Categories for Analysis

Feb 17

2022

Weather for Bills home games: Meh

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 The last game the Buffalo Bills played at Highmark Stadium a month ago was the coldest in more than two decades. By itself, it could have made a case for putting a dome over the new stadium being discussed for the team. But that frigid day — the low was 4 degrees, with a windchill of minus 5 — was an outlier. An Investigative Post analysis of weather conditions on game days over the past 20 years found relatively little extreme weather.  Only 15 of 157 regular season and playoff home games were played on days where the daytime[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Feb 8

2022

School attendance continues to slide

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Attendance in Buffalo schools has gone from bad to worse this school year. Last year, when instruction was mostly remote, 34 percent of students attended class at what the state considered a satisfactory rate. So far this school year, that number has dropped to 18 percent. Conversely, the share of students with “severe” attendance problems – that is, they miss school at least one day a week, if not more – has jumped from 34 to 40 percent.  District officials said there are many reasons for the increase: Ongoing transportation issues, inclement weather and, especially, an increase in COVID-19 cases[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Jan 17

2022

The hidden costs of housing the Bills

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There was a time when Erie County made money from Buffalo Bills games in Orchard Park.  From the opening of the football stadium in 1973 through 1997, the county collected millions of dollars from parking, concessions and the sale of stadium naming rights. No more.  Erie County in 1998 made major concessions that gave all the revenue from parking, concessions and naming rights to the Bills.  The county and New York State also agreed to take on a host of expenses previously covered by the Bills, ranging from stadium maintenance to the cost of ushers and ticket takers. The bottom[...]

Posted 9 months ago

Jan 10

2022

Buffalo schools struggle to catch up

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 Most students attending Buffalo public schools had fallen behind academically before the pandemic struck. Only a quarter of elementary and middle school students received proficient scores on their state standardized tests for reading, writing and math.  The learning gap got worse when instruction went remote in March 2020 and continued through most of last school year, when only one-third of students attended class regularly. Yet, the district only held back 546 of its 29,918 students for the school year that started in September. Most of them were high schoolers. Only 43 pupils in the elementary grades were held back.[...]

Posted 9 months ago

Dec 13

2021

Little economic benefit from new stadium

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A new stadium for the Buffalo Bills would boost the Western New York economy as much as a new Target store. Which is to say, very little. While some supporting construction of a new stadium maintain it would be an economic boon, research by economists across the political spectrum has found stadiums generate limited new spending. Rather, they simply redirect how leisure dollars are spent.  “All you are doing is moving time and money around. People are going to the game instead of the movies,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a national subsidy watchdog group. Nor[...]

Posted 10 months ago

Dec 7

2021

Where’s a cop when you need one?

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In Buffalo, crime — and the police response to it — is a tale of two cities. Let’s say you witness an assault in progress on the city’s East Side and call 911. That’s a high-priority call: The threat of harm is immediate and there is — or was, at the time of the call — a suspect on the scene to arrest. The patrol officers who field the call are going to hurry. But they may not arrive as quickly as you’d hope.  In 2019, the median response time for an assault in progress call in C and E[...]

Posted 10 months ago

Dec 7

2021

How we did our 911 analysis

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Calculating response times from the 911 data acquired from Central Police Services is fraught with difficulty.  For each call, the 911 log provides the moment:  A 911 operator took the call. The call was transferred to a Buffalo Police Department dispatcher.  An officer accepted the call from the dispatcher. An officer reported arriving at the scene. The responding officer cleared the call. As far as the Buffalo Police Department is concerned, their responsibility begins with #2. From a 911 caller’s perspective, what matters is the time elapsed between #1 and #4, so that’s the basis of our calculations. However, it’s[...]

Posted 10 months ago

Dec 1

2021

Darth Vader is eyeing The Buffalo News

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The past decade have been tough times for The Buffalo News.  Declining circulation. Smaller profits. Deep cuts in the newsroom staff, resulting in less local news coverage. Things may soon become much more difficult. Alden Global Capital, regarded as the Darth Vader of newspaper chains, has made an offer to buy Lee Enterprises, whose holdings include The News. Alden announced its intentions last week and Lee responded as you would expect to what is clearly a hostile takeover attempt. No matter, the vultures are circling. Chains in general are bad for daily newspapers. Alden is the worst of them. “Every[...]

Posted 10 months ago