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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Coalition joins push for Peace Bridge, plaza

A coalition of labor and industry groups joined Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, and Mayor Byron W. Brown on Monday in a push to move forward with construction of a new Peace Bridge and U.S. plaza.

Noting that the long-stalled project would create thousands of construction jobs and ease traffic congestion, advocates said a new Peace Bridge would help revitalize the local economy.

During a news conference at the bridge, officials from the Fair Apportionment of Infrastructure Revenue Organization said further delays shouldn't be tolerated.

"It's time to finish the studies and start construction," said group chairman Leonard DePrima. "The greater good of our community and economy depend on it."

FAIR represents labor groups, contractors, truckers, financial institutions and other entities. A new Canadian Peace Bridge plaza opened earlier this month.

On a related note, Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer is scheduled to visit Buffalo today and hopes to meet with the Common Council to discuss the Peace Bridge and other waterfront issues.

Majority Leader Dominic J. Bonifacio said Spitzer is expected to attend a portion of today's Council session. City Hall veterans said they only remember one other instance in the past quarter-century when a governor attended a Council meeting.

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Replica canal schooner open for free tours

LOCKPORT -- The Erie Canal replica schooner Lois McClure docked Monday afternoon in Lockport and will be open for free public tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Wednesday.

Craig Bacon, deputy Niagara County historian and co-chairman of the city Celebrations and Events Committee, said performances in Upson Park on Clinton Street will add to the fun. Folk singer Rick Heenan will be on stage from 4 to 6 p.m. today, and Fiddlesticks, a group of 18th century-styled fiddlers, will perform from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The Lois McClure, an 88-foot vessel constructed in 19th century style, is making a tour of the canal system.

After its Lockport visit, it will appear Saturday and Sunday in Buffalo and July 31 and Aug. 1 in the Tonawandas.

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