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Snow whitens area forecast

If you were hoping Mother Nature would hold out until the little, candy-seeking ghosts and goblins swept past your doorstep this year, the trick's on you. Or treat, if you're a skier hoping for an early snow season.

The white stuff is expected to fall in the Greater Buffalo area today and settle with heavy accumulations in the Southern Tier. Though the snow won't stick in Buffalo, the sight of all those flakes should remind everyone that winter is knocking with its goodie bag.

"It's not unusual for lake-effect snow to begin this early in the season," said Tony Ansuini, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The lower half of Western New York received its first serious snowfall of the season Friday with an average of 1 to 3 inches coating the ground, Ansuini said. Cattaraugus County gained even more, particularly at higher elevations. One town, Leon, was hit with 6 1/2 inches. Another inch or so was expected to settle in the Southern Tier by morning.

While the weather will continue to be cold today and Sunday with highs in the 40s, the destructive winds have passed, and Sunday should see sun.

Bus in inspection mix-up tracked down

Immigration and Naturalization Service officials Friday tracked down the driver of a bus who failed to stop Thursday afternoon for an inspection at the Peace Bridge.

Authorities blamed the incident on miscommunication.

INS officials said they have determined the bus was traveling from Sudbury, Ont., with a youth hockey team bound for Cleveland to play in a tournament.

An identification number on the chartered Greyhound bus provided the INS with enough information to track down the bus driver, who was reached on his cellular telephone Friday morning in Cleveland.

"It appears to us at this point it was a misunderstanding. The bus will be stopping here when it returns on Sunday for an inspection," said Winston Barrus, deputy district director of the Buffalo INS office.

The initial INS inspector, he explained, directed the bus driver to pull over, using directives familiar to bus drivers who frequently use the international span.

"She said, 'OK, go ahead. I'll call it in.' That means pull over to the bus terminal for inspection," Barrus said. "If this was a charter bus driver, we have to surmise he did not understand the normal drill and continued down the road, believing the inspection was completed."

Buffalo police were notified at 3:50 p.m. that a bus had failed to stop for further inspection after crossing from Canada.

Local police agencies, including the Erie County Sheriff's Department and the State Police, were advised to be on the lookout for it.

Five arrested in Depew drug raid

Five young people were arrested late Thursday, when Depew police investigated alleged drug activity at an apartment in a large complex.

Lt. Patrick McCracken said he and Officers Donald Panzarella and Daniel Garry went to Lancer Court apartments shortly after 11 p.m. There was an odor of marijuana in the hallway, McCracken said, and once they entered the apartment, they found marijuana, alcohol and opium.

All five people there were charged with a felony count of criminal possession of a controlled substance and a violation count of possession of marijuana. They are: Mark Bontempi, 21, of Lancaster; Christine Guilfoyle, 16, of Lancaster; David Romanczak, 18, of Depew; and Daniel Cieslinski, 18, and Chris Supples, 18, both of whom live in the apartment.

Cieslinski and Supples also were charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

The five were arraigned Friday in Depew Village Court; only Cieslinski remains in the Erie County Holding Center, in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Halloween parade planned in Riverside

The Riverside Business Association will sponsor its annual Halloween parade beginning at 12:30 p.m. today.

Children are asked to meet in the parking lot of HSBC Bank, 714 Tonawanda St. They will march to Riverside Park, North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. said.

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