Matthew Spina, The Buffalo News
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Matthew Spina

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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.

The state's Commission of Correction this week formally faulted Erie County jail officials for failing to report serious incidents -- suicide attempts, inmate violence and the "erroneous release" of a defendant -- and said it expected improvement. The commission delivered the message in two "directives" to Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, laying the groundwork for a lawsuit i…

March 14, 1939 -- May 11, 2017 In retirement, Marshall W. Young took on a new cause by volunteering at the William-Emslie YMCA Senior Center at 585 William St. There were dances, picnics and trips to organize, and a children's program to fund. He also sang with the Senior Gospel Choir. "He enjoyed people," said Young's life partner, Gwendolyn Meadows of Williamsvi…

Nine months ago, at the start of the most recent college year, a technical sergeant with the Air National Guard learned he was again being deployed to the Middle East. This time, it created an extra complication. He would miss his college graduation. Adam Winters was juggling studies, a job and military service, and it was tough. It grew even worse when the mission of t…

The family of an inmate who died 20 days after entering the Erie County Holding Center last year has filed a widely anticipated lawsuit against Erie County, Sheriff Timothy B. Howard and the City of Lackawanna, where police arrested her in February 2016. Lawyers for Tawana R. Wyatt, mother of the late India Cummings, name 11 defendants in alleging that jail officials an…

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard did not violate the Erie County Code of Ethics when he wore his uniform to a pro-President Trump rally, the county's Ethics Board says. The panel can only enforce the county's ethics code, Chairman Steven Schwartz wrote in response to the handful of citizens who had urged the panel to act against Howard. The code, Schwartz told them, lets elect…

One afternoon in April 2013, an inmate at the Erie County Correctional Facility tore a strip of linen from his bed sheet. He anchored one end to a fixture in his cell, knotted the other around his neck and leaned downward. Unable to breathe, he passed out. Then, as a report indicates, the linen came undone, and he tumbled to the floor. That’s how a corrections offi…

The check is in the mail. It’s not you, it’s me. The fruit cake was delicious, Aunt Hilda. People who yearn to no longer allow those  fibs, embellishments and little white lies to spring from their lips, may find inspiration on Sunday. It is  National Honesty Day, the annual counterpoint to the quasi-holiday that starts the month, April Fools Day. Hone…

The Erie County Water Authority salaries remain generous, even by public-sector standards. Here were some top salaries when The News obtained them in 2016: • Deputy Director Robert J. Lichtenthal Jr.: $155,812 • Director of Administration Paul H. Riester: $146,097 • Secretary to the Authority Joseph T. Burns: $140,553 • Executive Engineer Russell J. Stoll:…

To all Dyngus Day revelers: The mermaid you will see waving from an ornate float in Monday's parade is not from Disney. She is the "Warsaw Mermaid," about whom a few legends flow. The Polish Cadets of Buffalo are going with this one: Mermaid Syrena was the daughter of an undersea king. When her blue eyes first broke above the Vistula River, she spied a beautiful land, w…

For an event teeming with political ideology, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard chose to make his speech in uniform, displaying his stars and a badge. Now, some citizens want the county Board of Ethics to rebuke Howard. And there is no shortage of opinions on what he did. “I wouldn’t have done it,” former Erie County Sheriff Thomas F. Higgins said. Higgins'…

The amounts paid for real estate should be publicly available, even when land or buildings change hands through limited liability companies, Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns said Friday as he weighed in on an issue sparked by Kim and Terry Pegula's purchase of a structure in Buffalo's Cobblestone District. Kearns  is running to become Erie County clerk, and if he wins, he…

Four months after being notified that it had been misled about a serious attack inside the Erie County Correctional Facility, the state watchdog will arrive. Back in November, the state Commission of Correction vowed to investigate after learning from The Buffalo News that an inmate had attacked another inmate. Sheriff Timothy B. Howard’s officials had wrongly told…

Who is Michael Caputo? The man whose name popped up Monday when the House Intelligence Committee quizzed FBI Director James Comey should be familiar to Western New Yorkers. In recent years, the conservative public relations professional who lives in East Aurora has been all over the place, making all sorts of statements. Now, members of Congress are attempting to link C…

At least 300 people figure Mayor Byron W. Brown is vulnerable. But even their candidate wants them to brace themselves. "Make no mistake, we are the underdogs," Mark J. F. Schroeder told his South Buffalo base and dozens of other well-wishers who traveled to South Buffalo's Historic Lodge to cheer the city comptroller Sunday as he kicked off his campaign for Buffalo may…

When a Buffalo cell-block attendant beat a defendant back in May, as two city police officers stood by,  surveillance cameras recorded the attack. Months later, the video has been seen by only a select few. A state judge recently ruled the video should remain hidden from public view, at least until the cell-block attendant's criminal trial concludes. "Until the crim…