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NIAGARA 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 -- which operates the Rainbow, Whirlpool and Lewiston-Queenston spans -- has announced free passage for motorists beginning at 11:30 p.m. Friday and continuing until 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

"As three leading international gateways, we know that thousands of travelers will cross our bridges during this 24-hour period, and we want to offer a gesture of help and sustenance for all who do," said Dr. Ken Loucks, commission chairman.

For the same period in 2009, about 5,000 vehicles took advantage of the waived $3.25 tolls westbound, and about twice that many crossed in both directions, the commission said.

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Rink at DeVeaux Woods is open until season's end

NIAGARA FALLS -- The free public ice-skating rink in DeVeaux Woods is open for the season and will remain open daily, weather permitting, until the end of the winter outdoor ice skating season.

The rink will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except on Christmas Day, when it will be closed, and today, Christmas Eve, when it will close at 4 p.m.

The rink, which is beginning its second year of operation, came about through a cooperative effort of the City of Niagara Falls and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The city contributed to the start-up costs and outdoor lighting, while the state provides maintenance and staffing.

The rink is on the DeVeaux Woods property, which is directly off Lewiston Road (Route 104) in the DeVeaux section of Niagara Falls.

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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" community-wide 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 local residents in need during the winter months.

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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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