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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Niagara Thruway work to close northbound lanes

The northbound lanes of the Niagara Thruway will be closed to traffic from Exit 9 (Peace Bridge and Busti Avenue) all the way to Exit 14 (Vulcan Street) until 6 a.m. Monday due to construction.

Detours will be posted.

The southbound side of the Niagara Thruway will be messy as well. The southbound ramp to Exit 11 (Scajaquada Expressway) will be closed from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

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>$2.2 million approved for disaster recovery

A total of $2.2 million was approved for 692 people who received disaster recovery assistance in Erie, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties after the counties were declared a federal disaster site. Additionally, 379 home inspections were completed.

The progress report was issued by state Emergency Management Office and the federal Emergency Management Agency.

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>Paleontological center attracts international crowd

Interest in fossils seems to be universal, the Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center is finding.

The Hamburg center has had visitors from 36 states, Washington, D.C., and two countries this year to see the remains of creatures that once roamed the warm tropical seas that covered Western New York 380 million years ago.

The center has installed a sign welcoming international visitors in 17 different languages.

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>Gaughan will speak on plan for downsizing

Kevin Gaughan, who initiated downsizing referendums in five towns, will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Hilbert College.

Gaughan will discuss his belief that reducing the number of elected officials throughout Western New York will decrease taxes and increase citizen voices. He also will describe how town governments will operate with three-member boards.

Residents in Evans and West Seneca voted in June to reduce their town boards from five members to three. Voters in Orchard Park and Alden will consider downsizing later this month. Petitions have been filed in Hamburg, which would require a vote in November.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

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