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>Comptroller rejects Giambra's response

The county comptroller says County Executive Joel A. Giambra made a dangerous blunder in asking federally paid workers to act as ushers during his State of the County address.

Comptroller Mark C. Poloncarz had asked Giambra to explain his decision to request help from three or four workers in the Home Energy Assistance Program during his Feb. 16 speech in the Buffalo Convention Center.

In response, Giambra had issued a letter saying the speech is official county business; he could find no prohibition on using the workers; and the federal government, which pays their salaries, allows them to spend a small percentage of their time on other matters.

This week, in his own letter, Poloncarz said he doesn't accept the response.

The use of those workers constituted improper use of federal dollars, Poloncarz said, adding that Giambra might have exposed the county to federal action. The amount in question, however, is around $200.


>Union wants a school named after Bellamy

The president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation has proposed naming a Buffalo public school after Herbert L. Bellamy Sr., a former City Council member, who died earlier this month.

Philip Rumore has sent a letter to schools Superintendent James A. Williams and members of the Buffalo Board of Education requesting they name a city school in honor of Bellamy, the first black director and vice president of the Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce and founder of 1490 Enterprises, a community center on Jefferson Avenue.

The federation's 150-member Council of Delegates unanimously approved the recommendation, Rumore said.


>Roswell Park airs study on smoke-free pubs

Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute encourage those celebrating St. Patrick's Day to responsibly enjoy their pints of good cheer in a smoke-free Irish pub.

This week, Roswell Park, Harvard University's School of Public Health and several groups in Ireland released a study of air-pollution levels in 128 pubs in the United States, Ireland and 13 other countries.

In 2004, Ireland became the first country to put in place a nationwide ban on smoking in all indoor workplaces, including bars.

The study found that air pollution was 91 percent lower in Ireland's pubs than in pubs in communities that still allowed workplace smoking.

In the United States, pubs in cities where workplace smoking is allowed had, on average, almost 20 times more air pollution than the smoke-free pubs. Buffalo was one of the smoke-free cities included in the study.

"The United States should follow Ireland's example," Andrew Hyland of Roswell Park's health behaviors department said in a statement. "This study demonstrates why states need to enact a strong smoke-free law that covers all workplaces, including restaurants and bars."

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