Chris Caya

Reporter

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Chris Caya/WBFO News

The head of the U.S. Postal Service made a surprise visit to Buffalo's William Street Mail Processing Center this morning. 

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe toured the facility before speaking to the 2,500 attendees at the 108th National Rural Letter Carriers Association Convention. 

After being targeted for closure in a cost-cutting move, the William Street facility won a temporary reprieve from earlier this year. The Postal Service is seeking to close a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall and stay solvent in a time of declining mail volume.

Given the popularity of animal exhibits and petting zoos at county fairs, health officials are reminding the public about the importance of practicing good hygiene. This after an outbreak of swine flu in about a dozen states. 

So far, the outbreak has been limited to mid-western states.  But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the 162 cases reported as of Friday an extraordinary increase over the 13 swine flu cases confirmed during all of 2011. 

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered encouraging words after he toured the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Thursday. In a speech delivered to hundreds of base personnel,  Panetta said that he was"committed" to protecting the base and finding a new mission for its employees.

"Let me be very clear. The Department of Defense is committed to protecting New York's Air National Guard. It's the largest in the country. I think it's one of the best. And I also want to make clear that we are committed to maintaining this base for the future," Panetta said.

Photo from State DOT Website

After months of delay, some much needed road repairs will be made to state highways and bridges on Seneca Nation lands south of Buffalo.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald and Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter said in a joint written statement Monday they have agreed to a "framework" to allow the start of rehabilitation work on Interstate 86 and other state owned roads on the Seneca's Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories. 

Canalside is gearing-up for the arrival of Canada's largest sailing tall-ship. 

As WBFO and AM 970's Chris Caya reports, the 'Empire Sandy' is visiting Buffalo as part of the ongoing 200th Anniversary commemoration of the War of 1812.     

Depending on sailing conditions the Empire Sandy should arrive in Downtown Buffalo's Inner Harbor between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday.

Based in Toronto, it's billed as the largest tall-ship sailing on the Great Lakes. 

Nearly five years after a judge overturned her wrongful murder conviction, Lynn DeJac still has not been compensated for the lengthy prison sentence she served.

In 2007,  DeJac was the first woman in the U.S. set free based on DNA. 

DeJac was convicted in 1994 of strangling her 13-year-old daughter Crystallynn Girard.

But modern testing of long-lost evidence linked the killing to DeJac's former boyfriend Dennis Donahue. 

Google Map, street view photo

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said a fatal police shooting in the City's Riverside neighborhood is "a tragedy for all involved" 

Derenda said  four-year-old Roderick Geiger died as a result of stabbing. And the suspect - the boy's grandmother - 38-year-old Charlene Fears was shot and killed inside 195 Esser Avenue. 

Commissioner Derenda said the initial investigation indicates officers "were justified in using deadly physical force."

Construction on a new, permanent Seneca Nation casino in downtown Buffalo is now underway.

The Senecas had originally planned a large-scale, $333 million casino/hotel complex for the site.  But when the recession hit in 2008, those plans were put on hold. 

Earlier this year, the tribe unveiled planned for a smaller facility that will occupy nearly ten acres, with a price tag of $130 million.  It will include a restaurant, a bar, and a four-level parking garage.

Veterans who rely on Veterans Affairs and private providers for their healthcare don't have to carry around paper copies of the medical records anymore. Local vets can now allow healthcare providers access their medical records electronically.

VA Healthcare System of Western New York Director Brian Stiller says the VA has joined HEALTHeLINK, the region's clinical information exchange. The program allows private practitioners, local hospitals, labs, and the VA to share a patient's test results, x-rays, MRIs and medication history.

File photo / WBFO News

Economic opportunity and security challenges along the northern border were among the issues discussed during an Congressional Field Hearing in Buffalo today. 

Representative Brian Higgins, the Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence arranged the hearing.  Erie County Emergency Management Commissioner Dan Neaverth and Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour were among the witnesses called to testify at Buffalo's Federal Courthouse. 

The plan for returning cars to Main Street in downtown Buffalo is already beginning to have its desired effect.  The city has found a new tenant for a long vacant restaurant in the Market Arcade complex.

A project to rebuild the 600 block of Main so it can accommodate Metro Rail and automobiles is set to begin in September, but that didn't stop Jay Haynes from leasing the former Ya Ya Bayou Brewhouse near Shea's Performing Arts Center. Haynes plans to open Perfetto, an upscale eatery this fall.

File photo

The stabbing of a teenager inside a Buffalo bar early this morning is reinforcing Mayor Byron Brown's concerns about commingling.

Brown says he has not received all the details yet, but the 18-year-old man was treated and released after being stabbed inside the Barcelona bar on Pearl Street around 3 a.m. 

WBFO News file photo

Highwire walker Nik Wallenda is apparently thumbing his nose at the City of Niagara Falls.

New York State legislation that paved the way for Wallenda's stunt last month required the City be reimbursed for providing public safety.

But Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said Wallenda still owes taxpayers more than $25,000 for overtime costs.

"A total cost for us.  This is just public safety overtime stemming from the event itself," said Mayor Dyster.

Wallenda told the Buffalo News "it's just disgusting and sad [that Niagara Falls is asking for money.]"

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The newest member of the Buffalo Sabres met with reporters this morning at First Niagara Center.  Forward Steve Ott is promising to bring his hard work ethic to the team.

Ott calls Buffalo a first class place to play hockey, from ownership to management to staff. He says he wants to help make the Sabres, who have been criticized for lacking toughness, a harder team to play against.

"I think team toughness is your best toughness," Ott said. "I think if you go in there and you play a team-structured game, heavy heavy, that will take care of your toughness."

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Members of the Erie County Legislature's Minority Caucus are pushing a plan they claim will save millions of dollars. 

County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued a mid-year budget warning Monday, saying the county faces more than $50 million in unanticipated costs.  GOP lawmakers are calling on Poloncarz to borrow and refinance through the county Control Board. 

Legislator Ed Rath says that will save taxpayers nearly $3 million.  

Wendy Long, the Republican candidate looking to unseat U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, met briefly with reporters in Buffalo Tuesday.  
    
Siena Research Institute's Greenberg says Long gained no momentum from last month's GOP primary. Greenberg says Gillibrand has a commanding 62-to-25-percent lead over her challenger.

"Wendy Long has a very steep, uphill climb," Greenberg said.   

After a campaign swing across New York, Long spoke to reporters at the Buffalo Airport before flying back to New York City.  

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The Buffalo Sabres will be honoring the famed French Connection line of the 1970s with a statue outside First Niagara Center. 

Sabres president Ted Black stood outside the arena Thursday to announce that a 10-foot bronze statue of the renowned trio -- Gilbert Perreault, Rene Robert, and Rick Martin -- will be part of a larger, newly-renamed Alumni Plaza.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Dr. Pamela Brown is now officially the new superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools.   Brown was sworn in by Justice Rose Sconiers at City Hall Thursday afternoon. 

Brown's three-year contract was unanimously approved Wednesday night by the school board after a court battle. An attempt by Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino to block Brown's hiring was tossed out by State Supreme Court Justice Donna Siwek late Wednesday afternoon.

WBFO News File photo

State Supreme Court Justice Donna Siwek has ruled against a lawsuit filed by Buffalo developer Carl Paladino against the city school board for the hiring process of a new schools superintendent.  

Paladino claimed the Buffalo School board should have have vetted the candidates in public,  not behind closed doors.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has announced the creation of a Medicaid Anti-Fraud Task Force. 

Poloncarz says Medicaid continues to represent the single largest cost to the county -- $211 million already this year.  He says the new task force will root out "provider-level" waste, fraud, and abuse from doctors, dentists, transportation services and pharmacists.

Poloncarz says the task force will go after "the types of entities that overbill the system." He cited a Monroe County pharmacist that fraudulently billed for prescriptions that were never filled.

WBFO News photo by Omar Fetouh

The state's top cop is cracking down on stores that sell dangerous designer drugs.  More than a dozen so-called "head shops" across New York, including one in Buffalo, are headed to court.

The sale of synthetic drugs in head shops has contributed to a public health crisis in New York and across the nation, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The attorney general has filed lawsuits against 16 retailers for violating the state's labeling laws by selling designer drugs known as "bath salts" and "synthetic marijuana." 

Chris Caya/wbfo news

Hundreds of unionized workers at Sorrento-Lactalis remain on strike. 

Striking workers set up a picket line near the main gate to Sorrento's plant on South Park Avenue Monday morning. 

The job action includes 257 hourly workers. 

But the rank-and-file-members of Teamsters Local 264 declined to talk on tape; calls to union leaders were not returned. 

File Photo / WBFO News

A decision on whether the Peace Bridge will be the site of a pilot program for easing congestion at northern border crossings could be announced in about 60 days. 

In a written statement, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is "on board with the plan."  Governor Andrew Cuomo is also urging Napolitano to choose the Peace Bridge.  

Along with an announced effort to crack down on trucks left idling at the Peace Bridge, the State Department of Environmental Conservation has also agreed to conduct air monitoring on Buffalo's West Side near the bridge's inspection plaza.

Air monitoring will begin within the next 45 days and will be conducted over a two-month period.  The latest data was collected in the late 1990s.

Chris Caya WBFO/AM 970

New water rescue equipment being deployed by the Buffalo Police helped save a life just hours after they hit the street.

The city began outfitting every police car in its fleet with a flotation device on Wednesday afternoon.  By early Thursday morning, the new equipment called a Life Sling was put to use by officers responding to a call about a man in the water at the foot of West Ferry Street.

Photos provided by Jim Pastrick of West Seneca

 With the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act, Western New York health care providers are now ready to roll up their sleeves and begin to figure out how to move forward.

"We have a direction for the county, that healthcare reform is the law," said Dr. Michael Cropp, president & CEO of Independent Health. 

Dr. Cropp reacted in  a live interview  with WBFO & AM-970 late Thursday morning with Mark Scott. 

Chris Caya WBFO/AM 970

The push is on to spruce-up the neighborhood where the new University at Buffalo medical school will be opening in about four years.  

The area is being called the 'Western Gateway' to the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus. With construction of the new medical school expected to get underway soon,  Rep. Brian Higgins, Mayor Byron Brown and other leaders are working to build support for the Allen Street Improvement Project. 

BNMC President and CEO Matt Enstice says the campus's workforce will double to about 17,000 when the Medical School opens in 2016. 

WBFO News photo

Recent events and changes on the Erie County Medical Center campus have prompted hospital officials to increase security.

Security was stepped following a bomb threat at ECMC the day after Dr. Timothy Jorden shot and killed his estranged girlfriend Jackie Wisniewski.   

"Clearly we were at a position where we needed to send some comfort in a clear message to our employees and to our patients,"  said Jody Lomeo ECMC's CEO.

He says off-duty police officers were brought in and the medical center is consulting the Buffalo Police Department.

Chris Caya WBFO/AM 970

Long-overdue maintenance work is in on the way for some bridges in Niagara Falls. 

Mayor Paul Dyster says the project will not only prolong the life of the spans, it will help create jobs in a region where unemployment is 8.5 percent.

"Trying to move as many of these construction projects  forward as possible is one of the ways, that we, in local      government, can contribute to try and put people to work  at this critical time," Dyster said.

Wrecking crews will not be going to work near the Peace Bridge tomorrow.  State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Glownia issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday barring the demolition of seven homes along Busti Avenue. 

The order will remain in place until the court receives and reviews additional court papers and conducts an oral argument on the petitioner's request for a preliminary injunction. Late last week, Buffalo Re-use began tearing out items from the homes for preparation of the demolition.

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