1. The former Deaconess Hospital is coming down, starting today. Kaleida Health reports that its demolition contractor, Ontario Specialty Co., will begin by knocking down the boiler house on the property at 1001 Humboldt Parkway. The entire project will take about five months. The hospital was shut down in 1986 and turned into a nursing home, which was closed last December when residents were moved into a new long-term care facility, HighPointe on Michigan. The Community Action Organization of Erie County plans to build a new headquarters on the site.
2. The 100th birthday of Bishop Bernard J. McLaughlin, auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Buffalo, will be celebrated with a special Mass led by Bishop Richard J. Malone at noon in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1085 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda, where he served as pastor in the 1970s and is now pastor emeritus. Bishop McLaughlin is the second-oldest bishop in the U.S. and the sixth-oldest in the world. Ordained into the priesthood in Vatican City on Dec. 12, 1935, he has served under 11 bishops in Buffalo and nine popes.
3. What do you think of the proposed 2013 Erie County budget? The Erie County Legislature wants to get opinions from the public at its annual hearing on the spending plan at 5 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers on the fourth floor of Old County Hall, 92 Franklin St. The $1.38 billion proposal includes a 3.4 percent property tax increase, the elimination of 63 jobs and other spending reductions.
4. “Thanksgiving is murder on turkeys,” says PETA animal rights activist Leila Sleiman. To spare the birds, Sleiman and another activist plan to dress up as sexy pilgrims today and hand out free turkey roasts made of tofu at noon on the corner of Eagle and Franklin streets in downtown Buffalo. It’s all part of PETA’s campaign to promote a vegan holiday feast. “With fabulous faux fowl,” Sleiman says, “you can celebrate without causing suffering.”
5. The Rev. Eric Johns today starts his 14th year of spending Thanksgiving week with the homeless, sleeping outdoors and eating in soup kitchens. Among his plans this year is a trip to Lockport on Tuesday to see what homeless life is like in that city, buying his bus ticket with money he collects from returning deposit bottles. He’s also collecting donations for his Boxes of Love campaign, which distributes food and toys to needy families. By the time he returns to his pulpit next Sunday at the Buffalo Dream Center, he hopes to raise enough money to feed 3,000 families and give away 5,000 gift-wrapped toys. For info or to donate food, toys or money, call 854-1001.
6. A new therapeutic playground opens with a ribbon-cutting at 9:30 a.m. at the Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center’s Buffalo campus at 50 E. North St., on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. What makes it therapeutic? Designed by a team of physical and occupational therapists, it accommodates youngsters of various abilities and provides them a diversity of ways to play, sense things and learn.
7. The budget process goes down to the wire in the Town of Lancaster, with Democrats on the Town Board looking to add $19,000 to Republican Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli’s $30.7 million spending plan. The changes, which include keeping a full-time clerk-typist in the Town Clerk’s Office and restoring $2,000 for the Hull Family Home and Farmstead, would raise the tax rate by 1 cent but still allow for a slightly smaller tax levy than this year. The board will vote on the budget at its 8 p.m. meeting in Town Hall, 21 Central Ave., after a joint session with the town Planning Board at 6:30 and a work session at 7.