Buffalo in the ’90s: Bills’ future in Orchard Park in jeopardy?

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

While renovations at Rich Stadium continued, Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski was looking toward the end of the Bills’ 25-year lease in Orchard Park.

The Bills would go on to sign a 15-year lease to remain in the stadium in December 1998. The deal, which included renaming the facility Ralph Wilson Stadium, called for $125 million from New York State and Erie County public funding.

More recently, a 10-year lease extension was signed in December 2012. That deal involved a total of $130 million being spent — $35 million of it from the Bills — on stadium upgrades.

April 24, 1994: Erie County, Bills have not met about lease

“County Executive Gorski and Bills owner Ralph Wilson agreed last Oct. 4 to do $23 million in renovations at Rich Stadium this spring. That work has begun. It also was announced then that the agreement committed the Bills to begin negotiations on a new lease in January.

“That was 4 1/2 years before its expiration date in August 1998. But both sides confirmed this week that this has not happened.”

Buffalo in the ’80s: Arguing gay rights in Buffalo

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

In a sign of the times, News reporter Gene Warner anonymously quoted professionals in Buffalo’s gay community. Names weren’t included, it can be assumed, for fear of reprisal and retribution.  In 1980’s Buffalo, there was little outward gay pride. As Warner writes,  “In Buffalo … where a ‘gay protest’ could be defined as an argument between two men in an Allentown coffee shop.”

April 24, 1984: Gay rights measure provides good lesson in Buffalo politics

“How did Buffalo’s gay community — normally so non-political that it responded calmly to Mayor Griffin’s calling homosexuals ‘fruits’ — pull off what New York City and California couldn’t (with passage of a new bill banning discrimination in city employment)?”

April 24, 1999: Is Central Terminal worth saving?

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Despite a lack of help and encouragement from government and private developers, community minded folks continued, undaunted, in their efforts to save and revitalize East Buffalo’s New York Central Terminal:

April 24, 1999: Terminal’s clocks get repairs

“Jeff Ingersoll swung in the raw wind outside the broken face of one of the New York Central Terminal clocks Friday, marking the start of a $15,000 project to restore time to the old landmark.

“Ten stories below, his admirers on the ground — a half-dozen preservationists and East Side activists — pointed to Ingersoll’s volunteer assistance on the clock restoration project as another example of the loyalty many people have for the building.”

Buffalo in the ’60s: Bills All-Pro is also a top car salesman

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

With football as big business in 2014, it’s tough to imagine any Buffalo Bill — let alone an All-Pro — having to work in the offseason as a car salesman. But Bills safety George Saimes spent at least three offseasons selling Chevys for Glen Campbell at a site now occupied by the Walker Center and Tim Hortons at the junction of the 290 and Main Street in Williamsville.

This ad was on the sports page of the April 24, 1969, edition of The Buffalo Evening News:

Buffalo in the ’80s: From sandwich board to restaurateur

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Tucker Curtin now owns four successful Buffalo restaurants and has even been mentioned as a candidate for mayor.  However, The Buffalo News was there in 1984 when, as a 14-year-old, he took his first steps into Buffalo business:

April 24, 1984: Young man sells self as sandwich board, plugs gala at Shea’s

“Tucker Curtin was a half-century in the future when the Wurlitzer at Shea’s made its 1925 debut, and the restoration work alone has spanned his entire elementary school career. But Shea’s just days before the gala return concert didn’t need another historian or music buff — it needed someone willing to walk in the rain.

“When Tucker stepped out this morning, it was all business — and the business, it turns out, is his own.”

Buffalo in the ’80s: Computers aren’t lawyers; high society but questionable taste

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

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April 23, 1989:

  • Lawyers “overwhelmingly” rejected the notion of computers sitting alongside them in court and telling them how to try their cases. Also, where in Buffalo you could buy a used Commodore 64.

Computers in court: as aides, not lawyers

“A computer will never think like a lawyer, according to a number of attorneys, but it may soon become a valuable in-court assistant.”

  • Delaware North spent a small fortune reversing the questionable taste of a longtime Buffalo Evening News Publisher Mrs. Edward Butler in returning her longtime Delaware Avenue home to its original splendor:

At home in the office: Eight years and $6 million later, a Delaware Avenue mansion blossoms as executive offices

“Things had deteriorated badly by the time restoration plans were being made. The walls were wet. Plaster was falling to the floor. The heating and electrical systems were broken. Only one toilet was operating in the entire house.”

The News’ Susan Martin took a look at all the mansions on Delaware Avenue in October 2013.

Buffalo in the ’60s: 10-cent parking, curbing drunk driving

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

There was near unanimous support to raise the price of the city’s parking meters from a nickel to a dime. It was asserted in a later op-ed that those lawmakers who opposed the increase were hoping to use it as a cornerstone of their re-election bids.

All parking meters in city now will cost 10 cents for an hour

“About 2,000 meters which now give 60 minutes of parking for 5 cents will be changed to allow 30 minutes for 5 cents and 60 minutes for 10 cents. The higher rate presently is in effect at 820 meter locations.”

  • Also published on this date was one of a series of articles in The News this week about an effort to stop drinking and driving from being a socially acceptable behavior.

Social stigma is urged for drinking drivers

“Keynoter John O. Moore, motor vehicle program coordinator, State Motor Vehicles Department, called for enforcement so rigid that it will ‘present overwhelming evidence that drinking drivers are not socially acceptable.’ “

Buffalo in the ’60s: Keeping Lake Erie safe and clean

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

As it has a half-dozen times or more over the last half-century, the future of Lake Erie looked cloudy without some forward-thinking intervention:

Many diverse plans for Lake Erie tend to cloud its future

“Everyone wants in on the action in Lake Erie today and unfortunately for the lake — and the public — there’s no single policeman and few rules of the road.”

Buffalo in the 00’s: DiCesare warns the Bills: Don’t take a quarterback

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

The News’ Bob DiCesare warned the Bills not to take a quarterback with the 13th pick in the 2004 NFL draft. The Bills listened — but took one instead at No. 22. Wide Receiver Lee Evans was taken 13th and, against the wishes of DiCesare, J.P. Losman was taken with the 22nd overall pick. Since Losman was drafted, the Bills have had nine starting quarterbacks, including Losman.

April 22, 2004: 13th pick wrong spot to find QB

“The Bills will get a shot at nothing better than the third quarterback in Saturday’s draft, with Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger or Philip Rivers, if not all of them, sure to be gone. One quarterback — one — in the last 17 years has met expectations after being, at best, the third quarterback picked in the first round. That was in ’99, when Minnesota struck gold at No. 11 with Daunte Culpepper, one pick before Chicago fanned on Cade McNown.”