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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…

The End of Men And the Rise of Women By Hanna Rosin Riverhead Books 310 pages; $27.95 By Melinda Miller News Book Reviewer The apocalyptic title of Hanna Rosin's new book is guaranteed to get attention, as it did when the magazine piece that inspired the book, also titled "The End of Men," appeared in The Atlantic in summer 2010. But it is not to be taken too literally. T…

Miles DiPaola Jr. is known as Bear Skin Rug when he works as a disc jockey at Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar in Allentown. He figures he has about 30,000 songs in his computerized sound library, though what he really likes to play is electronic dance music. At age 25, DiPaola has been a DJ for three years. His goal every night he plays is to fill the dance floor - whether he's …

Struggling to pay for your prescription medication? You're far from alone: Studies show roughly a quarter of patients don't take medicines they need because they cannot afford them. There are plenty of ways to save big on medicines, but the complexity of finding the best deal can be a huge headache. Along with patient assistance programs, there are countless coupons, and d…

The kids are back at school, and you can almost see the dust settling as the whirlwind of summer activities is replaced by peace and quiet.You can also see the fingerprints, the smudges, the stains in the carpet.Rather than filling your house with the smell of chemical detergents - and paying a fortune for them - why not try some all-natural alternatives that have withstoo…

Dear Car Coach: The headlights of my 1999 and 2004 Taurus are cloudy due to oxidation. I've used the Meguirer's system, but it has to be redone every few months. Are there other systems that work for a longer period of time? - B.B., Hamburg Dear B.B.: Hazy headlights can limit your visibility at night, look horrible and can lower your resale value. You can repair the he…