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ALBANY – People craving a nicotine fix via vaping soon may be scrambling to find places to light up in New York. Some key lawmakers and health care organizations, including Roswell Park Cancer Institute, are launching an all-out push to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in all public places where tobacco cigarettes also are prohibited. That means bars and restau…

Hamburg's community playground officially opens following a ribbon cutting ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday. The $500,000 playground, located between Prospect and Highland avenues in the Village of Hamburg, replaces a 25-year-old wooden playground that had come to the end of its natural life. [Photo gallery of building the playground] The new playground includes five sli…

The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northtowns will host a kickball fundraiser between teens and community leaders at 6:30 p.m. June 2 in the Kohler Recreation Center, 291 Kohler St., Tonawanda. The deadline to register is Friday, May 26. The fee for city officials and community leaders is $25 to play against City of Tonawanda teens. You can also sponsor a teen for $25. …

Banana Republic fans have about a month left if they want to shop its Walden Galleria store. That location will close at the end of June, the company confirmed Wednesday. "We always evaluate our store fleet to ensure we have the right stores in the right locations to best serve our customers' needs," said Sheikina Liverpool, a spokesperson for Banana Republic. The…

Buffalo has long taken pride in its parks, but a national nonprofit group ranks the Queen City's system as near the middle among cities nationwide. The Trust for Public Land puts Buffalo's parks at No. 58 among the 100 biggest cities in terms of its "ParkScore," which looks at park acreage, public access, investment and amenities, the group said. The organization, wh…

The Memorial Day weekend includes four free community bike rides organized by Slow Roll Buffalo. A "Friday Night Pedal Party" ride leaves at 7 p.m. from Soho Burger Bar, 64 W. Chippewa St. The 13.1-mile ride in honor of Sunday's Buffalo Marathon is slightly faster and longer than a Slow Roll Monday ride. Bicyclists leave at 12:30 p.m. Saturday from the inaugural Tot…

Timothy P. Carter, principal of Niagara-Wheatfield High School, has been chosen as the new superintendent of the Wilson Central School District. The Wilson School Board gave Carter a three-year contract at $145,000 a year, starting July 17. He  replaces Michael S. Wendt, who is retiring as superintendent. Carter began his career as an elementary school teacher in …

The 23-year-old man found fatally shot in a field Saturday has been identified as Jonathan R. Grumble of Buffalo, police said. Grumble's body was found at about 8 a.m. near Ashley and Quincy streets. The Erie County Medical Examiner's Office determined he died from a gunshot wound. Grumble is the city's 24th homicide victim so far this year. His funeral is scheduled…

ALBANY – President Donald Trump’s popularity in his home state continues to fall, according to a new poll out this morning. Sixty-five percent of New Yorkers have an unfavorable view of the Republican president, off four points from the last poll a month ago, according to Siena College. The bright spot for the president: New Yorkers have far dimmer views of Congr…

During a 2015 visit to northern California, my fiancée and I had the good fortune to visit Yosemite National Park and land a table for lunch at the back of the Ahwahnee Hotel dining room, where Queen Elizabeth enjoyed a meal in 1983. We also had the good fortune to be waited on by Rick Agnew, who served as wine steward for the queen and her royal party in the same spo…

A chimney pipe caused a fire that damaged a restaurant in Bemus Point on Chautauqua Lake Wednesday night, according to the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office. Employees and patrons were inside the Ye Hare 'n Hounds Inn on Lakeside Drive when the blaze started in the rear of the building off the kitchen just after 9 p.m., deputies said. No injuries were reported. …

A man wanted in connection with a May 13 stabbing outside the downtown Bus Terminal turned himself in to transit police Wednesday. John Moore Jr., 23, was charged with first degree assault, according to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. Additional details about the incident were not available Wednesday.

John Pawlowski won't return to his favorite tree on his favorite Town of Tonawanda street for his weekly lunch break on Thursday – or for probably the next six weeks. But it's not because suspicious neighbors scared off America's most famous sub eater. (Yes, we're serious, and more later on how the story of the Town of Tonawanda submarine sandwich standoff has gone…

WASHINGTON – Many Buffalo-area medical practices will receive a big financial boost – and patients likely will get easier access to health care – thanks to the region's selection for a new Medicare pilot program that eventually could help cure the area's physician shortage. Insurance executives who pushed for the program said Wednesday that the pilot program is li…

OLAF FUB SEZ: According to poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, born on this date in 1803, “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” . . . TAILS WAGGING – All well-behaved pets on a leash are invited to the Clarence Bark in the Park, a festival for dogs and families, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Clarence Town…

The Darien Lake summer concert season received its ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, as what appeared to be a full house welcomed Future's "Nobody Safe Tour" for what turned out to be a major celebration of Atlanta's primary present-day cultural currency - trap music, the sub-genre of hip-hop in which Future is king. With the rapid-fire hi-hat subdivisions shimmer…