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Morning Roundup: Wednesday, Nov. 17

Good morning.

It's going to be windy and rainy out there today.

Here's a look at a few of the latest headlines:

- The Empire State Games have been canceled for 2011. News of the canceled  games comes after the multisport competition was resurrected this past summer in Buffalo, News Sports Reporter Keith McShea reports.

- Gov. David A. Paterson is trying to conclude a last-minute deal to locate a long-stalled casino in the Catskills, Tom Precious of The News' Albany Bureau reports.

- Andrew M. Cuomo used his first visit to Buffalo since he was elected the state's 56th governor to sound the fiscal alarm. He called the state's financial position "a financial crisis," News Political Reporter Robert J. McCarthy reports.

See Cuomo's remarks on the state's financial picture in this video shot at City Hall on Tuesday:

For more on what's happening today, visit Good Morning, Buffalo.

--Denise Jewell Gee

National Weather Service issues wind advisory

Strong winds this morning and later today could result in isolated power outages and downed tree limbs, the National Weather Service reports this morning.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for Western New York until 9 p.m. this evening.

Westerly winds are forecast to be between 25 to 25 mph today in some areas, with gusts that could reach 45 to 50 mph. Areas downwind of Lake Erie could be the most impacted.

The agency's forecast today calls for continued showers before 3 p.m., with a high near 50 in the Buffalo area. 

--Denise Jewell Gee

Video: Cummings sentenced to more than 52 years in prison in daughter's death


Eva M. Cummings is led into the courtroom this morning before being sentenced to prison for the death of her daughter. (Derek Gee / Buffalo News)

BUFFALO -- A North Collins mother who admitted abusing and killing her daughter will spend more than 52 years in prison.

Eva M. Cummings, 51, will likely spend the rest of her life in prison after being sentenced this morning by Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico.

Read more about the sentencing in this story by The News' Matt Gryta.

See Cummings during her court appearance in this video:

--Denise Jewell Gee

Morning Roundup: Tuesday, Nov. 16

Good morning.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for increasing clouds today and rain after 4 p.m.

Here's a look at a few of the latest headlines:

- A tractor-trailer struck and killed a worker on the Niagara Thruway this morning.

- A lawsuit filed Monday takes aim at the proposed Verizon data center in Niagara County.

- The state's budget is facing a $1 billion deficit -- more than three times the level projected by the governor and the Legislature, Tom Precious of The News' Albany Bureau reports.

For more on what's happening today, visit Good Morning Buffalo.

--Denise Jewell Gee

I-190 Southbound closed at Exit 4

8:36: A tractor-trailer struck and killed a worker on the Niagara Thruway this morning, state police reported.

Read more about the incident in this story.

The Thruway Authority reports that all lanes are blocked between Exits 4 and 3 and will remain closed while state police and emergency crews remain on the scene.

Traffic is being diverted off Smith Street.

Services held for Army Spc. Blake D. Whipple

A U.S. Army honor guard this morning carries the casket of Army Spc. Blake D. Whipple into St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Amherst. Photo by Derek Gee / Buffalo News
A Mass of Christian Burial was held this morning for Army Spc. Blake D. Whipple, who was killed Nov. 5 in the explosion of a roadside bomb while he was on patrol in Ghazi Province, Afghanistan. The Mass took place in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Amherst. Click here to read The News' obituary for Whipple. Photos taken by The News' Derek Gee today from outside the church are here.

The News' Dan Herbeck filed this report following the service, which featured Blake Whipple's father, David, delivering a tearful eulogy:

"He would walk into a room with 100 strangers, and walk out with 99 new best friends," David Whipple said. "Blake had a smile that would light up a room. His third-grade teacher told us he would make a great politician. I think that was a compliment."

Video: Sunday at the Stadium -- Bills v. Lions

ORCHARD PARK -- Mild temperatures, cloudy skies -- and maybe even a little hope -- greet Bills fan tailgating outside Ralph Wilson Stadium this morning.

12:50 p.m.: Here's the second set of interviews with Bills fans about whether they want a win today:

12:16 p.m.: Make sure you hop over to Bills Live where Jay Skurski and Jerry Sullivan are chatting live.

10:53 a.m.: Just as I published the last updated, a few drops started to come down here in O.P. Nothing to squash the party here, though.

10:50 a.m.: The skies have gotten a little more cloudy in the past little while. No rain, though, but it definitely looks a lot more likely than it did two hours ago.

10:15 a.m.: There was a very light sprinkle of rain -- barely a mist -- lasting less than a minute that fell a short time ago. Breeze is pretty good at times, too.

Early returns from talking with early-morning tailgaters -- they want a win. Overwhelmingly, the fans I spoke with said getting a win is more important than getting the No. 1 pick. Some said they were afraid there might be a winless season. Check back for my video interviews.

9:03 a.m.: It's about 50 degrees already, and temperatures are expected to reach about 60, according to the National Weather Service. There's a 60-percent chance of rain, but forecasters predict showers will hold off until the afternoon.

I'll be asking fans whether they want the Bills to win today, or if they' want the team to stay in the race for the No. 1 overall draft pick. Check back later for a video of what they said.

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

--Aaron Besecker

Weather: Another mild day expected

We're in for another nice day temperature-wise, according to the National Weather Service.

Highs will reach from the upper 50s near the lakes to the lower 60s inland, according to the latest forecast.

A dense fog advisory is in place for Niagara and Orleans counties until 10 a.m.

Forecasters predict no precipitation today for the area.

Tonight's lows will dip into upper 30s.

Tomorrow, there's a chance of rain showers in the afternoon, and highs are expected to reach the upper 50s. Click here for more weather.

And with that, a song that seems weather-appropriate, Radiohead/Thom Yorke's "Fog (Again)":

--Aaron Besecker

Morning Roundup -- Saturday, Nov. 13

LOCAL IVES POND  quidditch
Ives Pond Quidditch Club players line up for a game at Ives Pond Park in the City of Tonawanda. About two dozen players turned up to play. Read the full story on the growth in popularity of the game, based on a sport in the Harry Potter films.

Good morning. Here are this morning's top headlines:

Thirty-five public school employees made more than $150,000 last school year, Staff Reporter Mary Pasiak reports.

Quidditch, a mesmerizing game from the Harry Potter films, has grown in popularity on college campuses.

A Buffalo-area resident who was aboard the cruise ship that lost power in the Pacific Ocean describes his unexpected adventure.

Both Section VI football teams playing in the Far West Regionals lost on Friday. Here's a video report from the Sweet Home-Aquinas game:

Make sure you check out The Buffalo News on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

--Aaron Besecker 

Rift lingers between Dish Network, MSG

Nearly six weeks into a dispute that's kept the broadcasts of Sabres games out of some Western New York homes, Dish Network and Madison Square Garden Networks are standing their ground.

And that ground still seems quite a distance apart.

The MSG and MSG Plus channels haven't been seen on the satellite provider since Oct. 1, when an agreement between the two parties expired.

In recent weeks, MSG representatives had claimed Dish Network officials weren't really serious about negotiating.

Today, both sides painted similar -- and dreary -- pictures of the situation, with different explanations for why there has been no resolution.

In an e-mail this morning, a Dish Network spokesperson said: "We continue to negotiate with MSG for return of their channels. We are hopeful we can reach a fair agreement."

This afternoon, after the company was sent a copy of a statement issued by MSG, the Dish spokesperson claimed MSG has been unwilling "to engage in good faith [negotiations]."

"DISH Network has offered multiple times to talk and meet with MSG regarding their channels," a spokesperson said in an e-mail. "However, MSG has told us that their offer was 'take it or leave it.' "

But an MSG spokesman today said it's Dish Network that doesn't feel like talking.

“MSG has been attempting to engage Dish Network in good faith negotiations since early this year. However, they have refused to have any meaningful dialogue with us since they dropped our networks on October 1st," spokesman Dan Schoenberg said in an e-mail. "Sabres fans have already missed 16 games on MSG, as well as seven Knicks games, with no end in sight."

According to Dish Network, part of the dispute related to a push for them to carry Fuse, a music channel owned by MSG. MSG officials have previously said that is not an issue here.

MSG again today said the dispute is not about Fuse.

"Every other operator is paying fair market rates, while they seek some sort of special treatment," Dan Ronayne, executive vice president and general manager of MSG Networks, said in a statement this afternoon. "That is the reason there have been no meaningful discussions and why we continue to urge fans to switch distributors to watch the games."

Last month, the parties jointly filed for and received an order from the Federal Communications Commission allowing both to keep some information used in negotiations hidden from the public.

When asked how common it is for them to seek a protective order from federal regulators when negotiating, Dish Network says it decides on a case-by-case basis.

Michael Gilbert, director of public relations for the Sabres, today said the organization is still encouraging fans who have Dish Network to switch to another carrier. The team is not involved in the negotiations between MSG and Dish Network, he said.

At the end of October, Dish Network and News Corp. reached an agreement over the broadcast of 19 sports channels.

--Aaron Besecker

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