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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Brownfields agency gets $200,000 EPA grant

WHEATFIELD -- The Niagara County Brownfields Development Corp. has been granted $200,000 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to add to its revolving loan fund, officials said.

The grant, which was half of what the county sought when it applied in April, brings to $2.1 million the total EPA funding for the county-run corporation. It offers grants and low-interest loans to local governments and businesses aiming to revive abandoned industrial sites.

The corporation, founded in 2008, has funded projects in Niagara Falls, Youngstown, Lockport and Cambria but was tapped out before the new grant.

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Health care reform is topic of community presentation

LEWISTON -- What to expect from the planned changes in health care and what issues will affect people's care will be discussed at a community presentation called "Health Care Reform: What it will mean for our community and small business," from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Community Room of Our Lady of Peace nursing care residence, 5285 Lewiston Road.

The panel discussion and question period will be sponsored by Mount St. Mary's Hospital and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce.

It will include a discussion of collaborative efforts to share important clinical information to improve the quality and reduce the cost of medical care.

A continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. will precede the program.

Advance registration is required with Fred Caso, St. Mary's vice president for community relations, at fred.caso@msmh.org.

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Crews begin collection of yard waste for summer

LOCKPORT -- City crews have begun a new yard waste collection program that will continue through August.

City Clerk Richelle J. Pasceri said collections will occur on normal garbage days during the first and third full weeks of each month.

The crews will collect prunings, hedge trimmings, brush, thatch from raking, old plants, leaves and mulch. The material must be placed in containers weighing less than 40 pounds or in paper bags with handles.

No plastic bags will be accepted, officials said. Materials must be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. of the scheduled trash collection day.

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Sewer District spending on improvements approved

LOCKPORT -- The Niagara County Sewer District will spend $1.87 million on improvements at its Wheatfield treatment plant and on clearing rights of way for new sewer lines.

The County Legislature approved the package last week. District Director Anthony Hahn said the district will pay off the borrowing that funds the work over the next 20 years by using money from its fund balance, or surplus.

The largest chunk of the project, $1.12 million, will buy new bar screens for sewage treatment.

A new grit removal basin will cost $390,000, and clearing rights of way will cost $360,000.