Category Archives: Buffalo

Some transparent planning in buffalo

Donn Esmonde wrote for Buffalo News 24 June 2012, Big shots listening to community,

The times, they are a-changin'. The Millard Fillmore-Gates story is further evidence. The days when power brokers decided what was best behind closed boardroom doors, then tried to shove it down the community's throat, are mercifully ending. Break out the champagne.

The fallout from years of stalled projects and misfired magic bullets, and the emergence of more-enlightened power brokers, has adjusted boardroom attitudes. The altered mindset is —from the waterfront, to a reviving downtown, to whatever happens with Millard Fillmore Hospital —paving a path to happier endings, with less drama and fewer hard feelings. I think we could get used to this.

Faced with the eventuality of a massive, empty hospital bordering a prime neighborhood, Kaleida scheduled public forums and called in the cavalry of the renowned Urban Land Institute. What once was unthinkable in corporate boardrooms now is becoming reflexive.

“We learned from other examples that had not gone well…that we needed to involve the community, be transparent and collaborate,” said Kaleida's Ted Walsh. “All of that will help us to reach a better decision.”

The old boys actually listening to the community pays off! Hey, we could try that! Actually, VLCIA maybe has, with its strategic planning process. We shall see.


Tired of tax abatements: Occupy Buffalo and NY state reps @ ECIDA 2012-02-13

Lots of people, from Occupy Buffalo to at least one New York state representative, are tired of tax abatements doled out by ECIDA (the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, aka The Economic Development Corporation for Erie County). ECIDA thinks it knows better. Sound familiar?

Occupy Buffalo complained to ECIDA about tax abatements for luxury residential lofts that had already been completed, saying “this board is not a democratic process”. They noted the people’s representative on the ECIDA board had said it was a clear waste of taxpayer resources but was ignored, and couldn’t stop county resources being “fleeced by this board”. They added, “This experiment has gone on for long enough, and it’s time for immediate change” of “this crony corrupt process”. Occupy Buffalo demanded suspension of tax abatements by ECIDA until a public town hall meeting could be held.

Here’s the video:

Tired of tax abatements: Occupy Buffalo and NY state reps @ ECIDA 2012-02-13

Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, .
Video by for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).

Occupy Buffalo wrote 16 February 2012, Occupy Buffalo and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency,

Continue reading

University at Buffalo installs solar array at entrance

Meanwhile, about a thousand miles north of us, a 750 kilowatt solar array opens in Buffalo, New York.

According to PR of yesterday from the University at Buffalo, UB’s 3,200-Panel ‘Solar Strand’ to be Dedicated at Opening Ceremony: Will provide enough electricity to power hundreds of student apartments on campus,

In celebration of Earth Day and to promote clean, renewable energy development, the University at Buffalo and New York Power Authority (NYPA) will dedicate the UB Solar Strand, the 3,200-panel photovoltaic array, at an opening ceremony on Monday, April 23.

Those panels seem inclined quite a bit more than ones around here. That’s because UB is at 43 degrees north latitude, way north of our 31 degrees. And there’s a lot less sun up there, too. Yet they just installed a solar array more than twice as big as the 350 KW array in Valdosta.

UB is a university, and it uses the project for more than a single practical purpose:

Continue reading

Animal shelter director fired

Animal shelter board received report, and then acted on it!

Charlie Specht wrote for the Buffalo News Monday, Embattled Faso fired as Niagara SPCA chief: Board move follows furor, scathing report on shelter,

The leaders of the SPCA of Niagara hired John A. Faso as executive director in April 2010 after interviewing a series of “remarkable” applicants.

“We were really impressed with the quality, but John stood out,” board President Bruno A. “Brandy” Scrufari III said at the time. “We were confident he’s here to stay for quite some time.”

Those high hopes came crashing down Monday as the board voted to fire its embattled executive director after a month of criticism and a scathing report outlining a dysfunctional culture and unnecessary and cruel euthanasia practices.

“This is a quick, decisive, positive reaction to go forward,” said Paul J. Cambria Jr., the defense attorney advising the board. “They’re well on their way to fixing it.”

It took less than one week for them to act after getting the report.


SPCA report on animal shelter: “Childish Behavior” and lack of oversight

No, not here (although the description might fit): SPCA of Erie County, New York reported on the animal shelter in neighboring Niagara County, New York. Also the parts about “horrific” animal cruelty and “excruciatingly painful” euthanasia may sound familiar. wrote today, SPCA of Niagara Report; “Childish Behavior”, Lack of Oversight,

In part of her report, Carr writes, “It’s clear that the NCSPCA is dysfunctional in many ways. Without standard operating procedures, without careful record keeping and record retrieval, without trust of one another, without a clear chain or command, with any strategies to improve, this organization will continue to disappoint and enrage the community,”

She continues, “there is an overwhelming culture of distrust at the shelter. Some staff distrust the Executive Director, the Executive Director distrusts many of the board members, many board members distrust the Executive Director and some staff and volunteers distrust some staff and staff distrusts some volunteers. Everyone seems to distrust someone associated with the SPCA. They gossip, pass on written complaints about each other to one another, try to get each other fired, go behind backs of one another to people in authority and make complaints. The evaluation team has witnessed this rather childish behavior at all levels of the organization, by board members, the Executive Director, staff members, and volunteers.”

Charlie Specht wrote for the Buffalo News yesterday, Probe details ‘horrific’ animal cruelty at Niagara SPCA: Report by Erie County counterpart details ‘excruciatingly painful’ euthanasia, Continue reading

Community gardens in buffalo

Brian Meyer wrote in the Buffalo News 15 June 2011, Community gardeners’ wait is over – after 3 years, Council OKs leases
Gardeners are ready to “get dirty” following Tuesday’s Common Council passage of long-awaited leases to turn 34 vacant city-owned lots into neighborhood oases.

Lawmakers approved the leases unanimously and without debate. Some community gardeners have been eagerly awaiting the action for three years.

Mayor Byron W. Brown’s administration delayed submitting the master leases because of numerous concerns. The logjam ended late last week when city planners sent the proposed agreements to the Council for final action.

“We have our insurance signed up, so we’ll Continue reading

Solar Companies Booming in Buffalo

There’s still time to lead the solar parade:
“The solar market is the fastest-growing market worldwide, bar none,” said Ryne P. Raffaelle, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Center for Photovoltaics in Colorado. “For the last half-dozen years, it’s grown at about a 40 to 45 percent compound annual growth rate per year.”

That growth is expected to accelerate next year, said Raffaelle, who was a Rochester Institute of Technology faculty member for 10 years. But the vast majority of that growth, both in the manufacturing and deployment of systems, is happening outside the United States. Asia has taken a “commanding lead” in manufacturing, and Europe leads in deployment, he said.

“But the rest of the world, they’re still watching the United States. They still see us as the 800-pound gorilla,” Raffaelle said. “It’s like, ‘When are they going to do something?'”

That was from a conference held in the Buffalo area recently.

In Buffalo, New York, they’re not just talking about solar power: Continue reading

If it’s sunny enough in Buffalo….

Charlotte Hsu writes in the UB Reporter about Site preparation to begin on ‘Solar Strand’:
Workers will begin mowing, clearing and grading land adjacent to Flint Road next month to make way for “The Solar Strand,” a 1.1 megawatt solar-energy array designed by internationally renowned landscape architect Walter Hood and funded by a $7.5 million grant from the New York Power Authority.

The installation, with 5,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels powering more than 700 student apartments at UB, is calculated to reduce carbon emissions by more than 500 metric tons per year. That will bring the university closer to its goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030 under its Climate Action Plan. But the project is more than a means of generating energy.

Buffalo is at 42 degrees 53 minutes north, about a thousand miles north of Valdosta at 30 degrees 49 minutes north. On the NREL solar radiation map, Buffalo shows significantly less solar radiation than Valdosta.

So if Buffalo can do it, why can’t Valdosta? Continue reading

Jails in Erie County, NY: DoJ Sues

Jail conditions are a widespread problem. Matthew Spina reports in the Buffalo News about Erie County, New York jails:
“Jails must provide for the basic medical and mental health needs of inmates and must keep them safe from attacks by other inmates and excessive force by staff,” Loretta King, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

“We have repeatedly sought the county’s cooperation in working toward an amicable resolution in this matter, and we regret that the county’s failure to cooperate compels us to litigate,” she continued.

“In light of the severity of the conditions, including multiple suicides and beatings, we must take action to ensure that the constitutional rights of those persons detained at the facilities, many of whom have not been convicted of any crime, are protected.”

This is a continuation of series on incarceration started on Canopy Roads of South Georgia; that series is now moving over here to On the LAKE Front.