Saturday, October 29, 2011
She played the part real well and seemed to take a genuine interest in the new restaurant. But, one month later,when it came time to pay the previous owners, she told them the money hadn't arrived yet. Finally, they told her the deal was off. She then skipped town with over $1 million dollars of the investors' money. The best part of this Unsolved Mysteries episode is at 3:45 when they talk about her use of a cellular phone. This was the 1980's and people didn't have them yet. The phone looks like it's about a foot long and her friends were mesmerized that she had one. Fast forward to today where everyone over age 12 has a cell phone, which can fit into their pockets.
People with a little money love to get close to people with a lot of money. Further investigation revealed she wasn't a Countess at all. It's easy to see why the power brokers of Cleveland were fooled, though. Aristocratic nobleman are known to frequent rust belt cities like Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo when they could be jet-setting in Paris or Berlin.
The "Countess" was in fact German, though. German officials told Cleveland officials she had been purporting various scams in Germany since 1966 and was a well known con artist with at least 18 different aliases. Barbara Helda King was apprehended in California a few years later...
Friday, October 28, 2011
Everyone is turning to the neighborhood Blogger these days as "the voice of reason." Despite the great responsibility that comes with it, I am willing to carry the weight of the world's problems squarely on my shoulders. I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who once said, ...Oh, never mind...
Apparently, the Buffalo District has come up with a great afterschool program called SES (Supplemental Education S?). Taught by certified teachers throughout the city, SES' goal is to provide extra support in Math and Reading to students in need of extra help. But, instead of academic need, the criteria for acceptance into the program is based solely on family income. Only the students whose families qualify for free/reduced lunches are eligible to attend! Another attack on the working poor.
So, families who work and are barely able to scrape by are ineligible to apply. I understand times are tough for many these days. But this is another example of why many people choose to stay home and let the government provide for their entire lives. The children of the working poor sometimes need assistance in these areas, as well. And their parents are less likely to have the time to help them themselves (because they're busy slaving away at their jobs).
The parents I spoke to are very frustrated and confused. One said, "My son comes home to an empty house every day, because we're working two jobs to make ends meet. While others, who sit home all day, will now have another two hours of free babysitting."
This is in no way meant to be an attack on students who receive free lunches. The teachers I talk to like to help all students. They say they find it especially gratifying when the students appreciate their help. A simple "thank you" sometimes makes all the tough aspects of the teaching profession more tolerable. And some students (from both low income and medium income families) are appreciative. However, the more we hand out, the more some people expect to be handed out to them. This program should be open to all and should have nothing to do with family income.
The Seneca Street Scammer took some time out of his busy schedule to make some predictions this week. He is going with Carolina(-3), Houston (-10), Baltimore (-13) San Diego (-4), and Pittsburgh (+3), (Although he tried to scam me and say +4)
Buddy "the Book" from Amherst
Buddy the Book had another positive week going 3-2-0. He says his arch rival,the Ninja, couldn't "catch a cold" with his picks. He respects the Rooster's knowledge of the game but says Ninja should stick to playing roulette and Quick Draw. He feels like he is separating himself from the pack and says he has the endzone in his sights. This week, he likes Seattle, Cleveland, his beloved Patriots, Arizona, and the Houston football Texans.
Timon's opportunistic defense will need three turnovers tomorrow, but will beat a powerful St. Joe's team, according to Buddy. Remember, Buddy accurately predicted the Tiger's great victory over hated Canisius last week. Or as the elitists like to say, "Can-ish-ous." And you better listen to him. He's Pre-Med.
Last week 3-2-0
overall record 15-14-2
The Rooster (with help from MacGavis)...
With some divine intervention, the City Hall Rooster's nun was 3-1 last week. This week, he will stick with the "Christian" at quarterback and take the Vikings (+3) over Carolina. Some big spreads this week have the Rooster going with Baltimore (-12.5), Houston (-9.5), and St. Louis (+14). Maybe the city of Buffalo should change it's name to that of a saint to bring us some luck. MacGavis loves the Bills(-6) at "home" in Toronto. Man, people in this town don't like saying that.
On a serious note, the Rooster lost a friend this week, whom he described as a "fighter." Christy McKenna lost her battle with MS at the young age of 34. He says most people wouldn't know her because she wasn't a great athlete or extremely popular. Christy had been in a wheelchair since the age of 9, but never complained about it, according to the Rooster. She graduated from South Park HS in 1995 and obtained a degree in Education from Canisius College, held a job, and lived independently at the Timon Towers. She would travel in her wheelchair down Exchange Street and all the way to the Valley to visit her family. (I took that route this summer on my bike and it was no picnic. I can't imagine what it must have felt like for her).
He says Christy worked very hard her whole life and never wanted to be known to as "the girl in the wheelchair", but simply as a girl. The Rooster, who always tells it like it is, says Christy was an inspiration to everyone that knew her. Rest in Peace, Christy McKenna (1977-2011).
Thursday, October 27, 2011
As a teacher in a Buffalo Public High School, I find Judge-Johnson's letter offensive. She writes as though she is personally watching eager and highly motivated students get pushed out the door with suspension letters in hand for petty infractions. She fails to recognize that the root of the problem lies deeper. The majority of the students suspended in my school are kids who lack the skills, support, and the motivation to behave properly in a classroom. They display complete disregard and disrespect for the rules and the staff of the school. So something that may start off as "frivolous" to her, (hoodie wearing and "clowning") end up being a suspension because the student takes it to a much higher level; escalating something minor into insubordination, threats against staff, etc.
To say that some kids come to high school unprepared is a huge understatement and if I wasn't a witness to it myself over the last 10 years, maybe I would feel the same way Judge-Johnson does. Of course, we would all rather have students in class learning than be out on the street, but there is only so much that can be done within the school. School is not a substitute for a parent. Furthermore, there is not unlimited staff to 'babysit' students who are not acting appropriate in class & need further consequence. Sadly, many kids don't care when they get suspended and don't really take it seriously. You can tie this directly with the lack of value they have for their education. The real question centers on how you deal with those students - the ones who don't care and don't understand why they should. I would love for Ms. Judge-Johnson to come to my school and see for herself what is really going on with these students and the staff who deal with these situations every single day! Surely it would be an eye opener for her!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I was saddened to recognize the name of the hit and run driver from Broadway and Sobieski St. Mike Held 32, was a former soccer player of mine from the school #28 Lighted Schoolhouse days...
Michael D. Held, 32, was identified as the driver after an intensive, three-week police investigation that focused on auto parts suppliers and auto repair shops, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said at a news conference.
One summer, we tried to help Mike with a summer youth job. I was running soccer camps for 8 to 12 year olds. He had been a very good worker. He was on time and helpful towards the kids. But halfway through the summer, he was caught stealing something from one of the participants and had to be let go. I felt bad about it, because I knew him to be a good kid from a pretty troubled background. He had been fighting this difficult background from a very early age. I honestly felt he was trying to break away from it. We had no choice, however.
I feel bad for the victim's (April Smith) family in this case. She leaves seven children without a mother. One can only wonder what these guys were up to driving around the East Side at six in the morning. This is the 2nd hit and run death in WNY this month. The last victim, Ryan Purcell, was a former South Buffalo soccer player from a great family, and now the suspect in this case, a former player. Very unfortunate couple of weeks.
Man charged in fatal hit-run
Six students at the African American Cultural Center were chosen to voice their point of views on the Buffalo Public Schools. Superintendent Amber Dixon, who has yet to trim her bloated exempt staff, was also in attendance. The students were asked about what they would change at their schools...
Asked about one thing they would change about their school, Netanya Thompson, 13, was quick to respond.
“I would change the teachers,” said Netanya, who attends the Buffalo Academy of Visual & Performing Arts. “Why? Because I feel as if we need teachers that will conduct themselves in a positive manner and be good role models that will discipline us as students in a professional way and teach us to the best of their abilities.”
Dixon had a clear opportunity to defend the teachers at Performing Arts, who do their best every day under some pretty trying circumstances. Instead, she chose the predictable, politically correct, feel good response...
After listening to the students, Amber Dixon, interim superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools, said, “You really represent the best of who we are. You are positive and professional. You know how to speak. You know how to address the issues.”
Excuse me while I wipe the tears off my eyes. That was beautiful, Amber.
Female Crying 02
**In a related article, Buffalo News' reporter Mary Pasciak questions why Dixon's exempt staff has not been trimmed. Residency violator James Kane, who disrespected the Blogger, needs to move on to the private sector...
This misinformed letter writer from today's Buffalo News would have you believe the teachers in the Buffalo Public School system enjoy handing out suspensions for minor things such as "clowning" or wearing hoodies. I'm in the schools every day and I can tell you this letter is a complete mischaracterization of what is actually taking place...
Non-violent incidents don't merit suspensions
The Buffalo Public School District can take a page from the criminal justice system’s new pilot program aimed at rehabilitation rather than punishment. A recent News article showed that there were more than 600 suspensions in September. Punishment seems to be thriving in our schools.
Just as the criminal justice system realizes that providing a support system based on treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment is more effective, Buffalo schools should also change their approach. Last year, there were 17,000 suspensions. One in five students in Buffalo is suspended, versus the state average of one out of 20.
The adolescent brain is different from an adult brain, and kids don’t weigh risks and consequences the way adults do. If the criminal justice system can differentiate this, then why can’t our school system? Our children are being suspended for frivolous actions, such as class clowning or wearing a hoodie to school.
One preventative measure we can take now to curb the rise of youth in our criminal justice system is to ensure that our children are well-educated. We can’t educate them when we keep putting them out of school and onto the streets.
The district needs to understand that non-violent incidents need to be dealt with differently than violent incidents. It should implement a policy that ends all out-of-school suspensions for non-violent incidents.Danielle N. Judge-Johnson
Lead Organizer, Citizen Action of New York, Buffalo
Danielle Judge-Johnson and Citizen Action of NY need to wake up and get their heads out of their collective asses if they think this is what is going on in the schools. They try to portray the suspended students as victims of an overly strict system. I'm with the teachers every day. The last thing they want to do is suspend students. They are left with no choice, however, when the same students continuously disrupt the learning environment and affect the rest of the class.
The kids being removed from class are not being removed for "clowning" or chewing gum in class, as the bleeding hearts would have you believe. That is the most ridiculous exaggeration I've read in some time. They are usually removed for threatening teachers or disrupting the class to the point where learning can not take place. Does Danielle ever wonder why suspensions aren't commonplace at the Olmsted Schools or City Honors or Da Vinci? Maybe it's because the students at those schools actually come to school willing to learn and with respect towards their classmates and adults in the building.
If you teach in the city, please feel free to comment on this post and let us know the reasons there are so many suspensions in Buffalo. People like Danielle have been watching too many Hollywood movies and believe the students at these schools are simply mischievous angels. She should sub in Buffalo and see what really goes on in the classrooms. Kids from Burma and Somalia come here dirt poor and are shocked at the way native born Americans are allowed to disrupt class. Nothing's going to change unless we start raising the behavior expectations of the students. The teachers in Buffalo are no different than the teachers anywhere else. It's the behavior of the students themselves that warrants the suspensions.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
A body shop owner has come forward with the name of a suspect in the fatal hit and run of April Smith. The crash occurred on Broadway early this month. I'm glad they caught the person for the sake of the victim's family...
A Buffalo Police source tells 2 On Your Side that a local body shop worker tipped off officers of the damage to the vehicle that the suspect was driving.
“The stuff I’ve been going through trying to help people and deter crime has been absolutely brutal,” Davis said. “I could have easily kept my retirement money and moved to Miami, but I didn’t because I wanted to make a difference. And all I caught was hell.”
Davis said some employees tried to extort money from him by filing false claims of not being compensated to the Labor Department. And he claims a former worker has threatened a sexual harassment suit if he doesn’t pay her $1,000.
Doesn't sound like fun times. To me, the best formula for the success of a new restaurant is to start small. While location is important, keeping losses to a minimum (should the business fail) is also paramount. If the food is good, people will go there. If you're not from the neighborhood, you might need a GPS to find Mullberry's in Lackawanna. It's hidden in a residential neighborhood. But, the place is always packed because the word has gotten around. I've never been there, but I hear the same thing about Mattie's on the East Side. I give Mr. Davis great credit for trying to do something downtown. However, in the end, it may have come down to the product. But, at least he made the effort.
Monday, October 24, 2011
You may have received an email from me regarding our registration for the indoor soccer league at the Tosh Collins Community Center this Thursday. This will be my 4th year running the league and 21st year as the referee. Previous to the past four years, the league was organized by a small group of parents. They all were very nice, well intentioned people.
Previous to me, the league was organized by current school board member Louis Petrucci. His league, for kids ages 6-9, had four teams. The reason for this was poor advertising combined with non-soccer people making questionable decisions. The only schools informed about the registrations were Notre Dame and St. Ambrose Academies. The athletic director at the Discovery School #67, who does a terrific job over there, wasn't informed of the sign ups and was treated rudely (not by Lou, but by one of his co-organizers).
Our current league has gotten so big, we had to break it up into 8/9 and a 6/7 yr old divisions. We also added a clinic for 4 and 5 yr olds a few years back. Last year, the 6/7 and 8/9 age groups had a combined 12 teams. This year, we expect between 14-16 teams.Unlike the previous organizers, we set up huge email lists and went to every public, private, and charter school in South Buffalo. I love the students and parents from Notre Dame and St. Ambrose, but felt the students at Trinity, school 27, school 72, Discovery, Southside, and South Buffalo Charter should have the same opportunity to play as well. And they showed up in huge numbers.
I got at least a half dozen emails this week from parents asking about their 10 year olds who have outgrown the league. Here's the history on that. About 15 years ago, I was going to run a boys and a girls' league for 10-12 year olds. However, I could not afford to spend another night running leagues unless I was working for the recreation department. The Councilmember at the time, who was politically opposed to me, recruited some parents with no soccer experience to run a league at the Southside Elementary School. Each year, the league had less and less players. They eventually made the decision to make it into a league for 10-14 year olds. They had 10 year old girls playing against 14 year old boys! That's what happens when you have non-soccer people running soccer leagues. Needless to say, this, combined with poor advertising, resulted in less players and the league eventually folded. It no longer exists.Lou Petrucci was one of the parents who ran this league in it's last season, as well. If you want to know when the registration is for your 10 year olds, I suggest you call him or the former Councilmember (who now makes $80,000 holding the Congressman's clipboard). You can also thank her for the "temporary" garbage tax she supported and voted for.
This Spring, Lou Petrucci is up for reelection. Although I'm a very reluctant candidate, I might have no choice but to oppose him. I'm starting to think that's the only way to get people's attention and get a seat at the table. It's either that or move to where the teaching/recreation jobs are. I feel there are at least a thousand people crazy enough to vote for me. Last election, Lou ran unopposed and won with 217 votes. 26 voters were so happy with his performance, they selected write-in candidates. Overall, the school board races in the city drew a dismal 4.19% of eligible voters. School Board races don't really cost tons of money. I'll just need help obtaining the necessary signatures and getting the vote out. Emails are free. If people are willing to put signs up at their houses, that would help out, too. The difference between Lou and I is very clear. One of us showed he cared about all the students in South Buffalo. The other was only there for a select few.
Lou Petrucci=4 teams
Myself=12 teams (and counting)
If you're interested in supporting my potential candidacy, please talk to me and let me know the issues that concern you. Thanks.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Authorities found a student in possession of a loaded handgun at Riverside High School on Friday. It was last February when another gun was found at the school.
(Bring Your Gun to School Day at Riverside February 1,2011)
Remember, Riverside was one of the three lower performing schools forced to inexplicably change principals last year, in order to remain eligible for a state grant.
(Williams relents on principals' removal - City of Buffalo - The Buffalo News)
From today's Buffalo News, here's an update on how that great plan is working out...
At Riverside, teachers who requested anonymity said they think discipline in the school has gotten lax in the past year or so.
“All the administrators at our school are not tenured. They are afraid to do anything,” one teacher said. “We have no detention anymore. Really, there are students roaming the halls everywhere. Students are allowed to come late to class. There might be 40 students in the hallway. In my opinion, if you let the little things get out of control, then the big things happen.”
As I said a year ago, Riverside's problems were not caused by the principal or the teachers. Mike Mogavero was a very good principal, in my opinion. People can only do so much with what they have to work with. Did the suits in Albany think a new principal would result in gang affiliated students from broken homes all of a sudden getting accepted into Harvard?
At the end of the day, it starts with responsible families. As a sub, I see it every day from Kindergarten through high school. The students in many of the schools are not taught the value of an education at home and come to school unprepared. Unfortunately, the first time they are faced with any real consequences for their choices is when they are sentenced to prison. It's not the schools causing the problems. It's the parents of many (not all) of these students and the students themselves. You can't force people to value education.
Friday, October 21, 2011
This was the same type of stuff Stephen Diver's coworkers were saying about him after his wife was found murdered. It was eventually proven through DNA evidence that her murder was the result of the Bike Path Killer. If I was on a jury, I don't think I could ever convict someone based on witness testimony alone.
I don't know if anyone caught it yesterday, but the Buffalo News had an article, straight from the Associated Press (on around page A-6), detailing how Muammar Ghaddafi was holding his own against the Libyan rebels in his hometown. This was in their afternoon edition. I found this kind of amusing, given the fact that he had been declared dead by every other major news organization 24 hours earlier.
Way to be on top of things, guys. By the way, I'm not sure if you heard, but we were able to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan the other day.
but true to his reputation, has yet to send me his picks...
Buddy "the Book" from Amherst
Buddy had a great week last week going 4-1. He was not surprised to hear the news of Ninja quitting calling him, "a sorry excuse for humanity." This week, Buddy has decided to go with Carolina, Atlanta, Minnesota, and Arizona. He also reached out to Billy the Kid from Riverside who told him to take San Diego. Finally, Buddy is predicting Bishop Timon will upset the Crusadequeers of Canisius in a close game.
last week 4-1-0
overall record 12-11-2
Ninja called me at the 11th hour with picks...
He likes Oakland, Tennessee, San Diego, Washington, and Norleans.
The Rooster (with help from MacGavis)...
The City Hall Rooster wishes to point out that on Sundays, he usually only picks two games and is 7-2. He also wanted to tell Ray that he always goes with the number 312 Ray's brother Bill's birthday) in the daily numbers. Sister James Christopher never forgets that day, according to the Rooster.
While talking to Sister James, she pointed out that she only watches God's teams (the Saints and the Cardinals). She said she didn't like teams with nasty reputations like the Steelers or the Raiders (the Blogger's favorite team, besides the Bills). In honor of the nun, the Rooster is picking New Orleans (-14) and the holy Cardinals (+4) over the Steelers. Also, take the Chiefs(+4) over Al Davis' beloved Raiders. Being on an all fish diet, MacGavis says go with the Dolphins to win their first game of the season. Finally, the Rooster says the Monday night line (Ravens -7.5, smells like Mrs Dougherty's feet. He says Ravens rookie QB Blaine Gabbert delivers the ball like Bobby McGorty. In a bonus pick, Sr. James wants to remind us the Vikings QB this week is a Christian, Christian Ponder out of South Florida University. For all of you St. Pat's students out there, the Rooster wanted me to tell you Sister James Christopher is alive and well in Olean and welcomes visitors. (Bill, since you were her favorite, you should call her.)
last week 2-3-0
overall record 12-12-1
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Freddy's Coming for You
The police are going over a list of past tenants and are trying to contact the people pictured below for questioning...
Human Voice Clip Male 25 Year Old Loser
Get used to the long lines on the existing bridge, because the only thing Sam Hoyt has going for him is a political last name. His record of achievement can only be described as underwhelming...
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I look out my window and see the empty 40 oz beer bottles, hypodermic needles, crack pipes and abandoned shopping carts on my front lawn and begin to think. The end results have become known as my random thoughts from the ghetto...
So it seemed fitting Hull was playing a pickup basketball game in 1983 when New Jersey Generals coach Chuck Fairbanks called him at Mississippi State and told him he had been drafted in the seventh round. Hull didn't know Chuck Fairbanks from chuck roast.
"Drafted?" Hull said. "For what?"
"Football," Fairbanks said.
Four Super Bowl runs later...
-Is there anything more scary than when you go to take a step on a dark staircase and you miscalculated and the stair isn't there? It's the scariest 1.5 seconds of your life. It's like that dream you have where your falling until you wake up.
-Sometimes in a running race, you might see someone competing in a wheelchair. The crowd, of course,claps as they role down the route using their arms. I wonder what people would say if an able bodied person decided to compete against them using their own wheelchair? They could pull up to the crowd, stand up, and walk over to them after the race, as if some sort of miracle had taken place.
-The protest against corporate greed and economic inequality on Wall Street is really gaining steam. I hear Nike is considering becoming a major sponsor. (I made that one up myself)
-Is anyone else old enough to remember the contestant in the military outfit who won for what seemed like two straight years on the game show Tic Tac Doe?
-I always try to tell it like it is. The people who run the concerts over at Cazenovia Park in the Fall (Ray McGurn and Goin' South) are terrific promoters. They put on an excellent show and attract a wide variety of spectators. While I don't always agree with them politically, I do admire their ability to put together a quality event.
-It's always funny to me when a white person has a traditionally black first name or a black person has a white name. Take Buffalo Bill Brad Smith. What name could be more white than Brad?