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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Ice boom may be put in place today

Winter is near: The Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom will soon be installed.

The International Joint Commission, which authorizes the boom, said placement of the spans that comprise the boom could begin as early as today, weather permitting.

The 1.7-mile-long ice boom is designed to strengthen the natural ice arch that forms every year and limit the severity of ice runs from Lake Erie into the Niagara River.

Guidelines allow for it to be installed when the lake temperature at Buffalo reaches 39 degrees, or by Dec. 16, whichever comes first. The lake water temperature is 42 degrees.

The installation takes two to three days.

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Tops, Martin's will give toys, cash to the needy

Almost $40,000 worth of toys and $57,000 in cash donations will be donated to five Salvation Army units in Western New York through Tops Markets and Martin's Super Food Stores, store officials announced Thursday.

Statewide, the stores' annual "Hope for the Holidays" program raised $78,000 in cash, which will be used to provide food, warm clothing and toys for low-income families. The money will be distributed in the area in which it was donated. Locally, the Buffalo unit will receive $15,000 in toys and $41,600 in cash, and the Batavia unit will receive $5,000 in toys and $1,000 in cash.

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Brown fights for city to get security funds

Buffalo's mayor is seeking to continue high-risk city homeland security funding for Buffalo, which faces exclusion from the Urban Area Security Initiative program in 2007.

Mayor Byron W. Brown met recently in Washington, D.C., with officials of the Department of Homeland Security. He has followed up that meeting with a letter, in which he reiterates his concern that the Urban Area Security Initiative doesn't adequately incorporate risk factors in Buffalo Niagara.

Though they're outside the 10-mile asset analysis area around Buffalo, the program's risk assessment didn't account for the international bridges or infrastructure such as the Niagara Power Project, Brown said. Funding to the region has dropped annually since 2003, when it received $10.3 million, to $3.7 million in 2006.

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Town Board hires preservation consultant

The Marilla Town Board on Thursday hired Jason Engel as a consultant for farmland preservation efforts targeting an 80-ace parcel owned by the Foss family.

Engel, who currently works for the Town of Amherst in the same capacity, will earn $6,500 for his work obtaining government grants. The program is designed to insulate farmers from the pressure of development through the purchase of land easements by the town.

Supervisor John Foss said the action will not impact taxpayers. In a related development, the Town Board also eliminated the 39-acre Kolbe property on Two Rod Road from consideration.

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