To say they are "nonproducing" is a slap in their faces.

In addition to CSEA members working directly for the town, many town residents work for the county, or the state, or a police agency, or one of the many public school districts throughout the county. They also work for other essential agencies such as the Erie County Medical Center, the Home and Infirmary, the county jails and state prisons. Many put their lives on the line every day when they go to work.

Fudoli has not only insulted town employees, but also hundreds of residents and voters throughout town. Fudoli owes his workforce and all "government workers" a public apology.

Flo Tripi, President

CSEA Western Region

Joan Bender, President

CSEA Erie County Local 815

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Concussion guidelines?are a good first step

In New York State alone, more than 50,000 children under the age of 19 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for traumatic brain injury and approximately 3,000 required hospital admission in 2009. Many more head injuries go undiagnosed and can have far-reaching implications. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has provided recommendations for concussion management to its member schools.

The recommendations provide valuable information and encourage districts to create a policy on concussion management. A child who is believed to have suffered a concussion must be taken out of the game and not allowed to play or practice until symptom-free for 24 hours and seen by a doctor to confirm it is safe for him or her to play again. Children are at risk of greater injury and more complicated recovery if they sustain a second concussion before fully recovered.

Sports are an important part of education and can help develop positive qualities such as discipline, cooperation, perseverance and more.

We can reduce second injury enhancement of traumatic brain injuries in sports. While the recommendations are not a mandate and do not go far enough, they bring attention to a serious problem.

The public high school guidelines are a good first step.

John Feroleto

Buffalo