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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.


Crime

A part-owner of Gasport Welding & Fabricating will surrender her shares in the company as part of a plea agreement over the theft of $298,260 from the firm between January 2018 and June 2019. Christine A. Pittler, 52, of Slayton Settlement Road, Royalton, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree grand larceny. Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon put her in a judicial di…

Local News

Niagara County Legislature Democrats want to ban sex offenders and anyone who has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with public funds from obtaining a county job. They introduced a resolution Thursday in response to the hiring of Glenn S. Aronow, who approved a $90,000 state payment in 2012 to a woman he allegedly harassed while working for then-State Sen. George D. M…

Business

Brandon T. Marvin, who owns a commercial asset repossession company in Lockport, has purchased Widewaters Drive-In, a seasonal hamburger and hot dog restaurant on Market Street in Lockport, across from the city's Erie Canal marina. Marvin, who closed on the deal Tuesday, is the great-nephew of Rose Villella, whose family founded Widewaters more than 60 years ago. Mar…

Local News

Glenn S. Aronow, a longtime player in Niagara County Republican politics, has been appointed to a civil service job in the county Employment and Training Department. Aronow, a former county legislator, was a top aide to former State Sen. George D. Maziarz until being fired over a sexual harassment lawsuit that Aronow settled. Since then, he was one of several politic…

Local News

Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello, R-Niagara Falls, announced Tuesday that he will run this year for a third two-year term in the 145th District. Morinello, 74, a Niagara Falls city judge from 2001 to 2015 and a Vietnam War combat veteran, cited his support for the Gold Star Family bill. The measure, which was put into effect by an executive order from Gov. Andrew M. Cuom…

Local News

Niño, a 3-year-old male Humboldt penguin, has been added to the collection at the Aquarium of Niagara. An announcement Tuesday said Niño came to Niagara Falls from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan., and joins 13 other Humboldt penguins in "Penguin Coast," the Aquarium's $3.5 million penguin habitat that opened in 2018. Humboldt penguins – native to the wes…

Business

Thomas A. Sy, the retired CEO of Aspire of Western New York, was appointed by the Town Board last week as the new town economic development coordinator and as administrative director of the IDA. Sy, 59, replaces former Lockport supervisor Marc R. Smith, who retired from both roles. Sy headed Aspire, formerly United Cerebral Palsy, for 19 years until retiring in m…

Crime

One of two Niagara Falls men who pleaded guilty to assaulting a man with a city garbage tote was sentenced Monday to 1½ to three years in state prison. Terrance A. Elder, 42, had pleaded guilty Oct. 10 to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree assault. "A pretty vicious beating," Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon said of the Feb. 17, 2018, attack in an alley beh…

Local News

The Niagara Falls Amtrak station opened in 2016 with space for Canadian customs officials to preclear passengers entering Canada. The Canadians, however, still do not use that space, preferring to keep their customs inspectors in Niagara Falls, Ont. Monday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer called on the Canadian government to change that. It could help the future Niagara F…

Local News

Sen. Charles E. Schumer said former Rep. Chris Collins should be sent to prison. "Look, I think what he did was wrong," Schumer said Monday in Niagara Falls. "Anytime a politician violates the public trust, it's very serious, and so I hope he gets a sentence that's commensurate with the crime." Schumer, the Senate minority leader, was asked during a news conference t…

Crime

Ramie W. Vallon of Niagara Falls, who admitted Friday that he sexually abused a girl for four years, accepted a plea bargain that assured him a nine-year prison sentence and 15 years of postrelease supervision. Vallon, 41, of Niagara Street, faced a maximum of 40 years to life in prison if he had been convicted of predatory sexual assault in a trial that was scheduled f…

Crime

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon on Friday postponed the murder trial of Joseph H. Belstadt, who's accused of killing Mandy Steingasser in 1993. Jury selection was to have begun Monday. The judge postponed the trial until March 9. She postponed the trial because the prosecution didn't comply with new state discovery laws, which didn't take effect until Jan. 1, by no…

Business

Eastern Niagara Hospital, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November because it is unable to pay about $14.5 million in accumulated debt, has scheduled a public forum next week to discuss its future. Hospital President and CEO Anne E. McCaffrey will give the presentation at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Historic Palace Theatre, 2 East Ave., Lockport. Oth…

Local News

Right now, Lake Ontario is 9 inches higher than it was last January. That's 3 feet below last year's peak, but still high enough for alarmed shoreline homeowners and elected officials to keep pressing for their favored solution for what to do with all that extra water: allow more of it to flow out of the lake. And that's been happening since the start of the year. …

Local News

North Tonawanda's three Niagara County legislators urged Kaleida Health Thursday to involve the city's residents in plans to redevelop the five-story DeGraff Memorial Hospital tower. Kaleida listed the Tremont Street tower for sale in late December, two months after shutting down most services on the DeGraff campus except the emergency department and nursing home, along…