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Mar 1

2024

Demolition threatened for Buffalo’s ‘house from hell’

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Over a year after two dead bodies were found in a boarded-up Arkansas Street house, a city court judge is once again calling for demolition of the property.  Meanwhile, the owner is now facing similar issues with a burned-out house he owns in a different West Side neighborhood.  His attorney says Kwayo Ithe Bonkuka could afford to fix the problem properties if he gets back $80,000 he paid for a city-owned house, but never received ownership of. “If we enter into an agreement, money will be transferred back for properties,” attorney Daniel Tarantino said in a recent Housing Court appearance.[...]

Posted 1 day ago

Feb 29

2024

It’s not just kids who struggle to read

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Leah Walter teaches English as a second language to adults. Photo by I’Jaz Ja’ciel.  Before escaping to the United States as a refugee, Baseme Muiza didn’t know how to read. She didn’t speak English. She hadn’t spent a single day in a classroom, nor had she ever received a formal education in her native Swahili. “She didn’t know nothing at all, but now she can express herself a little bit more,” Muiza said through the help of a translator, Maggie Baundea.  She’s not alone. One in six adults in Erie and Niagara counties only have the most basic literacy skills.[...]

Posted 2 days ago

Feb 28

2024

Disgraced former judge returns to the bench

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A former Lackawanna judge who resigned in disgrace 11 years ago is getting a second chance at the job, which pays close to $100,000 a year. Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iafallo will appoint Louis Violanti an associate city court judge effective March 1, a spokesman for the city confirmed.  Violanti, 50, held that same post from 2007 until 2013, when he stepped down in the wake of a ticket-fixing scandal.  In December 2012, Violanti promised a friend he’d “take care of” a citation the friend had been given for an expired registration, according to an investigation into the incident by the[...]

Posted 3 days ago

Feb 26

2024

WBEN is no longer Buffalo’s powerhouse radio station

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You could have read this yesterday in our WeeklyPost newsletter. Subscribe here. George Soros, the left-leaning billionaire and favorite bogeyman of the radical right, has bought a big chunk of debt of the bankrupt Audacy radio chain, whose local holdings include WBEN, 930 AM, and WGR, 550 AM. That positions his management fund to be Audacy’s largest shareholder when the chain emerges from bankruptcy and presumably gives him a voice in the content of its 220 stations.  That prompted Alan Pergament of The Buffalo News to speculate what it portends for WBEN and its lineup of right-of-center talk show hosts.[...]

Posted 5 days ago

Feb 23

2024

Downtown Buffalo hostel facing quick eviction

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Hostel Buffalo-Niagara at 667 Main Street in downtown Buffalo. Buffalo’s downtown hostel was notified this week that it must evacuate the Main Street building its occupied for nearly 30 years so stabilization work can begin on the hostel and an adjacent structure Initially, the hostel was given until March 1 to vacate. But by the end of  Friday, in response to concerns raised by the hostel, the city extended the deadline until March 25 – although representatives for the hostel are saying it’s still not enough time. “We feel heard for right now, but we need more and we want[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Feb 23

2024

OTB wants to expand gambling in Buffalo

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After an eight-month delay, Buffalo’s new representative on the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. board of directors participated in her first meeting Thursday and has already taken on a major project: Changing state law to make it easier for Buffalo residents to bet on horse races. Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney, former deputy mayor to Mayor Byron Brown, said she wants to give bars, restaurants and bowling alleys in Buffalo and Western New York the opportunity to install betting terminals, supplied by OTB, as a way to earn more revenue. The terminals, called E-Z Bet, allow gamblers to bet on any horse race[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Feb 22

2024

Attorney General investigating Buffalo landlords

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A state Attorney General’s probe into lead poisoning is focused on a group believed to own or manage more than 200 Buffalo properties – at least 25 of which were cited for lead-related violations, and at least 11 of which were homes to children who have tested positive for high lead levels, according to court papers. The nearly year-long investigation was disclosed in court papers filed Friday by Attorney General Letitia James’ office. The filings describe the landlord/management group as “a tangled web of limited liability companies, corporations, and individuals,” who appear to operate out of a boarded-up building on[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Feb 21

2024

Kearns delivers — literally

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The Erie County clerk drove DoorDash for a couple years. The chair of the county legislature sells gift baskets. The county comptroller heads up a local college’s political science department. Side gigs and second incomes abound among Erie County’s elected officials, particularly among legislators, whose jobs are considered part-time — with salaries to match.  Now a commission charged with evaluating how much those elected officials are paid is considering big raises for legislators and four countywide offices: executive, comptroller, clerk and sheriff.  The commission is looking at pay hikes ranging from 23 percent to 52 percent for the countywide offices,[...]

Posted 1 week ago
Investigative Post

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