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Stephen T. Watson

Stephen T. Watson reports on development, real estate and business in the towns of Amherst and Clarence, along with development, government and school districts throughout the Northtowns. A native of the Town of Tonawanda, he worked at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse before starting at The Buffalo News in 2001.


Local News

It's not easy to sum up a 200-year-old town, where 126,000 people live, in just a few words. But Amherst officials think they've found their new official slogan, after wrapping up a contest tied to the town's bicentennial celebration. The winning entry, from Sweet Home High School junior Jess Noltee of Eggertsville: “Amherst: Ambitious Citizens, Amazing Community, Am…

Local News

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, a Republican from the City of Tonawanda, is switching parties to the Democrats. Hardwick has developed a reputation as a maverick in the Legislature, where he has served since first winning election in 2009. He was one of few legislators willing to cross the aisle to vote on key bills, and frequently frustrated his fellow Republica…

Local News

A company that provides customer service and other back-office support for mass transit systems is seeking sales tax breaks to open an office in Getzville. Cubic Transportation Systems plans to hire 100 workers and spend $1.1 million to equip a 20,000-square-foot, vacant office building at 33 Dodge Road owned by Uniland Development Co., according to documents filed with…

Business

Strategic Financial Solutions is spending more than it expected to build out its Amherst office space and is in line to receive an extra $30,000 in tax breaks, according to the Amherst Industrial Development Agency. The Manhattan-based financial services firm 18 months ago announced it would hire up to 1,500 workers within five years in space on Lawrence Bell Drive. Str…

Local News

Amherst looks good for 200 years old, according to Money magazine. The publication said Erie County's largest suburb is the best place to live in New York state. Money selected Amherst – which is celebrating its 200th birthday this year – along with one community from each of the other 49 states. The publication started by narrowing the list to 583 towns, villages…

Crime

A standout high school football player from Kenmore is one of two college students charged Sunday with vandalizing a statue of Frederick Douglass in Rochester, according to Rochester media reports. Charles J. Milks, 21, who graduated from Kenmore West High School, and John R. Boedicker, 20, of Endicott, Broome County, are charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a …

Local News

Three years ago, SolarCity agreed to install 8,500 solar panels on the Town of Tonawanda's former landfill. Within a year, the project had stalled. It remained in limbo after Tesla acquired SolarCity and assumed responsibility for both the solar farm and a sprawling solar factory in South Buffalo. Now, the Palo Alto, Calif., maker of electric cars and solar panels wa…

Local News

The emailed threats started arriving in inboxes in Buffalo, across the country and in Canada early Thursday afternoon. The message claimed someone planted a bomb at the recipient’s place of work and demanded $20,000, paid in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, and warned against contacting the police. Within minutes, the emails triggered widespread building evacuations and a…

Local News

The City of Tonawanda's 2019 budget will take effect as amended by the Common Council last month after Mayor Rick Davis declined to veto any items. The $24.1 million budget raises the city's tax levy, the total to be collected in taxes, by 12.9 percent. The property tax rate declines by 2.04 percent, to $18.25 per $1,000 of assessed value. However, many city resident…

Local News

Amherst will wrap up the yearlong celebration of its bicentennial with a ceremony Monday, Dec. 17. The town marked its 200th birthday with a series of events throughout 2018. The closing ceremony starts at 3 p.m. Monday in the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville. The Amherst Symphony Quartet will perform and officials will show a tribute video an…

Local News

A developer has received approval to build 24 apartment and town house units on a vacant City of Tonawanda lot formerly occupied by a bowling alley. Regal Property Holdings of Grand Island intends to build two buildings, each containing eight apartments and four town houses, at 377 Delaware St., near Ives Park, according to plans filed with the city. The property pre…

Local News

Two of three lawsuits sparked by a proposed $5 million Amherst apartment complex were settled, but more legal wrangling continues. The Town Board on Monday agreed to withdraw its lawsuit opposing variances granted by the town's Zoning Board of Appeals for the 24-unit project at 44oo N. French Road. The Zoning Board acted in May 2017 after the Town Board rejected a re…

Buffalo

In Romania, George Piha was a prominent businessman and politician — and then after a car accident he became an OxyContin addict. Piha, who holds dual citizenship, returned to the United States and, according to prosecutors, began a statewide crime spree to feed his addiction. Piha stole from YMCAs in the towns of Tonawanda and West Seneca, the Aquatic and Fitness Cente…

Local News

The public has until Dec. 31 to comment on the Town of Tonawanda's efforts to take over at least a portion of the former Huntley Generating Station. The Town Board is considering using eminent domain to take control of the full plant or just its water intakes and water lines. Huntley closed in 2016 and is for sale but still provides untreated water to local industria…

Local News

After Lisa Milligan blamed a local tow truck operator for her injuries in a 2013 crash, the defendant's insurance carrier hired investigators to prove she wasn't hurt as badly as she claimed. They staked out her home. They staked out her mother's home. And they even recorded video of her wedding ceremony and reception. The carrier tried using this evidence at trial, …