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It was a long time coming and, even if the pending demise of the Grand Island toll booths amounts only to half a loaf, it will be a tasty treat nonetheless for thousands of drivers every day. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the move Tuesday. Later than it should have, the state will implement a high-speed, cashless toll system at the North and South Grand Island bridges,…

The folks across the border in Canada must be amazed – make that appalled – at how the environmental gem that is the Niagara River is being defiled. The river has endured a disgusting series of sewage discharges in recent months. Worst was the unforgettable image of black sludge from the sewage treatment plant fouling the river. Photos of the stain spread on social…

What happens when the well runs dry? Or, in the case of counties, cities and school districts in Western New York, what happens when the casino money runs dry? That’s what has happened after the Seneca Nation of Indians halted revenue-sharing payments from its three casinos. The solution seems simple enough: Negotiate a settlement. The state and Senecas need to schedu…

What is it with this sheriff that his employees are so devoted to fudging the facts of life and death? Jail employees seem utterly unable – and uninterested – in honestly reporting the circumstances surrounding the deaths of inmates. The State Commission of Correction needs to get more deeply involved in making Sheriff Timothy B. Howard understand the obligations of…

By refusing to divulge to the public the specific details about how an improperly cleaned medical scope came into contact with patients, the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center is unduly sending shock waves to hundreds of patients. How could a facility under scrutiny twice in the past five years over its procedures go down that path again? Changes must be made so th…

The grocery store wars have begun in earnest in Amherst, where eight chains will line a 1.5-mile stretch on or near the Niagara Falls Boulevard corridor in the town, as recently reported in The News. It is a sign of good times when numerous retailers start elbowing each other to gain, or maintain a foothold. No need to crowd the aisles. It is an encouraging sign to watc…

The 45 middle and high school students in the Hand in Hand project at the Health Sciences Charter School have made a difference in the lives of three young children, ages 4, 5 and 9, who were each born missing a hand. Teens in the WNY STEM summer camp created the hands using designs made available by e-Nable. The online community uses 3-D printers to create fabricated h…

Toughening disclosure laws would go a long way in preventing the type of disquieting opaqueness being carried out by the ethically lawless leaders of the Erie County Water Authority. If ever the time comes, it will be difficult if not impossible to hide behind vague explanations as to why the public is not entitled to the details of how its money is being spent. The …

Congress has desperately needed a counterbalance to the Freedom Caucus, the hard-right alliance of members whose rigid inflexibility has tied Washington in knots for several years. Now, it may have one, thanks in large part to the vision of Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning. Together with Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a freshman Democrat from New Jersey, Reed has refreshed the Problem S…

The compromise of individual personal data started out in the most subtle ways, gaining steam throughout an increasingly technological age adopted by ubiquitous personal devices. Many of us hardly blink at the “I agree” box at the end of virtually every user agreement. Clicking on the box often means access to free technological tools designed to enable more efficie…

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia made the wrong decision in ousting Carl Paladino from the Buffalo Board of Education. Removing – or retaining – Paladino is the job of Park District voters who have had their own rights yanked by this ruling. Paladino, an attorney, developer and former gubernatorial candidate, is an unpleasant and frequently irrational man…

Here’s an idea how to use the extra 25 minutes of class time Buffalo school officials secured in the district’s new contract with the teachers union: Trim a few minutes off a few classes and add an extra period. Although the decisions have already been made for this year, this is an idea that should be evaluated. These newly acquired minutes should be treated as edu…

By Jeffrey Freedman What does a young woman who has just landed her first job teaching with AmeriCorps do when she is diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor? While facing surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, Katie Weber worried: Would her health insurance cover the expenses, or would she be forced into bankruptcy by the time she was 23? Because the Affordable Care Ac…

President Trump’s recent declaration recognizing the opioid crisis acknowledges something people have been saying for years. It remains to be seen whether this new development opens up more resources. The opioid epidemic is ravaging a generation of mostly young people, although older people are not immune. There are an estimated 2.6 million opioid addicts in the Unite…