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>Committee rejects Swanick for Medical Center board

An Erie County Legislature committee refused Tuesday to appoint former lawmaker Charles M. Swanick of Kenmore to the board of the Erie County Medical Center Corp.

The Health Committee voted, 3-2, against Swanick, who had been nominated to the unpaid position by County Executive Joel A. Giambra. Chairwoman Cynthia Locklear, D-West Seneca, and Minority Leader Barry A. Weinstein, R-Amherst, said they worried that Swanick would bring too much political influence, and Majority Leader Maria R. Whyte, D-Buffalo, said the board needs more diversity.

However, Cheektowaga Democrat Thomas Mazur said Swanick has always been an advocate for the hospital and voted in his favor. Legislature Chairwoman Lynn M. Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda, also cast a vote for Swanick, who left office at the end of 2005. The Legislature chairwoman can sit in and vote on any committee.

The full Legislature will be asked to confirm the committee's decision next week.


>Decision-makers invited to March weekend retreat

Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra has invited the County Legislature and the control board to a weekend retreat in March to discuss ways to close a deficit for 2006.

Giambra invited the officials to the Beaver Hollow Conference Center in Java Center as a follow-up to a past suggestion by some new county lawmakers seeking a way for all of Erie County's decision-makers to get together in one setting.

It was unclear late Tuesday how the two-day event would be financed. A spokesman for the county executive also said arrangements for news coverage have not been completed.


>School bus driver given two-year driving ban

The school bus driver who suffered a diabetic reaction and sideswiped four cars and a bus last week in the Town of Tonawanda and Amherst will not be allowed to drive school buses for two years, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed Tuesday.

Laidlaw, the company he worked for, was aware the driver was diabetic. He had been submitting a physician's statement twice a year, as required by the state for bus drivers with diabetes, according to James Doherty, area general manager for Laidlaw.

But last Wednesday, the driver's blood sugar was dangerously low when he was driving down Eggert Road, Amherst police said. The bus he was driving for the Williamsville School District hit another bus at Brighton and Eggert in the Town of Tonawanda, hit a few cars on Eggert, then T-boned a sport utility vehicle just past Eggert and Bailey, causing the SUV to roll over.

The SUV driver suffered minor injuries. There were no students on the school bus at the time. The bus driver received a ticket for failure to keep right.

The bus driver still has his license but may not drive a school bus for two years, according to Tracey McNerney, DMV spokeswoman.

"A diabetic driver needs to be free of incident for two years," she said.

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