Jeff Schober
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Jeff Schober

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For Ron and Ginny Kemp, the biggest challenge about returning to Western New York after 12 years in Minnesota has been trying to seed a new lawn. “Try growing grass in the worst drought since 1943,” Ron lamented. That was never a worry in Minnesota. Homes there have irrigation systems to combat summer’s heat. Not so for their new build in Wheatfield, where the coup…

Two events influenced Williamsville native William Paul Freeman to consider moving to the Southwest. Both were rooted in the education he received in Western New York. Freeman, 24, currently works as a fifth grade teacher in Clark County Schools, instructing at-risk students while holding a second job as director of music ministry at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. …

After planning to move for several years, on Thanksgiving Day 2015 Jennifer Staerker pulled into the driveway of her family’s new home in South Wales. Before making the move from Florida, Jennifer had only seen video of her new home, relying on Google Maps and the judgement of her husband, Patrick. He had visited the property firsthand and assured her that this was the …

Building a career in Buffalo had always been the plan for Orchard Park native Jon Pierowicz — but first he wanted to travel the world. Pierowicz, 32, returned to the Queen City in April when he was hired as a real estate attorney for Phillips Lytle LLP. The prior 13 years were a whirlwind that included living in Boston, Connecticut, Prague, Missouri, Arizona, Santa Mon…

You have probably never met Bob O’Connor, but after reading any of his frequent “My View” columns in The Buffalo News, you’ll feel like you have.  Sharing a sharp wit and pinpoint insights, O’Connor has become something of a local celebrity across Western New York because of his words. The Hamburg resident, a retired civil engineer, mixes “everyman” observa…

Early in their marriage, there was an opportunity for Alex and Jennifer Adema to relocate to Washington, D.C. But they decided to make Western New York their permanent home and raise a family here. The Ademas have four children: Amelia, 9; Josephine, 7; Vera, 5; and Emmett, 3. “I always say that if people complain about Buffalo, they aren’t doing it right,” Jennif…

By the 1990s, Cindy Hebert was tired of Buffalo, eager to uproot for someplace warmer. In her mid-20s, she had met her husband in New York while he served in the Coast Guard, and they agreed that Florida would be a better place to make their home. “I was young and thought the grass was greener somewhere else,” Hebert said with a laugh. “Part of me always wanted to g…

After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, the region set out to recover and rebuild. The area was rife with job opportunities for young professionals, especially in the medical field. Newly married, each having earned a Ph.D., Ramon and Lizette Rivera chose to leave Philadelphia, where Ramon completed his fellowship and Lizette attended graduate school,…

The two-day drive from Buffalo to Kansas City with a four-month old and a 4-year-old is, by any definition, a challenging trip.  But a job in radio programming lured Joe Russo to America’s heartland, so last fall, the young family loaded up the car and set out on the 18-hour trek. Joe, who worked locally at Jack-FM, grew up in West Seneca, while his wife, Alison — a …

In 2007, after retiring from a management job at Walt Disney World in Florida, MaryAnn DuKane returned to Western New York to care for two elderly aunts. She grew up in the 1940s and '50s in a large white house on the corner of Camp and Lake Shore roads in Athol Springs, Hamburg. After marrying Adam Domanski, they moved directly across the street, remaining within sight o…

As a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Dave Kurtz was helping renovate a house on Meridan Street in South Buffalo back in 1991. Kurtz was knowledgeable about construction, but on that day, he discovered something that gave him pause. “The house was near the finished stage, and I was working on the stairs,” recalled Kurtz, now 81. “All of a sudden, I noticed the riser …

The smooth jazz sounds of tenor saxophonist Don Rice would meld perfectly into a dark, smoky, inner-city club on any rainy Saturday night.Instead, it was a sweltering Sunday afternoon when Rice and the Bobby Jones Trio delighted an ample crowd, most of whom clustered under shade trees near the steps of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Rice was the second performer featured d…

Patrons at Bases Loaded are a hearty bunch, and like most of Western New York, are eager to see the end of a long winter. Despite temperatures hovering near zero, nearly every barstool was filled on a frigid weeknight. With two young bartenders in constant motion pouring drinks and uncapping bottles, the mix of customers ranged from truckers playing scratch-off games to 20…

On June 29, 1994, I came face to face with Gordie Howe -- the legendary "Mr. Hockey" whose career spanned five decades -- thanks to Jim Kelley.The NHL Entry Draft was held in Hartford that year, and I was a young reporter excited about attending. Normally occurring on a Saturday, another event had been scheduled that same weekend, and the city did not have enough…