Local & regional news

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

The man in custody after stabbing two out-of-town visitors on Thursday has been identified.

Fifty-year-old Grill Williams has been charged with assault and criminal weapons possession. Grill stabbed a California couple while at the Erie Canal Harbor Metro Station.

Eighteen-year-old Lema Lynch is in fair condition at ECMC.

The other victim was treated and released.

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

Common Council member Michael LoCurto is spearheading an effort to receive contractually mandated reports regarding the Buffalo Creek Casino.

The Seneca planned development has been scaled down, but LoCurto and Fillmore representative David Franczyk are raising concerns that the Senecas have not met their contractual reporting obligations concerning the project.

Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter claims that he is willing to meet with lawmakers to discuss the matter.

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

The Hockey Hall of Fame is welcoming the voice of the Buffalo Sabres, Rick Jeanneret.

Jeanneret will be the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award and will have his name affixed in the Hall amongst other broadcasters.

The ceremony will take place on November 12th in Toronto.

The products of the mind is this week's topic of You & The Law.

WBFO & AM-970's Mike Desmond speak swith patent attorney and chemical engineer Rebecca Stadler  about intellectual property like patents and copyrights.

WBFO News photos by Daniel Robison

Law enforcement and emergency service agencies in Ontario have signed-off on an "integrated public safety plan" for Nik Wallenda's wire walk June 15.

Niagara Parks Police Chief Douglas Kane said the crowd for the rare event over the Horseshoe Falls will likely be "wall-to-wall."

The Erie County Legislature has approved another piece of the funding puzzle for the Buffalo Zoo's planned Arctic Edge exhibit.  

The method of borrowing and whether to go it alone, based on the County Comptroller's recommendation, or borrow through the county's Fiscal Stability Authority remains the subject of debate. 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have approved funding to help keep the polar bears where zoo goers and the community say they belong:  in a planned new state-of-the-art enclosure scheduled to start early next year. 

A lobby group closely associated with Governor Andrew Cuomo was the elephant in the room during a hearing by the state ethics commission on new rules for donor disclosure.

Governor Cuomo’s chosen chair of the ethics commission, Westchester DA Janet DiFiore, presided over the hearing, which took public input on how much lobby groups should be required to disclose about political donations.

WBFO News photos by Daniel Robison

State Senator George Maziarz was a key player in bringing the high-wire dare-devil act of Nik Wallenda to Niagara Falls in hopes of generating an international tourism event to boost the local economy.  

WBFO & AM-970'S Eileen Buckley talked to Maziarz about final preparations for the event and Wallenda's call out to citizens to offer financial support for next Friday's high wire walk over Niagara Falls. 


This week on Theatre Talk, Jim Santella and Anthony Chase discuss the upcoming Tony Awards, last week's Artie Awards in Buffalo and the national touring production of "Memphis."

A state lawmaker from Elma is calling for changes to the current DW I hit-and-run law. 

Senator Patrick Gallivan is proposing a new bill in the wake of last week's verdict in Dr. James Corasanti's vehicular manslaughter trial.  Gallivan said under his proposal a drunk driver who fails to stop would have no excuse for "not knowing they hit a person."

Corasanti was acquitted of serious charges for the hit-and-run death of Alexandra Rice.

Photo from YouTube video of Congressman Higgins

Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins stood on the House floor Thursday calling for the removal of  Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

Congressman Higgins said the postmaster caused a huge upset in this region when he called for the closing of Buffalo's William Street processing center. 

The William Street facility was slated for closing, but was granted a three-year reprieve.  Still, Higgins believes that a change in leadership must take place soon to prevent a flawed process from repeating in the future when the moratorium expires.

Across the border, officials are growing concerned over the reversal of the environmental health of the Great Lakes.

Ontario Provincial Environment Minister Jim Bradley says the problems are increasingly obvious, whether overseas migrant problems like the zebra mussel or the return of smelly algae which threatens the fish.

He says the province has made some progress from past actions like banning cosmetic pesticides which damaged water in streams flowing into the lakes.

Mike Desmond/WBFO

The Buffalo school board says it's close to picking a new superintendent but making the choice isn't the only issue.

While the school system and the BTF have been locked in talks for months over how to evaluate teachers, board members are now trying to figure how to evaluate the new superintendent in an employment contract.

Executive Affairs Vice President Rosalyn Taylor says the evaluation criteria include district issues like the dismal high school graduation rate.

One day before the state ethics commission is to hold hearings on new rules for lobbying disclosures, there are more revelations about a multi million dollar advocacy group associated with Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

A lobbying group closely allied with the policies of Governor Andrew Cuomo has been in the news a lot in the past couple of days, in articles raising questions about  multi million dollar donations to the group known as the Committee to Save New York,  and policies later advocated by the governor.

Abdi Hussein sits in a cramped classroom full of old metal chairs that clank and scrape the faded tile floor.

Here he learns English idioms like “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

It’s a long way from Somalia, where Hussein struggled to find food and lived in constant fear of being dragged into the country’s ongoing civil war.

“There’s horrible things,” Hussein says. “People kill each other. That’s why we get help to get in here. People call us the refugee.”

Hussein lives in a growing Somali community in Buffalo - where inexpensive housing has proven fertile ground for ethnic neighborhoods made up largely of refugees.

The family of Alexandria Rice  retracted an earlier request posted on a Facebook  Memorial page for their daughter Wednesday asking members of the public to write letters to Judge Sheila DiTullio, requesting that she impose the maximum one year prison sentence on Doctor James Corasanti for his reduced driving while intoxicated conviction last week.

Rice was struck and killed by Corasanti last July along Heim Road in Amherst, and widespread public outrage followed last week's jury decision to acquit Corasanti on several felony charges, including vehicular manslaughter.

WBFO & AM 970 won six first place and 10 special mention awards from the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards for excellence in local news coverage.

The following winners include:

General Excellence in Reporting:
First Place to Eileen Buckley
Special Mention to Daniel Robison

General Excellence in Use of Medium:
First Place to Daniel Robison for the Glad Hatter
Special Mention to Eileen Buckley for Yellow Jackets Sing Off

Google Map, street view photo

Buffalo Police say they have apprehended the driver of a hit and run accident that took place at around ten Tuesday night at Delaware Avenue and West Utica Street.

A 36-year-old woman fled on foot after the pickup truck she was driving struck a motorcyclist and a fire hydrant. The motorcyclist is identified as 51-year-old Jeffrey Stanton of Tonawanda, who is in critical condition at ECMC’s trauma unit.

Stanton was driving north on Delaware when he was hit by the pickup, which was westbound on Utica.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Cuomo Administration, the State Senate and Assembly stand ready to approve a comprehensive package of legislation, bills that seek to control and, if possible, eliminate the abuse of prescription drugs. 

Known as the Michael David Israel laws, the bills are named after the 20 year old Buffalo area man who committed suicide in June 2011, after a lengthy and, ultimately unsuccessful, battle against his addiction. 

State Senator Timothy Kennedy hasbeen instrumental in steering the package through the Legislature.

Photo from Holy Family School Website

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo will close another two of its elementary schools.

Despite community efforts to keep the schools open, the Diocese has opted to shut the doors on Holy Family School in LeRoy and the Catholic Academy of the Holy Family in Jamestown.

In written statement, Diocesan officials say the closings were prompted by "declining enrollment and significant financial challenges."

WBFO News by Mike Desmond

It's been almost two-decades since the University at Buffalo shut down its research reactor on the South Campus and the last bill for its operation is on the way, the cost for demolishing the radioactive building. 

It may cost $20-million to demolish the building and cart away the debris.  While bids are supposed to be coming in June 19 for the demolition, final approval for the plan hasn't arrived yet from Washington.

Google Map, street view photo

Along with a dispute with New York State over alleged violations of its casino compact, the Seneca Nation of Indians is now questioning the safety of state bridges and highways on the Nation's territories. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo was denying reports yesterday that his effort to expand casino gaming across New York was influenced by $2 million in donations to a lobbying group created to support him. 

WBFO News by Mike Desmond

There is now a Democratic primary for the 144th State Assembly District seat held by Sean Ryan as activist Kevin Gaughan on Tuesday began circulating petitions for a race.

Gaughan and aides were on Lexington Avenue in Buffalo and on Coachman's Lane in Hamburg looking for some of the 500 signatures he needs to be on the ballot.

This was the district formerly held by Sam Hoyt. It has since been changed significantly to include Lackawanna and Hamburg after the 2010 Census.

File photo

The removal of an eyesore along the I-190 downtown is complete.

The steel frame for the original Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel complex has been completely removed and work on a smaller casino is expected to get underway soon.

In the meantime, Seneca Gaming Corporation today awarded nearly $1 million in grants for neighborhood improvements near their casino at Michigan Avenue and Perry Street. 

Former congressional candidate Alice Kyzan dies

Jun 5, 2012

A well-known, local environmental attorney who was ran for Congress in 2008 has died. 

Alice Kryzan will be remembered for her big democratic primary upset in 2008 when she defeated millionaire businessman Jack Davis and Iraq War veteran Jonathan Powers for the 26th Congressional District.

In a September 2008 interview with WBFO News, Kryzan quoted the late Senator Paul Wellstone on her political philosophy. She talked about why she was considered the "grown up" candidate in that primary race.

State Senator Mark Grisanti says the state could save tens of millions of dollars under Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposals to change the law on first-offense simple possession of marijuana.

He says the governor's plan doesn't decriminalize marijuana nor does it change the rules on drug weight for more serious charges.

The Buffalo Republican says in his experience, when whites are arrested on small amount charges, they are charged with violations, while African-Americans and others are charged with misdemeanors.

County denies Freedom of Information request

Jun 5, 2012

The Poloncarz Administration is at odds with The Buffalo News over a Freedom of Information request.

Despite the request, officials have not released the dollar figures associated with the stadium lease talks with the Buffalo Bills conducted by a private law firm retained by the county.

The Nixon Peabody law firm considers its hourly rate for its legal work to be a "trade secret," and has requested the information not be released.

The Buffalo News has filed an appeal in the case.



WBFO News by Mike Desmond

Another preservation battle continues along the Lake Erie waterfront.   The debate over the decaying former Bethlehem Steel administration office building features some familiar arguments.

On the outside, windows are often boarded-up or broken. The roof may or may not be falling apart and the ornamental trees out front are almost out of control. 

But some wonder, is the building shot?

The Canadian Consulate's Visa and Immigration section in Buffalo is now closed.  Visa services have been transferred to other offices across the country ahead of the consulate's closing at the end of August. 

Members of the Western New York Congressional delegation sent a letter to Prime Minister Steven Harper last week urging him to reconsider the cost-cutting move.  Rep. Kathy Hochul says given all the commerce that crosses the region's international bridges, the consulate is important.  

WBFO News file photo

Interested observers get their chance to meet the third finalist on the candidate's list to become Buffalo's new school superintendent.

Doctor Pamela Brown will meet Monday afternoon with reporters before appearing at a 6 p.m. public reception at Waterfront School.

Brown works currently with an educational center in Massachusetts. Prior to that she served as an Associate Superintendent in Philadelphia's public schools.