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YEMENI LEADER SHARES CONCERNS WITH COUNCIL

A leader of Lackawanna's Yemeni community and a Ridge Road shopkeeper whose customers include many Yemeni women called on Lackawanna leaders Monday to insist on fair treatment of Arab-Americans.

Merchant Mohamed Albanna and store owner Andrea Haxton addressed the Lackawanna City Council Monday.

"I am here with a really heavy heart as an American who felt we were violated as a nation, a country, a people," said Albanna, owner of a cigarette and candy wholesale business.

Innocent Muslims are as appalled as any other Americans at the World Trade Center attack, he said, and are particularly offended that some Lackawanna Yemeni women, dressed to reflect their religious beliefs, have been verbally abused in recent days. "We are one nation and we all need to be treated equally and fairly," said Albanna.

Andrea Haxton, who operates a grocery store on Ridge Road, said some of her customers, Yemeni women, are reluctant to venture out.

"The ladies aren't even coming out of their houses," said Haxton. "The ladies (used to) walk every day to the (Buffalo and Erie County) Botanical Gardens with their kids, but they are not out."

Albanna said that his community hopes to bring the Red Cross to Lackawanna for a blood drive and, if successful, will welcome all who want to participate.

The Council also approved $662,182 in street repairs for the First and Second wards and $500,000 to renovate nine streets and a circle in Ridgewood Village in the Third Ward and five streets -- Verel, Brown, Goodrich, Cobb and Cheryl -- in the Fourth Ward.

Streets targeted for repairs in the First or Second wards include Lehigh, Bauder, Franklin, Krakow, Prospect, Orange, Grape, Plum, Current, Milnor and Myrtle.

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