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Last Visit 2017-02-19 14:22:05 |Start Date 2004-06-05 03:37:42 |Comments 7,647 |Entries 1,897 |Images 37,965 |Videos 142 |Mobl 7 |

Category: advertising

10/24/05 06:37 - 44ºF - ID#28211

flat screens

I admit that I like watching TV and some day I will buy a nice big TV. That way I can see great depth and amazing pictures weather it be concerts or movies. I can't afforid HD TV's or Flat screens. But even if I could I wouldn't but one of those slim flatscreen TV's for one reason alone; their adds. They also show these thin little TV's and how littlespace they take up. But they leave out the fact that to watch a movie you need a cable box, satelite box, VCR, or DVD player. Also in the adds the TVs never plug in either. Those ads really piss me off. The reason is that they are trying to sell you on how the TV looks on a wall and the picture. But the fact is that it dosn't really look like that. They really piss me off with that crap. I have seen some clever ads that I did like but those had to do with the picture its self. On another note I read a good interview of Henery Rollins in artvoice. I'm going to his Spoken word tour. I know a couple other (e:peeps) are going to. I hope to meet them, that would be cool if I did. I wonder what he will talk about. This is my first spoken word tour of anyone I've been to. I have seen comedians but that is differant.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: hockey

10/23/05 11:41 - 41ºF - ID#28210

sabres

I found this blog through nhl.com it sent me to the Sabres site. It is there starting goalie Ryan Miller's blog. I read a couple of his posts. I was there looking for hockey pictures. I would love to post some pictures of goalies making saves or being burnt or comitting roberies in net. I did think about going to last nights game. I spent money buying food and wrestling DVD's on line and I finaly bought my hatebreed ticket so I figured i had spent plenty of money so I would watch the game for free. I think the next game on TV is wendsday I think it is a special game in Rochester. I noticed some great seats open at last nights game. I don't know if they where open cause people where getting food or couldn't make it, but I would love to sit that close. One of my goals this year is to go to a game and take some pictures and even if they are crappy post them. Sports pictures (for me atleast) are very tough to take. Digital Delay is hard to guess at. For example a car is 20 feet away the camara sees it then you see it on the screen then you press the button then by that time the car might only be 10 feet away (based on how fast it is moving) then you press the button the camara waits takes the picture and the car is a foot away. I guess it is like throwing a pass you don't through the ball to where the reciever is, you pass it to where he is going to be. For me it is complete guess work some pics come out great and some not so great or at least not what I was trying to get.

This is a badly taken picture of a picture of Niagara Falls from the i think 1998 but i thought it might be older then that but it says 98 at the bottom of it. It is kinda a retrospective. Maybe I should have gone to see the wall at the knox yesterday. Oh well pregame starts soon.
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Category: photos

10/22/05 05:20 - 44ºF - ID#28209

Walk

Today I got to sleep in, that was nice. I walked down Elmwood and bought tickets to Hatebreed's early November show at the showplace, Opeth is playing the day after them I may go see them. Home of the Hits is a cool record store. So then I walked down to tops on Grant St. and bought some food about 40 dollars worth of frozen and canned stuff and chips and Pop for the Football games and Sabres Game tonight. That Steelers vs. Bengels game could be amazing The Greenbay game might be verry good to. I kinda want to find a cable movie to watch in a few minutes but not sure what movie I will pick. Hopefully I will be posting some more Buffalo pics soon.

I thought some of you might like to see some pictures I took on a previous walk down elmwood of some nice cars.

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Category: tv

10/21/05 07:39 - 55ºF - ID#28208

South Park Interview

Ever since I have seen the first episode of South Park I have thought it was great. I liked the move they did and also thought "Team America World Police" was great also. Basketball was ok but I think the idea was good. South Park has changed over time. One thing I love is how they will put in recent issues. The shivo episode was one of my favorites. I think putting in current issues makes it funnier and it also marks it as a certain point in time. A lot of Cartoons don't do that. I know it has to be tough to come up with new ideas. I think this article interview is interesting. I wish I would have bought the first season on DVD. If you bought it from Comedy Cental they gave you CD's with there comentary track. I guess some of what they said bashed the DVD distrubtion company. I think it would have been great to hear. I hope south park can inspire others to push the envelope and be funny and get a big audiance, and continue to be funny.

In the topical world of 'South Park,' the weekly deadlines never end
By JAKE COYLE
Associated Press
10/21/2005

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Trey Parker and Matt Stone, right, are in their ninth season.

NEW YORK - With the political relevance of "The Daily Show" and the huge DVD sales (and subsequent hiatus) of "Chappelle's Show," it's easy to forget about that other Comedy Central show, "South Park."
But Matt Stone and Trey Parker's crude cartoon began its ninth season this week, and it remains the network's most-watched program. It is, perhaps, the most manic thing on TV, with entire episodes created just days before they air.

With a ripped-from-the-headlines approach, it's the "Law & Order" of comedy. The first episode, "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow," tackled Hurricane Katrina - by way of the neighboring town flooding.

Parker, who turned 36 Wednesday, and Stone, 34, last month inked a deal for three more seasons and "South Park" has begun appearing in syndication in some markets - both of which assure the world of Cartman, Stan, Kyle and the rest will continue to expand.

Q: Cartman once described independent movies as "gay cowboys eating pudding." Now we have "Brokeback Mountain," an upcoming movie by Ang Lee about gay cowboys.

Stone: If they have pudding in that movie, I'm going to lose my mind.

Parker: No, if there's pudding eating in there, we're going to sue.

Q: Are you guys prophets?

Stone: No, but Cartman is. (Laughs) We went to Sundance a lot in the mid-to-late '90s, and you could just tell it was going toward gay cowboydom.

Q: It's a fast process for you, isn't it?

Parker: It is. We take a lot of time before just to come up with the broad ideas, but until the Thursday before that Wednesday, that's when we really sit down and go "OK, how can we tell this story?" And it leaves us a lot of room, too. A lot of times on a Thursday, we'll sit down and go, "Hey, have you seen this Terri Schiavo thing? This is huge, we should do a story about that."

Q: Sometimes "South Park" is quite topical.

Parker: Yeah, the reason we're able to do that is it's still just Matt and I really doing most everything. We still write, direct and edit every episode ourselves. . . . We can sit there on a Tuesday night and (rewrite the third act), run in the booth next door, record all the voices, get the storyboards together, edit it and see it in a couple hours. It's pretty amazing. It's pretty amazing, too, having done it almost nine years.

Q: Does the fast process backfire sometimes?

Stone: I actually think that makes the show better in a weird way. It's kind of a punk-rock ethic. Like albums that are too produced, you can tell they produced all the magic out of it.

Parker: It's a little more White Stripes.

Q: Are you surprised at the longevity of "South Park"?

Stone: It's totally crazy. When we first did the show, we thought it would be six episodes and then we'd be done - and now we're in our ninth season and signed up to do three more years.

Q: What do you do to keep it fresh?

Parker: It's so much fun, since we still do everything, you can sort of see our growth as writers. When we started this show, we knew how to do funny, outrageous stuff, but we didn't know how to write.

Q: Is there something you're personally sensitive about or is everything fair game?

Stone: We have a really funny breast cancer episode coming up. (Laughs) I just think it's not contradictory to make fun of something and be sensitive about it. It's just the way we examine the world. "Sensitive" isn't the right word, but we actually have thoughts and feelings about all this stuff; it's not just destruction-oriented.

Parker: Just last week we were on a plane and we were pretty positive we were going to die - and we were making jokes. It really, really felt like the end, and we were making jokes.

Q: Are you thinking about another movie?

Parker: Um, no.

Stone: "Team America" almost killed us. We'd like to figure out a way to do our own movies, but not die doing them, and maybe help some other people produce their movies, like graduate to the next level because we are getting up there in age.

Q: What about a live-action movie?

Stone: Like "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo"? (laughs) That's what we should do, really.

Parker: We could make so much money if we would just write scripts like that and go shoot them and put big stars in them. But, first of all, we hate actors. And second, I just can't imagine being on a set of a movie like "Deuce Bigalow."







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Category: tourism

10/21/05 06:37 - 55ºF - ID#28207

Canada insentives

I think that insentives to help get more people from canada to shop in Buffalo is a great idea. I hope that this idea is carried on for other things as well. I know the sabres have a night where Candian money is taken at Par and The Bandits Had a game like that last Season Vs. The Toronto Rock. I hear adds on the radio for travel packages to Toronto. It would be great if Buffalo did the same thing. I think mall shopping is great and gets people to spend money here and that is more tax money that goes to the government. But I think that is is even better for local places like Home of The hits, or Urban to get buisness also. I think that it could be done during the summer as well. I know in toronto they have trips to Fallsviewcasino. I think it would be great if we could get some of those people to shop in Buffalo or even in NF usa or go to a concert at the Dome Theartre. I know Musicals and Plays often go to Toronto First. But if Buffalo could get some of them to come here first we might be able to get more vistors to the area. Or if Shea's had lower cost tickets then Toronto then we might be able to get people to come see a play and do something else like go to the falls or a Sabres game or something. I think this could be the start of something great, we shall see. The article below from the Buffalo news is interesting and sounds promising.

Canadians offered $50 if they stay overnight to shop here
By MICHELLE KEARNS
News Business Reporter
10/21/2005

A new regional collaboration of hotels and shops will give away $50 shopping certificates to encourage more Canadians to come spend the night and spend more of their increasingly-valuable dollars on this side of the border.
"I thought, "What the heck, we'll give it a try,' " said Ed Vidler, president of Vidler's 5 & 10, a 75-year-old store in East Aurora known for its old-fashioned penny-candy charm. "I call 'em the bonus extra. They're wonderful to have."

Vidler came to downtown Buffalo Thursday to speak during the formal announcement of the new $20,000 "Shopping is Hopping in Buffalo" effort, organized by the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The campaign will be promoted on the Toronto CHUM-FM radio station and by the local WNED public television station, which broadcasts to Canada, in hopes of selling 500 packages before the deal ends in March.

The $50 certificate is given with a hotel booking and works in the local shopping districts of East Aurora, Buffalo's Elmwood Village and Williamsville's Main Street and three of the area malls: Eastern Hills, Walden Galleria and McKinley Mall.

Next year, the bureau plans a second campaign to sell people in Southern Ontario on the idea of making a trip for the Frank Lloyd Wright houses and the other local art, architecture and culture features.

"We think that's a prime market for us," said Edward Healy, director of communications for the bureau.

Already the Walden Galleria reports that more cars with Canadian license plates have been appearing in the parking lot - 15 to 20 percent, compared to 8 to 12 percent a few years ago.

One hotelier, of Cheektowaga's Sleep Inn, called travel agents offering the new deal and got 14 bookings at $110 a night for November, an attractive month for its traditional "Black Friday" sales day after Thanksgiving.

For Torontonian Jamie Patterson, shopping in the Buffalo-area is an easy draw. His dollars are now worth about 85 cents to the American dollar compared to 60 cents of a few years ago.

As the man in charge of travel and retail marketing for the 1.5 million Ontario members of the Canadian Automobile Association, Patterson came to Buffalo and spoke at the WNED-TV studio in support of the new package.

After it was over he walked out to his car and talked about how he found a pair of Kenneth Cole pants for $40 at the Walden Galleria. He did a rough approximation of the cost and savings and said at home the pants would have been $70 in Canadian. Patterson had also been eyeing $85 watches that would have cost about $115 at home.

The selection seems better, too, he said. The Galleria says it has 76 stores, out of 211, that are unique to Buffalo.

"It just makes good sense," Patterson said of crossing the border to shop. "It's a nice trip."


e-mail: mkearns@buffnews.com



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10/20/05 06:28 - 53ºF - ID#28206

Down and Stuff

I'm fealing a little down or something today. Maybe it is because I feel asleep Before South Park and also Over There. That could be a factor not sure really. I did get to see Inked and e-ring wich are both good shows. I think South Park is replayed tonight. The sabres will be on soon, so that should be fun assuming I can stay awake for the entire game. It will be better if they win ofcours or at least have a great game. Right Now I'm listing to a "Halford" CD I burned it from someone at work.
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Category: tv

10/19/05 06:37 - ID#28205

South Park Drawn Togather

First a little off topic I watched "Elephant" the other nite on tape. It is about one of those hishschool shootings I belive Columbine. With out giving to much away the story was told in differant way it showed each character and what they did that day. Sometimes they where in focus and everything not dealing with them was blurry. Someone might go bye in the background then later you saw there day and saw how they saw the people they walked past. The way it was shot was interesting. Was it violant yes but it to be honest the shooting was the smallest part of the movie. But on to my point. TONIGHT NEW SOUTH PARK and DRAWN TOGATHER are on comedy central. I know some people don't watch much TV but I would highly recomend these two shows if you are going to watch something. Drawntogather is a a Drawn Reality show like The Real World, Big Brother, or The Surreal life. But all the Cartoon Characters are sterotypes. Well except the pissed off pig. You have the fat black and white sex sybol who cuts her self and eats a lot looks like betty Boob. Then there is the Black Heroin, Foxy Cleopatra. Then there is a superman like Character. Xandr is like from a video game and is on a never ending quest to save his girlfriend, but it turns out he is gay. I forgot about the Racist Snowwhite Cinderella type I guess you would call her "when she sings woodland creatures apper. It really is a funny show and is kinda out there. I guess in tonights episode they have to find a new roomate. I hope it is funny tonight. South Park is new. From what I've read online it sounds like it is ripping on "The Day after tommarow" It should be awesome. I have included a couple pics I got from the comedycentral website.

Drawn Togather
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South Park
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Category: sex

10/18/05 09:01 - ID#28204

Childporn Article

]I admit that this article I read in the Buffalo news was interesting today. I don't know when the first part was in the paper maybe yesterday and I missed it I don't know. I find it interesting how someone can start out doing something that is ok then how they can sprial out of control or cross that line that they shouldn't cross. I don't think that there is anything wrong with porn. I think that as long as the people who partake in it do it of there own free will then it is fine. I know some may say it is wrong but there is a need for it and aslong as it dosn't hurt anyone else then it is fine. I try not to judge what kind of porn or sex differant people like, some of it may seem a little odd to me. But I'm sure plain sex seems odd to to People who swing and are part of the BDSM life style. This is a story of the dangerous sides of porn. I don't belive that porn is evil or harmfull. But it can do damage like anything can if you do to much of it, but that isn't porn's fault. That is the fault of the people who do it. I think it is good for people who do enjoy it to read this so they know that they may cross a line that they don't want to cross without knowing it. Maybe it will help others. From my understanding of the article that is why this guy was willing to talk about it. I think this article is and what I'm writing about is more about sex then it is porn so that is why a picked sex as the catogory. It could really be either one it was a close call but I think sex is a better fit

FOCUS: PORNOGRAPHY
'I had become a monster'




Former teacher in prison for child pornography discusses his obsession and the nightmare it caused
Second of two parts


By DAN HERBECK
News Staff Reporter
10/18/2005


Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News
"I was addicted to it like people get addicted to cocaine or alcohol . . ." said Jeffrey Hart about child pornography. Hart is a former Town of Tonawanda teacher serving time in a federal prison for possessing child pornography.

Looking back, Jeffrey E. Hart says he is thankful the FBI caught him.
"The day they arrested me, I realized what I had become," he said, "a monster."

Hart, 28, a former teacher who is now a federal prisoner, blames only himself for his fall into the dark and sleazy world of Internet child pornography.

His obsession with child porn resulted in his arrest, the loss of his job and the 57-month term he is serving in a federal prison for sex offenders in South Carolina.

Hart wishes he could go back to the spring of 2001, when he got bored looking at adult pornography and began to seek out images of naked young girls.

He wishes he had looked for psychiatric help before his curiosity became an obsession that turned his life upside down.

"The first few times I saw child porn, I was totally disgusted," Hart told The Buffalo News. "I couldn't click off of it fast enough. But after a while, it became an escape for me. I was addicted to it like people get addicted to cocaine or alcohol . . . I thank God they stopped me when they did."

Hart was arrested in June 2004, when members of an FBI cyber crimes task force showed up at his mother's home in the Town of Tonawanda. He immediately confessed to possessing child pornography and later pleaded guilty to a single felony charge.

Hart was never accused of molesting children, and he insists he never felt the urge to do so. But his conviction made him a registered state sex offender and forced him to resign his job as an elementary and middle school art teacher in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda school system. As a convicted felon, he can never teach again.

Losing a job was nothing compared with the pain he caused his mother, father, brother and other family members, Hart said.

"I don't feel bad for myself, but for them," he said. "Knowing how this devastated my family is a pain that is with me all the time, even when I'm asleep."

Hart said he agreed to tell his story publicly because he hopes other men will read it, learn from his mistakes and get psychiatric help.

The introspective ex-teacher is one of a growing number of men throughout the nation prosecuted for viewing and trading child porn images on the Internet. The number of federal prosecutions for such crimes has skyrocketed - from just 366 in fiscal year 1995 to more than 1,550 so far this year.

At least 200,000 child porn Web sites exist, according to Innocence in Danger, a non-profit international group that fights child exploitation. The group estimates that, worldwide, one million children each year are forced into the "commercial sex industry."

Violators caught in Western New York have included several other teachers, a priest, at least two politicians, a police officer, a youth hockey coach and a retired judge. Most cases involve men like Hart, who download images and trade them with others.

The worst local incidents involve men who transmitted images of themselves molesting toddlers or young children - in some cases, their own children or grandchildren.

Why are so many American men willing to risk their freedom, their reputations and family relationships to look at sex images of children?

The men who get involved generally fall into two groups, according to Dr. David G. Heffler, an Orchard Park psychologist who counsels sex offenders.

One group is made up of hard-core pedophiles who look at child porn to indulge their fantasies and who sometimes use the Internet to contact children and teens whom they hope to molest.

The larger group - which includes Hart - consists of men who start out as Internet porn thrill-seekers and wind up in big trouble.

"If the public knew how many men in this community are looking at Internet pornography, day after day, people would be shocked," Heffler said. "A lot of these men start looking at adult porn. The Internet makes it so easy, it becomes a habitual thing. Some actually become addicted to the chemical response that their arousal from pornography releases into the brain."

After a while, for some men, adult porn becomes too routine, Heffler said. They start looking at images of teenage girls. Then, some move toward images of children.

"Part of the nature of man is that he's attracted to things that are considered taboo by society," Heffler said. "I've interviewed men who said they never intended to look at children, but once they did, they were drawn to it, again and again."

Heffler considers all pornography to be bad for society.

"Once a man starts looking at pornography and looking at women as sex objects, less than human, he's on a slippery slope," he said. "He could start looking at kids that way."

Never underestimate the damage that child porn causes for the children who are forced to take part in it, said Elizabeth R. Donatello. She is a prosecutor with the Niagara County district attorney's office who specializes in sex offender cases.

"If you're looking at this material, children are being raped and molested for your entertainment," she said. ""For the victims, it's always on their mind that their pictures are being circulated all over the world."





Forbidden territory

An honor student in the Sweet Home school system, Hart began looking at Playboy magazines at age 12 and adult porn videos as a teenager. In his early 20s, Hart realized that the Internet opened up a whole new world of porn. All he had to do was sit in his room and turn on his computer. "It was easier to get porn than a pack of cigarettes," he said.

Hart kept pushing the envelope, looking for the edgiest adult entertainment he could find. He found Web sites offering pictures of nude teenage girls and started looking at them.

And then, children.

At first, the images repulsed him. Later, he couldn't get enough.

Over the next three years, Hart gradually focused more and more on images of children. Some were posing nude. Others were being molested by adults.

Visibly embarrassed, Hart struggled for words as he tried to explain his attraction to such material.

"At the time, I had some personal demons that I had no way to deal with . . . I was spending a lot of time on the Internet," he said.

"There's a rush you get from doing something that is forbidden. That's part of the attraction. I was being extremely selfish. Pornography is all about a quick fix. Looking at those images makes you feel like you are in control of others . . . My mistake was, I didn't see children there. All I saw was pictures."





Getting caught

By May 2004, Hart had a steady girlfriend and a good job. According to school officials, he was doing excellent work, and there were never complaints about his conduct. But at home, he was looking at child porn almost every day. He stored images in his hard drive and used the Internet to trade them with other men he met through child porn Web sites.

One of those men turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. Hart e-mailed the man seven images of a nude preteen girl.

At 7 a.m. on June 29, 2004, eight federal agents came to Hart's mother's home with a warrant, authorizing them to seize Hart's computer. "My mother woke me up. Two agents came into my room to talk to me," Hart recalled. "They showed me a transcript of me e-mailing back and forth with the undercover agent.

Weeks earlier, while describing the kind of pictures he was looking for, Hart had told the undercover agent, "The nastier, the better."

"When I saw that transcript," Hart said, "that's when I realized what kind of monster I'd become."

Hart's arrest made local headlines. "For five days after the arrest, I just sat in my room, staring at the wall, drinking coffee," he said. "I didn't sleep. I didn't eat. I didn't talk to anyone. I didn't even listen to music during that time.

"For the next five months, the family and friends who stood by me had to tell me when to eat, when to wake up, when to go to bed, when to take a walk. I couldn't function."

The support of his family and counseling sessions with Heffler have helped Hart - not only to move on with his life, but to recognize the pain his actions caused others.

Not everyone was forgiving and supportive. A few friends dumped him altogether. One told him bluntly, "I can't be your friend anymore."





Not a victimless crime


In the months since his arrest, Hart said, he has come to realize that the children in the images he was viewing were victims of vicious and degrading crimes.

"Morally, I consider myself a sex offender," he said. "Yes, there were other people molesting these kids, but I was taking gratification from it. I was helping to create the market for it. I feel like I have blood on my hands."

None of the thrills he got from child porn were worth what he lost, Hart said. His hope is that men who are looking at child pornography now will learn from his mistakes and get help. Here is what he would tell others looking at child pornography now:

"There's no such thing as a victimless crime, when it comes to children. Before I got arrested, I was becoming aware that I had a problem. I tried to stop a couple of times. I couldn't. If you're trying to fight it yourself, get some psychiatric counseling."

What will Hart do after his prison term?

"I'm not even thinking right now in terms of an occupation," he said. "I'm going to do everything I can to make this up to the people I hurt."


e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews,com



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Category: nfl

10/17/05 07:42 - ID#28203

Bills

I have to admit that I'm verry surprised that The Patriots lost and with the Buffalo Win we are tied for first place. I thought that if Losman played to his ablity we would have a good year but that we wouldn't make the playoffs. I admit it is still early in the season but so far the NFL is looking like the entrie season is going to be verry interesting in dead. My raiders are biting bad interms of there record but what ya gona do. Monday Night Bikini football at Guido's on Chipewa sound awesome. It also sounds like a great way to get brought up on sexual haresement or assult charges to. I have also heard a couple adds for some strip club where they show football. I think watching Football with the Jills and Bikini Bar tenders would be so distracting wich one do you watch. But stripers that would be almost impossibe I wonder if they Have TV where they give private dances. I know there are some clubs in the falls where you can get BJ and Finger the girls from what I have been told I wonder if that is the same place or same girls I doubt it. In any event I think Hot girls and Football are a good mix but forget about work the next day. Go Bills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Category: economics

10/16/05 02:57 - ID#28202

Sabres economic inpact article

[size=m]Last night I watched the sabres game. It was a lot of fun. I fell asleep for a few minutes when the game was tied. But then I saw them lose with a late goal. I was hoping for OT then maybe they had a chance, I wanted to See a shot out that would have been cool. I think there next game is thursday. I read an interesting article in today's buffalo News about there economic impact that I found interesting, I wish it went into A little more depth but it is still a good article.[/size]

Return of Sabres puts money into many local pockets




Concessions workers, downtown restaurants, governments all benefit

By DAVID ROBINSON
News Business Reporter
10/16/2005

Click to view larger picture

Mark Mullville/Buffalo News
It's not just fans of the Buffalo Sabres who are happy to see the National Hockey League team playing again.

Click to view larger picture

Ronald J. Colleran/Buffalo News
Mary Beth Billittier of Chef's Restaurant says her business can get a 20 percent boost on nights the Sabres play. Here she greets customers Ronald P. Keellner, left, and Lawrence J. Speiser.

Mary Beth Billittier is thrilled to see the Buffalo Sabres playing again - and not just because she's a hockey fan.
Billittier also is happy because the return of the National Hockey League is bringing back the swarm of fans who eat at Chef's restaurant before games, which can bump up her business by as much as 20 percent.

"It's definitely increased our business on those days. We do get that hockey rush," she said. "Plus, the Sabres come in for lunch before every home game and people come in to see them. We get a double hit from them."

Billittier's not alone. While the return of the Sabres after missing the 2004-05 season due to a lockout isn't causing an economic boom felt throughout the region, it is having a noticeable impact on the area around HSBC Arena.

"We'll see a spike in certain types of business," said Richard Geiger, the president of the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For starters, the return of hockey is putting about $2 million in extra income into the pockets of the 700 to 900 concessions workers, ushers and other game-night employees, said Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert.

Those earnings, which average about $50 per game, often are used as a secondary source of income to pay for everything from private school tuition to family vacations. But for workers whose primary job pays in the $20,000 range, that extra $2,000 in earnings during the season can be an important part of their overall income.

The return of the Sabres also means extra business for the downtown restaurants and bars that cater to the fans heading to the arena. Cobblestone, a restaurant located in the shadow of the HSBC Arena at South Park Avenue and Mississippi Street, opens only on nights when there is an event at the arena or for Thursday in the Square concerts.

Cobblestone was open for only about 40 dates last season, but with the return of the Sabres and more than 40 home games, Cobblestone now expects to be serving customers twice as often this season.

"There are 40 more nights of something going on at the arena," Gilbert said.

The return of the Sabres also means extra demand for hotel rooms for the visiting teams, as well as fans from out-of-town attending a game. "We'll see it in hotel occupancy," Geiger said. "When the visiting teams come in, they'll take 20 to 25 rooms. And the even bigger impact will be on the restaurants."

Even the Sabres staff, which had been cut by more than a third during the lockout, has returned to its old level of about 125 people, Gilbert said.

The return of the NHL also is a boon for state and local governments, which will reap significantly larger tax payments from the extra income generated by the salaries earned by the Sabres players and arena workers, along with sales taxes on parking and items associated with the team.

In all, local governments will pick up an extra $1 million in sales taxes, while the state government will see more than $3 million in sales and income taxes that disappeared because of the lockout, according to Sabres figures.

"It's a positive," said George Palumbo, a Canisius College economics professor who closely follows the Buffalo Niagara economy.

The impact of the Sabres also depends on where its fans come from. Fans from outside the region pack the biggest economic punch because they bring new money to the area that flows to hotels, restaurants, the team and whatever other attractions they take in while they're here, he said.

But because local residents tend to have a limited amount of money for recreational activities, from concerts and movies to Buffalo Bills and Sabres games, a spike in interest at one type of event often takes money away from others.

"Unless you're bringing people into the region or getting people to spend money they otherwise wouldn't have spent, it's just taking the money from one set of recreational activity and moving it into another," Palumbo said.

With the Sabres idle, Shea's Performing Arts Center had a strong season last year, with shows like the Rockettes and the Lion King, boosting attendance to around 450,000. Crowds at the University at Buffalo men's basketball team's games last season were 38 percent bigger as the Bulls made a run at an NCAA tournament bid.

"You have a certain amount of discretionary dollars in the marketplace," Geiger said. "Hopefully, we'll see more people coming in from Rochester and on a regional basis. And I think we'll see people continue to come from southern Ontario, mainly because they can't get tickets in Toronto."

The return of the professional hockey also was a welcome boost for Delaware North Cos. Sportservice, the Buffalo-based business that handles concessions for seven NHL arenas, including HSBC Arena and arenas in Boston, Nashville, Columbus, Tampa, Dallas and Edmonton.


e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

two pictures from the article one is of Chefs and the other is the HSBC arena


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