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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

'Move Over' aims to protect public safety officers

The new year will bring a new law designed to protect public safety officers on roadsides in the state.

The "Move Over Law" was discussed Monday by state police and Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul at the Downtown Auto Bureau on Pearl Street.

The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, requires drivers to exercise "due care" when approaching police and other emergency vehicles pulled over on the side of the road.

Drivers must reduce speed on all roads when encountering such vehicles, troopers said, but on parkways, interstates, and other controlled access highways with multiple lanes, drivers are also required to move from the lane immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle.

Drivers who violate the law will be ticketed. The first conviction for the offense carries a minimum $275 fine.

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Mediator selected to help advance jail lawsuit

Erie County and the U.S. Justice Department have selected a mediator to help them through remaining aspects of the federal agency's lawsuit seeking improved county jails.

She is Kathleen A. Roberts, a former U.S. magistrate judge now working as a professional mediator with Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services Inc., in New York City.

An initial mediation session as been scheduled for 1 p.m. on Jan. 5, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court for Western New York.

The county and Justice Department lawyers have so far settled just one aspect of the lawsuit -- to better prevent suicides in the jails.

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Sprinkler system leak forces abandonment of town offices

Lancaster Town Supervisor Robert H. Giza is on the move again. Thanks to a sprinkler system leak discovered Saturday, the supervisor and some of his staff have been forced to abandon their new offices while workers get the area fixed and clean.

The temporary move comes just a few months after Giza and others settled into a new $2 million addition to the Town Hall at 21 Central Ave. in the village of Lancaster.

The supervisor's second-floor office was primarily affected by the water damage. The assessor's office also received some damage.

"It's going to be a little inconvenience, no question about it," said Giza, who predicted the repair work would take about three weeks.

Giza said insurance was expected to cover the repair expenses.

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Brothers of Mercy collecting cold-weather gear for needy

Unused hats, mittens, gloves and scarves can be donated to the needy at Brothers of Mercy sites in Clarence.

The Brothers of Mercy Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, at 10570 Bergtold Road, and the Brothers of Mercy Sacred Heart Adult Home, at 4250 Ransom Road, have set up bins to collect the items under the M&T Bank Gift of Warmth program.

Items will be turned over to the Salvation Army for distribution.

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