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LOCAL NEWS
 BRIEFS

DEC reports hydrilla found 
in canal at North Tonawanda

NORTH TONAWANDA – The invasive aquatic plant hydrilla has been found in the Erie Canal in North Tonawanda, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced.

The plant was spotted by a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the identification was confirmed by experts at a hydrilla symposium in Syracuse last week. Hydrilla has caused major ecological, recreational and economic impacts in other regions of the country – especially in Florida, where the plant was first found during the 1960s.

It is native to Europe, Africa and Australia – but not in the Western Hemisphere.
Kathy Moser, DEC assistant commissioner for natural resources, called on boaters to "help stop aquatic hitchhikers" by removing clinging mud, plants or small animals from their boats and gear.

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Ceremony to honor 6 sailors 
lost during 1913 hurricane

CRYSTAL BEACH, Ont. – Six U.S. Coast Guardsmen who sacrificed their lives during a storm nearly a century ago to warn mariners of the dangerous rocky shoals off Point Abino in Lake Erie will be honored with the dedication of a plaque in their memory at 11 a.m. next Saturday.

The LV-82 Group will dedicate the plaque during a public ceremony in Waterfront Park, at the foot of Ridgeway Road in Crystal Beach, just west of the Palmwood Hotel. The Coast Guard's Light Vessel 82 was anchored just off the Canadian Coast when it sank on or about Nov. 10, 1913, during a three-day storm with 35-foot high waves and 80 mph winds. All six men aboard were lost.

Point Abino, in Canadian waters, was guarded for years by a U.S. light ship because of the heavy maritime traffic across Lake Erie to the Buffalo Harbor. Other light vessels later were assigned to Point Abino until 1917-18, when the Canadian government built the Point Abino Lighthouse.

Lost in the sinking of LV-82 were Capt. Hugh M. Williams of Manistee, Mich.; chief engineer Charles Butler of Buffalo; assistant engineer Cornelius Leahy of Elyria, Ohio; Mate Andrew Leahy, Cornelius' brother, also of Elyria; seaman William Jensen of Muskegon, Mich., and cook Peter Mackey of Buffalo.

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Niagara Square gathering
 urges state ban on fracking

@Body copy rag:Niagara Square was the setting Saturday for an anti-fracking rally urging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to ban the controversial drilling practice of extracting natural gas through hydraulic fracturing.

The rally, "Western New York Stands Up to Cuomo," paralleled an international day of action called "Global Frackdown," and attracted several local grass-roots participants.

"Without a ban in New York State, many homeowners will find that spending thousands on extensive water testing is their only option," said Orchard Park homeowner Sheila Miller, local coordinator for Food & Water Watch.

"[Cuomo's] plan to begin fracking in New York will only hurt rural communities while putting our water sources at risk."