Chris Caya

Reporter

Ways to Connect

Erie County Court judge Sheila DiTullio has denied a defense request for a mistrial in the case of Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst.

As the trial resumed Monday morning defense attorney Joel Daniels asked the judge to declare a mistrial, claiming a report in Sunday's Buffalo News could have tainted jurors.

Corasanti is standing trial for vehicular manslaughter in the hit and run of 18-year-old Alexandria Rice of Amherst last July on Heim Road. 

The prosecution says Corasanti had been drinking prior to hit and run.

The medical examiner who conducted an autopsy on Alexandria Rice was among those called to the stand today in the continuing manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti in Erie County Court.

The first witness called on Day 6 of the trial was Amherst Police Detective John Trabert.  He testified about arranging what investigators call a "controlled pick-up" of the garbage that Corasanti's placed at the curb in front of their house the week after Rice was struck and killed while skateboarding on Heim Road. 

Pool photos provided by Buffalo News

Dr. James Corasanti's vehicular manslaughter trial resumed for its fifth day Thursday afternoon in Erie County Court with the Prosecution calling registered nurse Hope Dalrymple. 

Dalrymple is the RN at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital who carried out the court-ordered DWI blood test on Dr. Corasanti five hours after the car he was driving struck and killed 18-year-old Alexandria Rice as she was skateboarding on Heim Road the night of July 8, 2011. 

Some local children will be taking part in a new initiative designed to promote healthy living.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation has awarded a grant to the Independent Health Foundation to bring the national "Soccer For Success" program to ten Buffalo Public elementary schools. 

The youth development program uses soccer as a tool to combat childhood obesity. Independent Health President and CEO Dr. Michael Cropp said the epidemic of obesity and diabetes is driving the crisis in healthcare today.  

Chris Caya/WBFO

Ghoulish-looking protestors staged a 'die-in' this morning in downtown Buffalo as part of May Day/International Worker's Day demonstrations across the country.

Die-ins, where participant simulate being dead, became a popular form of protest against the Iraq war. The silent protest with American flags and anti-war signs took place outside the Lafayette Square military recruiter station. 

Pool photo provided by The Buffalo News

Testimony resumed today in the vehicular manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti, who is accused of fatally striking teenager Alexandria Rice last July and then leaving the scene of the accident.

This morning, residents along Heim Road in Amherst where the collision occurred described hearing an unusual noise. One called it a "loud thump" and the other said it was a "horrific" noise and a "jarring sound," unnatural for the quiet neighborhood.  She said it's not unusual for bicyclists and skateboarders to use the bike lane on Heim. 

Pool photos provided by Buffalo News

The trial of Dr. James Corasanti resumes in Erie County Court Monday.

The Getzville man faces several charges including vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene after his car struck a teenager on a skateboard on Heim Road in Amherst.

Dozens of witnesses are expected to testify, including Corasanti's neighbors.

Erie County District Attorney Homicide Bureau Chief James Bargnesi said during opening statements last week Dr. Corasanti was texting moments before his car struck and killed 18-year-old Alix Rice.

The NFTA's long-vacant property on Buffalo's waterfront should be made into a family play space, according to the group Citizens for a 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor.  The group also wants the new park to be dedicated to Fredrick Law Olmsted, the man who designed much of the city green space. 

Former Erie County Legislator Joan Bozer says it's an opportunity to carry out Olmsted's plan for a waterfront park, which had to be moved inland in what became South Park.  Bozer points out the Greenway Plan and other waterfront proposals call for extending the "Olmsted legacy."

Pool photos provided by Buffalo News

The trial of Amherst Dr. James Corasanti is underway in an Erie County Courtroom.

Chris Caya/wbfo

It's been 150 years since the founding of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and to mark the occasion the public has been invited to help create a special anniversary work for the Gallery's collection.
 
In all, 150 Western New Yorkers were selected during yesterday's drawing in the Gallery.

"We think it will leave a great legacy and continue the great tradition at the Albright-Knox that we are supportive of new art, supportive of engaging artists in our community and building our collection," said Louis Grachos, Albright-Knox Director.

Chris Caya/WBFO

The New York State Board of Regents today followed a recommendation to close Pinnacle Charter School in June at the end of the current school year.

The Education Department recommended the school closing because of persistent sub-par scores on state tests. There is no appeal process, although school officials were meeting with legal counsel Tuesday about a possible lawsuit to block the closing.

Parents, teachers, and students have been rallying in recent days to keep the school open.

Chris Caya/WBFO

Leaders and staff of Roswell Park Cancer Institute celebrated the opening of the hospital's new state-of-the-art Intensive Care Unit this morning. 

The $4 million project involved relocating the ICU to the 8th floor and installing additional windows so each room is filled with natural light.  The 8,000 square foot unit is 40-percent larger than the old one.

Roswell Park's Chief Nursing Officer Maureen Kelly says it makes a nice environment for patients, their families and staff.

facebook.com/JusticeForJJ

Local members of the state delegation are trying to build support for legislation aimed at cracking down on repeat child abusers. 

Senator Timothy Kennedy and Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak are sponsoring Jay J's Law, named for Jay J. Bolvin who suffered nearly a dozen broken bones at the hands of his father, Jeremy Bolvin, before he was two months of age.

Jay J's guardian Kevin Retzer says the abuse caused permanent brain damage and Jay J still does not talk like a normal two-year-old.  

Western New York is already a popular destination for Canadian shoppers, but local tourism officials believe the region has greater potential.

Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Dotty Gallagher-Cohen says a new study was designed to show local businesses who their Canadian customers really are.

"What we hope to do is take what's happening organically and devise some strategies to increase the frequencies and the lengths of stay of people who come here," Gallagher-Cohen said.

WBFO News file photo

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has released its report on a fatal blast at a Tonawanda plant. 

The investigation found 'sparks or heat' from welding on top of a storage tank likely ignited flammable vapors inside the tank - a hazard which had been overlooked by DuPont engineers. 

The November 2010 blast at the River Road facility killed one contractor - and it came less than a year after three similar incidents - including one fatality - at another DuPont plant. 

darwinmartinhouse.org

Several local sites designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright can now be seen on one day-long tour. 

The Darwin Martin House, Graycliff Estate, the Blue Sky Mausoleum and the Fontana Boat House are among the stops on the All Wright All Day tour announced today by Martin House Restoration Corporation Executive Director Mary Roberts.

"This will be one of the most fun-filled architectural educational tours that you can take," Roberts said.

Chris Caya/WBFO

More than 50 billboards are up across Erie County encouraging people to join their local volunteer fire department.  It's part of a statewide recruitment drive in conjunction with "National Volunteer Week," which includes an open house at many departments this weekend. 

Chris Caya/WBFO

Officials from Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society are joining Assemblyman Sean Ryan in calling for a ban on flavored tobacco products aimed at young people.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan says bipartisan legislation that would close a loophole in federal law was overwhelmingly approved by the Assembly in January.  The Buffalo Democrat says the bill bans the sale of tobacco products that have been flavored to make them more appealing.  

WBFO News file photo

City lawmakers could fill Michael Kearns' former South District seat as early as Tuesday, according to Council President Richard Fontana. 

Kearns was elected to the State Assembly last month. 

And Fontana says he personally knows three of the seven applicants scheduled to appear before the full Council Monday.  

"This year it will be somewhat different. They (council candidates) won't be able to listen to each other's interviews. In the past, we had them all in the chambers at the same time," Fontana said.

If all goes according to plan, the city of Buffalo should have a new zoning code on the books by the end of the year. 

The process of rewriting the antiquated and confusing set of rules got underway in September of 2010.

The public will have a chance to weigh-in on the proposal in the coming weeks.  

Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director of Buffalo's Office of Strategic Planning, says the new guidelines will help investors, residents, and existing businesses have a better set of expectations about what fits in a neighborhood.

The rusting frame of the long-stalled Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino is finally coming down to clear the way for a new, smaller venue. 

The Seneca Nation of Indians unveiled redesigned plans today for their property at Michigan Avenue and Perry Street in downtown Buffalo.  Construction on the larger $333 million casino-hotel complex stalled in 2008 due to the recession. 

Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter says the new facility is about one-fifth the size of the original.

Chris Caya/WBFO

Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital is shutting its doors, ending nearly a century of health care at the location.

Kaleida Health will move the operation to the expanding Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

While company officials maintain the move is in the best interests of all of Western New York, employees have mixed feelings.

WBFO and AM970's Chris Caya explores some of those heartfelt stories and looks ahead at the future of the massive structure.

Photo from Independent Health

The Affordable Care Act is on today's U.S. Supreme Court docket. 

Given the complexity of the case, the justices plan on hearing arguments on various issues over three days. 

One local health insurance executive says no matter what the High Court decides several issues still need to be addressed to improve the nation's healthcare system.  
    
Independent Health President and CEO Dr. Michael Cropp says there's no easy solution for what's ailing the healthcare system. 

Chris Caya/WBFO

The mistaken release of a man charged with attempted murder landed Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard in the hot seat in County Hall. 

The Legislature's Public Safety Committee questioned Howard for nearly an hour about the wrongful release of 32-year-old Awet Gebreyesus who was ordered held without bail after allegedly stabbing his wife in the entrance of the Amherst Street Wegmans in January. 

The recent run of nice weather has bumped up the construction schedule in LaSalle Park by a month. 

The project includes rebuilding the park road along I-190, adding new streetlights, and a new parking lot, complete with a tree, shrub and grass 'rain garden' to filter runoff. 

Mayor Byron Brown says the early start means work should wrap up before the early July opening of Centennial Pool, which underwent a $3 million renovation in 2010.  

Chris Caya/WBFO

The Niagara Military Affairs Council and Niagara Chamber of Commerce today held an early morning breakfast briefing about the future of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. 

Federal budget cuts are jeopardizing units and jobs at the Falls base.  So far, no new decisions have been issued and leaders of various units say for now, its business as usual. 

Chris Caya/WBFO

A day-long conference on bullying on the UB North Campus attracted nearly 800 people Wednesday.

The 9th Annual Safe Schools Initiative Seminar was sponsored in part by the Secret Service and the office of U.S. Attorney William Hochul.  He said statistics indicate most students will be victimized at some point during elementary school and 35% of 'chronic bullies' end up in prison.

More than 175 local businesses looking to rebuild Western New York turned out for an Economic Action Summit on UB's North Campus this morning. 

The forum included eight workshops covering small business, infrastructure and commerce, agriculture and energy, and education.  The session was sponsored by Rep.Kathy Hochul.   

An emergency meeting in Common Council Chambers over the possible loss of funding for Buffalo's neediest schools drew more than a hundred people last night.

Unless the school district reaches a deal with its unions on a teacher evaluation plan that Albany will accept by next week, $9 million will be lost.

The deadline for having a teacher evaluation system in place is coming up next week.

Along with the millions at stake, Buffalo could also lose out on an additional $50 million in aid next year unless there's an agreement.

Chris Caya/WBFO

An effort is underway to remake and revitalize the Commodore Perry Public Housing neighborhood downtown.

To qualify for federal funding the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority has one year to come up with a plan.  If all goes according to plan, the distressed Perry Projects, just off Michigan Avenue near I-190 downtown, will be transformed into the Perry Choice Neighborhood.

Pages