Keeping children safe is at the core of the work Child Protective Services engages in. But when the reputation of adults who might be innocent is smeared or their rights are restricted because of a failure to follow procedures, it is time to reassess. A recent News article by reporter Matthew Spina spotlighted one case in which a man found himself placed on the state…

Students at Erie Community College will surely benefit from the new, $4 million Center for Nanotechnology on the North Campus. It may even help keep some students in Erie County, instead of drifting north to Niagara County Community College, where their presence exacts a financial penalty on their hometown taxpayers. But something is amiss. Given ECC’s gloomy financia…

By Dan Schwartz A former student, Fernando Burga, wrote all the way from Peru recently to remind me of some of what went on in one of my classes in 2015. As Earl Derr Biggers used to have his character Charlie Chan say when someone would refer to him as the world’s greatest detective, “Modesty precludes acknowledgement.” “Truth is,” wrote Burga, “I rea…

I won’t pretend Trump is a legitimate presidentAfter Donald Trump insulted civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, the president-elect canceled his visit to the African-American History Museum – another snub to Lewis on Martin Luther King Day and black Americans everywhere. Trump’s excuse was “scheduling issues,” and he wants us to believe him.I stopped bel…

Don’t promote negative sentiment against policeThis letter is in regard to the tasteless comment in the editorial: “Fearless predictions,” published on Dec. 29. I’m referring to the November entry, where “Jail employees beat up an inmate in celebration.”I don’t know anyone who would find this funny, especially the deputies who staff the Holding Center, or the…

Unfunded state mandates weigh heavily on taxpayersExamine your Erie County property tax bill. Check the levy description “County Service Tax.” About 99 percent of this amount is a result of unfunded New York State mandates.The majority of this unfunded state mandate goes to Albany for New York’s Cadillac Medicaid program. The program is funded in this manner: The sta…

Rebel flag is symbol of a heritage of hateRecently I was driving in a local neighborhood and I saw a pickup truck with New York plates and a large flag flying from the bed of the truck. The flag was the “Southern Cross” (Confederate battle flag). I wanted to ask the driver where and when he was born. For you see, I was born and raised in Southern Virginia during the 19…

Transportation planners must be forward-thinkingIn recent years – right up to the governor’s State of the State address – a number of major transportation investments have been proposed for Western New York. Among them, replacement of Buffalo’s Amtrak station and strategic extensions of Metro Rail. These projects will have a significant impact on our health, enviro…

By Kevin Horrigan Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, this budget, bFair2DirectCare: Invest in New York’s direct support professionals. The #bFair2DirectCare coalition is the voice of more than 128,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, who often cannot speak for themselves. Since early 2016, the coalition has been advocating a living wage for our direct care workforce…

Metro Rail extension to Amherst – or anywhere, really – has always seemed more fantasy than possibility. Because of the city’s resurgence and a governor committed to building on it, it might very well get done. Now, more than in decades, there is a sense of hope in Western New York. New jobs in clean energy are coming online where steel mills once stood. The finan…

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s $10 million commitment to the Darwin Martin House and Graycliff is an acknowledgement of something Western New Yorkers have come to appreciate since Frank Lloyd Wright set his sights on this area more than a century ago: the architectural wonders he created are worth investing in. The governor wants to finish restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’…

By Tom Sugar Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s new plan to make college more affordable for middle- and low-income New Yorkers is commendable, but it doesn’t go far enough in solving the more pressing challenge in higher education: When students get to college, far too few actually complete their degrees. To get the greatest bang for the state’s buck, the governor should be …

By Judith Geer My husband and I love going to Niagara-on-the-Lake, the picturesque little town in Ontario, just across the Niagara River from Youngstown. As soon as we get there and park the car, Charlie will say, “Let’s go look at the lake.” It usually looks the same every time, depending on the season of the year, of course, but somehow viewing the juncture w…

Young snow shoveler was an angel of mercyI’m an 84-year-old senior. I mention my age so you can appreciate this angel of mercy. After a recent snowfall, all of the accumulated snow fell off my large awning in front of my door. The snowplow deposited its usual load on the driveway. I decided against my better judgment to make a path so I could take my garbage pails to the…

State shouldn’t charge vets for specialty license platesI recently received a newsletter from MOPH (Military Order of the Purple Heart). It stated that the state of Connecticut issues specialty license plates to disabled veterans and Gold Star families without charging an additional fee.State Rep. Sean Scanlon has introduced legislation that proposes to do the same for P…