Highlights

Photo courtesy of Omar Fetouh / WBFO News

Search for missing police diver now in its third day

The search for a missing police diver in the Niagara River entered its third day Sunday.

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Albany, NY – Governor George Pataki says New York will rebuild -- and it will succeed -- in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Pataki delivered his annual State of the State address before a joint session of the Legislature Wednesday. He recognized emergency personnel for their bravery in responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center. The governor then outlined a series of initiatives for the coming year.

Albany, NY – Money spent on research at colleges and universities in New York has reached record levels. State officials reported Tuesday that research spending in 2000 approached $2.3 billion.

The numbers for 2000 were put together by NYSTAR -- the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research. Cornell University spent the most on research -- more than $410 million. The University at Buffalo placed fourth on the list at nearly $187.7 million. NYSTAR spokesman Jim Denn says the increase is significant.

Buffalo, NY – Top State Assembly members heard from Buffalo Niagara business and economic development leaders about the area's economy Monday.

The Assembly is holding a series of hearings to find ways to improve the upstate economy. Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-Tonawanda is chairing the hearings. The first one held in Buffalo. Schimminger began the hearing by reciting the area's lagging employment numbers and wage rates and a declining population.

Cheektowaga, NY – There may be help for small businesses in Erie County that suffered damage from December's snow storm. Congressman Jack Quinn says he's seeking Small Business Administration assistance.

"My whole life is in this garage. I can't even fathom how much it would cost to put it back together again," John Drysdale, owner of the Airport Truck and Rental Center on Aero Drive in Cheektowaga, said.

Buffalo, NY – There has been a total change in leadership at the Erie County Legislature.

A weighted vote system, imposed by a federal court, has shifted the majority over to seven Republicans within the County Legislature. Democrat Albert DeBenedetti, who has often sided with the Republicans, defeated Democrat Lynn Marinelli for the chairmanship seat because of the new system. He replaces Charles Swanick. Swanick say the court order was issued on an interim basis and believes there will be a chance to challenge the decision.

Buffalo, NY – My family and I are definitely what you would call pro Buffalo. We think the city is great and has so much to offer. There’s just one problem; we live in the suburbs. We moved out of the city almost as if by accident some thirteen years ago. Call it the fault of mid-80s real estate, but by the time we had found our perfect house after two years of searching in Buffalo, the house just happened to be in the suburbs. We’ve been checking the home finder for Buffalo real estate every Saturday ever since our move.

Buffalo, NY – Four more Buffalo schools have been placed on the state's School Under Registration Review -- or SURR -- list. They are Schools 38 and 53 and Burgard and Kensington High Schools.

Schools placed on the SURR list are furthest from state standards in math or English. At the four Buffalo schools, all were cited for poor student performance in math exams. Kensington was also cited for a high drop-out rate.

Albany, NY – Governor George Pataki Tuesday announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved his request to expand federal snow emergency assistance for Erie and Niagara counties to help pay the costs of dealing with the recent severe snowstorms that hit the region.

FEMA has granted the Governor's request to extend the time period allowed for reimbursement of snow removal operations and critical emergency needs from 48 hours to 120 hours and to lift the $5 million funding cap.

Buffalo, NY – The City of Buffalo resumed regular garbage collection Monday after digging out from record snow fall amounts.

Buffalo residents will no doubt have a lot of garbage piled high. For some, it hasn't been collected since December 26th due to the snow storm.

"Every day, what ever your normal garbage day is, we are asking you to put that out," mayoral spokesman Matt Brown said. "And we'll make sure that we get it on your regular garbage day."

Loudonville, NY – Consumer confidence in New York declined in December after posting gains the previous two months.

The drop in consumer confidence in December was fueled mainly by the New York City area. A survey by the Siena College Research Institute found the index falling 2.6 percent from the previous month.

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Heritage Moments: Land of newcomers, always arriving

Grant Street -- a Buffalo that would have been unthinkable a couple of generations ago: women dressed in head-to-toe robes, men in long shirts, children speaking a Babel of languages. After English and Spanish, the most spoken languages in Buffalo’s public schools are Karen, Arabic, Nepali, Burmese and Somali ; at Lafayette High School, students speak 42 different languages .

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