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Sep 23

2022

Podcast: Interview with Brian Higgins

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Geoff Kelly recently interviewed U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins about a variety of topics, including national politics, the Tops massacre and the Jan. 6 insurrection. The Congressman’s response, in so many words, involved what he sees as division. You can watch the first part of the interview via our YouTube channel or listen to it as a podcast. We’ll post the second half of the interview Monday. Next up: an interview with Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Toles.

Posted 1 day ago

Sep 20

2022

Hochul has inflated number of stadium jobs

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Gov. Kathy Hochul and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz have repeatedly claimed that 10,000 jobs will be created during construction of the $1.4 billion stadium for the Buffalo Bills.  “I love the fact that this is the largest construction project in Western New York history with 10,000 union jobs,” Hochul said during a visit in April to Buffalo.   It appears, however, that the stadium project will create about 6,800 direct construction jobs statewide, not the 10,000 claimed by Hochul and Poloncarz. That lower estimate was included in an economic impact study commissioned by the Bills. Only by adding “indirect” and[...]

Posted 4 days ago

Sep 19

2022

No relief for local taxpayers on Bills stadium

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Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz likes to say the new stadium deal he and Gov. Kathy Hochul cut with the Buffalo Bills gets the county “out of the football business.” The deal, however, does not get the county out of the business of paying for a football stadium.  The county’s annual costs for the Bills current home, Highmark Stadium, have ranged from $10.7 million to $12.6 million in recent years.  Estimates provided to county lawmakers for paying off bonds to cover the county’s share of new stadium construction have come in lower, between $7.7 million and $9 million annually. The latest[...]

Posted 5 days ago

Sep 19

2022

Monday Morning Read

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Here’s what caught Jim Heaney’s eye last week. Subscribe to his WeeklyPost and you’ll receive his recommended reading, along with a recap of the previous week’s reporting by Investigative Post. Updated: 2:10 p.m. Newspaper print circulation is tumbling in Buffalo and across the nation. The hope of the industry is to make up for that lost ground by growing online readership. Now, Rick Edmunds, the media business analyst for the Poynter Institute, reports that, too, is shrinking. He wrote this last week: Pageviews and uniques are not the favored digital metrics they used to be, but as they fell roughly[...]

Posted 6 days ago

Sep 15

2022

Big subsidies for luxury apartments

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State and local governments eagerly offering tax subsidies to a luxury, waterfront apartment project sounds like something out of a developer’s fantasy. But that’s exactly what’s happening in North Tonawanda. The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency on Wednesday unanimously approved — without debate — a $7.2 million subsidy package for a developer building 110 apartments along the Niagara River marketed as “luxurious living in elegant surroundings.” The project is a third phase of developer VisoneCo’s aims for the section of River Road just north of Tonawanda Island. The first, which is finished, features apartments, townhomes and commercial space. The second,[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Sep 14

2022

New York’s Oath Keepers

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New York has more law enforcement officers who are members of Oath Keepers than any other state in the country. That’s according to a study released last week by the Anti-Defamation League, whose analysts examined a list of 38,000 purported members of the militant far-right group, looking for elected officials, law enforcement and military personnel among its ranks. The list was first published last September by the nonprofit journalist collective Distributed Denial of Secrets, along with Oath Keepers emails and other data obtained by hackers.  By cross-referencing the names on the list with public databases, ADL confirmed the identities of[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Sep 13

2022

The tentative return to Tops

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Rose Wysocki’s family pleaded with her to transfer from the Tops Supermarket on Jefferson Avenue after she was trapped in the store during the May 14 shooting. She considered the move until she ran into a customer. “She had hugged me and was very happy to see that I was OK, and said, ‘I can’t wait for you to come back. I can’t get cleaned greens like at your store,’ and that was what helped me make my decision — to know that my community needed me and wanted me to come back,” Wysocki said. It was then she knew[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Sep 12

2022

Harborcenter fails to meet its jobs goal

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When state and county officials agreed nearly a decade ago to give the Buffalo Sabres and the Pegula family $57 million in tax breaks for downtown’s Harborcenter, the money came with a promise. Jobs. In its application for public assistance, a subsidiary of Pegula Sports and Entertainment promised 205 full-time and 160 part-time jobs. In a subsequent press release, the Sabres upped the ante to 350 full-time positions. Those jobs were supposed to be in exchange for $37 million in tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and $20 million from the state to remediate the brownfield the[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago