Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Electronic waste recycling event Jan. 7

            West Side residents are invited to participate in Buffalo’s annual After the Holidays Recycling Event on Jan. 7 at the Engineering Garage on 1120 Seneca St.
Susan Attridge, director of recycling for Buffalo, urges residents to recycle their electronic-waste appropriately in order to protect the environment.
“By properly disposing of e-waste, Buffalo residents are helping to further reduce the harmful effects that e-waste can have on the environment,” Attridge said.
Buffalo residents can bring in their old electronics such as computers, printers, TV’s, scanners, audiovisual equipment, holiday lights, clothing and textiles.
Christmas trees will also be collected at this event. These trees will be run through a tree shredder and turned into mulch, which will be made available for residents to take home.
For the first time ever, Buffalo will be collecting Styrofoam as well. The foam must be white, bulk foam that is clean. The foam must be free of tape, dirt or screws. No food containers or packing peanuts will be accepted.
            Electronic recycling services are available from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday year-round at the Engineering Garage. Senior citizens or disabled residents who have limited transportation can also contact the Division of Citizen Services (311 or 716-851-4890) to make special arrangements for e-waste recycling collection.  By Brittany Schmidle and Clifton Robinson


West Side gets ready for winter weather

        Winter is approaching, and West Side residents are preparing for the snow.
William Devereaux, the manager of Dibble True Value Hardware, 262 West Ferry St., said that sales of winter items are “pretty close between snow salt, shovels, and snow blowers.”
“They buy them at the same time,” he said.
He added that most customers are expecting average snowfall for the season. The Old Farmer’s Almanac, however, projects that snowfall will be above normal in Western New York this season and Buffalo’s weather will turn “bitterly cold” in January.
The emergency preparation website says that besides stocking up on basic snow removal supplies, people should have blankets and fuel at home in the event of becoming stranded with regular heating cut off in the middle of a blizzard.
The website also states that vehicles need to have an emergency kit in case of a snowstorm. Kits should consist of necessities such as water and snack food, as well as items such as flashlights, booster cables and emergency flares. By Melissa Burrowes

Services collaborate to help deaf refugees

By Tiera Daughtry and Vincent Nguyen

Bengal News West Reporters
         This student was hard to forget for Pamela Kefi, executive director of Deaf Access Services. Not only was he a refugee and Deaf, but also he took interest in helping others like him.
            Kefi first met the student at an American Sign Language class. The student knew American Sign Language a little better than the rest of the students.
            While Kefi assisted him with his application for reduced bus rare, she connected with him on a deeper level. The student the role of a case manager and advocate for people in his predicament.  
            “That’s the thing we like to see. A community that helps each other and have no problem with taking people under their wings,” Kefi said. 

Pamela Kefi, executive director of Deaf Access Services, far right, and staff

            Deaf Access Services is collaborating with Jewish Family Services and St. Mary’s School for the Deaf and Niagara Falls’ Service Bridges to create a program that provides services specifically for deaf refugees in Buffalo.
             “Deaf refugees have not received the attention they need in all facets of our education system, which means they are marginalized compared to hearing refugees,” says Marlene Schillinger, president and CEO of Jewish Family Services. “There is an added layer of complexity to their resettlement process. Our goal and the goal of our partners is to teach (American Sign Language) so they can find employment.”  
            Refugees’ first stop is at Jewish Family Services, 70 Barker St., a non-profit health and social service provider that has served the community since 1862. The organization provides American Sign Language educational and job prep classes. Jewish Family Services has a class of about 10 students.  The refugees are then transferred  to Deaf Access Services, where the refugees are assisted with resume building, job applications and workplace etiquette.
            Deaf Access Services, 2495 Main St., connects Western New York communities of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people using American Sign Language through advocacy, education, employment and interpreting skills.
            “Around 2010, this agency has started to recognize refugees and immigrants in Western New York who were Deaf,” said Kefi. “I have worked with many refugees before coming to this agency and I haven’t witnessed  any deaf refugees in the program. I noticed a weirdly large gap. So, this agency started to take some action to serve that community. It’s a lifelong process. We tend to work with the community forever.” 

Pamela Kefi, of Deaf Access Services:

            Deaf Access Services welcomes deaf refugees and their families to stop if they need any help with filling out an application of any sorts or help with translating information.
While Jewish Family Services and Deaf Access Services continue to provide for the community, St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, 2253 Main St., joined the others to spread the services among the children and their families who may need the services.   
             “We have a lot of supports in place here at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf to help newly arrived Deaf refugee students,” says Joy Higgins, associate principal for St. Mary’s. “We provide an individualized approach to all of our students. We offer sign language and parenting classes for our parents and families.  The classes are offered in Arabic, Somali, Spanish and English.  We believe in supporting the entire family.”
            Wrapping up the collaboration of services for refugees is Service Bridges, 8666 Buffalo Ave., in Niagara Falls where the agency fights for the right to provide the needs and services a hearing person receives for a Deaf Person
             “As the CEO of Service Bridges, an (American Sign Language) educator at SUNY at Buffalo and as a deaf son of two Deaf educators, I advocate for the Deaf community,” said Jason Goldstein, CEO of Service Bridges.
            With the help from these agencies, Deaf refugees from places such as Vietnam, Cuba, Africa, can live the same lifestyle as a hearing person.
             The collaboration’s main goal is to provide an example for other deaf businesses to build off as the right way to handle deaf arrivals.

We Never Close shop lives up to its name

We Never Close, 1054 Elmwood Ave. at Bird Avenue, is an iconic convenience store that stays open 24-hours, year-round. It opened as Cameron’s 24-Hour store, named after the original storeowner’s son. The store has never closed since opening on June 1, 1972. With the holidays approaching, the store will remain open, living up to its name given by the regular customers who depend on the store daily. With the help from his team of employees, Paul Antonio, current storeowner, creates an approachable atmosphere where he is on a first-name basis with his regular customers.  The convenience store sells an array of chips and snacks, emergency grocery and home items, ready-made sandwiches, pizza and fried chicken. By Tiera Daughtry and Vincent Nguyen

Melting Point doubles space, adds seating

             Melting Point, located at 244 Allen St., is adding a dining area to its small storefront.
            The sandwich restaurant specializing in grilled cheese recently purchased the gallery directly next door, doubling its space.
            Matthew Yuhnke and business partner Mike Kifner, both from Buffalo, chose to buy the space in Allentown to stay local and stick to the neighborhood that they know.
            “I don’t think we could leave Allentown because to me this is home and the first shop is always special,” Yuhnke said. “I call it my baby because I really put everything into it.”
            Yuhnke and Kifner created each sandwich that is on the menu, and they still cook the sandwiches themselves most days.
            “We are like any neighbor sandwich shop. We know our customers and they know us,” Yuhnke said. “I know it makes a difference to the customers to see my face, see Mike’s face, being hands on with the food. They know that we know our stuff and they love that.”
            Once open, Yuhnke is looking to have between 10 and 12 tables for customers to sit. To go with the bar atmosphere of Allentown, the restaurant will have high tables and bar stools as opposed to conventional tables.
            “Getting this space was really through popular demand. We originally wanted to keep it small but to have a real dining area will take us to the next level,” Yuhnke said. By Franklin Hagler and Matt Neidhart

Greenleaf on target with Grant St. project

A new 162,000-square-foot student housing project that includes retail space is coming to Grant Street, and it’s nearly complete. Construction on Greenleaf Development’s off-campus student housing project is on track to finish in July 2017 and open for students by August. The apartment complex will bring more than 300 beds to a property that borders Grant, Rees, and Bradley streets and SUNY Buffalo State’s Rockwell Road. The project will include 5,000 square feet of retail space in the building facing Grant Street. Project Manager Sarah Witherell-Nayman said Greenleaf hopes to fill the three retail spots with possibly a coffee shop, pizzeria or other restaurants. Greenleaf purchased more than 40 properties back in 2008 in hopes of building student housing. Many aged, decaying houses were knocked down to make room for the project. Other houses were restored by Greenleaf and are now being rented out. “It’s easily the biggest development on that part of Grant Street in a long time,” Greenleaf President Jim Swiezy said.  “Five years ago nobody wanted to walk down Grant Street. We bought a lot of homes, cleaned them up and now we’re doing this project. It’s transformational for this neighborhood.” By Dave DeLuca and Patrick Koster

Newman Center camaraderie continues

Volunteer cooks serve the last weekly Thursday dinner of the semester at the Newman Center and Chapel, 1219 Elmwood Ave., but the camaraderie between students and the rest of the community continues through December and January. The parish held an Advent Celebration on Dec. 11 and on Jan. 28, the center plans to strengthen its members’ relationships by organizing a “Dinner of Eight.” In groups of seven, members will go to an eighth member’s home and have dinner. Afterwards, the entire congregation will meet at the Newman Center for dessert and choir singing. Event Organizer Carmen Schaff, who has worked with the Newman Center for over five years, said all SUNY schools have a John Hugh Newman Center where Catholics can worship. Masses and center events are held all year long. By Tony Callens and Benjamin Joe

Monday, December 5, 2016

Houghton adds program for ‘new Americans’

Houghton College History Professor Steve Strand, left, lecturing to his refugee and immigrant class at the college’s satellite campus for refugees at First Presbyterian Church at 1 Symphony Circle. Dean of Houghton College Buffalo Cameron Airhart announced a new matriculation program that allows refugees to transfer to SUNY Buffalo State after obtaining their associate’s degree. Houghton College Buffalo has a graduation rate of 80 percent and currently enrolls 55 “New American” students into its program. Airhart is confident that this school can hold up to 100. Houghton’s high school recruitment program has been successful is getting refugee and immigrant students a brighter vision for college success. By expanding into Utica, next fall, Houghton hopes to help immigrants and refugees in that region as well. Houghton College is hoping to break down walls for immigrant and refugee students with various programs and partnerships. By Cliff Robinson and Brittany Schmidle

No plans to maintain West Side murals

There was great fanfare when the mural located on Auburn Avenue and Grant Street was unveiled but now three years later, the piece is in disrepair. There are several panels missing and no plan in place to restore the mural. Commissioned by the Olmsted Park System in 2013 to combat concerns about graffiti, former SUNY Buffalo State Fine Arts Department Chair Phillip Ogle was consulted to put the project together. Artist Augustina Droze along with students from International School 45, Lafayette High School and Buffalo State collaborated to create the mural. “It takes a community effort to keep these works of art together,” Ogle said. “The artists can only do so much.” By Tony Callens and Ben Joe