Editorial: What Could Happen at ECWA if This Rumor Turns Out to be True

Presently Mr. Szukala holds a “big bucks” job which Poloncarz created for him. He is the Erie County Inspector General in charge of medicaid fraud. This job, which never existed before in Erie County, is a high paying patronage position. It pays over $100,000 dollars a year.

Mr. Szukala is totally unqualified for his job.  The ECWA does the same thing.  Openings on that Board are also patronage positions.

If Poloncarz takes charge of the ECWA and has Szukala run it, we will be in worse hands then we are now.  The only difference will be our Erie County Executive, Mr. Poloncarz, will have the power through his stooge Mr. Szukala to fill jobs in the ECWA with people of his choice.  This will give Poloncarz even more power when it comes time to vote. If someone gives you a patronage job wouldn’t you for him or her?

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Obama Calls Out Trump on Border Policy: ‘Are We a Nation That Rips Children From Their Parents’ Arms?’

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Another Corpse Flower Rises to the Occasion

June 20, 2018
Fester appears likely to become the second corpse flower to bloom at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)
Fester appears likely to become the second corpse flower to bloom at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. 

Move over, Morty.

Fester, another corpse flower at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, shows signs it could soon bloom after years of being dormant.

Fester’s awakening comes on the heels of Morty’s bloom last week.

Fester should flower in two to three weeks, said Kristin Pochopin, the director of horticulture.

“He’s growing like gangbusters, and was even a little bit crooked and straightened himself out,” she said.
Read more…

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Batavia Downs Concert Series! This Friday, Eddie Money! Get Your Tickets Now!

June 20, 2018

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Confidential Disclosure, Back Room Meetings & Armed Guards

June 20, 2018

Paul Wolf
Last night several members of the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government attended the Niagara County Legislature meeting. Our goal in attending was to encourage the Legislature to amend the Niagara County Ethics Code by making the annual financial disclosure forms completed by county officials a public record. Under your existing Ethics Code, disclosure forms are confidential and not available to the public. On June 12, 2018, our organization forwarded a letter to every legislator, which referenced court decisions and a New York State Committee on Open Government opinion, stating disclosure forms are considered a public document.
Niagara County attorney Claude Joerg stated his disagreement to my interpretation of the law and court decisions. I respectfully disagree with what Mr. Jorge stated at the meeting. While it is certainly not uncommon for two attorneys to have different views of the law, the issue is why are disclosure forms in Niagara County confidential but available to the public in Erie County, Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Niagara Falls, Lancaster, Amherst, Tonawanda, Clarence, and Hamburg? Litigation in court aside, how are you as elected officials going to be able to win in the court of public opinion? The Buffalo News and the Niagara Gazette have already done editorials in support of making Niagara County disclosure forms public. How are any of you going to be able to convince your constituents and the public at large that your disclosure forms should be confidential? Good government is open government and perception is reality. Refusing to make your disclosure forms public, fuels the perception that you have something to hide.
On another topic, I was shocked to learn that in the middle of your meeting a recess is often called for the purpose of holding a legislative committee meeting, which members of the public are not allowed to attend. According to the Legislature’s Clerk Mary Jo Tamburlin, the news media are able to attend the committee meeting but the public cannot because the room used is too small. If the room for a legislative committee meeting is too small to accommodate the public then a different room has to be used.
In order to access the back room where the committee meeting is held, one has to open a swinging gate door to walk across to the committee room. When one of our members opened and crossed the gate to speak to a legislator an armed deputy advised the individual that they had to stay on the other side of the gate. Holding a legislative committee meeting in a back room where members of the public are not allowed to observe and are prevented for doing so by an armed guard, is a clear violation of the New York State Open meetings law. This practice has to stop immediately! How this practice which according to Ms. Tamburlin has been allowed to continue for at least ten years is beyond me.
As elected legislators, you have the ability to change all of these items. Who is willing to stand up in favor of ending confidential disclosure, back room meetings and having armed guards stop the public from attending your committee meeting?
Paul Wolf, Esq.
President
James Tricoli
Vice President
Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government, Inc.

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We Visited the Regional Chain That Beat Trader Joe’s for the Title of Best Grocery Store in America

Jun. 15, 2018
Wegmans 7
Wegmans is a grocery chain with a cult following.

  • Wegmans regularly takes the top spot as customers’ favorite grocery store in the United States.
  • It recently received the highest customer-service ratings of any of America’s supermarkets in an annual survey by Market Force Information.
  • Here’s what it’s like to visit the grocery chain with a cult following.

The best grocery chain in the United States is one that most Americans have likely never visited.

In fact, Wegmans, which has fewer than 100 locations, gets thousands of calls per year from people begging for a store to open in their hometown.

For the third year in a row, Wegmans earned the No. 1 spot on Market Force Information’s annual survey of Americans’ favorite grocery store chains. The regional chain beat out Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and H-E-B with a score of 77% on Market Force’s Composite Loyalty Index.

The grocery chain has ranked at the top of the list for several years in a row thanks in large part to its loyal fans. Wegmans also demolished the competition in Temkin’s annual customer-experience ratings, as the research, consulting, and training firm announced earlier this year.

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Suburban Dental Practice Offers Free Care to Poor on Friday

June 20, 2018
Westermeier Martin Dental Care partners Dr. Jeff Martin, left, and R. Scott Westermeier, right, talk with Maria Miecyjak, the practice administrator, on Aug. 4, 2015. (Sharon Cantillon/News file photo)
Westermeier Martin Dental Care partners Dr. Jeff Martin, left, and R. Scott Westermeier, right.

Westermeier Martin Dental Care will this week host a day of free dental care for low-income community members.

On Friday, individuals with need can get free examinations, X-rays, teeth cleanings, fillings and extractions from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Westermeier Martin’s offices at 950 Main Street, East Aurora, and 3500 Sheridan Drive, Amherst.

At the 14th annual Dentistry From the Heart event, services will be provided on a first come first served, walk-in basis. No appointments will be accepted in advance. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

Those wishing to be seen should arrive early. In past years, Westermeier Martin saw over 100 men, women and children.

To help others, Westermeier Martin requests individuals seeking free dental care to bring a canned good or other nonperishable item to be donated to a local food pantry.

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After 30 Years of Abandonment, Grain Elevator Getting New Life as Offices

June 20, 2018
Architect Jerry Young walks through a conference space on the second floor of the malt house, where Wright + Young Architectural will be moving soon. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)
Architect Jerry Young walks through a conference space on the second floor of the malt house, where Wright + Young Architectural will be moving soon. 

Jerry Young and Shawn Wright can be excused these days if they measure their excitement in bushels.

On or around July 1, the owners of Young + Wright Architectural will move their firm into an abandoned malt house and grain elevator complex last occupied by Buffalo Malting Corp. in 1986. The Valley neighborhood property will eventually offer residential and more office space as construction continues into the fall.

The architects, who have been careful to retain as much machinery and other artifacts as possible, plan to pay homage to the site’s past by creating a malt museum.

“Bringing a grain elevator site back to usefulness is not done very much, and in Buffalo it’s not done, with the exception of Buffalo RiverWorks using a portion of one,” Young said.

“We’re taking a site that was abandoned for 32 years, and bringing it back,” he said of the property at 50 Elk St.
Read more…

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Water Authority Chairman Says He Won’t Resign Despite Legislature Request

June 19, 2018
The state Authority Budget Office recommends that the county Legislature remove Water Authority Chairman Jerome Schad. A majority of legislators are calling for his resignation. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)
The state Authority Budget Office recommends that the county Legislature remove Water Authority Chairman Jerome Schad. A majority of legislators are calling for his resignation.

Local lawmakers have rushed to stake out the high ground and demand reform ever since a state oversight agency condemned the Erie County Water Authority last week for its secrecy and lack of accountability. But the political divisions that have typified the deep-rooted problems with the patronage-driven authority are showing up in the rush to demand change and assert blame.

  • The county Legislature’s Republican-supported minority submitted a resolution Tuesday calling for the removal of Water Authority Chairman Jerome Schad, a Democrat. No Democrats agreed to co-sponsor the resolution except Thomas Loughran, of Amherst, the Legislature’s most vocal critic of the authority in recent years.
  • Democratic Legislator Patrick Burke, of Buffalo, who is running for state Assembly, has accused the Republican-supported minority of engaging in a “partisan hit job” on Schad after Republican donor Earl Jann was fired from his post as the authority’s executive director. Burke has called on the county Comptroller’s Office to report back on whether it is financially possible for the county to take over the authority as a county department.
  • Meanwhile, Schad said he isn’t going anywhere, and County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced he has his own ideas about how to reform the authority.
    Read more…

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When You Read the Article Below Remember, This is the Favorite News Station of Our President

June 19, 2018

Laura Ingraham joined her fellow Fox News host Tucker Carlson in offering up a ridiculous defense of the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant families, claiming the facilities where immigrant children are kept are just havens for fun. “As more illegal immigrants are rushing the border, more kids are being separated from their parents,” Ingraham said. “And temporarily housed at what are essentially summer camps.” The Fox News host also leaned on a newspaper article that compared the facilities to boarding schools, scoffing at the notion that anyone would be reminded of Nazi concentration camps when they hear the devastating audio of children crying for their parents or hear lawmakers.

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