It seems to us …

Fund­ing re­gional health, drop­ping a po­lit­i­cal la­bel and low­er­ing your age

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BlueCross BlueShield of West­ern New York now has more than one way to pro­mote the health of the re­gion’s cit­i­zens.

In ad­di­tion to of­fer­ing health in­sur­ance, and be­yond its other com­mu­nity ef­forts, the com­pany has now launched the “Blue Fund.”

This week, in its in­au­gu­ral do­na­tions, the fund awarded $2.7 mil­lion to nine health-based projects around the area.

They will ben­e­fit pre-school age chil­dren, be­hav­ioral health work­ers, East Side res­i­dents who lack ac­cess to fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties, those who suf­fer from opi­oid ad­dic­tion and oth­ers.

It’s a thought­fully di­rected use of com­pany dol­lars that stands to serve the re­gion well.

Good, if art­fully timed, news out of the South­ern Tier: Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corn­ing, an­nounced this week that he’s drop­ping the “Ex­treme Ithaca Lib­eral” la­bel that he has fre­quently used to tag his elec­tion op­po­nents.

Speak­ing to the Olean Times Her­ald, the just re-elected con­gress­man said he would “re­tire that la­bel and send a mes­sage (that) hope­fully by do­ing this that our door’s open to any­one who wants to sit down and have a ra­tio­nal con­ver­sa­tion and wants to work to solve the prob­lems that we face as a coun­try.”

The la­bel had be­come awk­ward, since Reed is a leader of the Prob­lem-Solvers cau­cus, which styles it­self as a non­par­ti­san group look­ing to find ac­cept­able so­lu­tions to na­tional is­sues.

The change is good to see, but it’s hard not to won­der how much his de­ci­sion was in­flu­enced by the party’s re­jec­tion in Tues­day’s con­gres­sional elec­tions.

Still, progress …

Here’s to cre­ativ­ity: A Dutch “pos­i­tiv­ity guru” – what­ever that is – wants to be younger.

To that end, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports, Emile Ratel­band has pe­ti­tioned a court to let him change his birth­day, so that he can be 49 in­stead of 69. Well, you can change your name, your ad­dress and even your sex. So why not? Eigh­teen, any­one? Once home I turned to the in­dex to look for ref­er­ences to UB. There was but a sin­gle en­try. I lo­cated it in the body of the tome only to find it told the tale of how the Univer­sity of Michi­gan once ran up 111 points on the slaugh­tered Bulls.

A few years back my son Noo­dles at­tended Jim Kelly’s sum­mer foot­ball camp. I spec­tated with a few other par­ents. There was a Q&A with a group of Bulls alum who ac­tu­ally made it to the NFL. Noo­dles was the first to raise his hand.

“Why did you de­cide to go to UB?”

My chest swelled with pride. Per­haps my son would fol­low in my sneak­ers and at­tend the school of my choice.

The play­ers looked at each other and replied in uni­son, “Be­cause no one else would take us.”

Talk about let­ting all the he­lium out of a pa­rade bal­loon.

At the tail end of the 1960s UB ac­tu­ally lost its Divi­sion I foot­ball My View pro­gram. Over the years var­i­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions have given a num­ber of other rea­sons, but any­one who was there will tell you it was pun­ish­ment for what the march­ing band did.

Dur­ing half­time of an ex­tremely rare na­tion­ally tele­vised UB game, the band from “the Berke­ley of the East” broke ranks and formed a peace sign to protest the Viet­nam War.

The next thing we knew there was no foot­ball pro­gram, and a few of us ac­tu­ally no­ticed.

A few years later, UB got a Divi­sion III team, and then it had to work its way through Divi­sion II and IAA to get back to Divi­sion I.

As I have five de­grees from old UB, I fig­ured I was pretty heav­ily in­vested in the school, so my par­ents and I went in on a cou­ple of pairs of tick­ets. Let’s just say the fourth ticket was a tough sell. Girl­friends said they’d rather take a nap, which they could have done just as eas­ily at most of the games.

Th­ese early days of Bulls re­dux or re­flux were of­ten tough to en­joy. It seems most weeks we lost by scores av­er­ag­ing about 40-3. Still, there was plea­sure to be found in some of those losses.

My fa­vorite was the game where the coach had been fired at half­time. An­other coach was hired, but the orig­i­nal coach re­fused to give up the ship. At the be­gin­ning of the third quar­ter, “we” had two head coaches send­ing in two dif­fer­ent plays at the same time with the quar­ter­back jump­ing up and down won­der­ing which one to call.

That sea­son, when­ever any­one would get up to leave the rout early, our sec­tion would yell out, “Quit­ter! You call your­self a fan? We might score this week!”

Yup, th­ese new Bulls fans missed a lot.

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