Category “Local News”

Work Continues to Make Lockport Expressway Less Bumpy

Work is underway this summer to give motorists a smoother ride on the Lockport Expressway in Amherst, officials said.

The project will crack and seat the concrete pavement on Lockport Expressway (the I-990) and then place a multicourse of asphalt between the Youngmann Expressway and North French Road. Crack and seat is a process used to prepare the existing concrete surface for the asphalt overlay, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The project is expected to be complete by Nov. 1. The total cost is $18.27 million in federal and state funding.

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Hikes, Bikes, Yoga, Lots More – Outdoor Fitness Abound WNY

Canalside has become the center of the summer outdoor fitness craze in Western New York, but those who don’t often frequent the downtown Buffalo waterfront won’t be left in the cold in the coming weeks.

Independent Health will continue to sponsor Fitness in the Parks group fitness classes in several counties. State parks have a slate of hikes, kayaks and other events. Even two Frank Lloyd Wright historic sites will get into the act with outdoor yoga classes.

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York sponsors Canalside health, fitness and wellness events, but Amber Ciesiulka, a public relations specialist with the region’s largest insurer, could have been talking about all the outdoor fitness sites when she said, “You have a beautiful backdrop. You’re in a serene, relaxing environment and some of the classes not only get your heart rate up and get you moving but also help with relaxation and quieting the mind.”
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Yard Waste Totes Available To Amherst Residents

Yard waste totes are available to Amherst residents as part of a pilot program, officials said this week.  The 35-gallon totes are high-density polyethylene recycling totes converted to handle small amounts of yard waste. The totes are appropriate for smaller properties, seniors, or for small amounts of sticks or brush, officials said. The totes are to be used for non-food compost only, not garbage or recycling.

Regular yard waste regulations regarding size and weight still apply, according to the town’s Office of Refuse Control.

The totes are in limited supply and free to residents, with a limit of one per household. To order a tote, call the Office of Refuse Control at 631-7119. A demo model will be available for inspection at the Amherst Highway Department, 1042 N. Forest Road, Amherst.

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The Planning Board adjourned the first hearing on the rework of the entire town wide commercial zoning code. Citing incomplete information the Board unanimously ruled that without the actual changes to the zoning code itself it was imprudent to  act on amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.  It is unclear why the hearing was scheduled without the single most important component of this effort, the zoning language itself, the main enforceable language in law.   A small group of residents voiced concerns in opposition. one speaker voiced support. It was suggested that the towns outreach efforts to residents has been less than effective and that perhaps renaming Imagine Amherst committee as the Build Bigger Buildings in Amherst committee might bring standing room only crowds.
The Planning Board does not meet in July.  So unless there is a special call meeting they will take it up in August.  The Town Board is the decider on the code changes and the SEQR. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is also out for comment and is notable in its skimpiness weighing in at a scant 23 pages.  I think my favorite part is the statement on traffic.  That bigger buildings more places wont increase traffic because the new people will be riding their bikes. Bikes and driverless Ubers are on the cusp as solutions to town traffic congestion.
Michele

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Trump Appears to Float a Major Shake-up in the Russia Investigation During Fox News Interview

by:  Bryan Logan

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Planning Board To Review Changes To Amherst’s Comprehensive Plan

A lengthy process meant to guide future growth and redevelopment in Amherst may reach a critical point at a special Planning Board meeting on Thursday, June 22.

Board members will review proposed amendments to the town’s comprehensive plan during a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at Amherst Town Hall, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

The amendments were developed as part of the Imagine Amherst planning process that seeks to reshape commercial centers in the town. Committees and consultants have spent months, with public input, working on the proposed amendments.

Details on the Imagine Amherst changes are available here: http://www.amherst.ny.us/govt/govt_proj_detail.asp?code=pro&neworder=1

 The Planning Board could vote as soon as Thursday night to recommend approval of the amendments. The Town Board has the final say. But it’s just as likely the Planning Board could table the amendments for review at its next meeting in August.

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Williamsville seeks $10 million to transform 1850s brewery – into a brewery

 
Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa, left, and Community Developement Director Maggie Hamilton stand outside the former Erie County Cooperative Brewery building on West Spring Street in Williamsville on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. The village is seeking a $10 million state grant to purchase and renovate the building, which village officials hope can house a microbrewery and artists’ galleries.
(Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

A Williamsville warehouse that functioned as a brewery until the 1890s could begin producing cold beers once again.

The building at 34 W. Spring St. is being eyed by village officials as the future home of a microbrewery, as well as a food cooperative, artisan market and artists’ studio and gallery space.

The village is seeking a $10 million grant through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative to purchase the building and transform it and for improvements to surrounding streets. Each of the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils nominates a community for the grant. Jamestown last year won the inaugural award designated for Western New York and is using it on streetscape improvements, redevelopment of historic buildings and riverfront redevelopment.

“I want a low-intensity use for the facility that preserves the facility’s character,” said Mayor Brian J. Kulpa. “It’s been a craft space. It’s been a fabrication space. It’s currently a storage space. But we’d like to put craft and fabrication back into it.”

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The village would spend $3.85 million for acquisition and renovations of the warehouse; $2.6 million for work on West Spring and Grove streets; $676,000 for improvements of the grounds outside the warehouse; and $1.96 million for planning, engineering and other costs.

The village has not spent any money on the project, and would not have to contribute a percentage of matching funds.

If the village doesn’t win the $10 million state grant, it would continue to seek funding through other sources for the project, said Maggie Hamilton, the village community development director.

The former brewery, a block north of Main Street, measures 18,000 square feet and dates from the mid-1800s. The area was known as “Brewery Hill” and settled by German immigrants.

The second floor of the former Williamsville Co-op Brewing Association building on West Spring Street in Williamsville. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

John Blocher and George Urban opened the brewery there in 1845, according to “Western New York and the Gilded Age” by Julianna Fiddler-Woite, Mary Beth Paulin Scumaci and Peter C. Scumaci.

“This brewery changed hands several times and was known as the Williamsville Co-op Brewing Association in 1884, the Amherst Brewery Lager Beer in 1895 and the Erie County Brewing Company in 1897,” the authors wrote.

Brewing operations ceased around 1900 and the building was purchased by a German-born mason named Ignatz Oechsner, who used it as the steam workshop for the concrete blocks he was using to build a castle on Dream Island in Ellicott Creek.

The building on nearly half an acre is currently owned by Williamsville-based International Chimney Corp., which uses it for storage of pallets of bricks, steel cables, scaffolding and other industrial equipment.

The company has offered the village an exclusive option until Sept. 1 to buy the warehouse, and two neighboring parcels.

The village’s grant application calls for creating a local development corporation to purchase and redevelop 34 and 42 W. Spring St., as well as an adjacent home at 115 Glen Ave. that would house an artist-in-residence. The purchase price for the three properties would be $685,000, slightly more than their combined tentative assessment of $612,000.

“If this works, they’ve got it,” said Rick Lohr, International Chimney Corp.’s president. “I’d really like to see it happen. I think it’d be great for the village.”

In addition, the village is proposing to replicate the $3.6 million “green infrastructure” stormwater management project recently completed on East Spring Street, at the Williamsville Water Mill.

Its plan calls for permeable pavers and rain gardens along the entire lengths of West Spring and Grove Street to filter out pollutants from storm runoff before they reach Ellicott Creek. A public plaza also would be constructed on the grassy vacant parcel at 42 W. Spring St., between the former brewery and Grove Street.

Kulpa, an urban planner and architect, said International Chimney for the last 25 years has been “a good steward” of the building, which remains structurally sound due to buttressing and other improvements made by the company.

Three arched stone caves on the ground floor are envisioned for the microbrewery and a dining space. The caves’ 4-foot thick walls kept ice cold underground before refrigeration. The caves were recently nominated by the village Historic Preservation Commission as a local designated landmark, which the Village Board will consider after a public hearing.

“I think it’s wonderful to return these places to what their original purpose was,” said Mary Lowther, a commission member and president of the village Historical Society.

Inside one of the “caves” in the former Williamsville Co-op Brewing Association building on West Spring Street in Williamsville. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

A grocery co-op board recently formed in the village and has expressed interest in occupying the front of the ground floor closest to Spring Street, Kulpa said.

The upper floor, where the brewery’s mules were once housed, features wood scissor trusses, creating a large open space with skylights and a mezzanine.

The front upper floor also would house the grocery co-op, while the rear could accommodate 25 small businesses and also host conferences and events. The village has proposed partnering with Buffalo Arts Studio as a manager or curator of the space. The not-for-profit community arts organization submitted a letter to Empire State Development stating support for the village’s application.

Several village residents at a recent Village Board meeting questioned whether the proposal was an appropriate use of state tax dollars, and whether the hub could be self-sufficient.

Village officials told them the award will go to one Western New York community, so why not spend it in the village that is the heart of Buffalo’s largest suburb?

Kulpa said the mixed-use and historic site could become a destination off Main Street that contributes to economic development in the village’s downtown core.

“We want to get some purposeful public use out of this space,” he said. “That’s what we think we have.”

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Bullet Meant For Pit Bull Kills California Teen


Teen killed by bullet when LA County deputies fired at pit bull

As Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were shooting at a pit bull that was charging at them, a 17-year-old boy was apparently struck in the chest by one of the bullets and died, the sheriff’s office said.

The shooting happened at about 3:45 a.m. today in Palmdale, California, after deputies responded to a report of loud music, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. As the deputies walked up the driveway, a 60- to 65-pound pit bull “aggressively charged at the deputies and attacked one of them,” biting the deputy on the knee, the sheriff’s department said.

At that time, a young man came out from behind an apartment complex and restrained the dog and took it to the back of the building, the sheriff’s office said.
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Robert S. Gilmour, Head of Planning Board, Saved From Answering Questions In Public by Town Attorney

I believe it is essential for the residents of Amherst to understand what happened at the Ethics Board meeting on Thursday, June 15th.

I brought charges against Robert Gilmour for not writing the truth to Question 5 on the Financial Disclosure form as to where he received money from in 2014. He filled in on the FD form he worked at  John W. Danforth.

I contacted the human resource at Danforth  Co. and was told Mr. Gilmour was laid off on Nov.23, 2013. He didn’t work one day for the Danforth company in 2014.

I also checked with a person who worked at Danforth at the same time Gilmour did and that person told me Gilmour was indeed let go in November 23, 2013.

Mr. Gilmour replied to this charge by stating, “I derived income in the form of insurance coverage( LIFE AND HEALTH) and received a contribution to my ESOP account.  Both, by IRS definition, are considered income and must be reported on your income tax filing.”

There is a need for a hearing, which Mr. Gilmour could bring against me, to clear up the charges I have brought against him. I would love to happen to start correcting the many things that are not on the up and up in Amherst which are tearing our town apart, like ImagineAmherst, which Gilmour is in charge of.

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Williamsville Plans to Turn Warehouse Into Microbrewery if Village Wins $10 Million Grant


Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa, left, and Community Developement Director Maggie Hamilton stand outside the former Erie County Cooperative Brewery building on West Spring Street in Williamsville on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. The village is seeking a $10 million state grant to purchase and renovate the building, which village officials hope can house a microbrewery and artists’ galleries.

A Williamsville warehouse that functioned as a brewery until the 1890’s could begin producing cold beers once again.

The building at 34 W. Spring St. is being eyed by village officials as the future home of a microbrewery, as well as a food cooperative, artisan market and artists’ studio and gallery space.

The village is seeking a $10 million grant through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative to purchase the building and transform it and for improvements to surrounding streets. Each of the state’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils nominates a community for the grant. Jamestown last year won the inaugural award designated for Western New York and is using it on streetscape improvements, redevelopment of historic buildings and riverfront redevelopment.
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