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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Phenomenon makes moon appear larger than normal

The cow will need an extra boost to make it over tonight's full moon.

The moon will appear larger by 14 percent and brighter by 40 percent, thanks to a phenomenon that comes around every 18 years or so.

Because of the elliptical nature of its orbit, this so-named perigee moon, or "super full moon," will be as close to the earth as it has been since March 1993.

The moon, still 221,566 miles away, should be very visible in Western New York this evening, with the National Weather Service calling for mostly clear skies. The show begins in the eastern sky at sunset, about 7:25 p.m.

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Reservation site dangled for Verizon data center

ALBANY -- A day after Verizon pulled the plug on a $4 billion data center in the Niagara County Town of Somerset, the Seneca Nation of Indians offered the company a variety of benefits, including freedom from property taxes, if it located on reservation land.

But property tax immunity would depend on how a deal might be structured with Verizon. The tribe's private company, Seneca Holdings, would have to have at least a 51 percent ownership interest in the project, Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter said.

Noting that the sovereign Indian tribe does not suffer from the "systemic impediments" that the company says pushed it to scuttle the construction plans, Odawi Porter also said Verizon could enjoy deep tax savings by moving to one of its reservations.

"As a sovereign nation, we control our own tax regimes. As a result, your facility would not be subject to property taxes on our lands," Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter wrote to Verizon officials.

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Road closed to rock slide reopens for business hours

LEWISTON -- The New York Power Authority on Friday announced the partial reopening of a road at the Niagara Power Project that has been blocked since a March 8 rock slide.

One lane of South Access Hill Road, which leads to two lower parking lots, one for visitors and one for employees, will be open during business hours with a flagman directing traffic. After hours, a traffic signal will be used to alternate the directions of travel.

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Board OKs interim contract with firefighters through May

WILSON -- The Village Board has agreed to an interim contract with Wilson 1 Fire Department.

Mayor Patrick D. Kelahan said there are still some unresolved issues, including workers' compensation and firefighters incentives, but the interim agreement through the end of May will ensure fire protection for the village.

The board Thursday night also approved submitting plans for a $500,000 state Main Street Grant. The grant assists in funding for streetscapes and anchor buildings in the Wilson Business District.

Trustee Bernie J. Leiker said participating business owners have to contribute 35 percent of the funding and the state provides 65 percent.

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