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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Brockovich criticizes handling of toxic spill

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich said Thursday that federal officials "dropped the ball" in dealing with a 1971 train wreck that spilled toxic chemicals in Le Roy. Brockovich investigated the spill recently as a possible cause of a mysterious illness that has stricken 18 Le Roy teens.

In a harshly critical statement, Brockovich declared that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not know that 235 barrels of the industrial solvent trichloroethene (TCE) were still sitting 40 years later at the site of the derailment, 3 1/2 miles from Le Roy Central High School.

"The EPA clearly dropped the ball on the largest TCE Superfund site in the country," Brockovich said. "The Lehigh Valley Railroad derailment in 1971 was not a small event -- it was a massive spill, and the EPA had a responsibility to ensure that the polluter clean up the site and remove the drums within 30 days of being filled. That never happened."

The barrels this week are being taken to a Maryland waste dump.

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New Era designs caps to aid Roswell Park research

A series of three specially designed New Era caps were introduced to benefit research and patient support programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The caps -- titled Believe, Your Cancer Cure and Courage -- are priced at $17.99 and are available at

www.NewEraCap.com.

"Finding a cancer cure is a cause that is very important to New Era," says company CEO Christopher Koch. "Our designers worked hard to create a collection that is not only empowering, but also brings hope to those battling cancer and their families."

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Black History Month event to feature jazz, poetry

Jazz and poetry will be featured as Gateway-Longview's Family Resource Center, 347 E. Ferry St., holds its annual Black History Month Celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

The program includes poetry readings by spoken word and hip-hop artists Arleym Habeeb and Quadir Lateef, a performance by recording artist Drea d'Nur, a musical tribute to black history by young piano students and a performance by the Gateway-Longview Family Resource Center Jazz Band. The center also will honor six of its volunteers.

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More than 80 teams set to join Cheer for the Cure

NIAGARA FALLS -- More than 80 cheerleading and dance teams from Western New York, Ontario and Pennsylvania will take part in the 13th annual Cheer for the Cure on Saturday and Sunday in Conference Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls St. Competition begins at 10 a.m. both days.

Sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Western New York, it features dance and all-star teams Saturday. Sunday's competition includes school and recreation, Little Loop, college and special-needs teams. Admission is $5. For info and registration, visit www.jdrf.org/westernny or call 833-2873.