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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Redesign Team will meet Wednesday in Roswell Park

A panel considering major changes to the state's Medicaid health insurance program will hold a town hall-like meeting next week in Buffalo.

The Medicaid Redesign Team will convene a three-hour meeting starting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the David C. Hohn Lecture Hall at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The panel is looking at restructuring the insurance program for poor, elderly and disabled New Yorkers to help save money to deal with the state's $10 billion deficit. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said he expects the group's recommendations to be incorporated into the state's 2011 budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1.

The panel held its first public meeting Thursday at the State Capitol. The Buffalo meeting is open to the public. No advanced signup is needed for people wishing to talk to the panel.

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Office in Cheektowaga closed Saturday because of holiday

The Erie County Auto Bureau in Cheektowaga -- the only auto bureau in the state routinely open for business on Saturdays -- will close this Saturday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, County Clerk Kathleen C. Hochul said.

All county auto bureaus will close Monday in observance of the anniversary of the late civil right leader's Jan. 17 birth, Hochul said.

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Snowshoe Festival presents cold facts on 18th century life

YOUNGSTOWN -- Old Fort Niagara's annual Snowshoe Festival on Saturday showcases life before snowplows.

The festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature a snowshoe patrol, woods battle, demonstrations of the Native American game of snow snakes, 18th century artisans and crafts, a snowshoe workshop and hot refreshments.

Demonstrations on 18th century winter life will take place inside the fort throughout the day. At 1 p.m., the State Parks interpretive office will present a brief program on the history of the snowshoe, which will be followed at 2 p.m. by a snowshoe patrol that culminates in a woods battle outside the fort. Reservations are required to accompany the patrol, and capacity is limited. Call 745-7611 to make reservations. Snowshoe rental fee is $1.

Admission to the fort is $10 for adults and $6 for children 6 to 12.

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Holiday offering on Sunday features genealogy author

The author of a book that aims to help African-Americans trace their family histories will be the guest speaker at an event being held in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum, 25 Nottingham Court.

Harry B. Matthews, associate dean and director of the U.S. Pluralism Center at Hartwick College, Oneonta, is the author of "African American Genealogical Research: How to Trace Your Family History."

The event, part of the fifth Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier, is free to the public.

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