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Morning Roundup: Tuesday, Dec. 21

Winter begins

Dorothy Spivey walks carefully along a snowy Germain Street in Buffalo on Monday. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News

Good morning.

The official start to winter comes tonight, but the region has already seen above-average snowfall and below-normal temperatures for the first part of the month, reports News Staff Reporter Stephen T. Watson.

The National Weather Service forecasts a high near 27 today in the Buffalo area with partly sunny skies. 

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

- Former Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison Monday for filing false statements with an electrical workers union. The moment of disgrace came after years of controversy and federal investigations aimed at Anello, News Staff Reporter Dan Herbeck writes.

- The Buffalo Niagara region is one of the most racially segregated communities in the United States, according to an analysis of new census data by the Brookings Institution.

- A local investor and development group paid $3.5 million Monday to buy the former Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna, reports News Business Reporter Jonathan D. Epstein.

--Denise Jewell Gee

Andriatch discusses Northtowns/Southtowns on WBFO

Bruce Andriatch, The News' suburban editor, appeared on WBFO-FM 88.7 this morning and addressed his recent columns asking why people live in the snowbelt:

Download the clip and take it with you

Audio and video: New traffic law aims to protect police, other emergency responders

A new law goes into effect Jan. 1 that will require drivers to exercise "due care" when approaching police and other emergency vehicles pulled over on the side of the road.

Dubbed the "Move Over Law," the measure is intended to get drivers to use caution and move from the traffic lane closest to the shoulder when a vehicle -- including ambulances and fire trucks -- is stopped and is flashing its red and white lights.

If a driver can't move out of the lane because of other traffic, the driver is required to slow down.

The law applies to drivers using all types of roadways in the state.

Here's State Police Sgt. David Martek, traffic supervisor for Troop A, giving a general overview of the new law:

Listen to Martek explain the rationale behind it:

Drivers who violate the law will be ticketed. The first conviction for this offense carries a minimum $275 fine. A second conviction requires a minimum $600 fine, while a third conviction within three years mandates a minimum $750 fine. Mandatory court surcharges will also be added to the fine.

The punishment allowed by the law is the stiffest of any driving law, aside from drunk driving laws, Martek said.

The law does not apply when drivers approach other vehicles with flashing lights, like snow plows or tow trucks.

Officially known as the Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act, it is named in honor of State Trooper Robert W. Ambrose and Onondaga County Sheriff's Deputy Glenn M. Searles, both of whom were killed in the line of duty while their vehicles were stopped on the side of the road.

The state has produced a public service announcement regarding the new law:

--Aaron Besecker

Morning Roundup -- Thursday, Dec. 16

Nora Graham, 8, offers words of encouragement Wednesday to little brother Reece, 6 months, who was experiencing the trepidations of lap shock on his first encounter with the hairy, rotund gent from the North Pole. Mr. Claus was holding court in the Food Court of the Boulevard Mall. (Sharon Cantillon / Buffalo News)

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

The same day Staff Reporter Mary Pasciak reported Buffalo School Board member Vivian Evans' cell phone records indicated she was living out of state, she told colleagues she will resign Jan 5.

The arts community in Erie County is still angry about what happened with the county budget.

The Sabres' Drew Stafford had a hat trick in the team's victory over the Bruins last night.

Watch Mark Gaughan and Allen Wilson's preview of Sunday's Bills-Dolphins matchup:

Here's the latest edition of Gusto TV:

For a look at today's other happenings, including today's weather forecast, check out Good Morning, Buffalo.

You also can check out The Buffalo News on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

--Aaron Besecker 

Recorded video: Legislature discusses budget

The Erie County Legislature deliberated over the budget this afternoon. They went back into session around 4:30 p.m. You can watch a recording of the debate here:

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Video: County Legislature Democrats discuss budget developments

Democrats in the Erie County Legislature held a news conference this afternoon, discussing the latest developments in the county budget (including a judge's ruling in their favor):

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News Suburban Columnist Bruce Andriatch chats at 11 a.m. today

The News' Bruce Andriatch received an overwhelming response to his "Tell me why you live in the Southtowns" column from a week ago. He chronicled many of the responses in his column today and all of the responses can be found here.

Andriatch will continue the discussion with a live chat at 11 a.m. today.

One resident SHOWS why he lives in the Snow Belt...

One Buffalo News reader responding to The News' Bruce Andriatch's column "Tell me why you live in the Snow Belt" included a few images with his response. Here's some of what North Boston resident Matt Gould had to say -- and show-- about why he lives in the Snow Belt:

A couple of pictures of me battling snow...which I love:



Most notable is the picture of me with the icicles on the eyelashes....seem to think you mentioned that in your column?

Read more responses in Andriatch's column today or view them all here.


Video: Collins announces county budget amendment vetoes

Erie County Executive Chris Collins answered questions this afternoon from the media about his veto of the County Legislature's budget amendments:

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Collins holding news conference on budget vetoes at 3 p.m. today

Erie County Executive Chris Collins will address the media at 3 p.m. today from his office. He is expected to discuss vetoes to the County Legislature's budget resulting in funding cuts to various cultural organizations.

Watch the news conference live here:

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