11/23/2009

Union Contract Savings

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and the LUSJ are reporting on several city union contracts.

Three city unions have ratified groundbreaking new labor contracts that may save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars and enable it to privatize garbage service.
The Common Council ratified new deals with the city’s blue-collar union and the department head union last week. The police union ratified its contract Thursday and the Council is to vote on it Dec. 2.
All three contracts are for five years, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2008; they expire at the end of 2012.
A key factor is the ability for the city to shift retirees into a less expensive Medicare Advantage health insurance plan, Mayor Michael W. Tucker said.
 The ability to privatize the garbage collection is huge. Nice work by all on the give-and-take.

11/20/2009

Housing Vision - Genesee St

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News had an article on the city partnership with Housing Vision LLC yesterday. While waiting for some additional information from Mayor Tucker I give this post as a lead in.

Mayor Michael W. Tucker announced at Wednesday’s Common Council meeting that Housing Visions Unlimited is buying 15 properties on Genesee and South streets. It will rehabilitate some and demolish others, replacing the demolished structures with newly built three-or four-unit housing.
Alderman-elect Jack L. Smith Jr., D-2nd Ward, said he and some other members of his United Neighborhood Watch Group recruited Housing Visions in an effort to clean up the neighborhood fast.
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The mayor said, “These houses are like ours, Victorians. They’re immaculately landscaped. They don’t tolerate any nonsense. They’re very rigid. They interview people. Any police calls, they evict people. They go through the properties once a month.”
Tucker's been throwing hints about this project for a while and its great to see it reach this point. Some additional information on Housing Visions LLC:
- Housing Visions LLC Main Website.
-A Neighborhood Revitalization Plan that makes all too much sense.
-Pictures of past projects and the group's history and humble beginnings as a group of residents in a neglected Syracuse neighborhood.
-Past investments in Syracuse, Utica, Binghamton, Cortland, Auburn and Oswego

It's a welcome sign having an organization with a proven track record coming in to tackle what many consider to be Lockport's neighborhood most in need. The once grand houses which still sit on the street are an important part of bridging the recent investment dowtown with the adjacent residential neighborhood and halting disinvestment form further radiating outward. This is the type of project Buffalo needed 20 yrs ago before the string of random demolitions and scattered out-of-place new builds. Along with additional planning (infrastructure improvements, incentives for private owners to get on board, etc) and home owner involvement, this could end up being a model for the WNY area if done right. 

Public meetings involving the project are as follows:
The site plans will be presented to the city Planning Board at a Dec. 21 meeting, and the next night, the Zoning Board of Appeals will consider variance requests for multiple dwellings in a single-family zone.
I'll post more as I hopefully obtain more information. Thanks to Alderman-elect Jack L. Smith Jr., D-2nd Ward (United Neighborhood Watch Group), Mayor Tucker and all those involved in finally laying a foundation for what I hope to be long needed turnaround in the Genesee St area.

UPDATE: Write up in LUSJ 11/29

11/19/2009

Smart Growth's Last Shot?

Posted by MJ

LUSJ reporting that "Smart Growth" has submitted its last chance appeal on the current suit. Seeing that unanimous decisions against it are the norm, this should go the same way.

The Court of Appeals will rule by mid-January whether to grant or deny Smart Growth’s bid for another day in court. That’s a bit more than two years since the group first filed suit against the town and Walmart.

The Court of Appeals is its last stop in the fight over planning waivers, according to Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman. If the court denies its request for a hearing, “that’s the end of this suit, period,” he said.

On Tuesday, Seaman declined to predict if the group could find grounds for further litigation.
 That the process takes up to two years says something about our court system and/or what is backing it up.
 Semi-related: Overlawyered is always an interesting, if not maddening read.

Super-center 2011? Last post on the topic here: Walmart Inching Closer

11/12/2009

Blog B-Day

Posted by MJ





Well it all started here a year ago stemming from poor behavior by "outsiders" on the LUSJ forums. Since then the LUSJ forums had cleaned up but then were pulled after some sparing with Tim. Comments started out moderated here but have been fully open to anyone for quite some time.. It's always enjoyable sharing my thoughts and hearing others on the present and future of Lockport.

The biggest source of action was around the Molson Concert Series as the tracking of the line-up created a spike in traffic (max visits 994 the day of the first concert.) that made the post on it tops on many search engines.

My initial offer still holds: anyone who would like to be able to post, please let me know by e-mail. If you have a Lockport based blog of your own let me know so I can link to it and participate. Some thoughts from other sections of the city (and its respective issues) would be great. I have some ideas for this next year too.

Thanks again,
MJ

11/12/2009

Electronics Dropoff this Sat.

Posted by MJ

Buffalo News reporting an Electronics Drop-off this Sat:


An electronic waste recycling day is scheduled from 10 a. m. to 2 p. m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Niagara County Courthouse, Park Avenue and Hawley Street.
The free event is sponsored by the county Environmental Management Council and Public Works Department and by the City of Lockport Recycling Committee. Items not being taken Saturday include microwaves, vacuum cleaners and other household appliances; light bulbs; dehumidifiers and fans; yard equipment; and gas powered equipment.
The event will double as a donation site for clothing and nonperishable food items for Community Missions.
 A great way to dispose of that old 14" CRT computer monitor taking up space in the attic.

11/10/2009

Find It in Lockport

Posted by MJ



LUSJ has an article on the 80th anniversary of Mills Jewelers. I figure it would be a good lead in to Find It in Lockport.com. The fledgling site put together by Lockport Main St. Inc aims to be a comprehensive listing of services in the city along with a place to rate them and leave reviews. Listings are free as part of the program (though a low $5-10) donation is appreciated.

I was thinking of something similar to this a while back and its nice to see it started. Spread the word/visit/etc so it can reach its potential.

Here is the sample Mill's Page from the site:

11/09/2009

Emergency Shelter Opening

Posted by MJ




The Buffalo News is reporting that Lockport CARES (Community Action Response Emergency Shelter) has finished up the residence at 192 Genesse St. and it is ready for use as an all volunteer emergency residence.

UPDATE: Lockport CARES website

Past LUSJ Articles:
LOCKPORT: Incredible 'Care' Project
CARES: You can go home again
OUTREACH: Shelter being pitched

Jim Haid of St. John the Baptist Outreach estimates well over 100 volunteers have put sweat hours into the old three-story building. The Rev. Steve Hall, pastor at Lockport United Church of Christ, estimates it will take more than 100 volunteers to staff the shelter, which will be open 24 hours a day, every day.
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The board is cognizant of the concern volunteers have about safety and has installed fire alarms, motion detectors and will provide a panic button for staffers. First Alarm was one of the first partners of Lockport Cares.
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Two-to-four people should be on hand when guests arrive, welcoming and setting up. Volunteers will cook and do the laundry — towels and bedding. Because of insurance concerns, guests cannot cook or do laundry.

Guests will be expected to be out of the house during the day, making contacts and getting back on their feet. Hall estimates the average stay will be five to seven days. The maximum stay will be 10 days.

11/07/2009

E85 Pump on S. Transit.

Posted by MJ

LUSJ is reporting the 2nd E85 pump in the county here in the city at the updated Wilson Farms at S. Transit and High St. I noticed this last week  (initially the price caught my eye) and it was nice to see the option locally.

E85 will return only 70 to 80% of the fuel economy of regular gasoline at standard engine compressions. So it is break even for vehicles on the upper end of the E85 fuel economy range and a tad too high for vehicles on the lower range.

Per the Article:
Reg Gas: $2.80/gal
E85 Gas: $2.26/gal
80% Reg: $2.24/gal
70% Reg: $1.96/gal

11/04/2009

Election Post

Posted by MJ

Election time approaches and in this post I will list links to articles pertaining to the individual races. Most of my contact with the city has been through Mayor Tucker (always considerate enough to answer my questions) and I have not had any contact with my alderman. Please feel free to share any experiences with your alderman, what you feel the important topics are or any other comments you may have.

UPADTE (11/4/09) - Winners listed in large font below and LUSJ results article here. Also County Legislature dowsizing wins in a landslide. I'm thinking of creating pages for each alderman (and mayor) where we can track/comment on our interactions with them and their answers (or lack thereof). Would anyone find that useful?

LUSJ Interviews
1st Ward: Pasceri (i) vs Richardson -
2nd Ward: Alexander (i) vs Smith
3rd Ward: McKenzie (i) vs Calhoun
4th Ward: Schrader (i) vs Chapman
5th Ward: Genewick vs. Hughes
At Large: Kibler (i) vs Mullane

Buffalo News Overview 

UPDATE: LUSJ Endorsements

11/03/2009

LFD "YES", Council "No"

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and the LUSJ reporting that the city council is not happy with the current negotiated fire department pact.

The firefighters union announced Monday that its members have proposed five-year labor contract with the city.

The Common Council has not agreed to the deal, however, and according to Council President John Lombardi III, isn’t likely to.
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“What’s on the table is a good start, but there are some things we absolutely do not want to be locked into,” Mayor Michael Tucker added.
 Details are in the LUSJ article.

Last post on this subject with comments is here.