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There is perhaps no issue more important to the future of Buffalo and Western New York than education. WNED/WBFO’s Focus on Education initiative is a two year reporting and outreach project that will examine the many challenges facing schools today. From the poor graduation rate in Buffalo to the controversy over Common Core Learning Standards throughout Western New York, our comprehensive coverage will inform and engage the community as it looks for the best solutions for students.
We will also examine the many efforts underway to improve education in Buffalo and Western New York, including programs such as Promise Neighborhood and Say Yes to Education.
This exciting initiative is funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and is part of American Graduate – Let’s Make It Happen! – a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – WNED ǀ WBFO Buffalo-Toronto is launching a new multimedia initiative that recognizes area citizens who are contributing to the betterment of our community. “Making a Difference” will spotlight individuals who are going above and beyond to make Western New York a better place to live. It is also meant to encourage other residents to participate in meaningful activities that make a difference in the lives of others.
WNED|WBFO and The Buffalo News are collaborating to present a series of in-depth, individual interviews with candidates for the Buffalo Board of Education. This year’s election has attracted significant interest from the community with over a dozen candidates expressing interest in the race. The Buffalo Public School District is under pressure to improve failing schools and boost its graduation rates. It is one of the most contentious times for school leadership, as Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown faces intense criticism from stakeholders, overseeing 34,000 school students. The outcome of the Buffalo School Board election could change the balance of power and determine the fate of Superintendent Brown’s leadership. The upcoming May 6 election is for the three Member at Large seats. Each is for a five-year term. For more information about voting and upcoming elections, visit the Erie County Board of Elections website at elections.erie.gov.
The candidate interviews were conducted by the following WBFO and The Buffalo News reporters:
The program will air on WNED-TV leading up to the election and the interview segments will be available on wbfo.org and buffalonews.com.
Listen to the interviews.
Friday, May 2 from 8 – 10 p.m. Sunday, May 4 from 2 – 4 p.m. Sunday, May 4 from 11 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Funding for this program has been made possible in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Name: Old Fort Niagara Location: Youngstown, N.Y. Website: http://oldfortniagara.org/ Contact: P) 716-745-7611 Description: Today, Fort Niagara presents the long history of the fort to the public, focusing mainly on the period from the American Revolution through the Civil War. Fort Niagara features historical interpreters dressed in period clothing, a working blacksmith shop, cannon and musket demonstrations, a flag raising ceremony and interactive exhibits.
Name: Sackets Harbor Location: Sackets Harbor, N.Y. Website: http://www.sacketsharborbattlefield.org/ Contact: P) 315-646-3634 E)
Description: Visitors to the battlefield can take a self-guided tour of the restored Navy Yard and Commandant’s House. They can also walk a mile-long history trail that interprets the dramatic history of the site through signs and exhibits. Of particular note are the Memorial Tree Grove and Centennial Monument, which pay tribute to the soldiers and sailors who served during the War of 1812.
Name: Fort Ontario Location: Oswego, N.Y. Website: http://nysparks.com/historic-sites/20/details.aspx Contact: P) 315-343-4711 Description: Fort Ontario was an important strategic location during the War of 1812. However, all of the buildings here today have been restored to their Civil War era appearance. Some of the fortifications and walls are over 200-years-old. Visitors can tour several historic buildings including barracks, officer’s quarters, storehouse and powder magazine.
Name: Ogdensburg Battlefield Location: Ogdensburg, N.Y. Website: N/A Contact: N/A Description: A walking tour through Ogdensburg provides an overview of the battle. Signs and plaques along the walk provide insight into the battle and the events surrounding it.
Name: War of 1812 Cemetery Location: Cheektowaga, N.Y. Website: http://www.cheektowagahistory.com/page5.php Contact: P) 716-684-6544 E)
Description: During the War of 1812, the site was used as a burial ground for a nearby military hospital. A cannon has been placed on the grounds and American, Canadian and British flags pay tribute to the soldiers who died during the war.
Name: Battle of Plattsburgh Location: Plattsburgh, N.Y. Website: http://www.battleofplattsburgh.org/index.html Contact: P) 518-566-1814 Description: The town of Plattsburgh has changed greatly since the battle in 1814. Today, the Battle of Plattsburgh Interpretive Center recounts the battle with a large, interactive diorama, scale models of American ships and paintings that depict the fighting. Near the Plattsburgh City Hall is the 153 foot limestone Macdonough Victory Monument that celebrates Lieutenant Thomas Macdonough’s victory over the British fleet on Lake Champlain.
Name: Castle Clinton and Fort Wood Location: New York City, N.Y. Website: http://www.nps.gov/cacl/index.htm Contact: P) 212-344-7220 Description: Castle Clinton and Fort Wood were constructed to protect New York City and its port from British attack during the War of 1812. Today, both are part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Castle Clinton was restored in the 1940s and serves as the monument’s ticket office and Fort Wood is now the base for the Statue of Liberty itself.
Name: Great Lakes Seaway Trail Location: New York and Pennsylvania Website: http://www.seawaytrail.com/ Contact: P) 315-646-1000 E)
Description: The Seaway Trail is a 518-mile scenic driving route through New York and Pennsylvania. Many important events of the War of 1812 occurred along the trial, including the Battle of Lake Erie, the Battle of Queenston Heights and many others. The trail is a great way to see many of the important 1812 sites in Pennsylvania and New York.
Name: The Erie Maritime Museum Location: Erie, Pa. Website: http://www.eriemaritimemuseum.org/ Contact: P) 814-452-2744 E)
Description: The Erie Maritime museum showcases the history of Lake Erie from the War of 1812 through modern times. The museum focuses on the War of 1812 and displays artifacts from the period. The centerpiece of the museum is the reconstructed Flagship Niagara.
Name: Perry Monument Location: Erie, Pa. Website: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/presqueisle/index.htm Contact: N/A Description: Situated in Presque Isle State Park, the monument stands 101 feet tall and is dedicated to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and his victory during the battle of Lake Erie.
Name: Fort St. Joseph Location: St. Joseph Island, Ontario Website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/on/stjoseph/index.aspx Contact: P) 705-246-2664 E)
Description: Visitors to the fort can tour the ruins of Fort St. Joseph and learn about one of the first major victories won against American forces during the War of 1812. The fort also offers a candlelight ghost walk in the summer.
Name: Fort Malden Location: Amherstburg, Ontario Website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/on/malden/index.aspx Contact: P) 519-736-5416 E)
Description: Fort Malden offers visitors an interpretive center with displays focusing on the War of 1812. The site also includes restored buildings and earthworks and historical interpreters dressed in period attire to guide visitors through the fort and help them understand the life of a soldier in the 1800s.
Name: Tecumseh Monument Location: Thamesville, Ontario Website: http://www.tecumsehmonument.ca Contact: E)
Description: A stone monument and bronze plaque stand near where Tecumseh made his last stand near Thamesville, Ontario. There are currently plans to renovate the park into an open-air museum but construction has not yet begun.
Name: Queenston Heights Battlefield Location: Queenston, Ontario Website: http://www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca/bm.htm Contact: P) 905-468-6621 E)
Description: Visitors to the site can take a self-guided walking tour of the battlefield or a guided tour with an interpreter dressed in period attire. The tour highlights some of the key locations of the battle and allows visitors to experience ebb and flow of the fighting. The site also includes Brock’s Monument, which is dedicated to British General Sir Isaac Brock. Visitors can climb to the top of the monument for a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield.
Name: Laura Secord Homestead Location: Queenston, Ontario Website: http://www.niagaraparks.com/heritage-trail/laura-secord-homestead.html Contact: P) 1-877-642-7275 ext. 2 Description: Not far from the Queenston Heights battlefield is the Laura Secord Homestead. The homestead is the actual house lived in by Laura and her family and presents the civilian side of the War of 1812.
Name: Fort George Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario Website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/on/fortgeorge/index.aspx Contact: P) 905-468-6614 E)
Description: Fort George provides guests with period reenactments and modern museum exhibits. The fort offers guests the opportunity to see a period meal prepared in their fully functioning kitchen, witness gun crews at work during their cannon firings and hear period military music from their fife and drum crops. In addition, one of the Fort George’s blockhouses has been converted into a modern museum that displays artifacts and information from throughout the fort’s history.
Name: Stoney Creek Battlefield Location: Hamilton, Ontario Website: http://www.battlefieldhouse.ca/ Contact: P) 905-662-8458 E)
Description: Today, people can visit the Battlefield House, which was the American headquarters during the battle. The house has been turned into a small but informative museum. The Stoney Creek Battlefield Monument commemorates the battle and the Stone Lion Monument, which marks the burial place of British, Canadian and American soldiers who died in the fighting.
Name: Beaver Dams Battlefield Location: Thorold, Ontario Website: N/A Contact: N/A Description: A cairn-style monument and plaque sit near where the battle was fought.
Name: Decew House Location: Thorold, Ontario Website: http://www.niagaragreenbelt.com/listings/55-historic-sites/195-decew-house.html Contact: 416-592-2555 Description: A fire destroyed much of the Decew house in the 1950s but the stone foundation still stands and a plaque over the fireplace commemorates the meeting between Lieutenant Fitzgibbon and Laura Secord.
Name: Chippawa Battlefield Location: Niagara Parkway, Ontario Website: http://www.niagaraparks.com/heritage-trail/chippawa-battlefield-park.html Contact: N/A Description: Chippawa Battlefield has been maintained in nearly pristine condition so little has changed in the 200 years since the battle was fought. A small monument marks the location of Fort Chippawa and interpretive markers provide some information about the ebb and flow of the battle.
Name: Niagara Falls History Museum Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario Website:http://www.niagarafallshistorymuseum.ca/index.php/museums/niagara-falls-history-museum/ Contact: P) 905-358-5082 Description: Most of where the battle was fought has been swallowed by downtown Niagara Falls. The newly renovated Niagara Falls History Museum presents the history of Niagara Falls up to present day, but the heart of the collection is the War of 1812 gallery. The gallery features artifacts discovered in Niagara Falls and on the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield.
Name: Drummond Hill Cemetery Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario Website: http://www.niagarafalls.ca/city-hall/municipal-works/cemetery/locations-and-histories/drummond-hill.aspx Contact: N/A Description: Just a few blocks from the Niagara Falls History Museum is Drummond Hill Cemetery. The cemetery was the location of the British cannons during the Battle of Lundy’s Lane and was the scene of some of the most intense fighting of the battle. There is a monument to the battle itself as well as monuments to the British and American troops who died during the fighting.
Name: Fort Erie Location: Fort Erie, Ontario Website: http://www.niagaraparks.com/old-fort-erie/ Contact: P) 1-877-642-7275 ext. 2 E)
Description: Fort Erie provides visitors with a glimpse of what a prolonged siege would have been like in the 1800s. The fort’s buildings and curtain walls have been restored and outside the walls guests can walk through the siege lines that would have been used by the British during the Siege of Fort Erie. The fort also has a new visitors center and museum that displays artifacts from the fort and tells the personal stories of the soldiers who fought during the siege. The fort also has one of the longest running Native interpretive programs of any War of 1812 historic site in the region.
Name: Fort York Location: Toronto, Ontario Website: http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/fort-york.htm Contact: P) 416-392-6907 E)
Description: Fort York was reconstructed in 1814 and many of those building still stand today. The fort sits in downtown Toronto and provides visitors with a link the city’s earliest beginnings. Interpreters in period dress escort visitors around the fort’s many buildings and displays and provide demonstrations such as musket firings and period military drill.
Name: Fort Wellington Location: Prescott, Ontario Website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/on/wellington/index.aspx Contact: P) 613-925-2896 E)
Description: The fort has been carefully restored to its 19th century appearance. In the summer of 2012, the fort opened its brand new visitors center. The center contains exhibits that tell the story of the fort and explain how cooperation between British regulars, Canadian militia and Native warriors protected the St. Lawrence River and British supply lines during the war.
Name: Crysler’s Farm Battlefield Location: Morrisburg, Ontario Website: http://www.uppercanadavillage.com/index.cfm/en/home/ Contact: P) 1-800-437-2233 Description: Much of the original battlefield was destroyed during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s. Today, the battle is memorialized at the Battlefield Memorial Building, which contains artifacts from the battlefield and a large granite monument dedicated to the British and Canadian victory.
Name: Canadian War Museum Location: Ottawa, Ontario Website: http://www.warmuseum.ca/splash/ Contact: P) 1-800-555-5621 Description: The Canadian War Museum presents visitors with the history of Canada’s wars from the earliest days of settlement up to present day. The War of 1812 is featured in one of the museum galleries and there is a special 1812 exhibition on display for the bicentennial anniversary of the war.
Name: Fort Henry Location: Kingston, Ontario Website: http://www.forthenry.com/index.cfm/en/home/ Contact: P) 1-800-437-2233 E)
Description: Fort Henry today bears little resemblance to the fort that stood here during the War of 1812. However, visitors can tour the fort to understand why it was of strategic importance during the war and visit the Fort Henry Museum to learn about the location’s long history.
Name: Nancy Island Historic Site Location: Wasaga Beach, Ontario Website: http://www.wasagabeachpark.com/ Contact: P) 705-429-2516 Description: The Nancy Island Historic Site commemorates the HMS Nancy’s battle against three American schooners during the War of 1812. The Wasaga Beach Welcome Center tells the story of HMS Nancy, her valiant fight and houses artifacts from the ship including the charred hull of the vessel.
Name: Niagara Historical Society Museum Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario Website: http://www.niagarahistorical.museum/ Contact: E) firstname.lastname@example.org Description: The Niagara Historical Society Museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The museum houses many collections, a research library and maintains a War of 1812 exhibition that contains archives and artifacts from the war.
Name: Willoughby Historical Museum Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario Website: http://www.niagarafallshistorymuseum.ca/index.php/museums/willoughby-historical-museum/ Contact: P) 905-295-4036 Description: The Willoughby Historical Museum captures the history of Niagara Falls with a particular focus on reflecting rural life in Niagara Falls and the Battle of Chippawa.
Name: Battle Ground Hotel Museum Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario Website: http://www.niagarafallshistorymuseum.ca/index.php/museums/battle-ground-hotel-museum/ Contact: P) 905-358-5082 Description: The museum is housed in a restored 1850s style tavern house. It includes period-furnished rooms and artifacts from the War of 1812. The museum provides visitors with the experience of tavern life in 19th century Ontario.
For directions and more information about these locations, visit their websites.
Funding for 1812 on the Niagara Frontier was provided by The Wilson Foundation, Warren and Barbara Goldring and Phil Lind.
The War of 1812 was one of the most important historical events along the Niagara Frontier. For the people living in Upper Canada at the time, the war helped to create a uniquely Canadian identity. For Americans, it helped to prove the country was an international power. The war was fought as far south as New Orleans and as far north as Toronto and Lake Champlain, but nowhere was the fighting more intense than in the Niagara region.
During the almost three years of war, the fighting never left the Niagara Frontier. The Niagara River had formed a natural political border between the United States and British controlled Canada since the end of the Revolutionary War. Land communication was difficult in the 1800s and both sides understood water routes were the superhighways that allowed trade and troops to flow into the continent. Control of the Great Lakes and the rivers along the Canada and U.S. border was crucial for the transport of supplies, men and information.
In addition, both sides knew a determined enemy could cross the Niagara River and invade the vulnerable interior of New York or Upper Canada, the seat of British political power in Ontario. The Niagara River was protected on both sides of the border by a string of forts that saw heavy fighting throughout the war. Fighting in the region began in earnest with the Battle of Queenston Heights in October 1812 and continued until the end of the war.
The War of 1812 was the first time the United States of America had formally declared war on another nation. The war began officially on June 18, 1812 and lasted for over two years, ending with the United States ratifying the Treaty of Ghent in February of 1815. The war is considered to have ended as a stalemate but it did much to solidify both American and Canadian senses of identity.
For more information about the War of 1812, visit: http://www.pbs.org/wned/war-of-1812/home/
Funding for 1812 on the Niagara Frontier was provided by The Wilson Foundation, Warren and Barbara Goldring and Phil Lind.
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