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Name: Brendan Francis O'Connor, 25. Who he is:  The North Tonawanda native graduated from SUNY Fredonia where he majored in political science. He now works in county government in downtown Buffalo and lives in Amherst. He attended Cardinal O'Hara High School for three years and graduated from North Tonawanda High School. He broke both wrists eight weeks ago inline skati…

Columns

The July sweeps ratings period is considered the least important of the four sweeps held annually, but that likely won’t reduce the celebration over at WGRZ-TV. The NBC affiliate won the local news competition over second-place WIVB-TV in the most important time slots by margins higher than they have been recently. WGRZ-TV won at 5 a.m., 6 a.m. 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p…

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Peter J. Heffley was looking for a home where he could easily entertain friends and colleagues and display his expanding collection of artwork. He found it in a former cape-style home in Amherst, a 1940s-era house that underwent a major renovation about 30 years ago. Since buying it in 2005, he has remodeled, redecorated and filled it with pieces collected over time.…

Bills

Are you ready for some pro football talk a day before the Buffalo Bills start the preseason? The big news at WGR-AM during the Bills season is that veteran host Howard Simon won’t be involved in the station’s pregame show. Inquiring minds wanted to know what that is all about. Simon says it was his call. “It was my idea,” said Simon in a telephone interview “It…

Local News

WKBW-TV General Manager Michael Nurse and two prominent members of the station’s sales department were released from their duties today by a representative of E.W. Scripps Company, the station’s owner. Nurse, who was named general manager in 2013 under different ownership after being station manager for 12 years, was retained by Scripps when it acquired the station more…

Columns

“Norah is a game-changer.” Those were the words of CBS News President Susan Zirinsky in May shortly after she announced Norah O’Donnell would replace Town of Tonawanda native Jeff Glor as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News.” The remarks came after O’Donnell’s coverage of two high-profile news events. O’Donnell certainly has been a game-changer in Western New York…

Local News

If you are a regular reader of this column, you know I’m a big fan of “Fleabag,” the British comedy carried on Amazon Prime. Whenever I’m asked what program to recommend, “Fleabag” is near the top of the list. In a column last month, the second season of “Fleabag” was high on my list of nine programs to binge watch on a rainy day. The series stars Phoebe Waller-Br…

Lifestyles

Club manager Bill Finkelstein announces that his bridge lessons at 10 a.m. Wednesdays will continue indefinitely at the Airport Bridge Club, 247 S. Cayuga Road, Cheektowaga. As a result, starting time for the Wednesday pairs game will be changed to noon. For info, call 603-6943. All games at the Airport Club begin at noon through Aug. 14, offering extra points, half red, …

YOUNG ADULT The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen; Henry Holt, 369 pages ($18.99) Ages 14 and up. ... Publishers Weekly used the phrase "visceral fantasy" for Margaret Owen's extraordinary debut novel, and there's no better phrase to describe her vivid prose, that sings and sparks as it plunges  the reader into a meticulously crafted world, into the headlong rush of …

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Name: Jackie LoVullo, 60. Who she is: Designer of handmade, whimsical wreaths who calls her business Zenjoy (a combination of "zen" and "enjoy.") She's a gardener, power walker and workout enthusiast and celebrated her 60th birthday by tandem skydiving from 10,000 feet. She grew up in North Buffalo and graduated from Bishop McMahon High School in 1977. She and her husba…

Columns

Abraham Lincoln said it best. But then, he made a habit of doing that. "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you really want to test a man's character, give him power." A cruel test has just been performed on the American character, which had to endure impotence at its ugliest so that television could test its political omnipotence. The American public withstoo…

Gardening

The front of Ron and Marcia Panzarella's home on Camden Avenue in North Buffalo is the first sign that garden-lovers live here. A visit to the backyard confirms it. A bistro table for two is placed close to the pond installed in 2009 by their son and son-in-law. Lily pads provide cover to the dozen fish, and nearby plants include irises, potted canna, zebra grass, groun…

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I did not see all 430-plus Garden Walk Buffalo gardens last weekend – nobody could – nor every garden on the Open Gardens weekday tours or the weekend tours across the Buffalo Niagara region this summer. But, like about 100,000 garden tourists, I saw lots of gardens and heard questions from locals and out-of-town visitors. “What did the people ask you?” I asked the gard…

Columns

David Milch, the Buffalo native who started his television writing career in 1982 with an Emmy-winning script for the groundbreaking series “Hill Street Blues,” is being honored this weekend with the career achievement award by the Television Critics Association. Milch, a Nichols School and Yale University graduate and former Yale lecturer before entering the television…

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Its lengthy name is a hint that there's a lot going on at the Western New York Movie Expo and Memorabilia Show. The fourth annual event, to be held from Aug. 1 to 4 in the Buffalo Grand Hotel (formerly the Adam's Mark Hotel), is a classic film festival, a celebration of vintage TV and collector's candy store - with a twist. In the more than 100 movies, shorts and tel…