Owner and manager of Moroccan factory arrested over 55-fatality fire

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Owner and manager of Moroccan factory arrested over 55-fatality fire

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Police have arrested the owner of a mattress factory in Hay Hassini, Casablanca, Morocco which burned down in a disaster that claimed 55 lives. His son, who was the factory’s manager, was also arrested.

Those killed — 35 of whom were women — were trapped inside by locked fire exits, which were barricaded to stop theft during working hours. “The people who died were either asphyxiated or burned,” commented a firefighter. 17 were wounded. Moustapha Taouil of the Casablanca civil protection service said the blaze was triggered by an inadequatly maintained electric saw on the ground floor. The initial fire quickly engulfed all four storeys of the building.

The Rosamor factory was clearly operating unsafely, officials said. “It’s a building with a ground floor and three upper floors specialising in making furniture, therefore there were highly inflammable products,” said Taouil. “We confirmed during our examination that the owners of the premises failed to respect legal requirements for this kind of industry including staff training… the owner in contravention of the law, locked staff inside the plant apparently to prevent theft of raw material. It was this that prevented them getting out. The fire was caused by lack of proper maintenance of certain machines and electrical installations.” He said a short circuit on the ground floor, which was filled with power saws, triggered the disaster.

As a result of the investigatons, “The plant’s owner, Adil Moufarreh, and his son Abdelali Moufarreh, who was the manager, have been taken into custody after having been questioned by police,” said an official.

28-year-old factory employee Fadila Khadija said “There was no emergency exit, the extinguishers were empty and the working conditions were difficult.” One source said that windows were also unusable as they were covered with iron bars. 20-year-old survivor Omar Elaaz said “I was working on the first floor as an upholsterer. The smoke came up from the ground floor where the foam rubber, wood and glue are stored. I used a gas bottle to break the wire mesh that protects every window.” 31-year-old upholsterer Hakim Hakki told of his own lucky escape and its effect on him from hospital: “I jumped from the third floor with four other colleagues while the women, who didn’t dare to follow us, perished in the inferno. God saved me but I’ll never forget those who died.”

The father of deceased 19-year-old Abdelazziz Darif said his son was paid 250 dirhams (20 euro/31 US dollars) per week and did not have social insurance.

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Mr. Miyagi passes away, Thanksgiving Day

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Mr. Miyagi passes away, Thanksgiving Day

February 18, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Monday, November 28, 2005

Pat Morita, nee Noriyuki Morita, who was best known for his work in the 1984 film The Karate Kid and its sequels, passed away on November 24. The cause of death is not yet confirmed, but was said to be natural.

Pat started out at a stand-up comedian in the 1960s, and styled himself the “Hip Nip”. “‘Hip Nip’ just sounds groovy,” Morita said “A drummer laid it on me.” His career took off, and he became a regular on the show Happy Days as “Arnold” of “Arnold’s Restaurant” fame. He also acted in the show Mr. T and Tina which was an unsuccessful spin-off of the Welcome Back Kotter series.

However, Pat’s career continued, and he starred in several TV movies including Amos and a 1987-88 made-for-TV police drama called Ohara. Then, for his acclaimed performance in The Karate Kid, he was nominated for an Academy Award.

At his death, Morita had over 100 screen credits, including The Karate Kid sequels, and also as a voice character in the Disney films Mulan and Mulan II. Morita was beloved by many children of the 80s, and remains a popular icon.

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Denny’s Super Bowl free ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’ brings 2 million diners

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Denny’s Super Bowl free ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’ brings 2 million diners

February 18, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Friday, February 6, 2009

Denny’s 1,600 chain restaurants across North America, Puerto Rico and Canada, were slammed for eight hours Tuesday with hungry patrons standing on sidewalks for nearly two hours to take advantage of the $5.99 “Grand Slam Breakfast” giveaway.

Denny’s, a dining chain with annual revenue of about $900 million, has advertised in a TV commercial Sunday during the Super Bowl XLIII that it would give away its signature breakfast from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time Tuesday, at all its restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, while supplies lasted.

Denny’s Diner has promoted the iconic dish giveaway heavily, with a bold 30-second appeal ad that aired during the third quarter of the Super Bowl 43 on Sunday, plus another 15-second ad during the post-game show, offering a free breakfast to some 90 million viewers. In addition, it has placed a full-page ad in USA Today‘s Monday edition. The promotion was further announced on The Today Show and notices were also sent out to the chain’s “Denny’s Breakfast Club” members.

The NBC ad, which was bought to unveil a new promotion for customers squeezed by the recession, may have cost as much as $3 million, said Nelson Marchioli, CEO of Denny’s Corp. Super Bowl XLIII’s 30-second commercial time slot costs $2.4 million–$3 million for the airtime alone, excluding production and talent costs.

The game was televised live by the US NBC Sunday Night Football and Canada’s CTV Television Network. BayTSP has reported that, “as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, commercials that initially aired during NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII broadcast subsequently had been watched online more than 28 million times.”

“The promotion has a total cost of $5 million U.S., which includes $3 million for the commercial on NBC,” said a Denny’s spokesman, noting also that the company received about $50 million in news coverage, most of which was positive. According to a Denny’s representative, two million people walked through the restaurant chains’ doors Tuesday, and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour.

With the “Denny’s Feeds America” promotion, the company has reported 14 million hits on its Web site between Sunday night and Monday morning. Denny’s shares rose 6 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $1.98 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $1.18 to $4.10 over the past 52 weeks.

“Denny’s free Grand Slam” has ranked in the top 10 Google searches early Tuesday and fell to No. 18 by the end of the promotion, while “denny s locations” was #9 on Google Trends, which tracks fast-rising searches. It has also held spots No. 1 (Denny’s) and 7 (Grand Slam) on Twitter‘s trending topics. It has generated much chat on Twitter, garnering 1,700 tweets on Tuesday, compared with its average of 59. Doritos, winner of the USA TODAY survey for best Super Bowl spot ad, had 933 mentions after reaching a peak of almost 3,300.

The idea of the TV ad was to get people to come in and re-evaluate Denny’s Diner. “A lot of people have forgotten what Denny’s is, or they think they know, while we’ve come out with a whole lot of new products. We felt like we needed to jump start the brand,” Denny’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Mark Chmiel said.

“We’re celebrating the Grand Slam this year,” Chmiel said. According to the company’s financial data, on January 15 Denny’s reported systemwide comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter were down 6.1 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent decline from the same period in 2007.

According to Robert Gonzalez, public relations company Hill & Knowlton spokesman, Denny’s has expected at least 2 million people to eat a free Grand Slam by the end of the promotion. “Every restaurant is packed with people and lines,” Gonzalez said. “Everything today is about fast. People are on the go, and they’re eating fast food. It’s cutting into sit-down dining,” he added.

“Each of the more than 1,500 Denny’s were planning to make about 100 Grand Slams an hour,” Denny’s spokeswoman Cori Rice said. It had predicted it will have served about 1,400 people per location, more than five times the normal volume. “Grand Slam Breakfast” is a four-item option on its menu, consisting of two pancakes, two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausage links. It weighs in at 44 grams of fat, 56 carbohydrates and 770 calories.

Nationwide, Denny’s expected to sell about 2 million Grand Slams — about 15 percent of the annual tally. According to Mark Chmiel, chief marketing operator and executive vice president, the diner chain has reported approximately 2 million meals worth more than $12 million were given away nationwide and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour. It estimated it has earned about $50 million worth of public relations following the free Grand Slam campaign, Chmiel said.

The company is also experimenting with a Grand Slam Burrito and also has introduced for this year, a Grand Slamwich, which includes eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese between two slices of bread, with a teaspoon serving. “It already has shown strong consumer appeal,” said Chmiel. The company has received flood of e-mails and letters proving the positive impact of the Grand Slam campaign and commercials on its customers.

Chmiel also announced he’s planning a third major promotion in this year’s third quarter, which happens to include another major sporting event, the World Series. “That’s one we’re definitely looking at,” he said.

Jobless Paris Winslow of downtown San Francisco, California has joined the long line which stretched from the front door on Mission Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the corner of Fourth and up the block. “The economy is getting kind of scary. This line looks like those pictures of soup kitchen lines during the 1929 Great Depression,” Winslow said.

“I came all the way from San Francisco for a free $6 meal, Isn’t that pathetic? A year ago, I never would have done this. These days I’m willing to put my ego on the back burner,” said Stephen Weller, a jobless contractor who waited with his dog, Emmett. California Denny’s restaurant managers have issued rain checks (for free chilled meals, as security backed by actual bacon) to anyone who failed to get in by the 2 p.m. deadline.

A big eater could also “Slam It Up” by adding any two additional items for 99 cents each to their meal. Customers on Tuesday were also handed “bounceback” coupon books that include offers for additional free menu items with purchases. Chicago Tribune reporter Kevin Pang has eaten five free Grand Slams on Tuesday at five different Denny’s Diners in four hours. He claims to have consumed 4,100 calories at Harwood Heights, 5:36 a.m, at Schiller Park, 6:22 a.m., at Franklin Park, 7:08 a.m., at Melrose Park, 7:41 a.m. and at Grand Slam No. 5 Oak Park, 8:57 a.m.

“The Grand Slam has always been a Denny’s favorite. This free offer is our way of reacquainting America with Denny’s real breakfast and with the Denny’s brand,” Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli said in a statement. In 1977s, the Grand Slam started as a baseball-related promotion in Atlanta, Georgia. Its normal price averages around $5.99. Marchioli said the event was also a way to kick-off its “Year of the Grand Slam” promotion. Denny’s claimed it has sold 12.5 million Grand Slams a year.

“The economy’s tough and people are jumping all the way to fast food to try to figure it out. We all use fast food, whether it’s for time or convenience or for money. But you can go to Denny’s and you don’t have to give up a real breakfast and that was the whole focus of our commercial,” Marchioli explained. McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) has done well during this economic meltdown since the global recession pushes people toward less expensive dining options.

McDonald’s has announced plans Wednesday to open 175 new restaurants in China this year despite the global economic crisis, thereby increasing the number of outlets in China by 17 percent, from 1,050 currently. Last month, McDonald’s 2008 net profit has risen 80 percent from 2007 to 4.3 billion dollars.

Marchioli has also introduced Denny’s $4 Weekday Express Slam, which is a streamlined version of the Grand Slam. “I want to take back share. For too long, we have allowed others to take share, whether it was Starbucks or McDonald’s. They’re fine competitors and I don’t expect to take all their business from them, but I’d like a little bit back,” Marchioli noted.

According to Rafi Mohammed, author of “The Art of Pricing,” people love free. “It triggers a Pavlovian response in people,” said Mohammed. If Pavlov’s dogs salivate when a bell rings, Denny’s free Grand Slam breakfast has attracted 2 million hungry customers. “I believe free maximizes trial and doesn’t devalue a product as long as it is a rare event. Aside from the cost, the major downside is that it attracts customers who truly have no intention of coming back,” he added.

According to University of Portland consumer psychology professor Deana Julka, people flock to free promotions amid just a few dollars saving because there’s nothing in life for free. “So when there’s something out there that costs nothing, it creates a psychological rush. Especially in these times when people feel overtaxed or overburden, there’s an internal reward people feel by getting something for free,” she said. “It’s being thrifty and feeling like you beat the system. Free really hits the spot for a lot of people,” Julka added.

“Free is an emotional hot button. When free is concerned, there is no downside – or, at least, we don’t see the downside immediately. So we overvalue everything that is free. People love free stuff, particularly when money’s tight,” said Dan Ariely, a business professor at Duke University, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”

Experts, however, explained these moves need to be done sparingly, since giveaways can teeter in the balance between desperation and a well designed marketing ploy. “Giving your product away for free is not worth it because it undermines your brand value,” said branding expert Rob Frankel, saying people are attached to the idea of it being free, than the actual product itself.

Free giveaways are not anything new in the food industry. “It just feels good when you can get something for free and not have to worry about it coming out of your wallet,” Frankel noted. Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread all have had free coffee and food promos last year. “In November, Starbucks gave away free cup of coffee to anyone who came in on Election Day. Have you taken a look at how Starbucks is doing now?” Last week it has announced it would shut down 300 stores, in addition to the 600 it already planned to close.

On February 24, IHOP will be offering a free shortstack to every customer to encourage donations (in place of the cost) for Childrens Miracle Network. The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is a United States-based restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods and is owned by DineEquity. The chain had more than 1950 restaurants in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico. Since 2006, IHOP’s National Pancake Day celebration has raised over $1.85 million. In 2008, over 1.5 million pancakes (12 miles high if they were stacked) were given to customers for donations.

Denny’s (“Denny’s Diner”) is a full-service diner/family restaurant chain in the United States. It operates over 2,500 restaurants in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Curaçao, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand). The resto chain is known for always being open, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert around the clock.

Today, Denny’s operates about 1,600 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. There are also about 578 Denny’s restaurants in Japan operated under a license by a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, seven Denny’s locations in New Zealand, and approximately 38 Denny’s diners in the United States. Denny’s headquarters is now located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, headquarters of the parent company Trans World Corporation that acquired Denny’s in 1987.

Denny’s was historically notable for offering a free meal to anyone on their birthday. The offer included a limited number of meal options from a special birthday menu. The promotional ritual ceased in 1993, though occasionally individual franchises will continue the tradition.

In 2008, Denny’s has ceased to be in the ranks among the top diner chains in the $83 billion breakfast market, whose top five firms — McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and IHOP — accounted for 22 percent of the volume. “A lot of consumers have written Denny’s off their let’s-go-there list,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a consulting firm.

Super Bowl XLIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers (15–4) and the National Football Conference champion Arizona Cardinals (12–8) to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2008 NFL season. It was played on February 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadiumin Tampa, Florida. It has an attendance of 70,774 and 98.7 million viewers. Pittsburgh earned its sixth Super Bowl win, thus securing sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins.

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Possible eruption at Ruapehu Volcano in New Zealand

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Possible eruption at Ruapehu Volcano in New Zealand

February 14, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Thursday, October 5, 2006

A volcano alert has been issued after a moderate 2.8 magnitude earthquake occurred at Mount Ruapehu last night at 10.30 p.m. (NZDT). The quake also broke the Crater Lake cable which generated a call-out from the lahar response team.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation has issued a high risk warning for the crater at Mount Ruapehu and Dave Wakelin, community relations officer for Tongariro-Taupo, said: “The warning was issued Thursday morning, in case more volcanic activity follows.”

It is yet to be confirmed if there was an eruption, as poor weather made it hard to see the crater from plane. Craig Miller, vulcanologist for Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science), said: “I had hoped to see if the lake was surrounded by blackened snow. All we could see was cloud.” Steve Sherburn, duty vulcanologist for GNS Science, said: “The cause of the alert would remain uncertain until the weather cleared and there could be a proper examination. Part of the DOC lahar monitoring system appears to have been damaged at the time of the earthquake which suggests there may have been an eruption, but other monitoring data says that any eruption must have been relatively small.” If there was an eruption it was probably only a small one.

The alert level is remaining at one, which means there are signs of volcanic unrest.

Monitoring of Mount Ruapehu will continue.

This was the first reported call-out since 1995.

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Winners and losers on UK’s East Coast rail line

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Winners and losers on UK’s East Coast rail line

February 14, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Friday, January 30, 2009

The British rail regulator has announced new train services for the country’s premier line.

New “open access” (unregulated and non-franchised) company Grand Northern is to be given space (known in the industry as “paths”) to run three train services a day between London King’s Cross and Bradford, Halifax, Wakefield and Pontefract in West Yorkshire. Grand Northern’s sister open access company Grand Central was given an extra path to increase services between King’s Cross and Sunderland.

The existing franchisee of the line, National Express East Coast, was given the right to run services to London from Harrogate, Lincoln and Bradford, but not provided with paths unless the government changes the contracts of the other franchises whose territory these services would cross.

Two other potential open access providers had their plans rejected by the regulator. First Group‘s Hull Trains had wanted to start a new service, Harrogate Trains, to run from North Yorkshire to London, whilst Platinum Trains had sought paths from London to Aberdeen in Scotland.

Britain’s state-owned national railway company British Rail was controversially split-up and privatized in stages between 1993 and 1997. It was replaced by a series of privately owned regional train franchises for set periods, several unfranchised open access services and a track control and maintenance company.

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Fiji loses rights to host World Netball Championships next year

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Fiji loses rights to host World Netball Championships next year

February 14, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) has stripped the rights from Fiji to host the World Netball Championships in 2007 because of the military coup that took place on December 5.

The Netball Championships were to take place between 10 July and 21 July, 2007 at Fiji’s capital, Suva.

IFNA president, Molly Rhone, said: “It is deeply regretted that we have had to take this decision, recognising the hard work that has been done by the Organising Committee in preparing to host their first senior World Championships.”

“We know that many supporters around the world were looking forward to this great sporting event in Fiji,” Ms Rhone said.

Alisi Tabete, president of Fijian netball, said that today is a very sad day for sports and that they had wasted many years preparing to host the championships. “We had been working on this event from 1999 and right now I am trying to reason with myself as to why the championships has been lost and just thinking ‘what if’.”

“We have to think positive and am still thankful that we had been given a chance for the champs,” Ms Tabete said.

The IFNA is yet to announce a replacement venue for the games. Ms Rhone said: “IFNA will now be working assiduously to find a new venue to host the Championships.”

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News briefs:June 1, 2010

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News briefs:June 1, 2010

February 14, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Wikinews Audio Briefs Credits
Produced By
Turtlestack
Recorded By
Turtlestack, RockerballAustralia
Written By
Turtlestack
Listen To This Brief

Problems? See our media guide.

[edit]

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6.0 magnitude earthquake rocks eastern Turkey

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6.0 magnitude earthquake rocks eastern Turkey

February 13, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Basyurt, in the Elazig province or eastern Turkey at 04:32 AM (02:32 GMT) on Monday. According to local Kandilli observatory, the quake struck at a depth of five kilometres; the epicenter was near Karakocan town in the same province.

The pre-dawn earthquake killed at least 40 people and almost 100 were injured. The village of Okcular was worst hit, claimed the press secretary for the provincial governor, Ozcan Yalcin. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, nearly five hours later, a magnitude-5.5 aftershock hit the province. 40 other aftershocks followed shortly, the highest of them being 4.4 magnitude, according to sources.

While no deaths were immediately reported, the government’s crisis management center soon put the toll at seventeen with another 60 injured according to the officials at Ankara, the capital. It was soon confirmed that at least 39 were dead; the toll is expected to rise. At least four of the victims were children.

Muammer Erol, the provincial governor of Elazig, stated Okcular, Yukari Kanatli and Kayali accounted for majority of the dead. He told CNN Turk that “villages consisting mainly of mud-brick houses have been damaged, but we have minimal damage such as cracks in buildings made of cement or stone”.

Okcular, the largest of the affected villages, accounted for at least seventeen of the dead. The village has a population of 800, and the majority of the dwellers live in mud-brick homes built on hillsides. About 25 to 30 houses were demolished in this village. “The village is totally flattened,” Hasan Demirdag, local administrator, told NTV.

Yadin Apaydin, the administrator of Yukari Kanatli, said his village had been severely affected. “Everything has been knocked down – there is not a stone in place,” he told CNN’s Turkey sister network, CNN Türk.

“Many houses have collapsed. Search and rescue teams have been sent to the area,” said the prime minister’s office in a statement. Injured people are being rushed to local hospitals according to sources. At least 100 people have been taken to hospital. Some who panicked after the first quake jumped from balconies or windows were injured.

Rescue workers, consisting of policemen as well as civilians dug with shovels to rescue people from the debris. The Turkish Red Crescent is also sending tents and blankets to be distributed. Neighboring districts are providing ambulances to assist the victims. Cemil Cicek, deputy Prime Minister of Turkey has left for the disaster area. Health Minister Recep Akdag, Housing Minister Mustafa Demir and State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz are accompanying him.

According to CNN Türk, the tremor of the earthquake was felt in the adjacent provinces of Bitlis and Diyarbakir, causing residents to panic.

Turkey lies on highly active fault lines and earthquakes often hit the nation. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake in Istanbul killed 20,000 people in August 1999. Most of the earthquakes that hit Turkey are usually minor.

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Armstrong announces retirement from professional cycling

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Armstrong announces retirement from professional cycling

February 12, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Monday, April 18, 2005

At a press conference Monday, Lance Armstrong announced his intention to retire from professional cycling after going for his 7th Tour de France title in July 2005.

“Ultimately, athletes have to retire,” said the 33 year-old American. “The body doesn’t just keep going and going.”

Speculation on the retirement of the six-time Tour de France winner had been growing in recent months. The Texan had hinted at wanting to spend more time with his children and his cancer charity, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. There was talk he may marry his well-known girlfriend, rock-star singer Sheryl Crow.

Armstrong battled with testicular cancer in 1996 before coming back to win the 1999 edition of the legendary French race. He went on to win the next five Tours de France and is now widely regarded as one of the greatest riders in the history of the sport.

Asked about his chances for Tour success, he expressed hope tempered with praise for his opponents. “Can I win this year? I’m not sure, but I’ll try… This will be a different year for the Tour with Jan Ullrich looking better and a host of young riders coming up,” he said.

Should Armstrong follow through with his plans, he will begin his final race in the United States tomorrow at the first stage of the Tour de Georgia. He has successfully used the springtime race in the past as a tune-up to the Tour de France in the summer. The contract with his new team sponsor, the Discovery Channel, obligates him to compete in one more Tour de France.

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Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”

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Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”

February 10, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Buffalo, New York —A proposed hotel that was supposed to be built at the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York is apparently off the table. The former proposal was going to be called The Elmwood Village Hotel and would have consisted of 72 rooms and cost between $7 to $10 million American dollars to build.

Today several unknown individuals were seen removing a sign that was dedicated to the “Elmwood Village Gateway,” which signifies the beginning of the Elmwood Village at the formerly proposed project’s location.

Nearly an hour later the men replaced the sign with a different and unexpected sign: “For Sale: 5 commercial parcels and 1 carriage house, By: Owner.” Those 5 “parcels” are 1109-1121 Elmwood and 999 Forest Avenue, which is located in an illegal alley, according to the City of Buffalo, behind the 5 other properties on Elmwood. Hans Mobius owns all properties named in the sale.

Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies never owned the properties and has repeatadly told Wikinews in exclusive interviews that he still had a “contract to buy the properties” and on October 2, 2006 told Wikinews in an exclusive interview that he “extended” the “agreement to purchase the property[s] and will have it under contract for what we hope is a sufficient period of time.”

“He [Mobius] is undoubtedly concerned because he has lost some tenants and is a bit impatient. I think he has properly portrayed the situation,” said Savarino in an exclusive interview with Wikinews.

Savarino also says that there may be “legal issues” to work out now, before anything else can move forward, regarding the proposal.

“There are some legal complexities that must be sorted out before anything can happen there,” added Savarino.

The welcome sign was; however, not removed entirely. The sign was placed, facing the same direction of north, on the side of the Forest Plaza Art Gallery, a new art gallery located on the corner of Forest and Elmwood.

Nancy Pollina, owner of Don Apparel which was located at 1109 Elmwood, but closed on October 14, 2006 considers this a possible “victory” in regards to the lawsuit filed against the hotel to stop it from being built, alleging that several laws were broken, including not performing an Environmental Impact Study before the proposal was approved by the city, during its approval and the proposal was “rushed.” Patricia Morris, who operates Don Apparel with Pollina, Angeline Genovese and Evelyn Bencinich, owners of residences on Granger Place which abut the rear of the proposed site, Nina Freudenheim, a resident of nearby Penhurst Park, and Sandra Girage, the owner of a two-family residence on Forest Avenue less than a hundred feet from the proposed hotel’s sole entrance and exit driveway, were also plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They filed the suit with a lawyer representing them, Arthur J. Giacalone, on April 25, 2006 in New York State Supreme Court, but the case has never gone to a courtroom.

Giacalone believes that a press release issued in July regarding the project was nothing but a statement to “save face,” but that the placement of the for sale sign might be a way of convincing Savarino to speed up the sale of the properties.

“I thought all along that Savarino’s July press release might be no more than an effort to save face. But we have no way of knowing. Similarly, Mobius might have put the for-sale sign up in an attempt to pressure Savarino into closing the deal. There’s no way to tell,” said Giacalone in an exclusive interview with Wikinews.

In regards to the lawsuit, Giacalone thinks it may now be in “limbo.”

“The lawsuit still sits in limbo,” added Giacalone.

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