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   No one denies that the 1,000-plus kids and adults who participate in the Central Amherst Little League deserve real bathrooms with running water and flushing toilets.    But who should be paying for them?    Amherst town officials said that in the past, the town has agreed to provide water and sewer lines to youth sports organizations, wh…

   If $4 a gallon was a tipping point that led people to change their driving habits, at one point does it tip back?    That question may have occurred to you if, like me, you have made some drastic changes in the way you get around. I'm still sold on the bus and train, as I wrote in my column today,   and I'll still be going Metro even if the pri…

   Ever since Kevin Gaughan first raised the issue of downsizing government boards, I have been trying to find a community that has one. Through some combination of the terms "three-member," "board" and "New York" on Google, I came across Cherry Valley.    But Google missed the part where the Town Board will grow to five m…

   Sometimes when I write a column, I'll search the Web to see if anyone has trod this ground before. At best, you find that maybe you had an original thought, at worst you find out that a topic has been written to death.    If you look up stories that have the words "kids, parents and coaches," the theme generally goes like this: Parents yel…

   Arthur Fuerst has come up with an unusual plan  to keep his kids from feeling like they have to follow the path their contemporaries have trod out of Western New York: Start a business and then hire them.    That won't work for all of us, it demonstrates how far one person is willing to go to keep his family close.    The flight of y…

   West Seneca Town Board members say they would strongly oppose a resolution by Town Supervisor Walter Piotrowski to let voters decide whether the Town Board should shrink by two seats.    Piotrowski says a three-member board is what was originally intended for all New York State government and that a smaller board would work more efficiently. Board m…

   If your salary is paid by the public, the public has a right to know what they pay you.    That seems pretty straightforward. But Orchard Park might be the first local government in Western New York to make it quite so easy to find the information, as I wrote in my column today.    Should other municipalities and school districts follow O…

   There's no love lost between Amherst Town Supervisor Satish Mohan and the town's union leadership.    But Mohan's personal involvement in contract negotiations with town highway and police union leaders has been described as a terrible experience by most everyone. Wheeling and dealing has never been a strength of Mohan's, who has stated his belief t…

   A copy editor here asked me a while back whether Eggertsville extended west of Bailey Avenue. While I was pondering that, I dropped my daughter off at a soccer game at a school in the Town of Tonawanda and came across one of the 7 mph speed limit signs.    It didn't take me long to come up with some other questions I couldn't answer and today's colu…

   Robert P. Farwell Jr. will be retiring this summer as principal of one of the largest high schools in the area, Orchard Park Central.    Some notes from the world of Bob Farwell, who has spent the last 28 years at Orchard Park High:    -- The book he will leave in the high school library is "Boom! Voices of the Sixties" by Tom …

   It's not easy to be a non-conformist, to hold fast to an opinion that you know will be unpopular with a lot of people.    That's true in high school, it's true in the corporate world and it's true when it could pit neighbor against neighbor, as is the case when a community grapples with the ramifications of a new building development.    …

   After months of aggressive lobbying by Benderson Development (developer in favor) and the Fairways Group (neighborhood residents against) regarding the proposed Amherst Town Centre development, the Town Board voted 4-3 Monday to give the project the green light.    Hundreds of people showed up in Sweet Home High School to voice their support or oppo…

   Gail Leary jokes about how emotional she will be when she leads her East Aurora pupils in song for the last time this Sunday. When I interviewed her for my column today, I suggested that she might want to stay away from the film "Mr. Holland's Opus" for a while.    But it's not a stretch to understand why she feels this way. Teachers devel…

     The possible conversion of Hamburg’s town-owned ice arena on Lakeview Road to a private operation hasn’t drawn much attention yet in part because it hasn’t gone too far. The town has asked the state for “alienation” rights for the site, so it could lease it to a private operator.    If it gets the OK, then the Town Board has to decide wheth…

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Supporters call him a homegrown Buffalo success story -- an outspoken activist with vision, the driving force behind removing tolls from the Niagara Thruway and a developer who invested in downtown Buffalo when others wouldn't. Critics call him racially and ethnically insensitive, a bullying opportunist, and a symbol of corporate greed who has profited from sweetheart d…