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Buffalo area eligible to seek more funding

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Friday officially announced that the Buffalo metro area would be eligible to apply for millions more in federal Homeland Security funding this year.

The change, first reported by The Buffalo News on Thursday, means Buffalo may receive more than the $3.7 million it received last year under the Urban Area Security Initiative. That funding was threatened for 2007 when federal bureaucrats ranked the Buffalo area last among 46 urban areas in terror risk.

The department abandoned that ranking in its announcement Friday.

"This would be a huge turnaround for Buffalo and Western New York," said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, who testified before Congress last year in an effort to get the funding formula changed.

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, also praised the change, which Higgins and the rest of the Western New York delegation, along with New York's two senators, had long advocated.


Ex-Clinton aide to kick off radio speaker series

Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, will kick off a new quarterly lunchtime speaker series co-sponsored by WNED-AM 970 and Leadership Buffalo on Jan. 25 in the WNED-TV studios.

The Buffalo City Forum will be modeled after the National Press Club Speaker Series format, and be produced and broadcast over the public radio station.

Davis, who served Clinton from 1996 to 1998, will sign copies of his new book, "Scandal: How Gotcha Politics Is Destroying America," after the presentation.

The event will begin with a catered lunch from noon to 12:45. The live radio broadcast will begin at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for the general public, and $15 for WNED and Leadership Buffalo members. They can be purchased by calling 849-2626 Ext. 17, or by e-mail at

For more information, call 881-6066.


Schumer calls ID idea a passport subterfuge

WASHINGTON A new identification card proposed by the State Department for people crossing the U.S.-Canadian border "is simply a passport in sheep's clothing," and will cause great inconvenience if it is required for travelers, Sen. Charles E. Schumer said Friday.

In a formal complaint filed with the State Department, Schumer, D-N.Y., outlined several steps the department should take before implementing the tougher border security program. For example, Schumer suggested an economic impact study for upstate New York and an independent audit to evaluate the program.

Schumer said in a statement that requiring the new ID cards would hurt businesses that rely on cross-border trade.

The new People Access Security Service (PASS) card, announced by the State Department in October, would cost $10 for children and $20 for adults.

The proposed card would not contain any personal information but instead send a radio frequency to a "secure U.S. database" that contains biographical information and a photo, according to the State Department's Web site.

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