Grand Island Supervisor Nathan McMurray represents a sea change in the political will of the leadership of Grand Island. Unlike his predecessors, he wants the tolls removed. “Mr. Cuomo, tear down these tolls!” McMurray said at a rally attended by activist Rus Thompson.

Money Grab at Bridges Hurting WNY Says Grand Island Supervisor McMurray, Activist Thompson Toll Removal Effort Reignited, Regional Support Needed!

May 19, 2016 Artvoice 0






“It needs to go away,” Thompson said after Sunday’s launch of the “Home Free” campaign to once again try to remove the Grand Island tolls and to complete the success of Carl Paladino’s effort to eliminate the Breckenridge toll barrier in 2007.






Poloncarz Still Reviewing ECC Budget Plan

May 19, 2016 Artvoice 0






Apparently, Democrat Poloncarz and Republican Quinn still have not met yet on the new budget adopted by ECC and it is hard to tell when that meeting might take place based on this week’s response from the county executive.






Britain Stops Sale of Rare Falls Painting

May 12, 2016 Artvoice 0






An anonymous North American buyer was the high bidder, but the sale immediately raised concerns with the British Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), which recommended an export bar.






ECC Crisis Passed on to Elected Officials

May 12, 2016 Artvoice 0






As expected, the board adopted a tuition increase of $138 a year for students, a number in the range of what we reported last week was likely, and also cut 50 vacant positions (we said 40 was likely) and dipped into the dwindling reserve fund for another $1.5 million to barely close a $7.5 million gap in ECC’s $108 million budget.






Raising the Jury from the Dead

May 12, 2016 Artvoice 0






Jurors in this state and throughout the United States are firmly told by judges they must follow the judge’s instructions “on the law,” but in so doing, are the judges themselves following the law?






How Governor Cuomo made Medical Marijuana Insanely Expensive

May 5, 2016 Artvoice 10






As the number of patients qualifying to purchase medical cannabis under New York’s program slowly rises, many are complaining about the high price of the medicine in New York. Medical marijuana, which is not covered by health insurance, is much more affordable in other states.






ECC Financial Crisis Could Trigger Political Battle

May 5, 2016 Artvoice 0






There are growing signs that Erie Community College’s fiscal crisis may get worse in the near future and could turn into a political struggle as college officials seek to close a $7.5 million budget gap without putting most of the burden on students who have been hit with $300 tuition hikes each of the last two years.






Ethics Reform Needed in Erie & Niagara County

May 5, 2016 Artvoice 0






With numerous politicians being convicted in Albany, there has been a lot of focus on the need for ethics reform in the New York State Legislature. Similar attention and focus should also be directed towards ethics reform at the local government level.






Tear Down the Skyway?

May 5, 2016 Artvoice 5






Eventually, we should move away from expressways inside the city limits and toward arterials with a higher speed limit than 30 mph. Concerns about traffic flow and commute time could be alleviated by yet another long overdue change.






Special Grand Jury to be Impaneled in Pigeon Case

May 5, 2016 Artvoice 2






We have learned that State Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman is expected to impanel a special grand jury in Buffalo on Monday (May 9) with the sole purpose of investigating former Erie County Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon’s political activities, a continuing probe that follows the seizure nearly a year ago of computers and a cell phone belonging to Pigeon during a surprise raid at his waterfront residence.






National Fuel: New York Consumers to get Rate Increase while Pennsylvanians get Decrease

May 5, 2016 Artvoice 0






National Fuel supplies natural gas to over 730,000 residential and corporate customers throughout Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. The Williamsville, NY-based oil and gas concern is vertically integrated across five business divisions: Exploration & Production, Pipeline & Storage, Gathering, Utility, and Energy Marketing, all operating largely within the Buffalo metropolitan area.






Activist Amber Small Running Hard for Democratic Nod in 60th District

April 21, 2016 Artvoice 0






Community activist Amber Small, a relative political newcomer, is running an aggressive grassroots-oriented campaign in her bid to win the kind of support that will help her land the Democratic Party endorsement for the 60th District State Senate seat being vacated by Marc Panepinto who announced last month he won’t seek re-election amid hints of a staff scandal.






Double Trump

Trumping the Left

April 21, 2016 Artvoice 11






What better topic to introduce my new column in this paper than Trump’s visit to Buffalo Monday night?  So there I was, in the press pen, literally walled off from the event with no food, no booze, no nothing.  What a glamorous life the media lead.  Most of the press sat stoically at their laptops, hammering away and rarely even looking up at the speakers.  I had intended to schmooze some of them and get some inside scoops but I wasn’t feeling the warmth.  






No Picture

ECC Responds to Critical Audit with Corrective Action Plan

April 14, 2016 Artvoice 2






rie Community College has filed a formal response to the Jan. 14 audit report by the state comptroller that detailed a “lax control environment” established by the board of trustees that allowed college management to assume board responsibilities and make key financial decisions with little or no board oversight.






New CEO of Buffalo Metropolitan Credit Union Started as Teller

April 7, 2016 Artvoice 0






The best way to learn a job may still be from the ground up, and the new CEO of the Buffalo Metropolitan Federal Credit Union is a perfect example of that process, starting as a teller in 1994 and rising to the position of chief executive officer last Nov. 1, leading a full-service financial institution with 16,500 members and $95 million in assets.






From left to right: Mayor Byron Brown, Vince Guercio, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Tom Guercio, City Comptroller Mark Schroeder, and Housing Commissioner Joe Mascia at his good friends’ longtime West Side grocery Guercio’s on Thursday, July 16, 2015, just days before the release of a secret recording that undermined Mascia’s campaign for Common Council.

Despite ‘suspension’ Mascia to run for reelection as a BMHA tenant elected commissioner

April 7, 2016 Artvoice 0






> by Frank Parlato Joe Mascia, 71, the disputably suspended tenant-elected Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) Commissioner, is running for reelection. He has filed more […]

This photo has been posted https://www.facebook.com for inspirational purposes. The Rev. Darius Pridgen’s likeness appears at the far right. The other faces are from L - R Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Barrack Obama.

Ambitious Picture of Rev. Pridgen or Did He Not Go Far Enough?

April 7, 2016 Artvoice 1






Buffalo Councilman and Pastor of the True Bethel Baptist Church, Reverend Darius G. Pridgen has evidently created and had posted on Facebook a photo-shopped, Mount Rushmore-esque image where he appears alongside Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Barrack Obama.






Press Release: Preliminary Statement Brief Regarding Plaintiffs:

April 6, 2016 Artvoice 0






Artvoice makes no comment on the actual case, however are posting as we received as a press release.

Please see the attached Preliminary Statement Brief Regarding Plaintiffs: Jean Bridenbaker and Garry K Connors, the Estate of Matthew Connors, in opposition to the Defendants: City of Buffalo, Buffalo Police Department.






BMHA’s Commodore Perry Homes: about 400 of the complex’s 600 apartments are vacant. With a $40M annual budget to manage some 3600 rented units [a whopping $10,000 per unit per year] the BMHA still can’t pay its bills as properties decline. BMHA Commissioner Joe Mascia claims that while the BMHA has 5dozens of high paid [patronage] administrative positions, there is only one plumber and one electrician to service the entire 28 BMHA complexes.

Comptroller Disputes BMHA $3.5M Debt Forgiveness Claim

March 31, 2016 Artvoice 1






By Matthew Ricchiazzi Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder issued a letter to the Buffalo Common Council disputing the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s claim that it does […]

Three Sisters Islands was fenced and paved with expensive granite as part of the Niagara Falls State Park “Landscape Improvements” plan. Now it must be closed for several months of the year because people kept slipping and falling on the slippery stone

Pavers In Niagara State Park An Ongoing Scandal

March 31, 2016 Artvoice 0






Two years ago this month, The Niagara Falls Reporter exposed what appeared to be a blatant case of bid-rigging perpetrated by the Saratoga Springs, NY-based LA Group, a landscape architecture firm chosen by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to implement portions of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $50 million Niagara Falls State Park “Landscape Improvements” plan.






Readers Follow Up With Ghost Stories and Pictures

March 31, 2016 Artvoice 0






Following our publication of the picture of “Peg, the witch,” last week, a purportedly ghostly presence which appeared against the backdrop of a black couch in a North Tonawanda home, we have been haunted by readers who claim they have seen ghostly visitors in their own homes.






Critics of Mixed Martial Arts say that the character of audiences for this sport/spectacle are not dissimilar to those who enjoyed the contests of the Roman-era gladiators. The big difference is that all MMA contestants enter the ring voluntarily.

Mixed Martial Arts Promoters Have Tough Road Despite Passage

March 24, 2016 Artvoice 0






It may be bloody and highly controversial, but mixed martial arts will be coming to New York in the not too distant future, and the popular sport will then face the challenge of lining up promoters to meet the requirements contained in the bill passed by the Assembly this week and headed to the governor’s desk.






Caroline Wojtaszek has announced she will run for Niagara County DA.

Complaints Against Violante No Surprise To Lawyer Representing Donatello

March 24, 2016 Artvoice 2






It was in the Sept. 3, 2013 editions of the Niagara Falls Reporter that I broke the story that one of the top prosecutors in the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office was threatening to bring legal action against the county on her claims that she had been discriminated against in pay and work conditions on the basis of gender.






Brian Meyer To Head Regional News Partnership at WBFO

March 24, 2016 Artvoice 0






Award-winning veteran journalist Brian Meyer, who has served as news director at WBFO in Buffalo since 2014, has been promoted to the position of senior director of news and public affairs for WNED/WBFO where he will oversee a new regional collaboration that will focus on Great Lakes reporting.






Artist’s conception: Director of Treasury and Collections, City of Buffalo, in collection dispute with Mike Seaman, Chairman of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.

As $250 Grant for BMHA is Debated, Delinquent Debt to City Rears Head

March 17, 2016 Artvoice 0






Many BMHA tenants pay about 30 percent of their rent [about $100 per month.] The rest of the sum is subsidized by taxpayers. These 47 were said to not be able to pay and consequently the BMHA would experience a shortfall and needed the $250,000 from the city.






Left, exit State Senator Mark Panepinto. A little more than half way into his first term State Senator Panepinto walks the media gauntlet to announce he will not seek reelection amid whispers that his decision not to run for reelection is not his stated reason that business considerations prompted his decision. (Photo: Matt Ricchiazzi)

Hamburg’s Quinn Eyes Panepinto Seat

March 17, 2016 Artvoice 0






Hamburg Councilman Michael Quinn, a lawyer, former ironworker and an infantry paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, has reportedly told Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner that he’s interested in running for the 60th District State Senate seat currently held by Marc Panepinto who unexpectedly announced on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election following an internal staff shakeup.






State Bureaucrats, Hamister Silent on Failed Hotel Project

March 17, 2016 Artvoice 1






The sad truth behind the state development agencies that helped push through the proposed Hamister Hotel project in Niagara Falls four years ago is that silence is indeed golden, because despite all the talk about the city capitalizing on an opportunity too good to pass up, nothing has happened at 310 Rainbow Blvd. and requests for answers from the Cuomo bureaucrats are met with silence.  And the Hamister Group, headquartered in Buffalo, also has nothing to say.






Big game hunter Jimmy John Liautaud is the owner of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. His chain serves an excellent vegan sandwich. Here Liatuad bags one of about 5,000 black rhinos remaining in the world.

Great White Hunter Opens Sandwich Shop on Elmwood

March 10, 2016 Artvoice 109






Some of the menu items at the recently-opened Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches on Elmwood Avenue may lend a whole new meaning to the term “bagging” lunch.

That’s because Jimmy John’s owner, James John Liautaud, is an avid big game hunter who loves to travel to places like Africa, seek out big, beautiful, wild animals, and shoot them dead––his notion of “sport.”






Flaherty, Flynn to Mix Politics, St. Patrick’s Celebration At Famed Irish Center Luncheon

March 10, 2016 Artvoice 0






Just in case you are a newcomer to these parts, we’d like to remind you that St. Patrick’s Day next Thursday (March17) is more than a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture, it is the starting point of the political season and that’s particularly true this year with DA candidates Mike Flaherty and Johnny Flynn who will celebrate their Irish heritage and headline the annual civic luncheon on Friday (March 18) at the Irish Center on Abbott Rd. where politics is the main course.






Unkind, Bud

March 4, 2016 Artvoice 0






After waiting almost two years for the rollout of New York’s medical marijuana program, many people who have sought to use medical cannabis to treat their ailments are finding that the so called “Compassionate Care Act” is anything but compassionate.






Delaware North concessions at Cave of the Winds plaza in the Niagara Falls State Park, soon to be serving eight million tourists.

Delaware North Loses Yosemite Contract

March 4, 2016 Artvoice 0






News of potential import to the city of Niagara Falls broke late last year when details of an epic legal showdown at Yosemite National Park became public. Subsequent to losing a $2 billion, 15-year contract extension for hospitality (food, hotel) services to competitor Aramark at Yosemite, Buffalo-based Delaware North filed a lawsuit demanding $51 million compensation for trademarks it had secured for historic place names in the national park.






Photos by Glenn Murray

Congratulations to Lawyers for the Arts

March 4, 2016 Artvoice 0






Over $37,000 was raised at the 5th Anniversary of the Lawyers for the Arts. The musical performance by ten bands comprised entirely of lawyers and judges from WNY completely sold out the Tralf last Saturday and the standing room only crowd was dancing and clapping to music from rock to klezmer.