Weekly Feature

2007-12-26 / Letters to the Editor


UB explains alarm malfunction

I regret that you had a less than favorable experience, but would like to inform you of the steps that were taken during and subsequent to the Dec. 2 incident to assure you that the University at Buffalo and the Center for the Arts acted in the best interest of everyone involved. The comfort and safety of our patrons is our top priority.

A full report from the house manager on duty for the event explains that within minutes of the alarm, two university police officers and a volunteer from the Getzville Fire Department determined that there was not an emergency but that a malfunction had caused the alarm to sound. Regular announcements were made to the audience in the mainstage and atrium to convey this. The performance could have started immediately after the malfunction was discovered but was delayed because the flashing lights on the alarm system would have detracted from the performance. A university electrician was called to open the electrical panel and turn off the alarm, which unnecessarily delayed the curtain for the performance.

Furthermore, in order to alleviate any stress, the director of American Academy also provided information. The center's house manager made an informed decision not to evacuate 1,700 people to stand outside the building on a rather cold day, as this would have further complicated the situation. The house manager has 12 years of experience handling more than 300 major events annually and extensive emergency training. The University State Police officers who responded immediately are trained to ensure the safety of everyone on campus.

All future performances of the American Academy's "The Nutcracker" will be staffed with a university electrician at the fire panel.

Please be assured that this was an isolated incident and not at all typical of events at the center. David Wedekindt Director of marketing Center for the Arts

(Editor's note: this letter is in response to Judith Rybarczyk's letter that was printed in the Dec. 12 edition. The above letter was not printed in its entirety to comply with the 300-word limit.)

Benderson project not viable for area

It is obvious that the majority of Amherst residents in favor of the rezoning of the former Buffalo Shooting Club property do not live in close proximity to this site. Whose opinion is more credible? Those that live miles from the site or those that live in the area who will experience an increase in traffic congestion, pollution, motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents, sewage problems, drainage problems, crime and a general decrease in quality of life?

In a letter dated May 8, 2007, referring to the proposed commercial development on Maple Road, the retired Amherst chief of police said: "I can state with confidence that there will be a significant demand for police resources. The project will certainly result in an increase in parking problems, motor vehicle accidents and traffic congestion. We can expect to see an increase in crimes that are consistent with the nature of the project."

This development will cannibalize businesses from other areas in Amherst. The so-called increase in tax revenue will be nonexistent because it will come from other taxpaying venues within Amherst. The end result will be more Amherst stores, restaurants and businesses becoming vacant.

This massive development is not viable in a residential neighborhood.

Those that still think this is a great plan, perhaps would be interested in moving into the area when the current residents move out. Judy Ferraro The Fairways Group

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