Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New farmers market adds to W.S. offerings

     Those with an affinity for farmers markets will have an expanded list to choose from this year, as a new summer indoor/outdoor market that kicked off May 10.
     Connect Market, which will utilize the Horsefeathers building  at 346 Connecticut St., features fresh, organic produce, spices, flowers and bread, among other items, from about 10 vendors. It provides a place at the table for sellers who were unable to get into the Elmwood-Bidwell farmers market.
     Connect Market started as a conversation between Martin Danilowicz, owner of the restaurant Martin Cooks, and Buffalo Rising publisher Newell Nussbaumer. Martin Cooks is one of the five permanent fixtures within Horsefeathers, where Nussbaumer spent time working and writing.
     “It was just a natural progression,” Nussbaumer said. “It started as, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have this year-round?’ and then went from there.”
     Danilowicz called his councilman to get the ball rolling, and Nussbaumer handled the rest, orchestrating what is now Connect Market. The market will run until the start of the annual winter market, around mid-October.
 Nussbaumer hopes to have 15 vendors at the market “soon” and views it as working in synergy with the established markets, including Elmwood-Bidwell and The Peddler flea market on Elmwood and West Ferry. He hopes to create a “market trek” from Elmwood to the West Side, where walkers or bikers can venture to each establishment.
     Danilowicz is excited for the opportunity to create a buzz on his restaurant’s block.
     “I just want to see Connecticut Street busy,” he said. “Years ago, the Italian Festival used to be on this street, but it’s not anymore. Being a tenant on this street now, I just need to see it flourish.” By Angelica Rodriguez and Brandon Waz

Providence Social gets its final touches

Greg Nikiel, center, a contractor from Look At That Home Improvement, works with the rest of his team stripping the roof of Providence Social at 490 Rhode Island St. Property manager Terry Hale said the renovations to the building are 80 percent complete. Redoing the roof and expanding the patio are the two projects remaining. The structure was built in the late 1800s and used to be the Roseland Restaurant, owned by the Romanello family, and was briefly called Prime 490 before Hale’s sister Martha Martin bought the building one and a half years ago. Providence Social was officially opened Fall 2013 by Martin’s son Josh Hanzlian who operates the restaurant. By Sashana Campbell and Andrew Manzella

Monday, May 12, 2014

Federal grant to assist in river clean-up

Michael Basile, a spokesperson for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, discusses the potential behind a recent grant given to the Buffalo Sewer Authority to help clean the Niagara River. The federal grant, which comes from the EPA, totals $500,000. The grant money will be used to bolster a $380 million plan by the sewer authority to improve the city’s sewer system and reduce runoff into the river from storm drains, particularly those in urban sectors like the West Side. By Jeff Pawlak and Brittney Singletary

IN DEPTH: Chippewa in transition after under-21 ban

Since the city imposed an under-21 ban on the Chippewa Street entertainment district in October 2012, the district has been trying to find another image. Full story by Fran McCann

IN DEPTH: Clubhouse preps for summer construction

The 60-year-old Butler-Mitchell Clubhouse is about to undergo a $650,000 reconstruction project that will begin this summer and will close the facility from October until January 2015. Full story by Peter Murphy and Bill Schutt

Sunday, May 11, 2014

D'Youville receives home field advantage

Construction of D’Youville College’s $3 million athletic complex on the corner of Fourth Street and Porter Avenue is underway and will feature the school's first ever-home athletic field.
The college also is  building a 4,000 square foot field house, which will feature two locker rooms, an office and a medical facility for a trainer.
The college started planning for the field about five years ago when it purchased the land where the original Ted’s Hot Dogs  restaurant used to be. It took two and half years to go through all of the environmental studies, but that sale went through in the spring, said Ed Cogan, the associate vice president for operations at D’Youville.  
D’Youville separately purchased the remaining land for the field from the New York State Thruway Authority and from a homeowner who just “knocked on the college’s door one day and asked if anyone would like to buy her house,” Cogan said.
“It really kind of came together,” said Cogan.
The severe winter weather delayed the construction until mid-February for the 3.5-acre soccer, baseball and lacrosse field, said Cogan.  Despite the construction delay, the field will be completed in August. By Peter Murphy and Bill Schutt

NHS offers loans for home improvement

Michele Gil, NHS home-ownership counselor
West Side homeowners will be able to take advantage of home improvement loans through funding received by the West Side & Black Rock-Riverside Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS).
            The corporation recently received a $169,000 federal grant, which will be made available to any homeowner without income restrictions.
            Applications are available on the NHS website and are reviewed by the loan committee. The committee decides  if the applicant is a good risk and will refer the applicant  to counseling, which is available as part of the corporation’s full-cycle lending services.
            In addition to providing loans, some of the funds will be going towards training and homeowner counseling programs. 
            “One thing about our programs, they’re really designed to create and sustain successful homeowners and that builds strong neighborhoods when you have a higher concentration of homeowners and homeowners who have been trained so that they know what they’re doing,” Laura Sweat, deputy director of the NHS, said.
            The NHS is a private not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to preserve and revitalize Buffalo’s neighborhoods by providing safe, affordable and sustainable housing opportunities for all. By Jamie Hall, Kamesha Jones and Jazmina Rivera

IN DEPTH: Buffalo gardener brings Japan to West Side

A normal day for Abi Echevarria begins early in the morning, walking through the garden he tends,  looking for trash and debris. He  spends the rest of the day caring for the  plants, trees and soil one of the most beloved sites in Delaware Park. Full story by Sean Brock and Ally Rotundo

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Asthma persists in West Side neighborhood

Children with asthma are becoming more common in neighborhoods near the Peace Bridge. Clinical assistant professor Bernadette Pursel, R.N. from D’Youville College talks about how environmental factors, like truck exhaust, can play a huge role in the development of asthma.  Pursel said economic issues seem to affect the community’s motivation to follow up on asthma treatments. “Some of these people take two or three buses to get to their healthcare provider,” Pursel said. “Then they have to take another few buses to get their prescription filled while they drag three kids in the rain.” Pursel has been a nurse on the West Side for 45 years, and lives on Ashland Avenue. By Shana Campbell and Andrew Manzella

IN DEPTH: West Side plays host to sweet piano sounds

The wildly painted pianos coming soon to sidewalks on the West Side will be more than   just eye candy—they will be fully functional instruments that anyone can play. Full story by Jeff Pawlak and Brittney Singletary

Friday, May 9, 2014

Garden Walk Buffalo on track for start in late July

As winter tries its hardest to linger in Western New York, preparations for the 20th annual Garden Walk move on without a hitch.  
This year’s Garden Walk, which runs from July 26-27, is expected to have more than 380 gardens throughout the tour of the West Side.
             Cindy Loomis, president of Garden Walk Buffalo Inc. and an avid gardener herself, noted that the gardeners who participate in what has become the largest garden-touring event across the country know how to prepare even when the weather doesn’t comply.
“In Buffalo, you just have to deal with it,” said Loomis.
She said gardeners should wait until the last frost has passed in order to plant their annual flowers.
“Some people don’t, but to be on the safe side, you don’t plant any of the annuals until after Memorial Day,” she added.
             Although this year’s walk is still three months away, Garden Walk Buffalo Inc. has gotten the city in a gardening state of mind by hosting a number of workshops throughout the winter and spring dedicated to teaching local gardeners better ways to plant.
The nonprofit also released a 60-page commemorative magazine during the first week of April that features both the large and small gardens of Buffalo, some of which will be in the walk. The magazine can be purchased online at the official Garden Walk store, at garden centers or in bookshops across Western New York. By Jeff Pawlak and Brittney Singletary

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Plans for church property worry residents

Tony Mecca, a member of the Niagara Gateway Columbus Park Association and a West Side resident of 35 years, describes the environmental and social impacts of the plans to expand the Peace Bridge Plaza into the site of the former Episcopal Church Home. Episcopal Church Home and Affiliates sold the seven-acre property at 1 Massachusetts Ave. to the state last June. The state is now seeking bids to demolish the existing structures with the intent of turning the site over to the Peace Bridge authority. By Angelica Rodriguez and Brandon Waz

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Forest Lawn tour unites birds and watchers

Northern flickers, right, enjoy an early spring morning at Forest Lawn Cemetery, providing plenty of fodder for birdwatchers. Those watching, below,  included, from left,  Kathy Snyder, Susan Gralak and Mary Jo Davila-Ryan, who followed tour guide and birder Dennis Gralak on a two-hour trip through the cemetery grounds April 25 as part of the recurring event “Forest Lawn is for the Birds.” The tour costs $10 and will meet at 8 a.m. on May 2, 4, 16 and 18. Binoculars are recommended. By Angelica Rodriguez and Brandon Waz

BreadHive adding to W.S. bakery options

Emily Stewart,  one of the three  owners of the Breadhive Worker Cooperative Bakery, explains the  plans for the new business, which opened April 12 at  123 Baynes St. By Peter Murphy and Bill Schutt

Beer Works marks milestone with Whale ale

Community Beer Works employees, Robert Turley Jr., left, and Drew Hardin, right, are working together on a microbrew called the Whale, an English style brown ale. It will be the first new beer distributed for the brewery’s two-year anniversary celebrated in April. The beer is  available to customers during business hours, which are 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday at  Beer Works, 15 Lafayette Ave.  The new beer also is expected to be  distributed to local restaurants, bars, and Consumer’s Beverages locations. By Peter Murphy and Bill Schutt