Christmas in the Village

Steve Balesteri Christmas 2015

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The Holidays are fast approaching, which means it is almost time for Steve Balesteri’s 2nd annual “Christmas in the Village” concert at the historic Meeting House in the Village of Williamsville! Join us for an evening of some of our favorite Christmas tunes as performed by Steve Balesteri and his Uptown Seven band with the addition of strings! This year’s concert will feature guest vocalists Sharon Bailey and Cortney Costanzo.

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In addition to plenty of great music, the event will feature wine tastings, hors d’oeuvres, sweets and hot drinks as well as basket raffles and prize giveaways!

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All proceeds from the event will go to the historic Meeting House as they continue renovations and upgrades to truly transform it into a premier live music venue right in the heart of the Village of Williamsville!

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For more information on Steve be sure to visit his site

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and to learn more about The Meeting House, please visit:

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Mark Poloncarz – Abuser of Power

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Most of the public know little about our Erie County Inspector General Executive of Medicaid.  We’ve only had one man ever fill this Civil Service job and that person is Michael Szukala.

Szukala is a best friend of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.  This job pays about $100,000 a year.  Mr. Szukala was given this job by Mark.  He took the test for it much later.

On the Annual Statement of Financial Disclosure Mr. Szukala listed that he is the the Medicaid Inspector General, and Treasurer of Hanzlian Sausage Inc.  His wife added she was a food service worker in the Williamsville Central School District.

“Puff the Magic Dragon” entered the life of Mrs. Szukala.  Mark Poloncarz, our County Executive, gave her a job in the Erie County Social Services Department.

Giving a job to Michael Szukala’s wife shows the true character of Mark Poloncarz.  Mark abuses his power by breaking rules and lying to the public over and over and over.

Yes he is a liar and this is the beginning of his end.

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Comedians Williams and Reed Pride Themselves on Political Incorrectness

The Bear’s Den at the Seneca Niagara Casino seems like the perfect Western New York venue for Bruce Williams and Terry Ree, a musical comedy act out of the Dakotas. The self-described “Indian and the White Guy” bring their brand of love, harmony, charged jokes and laughs to Niagara Falls for two shows at the casino showroom Nov. 21.

Williams and Ree have been performing together since the late ’60s, building a musical and sketch act that plays up the misunderstandings and stereotypes between Native Americans and white people. The duo prides itself on their political incorrectness.

They’ve released 10 albums, such as their latest “Red, White and Slightly Blue,” and a number of live DVD performances, including a previous show recorded at the Seneca Niagara Casino.

Williams and Ree perform at 3 and 8 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Bear’s Den. Tickets range from $20 to $35 (box office, Ticketmaster).

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Trump’s Focus on Muslims Distracting Him from Campaign Against Mexicans, Supporters Fear

by Andy Borowitz

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—There are growing fears among supporters of the Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump that his new focus on Muslims is distracting him from his campaign against Mexicans.

After the billionaire said he would consider shutting down mosques if he were President, supporters expressed concern that such signature proposals as a wall with Mexico and mass deportations were being lost in the shuffle.

Carol Foyler, who viewed a recent Trump appearance on television, said that she was “alarmed” to hear him talk about closing mosques “without mentioning the wall with Mexico even once.” “I just worry, I guess, that with all of this talk about Muslims he’s really forgetting about Mexicans,” she said. “It feels kind of like a bait-and-switch.”

Another Trump supporter, Harland Dorrinson, agreed. “Shutting down the mosques is a great idea, sure, but he shouldn’t do that if it’s going to divert resources from forcibly deporting eleven million immigrants,” he said. “I would be very sad to see that happen.”

But Tracy Klugian, a die-hard Trump volunteer who is working for his campaign in Iowa, called such criticism of her candidate “misguided.” “You don’t get to be a successful businessman like Donald Trump without being able to multitask,” she said.

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This One Decision Could Boost Kids’ Self-Control

A new study shows starting kindergarten later could give children more self-control as they age.

I know how driven many parents are to have their children be successful in school.  They work so hard at providing all sorts of “educational” opportunities for them.  That’s all well and good, but there’s a new study out that offers a different perspective on pushing your youngsters to succeed too early.

Holding your child back from kindergarten could be a big boost to his or her mental health for years to come, according to a new study from Stanford University.

“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73% for an average child at age 11,” professor Thomas Dee says in a Stanford press release. “And it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure.”

The study — published last month in the National Bureau of Economic Research—looked at thousands of Danish children and found that the kids who started kindergarten later had better self-control as they aged, Quartz reports.

While previous studies haven’t shown that holding kids back leads to better test scores or income later in life, Stanford researchers found kids with less inattention and hyperactivity—both part of ADHD—did better in school, Quartz reports. And prior research shows higher self-control levels are linked to achievement.
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The Possibility of Buying and Selling Golf Courses

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At the 3:00 p.m. afternoon work session on Monday Nov. 17, Supervisor Weinstein read a statement concerning the purchase of Glen Oak Golf Course, selling Audubon and purchasing Westwood.  It was a bit confusing and I asked for him to share the information with the audience at the 7:00 p.m. evening meeting.  He was unwilling to do so but was willing for me to publish the remarks here on my site.  It’s a longer piece than I usually post, but I thought you would find the information interesting.  You can also view the video of him reading this at the afternoon meeting on the town website.  Click here.

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November 16, 2015
We have spent the past six years trying to improve services, reducing their cost. Our most recent initiative, the privatization or outsourcing of our golf operation has improved the golf course according to the people who play Audubon and Oakwood.

Determining whether there is a saving is impossible because of allocation issues, but there is rental income not previously realized. Reducing golf course expenses is related to the Highway operation, and we made a conscious decision to restore six positions at the request of the Highway Superintendent and crew chiefs.

Amherst now has an opportunity to purchase the Glen Oak Golf Course for $4.6 million. We have worked out a proposed timeline with the owner that would result in the real estate closing at the end of 2016. I do not believe that it is for sale to anyone else.

Glen Oak is a terrific golf course. It is far superior to Audubon in design, challenges, greens, fairways, tees, and traps.

Purchasing the Glen Oak Golf Course will provide a superior golf experience for Amherst residents. It will eliminate potential development of the site. It will provide an end to the cart path controversy around the golf course with the neighborhood. Ownership may also allow Amherst to correct some drainage problems in the neighborhood.

The first challenge is paying for it. I have proposed to reconfigure the Audubon Golf Course and use 25 to 75 acres adjacent to Millersport and DB with no neighbors for development. The revenue would pay for the Glen Oak Golf Course, and any excess would be put into a Trust and Agency account, which I will allude to shortly. Amherst would need another alienation process, so this would need to be approved by the NYS Legislature and the Governor, and Town Board unanimity would by very helpful.

Amherst would need appraisals, due diligence, contract negotiations, short-term bonding, negotiations with and another golf course RFP.

My expectation is the development potential along Millersport adjacent to VB could provide substantial revenue. After paying the Glen Oak costs, a Trust and Agency account would be created from the revenue for additional open space acquisitions.

This brings me to the former Westwood Country Club site, now contaminated by arsenic and surrounded by a spite fence. We have sent the owners a letter suggesting that they and the town jointly seek state money to purchase the site, much like Amherst State Park on Mill Street was acquired. The town would be willing to provide oversight and maintenance if acquired. Left unsaid is the town would be able to put in some dollars from the aforementioned Trust and Agency account

From discussion with the DEC, we believe that the former Westwood Country Club site would not require cleanup for use as a park, ball fields, or a golf course.

Additionally related to these real estate transactions and the Trust and Agency account, the town may be able to acquire the site of the former gun club for expansion of the Northtown Center’s athletic complex.

On the agenda for tonight is the Penny Lane for Gramercy Park real estate swap. We are trading an underutilized but developable five acres for over 60 acres of pristine wetlands and forests adjacent to several town-owned passive recreation and flood mitigation sites at no cost to the taxpayers. Over the past year, this transaction has evolved through some of the same issues as the golf course transactions, including litigation, negotiations, alienation, rezoning, and a variance.

I realize this is a lot. It is an outline of a series of real estate transactions. It is subject to changes. I can answer questions for a few minutes, and I certainly would like some input or suggestions from the public and Councilmembers.

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Amherst To Buy Glen Oaks Golf Course And Other Golf Information

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People of Amherst:  Tonight at the 7:00 p.m. Town Board meeting the Board will be holding a discussion concerning the town’s plan to buy Glen Oaks Golf Course.  In turn we would sell part of our Audubon Golf Course to buy Westwood.  This is what I gleaned from the afternoon work session.

Please come tonight so you can understand how this golfing adventure is planned to play out.

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Letter to the Editor

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Lovely Westwood Site Should be Kept Green

A recent letter writer stated that the former Westwood golf course is “already a nature preserve and passive recreation park.” He has expressed my feelings exactly and I agree with him 100 percent. It has already been allowed to go back to nature and it’s breathtaking. For those who are not convinced, go to and see the “end of summer photos.” They will put a smile on your face.

There are already trails that can be used for hiking, dog walking or biking. There are two tennis courts that can be easily and inexpensively converted to four pickle ball courts. In the winter, it could be used for sledding or cross-country skiing. Perhaps a community garden, or Zumba.

It is not necessary to build a road. There already is one. It is not necessary to build a parking lot. There already is one.

A park might not require a costly brownfield cleanup. Keep Westwood Green has been looking into the possibility of making Westwood a conservancy. Last month, a speaker from the New York State Environmental Alliance spoke at our meeting. Conservancies employ their own full-time workers and reduce upkeep costs 40 percent.

Westwood is currently zoned conservation/recreation. It would have to be rezoned before the developers can move forward with their plan, which would take 10 years to complete. It would take three out of five “no” votes to stop this development. If you want to keep Westwood green, it is imperative that you notify our Town Board officials before it’s too late.

What’s that Joni Mitchell song? “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.” Or, in this case, 2,200 parking spaces.

Christy Kirisits


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Westwood: Developers’ Plan Opens a Whole New Can of Worms

Westwood Course

There will be enormous unanticipated problems associated with shared parking in a development such as that planned for the former Westwood Country Club. Problems will arise for all mixed-use tenants. The landlord would not have enough spaces for everyone in the complex, but is banking on buffers for extra parking. Overflow for parking would wind up in the adjacent neighborhoods. This would infuriate these residents. Similar occurrences are seen in the Hertel Business District in Buffalo. Does Amherst want to see that in its already established neighborhoods? I think not!

This development might not foresee the poor business model that could arise here. Businesses could face bleak situations because of poor economies of scale, resulting in high failure rates and empty store fronts.

Many property managers focus on office management or retail space management. Unless the development is enormous and justifies several property managers on one project, this can be very difficult to manage. Future tenants must realize that management may be knowledgeable at dealing with office tenants, but not versed in managing retail tenants. A mixed-use development in an already established, purely residential neighborhood just doesn’t seem to be a good fit in this case.

Roberto Arana


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Toddler Found Bound in Car; Mother Charged

Grace An is accused of taping up her toddler with packing tape, and leaving him in a car for hours.

A very young mother in Georgia bound her 16 month-old son with tape and kept him in a locked vehicle  for hours.  Wednesday night the toddler’s mother, Grace An, called a locksmith to unlock her car.  The locksmith found the baby with tape wrapped around his wrist, ankles and mouth.

She is charged first-degree child cruelty, false imprisonment, and reckless conduct.  Other charges are possible as detectives continue their investigation.

The locksmith who was called — Volley Collins, of Ace Lock & Safety Security, in Oakwood probably saved the boy’s life according to investigators.  Collins said a deputy immediately handcuffed the mother, and cut the tape off of her son.
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