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You know things are bad when the vice chairwoman blasts the New York State Thruway Authority board, and has good reason to do so.Donna Luh is outraged at the blatant lack of transparency surrounding the authority’s ill-forged idea of a 45 percent toll hike for trucks. Tempers are rising after the authority postponed two meetings on the toll hike at the last minute. Luh b…

The state Department of Motor Vehicles should choose the company it deems is best-suited to provide safe and secure driver’s licenses, but the agency also has an obligation to make its decision as transparent as possible.The DMV has failed that simple road test by awarding its contract to a Canadian company that was the highest bidder.Now, local lawmakers, companies that…

The attempt by the county executive to trim the budget for the county Comptroller’s Office has a familiar ring to it.Back in 2010, then-County Executive Chris Collins took an ax to then-County Comptroller Mark C. Poloncarz’s budget, zapping numerous auditor and tax receiving staffers. Poloncarz filed a lawsuit charging that the county executive violated the county char…

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s request for $30 billion in federal disaster aid to help the New York City region recover from Superstorm Sandy should be met with a quick and resounding yes.The more than $50 billion in damage makes Sandy the second-most-expensive storm in U.S. history, right behind 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.This epic event swept through several states, most notab…

By Nan L. HaynesLast month Erie County Comptroller David J. Shenk reported that the county Sheriff’s Office spent nearly $780,000 derived from prisoners’ telephone calls on “law enforcement needs” such as Chevy Tahoes and office furniture instead of programs to benefit prisoners. The comptroller is correct when he states that the sheriff did nothing illegal; he did…

There seems to be no stopping the reclamation and rehabitation of downtown Buffalo. Latest in the ongoing rehabilitation sweepstakes is a plan to reimagine two all-but vacant buildings on Swan Street as a combination apartment building and bicycle emporium.It’s an inventive and intriguing plan. The marketability of the apartment space seems beyond dispute, with the ever-…

By Art “Happy” KleinThe problem can be summed up as mad science and bad engineering join looney economics to meet climate change and heighten the frightful spector of the West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project.West Valley demonstrates that treating symptoms rarely cures the disease. It all began in 1966, when private industry theorized it could dissolve nuclear powe…

While not having guardrails where the Amherst bike path is close to Tonawanda Creek Road is not the best situation, the bigger safety problem is people driving under the influence, and loopholes in the law that allow them to continue doing so.Tragically and almost incomprehensibly, Jocelyn B. Elberson, 25, of the Town of Tonawanda, and Sheila Pelton, 81, of East Amherst, w…

By William LambersWith the election behind us, it’s time to focus on a major hunger crisis here at home and abroad. There are 50 million people hungry in the United States. Worldwide there are 870 million starving people, a major cause of instability. We don’t need to wait, though, for the president and the Congress to act. I was reminded by Elizabeth Paff, a leadershi…

Justice, at least to the degree it can be, is finally being served in the case of Lynn M. DeJac Peters.A $2.7 million settlement has been reached in DeJac Peters’ wrongful-conviction case between her and New York State. The state finally did right by this woman in settling with her, but only after years of delay.DeJac Peters, certainly no candidate for mother of the year…

By Greg SlabodkinA lot of people take wireless service for granted. Just ask the millions of Americans on the East Coast who were recently caught in the path of Hurricane Sandy and lost power and consequently cellphone service when they needed it most. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 36 percent of U.S. homes are wireless. However, the downside of wirele…

These days, Americans are accustomed to using new technology to do things faster and easier. When it comes to voting, however, there are still barriers to overcome.Voters standing in hours-long lines on Election Day looked more like those in a Third World country than the United States. Because of those lines, the last ballots in Florida weren’t cast until after Mitt Rom…