Nancy A. Fischer, The Buffalo News
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Nancy A. Fischer

A lifelong resident of Western New York and reporter for the Buffalo News for over 20 years covering Erie County Northtowns


The Grand Island tollbooths are going away, but not the $1 fee. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday announced in Grand Island the state's plan to convert the current system of tolling into an automatic, cashless system. The automatic system was recently put into place on the former Tappan Zee bridge and will be operational at the Grand Island bridges by the end of March 201…

Hundreds of Sheridan Drive residents have breathed more easily, thinking they had won their battle to close the Amigone Funeral Home crematorium. But residents told the Town of Tonawanda Board on Monday that the funeral home is trying to obtain a new permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation to allow it to reopen. Concerned neighbors held up pictures o…

The Tonawanda Town Board named Solar Liberty Energy and Solar by CIR as solar installers for its Solarize Tonawanda Campaign, which is designed to spur greater use of solar power with installation at discounted rates. The Town of Tonawanda will also offer support to assure the selected companies are providing the best prices. City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis has sa…

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to make an "important infrastructure/tourism announcement" Tuesday morning at the base of the South Grand Island Bridge. State and local officials declined Monday to comment or speculate on what Cuomo will say. But after years of dealing with traffic and tolls, residents are hoping the governor offers some relief. Efforts to transform the 8…

The Town of Tonawanda Youth Parks and Recreation Department is accepting new members for its Kids Club program, a place for children to come in the late afternoon to do homework, play games, do crafts and meet up with friends. There is also access to a computer room, playground and sports fields, as well as field trips. The program, for children ages 4-11,  meets in th…

Music will be in the air – actually, on the porches – in this outdoor celebration of local music at the first Tonawanda City Porchfest from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27. The "Porchfest family" started a decade ago in Ithaca with 20 bands and has grown to 185 performers and spread to 90 cities, including Buffalo's Elmwood Village Porchfest, which hosts 90 performers.…

Low bridge, everybody down It's a song everyone who lives along the Erie Canal knows, but the boats that navigated the canal can be viewed only in a history book. Not anymore. The 88-foot "Lois McClure," a replica of an 1862 sailing canal boat, will be on display in area canal communities for the next two weeks, beginning Thursday in Medina. The boat will stop …

Grand Island will hold a special meeting to discuss staffing the Golden Age Center beginning at 1 p.m. Monday, at Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road. Barbara Gannon, executive director, proposed converting a part-time position in the kitchen to full time, splitting the position between the senior and youth departments. Gannon told the town board on Monday that the kitchen…

Michael Brown, assistant high school principal for the past year, was appointed Tonawanda High School principal Tuesday. Brown succeeds Jessica Lyons, principal since 2013 and a district employee since 2010. Lyons left to become the East Aurora elementary school principal. Superintendent Timothy Oldenburg said the hiring committee did an extensive external search…

Who has the best pizza? You decide at Gateway Harbor's Pizza Fest, from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30 at Gateway Harbor on Sweeney Street in North Tonawanda. Admission is free. Participating restaurants will offer two types of pizza and a side dish or appetizer. Dessert will be provided by the Flavor Factory of North Tonawanda. Those attending will choose the "Peop…

Volunteers on Thursday will begin collecting soil samples from nearly 300 spots in Tonawanda and Grand Island to determine how air pollution has affected neighborhoods around the Tonawanda Coke Plant. The soil sampling is a collaboration between the grassroots group Citizen Science Community Resources, the University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia. Funding for the $711…

The Town of Tonawanda Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Aug. 21 in advance of a plan to lower the speed limit adjacent to Glendale Elementary School on Glendale Drive and Millwood Drive. If approved, the speed limit would be lowered to 20 miles per hour on school days, between 7 to 9 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. and speeding fines would be increased. New signs will be …

The Grand Island Town Board approved a design for a new welcome sign on Monday, but did not approve funding the project, which could cost as much as $7,000 to build and install. The sign, which would feature an eagle on the edge of the Niagara River, was designed by Tom Proctor, a Grand Island artist who does sign designs for New York State, said Supervisor Nathan McMur…

Social media has been buzzing about the status of the state's plans to close West River Parkway on Grand Island, but state parks Western District Director Mark W. Thomas made it clear: "In no way are we canceling this project." This was a portion of the letter that Thomas recently sent to Grand Island Councilman Michael Madigan after Madigan wrote to him, "Please confir…

The Tonawanda City Schools will collect back-to-school supplies for needy students from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Tonawanda High School parking lot, 600 Fletcher St. The drive will collect backpacks, pens and pencils, notebooks and folders, glue sticks, dry erase markers, colored pencils, hand sanitizer wipes, tissues and headphones. Any and all school supplies wil…