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Editorial: Farewell to a great American, N.Y. trails Kazakhstan and a shiny, empty depot

John Glenn didn’t much like being called a hero, so in his honor, we won’t call him that. But a great American died on Thursday at the age of 95, after what was a long and surely a satisfying life.

He was the bolt from the blue that America needed after falling behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He wasn’t the first American to enter space – that distinction belonged to Alan Shepard – but in 1962, Glenn became the first to orbit the Earth and, in the same flight, the first to face the mortal threat that his craft’s heat shield may have been damaged.

But he was already a war hero – there’s that word –  and later in life, at age 77, he returned to Earth orbit in the space shuttle Discovery. He served four terms as a senator from Ohio, and in 2012, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

Usually, that medal only goes to heroes.

Who could blame the Erie County Legislature for wanting to press Albany lawmakers into allowing the ride-hailing services available in most of the world? Even Kazakhstan. That’s right – Kazakhstan. But not Buffalo. Or any part of New York State except New York City.

County lawmakers voted to redirect $100,000 from economic development efforts in Toronto. Instead, they’re sending the message through a public relations campaign on the need to bring Uber and Lyft to the region. While those private companies can probably afford to pay for their own campaigns, we hope the effort succeeds.

And be sure to let Howard Zemsky know when ride-hailing is available. The Empire State Development chief told about almost being late to a speaking engagement in the state capital.
He said he took out his smartphone and “instinctively went to my Uber app. The car arrived two hours and 45 minutes later because it came from New York City.”

To Angela Honey’s question, “Is there anything to do here?” the answer is, not yet. The South Wales resident was among roughly 35 passengers who arrived at the new $43 million train station in Niagara Falls on its opening day last Tuesday.

After receiving a paparazzi-style greeting, they were soon dismayed to discover an otherwise empty space. Couldn’t even buy a cup of coffee. The city is still trying to get a tenant for 4,000 square feet of retail space.

In the meantime, it was all aboard for bored passengers.

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