Sandra Tan, The Buffalo News
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Sandra Tan

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Cityside reporter primarily covering Erie County government. Previously covered Buffalo Public Schools and other community and issue-oriented beats.

Six African-American police officers who were promoted by the Buffalo Police Department earlier this year say they've been harassed and "treated like criminals" by their police union and fellow officers for accepting provisional promotions from the commissioner against their union's directive. Officer Deidre Carswell recalled how excited and honored she felt when the ad…

The Erie County Health Department is hosting two free rabies clinics this Wednesday and next Wednesday for all dog, cat and ferret owners. The first free rabies clinic will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. this Wednesday at the Town of Tonawanda Highway Garage, 450 Woodward Ave. The next clinic will be held at the same times on May 31 by the Broadway Market at 999 Broadway …

Erie County has created a free, self-guided Junior Ranger program program to encourage children and families to visit more of the county's 18 recreational parks. Participants can pick up the 30-page, full-color passport books at designated county parks and hunt for codes at each one. The passports can also be downloaded online. To become a Junior Park Ranger, participa…

Erie County legislators typically hear from department heads and leaders of organizations seeking more money for a project or program. But this week, in a twist, the lawmakers talked for an hour about how to spend $1 million to fight the opioid crisis but had no game plan on how to spend the money. "I'm conflicted about this," said Kevin Hardwick, R-City of Tonawanda. …

Erie County government ended 2016 with a positive balance of nearly $3 million, County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. Most of that money is earmarked to pay the balance of the county’s contribution to Erie County Medical Center and to restore funding to the county’s risk retention fund. A balance of $300,000 would roll over into county savings. Poloncarz attri…

The Buffalo organization Food Not Bombs experienced no problems on Saturday after being dispersed by police on Monday for offering free food to the public. The group has been distributing free and healthy food for 20 years, typically at Lafayette Square on Mondays and Saturdays, said Jennifer D. Albert, one of the food sharers. But after Buffalo Police received a compla…

Erie County leaders expressed alarm and outrage Saturday over a report by National Public Radio on Friday that the Trump administration is thinking about gutting several federal programs aimed at fighting the opioid drug crisis. NPR reported on a leaked draft document from the White House budget office that drastically cuts funding to the Office of National Drug Control …

Nadine Yousef appeared genuinely touched Saturday when more than 60 people stopped in front of the West Side Bazaar, where she works, to express support for immigrants and refugees as part of the Western New York Peace Center's Immigrants Solidarity March and Rally. She gave a shy greeting and offered thanks for the support that she and her family received after coming …

When Michelle Smith came to Buffalo last fall, she hoped it would make a good convention spot. She had read about Buffalo’s economic renaissance, heard about the flurry of new development and personally witnessed the improvements to Canalside. The friendly and affordable city also offered a long list of indoor and outdoor activities and attractions. As the director…

Robert N. Anderson, the former Amherst highway superintendent,  has been named chairman of the Erie County Water Authority. He was unanimously supported for the position during the water authority's annual organizational meeting Friday, Commissioners are paid $22,500 a year. Anderson retired as highway superintendent from the Town of Amherst in 2014. He was app…

If you're curious about what it takes to become a volunteer firefighter, now's your chance to find out. The RecruitNY Open House Weekend will take place Saturday and Sunday. A total of 26 volunteer fire departments across Erie County are opening their doors to residents as part of a statewide recruitment effort. "Volunteer firefighters are on the front lines of communit…

Carol Speser dated a young man in college for three years before they both realized they were homosexual and carried out a suicide pact. The boyfriend died. Speser lived. But for the next two years, she was subjected conversion therapy in a mental hospital, where therapists tried to turn her “straight.” Now 68, Speser recalled enduring shock treatments, days …

People are dying of opioid drug overdoses in Erie County at a rate of more than one a day. Those deaths are occurring despite a lengthy list of ambitious addiction-fighting programs and the ambitious spending of hundreds of thousands of local tax dollars. So what does it take? What does it take to stop a death spiral that seems to be gaining, not losing, steam. That …

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and other local leaders on Wednesday pushed back against the proposed federal budget that would eliminate $3 million in local community development block grants and federal housing grants next year. Poloncarz joined U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins and Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski in a morning visit to Dona Street in Lackawanna, whe…

The Erie County Water Authority board hired the Phillips Lytle law firm on an "emergency" basis late last year, agreeing to pay its lawyers an hourly rate of $400 to $435 an hour. The agency said only that the lawyers were needed because of "improper conduct" and "environmental issues." Exactly what is this matter about? The authority won't say. How much is thi…