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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Substantial lake cover delays ice boom removal

A substantial ice cover on the eastern end of Lake Erie is delaying a springtime ritual -- the removal of the ice boom.

"It's not going to happen Friday, but at some point afterwards," said Michael Saltzman, spokesman for the New York Power Authority.

Ice boom regulations require that the removal of the boom start April 1, unless there is more than 250 square miles of ice on the eastern end of the lake.

The International Joint Commission estimated late last week that about 27 percent -- or about 530 square miles -- of the lake's eastern basin was covered with ice.

The 1.7-mile boom -- made up of metal pontoons linked together -- holds back ice floes from entering the Niagara River and damaging water intakes for the Power Authority's Niagara Power Project.

Last year, crews started removing the boom on March 22.

The earliest the boom was removed was March 5, 1998, and the latest, May 3, 1971, according to the International Joint Commission's International Niagara Board of Control.

Steve McLaughlin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, estimated that it could be at least a week before enough ice melts on the lake to remove the boom.

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Despite death of project, mayor makes pitch for appeal

SOMERSET -- Town Supervisor Richard J. Meyers said Wednesday that he hopes the appeal of a lawsuit over the Verizon Communications data center project continues even though the project is dead.

Although Arthur J. Giacalone, the attorney for the Amherst woman who sued to stop the deal, is willing to drop the case, he said he doesn't feel he can do so unless he has something in writing from Verizon that it won't try to revive the project.

So far, he said, he has received only verbal assurances from Verizon's local lawyers.

Meyers said, "We're going full steam ahead with the case. We believe if we want an untarnished record for future development in Somerset, we want it to be on record that what we did was right, and we want a court to say that."

The first court that heard the case did say that, but Giacalone filed an appeal that remains pending even though Verizon scrubbed the project March 17.

Verizon spokesman John J. Bonomo said, "We are working with Mr. Giacalone on the details of having the lawsuit formally dismissed, withdrawing the appeal, and closing out the litigation."

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Friday is the deadline for transportation requests

PENDLETON -- Friday is the deadline in the Starpoint School District for transportation requests to nonpublic schools for the 2011-12 school year.

Forms are available at most nonpublic schools or from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Starpoint Central School District Business Office, 4363 Mapleton Road. Call 210-2341 for more information.

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