Jewish Repertory Theatre Presents a Season By Amy Herzog


Jordana Halpern
Cultural Arts Director, JCC of Greater Buffalo

Managing Director, Jewish Repertory Theatre
2640 North Forest Road
Getzville, NY 14068
716-204-2255

 Jewish Repertory Theatre presents a season by Amy Herzog

The Great God Pan – April 27 – May 21, 2017

www.jewishrepertorytheatre.com

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A Little Reminder, Chris the Coward Collins

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MassMutual Expanding its Operations in Amherst, Upstate New York

MassMutual next month will move into newly renovated space in an Amherst office park as the agency grows its operations in the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse markets.

The life insurance and asset management company plans to hire 75 financial advisors across its three offices in Western and Central New York by the end of the year, including 25 in the Buffalo region, according to Joseph DiLeo, CEO of MassMutual New York State. MassMutual plans to hire 25 to 30 advisors in Rochester and 15 to 20 advisors in Syracuse, DiLeo said.

To support the expansion, MassMutual is remodeling and building out the office space across the hallway from its current home at 300 Corporate Parkway, off Maple Road, in Uniland Development Co.’s University Corporate Centre.
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Mensch Capital Partners Has Filed a New Version Of Its Redevelopment Plans For The Former Westwood Country Club Site

James Tricoli, Editor of the Amhersttimes.com – I strongly believe this new plan for Westwood will not be on the April agenda due to it not being complete. It is a try by the Mensch group to make the public believe, and the people in the area of this project believe, they want it.  This is total BS by the Mensch Group.

Planning Director ERIC GILLERT said to me they haven’t approached him about when it will be before the Planning Board.

The above paragraph was written by James Tricoli, Editor of the Amhersttimes.com

The article below was submitted by the Mensch Capital Partner owners of the Westwood land.

Mensch Capital Partners has filed a new version of its redevelopment plans for the former Westwood Country Club site that adds townhouses, shifts senior housing and eliminates an office building.

The project requires rezoning much of the property. The Planning Board must make a recommendation on the project application, but the Town Board has the final say on the rezoning request.

The investment group has held a number of meetings with residents since unveiling its plans in 2014 for a mix of single family homes, townhomes, patio homes, senior housing, a hotel, office buildings, retail space and parkland and open space on the property.

“Over time, what’s happened is the project has become, No. 1, more and more residential and, No. 2, more and more permanent open space,” said Sean W. Hopkins, an attorney who represents the developer.

Mensch submitted an updated version of the plan in December and the Planning Board held a public hearing on that version of the plan in January. Seventeen speakers addressed the board for 50 minutes, 15 speaking against the project and two in favor.

The board adjourned the hearing until its March meeting, and at its March meeting adjourned the developer’s application with no set return date.

What’s new in Mensch’s latest proposal, which was filed Monday with the town Planning Department? The developer said it made the following key changes after talking to residents:

  • Senior housing that previously was located at the corner of Sheridan Drive and North Forest Road is shifted northwest from that corner more to the interior of the site, where it now would sit on one side of the project’s focal green. This, Shaevel said, would allow seniors to walk around the green and to retail establishments lining the green. The senior complex remains the same square footage, but it will have a smaller footprint because it will be three stories tall instead of two stories tall.
  • The senior housing takes the place of a 112,800-square-foot office and community building that originally was planned for the east side of the focal green. That leaves the project with four, two-story office buildings containing a total of 152,000 square feet of space.
  • In place of the senior complex at the corner of North Forest and Sheridan, Mensch instead would build a community of 75, three-story townhomes. The corner also would feature extra green space. Neighbors, Shaevel said, “would rather see residential as a buffer along Sheridan Drive.”
  • At the west edge of the site, Mensch has added 15 townhomes to the planned parking lot to make that side of the development more attractive to residents along Frankhauser Road. In all, the number of townhomes included in the project rises from 40 in the December version of the project to 130 now.
  • It slightly increases the amount of permanent open space from 81.6 acres, or 47 percent of the total site, to 83.3 acres, or 49 percent of the site.

Shaevel and Hopkins said they hope to get on the agenda for the April Planning Board meeting.

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Concerned Citizen Nails It

Image result for signs saying the truth wins out
This resolution is about Westwood and all the pipeline projects.

And it’s about what is the law, what are the procedures and does the

process give advantage to one party over another.

It’s about fairness, and the public’s right to know and to review the run

up to decisions made in our name.

We all know what is occurring here. And it’s time for a fix.

A completeness review is an exact science. A document is either there

or it is not.

Submission deadlines are actual calendar dates. A document either

came in early, on time, was late or didn’t come in.

There is no discretionary authority that can redefine the word complete

or change a calendar date. The law is clear that only complete

applications are subject to review.

This resolution is not about the Planning Director. It’s not about the

ZBA which is required under the code to have bylaws which no one has

ever seen. It is not about Traffic safety which operates in violation

adopted by-laws. It is not about the Planning Board which routinely

reviews incomplete applications.

This resolution is about a pattern of behavior by multiple public bodies

and town officials that plays favorites. And with an advantage to one

party there is a corresponding disadvantage to another.

in the main, this resolution is about the town boards responsibility to

its citizens. To govern in a fair, open and even handed manner, without

fear or favor and without sanctioning a process being manipulated to

advantage one party over another.

I believe the current system is unfair, unreasonable, unacceptable and

unsustainable over time and is in violation of the law. I further believe

that the electorate is informed, engaged and gets this.

The buck stops with the Town Board.

by Michele Marconi

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Amherst Town Board Epected To Abolish Purchasing Department

The Town of Amherst is looking to improve how it handles contracts for everything from office supplies to big-ticket items like sewer pipes.

The Town Board at its meeting Monday, March 20 will consider abolishing its Purchasing Department and the position of purchasing director. The proposal was initiated by Councilmember Ramona Popowich and has support from the board’s other four members who are listed as co-sponsors.

“It’s been an ongoing process for us, to try to improve how the town does business,” Popowich said. “This is just another step in this process.”

The town’s Purchasing Department was created in 2008 and last year a new director of purchasing was appointed. That person was let go in recent weeks in an agreement that Popowich described as “mutual.”

 In place of purchasing, the town would create a Department of Contract Compliance and Administration and a director for that office. That resolution also has support from all five board members.

“We found that we needed a change so we’re moving from a purchasing format to a contract compliance format,” Popowich said.

A new contract management system was instituted in the town about a month ago. The program was written by the town’s Information Technology department to use for contract routing.

“Everybody can see on the computer where the contract is at any particular time,” Popowich said. “Before, it was, ‘Where is it? Whose desk is it on?’ To me, it’s making things much more efficient.”

The Town Board did fire the Purchasing Director and abolished the Purchasing Department before the meeting even started.

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2 Amherst Playgrounds To See Upgrades

Two Amherst playgrounds will get improvements this year , but some volunteer muscle will be needed to make it happen.

New playground equipment valued at $180,000 will be purchased for Billy Wilson Park on Hopkins Road. The equipment should be ready to use by June, said Mary-Diana Pouli, executive director of the town’s Youth and Recreation Department.

“It’s going to be installed by members of the community,” she said. “In the community-build we’re going to need at least 100 volunteers.”

A call for volunteers will be issued next month, she said, noting that the volunteers will save the town $75,000 in installation costs.

 The town also set a bid date for the safety surfacing for that park.

“It’s going to be the state-of-the-art rubber,” Pouli said. “It’s not like crumb rubber or anything that’s in turf. It’s a solid rubber surfacing, which is accessible to folks in wheelchairs and also very low maintenance.”

The Town Board also has awarded a contract to Scott Lawn Yard for $67,400 to install new playground equipment and the safety surface at ECO Park in Eggertsville.

“That is the last piece we need for that,” Pouli said. “The equipment was approved a while ago.”

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Hotel Dryer Fire Causes $25,000 Damage

A dryer fire Sunday at a hotel in Amherst caused $25,000 in damage.

After receiving a fire alarm activation at the Staybridge Suites, 1290 Sweet Home Road, firefighters from the Getzville Fire Co. arrived on the scene at 6:15 to find a dryer in a first-floor laundry room on fire and heavy smoke filling the hotel. A second alarm was called to assist with the removal of smoke from all six floors of the hotel, according to fire officials. Several neighboring volunteer fire companies provided mutual aid. No injuries were reported and no occupants were displaced because of the fire.

Damage was confined to the dryer and its contents, fire officials said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Monday by the Amherst Fire Inspector’s office.

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Ex-U.S. Attorney Bharara, Fired By Trump, Joins NYU Law School

FILE PHOTO: Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, attends a news conference in New York
Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, attends a news conference in New York City, U.S. May 19, 2016. 

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whom President Donald Trump fired earlier this month, will join New York University’s law school on April 1 as a distinguished scholar in residence, the school announced on Tuesday.

Bharara said in a statement provided by the school that he was honored to join NYU, and welcomed the opportunity “to continue addressing the issues I so deeply care about – criminal and social justice, honest government, national security, civil rights, and corporate accountability, to name a few.”

Bharara will be expected to collaborate with the school’s research centers including those focused on cyber security and criminal law, and to participate in panel discussions and other events, school spokesman Michael Orey said.

The position is considered full-time but will not preclude Bharara from taking on other engagements, Orey said. He declined to disclose Bharara’s compensation.

Bharara was fired by Trump on March 11 after refusing to step down. He had been among 46 U.S. attorneys who were told a day earlier to submit their resignations.

The firing was a surprise because Bharara had told reporters in November that Trump had asked him to remain in the job.

As the chief federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan, Bharara oversaw several notable corruption and white-collar criminal cases, as well as other high-profile cases involving national security or individuals suspected of links to designated foreign terrorist organizations.

A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, Bharara has been a frequent visitor to NYU, the law school said in the statement.

Other people who hold the distinguished scholar in residence position at NYU’s law school include Anne Milgram, former attorney general of New Jersey, and Robert Bauer, a past White House counsel under former President Barack Obama.

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Williamsville, Developer Hash Out Deal to Swap Land for Housing Project


Natale Development and the village of Williamsville are considering swapping parcels of land to modify Natale’s proposal to build townhouses and apartments in the village. A prior Natale plan ran into opposition from some residents.

Natale Development’s proposal to build dozens of townhouses and apartments on the site of a former construction yard in Williamsville ran into opposition last year from some neighbors and never gained approval from planners.

Now, a deal has been hashed out to revive the stalled California Drive housing project, but it hinges on a land swap between Natale Development and the village.

The deal would allow Natale to move its planned apartment complex to a little-used village softball diamond, a parcel that is closer to Main Street itself and is farther from the residents who surround the former Herbert F. Darling Inc. construction property where Natale would still build its townhomes.
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