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REPORTERS' NOTEBOOK

OLAF FUB SEZ -- "Knowledge is like a garden: if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested," according to a Guinean saying.

ON THIS DATE -- In 1493, Christopher Columbus set sail from Cadiz, Spain, with a flotilla of 17 ships on his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere . . . In 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama to reach the Pacific Ocean . . . In 1775, American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen was captured by the British as he led an attack on Montreal . . .

FRANK MESIAH, a community activist for many civil rights causes, is retiring from the state Labor Department, where he was a consultant on issues involving workers' rights for 20 years. He will be honored for his service to the community from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today at the Kensington Place Restaurant, 377 Kensington Ave. For tickets contact Denise Amerson, 851-2768.

BENEFIT DANCE -- A group of volunteers has put together a benefit program at 3 p.m. Sunday at Club Lorelei, Pleasant Avenue and Southwestern Boulevard, Hamburg, according to Dr. James Mabry, Buffalo-Dortmund Sister City Committee chairman.

The benefit dance will help fund the committee's special activities marking the 20th anniversary of the link between Buffalo and the German city. Leading off the six-hour program will be the Bergholz Blaskapelle, followed by Ludwig Krueger and the Deutschlaenders and then by George Miner and the Rosengartners with Bob Bieger. Also performing will be members of a Dortmund jazz group and a company of German square dancers. The event is billed as a "Get to know our German guests" evening. There are about 100 Dortmunders under the leadership of Dortmund Lord Mayor Guenter Samtlebe in the area as part of the anniversary festivities. Admission for non-Dortmunders is $6. German-style meals will be available starting at 1:30 p.m.. . . .

BOY SCOUT Troop 3 is holding an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. in St. Thomas Aquinas School auditorium on Tamarack Street. Tickets are $5.50 for adults, $3.50 for children aged 5 to 12. Those 4 and under eat free. Save 50 cents by purchasing a ticket in advance. To get one, call 826-7324.

DINNER CALL -- Holland United Methodist Church, Partridge Road, Holland, is holding its annual roast beef dinner Saturday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. After custom carved beef, served family style, diners can enjoy homemade pie. Admission is $7, while children under five eat for $3.

BRITISH INVASION -- Recalling the dark days of 1813-1814 when the Niagara region was devastated by war between the United States and Great Britain, more than 100 reenactors depicting a British army of that period will take over Old Fort Niagara Saturday and Sunday for a War of 1812 British Garrison Weekend. Representatives of several period British units, including artillery, light infantry, militia and four regiments of foot will live and work in the fort, much as they would have during that war. The fort will be open from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. both days. Admission is $6.75 for adults; $5.50 for senior citizens; $4.50 for children from 6 to 12 years old, and free for children younger than six.

BOOK 'EM -- North Tonawanda Public Library and Sam's Club will observe National Literacy Month with "Celebrate Books," a program for children in kindergarten through the third grade, from 7 to 8 p.m. Monday in the library on Meadow Drive. To sign up, call 693-4132. . . .

HAPPY BIRTHDAY -- Herman Trotter, Margaret Allen, Mica Toczynski, Jim Bojanowski, Tom Franczyk, Eric Ekstrom, Megan Krakowski, Paul P. Porter, Connie Evaniak, Tony Smaszcz, Ellen Feiner, Donald P. Jacobi, Gerry Nowatka, Chris Pokrandt, David Hyla, Rose Hagen, Mary Ann Higgins, Rose Marie Cannon, Jo Murphy.

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