From the Sand, Sculptures Create a Sense of Wonder in Dunkirk

Aug. 16, 2019

Dan Belcher, a nationally known sand sculptor, created a serpent Sunday at Wright Park Beach in Dunkirk. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)
Dan Belcher, a nationally known sand sculptor, created a serpent Sunday at Wright Park Beach in Dunkirk.

Janice Bartela immediately had her suspicions. She was walking along an all-but-deserted Cedar Beach in Dunkirk on a Friday morning, in the shadow of the shuttered hulk of the old NRG power plant, when she saw a solitary man with a shovel and a bunch of pails, digging deep into the beach.

“I got irked,” said Bartela, who was there with her brother-in-law, James Watkins. “I thought he was stealing sand.”

Bartela, 57, is a “beach glasser,” a whimsical collector who often takes early walks along the Lake Erie beaches in northern Chautauqua County. While the morning sun reclaims the sky above the water, Bartela searches for pieces of glass smoothed out and transformed by the lake.

She also sees plenty of human behavior that get under her skin. She cannot understand why people casually throw garbage in places that ought to be pristine, and she is astounded by men and women who drive to public beaches when no one is around and casually take off with loads of sand for some purpose of their own.
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MedMen’s Williamsville Medical Marijuana Dispensary is Moving

Aug. 16, 2019

The retail building at 6850 Main St., Amherst, where MedMen is moving its medical marijuana dispensary now located in Williamsville. (Google)
The retail building at 6850 Main St., Amherst, where MedMen is moving its medical marijuana dispensary now located in Williamsville.

A medical marijuana dispensary in Williamsville has received the green light from state regulators to move 3 miles east in Amherst to a plaza along the Clarence border.

Renovations are underway inside the new location for the MedMen dispensary at 6850 Main St., at Transit Road, according to Amherst Building Commissioner Mark Berke.

It’s not clear when the company will shut down its operations at 52 S. Union Road, just south of Main Street in the village, and move to the new site.
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Greenland’s Government Tells President Donald Trump the Island is ‘not for sale’

Aug. 16, 2019

WASHINGTON – Greenland’s government told President Donald Trump on Friday that the island was “not for sale” following reports the president entertained the idea of buying the Danish territory.

“We are open for business, but we’re not for sale,” wrote Greenland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a tweet

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Thursday that Trump had floated the idea of buying Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, though it was unclear if Trump was joking or not, based on other reports. The Associated Press said Trump’s interest in Greenland was characterized by “varying degrees of seriousness.”

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Andy’s Take on the News

Satire from Andy Borowitz
Aug. 16, 2019
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Denmark: “We believe that by giving the US an educational system and national healthcare, it could be transformed from a vast landmass into a great nation.”

Europeans Ask Ken Cuccinelli Why The Fuck They Would Leave Countries With National Healthcare and Gun Control To Come To America

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2 Snyder Homes Evacuated After Contractor Strikes Gas Line

Aug. 15, 2019

A private contractor Wednesday struck a gas line at the intersection of Grover Cleveland Highway and Maynard Drive in Amherst, according to a spokeswoman for National Fuel Gas.

Two nearby homes were evacuated, said Karen L. Merkel, the spokeswoman for National Fuel.

“We have crews that are on site to make the situation safe, which we anticipate will be anytime in the next 10 to 15 minutes,” Merkel said shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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Tom Jolls ‘surprised and honored’ to Enter New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Aug. 15, 2019

Tom Jolls (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

July was a “salubrious” month for legendary WKBW-TV weatherman Tom Jolls.

Jolls, who was part of the famous Channel 7 trio with news anchor Irv Weinstein and sportscaster Rick Azar that dominated local news ratings in Western New York for generations, finally is entering the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

“I was very surprised and honored,” said Jolls in a telephone interview. “I kind of forgot about the organization. It’s been 20 years since I retired, and I felt I had probably fallen into the cracks.”
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Priest Stayed in Ministry 20 Years After Paper Boy Told Bishop of Sex Abuse

Aug. 15, 2019

Angelo Ervolina said he was a 10-year-old altar boy when his parish pastor abused him during a trip to New York City. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)
Angelo Ervolina said he was a 10-year-old altar boy when his parish pastor abused him during a trip to New York City.

Retired parole officer Angelo J. Ervolina said he first met Bishop James A. McNulty in 1965 on his newspaper route, which included the bishop’s mansion on Oakland Place.

Ervolina said he proudly told the bishop he was heading soon on a trip to New York City with his parish pastor, Monsignor Michael J. Harrington.

But when the bishop asked him later about the trip, Ervolina wasn’t so cheerful. Instead of telling McNulty about the sites he had visited, Ervolina said he revealed that Harrington had fondled him while he took a bath in the hotel room he shared with the priest. Ervolina said he was about 10 years old at the time.
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Aside from Manhattan, Buffalo Now Boasts Biggest Rooftop Bar in New York

Aug. 14, 2019

The inside of Patrick's Rooftop, with views of Lake Erie. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)
The inside of Patrick’s Rooftop, with views of Lake Erie.

For Tommy Cowan, the opening of Patrick’s Rooftop, the highest point of 500 Pearl, is the intersection of a dream and a somber memory.

Childhood neighbor Billy Paladino, now CEO of Ellicott Development and mastermind of the multiuse Pearl Street build, and Cowan – a successful restaurateur – had always dreamed of working together on a major project. But what they didn’t plan was the fulfillment would be in memory of a relative and close friend.

Patrick’s Rooftop remembers Patrick Paladino, who died from injuries suffered in a one-car crash in 2009. Patrick – a lively character – was Billy’s younger brother and a close buddy of Cowan.
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Leader of Mexican Cartel Drug Ring Operating Here Gets Prison

Aug. 14, 2019

Jose Ruben Gil says it was his one-on-one meeting with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman that led to one of the largest drug rings to ever operate in Western New York.

During a trial last year, Gil took the witness stand and testified that, blindfolded and surrounded by armed guards, he was taken by helicopter to an undisclosed location in Mexico and a mansion on a hill.

He also told the jury that his meeting there with Guzman and other leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the world’s most powerful and violent organized crime organizations, increased the flow of cocaine coming his way.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo sentenced the convicted drug trafficker to 12 years in prison.
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Lockport Burglar Admits to Gun And Drug Felonies

Aug. 14, 2019

Matthew E. Bartz, a Town of Lockport man with a long history of burglaries in Niagara and Erie counties, pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court Tuesday to having a large supply of illegal pills and an unregistered handgun in his Bartz Road home when police searched it Feb. 4.

Bartz, 37, was sentenced last month to 2 1/3 to seven years in prison for two Erie County burglaries, after being charged with seven break-ins in Amherst, Clarence, Elma, Depew and Lockport.

Tuesday, Bartz pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. said he will impose a concurrent sentence Oct. 22, but it could be up to nine years.
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