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It continues to be a dangerous year for motorcyclists in our region. Saturday, there was a fatal motorcycle crash in Chautauqua County linked to high speed.

Motorcycle groups try to teach safety, especially to less experienced bikers, but not all listen.

Andrew Barr is president of the Cattaraugus County Chapter of the motorcycle group ABATE, which stresses education. Barr said a big safety problem is automobile drivers who don't pay enough attention to bikers.  Barr knows first hand because his only accident resulted from being cut off by a car.

Photo from Google Map Street view

The City of Buffalo has spent more than $73 million in the last 12-years to demolish 5,800  vacant buildings -- many were homes. 

The Buffalo News reveals details in a series of articles launched Sunday called  "The Wrecking Crews". 

WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley sat down with Buffalo News reporter Dan Herbeck to discuss the findings in today's Press Pass interview.

"We think the readers of the Buffalo News should know how their tax dollars are being spent on this program," said Herbeck.

On May 15th, voters across New York will go to the polls to consider school district budgets and for the first time, schools will be under the constraint of a property tax cap, and school leaders say they’ve had to make “sacrifices” to live within those limits.

The New York State School Boards Association surveyed its members, and found that the majority of schools , 92%, are proposing budgets that are within the limits of the new tax cap.

City accepting council applicants again today

May 7, 2012

More candidates are stepping forward, offering their resumes in an effort to become Buffalo's next South District Councilmember.

After reviewing an earlier group of 11 candidates, council leaders asked for more applicants who would like to take over the seat left vacant since Mickey Kearns moved on to the state Assembly earlier this year.

Councilmembers are charged with selecting Kearns' successor but have not been able to reach a consensus on any previous candidate.

Five new candidates have applied for the post.

Resumes will be accepted until 5 p.m. today.

A Niagara Falls man is safely in custody after authorities talked him down from the roof of a 7th Street home.

The man is a suspect in stabbing incident, and he barricaded himself on the roof as police closed in on him. SWAT team members were called in to handle the situation. After more than eight hours and a near fall from the peak, the man was safely convinced to surrender.

The identity and condition of the suspect have not been released.
 

A rare natural occurrence has taken place in Canada, and it is peaking the interest of many naturalists.

A flower known as the Titan Arum has blossomed at the Niagara Parks Floral Showcase. The flower is rare. Approximately 150 of these plants are known to exist throughout the world. The flower is recognized as the tallest blossoming plant, and the flower exudes a strong, putrid odor that has been compared to rotting meat.

The bloom will be on display today from 9:30 this morning until 9 tonight.

File Photo / WBFO, AM 970 News

Buffalo Police are asking for the public's help in solving a pair of shootings on Saturday.

Twenty-three year old Stephan Overton is in critical condition at ECMC after suffering as many as nine bullet wounds. He was shot while sitting on his porch on Johnson Street. Officers are also investigating a tow truck accident. Authorities  determined that the as yet unidentified driver of the vehicle had been shot. The truck struck two cars, a fire hydrant and a Walden Avenue house before stopping. The driver was found to be deceased.

File Photo / WBFO, AM 970 News

A dispute between the City of Niagara Falls and the Seneca Nation of Indians regarding casino revenue payments is headed to arbitration.

At issue is nearly $50 million in slot machine revenues. The city has been seeking direct payments of the funding. The Seneca's claim that the City Council has misrepresented the stance of tribal leasers in the dispute.

Arbitration should begin this month and could last as long as a year.

WBFO & AM-970 present our weekly You & The Law, a conversation with the legal community on a variety of topics.

Mike Desmond speaks with attorney Rachel Kranitz McPee about the  facts of divorce and some of the misconceptions as these cases go into the legal system.

You can hear You & the Law every Friday on WBFO & AM-970 at 5:45 p.m.

File photo

Around 2 a.m. on Sunday in Fort Erie, the lights will go out as some maintenance takes place on the power system serving the entire town.

Canadian Niagara Power says the town's electric grid may be off until ten in the morning Sunday as a major project forces a shut off of the only electric line into Fort Erie from Niagara Falls.

Mayor Doug Martin says every precaution is being taken and he hopes neighbors will make sure someone who needs electricity for a medical device is taken care of.

Martin says emergency services are prepared.

WBFO News photos by Mike Desmond

A computerized animal abuse registry for Erie County is inching closer. Legislators held a public hearing into the matter Thursday night at County Hall in downtown Buffalo.

Legislator Terry McCracken is proposing the registry so data on people with criminal convictions for animal abuse would be online for five years and could be checked by pet stores or animal welfare groups to prevent them from obtaining more animals through purchase or adoption.

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. 

This week on Theatre Talk, Jim Santella and Anthony Chase discuss Driving Miss Daisy and other local productions.

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.

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.   

WBFO News file photo

Famed tightrope walker Nik Wallenda appeared in Niagara Falls, New York Monday morning to announce the official date of his walk across the Falls.

Wallenda said he will conduct his highly anticipated walk on June 15th.  Wallenda appeared with state and local Niagara Parks Commission to announce his highwire act that will take place across the Niagara Gorge. Wallenda received both U.S. and Canadian approval for the event. 

Wallenda will make the approximate 1,800 foot crossing above the world-renowed Horeshoe Falls.

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Area law enforcers say they don't know much about why the New York Police Department had officers from its intelligence unit prowling locally and on the University at Buffalo campus.

The revelation created paranoia among Muslims at UB and questions among police officers here about what they were looking for and where they went.  A group of local officers appeared Tuesday night at a public meeting sponsored by the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York at the university to talk about civil rights issues.

Daniel Robison / WBFO

SUNY has stepped up its self-promotional efforts.

In an attempt to paint the university system in a better light - and perhaps to justify its $10.8 billion budget in tight economic times - SUNY staged a regional “showcase” in Buffalo Tuesday. It was one of ten similar events thrown over the past year.

File photo

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says his $482.6 million budget, unveiled Tuesday afternoon, holds the line on residential taxes and cuts the taxes on commercial buildings. It also provides additional services and summer youth job hiring.

Brown says city residents will see better parks because of more age-appropriate facilities and cleaner sidewalks because City Hall will be buying special sweepers for neighborhood business districts.

Report: Cuomo to nominate Koelmel to lead NYPA

May 1, 2012
File photo

The president and chief executive officer of First Niagara Financial Group, John Koelmel, is being nominated to become the chairman of the New York Power Authority.

The Buffalo News is reporting that Governor Andrew Cuomo will submit Koelmel’s name to the board of trustees Tuesday.

In addition to the Niagara Power Project, NYPA oversees about 1,400 miles of electric distribution lines and is investigating solar and wind energy as alternative power sources.

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. 

Young boy dies from burn injuries

May 1, 2012

A young boy who suffered severe burns after kicking a can of paint thinner into a fire on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation has died. 

The 6-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, was being treated in a burn unit at Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati, where he died Sunday from his injuries. 

The incident happened on April 10 at a home on Walmore Road in Niagara County.  The boy had gone into a neighbor's yard and kicked the accelerant into smoldering embers from a bonfire the previous night. . 

WBFO News file photo

It's back to the drawing board for the Common Council in filling the vacant South District seat.

The seat has been vacant since Mickey Kearns was elected to the State Assembly.

It's been a difficult seat to fill since one applicant turned out not to live in the district and another had done time in prison and no one could come up with the necessary five votes.

Governor Cuomo named a blue ribbon commission to look at the problems facing education in New York, instructing them to come back with an “action plan” not a “theoretical document”.

Amherst author Alice Loweecey touches upon her experience as a nun in her second novel, "Back in the Habit."

Loweecey discussed the work at length with WBFO and AM970's Mike Desmond, telling him the work is less biographical and more a murder/mystery which touches upon some of the issues confronting the religious today.

Loweecey explains that nuns "come from all different backgrounds" and are not represented by the "Hollywood stereotypes" portrayed by Julie Andrews and Sally Fields.

Listen to Mike Desmond's interview with Alice Loweecey here.
 

A Niagara County coroner has resigned after being accused of giving human remains from a traffic accident to a volunteer fire chief for training a cadaver dog.

In a one-sentence letter to the Niagara County clerk Monday, coroner Russell Jackman says his resignation is effective immediately. He and Cambria Volunteer Fire Chief Vincent Salerno are scheduled to be in Cambria Town Court on Tuesday to answer misdemeanor charges of obstruction of governmental administration.

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. 

The future of landmark Saint Ann's Church remains a mystery today after it was ordered closed by Bishop Edward Kmiec yesterday for safety reasons.

An engineering report found major problems in the building's limestone structure which has been damaged by years of air pollution.

Due to declining numbers, Saint Ann's is no longer an independent congregation, instead it's part of nearby Saint Columba and Brigid Parish.

Earth Day came and went in New York without too much discussion of what many environmentalists believe to be the biggest issue facing the state: when and where the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking will occur.

The future of fracking has been stalled in New York for several months now, as the State Department of Environmental Conservation plows through what Commissioner Joe Martens says is a “mountain” of over 60,000 public comments, collected during an environmental review.

“The focus now is on the comments and its monumental,” Martens said.

WBFO News file photo

It may not be an optimal date, but Business First's Jim Fink believes Nik Wallenda's June 15th walk across Niagara Falls should boost tourism, if only temporarily.

Discussing the topic Monday morning on WBFO and AM970's Press Pass, Fink said in "a perfect world" the walk would have taken place in September.

Without Wallenda's appearance, hotels on both sides of the border would still  enjoy near full occupancy in June.

Jim Fink also offers updates on the restored Lafayette Hotel and the summer concert season coming to the Central Wharf.

 

 

 

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