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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Closed session discusses community center bids

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- The Town Board quickly went behind closed doors Monday to discuss contract bids on the new community center.

Moments after the special work session began, Supervisor Steven Richards told the board members the meeting was called to go through the contracts and new bids that were received for the planned $18 million structure. The project had to be rebid because costs came in more than $2 million over budget, officials said.

Town Attorney Michael Risman advised the board to call the executive session to discuss "board strategies" and "contract strategies." No vote was taken, but anyone who was not a board member, project engineer or department head was asked to leave by Richards.

About two weeks ago, the board voted to spend $40,000 toward the architecture fees to redesign the community center project.

E.I. Team Engineers & Architects was paid 80 percent of the balance owed for repackaging the bids for construction work on the 30,000-square-foot facility, which is being built through funding from the New York Power Authority, and no tax money is expected to be used.

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State Senate approves 'Amanda Lynn's Law'

Efforts to conceal a death by moving or hiding a human corpse would become a felony offense punishable by a state prison term of up to seven years if "Amanda Lynn's Law," sponsored by State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, becomes law.

The State Senate passed the bill Monday. The Assembly and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have yet to consider the proposal, based on the continuing investigation over the January 2009 discovery of Amanda Lynn Wienckowski, of Lewiston, whose naked, frozen body was found in a tote outside a Buffalo church.

Grisanti's bill would make such a crime a misdemeanor criminal offense.

Should it become law, anyone attempting to move or conceal a body in an attempt to hinder its discovery "will find the full weight of the legal system thrown at them," Grisanti said.

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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 sign on the roof will be replaced with an LED sign.

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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.