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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Interim provost and VP for academic affairs named

Kevin Kearns has been appointed interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Fredonia State College.

Kearns, who is now the associate vice president for graduate studies and research, will take over as interim provost July 1.

The move was prompted by last month's appointment of Virginia Schaefer Horvath as Fredonia's new president starting in July.

The college will conduct a national search for a permanent provost with the hopes of filling the position by July 2013.

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Planning Board approves site for charter school

The Buffalo Planning Board this week approved plans to locate West Buffalo Charter School in a former apartment building at 113 Lafayette Ave.

The school will have a literacy focus for children in kindergarten through fourth grade and will be operated through a partnership between Gateway Longview and the Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center.

The multi-phase project at the 34,500-square-foot building will partly open for students up to third grade in September, with the fourth floor to be completed next year, said William Paladino of Ellicott Development.

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500-plus chefs expected at regional conference

More than 500 chefs from Maine to Washington, D.C., are coming to Conference Center Niagara Falls on Friday through Monday for the American Culinary Federation's Northeast Regional Conference.

The conference will include tours of restaurants and food service operations in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, specialty food workshops and winery tours. High point will be the American Academy of Chefs Academy Dinner on Sunday in the Buffalo Club. Other restaurants to be featured during the conference include Tempo, Sea Bar, Hutch's and the Anchor Bar.

About 40 chefs from Western New York will take part in the conference, and some are competing for awards, including James Roberts, executive chef at Park Country Club of Buffalo, who is a candidate for Chef of the Year.

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Gospel Fest on Friday is family-oriented

NIAGARA FALLS -- At least seven musical groups or individual performers will be on the program for a free, family-oriented Gospel Fest sponsored by Community Missions Inc. of the Niagara Frontier at 7 p.m. Friday in First Assembly of God Church, 9750 Niagara Falls Blvd.

Doors will open for seating at 6:30, and a reception with light refreshments will follow the program.

Attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Community Missions food pantry, if possible. A free-will offering will be taken to help the work of the missions, including a shelter for the homeless, soup kitchen, food pantry, re-entry program for parolees and HIV/AIDS services.

Performers will include the Anointed Voices of Praise from Christ Redemption Tabernacle of Niagara Falls.