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The National Warplane Museum closed its doors indefinitely Tuesday, its struggle to unload $3.6 million in debt undermined by budget battles in Albany and then thrust aside by last week's terrorist attacks.

The museum, which features military aircraft dating to World War II, moved in 1998 from a grass-strip airport in Geneseo into two new hangars next to the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport.

Hobbled right away with $3 million in construction costs, the museum racked up more than $600,000 in operating losses as attendance sank to around 20,000 in 1999 and again last year.

Museum and county officials had been looking to New York for around $3.5 million from its federal funds.

Those hopes were hit hard Sept. 7 when the State Legislature initially indicated that the money was in the pipeline and then turned around and said it wasn't.

Prospects turned far gloomier four days later when terrorist attacks toppled New York's World Trade Center towers.

"Right now the priorities in the state have changed," Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli said Tuesday.

RPI gets $2.5 million grant
for research in computing

TROY (AP) -- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced Tuesday receiving $2.5 million in federal Energy Department funding to do research in terascale computing.

Terascale simulation involves the use of computers capable of doing trillions of calculations per second.

"Basically, we will do some of the fundamental math and computer science research that will undergird new technologies for modeling climate, energy systems and other applications," said engineering professor Mark Shephard, who directs RPI's Scientific Computation Research Center.

RPI is a partner in a new center for Terascale Simulation Tools and Technologies with the State University at Stony Brook and the Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Pacific Northwest national laboratories.

Thruway Authority chairman
stepping down immediately

ALBANY (AP) -- The chairman of the state Thruway Authority announced that he is stepping down effective today.

Louis Tomson cited "family reasons" for his decision, without elaborating. He has been in the unpaid chairman's post since May 1999. His term was to expire on Jan. 1, 2005.

Tomson was first deputy secretary to Gov. George E. Pataki from 1995 to 1998 before he became chairman of the Thruway's board.

Pataki praised Tomson's "expertise and dedication" in a statement released Tuesday by the Thruway Authority.

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