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POLICE HUNT BUS THAT SKIPPED CUSTOMS

A bus driver's failure to stop for a secondary inspection by U.S. customs agents at the Peace Bridge touched off a police search of local roadways Thursday afternoon.

Buffalo police were notified at 3:50 p.m. that a bus carrying 33 passengers had failed to stop for further inspection after crossing from Canada. The bus driver apparently is known to customs inspectors, according to reports, and police were told there was concern he "may be under duress."

Local police agencies, including the Erie County Sheriff's Department and State Police, were advised to be on the lookout for the bus, which initially was thought to be a member of the Greyhound fleet.

A Buffalo police official said it subsequently was determined the vehicle was a charter bus, and it's believed the driver bypassed the secondary inspection area inadvertently. There was no word on the bus' status Thursday night.

Grant will help fund Roblin cleanup

DUNKIRK -- Chautauqua County has received a $150,000 state grant to clean up and redevelop the 12-acre former Roblin site, 320 S. Roberts Road.

"Cleanup of the Roblin site has been a long-standing priority for the City of Dunkirk and the county," County Executive Mark Thomas said. "This grant will help us continue our efforts in turning the property from an abandoned and contaminated site into a location where businesses can invest and create jobs."

He also commended Cheryl Ruth, county brownfields projects coordinator, for her efforts in securing the grant.

The funds are part of the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act, which includes $200 million for grants to municipalities to investigate and clean up brownfields. The grants cover up to 75 percent of eligible costs, according to the county.

Power station donates to Red Cross

DUNKIRK -- The NRG electric generating station has donated $6,665 to the Chautauqua County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The funds were raised by employees and matched by the corporation, according to the corporation.

Plant Manager Michael Boismenu said the corporation, which has six generating stations in the state including the Huntley Station in North Tonawanda, contributed more than $1 million for relief efforts in New York City.

SUNY faculty senators in Fredonia

State University of New York faculty senators from across the state are holding their 129th plenary meeting today and Saturday at Fredonia State College.

Jon F. Wergin, a professor of educational studies at Virginia Commonwealth University who is a national authority on academic program review, will address the senators representing faculty on each of the 64 campuses in the SUNY system at 1 p.m. today.

The University Faculty Senate, which meets three times a year, makes and forwards recommendations and resolutions to other governing bodies in SUNY, including the system's administration and board of trustees.

President of the Faculty Senate is Joseph Hildreth, an art professor at Potsdam State College. Melinda Karnes, an education professor at Fredonia State and a member of the University Faculty Senate, is coordinator of the weekend's plenary session.

Proceedings of the two-day meeting, in Williams Center on the Fredonia campus, are open to the public.

Chautauqua OKs snow-removal deal

MAYVILLE -- Chautauqua County has approved a contract with several municipalities for snow and ice removal, County Executive Mark Thomas and Director of Public Facilities Ken Brentley have announced.

The contract covers 29.39 miles of road, not including the recent takeover of roads in the cities of Dunkirk and Jamestown. The county pays the municipalities $2,500 per lane-mile per year for labor, machinery and material costs, Brentley said.

The total county cost is $73,475.

"This is a savings for the county in terms of time and equipment, since the municipalities can plow their roads more efficiently," he added.

In addition to the two cities, the contract includes the towns of Carroll, Chautauqua, Ellery and Poland and the villages of Celoron and Lakewood.

Halloween FunFest moved from armory

JAMESTOWN -- The war on terrorism has changed many things, including the location of the city's 17th annual Halloween FunFest.

Until this year, the event, which is put on by the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, had been held at the Porter Avenue Armory. But Deputy Director Bonnie Maegers said this week the armory cannot be used, so the FunFest will be held at St. James School on Prospect Street.

"Because of what's happened recently, New York State has asked that the armory no longer be rented out," Maegers said.

Though there will be different space limitations, the same activities will be offered, she said. They include a haunted house, games, treats, musical entertainment and two costume judging contests.

The Halloween FunFest, for youngsters 12 and under, will be held Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Cattaraugus health board meets Nov. 7

SALAMANCA -- The Cattaraugus County Board of Health will meet Nov. 7 in Myers Hotel for a business luncheon.

County Health Administrator William Penman said the session at noon will include an update on public health issues and violations of the sanitary health code.

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