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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Secure Communities effort enlists eight more counties

Federal immigration authorities have signed on eight more New York counties to the Secure Communities program.

The 2 1/2 -year-old program red-flags potential criminal illegal immigrants by running the fingerprints of people arrested by state or local authorities against federal government databases.

U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement officials said Thursday that Chautauqua, Niagara, Livingston, Ontario, Otsego, Seneca, Steuben and Yates counties are now part of the program.

From now on, when someone's booked there for a crime, their fingerprints will be sent not only to the Justice Department to check for criminal history, but to Homeland Security's biometric system to check against immigration law enforcement records.

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Two seats uncontested in election next month

Two seats will be filled in the May 17 Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board elections, but it won't be a race.

With their terms expiring, neither Melissa Brinson nor Tom Noonan -- who have served six years and five years, respectively -- is seeking re-election. And just two people filed petitions by this week's deadline to get on the ballot.

Barring a write-in campaign, Judy Frank and Jeffrey Rickan will join the board for three-year terms.

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Improved financial controls noted in comptroller's audit

The Collins Fire District in Erie County has improved controls over its financial activities but still needs to go further, according to an audit released Wednesday by the office of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

"The board has made efforts to assess and improve its internal controls," the report read. "The board adopted appropriate policies for procurement, investment, travel and a code of ethics. The treasurer submitted adequately detailed monthly reports to the board and filed the annual financial reports for 2009 and 2010. However, the board did not conduct an annual audit of the treasurer's records as required by statute."

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Foundation Scholarship Gala features dinner and dancing

Buffalo State College will hold its annual Foundation Scholarship Gala on April 30 in the Connecticut Street Armory.

The gala each year helps fund roughly 200 scholarships to deserving students in Buffalo State's All College Honors program.

Since this event was established in 1998, more than $1.5 million in scholarship funds have been awarded.

Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with a wine-paired reception, followed by a multicourse gourmet dinner at 7:30, a live auction and dancing.

This year's co-chairmen are alumnus Anthony J. Baynes, CEO of the A.J. Baynes Group, and Louis P. Ciminelli, chairman and CEO of LP Ciminelli Inc.

Tickets are $200 per person. For more information. contact Kathryn Neeson at 878-4895.

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