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A workshop for prospective school board members will be held by the Erie County Association of School Boards from 8:30 a.m. to noon March 17 in Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services, 355 Harlem Road, West Seneca.

Current school board members, a superintendent and a school attorney will speak.

The workshop is free of charge, but participants are asked to make reservations by calling 821-7297.

Ice rink's return has been well-received

The Village of Hamburg's ice rink, which reopened this winter after an absence of a dozen years, has been a success, according to village officials.

"We've had more than 30-some days of skating this year," said Thomas J. Moses, recreation supervisor.

The rink is located in a field along Pleasant Street across from the Union-Pleasant Elementary School.

Moses said next year the village will designate an area of the rink for hockey and the rest for open skating. He said the rink has been well-received, and parents are bringing their children and staying with them to monitor them.

Amherst Middle School hosts Olympiad

The middle school regional Science Olympiad will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Amherst Middle School, 55 Kings Highway, Snyder.

This year's competition will include 18 schools from Western New York, with contestants in grades 6 through 9.

About 270 students will be competing for gold, silver and bronze medals.

Registration for girls softball set

Open registration for Amherst girls softball will be held from 9 a.m. to noon March 3, and 6 to 8 p.m. March 7, in the Pepsi Center, 1615 Amherst Manor Drive.

Girls in kindergarten through grade 12 who are town residents or are in a school district in the town are eligible to enroll.

Registration fees are: $60 for kindergartners and first-graders, $85 for second- and third-graders, and $95 for fourth- through 12th-graders. Additional family members are charged $40 each. Fees are based on the oldest child. Non-town residents are charged an extra $25.

tahler Award for service and dedication.

County gets domestic abuse funds

The Erie County Legislature has accepted almost $75,000 in additional money from the U.S. Department of Justice for use in preventing domestic violence.

The money will be added to the county's Be-Safe grant from the federal government. The grant is administered by the district attorney's office.

The additional money includes $37,785 for Haven House and $37,179 for Hispanics United of Buffalo and will be used for victim advocacy services, said Legislator Lynn M. Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda.

Bill would offer special mortgages

Legislation to offer special mortgages to encourage firefighters, police officers and teachers to buy homes in the areas in which they work has been reintroduced in Washington, D.C.

Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-Town of Tonawanda, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., are among those who last week resurrected the "Homeownership Opportunities for Uniformed Services and Educators Act," also known as the HOUSE Act.

It includes authorization of FHA mortgages -- with 1 percent down -- for firefighters, police officers and teachers of prekindergarten through grade 12 who buy a home within the jurisdiction or school district that employs them.

The HOUSE Act passed the House last year and was included in a Senate appropriations bill, but died when the two pieces of legislation could not be reconciled.

After a slow start in the mid-1990s, a similar program had attracted 22 Buffalo police officers as of last spring. The officers bought houses in the city at bargain prices from the federal government.

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