> CONTRACT TALKS
Tentative pact achieved in nursing home stalemate
GOWANDA -- A tentative agreement has been reached on a new contract covering 125 employees of Gowanda Rehabilitation Nursing Center, union officials announced Friday.
A ratification vote of members of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is scheduled Monday. Employees covered under the proposed pact include certified nurse's assistants, housekeepers, dietary workers, activity leaders and laundry workers.
The tentative pact follows barely three months of bargaining, in addition to a recent 24-hour work stoppage at the Miller Street nursing home.
> SOCIAL SECURITY
Offices set to close 30 minutes earlier
Starting Monday, Social Security offices locally and nationally will close to the public 30 minutes early each day.
Agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, but the shorter business hours are intended to allow workers to complete face-to-face service with the public without incurring the cost of overtime, agency officials said.
Congress provided the Social Security Administration with nearly $1 billion less in revenue than was requested in President Obama's budget for the current fiscal year.
> PUBLIC EVENT
Wellness fair, bicycle race set for Black Rock Canal Park
A wellness fair and a 14-mile bicycle race along Buffalo's waterfront will be among the featured activities at the second annual "Ride Along the Waterfront" today in Black Rock Canal Park.
The free, family event is designed to encourage residents to visit the park and enjoy the Niagara River. Participants may also take part in a three-mile paddle in the Niagara River.
Saturday's event, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., is also aimed at raising awareness of the park and the Black Rock Canal Park Steering Committee's long-term plans for revitalizing the park. The steering committee is seeking the addition of reimagined green spaces, multipurpose facilities at the park.
> DARIEN LAKE
Theme park's Ride of Steel remains idle awaiting repairs
DARIEN -- Darien Lake Theme Park and Resort's Ride of Steel, which was closed after a mechanical failure stranded 32 passengers Thursday, will remain idle until new parts are obtained and installed, park officials said Friday.
A chain on the ride broke while a train was traveling up a hill lift, causing it to stop automatically about halfway up the track. All 32 riders were evacuated from the ride and walked down the side of the tracks to safety.
Before the popular ride reopens, it will be inspected by park and independent experts. No timetable was offered for its reopening. However, updates in the ride will be posted on the park's website at www.godarienlake.com.
The roller coaster reopened July 22 after being shut down for two weeks in the aftermath of the July 8 death of James T. Hackemer, who was ejected from the ride. Hackemer, an Iraq War veteran and double amputee, was allowed on the ride despite having no legs.