Letter to the Editor

letter to the editor

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Lovely Westwood Site Should be Kept Green

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A recent letter writer stated that the former Westwood golf course is “already a nature preserve and passive recreation park.” He has expressed my feelings exactly and I agree with him 100 percent. It has already been allowed to go back to nature and it’s breathtaking. For those who are not convinced, go to keepwestwoodgreen.wordpress.com and see the “end of summer photos.” They will put a smile on your face.

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There are already trails that can be used for hiking, dog walking or biking. There are two tennis courts that can be easily and inexpensively converted to four pickle ball courts. In the winter, it could be used for sledding or cross-country skiing. Perhaps a community garden, or Zumba.

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It is not necessary to build a road. There already is one. It is not necessary to build a parking lot. There already is one.

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A park might not require a costly brownfield cleanup. Keep Westwood Green has been looking into the possibility of making Westwood a conservancy. Last month, a speaker from the New York State Environmental Alliance spoke at our meeting. Conservancies employ their own full-time workers and reduce upkeep costs 40 percent.

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Westwood is currently zoned conservation/recreation. It would have to be rezoned before the developers can move forward with their plan, which would take 10 years to complete. It would take three out of five “no” votes to stop this development. If you want to keep Westwood green, it is imperative that you notify our Town Board officials before it’s too late.

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What’s that Joni Mitchell song? “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.” Or, in this case, 2,200 parking spaces.

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Christy Kirisits

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Westwood: Developers’ Plan Opens a Whole New Can of Worms

Westwood Course

There will be enormous unanticipated problems associated with shared parking in a development such as that planned for the former Westwood Country Club. Problems will arise for all mixed-use tenants. The landlord would not have enough spaces for everyone in the complex, but is banking on buffers for extra parking. Overflow for parking would wind up in the adjacent neighborhoods. This would infuriate these residents. Similar occurrences are seen in the Hertel Business District in Buffalo. Does Amherst want to see that in its already established neighborhoods? I think not!

This development might not foresee the poor business model that could arise here. Businesses could face bleak situations because of poor economies of scale, resulting in high failure rates and empty store fronts.

Many property managers focus on office management or retail space management. Unless the development is enormous and justifies several property managers on one project, this can be very difficult to manage. Future tenants must realize that management may be knowledgeable at dealing with office tenants, but not versed in managing retail tenants. A mixed-use development in an already established, purely residential neighborhood just doesn’t seem to be a good fit in this case.

Roberto Arana


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Toddler Found Bound in Car; Mother Charged

Grace An is accused of taping up her toddler with packing tape, and leaving him in a car for hours.

A very young mother in Georgia bound her 16 month-old son with tape and kept him in a locked vehicle  for hours.  Wednesday night the toddler’s mother, Grace An, called a locksmith to unlock her car.  The locksmith found the baby with tape wrapped around his wrist, ankles and mouth.

She is charged first-degree child cruelty, false imprisonment, and reckless conduct.  Other charges are possible as detectives continue their investigation.

The locksmith who was called — Volley Collins, of Ace Lock & Safety Security, in Oakwood probably saved the boy’s life according to investigators.  Collins said a deputy immediately handcuffed the mother, and cut the tape off of her son.
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Hundreds of Mormons Plan to Resign in Utah Same-Sex Policy Protest


Hundreds of Mormons are expected to mail letters resigning from the faith after gathering in Salt Lake City on Saturday to protest a new church policy that calls married same-sex couples apostates and bars their children from baptism.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long opposed same-sex marriage, but has angered some members with a new directive on how it should deal with Mormon families headed by wedded gay and lesbian couples.

The policy, approved last week by leaders of the church, which claims more than 15 million adherents worldwide, added same-sex marriage to the list of acts considered to be a renunciation of the faith and thus subject to church discipline, including excommunication.

It also prohibits natural or adopted children of gay married couples from being baptized in the faith until they turn 18, leave their parents’ home and personally disavow same-sex marriage or cohabitation.

Critics of the church say its policy targeting the children of same-sex couples is unfair, and that it is bound to set some family members against each other.

The church this year announced support for U.S. laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in housing and employment.
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Buffalo Woman Injured in Collision With Van in Amherst

Amherst Police 4Firefighters extricated a Buffalo woman who was pinned in her car after a crash Thursday morning in Amherst.

The crash happened at about 10:30 a.m. on Eggert Road, just south of Longmeadow Road, Amherst police said.

Karen A. Koblan, 26, failed to negotiate a curve in her 2001 Kia and crossed the double yellow lines into the eastbound lane. A Dodge Caravan struck her vehicle and the impact pinned her inside her inside for several minutes until Eggertsville firefighters removed her.

Koblan, who had a possible broken arm and suffered back pain, was taken to Erie County Medical Center.

The driver of the minivan, Mark F. Wayne, 58, of Amherst, was not injured.

Amherst police ask anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call 689-1311.

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More Than 120 Dead in Coordinated Terrorist Attacks in Paris

A victim’s body lies covered on Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, close to the Bataclan theater, early on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Paris.
A victim’s body lies covered on Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, close to the Bataclan theater, early on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Paris

France declared a state of emergency and secured its borders Friday night after attackers unleashed a coordinated wave of explosions, gunfire and hostage-taking in Paris that left more than 120 people dead and generated scenes of horror and carnage.

Taken together, the assaults represented the deadliest day of attacks in France since World War II and one of the worst terrorist strikes on Western soil since Sept. 11, 2001. At half a dozen sites across Paris – a soccer stadium, restaurants, a concert hall – the attackers carried out suicide bombings, hurled grenades and shot hostages dead in a frenzy of violence that paralyzed the city. Late into the night and early Saturday morning, heavily armed security forces flooded the streets while panicked residents and tourists sought safety indoors.
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Buffalo Bills Beat the New York Jets 22 to 17

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs with the ball against the New York Jets strong safety Marcus Williams (20) and nose tackle Damon Harrison (94) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs with the ball against the New York Jets strong safety Marcus Williams (20) and nose tackle Damon Harrison (94) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Our Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets 22 to 17.  It was a hard fought game and fun to watch.

Good going Bills!

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David Kowalski
David Kowalski

All things GREEN: Energy, Environment, and Economy


  • TODAY! THURSDAY, November 12, FILM SCREENING: ‘This Changes Everything’ a film on the Global Climate Crisis and Solutions based on the book by Naomi Klein. Doors open 5:30pm. Film & discussion 6:00pm-8pm. Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (Auditorium), 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo. FREE.  [LINK]
  • EVENT LIST: Rise Up for Climate Justice Campaign of WNY – Leading up to the UN Paris Climate Summit and beyond [LINK]
  • SATURDAY, November 14, DINNER FUNDRAISER: Western New York Peace Center. Keynote speaker, Margaret Huang, Deputy Executive Director of Campaigns and Programs at Amnesty International USA. 5:30-9:00pm, Buffalo Niagara Convention Center Convention Center Plaza, Buffalo. Click Link for info on Reservations and Payments [LINK]
  • December 1, THEATER ACTION: Climate Change – Short plays, poems, and songs on the theme of climate change by some of today’s most exciting writers. Directed by Matthew Clinton Sekellick. 7:00pm8:30pm, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo [LINK]

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The Battle Between the Gobble and The Shriek

Bald Eagle/USFWS Franklin with his famous fur cap Eastern Wild Turkey, Gary M. Stolz/USFWS
The Eagle, Ben Franklin, and the Wild Turkey

Most people know the symbol of our country is the American Eagle.

Turkey was a big part of the lives of early Americans.  It was a close call between the turkey and the eagle when our forefathers were deciding on a symbol for our newly “hatched” nation.  Ben Franklin fought hard to make the American symbol the turkey while John Adams pushed for the eagle.

In a letter to his daughter Sally (Mrs. Sarah Bache) in Philadelphia, Franklin casts doubt on the propriety of using the eagle to symbolize the “brave and honest.”  He is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country…

“I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

Dove in third committee's sketch (detail).Three other kinds of birds were suggested by William Barton of the third committee: a rooster, a dove, and a “phoenix in flames.”

Nations often adopt animals as symbols: England has its lion, India its peacock. On the afternoon of July 4, 1776, just after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress appointed a committee made up of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin to select a design for an official national seal.

The three patriots had different ideas and none of them included the bald eagle. They finally agreed on a drawing of the woman Liberty holding a shield to represent the states. But the members of Congress weren’t inspired by the design and they consulted with William Barton, a Philadelphia artist who produced a new design that included a golden eagle.

Because the golden eagle also flew over European nations, however, the federal lawmakers specified that the bird in the seal should be an American bald eagle. On June 20, 1782, they approved the design that we recognize today.

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Church’s Sign on Fatherhood Leads to Storm

SS. Columba-Brigid Catholic Church message that was replaced Tuesday.
SS. Columba-Brigid Catholic Church message that was replaced Tuesday.

Mixed message received as bishop orders it down

Ten words in black lettering hung on a sign outside a Catholic church in Buffalo earlier this week.

“Jesus had 2 dads and he turned out just fine,” read the changeable-letter sign outside SS. Columba-Brigid Catholic Church.

Many interpreted the message as supportive of same-sex marriage, which would contradict the long-held teachings of the Catholic Church.

The Rev. Roy T. Herberger, pastor of the church at Eagle and Hickory streets just south of Clinton Street, had the message taken down Tuesday.
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