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Gas line break continues to hamper residents

FORT ERIE, Ont. -- A gas line break, caused by construction crews on Wednesday, continued to inconvenience residents throughout Thursday.

Fort Erie officials predicted Garrison Road between Ferndale Avenue and Green Acres Drive would be fully operational again late Thursday evening.

The gas line break at about 3 p.m. Wednesday was caused by construction crews doing town-financed water and sewer line work in front of the Clarion Hotel adjacent to Crescent Park.

Wayne Ashworth, who operates Crescent Garden Plaza on Garrison, said a similar problem happened two months ago. He said the work has made "every day a new adventure" for local businesses like his.

The daylong break two months ago, which killed a lot of local telephone lines, was in front of Ashworth's plaza, and the barriers installed while that breakage was repaired hampered business in his plaza.

The gas line break caused the closings of the Clarion Hotel and the local YMCA for the rest of Wednesday because power was not restored in that area until around midnight.

Fort Erie Fire Chief Larry Coplen confirmed that government officials are considering pressing charges against contractors on the sewer and water line projects.


Schools to get $16.9 million from casino profits

BATAVIA -- The Batavia Downs Casino generated $16.9 million for education during the fiscal year than ended March 31, according to data released by the state's Division of Lottery.

As part of the gambling license held by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, which owns and operates the harness race track, 51 percent of casino profits go to fund education. The nearly $17 million is about what two of Genesee County's rural school districts will receive this year in state aid.

"We're proud to have contributed so much to New York State's educational efforts," said Michael D. Kane, Downs president.

According to Lottery officials, the net from the Downs video lottery terminals and off-track betting is equivalent to the annual salaries of 245 teachers.


Heritage corridor plan available for comment

NIAGARA FALLS -- A draft of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Management Plan and environmental assessment is available for public comment until May 1.

The plan, which aims to guide the establishment of a national heritage corridor along the Niagara River, can be accessed in the reference sections of the Niagara Falls Public Library, the Lewiston Public Library and the Youngstown Free Library or under the park planning section of

The plan was drafted by the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Commission, a 17-member panel formed in 2008 to help connect Niagara Falls State Park and other interpretive attractions along the Niagara River Gorge.

Written comments should be sent to Tom Chambers, commission chairman, at Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, Timon Hall 119, P.O. Box 1932, Niagara University, Lewiston NY 14109.