Hope Rises: Riley Greene

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As the holiday season approaches, one local kid is bringing joy and cheer to the community by collecting Christmas lights for children at Oishei Children’s Hospital.

Riley Greene and his mom, Kellee Greene, joined News 4 Friday morning during our Hope Rises segment.

The full segment can be seen above.

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After losing NLL title, Bandits taking a ‘different approach’ to new season

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Losing the in the NLL Finals last season still stings; Dhane Smith isn’t going to convince you otherwise.

“I mean it seems like just yesterday we were playing in the finals. It’s one of those things that obviously you really don’t ever get over like a loss like that but we’re fortunate enough to get back on the floor and hopefully bring a championship to Buffalo,” Smith told News 4 Sports on a zoom call.

But this year’s Buffalo Bandits have a new idea in mind when it comes to finally getting over the hump of winning their first championship since 2008.

“I think last year in the playoffs they were calling the game a little bit differently, it was a little bit rougher, our offense wasn’t really prepared for that so we brought in some bigger bodies to kind of free up space. They might not be the biggest names in the NLL but that being said they’re role players and they play their role really well. I think that could help us,” Smith explained.

The Bandits finished 14-4 in the regular season as the top team in the league to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They beat Albany in the first round, swept Toronto in the East Conference Finals, and fell short to Colorado, two games to one in the NLL Finals. The Bandits lost game three at home, 10-8.

So the team took time in the off-season to examine how such a dynamic team with some of the top players in the league, could have lost the title. It seems like they found some kind of answer and how to use that moving forward this season.

“I looked at the big picture, obviously last year we had an awesome offense like we had so many goal scorers, so many talented guys who at any night could be their night. Obviously we kind of fell short and you look in the mirror and you’re just like why is that and we’re kind of taking a different approach this year where we’re taking players that are maybe not goal scorers but will pick up the loose balls, do the dirty work, get other guys open and I wanna say we didn’t really have that last year,” Smith explained.

“We had guys where yes, we could put the ball in the net and we all wanted to put the ball in the net and we all wanted to set each other up and stuff like that but it obviously, didn’t pan out and we’re taking a different approach this year and I’m excited to see what comes of it.”

The Bandits put those thoughts into action signing Brandon Robinson, Brad McCulley, Nathaniel Kozevnikov and Sam La Roue which the roster has all of them listed at at least 6’1″ and 200 pounds which should bring physicality and a big-bodied presence, Dhane mentioned.

“We’ve had such a talented offense and a talented defense and stuff like that but when it comes to the little things we all were very similar and sometimes we kind of just ran into each other and I think you look at the teams that have been winning and they have a good mix,” Smith said.

In 2019, the Bandits finished in similar fashion to last year, going 14-4 in the regular season, ending as the top team in the league but still lost in the NLL Finals. So in addition to adding those new pieces that should help on the floor, the Bandits are taking a new mental approach as well.

“In the playoffs it’s a totally different game it’s one of those games that teams that are most prepared but the teams that gel at the right time. I think this year we’re gonna go game by game and not really worry too much about our record right off the hop. I’ve been a part of teams that we’ve gelled at the right time, down the stretch, and I’ve won a championship that way so it all depends,” Smith said.

While the Bandits lost Amherst native Connor Fields to the expansion draft, this core group is still very much in tact with guys like Tehoka Nanticoke, Chris Cloutier, Nick Weiss, captain Steve Priolo, Josh Byrne and of course Smith back for another season.

And you can’t forget about Matt Vinc in net.

“You know if you have a guy like Matt you’re gonna be a competitive team, you’re gonna be one of those teams that are gonna be fighting for a playoff spot, even a championship. Like he brings you over the top, you can’t take it for granted. I think that’s one thing I would tell rookies because you never have goalies like this come around too often and we don’t really know how many years he has left in him,” Smith said.

“So realistically we need to win now and I think this is a great opportunity.”

The Bandits open the season this Saturday, December 3rd at KeyBank Center. Face-off is set for 7 p.m.

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Heather Prusak is a sports reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2020. See more of her work here.


Buffalo fan palooza: Businesses bustle with Bills and Sabres fans

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Fans cheered on the Bills from a wide range of places Thursday night, including outdoors at the Bills Block Party on West Chippewa Street and inside at Southern Tier Brewing Company. Bills Mafia also mixed with Sabres fans who headed to the Keybank Center to watch Buffalo take on the Colorado Avalanche.

“Buffalo is an eating and drinking town and they like to go out and support their team,” Jeff Piazza, general manager at Southern Tier Brewing Company, said. “It builds the city and we need that downtown especially this time of the year.”

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With the Sabres and Bills playing on the same night, Buffalo restaurants and bars were ready to host fans all night long. Businesses in the Waterfront District say the games bring a major boost on a cold December day.

Many fans wanted to watch both games, planning their night in advance to make sure they didn’t miss any of the action.

“We might leave between the first period and the second period come over here get another drink and get something to eat and then try and make it home for the second half,” Dave Trent said before heading to the Sabres game.

One Bills fan said the team’s success contributes to the overall prosperity of the city.

“We’re winning that’s what’s bringing everybody out. So once we keep doing that we’ll keep on supporting each other. Keep doing what we’re doing. They keep on winning we’ll keep on supporting,” James Pugh said.

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D.C. Skelton recently moved back to Buffalo after living in California for many years. She is excited to share the Bills and Sabres seasons in her home city.

“Everybody looks out for everybody it’s always been that way I don’t know how to describe it other than it’s home,” Skelton said. “It encourages people to get together and support the team but also the businesses and one another. It is a sense of feeling togetherness.”

Next week the Bills are back in Orchard Park, hosting the New York Jets. It’s their first game at Highmark Stadium since Nov. 13.

Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.


Business owners say inflation is driving up the cost of Christmas trees this year

(WIVB) — With Christmas around the corner, people are heading out to find their perfect Christmas tree. Local businesses say shoppers should expect to spend a little more this year.

Depending on where people buy their Christmas tree, they could end up paying around $5 to $10 more than last year. Business owners say everything involved in getting these trees ready, costs more, and they have to raise the prices.

“We knew with fuel jumping in the spring like it did, just to go get it and take care of it was going to add $5 to $8 a tree no matter what,” said Jacob Miller, owner of Jake’s Greenhouse.

Miller said a lot of that has to do with inflation. From getting the seeds to grow the trees, to the fertilizer, to labor costs, he said it all adds up.

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“From fuel, to fertilize the tree, to mowing that tree, to spraying that tree, to trimming that tree,” Miller said. “We do the best we can to pay our bills here to stay here, so we’re here next year.”

And that cost trickles down to the shopper, who can expect to spend around $10 more for a Christmas tree this holiday season.

“Just a lot of the trees — not with the price of raising them and shipping them, is causing a lot of higher costs, whether you sell them per foot or by the tree,” Miller added.

Paul Ziarnowski, who buys a tree from Jake’s each year, said it’s more important to him that he supports a local business.

“Price-wise? I’ll tell you what, these trees are like a fraction of what you’d get at some of the other high end shops toward the city,” he said. “We were going to wait until after our trip, but we thought, ‘Eh we’ll catch it early, take care of it.”

Miller said that everyone has a different way of buying their tree.

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“Everyone does it different. Some people do it by the tree, some people do it by the foot,” Miller said. “But all of them work very hard to make this tree special for your home for a month or two months for you to enjoy, so how do you put a price on that as well?”

Miller says he’s also still dealing with a shortage of Christmas trees. He said it’ll be a few more years before he can open back up the U-Cut part of his business.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.


Watch Buffalo Kickoff Live ahead of Bills at Patriots


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Bills are on the road to take on the Patriots on Thursday night seeking their first divisional win of the season, and the Buffalo Kickoff Live crew will get you prepped for that and more.

You can watch BKL starting at 7 p.m. on this page or on WIVB. Kickoff between the Bills and Patriots is slated for 8:15 p.m.

Who is on Buffalo Kickoff Live?

News 4’s Josh Reed and Heather Prusak anchor our coverage, along with Thad Brown from our sister station in Rochester, WROC. They’re joined by Sal Capaccio from WGR 550, Tim Graham from The Athletic and Matt Parrino from

What should I know about the Patriots?

The Patriots are 6-5 on the year and are coming off a 33-26 loss to the Vikings on Thanksgiving night. In that loss to Minnesota, New England quarterback Mac Jones had one of the best games of his career, throwing for 382 yards and two touchdowns.

The Patriot defense is led by linebacker Matthew Judon, who leads the NFL with 13 sacks.

Who’s in, who’s out

The Bills have just two players that have been declared out for Thursday’s matchup, but they’re both significant. Linebacker Von Miller (knee) was ruled out earlier this week and was placed on injured reserve on Thursday, meaning he’ll miss at least the Patriots game and the following three. In addition, offensive tackle Dion Dawkins (ankle) is also out.

Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (groin/heel) is slated to return to the lineup on Thursday after missing the previous two games. While the Bills lose Miller, they do get defensive ends Gregory Rousseau (ankle) and AJ Epenesa (ankle) back, which should help lessen the blow of Miller’s absence. Center Mitch Morse (elbow/ankle) will also return after missing last week’s win over Detroit.

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When can I watch BKL again?

Buffalo Kickoff Live will return on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 11:30 a.m. prior to the day’s NFL slate.

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.


Man arrested for 26 suspensions, outstanding warrant

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 30-year-old Grand Island man was arrested following a traffic investigation, according to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

Around 10 p.m. on Nov. 30, a deputy stopped a vehicle on East Park Road after observing vehicle and traffic law violations. Following an investigation, it was discovered that the driver, Gregory Dinsmore, had 26 suspensions on his New York State driver’s license and an outstanding warrant from the New York State Police.

Dinsmore was charged with one count of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a felony, with 10 or more suspensions and two vehicle and traffic law violations.

Dinsmore is being held at the Erie County Holding Center pending future court appearances.

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Emily Miller is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2022. See more of her work here.


“Where would you rather be?”: Bills garage brings friends and family together

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — For many Bills fans, it’s not just a hobby to love the Bills — it’s a lifestyle. That’s the case for Jason Balling, a police officer and SRO in Tonawanda, who has decked out his garage to honor the team he’s loved his whole life.

“It actually started with one picture — our wedding,” Balling said. “We had wedding pictures at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and now I have the Wall of Fame, and then it grew.”

Balling said the idea for his Bills garage sparked during COVID, and grew from hanging his wedding picture taken at the Ralph, to hanging his jerseys and flags, to even a huge Josh Allen bobblehead.

From photos of his whole family supporting the Bills at home and away, and even some from the Kentucky Derby, his garage has become hot spot for his family and friends to join together every week.

“Friends and family watching the Bills win — where would you rather be than right here, right now?” asked Balling.

Balling invites 20 to 30 of his friends and family over for every away game to watch the Bills together in his garage. For home games, they head on out to Orchard Park to watch the game. For a man who has loved the Bills his whole life, he believes this year is the year.

“Me and my son already booked plane tickets and a hotel for the Super Bowl this year — so that’s how I think they’re going to do,” Balling said with confidence.

If you at home have a Bills basement, room, or garage dedicated to the Bills, email us a photo of it at to be considered for our Bills Basement segment.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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Wake Up Wags: Marge

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Thursday morning on Wake Up, we got to meet Marge!

She’s four years old and up for adoption through the Niagara SPCA. Anyone interested in giving her a loving home can contact the shelter by emailing or clicking/tapping here.

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Abby Fridmann is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in November 2020. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.


Ready 4 the Weekend: December 2

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Are you ready “4” the weekend? Here are some of the things that you can take part in!

Buffalo Polar Plunge (Saturday, Dec. 3)Woodlawn Beach State Park, Blasdell | Registration is 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. The plunge is at 2 p.m.Santa in the Village (Friday, Dec. 2)Kenmore Village Green | 6 p.m. (Santa arrives at 6:30)Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting (Saturday, Dec. 3)Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza, Buffalo | 5-8 p.m.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.


Kaleida holding hiring event in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kaleida Health is holding a hiring event Thursday in Buffalo. They’re looking to fill a number of positions, including the following:

registered nursespatient care assistantspharmacy technicianssterile processing techniciansrespiratory therapistsIT help desk supportclinical lab scientists

The jobs are at the following locations:

Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular InstituteOishei Children’s HospitalMillard Fillmore Suburban HospitalDeGraff Medical Park

The hiring event is happening on the second floor of the Larkin Building (726 Exchange St.) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Applicants are encouraged to bring a resume.

Free one-hour parking can be found in the visitor lot on Exchange Street. More information about the event can be found here.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.