Amherst Chamber Welcomes Internationally Known Speaker

Amherst Chamber Welcomes Internationally Known Speaker

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The Amherst Chamber of Commerce’s Business Resource Council has teamed up with the Emerging Business Leaders to welcome John Bourdage, internationally known business etiquette speaker. Bourdage will present “The Social Advantage” on May 13, 2011 at 8:30am at Bryant and Stratton College located at 3650 Millersport Highway in Getzville.

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This workshop will teach attendees how to develop and strengthen their interpersonal skills. Whether networking, socializing at a business event, hosting an event or sharing dinner with your peers, the skills learned in this workshop will create the competitive advantage essential for success. Bourdage will discuss topics such as first impressions, how to make proper introductions, the rules of conversation and the principles for building a successful network.

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Bourdage is founder of Bourdage Consulting and has dedicated his life’s work to the improvement of interpersonal relationships, whether casual or business, through a renewed understanding of service and social skills. He was trained by the British Royalty’s butlery school and now speaks throughout the world on business etiquette. 

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This is a presentation that anyone working in the business community can benefit from! The workshop is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Breakfast will be provided. Reserve your spot today by calling 716.632.6905 or visiting

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News from the Amherst Chamber of Commerce

AMHERST, NY- On May 20, 2011, the Amherst Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual Small Business Awards Luncheon sponsored by First Niagara Bank.  The event, which honors seven individuals and businesses for their contributions to small business, will be held at Samuel’s Grande Manor, located at 8750 Main Street in Williamsville.  Registration for the awards lunch begins at 11:30 am and the program will begin promptly at 12:00 noon.  Jodi Johnston, anchor and reporter for WGRZ-TV, will serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

Receiving honors this year are: e3communications – Small Business of the Year; Business First – President’s Award; Janine Tramont, SUNY @ Buffalo Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership – Small Business Advocate; The Irishman Pub & Eatery – Revitalization Award; Russell Salvatore – Award for Excellence; Tactus Technologies – Innovation Award; Bocce Club Pizzeria – Sponsor’s Award presented by First Niagara Bank.

Individual tickets are available for $40 for members of the Amherst Chamber and $45 for non-members.  Corporate tables of ten can be purchased for $425 for members and $475 for non-members and include corporate signage.  To reserve your place today, please call 716.632.6905 or visit  Seats are filling fast so be sure to act quickly!

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Congressman Higgins Announces Start of Construction at Coast Guard Site

Brian Higgins

Work To Provide New Public Access to Waterfront, Historic Lighthouse

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced the beginning of construction on a project that will consolidate facilities at Sector Buffalo for the U.S. Coast Guard.  The work, made possible with federal funding secured by Congressman Higgins, will allow for public access to a new section of the Outer Harbor including the historic Buffalo Lighthouse.

“With this project we continue to build on our effort to deliver unprecedented access and opportunity to the Buffalo waterfront,” said Congressman Higgins.  “This work has the dual purpose of beginning the upgrading and reconfiguring Coast Guard facilities, some of which are over 7 decades old, and reviving a portion of the water’s edge which is home to one of Buffalo’s historic landmarks and has been closed to the public for years.”

Congressman Higgins first secured $3.1 million for the Coast Guard consolidation project in 2008 working in conjunction with then-Senator Hillary Clinton.  Later that year, Congressman Higgins secured an additional $3 million for the work, bringing a total of $6.1 million to the Buffalo waterfront project.

Phase I of the project will incorporate enhancements to provide park benches, improvements to the existing brick walking path, lighting, and decorative security fencing where consistent with the long-term perimeter of the Sector Buffalo recapitalization plan. 

The lead contractor on the site is Iroquois Bar Corp., a local company based in Lackawanna, NY.   Iroquois Bar will be working with Union Concrete and Construction Corp., based in West Seneca, Scrufari Construction Company out of Niagara Falls and Beardsley Design Associates, Inc. of Syracuse on the Coast Guard project.  Iroquois was awarded the contract through the Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Business development program, created to help small businesses compete in the marketplace and gain access to federal and private contracts.

Phase I will cost $3.8 million and the public access improvements will be completed by this fall to coincide with the October National Preservation Conference in Buffalo.  Built in 1833, the Buffalo “Chinaman’s Lighthouse,” which sits on the Coast Guard property is one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes.  Public Access to the Lighthouse has been limited due to post-9/11 security requirements.

This project is the latest in a series of Outer Harbor improvements advanced by Congressman Higgins.  Last fall work was completed on the Outer Harbor Parkway which begins at the entrance to the Coast Guard site.  Earlier this month Erie Canal Harbor Corporation awarded $170,700 in New York Power Authority relicensing agreement funds secured by Higgins for masonry repair and stonework on the actual Lighthouse structure.   

Higgins is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security which has jurisdiction over Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Sector Buffalo provides search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine safety and security, aids-to-navigation, recreational boating safety, marine environmental response, and ice operations services to the public.  Its area of responsibility includes Lake Erie from Lorain, Ohio to Buffalo, New York, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, the Erie Canal, and the St. Lawrence Seaway to Massena, New York.

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Katie Couric Leaving ‘CBS Evening News’

Katie Couric's big announcement was made before her deal with CBS expires in June.
Katie Couric’s big announcement was made before her deal with CBS expires in June.

There have been rumors swirling for weeks.  Katie Couric would be leaving her post as the CBS news anchor.  Well, it’s true.  She will leave in the very near future and head to “greener pastures.”  Did anyone actually watch her?

Katie Couric made it official Tuesday: She’s leaving the “CBS Evening News,” clearing the way for Scott Pelley to be named anchor, probably next week.

After dancing around the issue for a couple of weeks while promoting her new book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got,” Couric told People magazine she will leave the flagship CBS newscast.

She didn’t say when her last appearance will happen or what her next job will be – but she’s known to be looking for an “Oprah”-like syndicated talk show.

read more…

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Russia, Ukraine Mark 25th Anniversary Of Chernobyl Nuclear Meltdown

Vera Toptunova, the mother of an engineer at doomed Chernobyl nuclear plant, mourns over his grave at Moscow cemetery on Tuesday.  
Vera Toptunova, the mother of an engineer at doomed Chernobyl nuclear plant, mourns over his grave at Moscow cemetery on Tuesday.

It has been 25 years since a reactor explosion killed 31 workers in Chernobyl,Russia, forced 350,000 people from their homes and spewed a cloud of radiation over Europe 100 times greater than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II.  Now the people of Japan are dealing with a very similar situation.

The crisis at the Fukushima plant “reminded humankind that we shouldn’t relax,” said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

He and Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych laid the foundation for a new monument at Chernobyl to mark the 25 year anniversary.

read more…

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Rumor on The Street:

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The mystery of Jane Corwin’s work history at her job of 36 years at the Talking Phone Book is solved. Jane is now 47 she started working when she was 11 at this company her relatives owned . Jane was under age but was big for her age she easily passed for 18. Therefore she could work for her relatives and not get into any trouble for being under age.

April 26, 2011 · Filed under Local News · Edit

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Walk to Cure Childhood Cancer

The Walk to Cure Childhood Cancer, in memory of Jeff Casterline will be held on May 13, 2011 at the beautiful Ramada Hotel & Conference Center.  The 2 Mile Walk will start at 6:00 PM in Amherst, NY. This event is held in memory of Jeff Casterline, a well-known local athlete, humanitarian and Association for Research of Childhood Cancer ( supporter who succumbed to cancer in 1996.  The Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, 2402 North Forest Road, Amherst, NY 14068, will kindly provide the use of their banquet facilities.  The post event party will include a wonderful pasta dinner, refreshments, and door prizes.  Registration forms available at

Contact: Donna Monaco at 716.681.4433 for Team Packets.

Distance: 2 Mile Walk

Date: Friday, May 13, 2011

Time: 6:00 PM Start

Location: Ramada Hotel & Conference Center
                 2402 North Forest Road
                 Getzville, NY 14068

Walk Entry Form: Click here for the Walk Entry Form

Please install the Adobe Acrobat reader, if not already on your computer, before attempting to print the Race Application Form. 

Registration: Day of walk registration and pre-
                       registration packet pick-up
                       from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM.

Donation: Pre-Register by April 29th. Pre-registered participants must raise a minimum of $20 to participate. Non Pre-registered participants must raise a minimum of $25 to participate.

Packet Pickup: Day of Walk registration and Pre-registered Packet Pick-up will start at 4:30 PM.

Join our Walk to Cure Childhood Cancer Today!

 Form a Team

Start getting your Team together now! Invite Friends, Relatives and Co-workers and enjoy a beautiful walk while joining a great cause.  If you need a registration packet, please contact Donna Monaco, Walk Committee Chair at or call her at 716.681.4433.

Participate and Raise Funds

Every walker sets a goal of raising at least $50. Your fund raising is essential to our efforts to fund promising research to find a cure for childhood cancer. The fight against childhood cancer is not an easy one to win, but with your support and generosity we come one step closer to our commitment that one day. . . ” today’s children will have a tomorrow and tomorrow’s children will have a future!”

Great Prizes

All participants will receive entry into our amazing selection of door prizes. And for every additional $20 raised in addition to the  minimum contribution you will receive another door prize ticket.

Walkers who raise a minimum of $50 will receive a Walk to Cure Childhood Cancer T-shirt on the day of the Walk.

The individual who raises the highest amount will receive the Grand Prize.

Individuals who raise $100 or more will be eligible for the special drawing.

Special recognition will also go to the team with the most walkers and the team that raises the highest amount.

Post walk party and award ceremony with a fabulous pasta dinner.

Food, Fun & Door Prizes!

Walk Director: Donna Monaco 716-681-4433

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Higgins Asks for Deadline Extension While State Department Reviews New Onerous Requirements For Passport Agents

Congressman Wants Mandates on Local Clerks Dropped

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) is continuing to press the U.S. State Department to provide local governments with relief from new and excessive requirements on municipal clerks that provide passport services to local residents.

Higgins said, “Local town and city Clerks have offered passport processing as a service to the federal government and local residents without incident for years.  They are duly elected, serve under oath, and handle sensitive documents daily and responsibly as a matter of course.  These requirements, which go above and beyond security report recommendations, are unfair and unwarranted.”

New regulations require birth records be handled by separate personnel and in a separate workspace than passport acceptance functions. This may cause many municipal clerks to abandon the passport acceptance function or create financial hardships on local governments.

Clerks in Cheektowaga, West Seneca, Aurora, Hamburg, Grand Island, Evans, Eden, North Collins and the City of Jamestown have reached out to Congressman Higgins’ office expressing frustration with the new policies which burden offices with additional costs associated with staffing and office reconfiguration. 

Congressman Higgins first issued objections to the new mandates in a letter issued last month. He further questioned the State Department Inspector General about these requirements during a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee meeting.  Still waiting for a formal response, the Congressman sent a new letter to the Secretary of State asking for an extension of their May 1 deadline pending further review.

Below is a copy of Congressman Higgins’ letter:

April 25, 2011

Secretary Clinton
U.S. Department of State 
2201 C Street NW 
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

In my letter to you on March 24th of this year and in my comments before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to Deputy Inspector General Geisel I indicated my strong opposition to the State Department mandating local clerk’s offices in Western New York to physically separate their facilities for passport acceptance functions in order to continue their eligibility to be a passport issuance facility. I have reviewed the GAO reports that directly investigated these potential security vulnerabilities. I have also reviewed the Department of State’s Office of Inspector General report dated July of 2009 in regards to passport offices within the Bureau of Consular affairs. In that report the Department of State Inspector General makes several recommendations including continual training for local issuance officers and monitoring of facilities to track problems or poor performing sites for closure.

While I agree that continued training and monitoring of sites will result in better more efficient services, nowhere in the report’s recommendations does it raise a security concern necessitating physically separated facilities to ensure the legitimacy of the passport issuance function. In addition the need to have separate staffing to divide passport issuance staff from performing other functions in a facility is neither specified in the report nor is it feasible to municipal clerk offices that cannot afford to designate separate staff or move to a different location to maintain their passport issuance status.

I agree with the goal of having a secure and well maintained system to issue passports that meet the needs of those in my community to travel and conduct their business. However, these overly burdensome mandates on local municipalities will cripple their ability perform these essential services and will result in making passport services less accessible to the Western New Yorkers who depend on them. I am requesting an extension of the May 1 deadline pending a review and response to my previous letter.  I further hope you reconsider these excessive mandates and ultimately suspend the separate staff and space requirements which seem to exceed the appropriate security requirements given the report recommendations and outstanding record of service and standards demonstrated by municipal clerks serving as local passport agents.  


Brian Higgins
Member of Congress

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k.d. lang & the Siss Boom Bang

kd lang
k.d. lang & the Siss Boom Bang 

Are you a fan of  k.d. lang & the Siss Boom Bang?  They are coming to town on Tuesday, September 27 at 7:30 pm at the UB Center for the Arts.

Tickets go on sale at the Center Box Office, Ticketmaster outlets and charge by phone on Friday, April 29 at 10AM.  They will cost $52, $62 or $72 each.

k.d.’s 2008 show at the Center sold out – so don’t delay!

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Jane Corwin’s War On The Elderly

Posted a day ago by Chris Charvella. 33 comments, WNYMedia
Jane Corwin, Republican candidate for the open seat in the NY-26 special election has come out in favor of the Paul Ryan plan that guts Medicare and puts an entire generation of Americans in jeopardy of losing their healthcare benefits. This isn’t the first time Corwin has taken sides against the interests of of the elderly, however. Her voting record and campaign donation history reveal a pattern of disregard for aging citizens.

The story starts in 2008 when Corwin entered the race for the NYS Assembly. Although she could have easily funded her own campaign, she chose to accept a donation from the McGuire Group Inc., a Buffalo-based operator of six New York nursing homes that had been previously fined the maximum $2000 for quality of care deficiencies.

According to sources, she also accepted money from Greg J. Chambery, Administrator of the Maplewood Nursing Home that had been fined twice in recent years in the amounts of $2000 (the maximum) and $1000 and another campaign donor: Daniel E. Richardson, Director of Finance for Latta Road Nursing Home in Rochester, NY, a home that was recently fined (once again, the maximum) $2000.

Regarding these fines, Section 12 of the Public Health Law allows the Department of Health to assess fines against nursing homes that have been cited for noncompliance with federal or state regulations that resulted in harm to residents, represents substandard quality of care, or place residents at immediate risk for harm.

The list of these nursing home operators’ infractions is long. The following deficiencies were identified as a pattern of behavior within these nursing homes and not simply one-time happenings:

According to inspections, the homes regularly failed to do the following:

Provide care in a way that keeps or builds each resident’s dignity and self respect.

Keep safe, clean and homelike surroundings.

Provide needed housekeeping and maintenance.

Keep sound levels comfortable.

1) Develop a complete care plan within 7 days of each resident’s admission; 2) prepare a care plan with the care team, including the primary nurse, doctor, resident or resident’s family or representative; or 3) check and update the care plan.

Prepare food that is nutritional, appetizing, tasty, attractive, well-cooked, and at the right temperature.

Store, cook, and give out food in a safe and clean way.

Give each resident care and services to get or keep the highest quality of life possible.

Give residents proper treatment to prevent new bed (pressure) sores or heal existing bed sores.

Make sure there is a program to prevent/deal with mice, insects, or other pests.

Make sure that the nursing home area is safe, easy to use, clean and comfortable

There were more infractions, no less serious, but listed as isolated:

Get rid of garbage properly.

Make sure that the nursing home area is free of dangers that cause accidents.

Keep each resident free from physical restraints, unless needed for medical treatment.

Give each resident enough fluids to keep them healthy and prevent dehydration.

Make sure that each resident’s nutritional needs were met.

1) Hire only people who have no legal history of abusing, neglecting or mistreating residents; or 2) report and investigate any acts or reports of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents.

Corwin won her seat in the NYS Assembly with the help of donations from the McGuire Group and officials at nursing homes that had been fined for failing to provide the kind of care you’d expect at a sub-standard dog kennel, but even the egregious treatment failures at these nursing homes and their campaign donations to Jane Corwin may never have been classified as a big deal if it wasn’t for a couple pieces of legislation that came up during Corwin’s first term in the Assembly

Assembly Bill 763 was listed as a piece of ‘significant legislation’ and endeavored to do the following:

Nursing Home Patient Right to Sue Clarifies the right to sue a nursing home under section 2801-d of the Public Health Law by making explicit that such a right extends to injuries against physical and emotional health, financial injury as well as death.

Jane Corwin was one of only 27 who voted against this bill in 2009 but at least, in this case, she could be seen as being loyal to contributors. There was a subsequent bill in 2010 regarding prescription drugs where her vote could be construed as a protection of her own financial interests:

NYS Senate bill S. 5000 reached the Assembly in 2010. The bill promised to do the following:

No health care plan or health insurance policy which provides coverage for prescription drugs and for which cost-sharing, deductibles or co-insurance obligations are determined by category of prescription drugs including, but not limited to, generic drugs, preferred brand drugs and non-preferred brand drugs, shall impose cost-sharing, deductibles or co-insurance obligations for any prescription drug that exceeds the dollar amount of cost-sharing, deductibles or co-insurance obligations for any other prescription drug provided under such coverage in the category of non-preferred brand drugs or their equivalents.

In essence, this bill was enacted to ensure that manufactures of name-brand prescription drugs could not charge unfairly high prices in the state of New York. Jane Corwin was one of only four member of the Assembly to vote against it.

According to an anonymous source, Jane Corwin owns stock in major pharmaceutical companies Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, all of which would have benefited from the failure of S. 5000. Additionally, according to the Associated Press, in December 2006, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. agreed to pay $499 million to settle federal investigations into questionable drug pricing and marketing practices. Also according to the Associated Press, in 2007, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. agreed to pay more than $515 million to settle fraud charges related to federal and state investigations into their drug marketing and pricing practices. Finally, according to the New York Times, 2009, in 2009Pfizer Inc. paid $2.3 billion in a settlement over the company’s illegal promotion of its now-withdrawn painkiller Bextra. This was the largest fine ever levied for fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

As if Corwin’s campaign donations from shoddy nursing homes and her financial association with pharmaceutical companies’ profit motives wasn’t already enough to question her dedication to the average citizen in New York State, she continued her run of voting against the elderly and middle class when S. 8088 reached the Assembly in June of 2010.

Corwin was one of only 17 assembly members to vote against S. 8088, a bill that

requires health insurance companies to receive state approval before enacting premium increases or decreases and to inform premium holders of any proposed rate adjustments

The legislation passed the state Senate 58-0 and passed the Assembly 117-17 including ‘Yes’ votes from 25 Conservative Party and/or Republican member. The New York Times coverage of the bill said “the new legislation also requires insurance companies to obtain approval from state officials before raising rates, a step that the industry had vigorously opposed. Lawmakers contend that the provision will save the state $70 million a year because fewer people will be forced off of private insurance and into public programs.”

As evidenced, Jane Corwin has a long history of showing her disregard for the citizens of New York who lack the finances to afford gold-plated health care. She has come down in favor of deficient nursing homes, pharmaceutical price fixing and higher health insurance costs. After examining her previous actions, it is difficult to see an end to her willingness to vote with her campaign donors to the detriment of her constituents. Now, as a candidate for the United States Congress, she has an opportunity to grow those campaign donations exponentially, but at what cost to voters?


Chris Charvella posted this on April 25, 2011 at 7:15 am.

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