COMPILED BY BRIAN MEYER
Jan. 5, 2021
Pancho Billa's family reacts to Josh Allen in his 'Pancho's Army' jacket
Veronica Borjon is still mourning the death of her longtime companion, Ezra Castro, the legendary Bills fan known as Pancho Billa.
So she said there is one way to describe her response when Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen wore a jacket honoring Castro to Sunday's game against the Dolphins.
Borjon saw the images and wept, "feeling every single emotion there is."
The News’ Sean Kirst writes that Borjon heard about the jacket Sunday morning after she received a text message from a Bills fan in Atlanta urging her to check the Bills Twitter feed. She paused from helping her two young kids as they prepared to watch what turned into a 56-26 cruise for the Bills past the division rival Miami Dolphins. Borjon glanced at Twitter. There was Allen, wearing a military-style jacket that proclaims “Pancho’s Army.”
It was impossible, seeing the Bills at full speed, for Borjon not to think what it would have meant to Castro.
Have you checked out the new Buffalo News store? Prints of commemorative front pages like "Beasts of the East" (1995) and "Fandemonium" (1988), plus the Dec. 20, 2020, AFC Championship front page poster. Shop Now >>
MORE COVID-19 COVERAGE
Holiday surge keeps Erie County orange; state helps state nursing homes, threatens hospitals over vaccine delays: Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said hospitals may be fined or lose out on further allotments of the Covid-19 vaccine if they don't distribute their existing allocations by the end of the week. Cuomo also announced that the state will help to distribute the vaccine at nursing homes across New York. Meanwhile, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has been lobbying the state to allow the county to move back from its orange zone classification to a less-restrictive yellow zone designation. Read more
New York’s first-known case of Covid-19 variant found in Saratoga Springs: A man in his 60s tested positive for the Covid-19 variant, which is more contagious than its previous variants. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the man, who works at a jewelry store in Saratoga Springs, had Covid-19 symptoms but is “on the mend.” Read more
Buffalo nursing home no longer has biggest Covid-19 fine in New York: A $50,000 fine against Humboldt House Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Buffalo had been the largest fine issued by the state involving a Covid-19 focused inspection last year. The penalty has now been dwarfed by an $88,000 penalty levied against a Long Island facility. Read more
[More: Stay current with The News' frequently updated Covid-19 statistics and maps]
What we know about the Save our Stages Act and how it could help in WNY
In April of 2020, when a group of venue owners and promoters came together to form the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a beleaguered music industry nodded its approval.
But turning this grassroots movement, including more than 20 Buffalo-area venues and businesses, into tangible, federally funded relief seemed like a long shot. Even as NIVA racked up 3,000 members and aligned with senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R -Texas) to craft a bill aimed at bipartisan support, expectations remained only cautiously optimistic.
But occasionally, miracles happen. And so, last week, the live performance industry collectively exhaled as its members learned the $900 billion Coronavirus Response and Relief Act included the first national grant program dedicated to independent arts venues and cultural institutions. What will passage of the Save Our Stages Act mean for area live entertainment venues and cultural institutions?
– Jeff Miers
WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
Capt. Steve Nichols, Buffalo’s ‘ultimate community officer,’ retires: Nichols, who was the heart of the Buffalo Police Department’s community engagement efforts, retired last week after a 23-year career, much of it dedicated to community policing. Read more
Admirers hope statue, park remind people that ‘Tesla’ means more than just a car: Throughout his life, and even in death, Nikola Tesla often wound up in the shadow of his old boss, Thomas Edison, who is often described as America's greatest inventor. A statue of Tesla graces a small green space in downtown Buffalo that is named in his honor. Read more
State allows Amigone’s Tonawanda crematory to reopen: The decision to allow Amigone Funeral Home's crematorium in the Town of Tonawanda to reopen – four months after the emission of thick black smoke prompted its temporary shutdown – is drawing objections from local officials. The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued a consent order allowing operations at Amigone's Sheridan Park Crematory to resume as of Monday. Amigone was required to make upgrades and pay a $7,500 fine. Read more
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s busy year: Hochul proved once again in 2020 that she's Gov. Andrew Cuomo's traveling emissary, visiting all 62 counties in the state and logging more than 500 media interviews. Read more
Don Paul: Temperatures to hover around freezing this week, with low wind chill: Rest easy, snow haters. This will be a week sans shovelable snow, writes Don Paul. Read more
Gibraltar expands solar energy presence with $220 million deal: The Hamburg-based company is going big into solar energy products, buying a Florida company that makes solar racking systems. Read more
Frank Reich loves the Bills but is focused on pulling upset with Colts: It doesn’t take much for Frank Reich to feel a twinge of emotion when the subject of Buffalo and the Bills is raised. Read more
Analyzing Allen: Blitzing Josh Allen, it appears, isn't all that effective. The Bills' quarterback destroyed Miami's blitzes to the tune of 11 of 13 for 139 yards and two TDs. In his weekly breakdown of Allen's performances, Jim Kubiak takes us through some of the times Allen adjusted perfectly to what the Dolphins threw at him. Read more
Bills' John Brown returns with a bang, says 'I'm still here and ... not trying to go home early': The Bills’ No. 2 wide receiver, dogged by injuries for much of the season, had four catches on four targets for 72 yards and a touchdown in the team’s 56-26 shellacking of the Dolphins on Sunday in Orchard Park, appearing in his first game since Week 10. Read more
Mike Harrington: Cody Eakin's memories stirred by Dylan Cozens' WJC splash: If you're like me, you've probably got post-holiday visions of Dylan Cozens in royal blue dancing in your head, writes Mike Harrington. Read more
WITH YOUR MORNING COFFEE
• Launching a career after graduating from college can be stressful even in normal times. Those entering the job market during a pandemic face even more anxiety. The career website Zippia asked a panel of experts to give advice to recent grads. The panel included Robert Delprino, a psychology professor at SUNY Buffalo State and the assistant dean for the college's School of Natural and Social Sciences.
• “Stories of opioid addiction are often tragic journeys of ruined lives,” reports WBFO’s Jay Moran. Local author Brandon Stickney talks with Moran about how pain medications prescribed following surgery started him on a path to addiction – a path that eventually led to prison. Stickney, who is bipolar and suffers from depression, also talked with The News' Thomas J. Prohaska about his memoir, “The Five People You’ll Meet in Prison."
• Many of us have made a new year’s resolution to drop a few pounds (or perhaps a few more). A local chef says eating healthy is easier than one might think. Spectrum News Buffalo’s Breanna Fuss interviews Shana Maldonado of Built Without Guilt prepared meals. One tip: Try using avocado or coconut oil to saute veggies.
• A Lockport winery is touting an outdoor experience that offers socially distanced fun, reports WIVB’s Jhas Williams. Spring Lake Winery is staging “s’mores weekends” this winter. Visitors can snowshoe, cross-country ski or hike on more than 100 acres near a lake and then enjoy snacks around a firepit.
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