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Scorecard: The Week's Winners & Losers

The Week's Winners & Losers

The War on Drugs

State Republican leaders announced on June 7 that they would vote down any proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to decriminalize posession of up to 25 grams of marijuana. Yep, that’s right, keep throwing “hardened criminals” in jail on frivolous posession charges. Our Upstate corrections economy could certainly use the jobs.

Religious Freedoms

Hundreds gathered in Niagara Square on June 8 as part of the nationwide “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rally to protest federal laws that mandate health insurance providers pay for birth control. It’s a probably a good thing they decided to ditch their original title: the “Force Our Religious Beliefs on Everybody” rally.


After months of difficult negotiations over how to factor chronic student absenteeism into teacher evaluations, the Buffalo Teachers Federation voted on June 11 to approve a deal with administration that will allow the district once again to qualify for $5.6 million in state aid. Good work, celebratory nose jobs for everyone!

Inadequate Incentives

The City of Niagara Falls announced a new plan last week to lure young professionals by offering to pay off up to $6,984 in student loans over two years in exchange for living downtown. Have they seen the average debt of the typical college grad these days? It’s going to take way more than $7,000 to get anyone to live in the Falls.

Diversity Training

A federal jury on June 12 awarded a whopping $25 million in damages to a Lackawanna steelworker (we still have those guys?) who alleged that he received frequent racial taunts and discrimination during his 14 years at the Arcelor Mittal Steel plant. It sounds like some people will be spending a lot of time in human resources.

By the numbers...


Percent increase in the class of 2011 four-year graduation rate at Buffalo Public Schools, up to 54 percent but still well below the statewide average of 74 percent. This slight gain helped erase the previous year’s losses and edge out the 53.1 percent rate recorded in 2009. For a second consecutive year, Riverside brought up the rear citywide with only 31 percent of students who entered high school in 2007 graduating by 2011.


Average student loan debt among 2010 graduating four-year college students who borrowed to finance their education, an increase of five percent from the previous year. Good luck, Niagara Falls.


Minimum age required to use an indoor tanning bed in New York State according to a June 13 report in the Buffalo News, which claimed state lawmakers have reached an agreement to up the exisitng bars on teens under the age of 14. The American Cancer Society claims indoor tanning partially responsible for a 70 percent increase over 10 years in melanoma cases in New York.

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