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T.J. Pignataro - Buffalo, NY

Environment Reporter for The Buffalo News since 2013. News Staff Reporter since 1998. Previous beat assignments included suburban coverage in WNY and the News' bureau at Buffalo Police HQ. Former staff reporter at the Altoona Mirror (1997-98) and Dunkirk Observer (1995-97), and assistant news director at WBTA-1490, Batavia (1994-95).


The Lancaster Village Board on Monday tapped the Kegs Saloon on Central Avenue for immediate demolition.By a 5-0 vote, the board called for village crews to proceed at once with demolition proceedings against the former restaurant/tavern at 176 Central Ave. after its owners failed to live up to assurances they made last month that the vacant building would be refurbished a…

The Lancaster Village Board Monday tapped Kegs Saloon on Central Avenue for immediate demolition.By a 5-0 vote, the board called for village crews to proceed at once with demolition action against the former restaurant/tavern at 176 Central Ave. after its owners failed to live up to assurances they made last month that the vacant building would be refurbished and restored,…

Hillary Rodham Clinton was in Buffalo on Saturday raising money and attempting to deliver peace to a badly fractured local Democratic party during the 2000 Erie County Democratic Committee dinner in the Buffalo Convention Center.At the same time the first lady's U.S. Senate campaign against Long Island Rep. Rick A. Lazio is heating up toward an election day that now stands…

The Depew School Board on Thursday set the salary scale for the superintendent and assistant superintendent.Under the three-year contracts, Superintendent Robert D. Olczak will be paid $96,720 for the upcoming school year, $99,622 in 2001-02 and $102,610 in 2002-03.Assistant Superintendent Robert F. DeFilippo is set to earn $87,519 for 2001-02, $90,145 in 2001-02 and $92,8…

The Lancaster Village Board agreed Monday to grant the former Keg's Saloon on Central Avenue a stay of execution for at least one month.The decision came after pleas from the property owners, Joseph Sliwinski of Pleasant Avenue, Lancaster, and Mike Wetzel of West Seneca, who explained that a dispute over an insurance claim on the former restaurant/tavern has precluded them…

A prominent NAACP official brought a message of public advocacy to a crowd of more than 500 as the organization's local chapter honored five individuals at 34th annual Medgar Evers award dinner Sunday in the Buffalo Convention Center.Hilary O. Shelton, director of the Washington Bureau of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a national lobbyis…

Buffalo police are strongly encouraging elderly residents and their families to be wary of any individual posing as a police officer and asking for money.The warning came a day after a South Buffalo woman fell victim to con men Friday and wasbilked out of $10,000 from her bank savings account, according to police.Officers reported that at about 2:30 p.m. Friday, the 79-yea…

An Ashland Avenue man who is accused of killing his wife in the couple's apartment was taken into custody late Monday morning by Buffalo police, said Capt. Joseph Riga, Homicide Bureau Chief.Calvin Blount, 33, was expected to be arraigned today on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the death of his 32-year-old wife, Phyll…

Following a lengthy and bitter debate Wednesday over the proposed rezoning of 15 acres along Clarence Center Road for a planned subdivision, the Clarence Town Board approved the measure, 4-1.The board voted to rezone the tract at 8600 Clarence Center Road, formerly partly agricultural and partly industrial land, to residential at the request of developer John Rubino. Counc…

The Lancaster School Board early this morning made a three-year contract offer to Superintendent Joseph Girardi, but he says he's still weighing his options.After a three-hour meeting that saw a crowd of Girardi supporters spilling out into the hallway of the district administration building's board room, the board followed with a nearly two-hour executive session before v…

The Village of Lancaster is turning to Erie County and state officials for help in transferring its water system to the Erie County Water Authority, village officials announced last week.According to Mayor William G. Cansdale, the village has been in contact with the offices of County Executive Joel A. Giambra and State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew, for assistance in finan…

Three separate gun-related incidents early Saturday injured two people, including a Langfield Drive man who was listed in critical condition late Saturday in Erie County Medical Center.Vincent McKenzie, 25, a deliveryman for an unidentified restaurant, told police he was delivering a taco to 907 Northampton St. just after midnight when an assailant described as male, 5 fee…

The Depew School Board on Thursday reduced the weight of a new state-mandated high school global history exam by half in its calculations of final grades for this year's sophomore class.Under the measure, which will be in effect for one year only, the weight of the Regents global history exam will count for one-tenth of students' final grade tabulations, rather than the us…

Voters in the Lancaster School District approved a proposed school budget Tuesday for the first time since 1996, accepting a $55.9 million spending plan for 2000-01 by a vote of 2,442 to 1,965.Two propositions also passed overwhelmingly. A transportation proposition for the purchase of new school buses passed, 3,515 to 889, and residents approved a $10.9 million bond for d…

A Lancaster Town Board member is calling for an investigation into the board's hiring practices in the wake of Monday's board move to rescind last month's Civil Service hiring of a full-time public safety dispatcher.The board's April 17 decision appointing Shaun Babcock of Central Avenue, Lancaster, to the post was declared illegal by the Erie County Department of Personne…