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On its face, the $1.38 billion budget proposed this week by Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz looks acceptable. It makes cuts, restores critical funding and – unfortunately but perhaps necessarily – imposes a small tax increase. But looks can be deceiving, and county legislators of both parties should be prepared to examine the spending plan closely and fairly to ens…

The ruling by State Appellate Court in Rochester authorizing a lawsuit against the gun industry is not only welcome, it was inevitable. The Second Amendment offers cover for the gun industry, but it’s not absolute, any more than freedom of speech or the press is. The ruling was based on a shooting in Buffalo that severely injured Danny “Bud” Williams as he played basketbal…

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The recent momentum in a few localities to “upsize” their town boards has reopened the public debate on the size of government – and that’s good. At least, that’s how the man who started the downsizing movement sees it. Kevin Gaughan has offered to debate upsizing proponents on the issue of adding members to town boards. It’s an invitation that should be accepted. West Sen…

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If there was ever a need to sit down and examine the results of a well-intended experiment, the dust-up over a ban on younger patrons at Chippewa Street bars offers that opportunity. Bar employees and a couple of bar owners confronted city lawmakers the other day over the ending of Thursday “college nights,” the only time when those younger than 21 were allowed inside ba…

By Jim Rudnicki Recently a number of politicians have called for demolition of the Skyway, calling it a hindrance to waterfront development and an obsolete structure with high maintenance costs. Opponents of demolition claim that without alternative routes for the 40,000 vehicles per day using the elevated bridge, removal is not practical. A plan is needed to shunt most of…

About 13 years ago, I received a phone call from a pleasant and perky woman. She gave me her name and said she got my name from one of my professors at Buffalo State College. She said she was interested in the subject of humor. Her goal was to become a speaker on humor, as I am, and requested my help in accomplishing this. Thus began my odyssey with Mary. Since I was fortu…

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It’s going to start getting crowded up by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus soon, and that’s just fine. The latest to announce plans to move to the area – or just a stent’s throw from it, anyway – is the Catholic Health System, which plans to build a new $46 million headquarters next to the western end of the Kensington Expressway. The building won’t include outpatient ca…

By Catherine Beltz-Foley All New York drivers are required to buy auto insurance to protect themselves and others in case of a car accident. But despite this universal requirement, New Yorkers are given far too little information about what kind of insurance, and how much, they should buy. All too often, this lack of knowledge leads to tragic consequences. Consider Supplem…

Money raised by two boys from Lake View will not make or break the SPCA Serving Erie County budget, but their unselfish act should serve as an example to young and old alike. Brennen, 11, and Evan, 9, Kilcoyne worked hard to raise $1,300, a springtime project that lasted until this week. And it turned into a family affair, including their parents John and Shannon, their yo…

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The new report on the Buffalo Public Schools is a painful but honest look at the long-standing problems that are holding back students, and, in that, it is also a hopeful document. You can’t fix what’s wrong if you don’t know what’s wrong. The report was prepared by distinguished educator Judy L. Elliott, who was appointed by the state to help turn around Buffalo’s lowest-…

When someone asks you to join her team for a 5K run, it can be a little daunting – especially when you neither run, swim, roll in mud or jump. Also, I am now considered in the senior age group. I do, however, patronize the gym, walk on a treadmill, attend spin class and can Zumba with the best of them. So although I wasn’t sure how far 5K is (about 3 miles), I signed on. T…

By Richard A. LeeIn 1960, telephones were tethered to cords and were used only for conversation. The news came to us just a few times a day – when the paper landed on our doorstep and when networks aired their news broadcasts. And when John Kennedy and Richard Nixon took part in the nation’s first live televised presidential debate, they stood before cameras and answered q…