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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Toronto gallery benefit to aid Kurtz's defense

A Toronto art gallery will host a two-day benefit to help raise money for the criminal defense of Buffalo artist Steven Kurtz.

A Space Gallery is to hold several events at different Toronto locations Thursday and next Friday, including an art auction and a free screening of Strange Culture, a critically acclaimed documentary about Kurtz's case in Buffalo's federal court.

Information about the events is available at www.aspacegallery.org/events.html. Kurtz is a University at Buffalo art professor who claims the federal government wrongly accused him of fraudulently obtaining bacteria for use in a protest art exhibit. He was indicted in 2004, and his case still awaits a trial date.

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>$3.1 million grant awarded to Matt Urban Center

The Matt Urban Center has been awarded a $3.1 million grant from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

The money will be used to construct housing for youth aging out of foster care. The building will have 12 units with 24 beds. The grant is awarded annually through a competitive process, said Anthony Farmer spokesman for the state agency.

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>Town Board reschedules meeting due to holiday

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Cheektowaga Town Board has rescheduled its regular Monday evening meeting to 6:45 p.m. Nov. 26, Supervisor James J. Jankowiak said.

The board decided to make the change after learning that many people might be on vacation next week, Jankowiak said.

"We can move it back a week, and it will make it more convenient for everybody," he said.

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>Ag Society to donate $2 for redeemed fliers

Parent-teacher organizations at more than two-dozen area schools have signed up to raise money through the third annual Fairgrounds Holiday Lights Festival.

Officials from other organizations who want more information or who wish to participate should call the Fairgrounds at 649-3900, Ext. 403.

Parent-teacher organizations will distribute fliers to those planning to visit the festival, which runs Thursdays through Sundays from Nov. 23 to Dec. 30 at the Fairgrounds in Hamburg.

The Erie County Agricultural Society will donate $2 for each flier from an organization that is redeemed at the festival. The society will write a check to each participating organization at the end of the event, said Dennis Lang, chief executive officer of the Fairgrounds.

The Holiday Lights Festival features a two-mile drive of more than 40 holiday light displays, magic shows, children's rides and Santa. Admission to the festival is $15 per carload, $25 per 15-passenger van and $50 per bus.

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