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Last updated: Wed, 23 Aug 2017 11:54:12 GMT

  Lewiston Jazz Festival: Top musical acts, 150 performers, Militello Mass take center stage Wed, 23 Aug 2017 10:41:10 -0400
The 16th annual Jazz Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25-26. Now known as the Northwest Jazz Festival, Lewiston, NY, and presented by Northwest Bank, the event is a jazz music lover's delight: a free, two-day event with more than 150 musicians lined up and down Center Street, with performances on a half-dozen stages.
Al Jarreau once said, "Jazz should be recognized as music of the people."
But there's a hiccup. As Esperanza Spalding noted, "The problem with jazz accessibility is not the content of the music, it people's ability to access it."
So, just where can people find live jazz music in 2017?
In New York, the answer is Lewiston.
The 16th annual Jazz Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25-26. Now known as the Northwest Jazz Festival, Lewiston, NY, and presented by Northwest Bank, the event is a jazz music lover's delight: a free, two-day event with more than 150 musicians lined up and down Center Street, with performances on a half-dozen stages.
Headlining the Northwest Jazz Festival Main Stage at 8:30 p.m. Friday is the Dave Stryker Quintet with Eric Alexander. (www.davestryker.com)
Whether you've heard guitarist Stryker leading his own group (with 27 CDs to date as a leader), co-leading The Stryker/Slagle Band, or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine or Jack McDuff, it's not hard to imagine why the Village Voice called him "one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years."
Recently voted once again into the Downbeat readers and critic's polls, Stryker will bring to the Northwest Jazz Festival stage an ensemble of today's leading jazz all-stars: Jared Gold has been consistently selected in the Downbeat critic's poll top 10 in the organ category and is regarded as one of the finest Hammond B-3 Organ performers in jazz today. Vibraphonist Steven Nelson is in the same top 10 category of recognized jazz vibraphonists. Rising star McClenty Hunter will join in on drums.
Special guest will be one of the top tenor saxophonists in jazz today: Eric Alexander, a sought-after tenor sax player who has worked with Harold Mabern, Pat Martino, Ron Carter, Vincent Herring and Steve Davis.
Stryker will release his latest CD, "Striking Ahead," just a few days after the Northwest Jazz Festival.
The Dave Stryker Quintet - he is shown above - will headline this year's Jazz Festival on Friday in Lewiston.
Headlining the Northwest Jazz Festival Main Stage at 8:30 p.m. Saturday will be The Hot Sardines. (www.HotSardines.com)
In the talented hands of the New York-based ensemble, music first made famous decades ago comes alive through a brassy horn arrangements, rollicking piano melodies, and vocals from a chanteuse who transports listeners to a different era with the mere lilt of her voice.
On "French Fries & Champagne," The Hot Sardines' new album for Universal Music Classics, the jazz collective broadens its already impressive palette, combining covers and originals as they effortlessly channel New York speakeasies, Parisian cabarets and New Orleans jazz halls.
Bandleader Evan "Bibs" Palazzo and lead singer "Miz Elizabeth" Bougerol met in 2007 after they both answered a Craigslist ad about a jazz jam session above a Manhattan noodle shop. The unlikely pair - she was a London School of Economics-educated travel writer who grew up in France, Canada and the Ivory Coast; he was a New York City-born-and-raised actor who studied theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia - bonded over their love for Fats Waller. Influenced also by such greats as Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, they began playing open mic nights and small gigs and, by 2011, they headlined "Midsummer Night Swing" at New York's Lincoln Center.
Jazz Festival Board Chairman George Osborne, a noted musical sage, and former head of Artpark & Company, said, "I believe that the Dave Stryker Quintet with special guest Eric Alexander will be a very special night for all true jazz lovers. They make music that is top drawer.
"The Hot Sardines is what the name implies. They deliver an upbeat and highly entertaining performance somewhat in the New Orleans tradition. They will provide a fabulous ending to our 16th festival."
VIP seating tickets for these two performances, $20, are available online at www.LewistonJazz.com.
The Lewiston Jazz Festival Inc. board, led by Osborne, coordinates the festival in partnership with the Town and Village of Lewiston.
Each August, this free music festival draws over 30,000 people to the quaint and historic Village of Lewiston on the Niagara River.
The festival runs from 5-10:30 p.m. Friday, and from noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Jazz music performances will take place on the Main Stage, Rising Star Stage, Peace Garden Stage, Frontier House Stage and DiCamillo Courtyard Stage.
Jazz music coordinator Tony Zambito of JazzBuffalo.org has organized 30 musical acts with more than 150 musicians over the two-day event, which is the largest outdoor jazz festival in Western New York. The Lewiston event features nonstop performances on five stages, with culinary delights and Niagara Wine Trail wineries offering fare along Center Street.
John Golding, New York region president of Northwest Bank, said he is looking forward to the upcoming festival.
"It's an honor to be the presenting sponsor of the Jazz Festival, which brings thousands of people to Lewiston every year," he said. "This is an event many of our employees look forward to attending each year; so to be involved at this level is an exciting opportunity for Northwest. We're happy to be part of this year's festivities and hope everyone will come out and support this great local event."
Scenes from last year's "Jazz Mass" at St. Peter's.
Another highlight of the weekend is the third annual "Jazz Mass" at St. Peter R.C. Church, 620 Center St. It will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday, with music by Bobby Militello and then the Mass following at 4:30 p.m.
Lori Presti, a Jazz Festival board of directors advisory board member and long-time volunteer, said, "When I suggested to Father David LiPuma of St. Peter's Church that the addition of a 'Jazz Mass' to the Lewiston Jazz Festival was something I envisioned for a long time, I was thrilled with his enthusiastic response. He embraced the idea with open arms and ran with it.
"We had no idea what the turnout would be the first year, but it became apparent that the parishioners and visitors to St. Peter's Church were in support, as well."
For the past two years, the "Jazz Mass" has been celebrated to a standing-room-only crowd with people clapping and moving back and forth to the sounds of music resonating through the church.
The performing jazz quartet will feature saxophonist Militello and a contemporary ensemble from the St. Joseph University Parish in Buffalo, under the direction of Timothy Wells.
The popular Jazz Festival Jewelry Tent also returns to Center and Fifth streets both days.
For the complete schedule of performances, VIP ticket and sponsor information, visit www.LewistonJazz.com or call the Jazz Festival office at 716-754-9500.
The Northwest Jazz Festival, Lewiston, NY is a nonprofit event supported by community donations, corporate sponsorship, the Town and Village of Lewiston and Niagara County. Numerous Buffalo/Niagara companies, organizations, provide corporate and private support, and individuals help make the festival a free event to attend.
Official notice to Center Street businesses & residents
Street closing dates and times for The Northwest Jazz Festival, Lewiston, NY
Center Street will close at 5 am Friday, Aug. 25, from Fourth to Seventh streets.
The cross streets at Fourth and Seventh streets will remain open north and south. Center Street will re-open at about 2 a.m. Sunday.
Fifth Street will be closed at the Northwest Bank drive-thru to the KeyBank drive-thru during these same hours. Customers will retain access to the drive-in areas of both banks.
Businesses are advised to make necessary arrangements for delivery trucks during these hours, as vehicles will not be permitted onto Center Street while it is closed.
  Ortt, Jacobs, Morinello, Dutchess County executive team up for ThinkDIFFERENTLY awareness campaign Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:30:00 -0400
In a joint effort to promote social acceptance and inclusiveness of individuals of all abilities, New York State Sen. Rob Ortt, U.S. Sen. Chris Jacobs and Assemblyman Angelo Morinello teamed up with Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro ON Friday for his ThinkDIFFERENTLY campaign.
Initiative promotes community inclusiveness & encourages individuals to think differently about those with developmental disabilities
In a joint effort to promote social acceptance and inclusiveness of individuals of all abilities, New York State Sen. Rob Ortt, U.S. Sen. Chris Jacobs and Assemblyman Angelo Morinello teamed up with Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro ON Friday for his ThinkDIFFERENTLY campaign.
Launched by Molinaro in 2015, the communitywide ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiative aims to break down barriers and support those living with autism and other developmental or intellectual disabilities. The campaign promotes community inclusiveness by encouraging elected leaders, neighborhoods, businesses and organizations to think differently about how they interact with individuals with special needs.
Ortt is the mental health and developmental disabilities Senate committee chairman. He said, "This campaign draws attention to mental health disorders and disabilities while encouraging open dialogue and eliminating stigma in communities. It challenges elected officials and community members to think differently about those who are differently abled. I'm proud to work with County Executive Molinaro and my colleagues in the legislature to help promote awareness, education and social acceptance in Western New York through the ThinkDIFFERENTLY campaign."
Friday's ThinkDIFFERENTLY event brought together people with developmental disabilities and their families, experts from provider agencies, local and state officials, and other professionals from various local agencies who specialize in services for those with special needs.
The campaign encourages collaboration between organizations and community leaders to find new ways to embrace, support and respect individuals with disabilities.
Molinaro said, "I've been thrilled by the response to our 'ThinkDIFFERENTLY' efforts over the past two years, and I appreciate the cities, towns and villages throughout our state which have accepted our call to change hearts and minds. I thank Sen. Ortt for his willingness to 'ThinkDIFFERENTLY' to ensure every individual of every ability has a community that welcomes them and supports them."
"Education is the key to growing understanding and increasing acceptance of individuals with developmental disabilities," Jacobs said. "I want to applaud County Executive Molinaro and thank him for bringing the ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiative to Western New York so we may all benefit from learning how to better embrace residents of all abilities."
Morinello said, "I am grateful to Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro for bringing this innovative initiative to Western New York. The program is more about the way we think than what we do. I urge the Western New York community to embrace the initiative and begin to ThinkDIFFERENTLY."
"Kudos to Sen. Ortt, County Executive Marc Molinaro and our other local leaders for taking the lead in this vitally important effort," said Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo. "Day after day at Memorial's Golisano Center for Community Health, our work with people who have autism spectrum disorder and other developmental and intellectual disabilities reinforces the importance of social acceptance. They tell us, 'We don't want to be treated special. All we ask is to be included - just as anybody else would expect to be.' We endorse the 'ThinkDIFFERENTLY' initiative and encourage others to embrace it."
People Inc. Associate Vice President Mary Petrakos said, "This campaign falls in line with People Inc.'s commitment to foster independence, dignity and respect for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in an inclusive community. We're thrilled to support Sen. Ortt and County Executive Molinaro in their efforts that we believe will allow these individuals to gain a greater sense of confidence and accomplishment."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent estimates in the U.S. show about one in six children, ages 3 through 17, have one or more developmental disability.
The ThinkDIFFERENTLY campaign is a continuation of Ortt's ongoing efforts to strengthen the state's laws and support of people with disabilities. This initiative builds on his commitment as the chairman of the Senate committee on mental health and developmental disabilities to ensure the well-being of one of the most vulnerable populations is protected.
  In Porter, Collins offers IJC update Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:29:22 -0400
U.S. Congressman Chris Collins, shown here with Town of Porter Councilman Duffy Johnston, was the guest speaker at the Porter lake homeowners meeting.
U.S. Congressman Chris Collins, shown here with Town of Porter Councilman Duffy Johnston, was the guest speaker at the Porter lake homeowners meeting. At the well-attended gathering of 200 citizens, Collins announced he has been working with President Donald Trump on filling the vacancies on the International Joint Commission. He said he is very confident the IJC will have a member from Western New York.
Collins suggested local residents would be pleased with the selection, and said this would be a major factor in solving the lake water levels.
The congressman then fielded questions from the crowd, along with a staff member, Mike Kracker. At the end, the crowd thanked and applauded Collins for coming to Porter.
Johnston and Larry White (a lake homeowner) invited Collins to the meeting.
  AAA Western and Central New York in favor of cashless tolling Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:28:45 -0400
AAA of Western and Central New York released this statement regarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement the New York State Thruway Authority is moving forward with the implementation of cashless tolling at the Grand Island bridges.
AAA of Western and Central New York released this statement regarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement the New York State Thruway Authority is moving forward with the implementation of cashless tolling at the Grand Island bridges.
"AAA applauds efforts by the New York State Thruway Authority to move forward with the implementation of cashless tolling at the Grand Island bridges. AAA believes that toll authorities should utilize high-speed electronic toll collection systems to minimize traffic congestion, increase safety, and speed traffic flow. Where such systems are in place, AAA believes that motorists' right to privacy should be protected.
"AAA supports traffic management strategies such as expedited passage over bridges that provide tangible commuting advantages.
"When it comes to travel and tourism, car rental companies should clearly and conspicuously disclose to customers their policies and procedures regarding the use of cashless tolling facilities and the use of electronic toll transponders. Any administrative fees or surcharges should be fair and transparent.
"Thank you to our elected officials and community leaders who supported the cashless tolling initiative in Grand Island."
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.
  Holly Starr is 'Human' with Sept. 15 set Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:21:29 -0400
Acclaimed singer/songwriter Holly Starr returns Sept. 15 with the highly anticipated "Human" (Artist Garden Entertainment), her first recording in two years. Throughout the seven-song set, Starr "explores God's faithfulness amidst the complexities of earthly relationships."
Acclaimed singer/songwriter Holly Starr returns Sept. 15 with the highly anticipated "Human" (Artist Garden Entertainment), her first recording in two years. Throughout the seven-song set, Starr "explores God's faithfulness amidst the complexities of earthly relationships."
The album's lead single, "Run The Race," a percolating anthem of empowerment produced by Bryan Fowler (TobyMac, Mandisa), has amassed more than 1 million streams on Spotify, and has been featured on the service's top Christian tracks playlist.
"From beginning to end, 'Human' feels really true to me as a songwriter," Starr said of the project, which was produced by Matthew Parker and David Thulin, as well as Fowler. "It's filled with moments from my life, and it captures the last few years in an honest way for me."
Additional highlights of the album include the synth-laden second single "Bruises," a vibrant pop track carrying encouragement for those battered by life's blows. Spotlighting family relationships throughout "Human," "Umbrella" is a love song for Starr's husband, while the ethereal "Sailing" is a tribute to her late grandmother and namesake.
Starr recorded vocals for "Sailing" on the morning of her grandmother's passing, and the album is dedicated to her. 
"I've become more and more passionate about the reality that God calls us to care for the orphans and the widows," said Starr, who helped care for her widowed grandmother in the last days of her life. 
Starr will perform selections from "Human" this fall as a special guest on Jaci Velasquez's "The Trust Tour," featuring Salvador frontman Nic Gonzales. Kicking-off Sept. 14 in Denver, the tour will hit a total of 18 western U.S. cities before wrapping Oct. 8 in Los Angeles.
Since her debut in 2008, Starr has become known for thoughtful songwriting and accessible pop melodies. A popular YouTube artist, her music videos and video blogs have collectively garnered more than 4.4 million views to date. A native of Quincy, Washington, Starr's previous Artist Garden Entertainment releases include "Tapestry" (2010), "Focus" (2012) and 2015's "Everything I Need."
For further information, visit hollystarrmusic.com or turningpointpr.com. Follow Starr on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
  New kayak launch complete at Erie County's Ellicott Creek Park Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:20:04 -0400
The Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry has announced the completion of a new kayak launch at Ellicott Creek Park. Located at the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and South Ellicott Creek Road across Ellicott Creek from the main entrance to the park, the launch is in an area that has long been a hotspot for kayak and canoe enthusiasts.
Removable launch area replaces old dirt ramp that had been used by kayak, canoe enthusiasts
The Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry has announced the completion of a new kayak launch at Ellicott Creek Park. Located at the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and South Ellicott Creek Road across Ellicott Creek from the main entrance to the park, the launch is in an area that has long been a hotspot for kayak and canoe enthusiasts.
"The new kayak launch is ready to go, and is in a spot that's already well-known to park users who like to take to the water to see the beauty of our parks," said Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Daniel J. Rizzo. "It's a lot better than the dirt-launching area that had been used, and has plenty of nearby parking along with a restroom."
The launch will be removed in late fall and reinstalled in the spring each year.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, visit http://www2.erie.gov/parks/.
  Nationwide casting call underway for role of Ralphie Parker in FOX's live musical production of 'A Christmas Story' Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:17:36 -0400
A nationwide digital casting call is underway for "Ralphie Parker," the lead character in FOX's live musical production of "A Christmas Story," airing Sunday, Dec. 17 (7 p.m. ET live/PT tape-delayed), on FOX.
3-hour live musical event to air Sunday, Dec. 17
A nationwide digital casting call is underway for "Ralphie Parker," the lead character in FOX's live musical production of "A Christmas Story," airing Sunday, Dec. 17 (7 p.m. ET live/PT tape-delayed), on FOX.
Ralphie is a bright, but not precocious, 9-year-old boy whose only dream is to get a Red Ryder Range Model Carbine Action BB Gun for Christmas.
Auditions for the role are open now through 11:59 p.m. PT Tuesday, Aug. 29. Submissions will be accepted digitally only via castittalent.com/A_Christmas_Story. Candidates, ages 9-12, should express strong singing and dancing capabilities and be able to anchor the live three-hour production. As part of the audition, candidates should submit a video performing the original songs "Red Ryder BB Gun" and "Before the Old Man."
From Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television, the live television event, inspired by the holiday classic feature "A Christmas Story" and the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production "A Christmas Story: The Musical," will be executive-produced by award-winning film, television and theater producer Marc Platt ("Grease: Live," "La La Land"). The epic adaptation will be filmed at the historic Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.
Emmy Award nominee Maya Rudolph ("Saturday Night Live," "Bridesmaids") will star as Ralphie's mother.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, recent Tony Award winners for the musical "Dear Evan Hansen," and lyricists of "La La Land's" Academy Award-winning song, "City of Stars," also scored "A Christmas Story: The Musical," and will compose several new songs for the live television event, with Jonathan Tolins and Robert Cary ("Grease: Live") adapting the book.
  Erie County Poverty Summit brings partners together for communitywide discussion, action Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:14:53 -0400
The 2017 Erie County Poverty Summit will take place this Thursday, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. It will feature a day of presentations and panel discussions focusing on poverty and its effects on a wide range of Erie County residents, as well as ways to promote change across the community.
Thursday event at Convention Center is open to public; features presentations, panel discussions on actions to effect change
The 2017 Erie County Poverty Summit will take place this Thursday, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. It will feature a day of presentations and panel discussions focusing on poverty and its effects on a wide range of Erie County residents, as well as ways to promote change across the community. Poverty's challenges and effects on children and families, seniors, people with disabilities and new Americans will be examined, along with supports and services necessary to help these individuals escape poverty and enjoy a better quality of life.
"Despite gains in our economy and an unemployment rate that remains low, poverty remains a persistent drain on our community that still hinders individuals from achieving their true potential, especially our children and our seniors," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. "The Poverty Summit will bring together a wide cross-section of community leaders to discuss ongoing challenges and explore ways to help residents overcome those challenges and lead healthy, productive lives in Erie County."
Following an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance, the Poverty Summit will begin at 9 a.m. with opening remarks from Poloncarz, Erie County Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger and Chair of the Erie County Poverty Committee the Rev. Kinzer Pointer. The summit's morning sessions will include an update on Medicaid usage in Erie County to provide insights into how many county residents are in or near poverty, and an update on the Buffalo Empire State poverty reduction initiative, a collaboration between Erie County, the City of Buffalo, New York state and the United Way that is working to expand economic opportunity for Buffalo residents. The morning will also include a panel discussion focusing on the challenges experts see in helping women and children experiencing poverty; a separate panel discussion examining poverty-related challenges affecting Erie County's new Americans; and a discussion focused on the unique challenges facing the county's impoverished seniors and people with disabilities.
Sessions after lunch will center on narratives for change and will include breakout discussions on helping seniors live healthy, independent lives; helping immigrants and refugees thrive in their new community; and helping children and families escape poverty, among other topics.
RSVP to attend the Poverty Summit by calling 716-858-8679 or emailing Hannah.holden@erie.gov.
  William Patrick Corgan announces 'Ogilala' Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:13:09 -0400
Grammy Award-winning, acclaimed singer-songwriter and Smashing Pumpkins frontman William Patrick Corgan announced his second solo album, "Ogilala," will be released Oct. 13 via BMG. The album, produced by Rick Rubin and recorded at Shangri La studios in Malibu, presents Corgan's distinctive vocals and melodies across a sparse, but rich palette of acoustic guitar, piano, and strings.
Rick Rubin-produced solo album due out Oct. 13; album pre-orders start today
Debut track, 'Aeronaut,' available everywhere
Grammy Award-winning, acclaimed singer-songwriter and Smashing Pumpkins frontman William Patrick Corgan announced his second solo album, "Ogilala," will be released Oct. 13 via BMG. The album, produced by Rick Rubin and recorded at Shangri La studios in Malibu, presents Corgan's distinctive vocals and melodies across a sparse, but rich palette of acoustic guitar, piano, and strings. Pre-orders for "Ogilala" start today HERE.
"For as long as I can remember, the delineation point between songs I wrote for myself and songs I'd pen for whatever band was something I couldn't explain. And it remains so, for they all feel quite personal to me, no matter their time or era. The lone difference on songs for 'Ogilala' is that they seemed to want little in the way of adornment," Corgan said. "Having written the songs for voice and guitar, I put myself in Rick's hands to take the music wherever he'd like. Normally I would have done more, and tinkered more on production, but rather Rick put the onus on me to deliver at a molecular level via live takes. The rest was simply a reaction."
Corgan also released the album's striking first track, "Aeronaut," which is available now HERE and in all DSPs. Fans who pre-order "Ogilala" will receive an immediate download of "Aeronaut." "Ogilala" will be available digitally as well as physically on CD and 180-gram gatefold vinyl. A limited edition opaque blue vinyl will be available directly from Corgan's web store, and a limited edition pink vinyl will be available at select indie retailers.
This fall, Corgan will embark on a solo acoustic North American tour that kicks off Oct. 14 in Brooklyn and wraps up Nov. 11 in Los Angeles with a three-night stint at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. These intimate performances will see Corgan perform songs from "Ogilala," as well as a second set that will span works from his earliest days through his years as the frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins and beyond.
Tickets for the tour are on sale this Friday, Aug. 25, at 10 a.m. local time and will be available HERE. Corgan performs at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on Oct. 20.
Corgan is a singer, songwriter, producer and frontman of celebrated alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. Formed in Chicago in 1988, the band released its heralded debut album, "Gish," in 1991 and found mainstream success with 1993's four-times multiplatinum "Siamese Dream," and 1995's 10-times multiplatinum "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." Following the band's 2000 dissolution, Corgan helmed the alternative rock band Zwan before releasing his debut solo album, "TheFutureEmbrace," and reforming The Smashing Pumpkins in 2005. With over 30 million albums sold, the Grammy, MTV VMA and American Music Award-winning band remains an influential force in alternative rock.
  More details: Cuomo announces open road, cashless tolling to begin on Grand Island crossings in March 2018; new welcome center to debut Tue, 22 Aug 2017 13:46:48 -0400
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday announced high-speed, open-road, cashless tolling will begin at the Grand Island toll barriers in March of 2018. The transition to cashless tolling will not affect the Grand Island resident discount program and is designed to reduce congestion, improve safety and reduce air pollution.
Unveils design for new Western New York Welcome Center to be completed August of 2018 - 'Gateway to the Region's Sites and Attractions'
Approximately 65,000 motorists who travel through toll barriers each day will benefit from ease of cashless tolling
Grand Island resident discount plan will not be affected by switch to cashless tolling
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday announced high-speed, open-road, cashless tolling will begin at the Grand Island toll barriers in March of 2018. The transition to cashless tolling will not affect the Grand Island resident discount program and is designed to reduce congestion, improve safety and reduce air pollution.
As part of the transition to a more convenient and cost-effective way to travel New York's roadways, the governor is encouraging all commuters to sign up for an E-ZPass and save on tolls across the state, including a 5 percent discount along the entire 570-mile New York State Thruway.
The governor also unveiled the design and renderings of the Western New York Welcome Center, which will be located at Alvin Road on Grand Island adjacent to I-190, to support the state's booming tourism industry by promoting local attractions, foods, craft beverages and other destinations throughout the region. The new welcome center is expected to be completed by August of 2018.
Shown is an artist's rendering of the proposed welcome center.
"Grand Island is a vital connector for residents and tourists traveling to Buffalo, Niagara Falls and beyond, and with the addition of cashless tolling and a new welcome center, we are not only supporting a growing regional economy, but also raising the profile of tourist attractions in communities across Western New York," Cuomo said. "By transitioning to cashless tolling, one of these most traveled roads in Western New York will become safer and less congested to help meet the needs of 21st century motorists, while providing commuters easy access to the new welcome center for generations to come."
The Grand Island bridges connect Grand Island on the Niagara Thruway (I-190) between Niagara Falls and the Town of Tonawanda. It is a main thoroughfare for commuters and visitors between the City of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. In 2016, approximately 23.7 million vehicles traveled through the Grand Island toll barriers, which translates to nearly 65,000 vehicles per day.
In March of 2018, Grand Island will become the New York State Thruway Authority's second all-cashless tolling location. The first cashless tolling gantries were implemented on the Tappan Zee Bridge in 2016.
When open-road, cashless tolling begins, the Thruway Authority will remove toll barriers at the north and south Grand Island bridges. Toll barriers will be replaced with gantries that have sensors and cameras suspended over the highway. Gantries may be located in different locations than the toll barriers, however, tolling will be handled in the same manner. The sensor technology reads E-ZPass tags and takes license plate images, so vehicles no longer have to stop and pay the toll. Vehicles with E-ZPass tags are automatically charged, and vehicles without a tag have their license plate photographed. A toll bill will then be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. 
Additionally, over the past 10 years, approximately 80 percent of all accidents within a tenth of a mile of the Grand Island toll barriers were caused by "following too close" or an "unsafe speed." With the implementation of cashless tolling, the Thruway Authority expects accidents within these areas to be reduced.
Grand Island cashless tolling will begin construction in October and is expected to be completed by March 2018 - with projected savings for drivers reaching approximately 200 minutes per year.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "As a lifelong Western New Yorker, I know firsthand how frustrating waits at toll barriers have been for families and businesses. Today the governor takes a major step toward relieving that burden. The transition to cashless tolling on Grand Island will eliminate a major commuter bottleneck, grow the local tourism industry, and reduce vehicle emissions in accordance with our environmental goals. Combined with a new welcome center designed in honor of Frank Lloyd Wright, this will make Grand Island a world-class gateway to all that Western New York has to offer."
Incoming Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll said, "Cashless tolling on Grand Island will enable motorists to experience safer and more convenient travel while crossing over the picturesque Niagara River in Western New York. This state-of-the-art technology will ease congestion and help the environment by reducing idling, and we are proud of Gov. Cuomo for sharing our vision of a modern, improved superhighway of the future."
The new Western New York Welcome Center will feature an iconic "Prairie-style" design inspired by the legendary architect Wright. The new welcome center will showcase information on world-class destinations and historic sites in the Western New York region, as well as a Taste NY market and cafe offering an array of New York-grown products.
In harmony with Wright's signature design - shaped by the environment and natural landscapes, the welcome center will prominently display video highlights of the region's natural beauty and tourism attractions across Western New York. The new welcome center also includes plans for a children's play area.
Other features include: 
  • Western New York attractions floor map
  • Community room
  • New York State Police satellite office
  • Niagara Falls paving map
  • Pet comfort area
  • Electric-charging car stations
Funding for regional welcome centers was included in the fiscal year 2018 state budget.
The Western New York Welcome Center complements the expansion of the I Love New York campaign and app to connect visitors with more than 1,100 attractions in the Greater Niagara area alone. Across Western New York, the state is investing in tourist attractions to continue to drive this industry and promote growth, including: 
  • The Frank Lloyd Wright sites
  • Niagara Falls State Park
  • Maid of the Mist
  • Canalside
  • Buffalo Outer Harbor State Park
  • New Era Field, which New York helped restore
  • Albright Knox Art Gallery, to which New York contributed $10 million for the $125 million expansion, complementing Jeffrey Gundlach's $42.5 million contribution
  • Aquarium of Niagara, where the state broke ground on a $3.3-million project to create a new penguin exhibit
  • Artpark
  • Buffalo Sabres games
  • The Richardson Towers
  • Old Fort Niagara
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs said, "Since taking office in January, removing the toll plazas and bringing cashless tolling to the Grand Island bridges has been a top priority for me, and I am pleased that day is now here. I am confident that Grand Island residents and motorists all across Western New York will enjoy a faster and safer commute while we maximize the state's investment in a more accessible new welcome center."
Assemblyman Angelo Morinello said, "I am very pleased that once again Gov. Cuomo has listened to the constituents of WNY and has performed his own study to then put in place a system to improve the environment and the travel time putting WNY in the forefront of electronic tolls."
Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray said, "This is a monumental day for Grand Island and all of Western New York. I praise Gov. Cuomo for his leadership in eliminating these toll barriers. This is a big, big deal for the millions of drivers that travel the Grand Island bridges each year to and from our region's world-class tourism destinations and historic sites, and this wouldn't be possible without Gov. Cuomo."
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, "Lines of idling cars at traditional toll barriers waste gas, pollute the atmosphere and waste the precious time of residents and visitors alike. Gov. Cuomo's latest infrastructure investment is a win-win-win, not only making a direct and positive impact on the economy and environment, but improving the quality of life for all of us here in Western New York."
To take full advantage of cashless tolling and save money, drivers are encouraged to sign up for an E-ZPass account at www.E-ZPassNY.com; at E-ZPass customer service centers; or by calling the E-ZPass toll-free customer service center at 1-800-333-TOLL (8655).
E-ZPass is accepted in 16 states across the Northeast and Midwest. It also can be used to pay for parking at several major airports and provides toll discounts on other highways and bridges.
"Tolls By Mail" will be used to collect payment from those without E-ZPass. Motorists are required to maintain updated address information with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  Cuomo announces administration appointments Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:10:06 -0400
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday announced Matthew Driscoll will be nominated executive director of the Thruway Authority, and Cathy Calhoun will serve as acting commissioner of the Department of Transportation. Cuomo thanked Bill Finch for his service as executive director of the Thruway Authority.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday announced Matthew Driscoll will be nominated executive director of the Thruway Authority, and Cathy Calhoun will serve as acting commissioner of the Department of Transportation. Cuomo thanked Bill Finch for his service as executive director of the Thruway Authority.
"Matthew Driscoll and Cathy Calhoun are both dedicated public servants who exemplify what it means to serve the people of New York, and I am proud they will continue their service in these new leadership positions," Cuomo said. "The Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation are critical to improving infrastructure in every corner of this state, and, as they transition to their new roles, I look forward to working alongside these experienced leaders to ensure the safety and stability of New York infrastructure for generations to come."
"I am grateful to Gov. Cuomo for his leadership on transportation issues and am honored to become executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority," said former Department of Transportation Commissioner Driscoll. "I look forward to working with the very capable men and women of the authority in implementing the governor's vision for reimagining transportation infrastructure across New York state."
Calhoun said, "Under Gov. Cuomo's leadership, the Department of Transportation has invested in historic infrastructure projects across New York to support the future strength and vitality of the entire state. I look forward to working with the governor to build on this success and continue to move New York's infrastructure forward."
Driscoll will be nominated to serve as executive director of the Thruway Authority. He previously served as commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation, where he helped launch the governor's historic $100 billion, five-year plan to renew New York's aging infrastructure. Prior to that, Driscoll served as president and CEO of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp., where he implemented new business models that have resulted in record-setting investments in New York's clean water infrastructure.
Driscoll has also held a number of cabinet positions in Cuomo's administration, including co-chair of the New York state storm recovery task force, member of the strategic implementation assessment team to assist in the progress of the Regional Economic Development Council, and board member of the Financial Restructuring Board, which delivers targeted restructuring solutions to assist New York municipalities under fiscal stress.
Prior to these roles, Driscoll was twice elected mayor of the City of Syracuse, where he earned Syracuse national recognition for energy conservation, sustainability initiatives and environmental protection efforts. He also instituted a performance-based accountability program for city government, called SyraStat, which saved millions of dollars for city taxpayers.
The Thruway board of directors will meet to name Driscoll acting executive director. He will be nominated for official Senate confirmation in January 2018.
Calhoun will serve as acting commissioner of the Department of Transportation, to continue New York's landmark plan to invest $100 billion in the modernization of aging infrastructure across the state. In this role, Calhoun will lead the governor's $100 billion, five-year infrastructure plan to help reduce congestion and air pollution, and improve the safety of motorists on New York roads.
Previously, Calhoun served as chief of staff at the Department of Transportation. She formerly served as a Central New York representative for former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton. Calhoun also previously worked for former Gov. David Paterson in intergovernmental affairs.
  Cuomo: Cashless tolling to begin at Grand Island bridges Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:04:29 -0400
At a press conference Tuesday morning on Grand Island, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced cashless tolling on the bridges.
At a press conference Tuesday morning on Grand Island, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation Matthew Driscoll announced cashless tolling on the bridges.
The system is the first in upstate New York. It's set to begin in March 2018.
It's estimated drivers will save 200 minutes on a yearly commute. Environmentally, air quality is expected to improve.
Cuomo said, "Your supervisor made a very powerful and intelligent case on how the tollbooths were a negative and how we can turn them into a positive."
"The tollbooths are an obstacle. Period. They're an obstacle to tourism. They're an obstacle to quality of life," he added.
In a press release Tuesday morning, Congressman Brian Higgins wrote, "The people of Grand Island and Western New York spoke up and demanded action on the Grand Island tolls, and we are grateful to the governor for once again listening to the pleas from Western New Yorkers.
"This has been a true bipartisan team effort between several levels of government. Together with New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, Assemblymember Angelo Morinello and under the passionate and focused leadership of Supervisor Nathan McMurray, we fought for change that will lead to a healthier, more prosperous Grand Island.
"Recognition also goes to citizens like Brian Michel who publicly advocated for change, held community meetings and collected nearly 1,500 signatures in support of toll removal. This genuine collaboration between citizens and various leaders sets an example for progress done right, with the community being the ultimate victor.
"The tolls are a physical barrier choking off economic opportunity for Grand Island businesses, driving up emissions that pollute the air in municipalities that are home to some of this community's greatest natural resources, and creating a daily hassle of backups for residents and all who drive through the town.
"This is another victory for Western New York that many thought wouldn't happen in our lifetime, but one that again demonstrates the great outcomes possible when this community works together and stands up for itself."
"Today is a great moment for all of Western New York," McMurray said at the press conference.
"They happened because people were willing to listen," he added.
Jacobs, in a released statement of his own, wrote, "Since taking office in January, the removal of the Grand Island tolls has been a top priority for me, and I am extremely pleased with today's announcement that cashless tolling will soon be implemented.
"The Grand Island toll plazas have caused environmental harm, created a less safe and longer commute for motorists, and served as an impediment to moving people and goods between Erie and Niagara counties. That is why earlier this year I called on both the Thruway Authority and the governor to bring cashless tolling to the Grand Island bridges, and why I introduced legislation to remove the tollbooths.
"Now that cashless tolling is coming to the Grand Island bridges, I am confident that Grand Island residents and motorists all across Western New York will enjoy a safer and faster commute while we maximize the state's investment in a more accessible new welcome center. The negative impacts of these tolls will soon be a thing of the past."
At the press conference, Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said Western New York has tremendous tourism assets that shouldn't be hindered or blocked by unnecessary obstruction.
  'Healthy Neighborhoods' program is now in Lockport Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:29:45 -0400
The Niagara County Department of Health "Healthy Neighborhoods" program, a free indoor environmental health and safety program, is now available in Lockport.
The Niagara County Department of Health "Healthy Neighborhoods" program, a free indoor environmental health and safety program, is now available in Lockport.
The state-grant-funded program has been in existence in Niagara County since the mid-1990s, but, until recently, focused most of its attention on the City of Niagara Falls. In 2015, the program moved its services to serve other municipalities, to include target areas of North Tonawanda, Middleport, Barker, Newfane, Olcott, Burt and Wilson. Now, the program has moved to target areas in Lockport.
"The 'Healthy Neighborhoods' program is enhancing quality of life in Lockport by helping residents to improve environmental health and safety conditions in the home," Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton said.
"Healthy Neighborhoods" public health technicians visit homes to identify environmental health and safety problems, and offer residents education and oftentimes free products such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, items to prevent lead poisoning, falls and asthma attacks. The program does not issue fines, tickets or summonses.
The public health technicians are qualified professionals offering evidence-based program services to improve the health, safety and quality of life for the residents in the target areas. Many of the neighborhoods in Lockport will have the technicians visiting and knocking on doors to ask if the residents would like to take advantage of this free health and safety program. For a family to receive the free materials, members must agree to allow the technicians in the home to ensure detectors are installed correctly.
For more information about the program, or to schedule an appointment for a home visit, call 716-439-7479 or visit http://www.niagaracounty.com/health/Services/Healthy-Neighborhoods-Program-Home-Visits.
  Buffalo now has a wireless network just for 'the internet of things' Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:28:04 -0400
Buffalo has joined a small yet growing list of cities nationwide to have a wireless network tailored for the so-called internet of things - the tech industry's buzzword for connecting everyday physical objects to the internet.
UB engineer's work attracts Sigfox, a boost for the region's tech sector
Buffalo has joined a small yet growing list of cities nationwide to have a wireless network tailored for the so-called internet of things - the tech industry's buzzword for connecting everyday physical objects to the internet.
The network - a partnership between Sigfox, a global IoT (short for internet of things) connectivity provider, and the University at Buffalo's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences - puts Buffalo in company with San Francisco, Boston and a few dozen other high-tech hotbeds.
To stream video and transmit other data-intensive content, traditional wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G cellular systems are needed to support fast speeds and large amounts of bandwidth. While great for laptops and smartphones, these devices are relatively expensive, use lots of power and can cause wireless traffic jams.
Sigfox differs because it employs a unique device-to-cloud communications approach to put simple objects online. The approach, which uses radio frequencies ideal for sending small amounts of data over long distances, is known as a low-power wide-area (LPWA) network. It reduces the cost to connect to the internet, and it limits battery consumption.
Sigfox's LPWA network is ideal for systems that track whether a parking spot is vacant or occupied, if a public recycling bin is empty or full, whether or not a shipment has arrived, or if a door is open or closed - virtually any modest-sized bits of information.
The range of a Sigfox network is greater than most cellular providers, too. For example, its network at UB provides coverage to the Buffalo Niagara Region.
"It's really cutting-edge technology for UB researchers to conduct groundbreaking experiments that could lead to great societal benefits," said Josep Jornet, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical engineering at UB, whose research attracted Sigfox to Buffalo. "We'll also be able to implement the network into our classrooms, offering students an immersive, hands-on course specifically about the internet of things."
As part of that course, UB is working with the City of Buffalo to identify how students can apply the technology to improve services.
Buffalo's tech sector, startup community and hobbyists will benefit, too. The internet of things is a segment of the world's economy that could be worth more than $11 trillion by 2025, according to management consultant firm McKinsey & Company.
"We are excited the University at Buffalo chose Sigfox LPWA network as the backbone to support the internet of things academics," said Sean Horan, director of sales and partners at Sigfox North America. "What can be achieved through IoT is limited only by human imagination, and providing universities with IoT technologies, where imagination is fostered, we'll see a whole new wave of innovation powered by IoT."
"Bringing Sigfox to Buffalo provides fantastic new opportunities for our academic community, as well as for our many startup and tech communities," said Liesl Folks, dean of UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "The network will provide a state-of-the-art technology platform for professors and students, as well as for entrepreneurs and existing companies looking to innovate."
About Sigfox
Sigfox is the world's leading provider of connectivity for the IoT. The company has built a global network to connect billions of devices to the internet while consuming as little energy as possible, as simply as possible. Sigfox's unique approach to device-to-cloud communications addresses the three greatest barriers to global IoT adoption: cost, energy consumption and global scalability.
Today, the network is present in 32 countries and on track to cover 60 by 2018 - covering a population of 589 million people. With millions of objects connected and a rapidly growing partner ecosystem, Sigfox empowers companies to move their business model toward more digital services. For more information, see www.sigfox.com.
  AAA: Eclipse becomes tourism sensation Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:01:34 -0400
On Monday, Aug. 21, the continental U.S. will experience a total solar eclipse for the first time since 1979.
Drivers need to take precautions to avoid distraction on Monday
By AAA of Western and Central New York
On Monday, Aug. 21, the continental U.S. will experience a total solar eclipse for the first time since 1979.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth and partially or completely blocks the sun from view for up to three hours.
While a partial eclipse will be visible throughout the country, 14 states along the path of totality will see the moon completely block the sun. These states include: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
AAA anticipates that cities along the path of totality will experience high tourist volumes and increased traffic through the weekend of Aug. 18-21. NASA reports the eclipse will first be visible in Lincoln Beach, Oregon, at 9:05 a.m. PDT, with a total eclipse occurring at 10:16 a.m. PDT. Over the next hour and a half, the total eclipse will pass 14 states, ending near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT.
Even here in New York, excitement is building over the viewing. That could lead to distractions for motorists. AAA offers this advice:
•Do not attempt to watch the solar eclipse while driving! The better option is to find a safe place to park, and then observe the eclipse. The peak darkness phase will last just 2-3 minutes. NASA has created an interactive map that allows you to view when the eclipse will be visible in your area.
According to NASA, you should avoid looking directly at the sun without proper eyewear protection. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as "eclipse glasses" or hand-held solar viewers.
•Drive safely. Eagerness to view the eclipse is not an acceptable reason to drive aggressively or while distracted.
•Drive with your headlights on. Not only will you will be much more visible to other drivers, your forward vision will be improved.
•Watch out for pedestrians! There may be many people standing in or along the roadway to get a glimpse.
•Be alert to the possibility of distracted drivers swerving into your lane. Other drivers may be attempting to watch the eclipse and drive at the same time.
•To help prevent trouble, keep additional space between you and other vehicles. Reduce your speed so you will have more time to make an emergency maneuver if needed.
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.
  'No safe amount of time' to look at sun during eclipse, warns UB ophthalmologist Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:01:22 -0400
Even though Buffalo will only see a partial eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, people who want to view it must wear eclipse glasses or they will risk permanent blindness, according to Andrew Reynolds, M.D., clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. He is an ophthalmologist with the Ross Eye Institute/UBMD Ophthalmology.
Even though Buffalo will only see a partial eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, people who want to view it must wear eclipse glasses or they will risk permanent blindness, according to Andrew Reynolds, M.D., clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. He is an ophthalmologist with the Ross Eye Institute/UBMD Ophthalmology.
While looking directly at the sun anytime carries a risk for blindness, Reynolds explained that even during an eclipse the sun remains dangerous.
"The eclipse sun is still far more powerful than any other light source, and even glancing at the sun for a few seconds carries a serious risk. There is no safe amount of time for unprotected eyes," he said. "The condition you can get from looking at the sun during an eclipse is solar retinopathy. The sun burns a tiny little hole right through your retina. It's a permanent blinding condition."
That's why buying eclipse glasses is critical for anyone who plans to view Monday's solar eclipse.
"You have to make sure you have the right glasses," Reynolds said. "There is a very specific international certification that the glasses must have in order to be sure they will provide full protection."
Glasses approved by NASA for viewing the eclipse will say ISO 12312-2 on them.
  Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Clubs offers extended-day programs, 5K run Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:15:42 -0400
Registration is open for the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club-sponsored extended-day (before- and afterschool programs) for grades K through 6 for the 2017-18 school year. Extended-day programming is offered at the following elementary schools: 79th Street, GJ Mann, Niagara Street, Kalfas, Maple Avenue, Hyde Park and Cataract.
Registration is open for the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club-sponsored extended-day (before- and afterschool programs) for grades K through 6 for the 2017-18 school year. Extended-day programming is offered at the following elementary schools: 79th Street, GJ Mann, Niagara Street, Kalfas, Maple Avenue, Hyde Park and Cataract.
Registrations also will be accepted for the drop-in afterschool program at the 17th Street Clubhouse.
All program registrations are now completed online through the new "Parent Portal": https://parentportal.nfbgc.org. For more information, visit www.nfbgc.org or call 716-282-7181.
Registration is also open for the 10th annual 5K "Run in the Mist," which benefits the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club's Niagara Stealth all-star cheerleaders.
Participants can enjoy a run through downtown Niagara Falls and then join in for awards, food and beverages on Old Falls Street.
Registration opens at 5:30 p.m. on Old Falls Street near Third Street (right by the tables and outdoor games). The race starts promptly at 7 p.m. Pre-race registration is $25, while day-of-race fees increase to $30. Attend the post-party for only $5.
For more information and the link to register, visit www.nfbgc.org or call 716-282-7181.
Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Clubs was established in 1936. Over the years, it has expanded its reach from one to eight locations throughout the City of Niagara Falls. Today, it is working to build a focus on academic success, career development and leadership, while building healthy youth and families.
The NFBGC has an annual membership of more than 1,400 young people who range in age from 5 to21. Every day, caring, professional staffers seek to enrich the lives of girls and boys who need it most, and they are dedicated to ensuring the community's disadvantaged youngsters have greater access to quality programs and services that will enhance their lives and shape their futures.
Clubs provide diverse activities that meet the needs and interests of most youth. 
  River Road Primary Care Center to get new office - and a new name Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:06:13 -0400
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center announced Monday it will move its River Road Primary Care Center to new offices at 1089 Kinkead Ave., Suite 111, North Tonawanda. The practice will be renamed the North Tonawanda Primary Care Center.
A busy North Tonawanda medical office is getting a new home - and a new identity.
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center announced Monday it will move its River Road Primary Care Center to new offices at 1089 Kinkead Ave., Suite 111, North Tonawanda. The practice will be renamed the North Tonawanda Primary Care Center.
The new site will open Monday, Aug. 28.
"This new office places our primary care practice in a central location that is easily accessible to residential neighborhoods, local businesses and students and staff at North Tonawanda High School," said Memorial Senior Vice President Sanjay Chadha. "We believe the new location and name signify and confirm our continued commitment to delivering high-quality medical care to residents of North Tonawanda and the surrounding communities."
North Tonawanda Primary Care Center will feature five patient exam rooms, a nurse's station, office-reception area and patient waiting room. It will be adjacent to a larger facility that also will house medical office suites.
Providing care there will be the same team of medical professionals now at the River Road office: Dr. Richard Castaldo, Dr. Nitin Arora, and nurse practitioners Annmarie Lally and Vivian Gerard. The office's phone and fax numbers will remain the same.
The new location will offer patients from North Tonawanda and the surrounding communities facilitated access to Niagara Falls Memorial's extensive line of patient services, including cardiology, stroke care, wound care, vascular and endovascular surgery, bariatric surgery, women's services and sports medicine and orthopedic care.
New patients are welcome. To schedule an appointment, call 716-694-0535.
  Meet your 2017 Peach Queen contestants Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:00:57 -0400
The next Peach Queen will be crowned on Sunday, Sept. 10, on the final night of the 2017 Niagara County Peach Festival.
The next Peach Queen will be crowned on Sunday, Sept. 10, on the final night of the 2017 Niagara County Peach Festival.
Preparations are underway for the annual program for Niagara County young women between the ages of 17-21. The Niagara County Peach Queen receives a scholarship and represents the Lewiston Kiwanis Club and Peach Queen program throughout her year of service.
The Peach Queen program is centered on community service, and the contestants meet for volunteering events and workshops leading up to the Niagara County Peach Festival.
Here are this year's contestants (with photos by Robin Clark):
Hannah Mergi
Katrina Copeland
Richelle Kloch
Rachel Buzzard
Emily Shoop
Gionna Cafarella
Caroline D'Amuro
Kendyl Coleman
Santana Sawma
Nina Trank
Allison White
Jamie Hagerty
Annah Santarosa
The popular Lewiston Kiwanis Club's Peach Festival is set for the weekend of Sept. 8-10 at Academy Park in the Village of Lewiston.
  Summer STEAM program ends with presentation of 3-D-printed prosthetic hands Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:16:00 -0400
Life-changing. Surprising. Inspiring. These were some of the words enrolled students used to describe the experience they had designing prosthetic hands for children in need using 3-D printing technology as part of the "Hand in Hand Powered by AT&T" science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) experience organized by WNY STEM and AT&T.
3 local children, 1 child in India recipients
Life-changing. Surprising. Inspiring. These were some of the words enrolled students used to describe the experience they had designing prosthetic hands for children in need using 3-D printing technology as part of the "Hand in Hand Powered by AT&T" science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) experience organized by WNY STEM and AT&T.
In a special ceremony at Roswell Park Cancer Institute on Tuesday, the prosthetic hands were presented to Katelyn McCarthy, 9, of Derby; Caedan Muldoon, 5, of Lackawanna; and Liam Hilliker, 4, of Irving. A fourth prosthetic hand is being sent to enhance the quality of life for a child in India.
Katelyn's mother, Amy McCarthy, said, "Getting this prosthetic arm will give Katelyn the opportunity to have access to something when doing everyday tasks where she may need some assistance. It will allow her to be more independent. We are so grateful to be part of this project and we thank all the teachers and students for all their hard work!"
The students in the program gained valuable experience exploring biomedical technology and obtaining insight into working with otherwise-abled youth.
Felice Masumbuko, a junior from Lackawanna High School, was one of the 15 project team leaders. He said, "Thanks to this program, I was able to ‎interact with different types of people with different perspectives and learn from each and everyone one of them. I also learned how to apply my knowledge to certain tasks I have never done before."
Among the guests at the presentation were City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, who said, "WNY STEM, AT&T and all of their partners continue to do a fantastic job introducing Buffalo's youth to the fast-growing world of digital technology, and showing them a potential career path that is not only financially rewarding, but one that can make a significant difference in other people's lives. Congratulations to all the students who took part in the 'Hand in Hand' project and to the three young people who will be receiving prosthetic hands through this program."
Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, "STEM has the ability to not only provide sustainable careers, but the ability to also impact people's lives in ways that we can't even imagine. Today's presentation is a perfect example. I am so very proud of our students, teachers and volunteers for their efforts, and sincerely hope that the recipients are able to continue living fulfilled lives."
The 30 students enrolled in "Hand in Hand" worked in teams learning and mastering engineering, design and prototype fabrication from technology teachers Ed Hawkins of Sweet Home Senior High School, and Leif Johnson of Lancaster Middle School. The advisers said they were inspired by the students' enthusiasm for this project and the challenges faced by the recipients.
Hawkins stated, "I applied to be lead teacher because my skillset includes 3-D printing and teaching, and I thought this would be a nice real-world project. What I didn't anticipate and what has become much more important is the aspect of service to others, appreciation for other people's challenges, and realizing that these are great kids that could just use a little help."
The free "Hand in Hand" program exposed students - primarily from local, urban middle and high schools - to basic knowledge of anatomy and careers in medical technology, plus fundamental technology skills in 3-D printing, engineering design, computer coding and advanced fabrication, plus leadership training and service learning.
Students used online open source resources provided by e-NABLE, an online global community made up of individuals from all over the world who are utilizing 3-D printers to create free 3-D fabricated hands and arms for those in need of an upper limb assistive device. The community collaborates on ways to help improve the open source 3-D printable designs for hands and arms for those who were born missing fingers or who have lost them due to war, disease or natural disaster. 
AW Miller, an industry leader in industrial 3-D printing, completed the final fabrication of each prosthetic hand created by the students on the company's state-of-the-art 3-D printers to ensure they were created with the most advanced structural integrity for the recipient children's prolong use.
In her remarks, WNY STEM Executive Director Cherie Messore thanked several occupational therapists, engineer, and business leaders who participated in the program for meeting the students and sharing insight into different STEM and STEAM career pathways. She said, "Encouraging students - tomorrow's workforce - through engaging service learning projects enlightens students about career options and encourages their personal growth to become exemplars in society."
Innovative education projects like this are a priority for AT&T, said Kevin Hanna, director of external affairs.
"AT&T is proud to have been able to collaborate with WNY STEM and the other organizations to develop and support this incredible opportunity for local students to see firsthand how technology can be used to create life-changing solutions for those who live with disabilities and ailments," he said. "As the world's economy continues to transform at a robust pace - requiring a workforce with a focus on technological education and literacy - STEM and STEAM programs like this one that provide immersive learning environment are vital to ensure that students are equipped with the skills so they are able to compete in today's innovation economy."
AT&T's partnership with WNY STEM to create this initiative, and $20,000 contribution to fund the program, is part of the company's legacy of supporting educational programs focused on STEM disciplines in New York through AT&T Aspire. The company's signature, $400 million philanthropic initiative drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue, including funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring. Aspire is one of the nation's largest corporate commitments, focused on school success and workforce readiness by creating new learning environments and educational delivery systems to help students succeed and prepare them to take on 21st century careers.
"Hand in Hand" is a program of the WNY STEM Hub and AT&T, with collaborating partners the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Health Sciences Charter School, the University at Buffalo Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and AW Miller of East Aurora.