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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Poloncarz issues challenge to Collins for three debates

Mark C. Poloncarz, Democratic candidate for county executive, has challenged Republican incumbent Chris Collins to a series of three debates during the upcoming campaign.

"It is incumbent on us to share our views and describe the direction each plans to take to make Erie County a better place to live work and raise a family," Poloncarz said in a letter to the county executive.

Spokesman Stefan Mychajliw, meanwhile, said Collins looks forward to debates being part of the campaign. But he would not answer questions as to whether the county executive would agree to three debates as proposed by Poloncarz.

The Democrat suggested in his letter to Collins that one be held in Buffalo, and one each in the northern and southern portions of the county. He also said they should be televised if possible and feature a nonpolitical moderator.

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New recreation center set to debut with festivities

Town of Boston residents will celebrate the grand opening of a new recreation center with a party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

The theme of the event is "Kids' Day," and activities include a bounce house, face-painting, games, snow cones and a meal of hot dogs, pizza and chips. The new recreation center is in the former State Police barracks on town property next to Town Hall and Town Park, at 8500 Boston State Road.

Renovations to the building were begun this winter, and the town has spent about $46,000 on the project so far, town officials said.

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Sunser replaces Steiner, becomes 4th president

BATAVIA -- A Syracuse community college official began his duties this week as the fourth president of Genesee Community College.

James M. Sunser, 51, succeeds Stuart Steiner, who held the post for 36 years and was on the staff when the college began in 1966. Sunser has served as bursar and vice president at Onondaga Community College for the past 22 years. A graduate of that college, he holds an educational doctorate from the University of Rochester.

Sunser is living in Indian Falls. Steiner will serve as a paid consultant for a transition period.

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Notable dig site in Byron closing down after 29 years

BYRON -- A dig site that has yielded at least 15 mastodons and numerous Ice Age plant fossils is closing down after 29 years of exploration.

Richard Laub has announced this is the last summer he and his volunteers will hold annual three-week dig sessions. That's because of funding cuts at the Buffalo Museum of Science, which runs the dig, as well as personal reasons.

Tim Mortenson, president and CEO of the museum, said the dig has been supported through a mix of funding from the museum and other sources. According to the museum's website, www.sciencebuff.org, the so-called Hiscock Site is considered one of North America's most important locations for fossils from the late Ice Age.