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WJTN News Headlines

Railroad crews are still at the scene of a train derailment in the town of Ripley involving about 15 cars... including three that were carrying hazardous materials.  The derailment was first reported around 9:45 PM Tuesday on the Norfolk-Southern tracks near Shaver and State Streets in Ripley.  At a news conference at the Ripley Fire Hall late Wednesday morning... County Executive Vince Horrigan said there was a quick response involving nearly every level of government. About four dozen homes near the derailment were evacuated, involving nearly 100 people.  Two of the cars were leaking ethanol.  That from County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone... who says it was the first time firefighters used a special foam unit that was recently acquired from the state.  Leone says they sprayed a layer of foam over the propane to stablize the ethanol... and, adds it worked "very well."  Crews are currently pumping the ethanol from the two tank cars.  They will also be transferring liquid propane from a third car. No one was hurt... but, the cause remains under investigation.


Tuesday night's derailment also interrupted Amtrak passenger service between Chicago and New York City.  An Amtrak official says the eastbound Lake Shore Limited is being stopped today at Cleveland while the westbound train is being halted at Buffalo.  Buses are being used to ferry passengers in both directions to stations in the two cities.


U-S Senator Charles Schumer says the derailment in Ripley serves as a "glaring reminder that we must remain vigilant in making continual and meaningful improvements to rail safety and hazardous response planning."  Schumer... who has pushed for numerous rail safety upgrades... was also quick to say the cause is not yet known.  He says increased railroad inspections, improved coordination and communication with local first responders... and, technological improvements in rail car and track design can often make a big difference in preventing tragedy.  Schumer also says "my hat is off to the brave and professional first responders who worked tirelessly all night to keep the community safe following the derailment."


State Senator Cathy Young is applauding the work of first-responders to the overnight train derailment in Ripley.  Young adds that "it's a miracle that no one was hurt from the accident and we are grateful for that fact."  She says it's "times like these that remind us how fortunate we are to have such outstanding first responders."  Young says local, state and federal agencies are now working together to resolve the danger posed from the derailed propane cars and ethanol spill."  She says it was unfortunate that so many families were displaced... and, she hopes they'll be safely back in their homes soon.


The Winter 'roller coaster' we've been on in western New York is continuing for us over the next few days.  The National Weather Service in Buffalo let our Lake Effect Snow Advisory expire early this morning... with about 3 to 5 inches of snow in the persistant lake snow areas.  Forecaster Bill Hibbert in Buffalo says we'll also see blustery winds out of the west... pulling colder air over the great lakes.  Hibbert says a couple of areas will see some significant snow through this morning. Hibbert says the Lake Effect will begin to wind down by later this morning.  However... he says we'll still be in the upper 20s today... and about 30 to 35-degrees on Friday.  Hibbert adds, though, that we'll warm up to the 50s by next Monday... the 60s by Wednesday... and, possibly 70-degrees by Thursday.  That also means the vast majority of Lake Erie will remain open water.  Our complete forecast follows the news.


Dunkirk Police say a 66-year-old man is dead after he was hit by a car while crossing a street in the north county city.  Officials say the accident occured just after 8 PM Tuesday.  Police say the victim was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.  He has not been identified the man as yet.  The crash reportedly happened under rainy and low-visibility conditions... and, remains under investigation.


The woman who replaced Hillary Clinton as junior U-S Senator enthusiastically threw her support behind the front-running Democratic candidate for president before 'Super Tuesday' results were known.  During a conference call with New York state media regarding legislation to restrict guns from people convicted of domestic violence... Kirsten Gillibrand voiced her support for Clinton... who was a New York senator until the beginning of 2009.  That's when Clinton became U-S Secretary of State. Gillibrand adds that she feels Clinton fully understands the challenges middle class families have to make ends meet right now.  The upstate Democrat says she "trusts" Clinton... and believes she's the best candidate.  Gillibrand was appointed to replace Clinton in January of 2009... and, won a Special Election later that year.  She won a full, six-year term in November of 2012.


State regulators say they are taking steps to combat problem gambling at casinos now being built in upstate New York.  The New York State Gaming Commission earlier this week proposed rules aimed at the newly licensed facilities being developed in the Catskills, the Finger Lakes and Schenectady.  The proposed rules would require each facility to have procedures to combat problem gambling, to regularly report on results and to identify restrictions on advertising and signs.  The three new casinos could be opened in 2017.