Lead dust forces national guard to bar non-military activities from armories

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Michael Nosek surprised Clara Quadra when he proposed to her, late last year, but the Army National Guard had an even bigger, disheartening surprise for the couple, last week when the Guard cancelled their wedding reception at the Connecticut Street Armory.

The wedding is set for July 1, but Clara said losing the armory for the reception could mean calling off the wedding, “It was really sad to tell my parents because everything had fallen into place, and we had notified our family.”

Mike and Clara are caught up in a serious health issue, that has nationwide implications. National Guard armories across the country that once housed shooting ranges may be contaminated with lead dust, so the Guard has declared all non-military activities are now off limits.

Sources in Western New York’s wedding business said, the cavernous Connecticut St. armory hosts about 15 weddings and receptions a year, so Mike and Clara might have lots of company. In fact, the New York Army National Guard is testing almost all of its armories for lead dust.

Tests from the Connecticut St. site came back showing lead levels above what the government considers acceptable. Mike is stunned at the timing of the cancellation, “The letter we got said that this is a lead standard that they adopted in 2015, which means they have known about this for more than a year.”

The bridegroom-to-be also wonders about those who have used the armory recently, “If the level is so dangerous that you need to cancel events then they should be reaching out to events earlier–people that have been there in the last few years–to get tested for lead levels.”

The couple plans to invite close to 300 guests from all over the world to their wedding, and if they can’t find a new place soon, they told us they might have to postpone the wedding indefinitely.

Since getting the bad news from the Mike and Clara have received a couple of offers for reception sites but so far, no decision.

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