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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Muslim group to recognize Kmiec for his leadership

Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo will receive a community service award from the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York at the organization's eighth annual banquet on Saturday.

Kmiec, who recently retired as 13th bishop of Buffalo, was being recognized for his more than seven years of leadership of Western New York's single largest religious group.

Dr. Khalid J. Qazi, president of the council, described Kmiec as a "true visionary leader in Western New York" who has been "open to diversity" in the community.

Qazi also credited Kmiec with making very tough decisions in his role as bishop.

The banquet, which begins at 6 p.m. in Adams Mark Hotel, will feature guest speaker Wajahat Ali, author, attorney and playwright.

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Neonatal ICU is approved for Millard Suburban

The state Public Health and Planning Council on Thursday approved a 10-bed neonatal intensive care unit for Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

With state approval, planning for construction and operations will begin immediately, hospital officials said.

In February, the hospital -- in partnership with Women & Children's Hospital -- announced plans for the neonatal intensive care unit, which specializes in the care of ill or premature newborn infants. The 261-bed Millard Fillmore Suburban averages more than 2,400 births a year.

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Seneca Gaming to announce skyline-changing endeavor

The Seneca Gaming Corp. on Monday will announce a major construction project for the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel that promises to change the Niagara Falls skyline.

At 26 stories and 357 feet tall, the casino hotel already is the tallest hotel structure in New York State, outside of New York City.

Meanwhile, construction is set to begin next month on the newly redesigned Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo, along the Inner Harbor.

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House acts to boost funding at West Valley

WASHINGTON -- The House this week passed an amendment that's likely to boost federal funding for the West Valley Demonstration Project beyond what the Obama administration had proposed for fiscal 2013.

The amendment, which passed by a vote of 223-195, transfers $36 million in funds from administrative accounts at the Department of Energy to the non-

defense environmental cleanup fund, which provides West Valley with its federal funding.

The Obama administration had called for cutting funding for the project to $48 million, from $66 million in the current year. But the amendment -- sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, and Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo -- would all but ensure that more money ultimately will go to West Valley.

Reed and Higgins said the extra funding is needed for timely site cleanup.