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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS - Final

Sheriff's Department PBA launches media campaign

The Police Benevolent Association of the Erie County Sheriff's Department kicked off a media campaign Tuesday, opposing plans to charge small towns to use sheriff's road patrols.

Radio and television ads, paid for by the union, are being run to raise public opposition to Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra's plan to charge towns that don't have their own police departments, said PBA President Mike Summers.

Summers, along with supervisors from some outlying towns, held a news conference Tuesday morning to announce the campaign.

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Board creates four jobs, clarifies past action

The Lackawanna School Board met in special session Tuesday night to tie up some loose ends regarding personnel.

Its actions, in part, corrected a vote taken at last week's meeting to post custodial jobs without having created them. Tuesday night, the six board members present voted unanimously to create and post three new full-time jobs: one cleaning and two maintenance.

A teaching job also was created and will be posted. It is for a Spanish teacher for the middle and high schools who would work full or part time, depending on need.

In addition, two vacant cleaning jobs also will be posted.

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Marine battalion scheduled to return from Iraq

The 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, based in Buffalo, is scheduled to return to the United States by Friday, after seven months in Iraq, officials with the unit said Tuesday.

The Marines first will return to the Marine Corps base in Camp Lejeune, N.C. Local homecoming events are being planned, but details are incomplete.

About 170 local Marines are part of India Company, which trains at the Porter Avenue Reserve Center. It is one of five companies in the battalion -- known as 3/2 5 -- based in Ohio.

The unit was activated Jan. 4 and deployed in March.

India Company participated in numerous combat operations in Iraq's Al Anbar province. Seven members of the unit were wounded in late August, including Lance Cpl. Mark Beyers, 26, a native of Alden, whose right arm and leg were amputated.

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Zoo's rain forest gets $50,000 state grant

A $50,000 state grant to move the tropical rain forest from the drawing board to construction was presented to Buffalo Zoo leaders Tuesday by Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo.

The one-time grant from the Assembly Community Capital Assistance Fund demonstrates that the state remains solidly behind the zoo's multiyear reconstruction program, Hoyt said.

The Tropical Rain Forest, which will house South American wildlife not currently exhibited at the zoo, will be the $14.5 million centerpiece of the rebuilt Delaware Park facility. Construction is expected to get under way early next year, with the opening scheduled for December 2007.

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