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Joseph Popiolkowski

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Joseph Popiolkowski is a reporter for The Buffalo News covering Buffalo's inner suburbs, including the towns of Tonawanda, Cheektowaga and West Seneca.

Rising property values and return of commercial properties to tax rolls will drop the property tax rate for  Williamsville by 4.8 percent, Mayor Brian J. Kulpa says. Trustees proposed a $3.67 million budget for the new fiscal year that would reduce the general fund tax rate to $4.19, a drop of 21 cents per $1,000 from last year. "We are glad to see our property valu…

A proposed land swap between Natale Development and Williamsville has support among neighbors, according to Mayor Brian J. Kulpa. Natale originally proposed building dozens of townhouses and apartments on the site of a former construction yard on California Drive but ran into opposition last year from some neighbors and never gained approval from planners. The deal…

The slate of candidates for fall races in the Town of Amherst continues to grow and could feature a rematch between two political foes. A familiar name in town politics for half a century, William L. Kindel, is attempting a return to office with a run for one of two Town Board seats to be vacated. Kindel served five four-year terms as a town councilman during 50 years o…

At least one name will be on the ballot for May's election of three seats on the Williamsville Board of Education, with petitions due in less than four weeks. Susan McClary, a retired Sweet Home teacher and current assistant to Amherst Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein, has submitted petitions to run, District Clerk Mitzie Serafin said. The school board election will …

Programs that serve the Williamsville Central School District's "most vulnerable students" would be at risk if the district loses any of its $4 million in federal aid, officials said this week. The Trump administration proposes cutting $9.2 billion — or 13.5 percent — from the Education Department’s budget, the Washington Post reported last week. That could mean …

In Depew, more than 40 percent of eligible voters turned out in January to decide whether or not their village should dissolve and merge with two towns. In Tuesday's four-way race for two village trustee seats, that turnout number was less than 10 percent. "That's a big difference," said Village Administrator Maureen Jerackas on Tuesday. "We have 15,000 residents. It…

Two Amherst playgrounds will get improvements this year , but some volunteer muscle will be needed to make it happen. New playground equipment valued at $180,000 will be purchased for Billy Wilson Park on Hopkins Road. The equipment should be ready to use by June, said Mary-Diana Pouli, executive director of the town's Youth and Recreation Department. "It's going to …

A proposal to construct a new hotel at Amherst's Northtown Center took the first step forward Monday night, when the Town Board agreed to begin the process of removing the parkland designation from 3 acres at the ice rink facility. The Town Board authorized the town attorney to initiate the process of "alienation," which would require the town to transfer the parkland …

The Town of Amherst is looking to improve how it handles contracts for everything from office supplies to big-ticket items like sewer pipes. The Town Board at its meeting Monday, March 20 will consider abolishing its Purchasing Department and the position of purchasing director. The proposal was initiated by Councilmember Ramona Popowich and has support from the board's…

Open auditions for the Amherst teen idol search will be held April 7 from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. at the Boulevard Mall's Center Court near Macy’s. The contest is open to all amateur youth soloists ages 12 to 20. Participants must be prepared to sing a cappella on stage for up to 2 minutes. Finalists will be chosen to compete in a final round on May 5 for prizes of a…

Western New York has another basilica. St. Mary of the Angels Church in Olean met the criteria to be designated a basilica by Pope Francis, the Diocese of Buffalo announced Friday morning. The designation establishes a special connection among the church, Pope Francis and St. Peter, the first pope, according to a news release. “I was absolutely delighted,” Bish…

Trolleys connecting two college campuses in Amherst could sometime this year be circulating every 15 minutes with stops throughout Snyder and the Village of Williamsville. The route is still being developed, but beginning and end points are envisioned as Daemen College on Main Street to the west and Erie Community College's North Campus on Wehrle Drive to the east. …

The house at 22 Allegany Avenue in Kenmore sat vacant for nearly eight years after a fire in 2009. The so-called "zombie home" -- a property stuck in incomplete foreclosure -- on an otherwise stable block became a safety and security concern for Tony Luckoski, who purchased the home next door in the fall of 2014. "It was disconcerting because you don't know if anybod…