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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS - Final

Rita helps break record for Sept. 25 rainfall

Admittedly, it wasn't much of a record, but the National Weather Service reported that heavy rain over just a three-hour period late Sunday night shattered the old rainfall record for Sept. 25 -- thanks in part to Hurricane Rita.

At its Cheektowaga office, the National Weather Service recorded 1.47 inches of rain from 9 p.m. to midnight, smashing the old record of 1.09 inches.

The heavy rain continued early this morning, with areas north of the New York State Thruway generally getting from 1 to 3 inches between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. today, while areas south of the Thruway got about an inch.

The rain came from a cold front pushing across Lake Huron and Southern Ontario, a front that produced its own rainfall. "But a lot of the moisture within that front is from Rita," National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Hamilton said.

A flood watch remained in effect through late this afternoon, but Western New York is expected to be rain-free at least through Wednesday night, with temperatures averaging a little above normal, Hamilton said.

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Two parties endorse Whelan for state court

Attorney Gerald J. Whelan picked up endorsements from the Independence and Working Families parties Sunday for his candidacy for State Supreme Court.

The Independence Party also gave a State Supreme Court endorsement to Buffalo City Judge Diane Y. Devlin but deadlocked on a choice between City Judge Robert T. Russell and Amherst Town Attorney E. Thomas Jones for their third choice. Russell also was endorsed by Working Families leaders, along with Tonawanda Town Justice Frank Caruso.

Devlin, Russell and Whelan are Democrats. Caruso and Jones are Republicans. Democrats and Republicans will decide on their endorsements in party caucuses later today.

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Officials hope to finish counting paper ballots

Erie County elections officials hope to finish counting paper ballots today in three high-profile primary races.

One contest involves the only County Legislature race in which an incumbent is in danger of losing his seat.

Timothy M. Wroblewski continued to trail challenger Cynthia E. Locklear in the Democratic primary for the 9th District as more votes were tallied Friday. Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph M. Mohr said Locklear increased her lead to 164 votes. But officials said more than half the votes must still be counted in the 9th District.

Staffers also will continue to count ballots in the Conservative and Independence primaries for mayor.

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School Board urging stiffer pot sale penalties

The Cheektowaga Central School Board is calling for increased penalties for the sale of marijuana on school grounds in New York State.

The School Board is urging the New York State School Boards Association to lobby for a change in the state penal law to increase the penalties.

"It's not that we see it as a huge problem here," School Board President Brian J. Gould said. "Through my work as a police officer, I noticed it was lacking."

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