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>Judge lends $100,000 to campaign committee

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County Family Court Judge John F. Batt has thrown down the gauntlet for his re-election bid, disclosing he has lent his campaign committee $100,000 of his own money to jump-start this year's campaign.

Judicial races are often largely self-funded, but Batt's initial investment is one of the largest, if not the largest, in Niagara County annals. The North Tonawanda Republican, who listed no other contributions on his January disclosure form, is seeking a second 10-year term.
Niagara County Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Rivera said he has a female candidate for the position who can match Batt's resources and will announce her candidacy shortly.

"She's in for a penny, in for a pound," Rivera said Tuesday.


>Castellani to kick off free 'First Fridays'

LEWISTON -- The Castellani Art Museum on the Niagara University campus will offer "First Fridays," a free evening of art, music and activities, starting this week.

The program, similar to "Gusto at the Gallery" at the Albright-Knox in Buffalo, will run from 5 to 8 p.m. at the NU museum and continue on the first Friday of each month.

Also opening this week are two exhibitions:

* Christine Walsh's "Tangelment," a mixed media exhibit of "traditional female crafts" such as sewing, knitting and crocheting combined with paper, fabric and human hair.

* The Carborundum Corp. Collection, featuring commissioned work of the 1960s and 1970s.

* Live music from the Billy Baroo Jazz Trio is part of the fun this Friday. Raffles will be offered to win a $50 gift certificate to Water Street Landing.


>Nominations accepted for Citizen of the Year

NIAGARA FALLS Operation Pride & Progress is accepting nominations for its 2007 Outstanding Citizen of the Year award to be presented at the group's annual dinner April 19.

An essay of 350 words or less, explaining why a Niagara County resident should be recognized, should be submitted by April 6 to Linda Augustino-Rafferty, 7995 Crestview Drive, Niagara Falls, NY 14304.

For more information, call Augustino-Rafferty at 297-1866 or Candra Thomason at 298-8657.

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