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Taxing battle

The battle over tax assessments is getting hot in the Southtowns. The latest OP BUS LOCAL NFTA BUS challenge to a commercial assessment was the Quaker Crossing plaza. The town and plaza owner Gerald Buchheit settled their assessment disagreement just before going to trial. The deal saves the landowner $120,000 and freezes the assessment for four years. As a result, the county, town and school district will receive less tax money.


M&T Bank is off to a fast start again this year making the most Small Business Administration-backed loans in the region. However, Five Star Bank lent more money with fewer loans under the program in October, the first month of the government's fiscal year. 


- Grove Potter



Medicare, mobs and manufacturing jobs....

Getting old is enough of a drag, but it seems the federal government must Medicaremake it more of a struggle. Medicare is a wonderful program providing health insurance to people age 65 and older, but registering for it has become an annual headache for retirees. News Business reporter Jonathan D. Epstein spoke with Medicare recipients and insurers to understand why things appear so difficult. His story ran in Sunday's editions.

Drop that fork and get in line! Black Friday shopping this year starts on Thanksgiving. New Business columnist David Robinson looks at how early we can go.

Mob psychology can me a good thing, when it's used to help small Cash mobbusinesses. That's how Chris Smith sees it with his brainstorm called 'cash mobs.' News business reporter Steve Watson spoke with him.

Manufacturers are starting to get a little panicked about the lack of interest their jobs have with young people, Manufacturing New Business reporter Matt Glynn tells us. A new program is reaching into the schools to open young people's eyes to the changing world of manufacturing.

- Grove Potter


Projects transforming Buffalo

Buffalo is enjoying a spate of big building projects that will transform Canalside parts of the downtown core. The well-publicized projects at the Erie Canal Harbor front are proceeding. Kaleida just announced it would build the new Oishei Children's Hospital in the medical corridor, and UB Medical Schoolthe University at Buffalo is building a new medical school, also in the medical corridor.

And Catholic Health broke ground Wednesday on a new headquarters and training center at the foot of the Kensington Expressway, between Elm and Oak streets. The six-story building will not only act as a gateway to downtown, but it will extend the medical corridor into the city center.

Mayor Byron Brown thanked Catholic Health for deciding to make the city its home, Cathoilic Health noting that it had options across the region. "The fact that you chose the city of Buffalo means a great deal."

As Bishop Malone said at the ground breaking and blessing: Amen. 

- Grove Potter





Curious bankruptcy stats

Bankruptcy courtThere was a troubling - and interesting - jump in bankruptcy filings in Buffalo in October. The 13 percent increase - from 362 to 409 filings - was the largest year-over-year increase in three years.

Filings have been dropping for almost two years. That may sound positive, but bankruptcy experts said the reason was most likley people were so broke, they couldn't afford the attorney fees to file.

Could it be that tough times have reached those who can afford bankruptcy and have enough to save through filing? We'll keep an eye on it.

- Grove Potter




Winging it

The spread of Buffalo chicken wings across the globe has been astounding. Ivano5 wippert lifestyles Who knew that the spicy after-hours snack that Teressa Bellissimo invented on the fly in 1964 would become a staple near and far. The concept of patenting the recipe and the concept never occurred to anyone.

Many other chains have sprung up serving wings, but there can be only one original. We even have the Buffalo Wing Festival.

Ivano Toscani, owner of the Anchor Bar - where the wing-as-food was invented - is trying to franchise the operation. A few early starts have failed, and now he has a franchisee in Hamilton, Ontario, who wants to Vacations Niagara vacations   scullopen an Anchor Bar.

Toscani's only advice to them: don't deviate too far from the way we do it here.

That's some super hot advice.


- Grove Potter 


Bio-tech brightening

Empire Genomics has been grinding it out as a bio-tech start-up in Genomics Buffalo for six years. Built on the brains of founder and chief science officer Norma Jean Nowak, the company just released its first genomic test to help determine a personalized treatment for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood.

That's fantastic news for people suffering with the disease, and great news for Buffalo's bio-tech industry. As we all learned last month when SmartPill, another local start-up, was sold to a firm from Israel, it's a long and expensive road to launch a successful bio-tech company.

Genomics says it will hire 50 people in the next five years. The company has made bold predictions before. This time it may be able to deliver.

- Grove Potter


"Beer, beer, beer, beer..."

"In heaven, there is no beer.." FEATURES gusto cover beer works  KIRKHAM 02

Ahh, music to a beer lover's ears. We all know that Buffalo is a huge beer town, but less well known is the growing microbrewery scene. This happens to be "Buffalo Beer Week," and a local business that caters to the beer culture - KegWorks - has done a nice story about four new microbrewers in the area.

Here is a link to the story: Four Queen City Breweries on the Rise




Murmurs at Buffalo Place

Buffalo Place is a rarity in the city: a special taxing district. It has the authority to levy a special fee on property owners within its borders to support its activities. Buffalo Place 600  Block Main Streetmaintains the stretch of Main Street from the First Niagara Center to Goodell Street, and installs benches, flowers and banners in its borders. But its most high-profile feat is hosting the summer concert series, that moved from Lafayette Square to the Erie Canal Harbor venue last year.

That move has taken the concerts to a whole new level. With more space, the crowds are bigger and the events are more expensive. Long funded with proceeds from beer and food sales, some of the concerts now require $10 tickets. That apparently is not covering the costs, so the district raised its special levy on property owners 3 percent this week.

Young the GiantBut there is a rub. Some property owners in the district say they are providing a service for businesses well outside their boundaries, and they want to expand the Buffalo Place footprint to increase the organization's tax base.

It's an early complaint voiced by some Buffalo Place board members this week, but you can bet it is going to get louder. With the concert series growing every year, this is bound to become a more complicated issue. If and when the concerts move to the Outer Harbor, Buffalo Place board members  are wondering if it will still be their task to handle the events.

Stay tuned, and rock on.

- Grove Potter


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