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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Judge signs settlement on preventing jail suicides

U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny has signed the landmark settlement order that installs new suicide-prevention methods in the Erie County jails.

The settlement, negotiated by the U.S. Justice Department and Erie County's lawyers, addresses the Justice Department's allegations that the county's jails poorly screen out suicidal inmates and do little to prevent inmates from taking their lives. The Justice Department and County Executive Chris Collins say they hope to negotiate a settlement to the other aspects of the federal lawsuit against the Erie County jails run by Sheriff Timothy B. Howard.

In an order he signed Tuesday, Skretny said the federal court will retain jurisdiction over the settlement until the county meets the terms it requires.

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New family court judges eyed for 3 WNY counties

The State Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would add 21 new judges to family courts throughout the state. It would be the first significant increase in the number of family court judges in more than 30 years.

In Western New York, the new measure would establish one new judgeship in Chautauqua County, Erie County and Niagara County, effective next Jan. 1.

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Goodwill Industries getting funds to train homeless vets

WASHINGTON -- Goodwill Industries of Western New York has won a $204,774 grant to provide homeless veterans with job training.

The funding is one of 87 grants, totaling $24 million nationwide, that the U.S. Department of Labor is providing.

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Quick removal of vehicles after minor crashes urged

Officials on Tuesday unveiled a new campaign aimed at educating drivers to quickly move their vehicles from the road after a minor accident.

The "Steer-it Clear-it" safety awareness campaign asks drivers to take three steps when in an accident: check to make sure people in both cars are OK; see if your car can be driven; and if so, move to a safe area such as a nearby road, cross street or parking area, according to Tom George, executive director for the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition. The campaign will be visible on electronic signs along highways and broadcast on highway advisory radio.

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Newton appointed principal of middle and high schools

The Tonawanda School Board ON Tuesday night approved the appointment of James Newton as principal of the combined Tonawanda High and Middle schools.

The district decided to realign the leadership of its buildings after a $1.8 million budget deficit forced staffing cuts. Last month, the board agreed to merge the principal posts at the two schools. Newton, a longtime principal of the middle school, replaces high school Principal Kevin Kazmierczak, who was let go in the restructuring.

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