Share this article

print logo

Matthew Spina

Matthew Spina, a staff reporter at The Buffalo News since 2004, has worked in daily newspaper journalism for more than 30 years. He's a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State and grew up in Schenectady, N.Y.


Courts

The top staff members at the Erie County Sheriff's Office rarely comment on personnel matters. But Sheriff Timothy B. Howard spoke up when one of his jail deputies, Jeremiah Nolan Jr., was accused of stealing another lawman's ammunition pouch, charged with petit larceny and fired. "I cannot understand," Howard told reporters in June 2018, "how a sworn officer could t…

Crime

Douglas M. Milligan went into the Erie County Correctional Facility with two healthy feet. Eight days later, he had one good foot and one lopped in half. That's where Milligan begins his story about Sheriff Timothy B. Howard's medical team at the county-run lockup. In the 14 years Howard has run the Correctional Facility in Alden and the Holding Center in Buffalo,…

Buffalo

More than a few federal investigations have orbited around Buffalo City Hall in recent years. The FBI, collectively tight-lipped, has not explained its post-Election Day raid Wednesday on the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, which also drew in agents from the IRS and inspectors from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But that's not the first probe lin…

Local News

The good fortune that swung to Erie County's Democrats on Tuesday could lubricate the party's machinery by protecting the patronage and filling the bank accounts as the party heads toward 2020. "It's not a bad thing tonight to be a Democrat in Erie County," said the Rev. Darius Pridgen, who will continue to lead an all-Democratic Buffalo Common Council. Mark C. Polon…

Crime

Aides to the Erie County sheriff said Thursday that jail deputies and road deputies will begin wearing body cameras once they are purchased and agreements governing their use are struck with the deputies' unions. The County Legislature's Public Safety Committee let Sheriff Timothy B. Howard sign a five-year, $1.6 million  contract with Axon to provide more than 200 came…

Erie County

This is the first part in a two-part series previewing the Erie County executive race. Read the first part — on challenger Lynne Dixon's record — here. When Mark Poloncarz took office as Erie County comptroller in 2006, aides to the county executive at the time didn't know what to make of him. They found him a bit stiff and hard to read if not mysterious. The new cou…

Erie County

Lynne Dixon called the Erie County executive "a bully" Thursday as the tension grew in a televised debate between the two candidates for county government's marquee post. "Mark Poloncarz, you are a bully," Dixon said as she lamented what she considers his negative campaign and a failure to listen to opposing views. "I don't know if it's because I am a strong woman," …

Local News

A Holding Center inmate who hanged himself Friday has died, making him the fourth Erie County inmate to die in four months. Robert Ingalsbe, who went to school on Grand Island and would have turned 34 over the weekend, had been jailed Thursday on a warrant for second-degree robbery. His death was confirmed by a person within the family's network of friends. The Sheri…

Crime

A patron at the Buffalo Creek Casino lost her Ford Explorer over the weekend. A car thief drove it out of the parking ramp late Saturday after she left the vehicle unlocked, with the key stored in the center console, she told Buffalo police. Officers said in a report that the casino has video footage of the theft.    

Crime

A drive-by shooter sprayed gunfire at a group of young people late Saturday afternoon on Woodlawn Avenue near Michigan Avenue but no one was hit, a witness told police. The witness said five shots burst from a silver Ford Explorer around 5:30 p.m. The vehicle then continued toward Main Street before turning north, according to a report by Buffalo police. A bullet dam…

Buffalo

The health and safety risks faced by people living in dense urban areas will be the subject of a workshop that begins at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, 1324 Jefferson Ave. Workshop presenters will discus harmful foods allegedly being sold in predominantly black neighborhoods, brownfields, lead-tainted water, human trafficking and the presence…

Crime

Buffalo police said Sunday they found numerous credit cards, which might have been stolen, on a man they had just arrested on a warrant. Officers said in a report that they found the man on the roof of a home on Rosedale Boulevard when they were called there for a burglary in progress. Police said they found Malcolm Manuel, 28, and arrested him on a felony warrant th…

Crime

One man is dead and another charged with manslaughter after a fight led to an early morning shooting in the Chautauqua County Village of Sherman. Sheriff's deputies said Justin M. Gibbons, 29, suffered numerous gunshot wounds while at 114 W. Main St. at around 1:30 Sunday morning. Gibbons, who lived at Elmwood Road in Mayville, was pronounced dead at Westfield Memorial …

Crime

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said Kenneth P. Achtyl resigned Wednesday as an Erie County Sheriff's Deputy. However, Achtyl dated his resignation letter Sept. 26, according to a Howard aide. That was the day before a jury convicted Achtyl of three misdemeanors stemming from his reckless assault of a Buffalo Bills fan outside New Era Field almost two years ago. By resi…

Courts

The Erie County Sheriff's Office takes the position that because Deputy Kenneth Achtyl was convicted Friday of misdemeanors, not felonies, he does not deserve automatic termination. District Attorney John J. Flynn disagrees. "I have reviewed the Public Officers Law, and I have reviewed the case law," Flynn told The Buffalo News. "It seems to me that with an individua…