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Erie County Votes on 911 Surcharge Funds

BUFFALO, NY - Local lawmakers are getting behind a statewide effort to keep Albany from raiding a fund that's meant to help first responders save lives.

The Erie County Legislature approved a resolution requesting that locally generated E-911 funds be directed towards improving the county's wireless E-911 system. The resolution supports a bill that is now in the state senate that calls for a higher percentage of funds to be shared.

Legislator Ed Rath said, "Right now we're only getting two percent of the money that is due to us and this bill is calling for 50 to 60 percent. of the money to come back to us . If this bill is passed, we'll see $4 million to $5 million dollars a year versus the $200,000 that Albany is sharing right now."

The state has been moving a portion of the public safety surcharge money to the general fund.

Poloncarz delivers State of the County address

BUFFALO, NY - Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz made his case for another term Thursday evening during the annual State of the County address, highlighting the development and growth that's happened in the county under his administration.

"When I took office in January 2012 the county's unemployment rate was 8.9 percent and there were 40,600 unemployed residents in Erie County," Poloncarz told a full house in the auditorium of downtown's Central Library. "Following a broad effort, as of the end of 2014, I am proud to say there are 16,500 less people on the unemployment rolls and the rate of unemployment has dropped to 5.5 percent lower than the state and national averages."

Poloncarz also set up his goals for Erie County over the next year, including setting up a volunteer poverty community to fight the issue in our community and a council that would help him address immigrant issues, as well.

NFTA approves budget; no fare hikes

BUFFALO, NY - The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will not be raising fares this year, but the news is not all good.

The transit authority approved a budget on Thursday that doesn't include any fare hikes or service reductions, but a lack of state funding will delay projects like new escalators.

"Obviously, we'd love to be able to rebuild those escalators … we just don't have the funding to do so," said NFTA Executive Director Kimberly Minkel. "We thought it was more important that we keep buses on the road and the rail system operating and bring(ing) people from point A to point B."

The NFTA also announced a new eight-year labor agreement with its police lieutenants and captains union today.

Berardi Immigration Law’s First Quarter Border Activity

Berardi Immigration Law’s First Quarter Border Activity


Berardi Immigration Law has had a busy first quarter at the U.S.-Canadian border. Since early January, we have appeared on behalf of at least 40 clients on 18 separate days at the Peace Bridge. Some of these appearances were entered on behalf of other attorneys, but most represent clients whose cases our office fully drafted and prepared. A sample of some of our interesting cases include:

Catholic Charities Appeal Week 2015 Opens with $7.43 Million Raised Toward $10.9 Million Goal

Catholic Charities Appeal Week 2015 Opens with $7.43 Million Raised  Toward $10.9 Million Goal

The Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, announced Tuesday, March 24, Catholic Charities’ 91st annual Appeal has raised $7,432,587.16 to date, representing 68 percent of the $10.9 million goal. The total includes monies collected and reported by parish volunteers during the opening weekend (March 21-22) of Appeal Week 2015, the period which marks the strongest push for parish donations.

The total reported is more than $500,000 short of where Catholic Charities’ officials and the Appeal leadership team hoped to be after the first Sunday.

Funds raised for Appeal 2015 support Catholic Charities’ 70 programs and services offered across 61 sites throughout the eight counties of Western New York, and the Bishop’s Fund for the Faith, which supports related ministries of the Diocese of Buffalo.

Buffalo Soup Fest at Convention Center

BUFFALO, NY - The fifth-annual Buffalo Soup Fest was held at the convention center Sunday after being postponed for over a month due to last month's wintry weather.

A total of 30 local restaurants took part in the event, serving 75 different kinds of soup for people to sample.

Matt Carlucci, the founder of the event, says he thought of the idea while sitting at his kitchen table and never imagined it would become as popular as it is today. He's even looking into the possibility of using the entire Convention Center to host next year's event.

Daemen’s Geppetto Festival to Bring New Life to Art of Puppetry

Daemen’s Geppetto Festival to Bring New Life to Art of Puppetry

The artistic talents of puppeteers from across the United States will be showcased in the second annual Geppetto Festival, named after the beloved woodcarver from the children’s classic “Pinocchio,” scheduled for April 15 as part of the Daemen College Academic Festival.

“The Geppetto Festival is intended to share enriching presentations and performances to help bring new life to puppetry,” said Cameron Garrity, festival director. “Whether young or young at heart, the festival will give audiences the chance to explore new avenues of puppetry beyond Sesame Street and other well-known shows.”