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During the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library board of trustees meeting Thursday, seven people -- members of Save Our Libraries -- spoke against the library's strategic plan that could close 22 of the system's 53 libraries.

They also presented the trustees signatures of more than 9,000 county residents who also oppose the plan.

Elizabeth Berry, founder of the organization, said the petition drive started in the summer and is evidence of the public's desire to keep library branches open. She added that the board should work to improve existing libraries instead of consolidating them.

Members of the organization said that some area residents lack transportation and appreciate their nearby library branches.

Rebecca L. Mahoney, chairwoman of the library board of trustees, said the board will vote on the strategic plan this fall. The organization's input, as well as the comments that were received from the 22 public hearings held this year, will be considered in the decision, Mahoney said.

Health care petitions sent to Congress

Petitions calling on Congress to restore Medicare and Medicaid funds so that staffing levels can be restored at health care facilities were delivered to area members of Congress on Wednesday.

The petitions, signed by close to 4,000 people over a two-week period, say, "With no relief in sight, unsafe staffing patterns, layoffs, debilitating work injuries and the inability to provide for our patients properly (combine to) drive dedicated health employees out of their chosen professions."

The signatures were obtained by members of Nurses United of the Communications Workers of America, the Service Employees International Union, the Coalition for Economic Justice, the New York State Nurses Association and the Western New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, a Nurses United spokeswoman said.

New student databases online at library

New databases for students are up and running at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, library Director Diane J. Chrisman said.

"Just in time for the beginning of the school year, the newly installed databases offer students of varying grade levels, interests and abilities a valuable learning tool that will further develop their skills and knowledge," said Chrisman.

The databases include biographies, literary works, newspaper and magazine articles, and topical essays. They include the name-brand databases Infotrac Junior, Infotrac Kid's Edition, Biography Resource Center, Student Resource Center and Literature Resource Center, Chrisman said.

The databases are available at the Central Library and at any of the system's 51 smaller branches. The databases are also available from home, with a valid library card number, on the library's Web site,

Golf tourney plans kids' putting contest

Campers will stage a putting contest Monday at 11:30 a.m. to kick off the annual Camp Good Days and Special Times golf tournament, the "Tournament of Love," at Brierwood Country Club, 5324 Rogers Road, Hamburg. The tournament will begin at noon.

One of the campers, Jake Welch, 7, of Orchard Park, will talk about what Camp Good Days means to him during the awards ceremony after the tournament. An auction and dinner will follow. For information, call 834-1995.

Seniors invited to free health fair

A free health fair for healthy seniors will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in Elmwood Health Center, 2128 Elmwood Ave., an affiliate of People, Inc.

Free blood-pressure screenings and cholesterol checks will be offered, along with five-minute massages, cooking and exercise demonstrations, a Chinese auction, raffles, refreshments and information on senior services.

NFTA gets funds to study airport noise

WASHINGTON -- The federal Transportation Department has awarded the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority $750,000 to study noise levels at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-Town of Tonawanda, announced Thursday.

Drive and Ride will benefit Mercy Flight

Ford Motor Co.'s Buffalo Stamping in Hamburg will sponsor its first Drive and Ride charity run for cars, trucks and motorcycles Sunday to benefit Mercy Flight.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. in the east parking lot of the Ford plant in Woodlawn. The run into the countryside will begin at noon and finish with a car, truck and motorcycle show and other festivities.

Lupus walk-along set for Como Lake Park

More than 900 people are expected to take part when the Lupus Foundation of Western New York holds its fifth annual walk-along at 9 a.m. Sunday in Lancaster's Como Lake Park. The event will include live entertainment and a complimentary lunch catered by Outback Steakhouse.

Proceeds will be used for research and to provide educational and support services for lupus patients and their families. For information and preregistration, call 835-7161.

Hicks wins recount to get Democratic nod

It took 113 absentee ballots and voting machine recanvassing to determine that Craig Hicks prevailed over Albert Petko for the Democratic endorsement for a West Seneca Town Board seat in November's election.

Hicks was appointed in May to the board seat held by his uncle, Jerry Hicks, who died in March. The board voted 3-1, split along party lines, to fill the seat.

Margie Armbruster has the GOP and Independence endorsements for the seat.

N. Tonawanda GOP re-elects Cox chairman

The North Tonawanda Republican Committee has unanimously re-elected Michael D. Cox to a third two-year term as city GOP chairman. Cox also is North Tonawanda city clerk.

The committee also endorsed North Tonawanda City Attorney Henry F. Wojtaszek for Niagara County Republican vice chairman.

Elected to the executive committee were Mary Jo Muehlbauer to a second term as vice chairman. Re-elected were Monica A. Ross as committee secretary, Walter Yaro as treasurer and Dorothy Manuszewski as vice chairwoman, all for two-year terms.

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