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Lyme disease and climate change
Your piece on Lyme disease ("Lyme Disease on the Rise") mentioned that because Monroe County is "experiencing fewer periods of extreme cold weather... that could mean more deer ticks are surviving through the winter." While true, it stops short of naming the underlying reason we now have Lyme disease in Rochester: that is, climate change.
Ten years ago there had never been a single case of Lyme disease contracted here. As warming has occurred, the habitat of deer ticks has extended northward. The same holds true for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus, an infection that had never been recorded here until just a few years ago, and, like Lyme, is now increasing.
Most Americans are not too concerned about climate change because it seems so remote and not really directly having any impact on them. Any time an opportunity arises that illustrates that climate change is impacting us here and now is of value. For instance: lilacs in Highland Park are, on average, blooming eight days earlier than they did 100 years ago, so that eventually it is likely the time of the Lilac Festival will have to be moved earlier.
Stern is associate professor of neurology at the UR School of Medicine and is executive director of the Lost Bird Project.
On the drafting of a new comprehensive plan for the Town of Irondequoit: I just hope as we grow that we keep our green areas that make Irondequoit beautiful. Revitalize old buildings instead of cutting down trees and clearing lots to make new. And please, no more dollar and discount stores. We definitely have enough.
Sea Breeze could use lots of help. The town really messed up when they ran that expressway extension behind the town, on very desirable and scenic property that could have been used for a park and housing, helping to create a walkable village and more shops and restaurants. Instead, that road bypasses the village. Dumb.
Medley Center should be condemned and the property taken from the owner. Demolish the structure and turn the land into a green space that can be easily maintained by a minimal crew of town employees with the type of mowing equipment used along highways. End of problem. The last thing Irondequoit needs is to end up a visual monstrosity like Henrietta.
On the recent California court ruling that teachers' job protections such as tenure are unconstitutional:
I say poverty is unconstitutional, as it has the ability to impede students right to a quality education when they are not receiving proper dental care, are lacking eyeglasses if needed, and have poor nutrition.
I am certainly not implying that being poor equates to being unable to learn. But it can certainly set up some major roadblocks.
Now let's talk about how these factors weigh on my performance. I'm all for a fair evaluation process, but until we stop teacher bashing and focus on quality living conditions, you'll never get me to agree to this whole teaching-union-bashing fiasco.
LISA DIRENZO ENGLERT
The RPO vision
Like Gil French (Feedback), I too am jarred by RPO board chair Dawn Lipson's stated vision for the RPO of the future.
I believe her to be wise and well-meaning, but Video Games Live and cutting the classical concerts to six or seven? I've been a long-time supporter of the RPO, with a preference for classical concerts as opposed to pops, and this notion is not sitting well.
Outfox the polls
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's recent unexpected primary loss to a virtually unknown challenger not only highlights the flaws in current polling methodology, but also signals hope for reengaging an increasingly apathetic electorate.
Incredibly, a week before the primary, Cantor's internal polling erroneously indicated that he was leading by 34 percent over newcomer David Brat. He ended up losing by 10 percent, and the cause may be attributed to outdated survey methods as well as a form of civil disobedience on the part of poll participants (untruthful answers to poll questions).
It is estimated that 35 percent of the US population uses a cell phone only and has no land telephone line. This presents a problem for pollsters who rely primarily on phone surveys. Combine this with an increasing unwillingness by younger voters to participate in political polls (or a willingness to deliberately deceive the questioner), and we have a recipe for increasingly unpredictable election results.
This is a positive result. No incumbent should ever feel comfortable that a victory is "in the bag" and that they can do as they please with regard to policy positions, constituents be damned. Therefore, we as voters are under no obligation to give pollsters truthful answers. After all, the majority of polling organizations are for-profit entities, and many have ulterior motives and hidden agendas.
So let's have a little mischievous fun. When contacted by a pollster, I suggest that we don't tip our hand and tell them whom we're actually voting for; make up an answer or say, "I'm undecided." I submit that more people would vote if the result seemed less predetermined and preordained by the major media outlets.
MICHAEL A. BERTOLONE