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Penicillin was mass-produced for the first time during World War II, when pharmaceutical companies were enlisted by the federal government to fight life-threatening infections, then a leading cause of death at home and on the battlefield.Buffalo native Lauren Belfer wrote about those times – when a knee scrape could become a life-threatening infection – in her critical…

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership – the region’s business and political leadership – has devised a smart strategy with its wish list for 2014, adding the group’s voice to the efforts of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion investment plan.As The News’ David Robinson recently reported, it puts a heav…

Here’s one for the books, from a story by News staff reporter Lou Michel.Richard E. Thibault was headed into the downtown courthouse the other day when he apparently realized that it would not be a good place to enter carrying a crack pipe. So he decided to stash the pipe outside the courthouse, at 50 Delaware Ave.Buffalo Police Accident Investigator Martin Forero was al…

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced a $225 million investment to build the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at Riverbend on the old Republic Steel site on South Park Avenue, formerly known as “Steelfields.”But if it hadn’t been for the city’s $4.6 million purchase of the former brownfield property in South Buffalo, this endeavor might not have bee…

The recent report showing that Erie County Child Protective Services caseworkers often performed only the minimum amount of work required to investigate child abuse and neglect cases is both heartbreaking and infuriating.Heartbreaking to think of the children left in the hands of abusers. And infuriating because the system that was set up to protect children was willfully …

Today is Thanksgiving Day, a time originally set aside to thank God “for his kind care and protection of the People of this country.” Today the meaning has expanded so that we pause with family and friends to give thanks for the benefits we have received and to appreciate those who help others. Here, some random thoughts on thankfulness:…“When you rise in the morni…

Recognition must be given to Christopher S. Weber, a senior investigator for the State Police who refused to give up on solving a brutal murder committed 34 years ago.Praise is also due to New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman for stepping in to prosecute the case. Demerits, however, go to Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III for declining to go…

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has once again demonstrated that he is committed to helping improve the economic vitality of Western New York. This time he’s vetoed a bill that would have undercut a program of state tax breaks designed to lure movie industry work away from Manhattan to upstate regions.Lawmakers tried to add 14 counties close to New York City to the 40 upstate count…

The accord that would temporarily freeze much of Iran’s nuclear program in return for limited sanctions relief is an unavoidable step in a process that has a long way to go.It is a six-month deal with the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, world powers that must be willing to react appropriately if Iran breaks, or even bends, its promis…

Here is the rock and the hard place. Roswell Park Cancer Institute needs to improve its operations to become more self-reliant. The state is weary of sending it $100 million a year and the hospital is under pressure to produce an alternative.At the same time, though, the hospital urgently needs to preserve its standing as a comprehensive cancer center and to lead the natio…

The U.S. Postal Service lost $5 billion over the past year, which is more or less what it predicted, but near accuracy in prognostication does nothing to help with the long-term problem of survival. For that, the agency desperately needs Congress.Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe continually finds himself in the unenviable position of trying to extract legislation out of …

Score one for the cardiovascular system. With the Food and Drug Administration’s plan to ban trans fats, arteries will be less clogged and hearts will beat longer. It’s a win not only for the health of the nation but for that increasingly scarce commodity, common sense.Trans fats are evil concoctions whose main purpose is to provide texture and stability to foods, espe…

When it comes to the new health insurance plans, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is right to leave well enough alone.Cuomo, perhaps sounding boastful, pointed out that this state hasn’t had the kind of issues on its health exchange that have been seen nationwide.“Our program has actually been working well. The website has been working well …,” the governor said in response to…

Does the Town of Tonawanda Police Department have a problem with African-Americans? Some residents think so, and there’s enough of an issue that town and police leaders need to take the question seriously.The issue burst into public view earlier this month, when a town resident, Robert A. Harris Sr., reported that police stopped the bus he was on in order to question him…

The Nov. 15 transformation of San Francisco into Gotham City, all in service of a 5-year-old with leukemia who wanted to play out a superhero fantasy, was a testament to the power of social media. Thousands of people, including President Obama, joined the Make-A-Wish Foundation to ensure that Miles Scott’s big day would be unforgettable.In a curious way, the attention la…