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Fuel service suspended at Thruway's Angola Travel Plaza

The New York State Thruway Authority today announced that fuel services will be temporarily suspended at the westbound Angola Travel Plaza beginning at 9 p.m. for routine maintenance.

Restaurant and restroom services remain will remain available at the Angola Travel Plaza during this maintenance. Fuel services at the westbound Angola Travel Plaza are expected to resume in approximately 2-5 hours.

The Angola Travel Plaza is on I-90 in both the eastbound and westbound directions at milepost 447 between Interchange 57A (Eden, Angola) and Interchange 58 (Silver Creek, Irving, Route 438). This maintenance will not impact eastbound motorists.

Westbound travelers on I-90 in need of fuel are advised to stop at the Clarence Travel Plaza at milepost 412, between Interchange 48A (Pembroke, Medina, Route 77) and Interchange 49 (Depew, Lockport, Route 78). The Clarence Travel Plaza is approximately 35 miles east of the Angola Travel Plaza.

The Authority has activated Variable Message Signs (VMS) prior to the Angola Travel Plaza to advise westbound motorists of the temporary suspension of fuel services.

Anner one of two contestants remaining for OWN show

Buffalo-born Zach Anner is one of just two contestants left for tonight's grand finale of the "Your OWN Show" reality series on Oprah Winfrey's network.

Before he filmed the reality show in the fall, he filmed a short video called "Zach in the Buff," which gives viewers a tour of Niagara Falls, Zach Anner-style.

Click here to watch part of last week's episode, from which Anner advanced.

Break cabin fever with a week of kids' activities

SnowshoeingReinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Depew gives children a chance to try out snowshoes. (Harry Scull Jr/The Buffalo News)

Presidents Day kicks off a holiday week for many area schools.

Check out this story or browse the breakdown below of special events this week, with ideas to keep kids busy and a list of deals during midwinter break:

Great Outdoors: Give snow shoes and cross country skis a try at the 292-acre Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve. The preserve's Environmental Education Center also runs daily programs geared toward children. The preserve, at 93 Honorine Drive, Depew, offers rentals from from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Rentals are $2 per person. Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo also offers snowshoe rentals.

NARNIAEXHIBITDay at the Museum: Try out a wooden catapult and check out real swords at the Buffalo Museum of Science, where the "The Chronicles of Narnia" is on display until May 8. The traveling exhibit is based on the popular movie series and books by C.S. Lewis. The museum, at 1020 Humboldt Parkway, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. The exhibit is $2 with general museum admission. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children. Read more about the exhibit in "Exhibit chronicles Narnia."

The "Chronicles of Narnia" gives children a chance to mix science with the popular C.S. Lewis series at the Buffalo Museum of Science. (Derek Gee / Buffalo News)

Hands on Art: Explore & More Children's Museum will offer special activities and extended hours this week. Crafts, breakdancing and more will be part of a lineup of activities for the museum's Colorful Arts Family Days. The museum, at 300 Gleed Ave., East Aurora, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 21 to 26. Admission is $5 for adults and children over 1.

A Twist on SleddingColden Tubing Co. will offer extended hours for the holiday week. The tubing park, located next to Kissing Bridge North, will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tubers must be 42 inches tall and at least 7 years old. Tickets are $15 for two-hour "flex" tow passes. 

RINK Skate Niagara: Ice skate with a view of Niagara Falls at the TD Rink at the Brink in Niagara Falls, Ont. The outdoor rink offers skating and rentals at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls near the Table Rock Welcome Centre, 6650 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, Ont. The rink is open from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday; from noon to 5 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and from noon to midnight on Fridays. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children. Skate rentals are $4.

Open-air skating while overlooking Niagara Falls at the TD Rink at the Brink in Niagara Falls, Ont. (Charles Lewis/Buffalo News)

If you have your own skates, take a spin on the American side of the falls. A pond-style skating rink is open this winter near Old Falls Street and Rainbow Boulevard in Niagara Falls.

Skate Buffalo: Skate closer to home at the Rotary Rink of Fountain Plaza in Buffalo. The open-air rink offers free skating from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays  and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. The rink, at Main and Chippewa Street, offers rentals for $3 for adults and $2 for children.

Day Trip: Children and teens get in free at the Corning Glass Museum. See live hot glassmaking or take a shot at breaking glass during your visit. The museum, at 1 Museum Way, Corning, is about 130 miles from Buffalo. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Tickets are $14 for adults.

Winter Deals: Take advantage of winter rates at several area attractions. The Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara Falls, Ont., offers a discounted Winter Magic Pass online that gives visitors a chance to visit the Journey Behind the Falls, the Butterfly Conservatory and Niagara's Fury. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens will offer $1 admission tickets on Monday, Feb. 21.

ShrekAt the Theater: Two area theater productions this week are geared toward children. "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" will run through Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Lancaster Opera House. Tickets are $10. "Shrek the Musical" will run through Sunday, Feb. 27, at Shea's Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $30 to $60.

"Shrek the Musical" will run through Sunday, Feb. 27, at Shea's Performing Arts Center. (handout)

And don't forget the favorite stops at the Buffalo Zoo, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Old Fort Niagara, the Erie County Historical Society, the recently revamped Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site and the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester.

--Denise Jewell Gee

Video: Schoellkopf Disaster Remembered by Survivors

WHEATFIELD -- The Schoellkopf Power Plant fell into the Niagara Gorge almost 55 years ago.

One man, maintenance foreman Richard Draper, died in the disaster.

On Thursday, three of his children, some survivors of the collapse and family members gathered in the Wheatfield Community Center.

Carl A. Reisig of Niagara Falls, who was a 20-year-old janitor at the facility, managed to escape the fall.

Reisig was the keynote speaker at Thursday's program, which was organized by the Historical Society of North German Settlements in Western New York.

Check back for video from the event.

--Aaron Besecker

Buffalo woman appears in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

Jessica White, 26, from Buffalo, is one of 17 models who appear in this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

White's page on the Sports Illustrated website says she traveled from her hometown of Buffalo to New York City at age 14 to begin modeling and that she is the first African-American model to appear in seven Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues.

White, a Kensington High School graduate, has also appeared in the Victoria's Secret catalog.


White and dog Ariel in Delaware Park. (Robert Kirkham/News file photo)

--Lauren Nicole Mariacher

Flood watch issued for Erie, Chautauqua counties

Erie and Chautauqua will be under a flood watch from Thursday afternoon through late Friday night.

The National Weather Service has forecast the possibility of ice jams on area creeks in Buffalo and near Sunset Bay because of unseasonably warm weather.

Temperatures are expected to reach 50 or higher on Thursday and could prompt a "rapid melting of our dense snowpack," according to the weather agency.

The creeks with the greatest risk are Cazenovia, Cayuga and Buffalo creeks, as well as the mouth of the Cattaraugus Creek near Sunset bay.

The warm temperatures will also pose a hazard for ice fishermen. Read more about warnings of melting ice in "Warm-up means thin ice."

--Denise Jewell Gee

Hertel Avenue police station reopens after mold cleanup and renovation

DdistrictBuffalo Police D District station reopens at noon after being closed for renovation and mold cleanup. (Derek Gee / Buffalo News)

BUFFALO -- Police officers moved back into a Hertel Avenue station today after a $750,000 renovation that cleaned up mold and updated the building.

The Northwest District station at 669 Hertel Ave. reopened to the public at noon.

The police station was shut down a year ago after an officer filed a complaint that the building had mold growing in it.

"We certainly did not want anyone to be working in a facility where they had any concern about their health and safety in that building," Mayor Byron W. Brown said during a brief ceremony to reopen the building this morning.

Since closing, officials said, the building underwent an environmental remediation to remove mold and to address moisture in the basement.

Contractors also raised the basement floor and added a new pumping system to help address wet conditions in the building caused by water flow underneath it. 

Public Works Commissioner Steven J. Stepniak said tests done by an environmental contractor, as well as the city's police union, showed that black mold found in the building did not affect its air quality.

"At no time did we find any mold spores that were airborne," Stepniak said.

Additional renovation work was done while the building was closed, including replacing flooring and rugs, painting walls and refurbishing the lunch room. Computer systems and phone lines were also upgraded.

Brown said he hopes to hire a consultant to complete an assessment of all city buildings, including police stations and fire houses, during the next year to determine if there are problems that need to be addressed. Money for that effort, he said, is in his proposed capital budget.

"It's something that we tried to do last year," Brown said. "That part of the budget was not passed last year."

Officers stationed in the Northwest District have been working out of a temporary station in the former All Saints School on Esser Avenue while the Hertel Avenue station was closed.

D District Chief Anthony Barba thanked officers for working out of a "makeshift building" for a year.

"All Saints did a great job for us, but it's not a police building," Barba said. "We worked off portable phones and we worked off of laptops. It was quite daunting sometimes, but they didn't complain."

See inside the upgraded building in this video:

--Denise Jewell Gee

Buffalo Tracks -- Feb. 14

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:


A Buffalo native is one of the business owners helping to create a core of downtown business in a Texas city. Julie Ressell operates a book store with her husband and as well as her own unique toy store in Wichita Falls, Texas, according to the Times Record News.


A Niagara Falls native who grew up in Las Vegas has become the first player from that area to play for that city's ECHL team. Eddie DelGrosso joined the Las Vegas Wranglers in December, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Daily Herald Features Smarter Will in Tech Column

A high-school senior who was born in Buffalo has joined a campaign aimed at corporations who use overseas factory labor in clothing manufacturing. Seventeen-year-old Mike Kelley is part of the Youth Labor Committee at his school in suburban Chicago, the Daily Herald.

Tampa Bay Newspapers

A Buffalo native and former City of Tonawanda councilman is running for an elected post in Florida. Thomas J. Christy is running for city councilor in Seminole, Fla, according to the Seminole Beacon.

Las cruces sun news masthead

A former Buffalo resident was one of several Las Cruces, N.M., residents interviewed by a local newspaper about a recent blast of frigid weather. Kevin Johnson told the Las Cruces Sun-News he lost hot water because his pipes froze, but he was used to surviving difficult weather emergencies.

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

--Aaron Besecker

Follow me on Twitter.


More on Brian Davis' heroics in Detroit shootout

* Cmdr. Brian Davis appeared with Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee on CBS' Early Show:

* The Detroit Police narrate what happeneded during the shootout beginning at the 5-minute mark of this video clip:

* This photo gallery of stills from video footage of the shootout compiled by the Detroit Free Press also breaks down what happened.

Review chat with Sandra Tan about Hassan trial

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