Fishing ticket was unnecessarily harsh

I visited Cooperstown in early July. My two sons and I came to see the Baseball Hall of Fame. We did not realize how beautiful and great an area this is. We had a great time and I want to thank all the residents for sharing your place with us.

We had one hiccup. My sons, aged 7 and 8, asked to go fishing for the first time. The motel we were staying at had fishing rods that they lent to guests. We decided to fish off the dock of the motel. Twenty minutes into fishing, an officer from environmental services stopped and asked if I had a license. I responded no. I told him that it was my sons fishing, and I was just helping them. Not sure if you have ever seen a 7-year-old cast. He wasn't listening and I received a ticket. I think he missed the intent of the law, and could have spent the time more efficiently looking for real violators rather than kids and a father fishing off a dock with plastic worms (kids didn't want to kill anything).

In addition, what irked me was that if I wanted to fight the ticket, I had to come back to your area (in two or three weeks) to do so. In essence, I was forced to plead guilty because it would cost me more to travel back to fight the ticket.

On top of that, I had to go to court to explain my circumstances to a judge. The end cost was a $125 fine. To me, this was just a pure money grab and having nothing to do with the intent of the law.

Someone may want to look at how the environmental service officers are helping tourism in your area.

Rob DePetris

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Church's laws don't govern us all

On July 19, Kim DiScala wrote that gay marriage should not be allowed because it is "against God's laws." She then quotes from the New Testament to support her views and worries that clergy will be forced to marry gays against the teachings of their church.

How many times must we remind the religious right that the laws of the United States are not based on the Bible or on the teachings of any one religion?

What Ms. DiScala's Bible says on the subject is irrelevant to public policy and the laws that govern us. There are those who practice Judaism and Islam and those with no religion who will never be ruled by Ms. DiScala's church.

She is free to practice her religion in any way she chooses and her church is not required to marry anyone, although it is very doubtful that any gay couple would wish to marry in a church that espouses Ms. DiScala's views.

Doesn't the Catholic church refuse to marry divorced couples? That is its right, but it has not sought to make divorce illegal for all, has it?

Basic civil rights are not determined by any religion and gays have the freedom to live their lifestyle, just as Ms. DiScala has the right to live the way she chooses. She would do well to keep her religion to herself and not try to impose it on others.

There are no gays trying to impose their way of life on her. Why can't she and her fellow believers do the same?

Mark Lavine


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