Sunday, April 28, 2013

West Side angling

Buffalo resident Jerry Zeughardt fishes for minnows along the docks of the lower Niagara River on a recent early spring morning in preparation for the upcoming fishing season. The minnows caught are called silver shiners and can be found at popular West Side fishing spots like the one at the foot of Ferry Street. By Anthony Howard and Lars Lewis

Housing fair taps into growing W.S. trend

By Brielynn Bell and Margot Harris
BengalNews Reporters
The West Side is becoming a popular location for homebuyers because of affordable housing and the rehabilitation of neighborhoods.
That’s according to Laura Sweat, deputy director of West Side and Black Rock-Riverside Neighborhood Housing Services. The organization’s records show that the number of homeowners it created last year doubled 2011’s numbers.
Sweat’s service was among many other groups that attended the West Side Housing Partnership Annual Housing Fair April 13  at the Loretto Ministry Center on 301 14th St. The event was hosted by Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc.
            About a dozen organizations including PUSH Green, Americorps Opportunity Corps and HomeFront Inc. participated in the fair to aid people in their pursuit of buying a house on the West Side.
Sweat believes organizations like the ones  at the event are the reason for the increasing appeal of purchasing a home on the West Side. Her organization’s goal is to preserve and revitalize Buffalo’s neighborhoods by providing safe, affordable and sustainable housing opportunities for people interested in purchasing houses.
“The West Side Housing Partnership is full of groups that work closely with residents,” Sweat said. “They’re very engaged and are starting to do stuff that people are noticing to bring back the West Side.”
            Jennifer Yuhnke, Heart of the City development coordinator, said her organization collaborates with the diverse organizations that support similar causes.
“We meet once a month, exchange information and try to figure out ways to reach out to the West Side residents better,” Yuhnke said. “Residents need to know that there are some quality, affordable houses in the West Side.”

IN DEPTH: PUSH to expand water-runoff initiative

The West Side will soon feature dozens of new green development zones, like the Good Neighbors Garden at the corner of West Utica and 15th streets, shown here. The expansion of PUSH Buffalo’s Green Infrastructure Initiative, which works to combat runoff pollution to area waterways, will lead to the creation of 25 additional green sites over the next two years.
Full story by Aaron Garland and Brandon Schlager

Natural beauty

Azariah Cunningham, 12, and her mother, Tamara Lewis, discuss their business, Azariah’s Innocence. The all-natural line of hair and body products started in 2010 through KidzBiz, a program run by Buffalo State’s Small Business Development Center that teaches children the basics of running a business. Azariah and her mother create and sell bath bombs, an array of candy-inspired soaps and several more products that are made from natural ingredients.  Products can be purchased at the West Side Bazaar located at 25 Grant St. By Jasmine Peterson and Maria Yankova

Friday, April 19, 2013

IN DEPTH: Coalition sets sights on West Side youth

The West Side Youth Development Coalition, in conjunction with the Buffalo Police Department,  hosted the 18th annual youth police academy on March 23 at Buffalo Police Headquarters on Franklin Street.  The event is part of what the WSYDC calls “enhancing enforcement” in the hope that it will create an open dialogue between police and the West Side youth community. Full story by Michael Mazzuto and Mike Provenzano

IN DEPTH: Refugee family moves into Habitat House

        A Somalian family that spent years in a refugee camp in Kenya has finally found a permanent home on Sherwood Street, thanks to Habitat for Humanity. Full story by Malniquia Evans and Janiel Thomas

Thursday, April 18, 2013

IN DEPTH: 'Night People' run fights hunger, poverty

The annual run to support Friends of Night People attracted hundreds who took to the streets to draw attention to hunger and poverty. Full story by Brielynn Bell and Margot Harris

IN DEPTH: Ethnic eateries add to West Side diversity

The cultural scene on the West Side extends to a variety of restaurants that complement the immigrant populations that now call it home. Full  story by Jasmine Peterson and Maria Yankova

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Republican mayor candidate Sergio R. Rodriguez, 32, shares his views on the issues at hand as he continues his campaign to challenge Democratic incumbent Mayor Byron W. Brown. Rodriguez, a Medaille College administrator and Marine Corps veteran,  is the president of Los Tainos Senior Citizen center, a non-profit organization, which serves low-income senior citizens on the West Side. He is also the founding chairman of the Hispanic American Veterans Memorial Committee of Western New York, and the 2011 recipient of Hispanic United of Buffalo’s “Nuestro Orgullo” award. He hopes to address Buffalo’s anemic graduation rates for high school students, high crime rates and the city’s status as third-poorest in America — all issues concerning West Side residents. By Anthony Howard and Lars Lewis

Monday, April 15, 2013

Publishers on Porter

The 7th Annual Buffalo Small Press Book Fair was held April 7 at Karpeles Manuscript Library on Porter Avenue. Mary Tannar, left, thumbs through a stack of books with Western New York Book Art Center Program Director, Khrista Richardson, right. The fair was home to 140 local and regional vendors including Westside Stories, Burning Books Buffalo and Community Beer Works. By Adrienne Boudreau and Caitlin Kupiec

Saturday, April 13, 2013

IN DEPTH: PUSH grant to upgrade business buildings

           The  PUSH Green Building Retrofit Program is expected to make small commercial buildings n the West Side and across Western New York more energy efficient and sustainable. Full story by Bryan Price and Nick Stutzman

Thursday, April 11, 2013

West Side schools Say Yes to scholarships

By Malniquia Evans and Janiel Thomas
Bengal News Reporters 
Students from four West Side schools took advantage of the Say Yes to Education Buffalo’s first scholarship application deadline, April 1.
Students from Hutchinson Central Technical High, Lafayette High, Tapestry and Oracle Charter Schools were among the 1,399 students who completed and submitted applications. Fully, 1,593 students were eligible for the program.
According to David Rust, executive director of Say Yes Buffalo, public school students have embraced the program and many have completed the application.
“We have applications for all but about 100 public school students, which is really exciting,” said Rust.
Say Yes Buffalo allows graduating seniors who attend Buffalo public and charter schools to receive a scholarship, which will cover tuition to attend an accredited university or college. Among the participating colleges are Buffalo State College and D’Youville College.
The requirements to receive the scholarships are to graduate from high school, be accepted into a SUNY/CUNY school or a listed private school and be eligible for financial aid. In addition, the student must enroll full-time at a participating college within one year of their high school graduation.
According to the Say Yes Buffalo website, the tuition scholarship amount is determined by the number of consecutive years a student has attended a Buffalo public or charter school. If a student attends a Buffalo public or charter school from kindergarten through 12th grade, 100 percent of their tuition cost will be covered.
According to Rust, Say Yes scholarships are locally funded.
“So far we’ve had over 70 local donors who give money for the scholarship and we raised over $18.4 million, which is exciting,” said Rust. “Our initial goal is to raise $30 million, which would allow the scholarships to go on for at least 10 years.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dyngus Day

Polish Cadets of Buffalo board members, Karen Spencer, left,  and Joni Cimato, right, prepare a traditional Polish feast of pierogi, sauerkraut and sausages in celebration of Dyngus Day, April 1 at the Polish Cadets of Buffalo on Grant Street. In addition to the Polish kitchen, organization hosted live music from Tom Mroczka & the Music Box and a presentation by the Harmony Dancers.  The festivities started at 2 p.m. and ran into the early hours of the next day. The Polish Cadets was just one stop on a full schedule of activities, which celebrated the Polish holiday throughout Buffalo, “The Dyngus Day Capital of the World.” Photo by Michael Mazzuto and Mike Provenzano

West Buffalo Charter to add 3rd grade

By Aaron Garland and Brandon Schlager
BengalNews Reporters
          The West Buffalo Charter School, located on 113 Lafayette Ave., is planning to accommodate more students with an expansion to a third grade starting next school year as well as a fourth grade in 2014.
           To accommodate the new grade levels, the fourth floor of the building has been cleared to begin construction on the classrooms that will be used. 
           The school is looking for educators to teach the third grade classes consisting of 18 selected students.
           According to school leader Andrea Todoro, several teaching assistants who have taught at the school this year will be interviewed for the positions. Candidates from outside the school will also be considered for positions upon qualification.
          The school began reviewing applications, including those for the third grade, for the upcoming year.
          “Room is still available for additional applicants,” Todoro said.
         The school, which opened August 2012, taught kindergarten through second grade during its first year.
        “The first year has been wonderful,”Todoro said. “We have built solid relationships as a staff  with students and their parents, too.  We are seeing academic growth in each student, as well.”
         West Buffalo Charter uses an extended school year, with classes to begin in August. The school will fulfill its educational program with a fourth grade curriculum to be added in 2014.