Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes
Crystal D.
Reports to the People
February 2011

Dear Neighbor,

The blistering winter is here; may your hearts be warm and you pay close attention to the welfare of our seniors during this time. Many do not have the chance to get out and shovel around their homes, so be kind and lend a helping hand. You never know when you’ll need it in your lifetime. Also, I want to remind our children to keep working hard in school. Mid-term exams are right around the corner. So keep studying, doing your homework and pass your exams.

In this newsletter you will find information on new developments happening in the 141st District, reminders about refund anticipation loans, information on making your home environmentally friendly, and MWBEs on the move.

I want to thank Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) on its commitment to diversity, thanks to a partnership with a local Eastside dry cleaning business on the RPCI campus. It is opportunities like this that assist MWBEs with the ability to grow, maintain, and stabilize their businesses, and become a viable representation of what private industry can do to increase diversity. The growth of small businesses and the creation of jobs will drive and guide the American economy upward and onward out of the recession.

Don’t forget, there are FREE KIDNEY Screenings on Sat. March 12th at the Pratt Willert Community Center located at 455 Pratt Street from 10a-2p. To register please call the National Kidney Foundation at 716.835.1323.

Finally, let’s remember to keep focused on spending time with our families, saving money for the things worth saving for, and being committed to our children and our communities.

All the best,
Honorable Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes
Member of NYS Assembly
141st District

Breaking Ground...Development projects in the 141st District

Genesee Gateway

The Genesee Gateway is a 60,398 square foot, four-story commercial property that is located at the entranceway to the central business district right off the Kensington Expressway in downtown Buffalo. It is another example of how improvements are being made in the 141st District that will hopefully encourage Buffalo to come alive with tourism and revitalize the downtown district. As a 165-year-old landmark that is being restored by the Genesee Gateway, LLC. it is a partnership between Doug Swift, Joe Petrella and the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation. Cityview Construction Management is the design and development manager for the project. As early as 1842 this block was home to watchmakers, bookbinders and other craftsmen. This reconstructed area is walking distance to the entertainment district, the ECC city campus, the medical corridor and the ballpark and waterfront area. For more information please call Heidi Nuessle at 716-880-1917.

St. Martin’s Village Development

New building plan
New Building Plan

A new development, called St. Martin’s Village will be replacing the former German Roman Catholic Orphan Home at 564 Dodge Street. The space previously vacant for nearly three decades is a beacon of hope for others who are looking forward to a revitalized area along the Parkway and Dodge Street. It is a $15 million project that will be used to construct 60 affordable housing units: 36 townhouses, and 24 apartments. The units will be for households at or below 50% of the area’s median income. Three of the currently standing structures, two of the three story towers, and the chapel will be incorporated into the final housing development.


The City of Buffalo has committed $2.42 million in HOME funds; the State matched $2.4 million from the Housing Trust Fund Loan Program. The prime investor though is Key Community Development Corporation. The Federal Home Loan Bank of NY has committed $570,000 through its Affordable Housing Program, and the permanent lender will be the Community Preservation Corporation.

Demolition started in June and the construction is predicted to take approximately twelve months. The development plans are pictured. To find out more information about applying for residency you may contact Belmont Management at 716-854-1251.

ECMC’s $150 million expansion

Erie County Medical Center
On November 23, 2010, Erie County Medical Center announced a striking expansion of its Health Campus. The $150 million secured for these projects comes from several sources including $130 million in issued bonds, and $7.5 million from a NYS grant, and the remaining provided by the hospital. Grider Street will be enhanced by the construction of a new nursing home, a 333-vehicle parking ramp, an orthopedic wing expansion, a refurbishing of the adolescent psychiatric clinic, a Transplant and Kidney Center of Excellence, as well as other major projects that will enhance patient care and the reputation of the medical center.

In April, the state approved a merger of Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Hospital and ECMC’s Kidney-Pancreas Transplant programs. Each of these programs, individually, were too small to attract research funding or expand to handle a growing number of kidney transplant patients. Residents in the 141st District as well as across the city are in desperate need of these services and are elated at the attention and increased level of care this merger can provide. There will also now be a 390-bed long-term care facility. Construction on that facility begins this spring. These new developments will produce construction jobs and are expected to produce hundreds of new jobs once completed. For more information on the project’s progress, you can visit the Erie County Medical Center website at

University at Buffalo’s new educational opportunity center
The University at Buffalo broke ground on September 14th for its new $46 million Educational Opportunity Center. It houses several initiatives aimed to train urban community members for jobs and preparing them for higher education. The new building will extend and expand UB’s resources available to the downtown community.

Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes with William Chalmers, SUNY Assistant Provost and Director of SUNY University Center for Academic and Workforce Development, at September 14th groundbreaking for the new UB EOC.
Photo credit: Nancy J. Parisi

Kaleida’s Long-Term Healthcare Facility

Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes with dignitaries at Kaleida Health’s groundbreaking.
The first nursing home built in Buffalo in decades broke ground on August 19, 2010. The $64 million long-term health care facility by Kaleida Health will be constructed in a neighborhood which is considered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a “medically underserved area” along Michigan Avenue and Maple, East North and High streets. The new facility will help to close a gap left by the recently closed Manor, Nazareth, and St. Francis facilities.

The 300-bed project is aimed to replace the 242-bed Deaconess Center on Humboldt Parkway and the 75-bed skilled nursing unit in Milliard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital. The facility is 200,000 square feet and is slated to provide long-term, sub-acute and pediatric care, as well as ventilator beds. “The state-of-the-art facility will utilize a household-style design with exceptional living and outdoor space for adult and pediatric residents. This means a better quality of life for residents in our care,” stated Maureen Caruana, Kaleida Health’s Vice-President of Long Term Care. The project is expected to be completed in 2012.

Enviro-Safe Home – A safe home is a happy home!
Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes talks with Shyrl Duderwick at weatherization site.
On Thursday, November 18, 2010, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes visited a weatherization site in the University district within the 141st A.D. to see firsthand how the people of Buffalo are benefited by the services provided by the Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

NHS of South Buffalo’s Executive Director, Shyrl Duderwick was on hand to guide the Assemblywoman through the weatherization process including program eligibility requirements, services rendered and the future of the program. Equipped with hard hats, the women joined the WAP team for an in-depth look at how these services provide cost energy savings to the client and help prepare their homes for the harsh Buffalo winters.

“It’s important to see the end result of the votes that you take in Albany,” Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes said of the legislative process that funds weatherization projects in the City of Buffalo. She stressed the impact that programs such as these have on the community, stating: “In a time when the economy is struggling and our energy needs are a major concern, it is critical that we see these results. These are the kinds of things I like to report back to Albany; that State money is being used effectively and impacting change.” Duderwick added, “We want to keep people in their homes and have them be comfortable.” The impact WAP has on families in need is tremendous; without this program some might be forced to go without proper heating due to inefficient insulation that can cause heating prices to skyrocket.

NHS was founded in 1979 and is a charter member of NeighborWorks America. It is a public non-profit agency that specializes in helping homeowners during the foreclosure process and those needing other types of housing and/or credit/financial counseling. NHS of South Buffalo handles weatherization for approximately 60% of the City of Buffalo. For more information on NHS Buffalo and its services, please visit their website:

On every a child who needs our help!
Every morning, hundreds of kids wait on the corners for school buses to whisk them away to school. On any given day, there are hundreds of school-aged children that are missing out on the benefits of getting an education. Many of these children are sick, and should be getting well at home, but many are just not attending. According to the Schott’s Foundation Report on Education, males, especially black males, are not performing at the necessary rates needed to complete the standards for their grade level. Many are missing school, basic nutrition needs and falling behind their female counterparts at an astounding rate. Community leaders and activists question what is missing? Is it the parent’s fault, the teacher’s fault or the community? It is the fault of all of us; some fail to give guidance, offer options, discipline and reward good behavior. Here are some small steps that each of us can do to make a change in the life of a child.

Take an Interest in Your Child’s Goals and Dreams

Do you know what your child really wants to be when he/she grows up? How are they taking steps toward the realization and actualization of that goal? What are parents/guardians offering to provide them with those basic needs?

Set A Positive Example

Do you often get upset at a child’s behavior? Have you taken a moment to observe and examine where the child might be picking up those behaviors? Is if from you? A family member? Friends? A teacher? Make adjustments to adjust the behavior of our children. Remember that everyone is a product of their environment, but each of us can take small steps to change the end result.

Reward Good Behavior; Acknowledge the Need for Improvement

Quick to Punish, Slow to Praise. Many of us in the workplace, in our churches, and in our communities eagerly welcome praise, congratulatory remarks and high praise for our big and even small accomplishments. Let’s be a community that praises our kids for good grades, improvements in behavior, and acknowledge when there is a need for improvement. Constructive criticism is necessary to improve self-esteem and for children to acknowledge that they have a balanced level of support from their family, friends, teachers and community. That is what we should strive for as a community in 2011!

Pushing the envelope...MWBEs on the move
Peoples-Stokes Encourages MWBEs to attend MWBE Lobby Day

Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes stands with MWBEs during the governor’s bill signing.

Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes is encouraging Minority and Women-owned Businesses to attend MWBE Lobby Day in Albany, NY. This year’s MWBE Lobby Day will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. Last year was the first time that MWBEs came together to participate in a series of demonstrations to speak up and out about the issues facing MWBEs.

For more information regarding MWBE Lobby Day, please contact my office.


To Serve and Protect - The City of Buffalo Police Department is looking for qualified individuals to take the Buffalo Police Exam on April 23, 2011. Mayor Byron W. Brown and Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda have launched an aggressive new police recruitment campaign to educate residents about the benefits of a career with the Buffalo Police Department and encourage them to register for and take the upcoming police enrollment exam. The last exam was administered by the City in 2007.

The Buffalo Police Department offers excellent benefits for becoming an officer. Salaries range from $48,895 to $64,095, and benefit packages include health, dental and vision coverage, vacation/sick pay, retirement plan and a continuing education stipend.

Deadline for test registration is March 16, 2011. The test will be given on April 23, 2011. To qualify, applicants must meet the following requirements: (Note: other requirements are listed in the exam booklet)

For more information and to register for the test please visit, call 311 if in the City of Buffalo or contact the Department of Human Resources/Civil Service Administration at 716-851-9614.

In anticipation...Don’t be fooled

As the tax season starts and many are tempted to reap the benefits of their anticipated tax refunds, Peoples-Stokes cautions you against borrowing rapid refund loans, also known as refund anticipation loans. Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes reminds tax filers that they can receive a fast and free refund by using electronic filing and have their refunds directed into their own bank accounts without taking out a loan. These rapid refund loans are charged from 40%-700% annually in interest. Additionally, the preparation fees from commercial tax preparers to process these loans range from $30-$120, often leaving tax filers with only half of their initial refund after all the deductions. In anticipation of your refund, don’t be fooled that you’ll come out better in the end.

The VITA program helps taxpayers locate nearby volunteer sites that help low- to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer free electronic filing.

Locations Availability E-file Languages
Bflo Federation Neighborhood
2495 Main Street
Suite 203
Buffalo, NY 14214
24-Jan. to 23-Apr.
Mon 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Tue 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Wed 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Thu 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Sat 9:30 PM to 3:30 PM

No appointment required.
Sign Language
Delavan Grider Community Center 22-Jan. to 16-Apr. Federal English
877 E. Delavan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14215
Tue 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Thu 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Sat 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

No appointment required.
SUNY EOC Bridge Program 2
465 Washington Street
Buffalo, NY 14202
Dial 211 for more information.
24-Jan. to 18-Apr.
Mon 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Tue 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Wed 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Thurs. 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Fri. 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Sat. 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM 2nd AND 4th SATURDAYS OF EACH MONTH ONLY!

No appointment required.
First Shiloh Baptist Church
15 Pine Street
Buffalo, NY 14204
22-Jan. to 16-Apr.
Appointment required.
CAO - JFK Center
114 Hickory Street
Buffalo, NY 14204
24-Jan. to 15-Apr.
Appointment required.
Northwest Buffalo Community Center
155 Lawn Ave
Buffalo, NY 14207
22-Jan. to 16-Apr.
Mon 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Tue 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Wed 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Sat 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

No appointment required.
Frank E. Merriweather Library
1324 Jefferson Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14208
01-Feb. to 12-Apr.
Tue 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

No appointment required.
SUNY@Buffalo Beta Alpha Psi S.
SUNY Buffalo South -100 Allen Hall
South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14209
12-Feb. to 06-Mar.
Sun 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM OPEN 2/13, 2/20, 2/27, 3/6
Sat. 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM OPEN 2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/5

No appointment required.
CAO - Ed Saunders Community Center
2777 Bailey Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14215
24-Jan. to 15-Apr.
Appointment required.
CAO - Masten Resource Center
1423 Fillmore Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14211
24-Jan. to 15-Apr.
Appointment required.
Matt Urban Community Center
385 Paderewski Drive
Buffalo, NY 14212
01-Feb. to 14-Apr.
Tue 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Thu 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

No appointment required.

ALBANY OFFICE: Room 619 LOB • Albany, New York 12248 • 518-455-5005
DISTRICT OFFICE: 792 East Delavan Avenue • Buffalo, New York 14215 • 716-897-9714