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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Hootie reschedules canceled Artpark show

LEWISTON -- The final week of Artpark's summer season got a lot more interesting Tuesday with the announcement that Hootie & the Blowfish has rescheduled a performance it was forced to cancel earlier this month.

The two-time Grammy-winning group was forced to postpone a July 3 Tuesday in the Park appearance at Artpark, as well as 25 others shows across the country, because of a staph infection in lead singer Darius Rucker's left knee.

The free appearance at Artpark is now scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26.

In addition, Artpark and the Lewiston-Porter Central School District plan to collect back-to-school supplies at the Hootie concert, starting at 3 p.m.

The effort is part of the Hootie & the Blowfish "Homegrown Tour," an initiative established by the band in 2003 to collect supplies for economically disadvantaged schools.

Sponsored by The Reid Group, the Aug. 26 event with Hootie & the Blowfish precedes the final performance of Artpark's 2007 Season -- a Tuesday in the Park free concert with America on Aug. 28.

Carry-in food and beverages are prohibited at all of Artpark's free concert events; on-site parking is $6.

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Mayors oppose legislation on Erie Canal terminus

NORTH TONAWANDA -- The mayors of North Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda are appealing to the governor to keep the official western end of the Erie Canal in Tonawanda.

In a letter to be sent to Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer, North Tonawanda Mayor Lawrence V. Soos and Tonawanda Mayor Ronald Pilozzi question the potential practical, financial and legal effects of pending legislation that would make Buffalo the western terminus of the canal.

They call the proposed change "factually inaccurate," since the canal has terminated in Gateway Harbor for the last 90 years.

"If enacted, this proposed legislation will cause confusion among the public and could hurt our credibility as well as our efforts to build our tourism industry in Western New York," the letter reads.

The mayors want a clarification of the law's potential impact, including whether the Thruway Authority and the state Canal Corporation become responsible for maintaining the extended canal. Both officials also say they want to know whether the change would hurt their communities' abilities to get grants.

The bill, passed by both houses of the Legislature, would make Buffalo eligible for millions of dollars in federal aid through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal, according to the bill's authors, who include Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo.

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