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Federal grants will bolster fight against bias in housing

Federal housing officials awarded $30 million in enforcement grants to help nonprofit fair-housing organizations carry out testing and enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.

Buffalo-based Housing Opportunities Made Equal received $308,167 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HOME will use the money to recruit and train "testers" to pose as prospective renters. It also will collect housing discrimination allegations and mediate disputes or file discrimination complaints; conduct outreach to municipal code enforcement officers about accessibility requirements for the disabled and train agencies serving the disabled; and do landlord training on federal and state fair housing and landlord-tenant laws.

The money also will fund outreach to potential victims of housing discrimination and be used to distribute bilingual fair-housing brochures and place fair-housing advertisements in bus shelters and on public buses.


Coggins named principal at elementary school

Colleen Coggins will be promoted to principal of Clarence Center Elementary School, effective July 1.

Coggins has served as an assistant principal at the school since August 2009. The School Board last week approved her appointment.

Coggins has previous experience as a teacher, district English language arts/literacy coordinator and a school administrator. She earned a bachelor's degree in special education from Geneseo State College, a master's degree in reading from the University at Buffalo and a certificate of advanced study in educational administration from Brockport State College.

The current principal, Neil T. Burns Jr., is retiring at the end of June. The district received about 90 applications for the position.


Auction aims to raise funds for Amish medical expenses

Amish families in Western New York's rural countryside will benefit from the money raised through an "Amish Relief Auction," organizers announced.

The benefit will begin at 9:30 a.m. May 26 in the Empire Livestock/Cherry Creek Market, 798 Pickup Hill Road, Cherry Creek. The event is expected to run all day, rain or shine.

Funds raised will go toward the medical expenses of members of the Conewango Valley community of Amish in the outlying areas of Western New York, organizers said.

Traditional Amish like those in the Southern Tier usually do not have medical insurance. Often families with medical bills will cover the costs of their debts by raising money through community events, auctions and other fundraisers.

Available at the auction will be Amish-made furniture, including tables, chairs, rockers, and clocks; Amish-made textiles like quilts, wall hangings and rugs; and many handmade items. Food, animals and farm equipment also will be auctioned.

Amish home-style food and drink will be available.

For more information, contact the Bank of Cattaraugus at 257-3431.