Matthew Spina - The Buffalo News

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Matthew Spina

I'm a staff writer at The Buffalo News and a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State who grew up in the great town of Schenectady, N.Y.


Local News

About 1,500 people are a little warmer today. That's how many coats Paul Billoni figures he and a network of partners gave away Saturday in the first of this year's three coat giveaways. Parkas, ponchos and pea coats, trench coats, field coats and bombers — more than 1,800 of them were wheeled into the hallways of True Bethel Baptist Church at 907 E. Ferry St. befo…

Local News

Winter weather is settling in. The Buffalo-area's coldest temperature Saturday — 19 degrees at 7:59 a.m. — tied a 60-year-old record for the date, according to a National Weather Service meteorologist. Saturday's tie of a record set in 1957 followed a new daily record set Friday as a new weather front arrived. The high temperature for the day — 29 degrees at 1…

Erie County lawyers have agreed to provide $225,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the wife of a county sheriff's deputy whose police dog mauled their young daughter. Jennifer Okal of Holland named Erie County, the Sheriff's Office and her husband, Deputy Michael J. Okal, as defendants in order to compensate their daughter for the injuries inflicted by the dog in August 2…

Erie County

A federal magistrate has concluded that Sheriff Timothy B. Howard’s staff breached an agreement written to settle a Holding Center lieutenant's complaint of  sex discrimination. The case involving the now-retired Jacqueline Kretzmon, who once found a decapitated rat in her driveway, traces back to 2007, when she filed a complaint with the State Division of Human Righ…

Uncategorized

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was not at today's funeral for Buffalo Police Officer Craig Lehner. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul did attend the funeral, and Cuomo ordered the American flag flown at half staff on state buildings today. The governor was scheduled to make an announcement this morning at a hospital in Glens Falls, and then travel to Staten Island in the late afternoon for…

A Jamestown man who drove away from a domestic dispute -- transporting two children in an auto he did not own -- faces a felony count of driving while intoxicated as well as unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, police said. Jamestown police charged Jamie A. Clifton Sr., 38, after the dispute Saturday afternoon at 116 William St. Police charged him with DWI as well as tw…

A man who drove into a cement wall in a Walmart parking lot faces a felony charge of driving while ability impaired, state police said. Troopers say they determined that Thomas Griffin II, 30, of Newstead, was impaired by drugs during the crash in Clarence, which occurred Saturday while his 2-year-old son was in the auto with him. Both the driver and child were not inju…

Obituaries

Feb. 3, 1931 – Oct. 19, 2017 Maria Torres, who raised six children and served for decades as a leader of Hispanic Senior Services at Hispanics United of Buffalo, died Thursday. She was 86. In a written tribute, her family and friends called Mrs. Torres dynamic, powerful, strong-willed, encouraging and a model for others in the Puerto Rican community. Mrs. Torres…

Local News

State Park Police believe a person went over Niagara Falls on Sunday afternoon and are keeping an eye out for a body below the falls and in the lower Niagara River. A husband and wife from Ohio reported seeing a body in the water that went over the American Falls just after noon Sunday, Park Police Maj. Patrick Moriarty said. The witnesses had detailed information ab…

Crime

A Jamestown man who damaged a woman's apartment and held her face down on a bed as she tried to call 911 faces a misdemeanor charge of unlawful imprisonment, Jamestown police said. Adam R. Lanphear, 44, was arrested as he tried to run out a basement door on East 6th Street, in the building where the incident occurred, according to police. Officers said they respond…

Local News

A 14-year-old girl was reported in critical condition in Women and Children's Hospital late Saturday after being involved in an ATV crash in Clarence, officials said. The girl was a passenger on a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle driven by a 15-year-old boy, who also was injured though not as seriously, the Erie County Sheriff's Office said. The Sheriff's Office said i…

Jamestown residents called police after seeing a car driving around the city with heavy front-end damage and just one working headlight. Police found the car parked in a driving lane of Jones and Gifford Avenue around 1 a.m. Sunday. They charged Michael Woodard, 23, of Jamestown, with DWI and aggravated DWI because his blood count was higher than 0.18 percent, city poli…

A driver from Fredonia spotted driving the wrong way on Interstate 86 was charged Saturday with felony driving while intoxicated, as well as aggravated DWI because he carried a passenger under 16, Chautauqua County deputies said. James E. Murphy, 47, also was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation because he was driving though his license had been revoked, deputi…

The first crash was at Southwestern Boulevard and Transit Road, where a Jeep struck a Honda at a stop sign and injured its driver, police said. The driver of the Jeep drove off but struck some trees at Angle and Michael roads. When he couldn't dislodge the Jeep from the trees around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, he ran. With re4sidents' help, Orchard Park police found him hidin…

Local News

Lawyers on both sides of a lawsuit focused on the death of Holding Center inmate Richard A. Metcalf Jr. have agreed to keep the depositions of Sheriff Timothy B. Howard and two of his top aides sealed, one of the attorneys said Wednesday. Jim Brown, whose Brown Chiari law firm represents Metcalf's father, said his team and lawyers defending the county have agreed not to…