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The Lackawanna School Board on Thursday chose attorney Antonio Savaglio to take over as its union negotiator for one month at a fee of $1,250. He will fill in for Charles Myzel, who was granted a 30-day medical leave of absence. Both have offices at 609 Ridge Road.

Board Vice President John Makeyenko said it is necessary to fill the vacancy so that the board is available to negotiate in good faith.

"It's not a position that we are adding or creating," he said.

Board counsel Carl Morgan, who represents the board in arbitrations, also attends negotiating sessions. Last year, a $5,000 stipend was added to his $52,000-a-year retainer to cover the union work.

Four district unions are operating under contracts that expired simultaneously at the end of the last school year. Board lawyers are seeking staggered expiration dates.

Warning given on telephone scam

Telephone customers are warned to beware of a scam that could add the cost of unlimited long-distance charges to their phone bills.

If a customer receives a call from someone identifying himself or herself as a service technician for a particular phone company that is conducting a test on telephone lines, do not touch any of the numbers you are asked to touch.

A spokesman for Verizon recommended the customer ask the "technician" for his or her employee identification or code number and then verify it with the telephone company before carrying out any requests from the "technician."

"There are scams going on all the time," the Verizon spokesman said, "and we are aware of this one, but we have not received any reports here in Western New York."

Customers should check their phone bills and, if there are long-distance calls they did not make, should immediately call the business office of their particular telephone company.

African-American Read-In scheduled

The Langston Hughes Institute at 25 High St. will celebrate the 12th annual National African-American Read-In Celebration from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday.

The event is designed to celebrate the joy of reading among adults and children and to celebrate diversity among readers and writers. The read-in will feature readings and discussions of Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks and local writers.

For information, call the institute at 881-3266.

12 schools to compete in auto contest

Twelve teams from seven counties will compete Saturday in the 2001 Western New York High School Automotive Trouble-shooting Competition at Erie Community College's Vehicle Technology Training Center, 5885 Big Tree Road, Orchard Park.

The competition, to begin at 9 a.m., is open to the public. The awards ceremony will be at 2:30 p.m.

Sponsors of the event include the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association and Erie Board of Cooperative Educational Services in cooperation with ECC's Vehicle Technology Training Center and the West-Herr Automotive Group.

Winner of the skills competition will represent the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association at the National Automotive Skills Competition later this year.

Program offers free radon testing

West Seneca AmeriCorps and the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning are working to offer free radon testing to Erie County residents.

The program runs from February through April and is limited to the first 200 residents to call. For the free test or information, call the AmeriCorps office at 674-5600, Ext. 306.

Amherst Senior Center gets kudos

The Amherst Senior Center has been recognized by the local branch of the American Public Works Association, Supervisor Susan J. Grelick announced this week.

The project has been selected to receive group's 2001 Project of the Year award in the "structures" category. The award is given to recognize excellence in management and administration of public works projects and for fostering a positive partnership between the managing agency and participating consultants and contractors.

"Not only was the project completed on time, it was constructed under budget and serves as an example of the town's continuing commitment to provide quality services," Grelick said.

The 53,000-square-foot facility opened in September, under budget, at a cost of $7.85 million, according to town engineer Paul M. Bowers.

Firefighters honor Sheriff's Department

The Springville Volunteer Fire Department has honored the Erie County Sheriff's Department for its dedication to the community.

Fire Chief Dennis M. Dains presented Sgt. John F. Fox of the Sheriff's Department a plaque for its dedicated assistance in all aspects of the fire and emergency medical services to the community. Eleven officers, past and current members of the Sheriff's Department, attended the fire company's installation banquet on Saturday.

The plaque will be hung in the sheriff's Springville substation.

Retailing consultant will speak

Retail consultant Rick Segel will highlight successful retailing concepts in a March 14 presentation in East Aurora as part of a Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce program.

Segel, a founding member of the Retail Advisory Council for Johnson & Wales University, has been a featured speaker in 41 states and Canada and has also spoken at nearly 100 shopping centers. Segel also has written five audio programs directed at retailing concepts.

The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Park Associates, 300 Gleed Ave. Part of the session will focus on entertainment shopping, attracting and keeping employees and national chain retailers.

The event costs $15 per person for members of any Chamber of Commerce in Western New York, and $20 for others.

Reservations can be made until March 9 by calling the Chamber at 652-8444.

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