Sunday, November 16, 2014

Urban Roots repurposes Christmas trees


Urban Roots, 428 Rhode Island St., will begin its fifth annual Living Tree Donation Program this week. Residents can choose from nine spruce and fir varieties, with their roots intact, from $60-$75 and use them in their homes for 10-14 days. The living tree can then be replanted in the buyer's yard or returned to Urban Roots for reforestation.  All returned trees will be donated to Buffalo Olmsted Parks, Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo, or Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. Urban Roots employee Claire Collie, left, helps care for the gardening center's living trees. By Laney Hill and Stephanie Vogel

Young entrepreneur sells at pop-up market


Zandra Azariah Cunningham, 14, is selling her beauty products through Christmas Eve at the Queen City Pop Up Holiday Edition at the Market Arcade Building, 639 Main St. This is the most recent development in Cunningham’s career which began when she was 9 years old and participated in the  KidBiz Market program, which teached young entrepreneurs the basics of owning their own business.  She later opened Azariah’s Innocence at the West Side Bazaar, 25 Grant St.  The Queen City Pop Up will be open daily until Christmas Eve. By Sarah Minkewicz and Colleen Young

Transformation begins for Fort West site


David Harter
Construction has started on Fort West, a new independent learning center, located on the corner of Albany Street and West Avenue.
The project, an offshoot of education non-profit, Practical Play, will house programs that focus on learning life skills.
“(It would have) the fundamental learning experiences of humanity, food, music, culture, building stuff, mechanics,” said David Harter, 29, program facilitator at Practical Play and building owner. “The things people like to learn about, that's the infrastructure that I'd like to see here.”
Harter bought three abandoned houses at the site two years ago. He plans to use two of the buildings for Fort West, while the third will become an apartment complex. Since then, he’s spent a year and a half on what he calls emergency stabilization, including replacing rotted out structures and outdated electrical wiring and repairing holes in the floor.
"You have to tear stuff down before you can start to rebuild,” he said. “It's like a garden, you can't make a garden without tilling the soil."
Now, he and volunteers from Practical Play and around the community are focusing on construction to transform the building into Fort West.
Funds for the approximately $280,000 project come from Harter’s personal savings and from donations. Most of the work being done by volunteers, though Harter hires outside contractors when building codes require it.
He said he hopes to have Fort West completed in three years, though he expects the apartments to be ready in the spring. By Autumn Evans and Melissa Zimmermann

Boxing club promotes health, sportsmanship

As training begins for the coming Buffalo Golden Gloves tournament, Rick Diaz, owner of the Westside Boxing Club, 164 W. Ferry St., balances his amateur fighters’ career aspirations with his new recruits' excitement to step in the ring. Whether it’s teaching sportsmanship, promoting a healthy lifestyle or coaching self-defense tactics, Diaz and his volunteers model their gym around a positive learning environment. Battling the stereotypes that come with the violent nature of boxing, Diaz pulls from his past fighting and military experience to instill in each student life lessons to help them both in and out of the ring. By Taylor Gesel and Nate Smith

Saturday, November 15, 2014

East and West come together in schools

The Ferry Street Corridor Project is using art and history to help find common ground between Lafayette High School and the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts and the communities in which they are located. Full story by Andrea Chevalier and Lucy Lopez

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sudenese newest cuisine in W.S. Bazaar


Customers craving South Sudanese Cuisine or soul food are dining out at the Taste of Africa/Soul Food, the newest vendor at the West Side Bazaar, 25 Grant St. Michelle Holler, manager of the bazaar, says that the new vendor, who moved into the small business incubator about five months ago, is attracting customers for the unique spices, cooking style and menu options they offer. Nadia Leone, employee of Taste of Africa/Soul Food, said she enjoys socializing with customers and that they seem to be satisfied with the food. The bazaar is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday. By Sarah Minkewicz and Colleen Young

Pet care protocol changes for chilly days


Cold weather and the changes it brings could pose serious health risks to pets that all owners should know about, according to a local veterinarian. 
Dr. Mercedes Carota of the West Side Pet Clinic advised to not leave pets in the car for any period of time during the winter.
“Cars tend to trap cold inside, acting like a refrigerator,” she said, adding that how long a dog can withstand outdoor temperatures on a regular basis varies.
“It depends on the breed of dog, their adaptation to outside weather and physical status,” Carota said. “For example, a Chihuahua can spend far less time outside than a husky can. Also, don’t shave your dogs down in the winter. A longer coat provides some warmth to animals.” 
She also warned that road salt can damage a dog’s skin and paw pads. 
“Make sure to wipe off your dog’s paws with a warm washcloth when they come inside after a walk,” she said. “The salt can be very irritating to sensitive paws.” 
Wiping off the dog's paws when he comes inside also ensures that the animal does not ingest any harsh chemicals that he may have been exposed to, she said. Antifreeze is one of the most harmful to animals. 
“Antifreeze tastes sweet and is lethal,” Carota said.
She suggested keeping walks shorter for smaller breeds of dogs, and gave other options for keeping pets active, such as taking the dog to daycare or increasing the amount of playtime at home to combat the winter blues. By Andrea Chevalier and Lucy Lopez