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Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal threatened by possible lawsuit

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Buffalo, New York — The property at 605 Forest in Buffalo was the center of attention at last night’s public meeting held at the offices of Forever Elmwood on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Construction Services Corporation, confirmed last night that the company will be seeking a variance for the 605 Forest property. Originally, both the 605 and 607 Forest Avenue properties were going to have variances placed on them. As it stands, 607 Forest will not be directly affected by the proposal, should it go forward. Both 605 and 607 are currently occupied by residents.

During Monday night’s meeting, Pano Georgiadis, owner of 605 Forest and owner of Pano’s Resuraunt at 1081 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, threatened to “sue” Savarino Construction if they tried to obtain a variance on his property to build the Elmwood Village Hotel.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposal by Savarino Construction that would be placed on the corner of Forest and Elmwood in Buffalo. In order for the project to move forward, at least five buildings (1119-1121 Elmwood) which include both residences and businesses will have to be demolished. The hotel was designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. Although the properties are “under contract,” according to Hassett, it is unclear whether Savarino Construction owns the properties. Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo Mayoral candidate, is still believed to own them.

Currently, none of the properties is zoned for a hotel.

A freelance journalist writing for Wikinews asked Hassett what kind of zoning permit they [Savarino] would be applying for and, if 605 Forest is included, what zone that would be.

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

“There is a ‘special development plan’ in front of the council, which changes only one thing about the zoning. It allows one permitted use for just a hotel. The rest of the zoning remains as it is under the current Elmwood Business District zoning. 605 and 607 Forest are not required for the project. They are not part of the footprint for the project. Let me answer this question again. This is on the record, in council: 605 needs to be rezoned in order to facilitate the project because of the sideyard requirement. Anything in C-2 is excluded besides the hotel. So we’ve taken the C-2 and included the hotel as a permitted use, and excluded everything else and everything else remains the same.”

However, during the February 28 Common Council meeting, Hassett was quoted as saying that the two properties were “off the agenda.”

“Now Karl said, at the last meeting, that they will build this hotel right on the borderline [property line]. If a wall forty-five to fifty feet high goes next to this house, of course it’s not right. You really have to go with whatever the city code says, so you have to get back as many feet as the city code says,” said Georgiadis.

“If you try to get a variance to change the code, I will sue you. This is my home, number one,” added Georgiadis. “First of all I think we are all wasting our time here, you [Savarino], have already made up your mind, but if you go against city code, and you try to do the most rooms with a minimal amount of parking, again, I will sue you. If you build a hotel, in my idea its going to fail. It’s doomed, ok. [If] it’s going to be a home for the disabled, for the homeless, for recovery people, but that’s another story. Then how is it going to be when we say, well I told you so? You will be over and done with. Its very hard to take a four story building [hotel] down.”

Georgiadis stated last night that he was against the proposal and signed a petition to stop it, jokingly saying, “this isn’t a paper to sign to build the hotel, is it? Don’t make me sign the wrong thing.”

Joseph Golombeck, district councilman, was at Monday’s public meeting and said, “we also did request this and the reason we are doing this as a special business district is so that it has to be this specific plan. They [Savarino] can’t go halfway through it and in six months decide that [the hotel] it’s going to be three floors. They can’t decide it’s going to be five floors. It has to be, per law, exactly what it is that they brought to us [the public] so far, and then ultimately to the City of Buffalo Common Council when it’s approved. So if it gets approved, it has to be this specific, exact project. They couldn’t make it fifty parking spots, they couldn’t make it thirty. It has to be specifically what they have right here.”

A man who lives on Granger Street in Buffalo attended the meeting, speaking in favor of the hotel development. He claimed, “There are a lot of low property values. Hopefully if we embrace development, our property values, for those of us who have property, will go up. There are a lot of people unfortunately, who are working hard, that do not get a chance to come to these meetings. I myself was at work and wasn’t able to go to the last two meetings. I express that we appreciate that you [Savarino] invest in the City of Buffalo and for what you hope, because I do not think Savarino is into losing money. These people are not in business to be losing money here. They are hoping for the success of this [the hotel] more than any one of us. They are hoping that the property values in this area will go up more than any one of us, because it will benefit them [the residents and business owners], more than any one of us. I want this city to develop. I don’t think anybody else is here understanding that we’re looking for development in this city, we are looking for the city to get better. The councilman here is not interested in Buffalo failing.”

Evelyn Bencinich, resident of Granger Street, would have the hotel directly behind her home, if it were to be built.

“What about construction [time]? Is that just for the exterior, the nine months? Or does that include the interior? Is there going to be blasting through bedrock? Is there property protection for damage? Are you [Savarino and the Frizlen Group] responsible?”, asked Bencinich.

According to Frizlen, there is a layer of solid bedrock at least 30 feet from the surface of the land saying, “we anticipate that the bedrock is at least thirty feet down.” He also admitted that “we haven’t done any soil sporrings,” but did say “the bedrock is somewhere in between twenty-five and thirty feet [down], we don’t need to go that deep. So blasting is most likely out of it [the question].”

“Personally, I can only speak from the city side, but a few years ago we rebuilt Vulcan Street, in the northwest corner of Buffalo, and there were a couple of properties that were damaged and they [the owners] were able to file a claim against the company that did the work and they won in each case. It was the same thing with a school that was built on Military Road. There were a couple of problems with foundations on a couple of properties, and they weren’t sure if caused by the school or not, but the insurance company ended up paying them,” answered Golombeck.

“I would assume that Savarino is insured with someone. So if there is a problem with anything that happens to your properties, what I would recommend is that anybody that lives on Granger Place, if this does go through, that you get pictures taken of your basement and of your foundations, because God forbid if there is a problem, you want to have an[sic] before and after [picture]. You don’t want to come afterwards and there’s a crack in there [foundation] and you have no way of proving that it happened,” added Golombeck.

According to Golombeck, the properties that Mobius owns have been “in housing court on several occasions, but has a date of April 11, 2006 that he is going back [to court] for these properties. So it is in housing court and I wouldn’t know Mr. Mobius if he walked in this room right now,” stated Golombeck.

“I’ve gone after him on numerous occasions and everytime he gets out of housing court with a slap on the wrist. If I am a conspiracy theorist and say that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. I can only get him into housing court. Once he’s in housing court, the judge rules on it. Now I don’t mean to take any shots at previous administrations, but I am hoping with the new administration, being in here, that the inspections department is going to be a much better department than it has been for the previous several years.”

The city’s Planning Board on March 14, 2006, agreed to send the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal back to the Common Council so that it may “be opened back up to discussion from the public.”

On March 2, 2006 the Common Council sent the proposal “to committee” for further discussion and also requesting that the public be “engaged further.”

During that meeting, Justin Azzeralla, Executive Director for Forwever Elmwood, said that the organization “supports the hotel project.”

Also on March 2, the planning board agreed to table, or postpone, any decision on the hotel proposal for at least thirty days, also citing the need for the public to be “more engaged.”

The Common Council is expected to meet on March 21, 2006 at 2:00pm local time where they may approve or deny the proposal.

According to The Buffalo News, at least six Common Council members support the hotel project and are pledging to vote to approve it at the meeting on Tuesday, March 21.

However, the city’s Planning Board will get the final say on the project.

2008 Taiwan Designers’ Week shows potential of innovations

Monday, June 30, 2008

Vastly different from the YODEX, mainly focused on students’ designs, the 2008 2nd Taiwan Designers’ Week, a collective show organized by Taiwan Designers’ Web for industrial designs and individual design studios, took place at the Xinyi Public Assembly Hall, formally known as “Si-Si Nan Cun (in Chinese: ????)” and entitled the theme of “Design & Beyond”.

This professional exhibition featured topical designs including “Play with the Eating Culture”, “Wall”, “The Story of Paper-Cutting”, “Basket”, “Between On and Off”, “50 Pleasures in the Study – Dian Shin Refreshment 2008”, “Reincarnation”, and “NoName Design”, at Xinyi Public Assembly Hall; “City Yeast 2008?Balcony Project” at Xue Xue Institute from June 26th to July 8th; “Having A Perfect Life Is Easy” at Taipei Artist Village from June 27th to July 7th. In addition, The XRANGE Studio also created a giant floating cloud at Central Square of Xinyi Public Assembly Hall.

Innovative designs in this exhibition showcased different topical elements on environment, modern lifestyle, current incident, and subculture. Those reflect the achievements by professional designers in Taiwan as Taiwan’s designs were affirmed in several international design competitions including G-mark, Red Dot, and iF.

After this exhibition, Taiwan Design Center, the show co-organizer, scheduled several upcoming competitions and shows from this August to October including “Taiwan Design Expo”, “Taiwan Design Award”, “Taiwan International Design Competition”, and “Creative Taiwan”.

U.S. superbug expected to emerge in Canada

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

An infectious superbug spreading in the United States is to “emerge in force” in Canada, doctors fear. The bacteria have been reported popping up in day care centers and locker rooms across the U.S. Usually elderly or very ill hospital patients get the disease.

More than 2 million U.S. residents are infected every year, the Centers for Disease Control estimates.

An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on Tuesday said that Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are “spreading with alarming rapidity.” The bacteria can cause boils, pimples, or in extreme cases, flesh-eating disease, and more.

“The resistant bacteria is an old foe with new fangs: a pathogen combining virulence, resistance and an ability to disseminate at large,” wrote Dr. John Conly, medical professor and an infectious disease specialist at the University of Calgary.

British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario are the provinces which already have had MRSA in hospitals.

A 30-year-old Calgary, Alberta man died last year of lung abscesses associated with the infection, as well as a three-month old toddler in Toronto, Ontario.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios, last summer, suffered from an infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus in his leg. Pitcher Ty Taubenheim had a similar infection on his foot.

Doctors are currently investigating some Calgary residents, who could be one of the first Canadian reports of MRSA outside of a hospital setting.

Rep. Barbara Lee calls for U.S. Congress probe into Iraq War planning

Friday, July 22, 2005

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), co-chairwoman of the Out of Iraq Caucus and a member of the International Affairs Committee, along with 26 co-sponsors, proposed yesterday a Resolution of Inquiry in the House of Representatives which, if passed, will require the White House and the State Department to“transmit all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq.” The resolution, was submitted in the House of Representatives and referred to the U.S. House Committee on International Relations.

The resolution comes in response to questions that have been raised about the handling of pre-war intelligence by the Bush administration, and the planning and execution of the Iraq war. “We would like to see a member of Congress look into whether or not the president committed impeachable offenses,” said John Bonifaz, a constitutional lawyer. “We’ve been having that discussion with a number of offices.”

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary Minority leader, recently met with John Bonifaz and representatives. But Conyers is reluctant to take such a bold step just yet. “My inclination at this time is not to do something like that,” Conyers said, although he noted that he wanted to press for an investigation in other ways, including sending committee investigators to London.

Earlier this month, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said at a forum held by Conyers “If you read the record of the writing of the Constitution, ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ had a very particular meaning at the time of the drafting of the Constitution. It certainly didn’t mean lying about sex, but it might well mean lying to the Congress about a large public purpose such as Iraq.”, referring to Republican’s filing of such a resolution in 1998 in an effort to remove Bill Clinton from office.

Rep. Barbara Lee’s resolution of inquiry is a less-drastic parliamentary maneuver that would ask the administration to provide more information related to the claims in classified British memos that suggest that pre-war intelligence in Iraq was “fixed” in order to justify the invasion. The Resolution of Inquiry is a privileged resolution, which means that if it is not acted on in 14 legislative days after it is introduced, the member of Congress who introduced it is entitled to request that it be brought to the House floor for a vote. The committee may take the matter up right away, and could vote it down before the August recess. If they do not, they will be required to take it up by September 16th.

RESOLUTION

Requesting the President and directing the Secretary of State to transmit to the House of Representatives not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution all information in the possession of the President and the Secretary of State relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to thepolicy of the United States with respect to Iraq.

Resolved, That not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution—

(1) the President is requested to transmit to the House of Representatives all documents, including telephone and electronic mail records, logs, calendars, minutes, and memos, in the possession of the President relating to communications with officials of the United Kingdom from January 1, 2002, to October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq, including any discussions or communications between the President or other Administration officials and officials of the United Kingdom that occurred before the meeting on July 23, 2002, at 10 Downing Street in London, England, between Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom intelligence officer Richard Dearlove, and other national security officials of the Blair Administration; and

(2) the Secretary of State is directed to transmit to the House of Representatives all documents, including telephone and electronic mail records, logs, calendars, minutes, memos, and records of internal discussions, in the possession of the Secretary relating to communications with officials of the United Kingdom from January 1, 2002, to October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq, including any discussions or communications between the Secretary of State or other officials of the Department of State and officials of the United Kingdom that occurred before the meeting on July 23, 2002, at 10 Downing Street in London, England, between Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom intelligence officer Richard Dearlove, and other national security officials of the Blair Administration.

  • Rep. John Conyers
  • Rep. Tammy Baldwin
  • Rep. William Lacy Clay
  • Rep. Danny Davis
  • Rep. William Delahunt
  • Rep. Lane Evans
  • Rep. Sam Farr
  • Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez
  • Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich
  • Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick
  • Rep. Jim McDermott
  • Rep. Jim Oberstar
  • Rep. Major R. Owens
  • Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.
  • Rep. Don Payne
  • Rep. Charles Rangel
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky
  • Rep. José E. Serrano
  • Rep. Pete Stark
  • Rep. Bennie Thompson
  • Rep. Diane Watson
  • Rep. Robert Wexler
  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey

John Reed on Orwell, God, self-destruction and the future of writing

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It can be difficult to be John Reed.

Christopher Hitchens called him a “Bin Ladenist” and Cathy Young editorialized in The Boston Globe that he “blames the victims of terrorism” when he puts out a novel like Snowball’s Chance, a biting send-up of George Orwell‘s Animal Farm which he was inspired to write after the terrorist attacks on September 11. “The clear references to 9/11 in the apocalyptic ending can only bring Orwell’s name into disrepute in the U.S.,” wrote William Hamilton, the British literary executor of the Orwell estate. That process had already begun: it was revealed Orwell gave the British Foreign Office a list of people he suspected of being “crypto-Communists and fellow travelers,” labeling some of them as Jews and homosexuals. “I really wanted to explode that book,” Reed told The New York Times. “I wanted to completely undermine it.”

Is this man who wants to blow up the classic literary canon taught to children in schools a menace, or a messiah? David Shankbone went to interview him for Wikinews and found that, as often is the case, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Reed is electrified by the changes that surround him that channel through a lens of inspiration wrought by his children. “The kids have made me a better writer,” Reed said. In his new untitled work, which he calls a “new play by William Shakespeare,” he takes lines from The Bard‘s classics to form an original tragedy. He began it in 2003, but only with the birth of his children could he finish it. “I didn’t understand the characters who had children. I didn’t really understand them. And once I had had kids, I could approach them differently.”

Taking the old to make it new is a theme in his work and in his world view. Reed foresees new narrative forms being born, Biblical epics that will be played out across print and electronic mediums. He is pulled forward by revolutions of the past, a search for a spiritual sensibility, and a desire to locate himself in the process.

Below is David Shankbone’s conversation with novelist John Reed.

Contents

  • 1 On the alternative media and independent publishing
  • 2 On Christopher Hitchens, Orwell and 9/11 as inspiration
  • 3 On the future of the narrative
  • 4 On changing the literary canon
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On politics
  • 7 On self-destruction and survival
  • 8 On raising children
  • 9 On paedophilia and the death penalty
  • 10 On personal relationships
  • 11 Sources
  • 12 External links

Australian artist Pro Hart dies

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pro Hart, the self-taught, internationally-acclaimed Australian artist, died at home in Broken Hill on March 28 after family members decided to cease his medication. The 77-year-old had been ill with motor neurone disease. Family members described his passing as peaceful. Hart is a household name in Australia.

Hart’s son, John Hart, says a State funeral is being organised for his father. He says his father lost the ability to paint about six months ago. Pro Hart’s son David today said the funeral for the “brushman of the bush” will be held in the far-western New South Wales mining city of Broken Hill next Tuesday. “It will be held next Tuesday”, he said, “probably in the town’s civic centre.”

Born Kevin Charles Hart in Broken Hill on May 30, 1928, his mining mates nicknamed him ‘Professor’ due to his passion for invention. He started painting “cheeky” pictures on the wooden beams of the mines he worked in. Hart went to few art classes and started painting full-time in 1958.

Since then, he has exhibited all over the world, including London, New York, Paris and Tokyo. He also illustrated several books. Hart’s preoccupation with art began as a teenager on his family’s sheep station near Menindee.

His work hangs in collections all over the world. Agent Amanda Phillips says Hart was one of Australia’s most renowned artists yet his paintings are not in the National Gallery of Australia. “He’s a great Australian, I mean he’s been given an MBE for his services to art, he’s been honoured all around the world, his work hangs in major collections around the world, why isn’t he displayed here in Australia? A spokeswoman for the National Gallery confirmed they had a “very limited collection” of Pro Hart’s works although no paintings.

Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

Earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant triggers evacuation

Friday, March 11, 2011

File:Fukushima-1.JPG

Japan’s government has declared its first ever “nuclear emergency” after pressure rises in the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, combined with a minor radiation leak, caused a 10 km radius around the plant to be evacuated. An attempt to relieve the pressure inside the containment vessels of the plant has been delayed.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company’s 40-year old nuclear facility, 270 km NE of Tokyo, reported mechanical difficulties with its cooling system, although the automated shutdown systems worked correctly. With the core reaction shut down the plant is no longer actively generating heat, but the fuel rods continue to generate excess heat and radiation and need constant cooling.

The cooling system runs a constant flow of water to take the heat away from the submerged fuel rods, but the pumping system requires electricity to operate even after the plant is no longer producing electricity itself—generally from back-up diesel or natural gas generators.

Website of Bill O’Reilly, FOX News commentator, hacked in retribution

Saturday, September 20, 2008

According to document-leaking website Wikileaks.org hackers bypassed security at BillOreilly.com, the official website of Fox News Channel commentator Bill O’Reilly, exposing personal information of the site’s users in a document posted on the Internet.

The one page document, which Wikileaks confirms to be authentic, shows a list of individuals and passwords of those who have accounts on O’Reilly’s website, BillOReilly.com. The list, according to the document, contains at least 205 names, e-mail addresses, billing addresses and passwords of subscribers.

“The hack was a response to the pundit’s recent scurrilous attacks over the Sarah Palin‘s email story–including on Wikileaks and other members of the press,” said Wikileaks in a statement on their website. According to the report, the security on O’Reilly’s website was “non-existent”.

“I’m not going to mention the website that posted this, but it’s one of those despicable, slimy, scummy websites. Everybody knows where this stuff is, OK, and they know the people who run the website, so why can’t they go there tonight to the guy’s house who runs it, put him in cuffs and take him down and book him?,” said O’Reilly on his show, The O’Reilly Factor, on September 18.

Wikileaks recently published documents from Palin’s hacked Yahoo.com e-mail account. The documents had shown that Palin had been conducting matters pertaining to the public or government of Alaska over her private e-mail account.

In an exclusive statement to Wikinews, Wikileaks stated that they will only publish the single page, but also claim to have several more. Wikileaks also states that they have already received “three letters” from staff members employed by O’Reilly “requesting” Wikileaks remove the document, which Wikileaks refuses to do.

“We simply cannot [remove the information]. The system, as per policy, is designed so that files can not be taken down, once up,” said Wikileaks to Wikinews.

O’Reilly and Fox News have not yet responded to inquiries.