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Church Musicians’ Guild to Host Children’s Choir Festival

The Church Musicians’ Guild (CMG) is excited to invite the community to attend their Children’s Choir Festival on Sunday, March 26th. The performance will begin at 5:00 pm at the lovely SS. Peter and Paul Church located at 5480 Main Street in the village of Williamsville. There is no cost to attend, but there will be a free will offering.

The guild has hosted several children’s festivals in the past that provide the children with unique musical experiences. This year, CMG hopes to provide area Catholic school children with the unfamiliar experience of singing as a part of a large choir. “This is a bigger experience for the kids,” says Gail Shepherd, event chairperson and music director at SS. Peter and Paul. “They get to see kids from other schools and see the kind of work that they do.”

The Festival will include children in grades 2 through 8 from four Catholic schools, including St. Gregory the Great, SS. Peter and Paul in Williamsville, Notre Dame Academy in Buffalo, and Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna. The four music directors from the schools worked together to craft a program that reflects the wide range of music used in their churches. Selections will include a Latin chant; an African processional, Siyahamba; a traditional spiritual; and newly composed piece, Dona Nobis Pacem, which includes quotes from St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.

The choir will be accompanied on piano by the talented Angela Sandy, music teacher from the Lockport City School District. The children will also get to sing with other instruments as the concert will feature performances by Peter Gonciarz, organist from Our Lady of Pompeii; Jamie Pitnel, flautist from SS. Peter and Paul; percussionist Terry O’Shei, and a saxophone quartet from St. Katharine Drexel.

The children’s choir will be directed by Heather Lovelace, music director at the Parish of St. Katharine Drexel.

Heather has been an active member of the guild for several years and serves on the board of directors. Heather also has nine years of experience teaching vocal music in Erie County, where she has been recognized as an exemplary teacher. She has presented at the Classroom Music Festival, conducted the 2016 Erie County Elementary All-County Blue Chorus and the 2017 Allegheny County All-County Senior High Chorus. Heather is the founder and director of the Genesee Children’s Chorus in Batavia and the director of the WNY Festival Chorus.

“This festival will be a wonderful experience for these children,” says Ms. Lovelace, “Music plays such an important role in our lives and especially in liturgy. The directors have worked very hard to ensure this will be a rewarding experience for everyone and we can’t wait to share it with the community.”

The Church Musicians’ Guild is a chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. The Church Musicians Guild of Buffalo is a local chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. Our membership includes organists, choir directors, singers, instrumentalists, clergy and many others involved in music ministries throughout the Buffalo Diocese. The Church Musicians' Guild was founded in 1945 by a group of visionary musicians and clergy who recognized a need for education among the church musicians of the time. Their work focused on chant and organ playing skills. They created the Catholic Choir Masters Guild and attracted church musicians eager to improve their choirs. The group later became an affiliate of NPM in 1983. For more information about the Church Musicians’ Guild, please visit or call (716) 531-8986.

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U.S. Charging Russian Spies and Criminal Hackers in Yahoo Intrusion

Justice Department is set to announce the indictments of two Russian spies and two criminal hackers in connection with the heist of 500 million Yahoo user accounts in 2014, marking the first U.S. criminal cyber charges ever against Russian government officials.

The Justice Department is set to announce Wednesday the indictments of two Russian spies and two criminal hackers in connection with the heist of 500 million Yahoo user accounts in 2014, marking the first U.S. criminal cyber charges ever against Russian government officials.

The indictments target two members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB, and two hackers hired by the Russians.

The charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage, according to officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the charges have not yet been announced. The indictments are part of the largest hacking case brought by the United States.

The charges are unrelated to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But the move reflects the U.S. government’s increasing desire to hold foreign governments accountable for malicious acts in cyberspace.

The FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment.
Read more…

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Chris Collins Poised to Answer Questions

The Messy Truth,
a show on CNN will have as their guest Thursday at 9:00 p.m. Clarence and Amherst Congressman Chris Collins who vowed to never to have a town hall meeting because they are useless. He will be in the first half hour of the show.

The host of the show Mr. Van Jones will be asking questions as well as people in the audience.

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Trump Aide Kellyanne Conway Says No Evidence Of Wiretap Operation

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Comment From Dan Ward On The Westwood Project

Westwood is but the latest in the long list of destructive development dances by the builders and developers in Amherst – in complete derogation of local laws, rules and regulations…and the neighbors be damned.  The developers want all the high-end and profitable advantages of a large, well to do, populous town in which to do business, but then want to operate like they were in some rural backwater where there are few people, and less that care.  But in the end, the buck (or buck$) stop at the Town Board – all this villainizing various appointed officials is nonsense – they all take their orders from the Town Board, directly or by a wink and a nod.  Go after the electeds!
Dan Ward

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Police Called To Restore Order As Amherst Golf Cart Path Dispute Gets Nastier

A snow covered golf cart path at Glen Oak Golf Course near the yards of homes on White Cedar Drive, seen from Smith Street in Amherst, on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. 

That dispute over a golf cart path in East Amherst is going from heated to downright nasty.

Amherst police were called Monday night to restore order during a meeting of the homeowners’ association.

Between 20 and 30 residents attended the board meeting, and the discourse between board members and some audience members grew testy.

Mary Ellen Sanfilippo and others fired off sharp questions, interrupted at times, and spoke beyond the five minutes they are allowed under the board’s rules, according to witnesses. Sanfilippo, in particular, drew the ire of Gene Zambarda, the board vice president, who repeatedly said she was out of order. When she refused to stop interrupting, he called the police to remove her from the room.

“It was an absolute free-for-all, it was horrible,” said Sanfilippo

Sanfilippo said board members treated residents rudely and would not respond to questions on how homeowners’ $350 annual fees are spent.
Read more…


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A Town Hall Meeting Event: On the Mandatory Referendum on the New York State Constitutional Convention

A Town Hall Meeting, which will be “free and open” to the public, will be held :

DATE: Thursday, April 6, 2017

TIME: 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm

PLACE: Central Meeting Room, 2nd Floor,

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Central Downtown Branch, 1 Lafayette Sq.

 (Space is limited: RSVP – requested via telephone number or via email address provided.) 

The New York State Constitution mandates that every 20 years New Yorkers be asked the following question: “SHALL THERE BE A CONVENTION TO REVISE THE CONSTITUTION AND AMEND THE SAME?” The next mandatory referendum will appear on the ballot on November 7, 2017. NEW YORKERS WILL GET TO DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES WHETHER TO HOLD A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION.


To open dialogue and provide the electorate information to assist them in making an informed decision, when they cast their vote for or against a Constitutional Convention.


* Christopher Bopst, Chief Legal and Financial Officer at Sam-Son Logistics in Buffalo, NY. Co-Author (w/Peter Galie) of The New York Constitution: A Reference Guide (Oxford University Press, 2012.)

* Peter Galie, Professor Emeritus, Canisius College. Co-Author (w/ Christopher Bopst of The New York Constitution: A Reference Guide (Oxford University Press, 2012.)

* Jeremy Toth, Second Assistant Attorney, Erie County, and Adjunct Professor at University at Buffalo, teaching New York State government and politics.

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Weather Forecast For Erie County, NY

  Today: Snow likely, mainly before 11am. Areas of blowing snow before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 22. Windy, with a west wind 22 to 26 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

Tonight: A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. Breezy, with a west wind 17 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday: A slight chance of snow showers before 9am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 30. West wind 9 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 21. West wind 8 to 11 mph.

Friday: A chance of rain and snow between noon and 4pm, then a chance of rain after 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 37. South wind 6 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Friday Night: Rain and snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Saturday: Rain and snow likely before noon, then a chance of rain and snowshowers between noon and 1pm, then a chance of rain showers after 1pm. Cloudy, with a high near 36. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Saturday Night: A chance of rain and snow showers before midnight, then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Sunday: A chance of snow showers before noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 31. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 23.

Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 35.

Monday Night: A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Tuesday: A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 38. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

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Amherst Sees Fewer Challenges To Its New Assessments

Amherst mailed out new assessments to each of the 44,000 property owners in the town as part of its 2017 Assessment Equity Project

Up to 10 percent of Amherst’s 44,000 property owners were expected to challenge their new assessments in the townwide re-evaluation underway now.

But two weeks after receiving their new assessments in letters from the town, only 1.7 percent of owners have initiated challenges, Town Assessor David C. Marrano said.

There are 642 informal review appointments scheduled and 113 mail-in reviews, Marrano told the Town Board during its afternoon work session.

“We haven’t had the demand we anticipated,” he said.

 Monday was the first day of informal challenges at the Getzville Fire Hall.

“The public has been very professional in understanding what we did, and if they have an issue they’re following the process to challenge it,” Marrano said.

Friday is the last day to schedule an informal assessment review appointment by calling 866-910-1776 or online at Mail-in challenges must be received by the Assessor’s Office by April 21. Notices informing property owners of the results of their challenges will be mailed out in the first week of May.

To assist property owners without access to the challenge resources available online, a printed list of every street in the town with basic information about each house in each neighborhood code has been made available in the Supervisor’s Office and Assessor’s Office in Town Hall, 5583 Main St.

The list includes square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms along with the 2017 assessment amount.

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Family-Owned Feel-Rite Moving Into New Amherst Store

Feel-Rite is moving its longtime Maple Road store in Amherst to this location at 1445 Niagara Falls Blvd. by the end of the month.

Feel-Rite Fresh Markets prides itself on a long history of family ownership, attentive customer service and a wide selection of natural and organic foods.

But the local chain’s store on Maple Road, near the Boulevard Mall, has an inefficient layout and, worst of all, its parking lot is too small and too hard to get into and out of for customers.

Feel-Rite executives looked for about 18 months for a new location before finding one around the corner on Niagara Falls Boulevard, just north of Maple, in the former West Marine boating parts store.


 The company plans to move into its new location, its first free-standing store in the area, by the end of the month. Feel-Rite officials declined to say how much they’re spending on the move and the renovations but said shoppers will notice the improvements.

“It’s a significant investment,” said Brenda Boyle, district manager for Feel-Rite.

A brother-and-sister team, Michael J. Bellomo and Dolores “Dee” DiLiberto, with help from their mother, the late Rose Bellomo, founded Feel-Rite 45 years ago. They sold herbs and vitamins initially, with a first store on Hertel Avenue.

Michael Bellomo, who died two years ago, took the lead in running the business. His sister preferred to remain behind the scenes.

Her daughter, Julie Coppola, now serves as chief operating officer and Feel-Rite’s highest-ranking executive, Boyle said.

Feel-Rite at one time had as many as eight stores, but by the mid-1990s began a shift to operating a smaller number of larger stores, and to expanding its offerings from vitamins and herbs to natural foods and produce as well. The stores, at a maximum of about 7,000 square feet, however, are small compared to a Tops Markets or a Wegmans that can reach 100,000 square feet.

Feel-Rite now has five stores in Amherst, North Buffalo, Clarence Hamburg and West Seneca, and just under 100 employees.

All of its fresh produce is certified organic and everything in the store is organic or natural, Boyle said. Feel-Rite tries to get its produce from certified organic local farms and its meat from farmers whose animals are grass-fed or pasture-fed.

“We get local whenever we can,” she said.

Feel-Rite has been at 3912 Maple Road, in a plaza between Niagara Falls Boulevard and Alberta Drive, since 1995. The new store, at 1445 Niagara Falls Boulevard, is about the same size as the existing store, but it allows for a more efficient setup, she said. It will have eight shorter aisles, for example, making it easier to see if anyone needs help. The parking lot has more spaces and is much easier to get into and out of, Boyle said.

“The No. 1 issue over there has always been parking,” Boyle said.

Feel-Rite plans to close down the Maple Road store at 5 p.m. on a Saturday in mid- or late March and take the rest of Saturday night and all day Sunday to get the new Niagara Falls Boulevard store, which also will have a cafe, up and running in time for a Monday morning opening.

Boyle said customers who have seen the sign on the new store are impatiently awaiting its debut.

“We’ve already had people who call the Maple location and say, ‘How come you’re not open today? I tried the doors and they were locked,’ ” Boyle said.

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