Tioga Downs the best choice

EDITOR: The 138-acre site in Nichols, N.Y., currently known as Tioga Downs, was originally a quarter horse track known as "Tioga Park." In 1976, it closed down after its third season of operation. Over the following years there were several attempts to reopen the track. On one occasion, then Governor Mario Cuomo flew in by helicopter to sign a bill that would allow the Nuckel family, then owners, to reopen again for quarter horse racing. Unfortunately plans never developed and the property sat vacant for years.

Years later along comes Jeff Gural with an idea and a passion for horses. In 2006 he reopened the property and renamed it Tioga Downs. It took him several years to perfect the system, editing his leadership staff until he was able to find the best management for the property. Tioga Downs is now a smooth running machine. They offer, harness racing, simulcast betting, over 800 VLT's two bars, a restaurant, concerts and the list goes on.

Over the years Jeff Gural has made numerous improvements to the property and added new opportunities and venues to attract people from all over the area. It's important to note that the process of making this venture work has taken not only a high level of financial investment, but it has taken years to perfect.

In a recent article out of Albany, a report states that part of the Casino Evaluation Criteria likely would include: immediate and full financing availability, a level of comprehensive development; relative experience in the gaming industry (track record of success or lack thereof); timeliness of project completion, pace of construction; significant ethical and integrity review of corporate activities, personnel; workforce development issues; labor harmony agreements; and environmental sensitivity.

The works has been done folks. In my opinion, in every category, Tioga Downs is the best choice.

I was born and raised in the Village of Nichols, N.Y. and the success of this property is personal. I have seen interested developers come and go with their great plans and ideas. Jeff Gural came with an idea and he made it work. He brought jobs to the area, increased sales tax and on numerous occasions comes to the aid of people in desperate need.

I say, let logic prevail and name Tioga Downs as the designated casino for the Southern Tier Region of New York.

Martha Sauerbrey

Tioga County Resident

Support Humane Bills HB41 and SB522

EDITOR: You've seen them in passing or perhaps nearby on a neighbor's property, those dogs that are tied to structures 24/7. Such dogs may or may not have water or a food bowl, or their area may be dirty with feces. You may have stressed over a tethered dog; given it water or a friendly word. The tethered dog's owner may not realize that their animal is vulnerable to attacks by other animals or even people. The dog's owner probably does realize that they are not breaking Pennsylvania humane laws by having their dog tied outside.

Animal experts agree that dogs are social animals that enjoy the company of humans and often, other dogs. Dogs that are confined by themselves for long periods of time may suffer psychological damage and become under socialized and nasty. Dogs kept outside often become "out of sight and out of mind" to their owners. Thus, they may suffer from neck sores or other physical problems that may go unnoticed by those who are in charge of their care.

The ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States and numerous animal experts agree that tethering a dog is inhumane. Dogs tethered outside may become tangled in their chain and become injured.

Representative Mario Scavello plus 44 co-sponsors have introduced legislation HB41 and Senator Richard Alloway and 18 co-sponsors have introduced SB522. Both bills have been assigned to Judiciary Committee. The bills will:

Ensure that a dog is removed from tether in periods of inclement weather;

Provide minimum standards for length and type of tether;

Ban the use of poke, pinch, or pronged collars which pose a danger to the dog while tethered.

Calls, e-mails, Facebook posts are needed to your state senator to support SB 522 and your state representative to support HB 41. Your message can be short and simple, stating, "I am a constituent - please support the anti-tethering bill.

These two bills will not abolish the cruel practice of long-term tethering but they are a step in the right direction. Pennsylvania humane laws are very weak compared to those of other states, now is the time to get busy and get better humane laws in place.

Patricia Scala

Ridgebury Twp.