NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - The once endangered 107th Airlift Wing is on the verge of receiving a new mission.
Rep. Kathy Hochul says, "This is certainly a very hopeful sign, in contrast to where we found ourselves last February and March when we were told there was no chance of saving the 107th."
The Air Force is considering locating a squadron of unmanned drones at the Niagara Falls Air Base.
Drones are one of the newest, and fastest-growing components of the military. They used extensively to combat terrorism in Afghanistan, and it's expected their role will continue to grow.
According to state and federal lawmakers, putting drones in Niagara Falls would guarantee a more stable future for the base.
"This is a very important additional mission because drones are a mission that is growing within the military, and it's a new technology mission. So this is a very positive thing for the base, and for Western New York." said Sen. George Maziarz.
Hochul and Rep. Brian Higgins believe Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's visit here in August convinced Washington that the 107th is worth saving.
Higgins says, "I think that had a great influence in getting the Pentagon to focus in on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
Right now, the 107th employs about 845 people. The drone mission would come with about 500 jobs.
If the Pentagon comes through with additional new missions, there's a chance no one would have to lose his job.
"We're certainly pushing to keep the current mission, with respect to the C-130s. We're hopeful that we'll still have the simulator come, which was in the budget -- the $6 million simulator, so there can be training occurring for those flight missions, and also have the drones," Hochul said.
The Air Force is not promising the drones will come to Niagara Falls; these are still preliminary plans.
When News 4's Rachel Kingston asked Congressman Higgins what the odds are, he pointed out the Pentagon is very careful about releasing information; if they're talking about it publicly, it's a good sign.
The abandoned puppy in the Town of Evans was actually turned in by the dog's owner.
Volunteers at Buffalo’s Salvation Army created holiday cards and gift bags for the seniors at the Golden Age Center.
Buffalo police homicide detectives are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred early Saturday morning.
Buffalo Police have arrested 26-year-old Nicholas Finnegan of South Buffalo and charged him with pushing Russ Ross to his death.
The Niagara County Sheriff's responded to Saunders Settlement Road near Comstock in Cambria Friday night after receiving a tip about a suspected meth lab.
Call 4 Action looked into claims this week that members of BJ's Wholesale Club were paying too much on sales tax on some deeply discounted items.