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Jun 24

2024

You think the past week was hot?

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The past week has been sweltering. And a warning of what lies ahead if we don’t get serious about climate change. Here’s a sobering chart. Energy consumption is on the rise, and 82 percent of it involves fossil fuels. In other words, there is no real energy transition occurring. Among the consequences: rising sea levels. Not good news for, among other places, the tri-state area centered in New York City. New York State is missing deadlines to meet many of its climate goals, while governors like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott remain in a state of denial. Wall Street doesn’t[...]

Posted 59 mins ago

Jun 20

2024

East Side landlord faces big fines

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Farhad Raiszadeh, left, with city building inspector Tracey Krug. Photo by I’Jaz Ja’ciel. An East Side landlord being sued by the state attorney general for lead paint violations is also under the gun from city building inspectors — and it’s going to cost him. The city is prosecuting 69-year-old Farhad Raiszadeh in Buffalo Housing Court for 125 code violations at 11 properties.  Raiszadeh, who lives in San Diego, was in Housing Court earlier this month, when he was ordered by Judge Patrick Carney to pay the city $65,000, half of which will cover the costs of demolishing a house and[...]

Posted 4 days ago

Jun 19

2024

Smart law enforcement or Big Brother?

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The Erie County sheriff’s office wants to buy x-ray equipment for scanning vehicles that’s typically used for military purposes and has raised privacy concerns in the civilian world.  The requested “whole vehicle scanning system” would be used to “enhance the agency’s details at all mass gatherings and critical infrastructure,” according to the department’s grant application filed with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. It’s a groundbreaking ask. “We’re not aware of any other agencies applying for x-ray systems capable of scanning entire vehicles,” said Kirstan Conley, spokeswoman for the Division of Criminal Justice Services, which administers requests from police[...]

Posted 5 days ago

Jun 18

2024

Lawsuit: Radioactive waste killed Lewiston woman

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Six months after his wife died from breast cancer, an environmental remediation team digging underneath Philip Palmeri’s Lewiston home uncovered “black fine grain radioactive sand, refractory brick, ash slag, and what appears to be lime.” That’s not all they found.  Over the course of a three-year, $7 million cleanup operation, the team removed 4,800 tons of waste from Palmeri’s and an adjacent property, some of it emitting radiation 50 times beyond what’s considered a safe or normal level. The workers also found among the waste eight “index card sized metal plates.” Printed on the metal plates was the name of[...]

Posted 6 days ago

Jun 17

2024

Buffalo needs a hard control board

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Mayor Byron Brown made it clear last week he has no intention of resolving the city’s pending fiscal crisis. In an interview with Deidre Williams of The Buffalo News, the mayor said rather than cutting spending, he’s looking for increased revenue from the county, state and perhaps federal governments to close a projected deficit of at least $41 million for the budget year starting July 2025.  In fact, the feds have already been bailing him out. In the past three budgets, the city has used $100 million in federal pandemic aid to balance the books. It expects to use at[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Jun 14

2024

Buffalo getting safer — but keep an eye on your car

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Despite a spike in homicides during the Covid pandemic, violent crime in Buffalo has been trending down. That's also true for a post-pandemic spike in car thefts. But even with those numbers dropping in recent months, there's still plenty of vehicles being stolen. For those who haven't been following the social-media-inspired crime surge, car theft began spiking nationally after videos posted on TikTok a few years ago showed how a design flaw made it relatively easy to steal Kias and Hyundais. Thus was born the "Kia challenge," encouraging young people to joy-ride in a stolen car. Buffalo experienced the full[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Jun 13

2024

Double trouble involving Buffalo cop

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A Buffalo Police vehicle parked on Niagara Street. Photo by Garrett Looker. Buffalo Police Officer Kiam Gunn knows the law from both sides of the badge. Before becoming a cop in 2018, Gunn, 44, was arrested at least five times on charges ranging from drug possession to assault. He’s also gotten in trouble while a police officer. During his six years on the force, Gunn has been the target of six internal affairs complaints. Two were upheld, resulting in discipline. Gunn was suspended without pay for 45 days in May 2022, after witnesses reported seeing him smoke marijuana at Delaware[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Jun 12

2024

A mixed bag on IDA reform in Albany

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New York State Sen. Sean Ryan.  The push to reform New York’s industrial development agencies gained significant momentum this year, but not enough to net a serious win for the coalition of labor unions, teachers and good government groups backing the effort. Smaller measures, however, did make it over the finish line, including one expanding representation on IDA boards and another increasing transparency over agency projects. “The momentum is building and we’re going to continue to build that momentum,” said state Sen. Sean Ryan of Buffalo. “But the community itself is building it.” IDAs, of which there are 107 across[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago
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