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Several school and community events are being planned as part of a yearlong celebration in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Sweet Home Central School District.

The activities will kick off with Homecoming Weekend Oct. 6 and 7. A 50th anniversary reception will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Buffalo Marriott, 1340 Millersport Highway, Amherst.

The school district was created a half-century ago when a group of Amherst and Town of Tonawanda residents, representing four country-style schoolhouses, decided to build a centralized building at the corner of Sweet Home Road and Sheridan Drive.

Water Authority planning to reduce debt

The Erie County Water Authority, having a financially successful year despite soggy weather that cut water consumption in the county, has announced plans to pay off about $4.1 million of its debt at the end of the year.

By paying off the debt, the Water Authority will have retired debt every year for the past three years, authority officials said.

"This is a win-win for the authority, town and village officials in our service area who must estimate water costs in their budgets and, most importantly, our customers," said Robert J. Lichtenthal Jr., chairman of the Water Authority's board of commissioners.

In 1998, the authority paid off $7.8 million of its debt, while in 1999 it paid off $13.7 million of the debt, officials said.

Lichtenthal said reducing the agency's debt is good news for consumers, enabling the authority to keep a lid on water rates, which have not increased since 1998.

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