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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

WNY Independent Living cuts in-home care staff

State Medicaid budget cuts have forced WNY Independent Living to cut more than $450,000 from its in-home care program.

The cuts in the program have resulted in the elimination of three positions, including a disability rights advocate, plus reductions in management salaries and fringe benefits.

The funding cut also has resulted in a 75-cent reduction, from $11 to $10.25, in the hourly rate for personal assistants that help about 250 residents with various levels of disabilities receive in-home care.

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DEC urged to continue monitoring air quality

Rep. Louise Slaughter is urging the state Department of Environmental Conservation to continue monitoring the air quality around Tonawanda Coke.

Slaughter cited the positive effects that the monitoring has had in reducing levels of benzene emissions, a carcinogen, by 86 percent while warning against stopping prematurely.

"I recently became aware that the [DEC] is reviewing the operation of the remaining two air monitors in the industrial area of Tonawanda as a result of budget constraints," Slaughter said in a statement. "I call on the [DEC] to maintain the air-monitoring operation in the Tonawanda industrial area, as it is vitally important to the well-being of the greater Tonawanda community and the continued environmental progress of the region."

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Hispanic Women's League offers student incentives

The Hispanic Women's League is offering incentive awards to Hispanic high school seniors who demonstrate academic achievement and community participation.

Eligible students must have a cumulative grade-point average of 85 or higher, a college letter of acceptance for the fall 2012 semester and provide two letters of recommendation. Applications can be downloaded from the league's website, www.hispanicwomensleague.org.

The applications must be received by April 13. For information, call Alicia Granto-Estenoz at 885-4357 or Eleanor Paterson at 851-1049.

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Wreath ceremony at statue of Gen. Pulaski set for Friday

The annual wreath-laying in front of the Gen. Casimir Pulaski statue outside Ellicott Square in downtown Buffalo will take place at 5 p.m. Friday, the General Pulaski Association of the Niagara Frontier announced.

The annual installation dinner for officers of the association will follow at 6 in the Millennium Hotel, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. Keynote speakers are State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Chimes and Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.

Honored as an outstanding Polish veteran will be Senior Master Sgt. Mark E. Hajduk, security forces manager for the active guard and reserve for the 107th Security Forces Squadron at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

For information, call 681-4818.