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Heavy rain was blamed for a power blackout Wednesday evening that affected part of Buffalo Niagara International Airport and nearby hotels and other businesses along Genesee Street.

Dan Tillman, regional customer service manager for New York State Electric & Gas, said moisture from the rain knocked out a breaker panel in a substation about 8:30 p.m. Power was restored after about three hours.

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority spokesman Doug Hartmayer said airport tower operations were not affected and planes continued to land and depart. The terminal was lighted by auxiliary power. Jet bridges could not be deployed, so passengers walked outside to and from their planes. Luggage carousels also stopped, so baggage handlers brought suitcases into the pickup area.

Long-term care issues to be addressed

Topics relating to long-term care will be addressed at a forum sponsored by Coordinated Care on Monday and Tuesday in Adam's Mark Hotel.

Long-term care providers, payers and consumer representatives will attend to examine the current long-term care system in New York State and discuss ways to improve it.

Giving presentations will be Dr. Robert L. Kane of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, who will deliver the keynote speech; Dr. Bruce Vladeck of Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Dr. Joshua Wiener of the Urban Institute Health Policy Center; Dr. Robyn Stone of the Institute for Future Aging Services; and Carol Rodat, president of the Home Care Association of New York State.

To register, call Susan Watkins at 858-2313 or find registration forms online at

State park to honor conservation corps

Letchworth State Park will honor the Civilian Conservation Corps, which built many of the park's facilities in the 1930s, at the Middle Falls Area at 10 a.m. Saturday.

For information, call the park visitor center at 493-3600.

Raffle of artworks to aid United Way

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Western New York called on one of its own Wednesday to help raise money for the annual in-house United Way campaign.

During lunch hour in the cafeteria, Web director Dale Hensarling painted two pictures -- one of a violinist and a cellist performing together and the other of a praying angel. The works will be raffled during an employee drawing Oct. 6. The company hopes that its United Way total will exceed the $300,000 that employees contributed last year.

"It was my way of trying to add a little creativity to our internal United Way campaign," said Hensarling, a lifelong artist who came to Blue Cross & Blue Shield from Mississippi earlier this year.

Habitat for Humanity to open 3 homes

Habitat for Humanity Buffalo will dedicate three new homes on the city's East Side during a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

The new houses are at 66, 82 and 86 Johnson St. Each owner has contributed 500 hours of sweat equity to the homes.

Begun in May, the houses were framed by students from the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. House sponsors include the Buffalo Bills, Choice One Communication, 84 Lumber and Aid Association for Lutherans -- Dauson Agency.

Medical Explorers offer career training

Young men and women ages 14 to 20 interested in health-related careers are invited to join the Medical Explorer Program sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 3495 Bailey Ave.

A recruitment session is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. next Thursday in Room 301. For information, call the VA at 862-3269 or 862-8554, or the Explorers at 891-4073.

Grounded copters back on their way

ROYALTON -- Six Army National Guard helicopters left the Royalton Airport on Wednesday for parts unknown.

The California-based Cobra helicopters, each carrying a two-person crew, set down at the tiny local airfield Monday morning after running into bad weather on an eastbound flight.

The crewmen refused to reveal the nature of their mission, citing military secrecy in the current situation.

A woman who lives about two miles from the airport reported that windows and plaster were cracked in her home when the helicopters flew low nearby on Monday.

Down Syndrome Awareness kicks off

Heather Theurer of Cheektowaga will be one of 200 people who will appear in a video to be shown on a giant screen in New York City's Times Square on Sunday in conjunction with the start of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

A photo of Heather, who has Down syndrome, was chosen from more than 1,000 entries that came to the National Down Syndrome Society. The series of 200 photos will explore themes of hope, inclusion, success and the future for people with Down syndrome.

It concludes with messages from comedian Tracey Ullman, a member of the group's national advisory board, and Chris Burke, who starred in the TV series "Life Goes On."

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