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Today's taste of spring won't last long, as high wind and plummeting temperatures are expected tonight.

Winds as strong as 50 mph -- accompanied by showers and possible thunderstorms -- could whip through the area late tonight and early tomorrow, raising the possibility of tree damage and downed power lines.

Temperatures, expected to rise into the 50s today, will fall to the low or mid-20s by morning. Winds in the 20-30-mph range should continue Saturday morning before conditions stabilize later in the day.

Today's high temperatures represented the biggest heat wave since early November.

The expected warm front prompted the U.S. Weather Bureau to issue a flood watch for Cazenovia, Cayuga and Buffalo creeks because ice jams might melt too quickly and cause overflows, particularly in South Buffalo and West Seneca.

But the warm-up won't last long enough to cause flooding elsewhere, according to meteorologist Steve McLaughlin.

"There'll be a few showers from time to time," he said, "but then a cold front is going to come in after midnight. It's going to be extremely windy and much colder.

"Temperatures will be falling to the 20s by Saturday morning," he said. "It could dip down to 10 to 15 degrees by Saturday night."

Grant will fund D'Youville laboratory

A $100,000 grant from the James H. Cummings Foundation will help establish an allied health laboratory for physician assistant and physical therapy students at D'Youville College, officials of the West Side institution announced.

The clinical skills facility, to be called the Cummings Allied Health Laboratory, will be located in the college's new $9 million Academic Center, due to open in the fall.

It will allow D'Youville's physician assistant and physical therapy programs "to work together to strengthen and improve relationships between primary care providers and the allied health professionals," said Mary E. Rudloff, chairwoman of the physician assistant program.

James H. Cummings, a Buffalo and Toronto pharmaceutical manufacturer who died in 1959, established the foundation bearing his name in his will.

It supports medical science, research and medical education and services for underprivileged children, senior citizens and people with chronic illness.

African-American role models sought

African-American candidates are being sought for a traveling role model exhibit planned by the Africana Research Museum, New York International African Institute.

The goal of the exhibit is to build self-esteem among minority youths and adults by inspiring them through the life stories of others, according to Sam Pittee-Polkah Toe, founder and chairman of the institute.

The exhibit will focus on people "our kids can directly see, touch, listen to and talk with," Toe said.

Individuals can nominate others or themselves and will be asked to submit biographical sketches and associated personal development records.

Information is available by calling 873-0277 or 862-9260.

School to hold Healthy Heart Festival

A Healthy Heart Festival, including health information and screenings, demonstrations and exhibits by community agencies, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday in West Hertel Academy, Hertel Avenue and Military Road. Miss New York State Kelly Falgiano will make a presentation on youth fitness.

High school plans black history festival

A festival celebrating African-American culture, food, music and dance will be presented from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. Feb. 23 in Grover Cleveland High School, 110 14th St.

The program -- called "One School, Many Nations: Our Black History Connection" -- will explore African-American influence on other cultures, said Deborah Klein, a Grover Cleveland music teacher who is coordinating the event.

The program will commemorate Black History Month and is sponsored by Grover's International Club, the Langston Hughes Center and the International Institute of Buffalo.

Clarence voters OK buying fire truck

Residents of Clarence Fire District 1 voted Thursday to borrow up to $200,000 to buy a new fire truck. The vote was 181-64.

David Metzger, commissioner of fire equipment, said the total cost of the pumper will be about $350,000. The vote authorized the district to borrow most of it in a short-term loan of up to one year.

The 750-gallon pumper will carry up to eight firefighters in a fully enclosed cab and can pump 2,000 gallons a minute. Bids will be solicited soon.

Deer management is topic of DEC talk

James R. Snider, senior wildlife biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, will speak on deer management in urban and suburban areas during the monthly meeting of the Depew/Cheektowaga Taxpayers Association. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Bellevue Fire Hall, Como Park Boulevard at Bennett Road, Cheektowaga.

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