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Sandra Tan

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


Blocking yet another effort at ridding Western New York of its 716 area code, the Federal Communications Commission decided this week to uphold a state ruling that would allow Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties to keep the 716 designation.State officials had decided in May to allow the region to keep its area code and send the Rochester area searching for a…

Residents of Ashland and Bird avenues near Forest Avenue say they love the Elmwood Strip but could do without the traffic that overflows into their neighborhood -- about 3,000 cars a day, according to some counts.For the past several years, these residents have asked the city to reduce the street congestion just west of the retail district by changing the direction of some…

About 70 residents from the North Buffalo, Riverside-Black Rock and the University District had their chance Wednesday night to offer feedback about the city's draft comprehensive plan.It is touted as the first time in decades that the city has tried to set a long-term course. Officials offered an audiovisual presentation with images of Buffalo's glory days and promises th…

It sounds so boring: "comprehensive plan."But for City of Buffalo officials, and for the downtown, Elmwood-area and West Side residents who gathered in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on Main Street on Tuesday night to discuss this new and long-term road map for bringing the city alive, it was anything but dull.In fact, this first meeting to introduce the public to the city's…

The new census figures are expected to drain Buffalo's future revenue in more ways than one. Aside from anticipated losses in federal block grant aid, both Erie County and city officials estimate that Buffalo can expect to lose millions in sales tax money.The county estimates Buffalo will lose about $2.8 million a year, while city officials estimate a $2.7 million loss.Whi…

The Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals allowed the developers of a proposed North Buffalo self-storage facility to withdraw their controversial application at the last minute Wednesday after residents opposing the plan presented a strong legal case.Joseph Jacobi, project manager and head of Francis Development and Management Co., made a pitch during the board meeting seeking …

More than 100 people crammed into a small meeting room Wednesday night in the North Buffalo Community Center to oppose a developer's plan to build a 539-unit self-storage facility along a railroad bed between two residential streets."I am 100 percent opposed to this ill-conceived, ill-advised proposal for a number of reasons," said Russ Sciandra, a Taunton Place resident c…

The Forever Elmwood Association has been selected to participate in the national Neighborhood Main Street Initiative, a program that entitles the organization to technical support and funding that has proved successful in revitalizing business districts in other cities."This is taking something that is relatively viable and helping it become stronger," said Michael Clarke,…

Most troubled city neighborhoods have one thing in common -- vacant and abandoned properties that stand for years and fall apart brick by brick. Monuments of neglect, these buildings attract litter, vermin and the worst kind of neighborhood predators.Despite record numbers of abandoned properties torn down in recent years, more than 500 other properties slated for demoliti…

About 500 children were evacuated today from School 65 on Skillen Street when 1,000 gallons of fuel oil apparently overflowed from a tank in the basement, sending fumes throughout the building.A truck from Grand Island Service Co. was filling a 9,000-gallon tank between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. when a safety alarm sounded, said Andrew Maddigan, spokesman for Buffalo Public School…

North Buffalo residents living adjacent to a stretch of old railroad bed owned by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority are campaigning against a proposal to develop the open field into a major self-storage facility."I'll now be living on a home that borders on a commercial property that's going day and night," fumed Russ Sciandra, whose Taunton Place home backs in…

State health and environment officials met with about 60 concerned parents and community members in the Waterfront School on Tuesday to share plans and get feedback on a proposal to spend $7.4 million to clean up a hazardous-waste site adjacent to the school.The site is about an acre in size, just north of the school, and encompasses part of the school parking lot, said Ma…

Shortly after Christina Ricks was born, her mother fell into a coma. And the little girl was so plagued by illness that she had tubes sticking out of almost every inch of her body, from head to toe.A church missionary assigned to help out the family had brought the pregnant mother to the hospital. Soon she was named the child's legal guardian, responsible for every deci…

Anything can happen when you mix a creative group of architecture students with a knack for building stuff, and an artsy neighborhood in search of more art.When seniors from the University at Buffalo met with Allentown residents, the result was a series of imaginative civic projects that have a shot at putting the struggling business district on the map as a working exampl…

Expanding on past reports showing elevated asthma rates among residents living near the Peace Bridge, Buffalo General's Center for Asthma and Environmental Exposure is launching a major study to examine the respiratory health of residents living near all four of the region's international bridges.The findings could play a major role in pressuring U.S. and Canadian bridge o…