T.J. Pignataro - The Buffalo News

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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 Cheektowaga Planning Board Thursday tabled consideration of the controversial 170,000-square-foot planned sports complex on the Cheektowaga-Amherst border at the request of the project developer.Representatives from Toronto-based Commonwealth Sports Fund Inc., the outfit seeking rezoning and approval of plans to construct a building housing two ice rinks, a 48-tee driv…

Imagine legalized drug use in a controlled market.That's the sure-fire answer to America's drug problem, a retired Town of Tonawanda police captain told an audience of more than 50 people Thursday during a public forum sponsored by the local chapter of the NAACP at Canisius College."We have a failed policy when it comes to drugs. The policy we have chosen is a policy of pr…

For two people collapsed in a raging house fire Monday morning, West Seneca Police Lt. Larry Fallon was the difference between life and death.Fallon, who also is a West Seneca volunteer firefighter of 28 years and instructor with the Erie County Department of Fire Services, is credited with rescuing Sherry Crandell, 31, and Edmund Fintak, 37, from the fire at 111 Edson St.…

Three of the main players in last fall's first-degree murder trial of Jonathan L. Parker provided a "behind the scenes" peek into the county's first death-penalty case in more than four decades during a forum Wednesday at the University at Buffalo School of Law.Parker, who was out on bail for three felony weapons charges and had a prior criminal record, killed Buffalo Poli…

The Buffalo Public Schools need a strong community effort to convince local and state leaders that funding a $455.8 million proposed budget for the 1999-2000 academic year is right for schoolchildren, officials said Thursday at a budget hearing.The spending plan, passed unanimously by the School Board on Feb. 10, calls for a nearly 7 percent spending rise over the current …

More than 12,000 residents moved out of Erie County from July 1997 to July 1998, according to U.S. Census estimates released Friday.Only 948 moved in.That kind of disparity -- when tabulating the number of births and deaths in the county during that same time -- contributed the most to the overall drop of 9,043, or about 1 percent, in the county's population. By raw number…

A newer and bigger Tops is coming to East Aurora.A third compromise by Tops Markets Inc. to reduce the size of a proposed supermarket on East Aurora's west end was enough to secure an additional vote on the Village Board for its approval Monday.Trustee Ellen Moomaw submitted an amendment cutting the Benderson Development Corp. plans from a 58,000 square foot Grey Street su…

The controversy over development of a new Tops supermarket on East Aurora's west end has pitted neighbor against neighbor for several years.Monday, village trustees will vote on the issue, and signs point to its defeat.Benderson Development Corp. proposes remodeling its Aurora Shopping Plaza on Grey Street and building a 58,000-square-foot Tops on land to the north of the …

A proposed 3 percent reduction in state aid to the East Aurora School District for the 1999-2000 year under a plan by Gov. Pataki has school administrators up in arms and appealing to state legislators for more funding.The proposal in the governor's budget plan for this year calls for a drop of $266,000 in state funding for East Aurora from this year to the next.The move c…

A public hearing on a $200,000 skateboard park proposed by the Aurora Department of Parks and Recreation drew a packed house Monday as residents jammed the Town Hall to voice their views.The more than 20 residents who addressed the board seemed to agree some additional recreational activities are needed for the area's youth but were largely divided as to what those activit…

Last year, the East Aurora Middle School marching band took New York.For an encore, the troupe is marching on to conquer the nation's capital right before the eyes of President Clinton.The middle school band, which captured first place in its class at the 1998 St. Patrick's Day Parade in the Big Apple, will perform at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in April.Th…

The Buffalo Police Department is stopping short of speculating that Thursday's shooting of robbery suspect Floyd Graham might have been an attempted suicide-by-police situation.Others say that given the circumstances surrounding the incident it could very well be what is seemingly a growing phenomena on the streets."We're at the early stages of a background investigation a…

The East Aurora School Board received a midyear status report Thursday on the district's accomplishments and preliminary figures on the performance of its student body on recent state Regents examinations.Lynn M. Fusco, the district's director of curriculum, instruction and personnel, pointed to successes realized on this year's 11th-grade Regents examination in English as…

The two-year feud over a proposed Tops supermarket on East Aurora's west end has been smoldering since last fall.Monday, the fiery debate over the 58,000-square-foot store rekindled.About 50 East Aurora residents packed the Village Hall to voice concerns about the rezoning of two parcels of property adjacent to the proposed Grey Street site of the store.Benderson Developme…

Six months ago, a 22-year old pregnant mother of two was just a room away from a life on the street.Today, Rachel James' life is reborn.One of eight graduates Friday from the Homespace Corp., Ms. James has traded her room at the Salvation Army for a professional wardrobe and a plan to attend Buffalo State College with her eyes on a future as a child psychologist."I'll be a…