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When James Helminiak of Buffalo first scratched off his winning lottery ticket, he thought something had to be wrong. Instead, everything was just fine – to the tune of $1 million. Helminiak, 52, was introduced Friday as the New York Lottery's latest local big winner. He won the top prize on the New York Poker ticket, which Helminiak has played since 2005. Helmi…

One of four planes taking 125 members of the New York Army National Guard left the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on Thursday morning for Puerto Rico. Two more flights were scheduled to leave in the 11 o'clock hour, though the departure times were weather dependent. The final flight is scheduled to leave around midnight. Soldiers with the 152nd Engineer Support Co…

Buffalo Harbor State Park, located at the southern end of the Outer Harbor, seems inconspicuous despite its 190 acres of rolling waterfront land. But New York State spent $15 million on the park since it acquired the land in 2013, and now 240,000 people a year are visiting it, according to the state. The park is now home to a nautical-themed playground, 1,000-slip mari…

New York State is giving a $1.3 million grant to the Erie County Water Authority to pay for critical repairs to water transmission systems in Amherst that serve 215,000 customers in the Northtowns but have a history of breaks. The money will pay for 60 percent of the $2.1 million cost to replace a 36-inch transmission main. The most notable water break involving this ma…

ALBANY – On the eve of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Buffalo area, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday urged New Yorkers to demand an explanation about Republican proposals to eliminate a major federal tax deduction used by millions of state residents. “When Vice President Pence arrives in Buffalo I hope he’s prepared to explain why he…

Bolstered by a favorable court decision last week, supporters of the Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center are continuing their fight to prevent a shutdown of the West Seneca facility. Members of the Save Our Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center Coalition are "pleased and gratified" with the decision rendered Wednesday by State Supreme Court Judge Cat…

ALBANY – Many supporters of the state referendum to convene a constitutional convention are citing as reason the possibilities to diminish incumbent-friendly campaign finance laws, enact term limits and end gerrymandered districts. Other advocates are pressing a much different reason to vote yes: legalization of marijuana in New York. Stymied in their efforts to ge…

The New York State Authorities Budget Office, an independent office that tracks the budgets and the performance of public authorities and economic-development agencies, issued a report recently that listed the pay of every industrial development authority employee in New York State. Seventy-three IDA officials with the title of executive director, president or CEO earn…

When James J. Allen retired as executive director of the Amherst Industrial Development Agency in April 2016, the IDA kept paying him for another eight months. It wasn't a payroll mistake. Carlton N. Brock Jr., chairman of the Amherst IDA's board of directors, said the board and Allen agreed in spring 2016 that he would step down after 36 years as the IDA's leader, b…

Genesee County's industrial development authority paid tens of thousands of dollars in annual performance bonuses to CEO Steven G. Hyde until a watchdog agency criticized the practice. The authority ended the incentive payments in 2012, but not before paying Hyde a final bonus, his largest yet, of $142,000. Hyde's pay hasn't suffered without the bonuses, however. At …

ALBANY – Under mounting pressure, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reversed himself and said he will, after all, be giving away the remaining $60,000 in contributions his campaign received from Harvey Weinstein. The statement coming from his campaign Thursday evening came as an about-face from what Cuomo himself declared just hours earlier: That there was no money from Weinste…

A prisoner serving a life sentence in Wende Correctional Facility in Alden died on Saturday morning, authorities said. Dante Taylor, 22, died at an unspecified local hospital, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. The circumstances surrounding Taylor's death were not disclosed. Taylor was sentenced in 2016 to life without parole…

ALBANY – Republicans are criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not getting rid of all of the contributions he received from Harvey Weinstein, the movie producer numerous women have accused of rape or sexual harassment. The New York Republican Party said Cuomo is the sole Democratic politician not donating all of Weinstein’s contributions to charities “In the dictio…

ALBANY – There doesn’t need to be a choice between a holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus or indigenous people, says Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Let’s do both, Cuomo said Monday as kicked off another march in Manhattan’s Columbus Day Parade. “Should we honor Christopher Columbus or should we honor the indigenous people. It’s not either or. It’s both. Of cour…