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Stephen T. Watson

Stephen T. Watson is a staff reporter who writes about development, real estate and business in the towns of Amherst and Clarence. He is a native and resident of the Town of Tonawanda and a graduate of the University at Buffalo and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


A middle-aged man meets a 13-year-old Cheektowaga girl in an online chat room and later drives across the country to meet her for sex.A 10-year-old girl shows pornographic pictures on a computer to a 5-year-old neighbor.High-school teachers use e-mail to build a rapport with students that can lead to inappropriate online conversation and in-person sexual contact.Top law-en…

A small group of activists rallied Wednesday in downtown Buffalo against federal legislation they say could end the unfettered exchange of information over the Internet.Members of political action groups and local bloggers met outside Sen. Charles E. Schumer's district office to thank the New York Democrat for his recent vow of support for so-called "net neutrality.""When …

A North Tonawanda woman challenging the constitutionality of New York State's ban on using hand-held cell phones while driving saw her argument rejected in Erie County Court this week."This court finds that [the law] was enacted as a proper exercise of the state's police power," County Judge Shirley Troutman ruled Monday.The ruling addressed a case brought by Tracy Diina, …

The man walks slowly along the edge of a thick patch of woods, frustration etched on his face, using a small, hand-held electronic device to search for his elusive quarry.No, it's not a state trooper looking for Ralph "Bucky" Phillips.It's a golfer trying to find his wayward tee shot. The reader sends out a radio signal that beeps and chirps when it bounces off a microchi…

The nation's largest record labels are suing three people in Western and Central New York for downloading and sharing hundreds of songs over the Internet.Sony BMG Music, Virgin Records and other companies filed the copyright-infringement civil suits this week in U.S. District Court in Buffalo and Rochester.The suits are among 36 filed across the country in the industry's l…

Ana Alba is invisible.The Buffalo State College graduate student disappeared four years ago, when she dropped her land-line phone and started using her cell phone exclusively.Alba and millions like her aren't listed in a phone book, the 411 directory or www.switchboard.com and other informational Web sites."That's all right with me. I'd rather not be found. Everybody I wan…

A popular Grand Island college student was killed and his friend was badly injured early Saturday when they were thrown from their vehicle when it crashed and rolled on the Youngmann Highway, Town of Tonawanda police said.Andrew Dlugosz, 20, an accomplished athlete at Grand Island High School who would have started his junior year at the University at Buffalo in two weeks,…

John Justice, the Kenmore native who killed his family and a neighbor in one of this area's most notorious crimes, was arrested this week at the halfway house where he has lived since his September release from prison.Justice was arrested Monday by parole officers after threatening to harm staff of the Grace House transitional residence, said the Rev. Terry King, the facil…

After Aug. 19, the future doctors of America can throw out those No. 2 pencils and bubble-sheet exam forms for good.That's the last time prospective medical students here and across the country will use pencil-and-paper exams to take the Medical College Admission Test. The high-stakes test switches to a computerized format in January.Future MBA students already are taking …

Some leaders of Buffalo's black community say they consider the new name for the city's minor-league basketball team, the Silverbacks, offensive and racially insensitive.They say a silverback -- an adult male gorilla -- is an inappropriate nickname for a team with a large number of black players because bigots have referred to blacks as "gorillas," "apes" and "monkeys."Tho…

For people trying to keep their personal and financial information out of the hands of identity thieves, few places are safer than Western New York, a new national study has found.Buffalo Niagara ranked 49th out of the country's 50 largest metro areas in a report that analyzed the risk of identity theft.This region is at less risk because of its relatively low income level…

Canisius College has purchased the Mount St. Joseph Academy property on Main Street, but has agreed to allow the school to stay open on the site for the next two years.Canisius took ownership of the property from the Institute of the Sisters of St. Joseph on Thursday. Ultimately, the college plans to knock down the existing buildings to make room for classroom and resident…

A new audit of Erie Community College's finances is highly critical of the compensation paid to top school officials and calls for changes to the college's payroll and purchasing practices.The college should limit the pay and benefits of ECC President William J. Mariani -- who earns $185,498 per year -- and other high-ranking staff and tighten its bookkeeping procedures, t…

A college student updates his My-Space profile while hanging out on the campus quad.A blogger sits in a cafe and composes another Web log entry.A business traveler checks his e-mail while waiting for his flight at the airport.Wireless Internet is a convenience, to be sure. But is it part of a revolution?Communities in upstate New York and across the country see it that way…

Buffalo's bloggers took a break Saturday from criticizing Joel Giambra, Wal-Mart and the Buffalo Sabres' proposed new logo to eat some barbecue and meet their cyber peers.Their low-key gathering at Chestnut Ridge Park is the latest sign that this region's bloggers are building a community online and off.They have a variety of reasons for blogging but say they are united by…