Local Matters

Community Sponsors

Buffalo

October 26, 2017 - 4:53pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Craig Lehner, news, Buffalo.

More than 7,000 police officers, including ones from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD, and Le Roy PD, lined the streets off Buffalo on Wednesday, saluting fallen comrade Craig E. Lehner, a Buffalo K-9 handler and member of underwater recovery team in Erie County who died two weeks ago during a training exercise.

“The most striking thing was to see his mother step out of the car, look left and right and up and down, all she could see were police officers on the streets, lined up, saluting her son,” said Chris Erion, Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy. “She just stopped, and her mouth opened.”

Lehner, 34, went missing on Oct. 13 in the Niagara River during a training exercise, after he failed to resurface. More than a dozen agencies joined forces, including the Coast Guard and Canadian Port Authorities, to find Lehner. His body was recovered five days later near Strawberry Island, about two miles from where he disappeared.

Erion said the experience was something he could not articulate.

“You can’t replicate it and you can’t put words to it,” Erion said. “You really can’t adequately describe it, when you’re a part of it.”

Erion met Lehner through a K-9 training group with the Niagara Regional Police Service in Ontario, Canada. They met a year ago and got to know each other during regular training sessions, twice a month. A couple weeks before the accident, Erion trained with Lehner and a couple other handlers for a week straight with the dogs.

“You have a group of people you train with regularly and get to know each other’s dogs and each other’s personalities,” Erion said. “He was a good guy. He was a good human being."

Lehner had the nickname of “the surfer” because of his laid-back attitude. Until it was time to work, then he hustled, Erion said.

“He was a very laid-back guy who treated everybody right,” Erion said. “But when it was time to get serious, he got serious.”

Erion said the funeral had a different tone because everyone was worn out and worried for so long.

“It was a little bit different because it wasn’t a single, quick incident that took him,” Erion said. “It was a long process, over five days they were looking for him.”

More than 8,000 people, officers, and members of the community attended the funeral at the KeyBank Center, sending Lehner on his way and supporting his family.

“I’d like to say I was surprised, but knowing Craig’s personality, I’m not,” Erion said. “He attracted people from all different walks of life. He let everybody in. He didn’t care what you were made of, he was a friend to a lot of people.”

img_4840.jpg

Photo: Le Roy police officers after returning from the funeral detail. Photo submitted by Greg Kellogg.

August 7, 2012 - 12:31pm
August 5, 2012 Knoxville, TN Buffalo NY to Host 2014 Horseshoe World Tournament Lyle Dorler, President of the NYS Horseshoe Pitchers Association, announced that the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (NHPA)2014 World Horseshoe Tournament will be held at the Erie County Fairgrounds Event Center. Buffalo, Wausau, Wisconsin and Charlotte, West Virginia presented bids to the NHPA delegates at the 2012 World Tournament in Knoxville, TN. Chuck Giglia, representing the Buffalo-Niagara Sports Commission and Frank Kwaitowski, Chairman of the Buffalo 2014 World Tournament Committee, made the presentation. They highlighted the onsite parking; onsite camping; the air conditioned event rooms. "I believe that we can offer the best tournament experience for both the pitchers and their families.", noted Giglia. The proximity of Niagara Falls; ample lodging; a wide variety of restaurant choices; the onsite casino; and other WNY attractions will offer much for the expected 1300 pitchers and their families.". Kwaitowski added, "There are many back yard pitchers and non sanctioned league pitchers in our area. We're hoping many of them consider joining the NYSHPA and playing in upcoming sanctioned tournaments to qualify for the Worlds. For more information on registering for the NYSHPA, please contact Bob Klock at 607 589 4122.
July 2, 2011 - 8:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Buffalo, corfu.

A homicide in Buffalo early Friday may have a Genesee County connection.

The Buffalo News reports that Joseph Hale, 35, was shot in the back while in the area of  St. Paul Mall and Ellicott Street. He later died at ECMC.

A reader informs us that Hale was a former Batavia High School student. A public record check shows that a Joseph Hale, 35, has lived in Buffalo, Batavia and Corfu.

From the Buffalo News:

"Homicide detectives are attempting to trace the victim's whereabouts before the shooting incident occurred," said Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives. "Mr. Hale was seen in the Allentown area earlier in the morning and prior to the shooting."

This is the city's 21st homicide of 2011.

January 7, 2010 - 7:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Buffalo.

An Erie County man has been accused of selling narcotics to a Genesee County undercover agent.

John L. Tillman, 34, of 87 Phyllis Ave., Buffalo, was picked up by the Erie County Warrants Office and turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office today.

Tillman is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance 3rd and criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd.

The Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force received a sealed indictment against Tillman after he allegedly sold crack cocaine in the City of Batavia to an undercover agent.

Tillman was arraigned in Genesee County Court and jailed without bail.

September 3, 2009 - 8:43am
posted by Bea McManis in Buffalo, tourism, one day trips.

Looking for something fun to do, check these out.

Saturday 9/5
10am: Black Rock
2pm: Queen City Saturdays
(meet at the Erie Canal Harbor)

Sunday 9/6
10am: Millionaire's Row
2pm: Neighborhood Series: Porter Avenue

Tuesdays at 2pm:
Queen City Downtown
(meet at the Visitor Center, 617 Main St.)

Weekdays at noon:
City Hall
Sorry, no City Hall tour on 9/7 (Labor Day)

Details: http://buffalotours.org/

August 25, 2009 - 8:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Buffalo, firefighters.

McCarthy_Chas-1lg.jpgCroom_Jon-1lg.jpgFlags at fire departments throughout Genesee County are flying at half staff today to honor two fallen comrades in Buffalo early Monday.

Buffalo's Lt. Charles W. "Chip" McCarthy Jr. and Firefighter Jonathan S. Croom died in a fire at a deli on Genesee Street, by apparently falling through the floor of the burning building while looking for a possible victim trapped inside.

McCarthy, a 22-year veteran of the department who comes from a family of Buffalo firefighters, is survived by his wife, Terry, three children and a 6-month-old grandchild. Croom, a 10-year veteran, leaves a 9-month-old child and his fiancee; fire officials said he lost a young child a few years ago.

The men and women who worked with McCarthy and Croom remember them as dedicated, professional firefighters.

May 30, 2009 - 9:04am
Event Date and Time: 
May 30, 2009 - 9:00am to June 13, 2009 - 9:00am

WNY Gold Prospectors is sponsoring a Metal Detecting Hunt on Saturday June 13, 2009 in Bergen, NY.  $50 entry fee includes entrance in two hunts (10:30 and 1:30). 
Over fifty prizes for each hunt.  Lunch will be available as well as chances on a lottery tree and 50/50 drawing.  Hunt will be at 6681 North Lake Road (accross from Bergen Fire Hall).  Sign in starts at 9 am.  email Shari for more information or for registration form.

 

[email protected]

May 6, 2009 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Buffalo.

hassemGlasses.jpgRemember the well-dress man wandering around downtown two weeks ago -- the police sent out a bank-camera photo of the man and said he was wanted it connection with an alleged larceny?

Police tell me the post on The Batavian led to numerous tips.

Yesterday, Yusuf A. Hassem  a.k.a. Louis L. Reed, 69, of Buffalo was taken into custody and charged with one count of grand larceny.

It turns out Hassam allegedly ran a scam, convincing a local woman that he was recently arrived from Africa and didn't know what to do with $7,000 in cash he had on him. The woman suggested he open a checking account at Tonawanda Valley Credit Union.

Hassem reportedly told the woman he couldn't find an available teller and asked her to hold the $7,000 and handed her a folded handkerchief. It was later found that the handkerchief contained only cut-up newspaper.

And an envelope the woman had containing $2,000 was missing.

We're asking Det. Chuck Dudek for clarification on where the $2,000 came from and how Hassem was able to get his hands on it.

Hassem has two prior convictions for running con jobs.

After arraignment in City Court by Robert Balbick, Hassam was jailed without bail.

March 17, 2009 - 2:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Buffalo.

UPDATE, March 18, 10:30 a.m.:  We received this note from the State Police:

Reference the attached press release sent on 03/17/09, NYSP Clarence BCI received an anon. tip that WEBSTER WIGGINS was staying at a location in the City of Buffalo.  WIGGINS was located and arrested without incident.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- State Police are looking for a sex offender from Buffalo who could be anywhere in the state, according to Investigator Daniel Strozyk.

Webster E. Wiggins, Jr. 33, has refused to register as a sex offender since March 2004, according the Strozyk.

"He knows he's wanted," Strozyk said. "He could be anywhere. We know he was in Buffalo last week, but we received information that he moved and we don't know where."

Wiggins last resided at 2763 Main St., Buffalo. He's been known to travel elsewhere in the state.

Wiggins is 5-8, 155 lbs and has tattoos on both arms.

State Police are requesting anyone with information on Webster E. Wiggins Jr.  contact State Police at 716-759-6831.

February 13, 2009 - 2:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Buffalo, crash, Buffalo News, emergency, Flight 3407.

Buffalo News reporters have been updating the site all day with updates on the crash of Continental Flight 3407 that plummeted onto a home in Clarence. Names of passengers have been leaking out throughout the day, and reporters have got up a video of eyewitness accounts.

Names of the dead began trickling out at midday, giving a window onto the group of passengers aboard the flight from Newark to Buffalo that crashed at about 10:15 p.m.

The names of victims emerging from families and friends included Alison DeForges, a noted historian and human rights activist who documented the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Also killed in the crash was Susan Wehle, cantor at Temple Beth Am in Amherst, and Zhaofang Guo, the husband of Dr. Ping Wang at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

In addition, the black boxes from the flight have been recovered, and the investigation into the cause of the crash has begun in earnest.

February 13, 2009 - 1:29am
posted by Brian Hillabush in Buffalo, accident.

The Buffalo News is reporting that 49 people were killed Thursday night when a Continental Airlines flight crashed into a home in Clarence Center.

Continental Flight 3407, flying from Newark, N.J. to Buffalo, crashed into a house located at 6050 Long St. in Clarence Center, starting a large fire.

Unconfirmed reports from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport told the News that 44 passengers, four crew members and a person on the ground were killed in the accident, which is being blamed on mechanical problems that happened as the plane approached the airport.

There are also several injured people that have been taken to Erie County Medial Center.

February 11, 2009 - 8:48am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Buffalo, Forbes.

If the old adage is true that misery loves company, Buffalo may be looking for a few new friends. Our neighbor to the west was recently dubbed the 8th most miserable city in America by Forbes magazine.

So, what does it take to be miserable?

We compiled our rankings by looking at the 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., which meant those with a population of at least 378,000. We ranked those metros on nine factors: commute times, corruption, pro sports teams, Superfund sites, taxes (both income and sales), unemployment, violent crime and weather.

Maybe a few of our readers can speak to the commute time and corruption. I've heard nothing especially damning about either. As for pro sports teams, there's really only one way to describe the past few seasons of the Bills and the Sabres: implosive. Taxes? Let's not even go there. Unemployment and violent crime... Can't say.

As for weather, the Buffalo News recently ran a piece by columnist Bruce Andriatch who wrote about one city resident who was so furious over having to shovel out his driveway yet again only to get re-buried under dirty snow plowed back onto the apron as soon as he had finished that he quite literally threw the shovel at the snowplow! We saw the grass and mud of the real solid ground the other day for the first time in over a month. And we just averaged the coldest January on record in my lifetime. So weather... yeah, not the greatest. Of course, many of us consider it a character builder. Until we start throwing shovels, that is.

Forbes has this to say of Buffalo:

If you like snow, Buffalo is your place—to the tune of 90 inches a year, more than any other metro area that has a million people. Buffalo's population has been steadily shrinking since the mid-1990s.

We want to know what this means for Batavia... Are we an island unto ourselves? Or will we get caught up in the whirlwind of misery that is Buffalo? Or would you side with columnist Donn Esmonde and look at this as a glass half full and even take umbrage with the ranking?

Honestly, I never found Buffalo all that miserable. I kind of like the city, in fact. They've got a great art museum, for starters. Plus, there's something appropriate to the times in the grey grunge atmosphere of the downtown. But that could be the gritty Upstater in me. Born and raised in blizzards and recessions. Child of potholes and missed field goals.

January 26, 2009 - 4:29pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Announcements, veterans, Buffalo, VA Medical Center.

From the VA Medical Center:

VA Western New York Healthcare System will hold a service for veterans, employees and the community, Sunday, February 1 at 2 p.m. at the Buffalo site, 3495 Bailey Avenue in Freedom Hall, room 301 in remembrance of the Four Chaplains who lost their lives during an extraordinary act of heroism during World War II. Lt. Colonel Allen Douglas Ferry, New York Air Reserve National Guard (retired), and Bronze Star Recipient for combat service and Legion of Merit will deliver the keynote address. At this special event, the Legion of Honor award presentation will also take place. 

The four Chaplains, a Methodist Minister, Jewish Rabbi, Dutch Reformed Church, and Catholic Priest were on a US Army transport ship hit by a German torpedo off the icy waters of Greenland in February 1943. When it became apparent there were not enough life jackets, the four US Army Chaplains removed theirs and handed them to frightened young soldiers, and chose to go down with the ship. They locked arms together and prayed in the tradition of their own faith. Of the 902 on board, there were only 227 survivors. They demonstrated throughout the voyage and in their last moments, interfaith compassion in their relationship with the men on board and with each other.

January 6, 2009 - 8:41am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Buffalo, Rochester, governor Paterson, Albany, state, upstate, Geneseo.

Folks in the region will have several opportunities to meet and speak with our governor in February. An article in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports this morning that Gov. David Paterson will hold a series of at least four town-hall style meetings upstate to "allow residents to ask questions and interact with the governor on the ideas he lays out in the State of the State address." Gov. Paterson will give his State of the State this Wednesday at 1:00pm.

Of those meetings that have so far been scheduled, three will be held within a short distance of Batavia: one in Buffalo on February 18, one in Rochester on February 11 and another in Geneseo on February 12. Others will likely be held in Watertown and Binghamton.

From the article:

Paterson has moved away from Spitzer's plan to split up some state duties, particularly economic development, into upstate and downstate branches. Paterson has argued that New York is one state with a united purpose.

Andrew Rudnick, president of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, said an upstate address isn't necessary so long as the governor gives the region the attention it needs.

If the symbolism of an upstate speech, "isn't followed up by definitive policy and asset allocation, what much difference does it make?" he said.

Most people would likely agree that the most pressing issue now facing the state is the budget crisis. A few weeks ago, Paterson released his budget proposal that caused quite a stir. We've put together a poll with a few topics that might come up when the governor visits upstate. Pick whichever you most want to hear about. I figure that the budget proposal will likely be a major part of the State of the State this Wednesday, so try to think what's most important to upstate other than that.

December 16, 2008 - 6:09pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in Buffalo, football, sports, pembroke.

After not getting the head coaching job at Auburn, University at Buffalo coach Turner Gill has taken his name out of the running for any other coaching positions.

Gill, this afternoon, signed a contract extension with a raise, that will make him one of the highest paid coaches in the Mid-American Conference.

 "On the day I came here to be the head coach I told my team that one day we would be successful here at the University at Buffalo," Gill said in a statement.

 

 

 

"Now, more than ever, I have never been more proud to be the head coach of this program at this great academic institution. This program has proven it can win now and it is built to continue to win in the future. I am grateful to president John Simpson and athletic director Warde Manuel for their continued support and faith in me as a football coach and leader of young men."

Many teams, including Syracuse, have expressed interest in Gill after he lead the Bulls to an 8-5 season and won the school's first MAC Championship. Pembroke graduate Chris Lauzze is the starting center on that team.

University at Buffalo will be playing in the International Bowl on Jan. 3 in Toronto.

December 16, 2008 - 8:09am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Announcements, veterans, Buffalo, VA Medical Center.

From the VA Medical Center:

Dr. Miguel Rainstein was appointed Chief of Staff, VA Western New York Healthcare System, Buffalo, NY effective December 7, 2008.  In April 2008, Dr. Rainstein began serving as Acting Chief of Staff.  He came to VA WNY Healthcare System as Chief of Surgery in July 2005. Prior to coming to VA WNY Healthcare System, he was the Chief of Surgery at Kenmore Mercy Hospital for 14 years.

As Chief of Staff, Dr. Rainstein has the responsibility of providing quality patient care and coordinating all professional activities to fulfill that mission. He supervises the operation of both the Buffalo and Batavia sites, as well as community based outpatient clinics in Jamestown, Dunkirk, Niagara Falls, Lockport, Lackawanna, Olean and Warsaw.

Dr. Rainstein received his undergraduate degree and his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires.  He completed his surgical residency at Millard Fillmore Hospital in 1979. He is currently Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and also holds membership in the Buffalo Surgical Society.  “We are fortunate to have Dr. Rainstein within VA WNY Healthcare System with his years of expertise in the community and VA,” said David J. West, Interim Medical Center Director.
 
Dr. Rainstein lives in Williamsville with his wife.

December 3, 2008 - 3:25pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Buffalo, video, music, alexander.

A few weeks ago, we introduced our readers to Gina Pero, a hometown girl living out her dream on the stage, under the lights, kicking her legs, wowing the crowds. Yesterday, we met Emily Tworek Helenbrook, another hometown girl with lofty artistic aspirations and the talent to achieve them.

Emily is an ambitious 14 years old, the granddaughter of a former Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concertmaster. So yeah, she says, music is in the family. Emily sings, plays the piano and the violin. Oh, and she plans to study law or linguistics... you know, so she has something to fall back on in case anything should happen to her voice.

She first took the stage when she was seven. She played Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz in her grade school Follies. Her twin brother and older brother performed with her, as well. Singing "Over the Rainbow" in the school's auditorium was enough to seal the deal, and it wasn't long after that first performance that Emily's aunt and mother started booking her shows in the area.

Soon enough, Emily got a reputation—and once you hear her sing, you'll understand why—and by the time she was 13, she had been invited to join the Buffalo group, Ars Nova, for the Viva Vivaldi Festival. Her solo debut was a Vivaldi motet!

Lessons, too, have been on her schedule. Emily has been studying at the Eastman School, and she plans to head to the Metropolitan Opera House for auditions when she turns 18.

"If I don't get right in, I'll keep trying until I do," she says.

Opera is her favorite, although she is especially fond of Baroque.

"Vivaldi, especially," she says. "It's really technical and very interesting."

This past Sunday, Emily debuted with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra as a soloist at the Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church in Clarence. She and the BPO will repeat that performance at the M&T Gold Dome Bank in downtown Buffalo on December 13. That concert will be free to the public. It begins at 1:00pm.

October 28, 2008 - 4:52pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Buffalo.

Ah, the grand premier! Gina Pero remembers it well. She was four years old and already inspired by the spirit of dance. So inspired, in fact, that she danced right into the stage curtains. When her mother saw her little girl get caught there in the drapery, she thought for sure that was the end of that.

Instead, it was just the beginning. Curtains aside, Gina fell in love with the stage.

"I was a shy child," she says. "But not on the stage. It was that distance, being high up, that space between the stage and the audience, that fine line. I loved the lights. As soon as the lights hit me, I used to get that feeling like no other, like I was supposed to be on stage."

Dance turned out to be the one thing Gina Pero cherished almost as much as her family.

"Growing up in Batavia was great because my entire family lives there," says Gina. "We're a very close family."

Literally close. Gina told me how she used to walk to her "Nana and Papa's" house, just down the street, where she would fill up on homemade Italian meals—her favorite. That's probably the hardest thing about living in New York City now, she admits: being away from everyone back home.

But for the next month and a half she won't be too far.

On November 13, Gina will take the stage as a Radio City Rockette at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will run nearly every day from then until November 30—sometimes up to four times in a day. (Follow the link above for ticket and showtime info.)

"For me to be a Rockette, I feel strong, I feel that I am a strong woman," she says. "I love the womanhood that is happening with the girls."

Rehearsal is strenuous, says Gina. All of the girls rehearse for at least six hours a day, not counting the time they spend before rehearsals warming up or the time after in the ice baths, cooling down, or, after all of that, the time most girls put in, still practicing, working late with the athletic directors, the choreographers, the stage managers.

"We have everything in the palm of our hands," she says.

Life as a Rockette may have been "one of the most amazing experiences" of Gina's life thus far, she admits, but it hasn't been the only one. Receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance education from the University of Buffalo in 2002 was a fine moment. Dancing with magician Jason Byrne in Japan wasn't too bad either. Nor was going larger-than-life as a billboard model for the show "Air Play" at the Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas... to name a few. Let's not forget, either, that Gina was a heck of a cheerleader at Notre Dame, where she also landed herself in the national honor society.

These days, Gina's especially proud of a program she started in New York City called Inside Out. She explains it as "a program to help artists find their inner voice and stay positive." The idea is to "keep artists from giving up and help them find out who they are and to appreciate what they have."

For the folks back home who haven't yet been down to the Big Apple, Gina's got a helpful tip: "Know your train."

"It's fast paced here," she says. "We drive everywhere in Batavia, but in New York you walk or take the train. There's a lot more variety of things to do, as far as anything for anybody. Anyone can go there and find work and find fun and find a place to live."

Talking to Gina, who seems to have done more than most folks do in a lifetime, you get the sense that she has only just begun.

"I want to continue doing everything," she says. "I want to perform forever. There's no feeling like the feeling on stage. I'm really looking forward to opening night at Shea's. It's going to be an amazing experience for me and my family."

(Photos courtesy of Radio City Entertainment)

May 28, 2008 - 7:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Buffalo, paul weiss.

In a series of remembrances of former Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin, who passed away recently, former City Council president Paul J. Weiss is quoted:

In the early 1990s I served as President of the Batavia City Council. Batavia does not have a mayor so Council President was the highest elected officer of the city. When an ice storm hit Rochester and other parts of Genesee County, Jimmy Griffin was on the phone offering Batavia help. Batavia was fortunate that the storm did not hit our city but I will never forget his offer of help.

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button