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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>'Big Ragu' to open Italian Heritage Festival

Actor-singer Eddie Mekka -- who played Carmine, the Big Ragu, on the television series "Laverne & Shirley" -- will be the opening night headliner July 12 for the Sorrento Cheese Italian Heritage Festival.

The four-day event on Hertel Avenue, between Virgil and Crestwood avenues, will feature favorite Italian foods and music and an exhibit on local Italian-American athletes, including boxers Tommy Paul and Joe Mesi, as well as a tribute to Italy's 2006 World Cup soccer champions.

Torremaggiore, Buffalo's sister city in Italy, will send a delegation, including flag-throwers who will perform daily. Traditional Italian dance groups from across North America will perform in a piazza where the 100-year-old St. Anthony statue will be located.

An Italian Idol contest spotlighting local entertainers will be open to all Western New Yorkers. The finals will be at 2 p.m. July 15.

A dance with music by the Jim Tudini Orchestra will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. July 12 in the special events tent. Singer and Buffalo native Tony Galla and his band, performing numbers from his CD "A Time for Love," will headline the July 13 program, followed by Buffalo Divas on July 14 and Junction West on July 15.

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>Art Guild to present arts and crafts show

The Cheektowaga Art Guild will present its 43rd annual arts and craft show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturda and Sunday in Cheektowaga Town Park on Harlem Road.

In addition to creative works for sale, there will be music and dancers, clowns, face-painting, exotic animals and children's games. Prizes for the arts and craft competition will be awarded at 5 p.m. Sunday.

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>Berti named specialist for media and marketing

NIAGARA FALLS -- Angela P. Berti has been chosen as marketing and media specialist for the Western District of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, regional director Mark Thomas said Tuesday.
Berti holds a journalism degree from Buffalo State College and most recently served as director of special events at that college. Previously, she was vice president of governmental affairs for the Niagara USA Chamber and chief of staff for Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte.

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>July 4 closings

This is how the following area offices and services will be affected by the Fourth of July holiday.
City Court .... Closed
County courts .... Closed
State courts .... Closed
Federal courts .... Closed
City offices .... Closed
County offices .... Closed
State offices .... Closed
Federal offices .... Closed
Post Office .... Closed
Schools .... Closed
Banks .... Closed
Most stores .... Open
Metro Bus, Rail .... Sunday schedule
City garbage .... Regular

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