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On National Food Day Congressman Higgins Joins the Food Bank of WNY to Promote Awareness of Community Need

[[{"fid":"468","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"}}]]     Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) visited the Food Bank of Western New York as communities across the country recognize National Food Day with events aimed at promoting access to healthy food.  Higgins and Marylou Borowiak, President & CEO of the Food Bank of WNY, marked the day with a kick-off to the annual food collection drive aimed at putting food on the tables of seniors and families this holiday season.  “No one should go hungry,” said Congressman Higgins. “Today and every day we need to come together to better position our community economically to improve access to healthy foods and work to ensure our neighbors can put food on the table.  I commend the Food Bank of WNY and their many partners for the work they do to address this urgent need.” “This year we have approximately 39,000 families relying on our services and we will need to acquire additional turkey donations to meet the increased need,” said Marylou Borowiak, President and CEO of the Food Bank of WNY.  “As of today, we need 6,000 donated turkeys by Thanksgiving to provide for our local families in need.  We are counting on the generosity of the Western New York community to come through with enough turkeys to help us provide holiday meals to those we serve.” The Food Bank of WNY serves 106,000 individuals, including nearly 37,000 children and over 11,000 seniors who receive food and non-food essentials from the 330 member agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and group homes in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties each month. Senior citizens and children represent 44% of those served by the Food Bank of WNY and are the fastest growing populations in need locally.  The growth in need among seniors has been compounded by cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which Congressman Higgins opposed.  The need among children is being addressed through the Food Bank of WNY’s BackPack program that serves over 1,000 children in 16 schools found to have limited access to food on the weekends.  The Food Bank of WNY “Faces of Hunger” 2014 report found that 59% of all individuals served indicated they have been forced to choose between paying for medicine/medical care or food in the last 12 months and 68% say they have had to choose between paying for utilities or food in the last year.  The report also found that 27% of those served are veterans. This year over 8,000 events will be held in conjunction with National Food Day.  The events will cover a number of interest areas including reducing hunger and addressing the challenges of access to fresh and healthy foods in our cities. According to Feeding America, a national organization of member food banks that includes the Food Bank of WNY, 1 in 6 people in the United States struggle with hunger.   Feeding America also reports that 12.9% of the population in Erie County and 12.3% in Niagara County are considered “Food Insecure.”  For more information, or to help, visit the Food Bank of WNY website at www.foodbankwny.org or call 716-852-1305.   
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Congressman Higgins Presents Family with Bronze Star Medal and Other Medals Earned by Private First Class Samuel J. Insalaco

[[{"fid":"467","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"}}]]   Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) presented military medals and honors, including the Bronze Star, to the family of World War II Veteran Private First Class Samuel J. Insalaco.  “For your father’s bravery, commitment and sacrifices, it is truly our honor to present you with these medals on behalf of a grateful nation,” Congressman Higgins said as he presented the service medals over to the Insalaco family.     Born in Pennsylvania, Samuel J. Insalaco moved to Buffalo and bravely enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 28th, 1942, completed his infantry training in Camp Croft in South Carolina, and served with the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. The 1st Infantry Division led the fight against the Germans in the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the largest seaborne invasion ever, just over 70 years ago. The Unit fiercely fought the Germans and became the first to capture a major German City in WWII when they when they seized Aachen on October 21, 1944. The Tunisia Campaign was another battle that Private First Class Samuel J. Insalaco never forgot. He fought in Battle of Hill #523 in 1942 which was known as one of the bloodiest battles fought in North Africa during WWII. It was there where he became one of many soldiers captured by the enemy and then later escaped.   Private First Class Insalaco fought in a total of five battles during WWII: the Invasion of Normandy, Northern-France, Rhineland, Sicily, and Tunisia, before being honorably discharged in 1945. Private First Class Samuel J. Insalaco passed away in 1989 but his son Nick Insalaco recently sent a letter to Congressman Higgins’ office. He wrote, “This year, as the nation and the world mark the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, the Invasion of Normandy, I can’t help but think of my Dad and the other brave servicemen that risked their lives to free the world. They were truly a different breed, ‘The Greatest Generation.’ It is with his memory in mind that I am requesting the assistance of your office in securing information regarding any and all service awards or medals that may have been awarded to my father for his years of service in the U.S. Army during WWII.” Soldiers like Private First Class Insalaco are recognized as heroes because it was their determination to not give up in key battles like the Invasion of Normandy which helped to turn the tide of the war leading to a victory for the Allied Forces. It is also important that we reflect upon the sacrifices that were made. According to some estimates, the Allied Forces suffered more than 10,000 casualties and more than 4,000 lost their lives on D-Day. Like many veterans, Private First Class Sam Insalaco was in a hurry to get home when the war ended, so he never looked into whether he was eligible for any medals. He married Sophie and they raised a family on Buffalo’s West Side on 10th Street between Hudson and Maryland. Sam’s sons also served in the military, Nick served in the U.S. Army Reserves during the Vietnam War and Tom served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. Congressman Higgins worked to secure Mr. Insalaco’s medals and presented the family with the Bronze Star; Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award; Presidential Unit Citation; European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 1 silver service star; World War II Victory Medal; Good Conduct Medal; and the Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII. The Bronze Star is the fourth highest individual award in the U.S. military awarded to members of the military for meritorious service in a combat zone. The silver service star on the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal recognizes the five battles that Private First Class Samuel Insalaco fought in. The Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to units of the United States Armed Forces for the extraordinary heroism while fighting against an enemy. 
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$4.3 Million in Federal Funding Awarded to Domestic Violence Prevention Efforts

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York is receiving more than $4.3 million for programs that serve domestic violence victims across the state. The funding is provided through the Federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, which supports the establishment, maintenance, and expansion of programs to prevent domestic violence. It also provides immediate shelter and support services for all victims of domestic violence and their children, as well as specialized services for underserved populations throughout the state. "Too many families experience violence at home, and my administration has made it a priority to help New Yorkers break this cycle of abuse," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding will support proven programs that are designed to help victims and combat the problem of domestic violence all across this state." The funding is split into non-competitive grants totaling more than $1.2 million and competitive grants totaling $3 million. The non-competitive grants were awarded to domestic violence programs in smaller counties with fewer resources, while the competitive grants were based on county poverty rates, type of model, county Child Protective Services reporting rates, regional office ratings, and racial equity and cultural competence. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services used a competitive Request for Proposals to allocate the funds, which are awarded on an annual basis from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Applying for this funding helps the state better align with emerging needs and the national emphasis on reaching underserved populations and creating effective new evidence-based responses to domestic violence. Awardees had to demonstrate in their proposals that the funds will support preventing incidents of family violence, as well as provide immediate shelter, support services, and access to community-based programs for victims of domestic violence and their children. They also had to offer specialized services for children, underserved populations, and minorities that are exposed to domestic violence. Acting Commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services Sheila J. Poole said, “Last year, more than 15,000 New Yorkers received emergency domestic violence shelter services at programs licensed by Office of Children and Family Services. This funding is critical to help come to the aid of adults and children who are desperately seeking help from dangerous situations at home. The organizations benefitting from this funding provide important care to families of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds affected by domestic violence every day of the year. It is important to recognize that there are victims across the state who need services not only to keep them safe, but to help them overcome the trauma of abuse.” According to Safe Horizon, a victims' services agency that assists crime and abuse victims throughout New York City: · One in four women will experience domestic violence. · More than three million children each year will witness domestic violence at home. · Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse, and boys are more likely to become abusers of their partners and children as adults, continuing a cycle of violence we see in families all too often.   Award Populations Name of Program Amount Served Equinox, Inc. $75,250 Albany Co. Allegany County Community Opportunities and Rural Development (ACCORD) $75,250 Allegany Co. Cattaraugus Community Action, Inc. $75,250 Cattaraugus Co. Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency, Inc. $50,563 Cayuga Co. The Salvation Army (Jamestown) $75,250 Chautauqua Co. Grace Smith House, Inc. $35,050 Dutchess Co. House of Faith Ministry, Inc. $30,000 Dutchess Co. Erie County District Attorney's Office $55,000 Erie Co. Child and Family Services of Erie County (Haven House) $56,074 Erie Co. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany/Catholic Charities of Herkimer County $75,250 Herkimer Co. Liberty Resources, Inc. $74,636 Madison Co. The Safe Center LI, Inc. $75,250 Nassau Co. YWCA of Niagara, Inc. $58,879 Niagara Co. Family & Children’s Service of Niagara, Inc. $56,811 Niagara Co. Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services $35,073 NYC Queens Legal Services Corporation $75,250 NYC Urban Resource Institute $75,250 NYC HELP Social Service Corporation $75,250 NYC Safe Horizon, Inc. $75,250 NYC Henry Street Settlement $75,250 NYC Palladia, Inc. $75,250 NYC Good Shepherd Services $75,250 NYC Barrier Free Living, Inc. $75,250 NYC New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project $75,250 NYC Urban Justice Center $75,250 NYC New York Asian Women’s Center, Inc. $75,250 NYC YWCA of the Mohawk Valley $75,250 Oneida Co. Vera House, Inc. $50,000 Onondaga Co. The Salvation Army (Syracuse) $75,250 Onondaga Co. Family Counseling Service of the Finger Lakes, Inc. $67,535 Ontario Co. Oswego County Opportunities, Inc. $75,250 Oswego Co. Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center $69,379 Putnam Co. Unity House of Troy, Inc. $75,250 Rensselaer Co. Seamen's Society for Children and Families $75,250 Richmond Co. Mechanicville Area Community Services Center, Inc. $53,920 Saratoga Co. YWCA of Schenectady $75,250 Schenectady Co. Retreat, Inc. $75,250 Suffolk Co. Brighter Tomorrows, Inc. $75,250 Suffolk Co. A New Hope Center, Inc. $75,250 Tioga Co. Advocacy Center of Tompkins County $50,992 Tompkins Co. Circulo de la Hispanidad $75,250 Ulster Co. Family of Woodstock, Inc. $53,613 Ulster Co. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany $75,250 Warren Co. & Washington Co. My Sisters' Place $75,250 Westchester Co. Hope’s Door $70,000 Westchester Co. Westchester County Office for Women $39,134 Westchester Co. TOTAL: $3,088,909 If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. If you are a victim in crisis seeking assistance or for information about resources in your community, call the New York State Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906, or 1-800-621-HOPE in New York City. Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Programs serving domestic violence survivors are crucial to providing the necessary shelter, treatment and counseling these situations call for. This funding will support these programs, allow them to expand their scope and services, and help them continue to serve survivors of domestic violence.” Providers statewide received nearly 195,000 domestic violence crisis or hotline calls in 2013 alone. Local domestic violence hotlines provide community-specific information and resources. A list of local hotline numbers can be found on the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence website. Additionally, the Office of Children and Family Services website contains information about domestic violence service providers. The information listed contains business addresses, and does not represent actual DV shelter locations. The Office of Children and Family Services serves New York by promoting the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, families, and communities, and coordinates the licensing process for 163 residential domestic violence programs across the state. For more information, visit ocfs.ny.gov, “like” the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Facebook page, or follow @NYSOCFS on Twitter. OCFS also maintains a Spanish-language Twitter account, @NYSOCFS_espanol.
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Higgins Announces $325,000 for Housing Opportunities Made Equal

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced $325,000 in grant funding for the organization Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME).  The grant, awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), aims to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices and to ensure individuals know their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. “It is unacceptable that discrimination continues to play a role in our society,” said Congressman Higgins.  “However, it is reassuring to know that HOME is available for Western New Yorkers to turn to for assistance.”   HOME Executive Director Scott W. Gehl said, “Thanks to the support of Congressman Brian Higgins and the New York congressional delegation, HOME will be will able to continue its work with our partners at HUD to keep alive the promise of fair housing in the nation’s sixth most racially segregated metropolitan area.” Housing Opportunities Made Equal, a Buffalo based civil rights organization, works to promote diversity and assure equal housing opportunity for all.  HOME has led the struggle for fair housing in Western New York since 1963.  HOME was among only 10 organizations in New York to receive funds though HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program, which supports programs that assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination.  This federal funding will allow HOME to recruit and train new fair housing investigators, establish partnerships with other non-profits to promote fair housing, conduct systematic investigations of larger housing providers and real estate firms, in addition to numerous other activities aimed at reducing housing discrimination.  Federal support allows HOME to provide services throughout all of Erie and Niagara Counties and to respond to requests for service from Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming Counties.   
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Congressman Higgins, Mayor Brown, Assemblyman Ryan & Councilman Rivera Announce Start of Construction on Ferry Street Bridge

[[{"fid":"466","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"}}]]   Congressman Brian Higgins, City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan and Buffalo City Councilman David Rivera announced the start of a major reconstruction project on the Ferry Street Bridge connecting Niagara Street to Squaw Island.  “Once again collaboration is quite literally building bridges in Buffalo,” said Congressman Higgins.  “With this project we strengthen destination points along Niagara Street gateway, put people to work in the City of Buffalo and invest in the future of our waterfront.”  “The Ferry Street Bridge is an important link to one of Buffalo’s crown jewels - Broderick Park - as well as to neighborhoods along Niagara Street,” said Mayor Brown.   “We are excited to begin this major infrastructure improvement project that will further strengthen the Niagara Street corridor, create jobs and serve as a vital link to historic Broderick Park, which is currently undergoing a $2.3 million transformation into a space that memorializes Buffalo’s unique local history associated with the Underground Railroad.  I thank our partners for being a part of this effort that will give residents and visitors improved access to Buffalo’s waterfront and a unique cultural amenity at Broderick Park.” Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, "The Ferry Street Bridge is an iconic and historic structure in the City of Buffalo, and I am thankful that the federal and state governments and the City of Buffalo have teamed together to preserve this important part of our history. The rehabilitated bridge will be a welcome complement to the new Broderick Park and Buffalo's West Side." “The investment being directed here on the West Side is very important to developing and maintaining the historic and cultural importance of Broderick Park and Ferry Street. As we move forward and plan for future development in Buffalo, we also must honor our past and preserve the stories of Broderick Park and Ferry Street and the roles they played in our City’s early history,” added City of Buffalo Councilman David Rivera.  “We also must provide safe bridges and roads to access our landmarks and I commend Mayor Brown and Congressman Higgins for prioritizing the Ferry Street Bridge and supporting this project.”   Originally built in 1913, the Ferry Street Bridge is a bascule bridge crossing the Black Rock Channel.   Work is just beginning to rehabilitate the bridge and is slated for completion in early 2016.  The $7.92 million reconstruction project includes $5.56 million in federal transportation funding, $1.31 million in funding from the City of Buffalo and $1.05 million from the State.  The Ferry Street Bridge project compliments a number of other improvement projects in the area surrounding the bridge:  Broderick Park will see a $2.3 million investment from the City and State.  Of that total, approximately $1.5 million in enhancements are nearly complete including: creation of a south lawn and parking area, a new shelter, railings, sidewalks, bike path, amphitheater and central overlook.  Concession building improvements, a memorial garden, Underground Railroad Freedom Walk pathway, north parking area and additional landscape features are scheduled for completion next year.  Over $1.5 million in funding was dedicated to recent repairs along Bird Island Pier.  Collaborative efforts between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, City of Buffalo and Niagara Greenway Commission, supported dredging and repairs to shore up the unique pedestrian path that serves as both a barrier providing calmer waters for boats traveling the Niagara River and a fishing destination for anglers.  In 2013 Higgins also successfully fought efforts by the U.S. Army Corps to block off access to Squaw Island fishing pier.    An additional $5.9 million in federal funding, including resources provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, was secured in 2011 for waterside improvements to the Black Rock Channel, Tonawanda Harbor and Buffalo Harbor.   The International Railroad Bridge underwent $2 million in improvements providing vehicular access to Squaw Island Park via a suspended roadway.  The repair work included $1.6 million in federal funds, a $300,000 state allocation and $100,000 in city funding.  The bridge supports rail transportation across the U.S.-Canada border.  Earlier this year, $500,000 in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funding was awarded to support green infrastructure projects along Niagara Street.  This is in addition to over $16.3 million in commitments for the multi-phase Niagara Street Gateway project which began in August.  Construction on the Ferry Bridge brings the total recent investment along this portion of the Niagara Street section of the waterfront to over $36.42 million.   
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Higgins Says: Parks Not Parking Lots for NYPA Funds

[[{"fid":"465","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"}}]]   Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is calling on the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) to amend the General Project Plan (GPP) for Canalside to immediately transfer a minimum of $15 million currently proposed for parking structures to instead be used on development of parks and public improvement projects along the Outer Harbor.  “The NYPA settlement gave us finite funds and a once in 50-year opportunity to remake Western New York’s waterfront,” said Congressman Higgins.   “We must choose carefully the highest and best use of limited resources.  Parking lots pay for themselves so why not refocus these public funds to several new projects that enhance the overall public experience along our waterfront?”   In 2005 Higgins secured a $279 million hydropower relicensing settlement from the New York Power Authority (NYPA), which is funding the vast majority of the work at Canalside. Higgins was the catalyst in the creation of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC), which is directing Buffalo’s waterfront improvement efforts. In a letter to the Chairman of ECHDC, Higgins points out that over $19.1 million in NYPA settlement funding is set aside in the GPP for parking structures.  Higgins is not opposed to plans that incorporate additional parking at Canalside but argues that parking is self-financing and therefore should be paid for with parking revenue not NYPA funds.  Assemblyman Sean Ryan said "I thank Congressman Higgins for making this push to direct more funding to waterfront development along Buffalo's Outer Harbor. There is no justifiable reason to use funds intended for parks and public access on new parking structures, and I urge the ECHDC to adopt the plan put forward by Congressman Higgins." Higgins noted the success of Wilkeson Pointe, one of the latest parks developed along the Outer Harbor with the use of $3.3 million in NYPA relicensing funds.  The Congressman pointed out that what has been accomplished at Wilkeson Pointe could be replicated in other areas along the Outer Harbor with the infusion of the $15 million in funding.   Thanks to persistent efforts by Congressman Higgins, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) recently transferred Gallagher Beach and the Small Boat Harbor to New York State for the creation of the first State Park in the City of Buffalo. Work on this park is ongoing along Buffalo’s Outer Harbor with the first phase set for completion next spring and the second phase wrapping up later next year. Higgins believes additional investments along the Outer Harbor would complement the progress at the new State Park and are achievable on a short timetable by accessing funds set aside for parking.    “Over the last several years we have begun the process of creating several pocket parks and public spaces along the Outer Harbor, by continuing in this same very focused but incremental approach we continue the momentum building that is driving people and economic opportunities to Buffalo’s waterfront,” Higgins added.    Since 2008 Higgins helped to secure over $52.23 million in federal funding for projects exclusively along the Outer Harbor including: reconstruction of Fuhrmann Blvd into the Outer Harbor Parkway, Union Ship Canal Promenade, Gallagher Beach Pavilion, U.S. Coast Guard Lighthouse access and improvement project, Times Beach boardwalk and trail, Tifft & Lake Kirsty Piers and the Industrial Heritage trail.  
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Gillibrand, Higgins Announce Historic Preservation Certification For HH Richardson Complex

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins announced that the federal Department of Interior is awarding the HH Richardson Complex a Historic Preservation Certificate. They had urged the Secretary of the federal Department of Interior in a letter to approve the Richardson Center Corporation’s application for this major award. With the Department of Interior’s approval, this project is now eligible for up to $10M in federal historic tax credits. The corporation spent over $10M on Phase I and II stabilization projects for the 140-year old HH Richardson Complex and is now ready to move forward with a project to bring a hotel, event and conference space, and a Buffalo Architecture Center to the former state hospital and historic landmark. With the new federal tax credits, this project will create an additional 75 permanent jobs and hundreds of construction jobs. “This is an outstanding development for Buffalo’s ongoing urban renewal efforts,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It will create new jobs for Buffalo’s workforce, and it will inspire other cities to think innovatively about their development. The Richardson Complex is already an architectural landmark in Western New York, and now with this Historic Preservation Certificate, it will soon be a commercial and cultural landmark for the region as well.” "The Richardson Complex is sewn into Buffalo's rich architectural and historical fabric," said Congressman Higgins.  "We have witnessed the rise of Western New York as we embrace characteristics that are uniquely ours.  This federal commitment allows us to continue to build tourism and economic growth by investing in pieces of our past that provide opportunities well into our future." “Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Representative Higgins have long believed in the reuse of this treasured landmark,” said Monica Pellegrino Faix, Executive Director of the Richardson Center Corporation. “We appreciate their efforts to secure the federal historic tax credits.  Paired with the state funding we are able to undertake the first phase of reuse that will breathe life into one of our historic assets”.  The Historic Preservation Certification will help preserve the Richardson Olmsted Complex, which is already a national architectural treasure, and also help advance a plan to re-develop the building into a hotel, event and conference center, and Buffalo Architecture Center. The Richardson Center Corporation has already invested heavily in making improvements to the buildings and grounds, and they have worked closely with the community to devise a redevelopment plan that will greatly enhance tourism, recreation, and the economy of the local community. Federal historic rehabilitation tax credits are available for any qualified project that the Secretary of the Interior designates as a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure. The Historic Tax Credit has been instrumental in boosting the local economy of cities, towns and rural communities as it rewards developers who rehabilitate underused historic spaces for new businesses to use and attract new jobs. The letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is below: Dear Secretary Jewell: We write today on behalf of the Richardson Complex Corporation’s Historic Preservation Certification Application, Part 2.  We urge you to quickly approve this application, which will not only help preserve the Richardson Olmsted Complex in Buffalo – a true national treasure – but which will also help advance a plan to re-develop the building into a hotel, event and conference center, and Buffalo Architecture Center. The Richardson Center Corporation has already invested heavily in stabilization projects and in improvements to the buildings and grounds. In addition, they have worked closely with the local community, including the Richardson Complex Corporation’s Community Advisory Group, and ten public meetings, to come up with a redevelopment plan that provides both community development and improvement, and builds on Richardson’s vision for the building and Olmsted’s vision for the grounds. The resulting project is one that will greatly enhance the tourism, recreation, and economy of the local community and help to restore this grand building. Buffalo is famous for its renowned architecture and the project to stabilize and restore this building fits perfectly into that reputation. We urge you to quickly review and approve the application for Historic Preservation Certification so that this important project can move forward. Thank you for your consideration.  
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RPCI Receives Special Funding Aimed at Increasing HPV Vaccinations

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The National Cancer Institute has awarded Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) a new one-year, $150,000 supplemental grant as part of an effort to increase the number of adolescents — both girls and boys —receiving the HPV vaccine. The three-dose vaccine protects against infection with certain high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) that are responsible for most cases of cervical and anal cancers as well as many genital and head/neck cancers. RPCI is one of only 18 centers around the country that will be leading this national effort. Public-health agencies and medical societies endorse HPV vaccination for all boys and girls at age 11-12 years, yet only about one-third of 13-to-17-year-old girls received all three recommended doses — considerably short of the 80% goal set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 report. Immunization rates for U.S. boys are even lower — just 7% of boys age 13 to 17 are fully vaccinated. This grant will support the efforts of two staff members working within Roswell Park’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences. Field staff will include Frances Harfouche, MSW, Evaluation Coordinator, and Christy Widman, Cancer Control Coordinator. The project will be led by RPCI’s Martin C. Mahoney, MD, PhD, a primary-care physician and researcher in RPCI’s Population Sciences Program. “We have a real opportunity to prevent thousands of cases of cancer in this country,” notes Dr. Mahoney, an expert on HPV and vaccines. “We see much more successful uptake — vaccination rates above 75% — with comparable adolescent vaccines like Tdap, for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, and the meningococcal vaccine. This important project is part of a strategic nationwide effort to identify and address existing barriers so that we can see similar compliance levels for HPV vaccination.” The primary goals of this project include completing an environmental scan to identify and establish partnerships with relevant stakeholders such as local and regional health care plans, hospitals, pediatric practices and other medical groups that provide care to adolescents and teens, agencies, immunization coalitions, urgent-care centers, school nurses, Native American tribes, minority health coalitions, and colleges and universities. This effort will yield a compendium of information summarizing local/regional data, programs and resources focused on HPV vaccination and cataloging the challenges to HPV vaccination specific to the Western New York region. “This NCI award once again demonstrates the nation’s confidence in Roswell Park Cancer Institute as a leader in cancer prevention and care,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “The best way to fight cancer is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This project aims to educate, raise awareness and better connect with the community toward the goal of saving lives.” “This funding gives Roswell Park the opportunity and resources to be a key player in the nationwide effort to vaccinate more adolescents against HPV infections,” said acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “HPV and HPV-derived cancers threaten tens of thousands of people’s lives each year, and yet the vaccine remains vastly underutilized. Only through continued education and unwavering efforts to raise the vaccination rate among adolescents will we win the fight against HPV.” Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) has been a longtime partner to Roswell Park, working closely with the RPCI Office of Cancer Coalition Health Disparities and Dr. Mahoney as part of the Western New York Cancer Coalition (WNYC2) Center to Reduce Disparities. They will remain active in assisting with this project helping to create necessary links within the community and with NFMMC clinical staff. “As a vested partner in the Western New York Center to Reduce Cancer Disparities, Memorial Medical Center is committed to improving the health of residents in Niagara County and, more specifically, Niagara Falls,” said NFMMC President & CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo. “This project has tremendous potential for understanding why more adolescents are not getting the HPV vaccine, and we wholeheartedly support this effort.” Roswell Park Cancer Institute endorses the use of HPV vaccination to prevent HPV-related cancers. Through this project, Roswell Park will actively pursue collaborative processes that will result in a significantly increase in the use of this vaccine. The HPV vaccine has the potential to prevent substantial numbers of cervical, genital and anal cancers in both genders. The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of thefirst cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or emailaskrpci@roswellpark.org. Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.
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POLONCARZ, HIGGINS REVIEW RECONSTRUCTED EAST ROBINSON/NORTH FRENCH ROAD

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and Commissioner of the Erie County Department of Public Works John Loffredo to review the completed road reconstruction project at East Robinson and North French roads in Amherst. The $10.1 million project, which included full depth reconstruction of the existing roadway plus the addition of two travel lanes and one two-way center turn lane, also involved the installation of concrete curbs and gutters and new sidewalks offset from the face of the curb. Signage placement and pavement markings will provide the finishing touches on the new roadway. “2014 has been a very busy year for road work in Erie County, and I am pleased to add East Robinson and North French roads to the growing list of projects that have been completed across the County this year. In the past two years, my administration has invested over $60 million in our roads, bridges, and infrastructure to provide residents with the roads they expect,” said Poloncarz. “This project has greatly improved a road that has become more heavily used as the community has grown around it, making it safer and easier to navigate for pedestrians and motorists. I thank Congressman Higgins for securing a great portion of the funding for this project from the federal government. ” Accadia served as contractor for the project. 1.2 miles of East Robinson and North French roads from Niagara Falls Boulevard to east of Sweet Home road were completely reconstructed during the course of the project, along with an additional 0.4 miles of Sweet Home road in Amherst. The bridge over Town Ditch No.2, which was closed for the entire project length, was replaced and now features guide railing placed at the bridge approaches to protect traffic. Waterline replacements and improvements to Town highway intersections were also completed. The project was funded with 80% federal funds, 15% state funds, and 5% county funds.  “Generations ago it was never envisioned that this stretch would become the corridor it is today, connecting: a university, commercial and light industrial businesses, schools and neighborhoods,” said Congressman Higgins.  “This infrastructure investment enhances a route in great need of improvement, providing a safer and more efficient transportation experience as well as direct economic impact to the area.” Traffic analysis by the Erie County Department of Public Works and the Town of Amherst indicated that the volume of traffic on East Robinson and North French roads exceeded existing capacity prior to the reconstruction, resulting in reduced safety, heavy congestion, and poor levels of service. These roads function as an urban minor arterial highway servicing the northwest area of the town of Amherst. They connect eastern Amherst, the Niagara Falls Boulevard area, and Niagara County to I-990.     For more information: On the Erie County Department of Public Works, visit   http://www2.erie.gov/dpw/          
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GROUND IS BROKEN TO MAKE WAY FOR NEW OISHEI CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

BUFFALO, N.Y. (October 8, 2014) – Health care for kids and their mothers took a major leap forward today as Kaleida Health held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. Physicians, employees, donors, elected officials, and other dignitaries were on hand to kick off construction on the new $270 million facility. Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy was the keynote speaker of the event, announcing that New York State will provide $35 million for the project, including $15 million from the Buffalo Billion for infrastructure at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and up to $20 million from other state resources to support the new hospital.  “Securing the funding for the new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital is a huge win for Buffalo and Western New York,” said Duffy. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership through the Buffalo Billion, the hospital will give communities throughout the region access to specialized health care. I thank all of our state partners and Kaleida Health for making this excellent project a reality." The Oishei Children’s Hospital will replace the current Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, which is located on Bryant Street. “On behalf of the nearly 10,000 employees at Kaleida Health, and the tens of thousands of mothers and children that we serve at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, I thank our partners from the State of New York,” said Jody Lomeo, president and CEO of Kaleida Health. Lomeo added, “We thank Governor Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Duffy for their support of this project, for their support of the City of Buffalo, and for their unwavering commitment to Western New York. Governor Cuomo and his team have clearly stated that they believe in us, and they have made our community a focus. They have made the commitment - now it is our opportunity to deliver. And we will deliver a world class children’s hospital to serve generations to come.” “Today is another historic moment in the rebirth and renaissance of our community,” said John Koelmel, chair of the Kaleida Health Board of Directors. “And while that may, at times, be an overused and exaggerated term – not so today. This is a very exciting – and critically important – time for Buffalo and all of Western New York. We are putting the first shovels in the ground for construction of the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. A hospital that will ensure that best-in-class care will be available for mothers and children for generations to come – right here in our community. We are here today because of an incredible and sustained effort from so many. One that has been years in the making. And we have succeeded because this initiative has been physician-led, the beneficiary of unprecedented support from the entire community, an important priority for the Governor and his team in Albany, and an unwavering focus for a Kaleida Health organization that is incredibly committed to delivering on its promise to provide world-class pediatric care for all in our community.” The historic project will right-size and consolidate services in a 12-floor, 183-bed, free-standing, modern facility on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It will be an integral part of the campus, linking with Buffalo General Medical Center, the Gates Vascular Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the new University at Buffalo Medical School and more. Allegra Jaros, president of Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo said, “Today, we secure pediatric health care for all of our children. Today, we secure the best and brightest doctors, the most advanced technology and programs, extensive research, dedicated and compassionate staff, and the utmost attention to patient and family-centered care for our children in Buffalo and Western New York. Most importantly, we position ourselves to be recognized as the best comprehensive hospital for children and mothers in the nation.” The facility will be located on Ellicott Street, bounded by High and Goodrich Streets in the City of Buffalo. “The building of the Oishei Children’s Hospital is embraced by the entire staff at Women & Children’s Hospital - and the community at large - because it will have a profound impact on all of Western New York,” said Teresa Quattrin, MD, the pediatrician-in-chief at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. “This new facility will ensure that children and their mothers across the region will continue to receive outstanding care. On behalf of all of my physician colleagues, we are indebted to the many constituencies who are helping make this dream a reality.” Shepley Bulfinch of Boston, MA, one of the country’s top pediatric healthcare architects, was selected to design the physician-led plan. Shepley Bulfinch’s connection to Buffalo dates to 1870, when Henry Hobson Richardson completed the Buffalo Psychiatric Hospital, today the H.H. Richardson Complex. The firm later designed two buildings for the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo. Jim Scordato, the Western New York Hospital vice president for 1199SEIU said, “After a long campaign in 2002 to save Children’s Hospital, 1199 SEIU and its members - with the help of Kaleida Health, Children’s Hospital physicians and the state legislative delegation - fought hard to secure funding to save the hospital from closure and move forward with the plan to build a new hospital for the children of Western New York. The members of 1199SEIU are proud to be moving forward with a new hospital that will provide the children of our community the best possible care and services in a state-of-the-art facility.” The capital campaign for the new hospital continues to proceed as well. In fact, nearly $44 million has been raised to date. In addition to this, $2.5 million has been raised to create endowments for some of the hospital’s family support programs including Stones Buddies (for chronically ill children), as well as a neonatal intensive care unit family resources endowment. “John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital will serve our community much like John R. Oishei did. This new facility will function as a marker to commemorate his passion, vision and unending contributions to Western New York,” stated James Wadsworth, Oishei Foundation chairman. The Oishei Foundation committed $10 million to build the new hospital. Turner Construction Company, an international construction services company and a leading builder in diverse and numerous market segments, is the construction manager for the building of the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. Turner is headquartered in New York City with a local Buffalo office.  “This is a proud day when we can start constructing the new world-class John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital for our city and region’s children and families,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “The start of construction on the Oishei Children’s Hospital adds to the positive momentum that’s underway in Buffalo and continues a great tradition of top pediatric care in the City of Buffalo - an attractive place to live, work and invest.” Not only will the Oishei Children’s Hospital be the link for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, but the hospital today – and in the future – will be the only link for comprehensive pediatric health care for Western New York. The Oishei Children’s Hospital ensures pediatric and maternal services remain available for patients in the Western New York region. The vision for the new hospital is to be recognized as the innovator, the highest quality, highest value provider and partner, and the regional referral center for women and children’s health care for Kaleida Health, Western New York and beyond. “Today highlights the continued growth of Buffalo’s health and life sciences industry,” said Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes. Kaleida Health institutions have served Buffalo residents proudly for decades; this 12-story facility will ensure those services into the future. Relocating the new $270 million John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital to a centralized Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is a welcome addition. The dollars that the state is providing for gap-funding through the Buffalo Billion is just another example showcasing Governor Cuomo’s commitment to Buffalo and Western New York.” “This is an exciting day in Western New York as we celebrate the continued growth and development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “The new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital will continue a storied legacy dating back over 100 years of providing world-class, life-saving medical care to the children of Western New York. Congratulations to Kaleida Health and to the hospital’s physician-led steering committee on this exciting accomplishment.” Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (and the new Oishei Children’s Hospital) is the only center with the pediatric specialists (physicians, surgeons, respiratory therapists, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, child life, along with trained and compassionate support staff such as aides, housekeepers, dieticians) who can care for all children (0–21) and their families. It is the only access point for pediatric critical care, Level III neonatal intensive care, and Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Centers in and for Western New York. The sickest babies and children come to the hospital for care, either directly or through transfers from other hospitals. Without the resources available at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, these young patients would have to travel out of area for care. “Any parent who has had to walk through the doors of Children’s Hospital shares a sense of relief and comfort in the fact that top notch pediatric medical services is available right here in our backyard,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “With this new facility, we bring the same quality of care to a new state-of-the-art facility that can best meet the needs of our littlest patients for generations to come.” Jerry Mazurkiewiecz, chair of the Women & Children’s Hospital Advisory Council said, "Today marks a significant milestone in the history of health care in Western New York. It marks the date that construction officially begins on a brand new pediatric healthcare facility. It will provide the dedicated physicians and employees of Kaleida Health an opportunity to continue providing the same quality of health care that has been provided at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo for generations to come in keeping with the traditions of the past hundred years. Today's event is a result of the significant amount of time, talent and treasure that has been committed by physicians, staff, administration and volunteers as well as the philanthropy of our community at large. It marks a new beginning for pediatric health care in Western New York." County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “The new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital will combine cutting-edge healthcare services for women and children with a top notch team of partners committed to providing the best care possible. This project reaffirms and builds on our region’s reputation for excellence in health care, with a focus on providing high-quality care for all children and their families in a setting that provides pediatric specialists and integrated care. Families in Erie County will now have access to the latest in services and care right here in Buffalo at the new Children’s Hospital.” Construction is expected to take approximately 34 months to complete, with doors opening in 2017. “Today will always be remembered as the day that Buffalo ensured the future of two institutions that have been an integral part of the fabric of our community,” said Steven Lana, MD, a longtime advocate of the hospital and leading pediatrician in Western New York. “The Pegulas officially assume ownership of the Buffalo Bills - securing the future of the franchise for generations to come - while we celebrate the groundbreaking for a new children's hospital that will help ensure that future generations of women and children will have access to the finest facilities and medical care possible. Everyone can take great pride and rejoice in this tremendous win and historic day for the people of Buffalo and Western New York.” In August, Kaleida Health began preparation on the site, which is located on Ellicott and High Streets across from the Buffalo General Medical Center. Site preparation includes fencing the site, implementing a traffic plan, removing the asphalt from the parking lot, ordering steel, and releasing the shop drawings for shoring, steel and outer walls.   Erie County Legislator Peter Savage said, “This is an exciting day for Buffalo and Western New York. The construction of the new Children's Hospital not only offers another dynamic project to Buffalo's rebirth, but this state-of-the-art new facility will dramatically transform the quality of care for children for years to come.” Rev. Darius Prigeon, who represents the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus for the Common Council said, “The City of Buffalo is so fortunate and so blessed to have the only standalone children’s hospital in New York State. The new Oishei Children’s Hospital will be a beautiful addition to the medical campus, and more importantly, will be the place for pediatric and maternal care in the coming years and for generations to come.” David Rivera, Niagara District councilmember and representative of the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo neighborhood said, “I applaud Kaleida Health for their commitment to improving health care for the children of Western New York. Today marks another step in the mission for an environment in Buffalo that will provide every opportunity available to care for and improve the health and wellness of our children. The key to creating healthy cities, counties, and regions is to create world-class healthcare facilities that focus on our youngest population, and Kaleida Health is doing exactly that with its construction of the new Oishei Children’s Hospital.” 
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Statement By Congressman Higgins on the NFL Vote to Approve New Ownership for the Buffalo Bills

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) released the following statement in response to today’s unanimous vote by NFL owners:  “We celebrate and welcome Terry and Kim Pegula’s tenure as the next owners of the Buffalo Bills.  For the last three years, as owners of the Buffalo Sabres, they have demonstrated their genuine commitment to Buffalo fans and the Western New York community.  We thank the Wilson family for their unwavering dedication to Buffalo over an extraordinary 55 year span and are grateful to know that Mr. Wilson legacy and generosity will live on in Western New York.  Today’s vote cements the Buffalo Bills’ place in Western New York for generations to come.”  
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$2.2 Million Fillmore Avenue Streetscape Project Complete

BUFFALO – Mayor Byron Brown, joined today by Majority Leader Demone Smith, Congressman Brian Higgins, city residents and business owners in the Martin Luther King Jr., Park neighborhood, marked the completion of the $2.2 million Fillmore Avenue Streetscape Project with a ribbon cutting ceremony.   “Fillmore Avenue is one of Buffalo’s significant business, community and cultural areas and today residents have a safer, slower and more walkable street that will further enhance the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park community for many years to come,” said Mayor Brown, noting that this project is part of a much larger plan for the MLK area. “The $2.2 million FillmoreAvenue Streetscape project brings better roads, sidewalks, decorative lighting, new trees and benches to this important corridor.  We worked closely with residents and business ownersto move this project forward.  I am proud to stand with themtoday to celebrate the completion of this streetscape project, reinvigorating this community and attracting new residents and business owners who want to live, work and invest in our city.” “Fillmore Avenue serves as the gateway to MLK Park and has the potential to become one of the most important commercial corridors in Buffalo,” said Majority Leader Demone Smith. “This neighborhood is already a desirable neighborhood and these improvements to the business strip further enhance its appeal.  I thank Mayor Brown, the city and citizens for working together on this coordinated and strategic project that is transforming this historic neighborhood into a vibrant and diverse community, spurring additional development opportunities and job growth.” “The Fillmore Avenue improvement project lays a new foundation in the MLK Park neighborhood providing both community enhancements and economic opportunities,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.  “This project represents a significant federal investment in the City of Buffalo and again demonstrates the value of infrastructure investments as a means to improve our transportation network, business districts and neighborhoods.   I commend Congresswoman Louise Slaughter for initiating funding for the project and was proud to support this allocation in Congress.”  The streetscape improvements to Fillmore Avenue, between N. Parade Avenue and East Ferry Street, included road repaving, new sidewalks, bike lanes, decorative lighting, new trees and benches. Along with improved pedestrian and vehicular safety with the installation of a new street lighting system and enhanced cross walks.   (The breakdown of funding for this project was as follows: approximately $1M Federal, $800K CHIPS, $300K BSA, & $100K Water.)   Since 2006, a number of other investments have been made in the MLK Park area: • $4.5 million Splash Pad at MLK Park • An additional $900,000 in roadway improvements to Humbold Parkway • $800,000 MLK Park Shelter House Improvements • $350,000 MLK Park Picnic Shelter • $16 million St. Martin Village Project • Over $500,000 in street paving • $700,000 in signal system improvements and the demolition of 131 blighted structures, at a cost of $2.1 million. • City is a partner with the “The Better Schools/Better Neighborhoods Collaborative”.  The Collaborative is a demonstration project that seeks to build a comprehensive, integrated model of community development in the Martin Luther King, Jr. neighborhood.   FILLMORE AVENUE STREETSCAPE PROJECT BACKGROUND The Fillmore Avenue Streetscape Project reconstructed approximately 3,000 linear feet of North Fillmore Avenue in the City of Buffalo between North Parade Avenue and East Ferry Street. This was a federally funded project and included funding from the City, BSA, and the Water Authority (approximately $1M Federal, $800K City, $300K BSA, & $100K Water).   The project provided for one 15-foot shared lane (for bicycle and vehicular use). Green infrastructure improvements to the City’s sewer system were also included as a part of this project.