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Sean Kirst

Sean Kirst is a columnist for The Buffalo News. Raised in Dunkirk, he has been an Upstate journalist for more than 40 years.


Buffalo

Samuel Mascorella looked like anyone else in the crowd when he climbed off the train. This was 98 years ago, after he arrived in Syracuse for the dedication of a World War I monument that may have as much intimate meaning as any memorial to that war in this nation. The Rev. J.J. Ganey, a Catholic chaplain who served alongside Mascorella, peppered him with gentle but ins…

Columns

Larry Becelia, like thousands of us in Western New York, had followed news reports about the mysterious journey of the animal that came to be known as the Amherst bear, until that bear was shot to death this week. Unlike most of us, Becelia's job demands interacting with the animals in a way that is about as routine as it can ever be when dealing with black bears. Th…

Featured

Jim McCormick has a favorite story about his feet. In 1961, at an Army ROTC summer camp at Fort Bragg, he was standing in formation outside his barracks, waiting with his buddies to be released for the weekend. One of his responsibilities was leaving his boots cleaned by his bed, and McCormick had them ready and waiting when his sergeant went inside to take a look. The …

Columns

We live in an angry time, when arguments and divisions often drown out reason. In such a time, you look for those rare and reaffirming moments when people offer unexpected moments of communion. Consider the tale of Alphonso Butlak IV, and his offer to shape Mercury's head. If you work in downtown Buffalo, you might be familiar with the sculpture of Mercury, messenger…

Buffalo

Teddy Rivera always studied people, even before the second-by-second nature of combat in Iraq intensified that quality. So he admits it: He was not quite sure of what to make of Anna-Lesa Calvert when he met her, about five years ago, as he washed his car on a hot day on Carolina Street in Buffalo. He lives in a nearby apartment with his wife Alexis and their two young …

Columns

In an ideal world, Sjunseeargn Foxx would have loved to handle the task herself. Her son, Tremaine Brown, wanted to learn to ride a bike. Sjunseeargn wishes she could have helped him with it in the same way her own mother helped her, during her Brooklyn childhood. She wishes she could have held his bike and hurried alongside him outside their Williamsville home, letting…

Columns

The Sunday circulation is 34,000, daily 29,000. In journalism, many of us have worked along the road in newsrooms that sound a lot like The Capital Gazette, one of America's oldest newspapers, where a killer Thursday in Annapolis murdered three men and two women before he hid beneath a desk and was arrested by police. There are papers of that size in communities in j…

Columns

The yearbooks, about 700 of them, are packed onto shelves in Bill Greco's basement in East Amherst. Most are from Buffalo high schools, past and present. Many are filled with scribbled notes about friendship and first dates and lunch tables and good luck. Open them up, take in that scent of ancient pages, and you find some of this city's most celebrated sons and daughte…

Columns

The timing is both coincidence and absolutely perfect. In the same month that an American president accused a Canadian prime minister of dishonesty, with a trade war rumbling along a traditionally cordial border, the Niagara Parks Commission decided Friday to approve a new memorial in the Toronto Power Park at Niagara Falls, Ont., not far from the brink of the Horseshoe…

Columns

Mickey Osterreicher will be in his accustomed place for tonight's Peloton. Osterreicher, a longtime marshal for the event, will lead the second column in the 12-mile, two-by-two bicycle procession that officially begins this weekend's Ride for Roswell, a major fundraiser for the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo. Every June, on a Friday evening, cancer…

Columns

For a sense of why Kevan Busa feels so driven to honor Dr. Philip McCarthy in this weekend's Ride for Roswell, consider a moment that occurred about three months before Busa arrived in 2012 at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. That was the day Busa learned, out of nowhere, that he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. An ambulance brought the Marcellus native to…

Columns

Jamie Leszczynski was talking through a Bluetooth speaker as she drove, the highway landscape flowing past her car at a velocity that seemed fitting to the way our culture moves these days. At that moment, it was less than a week since Anthony Bourdain – chef, author and television star – took his own life, his death occurring only days after famed designer Kate Spade m…

Buffalo

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry knew immediately what his message ought to be. Curry is the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Representatives of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Great Britain made contact with Curry's office last February. There was going to be a royal wedding in May, with Prince Harry marrying Meghan Markle, an Am…

Columns

In nine years of classes at Our Lady of Hope Home School in Buffalo, Kayla Hall never missed a single day. Her mother, Tabetha Hall, remembers only one close call. In kindergarten, Kayla went to the dentist and had a tooth pulled. When Tabetha offered the option of going home to rest, Kayla preferred to go to school. "She wanted to be there," Tabetha said, a commitment …

Local News

Marie Barnett Snodgrass apologized in advance. The Flag Day decision that made her a living part of American history occurred 75 years ago this week, when Snodgrass, now 85, was just a little girl. "Your memory can get kind of dim," she said. There was no need to worry. When she spoke of those days – and the role a U.S. Supreme Court justice from Chautauqua County pl…