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Dana Saylor-Furman's career as a house genealogist began with dusty neighborhood records she found in the basement of the comfortable old house she moved into with arched brick windows and rounded soapstone mantels. Built after the Civil War, she figured there had to be a story in how 102 Prospect Avenue, with its garden and wide porch, got its share of the beauty and hist…

Q: My fiancé and I have been together for a few years, and our relationship is wonderful. We have our ups and downs, but I’m ready to have a family and spend the rest of my life with him. We’re both relatively young, in our mid-20s, and he was laid off from his good-paying corporate job four months ago. He has been looking for work without any luck. Our bills have bee…

In 1986, while awaiting the publication of my second book, “Finance and Empire, Sir Charles Addis, 1861-1945,” my friend, Erie County Legislator Joan Bozer, suggested that I prepare a study of export trade in Western New York. Although I was a historian interested in international business, I thought it was a strange suggestion. Who knew about exports in Western New Yo…

Some homeowners take ghoulish pleasure in decorating their yards with zombies, tombstones and fog machines for Halloween. Others take a gentler approach. Friendly ghosts staked in circles on the lawn. Happy monsters flying animated inflatable helicopters. Plastic pumpkins with clown wigs. It’s more Sesame Street than Nightmare on Elm Street – a peaceful place where the…

The welcome mat is out in Pittsburgh this week as former WIVB-TV anchorman Joe Arena made his debut on WPXI Channel 11. Arena, 36, signed off at Channel 4 earlier this month after four years with the station. His departure came after he and the station failed to reach agreement on a new contract. Arena said his desire to remain in Buffalo was strong. His wife, Mary Claire…

Since I was a little girl, I always had one focus from the middle of summer all the way through October: What was I going to be for Halloween? My mother being the seamstress she is has always been a huge help to me. She taught me how to sew simple things, and all year-round I would accompany her to JoAnn Fabrics and look through bolt after bolt of fabric. I was always f…

Flashing lights. A red carpet. Paparazzi. A DJ playing Nicki Minaj. Sound like a Hollywood party? Nope. Here, the people aren’t celebrating a movie release, or winning an Oscar; they’re celebrating something arguably much more important – after-school programs. With budget cuts and the loss of enrichment programs such as music and the arts, after school can be an …

Geoffrey Gatza has been fascinated with feeding people for as long as he can remember.“Mom tells a funny story,” he said, “that when I was a baby I would cry when she would change the channel from Julia Child.”He would follow that drive to become a professional cook, first in the Marine Corps, then at the Culinary Institute of America and years of working in restau…

A ghost named MerlotGeorge Thomas Apfel is a medium and his fiancee, Anne Rogers Karpiak, is a clairvoyant. Darned if we know the difference between these job descriptions, but the important thing is, on Saturday night, they both participated in Paranormal Pursuit at the Statler. “There was a bar and a few concessions. I had red wine and chocolate,” Anne told us. “We…

There are things you should do once it is clear you are going to be laid off. But what if there is some uncertainty about your continued employment? What then? “I was told that my company is being bought out, making job loss a possibility,” wrote a woman who was worried about her job. “This came completely out of the blue as we are doing very well, though I guess tha…

Before long, those colorful leaves on the ground will be replaced by snow. If you choose to hire a contractor to plow your driveway this winter, make sure you get your money’s worth and the level of service you expect. Tops on the list of what to consider: ensure the company you choose will actually clear your driveway. That might seem obvious, but in late 2010, dozens o…

Like the hundreds of thousands of photographs he has snapped over six decades, Richard Sterling's studio is frozen in time. The turquoise vinyl chairs are so dated they are chic again. The paneled walls shout “Sixties!” A note on a steel desk gently asks customers to wait three minutes before ringing the bell. Sterling typically emerges from a back room within a few se…

Joyce Advey, 81, of Ebenezer, has worked as a waitress for more than 60 years, most of those at the Deerhead Inn, where she still works today. (Her first waitress job was at old Hotel Richford downtown.) Working weekends at the restaurant would be a tough task for most people her age, but Advey does more than work. She golfs. She teaches Sunday school. And she only recent…

Last weekend, when the Motown tribute band Spectrum joined the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for a Pops concert, some folks from the audience joined in. And they weren’t singing along. “We can’t hear you!” they yelled. It seemed we had heard this song before. A few weeks ago, when Wynonna Judd appeared at Kleinhans Music Hall, kicking off the BPO’s Pops season,…

You wouldn’t say that Tippi Hedren looked terrified, just noticeably apprehensive. I watched the star of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and “Marnie” as she sat in an aisle seat on a Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles. No one else seemed to recognize her. To those who hadn’t seen Hitchcock’s films – or this evening’s “The Girl” on …