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Don't pack away your walking shoes and idea notebooks yet. After a summer season filled with garden tours throughout the region, we find that other tours and events for home and garden lovers are in the works.For starters, the popular Secrets of Allentown tour will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. This is your chance to peek inside five private homes and three b…

WASHINGTON - Actor Dustin Hoffman, whose career has included some of the most memorable roles in film history, and bluesman George "Buddy" Guy, who began playing "before the guitar was electrified" and picked his way to worldwide legendary status, are among the seven artists to receive this year's Kennedy Center Honors.The 35th anniversary honorees announced Wednesday also…

Jim Santella, a Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductee, is retiring from his Saturday night blues show on WBFO-FM 88.7. He talked about his decision with his audience this past weekend. Santella's final blues show will air at 7 p.m. Dec. 1. Santella began hosting the show on Nov. 22, 1997. Known as the "Father of Progressive Radio" in Buffalo, Santella began his radio …

She was called "The Perky One" by the veep candidate whose political career she turned to mulch.If "perk" is what you find in bulldozers on construction sites and tanks on the battlefield, then, yeah, Sarah Palin was right to call Katie Couric perky.Otherwise, Katie Couric, on her new daytime talk show Monday afternoon (Ch. 7, 4 p.m.) was a woman on a mission, and Lord hel…

A New York State grant program for small arts organizations that has been in disarray for the past several years is getting back on track with help from a newly formed local arts agency. The New York State Council on the Arts' decentralization grant program, which hands out small grants to individual artists, educational groups and community arts projects in urban and rura…

Kim Murrell had already earned a business degree from James Madison University and started her first post-college job when she decided what she wanted to do with her life. Unfulfilled at work, Murrell thought about where she found satisfaction and decided it was in the kitchen. Specifically, figuring out what to cook to reach her best shape as she tackled training for runn…

It's time to hear from the readers. Here's Jan, who has a question: "Hi Janice, "My husband and I have enjoyed your columns over the years. We recently traveled in Austria and the Czech Republic and had some wonderful food. One thing that stood out was how piping hot the food was when delivered to the table. It seemed to stay hotter longer, too! Were we imagining this? We…

"Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical," opening Friday at Theatre of Youth, features a song, "Aggle Flaggle Klabble," sung entirely in nonsense words by a toddler screaming about a beloved stuffed bunny left behind in a commercial washing machine. The toddler's name is Trixie, and Knuffle Bunny's mastermind is the real Trixie's dad, Mo Willems, who has been delighting child…

Jacob Artist remembers watching the pilot episode of "Glee" in May 2009 with his family in the living room of their Amherst home. "I loved it," he says. "It was kind of everything I had grown up wanting to do, from the dancing and the performing aspect, the acting was so great, the music and singing was incredible." Three years later, Artist, 19, finds himself part of the …

Marie Edwards, founder and president of Ten Lives Club, has a vision. The vision is that a 2003 Winnebago Brave RV that the group bought in the spring will be turned into a mobile adoption unit to bring kittens, cats and small dogs, as well as pet supplies, to festivals, concerts, parking lots and apartment complexes all over Western New York. People will flock to the RV, …

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz; Riverhead, 213 pages ($26.95). At the risk of being peremptory and downright presumptuous, get this. If you care even a whit about the vitality of current American literature, that is. Junot Diaz has not exactly maintained a Joyce Carol Oates schedule in his output. His much-hosannaed short story collection "Drown" was published in 1…

Telegraph Avenue By Michael Chabon Harper 480 pages, $27.99 By Emily Simon NEWS BOOK REVIEWER "Jews and Blacks" was the name of a 1996 collaboration between Cornell West and Michael Lerner, examining the complex attractions and tensions that link the two cultures. It may also have been an alternate name for Michael Chabon's "Telegraph Avenue," which is in large part a pa…

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan Farrar, Straus and Giroux 304 pages, $25 By Ed Taylor NEWS BOOK REVIEWER Too late for beach season, but available for the beach season of the mind, arrives "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore," the center of a charming fictive contemporary world that's a combination of the real, the virtual, and the imagined that manages to m…

Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy By Paul Thomas Murphy Pegasus Books 668 pages, $35 By Edward Cuddihy NEWS BOOK REVIEWER Shooting Victoria? What kind of a title is that for a history? Why would anyone take a potshot at the venerable (and vulnerable) mother of the British Empire, grandmother to half the royalty in Europe, that fr…