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'05 news release cited in disputing Giambra

State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi took exception Wednesday with County Executive Joel A. Giambra's remarks about Hevesi's report that Medicaid is largely responsible for rising county taxes across the state.

Giambra commented Tuesday that the state comptroller had "finally come clean" about the role of Medicaid in Erie County's financial problems.

Hevesi, he said, "came into town last year with a very partisan attack" that accused him of mismanagement and failed to mention the role of Medicaid and pension costs in the county's financial crisis. Wednesday, Hevesi's office quoted from his news release of June 6, 2005, the day he issued his stinging report on Erie County's finances:

"Increasing costs of Medicaid and pensions are a serious problem for all counties, but only Erie County has such a severe budget crisis. That's because of the rapid increase in spending over which Erie County does have control. . . . Erie County's leadership may have actually hurt the reform effort by not controlling its own spending and then trying to blame Medicaid costs for the problems it created for itself."


Manager to administer Scruggs retirement plan

The U.S. Labor Department announced Wednesday it has obtained a federal court order to appoint an independent manager for the abandoned retirement plan at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center.

When the center closed in 2002, the retirement plan was left without a trustee to manage the assets, as required by law. Participants and beneficiaries could not obtain information about the plan or access accounts. Nor could they begin collecting annuities when they retired.

As of March 31, 2004, the plan had 183 participants and $561,042 in assets, according to the Labor Department.

The new manager, Jacqueline Carmichael, will administer the plan and distribute assets to ensure an orderly termination of the plan, officials said.


Markets aiding campaign to prevent premature birth

The March of Dimes on Wednesday began its campaign to prevent premature birth by uniting with Tops Markets and Martin's Super Food Stores.

Until March 4, dimes will be collected to help fund research into premature birth, which is the leading cause of newborn death and a major cause of many disabilities.

"Stop Prematurity on a Dime" hopes to collect a million dimes at Tops or Martin's locations in its coin-sorting machines.

Those entering "1230" on the screen will obtain a receipt to attach to entry forms to mail or deliver to the March of Dimes office at 385 North French Road, Suite 100, Buffalo, NY 14228-2032.

Prizes will be awarded in three collection groups: adult, youth and group/school.

Drops may also be made from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 11 at Martin's on Maple Road, Amherst, and Feb. 21 at Tops on Union Road, Cheektowaga. For information, call 691-3805 or visit the Web site

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