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Outdoor yoga classes to hit Niagara Square

The Buffalo Common Council has waived the fee and approved permission for the Buffalo Athletic Club to host free outdoor yoga classes at Niagara Square.

The classes, open to the general public and BAC members, are designed to promote health and wellness downtown.

Yoga classes will run from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays from June 24 through Aug. 29. On evenings it rains, classes will move nearby into the Downtown BAC at 69 Delaware Ave.

The BAC also has plans to put up a donation box to benefit Women & Children’s Hospital.

– Refresh Editor Scott Scanlon

Take a hike in Canada this weekend

The Niagara Glen – which features a host of trails between the top and bottom of the Niagara Gorge just north of Niagara Falls, Ont. – will be the setting for a spring hike on Saturday.

The Niagara Parks Commission, Friends of the Niagara Glen and the Niagara Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada are combining to carry out various activities at the glen, 3050 Niagara Parkway, across from the Whirlpool Golf Course.

At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., guests are invited to take part in free guided hikes into the glen to explore and experience the blooms of elusive rare and unique spring flowers, along with the return of local birds and other wildlife. Spring ephemerals such as red and white trilliums, wild columbine and Dutchman’s breeches are only in bloom for a short time each spring. From week to week, the variety of blooming wildflowers will change. Hikes last about an hour.

Meanwhile, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will host activities from 1 to 3 p.m.; visitors will be able to safely view the sun through "sun-scopes." Astronomers will be on hand to answer questions.

Later in the day, starting about 8 p.m. if the skies are clear, telescopes will be set up for nighttime viewing of the sky. Visitors should be able to see the International Space Station, meteors (shooting stars), the Northern Lights, the moon, neighboring planets and more. A laser guided tour of the night sky will be provided to help locate stars and constellations. If skies are clouded over, society members will provide an astronomy presentation in the comfort of the Niagara Glen Nature Centre.

After Saturday, Niagara Parks will continue to offer general Niagara Glen tours twice daily, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekends in the month of May and then seven days a week from June 1 until the end of August. These general hikes come with a cost of $7.57 (tax included) per person.

Lockport 7-year-old named Tour de Cure ambassador

The American Diabetes Association, Western New York Chapter, has named Vincent Harrer, of Lockport, its Youth Ambassador for the 2013 Tour de Cure, a bicycle ride and fundraiser which takes place June 8 along Lake Ontario.

Vincent, a fourth-grader at DeSales Catholic School, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 7 years old.  An avid athlete, who is a member of the DeSales swim team, also plays soccer and lacrosse. Vincent rode six miles in last year’s tour, raising nearly $3,000 and also rode in the 2011 Tour.

"I want to go way over $3,000 this year.  I’m at almost $2,000 right now," Vincent said in a news release. "We need to raise money to find a cure and help other people who have diabetes."

Vincent has enlisted several of his young friends and family members, including his seven-year-old brother, Grant, to ride the six-mile course again this year. He and his friends have been doing training rides around his neighborhood to get ready.

Jill Bakeman, Manager of the 22nd Annual Tour de Cure, said Vincent is a wonderful role model for kids and adults who are living with diabetes.

"He has such a positive attitude and his upbeat spirit is really contagious. We are thrilled to have him represent the thousands of young people in Western New York who understand the importance of ADA’s quest to find a cure," Bakeman said.

Lindsay Harrer, Vincent’s mom, said she’s extremely proud of her son.

"He’s been through a lot and he’s such a strong little boy.  He never lets his medical condition get him down.  He is very motivated to do everything he can to show other kids he can do anything they can and he is very motivated to get the message out that with more money for research there will be cure," Harrer said.

The Harrer family was familiar with diabetes prior to Vincent’s diagnosis.  Lindsay’s aunt was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 12 and several cousins have Type 2 diabetes.  Brian Harrer, Vincent’s dad, a member of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, has been a long-time rider with the Niagara County Law Enforcement & Friends Tour de Cure team, which rides in memory of the late Sgt. Jeffrey J. Juron, who had Type I diabetes.

The law enforcement team now also rides to raise money to send Vincent to Camp Aspire, an overnight camp for diabetic children located in Monroe County.

To donate directly to Vincent’s fund, go to the Buffalo Tour de Cure home page, click the "Donate" icon and enter Vincent Harrer as the designated rider.

More than 1,000 riders of all abilities expected to participate in this year’s race. In 2012, 970 riders raised $370,271.  The fundraising goal for this year’s Tour is $394,000 and 1,150 riders.

The race starts at Niagara County Community College in Sanborn. To register or for more information, visit

Weekend walks promote fitness

Those interested in getting fit later in the week have two organized chances on Saturday, thanks to the nonprofit Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo.

Both walks are part of the Be Active Erie County spring series and include health fairs.

The first starts at 9 a.m. with a mini-health fair in the Field House at Emery Park, Elma, followed by a walk start at 9:45 a.m.

A health fair starts at 10 a.m. at Greater Emmanuel Temple Church, 151 Richmond Ave., Buffalo and the walk from the church starts at noon. For more information, call 882-2700.

Both walks will be led by the Wellness Institute’s Phil Haberstro.

Peddle power – and fun, and safety

By Scott Scanlon

Those who like bicycles and baseball have a unique opportunity to enjoy both Saturday, when GObike Buffalo brings them together for "Bike to Bisons Game."

The gathering helps celebrate National Bike Month and starts at 4:30 p.m. at Ulrich’s Tavern, 674 Ellicott St., with discounted food, beer and free pop at the city’s oldest tavern.

There will be free and secure bike valet at the stadium for the 7:30 p.m. game and a complimentary first beer.

Continue reading "Peddle power – and fun, and safety" »

It takes muscle to adopt

By Scott Scanlon

Jo Freudenheim has had the rare blessing of having two daughters – one biological, one adopted – both of whom bring lots of joy into her life, even though they’re teenagers.

Freudenheim, chair of the UB Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, helped me with the cover story giving tips to new moms in today’s WNY Refresh section and we talked a bit about her daughters, Miriam and Naomi Frisch, 19 and 15, respectively.

Continue reading "It takes muscle to adopt" »

The cover photo some wanted

By Scott Scanlon

Editor Mike Connelly told us when several of us started to develop concepts for Refresh several weeks ago that the cover was the most important thing about the new section.

We have great photographers and graphic designers at The Buffalo News, and they work with Features Editor Bruce Andriatch and me on cover ideas.

We want images that make readers smile and, we hope, inspire them to crack open the new section on health, fitness, nutrition and family matters.

This week, as usual, we had several shots from which to choose for a cover story package I wrote on how new moms can balance their own needs with those of their newborns – thanks to photographer Sharon Cantillon.

Continue reading "The cover photo some wanted" »

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About The Refresh Buffalo Blog

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered various topics in his quarter-century as a journalist in South Florida, Syracuse and Buffalo. He is aiming to pass along what he is learning these days about health, fitness, nutrition and family life.

@BNRefresh |