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Thomas Blake has been named grand marshal of the 2001 St. Patrick's Day Parade by the United Irish American Association.

Blake, of Orchard Park, was born in Buffalo in 1931. His grandparents came to the United States in 1896 from Ennis, County Clare, Ireland.

He worked as a seaman on the Great Lakes after serving in the Air Force during the Korean War. He later became a switchman on the Buffalo Creek Railroad.

Blake has been involved with many Irish organizations and affairs, including being an organizer of the Irish-American Unity Conference membership drive in the Buffalo area. He also served as chairman for three years.

This year's parade will be held on March 18, and any organization interested in participating can obtain an application after 2 p.m. on Sundays in the Buffalo Irish Center, 245 Abbott Road, or by calling 875-0328.

Hunter's Day of Hope is Feb. 14

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and his family will be hosts to the fourth annual Hunter's Day of Hope for Children celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 14 in Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park.

Families are invited to bring ice skates, toboggans and sleds for outdoor activities. A program inside the park casino will include clowns, bagpipers and Irish step dancers, along with free refreshments. The evening also will include a candle-lighting ceremony.

Proceeds benefit the Hunter's Hope Foundation, founded by Kelly and his wife, Jill, in 1997 in honor of their son, Hunter James, who was diagnosed with Krabbe disease, a fatal genetic disorder. It raises funds for research to aid treatment and cure for leukodystrophies.

Meetings to discuss garbage bins

Public meetings will be held this month to discuss the effectiveness of new rolling garbage bins that Buffalo street crews have distributed to properties throughout the city.

The blue garbage totes have been billed by city officials as tools for helping to boost recycling efforts and cut disposal costs.

The first of two public meetings will be held at 12:30 p.m. next Tuesday in Schiller Park Senior Citizens Center, 2057 Genesee St. A second meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 in Epiphany United Church of Christ, 2205 Genesee St.

The meetings are sponsored by Voice-Buffalo, a citywide faith-based community organization.

Sciolino of Times to speak at Canisius

Elaine Sciolino, senior writer in the Washington Bureau of the New York Times and the author of books about Iraq and Iran, will speak Monday at Canisius College.

Her lecture, "Iran: Democratizing Theocracy or Old-Fashioned Dictatorship?" will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Grupp Fireside Lounge of the Richard E. Winter Student Center on campus. It will be free to the public.

Sciolino, a 1970 graduate of Canisius who also holds a master's degree in European intellectual history from New York University, grew up on Buffalo's West Side.

Photojournalist to speak at Canisius

Juveniles on death row will be the topic of New York City photojournalist Toshi Kazama at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Canisius College.

Kazama will exhibit and discuss his photo collection of juveniles in prisons in Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana and Tennessee in Grupp Fireside Lounge of the Richard E. Winter Student Center on campus. His presentation will be free to the public.

Pulaski Association events planned

The General Pulaski Association of the Niagara Frontier will hold its annual wreath-laying ceremony in memory of Revolutionary War hero Gen. Casimir Pulaski at 5 p.m. Feb. 16 in front of the statue of Pulaski just north of Ellicott Square.

The ceremony is open to the public and is scheduled to feature Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg; County Legislator Raymond Dusza, D-Cheektowaga; Delaware Council Member Marc Coppola; Polish-American Congress President Joseph Macielag; Sheriff Patrick Gallivan; and North Council Member Joseph Golombek.

The association's installation banquet will follow at 7 p.m. in Hearthstone Manor, 333 Dick Road, Depew. Tickets cost $25 per person and can be reserved by calling 668-6833 or 634-6856.

County public lab is now online

Information from Erie County's public health laboratory is now accessible on the county's Web site,

The public health laboratory, part of the county's Health Department, will provide online information on public health issues and topics.

Neighborhood jazz concert offered

Community Music School will present Jimmy Gomes and the Jazz Example in a free neighborhood concert in Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers' Moot Senior Center, 292 High St., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 14.

Mardi Gras Gala benefit planned

A Mardi Gras Gala and Mask Auction to benefit Cornerstone Manor, a haven for homeless women and their children, will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Feb. 24 in Impact Artists' Gallery, Suite 545, Tri-Main Building, 2495 Main St.

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