Official Republican Debate Format

by Andy Borowitz

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BREAKING: Republicans Announce Official Debate Format

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NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—The Republican National Committee has released the format for its first 2016 Presidential debate, to be broadcast by Fox News on August 6th:

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1. Question from moderator to Donald Trump;

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2. Ignoring of question by Donald Trump, followed by personal attack on Jeb Bush;

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3. Feeble attempt at rebuttal by Jeb Bush;

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4. Interruption by Donald Trump, followed by attack on other eight candidates

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5. Attempted moderation by moderator;

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6. Personal attack on moderator by Donald Trump, followed by gratuitous attack on Rick Santorum;

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7. Reaction shot of stone-faced Rick Santorum, excluded from debate but sitting in audience;

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8. Concluding statement by Donald Trump, including attack on Fox News’ ”cheap-looking” debate set;

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9. Demand for apology by Mexicans, veterans, China, Bobby Jindal’s mom, and other people attacked during debate by Donald Trump;

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10. Donald Trump declared winner by Donald Trump.

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Russ Brandon Named President of the Buffalo Sabres

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The Buffalo Sabres announced Monday that Russ Brandon has been named Team President and Alternate Governor. Brandon replaces Ted Black, who the Sabres say has mutually agreed to part ways with the organization.

Brandon will also maintain his duties with the Bills, and now oversee all aspects of business operations for both teams while reporting to Terry and Kim Pegula.

A news release from the Sabres says the Pegula’s have been impressed with Brandon since purchasing the Bills. “Russ will work with Pegula Sports & Entertainment to create strong synergies between the Sabres and Bills,” said Terry and Kim Pegula. “With Russ’ strong ties to the area business community and sponsorship partners, he will effectively position both organizations for future growth.
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Ecstasy Lab May Have Been Operated in Amherst Neighborhood

Lebrun Street Sign

An investigation – prompted at 4 p.m. by an Amherst resident’s complaint of an odor of natural gas – continued through the night and into Sunday morning, said Amherst police, who called in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Clandestine Lab Enforcement Team and State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team.

In a statement issued at 4:47 a.m., Amherst police confirmed that a National Fuel technician dispatched to a Lebrun Circle address “discovered what appeared to be potentially hazardous chemicals in an apartment located above a detached garage.”

State Police and federal agents “remediated the potential hazard and processed the scene,” the police statement read. “No injuries were reported and there was no risk to neighboring residents.”

State Police and Amherst police declined to give further information on the nature of the chemical activity but a source close to the investigation indicated the Lebrun Circle apartment may have contained an Ecstasy laboratory.

No injuries were reported, said Amherst police. No arrests were made.
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Rising Lake Erie Damages Property, Swallows Beaches

Ward Pinkel, left, and Ben Little, two Grandview Bay residents, paddle around near a U.S. flag in the water near their cottages. Pinkel placed the flag there several years ago to warn boaters of shallow waters – not recently a problem thanks to heavy rain – and rocks.
Ward Pinkel, left, and Ben Little, two Grandview Bay residents, paddle around near a U.S. flag in the water near their cottages. Pinkel placed the flag there several years ago to warn boaters of shallow waters – not recently a problem thanks to heavy rain – and rocks.

It’s been a long time since Lake Erie was this deep.  People have been bemoaning the shallow depth for years but that is now a thing of the past.

Lake Erie is averaging 573.31 feet above sea level this month, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data. That height hadn’t been reached since June 1998.

The star-spangled banner still waves in Lake Erie – but in much deeper water.

The 4-by-6-foot Stars and Stripes that Ward Pinkel of Evans anchored between some rocks in Grandview Bay a few years ago had a purpose beyond patriotism: to warn boaters of shallow water and a field of debris from an old dock.

But those rocks and remnants of that dock are now submerged, along with most of the flagpole, as Lake Erie’s rising waters now lap toward the bottom of Old Glory. That’s because the lake has added a lot of water over the last few months – about 2.9 trillion more gallons, or roughly the equivalent of 4.4 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Just a couple of years removed from unprecedented declines in water levels – when Lake Erie dropped every month in 2012 and ran as much as 9 inches below normal between May 2012 and June 2013 – its depth ballooned in June and July because of as much as 400 percent more rainfall in some areas of the Great Lakes watershed this spring and summer.
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DiNapoli: Sales Tax Collections Growth Slowed in First Half of 2015

DiNapoli

Lack of Growth Could Mean Fiscal Challenges

Local sales tax collection growth across New York State slowed to 1.6 percent in the first six months of 2015 from 3 percent growth in 2014 and was considerably lower than the 4.2 percent average annual growth over the past 15 years, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

County sales tax collections, excluding all cities, increased only 0.5 percent for the first six months of 2015, with many counties seeing a decline in their collections.

“There has been a general downward trend in sales tax collection growth over the last several years and that is continuing in 2015,” DiNapoli said. “The slow growth in sales taxes could pose fiscal challenges for local governments across New York, especially for counties who rely heavily on sales tax collections to pay their bills.”

New York City’s sales tax collections grew by $91 million, or 2.7 percent in the first half of 2015, accounting for a substantial part of local sales tax growth statewide. Still, the city’s growth rate fell from a 4.8 percent growth rate for the same period in 2014.

The Capital District had the second strongest sales tax growth in the first half of the year at 2 percent. Western New York was next with 1.5 percent growth.

In contrast, sales tax revenue declined in five of the 10 economic regions of the state, with the sharpest decline being in the North Country, which saw a 2.5 percent drop. Also declining were the Southern Tier (1.2 percent), the Mohawk Valley (1.0 percent), the Finger Lakes (0.4 percent) and the Mid-Hudson region (0.4 percent).

Sales tax collections declined in 33 of the 57 counties outside of New York City from the same period in 2014. The largest decline was in Schoharie County, with a 6.1 percent drop. Allegany, Delaware, Lewis and Montgomery counties also had declines of more than 5 percent. In some cases, these declines were due to technical adjustments, which can have a large impact in counties with relatively small populations and retail sectors.

Of the 24 counties that saw sales collections rise, the strongest growth was 8.8 percent in Steuben County. Ulster County had an increase of 8.4 percent, which was due in part to a rate change. Hamilton and Washington counties also saw growth rates of more than 6 percent. Technical adjustments can explain some of these increases.

See the report here, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/snapshot/localsalestaxcollection0715.pdf

See the County-by-City Table here, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/snapshot/localsalestaxcollectiontable0715.pdf

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The Lord Expects Us to Share

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I found the following comment on FaceBook from Nick Langworthy, Chairman of the Erie County Republican party:

“$15 unskilled minimum wage would be a $31,200 annual full-time salary. Teachers in a WNY school start at $37,000 with a Masters. It’s Wrong!”

Mr. Longworthy, you are correct and it’s evident that teachers must be paid more.  I agree with you.  Surely you must know many politicians who are grossly overpaid. Nick, have you seen the cost of school supplies?  Be honest.  Could you live the way you presently do on just $31,200?

They are  so many things you do for your family because of your salary.  Just think about taking the family to a movie.  It would cost you at least $30 dollars.  This is a big chunk of change out a minimum workers salary.

Nick, instead of complaining, offer from your bounty to help people who have to live in the dregs of poverty.

I try to live by my LORDS law to help the poor.

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Letter to the Editor

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It looks like Poloncarz bought his house about 3 years ago – 7/27/12 – for $207,500.  It was apparently assessed at that time at $157,000 or some $50,000 under the value then.  The assessed valuation has never been increased, from what it was already under assessed, in the 3 years since.

Meanwhile the Zillow.com website has “zestimated” the value of that property to have increased to $267, 505 (at least). So it would now appear to be at least as much as $110, 505 under assessed, or only being taxed on an assessed valuation of 5o.87% of actual or real valuation now.  This would mean he is paying about half the real property taxes he should!

I guess this is taxation WITH representation!

Concerned Citizen

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Glen Park Art Festival ~ 2015

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Glen Park Art Festival Expects Record Crowd 

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In its sixth year, popular Williamsville festival has grown tenfold to 120 booths

Williamsville, N.Y. – Plans for the sixth annual Glen Park Art Festival on July 25th and 26th are almost complete.  Festival Chair, Sharon Rich, promises that this year’s event will surpass last year’s in size and fun.

Rapidly becoming known throughout Western New York as one of the top art festivals in the area, the show is situated on Glen Avenue in beautiful Glen Park with its waterfalls and ponds providing the perfect setting.  The main entrance which is easiest for the handicapped, is on Mill Street.  Entrances are also available on Rock Street, which is steep, and through Glen Park on Main Street.

Since its founding in 2010, the Festival has grown from 15 tents to over 120 booths. Fine art, sculptures, pottery, specialized photography, quality jewelry and unique crafts from Western New York’s top artists will be available.

On our community stage, the Entertainment Committee, chaired by Deborah Doucette with the assistance of Mark Weber, have planned a variety of top local artists as well as dance exhibitions.  Bring a chair and enjoy a relaxing performance

Many of the Village’s top restaurants are putting together a selection of foods for every appetite, Sweet Jenny’s ice cream and The Dickster’s Hot Dogs will complete the menu.

Older students have arranged their own arts and crafts show which has become increasingly popular. Students offer many items for sale.

The younger crowd will have loads of fun doing the many crafts and games being offered by the Town of Amherst Youth and Recreation Department and the Village’s Youth and Rec. Committee.

Mayor Brian Kulpa, Dick Rich and Sharon Rich, the founders of the Festival, envisioned a small community event held in a beautiful setting.  Mrs. Rich explained the phenomenal growth by pointing out that the Festival has retained the feel of a community event and artists know that they and their work are appreciated.  “Our committee truly believes in supporting our artists and vendors.  They bring a unique quality of life to our community,” said Mrs. Rich.

The show is sponsored by the Town of Amherst, Village of Williamsville and the Williamsville Business Association.  The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Fridaynight will feature a kickoff concert from 7 to 9 p.m. on Glen Avenue near Mill Street with entertainment by the Dixieland jazz group The Fredtown Stompers.

For further information email: ra3rich@gmail.com.

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Letter to the Editor

letter to the editorI also attended the Fran Spoth fundraiser early on Tuesday – Jim was there a little later.  Neither of  us saw Jerry Schad at the fundraiser, nor was he at the Debbie Bucki fundraiser, which seems to confirm the rumors of where he stands in this primary.

Schad’s (Poloncarz/Zellner/Schad) candidate – Hadar Bordon –  came to neither either, although she promised to support the ADC endorsed slate.  Instead she continued her campaign and has now filed petitions with about 900 signatures, circulated by students from UB, and people from other towns.  The endorsed ADC slate (Bucki/Spoth) got over 1400 signatures.

Which petition did Jerry Schad sign?

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