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Surfing the rolling waves with a stiff wind at our backs, the novice crew anxiously trimmed the sails as we headed past the breakwater into the safety of Buffalo Harbor. Captain Ed Quinlan of the Seven Seas Sailing School barked a command to trim the jib, and after complimenting my wide-eyed sister on the helm, leaned against the stern and turned to the rest of us.“Now tha…

By Joseph CurranPope Benedict XVI entered the papacy with a reputation for being very conservative, and he has done little to call that into question. But in resigning his papacy, this very traditional pope has done one of the most modern things a pope could do – and in doing so has perhaps changed the way the Catholic Church thinks of its leader.As head of the Vatican’s C…

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We have long argued that tax breaks for development projects need to be dealt in a more conservative fashion. We need firm standards about the kinds of businesses that can have the breaks and the number of jobs they produce, and should stop assisting businesses that simply move from one town to the next within the same county. Any other approach is wasteful of county tax d…

By Kara KaneSince becoming a School Board member, I’ve had a crash course in the financial, instructional, regulatory and political aspects of New York State’s education system. This list outlines a sample of my observations. If New York State was serious about education … • New regulations for reporting, school safety, training and instruction would come in two flavors: f…

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It would be great to hear some other ideas, and we’re not sure the list of potential developers should be limited to Rocco Termini – though he has been tremendously successful in restoration projects – but there is a lot to like about the ideas percolating between Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, and his friend Termini regarding the old DL&W terminal.Higgins’ idea is to leve…

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The upcoming appointment of a new commissioner for the Erie County Water Authority is as good a time as any to talk about reforming the whole process.The leading candidate for the job, attorney Christopher J. O’Brien, may have been well-intentioned when he talked about the idea of studying the size of the Erie County Water Authority, but, let’s face it, that’s what some of…

By Frank A. Sedita IIIIn a criminal case, the incriminating evidence must be admissible in court. It must be credible. And, it must be more than a tantalizing theory for the court of public opinion. The evidence must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.My office’s standard for bringing a criminal prosecution is as follows: Consistent wit…

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Chuck Hagel isn’t everyone’s idea of a great defense secretary. Fair enough. Some previous positions and statements have caused consternation in some quarters, though it is peculiar that, on the political front, most of it is coming from the former senator’s fellow Republicans. That’s a good one on its own: A Democratic president nominates a former Republican senator for d…

Political Cartoons

From time to time I like to share my weekly art from the Sunday Spotlight section. This week's lead was Mark Sommer's book review of "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief," by Lawrence Wright. Since I've already drawn L. Ron Hubbard, I took this as my chance to draw Tom Cruise for the first time. Check it out in today'…

Let’s acknowledge Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s speeding ticket maneuver for what it is: a money grab. Albany is short of cash and it “loses” some $58 million a year because local courts plead down speeding charges – whose fines would go to the state – to lesser offenses, whose fines stay in the municipality.The towns and villages want to keep that money. The state lusts after it…

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The location of the Erie County Home in Alden, so far away from the families of its residents, always made it a problem for those wishing to visit loved ones. The move away from an outdated building in a rather remote location to a new facility on the Erie County Medical Center campus is welcome, and long overdue.Several hundred nursing home residents have made the move fr…

By Kevin GaughanI once read a description of Abraham Zapruder’s home movie of the assassination of President Kennedy as “the saddest film ever made.” The Dallas clothier inadvertently recorded uniquely American joy, violently transformed into unspeakable human horror, all in 27 seconds. I’ve never been able to bring myself to watch the entire film.This past week, watching …

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Because Congress can’t get out of its own way – or that of the nation’s – a fusillade of automatic budget cuts is scheduled to take effect on March 1, with catastrophic effects to both military and domestic programs. It will hit here, and hard. One example: If Congress and President Obama don’t find a way to avert the cuts, cancer research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute …