Mark Leitner

Reporter
unspecial.org

Workplace bullying is more common than one might think, but it is difficult to get a handle on the scope of the problem. 

There are several reasons why, including reluctance of the aggrieved to come forward, steadfast denials from company  that anything is wrong, and human resource directors who look the other way. 

WBFO News file photo

The senior member of the Western New York Congressional delegation told WBFO and AM 970 she was "stunned" by Thursday's Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act.

"It's not fashionable after the fact to say you were surprised.  Everybody always says, I knew that.  Let me tell you, I was stunned," said  Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.

She continues on the mend after suffering a broken leg this spring has been a staunch advocate for the Affordable Care Act since its unveiling.

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. 

ECC's new 2012-2013 budget cleared a local hurdle Thursday when the school's spending plan was approved by the Erie County Legislature.

Education is expensive and the cost of educating young and old alike at Erie Community College is no exception.

The clock is ticking toward KeyBank expanding its footprint in the western region of New York. 

The Cleveland-based banker is poised to officially take over more than three-dozen HSBC branches in Buffalo and Rochester beginning the weekend of July 13. KeyBank will take over 26 HSBC branches in Buffalo and another 11 branches in Rochester. The changeover will be complete as of Monday, July 16. 

WBFO File Photo

Mayor Brown's surprising call for a delay in razing seven vacant houses on Busti Avenue to make way for the proposed construction of an expanded Peace Bridge Plaza is raising eyebrows.

Word that plans are proceeding for construction of a new international bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario has prompted Congressman Brian Higgins to call for an immediate end to all the hemming and hawing
that has been part of the Peace Bridge expansion issue for two decades.

The democrat from South Buffalo told reporters Monday the region cannot stand for any more delays.

Mark Leitner/WBFO

Buffalo's Bird Island Pier, that ribbon of concrete and steel that extends from the south end of Broderick Park at the foot of West Ferry Street to the Peace Bridge and beyond, is going to get a major facelift. 

A portion of the historic walkway, which is more than 100 years old, was closed for safety reasons in 2010 due to structural damage. Now, a newly-awarded grant will help fix those issues.

The body of Dr. Timothy Jorden, the person of interest in Wednesday's fatal ECMC shooting, has been recovered from a wooded area near the doctor's Lake View home.

Jorden, who was still clothed in his hospital scrubs, was discovered along a path near 18 Mile Creek not far from his Lake View home on West Arnold Drive. Authorities say he died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. An autopsy is being conducted.

The professionals at Erie County Medical Center are no strangers to tragedy.  As the region's trauma center, the doctors, nurses, and staff are accustomed to dealing with some of the most horrific cases. 

Now, the facility is working  just as hard to "heal its own" in the wake of yesterday's fatal shooting.

When trauma occurs in the midst of a workplace, it can leave scars that often take years to disappear.

That's why yesterday, in the hours after 33-year-old Jackie Wisniewski was struck down by gunfire, staff moved quickly.

It is an alarming trend in Western New York and across the country: babies born addicted to prescription pain killers. 

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer visited Buffalo's Sisters of Charity Hospital Monday, telling reporters
and hospital staff the nation must act now to reduce the alarming number of prescription drug-addicted infants. 

"Western New York is facing a serious problem with the growing trend of what is known as NAS,  Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome," said Senator Schumer. 

Image from Clarence Central School District Website

Business First is out with its annual list of Best Elementary schools in Western NewYork.   According to the paper and WBFO and AM 970's Mark Leitner, there's been changing of the guard in the academic rankings. 

We kind of grew accustomed to seeing a first place finish for the Southern Tier Catholic Elementary School.  But today, there's a new number one.    

The Erie County Legislature has approved another piece of the funding puzzle for the Buffalo Zoo's planned Arctic Edge exhibit.  

The method of borrowing and whether to go it alone, based on the County Comptroller's recommendation, or borrow through the county's Fiscal Stability Authority remains the subject of debate. 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have approved funding to help keep the polar bears where zoo goers and the community say they belong:  in a planned new state-of-the-art enclosure scheduled to start early next year. 

City of Buffalo

A Buffalo man is behind bars, charged with possessing and selling firearms. 

Twenty-three-year-old Kareem "Decatur" Howard faces numerous felony gun counts for his allegedly selling the weapons in the Riverside section of the city near the Kenmore line.  Nine guns were seized. 

Howard is charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal sale of a firearm. He also faces possible federal charges.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says the suspect allegedly transported the weapons from the Decatur, Georgia area.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Cuomo Administration, the State Senate and Assembly stand ready to approve a comprehensive package of legislation, bills that seek to control and, if possible, eliminate the abuse of prescription drugs. 

Known as the Michael David Israel laws, the bills are named after the 20 year old Buffalo area man who committed suicide in June 2011, after a lengthy and, ultimately unsuccessful, battle against his addiction. 

State Senator Timothy Kennedy hasbeen instrumental in steering the package through the Legislature.

Former Erie County Legislator David Dale, a disbarred lawyer from Lancaster, faces possible jail time after pleading guilty to a fraud charge.  

Dale, 49, went before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns Tuesday and pled to one charge of first-degree felony scheme to defraud and one count of practice of law by an attorney who has been disbarred.

Mark Leitner/WBFO

The third and final candidate for the Buffalo Schools Superintendents' job met the press at City Hall Monday afternoon.  Dr. Pamela Brown, like the other finalists, brings to the table a wealth of experience, especially, in urban education. 

Brown has been a top administrator in Philadelphia, Richmond, Va, and the Charlotte-Mecklinburg district in North Carolina.  She is Stanford and Harvard-educated and she received her Ph.D from Harvard. 

While initial reaction has been positive to the appointment of 66 year old Richard Malone as the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, there is a nationwide organization that is taking strong exception.

"We’re concerned any time the Vatican promotes corrupt or complicit bishop to a higher position.  That’s what’s happening here essentially," said David Clohessy, National Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP. 

The family of Jamey Rodemeyer addressed thousands of school children at Coca Cola Field during a pre-game ceremony Thursday morning in downtown Buffalo.

Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide last September.   His parents say he was a victim of bullying due to his sexuality. Jamey's death drew nationwide attention. 

Since then, Tim and Tracy Rodemeyer and their teenage daughter Alyssa have reached out to young and old alike. The family told reporters it has become their mission to give meaning to their son’s untimely death.

WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

Why were three Erie County Holding Center inmates mistakenly released over the past few months?  Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard went before the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee Tuesday to try to explain. 

In the latest incident a couple of weeks ago, a suspected car thief, Paris Williams, was freed from the Holding Center when another man whose last name is also Williams should have been released.

Olcott Beach in the Town of Newfane and Hastings, Ontario have become fishing meccas over the years.  Now, both communities want to take it a step further by securing the title of Ultimate Fishing Town, an honor bestowed by the Canada-based World Fishing Television Network. 

To win the title, Olcott and Hastings have to finish number one in online balloting.  So far, the two communities are way ahead of the competition.  Communities that finish first in the balloting can each win $25,000.

eriecanalharbor.com

This Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer in Western New York and Canalside in downtown Buffalo is expected to be a popular destination.

From land that’s lain fallow and neglected for decades, the downtown waterfront is being reborn, and people have noticed.

425 events are scheduled at Canalside through October.  Nearly all of them are free. A schedule is available at http://www.eriecanalharbor.com/events.asp.

Two of the three candidates to succeed former Buffalo Schools superintendent James Williams met with reporters Thursday afternoon at City Hall.  

Edward Newsome Junior, currently an an assistant superintendent in Baltimore County, Maryland; and interim Buffalo Schools Chief Amber Dixon.  A third candidate was out of town.  

A convicted purveyor of child pornography has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.  

Twenty-five-year-old Timothy Michael Bek, formerly a teacher at West Seneca West High School, learned his fate today from U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara.  

Prosecutors say more than 13, 500 pictures of child pornography were found stored on Timothy Bek's personal computer.  U.S. Attorney William Hochul says many of the pornographic pictures captured on Bek's personal computer were of a very disturbing nature.

mass-ave.org

The Massachusetts Avenue Project on Buffalo's west side introduced its new food truck Tuesday.  The vehicle will allow expansion of MAP's healthy food distribution project.

The organization, through its Growing Green Program, has created a sustaining model of urban agriculture.  The new truck is used to deliver fresh, affordable produce to Buffalo's low-income neighborhoods.

Congressman Brian Higgins stopped in during the NFTA Board of Commissioners meeting Monday.  

Higgins has been relentless of late in his push  to have the NFTA relinquish title of the property now known as the Outer Harbor.

His push continued at Monday's   Commissioners meeting.
              
"We have an agency that has money; we have an agency that has a singular focus," said Higgins in a  reference to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.

Later, NFTA Board Chair Howard Zemsky warmly welcomed the Congressman.

Mark Leitner/WBFO

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has entirely revamped the city's tow truck operating procedures. The nine-point
plan is aimed at ending the oftentimes 'wild west' atmosphere at accident locations.

When two, three, or more operators would show up at scenes at practically the same time to solicit business, situations have, at times, turned testy.  Speaking to reporters on the steps of City Hall Friday, the mayor said his plan will end that.

WBFO News file photo

Synthetic marijuana has arrived in Western New York.

It goes by many names on the streets:  "Route 69," "Atomic," "Sunshine" and law enforcers say it is very dangerous. Three area men have been  arrested in connection with the sale and distribution of the drug.

The synthetic pot, apparently made in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and shipped here via FedEx, came to the attention of investigators in March.

File photo

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority says it will relinquish ownership of more than 400 acres of prime waterfront real estate on Buffalo's Outer Harbor. 

New NFTA Board Chair Howard Zemsky renewed the vow in a meeting with reporters today. But Zemsky says the change is not necessarily going to happen quickly.

"People should understand that we have to have conversations with Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation itself. The mayor has expressed in expressing his views on the Outer Harbor.  So, we have to have conversations,"  Zemsky said.

The Mental Health Association of Erie County is celebrating a golden anniversary.

Kenneth Houseknecht, Executive Director of the MHA, told WBFO/AM970 the mission of his organization is twofold. 

"A lot of our services are aimed at promoting and clarifying what  constitutes good mental health," Houseknecht said.

"Right from the very youngest age through all of the life events: single people, married people,
families; so, mental health and wellness is a big part of what we do."

Equally key to their mission is treatment.

WBFO News file photo

As expected, Christopher Scanlon was named this morning as the new South District Common Council member.

The 30-year-old Scanlon was appointed by a 5-3  Council vote  to assume the seat vacated by Mickey Kearns, who was elected to the State Assembly in March.

"I'm excited, I'm very excited.  I'm just really looking forward to working with the people of South Buffalo, working with the members of the Council [and] everyone else here in City Hall and do what's best for South Buffalo," Scanlon said.

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