Local

April brings tax break on clothing
10:09 am
Sun April 1, 2012

Tax break for shoppers returns

Shoppers in New York will be getting a tax break on some of their favorite items one again.

Beginning today, a four percent tax break will be applied to clothing and shoe purchases that are valued under $110. A similar expemtion was lifted in October of 2010.

The exemption cuts the added tax to these purchases in half for most counties in the state.

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Great Lakes states could build wind farms
10:52 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Wind farms viewed for Great Lakes development

Off-shore wind farms in New York State's Great Lakes are once again a possibility.

New York is one of five states to have reached a memorandum of understanding with Washington on Friday for the development of off-shore wind farms. Once deemed too costly, the viability of the farms is still in question, but their construction and operation are expected to generate numerous jobs.

Environmentalists claim that wind farms in the state's Great Lakes and along the Atlantic shoreline could power every home in the state.

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Agreement could bring concerts to waterfront
10:40 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Summer concerts are still possible on NFTA waterfront parcel

NFTA commissioners have tentatively agreed to terms for hosting a series of summer concerts at the former Shooters restaurant site.

A proposal by Funtime After Dark, a local promoter, was panned last week, but commissioners re-opened negotiations after facing criticism for their decision. According to the Buffalo News, the proposal would bring at least four big name concerts to the waterfront locale, with anticipated audiences of between 5,000 and 10,000 people.

The NFTA would receive $20,000 to rent the land for the events.

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State aid to high needs schools increased
10:23 am
Sat March 31, 2012

State budget increases aid to local schools

The new state budget approved by Albany this week will increase state aid to schools over the levels the Governor had proposed.

Locally, that means some jobs and academic programs will be preserved, but the aid will not cover all of the budget gaps for local schools. A majority of the increased aid will go to what are considered high-needs districts, such as Buffalo.

The News reports that the only district in Erie and Niagara Counties not to receive aid was Holland.

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Local
8:30 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Accused Liberian warlord deported

Former Liberian rebel leader George Boley in Monrovia in 2009 denying his role in Liberia's bloody civil war
newliberian.com

An accused Liberian war criminal who was living in Western New York has been deported following a six-year investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

62-year-old George Boley, the former leader of the Liberian Peace Council, was living in Hilton, New York, north of Rochester.  During the Liberian Civil War of the 1990s, Boley is alleged to have committed human rights abuses against civilians, including the rapes and murders of dozens of Liberian villagers. 

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Local, you & the law, bankruptcy
6:00 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

You & The Law: Bankruptcy

You & The Law examines bankruptcy, with Western New York's Chief Bankruptcy Judge Carl Bucki.

Local
4:16 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Leaders celebrate on-time state budget

Governor Cuomo signs budget with state leaders
Photo provided by Karen DeWitt

Governor Andrew Cuomo gathered with leaders of the legislature Friday to celebrate an on-time budget for the second year in a row.

Cuomo and majority party legislative leaders praised each other for their efforts in achieving two on time budgets in a row, which they say is considered a feat after decades of late budgets.  Then, they took turns posing for pictures as the governor signed the first of several budget bills.  

Cuomo said government is once again functioning, and it’s a “very proud day for the entire state”.

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Local
3:20 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Erie County seeks states help with vacant property

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz
WBFO News photo Mark Leitner

Erie County is hoping it will be one of the five communities across the state to be approved for creation of a so-called land bank. 

The County's application was dashed off to Albany Friday, according to County Executive Mark Poloncarz. 

A landbank would address and hopefully help to remedy a steadily - growing problem of vacant, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties.

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Local
11:39 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Officials look to modify city code

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.

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Local
11:05 am
Fri March 30, 2012

State moves against synthetic marijuana

With "synthetic pot" being seen as an increasing health problem among young people, Albany yesterday barred sale of the material and is working on making its sale a crime.

The fake pot is made in China using a constantly shifting array of chemicals sprayed on a variety of vegetation and then put into brightly labeled bags aimed at young people.

Just about everyone between 12 and 20 entering a local drug and alcohol treatment center has used the material.

Erie County Health Commissioner Doctor Gale Burstein says the material is hugely popular and hugely dangerous.

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Local
10:45 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Groups call for more change in school suspensions

School activists say they are closer to major changes in Buffalo's student suspension system to keep students learning even if suspended.

School administrators admit the present system doesn't work well, especially when it involves sending a student home when suspended for a non-violent offense.

One student made it as far as the school bus stop where he was gunned down in a dispute he wasn't involved in.

The district has a plan to change the system and put most suspended students in a classroom in the building away from the regular classroom.

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Local
9:42 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Significant increases in Autism cases

Photo from the CDC Website

A new report issued by the Center for Disease Control reveals starling increases in autism cases around the country.  One in every 88-children is affected.  For boys—the rate is higher –one in every 54-boys is being diagnosed with Autism.  WBFO & AM-970’s Eileen Buckley talked with two local Autism experts.

You can learn more about the latest CDC study at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/CountingAutism/.

 

 

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Local
9:28 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Albany busy today passing budget bills

State lawmakers were headed for an on time state budget for the second year in a row that keeps spending relatively flat.

State legislators and Governor Cuomo have been touting the on time budget for the second year in a row that also, for the second time, reigns in spending.

Cuomo admits that most people would view that as lawmakers simply doing their job.

But he says in a state that has almost never met the budget deadline for over two decades, it’s a “big deal”.

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Local
6:48 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Sprout Film Festival appears this weekend

Photo from Sprout Film Festival Website

Before the Sprout Film Festival holds its annual April showing at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in April, the critically-acclaimed film event makes its way into Western New York this weekend in Batavia.

The Sprout Film Festival travels around the country, making dozens of stops annually. It’s stated goal is to show films related to the lives, performances and accomplishments of people with disabilities.

"It's a nice process. It's a fight worth fighting, to get people to see these films" said Sprout Executive Director Anthony DiSalvo. 

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Theatre talk, santella, chase, Local
6:45 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Theatre Talk: Come Back Little Sheba

Come Back Little Sheba
Photo from The New Phoenix Theatre

This week on Theatre Talk, Jim Santella and Anthony Chase discuss "Come Back Little Sheeba," "Spamalot" and other local productions. 

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Local
8:14 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Proposed Erie County law aims to reduce animal abuse

Convicted animal abusers will pay a heavy price, if a just-introduced local law makes its way through Old County Hall and the Rath Building successfully.

Legislator Terrence McCracken unveiled the measure at a news conference Thursday afternoon.  The proposed law would establish an online registry containing the names, addresses, ages, and facial photographs of those found guilty. The information would be publicly available.

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Local
3:56 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Wegmans recalls its pita products

Photo from Wegmans Website

Wegmans says it has recalled its Wegmans Pita Breads and Thin Sandwich Rolls.  They may contain a foreign object from a damaged conveyor belt. 

Wegamans says it could have resulted in metal or plasticized fabric pieces in the product. Wegmans says they are only from the pita items purchased Wednesday, March 28th at its stores.

The products may be returned for a full refund.

Here is a listing of the recalled pita bread products:

ONLY ITEMS PURCHASED ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28TH.

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Local
3:06 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

National Trend 'Mobs' Local Businesses With Cash

Lander's clothing store in Jamestown, N.Y., prepares for a "cash mob" to descend last week.
Daniel Robison WBFO

You may have heard of "flash mobs," where a mass of people invade a public space to make a scene. Now the idea has been turned on its head by "cash mobs," where large crowds of consumers show up at small businesses to spend money. But it's not just about propping up the local economy.

It's 5 o'clock on a Friday, and mostly quiet in the Lander's Men's Store, a mom-and-pop clothing store in Jamestown, N.Y. But shop owner Ann Powers is anticipating a mob.

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Local
11:37 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Human rights activist brings latest film to Buffalo tonight

Celebrated for her extensive catalogue of award-winning documentaries and human rights activism, filmmaker Pamela Yates appears tonight for the Buffalo premier of "Granito: How to Nail a Dictator."

Yates' early work earned accolades in the 1980s as she documented Guatemala's civil war that left over 200,000 dead and the international community seeking to prosecute the nation's leaders for war crimes.

"Granito," Yates says, examines how that case has been built.

"It's a political thriller and that's the way the story is told,” Yates told WBFO and AM970 News.

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Local
9:37 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Budget boosts area roads, NFTA

Senator Mike Ranzenhofer says the budget restores "parity to Upstate."

The new state budget will send extra funds to Western New York, money which will assist the financially-struggling NFTA and upgrade some of the area's crumbling roads and bridges.

State leaders are setting aside nearly $5 million to help cover an NFTA budget deficit, though transit officials say it's not enough to avoid a planned rate hike.

As for area infrastructure, bridges and roads will receive a significant increase in state funds

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Local
7:57 am
Thu March 29, 2012

State budget draws mixed reactions

Reaction to the newly agreed upon state budget continued to pour in at the State Capitol, as lawmakers began passing the first of a series of budget bills, in the hope of finishing the spending plan by the end of the week.

Senate Leader Dean Skelos praised lawmakers and Governor Cuomo, for their work on a budget plan that’s likely to be in place by the deadline.

“This is a budget that we all can be proud of,” Skelos said.

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Local
3:13 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Congressman Higgins says US Postal Service is hiding study results

Inside William Street Post Office
WBFO News file photo

Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins is accusing the United States Postal Service of hiding results of a study it conducted on changing delivery standards and closing some processing centers.

Higgins appeared on the House floor Wednesday saying the Postal Service is keeping the results a secret.  Higgins told his colleagues he learned that the study indicates the Postal Service would actually lose $5 billion.

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Local
3:01 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Woman pleads guilty to snow plow fraud

Victims of a snow plow fraud will be reimbursed under the terms of a plea agreement reached this morning in State Supreme Court. 

43-year-old Terry Jarvis was arrested in January at her Cleveland Drive home.  Jarvis admitted to collecting payments from 104 clients, for whom she never provided plow services from September to December of 2011. 

She pleaded guilty to first-degree Scheme of Defraud in State Supreme Court this morning.  As part of her plea, Jarvis agreed to pay back her victims to the tune of $21,000. 

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Local
9:20 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Lobbyists boost spending seeking Albany influence

The seemingly recession-proof business of lobbying grew once again in New York last year.

The state’s ethics panel finds a total of $220 million was spent to influence the governor and members of the legislature.

The newly formed state ethics commission, championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, found that a lobbying group closely associated with the Governor’s policies,  The Committee to Save New York was the biggest spender in 2011.

The group, made up of business interests,  financed  nearly $12 million worth of lobbying and advertising  campaigns. 

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Local
8:57 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Republicans spar in 27th Congressional race

Republican David Bellavia announces run for 27th District
WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

With a June primary ahead, Republicans David Bellavia and Chris Collins are getting active and taking shots at each other.

On Tuesday, Bellavia, the decorated Iraq War veteran, challenged Colins to a series of eight debates, one for each county in the sprawling 27th district.

Bellavaia says it's the best way to explore the many issues of importance to district constituents.

Collins called the debate idea "premature." 

The former Erie County Executive dismissed Bellavia as a "candidate whose campaign is floundering."

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Local
8:48 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Getzville soldier killed in Afghanistan

A soldier from Getzville was killed Monday in Afghanistan, allegedly by an ally in the Afghan police.  27-year-old Sgt. William Wilson III was one of three NATO soldiers killed by Afghan forces in separate incidents.

Reports say  Wilson was shot Monday by an Afghan policeman at a police checkpoint in the eastern part of the country.

Wilson was a 2003 graduate of Williamsville North High School. He joined the Army in 2005.

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Local
1:24 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Senecas unveil new Buffalo Creek Casino design

Artist rendering of the new Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino

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.

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Local
9:05 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Gates Circle hospital closes this week

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.

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Local
8:25 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Power authority may add to local economic development

Cheap electricity from the Niagara Power Project may soon provide more support for economic development in Erie and Niagara Counties.

Legislation in the budget hopper in Albany would set aside millions of dollars in profits from much of the electricity produced in Lewiston and put the cash into an economic development fund controlled by Governor Cuomo.

He would appoint three members of the five-member Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board which would run the fund.

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Local
7:27 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Budget calls for continued funding for Roswell

Roswell Park
WBFO News file photo

The proposed budget in Albany offers a new game plan for state support of Buffalo's Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo indicated state funding for Roswell would come to an end by 2014, but budget negotiations have given the cancer research facility a reprieve, of sorts.

The spending proposal calls for Roswell Park to develop a plan for independent operation by 2014. 

No end date for state funding has been given.

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