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Barbara O’Brien


Education

That sweet scent of mango, coconut or cucumber emanating from high school locker rooms and bathroom stalls around the Buffalo region isn’t perfume or a deodorizer. That’s the smell of an epidemic — teenage vaping. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams in December declared e-cigarette use among American youth an epidemic, and issued an advisory stressing the importance…

Education

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia walked into this region's Opt-Out Central on Wednesday.She may not have changed any minds, but she could have gained some grudging respect from some for listening to the area's most fervent supporters of the opt-out movement.The commissioner is in town to get the word out about changes to the state English language arts and math …

It was a quiet Sunday morning on Batavia Elba Townline Road in the Town of Batavia, until two thieves snatched a dozen ears of corn from a roadside stand. “I watched them do it,” said Dan Underhill, part-time farmer and the owner of the honor stand. “I yelled at them to stop.”But the two women took off in their getaway car about 11 a.m., without looking back – and without …

Erie County

The oldest is an octogenarian from Tucson, Ariz. The youngest, a toddler from San Diego.They are just two members of the Crowe family in Buffalo for a family reunion. But this isn’t your afternoon-at-the-park reunion. This is an event held every three years by the Crowe family, whose patriarch was a coach for the old Buffalo Bills, and whose matriarch was named mother of t…

Hamburg officials continue to grumble about the deal with Erie County that will allow “quiet zones” to be established at two more railroad crossings in the town.The county does not want quiet zones on its roads because of potential liability and difficulty in plowing, so the town has agreed to take ownership of parts of Pleasant Avenue and Lakeview Road around the railroad…

Hamburg Police have released the name of the man who died in a horrific crash on Southwestern Boulevard Friday afternoon.Ronald M. “Ronnie” Mroz Sr., 68, of Hamburg, who was a well-known toll taker at the Grand Island bridges, died from injuries he received when he was riding in the front seat of his son’s Chevrolet Malibu.His son, Timothy J. Mroz, 36, of Amherst, was take…

Hamburg’s Senior Center will be getting a new pool.The Town Board has approved borrowing $1.4 million to build a new therapeutic pool at the Senior and Community Center at 4540 Southwestern Blvd. There is a pool at the old center at 4150 Sowles Road, and Councilman Michael P. Quinn Jr. questioned the need for an additional pool, particularly in light of money the town will…

Crews in Hamburg are digging up a section of Hampton Brook Drive that washed away in a rainstorm on July 9.“We’re going to have the road blocked for three to four hours while laying new pipe,” Hamburg Town Highway Superintendent Tom Best said Monday morning. “Hopefully, it will be done before tomorrow.”Best said a 5-foot diameter pipe will replace three 12-inch pipes that …

Young hockey players could start the 2017 season skating on new ice at twin rinks in a multimillion-dollar sports complex in Hamburg, and the complex, with a field house and possibly a pool, could reshape recreation in the Southtowns for years to come.Yet little is known publicly about the project.The first public airing came last Monday, when the Hamburg Town Board approv…

It appears the silly sign season – er – the political season has begun in Hamburg.The prospect of adding one eight-letter word to the sign ordinance caused a mini-firestorm at the Hamburg Town Board this week.The tempest subsided when the board decided not to add the word to the section governing political signs.The word would have outlawed the practice that has become com…

Frontier Central students would be able to use their cellphones in some parts of school starting this fall, under changes in the code of conduct being considered by the School Board.The change is an acknowledgment that the phones are legitimate learning devices, and perhaps a tacit acknowledgement that students have been taking cellphones to school for years.But the use of…

The Town of Hamburg is exploring a public-private venture with a Canadian firm for a multiuse sports complex.The first public airing of the proposal came Monday night when the Town Board approved a nondisclosure agreement with Nustadia Recreation, with headquarters in Hamilton, Ont., and D.V. Brown & Associates, a mechanical contractor of the City of Tonawanda.The town and…

Erie County

If he’s heard it once, Michael Yost has heard the lament a hundred times.“We don’t want our town to look like Las Vegas.”Digital signs, or electronic moving message boards, are popping up almost everywhere. “People love them. It’s the way the future is going,” said Yost, the owner of Yost Neon Displays in West Seneca, which sells and installs the signs.But not everyone lov…

Hamburg School Board members chose Thomas F. Flynn III as president Tuesday night, and split their vote for vice president.Flynn is starting his second term on the board, and his running mate from last year, Cameron Hall, was elected vice president.Hall, who is starting his second year on the board, beat Laura Heeter, 4-3. Heeter had been nominated by Board Member Robbin L…

Barbara Rogers started going to Hamburg Town Board meetings about three years ago, when the number of members dropped down from five to three. She didn’t like what she saw.“Right off the top, I didn’t think it was working,” she said. She didn’t support the smaller board when voters approved it in 2009, and now the 66-year-old retired legal assistant and former stay-at-home…