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Barbara O’Brien


Erie County

Akron lacrosse players took a stand in March when they refused to play a game against the Lancaster Redskins because of their name, and now their hometown has made another statement.The Newstead Town Board, consisting of two Conservatives, two Republicans and one Democrat, unanimously designated the second Monday of every October – otherwise known as Columbus Day – as Indi…

Hamburg Central is adding 39 “teacher leader” positions in the fall to serve as liaisons with administrators.The new positions are based on elementary, secondary and district wide needs, with individual departments selecting leaders based on proven expertise in a level or content area, as well as a teacher’s capacity to support district-level and building-level instruction…

Some companies didn’t get enough of a tax break in Hamburg, and others got too much, according to a state audit.The audit looked at project approval and monitoring of the Hamburg Industrial Development Agency, which grants tax incentives to promote business growth. It found that 21 businesses were overbilled by $17,870 for payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs. An additiona…

Trying to get approval for a residential wind turbine has been “a real nightmare,” reindeer farmer Mike Jablonski told the Hamburg Town Board during a public hearing Monday night.The town has no regulations governing “residential” wind turbines, town planner Drew Reilly said. This means that right now, such turbines are prohibited – but the board held the hearing to discus…

Amherst

Someone once told Lynne Azzaro of Sanborn that Volkswagen Beetles are like puppies: You just want to take one home.She got to do that, and driving her 1974 red VW is “big fun,” she said Saturday, sitting behind the car at the VW Bugfest, a part of the German Sommerfest at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village in Amherst. Azzaro’s bug was a 50th birthday present.“I always wa…

Frontier Central School Board members Tuesday night extended the superintendent’s contract, hired a new Middle School principal and called back five teachers who had been laid off.The Board gave Superintendent Bret Apthorpe another year on his contract, keeping it at three years.Apthorpe, who joined the district last July, will get a 2 percent raise in the 2015-16 school y…

Erie County is poised to spend nearly $1 million on repairing sections of two roads in the Town of Hamburg where railroad quiet zones would be established.The county and town last month came to an agreement that will have the town taking over a total of about two miles on Pleasant Avenue and Lakeview Road for the quiet zones. Part of the agreement requires Erie County to u…

Four hundred or more jobs will be created at the FedEx Ground Transport in Hamburg, proclaimed elected officials, from the town supervisor to a U.S. senator.But that’s not what FedEx told the town when it applied for $8 million in tax breaks. The shipping giant, which is building a $54 million plant off Route 5 in Hamburg, projected only 32½ jobs would be created by 2020. …

FedEx and the Kansas City, Mo. company developing the $54 million transportation hub in Hamburg will receive an estimated $8 million in tax breaks over the next 10 years.The project and the people working there will generate an estimated $9.04 million in tax and other revenue over the same period, according to a cost-benefit analysis performed by the Erie County Industrial…

Who would have thought that Buffalo’s economic recovery has progressed to the point where the city is lending money to a suburban school district?The city, which still has a “soft” state-appointed financial control board, is about to lend $15.5 million to the cash-strapped West Seneca Central School District until district taxes are collected in October.It’s a good deal fo…

Hamburg School District administrators will be paying more for their health insurance under a three-year contract approved by the School Board Tuesday night.Under the contract, which goes into effect July 1, administrators’ contribution will rise from the current 15 percent of the premium to 16 percent in the 2017 school year. The agreement also gives the 10 members of the…

When friends stop over to Paul McCarthy’s Clarice Drive home, more often than not they will notice garbage cans on the street.“It’s almost getting laughable with people, like friends who come to my home, and they say ‘Every time I come here there’s garbage cans,’ ” McCarthy told the Hamburg Town Board Monday night.The problem has been around for years in Hamburg, where eac…

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A 143-foot gray galvanized steel tower rises behind the red barn on Meahl Road in Newstead, as cattle graze on the grass below it, oblivious to the blades rotating in the wind. ¶ The animals don’t know it, but the rotor spinning above them should supply enough energy to turn on all the lights in their barn as well as the lights, furnace and appliances in John and Paula Jen…

Hamburg Republicans have endorsed an attorney and former human resources consultant for the town to run for Town Board.Tamara Otremba Harbold will be running for a four-year term on the three-member board.A 1984 graduate of Hamburg High School, she is a graduate of the University of Rochester and the University of Dayton Law School.She was commissioned as a first lieutenan…

The man who filed a lawsuit claiming the Hamburg Industrial Development Agency did not comply with state law in granting tax breaks to the $51 million FedEx project was one of three picketers charged in April with blocking traffic at the construction site.Michael Kowalski, 38, was charged with disorderly conduct for blocking traffic trying to get into the location April 14…