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Video: Ochocinco bet pays off in food donations for Western New York

BUFFALO -- The bet: Terrell Owens wouldn't land on the same team as Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

The wager: Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King would run a half marathon and give a portion of donations raised by his readers to Feed the Children.

The result: A tractor-trailer full of food from Feed the Children pulled up to the Food Bank of Western New York on Tuesday with donations for 400 families. Buffalo Bills players were on hand to unload the hundreds of boxes of food and personal care items.

Hear more about the wager and see the Bills at work in this video:

--Denise Jewell Gee

 

Video: Legislature holds budget hearing

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County lawmakers are meeting this afternoon where they are discussing the county executive's budget and how to support dozens of arts groups. Watch some of today's proceedings above.

Video: Grisanti speaks about State Senate win

Mark J. Grisanti met with reporters this afternoon following Sen. Antoine Thompson's concession in the 60th State Senate District. Watch recordings of the news conference:

Part 1:

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Part 2:

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Top of the Falls renovation will add more retail space at Niagara Falls State Park

NIAGARA FALLS -- A $400,000 renovation of the building that houses the Top of the Falls Restaurant at Niagara Falls State Park will add extra space for souvenir sales.

Construction on the two-story building on Goat Island will expand the first floor to add about 900 square feet of retail space, said Michael Barnes, general manager for Delaware North at Niagara Falls State Park. 

The building houses the Top of the Falls Restaurant on the second floor. On the first floor, a souvenir shop is set into a recess of about 10 feet below the restaurant.

The renovation will move the first-floor exterior glass wall out about 10 feet to make it flush with the second floor.

"We were looking to expand to have more selling space and to make the store a little bit more comfortable," Barnes said.

The project will also replace windows from the mid-1960s on the first floor with glass that is more energy efficient.

Delaware North, which holds a 20-year lease to operate the Top of the Falls Restaurant, is paying for the building's renovation, Barnes said. The company is required to make capital improvements under its contract.

Barnes said he expects the renovation work to end by late February.

The restaurant is closed for the season and is scheduled to reopen in the spring.

--Denise Jewell Gee

'Wintervention' screens in Buffalo as ski resorts wait for temperatures to plunge again

Rain has put a damper today on efforts to make snow at area ski resorts.

But Warren Miller Entertainment's "Wintervention" will blow into Buffalo on Thursday for skiers and snowboarders ready to get into the winter sporting mood.

The annual ski travelogue of sorts -- narrated these days by skier Jonny Moseley -- will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. Tickets are $16.50.

Meanwhile, snow guns that started up late last week at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville have shut down again because of rain this morning.

Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley marketing director, said workers were able to lay down 17 acre-feet of man-made snow on School Haus, Mardi Gras, Yodeler and Candy Cane trails before shutting down yesterday morning. That's the equivalent of 17 football fields with a foot of snow, she said.

"It's a good head start," Eshbaugh said. "The weather's suppose to turn again tomorrow afternoon, so we will start making snow again as soon as possible."

At Kissing Bridge in Glenwood, snow guns started up Monday, but have been turned off until the warm temperatures pass through. Piles of snow have been made at Holly, Coal-chut, Twister and the Central Beginner slope, according to Kissing Bridge's web site

Heavy rains today are forecast to turn to snow showers late Wednesday afternoon.

Plans to open Holiday Valley by the weekend will depend on how much rain falls today and when the temperatures plunge back below freezing.

"It really is all up to Mother Nature," Eshbaugh said.

Eshbaugh said Holiday Valley underwent more than $4 million of work during the summer, including the installation of a new high-speed quad chairlift at Morning Star that is nearly a third longer than the lift it replaced. Two new slopes were also added, including a "beginner" and a "most difficult" trail.

Get a glimpse of the "Wintervention" trailer:

 

--Denise Jewell Gee

High winds could cause scattered power outages

12 p.m.: Strong winds in southern Erie and Chautauqua counties are expected to continue through mid-afternoon, the National Weather Service warns.

The weather agency has issued a high wind warning for areas including Orchard Park, Springville and Jamestown until 3 p.m.

South to southeast winds will increase to 30 to 40 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph along the shore of Lake Erie. The strongest winds will blow directly across the New York Thruway,  according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service also warns that moderate to heavy rain today could cause creeks and rivers to rise.

Temperatures in the Buffalo area are expected to reach near 50 today, but will turn colder by Wednesday night. Snow showers, with the potential for lake effect accumulations south of Buffalo, are expected Wednesday afternoon through Thursday night.

A lake effect snow watch issued this morning will take effect Wednesday afternoon and calls for the potential of up to one foot of snow in some areas. The bulk of the snow is currently expected to fall in the Southtowns, southern Genesee County and ski country. A shift in wind direction could push the snow into other areas, according to the weather service.

--Denise Jewell Gee

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. tables parking lot plan

The board of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. decided the fate this afternoon of two hotly debated projects once planned in tandem with Bass Pro — an underground parking ramp and canal-like structures. The board tabled the parking lot plan and decided to resdesign the canals so they're much more authentic.

Watch a recording of some of the meeting:

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Buffalo Tracks -- Nov. 28 edition

In a world where things are a Google search away, people and places with local ties pop up on many corners of the Internet.

People who used to live in the Buffalo area, as well as others who still call this place home, have a habit of making news elsewhere.

On an occasional basis, Buffalo News Live will highlight these Buffalonians, whether they're gone or they're still here. Here's the latest edition of Buffalo Tracks:

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A Buffalo native is working with a group that's keeping a local theater alive in Coos Bay, Ore. Rick Shearer, of the Egyptian Theatre Preservation Organization, was interviewed for a story in The World newspaper.

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Another Buffalo native provides a caring ear for neglected and abused children in Santa Rosa, Calif. Hank Mattimore is known as "Grandpa Hank," according to a piece in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

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A pair of brothers who lived in the Southern Tier and who became pilots in World War II were recently profiled in the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun. Ray and Ralph Warren told the newspaper the war allowed them to realize their dreams.

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A former Wilson resident has written a children's book that came from a long-held story in her family. Suanne Polasky has authored "Trapped!" according to the Shelbyville Times-Gazette.

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A Buffalo native who spent time in prison has turned his life around, according to The (Wilmington) News Journal. Louis Price told the newspaper he owes the turnaround to his family.

You can check out previous editions of Buffalo Tracks here.

If you know of former Western New Yorkers making news elsewhere, send me an e-mail at [email protected].

--Aaron Besecker

Video: Sunday at the Stadium -- Bills vs. Steelers

ORCHARD PARK -- There's a lot of red, white and blue among the tailgaters outside Ralph Wilson Stadium, but there's a good amount of black and gold, too.

12:06 p.m.: Jerry Sullivan and Jay Skurski are chatting now over at the Bills Live page.

11:53 a.m.: Sunday at the Stadium -- Thanksgiving-weekend style. See video above.

11:12 a.m.: Despite a 2-8 record, Bills fans told me they have many things to be thankful for this year.

I spoke with some people from the Rochester area, as well as fans from Kenmore, Town of Tonawanda, Pendleton and Buffalo. Check back shortly to see what they said.

No sign of any snow or precipitation out here yet. The skies are still cloudy and there's a decent breeze.

10:04 a.m.: Since it's Thanksgiving weekend, I'm asking Bills fans what they're most thankful for from their team. Check back for video of some of the answers.

How about you? What are you most thankful for as a Bills fan?

9:18 a.m.: Make sure you check back in a few hours for video from the tailgating scene.

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9:02 a.m.: Steelers fans are making a decent showing already this morning, at least in the Erie Community College parking lot.

There are two good-sized tailgates already set up by groups of Steelers fans. At one of the camps, most of the vehicles have Ontario license plates. They've also set up a 20-foot-high Canadian flag.

In terms of the weather forecast for the game, today's high temperature will reach the mid 30s, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters predict cloudy skies with scattered sprinkles or flurries this morning. Skies will clear a little this afternoon, with partly sunny conditions expected. Winds will be out of the southwest at 10 to 15 mph, according to forecasters.

 

For everything you need to know about today's game, check out the Bills page and the Billboard blog on buffalonews.com. And make sure you tune in to the live chat at the Bills Live page starting at noon.

In case you missed it, here's a video preview of today's matchup with The News' Mark Gaughan, Allen Wilson and Jerry Sullivan:

--Aaron Besecker

Get your holiday lights fixed -- for free

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Molly Gallagher decorates her home on Carmel Rd. in Buffalo. Photo by Sharon Cantillon / Buffalo News

Did you pull your holiday lights out of storage only to find they're not working properly?

Then head down to Dave's Christmas Wonderland on Union Road and William Street in Cheektowaga today from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. where Ulta Lit Technologies will fix your display for free.

The company will fix "indoor and outdoor miniature light sets, pre-lit trees and lighted yard decor," according to a news release issued by Dave's.

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