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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Pedestrian overpasses eyed for structural deficiencies

The state Department of Transportation is considering what to do about structural deficiencies in two pedestrian bridges located where the Thruway and the Kensington Expressway cross paths in Cheektowaga.

The bridges pass over ramps between the I-90 and the Kensington Expressway near Maryvale and Old Maryvale drives.

According to information given to town officials, the DOT is considering a variety of options, including removal, replacement and relocation of the bridges.

A series of public meetings about the issue is being planned.

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For 216th consecutive year, U.S. honors treaty obligation

IRVING -- The Seneca Nation of Indians on Tuesday marked the latest payment from the U.S. government under the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty.

Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter and other tribal officials held a news conference to formally accept -- for the 216th consecutive year -- the payment.

It consists of a piece of cloth and a share of $4,500 distributed each year to the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy that entered into the peace treaty with President George Washington.

The Senecas say the annual payment demonstrates that in the eyes of the United States the provisions of that treaty still must be met.

The Senecas have been at odds with New York State over its attempts to tax Indian cigarette sales. Tribes say that violates treaty rights.

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Bacteria-plagued beach target of another advisory

OLCOTT -- The Niagara County Health Department closed Krull Park Beach in Olcott to swimming Tuesday, for the fifth time in the past five weeks.

High bacteria counts in water tests were again the culprit, the Health Department said. The Lake Ontario waters at the beach are again off-limits until further notice.

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$167,000 in federal funds awarded for Riverbend work

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper has been awarded $167,000 in federal funds to continue its work on Phase II of the Buffalo Riverbend project, which sits adjacent to the former Republic Steel and Donner Hanna Coke facilities in South Buffalo.

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, on Tuesday announced the grant, which was provided through the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

Last fall, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper received $657,245 through a federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant that is being used toward the Riverbend project.

Riverkeeper will use the additional funding for the creation of design and engineering specifications to restore 1,520 linear feet of shoreline compromised by contamination from heavy industry.

"Beyond the clear environmental benefits, this work will continue the transformation of Buffalo's old and industrial image to one that is new, exciting and welcoming to the public and innovative economic development," Higgins said.

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