Ax-throwing Venue Cutting a Swath Through Downtown Buffalo

The crew at the new Hatchets & Hops guides players through a two-hour team building tournament.

Canada has given us a lot of strange stuff. Poutine. Canada geese. And beers and bands, too many to count.
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Now, the land of the Yukon and the lumberjack is heaving something new in our direction – indoor ax-throwing.

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On Sept. 23, a pair of enterprising Western New Yorkers are opening Hatchets & Hops, a place where people will be able to hurl a few axes and, in time, down a few beers. The 2,000-square-foot venue is at 505 Main St., across from the Hyatt Regency Buffalo and a couple of doors from the French restaurant Raclettes.

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Ax throwing took off in Canada 10 years ago with a group called Backyard Axe Throwing League, still thriving today. And it continues to grow. Montreal’s Rage Academy, which opened earlier this year, invites patrons to burn off aggression harmlessly through this ancient Viking means.
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Pigeon Says Judge Who Signed Five Search Warrants Was ‘political adversary’

G. Steven Pigeon is challenging the validity of the five warrants signed by Judge Michael F. Pietruszka.
G. Steven Pigeon is challenging the validity of the five warrants signed by Judge Michael F. Pietruszka.

G. Steven Pigeon is questioning the independence of a veteran judge, the latest chapter in a campaign to discredit the public corruption case against him.

Pigeon claims Michael F. Pietruszka, the Erie County judge who signed the search warrants that led to his prosecution, might not have been neutral in his handling of the warrants.

In a new motion filed in his bribery and extortion case, Pigeon claims Pietruszka signed five different search warrants. He wants to know how the same judge could be assigned or selected each time a warrant was needed.

The former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman also contends that Pietruszka was a political enemy.
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Buffalo Councilman Raises Fist in Silent Protest During Pledge of Allegiance

Buffalo Common Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo Sr. prays instead of saying Pledge of Allegiance on Tuesday.
Buffalo Common Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo Sr. prays instead of saying Pledge of Allegiance on Tuesday

Police killing of unarmed blacks in U.S. prompts Wingo gesture before meeting

Buffalo Common Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo Sr. raised his fist in silent protest during the Pledge of Allegiance before Tuesday’s meeting of the Council and altered the words of the pledge as a separate prayer he said to himself.

“I opted to pray during the pledge,” said Wingo, who represents the Masten District, “and my allegiance is to God.”

When Council members stood to honor those who had died, Wingo noted the death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed African-American man who was shot to death Friday by police in Tulsa, Okla.
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Endorsement of Trump to Play Key Role in Christie’s Insanity Defense

The New Yorker

TRENTON (The Borowitz Report)—If Chris Christie faces prosecution for an alleged role in the so-called Bridgegate scandal, his endorsement of Donald Trump could play a crucial role in an insanity defense, legal experts believe.

Harland Dorrinson, a defense attorney who has represented many politicians in high-profile criminal cases, believes that Christie’s endorsement of Trump earlier this year could persuade a jury that the New Jersey Governor is “completely incapable of rational thought.”

“An insanity defense is always a long shot, because the bar for insanity is set very high,” Dorrinson said. “Having said that, I believe that Christie’s endorsement of Trump easily meets that standard.”

If Christie is prosecuted, his defense team is likely to show the jury footage of Trump routinely humiliating the New Jersey Governor on the campaign trail. “It will become abundantly clear that Christie endorsed Trump and received absolutely no conceivable benefit for doing so,” Dorrinson said. “Legally speaking, the only word for that is insane.”

Additionally, Christie’s lawyers can argue that he begged Trump to name him his Vice-Presidential nominee, even after it was painfully obvious that the billionaire had no intention of doing so. “Seriously, that was crazy,” Dorrinson said.

If Christie’s legal team succeeds with an insanity defense, the New Jersey Governor could avoid prison and be sent to a psychiatric facility instead, Dorrinson believes. “As long as he’s being held someplace where he can do no harm, the people of New Jersey should be happy,” he said.

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Why So Many Stories About Chris DuQuin

There have been three articles in the Buffalo News about the deputy mayor of the Village of Williamsville, Chris DuQuin, being charged with driving while intoxicated.  There is something wrong with having three articles about a single individual receiving a DWI.

Additionally, each article was almost identical to the others.  The articles didn’t have any new information but did have Chris’s photo.  There is a strong feeling that someone or some political group is pushing to show Mr. DuQuin as a loser.

Mr. DuQuin has a history of working hard for the people of Williamsville.  He has been at nearly all the functions the Village of Williamsville sponsored.

Amherst Police shared that Chris DuQuin was arrested early Saturday morning.  Police say DuQuin hit a car parked on North Ellicott Street in the Village of Williamsville and left the scene.

DuQuin has also been charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident and moving from a lane unsafely.

Police responded to a complaint of a hit and run accident around 2:00 a.m. Saturday.  Police say they followed a trail of fluid from the accident to DuQuin’s garage.
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Mr. DuQuin may have made a poor decision on Saturday morning but that should not cancel out all of his good work.  Lets’s see what the police and the justice system decide in October.

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Amherst Board Members Should Rethink Pay Raises

Amherst flag

The recent Amherst Town Board resolution to include salary increases of approximately $10,000 for council members, $18,000 for the town clerk and’$30,000 for the town supervisor in the preliminary 2017 budget cannot be allowed to stand. What a deceitful disregard for the people who elected them and a blatant money-grabbing overreach, to say the least.

Space constraints prohibit me from listing the numerous flawed reasons for approving this resolution.
However, my favorite was put forth by council member Steve Sanders, who claimed these salary increases, would entice the more intelligent among us to run for office. The composition of the current board consists of a former practicing physician, another doctorate holder, a practicing certificated public accountant and two council members with master’s degrees.

Each board member who carried the day with this resolution – soon to be outgoing Sanders, with no political skin in the game; Ramona Popowich, with 18 months on the board; and Fran Spoth, only 9 months into her first term – should be reminded that no one twisted their arms to run for office, nor did they share their thoughts on this topic while running.

Thankfully, this is not a done deal until reorganization day after the first of the year. In the interim, there will be two monthly public Town Board meetings and two budget hearings, scheduled for Oct. 10 and 19, for resident voices to be heard before the final budget approval in November. Those who voted for this money grab must come to their political senses.

East Amherst

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Williamsville Deputy Mayor Arrested

Chris Duquin

AMHERST, NY–  The deputy mayor of the Village of Williamsville is facing a DWI charge.

Chris Duquin was arrested for DWI Friday night.

Amherst Police Lt. Miller declined to provide any further information, citing they normally do not issue press releases for DWI arrests.

The mayor of Williamsville, Brian J. Kulpa, was not aware of the arrest when contacted by Channel 2 earlier today. He said he would look into it and get back to us.

Duquin is also owner of the Stevens Driving School.

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Ex-Employee Suing Dr. Phil for Alleged False Imprisonment and Wrongful Termination


Leah Rothman, former employee for the Dr. Phil show, has launched a lawsuit against the popular TV personality for allegedly forcing 300 employees to stay in a locked room surrounded by security guards as he accused them of going to outside media and sharing information he didn’t want public.

She had been employed by the show starting in 2003.  The lawsuit against Dr. Phil McGraw, CBS, and the show’s production company suggests a hostile work environment that forced Rothman to quit in April 2015.

CosmicYello obtained court papers to find out the details. According to Rothman, she and 300 other employees were called to work and put into a large room together. Multiple security guards were also present. Allegedly, McGraw came into the room and addressed the gathered employees. First, he told the security detail to lock the room’s doors according to the court complaint. Then, he allegedly demanded that all employees give him their cellphones.

Allegedly, he informed everyone that an employee had leaked information to outside media services. According to Rothman, he then said, “If you F- with me, I’ll F- with you.”

According to the lawsuit, Dr. Phil McGraw used cue cards to talk to the employees, which seems to show that this even was well-planned in advance. It likewise claims that McGraw already knew who leaked the information, but called the meeting anyway so he could intimidate and frighten his employees. Rothman claims McGraw expressed pleasure in being able to do so.

Rothman reports she approached human resources at CBS on March 18, 2015 to discuss the event. The HR executive allegedly offered sympathy and attempted to set up a future meeting, but it never took place. Rothman alleges that human resources ignored other attempts to contact them.

Several weeks later, Rothman claims she was forced to quit due to emotional turmoil and stress over the incident and treatment following it. She had been employed as a segment director with the company.

Rothman’s lawsuit covers claims of false imprisonment, whistle blower retaliation, emotional stress, and wrongful constructive termination.

Dr. Phil McGraw’s spokesperson would not comment on the matter.

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Williamsville Schools Go for Recess in Elementary Grades

Children in kindergarten through fourth grade in the Williamsville Schools will now have 20-minute recess every day.  (Buffalo News file photo of kindergarteners at Maple East)
Children in kindergarten through fourth grade in the Williamsville Schools will now have 20-minute recess every day. (photo of kindergarteners at Maple East)

After more than a year of study and preparation, recess is part of the school day in all six elementary schools in the Williamsville Central School District.

Children in kindergarten through fourth grade are spending an uninterrupted 20 minutes each day in an unstructured, non-academic block of time.

“Recess was never to be used as a punishment or as a reward,” Maple East Elementary Principal Cathy Mihalic told School Board members Tuesday night as she explained the parameters of the program. “Every child had a right to recess. It couldn’t be earned or lost.”
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UB Med School Wins $8.8 Million Grant to Fight Childhood Obesity

obese children

A University at Buffalo professor will use an $8.8 million grant to help treat more than 1,000 overweight or obese children and parents at primary care offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Columbus and St. Louis.

The National Institutes of Health awarded the grant to Leonard Epstein, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, in an effort to make family-based weight-loss programs more widely available.

Family programs have been successful in helping obese children achieve a more healthy weight, but they typically are located in specialty clinics, out of reach to the general public.

The programs will start in spring 2017 and will include several primary care practices in Western New York.

For more information on how to participate, call 829-6816.
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