2:57 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Sorrento reaches accord with striking workers

Unionized Sorrento workers began walking the picket line on Monday.
Chris Caya/WBFO News

Striking Sorrento Lactalis workers returned to work last night after Sorrento and Teamsters Local 264 reached a new three-year labor agreement. 

The union hit the picket lines earlier this week outside the facility in South Buffalo after contract talks stalled. As of Monday, 257 hourly workers participated in the job action.

The union, in a statement, says the new tentative deal includes “wage increases, maintenance of comprehensive health care coverage and a host of positive non-economic provisions.”

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2:30 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Roundtable focuses on cross-border commerce

Business leaders gathered in Niagara Falls Tuesday morning for roundtable on cross-border improvements
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hosted a roundtable discussion in Niagara Falls Tuesday morning to discuss ways for business leaders and elected officials to improve cross-border commerce.

Local stakeholders and area business leaders gathered in the City of Niagara Falls Tuesday  to attend a roundtable discussion on improving cross-border commerce hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. 

Gillibrand was joined by Rep. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Brian Higgins to discuss trade barriers and opportunities in tourism across the U.S./Canada border.  

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3:32 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

KeyBank takeover of HSBC branches on track

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. 

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2:23 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Local restaurateur still wants to expand his Outer Harbor restaurant

Dug's Dive

With a year-round restaurant having just opened on Buffalo's Inner Harbor, a local restaurateur says he still wants to expand his Outer Harbor restaurant to year-round operation. 

Tucker Curtin owns Dug's Dive at the NFTA's Small Boat Harbor.  The property belongs to the authority now, although that may change soon.

Last year, Curtin talked to the NFTA about staying open all year. He wasn't allowed to, even though he has a year-round lease.  Now, Curtin is talking to the agency again about Dug's Dive being a winter and summer operation.

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3:01 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

New waterfront restaurant opens its doors

The new Liberty Hound restaurant is housed in the main building of the Naval Park.
Mike Desmond/WBFO

The food and drink is finally flowing in a year-round restaurant on Buffalo's burgeoning Inner Harbor, with the opening of the Liberty Hound restaurant in the main building of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.

Liberty Hound is gradually ramping up operations over the holiday weekend and training staff for a full operation and a full menu on Tuesday.

An attempt to put a restaurant there last year turned into a struggle among the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, the Naval Park, and City Hall, which owns the building.

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1:43 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

New owners for blighted Central Park Plaza in Masten District

Former building that has housed most recently a supermarket at the Central Park Plaza, Buffalo, NY
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The City of Buffalo has secured a new owner for the former Central Park Plaza in the Masten District. 

LP Ciminelli and Strickler Development purchased the site for $800,oo0.  Mayor Byron Brown made the announcement from the former site off Amherst Street late Friday morning. 

"This is a great day for the Central Park neighborhood.  This is a great day for people that live in this community. This is a great day for the City of Buffalo," said Mayor Brown.

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10:23 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Startup companies seek exposure, funding at investor conference

QuadPharma CEO Stephen Panaro presents at the 2012 Venture Forum. His company asked investors for $1 million.

A week ago, Buffalo hosted a pack of investors from out of town for an event known as the Venture Forum. Dozens of promising local start-up companies aimed to make the best impression on these investors to secure funding and leapfrog their competition.

Reporter Daniel Robison followed one of those small businesses through the process and filed this report.


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12:02 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Greatbatch relocating headquarters to Dallas-Fort Worth

Clarence-based Greatbatch, Inc. is relocating its corporate headquarters to Frisco, Texas. 

The medical device manufacturer announced today that some top executives will move to the Dallas-Fort Worth area this summer, and further shifts will be considered as warranted.  The company says the move will allow it to operate in a stronger, more centralized business environment. 

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2:17 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

New county-wide land bank to be one of first in NYS

Mayor Brown on the steps of Buffalo's City Hall with other area mayors and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to announce new Land Bank
Photo provided by City of Buffalo

The City of Buffalo and Erie County are celebrating the approval of a county-wide land bank.  

The City of Buffalo learned Thursday from Governor Cuomo that Empire State Development approved the land bank.  It will be one of the first to be created in the state.

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10:24 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Study looks to expand local Canadian shopping

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.

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10:14 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Press Pass: Re-writing outdated city zoning codes

WBFO & AM 970's Chris Jamele with Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly
WBFO News photo WBFO News

There is an increasing focus on the long-awaited re-writing of Buffalo's zoning code.  New discussions will also get underway soon regarding the possible re-use of the iconic Trico Building in downtown Buffalo.

This is part of this week's Press Pass conversation with WBFO & AM-970's Chris Jamele and Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly.


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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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8:53 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Job seekers flock to Falls career fair

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

The national numbers portray an improving employment picture, but the count of hundreds at a Wednesday job fair in Niagara Falls shows a gloomier, more desperate reality.

WBFO and AM970's Mark Leitner visited the fair and spoke with many of the attendees.

The day, perhaps, offered a microcosm of the nation's changing economy.

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9:33 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Niagara Falls company converts plastic to oil

JBI CEO John Bordynuik holds a jar of No. 6 fuel oil, derived from discarded plastic like that seen on a conveyor belt at his plant.
Daniel Robison WBFO

Only seven percent of plastic waste in the United States is recycled each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A startup company in Niagara Falls says it can increase that amount and reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil at the same time.

It all starts with a machine affectionately known as the "Plastic-Eating Monster." Thousands of pounds of shredded milk jugs, water bottles and grocery bags tumble into a large tank, where they're melted together and vaporized. This waste comes from landfills and dumps from all over the United States.

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4:24 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Niagara Falls carrier Direct Air files for bankruptcy

Direct Air, which suddenly suspended its flights this week into and out of Niagara Falls International Airport, filed for bankruptcy today.  The Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-based airline is seeking Chapter 11 protection. 

Papers filed with a bankruptcy court in Massachusetts indicate liabilities between $10 million and 50 million.  The Buffalo News reports Direct Air owes $88,000 in landing fees to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. 

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5:25 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Policy adviser Bruce Katz speaks at Buffalo City Forum

Photo by Eileen Koteras Elibol/WNED Art Director and Photographer

When Governor Andrew Cuomo promised a “billion for Buffalo” earlier this year, he promised to draw on the expertise of Bruce Katz with the Brookings Institution.

“There already is a buzz nationally about the Buffalo billion,” Katz told the crowd of 200 at “Buffalo City Forum” on Wednesday at WNED’s downtown studios.

In his address, he hinted at his vision for how the billion will be spent.

The Buffalo metro area contains about six percent of state’s jobs and population. The ultimate goal of Cuomo’s billion will be to boost both of numbers and make it stick.

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4:37 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Forum provides resources for local businesses

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.   

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10:05 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Maid of the Mist Boats to remain for 2012 season on both sides of Niagara Falls

Maid of the Mist tour boats
Photo from Maid of the Mist Website

The Maid of the Mist Tour boats will be operating on both sides of Niagara Falls this season.  But future operations of the boats along the Niagara River Gorge remain unknown.

“I think the Maid operating this year, on both sides and hopefully the New York side for a long time come,” said State Senator George Maziarz of Newfane after learning the Maid of the Mist will be moving forward with its tours at least for this year.  

The decision was issued Tuesday after Maid of the Mist officials completed discussions with the Niagara Parks Commission. 

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10:31 am
Tue March 6, 2012

Senator Gillibrand on rising pump prices and China trade practices

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand believes Washington can move to slow rising gas prices with some short-term and some long-term solutions.

Gillibrand made her comments while making a stop in Western New York Monday.

Gillibrand  said the Strategic Petroleum Reserve can be tapped and she advocates on behalf of occasional furloughs from the gasoline tax.  In the long run, Gillibrand argues lawmakers can make a difference with better budget decisions.

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5:49 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

WBFO and AM 970 now simulcasting

Local All Things Considered host Mark Wozinak begins broadcast at new WBFO studio
WBFO News photo

Two public radio stations are now one.  WNED's purchase of WBFO radio is final. WBFO and AM 970 are now simulcasting from WNED's downtown studios. 

WNED purchased WBFO from the University at Buffalo and will continue to provide NPR news and information programming. 

Programs such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition and On Point will continue.  Weekend programs include Car Talk, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and the blues. 

An updated program schedule is available at 

Several WBFO staff members have also joined the AM 970 staff. 

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9:46 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Downtown food truck operator wants to expand service

Lloyd's Taco Truck
Photo from Lloyd's Taco Truck

A downtown food truck operator has plans to expand its service a month after Mayor Brown signed new food truck rules into law.   The owners of Lloyd's Taco Truck has launched a campaign using Kickstarter -- a funding platform.  It allows supporters to pool additional funds needed for the truck’s down payment. 

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley talked to the co-owner of Lloyd's Taco Trucks, Peter Cimino. 

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9:58 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Come fly with me

Delta's Canadair CRJ-700
WBFO News photos by Jim Pastrick

Beginning March 25th, Delta Airlines will increase its daily flights from Buffalo-Niagara International Airport to its new domestic New York hub, from six to nine flights daily.

Jet aircraft will replace the turbo-prop aircraft used on the air route.

WBFO's Jim Pastrick stepped on board and took a tour of Delta's Canadair CRJ-700 and talked to the flight crew.

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9:30 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Press Pass: Millard Fillmore Gates getting close to shutdown

Bert Gambini & Jim Fink
WBFO News photo

Kaleida Health will close Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital in about six weeks.  That will create a major vacancy in a high-profile Buffalo location.

Recognizing the difficulty of reinventing the site, Kaleida is offering a $1-million grant to the developer with the best plan for the soon-to-be shuttered facility. 

Business First reporter Jim Fink says the donation -- although generous -- represents just a fraction of what's required to transform the building.

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10:24 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Congresswoman Hochul calls for improvements for small business

U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, who represents New York's 26th congressional district
WBFO News file photo

Western New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul was at home in her district Monday, addressing problems faced by small  businesses and calling for streamlining federal agencies.

WBFO News talked to Hochul about her call for improving the federal government's response to small businesses.

The Consolidation Authority Act would restore presidential power to re-organize federal agencies. That power that lapsed in 1984. Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, who represents New York's 26th congressional district, said Congress needs to approve the Act. Why?

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7:04 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Falls airport gets business boost

State Senator George Maziarz says the Stakeholders Group and Niagara Falls International Airport would like to attract more charter airlines and passengers to the airport.
WBFO News photo by Jim Pastrick

A group of proponents for the Niagara Falls International Airport have announced the formation of a not-for-profit organization.  It's called the Niagara Falls Airport Stakeholder Group, Incorporated.

State Senator George Maziarz said the  Stakeholders Group and Niagara Falls International Airport would like to attract more charter airlines and passengers to the airport.

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9:26 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Press Pass: Public sector must find investors for $1-billion from state

Business First's Jim Fink with Bert Gambini
WBFO News photo

Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged a $1-billion economic boost for the City of Buffalo in last week's state of the State address.  But Cuomo expects a return on that investment. 

In this week's Press Pass interview, Jim Fink of  Business First says it's now up to the public sector to identify the private sector projects that will produce the intended results.

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3:43 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

Final weeks of shopping rang up retail sales

Holiday gift cards popular this season
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Retailers across New York State are celebrating what is being deemed a successful holiday shopping season.  

The Retail Council of New York State is awarding the season an "A -minus"  in response to the strong finale. 

Rebecca Marion Flach is with the Retail Council.  She said it has been a "fantastic" season for retailers.

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3:58 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Assemblyman to IDAs: Stop Pirating Each Other

State Assemblyman Sean Ryan calling on IDAs to stop working against each other during a news conference in Kenmore.

State Assemblyman Sean Ryan says if the Buffalo-Niagara region is to finally move forward in economic development, economic development agencies to stop the practice of one locality pirating a business away from a neighboring locality. 

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Hochul urges more local trade
9:24 am
Sun December 11, 2011

Hochul encourages international export of local goods

Western New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul spearheaded an opportunity for area small businesses to learn how they can tap into the international marketplace here in this region.

"Canada is such a strong partner of ours, and for an opportunity for our local business to learn how to export into Canada," noted Hochul.

The Small Business Export Forum was held on Saturday at ECC's North Campus. The forum was established as a means for introducing the region's business people to the available resources that will pave the way for broadening the audience for their products.

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2:12 pm
Wed September 8, 2010

Roundtable: Lastest Statler bids & other downtown developmen

Jim Fink, Business First

Buffalo, NY – A bid was accepted last week for the mothballed Statler Towers, but the $700,000 offered for the downtown landmark was significantly less than a recent bid for a piece of residential property in Buffalo.

That's one of the topics we cover this week as Business First reporter Jim Fink joins us for the Media Roundtable. Bert Gambini began his conversation with Jim by asking if there were concerns that the August 14th shootings outside the City Grill could hinder downtown development.

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