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Category: news

08/24/12 04:58 - ID#56703

Ulrich's .........

So I have never been to Ulrich's Tavern but I guess there are many that have and it is supposed to be pretty good and isn't it one of the places that was on one of those food shows... So some time back in August I read that it was shut down... (e:paul) has a post about it.. So I saw this in Today's Buffalo news and thought I would share.. We shall see.... Oh that reminds me quickly Elmwood Festival of the arts is this weekend hope to go for a bit......



Ulrich’s determined to reopen after seizure
Owner has filed for bankruptcy
By Samantha Maziarz Christmann
NEWS BUSINESS REPORTER
Published:
August 24, 2012, 12:11 PM

STRICTLY BUSINESS BLOG
Updated: August 24, 2012, 12:11 PM

After being seized for unpaid taxes three weeks ago, Ulrich’s Tavern has filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to reopen Sept. 4.

Owner James Daley confirmed that the iconic Ellicott Street bar and restaurant will hold a reopening party beginning at 3 p.m. Sept. 4, sponsored by Flying Bison Brewery. Lunches will resume Sept. 5, dinners Sept. 6.

Daley said he has met with several financial and professional advisers to come up with a plan to better handle the business side of the restaurant and has found ways to run a “much financially tighter ship.”

“There was never a lack of effort on anyone’s part, it was more not understanding some financial realities,” Daley said. “We always just thought if we worked harder, we could overcome it.”

Going forward, Ulrich’s will have a smaller menu of core items, will offer fewer specials and cut staff. It will still offer German specialties and popular staples such as beef on weck.

“We’re going to do fewer items and make sure we can do them really well and do them efficiently and cost-effectively,” Daley said. “We had so many items that we had to pay more people to work in the kitchen than there was money coming in.” Daley has vowed to adhere strictly to labor and food cost goals, and to make tough, smart business decisions about what the restaurant can afford. “It sounds so simple, it’s Business 101, but when you’re working 12 hours every day and you’re in the battle, it’s hard to step back and look at it,” Daley said. “Being shut down for three weeks, I’ve been able to look at it and say, ‘How could that have ever worked?’”

Ulrich’s Tavern Inc. filed a Chapter 11 petition Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York. The filing lists the business’ estimated assets as $50,000 or less and its estimated liabilities from $100,000 to $500,000. Among its list of creditors holding the largest unsecured claims are the state Department of Taxation & Finance at $205,000 and the Internal Revenue Service at $65,000.

The restaurant was shut down Aug. 4 on seven outstanding warrants of unpaid withholding and sales tax.

A 2011 tax return included in the filing showed Ulrich’s operated at a loss of $20,432 for the year. A profit and loss sheet showed the business operating $7,537 in the red for the period ending May 20.

Ulrich’s filed for bankruptcy before in 1994.

That bankruptcy was later discharged in 1998.

Ulrich’s Tavern is considered the oldest continuously running bar in Buffalo, first established in 1868. Daley’s parents ran the business starting in the 1950s, before Daley bought the business and took over in 2000.
schristmann@buffnews.com



Hope it works out for them... Most places that this happens to don't open again..

EDIT: I used the box function using Chrome and no box showed up so I'm changing it to " "
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Category: news

05/31/12 05:14 - ID#56505

Soda Ban? Article for ?Tinypliny?

So Even before I read this article I thought Hey a bet if (e:tinypliny) is on the internet this is an article she would find interesting now I have to read it... But not only her anyone who thinks about health and how we have a right to drink what we want but maybe there should be a tax on bad stuff... Or maybe the government shouldn't subsidize corn?



NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to propose a far-reaching municipal ban on sales of large-size sugary beverages by restaurants, mobile food carts, movie theaters and delis, his administration said on Wednesday.
A document outlining the proposal said it was aimed at fighting an epidemic of obesity, citing public health statistics showing that 58 percent of New York City adults and nearly 40 percent of city public school students are obese or overweight.
The proposal defines sugary drinks as beverages that are "sweetened with sugar or another caloric sweetener that contain more than 25 calories per 8 fluid ounces and contains less than 51 percent milk or milk substitute by volume as an ingredient."

It would impact drinks sold in containers larger than 16 ounces, but would not impact the sale of diet soda or dairy-based drinks.
Americans consume 200 to 300 more calories every day than they did 30 years ago, according to the Bloomberg administration's analysis.
Bloomberg has used the power of the city government to promote other health measures, including a campaign to cut down on salt and a ban on trans fats in restaurant food, as well as a requirement that chain restaurants display calorie counts.

In 2003, the city banned smoking in bars and restaurants, generating howls of protest at the time from smokers and non-smokers who saw it as a case of government creeping into private lives, but the law has since become widely accepted.
Bloomberg, a political independent, is in the middle of his third four-year term as New York City mayor.
The response to Bloomberg's public health initiatives have been mixed. Earlier this month, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 45 percent of New York voters thought the government should discourage unhealthy eating and drinking habits, while 48 percent said the government shouldn't get involved.
Still, many of those initiatives, including the smoking ban, have become models for other cities.
The proposed ban on sugary drinks requires the approval of the city's Board of Health. It will be submitted to the board on June 12.

In a statement, a spokesman for the New York City Beverage Association challenged Bloomberg's assertion that the consumption of soda was driving obesity rates.
"It's time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity," said spokesman Stefan Friedman. "These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front."
(Reporting by Edith Honan and Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)
@yahoonews on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

For anyone who reads me Do you think the box or " " bubble is a better way to read something.... I kinda think that the box is but not sure....

So here is my question what will the movies sell for you to drink now? Also I wonder flavored water might be pretty close to this... Now lets say they just cut the size of the soda will anyone get the big popcorn anymore?

The little bit of an issue I Have with this though is that it acts like Diet Pop is ok.... Not that I'm going to fund it... But it would be interesting to look into how Diet pop and regular pop by brand of course very ..... They do taste different but most diet pop doesn't toss out the sugar they use some fake stuff and hasn't all that fake stuff been found like it does damage to you if the pop is left out in the back of the truck bed on a hot day......

Also though this doesn't address the real issue... As some comedian said have you ever noticed the only people drinking diet Soda are fat? In other words it doesn't work... See what often happens is people think oh it is diet so I can have more of it.... Also some people think oh I'll get this huge meal and oh a diet soda...don't want to get full or anything or they think that like counters the bad stuff.....

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Category: news

12/12/11 03:54 - ID#55724

Food For e:tinypliny



So this article was in the Buffalo News the other day.... I can admit that I don't post stories to often on here anymore.... Now part of the reason is that reading the paper is mostly an at work thing and then it takes like 2 or 3 clicks to share them.... And one shouldn't really be on (e:strip) at work so even on ones break..... Now that being said I wonder if the addiction part of this has to do with Habit? Humans love their habits.... Go to a movie there has to be Popcorn and drink other wise the movie blows.... Football = Food and drinks... There is a Habit part of addiction that is very strong... I would assume that someone who had a gambling problem might not know what to do with them selves during sports.... Some times when people stop smoking their fingers don't know what to do.... In any event an interesting article....

That being said though I do think that food can be addictive and would say I mostly agree with this... At the least isn't it odd that Chips and salty and so are Pretzels and then one needs something to drink....

A sugar high
New evidence suggests fatty foods are as addictive as drugs
By Robert Langreth and Duane D. Stanford
BLOOMBERG NEWS
Published:
December 11, 2011, 12:00 AM


Updated: December 11, 2011, 6:56 AM

Cupcakes may be addictive, just like cocaine. A growing body of medical research at leading universities and government laboratories suggests that processed foods and sugary drinks aren’t simply unhealthy. They can hijack the brain in ways that resemble addictions to cocaine, nicotine and other drugs.

“The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”

The idea that food may be addictive was barely on scientists’ radar a decade ago. Now the field is heating up. Lab studies have found sugary drinks and fatty foods can produce addictive behavior in animals. Brain scans of obese people and compulsive eaters, meanwhile, reveal disturbances in brain reward circuits similar to those experienced by drug abusers.

As the evidence expands, the science of addiction could become a game-changer for the $1 trillion food and beverage industries. If fatty foods and snacks and drinks sweetened with sugar and high fructose corn syrup are proven to be addictive, food companies may face the most drawn-out consumer safety battle since the anti-smoking movement took on the tobacco industry.

“This could change the legal landscape,” said Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy&Obesity and a proponent of anti-obesity regulation. “People knew for a long time cigarettes were killing people, but it was only later they learned about nicotine and the intentional manipulation of it.”

Food company executives and lobbyists are quick to counter that nothing has been proven, that nothing is wrong with what Pepsi- Co Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi calls “fun-for-you” foods, if eaten in moderation. In fact, the companies say they’re making big strides toward offering consumers a wide range of healthier snacks.

No one disputes that obesity is a fast-growing global problem. In the United States, a third of adults and 17 percent of teens and children are obese. A 2009 study of 900,000 people, published in the Lancet, found that moderate obesity reduces life expectancy by two to four years, while severe obesity shortens life expectancy by as much as 10 years.

Sugars and fats have always been present in the human diet and our bodies are programmed to crave them. What has changed is modern processing that creates food with concentrated levels of sugars, unhealthy fats and refined flour, without redeeming levels of fiber or nutrients. Consumption of large quantities of those processed foods may be changing the way the brain is wired.

Those changes look a lot like addiction to some experts. Addiction “is a loaded term, but there are aspects of the modern diet that can elicit behavior that resembles addiction,” said David Ludwig, a Harvard researcher and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital Boston. Highly processed foods may cause rapid spikes and declines in blood sugar, increasing cravings, his research has found.

Constant stimulation with tasty, calorie-laden foods may desensitize the brain’s circuitry, leading people to consume more junk food to maintain a constant state of pleasure.

In one 2010 study, scientists at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., fed rats an array of fatty and sugary products including bacon, pound cake, cheesecake and cake frosting. The study measured activity in regions of the brain involved in registering reward and pleasure through electrodes implanted in the rats.

The rats that had access to these foods for one hour a day started binge eating, even when more nutritious food was available all day long. Other groups of rats that had access to the sweets and fatty foods for 18 to 23 hours per day became obese, Paul Kenny, the Scripps scientist heading the study, wrote in the journal Nature Neuroscience. The results produced the same brain pattern that occurs with escalating intake of cocaine, he wrote.

Damage to the brain’s reward centers may occur when people eat excessive quantities of food. In one 2010 study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas in Austin and the Oregon Research Institute, 26 overweight women were given magnetic resonance imaging scans as they got sips of a milkshake made with ice cream and chocolate syrup. The women got repeat MRI scans six months later. Those who had gained weight showed reduced activity in the striatum, a region of the brain that registers reward, when they sipped milkshakes, according to the study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
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Category: news

01/17/10 10:11 - ID#50834

Shooting at Merge?

So I haven't reposted news in some time but this is something that I think some people might want to know about this. There is one funny thing though Channel 7 has an animated picture of a gun on there site, I at least find it funny , but not the story, I still don't really get what happened.


Deadly Shooting at Downtown Buffalo Restaurant





By WKBW News
WKBW-TV
updated 12:19 a.m. ET, Sun., Jan. 17, 2010

Police have identified the victim and the suspect in a deadly shooting at a downtown Buffalo restaurant.

51-year old Ernesto Arechavaleta-Taureaux of Porter Avenue is charged with the shooting death of 18-year old Rick Costner, Jr.



Buffalo police were called out to Merge restaurant at 439 Delaware Avenue at about 11:40 this morning after a report of a shooting. When they arrived they found two people shot. Buffalo Police spokesperson Mike DeGeorge tells Eyewitness News the restaurant's manager 40-year old Rick Costner, Sr. and his son 18-year old Rick Costner, Jr. who worked as a sous chef were shot. Costner, Jr. was taken to Buffalo General where he was pronounced dead. His father was taken to ECMC and treated for his wound.

Police say the suspect in the shooting is 51-year old Ernesto Arechavaleta-Taureaux of Porter Avenue. Arechavaleta-Taureaux worked as a dishwasher at the restaurant.

"The people who run the restaurant are wonderful people and this poor guy now his 18-year old son is gone", said Gerry Smith.

Smith has an auto dealership just around the corner from the restaurant. He says in 30 years he's never seen or heard of anything like this in this neighborhood.

"It puts a black mark on the neighborhood it's not the neighborhood that you find stuff like this happening in the middle of the afternoon". Smith told Eyewitness News.

Merge opened just about a year ago by sisters Eliza and Sarah Schneider. According to their website the restaurant is a place, "... where vegans can sit down over lunch with meat eaters to discuss art, and foodies can enjoy an elegant dinner with blue collar sensibilities".

Both sisters showed up at the restaurant shortly after the shooting. They sisters were seen comforting one another and other employees at the restaurant. Neither would comment on the shooting but they did post this message on their website:

Our hearts are with the Costner family at this time. We are shocked and saddened by the tragedy that occurred today. It was an isolated incident and a random act of violence. We are accepting charitable donations of any size for the Costner family.

The suspect is charged with second degree murder as well as attempted second degree murder, and criminal possession of a weapon. Police did recover a 9mm handgun at the scene.



Hopefully I'll get last nights Bandits Game pictures posted today if I have time before Football then 24.
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Category: news

06/25/09 08:03 - ID#49085

Michael Jackson My thoughts



So wow that is a long link on Yahoo's page If it doesn't work I'm sure you can find a newer story on his death someplace like TMZ. What I want to talk about is a little bit about the guy.

I'm sure you will find someone who didn't like any of his songs someplace. But I think most people would say even if they didn't like him that he had some song they liked. I think that reason is why his death is a shock. I think everyone knows how big his songs where and how he sold so much music. I'm not sure about how Huge He got when compared to others, but I would put him up their with All The legends at least fame wise. I don't think anyone can really measure how much of an impact he had on music. Was it pop music yes. But think back to the videos. Think about thriller there are still tribute dances to that up to a few years ago, I'm sure they are up on Youtube. It is hard to explain for those that weren't there how much of a big deal thriller was. I kinda remember that there was a point when MTV only Had Certain times you could see the entire video. I think videos are where he made his biggest impact on music. Yes I was a fan. I'm sure there are some people who think he sucks but like weird al. I love weird al but I think that some of what got him so much attention was Eat It, great video by the way and a few other spoofs.

Now in terms of Micheal as a person there is so much stuff I don't get. I don't get all the surgery. I don't get how is skin changed color. Did he get bashed for a lot of that, yeah and he did deserve it. To bad he didn't listen. Well maybe he was happy that way so maybe that is wrong. In terms of the kid stuff. I still say he didn't do anything to any of them. The Main issue was he had some kid in his bed. Um so what parents have there kids in there bed all the time. I really think that his family was fucked up and that messed him up some. When he was a little guy he was a star in The Jackson five. That fucked him up. He kinda had the mind of a child or was living out his Childhood when he was an adult. With out doing a formal survey I think if you looked at other child stars you would see the same thing. That doesn't mean that being a child star fucks you up. But when you are famous you still need to have a childhood and do kid stuff other wise you get screwed up. The other reason I don't think Micheal did anything is that some of his child friends where never touched Culkin (isn't he kinda messed up to know, not sure) and one of the Corry's was a huge fan and friend and danced in one of his videos. The other question you have to ask is if you where a parent and knew Micheal Jackson was weird would you leave your kid there alone? If you would why? Money maybe?

I don't know what caused the Heart Attack. But I'm sure what ever it was, had to do at least some what from things in his past or his life currently. It is to bad that one of the 3 MJ's is gone at one time those three briefly ruled the world. Oh the other two are Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. On another side note it is to bad that he never got his Huge Comeback like Prince. I'm not currently a fan, but am glad he made it back. If you have read this it is kinda all over the place but here is the Yahoo article:



LOS ANGELES - Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted "King of Pop" who emerged from childhood superstardom to become the entertainment world's most influential singer and dancer before his life and career deteriorated in a freakish series of scandals, died Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. He was 50.

The person said Jackson died in a Los Angeles hospital. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

The circumstances of his death were not immediately clear. Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m., Capt. Steve Ruda told the Los Angeles Times. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told the newspaper.

Jackson's death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music's premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.

His 1982 album "Thriller" - which included the blockbuster hits "Beat It," "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" - remains the biggest-selling album of all time, with more than 26 million copies.

He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched voice punctuated with squeals and titters.

His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks second only to his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.

As years went by, he became an increasingly freakish figure - a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grownup life. His skin became lighter and his nose narrower. He surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, often wore a germ mask while traveling and kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions.

In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him. The case took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.

Jackson was preparing for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13. He was in rehearsals in Los Angeles for the concert, an extravaganza that was to capture the classic Jackson magic: showstopping dance moves, elaborate staging and throbbing dance beats.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital as word of his death spread. The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson's rented home, was roped off with police tape.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson has just died," a woman boarding a Manhattan bus called out, shortly after the news was annunced. Immediately many riders reached for their cell phones.

In New York's Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.

"No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow," Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend sent to his telephone. "It's like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."


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Category: news

06/23/09 08:46 - ID#49047

FBI Looks into Cop and Chosen few

I can admit I don't know what it is about some news stories that I just get drawn into them the one above is a good example. I don't know what it is about The Chosen Few that draws me in. Maybe some of it is the name of the Club and that until they where in the news I had never heard of them but had heard of the Kingsmen, maybe I have seen one to many movies. Maybe it is because Zack Wilde (played with ozzy) and lead singer of Black Label Society has the Biker Look with the name of his band. Hey maybe it has to do with seeing some biker movies. Maybe it is because one of my favorite Wrestlers the Undertaker had the biker Gimmick for some time. Or maybe it is because (not that I completely get it) there is a brotherhood thing, that same thing runs through being part of any club or good team sports. I'm not really sure and am just guessing really. I do like Motorcycles so that could be a factor. I think I have only really seen one bike club in my travels I don't even know there name they are the one that is all blacks and one guy has a bright silver Helmet. Well for those of you who don't want to go the Buffalo News site her is a copy and paste of the article.

FBI probes officer's ties to biker gang
Member of Hamburg police is a figure of interest in case involving Chosen Few
By Dan Herbeck
NEWS STAFF REPORTER


A Town of Hamburg police officer was placed on administrative leave last week, and federal agents are investigating to determine if the officer improperly supplied police information to the Chosen Few motorcycle gang.

Police officials also have turned the officer's computer over to FBI agents, who are examining it to determine whether any law enforcement or state motor vehicle information was illegally accessed.

While few details were disclosed, The Buffalo News learned that federal agents are looking into allegations that the officer improperly provided information to Chosen Few leaders about some members of the Kingsmen, another biker gang.

Some of the Kingsmen, according to police, have feuded with members of the Chosen Few for more than a decade.

Existence of the federal investigation into the Hamburg officer's activities was confirmed for The News by four sources who are familiar with it. The sources emphasized that, so far, the investigation has turned up nothing definitive about the officer's actions.

They also confirmed that Buffalo defense attorney Joel L. Daniels is representing the officer, who is being paid during the administrative leave. The name, rank and gender of the officer were not revealed.

"Right now, it's a personnel matter, and I can't discuss it," said Hamburg Police Chief Carmen Kesner.

When asked about the FBI probe and the computer, Kesner added: "I can't comment on that."

The investigation was briefly discussed in public at U. S. District Court on May 14, during a bail hearing for Alex Koschtschuk, 58, of Alden, identified by the FBI as president of the Chosen Few.

Koschtschuk and 19 other defendants were arrested May 7 after an investigation into biker violence conducted by the FBI-led Safe Streets Task Force.

During the bail hearing, Assistant U. S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce revealed that information about some Kingsmen leaders - including their police mug shots, what vehicles they drive and diagrams of their homes and clubhouses - was found by state police in Koschtschuk's home.

Federal agents suspect that a suburban police officer may have provided some of that information to the Chosen Few, and that matter is under investigation, Bruce told U. S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy during the hearing.

Monday, Bruce said he could not discuss the investigation. The Buffalo FBI office also declined to discuss it.

"An officer has been placed on administrative leave, and at this point, I'm not commenting," Daniels said.

dherbeck@buffnews.com


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Category: news

06/03/09 06:44 - ID#48832

New Hamshire Allows Gay Marriage

For some of you who maybe didn't see or here this yet I thought I would post this story. What I like about it passing is that it doesn't force people who don't believe in gay marriage to perform them in a church. I think that there is a difference between a state marriage and one done by a church. Yes they are both legal contracts but there is so much more to it then that in a church.




Gay marriage bill signed into law in New Hampshire
AP




By NORMA LOVE, Associated Press Writer Norma Love, Associated Press Writer - 10 mins ago

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage after the Senate and House passed key language on religious rights and Gov. John Lynch - who personally opposes gay marriage - signed the legislation Wednesday afternoon.

After rallies outside the Statehouse by both sides in the morning, the last of three bills in the package went to the Senate, which approved it 14-10 Wednesday afternoon.

Cheers from the gallery greeted the key vote in the House, which passed it 198-176. Surrounded by gay marriage supporters, Lynch signed the bill about an hour later.

"Today, we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities - and respect - under New Hampshire law," Lynch said.

Lynch, a Democrat, had promised a veto if the law didn't clearly spell out that churches and religious groups would not be forced to officiate at gay marriages or provide other services. Legislators made the changes.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa already allow gay marriage, though opponents hope to overturn Maine's law with a public vote.

California briefly allowed gay marriage before a public vote banned it; a court ruling grandfathered in couples who were already married.

The New Hampshire law will take effect Jan. 1, exactly two years after the state began recognizing civil unions.

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, elected in New Hampshire in 2003 as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, was among those celebrating the new law.

"It's about being recognized as whole people and whole citizens," Robinson said.

"There are a lot of people standing here who when we grew up could not have imagined this," he said. "You can't imagine something that is simply impossible. It's happened, in our lifetimes."

Opponents, mainly Republicans, objected on grounds including the fragmented process.

"It is no surprise that the Legislature finally passed the last piece to the gay marriage bill today. After all, when you take 12 votes on five iterations of the same issue, you're bound to get it passed sooner or later," said Kevin Smith, executive director of gay marriage opponent Cornerstone Policy Research.

The revised bill added a sentence specifying that all religious organizations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage.

It also clarified that church-related organizations that serve charitable or educational purposes are exempt from having to provide insurance and other benefits to same-sex spouses of employees.

The House rejected the language Lynch suggested two weeks ago by two votes. Wednesday's vote was on a revised bill negotiated with the Senate.

Supporters had considered Wednesday their last chance to pass a bill this year.

The law will establish civil and religious marriage licenses and allow each party to the marriage to be identified as bride, groom or spouse. Same-sex couples already in civil unions will automatically be assumed to have a "civil marriage."

Churches will be able to decide whether to conduct religious marriages for same-sex couples. Civil marriages would be available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

New Hampshire's decision leaves Rhode Island as the only New England state not to allow same-sex marriages. A bill there is expected to fail this year, as similar ones have in previous years.

___

Associated Press Writer David Tirrell-Wysocki in Concord, N.H., contributed to this report.


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Category: news

05/29/09 07:23 - ID#48789

Snow All Year long in the falls


When I first read this I thought this sounds really cool. Then a little bit later I wondered how long it will stay open or if it ever will. I'm not from "the falls" so I don't know all the goings on up there. But every so often there is news of this great idea and for some reason they never happen. There was a water park that went out of Business so don't even get me started, how did that happen. I hope it works out and gets lots of people and stays open for years and gets other things in the falls so that NF USA is more like the Canada side, but different and still with that nice park.




Updated: 05/29/09 07:41 AM
Snow gets extended run
New Falls attraction to offer visitors taste of winter year-round
By Denise Jewell Gee
NEWS NIAGARA REPORTER


After failing to make money by redeveloping the Wintergarden, Joseph Anderson is giving winter in Niagara Falls another try.

Anderson, the Tuscarora cigarette and gasoline magnate, is building a 49-foot snow tubing hill on Main Street in the Falls. Scheduled to open next month, it would operate year-round. The city's newest attraction also includes a regulation-sized synthetic skating rink that requires no refrigeration.

Both are designed to capitalize on the region's chilly reputation, serve warm-and cold-weather visitors and do something scores of developers and entrepreneurs have been unable to accomplish: keep tourists on this side of the border for more than a few hours.

"That's the first new attraction here in a while that is family oriented," said Steven Fleck, co-owner of the Howard Johnson Closest to the Falls, across the street from the snow park. "Of course, you've got the Maid of the Mist and the Cave of the Winds and all that, but once people see the falls, there's really not a whole lot to keep them down in this end of the city."

The snow park has been under construction on a vacant parcel two blocks from the Rainbow Bridge since late last year, after Anderson's teenage son came up with the idea to build a snow tubing hill on land Anderson already held in the Falls.

Anderson, the entrepreneur behind the Smokin Joe's gasoline and cigarette chain, as well as the failed Smokin Joe's Family Fun Center in the Wintergarden, hired Snow Magic, a New Jersey company, to help develop a snow-covered tubing hill.

The company has built similar hills in Saudi Arabia and Japan.

"The beauty is, we can always make the snow regardless of the temperature," said Al Bronander, president of Snow Magic.

Unlike traditional snow-making machines-which rely on at-or below-freezing temperatures to produce artificial snow - Snow Magic's units freeze water into thin sheets of ice inside the machines before pulverizing the ice and shooting it out as small flakes.

The result is tiny crystals of ice - about 0.3 millimeters in diameter-that are about three times the size of artificial snow typically made at ski resorts.

Bronander said the company's artificial snow can be groomed like other snow and can be used for snowboarding but is not as fine as snow that is used at ski resorts.

"As the sun heats it up and it warms it up, it becomes a little bit more granular, just like anywhere," Bronander said. "For snow tubing, snow play, it's fantastic."

The hill will operate in all but extremely hot weather - if temperatures peak at more than 100 degrees for several days - or in extremely heavy rain or thunderstorms, said Jennifer Pauly, marketing coordinator for Smokin Joe's Trading Post and Snow Park Niagara Falls.

The synthetic skating rink is made of a polymer material produced by Super-Glide of Clearwater, Fla. The rink includes penalty boxes and a scoreboard.

Snow Park Niagara Falls is scheduled to open to the public June 15. Tickets will be $30 for two hours on the tubing hill and unlimited access to the snow play area and rink.

The tubing hill - which has removable lanes for tubes - will host the Red Bull Buttercup snowboarding event July 9, Pauly said.

Fleck and other hotel owners hope the snow park will give visitors a reason to stay in Niagara Falls longer.

Three attractions - a tethered helium balloon ride, the Niagara Aerospace Museum and Anderson's Smokin Joe's Family Fun Center - all closed in downtown Niagara Falls before last year's tourist season. The snow park is the first new attraction to open since then.

Anderson has had mixed success in Niagara Falls development deals. He owns two hotels and controls more than 20 properties in the downtown commercial area. In 2005, he opened a children's playground and arcade in the former Wintergarden building but closed it three years later.

He recently sold the Wintergarden to the state, which plans to raze the structure to create a roadway between Niagara Falls State Park and the Seneca Niagara Casino.

A no-bid concession license Anderson struck with the city in 2004 for an outdoor pedestrian mall was largely considered a failure.

Anderson pleaded guilty in November to a federal charge of devising a scheme to deprive citizens of "the intangible right of the honest services of a public official" in connection with a series of loans totaling $40,000 to former Mayor Vince Anello. Anderson has yet to be sentenced.

Despite all of that, city officials and tourism leaders say they believe the snow park will be a success.

The project, which received a 10-year tax break through the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, was estimated to cost $5.2 million, according to information given to the agency.

Aside from the tax break, the project is privately funded by Anderson.

"We're just excited that there's anything going on, to tell you the truth," Fleck said. "And it's good to see someone with their own money coming in."

djgee@buffnews.com


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Category: news

05/16/09 06:32 - ID#48681

Motorcycle clubs Gangs

So I just got back from seeing Angels and Demons. I thought it was pretty good, but won't give away anything. It seemed like there where a lot of assholes out today, including the guy who got out of line in front of me at the bank and filled out his thing then bumped me and said something. What I should have done is say, um no dude you got out of line to the back of the line. That is what the tables are for you fill the stuff out then get in line.

If any of you follow me on facebook you will notice that I put links up to news articles. I think you have to like click 3 times and it ads the link to your page. I don't know why but all this stuff with the Chosen Few is really interesting.

That being said. I think it is important for everyone who watches the news or reads it to remember something. The News is only one persons perspective. It is also important to know that profit is a big part of the news now. What I'm saying in a round about way is when you hear news don't just go oh ok. Think does that make sense and think about what you heard. I'm not saying that you should go look it up your self. But just remember that when something happens (more internationally then locally ) that perspectives of what happened will change how the story is told.

I find this very true with the Chosen Few articles. I feel like there is some stuff that doesn't make sense. There must be stuff that the news isn't telling us. I'm not going so far as to say they are with holding stuff maybe they just don't have all the information.

My first question is why are they and the Kingsmen rivals. The news says they are and says something about something at like a race of some kind. But it doesn't say what the Beef is.

One of the stories mentions that "The Law" met with the Chosen few and tried to stop the violence. At the very least to make sure if they went after The Kingsmen that no one else got hurt. That same story said that the Chosen Few where unable to stop the feud.
But they still don't say what the violence is about.

The part that I really don't get is if there is a supposed beef or even so called war, then why didn't they arrest any kingsmen. Maybe there is no reason to because maybe the left the feud in the past. But none of the articles say anything about it. Maybe some other agency is building a case on them. Maybe the kingsmen ended things and told the police that they them selves aren't a gang. I admit I have no clue. But unless I missed something nothing in the paper gives any answers to this. These articles leave the reader guessing.

I can admit that I know nothing about Bike Clubs. I would assume that once they start breaking laws they get called gangs. Just because someone puts on leather and likes to ride a big motorcycle doesn't mean they are in a club. I did see one documentary about some cop who got into I think the hells angels and it was pretty interesting. I remember being somewhere in Toronto maybe the skydome and they had a sign about not being allowed to wear your colors there. So I guess at least at one time it was a problem in Toronto I assume.

It would be nice if the news gave us readers all the information. I wonder if I'm the only one who read the articles and found them interesting but had questions. Sometimes I wonder if the news is turning something into a bigger then then it is to sell Papers. Other times I think they might not have all the info.


The Latest article on The Chosen Few



The local headquarters of the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club at 94 Main St., Depew, was bugged by the FBI.
Bill Wippert/Buffalo News

Updated: 05/15/09 07:44 AM
Biker club raid puts focus on theft case
By Dan Herbeck
NEWS STAFF REPORTER


When police raided the home of the president of the Chosen Few motorcycle club last week, they found about $5,500 worth of equipment allegedly stolen from his employer, the state Thruway Authority.

A wide range of items - including floodlights, electrical wire, raincoats, light bulbs, emergency flashers, numerous pairs of leather gloves and more than 30 boxes of paper towels - were seized from the Alden home of Alex Koschtschuk.

Police are investigating to determine how he got them, a federal prosecutor said Thursday.

"The Thruway Authority has been made aware of this investigation," Assistant U. S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce said during a detention hearing for Koschtschuk.

Bruce also revealed that a series of diagrams were found indicating that the Chosen Few might have been planning to attack the local clubhouses and some homes of the Kingsmen, their rival club.

The prosecutor said the diagrams of Kingsmen clubhouses and homes were found by state police in Koschtschuk's home.

And he told a judge that authorities suspect someone in local law enforcement - possibly a suburban police lieutenant - has been illegally giving the Chosen Few police mug shots of rival bikers.

Koschtschuk, 58, and another Thruway Authority worker- Alan "Deuce" Segool, identified by FBI agents as the Chosen Few vice president - were arrested May 7 with 18 other members of the biker club. They are accused of waging a violent war against the Kingsmen.

During Thursday's hearing, Bruce called Koschtschuk a "danger to the public." U. S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy ordered that Koschtschuk be jailed until his case comes to trial.

The ruling was a disappointment to Koschtschuk's wife, Tracy, and to his attorney, Herbert L. Greenman, who said the federal investigation turned up "a lot of talk" but little evidence that Koschtschuk ever actually harmed anyone.

Greenman described Koschtschuk as a solid family man and working man whose past record includes no convictions for crimes of violence.

"[Koschtschuk is] not a danger to any person or to the community," Greenman said.

Bruce disagreed, saying federal agents used hidden recording devices in the Chosen Few's clubhouse in Depew to get tapes of Koschtschuk ordering his club members to go after the Kingsmen with guns, fists, ax handles and bombs.

"[Koschtschuk] is the unquestioned leader of this organization," Bruce said.

Both Koschtschuk and Segool, 48, of West Falls, are employees of the Thruway Authority, according to state records obtained after a Freedom of Information request by The Buffalo News.

Koschtschuk is a general mechanic for the authority at an annual salary of $47,049. He was hired in August 1999 and is currently on leave without pay because of a work-related injury. He receives workers' compensation pay.

Records show that Segool is a Thruway maintenance worker who was hired by the state in July 2001. Because of his arrest, he is on unauthorized leave without pay.

Before working with the Thruway Authority, Segool worked for six years as a police officer with the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, said his attorney, Angelo Musitano.

Segool has never been convicted of a crime of violence, Musitano said, but McCarthy said he did not feel that he could risk releasing Segool on bail.

"I think he's one of the key players [in the Chosen Few]," the judge said, "and I can't be certain that he would not instruct others to use violence."

dherbeck@buffnews.com



A few other stories about them





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Category: news

04/26/09 11:39 - ID#48509

Interesting Food Articles and more

So I have read a few interesting articles about food and gardens today and I think they might be kinda related a bit. I know that I eat a lot of food that seems to be very bad for me. I can't help it the taste is so good, by that I mean fast food. I think Sub-Way is most likely the least deadly but when you ad sauce and cheese and Bacon, like the Bacon Chicken Ranch it changes that. When I was on Yahoo today I saw a pretty interesting article about how much food costs by the calorie and it has an entire breakdown of a bunch of fast foods. I will admit there is one thing that I find Ironic as I read this it made me hungry or maybe that was just all the pictures.




Big Macs and Fries: What You Pay Per Calorie
by Jason Kephart
Friday, April 24, 2009provided bySmartMoney.com

Even with glimmers of hope for the recovery, consumers are still cutting back - especially when it comes to dining out. But turning to some of fast food's biggest bargains in order to stretch your dollar in the recession may be one belt-tightening measure that could end up forcing you to loosen your buckle by a couple of notches.



Going out for cheap eats is an obvious way for consumers to keep their spending in check. That's why fast food restaurants are seen as a good investment in tough times. McDonald's and Yum! Brands, which operates Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut (among others) both reported stellar fourth quarters as proof. Bucking that trend were Burger King and CKE Restaurants, the operator of Hardee's and Carl's Jr. Burger King, reported that it experienced "significant" traffic declines in March (it reported 1% same-store sales growth) and CKE's same-store sales were down 2.7%. Nevertheless, that slide is still modest when compared with the double-digit losses at higher-end restaurant chains like Ruth's Hospitality Group's Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and Benihana.



Bang for your buck continues to be one of the biggest selling points for fast food right now. But how much food are you really getting for your money? SmartMoney.com sought to find out which menu items are the costliest and cheapest per calorie. The results may surprise you. Looking at the cost per 100 calories of some items underscores what nutritionists have been saying for years: The cheapest calories typically aren't the healthiest.

Here's our dish-by-dish look at some popular menu items and their total cost per 100 calories - from the most expensive to the cheapest.

1. Premium Southwest Salad With Grilled Chicken

McDonald's
Cost per 100 calories: $1.47
Calories: 360
Calories from fat: 29%

McDonald's answered the call of health-conscious consumers by adding salads to its menu in 2003. No one can deny that it's a healthier option than, say, a Quarter Pounder with cheese, but it will cost you. Once we added some Newman's Own low-fat balsamic vinaigrette dressing (another 40 calories and three grams of fat) for a little extra taste, this salad became the costliest per calorie dish on our menu.

2. Mandarin Chicken Salad

Wendy's
Cost per 100 calories: 96 cents
Calories: 540
Calories from fat: 43%

In the 1980s, Wendy's was asking "Where's the beef?" These days, the chain is a lot less meat-focused. Wendy's now offers four varieties of salads and five varieties of chicken sandwiches (it also offers fish fillet sandwiches during Lent). Of course, burgers still reign supreme: There are currently 12 different types of hamburgers on the menu.



3. Large Popcorn Chicken

KFC
Cost per 100 calories: 94 cents
Calories: 550
Calories from fat: 58%

Typically chicken is considered the cheaper meat. The average retail price for chicken is $1.75 a pound, 56% less than the average price of a pound of beef, according to the National Beef Cattlemen's Association. But if you want KFC's bite-sized popcorn chicken with the Colonel's 11 secret herbs and spices, be prepared to pay up. This is the most expensive per calorie item on our list that isn't a salad.

4. Steak Gordita Baja

Taco Bell
Cost per 100 calories: 90 cents
Calories: 320
Calories from fat: 47%

Jack Russo, an analyst at financial-services firm Edward Jones, says Taco Bell is considered one of the industry's leaders when it comes to menu innovation. The Gordita - a soft taco made using flatbread rather than a tortilla - may very well be proof of that. Since it first debuted in 1998, the Gordita has helped boost sales at the chain significantly, he says.



5. Low-Fat Footlong Turkey Sandwich

Subway
Cost per 100 calories: 89 cents
Calories: 560
Calories from fat: 14%

Since the ads featuring Jared Fogle (who lost 245 pounds purely by eating Subway sandwiches) first launched in 2000, Subway's sales have more than tripled to almost $13 billion. A Subway spokesman says that while several factors contributed to that growth, Jared's weight-loss campaign played a significant role. Unfortunately for waist-conscious consumers, the low-fat sandwich comes at a premium per-calorie price compared to our other menu items.

6. Croissan'wich

Burger King
Cost per 100 calories: 75 cents
Calories: 330
Calories from fat: 44%

Breakfast has been driving the fast food industry. "That's where all the growth has been," says Steve Solomon, president of FSInsights, a menu development company. In February, Burger King's CEO said that breakfast made up 15% of its sales. This rival to the Egg McMuffin made its debut in 1984.



7. Big Mac

McDonald's
Cost per 100 calories: 74 cents
Calories: 540
Calories from fat: 48%

Since its debut in 1968, the Big Mac has been McDonald's flagship burger. More than 550 million are sold world-wide every year, according to the company. Compared to its double-decker rival, the Double Whopper, the Big Mac is pricier on a per-calorie basis.

8. Pepperoni Personal Pan Pizza

Pizza Hut
Cost per 100 calories: 68 cents
Calories: 660
Calories from fat: 42%

On a per 100 calorie basis, the six-inch pepperoni personal pan pizza lands in the middle of our roundup, but you can actually save yourself 20% (per 100 calories) by ordering the large pepperoni pan pizza and eating a slice. Doing so will also trim about 43% off the total calories.



9. Toasted Wrap With Tender Roast Filet

KFC
Cost per 100 calories: 64 cents
Calories: 310
Calories from fat: 42%

KFC was slow on the uptake when it came to catering to the health-conscious crowd. It just started offering its grilled chicken lineup earlier this year - a move that probably should have made about five years ago, says Edward Jones' Russo. "It's what the consumer clearly wants today," he says.

10. Medium French Fries

McDonald's
Cost per 100 calories: 58 cents
Calories: 380
Calories from fat: 26%

Before 1949, McDonald's didn't offer French fries; burgers came with a side of potato chips instead. In fact, it wasn't until the 1960s - when potato farmer J.R. Simplot pioneered the first frozen French fry - that these fast food staples started becoming the popular McDonald's side dish they are today.



11. Butterfinger Blizzard

Dairy Queen
Cost per 100 calories: 49 cents
Calories: 990
Calories from fat: 31%

Surprisingly, the Butterfinger Blizzard - a vanilla-flavored milkshake with bits of Butterfinger candy bars chopped up in it - has one of the lowest percentage of calories from fat in the foods we looked at (that may be because it's not made with real milk). In fact, the percentage is impressively close to what nutritionists generally recommend for a healthy diet - 30% of one's daily calories can come from fat. But that doesn't mean you should be going on an all-Blizzard diet. One of these large-size concoctions is a full 990 calories - nearly half your recommended daily intake.

12. Double Whopper With Cheese

Burger King
Cost per 100 calories: 49 cents
Calories: 1010
Calories from fat: 59%

The average person spends around $247 on beef a year, up from $48 in 2001. That amount of cash could buy you 49 Double Whoppers with cheese. And you'd get a pretty good return on your investment: The Double Whopper's cost per 100 calories is about two-thirds of what the Big Mac costs.



13. Fiesta Taco Salad

Taco Bell
Cost per 100 calories: 48 cents
Calories: 840
Calories from fat: 47%

The Fiesta Taco Salad is the only salad on Taco Bell's menu, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's the healthiest item. In fact, the salad has the highest calories and fat content of any single item on the menu. Its 840 calories and 45 grams of fat are equal to four Crunchy Taco Supremes, three MexiMelts, or two Spicy Chicken Burritos.

14. Cheeseburger Slyder

White Castle
Cost per 100 calories: 41 cents
Calories: 170
Calories from fat: 47%

At 41 cents per 100 calories, White Castle's snack-sized cheeseburger bested every other sandwich in our survey when it came to cost per calorie. In 1930, White Castle conducted a study (it later dubbed it the "Craveology" study) that monitored the health of a student who lived on nothing but the Slyders and water for 13 weeks. According to the company, the student maintained good health. Barbara Baron, a New York registered dietician, says you probably don't want to follow suit. "I wouldn't advise anyone to eat only one food item for 13 weeks," she says.



15. 32-Ounce Coca-Cola

Subway
Cost per 100 calories: 38 cents
Calories: 330
Calories from fat: 0

Here it is, the cheapest per calorie item in our survey of fast food land: the large Coca-Cola. Beloved by many, but eyed by some as a major contributor to the obesity problems in this country. Our brains process calories from liquids differently than those from solid food, so we don't feel full and are more likely to overeat, says Karen Ansel, a spokeswoman for the New York State Dietetic Association. If you really need to have your soda with your meal, order a Diet Coke.
Copyrighted, SmartMoney.com. All Rights Reserved.





So as I'm sure most people on this site Knows there has been a lot of talk locally about that family who wants to buy land and make an urban farm. I admit I wonder why they didn't look into that before they moved here but I guess that doesn't matter. In today's Buffalo News there is a big article about Urban Farming. I think these two stories kinda could be linked together in a way. One could argue that if one had an urban farm you would eat healthier. You don't need all those pesticides since you will be eating the stuff locally. I would also suggest following the link or picking up the paper so you have the photos to go along with it.



Updated: 04/26/09 08:43 AM
"There really is this exciting revitalization going on in Buffalo."
Community garden projects take root in Buffalo
Urban gardens are no longer a rare breed
By Maki Becker
NEWS STAFF REPORTER


Planting has just started on a tree farm in a vacant lot on Buffalo's West Side.

A community garden where neighbors can grow their own vegetables and children can learn about the origins of their food broke ground this weekend at a long-empty school in the Seneca- Babcock area.

Back on the West Side, one organization begins its seventh season of growing vegetables on several vacant city lots, providing fresh food for neighbors and jobs for local teenagers. A second group is getting ready to start planting on another urban farm.

Mark and Janice Stevens, the East Side couple who want to start a farm on vacant city-owned land on Wilson Street, aren't the only ones in Buffalo interested in urban agriculture.

Across the city, garden projects are sprouting up as Buffalonians embrace a national movement toward creating green spaces, eating local food and connecting with nature.

"There really is this exciting revitalization going on in Buffalo," said Cheryl Bird, one of the organizers of the Seneca- Babcock garden. "There seems to be a movement toward empowerment in neighborhoods. . . . I definitely see it happening. The excitement builds on itself."

While community gardens have been popular for years, new excitement is mounting here and nationwide for all types of urban farming as people have become more concerned about eating locally and more healthy, saving money in the face of a slumping economy and caring for the environment.

From thriving cities where real estate is at a premium to struggling Rust Belt towns where vacant lots are sadly plentiful, communities are transforming gray concrete cityscapes into gardens, farms and other green spaces, said Samina Raja, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo's urban and regional planning department. She is nationally recognized for her research on the relationship between communities and health.

"Nationally," she said, "community gardens and urban agriculture have had a tremendous resurgence in the last five to six years."

Last month, first lady Michelle Obama helped break ground on the South Lawn of the White House for a kitchen garden - a move hailed by urban agriculture and local food advocates.

In California, Berkeley chef Alice Waters, who introduced diners to organic, locally grown fare nearly 40 years ago, helped establish a one-acre garden in a vacant lot next to a school. There, the children learn to grow food and then eat the food they grow. Her foundation also worked with the Berkeley Unified School District to eliminate processed foods from cafeteria menus and introduce fresh and organic foods instead.

In Milwaukee, Will Allen won a $100,000 MacArthur Fellowship for his urban farm, which not only provided a poor neighborhood with jobs and fresh produce, but also managed to turn a profit. His farm, Growing Power, includes six greenhouses, fish runs, poultry hoop houses, outdoor pens for livestock and an apiary with five beehives.

In Madison, Wis., Troy Gardens, a 31-acre development, combines 30 units of mixed-income housing, a five-acre farm and community gardens.

In Detroit, a nonprofit is battling city officials for the right to buy 2.5 acres from the city to turn into an urban farm. A massive 70 acre urban farm also has been proposed for vacant lots. On a smaller scale, a coalition of local urban agriculture and gardening groups, working with Michigan State University, helps residents build their own urban farms.

In New York City, which has had a rich, and at times raucous, history of community gardening, minifarms on vacant lots are growing produce sold in farmers' markets, and some city residents are raising chickens for eggs.

A decade ago, community gardeners fought then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who wanted to hand over gardens built in vacant lots to housing developers. They reached a deal putting some land into a trust for public land and transferring other lots to the Parks Department. A review process was set up requiring developers to notify the gardeners about plans to take over the land. New land would have to be found for gardens that were displaced.

Contaminated soil

Planners recently have begun focusing on growing food in urban settings as a way to combat diet-related medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease in the nation's poorest inner-city neighborhoods, where fresh produce is often hard to find, UB's Raja said.

"Urban planners want to understand how to build communities so people have access to food and the food system," she said.

Recent interest in urban agriculture here in Buffalo, highlighted by coverage of the Stevens family's bid to buy vacant land from the city for their farm, shows city residents are open to the idea, even though some in city government are wary, Raja said.

"It's a cultural issue: Does farming really belong in the city?" she said.

An advocate of growing and eating local food, Raja believes Buffalo is in a good position to give it a try.

"The best, thriving cities have urban agriculture," she said. "This is a relatively new area. Some are reluctant. At the same time, this is a great opportunity to think big. I don't sense that people are unwilling to do that."

Growing food in a city obviously poses challenges. The soil in vacant lots often is contaminated. Urban farmers have found a way around that by building raised beds using new soil. They also have found ways to collect rain water on site to irrigate their crops.

Youth employment

You can't talk about urban farming in Buffalo without talking about the Massachusetts Avenue Project. The West Side nonprofit organization started farming on seven vacant city lots about six years ago as a way to provide fresh produce and constructive jobs for local teenagers.

Diana Picard, the executive director, is thrilled with the recent interest in urban farming, even though some think it is novel idea.

"It's funny to me that in some ways people think this is such a new thing," she said. "In reality, up until 1945, we grew a lot of food in cities. But it's really exciting for us to see what's going on."

The Massachusetts Avenue Project farm employs 50 youths every year who are taught how to farm, develop recipes with fresh produce and market their goods, including a chili starter and a salsa. The group is also preparing to start a mobile farmers' market using a recreational vehicle painted purple like an eggplant, which they will drive to low-income neighborhoods around the city where fresh produce is hard to find.

Picard supports the Stevenses' bid to farm on vacant land on Wilson Street in the Fillmore Council District.

The East Side couple is likely to agree to leasing the land from the city, rather than buying the land as they had originally hoped because the city wants to keep it available for housing. Picard said she hopes the city eventually will become more amenable to selling or even giving land to urban agriculture projects.

"They think housing is development," Picard said. "But housing alone is not going to develop the city. Food has implications for so much: for the health of our people and the health of the community."

Picard says that Buffalo's bounty of empty lots makes it a perfect place for urban agriculture. "I'm not saying we need every vacant lot in the city. It should be part of the lots."

A second urban farm is getting started on the West Side. A group calling itself CurbSide Croft - croft means small farm -is getting ready to start planting on vacant land at Vermont Street and West Avenue, some of which they purchased and the rest leased from neighbors. The farmers here are particularly interested in providing pesticide- free produce in a neighbor-hood where many people rely on food stamps, which generally don't cover costly organic foods in supermarkets.

The CurbSide growers are applying for permits to be able to accept food stamps for the produce, which will include heirloom vegetables and ethnic crops that they hope will be ready for harvest around late June.

West Side tree farm

This weekend, two new urban agricultural projects are breaking ground.

Re-Tree New York, formed to help reforest Buffalo and the suburbs following the 2006 October snowstorm that destroyed thousands of trees, is opening a tree farm on vacant land on 14th Street on the West Side. The land, three vacant lots, was acquired by PUSH-Buffalo, a West Side community group, and developed for Re- Tree.

"It's in an area that once had homes that have been taken down," said Paul Maurer, Re- Tree chairman. "It looks bad. There's junk laying there and stuff like that. It'll be much better looking when we get done with it."

Trees of varying maturity will be planted in buried pots and grown until they are ready to be planted around the region. By raising the trees itself, Re-Tree will save a dramatic amount of money. The young trees will cost about $10 each while buying them more mature costs "about 10 times that," Maurer said.

To visitors, the farm won't look like a commercial nursery, he said. The trees won't be arranged in neat rows.

"We don't want it to look antiseptic," Maurer said. "We want it to seem like they're in a forest in the city."

In the Seneca-Babcock area, community residents, with the help of Daemen College, LUSH - a Canadian organic cosmetics company - and local foundations celebrated a "sod busting" Saturday at former School 26 on Harrison Street.

Gardening enthusiasts are putting in 20 raised beds on the lawn of the old school. Half of the beds will be available to neighborhood residents, and the rest will be divvied up among community agencies, said Bird, executive director of the Daemen Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement.

Like the Massachusetts Avenue Project, the Seneca- Babcock garden began with community residents concerned about the lack of activities for local teens and access to fresh produce.

Bird said she hopes that the garden will just be the beginning for the old school.

"Our hope is that we can take this vacant school and make it into a huge resource center," she said.

mbecker@buffnews.com




The Last story I'm going to Post Has nothing to do with food really. First of all I didn't know that the maid of the mist was open yet. I know it starts giving rides during the spring but wasn't sure when. Well Brad Pitt took the kids to ride it. Of course it was on the Canadian side. Not sure if that is the only side that was open or not. But I know if I had kids that is the side I would go to, I'm guessing he did more then just that but who knows the story doesn't really say.


Superstar Brad Pitt, in hood, was just another tourist in a plastic rain poncho Saturday on the Maid of the Mist.
James P. McCoy / Buffalo News


NIAGARA FALLS, Ont.-People magazine may have named him "Sexiest Man Alive" twice, but even Brad Pitt looked a little goofy in his blue Maid of the Mist poncho.

The superstar actor was in Niagara Falls, Ont., on a picture-perfect afternoon to take in the sights of the world-famous cataracts Saturday. In tow were two of his sons, Maddox and Pax; his parents, Bill and Jane, and his bodyguards. The group enjoyed the attractions while remaining relatively under the radar.

Not with them was Pitt's equally famous partner, Angelina Jolie, who has been filming the thriller "Salt" in Albany.

"He was looking good," sighed a star-struck Melissa Harris, 17, of Niagara Falls, Ont., as the hunky actor rushed past her. She conceded she was a little chagrined that she didn't have her camera with her for the celebrity sighting.

A pair of German tourists also recognized the famous dad and delightedly snapped photos with their cell phones.

But for the most part, Pitt remained largely unnoticed- just another dad enjoying a tourist attraction with his family.

Pitt managed to keep a low profile by sporting a look closer to that of the Unabomber than a movie star. He wore big, dark sunglasses and a paperboy-style cap with the hood of his oversized black sweat shirt pulled over his head.

The Pitt family was given the star treatment at the Maid of the Mist. When their black SUV with tinted windows was escorted down to the dock about 3 p.m., they were discreetly whisked to the front of the line. The family gathered on the upper deck as bodyguards kept careful watch.

During their ride, the Pitts took turns snapping photos of each other and the falls, and the little boys seemed to enjoy getting drenched.

Most of the tourists seemed oblivious to the famous family in their midst.

"Aaaahhhh!" screamed a distressed Raisa Monteiro, 18, a Brazilian exchange student, after learning that she had been on the same boat as Pitt, but hadn't even caught a glimpse of him.

"Maybe we can find them!" her friends cried, as they frantically tried to figure out where the family had gone.

But Pitt was long gone, apparently headed back to Albany. U.S. border officers said the actor was very pleasant as he crossed through the checkpoint at the Rainbow Bridge.

mbecker@buffnews.com



That does remind me of two other things Brad Pitt related. I don't have a link for it but the Suicide Girls did a full Photo set of them playing out that movie. Some of you might say so what they take lots of photo sets. Since it is some year (not sure how many 10 maybe) anivesrary of when the movie came out the set is up on their page and you don't have to be a paying member to see all the pictures, 1st time I think they have done that, that I know of. Also I haven't seen legends of the Fall in a long time but remember it was a pretty good movie, had to bring that up since the tittle of the article is a play on that movie tittle.
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