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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Elfvin will no longer hear criminal cases

A 90-year-old judge will no longer be handling criminal cases because of recurring health problems, federal court officials said Friday.

U.S. District Judge John T. Elfvin will continue to handle some civil cases, working mostly from his home, but his entire criminal caseload of 120 cases has been transferred to Richard J. Arcara, the district's chief judge.

"We hope this is temporary. We hope he is feeling better in the future, and we'd love to give some of the criminal cases back to him," Arcara said. "But for now, I'm taking all his criminal cases."

A federal judge since his appointment by President Gerald R. Ford in 1974, Elfvin is considered a senior, or semi-retired, judge.

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Public comment period for landfill extended

With radiation test results expected shortly, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers again has extended the public comment period on its proposed plan for the Town of Tonawanda landfill.

The deadline now is Aug. 23.

The Corps has recommended "no action" regarding remediation of the landfill, which was found to contain radioactive materials similar to those used locally in nuclear weapons research dating back to the 1940s. Human health risks posed by the materials meet the guidelines of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Corps maintains, and can remain safely in place as the landfill is capped.

In response to residents' fears about off-site contamination, the state Department of Environmental Conservation recently tested for radiation along Hackett Drive in the City of Tonawanda, which is along the northern border of the landfill. Additional testing was done at nearby Riverview Elementary School.

The results are under analysis and a final report is pending.

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Contract to remove trees under review

Amherst is reviewing a contract with Erie County that will allow county workers to begin removing thousands of trees damaged in the October storm.

In order to approve the contract, the Town Board is required to authorize its signing by Town Supervisor Satish Mohan.

Deputy Town Attorney J. Matthew Plunkett said he received a draft of the contract Friday morning, and that he was in the process of reviewing the material.

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Villagers needn't boil water any longer, county says

The boil-water order issued by the Erie County Health Department for those served by the Village of Blasdell Water Department was lifted as of 3:45 p.m. Friday.

Customers in Blasdell were notified July 9 of a problem with their drinking water and advised to boil their water. The problem has now been corrected and it is no longer necessary to boil the water.

Customers can contact the village at 822-1921 with questions or comments.

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