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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.


Columns

Naniette Coleman had a memorable homecoming last weekend at the University at Buffalo. "To say this place made me who I am is an understatement," said Coleman, a 2002 UB graduate who is studying for her Ph.D in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Coleman returns as often as she can. Still, this visit had particular meaning: She came back to serve as …

Columns

For Joe Spina, detailed memory is both a gift and a remedy from all illusions. He was born in 1925, when Babe Ruth was still the greatest sports hero in the land, when a handful of merchants still used horses on the streets of Buffalo and when some elderly immigrants in his neighborhood still saw radio as a form of magic or witchcraft, carrying voices through the air. …

Columns

It might seem to be a political opportunity for Stephanie Miner. The Democratic mayor of Syracuse has been at odds with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for years. She leaves office in January because of term limits, and she has spoken openly about a possible challenge to Cuomo for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Miner woke up Sunday to learn Lisa Marie Cater, a Weste…

Columns

Friday, a coalition of private and public agencies in Central New York held an annual National Adoption Day celebration in Syracuse. The Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center was packed with at least 1,000 people as 52 families finalized adoptions with Family Court judges from seven upstate counties. Peter Robinson, a Niagara County court officer, sang "America the Beauti…

Columns

David Brooks wasn't thinking about vindication. He walked down a new stone stairway near the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge in Niagara Falls, heading toward water surging in Niagara River green, toward the drama of the rapids hidden in the gorge. Brooks was transfixed. It was the beauty, not the blunders, that had always been the point. He introduced me to the gorge more than …

Buffalo

In Thanksgiving season, Emily Nagy-Rizzuto contemplates a reason to be grateful whenever she reaches for her wallet. She was robbed and roughed up a few months ago on a busy Buffalo street, and a lot of motorists looked straight at her, then drove past. Except for two people who didn't. Nagy-Rizzuto can laugh now when she thinks about it: Her rescuers only happened t…

Buffalo

Deidra Patterson went downtown Friday to buy flowers for Ranney Dozier, on his birthday. Going back to childhood, when she needed comfort, he was always there. He is still only a few blocks away from her Loring Avenue home, and Deidra knows exactly where to find him. She drops to her knees before his tombstone at Forest Lawn Cemetery. "He'd do anything for me," she s…

Columns

Eileen O'Rourk-Yesis answered the phone Sunday and gave me a quick update. I was calling about her grandfather, John O'Rourk, a retired Buffalo K-9 officer who's recovering from bypass surgery. O'Rourk-Yesis offered a few reflections, then said goodbye and gave it some more thought. What she had shared with me, she realized, was absolutely true. It just didn't tell t…

Columns

Thomas Robinson began his Election Day by stopping at Tim Hortons. Long before dawn, he delivered coffee and doughnuts Tuesday to poll workers at the Pratt Willert Community Center, which he does each year to show his thanks for what they offer: "You vote," he said, "so at least you have a way of speaking out." After Robinson cast his ballot, he took a drive and coll…

Buffalo

The Bible is at the feet of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who leans from the stage at Kleinhans Music Hall to clasp the hands of men and women in the crowd before him. They surge forward, beaming, at the front of a line that stretches beyond range of the camera. The date is Nov. 9, 1967. The image, in a file at the Buffalo History Museum, was captured by Robert L. Sm…

Columns

A few weeks ago, I ran into Amy Dickinson, the internationally celebrated author and advice columnist, at a writer's event in Skaneateles. Dickinson, who has immortalized her nearby hometown of Freeville in Tompkins County, had a question. She wondered if we'd be interested in her written "thank you" to Buffalo. Until last spring, she said, her father, Buck, was in l…

Bisons and Baseball

I waited to write this piece until the World Series, this dramatic showdown between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. The afternoon light and scattered leaves of late October always carry me back to childhood. We'd run home after school to catch the end of each game, in an era when the World Series was played in the afternoon, and maybe we'd grab our gloves and p…

Columns

The marble figure stands motionless in a Plexiglass box, the smallest details of her hands and elaborate lace dress etched in stone. The statue went up in Jamestown's Lake View Cemetery more than a century ago, after the death of the young woman it was built to represent. The many wedding day stories about "the lady in the glass case" remain wildly alive: The lady wa…

Columns

The hugs were explosive, spontaneous. Abigail Eckerson Estevez, Sadie Glenn and Whitney Eckerson hurried straight toward Joe Lucenti on Wednesday after they spotted him weaving through a sea of blue uniforms in the lobby of KeyBank Center. "Mr. Lucenti!" Estevez shouted, throwing out her arms. Lucenti, Akron's longtime high school principal, was in charge when Esteve…

Local News

Shield, the 4-year-old German shepherd who was Buffalo Police K-9 Officer Craig E. Lehner's inseparable partner, will remain in the care of the Buffalo Police. The power of that connection will be evident Wednesday, at Lehner's funeral procession, when the dog is expected to walk alone behind the casket. Department officials say many offers have come in from the publ…