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It would be a travesty ?to tear down Skyway

Rep. Brian Higgins is once again talking about his desire to tear down the Skyway. Really? The Skyway Bridge and Route 5 are direct and extremely useful for travelers headed to Hamburg and points south. It has been our route of choice for many years. It is cost effective. To eliminate it would be a travesty.

With respect to the access to the outer harbor, there is talk of building a new $50 million bridge. Again, really? I applaud Higgins' efforts to open up this area, but I would suggest and insist that a majority of this area be open public land for the most part. The land should become either Buffalo or Erie County parkland. This acquisition would truly ensure sustained and permanent public access to the waterfront.

I suggest that a bascule bridge be erected just west of Ganson Street that would reconnect both halves of South Michigan Avenue. I do not remember what bridge was there in the past, but some of the infrastructure is still in place. This is the perfect point to reconnect the city to the outer harbor at a reasonable price. It is not a particularly pretty area, but it is functional.

I would also like to comment on the part of the Robert Moses Parkway that proceeds from the City of Niagara Falls to Lewiston. Parts of the parkway have been shut down for years. This was done to further the environment and promote public pedestrian use. One sees lots of weeds growing up through the pavement and very few people recreating on the closed portions. It seems like this experiment has failed. It is time to reopen fully this part of the parkway. This move would also further the economic agenda of Niagara Falls.

Craig J. Brozek

Grand Island

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Acoustics in arena?need to be improved

Why does First Niagara Center have such awful acoustics? The sound at the last two concerts I saw there Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters' The Wall Tour were, in each case, "muddy." The music overpowered the vocals and the words were hard to understand. It definitely marred an otherwise fantastic experience.

I don't even know if anything could be done to the arena to rectify the problem. Or is it the fault of the sound systems utilized by the artists? If you're paying upward of $200 for a ticket, they should have state-of-the-art equipment.

This situation infuriates me, but I don't know who to ask about it.

Kathleen Copeland

Kenmore

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District should bring back? Upgrade Academic Program

The decision by the Buffalo School District to terminate the Upgrade Academic Program for middle school students at Lafayette High School is of concern and troubling, focusing as it did on children at risk and in need of such after-school tutoring and supplemental academic assistance.

The rationale for the district to waive its application for such funding and redirect it to other supplemental educational services deserves an answer to the question about what is in the best interests of borderline and struggling children, many of whom are immigrants who need and have benefited from this special assistance.

With the under-achieving test scores of Lafayette a public record, it would behoove those in leadership roles to focus their efforts on improving the skills and grades of such students by providing them with opportunities such as was given in the discontinued Upgrade Program.

It is hoped that the new superintendent, Pamela C. Brown, will revisit this decision, which was done without sufficient consideration of its longer-term possibilities, and which reflects a dismissal of the needs of the children who, with this assistance, have the opportunity to advance more readily in overcoming academic shortcomings.

As an attorney in the Family Court system, and having observed the results of such a program, I would urge that this decision be reconsidered at the earliest possible time.

Richard J. Lehner

Buffalo

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If Obama deserves a C ? Republicans merit an F

In a recent op-ed, Robert Samuelson gave President Obama a C on an economic report card. But his criterion for the grade was seriously flawed.

Samuelson compares the anemic 2.2 percent growth rate recovery under Obama with the 4.2 percent recoveries from other recessions. But this attempt at comparing apples to apples is negated by the severity of our recent Great Recession. Better to compare recent growth rates with those from the Great Depression.

Samuelson's rubrics are further challenged by his contention that the Affordable Care Act has hurt the economy by making "hiring harder and costlier." Basing a grade on something that hasn't been enacted yet hardly seems to be a sound standard of measurement.

His assertion that the president "fostered a take-no-prisoners political climate" falls flat when one considers that many aspect of the ACA drew from Republican ideas, many going back decades. A more valid appraisal of recent "stalemates" and "brinkmanship" can be traced to a tyranny of the minority. Whether it's Sen. Mitch McConnell's priority to prevent the re-election of Obama as the primary goal of governance or the inordinate power of the unelected Grover Norquist's no-tax pledge, attempts at cooperation and common goals have been doomed. Tie in the "damn the consequence" stance of the tea party members with billionaires perpetuating self-serving policies and platforms and it should be of little wonder why stalemates and brinkmanship are the norm.

Maybe Obama deserves a C . But the forces that stand against compromise and the general welfare of the nation certainly deserve an F. Their failing grade has dragged most of us down, including the president.

Gary Schulenberg

Kenmore

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Long-distance bus ride? was very disappointing

I had anticipated a pleasant overnight trip to Huntington, W.Va., on Aug. 1. The bus was to leave Buffalo at 7:05 p.m. and arrive in Huntington at 6:10 a.m. Then the nightmare began. The bus left Buffalo an hour and a half late due to a mechanical problem that was to be resolved "in a few minutes." As a result, I missed my connecting bus in Cleveland and spent the entire night in a frigid bus station.

My connecting bus to Columbus, Ohio, was to leave at 4:30 a.m., but never left until after 6 a.m. because seats had been oversold by a whole bus load of passengers. We had to stand in line for an hour and a half waiting for another bus. By this time the station was so crowded there were no seats available. My revised schedule had me arriving in Columbus at 6:55 a.m. (we arrived around 8:30) and departing at 7:10 p.m. 13 hours in the bus station in Columbus. I had to have a relative take an unpaid day off from work and drive from Huntington to pick me up so I could keep my scheduled appointment. There was no refund available.

I will never travel via bus again due to poor customer service, poor scheduling and lack of backup plans.

Marilyn Rozewicz

Amherst