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WASHINGTON – The House on Thursday passed the most sweeping tax legislation in 31 years, a $1.5 trillion cut that aims to reduce rates and slash many deductions – including the write-off for state and local taxes, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and even many New York Republicans say is essential to the state. Yet the 227-205 House vote exposed divisions that will make i…

Crime

When Joseph Tigano III went to prison for growing marijuana in Cattaraugus County, the judge who sent him there regreted the decision and said so publicly from the bench. She called the mandatory 20-year sentence unnecessary, even excessive, but acknowledged it was out of her hands. Late Wednesday afternoon, that same judge intervened on Tigano's behalf and, acting o…

Crime

The judge described Brian E. Schmiege as  "a one-man crime wave" before sentencing him to 4 1/3 to 11 years in state prison. Schmiege, 30, of Niagara Falls, said he has medical and mental health issues and doesn't remember some of the crimes. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted burglary for stealing a radiator and other metal objects from a home on Fe…

Crime

Scott J. Dingwall "went on a spree of taking items that didn't belong to him," his defense attorney said, Now Dingwall will serve 2 1/3 to seven years in state prison for the spree after being sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. And once he's released, Dingwall will owe $14,172 in restitution to six victims, including Niagara County. Assist…

Crime

Nine Buffalo men associated with a national drug trafficking ring face state charges, according to the state attorney general. So far six have been arrested. The nine are accused of dealing in cocaine, marijuana, black tar heroin and pills laced with fentanyl. The investigation that led to the arrests, Operation Blue Death, is connected to a warning issued by Attorne…

Erie County

Tonawanda Main Street and the City of Tonawanda will celebrate the city's small town allure with "It's a Wonderful Night," a celebration of the holidays from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 1. The Main Street event will include the annual Clinton Park tree lighting at 7 p.m. and an opportunity to meet Santa and other holiday characters, as well a ride the Clinton Park Holiday Express …

Crime

The mother of the man accused in Tuesday's shooting outside a Dollar General in Cheektowaga returned to the scene Thursday morning and  pleaded with people that her son is "a good boy," according to Town of Cheektowaga police. Viola Green went to the store near Union and French roads where police said her son, Travis J. Green, 29, shot a man and fired 20 rounds from an…

Buffalo

During the daytime, the new metal-clad building next to the Torn Space Theater on Fillmore Avenue is both workspace and a work of art. But it's at night when the lit-up building comes into its own. The perforated stainless-steel cube gives off a shimmering appearance from the beams of light projected from below. The metal cladding seals the building from the outside …

Local News

Autumn in Siberia often provides a glimpse into what winter has planned for the Great Lakes, including the Buffalo Niagara region. So prepare to bundle up this winter. Expect a frigid winter with at least one visit from a lobe of the polar vortex, according to climate researchers funded by the National Science Foundation. "I think the combination of La Niña and a…

Local News

By a 4-2 vote, the Lockport Common Council approved a 2018 budget Wednesday that includes a tax levy increase matching the state-mandated tax cap of 1.84 percent. The tax rate will rise by 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, to $17.70, Finance Director Scott A. Schrader said. That means a tax increase of $28 on a home assessed at $100,000. The nearly $24.7 mil…

Business

Requests for active shooter training have "exploded" in Orchard Park this week, after mass shootings at a Texas church and in a California small town this month. "The requests for security training and active shooter training and assessments by businesses and churches exploded this week," Orchard Park police Chief Mark Pacholec told Town Board members Wednesday night, a…

Environment

Growing beaver populations affecting ecosystems in the Southern Tier have prompted the state Department of Environmental Conservation to call on fur trappers to harvest the animals in a half-dozen spots across Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. Officials at the DEC's regional wildlife bureau request trappers hone in on these wildlife management or multiple u…

Local News

The proposed 2018 Niagara County budget, released Wednesday, carries a countywide average full-value property tax rate of $7.11 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. It's 16 cents lower than this year's rate and the lowest average since 1980. Budget Director Daniel R. Huntington, however, said only two communities in the county - the towns of Lockport and Cambria - currentl…

Local News

The University at Buffalo on Wednesday was given the green light to acquire the property on which its new $375 million Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences building now sits. The building, under construction since 2013, is scheduled to open in January. Equipment already is being moved into the building. So how is it that the university only now is acqu…

Education

It's not too early for high school students and non-professional young adults to think about entering the mechanics competition at the Western New York Farm Show in February. The event challenges youth to complete a course made up of various tasks that could include bolt identification, hydraulics, machining, automobile inspection, welding, torque, tractor part identifi…