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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Opening of Save-a-Lot fills supermarket gap

BATAVIA -- After three years and two failed attempts by other chains, downtown has a supermarket for residents who live and work near the city center.

Save-a-Lot's first full day of business was Wednesday in nearly half a 40,000-square-foot building that was home to Jubilee and Latina Foods before closing three years ago.

The store, at 45 Ellicott St., will have a staff that includes three butchers.

The balance of the building will be developed into retail stores and offices by V.J. Gautieri Construction Co., owner of the structure built during urban renewal in the late 1960s as a Montgomery Ward.

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Board accepts resignation of school superintendent

SILVER CREEK -- Silver Creek School Board members accepted the resignation of Superintendent David O'Rourke at a special meeting Tuesday.

O'Rourke will leave in January to accept a position as assistant superintendent of management services at Erie 1 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES in Angola.

The board appointed former Superintendent David Kurzawa interim superintendent while a search begins.

O'Rourke was appointed in 2007. Before that, he was director of technology and information in the Silver Creek district. He also taught in the district.

He has been responsible for a large capital improvement project that saw more than $13 million in renovations and energy efficiency programs completed. He also facilitated a Comprehensive District Improvement Program that involved teachers, administrators and community leaders, and set a series of long- and short-term goals to improve graduation rates and raise test scores.

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Wife of Flight 3407 victim was Kmart 'Secret Santa'

Robin Tolsma wanted it to stay secret, it just didn't work out that way.

Tolsma, the Lancaster woman who lost her husband, Darren, in the Flight 3407 crash in Clarence Center almost three years ago, was quickly identified by many in her community when she appeared at a French Road Kmart store and paid for the layaway items of other people.

Word quickly spread throughout Lancaster and Depew and then to area media.

Tolsma said it was an idea dreamed up by her 19-year-old daughter, Nikki.

"She said, 'How about not sending Christmas cards out this year' -- we usually send out about 200 -- and instead [how] about if we put the money toward helping other people?' " Tolsma said.

"It's kind of like in the Christmas special where the Grinch's heart grows 10 times as big. You can't explain the feeling, you just have to experience it," she said. "My husband would have definitely done this and paid it forward."

"It's the season of giving," she said. "As hard as it is hanging my husband's stocking on the mantle, it feels so good to do something for the community."

The Federal Aviation Administration played Santa on Wednesday, granting Tolsma's Christmas wish: stricter rules governing pilot fatigue to make passenger air travel safer.