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DiPizio Construction Co. Wins Major Appellate Court Ruling on Canalside Suit

A lot went haywire since then: December 5, 2011 - Congressman Higgins and Rosanne DiPizio of DiPizio Construction Announce That Buffalo is 3rd in the Nation in Construction Jobs Added in 2011.

December 5, 2011 – Congressman Higgins and Rosanne DiPizio of DiPizio Construction Announce That Buffalo is 3rd in the Nation in Construction Jobs Added in 2011. A lot went haywire since then.


DiPizio Construction Co. Wins Major Appellate Court Ruling on Canalside Suit

by Tony Farina

The local construction company suing the state over its termination as the Canalside contractor in July of 2013 has won a major victory in the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

In a unanimous ruling handed down last week, the court reinstated DiPizio Construction’s claim that the president of the state’s Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) may have lacked the legal authority to terminate DiPizio from the $20 million replica canal project without authorization in the form of a vote from the Board of Directors, something DiPizio’s lawyers contend never happened.

“The court’s decision calls into question whether the termination by ECHDC President Dee was valid or not,” said Michael Ferdman, the attorney who argued the appeal for the DiPizio firm.  “We’re very pleased with this decision, we won.”

Dee had notified DiPizio by letter in May of 2013 that ECHDC intended to remove the company from the job, which it did in July, because it was falling behind construction schedule and not meeting its obligations on materials and with coordinating work with subcontractors.

Ferdman called the termination notice a political document issued to cover up “the bad faith administration of the construction agreement” that forced long delays and drove up “not just DiPizio Construction Co.’s costs, but taxpayers’ costs.”

In addition to construction costs, the state has been paying millions of taxpayer dollars in legal fees to the Phillips Lytle law firm to defend itself against the lawsuit by the local contractor which maintains it has been severely damaged by the negative publicity it received as a result of its termination that was well promulgated by ECHDC at the time which was trying to blame DiPizio for falling behind the schedule laid out by Albany for the replica canal project.

The appellate court ruling in favor of DiPizio sets aside the summary judgment issued by State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker in January of 2014 in favor of ECHDC.

Walker had basically decided that the Board of Trustees had ratified the termination (without a vote), ruling they had been notified and had sufficient information from Dee and understood the issues.  After that decision, Ferdman took depositions from board members—in a related action– and found “they did not know there were design changes and design errors” by ECHDC and had only heard from Dee that problems and delays were all DiPizio’s fault.

The latest ruling, says Ferdman, means the court decided there are triable issues of what the board understood and calls into question whether the termination by Dee was valid or not.

In its ruling, the Appellate Division said despite ECHDC’s bylaws and the presumption that the board’s president had the authority to enter into and terminate contracts in the ordinary course of business and that no formal vote was required, “there are triable issues of fact whether a formal vote of the Board was required.”

Now that DiPizio’s complaint has been reinstated in front of Walker, Ferdman is hoping the case will eventually go in front of jury that will have the opportunity to hear all the evidence and decide whether the termination of the construction firm with a solid 37-year history of satisfactory work was properly authorized or not.

The costs to taxpayers for the legal battle are soaring, and the construction company is also paying plenty to defend itself and try to recover its reputation through the courts.  Veteran court observers suggest the Appellate Division ruling in favor of DiPizio could help boost the possibility of a settlement, but no word yet from ECHDC on the ruling or possible settlement efforts.

Paladino seeks supporters/volunteers for Trump; urges readers to contact him

    From:  Carl Paladino

To:      Everybody

Re:      Volunteers for Trump

Date:   December 29, 2015

Happy New Year, everyoneThe 2016 election is absolutely critical for the future of the United States of America. Will it be merely an election or will it be a political revolution? Do we want to let the media and Washington elite to continue to control our lives, dictate our conscience and how we think of issues, ourselves and the world around us or do we want to be the masters of our own fates, the captains of our own souls and control our futures and those of our children and grandchildren?

Are you ready to support Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for President of the United States? Do you want to “Make America Great Again” and be proud to be an American?  Trump says what we are all thinking. He will lead America and its citizens to a better day because he is a natural, experienced and fearless leader.

I am helping to organize Republicans across New York State to support New York’s favorite son, Donald Trump, in our April Republican Presidential Primary and onward to victory in November.  Join us.  Despite the “neutrality” and wariness of our state party leadership, rank and file Republican voters across New York support Trump and he will win our primary in a landslide. Now is the time to take a strong stand for the candidate willing to fight for Republican principles all the way to the White House.

Career politicians beholden to special interests have damaged and weakened our once great nation.  Trump refuses to be politically correct and pander to the media and liberal elite; instead he speaks the plain truth. He supports the men and women serving in our military and understands that our national security must be our number one priority – including the security of our borders. He understands small businesses are the engine of our economy and he will work to ensure a business environment friendlier to job creators.

Join the Trump Team, which the Trump campaign will announce in the near future, by completing and returning the endorsement card below and contacting me or 716-854-0060.


I, ________________________ do hereby pledge my support to Donald Trump for the presidency of the United States.

___  You are free to use my name in any external communications

___  I volunteer to phone bank or door-knock

___  I would like to help organize other supporters in my area

Print Name: _________________________________

Mailing Address:
Street: _____________________________________
City: _______________________________________

Phone: ______________________________________

Email: ______________________________________

Party Affiliation:

Artvoice Hitlist: This week’s Events & Gigs

Filed under: Events, Local Interest, Media, News



To be Takei: A Star’s Trek for Life, Liberty, and Love

Dreamland, 7pm, $5 suggested donation

Thursday night, REEL QUEER Cinema presents the Sundance Film Festival hit, To Be Takei, a critically acclaimed documentary about LGBT icon, actor, author, activist, and former Star Trek cast mate, the inimitable George Takei.


Carina & the Six String Preacher

Pausa Art House, 8pm,  $7

Playing a spicy, eclectic blend of pre 60’s jazz, blues, surf tango and pop, “Jazz Noir” duo Carina and Vincent James Mastrantonio will be performing at Pausa on Friday night. Come celebrate the release of their latest EP “Why You So Wild, Crocodile?” where they’ll be joined by renowned drummer John Brady.


8th Annual Last Minute Panic Holiday Marketplace

WNY Book Arts, Dec. 18 4-8pm, Dec 19 12-6pm, free

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet, WNYBAC has got you covered this weekend. With 40 vendors featured, choose gifts from an assortment of handcrafted housewares, jewelry, knitwear, pottery, prints, posters, etc. Gift wrapping, card and ornament making workshops are also offered for the first time this year.


Mom Said No

Sugar City, 7pm, $5

Quirky homegrown acoustic/indie pop band Mom Said No will be playing at Sugar City this Saturday night. Boasting notably impressive vocal harmonies, they’ll be playing a range of tunes, from covers to originals. Check them out. Susanna Rose, Rochester folk singer/songwriter and CJ Cook & Friends will also be performing.


Mohawk Place Xmas Party

Mohawk Place, 8pm, $5

It’s the weekend before Christmas and the height of the party season. Head down to the Mohawk on Saturday so you can spend an evening with The Irving Klaws, The Surfin’ Cadavers, The BiPolaroids, Brass Pro & the Waterfront Revivalists, Pine Fever, and all of your drunk friends.


Buffalo Infringement Festival Festivus Fundraiser

Nietzsche’s, 9pm, $5

The Buffalo Infringement Festival hosts their first fundraiser of the year. Participate in holiday traditions like “Airing of Grievances”, donate pet toys to the SPCA, and enjoy the music of Electric Watermelon, David Adamczyk, Outer Harbor, Jack Topht, Jacob Peter, Meat Whistles, PeaceBridge, Phsyical Psychics, and more!


Pseudo Intellectuals Album Release

Blue Monk, 9pm, $3

Join The Pseudo Intellectuals, Nick, Cut, and Tone, to celebrate the release of their self-titled EP.  Shane Depree Fry and Tone will be playing some hip hop instrumentals to celebrate, DJ Sike will be in the house with a box of 45s, and DJ Cutler will be returning to the Buffalo area for a special guest appearance.

News of the Weird – Cecil Speaks

Filed under: News
Tags: ,



> by Chuck Shepherd

 Cecil Speaks

The distress across the Western world in July over the big-game killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe was apparently misdirected, according to veteran “animal communicator” Karen Anderson of Elk, Washington, who told Facebook and Internet visitors ( that Cecil and she had discussed his demise and that he was over it. Also, Cecil apparently speaks in formal, graceful English, as Anderson quoted him (according to London’s The Independent): “Let not the actions of these few men defeat us,” said Cecil, “or allow darkness to enter our hearts.” “I am,” he added, “grander than before as no one can take our purity, our truth or our soul.” (Anderson’s usual fee to speak with deceased pets is $75 for 15 minutes, but she did not disclose whether she had a client for Cecil’s tab.)



— In May, three Santa Ana, California, police officers who had just raided the unlicensed Sky High Holistic medical marijuana dispensary were caught on the facility’s surveillance video eating supposedly seized cannabis-infused chocolate bars, and an “internal affairs” investigation was opened. However, in August, the Orange County Register reported that the cops went to court to have the video suppressed. Their familiar legal argument is that the video violates their right to privacy — in that they had purposely disabled the cameras before they began munching the contraband and thus had the requisite “expectation of privacy” that triggers the right. (Possibly, they had missed a camera.)
— The mother of three children in Grandview, Missouri, suspected that Dameion McBride, 22, had sexually molested her two daughters (ages 4 and 8) and son (age 3), but McBride indignantly denied it, claiming that he is a child-abuse survivor himself, and booked himself on the national “Steve Wilkos” TV show in May to take a lie detector test to clear his name. However, he failed the test as to each child and was subsequently arrested. (The Associated Press reported that McBride insisted on a police lie detector test — and failed that, too.)


The Continuing Crisis

On Aug. 1, one of the world’s weirdest border disputes came to an end, as India and Bangladesh exchanged more than 160 “enclaves” — sovereign territory completely surrounded by the other country’s sovereign territory (in principle, making travel out of the enclaves impossible unless the enclave had an embassy or another office that issues visas). In fact, there was one Indian enclave (Dahala Khagrabari) completely within a Bangladeshi enclave that is completely inside an Indian enclave inside Bangladesh.


The Litigious Society

— The estate of Dr. Rajan Verma filed a lawsuit in July against the Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, New York, after Dr. Verma fell to his death following a concert when he lost his balance sliding down the banister. The estate claims that there must have been a sticky substance on the railing. The estate’s lawyers said that since alcohol was served at the concert, the promoters should have known to take extra safety precautions for banister-riders.
— Who gets badly hurt playing musical chairs? Robin Earnest, 46, told an Arkansas claims hearing that she broke two fingers and was forced into “years” of surgery and physical therapy over a game that was part of a class at the College of the Ouachitas in 2011 and demanded at least $75,000 from the state. The July hearing was dominated by a discussion of the proper way to play musical chairs because the instructor had ordered three students to contest one chair — with Earnest asserting that everyone knows it would be two chairs for three people.


News That Sounds Like a Joke

— “Green-fingered residents” can show off their hard work each year at the Quedgeley Show in Gloucestershire, England, entering arrangements of colorful, plump garden-grown vegetables. However, attendance has been off in recent years, reported the Western Daily Press, leaving the show’s future in doubt — until organizers announced that this year, to increase the number of entries, supermarket-bought vegetables could be submitted.
— “Number Two, Turn to the Right and Growl”: Magistrates in Ceredigion, Wales, fined Edward Davies the equivalent of about $1,130 in June, finding that it was his dog that bit a teenage girl last October, sending her to a hospital with swelling and bruising. Aberystwyth authorities had set up a formal police lineup of dogs from the neighborhood, and the girl had made a positive ID of Davies’ dog as the perp.


Least Competent Criminals

Judge Roger Barto, of Waterloo (New York) Village Court, was convicted in August of staging a fake assault on himself to convince doctors to prescribe him pain medication. Officers arriving at the scene found Barto lying on the ground with a shattered porcelain toilet tank lid nearby from (he said) being smacked on the head by a mugger. However, doctors found an apparent flaw in Barto’s ruse: He had forgotten to actually hurt himself during the “attack” — as medical personnel had found no mark, cut or bruise anywhere on him.


Recurring Themes

— Once again during a police raid of a suspected drug house (this time, in Wood River, Illinois, in July), with cops swarming the home and yard, confiscating evidence and arresting occupants, officers had to stop briefly from time to time to answer the front door (10 times during a 90-minute period) — as the dealer’s regular (oblivious) customers continually arrived to buy more heroin.
— In the face of a declining military budget, the Defense Ministry of the Netherlands issued confidential instructions to commanders in July that during training exercises, to preserve dwindling ammunition, soldiers should simply shout “Bang, Bang!” instead of firing their weapons. Said a soldiers’ advocate, “Even if you have no bullets, you (still) have to train with your weapon.”
— Thinning the Herd: (1) When two men who had been drinking in the apartment of Brandon Thomas, 30, in Conyers, Georgia, on July 23 wanted to leave, Mr. Thomas objected. “If y’all are going to drink my alcohol, y’all are going to play my game,” he said, announcing that his “game” was Russian roulette. Minutes later, after spinning the revolver’s cylinder, Mr. Thomas lost the game. (2) Three days later in rural Bell County, Kentucky, John Brock, 60, asked the Lord once again to certify his righteousness by allowing him to safely handle a rattlesnake during services at Mossy Simpson Pentecostal Church. However exemplary Mr. Brock’s faith had been previously, on that day, apparently, it was found wanting, and he is no longer with us.


The Aristocrats!

(1) Wallace Berg, 81, was charged with public indecency in Stratford, Connecticut, in July after a neighbor showed police a video he had made of Berg, naked and (according to an Associated Press report) “performing a sex act with some shrubbery.” (2) “Where the sun don’t shine” is now a standard hiding place for contraband, including for Matthew Smith, 36, arrested in Greendale, Indiana, in July. After he drew attention with a long restroom session at a Shell station, police confronted him about the white powder on his nose, and Smith sheepishly handed over the minutes-ago-removed pills and cocaine — but he had also extracted, inexplicably, a fishing bobber, a screwdriver and an “open tire plug kit.”


News of the Weird Classic (April 2010)

Louis Woodcock, 23, testified at his Toronto trial in March (2010) that he was not involved in the 2005 shooting of a woman, despite being seen on surveillance video approaching the woman with his hand inside his jacket until gunshots rang out. He said his hand was not on a gun but that he often kept his hand inside his jacket to keep from sucking his thumb, which is a habit he picked up in childhood and which did not go over well on the street. (The jury, apparently not seeing him as the thumb-sucking type, convicted him of manslaughter.)


Thanks This Week to Dan Bohlen, Dan Wasserman, Bryce Jackson, and Charles Smaistrla, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

(Read more weird news at; send items to, and P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679.)

News of the Weird: Pets of the 1 Percent

Filed under: News
Tags: ,


> by Chuck Shepherd


Pets of the 1 Percent

“The worshipful treatment of pets may be the thing that unites all Americans,” wrote an Atlantic Magazine blogger in July, describing the luxury terminal for animals under construction at New York’s JFK airport. The ARK will offer shower stalls for traveling horses, “conjugal stations” for ever-horny penguins, and housing for nearly 200 cows (that might produce 5,000 pounds of manure every day) — and passengers traveling with dogs or cats can book the Paradise 4 Paws pet-pampering resort. The ARK is a for-profit venture; said one industry source, quoted in a July Crain’s New York Business report, “You hear stories about the crazy money that rich people spend on their (animals) … they’re mostly true.”


Government in Action

— Officially, now, it is “unreasonable” for a federal agency (the Bureau of Land Management, in this instance) to fail to say yes or no for 29 years to a drilling permit application. (Before July’s federal court decision, BLM had been arguing that 29 years was not too long.) A company had requested to drill just one exploratory well in Montana for natural gas in 1985, but the bureau had delayed the proceeding six times since then. The judge ordered the bureau to set a deadline for deciding.

— Georgia, one of six states that make taxpayers shell out huge fees to access its databases of public records, tries so relentlessly to control its archive that, recently, in a federal lawsuit, it said opposition to its policy was basically “terrorism.” Activists ( have been establishing workarounds to free up some databases for citizen use, and Georgia demands that they stop. Georgia even claims “copyright” protection for one category of important legal documents that were initially drafted by state bureaucrats, audaciously calling them “original” and “creative” works.

— Mandatory Inaction: In July, the mayor of the town of Ador, Spain (pop. 1,400), officially enacted into law what had merely been custom — a required afternoon siesta from 2 to 5 p.m. Businesses were ordered to close, and children were to remain indoors (and quiet).


Police Report

— At a traffic stop in Rockingham, Vermont, on July 26, both driver and passenger were charged with DUI. Erik Polite, 35, was the driver (clocked at 106 mph on Interstate 91 and, according to police, with drugs in the car), and while he was being screened for intoxication, passenger Leeshawn Baker, 34, jumped behind the wheel and peeled off in reverse across the highway, nearly hitting the trooper, who arrested him.

— Nathaniel Harrison, 38, was arrested in July in a Phoenix suburb on several charges, including possession of a deadly weapon during a felony, but he escaped an even more serious charge when a second “deadly weapon” failed to engage. Harrison reportedly intended to retaliate against a “snitch” and arrived at the man’s home carrying a rattlesnake, which he supposedly pointed at the man, hoping it would bite him. However, the snake balked, and Harrison’s attempted payback failed.

— Lame Defenses in Lake County, Florida: (1) Daniel Baker, 40, and Robert Richardson, 19, were arrested in Altoona, Florida, in August after getting caught loading appliances from a vacant house. According to the arrest report, both men appeared incredulous to learn that items in a vacant house aren’t just “free.” (2) Six days earlier about 20 miles away in Tavares, Florida, Corey Ramsey, 23, was arrested for burglary when a police officer caught him sitting on a toilet in a vacant, for-sale house attending to a need. Ramsey’s extensive petty-crime rap sheet belied his explanation for being there — that he was contemplating buying the $299,000 house and wanted to try it out first.


Still More “Intelligent Design”?

Zoologists at the University of Basel in Switzerland, publishing recently in a prestigious British journal, reported the likelihood that a certain flatworm species has overcome the frustration of not finding a mating partner in its lifetime. The scientists believe the flatworm exploits its hermaphroditic qualities and injects its sperm into its own head, from which the sperm sometimes migrates to its reproductive facilities. (Flatworm researchers are aided on their projects by the species’ transparent bodies, facilitating the tracking of the sperm.)



— About 200 protesters gathered in front of Hong Kong police headquarters on August 2 to denounce the 3 1/2-month jail sentence given to Ms. Ng Lai-ying, 30, who was convicted of assault for shoving a police officer with her chest. Women (and some men) wearing bras as outerwear chanted, “Breast is not a weapon.” (Ng was originally protesting the hardly sexy issue of import-export abuses between Hong Kong and mainland China cities.)

— The Joy of Protest: An August 1 demonstration outside Britain’s Parliament protesting legislation to curb until-now-legal psychoactive drugs drew about 100 people — consuming their drug of choice, nitrous oxide. As organizers distributed gas-filled balloons for demonstrators to take hits from, “the group erupted in fits of laughter,” according to The Guardian.



— Construction on a $1.7 million therapeutic equestrian facility in St. Cloud, Florida, expressly for use by wounded U.S. service members, was delayed in August when a bald eagle nest was discovered on the grounds. Federal law requires at least 330 feet of clearance for the nest, plus additional monitoring to assure the birds’ tranquility. Said one neighbor, “The very animal that symbolizes freedom is delaying therapy for those who fought for it.”


Funny Old World

The Welsh language is such a severe mutation of the original English spoken in the Middle Ages that, to the inexperienced eye, it is barely distinguishable from, say, Klingon. In fact, in July, the Welsh government, responding to queries about a possible UFO sighting near Cardiff airport, playfully issued its galaxy-friendly response in Klingon — “jang vlDa je due luq,” meaning that further information will be provided. (In Welsh, for example, “I cannot understand Welsh” is “nad oes modd i ddeall Cymraeg.”) (Recently, in Swansea, Wales, alleged drug dealer Dwaine Campbell, 25, adamantly refused to leave his cell for a court hearing because he feared being judged in Welsh — until authorities promised to transfer the case to Campbell’s native England.)



Despite repeated assurances by Olympic officials, it appears more certain than ever that 2016 boating and surfing events in Brazil’s Guanabara Bay and Rodrigo de Freitas Lake will be conducted in water so polluted with human sewage that every athlete will almost certainly be struck with fever, vomiting and diarrhea. An August Associated Press report revealed the waters’ virus levels (of fecal coliform and other viruses) are as high as 2 million times the level that would close down a California beach. (Olympic and local officials continue to insist that the water will be safe by next summer, but, as the AP pointed out, their protocols test only for bacteria and not viruses. One U.S. water-quality expert advised all athletes to move to Rio ahead of the games — to try to build up an immunity.)


News of the Weird Classic (May 2010)

In mid-April (2010), senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi warned that recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and elsewhere were caused by women’s loose sex and immodest dress. Immediately, Australian Jennifer McCreight responded on Facebook by urging women worldwide to dress provocatively on April 26 (2010), to create a “boobquake” and test the cleric’s theory, and at least 90,000 women promised they would reveal serious cleavage on that date. On April 26, following a several-day absence of earthquakes, a quake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale hit just south of Taiwan. (Slight advantage to the ayatollah, since a Purdue University seismologist observed that a 6.5 quake was not uncommon for that region).


Thanks This Week to Bruce Leiserowitz, Kathryn Wood, and Crystal Hipkins, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

(Read more weird news at; send items to, and P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679.)

News of the Weird: There’s an App for That

Filed under: News
Tags: ,



> by Chuck Shepherd

There’s an App for That

Among the health and fitness apps for computers and smartphones are sex-tracking programs to document the variety of acts and positions, degrees of frenzy and lengths of sessions (via an on-bed motion detector) — and menstrual trackers aimed at males (to help judge their partner’s fertility but also her predicted friskiness and likelihood of orgasm). Several have chart- and graph-making potential for data (noise level, average thrust frequency, duration, etc.), and of course, the highlight of many of the apps is their ability to create a “score” to rank performance — even encouraging comparisons across a range of populations and geography. (Sociologist Deborah Lupton’s app research was summarized in the July Harper’s Magazine.)

We Are Not Alone

(1) Scientists from Australia’s James Cook University told reporters in June that they had spotted an aggressive fish that can walk on land making its way toward the country from Papua New Guinea. The native freshwater “climbing perch” can live out of water for days and has survived short saltwater treks from PNG toward Australia’s Queensland. (2) In July, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department posted a warning photo of a so-far-rare Texas Redhead — an 8-inch-long centipede with gangly white legs tipped with venom-delivering fangs and which eats lizards and toads.

The Continuing Crisis

— Reuters reported in early July that a big loser in the nuclear pact between Iran and six world powers was (since all negotiators have gone home to sell the deal) the brothel industry of Vienna, Austria, which hosted that final round. With so many (male, mostly) diplomats in town for two stressful months, business had been robust — especially compared to the previous round in notoriously expensive Lausanne, Switzerland.

— The Undernews From Wimbledon: The All England Club, host of tennis’s most hallowed tournament, is, formally, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, at which presumably Britain’s 11,900 croquet “regulars” aspire to play — although their British Open Championship is actually held at the nearby Surbiton Croquet Club, which this year hosted 50 competitors from four continents, according to a July New York Times dispatch. The leading U.S. player — Ben Rothman of Oakland, California, the “croquet pro” at Mission Hills Country Club near Palm Springs — is the reputed “world’s leader” in prize money ($4,500).

Profile in Leadership

Maryland state Delegate Ariana Kelly was charged with trespassing and indecent exposure in June after she arrived at her ex-husband’s home to drop off their kids and learned that his girlfriend was inside. According to police, she started banging on the door and ringing the bell repeatedly and, aware that her husband had a camera trained on the doorway, she faced it, exposed her breasts and shook them, one in each hand, toward the lens. Eventually, she dared an officer to arrest her. (The Washington Post reported that Kelly is a member of a legislative task force studying maternal mental health issues.)


— An 87-year-old man, taking his license renewal driving test in Deerfield, Illinois, in June, accidentally crashed into the driver’s license office (based on brake/accelerator confusion). Neither he nor the examiner was injured.

— An 83-year-old man, driving around Cape Coral, Florida, in May, suffered a fatal heart attack at the wheel, and the uncontrolled car came to rest in shrubbery ringing the Florida Heart Associates building.

— Wrong Place, Wrong Time: (1) A court in Lincoln, Nebraska, which had already sent Paul Boye to prison for at least 10 years for shooting his girlfriend, ordered him in June to cover her resulting medical bills. The woman had taken a .22-caliber bullet, which left a scar cutting right through her tattoo reading “Happiness Is A Warm Gun.” (2) A task force of Benton, Arkansas, police and U.S. Marshals tracked down Tieren Watson, 26, in June after he had spent several days on the lam as a suspect in a shooting. When arrested, he was wearing a T-shirt reading “You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide.”

Wait, What?

Mine worker Joshua Clay claimed in a lawsuit that a foreman had twice taunted him for complaining about conditions — by restraining him and spray-painting his testicles white. Clay filed against Kielty Mine in Mingo County, West Virginia, in July, alleging that the company had forced him to work on the dirty side of a coal-dust conversion machine — a practice forbidden by federal regulations — and that when he complained, he was subjected to off-the-books discipline.


A KPHO-TV news story in Phoenix featured a local doctor advising expectant mothers against “tweaking” the result of home pregnancy tests. Some women, apparently, had discovered the magic of “Photoshopping” the pink reading on the home test’s strip — to take a faint pink line (not a certified pregnancy) to make it bold (pregnant!). Although the doctor warns of the general hazard of “false positives,” the 415-word news story does not explain how Photoshopping a not-positive reading into a positive one improves the likelihood of conception.

Mangoes in the News

(1) Josefina Tometich, 64, was arrested in Fort Myers, Florida, in June, charged with shooting out the back window of Christopher Richey’s pickup. Richey had fetched a “perfect-looking” mango from the street in front of Tometich’s house, but Tometich insisted it was hers since it had earlier fallen from her tree. (An attorney consulted by WBBH-TV said wind-blown mangoes landing on public property is a legal “gray area.”) (2) In one of the most successful redresses of grievance in history, the Venezuelan government gave Marleny Olivo a new apartment in April. Only days before, as President Nicolas Maduro toured her neighborhood in Aragua state, she had hurled a mango at him with her phone number on it, hitting him just below the ear. The new president (a “man of the people”) called her, listened to her story, and ordered a housing upgrade.

Least Competent Criminals

Awkward: (1) A 26-year-old carpenter, trying to break open an ATM at an ICICI Bank in Delhi, India, at 2:30 a.m. on July 8, accidentally locked himself in the tiny space behind it (used to service the machine safely) and phoned police to come rescue him. (2) A carjacker in Omaha, Nebraska, on July 16 commandeered a car from a woman at gunpoint and climbed in. However, according to the woman, she is short and he was very tall, and after fumbling a bit trying to adjust the seat, he gave up (having driven only a few feet) and ran off.


As News of the Weird has noted, some observant Jews are magnificently creative in devising workarounds to ancient ritual restraints. For instance, the KosherSwitch theoretically allows Jews to defeat the restriction on engaging electricity during Shabbat. By employing a laser circuit that periodically malfunctions, or delays, in connecting a switch to a power flow, it permits the user technically to not be the direct cause of the electricity. (The KosherSwitch is currently the subject of a crowd- funding project sponsored by the device’s patent holder.) Less ingenious, as News of the Weird noted in 2010, is the Yom Kippur workaround for “fasting” coffee addicts: caffeine suppositories.

A News of the Weird Classic (August 2010)

Time magazine reported in August (2010) that among the entries in “Detroit Hair Wars” (showcasing pieces by 34 stylists) were The Hummer (stylist: “Little Willie”), in which a mass of extensions is shaped to resemble the vehicle, including four large, rolled “tires” — with metallic hubcaps and front grid added; and Beautiful Butterfly (stylist: Niecy Hayes), featuring extensions thinned, teased and stretched so that four angelic “wings” arise from the model’s head. Both stylings appear to be at least 2 feet long, dwarfing the models’ heads.


Thanks This Week to Judith Cherry and Gerald Sacks, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Read more weird news at; send items to, and P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679.

Lake Effect Furies to Make First Ever Division 1 Playoff Appearance in Omaha

Credit: Chris Kalisiak (CK Photographic Systems)

Credit: Chris Kalisiak (CK Photographic Systems)

With news released today on seeding and location of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Division 1 and Division 2 playoffs, the Queen City Roller Girls Lake Effect Furies are set to make their first ever Division 1 playoff appearance in Omaha, Nebraska on October 2nd. Following up on their second straight Division 2 playoff appearance last year, the announcement illustrates the steady climb the WFTDA sanctioned team has made since their inaugural season in 2009.

Ranked 33rd, the Furies come in as the 9th seed and are set to face familiar foes Toronto Roller Derby (8th seed) in their first bout. The Furies last played TORD at Quad City Choas in 2013 falling 230-178. They beat TORD in an unsanctioned bout in 2010 and came within 10 points in a sanctioned bout in 2011. Toronto finishes the season ranked just 1 spot ahead of the Furies and only 1.98 in rating separates them. Toronto is making their 3rd straight Division 1 appearance, and although they have dropped a bit since January – (28 t0 32) – while the Furies climbed (36 to 33) – TORD has a serious edge in experience at this level. All signs point to that first bout being extremely close and extremely competitive.

If the Furies win, they win the chance to play Gotham – who are ranked #1 in the world and have been for years. If they lose, they play the loser of Helsinki vs No Coast. Although it would be amazing to see magical upsets and skaters and fans should still have a reason to believe, coming out of the playoff ranked anywhere higher than they go in (9th seed) will be a huge coup for these first timers. 

Buffalonians should be very proud of these skaters as they qualified against 265 WFTDA teams around the world and will represent Buffalo, New York in Division 1 Playoffs alongside teams from London, Helsinki, Glasgow, Melbourne, and two teams from Sweden. That top 40 also includes 5 Canadian teams – Vancouver (Terminal City), Kitchener-Waterloo (Tri City), Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa (Rideau) and 28 other US teams.

The last scheduled playoff of the season, before Championships, the Furies will now turn their focus back to the track with ample time to increase training, rehab injuries and scout potential opponents (Toronto, Gotham – yes, Gotham OMG, Helsinki, No Coast, .etc). For those who want to help keep their focus on the track, the Furies have a fundraiser coming up on July 25th at Brunners Tavern to raise funds for travel.  Make sure to help them out!

As the news broke today lots of QCRG fans, volunteers and skaters (past and present) took a moment to acknowledge the hard work and determination of the skaters and coaches and the massive effort that has went into running a competitive league that made this all possible. Special shout out (from me) goes to the three original roster skaters still with the team – Tabrina, Tuesday and B’Kini. What an extra special day for them. 


Double Up Food Bucks WNY Expands to More Farmers Markets in 2015 Season




—-For Immediate Release—-


Buffalo, NY:

Field & Fork Network, a local non-profit organization, is thrilled to announce the expansion of their SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) incentive Double Up Food Bucks WNY to more farmers markets across the region this season. Families and individuals who rely on food assistance will have a little bit extra to spend this season on fresh New York State (NYS) grown fruits and vegetables from now until October 31, 2015 at 15 participating farmers markets across 5 WNY counties.

Double Up Food Bucks WNY is a robust SNAP incentive program that provides a $1 for $1 match – up to $20 per market visit per day – for anyone who chooses to spend their SNAP dollars at a participating farmers market. The Double Up Food Bucks incentive dollars can only be used to purchase NYS grown fruits and vegetables. In 2014, Field & Fork Network in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Harvest NY, piloted the Double Up Food Bucks program at 7 local farmers markets with outstanding results. There was a 219% increase in SNAP purchases and a 415% increase in overall food assistance purchases at participating farmers markets. There were over 3000+ SNAP transactions completed and more than 1,000+ new SNAP customers came out to the markets to shop during the 16 week pilot.

Many customers who used Double Up Food Bucks WNY during the 2014 pilot said they benefited from the program. More than 90% of customers surveyed said they were purchasing more fruits and vegetables and 93% of customers said they were eating more fruits and vegetables as a result of the program. Additionally, the Double Up Food Bucks WNY program allows for federal food assistance dollars to be redirected into the local food and farming community. More than 70% of participating farmers said they were making more money and 62% of farmers reported having a new customer base as a result of the program.

“We feel fortunate to bring a program like Double Up Food Bucks to WNY where there is a need for greater access to fresh, affordable foods in many of our urban and rural communities. And the redirection of federal food assistance dollars into our local food and agriculture economy and into the hands of our local farmers is a bonus!” states Lisa Tucker, Co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network.

The following philanthropic foundations and corporations provide funding for the Double Up Food Bucks WNY SNAP incentive program; the John R. Oshei Foundation, Univera Healthcare, Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, East Hill Foundation, Grigg Lewis Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, First Niagara Foundation and M&T Bank.

The Double Up Food Bucks WNY is available from July 1, 2015-October 31, 2015. Below is a complete list of Double Up Food Bucks WNY participating farmers markets for 2015. For more information please visit

Double Up Food Bucks WNY Farmers Markets

Allegany County

Southern Tier Farmers Market – Belmont

32 Willets Avenue


Thursdays 11am-5pm

Cattaraugus County

Southern Tier Farmers Market – Franklinville

13 Park Square


Wednesdays 3pm-6pm


Southern Tier Farmers Market – Olean

1900 Constitution Avenue


Fridays 2pm-6pm


Southern Tier Farmers Market – Salamanca

12 Park Avenue


Tuesdays 11am-5pm


R.E.A.P. Olean Farmers Market

Walmart Plaza, 3142 W. State Street


Saturdays 8am-1pm


Chautauqua County

Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market

Cherry Street between 3rd & 2nd Streets



Thursdays 12pm-6pm

Fredonia Farmers Market

Church Street, Downtown Fredonia


Saturdays 9am-1pm


Erie County

Clinton Bailey Farmers Market

1443-1517 Clinton Street

Open Year-Round

Summer: May-November

Saturdays 6am-6pm

Sundays 8am-1pm

Mon-Fri 7am-6pm


Downtown Buffalo Country Market

Main Street between Court St. & Church St.


Tuesdays & Thursdays 8am-2:30pm


ECMC Farmers Market at Grider St.

Across the street from Erie County Medical Center


Fridays 10am-3pm


Elmwood Bidwell Farmers Market

Corner of Elmwood Avenue & Bidwell Parkway


Saturdays 8am-1pm


Massachusetts Avenue Project – Mobile Market


MAP Farm Stand 389 Massachusetts Ave Tuesdays 4-7 pm

Gerard Place 2515 Bailey Ave Wednesdays 11am-1pm

FLARE 307 Leroy Ave Wednesdays 4-6 pm

Harmac Medical Products 2201 Bailey Ave Thursdays 11am-1pm

Elim Christian Fellowship 70 Chalmers Ave Thursdays 4-7 pm

The Salvation Army 960 Main St Fridays 11am-1pm


North Buffalo Farmers Market

1113 Hertel Avenue


Thursdays 3pm-7pm

Niagara County

Lockport Community Market

Historic Canal Street


Saturdays 9am-2pm


North Tonawanda Farmers Market

Robinson Street near Payne Avenue

Year Round

Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays 8am-1pm


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