Donn Esmonde, The Buffalo News

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Donn Esmonde


Welcome, NCAA basketball fans. We’re happy to have you – and, believe it or not, you’re lucky to be here. The national word on Buffalo is getting out. It’s a good thing you got to our reviving city in these sweet, heady years before the roads get gridlocked, hotel prices soar, restaurants are forever booked and the locals resent the endless glut of tourists. …

Buffalo News Columnist Donn Esmonde retires Aug. 7 after nearly 35 years at The News. Here, he takes a look back at his career through his most memorable columns. Sept. 11, 2001: “Amid Ruins, Lives Lost and Changed"  September 2001: Written after walking the streets of Lower Manhattan 24 hours after planes hit the towers. Having lived on Long Island/downstate unt…

The plane was descending into Buffalo on a bleak, overcast December day in 1981. I looked out the window on a tundralike, snow-inflected landscape of unrelenting whites and grays and – as excited as this downstate guy was to start a job in a bigger city – wondered exactly what I had gotten myself into. What I was getting into, it turned out, was four decades of doing …

I don’t know whether a judge will grant defense lawyer Tom Eoannou’s pre-trial wish to pry open grand jury records. But prosecutors trying to put Eoannou’s client, Gabrielle Ballowe, behind bars have more to worry about than grand jury testimony.Make no mistake, I’m pleased that acting DA Mike Flaherty last month charged Ballowe with hitting Barry Moss and leaving …

Water, water everywhere - but not a drop to drink. At least not straight from the tap.As nearly a quarter-million suburbanites read this, the water flowing from their faucets is actually safe to drink. I just hope nobody imbibed the unnatural flavoring in the three hours between the county Water Authority learning it had dirty water early Thursday to when it alerted the me…

I can’t let a milestone anniversary in the history of New Buffalo pass without notice.There will be no ceremony, although a 21-gun salute – to blast away any vestige of the petrified “Old Buffalo” mindset – might be in order.It’s six years ago this month that Bass Pro – a project backed by virtually every power broker and politician – mercifully pulled the …

I know the world didn’t drastically change late Tuesday afternoon. There was no bump in the earth’s rotation or sudden eclipse of the sun.But I think we took a small step forward for humanity. Placed a dab of salve on our national wound. Fostered a shared sense of community and togetherness among the hundreds who gathered in Niagara Square.They came to mourn and honor …

I write this after watching video of a black sniper in Dallas shoot a white cop in the back. I write this after watching cellphone recordings of two more black men senselessly killed by white police, Tuesday in Baton Rouge, La., and Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minn. Their deaths reportedly motivated the Dallas shooter’s twisted revenge – five officers dead, seven woun…

The Bills have been pushovers on the field for the past 16 playoff-barren years, but Terry Pegula isn’t rolling over in the NFL stadium game.You’d think as the new billionaire on the NFL block, the Bills’ owner might bend to peer pressure. So it’s nice to see Pegula and Bills President Russ Brandon resist recent chatter from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the…

Steve Pigeon is snared. As you read this, a legion of politicians, elected officials and even judges are holding their breath and crossing their fingers. There was a whiff of something odd Thursday in the summer breeze. It was the scent of fear. The indictment of the longtime political operative was a long time coming. And it undoubtedly sent shock waves through our eminen…

I’m not holding my breath, crossing my fingers and waiting for the shoe to drop.For the first time in, well, forever, Buffalo is hosting a big event and I have little anxiety. I suspect I’m not alone.People came from parts distant for this weekend’s NHL Draft. The world has often come to us over the years, from NCAA basketball tournaments to college hockey’s Frozen…

I applaud county officials for trying.It’s tough these days to take a stand for standards.It’s nearly impossible not to overhear the obscene words uttered at the mall or during a downtown stroll. Any adolescent can summon an anatomy lesson by Google-searching choice words. From sexting to Skype, technology has fast-forwarded sexual sharing and undercut teen innocence.P…

The progress is gratifying. I just wish it looked different.Make no mistake, the 23-story apartment tower Gerry Buchheit wants to build on the Outer Harbor is a giant step in waterfront revival. For more than a half-century, the miles-long stretch of waterfront south of downtown was a humiliating display of scrub brush, scrap yards and billboards. The vast swath of waterfr…

Forget the bottomless-pocket developer with more optimism than sense.What the giant albatross of One Seneca Tower may need more than anything is David Copperfield.The best thing that could happen for downtown is for the vacant, 38-story behemoth to suddenly disappear.Problem solved, with the wave of a wand. The New York City developer who conditionally bought Buffalo’s t…

Their eyes got as much of a workout as their legs.A legion of Slow Roll Buffalo bicyclists Monday took a left on Broadway and rolled up Goodyear Avenue, arguably the city’s bleakest street. It’s a startling canvas of waist-high weeds stretched across an urban prairie of vacant lots. The vista is occasionally broken by scattered homes stuck like random teeth in a gummy …