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A ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday marked the completion of $300,000 worth of renovations to the Valley Community Center, the first major renovations since the facility was built in 1978.

The work included a new gym floor, handicapped-accessible entrance and new lavatories and fresh paint throughout the recreation side of the building, operated by the Valley Community Association at 93 Leddy St.

Riverside, Cazenovia ice rinks open

Fees will remain the same for public ice skating at the Riverside and Cazenovia rinks, which are now open, Mayor Anthony M. Masiello has announced.

For city residents with ID cards, rates are 75 cents for youths 17 and under and seniors 60 and over and $1.50 for everyone else. The fee is $2.50 for those without ID cards.

Buffalo resident ID cards are available at the rinks for $3. Proof of residency and a small picture are required.

Microsoft gives Canisius $40,000 gift

Canisius College's Accounting Information Systems program, one of only a handful in the country, was recently enhanced by a gift of $40,000 in business management software and educational materials from Microsoft's Great Plains Education Alliance Network, college officials announced.

The new software is an integral part of the program, providing students "real world" application software and the ability to network with students and faculty around the world, said Edward J. Gress, chairman of Canisius' accounting department.

'Learning communities' is college topic

Vincent Tinto, a national expert on student retention and the educational concept of "learning communities," will speak Thursday at Buffalo State College.

His 12:15 p.m. presentation, "Learning Communities: Reconstructing Student Learning," will take place in the Performing Arts Center on the college's Elmwood Avenue campus. It will be free to the public.

Tinto, distinguished university professor and chairman of the higher education department at Syracuse University, has conducted research and written extensively on higher education. His work on student attrition is considered benchmark.

He holds a doctorate in education and sociology from the University of Chicago.

Nardin students to present play

The musical "Once on This Island" will be presented by Nardin Academy Nov. 8, 9 and 10 in Marie Maday Theater of Canisius College.

Cast members from Nardin and Canisius High School will perform in the theater in Lyons Hall, the former Mount St. Joseph High School building, across Main Street from Canisius College.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee at 1 p.m. Nov. 10.

Forum to examine needs of mentally ill

"Special Needs and Justice Issues: A Collaborative Approach" will be the theme of a daylong conference next Wednesday in the Buffalo Convention Center sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Erie County.

The conference will consider problems of children, teens and adults who may have a combination of mental illness, substance abuse or a developmental disability.

Keynote speaker will be Dr. Bert Pepper, a psychiatrist who is founder and director of the Information Exchange, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving treatment for people with mental illness and substance abuse problems. For information and registration, call 886-1242.

Dinner will benefit Kevin Guest House

A dinner to benefit the Kevin Guest House, which serves cancer patients and their families, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Salvatore's Italian Gardens, Town of Lancaster.

The annual event supports the hospitality house at 782 Ellicott St. near Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Founded in 1972 through the Garvey family, the house is named for Kevin Garvey, 13, of Sharon, Pa., who lost his battle with leukemia.

For tickets, call 882-1818. The price per person is $100, of which $50 is tax-deductible.

Disaster preparedness brochure ready

A free brochure on disaster preparedness and how to properly store drinking water is available from the Erie County Water Authority, authority officials said.

Robert Mendez, executive director of the authority, said the brochure will help residents prepare for any type of emergency that could affect the local water system.

"One of the most important supplies to have on hand in the event of an emergency is safe drinking water," Mendez said.

To obtain a brochure, call 849-8482 and leave your name and address on the voice mail system. The brochure also is available online at the authority's Web site,

Benefit planned to promote fire safety

NIAGARA FALLS -- Western New York firefighters will be honored Friday night for service to their communities at an event sponsored by National SAFE (Smoke Alarms for Every) Home Foundation.

Food, music, dancing, prizes and raffles are planned to benefit the Children's Fire and Burn Fund, which supports the foundation's efforts to prevent fire and burn tragedies.

The event will take place from 8 p.m. to midnight at Frontier Fire Hall, 2176 Liberty Drive, Niagara Falls, which is off River and Williams roads near Summit Park Mall. Cost is $10.

Tickets are available through the foundation or at the door.

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