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62-year-old man killed in crash in Holland

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 62-year-old man was killed in a crash in Holland early Sunday morning, according to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

Police responded to the intersection of Vermont Hill Road and Vermont Street around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, where there had been a two-car crash.

Police located a Volkswagen Passat in the brush off the southeastern edge of the roadway with extensive damage. The driver of the vehicle, 62-year-old Grant Brown of Concord, was later pronounced dead. There was also a Chevrolet Silverado with front-end damage.

The crash is still under investigation.

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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.

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15-year-old injured in shooting on Mapleridge

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 15-year-old boy was injured in a shooting on Mapleridge Avenue early Saturday morning, according to Buffalo police.

Police responded to the shooting, on the first block of Mapleridge, just before 1 a.m. Saturday.

The teen was transported to ECMC, where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The shooting remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call or text the confidential TIPCALL line at 716-847-2255.

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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.

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Community holds benefit for DC Theatricks owners 15 months after devastating fire

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The community gathered together at a fundraiser on Saturday for a costume company that lost everything last year following a fire.

In March 2023, the building that DC Theatricks operated in went up in flames, leading to the business losing all of its costumes, equipment and supplies.

That same fire also took the life of Buffalo firefighter Jason Arno.

Buffalo firefighter dies battling downtown blaze

The tragedy of losing one of Buffalo’s emergency personnel touched the entire community, but DC Theatricks’ owners said there were multiple tragedies that day.

The business occupied the first floor of the building located at 745 Main St. The extent of the damage left the company with no way to rebuild its collection.

“This benefit is not to minimize the loss of the firefighter who lost his life,” said family member Marylou Saur. “That’s far more devastating, but this too was devastating.”

DC Theatricks was a business that operated for 41 years. It created costumes for area theater productions as well as national and international Broadway shows.

Dave Dejac, a co-owner of DC Theatrics, has spent the last year coming to terms with the loss of his establishment. He explained that every day is a tough battle, but as time goes by, it gets a little easier.

“We started out small and just kept growing,” Dejac said. “It was a long haul. A lot of hard work but very creative on our end so we do miss that.”

Initially, following the fire, Dejac didn’t want to hold a benefit for his company. He didn’t want to take away from the grief of Engine 2 and the Buffalo Fire Department.

“He was a hero”: Buffalo firefighter Jason Arno remembered fondly

15 months later, family members decided it was time. They felt DC Theatricks deserved all of the support the community was eager to give them.

“When they finally gave us the ‘OK’ to do it, we started talking to people,” Saur said. “Everyone wanted to do it. It ended up not being a little benefit but quite a big one.”

Hundreds of people filled the Town Ballroom located in the Theater District to show their support. There were basket raffles for people to enter as well as a silent auction. Multiple music groups also performed, bringing entertainment to all of the guests.

Everyone involved in the event said they are beyond proud of how the community can come together when it’s needed most.

“I always felt that at DC Theatricks, all of our customers were like family,” family member Debbie Knoll said. “They were people we knew from year to year. I think the community is going to give back to DC Theatricks what they gave everyone throughout the years.”

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Buffalo Public Schools announces half days next week due to heat

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Public Schools announced that they are implementing four half days next week due to the National Weather Service’s forecast of excessive heat in the Buffalo area, Jeffrey Hammond, the school’s director of public relations and information, said in a statement.

The half days will be implemented for students in pre-K through eighth grade on June 17, 18, 20 and 21.

Lunch will be served to all students before their dismissal. Students will be released three and a half hours earlier — at 10:55 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 12:35 p.m. — than their usual dismissal times.

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“High school students are not in school on Monday due to NYS regents exams,” Hammond said. “However, high school students will be expected to report for their regularly scheduled NYS regents exams throughout the rest of the week.”

Water stations will be available for students taking the exams.

Hammond said the school’s staff will remain at their assigned locations for full workdays next week.

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Katie Skoog joined the News 4 team in April 2024. She is a graduate from the University at Buffalo. You can view more of her work here.

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85-year-old woman in pursuit of 1,000 skydives crosses Niagara Falls off her list

YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kim Knor could be described as adventurous, brave and proof that age is nothing but a number.

Her biggest thrill-seeking passion, however, is tandem skydiving.

The 85-year-old has set out to complete 1,000 tandem skydives — a goal that started in 1959. This weekend, she added Niagara Falls to her list of jumps.

“I’ve been trying to get to 1,000 jumps since I started in 1959,” Knor said. “I’ve had many interruptions, raising a family, different things — life gets in the way.”

Now with more free time, she’s finishing what she started more than six decades ago.
On Saturday, Knor geared up to jump with the team at Skydive the Falls in Youngstown.

Knor has traveled all over the country and world to skydive, and she’s been looking forward to viewing Niagara Falls from a parachute.

“To see it from the sky, oh my gosh, it was really really exciting,” Knor said.

“It’s the thrill, it’s the rush, and then it’s the beauty of everything, looking at the world from a whole different perspective,” said Jason Berger, co-owner of Skydive the Falls.

Knor was a member of the first-ever U.S. women’s parachute team in 1962.

“Without Kim being the pioneer in the sport that she is, I would not become a tandem instructor,” said Jennifer Jones, a tandem skydive instructor. “This has been somewhat of a male-dominated sport. It requires a lot of upper body strength, and so women have had to really develop themselves into instructional positions, the gear has come a long way, but Kim has set the pace.”

Knor inspires people to continue chasing their dreams at any age, including Jones.

“Today I turned 62 and I’m one of the oldest female instructors in the world,” Jones said. “Kim and I’s aggregate age is 147, so I haven’t quit yet. I’m still pursuing the sport, I just hope I can last until 85.”

After this weekend, Knor is one jump closer to being awarded her gold wings for having made 1,000 skydives.

“Don’t close the doors and listen to people say, ‘Oh no, you’re not going to do that, that’s too scary or this is too this’ — you have to feel what’s inside you,” Knor said. “You see someone wearing the gold wings, it’s really significant. That’s what I want. I’ve got another 328 to go.”

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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.

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Newfane home believed to be total loss after fire

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Newfane home is believed to be a total loss after a fire damaged the structure Friday night, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office announced.

Officials said the blaze began around 9:20 p.m., with several calls reporting a possible house fire at the home on Ridge Road.

Occupants of the residence were safely assisted out of the burning home by a fire official who happened to be driving past at the time. Several fire companies eventually were able to extinguish the blaze.

An investigation into the fire’s cause is underway.

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

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Pedestrian fatally struck by multiple vehicles on I-90 in Hamburg

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An unidentified pedestrian was fatally struck by multiple vehicles Friday night on I-90 in Hamburg, New York State Police announced.

Troopers said a Lexus was traveling eastbound on I-90 around 9:40 p.m. when it struck something in the roadway. After the operator pulled over and called 911, it was later determined the vehicle struck an unknown male.

The victim was struck by “numerous” other vehicles and tractor-trailers, according to police. The male’s remains were transported to ECMC for an autopsy and possible identification.

An investigation into the crash remains ongoing.

The incident caused all lanes of I-90 East between Exit 57 (Route 75) and Exit 56 (Route 179) to close for just under five hours, according to NITTEC. The roadway reopened close to 3 a.m. Saturday.

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

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‘You want the support you thought you were getting,’ Business owner speaks out on Downtown Bazaar controversy

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A small business incubator located in Downtown Buffalo is facing controversy within our community.

The Westminster Economic Development Initiative, also known as WEDI, launched the Downtown Bazaar less than a year ago. The Bazaar has been facing financial straits for months, but after a meeting Friday, board members say the location will remain open. 

A business owner spoke with News 4 about the struggles she’s faced since setting up shop at the Downtown Bazaar location. She explains that a lot of the other businesses at the Downtown location and other Bazaar locations feel a similar way.

“You put your idea out on this platform so you want the support that you thought you were getting,” she said. “If you’re not going to get it here, where are you going to get it?”

The business owner explained that when she made the decision to lease from Downtown Bazaar, she was told she’d get a lot of support helping her navigate the challenges of starting a business. She was also told she’d receive some help with marketing, but she says those promises have not been kept. 

Just eight months after opening, WEDI board members met to discuss closing the Downtown Bazaar as the organization faced a large deficit. Board members say that all of the staff is actively working hard to keep the location up and running.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of our board and our staff in terms of finding ways to be creative and find a way,” said WEDI board member Steve Zenger. “There was never going to be a decision today about closing it tomorrow. Today’s meeting was about putting our heads together and getting some feedback from the collaboration between our staffing and our business partners down there and trying to find a creative way to keep that facility open.” 

The board will not explicitly say how they came to the decision to keep the Downtown Bazaar operating, citing that it’s too early to share the details. But they did admit that keeping the location open has been an uphill battle. 

“There are some challenges down there, I’m not going to lie. Much of those challenges really have nothing to do with our choices or their choices but the economic reality of downtowns in every city in America,” said Zenger. “The workforce and changing habits where people live is affecting opportunities for businesses that are located in downtown corridors.”  

Zenger emphasized that WEDI is looking into making changes to fully support the up and coming entrepreneurs. 

“Our team is always doing things to try and help our business owners. That’s really our mission,” said Zenger. “I think we probably need to take a look at efforts to work harder and do more work to promote the Downtown and West Side Bazaar.”

According to the business owner, WEDI wants to hold another meeting a month before their lease is up to come up with a plan for the future. WEDI is also looking for people to serve on the board to help their effort to keep locations like Downtown Bazaar open.

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Johnny D’s revives old standards in downtown Buffalo with steak, sushi, and song

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s a vibe you don’t get much around Buffalo anymore: The soothing sounds of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s as you enjoy your dinner “supper club” style.

It’s back at a new restaurant in downtown Buffalo.

Jackie Jocko, best known for albums “Lover, Come Back to Me” and “Like Wow!”, once entertained on this very piano; The one with the late Jocko’s notes above the keyboard, a keyboard that now belongs to Jocko’s protege, Howard Goldman.

Goldman and his wife, Mary Kunz Goldman, are the main attraction around the piano nightly inside the former E.B. Green’s Steakhouse at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo. While the hotel is getting a makeover, the restaurant has been redone, reopened under new ownership, and renamed Johnny D’s.

“This is it,” Goldman said. “We’ve achieved the goal. We’re here where Jackie Jocko performed for so many years at his piano keeping this room alive in the same spirit where people can get together regularly and see each other.”

People gather around to hear Howard Goldman perform

“What we want to do is create a great restaurant for the locals — if we do that, we know we’ll have a great hotel restaurant and have a lot of range,” said Chris Harter, owner of Johnny D’s.

Harter describes that range as steak, sushi, and adventurous American fare. But the piano, and the people around it, that’s the icing on the cake.

The folks around the piano agree, Goldman’s music is key to bringing everyone together. He refers to them as his “lounge cadets.”

“If you want to meet interesting people in Buffalo, who have great conversations and interesting backgrounds and are interesting to talk to, this is the place to be,” according to Buffalo violinist Janet Mazzio.

“You meet some extremely eclectic people, movie producers I’ve met here, musicians, people from Europe. Everyone has a great story to tell,” said Jay Farquharson, a childhood friend of Goldman’s.

Owner Chris Harter discusses the new restaurant with Jacquie

He’s not just entertaining people face to face. Every Friday evening, Goldman fires up his Facebook page and reaches out to followers across social media who love the old standards.

“We all kind of think of ourselves as preservationists, in a sense,” says Goldman. “We’re preserving these old songs because if they skip too many generations, you can never get them back.”

Mary Kunz Goldman was a longtime classical music critic for the Buffalo News and singer in Buffalo churches. She has now taken the leap to lounge entertainment.

“It’s a great adventure for me,” she said. “I love it.”

In a city where there is no shortage of musical styles, the Great American Songbook has found a familiar home in downtown Buffalo, bringing new friends around an old piano that still has a lot of life.

“It’s a wonderful bunch of friends,” says frequent lounge listener Frederick Gazoli. “But others can join. It’s a very nice safe environment. A very good place to come just to chat, it’s good.”

“My dad was a WWII vet,” says ‘lounge cadet’ Andrea Seitter. “He was a radio man on a B-17 bomber and all of the music Howard plays was all music I grew up with. Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, big band things. I just love it, and nobody plays it like Howard does. I really enjoy it very much.”

Howard Goldman looks around the room and speaks as he continues to play Jocko’s storied piano. “It’s really kind of a dream come true, because that was really my vision, that people would want to get together and do this as a regular part of their life. And it would become important to them. And it has.”

Howard Goldman performs on the piano

If you would like to hear Howard and Mary Kunz Goldman entertain, they are currently scheduled to play every night from 5 to 9 p.m. at Johnny D’s Restaurant inside the Buffalo Hyatt Regency, although that schedule is subject to change.

Jacquie Walker is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1983. See more of her work here.

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Local boy spreads happiness through his business and his gospel, ‘I like to help people who are in need’

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Jammell Brooks isn’t your typical 13-year-old.

And it’s not just because, at his age, he already has a booming lawn mowing business.

It’s because of what his business allows him to feel.

“I just want people to know that I’m a happy person,” Jammell said on a recent sunny spring evening. 

It was peak happiness for Jammell in June, when a stranger dropped off a lawnmower for him to use. 

“The first thing I did — I didn’t even show my mom — the first thing that I did, the first thing I did was go on Facebook live,” he said laughing. 

Donated was a Toro recycler with a 22-inch deck, a good blade and new spark plugs, so it fires right up on the first pull — a good thing considering how busy he is.

“I was very excited because not only did I have a lawnmower, I can make money and have money in my pocket,” Jammell said. “And I get to feel very special because I have my own lawn business, I can be the boss.”

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And sometimes, he’s more than just his own boss. 

“Two days ago, I told my sisters I’d give them 10 dollars each if they clean my room,” he said proudly. “So what I do is I make them work for what I work for to give them the money back.”

There’s no doubt Jammell has the entrepreneurial spirit. But his biggest motivator is the Holy Spirit. 

Jammell’s grandfather is Bishop Michael Brooks, lead pastor at House of Yahshua.

“[Jammell] was premature. We actually thought we were going to lose him,” Bishop Brooks said. “But through the grace of God, we did a lot of praying and he came out of it.

“I used to take him to church all the time and at 2 years old, he would grab the mic. I wasn’t going to snatch the mic from him. I wanted to see what he was going to do and before you know it, he’s up singing and preaching.”

And he’s never looked back.  

“I give encouraging words, I have my own ministry,” Jammell said. “I post a lot of encouraging things on Facebook live and I pray for people. I just want to see people happy right along with me.”

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Jammell shares the good word on social media — often. 

But he practices it in his day job — because it turns out, mowing lawns is just a means to an end, another way to spread his message. 

“I consist as my lawn mowing business and my ministry the same because it’s like I’m making people happy,” Jammell said. “In my lawnmower business, not a lot of people can afford their grass to be cut. So when people say I don’t have the money right now, I still take it upon myself to do it and they just come up with spiritual money…”

Spiritual money –if it could be counted, Jammell’s cup runneth over. 

“You can be a believer or a non believer and he will catch your attention. He will catch your attention,” Bishop Brooks said. “And if you got a frown on your face, he’ll make you smile or say something encouraging. And so he affects a lot of people out here, and I believe that’s his purpose.”

Jammell feels it too, in the responses he gets from neighbors on their front porch. 

“So every time I go somewhere, people are like keep it up young man, you’re doing great. And so by me doing this and multitasking with my youth ministry and going to church, it’s actually fun because I get to move around. I’m like a busy person now.

“I like, for me, I like to help people who are in need,” he said. “Rather what they do in life or if they can’t make it or whatever the case may be I will help you regardless of what you’ve been through.”

You can find Jammell and book a service by visiting his page on Facebook

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Dave Greber is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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