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Board backs bid to provide body armor to troops in Iraq

The Wales Town Board Tuesday evening threw its support behind the father of a Marine in Iraq who bought body armor vests for his son and his platoon, only to learn that their platoon leader wouldn't let them wear them.

The Town of Wales is asking the state's U.S. senators to assist in the efforts of Mark McMahon, the father of the Marine; West Seneca Post 735, American Legion; and Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, in their attempts to provide for the safety of these Marines and all soldiers.

They also ask that the state's congressional delegation urge the appropriate military officials to make sure this type of hinderance to troop safety does not happen again.

McMahon, the father of Marine Michael McMahon, and the Legion Post paid for and shipped 20 Spartan II body armor vests to Al Anbar Province for Michael and his platoon after they learned government-issued vests had not arrived. He found out later that the platoon leader changed his mind about letting them wear the commercial vests.

Councilman Gerald Klinck said the decision to not allow them to wear the vests hinders the troops.

"It's not fair," he said, "They have enough to worry about."

In other business, the Hearts and Hands, a nonprofit group assisting the elderly, is waiting for the Town Board to grant $500 for the balance of 2007 to help them start the program. The board will review the records before the 2008 budget is enacted to see how many Wales residents actually use the program aimed at helping elderly stay in their homes.

The board set a public hearing on proposed amendments to the town's code book for 7 p.m. Aug. 14 in Town Hall on Route 20.

A contract was approved with Selective Insurance for $19,088 for the town's annual insurance coverage.

The board issued a proclamation to the neighboring Town of Elma on its sesquicentennial celebration.

Wales Supervisor Rickey Venditti called Elma, Wales' "Big Sister Town" and one that Wales has a "wonderful relationship" with, especially sharing sports facilities.

He added, "Elma, Marilla and Wales were doing regionalism long before anyone else."

A request from a Route 78 resident regarding the status of her neighbor's property was turned over to Building Inspector Walter Raichel. One town official agreed, "The property was a mess."

Town Attorney Ronald Bennett addressed the board regarding concerns about Russ Schereer, owner of Auctions International and a proposed flea market on Route 20. The town had reluctantly issued him a special use permit last August to construct a flea market, do restricted sales of used cars and hold monthly auctions, but board members say there has been no activity at the site.

Bennett said there is no time limit to use a special use permit and the town cannot do anything about it until Schereer complies.

The board held a moment of silence for the late John Reid of CRA Engineering, who represented his firm as engineer for the Town Board, and for former Wales supervisor Norman Rieman.

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