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THE PICTURE PAGE

Derek Gee/Buffalo News

Displaying their discontent: Anti-fracking protesters, concerned that the controversial natural gas production method would poison the state's drinking water, stage a rally Thursday in front of the downtown Buffalo offices of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The state is considering lifting its ban on fracking.

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James P. McCoy/Buffalo News

Opening day: Tourists line up on the Canadian side of the Niagara Gorge to sail to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls as the popular Maid of the Mist boats began operating three weeks early Thursday, thanks to the warm spring weather.

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John Hickey/Buffalo News

Green thumb: Jenny Whittaker, of Buffalo, above, transplants chives in her backyard on Thursday. The early spring has made gardeners eager to start planting, despite frost warnings at night.

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John Hickey/Buffalo News

Outside reading: John Gallagher, of Buffalo, enjoys the sunshine Thursday afternoon as he relaxes on his porch with a book.