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Matthew Spina

I'm a staff writer at The Buffalo News and a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State who grew up in the great town of Schenectady, N.Y.


Local News

A pedestrian was hit by an auto and killed on Transit Road in Elma late Saturday, and Erie County sheriff's deputies are asking for help in identifying the victim. He is a black man, in his 60s, balding, with gray hair and a gray beard. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, but carrying no identification, when he was struck between French and Clinton roads around 10 p.m. …

Erie County

A Republican commissioner on the Erie County Water Authority resigned Thursday, a little more than a year after being named to the panel that oversees the delivery of water to Buffalo's suburbs. Karl J. Simmeth Jr., who began his three-year term in May 2017, said in a letter to the county Legislature that he is resigning because of the policies of the New York State and…

Buffalo

A federal investigator who applied for a search warrant days ago alleged that two of Robert C. Morgan's relatives – son Todd and nephew Kevin – may have committed bank and wire fraud as the Morgan real estate empire expanded across 14 states. The accusation, contained in an affidavit by a special agent for the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Office of the Inspector Gen…

Buffalo

By raiding the headquarters of Morgan Communities, the FBI confirmed Monday that there's a cloud around developer Robert C. Morgan's companies. "It's a very debilitating thing," said Dennis C. Penman, who spent a career developing properties, mostly for M.J. Peterson and Ciminelli Real Estate, and knows Morgan casually. The existence of the FBI investigation shouldn'…

Local News

The Democratic takeover of the Erie County Water Authority has triggered a messy breakup with the public relations firm that toiled to protect the agency's image while in Republican hands. The firm, Zeppelin Communications, is owned by Michael R. Caputo, a Republican political strategist who says the Water Authority's new regime is withholding his firm's latest check fo…

Local News

The state's Catholic Conference has spent $1.8 million over six years lobbying Albany to, among other things, derail a bill to make it easier for sex abuse victims to sue. The Democratic-led state Assembly approved the Child Victims Act last week, but its prospects for passage in the Republican-led Senate are less likely. The act's most controversial provision would …

Amherst

Four former educators may have engaged inappropriately and sexually with high school students at the Park School in the 1970s and '80s, the school said Friday. The private school's board of trustees said an investigation is under way. Two of the educators are dead and the others are believed to have left the profession, the trustees said. School officials indicated t…

Crime

Buffalo police, responding to a call of a "person down" early Sunday, found a woman slumped over the steering wheel of a car at Humboldt Avenue and East Ferry Street, officers said in a report. The police said they knocked on the car's windows and flashed a light in the woman's face at around 5:30 a.m., but once she came around, she drove off. Officers followed her with…

Crime

Two women traveling before dawn Sunday in a car with fresh bullet holes called police to say they were shot at from a home on Krettner Avenue by a person they knew. Buffalo police soon after found two pistols – a .45-caliber and a 9 mm – along with nine spent shell casings at the home in the 200 block of Krettner, between Peckham and Broadway. Officers reported the a…

Buffalo

In February, a state agency ranked the Erie County jails among the worst-run in New York. Sheriff Timothy B. Howard told county lawmakers Thursday that the ranking says more about the state Commission of Correction than it does about the lockups he oversees. "I ask that this body remain open-minded to the possibility -- at least the possibility -- that the state is b…

Erie County

The staff comptroller gave $20,000 and counting. The human resources director, $23,000. Some $43,000 came from an agency lawyer. The Erie County Water Authority's appointed administrators give generously to politicians in need. By the end of March, 45 non-union managers and lawyers, along with their spouses, had given a combined $408,000 to local and state political …

State

New York gun owners convicted of misdemeanors in domestic-violence cases would have their firearms taken away under a bill lawmakers approved along with the new state budget. Convicted felons already are barred from gun ownership in the state. The new bill, promoted by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would strip guns from people convicted of misdemeanor counts of assault, menacin…

Crime

Deputies in Chautauqua County say they chased down a woman who was the subject of a felony warrant and found her with a small quantity of methamphetamine. Emilee A. Carlson, 25, of Mayville was spotted by deputies riding in a vehicle on Miller Street in the Town of Sherman early Saturday, deputies said in a report. They stopped the auto and were speaking with its driver…

Cheektowaga

Dominic Schwartz, who as a Cheektowaga police officer went from being a hero to being fired in a matter of months, intends to appeal his termination, his lawyer said Tuesday. "His heroism saved innocent lives," said Joel L. Daniels of Buffalo, a well-known criminal defense lawyer trying to help Schwartz get his job back by filing a grievance. "He should be given a medal…

Business

FBI agents examining a series of real estate deals in the Buffalo region are also looking at the financing of a Syracuse apartment complex involving the same developer. One of Rochester developer Robert C. Morgan's companies bought the complex, Rugby Square, in a 2012 distress sale. The owner had stopped paying the mortgage, and the lender agreed to write off part of th…