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The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society is sponsoring an all-star panel discussion on "Buffalo: A Place for Innovation" this Thursday.

Panelists include Dr. Herbert A. Hauptman, Nobel Laureate and president of Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute; JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Dr. Wilson Greatbatch, entrepreneur and inventor of the cardiac pacemaker; and moderator Burt Woolf, executive director of Creative Education Foundation.

"We just brainstormed and thought of people from the area that are extremely innovative. It's a very appealing group of people. It's a great opportunity for people to celebrate what Buffalo's about," said Linda Ray, director of development and communications for the historical society.

The focus will be on the unique industrial and technological heritage of Western New York and possibilities for the area's future.

The panel discussion kicks off the historical society's four-day exhibition, "Partners in a Century of Progress," honoring more than 16 Western New York's most innovative businesses.

Organizations will exhibit displays containing information on their companies and demonstrations showcasing their current technology.

"Partners in a Century of Progress" showcases some of the modern marvels that will affect American commerce and industry in the 21st century, just as the innovations of 1901 shaped the 20th century," said Ray.

The panel discussion and a reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

Tickets are $25 each and include an open bar and light supper. For more information, call Linda Ray at 873-9644.

For additional information on the weekend's events, visit the historical society's Web site at

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