Local bishops write historic joint pastoral letter (WIVB, Ch 4 Dec. 15, 2014)

Buffalo bishops say region's economic progress should also benefit immigrants and the poor (Buffalo News, Dec 10, 2014) 

The bishops of Buffalo’s Catholic and Episcopal dioceses have written a joint pastoral letter urging church members to help make sure immigrants, minorities and the poor, among others, share in the region’s economic progress.

While noting new development and revitalization in Buffalo, Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Bishop R. William Franklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York said not everyone is benefiting.

“Blacks and Hispanics still live in poverty in greater proportion than do other groups in our population,” the two bishops wrote in the letter to distributed in churches this weekend. “Children still go to bed hungry. Jobs and security elude too many families.” Read More


Snowvember storm interrupts burials at Lackawanna cemetery (Buffalo News, Nov. 29, 2014)

Even the dead were affected by the lake-effect storm that dumped up to 7 feet of snow on a half million people in the Snow Belt.

At the 166-year-old Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, the Snowvember storm knocked down trees, made cemetery roads impassable, prevented employees from getting into work and delayed a dozen burials.

Bodies were stored in local funeral homes for as long as six days while cemetery employees waited for the weather to improve, said Ronald Paszek, superintendent of the cemetery near Our Lady of Victory Basilica run by Buffalo’s Catholic Diocese. Read More.


Another Voice: Efforts by the diocese to recruit priests are bearing fruit 

(Nov. 23, 2014)

Recent letters to The News have painted a picture of the Catholic Church at a crossroads. Indeed, the Catholic Church faces significant challenges when it comes to ministry, where needs are mushrooming.

This is nothing new. Jesus states in the Gospel, “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few, so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” The Catholic Church has always been looking for talented, dedicated harvest workers and there never seem to be enough because the harvest is so plentiful.

Bishop Richard J. Malone, the Diocese of Buffalo’s Office of Vocations and Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora have made it a priority to educate and equip harvest workers for the Buffalo Diocese’s growing field.

These harvest workers include priests, deacons, women and men religious and the laity. Programs at the seminary and other sites across Western New York prepare these and others for the gift and challenge of ministry. Read More. 

Appellate court backs Maid of the Mist (Business First, Oct 6, 2014) 

The Maid of the Mist Corp. has won its latest legal battle against Niagara Falls interests who felt the company’s off-season storage and maintenance facilities were given various municipal approval without full reviews.

Not so, says the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court. The court’s five justices unanimously agreed all environmental studies were properly completed and no short cuts were taken in five decisions made by the jurists. The decision was released late on Oct. 3.  Read More.

Court rulings favor Maid of the Mist (Buffalo News, Oct 4, 2014) 

The Maid of the Mist is staying right where it is, at least for now.

The Niagara Falls tour boat company and its allies fended off two more legal challenges Friday in an ongoing battle with its competitor on the Canadian side.

A state appeals court in Rochester upheld two lower court decisions giving the company the right to build a boat dock and storage facility on the U.S. side of the Falls.

“It’s a complete victory,” said Brian G. Gwitt, a Maid of the Mist attorney. “They’re both unanimous and both completely reaffirm the trial court.”  Read More.

Old-school teaching is out (Business First, Oct 3, 2014)

At Sts. Peter and Paul School this year, a science teacher and music teacher formulated a lesson together.

The lesson involved the “science of sound” and allowed students to test things such as how temperature affects the tone of instruments.

It’s a small example of a major shift in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s elementary schools, which underwent a high-profile consolidation last year that cut their numbers from 45 to 35 in Western New York. Read More. 

Bold plan for East Side wins some praise, but is a nonstarter at City Hall (Buffalo News, Oct 2, 2014)

Convince the city to move Police Headquarters to the East Side. Then do the same with the Fire Department.

Next, persuade the many nonprofits that occupy Buffalo’s grandest mansions along Delaware Avenue to pick up and move east, too.

Then sell the old headquarters and the mansions. Those revenues would help the city and the nonprofits, while returning $20 million in real estate to the tax rolls.

At the same time, a critical mass of workers would move to a part of the city that desperately needs them.

Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs has been talking up this vision to revitalize the vast unused parts of the Broadway Market and surrounding buildings all summer. Read More. 

Another Voice: Catholic schools stress creative thinking by students (Buffalo News, Sept 5, 2014)

How are we going to best prepare our students for their future? If creativity in action is asking different questions, then innovation in action is creating unique answers.

With the start of the new academic year, Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Buffalo are embarking on a bold new initiative designed to prepare our students for successful careers in the 21st century workforce.

STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, the arts and math) is an expansion of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Our Catholic schools are rooted in faith, so we’ve taken the principles of STEM education, infused religion across all subject areas and emphasized the arts to provide our students with the creative thinking necessary to communicate and apply STEM skills in the real world.  Read More

Another Voice: Home construction a key part of region's renaissance (Buffalo News, August 18, 2014) 

Construction cranes soaring over downtown Buffalo are visual reminders of the long-awaited economic resurgence happening now in and around the city. Another key component of the story is the continued strength of new home construction, now in its third consecutive year.

Our trust in the local market is reflected in a nationwide trend. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported in July that builder confidence for newly built single-family homes was up four points, signaling that a majority of builders see sales conditions as good. You can certainly count Marrano Homes in that group.  Read More


Sevenson drivers honored for safety behind the wheel (Niagara Frontier Publications, August 14, 2014)

More than 1 million miles of accident-free hours

Sevenson Environmental Services Inc. of Niagara Falls has honored four of its tractor-trailer drivers for a combined 1.2 million miles of safe driving.

Arthur Carter, Chet Wordon and Paul Kephart, all of Niagara Falls, and Mark Jeffords of Youngstown, received bonus checks from Sevenson President and CEO Alan Elia for their focus on safety behind the wheel.  Read more 

Seminary for Buffalo Catholic Diocese sees increase in men studying for priesthood (Buffalo News, August 11, 2014) 

An uptick in men studying to be priests has emerged as a bright spot for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo – challenged for years by membership declines, parish mergers and school closings.

Next week, Christ the King Seminary in the Town of Aurora will welcome its largest contingent of seminarians in two decades. Thirty-nine men – including 11 new enrollees – are expected to arrive at the 132-acre campus to study for the priesthood. Read More. 

After two years as Buffalo bishop, challenges confront Malone (Buffalo News, August 9, 2014)

The 26 teenagers sat stone silent as Bishop Richard J. Malone stepped down from the altar to talk with them about the sacrament of confirmation during Mass inside St. Francis of Assisi Church in Athol Springs.

A confirmation service often is the only direct interaction that many Catholics experience with a bishop in their lifetimes, and Malone, sensing timidity in this group, encouraged them not to be afraid “to talk in church when the bishop asks you to.” Read More. 


St. John Baptist Fruit Belt CDC changes High Street market plans (Business First, July 16, 2014)

History is being preserved, after all, on Buffalo’s East Side.

Citing concerns and the outcry over plans to raze a Civil War-era but dilapidated High Street house, the St. John Baptist Fruit Belt Community Development Corp. has shifted its plans to construct a full service market to another site almost across the street from the landmark. The proposal, which surfaced at Tuesday’s Buffalo Planning Board meeting, is an about face from St. John Baptist Fruit Belt CDC that was offered earlier this year. At the time, the organization wanted to demolish the house to make way for the two-story, 7,000-square-foot market.

Preservationists cried foul over the prospects of losing the house, even in its poor shape.

Instead, representatives from St. John Baptist Fruit Belt CDC are working with city officials to obtain parcels along High Street between Locust and Mulberry streets that will house the market, pharmacy and a 35-car parking lot. That deal should be finalized in the next few weeks. Read More. 

Westwood reinvention plan faces at least a year in review (The Buffalo News, July 11, 2014)

The proposal to build a sprawling $238 million mixed-use “neighborhood” at the struggling Westwood Country Club in Amherst faces at least a year of scrutiny before any construction could begin.

The vast plan unveiled Thursday calls for developing a 170-acre parcel in the heart of a town that has seen citizens organize and protest much smaller projects.

Put forth by Mensch Capital Partners LLC, the investor group that purchased the country club two years ago, the plan envisions a variety of housing for 1,700 people, storefronts, offices, a hotel and parkland. Read More. 

Kevin Keenan Interviewed on CBS Evening News (June 15th, 2014)

Cuomo's Cardinal Sin: Did the governor lie to the Bishops? (New York Post, May 29th 2014)

There’s no way around it. Someone’s fibbing. And it’s either our governor or our cardinal.

Back in April, after an education-tax-credit bill failed to make it into the state budget, Timothy Cardinal Dolan took to the pages of the New York Post to complain he and his brother bishops had been assured the credit was a done deal.

“Those assurances,” the cardinal wrote, “turned out to be empty.”

The cardinal didn’t name names. But let’s see if we can guess.  Read More 

Competing boat companies work on sharing waters at the base of Niagara Falls (Niagara Gazette, May 25th 2014) 

Captain John Williams has been navigating the waters below Niagara Falls for 20 years. He’s now sharing those waters with captains from another company for the first time.

Williams is a long-time employee of the the Maid of the Mist, the tourist attraction that began as a ferry service in 1846 and has been operating continuously from both sides of the river for the past 129 years.

He said that while sharing the waters with captains he does not know well is different, the plan is the same.

“So far nothing’s changed, really,” Williams said.  Read More


Maid of the Mist launches 2014 season (Time Warner Cable News. May 11th, 2014) 


 Maid of the Mist to launch for 129th consecutive season May 10 (May 7, 2014)

  Niagara Falls, NY — May 7, 2014 — Celebrities, world leaders and      tourists from Canada and around the world will once again have a chance  to ride the iconic Maid of the Mist when the boats are launched in  Niagara Falls, N.Y., beginning Saturday, May 10, at 10 a.m.  The Maid’s  2014 season marks the 129th consecutive year for one of North  America’s longest running tourist attractions, and one that has long been  considered a “must do” for Niagara Falls visitors from around the world.

  “For 129 years, the Maid of the Mist has been on the bucket-list of the  world’s most famous, and not so famous visitors to Niagara Falls, and  2014 continues this genuine tradition,” said Christopher Glynn, president of the Maid of the Mist.

All mothers will ride free on Mother’s Day, in honor of the 80th birthday of James Glynn, Chairman of the Maid of the Mist Corp.  2014 also marks James Glynn’s 64th consecutive season with the Maid of the Mist. 

Read More 

WIVB Ch 4: Maid of the Mist boats lowered into the river (May 6th, 2014)

WIVB-TV:  Later ice boom removal delays Maid of the Mist (Apr. 11, 2014)

St. Ann’s Still Stands: Vatican Rules U.S. Diocese Can’t Close Inner-City Church (National Catholic Register Feb 20, 2014)

A long-shot appeal to the Vatican has given a small band of parishioners in Buffalo, N.Y., a chance to save their church as a worship site, after it had been closed by the local diocese. Read More

Allie_Martucci_web_2_5_14.jpgAllie Martucci joins Keenan Communications Group (Feb. 5, 2014)

Keenan Communications Group has hired Allie Martucci of Clarence as an associate. Martucci will focus on social media and public relations.

In 2013, Martucci graduated from Niagara University with a degree in Sport Management/Sport Operations. While enrolled at Niagara, she interned with the Buffalo Sabres Public Relations and Community Relations departments, and the Buffalo Bands Public Relations department.

Allie's social media public relations experience makes her a perfect fit for our team," said Kevin Keenan, president and CEO of Keenan Communications Group. "She will play a key role in the continued growth of KCG.

Martucci is also active in the community. She volunteers for the Clarence Schools Enrichment Foundation, and has worked with the Clarence High School Football Booster Club and the Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic.

Diocese of Buffalo on St. Ann's: 'Demolition has never been our driving force' (The Buffalo News Jan. 27, 2014)

In my column yesterday about ongoing efforts to save St. Ann's Church from the wrecking ball, I criticized the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for its all-or-nothing philosophy regarding the future of the beloved structure.

Today, the diocese amended its Jan. 21 press release on a recent Vatican decision to prevent the church's deconsecration -- and therefore sale or demolition -- with the following paragraph: Read More

Maid of the Mist takes iconic marketing twist (Buffalo Business First Jan. 23, 2014)

maid_1-23-14.jpgIn a new ad campaign for Maid of the Mist Corp., well-known American landmarks including Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty and Lincoln Memorial are featured, but with a twist: each are draped in the iconic, blue Maid of the Mist poncho.

Eric Mower + Associates created the campaign after being tasked with revamping the brand to attract tourists at the base of Niagara Falls.

Maid of the Mist will be offering boat tours of the American side of the Falls from April to October. The company lost its long-held rights on the Canadian side of the cataracts to California-based Hornblower Cruises & Events Inc., which entered into a long-term pact with the Niagara Parks Commission.

Niagara Falls-based Maid of the Mist continues its contract with New York state. The new Maid campaign features the tagline: America’s Most Monumental Experience since 1846. The Lincoln Memorial versions have already begun running in the Northeast.

Over the next year, ads will roll out in national and international tourism outlets.

Buffalo bishop, GOP political opponent sharply criticize Cuomo over ‘extremist’ remarks (The Buffalo News, Jan. 23, 2014)

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo came under attack Wednesday from the head of the Catholic Diocese in Buffalo and from a Republican who is eyeing a possible run against him for his recent remarks about “extremist conservatives” having no place in New York.

While the Cuomo administration has sought to downplay the firestorm by saying the governor was talking about far-right political candidates and not right-of-center residents, there has been no softening of condemnation against Cuomo for the remarks he made last week on a public radio interview.

Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone on Wednesday called the comments by Cuomo “the best example of extremism I’ve heard for a long time.” See video below Read More

Bishop Malone announces revitalization of Catholic elementary schools (Western New York Catholic, Jan. 23, 2014)

Three years of exhaustive research, collaboration and consultation culminated today (Jan. 15, 2014), with the announcement by the Diocese of Buffalo of the implementation of "Faith in Tomorrow," the strategic vision for Catholic elementary schools.

Bishop Richard J. Malone, Bishop of Buffalo, said the diocese and The BISON Fund are collaborating on a plan to fund new scholarships for students who have applied to transfer out of low performing Buffalo elementary schools. "We are involved in preliminary discussions with the BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund regarding a scholarship program which could potentially increase Catholic school enrollment and positively affect the future of our elementary schools." Read more

Diocese prepares strategic plan to save Catholic education as schools brace for shake-up (The Buffalo News, Jan. 6, 2014)

With steep recent enrollment declines and a similarly bleak outlook for the future, the Diocese of Buffalo prepares to strategically close some of its remaining 51 elementary schools and merge others into "community" schools READ MORE

Statement from former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello in response to Rob Astorino’s “Mafia Boss” Comments (July 28, 2014)

During a campaign stop in Albany today (July 28, 2014), Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino compared Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a “mafia boss.”

"To suggest that he was suggesting to the commission members where they should go with an investigation is like a mafia boss coming forward and saying that he wants to make a suggestion, an offer you can't refuse," Astorino said "That clearly is intimidation." (Syracuse Post-Standard)

Anthony Masiello, former three-term Mayor of Buffalo, responded with the following statement:

I find Rob Astorino’s choice of words highly offensive and in stark contrast to Andrew Cuomo’s inclusive agenda of bringing out the best in people, building on their strengths.  Divisive comments like these have no place in New York politics.  You would think that in 2014, we would be well beyond perpetuating these types of negative stereotypes.  New York is a progressive, diverse state, and we don’t judge people based on their ethnicity, the color of their skin or their religion.  Italian Americans have helped to make New York the great state that it is.  These comments show a clear lack of understanding and have no place in a campaign that is about building a better New York, something Governor Cuomo focuses on every day.  Download the statement

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