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NEWS IN BRIEF

Man flees truck just before train hits

BATAVIA -- A young man whose truck stalled on a Donohue Road railroad crossing in Batavia at about 1 a.m. Saturday fled from the vehicle before an Amtrak train carrying 270 passengers hit the pickup at 77 mph, authorities said.

Michael A. Padilla, 19, of Manhattan Avenue, Batavia, told Genesee County Sheriff's Department investigators that he tried to alert the approaching train by flashing a lighter, deputies said, adding that none of the train passengers was hurt.

Padilla, who left the scene before authorities arrived, showed up later at the Sheriff's Department offices, where he was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Debris from the collision between the westbound train and the 1986 Nissan pickup was spread for about a half-mile, according to deputies.

Faulty dryer vent blamed in house fire

EAGLE -- A defective dryer vent caused a $100,000 house fire at the home of Linda Szweda on Genesee Road in the Town of Eagle on Friday afternoon, authorities said.

About 75 firefighters from Bliss, Arcade, Centerville, Pike, Silver Spring and Gainesville responded to the 5:37 p.m. blaze. No injuries were reported, and the Red Cross was called in to help Szweda and her two children.

State holds line on Salamanca subsidy

SALAMANCA -- The city will receive an annual subsidy of $130,000 from the state's Operations and Aid to Localities fund.

A similar amount was received last year.

Mayor Carmen Vecchiarella recently asked the state for extra money to offset the impact on the city's tax base of properties acquired by Native Americans, who are tax-exempt.

In response, Sen. Patricia K. McGee, R-Franklinville, said the amount will remain at $130,000 because the state has adopted a baseline austerity budget.

McGee said, "These are extraordinary times, and as the state looks to not only the tragic loss of lives, we must face the negative impact the Sept. 11 event has caused on the state's economy."

Telethon-auction raises $11,090

DUNKIRK -- The 11th annual telethon and auction raised $11,090 to benefit the Dunkirk Free Library.

The six-hour fund-raiser was held Thursday night.

The library also has a fund drive in the summer.

Repeat offender held in DWI

A Springville man with two prior alcohol-related driving convictions was arrested early Saturday on a charge of felony driving while intoxicated on West Main Street in Springville, authorities said.

Scot D. Manaher, 29, was stopped after an Erie County deputy said he noticed Manaher was driving a vehicle with one headlight at 4:07 a.m. Manaher failed several field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest, according to deputies.

A check of his driving record determined he was convicted of DWI in May 1998 in East Otto and driving while ability impaired in March 1997 in the Town of Concord, police said.

Man charged with rape on reservation

A young Perrysburg man was arrested for sexually attacking a 13-year-old girl on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation on Friday night, authorities said.

Eric K. Pierce, 18, of Indian Hill Road, was charged with second-degree rape, endangering the welfare of a child, burglary and criminal contempt of a court order, according to Erie County Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Clabeau.

Pierce, authorities said, was involved in a similar incident about two weeks ago in Perrysburg.

Assisting Clabeau in the investigation was Domestic Violence Detective Cochise Redeye and Seneca Nation territory marshals.

Vaccine shortage postpones flu clinics

OLEAN -- Because only a small amount of influenza vaccine is available, the Cattaraugus County Health Department is unable to schedule clinics to provide the shots.

A small amount of vaccine will be received next week by the department and given to home care clients. The next available doses will be distributed at the county's nursing homes and other chronic-care sites.

Public health nurse Mary Anne Power said the department is following guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding distribution to the group at highest risk of death from influenza -- people older than 65.

As soon as more information and vaccine is received, public clinics and sites will be released, Power said.

She urged residents to check with private medical providers who may have already received some vaccine.

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