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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Keane criticizes county on road work approach

A candidate for Erie County executive said Friday that incompetence and mismanagement were the reasons plans to repave county roads almost were delayed this summer.

"This is another example of the difference between the government we have and the kind of government we need," James P. Keane, a Democrat, said in a news release.

"It shows that incompetence and mismanagement still rule here at the Rath Building and that we have leaders who don't understand that results matter," he added.

County officials said this week they will be able to repave 24 miles of road this summer as planned and will not need to delay the work until spring, even though the county has not yet borrowed the money needed for this year's schedule of long-term improvements.

Budget Director James M. Hartman said the county will use $6 million from money on hand then return the sum to the general fund in September or October, when it borrows millions of dollars.

Keane, who had served as deputy county executive in the administration of Dennis T. Gorski, insisted that county officials had not found any "new" money for the repairs.

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>Thompson encouraging participation in STAR

State Sen. Antoine M. Thompson plans to work with Buffalo's Assessment and Taxation Department to enroll as many homeowners as possible in the School Tax Relief, or STAR, program.

Thomas, D-60th District, said there are more than 10,000 homeowners in the city who have not yet signed up for the program.

"If you own and live in your home and did not receive a STAR rebate check in the fall of 2006, you are not signed up for the exemption," Thompson said in a news release.

In an attempt to reach out to those homeowners, Thompson has established locations where they can sign up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Northwest Buffalo Community Center, 155 Lawn Ave.; Wednesday at West Side Community Services, 161 Vermont St.; and Thursday at Delavan-Grider Community Center, 877 E. Delavan Ave.

Eligible homeowners must bring with them proof of homeownership and proof of residency.

Homeowners who are at least age 65 and eligible for the Enhanced STAR program must bring proof of age and residence, as well as a copy of their 2006 federal income tax and Social Security form No. 1099.

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>Emergency blood drive scheduled for Sunday

The American Red Cross officials, worried that local blood inventory levels are critically low, will hold an emergency blood drive on Sunday.

Blood donations will be accepted from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Red Cross Blood Donor Center, 576 Dick Road, Suite 1, Cheektowaga.

Summer is typically a time when blood donations drop because those who are often depended upon to donate are traveling or engaged in other activities, according to Red Cross officials. Currently, they said, the region has less than a three-day supply of blood. The optimum inventory is five to seven days.

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