Gasoline pipeline explosion in Nigeria kills hundreds

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Reports say that hundreds of people are dead after a gasoline pipeline exploded in the northern suburbs of Lagos, Nigeria on Tuesday.

“Some of the bodies were so burnt that it would be difficult to recognize them as those of human beings,” said one Red Cross official, Kingsley Amori.

The Red Cross says that many of the victims can only be identified by looking at the remains of their skulls. Estimates suggest that 200-900 people were killed, and another 60 people received medical treatment.

“The bodies are scattered over the ground. We can’t get close enough because the fire is still burning. We cannot confirm how many hundreds were killed.” said secretary-general of the Nigerian Red Cross, Ige Oladimeji.

The explosion is believed to have been caused by vandalization in the pipeline. Reports say that thieves used a drill to punch a hole in the pipeline in order to steal gasoline, which is sold on the black market.

Fuel was being pumped into the pipes to be distributed for consumer use when it exploded. The pipeline is operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which is owned by the State of Nigeria. Workers have stopped pumping fuel through the pipelines.

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Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed further

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “Old deeds threaten Buffalo, NY hotel development” — 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  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006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

Friday, March 10, 2006

Buffalo, New York —The Common Council of Buffalo voted on Tuesday to send the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal “to committee for further discussion”, after citing the need for more public involvement.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a development proposal by the Savarino Construction Services Corporation, a project designed by the architect Karl Frizlen of The Frizlen Group. The hotel would be placed on the southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo.

To make way for the project, at least five buildings located at 1109 to 1121 Elmwood Ave would be demolished. At least two properties on Forest Avenue could also be demolished. The Elmwood properties, according to Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarion Construction, are “under contract”, but it is unclear if Savarino Construction actually owns the Elmwood properties. Hans Mobius, a former mayorial candidate, is still believed to be the current owner the properties. Mobius also owns 607 Forest Avenue.

The properties 605 and 607 Forest Avenue could also be included in the proposal according to Hassett.

“We would use a Special Development Plan to rezone 1119-1121 Elmwood and 605 Forest to a C-2 zoning category,” stated Hassett. It is possible that Savarino Construction may try to obtain a variance for 605 Forest, which would allow them to enforce eminent domain, should the hotel be allowed to go forward.

The building at 607 Forest was also discussed to be rezoned, but it is unclear what the plans would be for that property. During the February 28 Common Council meeting, Hassett stated that the properties 605 and 607 were “now off the agenda”.

Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant at 1081 Elmwood, owns the property at 605 Forest and attended Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

“Having a hotel is a bright idea. We all love the idea of a hotel, but the way that it is presented, is wishful thinking. This hotel does not fit. It’s like putting two gallons of water in a gallon jug, it does not fit. At the last meeting, the architect admitted that they are planning to put the undergound parking lot and the hotel, right at the property line. If I open my window, I will be able to touch the wall, that goes fifty feet high”, said Georgiadis.

“There is a problem having a seventy-two room hotel and fifty-five parking spaces. That means that all the other cars will spill all over the neighborhood. The footprint is simply too small. If you have a bigger [parking] lot, and a smaller hotel, I will welcome a hotel. I have a parking lot at my own business, and I am chasing people all day long. Remember, the city says it has ‘zero tolerance [for illegal parking]’. Try telling that to the guy from Albany who came to see his kids, that are going to Buffalo State, who would get tickets totaling over a hundred dollars”, added Georgiadis.

The city’s Planning Board is scheduled to meet on March 14, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. about the proposal. Although a discussion will take place, no vote is expected to be taken.

At the moment, none of the properties are zoned for a hotel. Savarino Construction plans on asking for a C2 zoning permit. If that does not work, they plan to implement a new zoning plan called a “special development plan” which would allow for only a hotel on the site. That zone would not be able to be changed.

“This [project] justifies Mobius’s refusal to invest in any maitenance[sic] or improvements”, on the properties said Clarence Carnahan, a local resident. “Where were the Council persons over the years? Where were the city inspectors over the years, to make sure that he maintained and improved his properties? The government was supposed to be protecting, not being preditorial. I see a predatorial issue here when it comes to this hotel. Over the years: Why has the local government been disfunctional when it came to Mobius’s properties? Refusal to invest in improvements, doesn’t that sound like a slumlord? Maybe I am missing a point here, but what kind of messages does this send to other slumlords that havn’t[sic] been jailed or fined? It’s [the hotel] trying to be pushed through.”

Carnahan also presented signs for residents and or business owners who are opposed to the hotel, that could be placed in windows or on stakes in the yard. Some of the signs said, ‘No tell hotel’, ‘Hans off, no hotel’, ‘It takes more than a hotel to make a village’. and ‘Keep Elmwood free, no hotel’. Carnahan plans on making more signs for a protest to be held on Saturday March 18, at 2:00 p.m. (EST) on Elmwood and Forest. Some signs were given to individuals after the meeting.

“First things first, Hans is the problem, and I don’t think it has been addressed. Let’s roll back the clock on this project. What can we do with Hans? There is such thing as eminent domain, which could be of greater interest to the community, to seize the property at its lowest assessed value”, said Nancy Pollina, co-owner of Don Apparel with Patty Morris at 1119 Elmwood. “There are so many ideas that have not been explored and we are about to give this parcel away, to a big developer.”

Mobius has not returned any calls by Wikinews regarding the situation.

A freelance journalist writing for Wikinews has obtained a letter, exclusively, addressed to one of the five business owners from Hans Mobius stating:

There is a proposal to develop my property which you are currently renting. Because of opposition to this development, it does not look like it will happen. I will let you know if there any changes.

Despite the letter, there have been no plans or decisions made to end the proposal.

To date, none of the business owners or residents of 1119-1121 Elmwood have received an eviction notice.

Business owners and residents gave an indication of what they would like to see happen at the corner; a project similar to one done locally last year. There, developers renovated two buildings on Auburn and Elmwood Avenues, merging the buildings into one thus allowing for more shop space. Among some of the shops to move in after the development were Cone Five Pottery, The Ruby Slipper, and Abraham’s Jewelers. Prior to the renovation work, the left building in the picture was boarded up for several years. Many of the concerned locals would like to see a similar development on Forest and Elmwood.

Rocco Termini, a developer in Buffalo, proposed a similar design at the February 28 community meeting

In an interview after the February 28 meeting, Termini stated, “I will be willing to take a look at this myself, or I would be more than happy to be partners with Sam, Sam Savarino”, who is President and Chief Executive Officer of Savarino Construction Services Corp.

So far Savarino Construction has no plans to team up with Termini.

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Wikinews Shorts: January 10, 2010

A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, January 10, 2010.

 Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

Outgoing Croatian president Stjepan Mesi? pardoned 36-year-old Siniša Rimac, a convicted war criminal, jailed for eight years for participating in executions of Serb civilians back in 1991, when Croatia was at war with Serb forces. Among other crimes, he is guilty of killing a 12-year old girl. At that time he was part of a military unit led by Tomislav Mer?ep, who was never prosecuted.

Rimac’s jail term was shortened by one year, following president Mesi?’s decision.

Serbian president Boris Tadi? described the act as “anti-european” and “anti-civilisational” that cannot be justified.

Sources
  • “Mesic pardoned man convicted for murder of Serbian civilians” — Blic, January 8, 2010
  • “Tadi?: Pomilovanje ratnog zlo?inca anticivilizacijski ?in” — Jutarnji List, January 8, 2010
  • “Mesi? pomilovao ubojicu Rimca iz Pakra?ke poljane” — Jutarnji List, January 6, 2010

Mohamed Kohail, a Canadian resident convicted after a deadly school fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia will not be executed as originally sentenced. The country’s highest court, the Supreme Council, cancelled the death sentence but ordered that Kohail face retrial in the case. The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade confirmed this development on Saturday.

Kohail’s younger brother Sultan is also charged in this case and could also be sentenced to death as his case was moved from the youth court to the adult system. Both brothers deny that they had caused the death of Munzer Haraki during the 2007 brawl.

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

Sources
  • “Saudi court revokes Montrealer’s death sentence” — CBC News, January 9, 2010
  • Linda Nguyen. “Montreal man spared beheading for fatal school fight in Saudi Arabia” — Canwest News Service, January 9, 2010
  • Richard Deschamps. “Mohammed Kohail’s death sentence revoked” — CJAD, January 9, 2010

More than 4,000 police officers attended the funeral of Constable Ireneusz “Eric” Czapnik in Ottawa, Ontario on Thursday. Czapnik was stabbed to death outside the Ottawa Hospital‘s Civic campus the previous Tuesday while completing paperwork at his vehicle. He was the first Ottawa police officer to be killed on duty since 1983.

Kevin Gregson, a suspended RCMP officer, is charged in connection with Czapnik’s murder.

Sources

  • “Slain officer honoured at massive funeral” — CBC News, January 7, 2010
  • “Thousands gather to honour slain Ottawa cop” — Ottawa Citizen, January 7, 2010
  • Joanna Smith. “Thousands gather to honour slain Ottawa constable” — Toronto Star, January 7, 2010

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

At 6:30a.m. Friday local time (1230 UTC) a gunman entered an ABB factory in St. Louis, Missouri, and began shooting. At this time it appears that he had killed three and injured five others, then himself. St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom says, “”We are very confident that this is the shooter.” Reports say that there were two bodies found on the outside of the factory and two bodies, including that of the shooter, found on the interior.

Sources

  • “Gunman on rampage at Missouri factory” — BBC News Online, January 7, 2010
  • “ABB Has Received Reports Of A Shooting At Its St Louis Site” — Wall Street Journal, January 7, 2010
  • “8 people shot, 3 fatally, at St. Louis factory, police say” — CNN, January 7, 2010
  • Kim Bell. “Worker goes on rampage, shoots 8, kills 3 co-workers” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 7, 2010

A French court ruled in favor of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a fraud case where fraudsters stole money from his bank accounts. He was awarded one Euro (US$1.43, ?0.89) in damages.

Sources

  • “Sarkozy awarded €1 in fraud case” — Independent.ie, January 9, 2010
  • “France’s Sarkozy Awarded One Euro In Fraud Case” — New York Times, January 8, 2010

File:Gumby and Pokey – Bendable Figures.jpg

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

Art Clokey, a pioneer in the field of claymation, died Friday due to chronic disease. Clokey was well know for one of the characters he created, Gumby.

Sources

  • Jason Felch. “Art Clokey dies at 88; creator of Gumby” — Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2010
  • “Gumby creator pases away” — The Sydney Morning Herald, January 9, 2010

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Wikinews interviews Buddy Roemer, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

Sunday, October 30, 2011

U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate and former Governor Buddy Roemer of Louisiana took some time to answer a few questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Roemer served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1980s as a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected governor as a Democrat in 1987 before switching to the Republican Party ahead of the 1991 election for governor. That year, he lost the party’s primary to state legislator David Duke. After his governorship, Roemer worked as CEO of Business First Bank in Baton Rouge.

Roemer announced his candidacy for president back in July after exploring a bid for several months. He has focused his campaign on the issue of campaign finance reform, refusing to accept money from political action committees (PACs) and limiting individual campaign contributions to $100. He raised a total of $126,500 in the third quarter of 2011, far short of the $14.2 million raised by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

For his campaign, Roemer has adopted the slogan ‘Free to Lead’. He rails against corruption, special interests, and money in politics, and has expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street protests. Furthermore, he has taken issue positions in favor of fair trade, a balanced federal budget, and a strengthened national defense.

Roemer has not been invited to any national presidential debates. He has focused largely on the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, and recently signed up to appear on the state’s primary ballot. However, a recent University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll shows him with less than one percent support in the state. Pearson Cross of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette commented, “If Buddy can exceed expectations in New Hampshire or even sneak in and steal third — that would give a boost that he could build on”.

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Manchester City agree big money for Shaun Wright-Phillips to move to Chelsea FC

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Chelsea FC had a bid of £20,000,000 for the England winger rejected on Friday after they finally made their interest in the player official.

Shaun Wright-Phillips had declared on Friday he was happy to stay at Manchester City FC, but 24 hours later he asked City to agree a fee with Chelsea so that he could move to Stamford Bridge.

Both sides have now thrashed out a fee for Wright-Phillips and the flying winger has now been given permission to open talks with Chelsea.

“As a result of Shaun’s request to speak to Chelsea we have conducted a series of complex negotiations with Chelsea,” City’s communications chief, Paul Tyrrell.

“A fee for Shaun’s transfer of £21,000,000 has been agreed and consequently we have granted his wish to talk to the other club.”

Chelsea are hoping to tie up a deal with Wright-Phillips as soon as possible so that he can join them on their tour of the U.S.A next week.

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Albert Pujols ends his worst homerun drought

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dominican baseball player Albert Pujols earned his first home run after joining the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Besides hitting his 446th Major League home run, Pujols ended a personal drought by claiming his first regular-season long ball after 33 games and 139 plate appearances, including his last St. Louis Cardinals at-bats. Pujols snapped back at Anaheim and capped a 4-3 home-team win against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

The Dominican first baseman now has a career 1,336 runs batted in and a .326 batting average. Previously, Pujols had played for St. Louis for 11 seasons.

Since playing for the Angels, Pujols has been booed by Anaheim fans after his hits slipped to a .194 average over the past month. Pujols came to his new team with high expectations after signing a contract worth US$240 million.

For his part, Pujols offered the following explanation for his performance: “This game is about making adjustments and being patient…”

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Malware from mass SQL injections confirmed by security experts

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nearly 20,000 websites have been attacked by unknown malicious computer users using a technique known as an SQL injection. The attackers have inserted code to install malware onto visitors’ computers. The code exploits a newly-discovered weakness in Adobe Flash Player, a very common web-browser plugin. The attacks prompted an investigation by the Taiwanese information security industry into the source of these attacks.

An SQL injection is a common method employed by malicious users to attack and deface websites, arising from website mistakes in checking user input. Attackers take advantage of these weaknesses to inject information of their choosing into the website. For example, in June of 2007, Microsoft UK found its webpage changed to a picture of the Saudi Arabia flag, an attack which was carried out using an SQL injection.

According to SecurityFocus, this most recent series of attacks stems from a vulnerability in versions 9.0.115.0 and 9.0.124.0 of Flash Player. It allows attackers to load any code they wish onto a computer running these versions of Flash.

As the vulnerability in Flash is newly discovered, Adobe has not yet released a newer version which fixes the problem. For the time being, computer security experts recommend that internet users with one of the unprotected versions of Flash disable the plug-in on Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer to prevent malicious users from gaining control over their computers.

The most recent version of the Flash Player, version 9.0.124.0, does not appear to be vulnerable to this exploit.

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Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone is currently, courtesy of the Israeli government and friends, visiting Israel. This is a first-hand account of his experiences and may — as a result — not fully comply with Wikinews’ neutrality policy. Please note this is a journalism experiment for Wikinews and put constructive criticism on the collaboration page.

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Dr. Yossi Vardi is known as Israel’s ‘Father of the Entrepreneur’, and he has many children in the form of technology companies he has helped to incubate in Tel Aviv‘s booming Internet sector. At the offices of Superna, one such company, he introduced a whirlwind of presentations from his baby incubators to a group of journalists. What stuck most in my head was when Vardi said, “What is important is not the technology, but the talent.” Perhaps because he repeated this after each young Internet entrepreneur showed us his or her latest creation under Vardi’s tutelage. I had a sense of déjà vu from this mantra. A casual reader of the newspapers during the Dot.com boom will remember a glut of stories that could be called “The Rise of the Failure”; people whose technology companies had collapsed were suddenly hot commodities to start up new companies. This seemingly paradoxical thinking was talked about as new back then; but even Thomas Edison—the Father of Invention—is oft-quoted for saying, “I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

Vardi’s focus on encouraging his brood of talent regardless of the practicalities stuck out to me because of a recent pair of “dueling studies” The New York Times has printed. These are the sort of studies that confuse parents on how to raise their kids. The first, by Carol Dweck at Stanford University, came to the conclusion that children who are not praised for their efforts, regardless of the outcome’s success, rarely attempt more challenging and complex pursuits. According to Dweck’s study, when a child knows that they will receive praise for being right instead of for tackling difficult problems, even if they fail, they will simply elect to take on easy tasks in which they are assured of finding the solution.

Only one month earlier the Times produced another story for parents to agonize over, this time based on a study from the Brookings Institution, entitled “Are Kids Getting Too Much Praise?” Unlike Dweck’s clinical study, Brookings drew conclusions from statistical data that could be influenced by a variety of factors (since there was no clinical control). The study found American kids are far more confident that they have done well than their Korean counterparts, even when the inverse is true. The Times adds in the words of a Harvard faculty psychologist who intoned, “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments. It’s all about letting kids shine in a realistic way.” But this is not the first time the self-esteem generation’s proponents have been criticized.

Vardi clearly would find himself encouraged by Dweck’s study, though, based upon how often he seemed to ask us to keep our eyes on the people more than the products. That’s not to say he has not found his latest ICQ, though only time—and consumers—will tell.

For a Web 2.User like myself, I was most fascinated by Fixya, a site that, like Wikipedia, exists on the free work of people with knowledge. Fixya is a tech support site where people who are having problems with equipment ask a question and it is answered by registered “experts.” These experts are the equivalent of Wikipedia’s editors: they are self-ordained purveyors of solutions. But instead of solving a mystery of knowledge a reader has in their head, these experts solve a problem related to something you have bought and do not understand. From baby cribs to cellular phones, over 500,000 products are “supported” on Fixya’s website. The Fixya business model relies upon the good will of its experts to want to help other people through the ever-expanding world of consumer appliances. But it is different from Wikipedia in two important ways. First, Fixya is for-profit. The altruistic exchange of information is somewhat dampened by the knowledge that somebody, somewhere, is profiting from whatever you give. Second, with Wikipedia it is very easy for a person to type in a few sentences about a subject on an article about the Toshiba Satellite laptop, but to answer technical problems a person is experiencing seems like a different realm. But is it? “It’s a beautiful thing. People really want to help other people,” said the presenter, who marveled at the community that has already developed on Fixya. “Another difference from Wikipedia is that we have a premium content version of the site.” Their premium site is where they envision making their money. Customers with a problem will assign a dollar amount based upon how badly they need an answer to a question, and the expert-editors of Fixya will share in the payment for the resolved issue. Like Wikipedia, reputation is paramount to Fixya’s experts. Whereas Wikipedia editors are judged by how they are perceived in the Wiki community, the amount of barnstars they receive and by the value of their contributions, Fixya’s customers rate its experts based upon the usefulness of their advice. The site is currently working on offering extended warranties with some manufacturers, although it was not clear how that would work on a site that functioned on the work of any expert.

Another collaborative effort product presented to us was YouFig, which is software designed to allow a group of people to collaborate on work product. This is not a new idea, although may web-based products have generally fallen flat. The idea is that people who are working on a multi-media project can combine efforts to create a final product. They envision their initial market to be academia, but one could see the product stretching to fields such as law, where large litigation projects with high-level of collaboration on both document creation and media presentation; in business, where software aimed at product development has generally not lived up to its promises; and in the science and engineering fields, where multi-media collaboration is quickly becoming not only the norm, but a necessity.

For the popular consumer market, Superna, whose offices hosted our meeting, demonstrated their cost-saving vision for the Smart Home (SH). Current SH systems require a large, expensive server in order to coordinate all the electronic appliances in today’s air-conditioned, lit and entertainment-saturated house. Such coordinating servers can cost upwards of US$5,000, whereas Superna’s software can turn a US$1,000 hand-held tablet PC into household remote control.

There were a few start-ups where Vardi’s fatherly mentoring seemed more at play than long-term practical business modeling. In the hot market of WiFi products, WeFi is software that will allow groups of users, such as friends, share knowledge about the location of free Internet WiFi access, and also provide codes and keys for certain hot spots, with access provided only to the trusted users within a group. The mock-up that was shown to us had a Google Maps-esque city block that had green points to the known hot spots that are available either for free (such as those owned by good Samaritans who do not secure their WiFi access) or for pay, with access information provided for that location. I saw two long-term problems: first, WiMAX, which is able to provide Internet access to people for miles within its range. There is already discussion all over the Internet as to whether this technology will eventually make WiFi obsolete, negating the need to find “hot spots” for a group of friends. Taiwan is already testing an island-wide WiMAX project. The second problem is if good Samaritans are more easily located, instead of just happened-upon, how many will keep their WiFi access free? It has already become more difficult to find people willing to contribute to free Internet. Even in Tel Aviv, and elsewhere, I have come across several secure wireless users who named their network “Fuck Off” in an in-your-face message to freeloaders.

Another child of Vardi’s that the Brookings Institution might say was over-praised for self-esteem but lacking real accomplishment is AtlasCT, although reportedly Nokia offered to pay US$8.1 million for the software, which they turned down. It is again a map-based software that allows user-generated photographs to be uploaded to personalized street maps that they can share with friends, students, colleagues or whomever else wants to view a person’s slideshow from their vacation to Paris (“Dude, go to the icon over Boulevard Montmartre and you’ll see this girl I thought was hot outside the Hard Rock Cafe!”) Aside from the idea that many people probably have little interest in looking at the photo journey of someone they know (“You can see how I traced the steps of Jesus in the Galilee“), it is also easy to imagine Google coming out with its own freeware that would instantly trump this program. Although one can see an e-classroom in architecture employing such software to allow students to take a walking tour through Rome, its desirability may be limited.

Whether Vardi is a smart parent for his encouragement, or in fact propping up laggards, is something only time will tell him as he attempts to bring these products of his children to market. The look of awe that came across each company’s representative whenever he entered the room provided the answer to the question of Who’s your daddy?

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In depth: Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal controversy

Friday, May 26, 2006

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “Old deeds threaten Buffalo, NY hotel development” — 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

In February of 2006, the Savarino Services Construction Corp. proposed the construction of a seven million dollar hotel on Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York. In order for the hotel to be built, at least five properties containing businesses and residents would have to be destroyed. It was not certain whether the properties were owned by Savarino or by the landlord Hans Mobius. The hotel was designed by Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group, and is planned to be a franchise of the Wyndham Hotels group.

Elmwood Avenue is known by the community as a popular shopping center, and Nancy Pollina of Don Apparel (who is “utterly against” the construction) claims it’s the only reason why students from Buffalo State College leave campus. Additionally, Michael Faust of Mondo Video said he did not want to “get kicked out of here [his video store property].”

In 1995, a Walgreens was proposed to be built on the same land, but Walgreens later withdrew its request for a variance because of pressure from the community. More recently, Pano Georgiadis tried to get the rights to demolish the Atwater House next to his restaurant on Elmwood Avenue, but was denied a permit due to the property’s historical value. He has since been an opponent to the hotel construction.

In the process of debating the hotel, it was thought that a hotel had previously existed on the proposed site, however; research done at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society had shown that no hotel had previously existed on the site.

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Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal gets final approval by city Planning Board

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “Old deeds threaten Buffalo, NY hotel development” — 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

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Buffalo, New York —The proposed Elmwood Village Hotel got the final approval it needed from the city of Buffalo’s Planning Board this morning.

In a unanimous vote, the Board approved most of the design and site plan of the hotel.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposed hotel by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and is designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. It is to be placed on the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo and will require the demolition of at least five properties (1109-1121 Elmwood).

Despite the fact that today’s meeting was not a “public hearing”, several citizens lashed out at the Board after the approval.

“Thanks for destroying Buffalo,” said one man.

“[I am] disgusted. Because they did not allow the community to speak, it is the bastardization of the concepts of justice and democracy, and that’s what happened [today],” said Clarence Carnahan, a local business owner and concerned citizen, to Wikinews. He also referred to some board members as “immoral pigs.”

“[I feel] frustration because no one could speak. I was going to address the displacement of all the shops that are there and that they should be grand-fathered into the new space. We did not get to say that. [I am disappointed] that they are endorsing this enormous monstrosity.” said Nancy Pollina, co-owner of Don Apparel with Patty Morris at 1119 Elmwood.

Although the Board approved the hotel proposal, Savarino Construction must still go before the board to approve things such as signage and lighting. The Planning Board meets again on April 11, 2006 at 8:00a.m., but it is unknown if the hotel proposal will be on the agenda.

Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant at 1081 Elmwood and owner of 605 Forest Avenue in Buffalo, threatened to sue Savarino Construction at a public meeting on March 15, 2006 saying, “if you try to get a variance to change the code, I will sue you. This is my home, number one. 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.”

Today, Georgiadis confirmed to Wikinews that he is “definitely” suing, but that his “situation is different” as compared to others looking into legal action. “This is my property. They did it [changed the code] without my approval.”

Last week, the Common Council voted and approved the rezoning of all five properties including 605 Forest.

Some are also considering taking the case to the New York State Supreme Court to “seek an injunction”and would go “pro se, meaning I am going to present the case myself,” said Carnahan.

Despite the approvals by the Common Council and Planning Board, organizers schedulaed another protest for Saturday April 1, 2006 at 2:00p.m. on the proposed site at Forest and Elmwood.

“We are not going to go down without a fight. We are going to go kicking and screaming,” said Pollina.

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