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Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan primarily covers stories related to Erie County government. A Buffalo News staff reporter since 2000, she previously covered Buffalo Public Schools, Amherst and other communities. She is particularly interested in shedding light on issues and people that tell us something important about how we live. email: stan@buffnews.com


Much has been made of the $78 million in federal Hope VI dollars that is being funneled to the city's Lower West Side for a controversial overhaul of the Lakeview public housing project. But not all that money is going toward construction costs.In fact, $2.5 million is going toward what some consider the most important facet of Hope VI -- self-sufficiency programs designed…

North Pearl Street residents say they can't help feeling trapped.Their pretty and historic residential street is hemmed in, they say, between four subsidized apartment buildings along Virginia and Allen streets, a row of vacant Main Street properties owned by the city and a bar known for attracting trouble."You can almost map out how we're kind of surrounded by points of c…

It's the talk of North Buffalo business owners and residents these days. It's also the talk of city officials, who may change Buffalo law because of it.Kostas, the popular Greek restaurant on Hertel Avenue, got the city's blessing to build a patio enclosure that extends more than 11 feet onto the sidewalk of Hertel Avenue and about 14 feet high, dwarfing neighboring busine…

When it comes to the popularity of the Allentown Art Festival, some folks say it boils down to one thing.The poster.Each year, hundreds of artists throughout the region compete in the Allentown Village Society's art festival poster contest. A thousand copies are printed of the winning design and distributed throughout Western New York to promote the big event.Public intere…

The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority meets the standard performance levels set by the federal government and does well with finances overall. However, the authority needs to improve the physical conditions and management of its public housing properties.Those were among the results of the annual Housing Authority report card released by the U.S. Department of Housing an…

In response to a survey showing hundreds of abandoned buildings within walking distance of eight East Side schools, city and federal officials Wednesday promised to step up efforts to foreclose, physically secure and demolish vacant buildings near the schools.Members of Preservation and Restoration Initiatives on the Developing Eastside (PRIDE), a coalition of block clubs …

For years, Buffalo officials have talked about streamlining and improving the way they fund and support neighborhood housing services and community development corporations throughout the city.These groups are tasked with acquiring and rehabilitating neglected properties and, in turn, rebuilding run-down neighborhoods block by block. But many agree the proliferation of suc…

West Side Neighborhood Housing Services was awarded a $100,000 line of credit by Local Initiatives Support Corp. The credit line will allow the housing agency to significantly improve its ability to acquire, rehabilitate and sell neglected one- and two-family homes.Until now, the West Side Neighborhood Housing Services has been unable to purchase homes for the past several…

This season's Lights in the Park attraction drew about the same number of visitors as the previous year but raised more money for the United Way.More than 100,000 people were estimated to have viewed the second annual holiday lights display in Delaware Park by foot or by car, and about 20,000 tickets were sold, said Craig Thrall, spokesman for the United Way of Buffalo and…

Most merchants mark the length of the holiday season in strings of lights -- white or colored strands wrapped around trees or shaped and hung from light poles in business districts throughout the region.Until recently, many nonprofit business associations have shouldered the cost of buying and installing the lights, knowing that they could plug their decorations into stree…

Monday's meeting between Allentown-area community advocates and city and police officials to discuss criminal activity in the neighborhood yielded more discussion about quality-of-life concerns and the impact of negative publicity than personal safety issues.About 25 city, police and community members met in a packed room of the Allentown Association headquarters to follow…

A rash of criminal activity in Allentown during the height of the holiday season has shop owners worried about the impact on the downtown neighborhood business districts. And they're pressing for more police presence.At least five major incidents -- most occurring in the third week of December -- prompted the Allentown Association to arrange a meeting with city and police …

Surrounded by the fixtures of God and country, former Masten Council Member Byron W. Brown began the New Year by taking the oath of office as the new state senator from the 57th District.About 150 area politicians, ministers, supporters and well-wishers crowded into State Supreme Court Chambers Monday afternoon to witness the ceremony that made Brown the first African-Amer…

For more than a year, the house at 217 Virgil Ave. in North Buffalo stood vacant, and no one -- not even in City Hall -- was sure who owned it.The large double of pale brick and yellow siding began inviting squirrels and rats that crawled in through large holes in the walls. The grass grew knee-high in the summer. The windows blew open, and the pipes burst in the winter, c…

Angel Pastrana sat in the lobby of the new Columbus Community Health Center on a recent Tuesday and waited patiently for his turn. His eyes were swollen, his head ached, and his throat hurt.He tried to call ahead to the center but couldn't remember the number, so he just put on his coat and made the short walk over from his home on Seventh Street. He couldn't go anywhere e…