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Thursday, December 31, 2015


ENP STAFF REPORTS
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Lockport Fire Department and LPD have given an "all clear" on a scene a "suspicious package" was found at 80 Genesee St.

According to LPD, the "small device" was found in one of the building's apartments. It appears to have been there a while, according to LPD officials.

The street was shut down while the incident was under investigation. A bomb squad from Erie County removed the small metal device from the building. A bomb-sniffing dog then went through the building, finding nothing further.

The tenants of the apartment building were evacuated and sheltered at the Salvation Army, however a dog remained in the building. The tenants were allowed to return to their apartments shortly before 7 p.m.



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Sara Dear, born October 5, 1981 in Lockport, passed to her heavenly father at home on December 30, 2015.

She was the daughter of Denise Dear of Lockport.  A graduate of Barker High School She worked for her family’s restaurant, LaPort’s Restaurant where she was a waitress. Sara was a member of Canal Barge Optimist Club.

Besides her mother Sara is survived by her dear friend and constant loving companion William Scott of Lockport; mother of Brier and Izabella Scott both of Lockport; step-daughter of Randy Willard; sister of Sienna Raine, David, Leanne, and Danielle; niece of Donny, Deb, Davenee, Gail, Grace, and also survived by several cousins. Her family of co-workers and customers from LaPort’s Family Restaurant.

“Kind of sad that was the last day…..but someone told me not be sad for days that have gone but to be happy that they have been.” - Sara Dear

Relatives and friends may call Sunday January 3rd, 1-5 PM in Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., Lockport.  Funeral services will be held Monday January 4th at 10 AM in Covenant United Church of Christ, 4449 Main St, Gasport, NY 14067.  Interment will be in Cold Springs Cemetery. Memorials to the church would be appreciated by the family.

Visit www.pruddenandkant.com.

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The National Weather Service calls for mostly cloudy skies today with  a high near 36. Tonight, there's a chance of snow showers with a low around 29.

New Year's Day offers a chance of snow showers with a high near 33 and a low around 26. Saturday, there's a chance of snow showers with a high near 34 and a low around 29. Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a high near 34 and a low around 21.

Monday brings a chance of snow showers ith a high near 29 and a low around 23. Tuesday will be mostly sunny with a high near 37 and a low around 30. Wednesday: Partly sunny with a high near 39.



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Last week’s installment of this column looked at the various heavenly sights that the backyard astronomer can enjoy in 2016. I noted that it will be a relatively quiet year in that regard, with 2017 more than making up for it.

But, that doesn’t mean the skies will be devoid of amazing things in ‘16. Now and for the next few weeks is the perfect time -- really the only time over the next 14 months -- that local skywatchers can catch a comet in their binoculars.

Comet Catalina was only recently discovered (October 2013) by the Catalina Sky Survey which uses two telescopes in Arizona to scan the heavens for comets, asteroids, and near-Earth objects for, among other things, those items that might pose a collision threat to the Earth.

Comet Catalina isn’t one of those threatening items because at its closest, on January 17th, it will still be 67 million miles from Earth. That far away, and as small as it is, the comet will not be visible to the naked eye. But, a hobby telescope or a good pair of binoculars should be able to bring it into view.

Right now you can find it in the morning pre-dawn skies, but as we get closer to the 17th it will gradually become an overnight sight. Over the next few days it will be easier to find than it will be later in the month because it can be find very the near orange-hued Arcturus, which is the fourth-brightest star in the sky. Arcturus will be low in the eastern sky after midnight, but it goes high to the southeast sky before dawn. The star is an easy find, but if you need help in finding Arcturus, use a planisphere or refer to any numerous sky maps online.

To see the comet, you have to be away from the lights of Lockport or anyone of our numerous hamlets (like Gasport or Newfane) and out in the countryside. Catalina won’t look as magnificent as she does through professional telescopes or any of the photos you see on the internet. Instead, she will appear as a fuzzy patch of white light with maybe a little aquamarine tinge to it. You might even be able to see its tail.

While a fuzzy blob doesn’t sound very exciting, it’s a something to be appreciated nonetheless. We don’t get too many comets in our lifetimes that are visible with binoculars or eyes, so it’s something that should be taken advantage of every time. And, if you can drag your kid out of bed early enough before he or she has to get ready for school, it’s an excellent real-life learning experience that compliments what they might be hearing about in science class.

+Bob Confer lives in rural Gasport where he’ll be showing the comet to his early-rising four year old. Follow him on Twitter @bobconfer or email him at bobconfer@juno.com.



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WASHINGTON DC -- After taking an early lead, the Buffalo Sabres gave up four third-period goals to fall 5-2 at the hands of the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Jack Eichel netted two points for the Sabres, giving them a 1-0 advantage at 5:48 of the first period (assisted by Zemgus Girgensons) and a 2-1 advantage at 18:53 of the second period as he assisted Girgensons on a goal. After that, it was all Washington.

Justin Williams scored for the red-hot Capitals at 14:08 of the first period, tying the game at 1.

In the third, Alexander Ovechkin tied it at 2 just 1:24 into the period, assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie. Marcus Johansson then made it 3-2 Washington at 8:32, assisted by Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen. Andre Burakovsky put Washington up 4-2 at 9:56, assisted by Marcus Johansson. Ovechkin added an empty netter at 18:47 to put the game on ice.

Buffalo will next face the New York Islanders Thursday night during the Sabres annual "Tux and Pucks" game at First Niagara Center.



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Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert receives a departing handshake from LPD Capt. Mike Niethe, who will take the reins of the department effective Thursday. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler 
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert was honored this morning by colleagues and loved ones as he walked out of City Hall for one last time as chief of police.

Several members of the Lockport Fire Department were among the more than
100 who wished Eggert well.
A line of more than 100 well wishers shook hands and hugged the retiring chief as he made his way from Common Council chambers out the rear entrance of the building around 11 a.m.

Attendees comprised current and former Lockport Police officers and administration -- including former officer Steve Ritchie, who enjoyed a similar send-off when he retired in June of 2014. Eggert and Ritchie share the unfavorable experience of having been shot in February of 2003 -- and former police Chief Neil Merritt, who retired in late 2007 and now works private security. Also in attendance, Capt. Mike Niethe, who will be sworn in as Lockport's new chief of police on Friday at the Palace Theatre, although he actually starts the job tomorrow.

The line of well-wishers stretched outdoors, where Eggert was greeted by 
former LPD Officer Steve Ritchie. 
Local elected officials from Mayor Anne McCaffrey to the city's aldermen and Treasurer-elect Sue Mawhiney were also in attendance to see Eggert out, as were appointed officials and members of other local law enforcement units.

As some wished Eggert adieu, there were laughs. For others there were tears. He reminded one well-wisher early in the nearly 15-minute goodbye that today was a celebration, "not a funeral."

Like Merritt before him, Eggert, who has worked for LPD for 36 years, is also planning to go into private security in the new year.

RELATED LINKS: 

Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour bids adieu to Eggert at Lockport City Hall this morning. 




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TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A Canal Road resident told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies that someone stole a laptop from his apartment sometime Tuesday evening.

The complainant said he left his apartment at approximately 6:30 p.m. and returned home around 7:50 p.m. when he noticed his computer missing and called the police. Nothing else in the apartment was taken or moved around.

The man told patrol that the suspect gained entry through a sliding glass door on the west side of the building that does not lock. He could not think of anyone that would want to steal his property and he did not have any problems with anyone recently.

The case was forwarded to the Criminal Investigation Bureau for review.



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New York Army National Guard Soldiers provide military funeral services for World War II veteran Leo P. Dean on Dec. 17, in Waterford, ( PHOTO CONTRIBUTED / Master Sgt. Raymond Drumsta)

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LATHAM -- New York Army and Air National Guard honor guards conducted military funerals for 10,692 families across New York as of Dec. 21, and expected to perform about 218 more military funerals-more than 10,900--before 2016 begins.

The bulk of the military funerals -- 8,725 -- were performed by the New York Army National Guard's eight area honor guard teams. The Army National Guard has 35 Soldiers serving full time on funeral honors details, with another 107 Soldiers who support the program on a part-time basis.

New York Army National Guard Soldiers go through a week-long training process to become fully certified in providing military funerals.

Members of the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing fire a 
salute during a military funeral at Calverton National Cemetery on April 10. 
(PHOTO CONTRIBUTED / Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy)
The New York Air National Guard's six Base Honor Guard Teams provided military funeral honors for the families of 1,967 Air Force veterans.

New York Air National Guard honor guard details are provided by the 106th Rescue Wing at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach; the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh; the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia; 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse; the 107th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls; and the Eastern Air Defense Sector at Griffiss Technology Park in Rome.

National Guard Airman who volunteer to participate in honor guards as an additional duty also got through a training process.

In 2014 New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen conducted military funerals for 11,365 families.

The New York Army National Guard provided services at 9,567 funerals in 2014, while the New York Air National Guard conducted military funerals on 1,798 occasions in 2014.

The number of military funerals provided by the New York Army National Guard declined due to reductions in funding, according to Peter Moran, military funeral honors coordinator for New York.

The New York honor guard passed 656 requests for funeral honors to the Active Army at Fort Drum and Fort Dix when personnel were not available to handle those funerals, he said. Additional funds have been provided for 2016, so the honor guard will be able to take more funerals, Moran said.

Since 2000, federal law has mandated that any military veteran who did not receive a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces is eligible for military honors at his or her funeral. The ceremony must include the folding and presenting of the flag of the United States to the veteran's survivors and the playing of Taps.

The size of the detail varies from a minimum of two service members to nine or more personnel for deceased service members who retired from the military after a full career or were awarded medals for valor. At least one of the honor guard members must belong to the service the deceased service member had served in.

The regional breakdown for New York Army National Guard funerals in 2015 is:
  • Long Island- 3,317
  • New York City- 1,464
  • Buffalo-990
  • Rochester -776
  • Albany- 596
  • Syracuse-592
  • Kingston- 517
  • Horseheads-473
The regional breakdown for Air National Guard honor guard funerals is:
  • 105th Airlift Wing ( Hudson Valley)- 222
  • 106th Rescue Wing (Long Island)- 722
  • 107th Airlift Wing ( Buffalo/Niagara)- 417
  • 109th Airlift Wing ( Albany/Schenectady)-276
  • 174th Attack Wing (Syracuse)- 277
  • Eastern Air Defense Sector ( Utica/Rome)-53


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BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres have announced plans to hold four 50-50 raffle drawings during the team’s game on Thursday against the New York Islanders at First Niagara Center.

The grand prize drawing will have a guaranteed minimum pot of $30,000, with the winner of the drawing guaranteed at least $15,000. There will also be three other drawings each with a guaranteed prize of $2,016. The game, which begins at 6 p.m., also marks the return of “Tux and Pucks,” a popular New Year’s Eve event with Sabres fans who dress up in formalwear as they ring in the new year at the arena.

Raffle tickets will be sold beginning two hours before the start of the game through the end of the second period intermission. The winning numbers -- determined through a random drawing out of the pool of purchased tickets for that game will be announced during the third period. The winning numbers will also be posted on Sabres.com for a period of 15 calendar days after Thursday’s game. A complete list of contest rules and restrictions can also be found at Sabres.com.

Proceeds from the 50-50 raffles at all Sabres and Buffalo Bandits home games benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

Tickets are still available for Thursday’s game and can be purchased by calling 1-888-223-6000 or by visiting www.sabres.com.



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Ian Power
TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A 30-year-old Lockport man was charged Sunday evening with shoplifting from Walmart.

According to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, deputies were called to the store by employees and found Ian R. Power, 132 S. Transit St., in the parking lot with multiple items concealed on him, which he admitted he took from Walmart.

Power was placed into custody without incident and transported to the Town of Lockport Court for arraignment for this incident an outstanding warrant for petit larceny. He was jailed on $1,000 bail and set to appear back in the Town of Lockport Court on Jan. 7.



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From left, Lockport Family YMCA Member Walt Brewer enjoys a workout 
session with Health, Wellness and Aquatic Director Darcee Hughes.
(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
Millions of Americans make resolutions headed into the new year, with a large percentage of them resolving to lose weight or be more healthy. However, in 2014, 71 percent admitted falling short. And 40 percent quit within the first few weeks.

The Lockport Family YMCA suggests creating smaller, more manageable goals that can lead to success of a larger one.

“Losing weight is too broad a goal,” said YMCA Health, Wellness and Aquatic Director Darcee Hughes. “Reframe your big resolution into something achievable. For example, instead of making a resolution to ‘lose weight,’ resolve to incorporate fruits and vegetables into at least two meals a day.”

Reframing goals in a positive way can also help people stick to them. Some may want to limit screen time in 2016, but that can be more manageable if they replace the time with something positive like volunteering or setting special time aside for family.

“Rather than thinking about what you’re losing, think about what you’re gaining. This can make a resolution feel more positive, and therefore more achievable,” Hughes said.

The Lockport Family YMCA recommends the following to help 2016 New Year’s resolutions stick.
  • Start small. Break those big resolutions into small, achievable goals. Instead of cutting chocolate out of your diet for good, vow to only have it a few times a week. Or trade your two sodas a day for one soda and a glass of water. 
  • Take it one step at a time. Trying to change too many habits at once can easily lead to frustration. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make a new month’s resolution. Focus on that one change for the month, and add another (small) change when the new month rolls around.  
  • Choose an organization that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors, like increasing physical activity, it’s important to find a place that keeps you motivated. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity. 
  • Talk it out. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner or friend working toward similar goals. Team up with someone to set your 2016 goals and help each other establish a game plan dedicated to achieving them. Set specific check-ins to help each other out of slumps and to cheer each other during the high points. 
To help people get a jump on their resolutions, the YMCA is waiving half of its joiner fee during the month of January. For more information call 434.8887, email info@lockportymca.com or visit www.LockportYMCA.com.



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Major Steven Nigrelli has been appointed to oversee New York State Police Troop "A," which operates throughout the eight counties of Western New York. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

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Major Steven A. Nigrelli, a 25 year veteran of the New York State Police, has been appointed to command Troop "A," overseeing 400 civilian and sworn State Police personnel throughout the eight counties of Western New York.

Nigrelli started his career in 1990, serving as a uniform Trooper in Troop “D” in Central New York until he was assigned to the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) in 1994 in both Western and Central New York, where he worked undercover for over five years. Nigrelli then was promoted to sergeant and investigator in 1999, and was assigned to Troop “A” Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

In 2003 while in Troop A, he received his promotion to Lieutenant and was assigned to supervise the Troop “A” BCI. In March of 2007, Nigrelli was promoted to captain, accepting an assignment as the Troop “A” Zone III Commander at SP Jamestown. In 2008, he was reassigned as the Troop “A” Zone II Commander at SP Clarence. As a Zone Commander, Nigrelli was responsible for overseeing all Uniform operations in his zone. In 2012, Nigrelli was promoted to BCI Captain for Troop A at Troop “A” Headquarters in Batavia.

Throughout his career, Captain Nigrelli has had the opportunity to work on several high profile cases, including numerous homicides, the Ralph “Bucky” Phillips manhunt, Bike Path Rapist/Killer Task Force, and he served as the scene commander for the investigation of the crash of Continental Flight #3407.

Major Nigrelli has been committed to community service and volunteerism throughout his State Police career. He has dedicated his time and energy to volunteering for Special Olympics and currently sits as both the New York State Torch Run Director and International Executive Council Board of Director for Special Olympics. These organizations are dedicated to raising both funds and awareness for Special Olympics which is comprised of children and adults with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Prior to joining the State Police, Major Nigrelli briefly served as member of the Buffalo Housing Police and earned a Bachelors Degree from Buffalo State College.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A 36-year-old Buffalo man was charged Sunday with DWI following a South Transit Road traffic stop.

According to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Gregory M. Matoltsy, 456 Kaymar Dr., Buffalo, was stopped for driving with no headlights or tail lights around 2:30 a.m.

After giving police an Ohio driver's license, he told patrol he had just dropped his cousin off in Lockport and was headed home. He was determined to be intoxicated and charged with DWI. He was taken to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and found to have a blood alcohol content of .12 percent before being taken to Niagara County Jail, where he was held on $250 bail.

Matoltsy is due in Town of Lockport Court on Jan. 5 on charges of DWI and driving without headlights or tail lamps.



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The National Weather Service says showers are likely today with a high near 38. Overnight, there's a chance of rain and snow showers with a low around 31.

Thursday offers a slight chance of snow showers with a high near 35 and a low around 28. New Year's Day brings a chance of snow showers with a high near 33 and a low around 26. Saturday, there's a chance of snow showers with a high near 34 and a low around 27.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a high near 33 and a low around 23. Monday will be partly sunny with a high near 35 and a low around 28. Tuesday: Mostly sunny with a high near 40.



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As I sit down to write my end of the year summary for 2015, I realize how quickly things can change in the space of just a few days. I am still going to summarize my 2015, but I am probably going to hold off on any grand plans for 2016 just yet. The only plans I can confirm for 2016 is a lot more writing than I did in 2015. I find writing to be therapeutic, and guys like me can always use more forms of therapy.

I am always amazed at how many firsts I experience, even at my advanced age. In 2015, I got to experience the first Christmas where my wife and I were able to just bury our grandchildren in gifts. To me, it isn’t about the gifts. It is about the reaction, and it is about my never-ending quest to make sure that my grandson plays with toys that are not called XBOX. My three-year-old grandson had gift overload, at first, to the point where he just kind of lost interest. But when his father and I started putting his new toys together, he was all in. The one-year-old still has that look of “Hey man! Whatever you want to do!” in his eyes and I just love that kid.

Myself, my wife, and my son made lots of plans together as a family in 2015. Most of those plans will be taking place in 2016, but it is still fun to make plans with the people who are most important in your life. It was also fun to see my mom’s reaction when she opened her Christmas gifts and saw the first two installments in my attempts to repopulate her Beatles vinyl record collection. Needless to say, it is always fun to get a big positive reaction out of mom.

The rest of 2015 was kind of a blur. Some good things happened, and some bad things happened. We got to see the first ever Junior A hockey playoff series when the Express hosted Wilkes-Barre, and we ended the year with probably one of the best Christmas parades this city has had in years. Hockey Day in Lockport was pretty amazing, and I am starting to get the feeling that this city wants to come together and be the kind of place people want to live in again.

No matter how hard people try to make Lockport a better place, the crime is still here. Towards the end of 2015, the crime in Lockport is on the rise and it is a strong area of concern for everyone. Anne McCaffrey was elected to her first full term as mayor, and I sincerely hope that she tries to do something about the crime that is infesting our city.

For myself, I was happy to finally get some things done towards advancing my writing career that I had been planning for a very long time. There is something satisfying about finally being able to put plans into motion that you had been formulating in your head for years. I have my framework in place to host my writing work, now I just need to add some writing work and promote it.

We started to see encouraging signs in 2015 that lead me to believe that 2016 won’t be so bad. For me, the best sign I saw was all of the construction activity going on at Widewaters. I really miss that place and it looks like the new owners are serious about getting the burgers sizzling as soon as possible. It is difficult to beat the feeling of having a Widewaters’ burger and some curly fries down by the canal. If there ever was a truly Lockport experience, that would be it.

All in all, 2015 wasn’t terrible. As is the case with every year, 2015 could have been better. But I don’t have that much to complain about, and I do feel like I am set up for a decent 2016. But as time goes by, we learn how fragile everything really is. I am hoping for the best possible 2016 and will do what I can to make that happen, but you just never know what the fates have in store for you.

+George N Root III is a Lockport resident who doesn’t remember much about 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at georgenroot3@gmail.com.



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Tuesday, December 29, 2015
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BUFFALO -- When Better Business Bureau launched Scam Tracker earlier this year, tax scams were projected to be high on the list. What was surprising was how high; more than the next three categories put together. In the first 10,000 scam reports processed by BBB, a whopping 24 percent were about imposters pretending to be either the Internal Revenue Service (2,363 reports) or the Canadian Revenue Agency (50 reports).

The rest of the top 10 were all some form of imposter scam: debt collection scam, sweepstakes scam, tech support scam, government grant scam, etc. About 85 percent of those reporting scams to BBB recognized it as frauds before any money was stolen, however, the Top 10 Scams still account for more than $1 million dollars lost from those who filed with BBB.

In a survey by Truecaller/Harris it was reported approximately 17.6 million Americans were victims of phone scams alone last year, losing $8.6 billion with an average loss of $488.80.

“BBB’s Scam Tracker not only reveals current scam activity, it serves to educate the public about these constant threats,” said Warren Clark, president of Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York. “Scammers come directly to you. Your best bet to avoid being scammed is to stop engaging with the scammers. Hang up the phone, delete the email or shut the door. We know people want to report scammers pretending to be government agents, lawyers, debt collectors or police officers. Scam Tracker gives them the opportunity and it shows them that they are not alone. BBB will continue to investigate and work with authorities to expose scams and other threats.”



How the scams work

  1. Tax scam. You receive a phone call from someone who claims to be with the IRS (U.S.) or CRA (Canada). They claim you owe money in back taxes and will be arrested or face legal consequences if you do not pay (usually by wire or prepaid debit card). The caller ID is spoofed to appear to be a government agency or the police.
  2. Debt collection scam. You receive a phone call from someone claiming that you have an unpaid debt. You are threatened with garnishments, lawsuits, even jail time if you don’t pay right now. The scammer will often use caller ID spoofing and pretend to be a government agency or law enforcement in order to further invoke fear.
  3. Sweepstakes/prizes/gifts scam. You receive a call, letter, or email claiming you’ve won a prize in a sweepstakes. In order to receive the prize, you are instructed to send a fee to cover expenses associated with delivery, processing, or insurance. The prize is not real; you should never have to pay money to claim a prize you have won.
  4. Tech support scam. You are contacted by “technicians” claiming to have detected a virus or security threat on your computer and, for a fee, can log-in and correct the problem remotely. These callers are actually hackers trying to steal money or sensitive computer passwords and/or damage computers with malicious software.
  5. Government grants scam. You receive a phone call, email, or letter informing you that you’ve qualified for a government grant. In order to receive the grant, however, you are instructed to send money as a processing or delivery fee, usually by wire transfer or prepaid debit card.
  6. Advance fee loan scam. While searching for loan information, you see an enticing ad and click through to the website. You fill out an application and soon receive an email or phone call advising that you are approved for the loan, but you must first send a processing fee, security deposit or insurance. You pay the “fee,” but never see the loan.
  7. Credit cards scam. The scammer pretends to be from your bank or credit card issuer, and they claim that you are now eligible for a lower interest rate, or that they need to verify a recent transaction. The consumer provides the scammer with their credit card number and security code to “verify” their identity.
  8. Work from home scam. While looking for a job online, you answer an ad for making big bucks while working from home. The job may be stuffing envelopes, posting advertisements, or shipping packages. You could have your identity stolen when you fill out the employment forms, or even end up handling stolen merchandise.
  9. Fake check/money order scam. This can happen any time someone is paying you for goods or services (even when you are selling something online). You receive a check in the mail that is larger than the amount owed, and you are asked to deposit the check and wire the difference. The check is a fake and when it bounces, you’re out the money.
  10. Lottery scam. You receive a call, letter, or email advising that you have won a large amount of money in a foreign lottery, but you have to pay upfront for taxes and fees. Such lotteries are illegal. Sometimes you may be sent a check as partial payment, but the check will be counterfeit.

Why scams work

There is a science to scams, and it may surprise people to know that scammers use many of the same techniques as legitimate sales professionals. The difference, of course, is that their “product” is illegal and could cost you a fortune. Here are the major techniques they use to draw you in:

  • Establish a connection. The scammer builds rapport and a relationship with you. This is usually used face-to-face, as in home improvement scams and many investment scams, but also online romance scams.
  • Establish source credibility. Scammer use several techniques to make themselves appear legitimate, such as fake websites, social media posts or hacked emails that come from a friend’s account. Most email phishing scams spoof real companies, and many scammers pretend to be a trusted business or government agency in order to add credibility.
  • They play on emotions. Scammers rely on emotion to get you to make a quick decision before you have time to think about it. An emergency situation or a limited time offer is usually their methodology. They count on emotional rather than rational decision-making.

What you can do:

  • Don’t be pressured into making fast decisions.
  • Take time to research the organization. Check bbb.org, search online, etc.
  • Never provide your personal information (address, date of birth, banking information, ID numbers) to people you do not know.
  • Don’t click on links from unsolicited email or text messages.
  • If you are unsure about a call or email that claims to be from your bank, utility company, etc., call the business directly using the number on your bill or credit card.
  • Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person.
  • Never send money for an emergency situation unless you can verify the emergency.

For more information you can trust, follow BBB on Twitter and Facebook.



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OSWEGO -- Three East Niagara students have been named to the President's List for the fall 2015 semester at SUNY Oswego. Students who achieve grade averages of 3.80 and above on the 4.00 scale are named to the President's List.

Named to the list are:

  • Abigail M. Boyce of Beach Ridge Road in Lockport, a senior finance major.
  • Kelly G. Kearns of Day Road in Lockport, a senior global and international studies major.
  • Drake D. Arnold of Chase Road in Middleport, a sophomore business administration major.

A 154-year-old comprehensive college in the State University of New York system, Oswego enrolls about 8,000 students in its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; School of Business; School of Communication, Media and the Arts; and School of Education.

Visit oswego.edu for more information



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Rosa Carmen Ubiles passed away December 28, 2015 under the care of Niagara Hospice.

Born in Humacao, Puerto Rico she was the daughter of Eulalio and Claudia (Rosario) Lozada. Rosa enjoyed playing BINGO, gardening and gardening at the Community Garden and especially enjoyed being with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Rafael Ubiles on August 24, 2000.

Rosa is survived by her children Rafael Ubiles, Luis (Angela) Ubiles, Carmen Ubiles, Edward (Melanie) Ubiles, and Noel (Samantha) Ubiles all of Lockport; grandmother of nineteen and great grandmother of three; sister of Gloria M. Lozada, Luz Eneida Lozada, Idalia (Francis) Lozada Aguire, Wilfredo Lozada all of Puerto Rico, Evelyn (William) Lozada Ubiles of Little Rock, AR and late Angel Luis Lozada; also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends may call Monday, January 4, 2016 from 2-4 and 7-9 PM in Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., Lockport.  Amass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at 10 AM in St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, 168 Chestnut St., Lockport. Interment will be in Cold Springs Cemetery.

Visit www.pruddenandkandt.com.

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New York State will begin accepting applications for the new 'Get On Your Feet' Loan Forgiveness Program on Thursday.

First announced as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2015 Opportunity Agenda, the program offers up to 24 months of federal student loan debt relief to recent college graduates living in the state.

"Ensuring students are able pay for college and not saddled with debt is critical for both their individual success and the continued economic growth of New York State," Gov. Cuomo said. "With this program, we are telling recent graduates: if you invest in New York's future, we will invest in yours."

To qualify, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree from a college or university located in New York State in or after December 2014, have an adjusted gross income of less than $50,000, and be enrolled in the federal Income Based Repayment plan or Pay as You Earn plan. Recipients will have a maximum of 24 payments, equal to their monthly student loan repayment amount, paid on their behalf. Applications are accepted year round.

To learn more or apply, visit hesc.ny.gov/GetOnYourFeet.



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A fire this morning on Weld Street destroyed a detached garage and its contents, resulting in approximately $75,000 damage according to the Lockport Fire Department.

According to an LFD press release, the fire -- at 33 Weld St. -- started at approximately 8:05 a.m., engulfing the garage. It took 14 firefighters over two hours to completely extinguish the blaze.

"The Third Platoon under the direction of Assistant Chief Lou Farina responded to the scene from fire headquarters. Chief (Pat) Brady and MTO/Safety Officer (Luca) Quagliano also responded immediately to the scene," the press release states.

"On arrival the two-and-a-half-car detached garage that was set back approximately 100 feet from the road was found to be fully involved with fire showing from both the front and rear of the structure. A supply line was laid and while the supply hose was being placed at the hydrant immediately adjacent to the driveway of the residence, crews began an attack of the fire from the front of the structure," The press release continues. "A second hose line was then also deployed to the rear of the structure. A second alarm was requested to supplement man power at the scene and to provide the needed staffing at fire headquarters to answer any other requests for service during this incident."

Those other crew members were needed as a second fire alarm rang out at the same time, calling LFD to a fire in a piece of heavy equipment at Lafarge, 400 Hinman Road. That fire, which caused approximately $5,000 damage, was out upon their arrival. It's believed it may have been caused by an electrical problem on that piece of equipment.

On Weld Street, "crews were able quickly to knock down a large volume of fire at the front of the structure at this time and then began ventilation efforts at windows located on the both sides of the building. A section of the roof at the rear of the structure was found to have already collapsed, hampering attempts to extinguish the contents of the building that were underneath this section of the roof. Firefighters then made access through the garage door  and were able to extinguish the main body of fire inside the structure. After extinguishment of the main body of fire, crews continued to search for and extinguish any other small pockets of fire that were found inside the structure. This fire was extinguished by a total of 14 on scene LFD personnel using 5,500 gallons of water and 5 gallons of Class A foam.

The garage contained a car, small tractor, skid steer, and a large assortment of tools and other equipment used by the homeowner for his business venture. All were lost in the blaze.

The cause of this fire is still under investigation by LFD fire investigators.



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Registration is open for the fifth annual First Day Hikes program taking place at 38 state parks and historical sites on Friday -- New Year's Day. First Day Hikes give people of all ages an opportunity to kick off the New Year and enjoy nature during guided walks.

"The natural beauty of New York State makes the perfect backdrop for welcoming in 2016 with family and friends," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. "I encourage everyone to start a new tradition and take a First Day Hike at their local state park or use the occasion to discover a new favorite."

First Day Hikes offer a great way to connect with the outdoors, exercise and enjoy nature on New Year's Day. Participants can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of the season and spectacular vistas, and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable guide. State park staff and volunteers will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which average one to three miles or longer depending on the location.

This year, 41 hikes are being offered at 38 New York state parks and historic sites. The programs include a seal walk, winter woodlands, a walking history tour, a snowshoe waterfall hike, pet-friendly treks, crossing one of the world's longest pedestrian bridges, and more. If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many hikes will be offering refreshments. Last year, over 2,100 participants took part in celebrating First Day Hikes across the state.

In Western New York, hikes will be offered at the following locations:

  • Allegany State Park- Red House, Salamanca, anytime 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.; 354-9101 x.236
  • Buffalo Harbor State Park, Buffalo; 10 a.m.-12 noon; 549-1050
  • DeVeaux Woods-Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 285-5154
  • Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 1:30 p.m.–4 p.m.; 285-5154
  • Genesee Valley Greenway State Park, York; 10 a.m.; (585) 493-3600
  • Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; 549-1050
  • Letchworth State Park, Castile; 1 p.m.; (two hikes - one for families with young children); (585) 493-3600
  • Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 1 p.m.-3 p.m.; 285-5154

Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain, registration requirements and additional information are listed at nysparks.com.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A 23-year-old Castleton man and a 31-year-old North Tonawanda man were charged by Niagara County Sheriff's deputies with trespassing on the roof of a South Transit Road business and making a fake 911 call to lead deputies away from the store.

According to the NCSO report, William D. Moxon of 2417 Reno Road in Castleton and Eric T. Griffin of 156 2nd Ave. in North Tonawanda used an access ladder outside the business to climb onto the roof of Gamestop, 5716 South Transit Road, around 9:27 p.m. Dec. 21.

Patrol spoke with the manager of Gamestop who stated that the ladder access is usually locked and that no one is to be up there. Patrol located empty beer cans and a Samsung Galaxy notebook that belonged to a Griffin at the bottom of the ladder access.

While patrol and state police were checking the building, NCSO Communications advised that there may be a possible overdose in the area we were in. NCSO Communications advised they received a 911 call stating that someone had overdosed at the Comfort Inn in the City of Lockport. City of Lockport Police and Fire checked the entire Comfort Inn and were unable to locate any overdose on scene. Patrols were advised that the call came from a cell phone from the area of 5716 South Transit.

While patrol and state police were trying to make contact and see if anyone was on top of the roof, patrol witnessed two heads peak over the edge of the roof. Deputy Harrer was able to make contact with both individuals on the roof and South Lockport's aerial truck was requested to the scene to remove the two individuals from the roof. Patrol and state police accompanied members from the South Lockport Fire Department to the top of Gamestop and observed two males on the roof with multiple beer cans scattered over the roof.

Both individuals appeared intoxicated when Patrol spoke with them. Griffin and Moxon stated that they were from out of the area and wanted to go to a place to talk with each other in private. They stated that they work on roofs and install solar panels and that's what they were in town for, adding that  they were staying at the Comfort Inn.

When patrol inquired if either had called 911, both stated that their phones were dead. Patrol observed no damage or anything out of place on the roof of 5716 South Transit and all parties on the roof were safely taken to the ground by South Lockport's aerial truck.

Patrol and LPD interviewed the pair in regards to the incident. Griffin said it was his idea to go on the roof and that it was a bad decision on his part. He also stated that he did not call 911 and had no idea what patrol was talking about.

While interviewing Moxon, however he admitted to calling 911 to report the overdose in hopes it would cause patrol to leave. Patrol confirmed that the number used to call 911 to report the overdose was that of Moxon's.

Both men were taken into custody at 10:49 p.m., charged with third-degree criminal trespassing and falsely reporting an incident. They were remanded to the Niagara County Jail on $500 police bail and are set to appear in the Town of Lockport Court on Jan. 5.



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As 2015 comes to a close, and Americans pop the cork on their New Year’s Eve celebrations, AAA warns party-goers against getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

“A DUI conviction can weigh heavily on your pocketbook,” says Theresa Podguski, Director of Legislative Affairs. “But getting in your car after a night of drinking could cost you more than just money. It can result in lives lost,” she adds.

With more than 91 million drivers on the road this year-end holiday, AAA urges drivers to be careful and cautious while out celebrating 2016.

  • Commit to never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Never get in a motor vehicle with a driver that you suspect has been drinking or using drugs
  • Call 911 if you observe a driver on the road that you believe may be under the influence. Warning signs can include drifting in and out of the travel lane, inability to maintain a consistent speed, or failure to obey traffic signs
  • Make transportation arrangements before you head out for the night. These include designating  a driver, using public transportation, calling a taxi or staying overnight at your location
  • Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely
  • As a party host, offer non-alcoholic drink alternatives and provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers; provide overnight accommodations to guests who’ve been drinking
  • Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink
  • Since you can’t control the actions of other drivers on the road, the best protection is to buckle up every time you get into a vehicle
  • Driving is a privilege that many Americans enjoy. Consuming alcoholic beverages is also something that many adults take part in. However, these two activities do not go together and should never be combined. If you are driving, don’t drink. And if you are drinking, don’t drive.
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Trevor D. Castle
PENDLETON -- A 25-year-old Wrights Corners man was charged Saturday evening with aggravated DWI, accused of having a .21 percent blood alcohol content, two and a half times the legal limit.

According to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Trevor D. Castle, 6024 Ridge Road, was stopped by patrol on Campbell Boulevard while patrol was working a special DWI detail. While he was stopped, patrol saw an open can of Molson Ice beer in the vehicle, which Castle confirmed was his.

It was determined that Castle was intoxicated and driving without a valid license. It was later found that he had two prior DWI convictions.

He was charged Saturday with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, moving from the lane unsafely and having an open container in a moving vehicle. He was held in Niagara County Jail on $750 bail and ordered to appear in Town of Pendleton Court on Wednesday.



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A broomball league is forming at Cornerstone Arena. (ENP
FILE PHOTO BY HEATHER N. GRIMMER)
A co-ed broomball league will begin the second week of January at Cornerstone CFCU Arena.

The league will take place from 9 - 11 p.m. Tuesday nights. The cost per team is $1,000. If paid in full by the first game, the cost is only $900.

There must be at least 10 players per team and at least two female players must be on the ice at all times. Helmets are required, but brooms will be provided by the arena.

Register online (link) and submit team roster with captain listed and team name to rdifilippo@cornerstoneicearena.com.



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ALBANY -- Temporary lane closures associated with road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will not be permitted from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. on Monday to allow for those traveling for the New Year's holiday. Some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs.

The prohibition of non-essential lane closures prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work. Lane closures were also prohibited over the Christmas holiday weekend.

AAA predicts that the number of people traveling more than 50 miles from home this holiday season will top 100 million for the first time in history. That represents a 1.4 percent increase over last year and the seventh consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth.

There will be slight variations for certain Thruway projects based on previous traffic volume. A detailed schedule of Thruway lane closures throughout the holiday weekend is available at http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/laneclosures/index.html.

The days preceding the Christmas holiday are among the busiest on the Thruway. The Thruway is prepared to handle the additional traffic volume. Travelers are encouraged to sign-up for TRANSalerts to receive real-time traffic alerts or follow @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter.

Travelers are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before departing. The free service allows users to check road conditions or link to air and transit information.

Mobile users can download the updated, free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app now features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.



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Early morning rain and scattered showers through the afternoon will likely clear most of the snow East Niagara received Monday. A daytime high of 45 will cool to 35 overnight.

Wednesday, there's a chance of showers with a high near 42 and a low around 32. Thursday offers a chance of rain and snow showers with a high near 37 and a low of around 28. Friday, there's a chance of snow showers with a high near 34 and a low around 25.

Saturday offers a chance of snow showers with a high near 32 and a low around 24. Sunday will be mostly cloudy with a high near 31 and a low around 22. Monday will also be cloudy with a high near 34.



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Jack of Spades -- Joyce Carol Oates
Mysterious Press
208 pages.

After a week away from book reviews due to unforeseen circumstances, I am back with an all new review. I figured after so patiently waiting for the next installment of “It’s a Novel Idea,” I thought I would deliver a review that grabs your attention.

I have read many of Joyce Carol Oates’ books. Most of them haven’t really impressed me all that much, but some have been fantastic. I loved The Falls, which is easily my favorite of her books. I know Oates is practically deified in the Lockport area, so I am well aware of the potential backlash of an unfavorable review.

Jack of Spades is the latest output by Joyce Carol Oates. This novel tells the story of Andrew Rush, a mystery novelist who has taken on a pseudonym as he begins to explore some of the darker ideas that inhabit his thoughts. These books, by “Jack of Spades,” border on violent and masochistic. Rush’s family has no idea who the author of these dark books is, but they find them quite disturbing and personal.

In the midst of attempting to hide the provenance of the Jack of Spades novels, Rush is summoned to court by a woman who claims that his novels are plagiarized from her own, unpublished works. As Rush turns more and more to his alter ego to deal with the issues facing him, his actions begin to mirror the fictional author he created.

If this sounds a lot like Stephen King’s The Dark Half, you’re not alone. The biggest difference? George Stark becomes a physical entity in true King, horror fashion after he is “buried.” Oates’ Jack of Spades is more of a psychological thriller with him being the darker half of a schizophrenic personality.

Unfortunately, Jack of Spades seems more like a literary exercise than a fully fleshed out novel. At just over 200 pages, this book barely scratches the surface. It’s hurried pace is not nearly as engaging as it could be. The Andrew Rush character is not well developed and his downward spiral seems to be hurried. All too soon, his story comes to an abrupt end.

Joyce Carol Oates does pack a lot of dangerous darkness into her character in a relatively short amount of time. However, it is not enough to salvage a story that could have been so much more engaging. This is a novel that could have used a bit more time coming together. From start to end, the storyline seemed to move at a frantic pace more conducive to simply getting a book to the publisher than for the creation of a well-written plot.

To be sure, I will continue to pick up Joyce Carol Oates’ books, waiting for another gem like The Falls to shine through. Although I was quite disappointed in her latest creation with Jack of Spades, Oates has a long list of best sellers behind her. One subpar novel will not detract from the success she has been able to build over a long and illustrious career.

+Craig Bacon’s dark half likes to eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches when he’s sitting next to people who may be allergic. He’s diabolical. Discover his latest “-inator” inventions on Twitter at @hippieboy73.



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MIDDLEPORT – Dinosaurs eating people paired with people eating pizza: that's what's happening today and Wednesday at the Royalton Hartland Community Library.

The library will show all four Jurassic Park movies over the course of the two days, starting with Jurassic Park at 11 a.m., followed by The Lost World. Wednesday will feature Jurassic Park III at 11 a.m. and Jurassic World to follow. In between the movies each day, the library will have pizza.

Anyone under the age of 14 must have a signed parental permission slip to view the PG-13-rated movies. Permission slips are available at the library's front desk or can be downloaded from the library’s website.



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Monday, December 28, 2015


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HARTLAND -- A handful of National Grid customers in the area of Hartland and Ridge roads are currently without power, thanks to the first round of winter weather in East Niagara.

National Grid says it is assessing the condition for the affected customers but does not yet have an anticipated restoration time.

The Hartland outage is one of about a dozen throughout Western New York tonight brought on by a mixture of heavy snow and freezing rain. In all, 676 National Grid customers in Western New York are without power. Another 23 NYSEG customers in Chautauqua County are also without electricity.



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BUFFALO -- Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stopped everything the Buffalo Sabres threw at him, while Alexander Ovechkin and Jay Beagle scored a pair of second-period goals to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 at First Niagara Center.

Ovechkin scored the first goal 19 seconds into the second period, assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Beagle's goal came at 12:55 of the second, assisted by Tom Wilson.

The Sabres were hoping to get back to the .500 mark for the first time since early November, but the red-hot Capitals, 27-6-2, had other plans. The Capitals have won 15 of their last 17 matches. The Sabres, now 15-17-4, has lost two of their last three games.

The Sabres will have a chance at redemption on Wednesday when they play Washington again in Washington D.C. The Sabres have never lost both games of a home-and-home series against the Capitals.

NOTES: 

  • With the loss, the Sabres fell to 6-11-1 when outshooting their opponents this season.
  • The Sabres were shut out for the third time this season. It was the first time the team has been shut out by the Capitals since a 2-0 loss on Nov. 25, 2009 (Semyon Varlamov).
  • Tonight's game was the first Sabres-Capitals game at First Niagara Center to be settled in regulation since Dec. 26, 2011 (4-2 Sabres win).
  • The Capitals have now won three straight road games against the Sabres for the first time in franchise history.



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The Newfane Public Library is seeking qualified candidates to run for the position of trustee.

The library anticipates one expiring term to be filled at the annual meeting which will be held on Feb. 8. Interested persons must be a resident of the Newfane Central School District, at least 18 years of age, and be an eligible voter in the last Newfane Central School District vote.

Those who wish to be considered for the opening must submit a valid petition signed by at least 25 residents of the Newfane Central School District no later than Jan. 22. Petition forms are available at the circulation desk at the Newfane Public Library, 2761 Maple Ave., during normal library hours. Candidates are asked to include a brief statement of qualifications.

Trustee information packets, including a description of the duties and responsibilities of a trustee are available at the library or online at newfanelibrary.org.

Trustee elections via a paper ballot will be conducted at the annual meeting of the Newfane Public Library to be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8. Voters must be present at the annual meeting to cast a vote. Voters must be a resident of the Newfane Central School District for at least 30 days prior to the annual meeting, be a citizen of the United States, be at least 18 years of age and not otherwise be prohibited from voting under the provision of Section 5-106 of the Election Law in order to be eligible to vote.

For more information, visit newfanelibrary.org.



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Darlene Penwright entered into rest on December 25, 2015, surrounded by her loving family under of the care of Niagara Hospice.

Born on September 24, 1951, she was the daughter of Harold and Betty (Meloon) Lockwood. Beloved wife of 48 years, Dennis Penwright; beloved mother of Dennis (Donna) Penwright, Jr., Candie Penwright, and Betty (John) Doxey; cherished grandmother of seven; dear sister of Diane (James) Redmond, David (Debbie) Lockwood, Patricia (McGrew), Paul (Janice) Lockwood, Peter Lockwood, Chris (Liz) Lockwood, Kathy(Mike) Dunker, Harold (Jennifer) Lockwood and the late Daniel Lockwood and Joseph Meloon. Also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends may call on Tuesday from 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM at the TAYLOR & REYNOLDS FUNERAL HOME, 70 Niagara Street, where the funeral service will be held at 8:00 PM on Tuesday night. Burial will be at the convenience of the Family.

Please visit taylorandreynolds.com.

With the first appearance of snow this winter, officials are advising caution on the roadways. (SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

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New Yorkers are being advised to prepare now for dangerous weather conditions are moving into the area tonight into Tuesday, making for dangerous driving conditions, especially during the Tuesday morning commute when snow transitions to sleet and freezing rain in many areas of the state.

The National Weather Service has issued Winter Weather Advisories for all of New York as a surge of moisture expands northeast across the state from late this afternoon into Tuesday as a mixture of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain. Additionally, High Wind Warnings have been issued in southern Erie County and Chautauqua County. Snow will continue to arrive tonight into Tuesday. Isolated to scattered power outages will be possible where the greatest ice accumulations occur.

The New York State Department of Transportation has more than 430,000 tons of road salt on hand and more than 3,300 operators and supervisors statewide ready to respond with 1,277 large plow/dump trucks, 176 medium plow/dump trucks, 16 pickup trucks with plows, 306 loaders, 41 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 37 tow plows and additional resources as necessary. Additionally, variable message signs will display critical weather warnings. In the event of damage caused by wind and ice, NYSDOT has 10 bucket trucks and 82 chippers standing by.

Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511, or by accessing www.511ny.org before traveling. This free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the updated, free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app now features drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.

The New York State Thruway Authority has 518 operators ready to deploy 201 Large Snow Plows, 142 Medium Snow Plows and 54 Loaders statewide. The Thruway Authority has more than 140,000 tons of road salt on hand throughout the system.

Due to the High Wind Warnings issued by the National Weather Service for Chautauqua and Southern Erie counties, high profile vehicles including empty trailers should take caution when traveling on I-90 between exits 55 (Lackawanna) and 61 (Ripley – Shortman Road).

Motorists are encouraged to sign up for TRANSalert e-mails, which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. Motorists can sign up for TRANSalerts here. Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.

All New Yorkers can obtain emergency information through NY-ALERT, the State’s free, all-hazards, web-based alert and notification system. To subscribe, visit nyalert.gov. If you do not own or have access to a computer, call toll-free 1-888-697-6972 or download the app on your smartphone at ialertz.com.

Safe Travel

It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit, to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways. Oftentimes on interstate highways, snowplows will operate side by side, as this is the most efficient and safe way to clear several lanes at one time.

Motorists and pedestrians should also keep in mind that snowplow drivers have limited lines of sight, and the size and weight of snowplows can make it very difficult to maneuver and stop quickly. Snow blowing from behind the plow can severely reduce visibility or cause whiteout conditions. Motorists should not attempt to pass snowplows or follow too closely. The safest place for motorists to drive is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted.

Some of the most important tips for safe winter driving include:

  • When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.
  • If you must travel, make sure your car is stocked with survival gear like blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods and brightly-colored cloth to use as a distress flag.
  • Keep your gas tank full to prevent gasoline freeze-up.
  • If you have a cell phone or two-way radio available for your use, keep the battery charged and keep it with you whenever traveling. If you should become stranded, you will be able to call for help, advising rescuers of your location.
  • Make sure someone knows your travel plans.


Winterize Your Vehicle

Preparing your vehicle for the winter season now will help ensure your vehicle is in good working order when you need it most. Have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle:

  • Battery
  • Wipers and windshield washer fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • Ignition system
  • Thermostat
  • Lights
  • Exhaust system
  • Flashing hazard lights
  • Heater
  • Brakes
  • Defroster
  • Oil level

Trapped in a Car

If you happen to get trapped in your vehicle during a blizzard, the following is suggested:

  • Stay in your car and wait for help to find you.
  • Run your engine for short periods of time to stay warm. Keep your down-wind window open and make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow.
  • Turn on the dome light at night when you are running the engine to signal rescuers.
  • Hang a brightly colored piece of cloth or piece of clothing from your car.
  • Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.


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