Chris Caya

Reporter (Lead reporter for WBFO Business & Economy Desk)

Ways to Connect

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Nearly 60 years after it was formed, the Cantalician Center for Learning has consolidated its operations and moved to a facility designed for the children they serve.

The former St. Barnabas Catholic Church and School in Depew has been transformed into a state-of-the-art academic campus for kids with special needs.

With dozens of students looking on, area elected officials, new Bishop Richard Malone, board members and staff cut the ribbon on phase one of the Cantalician Center's new academic campus on George Urban Boulevard in Depew.

WBFO News photo by Chris Caya

Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula met Mayor Byron Brown Monday morning to walk the future site of HARBORcenter.  That's the name of the Sabres$ 123-million development for the Webster Block - in front of First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo.

Pegula said  when he bought the Sabres last year he had aspirations to help the area and create jobs.

"This project, that the city has so graciously given and handed off to us, against some pretty stiff competition from others, we are very proud to carry it forward," said Pegula.

A new scholarship for graduates of the Buffalo Public Schools interested in studying human rights - will be available at UB next year.

The late historian, human rights activist, and local resident Alison Des Forges is being honored - by the University at Buffalo - with a four-year scholarship in her name.

Des Forges earned a MacArthur Foundation Award in 1999 - for her land mark book on genocide in Rowanda - and was senior advisor to Human Rights Watch. She was flying home aboard Flight 3407 - when it crashed in Clarence Center in February 2009.  

WBFO News photo by Chris Caya

Former Common Council member Brian Davis was sentenced to one year and one day in jail Wednesday for stealing money that was intended to benefit organizations in his council district.

Davis learned his sentence in an appearance before Federal Judge William Skretny.

"I totally accept responsibility" said Davis outside the courthouse to reporters. "I'm truly sorry, I apologize and I only aspired to be the best Ellciott District Council member that the city of Buffalo has ever seen."

Chris Caya/WBFO News

People who use the paths around Hoyt Lake should begin noticing some much needed improvements soon.

However, improvements at another signature park remain unfinished.

The City of Buffalo and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy are both kicking-off separate projects in and around Hoyt Lake.

Deputy Parks Commissioner Andy Rabb says two new fresh water wells are being installed to reduce algae and odor problems. The access road is being fixed to make it easier to clean out debris. New landscaping is going in.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

A Buffalo based manufacturer with roots stretching back nearly 150 years is filling an unusual order.

The Kittinger Furniture Company has been commissioned to build replicas for an upcoming thriller set in the White House.

Kittinger has made furniture for presidents for the past several decades. Sony Pictures has commissioned the company to replicate the furniture now being used in the Oval Office. 

Google street view

Five years after closing its doors in anticipation of a new Peace Bridge, the Episcopal Church Home has a buyer. 

New York Lt. Governor Robert Duffy told reporters in Buffalo today the state has acquired the seven-acre property in the shadow of the Peace Bridge to help move the plaza expansion project forward.  

The home closed in 2007 due to a decline in business over concerns about a new bridge. Duffy says the purchase is "the last piece that will get the project going."

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Daredevil Nik Wallenda is back in the City of Niagara Falls for the first time since his high-wire stunt over the Horseshoe Falls two months ago.

The purpose of the visit is to scout out possible locations for a family entertainment center.  While the attraction could end up on either side of the river, Wallenda says his heart is on the U.S. side.  

Say Yes Buffalo initiative adds 20 colleges

Aug 23, 2012

A new round of commitments to the "Say Yes Buffalo" education initiative was announced today.  Twenty private colleges are pledging to provide scholarship opportunities for the program. 

Say Yes will allow eligible Buffalo Public and Charter School students a chance to attend college tuition-free.

Among the colleges expanding scholarship opportunities is Medaille College in Buffalo.  Medaille is already involved with Syracuse's Say Yes to Education.  

Medaille's president Richard Jurasek says the effort is "extraordinary."

WBFO News file photo

Summer recess for the Buffalo Common Council wraps up in just over ten days and one of the first things they take up could be a proposal for developing a prime piece of downtown real estate near Canalside. 

Mayor Byron Brown says a decision on who will develop the Webster Block is imminent.

"We had a good series of meetings on Monday, with the two  short-listed developers."  

Brown says Sabres owner Terry Pegula and developer Carl Paladino provided some additional information and detail on their proposals.  And no major changes have been made. 

The samurai-sword wielding robber of a North Buffalo gas station/convenience store remains at large.  Mayor Byron Brown says the investigation of the armed hold-up at Hertel and Colvin avenues early Tuesday is continuing. 

Also, Brown says Homicide Detectives are still looking for a suspect in a deadly shooting near the Entertainment District.  Police say 27-year-old James Henley died early Sunday after being shot in a parking lot near South Elmwood and Johnson Parkway. 

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Local elected leaders and state officials gathered at Canalside to kick-off the annual inspection of New York's canal system Tuesday. 

The yearly inspection has been a tradition since the waterway opened back in 1825, but  a key focus of the current trip is spurring economic growth.        

Before setting out on the first leg of their boat tour from downtown Buffalo, Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton said the inspection is a critical tool in assessing the overall condition and capital needs of the nearly 200-year-old state canal system.

Local fire departments could end up saving money thanks to a recent change in state law.  Fire departments are no longer required to buy safety equipment they may never use.
After 2005's "Black Sunday" in which six New York City firefighters were forced to jump from the fourth floor of a burning building, the state legislature passed a law requiring fire departments to purchase emergency escape systems.

But with no flexibility, small town departments were on the hook for the same equipment as large cities. 

File photo

A bill that would make illegal immigrants in New York State eligible for financial aid is running in to some local opposition. 

The legislation introduced recently by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver would apply to children of illegals who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years. 

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak says Albany has cut back on the Tuition Assistance Program in recent years. The Cheektowaga Democrat says if anything, funding should be restored to TAP  first.

According to local law professor, inmates and guards in New York's maximum security prisons share many similarities. The findings led to a new documentary about the "human cost" of long-term exposure to Attica State Prison.

Photo from Buffalo News pool photo

Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst has been sentenced to one year in prison for a DWI conviction stemming from the hit-and-run accident that killed 18-year-old Alexandria Rice last summer.

It was the maximum sentence that could have been handed down by Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio, who reminded Corasanti "you drank a lot of booze that night."

WBFO News photo

Tax returns took center stage this week in the heated battle for the 27th Congressional district.

Earlier this week, Democratic Representative Kathy Hochul offered the public a look at the her salary and that of her husnand, U.S. Attorney William Hochul.

The figures produced fodder for her Republican foe, Chris Collins, who said the Hochuls have become millionaire's on the backs of taxpayers.

"She's not really this middle class person she pretends to be," said Collins.

Congresswoman Hochul refuted the attacks.

A local foundation named for a young boy with a lethal disease is urging Congress to pass legislation that would speed up the Food and Drug Administration's lengthy drug approval process. 

Suneel's Light Foundation Chief Science Officer George Hajduczok says the FAST (Faster Access to Specialized Treatments) Act removes regulatory uncertainty and formalizes the process for getting drugs approved faster.  

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The head of the U.S. Postal Service made a surprise visit to Buffalo's William Street Mail Processing Center this morning. 

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe toured the facility before speaking to the 2,500 attendees at the 108th National Rural Letter Carriers Association Convention. 

After being targeted for closure in a cost-cutting move, the William Street facility won a temporary reprieve from earlier this year. The Postal Service is seeking to close a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall and stay solvent in a time of declining mail volume.

Given the popularity of animal exhibits and petting zoos at county fairs, health officials are reminding the public about the importance of practicing good hygiene. This after an outbreak of swine flu in about a dozen states. 

So far, the outbreak has been limited to mid-western states.  But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the 162 cases reported as of Friday an extraordinary increase over the 13 swine flu cases confirmed during all of 2011. 

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered encouraging words after he toured the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Thursday. In a speech delivered to hundreds of base personnel,  Panetta said that he was"committed" to protecting the base and finding a new mission for its employees.

"Let me be very clear. The Department of Defense is committed to protecting New York's Air National Guard. It's the largest in the country. I think it's one of the best. And I also want to make clear that we are committed to maintaining this base for the future," Panetta said.

Photo from State DOT Website

After months of delay, some much needed road repairs will be made to state highways and bridges on Seneca Nation lands south of Buffalo.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald and Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter said in a joint written statement Monday they have agreed to a "framework" to allow the start of rehabilitation work on Interstate 86 and other state owned roads on the Seneca's Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories. 

Canalside is gearing-up for the arrival of Canada's largest sailing tall-ship. 

As WBFO and AM 970's Chris Caya reports, the 'Empire Sandy' is visiting Buffalo as part of the ongoing 200th Anniversary commemoration of the War of 1812.     

Depending on sailing conditions the Empire Sandy should arrive in Downtown Buffalo's Inner Harbor between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday.

Based in Toronto, it's billed as the largest tall-ship sailing on the Great Lakes. 

Nearly five years after a judge overturned her wrongful murder conviction, Lynn DeJac still has not been compensated for the lengthy prison sentence she served.

In 2007,  DeJac was the first woman in the U.S. set free based on DNA. 

DeJac was convicted in 1994 of strangling her 13-year-old daughter Crystallynn Girard.

But modern testing of long-lost evidence linked the killing to DeJac's former boyfriend Dennis Donahue. 

Google Map, street view photo

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said a fatal police shooting in the City's Riverside neighborhood is "a tragedy for all involved" 

Derenda said  four-year-old Roderick Geiger died as a result of stabbing. And the suspect - the boy's grandmother - 38-year-old Charlene Fears was shot and killed inside 195 Esser Avenue. 

Commissioner Derenda said the initial investigation indicates officers "were justified in using deadly physical force."

Construction on a new, permanent Seneca Nation casino in downtown Buffalo is now underway.

The Senecas had originally planned a large-scale, $333 million casino/hotel complex for the site.  But when the recession hit in 2008, those plans were put on hold. 

Earlier this year, the tribe unveiled planned for a smaller facility that will occupy nearly ten acres, with a price tag of $130 million.  It will include a restaurant, a bar, and a four-level parking garage.

Veterans who rely on Veterans Affairs and private providers for their healthcare don't have to carry around paper copies of the medical records anymore. Local vets can now allow healthcare providers access their medical records electronically.

VA Healthcare System of Western New York Director Brian Stiller says the VA has joined HEALTHeLINK, the region's clinical information exchange. The program allows private practitioners, local hospitals, labs, and the VA to share a patient's test results, x-rays, MRIs and medication history.

File photo / WBFO News

Economic opportunity and security challenges along the northern border were among the issues discussed during an Congressional Field Hearing in Buffalo today. 

Representative Brian Higgins, the Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence arranged the hearing.  Erie County Emergency Management Commissioner Dan Neaverth and Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour were among the witnesses called to testify at Buffalo's Federal Courthouse. 

The plan for returning cars to Main Street in downtown Buffalo is already beginning to have its desired effect.  The city has found a new tenant for a long vacant restaurant in the Market Arcade complex.

A project to rebuild the 600 block of Main so it can accommodate Metro Rail and automobiles is set to begin in September, but that didn't stop Jay Haynes from leasing the former Ya Ya Bayou Brewhouse near Shea's Performing Arts Center. Haynes plans to open Perfetto, an upscale eatery this fall.

File photo

The stabbing of a teenager inside a Buffalo bar early this morning is reinforcing Mayor Byron Brown's concerns about commingling.

Brown says he has not received all the details yet, but the 18-year-old man was treated and released after being stabbed inside the Barcelona bar on Pearl Street around 3 a.m.