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 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…

One of the nation's best-known forensic pathologists helped determine that Holding Center inmate Richard A. Metcalf Jr. was suffocated by jail deputies and did not die of a heart attack as the Erie County medical examiner found in 2012. Dr. Michael M. Baden, who has surfaced in some of the nation’s best-known homicide cases, holds a seat on the State Commission of Cor…

The Cattaraugus County District Attorney's Office, headed by Lori Pettit Rieman, will serve as a special prosecutor to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Erie County Holding Center deputies in the death of an inmate in 2012. [RELATED: Holding Center video of inmate doesn't back up deputies' claims] The state Commission of Correction, which inv…

Jail deputies said the inmate was yelling and moving around even after they strapped him face down to a stretcher with a spit mask knotted around his neck and a pillowcase over his head. They said he continued to resist as nine deputies escorted the stretcher to an ambulance summoned to the Erie County Holding Center. Jail video obtained by The Buffalo News doesn’…

A state Supreme Court justice is likely to rule Wednesday on the appointment of a special prosecutor in the November 2012 death of Erie County Holding Center inmate Richard A. Metcalf Jr. Judge Christopher J. Burns has been asked by Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn Jr. to select someone to investigate the death, because of a conflict of interest in Flynn'…

A drug-policy consultant will visit Buffalo on Tuesday to argue that New York should legalize recreational marijuana not simply because, in his view, the current system squanders police resources, targets certain minorities and fosters a dangerous, underground economy. Legalizing marijuana, says Nicolas Eyle, can help counter the deadly opiate epidemic sweeping the nati…

Someone lifted electronic equipment from a church in University Heights. The burglar made off with a microphone system and a transmitter for the hearing impaired from St. Joseph University Parish at 3269 Main St., a church employee told police in a report filed over the weekend. The equipment, valued at around $1,000, may have been taken days earlier. A camera system…

A witness to a hit-and-run accident helped police arrest a Buffalo man Saturday for driving while intoxicated. The witness, according to a police report, watched a 2004 Honda strike a parked car with such force that it sent the parked car into two more autos parked on Buffalo's West Side. The witness followed the Honda a short distance and identified it for police at…