Letter: Town Board Was No Help on Key Iskalo Decisions


July 26, 2014

Town Board was no help on key Iskalo decisions

Last summer, the frenzy about the Iskalo Hyatt peaked.

Amherst officials worked on the Hyatt for 18 months, in secret, and sprung it on the community with five days notice. The town’s boards held the minimum number of meetings required and promptly, without discussion, approved every Iskalo request, blind to the facts and deaf to the community. The massive 6-plus story hotel, shoehorned into an undersized irregularly shaped lot, was rubber stamped by the Town Board and Planning Board and given nine variances from the Zoning Board. The building permit was issued. Done deal.

The Town Board did nothing to change this mega-sized hotel. Their only voices were to blame other town committees. They did agree to study what the appropriate building height might be and how future commercial buildings should be sited next to housing.

The town’s “height committee” has been meeting for a year. No public notices. No minutes. But their secret discussions just became public. This week a resolution was passed, titled “Protecting Residential Properties,” to change the setback requirement for commercial buildings, like the distance a hotel can be from housing.

The Iskalo Hyatt is set back 65 feet. The new rules would require a setback of 225 feet. A set back of 66 feet would have pushed the Iskalo Hyatt off the parcel.

And the project would have died.

So thanks, Town Board. But you are a year late in doing your job.

It’s too little. Too late.

Michele F. Marconi


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BAK USA Plans to Make PC Tablets in Buffalo


A multinational social enterprise company is preparing to make Buffalo its global headquarters for electronic pc tablets. BAK USA will produce low-cost, high quality PC tablets.

BAK will operate from the top floor of the old Sheehan hospital in downtown Buffalo.

BAK’S operation will be based on what they did in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. They started SURTAB, SA where Haitians are trained to make electronic tablets. One person makes the tablet from beginning to end.
Read more…

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Amherst Tax Base Increases By $202 Million


New construction and higher values on some residential and commercial properties increased the tax base in Erie County’s largest town by more than $202 million.

Amherst now estimates its taxable assessed value at more than $8.58 billion. That’s up 2.4 percent from the town’s taxable value of $8.38 billion in 2013, said Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein.

Weinstein estimates about 80 percent of the growth is because of new construction placed on the tax rolls – which closed July 1 – while the rest is due to higher assessments on some residential and commercial properties that the town felt were underassessed.

“We try to maintain 100 percent of value, so we review the whole town and determine what’s out of sync this year, because the market has been so great,” said Amherst Assessor Ann Terranova.
Read more…

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Interim Buffalo Schools Superintendent Hosts Community Discussion Today

Don Ogilvie

Donald A. Ogilvie, interim superintendent for Buffalo Schools, will host a community discussion at 6 p.m. today at Highgate Heights School, 600 Highgate Ave.

The event is sponsored by: Dr. Theresa A. Harris-Tigg, the Board of Education Vice President of Student Achievement; Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold, at-large board member; Sharon Belton-Cottman, Ferry District representative; and Mary Ruth Kapsiak, Central District representative.

Buffalo residents who want to have an opportunity for input should take advantage of the community discussions that are being offered.  You have no right to complain if you have the opportunity to give your ideas but fail to do so.

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Everywhere Your Drone is Banned From Flying, in One Map

drone map

Ever wonder just where it is legal to fly a drone in our area?  Check out the map link in this article.  Looks like there isn’t anywhere it is legal.  Go figure.

Drone operators, be warned: Fly over the Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone, or Fort Bragg and you’ll incur the wrath of the Federal Aviation Administration. In fact, drones cannot operate over any national parks, near any airports or around any military bases.

The FAA is considering rules and regulations regarding commercially available drones, a relatively new arrival on the aviation scene. Most recently, the FAA began investigating a number of operators who flew their drones through or around fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. (Those drones got some pretty cool footage, however.)
Read more and see the map link attached…

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Borowitz’s Take on News

Supporters of Impeachment Oblivious to What Would Happen Next
Photo: Supporters of Impeachment Oblivious to What Would Happen Next
According to a new poll, one third of voters think Obama should be impeached. I had no idea so many people wanted Joe Biden to be President.

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Millions Pay for Rare Opportunity to Hear Sarah Palin Speak

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – Sarah Palin’s online video service starring herself had a hugely successful launch on Monday, as millions of Americans paid $9.95 for the rare opportunity of hearing the former Alaska Governor speak.

The Web site for The Sarah Palin Channel reportedly crashed several times during the day, as it was overwhelmed by subscribers seeking a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of the reclusive Palin sharing her opinions.

At the corporate headquarters of the Palin channel, the marketing director Tracy Klugian attributed the site’s mammoth success to “the simple law of supply and demand.”

“The Governor is a very private person who chooses her words very, very carefully,” Klugian said. “When someone like that finally decides to speak out, millions of people will pay to hear what she has to say.”

Harland Dorrinson, aged sixty-two, of Flint, Michigan, was just one of the millions of Americans who jammed Governor Palin’s channel on Monday, only to find that the site had frozen under the weight of traffic. “I’ll keep refreshing the page until I finally get through,” he said. “Hearing Sarah Palin talk isn’t something that happens every day.”

Media experts said Monday that the stunning launch of Palin’s Web site bodes well for the upcoming video channel from another rarely seen personality, Donald Trump.

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Town and Village Events and Meetings This Week

williamsville and Amherst logo

Here’s what’s happening this week in Williamsville and Amherst:

• The Williamsville Village Board meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Village Hall, 5565 Main St. A work session starts at 6.

• A meeting of the Town Board’s Information Technology Advisory Committee begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

• A performance by Williamsville Community Band, at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Island Park, on Main Street, is this week’s installment of the village’s Tuesday in the Parks concert series. Rain site is the Meeting House, 5658 Main St.

• The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Building.

• The town’s Youth & Recreation Department’s summer concert series continues at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Bassett Park, Klein and Youngs roads, with a performance by The Reardon and Garvey Band. Rain site is Williamsville South High School.

• A performance by the American Legion Band of the Tonawandas begins at 7 p.m. Thursday in Bassett Park.

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Glen Park Art Festival Keeps Growing in Williamsville

Williamsville Glen Park Arts Festival

One of the fastest growing art festivals in the area returned to Williamsville this past weekend.

The fifth annual Glen Park Art Festival was held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on Glen Avenue, behind Glen Park and the Williamsville Water Mill.

The popular event kicked off Friday night with food, beer and live music from 7 to 9.

The festival started five years ago with just 15 artists; this year, organizers were expecting nearly 100. Thousands of people were expected to attend over the two days.

Don’t forget that this coming weekend is the Taste of Williamsville.  Sunday afternoon from 12:00 to 8:00 p.m..  

It’s just one more great time to be had in the village!

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Vehicle Catches Fire at Amherst Gas Station


A vehicle near a gasoline pump caught fire around 9:30 p.m. Sunday at the Amherst University Mobil station at 3652 Sheridan Drive, near Millersport Highway, slightly damaging the convenience store and forcing it to close temporarily.

Firefighters from the Eggertsville Hose Company extinguished the blaze within 10 minutes, according to an Amherst Fire Control spokesman.

The vehicle was totaled, and damage to the store was estimated at $2,000. No injuries were reported, authorities said.
Read more…

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