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Resident proves perseverance makes a difference

Jackie James-Creedon was awarded a certificate of recognition for her work as a clean air advocate in the Town of Tonawanda.

BY: Kori Sciandra | April 26, 2012

TONAWANDA/KENMORE - For years, residents of the Town of Tonawanda and Kenmore have endured air pollution produced by local factories. Many residents have complained of respiratory problems, however, one resident finally had enough and wanted something to be done about it.

Kenmore resident, Jackie James-Creedon, was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, in 2000. After her diagnoses, she remembered the usually odor that often wafted through the air when she was a child. She began asked her neighbors how they were feeling. Later, she determined many of her neighbors were ill, too.

With much concern for the coincidence of illnesses among her neighbors, she made it her quest to determine what might be making the residents sick.

Her research determined industrial air pollution in Tonawanda, produced by Tonawanda Coke Corp., was emitting high levels of Benzene - a carcinogenic - into the air and in turn causing many of the ailments she and her neighbors were enduring.

James-Creedon and her neighbors made in their goal to put a stop to Tonawanda Coke and the release of hazardous chemicals. They founded the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York.

In 2007, with the assistance of grant funding in the amount of $24,000 - which she personal wrote the proposal for - James-Creedon continued her quest. Her research allowed her to work with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to determine where the high levels of Benzene were coming from.

Her persuasion and dedication led the DEC to produce a final research report in 2009, which indicated the source of Benzine was being produced by Tonawanda Coke.

As a result, the emissions of the toxins has been reduced by 86 percent.

Supervisor Anthony Caruana and the town board recently presented James-Creedon with a certificate of recognition for her work as a clean air advocate in the Town of Tonawanda.

“This is really nice, thank you so much,” said James-Creedon. “It’s important to me, because of the person who gave it to me.”

After receiving her award she went on to say, “Air pollution in our community is still affecting people. I will continue to fight for justice.”

James-Creedon believes Tonawanda Coke is still polluting the air, she told the public a story about two refugees who moved to The Town of Tonawanda to start a better life for themselves.

The two female refugees from Sarajevo, BA, Tanya and Stoya, each have a son. James-Creedon mentioned Stoya’s 20-year-old son has cancer, and recently it was brought to her attention that Tanya’s four-year-old child stated to his mother he had a soar throat three nights in a row.

On the third night, his mother quoted that her son said, ‘Mommy my mouth is burning.’

The two female refugees from Sarajevo, BA, Tanya and Stoya, each have a son. James-Creedon mentioned Stoya’s 20-year-old son has cancer, and recently it was brought to her attention that Tanya’s four-year-old child stated to his mother he had a soar throat three nights in a row.

On the third night, his mother quoted that her son said, ‘Mommy my mouth is burning.’

These incidents are the driving force behind James-Creedon pushing forward to help her neighbors overcome the illnesses, which have afflicted them as a result the Benzene.

There are currently air monitors in place by the DEC. However, James- Creedon feels the monitors are not enough and the air is still being polluted by Tonawanda Coke.

In other town news:

• The town board authorized an agreement between the Town of Tonawanda and Town of Amherst, as lead agency for the Amherst - Cheektowaga -Tonawanda HOME Consortium.

The agreement is relative to the Entitlement Home Investment Partnership Grant Funds for Consortium Activities.

“This home investment partnership, grant funded program was reduced by nearly 40 percent just this year,” said Jim Hartz, community development for the Town of Tonawanda.

“Unfortunately, there was a Washington Post article that ran last May that highlighted approximately 80 projects that were delayed, out of approximately 5,100 projects - that this program funds Nationally.

Due to that negative press, Congress decided to reduced funding for the town by 40 percent, which translates to about $140,000. Which means there are about six or seven homes that will not be rehabilitated.”

Hartz added, “There are more than 400 families on a waiting list for home repairs. Hopefully things tune around here shortly.”

• Phase One of the Parker/Fries Interceptor Project is expected to be complete within the next 30 days. Phase Two will begin shortly there after.

• Kenmore Mercy Hospital will participate in the National Drug Drop Off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, April 28. Residents can visit the facility and drop off prescription drugs that are no longer using with no questions asked.

• Caruana and town board members designated the month of May as senior citizen month.

• April 29 to May 5 has been designated as Municipal Clerk week.

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2012-04-28 | 14:55:14
Great topic