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Thomas J. Prohaska

Thomas Prohaska has been a reporter for The Buffalo News since 1995. A graduate of Starpoint Central High School and St. Bonaventure University, he previously worked at WLVL Radio in Lockport.


Plans to dig a 7-acre, 10 million-gallon fertilizer storage pit on a Royalton farm have sparked disagreement between town officials and the developer. Denali Water Solutions operates anaerobic digesters in Wheatfield and West Seneca. They use microbes to turn food waste into methane gas that can be used to generate electricity. The digesters, built by Quasar Energy Grou…

Crime

Demian P. Hernandez of Niagara Falls on Friday agreed to serve four years in state prison for raping a woman in the Falls last year. Hernandez, 31, of Michigan Avenue, pleaded guilty to third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual act in connection with the March 22, 2018, attack. State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. agreed to the sentence, and Niag…

Education

Craig Scott remembers the day he played dead to survive as a dozen schoolmates, including his sister, were murdered in their school. For 20 years, he has remembered the Columbine High School massacre over and over, hundreds of times. He did so on Friday, too. "I was having so much fear I thought my heart was going to stop beating," he told the students at Niagara Fal…

Local News

Supporters of the Lighthouse Wind project proposed for Somerset and Yates have sent a message of support for the project to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The Lakeshore Mothers and Others Out Front Team responded to a previous letter sent to Cuomo by Save Ontario Shores, a citizen group opposing the project. SOS asked Cuomo to get the developer, Apex Clean Energy, to say that th…

Local News

The waters of Lake Ontario are splashing over a wall of steel pilings at a private marina in western Olcott, and volunteer firefighters are manning pumps in the vicinity 24 hours a day, Newfane Supervisor Timothy R. Horanburg said Friday. The wall at Back Bay Marina, owned by Hedley Boat Co., is about 3 feet high. It's also about 50 feet from the nearest home. Asked …

Local News

Niagara University's IMPACT program and the South End Housing Initiative deployed about 230 volunteers on the streets of Niagara Falls Wednesday for the second annual "Rock the Block" program, aimed at sprucing up the neighborhoods near downtown with minor home repairs, painting and landscaping. The program began at the corner of Third and Niagara streets about 8:30 a.m…

Education

No candidate for college president could win enough support to be appointed by the Niagara County Community College Board of Trustees during a four-hour, 40-minute meeting Thursday night. "We had two very good candidates, but we couldn't make a final decision on either of them," Chairman William L. Ross said Friday. The board reinterviewed two of its three finalists …

Barge Brewing Co., which formerly operated a microbrewery and restaurant in Medina, has signed a contract to buy a longtime diner in Wheatfield as a new location for its business. Barge Brewing presented a sketch plan Wednesday for acquiring the Meeting Place, 2469 Niagara Road in the hamlet of Bergholz, and the adjacent former Bergholz Fire Co. hall, said Walter D. Gar…

Local News

The operators of a public sunflower field in Cambria will seek a permit from the town Planning Board Monday night to continue their business. Chad and Louise Brachmann, who started Sunflowers of Sanborn at Saunders Settlement and Baer roads in 2017, were slapped with a cease-and-desist order last September because they added food and other vendors, thus making them an i…

Local News

Ten years after hiring Man O' Trees to reconstruct Lewiston Road and seven years after suing the West Seneca construction company for breach of contract, the City of Niagara Falls has settled the case for $150,000. The City Council voted Wednesday to accept that payment from Hanover Insurance Co., the insurer for the now-defunct Man O' Trees, which never finished the Le…

Crime

A Niagara Falls woman was arraigned in Niagara County Court Wednesday on an indictment accusing her of seriously burning her sister-in-law last year by throwing a pot of boiling water on her. Jeana A. Marino, 42, of Dudley Avenue, pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree assault. Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Baehre said the victim was hospitalized for 29 …

Local News

The plant where Johnnie Ryan soda pop was produced and bottled for more than 40 years soon will be demolished, as the Niagara Falls City Council on Wednesday night refused to block the plan. James C. Roscetti, attorney for owner Matthew P. Moscati, said Thursday that he expected Moscati's contractor to obtain a demolition permit quickly. On May 1, a judge said he cou…

Erie County

The emergency room doctor who mistakenly told Tammy Cleveland that her husband had died at DeGraff Memorial Hospital from a heart attack – despite the family's reports that he was breathing and moving his arm – showed "outrageous conduct that transcends the bounds of human decency," her lawyer said this week before appellate judges. So a jury should have a chance to pas…

Local News

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center rededicated its upper lobby Wednesday as the Russell J. Salvatore Welcome Center. "This marks my 11th hospital project, and I am finding great satisfaction and happiness knowing I’m able to assist people when they need it most," Salvatore said. The renaming followed what the medical center called a "generous donation" from Sa…

Education

The Niagara County Community College Board of Trustees will reinterview two of the three candidates for the college presidency Thursday. A college insider, who asked not to be identified because the process is confidential, said Stephen W. Dunnivant and Darrin Q. Rankin will be reinterviewed via videoconference during a closed-door meeting called for 5 p.m. Thursday. …