Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Greenlight installing high-speed broadband

 Internet service provider Greenlight Networks is expanding high speed broadband access on the West Side. Casey Henninger, market development manager, says the company is undertaking construction in the Elmwood Village to install fiber-optic wire and plans to continue this in the upper West Side throughout the year. The company is also getting involved with community organizations such as 716 Ministries and West Side Community Services to introduce and further expand its services to West Side residents. The company will be participating in various community events throughout the month including Buffalo Porchfest on May 21, Muti-Cultural Night at Buffalo Public School 30 and at Garret Club both on May 25.  “We are really working on getting that brand recognition on the West Side to gain the trust and the interest of the residents there,” Henninger said. By Elijah Robinson and Thomas Tedesco

Monday, May 9, 2022

Baramee returns with Tiny Thai food truck

Tiny Thai Chef and Owner Kae Baramee
Tiny Thai, a Thai food truck, celebrated its reopening the weekend of April 30 after a failed attempt in October 2021 during the pandemic. Owner Kae Baramee, former chef of 100 Acres at Hotel Henry, said after six long months she was happy to be able to finally live out her dream. Baramee parks at Five Points, 450 Rhode Island St., on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., serving mama drunken noodles, chicken dumplings, Thai tea and other specialties.  “When I have enough money I want to open a restaurant,” Baramee said. Tiny Thai will be bouncing around Buffalo throughout the week and upcoming events will be posted on its website. By: Peyton Fletcher and Valerie Ryan

Sunday, May 8, 2022

4 farmers markets announce opening days

            As the weather begins to warm up, farmers markets around the West Side are preparing for their opening day.

            The first to open was the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers’ Market, at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway. It opened on May 7 and will continue Saturdays from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. until the end of November.

            “This year we will have 40 vendors,” said Elmwood Village Farmers’ Market Association board member Lisa Brocato. “All of our products are grown or made, we don’t resell.”

            Next will be the West Side Tilth Farm, 246 Normal Ave., which will open its market June 4. The market will run Saturdays from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. until Oct. 29. Owner Carrie Nader said in addition to fresh produce the market will sell handmade brick oven pizzas starting opening day.

            There will also be a new market on the block. After a year of preparation, market Manager Hamadi Ali said Providence Farm Collective will be bringing fresh produce from its Orchard Park farm to its West Side location, 130 Grant St. The grand opening will be June 25, and continue Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

            Lastly, 5 Loaves Farm, 70 W. Delavan Ave., will reopen its farmstand on Friday July 1, and will run Thursday afternoons until October. 5 Loaves also will be one of the vendors at the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers’ Market for its seventh year in a row, founder Matt Kauffman said. By Natalie Gravino and Cait Malilay  

Our Lady of Hope: melting pot of cultures

Our Lady of Hope Pastroral Associate Ronald Thaler
By Nia Peeples and Zach Williams

            With the continued growth of suburban life, churches located in urban areas have seen a decline in their membership. Even in Buffalo, local churches had been affected. Our Lady of Loretto, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Annunciation merged to form Our Lady of Hope on Sept. 14, 2008.

            “This church, as well as the other two were declining in membership so in order to save the whole thing, they merged the three together so that we could build a better community,” Our Lady of Hope Pastoral Associate Ronald Thaler said.

            Our Lady of Hope, Grant Street at Lafayette Avenue,           is one of the most diverse churches in Buffalo, and Thaler described Our Lady of Hope as a “global community which holds about 16 plus languages.”

“There was a huge influx of Burmese people to the West Side, and they gravitated here by word of mouth, so it was other Burmese people that did it. We did not really evangelize. They were looking for a Catholic church, and they just came to this place.”

With so many different cultures coming together for the service, the church has slowly worked in pieces of the Mass, where invocations are recited in three languages.

            “One would be in Burmese, one would be in Swahili, and one would be in English. It’s not a lot, but it’s just little pieces.” Thaler said. “Since the merger, it has been a slow growth process. We have been trying different things to try to bring the liturgy to the people in such a way that they would hear their own language throughout the worship. It was something we developed over the last few years.”

 

Ronald Thayer, on incorporating different languages

 into the Mass at Our Lady of Hope:

https://soundcloud.com/zach-williams-80/thaler-on-church-service?utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

 

            The church also has several televisions that are used during the service for those who do not understand the language that is currently being spoken.

            Buffalo Mass Mob is an organization that visits churches all around Buffalo, and Our Lady of Hope hosted the 40th Mass Mob event on Sunday, May 1. This is only the second time there has been a mass mob since the pandemic began.

            “We started in 2013 and noticed a need for a lot of the urban churches to get a boost of attendance and with the boost of attendance comes so many other things,” co-founder of Buffalo Mass Mob, Danielle Murtah, said.

            The mass mob helped fill the pews at Our Lady of Hope during the Sunday service, drawing more attention to these urban churches.

            “This Buffalo Mass Mob came here Sunday to experience this multi-cultural community, but also they are on their journey through Western New York because we have so much great architecture, especially in Churches,” Thaler said.

            Our Lady of Hope held a mass mob four years ago, though due to winter conditions, turnout was not a big as expected.  

            “People come and they leave a donation for the church because they are here, and they want to support these churches in hopes that they stay open,” Thaler said.

Our Lady of Hope now hosts Mass on both Saturday and Sunday, and more information can be found on the church’s website.

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Scofflaws: Library fees a thing of the past

 

Daniel Lewandowski, the general manager of the Crane Branch Library, supports the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System’s elimination of all overdue fines, effective this month. He says fines can be counterproductive, because library patrons not only suffer from the consequences of late fees but can no longer be able to use their library cards as a result of those fines despite returning the materials. “Our overdue fees would max out at around $10 an item, sometimes $15 an item, so you could get $30 in overdue fees from three books that you returned in perfect condition,” he said. “In a fine-free system, you can just return those books, and not get punished if they’re still in great condition, and there’s nothing wrong with them. You’re actually incentivized then to return the materials.” Fines account for less than 1% of the library system operating revenue. Lewandowski described that this is a win-win for patrons and library employees as it attracts more people to use the library by making patron interactions more enjoyable and saves time and money by alleviating the workload on employees such as paperwork for those who dispute fines. “When a book was lost before, I would just replace it because the patron may not return it due to the overdue fees, so now people are going to be returning the books, and I’m going to be spending less money on replacement copies I think,” Lewandowski said. By Cait Malilay and Natalie Gravino

Sunday, May 1, 2022

W.S. International Soccer marks 10th year

 

 WestSide International Soccer, a non-profit organization, is celebrating its 10th year offering free soccer programs for boys and girls ages 4-19. Mateo Escobar, president and co-founder, says the program creates a safe space for kids to play and compete without the barrier of cost. The recreational youth program runs in the summer for 12 weeks where kids play every Saturday morning at Front Park. Escobar says most of the kids are refugees living in the West Side. “It was a nice pairing of being able to help refugees and also being able to provide soccer programming for kids of all ages,” Escobar said. The program has partnerships with FC Buffalo soccer club, Nardin Academy and D’Youville University and hopes to expand to offer more competitive and travel teams. By Peyton Fletcher & Valerie Ryan


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Revolver Records thrives on vinyl ‘relics’

 

Revolver Records owner, Phil Machemer, sorts through new inventory of vinyl

By Elijah Robinson and Thomas Tedesco

            It was just 15 years ago that vinyl records were considered a relic of the past that were wallowing in a long period of obsolescence.

            The large black discs had been phased out of the mainstream music consciousness for the likes of the compact disc and subsequently, digital downloads.

            Then a cultural shift started to happen.

Music community members slowly and steadily began to embrace vinyl records once again as a complement to their digital music collections.

            “I felt kind of silly paying $15 for the CD, and then be putting it on the shelf and never touching it,” Phil Machemer said. “I can get this vinyl and I can have something cooler, and then it would come with a download code so I could also have it on my iPod.”

            Machemer, who is the owner and founder of Revolver Records, 831 Elmwood Ave., has found himself and his business amid a growing resurgence in the sales of vinyl records.

            According to the Recording Industry Association of America, vinyl exceeded sales of CDs for the first time in 2020 and continued to do so in 2021.

            Machemer, who used to live on Elmwood and started selling records at an antique market called The Peddler, 656 Elmwood Ave., said he always saw the need for a record store on the West Side.

            “Elmwood Avenue always needed a record store and I always thought, ‘Why couldn’t it be me?’ It's where people go to hang out. People want to have a good time, they want to shop, it's very hip and it was a no brainer,” he said.

            Machemer says he has felt this shift among music lovers of various ages and demographics on the West Side.

            “It's very diverse. There are people of all different likenesses that buy records here, you can't pigeonhole it,” he said.

            The vinyl craze has most notably transcended age groups, as individuals in their 20s are almost just as likely to purchase a vinyl record as someone in their 50s, according to a study from Statista.

            “The first time I went to Revolver was actually the first time I went to a record store,” Joey Bastian, a 20-year-old music major at SUNY Buffalo State College, said. “It’s a hotspot for me and it’s a great place to shop.”

            Around the same time that vinyl began to resurge in popularity, a cultural phenomenon known as Record Store Day began to spread across the approximately 1, 400 independent record stores in the United States and soon, across the world.

            Record Store Day coordinator Rick Johnson describes Record Store Day as the largest one-day celebration of music in the world.

 

Record Store Day Coordinator, Rick Johnson talks about how vinyl has seen a shift in cultural perspective since the inception of Record Store Day in 2007.


            Usually celebrated on the third Sunday in April, record labels, distributors and artists of all genres release limited edition records that are sold exclusively at independent record stores.

            “It was all started with trying to make the independent record store viable and trying to help the independent record store,” Johnson said.

            Machemer describes the day as the biggest on his store’s calendar and one that can have big rewards, but also carries big risks.

            “It's a gamble. I mean, we're essentially putting thousands of dollars into this idea that people are going to come and want this stuff, and we just have to hope and assume that they will,” Machemer said.

            Most years, Revolver Records has seen significant boosts in business due to Record Store Day, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the celebration split into three separate days.

            “I laid everybody off, ran the business just by myself and it was difficult. It was really ramshackle, but it worked,” Machemer said.

            Johnson said that not only was Record Store Day an integral part of independent record stores to surviving the pandemic, but it is also a testament to the loyalty of record collectors.

            “Vinyl customers are very tenacious, and they want their vinyl,” Johnson said. “They want the community of going to the record shop and they want their small businesses to stay in business and they want their small businesses to thrive.”

            While there has been significant growth in the sales of vinyl, it still leaves many wondering as to when it will reach its peak and subsequently decline.

            Johnson said that he doesn’t expect the interest of vinyl and its sales to dissipate anytime soon.

            “Every trend or every company has a trajectory and there is a point where the trajectory levels off. So, I've been anticipating it for a while, and it hasn't happened yet,” he said.