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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Seneca Nation, U.S. agree on enhanced ID card

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Thursday finalized an agreement to develop an enhanced ID card that members of the Seneca Nation of Indians can use when they cross the Canadian border.

The card would be compliant with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires Americans to carry a passport, enhanced driver's license or other secure document when they go to and from Canada.

"This agreement will strengthen safety along our borders while providing Seneca Nation members a secure and standardized ID card," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Assistant Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski and Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. signed the agreement at a ceremony at Liberty Park in Niagara Falls.

"This agreement is significant for several reasons, the most obvious of which is that it will not hinder our ability to cross the border," Snyder said. "More importantly, this agreement stands in recognition of Seneca Nation sovereignty."

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Funding to help improve Niagara Gorge trails

Funding for the first year of a multiyear improvement plan for trails along the Niagara Gorge from Niagara Falls to Lewiston have received $140,000 in Power Project relicensing funds dedicated for the Niagara River Greenway.

The State Parks Standing Committee, which consists of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the New York Power Authority, awarded the allocation.

In a proposal submitted to the Niagara River Greenway Commission, which endorsed the project at the end of July, the agency said project costs consist of $80,000 for personnel and $60,000 for materials and equipment.

The multiyear project will cover about six miles of gorge trails between Niagara Falls State Park and Artpark, and will focus on more remote trail areas typically inaccessible to larger construction equipment, the agency has said.

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Tax credit allowed on college tuition

WASHINGTON -- Families in Western New York could save $104 million annually, thanks to a new $2,500 tax credit authored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat said Thursday.

Schumer said he is starting an education campaign aimed at making sure that families know about the credit and take advantage of it.

"As the economic downturn continues to take its toll and tuition costs skyrocket, these savings are needed now more than ever," said Schumer. "This tax credit will provide real relief for middle class families by taking one dollar off their taxes for every dollar spent on college tuition -- up to $2,500."

The tax credit, included in the economic stimulus bill, will make college more affordable and ease the debt loads that students carry, Schumer said.

The $104 million in annual savings is the total for families in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.

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