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The City of Lackawanna, where the mayor named his father-in-law, once found guilty of professional misconduct, as City Court judge, has just been knocked into second place in the nepotism derby.

In a shameless display of its own, the Niagara Falls School District has hired the wives of two members of the School Board.

The district had 19 applications for three secretarial jobs. While the district, of course, said it hired the “most-qualified” candidates, what it meant was the best-connected: Julia M. Destino, wife of Board member Johnny G. Destino, and Diana M. Restaino, wife of Board member Robert M. Restaino.

Even Johnny Destino, a critic of past cases of nepotism, was embarrassed, saying, “It doesn’t look good, and I know that.” Too bad he wasn’t embarrassed enough to do something about it.

It was an uplifting story for Independence Day. The bald eagle, America’s national symbol, is making a comeback, not just nationally, but right here in Western New York. Some 20 to 30 nesting sites have been counted around Western New York, according to state environmental officials. The newest nest to be spotted is on Strawberry Island, near the southern tip of Grand Island. An eaglet was seen there last week.

Let’s call this what it is: a government program that worked. Eagles were nearly eradicated 50 years ago, as the pesticide DDT weakened their shells so young birds couldn’t be hatched. With the banning of DDT, and the shelter of the Endangered Species Act, Americans saved their national symbol from extinction.

As if Rupert Murdoch isn’t already in enough trouble, the media mogul is now dismissing the bribery and eavesdropping scandals at his defunct British tabloid as “next to nothing.” The declaration occurred during a recorded meeting with journalists at the Sun newspaper.

Because of it, a critic in the British Parliament is calling on police to question Murdoch, saying that what the newspaper owner said in private is very different from what he said when testifying before Parliament.

In particular, Tom Watson, a Labor Party lawmaker, noted that Murdoch acknowledged that money in a safe was meant for bribes to get “news tips from cops,” who he now excoriates as “totally incompetent” over the inquiry into his company, News Corp.

Ah, well. Live by sword …

We’ve said before that the state should raise the standards for school board members, who now need only to be 18-year-old voters who can read and write English.

However, the qualifications for president of the Buffalo School Board are slightly higher, according to new member Carl P. Paladino.

At Monday’s meeting he tried to nominate for president Sharon Beltman Cottman, who makes no secret of her disdain for Paladino. His reason? “She has a unique talent for rolling her eyes.”