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By Thomas J. FoelsSmokers in New York State will not be subject to higher premiums as reported in an Associated Press article (“Smokers may be priced out of health coverage”) that appeared in The Buffalo News on Jan. 25.According to the story, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will allow health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premi…

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Abdifatah Mohamud, 10 years old, was murdered last year by his stepfather, Ali-Mohamed Mohamud. The boy had previously reported he was being abused, yet he remained in the home. The obvious questions are: How did his case fall through the cracks, and would a different response have saved the child’s life? But that information is being kept secret.Abdifatah had called 911 a…

By Charles LambFor many years, the public has faithfully gone to hearings called by the Department of Environmental Conservation with regard to issues at the hazardous waste landfill in Niagara County.Year after year, the great majority of speakers have pointed out the danger of trucking toxics here from many states, the unsuitability of burying them in the watershed area …

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There has been a lot of talk over the years about how to undo the damage that was done to Niagara Falls by the Robert Moses Parkway, which cuts the city off from the spectacular Niagara River Gorge.Some minor steps have been taken along the way, including the abandonment of the southbound lanes to pedestrians and bicyclists, but the massive task of reconnecting Niagara Fal…

A recent report from the Postal Service’s inspector general is more evidence that the agency must find new strategies in order to survive, and Congress must allow it to do so by allowing it to run more like the businesses it competes against. Otherwise, the Postal Service as we know it is headed down the road to oblivion.The report found that since 2001, private companies …

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Lifting the military’s ban on women in combat may be Defense Secretary’s Leon E. Panetta’s final accomplishment as he prepares to leave office, but if that is the case, he’s leaving with a flourish.Allowing women to serve on the front lines in an official combat capacity takes a sledgehammer to the military’s “brass ceiling” that has limited the promotion of women. Changes…

“What do you want to be when you grow up, young Stefan Mychajliw?”“Erie County comptroller, sir. What else?”It’s a pretty good bet that conversation never took place while the new county comptroller was growing up on Buffalo’s East Side. Nobody aspires to track debits and credits on the 11th floor of the Rath County Office Building. The job is kind of just “there.”But it’s…

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This is the year Buffalo takes off. We know because the fuse has already been lit and there’s no way to stomp it out. How long the flight continues after this year will depend upon the determination of government and civic leaders not to let the momentum slacken.The story on today’s front page, leading into The Buffalo News’ 2013 Prospectus sections, lays out what is occur…

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We have said for years that better leadership is needed from the Buffalo Board of Education. For decades board members have presided over a district that has failed to provide a quality education to most of its students.To get a better board, we need better candidates. That’s why word that Carl P. Paladino is considering a run for the Buffalo School Board may be a good thi…

By John MetalloU.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently announced a decision that requires schools to allow students with disabilities to participate in interscholastic athletics. Specifically, the decision noted, “Disabled students who want to play for their school could join traditional teams if officials can make ‘reasonable modifications’ to accommodate them.”I…

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She was summoned on Wednesday to answer difficult and important questions, and that is what Hillary Clinton did. The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, still demands answers, and the secretary of state did not shrink from her necessary testimony.Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and then the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the outgoing …

By Laurence T. BeahanThe National Rifle Association is right. There is considerable danger that reasonable people, including many NRA members, will conclude that there are too many guns of all types available in the United States and that there will be a movement to reduce that number. Our gun deaths, 10 for every 100,000 people each year, are far too many. Our gun death r…