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>Council asks for aid to demolish buildings

The Common Council on Tuesday asked federal and state officials to provide at least $10 million in extra aid so Buffalo can speed up efforts to tear down derelict buildings.

The city has demolished 4,448 structures in the past decade, but city officials estimate there are still 3,000 decaying eyesores that should come down.

Council President David A. Franczyk thinks the spread of decaying properties has been as destructive as some natural disasters in other regions.

"It's like a slow-motion Katrina," he said.

Lovejoy Council Member Richard A. Fontana compared the effects of slum properties in neighborhoods to a rotting potato in a refrigerator.

"Unless you pluck that potato out of that pile of potatoes, they're all going to go bad," he said.

Franczyk said he has confidence that Richard M. Tobe, the new commissioner of economic development, permits and inspections, will draft a plan that advances a more "proactive approach" to enforcing housing codes.


>Sell is a candidate for Tokasz's Assembly seat

Jeffrey N. Sell of Cheektowaga has announced his candidacy for the Assembly.

A disabled veteran, Sell works as a national service officer for the Disabled American Veterans. He is seeking the 143rd Assembly District seat held by Paul A. Tokasz, D-Cheektowaga, who serves as majority leader. The 143rd District covers the towns of Cheektowaga and Lancaster.

"Nothing is more important to me than serving the people of my community and improving their quality of life," Sell said.

Sell, 43, is looking for the Republican nomination for the Assembly and will be seeking other party lines, said Cheektowaga GOP Chairman Mitch Martin.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Erie County Legislature last year.


>Brush Up Buffalo needs sponsors, volunteers

Registration begins now for Brush Up Buffalo's once-a-year house painting program to be held June 17.

This year's event marks the 10th anniversary of the program, which is focused on revitalizing neighborhoods in the City of Buffalo. Twenty houses occupied by low-income homeowners will be painted June 17.

Brush Up Buffalo is a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization. Since its inception in 1996, the organization has painted more than 190 homes. Last year, more than 500 volunteers painted 15 homes in the Kensington-Bailey area.

For this year's event, the organization is seeking additional program sponsors as well as 800 volunteer painters. Organizers said they need about $15,000 more to adequately fund the painting operations for the 20 homes.

"Our goal for 2006 . . . is to increase our impact on the community we care about so deeply," said Roseann Scibilia, president of Brush Up Buffalo.

Interested sponsors and volunteers should visit for information or call the organization at 250-3353. The fund-raising deadline is April 28, and painting volunteers are encouraged to sign up by May 26.

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