The new Buffalo, flying with e-readers, pricey jail cells and an email non-scam - The Buffalo News
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The new Buffalo, flying with e-readers, pricey jail cells and an email non-scam

A new promotional video about Buffalo offers a great retort to those people who think this is still the Buffalo of 1980 or 1990 or even 2000. In its 12-plus minutes, the video celebrates Buffalo’s street design, system of parks and remarkable architecture.

It’s an honest look at Buffalo’s strengths and at the way the city has sometimes undermined them – destroying Humboldt Parkway, for example, and cleaving Delaware Park with the Scajaquada Expressway. It’s a great tonic and a reminder that with all that is happening in Buffalo right now – on the waterfront, at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, in Larkinville – this is a new kind of Buffalo.

Check it out at

Picture this: Your flight is about to take off and flight attendants march up and down the aisle giving orders about seat backs and tray tables, but say nothing about the electronic glow emitted by your Kindle. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Well, it may happen if the Federal Aviation Administration listens to a 28-member advisory committee, which recently voted to recommend the change.

Seems as though the worry over electromagnetic interference may be a bit overblown. Or, not, depending on whether you’re talking to sellers of consumer electronics such as Amazon, or concerned pilots.

Passengers would be allowed to use most devices below 10,000 feet, although some would have to be in airplane mode. No “Words With Friends,” but maybe you’ll be able to enjoy the words in an already downloaded good book.

It’s not exactly an Ivy League education, but what New York City taxpayers are spending to keep inmates locked up for a year would fund four years of tuition at Harvard.

That’s right. The city’s annual cost per inmate was $167,731 last year. Much of the cost lay with Rikers Island and the resources it takes maintaining the huge facility. The city’s Independent Budget Office estimates the cost at about $460 per day for the 12,287 average daily New York City inmates last year.

The city’s former correction commission proposed saving money by replacing Rikers Island with more robust jails next door to courthouses, but that idea went nowhere against opposition from neighbors. Apparently, “not in my backyard” trumps the Ivy League-high costs.

So when was the last time you checked your email and found you’d won $30,000 – and it wasn’t a joke? That was the pleasant and unexpected experience of two small cultural groups in Buffalo that recently won those grants. The money came from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in New York City and was given to the arts collective Sugar City and to Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo.

They couldn’t believe it. “I thought it was a scam,” said Dana Saylor-Furman of Emerging Leaders.

The program is designed to support fledgling organizations in communities where cultural philanthropy is declining. That is certainly the case in Western New York, where support from all sources is harder to come by.

It’s good to know there are white knights out there.

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