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>Farmers eligible for aid to offset storm losses

The Farm Service Agency has declared that farmers in Erie, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties are eligible for disaster emergency loans for damages suffered in last year's October Surprise snowstorm.

Family farmers who have suffered at least 30 percent loss of their production due to excessive snow, rain or hail are eligible. Applications will be taken until Aug. 14.

For more information, call 664-2351.


>International Institute plans Central Asia forum

A Monday forum on Central Asia will kick off the International Institute of Buffalo's Great Decisions 2007 series on foreign affairs.

Sponsored by the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, sessions will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Mondays in the institute, 864 Delaware Ave.

Admission to individual sessions is $10 -- or $5 for students and teachers, payable at the door. Package prices also are available.

Other topics in the series, which continues through March 26, include children's rights, climate change and international migration.


>WBFO-FM given $20,000 for digital conversion

WBFO-FM has received a $20,000 grant from the Cameron Baird Foundation to convert to the digital broadcasting format known as High Definition Radio.

HD technology offers improved sound quality and the ability to reach a wider audience by broadcasting programs over three streams instead of one -- with a clearer signal -- according to Carole Smith Petro, WBFO associate vice president and general manager.

The foundation's support "allows the station to take full advantage of current digital, satellite and Internet capabilities and places WBFO in the technical forefront of both commercial and public radio stations," Smith Petro said.

WBFO's overall fundraising goal for the changeover is $182,000.


>Help is available for heating bills

The Erie County Home Energy Assistance Program has scheduled a series of outreach sessions next month at various locations to sign up people eligible for HEAP aid to pay their heating bills.

All outreach sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and people will be interviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. The first 80 are guaranteed service. For information, call the HEAP hotline at 858-7870.

Applications also can be made at the HEAP offices at 291 Pearl St. and in the Rath Building daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outreach sessions will be held:

* Feb. 2 -- North Buffalo Community Center, 203 Sanders Road.

* Feb. 14 -- Concerned Ecumenical Ministry, 286 Lafayette Ave.

* Feb. 15 -- Kensington-Bailey Center, 2777 Bailey Ave.

* Feb. 20 -- George K. Arthur Community Center, 2056 Genesee St.

* Feb. 28 -- Sloan Village Hall, 425 Reiman St.

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