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Morning Roundup: Wednesday, Oct. 20

Good morning.

It'll be breezy out there today, with a high near 61 in the Buffalo area, according to the National Weather Service. Its forecast calls for wind gusts as high as 36 mph today.

Here's a look at a few of the latest headlines:

- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew M. Cuomo insists he plans no major changes in upstate hydropower policy after raising eyebrows with a comment he made in Monday night's debate, writes News Political Reporter Robert J. McCarthy.

- U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. thanked the Bufalo community for his warm welcome "back home" during a speech at Canisius College on Tuesday, writes News Staff Reporter Jay Rey. Roberts left the area as a second-grader.

- The food truck has finally made it to Buffalo. Lloyd the taco truck has proved a success, prompting Buffalo eaters to wonder: Can other food trucks be far behind? News Food Writer Andrew Z. Galarneau explores that question in Taste.

Keep up with the latest on Buffalo's foodie scene with Galarneau's Hungry for More blog.

See Lloyd the taco truck in action in this video shot shortly after business partners Peter Cimino and Chris Dorsaneo took their truck to the road:

For more on what's happening today, visit Good Morning, Buffalo.

--Denise Jewell Gee

Morning Roundup: Tuesday, Oct. 19

Good morning.

The National Weather Service has forecast a chance of showers this morning with a high near 56 in the Buffalo area. A chance of rain will show up again Wednesday.

Here's a look at a few of the latest headlines:

- The debate between seven candidates for governor in Hempstead on Monday will likely be more recalled for one-liners and comic relief than a substantive discussion of policy, The News' Tom Precious writes. A group of minor-party candidates questioned everything from Andrew M. Cuomo's integrity to his environmental policies in the debate.

Meanwhile, Republicans are pleading for more debates.

- The operator of a popular Elmwood Avenue restaurant, Casa-Di-Pizza, was ordered Monday to deliver 12 sheet pizzas to the City Mission once a week for a year as community service in his sales tax fraud case, News Staff Reporter Matt Gryta reports.

- A confrontation between St. Bonaventure students and Southern Tier residents turned violent early Sunday, when a "Molotov cocktail" was thrown into an Allegany apartment, News Staff Reporter Charlie Specht reports.

For more on what's happening today, visit Good Morning, Buffalo.

--Denise Jewell Gee

Mining disaster expert to speak at St. Bonaventure today

In the wake of one of the most successful and most media-covered mining rescues in history, Buffalo native Mark Nowak, a poet, labor activist, and mining disaster expert, wants people to recognize this fact:

The Chilean mining rescue was an exception, a rare happy ending in a history book filled with tragedy.

"What usually happens is that miners die, almost everyday somewhere in the world, and a lot of people don't hear those stories," said Nowak, who is originally from Cheektowaga and now teaches nonfiction writing and investigative journalism at Washington College in Maryland. 

Nowak will read some of his own work and discuss ideas for reducing the number of mining tragedies when he visits St. Bonaventure University today.

Nowak is no stranger to labor issues. He says it's something he's been exposed to since childhood.

"My grandfather was a steel worker at Bethlehem Steel and my other grandfather was a mechanic for the railroad and he actually lived right across the street from the old train station," said Nowak in a phone interview. "Even my dad was vice president of his union at Westinghouse so those were just the kinds of issues and concerns that were around me. It's how i grew up."

His book Coal Mountain Elementary provides testimony from the the Sago Mine Disaster survivors and rescue teams and his Cold Mountain blog covers global working class policies and issues with a focus on mining disasters.

Nowak appeared as a guest commentator on the Al Jazeera English news network on the first night of the Chilean mine rescue.

He hopes some of the Chilean miners will use their voice to spread the message of a need for change.

"Miners in Chile now really have the microphone," said Nowak. "They can use their celebrity status due to this terrible accident to help other workers like themselves around the world. That would be a tremendous benefit."

Listen to Nowak discuss his appearance on Al Jazeera and his ideas for reducing mining disasters:

The reading and discussion will begin at 4:30 p.m. at St. Bonaventure's Walsh Amphitheater.

More from an interview with Nowak:

--Lauren Nicole Mariacher

Quinn and Kennedy to debate again tonight

58th District State Senate candidates will meet at West Seneca East High School this evening for their second debate of the race.

Republican Jack F. Quinn III and Democrat Timothy M. Kennedy, who in their first debate focused on problems with the state's Medicaid and pension systems, as well as job creation, will begin answering questions at 7 p.m.

In the most recent poll on Oct. 4, the two candidates were neck and neck, Quinn holding 42 percent of the votes while Kennedy was close behind with 39 percent.

For more on the State Senate race and other races, visit the News' Politics page.

The high school is located at 4760 Seneca St. in West Seneca.

View Larger Map

--Lauren Nicole Mariacher

Morning Roundup: Monday, Oct. 18

Good morning.

Today temperatures will range from a high of 53 to a low of 37 degrees with mostly cloudy skies, says the National Weather Service.

Here are some of the stories making news this morning:

-New Yorkers will find out this evening whether the first -- and possibly only -- debate of New York's gubernatorial campaign can go from what has often been a late-night comedian's dream into the realm of policy and issues important to the state.

-In Collins, where the U.S. Energy Development Corp. began drilling for natural gas in 2008, some residents say their tap water is flammable and their families have developed an array of ailments that had no obvious cause. Natalie Brant says gas drilling is the cause.


Swinging skeleton: Maxwell Steese, 9, of Buffalo, wears his Halloween hoodie as he takes a spin on the Lasso swing ride Sunday afternoon at Darien Lake Theme Park. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News) Click here for more photos from today's picture page.

-At least four lawmakers are now allies of the Seneca Indian Nation in the tribe's battle with the governor's office over the sharing of casino profits with local governments and not-for-profit organizations.

-Bills players willingly endure the 'agony' of taking a dip in 38-degree water because it aids in their recovery time.

Check out Good Morning, Buffalo for a quick look at what's happening today in Western New York.

-Lauren Nicole Mariacher

Scribble wall drawing on display at Albright-Knox

A wall drawing that covers 2,200 square feet is the newest work on display at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

The work -- which took 16 artists at the task seven hours a day nearly two months to complete -- was designed by Sol LeWitt, an American artist considered to have been a pioneer in Minimalism and Conceptual art.

Here's a story by Staff Reporter Mark Sommer written in August when work on the drawing was still underway.

Gallery officials held a special media preview of the work this afternoon.

Albright installation

Artist Alyssa Morasco works on the scribble installation of a piece designed by the late Sol LeWitt at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in this file photo. (Harry Scull Jr. /Buffalo News)

Check back for a video with interviews with gallery director Louis Grachos, project coordinator Ilana Chlebowski and artist John Hogan.

--Aaron Besecker

Morning Roundup -- Thursday, Oct. 14

Good morning. Here are this morning's top headlines:

The last of the Chilean miners stuck underground for more than two months has been saved as millions watched from around the world.

A $4.5 billion proposal by Verizon Communications to build a data center in Somerset included a request for tax breaks.

Martin Kober, of the City of Tonawanda, holds a copy of a painting that may be the work of Michaelangelo. (Derek Gee /Buffalo News)

A City of Tonawanda man is talking about how a possible painting by Michaelangelo came to be in his family's possession.

The candidates for governor differ greatly on how they say they would deliver relief from rising state taxes and local property taxes.

A 51-year-old mother in court Wednesday admitted to brutalizing her 23-year-old daughter, eventually suffocating her with her bare hands. Here's Digital Reporter Denise Jewell Gee's video from inside the courtroom:

Arts Editor Jeff Simon reviews "Red."

Jerry Sullivan says the Sabres "have a small crisis on their hands" in the wake of last night's loss to the Devils.

For a look at today's other happenings, including today's weather forecast, check out Good Morning, Buffalo.

You also can check out The Buffalo News on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

--Aaron Besecker 

Farm 2 Table gives students a lesson in agriculture

HAMBURG -- The brown cow paid little notice this morning as dozens of fourth graders from Windom Elementary School filed into a barn at the Erie County Fairgrounds for a lesson on farming.

But the students -- taking part in a new program designed to give them a glimpse of farm life -- could barely contain their excitement for petting the animals.

"It's really, really fun just to get away from school once in a while and just to do things that are fun," said fourth grader Jacob Marx.

But built into the fairground's new Farm 2 Table program, organizers said, are lessons in science and agricultural designed to reinforce the state's curriculum standards.

More than 650 third and fourth graders from eight area school districts will visit the fairgrounds during the next week to take part in the field trip program.

The students will get a hand in milking a cow, seeing how a black smith works and identifying parts of a chicken.

"It used to be that everybody had a grandfather or an uncle that lived on a farm, and you'd get there for the summer and see how that all happened," Underberg said. "We don't have that any more. The fair is the only real place that people have hands-on interaction with farm animals."

Go along on the fieldtrip and hear more about what the students are learning in this video:

--Denise Jewell Gee

Morning Roundup: Wednesday, Oct. 13

Good morning.

A frost advisory issued by the National Weather Service will lift this morning at 9 a.m. Its forecast for today calls for a high near 61 in the Buffalo area, with increasing clouds. A chance of showers will return on Thursday.

Here's a look at a few of the latest headlines this morning:

- The Families of Continental Flight 3407 are livid about a proposal to cut back a new requirement for flight hours for new commercial co-pilots to 500 hours, News Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski reports.

- Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino sought Tuesday night to apologize for his comments made Sunday about gays and to move on, The News' Tom Precious writes.

- Gov. David A. Paterson thinks the state has finally got legislation granting historic preservation credits right and he was in Buffalo on Tuesday touting the the bill.

Listen to what Paterson had to say about the smart growth legislation in this audio clip:

--Denise Jewell Gee

Governor: Seneca offer to pay local casino communities 'unacceptable'

BUFFALO -- An offer by the Seneca Nation of Indians to make casino revenue payments directly to the three local cities that host the nation's casinos is "unacceptable" to Gov. David A. Paterson.

Paterson, speaking to reporters in Niagara Square this afternoon, rebuffed a statement made by tribal leaders Friday in which they said they are willing to pay the local share of slot machine revenues directly to Niagara Falls, Salamanca and Buffalo.

Paterson said the Senecas owe more than $200 million to the state in different types of fees.

"I understand they made a promise to pay the local governments themselves; that's unacceptable to us," Paterson said. "It's not how government works in the State of New York."

The Seneca Tribal Council voted last month to stop making payments to the state under the nation's gaming compact. Seneca leaders have claimed the state has violated the agreement, which gives Senecas exclusive rights to operate Las Vegas-style casinos in Western New York.

"If they would like us to front the money for them, and tell us that they will refund us in the next few weeks, we would consider doing that," Paterson said. "But right now, we're in court because we don't believe that they should have licenses if they're not going to pay the mandated fees."

Listen to his comments on the Senecas in this audio clip:

Paterson made the comments during a stop in Niagara Square this afternoon to tout three new laws designed to encourage "smart growth" development in the state.

Listen to his comments on the "smart growth" legislation in this audio clip:

The governor also criticized Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino during the news conference for failing to speak out on recent incidents in which young gay individuals were targeted by alleged criminal activity. 

Listen to his comments on Paladino in this audio clip:

Paterson said the tone of the gubernatorial race has taken the focus off issues such as "the lack of jobs, the lack of opportunity."

"Even as governor, you're asking me about these issues; I'm not running for anything," Paterson told reporters. "But they are issues that are important to people when they do come up, but they probably are not the issues that are affecting people's day-to-day lives, which is how they will probably determine who they want to vote for."

--Denise Jewell Gee

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