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Republican County Comptroller Nancy A. Naples maintains a strong lead over Democratic challenger Jeff Swiatek, according to a poll released today by Goldhaber Research Associates.

The poll, independent of either candidate or party, shows Naples leading 45 to 26 percent -- a margin pollster Gerald M. Goldhaber labeled "commanding."

Goldhaber noted, however, that almost 28 percent of those surveyed remained undecided in the final days before election.

The survey of 439 registered voters who are very likely to vote was conducted Wednesday through Sunday. It has a margin for error of plus or minus 5 percent.

Teachers offer Halloween tips to kids

Buffalo teachers passed out more than 47,000 orange bookmarks in classrooms today in an effort to help children have a happy and safe Halloween.

The bookmarks, supplied by the Buffalo Teachers Federation, offer Halloween safety tips: Go with someone you know, tell an adult where you are going, have an adult check all treats, eat only treats that are wrapped, peel and slice all fruit, wear light or bright colors, walk on the sidewalk and carry 25 cents for a phone call and your name, address and phone number in case of trouble.

"With everything that has transpired in our country since Sept. 11, this Halloween can serve as a happy diversion, but only if we all do our part to make this holiday a safe one," BTF President Philip Rumore said.

D'Youville will hold open house

D'Youville College will hold an open house from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in the College Center at Porter and Fargo avenues.

Faculty will be on hand to answer questions about academic programs, including D'Youville's new bachelor of science degree program in information technology.

Financial aid personnel will answer questions about monetary assistance, including D'Youville's new instant merit scholarship program. Information on admissions procedures and student life will also be available.

D'Youville students will talk about campus life, clubs and organizations and will give tours of the campus. For more information, contact the admissions office at the college.

Zoo recruiting for 2002 Docent Class

The Buffalo Zoo is currently recruiting members for its 2002 Docent Class.

An informational seminar/orientation about the Docent Organization will be held at 1 p.m. Nov. 17 in the Children's Resource Center at the zoo. All interested in becoming a docent, a volunteer educator, are encouraged to attend.

Docents must be at least 21 years old and be interested in both animals and the environment. Docent responsibilities include acting as zoo tour guides, using carts full of biofacts to enlighten zoo guests, conducting live-animal presentations and performing a variety of tasks with educational offerings throughout the community. Training for the new class will begin in January.

For an application, brochure or more information, call the zoo's education department at 837-3900.

ECC open house is Wednesday

Erie Community College will hold a fall open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at its three campuses and Vehicle Technology Training Center.

The Burt Flickinger Athletic Center, 21 Oak St., adjacent to ECC's City Campus, will also be open for visitors.

Information will be available on ECC's degree, certificate and resume builders programs as well as on the college's student support services and transfer opportunities. Campus tours will be available.

ECC's City Campus is at 121 Ellicott St.; North Campus, 6205 Main St., Amherst; and South Campus, 4041 Southwestern Boulevard, Orchard Park. The Vehicle Technology Training Center is at 5885 Big Tree Road, Orchard Park.

Workshop on home buying planned

A two-night workshop to help people buy homes will be presented by Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20 in Central Presbyterian Church, 15 Jewett Parkway.

Participants, who must attend both sessions, will receive information on mortgage assistance. Further information is available by calling 834-6222 or, toll-free, (888) 302-NACA.

Welcome Back Ball is Nov. 17

The annual Welcome Back Ball, which has donated more than $142,700 in cash and food to the Western New York Veterans Food Pantry since its founding in 1986, will take place beginning at 8 p.m. Nov. 17 in Seneca Hose Fire Hall, 2801 Seneca St., West Seneca.

It is sponsored by VALOR (Veterans Assistance Local Ongoing Recognition). Admission requirements include at least one non-perishable food item. Dress is casual, and live music will be presented by Transition. Donations are welcome.

Ticket information is available by calling 825-1515.

'Holiday clearinghouse' available

For information on holiday programs for the needy, Central Referral Service has a "holiday clearinghouse," which can be reached at 851-5555 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Details can be obtained on toy and food programs, eligibility requirements and application site location and hours.

The application process runs until the end of November.

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