1. If you get a ticket starting Jan. 1 for not moving over to another lane or slowing down when you see emergency vehicles on the side of the road, you can't say you weren't warned. Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul, along with representatives of the New York State Police and local police chiefs, will highlight the state's new "move over law" during an event at 10 a.m. in the Downtown Auto Bureau.
Under the new law, failing to "exercise due care" -- including slowing down and changing lanes, where possible -- when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle could result in fines of up to $275 plus mandatory state surcharges, up to 15 days in jail and three points on the offender's license. The law is designed to protect emergency responders and also make it easier for emergency vehicles to get to accident scenes.
2. The Carly's Club holiday party -- postponed last week because of bad weather -- will bring together more than 450 pediatric cancer patients, survivors and their families from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. today in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The party includes sleigh rides around Niagara Square, dancing, music and special guests. Chief among those guests will be Santa, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other helpers who will distribute gifts donated by the community to Carly's Club for Kids and Cancer Research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Carly's Club raises funds for pediatric cancer research and offers programs to support children with cancer and their families.
3. What's next for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and area cultural organizations after they were at the center of last week's county budget brouhaha featuring a court case, 154 vetoes and a partial-funding deal among county Republicans? The Erie County Legislature's Community Enrichment Committee will sort out the details when it meets at 11 a.m. on the fourth floor of Old County Hall, 92 Franklin St. Robert D. Gioia, president of the John R. Oishei Foundation, which agreed to help raise funds for smaller cultural organizations, will be on hand to discuss the foundation's role. If the committee meeting is anything like the Legislature's budget meetings, it should interesting -- to say the least.
4. Some disabled kids who otherwise might never get the chance to ride a bicycle will get that opportunity thanks to a specially adaptive bike being donated at 9 a.m. today in Heritage Centers' Green Acres School at 205 Yorkshire Road, Town of Tonawanda. The bike, worth more than $3,700, will be used by students in physical therapy and recreation programs. Without the special bike, many of the kids would never learn to ride. The bike is being donated by Variety -- the Children's Charity of Buffalo and Western New York and was purchased with a grant from Freedom Concepts and from the proceeds of the annual Variety Kids Telethon.
5. Buffalo Sabres Jason Pominville and Steve Montador will sign hats from 1 to 2 p.m. in BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York corporate headquarters, 257 W. Genesee St. All BlueCross BlueShield employees will be able to donate, with proceeds from the event going to WNY Heroes, which provides veterans, service members and the widows and children of deceased veterans access to essential services and resources that support their lives and sustain their dignity.
6. If you're a fan of North Tonawanda's DeGraff Memorial Hospital, you can help employees and the community celebrate the hospital's new lease on life at 4 p.m. today in the facility at 445 Tremont Ave.
The State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, also known as the Berger Commission, had recommended converting DeGraff into a nursing home and closing St. Joseph Hospital in Cheektowaga. But both hospital systems made a successful case to the state that the recommendations were flawed and worked out compromises.
DeGraff learned last week that it has won approval as an acute-care facility.
7. Little Isaiah Henley has waited three years for the gift of a loving mother. His wish comes true at 10 a.m. today in Erie County Family Court, when Shantelle Songster, of Buffalo, officially becomes his adoptive mom.
Isaiah, now 3, almost died when he became a victim of shaken baby syndrome at the hands of his biological parents. He will suffer from severe developmental delays the rest of his life as a result of the abuse.
Despite those challenges, Songster opened her home to Isaiah in June 2009, when Gateway-Longview was looking for a pre-adoptive home for him. Once she met him, she couldn't say "no," and now she makes it official as the two prepare to celebrate their first Christmas as mother and son, beginning with today's postadoption celebration ceremony in the courtroom.
Don't miss on buffalonews.com
Browse a collection of Adam Zyglis' political cartoons by visiting the News' online editorial page at buffalonews.com/editorial-page