Daily Archives: May 22, 2020


Rev. Craig Pridgen, Senior Pastor at True Bethel Baptist Church – Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls Ministerial Council

Congressman Brian Higgins

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino

Niagara County Legislator Owen Steed

Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek

Ed Walker, Partnership Specialist with the New York Regional Census Center


Residents are invited to a drive-thru giveaway event distributing cloth masks and materials related to the 2020 Census.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Hard to Count” map, as of May 21, 2020, only a little over half (52.2%) of residents living in the City of Niagara Falls have self-responded to the 2020 Census thus far.

(Click here to see the map: https://bit.ly/3e8acB0)

Residents can reply to the Census:
Online: https://my2020census.gov/
Phone: 844-330-2020
Mail: U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center
1201 E 10th Street Jeffersonville, IN 47132


True Bethel Baptist Church

1112 South Avenue

Niagara Falls


TOMORROW – Saturday, May 23, 2020

The event runs from 12:00 – 2:00PM

***Leaders will be available for comments & questions at 12:15pm






Theresa Kennedy

Communications Director

Rep. Brian Higgins

716-852-3501 (office)

716-803-4281 (cell)


Multiple sclerosis took its toll on Domingo Santiago, leading him to retire after 20 years on the force and taking away his ability to create art.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Underneath his Buffalo Police uniform, Domingo Santiago was a man who loved nothing more than his family, serving his community, and grabbing a hold of a paintbrush.

“He loved to create. It was his passion. But he knew it was something that wouldn’t provide a consistent and stable life,” said his daughter, Elizabeth Santiago.

Domingo traded in pursuing an art career to protect his favorite city in the world instead.

Eventually he gave into his creative side. He built an art studio on the back of his house, creating only one portrait.

“That was like his piece de resistance. That was the big piece that he worked on,” Elizabeth said.

The Sting fan never was able to get back in the studio though. Domingo was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The disease took its toll, leading him to retire after 20 years on the force and taking away his ability to create.

“He couldn’t even hold a paintbrush. It was devastating to watch that happen,” Elizabeth said.

In 2016, Domingo, a dying man, was forced to ask his family for one last wish: get his one and only portrait to Sting.

“In that moment I thought, ‘OK, dad.’ I’m his daughter, and that’s what I’m meant to do then,” Elizabeth said.

Four years later, that wish is now being granted all thanks to a “Humans of New York” post that’s gone viral.

“It was less than one hour after the posting … that I got a text message from Mickey, Sting’s daughter.”

Now that one-of-a-kind painting is on its way to Domingo’s biggest icon.

“My dad would be like, ‘It’s about time you do what you’re told,’ ” Elizabeth said.

Though he isn’t able to give it to the rock legend himself, he’s celebrating in heaven like a true Sting fan would.

“I think he’s dancing to the Police song, ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,’ because I did it dad. We did it,” Elizabeth said.

By Tony Farina

Robert Quintana, labeled the comeback kid by many of his supporters, has scored three consecutive courtroom decisions affirming his petitions in the 149th Assembly District primary set for June 23.

First, it was the Erie County Board of Elections that ruled Quintana had more than enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

But his main opponent in the Democratic primary, Jon Rivera, ponied up big dollars to try and knock Quintana off the ballot, but he lost at every level, beginning in State Supreme Court.

After the Supreme Court decision in Quintana’s favor, Rivera went to the state Appellate Court where he lost 5 – 0 and then he lost a bid to have the state’s highest court take up his challenge and the Court of Appeals would not hear the case.

Despite spending big dollars in legal challenges, Rivera must now face Quintana in the primary, something he fought hard and spent heavy to avoid.

“We won every step of the way,” said Quintana, “and despite his wild spending, we are on the ballot and are focusing on the issues that are important to all New Yorkers. Our mission: come out of this pandemic and take care of the needs of our constituents.”

Quintana, a retired. Buffalo police officer, is a former Niagara District councilman who has decided he has more to do to help improve lives of his fellow citizens and is working extremely hard to win the 149th District seat.

Mascarilla Gratis, Comida Y Pruebas

BUFFALO, N.Y.  Local community organizers, business and healthcare providers are taking care of community needs during COVID 19.

On May 30th at 12pm Local business, community organizers and healthcare providers will be hosting a Free Mask, Gloves, Hand Sanitizer, COVID 19 Guidance, Food and Testing Event at the corner of Niagara Street and Hudson Street in Buffalo, NY.  At the Future Home the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute.

This Event is a continuation of a testing and Contract tracing which Dr. Raul Vazquez of Urban Family Practice, GBUAHN and over ten churches from the area, which began over a month ago. G-Health Enterprises is teaming up with other organizations to help. G-Health Enterprises continues to run it Mobile Units, which is testing, contact tracing and offering PPE supplies to people of color in under served areas of the City of Buffalo. Robert Quintana is one of the coordinators in G-Health Enterprises efforts to address the COVID 19 Pandemic.

G-Health Enterprises Mobile Unit will be on site to offer Free Testing & Contact Tracing.

For those unable to attend event! Call GBUAHN at 716 882-0366 or 716 604-0504 for Mobile Pick-up, Testing, Contact Tracing and assistance Monday thru Friday 9am to 4 pm.

Earlier in the month The Pucho Olivencia Community center came together to help people affected by the pandemic.

Volunteers distributed free masks and gloves to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. They also held a toy drive with the help of Fisher-Price and Watkins Glen.

Wilmer Olivencia says being in the City of Good Neighbors inspired them to give back.

“Whatever critical information that someone could use during this time. We decided to put it in a bag and give it away. We just want to practice safe social distancing making the importance of wearing masks and wearing gloves so we can get through this pandemic and get back to what we thought was normal.”

Olivencia says cars lined up around the block so people could get their hands on personal protective equipment, demonstrating the need in the city

Sponsor for this event include: G- Health Enterprises, Goya, Russell’s Restaurant, AARP, UPD Dental, The Buffalo Sabres, James Desiderio, Healthcare Education Project, Hispanic American Veterans, BestSelf Behavioral Health, Congressman Higgins, Senator Tim Kennedy, Robert Quintana, Association of Hispanic Pastors, Project Flight, Assemblyman Sean Ryan, Buffalo Common Council, Mayor Byron Brown and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples Stokes.

During a time when many people are struggling financially, one café is looking to provide a meal to everyone through a pay-as-you-can system.

Big Big Table Community Café located at 272 Hudson Street in Buffalo, is preparing to open Western New York’s first pay-as-you-can lunchtime restaurant.

“There are people who are unemployed. You know some people are receiving benefits, but some people are still trying to get through the system. And even at that, it’s just a huge adjustment,” says building owner Jose Cotto.

Grounded in the motto “Everybody eats. Everybody gives. Everybody matters,” the board of directors is working to offer nutritious meals, regardless of the person’s ability to pay.

“One of the things that makes our model unique is we will have a literal big, big table in our dining room and no matter whether you pay 20 dollars for your lunch or 20 cents for your lunch, you can be right there eating next to your neighbor. We really want this to be a place that is inclusive,” says Board of Director’s President Stephanie Smith.

Menu items will have a suggested donation amount, and non-financial contributions will be encouraged. This all is being made possible thanks to volunteer efforts and donations, as well as strong relationships with local farmers and restaurateurs.

“There is a community garden right across the street. We’re really excited to work with that and see about growing fresh produce and herbs that we can serve at the café,” says Smith.

Right as Big Big Table Community Café was about to open, the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York, and plans were thwarted. But the board of directors didn’t let go of their dream.

Instead, they worked harder to get ready to open sometime this year and help those who will be suffering from the aftermath of the shutdown.

“I think all of us have had times when resources are tight, the bank account is low,” says Smith.

A 30-Day GiveGab Campaign is currently underway through June 12th.

This fundraiser will help secure commercial kitchen equipment, so that the cafe can open when it’s safe to do so with the pandemic. More information can be found here.

More than 1,600 WNY businesses participated in WNY COVID-19 Business Impact Survey

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership released the results of the WNY COVID-19 Business Impact Survey today with nearly every respondent reporting a loss of revenue due to the pandemic.  More than 1,600 businesses throughout Western New York – half of them deemed essential by New York State – participated in the survey.  The Partnership joined with the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, the counties of Erie and Niagara, and nearly 20 local chambers and economic development organizations to launch the effort to better gauge the impacts of COVID-19 on WNY businesses and employers.

Financial impact:

  • 93% of respondents are experiencing a decline in revenue related to COVID-19
    • Most report a loss of 50% or less of expected revenue
  • 3 out of 5 businesses have postponed investment, many of them indefinitely
  • 75% of respondents have applied or are planning to apply for federal business assistance loans
  • 51% of businesses are reducing variable costs
  • 43% are reducing fixed costs
  • 2 out of 3 respondents report implementing a staffing change including reducing positions or adjusting wages/salaries
    • More than 1/3 of businesses have reduced staff, mainly through temporary layoff or furloughs
  • 60% of respondents have implemented a hiring freeze
  • 60% of respondents have implemented a hiring freeze

“For those of us monitoring the fallout from COVID-19, the results of the survey are not shocking, but they are a stark indicator of how much work lies ahead for the public and private sectors as our community pivots to recovery,” said Dottie Gallagher, President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.  “COVID-19 has brought about an unprecedented economic upheaval.  Recovery will largely depend on government, at all levels, responding to needs and providing vital supports, while the private sector must collaborate in new ways to ensure Wester New York business, large and small, rebound as quickly as possible.”

Most pressing short-term concerns 

  • 79% – Decline in revenue/sales
  • 63% – Cash flow
  • 42% – Wellbeing and safety of employees

Most pressing long-term concerns 

  • 73% – Decline in revenue/sales
  • 56% – Cash flow
  • 40% – Cash reserves 

How government can be most helpful:

  • 60% – Expand and/or streamline federal loan programs
  • 55% – Payroll tax cut
  • 41% – Fast-track the release of reimbursements for contract work
  • 28% – Repeal or suspension of certain reporting requirements

Readiness to work remotely:

  • 1 out 3 respondents report not being prepared to switch to remote operations
  • A quarter of responding businesses were prepared to deploy remote operation plans
  • 1 in 5 respondents still do not have a functioning remote plan in place

Biggest concerns for the community:

  • 35% – Permanent closure of local small businesses
  • 31% – Health of the U.S. economy

Professional services, retail, construction and manufacturing were the top industries represented in the responses with 71 percent of respondents identifying themselves as private sector and the remainder identifying as non-profit or independent contractors.  Eighty-one percent of respondents employ 50 or fewer people.

The survey results will be detailed during a webinar on Wednesday, May 6 at 1:00 pm featuring Gallagher, as well as representatives from Mower.  The firm donated its services to help design and distribute the survey using best practices.  You can register for to participate in the webinar HERE.

The following entities joined the Partnership in this effort: 


  • City of Buffalo
  • City of Niagara Falls
  • Erie County
  • Niagara County


  • Amherst Chamber of Commerce
  • Amherst IDA
  • Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce
  • Construction Exchange of Buffalo and WNY
  • County of Cattaraugus IDA
  • Destination Niagara USA
  • Erie County Industrial Development Agency
  • Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Lockport Development Corporation
  • Invest Buffalo Niagara
  • Kenmore and Tonawanda Chamber of Commerce
  • Niagara County Center for Economic Development
  • Niagara USA Chamber
  • Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce
  • Springville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Southtowns Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Visit Buffalo Niagara
  • Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism


The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Partnership members employ more than a quarter of a million people in the Buffalo Niagara region. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara through advocacy, business development, and convening


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