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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 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…

A newer, larger water line may be laid under Broadway in the Village of Lancaster during the course of an upcoming pavement reconstruction project if village officials have their way.The village is investigating the possibility of requiring a minimum 12-inch water line to be laid under all state highways within the village limits, said William R. Natalzia, village Departme…

Eighteen-year-old University at Buffalo freshman Shemariah Burch died this week doing something he loved -- taking a jump shot.The 1999 Niagara Falls High School graduate, who hoped to someday become a pharmacist, was playing a pick-up game of basketball amidst a group of friends at Alumni Arena on Tuesday night when he collapsed and died."He was so young," said Marilyn Bu…

A Friday morning hallway fight between two eighth-graders at Frontier Middle School sent a Hamburg boy to the hospital with a stab wound to his arm, school officials confirmed.Anthony Govenettio, 14, received a deep wound to his left arm after being stabbed by a 15-year-old classmate during an altercation inside the school on Amsdell Road in Hamburg at about 9 a.m."We're w…

Depew School administrators outlined 2000-01 budget plans Thursday that show modest increases for the district's special-education budget while holding the line on instructional spending.The special-education budget shows a misleading $95,000 increase, from $538,641 to $633,609, school officials said. A portion of the boost is attributed to shifts from other parts of the o…

Several Depew residents brought a variety of concerns to the attention of the Village Board Monday regarding the development of a three-municipality regional comprehensive plan.The residents voiced their opinions during a public hearing on the plan that links the villages of Depew and Lancaster and the Town of Lancaster together under the master plan.Issues raised included…

Cheektowaga Central School District residents currently don't seem to have much interest in a planned school building project and consolidation plan, an outside communications consulting firm found last week.The School Board received its findings Monday from Syntax Communication Group regarding the results of three informal one-hour discussion groups held Feb. 1. The meeti…

The Depew School Board on Thursday unanimously approved an academic intervention plan designed to help students elevate their performance on math and English language arts examinations.Included in the plan is an academic intervention service proposal, which provides for increased after-school instruction for fifth- and eighth-grade students in the areas of math and English…

The Depew Board of Education has heard the first of a series of upcoming reports from department managers on the 2000-01 school budget.Next year's proposed $1.73 million budget for the district's Building and Grounds Department calls for a nearly $45,000 increase in expenditures over this academic year, according to Joe Farr, the department supervisor.Included in the Build…

Buffalo police are investigating two robberies and an attempted robbery that occurred Saturday in different sections of the city.Police were called to the Stop-N-Gas location at 363 Hopkins St. just before 5 p.m. Saturday after the clerk was held up at gunpoint by unknown suspects.Police reported that the suspects initially purchased a pack of cigarettes before returning t…

The Depew School Board on Thursday approved the next step in what may become an expansion of its overall offering to prekindergarten children for the 2000-01 school year.The board voted unanimously to authorize the district's prekindergarten advisory board to send requests for proposals to groups that could collaborate with the district for the state-subsidized universal p…

Cheektowaga town employees almost had today off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.With town officials wanting to add their town to the list of communities showing respect for the slain civil rights leader, Cheektowaga has attempted to negotiate contracts with its union's supervisory and blue-collar workers as well as police brass and rank-and-file officers, declaring Martin L…

A "kitchen composer" known for writing more than 100 liturgical hymns and a Catholic Mass, former Buffalo resident Alice Evelyn Davis Haettenschwiller, died unexpectedly Monday (Jan. 3, 2000) in Cleveland. She was 69.Mrs. Haettenschwiller grew up in Harlem just around the corner from the legendary Apollo theater. She often paid a 35-cent admission fee to see performances b…

The investigation into allegations that an $800,000 federal grant may have been mishandled by suspended Buffalo school administrator Sheila Johnson-Moore may well lead to stricter background checks for district employees, members of the Buffalo Board of Education said Sunday.Johnson-Moore, under investigation by the Erie County district attorney's office for her suspected …

Two suburban house fires Sunday caused about $165,000 damage, but no one was injured in either blaze.The first, at 12 Columbia Drive, Williamsville, broke out shortly before 9:30 a.m. in the home of Miles and Claudia Moslow.According to Amherst fire officials, Claudia Moslow awoke to the smell of smoke and heard the alarm of a smoke detector in her 2 1/2 -story wood-fram…