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T.J. Pignataro - Buffalo, NY

T.J. Pignataro has been a staff reporter for The Buffalo News for more than 20 years and the environment and weather reporter since 2013. He holds a juris doctor degree from SUNY Buffalo Law School.


Weather

Are you looking over a lawn of brown grass again? Can't stop watering your flowers and plants? Odds are you live north of Buffalo. Residents in the Southtowns and the Southern Tier, however, can't cut the grass or hack back the deep, green foliage fast enough. There are reasons for that. South of metro Buffalo, there's been nearly triple or quadruple the rainfa…

Weather

The elements were there Monday for much-needed rainfall across Western New York: a soupy air mass and convective lift ahead of an approaching cold front. There was plenty of weather — lightning, winds and heavy rain — in places like Springville, Jamestown and Olean. Estimates are some spots north of Jamestown may have logged as much as 3 inches. From Buffalo north…

Crime

A Hamburg man faces at least 10 years, and up to life, in prison and a $10 million fine in connection with his admission to conspiring to possess and sell more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. reported. Joseph C. Paternostro, 28, admitted he bought cocaine from a supplier in Dunkirk on a weekly basis between July 2016 and May 2017 in order…

Weather

Temperatures today will eclipse 80 degrees for the 15th day out of 16 days so far in July. And it will beat the mark with room to spare. The National Weather Service said temperatures will reach into the upper 80s with heat indices as warm as the upper 90s across northern Erie County and Niagara County. That prompted forecasters to issue a heat advisory for those …

Local News

Two Western New York fishermen reported missing Saturday morning safely returned to land at about 4 p.m., a U.S. Coast Guard official said. “They’re both fine,” said Paul Angelillo, a spokesman for the Coast Guard. “All’s well that ends well.” The men, from Buffalo and Cheektowaga, set out to Canada to fish on Friday and could not be reached. Angelillo said there …

Crime

A Buffalo motorcyclist was killed early Saturday morning when his motorcycle crashed on the inbound Kensington Expressway near Best Street, Buffalo Police reported. The crash occurred just after 4 a.m. The motorcyclist, a 45-year-old Buffalo man, apparently lost control of his motorcycle and fell off the bike, police accident investigators said. It's possible that…

Environment

For decades, the Batavia minor league baseball team played its home games adjacent to an industrial site contaminated with lead, PCBs and other toxins. The state Department of Environmental Conservation certified the city-owned property at 299 Bank St. clean this week following a multi-year remediation as part of the state's Superfund Program. About 17,000 tons of co…

Local News

Buffalo is on the short list to host next year's National Walking Summit. The summit, previously held in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, is considering Buffalo as a possible host city in fall 2019, according to PDM Marketing. "The Western New York community has shown the need for a concentrated focus on developing a walkable community culture and stronger local ad…

Crime

A Rosedale Street man was arraigned in Buffalo City Court Saturday morning on one count of second-degree murder in connection with the July 9 fatal shooting of Angel Marcial on the Niagara Section of the Thruway. Juan A. Colon, 22, was identified by the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation as the gunman. Colon, who was represented by defense attorne…

Environment

A proposed federal law would broaden the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's powers to regulate nonnative species and keep them from being imported or sold in the United States. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Representative Elise Stefanik, a North Country Republican, on Friday announced the reintroduction of the Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act. The feder…

Environment

From September to June, educators Sarah Christopher and Jim Damon teach science to middle and high school students. But this week, the two were students. And their classroom was on board the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 180-foot research vessel, Lake Guardian. The two joined more than a dozen other educators from across four states for the ultimate Great…

Local News

If it feels like you've never been this hot in July, you're right. And, if you look at the long-range forecast and think this stretch of weather seems unusual, you're also right. There’s a lot of July to go, but 2018 has staked an early lead in the race to become Buffalo’s warmest July on record. Through Sunday, the average temperature for the first eight days of …

Environment

Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds land on many more native plants than they used to along the Niagara River. Buckhorn Island’s swamp milkweed, white hibiscus plants in the river’s rebuilt archipelago and spotted bee balm at Times Beach are just a few. Soon, there could be even more. A new partnership plans to connect these pockets of native plants into a continuo…

Weather

Extreme heat is on the Buffalo Niagara region's doorstep. Forecasts show it will stick around for a while. Over the next week, temperatures in the upper 80s and a sustained streak of 90s are forecast in Buffalo. "It's pretty anomalous in terms of the duration," said Dave Zaff, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. "We typically get the low 90s a couple tim…

Crime

Update: Niagara County Sheriff's Office July 10 exonerated Salvatore Prezioso and announced that a convicted sex offender Larry Keiper was the suspect in the Wheatfield abduction. A Wheatfield man was charged early Thursday with attempting to kidnap a 6-year-old girl from her Ward Road home just after 3 a.m., the Niagara County Sheriff's Office reported. Salvatore Pr…