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Art vs. commerce. The fever-pitched battle is as old as art and commerce themselves.  And even as a decidedly stacked local summer concert season gets underway, the war between the two rages on, reduced to a simmering bitterness between purveyors of original music and those who make their living playing covers. To be clear, I begrudge neither. I've been on both sides…

Columns

Pat yourself on the back. Those people worrying that the internet will be the death of serious news? They have it wrong. The proof is in what you read. The digital world gives us readership data we couldn't have imagined in print days. At The News, we pay the most attention to readership scores generated by Metrics for News, a program built by the American Press Inst…

Columns

Do you have vivid memories of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in Western New York, or of the day he died? If so, share them with The Buffalo News by leaving a comment after this piece or emailing Sean Kirst at skirst@buffnews.com. We will publish a compilation later this week. It is often said that longterm memory is a place of both shadow and flashes of brilliant light. Fifty y…

Columns

When Marc Molinaro gathered reporters on Main Street Wednesday to talk about his Republican campaign for governor, he started with a noteworthy observation. "You’re probably going to see me pretty often,” he said. The Dutchess County executive is not traveling westward these days just to sample local cuisine, though he did venture later that day to the political mecc…

Columns

A single dollar, taped to a classroom whiteboard at John F. Kennedy High School in Cheektowaga, quickly multiplied by 1,277 times. That money was donated toward the effort to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease. Impressed, friends of Katie Mattison keep asking if she intends to do it again, if she will try and lead a simila…

"All the President's Men" set the precedent. We'd seen great newspaper movies since the '30's, but never before did newspaper movies mythologize the actual way modern journalists work. Then came Ron Howard's "The Paper." Then "Spotlight," which could almost be thought of as a sequel to "All the President's Men" in its faithful portrait of the doggedness and actual he…

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Rose Stoklosa knew immediately. She took one look at the photograph in the newspaper, at the image of a magnolia blossoming alone in a vacant lot on Buffalo's East Side, and called her son, Ray. "That's grandma's tree," Rose told him. A few weeks ago, that magnolia was in full bloom on Rother Avenue, amid the tall grass of the empty lot. You could tell, by looking at…

Business

If you want a sneak peek at the next exciting food trends that will be making their way to Tops and Wegmans, just take a look at one of your vegan friends’ shopping lists. Vegans, people who do not eat or use animal products, are huge influencers in the food industry. They’re responsible for introducing some of the hottest superfoods into the mainstream, such as kale, tof…

Columns

WASHINGTON – Roseanne Barr blamed Ambien for her career-killing racist Twitter rant, which strikes me as odd. After all, I took Ambien once, too, and my Twitter feed remained respectably boring. So there you go. The fault, dear Roseanne, lies not in our sedatives, but in ourselves. And the sitcom star's downfall proves, once again, that social media brings out the worst…

Columns

Over the years, Jamie and Rosie Billquist became regular customers at Miller's Greenhouse. That little business, operated by an Amish family, sells vegetables and flowers to travelers passing through Chautauqua County. Jamie stopped in not long ago to buy some plants for the garden around his house. The greenhouse owner, recognizing him, asked if the Amish community cou…

Columns

For a place that brings so much joy to so many people every day, I rarely make it one lap around the meadow at Delaware Park without feeling sadness. To understand why, you have to know that in 2015, a woman and her two children were walking in the part of the park that is adjacent to the Scajaquada Expressway when a driver apparently fell asleep, jumped a median and hi…

Columns

Some disturbing data and statistics on children’s drownings were recently sent my way by a not-for-profit organization, Safe Kids Worldwide. Now that we’re headed into the heart of the swimming season, including in the warming Great Lakes, here’s what you need to know. About 1,000 children drown each year in the United States. Roughly 70 percent of the drownings occur b…

Columns

As Andrew Cuomo, Cynthia Nixon and Marc Molinaro argue over who’s a real progressive, who’s a faux progressive and who’s a conservative, a new study indicates it’s more than just a campaign debate. The answer could shape the state’s economic destiny. The study from the Economic Policy Institute compared the economic performances of Wisconsin and Minnesota since 2010 to d…

Roone Arledge was a genius. I never realize how spectacular a TV invention "Monday Night Football" was until I watch, say, a 40-point blowout at an NBA playoff game where the resident announcers--one seasoned pro, two ex-players  -- have nothing remotely interesting to say among them. A fellow I know whom no one has ever been tempted to call a genius, once confidentl…

Columns

WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is an optimist. Flake, a vocal critic of President Trump for more than a year, told Harvard Law School graduates the other day that President Donald Trump's behavior "may have hit bottom." "Our presidency has been debased by a figure who seemingly has a bottomless appetite for destruction and division ... We may have hit bottom,…