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 Aurora Town Board Monday set the wheels in motion for a $1.4 million water improvement project after residents overwhelmingly supported the plan in a two-week open referendum by paper ballot.The project, including the installation of transmission lines on East Main Street and Glenridge Avenue along with the Castle Hill, Lapham and Cook road areas of the town, passed 12…

A burglar picked the wrong house to try to break into early Friday.It was the home of Westfield Police Officer Robert Genthner, who ended up struggling with the burglar, who eventually found himself under arrest.Joe Jones, 22, of Westfield was arraigned on charges of felony burglary and assault and sent to Chautauqua County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 pro…

A proposal to change subdivision regulations has gone down to defeat before the East Aurora Village Board.The changes in subdivision definitions and filing fees fell short of the required four votes Monday, but the issue is likely to come up again, however. Leading the opposition was Trustee Randy Taylor, who charged the changes were "for the benefit of small groups.""This…

He's Polish-America's version of John Glenn -- and, he's from Elma.Penn State University assistant professor of physiology James A. Pawelczyk made his return to earth last spring after a 16-day mission aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. Friday, he was back in Western New York.Pawelczyk, a 1978 graduate of Iroquois Central High School, visited his alma mater Friday and presente…

Residents in one East Aurora neighborhood Monday turned out en masse to tell the Village Board they are sick and tired of the racket coming from a local tavern.The Riley Street Station at 27 Riley St. is accused by residents of playing music at high volumes throughout the wee hours of the morning."I'm sure if my kids were playing music that loud and that late at night, the…

Several hundred pro-choice supporters crowded in front of Buffalo City Hall Saturday afternoon to draw their line in the sand in response to last week's assassination of Dr. Barnett Slepian.In an anti-violence rally in Niagara Square, pro-choice supporters declared the pro-life movement collectively responsible for Slepian's death and chided "hypocritical" pro-lifers for "…

George Ord has never met John Glenn, but John Glenn owes his most famous breaths to George Ord.Ord, an East Aurora resident, developed the oxygen pressure regulator, the key component in allowing Glenn to breathe during the first U.S. manned space mission 36 years ago.Now, nearly four decades later, their similarities in achievement are remarkable. Glenn, a 77-year-old U.S…

The decision to proceed with a $1.4 million water improvement project in the town of Aurora now rests in the hands of residents.A referendum by paper ballot began Wednesday as the town called on affected homeowners to vote for or against a project that provides for water system improvements and the installation of transmission lines on East Main Street and Glenridge Avenue…

For the fourth consecutive year Town of Aurora residents will see no increase in town taxes under a 1999 budget unanimously adopted Monday by the Town Board.The $5.1 million total budget holds town taxes steady at $3.88 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Residents in the Village of East Aurora also will pay the same rate as this year, $2.05.The tax rate for both has been id…

She puts up signs, but they are torn down.She erects barricades, but they are pushed over.For JoAnn Schaaf, the parking problem in a vibrant East Aurora business district has the Elm Street antique shop owner at wit's end.And soon, if the usual surge of traffic into one of Western New York's most popular holiday communities is any indication, it's not going to get any easi…

The East Aurora properties comprising the Historic Roycroft Campus will never meet the fate of a wrecking ball unless the Village Board says so, under a resolution passed by the board Monday.Village Board members unanimously approved the measure designating all of the properties on the campus individual local historic landmarks and, collectively, a local historic district.…

Area residents have packed up their prized relics from walls, coffee tables and attics for a decade now, carting them down for the annual Heirloom Appraisal Day in the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Museum.Saturday was no exception.Paintings, antique china, jewelry and furniture were among many of the items that were studied by the 11 volunteer appraisers on ha…

A proposal from some Republican Assembly candidates has prompted a sharp rebuke from at least one Democratic incumbent.The issue involves a GOP-championed proposal to accelerate a 1997 measure calling for dramatic cuts in the state's Gross Receipts Tax, known as GRT, on electric utilities, telecommunications and phone companies.Saturday, outside the Mahoney State Office Bu…

After an emotional candlelight vigil at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Friday evening, about 150 patients, survivors and friends boarded buses bound for the nation's Capitol bearing messages of hope and a plea for help.Margi and Melanie Stachowiak of Lancaster are part of that message being delivered in a march on the National Mall today. They will join thousands of oth…

Tee time reservations on a new $4 million upscale golf course in the Town of Cheektowaga were as good as made Tuesday as the Town Board approved a lease agreement with a private developer on the long-awaited facility.The 18-hole course, to be developed on 165 acres of land bounded by Genesee Street, Rehm Road and Sonwil Drive, has a projected opening date of June 2000. It …