Buffalo Rising

Joshua Koester

Buffalo Rising is in the process of unveiling "Greenlight," a video series that looks to bring exposure to Buffalo basketball at a critical time for high school players.  Producers Devin Chavanne and Joshua Koester say the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the AAU basketball season which for many players is their best hope to attract the attention of college coaches and the possibility of scholarships.

Born and raised in the city, Buffalo Rising contributor Vilona Trachtenberg possesses "a lot of pride for Buffalo." When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region, Trachtenberg worked to highlight some of the many community efforts aimed at lifting spirits and helping healthcare workers. 

The economic slowdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting many local businesses. That's the case as well at Buffalo Rising, where co-founder George Johnson says his group is working to adjust. "First couple of weeks (of the pandemic), things were incredibly dire," Johnson said.  In recent days, much of Buffalo Rising's focus has been on stories that are "inspiring, at least to us, and we're seeing from (web) traffic they're really inspiring to other folks."

With rents too high and wages too low, Buffalo has an eviction problem. Research from the Partnership for the Public Good pegs the eviction rate at nearly 13 percent. Buffalo Rising has joined the effort to highlight the issue and brought Orlando Dickson and Sarah Wooten of PPG to WBFO's Press Pass to outline potential solutions.

With its expanding array of contributors, Buffalo Rising spreads the spotlight on many of the city's newest trends and businesses. Cole Hastings is among those who have been sampling what's happening. He's tasted what he says are Buffalo's best vegan wings, kept close tabs on the city's hip-hop scene and explored the newest entries into a revived business community in Riverside. Hastings shared some of  his perspective during WBFO's Press Pass.

In just over a half-year, Devin Chevanne has captured a wide variety of subjects in his role as Director of Photography at Buffalo Rising. He says he's enjoyed shooting most of the 120 video productions he's assembled in 2019, but a few stand out, like the passionate mushroom farmer or the Buffalo cobbler. The common theme Chevanne has found among his subjects, "They all love Buffalo."  He shared his observations during WBFO's Press Pass.

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There are hopeful signs on Buffalo's West Side. New businesses are opening their doors on Grant Street and Newell Nussbaumer of Buffalo Rising believes the activity is an indication of good things to come. He thinks the types of retailers showing up in the neighborhood will spark enough shopping to sustain the businesses and avoid some of the failures of the past. Nussbaumer says many of the shops have organized West Side Wednesdays, a coordinated effort to create a fun, vibrant event for shoppers.

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At the corner of Florida Street and Spillman Place are seven row houses. "They're awesome," was the description of the century-old structures offered by Buffalo Rising co-founder George Johnson despite their current, underused condition.

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In his work for Buffalo Rising, contributing editor Dan Coughlin has placed the spotlight on two unique, local food businesses. Flat #12 Mushrooms has found such a demand for its locally-grown product that it is looking to expand production by almost 400 percent. Meanwhile, a new venture, Protein Responsibly, is gaining accolades and attention for its burgers which use mealworms as a base ingredient. They see it as an environmentally-friendly alternative to using beef.

While there is no shortage of bars in Buffalo, some establishments are building reputations by specializing in high-end cocktails.


From sensory deprivation tanks to working out on trapeze equipment, the alternatives are expanding in Buffalo for those seeking new paths toward fitness. During her appearance on WBFO's Press Pass, Holly Metz Doyle of Buffalo Rising discussed her exploratory work for a new series called "Budding New York." Doyle has been writing about the options, starting with her visit to The Flo on Allen Street.

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Buffalo's Fruit Belt neighborhood is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. It could also be one the most misunderstood. As Buffalo Rising contributor Bradley Bethel points out during WBFO's Press Pass, residents are coalescing around a shared narrative, one which may offer a promising future.


Following a long winter of ice and wind, an array of detritus can be found along the region's beaches. Cleaning those beaches has become a passion for artist Alexis Oltmer. On WBFO's Press Pass, Jessica Marinelli and Newell Nussbaumer discuss how Oltmer is recruiting volunteers to help with the cleanup and her plans to transform beach debris into a work of art.

The Ciminelli Real Estate plan for 201 Ellicott St. in downtown Buffalo is drawing criticism from a future neighbor. Rocco Termini, owner of the nearby Hotel Lafayette, opposes the project: “Don’t put this in the central business district of the city of Buffalo.” During WBFO’s Press Pass, Termini outlines his objections in a lengthy critique that is likely to prompt debate over walkable communities and the path forward for future downtown development.

WBFO file photo

With winter bearing down with record-setting snow falls, residents are searching for indoor activities. During her appearance on WBFO's Press Pass, Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising offers some alternatives, including the latest offering at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Humble and Human: An Exhibition in Honor of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. With Erie County Free Week underway, Marinelli says the event provides an opportunity to view the works of great Impressionist artists like Monet, Renoir and Gauguin.

iStockphoto.com / National Public Radio

Newell Nussbaumer and Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising join WBFO's Jay Moran on this week's Press Pass. Today, a look at the continued expansion of craft breweries in Buffalo and the potential impact of legalized recreational marijuana. But first, a look at a proposal to ban plastic bags in New York State.

David Corbett

It's the holiday season and Buffalo Rising has a present for its readers—images from cartoonist David Corbett, who is expected to be a regular contributor.

The stark design of the Downtown Central Library likely reflected the spirit of the times when classic old buildings were torn away to make room for public facilities. As Newell Nussbaumer and Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising point out, the high outside walls of the structure have worked to separate the institution from the surrounding neighborhood. The plans for an outdoor reading park, they believe, could create a town square, attracting cultural activity and more visitors.


Amherst Street is enjoying a revitalization. Newell Nussbaumer of Buffalo Rising says some small businesses are relocating to the strip, lured by lower rents and burgeoning commercial opportunities. During their monthly appearance of Press Pass, Nussbaumer and Jessica Marinelli expanded on what's happening in Black Rock and across the city.

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It could be called Buffalo's most colorful new event. Paint vs Paint featured paintball competitors battling at a former industrial complex on Howard Street that has been transformed into NORMEL Paintball. The event also attracted street artists who painted their creations on the walls throughout the complex. On WBFO's Press Pass, Newell Nussbaumer of Buffalo Rising explains how the event's energy has also splattered into the nearby neighborhood. 

Francesca Bond

In lining up 1,500 plastic pink flamingos last week, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy made its way into the Guinness World Records. As Newell Nussbaumer and Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising point out during WBFO's Press Pass, the effort raised funds and awareness for the Conservancy, which has helped to fuel a civic recovery in Buffalo.

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On Saturday, city homeowners and businesses will open their porches to local bands for Buffalo Porchfest. While the event offers music lovers a wide variety of options, it also serves as a celebration of the symbolic value of the porch. "Porches offer a sense of community," said Newell Nussbaumer of Buffalo Rising during WBFO's Press Pass. The event and the sense of community it inspires, Nussbaumer says, have prompted many homeowners to rebuild their porches and, in a greater sense, restore their city.

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The Ignite Awards serve two purposes. They honor local women-owned businesses that are enjoying notable success. The awards ceremony hosted by the Women's Business Center also works to bring together female entrepreneurs with the services and connections needed to move their firms forward. During her monthly appearance on WBFO's Press Pass, Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising profiled the award winners and discussed the promising trends for women in the business world.

Fourth Idea

A neon public art display commemorating Buffalo born pop-icon Rick James will not be going up on an Elmwood Avenue parking garage.

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Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising is effusive in her praise of Torn Space Theater. "If you haven't been there, you should go." On WBFO's Press Pass, Marinelli highlights Torn Space's recent production of  "Far Away," and the theater company's home, the historic Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle. "It's a gem on the East Side."

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Large development projects like John R. Oishei Children's Hospital helped to change the face of Buffalo in 2017. While big projects continue in 2018, some smaller, niche startups are bringing flavor to city neighborhoods. On WBFO's Press Pass, DeChantell and Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising discuss two such efforts: an artisan-tailored butchery on Grant Street and a plant-based cafe and market.

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It came with a price tag approaching $1 million. A 6,000 square-foot mansion on Summer Street was purchased and will be rented through Airbnb. DeChantell and Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising say the investment is more proof of the continued growth and potential of the Buffalo tourism industry.

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At the age of nine, Zandra Cunningham began her line of beauty products. Her remarkable eight-year rise through the business world is highlighted during WBFO's Press Pass.  Contributor DeChantell and Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising also discuss the sustainability efforts of the Repair Cafe and the opening of Rowhouse Bakery and Restaurant, an ambitious culinary undertaking in downtown Buffalo.

Olmsted Parks Conservancy

With over 7 million views of its website in 2016, it's clear that Buffalo Rising has connected with the community. Newell Nussbaumer and Jessica Marinelli believe their editorial focus on publishing solution-based stories is key to that success. On WBFO's Press Pass, they highlight two recent examples: bringing an architectural gem to the city and re-connecting a divided Delaware Park.