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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Postal carriers to seek food donations Saturday

For the 20th year, postal carriers in Western New York and across the U.S. will collect food donations for the Stamp Out Hunger campaign, the nation's biggest annual single-day food drive, as they deliver the mail Saturday.

Postal carriers ask people on their routes to leave a sturdy bag of nonperishable food -- such as canned soup, canned vegetables, rice, pasta or cereal -- next to their mailboxes. Food items also can be dropped off in the lobby of any post office.

Donations locally go to the Food Bank of Western New York and other food banks throughout the area. In Niagara County, donations are distributed to 29 agencies through the United Way of Greater Niagara.

The Buffalo Postal District repeatedly has been among the top donors and last year was ranked third in the nation. This year the goal is to collect two million pounds of food. The drive is sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers.

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Telephone outage affects many area businesses

Earth Link, a major carrier for many telephone systems in Lockport, reported an outage in the Lockport area Thursday that affected many businesses for several hours, including the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Lockport Police Department and some Niagara County government offices.

The outage affected only administration offices, not the sheriff's emergency phone lines.

The 911 lines have remained fully operational. Sheriff's officials did not say late Thursday if the service was restored and encouraged people to use 911 if services are needed.

Sheriff's officials said callers may hear the phones ring when calling Earth Link customers, but the calls are not being connected.

Verizon officials said its company is not connected to Earth Link, and its services are not affected.

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3 nominees interviewed for volunteer fire unit

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- The Town Board interviewed three nominees for the volunteer fire department Thursday during its work session.

Board members went into executive session to review the qualifications and talk with the candidates, who previously passed the interview process and were accepted by a membership vote. One other candidate will be interviewed in the future, according to Fire Chief Dan Hosie.

Hosie said the Town Board review is one of the last steps in the process before the candidates join the Town of Niagara Active Hose Volunteer Fire Company. The final step is for the candidates to be presented at the next board meeting Tuesday.

The hiring is part of a statewide recruitment program sponsored by the Fire Association of the State of New York to boost membership, the chief said. Through a FASNY grant, new recruits are eligible for 80 hours of college study in the state university system. The free college credits are part of an incentive program that includes a retirement plan and emergency medical training, according to Hosie.