POWER 96.5: WUFO Radio Ushers in a New Era!

"Flips The Switch" to FM!

POWER! (L-R) Sheila Brown and Bishop Pridgen; Cliff Bell, MC at podium with the Brown family; Sheilawith her hand on the FM switch!

POWER! (L-R) Sheila Brown and Bishop Pridgen; Cliff Bell, MC at podium with the Brown family; Sheilawith her hand on the FM switch!

Last December WUFO 1080 Mix Radio CEO Sheila Brown celebrated the station’s 56th anniversary with a major, historic announcement.

WUFO, after over five decades, was to begin broadcasting on an FM channel within the next 45 days. It probably turned out to be one of the longest 45 days in the visionary young station owner’s life. And many in the community were indeed beginning to wonder: Is it going to happen? But last Wednesday, August 2 was a real testament to her tenacity, her determination and her faith in God. Sheila, despite obstacles and technical and financial setbacks, kept moving and never gave up.

Now, some eight months after the 45 day target launch was announced – she “flipped the switch” and WUFO for the first time in its history, entered a new era in radio as Power 96.5 “A Blend of R&B And Your Favorite Throwbacks!” A large crowd of well wishers, supporters and dignitaries gathered at the 143 Broadway station to celebrate the ribbon cutting. To quote Assembly Woman Crystal Peoples Stokes - “It was a remarkable day in Buffalo!” Expressing gratitude to all, Sheila gave a brief snapshot of her journey starting with going to Bishop Darius Pridgen and the True Bethel Development Corporation four years ago. “They believed in me,” she said “had they not I wouldn’t be here today!” She also had praise for her husband Kenny, and to Gail Wells, for their critical financial investments. However when the big deal came, she continued, she needed hundreds of thousands more to make it happen.

Many banks had been contacted but did not came thru. Enter Mayor Brown who, she said, came to her aid. They contacted M&T. The rest is history. “M&T Bank believed in the vision and were able to take care of the funding that same day!” she said. Clifford Bell MC’s the special event, as speaker after speaker heaped praise upon this amazing young woman. Gail Wells, representing the Michigan Street Heritage Corridor, recounted the historic milestone WUFO has forged not only in the African American community but the entire city.

Mayor Byron Brown led the crowd in a rousing call and response declaration of support for “Power 96.5.” He thanked M&T Bank for its support of Mrs. Brown’s dream by investing in the community and “giving her 100% of what she asked for.” Paul Tokasz, representing M&T Bank, said they were proud to be a participant with Sheila and WUFO declaring, “We’re all in with Power 96.5!” One of Sheila’s twin sons, Barrington, gave a brief welcome. Her two other children, Barrington’s twin brother Blaine and her daughter Morgan along with husband Kenny, were all on hand.

Jeffrey Richardson, is the first African American President of

the Amalgamated Transit Union Local

Jeffrey Richardson

Jeffrey Richardson

Jeffrey Richardson, First African American President of the Amalgamated Transit Union local 1342 in Buffalo 1342 in Buffalo New York. After finishing his studies in the state of Wisconsin, he returned to Buffalo, and began his career with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in 1988 as a bus and train operator. After many years on the job, he decided to become involved with the union.

Before becoming president, he served as union steward, recording secretary and two terms as vice- president. Mr. Richardson has also served as delegate for the last three Amalgamated Transit Union National Conventions, by serving on the national credentials and balloting committees. He currently chairs the transit union pension fund.

He is also a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union NY State conference board, Amalgamated Transit Union Black Caucus, and the Can- Am conference. He serves on the Alf-Cio executive board. Mr. Richardson has successfully completed several training courses with the Amalgamated Transit Union labor college in Silver springs Md.He also attended labor notes training in Chicago IL.

He is currently married to Alfrieda Richardson, and is the father of five children. He faithfully serves as a member of the Edison Street Community Church, under the leadership of Pastor Ted Howard Jr. In his spare time, he runs a referee association and a promotion business and enjoys bowling as a hobby. Lastly, he would like to give much thanks and gratitude to his wife Alfrieda and his mother, PastorGeneva Simmons for the many prayers and covering throughout his life!

Crystal Peoples-Stokes Elected Chair of

State Legislative Women’s Caucus  

Assemblymember Crystal People-s Stokes

Assemblymember Crystal People-s Stokes

NYS Legislature currently boasts forty-five female legislators, the most ever in its history.

Albany, NY– Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes has beenelected as the new Chairwoman of the Legislative Women’s Caucus of New York State. Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes will replace former Chair, Assemblymember Donna A. Lupardo of the 123rd District. 

The Legislative Women’s Caucus of NYS was founded in 1983 when there were only five female Senators and sixteen female Assemblymembers in the legislature. Since its inception, the members of the Women’s Caucus have worked to support both houses of the legislature from both sides of the aisle to increase the participation of women in government and to advocate for issues that directly impact women in New York State. Today, the state legislature boasts forty-five female legislators, the most ever in its history. The first women elected to the legislature were Republican Ida Sammis and Democrat Mary Lilly, both in 1919. The first African-American woman elected to legislature was Bessie A. Buchanan in 1955. 

When addressing the Caucus, Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes paid homage to New York suffragette Susan B. Anthony and unveiled her plans to improve the lives of women during her two year term stating, “I would like to focus our attention and energy on increasing female entrepreneurship and minority and women-owned businesses.” The Assemblymember plans to address this issue by creating opportunities for improving financial literacy and access to capital for female entrepreneurs, streamlining the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises certification process, and facilitating female mentorships along with encouraging a “tech-savvy” approach toward business operations. Additionally, Peoples-Stokes plans to further improve access to employment by seeking fully-funded day care services statewide through the 2018-2019 state budget process.

Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes is honored to be voted as the Chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus and plans to “remain grateful and focused on [the Caucus’s] mission as we walk through our journey together.” 

Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes represents the New York State Assembly’s 141st District. The district includes sections of North Buffalo, Allentown, Larkinville, and the downtown central business district, and the entire East side of Buffalo.

Ed Parson Memorial 2017 Softball League Season Underway League Pays Special Tribute to Commissioner James Hartley

by Renata Toney

Caption: (l to r) Deputy Commissioner Wayne ‘Doc’ Bolden, Acting Commissioner Demetrius Richards, Deputy Commissioner Sonya Fields.  PhotoCredit:  Darren 'Doc' Thomas

Caption: (l to r) Deputy Commissioner Wayne ‘Doc’ Bolden, Acting Commissioner Demetrius Richards, Deputy Commissioner Sonya Fields.  PhotoCredit:  Darren 'Doc' Thomas

The Ed Parson Memorial Softball League is in full swing; excited aboutthe fun season at the popular Fillmore Avenue field named in honor of the sports legend. 

Former deputy director Demetrius Richards has ascended the softball league management ladder to newly appointed Acting Commissioner.  “I’m excited about leading the 12-week regular season. The most important responsibility is bringing the experience that I learned from the best,” said Richards of his role change. “We would like to broaden our growing fan base; the public is invited to come out and join us for a good time and great softball. We look forward to seeing old friends, meeting new ones and creating some awesome memories this year.” 

The League is paying special tribute to Commissioner James Hartley who is on a medical leave of absence. Hartley started going to Parson ballgames with his uncle in 1962, coached championship teams and managed the league for the last nine seasons.   “I miss having him around,” acknowledged deputy commissioner Sonya Fields. “His warm smile and sense of humor remain close to my heart. His claim to fame was ordering me ‘Sonya get on your job, go harass the players with your bullhorn!” 

“James brought the league back into existence when it disbanded for a couple of years,” explained Richards.  “We miss his leadership and keeping things under control. Get well soon James, we look forward to your return.”

The League extends a warm, deserving welcome to newly appointed deputy commissioner Wayne ‘Doc’ Bolden who credits James Hartley for rebuilding the league from a fast pitch to a slow pitch league. “He increased the number of teams and made the league more diverse,” said Doc. “We’re going to miss his tremendous connections with the city this season.  The league is in good hands and we will be holding it down until he gets back.”

“Doc has been a player in the league for many years,” said Richards who says he brings fresh ideas and professional leadership. Sonya Fields appreciates Doc for stepping in and giving them a helping hand. “He knows how to keep the league going- playing many years on teams. Thanks Doc, you’re the man.”

The season will culminate with two weeks of playoff games and the much-celebrated, annual major league championship throw-down.  “Photos and standings will be posted on our Ed Parson Memorial Softball League Facebook page; weekly standings will be in The Challenger,” said Richards. “We also sincerely thank Darren ‘Doc’ Thomas for the images accompanying this article and maintaining the Facebook page. Doc, you’re now our official photographer. We just need to tell you that,” laughs Richards. 

Founded in 1959, Ed Parson, Sr. launched the Sunday Morning Memorial Softball League with a bold vision to design a local African American baseball and basketball alliance. With the financial backing of the late Marshall Myles, a prominent East Side socialite and businessman, they recruited the city’s most versatile all-high players forming some of the most powerful squads in the region. 

Renata Toney is a Challenger contributing writer, rrrenata@aol.com

Renata Toney is a Challenger contributing writer, rrrenata@aol.com

“James Hartley taught us just how important this softball league has been to our community for so long and worked hard to keep it alive,” said Fields. “With all the talk of how the East Side has been ignored with all the development in other areas, the league is something we can take great pride in.  It started on the East Side and after all these years is one of the few things we can still call our own.” 

Come join the fun, games start Sundays at 11 AM on Fillmore Avenue at the Ed Parson Memorial Field, just south of the Kensington Expressway.