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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Housing Authority OKs pact for asbestos work, demolition

Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority commissioners have approved a contract for asbestos abatement work and demolition of two of the six high-rises at the vacant Kensington Heights complex.

The contract is with Area Contracting Corp. for $3.3 million, said Modesto Candelario, authority assistant executive director. The remaining four buildings will be enclosed to contain the asbestos inside the long-vacant, eight-story towers.

All of the work is in compliance with a plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January, Candelario said. That approval came after the EPA halted work at the site last summer, charging the authority with violating the federal Clean Air Act because the potentially hazardous substance was being improperly removed. A 23-count federal indictment charged two contractors and nine individuals involved in the asbestos removal.

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Slaughter, others introduce bill to control Asian carp

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Louise M. Slaughter and other key legislators on both sides of Capitol Hill have introduced a bill designed to force the Army Corps of Engineers to do all it can to prevent the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

The Stop Invasive Species Act would force the corps to send Congress an action plan explaining how to prevent the Asian carp from penetrating the Great Lakes at 18 potential points of entry. The full plan would have to be completed within 18 months.

Included in that would be the corps' complete report on how to prevent the huge and hungry fish from entering at the most likely entry point: the junction of the Mississippi River basin and Lake Michigan.

"In Western New York, we rely on the Great Lakes for fishing, shipping and recreation, and the introduction of Asian carp could be devastating to the Lakes' ecosystem and regional economy," said Slaughter, D-Fairport, a co-chairwoman of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force.

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., joined Slaughter in introducing the legislation. Meanwhile, Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., were among the lawmakers introducing the measure in the Senate.

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Family Promise awarded $6,618 technology grant

Family Promise of Western New York, which provides temporary shelter and a helping hand to homeless families, has been awarded a $6,618 technology grant by the Western New York Foundation.

The funding will be used by the nonprofit to obtain a network server, desktop computers, monitors and printers, a laptop and tablet.

Family Promise works with faith-based and other organizations to address the plight of homeless families. From 50 to 70 members of families in primarily Erie County are assisted annually by the organization.

James Tamol, executive director, views the organization's mission as "uniting hearts and hands." The group provides temporary shelter for homeless families while they seek stability and independence, he said.