Buffalo began last year with 25 schools – nearly half the district – on a state watch list that threatened them with takeover if their academic performance didn’t improve in a hurry. A year later, that picture doesn’t look nearly as dire. The state removed 10 of the schools from the list in June, after they showed two years of progress and their status was upgrad…

LOCKPORT - A woman who robbed a Lockport gas station Wednesday night matches matches the description of a thief who held up a Wheatfield gas station earlier in the day, Niagara County Sheriuff's deputies said. The woman robbed the Crosby's gas station, 4531 Lake Ave., at 8:43 p.m., according to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office. A Kwik Fill on Niagara Falls Bouleva…

YOUNGSTOWN -- The grounds at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine are aglow for the season, with more than 75 lighted Christmas displays on 15 acres available for free viewing from 5 to 9 p.m. daily through Jan. 6. A hike to the top of the Basilica of the National Shrine gives an astonishing bird’s-eye -- or angel’s -- view of the entire site at 1023 Swann Road, particularly …

Lake-effect snow will be affecting Thursday morning's commute south of metro Buffalo. The morning commute will be toughest in southern Erie, northern Chautauqua, northern Cattaraugus and western Wyoming county, according to the National Weather Service. A weakened band of lake effect will bring snow to the far Southtowns and into ski country during the morning, said …

A Buffalo man convicted of murdering two men and shooting six other people is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday morning in Erie County Court. Diamond Lewis, 19, could be sentenced to 50 years to life in prison when he appears before Judge Kenneth F. Case. Following a nonjury trial in October, the judge found Lewis guilty of two counts of second degree murder and of …

Matthew Kuzdzal, who was convicted in 2014 of killing  his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son, is scheduled to be back in State Supreme Court Thursday morning for a bail hearing following a reversal of the jury’s guilty verdict. The Appellate judges of the Fourth Department ruled, in a 3-2 decision, that the trial judge should have questioned two jurors about statements a…

So, our esteemed state legislators want a pay raise for the fine job they’re doing. I have no problem with that, even if – in what typifies the culture in Albany – they can’t even be honest about how they intend to get it. They swear to any god who will listen that there is no deal-making going on, even as they pursue a raise while Gov. Andrew Cuomo – with forme…

Commercial real estate developer Ron Alsheimer paid $3 million for a mostly vacant Amherst office building near University at Buffalo’s North Campus. Alsheimer, president of the Plaza Group, has bought the four-story brown building at 501 John James Audubon Parkway, adding the 71,632-square-foot facility to his firm’s holdings. The building, known as One Towne Center,…

Amherst Police are searching for a woman  who robbed the 7-Eleven store at 2006 Dodge Road about 2:46 p.m.  Wednesday. Police said the bandit, who claimed she had a gun but did not display one, fled on foot along North French Road with an undetermined amount of money. She was described as black,  5 feet, 7 inches tall, 160 pounds, wearing a Navy pea coat, gray pan…

Buffalo police late Wednesday confirmed that three SUNY Buffalo State football players have been charged with criminal mischief in connection with the vandalism of a house on Rees Street near the campus over the weekend. Police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said the names of the three suspects were not released. Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, some windows were smashed by …

WHEATFIELD - A woman who claimed she had a gun robbed the Kwik Fill station at 3945 Niagara Falls Blvd. about 3 p.m. Wednesday.   Niagara County Sheriff's Office said the bandit drove off with an undisclosed amount of cash. The bandit was described as black, heavyset, about 5 feet, 3 inches tall and wearing a black button-down pea coat with a hood and a blac…

A Hinman Avenue man arrested about 5 p.m. Wednesday as he sat in his car in a parking lot in the 1800 block of Kenmore Avenue parking is facing drug charges. Paichel T. Graves, 45, is charged with fourth-degree possession of marijuana. Police said they found two large plastic bags of marijuana, another plastic bag of marijuana, marijuana packaging material and  drug sc…

TOWN OF NIAGARA – Fee hikes for water and sewer charges and use of the community center were reviewed Wednesday during a work session of the Town Board. Minimal increases for water and sewer use have been recommended to cover operation and maintenance costs, according to the officials. Users who consume 9,000 to 30,000 gallons would pay $2.50 per 1,000 gallons for …

Sept. 21, 1931 – Dec. 1, 2016 Robert R. Hesse, who spurred the modern revival of Chautauqua Institution during his six-year tenure as president in the late 1970s and early 1980s, died Dec. 1 of complications from cancer. He was 85. Named Chautauqua’s 14th president in 1977, he brought new vigor to the then-struggling education center and summer resort by improvin…

Nov. 3, 1935 – Dec. 6, 2016 NIAGARA FALLS – Frank P. Scaletta, a teacher and high school coach, died Tuesday under hospice care in his Niagara Falls home after a brief illness. He was 81. Born in Niagara Falls, he was a 1953 graduate of Niagara Falls High School, where he won numerous awards as a football and baseball player. He attended the University of Buffalo…