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It seems to us: There is hope for the future, ducks in the news and the Greatest Show reboots

In these dispiriting times, the bad news tends to crowd out the good news. But there is plenty of good going on in the world.

Example: Jake Smith, who just graduated from Springville-Griffith Institute. In addition to academics and wrestling, Jake dedicated himself to raising funds for the Children’s League in Springville, which provides educational, therapeutic and evaluation services for more than 150 children from birth through age 8.

He created Jake’s Mission – Pinning and Winning for the Kids and found sponsors who pledged to make a donation for each pin and win during his senior wrestling season. He raised $9,800, a tremendous accomplishment, but short of his goal by $200. Not willing to settle for a near-miss, he organized a golf tournament last weekend at Concord Crest that put him over the top and then some.

Jake’s just one of the untold number of young people out to make a difference. Their determination provides hope for us all.

Western New York somehow became the center of the rubber ducky news universe this month.

A few days ago we learned that Community Missions of the Niagara Frontier had run afoul of some obscure state law about gambling and would have to cancel its highly popular duck race set for a week from today during the Canal Fest of the Tonawandas. After a brief uproar, wiser heads prevailed over the party poopers, and the state Gaming Commission will sanction the event after all.

Earlier in the month came word that the World’s Largest Rubber Duck will be floating into Canalside during the Buffalo Maritime Festival on Aug. 27 and 28. Accompanying the story was a photo of the 61-foot-tall yellow duck towering over its towboat.

We can’t wait to see the reaction of Canalside’s resident seagulls when that monster paddles in.

For people of a certain age – say, anyone born before 2000 – one of the constants of life has been the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, delighting – as the ringmasters proudly announced – children of all ages.

And it did. At least, it did until people starting examining the concept of turning wild animals into imprisoned performers. This May, the circus acceded to public pressure and tougher animal welfare laws. The elephants that had been an integral part of the show were retired.

The Greatest Show on Earth has been modernized to feature projections of stars and constellations and aerialists dressed as astronauts. People still seem to enjoy it.

Things change, and sometimes for the better.

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