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Local Initiatives Support Corp., which helps agencies purchase and rehabilitate neglected homes and then helps low-income families obtain financing to buy the properties, has received a $200,000 grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation.

Michael Clarke, Local Initiatives program director, said the grant will be used to implement a broad-based development strategy that will assist with commercial and retail investments in Buffalo neighborhoods, provide child-care facilities for low-income families entering the work force and increase affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income families.

Meeting set on Hennepin Park center

A meeting Tuesday to gauge sentiment about renovations to the Hennepin Park Community Center has been moved to a new location after disparate factions of the East Lovejoy Business and Taxpayers Association united behind a plan to give residents an unofficial vote on the matter.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the ABLEY/Monsignor Geary Center, 1250 Bailey Ave., said Norman Bakos, association president, and Arthur Hardie, an executive board member.

Hardie and some other board members had disputed Bakos' authority to call the meeting. But both sides now agree residents will get a chance to learn about the city's proposed renovation plan and an alternative put forth by Bakos.

Residents will vote on the two options after a discussion of each proposal -- including costs, timetables and the types of activities being planned for. Bakos and Hardie emphasized that the association has not taken a position but will back whichever option residents favor in the vote. Bakos urged city officials to do likewise.

Key Bank heads gallery campaign

Key Bank is heading Albright-Knox Art Gallery's 20001 spring corporate membership campaign. Begun in 1980, the annual drive has provided financial support for special exhibitions, educational programming and the gallery operating budget. In return, corporate supporters draw on the gallery's renowned collection and historic setting for philanthropic, marketing and public affairs purposes.

A special feature of this year's corporate membership benefits will be free tickets for "The Triumph of French Painting," which will be on view from Nov. 3 through Jan. 6, 2002. The special exhibition will feature 19th- and early-20-century masterpieces by such artists as Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse.

Other perks include use of the gallery for business-related entertainment, art rentals, admission and membership cards for selected employees and invitations to the gallery's corporate luncheon or reception.

League effort receives second grant

The League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara reports that it has received a second grant of $10,000 from the John R. Oishei Foundation for its Urban Sprawl Education Program.

The league launched the program last June to raise awareness in Erie and Niagara counties of the costs of urban sprawl -- loss of open space, declining real estate values, increased traffic congestion and higher pollution.

The program has made 55 public presentations on the issue. Last month, the league announced the formation of the Regional Coalition for Education on Sprawl, made up of 19 community organizations.

In-kind donations top $1.1 million

Hockey tickets, cemetery plots and hundreds of other items valued at more than $1.1 million were contributed last year to the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County In-Kind Donation Program, program director Terry Cadro said. More than twice the amount donated in 1999, they were distributed to hundreds of non-profit agencies.

Cadro said that donations came from 48 companies and 104 individuals. They included computer hardware and software, furniture and office equipment, toys, food and tickets to many sporting and cultural events, including more than $230,000 in Buffalo Sabres tickets from Adelphia Communications.

The donations, Cadro added, also included a dozen cemetery plots, which were given to the Disabled American Veterans organization.

For information about the In-Kind Donation Program, call 887-2671 or visit the United Way Web site at

County comptroller's office honored

The Erie County comptroller's office, headed by Comptroller Nancy A. Naples, has been awarded a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

It is the 13th straight year the comptroller's office has been recognized with the certificate, Naples said.

According to the Finance Officers Association, the certificate is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting. The award encourages excellence in financial reporting by state and local governments.

Public hearing set on drug law reform

Two Erie County legislators want the public to get involved in shaping reform recommendations for the state's Rockefeller drug laws.

A public hearing on the issue will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in County Hall, 25 Delaware Ave. Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples and Legislator George A. Holt Jr., both Buffalo Democrats, are sponsoring the hearing.

The purpose of the hearing, according to Peoples and Holt, is to receive input from the public on the subject of the Rockefeller drug laws' mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Feedback from the meeting will be used by the legislators to craft reform recommendations to the state, which is currently considering a reform of the drug laws.

More information is available at 858-8341.

Domestic-violence prevention funded

Erie County legislators have approved the acceptance of additional funding for domestic-violence prevention in the county.

According to legislators, nearly $75,000 in extra funding will be funneled to the county's "Be Safe" grant program from the U.S. Department of Justice. The extra money will be roughly split between two local organizations providing victim advocacy services, Haven House and Hispanics United of Buffalo.

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