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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 union representing the Village of Lancaster Police Department and the Village Board came to terms Monday on a two-year contract that calls for more than3 percent annual raises for police personnel.The contract was unanimously ratified by the Village Board after word was received during its regular board meeting that the union voted to accept it. Village police were wor…

The Depew Union Free School District and the Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce announced six recognition awards for partnership Friday morning during its 4th annual School-Community Business Breakfast in the Depew High School cafeteria.Representatives from area industry, Depew students and school staff were on-hand for the yearly breakfast that is designed to foster new p…

The Depew School District is estimating a more than 2 percent increase in its tax levy in the 2000-01 tentative budget, the School Board was told at Thursday's meeting.But district administrators said it is likely, pending the final state budget, that the tax level might be frozen at the same level as this year, and no increase will be necessary.Theresa A. Rusin, district …

The Village of Lancaster could have a new neighborhood park as early as next year, if discussions between the village and the Town of Lancaster come to fruition.The site being considered, off Mechanic Street near North Aurora Street, is currently a wooded space that includes several tennis courts that have fallen into disrepair over the years.Plans between the municipaliti…

It used to be that vacuum cleaner sales meant in-home demonstrations that awarded patient listeners with a vacuumed room.Though that still happens, a Depew company's recent approach to marketing its product in the Village of Lancaster is a bit different.Until recently, the company was distributing free raffle tickets door-to-door, offering residents a chance to win prizes,…

The formation of an extensive sidewalk project could be in the future for Lancaster village residents as part of the 2000-2001 budget, officials announced Monday at a regular Village Board meeting.While the sidewalk plan remains in its formative stages, Mayor William G. Cansdale said it may be a five-year project that will see certain segments of sidewalk in each of the vi…

Cheektowaga police officers undoubtedly spent more time working than shopping in Walden Galleria during the holiday season.In December alone, police spent about 150 hours patrolling parking lots, arresting shoplifters and purse snatchers, and handling rowdy teenagers at the area's premier shopping mall.Now, with the mall undergoing one expansion and talking about another, …

If the first draft of a proposed 2000-01 Depew Union Free School District budget remains unchanged, there will be a 2.19 percent increase in spending for the next school year.The School Board on Thursday received its final spending presentations for a $28.12 million overall spending plan. Expenditures would go up by nearly $604,000 under the tentative budget figures.Theres…

A slightly more than a 1 percent hike in village of Lancaster taxes is being proposed under a tentative 2000-01 budget filed this week by Mayor William G. Cansdale.The $6.72 million tentative spending plan is down in overall appropriations by a total of $270 from its 1999-2000 counterpart. It is comprised of a $4.79 million general fund, up about $35,000 from this year'…

Friday's announcement by major gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson that it will begin providing trigger locks with its weapons is drawing a mixed reaction locally.The announcement was part of an agreement between Smith & Wesson and the federal departments of Housing and Urban Development and Treasury as well as state and local governments. Among other things, it calls for the …

More than $25,000 in dental equipment was stolen this weekend from the pediatric dental department at Children's Hospital.Sometime between Friday evening and 8:30 a.m. Saturday, thieves took several pieces of equipment, including dental grips, motors, probes and pliers, from the 239 Bryant St. clinic, police said.Dr. Paul Creighton, director of pediatric dental services fo…

By all indications, Buffalo residents regarded a couple of extra hours sleep Saturday morning as more enticing than turning out for a 9 o'clock town meeting to discuss Gov. George E. Pataki's proposed 2000-01 state budget.The annual meeting, led by Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, at Buffalo State College, drew fewer than a dozen people, but the sparse attendance didn't pr…

What was lacking in food was made up for in compassion and awareness Friday evening at Canisius High School's second-annual David's Dinner for famine relief.Only 21 of the 210 guests at the dinner actually received a full meal at the event that raised money and awareness for world hunger. Two out of 10 were given half-meals, and the other nearly 150 guests dined on a small…

A delegation of more than 25 high school students, technology teachers and engineers are representing Newfane High School in a prestigious regional robotics competition under way at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.The Newfane High team is one of six fully sponsored robotics teams from across the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest participating in the FIRST Great Lakes …

The New York Lottery is planning a grand unveiling Tuesday at Depew High School of its new, and somewhat controversial, $4,000 "Leaders of Tomorrow" scholarship program.Depew won the big prize to be host to Tuesday's planned regional announcement of the scholarship program and didn't even have to buy a ticket, school officials said."I got a call last week from one of the d…