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In a spirit of community healing, WNY church bells toll at 10:20 p.m.

Church bells across Western New York tolled at 10:20 Thursday night, marking the precise moment a week earlier that Continental Connection Flight 3407 fell from the sky and crashed into a Clarence Center home.

During a media briefing Thursday morning, Town of Clarence officials asked area churches to peal their bells in memory of the victims.

"Hopefully, the symbolism of the bells ringing will help bring some healing to the community," Supervisor Scott A. Bylewski said.

Older churches were able to ring their bells 50 times, once for each victim of the crash, while newer churches equipped with electronic bells improvised, since they cannot be manually rung.

The Rev. Joseph F. Moreno, a parish priest at St. Lawrence Catholic Church on East Delavan Avenue, said Thursday evening that he would set the church's electronic bells to peal a funereal toll twice.

He also planned to light a Paschal candle and keep the church open for anyone wishing to come.

"It's a sign of respect and love for those who have passed on," said Moreno, who has been comforting families of the victims in the days since the crash.

The priest said the tolling of the bells also was a tribute to the first responders and volunteers "who helped, whether at the crash site, the airport or the family assistance center."

In addition to the bells, the Electric Tower in downtown Buffalo went dark Thursday night to mark the one-week anniversary of the airline disaster.

The top part of the well-known landmark was darkened "to serve as a gesture to those who lost their lives in this tragic event," said Paul B. Iskalo, president and chief executive officer of Iskalo Development Corp., which owns the Electric Tower.


Gov. David A. Paterson has ordered flags on all state government buildings in New York to be flown at half-staff Monday to honor the 50 victims.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the victims of Flight 3407," the governor said in a statement released Thursday. "As we struggle to make sense of this loss, we must devote our energies and efforts to those whose lives were forever changed by this dark tragedy."

Paterson also thanked the first responders and volunteeres "who worked with flawless professionalism and swift coordination in maintaining the safety and security of the site, and comforting those who lost loved ones."


The Tony Walker and Stereo Advantage stores in Amherst are selling special "One City, One Heart" T-shirts to raise funds for Karen Wielinski and her daughter Jill, whose Clarence Center home was destroyed in the Flight 3407 crash.

Cost of the T-shirts range from $19.99 to $39.99, with all proceeds going to the Wielinski Family Fund, according to the companies. A free poster is available with every purchase.

"When tragedies such as these happen in this community, we have to come together to support each other," said Tracy Allen, director of Advantage Community Services.

Tony Walker is in the Walker Center, 5110 Main St., and Stereo Advantage at 5195 Main.


Zion Lutheran Church, 9535 Clarence Center Road, Clarence Center, will hold a "community gathering dinner" at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. It is restricted to residents of Long Street, Goodrich Road, firefighters and auxiliary members, and those who helped in the recovery effort after the plane crash.


The Clarence Center Coffee Company & Cafe is hosting a social for neighborhood youths from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday to give them a place to meet and share their feelings about the Flight 3407 tragedy.

The coffeehouse is setting up a heated tent and will provide grief counselors, as well as live music.

"We're just trying to provide a place for them to be together," said Michelle Koeler, manager of the coffeehouse at 9475 Clarence Center Road.

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