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Buffalo Fire Dept. team wins Dragon Boat Festival

Paddlers from the Buffalo Fire Department took top honors in the A Division of Saturday's debut Buffalo Niagara Dragon Boat Festival at Gallagher Beach at Buffalo's outer harbor.

Marsh USA topped the competitors in the B Division of the event, which drew 25 teams totaling 550 paddlers. Races were held continuously from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sponsor of the competition was Hope Chest Buffalo, which provides free exercise classes for breast cancer survivors, as well as a dragon boat paddling program.

The debut event honored the late Nathan Benderson and family, longtime supporters of Hope Chest Buffalo, which is currently is making plans for the 2013 Dragon Boat Festival on June 15.


Contamination cleaned up at site of new paper mill

NIAGARA FALLS -- A hazardous waste site on the location of a huge new paper mill has been cleaned up, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Friday.

The Mill No. 2 site on Royal Avenue was part of the property Norampac acquired for construction of its new Greenpac Mill. The DEC said the company spent $16.2 million on the cleanup, which included the removal of 20,000 tons of soil contaminated with radioactivity. It was shipped to an out-of-state disposal site.

Norampac also removed 135,839 tons of contaminated soil that was disposed of at local permitted landfills, and 67,827 tons of clean soil for reuse elsewhere, the DEC said.

Demolition of old buildings on the site began in the fall of 2010, and the radioactive contamination was discovered in August 2011. The $450 million paper mill is to employ about 105 workers when it opens next year, and 450 construction jobs have been created during the project.


Library patron visits rose 2.6 percent in 2011

Clarence Public Library officials say patron visits increased 2.6 percent last year, to 149,226, making the library the eighth busiest in the Buffalo & Erie County system.

The statistic was included in the library's 2011 annual report. There were 78,825 items in the library's collection last year, up 2 percent from 2010.

The top circulating item at the library was DVDs, followed by children's fiction and adult fiction.


Retired firefighters group gives Roswell Park $10,000

Representatives from the Retired Professional Fire Fighters Cancer Fund, based in Binghamton, visited Roswell Park Cancer Institute last week to present a $10,000 donation to support research programs into kidney cancer and leukemia.

The organization's mission is to raise funds for research into cancers that occur more frequently among firefighters. The fund has awarded similar grants to research programs across the U.S. and Canada.