Sean Kirst - The Buffalo News

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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.


Columns

Maybe it's appropriate. In a week when the firing of yet another Buffalo Bills head football coach leaves the Western New York sports world in a tumult, we also commemorate the anniversary of an almost forgotten tale of Buffalo sports disappointment. In this case, the bad news was delivered on what’s supposed to be the most joyous day of the year. The Atlanta Hawks wer…

Columns

As the crowd broke up Saturday at St. Peter and John Episcopal Church in Auburn, Jim Buschman carried a wreath to his pickup truck. He had played a role in Saturday’s Wreaths across America service in this Cayuga County city, part of a national Yuletide effort to put wreaths on the graves of veterans or those who gave their lives in military service. Buschman is super…

Columns

Jon Hitchcock glimpsed the Golden Snowball only once. In the early 2000s, he was a student volunteer with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. The famous trophy, at the time, was still a fixture in the office. Yet when Hitchcock returned a few years later to take a job as a full-time meteorologist, the snowball was gone. This morning, with almost 10 inches of new sn…

Columns

Ed Stone enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Buffalo, in December 1940. He did what the Navy told him. He brought only a light spring jacket. He remembers that he slept the night before at the YMCA. He remembers the stone steps of the old Post Office were coated with ice, and it took him three tries to reach the top, without breaking his neck. He remembers the heater wasn't wo…

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Throughout Western New York, we’ll be gathering with our families today for Thanksgiving. If you have a minute, I’m hoping you might join me in a toast. It involves one Donald Palmer, who died this week at 49, although that's probably not the name you knew him by. I never met him, never had a chance to shake his hand. Yet like countless thousands of others, I spe…

Columns

Christina Feldman Wiegand, a second grade teacher at the Syracuse Latin School, takes part in what’s called the “mystery reader” program. In October, she needed someone from the community to stop by and read a book to her class, and to somehow relate it to life outside the school. Michael Feldman, Christina’s younger brother, volunteered. It happened to be “pa…

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This is a call I wish I could make, right now. Mario Cuomo, almost certainly, would have had plenty to say about the election of Donald Trump. For many years after he served as governor, Mario was a partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City. His assistant was a patient woman named Mary Porcelli, and if you caught her at the right moment, when Mario was at hi…

Columns

It's Election Day 2016, and I’m thinking of Tom Niland Jr. We’ve had more than a year of campaign ugliness, of ridicule and savage words, in a nation that feels utterly torn apart. We've had televised debates raw and bitter enough to leave you shaken, awake in bed, after watching them. We've had tapes and exchanges involving accounts of graphic disrespect toward wom…

Local News

Herman Melville understood the full power of the Great Lakes. In Moby Dick, his triumphant 19th century novel about American whaling, Melville described the Great Lakes as “grand freshwater seas.” He wrote of “dismasting blasts as direful as any that lash the salted wave,” winds that “have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew." That i…

Local News

For more than a decade, Jim Buschman has supervised the Soule Cemetery, in Cayuga County. Throughout the years, he’s always assumed that some memorable historical figures were buried in a distant corner of a graveyard, where the state once interred hundreds of unidentified remains removed from another cemetery used by the 199-year-old state prison, in nearby Auburn. B…

Local News

Joe Ehrmann will always be bound to Buffalo. The city is in his voice, in the rhythm of his life. “I stay very connected,” he said. Ehrmann lives in Baltimore, but he visited Western New York twice in the past month. He quietly comes and goes all the time, he said. The women who helped shape his life during his Riverside childhood are still here: His mother Peg, in…

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In today's column, Sean Kirst shares the tale of a Western New Yorker who embraces the fading art of letter writing. Do you still write letters? Do you have a close friend or relative who does? Do you have a memorable story of a letter you wrote or received? Share these tales with Kirst by using your Facebook sign-in to leave a comment below, or by emailing him at seanpete…

Local News

For Jason Benetti, it was time for a change in a pattern. He wrapped up his first season Sunday as a play-by-play announcer for Chicago White Sox baseball games. In the old days, when he was doing games in the International League, Benetti’s colleagues in the booth always knew what was coming: The season would end. Benetti would tell his listeners exactly how long it wo…

Local News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to Buffalo last week with a message for those he called “naysayers and doubters.” Nine men had just been charged in a federal investigation of corruption intertwined with state projects, services or contracts, including several officials who’d moved comfortably for years in the governor's inner circle. Cuomo spoke of his dismay at “a very di…

Local News

Tim Johnson had a flash of pained boyhood memory as he watched the national debate over whether to stand for the flag, during the national anthem. Johnson is a Mohawk, a member of the Six Nations, raised in North Tonawanda. He remembers, as a child in public schools, standing for the Pledge of Allegiance and feeling concern about the absence of native history from what he …