Share this article

print logo

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.


Columns

William Tierney is a sophomore at Niagara Falls High School. He finished classes Thursday and walked outside into sunshine and cold air, where he understood on some mysterious level this would be the day. He took the bus home and threw on a pair of sweatpants, a hoodie, his maroon Jordans, and then he went into the closet and found the 2-year-old basketball — rubber gri…

Columns

Like thousands upon thousands in Greater Buffalo, I am a Catholic. I belong to a parish. I wear a medal around my neck for all it means, as my father did before me. At moments of crisis or sorrow, on a medical gurney or kneeling by a casket, I still make the sign of the cross as a kind of intimate reflex. I find strength and meaning in the familiar, chanting rhythm o…

Columns

Sister Alice Roach understands the way it goes. She is a retired educator. She knows you often make choices when you are young that serve as a crossroads for everything that follows. Those youthful decisions are easily forgotten as the years cascade into decades, fateful moments lost behind the mountain range of a long life. Yet at 86, those choices re-emerged in a vivi…

Columns

David Sage never thought he'd see the national big city snowfall record seriously challenged in his lifetime. Sage, who turned 68 this week, was a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo when the winter of 1976-77 pounded Western New York. Buffalo accumulated a staggering 199.4 inches of snow, still believed to be the record for large cities in the Un…

Clarence

The woman had one condition. She was surprised when she met a couple of us from The Buffalo News in a driveway on Bridlewood Drive South in her Clarence neighborhood, and at first she wasn't sure she wanted to see anything about what she was doing in the paper. She thought it over. She took a good look at Gerri and Donald Mrugalski, standing in the garage and smiling at…

Columns

Erie, Pa., has moved into rare national territory for seasonal snowfall, and is now within 8 inches of Buffalo and establishing a memorable record. A few inches of new snow since Tuesday lifted Erie to 191.5 inches of snow for the winter. According to Pat DeCoursey, oracle of the Golden Snow Globe and the guy who tracks these snow records, that makes Erie only the third…

Columns

Today's question for readers: Considering what's shaping up in Erie, Pa., do you want Erie to hit 200 inches and sweep past Buffalo's 41-year-old standard of 199.4 inches of seasonal snow? Or do you hope the snow surge in Erie peters out and Buffalo's legendary winter of '76-77 retains that longtime status? Whatever your feeling, feel free to leave a comment below or to em…

Buffalo

The doors are locked at the old Taste of Life restaurant in Buffalo, where an unshoveled sidewalk near the Sycamore Street doorway forces people to trudge through the snow as they walk by. Letters fall like plastic leaves from a sign that once reminded passersby of the chance to try steak, roasted fish or the restaurant's famous wings. A spontaneous memorial, assembled …

Buffalo

Dear Carmelo Anthony, I know this is a crazy time of the year for you. Spring is coming, and you and your Oklahoma City Thunder teammates are fighting to make the playoffs. Life in the National Basketball Association, I have no doubt, is all-consuming. Still, as someone who remembers what it's like to grow up in a hard place, there's a young man in Buffalo whose tale…

Local News

David Torke is a Western New York photographer. He sees an image as an emotional doorway into what used to be, a strategy that resonates in his photographs of Buffalo. In a tattered rooftop or crumbling art deco lettering, Torke will find some insight about the city as it was, lost moments that somehow provide new life today. In two photos Torke captured of his own pare…

Local News

Niagara Falls native Mark Bridges didn't just capture his second Academy Award for costume design at Sunday's Oscar ceremony in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. He won the Kawasaki jet ski offered by late night host Jimmy Kimmel, master of ceremonies, in game show-fashion to whoever kept their speech the shortest. The idea became a running gag throughout the night; eve…

Columns

There ought to be cousins. That's what Deanna Kwiatkowski Russo thinks about whenever she returns to Blasdell. She and her husband Jason have three young children who are always delighted to see their grandparents, but those little ones cannot fully understand what they've lost. The house should be in an uproar. Deanna's kids should be running around with other child…

Buffalo

Every March, Dave Suttell returns to the beating heart of the Shamrock Run. At 84, a decade past the end of his own running days, Suttell still signs up for the race, mainly for the chance to stop at Doris Bouquard's place in Buffalo's Old First Ward. To Suttell, Doris is a living symbol of what sets the event apart. When he first entered the race more than 25 years ago…

Columns

What Michael Whalen remembers, when he thinks back on it, is the orange jacket. He wore it almost 40 years ago, along with a pair of children's snowpants, when the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits, a priest at St. John Vianney in Orchard Park, took Whalen and two other boys on what was supposed to be a weekend ski trip to the Bluemont Ski Area in Yorkshire, south of Buffalo. …

Business

Lyle Merle told the story while his mother listened intently, from a comfortable chair in a sitting room she's used for 78 years. Florence Merle's face suddenly burst into knowing memory, eyebrows up while her mouth opened in broad, exaggerated surprise. That day she married her husband? Yes, she said, in agreement with Lyle, her own father had warned her against it. Ev…