Welcome to Daily Post, which we’ll produce Monday through Friday, featuring short enterprise pieces and summaries of full-length stories.
Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022
So what does a school district do when many of its underachieving students miss a year’s worth of instruction due to the pandemic?
If you’re Buffalo schools, you promote almost all of them to the next grade.
In doing so, the district pledged programming to help students catch up. But halfway through the school year, that effort is hamstrung, mostly by problems related to the pandemic.
As parent leader Sam Radford told us: “Our children who are already the furthest behind … they’re falling further behind.”
Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022
State and local officials, determined to win the competition for a semiconductor plant that will employ 1,800, offered Samsung $1.89 billion in subsidies to locate the factory in Genesee County, just north of Batavia.
The chief competition, two sites in and around Austin, Texas, dangled large subsidy packages, as well. But at $1 billion each, they fell way short of what New York was offering.
Nevertheless, Samsung opted for Taylor, Texas.
Why did the company bypass Genesee County?
It’s unclear, but the remote location could have been a factor. How remote? It was going to cost $200 million just to bring utilities to the site, located in an industrial park that is mostly fields.
New York’s subsidy package, if it has been accepted, would have been the second-largest in state history, double that of what Tesla received to build its plant in South Buffalo.
Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022
Readers voted Phil Gambini’s report on high levels of E. coli bacteria in local waterways at our top story of 2021. Blame it on the discharge of untreated sewage which is spewed into waterways after heavy rains..
There’s a particular problem with the Black Rock Canal, popular with fishermen, the occasional swimmer and, most notably, the West Side Rowing Club and high school and college crew teams. E. coli readings consistently exceed safe limits — by up to 14 times — established by the federal government.
“There are people coming in contact with water with E. coli from human feces every single day,” Wendy Paterson of the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper told Investigative Post.
Other affected waterways included the Buffalo and Niagara rivers and Scajaquada, Ellicott and Eighteen Mile creeks.
Thuraday, Dec. 30, 2021
The Great Northern grain elevator on the Buffalo River has been crumbling in plain sight for 28 years. Fault the building’s owner, Archer Daniels Midland. But City Hall is also complicit.
Yes, the company is at fault for not maintaining the hulking structure, but it’s been aided and abetted by City Hall.
The city has inspected the building only one time since ADM purchased it in 1993. That dates all the way back to the administration of Anthony Masiello.
The city can’t say it wasn’t warned. ADM, seeking to make a case for demolition, alerted the city several times over the years to serious problems with the structure. The city’s response was to do nothing, not even inspect the gain elevators, save one time.
Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021
Tesla has finally met its job goals at its billion dollar plant in South Buffalo.
The state had extended Tesla’s deadline twice. The third time was a charm, and in this case, a way of dodging a $41.2 million penalty.
Tesla had until the end of the year to meet the target of 1,460 jobs; employment as of early November stood at 1,557.
Let’s hold off celebrating, however.
A look at Tesla’s online job postings shows a lot of positions pay modest wages. And the plant, built with nearly $1 billion in state subsidies, has produced little spin-off development, aside from the Tim Horton’s across the street.
Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021
You may have read or watched stories in the daily newspaper or local television stations about the details of studies involving the proposed construction of a new stadium for The Buffalo Bills. You can thank Investigative Post.
The state released the studies after we sued Empire State Development, the state’s primary economic development agency, after it rejected our requests for copies under the Freedom of Information Law. Only when we filed the lawsuit did the state relent.
Said Michael Higgins, one of our attorneys: ““These documents were always public records and Empire State Development withheld them, gambling that no one would expend the time and money it takes to file a lawsuit to force their release. They lost that gamble.”