09/08/05 06:40 - 73ºF - ID#28171
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/08/05 06:29 - 73ºF - ID#28170
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/07/05 07:33 - 78ºF - ID#28169
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/06/05 07:47 - 79ºF - ID#28168
I know there are some parts of Grant street that are nice. For example Tops Plaza and the Post Office. There are a couple places on forest. To bad there isn’t a good restaurant where Plate-oh was. But that got me thinking about Elmwood sprawl or growth. I grew up on grant and near grant and grant is a poor neighborhood , not all of it but some of it. Parkdale I know used to be a crazy street with lots of drug activity. I know someone who bought a house that used to be a drug house near the post office. The way Richmond is zoned you can’t have any businesses on it. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some businesses that spring up on the side streets and main streets like Forest, Delevan, and Utica. I wonder if the fortunes of Elmwood will spread to Grant and help it out. I know there are some good businesses there like Guericios and Frontier and sandbor sports. But It would be nice to see it become an Elmwood Jr. I wish it would but I don’t think it will. What do you guys think? (I say C)
A) Grant is fine how it is
B) Grant will become a better neighborhood on its own
C) Elmwood will expand but not as far as Grant
D) The Elmwood neighborhood will branch out to Grant
E) Buff State will buy houses and rent to students helping grant
F) Homeowners wanting to be near Elmwood will push out drugs
G) Other (what ever you think will happen)
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/05/05 12:42 - 68ºF - ID#28167
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/04/05 06:03 - 73ºF - ID#28166
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/04/05 05:42 - 73ºF - ID#28165
This article on Losman was in today's parade I belive in the Buffalo news. They had a couple good pictures of him. I thought the one of him talking to some people on Elmwood was a great picture.
Is J.P. ready to step up and become Buffalo's next big local hero?
By ERIK BRADY
Buffalo is a needy place. We yearn for love. That's why we feel compelled to ask visitors what they think of us.
New York doesn't ask. Nor do Chicago and Los Angeles - cities comfortable enough in their civic skins to assume their own greatness. We know what's great about Buffalo. But deep down we fear others don't see it. And we can get a tad defensive.
All of which is why J.P. Losman has a chance to be among the best-loved Buffalo Bills of all time - if (and it's a big if) he can produce a winning record to match his winning personality.
Losman didn't wait for us to ask. He tells all who will listen how much he likes Buffalo and Buffalonians. He says that's why he lives downtown year-round. And he sounds sincere - as if this kid from California really gets us.
"When I came here, I didn't know anybody," Losman says. "I wanted to see what true Buffalonians are like. And so I met them, and they're just like me - just very, very real people. They're not fake or phony. They're not fluff."
You've got to love a guy who likes us because we remind him of him.
Next week, he'll get his first start as quarterback of the Bills. He's 24 and barely more than a rookie, so it is unfair to expect too much too soon. We'll expect it anyway. And if he's good enough, Losman will quickly become local legend. If he's good enough, buzz will follow him through the door at restaurants and stores, the way it does when Tim Russert or the Goo Goo Dolls or JoAnn Falletta stops by.
The cult of the quarterback in most NFL cities makes that position preeminent. It isn't always so in Buffalo: O.J. Simpson was a far bigger star than Joe Ferguson. But Losman begins with a built-in advantage: He lives here. Star running back Willis McGahee makes his off-season home in Miami.
But there's more to it than that. Losman chooses to see and be seen at a rate that is rare for the mercenaries who get paid large sums to play with our hearts and with the image of our city on their helmets.
If Losman turns out to be The Man, we will love him all the more for being Man About Town. He eats on Elmwood and hangs out on Chippewa. He drives our streets and meets the people.
Just ask Clem Arrison. The retired honcho of Mark IV Industries was walking one of his dogs by his house on Lincoln Parkway some months back when Losman stopped his car. Losman asked if Arrison might want to sell his stately home one of these days.
"He was wearing this rusty old Bills jacket," Losman says. "He asked what I do for a living. Usually I don't like to say if people don't already know. But in this case I figured I owed him that. I told him I played for the Bills.
"He said, "You didn't make the playoffs last season.' I said, "No, sir, we didn't.' He asked if I was on my first contract. I said I was. And he said the house was worth a lot of money and I should come back after I signed a couple more."
Arrison, 75, confirms the conversation. He doesn't remember saying the Bills didn't make the playoffs, but allows he could have said it. He does remember telling Losman to come back in a few contracts.
"Losman has good taste - it's a very nice house," Arrison understates. "But I'm not going anywhere. He's a very pleasant young man. I hope he does well."
When Losman was younger, he would drive the Pacific Coast Highway, gawking at the mansions and imagining he might live in one some day. These days he does the Buffalo version of that. That's how he discovered Arrison's home and fell in love with it.
Losman says sometimes he imagines himself in that house, married with children, living happily ever after in the City of No Illusions.
This is why Losman, if he wins, is sure to be the Next Big Thing on the Niagara Frontier. It's not just that he lives in our city and hangs out where we do.
Even his daydreams are based here.
Dawning of a New Age
Losman is tooling down Elmwood Avenue in his black Denali, air-drumming dramatically on the steering wheel as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers wails on the sound system.
You know, sometimes, I don't know why,
But this old town just seems so hopeless
I ain't really sure, but it seems I remember the good times
Were just a little bit more in focus.
Sounds like a suitable anthem for our fair city. Losman can't do much about most of our troubles. But if his Bills win, we can forget all that for a few hours on Sunday afternoons.
You remember what it feels like when the Bills are winning big - even if that feeling blurs in memory as time goes by. Wouldn't it be nice to regain that clear-eyed focus of yore? Isn't that how things felt in the Jim Kelly era, when the Bills enjoyed an extended run as one of the NFL's best teams?
Years from now we may look back on this month as the dawning of the Losman era. Of course, he could also become a forgotten footnote, like Todd Collins, or a scorned waste of talent, like Rob Johnson.
But the cusp of a new season is a time for optimism. Losman seems different somehow. Collins didn't have Losman's belief in himself. And Johnson didn't have Losman's belief in us.
Broadly speaking, there have been just three major eras in Bills history. The Kemp era. The O.J. era. And the Kelly era.
Jack Kemp won a pair of AFL championships 40 years ago, and we sent him to Congress for nine terms. O.J. Simpson ran for 2,003 yards and conferred a Hollywood aura on our Rust Belt burg. We loved him until that was no longer possible.
Kelly K-gunned the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls. He still lives among us, in Orchard Park, ennobled by the struggles of Hunter, his stricken son, who died last month.
Kelly's Bills lost all four Super Bowls, but we loved those teams for their grit and resilience. We even had the vanity to suggest they were a lot like our two-fisted city, always ready to battle back after yet another devastating punch to the gut.
Kelly retired eight seasons ago. He has never really been replaced. That burden is next left to Losman. Five quarterbacks have started games for the Bills since Kelly last laced 'em up. Only one had a winning record - and Doug Flutie gave us a season to remember, not an era.
Kelly thinks Losman could his true successor: "He's a kid, and you can't expect too much too soon. But he has all the tools."
Wide receiver Eric Moulds is the only Bill remaining who played with Kelly: "J.P. is a lot more athletic than Jim ever was. Jim had his run. He's in the Hall of Fame. J.P. has to earn his stripes. He doesn't have a number on the back of his jersey yet. He has to prove he is No. 7."
That was Flutie's number. Collins wore No. 15, Kemp's former number. Drew Bledsoe wore No. 11, Johnson's former number. None has yet replaced Kelly's revered No. 12.
Bledsoe's near-40,000 career passing yards got tossed out of town over the winter in favor of Losman's 32 career passing yards. No one knew much about the new kid, other than that he was a first-round draft choice from Tulane who broke his leg in training camp last summer and missed most of the season.
Profiles in USA Today and The News in late July painted a portrait of a young Mexican-American who plays the drums, loves his mother and recalls growing up in a two-bedroom apartment with seven others in the tough L.A. neighborhood of Venice Beach.
Local talk-radio hosts and their callers agreed: You've got to love a kid with a story like that. But, they quickly added, that only gets Losman so far.
Buffalo loves a winner. In that much, we're like everyplace else.
Losman likes us, but he knows we're not perfect. He thinks one of the downsides to living here is that it's too insular, like being in high school again.
"Yeah, you know, all those high school-type rumors go around - stupid, little things. If you're walking with a girl, next thing you know you're her boyfriend or whatever. All those little rumors are still here in this city."
Well, sure, but high school isn't so bad when you're the quarterback. And when you're dating the equivalent of captain of the cheerleaders - a University at Buffalo graduate from Williamsville who is a striking beauty of Sicilian and Ukrainian descent.
Losman asks that her name not be given for the sake of his privacy and hers. Besides, he insists, they are not really dating. They spend time together. They watch DVDs. They read and discuss Henry Miller novels. But he says they consciously avoid the words boyfriend and girlfriend, because his need for immersion in football just now is too great to leave time for an in-depth relationship.
"I can't give a girlfriend what a boyfriend should give a girlfriend right now," he says. "It's all on football and how I could better myself before I could give to somebody else."
He says he played the field at the end of high school and beginning of college, but no more. "I like relationships," he says. "Meeting someone on a real basis, the whole honesty and responsibility thing. It's healthy for people to really get to know one another. Multiple girls lead to multiple problems. I'm not with that."
Not exactly what you would have heard from Joe Namath back in the day. Losman's quick release is sometimes compared to Namath's, but otherwise he's more Broadway Market than Broadway Joe.
Even so, he says, he knows rumors go around that he's dating various women in Buffalo simply because he strikes up conversations with them in bars, which he thinks is unfair to him and to them.
"People talk about movie stars and athletes like they know them just because they met them or shook their hand," Losman says. "Next thing you know, you are the focal point of this conversation in some other household. They don't know anything about me, yet they're talking about me like (some rumor) is completely true because that's what they've heard.
"And American culture has supported that. With all these athletes and movie stars, people just want to get in their business. You don't have to have a camera to be a paparazzi. There's paparazzi everywhere. They use their mouths. And when they see me walking with somebody or talking with somebody, they're just going to go ahead and assume we're dating or we're involved. That's what I was getting at. It's all the same little high school stuff. High school never ends."
He thinks that's more or less true all over the globe. The difference in Buffalo is the size of the city means you see the same people so much of the time. There's good and bad in that. The bad part is the ever-grinding rumor mill. The good part, he says, is he's getting to know some real Buffalonians - that funny word for us that Losman tosses off easily in conversation as if born in the First Ward.
"Buffalo is a small town - or I should say it has a small-town atmosphere," he says. "People here go out and see a lot of the same people. Everybody knows everybody, it seems like, one way or another. And I'm not used to that."
Losman can become a big kahuna in our little fish bowl. He feels comfortable so far with his small-city celebrity. Can he remain this visible and low-key once the season begins? He thinks so. Can Buffalo embrace a Californian whose favorite band is Incubus? If he wins, heck yeah. Is this the dawning of a new age? Stay tuned.
Driving with J.P.
Losman often drives his Denali around Buffalo and its suburbs to see what he can see. He thinks it's a good way to come to know a place.
"As soon as I got here, that's what I did: I just drove around everywhere in the Buffalo area," he says. "I was so curious just to see my new city. There's a lot of cool, historical buildings that I love looking at. There's a lot of history in Buffalo, and I want to learn more of it."
Bills fans might prefer that he make it instead. But Losman is a history buff who took several history courses at Tulane, where he majored in classical studies.
"As soon as I got drafted, that night I went online and looked up all the things that Buffalo had to offer, where it was on the map, the layout of the city, a brief history of it. What's happening, what have been the problems, why did it die down, some of the economic problems, all those things."
Losman sees evidence of some of those problems when he leaves his luxury loft on Main Street and takes the Skyway and Route 5 past the steel mill and grain elevators on his way to work.
"I like taking a drive to work," he says. "Blast some music, think about what you're going to accomplish today."
The Denali is on loan from a dealer who thinks it is good business for Losman to drive it, according to Gary Wichard, Losman's agent.
"When I grew up, we didn't have much money," Losman says. "When I was in college, I was a starving student. Now I can afford anything - and everything's free."
Wichard says he has never represented a young athlete so disciplined with money that he didn't even buy his own car. Our newest would-be hero knows the value of a dollar, just like his fans.
It is crazy to put too much on Losman's shoulder pads just yet, of course. He has thrown just five NFL passes. The Bills will try to bring him along slowly. They have a rock-solid defense and a workhorse running back on which to rely.
But if they're going to be any good, now and for some time to come, the Bills need Losman to be good. There is no getting around that.
Losman thinks he will be. When the Bills drafted him, critics contended he was too cocky. But that's not necessarily bad in Buffalo. Kelly exuded cockiness. Cocky is good if you can back it up.
Just how cocky is Losman? Here he is, driving on Elmwood, still listening to Tom Petty. He wears no seat belt as he hangs a right at the art gallery and heads toward Hoyt Lake. It sparkles in the bright sun of summer.
"Did you know they won't let you canoe on that lake?" Losman says, smiling playfully. "If I win a Super Bowl, I want privileges. You know, at least once a week."
Why would he need a canoe? J.P., if you win a Super Bowl in this town, they'll think you can walk on water.
Buffalo native Erik Brady is a national sports reporter for USA Today.
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/02/05 09:36 - 76ºF - ID#28164
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/02/05 08:39 - 76ºF - ID#28163
BEHIND THE HEADLINES
Katrina is case where laxity cost dearly
The colossal disaster still unfolding begs this question: How did the nation's leaders and its citizens allow it to happen?
By RON FOURNIER
WASHINGTON - At every turn, political leaders failed Katrina's victims. They didn't strengthen the levees. They ceded the streets to marauding looters. They left dead bodies to rot or bloat. Thousands suffered or died for lack of water, food and hope. Who's at fault?
There's plenty of blame to go around - the White House, Congress, federal agencies, local governments, police and even residents of the Gulf Coast who refused orders to evacuate. But all the finger-pointing misses the point: Politicians and the people they lead too often ignore danger signs until a crisis hits.
It wasn't a secret that levees built to keep New Orleans from flooding could not withstand a major hurricane, but government leaders never found the money to fully shore up the network of earthen, steel and concrete barriers.
Both the Bush and Clinton administrations proposed budgets that low-balled the needs. Local politicians grabbed whatever money they could and declared victory. And the public didn't exactly demand tax increases to pay for flood-control and hurricane-protection projects.
Just last year, the Army Corps of Engineers sought $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans. The White House slashed the request to about $40 million. Congress finally approved $42.2 million, less than half of the agency's request.
Yet the lawmakers and Bush agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-laden highway bill that included more than 6,000 pet projects for lawmakers. Congress spent money on dust control for Arkansas roads, a warehouse on the Erie Canal and a $231 million bridge to a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.
How could Washington spend $231 million on a bridge to nowhere - and not find another $62 million for hurricane and flood projects in New Orleans? It's a matter of power and politics.
Alaska is represented by Republican Rep. Don Young, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, a senior member of the all-important Senate Appropriations Committee. Louisiana's delegation holds far less sway.
Once the hurricane hit, relief trickled into the Gulf Coast. Even Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown, whose agency is in charge of disaster response, pronounced the initial results unacceptable.
The hurricane was the first major test of FEMA since it became part of the Homeland Security Department, a massive new bureaucracy that many feared would make FEMA another sluggish federal agency.
Looting soon broke out as local police stood by. Some police didn't want to stop people from getting badly needed food and water. Others seemed to be overwhelmed. Thousands of National Guard troops were ordered to the Gulf Coast, but their ranks have been drastically thinned by the war in Iraq.
On top of all this, Katrina is one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit the United States. The best leaders running the most efficient agencies would have been sharply challenged.
"Look at all they've had to deal with," former President Bill Clinton told CNN shortly after joining former President George H.W. Bush on a fund-raising campaign for hurricane relief. "I'm telling you, nobody ever thought it would happen like this."
That's not true. Experts had predicted for years that a major hurricane would eventually hit New Orleans, swamping the levees and filling the bowl-shaped city with polluted water. The politicians are doing what they do in time of crisis - shifting the blame.
"The truth will speak for itself," Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said of potential lapses by government. Later, her office blamed the White House for budget cuts.
If it's not the Republicans' fault, perhaps some in Washington would like to blame New Orleans itself. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., questioned whether a city that lies below sea level should be rebuilt. "That doesn't make sense to me," he said.
But for anybody living - or dying - in the devastated region, there are far too many villains to name.
"We're out here like pure animals. We don't have help," the Rev. Issac Clark, 68, said outside the New Orleans Convention Center.
Robin Lovin, ethics professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said it's too convenient to blame one branch of government when they are all, at some level, failing people. From Watergate to Clinton's impeachment, governmental institutions have disappointed the public.
"Bush, Congress, the mayor - each of them are symptoms of a bigger problem, that we don't have accountability for disasters or challenges of this scale," Lovin said. "That's all the public wants in trying times - accountability."
Thus, Americans are doing what people do when government lets them down - they're turning to each other. Donations are pouring into charities. Internet sites are being used to find relatives. Residents of far-off states are opening their homes to victims.
The community spirit is reminiscent of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. So is the second-guessing. It will happen again after the next crisis. You've heard the warnings: a cataclysmic California earthquake, another terrorist strike, a flu pandemic, a nuclear plant meltdown, a tsunami, the failure to address mounting U.S. debt - and on and on.
Will the public and its leaders be better prepared next time?
Location: Buffalo, NY
08/30/05 09:09 - 73ºF - ID#28162
Aug 30, 2005 11:28 AM
Subject: show planned for tomorrow is now next week
Location: Buffalo, NY
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