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By Jill JedlickaMore than 1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water, yet we are privileged to have 20 percent of the world’s accessible fresh water at our front door.Clean water is an essential human need and one whose value will increase as global climates change. The Great Lakes provide drinking water to 34 million people in the United State…

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The federal E-Rate program, which helps schools and libraries pay for Internet service, has been a rousing success. Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., says that 92 percent of the nation’s classrooms have Internet service, up from 14 percent in 1996, when the program started. But new technology calls for a huge upgrade in the program to improve connection speeds necessary to a…

By Jim HoweWater sustains life. Yet as we saw with Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, water can sometimes be dangerous and even life-threatening.As we celebrate World Water Day today and think about the many benefits we derive from fresh water here in Buffalo, it’s time to develop perspective on natural events driven by extreme weather and a changing climate. How do we ass…

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Maybe the problem here is that the Department of Veterans Affairs is as clueless as it is careless. Earlier this year, Buffalo’s VA hospital was found to have reused insulin pens, potentially exposing patients to HIV and hepatitis. Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs has, for mysterious reasons, canceled a six-day athletic event in Buffalo that will cost the community …

By Julian Mocine-McQueen and Natasha D. SotoRecently, the Peace Bridge Authority, the Olmsted Park Conservancy Board and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo were applauded for “restoring” Front Park. The perspective of this story was one-sided.We have yet to hear the story about how the authority and Cuomo consistently exclude the people who live in the neighborhood adjacent to the park …

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The dust is still settling from Tuesday’s management earthquake at First Niagara Bank, in which its chief executive officer, John Koelmel, was ousted from his position in a rift with the bank’s board of directors. It was an unsettling development for several reasons, the two most prominent of which are First Niagara’s important role in the economy of Western New York and K…

By Carl J. MontanteStan Lipsey has been best known as the publisher of The Buffalo News, a position from which he recently retired. These have not been easy times for the newspaper business as papers around the country are under attack by competition from all sorts of electronic media. Many major newspapers have, in fact, closed. Nonetheless, Lipsey has successfully led Th…

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As soon as President Obama announced his choice for labor secretary, it became clear that Snyder native Thomas E. Perez had become the latest target of today’s toxic political environment.Indeed, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, as News Washington bureau chief Jerry Zremski reported. But Perez, who has fought more than his share of battles representing the downtrodden and di…

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All it takes is a splash of cold water, just a bracing slap across the cheek, and the scales fall from their eyes. With that, opponents of same-sex marriage understand what the fuss is about: human dignity, equality, the longing for happiness.The latest welcome convert is Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. The onetime supporter of the egregious Defense of Marriage Act an…

By Richard C. IannuzziTeachers statewide are deeply concerned about their students – and they are speaking up.As a key component of its “Tell It Like It Is” campaign, New York State United Teachers members are writing letters that spell out for state policy makers the negative impact of the overreliance on testing. Teachers in Western New York, and statewide, are blanketin…

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We’re not exactly sure what the State Assembly is looking for in seeking to stiffen the penalties against the Buffalo Bills should they leave Western New York before their proposed new lease allows, but the effort seems unnecessary.The Assembly wants the Cuomo administration to write financial penalties against the Bills into law, allowing the state to recoup the entire co…

By Sam MagavernThese are tough budget times for cities, counties, school districts and the state of New York. Now, more than ever, it is important that we not waste tax revenue. Unfortunately, local industrial development agencies continue to spend our money on projects that do not add jobs to the local economy, but only move them from one place to another. Too often, the …