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Erie County requests Thruway Authority release records concerning emergency response to the November ’14 storm


We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

Legislator Ted Morton joined Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Holland Central School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos and Alden School Superintendent Adam Stoltman to announce continued funding for school resource officers (SRO) in several local districts. The SRO program provides a uniformed officer in schools as a way to promote student safety, conflict resolution and anti-bullying initiatives.

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The Erie County Legislature’s Majority Caucus is requesting that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Thruway Authority release the state records regarding the 2014 November storm, coined “Winter Storm Knife,” that buried portions of Erie County in nearly 7 feet of snow. The impact of this storm was tragic, costing millions of dollars, damaging property and taking the lives of residents. Not only were residents buried in their homes, many were stranded on roadways, including the New York State Thruway, for 36 hours.

(Click here to read a copy of the resolution) 

In response to the Governor and Thruway Authority ignoring Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests for years, the Legislature approved a resolution urging the Governor and Thruway Authority to adhere to the law and release the requested information. These records and correspondences could be critical in preparing for the next large storm event and in refocusing how agencies respond.


“I lived through the storm, my home was right in the middle of the heaviest band of snow and it was terrible. The response from our local volunteers, emergency services and support agencies was commendable, the men and women who worked around the clock to save lives were truly heroic. Knowing that this region is susceptible to a storm of that magnitude, it is critical we do everything we can to prepare. The information from the 2014 storm will help agencies learn what they can do better in a snow emergency,” said Legislator Lynne Dixon. “I don’t understand why the State is refusing to release this information, knowing these storms can be deadly. I hope the Governor will act immediately and release those records.”


“This isn’t exactly a matter of choice, the information has been FOILed and I am disappointed that the Governor and his office, along with the Thruway Authority, have ignored that fact for over a year. Those who requested the records and documents have followed the proper procedure. Furthermore, the information could be very helpful and it is frustrating that not everything is being done that can be to help this region prepare for another monster storm,” said Legislator Ted Morton, whose home and district were also hit hard. “One question that still remains is how long it took to close the Thruway, which lead to a pile up miles long. There are some state employees reporting there was a delay of four hours. We need answers to these questions.”


“We had motorists sitting on the Thruway, in grave danger, for 36 hours. Something went wrong. While steps have been taken to improve how agencies handle storms, the requested information could be extremely beneficial in revising and updating preparedness plans. I encourage the County Executive to join the Legislature in requesting that Governor Cuomo and the Thruway Authority provide us with the information from Winter Storm Knife. The County Executive knows how badly our region was devastated. If anything in those records or documents can bring change, then I think it is critical the appropriate local agencies review them as soon as possible,” added Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo, noting portions of his district were hit extremely hard.


The resolution will be sent to the Governor’s Office, Thruway Authority and other parties deemed necessary, which will request that all FOIL requests pertaining to the 2014 storm be fulfilled.