Thursday, December 15, 2011

IN DEPTH: Small businesses gear up for holiday season

The holiday season is upon us! Which means spending time with friends and family, having extravagant feasts and, of course, shopping for the perfect gifts to give your loved ones. What better way to celebrate than by investing your money into the ever-growing West Side community? Businesses like West Side Stories, Guercio & Sons Inc., Krudmart and the West Side Bazaar are all working to make holiday shopping on the West Side more appealing to their customers. By Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley Full story

NHS adopt-a-family program needs donors

 West Side & Black Rock-Riverside Neighborhood Housing Services is once again hosting a Christmas season adopt-a-family program.
 NHS matches needy families with donors, which can be businesses, organizations or private families. The State Employees Federal Credit Union, for example, has already adopted 15 families, according to NHS Executive Director Linda Chiarenza.
 Needy families create a wish list, which NHS gives to donors to fulfill. Donors are asked to gift-wrap the donations.
 People or organizations looking to adopt a family can contact NHS at 885-2344.
By Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk

Holiday spirit lights up the West Side

 Nearly 2,000 homes in four block clubs on the West Side will remain aglow until Jan. 6 as part of the fourth annual Festival of Lights.
 Ranging from Front Park to Symphony Circle, the holiday competition has grown every year since it began, said Jim Messina, one of the organizers of the event. Members of the block clubs go door-to-door getting people to sign up.
 “We encourage neighbors to put out a strand of lights to show colors for holiday,” Messina said.
 Participants are eligible to win prizes, around 35 available, from cash prizes to gift certificates. All awards are donations.
 The collaboration is part of an ongoing effort through the Prospect Hill Neighborhood Alliance to unite neighborhoods in that area.
 The event culminates with a reception at the Karpeles Museum Jan. 6.
By Mike Meiler and Julia Merulla

D’Youville volunteers head to New Orleans

 D’Youville College is having its annual volunteer service experience from Dec. 14 through Dec. 20.
 The Lending a Hand New Orleans community service experience is a program held annually for the last nine years where students and staff members from D’Youville College take a trip to New Orleans to volunteer.
 “This year there will be 25 students and six staff members,” said Rev. Janice Mahle, associate campus minister and project coordinator.
   The students and staff will team up with different agencies in New Orleans volunteering their time to help build houses, hand out energy-saving light bulbs and repair and clean up of the city's cemeteries.
   “I call it voluntourism, the students assist with various agencies and they help their economy as tourists,” said Mahle. By Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo

Prish Moran, owner of Sweet_ness 7 Cafe, talks about  open-mic sessions she plans to hold at her Grant Street location throughout the holidays.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Journey’s End seeks clothing donations

 Refugees who resettle on the West Side and throughout the rest of Buffalo are forced to adjust as winter weather approaches.
 Development Coordinator for Journey’s End Refugee Service, Brian Brown-Cashdollar said, “Many of our clients come from warm weather climates and don’t have any winter clothing when they arrive.”
  This is why Journey’s End is accepting donations of new and gently used winter apparel. About 150 winter coats are needed as well as gloves, hats, boots and scarves.
  Anyone looking to donate is asked to please call ahead at 716-882-4963. Donations can be dropped off at Journey’s End’s office at 2495 Main St., Suite 317.
By Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk

School 36 bought out and set to reopen

 The former School 36 on Days Park is expected to reopen in September 2012, thanks to a new agreement that gave ownership of the property to the Elmwood Village Charter School.
 “This will accommodate our expansion to include a middle school and a second of each classroom through grade eight,” said school director John Sheffield.
 The building, located at 40 Days Park, has been vacant for nearly a year and a half since School 36, the Bilingual Early Childhood Center, moved down the street.
 Sheffield said the second location is ideal because it is located close to the school’s current location at 124 Elmwood Ave., and students already come from Allentown and parts of the West Side.
 “We’re an intrical part of this community,” Sheffield said.
 Construction is expected to begin immediately and should be completed by the beginning of the next school year. By Kevin Freiheit and Melissa Kania

Ice Boom date set back due to warm temps

 Each year the placing of the ice boom into the Niagara River marks the beginning of the winter season for Buffalo.
  However, due to warmer than usual temperatures plans for dropping the ice boom have not yet occurred.Each year the placing of the ice boom into the Niagara River marks the beginning of the winter season for Buffalo. However, due to warmer than usual temperatures plans for dropping the ice boom have not yet occurred.
 Each year the placing of the ice boom into the Niagara River marks the beginning of the winter season for Buffalo. However, due to warmer than usual temperatures plans for dropping the ice boom have not yet occurred.
 Bruce Sanders, public relations representative for the Buffalo District of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said, “There is no set date to drop the boom. The water temperature needs to be a certain temperature for a certain number of days.”
 According to their website, installation can begin on Dec. 16 or whenever the water temperature reaches at least 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
 The dropping of the ice boom has annually occurred every year since 1964. The ice boom is a series of steel pontoons spanning the outlet of Lake Erie. The boom helps to break up thick chunks of ice, which left whole can lead to flooding, shore damage and reduction of flow to hydro-electric power plants. By Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley

IN DEPTH: Brewery hopes to revive Buffalo tradition

Ethan Cox expects to open Community Beer Works  next year.

 A new neighborhood brewery is coming to the West Side. Community Beer Works, a project spearheaded by Ethan Cox and David Foster, is under construction at 15 Lafayette Ave. and should be in production in early 2012. The owners say the location, in a building already connected to the city's brewing history, is ideal because of the up-and-coming neighborhood as well as its proximity to the surrounding Grant and Elmwood areas. CBW plans to partner with the Massachusetts Avenue Project and local urban farmers to donate grains for reuse and produce hops for the company's beer making. By Kevin Freiheit and Melissa Kania Full story.

Christmas trees available at Urban Roots

 When it comes to holiday flora, Urban Roots is stocked with options to grace homes with the beauty and aroma of a live evergreen tree.
 The organization is selling trees right up until Christmas, with eight varieties of evergreens to choose from. Each tree is 3- to 4-feet tall and costs $60 to $70.
 Because the trees are still living, they can last years after the holidays with proper care.
 "We're hoping, because the trees are still alive, they'll be recycled and replanted into the ground after use. They really should only be inside for around seven days," said Urban Roots employee Bryan Lovullo.
 For those who aren’t able to plant their evergreen after they’re done with it, Urban Roots offers the option to donate it to a local organization. Olmsted Parks, Grassroots Gardens and Buffalo Riverkeeper have partnered again with Urban Roots in this effort. Donors can choose which organization receives the tree by filling out a donation form available at Urban Roots.
By Mike Meiler and Julia Merulla

West Side Festival of Lights continues

 The Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc. is holding the fourth annual Neighborhood Festival of Lights on the lower West Side. The festival started Nov. 23 and runs through Jan. 6.
  The festival is open to both renters and homeowners. To enter, all you have to do is put up ornamental lights on the outside of your home so that the judges can see them from the street.
  The winners of the festival will be announced at 2 p.m.on Jan. 8 at Karpeles Manuscript Museum, 453 Porter Ave., where prizes will be awarded.
  You can vote online for your favorite lighting display or volunteer by contacting your block club president or by emailing By Brian Geerhard and Erica Lindo

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MORE THAN JUST TURKEY: Brian Morin, sales manager at TOPS Friendly Markets, guides us through the basic Thanksgiving checklist and sales aimed to please. Video by Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley

IN DEPTH: Grant St. thrift shop offers job training

 289 Grant Street is home to the unique thrift shop called New to You. Run by a nonprofit organization, the New to You Shop offers on-the-job training to the youth they employ as well as helping the people they serve. New to You offers students the opportunity to earn money, help their own community and learn life lessons along the way. By Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo Full story.

Property values rise in parts of West Side

 West Side & Black Rock-Riverside Neighborhood Housing Services has been tracking home prices in the Grant-Ferry area for over three years. Over the summer, the organization surveyed 96 houses in the Grant-Ferry neighborhood and discovered a 51 percent increase in property values since 2009.
 “From observation, we’re seeing fewer vacancies and a lot of young professionals buying homes. We’re also seeing more young families in our homebuyer education classes,” said Laura Sweat, assistant to the director for resource development and communications.
 Sweat pointed out that while certain areas of the West Side seem to be booming, others are stable and still other areas see properties getting worse.
 Although it recognize there are areas that need improvement, Neighborhood Housing Services is still calling the West Side “inspiring.”
 Sweat said she believes the rise in property values could be attributed to people seeing the West Side is coming back and wanting to be a part of it. By Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk

Vermont St. center hosts holiday luncheon

 The Westside Community Center is hosting its senior Thanksgiving luncheon on Nov. 24 at its location at 161 Vermont St.
 The senior luncheon is one of five such events held around specific holidays throughout the year, including Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Christmas luncheon is open to all Niagara District residents.
 The community center uses programs such as this in order to give residents of the West Side activities for all ages. In addition to other senior programs, the center also has a number of youth programs that focus on education and culture in the area. By Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo

Sunday, November 20, 2011

LEAVES TO MULCH - Mike Scanlon of Buffalo donates his leaves to a recycling program that will benefit Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo. This year, the City of Buffalo and Larden Construction, Inc. are participating in this cost-reducing program that will turn leaves and yard debris in mulch. The mulch will then be donated to Grassroots Gardens, one of which is located on the West Side. Leaf collections begin Nov. 14, will go until Nov. 25 and are scheduled for the same days as garbage pickup. Residents also have the option of donating their leaves at a drop off site. The drop off sites include:
• Cazenovia Park golf course parking lot: south of Seneca Street at the foot of Wildwood Avenue • Shoshone Park parking lot: north off of Hertel Avenue at the foot of Beard Avenue • 1120 Seneca St.: parking lot between Babcock and Smith streets. Photo by Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk

Church food pantry running low on turkey

 Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida de Buffalo is doing its part to help feed the needy this holiday season.
 The church at 62 Virginia St. runs a food pantry each year, helping support 20 to 40 families in the West Side. The Rev. Alberto Lanzot said that pantry is always low on food.
 “We get pounded,” he said. “We’re open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The only contact we have is through the food bank. As soon as we fill up, we’re empty.”
 Lanzot said the area the church services is mostly Hispanic and that rice and beans are two food items that are always in demand, though with the holidays coming, they’re also short on turkey.
 “I managed to get 30 (turkeys),” he said, “but we’ll probably need 100 more. We usually give out 200 to 300 turkeys a year.” By Mike Meiler and Julia Merulla

Anti-violence group puts up billboards

 Cries from the West Side community to reduce gang violence among youth rang in the ears of many. In 2009, Buffalo State College answered by establishing the West Side Youth Violence Prevention Coalition.
 Project coordinator Jonathan Lindner focuses on directly involving the community through the coalition’s work.
 “A behavior survey has gone out, which focuses on parent behavior,” Lindner said. “They are the most crucial and critical influence in a child’s life.”
 The coalition was recently awarded a federal grant of $30,000, which will be used to place billboards throughout the 14213 zip code. The billboards will display positive messages aimed to help adults positively influence children.
 “Our role is to expand parenting to anyone who influences a child and our environmental practices are expected to be very successful,” Lindner said.
 The billboards were released Nov. 17. By Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley

Parking restrictions in place on West Side

 Winter parking restrictions are now in effect on bus-route designated streets, including portions of Richmond and Plymouth avenues and Niagara, Maryland and York streets.
 Parking is not allowed between 1:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. on any portion of a street where passenger buses operate, with a few exceptions.
 The first exception prohibits parking at all times on one side of the street; parking continues to be allowed at all times on the opposite side of the street.
 According to the City of Buffalo's parking website, routes affected include West Delavan Avenue between Niagara and Herkimer streets (even side), Maryland Street between Efner and College streets (odd side), and West Utica Street between Rhode Island and Chenango streets (odd.)
 The second exception allows parking on one side of the street at all times, when not prohibited by alternate parking regulations. Streets affected by this restriction include College Street between Cottage and Maryland streets (even), Cottage Street between Virginia and Maryland streets, and Jersey Street between Lakeview Avenue and Seventh Street (even).
 Lastly, the third exception means that parking is allowed on both sides of the street at all times when alternate parking regulations do not prohibit it. This affects Normal Avenue between Hampshire and York streets (odd), Plymouth Avenue between Hudson and Hampshire streets (even), Richmond Avenue between Porter Avenue, North Street and West Ferry Street (odd), and York Street between Normal and West avenues (odd.)
 These regulations will be enforced daily until April 1 between the hours of 1:30 and 7 a.m. Full list of exceptions. By Melissa Kania and Kevin Freiheit 

BACKYARD MASTERPIECE - Local gardener Richard Price gives a tour of his garden, which he has been working on in his backyard for 17 years. Price, explains what he is doing to preserve some of his seeds over the winter and the process of ordering seeds for next spring. Video by Kevin Freiheit and Melissa Kania

IN DEPTH: Institute helps immigrants settle in

 Grocery shopping, getting gas and making doctor’s appointments are all everyday, simple tasks for most people. For refugees who come to America, these tasks can seem impossible. This is why local programs, such as the International Institute of Buffalo, are there to help refugees resettle in Buffalo neighborhoods. By Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk Full story

Thursday, November 17, 2011

SWING AWAY- Many couples enjoyed a night of Lindy Hop Swing dancing put on by Lindy Fix and Buffalo Swing on Nov.8. The monthly event featured the Seattle-based band Glenn Crytzer and His Syncopators and was held at the Polish Cadets Hall, 927 Grant St. Photo by Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo

Police: Stay safe this holiday season

 As the year comes to a close, Buffalo Police are reminding West Side residents to be more aware of potential crimes over the holiday season.
 Increases in travel and the number of people shopping are two factors that make the holidays an enticing period for criminals, “D” District Police Officer Roscoe Henderson said.
 “There are two types of people: honest and dishonest,” Henderson said. “People who are not honest use the holidays as an excuse to commit crimes.”
 Henderson advises residents who are traveling to use automatic timers on lights to keep the appearance of activity in their home, making it a less likely target.
 He also said shoppers should travel in pairs and use credit cards to keep the amount of cash on hand to a minimum.
 “The more people together, the less likely you are to be confronted,” he said.
Henderson added that people should be extra cautious when carrying bags from their car to their house, which is when they are most vulnerable.
 “Try not to leave a lot of items visible in your vehicle,” he said. “When you get out of your car and get to your house, you should take a look around... Be conscious of your surroundings.
 “People are going to be breaking into cars and shoplifting,” he said about the holiday season. “If you see anything suspicious, you shouldn’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. It doesn’t have to be a crime, but if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t." By Mike Meiler and Julia Merulla

Monday, November 14, 2011

IN DEPTH: Grants flow slowly to area small businesses

 In September 2010, PUSH Buffalo received A $500,000 New York Main Street Grant for renovations on Grant Street between West Delevan and Auburn avenues. After a year, the visible effects are limited as businesses work with PUSH to secure their shares of the money.By Mike Meiler and Julia Merulla Full story

MAP's mobile market extends selling season

 The Massachusetts Avenue Project’s Mobile Market is having its most successful season ever and is extending its selling period through Nov. 19.
 Tyler Manley, director of the Mobile Market, said the seasonal produce has been selling out weekly from the farm stand at 389 Massachusetts Ave. As of Oct. 1, the organization had had 1,300 customers since May.
 The Mobile Market has used grant money to purchase a refrigerated truck to use for next season.
 “Next year we plan on doing a lot more because having a truck is really going to change everything,” Manley said.
 The Mobile Market is open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. By Mike Meiler and Julia Merulla

Journey's End to host Thanksgiving dinner

 Journey’s End Refugee Services will be hosting Buffalo’s First Thanksgiving Dinner once again this year. It will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Belle Center located at 104 Maryland St.
  This dinner, which has been held by Journey’s End for eight years, is a way to help refugee families understand what Thanksgiving is.
  “Many of them don’t even know what a turkey is,” said the Development Coordinator of Journey’s End, Brian Brown-Cashdollar.
  “The first thing we do is explain what a turkey is and what Thanksgiving is all about.”
  Niagara University culinary students will be working in collaboration with Journey’s End to make a full Thanksgiving meal. For most refugees, this will be their first Thanksgiving dinner, which is how the event acquired its name.
  Between Journey’s End and other refugee and immigrant services there are about 200 clients expected to attend.
  “It’s a great way to help them understand our culture and welcome them to our city,” said Brown-Cashdollar. By Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk

West Side schools part of science grant

 The National Science Foundation has recently awarded a $9.8 million grant to Buffalo Public Schools in the hopes of promoting student interest in the sciences. The grant will fund a five year program in which teachers from 12 different elementary and high schools will have the opportunity to research alongside scientists.
  The program, titled the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership, will be led by the University of Buffalo, Buffalo State College and the Buffalo Museum of Science. Of the 12 schools involved, two are from the West Side community, the Native American Magnet and Hutch-Tech High School.
  According to Joseph Gardella, a professor at the University of Buffalo and the project lead, the program launched in 2005 at the Native American Magnet school and has already made leeway in getting students interested in their education. Students in the ISEP classroom were 30% more likely to achieve proficiency on the eighth-grade New York State science exam.
  “The Native American Magnet has been in this program for seven years,” said Gardella, “and we have already seen substantial results.” By Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Swing Buffalo hosts 'vintage' dance band

 On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Swing Buffalo will host Glenn Crytzer and his Syncopators. From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. the band will play to a room full of dancers and music lovers alike at the Polish Cadets Hall, 927 Grant St.
 This Seattle based group prides itself on being “America’s most authentic vintage swing band.”
  “This is an awesome band and cost us a pretty penny to hire,” said Rob Leach, who found Swing Buffalo in 2007, “and we’re only charging $12 that night to have them here.”
  Leach runs Swing Buffalo, which is an organization that loves dance forms such as the Jitterbug, Balboa, Lindy Hop and Charleston. Lindy Hop classes are Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m., followed by a social dance. The Lindy Hop was popularized in the 1920s and 1930s and experienced a huge revival across the country in the early 1990s.
  There's a small fee for class. Leach says dancers of all skill levels are welcome.
By Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo

Riverside High School gets book donation

 Riverside High School students taking a basic computer course will receive a classroom set of donated books from Buffalo State College.
 The college’s computer information systems department gathered 35 sets of Microsoft Office 2007 concepts and application practice books from instructors and former students. Since the campus switched to using Office 2010, the old textbooks would have been thrown away, said Ramona Santa Maria, assistant professor in the department.
 “It’s always a top priority of the CIS faculty and students to recycle our materials as much as possible,” Santa Maria said, “and since the Buffalo schools are always in need of resources, it’s just a really good way to pass on materials that we don’t need and they do.”
 Santa Maria said the subject material can apply to students with any level of computer knowledge.
 The high school has been given this donation twice now. Santa Maria organized the effort in 2008, when the campus switched from Office 2003 to Office 2007.
By Mike Meiler and Julia Merulla

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All treats, no tricks at the BPO on Sunday

 Get in the Halloween spirit this Sunday at Kleinhans Music Hall with the “Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls!” event.
 Presented by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra as part of its family series, the main event is an hour-long concert with conductor Matthew Kraemer. Children are invited to come dressed in costume and parade across the stage.
  Kraemer will play Halloween music, as well as songs from "Harry Potter," "Jaws" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Doors open at 1 p.m., with the concert beginning at 2:30 p.m. and lasting an hour with no intermission.
  “Pre-concert activities include an interactive theater event led by the Theatre of Youth in the Mary Seaton Room,” said Jennifer Smith, media and community relations manager for the BPO.
 Smith added that treats will be given out to the children after the performance as they trick-or-treat with BPO musicians and staff.
  Admission is $10 for children age 2 to age 17, $8 for students and $15 for adults 18 and older. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 885-5000. By Kevin Freiheit and Melissa Kania

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

IN DEPTH: Rose Garden shows youngsters life’s basics

 Acquiring basic skills through playing, baking, singing and other interaction is the focus of childhood development at The Rose Garden Early Childhood Center. For three years, Lafayette Ave. has encompassed the joyous laughter of these children. Director, Judith Frizlen, credits the center’s success to practices of the LifeWays model. By Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley Full story

PRUNED TO PERFECTION - Richard Stedman, president-owner of Wright-Frontier Tree & Lawn Care Inc, recently held a pruning workshop at the Urban Roots Garden located at 428 Rhode Island St. Video by Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo
HELPING HALLOWEEN - Marcus Samerson (left), a junior electrical engineering technology major, gets a hand from sophomore media production major Emma Stollberger (right), as the two help set up for a haunted house at 33 18th St. Stollberger and Samerson were among the students participating in Buffalo State College’s Community Service Day. The haunted house, sponsored by Making Fishers of Men and Women, is scheduled for Oct. 30.
Photo by Julia Merulla and Mike Meiler

Trick-or-treaters take to college dorms

D’Youville will be hosting its fourth annual Neighborhood Halloween Party for West Side children from 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 30.
Children ages 3-12 from local elementary schools and community centers are invited to play games, get their faces painted, enjoy snacks, and trick-or-treat throughout the dorms.
“Every year a different student organization comes in to take the lead,” said Lori Marasco, secretary of Campus Ministry, the group that runs the event.
Marasco said students and local alumni volunteer their time to make the event a success. 
                                                                                          By Mike Meiler and Julia Merulla

House party to celebrate new beginning

Heart of the City Neighborhoods Inc. is having a moving out house party on Nov. 3 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at its current location, 42 Plymouth Ave. 
The organization will move to 192 Whitney Place when its lease expires at the end of November. 
            The house party is open to the public. Heart of the City is asking for $10 donations to go toward preparing the new location.
                                                                     By Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo

Local health center rescued at last minute

Kaleida Health and Neighborhood Health Center have reached a new lease agreement to continue operations at the Mattina Health Center, located at 300 Niagara St.
The center was originally supposed to close Nov. 1 due to financial issues, but the new lease agreement will allow patients to continue to receive treatment with minimal disruption in service. The center will reopen fully at the end of the month.
According to its website, Neighborhood Health, the new owner of the property, is a community-based organization providing care such as physical exams, lab testing, sick care, pediatric, nutritional and dental services, regardless of patients’ financial status.
Once the new site is fully reopened, it will be named the Neighborhood Health Center Mattina in order to maintain some of the location’s heritage.
                                                                                 By Kevin Freiheit and Melissa Kania 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

IN DEPTH: West Side locations host flu shot clinics

 With flu season beginning, West Side residents can visit a number of locations in the area to receive a vaccination for little or no cost. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated yearly, because the influenza virus changes over time. New vaccines are created each year by the World Health Organization, depending on which strains of the virus are predicted to be ‘at-large’ that flu season. This year’s vaccination includes components to protect against three different flu viruses, and is now available for residents. By Kevin Frieheit and Melissa Kania Full story

D'Youville sets open house, visit schedule

 Prospective students looking for information about D’Youville College may be interested in a number of upcoming events at the campus, located at 320 Porter Ave.
 Weekend visits will begin on Oct. 29 and continue once a month through May 5, with no visit in January.
 “Weekend visits are basically a recruiting event,” said Megan Harmon, assistant director of admissions. “We’re looking for prospective students. Weekend visits are a smaller-scale version of our open house.”
 Weekend visits include information sessions about individual programs offered at the college, as well as campus tours led by students.
 In addition to the weekend visits, open houses are also beginning at the college, with the first on Oct. 22.
 While weekend visits last under two hours, open houses run from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
 The open houses begin with an introduction by the director of admissions, including a discussion of the history of the college and what the college’s mission is. Attendees are then split into groups and participate in individual sessions, where faculties from different departments discuss more in-depth information.
 Campus tours and financial aid seminars are also available during open houses.
More information can be found at D’Youville’s website or by calling the undergraduate admissions office at 829-7600. By Kevin Freiheit and Melissa Kania

Horsefeathers to host food week celebration

 National Food Celebration Week beings Oct. 22. To kick off this year’s celebration, the Frizlen Group has organized an event at 346 Connecticut St., known as the “Horsefeathers Building,” where merchants will have a place to sell their food and people will have a chance to buy and try new foods.
 The Frizlen Group recently acquired the Horsefeathers Building and is in the process of rehabilitating it. The plan is to convert the space to accommodate living and office spaces as well as a farmer’s market. This historic building, which was once vacant and used only as a warehouse, will hold its first event in years.
 “We plan on putting a Foodmaker’s Market on the main floor and basement,” said Karl Frizlen, president of the Frizlen Group. “This celebration will not only celebrate National Food Week but be a pre-construction celebration also.”
 The festivities will begin at 5 p.m. and everyone is encouraged to come out and enjoy, Frizlen said. By Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo

CarShare seeks expansion to Buffalo State

 Buffalo CarShare is looking to expand to Buffalo State’s campus. Executive Director Creighton Randall says it’s only a matter of coming to terms with the school’s directors.
 Members of Buffalo CarShare can reserve and rent cars hourly for errands and other trips.
 “It’s a little bit of a leap for us,” he said. “But it’s something we’re really looking forward to,” he added.
 The organization is seeking the approval of Buffalo State leaders and financial support to expand services.
 Buffalo CarShare’s office located at 14 Allen St. For more information about becoming a member go to By Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk
SAFETY TIPS - The city's Youth Program Coordinator Michael Milovich offers some advice for a safe Halloween. Video by Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley

D'Youville partners to cultivate cures

The D’Youville College School of Pharmacy is partnering with the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens to grow an of healing plants. The team plans to cultivate indoor and outdoor medicinal plant gardens.
     “There will be an outdoor botanical garden and indoor displays from time to time. The indoor displays are intended to be educational and will highlight the use of natural products to treat various diseases,” said Gary Stoehr, dean of the School of Pharmacy.
     The indoor medicinal gardens are in place and the two sides are working together on obtaining funding for the outdoor gardens that will be available in the spring, said John Kennedy, director  of Development at D’Youville.
    The medicinal gardens will add to the three glass domes and nine greenhouses already situated in the botanical gardens  located on South Park Avenue. Stoehr said D’Youville anticipates having students available on garden tours. Tours will be open to the public but tour hours are tentative. By Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preservation Trust tours historic West Side

West Side neighborhoods and historic landmarks will be a major focus of The National Trust for Historic Preservation conference when it begins on Wednesday.
There will be tours of the historic neighborhoods surrounding Kleinhans Music Hall on Wednesday Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.  The price is $10. The trust also will be at Kleinhans on Thursday, Oct. 20 from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. for the presentation of the 2011 National Preservation Awards.  The event is free and open to the public.  
There will be free tours of the Connecticut Street Armory every hour on Wednesday, Oct. 19 and Thursday, Oct. 20 beginning at 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
On Thursday Oct. 20, a special event called Museums By Moonlight will allow the public to tour the H.H. Richardson Complex, the Albright-Knox, Burchfield-Penney and the Buffalo State College Art and Conservation Lab from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. for $30.
Guided tours of the H.H. Richardson Complex will continue Sunday, Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. The cost is $15.  This is the first time in 10 years the complex will be open to the public. By Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk

Sunday, October 16, 2011

LIGHTS ON- The finishing touches are being added to a newly renovated section of the first floor of the H.H. Richardson Complex. The 19th century psychiatric hospital is in the process of being transformed into a multi-use architecture and visitors center. This building will be among those visited by more than 2,000 members of the National Trust For Historic Preservation during its conference held in Buffalo from Oct. 19 through Oct. 22. Photo by Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MAP to host urban workshop this weekend

 The Massachusetts Avenue Project will host an urban agriculture trainign weekend from Oct. 14-16.  MAP will focus on apsets such as food policy, urban agriculture, aquaponics, social enterprise and youth centered agriculture. According to MAP’s website, “the weekend includes 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, a cocktail reception and intensive, hands-on training opportunities.’
 Most of the workshops will be held at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and MAP’s Growing Green urban farm. The workshop is open to the public and has a fee of $225. By Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley

PUSHing to raise money for the West Side

   PUSH Buffalo will host a fundraiser Nov. 10 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Ave.
 Donations are accepted but there is no cost to attend the fundraiser. Breakfast will be served for those who attend.
  “Our people are the actual building blocks, but we are actually building [city] blocks,” said Britney McClain, development director at PUSH.
 PUSH Buffalo’s mission is to create affordable, sustainable housing and create strong neighborhoods in the city of Buffalo. The organization aims to increase property ownership by low-income residents and also builds houses on the West Side.
 For more information about the event or PUSH Buffalo, contact the organization at 716-884-0356 or visit their office at 271 Grant Street.  By Melissa Kania and Kevin Freiheit

YOGA FOR RELIEF- On Oct. 1 a class of 50 yoga enthusiasts participated in the Buffalo Yoga Aid Challenge. The class was organized by Yoga Aid and Power Yoga of Buffalo and was held at the West Side Rowing Club on Porter Avenue. The objective of the event was to raise money for the African Yoga Project, which teaches yoga in African communities in order to bring about change. Photo by Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo

West Side Bazaar leaves its comfort zone

 The West Side Bazaar is going on the road this fall to sell its international goods outside of its Grant St. home.
 The bazaar, located at 242 Grant Street, opened in March and hosts vendors who are immigrants and refugees from countries such as the Ivory Coast, Peru, Indonesia, South Sudan and Rwanda.
 Mary Joy Buscemi, the bazaar’s marketing coordinator, has made it her goal to get the vendors acquainted with different communities in Buffalo including the arts, the Elmwood Village, Buffalo State College, and the suburbs. The bazaar will be found at
· Tri Main Center, 2495 Main St., Oct. 18 and Oct. 19 from 10:30 a.m.- 3 p.m.
· “Bazaar Gives Back” Guercio & Sons parking lot, 250 Grant St., Oct. 22
· International Institute 864 Delaware Ave. and “Girls Night Out” at Salvatore’s Italian Garden, 6461 Transit Rd., Nov. 3
· Buffalo State College Student Union 1300 Elmwood Ave., Nov. 15 and Nov. 16
· ZGM Fine Arts Gallery 1045 Elmwood Ave., Nov. 17 through Dec. 30, Thursdays and Fridays from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
 At several of the locations, the merchants will donate a portion of their proceeds to the following organizations that help immigrants and refugees just like them: Journey’s End, Jericho Road Ministries, Buffalo Without Borders and Child & Family Services: Haven House.
 The Grant Street location will also have special holiday hours on Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from October 20 until January. By Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk
PUSH has created a demonstration home on the West Side of Buffalo to model various techniques that can be used to make a house environmentally "green." The house is often used during tours, such as the WNY Solar Homes and Green Buildings Tour on October 1. Development director Britney McClain describes the award-winning house and the 'green' aspects of it. Video by Melissa Kania and Kevin Freiheit

IN DEPTH: MenuCalc helps local bakery stay healthy

 Over a year ago, the Department of Health kicked off the Healthy Choices Program. Under this initiative, 200 restaurants in Erie County were given a free trial of MenuCalc software, a computer program developed to count calories and allow restaurants to print nutritional facts on their menus. So far, a bakery and a restaurant on the West Side have agreed to participate and have taken steps to put the software to use. By Mike Meiler and Julia Merulla Full story

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Livery project groundbreaking delayed

 The October 1 ground breaking for the historical White Brother’s Livery has changed. Due to minor setbacks, Savarino Properties has postponed construction until October 11.
 “The ground breaking and press conference have moved back to the 11 and that is still subject to change,” said Julia Spitz, commercial property manager and vice president of Savarino Properties.
 The White Brother’s Livery Stable was once one of the largest horse stables in the city of Buffalo during the late eighteen hundreds. In 2008 the city planned to demolish this piece of history but residents fought to keep it alive.
 Savarino Properties purchased the building for only $1 but will invest nearly $3.4 million into the project. The company’s plan will house 14 affordable apartment units while preserving the building’s original structure. By Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley

Urban Roots workshops begin fifth year

 The fifth year of gardening workshops began Sept. 24 with local gardener Richard Price at Urban Roots Community Garden Center. Urban Roots has been offering these workshops since 2007 to teach people about gardening techniques, composting and winterizing gardens.
 Price presented about seed saving, a technique that allows gardeners to save seeds from fruits, vegetables and other plants for reuse the next year. This maintains farms and gardens. He will also present a workshop on composting Oct. 22.
 “I've been gardening organically since 1970,” Price said. He is a member of the Seedsavers' Exchange, an international organization that maintains thousands of different plants in one of the largest seed banks in North America.
 The workshops continue on October 8 with Richard Stedman, president and owner of Wright-Frontier Tree Care, Inc. He will present on the pruning process.
 Three more workshops will take place during the month of October, with more occurring in the spring. A full schedule can be found at the organization's website at All workshops are held at the Urban Roots store, 428 Rhode Island St.
 Urban Roots is a cooperative garden center located in the West Side, offering affordable gardening supplies and organic plants to the neighborhood in an effort to encourage urban renewal and community education.
Registration is required, so interested persons should contact Urban Roots at 362-8982 or via e-mail at By Kevin Freiheit and Melissa Kania

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

 BETTING ON BOOKS - Independent bookstores are becoming endangered everywhere else but the West Side, where Joe Petri and a business partner recently opened West Side Books. Petri talks about the new store and what it offers. Video by Julia Merulla and Mike Meiler

IN DEPTH: It’s school then athletics at Lafayette

A new principal’s decision to put academics before athletics has Lafayette High School divided. By Kaitlin Fritz and Kaitlin Riznyk Full story.

Center to focus on youth, graduation rates

 Buffalo State College’s off-site Community Academic Center is opening up this October. The Community Academic Center located at 214 Grant St. aims to support Buffalo’s youth and improve high school graduation rates.
 “We were looking for something situated on the West Side,” said Maureen McCarthy, CEURE associate at Buffalo State’s Volunteer and Service Learning Center. “This location is just past Lafayette High School and in a hub of a lot of activity so we’ll be able to reach out to that community well.”
 The center’s activities are still being worked out but right now organizers hope to have an afterschool art program, a girl talk group for young teens and depending on the communities’ needs, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes also. Partnerships are in the process of being built between the Academic Center and West Side schools like Lafayette High School and Grover Cleveland High School.
The Community Academic Center is expected to be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Oct. 18. By Brian Geerhart and Erica Lindo

Engine 2 pumps up firefighting capability

 About three weeks ago six new pumpers and two new ladder trucks were put into service in the city of Buffalo. Engine 2, located on Virginia Street was chosen as one of the engine companies to receive a new pumper. Not only do these new trucks show remembrance of 9/11 but also have a few added features that will help on many occasions.
 The trucks were put in to service on 9/11, marking the 10th anniversary of the largest terrorist attack on the United States and the loss of 343 fellow firefighters. In honor of their lost brothers, a 9/11 decal was posted on the side of every new truck.
 “I think it’s a nice idea,” said Capt. Jay Tillotson. “We like to show our support for the firefighters who died in New York City,” he added.
 There is a reason this engine company got a new truck. The men of Engine 2 respond to about 3,000 calls a year, most of which are on the West Side. This includes fire and emergency medical service (EMS) calls. This makes it the busiest engine company in the entire city of Buffalo and has been for the past 20 years.
 Not only do these new American LaFrance “rigs,” as firefighters refer to them, have a new decal, but they also have Class A foam, which Engine 2’s old pumper didn’t have. Class A foam is a water additive that helps water soak deeper into burning materials. This helps put a fire out faster, which will cause less water damage to burning buildings of the West Side. It also helps firefighters by reducing the amount of time they spend searching for possible hidden fires.
  The new pumper also has heat in the back where the firefighters ride to each call. This makes a cold and wet ride back from a mid-winter fire easier to tolerate.
  Lt.Mitchell Stewart is excited about the new pumper and said, “it’s like getting a new car.” He also believes this change was well overdue.
“We needed a new one,” he said. “We were over a 120,000 miles on our last pumper and it probably should’ve been taken out of service about six years ago.”
By Kaitlyn Fritz and Kaitlyn Riznyk

West Side Rowing Club sets Niagara Regatta

 The West Side Rowing Club will host the 2011 Head of the Niagara Regatta on Oct. 15.
 The 2.5-mile race, held in the Black Rock Canal, will feature both adult and youth divisions. Every winner will be awarded a cash prize.
 “We’re hoping to get boats from Rochester and Southern Ontario,” said Matt Logue, director of boathouse operations at the West Side Rowing Club. “We’re looking for a good turnout and some help from the weather.”
 The race is open to the public. Entry information can be found on the club’s website, By Julia Merulla and Mike Meiler

Monday, October 3, 2011

TAKING ROOT - Erin Sharkey, background, creative director at the Massachusetts Avenue Project, guides Canisius College students through MAP's urban farm. Tours are held Saturdays at 11 a.m. and are open to the public. There is no fee for the tours but donations are appreciated. MAP hopes the tours will draw in more volunteers and continue the project's growth within the community. Tours continue through November. Photo by Samantha Murphy and Desiree Wiley

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

City, county redistricting may impact West Side

 Every decade the census data are released to the government, counties and cities are then forced to redraw districts to fit the census numbers. Erie County is going to downsize its Legislatures from 15 to 11 and redrawing district lines West Side residents could see a decrease in representation. Full story.

Grant St. crosswalk project still grounded

Artist's rendering of proposed crosswalk design
 With a national conference coming to town, local activists are trying to paint five Grant Street intersections in an effort to brighten up the area. That doesn't sound too complicated, but the Department of Public Works still hasn't approved the plan, even though the National Preservation Conference arrives in October. Activist Cornelia Dohse-Peck said the whole situation is “mysteriously complicated.”Full story.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Richardson Complex project moving ahead

 It is a valuable piece of Buffalo architecture plagued by decay and vandals. The Richardson complex is currently surrounded by tree stumps and wire fences. It is now once step closer to being restored to its former glory by bill that would transfer ownership of the property to the Richardson Center Corp. The organization has big plans for the property that include making this unique building into a hub of tourism in Buffalo.Full story

Union protests closing of Mattina health center

Union protesters at the Mattina health center
 Kaleida Health, a Western New York healthcare provider, has made a controversial decision to close the Judge Joseph S. Mattina Community Health Center on Niagara Street. West Side community members, as well as healthcare workers and union members, protested the decision outside the center on Monday. Despite the protest’s sizable turnout, it is unlikely that reasonable negotiations will be made. The Mattina Center will downsize its staff and fall under new management should Kaleida follow through on its decision, leaving many to wonder how this will effect the West Side. Full story

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rising gas prices forcing business' hand

Prish Moran serves up some coffee

 The rising gas prices around the United States have hit the West Side and its businesses already. With Buffalo’s average price for a gallon of gas nearing $4, some businesses are forced to make tough decisions that might affect West Side residents’ wallets. Full story

Organizations fight to stop budget cuts

 Federal budget cuts have affected many different organizations in Western New York. It can be argued that perhaps no other type will be affected more than not-for-profit organizations on the West Side. But these organizations are trying come up with ways to counter these budget cuts by lobbying officials and holding rallies. Full story

Housing service nabs redevelopment grant

 While foreclosures continue at a frightening pace throughout the United States, West Side Neighborhood Housing Services is hoping a new $68,150 grant will help slow that pace in the community. Teaching new homebuyers the basics of home owning will undoubtedly go a long way in decreasing the foreclosure rate. The grant came from NeighborWorks America and is completely funded through taxpayer dollars. It will also be used to rehabilitate current homes that are in dire need of improvements. Full story

No contract, firefighters cover own health

 “The health care issue has been brought forward because it shows the city’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair and equitable contract,” said Daniel Cunningham, the 282 Firefighters Union representative. “It is costing the city and the citizens of Buffalo more money, because they won’t negotiate.”
 In 2004, the City of Buffalo forced firefighters to accept one health care provider, which was Blue Cross Blue Shield. Previous to this change, they had the option of choosing between four companies: Univera Healthcare, Independent Health, Community Blue and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Full story

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

BPO makes musical connection with schools

 The city’s prominent Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has created a unique collaboration with the West Side. Eleven of Buffalo’s public schools and the African American Culture Center recently worked with the Philharmonic to provide an educational experience. This partnership will reach out to middle and high school students through the use of music. The program also entailed school appearances from well-known conductors and musicians, including visits by violinist Randall Goosby and associate conductor Matthew Kraemer earlier this year. The West Side Connection program was created by the Philharmonic Education Director Robin Parkinson. Full story

Buffalo impound lot in need of makeover

 The Buffalo City Impound lot at 166 Dart St. holds plenty of bad memories for city residents. The reason most people visit is generally the result of a very bad day. And the unattractiveness of the lot definitely does not help.
 For residents of the West Side, it is not only a place to pick up a towed vehicle, but it’s a long-standing part of the neighborhood that is soon going to see a few big changes. Full story

Monday, April 11, 2011

West Side awaits status of Grant St. P.O.

The West Side post office is at 465 Grant St.
 The U.S. Post Offices are tightening their belts like never before. A national announcement will reveal which locations will be forced to either consolidate or close. Paul Urbanski, customer service manager of the West Side Station, at 465 Grant St. said that those that are spared will likely face some kind of reduction of staff and services. Though there is no official word yet, the office is still a crucial West Side service needed by businesses and residents alike. Full story

Federal funding threatens West Side services

 he West Side could be taking a major hit if the new federal budget is passed that could do away with the last of the AmeriCorps workers. A bill has just been passed in the House of Representatives that will take away $60 billion in federal funds if passed by the Senate and the president. This will affect America as a whole, but will hit the West Side hard, as AmeriCorps could be done away with. AmeriCorps helps numerous non-profit organizations, which use them as full-time workers. Full story

Buffalo schools have anti-bully policy

 With the recent bipartisan passage of Dignity for All Students Act, the Buffalo school district has implemented new district wide anti-bullying measures. By creating an innovative District Bias Response Team, the district seeks not only to quell individual instances of harassment but assess if greater social problem persists throughout the school. To accomplish this, the district began training all professional and non-professional school staff on ways to prevent and diffuse instances of harassment. Amendments to the district’s code of conduct came at a time when harassment targeted towards refugee students appears to be on the rise at one West Side school. Full story

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Language barriers hurt schools' test scores

 While Buffalo Public Schools have long been criticized for test scores, one aspect of the student demographic has been ignored. State law has required refugee students in grades three through eight to be thrust into taking math and English assessments without the language skills necessary to succeed. This, in turn, has adversely affected the test results at West Side schools and contributed to damaging their reputation. Full story

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Health clinic gets national accreditation

 Jericho Road Family Practice has been a proactive healthcare source in the community by reaching out to at-risk patients. Now, the practice has been accredited by a national organization for its work. This recognition has opened the door for Jericho Road to expand its reach and develop more services for the patients who need it most. Full story

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rivera takes lead on hydro-fracking legislation

 Water treatment in the city of Buffalo has been an ongoing issue.
 Frack Action Buffalo, led by Rita Yelda, and Niagara District Councilmember David Rivera and North District Councilmember Joseoh Golombek have worked to pass Buffalo’s Community Protection from Natural Gas Extraction Ordinance, and stop hydraulic fracturing, a dangerous form of water treatment.
 The ordinance was passed last fall, and officially bans hydraulic fracturing in the city of Buffalo, as well as the dangers of the wastewater from the process.
Full story

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Agency gives refugees more time to adapt

 With almost 500 refugees coming into Buffalo every year, most programs can only fund six months of resettlement help. Jericho Road Ministries is there to help them for another two- to three-years. The ministry has many programs that help the refugees, including F.L.Y. This after school program caters to middle school refugee students with the help from AmeriCorps workers. This program relies on grants to provide the services that help these children succeed in America. Full story

Former drug house to be center for women

 It Takes a Village and the Hananiah Lutheran Church are taking a stand at 425 Normal Ave. Beverly Newkirk and Rev.Kenyatta Cobb Sr. are working to "rebuild the people" of the community so that the community can grow.
 Their focus will be on young women ages 15 to 25. These young women will be helped to find a career path or go to college. They will also be given financial counseling as well as spiritual counseling.
 “People need to know that they are worthy, I don’t care who they are. There is a purpose and plan for their life, and they need to know that,” Newkirk said. Full story