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From Washington, D.C., Higgins Raises Awareness of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) traveled to Washington DC for votes on Monday just as the snow began to fall in Western New York.  From the Capitol he is raising awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide, communicating with various officials and agencies, and continuing to monitor the extreme weather conditions across the region, including his hard-hit hometown of South Buffalo. The Congressman has been in direct communication with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.   Meanwhile Higgins’ office has been in touch with leaders in other local municipalities and a number of government agencies including: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Guard, National Weather Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and Small Business Administration.  Today, from the Floor of the House of Representatives Congressman Higgins spoke about carbon monoxide, which can be especially dangerous in emergency situations as a result of blocked vents, idling automobiles and defective heat sources.     [[{"fid":"472","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser"}}]]   (To access video go to: http://youtu.be/RKUHM17cAHw)   Higgins stressed the power of installing and maintaining working carbon monoxide detectors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and save lives.  Below is the text of Higgins’ remarks: “Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the importance of Carbon Monoxide Awareness. Each year 400 people in the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning, making it the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the country. The real tragedy is that these deaths can be prevented through the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in the home. “In January 2009, Western New York teenager Amanda Hansen tragically passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of a defective boiler. “After Amanda’s tragic death, her family created the Amanda Hansen Foundation, which aims to educate and promote awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and to help those who cannot afford it, obtain and install CO detectors. I join them in encouraging all Americans to prevent carbon monoxide-related tragedies by installing detectors in their homes. “It is for Amanda and for others who have unnecessarily died that I am a cosponsor of H.R. 4864, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act. This legislation would help states and local governments implement education programs, develop training materials, and to buy and install CO alarms in schools and homes.”   Additional information on carbon monoxide safety can also be found through the Amanda Hansen Foundation at: http://amandahansenfoundation.org/ or the Consumer Product Safety Commission website: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/.   
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Statement by Congressman Higgins

Congressman Higgins released the following statement in response to the current weather conditions in Western New York:  "Buffalo and Western New York are populated by the hardiest people in the world, and Mother Nature tested that hardiness agai...

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Well, gee whiz there has been a lot of things happening of late, and not much of it good. But the fact that some non-bad stuff is taking place...
Video thumbnail for youtube video Higgins Gives Shout out to Niagara Air Reserve Station -


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced construction has broken ground on the Robert Moses Parkway South "Riverway," an $18.8 million project that will enhance access to the waterfront and to Niagara Falls State Park. Along the final one-mile stretch mostly within the State Park, all expressway features will be replaced with pedestrian-friendly park road that evokes the characteristics of Frederick Law Olmsted's original design that historically passed through the area. “Niagara Falls is one of the most visited attractions in the nation, and this project will make it easier than ever for visitors to experience this natural wonder for themselves," Governor Cuomo said. "Investing in the Robert Moses Parkway will enhance the park, expand recreational opportunities, and work with hotel and entertainment projects in the downtown area to increase tourism and create jobs in the region." Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Original construction of the Robert Moses Parkway took away this city’s most valuable asset—access to arguably the greatest waterfront in the world. It’s time we, as a community, take it back. This is about more than tearing something down, it’s about building something up. Transformation of the Robert Moses into a new Olmstedian Riverway brings the city closer to its waterfront and with that comes great opportunity.” For many years, the elevated expressway has blocked views and access between downtown neighborhoods and the Upper Niagara River. This project, expected to result in most road work being completed by fall 2015 with all park landscaping work completed in spring 2016, will fully restore visual and physical access to the various natural and cultural features along the River. As part of the project, an elevated interchange at John B. Daly Boulevard will be removed at the entrance to the State Park—along with the earthen berm on which it sits—and replaced with a modern roundabout and signature entry feature. Other plans include a full path system and nature areas, as well as a new water feature evoking the former Port Day Pond, a favorite local fishing and gathering spot for residents until it was filled in 1960 to make way for the Parkway. All of these changes are aimed at allowing easier access to the Niagara River and the American Rapids – where for generations residents and visitors have had to cross four lanes of concrete expressway to access the water’s edge. Now there will be native plantings and a complete trail network to facilitate hiking, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing, all accessible from city streets for the first time in more than 50 years. In addition, there is currently more than $40 million of private investment along this one-mile stretch, in part due to this important infrastructure project. Through the Buffalo Billion initiative, New York State is investing $10 million dollars toward the project’s construction phase. This is being added to $6.8 million in Department of Transportation funds through its Multi-Modal Access and other programs to cover $15.8 million in hard construction costs and $1.5 million in construction oversight. Included in the Department of Transportation allocation is about $1 million in federal highway funding passed through the State. Empire State Development previously approved a grant of $1.5 million to enable State Parks to complete final design and construction documents for the project. The southern segment of the Robert Moses Parkway sits in part on land controlled by the New York Power Authority that was created as part of the development of the Niagara Power Project in the early 1960s. The expressway itself is owned by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation, and is maintained under agreement by the New York State Department of Transportation. In 2006, USA Niagara Development Corporation, Empire State Development’s Niagara Falls subsidiary, worked with State Parks, the Department of Transportation, the City of Niagara Falls and the New York Power Authority to draft a memorandum of understanding to jointly solicit funds for the reconfiguration of two key segments of the Parkway to open access to the City’s waterfront. Beginning construction on the Riverway represents the first of these efforts. In addition, the agencies recently began preliminary engineering and environmental review work to reconfigure a segment of the northern portion of the Parkway to open public access along the Niagara Gorge, funded by a grant from the New York Power Authority. The construction contract for the project was awarded to Mark Cerrone, Inc. of Niagara Falls, New York. MCI has been involved in a number of major regional infrastructure projects such as reconstruction of Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls and construction of the cobblestone street network that is part of the Canalside area in Buffalo, as well as efforts to return cars to Main Street in Buffalo. Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Rose Harvey said, “Creating an entrance to the nation’s oldest state park that is befitting of Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision is one of the goals of this project. When this project is complete visitors will enter Niagara Falls State Park from the Robert Moses Parkway South and know they have arrived somewhere special. Historic revitalization is happening at Niagara Falls State Park thanks to Governor Cuomo and his unending support for New York State Parks. I also wish to thank our terrific partners on this project at the Department of Transportation led by Commissioner Joan McDonald, President, CEO and Commissioner Ken Adams and his team at Empire State Development and President and CEO Gil Quiniones and the team at New York Power Authority.” New York Power Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Gil C. Quiniones said, “The Niagara River is one of the state’s greatest natural wonders with stunning vistas and a diverse ecosystem. The repurposing of the Parkway will allow Niagara Falls residents and others to fully enjoy the proximity of the river and highlights the innovative partnership of the state and the city to add to the abundant attractions of this part of Western New York.” Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy said, "The Robert Moses Parkway is a significant channel that connects visitors to Niagara Falls. This project will make it easier to attract tourists and drive local development and job growth. With thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership, this is another win for Niagara Falls and the Buffalo Billion initiative." State Assemblyman John Ceretto said, “This project will finally provide the open views and access to the upper Niagara River that residents and tourists have been craving for decades. Governor Cuomo’s strategic plan for growing tourism focuses on taking advantage of all that our majestic Niagara Falls has to offer. This new gateway to the Falls will result in long term economic benefits by supporting lodging and retail projects on adjoining corridors, as they look to take advantage of this unique new view of our world famous natural wonder." City of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, “It is indisputable that Niagara Falls has one of the world’s greatest waterfronts, but for more than a generation, residents, visitors and businesses have been cut off from that resource by the Robert Moses Parkway. Now, with the visionary leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the strong support of his Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, a decades-long planning mistake will at long-last be corrected. Reconnecting the City to its iconic Niagara River waterfront will not only be a major economic benefit; it will also help our residents to recover their sense of identity and self-confidence as we work to accelerate the development of our tourism industry.” Christopher J. Schoepflin, President of USA Niagara Development Corporation said, “The Riverway project will finally re-connect the City to its waterfront, create a proper welcome to both the City and the Park, and prove to be a catalyst for the future of tourism and economic growth in downtown Niagara Falls. This is truly a once-in-a-generation project and a lasting legacy for Governor Cuomo and all involved.” Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair said, “Opening visual and physical access between the Upper Niagara River and downtown Niagara Falls is a natural component for enhancing tourism. Cities all over the world continue to newly discover the beauty and experiences their waterfronts have to offer. We celebrate the creation of this fully accessible waterfront. And, we envision generations of people enjoying the Riverway and surrounding environs which naturally lead to our spectacular waterfalls – one of the world’s great destinations.” Howard Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair said, “Breaking ground on the Riverway project is a critical step toward driving the region’s growth and tourism and providing long-term stability. The project open up access to the river’s edge and make adjoining neighborhoods more valuable for reinvestment as we already begin to see. This plan will revitalize the city and is true to Olmsted’s original vision for Niagara Falls.” About the Buffalo Billion With Governor Cuomo’s commitment to invest $1 billion in the Buffalo area economy, which is designed to spur significantly greater private investment and create thousands of new, sustainable jobs, New York State is helping the Buffalo area to realize immediate economic growth to put “generation now” back to work while setting the foundation for sustainable economic opportunity for future generations. The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council – a top economic development plan award winner – will play a key role in how the funding is used to support the expansion of local companies and how to target the attraction of new businesses across the country and around the globe to come to Buffalo. To learn more about the Buffalo Billion, visit www.buffalobillion.ny.gov. 

Higgins Announces November Congress on Your Corner Schedule

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the Congress on Your Corner schedule for the month of November.  Through the program, staff from Congressman Higgins’ office are available at satellite sites throughout the district to better serve the needs of constituents.   The November Congress on Your Corner schedule is as follows:   Wednesday, November 12 10am - Noon Valley Community Center 93 Leddy Street, Buffalo   Monday, November 17 10am – Noon Golden Age Center-Salvation Army Buffalo 960 Main Street, Buffalo   Thursday, November 20 2:00 – 3:00pm Access of WNY 609 Ridge Road, Lackawanna   During Congress on Your Corner, residents have the opportunity to talk directly with someone from Congressman Higgins’ office about federal matters they may need assistance with.  Issues discussed often include Social Security, veteran benefits or medals, passports, federal student aid or small business assistance.   Residents can also reach Congressman Higgins’ office in Erie County by calling 716-852-3501 or the Niagara Falls office at 716-282-1274.  

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Congressman Higgins Presents Military Medals to Private Indiana Hunt-Martin

[[{"fid":"470","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser"}}]]   Just days before the 69 year anniversary of her honorable discharge, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) presented Private Indiana Hunt-Martin with the Women’s Army Corps Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button for her service during World War II.  “Private Indiana Hunt-Martin is a true trailblazer,” said Congressman Higgins, at a ceremony held at AMVETS Medallion Post 13 in Buffalo, NY.  “Not only did she honorably serve our country but she did so despite facing discrimination as both a female and African American.  On behalf of a grateful nation, I am honored to present her with these medals that she so clearly deserves.”  Born in Lyons, Georgia in 1922, Indiana Hunt-Martin moved to Niagara Falls, NY with her family in 1926 at the age of five.  She graduated from Niagara Falls High School in 1940 and worked at the Carborundum Company before joining the Women’s Army Corps on September 15, 1944.  Following enlistment, Indiana Hunt-Martin traveled by railroad to Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia where she underwent training for her service overseas.  She recalls encounters with segregation as she traveled south including: a train stop in Washington, DC where passengers were separated into railcars based on their race, facing separate restrooms and drinking fountains when she left the Georgia base, and fellow military members getting in trouble for refusing to sit in the back of the bus.  Hunt-Martin was a member of the 6888th (The Six Triple Eight) Central Postal Directory Battalion, within the Women’s Army Corp.  Composed of 855 women, the 6888th was one of a kind, being the first African American female battalion, as well as being the only all women battalion to be deployed overseas. The battalion sorted and redirected millions of backlogged letters and packages sent to the soldiers. They were required to maintain accurate information cards for more than seven million United States military, civilian, and Red Cross personnel serving in the European Theater of Operation.  The 6888th worked around the clock to deliver approximately 65,000 pieces of mail each shift.  Often times, the letters and packages that soldiers received were the only contact they had with their families and consequently, this communication was critical to keeping their spirits up.   Members of the Women’s Army Corps worked in more than 2,000 jobs stateside and in every theater of operation during World War II.  By 1945, there were more than 100,000 members and 6,000 female officers in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Throughout the war, an estimated 350,000 women served at home and abroad.   Indiana Hunt-Martin was honorably discharged from the United States Army on November 10, 1945.  After the war, Hunt-Martin worked in New York City for the State Department of Labor before being transferred to the Labor Department’s Niagara Falls office in 1949 and later the Buffalo office in 1964.  She worked for the New York Labor Department for a total of 41 years, before her retirement in 1987.  Service was a part of Hunt-Martin’s life following her military duty as well.  She is a member of Erico American Legion Women’s Post, the AMVETS 5 Henry Pollard Post, the American Legion Bennett Wells Post 1780 and the Pratt Willert Community Center Seniors Club.  Indiana has one daughter, Janice Martin, a Registered Nurse and one grandson, Andre Theobalds, who hold a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.  Her family has a strong record of military service including: a brother, William Hunt Jr who served in the Army during WWII; another brother Samuel Hunt who served in the Army during the Korean War; and a nephew James Brown, Jr. a Marine who served during the Vietnam War.  Congressman Higgins added, “Hunt-Martin’s pioneering courage contributed to the desegregation of the armed forces and it has helped plant seeds for the equal treatment of women and African Americans in the United States.”  Shortly after her service, on June 12, 1948, President Truman signed Executive Order 9981, prohibiting racial segregation in the armed services. Now, over 70 years after she began her service, Private Indiana Hunt-Martin has finally received the recognition that she should have when she returned to her country after World War II.