Yearly Archives: 2018

    (OTTOWA) Following Monday’s van attack in Toronto, which left 10 dead and 15 injured, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke in front of the House of Commons Tuesday morning.

    Trudeau: The events that took place yesterday in Toronto were a senseless attack and horrific tragedy. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of all those who were killed and we wish a full recovery to those injured and stand with the families and friends of the victims.

    I speak for every one of us in thanking the First Responders at the scene. They handled this extremely difficult situation with professionalism and bravery.

    They faced danger without a moment of hesitation and there is no doubt that their courage saved lives and prevented further injuries.

    The entire community of Toronto has shown strength and determination in the face of this tragedy. All Canadians stand united with Toronto today.

    Finally, I will note the excellent collaboration between all orders of government and law enforcement in the handling of this situation.

    We’re continuing to monitor it closely and work with our law enforcement Partners around the country to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.

    Trudeau’s earlier comments

    On Monday, Trudeau had released a statement about the attack. Here’s what he said at the time:

    “It was with great sadness that I heard about the tragic and senseless attack that took place in Toronto this afternoon. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of those who were killed, and my thoughts for a fast and full recovery to those injured.

    “I thank the first responders at the scene who managed this extremely difficult situation with courage and professionalism. They faced danger without hesitation, and their efforts no doubt saved lives and prevented further injuries.

    “We should all feel safe walking in our cities and communities. We are monitoring this situation closely, and will continue working with our law enforcement partners around the country to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.”

    (Rochester, NY) The debate over what to do with a gravel-covered lot at the center of Midtown embodies much of Rochester’s development arguments in recent years.

    Nearly everyone knows about – and has thoughts about – the conflict over Parcel 5. The city, which owns the property; the Rochester Broadway Theatre League; and developer Morgan Management are advancing plans for a 3,000-seat theater along Main Street with an adjoining 150-unit apartment complex. But a web of people and groups want the site turned into a public space: not just a park, but a spot for performances and events.

    They point to the buildings on all sides of the lot and the new high-end apartments in them and they ask a direct question: who is all this development for? Too often, they say, it benefits developers and a select group of people at the expense of a neighborhood or community.

    Sunday, during an Earth Day event at Parcel 5, members of more than 30 neighborhood, community, and activist organizations joined together and raised the same point, this time about development city-wide. They’re part of a new coalition, Our Land Roc, which is urging the city to change its approach to development so that it’s more collaborative and gives the public a greater voice.

    “There are many people who are not involved in the process” and who are often negatively impacted by development, Rachel Rosen Simpson, a member of Rochester Democratic Socialists of American and Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, said during the coalition’s press conference at the event.

    The coalition is also emphasizing the importance of ensuring that Rochester has an adequate supply of truly affordable housing, that new development doesn’t displace neighborhood residents, and that any new construction is environmentally sustainable.

    Some members of the coalition are trying to stop a proposed six-building apartment complex that would replace Cobbs Hill Village, a low-income senior housing complex surrounded by Cobbs Hill Park. Others were involved in the fight against a proposed boutique hotel in Charlotte; the project has since been withdrawn. The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition wants the city to hold developers to aggressive energy efficiency requirements if a project receives incentives.

    The PLEX Neighborhood Association, which is a coalition member, has been paying close attention to DHD Ventures’ plans for redeveloping the former Vacuum Oil property. The brownfield has been a burden on the PLEX community for a long time, and the association wants to ensure that any new development benefits residents and doesn’t displace them.

    PLEX leaders are pushing for DHD and the City of Rochester, which owns property adjacent to the Vacuum Oil site, to perform the most aggressive cleanup possible. They’re also pushing for the project to include businesses that would serve existing residents, such as grocery and hardware stores.

    And they’re trying to get the city to provide funding for at least the first phase of the proposed PLEX Park; the project was designed in three phases and carries a $1.6 million price tag.

    The city and developers should be listening to these kinds of neighborhood-level concerns, wants, and needs, and addressing them, said PLEX Neighborhood Association Vice President Dorian Hall during the press conference. Our Land Roc hopes to use grassroots organizing to build pressure on the city to change its practices.

    “This is where it all starts,” Hall said during the press conference.

    Our Land Roc also presented a list of five demands it has for the city around land-use policies and practices.

    Its members want the city to implement inclusionary zoning policies, which require developers to include a certain percentage of affordable units in each housing project. The city already does this when developers receive certain incentives, but some housing activists say the units aren’t truly affordable. Our Land Roc wants the city to change its affordable-housing formulas so they’re based on city median incomes and not county figures, which is what it currently uses.

    The existing formula “generates skewed estimates for affordable housing,” Hall said.

    The coalition is also calling for participatory budgeting, where residents have more input into how city discretionary funds are spent. They want the city to notify residents about project proposals at the neighborhood level, instead of basing the notifications on distance from the project, and to provide “ample time for residents to comment and provide meaningful input.”

    Our Land Roc wants to see the city start using community benefits agreements. Those are contracts between developers, the city, and the neighborhood a project is in that are intended to ensure a neighborhood’s needs are acknowledged and addressed.

    And the coalition wants the city to embrace community land trusts, which are a mechanism to protect and provide affordable housing.

    Late last year, City Roots Community Land Trust led a successful fundraising campaign to help Liz McGriff buy her Cedarwood Terrace house out of foreclosure; the trust took ownership of the land. The organization is currently working to add two more properties and is applying for grant funding.

    “We’re putting the question of affordability directly into the hands of the community,” says Joe Di Fiore, president of City Roots Community Land Trust’s board. “We control the property ourselves. We can dictate what is affordable as determined by the community. That’s a really powerful tool. Then there’s no one else to blame.

    The 42 empty storefronts on Elmwood Avenue from Allen Street to Forest Avenue represent restaurants, boutiques and food markets that have closed their doors in recent years. Some of those businesses have moved to Hertal Avenue or other parts of the city.

    Some business owners claim that high rents, crime and and aging infrastructure is the cause for the change but what ever the concerns the closures is resulting in a vacancy rate of over 24 percent and that has caught the attention of city and state officials.

    Mayor Brown, Councilman Rivera and Councilmen Feroleto  will meet with State Sen. Chris Jacobs and Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan this week to discuss retail concerns on Elmwood, including parking, vacancies and decreasing foot traffic. An advisory group including representatives from the retail and residential communities will also be formed, Rivera said.

    “That is an alarming amount of vacancies,” said Ashley Smith, executive director of Elmwood Village Association. “A healthy vacancy rate is 7 to 10 percent. You need some room for businesses to come and go, so I’m not overly concerned. The vacancy rate is high where blocks are in transition.”

    To be sure, there are plenty of thriving shops and restaurants along the Elmwood strip, and some vacancies have been quickly filled. When longtime clothing store Urban Leisure and Luxury closed its doors in August after 25 years, for example, its location was filled less then two months later with a Ten Thousand Villages.

    But while the Elmwood Avenue strip has seen businesses come and go for years, several blocks affected by the closure of Women & Children’s Hospital are a concern for community leaders.

    The Elmwood-Hodge neighborhood is transitioning after the loss of Women and Children’s Hospital, Smith said.

    “You’ve lost the economic activity of that hospital since November,” Smith said. “That’s an 8-acre redevelopment site, and the status of the build-out is not clear.”

    Newbury Salads owner Paul Tsouflidis closed his shop at 470 Elmwood after his lease expired, Smith said. A sign on his former storefront said he moved the business to Hertel Avenue.

    “You’re looking at a lunch business that decreased because of the hospital closing and less foot traffic,” Smith said. “I would not be surprised to see it vacant until we see the site development resolved.”

    Tommy Cowan, 38, closed Mid-Town Kitchen at 451 Elmwood in December. The restaurant known for its strong lunch crowd and night scene had a dinner business that struggled, he said.

    It’s a different story at Forty Thieves Kitchen & Bar, a pub that opened in August 2017 at 727 Elmwood, said Cowan.

    “It’s like night and day, the difference between the 400 block and the 700 block of Elmwood,” said Cowan. “It’s like a ghost town in the 400 block. It’s weird.

    “You see success with walkability. In other areas with vacant storefronts, you have destination spots where you park and drive, and park and drive.”

    The former Casa Di Pizza at Hodge and Elmwood remains vacant, long after it relocated downtown. The former Habibi Sheesha Lounge at 476 Elmwood closed down in January 2015 and remains shuttered.

    At least one property owner had an unusual approach to filling a vacant storefront. The new owner of Mother Nature Plant Emporium, 712 Elmwood, polled passersby with a sign, “What should go here?”

    Feroleto hopes to introduce a Commercial Lease Assistance Program for Elmwood merchants similar to one offered small business owners in New York City. He also pointed to online sales, high rental rates and decreasing foot traffic as factors in the 17 percent vacancy rate.

    The Elmwood Village Association works closely with residents and retailers to improve the quality of life in the commercial strip and surrounding neighborhoods, said Smith.

    The marketing concept of geofencing may be coming to retailers along Elmwood, said Smith. The concept allows the store to send a location-triggered alert to passersby informing them of a sale or special offer.

    “One of the hardest thing for business owners is to keep up with technological marketing trends,” said Smith. “A five-person business cannot compete with Amazon. What we do see prospering are salons, spas and tattoo shops – because you can’t get (those services) online.”

    (BUFFALO, NY) – Some CCS Oncology patients are still trying to figure out where they will continue their cancer treatments.

    The practice filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy early this month.

    Just last week, 1,700 current patients received a notice from the practice that it’s closing on Friday at 5:00 pm.

    “I really wasn’t expecting them to close, I really wasn’t,” said Tom Burns, CCS Oncology patient.

    Burns has been a CCS patient for two years receiving treatments for throat and lung cancer. His treatments ended in 2016 and Burns is now seeing an oncologist for follow-up visits.

    Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has agreed to make its services and facilities available for those patients requiring clinical care. A community patient forum was held Monday to meet with patients and discuss their options.

    “We feel obligated in some respect to support our community. Whatever problem they have, Roswell Park is able to deal with it,” said Dr. Boris Kuvshinoff.

    Roswell Park cares for about 30,000 cancer patients. Dr. Kuvshinoff says taking on 1,700 patients, if that’s the case, is a small number compared to the amount they see on a regular basis.

    It’s up to CCS patients to decide whether they want to receive care at Roswell or someplace else.

    “It’s not going to bother me, I’m okay with the switch. I’m comfortable with it, as comfortable as you can be,” said Burns.

    Roswell Park officials say patients have already shared their concerns as many treatments could be interrupted, but they want all patients, especially those getting active treatments, to make the switch immediately.

    “We understand what it feels like to be in the middle of something as serious as cancer and suddenly have your life line removed and so we just want to make sure the message to them is, we’re here,” said Dr. Kuvshinoff.

    Appointments scheduled after Friday at CCS Oncology will be canceled. Officials told the public a small number of appointments may be kept as scheduled for next week, but the practice recommends checking with your doctor.

    A federal appeals court on Thursday said the U.S. Justice Department cannot deny public safety grants to so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

    By: Reuters

    The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court injunction in a case brought by the city of Chicago. The appeals court agreed the injunction should apply nationally while the lawsuit proceeds in federal court.

    The case is one of a number of battles between the administration of Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic state and local leaders over immigration, healthcare, the environment and other issues.

    Chicago sued last year after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would cut off cities from certain Justice Department grants unless they allowed federal immigration authorities unlimited access to local jails and provided 48 hours’ notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations.

    The lawsuit contended that Sessions exceeded his authority by imposing new conditions beyond those Congress prescribed when it established the grant program. In its ruling on Thursday, a three-judge Seventh Circuit panel said its role was not to decide national immigration policy, but rather to protect the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government.

    “The Attorney General in this case used the sword of federal funding to conscript state and local authorities to aid in federal civil immigration enforcement,” the court wrote. “But the power of the purse rests with Congress”

    Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said the agency believes it exercised authority given by Congress to promote cooperation with immigration authorities. “We will continue to fight to carry out the Department’s commitment to the rule of law, protecting public safety, and keeping criminal aliens off the streets to further perpetrate crimes,” O’Malley said.

    Trump made tougher immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his campaign and presidency, along with a pledge to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border. All three judges on the Seventh Circuit panel were nominated by Republican presidents.

    Police agencies in so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, have generally barred their officers from routinely checking individuals’ immigration status, and from keeping anyone locked up longer than otherwise warranted at the request of immigration agents.

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Thursday the city will stand its ground when it comes to immigrants. “We’re not going to allow the Trump Justice Department to bully our values,” he said.

    The grants at issue under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, or Byrne JAG program, typically are used to help police improve crime-fighting techniques, buy new equipment and assist victims of crime.

    After a Chicago judge issued the nationwide injunction last September, the Justice Department said in a court filing it would be forced to delay grants to law enforcement across the country regardless of sanctuary status while the litigation proceeds.

    Edward Siskel, Chicago’s corporation counsel, said on Thursday the city would continue to fight for the federal government to release withheld grant funds.

    Would your relationship stand up to the scrutiny of the American government? Take the test.

    Marrying an American citizen is considered a shortcut to getting a green card, but it’s not a guarantee.

    Every marriage is tested at times, some more literally than others.

    The marriages of immigrants to American citizens must stand up to the scrutiny of the United States government, which is always on the lookout for people gaming the system for a green card.

    When did you meet? Does your spouse have a tattoo? What movies did you watch when you started dating? (One tip: Don’t say “Green Card.”) Couples must prove that their relationships are real by providing proof they live together or photographs of their time together.

    Still, officials and immigration lawyers caution that answering all of the questions correctly doesn’t necessarily result in a green card. And lately, the bar has been a lot higher for immigrants in the country illegally.

    Here is a sampling of questions gathered from immigration lawyers that you can test with your partner. (In the real world, officers can separate applicants to make sure they’re not gaming the system.) The questions will get more difficult as we go on.

    • How did you meet?
    • How soon after you met did you start dating?
    • When did you meet each other’s families?
    • How did you decide on getting married?
    • Where did you buy the ring?
    • What was the wedding like and who attended?
    • What did you do afterward?
    • Where did you eat?

    The goal is to tell the immigration officer your love story.

    In approaching the interviews, immigration officers assume the relationship is a fraud. The green card process is long and drawn out, and the burden of proof is on the couple. Anyone caught lying could face prison time and a fine of up to $250,000. The immigrant could also be barred from getting a marriage-based green card ever again.

    “We have seen more scrutiny and more questions about marriage lately,” said Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, an immigration lawyer in Austin.

    Depending on the interview, an immigration officer might also ask more difficult questions:

    • Draw me a diagram of your bedroom.
    • How do you enter your home?
    • What subway does your spouse take?
    • What did you do last night?
    • What did you do for Christmas?
    • What gift did you give your spouse?
    • When was the last time your spouse saw the mother-in-law?
    • Where did you first meet your spouse’s brothers and sisters?
    • Does your spouse have any tattoos or hospitalizations?

    The officer could also do a number of other things:

    • Visit your home or park outside to see if you both actually live there.
    • Talk to your neighbors.
    • Dive into public records.

    If the immigration officer is still not convinced once the process is complete, the applicant could receive a notice of intent to deny. The applicant has a chance to respond and, if the response is denied, file a new petition or appeal, which can be expensive. In some cases, applicants are referred to immigration court. Red flags that immigration officials look for are disparities in age, religious and linguistic differences, and if either person has already been through the immigration process with someone else.

    One tip from an immigration lawyer: Have an attorney present during the interview, and make eye contact, which in some cultures is not the norm. An officer could “judge this person through the lens of American culture, even though that person could be newly in the U.S.,” said Michael R. Jarecki, an immigration lawyer in Chicago.

    Let us know how you did in the comments. Or if you’ve been through the process in real life, share your experiences. And here are more questions.



    By Shreeya Sinha and Sean Plambeck


    The Erie County Department of Social Services is pleased to announce the 2018 Erie County Summer Youth Program (SYEP). The program operates from July 9, 2018 through August 31, 2018. You are invited to participate!

    If your family receives Temporary Assistance (Family Assistance/Safety Net), Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits; or if the child receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your child is income-qualified for the program. Applicants who do not receive the aforementioned benefits must verify that their household income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

    Erie County encourages the participation of children in foster care or juvenile justice systems, homeless and runaway youth, and youth with disabilities. Applicants must be between the ages of 14 and 20 years old on May 17, 2018. Youth accepted into the program participate 20 hours per week and earn minimum wage ($10.40 per hour). 

    The following is a list of documents that are required to determine program eligibility; applications are considered complete when all required documents are received:

    §  TANF Youth Service Application

    §  Pre-Employment Interest Questionnaire

    §  Signed Consent for Release of Information Form

    §  Working Papers are required for all youth ages 14-17, and must be submitted with the application.

    §  Working paper applications can be obtained at school and must be submitted through the school Guidance Counselor.

    Please complete all of the required forms and submit the entire packet to:

    Erie County Social Services, Comprehensive Employment Division, 290 Main Street – 10th Floor, Buffalo, NY 14202.     If you have any questions or need assistance in completing the forms, please call (716) 858-4584.   
    The deadline for submitting an application is Friday, May 25, 2018.

    Image result for Buffalo Employment and Training Center

    Buffalo Employment and Training Center

    77 Goodell St., Buffalo, NY 14203 

    716-856-5627 / 716-856-5670– Fax  

    Orientation Times: Monday – Thursday, 10 am or 2 pm.

    Our job announcements, news and other info are also available on Facebook, LinkedIn, 

    Twitter @BETC updates and Instagram @BETC716

    Mayor: Byron W. Brown   County Executive: Mark C. Poloncarz  Exec. Director, BETC:  Demone Smith


    Jody Starr
    Career Advisor-Replacement/Retention Specialist
    (Adult, Dislocated Worker, Youth)
    Buffalo Employment and Training Center
    77 Goodell Street

    Buffalo New York 14203




      WASHINGTON — The Justice Department sent to Capitol Hill on Thursday redacted copies of a set of closely kept memos written by James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, about his interactions with President Trump.

      The memos, running 15 pages in total, detail a series of phone calls and encounters between the two men in the months leading up to Mr. Comey’s firing and offer an intimate look at interactions among the highest levels of government.

      On one such occasion, memorialized in copies of the memos obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey that he had serious reservations about Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser. Mr. Trump shared an anecdote about how, shortly after his election victory, Mr. Flynn did not promptly tell him that a foreign leader had called to congratulate him.

      Mr. Comey said that Mr. Trump, in retelling the story, had pointed his fingers at his head, saying, “The guy has serious judgment issues.”

      The name of the foreign leader was redacted by the Justice Department.

      “I did not comment at any point during this topic and there was no mention or acknowledgment of any F.B.I. interest in or contact with General Flynn,” Mr. Comey wrote.

      Mr. Flynn was fired days later for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and others about the details of his conversation with a Russian ambassador.

      The broad outlines of the memos have already been reported by The Times, and were relayed by Mr. Comey in testimony before the Senate and in his recent memoir, “A Higher Loyalty.” But they are believed to be key evidence in a possible obstruction of justice case against Mr. Trump being pursued by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Mueller was appointed after Mr. Comey was dismissed in May.

      Select lawmakers have been allowed to view redacted versions of the memos at the Justice Department. But three House Republican committee chairmen requested Friday that they be sent to Congress, and made clear this week that they were willing to issue a subpoena to compel Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to do so.

      The Justice Department is expected to deliver on Friday unredacted versions of the memos to lawmakers via a secure transfer.

        WASHINGTON — Mike Pompeo came close on Thursday to clinching confirmation as the nation’s 70th secretary of state when Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota, announced her support. But before that triumph, he is expected to face a historic rebuke from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which most likely will not recommend his confirmation.

        Ms. Heitkamp, who faces a difficult re-election fight in a state that President Trump won handily, said in a statement that Mr. Pompeo had convinced her that he would rebuild the State Department, which was seriously depleted under the previous secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson.

        “At a time of peril around the world, we need to exhaust all diplomatic options before sending the brave men and women of the armed forces into dangerous situations that could escalate out of control,” she said.

        Ms. Heitkamp’s announcement is likely to push other moderate Democrats facing re-election in states that Mr. Trump won to follow suit. Many of those senators — including Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri — voted for Mr. Pompeo last year when he was confirmed to be C.I.A. director, and they are under renewed pressure at home to show they are willing to vote with Mr. Trump’s interests from time to time.

        But before an expected full Senate vote, the Foreign Relations Committee — with 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats — is scheduled to vote on Mr. Pompeo’s nomination Monday evening. Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, has said he will vote against Mr. Pompeo, and all 10 Democrats appear likely to do the same. The committee’s chairman, Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, has vowed to send Mr. Pompeo’s nomination to the full Senate anyway.

        Still, a rejection would serve as yet another sign of the extraordinary level of partisan animosity now gripping Washington, and could bruise Mr. Pompeo’s standing as the nation’s top diplomat.



        NFTA Metro Police officers are asking for help finding a missing teenager.

        Police say 14-year-old Beonica Henley was last seen Wednesday evening at a friend’s home in Buffalo.

        According to officers, the Buffalo teenager may have been at a Metro Rail location over the past 24 hours. Transit Police are working collaboratively with the Buffalo Police Department.

        Anyone with information is asked to contact Transit Police at 855-6405.


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