Local

Local
6:28 am
Tue March 27, 2012

State budget expected to pass this week

New York lawmakers are very optimistic about getting a budget done on time again this year.

They say 99% of the state’s spending plan has been closed down, and they will pass bills before the end of the week.

In a sign that the end of the budget process is near, some conference committees began wrapping up their work and closing down.

The criminal justice and mental hygiene budget conference committees were among those that gaveled out mid-day Monday.

Read more
Local
4:06 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

NFTA approves fare hike, reduced service cuts

WBFO News file photo

The NFTA's Board of Commissioners today unanimously approved a 25 cent increase in the basic Metro Bus and Rail fare. 

The basic fare will go from a $1.75 to $2 in the coming weeks. Holders of daily, weekly, or monthly passes will also see similar increases. 

The Commissioners also pared some bus routes, but NFTA Executive Kimberly Minkel says the service reductions pale in comparison to what was originally proposed.

Read more
Local
1:33 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Troopers mark anniversary of fallen comrade

Memorial in honor of Trooper Dobson
WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

The New York State Police are honoring a trooper killed a year ago during a traffic stop.

Troop A Commander Major Christopher Cummings presided at the remembrance ceremony today at State Police barracks in Clarence where Trooper Kevin Dobson was assigned.  The ceremony included a small contingent of State Police and some family members.

"State Police pay tribute and honor the memory of Trooper Dobson in many ways. We will never forget him, and we will always be out there doing all we can to make our roads safe," Cummings said.

Read more
Local
11:19 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Grisanti remains target by hydro-fracking opponents

Anti-Fracking message
WBFO News file photo

Opponents of hydro-fracking continue to turn-up the heat on State Senator Mark Grisanti of Buffalo.  The anti-fracking advocated wants to see a state-wide ban on natural gas drilling approved.

Read more
Local, Press Pass
9:20 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Press Pass: Trico, Fort Erie Slots and the Buffalo Bills

Jay Moran & Business First reporter Jim Fink in studio
WBFO News file photo

In this week's Press Pass, Jim Fink of Business First discussed the two conflicting sides battling over the future of the Trico complex in downtown Buffalo.

Meanwhile, across the border, the slots in Fort Erie face an uncertain future.

That uncertainty is not good for the city's legendary race track which Fink calls the "identity" of that community.

A relative surprise is the status of the Buffalo Bills.

Read more
Local
8:38 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Local provider examines health care arguments

Dr. Michael Cropp
Photo from Independent Health

The Affordable Care Act is on today's U.S. Supreme Court docket. 

Given the complexity of the case, the justices plan on hearing arguments on various issues over three days. 

One local health insurance executive says no matter what the High Court decides several issues still need to be addressed to improve the nation's healthcare system.  
    
Independent Health President and CEO Dr. Michael Cropp says there's no easy solution for what's ailing the healthcare system. 

Read more
Local
8:16 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Changes coming for funding county culturals

Cultural agencies receiving funding from Erie County are facing fewer strings attached to the money coming from the Rath Building.

During recent years, many culturals were required to accept Collins Administration appointees to their boards and provide free tickets to events even if the tickets were eventually not used.

In some cases, culturals saw their money delayed until the appointments were made.

That's even when in other cases, there was no longer a county grant but the appointees stayed on boards.

Read more
Local
7:31 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Telethon raises another million in its 50th year

Variety Club goal
Photo from WKBW Website

A Western New York charitable tradition is proclaiming success again this year as the Variety Club Telethon raised over $1.2 million.

The live 12-hour broadcast on local station WKBW-TV marked the 50th anniversary for the telethon  which now boasts donations exceeding  $44 million  over the last half century.

Farnham native and singer Clint Holmes was among the headliners at this year's event which also included a reunion of Channel Seven's iconic news team of Rick Azar, Tom Jolls and Irv Weinstein.

Read more
Possible freeze coming Monday night
9:46 am
Sun March 25, 2012

A hard freeze could be on the horizon

After weeks of warm, summer-like weather, a hard freeze is being predicted for the overnight hours on Monday.

Colder weather will approach the region with daytime highs reaching the upper 30's on Monday, but it is the overnight temperatures that are raising some concerns. Temperatures are expected to dip to the mid 20's during Monday night. These temperatures could be damaging to fragile blooms that have responded to the recent heat.

Precaution should be taken to protect sensitive plants and trees from the freezing temperatures.

Read more
Local
9:10 pm
Sat March 24, 2012

Sheehan to close

Sheehan Health Netowrk
Photo from Sheehan Health Network

The Board of Directors of the Sheehan Health Network said the hospital on Michigan Avenue will be closing. 

In a press release issued to the media, Sheehan president and CEO Mary Kargbo stated, “This is a very difficult day for Sheehan and the community we serve," said Kargbo. "A great deal of planning and care has gone into trying to preserve this institution." "During this transition, we are firmly committed to providing quality care for our patients and supporting our employees affected by this decision."

150-employees will lose their jobs.

Read more
Morning fire damages machine at local plant
10:13 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Early morning fire damages machine at plant

An early morning blaze at the 3M plant in the Town of Tonawanda sent alarms to several local fire companies.

The fire was reported at around 3 o'clock Saturday morning and was quickly extinguished. Workers were evacuated and sprinklers were triggered when a machine caught on fire.

The building itself was not affected but an estimate on the damage to the machinery was unavailable.

Read more
you & the law, mike desmond
6:00 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

You & The Law: Court Funding

This week on You & The Law, Mike Desmond talks with Vincent Doyle about state court funding.

Local
5:32 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Buffalo school district ordered to pay $6.8 million in busing dispute

In a major financial setback for the Buffalo Public Schools District, a State Supreme Court judge today ordered the district to pay a Town of Tonawanda charter school $6.8 million dollars for improperly ending its contracted bus service for students who live in the City of Buffalo.  

The Charter School for Applied Technologies had sued the district for $9.5 million, alleging the district’s transportation policy, instituted in 2009, eliminated bus service for more than 1,000 students in grades K-thru-8. 

Read more
Local
12:48 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Supermarkets Respond to Concerns Over "Pink Slime"

Supermarket chains in Western New York are responding to customer concerns over the use of lean finely textured beef, or so-called pink slime, in ground beef.  

Wegmans says it will eventually stop carrying ground beef that contains “lean finely textured beef.”  The Rochester-based supermarket chain says it is not removing the products from sale, but will transition to ground beef without the filler as soon as it’s available from their supplier. 

Read more
Local
10:01 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Candidates filing for council seat

Mickey Kearns' move to Albany and an Assembly seat has set off a scramble for his spot on the Buffalo Common Council.

Former Erie County Legislator Tim Whalen is among those who have expressed an interest in the seat.

Under city charter, the new councilmember must come from Kearns'  South District and share his Democratic Party affiliation.

South District Democratic committeemen will nominate a candidate, but the Common Council has the final say.

Read more
Local
9:57 am
Fri March 23, 2012

City's tourist expert weighs in on Buffalo's balmy weather

Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Once again Thursday, temperatures shattered old record temperatures.  The mercury climbed to 80-degrees yesterday afternoon, breaking the old record of 71-degrees set for March 22 back in 1938. 

WBFO & AM-970’s Eileen Buckley asked the leader of Visit Buffalo Niagara if this warm weather stretch is reaching other parts of the country that normally look down on Buffalo’s wintry weather conditions.

We asked her if the warmer weather has generated a national tourism boost. 

Read more
Local
9:28 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Debate escalates over the future of Trico

The massive Trico plant complex on Goodell is now the object of a familiar community debate: preserve or demolish?

Hours after the city Preservation Board recommended last night the vast complex be listed as a historic landmark, Preservation Buffalo Niagara held a public meeting in the Common Council Chambers to talk about what to do with the deteriorating industrial complex.

Trico is a hodge-podge of buildings from different times built for different uses and the roof is shot, letting water and snow inside.

Read more
Local
9:24 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Duffy hails expansion of DNA databank

Some of Niagara County's top law enforcers and Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy met with reporters at Niagara Falls Police Headquarters Thursday to say they welcome a new state law that expands New York's DNA Databank. 

Beginning October first, DNA samples will be collected from anyone convicted of a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor.     

Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John Chella said as chief of a department, it is his job to ensure that Falls Police Officers have all the resources they need to investigate and solve crimes. 

Read more
Local
9:19 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Public demands more from the NFTA

The crowd was smaller, but the criticism continued as the NFTA held another public hearing at the Central Library.

Reduced state and federal aid has forced the transit agency to look at service cuts and rate hikes.

An earlier proposal which would have discontinued many bus lines was abandoned after an outcry from politicians and the riding public.

A new alternative calling for a rate hike was not greeted greeted Thursday night.

Read more
Local
5:47 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Sheriff explains mistaken inmate release

Sheriff Timothy Howard and Undersheriff Mark Wipperman appeared before county legislators Thursday
Chris Caya/WBFO

The mistaken release of a man charged with attempted murder landed Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard in the hot seat in County Hall. 

The Legislature's Public Safety Committee questioned Howard for nearly an hour about the wrongful release of 32-year-old Awet Gebreyesus who was ordered held without bail after allegedly stabbing his wife in the entrance of the Amherst Street Wegmans in January. 

Read more
Local
5:44 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Congress passes modified version of Slaughter's STOCK Act

A version of Rep. Louise Slaughter’s Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK, Act, which is aimed at ending insider trading in Congress, is on its way to President Obama’s desk for his signature. 

The Senate approved the legislation by a voice vote of 96-3 Thursday afternoon. 

Slaughter first introduced the measure six years ago, but it failed to gain traction until the CBS show 60 Minutes aired a piece on it last fall.  Hundreds of sponsors soon signed on and the bill passed in the House overwhelmingly last month. 

Read more
Local
5:33 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Temperatures smash old records again!

Temperature reached 80-degrees in downtown Buffalo Thursday afternoon
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Another record high temperature has been recorded in the Buffalo region as the warm stretch continued Thursday.

The temperature climbed to 80 degrees smashing the old record for March 22.  The old record was 71-degrees set in 1938. 

The region has been experiencing a stretch of record warmth.  But that could come to an end.  Temperatures will begin to cool. 

Tuesday also broke two weather records. 

Read more
Local
9:58 am
Thu March 22, 2012

LaSalle Park upgrades arriving early

The recent run of nice weather has bumped up the construction schedule in LaSalle Park by a month. 

The project includes rebuilding the park road along I-190, adding new streetlights, and a new parking lot, complete with a tree, shrub and grass 'rain garden' to filter runoff. 

Mayor Byron Brown says the early start means work should wrap up before the early July opening of Centennial Pool, which underwent a $3 million renovation in 2010.  

Read more
Local
9:25 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Assembly race draws passionate reaction

Erie County Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy says Mickey Kearns win in the 145th Assembly district shows voters want choice, no matter their party affiliation.

Len Lenihan, Chair of the Erie County Democratic Party, takes issue with the Kearns' campaign and its attack on state Democrats, notably Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Lenihan told WBFO and AM 970 News' Mark Leitner that inner party attacks make it difficult for leaders to govern.

Read more
Local
8:57 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Bob McCarthy examines local politics

Mickey Kearns win in the 145th Assembly district, according to Buffalo News political reporter Bob McCarthy, can be attributed to name recognition and attaching his opponent to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

That was one of the topics discussed Thursday morning when McCarthy joined WBFO and AM 970 News.

McCarthy also notes how state Republicans are optimistic over their chances to oust Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and how Kathy Hochul's newly-configured district could make for a difficult reelection.

Read more
Local
9:55 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Public urged to offer input on Broderick Park improvement plan

Broderick Park, Buffalo, NY
Photo from Niagara District Council member Rivera's Website

Buffalo residents are encouraged to attend a public hearing Wednesday night to provide input for the revitalization of Broderick Park.

Mayor Byron Brown is hosting the public hearing to explain the city's proposed master plan for the park which is located at a historic Underground Railroad site.

“That we can make Broderick Park not only a national, but an international destination because of its historic place as a site on the Underground Railroad,” said Mayor Brown.

Read more
Local
9:51 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Kearns scores upset in 145th Assembly race

Michael Kearns
WBFO News file photo

In a major political upset, South District Common Council member Mickey Kearns will be going to Albany to fill the Assembly seat vacated by City Comptroller Mark Schroeder instead of Chris Fahey, the candidate of Congressman Brian Higgins.

Going into Tuesday's balloting to fill the State Assembly, the conventional wisdom was that Democratic candidate Fahey would win, buoyed by Congressman  Higgins and his allies in a heavily Democratic district.

Read more
Local
9:16 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Pentagon reviews plans for 107th Airlift Wing

The future may not be so bleak for the 107th Airlift Wing's mission at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

At a Washington hearing yesterday, Pentagon officials told lawmakers they are willing to revisit plans to drastically trim the Air National Guard, a proposal which currently calls for the elimination of the 107th in Niagara Falls.

The Council of Governors, which influences the role of the National Guard, wants to assign the 107th to a spy-plane mission.

The move could save hundreds of jobs at the base, Niagara County's largest employer.

Read more
Local
8:23 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Gallivan, Weinstein won't run for Congress

Eliminate former Erie County Sheriff Patrick Gallivan from consideration for a Republican run in the newly-drawn 27th Congressional district.

In a statement released last night, Gallivan said, "I cannot in good conscience ignore my commitment to the voters of the 59th Senate District by seeking new office when so much important work remains in New York State."

Gallivan outlasted several Republican primary challengers on his way to replacing retiring veteran lawmaker Dale Volker in 2010.

Read more
Local
4:44 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Lawmakers approve underage proposal for downtown bars

The Buffalo Common Council has unanimously approved a law that would keep underage patrons out of bars after 10 p.m. most nights of the week.  

Citizens under the age of 21 would be banned from being inside taverns six nights a week in downtown Buffalo with the exception of Thursdays, which is often deemed “college night” at bars. 

Read more

Pages