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ALBANY – State lawmakers spent hours Tuesday seeking – and not getting – many of the answers that they have over an increasingly controversial plan by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to provide free tuition to some public college students. In the morning, it was Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York, who was unable to answer key question after key questi…

WASHINGTON – The agencies that run Western New York’s bridges to Canada Tuesday pressed the U.S. and Canadian governments to dramatically bolster the NEXUS trusted-traveler program, saying that doing so could eliminate border wait times. The leaders of the Peace Bridge Authority and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission noted that NEXUS, which allows pre-approved trav…

A man who was arrested after he threatened a family while carrying a loaded gun -- and then was apprehended a second time while driving drunk with a loaded pistol in the car -- pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal weapons possession in State Supreme Court. Markilo Hayes, 27, of Buffalo, admitted that he was illegally carrying a loaded firearm on Jan. 5, 2015, and ag…

A former call center employee admitted in Erie County Court that he stole more than $15,000 from the accounts of nine bank customers using personal information stolen through his job. Adrian Jones, 27, of Buffalo pleaded guilty before Judge Michael A. Pietruszka to two counts of grand larceny in the third degree, two counts of identity theft in the first degree and one …

A Titanic-themed – and Titanic-shaped – museum may be coming to Niagara Falls, Ont. The Global News reported that a group has conditionally purchased land for the museum. The owners are hoping to recreate what it was like to sail on the Titanic in 1912 – and what it was like when the Titanic sank after it hit an iceberg. Rooms from the ocean liner will be rep…

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has named former Clarence Supervisor Scott A. Bylewski as his new deputy budget director. He will replace Timothy Callan, who left the post on Jan. 10 to become the Town of Tonawanda's community development coordinator. Poloncarz, in a release announcing the hiring, praised Bylewski's management of the town's $21 million budget. …

A second teenager has died from injuries suffered in a car crash last Wednesday when the vehicle struck a tree on Kensington Avenue, relatives and friends said. Aniyah Lewis, 14, was taken off life support Tuesday afternoon at Erie County Medical Center. She was the granddaughter of education activist Samuel L. Radford III. "We are going to work to make sure her d…

The Buffalo Niagara unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 percent during December, fueled by a shrinking labor force and a slight drop in the number of people who couldn't find jobs, the state Labor Department reported Tuesday. The local jobless rate was tied for the lowest jobless rate for any December since it stood at 4.5 percent in December 2006. The region's unem…

The Erie County Health Department is offering free rabies vaccinations to dogs, cats and ferrets Wednesday at the North Buffalo Community Center. Any pet owners interested in having their pet vaccinated should bring their pet on a leash or in a carrier between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to the community center, located at 203 Saunders Road in Buffalo, off Colvin Boulevard and so…

Every Person Influences Children received a $5,000 grant Tuesday from the Niagara Area Foundation to help bolster its one-on-one parent coaching and child mentoring program offered in Niagara County shelters. The Buffalo-based agency runs a program to help mothers maintain custody of their children through parent interventions and provide them information, guidance and …

Legislation to block tax breaks for installation of wind turbines near military bases was formally introduced by Rep. Chris Collins and two other congressmen in Washington. The legislation would bar wind production tax credits for projects built within a 50-mile radius of a military installation, Collins announced in a statement. Companion legislation is also being int…

Kevin R. Surdyke received unanimous approval to fill a vacancy on the Lackawanna City Council at Monday night's regular meeting. Surdyke, retired from the Lackawanna Municipal Housing Authority, will represent the city's Fourth Ward filling the seat vacated by former councilman Jeff DePasquale, who was appointed city clerk at the beginning of this year. Surdyke's term w…

Niagara Falls is finally getting the message about tourism: Green is good, and it's important to have a nice place to spend the night. After decades of trying to surround one of the natural wonders of the world with hideous shopping malls and hokey water parks, the notion that tourists just might prefer a more natural setting for a natural wonder is finally starting to …