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Dale Anderson NEWS STAFF REPorTER


With their product fetching a 25-year low price on the market, Western New York's dairy farmers found a very dim light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the federal milk payments that began arriving in their mailboxes at the end of 2002.The payments, under the federal farm bill's Milk Income Loss Contract, are triggered when the Boston Class I milk prices drop bel…

Desiree Daumen, 19, and Tara Schwendner, 16, blended into the opening day crowd at the Erie County Fair on Thursday -- except for the tiaras they wore.They spent the day cooing at tiny piglets, scoping out the Ferris wheel and snacking on pizza. But as the newly crowned Miss Erie County Fair Queen and Princess, Daumen and Schwendner also made an official appearance at the …

This year's state budget battle has been long and bitter, with partisan politics, personal power and puerile posturing the major themes of the process. In other words, New York government as usual.The result is a muddled compromise, with both Republicans and Democrats claiming victory, again as usual. Victory for whom doesn't seem to be clear. Certainly not the people of t…