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Buffalo neighbors want bank to keep up properties

Homeowners in Buffalo are fighting back against banks that don't keep up the properties they foreclose on, reports Brian Meyer at the Buffalo News:

The problem has gotten so bad that a Common Council member and some neighborhood activists are planning a "shame strategy" that would place signs outside some dilapidated properties prominently publicizing the banks that control them. Bank of America informed city officials that it recently transferred the Arbour Lane property to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But HUD told City Hall it has no record of the transfer. Robert J. Roberts has lived on Arbour Lane for six years, and he insists that the bank's negligence has marred neighborhood aesthetics and hurt property values. "They're not very good corporate citizens," Roberts said. "Bank of America got bailed out by the Congress."

Justin Sondel, who writes the From the Ruins blog, has video to go with the piece.

Critical mass in Rochester

Rochester continues to look for a magic formula to boost start-up creation and pique the interest of venture capitalists, reports Driadonna Roland at the Democrat and Chronicle:

"One of the biggest challenges was almost everyone we worked with was on the West Coast," [Rochester-based start-up founder Steve] Shapiro said. "Having that person down the block so you can take them out for coffee or out to lunch is very helpful. In Rochester, on the Internet space, you're kind of isolated."

Nonprofit property taxes

Stephen T. Watson at the Buffalo News has a look at the rising clamor to tax the property of nonprofits:

Boston, Pittsburgh and other cash-strapped municipalities have become more aggressive in negotiating these agreements as they seek new sources of revenue to balance their budgets. In response, nonprofit leaders defend their tax-exempt status and tout the services they provide that otherwise would be a government responsibility. But it's a matter of fairness to government officials, who say exempting so many parcels from property taxes shifts too much of the burden onto other businesses and homeowners. "We don't have anywhere to go except the taxpayer," said Mike Johnson, the Town of Lewiston's finance director.

Brewing up new business

Wineries are finding that microbrews can be a big business for them, so more are starting to establish breweries, reports Karen Miltner at the Democrat and Chronicle:

Two Goats is hardly the first brewpub or microbrewery to open in the Finger Lakes region. But it represents the tipping point where Finger Lakes wine country is now becoming a destination for craft beer lovers, too. "Your wine country is awesome," says John Harris of Houston, a first time visitor to New York who gives Two Goats' cream ale two thumbs up. "But I'm coming back for the beer." New microbreweries that have opened in Two Goats' wake include Naked Dove Brewing Co. in Canandaigua, Rogue's Harbor Brewing Co. outside Ithaca in Lansing, Cortland Beer Co. in Cortland, Finger Lakes Beer Co. outside of Hammondsport and Roc Brewing Co. in Rochester.

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