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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Maziarz, Ceretto to conduct petition drive against hike

LOCKPORT -- State Sen. George D. Maziarz and Assemblyman John D. Ceretto announced Wednesday they will conduct a petition drive against the New York Power Authority's proposal to raise rates 29.5 percent over a 3 1/2 -year period for "preference power," including the electricity sold to privately owned upstate utilities.

Maziarz, R-Newfane, and Ceretto, R-Lewiston, said the petitions will be made available online and also in writing. They asked anyone interested in circulating a petition to call one of their district offices: Maziarz at 434-0680 and Ceretto at 282-6062.

Ceretto said the Power Authority board of trustees' action in proposing a rate hike could have been opposed sooner if Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had yielded to Niagara County's long-standing request for a seat on that board. "It shows having that voice is more important then ever," Ceretto said.

Maziarz said, "The collective voice of our residents and businesses can be an important tool for bringing change to government. This petition drive is a way to complement our ongoing efforts at the state level to make our concerns about representation known. We will use every means to fight for a better result for Niagara County."

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Public meetings set today on old TNT production site

YOUNGSTOWN -- Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers will host a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. today in the Lewiston Senior Center, 4361 Lower River Road, to talk about their investigations of the Air Force Plant 68 site located within the 7,500-acre Lake Ontario Ordnance Works site.

The meeting is open to the public and will summarize what is known about the site and also present information on its relationship to adjoining properties on or near Porter-Center Road. Ronald Scrudato will be the presenter.

The LOOW site is a former defense site constructed in 1940 to produce and store TNT. After it closed in 1942 it was used by other Department of Defense agencies. Air Force Plant 68 produced high energy fuels.

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Four-way mayoral primary assured by petition decision

LOCKPORT -- The four-way Democratic primary for mayor of Niagara Falls is a go, as the Niagara County Board of Elections on Wednesday upheld the validity of the nominating petitions submitted by Carnell Burch Sr. of Ashland Avenue.

Burch will compete against Mayor Paul A. Dyster, former City Council Chairman John G. Accardo and Norton J. Douglas for the Democratic nomination. The Republican nominee, Johnny G. Destino, does not have a primary opponent.

Burch submitted 1,197 petition signatures, well above the minimum of 804. City Democratic Party Chairman David C. Houghton challenged 538 of them, mostly claiming they were not from registered voters.

However, the elections commissioners agreed to throw out only 140 signatures; most of the rest survived on split decisions, with Democrat Nancy L. Smith voting to throw them out and Republican Mary Ann L. Casamento voting to uphold them.