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REPORTERS' NOTEBOOK

OLAF FUB SEZ: "Christmas is the day that holds all time together," according to Scottish poet and essayist Alexander Smith (1830-1867). . . .

ON THIS DAY -- In 1524, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, who discovered a sea route around Africa to India, died in Cochin, India . . . In 1800, a plot to kill Napoleon Bonaparte was uncovered in Paris . . . In 1814, the War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium . . .In 1871, Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida" had its world premier in Cairo, Egypt, to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal . . . In 1906, Canadian physicist Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to broadcast a music program over radio. The broadcast was made at Brant Rock, Mass. . . . In 1914, the first air raid on Britain took place when a German monoplane dropped a single bomb on Dover . . . In 1920, Enrico Caruso gave his last public performance, singing in Jacques Halevy's "La Juive" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York . . . In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied Forces as part of Operation Overlord. . . .

PUBLISHED -- A short article by an 11-year old Buffalo girl has been published in "Dragonfly," a magazine for young innovators.

The article was written Caitlin Hambridge, who attends St. John the Baptist School in the Town of Tonawanda.

It describes a gardening tool she invented. The tool is called the "Easy Planter." It helps her and her father dig holes to plant flowers.

She said she came up with the idea because every year, "My father and I plant 5 flats of flowers."

"It's an extremely big and hard job to dig all of those holes by hand with a trowel. . . . We got lots of blisters." . . .

CAVIAR LOVERS can now log on for the latest mews on caviar selections, recipes and serving tips at a new Romanoff Caviar website located at http://www.romanoffcaviar.com.

The Columbus, Ohio, firm is the largest marketer of fresh and pasteurized caviar in the United States. Although a website might not seem like a venue for a luxury item such as caviar, consumption of the delicacy is on the upswing, especially among the younger generation, according to Cynthia Michel, a company spokeswoman.

Dick Anderson, a vice president, explained the website is perfect for a new generation of consumers, particularly those interested in fresh caviar. He noted that while Romanoff imports the most expensive caviar from around the world, it also produces a popular line of "affordable" caviar: red salmon caviar from the Pacific Northwest, whitefish caviar from the Canadian Great Lakes and lumpfish caviar from Icelandic waters. . . .

CHRISTMAS CHEER -- A pleasant and meaningful way to share the Christmas spirit would be to stop at the Erie County Home, 11580 Walden Ave., Alden, between 1 and 4:30 p.m. Christmas Day for a visit with one or more of the residents.

Of the home's 638 residents, 120 have no family and face the prospect of receiving no visitors during the holidays.

Volunteers will be at the main entrance with names and information about the residents. The residents enjoy visits from children.

Gifts are not necessary, but a small plant or room decoration would be appropriate. Food is discouraged because many residents are on specific diets. For more information, call 937-5640. . . .

SANTA'S ELVES -- Evans Police Officers Ernie Masullo and Chuck Danzi played Santa Tuesday for an anonymous donor who asked them to find a deserving home for Christmas for an elusive sing-and-snore Ernie doll.

With the help of Linda Giancarlo of the Evangola Children's Fund, the doll was placed with Emily Gibbs, the 2-year-old daughter of Scott and Sarah Gibbs of Angola. Emily was born with a birth defect that affected both legs and has spent much of her short life undergoing surgical procedures to treat her affliction. . . .

HAPPY BIRTHDAY -- Carol Schlau, Steve Czopp, Jeffery Jezioro, Rose Mary Leaper, Jacob Juliano, David Fredrick Powell, Joe Palano, Stanley Stoklosa, Alice Zak, Carol Sampson, Rick Seufert, Julia Jordan, Christopher Glynn, Jacqueline Jones, Mabel Stover, Josie DiVincenzo-Sierer, Carol Dixon, Fran McNamara, Doris Wisniewski, Denzel Deschamps, Holly Petrik, Cynthia Walters, Greg Wildridge, Dave Kropidlowski, Joyce Jeanette Livingston.

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