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Who took home awards at the 2024 Taste of Buffalo?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The award winners for the 41st Taste of Buffalo were announced Saturday, featuring a dozen accolades given to various Western New York eateries.

Judging took place Saturday morning featuring a panel of over 60 people representing local media, political, business and community development sectors.

You can see the full list of winners below:

Chair’s Choice (chosen by Tom Mahoney, 2024 Taste of Buffalo Chair): D.A. Taste – Dom’s Taco

Children’s Choice (chosen by Claire and Esme Mahoney, daughters of Tom Mahoney): Golden Hour Treats – Nutella Me Crazy Waffle

Louis J. Billittier Sr. Rookie of the Year Award: Carrubba’s Chicken Pit

Veteran Restaurant Winner: Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill

Eric DuVall Memorial Best of Buffalo Winner: Resurgence Brewing Company

Best Overall Item: Dirty Bird Chicken N’ Waffles LLC – Fried cauliflower taco

Best Surf or Turf Item: BW’s Barbecue – Smoked jerk chicken wings

Best Dessert: Fat Lady’s Cakes & Pies – Award-winning sweet potato pie cupcake

Best Handheld: Stack Burger – Stack burger

Best Red Wine: A Gust of Sun Winery – Pinot noir

Best White Wine: Victorianbourg Wine – Estate pechette

Favorite Fermentation: Three Brothers Winery & Estate – Cabernet franc rose

Want to sample the winners yourself? Taste of Buffalo continues from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday along Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo. See WIVB News 4’s full guide, including a festival map, here.

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the WIVB News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

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2 dead in ‘apparent domestic incident’ after stabbing, fire in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two people are dead after an “apparent domestic incident” early Saturday morning that saw a stabbing on Buffalo’s West Side shortly followed by a house fire in South Buffalo, city officials said.

Police responded to the report of a stabbing around 3:30 a.m. on the 700 block of Ashland Avenue, where a 24-year-old woman was found stabbed and slashed, according to officials. The victim was transported by ambulance to ECMC where she was later pronounced dead.

Less than half an hour later, the Buffalo Fire Department responded to a blaze that started on the first floor of a residence on Dash Street. A 24-year-old male who lived at the house was found dead in a first-floor rear bedroom.

Officials said the two victims were known to each other, and an investigation into the connection between the stabbing and fire is ongoing. Autopsies will be conducted by medical examiners to determine the cause of the two deaths.

The fire caused $150,000 in damage to the South Buffalo residence and one firefighter was taken to ECMC for non-life-threatening injuries sustained while fighting the blaze. The fire’s cause is under investigation.

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the WIVB News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

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Jamestown woman accused of striking 2 victims with her vehicle

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Jamestown woman was arrested early Saturday morning and accused of striking two victims with her vehicle, leaving one person hospitalized, the Jamestown Police Department announced.

Police responded around 1:15 a.m. to the area of a North Main Street bar for a reported fight. Officers later learned that Brittany A. Smith, 31, allegedly struck two individuals and then hit two parked vehicles, according to officials. It was later found that Smith was allegedly under the influence of alcohol during the incident.

One of the struck victims was transported to an area hospital for their injuries, while the other refused treatment.

Smith was charged with second-degree assault as well as DWI and aggravated DWI per se. She was held pending arraignment.

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the WIVB News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

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Hamburg superintendent announces retirement

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hamburg superintendent Michael Cornell on Tuesday announced he will be retiring, offering to stay through Dec. 31 to aid in the transition of leadership.

According to a release from Hamburg Central School District, Thomas Adams has been appointed as the next superintendent, with his role beginning on Jan. 1, 2025.

“The Board has also been very purposeful about succession planning,” the release stated.

Colleen Kaney and Brent Jordan are set to remain in their assistant superintendent roles and more announcements regarding the leadership transition are expected over the next six months.

Cornell informed the board of his plans to retire in November, and will be stepping away from his position after nearly 10 years with the district.

“He came to the district following a period of extreme tumult that was negatively affecting the learning environment and the broader community,” the release said. “In partnership with the School Board, he focused on restoring trust and improving the planning process that remains inclusive, responsive and resonant.”

Earlier this year, Hamburg laid off 16 teachers and aides due to budget struggles. Cornell called the situation unfortunate, but unavoidable.

Adam Duke is a digital contributor who joined WIVB in 2021. See more of his work here.

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Cleanup continues for families after tornado hits town of Eden

EDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) – Residents are continuing to pick up the pieces after a tornado tore through parts of Western New York Wednesday. One of the hardest-hit areas, where winds reached 115 mph in the EF-2 rated storm, was Eden.

The neighborhood took a direct hit and now, the Blasz family is trying to rebuild their home that was built 50 years ago.

Edward Blasz built his home in 1974. He spoke with News 4, recalling the moment the tornado ripped through the area leaving his house in shambles.

“I saw the heaviest rain I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in monsoons before,” said Blasz. “There was all kinds of debris coming down. I said, ‘let’s go right now.'”

Blasz and his wife Rosemary made the decision to take cover in their home’s basement. That moment quickly turned into another nightmare.

“I got to the bottom, turned around and my wife wasn’t there. She had gone back for the dog,” said Blasz. “I screamed her name again, turned around, started running up the stairs and I heard this horrific noise.”

After the noise subsided, Blasz tells us he opened the door to find his wife standing there, looking up in shock. He also described seeing sunlight peeking into the room. He followed her gaze and realized his roof was gone.

Blasz is a Vietnam war veteran and a member of the East Eden Fire Department. He says since the tornado hit, so many community members have come to his and his family’s rescue. He also says his family has been working nonstop to help remove debris and clean up what they can from his property.

“Within an hour, there were 50 people here helping us carry stuff out of the house,” said Blasz. “From the big company owners to the people who drive by, it’s just been great.”

A GoFundMe has been created to benefit both Edward and Rosemary. The organizers say the money will go towards helping them rebuild and replace some of what was lost that day. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.

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Trina Catterson joined the News 4 team in 2024. She previously worked at WETM-TV in Elmira, a sister station of WIVB. See more of her work here.

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Rayzor’s Dawg House in Eden offering free ice cream to support families impacted by tornado

(WIVB) — Rayzor’s Dawg House is offering free ice cream on Saturday to give back to those affected by the tornadoes that wreaked havoc across Western New York earlier this week.

Located at 8178 N. Main St. in Eden, the restaurant is only asking customers to consider giving donations for Eden families in need. Whatever is raised, owner Jeff Walker and his wife Kimberly will match.

The restaurant will work with Town of Eden Officials to make sure all donations go to those effected by the storm. A portion of the sales will be donated that day.

Eden was placed under a State of Emergency Wednesday after a tornado and strong winds caused damage in the town. It was one of four tornadoes to touch down in Western New York on Wednesday. No fatalities were caused by the severe weather, but significant damage was reported in the storm’s path.

For more information you can call Walker at 716-480-8569.

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Kayleigh Hunter-Gasperini joined the News 4 team in 2024 as a Digital Video Producer. She is a graduate of Chatham University.

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716 CommUNITY Day returns with free activities, food and hygiene products

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The third edition of the 716 CommUNITY Day returns to MLK Park on Tuesday, offering children’s activities, free food, free hygiene products, and more.

The event runs from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16 — known as 716 Day, for the calendar date that matches Buffalo’s area code. The event is presented by Trusted Gives in collaboration with Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins’ “Dion’s Dreamers” charity.

Free hot meals will be offered from local vendors such as BW’s Barbecue, Audley’s Caribbean Food, BarBill, Ilio DiPaolo’s, Fat Bob’s, The Ice Cream Men, and Lloyd Taco. Fresh produce will also be available.

Taste of Buffalo 2024: Restaurants, menus, map & more

Hygiene products including soap, shampoo, deodorant and feminine products will be distributed at no cost.

Organizers are also promoting an expanded Kids Zone, now featuring even more attractions like bounce houses, build-a-bike, princesses, and superheroes and a Chill Zone with lounge seating and tie-dye shirt activities. More than 60 vendors are confirmed for the event.

“716 CommUNITY Day is a testament to the strength and unity of our community,” Trusted Nurse Staffing CEO Martin Vidal said in a press release.

Other sponsors of the event include Tops, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New
York, West Herr, New Era, and UHC, as well as the Alzheimer’s Association, Dash’s, Wegmans, Hope Rises, Trusted Choice Homecare, the Thurman Thomas Family Foundation, and 500 Seneca.

Learn more on the 716 CommUNITY Day Event Brite page.

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* * *

Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.

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Buffalo man gets 5 years in prison after admitting to attempted murder

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo man received a sentence of five years in prison followed by five years of post-release supervision Friday after pleading guilty to attempted murder in April, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

Eric Reyes, 39, also known as “Ericcito”, intentionally fired multiple shots at a victim with an illegal gun during an argument on the evening of Sept. 6, 2020. The incident occurred outside a restaurant on the 1500 block of Niagara Street in Buffalo, between Potomac and Bird Avenues.

The victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was driven to ECMC in a personal vehicle. He was treated for multiple injuries to his buttocks and right leg and released from the hospital.

In April, Reyes pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder, as well as second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree assault and first-degree attempted assault.

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Kayleigh Hunter-Gasperini joined the News 4 team in 2024 as a Digital Video Producer. She is a graduate of Chatham University.

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Cheektowaga woman indicted on charge of vehicular manslaughter

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Cheektowaga woman was arraigned on an indictment charging her with vehicular manslaughter after allegedly driving drunk and causing the death of another driver earlier this year, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

It is alleged that 24-year-old Alondra Ramirez-Santiago was driving southbound on Transit Road on Feb. 26 when she caused a crash with another vehicle. Around 9 p.m., police responded to the crash on the 6300 block of Transit Road between Cloverleaf Drive and Rehm Road.

Ramirez-Santiago is accused of not having her headlights on and driving recklessly while under the influence of alcohol, according to the DA’s Office.

The driver of the other vehicle, 51-year-old Jennifer Hylkema of Lockport, died at the hospital. Her son was in the car with her. He was also brought to ECMC, but was treated and released. Ramirez-Santiago was treated for injuries at ECMC.

She faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. The indictment charged her with second-degree vehicular manslaughter as well as aggravated vehicular homicide.

Ramirez-Santiago is scheduled to return to court on July 24 and remains released on bail previously set at $75,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

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Kayleigh Hunter-Gasperini joined the News 4 team in 2024 as a Digital Video Producer. She is a graduate of Chatham University.

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Man who threatened to blow up Buffalo VA sentenced to time served

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo man who admitted to threatening to blow up the city’s Veterans Affairs facility was sentenced to time served, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Demont Coston, 56, called the U.S. Veterans Affairs Crisis Line on Sept. 12, 2023 and made repeated threats to blow up the Buffalo VA facility, according to officials. That same day, Coston again called the crisis line and reportedly stated “I should go blow… I should go burn the building down.”

Two days later, officials said Coston texted the crisis line “The VA haven’t done (expletive) for me in 30 years, it’s time to get rid of it, by any means necessary.” He also stated he would be “Taking out all V.A. facilities, but I have 1 n mind first” and “I’m in DC, near the main VA ha ha ha good, I know where to hit them.”

Coston pleaded guilty to assault upon a federal employee earlier this month.

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the WIVB News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

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