Chris Jamele

Weekend program host

Saturday & Sunday 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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Photo from Morgan Dunbar's Facebook page

The SPCA of Niagara was the scene of a protest on Saturday afternoon.

Better than two hundred animal supporters carried signs and chanted slogans outside of the facility that has been charged with cruel mistreatment of a number of animals along with allegations of unnecessary euthanizations of animals at the shelter.

Morgan Dunbar, who is the founder and the director of Animal Allies of Western New York, claims that the need for change goes beyond the SPCA of Niagara.

News file photo / WBFO

Buffalo Sabres owner and Penn State University alum, Terry Pegula, weighed in on the hiring of a new football coach at the school.

Bill O'Brien, who is currently the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, has accepted the job at Penn State. School icon Joe Paterno was fired in November over allegations of sexual abuse of minors by a member of his coaching staff.

In his statement, Pegula applauds the hiring of O'Brien and offers his support in rebuilding the school's football program.

The Common Council leadership on Friday requested assistance from the State Attorney General's office in resolving the contractual dispute between the MSG Network and Time Warner Cable.

The current contract expired on January first and Sabres games have gone dark for cable subscribers ever since. City lawmakers say this dispute has the potential to cause significant fiscal harm to the City and its taxpayers. Buffalo Common Council President Richard Fontana is hoping the AG can end the dispute.

Outgoing Erie County legislator Daniel Kozub has proposed a local law that would create exclusion zones or prohibitions in employment for people convicted of a sexual offense.

Kozub said he was shocked that convicted sex offenders were running a haunted house in Niagara County at Halloween, and that law enforcement was not able to immediately close down the operation.

WBFO News file photos

As the year end approaches, the time comes to review the headlines from 2011.

On this week's Press Pass, WBFO's Chris Jamele asks ArtVoice editor Geoff Kelly to reflect on what he found to be the significant local stories of the past year.

First, though, there has been a splintering of the Occupy Buffalo movement. That issue begins our Press Pass discussion.

A man on parole is being sought by State Police.

Raymond Gandolfo is the subject of a manhunt across Western New York. Gandolfo was awaiting sentencing on Genesee County for attempted forgery. He is wanted in Cheektowaga for burglary and grand larceny.

Gandolfo is described as a white male in his mid-thirties. He is approximately five foot five inches tall, weighing around 155 pounds.

Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Crimestoppers can be reached at 867-6161.

Workers with the SPCA have rescued three dogs from their negligent owner.

Twenty-two year old Marvin Green of Herkimer Street has been charged with three counts of animal cruelty. Three emaciated pit bulls, a mother and two puppies, were found in the home's attic.

The mother was fastened to a short leash and the puppies were locked in a dark closet.

A head-on crash in Hamburg Friday night left two victims in critical condition.

The accident occurred at Route 20 and McKinley Parkway. In all, five people were transported to various hospitals. The identities of those injured have not been released.

Hamburg Police are continuing to investigate the incident, and alcohol is not thought to have been a factor.

A student at Sweet Home High School is behind bars after an arrest for sexual assault.

The identity of the seventeen year old male student is not being released nor is the name of the fifteen year old female victim. A hall monitor alerted staff members that a male student had taken the female student into a secluded area of the school. When the staff investigated, they were able to stop the assault in progress. Lieutenant Eric Davis of the Amherst Police Department commended the staff at the school for their prompt attention to the situation.

Authorities are still seeking clues to the identity of the man killed in Friday night's fire on Sycamore Street.

The building was an abandoned residence and all of the utilities had been disconnected. The cause of the fatal fire is still under investigation. Commissioner of the Buffalo Fire Department, Garnell Whitfield, warns that winter weather drives many people, homeless or otherwise, to use heat sources that might not be all together safe.

A  unity rally was held at Lafayette High School on Saturday in support of the school.

Lafayette has been identified as one of the under-performing schools in the Buffalo District. Students, parents, teachers and community activists all came together to celebrate what is hoped to be a positive future for the school. School Principle Naomi Cerre claims that actions underway are brightening the school's outlook.

Congresswoman Kathy Hochul has introduced legislation that will enhance 9-1-1 communications systems.

The bill is known by the acronym, ALERT ACT, which stands for Allowing Local Emergency Response Technicians to Accept Cellular Texts Act. Hochul's action would require emergency call centers update their handling of emergency text messages and to send an error message if the transmission did not go through.

The FCC would enforce the mandates.

Sheridan Fire Chief Jeffrey Roberts was laid to rest on Saturday morning.

The thirty-three year old volunteer firefighter was killed when he was shot while hunting in Stockton last weekend. Officials have ruled out an accidental shooting and investigators continue to review the case.

Sheriff's Deputies are working to identify the shooter.

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.

WBFO News file photo

The tower of the Wheeler Grain Elevator collapsed into the Buffalo River on Friday.

No injuries were reported. Members of the demolition crew, Ontario Specialty Contracting, claim that it was a planned fall. But local preservationist Tim Tielman argues that the incident was an error and blames the city for not better overseeing the work.

A local traffic bridge was closed until the scene was secured.

The city issued an emergency demolition for the structure earlier in the year.

An accident in the Genesee County town of Byron has sent two people to the hospital.

Courtney Greene and Zachary Rusin, both eighteen, were ejected from a golf cart when it was struck by car along Route 237 in the early hours of Saturday morning. Greene is listed in stable condition. Rusin is in guarded condition with a variety of serious injuries.

Greene, the operator of the golf cart, is facing charges. Alcohol is suspected to have been involved.

Small Business Saturday sparked big sales at local businesses this weekend.

The initiative founded by American Express  is tucked between Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a way to bring shoppers' attention to the variety of special items that are offered in unique stores owned by their local merchants. The concept has been given a boost by both Mayor Byron Brown and Congresswoman Kathy Hochul.

Area business owner Ernie Torres claims that the idea has been a success.

Area retailers were met by throngs of eager shoppers on Black Friday.

Many stores and shopping locales opened especially early this year, some as early as Thanksgiving night. The earlier hours appeared to ease the rush of shoppers that have, in some instances, led to injuries in the past. And the bargains were the driving force in bringing out the dedicated, early shoppers.

The Eastern Hills Mall opened at midnight for Black Friday for the first time in its history. Marketing Manager Karen Garrow claims that the move was a success.

A seven month deployment to Iraq has come to an end for members of the Western New York Military Police Company.

More than one hundred members of the New York Army National Guard's 105th Military Police Company arrived at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey on Thanksgiving Day.

The Buffalo-based Military Police unit was among the first New York Army National Guard units to deploy to Iraq in 2003. The local company was based in the Iraq cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.

WBFO News photo

The Democratic party win for Erie County Executive now leaves lingering questions about the future Buffalo's Democratic party leader Len Lenihan.

This week on WBFO's weekly Press Pass interview, Chris Jamele speaks with Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly about the future of the local democratic leader Len Lenihan and why the on-going Occupy Buffalo movement remains calm.