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Editorial: Bits and pieces from the news

Serial philanthropist Russell Salvatore continues to melt the hearts of the community with his generosity. The restaurateur made a $300,000 donation for vans to drive veterans to the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A veteran himself, it took no time for him to commit to replace all 10 vans when he learned of the need.

Salvatore finds ways to give back, including $1 million earlier this year to Erie County Medical Center’s capital campaign for a new trauma center emergency room. Back in 2012, he paid to upgrade the televisions in patient rooms at ECMC. He followed that up a couple of years later by donating $500,000 for a new orthopedic unit in his name at the hospital.

Kevin Elis, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound former Army paratrooper who set off to raise money for the vans, summed up the feelings of everyone touched by Salvatore’s generosity: “That 84-year-old man made me almost cry.”

Three former Hamlin Park students’ space spuds are back on earth. The taters proved their interstellar resilience, and the experiment made a lasting impression on the girls who watched it take flight.

In 2015, Gabriella Melendez, Toriana Cornwell and Shaniylah Welch were among the winners of a national science competition sponsored by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. They planned to test whether seed potatoes can survive space travel.

The potatoes orbited for 28 days back in February aboard the International Space Station before returning to earth and being planted. They are now producing potatoes.

The girls have moved on to Buffalo high schools with their interest in science heightened. Education at its best.

Hamburg is considering advertising its claim as the birthplace of the hamburger by painting its eyesore water tower along the Thruway to resemble a burger.

We say go for it. The rusting, faded blue tower has the “worst-house-on-the-street” look. Any paint job can only help.

Twenty-four years ago, the idea fell flat. Now Chris Hannotte Luly is resuming the push for a savory paint job. Check out and take a look at creative community towers in other parts of the country.

It’s a notion that’s just goofy enough to be cool.

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