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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

School Board sets hearing on $40 million budget

BATAVIA -- The city School Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. today on a $40 million budget for the coming school year.

The hearing will be held at the high school media center, 260 State St.

The spending plan calls for about a 2 percent raise in the real property tax. It eliminates 21 positions and includes savings from closing one of the three elementary schools.

Meanwhile, district voters will decide today on an increase in funding for the Richmond Memorial Library. The new amount would be $1.9 million, increasing the district's annual appropriation by $23,335.

Voting will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the library, 19 Ross St.

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$27 million casino expansion could boost revenue by 50%

BATAVIA -- The Batavia Downs Casino will soon begin a $27 million renovation and expansion that could lead to a 50 percent increase in gaming revenue.

Major components include an increase of 200 video lottery terminals and the relocation of the gaming area from the second to the first floor.

A sports bar named for Buffalo Bills great Thurman Thomas and an expanded Tim Hortons also are planned. The huge decades-old Batavia Downs sign on the roof will be replaced with an LED sign.

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. bought the harness race track in 1998 for $2.48 million and spent millions refurbishing the facility built in 1957 and enlarged in 1966.

VLTs -- electronic bells-and-whistles slots that use script instead of cash -- were installed in 2005. Those machines now net nearly $40 million annually and could increase to $65 million with the expansion, regional OTB officials said.

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Hochul, Noonan to speak at GCC Law Day program

BATAVIA -- Two prominent law enforcement officials will speak at Genesee Community College on Wednesday during a weeklong celebration of the installation of the college's fourth president.

James M. Sunser will be inaugurated Saturday in a traditional academic ceremony. He succeeds Stuart Steiner, who retired last year after heading the college since 1975.

Genesee County Judge Robert C. Noonan and U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. will take part in the college's second annual Law Day program.

Noonan was first elected judge and surrogate in 1997 after several years' service as district attorney.

Hochul, whose wife, Kathleen, serves in Congress, oversees federal criminal cases in a 17-county Western New York district.

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Drug drop-off yields 13,000 pounds of medication

Western New York residents turned in a record 13,000 pounds of prescription drugs to federal authorities Saturday.

The drug drop-off, held at dozens of local locations, was part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a campaign to reduce the supply of unwanted and unneeded drugs.