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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

In letter to Obama, Snyder urges a veto on PACT Act

Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. has sent President Obama a letter, asking him to veto the bill just passed by Congress that would ban the mailing of cigarettes. The measure could have a major impact on the Senecas' huge tax-free tobacco business.

"If signed into law, the PACT Act will seriously impact the Seneca Nation and the Seneca people," Snyder wrote. "We will be subject to racial profiling for the simple act of mailing a package. We will lose thousands of jobs and important health care support. And most damaging, we will be set back in our journey to self-determination by the very treaty partner that pledged to support and protect us."

If the president signs the bill, as expected, the Senecas could approach private shippers who stopped handling cigarettes years ago under pressure from New York State or set up their own shipping system.

The measure would cost the Postal Service $30 million to $40 million a year.

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Removal of ice boom scheduled to begin Monday

Plans are under way to remove the 1.7-mile ice boom spanning the outlet of Lake Erie at the Niagara River.

A state Power Authority crew will begin opening the boom on Monday. Last year, the boom opening began April 6 and was completed April 13.

The boom, owned and operated by the Power Authority and the Ontario Power Generation, keeps ice chunks from flowing down the Niagara River and threatening hydropower intakes.

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County manager search panel ratified by Legislature

LOCKPORT -- The Niagara County Legislature on Tuesday ratified the names of the search committee for a new county manager.

The eight members include Republican Legislators Clyde L. Burmaster of Ransomville and Gerald K. Farnham and W. Keith McNall of Lockport; Democratic Legislators Dennis F. Virtuoso, Renae Kimble and Jason J. Cafarella, all of Niagara Falls; Niagara USA Chamber President Deanna A. Brennen; and Niagara University history professor Thomas A. Chambers.

The latter replaces political science professor David Reilly, who had been the Democrats' first choice for a nonvoting citizen member. Brennen was the GOP pick for that role.

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Input invited in search for new school chief

NORTH TONAWANDA -- Those interested in providing input into the search for a new superintendent of North Tonawanda schools are invited to meet with search consultant Clark Godshall later this month.

Superintendent Vincent Vecchiarella will retire in September. Community sessions with Godshall, Orleans-Niagara BOCES superintendent, are scheduled for 7 p.m. March 31 and 10 a.m. April 10 in the Alumni Student Activity Center, 405 Meadow Drive. The School Board also expects to host public forums with finalists in June.
For more information, contact Godshall at (800) 836-7510, Ext. 2201.

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