Workers hard to find? Auto dealers build direct path from college to a job
How difficult is it to hire auto technicians these days? It is so tough that two of the region’s biggest car dealers have partnered with SUNY Erie Community College to build a direct pathway to train and hire students.
The News’ Janet Gramza introduces us to one of the first graduates of the new program. Chelse Herbold, 28, has an associate degree in automotive technology that she earned on the job as the first woman auto technician at West Herr Kia.
West Herr Automotive Group and Northtown Automotive Cos. have partnered with ECC to launch a program that was created to produce skilled workers for an industry that’s badly in need of mechanics.
“We employ over 500 technicians, and we retire 5% to 10% a year, so just to replace our retirees we need 30 or 40 new technicians at any given time to add to our team,” said Jay Galligan, a vice president at West Herr.
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The initiative also helps ECC by creating a program that it can market as a pathway to a career for students at a time when college enrollment is declining.
Erie County’s Covid numbers are rising, but not enough to impose new restrictions: As the numbers rise again locally, it’s natural to wonder if that means a return to indoor mask mandates and capacity restrictions. But no changes are coming any time soon. Read more
Covid-19 in Western New York: The latest statistics: Stay current with The News’ updated maps and data. Read more
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
16 feet of worry: Divers brave danger in trying to save USS The Sullivans: There’s only one way to locate the breach that’s caused the naval ship to list: by putting divers in the water to see the damage for themselves. BIDCO Marine Group’s Mark Judd, John Waters and a team of divers have encountered more dangers than this week’s gusty winds. Read more
How rising interest rates are hitting home – and credit cards: The increases are having a ripple effect on consumers. They’re impacting how much they’re paying for everything from home purchases, to refinancing activity, to credit card rates. Read more
Erie County libraries going fine free: How’s this going to work? Now that the Erie County library system will no longer charge fines, will card holders still return borrowed items when they should? Probably. New Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Director John Spears said there are still plenty of incentives to have folks bring back library materials. Read more
Grand Island man faces hate crime charge in reported assault: Charles Vacanti, 46, is accused of striking an Asian woman on the head with pool cue on March 19 in San-Dees Pub on Ferry Road on Grand Island. Read more
Buffalo man headed to prison for deadly McKinley Monument crash: Paul Tolbert III was sentenced Thursday to 7½ to 15 years in prison for the Thanksgiving morning crash into the McKinley Monument in Niagara Square that killed a 34-year-old mother. Read more
Lewiston man is making a difference, one nickel at a time: Since the summer of 2013, Angelo Sarkees has donated more than $100,000 to four western Niagara County nonprofit agencies that aid the homeless and poor, and he said that about 60% of that money has come from turning in recyclable beverage containers. Read more
Pulitzer prize-winning authors headline BABEL’s 2022-23 season: The literary series, presented by Just Buffalo Literary Center, returns with its 16th season with a power-packed lineup featuring three Pulitzer Prize-winning authors at Kleinhans Music Hall. Read more
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Soldiers who served in Vietnam build on common ground with Parkinson’s boxing
Patrick Welch, a Marine Corps veteran wounded in the Vietnam War, was asked a during a recent interview at the Library of Congress what his older self would tell his younger self if he had the chance.
“Watch where you walk,” quipped Welch, who suffered a serious leg injury after stepping on a landmine in a jungle south of Saigon in 1965.
Welch fought to recover through pain and post-traumatic stress for the next 2½ years in two military hospitals, including the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
He went on to a successful business career and served in several leading veterans advocacy groups in the decades that followed.
In 2020, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which he has addressed head-on, in part with Parkinson’s boxing therapy.
His latest mission: Convincing the VA and Congress that veterans like him, exposed to Agent Orange during their service, should receive such helpful therapy as part of their VA health benefits.
State takes aim at shovel-ready sites and job training: State economic development officials are doubling down on efforts to work with local regions to capture new investments and job opportunities by strengthening workforce skills and helping assemble more shovel-ready land for new projects. Read more
Grand Island backs Rivertown rezoning, sets public hearing on Southpointe: Town officials advanced a pair of major development projects on Grand Island this week, approving a rezoning of 25.88 acres of land for the proposed Rivertown community, while setting a public hearing next month on the sprawling Southpointe housing proposal. Read more
Bills lineman Ryan Bates: ‘I want to embrace Bills Mafia through and through’: Baptized by foam chicken in subzero temperatures during a playoff game against the New England Patriots, Bates began a new, peculiar journey as a cult hero. Read more
Observations: Owen Power gets his first NHL goal as Sabres bedevil New Jersey: The Buffalo Sabres’ No. 1 overall draft choice scored his first NHL goal Thursday night, taking a Jeff Skinner pass and beating New Jersey goalie Andrew Hammond at 8:33 of the third period. It gave the Sabres a 4-2 lead and the breathing room they needed in a 5-2 win over the Devils before 12,014 in Prudential Center. Read more
WITH YOUR MORNING COFFEE
• A lack of jobs, the need for equal economic opportunity and generalized segregation are among the biggest obstacles to racial equity in Buffalo, according to a survey conducted by WBFO. The radio station surveyed more than 130 Black, Brown and Indigenous leaders as part of its ongoing Racial Equity project.
• April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. An expert from Child & Family Services appeared on WIVB’s Wake Up! to discuss signs of possible physical or emotional abuse. On a related note, a local bakery is raising funds to battle child abuse through the sale of special doughnuts. Spectrum News’ Kelly Khatib talks with a manager at Paula’s Donuts about a new colorful concoction.
• As we eagerly await the return of warmer weather, Only in Your State highlights picturesque local spots that are ideal for pairing a scenic stroll with an outdoor meal. The list of picnicking venues includes Walton Woods in Amherst, Wilkeson Pointe on Buffalo’s Waterfront and the Charles E. Burchfield Nature and Art Center in West Seneca.
• Regional wineries will be in the spotlight Saturday as the Buffalo Wine Festival returns to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Buffalo Rising has this preview of an event that attracts thousands of wine aficionados each year.
Whether your weekend plans include wine tastings, spring strolls or other fun pursuits, enjoy!
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