Sean Kirst, The Buffalo News - Page 2 of 9
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Sean Kirst

Sean Kirst is a columnist for The Buffalo News. Raised in Dunkirk, he has been an Upstate journalist for more than 40 years.


Dr. Agnes Szekeres is a retired physician in California. Her husband, Gabor, died seven years ago. At 75, Agnes finds solace in the rich and varied lives of their two grown children and six grandchildren. "My kids," she said. "They all turned out fantastic." For Agnes, who survived catastrophic loss during World War II, that sense of appreciative wonder begins with t…

The Grand Island toll booths are expected to come down in March, which means civic leaders will eventually need to choose someone to make the ceremonial first drive through the open area where the tolls, for so long, have served as a barrier. Rather than a  politician behind the wheel, here's a suggestion: Why not find a few commuters who've handled that daily grind fo…

As a little boy, Tyler Haniszewski shared a bedroom with his brother, Tim Jr. On weekend nights during the summer, when their father would travel to compete in the demolition derby at some faraway county fair, Tyler and Tim Jr. would will themselves to stay awake. They'd listen for the sound of his car in their Lancaster driveway, and they'd leap out of bed when their d…

The walkway on the Peace Bridge shut down this month. It's being replaced and improved as part of an extensive $100 million rehabilitation of the bridge, and the walkway won't reopen until 2019. One of the highlights for those on foot will be a new observation deck, high above the Niagara River. Sam Mancuso, 57, remembers getting a look at the old walkway that was a lit…

Sometimes there's a certain benefit in coming into a community from the outside. I'm a Western New Yorker by birth, but I haven't been around for the entire civic opera involving Carl Paladino, a guy I've never met. I wasn't here when he made the remarks last year that triggered the motion toward his state-ordered ouster Thursday from the Buffalo School Board, the momen…

A serviceman born in Buffalo left more than 65 years ago to fight in the Korean War. He was an African-American corporal, sent to the front lines in an all-black Army unit. He was caught in an explosion, wounded by shrapnel. He came home to raise a son who was the center of his life, a son whose  passion in life remains education. The father died too young, in circumst…

When Tim Haniszewski Jr. was growing up in Lancaster, he and his brother Tyler didn't worry about Little League baseball or Pop Warner football. Their passion was the demolition derby. The boys used to set up a make-believe fairgrounds in the bedroom they shared. They'd smash Matchbox cars to smithereens, just like they watched their father do with real cars on weekend …

Remember the photographer who captured those stunning images of ferocious waves on Lake  Erie? He is at it again, but this time his subject is great white sharks, not the Great Lakes. In a way, David Sandford explains, there is a connection. A renowned Canadian sports photographer - he has photographed many hockey games in Buffalo - he grew up in London, Ont., not f…

For Joe Collier, whose connections to Buffalo and the old American Football League go back more than 50 years, this particular loss involved far more than a game. Dick MacPherson died Tuesday in Syracuse, at 86. He earned his greatest fame as head coach at Syracuse University, where he breathed new life into a once-elite program that had fallen off the map. His 1987 Ora…

Once Jim Beiter could no longer speak, he had plenty of time to contemplate what he wished that he could say. He is a hunter and an angler, a guy who has spent a lot of quiet hours in the woods or standing alongside a pond. He understands how to tell a great tale, how to pack all the meaning or humor into the crescendo. Yet he appreciates the communion that can be a gif…

Tosha White, based on all she's seen, has a theory about cascading violence in Buffalo. She grew up in neighborhoods racked by bloodshed, places where sidewalk memorials to murder victims are all too commonplace, in a city where the incidence of people being shot rose 18 percent last year. White has her own take, her own analysis, on what's gone wrong – and what would…

The nickname, the story went, came from the old television show, "Bonanza." Joe Enriquez used to tell his friends he was a big fan of the series, and for many reasons he felt an affinity for the Michael Landon character: Little Joe. It is certainly what they called him in Syracuse, at Phil Malara's old Geddes Street barbershop or during his working life or at St. Luc…

More than 70 years ago, when Dunkerque, France remained devastated in the aftermath of World War II, the little American city of Dunkirk, N.Y. — a city named for its waterfront similarities to the French community — stepped in to help. The release of the Warner Brothers film, "Dunkirk," has put a new spotlight on that once-passionate bond, which gradually faded away…

Lamont Perry couldn't simply let it pass. Last month, a contractor for the city leveled the old Salem Evangelical Reformed Church on Sherman Street, leaving just the bell tower as a kind of neighborhood monument. If you look through the chain link fence that separates the sidewalk from the brick rubble, the lonesome tower is the only sign a church was ever there. To…

The stinking discharge is a prime reminder of why Thomas Kegler, a few years ago, hesitated about painting Niagara Falls. The East Aurora artist was deeply influenced by the Hudson River school of painting, a group of 19th century visionaries who sought the sublime and dramatic in nature. Kegler went searching for a location that offered similar majesty. The falls were …