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Barbara O'Brien


Hamburg

This year, you can take the Polar Plunge 24 times in 24 hours at Woodlawn Beach State Park in Hamburg. The annual event to raise funds to benefit the Special Olympics will take place at 2 p.m. Dec. 7, when hundreds, many dressed in costume, will run into Lake Erie. For those elite plungers who raise a minimum of $2,500, and who don't mind getting mind-numbingly cold …

Hamburg

Hilbert College has formally installed its fourth president, Michael S. Brophy. Brophy, who took office at the Hamburg college in January, said the college has the opportunity to embrace a 21st century higher education model, while the sustaining and deepening the Franciscan gifts and tradition. “In those times of discernment, and there will be many, all we have to d…

Amherst

Leaves will be falling soon, and if you don't like raking them, it's not always fun picking them up at the curb, either. "We hate leaf season," said Cheektowaga Highway Superintendent Mark Wegner, who added that it's a short season but the phone doesn't stop ringing with calls from residents. "It has to get done in like four weeks, because then the snow is coming." W…

Education

Patricia A. Skowron won't tell you what she said when she opened her Iroquois school tax bill and realized her taxes went up $660. "It's unprintable what I said," she said. "I’ve never had that much of an increase. I didn’t really fall on the floor, but I almost did." The Lancaster resident was convinced something was wrong. Previous tax bills had increases and decre…

Local News

The state Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined Lockport City Judge Thomas M. DiMillo should be censured for presiding over cases involving the credit union where his brother was a member of the board. DiMillo has agreed to the censure and cooperated with the commission, according to the commission. He presided over 2,500 civil matters involving the Cornersto…

Erie County

Early voting, which starts later this month, is the subject of a forum Oct. 21 at Daemen College, 4380 Main St., Amherst. Erie County Democratic Election Commissioner Jeremy Zellner, who also is the county Democratic chairman, will lead the discussion on "Voting and Early Voting 101: The Erie County Board of Elections and Changes in the New York Voting System" from 7 to…

Hamburg

AL Asphalt Corp. is taking the Town of Hamburg to State Supreme Court over the plant the company wants to open on Camp Road near Legion Drive. Opposition has grown since the company announced it was planning to operate an asphalt plant on the site of a former concrete manufacturing facility. The land is zoned for manufacturing, but critics say it will generate toxic fum…

Education

"You're as young as cotton candy." "You are a genius." "You make me smile." How much would you pay for a compliment like that to make your day? Fourth-graders at J.T. Waugh Elementary School in Angola already know: For $2, they can send you a necklace, magnet or keychain with an uplifting message. It's a business that started last January, and it brought in nea…

Local News

All Hallows Eve "haunted" ghost tours return to Old Fort Erie, Ont., known as Canada's bloodiest battlefield. Costumed interpreters will guide guests around the stone walls and dark corners of the historic fort, first established in 1795. Fun, frights and refreshments will precede the annual burning of the Guy Fawkes effigy. The tours take place at 7:30, 7:45 and 8 p…

Amherst

Williamsville residents will consider the future of Ellicott Creek later this month as part of a local plan to evaluate land use and waterfront resources. The village is in the process of preparing a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program that will enable it to develop a strategy to manage and protect resources along the creek. A public information meeting is schedu…

Clarence

A Clarence Center man took top prize for the fourth time in five years Saturday at the 24th annual World Pumpkin Weigh-off at the Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence. Karl Haist submitted a pumpkin weighing 2,269 pounds, setting a record for the event for the second year in a row. Haist won $2,500 plus a $1,000 bonus for having a pumpkin that weighed more than 2,000 pound…

Local News

Taxes are going up in Orchard Park. But Town Board members are determined to lower the increase, which stands at nearly 12 percent in the tentative 2020 town budget – covering general fund, highway and special district spending –  filed by Supervisor Patrick Keem. "We have some expenses that we have to deal with," Keem said. Among them: Nearly $1 million in operat…

Education

Niagara Falls Schools Superintendent Mark Laurrie wondered how much of a problem there is with cars passing school buses whose red lights are flashing. After cameras installed on two buses picked up 20 vehicles passing stopped buses in the first week of a pilot program, he is convinced the problem is significant. "It's kind of disturbing to hear that in one of the pi…

Orchard Park residents can get a sneak peek at the new community activity center Saturday. Town officials will be offering tours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the center, 4500 California Road. The 59,000-square-foot center, located near Big Tree Road, is to open to the public early next year. Visitors will be taken in small groups to tour the center, which includes tw…

Local News

West Seneca residents packed the Town Hall three years ago when West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan proposed a raise of nearly $17,000 for herself. She ended up getting $9,400 more. Today she's proposing a 10% decrease in the supervisor's salary next year. But it's not for the incumbent supervisor, because Meegan is not seeking re-election. Meegan proposed pay cuts …