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Barbara O'Brien


Local News

DNA evidence found at the scene has linked five suspects to crimes in cold cases who have pleaded guilty to charges of burglary, attempted burglary and possession of stolen property, according to Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn. Nickolas Heath, 25, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty to burglary in the Aug. 20, 2015, break-in at a McKinley Parkway home where he stole…

Local News

Bryan Nielsen of Kenmore hasn't been able to drive since he was critically injured when he was struck by a car in 2004, and his custom three-wheeler allowed him to get around – until Thursday. That's when someone cut the lock off it outside Aldi's on Elmwood Avenue and stole the tricked-out trike, leaving Nielsen, 42, without wheels and his independence. "It means ev…

Local News

Veterinarian Dr. Helene Chevalier likes to talk about the man who had been out of work for a year. He had just gotten a new job, but his dog had developed a severe skin disease, and he couldn't afford to get it treated. He took it back to the SPCA Serving Erie County, where he had adopted it several years ago, with the intention of surrendering it. That's when staff mem…

Local News

Eden Central School District voters will have another chance at voting on the budget June 19. The School Board decided Tuesday night to use more money from reserves to lower the tax levy increase to 0.46 percent, the level allowed under the district's tax cap. Spending in the $30.1 million budget will remain the same, and it will allow the district to add a school re…

Local News

Voter turnout statewide in last week's school board elections dropped by more than 50,000 from last year, according to an analysis of state records by the New York State School Boards Association. There were 52,567 fewer people voting on budgets last week, down 9.4 percent. The number of voters declined 14.6 percent in Erie and Niagara counties from last year. [Resul…

Hamburg

Everyone in Blasdell knows where the potholes are on Lake Avenue and avoids them, but the street is so bumpy that the Village Board canceled the annual Memorial Day parade. "The condition of Lake Avenue has deteriorated to the point it is truly unsafe not only for cars, but for people to march," Village Administrator Janet MacGregor Plarr said. The street, which is o…

Hamburg

Hamburg's two villages and town will be exploring prospects for merging services at a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Swan Auditorium at Hilbert College, 5200 South Park Ave., Hamburg. "We plan nothing radical," Town Supervisor James M. Shaw said in a letter to the community. "What we hope to do is discuss creative ideas for making what works, work better." Members …

Erie County

West Seneca's code enforcement officer is accused of making renovations to his house without getting a building permit, two sources said. John A. Gullo was placed on unpaid administrative leave May 4 as a result of disciplinary charges, according to the sources. The sources, who both have knowledge of the charges but did not want to be named, said a discrepancy i…

Education

Voters adopted school budgets Tuesday, but some districts did not provide vote counts to The Buffalo News Tuesday night. Here are the results for East Aurora, Iroquois, Lackawanna and Niagara Falls. North Tonawanda also provided updated figures for the School Board election. [Related: See all the school district election results from Erie and Niagara counties] Here a…

Education

Eden Central School Board members have scheduled a community forum and budget workshop on Tuesday to discuss what to do in the wake of the defeat of its proposed 2018-19 budget. The forum, which starts at 6 p.m. in the Junior/Senior High School cafeteria, will be followed by a special meeting of the School Board. Voters Tuesday turned down the budget,  517-388. The d…

Education

Eden Central School District's budget has been defeated. The budget needed a 60 percent "yes" vote to pass because the levy went over the tax cap. But the Eden budget did not gain even 50 percent approval, let alone the 60 percent needed for passage under the tax cap legislation. The budget was defeated, 57-43 percent. [Results: School budget, School Board elections …

Education

Most budgets in Erie and Niagara counties passed Tuesday, with the exception of Eden Central, which was seeking to go over the tax cap. But the Eden budget did not gain even 50 percent approval, let alone the 60 percent needed for passage under the tax cap legislation. The budget was defeated, 57-43 percent. Before the vote, Superintendent Sandra Anzalone said the ke…

Hamburg

The access road from Route 5 to the FedEx Ground Transport distribution plant in Hamburg will be known as Mike Bartlett Way, after the man who shepherded the $51 million project from the first inquiry about vacant land to its opening in 2016. The Hamburg Town Board approved the ceremonial naming of the access road Monday to recognize Michael J. Bartlett's contribution t…

Local News

Evans was so broke after years of fiscal mismanagement it couldn't get a loan because its credit rating had been withdrawn. But today, after pinching pennies, searching through the pockets of financial statements to find metaphorical loose change, and raising taxes, the bond rating has been restored with an A rating. "We're definitely on the recovery side of the bala…

Education

School officials often grumble about the tax cap and unfunded mandates, but since the cap was enacted, more budgets are being approved. And fewer people are voting. The number of residents voting on school budgets has gone down by more than a third in Erie and Niagara counties in the last seven years. Many point to a cap imposed in 2012 on the amount that school d…