The Child Advocacy Center is Breaking Ground to Gain Ground in Erie County’s Child Abuse Response

A grim statistic reveals Erie County to be New York State’s second highest county for reported child abuse and neglect, with over 3,000 children annually facing physical and sexual abuse. At the national level, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys will experience sexual abuse before they turn 18. Behind these numbers are vulnerable children in need of safety and support.

Despite best intentions aimed at understanding a survivor’s situation and needs, the separate evaluations that occur in schools, hospitals, and police stations, perpetuate a survivor’s trauma by forcing them to repeatedly recall horrific details.

Integral to reducing the distress of young survivors who disclose their story is providing a safe, child-friendly space in which the number of times they are asked to recount their experience is kept to a minimum. 

Fortunately, Erie County is home to a nationally accredited program that streamlines efforts to nurture a healing process for every survivor. Through its coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach, the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at BestSelf Behavioral Health convenes key players in a single, neutral location to provide supportive services to survivors and their families every step of the way, from investigation to treatment, as well as prevention of further abuse. In doing so, the CAC ensures that a child’s story is heard the first time. 

Established in 1993 as one of only two CACs across New York State, this locally-based facility was made possible in large part by the dedication and advocacy work of the late Lee Gross Anthone, a Buffalo native. Ever since, the specially-trained professionals at the CAC have demonstrated their commitment to compassionately serving children and families in need.

At its current capacity however, the CAC at BestSelf is only able to assist with 30% of Erie County’s abuse cases. Determined to address this gap, BestSelf Behavioral Health has launched an extensive capital project that will enable the CAC to support every child abuse victim within the county. 

Kevin O’Leary, Committee Chair,
CAC’s Capital Campaign

This project will result in a relocated, state-of–the art CAC that will also house BestSelf Behavioral Health’s headquarters and a Community Training Center. The new 66,432 square foot site, at 899 Main Street, is located in close proximity to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and will quadruple the CAC’s current footprint. Moreover, the new facility will reduce wait times, offer extended hours, and provide 24/7 on-call staffing. 

In its entirety, the cost of this project is $27.8 million, with the CAC comprising $10.5 million of the total. While the CAC has already been successful in securing over $6.3 million in financial commitments to its capital campaign, a project of this scale and importance requires the support of the entire community. 

The CAC’s Capital Campaign Committee Chair, Kevin O’Leary, has stated,

“The more people understand how serious child sexual abuse is, the more resources can be devoted to finding a solution to stop it. No child should suffer from physical or sexual abuse. Until we find a way to stop it, the CAC is our best solution for protecting our children. We can begin the healing process and hopefully bring that child back to a place where they can heal and move forward with their lives. By supporting the CAC, we can help protect our most vulnerable population. This campaign calls on our community to come together and become heroes of hope for the children of Western New York.” 

To learn more about the amazing work of the CAC at BestSelf and to support their vision of all children safe from harm, head to their website

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Queen City Pizza: A Fresh Take on a Classic

Coming from Poland as an immigrant when she was just eleven years old, Ania Duchon— now the owner of multiple eateries around Buffalo including the newly opened Queen City Pizza— never thought her life would lead her down this path, according to her vice president of sales and marketing, Peter Zlotkowski. 

Duchon owns multiple popular spots in Buffalo, including Chrusciki Bakery, Sto Lat Bar, and now Queen City Pizza, along with Pierogi Pete’s— a reinvention of their restaurant Simply Pierogi that is opening next month. But her newest opening, Queen City Pizza, is gaining popularity with locals.

Located on Sheridan Drive in Amherst in the plaza right next to the Walmart, Duchon wanted to open a pizza place not just because of its popularity in Buffalo, but because the market for pizza is lucrative. “There’s good money to be made in pizza. It’s an easy product to make,” Zlotkowski said.

But with her background, Duchon didn’t know enough about making good pizza herself in order to hit the ground running. Her strategy? Finding those who do. “Ania is the president of her company, but she surrounds herself with people who are just as smart, if not smarter, than her,” said Zlotkowski. 

And the menu reflects the expertise of her chefs and cooks. For pizza, people have the option to customize their crust, sauce, cheese and toppings. “In today’s world, people want more choices,” Zlotkowski noted, adding that they are constantly evolving to see what works and what doesn’t work for customers.  

Their specialty pizzas are extremely popular, with favorites being the taco pizza and the chicken finger pizza— the latter winning third place at Resurgence Brewery’s Pizza Fest. “It’ll change your life,” Zlotkowski said of it. With an abundance of extras that customers can opt to add on from vegetables to meats to cheeses, patrons are not likely to get bored of Queen City Pizza.

The restaurant business wasn’t always of interest to Duchon, though. She immigrated to America a couple years after her parents in 1986, and came to the United States to find that her parents had moved from being teachers to working at a bakery in the Broadway Market, known as E&M Bakery. Her parents– the Robienieks– were fleeing from communist Poland, with Zlotkowski confirming the story that they came with only two suitcases and $100. 

When the owners of E&M Bakery asked Duchon’s parents to make Polish baked goods to sell, they were up for the challenge. “They said they knew what they were doing even though they had no idea. They were teachers, not bakers,” Zlotkowski said. “It took them months to make a hundred boxes; they sold out right away.” After that, they continued making Polish baked goods for E&M. When the previous owners were ready to retire, they made a “handshake” deal with the Robienieks, and handed the bakery in The Broadway Market over to them. 

Now the bakery has been in their family for about 35 years, and Duchon’s reluctance to take over the family business at first, has since sprouted into an ever-growing empire that she is extremely passionate about. She went from coming to America, not knowing English and helping her parents make baked goods in the basement of their East Side home, to owning multiple successful eateries around the Western New York area. 

Looking to the future, Duchon wants to continue expanding her restaurant empire with the opening of Pierogi Pete’s as well as franchising the concept. She is always scoping our spots for potential restaurants, while coming up with new ideas to evolve and level up. 

Zlotkowski has never seen anyone work as hard as Duchon. “Ania is never complacent. She has that typical immigrant mentality of ‘I need to work. I need to survive,’” he said. “That’s what she was taught by her parents. She is driven beyond anything I’ve ever seen in a business person.”

And as for the outlook of their future, Zlotkowski has complete trust in Duchon and will stick by her in any endeavor she takes up. When it comes to opening new restaurants he said, “They will undoubtedly be a hit. Nobody’s doing what we’re doing.”

Queen City Pizza | 3324 Sheridan Dr, Amherst, NY 14226 | (716) 248-2024

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS pulls out all the stops at luxurious Shea’s 710.  Only 5 shows left!

THE BASICS:  MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, a play with the book by Agatha Christie, adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig, presented by All For One Theatre Productions, had its opening delayed to March 23 and only runs through April 2, Thursday and Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 3 and 8, Sunday at 2:00 at Shea’s 710 Theatre, 710 Main Street, corner Tupper. | 716 847-1410  

RUNTIME: Two Hours 15 minutes

THUMBNAIL SKETCH:  In this, perhaps the most famous murder mystery by Agatha Christie, a snowdrift stops a train in its tracks at midnight.  No one can get on or off.  The next morning, an American gangster named “Ratchett” lies dead in his compartment, stabbed multiple times, sometimes from the left, sometimes from the right, all while his door was locked from the inside. 

The show stars Anthony Alcocer (as both Col. Arbuthnot and Ratchett), Robyn Baun (as Greta Ohlsson), Christian Brandjes (as the Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot), Lissette DeJesus (as Countess Andrenyi), Augustus Donaldson (as Hector MacQueen), Gregory Gjurich (as Trainmaster Monsieur Bouc), Lisa Ludwig (as the annoying American Mrs. Hubbard), Gabriella Jean McKinley (as Mary Debenham), Annette Daniels Taylor (as the imperious Princess Dragomiroff), and Ben Michael Moran (as both the officious Headwaiter and Michel the conductor of the train).

THE PLAYERS, THE PLAY, AND THE PRODUCTION:  Right away, as I took my seat and marveled at the detailed Art Deco set by Lynn Koscielniak, assisted by Nicholas Taboni’s projections, I saw that an “A-Team” was at work here.  And with wonderful memories of playwright Ken Ludwig’s BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY in the same theater several years ago, as well as my great respect for the director, Kyle Loconti, working with a cast of favorite Buffalo actors, I knew that this was going to be good. 

Gabriella Jean McKinley, Anthony Aloccer | Photo by Nancy J Parisi

“All For One” (sometimes written as All4One) Productions is a consortium of five local theaters, including the Irish Classical Theatre Company, Road Less Traveled Productions, Theatre of Youth, MusicalFare Theatre, and Shea’s Performing Arts Center.  That’s a huge pool of talent to draw from.  That’s not a guarantee of success, as the rather confused “designed by committee” THREE MUSKETEERS proved several years ago.  But in this case, the plan worked as it was intended to.  Oh yes, it worked its magic.

I was going to describe this as a “Locked Room Mystery” where it appears impossible for the murderer to enter and exit the location of the murder. But, Gigi Pandian, writing in Ellery Queen magazine, informs us that this is actually called a “Closed Circle Mystery” wherein “A small number of people are isolated when a crime occurs in their midst. There’s no way for them to leave or be rescued, so there’s an oppressive feeling because the characters know that someone in their midst is a killer.”  And, actually, here you get both the locked room and the closed circle.  

Ben Michael Moran, Christian Brandjes, Gregory Giurich | Photo by Nancy J Parisi

With a book by Agatha Christie and a detective as beloved as Hercule Poirot (who still appears weekly Thursday nights at 8:00 pm on WNED PBS) playwright Ken Ludwig didn’t have to go far for excellent source material.  Of course, all the essentials of a good mystery are there, including a fascinating locale (the exotic and luxurious “Orient Express” train), strong “foreshadowing” (giving us a lot of facts to let us draw our own ideas), a strong “hook” (what’s better than a gangster stabbed multiple times), lots of “red herrings” (leads that look like the solution but don’t pan out), a quirky yet engaging detective, and ultimately, a solution that is satisfying.  

Well, sort of.  While the mystery of the crime here is “solved,” there’s still something important to debate, or at least talk about, after the show.  To quote Forrest Gump: “That’s all I’ll say about that.”

I do want to single out Sound Designer Kate Menke who consistently delivers the most intriguing and impactful music and SFX.  She often uses classical music and for me, as an on-air radio host at WNED Classical, I am always surprised, amazed, and delighted by her choices.  

Lisette DeJesus, Lisa Ludwig | Photo by Nancy J Parisi

I mentioned the beautifully detailed set by Lynn Koscielniak, assisted by Nicholas Taboni’s projections, which are almost a character in themselves.  Set on a revolving stage, they continue, as the play progresses to reveal more and more, just as the plot does the same.  And that’s also a “trick of lighting” by Brian Cavanagh.  The period costumes by Lise Harty with Wign and Hair by Susan Drozd add a touch of elegance to the scenes, while Prop Masters Diane Almeter Jones and Amber Greer, with stage management by Susan Stimson assisted by Alexia R. Guzmán, were working hard. 

In general, I am not a fan of Buffalo actors using foreign accents.  I think it’s enough to know that we’re in London, France, or wherever and simply move on without giving the actors the added burden of using an accent.  I understand that because the plot called for a large “international” assemblage of travelers on the train, it was considered helpful to have the Russian sound Russian and the American sound American.  And the team brought in Dialect Coach Jenn Toohey (who also works at Shawfest) certainly one of the best coaches working today.  But, in general, the result was a “meh” for me.

However, Kudos to Great Gjurich as the French Trainmaster “Monsieur Bouc” whose accent, layered as thick as Pâté de Foie Gras, as well as his flamboyant manner, brought down the house on several occasions.  (If you recall the French waiter “Maurice” on the old “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show sketches, you get the idea.)  Gjurich really makes the show sparkle.

And, I watch a lot of PBS detective shows set in Scotland, part of my heritage is Scottish, and I found Anthony Alcocer’s Scottish accent as Colonel Arbuthnot to be spot on.  

In conclusion, it’s a great story, presented by some of our best local theater people, in a jewel of a venue.  

Lead image: Christian Brandjes, Annette Daniels Taylor, Robyn Baun 

*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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Opportunity Knocks: 169 Allen Street

Wanted: An infill-oriented developer with a top-notch architect to fill a missing tooth along Allen Street.  The 3,900 sq.ft. vacant lot at the northwest corner of Allen and Park streets is on the market with an undisclosed asking price.

Recckio Real Estate & Development has the listing for 169 Allen Street:

Currently a 0.09+/- Vacant Corner lot, 169 Allen was constructed in the 1880s when Allen Street was becoming the main commercial street of its neighborhood. From the 1880’s the Lot has been occupied for multiple uses until the 1990’s. By 1996, the building was gone and has remained a vacant lot. Only one block from Elmwood Avenue, walking distance to near by neighborhoods and next door to Allen Burger Venture. Property is zoned commercial. The Lot is 39′ +/- x 100′ +/-. Excellent exposure and easy access to the New York State Thruway I-190, Downtown Buffalo and the Kensington Expressway Route 33.

The Buffalo News, April 9, 1993

Get Connected: Rick Recckio, 716.998.4422

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Lofts Buffalo offers flexibility, style, and convenience in the heart of Buffalo’s Medical Campus

Lofts Buffalo offers a modern take on a historic Buffalo building, due to the apartments’ close proximity to the Jacobs School of Medicine, the numerous hospitals at the BNMC, and the downtown financial district, the apartments appeal to medical students, visiting doctors and nurses and downtown office workers, all who can walk to work.

The duo behind Lofts Buffalo, Donald Cameron and Paul Smith from Toronto felt the magnetic and magic pull of Buffalo in 2012 when they acquired their first property in Allentown at 18 St. Louis Place. Not long after, the duo purchased the two adjoining buildings, 20 St. Louis Place and 14 St. Louis Place, and put in the hard work of renovating the 30 apartments that sit there today.

Although the apartments feature all of the latest and greatest amenities including hardwood floors, granite countertops, and beautiful stainless steel appliances, the work to modernize these buildings was anything but easy as the old hospital building dated back two centuries to 1846.

In 2019, Cameron and Smith purchased 519 Virginia Street which featured an additional eight two-bedroom luxury apartments.

Between the four buildings, there are a total of 38 apartments, four located at 20 St. Louis Place that come fully furnished with appliances and amenities making this the ideal place for traveling nurses, doctors or anyone just passing through.

“The furnished apartments are for those that are traveling — the people that come in for two or three months, we tell them just basically bring your suitcase. You don’t have to do anything. There’s sheets, towels, cutlery and dishes,” explained Smith.

A previous tenant, Gabriel, said,  

I moved to Buffalo for five months from Europe and had an amazing time at the apartment at 20 St Louis Pl. They were super helpful from the beginning, and I was able to sign all the lease documents easily from Europe.

Centrally located near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Lofts Buffalo apartments have a 96 percent walkability score. This location is perfect for someone on the go looking for a hassle-free way to get to school or work.

“Buffalo comes off very well to people who come here. And Allentown where the property is it’s just a nice place to be. It’s very leafy, as I like to say, in the summertime. It’s great for walking and biking, just a block up the street and there are all sorts of clubs and restaurants.” said Smith.

They also have a reliable and responsive maintenance team along with a solid dedication to ensuring safety for all residents.

“We’re two blocks away from the police station. We have LED lighting that goes all the way around the whole four buildings and the parking lots. We have security cameras and a key fob entry system.”

“The caretakers truly care about the people who live at the St. Louis complex,” said one previous resident. “The property has always been clean and well-maintained. During one of my first nights here, I locked myself out of my apartment and the caretakers drove across town to let me back in despite it being 9:30 PM on a Friday. You can’t put a price on that.”

From medical students and traveling nurses to really anyone looking to make the move to the city of good neighbors, Lofts Buffalo offers a safe and convenient place to call home with a team dedicated to excellence.

“I moved into 14 Saint Louis Place after my first year of medical school with my girlfriend. It was a great decision,” said a resident, Ian. “The location is very convenient and is a short 6 minute walk to the medical campus. It’s also a quick walk downtown as well. We have always felt safe and the building is very secure. For three years we called this place home and we have no regrets with choosing this property.”

Whether you’re looking to stay for a long time or a short time, Lofts Buffalo has everything you need to make your time in the Queen city an enjoyable one.  

For more information or to inquire about leasing visit

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Five Cent Cine: Argentina, 1985

More Drama than Docu

Argentina, 1985 ★★★ (out of four stars)

A mother’s gripping account of being kidnapped as she is about to go into labor, giving birth in the back seat of the taxi speeding her away while handcuffed and blindfolded, the umbilical cord dragging on the floor of the cab. A young lawyer crying as she sees in photographic evidence the legs and sneakers, much like her own, of a dead woman. The mother is one of many witnesses (out of the 800 accounts collected by that young lawyer and others) who testified in the trial of Argentina’s brutal Commanders, the military “Juntas” who sought to eradicate all opposition to their 1976-1983 rule (in part funded by the U.S.). From 9,000 to 30,000 people died, the widely divergent estimates reflecting the Argentinians who simply “disappeared.” Recreating the heartbreaking, emotive testimony of key witnesses, and using archival materials, Director Santiago Mitre vividly presents the 1985 “Trial of the Juntas” that proved crucial to Argentina’s democracy.

As Donald Trump’s difficulties with the law have revealed, nothing is more fraught than the act of bringing charges against high-ranking public officials. Inevitably, that process involves novel legal theories and analysis. Yet “Argentina, 1985” eschews legal intricacies and the details of legal procedures. There’s no Perry Mason. Instead, a self-described funcionario, or official, the country’s lone Federal prosecutor, is the unlikely, even unwilling, hero in “Argentina, 1985.” 

Strassera informs the mothers of the “Disappeared,” who wear head scarves with pleas to find their children, that they must remove these “political statements” if they want to attend the trial. And they do.

That Federal prosecutor is the middle-aged, middle-class, middle-temperament, “cool” Julio César Strassera (Ricardo Darin). How will this man, silent during the long years of the Junta, carry out his duty? And how will the country and the still powerful military react to any trial after the Juntas’ reign of terror—kidnapping, torture, rape and murder, tactics they used in their “Dirty War” against so-called left-wing subversives?

Mitre presents this critical post-Junta period in Argentine history as a personal, and familial, story and arc: Strassera’s movement from reluctant functionary to impassioned representative of the victims. His path parallels the country’s, its collective effort to comprehend what has happened, to absorb the revelations emotionally as well as factually, and to preserve its fragile republic.

Strassera’s migration begins as a variation on the premise that underpins the “buddy film”: dissimilar individuals, forced to work together, learn from and even appreciate the other. Strassera’s “buddy,” foisted on him as deputy prosecutor, is in many ways his opposite: the young, committed, “hot” Luis Moreno Ocampo (Peter Lanzani). Moreno Ocampo insists that the prosecution’s team consist of a dozen more young people, eager, inexperienced and naïve, and identified neither with the human rights campaigns of the past nor with the “fascists.”

Strassera and “Strassera’s kids” have a mere 5 months to investigate the crimes carried out under the aegis of the Commanders. Scenes of the “kids” working in one or two rooms, amid piles of documents, are reminiscent of other cinematic treatments of perpetrators brought to justice: “All the President’s Men” (1976) on Watergate, and “Spotlight” (2015) on the Catholic pedophile priest scandal. 

Strassera (Ricardo Darin) standing center with his “kids.” Standing left, Deputy Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo (Peter Lanzani), who later would become the first Chief Prosecutor of the permanent International Criminal Court, based at The Hague.

Mitre uses both intense in-person testimony and montage to communicate the extent and depth of the horror of the Juntas’ Dirty War. He intersperses video and photos from the actual proceedings, revealing how closely he has sought to replicate the events of 1985. By creating a personal drama steeped in riveting first-hand testimony of terror (bringing to mind Abu Ghraib), the director has made Argentina’s struggle for democracy accessible even to global audiences unfamiliar with the details of its civil war.

Because the subtitles at times fly by too quickly for the non-Spanish speaker, there’s an advantage to watching this film at home, where one can pause to digest the complex historical background. Mitre also engages in a few trite cinematic tropes, like the bundles of newspapers hitting the morning street, or the “serendipitous” flashes of “Verdad” (“Truth”) on buildings in the background. The final verdict, curiously delivered by Stassera in a conversation with his young son (Santiago Armas Estevarena), is also difficult to parse, as if it somehow doesn’t matter. 

The 1985 civil “Trial of the Juntas” (military men) proved crucial to Argentina’s fledgling democracy.

But our quibbles are few. Darin, one of Argentina’s preeminent actors, here with buttoned-up demeanor, flashes of anger, and transformation from functionary to standard-bearer, gives a magnificent performance. He benefits too from the contrasting passion of Lanzani. It’s hard to take one’s eyes off Laura Paredes as the mother giving birth. Alejandra Flechner is effective as Strassera’s doubting wife, though she’s betrayed by the script with her cloying and unnecessary line, “you’re a national hero.”

Like the German “All Quiet on the Western Front” that won the Best Foreign Film Oscar this year over “Argentina, 1985,” this is a film for our times. There’s satisfaction in seeing corrupt political leaders brought to trial, in the courageous decision of a government to prosecute despite possible repercussions, in the mere willingness of a functionary to do his job, and in Argentina’s ability to accomplish a kind of “truth and reconciliation”—and to remain free from dictatorship to this day.

Stay for the end credits and the black and white photos of the real participants in this compelling historical drama.

Date: 2022

Stars: 3 (out of 4)

Director: Santiago Mitre

Starring: Ricardo Darin, Alejandra Flechner, Peter Lanzani, Laura Paredes, Santiago Armas Estevarena, Gina Mastronicola

Country: Argentina

Language: Spanish, subtitled in English

Runtime: 140 minutes

Oscar Nominations: Best International Feature Film (Argentina)

Other Awards: Won Golden Globes Best Motion Picture – Non-English Language, Venice Film Festival Best Film, several Audience Awards, for a total of 16 wins and 31 other nominations

Availability: For rent or purchase on Amazon Prime; see JustWatch here for future expanded availability.

Lead image: Director Santiago Mitre presents the legal drama as a family one; above, standing, Ricardo Darin as Prosecutor Strassera, in his living room with his family: daughter Verónica (Gina Mastronicola), wife Silvia (Alejandra Flechner), and son Javier (Santiago Armas Estevarena).

See all Five Cent Cine reviews by 2 Film Critics

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WNED Screening: “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo”

On Wednesday, April 26, the community will have an opportunity to attend a WNED screening of the documentary “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo,” narrated by David Ogden Stiers.

The city of Buffalo is synonymous with Frank Lloyd Wright, in great part to businessman Darwin Martin, who Wright once called his best friend. That deep friendship culminated in a lasting architectural legacy that, to this day, is revered throughout the world.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright once called Darwin Martin, an unassuming Buffalo businessman, his ‘best friend.’

For anyone who has wanted to learn more about FLW’s time in Buffalo, his relationship with Martin, and the buildings that are (mostly) still contributing to the dynamic architectural fabric of this city, this is a wonderful chance to gain insight into a partnership that spanned three decades.

WNED Screening: “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo”

April 26, 6-7:30 pm

Admission is free!

The Buffalo History Museum
1 Museum Court 
Buffalo, NY 14216

Beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Reserve a spot for the screening by clicking here.

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Round 2 of 2023 SCR Funding – for Individual Artists, Collectives, and Nonprofits – Now Open

You could receive up to $5,000 in funding for your community arts projects. That’s right, we’re excited to re-open the portal for a second round of Statewide Community Regrant (SCR) applications for individual artists, collectives and nonprofits in Erie, Chautauqua, and Niagara Counties.

The deadline to apply is May 26, 2023.

This second round of SCR funding is open to new applicants as well as applicants who did not receive funding if they applied for the first deadline. And, in 2023, applicants can apply for 100% of their project’s cost up to the grant max with no fund matching requirement.

We have scheduled several in-person and virtual information sessions for first-time and returning applicants that will answer any questions you may have.

If you have questions, email Holly Grant at “” and you can always learn more at the link below. This program is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

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Project Best Life | Be Empowered by Meal Prep

Have you ever made the mistake of grocery shopping on an empty stomach, only to succumb to defeat, become overwhelmed, and return home with cake batter and lightbulbs? Busy schedules can present a challenge when it comes to eating healthy. However, meal planning empowers us to make informed decisions at the grocery store. In addition, meal prep leads to portion control, contributing to a more nutritionally balanced diet. Cooking can also help lower stress levels and, of course, help hone your chef skills.

Healthy meal planning is beneficial when maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet. Planning and preparing meals in advance has been linked to numerous health benefits, ranging from weight loss to reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It is crucial to determine one’s calorie requirements, which vary depending on an individual’s age, sex, and activity level. Once you calibrate your daily calorie intake, you can decide on the macronutrient composition of your meals. Nutrition professionals say a balanced diet should contain vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and minimal fat.

Studies have shown that diets high in fat and sugar can rewire the brain to desire more high sugar fat-rich foods. The same is true for healthy, nutrient-dense foods. With a bit of time and patience, we can subtly train ourselves to prefer better food.

We ventured to Built Without Guilt on Chandler street to further explore the importance of healthy meal planning, the benefits, and the steps involved in creating a healthy meal plan. The Plate Method is an easy way to build a balanced meal, and meal prep can save you time and money while increasing your nutritional awareness. Following the Plate Method is simple: Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, and the remainder with starchy vegetables or fruit. Added benefits include eliminating the need for frequent trips to the grocery store by buying healthy foods in bulk and cutting down the time required to cook meals every day.

Shana Maldonado at Built without Guilt shared one of her Plate Method meal-planning recipes: Butter Meat Co. chuck roast, rosemary, roasted beets, carrot & parsnip with balsamic & fig roasted brussels sprouts: 430 Calories per serving.

Shana rubs the chuck in a blend of garlic, ginger, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, ginger, and black pepper before searing it on each side. She recommends using a cast iron skillet and cooking oil with a high smoke point (no E.V.O.O.)

She then uses brewed Lions Mane Coffee, maple syrup, and balsamic to dress it up before roasting it in a pressure cooker. No pressure cooker? No worries. You can roast in the oven at 325 for 1:15. While the protein cooks, she peels and cubes a mixture of root vegetables. She tosses roasted brussels sprouts, beets, carrots, and parsnips, in a balsamic fig glaze with rosemary.

Recipe Steps

Peel and cube root vegetables. (one of each large parsnip, carrot, and beet)

Season meat and gently sear on each side

Chop or quarter brussels sprouts and then roast.

Roll those vegetables around in a large enough bowl with some fig balsamic glaze.

Baste seared meat in a coffee maple syrup blend and set it in a pressure cooker or an oven at 325 for one hour and fifteen minutes.

Package meals individually or package ingredients separately to mix and match throughout the week. For example, swap out starchy vegetables with fresh fruit or healthy grains. We love food but hate waste. So while preparing meals, Shana combats food waste by composting. Chefs work together to collect vegetable scraps and local restaurant waste, including mycelium substrate (from flat 12) mixed with other food waste: which helps the nitrogen and carbon balance -yielding great soil. These materials go into bioreactors: 8ft diameter by 10ft tall bins sitting on pallets in Shana’s backyard.

The hope is to generate C.S.N.: community-shared nutrition. Similar to C.S.A. community shared agriculture. They look forward to a harvest of sustainable produce. It is easy to become overwhelmed by life, but taking control of your body’s fuel is empowering, and from what we have learned- it can lead to better habits. We’d love to know about your favorite meal-planning recipes and the healthy food choices that empower you.

About the Chef: Shana cooks every meal to nurture her mind, body, and spirit. She seeks to inspire people to view food as a source of nourishment and clean fuel for bodies on healthy eating journeys. She embraces her love for cooking with creativity and passion and considers herself a whole foods activist. Shana has gained knowledge and an affinity for healthy ingredients that happen to be delicious. She has sharpened her cooking and recipe-building techniques to create masterful meals tailored to all different lifestyles, such as the paleo, keto, or macro-based diets. Find yourself living an A.I.P., gluten-, soy-, and lectin-restrictive diet? No worries! Her experience balancing flavor and healthy eating highlights the best of each world. Shana eats what she cooks and cooks what she likes to eat. Built Without Guilt was born from this organic relationship, offering daily meal plans for food lovers and personalized diets.

This series is sponsored by Project Best Life. Buffalo Rising and Project Best Life have teamed up to produce a series on wellness inspiration and advice to direct readers to the people, places, and experiences in Buffalo and beyond that will help them fulfill their health, nutrition, and wellness goals. For more information on how you can live your best life, subscribe to the Project Best Life newsletter.

Project Best Life

In tough times, our efforts to maintain fitness, healthy nutrition, and personal wellness can fall by the wayside as we direct all our energy into navigating our individual storm. Yet, in the face of what’s happening in the world around us, it is essential to make space for self-care and experiences that fortify our physical and mental wellbeing.

Check out Project Best Life’s personal assessment tool. Get personalized health insights and a cancer screening checklist by completing this health assessment. This questionnaire will only take you around 10-15 minutes to complete.

Listen to the Happy & Health Podcast

Trying to manage a proper work-life balance, saving for your future while paying all your bills, all while keeping strong relationships with friends and family… We know that life can get pretty stressful, and it’s easy to forget what’s best for your health both physically and mentally. Project Best Life is here to help with our podcast: Happy and Healthy. We provide tips from experts and share stories that will inspire you to live your best life, whatever that means to you. Listen now on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google

For more on Project Best Life, Like or Follow Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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Opportunity Knocks: The Shea Mansion

Richmond Avenue is a wonderful street, filled with countless architecturally significant houses. But there is one that sticks out a bit further than the rest – 356 Richmond Avenue, also known as the Shea Mansion.

Not only does this circa 1898 mansion appear to be glorious from the outside, the interior is just as spectacular.

According to the listing, the property has been meticulously maintained and restored from top to bottom. Walking through the front door is akin to stepping back in time, with (first floor) elegant foyer, gleaming hardwoods, gracious den, powder room, living room, formal dining area, bright kitchen with a breakfast bar and butlers pantry. The rest of the floors are just as stunning, as can be seen via the listing.

From the listing:

Spacious rooms to entertain, stunning stained glass, and marvelous moldings and millwork. All updated mechanics and roof.

The Shea Mansion was featured on Buffalo Rising in 2015!

List price: $729,000

Get connected:

Howard Hanna WNY Inc 716-932-5300

Karen Baker Levin 716-830-7264

The post Opportunity Knocks: The Shea Mansion appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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