Wednesday, December 12, 2012

IN DEPTH: Health providers target diabetes on W.S.

          The growth of the refugee population on the West Side might be fueling the growth of an epidemic of diabetes, a University at Buffalo researcher says. Full story by Chanice Johnson and Jennine Taberski

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HEALTHY HOLIDAYS - Melissa Gardner of Five Points Bakery, located on 426 Rhode Island St., discusses all-natural foods to enjoy this holiday season instead of heavily processed ones. By Joe Losito and Mhairi Moorhead

West Side Ministries renovates 19th house

In carrying out a mission to develop low-income housing for families that need it, West Side Ministries is collaborating with area students to rehabilitate a home at 369 14th St.
West Side Ministries acquired the property from the city in 2011 and it had sat vacant since.
“We weren’t ready to start work on it yet, so we let it sit for a little while,” said Brittany Barber, head of the housing development program at West Side Ministries. “We secured the property and made it look nice on the outside.”
The development of the property marks the 19th project  that the organization has had a hand in rehabilitating. Construction is under way.
“We’ve been able to gut it in just a couple weeks and we started putting up drywall and finishing hardwood and installing kitchens and bathrooms,” Barber said.
For West Side Ministries, working with local students on the rehabilitation of houses has become commonplace.
“All of the students that volunteer are willing to help because they feel called to service,” Barber said. “We have a couple groups from Buffalo State that come on their own will because they enjoy giving back to the community.”
“It’s so worthwhile to not just do everything for yourself,” said Aleah Sierle, a volunteer from Buffalo State College. “When there’s a need, go out there and do something about it. You don’t need the committees that talk about it, you just need a few people to start doing something about it and people catch on.” By Mike Straw and Tom Gallagher

Urban Roots selling living Christmas trees

      Urban Roots Community Garden Center, located at 428 Rhode Island St. is the is selling living Christmas trees.
      Urban Roots receives the trees from a grower from the Southern Tier area and the trees are shipped with their roots intact.
       “A living tree is not only good for the buyer, but for the environment as well,” said Bryan LoVullo, a yard manager at the garden center who also runs some of the workshops at the center.
“It’s good for the environment because the roots are still intact so no garbage or debris is left after pulling them.”
       The trees are  a few feet tall, but can grow up to 8 feet or taller but they can last for 80 years.
      “Since the trees are made to grow outdoors, it would be best to keep the tree inside for only 7 to 10 days then plant it outside to keep them from dying,” said LoVullo.
        Varieties include Colorado blue spruce, white spruce and Douglass Fir and are sold for $65.99 each. By Joshua Clegatt 

Girls-only program teaches technology arts

Thursday nights at the Grant Street Neighborhood Center include discussions of pixilation, filtering, and rendering. By the way, it’s girls only.            
            Every Thursday in December the center, along with Squeaky Wheel, is hosting TechArts for Girls, a series of workshops that encourages girls to receive an affordable, hands-on technology and media literacy education.
            “When the program was started, studies showed that girls from low socio-economic backgrounds were more likely to fall behind in media literacy and technical skills,” said Jax Deluca, director of programming at Squeaky Wheel. “The program was designed to help them to thrive and stay up to date in a fast paced, computer savvy world.”
            Squeaky Wheel, a non-profit media arts center, provides low cost access to video and film equipment rental, editing suites, and workshops.
            “In this specific lesson at the Grant Street location, students will use an iPad application to apply traditional painting and techniques in a digital environment,” said Deluca. “Software and hardware for digital painting will be discussed, experienced, and investigated with the aim of creating digital visual images.”
            This specific program plans to break down the economic barriers that prevent these young women to access digital technology from their homes.
            “We are looking at this program as a test run for future collaboration with Squeaky Wheel,” said Janice Li of the Grant Street Neighborhood Center. “I am sure we will work together again on future programming.” Story by Jessica Chetney and Chelsea Goodridge

Hill Tribe provides rides in West Side

Taxi services are an important mode of transportation in any big city. But what do you do in an area with an abundance of people who do not speak English and cannot communicate with drivers?
Hill Tribe Transportation has fixed that situation on the West Side.
Kyaw Kyee, a Burmese refugee who moved to the area four years ago, started Hill Tribe Transportation that refugees can use without any language barriers holding them back.
Kyee started the business six months ago and it has grown in popularity on the West Side. Hill Side covers many areas such as Tonawanda, Buffalo State College, University of Buffalo and even places in Canada. Also, organizations such as the International Institute of Buffalo and Jericho Road Ministries are using this service to transport their clients to anything from doctor’s appointments to medical emergencies if they arise.
The refugees don't speak English and of course we speak English and we speak their language,” said Kyee, owner of Hill Tribe Transportation. “We know how to knock on their door and sometimes find them.”
 “It provides a service that they need in order for refugees to live their life ahead,” said Eva Hassett,  executive director for the International Institute of Buffalo.
Kyee’s success as a successful business owner on the West Side has provided inspiration for others trying to start businesses in the area.
“He has shown us that you can start a successful business from nothing,” said Hassett.  “It’s a great example for all of us that the American dream is possible and I think that’s powerful not for just the West side but for everyone.” Story by Max Borsuk and Maria Yankova

W.S. programs aim to help refugee teenagers

         Teenage refugees might have a more difficult time than others acclimating to life in the United States. Several West Side organizations have developed programs  to help these  teenagers adjust. Full story by Kristin Ritch and Jasmine Willis

Vineyard Church plans for growing season

“I planted the seed in your hearts…but it was God who made it grow.” -- Corinthians 3:6.
Just like the bible verse, Vineyard City Church located at 175 Potomac Ave., is preparing to plant for its next season to give back to the community.
The church is maintaining its Grow in Grace Community Garden that not only contributes beauty to the community but also provides a way to learn the fundamentals of gardening. This project also teaches the children various lessons including mathematics and recycling. 
            Steven Schenk, pastor at Vineyard City Church, stresses community and says the church spends more time together than just on Sunday.
            “God put church on earth to bless people outside the church,” said Schenk.
The church also works with volunteers from Buffalo State College, counsels Jericho Road patients and helps West Side Ministries with their mission to make refugees comfortable.  
Schenk brought his enthusiasm from California, where he and his family relocated from six years ago.
            “I absolutely love what I do,” said Schenk. “It’s awesome, I love working in a small church. The people here really take their faith seriously and they try to face the problems of the world. Over the course of working in the West Side I’ve seen people who are caught in the throes, but I see a lot of rewarding things too.” By Shari Ingles and Maureen Vitali

West Side tattoo artists notice trend

            Tattoos were once associated with inmates and gangs but are now becoming cultural icons in America.
            Gary Grundtisch, co-owner of Ink Assassins at 429 Grant St., says a trend that he’s been seeing is mother and daughter as well as father and son duos getting tattoos together. 
            Tattoo acceptance in America is increasing not only shown by the number of people who have them but in the types of people that are getting tattoos.
Dan Erickson of Ink Assassins plies his art
            Rob Pawlewski, owner of Dead Man’s Hand Tattoo on 561 Forest Ave., said he’s “seeing more straight-laced people getting tattoos.” Pawlewski thinks that much of the acceptance of tattoos comes from the tattoo culture reflected on television.
            Shows like LA Ink help bring tattooing into the mainstream society. Pawlewski, however, says that it’s a double-edged sword. Shows on television help normalize the tattoo culture but sometimes that involves highlighting the industry in an unrealistic light.
            Although tattoos are gaining acceptance throughout America, deciding to get one is not a decision to take lightly. Pawlewski advises that if you’re getting your first tattoo out of impulse, you may end up regretting it.
            “A first tattoo should be meaningful and it should be done by an artist that you’re comfortable with,” Pawlewski said.
            For those who jump the gun and have a piece that they’re no longer satisfied with, they can be fixed or covered up.
            Grundtisch said that  the tattoos he fixes are poorly done by artists still learning the skill.  What can’t be removed can at least be improved on, he said. By Jason Murphy

Monday, December 10, 2012

High school girls create jewelry business

            Some of the sparkled and shine of the handcrafted jewelry available this holiday season was designed and created by West Side high school students.
Peace of the City selected five high school girls to design, produce and sell jewelry.  The girls named  their business Zieani Jewelry and sold their items  at multiple church events, home parties, local consignment shops and fairs.
Megan McClain Kwacz, Peace of the City program director said this helps support the organizations’s mission to promote job readiness. 
“It focuses on business and art skills for young women,” Kwacz said. 
With the conclusion of the selling of events for the year, the girls will meet on  Dec. 20 at Peace of the City to use the remainder of their supplies to make jewelry to give as Christmas gifts.  They will also receive their Christmas stipend.
Tatyanna Bray, a member of the Zieani jewelry team, believes the emphasis on relationships is what makes this organization so successful. 
“Everybody’s here as a family,” she said.  “It’s a great environment.”
The regular programs that Peace of the City holds will end Dec. 19 and start back up Jan. 7.  This includes the homework club and the teen programs. 
“We really are a multivitamin for youth on the West Side,” Kwacz said. By Crissie Russo and Caitlin Waters

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Laundromat project to blend art, culture

West Side Value Laundromat, located on 417 Massachusetts Ave., is more than just a place to do laundry.
            The owners are beginning a project that will include a learning center in the back for two way learning, an on-going art program, a teaching program, music performances and computers.
The project, which is known as “The West Side Laundromat Project,” is open to people of all ages. One of the program goals is to build a Burmese library in the Laundromat to help celebrate Burmese culture, since the business is already a home base for the Burmese refugee community.
            In terms of financial backing, the AmeriCorps Foundation just gave  owner Zaw Win a grant to fund the project for a year.
            Partner Barrett Gordon got the idea for the project from the Brooklyn Laundromat Project, which brought art and culture together in the city. Win and Gordon met last summer to figure out how to bring art and culture to Win’s Laundromat. The project is in the planning stages.
“We are using art as the common denominator, and using the learning center as a binding connection,” said Gordon. By Kristin Ritch and Jasmine Willis

IN DEPTH: Farmers market moves to Horsefeathers

     Fans of the popular Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market can shop all winter long when the market moves to the Horsefeathers building on Connecticut Street.  Full story by Crissie Russo and Caitlin Waters

Fishing doesn’t end when the lake freezes

            When the temperatures start dropping and the waterways start freezing in the Queen City, it doesn’t mean that all water activities should stop.
            Ice fishing has been a staple in the local waters for many years, especially in the small boat harbor on the West Side. Those interested who want to take up this winter activity need to follow some procedures and safety precautions.
            “First three things about ice fishing is safety, safety and safety,” said Earl Graf, an associate at Niagara Outdoors, a local sporting goods store.  
            The Department of Environmental Conservation recommends that the ice be at least 3 inches to 4 inches thick before venturing out. The other major safety precaution will be dressing warm.
         “In order to keep warm, layers are the key,” said Graf. “Good long underwear, a good wool sweater and a windbreaker, because it’s always windy out on the ice.”
           Along with safety, there are also legal precautions that a first-time ice fisher would need to be familiar with. Those fishing will need to obtain a fishing license from New York State.
      “You can pick up a license at most town clerks, at any DEC office, and many sporting goods stores including Dicks, Gander Mountain and even Walmart,” said DEC Fisheries Biologist Mike Todd. “But the ice fishing community is a very friendly group, so if you have are having trouble, you can ask a fellow angler for a few tips. By Joe Losito and Mhairi Moorhead


HOLIDAY SETUP- Staff of the New To You shop located at 289 Grant St. begins setting up the store’s holiday room for the shopping season. The West Side consignment shop offers gently used donations to satisfy every shopper’s holiday needs. Photo by Jessica Chetney and Chelsea Goodridge


Winter: Scourge of the local automobile

                  Buffalo winters can be a costly nuisance for vehicle owners – especially if preventative measures aren’t taken to ensure the safety of their automobile.
                  “During the winter, we see a large increase in people who suffer significant damage from the road conditions,” said Sam Buscarino, owner of Sammy’s Auto Repair & Collision at 369 Niagara St.
                  Buscarino said that his shop often repairs vehicles that suffer damage due to snow- or ice-covered potholes.
                  “Potholes get hidden and drivers can really do some damage to their vehicles, which can be costly,” he said.
                  Dan Sciolino, service manager and co-owner of Buffalo Motor Works, suggested that vehicle owners should constantly check their tires and pressure.
                  “Everyone should be using snow tires in the winter months, especially in the northeast,” he said. “It’s common for people not to pay attention to tires or tire pressure, and that is a huge cause of accidents.”
                  Salt buildup also serves as an issue for vehicles.
                  “Salt is the enemy of the mechanic in Buffalo,” Sciolino said. “It seizes all the hardware on the vehicle over time.”
                  When salt builds up, it works its way between the nuts and bolts of a vehicle and can lock them together, Sciolino said. As a result, labor costs rise due to the time it takes mechanics to free up the bolts.
                  Sciolino said that simply washing your car is an effective means of minimizing salt damage.
                  “Wash your car as much as you can,” he said. “If you have an indoor garage then it’d be great to spray the underside of the car every day to minimize salt damage.” By Tom Gallagher and Mike Straw


PARK PROGRESS - Lannie Barlow, communications coordinator at PUSH Buffalo, explains the organization is working on improvements in Phase II of the Massachusetts Avenue Park Project, located next to the Boys and Girls Club at 370 Massachusetts Ave. Some of the initiatives coming to the park in the spring are more play areas, a multi-use field, a basketball court, and a performance pavilion. They are part of an ongoing renovation effort that started in October 2011 with $350,000 by Mayor Byron Brown, members of the Common Council and Parks Commissioner Andy Rabb. Video by Max Borsuk and Maria Yankova

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Program lets kids play in the streets

Playing in the street is usually something people try and prevent their kids from doing.
But, the new Play Streets program coming to Buffalo will allow kids to play in the street safely with lots of fun activities.
Buffalo has recently received a $50,000 grant that will create several Play Streets around the city between May and September of 2013, including a proposed location at the corner of Grant Street and Forest Avenue.
The Play Streets program closes down streets for a few hours and opens that space up to the community to encourage physical activity with a variety of games and activities.  
“There is going to be different hubs with all different kinds of physical activities,” said Henry Raess, Play Streets Coordinator at GO Bike Buffalo. “Activities like sports, games, learning different styles of dance, music and entertainment and also participatory activities like chalk drawing.”
            Districts on the West Side have been looking for ways to provide safer spaces for kids to play and this program will be a great help to the area, said Sean Mulligan, legislative aid to council member David Rivera.
“We don’t have many places where kids can congregate and play,” said Mulligan. “So we’re excited to see that this opportunity potentially will be available on the West Side.”
Obesity rates in the U.S. have tripled in the past few years, according to Partnership for a Healthier America, and has been a trend that Play Streets is trying to reverse.
“There is evidence that not enough kids are getting enough physical activity in their daily routines,” said Raess. “So this is an opportunity for kids to get out and play as well as learn about different opportunities in the city to continue staying active.” By Max Borsuk and Maria Yankova

New walkway links LaSalle, Delaware parks

    The new walkway along Elmwood Avenue will connect LaSalle Park to Delaware Park, making it easier for users of the pathway to enjoy local parks.
    The recently completed multipurpose pedestrian sidewalk is one of the additions the city has in store for Elmwood as they plan to revamp the areas between Forest Avenue and the Scajaquada Expressway.
    Gino Zagarrio, owner of Nova Site Construction Company and the general contractor of the Elmwood project, said: “the pedestrian walkway project is complete except for finishing up the curbs. Also, the road striping will be completed next year.”
    This is a proactive move in guaranteeing pedestrian safety, an issue that has concerned locals in the past.
     “The old sidewalk didn’t satisfy anyone who was using an ulterior mode of transportation whatsoever,” said J.P. Gillespie, owner of Sunday, a skateboard shop located at 587 Potomac Ave.. “Unsmooth paved roads and cracked sidewalks aren’t conducive to skateboarding, riding a bike, or even walking.”
    Many are pleased about the new developments on Elmwood and look forward to enjoying a new and safer alternative transportation route.
“The more bike paths and bike specific lanes we have, the easier it’s going to be to get around the city,” said Alex Davies, manager of Campus Wheelworks, located at 744 Elmwood Ave. “The city is going to be friendlier and safer; people are going to get out on their bikes. I think it’s going to be better for everybody in general.” By Sara O'Brien and James Wright

Jericho Road rehabs site for h.s. program

A housing rehabilitation project has been completed, creating a new environment for refugee students on the West Side to seek additional after-school help.
The house, located at 307 14th St., was rehabilitated for Jericho Road Ministries, a faith-based organization, dedicated to addressing health, education and economic barriers for refugees and low-income members of the community.
Jericho Road is utilizing the space for a program established for high school students who have moved to the area as refugees and are facing language and educational barriers.
According to Claire Essley, director of education programs at Jericho Road, many of the students know basic English but need additional help in math, reading and writing.
The students named the program EPIC, which stands for Education, Purpose, Integrity and Courage. In this program students are not only helped with their current studies, but are also prepared for standardized tests and higher education.
Besides the educational barriers that these students face, many of them also come from traumatic backgrounds and suffer from posttraumatic stress disorders. 
“We have adopted a rabbit for the program because we have found that animals have been very therapeutic for these students. Since many of them come from traumatic backgrounds and suffer PTSD, we found that these animals make a difference in the kids’ attitudes at the program,” said Essley.
“Jericho Road Ministries is also collaborating with Houghton College for a larger location that will provide greater resources for the students,” said Professor of Education Charles Massey of Houghton College. Story by Chanice Johnson and Jennine Taberski

D’Youville’s Addition - D’Youville College has purchased the former Gateway-Longview building, located at 605 Niagara St. The building has been used by various healthcare organizations since 1890, most recently by Gateway-Longview for programs to support struggling families. It is expected to be a classroom facility for the college’s healthcare programs. Photo by Lakisha Forde and Narmeen Karzoun

IN DEPTH: On the Job Ministries puts youth to work

         Many West Side organizations focus on helping residents find employment in today’s troubling economy. And then there’s On the Job Ministries. This organization primarily focuses on providing jobs for young adults, ages 16-24. Full story by Jessica Chetney and Chelsea Goodridge

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IN DEPTH: International School 45 teaches the world

        A large map of the world showcases where different students are from and what languages they speak. Some of the popular languages spoken at the school include Karen, Arabic, Somali, Burmese, Kirundi, and Vietnamese, according to the school website. Full story by Shari Ingles and Maureen Vitali

KETTLE CAMPAIGN - Salvation Army of Buffalo volunteer, Jose Luis De Catalina, helps out the Red Kettle Campaign for Western New York at the Tops Market at 345 Amherst St.  According to Red Kettle Campaign coordinator, Andrea Glinski, there are currently 35 red kettles in Western New York and they will be manned until Christmas Eve. The money raised in these kettles goes directly to the communities in which they are placed and the monetary goal for Western New York is $1.25 million.  Photo by Crissie Russo and Caitlin Waters

Vineyard church expands kids' programs

The Vineyard City Church is improving its opportunities for children who live in the Potomac neighborhood.
The Christian church has revamped its After School programs and added a new playground next to its location at 172 Potomac Ave.
The after school program was changed this year from being only one day a week to now four days a week.  It’s a 3-to-1 ratio for teacher to child and they’re working on changing it to a1-to-1  ratio.
The program is free to the children who attend and you don’t have to be a member of the church.
 “Most of the students that attend our After School  programs are within walking distance of the church,” Senior Pastor Steven Schenk said.
The church is trying to provide the children with education that they may not be receiving at home or at the current school they’re attending.
“Many systems in America treat groups differently and some people get really quality education and some do not,” Schenk said. “This is our attempt to remedy that injustice and make it equal opportunity.”
According to Schenk, the attendance since making the program four days a week has increased about 12 students to 20 students.
Along with the changes to the after school program the church also added a new addition, a tire-park playground.  The children used to play on an old house’s rubble that burned down.
Farmers from the area donated big tires from old tractors that the kids can climb and play on.
“The kids always had somewhere to play but at least now it’s safe,” Schenk said. By Crissie Russo and Caitlin Waters

Warm your home with these cost-saving tips

            Heaters are kicking on, thermostats are adjusted, and some days, one pair of socks just isn’t enough. 
           It’s obvious that winter is upon us.  With the decrease in temperature, many people see an increase in their heating bills.  Despite this inevitable increase in monthly bills, there are a number of ways to hit the brakes on your heating bill.
            “An enormous number of people come in to buy window wrap,” says Jane Japadjief, co-owner of Dibble True Value on West Ferry Street. 
            She suggests that most of the heat loss on the West Side  is due to the century old windows installed in homes that are equally as old.  Depending on which window wrap you purchase, it can be stapled, tacked, and taped to window frames.  Wrapping the window frame in this cellophane plastic creates a pocket of air between the glass and the plastic, which warms during the day and adds an extra barrier against the cold, Japadjief says.
            Despite the antiquity of the windows in the West Side, Japadjief says that the doors on these homes are  quite durable.  However, not every door is element proof, but weather stripping  can help your house retain heat.  By creating a seal around the top and sides of the door, you can reduce the amount of heat escaping your house.  To create a seal at the bottom of the door, install a door sweep, she says. By Jason Murphy

IN DEPTH: Buffalo high school grads can 'Say Yes'

 College-bound graduates from Buffalo public schools on the West Side and throughout the city  this year  will be the first to have access to the Say Yes tuition program. Full story by Joe Losito and Mhairi Moorhead

IN DEPTH: Keep the flu away with a shot in the arm

Rite Aid Pharmacist Mike Rossi says everyone should get vaccinated against the flu, and there's no time like the present.
“If we get everyone immunized, there’d be less sickness,” Rossi said. Full story by Max Borsuk and Maria Yankova

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

MEMORIAL WALK - Veterans come together to march  on Buffalo State College’s  campus in honor of Veterans Day 2012. Video by Sara O'Brien and James Wright

Eat Local – Buffalo State College Geography Professor Wende Mix discusses the importance of eating local foods from neighborhood farmers due to the recent extension of the agricultural season. By Jessica Chetney and Chelsea Goodridge

D’Youville creates new five-year program

            D’Youville College has developed a new Liberal Studies for Education   major, which was designed to allow students to graduate with both  bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years.
            The program, which is in its first year, immerses students in elementary teacher education from the start of their collegiate career.
            “Our students are really enjoying the program,” said Dr. Hilary Lochte, chair of the education department.
             “They can take three upper-level classes right from the start while taking undergraduate education courses as well,” Lochte said.
            Lochte noted that the setup is especially beneficial for students because it allows them to familiarize themselves with staff members of the education department while still taking general undergraduate requirements.
            According to Rob Dannecker, the college’s director of marketing, students enrolled in the program begin graduate work in their fourth year but pay undergraduate tuition for all five years.
            “You don’t have to make out master’s applications,” Dannecker said. “It’s a significant cost if you’re looking at applying to master’s-level programs, and you save cost here.”
            While Dannecker said he doesn’t believe that dual-degree programs will become commonplace in higher education across the country, Lochte disagrees.
             “I think it will become the norm because it’s a better way to prepare teachers,” Lochte said. “When there is a better way to start developing teachers, other schools pay attention because they don’t want their school to fall behind.”
            Dannecker said he recognized that the five-year program might not be best for everyone.
             “Students have to look at all of the different options and then take what they can use personally and fit it into their scheme of things,” Dannecker said. “We want to help them as much as we possibly can to get to their goal, but we know it’s not for everybody.” By Tom Gallagher and Mike Straw   

Monday, December 3, 2012

Winter weather brings Niagara Ice Boom

            With the winter months quickly approaching, the season change will bring colder temperatures, snow, and the installation    of the Niagara Ice Boom.
           John W. Kangas, secretary of the United States section of the International Niagara Board of Control said the ice boom, which keeps ice from flowing down the Niagara River and clogging hydroelectric intakes, is installed either on Dec. 16 or when the water temperature at the intakes reaches 39 degrees.
            Once either of these criteria is met, the installation may begin.
            “We act on behalf of the International Joint Commission and we install and remove the ice boom at their direction,” said Ted Gruetzner, director of provincial relations of the Ontario Power Generation.
            As of now, the temperature of Lake Erie is 50 degrees. According to Kangas, this is one degree cooler than the long-term average for this date.
            “It is not known if it will be in place any longer than usual,” said Kangas. “That completely depends on the winter.”
            Opening and closing of the boom depends on the amount of ice in the eastern portion of Lake Erie. Generally, the International Joint Commission sets a date to open the boom by April 1 unless there is more than 250 square miles of ice on the lake. In that case, the boom remains closed until the ice diminishes to that amount. By Jessica Chetney and Chelsea Goodridge

West Side Wheels rolls to new location

West Side Wheels is planning to expand its location to 286 Grant St. by early spring.
West Side Wheels, a business under On the Job Ministries, salvages, repairs and resells bikes to residents in the West Side at affordable costs. The main goal of West Side Wheels is to create more jobs for the youth in the West Side.
The business has been operating for five years inside New to You, a thrift store on 289 Grant St. Kim Deflyer, executive director of On the Job Ministries, said the expansion was made possible by PUSH Buffalo through a grant program that provides funds to local businesses. 
“Our focus is job training for youth. [We try] to provide opportunities for youth who would might not otherwise get an opportunity to learn how to fix a bike,” said Rebecca Ballard, assistant to New To You.
Ballard said that there is a need for a full-service bike shop in the West Side.
 “We want to provide jobs that are meaningful and that are needed," Ballard said. "It’s intentional that we’re providing a bike shop, as supposed to another service that already exists or isn’t as much of a need for here.” By Dayna Francis and Tyeisha Prior