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City Hallways (Feb.23) George Watts got his medals - and a day to call his own

No doubt that getting six military service medals Wednesday – after all these years – was the highlight of George Watts' day.

But there was more.

After the WWII vet received the medals he earned during the war, but had never received, Mayor Brown declared Wednesday "George Watts Day" in Buffalo.

Watts, 93, served in the Army from 1943-46, assigned to a segregated unit run by all-white officers.

He told his story last year to The Buffalo News, detailing the prejudice and racism he experienced in the Army, and expressing his frustration over the medals he earned, but never received.

Sen. Chuck Schumer saw the News' article, and promised to help get Watts the medals he  deserved. Schumer and Congressman Brian Higgins helped present the medals to Watts Wednesday, during a ceremony in Buffalo.

Also from Brown

This, following the phoned-in bomb threat against the Buffalo Jewish Community Center, which, along with the Amherst JCC, were among 10 JCCs that received such threats Monday throughout the country:

The mayor's race

Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant – who says she's considering running against Brown in the upcoming mayoral election – wrote a Facebook post Wednesday that offers some insight into her attitude toward  Brown, who, as the post says, worked against her when she challenged state Sen. Tim Kennedy.

"The news media called today, based on a story in the Buffalo News, and said that if I ran for mayor was I running to split the votes in the African American community? I reminded them that there were numerous candidates considering running, among them Terrence Robinson and Mark Schroeder.. . .I also reminded them that Mayor Byron Brown, in his enthusiastic support for Tim Kennedy's senate bid, not one but both times, could be seen in the same light. The mayor did not run for the senate but he made it abundantly clear whom he was supporting in that race. So, in our two candidates sentorial race, Mayor Brown definitely split the vote by encouraging and campaigning for Kennedy. If I decide to run, it will be because I believe, differently from Byron Brown, that the eastside has not received its fair share."

Today's calendar items

  • The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency meets this morning.
  • The public hearing continues before the Preservation Board this afternoon on plan to demolish the vacant building at 15 Allen St., in the Allentown Historic District. There's also a public hearing on request to demolish 794 Potomac Ave., in the Elmwood Historic District.
  • Masten Councilman Wingo is hosting a community and law enforcement discussion at 6 p.m. at Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing  Arts, 450 Masten Ave.

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