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A Colorado congressman is on exactly the right track in pushing legislation requiring Veterans Affairs hospitals to report infections to state health departments.It should have been standard procedure a long time ago. Instead, standard procedure has been to hope that veterans hospitals would be kind enough to inform state health officials of problems. So far, that practice…

Editorials

The recently negotiated contract with City of Buffalo firefighters was, indeed, a long time coming. Some would say, too long. But it’s finally done and the overall result is good for the city and its taxpayers and more than fair for firefighters during a weak economy.The 15-year agreement gives firefighters their first negotiated raises since 2002, and includes greater hea…

Editorials

It’s a fine thing that the New York State Senate is cracking down on the use of cash welfare benefits to pay for cigarettes, beer and liquor, state lottery tickets, casino games, strip clubs and even illegal drugs. Who could argue against seeking to prevent such gross misuse of state tax dollars that are meant to help people in need?But here’s the question: What are senato…

Editorials

Today I am in our nation’s capital with 10 other New York State citizens and hundreds of others from across the United States. On Tuesday, we will meet with our elected representatives to ask for their support in reducing our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, most notably carbon dioxide and methane. These are released into Earth’s atmosphere in enormous quantities during…

Editorials

In the almost 200 years since the opening of the Erie Canal, Buffalo has undergone many paroxysms of transition, development and growth. The opening of the canal on that auspicious October day in 1825 was a decisive moment. It transformed a small settlement along Buffalo Creek into a thunder town that in its golden age rivaled the wealthiest and most important cities not o…

Editorials

So, now the easy part is done. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has reached an agreement with legislative leaders on his proposal to create tax-free areas for certain businesses in New York State. The question now is, what does New York need to do to make it work?The plan has been changed since Cuomo unveiled it last month. The benefit has been watered down so that no more than 10,000…

Editorials

The rate at which technology is crowding in on American privacy is not only breathtaking, but almost certainly not fully comprehended. Calling and emailing are no longer private. Advertisers know what we want almost before we do. What is private, we give away via Facebook, GPS, E-ZPass and online shopping. Now the FBI, apparently without oversight, is using drones.As with …

It’s not often we take the time to remark on the passing of actors, musicians and other artists, but the unexpected death this week of James Gandolfini gives pause. It’s not just that he was a terrific actor, though he was certainly that. His depiction of the tortured mobster Tony Soprano offered a six-season master class in acting. He could convey an emotion – often enoug…

Editorials

There have been some recent positive developments in the effort to advance this area’s transportation options. The momentum must continue.Most recently, Sen. Charles E. Schumer successfully urged the federal government to modify a $1.2 million grant he previously secured for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. The change allows the agency to streamline its study…

Peace talks with the Taliban hardly seem possible while American soldiers are dying on the Afghan battlefield, but they are a necessary step in what will certainly be a very long and difficult process.On the one hand, the Taliban say they want to “open dialogue between the Taliban and the world.” On the other hand, they continue to launch deadly attacks.Hours after Washing…

Sometimes cleaning up crime in a troubled district takes ingenuity and, in the case of the South District, the creativity to take a page from an old book.The result is criminals are being evicted from one apartment and then another and another, forcing them to hopscotch across town until they tire of the game and leave the area. With the nuisance gone, certain crimes go wi…

Editorials

The statistics are already a year old, but they demonstrate cause for alarm. Buffalo’s high school graduation rate for 2012 fell to 47 percent from 2011’s 54 percent. It posted the second-lowest rate of the state’s Big 5 school districts and the biggest year-to-year drop, at 7 percent. The other four districts were relatively stable.Of course, things have changed since 201…

GEICO Corp. has been good for Western New York, and it just keeps getting better. Think back to December 2003, when the company announced its entrée into this area. The goal a decade ago was to create a regional headquarters and hire at least 650 employees in the first three years, and employ 1,800 by 2012.Despite a disastrous economic downturn, GEICO has far exceeded its …

Editorials

The American calendar is sprinkled with dates that are fused with the country’s history and its self-image. Independence Day, barely two weeks away, is one of those. So are Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day and the birth dates of great leaders such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.So is today another landmark – Juneteenth, a date that acknowledges one of the mo…