Tonawanda News


April 17, 2013

DUVALL: Finding the stories that bring you there


Tonawanda News — And as sometimes happens on these fishing expeditions, a fish we weren’t looking for jumped in the boat. Former News copy editor Amy Wallace called us to tell the incredible story of being on the phone with Vice President Joe Biden when a terrorist attack occurred, offering a haunting account of how news breaks in the corridors of power. (For the record, vice presidents find out more or less the same way the rest of us do — by someone turning on the television.)

In Lockport, sports editor John D’Onofrio recalled a feature story written about a long distance runner several months back and gave the guy a ring. As it turns out, the man John talked to was supposed to go to the marathon but withdrew because of a bad back.

That Lockport resident, John Reardon, had the bizarre experience of watching on television what could have been a terrible tragedy for him and his family. His average marathon time is almost exactly the same as when the bombs went off. 

It was another compelling take on the tragedy from a different angle than most — the man who cheats death, who doesn’t board the ill-fated flight.

Finally, my colleague Rick Pfeiffer at the Gazette tracked down a runner from Youngstown who was three miles from the finish line when he was told to stop running the race of a lifetime. His heartache at failing to finish — and for those who were injured and killed — was palpable. 

I’m sure over the next few days I’ll come to terms with the enormity of the tragedy. There is much heartache when a great American city’s great tribute to athletic prowess and personal determination is hijacked, turned into a scene of bloody chaos. 

It’s an odd place to be: Thankful something like that didn’t happen here, but determined to find the stories large and small that bring you, the readers, there.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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