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Columns

Elizabeth Marie Ortiz Olivencia pushed back the shades of the living room window a few days ago in her Black Rock neighborhood. A coating of snow, not even an inch of it, covered Rano Street and the small front yard of her home. It was nothing to most of us, a December dusting, but to Elizabeth it was miraculous, a revelation. It was the first time in her life that she …

Buffalo

Wilmarie Rosado-Lozada had a decent-paying job as a dental hygienist and a good life back in her hometown of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. That is, until about two months ago when Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico and all but destroyed her city near the southeastern coast of the island.  Rosado-Lozada lost her home and her job. With no place to live or a livelihood o…

Local News

Valerie Sauers of Elma had been planning a vacation in Puerto Rico for some time, a chance to visit her boyfriend who lives there. Hurricane Maria interrupted those plans, but she went anyway. Instead of a relaxing stay on the Caribbean island, though, she found herself helping in the relief efforts, cleaning buildings and taking meals to elderly residents of nursing ho…

Local News

The mobile phone started buzzing about 10:30 a.m. Friday, in Dunkirk City Hall. Hector Rosas pulled it out of his pocket, and a woman whose voice he didn't recognize told him she was with someone who wanted to speak to him. For a second, there was a pause. "This is Rosalia Rosas Valentin," another woman said, as if in introduction. "Mom, it's me!" said Hector, who…

Local News

Mike Ham of Kenmore pulled up in front of the Belle Center on Buffalo's West Side on Wednesday morning. The trunk of his car was packed with bags of food and clothing collected by Judges Row Block Club and at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. Ham doesn't have any family in Puerto Rico, but several members of the block club do. He said he was helping simply be…

Columns

Willie Rosas is thinking about his mother's advice, more than ever. Twenty months ago, Rosalia Rosas flew home to watch as Willie was inaugurated as the mayor of Dunkirk in Chautauqua County. It was an unforgettable moment. Willie's parents were born in Puerto Rico. In Dunkirk, with a population of not quite 12,000, he became the first Latino in state history to be elec…