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Koelmel and Flynn OK'd for Power Authority board

ALBANY -- The State Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a Buffalo banker and a former top federal prosecutor from Western New York to the New York Power Authority board of trustees.

John Koelmel, the head of First Niagara Financial Group, is next due to be tapped by the NYPA board as its new chairman. The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Koelmel to the board, along with Terrance Flynn, a Buffalo lawyer and former U.S. attorney for Western New York, and Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney.

After his confirmation, Koelmel said his priorities are to "advance the agenda and the initiative that the authority has in place, as well as those the governor has proposed and the legislature as well."

The NYPA, the nation's largest state-owned power generator, is at the center of a major new effort to improve the state's aging power transmission and generation infrastructure.



Corporate Challenge brings traffic advisory

Motorists are advised to avoid Buffalo's Parkside neighborhood between 4 and 10 p.m. Thursday, when the 32nd annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge will bring throngs of runners, support staff and partygoers to Delaware Park. Organizers expect 13,500 runners and walkers from 450 companies to take part.

The Parkside Avenue exit from the Scajaquada Expressway will be heavily traveled between 4 and 7 p.m. Heavy traffic also will be encountered around Buffalo State College, where participants are being advised to park and where free shuttle buses will be operating. No parking will be allowed on the grass in Delaware Park or at Medaille College.

Parts of Delaware Avenue and several side streets near the park will be closed for several hours before and during the 3.5-mile race, which begins at 6:45.

The shuttles will run between Buffalo State College and the park from 4 to 6:15 p.m. before the race and from 8:30 to 10 p.m. afterward. For information, visit



Seagulls halt construction on Walmart Supercenter

LOCKPORT -- For the second consecutive year, flocks of seagulls have stopped construction on the Walmart Supercenter on South Transit Road.

Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith said Tuesday that the contractor told him last week no site work will be done until the seagull nesting season is over, which will be around Aug. 1.

Smith said that probably rules out the chance of the new store opening this year; it had been targeting a November opening.

Smith said seagulls have long come to the former Lockport Mall site because there's a lot of food around.

"People keep feeding them," he said. "Someone said they saw a person throwing a five-pound bag of popcorn over the fence."

Last year, demolition work was stopped by the discovery of nests containing seagull chicks on the roof of the former mall. About 50 babies were rescued.