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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Three Niagara County spans, Peace Bridge to be toll free

The three Niagara County bridges between New York and Ontario will join the Peace Bridge on Saturday as toll free for Christmas Day.

The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission has announced free passage for motorists on the Rainbow, Whirlpool and Lewiston-Queenston spans beginning at 11:30 p.m. Friday and continuing until 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Business hours announced for branch in Cheektowaga

The Erie County auto bureau in Cheektowaga will be open today and on New Year's Eve from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. but closed on the Mondays following the holiday. The bureau is at 2122 George Urban Blvd.

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Christmas tree giveaway on tap in Town of Tonawanda

The annual giveaway of Christmas trees for those in need will be held from 9 a.m. to noon today in the rear parking lot at the Philip Sheridan Building, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Town of Tonawanda.

The 22-year tradition was started by former Erie County Legislator Charles Swanick and brothers Tom and David Arida, owners of Arida Tree Farmers. David Arida died in 2005.

It has been a cooperative effort involving the Town of Tonawanda, Adams Nurseries and local businesses.

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Operating hours announced for Christmas and New Year's

Erie County parks will be closed for the holidays today and Saturday, Christmas Day. On New Year's Eve, the parks will be open until 3:30 p.m. and all parks will be open as usual on New Year's Day.

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18 barrels of winter clothes delivered to Salvation Army

Representatives of ElderWood Senior Care delivered 18 barrels full of scarves, coats, socks, and other winter clothing Thursday to the Salvation Army center on Main Street. The donation was part of the "Warm Hands, Warm Hearts" communitywide clothing drive.

Eighteen ElderWood Senior Care residences across Western and Central New York asked people to collect winter clothing to benefit more than 19,000 people.

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Christmas Eve closings

This is how the following area offices and services will be affected today by Christmas Eve.

City Court .... Closed

County courts .... Closed

State courts .... Closed

Federal courts .... Closed

City offices .... Closed

County offices .... Closed

Cheektowaga auto bureau .... Open

State offices .... Closed

Federal offices .... Closed

Post Office .... Open

Schools .... Closed

Banks .... Open

Most stores .... Open

Metro Bus, Rail .... Weekday schedule

City garbage .... Regular

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