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Sean Kirst

Sean Kirst, a columnist for The Buffalo News, is a recipient of the Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing and the national Society of Professional Journalists award for excellence in column writing. Raised in Dunkirk, a graduate of SUNY Fredonia, the son and grandson of Buffalonians, he has been an Upstate journalist for more than 40 years.


Bisons and Baseball

I hoped to drive to Cooperstown this month with a few workers from the New Era Cap Co., folks from the floor of the cap-making plant in Derby, to walk the halls of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. That is the game's Valhalla, where artifacts have the feel of sacred relics, and what artifact is more revered than a baseball cap? Many of those caps were made by everyday…

Columns

In the contest for the Golden Snowball – emblematic so far this winter of both the snowiest large city in New York, as well as the entire nation – Buffalo has jumped out to a 16-inch lead over runner-up Syracuse, the more typical champion. That snowy winter has also put Western New York in the running for an even rarer milestone, a status you might call a kind of wintry…

Amherst

Thirteen years ago this month, not long after Valentine’s Day, Amanda Geiger and her best friend, Erica Graham, were at a Burger King in Albion with another friend named Charlie. They were teenagers with no plans for that evening, and Charlie said: Why don’t we go to Thom’s? That did it. As Geiger remembers, Erica – who was driving – casually agreed. She was an ace s…

Business

Less than two years ago, the commissioner of Major League Baseball went to Easton, Pa., to celebrate MLB's successful role in helping to save the jobs of hundreds of workers making uniforms at a plant in that Northeastern city. The question now asked by labor advocates in Western New York: Could Rob Manfred do the same to help protect more than 200 jobs that will be los…

Columns

Patrick Harrington, in so many ways, represents the miracle. Not quite a year ago, Eric Koch made a list of where the things he holds most dear should end up, once he was gone. Hanging in Koch’s Red House Music Shop in Newfane is a guitar in the fashion of legendary jazzman Howard Roberts, and Koch had no doubt. This one had to be for Pat. Patrick Harrington is a stu…

Buffalo

An annual Buffalo celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., postponed during a January snowstorm, has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 18, at 5:30 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall. The event, organized by Buffalo's Concerned Citizens Following the Dream Committee, will be held in the year marking the 90th anniversary of King's birth. Among the recipients of speci…

Bandits

For Jerome Thompson Sr., the 14-hour drive from upstate New York to Duluth, Ga., will easily be worth it. He and his wife Deloris intend to be there Saturday when the Georgia Swarm host the Buffalo Bandits in a game of sweeping importance in the National Lacrosse League. Both teams have lost only twice all season. The winner will remain in close pursuit of Toronto for t…

Buffalo

Jeff Glor, based on close experience, understands the secret. The Blizzard of 2019 pushed Buffalo far ahead in the rankings for the Golden Snowball, the trophy that annually honors the snowiest large city in Upstate New York, with the winner often doubling as the snowiest large city in the nation. As of Monday's springlike thaw, Buffalo had piled up 91 inches of snow th…

Buffalo

Buffalo News photographer Mark Mulville almost did not get out of his car. He was driving around downtown during Wednesday's blizzard, looking for striking images amid the snow and blinding wind, when he paused at the corner of Swan and Washington streets. Photographers often capture images of statues in snowstorms, once piles of snow add fantastic details to their appe…

Amherst

Amy Betros could not shake the email from her mind. It came Friday from a friend she loves and admires, and Betros pulled it up at her desk at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy in Buffalo, in a room that acts as a high-energy nerve center for an operation that serves hundreds of people each day in need of housing, food or clothing. Her office, attached to a landmark church, i…

Buffalo

To Yohalis Rivera, in sun or ice, the wind is still the wind. More than 16 months ago, she and three young sons huddled in the living room of their home in Humacao, a Puerto Rican city blasted by Hurricane Maria. That wind had a voice, a lonesome power she will never forget, and they listened as it shattered windows and caused water to pour from the ceiling. Rivera’s…

Buffalo

For Zack Bruce, Wednesday offered a 21st century definition of a word of iconic power in Buffalo. He climbed out of bed early, intent on making it to Hamburg in time for a doctor’s appointment. A winter snowstorm was sweeping across the area, moving from point to point with fierce and blinding intensity. Bruce was so focused on catching his bus and getting on his way th…

Columns

There were two different realities in the 1960s in the old Victorian house on Goundry Street in North Tonawanda, where the nine children of Vivian and Joseph Volk came of age. Big families were hardly unusual at the time, and the five girls and four boys were accustomed to a jam-packed station wagon and all the jostling that goes with lots of kids. Yet if they spoke of …

Columns

Last night, I found the note from Marion Alderman. It is handwritten, on an old piece of notebook paper. For ages, I kept it folded in my wallet until I feared the paper would disintegrate. A few years ago, I put it in a box with some other notes and letters I hang onto, all precious things. Marion died last week, at 92. I knew her from Syracuse, her hometown, where her…

Deaths

The family of Tibor Baranski Sr., who died Sunday at 96 in Buffalo, has announced the time of his funeral rites. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 1 at Christ the King Church, 30 Lamarck Drive in Amherst. On the family's request, donations in memory of Baranski can be sent to the Hungarian Scout Fund, P.O. Box 771571, Lakewood, Ohio 44107. Ba…