Category: Editorial

Newstead Politics Heat Up

On Friday, August 21, 2020, The Newstead Republican Committee posted an article on the Akron Newstead Opinion Forum Facebook page.

The article and its headline referenced the Conservative Party’s endorsement of a local Republican candidate. The Conservative Party has also endorsed Democrat Adam Burg in his bid for Newstead Town Council. In the now deleted post on the Akron Newstead Opinion Forum, the Newstead Republican Committee chose to tag Adam’s opponent in an effort to mislead this community into believing the Conservative Party has endorsed her.

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It’s The Newsteader’s Birthday!

  It’s The Newsteader’s Birthday

(To the tune of Birthday by The Beatles)

December 8 has been a downer day for me since 1980.  It was the day John Lennon was shot.  He was my hero.  My walls were adorned with so many posters of him, that it looked like it could be wallpaper.  I remember it like it just happened.  I was living in Connecticut. We had an early flight in the AM to come up here because my Dad’s Mom had died the day before.  I was in the shower and suddenly my brother was POUNDING on the bathroom door.  I was annoyed, turned off the water and screamed “WHAT?”.  He screamed back “John Lennon has just been shot!!”.  My heart just sank, I dried off quickly, get in my robe and sat in front of my brother’s Merantz HiFi (remember those?) to listen to Carol Miller (the person who made me want to be a DJ in the first place) report on what had happened.  Since we lived outside of NYC, our local stations were NYC stations so we got the news very quickly.  I was devastated, and pretty much every year since, on this day, I sit and listen to his music anywhere I am.  Not that I don’t do that anyway, but on this day it’s different somehow.

     Last year on this day,  I was fresh off selling a good chunk of my real estate rentals in Batavia. Being a landlord takes a lot of time, energy, and patience. For the past 20 years or so my life revolved around screening tenants, chasing people for money, cleaning up after human garbage, rebuilding places that had been damaged by people who have no respect for anything (or themselves), and inspections. The fear of an impending snow storm, that’s when everyone’s heat breaks, and trees fall. A Polar Vortex, on alert for more furnaces and hot water tanks failing. Then when the thaw comes, pipes bursting and roofs leaking, maybe even an ice dam or 2 just for fun. Spring would bring it’s own set of problems, mostly flooded basements that then kill off the water heater (again). Oh, the stories. I could write a book, or start a career in stand up comedy.

With all that stress out of my life, I was looking for something to do. Landlording had just always taken up so much of my time. So, I started wandering around Akron. In my wandering I noticed something. Almost every storefront on Main St was covered in flyers about all of the upcoming holiday events around town. So……Many……Flyers…..Everywhere. I thought to myself, surly there must be a web site with all of this stuff listed. I went home and searched. Nothing, or rather, there were things listed, but all over the internet, not in one central place.

So, an idea was born: With my skill set, I could easily pop a site up for everyone with a list of events all in one place. Perfect. Why not?

I went ahead and bought the domain, made a Facebook Page, a Twitter account and started with posting a little events calendar, with the weather. I actually printed out flyers with my domain and asked shopkeepers on Main St if I could put them in their windows (those flyers are gone now!) I started attending a few events around town.

Who knew The Octagon House was so cool? Certainly not me. Even though I had lived here for 10 years, I just never really payed attention to what was going on here because I was constantly dealing with real estate crisis in Batavia! Then the weather alerts started happening (remember Winter Storm Wednesday last Winter?). That is when all the stuff that I actually went to school for (radio broadcasting and communications) kicked in, and I started posting the weather for OUR area, not the Buffalo Airport (totally different). People started following me for the local weather. More people started following me after every storm. People asked for the Police Blotter, so I added that.  Fast forward a few months, and I added a local weather station for live weather on the web site, upgraded the shoddy calendar app I was using and have just grown from there.

In a year, this little events site has grown to include: Weather, Police Blotters, Obituaries, Town/Village Minutes/Agendas, and much more!  The Newsteader has helped get missing pets home, missing people home.  We had our first ANNUAL Halloween decorating contest , and it was a TERRIFIC success!  Seriously, who knew this thing would even fly?

So now December 8 has changed in my life.  Now it is a day to celebrate the birth of The Newsteader instead of mourning the death of my favorite Beatle.  Yoko always said we weren’t supposed mourn him, we were supposed to celebrate his life instead!

I didn’t know what The Newsteader would morph into, I just sort of did it with no “real” plan. Going into year #2 there will be a few changes, but I will do a post about that later. I’m looking forward to year #2, making The Newsteader even better, and meeting more of you out and about. This past month has been a bit light as there has been some family emergency stuff that has taken a bunch of my time away (Familia First), but that is about to be resolved, and I will be back at it full time!

I want to especially thank my sponsors for my first year (cause keeping this going does cost some money). If I forget anyone, my apologies:

All the shopkeepers on Main St that let me put up flyers last December

Champion Hill Horse Farm

The American Legion

The Akron/Newstead Senior Center

Newstead Fire Company

C Dee Wright Center

Ross Funeral Home

Everyone at Allstate for my sanity 🙂

The Candy Apple for being my “Office”

All the random people that have thrown me $20 here and there to run a little promo for them, every little bit helps keep The Newsteader on the air!

And a shout out to Legislator Rath for writing a letter to Council regarding Cedar and Carney (I read all the minutes to see who was responsible for that). I really think people are much more aware that they need to STOP there now!

And of course THANK YOU ALL for supporting, reading, following, even hating on me 🙂

It’s been a YEAR already.  How time flies!  I am looking forward to 2020 and making The Newsteader even better!  Thank you so much!    -JAP-


Dropping the Ball on Broadband for Farmland- An Editorial

We have agreed that internet is lacking here and something needs to be done.

In a previous post I asked our candidates for Erie County Executive about Broadband in our area and what they were planning on doing about it.  Here are their responses

The Currently County Executive Mr. Poloncarz has proposed ErieNet and has at least got some wheels turning to get it going.  Though really, how far is $250,000 going to go? AND has that budget even been actually approved yet?

His opponent Ms. Dixon makes some points about other places that have tried to implement their own internet and it hasn’t turned out so great. As for 5G, that is just a mess in itself anyway. Between the tech coming from CHINA, as well as the unknowns of what it can do to the environment AND some residents don’t even have BASIC internet here yet, how long would 5G take to get here??   So, what are our options?

First off, if you go To this link and put in our zip code, zoom in on the map, it will show you in real time how under served our community is.  Note all the RED.  That means ZERO providers.  

Our kids shouldn’t have to go into the Village to be able to get enough internet to do their schoolwork. People can’t enjoy Netflix or their favorite streaming music/shows because it just keeps cutting out!  It is hard to get real time info to people during a weather emergency.  There are just too many things to list.  It is like we are living in 1995 instead of 2019, and frankly there is no excuse for it.

USDA Made Grants (#freemoney) and Grant/Loan Programs Available for Rural Farm Areas to get Fios Last Year

Last year the USDA (YES, under the Trump administration) made grants and grant/loan programs available to communities like ours to get money (#FREEMONEY) to extend broadband.  To the tune of $400 MILLION BUCKS!  You can read the Press Release HERE .  Sounds GREAT, doesn’t it?  Well sadly, none of our folks, even bothered applying for it.  Now the cut off date has passed.  If you dig deeper, there is an interactive map that shows who applied and where they are in the application process (spoiler, we aren’t on it).  Here is the booklet put out by the USDA  explaining the whole thing.  BTW, it took me a grand total of 15 seconds to find this.

Not only was the Federal Government handing out money, but so was NYS.  I’m hoping that $250,000 Mr Poloncarz put in the budget was from a grant and not taxpayer money.

There is SO MUCH #FREEMONEY out there, and it is our elected officials jobs to look for it and secure grants.  This would get the job done while keeping taxes low.

So here are MY questions:

Whose job is it to hunt down grants for infrastructure here?  Is it Town Council? Is it our Legislator? Our Assemblyman? County Executive? We don’t have a Congressman.  

How come no one bothered to apply?

I am hopeful that these grants will become available again next year with the new Federal budget.  Will someone apply for them this time?

The Newsteader wasn’t really a real “thing” yet when these announcements were made last year.  If The Newsteader was here then, you can be SURE #FreeMoney for Internet would have been a headline.

I invite any and all elected officials in the Akron/Newstead district to respond.  I am email this to all of them as well as posting on Twitter, and  tagging them if they have an account, as well as the people running against them.  We need answers.  -JAP-