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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

GOP's sole endorsement goes to incumbent mayor

FREDONIA -- The Village Republican Party, at its caucus Monday night, endorsed just one candidate for the March 14 elections, Michael Sullivan, who is running for re-election as mayor.

No candidates were endorsed for any of the three trustee seats up for election. This leaves Democrat trustee candidates Joseph Cerrie and Janel Subjack, as well as Independence Party village trustee candidate Marc Ruckman, running unopposed.

The sole contest of the March elections will be for the seat of mayor, between Sullivan and the Democratic mayoral candidate, Stephen Keefe.

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Hearing set on proposal to restrict sex offenders

FREDONIA -- A public hearing is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in Village Hall for a proposed local law pertaining to sex offender residency restrictions.

The Village Board on Monday reviewed the terms of the proposed law.

Restrictions for sex offenders under the terms of the proposed law include where a registered sex offender can live or work. Trustees said it is in the best interest of the safety of residents to have a law on record.

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Senate Democrats promise votes for property tax cap

ALBANY -- Senate Democrats said they will provide many of their votes on a property tax cap to give Republicans who control the Senate and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plenty of room to assure its passage.

The Senate Democrats staged an event Monday to push their support of efforts to control the growth of property taxes by localities and school districts.

But the Democrats said they also think a "circuit breaker" approach -- giving tax breaks to New Yorkers based on income -- should be adopted. Sen. Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat, did not provide specifics of how such a plan could be funded, given the state's soaring deficit, except to say money could come from "savings" the state will make the next couple of years by controlling the growth of spending.

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Cuomo later distanced himself from a circuit breaker.

Serious talks have yet to begin on the property tax front. Cuomo has called for an annual tax growth cap of 2 percent or 120 percent of the inflation rate, whichever is lower; the sides, though, will be battling not only over those numbers, but what kinds of expenses incurred by localities can be excluded from the cap.

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Shah unanimously confirmed as new health commissioner

ALBANY -- A Buffalo-area native was unanimously confirmed as the state's new health commissioner.

Dr. Nirav R. Shah, 38, a 1990 graduate of Williamsville East High School, takes over one of the largest state agencies at a time when the government is facing another round of deficits and deep cuts are expected to programs like Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, elderly and disabled people.

With Cuomo at his side after the vote, Shah ducked questions about what he would recommend in the way of cuts for Medicaid.

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