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A Philadelphia doctor, on the way to tend the wounded in the days following the Battle of Gettysburg, happened into a tavern, where the barkeeper showed him a touching photograph, below, that had been taken from the hands of a dead Union soldier. § All these years later, it’s unclear who first came upon this soldier and snatched the photo. More obvious was that the infantr…

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George Bernard Shaw had a tricky relationship with fascism.In the 1920s and ’30s, as the idealism of his youth hardened into an all-consuming disgust over man’s inability to govern himself, and as Europe headed toward a second world war, Shaw allowed his mind and pen to wander into uncomfortable territory. In the leadup to the war, according to an excellent article by Stan…

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Paula Deen’s repentant wailing aside, it was Pentecostal minister Jimmy Swaggart who set the standard 25 years ago for the weepy public apology.After his dalliances with a prostitute were exposed, the firebrand televangelist delivered an unforgettable nationally televised confession from the pulpit of his Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge, La. Tears streamed down Swagga…

Last year, Andrea Robinson said to her husband, John, “I’d really like to take a bicycle trip with the family.” Robinson, who lives near Albany, said, “I thought she wanted to go up to the Hudson River, go up and down a few miles, so I said OK. Then she pulled out this book about bike trips on the Erie Canal. I said, ‘No way, that’s crazy.’ But the more I thought about it,…

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Michael and Kathy Guest Shadrack have raised the bar for creative gardening. Their garden home in Hamburg – a creek runs underneath it – is called Smug Creek Gardens. It is defined by pockets of hostas, day lilies and enough vegetation to make you forget where you are. Mike, 67, was a London bobby for 32 years before he met Kathy. Kathy, 63, was married and had raised a fa…

Three Buffalo men could face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine after pleading guilty to drug trafficking.Michael Smerka, 56, James Simmons, 38 and Timothy Borkowski, 46, entered pleas Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio.The men purchased cocaine at an auto shop on Broadway Street in Sloan and then sold the cocaine to customers in Buffalo and …

A Hamburg woman confessed her involvement in a tax scheme that earned her and a co-conspirator $60,961 in fraudulent tax returns.Sheri L. Becirovic, 47, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul announced.She faces up to ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Becirovic provided the Social Security numbers of seven famil…

An Erie County jury has convicted a 20-year-old Buffalo man of first-degree rape.Rudell Jemes, 20, of Berkshire Street, was convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl who had been locked inside the basement of his home on March 28, 2012, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.“A child rapist has been brought to justice,” District Attorney Frank A. Sedit…

Education

ALBANY – Nearly 40 years ago, a young Alain Kaloyeros served alongside Christian militia forces fighting against Hezbollah troops in northern Lebanon. If you talk to him today, he will show you the scars on his arms from one of the battles.Now, far from those street battles in and around Beirut, Kaloyeros serves on a very different cutthroat battlefield, where scientists a…

An Erie County grand jury has indicted a Buffalo man accused of burglarizing the Delaware Avenue home of County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.Avello Pena, 22, of Richmond Avenue, faces second-degree burglary and petit larceny charges for the early morning June 17 break-in of Poloncarz’ home. Pena is accused of breaking…

Buffalo

Early one morning in 1992, while working as news anchor and reporter for a television station in Huntsville, Ala., Harold Fisher was roused from his sleep by a remarkable dream.He sat bolt upright in bed and went straight for his pen and a yellow legal pad, where he scribbled down his memories of the dream on the floor of his sparsely furnished apartment before they had a …

Buffalo

For Taleha Ojeda, it was opportunity to watch the game she described as her “life-saver.”For Jim Salter, it was a chance to cheer for nephews as they played the game he deemed “the best sport ever.”For Devin Lewis, it just added to tradition. The 18-year-old has played in the Gus Macker Tournament since he was eight. Nearly 3,000 people registered for the weekend three-on-…

The Buffalo School Board wants to trade facial peels for music teachers. Following community outrage over the elimination of nearly half the district’s band and orchestra programs, the school board last week approved a measure to deny health insurance claims from teachers and administrators for superficial anti-wrinkle procedures and use the savings toward the restoration …

The storm clouds have passed, for the moment. But distrust remains. And plenty of folks, in the wake of Andrew Cuomo's bare-knuckled entry into the Peace Bridge fray, believe that the governor didn't so much ensure progress as threaten it. The governor, figuratively speaking, aimed his gun. The rest of us may have dodged a bullet.On the heels of Wednesday's binational “und…