Mark Leitner

Reporter

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Local
5:39 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Sabres paying to green waterfront land

Mayor Byron Brown says three city-owner parcels will be "greened."
Mark Leitner/WBFO

The greening of the downtown waterfront is about to be enhanced thanks to the Buffalo Sabres.

Mayor Byron Brown met with reporters at Main Street and Marine Drive beneath the Skyway Tuesday to announce that the Sabres organization is picking up the $120,000 tab for enhancements and landscaping at  unfinished parcels at the Central Wharf, near First Niagara Center.

The project will include the installation 90,000 square feet of new sod. The land is already being cleared and cleaned and existing fences and barriers will be removed to allow for greater public access.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

UB study says fracking has become safer in Pennsylvania

A University at Buffalo Shale Institute study of hydrofracking will no doubt raise eyebrows, especially in those organizations that have been most outspoken against the controversial method of extracting natural gas.

The study, which its co-authors say was funded entirely by UB, looked at the environmental impacts during Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania from January 2008 to August 2011. 

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Politics
2:31 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

South District applicant outlines his platform

Mark Leitner/WBFO

Lifelong South Buffalo resident Kevin Lafferty formally announced his candidacy for the vacant South District Common Council Seat on the steps of City Hall Monday. 

Lafferty and four other applicants will present their credentials to the Council for consideration Tuesday morning.  The person appointed must run for the office in November. 

Lafferty pledged that if he is chosen, he will represent the interests of residents of South Buffalo and not "political leaders."

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Local
9:37 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Schools scrambling to stay under tax cap

To the delight of Governor Cuomo, hundreds of New York Public School districts are living within their means; abiding by the constraints of the two percent property tax cap.

But there's a price to pay going into the 2012-2013 academic year; and educators are no doubt shuddering at what may lie ahead.

In the form of teacher layoffs, cuts in non- teaching positions, larger class sizes, and the reduction or elimination of electives and extracurricular activities including sports.  

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Local
3:06 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Officials call on NFTA to turn over Outer Harbor land

Congressman Brian Higgins and two members of the Western New York State Legislature delegation have sent a strongly-worded letter to the NFTA, calling on the Authority to relinquish control of the Outer Harbor.

Meeting with reporters on the windswept boardwalk by Gallagher Beach Friday, Higgins, State Senator Timothy Kennedy, and State Assemblyman Sean Ryan appealed to the NFTA to turn the title of 300 acres of prime waterfront real estate over to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, an agency whose sole mission is waterfront development. 

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Local
1:50 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Plans for children's museum moving forward at Canalside

Erie Canal Harbor Corporation approves Explore & More for Canalside
WBFO News photo Mark Leitner

East Aurora-based Explore & More Children's Museum has been given the go-ahead to start studies on developing a children's experience at Canalside.  The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation's Board of Directors gave its unanimous approval to the 25,000 square-foot project today. 

Explore & More Director Barbara Park Leggett says her organization already has plans for the site and has submitted a preliminary plan to the board that includes exhibits and programs.

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Sports
2:31 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

UB introduces new athletics director

Daniel White was introduced today as UB's new athletics director
Mark Leitner/WBFO

The University at Buffalo introduced Daniel White as its new director of athletics today.  White succeeds Warde Manuel, who left UB in February to take the AD job at the University of Connecticut.

White, 32, is a native of New Orleans who played basketball at Notre Dame.  He comes to UB from The University of Mississippi, where he is Executive Director of the school's fundraising arm. He has previously worked as a coach and administrator at Ohio University and Fresno State.

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Local
4:32 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Area leaders dedicate Buffalo's Federal Courthouse

U.S. Courthouse, downtown Buffalo
WBFO News photo

Buffalo's $137 million U.S. District Courthouse on Niagara Square was formally dedicated today. The 10-story, 261,00 square-foot building opened last November after years of delay.

Many federal judges were in attendance, as were upwards of 250 invited guests, including Senator Charles Schumer, Representatives Kathy Hochul and Brian Higgins, Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard. 

Among the speakers was Judge Richard Arcara who, along with Chief U.S. District Judge William Skretny, was a driving force to see the project through from beginning to end.

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Local
9:02 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Getting people to the city's waterfront

Future of city's waterfront
WBFO News file photo

The President of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation addressed a lunch hour crowd at the Central Library Wednesday. 

Thomas Dee capsulized where downtown waterfront development stands and where the multi-million dollar project is headed. 

"Buffalo's greatest resource is water," said Dee. 

Congressman Brian Higgins was pivotal in making the wake-up call.  More than three years later, you can see the results when you drive the lakeshore complex or visit what's come to be known as Canalside.   

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Environment
3:18 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Advocacy groups tie fracking to campaign cash

Mark Leitner/WBFO

About a dozen representatives of Citizen Action, The Sierra Club, and several other public advocacy groups gathered in front of the Mahoney  State Office Building in downtown Buffalo Monday to reiterate their strong opposition to hydrofracking in New York.

Speakers said the natural gas industry holds far too much sway over local and state politicians with their campaign contributions. They said as a result, leaders are turning a deaf ear to the concerns of health and environmental advocates who contend that fracking ruins the groundwater supply.

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Local
11:43 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Local leaders celebrate Israel's birthday

Mark Leitner/WBFO

Israel is celebrating a birthday.  

A rally featuring speeches from some of the community's religious and government leaders marked the special day in Buffalo's Niagara Square Thursday.

Click the play button above to hear a report from WBFO and AM 970's Mark Leitner. 

 

 

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Health
4:16 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Prescription drug dropoff this Saturday

This Saturday is the 4th annual National Take Back Initiative.  It's a time when you can rid yourself of prescription drugs you no longer need or want.        

This nationwide DEA campaign has worked well in recent years, with over 500 tons of unwanted prescription drugs turned in, including 10 tons in Western New York. 

Speaking at the West Seneca Senior Center today, U.S. Attorney William Hochul urged citizens not to dispose of the drugs themselves, but rather to turn them in at any one of 33 venues sprinkled across the region for proper disposal, no questions asked.

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Local
4:57 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Grisanti proposes statewide pet abuse registry

Mark Leitner/WBFO

Dog lovers gathered at The Barkyard dog park on Buffalo's west side Tuesday to lend their support to State Senator Mark Grisanti's bill to create a central animal abuse registry

With The Barkyard dog park on Buffalo's west side as the setting, State Senator Mark Grisanti told more than a dozen chilly supporters Tuesday that he is introducing a bill in Albany to establish an animal abuse central registry. 

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Local
9:32 am
Tue April 24, 2012

NFTA seeks public agency for waterfront properties

The NFTA has decided to put on hold, for now, deciding the future of the Small Boat Harbor and Gallagher Beach.

A private developer has made an offer, but that has run into a snag because of environmental concerns.

In the meantime, some are wondering aloud about the wisdom of selling a valuable piece of waterfront property to private interests.

"The board thought it would just make sense to take a 'time out,' let the issue settle out with the proposed purchaser and see if there are any public agencies (who may want the property)," said NFTA Acting Chair Henry Sloma.

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Local
8:24 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Rumore not expected to sign evaluation agreement

The state Education Department may want BTF President Phil Rumore's signature on a new teacher evaluation plan by the end of the day, but it is not likely to get it.

Rumore shared that with WBFO and AM 970's Mark Leitner yesterday.

Protesting parents met with the union leader last night to hear his rationale.

Rumore told the group that he could not sign the agreement without the approval of union membership.

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Health
9:14 am
Mon April 23, 2012

County STD numbers continue to rise

Erie County, April is STD Awareness Month
Photo from Erie County Health Department Website

Sexually transmitted diseases are exploding among Erie County’s young people. 

County Health Commissioner Doctor Gale Burstein notes that although young people make up about 25 percent of the sexually-experienced population in the county, nearly half of new STD cases occur in persons ages 15 through 24.   

The young, according to Burstein, are the most vulnerable to these infections.

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Politics
5:18 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Newt Gingrich campaigns in Buffalo

Newt Gingrich speaks to Buffalo supporters at Ellicott Square Building
WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

Republican Newt Gingrich may be down and out with respect to his poll numbers and campaign war chest, but there was no sign of it while stumping in Buffalo Friday. 

Gingrich appeared during the noon hour at the Ellicott Square Building.  Buffalo businessman, lawyer and former republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino warmed up the estimated 250 to 300 in attendance.

When the former congressman from George, former Speaker of the House, stepped to the podium, he immediately paid homage to the late Western New York Congressman Jack Kemp.

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Local
4:04 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Local remembrance of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust

Erie County Executive Poloncarz joins lighting of candels for Remembrance of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust
WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

Jewish community leaders gathered in the Rath Building offices of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz Thursday for Holocaust Memorial Day.  

They were there to witness the County Executive and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown issuing a joint proclamation designating this week,  "The Days of Remembrance of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust."

Gabriel Ferber is President of the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo.

"To honor the member of six million person of the Jewish faith who were murdered in the Holocaust," said Ferber.

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Local
3:11 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Buffalo man charged with murdering 10-year-old stepson

40-year-old Ali-Mohamad Mohamud is charged with murder in the second degree.
Mugshot courtesy of the BPD

An east side Buffalo man is in custody following a grim discovery at his home on Guilford Street near Broadway.  

Buffalo Police today formally announced the arrest of Ali-Mohamad Mohamud for the beating death of his 10-year-old stepson Abdifatah Mohamud in their home at 30 Guilford. 

Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards told reporters police went to the arrest shortly after 10 p.m. after receiving a report about a missing child.

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Local
3:12 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Protesters rally against corporate tax breaks on 'Day of Action'

Mark Leitner/WBFO

Dozens of union representatives and citizen group members gathered in front of Buffalo's main post office at 1200 William Street today to mark the New York State Tax Day of Action.  

Those attending the noon-time rally represented a cross-section of community activists, all under the umbrella of the Fight for a Fair Economy Coalition.  

Brian Trzeciak, education organizer of Citizen Action of WNY, charged that corporations are not paying their fair share in taxes. 

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Sports
3:04 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Inaugural hockey prospects game to be played in Buffalo

Forty of America's best young hockey talent will have the opportunity to display their skills on the ice in Buffalo early next fall. 

First Niagara Center has been chosen as the venue for the first-ever All American Hockey Prospects Game on September 29. The announcement was made at the arena Monday afternoon by Dave Ogrean, Executive Director of Colorado-based USA Hockey.

"It is a real showcase of stars for the future, some of whom may very well end up wearing Sabre uniforms at some time," Ogrean said.

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Local
2:47 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Air Force rejects new mission at Niagara Falls air base

A proposal to give the 107th Airlift Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station another mission has been rejected by the Air Force.  The proposal was in response to a Defense Department plan that cuts the mission of the 107th, threatening 845 jobs at the air base. 

Merrell Lane, Chair of the Niagara Military Affairs Council, insists it is not the end of the story.

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Local
6:53 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Maid of the Mist company seeks independence from Canada

Good crowds greeted the Maid of the Mist for the opening of its 2012 season today.   The question is whether we may be witnesses to the beginning of the end for the world-famous company. 

Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. President Christopher Glynn rejected that notion in a brief meeting with reporters at the dock by the American Falls today.

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Local
5:37 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Misspelled name of fallen Vietnam veteran being corrected

U.S. Senator Schumer hands Settimi family with honor
WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

The National Parks Service is promising to make right a 30-year wrong, with the correction of the misspelled name of a fallen Western New York hero on Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

For a Niagara Falls area family who lost a loved one in the Vietnam War, there is closure at last.

The family of army medic and Bishop Duffy High School graduate Roland Settimi has waited 30 years for a wrong to be made right.  Roland was killed in action in 1969. 

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Santorum suspends campaign
4:13 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Santorum suspends presidential campaign

facebook.com

Now, there are three.  

Rick Santorum's announcement today that he is suspending his Republican presidential campaign leaves only frontrunner Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul in the GOP sweepstakes.  Gingrich
and Paul are no longer considered factors in the race for the nomination.  

University at Buffalo political scientist James Campbell told WBFO News he was not surprised at today's announcement.

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Business
2:20 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Moody's upgrades Buffalo's bond rating

City Hall, Buffalo, NY
WBFO News file photo

One of Wall Street's premiere bond rating agencies has upgraded Buffalo's bond rating to A1. 

City Comptroller Mark Schroeder says Moody's decision follows a complimentary report it wrote about Buffalo's diversifying economy and a meeting he and top financial officials in the Brown Administration and City School District had with the "big three" bond ratings agencies in New York City a month ago. 

Schroeder told WBFO News he thinks the upgrade reflects Moody's view that Buffalo is finally ready to "move forward."

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Local
9:30 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Poloncarz hits 100th day as County Executive

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz
WBFO News file photo

Critics and supporters offer various grades regarding the performance of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz after 100 days in office.

Some, like Republican legislators Kevin Hardwick and Lynne Dixon, believe it's too early to give any grade besides an "incomplete."

Democratic supporters are offering high marks to Poloncarz while the County Executive has given himself an "A-minus or a B-plus."

Listen to more from WBFO/AM970's Mark Leitner.

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Local
1:37 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Governor comes to Buffalo to tout budget accomplishments

Governor Andrwe Cuomo
WBFO News file photo

An estimated 250 guests, politicians from both sides of the isle, and a hoard of local media were on hand late Wednesday morning at the Burchfield Penney Art Center for Governor Andrew Cuomo's Buffalo visit.

The Governor was eager to share his administrations accomplishments.

"We reduced the property taxes with a property tax cap that now limits property tax increases to 2%," said Governor Cuomo.  "We reduce the burden on local government by passing real mandate relief that has the state reduce the number of mandates," said Cuomo.

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Local
9:31 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Congresswoman Hochul initiates Medicare debate

U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Hochul talks with seniors
WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

Medicare was on the minds of more than a dozen seniors who sat down Tuesday with Congresswoman Kathy Hochul at the Blocher Homes on Evans Street in Williamsville. 

At least one member of the group expressed concerns  about those in congress who continually "snipe" at entitlement programs for being too costly, and that something has to be done. 

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Local
1:29 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

United Way campaign raises $13.5 million

United Way president Michael Weiner
WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County has exceeded its yearly campaign goal for the first time since 2002. 

The more than $13,568,000 in pledges for 2011 announced today by United Way officials represents a two-percent increase over the amount raised last year. 

United Way president Michael Weiner says he is grateful for the way the community responded.

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