Sandra Tan, The Buffalo News
print logo

Sandra Tan

Editor

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

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…

Kaitlin Drollette will never forget when she started testing evidence last year in one of the biggest drug busts the region has seen in decades. She opened an evidence bag under a lab hood, pulled out a brick of white powder and scraped off a tiny sample. She dropped a pink solution on it and waited. She already had tested two other identical-looking bricks of white pow…

One County Legislature leader is calling on the Erie County Water Authority to eliminate language that makes it possible for politically connected people with no public utility management credentials to serve as the agency's executive director. A proposal to change the job description for the Water Authority's top administrator comes after authority Board Chairman Earl…

Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke, D-Buffalo, submitted a proposal to the Legislature Thursday asking that $1 million from county savings be transferred to the county Health Department and earmarked for expanded drug treatment. More specifically, Burke said the one-time expenditure should go toward making more treatment beds available to addicts who are uninsured and…

The Poloncarz administration reached an impasse with its blue-collar union last spring. But the union, facing the prospect of no raises for 2016, took the unusual step of appealing directly to the County Legislature for money. Even more unusual, the Republican majority led by Conservative Joseph Lorigo drafted a proposal giving all full-time members of the blue-collar u…

Women working full-time in Erie County are paid a median average of $40,610, compared with $50,966 for men doing the same work. That kind of income inequality and gender discrimination must come to an end, said County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz on Tuesday. He and other members of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women commemorated National Equal Pay Day…

WKBW legend Irv Weinstein may have left his anchor's seat for the last time in 1998, but he never left the telethon. And though the ravages of Lou Gehrig's disease have taken their toll over the past six months, Weinstein remains as committed to the Variety Kids Telethon as he ever was. "Every year about this time, I get misty eyed thinking about the telethon and the ki…

The manager of a Rite Aid near Erie County Medical Center received a death threat from a customer early Friday evening, according to authorities. Buffalo Police reported that a store manager of the Rite Aid at 756 E. Delavan Ave. was working around 5:40 p.m. when a man going by the name "Mula" punched the glass in the front door and threatened to kill the manager. The s…

A Riverside woman told Buffalo Police early Friday morning that she had been gang raped by four men. Buffalo Police said the victim was at a home on Garfield Street when four unknown men at that address locked the door, refused to let her leave, and proceeded to rape her. The victim stated that two of the men had guns and threatened to shoot her if she did not comply. S…

A Buffalo man was assaulted and robbed at the intersection of Delaware Avenue and Summer Street early Saturday. The victim, who lives at the 200-block of Summer Street, told police at 2:30 a.m. that two men knocked him to the ground, punched him in the head and face, and took his backpack, which held his iPhone, medication and Rayban sunglasses, according to the report.…

An East Side man remained in serious condition Saturday after being stabbed multiple times outside an East Side home late last week. Buffalo Police reported Friday that Dwayne Sinnett was outside a house on Freund Street when he was stabbed four times, twice in the abdomen, once in the back and once in the arm. The injured man walked about 2 1/2 blocks to the intersecti…

A Chautauqua County man driving around early Saturday morning with his high beams on was accused of driving while intoxicated. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office said Ashville resident Ryan L. Arnone, 32, was pulled over for a traffic violation on Baker Street in the Town of Busti at 6:20 a.m. Deputies determined that he was intoxicated and charged him with a felony…

Lorraine Elementary School was briefly placed on lockdown Friday while administrators searched for a pellet gun brought onto school property. Principal Jeffery Banks sent a letter home to parents stating that students reported that another student had brought a pellet gun to school. "The district's protocol and procedures were followed, and the pellet gun was found a…