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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.


Lovejoy Council Member Norman M. Bakos back ed off from his support of a Council pay raise Tues day and forced his colleagues to delay action on Mayor Griffin's veto of the measure.Just hours before the override was expected, Bakos informed the Council that he no longer supported the pay raises. His decision left supporters one vote short of the nine needed to overrid…

The Common Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a rescue plan for Theater Place, con sidered by many to be the corner stone of the troubled Theater Dis trict. The Council voted in favor of a tax-relief plan but not without ex pressing concern over continued public assistance for the building's owners. In the end, the Council ap proved the plan but with the con…

The struggling downtown retail core was handed a new tool today -- a $1 million low-interest loan fund for new and existing stores. The fund, announced at press con ference at M&T Plaza, is intended to be an incentive for retailers who might be wary about locating downtown or expanding operations there. Supporters described it as a national first.Designed by the Great…

In a last-minute move, the Common Council voted today to postpone an at tempt to override Mayor Griffin's veto of pay raises for its members, the mayor and the comptroller. Council President George K. Arthur asked for a motion to table the veto over ride attempt and received it from Council Majority Leader James W. Pitts. The mo tion was passed without discussion. …

The Lafayette Hotel and more than a dozen other buildings are being targeted for landmark protection as part of a new preservation campaign."Making Monuments" is the name the Preserva tion Coalition of Erie County has given to its first organized drive to obtain landmark status for build ings not currently in danger of demolition or alter ation. "We like to be on the …

More than $33 million in im provements to Memorial Audito rium, everything from air condi tioning and luxury sky boxes to a new four-sided video scoreboard, were unveiled today by a private consultant. The recommendations were de scribed by city officials as neces sary to keep professional hockey in Buffalo.The Buffalo Sabres are nearing the end of a 20-year-lease wit…

The vacant Nemmer Building and an adjoining piece of Theater District land are being targeted for redevelop ment as an office, shopping, housing and parking complex.A development partnership has pro posed saving the 62-year-old Nemmer Building and combining it with Haller Park, a sliver of land on the northwest corner of Main and Chippewa streets. Under the group's pl…

Air conditioning, new luxury sky boxes and improved concessions are a few of the improvements the city is considering as part of its multimillion-dollar renovation of Memorial Auditorium.With the help of a private consultant, the city is nearing completion of a feasibility study that will recommend major improvements at the city-owned Aud, home of the Buffalo Sabres.C…

The Concrete Canyon and the new Berlin Wall are just two of the names attached to this city's Harbourfront development.Both imply that Toronto has lost control of redevelopment of its waterfront and failed to preserve its lakefront for the average citizen.The criticism centers on the growth of condominiums, hotels and office buildings, and the absence of parks at Harb…

Those long-awaited banners along Buffalo Place are finally up -- but not for long.After waiting more than a year for the colorful banners, mall officials are finding the banners are breaking away from light poles, causing a serious hazard for downtown pedestrians.Just last week, the city had to take down 18 banners because high winds caused the banner brackets to brea…

Those long-awaited banners along Buffalo Place are finally up -- but not for long.After waiting more than a year for the colorful banners, mall officials are finding the banners are breaking away from light poles, causing a serious hazard for downtown pedestrians.Just last week, the city had to take down 18 banners because high winds caused the banner brackets to brea…

The opportunity to shape the future of Erie County's waterfront has attracted the attention of at least three planners, two lawyers, two environmentalists and a local chief executive.They are among the people interested in being part of the Horizons Waterfront Commission, a 15-member body with the power to mold the waterfront for years to come.The commission will over…

The state Tuesday authorized formation of the Horizons Waterfront Commission, the final step in creating a regional planning board to oversee development of Erie County's waterfront.In voting for the Horizons Commission, the state Urban Development Corp. cleared the way for the county and its lakefront towns and cities to begin the process of appointing commission mem…

The state today authorized formation of the Horizons Waterfront Commission, the final step in creating a regional planning board to oversee development of Erie County's waterfront.In voting for the Horizons Commission, the state Urban Development Corp. cleared the way for the county and its lakefront towns and cities to begin the process of appointing commission membe…