City to sue owner of partially collapsed 19th century livery in Buffalo, New York

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Buffalo, New York — Two weeks after a 19th century stable and livery on Jersey Street partially collapsed and caused 15 homes to be evacuated in Buffalo, New York, residents still do not have answers from the city despite a court order to work with them and come to an agreement on a way to save some or all of the building, Wikinews has learned. Despite the frustration from residents, the city is planning on suing the building’s owner. A rally was held at the stable’s site where residents are hoping to bring more awareness to the situation and gain more support to save the building.

On June 11, a significant portion of the stable’s right side wall collapsed into the yard of a resident’s home. Authorities, including the Buffalo Fire Department were called to the scene to evaluate the collapse and evacuate 15 homes of residents surrounding the stable as a precautionary measure. The following day, the city ordered an emergency demolition on the building, which was stopped by a restraining order residents with Save The Livery ( won on June 14. Two weeks later, five homes are still evacuated and residents don’t know when they will be able to return.

On June 19, Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court ordered a halt to the emergency demolition and ordered the city and residents to come to an agreement to save the building, or at least a significant portion of it. Despite a court date today, no agreement has yet been reached between the two parties.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his June 19th ruling. The court ruled that a limited demolition could take place and that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed. Since then, most of not all the significantly damaged portions of the building or portions in immediate danger of falling have been demolished. The roof has also been removed to put less stress on the stable’s walls.

“Its been over three years since we have been having problems with part of the livery falling down. There was an implosion two weeks ago and suddenly the city wanted to have an emergency demolition,” said Catherine Herrick who lives on Summer Street immediately behind the stable and is the main plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city. Many homes on Summer are small cottages which were used as servants quarters when the stable was in operation, many of which were built in the 1820’s. At least seven homes on Summer border the stable’s back walls. Residents in those homes have significant gardens which have been planted against the building and growing for decades.

“Both parties are to continue to work together to see how we can meet everybody’s needs. This is the third time we have been in that courtroom, and that is what we were basically told to do,” added Herrick who said the rally was held today because this “is Buffalo’s history. Buffalo is a wonderful place to live because of its history and this is a historical, beautiful building and we need to keep those beautiful buildings.”

Herrick states that the city is working with residents, but also believes that its “slow moving” and they are allowing the owner to get away with neglect on the property.

“I believe right now that they are letting the owner get off. The owner was negligent for 20 years, and hasn’t done anything to it despite what he has claimed to say. Now that this is an emergency situation, the city has a lot to say about it,” added Herrick.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because its poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel from being built on the Southeast corner of Forest and Elmwood Avenues. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years. Attorneys for Freudenheim confirm that the city is starting proceedings against him for his violations beginning as early as Wednesday June 25. Freudenheim has not released a statement and could not be reached for comment.

Many residents want the building preserved and Herrick states that their engineer can have it stable in “four days” as opposed to the 14-30 days it would take to demolish the building and “at a lesser cost than what it costs to demolish it.”

It will cost the city nearly US$300,000 to demolish the building which is paid for with tax money collected from residents in the city. The Buffalo News reports that fees are approaching $700,000. Though reports say there is a potential buyer of the stable, Wikinews cannot independently confirm those reports.

Residents say the stable was designed by Richard A. Waite, a 19th century architect, and was first owned by a company called White Bros., used as a stable and housed at least 30 horses at any given time. It also stored “coaches, coupes, broughams, Victorias and everything in the line of light livery,” stated an article from the West Side Topics dated 1906. According to the article, The company first opened in 1881 on Thirteenth Street, now Normal Avenue, and later moved into the Jersey building in 1892. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. It is believed to be only one of three stables of this kind still standing in the country.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.

Wikinews has called the city along with the Mayor’s office several times, but both have yet to return our calls. There are conflicting reports as to the date of the next hearing. According to Herrick, the next hearing is July 1, 2008 though the Buffalo News states the next hearing is July 8. The News also states that Burns will make a final ruling on the stable at this time.

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Solar sail craft may have made orbit

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Planetary Society have stated that their experimental solar sail craft Cosmos 1 is probably lost, but intermittent signals have given them some hope the mission has made orbit.

The 100kg vehicle was launched atop a converted ICBM from a Russian nuclear submarine, however it is believed the first stage of the Volna booster rocket failed 83 seconds into the flight. The team behind the $4m craft have a slim hope that it managed to reach a low orbit, and efforts to pick up the tracking beacon are continuing.

Signals have apparently been received by at least two tracking stations around the globe – in the Czech Republic, and in the Marshall Islands. The Planetary Society are being assisted by the US Strategic Command in an effort to find the spacecraft, if it did make orbit.

However a scientist from the Czech station has said they have received only noise.

If Cosmos-1 is in orbit, the onboard computer may still be functioning and could begin to unfurl the 30 meter diameter sail in three days time.

A solar sail harnesses pressure exerted upon the sail by photons from the sun to push the craft along. Although its acceleration is very slow, it can go on nearly indefinitely (as long as the Sun exists). It was hoped Cosmos-1 would use a 30 m diameter sail to reach an orbit 800km above the Earth, as a demonstration of the potential of the technology.

Aerial collision over Austria kills 8

Monday, March 5, 2007

An aerial collision near Zell am See, Austria has killed 8 people, 5 Swiss citizens, 1 French, 1 German and 1 Austrian.

The collision occurred Monday afternoon between a Super Puma helicopter belonging to Helog S.A, based in Küssnacht (Switzerland), and a private Diamond DA20 “Katana” light aircraft which had taken off from the aerodrome at Zell am See.

All 7 of the passengers and crew from the helicopter were pronounced dead at the scene, as was the pilot of the light aircraft, which had no passengers on board.

The debris from the accident spread over a 20 metre radius and bystanders near to the incident reported seeing a “huge ball of fire in the sky”.

The reason for the accident is presently unclear as both craft have been confirmed as passing pre-flight testing at their respective take-off locations. Furthermore, Zell am See tower radioed the helicopter that a plane was taking off, to which the helicopter replied positively. This conversation should have been heard over radio by the pilot of the plane.

The site of the accident is now being guarded by police, pending the arrival of an investigation team and a delegate of the state attorney.

Latham quits as Australian Labor leader

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

AUSTRALIA –Following hospitalisation for pancreatitis and ongoing speculation about his leadership, Mark Latham has resigned from his roles as leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and also the Federal Member for Werriwa. He cited as reasons the media harassment, and a desire to put his family and health first.

Mr Latham became leader of the ALP just over a year ago, on 2 December, 2003, leading the party during the October 2004 federal election. He was hospitalised in the run-up to that election, also for treatment of pancreatitis. Following the defeat of his party, his leadership increasingly came under question.

He fell ill a second time almost simultaneously with last year’s Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. His failure to issue a statement on the tsunami drew criticism from the media and calls for his resignation from within his own party, even after it was revealed that he had been incapacitated at the time.

Mr Latham’s resignation sidesteps the possibility of a leadership challenge by other members of the party and leaves no clear successor.

Facts About Immunization And Health Care

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Election in Moldova instigates rioting mob demanding recount

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Protests which began Monday escalated to a riot on Wednesday consisting of over 10,000 people in Chi?in?u, the capital of Moldova, protesting the results of Sunday’s 2009 Moldovan parliamentary election, which showed an apparent, narrow victory for the Communist Party (Partidul Comuni?tilor din Republica Moldova, PCRM). Demonstrators claim the victory was the result of electoral fraud.

The demonstration escalated to a “flash mob” of between 10,000 to 15,000 communicating via online tools like email, micro-blogging tool Twitter, and social-networking website Facebook. “We sent messages on Twitter but didn’t expect 15,000 people to join in. At the most we expected 1,000”, said Oleg Brega of the activist group Hyde Park.

Police deployed tear gas and water cannons, and fired blanks into the crowd. The rioters threw stones at the riot police and took control of the parliament building and presidential office. A bonfire was built out of parliamentary furniture and all windows below the 7th floor were broken.

Approximately one hundred protesters and 170 police officers are reported as injured. There have been conflicting reports as to whether a female protester died during the altercation.

193 protesters “have been charged with looting, hooliganism, robbery and assault,” said an Interior Ministry spokesperson. This announcement sparked another protest by those demanding the release for those detained.

There is wide speculation about who was to blame for the rioting.

President Vladimir Voronin has expelled the Romanian ambassador from Moldova, blaming Romania for the violent protests. “We know that certain political forces in Romania are behind this unrest. The Romanian flags fixed on the government buildings in Chisinau attest to this” said Voronin. “Romania is involved in everything that has happened.“ Voronin also blamed the protests on opposition leaders who used violence to seize power, and has described the event as a coup d’état.

Protesters initially insisted on a recount of the election results and are now calling for a new vote, which has been rejected by the government. Rioters were also demanding unification between Moldova and Romania. “In the air, there was a strong expectation of change, but that did not happen”, said OSCE spokesman Matti Sidoroff.

“The elections were fraudulent, there was multiple voting” accused Chi?in?u mayor Dorin Chirtoac? of the Liberal Party. “It’s impossible that every second person in Moldova voted for the Communists. However, we believe the riots were a provocation and we are now trying to reconcile the crowd. Leaders of all opposition parties are at the scene,” said Larissa Manole of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) proclaimed the PCRM to have won 61 seats in initial counts, enough to guarantee a third term in power for Voronin, who has held the position since 2001. But the Central Election Commission has received evidence of election violations, according to RIA Novosti, and upon recounts conducted of disputed polls, the commission reported that the Communists achieved 49.48% of the Moldovian vote, giving them 60 parliamentary seats — one short of the total needed to win the presidential election. “The electoral commission also granted opposition parties permission to check voter lists, fulfilling one of their chief demands,” said Yuri Ciocan, Central Election Commission secretary.

Voronin will step down in May, however his party could elect a successor with 61 parliamentary seats without any votes from outside parties as well as amend the Constitution. With the PCRM garnering 60 seats, the opposition will have a voice in the presidential election for a new successor.

The western part of Moldova was a part of Romania from the Romania’s independence until the region was detached by the USSR in 1940 to form the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. On independence in 1990 the country sought union with Romania but the eastern, Russian- and Ukrainian-inhabited areas of the country declared themselves independent from Moldova and formed the state of Transnistria and movement toward union was halted.

Moldova is Europe’s poorest country, where average income is less than $250 (£168) a month. The country’s neighbours are Romania and Ukraine. Romania is a European Union (EU) state.

Shooting kills one near Texas Southern University housing complex

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A shooting near the student housing complex of Texas Southern University, in Houston, Texas, on Friday has killed one student, and left another person injured in serious, but stable, condition.

John Rudley, president of the university, identified the unnamed deceased victim as a freshman student. He was sent to hospital and subsequently pronounced dead, according to a press release from Eva Pickens, spokesperson of the university.

I’m most definitely concerned. I did plan on moving here. It’s really nerve-racking feeling that a person here could have a gun.

Students were asked to report all suspicious activities to authorities, regardless of “how minor it may seem”, campus police said in a press release. The police said they will increase presence on campus.

The school was initially locked-down soon after the shooting, but the lockdown was released for all parts of the campus but a single building, Courtyard Building 1, according to a press release. Classes were planned to resume on Monday.

Britnney Solomon, a psychology student, said that she was planning on moving to the campus dorms, and that she was “concerned” about the shooting. She described it as “nerve racking”, the Associated Press reported.

The shooting came after another shooting last week killed nine people at the campus of Umpqua Community College. The shooting caused President of the United States Barack Obama to call for stricter gun control methods in a speech lasting twelve minutes.

Iran to conduct missile defense exercise

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Iranian government has announced that the nation will be participating in a missile defense test which could take place as early as tomorrow.

According to the IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, the test is an annual exercise aimed to “maintain and develop” defense capabilities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The exercise is named ‘Great Prophet 4’ and will involve shooting a variety of live missiles at targets. Reports say the drill will be conducted in several unknown locations and will last for several days. The exercise also falls on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

The announcement comes just hours after the Iranian government stated that the nation was building a second nuclear power facility. The announcement was made in a September 21 letter from the Iranian government to the United Nations Security Council that a second nuclear plant was being constructed in the city of Qom.

Civilians testify to Halliburton fraud, coercion

June 28, 2005

The Democratic Party held a public committee, aired on C-SPAN 3, at which former civilian employees based in or administering operations in Iraq, testified to specific instances of waste, fraud, and other abuses and irregularities by Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR).

Allegations of fraud by Halliburton, specifically with regard to its operations in Iraq, have persisted since before the Iraq War. The associations between U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton, have been the basis for repeated speculation over possible political improprieties and business profiteering from the war.

Among the senators and representatives present at the hearing were Byron Dorgan (presiding), Henry Waxman, Frank Lautenberg, and Mark Dayton.

Among those testifying were Bunny Greenhouse, former Chief Contracting Officer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rory Mayberry, former Food Program Manager for Halliburton subsidiary, and Allan Waller, of the Lloyd-Owen International security and operations firm.

Greenhouse, who provided the bulk of testimony, spoke for several minutes about her involvement in the evaluation and crafting of government Army contracts, and how explaining how superiors undermined and dismissed her concerns of illegal business practices. “Ultimately my main concern was the repeated insistence that the Rio contract be awarded to KBR without competitive bidding,” Greenhouse said. She testified to have been given misinformation in answer to her complaints, and being “overtly misled” by KBR managers.

Mayberry, still in Iraq, testified by video from questions prepared by the committee. He said that KBR routinely sold expired food rations to the Army. The interviewer asked, “Are you saying that Halliburton deliberately falsified the number of meals they prepared and then submitted false claims for reimbursement and that they did this to make up for past amounts auditors had disallowed?” Mayberry firmly answered “Yes.” He said that serving expired food ration was “an everyday occurrence, sometimes every meal.” He explained that Halliburton systematically overcharged for the number of meals as well, saying, “they were charging for 20,000 meals and they were only serving 10,000 meals.” Dorgan later commented, “obviously there’s no honor here, by a company that would serve outdated food to our troops in Iraq.”

Mayberry also claimed would-be whistleblowers were threatened “to be sent to Falluja” and other “places under fire” if they talked to media or governmental oversight officials. In 2003 and 2004, Falluja had been well known as dangerous for foreign troops and civilians. “I personally was sent to Falluja for three weeks. The manager told me that I was being sent away until the auditors were gone, because I had talked to the auditors,” Mayberry said.

“The threat of being sent to a camp under fire was their way of keeping us quiet. The employees who talked to auditors were sent to camps under more fire than other camps, and Anaconda.” This report led Dorgan and others to voice considerable outrage that U.S. citizens would be personally threatened with harm for talking to oversight officials or media.

Allan Waller testified to specific examples of how KBR officials had conspired in blocking Lloyd-Owen fuel transports, and using other coercive means against its competitor. The British Lloyd-Owen has a direct contract with the Iraq government to provide fuel to various parts of the country.

In his introductory remarks, Dorgan explained that Senate Republicans had blocked or ignored any requests by Democrats to have a formal bipartisan hearing, resulting in the need for an independent committee.