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Gates Circle Hospital Implosion Not the Best Live Spectator Sport

As a disclaimer to this Buffalo News story projecting a “big crowd” for the planned October 3 implosion of the former Kaleida Health Millard Fillmore Gates Circle hospital, there are very real air quality concerns associated with such demolitions that potential spectators and nearby residents should know about.

Below is a map showing the implosion site, with the hospital shaded red.

OSC Street Closure_Implosion











(Note the “Hospitality Area” on the roof of the parking ramp, near the Command Center!)

Pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars are to be outside the red boundary when the implosion takes place at 7am. If you live within the red boundary, your best bet is to remain inside your house until the dust settles—at least an hour after the blast, according to this study by Johns Hopkins University, published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association.

From the study:

Demolition by implosion is conducted by using

nitroglycerine-based dynamite to strategically destroy

load-bearing structures, allowing the building to collapse

onto itself. Depending on the timing and location of

charges, implosion contractors are able to predetermine

the direction of the collapse and subsequent debris pile.3

(The demolition that is the subject of this paper was

conducted by collapsing a high-rise on top of adjacent

smaller buildings, thereby achieving multiple building

demolitions from a single implosion.) For economic purposes

and to minimize the emission of hazardous chemicals

during demolition or debris removal, recyclable (e.g.,

plumbing and ventilation) and hazardous materials (e.g.,

asbestos and lead [Pb]), respectively, are removed before

the implosion.4 Asbestos removal is federally regulated

under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air

Pollutants (NESHAP, 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M). Depending

on proximity, adjacent buildings may be draped with a

heavy-gauge plastic or woven vinyl to prevent damage

from flying debris. Such a precaution likely has a secondary

benefit of reducing dust infiltration. Emissions and

exposure also can be affected by meteorology. Specific

criteria are site-and contractor-dependent; however, in

general, light precipitation with winds in the direction of

sparse population is desirable. Post-implosion settled dust

control strategies include suppression with water and vacuum

street cleaners.


Despite these precautions, the potential for human

exposure to air contaminants from urban building implosions

is great because of a combination of high population

density, the enormous particulate matter (PM) emission

rate, and the resulting high PM concentrations. The

exposure potential is further exacerbated by the spectacle

of the event and media promotion that brings community

residents outdoors and to the site, swelling the exposed

population. In addition to the short-term exposure

concern associated with the airborne PM at the time of

the implosion, there is the potential for longer-term exposure

to PM that settles across the community and then

is available to be resuspended and inhaled or ingested after hand-to-mouth contact.

Here’s a more current Google map of the area, showing the current pile of rubble from the partial demolition of the hospital buildings that has been taking place all summer. Also, with the white descriptive boxes removed, you can more easily see just how many homes and residences are within the blast zone. It will be a matter of which way the wind blows that morning to see who gets the worst of the fallout.

DON'T Get to Gates!

DON’T Get to Gates!











Here are a few bullet points for would-be spectators and nearby residents, from the study:

Stay away from the implosion. Watch it on TV especially if you are very young, elderly, have immune problems, or a lung disease like asthma.

Stay indoors. If you live near the implosion, keep your doors and windows closed before and for one hour after the implosion.

Implosion dust can get indoors. Use a damp cloth or mop to clean dust from surfaces. Don’t vacuum the dust. Vacuuming stirs the dust back up into the air.

Rinse sidewalks and door stoops with a hose. The dust settles on outdoor surfaces near or downwind from the implosion.

Remove shoes or use a doormat. This will keep the dust from being carried inside.

Ontario Specialty Contracting, the demolition company performing the planned collapse, is hosting an informational session to answer questions on what the implosion entails at the parking lot located at 637 Linwood Avenue at 5pm on Thursday, September 24.


The Flower Pedaler

Filed under: Good Ideas, Transportation

photoHere are a couple snapshots of Denis P. Guerin with his cool, custom Workcycles cargo trike. You can read all about how this enterprise came to be by checking out Newell Nussbaumer’s account over at Also visit Petrichor Flora on facebook.

They’re nice flowers, and very affordable. Great as an impulse buy if you see him on the street—or, for those of you who are even more romantically inclined, get in touch with him to see about arranging a delivery as you sit with your date at a sidewalk bistro. See phone number in the photo below.




Penn State Serves Up Fracking Kool-Aid to Freshmen

Filed under: Energy, Environmental

On his No Fracking Way blog, Chip Northrup reports how Penn State gives all 7,000 incoming freshmen this reading assignment.  

Students can then write a 1,000 word essay about it, and the top two entries will receive a $100 Amazon gift card.

What do you expect from the big state college in a big fracking state like Pennsylvania?

This is the kind of higher education we would be getting in New York if the state had moved to allow fracking. Thankfully, all we had to suffer through were the pathetic fracking institutes that briefly existed at the State University of New York at Buffalo and SUNY College at Fredonia.



And don’t miss this fascinating video by Penn State’s frack booster Terry Engelder, promoting the reading project to incoming students. The video is packed with interesting facts…like, did you know that Engelder spent his first night at college sleeping with his mother? (At 1:57)

You’re welcome!

Steam Donkeys Return to Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts This Saturday

The Steam Donkeys

The Steam Donkeys

Sixteen years ago, as things were winding down at the first Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts (EAFA), you may have noticed a grizzled group of veteran road dog musicians hanging out on the sidewalk around the now-defunct Quill’s Apothecary—drinking beer, picking guitars, banjos and mandolins, while a manic fiddler was sawing the horse hair off of his bow. That band was the Buffalo-based music act and global think tank known as the Steam Donkeys. And that impromptu hootenanny was what passed for the “after party” at the fledgling event. This year, the Steam Donkeys return with special, surprise guests to close Saturday’s festivities with a 7pm—8:30pm “After Party” performance on the Saint James Stage.

“Oh, it’ll be special, alright,” says Steam Donkeys front man and spokesperson Buck Quigley. “So special, and so surprising, that it would be unfair to even give a hint as to what we have planned. Let’s put it this way: We rarely plan anything—which makes the fact that in this case…where we actually have a plan…see, that’s special and surprising in and of itself.”

EAFA has grown steadily over the years to include a dizzying array of artists displaying their wares in several disciplines: ceramics, ditigal art, domestic crafts, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, painting/drawing, paper, photography, printmaking, sculpture, toys, and woodwork.

The ever-popular Kidsfest , between Auburn and Lancaster, will provide an outlet for the youngest artists in the crowd—where they can get busy enjoying the thrill of making stuff and getting their faces painted while taking in some fine entertainment to boot. There will be cultural row, on Breckenridge, where you can stop by and learn about…the culturals. Food truck alley will be on Auburn to the west of Elmwood. Environmental row is just south of Lafayette, while to the north of Lafayette will sit the Festival Cafe—featuring a long list of vendors to please everyone from the healthiest vegan to the happiest carnivore. At Lafayette and Auburn, local and regional brewers will be selling their artisanal beers. Community Beer Works has even cooked up a “festival only” brew.

And of course, there’s the music. Starting at the south end of the festival near West Ferry you’ll find the Dance Tent, which is an intimate space to catch a variety of acts starting at 10am Saturday and Sunday. Same goes for the 7-11 Stage (formerly the Wilson Farms Stage in those early years) and the Saint James Stage at the north end of the strip. Every hour on the hour a new act appears on each of the three stages—while on Sunday a cavalcade of dance troupes takes over the Saint James Stage.

The weekend is going to be a sight and sound extravaganza—fitting for an event that has grown to showcase the craftspeople, artists, musicians, businesses, families, friends and neighbors that make the Elmwood Village one of the most vibrant sections of town. Don’t miss it.

Download the entire performance schedule by clicking here.



Artists Seen: Portraits of Artists In The 21st Century

Filed under: Art, Local Interest

The title of this post is the title of an ambitious project being undertaken by local photographer David Moog at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Click here to learn all about it.

Photography by David Moog / Courtesy Burchfield Penney

Photography by David Moog / Courtesy Burchfield Penney

Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting for the photograph you see here. Thanks to artist Don Keller for inviting me to be a subject. I believe it was to acknowledge my work as the front man/spokesperson for the Buffalo-based music act and global think tank known as the Steam Donkeys.

In any case, Moog is a really nice guy who works very quickly. I’d say he did a wonderful job here, considering what he had to work with.

Check out the other portraits he has done as part of Artists Seen: Portraits of Artists In The 21st Century by clicking here.

Fosdick Field Plans Announced Today; Meanwhile, BMHA Already Trying to Sell the Land

photoAbove is a photo taken this morning of the big, grassy field in front of City Honors School—currently owned by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority. BMHA bought the land from the city for $15,000 in 1977 and constructed the long-dilapidated and recently demolished Woodson Gardens housing complex there.

Looking good, BMHA!

Looking good, BMHA!

With the land now cleared again, there has been a movement afoot to return it to its original use as an athletic field for both the school and the neighborhood—which is starved for green space. Adjacent to the medical campus, the real estate is now appraised at $2.1 million, despite containing human remains from when it was used as a potter’s field in the 1800s.

Construction of the field is estimated at $2.9 million. According to speakers at today’s press conference, the money would need to come from a combination of public and private investment. Visit to learn more about the plans and view a virtual tour of the restored green space.

You can also click here to sign a petition calling for the restoration of historic Fosdick Field.

Here’s the catch: The BMHA has already put the land on the market, asking for $2,137,000. Although BMHA officials did not return calls and emails requesting comment, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spokesman Charles McNally was quick to confirm that the real estate is currently for sale.

“Once they receive an offer, they will submit an application to HUD for formal approval to dispose of the land,” McNally said.



The restoration of the field is endorsed by:

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Fruitbelt Neighborhood Coalition

UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Buffalo-Niagara Partnership

Orchard Community Initiative

City of Buffalo Preservation Board

Cornerstone Manor/Buffalo City Mission

UB School of Clinical and Translational Research Center

City Honors Parent, Teacher, Student Community Organization (PTSCO)

Macedonia Chruch

Preservation Buffalo-Niagara

PUSH Buffalo

Fosdick-Masten Park High School Alumni Association

WNY Land Conservancy

Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Buffalo Olmsted Parks

Kaleida Health

Hauptman-Woodward Institute

Kiwanis Buffalo

City Honors School Alumni Association



Fracking Officially Prohibited in New York

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued a statement today officially banning high volume horizontal fracturing in New York State.fracksylvania-postcard

Well, that was easy enough.

Click here to read all about it.

Which of course means that zombie lawyers of the natural gas industry will continue looking for ways to fight on in the never-ending struggle to extract gas from New York no matter what the risks to the environment and human health.

Steam Donkeys Celebrate Beer, Summer, Father’s Day

Scientists are still calling it a miracle. Steam Donkeys at Sporto's

Earlier this year, a snow plow driver made a shocking discovery when he uncovered a handful of bodies frozen into a snowbank. It was the Steam Donkeys—a Buffalo, NY-based original music act and global think tank. They were revived with shots of whiskey. Now, their impossible tale of survival is being made into a feature film starring Nicolas Cage as the snow plow driver.

To celebrate, the band will be performing a pair of shows this Saturday (6/20). The first will be a 6-7pm set at the Second Annual Buffalo Brewers Festival at Canalside. The second show starts at 8:30pm the same day, at the Sportsmen’s Tavern, where the band will perform four hours of material culled from its 23 year career.

“If this band were a person, he or she would be of legal age to drink,” says Steam Donkeys front man and spokesperson Buck Quigley. “So, we’re an obvious choice to play at a beer festival.”

While he says there are many benefits to playing in a band with such longevity, there is one major downside.

“Whenever we walk toward a 7-11 on a Friday or Saturday night,” he says, “there are usually a few young hipster bands lurking around the corner asking if we would buy them a twelve pack of Magic Hat.”

It’s a small price to pay. On the upside, the band has reached the point in its career where it no longer needs to rehearse.

“We used to rehearse a lot back when we sucked,” Quigley observes. “But like anything else, you do it enough and you get good at it, even if you go blind. Now we’ve reached a point that our songs are so catchy that we can’t forget them even if we tried. On those rare occasions when we still would rehearse, we mainly found ourselves just sitting around, drinking beer, telling jokes, and talking about the universe, life and all that. It was at that point we realized we had morphed into a global think tank.”

Their influence is widespread. Though they shun the praise they so richly deserve, the band is widely credited with convincing the Pope to take a stand against climate change.

“Let’s just say we made a couple phone calls,” Quigley says.Steam Donkeys at Pollywogg holler 2

Aside from celebrating their upcoming motion picture and the art of craft brewing, the band wants these two shows to honor both the summer solstice and Fathers Day, both of which begin at midnight Saturday night.

“You know, we’ll be doing the traditional Midsummer thing after the show…with the big bonfire, sacrifices to obscure deities and fertility rights and stuff,” Quigley adds. “And in the morning it will be Fathers Day, so I’ll be sleeping in before pretending to get things accomplished in the garage all day. Welcome, summer!”


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