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Buffalo, What's Next? | Crowdfunding Urban Renewal, Police Mental Wellbeing

Over $180 million has been allocated to Buffalo’s East Side with the hopes of renovating the community’s infrastructure and disadvantaged neighborhoods. One real estate development company, Barrett & Benitez Development, is attempting to construct much-needed residential and commercial properties on the East Side and they plan to do it with the backing of residents that will be directly benefiting from the projects. Afterwards, Lorenzo Rodriguez sits down with Officer Matthew Cross. Matt was recently named the Buffalo Police Department’s Wellness Coordinator. As we near the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, we hear about the mental strife that members of law enforcement are experiencing on the job and what’s being done about it.

Latest Episodes
  • On October 4th, 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman ceased to be after losing her battle with cervical cancer. But the legacy and story of Henrietta Lacks is one that still remains far after her time here on Earth. Henrietta is the source of what’s called HeLa cells – “immortal cells” that have been the basis for some of the most pivotal medical breakthroughs of our time. How those cells were cultured is another story. Pastor George Nicholas joins us to discuss the lasting impact of Henrietta Lacks – the subject of this year’s Igniting Hope conference at UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
  • Buffalo Public Schools have been back in session for a couple of weeks now, but days before the start of this new school year, Lorenzo Rodriguez and Thomas O’Neil White sat down with a group of students and some active parents from the district to discuss some of their concerns. The various BPS students included Innocent, Freebirth, and Sangam. The group of parents included Edward Speidel - the President of the District Parent Coordinating Council and Co-Chair of the Special Education Parents Advisory Committee, Danielle Grzymala, Co-Chair of the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization, and Jessica Bauer Walker, Executive Director of Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo. Transportation, school suspensions, and bullying are among the topics brought up in this back-to-school special episode of What’s Next?
  • On this week’s Producers Picks, we revisit some stand out conversations from the last few episodes from our show’s prior iteration - Buffalo, What’s Next? We hear conversations from: Yanhong Baranski - Asian-American and former President of the Chinese Club of Western New York, Ryan Howze - Founder of Conscious Environment Creation and Say Whaaat? Podcast, and Nicholas Ramirez - Civil Rights attorney with the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo.
  • On this episode of What’s Next?, we hear how one Buffalonian took her passion for storytelling and animation and turned it into a Hollywood career. Mia Kai Simonne Moody joins Jay Moran to detail the lessons she learned and skills she honed to land a dream job working on one of television’s longest-running animated shows – “Family Guy”.
  • Today on What’s Next? our Disability Reporter Emyle Watkins talks to paratransit activist, Stephanie Speaker, about the need to revamp some of the regulations around NFTA Metro Bus Paratransit Access Line service. The service provides origin-to-destination transportation to individuals eligible for it under the American with Disabilities Act. Afterwards, Lorenzo Rodriguez speaks with Shara Armprester an author and the creator of Natural Beauty Cuties. Shara’s mission is to promote self-care and the unique beauty that comes with being a black and brown girl. We also discuss the growing concerns with Period Poverty – the lack of access to sanitary products, education, and hygiene facilities for the part of our population that menstruates.
  • On this episode of What’s Next?, we focus on The Exchange at Beverly Gray. For some time now, the Exchange has been serving as an incubator for BIPOC entrepreneurs and business owners in the Buffalo area. Jay Moran heads down to the center to speak with The Exchange’s Executive Director, Derrick Parson, to discuss the services and resources they’re providing business owners trying to get their business ventures off and running. Afterwards, Lorenzo Rodriguez talks with a number of vendors and entrepreneurs at the Black Business Month Block Party hosted by The Exchange.
  • Tucked away in the suburbs of Depew, NY is the 292-acre ecological gem that is the Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve. On this episode of What’s Next?, Lorenzo Rodriguez takes a tour of the preserve with Marcus Rosten - an Environmental Educator with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Marcus describes the many sights there are to see at Reinstein Woods as well as throughout the Western New York area. They also discuss the Black Birders movement that has helped to highlight and inspire a whole new group of avid avian admirers.
  • On this week’s Producers Picks, we revisit some stand out conversations from the last few episodes from our show’s prior iteration - Buffalo, What’s Next? We hear conversations from Todd Vaarwerk, the Chief Policy Officer for Western New York Independent Living, Ben Hilligas, the Executive Director for Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center, and Christine Carr-Barmasse, Executive director of Mission: Ignite.
  • The Buffalo fashion scene takes center stage later this month on September 30th at the inaugural fig Fashion Show. On this episode of What’s Next?, we put artist and leather craftsman, Dame Powell, on display. Born and raised in Buffalo, we discuss his inspirations, how he discovered his passion, and his hopes for the City of Good Neighbors to someday become a city of high fashion.
  • On today’s episode of What’s Next?, we tackle one of the leading causes of death in this country – tobacco use. Lorenzo Rodriguez speaks with the Director of The New York State Smokers’ Quitline, Dr. Andrew Hyland, as well as one of the program’s participants, Herman. They discuss the unique ways the Quitline is aiding tobacco users in kicking the habit and how it successfully helped Herman. They also discuss the tactics employed by tobacco companies to target black communities.