Sunday, May 10, 2020

Garden service blooms during pandemic

            Urban Roots, 428 Rhode Island St., a cooperative garden market, has found multiple ways to service its community during the pandemic.
            “When the pandemic first struck, we closed the store for two weeks in order to figure out how we can keep servicing people. Since we have found two new purchase options” Aaron Boutoundou, an Urban Roots team member, said.

            One of the new additions to the market is a curbside pickup. Phone orders can be put in Wednesday through Saturday during the times of 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Customers are able to pick up their orders from Thursday to Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Customers will not be allowed in the store, purchases will be placed next to their vehicle so that social distancing is still practiced.
            Urban Roots also announced that the reopening of the outdoor area business by appointment only. Six customers at a time will be able to physically pick out hard goods, plants, and pots. There is a 30-minute time limit in the yard per person. By Karizmaa Christiani and Yayemama Sane

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Yoga sessions are now available online

            Shakti Yoga, 133 Grant St., has made the move to online sessions like many other businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. 
            Owner Michelle Gigante made the transition to online sessions and many of her students have also joined her.
            “Many have taken advantage of virtual classes, so many,” Gigante said.  “The up side is reconnecting with Shakti students that live abroad or outside of Buffalo. Many West Coast students are now able to join in my offerings.”

            Although online sessions aren’t the preferred option, Gigante and her students knew it was the only one they had.
            “Shakti students typically would not go for virtual offering due to the energetic connection that occurs in the room, but they know this is all we have, so they take it openly Gigante said.  “It is always about embracing the now even if we don’t prefer it.”
            With not much difference to her classes, the only major issue is not being in the same room.
            “The only significant difference is that everyone is not physically together in the same space. I miss the sound of us and the feel of us,” Gigante said. “To be able to roam the room making contact with beings or hearing the collective room is a great joy. But everything is temporary.”
            Shakti sessions are available at 12:45 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.  For more information is available Shakti’s website: By Patrick Miklinski

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Quick facts: West Side COVID-19 cases

            Fully 28 percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buffalo have been reported on the West Side.

            As of May 3, Buffalo had 1,480 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Of those, 415 were reported on the West Side, according to the New York State COVID-19 Health Tracker, which tracks data by ZIP codes.
            Cases reported by West Side ZIP codes in the Buffalo Review West coverage area are:
                        • 14209 -119
                        • 14213 -119
                        • 14214 - 71
                        • 14201 - 60
                        • 14222 - 36

Monday, May 4, 2020

Canisius among colleges shifting online

With the unexpected transition to distance learning, colleges are adapting to the change and finding new ways to assist their students.
            Several colleges have faced different challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Many schools have transitioned to distance learning due to public safety concerns, but the change has not been easy for some schools.

            “Took some time to get used to and it's been very difficult to serve the students online,” said Lauren Carlin, graduate assistant for Canisius College Campus Ministry.
Although there are no longer any in-person meetings or classes, Canisius has continued to find ways to support students during this uncertain time. The college has decided to hold Masses and senior celebrations via social media.
“We are doing a lot more on social media and also having our senior retreat and Blessing of the Brains online,” Carlin said.
            The senior retreat is an annual celebration where seniors can reflect on their time as undergrads and look forward to their plans for the future. Blessing of the Brains is a Mass that helps students ease their minds as they head into finals week. Both are being held online, along with this semester’s finals.
            Along with providing online services, the school is still keeping up with its students. The college is sending out goodie bags to the students that attend online Masses and continues to talk to students who need help. By Emily Miller and Zachary Jones

Monday, April 20, 2020

Cherry Blossom Festival to go online May 2

            The 2020 Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 
            The 7th annual event was set to take place from April 29- May 3 in the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park.
            The festival was set to kick-off with a kimono fashion show at the Buffalo History Museum on April 29 with a focus on Japanese culture.
            Lockhouse Distillery & Bar, 41 Columbia St., was set to hold the festival’s fundraiser on  April 30.  The fundraiser was set to include an open bar featuring cherry blossom gin cocktails and food from local Japanese restaurants.
            Bites for Blossoms, a restaurant week dedicated to the festival, was set to have each restaurant incorporate a special dish that fits the theme of cherry blossoms. 
            The festival plans to organize a digital blooming so the public can experience the event. This online event is scheduled to start on May 2.
            Please stay tuned for information regarding Buffalo Cherry Blossoms Reimagined,” the event’s Facebook page says,  “which will feature an all virtual lineup of content that will allow the community to experience Buffalo’s blossoms and a pop of springtime from the safety of your home.” By Patrick Miklinski        

Colleges forced to cancel commencement

            Colleges on the West Side have cancelled and rescheduled their spring graduation ceremonies as a public safety precaution due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
SUNY Buffalo State has cancelled its May 15 graduation and yet has not made further arrangements.
However,  Canisius, D’Youville, and Medaille colleges are finding alternative dates
and ways to hold their traditional ceremonies to celebrate the graduating seniors.
Canisius will hold its ceremony on Oct. 10 and D’Youville will hold a virtual celebration on May 17 and traditional ceremony on Sept. 25. Medaille will hold its ceremony on Nov. 30.

  I have decided that we must reschedule our spring 2020 Commencement ceremonies to a date and format yet to be determined,” SUNY Buffalo State’s President Katherine Conway-Turner said in a letter sent out to students.
Although they are left without a ceremony, seniors have been given confirmation that they will be graduating and still receiving their diplomas.
“If you are on track to complete your degree this spring, you will graduate and go on to do amazing things in this world,” President Conway-Turner said.
As the standard procedure, students will receive their diplomas via mail once all degree requirements are met.  
By Zachary Jones and Emily Miller

Monday, April 13, 2020

Precaution is the new shopping style trend

By Zachary Jones and Emily Miller
As you walk through the aisles of a grocery store, nothing seems to be out of the ordinary. It has most of its usual products and employees that greet you as you come in. The only difference, they are wearing gloves and masks and keeping a safe social distance to ensure the health and safety of those around.  
The coronavirus has led many businesses to temporarily close or change their normal hours of business operation. Many have adjusted hours and implemented new safety precautions. Health safety has had a large impact on businesses and the public due to COVID-19.
 “If you are sick or are feeling sick we don’t want them to come in,” Vinnie Guercio, manager at Guercio & Sons Inc, 250 Grant St., said.

The risk of being infected by the virus has led many to wear gloves, masks, and practice social distancing. The practice of social distancing is when people maintain a physical distance from groups or individuals. The practice is used to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
 “We are all wearing masks and keeping our distance,” a manager at Cameron’s 24 hour store, 1054 Elmwood Ave., said.
In order to battle the concerns about spreading the virus, businesses are offering and encouraging home delivery.
 “We’ve always offered home delivery but now we are really advertising it and we also now offer it to both the north and south town,” Guercio said.
Even with health concerns, closings, and business changes, some businesses are continuing to push forward in these uncertain times. Businesses have noticed a new trend in their customers’ shopping.
 “People are buying more when they come in then they usually do,” Jim Lorigo, owner of Lorigo’s Meating Place, 185 Grant St., said.
 The trend of buying in bulk has had an influence on some businesses.
 “Wholesale business is down 90% but we've seen an increase in retail by about 50%,” Guercio said.
But the few businesses that are open at this time are seeing a difference in their community.
 “Around us, what we’ve noticed is it’s the small coffee shops that are really hurting,” Guercio said.
Local businesses, like Lorigo’s Meating Place, are facing difficulties in the uncertain future. With a number of businesses closing down, Lorigo’s has lost some of its meat shipping business.
 “A few of the places I ship meat too are closed down so that's been an issue,” Lorigo said.
While businesses are facing a number of difficulties, their employees continue to work with flexibility. With some employees being college students, businesses adjusted to losing workers as schools shut down.
Businesses are also faced with the comfort of their employees in the workplace. As employees, they encounter the public and can potentially be exposed to COVID-19.
 “In terms of workers coming in, I really work with them. But even if people are uncomfortable about coming in they just have to tell me and I’ll take them off the schedule. Even with that though all my workers have been coming in and doing their shifts,” Guercio said.
While the world further treads into uncertain waters, it is unknown when businesses will be able to return to normal. Even while facing difficulties, local businesses will continue to support and be supported by the community.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Chocolate shops make shift to online sales

            West Side chocolate and candy shops are taking a hit this year as their businesses shifted to online sales only in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
             Blue Table Chocolates, 44 Brayton St., ordered a 15 day full shut down beginning March 15 and offered online orders only after April 2.
            “Given that we originated as an online business, and are capable of staying viable through shipping alone, we are asking the local community to please not visit us until further notice,” the company announced.
           Fowler’s Chocolates closed its locations at 746 Elmwood Ave. and East Aurora, shifting to online, in-store pick-up in its stores in Hamburg, Cheektowaga and Tonawanda. Owner Ted Marks explained to customers in a letter on the company website that with production halted, Fowler’s is left with chocolate made only up until production was stopped on March 20, making the influx of orders very difficult.  
            “Our online sales exploded, we are experiencing online order volumes three to four times greater than any previous Easter,”  Marks wrote.
            Even with the influx of online orders, the future is very uncertain.
            “Online sales have exploded, but most likely, retail sales will go down,” Office Manager Diane Karosik siad.  “As far as the long-lasting effect, it’s anyone’s guess.” By Patrick Miklinski

Saturday, April 4, 2020

W.S. parks remain open with restrictions

         The West Side parks will continue to stay open during the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. 
            This includes parks such as Delaware Park and LaSalle  parks.  The parks will remain open but significant changes have been made to the parks’ operations.
            All organized and large gatherings of sporting events will be closed and cancelled.  This includes basketball courts, all playgrounds and soccer fields.
            In addition, all scheduled events have also been postponed.  This includes the Arbor Day Volunteer Tree Work scheduled for April 20.
            According to the Olmsted Parks Conservancy website, all of the parks facilities and buildings will also be closed.  This includes all restrooms, rental spaces and concessions.
            “Feel free to visit our website that has all COVID-19 related information listed,” said Olmsted Parks Public Relations. and Events Coordinator Sarah Larkin.  By Patrick Miklinski

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Community Beer working with other brewers

In 2012, Community Beer Works, 520 Seventh th St., became one of the first craft breweries in Buffalo. Now, the brewery is looking to do collaborations with a number of local breweries either every month or every other month,  Head Brewer Robert Turley said. A collaboration with Pressure Drop introduced a new Double-IPA called Fat Rips and a collaboration with Big Ditch will introduce a new pale ale. CBW is also working to get closer to its roots when they were a smaller brewery. By Zachary Jones and Emily Miller 

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