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Columns

Eileen O'Rourk-Yesis answered the phone Sunday and gave me a quick update. I was calling about her grandfather, John O'Rourk, a retired Buffalo K-9 officer who's recovering from bypass surgery. O'Rourk-Yesis offered a few reflections, then said goodbye and gave it some more thought. What she had shared with me, she realized, was absolutely true. It just didn't tell t…

Columns

From Mississippi to South Carolina and across much of the South, the Confederate flag is being taken down and stashed out of sight. State flags were even taken from the tunnel at the U.S. Capitol last year as a means of getting rid of the controversial Mississippi flag that featured the Confederate battle emblem. Across the land, such symbols of the Confederacy are being…

Columns

Thomas Robinson began his Election Day by stopping at Tim Hortons. Long before dawn, he delivered coffee and doughnuts Tuesday to poll workers at the Pratt Willert Community Center, which he does each year to show his thanks for what they offer: "You vote," he said, "so at least you have a way of speaking out." After Robinson cast his ballot, he took a drive and coll…

Gusto

Why does the majority of pop and alternative music being released in 2017 sound like an homage to the mid-to-late '80s? For the love of all that is holy, what's happening here? If you love the pop music of the 1980s, you probably weren't around to endure it in real time. I was. And though great music was being made, it was the exception, not the rule. The '80s were b…

Business

When state officials built and equipped the biggest solar panel factory in the Western Hemisphere, they thought they were buying into an industry that would keep growing and growing, putting Buffalo on the cutting edge of the 21st Century economy. It may turn out that way, but right now the solar industry is in a slump – and Buffalo is feeling it. Solar energy is s…

Business

Gymboree, Rue21, Payless ShoeSource, Gander Mountain, The Limited. All of them, and others, filed for bankruptcy this year. Stores are dropping like flies and you can never tell who’s going to be next. Or can you? If you follow credit-rating companies’ risk ratings, you might get an idea. Companies that land on Fitch Ratings’ “bonds of concern” and “loans of…

Buffalo

The Bible is at the feet of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who leans from the stage at Kleinhans Music Hall to clasp the hands of men and women in the crowd before him. They surge forward, beaming, at the front of a line that stretches beyond range of the camera. The date is Nov. 9, 1967. The image, in a file at the Buffalo History Museum, was captured by Robert L. Sm…

Columns

WASHINGTON – No one lost their heads 11 years ago when a select Brown University committee revealed that many of its 18th century board members, including a man whose family lent its name to the place, had been deeply involved in the slave trade. The university’s modern leadership, then headed by Ruth Simmons, Brown’s first woman and first African-American preside…

Columns

A few weeks ago, I ran into Amy Dickinson, the internationally celebrated author and advice columnist, at a writer's event in Skaneateles. Dickinson, who has immortalized her nearby hometown of Freeville in Tompkins County, had a question. She wondered if we'd be interested in her written "thank you" to Buffalo. Until last spring, she said, her father, Buck, was in …

Buffalo

If there’s one thing we should know by now, it is this: Fairness doesn’t happen by accident. In Buffalo, it may not even happen by design. As community organizations push for an "inclusionary zoning" policy to make sure working class residents aren’t priced out of the city’s resurgence, there’s a fear that anything the city does adopt will be a watered-down pol…

Business

Tesla Inc. has its hands full as it gears up production at its long-awaited solar panel factory in Buffalo. Its timing isn't the greatest, either. The solar energy industry is slowing, just as Tesla and its partner, Panasonic, are starting production at the South Park Avenue factory, which is scheduled to be making enough solar panels to generate 1,000-megawatts of e…

Gusto

Who is Ed Sheeran, and why is he selling so many albums and singles? On first glance, he looks harmless enough. His folksy, mildly soulful pop songs are well-structured and innocuous. He seems fairly pleasant, when interviewed on television. He's played Buffalo a few times, including as part of Kissmas Bash 2012, where he stood out for the simple reason that he was play…

Bisons and Baseball

I waited to write this piece until the World Series, this dramatic showdown between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. The afternoon light and scattered leaves of late October always carry me back to childhood. We'd run home after school to catch the end of each game, in an era when the World Series was played in the afternoon, and maybe we'd grab our gloves and p…

Gusto

The following column is offered with one giant-sized spoiler alert. If you were ever a watcher of Showtime's "Ray Donovan" and missed Sunday's season finale, you might want to go elsewhere and drop in after you have. I remain a "Ray Donovan" loyalist. If you think that's been easy this year, you're crazy. "Polarizing" is one commonly used word for this "Donovan" season …

Business

Man, I love horror movies. “Night of the Living Dead.” “The Lost Boys.” “Killer Klowns from Outer Space.” I could go on and on and on; especially during these magical hours before Halloween. Movies Plus was a video rental store near my house when I was a kid that let me rent R-rated films without my parents’ permission. It got to the point where I had seen…