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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

> SALAMANCA

Final beam put in place for casino hotel expansion

SALAMANCA -- Topping off ceremonies were held Tuesday as the final steel beam was guided into place for the new hotel tower at the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel. Work on the $53 million, 11-story tower, which will add about 200 more rooms to the hotel, began in December. It is expected to be completed next winter.

Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter noted that the expansion represents economic growth and more jobs for the area. It has created about 300 construction jobs and will add 30 hotel positions.

The casino's original 212-room hotel tower opened in 2007 and regularly is filled to 95 percent capacity, a Seneca spokesman said, adding that on many weekends it is completely sold out.

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> LE ROY

Brockovich continuing contamination investigation

Los Angeles-based environmental attorney Erin Brockovich reported Tuesday that, despite news reports to the contrary, her investigation into possible sources of environmental contamination in Le Roy has yet to be completed.

"I want to make clear that my investigation into possible sources of environmental contamination in Le Roy that may or may not be linked to the serious illnesses suffered by various members of the community is not complete," Brockovich said.

"In fact," she added, "it appears the number of people in the area displaying alarming health issues that can be caused by TCE is growing."

She said further that "it took the EPA 40 years to investigate the contamination from the train derailment and it will take us more than 40 days to get to the root of the problem in Le Roy," adding that she does not wish to cause "a panic" but is determined to be "thorough."

Brockovich said several areas of concern remain in Le Roy that are being investigated including the train derailment site, local quarry, six fracking wells at the high school and contamination in local wells.

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> AMHERST

GOP mock caucus features stand-ins for candidates

Amherst Republicans will stage a mock caucus Thursday with various local members of the GOP acting as stand-ins for the presidential candidates.

The free event will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Main Transit Fire Hall, 6777 Main St., Amherst.

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> NORTH TONAWANDA

Valenti's Restaurant set to be sold at auction

NORTH TONAWANDA -- Valenti's Restaurant will go on the auction block next week, Cash Realty & Auctions reports.

The restaurant, subject of a bitter dispute between restaurant operators Terry Valenti and Lori Brocuglio and landlord Frank Budwey, will be offered for sale, along with all its equipment, furniture and decor, at 10 a.m. next Wednesday. The sale will take place in the restaurant in Budwey's Plaza, 537 Division St.

Last month, North Tonawanda City Judge William R. Lewis approved an eviction and ordered Valenti and Brocuglio to pay Budwey $5,700 in past-due rent and attorney fees.