Niagara Gazette — It might takes Janet Billingslea a little longer than some to conquer momentous challenges. But, she eventually gets the job done. After six years of relentless pursuit — despite a car accident and the death of her mom — she received her degree in social work from Niagara County Community College, with two awards for her outstanding efforts. Buying a home took a little longer, but working with Niagara Falls Neighborhood Housing Services, she was able to get her finances in shape and purchase a tidy little bungalow on 81st Street. She now lives there happily with two dogs she recently rescued. Fortified by her successes, she plans to continue her education at Buffalo State and eventually become a doctor of social work. That’s what can happen sometimes when a person has a little help when reaching towards their goals. On Wednesday, those like Billingslea, who just need some guidance to reach their homeownership goals, can learn about the many types of assistance available, through a Home Buyers Fair sponsored by Niagara Falls Neighborhood Housing Services. Kathy Steinman, executive director of NHS, said the non-profit has helped hundreds purchase homes in the region, but she and her staff still struggle to get the word out that help is available. “We’ve been around for 34 years but people really don’t know we exist and that’s challenging,” she said. Those who are able to find the agency, are often rewarded with home ownership. “Last year we had 64 new homebuyers throughout Niagara County,” Steinman said. “We keep trying to tell people we’re still here, this is what we do, this is what we have and we can help you.” The agency, located at 479 16th St. in Niagara Falls, provides homebuyers with tools and incentives, including helping them repair their credit. NHS also buys area homes, renovates them and then sells them to those who are seeking a home. “We’re creating a lease-to-own program,” Steinman said. “It’s kind of a pilot program but it has worked very well, so far.” The fair, which is being held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Doris Jones Family Resource Building, 3001 9th Street , Niagara Falls, will include free credit reports for the first 20 people (photo identification is required for the reports), according to Danielle Rice, a housing counselor for NHS. She described the fair as very informal, with vendors giving out information at various tables. “People can just walk around and gather information,” Rice said. “Bankers, Realtors and other people will talk about different programs available to assist those who attend.” As for Billingslea, the 50-year-old new homeowner is grateful for the assistance of NHS. “I was blessed to find them,” she said. “And now I have a beautiful home.”
Lexi's Place: A safe haven for teens battling suicide, sexual abuse and depression
In a perfect world, a 14-year-old wouldn’t know exactly how it feels to try suicide.
An 11-year-old who reaches out to the unwanted kids at school would not be thrown against a locker and bullied by other teens trying to make her feel small.
And surely no teen would have a father who, when she was small, would give her to his friends for sex.
All those things happened to the teens at Lexi’s Place.
- Sip the Niagara Wine Trail's best in one location The Niagara Wine Trail reveals it's sweetness slowly, and only to those dedicated enough to spend the time. There are 27 wineries and to sample a taste of each requires much driving through the backroads of the Niagara region, and far too much sipping to make driving a logical possibility. That's what makes the trail's 6th annual Wine and Culinary event such a good idea. Wine lovers who've always wanted to explore the new and unusual offerings of the 14-year-old wine trail, can do so next weekend, all in one place.
Niagara gardeners take part in fest's Open Gardens program
As they looked out over the near-half-acre that is the Blyth garden in the Town of Tonawanda, a visitor asked Linda Blyth if they ever get weeds.
FIT FOR LIFE: The components, signs of an effective diet
According to the latest research, “keto diets” or very low-carb diets are not more effective long-term than other diet methods. A wide range of diets work and I won’t debate the value of each and every diet or method out there, but the keys to a successful diet need to take the following into consideration:
Terrariums — for the love of nature
Terrarium workshops by Sara Johnson of Sylvatica
Local fire departments display their antique fire trucks at Canal Fest
Canal Fest premiered a new event on Thursday afternoon with the first Vintage Fire Truck Muster, featuring antique firefighting vehicles from as early as 1872.
Falls debutante program aims to teach girls the art of success
Many of the young girls in the newest debutante class in Niagara Falls have bigger challenges in their lives than practicing curtsies and writing thank-you notes.
- LOCKPORT: Farm couple shares organic dairy farming methods. When Tina Kowalski is out grocery shopping and she sees someone pick up a carton of organic milk, she sometimes walks over to thank them. If that carton is produced by the Upstate Farms dairy cooperative, there's a good chance it contains milk from one of the 60 dairy cows on her Lockport Farm. And she just loves those cows.
NATURAL HEALTH: Do you really know what you are eating?
Many individuals fall for words like “all natural,” “heart healthy” and pretty pictures of fruits and vegetables when shopping for groceries. These very misleading marketing ploys are partially responsible for the rising numbers of those diagnosed with heart disease and diabetes and people suffering from obesity even though they are eating foods that claim to benefit their health.
Local venues follow trend, offer free public exercise programs
Following a trend of public, outdoor exercise programs, a number of local venues are offering their own free events aiming to get residents outside and active during the summer.
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- Lexi's Place: A safe haven for teens battling suicide, sexual abuse and depression