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Young Farmers Work to Build Community in WNY 

The urban farming community in Buffalo is growing stronger by the day. Adding to the ongoing momentum is a group of five women who have come together to form a WNY Chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition (WNYYFC). The intention is to create stronger solidarity between these farmers (and others), in order to better collaborate, pool resources, share ideas, and network.

Another objective of WNYYFC is to help to diversify the WNY farming community.

“There are approximately two times more male farmers than female farmers, and most farmers are over fifty-five years old… only 3 percent are younger than thirty-five, meaning that few young people have decided to become farmers. Nearly all Buffalo Niagara farmers are white.” – Growing Together, University at Buffalo, 2014

“Supporting a new generation of working farms will require leadership and engagement by all generations of farmers,” said Bari Zeiger, of Healing Poem Farm, Java. “We welcome farmers of all ages who share this vision to join our chapter.”  

It is becoming more widely known and accepted that the future of sustainable food is growing produce locally. This is also an excellent way to combat food deserts, such as Buffalo’s East Side, where it is harder to source healthy food options.

The farmers are working to ease the way for a new generation to enter into a field of work they believe is challenging, rewarding and important: feeding WNY.  

Members of WNYYFC are looking to grow their membership, by helping others to embrace the rewarding culture and pastime of farming. While there has been a growing, healthy movement in the Buffalo urban farming sector, farming as a whole is not what it once was.

“The eight counties of WNY lost the greatest number of farms in all of New York State with a 19.3% decline from 2007 to 2017.” – A Profile of Agriculture in New York State, Office of the NYS Comptroller, 2019

There’s a lot of work to be done to get a more diverse landscape of farmers onboard with this initiative. The good news that this energized group is ready to spearhead the undertaking.

On Saturday, May 28, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, WNYYFC will be hosting a pre-launch event that will be held at Groundwork Market Garden, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. This farm tour and picnic potluck will be the first of several organizing meetings where they will work to formalize a WNY Chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition. 

Instagram @yfc_wny  | Facebook @yfc.wny | yfc_wny@gmail.com

Founding Members (To build community and pool resources among the next generation of farmers in WNY):

Laura Colligan – Dirt Rich Farm, Springville Bari Zeiger – Healing Poem Farm, Java Amy Barkly – Snowy Brook Farm, East Concord Kelly Schramm – Groundwork Market Garden, Buffalo Emma Smalley – Heritage Herd Farm, Belmont 

Groundwork Market Garden | 1698 Genesee Street | Buffalo, NY 14211

“The hope is to create a network of support that provides both practical assistance and a community connection for young and beginning farmers (defined as a farmer who has been farming for fewer than 10 years).”

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Book Release: Buffalo Radio

When you think back to the golden days of Buffalo radio, what comes to mind? Even more than what comes to mind, who comes to mind? There were so many memorable radio personalities in those days, partly because of their larger-than-life personalities, and partially because radio was where it was at.

Radio was still king, as there were no video games, no social media, no 500 TV stations to choose from. There were newspapers to read, but even TV was in its infancy. I’m talking about the early years of Buffalo broadcasting, when WGR signed on the air in May 1922 (Buffalo’s longest operating station), which was soon followed by WEBR (1924), WKBW (1926), and WBEN (1930).

If you’re already feeling a wee bit nostalgic, reminiscing about the days of iconic talk show hosts and newscasters, you will be happy to hear that founding member and two-term president of the Buffalo Broad, Martin Biniasz, will soon be releasing his latest book titled, simply and aptly, Buffalo Radio.

Over the decades, the city has been home to a number of legendary announcers, including Clint Buehlman and Billy Keaton and sports broadcasters Ralph Hubble, Bill Mazer, Van Miller, and Stan Barron, as well as beloved talk show hosts like John Otto and pioneer rock and roll DJs like George “Hound Dog” Lorenz. Buffalo became a breeding ground for network radio stars, including Howdy Doody’s “Buffalo” Bob Smith, comedian Foster Brooks, NBC Tonight Show host Jack Paar, and Fran Striker, the creator of The Lone Ranger. Top 40 personalities like Joey Reynolds, Dick Biondi, Tommy Shannon, and Danny Neaverth ruled the airwaves with excitement and spontaneity during the 1960s.

Biniasz, who worked at Buffalo television stations WNED-TV, WKBW-TV, and WNGS-TV and at radio stations that include WJJL-AM, Niagara Falls; WPIG-FM and WHDL-AM, Olean, New York; and Buffalo’s legendary WBEN-AM, will take you through an epic journey through a ‘radio landscape’ that you might be familiar with… but sometimes there’s nothing like a nostalgic refresher that includes an insider’s perspective into the antics, the controversies, and the news that captivated this city as it broke over the airwaves.

Arcadia Publishing

On sale: 7/18/2022

Price: $23.99

Pages: 128

ISBN: 978-1-4671-0636-8When

The book release is scheduled for July 18, 2022. Stay tuned to www.biniasz.com for up to the minute information.

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Creative Journeys: Celebrating the Art of Refugee Women in Western New York

Thinking about celebrating anything this week is tough, considering the circumstances at hand. But if there’s one thing that we can, and should be celebrating, it’s diversity. Otherwise the bad guys win.

Tila Bastola (originally from Bhutan) with the sign she hand-embroidered for the Creative Journeys exhibit. Tila has been an active member of the Stitch Buffalo Refugee Women’s Workshop since the very first day!

On Saturday, May 21, refugees from countries that include Bhutan, Burma, Nepal, Thailand, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Peru, Bangladesh, and Somalia, will be exhibiting their textile works that they carried with them when they left their home countries.

The exhibition, titled Creative Journeys: Celebrating the Art of Refugee Women in Western New York, is guaranteed to be filled with a range of emotions, while demonstrating the passions and talents from these beloved now-Buffalo artisans.

The artisans that will be showcasing their works are all part of the Stitch Buffalo collective. The event will be a wonderful opportunity to view the works, while coming face-to-face with the artisans who will be on-hand. The event will feature a chance to:

Participate in a hands-on embroidery workshopShop the pop-up boutique for one-of-kind gifts and garments to support the artists and mission of Stitch BuffaloMeet many of the artists behind these beautiful creations and see them at work—stitching, weaving, etc.

The following members of the Refugee Women’s Workshop will be showing their work at this exhibit. The artist’s self-reported country/culture of origin is listed after their name:

Dah John (Myanmar)
Wah Tha (Burma)
Mu Mu (Myanmar)
Paw Eh Bu (Burma)
Mandari Magar (Bhutan)
Bina Biswa (Bhutan)
Yamuna Biswa (Bhutan)
Tila Bastola (Bhutan)
Bawk Mai (Burma)
Hkawng Lung (Burma)
Judith Hlei (Myanmar)
Zi Ram (Burma)
Ser Eh Paw (Burma)
Hsar Moo (Burma)
Deo Kami (Bhutan)
Saraswati Tiwari (Bhutan)
Hta Mai Nin (Burma)
Esther Yawng (Myanmar)
Ni Ni Sui (Burma)
Tika Bhattari (Bhutan)
Karma Tamang  (Burma)
Lung Seng Htu (Burma)
Wahsay Paw (Burma)
Anhar Hassan-Ibrahim (Egypt)
Hla Zi (Burma)
Paw Ler (Burma)
Thang Yah (Burma)
Ta Phay (Burma)
Htoo Paw (Myanmar)
Kaushila Biswa (Bhutan)
Htoo Eh Nayw (Burma)
Hnin Si (Burma)
Palwasha Basir (Afghanistan)
Hay Lay (Burma)
May Paw (Burma)
Hser Gay (Burma)
Rosita Johnston (Peru)
Dau Nan (Myanmar)
Munawara Sultana (Pakistan)
Shree Tamang (Bhutan)
Steven Tee (Myanmar)
Freshta Parwani (Afghanistan) 
Asma (Bangladesh)

Embroidery from the Creative Journeys exhibit by Ser Eh Paw (left) and Zi Ram (right)

Creative Journeys: Celebrating the Art of Refugee Women in Western New York

Location: Buffalo History Museum, 1 Museum Court, Buffalo, NY 14216
Exhibit Dates: May 21 through August 20, 2022
Opening Celebration: May 21, 10:00am–2:00pm

Ongoing Exhibit Information

After the opening celebration on May 21 (10am–2pm), Creative Journeys: Celebrating the Art of Refugee Women in Western New York will remain on display through August 20, 2022, at the Buffalo History Museum during normal museum hours. Stitch Buffalo products are also available for purchase in the museum shop. On Saturdays throughout the run of the exhibit, backstrap loom weaving demonstrations will be presented at the museum by women from Stitch Buffalo’s Refugee Women’s Workshop.

Buffalo History Museum
1 Museum Court in Buffalo, New YorkThe museum is just east of Elmwood Avenue and off of Nottingham Terrace, north of the Scajaquada Expressway, in the northwest corner of Delaware Park. The Stitch Buffalo exhibit is located in the second floor gallery space.

Click here for additional information

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MODERN ORTHODOX gets big laughs as it hits on hard questions about love… of God, of others, and of self.

THE BASICS:  MODERN ORTHODOX by Daniel Goldfarb, directed by Steve Vaughan, runs until May 29, Thursdays at 7:30, Saturdays at 3:30 and 7:30, Sundays at 2, presented by Jewish Repertory in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theater, 2640 N Forest Rd, Buffalo, NY 14228. 716.688.4114 ext. 309  jccbuffalo.org/jrt/  Note: a handgun appears on stage twice.  Runtime: 75 minutes with no intermission

THUMBNAIL SKETCH:  Ben Jacobson is a thoroughly modern secular Jew who’s ready to propose to his girlfriend Hannah, but he needs a diamond.  Enter Hershel, an Orthodox Jewish 47th Street diamond merchant with his trademark briefcase and Tzitzit fringes on his garment, but wearing a New York Yankees logo yarmulke.  After many exclamations of “Baruch Hashem” (blessed be the name [of the Lord]) from Hershel and some savvy bargaining from Ben, the financial consultant goes home to the Upper West Side to an exhausted Hannah (she’s an OB/GYN specializing in deliveries).  While they each claim to be one another’s “B’shert” (soul mate) there’s obviously something wrong.  They need outside help.  But will it come from God, from the internet, or from Hershel, a mid-thirties virgin who is simultaneously filled with loads of self-doubt and oodles of chutzpah?

For an amusing two-minute YouTube summary, watch below.

THE PLAYERS, THE PLAY, AND THE PRODUCTION:  Every producing theater in Buffalo has its special niche, and intense small cast plays are what Jewish Rep does best.  Often they are voyages of self-discovery tinged with comedy, and that’s the case with MODERN ORTHODOX.  

Adam Yellen as the uber-annoying Hershel Klein is at the top of his game.  “Can you believe this guy?” is a thought that kept coming back, time after time.  At one point, Hershel actually moves in with the engaged couple, creating a few scenes reminiscent of the movie “What About Bob?”  And yet, as is so often the case in movies, in life, and in plays, sometimes the greatest gifts come from the most unlikely places.  A favorite moment?  Hershel, frustrated at the couple, uses the “you people” expression on them.  

Niagara University graduate Akyla Storto as Hannah Ziggelstein is quite adept at changing moods, which in this play she has to do a lot.  UB grad R.J. Voltz as Ben Jacobson is at home on this small stage, and like fellow actor Storto, has to change moods quickly without a lot of, well, without too many histrionics.  SUNY Fredonia grad Robyn Baun also has range, having gone from the abused Mayella recently in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at The Kavinoky Theatre to the happy zaftig Rachel Feinberger here.  It’s a relatively small role but it brings the play to a proper comedic ending.  

You might want to arrive a little early to study the page of Yiddish/Hebrew terms.  Or not.  As the old advertising slogan went “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye” and you don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate this play.  In 21st century America you’ll have picked up more than enough background from popular culture to “get” most of the jokes.  

*HERD OF BUFFALO (Notes on the Rating System)

ONE BUFFALO: This means trouble. A dreadful play, a highly flawed production, or both. Unless there is some really compelling reason for you to attend (i.e. you are the parent of someone who is in it), give this show a wide berth.

TWO BUFFALOS: Passable, but no great shakes. Either the production is pretty far off base, or the play itself is problematic. Unless you are the sort of person who’s happy just going to the theater, you might look around for something else.

THREE BUFFALOS: I still have my issues, but this is a pretty darn good night at the theater. If you don’t go in with huge expectations, you will probably be pleased.

FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of high caliber. If the genre/content are up your alley, I would make a real effort to attend.

FIVE BUFFALOS: Truly superb–a rare rating. Comedies that leave you weak with laughter, dramas that really touch the heart. Provided that this is the kind of show you like, you’d be a fool to miss it!

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ShearShare’s Beauty & Barbering Community Night

One of Buffalo’s newest buzzing tech companies is changing the game when it comes to the community of beauty and barbering entrepreneurs with their app, ShearShare. It is the first mobile marketplace to monetize underutilized assets in the beauty and barbering industry, starting with space to work. This award-winning first-of-its-kind B2B app lets licensed beauty and barbering professionals rent flexible, affordable space to work with no-term leases or commission fees. If this sounds like something you or someone you know could benefit from, this one of a kind team is hosting a local “Beauty & Barbering Community Night” on Monday, May 23rd at 3:30PM, at Seneca One Tower (1 Seneca St., Buffalo, NY 14203). 

Spearheaded by ShearShare Co-Founders Courtney and Dr. Tye Caldwell, the spirited event will feature industry tips and insights, monetization strategies, networking, giveaways, a happy hour, and so much more! 

“ShearShare gives beauty and barbering professionals more control, and makes their lives easier by allowing them to work whenever they want to, and wherever they want,” said ShearShare Co-Founders Courtney and Dr. Tye Caldwell. “We provide business owners with the flexibility to list their stations and suites, at a time and price that’s convenient for them – while also covering the business owner at no additional cost through the daily liability insurance we offer. We can’t wait to gather with the Buffalo community to learn more about each and every beauty and barbering professional, share industry knowledge, and network with others who are so essential to the overall ecosystem.” 

The Shearshare ‘Beauty and Barbering Community Night’ will feature: 

Post-pandemic industry takeaways by ShearShare CEO, Co-Founder and Celebrity Barber, Dr. Tye Caldwell Tips and hacks for beauty and barbering professionals, such as: increasing income through the ShearShare platform Networking with fellow industry professionals and business owners, plus more! 

Doors to the event will open at 3:00PM, with the event officially kicking off at 3:30PM. Happy hour begins thereafter at 5:00PM. To RSVP visit ShearShare.com/events. For more on ShearShare and its award-winning platform, visit ShearShare.com.

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Buffalo CycleBoats’ New Party Barge

Buffalo’s Inner Harbor is going to be busier than ever this summer, thanks to the launch of a number of new party barges. The latest ‘barge’ to ‘set sail’ is Buffalo CycleBoats’ Buffalo Party Barge. The party craft – a pontoon style tour boat – is set to launch Saturday, May 21 at 301 Ohio Street, the future home of Papi Grande’s new waterfront beach club.

“We saw a huge demand in small and large groups looking to get out on the water in a private tour setting, post pandemic,” said Brandon Bova, owner of Buffalo CycleBoats. “The Party Barge is a perfect venue for larger parties such as family reunions, birthdays, and corporate team-building functions looking to get out on the water on a private boat.”

This new lake-faring amenity will accommodate up to 20 passengers. Guests are invited to book 120-minute tours through the Buffalo River, Buffalo Harbor, and Lake Erie. While the boat is equipped with a bar, lounge style seating, a sun deck, coolers, party lights, and sound system, guests bring their own food, beverages, and music.

Bring your own food and drinksBluetooth Stereo and lighting for your use2 hour tripsCaptain and mate included

Along with the new pontoon boat attraction, Buffalo CycleBoats also has two 16 passenger, pedal-powered CycleBoats, which remain a popular activity on the water. All of these fun-filled boating opportunities will be in full swing the summer of 2022.

Tours start May 21st and will be available seven-days a week. Reservations are required in advance. All tours are private charters and start at $35 per person for a 120-minute tour. You can book online at buffalocycleboats.com or by calling 716-800-7543.

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NFTA Moving Forward with Transit Hub

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is proceeding with plans for a transit hub along North Division Street downtown.  A request for proposal for architectural and engineering services for the Metro – Division Street Linear Transit Hub is out with proposals due June 8.

The transit hub comprises three block frontages from Main Street to the Metropolitan Transportation Center. Its signature design element is a linear transit plaza with a special paving scheme that extends east-west from Ellicott Street to Main Street, visually and physically tying together three disparate blocks and linking three transit modes: rail, local bus, and intercity bus. Along this plaza is a series of partial enclosures – including canopy and pergola structures – that visually link the three spaces.

The focal point of the transit Hub is the center block – in front of Adam Ramp consisting of a new bus stop with iconic canopy structure providing a strong vertical element to improve the hub’s visibility in Downtown. The block frontage along North Division Street, between Main Street and Washington Street, is a re-envisioned park space that anchors the western end of the hub and provides a green forecourt to Church Street Station, as well as a radial gateway point to Cathedral Park to the southwest. The block frontage between Ellicott Street and Oak Street – in front of the Metropolitan Transportation Center – will be enhanced with special pavers, modernized façade, and a continuation of the canopy structure in front of Adam Ramp.

From the RFP:

Qualified firms must demonstrate service competency expertise in concept development, planning, project design, agency coordination, procurement, construction administration, and commissioning. The project work requires full architectural and engineering services including civil site plan development, soils/foundation engineering, utility design and coordination (power, storm sewer, communications, internet), architectural design (structure design, graphics and renderings / models / photography), structural design, and electrical (power distribution, communications including video surveillance).

The project shall create a transit plaza and hub along the north side of North Division Street in Downtown Buffalo, between Ellicott Street and Washington Street. This block currently services five bus routes at three bus stops, with more than 850 riders, on average, boarding per day (2021). The hub shall include an iconic canopy structure that encompasses the three bus stops and provide a comfortable environment through varying levels of shelter, amenities, lighting, and considerations for safety while being sensitive and supportive of the surrounding area and community.

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The Community Peace Market

If there was ever a time for a Community Peace Market, this would be it. As the community attempts to recover from the horrific tragedy that rocked the East Side, there are scores of people who are coming together in solidarity. These people are not sitting back and letting one evil person tear our city apart. Instead, they are creating a multitude of social events that intend to let the healing process get underway.

Later today, Wednesday, May 18, BFLO Worm Works and Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) will be hosting The Community Peace Market – an event that is built upon the notion that kindness and peace will prevail in the City of Good Neighbors.

“We stand unified in the face of hate in Buffalo. We are #buffalostrong. Peace Market is a large combined group of business men and women, regional healthcare organization, food pantries, and urban farms and gardens that will provide the community with FREE food, products and services.The market will take place every Wednesday from May 15th through June 8th (10am – 6pm) at the parking lot of Faithful Stones Church (corner of Utica and Jefferson Avenues).” – The Community Peace Market

Peace Market team and donors include:

Faithful Stones ChurchMassachusetts Avenue ProjectBFLO Worm WorksBalanced Body FoodsGroundwork MarketFEED BUFFALO Pantry

For more information please see this Facebook page, contact @massaveproject, or Ryan R. from BFLO Worm Works (716) 249-1222… and do not forget to BE KIND TO YOURSELF and the Earth.

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“Say their names…”

A grandmother who volunteered at the local soup kitchen. A brave security guard and retired Buffalo Police Officer. A civil rights and gun reform activist. Frequent church goers and choir members. Mom, dad, brother, sister, and pillars of the community. 

Say their names. And when you think it’s been enough… say them again. 

Aaron Salter, 55

 a 55-year-old retired police officer, was working as a security guard at the grocery store when he was killed. Salter stood bravely in the face of evil and fired once at the terrorist, but the bullet bounced off the gunman’s body armor, according to Mark Poloncarz, the Erie County executive.

“He’s a true hero, and we don’t know what he prevented,” Joseph Gramaglia, Buffalo police commissioner said speaking on ABC’s “This Week.” “There could have been more victims if not for his actions.”

Mr. Salter’s son, Aaron Salter III, told the New York Times that he would described his father as a “car guy.” When Mr. Salter retired from the force, he bought a 1967 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, which he fixed, polished and cleaned in his free time.

“He told me it was going to be mine one day,” his son told the Times, “but I didn’t want it like this.”

Credit: Facebook / Andre Mackniel Sr.

Andre Mackneil, 53

A devout father of six children and an earnest Miami Heat fan traveled to Tops market that day to gather a few last minute supplies for his three- year- old son’s birthday party- a birthday cake, chips and soda. 

Mr. Mackniel told his fiancée Tracey Maciulewicz before going into the store that he loved her, adding at the end, “I’ll be back,” told Maciulewicz to the New York Times

“He was so genuine and so sweet and so kind — like no kind of person I’ve ever met before. It’s completely unfair that racism is still present in 2022, and it’s not OK that my son, who is half white and half Black, has to grow up without a father, ” Ms. Maciulewicz told the New York Times

Katherine Massey, 72

Ms. Massey was a frequent writer for both the Challenger and the Criterion. She was known for her civil rights advocacy, gun control reform activism, and overall deep love she had for her community. Many in Massey’s family described her as “the glue” of the family, the Washington Post reported

“She was in love with the community,” said her longtime friend Betty Jean Grant to the New York Times “And she loved Black people. And she would fight for anybody, without a doubt.”

“She was the most wonderful person in the world. She’d cut grass in the local park, do the trees, give kids on the street toys. That was my sister, anyone she could help,” Barbara Massey, her sister, told the paper.

Ruth Whitfield, 86

Was heavily involved in her church, Durham Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church as a member of the choir and a devout parishioner for over 50 years. Ms. Whitfield raised 4 children in Buffalo and had been in the community for more than 5 decades. In her more recent years, she remained doing what she loved most- taking care of her family, including her husband who was in a nursing home, and her eight beloved grandchildren.  

“She was a religious woman who cared deeply for her family,” her daughter-in-law told the New York Times.

“My mom was the consummate mom. My mother was a mother to the motherless,” her son, retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield told the Buffalo News

Celestine Chaney, 65

Breast cancer survivor, Ms. Chaney had gone to the supermarket that day with her sister to get strawberries to make shortcakes, a treat she loved. Born and raised on the east side, she was a single mother who worked at a suit manufacturer, and before retiring made baseball caps. 

Her sister was able to make it into a cooler where people had been hiding from the gunman, but her son Wayne Jones told the New York Times, “my mom cannot really walk like she used to,” he said. “She basically can’t run.” 

“She was a beautiful person, a spunky, independent woman,” he told the Washington Post, “The life of the party, just a joy to be around.”

Heyward Patterson, 67

Mr. Patterson, or better known by his family as “Big Tenny,”  has lived in Buffalo his entire life and was a very family and community oriented man. A deacon at his church with a heaven-sent singing voice. On the daily, Mr. Patterson would travel to the supermarket giving rides to people for less money than they would have had to spend on a ride-sharing service, his grandniece Teniqua Clark told the New York Times.

“That was how he earned money to support three children,” said his nephew Terrell Clark.

As the terror begain, Mr. Patterson was helping someone load groceries into the trunk of a car when he was killed. “He didn’t even have a chance to run,” Ms. Clark told the Times, “He didn’t have a chance at all.”

When the family heard he had been at the Tops, they were completely stunned, but not shocked he was there. He was one of those neighborhood characters that everyone seemed to know because he was so heavily involved in the community.  

His cousin, Deborah Patterson told the Post, she was trying to find comfort in, “picturing Tenny helping with groceries in heaven,” and in a Patterson family saying: “We never say ‘Goodbye’ — always ‘In a minute.’” 

Geraldine Talley, 62

Best known for her love language of making her family and friends a variety of delicious treats on the daily, akin to her affinity for baking sweet treats, her personality was described as “the sweetest” says her niece, Tamika Harper to People Magazine

Better known by friends or loved ones as Talley or “Gerri,” she had gone to Tops grocery store with her fiancé, Gregory Allen, during their regular Saturday errand run. Allen told the Buffalo News that the couple had split up to get different items and soon after the shooting began. 

​​Kaye Chapman-Johnson, Talley’s younger sister, told ABC News ,“Our sister, we had so many plans together, so many plans, and everything has just been stripped away from us. Our lives will definitely never be the same again.”

Roberta Drury, 32

Ms. Drury had gone to the Tops supermarket to buy groceries to make dinner, told her sister, Amanda Drury to the New York Times. A recent Buffalo transplant from Syracuse, she dropped everything to move to Buffalo in order to take care of her older brother and his children once he was diagnosed with leukemia. 

“She was very vibrant. She always was the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh.” Told her sister, Amanda Drury in a Times interview.

Margus D. Morrison, 52

Margus Morrison was a father, husband and school bus aide. His brother Frederick Morrison was outside on Saturday when people started talking about a shooting at Tops Friendly Market- the grocery store where his older brother Margus did his regular shopping.

When Frederick learned Margus was killed, “I broke down,” he told the Washington Post, “he was a fun, lovable guy with a nice spirit who liked to joke.”

These two were brothers by blood, but best friends by choice. ““It hurts me so much right now because I wasn’t expecting to lose him,” he told the paper. 

Pearl Young, 77

Ms. Young loved the church and was a regular at its soup kitchen where she would prepare and distribute food, according to the Washington Post . Young also taught Sunday school and led youth groups, in addition to working as a substitute teacher even at age 77. She was a woman of her community and volunteered regularly as part of her religious duty. 

“My mom just felt that she needed to give back to people,” Damon Young, her son, told the Post. According to the article, She and Damon had a shared fondness for ambrosia salad, and she was a longtime fan of the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” When he picked her up for errands or outings, Damon Young said, “she would always tell me, ‘Wait until ‘The Young and the Restless’ goes off. Pick me up after that.’”

Remember these names. Honor these names. And never forget the legacies that each of these lives told. For information on how to continue support for the community, visit www.buffalorising.com/2022/05/how-to-help-a-community-rocked-by-tragedy.

Buffalo Strong

On May 14, 2022, the Buffalo community suffered a devastating act of violence when a gunman opened fire at the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue, killing ten people and wounding three. Many have asked how to help.In partnership with Tops, the National Compassion Fund has established the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund to provide direct financial assistance to the survivors of the deceased and those directly affected by this tragedy. Tops has seeded this Survivors Fund with $500,000 to get it started. One hundred percent (100%) of the contributions donated to this fund will go directly to victims and survivors of this atrocity. Qualifying charitable donations to this fund are tax deductible.The National Compassion Fund is the leading authority on financial assistance to victims of mass casualty events. It is a subsidiary of the National Center for Victims of Crime, the nation’s leading resource and advocacy center for victims of all types of crime. Click here to donate.

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LITTLE WOMEN…NOW at Road Less Traveled features a practiced cast of seven in a modern update of an old favorite 

THE BASICS:  LITTLE WOMEN…NOW, a world-premiere adaptation by Donna Hoke, directed by Doug Weyand, starring Lisa Vitrano, Brittany Bassett, Alexandria Watts, Heather Gervasi, Sabrina Kahwaty, Jake Hayes, and Ricky Needham opened last month after a two-year Covid delay and runs through May 22, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2. Presented by Road Less Traveled Productions  (716) 629-3069 roadlesstraveled.org  View (paperless) playbill here, view a 90-second trailer chock full of clips here:

and read more from Buffalo Rising here.

Runtime: Over two hours  

THUMBNAIL SKETCH:  Meet the March sisters, the familiar characters of serious writer Jo, party girl Meg (who does want to settle down), annoying kid sister Amy, and sickly Beth as they might be in Buffalo today.  This contemporary adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic story by Buffalo playwright Donna Hoke makes also makes effective use of the characters pragmatic Mom, rich neighbor Laurie, and lovestruck “John Brown” (always referred to by both names).  

THE PLAYERS, THE PLAY, AND THE PRODUCTION:  COVID has been very bad for theaters everywhere, leading to delayed openings and cancelled shows.  But, in my opinion, there are some silver linings to the COVID cloud, all apparent in LITTLE WOMEN… NOW.  Plays that were about to start two years ago have had all that time to settle in to the actor’s bones. They seem to more fully inhabit their characters and, if nothing else, at stages all over town, people definitely know their lines cold. Despite the stress of the pandemic, casts seem more refreshed, or, if not that, at least very, very eager to get back on stage, and the energy is palpable.  

In general, I find that works created in one genre don’t always migrate successfully.  Almost everyone has felt at some time, with some story, that “the book was better.” Usually that’s because in books we have access to the character’s innermost thoughts as well as unlimited descriptions of scenes. To make a movie or play from a book, a lot has to be cut, cut, cut.  And, after that cutting, a lot has to be communicated with a few words and gestures. While we might be willing to listen to a ten-hour audible book, we’re not going to sit that long in the theater.

So how has playwright Hoke pulled it off?  Very well, thank you very much. First, she has updated the story to modern times, so that right away we are disabused of the notion that “ooh, my favorite Louisa May Alcott scene is coming up, exactly as I remember it.” Yes, the characters’ names are the same and the personalities are similar, but they are presented in a much more up to date style.  The vibe is enhanced by excellent contemporary song choices taking us from scene to scene. 

Each of the sisters has her own story and we don’t get too far from each as Hoke skillfully drops in on one after the other, updating us as we go along.

Also, Hoke has maintained four distinct through lines. Each of the sisters has her own story and we don’t get too far from each as Hoke skillfully drops in on one after the other, updating us as we go along.

But when a play truly comes together, we have to look at the director, and here Doug Weyand has thought through every scene, every placement of every character, their body language, and their vocal pronouncements. While almost constantly in motion, every action seems organic.  And with, at times, seven actors on stage, that’s not easy. 

Entire cast | Photo by Vincent Berbano

But what really worked for me were the actors, all favorites.  They have each and everyone delivered many times in the past and my high expectations, looking at the cast list, were more than met.  Lisa Vitrano as mom, Alexandria Watts as Jo, Brittany Bassett as Meg, Sabrina Kahwaty as Amy, and Heather Gervasi as Beth are joined by Jake Hayes as Laurie and Ricky Needham as John Brown.  Special kudos to Heather Gervasi, whom you might not know, having gone to Chicago shortly after graduating from NU a few years ago where we saw her in THE WOLVES as “#46,” the homeschooled “new girl.”  Outstanding then in a vulnerable role; she’s outstanding now. 

The set design is quite lush and makes the smaller stage of Road Less Traveled seem positively spacious.  Brenna Prather’s costumes are completely natural. It is on the long side, but if the content is up your alley, I would make a real effort to attend. Don’t delay because there are only four shows left.

Masks are optional and are encouraged for those who wish to continue wearing them. However, masks are mandatory if you want to sit in the front row (closer to the actors).

WHAT’S NEXT (¿Qué sigue?)  AT ROAD LESS TRAVELED PRODUCTIONS?  ISLEÑA (Islander), a one-woman play by Victoria Pérez and María Pérez Gómez, featuring Victoria Pérez, directed by María Pérez Gómez, presented by Raíces Theatre runs from June 17 to July 3 at Road Less Traveled (the new home of Raíces). ¿Qué es eso? ISLEÑA is an original one woman show with a memorable story of an island girl’s journey from Puerto Rico to Buffalo ¡Nos vemos en el teatro! (See you at the theater!)  (716) 629-3069 roadlesstraveled.org  

Masks are optional and are encouraged for those who wish to continue wearing them. However, masks are mandatory if you want to sit in the front row (closer to the actors).

Lead image: The March sisters with mom. Photo credit: Vincent Berbano

*HERD OF BUFFALO (Notes on the Rating System)

ONE BUFFALO: This means trouble. A dreadful play, a highly flawed production, or both. Unless there is some really compelling reason for you to attend (i.e. you are the parent of someone who is in it), give this show a wide berth.

TWO BUFFALOS: Passable, but no great shakes. Either the production is pretty far off base, or the play itself is problematic. Unless you are the sort of person who’s happy just going to the theater, you might look around for something else.

THREE BUFFALOS: I still have my issues, but this is a pretty darn good night at the theater. If you don’t go in with huge expectations, you will probably be pleased.

FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of high caliber. If the genre/content are up your alley, I would make a real effort to attend.

FIVE BUFFALOS: Truly superb–a rare rating. Comedies that leave you weak with laughter, dramas that really touch the heart. Provided that this is the kind of show you like, you’d be a fool to miss it!

The post LITTLE WOMEN…NOW at Road Less Traveled features a practiced cast of seven in a modern update of an old favorite  appeared first on Buffalo Rising.