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Good Morning, Buffalo

July 22, 2019

As Toronto flourishes, will Buffalo see similar growth?
Before I trekked north for Sunday’s story on Toronto’s mind-boggling population growth, I hadn’t visited the city in five years or so. It looked familiar, except for the towers. New towers have sprung up everywhere: along the expressway, in narrow alleys, on top of old condos and warehouses.
Toronto, it turns out, is by far the fastest-growing city in the United States and Canada. (No word on Mexico, alas, because it measures population on a different schedule.) In the past year alone, Toronto added 77,000 people within its city limits, and 125,000 people to its wider metro area. The subways are packed, the housing is expensive – and the city is becoming, as one UB professor told me, “one of the key places for growth in North America.”
For me, this raised two fascinating questions. First: Will Buffalo benefit? We’re only 100 miles away, after all — and booming cities often spill over into their wider regions.
Second: How did Toronto and Buffalo become such different places? Sixty years ago, the two still had comparable economies and populations.
You can find some answers – as well as more questions – in my Sunday feature. And if you haven’t ventured north to TO in a while, what are you waiting for?!
~ Caitlin Dewey 
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WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
Legal sports gambling arrives in New York: Finally, legalized sports betting is in New York, but not yet close to Buffalo. Jason Wolf went to Nichols, a rural town west of Binghamton near the Pennsylvania border. There, Tioga Downs is already taking wagers at its FanDuel Sportsbook. Wolf reports from Nichols, and takes a look at what's coming next as New York enters the market. "To be honest with you, this has been talked about, this opening, for the last four months. It was anticlimactic.”
Canadians get a free pass on Grand Island. That could soon extend across N.Y.: Some people on this side of the border – including those who fought to get rid of the tolls and reluctantly settled for the removal of the collection booths – are frustrated the State Thruway Authority can't force the many Canadians who drive through the Grand Island bridges to pay. Steve Watson reports that New York doesn't have Ontario's permission to obtain driver data, even though the governments have been discussing this issue for months.
A day of discord and drama as Trump rallies clash in BuffaloSupporters and critics of President Trump rallied Sunday along Bidwell Parkway, and tensions were high. About 30 minutes before the start of the pro-Trump rally at Colonial Circle, two men got into a fistfight that had to be broken up by police. After that, officers separated the sides and those who arrived at the event were asked to choose one side or the other of the police line.
An asylum-seeker's treacherous journey from Africa to Buffalo: A 16-month journey from the Democratic Republic of Congo through Central America led 35-year-old Junior and his family to Buffalo. Now living at Vive Shelter for asylum-seekers on Buffalo’s East Side, he is among more than 100 Congolese men, women and children who suddenly began arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, were detained then released, and have made their way to Buffalo over the last few weeks.
Poloncarz walks fine line on Green Light law: Opponents of County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz wasted no time looking for ways to portray him as out of touch with local voters. Poloncarz's Republican opponent says his opposition to the state's Green Light law granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants – in the face of most New York Democrats’ support for the concept – shows he's finally getting in touch.
How would driver's licenses work for those in the country illegally?: Can't quite figure out how the Green Light law works? The News' Albany Bureau Chief Tom Precious answered readers' questions about the state's bill allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses.
Buffalo cops revive drowned girl: "Because of them, that child is here today": When Buffalo Police Officers Majed Ottman and Colin Keenan received a rescue call regarding a year-and-a-half-old girl who had been found floating facedown in a backyard pool, they wasted no time getting to the scene. Their quick reaction paid off, as they arrived just in time to revive the girl using CPR.
(Got a news tip? Email citydesk@buffnews.com.)
FOOD & DRINK
From Lloyd to classics: Where to bask in Buffalo's banh mi glory: In the pantheon of Buffalo banh mi, there's a wide variety of traditional and creative takes on the Vietnamese sandwich. The News' Ben Tsujimoto compiled a list of some of the newest banh mi in town, as well as some of the best options available.
POLITICS
Group allied with Ocasio-Cortez hopes to oust Higgins: Justice Democrats, the progressive Democratic group allied with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been trying – but failing – to find a like-minded candidate to challenge Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo in a primary next year.
BILLS
A guide to 2019 Bills training camp: The Buffalo Bills open their much-anticipated 2019 training camp Thursday at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford with the first of eight public practices kicking off at 9:45 a.m. In anticipation of camp starting, we've got everything you need to know in our 2019 guide to training camp.
(For more Bills news, sign up here for the [BN] Blitz newsletter.)
SABRES
Sabres, Evan Rodrigues more than $1 million apart heading into arbitration hearing: The first of the Buffalo Sabres' four arbitration hearings is set for Tuesday in Toronto with center Evan Rodrigues. He is asking for a huge raise, from $650,000 to $2.65 million. The Sabres are still offering a sizable bump in salary, but only to $1.5 million. The figures were reported Sunday by Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.
(For more Sabres news, sign up here for the [BN] Hockey newsletter.)
WITH YOUR MORNING COFFEE 
For the last 17 years, Niagara Falls-native Tommy Tallarico has been touring the world performing the music from popular video games like Zelda and Pokemon. The guitarist stopped home over the weekend to play a show with the BPO Saturday at Kleinhans Music Hall. Tallarico chatted with WBFO's Nick Lippa about his unique career and east coast roots.
Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day, which seems appropriate for the heat wave that recently struck the Queen City. If you didn't have a chance to get out and grab a cone, revisit this 2018 list from Step Out Buffalo which ranks the 10 best ice cream shops in the Buffalo area.
This weekend may have been dangerously hot, but WGRZ reports that local runners still hit the pavement – in unique style – for a good cause. The annual Colorectal Cancer Alliance Undy Run at Delaware Park Saturday attracted runners, dressed in their finest undies, in support of colorectal cancer. Check out photos from the event in our Smiles gallery.
In need of a feel-good story to start your week on a high note? Look no further. Last winter, Holley Construction Co. received a call from a Medina family in need of a new driveway. The winter weather had taken its toll on the family's dirt path and made it inaccessible for a family member who uses a wheelchair. Unable to come up with the funds, Holley's owner decided to do the job for free. Spectrum News caught up with owner Heather Colella on the job as her company installed a new gravel driveway for the family in need.
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{{#subject}}As Toronto flourishes, will Buffalo see similar growth?{{/subject}}