Saturday, March 28, 2020

Elmwood Loses Business as Stores Close

Elmwood Avenue is experiencing a change in its retail landscape following the recent closing of multiple stores. Among the stores that have closed are Red Siren, 976 Elmwood Ave., and next-door neighbor Blue Sky Design Supply, 978 Elmwood Ave. Shoppers like Lisa Zain, a West Side native, have their favorite shops and are not surprised when stores come and go. “There are five different women boutiques, all within a couple blocks. So, if you don’t do something special, no one is going to go in or notice you,” Zain said. Gutter Pop Comics, temporarily moved from its original location at 1029 Elmwood Ave., to 986 Elmwood Ave., while it prepares to move to the former Record Theatre Building, 1786 Main St. By Dasha Hicks and Maria Lascarro

Friday, March 6, 2020

W.S. after-school programs could face cuts

            At the end of the school day for the past 20 years students have been playing, drawing, learning music and making friends at schools and community centers across the West Side. Some have been receiving counseling, others have been getting help with homework.
            All of this might come to an end should the federal budget cut the funding it gives to these programs through the state.
            President Donald Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal released Feb. 10, includes a $19.4 billion block grant that states would receive. The administration would adjust how states fund programs that support disadvantaged K-12 students. This would be done by combining 29 programs which would mean a decrease of about eight percent of the U.S. Department of Education funding.
            Programs that could be affected include those associated with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs’s West Side locations: Butler-Mitchell Clubhouse on Massachusetts Avenue, Jon locations at Butler-Mitchell Clubhouse, John F. Beecher Clubhouse on 10th Street and the Elmwood Village Charter School on Days Park.
            The U.S. Congress has been supportive of such funding, but the President’s budget proposal would eliminate it, said Jillian Luchner, policy manager of the Afterschool Alliance, which performs research for the community learning centers.
            “There will no longer be funding,” Luchner said, “and the students will go to zero.”  By Dasha Hicks and Maria J Lascarro

Friday, December 6, 2019

West Side Wi-Fi delayed until late spring

           The project pledging to provide free Wi-Fi to thousands of people on the West Side that was promised to come by January will likely not be ready until late spring.
            Buffalo Public Schools Acting Director of Instructional Technology Sarah Edwards says the project is just now in its early stages and that plans to have the project done by the beginning of the year were too ambitious.
            “I’m honestly not sure where that goal came from,” Edwards said. “The story came out just when the RFP was awarded, which meant we were still going through the planning and contract procedures. We are trying to move forward with more concrete plans.”
            The free Wi-Fi zone on the West Side will extend from West Ferry Street south to Carolina Street and extend east from Richmond Avenue to the I-190.
            The project will give Buffalo Public School students access to free Wi-Fi in order to do schoolwork at home. Family members will be able to use the Wi-Fi, but there will be filters to block social networking sites and streaming services.
            The project is being partially funded by a grant from the State Department of Education.
            According to Edwards, the plan is to place large antennas that will amplify the school’s Wi-Fi signal to the surrounding neighborhood, on the following schools: School 3, Frank A. Sedita, Herman Badillo and Harvey Austin. The project organizers will be looking to work with businesses and community organization to put equipment on their buildings as well. By Francis Boeck and Emmanuel Rodriguez

Elmwood shops dressed for the holidays

Half & Half Boutique, 1088 Elmwood Ave.
Shops all along Elmwood Avenue decorate their storefronts to attract customers during this holiday season. “The decorations went up a couple of weeks ago,” said Sandra Brown, a sales associate at Renew Bath and Body, 927 Elmwood Ave. “We were eager to get the decorations up and embrace the season.”  The Elmwood Village Association is hosting “Holidays in the Village”, on Dec. 13 and 14.  A series of events will take place, one of them being the annual tree lighting at 7 p.m., Dec. 14 at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 875 Elmwood Ave. By Gabrielle Kime and Conner Wilson

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Non-tech toys are tops at Treehouse store

Gaetana Schueckler who is co-owner with of The Treehouse Toy Store with her husband David feels that technology can not replicate the types of toys that are personally hand-picked by for their store located at 793 Elmwood Ave. Schueckler feels that hands on play with toys such as Glitter Snow Globes and Peppermint Snow Tube should be valued instead of playing on a tablet or a phone. Playing with hands on toys can develop social skills and teach children how to share with one another. By Christian Gaffney and John Propis

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Online comic-book seller adds storefront

TJ Veith
By Jasmine Huntley 
and Bianca Moise
As a child growing up TJ Veith would find himself with a pencil in one hand and his drawing pad in the other drawing superheroes for hours. As he got older his passion for drawing grew and he realized he can turn something that he loves to do into a business.  
Next month, Veith’s dreams will become a reality as he opens his  pop culture gallery, Flippin’ Comics. The new comic book store at 218 Grant Street, is just one of the many new businesses calling the West Side home.
Veith, a resident of the West Side, has been selling comic books online for the past five years. Flippin’ Comics  will not only be a place for customers to find collectible comic books but a shop where local and international artists can showcase their work. Veith combined his two passions of comic books and pop culture and created his first brick and mortar that will be both a comic book shop and a gallery dedicated to pop culture.
“Having a brick and mortar establishes a sense of legitimacy to a business where online presence is kind of fairweather,” Veith said.
Veith flashes back to a time where Grant Street was considered to be “sketchy” but now it has made a full turnaround and was the ideal place to fulfill his dreams of turning his online comic book publication to a brick and mortar.
Veith’s vision for Flippin’ Comics was to create a hub for art and music lovers in Buffalo. He plans to not only have comic books in his store but to have a platform for people creating podcasts, recording music, and showing their artwork.
Veith found success in art mainly on the social media site Instagram. Social media plays a large role in Veith’s business. He’s able to share his artwork with hundreds of people who share and repost his work, which he credits for being the reason his online sales have increased.


Veith seems to be bucking a shopping trend that is shifting away from storefronts in favor of the online marketplace.
 “People that do what I do with online sales that target comic books they’re the ones who spend the majority of the money because they are trying to resell, whereas an online consumer would usually buy one book and a reseller would buy comic books in bulk. Those are the people that will come to a shop like mine,” Veith said.
 Prish Moran, store owner of the Sweet Ness 7 Cafe who is also the landlord of the building where Veith is renting said Veith should set and keep regular store hours.
“Be consistent in your opening and closing hours, that is the biggest thing I see with new businesses. It’s slow, so they decide to close and that is the worst thing you can do,” Moran said.
Moran also disagrees with the idea that Grant Street is not safe.
“The media and everyone has made us believe that it is unsafe here, and that's not true things happen, sure they do but they happen everywhere,” Moran said.
Renovations for Flippin’ Comics are set to complete within the next month.

Concerns follow cut in water protections

President Donald Trump’s repeal of the 2015 Clean Water Act brings ambiguity to current water protections regarding the Niagara River watershed and other bodies of water across New York. The changes in regulation leave a grey area for organizations like the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper working to protect the environment. Amendments through the repeal will leave the complex issue a matter of litigation and referral to decisions of past court cases going forward. Margaux Valenti, legal and programs adviser for Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, discusses the potential implications. By Tommy Corsi and Ryan Williams