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WASHINGTON – Rep. Chris Collins faces challenges that might be enough to knock off a typical politician: a stock investment that led to an ethics investigation, deep ties to an unpopular president – and the occasional habit of saying something controversial. But, so far, 17 months before his next election, the Clarence Republican lacks the most important challenge. …

A Buffalo man faces a maximum of 40 years in prison after pleading guilty on heroin charges Thursday in U.S. District Court. Juan Oliverias-Arbello, 28, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and the distribution of 100 grams or more of heroin when he stood before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charges also carry a penalty of…

Four Niagara County men were arrested on federal charges  and accused of operating a cocaine distribution network in Niagara Falls and Lockport between April 2016 to May 2017. Ramone Westbrook, 27, Rico Freeman, 33, Corey Bradberry, 34, all of Niagara Falls, and Darius Dix, 27, whose alias is Darius Jenkins, of Lockport were  charged with conspiracy to possess and po…

Buffalo police want the public's help locating a missing 77-year-old man. Rafael Vizcarrodo-Ocasio is described as a Hispanic male, 6-feet tall and 220 pounds with white hair. Vizcarrodo-Ocasio was last seen driving a blue Smart car. Police did not say when or where he was last seen. He is known to frequent shopping centers in West Seneca and on Seneca Street, p…

Connors Hot Dogs used to be a stand with a few picnic tables on the sandy gravel. The Evans institution is starting its 74th season with its familiar grilled Wardynksi hot dogs, locally grown potatoes and hand-cut pickles, but there's something new, too. There's a 16-foot addition across the front of the building that enlarged the area where orders are taken. Condim…

Opioid-related emergency room visits at Erie County Medical Center more than doubled from 2009 to 2016, a startling rise reflective of the addiction epidemic in Western New York and across the country. The growth mirrors an increase in opioid deaths and, like the fatalities tied to drug abuse, the patients come from every corner of the region – urban, suburban and rur…

OLAF FUB SEZ: According to French artist and novelist Edmond de Goncourt, born on this date in 1822, “A painting in a museum hears more ridiculous opinions than anything else in the world.” . . . POUR IT ON – Celebrity bartenders are among the attractions at the fourth annual In For a Penny fundraiser from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday in the Lewiston Stone House, 755 Cente…

Grand Island bridge tolls are not just taking money from pocketbooks and time spent idling in traffic but could also be taking a toll on people's health. The group WNY for Grand Island Toll Barrier Removal took a new tack on Thursday – with an educational summit to talk about how idling traffic at toll barriers affects toxicity in the air. The group is pushing for …

A pedestrian was seriously injured Thursday when two vehicles collided in the 6600 block of Niagara Falls Boulevard, authorities said. The drivers of both vehicles also were injured, Niagara Falls Police said. The crash happened at about 10 a.m. when a vehicle traveling west on Niagara Falls Boulevard moved into the left lane and struck a second vehicle before cross…

Officials from eight Erie County municipalities announced Thursday their support for state legislation that would create a tax credit for homeowners that incur costs due to the emerald ash borer. A bill sponsored by State Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, would provide a tax credit to property owners who have to treat or remove an ash tree due to an infestation of the emeral…

After sidestepping press inquiries and making a last-minute changes to its agenda, the Erie County Water Authority board Thursday morning unanimously appointed its former chairman, Earl L. Jann Jr., as executive director at a salary of more than $145,000. No mention of the appointment was listed on the board's draft agenda sent to reporters late Wednesday afternoon. …

If there was a theme song for retail in 2017, it would be “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen. While there have always been store closures in retail, they’ve been coming fast and furious for the past few years. It has left enclosed shopping centers especially vulnerable. Malls have been left scrambling to fill tenant vacancies or struggling to reinvent themselv…

Here's a look at the stores that have come and gone in area malls since 2016. http://buffalonews.com/2017/05/25/retail-free-fall/ Boulevard Mall What’s Out: • Sears • Game Stop • PacSun • Foot Locker • Hollister • Aeropostale • Jainlee • Littman Jewelers • Mastercuts • The Limited • 5-7-9 • Regis Salons What’s In: • P…

The Tonawanda Housing Authority doesn't have a website, but its employees used office computers for online shopping and to browse porn sites. That was one of the findings – along with unfair treatment of tenants, high vacancy rates and missed opportunities to receive revenue – of a critical audit of the City of Tonawanda authority that was released Thursday by state…

A 42-year-old man who killed his mother during an argument in her South Buffalo home was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison. Froilan Torres, of Rochester, was visiting Gloria Rivera, 57, on Oct. 9. Family members said Torres and his fiancee planned to move back to Buffalo and live near Rivera's home at 1704 South Park Ave. An argument started when Rivera told Torr…