18 August

City to sue owner of partially collapsed 19th century livery in Buffalo, New York

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Buffalo, New York —Two weeks after a 19th century stable and livery on Jersey Street partially collapsed and caused 15 homes to be evacuated in Buffalo, New York, residents still do not have answers from the city despite a court order to work with them and come to an agreement on a way to save some or all of the building, Wikinews has learned. Despite the frustration from residents, the city is planning on suing the building’s owner. A rally was held at the stable’s site where residents are hoping to bring more awareness to the situation and gain more support to save the building.

On June 11, a significant portion of the stable’s right side wall collapsed into the yard of a resident’s home. Authorities, including the Buffalo Fire Department were called to the scene to evaluate the collapse and evacuate 15 homes of residents surrounding the stable as a precautionary measure. The following day, the city ordered an emergency demolition on the building, which was stopped by a restraining order residents with Save The Livery (www.savethelivery.com) won on June 14. Two weeks later, five homes are still evacuated and residents don’t know when they will be able to return.

On June 19, Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court ordered a halt to the emergency demolition and ordered the city and residents to come to an agreement to save the building, or at least a significant portion of it. Despite a court date today, no agreement has yet been reached between the two parties.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his June 19th ruling. The court ruled that a limited demolition could take place and that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed. Since then, most of not all the significantly damaged portions of the building or portions in immediate danger of falling have been demolished. The roof has also been removed to put less stress on the stable’s walls.

“Its been over three years since we have been having problems with part of the livery falling down. There was an implosion two weeks ago and suddenly the city wanted to have an emergency demolition,” said Catherine Herrick who lives on Summer Street immediately behind the stable and is the main plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city. Many homes on Summer are small cottages which were used as servants quarters when the stable was in operation, many of which were built in the 1820’s. At least seven homes on Summer border the stable’s back walls. Residents in those homes have significant gardens which have been planted against the building and growing for decades.

“Both parties are to continue to work together to see how we can meet everybody’s needs. This is the third time we have been in that courtroom, and that is what we were basically told to do,” added Herrick who said the rally was held today because this “is Buffalo’s history. Buffalo is a wonderful place to live because of its history and this is a historical, beautiful building and we need to keep those beautiful buildings.”

Herrick states that the city is working with residents, but also believes that its “slow moving” and they are allowing the owner to get away with neglect on the property.

“I believe right now that they are letting the owner get off. The owner was negligent for 20 years, and hasn’t done anything to it despite what he has claimed to say. Now that this is an emergency situation, the city has a lot to say about it,” added Herrick.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because its poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel from being built on the Southeast corner of Forest and Elmwood Avenues. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years. Attorneys for Freudenheim confirm that the city is starting proceedings against him for his violations beginning as early as Wednesday June 25. Freudenheim has not released a statement and could not be reached for comment.

Many residents want the building preserved and Herrick states that their engineer can have it stable in “four days” as opposed to the 14-30 days it would take to demolish the building and “at a lesser cost than what it costs to demolish it.”

It will cost the city nearly US$300,000 to demolish the building which is paid for with tax money collected from residents in the city. The Buffalo News reports that fees are approaching $700,000. Though reports say there is a potential buyer of the stable, Wikinews cannot independently confirm those reports.

Residents say the stable was designed by Richard A. Waite, a 19th century architect, and was first owned by a company called White Bros., used as a stable and housed at least 30 horses at any given time. It also stored “coaches, coupes, broughams, Victorias and everything in the line of light livery,” stated an article from the West Side Topics dated 1906. According to the article, The company first opened in 1881 on Thirteenth Street, now Normal Avenue, and later moved into the Jersey building in 1892. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. It is believed to be only one of three stables of this kind still standing in the country.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.

Wikinews has called the city along with the Mayor’s office several times, but both have yet to return our calls. There are conflicting reports as to the date of the next hearing. According to Herrick, the next hearing is July 1, 2008 though the Buffalo News states the next hearing is July 8. The News also states that Burns will make a final ruling on the stable at this time.

11 August

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Doug Anderson, Whitby-Oshawa

Monday, September 24, 2007

Doug Anderson is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Whitby-Oshawa riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

11 August

Fifteen receive US Presidential Medal of Freedom

Thursday, February 17, 2011

US President Barack Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to fifteen people Tuesday, including former US President George H. W. Bush and current Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel. The award—the US’s top civilian medal—is given to those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

The fifteen medal recipients were chosen in 2010, but not all of them were present to receive the award at the White House Tuesday. Merkel did not attend the ceremony, and the award for Tom Little was given to his wife because the winning optometrist had been killed in August while working in Afghanistan. The medal recipients “reveal the best of who were are and who we inspire to be,” said Obama.

The other winners are: John H. Adams, environmental advocate; Maya Angelou, poet and author; Warren Buffett, billionaire executive and philanthropist; Jasper Johns, contemporary artist; Gerda Weissmann Klein, Holocaust survivor; Yo-Yo Ma, cellist; Sylvia Mendez civil rights activist; Stan Musial, retired St. Louis Cardinals baseball player; Bill Russell, retired basketball coach and Boston Celtics player; Jean Kennedy Smith, diplomat and disabilities advocate; and John J. Sweeney, former president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

11 August

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Communist Party candidate Shona Bracken, Toronto Danforth

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Shona Bracken is running for the Communist Party in the Ontario provincial election in Toronto—Danforth. Wikinews interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

5 August

Police station attacked following illegal rave

Monday, August 20, 2007

Two police vehicles were damaged and police officers narrowly avoided injury in Great Yarmouth, England after a mob of over 100 people assembled outside a local police station.

The event has been labelled by local police as a ‘major incident’ and has so far resulted in 15 arrests pertaining to violent disorder, possession of drugs and taking a vehicle without consent. Over 100 police officers were involved in the event; many of them from bordering counties.

The mob assembled in the early hours of Monday morning and threw missiles including wine bottles and beer cans at the building.

The conflict is thought to be connected to the prior arrests of three people driving a van containing sound equipment in connection with an unlicensed music event which was being monitored by the police several hours earlier. At the event, police had made three arrests and seized 44 vehicles.

The police are also investigating a burglary which occurred on Harfrey’s Industrial Estate in the close vicinity of the illegal music event. Police Chief Supt Scully has warned people away from the area as it is now being treated as a crime scene.

27 July

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27 July

Questions raised about McCain’s choice of Palin, aides insist “thorough vetting” process

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Various questions have been raised about the choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as Senator John McCain’s choice for Republican vice presidential running mate. There have been doubts over how thoroughly McCain had examined Palin’s background before announcing that he had selected her to be his running mate on August 29. McCain’s advisers insist that Palin was “thoroughly vetted,” a process that would have included a review of all financial and legal records as well as a criminal background check.

Palin is the Republican Party’s first female candidate for Vice President. In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale’s running mate on the Democratic Party ticket.

Yesterday, Palin and her husband issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter Bristol is five months pregnant and that she intends to marry the father of the baby. The statement came after media speculation and internet rumours that Palin’s 4-month-old son, Trig, was in fact her grandson, and that the mother is Bristol.

Senator Barack Obama, McCain’s opponent in the 2008 election, was asked to comment on Palin’s family situation:

“Let me be as clear as possible… I think people’s families are off-limits, and people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president,” said Obama.

Obama further told reporters to “back off these kinds of stories” and noted that he was born to an 18-year-old mother himself. Obama became annoyed when asked about a news report that quoted an unnamed senior McCain campaign aide saying that Obama’s name appears in liberal blogs speculating about Trig’s parentage. “I am offended by that statement… There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us.”

“We don’t go after people’s families; we don’t get them involved in the politics. It’s not appropriate, and it’s not relevant,” Obama added. “Our people were not involved in any way in this, and they will not be. And if I ever thought that there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they’d be fired.”

The McCain campaign said that Senator McCain was aware of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy before he asked her mother to join him on the ticket. McCain reportedly did not see the pregnancy as a detriment to Governor Palin’s selection as the vice presidential candidate.

McCain told reporters that he was satisfied with his campaign’s vetting process: “The vetting process was completely thorough and I’m grateful for the results.”

Governor Palin has hired a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state’s public safety commissioner, Walter Monegan. The investigation is checking into whether Palin dismissed Monegan for his reluctance to fire Palin’s former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten.

There is no sign that Palin’s formal nomination this week at the Republican National Convention was in jeopardy. The controversy adds anxiety to Republicans who are worried that Democrats would use the selection of Palin to question McCain’s judgment. Republicans were quick to note that Palin has “more executive experience” in elected office than does Obama and have gone on the offensive.

McCain’s choice of Palin came as a shock to some, after it was expected that McCain would choose Joe Lieberman, Tim Pawlenty, or Tom Ridge for the vice presidential nomination. McCain had reportedly met Palin only twice before her selection, and had his first face-to-face interview with her on August 28. McCain offered Palin the vice presidential spot just moments after their meeting concluded. The two appeared at a campaign rally event the following morning in Dayton, Ohio.

27 July

Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

27 July

President Bush tours Katrina affected region

Thursday, January 12, 2006

President George W. Bush made a stop over in two of the worst hit cities by Hurricane Katrina today. His stops included New Orleans, Louisiana, and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

The president made small speeches in both cities, with references to the many problems that still exist due to a lack of housing, the slow pace of Small Business Administration Loans, problems with homeowners insurance payments and the urgent need for bridge rebuilding.

“People in faraway places like Washington, D.C., still hear you and care about you,” Bush said standing in a gymnasium at St. Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis. “I recognize there’s some rough spots. We’re going to work to make them as smooth as possible.”

Bush also recognized and promised that his administration is learning the lessons of its “all-to-slow” and “much-criticized” response to Katrina. “Obviously the federal response in parts of this devastated area could have been a lot better. We want to know how to make them better. We want to make sure that when there is a catastrophe of any kind, this government, at the federal level, is capable of dealing with it in conjunction with the state and local governments.We want to know how to make it better,” Bush said during his speech. “I just want to assure you, we are, we are.”

Bush went on to praise the city’s success in getting the essential utilities, such as, water and electric “mostly” on-line. He also said that federal tax incentives will encourage businesses to create jobs and promised that the new levy system will make the city “both safer and more attractive for investment.” He also added that all those things will help New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf, back into a “shining part of the South.” He also said “New Orleans is a great place to have a convention” and a “heck of a place to bring your family.”

Bush promises that the federal government has allocated 85 billion dollars for reconstruction efforts, $25 billion of which has already been spent on mostly the effort to clean up the debris and provide temporary housing for citizens.

Hurricane Katrina struck the south central U.S. on late August 29, 2005.

Katrina first made landfall in Miami, Florida on August 25, 2005 as a category one hurricane resulting in dozens of deaths in South Florida and spawning several tornadoes.

Katrina then passed over Florida and headed into the Gulf of Mexico where it strengthened into a massive category 5 storm.

She then made her second landfall on the morning of August 29, 2005, near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana with winds at 125 MPH and a central pressure of 920 mbar, a strong Category 3 storm.

Katrina is quite possibly the strongest hurricane on record ever, but estimating the size of storms from before the 1960s (the pre-satellite era) is difficult to near impossible.

As of January 4, 2006, the confirmed death toll from Katrina stands at 1,386.

Demographers estimate of New Orleans’ 400,000 residents prior to Katrina only 25% have returned.

27 July

Apple announces new iPod range

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Apple have released several re-designs of their popular iPod range. In addition to the iPod Classic, Nano and Shuffle, they have announced the brand new iPod touch, a media player which mimics the iPhone’s touch-screen capabilities.

The new iPod Classic design features a larger memory space of up to 160GB or 40,000 songs, and has a new all-metal design. The iPod nano is now smaller and squarer, adding video playback to its features for the first time. The 4GB model is cheaper than its predecessor at $149/£99, but the 8GB is available in five colours at $199/£129. The iPod Shuffle is identical in design to the previous model, but is now available in a new range of five colours, with the same price of $79/£49.

The iPod touch also features in-built wi-fi technology, enabling users to access the internet and download music from Apple’s market-leading on line iTunes music store to their handset. It was announced that Starbucks would offer free wi-fi access to all users of the iPod touch in its cafes. The screen layout, similar to that of the iPhone, offers access to music, video, photos and the iTunes store. There are currently two models, at 8GB and 16GB of memory capacity.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs also announced that the price of Apple’s iPhone, currently only on sale in the US, will be cut by $200 to $399. He described the new iPod range as ‘one of the seven wonders of the world’.


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