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NIAGARA 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 in 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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School Board authorizes use of reserve funds

NORTH TONAWANDA -- The North Tonawanda School Board last week authorized the use of more than $600,000 in reserve funds to cover increased payments to the state's retirement system and benefits owed to former Superintendent Vincent Vecchiarella, who retired in September.

He will receive $35,064, the value of 50 unused vacation days. The board also pulled $583,000 from the district's retirement contribution fund to help foot its yearly bill to the state retirement system.

The $1 million retirement fund was created a year ago when the district had surplus funds available, and it was evident payments to the state retirement system would increase significantly in coming years, said Alan Getter, interim assistant superintendent for administrative services.

"It's predicted to continue to go up at least 20 percent next year and the following year," he said.

The fund now is left with $417,024.

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Contest being held to name cul-de-sac

NORTH TONAWANDA -- The city is holding a street-naming contest for the new cul-de-sac inside Buffalo Bolt Industrial Park.

Names for the roadway at the business park site off Oliver Street, which was the home of Buffalo Bolt and Roblin Steel, should ideally reflect the period when Buffalo Bolt was operating, Mayor Robert G. Ortt said in a statement.

Entries should be received by Jan. 7 and can be submitted via e-mail to rob

ertort@northtonawanda.org; by phone at 695-8540; or by letter addressed to City Hall, Attn: Mayor's Office, 216 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda, NY 14120.

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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. An initial mediation session as been scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 5.

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