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Our winter-without-an-end is taking a toll on agriculture around the nation and here in Western New York. That’s why it’s good that help is available for specialty crop growers and vineyards in particular through the Agricultural Act of 2014, known as the farm bill. The farm bill is an imperfect piece of work. It makes significant cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assista…

Editorials

Is it strange that Erie County is in the house rental business? Only to people who also think it’s odd if the plumber moonlights as a brain surgeon. Which is to say: Yes, it’s strange.That doesn’t mean the county has to trip over its feet to extricate itself from the landlord business – that could cause its own problems – but it’s not a place where governments should find …

It is an awesome thing to behold when social advances gather such momentum that they move inexorably, unstoppably forward. Then, opponents can only watch as the walls crumble and truths that touch the core of humanity are laid bare.That happened when black Americans demanded the right to be served at lunch counters and to ride in the front of buses. It happened in East Ger…

Editorials

For the first time in years, good news is coming out of Erie County Child Protective Services. A state review of procedures has found that workers there are doing a notably better job of conducting child abuse and neglect investigations.Those efforts will be bolstered with the county’s announcement that CPS investigators have been assigned to two hospitals to be available …

Editorials

There is a predictable, if dubious, story that makes the rounds every time governments make an effort to raise the minimum wage. If you raise the minimum wage, the tale goes, fewer young people will have jobs and some businesses will fail.Never mind that it never seems to happen, that’s the agreed-upon narrative and it simply has to play out for a while. But there’s anothe…

West Seneca’s residents and town supervisor have a right to be perplexed – and that’s putting it mildly – over the placement of seven convicted sex offenders with developmental disabilities in two state-run group homes on a residential street.All seven men are from Erie and Niagara counties and range in age from 31 to 53. They were relocated from a locked and segregated se…

Editorials

We’re happy to see that Nik Wallenda is returning to this area, even if it’s not back to Niagara Falls, where the wire walker gained fame. Wallenda has kept a special place in his heart for Niagara Falls since his walk across the Horseshoe Falls in June 2012. Live television allowed 13 million people to watch the feat that tied the Wallenda name to Niagara Falls.But his de…

The changes wrought by the advent of the digital world can be challenging, but the advantages are usually worth the trouble, and then some. Nowhere is that dichotomy more accurate than in the health care industry.The switch to electronic medical records is a daunting and expensive proposition for health professionals, but the efficiencies and improvements in health outcome…

Editorials

Activism in the African-American community in Buffalo began in the early 1800s. The demand for equal education for black children was a constant cry. The African Vine Street School was considered to be inferior to other schools in the district. Black students were not allowed to go to the city’s only high school. There also were white abolitionists in Buffalo who spoke out…

Editorials

The success of the families of the victims of the 2009 crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in Clarence Center has, predictably, caused stresses for the airline industry. Pilots now need more training than before. They must be given longer periods of rest than before.The consequence, especially for regional airlines whose pilots had less training than those of the b…

Those living in Western New York may have clear and well-defined boundaries for what they consider their home region. But outsiders are more likely to view the landscape as one piece.That’s why plans by tourism officials from five counties to develop a brand that markets all of them, and even includes neighboring counties, make sense. In fact, it should have been done soon…

Editorials

On a soft, sun-splashed August day last summer, the kind we Western New Yorkers summon to mind in the midst of harsh, winter blizzards, I attended Buffalo’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s march on Washington.Listening to the speakers that afternoon, I realized that with the commemoration of the day an African-American preacher forever changed A…

Not all of a president’s picks for ambassadorships come with ready expertise on their new home countries. That point has unfortunately been on display during recent Senate hearings. Formerly hesitant to appoint big-money donors to such posts, the second-term President Obama has been doling out political ambassadorships.Presidents have been “gifting” ambassadorship posts fr…

Editorials

It’s going to be a big coffin, for sure, but another nail was pounded into the one meant for Buffalo’s Skyway this week. A study by Project for Transportation Reform – part of Congress for the New Urbanism, a group that promotes “smart growth” and walkable communities – has identified Buffalo’s misbegotten bridge as one of the country’s 10 “Freeways without a Future.”All o…