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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

> 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.

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> ANNUAL CONVENTION

New York's funeral directors slate gathering in the Falls

NIAGARA FALLS -- The New York State Funeral Directors Association opens its annual convention Sunday in Niagara Falls.

About 325 funeral directors and their guests are scheduled to attend the event in the Conference Center Niagara Falls. It's the first time the group has held its convention in the Cataract City.

The Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. estimates the economic impact of the gathering, which lasts through Wednesday, at $345,600.

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> TOWN OF NEWFANE

Challenge to write-in bid tossed by Board of Elections

NEWFANE -- Republicans in this town will have a chance to write in a name for highway superintendent in the Sept. 13 primary.

The Niagara County Board of Elections Friday threw out a challenge to the petition filed to set up the write-in opportunity against endorsed GOP candidate Jon Miller. Gregory P. Ketch is the Democratic nominee.

Democratic Election Commissioner Nancy L. Smith refused to consider the challenge brought by the wife of GOP Town Councilman Marcus Hall, saying it lacked a summation that explained how many signatures were being challenged and how the challenge would impact the petition's validity.

Republican Election Commissioner Mary Ann L. Casamento wanted to consider the challenge's merits, saying the petition would have been disallowed if that had been done. But the resulting split decision meant the petition for the write-in stands and the challenge does not.

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> 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.

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.