Category “Local News”

Town of Amherst to Create a NEW “Economic Development” Department

What is this NEW Department of “Economic Development” and why do WE need it? What ever it is or what ever it does, it will be located in Town Hall just across from the Supervisor’s office, and apparently will be reporting to him after a the new local law is added to create it. The first public hearing about this new department will be held at the next Town Board meeting on Monday, February 24.

Link to Town Board Agenda:

To understand what is happening here, it is useful to understand that Amherst town government has many different parts where the supervisor leads both the legislative branch as chairman of the Town Board, and the executive branch as chief executive officer of the town. With the exception of the Police Department, Highway Department, and Town Clerk, the supervisor directly manages the operation of rest of town government structured as a collection of different departments.

So adding a new department is a big deal since it increases the operational complexity of government, extends the supervisor’s executive management control, can be expected to increase the town payroll permanently, and hopefully will produce real and measurable benefits.

We have some questions for the supervisor. Why is this NEW department needed, what will it do, what will it cost, who will run it, how will it be structured, how many people will it employ, will it get bigger, how will it interact with other departments, will they be doing new things or restructuring existing things or both, and how can we measure it’s results in order to justify the reasons given for creating it?

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Jim’s Vision Lives On

Dear AmherstTimes Readers,

Jim’s passing was a heartbreaking moment for all of us.

The AmherstTimes was very important to Jim, and a number of his friends have come together to maintain it moving forward. Our goal is to build on his vision of creating a site where all residents of Amherst can be kept up-to-date on important developments in the town that do not receive enough attention in the local media and impact the lives of all town residents.

For Jim, for the truth, for all of us, the AmherstTimes continues.


Friends of Jim

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Jim’s Eulogy

God must have needed a warrior by his side when he called Jim home this past week.  For any of us who have known Jimmy, was to have borne witness to what it meant to have true faith and love for God, Family, and Country.  

Jim’s first and greatest passion was for his wife Margaret, who he met at a singles dance, when that was still a “thing.”  It took a while for Margaret to agree to Jim’s advances, but finally, after four years, their life’s journey together in faith started when they married in 1971. 

They were blessed with 2 sons Jeffrey and Joseph who were the center of their lives, and their 5 grandchildren, Emily, Danny, Gabriella, Dante, and Dominic.

Jim was always a man of strong passions and wore his heart-on-his-sleeve.  He found a place in those uncomfortable spaces other people would shy away.  Jim sought those places out and jumped in with both feet. Some of Jim’s greatest friendships grew out of those times when he jumped into the middle of the fray and found an outstretched hand seeking help, and he was always the first to help lift them up.  

Jim couldn’t stand any kind of social injustice.  Many a night Jim would look forward to speaking directly to those in power with only his words and the truth on his side.  He would often come home bloodied and frustrated by some new cause, but he was never deterred. You could never tell Jim something wasn’t possible or some group was just too big to be held accountable.  Jim’s passion for Justice was just as powerful as his compassion for those he loved.  

Family meant everything to Jim and he loved going to his sister Mary’s house every Christmas Eve. Mary would invite the family to get together and eat and share memories. Inevitably Jim and Mary would disagree loudly about something from their childhood. You had to wonder if they actually grew up in the same household!  Memories of those nights will always be cherished.

Jim had an amazing intellect and learning and sharing his knowledge were second nature to him. He embodied this love in his career as a high school teacher of troubled teens and nightly sessions yelling out the answers to obscure Jeopardy questions. Jim and Margaret managed to win a family trip to Disney World when they entered and won a trivia contest.  

But at the center of Jim’s life was always his faith and the church.  Jim loved serving as a Eucharistic Minister and usher for this parish and was sad when his body wouldn’t allow him the ability to continue to serve those roles. Jim was all sheer gut and determination, even when his own fears challenged to overtake him, he persevered.  One of his final acts before leaving this earth was to drag himself to the last row of pews in this very church to take communion after collapsing in the parking lot. He would later need emergency surgery to restore proper blood flow to his legs, and he lamented several times over the following weeks before his passing, how much he missed going to church to receive communion.  Church always gave Jim such amazing comfort and peace.  

Jim lived a life full of love and laughter and leaves behind a legacy greater than any sum of its parts.  He loved music and was frequently heard singing, often words that were slightly incorrect like when he sang the theme from Oklahoma. His version went – 

“Oklahoma is the place for you and me!”

He loved deeply and taught all those who knew him how to do the same.  He was a great husband, father, brother, teacher, community leader, and man.  He left this world not only not less but greater than how he found it. We are all the better for having had Jim a part of our lives and pray those in heaven have as much patience with him as Margaret did here on earth.


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Tribute to JT

Jan. 18, 2020

Jim Tricoli

A man, a Husband, a Father, a Grandfather

An Amherstionian telling the truth as he saw it in a town that often didn’t appreciate that bright light

Not a big guy but a fighter without regard for your status or political party in what is a public service arena

For me he was a friend since at least since 2006 if not longer

He made my trips to Wegmans just a little more fun

A phone call set off a research project for me to help him find out what I could substantiate on the issue

He checked his facts with both sides even if “no comment” was the best they could do with the query

He has been asked to leave and he has been escorted from town meetings and the party he chose to register with

In a world of double meanings and Fox vs CNN for any semblance of facts Jim surprised both camps with what he uncovered

Yes, he would have been so happy as a Woodward and Bernstein no doubt

No donations, no free stuff, no frivolous awards for the scraper born of immigrants

I trusted him and his local view made you smile if you saw him, the Leprechaun with the typewriter

All those meetings where the basic facts are woven into a swampland, Jim sand and listened and asked for explanations for all those years

If you lasted into you seventies yo have seen history repeat itself but this week you walked through the checkout line one last time

Jimmy, I’m glad I knew you

Frank Bellotti

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Honoring Jim

Jan. 15, 2020

One last word concerning Jim’s service on Saturday.  Several people have called asking if they might offer a tribute in Jim’s honor.

Our family would be greatly honored if donations were made to Roswell Park Alliance Foundation in honor of Jim’s sister, Mary Bertola.

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Sleeping Giants Are Amazing

Jan. 13, 2020

Jim Tricoli 1942 – 2020

Sunday morning was unlike any I have experienced before. That was the morning my husband Jim Tricoli, owner and editor of this blog, went home to be with his God.

Jim’s story is very similar to many of our readers. But at his most basic level, he was a man of deep faith and love for his family.  As a first-generation American and the youngest of twelve children, his love of family was a part of his DNA well before 23 and Me was even a thing.  When it came to family, there was never a question of cost or resources, he just needed to hear about someone in need and he was there.

In many ways, Jim was the magician of the family.  No problem was too big or too small to overcome or solve, he would always find a way to make it happen. It was the way he approached everything in his life; raise a family on two teachers salaries and occasional food stamps, check; pay for two children to attend college, check; survive a heart attack at 40, cancer at 60, and everything in between, check, check, check; attend almost every town board meeting for the past 30 years, CHECK!  The man was a machine driven by a clear sense of right and wrong; the physical manifestation of the conscience so often missing in today’s “most spin wins” culture.

This blog was one of the primary tools he used to give voice to those who couldn’t speak for themselves and the concerns of the citizens who didn’t have his platform.  He never asked for money or fame or any recognition beyond knowing the truth was exposed and those trying to hide it, or hide from it, were held accountable. Jim proved what Speaker Tip O’Neill made famous when he said “…all politics are local”.  And now that voice has forever gone silent.  That voice, which was a lion and never backed away from doing the right thing, impacted so many of us to be better versions of ourselves and not settle for mediocrity.

For those of you who’ve had the opportunity to know Jim personally, we want you to know how much he loved and cared for you and your friendship.  It meant so much to him to talk and learn about people of all walks of life and learn your stories and how he could help.

He worked at many jobs before he finally decided to go to college, Canisius. Upon graduation, he took a teaching job with BOCES until his retirement due to a disability. He began attending Town Board meetings and became deeply involved in various issues that were being contested at the time. Politics were always a keen attraction for him. He even worked for John Kennedy when he ran for President in the 60’s.

When Jim retired he was still young and decided to write a blog that he named the Amhersttimes. That happened in the early 2000s and he posted stories on it every day until now.

Through the years he exposed many wrongdoings and was proud of the ‘wrongs’ he could help turn into ‘rights.’ He loved living in Amherst and did all he could to help it evolve into to best town it could be.

Jim is survived by his wife Margaret (Davis), his sons Jeffrey (Maria Rivera) and Joseph (Linda Dees) and his sister Mary Bertola. He has 5 grandchildren: Emily and Daniel Dees, Gabriella, Dante and Dominic Tricoli as well as many nieces and nephews.

Jim will be missed by many family members and friends. God grant you rest and peace.

A memorial service will be held at 9:30 on Saturday Jan. 18, 2020 at Ss. Peter & Paul RC church on Main St. in Williamsville.

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Amherst Police Warn of Gift Card Phone Scam

Jan. 11, 2020

The Amherst Police Department released a statement Friday reminding the public that police departments or government agencies will not ask someone to purchase gift cards to settle debts or to avoid arrest.

The advisory came following a local report of a fraud where the individual identified himself to a caller as an Amherst police officer.

Police said the initial call was automated and was reported to be from a federal agency. A subsequent call did display the phone number of the Amherst Police Department on the victim’s caller ID, police said.

The Amherst Police urged residents who receive a similar call to hang up, and contact their local police department.

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African Wild Cats Land Amherst Man Court

Jan. 10, 2020

A serval in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. (Getty Images)
A serval in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.

Christopher Casacci is in the business of selling cats, but it’s not the domestic ones that landed him in federal custody Thursday.

Prosecutors say Casacci trafficked in African wild cats – caracals and servals – and some of them died in his care.

Charged in a 33-count indictment, the Amherst man is accused of violating the Lacey Act, a federal law prohibiting the illegal importation and sale of certain types of fish, wildlife and plants.
Read more…

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Roswell Park Plans Expansion of Cancer Care Into Amherst

Jan. 10, 2020

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center intends to open a satellite facility next to this medical office at 199 Park Club Lane in Amherst. The Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. project still requires town and state approval. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center intends to open a satellite facility next to this medical office at 199 Park Club Lane in Amherst. The Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. project still requires town and state approval.

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center plans to open a satellite service site in an Amherst office park, according to town officials and public records.

Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. has submitted plans to construct a three-story, 50,000-square-foot medical office building on Park Club Lane near the Interstate 90 and 290 interchange.

Documents filed with the town’s Planning Department don’t identify the prospective tenant but Amherst Supervisor Brian J. Kulpa on Thursday confirmed it would be Roswell Park.

Kulpa, who will highlight the project in his State of the Town address on Friday, touted the benefits for patients from Amherst, Clarence and other points north and east who need follow-up chemotherapy and other services from Roswell Park.
Read more…

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‘Suspicious death’ of Amherst Funeral Director Ruled a Suicide

Jan. 9, 2020

Yellow crime scene tape could be seen on Nov. 4 outside the John E. Roberts Funeral Home on Grover Cleveland Highway. Charles Durante, a funeral home director there, was found in the middle of the road and later died in what police now say was a suicide. (Aaron Besecker/Buffalo News)
Yellow crime scene tape could be seen on Nov. 4 outside the John E. Roberts Funeral Home on Grover Cleveland Highway. Charles Durante, a funeral home director there, was found in the middle of the road and later died in what police now say was a suicide. 

The “suspicious death” of a man who was found last year in the road outside the John E. Roberts Funeral Home in Amherst was a suicide, police say.

Police responding to a 911 call just after 6 a.m. Nov. 4 found Charles Durante in the middle of North Bailey Avenue, near Grover Cleveland Highway. He was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he died around 1 p.m.

As Amherst police investigated how the 43-year-old ended up in the street, they discovered a possible hazmat situation at the funeral home involving an embalming fluid known as “dricav.” Hazmat crews responded and declared the area cleared.

Durante was a director at the funeral home at 280 Grover Cleveland for about 10 years and lived in an upper-floor apartment.
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