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Phil Fairbanks

I cover federal courts and criminal justice issues and occasionally veer off into the world of refugees, human traffickers and streets gangs. As a product of the Watergate era, I value a newspaper's role as the community watchdog.


A new park on the city's Outer Harbor and an end to high-rise development along the shoreline are part of a waterfront platform Democratic mayoral candidate William B. Hoyt outlined Monday.During a press conference on a small strip of lakefront known as Gallagher Beach, Hoyt criticized Mayor Griffin for stressing commercial development of the waterfront, and not placi…

A new park on the city's Outer Harbor and an end to high-rise development along the shoreline are part of a waterfront platform Democratic mayoral candidate William B. Hoyt outlined today.During a press conference on a small strip of lakefront known as Gallagher Beach, Hoyt criticized Mayor Griffin for stressing commercial development of the waterfront, and not placin…

Ninety acres of open fields on the city's outer harbor would be preserved as a state park under a plan unveiled today by two city Common Council members.The proposal recommends the state buy nearly a mile of Lake Erie shoreline, an area extending from Shooters restaurant south to the Port of Buffalo and from the lakefront east to Fuhrmann Boulevard. The land is owned …

An engineer hired by the city has concluded the Bank of Buffalo must be shored up or demolished.The report prompted City Hall to delay until next week Ciminelli Development Corp.'s request for an emergency demolition of the 1895 landmark at Main and Seneca streets while the developer and preservationists try to come up with a timetable for securing the building."I'm a…

The dome and two walls of the historic Bank of Buffalo would be dismantled piece by piece and reassembled as part of a new building under a compromise reached Wednesday between preservationists and the developer.Officials from the Preservation Coalition of Erie County agreed to the dismantling during a private meeting with City Hall officials and representatives of Ci…

The city is preparing to buy five acres of land along the Buffalo River, the latest step in the development of a riverfront park and an environmental-education center.The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency plans to meet Thursday to review and most likely approve plans to acquire a small parcel of vacant land where the river meets Cazenovia Creek. The land is behind the Tops…

Developers of the Pavilion waterfront complex have missed the first deadline for financing the project, but City Hall is giving them more time.John Yurtchuk, one of the developers, said a series of minor disputes with adjoining property owners has slowed the progress of the $100 million development.The hotel, office and shopping complex is proposed for a prime piece o…

Lafayette Square, one of downtown's most popular gathering spots, may be enlarged as part of a new plan for the land in front of the library.A coalition of city and county government and downtown business groups has asked Theodore Lownie, a local architect, to look at better ways to use the Central Library forecourt.The goal is to create a library entrance closer to W…

Up to 300 employees of Marine Midland Bank will be moved temporarily to the Olympic Towers office building on Pearl Street from Marine Midland Center.The move is a stop-gap measure by Marine until its new office complex at Washington and Scott streets is finished. The complex is scheduled to open in late 1990.Marine signed a three-year lease Wednesday for three floors…

The owner of the former Bank of Buffalo wants the landmark demolished immediately, but City Hall officials said Tuesday they are uncertain whether that is necessary.Frank Ciminelli, developer of the vacant building, said a recent engineering survey turned up evidence that the building is structurally unsound and a threat to public safety.By contrast, a Rochester archi…

It was December of last year, and Frank Reilly, the chairman of Brooks Brothers clothing stores, stood outside the newly renovated downtown Sibley's building and stared across the street at the vacant Courtyard Mall."What the hell is going on over there?" Reilly asked.His hosts conceded the west side of Main Street was in flux, a response that didn't sit well with Rei…

Rough waters on Lake Erie forced the postponement today of a 30-mile marathon swim by Buffalo attorney Michael Caffery.The Angola resident decided to delay his benefit swim for the American Red Cross when he saw the waves at Sturgeon Point in Evans cresting at four feet.Deborah Williams, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said the swim will be moved to next Friday. Caff…

If and when the federal government decides to create urban enterprise zones, Buffalo may be one of the first cities to seek the tax breaks associated with the program.City development officials are interested in how the program would assist projects such as the proposed South Ellicott Industrial Park. The 80-acre park would be located in the Michigan Avenue-Swan Stree…