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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

> 61ST DISTRICT

Newstead deputy supervisor running for State Senate

Newstead deputy supervisor and Town Board member Justin Rooney announced Saturday he will run for the newly reapportioned 61st State Senate District.

Michael H. Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst, current represents the district, which includes part of the City of Tonawanda, the towns of Amherst, Clarence, Newstead and Tonawanda, and Genesee County.

"I am running today because I have used common sense approaches to help town municipalities save money and work together. Albany does not use these approaches and instead puts politics ahead of people," Rooney said. "Throughout my tenure on the Town Board, I have worked toward cutting costs without cutting services, and I promise to work to continue reducing costs for the taxpayers of New York."

Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan said the county Democratic Committee will make their official endorsement of Rooney on Thursday.

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> WEATHER

Heat wave to continue through holiday weekend

Memorial Day weekend was off to a glorious start Saturday as temperatures hovered at right around 80.

Area residents flocked to the beaches, lakes and downtown's burgeoning waterfront district to enjoy the summerlike weather.

The heat wave will continue through Tuesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Mitchell said.

A small weather front is expected to bring some showers and maybe a thunderstorm this morning, followed by increasingly warmer and humid conditions. Today's highs will be in the low- to mid-80s with Monday being the hottest, with highs well into the upper 80s, Mitchell said.

"The AC will be on," he predicted.

A strong cold front will head into the area Tuesday, bringing rain and a drop in the temperatures to a more seasonable level -- with highs Wednesday at only about 70 degrees.

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> ENVIRONMENT

UB responds to criticism over 'fracking' study

The University at Buffalo responded to criticism Saturday over a recent study on "fracking" from its new Shale Resources and Society Institute.

The university has not received any funding from the oil and gas drilling industry, and the institute's expenses have been paid entirely by the College of Arts and Sciences, said E. Bruce Pitman, dean of the school.

Pitman also said UB will examine "all relevant concerns" raised about the conclusions drawn by the authors of the report.

The study -- which said stronger regulation was leading to an improved safety record among drillers in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale -- came under attack on Friday by the Buffalo-based Public Accountability Initiative, which said the UB study was "seriously flawed and biased."

In addition, the Buffalo group also criticized the authors of the report for having close ties to the drilling industry.

"Faculty members are free to conduct research on any topic, including controversial ones, and to disseminate their findings without prior review or approval by the university," Pitman said in a prepared statement. "This topic is important and timely, and the work of such an institute is fully consistent with the university's mission of teaching, research and public service."