Sunday, April 27, 2014

IN DEPTH: Niagara Street overhaul set for July start

The $12.7 million makeover of Niagara Street will effect motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike. Full story by Jamie Hall, Kamesha Jones and Jazmina Rivera

Mugging the camera

Kali the polar bear gets up close and personal to a viewing window at the Buffalo Zoo on a sunny  afternoon. Kali, originally from Anchorage, Alaska, is expected to remain at the Buffalo Zoo alongside fellow polar bear cub Luna as the zoo proceeds with construction of the $14 million Arctic Edge exhibit, which broke ground in February. The project received $750,000 from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY Works program to complete the funding. The construction of the exhibit will ensure that Luna will stay at the Buffalo Zoo. Kali also could remain a permanent resident pending approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, expected in Spring 2015. By Jeff Pawlak and Brittney Singletary

IN DEPTH: Amodeo peddles pasta in family business

 The Pasta Peddler, purveyor of homemade Italian-style pasta, is a family-run operation that has been a popular staple at the region's farmers markets and had plans for further growth. Full story by Fran McCann

IN DEPTH: Demand prompts rise in ethnic food options

The West Side, through a growing number of restaurants and specialty markets, is providing a taste of home for refugees in the area and a unique mix of authentic flavors and scents for visitors. Full story by Angelica Rodriguez and Brandon Waz

Friday, April 25, 2014

‘Friends’ to host annual hunger run May 3

          Friends of Night People will host its annual Putting Hunger on the Run 5K race at 9 a.m., May 3 on the West Side.
         The USA Track & Field-sanctioned run or walk will start at Niagara and Vermont streets, and loop around to Prospect Avenue between Porter Avenue and Connecticut Street. Past races have brought in more than 250 runners.
According to Nicole Gawel, the development assistant at Friends of Night People, the first race 11 years ago had only 30 participants.  This year, the race has been moved from April to May in hopes of warmer weatherand more runners.
Prizes will be awarded to the winner of each class in age and gender as well as the overall winner. Awards also will go to the person who brings the oldest race shirt, the most race shirts or the race shirt from the furthest place.
Race packets can be picked up between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on  May 1 at D’Youville College, 320 Porter Ave. New this year, a chicken dinner provided by Chiavetta’s Chicken BBQ will be served at the packet pick up for $10. Proceeds from the dinner also will benefit Friends of Night People.
Registration on race day will start at 7:30 a.m. at D’Youville College. The general entry fee is $20 or $15 for D’Youville students and faculty.
Friends of Night People provides meals, clothing and medical care to those in need. In 2012, the organization served 83,052 meals. By Shana Campbell and Andrew Manzella

Thursday, April 24, 2014

PUSH heads to D.C. for protest, conference

            People United For Sustainable Housing (PUSH) will be heading back to Washington, DC this month for a national protest and conference.
            PUSH Buffalo will be joining National People’s Action (NPA), which hosts the national conference every year. The conference runs on April 26-28.
            NPA has been fighting against social and racial injustice on a national level for more than 30 years. PUSH Buffalo has been affiliated with NPA for seven years.
            Round trip transportation will be provided via two, 50-passenger buses to and from Washington.  The cost of the trip is $45 for members and $50 for non-members. For reservations call (716)-884-0356.
            “We would love nothing more to bring more people to NPA,” said Jennifer Mecozzi-Rivera, organizing director of PUSH Buffalo.
            The goal of the conference is to prevent banks from giving out predatory loans. There are also other workshops that will focus on youth activism. 
            “I am hoping there is more impact on youth,” said Mecozzi-Rivera.
            Every year PUSH and NPA target different legislators and lobbyists to protest against while in Washington. Last year 800 protesters picketed the home of Edward DeMarco, who was the former director of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. By Shatai Melvin and Elisabeth Tate

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Pet Clinic to make inroads to West Side

West Side Pet Clinic, a new provider of veterinary services, is trying its best to make things personal.
Over the next couple of weeks, staff members will go door-to-door and give brochures out to the community’s pet owners. The clinic will also hold an open house for community leaders.
The clinic at 1245 Niagara St. opened April 1 and has been seeing two to three patients per day. It expects a slow ramp-up over the next few weeks, said veterinarian Dr. Susan R. Sickels.
“Right now it’s just been more information dispensing than anything else,” she said.
West Side Pet Clinic shares a building with Pawprints, a dog groomer and daycare, and provides preventative care, physical examinations and treatment for simple health problems. Most services range from $10 to $39, with an all-inclusive puppy or kitten visit for $99.
The clinic keeps costs down by utilizing gently used equipment, including kennels and tables. It does not have radiology or surgery on the premises.
There are three vets and an office manager on staff at the clinic. Sickels’ partner, Dr. Reed Stevens, also owns Ellicott Small Animal Hospital downtown, so owners and their pets will be referred to that hospital for emergencies.
Sickels and Stevens chose the West Side as a means of putting their faith into action.
“We knew this was a place in need,” Sickels said. “If we are the first to vaccinate your pet, that’s great.”  
Eventually, the clinic may expand to include small laceration repairs, oxygen and anesthesia machines, but for now it is focused on settling into the neighborhood. By Angelica Rodriguez and Brandon Waz


Proud publishers

Self-published authors and small print publishers at the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair speak to the changes in the publishing industry that have allowed authors to bypass major publishing houses in order to get their work out to the world. The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair is an annual event held on Porter Avenue in the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum that brings together local writers, artists and booksellers. The event, which started eight years ago, recently expanded to two days, and might require a new venue as attendance continues to rise. By Jeff Pawlak and Brittney Singletary

IN DEPTH: D'Youville renovating new science building

Changes to the Letchworth Mansion and surrounding buildings are underway to create an up-to-date science building for students at D'Youville College.  Full story by Peter Murphy and Bill Schutt

Helping hands

Alaa Aljibouri and her older sister Lamiaa volunteer for West Side Ministries to renovate a house located on 139 Potomac Ave. that the organization is renting out. This was their first day volunteering with West Side Ministries, which frequently accepts the helping hands of local students. By Shatai Melvin and Elisabeth Tate

Farmers market moves across the street

The Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market will have a new location and new look this spring.
Due to ground maintenance on the west side of Bidwell Parkway, the market will move directly across Elmwood Avenue. The relocation will be effective for the first two to three months of the market’s season.
“We had to do it a couple of years ago because we just had so much rain,” marketing director for Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market, Joe Kirchmyer said. “Our side of Elmwood turned into a mud pit, so to give the ground and the grass time to recover, we moved to the other side for a month. It’s a little bit smaller, but it still works.”  
The market will begin on May 10 and will run from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. every Saturday, rain or shine until Nov. 29.
Joe Kirchmyer and Karl Frizlen look over poster contest entries
A poster contest will be held which will require participants to draw posters that promote the farmers market. This will be the market’s fourth annual poster competition.
Although the market season has yet to begin, residents can still enjoy locally grown and produced foods at Horsefeathers Market & Residences located at 346 Connecticut St. During the winter season, Elmwood-Bidwell and Horsefeathers work together to bring fresh products through a variety of suppliers.
“On Saturday mornings, during the winter, we invite approximately 18 farmers,” treasurer of Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market, Karl Frizlen said. “They sell their products inside the market, together with four permanent ones.”
The Horsefeathers marketplace occupies the basement level and first floor and runs from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. every Saturday morning. By Jamie Hall, Kamesha Jones and Jazmina Rivera

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Finally getting out

Patrick and Debrah Cappola, above, walk along Elmwood Avenue for the first time this season as grandson Jaedyn swings into spring. Left, Michael Michno, cleans up the grounds at the Unitarian Universalist church on Elmwood Avenue and West Ferry Street. Michno said he was relieved to finally have a day that he could work outside. By Shana Campbell and Andrew Manzella

Monday, April 14, 2014

IN DEPTH: Canisius H.S. gets clear look at West Side

Sean Whalen, a Canisuis High School alumni volunteer, says students have a change of heart once they volunteer on the West Side. Full story by Fran McCann

IN DEPTH: Compost adds to fruitful West Side gardens

          While most of America tosses away its yard waste and kitchen scraps, food markets and farmers on the West Side band together to provide compost to nourish the city’s farms and gardens. Full story by Jeff Pawlak and Brittney Singletary

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Global Villages celebrates 2nd anniversary

Global Villages, a gift shop opened by Rwanda native, Louise Sano, will be celebrating its two-year anniversary in May.  
The boutique carries things that are one of a kind ranging from jewelry to home décor. Sano has visited 20 countries on four continents. Sano gets her inventory from Rwanda, as well as 17 other countries including Kenya, Ecuador and Peru. 
 “These past two years I haven’t had a life, it has been business, all business,” Sano said. 
Global Villages' current location at 216 Grant St. began as the West Side Bazaar, which  served as a business incubator for immigrants from various countries to help them become entrepreneurs. 
The Bazaar was started by the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) whose mission is to “to improve the quality of life for the residents of Buffalo’s West Side”.  Since then, the Bazaar has moved to 25 Grant St. Sano is a graduate of the program and her store occupies the Bazaar's original location.
            Since opening Global Villages in May 2012, Sano opened her second boutique, Global Chic a few stores down at 242 Grant St.  This location provides more fashion trends from around the world and even offers seamstress services.
             “This year I’m going to concentrate on building the businesses and having my own life,” Sano said. “Invest more, do more promotion and maintain what I already have.” By Jamie Hall, Kamesha Jones and Jazminia Rivera

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

IN DEPTH: Internship breeds 20-year plan for parks

Brian Dold, associate superintendent of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, began his love affair with the city's park system a decade ago when he was hired as an intern to work with the organization's 20-year plan. Full story by Sean Brock and Ally Rotundo

Monday, April 7, 2014

Soggy doggy

Stanley, left, and his owner, veterinary technician David Gurbacki, find the only patch of dry ground Sunday afternoon at La Salle Park’s Barkyard. Recent snowfall left parks in the area wet and muddy, but that didn’t stop Stanley from getting out to enjoy the sun. The Barkyard is open from dawn to dusk, regardless of weather, and features an area exclusively for small dogs in addition to its general dog run. By Angelica Rodriguez and Brandon Waz

SAT changes A-OK

Administrators at Leonardo DaVinci High School believe   that the retooled SAT,  which will take effect in the spring of 2016, will align with the core curricula being taught in high schools. The changes to the SAT involve making the writing portion optional, and changing parts of the vocabulary portion. College admissions counselors such as Meghan Harmon at D’Youville College think the changes will even the playing field and make the test more accessible. By Sashana Campbell and Andrew Manzella

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tax tips for late filers

With tax season underway, Sachana Wright, H&R Block office manager, discusses the disadvantages of filing taxes late. Interest, penalties and late filing fees are some of the consequences of filing your return late. This year the H&R Block located at 250 Elmwood Ave. plans to save West Side residents money on their tax return by reviewing their information for a second time. The second review allows tax preparers to seek out faults in order to provide taxpayers with the highest refund possible. By Oliver Colbert and Kimberly Hylton

Thursday, April 3, 2014

IN DEPTH: West Buffalo Charter adds 'Core,' expands

          Principal Andrea Todoro explains how the Common Core curriculum and a bigger student body is keeping the young West Buffalo Charter School busy. Full story by Oliver Colbert and Kimberly Hylton