Tonawanda News


February 12, 2014

Time turns 3407 tragedy into story of action


Tonawanda News — After filing overnight on the web, I came home, grabbed an hour's fitful sleep, put on a clean shirt and came back to the office. 

Our reporters, still sleepy-eyed, huddled to make a plan. Over the next 16 hours I shouted myself hoarse, cellphone and office phone each to an ear at the same time for much of the day and into the night.

Some incredibly talented journalists did some stunning work and despite the tragic subject, I'll never be more proud of a day's newspaper than the one we made that day. We felt a deep and abiding responsibility to get it right, each one of us. And we did.

As the news filtered in, the mammoth scope of the tragedy began to take shape. This being Western New York it seemed like everyone knew someone — or knew someone who knew someone — who had been affected.

I got a tearful call from my mother when it became known my old Sunday school teacher and the cantor at the temple my family attended when I was a boy was among the dead. Her name was Susan Wehle and she was among the kindest people I've ever known. She had a beautiful singing voice and used it with sincerity and devotion. It was a heartbreaking loss for our area's tight knit Jewish community.

There were vigils and moments of silence — perhaps the most poignant at the Buffalo Sabres game that night when 18,000 people stood quiet for a full minute, nary a dry eye in the house.

But for all we experienced — the incomprehension, the grief, the funerals — in those first hours and days, there exists an ending befitting this community's real spirit.

Loss turned into action. Families bound together by such a senseless event came together to fight for better and tougher laws about airline safety.

Text Only
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo