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Reader Feedback 7.2.03

Wrestling brains

As someone who has watched and worked with members of the Roc City Wrestling Federation for the past 17 months, I was excited to see the group profiled in the June 11 cover story. The author did an excellent job capturing the excitement and energy the federation brings to Rochester.

                  However, I believe that it's grossly incorrect and unfair to characterize RCW wrestlers as "underachievers" and to insinuate that they are dumb. In fact, the assertion that most of the wrestlers are uneducated is simply a boldface lie.

                  More than two-thirds of RCW members over the age of 18 have received advanced degrees or are currently enrolled in college. Among the wrestlers, referees, and managers, members of RCW have graduated from fine local institutions such as St John Fisher, Roberts Wesleyan, the University of Rochester, SUNY Brockport, and MCC. Calling us "underachievers" is an insult to the Rochester community and its post-secondary educational system.

                  The people involved with building and maintaining this federation are extremely intelligent, savvy, and witty. Perpetuating the fallacy that "all wrestlers are idiots" is destructive and misleading.

                  The article implies that RCW is simply a joke. Pro wrestling is a highly competitive, dangerous, and skilled profession. These brave young adults endure ridicule and pain for doing what they truly love. Unlike other forms of local entertainment --- high-school sports, theater productions, and music performances --- RCW has been shunned and ignored by the community media. Yet members of RCW have risen above petty insults and constant roadblocks.

                  To survive as an independent wrestling federation takes lots more than just wacky high jinks. RCW has persevered through sheer tenacity: the wrestlers' immense ability and showmanship, intrepid business maneuvers, detailed planning and some luck.

                  You can proudly claim that RCW is "bad." Instead, I see something that I'm immensely proud to be involved with.                   Christopher "Mookie" Harrington, Damsen Road, Greece (Harrington works as a commentator and manager with Roc City Wrestling.)

Fighting spraying

As long as politicians are motivated only by money and fear for their jobs, I doubt we will ever see a local version of the Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law ("Right to Know Gets No," Metro Ink, May 14). While we wait in vain for sanity in government, there is something concerned homeowners can do to make lawn spraying more trouble than it's worth.

                  Until a couple of years ago, I had a vegetable garden along my property line (the only possible place for it), and a neighbor who worshipped regularly at the shrine of one of the lawn disservice operators. The neighbors were nice people, but like many of the TV-brainwashed masses, they believed "if they sell it, it must be safe."

                  Because observation of previous visits had provided clear evidence that the company's chemical application personnel were careless and incompetent, I was always concerned about spray drifting over the property line and settling on my vegetables, particularly because my son and his friends on the street enjoyed picking and eating vegetables from the garden.

                  I finally asked an Irondequoit town justice if there was anything I could do about the situation. He explained that civil trespass laws were easily applicable to unwanted chemicals entering private property, caused by a neighbor or lawn disservice operator.

                  He went further and said it would be a simple matter for him to provide an injunction against spraying, which would authorize the police to arrest the homeowner and the lawn disservice personnel immediately if they attempted to spray the part of the neighbor's property adjacent to my garden.

                  Finally, he said the process was easy and cheap. No lawyer was necessary to invoke the initial action and have the violators taken away for free lodging, courtesy of the town.

                  Fortunately, the neighbors were apparently visited by a spirit that changed their fascination with chemicals, so I never had to resort to such measures. Others may not be so lucky.

                  It's worth a call to your local judge to see if you've got a sympathetic ally. The law exists everywhere in this country. It's only necessary to find a judge who's willing to use it in this fashion. And, of course, you'd be doing a huge favor for the offending party and the entire neighborhood. Nobody should live a life of ignorance.

                  Back to politics: the City article quoted Andrew Doniger's opinion on the pesticide issue: "Someday it may be established that there is a link between application of pesticides on lawns and the health of the neighbors." There's the kind of thinking that warms the hearts of chemical-company execs.

                  Since nobody ever volunteers to inhale or eat pesticides, it's highly unlikely that they will ever be tested in a method acceptable to any sane scientist or statistician. Therefore, it will never "be established," as Doniger suggests.

                  What's truly obnoxious is that County Legislator Pieter Smeenk saw fit to parrot Doniger's nonsense, and then toss the pending legislation into a black hole. Drugs must be tested on large enough samples of their target populations before they can be sold. Unless Smeenk was clearly informed that a drug was experimental, he'd never allow an untested medicine to be used on anyone in his family. But, this apparently doesn't change his willingness to see the people of Monroe County used as laboratory rats for the chemical industry.

                  Doug Kanter, Irondequoit

Praising Hogans

I am an avid reader of City and have been so for years. "The Refreshing Outdoors" in Summer Guide (June 18), however, had a very distasteful thing to say about Hogans Hideaway. Chris Busby should make sure that his political opinion about the County Executive does not appear in a guide that is helping people make decisions on what to do this summer. Busby made it appear as if Hogan's was an old boys club or something. It is far from that.

                  I personally know the owner and some of the staff at Hogans and have always enjoyed exemplary service and food. I can always count on generous portions and food at good prices. Hogans is a fixture in the Park Avenue neighborhood; its owner has put a lot of work into bringing it from a small establishment in the back of a grocery store to the full-service restaurant it is today. I do not see any "hidden deals" going on in there, as if it were some shady joint or something. People from all walks of life and backgrounds enjoy Hogans.

                  If you were new to the neighborhood and read the article, what would you think? If it was meant to be clever, it wasn't; please grow up!

                  Jason Muskopf, East Avenue, Pittsford

What goes where?

Let's get the facts straight. There are four projects that downtown Rochester needs in order to become the revitalized economic and social hub of the region once again. These are ATEC (the Monroe Community College Advance Technology Center), the Performing Arts Center, and two separate transit centers for eastbound and westbound RTS buses on Main Street.

                  Our city also has four sites that need to be redeveloped or filled with these projects: the corner of Main Street and Plymouth Avenue, the Main-Clinton-Mortimer-St. Paul block, the Sibley Building, and Midtown Plaza.

                  The question is simply which projects will go where.

                  The ATEC-Damon Center could go in the Sibley Building or at Main and Plymouth. The westbound bus station could be located at either the Sibley Building, the proposed Mortimer block, or, though least likely, Main and Plymouth. The eastbound terminal could be either at Midtown or a new site at the foot of the Lincoln-Chase building. Midtown, Mortimer, or Main-Plymouth could be the site for the Performing Arts Center.

                  Moving the Damon Center and locating ATEC at MCC's Brighton Campus would unquestionably be a big mistake for the community. As far as the bus stations are concerned, underground garages and ports may be a health hazard, as the fumes may cause a high incidence of lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory diseases.

                  Instead of fighting and bickering along partisan lines, why don't our community leaders lay aside their differences and "come together right now," as the Beatles sang, by determining which four facilities will go in which four sites at the most attractive or least expensive sites for the benefit of downtown?

                  By the way: Our city is not alone in such divisive infighting. Buffalo and Erie County leaders are fighting over where their new charter school, intermodal transit center, and possible new Seneca Nation casino will go, and they are waffling over whether to close either their community college's downtown or Williamsville campuses.

                  Kevin Yost, Middle Road, Henrietta

Terror talk

I recently listened to two radio commentators discussing Bush's latest Middle East peace initiative. They were debating whether Israeli helicopter gunship and bulldozer attacks on Palestinians in occupied territories were as "terrorist" as Palestinian suicide bombings on Israelis. I was struck by the repetition in their remarks of two similar-sounding words, which name issues at the heart of the conflict: territories and terrorist.

                  Consulting the Oxford English Dictionary, I was surprised to find that these two charged words have identical derivations. Terrorist is derived from the Latin terrere, to frighten. So, too, it turns out, is territory, which is "usually taken as derivative of terra = earth, but the original form has suggested derivation from terrere = to frighten, whence territory = frightener, and terrirotium = a place from which people are warned off."

                  It appears, etymologically, that those who (by divine right or conquest) stake out the territory are the original terrorists, and that, in the deepest sense, terrorism comes with the territory.

                  Douglas D. Noble, Werner Park, Rochester

Writing to City

We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester 14607.

                  Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than once every three months.

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