April 1, 2023
Stalled by bail and housing, Albany budget negotiations drag past deadline
State lawmakers were all but certain to miss a midnight Friday deadline to pass an on-time budget, the negotiations stalled by two contentious items at the top of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s agenda: bail reform and housing growth.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters on Thursday that, “Nothing other than bail and the housing compact has gotten any real discussions,” while Senate Majority Leader Andrea-Stewart Cousins said that talks were “in the middle of the middle.”
On Friday, Hochul told reporters that while she and legislative leaders were focused on the big-ticket items, their staffs were working “around the clock” on other matters, including climate initiatives, education, health care and capital projects.
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“There’s progress being made in many areas, but in terms of what the leaders are talking about, we want to resolve these matters, and then the other areas will fall,” Hochul said.
The Senate formally adjourned until noon on Monday. Assembly members remained on call, but Republican Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay did not believe any voting was planned for that chamber this weekend.
Hochul, Heastie and Stewart-Cousins are all Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, a North Tonawanda Republican, told reporters on Friday that he believed Senate Democrats' rejection of Hochul's chief judge nominee earlier this year had damaged the Democrats' relationships during budget negotiations.
"They're trying to send a message that the State Assembly and Senate, that they sort of run the show here," Ortt said. "I have an issue with that because most of that leadership is based solely out of New York City. And the politics that they focus on are anathema to me."
– Chris Bragg
WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
'They're ready to go': Say Yes Buffalo debuts Little Scholars for 3-year-olds of families in need: Say Yes Buffalo, Buffalo Public Schools and Erie County officials assembled Friday for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the start of Say Yes Buffalo's Little Scholars, a preschool program for 3-year-olds that intends to break down barriers parents face, reduce opportunity gaps for families and help children acclimate to a classroom long before kindergarten. Read more
'Swatting' hoaxes at New York schools may be coming from outside the U.S., Hochul says: Threats made to 36 schools across New York State on Thursday, including in Buffalo and Lockport, likely originated from a foreign country, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday. The threats are referred to as "swatting" and are designed to fool "a school into believing there's an active shooter on site or about to appear," Hochul said. "The idea of 'swatting' is they are trying to draw law enforcement into a situation, in particular SWAT teams, to respond." Read more
'Context matters': Case proceeds on reported phone threats made after Tops shooting: Joseph S. Chowaniec, 53, was charged in December with saying "Tops on Jefferson" during phone calls to two businesses on May 15, the day after 10 Black people were killed and three people were injured in a mass shooting. Judge Rebecca L. Town on Friday rejected a motion to dismiss the two misdemeanor aggravated harassment charges against Chowaniec, whose reported actions another judge previously ruled were "not terrorism." Read more
Federal lawsuit accuses pizza restaurant owners of harassing transgender employee: T.C. Wheelers Bar & Pizzeria on Wheeler Street in the City of Tonawanda was accused of unlawful workplace harassment in a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The government agency charged on Thursday that “one of T.C. Wheelers’ owners repeatedly harassed Quinn J. Gambino, a transgender male, including telling Gambino that he ‘wasn’t a real man.’ ” Read more
Explosions damage Newfane chemical company: Explosions inside a Newfane chemical company on Thursday damaged a building and drew a response from several agencies, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office said. Deputies responded to Nouryon Chemical Inc., 2153 Lockport-Olcott Road, at 3:14 p.m. for the report of a possible fire in a building. Canisters containing organic peroxide were exploding inside a building where the material was stored, the Sheriff's Office said. Read more
The lighter side of The News: From Ringo to us; Banking on Buffalo; More love for Howard Simon: A sculpture promoting Ringo Starr’s “peace and love” message could be coming to town, if the idea gets by with a little help from his friends. Read more
Don Paul: Bumpy start to weekend; more springlike next week: After pre-frontal highs in the upper 50s on Saturday, temperatures will be tumbling into the 30s by early evening, and the low 20s by dawn Sunday, writes Don Paul. Read more
Canal Concerts, Food Truck Thursdays among summer events at Gateway Harbor: Former Buffalo Bills player Butch Rolle, the return of Dave Schulz with his party band CO Jones, and tributes to Heart, Chicago and more are on the schedule for the free Wednesday on the Canal Concert Series at Tonawandas Gateway Harbor Park. Read more
Pat Roche determined to keep Moog flying high: Pat Roche didn't expect to make a career at Moog Inc. when he joined the company over two decades ago. But things have worked out just fine for him. In February, Roche took the reins as CEO of Moog, the Elma-based motion equipment maker and one of the region’s largest manufacturers. Read more
Q&A with Mike Tomon, Legends co-president and COO: Legends, a sports consulting firm co-founded by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, has a growing influence over the Buffalo Bills stadium project. The Bills began working with Legends a few years ago with feasibility studies, focus groups and fan surveys. Since then, Legends’ role has expanded greatly, including lead roles in some of the most financially important aspects of the stadium project, including taking over the Bills' merchandising and retail operations and upgrading the Bills Store at Highmark Stadium. The News recently spoke with Mike Tomon, co-president and COO of Legends. Read more
Douglas Jemal wins Preservation Board approval for Meidenbauer House renovations: After weeks of meetings, revisions and negotiations, Jemal and his design team came to an agreement with board members that satisfied their preservation concerns while still allowing the developer to make smaller alterations that he sought for his $1.6 million plan to turn the building into seven market-rate apartments. Read more
BUFFALO NIAGARA NOSTALGIA
[BN] Chronicles: Before Dollar Tree and Big Lots, Buffalo had D&K and Odd’s-N-End’s: By the time Sattler’s famous 998 Broadway location was shuttered in 1982, the idea of deeply discounted retailing had taken root in a handful of regional chains with locations in Western New York, writes Steve Cichon. Read more
Bills Mailbag: What's left on Brandon Beane's to-do list this offseason?: From the moves general manager Brandon Beane needs to make this offseason, to whether the NFL should really be scheduling teams for two Thursday night games each season, Jay Skurski answers all of your questions in this week's Bills Mailbag. Read more
New Bills safety Taylor Rapp feels he found right fit in Buffalo: “Obviously, this is a very special team, a very special defense and a very special back seven, especially the guys I’ll be joining in the (safeties’) room with Micah and Jordan – two great players,” Taylor Rapp said. Read more
Bills' Hamlin tells Biden: 'Yeah, I think so' when asked if he will play again: Bills safety Damar Hamlin told President Biden during a White House visit Thursday that he is "feeling great" and when asked if thought he would play again, Hamlin said, "Yeah, I think so." Read more
Observations: Devon Levi wins stellar NHL debut behind Jeff Skinner's OT goal: Showcasing the precise technique that earned him the crease only a few weeks after leaving Northeastern University to turn pro, Devon Levi delivered a stellar debut and Jeff Skinner scored the winner in overtime to give the Sabres a 3-2 win. Read more
Mike Harrington: You can add Devon Levi to a special list of debuts for Sabres goalies: For memorable Buffalo debuts in goal, you can add Devon Levi to a star-studded list that includes the likes of Don Edwards, Tom Barrasso, Daren Puppa, Martin Biron and Ryan Miller, Harrington writes. Read more
#EveryDayAPhoto: Check out our photo series each morning to see our favorite image of the day.
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