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In Niagara County, the Legislature is mistreating its citizens and breaking the law. It may be about to fix part of that problem, but the body remains devoted to secrecy. The matter arose when legislators began to fret that members of the public might want to talk to them. Voters at meetings of the Legislature might see secret papers or hear secret conversations if they…

Editorials

Buffalo officials are right on target in their efforts to diversify the city’s police and fire departments. It’s a matter of fundamental fairness and, especially with police, key to gaining the trust and respect of an urban population that personifies the concept of diversity. But they have to do it legally. The city failed that basic test at the fire department, cos…

Editorials

Driving on the roads around here can be a real pain in the … well, this is a family newspaper. But there is nothing family-friendly about the pockmarked, potholed conditions of some of our most heavily traveled roads. The mess knows no bounds. Potholes can be found throughout the region, from Erie to Niagara. It’s Third World: From Buffalo’s Franklin Street to Hamburg’s…

Editorials

Could our long regional nightmare soon be over? The Buffalo Sabres – absent from the playoffs for the past seven seasons – on Friday night made Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin the No. 1 overall pick in the National Hockey League Draft. The last postseason game Buffalo played was in the spring of 2011. Terry Pegula had just taken ownership of the team in February. Li…

Editorials

Is there any higher honor for a beer vendor than to have a beer named for him? The Buffalo Bisons and Resurgence Brewing Company are bestowing that laurel upon Tom Girot, the vendor known as “Conehead” at both Bisons and Sabres games. Conehead IPA went on sale Friday night at the Bisons’ game at Coca-Cola Field. Girot told The News that he has sold 1.45 million beers…

It is indisputable these days that police today are asked to do too many things. They are not only law enforcers and peacekeepers but now mental health counselors and immigration enforcers. Among all of that, though, they are first responders – on the scene early and trained to make a difference. For that reason, alone, it is crazy for any police department not to equip…

Editorials

When our rights to privacy are compromised, usually they are chipped away so gradually that we scarcely notice, like the fable of the frog in a pot of water who is oblivious to the rising temperature. That’s not the case in the Lockport City School District. Lockport schools are spending $2.75 million on surveillance cameras and facial recognition software in an effort …

Editorials

Six years after answering the call to service at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, State Trooper Lawrence W. Lakeman died of pancreatic cancer. Lakeman’s widow, Audra Lakeman of Lockport, believes her husband’s cancer was caused by his exposure to chemicals at the site of the Twin Towers. Lakeman, a native of Wheatfield, worked for several weeks at Ground Zero over a thre…

We don’t know if Valentino Dixon is innocent of the crime for which he has spent the last 26 years in prison. But here’s what we do know: Dixon says he didn’t murder 17-year-old Torriano Jackson. Not surprising, perhaps, but there’s more. He says prosecutors withheld evidence showing that no gun residue was found on his clothes or in his car. Another man, Lamarr…

Editorials

The statewide high school graduation rate in New York last year topped 80 percent, a fact worthy of a big thumbs-up. A primary reason for the increase is the adoption of “local diplomas,” which offer alternatives to the standard requirement of passing five Regents exams. The intentions behind local diplomas are good ones. A “one size fits all” approach to education is n…

The timing was interesting. The state’s health commissioner on Monday said that a panel convened by the Cuomo administration would be recommending the legalization of recreational marijuana use in New York State. Dr. Howard Zucker made the announcement to reporters in Brooklyn the same day the Buffalo Billion trial was beginning in Manhattan, as the campaign of Democratic …

The correlation is a strong one: Doctors in New York State who receive payments from opioid makers prescribe more of them than doctors who get no payments. That was the finding of a report released this month by the New York State Health Foundation, as reported in The News. The foundation used data from 2013 to 2015. Nearly 3,400 doctors in the state who wrote opioid…

Editorials

At least two county legislators clearly understand the problem of the Erie County Water Authority and what it will take to deal with it. Thomas Loughran of Amherst and Patrick Burke of Buffalo, both Democrats, say this mismanaged authority should be abolished and replaced by a county water department. They’re right. The question is, why are only two of the Legislature’s…

Editorials

In a trial that begins Monday, a jury in a Manhattan courtroom will decide whether bids were rigged in contracts related to construction projects funded by the Buffalo Billion. But it’s important to remember what’s not on trial: the Buffalo Billion, itself, a monumental economic undertaking that has helped reignite Western New York’s economy. Buffalo developer Louis Cim…

Perhaps you can’t put a price tag on the value of restoring the Hotel Niagara to new iterations of its past glory, but the tax breaks the developer is requesting seem like a worthy down payment. Brine Wells Development is seeking a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes arrangement from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. The company is also asking for an exempt…