Battle Lines Drawn Over Schools as Data, Cuomo Agenda Collide

About 1,500 people attend rally at West Seneca West High opposing Cuomo plan to link state aid to school reforms.
About 1,500 people attend rally at West Seneca West High opposing Cuomo plan to link state aid to school reforms.

Teacher evaluations, ‘failing’ results at issue

As a new report shows that more than 97 percent of area principals and teachers are deemed effective or highly effective, educators across the state are rallying against a plan by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to make the rating system tougher.

Data released by the state Education Department on Thursday show that for the second year in a row, most educators from school districts in Erie and Niagara counties were given the state’s highest ratings, mirroring results seen across the state. Even in Buffalo, where the vast majority of schools fail to meet state standards, 91 percent of educators were deemed effective or highly effective.

Teacher advocates say the results reflect the fact that New York has some of the best trained and most experienced teachers in the country. They also point to factors outside the classroom that can greatly affect how children learn.

“The real problem is, along with the achievement gap, there comes a family gap, a housing gap, a health care gap, an income gap, just to name a few things,” said Ashli Skura Dreher, a Lewiston-Porter special-education teacher who was named the state’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.

“If we want to improve educational outcomes, these are the real issues that the governor has to address.”
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To see educator ratings for your school district, go to data.buffalonews.com/databuff/education/erie-niagara-teacher-ratings/

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Praise (Sort of) for FUD, and a Warning

andrew cuomo

We’ve got a bad feeling. A really bad feeling.

It’s Cuomo. Ever since the day after his speech, he’s been acting weird. Remember? He gave his State of the State speech and did the dorky thing he always does – he made a totally lame attempt at humor. This time is was the Three Amigos — Cuomo, Silver and Skelos in sombreros. Hah, hah. But what happened? The very next day, PB exposed Silver for using his office to get rich.  As we’ve written, we still have our doubts about whether Silver’s actions constitute a federal crime or not, but we’re not disputing the fact that he’s now the all-time poster boy for personal gain in public office.

The Three Amigos is the picture worth a thousand words. It’s the punch line for PB.  It tied Cuomo to Silver and Skelos in a way that PB never could.

Cuomo knows it. He knows that everybody else knows it and now he’s desperate to change the perception.
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The “Seeds” of Former Politicians Usually Sound Sweet and Fresh – Don’t Believe Fooled

tree with nuts
When its time to vote look carefully at the people who are running in your district.  Do this after you hear them speak and you really understand what they are saying.  When you hear them say something you know can’t be done, by ask yourself who he will be working with to support his plans to get the job done?  So many people in Amherst say the same thing.

Why are the names of the candidates in the Village and Town so familiar?  Simple.  Many of these candidates are the seeds (offspring) of previous politicians..  They are often related to someone who previously sat on some elected board in our local government.

This list of “seeds” is substantial.  They are trained by their relatives on what to say and how to lie while smiling.

One of the most deceitful, dishonest politicians in the area is Mark Poloncarz who gave jobs to his brother and several other relatives.  Poloncarz is the one who told reporters he was getting on a plane and was going to Syracuse to a fundraiser in his honor at the Orange Club.

First lie: there wasn’t any fundraiser set up for him, second lie: the Orange  Club never had any knowledge of a fundraiser. What Poloncarz did was to meet with two friends who gave him $45,000 for his campaign.  A funny thing happened with this deal.  One of the two men now works for “The Mark.”

The people of Amherst must check up on every candidate running to representative us.  Sometimes a good seed does fall from the family linage.  All candidates, especially “seeds” must be checked out completely.

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Army Orders 84 Advanced Helicopters


Army orders 84 advanced helicopters over the last month worth a total of $1.1 billion

The past month has seen the U.S. military on a buying spree for advanced helicopters designed for a wide range of tasks from reconnaissance to attack. Since late January U.S. Army aviation authorities have announced orders for 84 helicopters worth about $1.1 billion.

The three separate orders are for 35 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for the U.S. Army; eight AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for the government of Indonesia; and 41 UH-72A Lakota light helicopters for the U.S. Army.

It’s rare to see such substantial helicopter orders coming out of the Pentagon in such a short time period. The Boeing Co. Defense, Space & Security segment in Mesa, Ariz., makes the AH-64E, while Airbus Helicopters Inc. in Herndon Va., makes the UH-72A.

These orders are good news not only for Boeing and Airbus, but also for the many subcontractors that contribute to these military rotorcraft.
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Army to Buy More Than 2,000 Hellfire Missiles

U.S. Army anti-armor missile experts are ordering more than 2,000 U.S.-made Hellfire II tactical missiles for the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Australia.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced a $144 million contract modification Tuesday to Hellfire Systems LLC in Orlando, Fla., to produce 2,060 Hellfire II missile models AGM-114R, AGM-114R-3, AGM-114P-4A, ATM-114Q-6, and AGM-114R-5.

These missiles will be involved in U.S. foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Australia.
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Clinton Paid Women Less Than Men When She Was Senator, Analysis Finds

Unequal pay: Hillary Clinton paid women less than men when she was a senator, according to a report on Monday

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The gap in pay between genders extended to Hillary Clinton’s office when she was a senator, according to an analysis by a conservative web site.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Monday that women working for the then-New York senator earned 72 cents for each dollar paid to men. Clinton, a Democrat currently leading polls for her party’s presidential nomination, was a senator from 2001 to 2009.

During Clinton’s Senate years, the median annual salary for a woman working in her office was $15,708.38 less than the median salary for a man, according to the Free Beacon’s analysis of official Senate expenditure reports.

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“Volunteers / Interns / Festival Director’s Wanted”    

BNFF 3D Logo

The Buffalo Niagara Film Festival is now seeking volunteers, interns and festival director’s (someone who is self motivated, creative and well-organized) for April 2015 events which run from April 10-18th in the Buffalo / Niagara Falls Area.

Volunteer/Internship Responsibilities:

Students and volunteers will act as a liaison between the Film Festival and festival sponsors and organizers.

Coordinate and run events with local theaters.

Correspond with filmmakers, production companies and media outlets.

Shoot, edit, design and produce promotional materials, videos and web content.

Assist with the day to day running of the Film Festival.

Festival Director’s Responsibilities:

To oversee volunteers, interns and everyday festival activities. To ensure that the festival is successful and well attended. To assist us and put an interesting and appealing festival program together. Which may involve collaborating with a committee or other people connected with the festival. Scouting and recruiting good talent, themes and underlying ideas for the festival. The director needs to be able to bring creative and new ideas to the job. Originality and a go-getters attitude is a must! If you think you got what it takes – give us a call or email Bill at bcowell@thebnff.com – 716-693-0912

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Ethics Questions — on Reform and More — Dominate Cuomo Q&A


Gov. Andrew Cuomo

It was no surprise that a gubernatorial press conference held a day after the arraignment of a former Assembly Speaker was dominated by questions about ethics reform.

The Q&A followed a cabinet meeting that featured extensive reiterations of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s previously announced proposals to tackle rape and sexual assault on campuses — public and private — and his desire to devote $25 million to the expansion of pre-kindergarten programs for 3-year-olds.

Cuomo was asked by Mike Gormley of Newsday if he, his staff or his attorneys had “been subpoenaed or contacted by federal investigators.”

“Not myself,” Cuomo said. “You’d have to ask people individually.” The governor said it was possible he might not be aware of a federal investigator’s contact with a member of his staff.
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There Could be Demons Attached to Your Thrift Store Finds

When will someone shut him down?  Get him off TV!

A concerned viewer wrote to Pat Robertson for advice on demons and thrift stores:

“I buy a lot of clothes and other items at Goodwill and other secondhand shops. Recently my mom told me that I need to pray over the items, bind familiar spirits, and bless the items before I bring them into the house. Is my mother correct? Can demons attach themselves to material items?”

Robertson’s answer?

 ”Can demonic spirits attach themselves to inanimate objects? The answer is yes. But I don’t think every sweater you get from Goodwill has demons in it. In a sense your mother is just being super cautious, so hey — it isn’t gonna hurt you any to rebuke any spirits that might attach themselves to those clothes.”
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Glad that’s settled.

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The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to Receive $ 7,795,773.00 in Federal Funds

Joe Mascia
The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority is going to receive $ 7,795,773.00 in Federal Funds from The Department of Housing and Urban Development.
These funds are specifically designated to improve public housing facilities for low income families, the elderly and people with disabilities.
 We finally have the opportunity to improve the quality of life for our residents. I would like to recommend that the Board be involved in what I’m sure will be a transparent  process of where and how this grant will be used. I strongly suggest that residents will also be involved in the process.
 Respectfully;
 Joe Mascia
 Commissioner Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority

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