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HEARING SET ON RENAMING FIVE SCHOOLS

A public hearing on a proposal to change the names of five Buffalo public schools will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5 in Bennett High School, 2885 Main St. The Board of Education is seeking opinions on these options:

Changing the name of the Buffalo Vocational Technical Center, 820 Northampton St., to East High School. The school had been known as East High for decades.

Adding to the name of City Honors School, 186 E. North St., by calling it City Honors School at Fosdick-Masten Park.

Naming Early Childhood Center 12, 33 Ash St., in memory of Harriet Tubman, an African-American abolitionist leader who was active in the Underground Railroad.

Naming School 18, 118 Hampshire St., in memory of Dr. Antonia Pantoja, a New York City resident who helped found several Hispanic community and educational organizations.

Shortening the name of School 72 Lorraine Academy to Lorraine Academy.

DMV, DOT set transportation workshop

A transportation workshop, featuring representatives of both the state departments of Motor Vehicles and Transportation, will get under way at 4 p.m. Dec. 3 in Adam's Mark Hotel.

There will be a review of transportation laws and regulations, including vehicle and farm plate/agricultural plate registration, vehicle weight and size restrictions, commercial driver's licenses and road inspections.

The forum will also address transportation issues that particularly affect farmers.

There will be a question-and-answer period. For information, call Leah Hurtgen at (518) 431-5070.

Train and Toy Show at Fairgrounds

Toy trains and model railroad layouts will be featured at the annual Western New York Railway Historical Society Train and Toy Show this weekend in the International Agri-Center at the Hamburg Fairgrounds.

Railroadiana, collectibles and displays also will be part of the society's annual fund-raising show, along with a live steam engine, a circus display model and miniatures. Show organizers expect vendors from throughout the Northeast for the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Proceeds from admissions support restoration of two local depots and more than 25 society-owned cars and locomotives.

Power Vista closed Saturday, Sunday

LEWISTON -- The Power Vista, the Niagara Power Project visitors' center, will be closed Saturday and Sunday.

The New York Power Authority announced Thursday that repairs to a main water line near the facility will be carried out during the weekend, necessitating the closing.

The Power Vista is to reopen Monday for its regular hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Grant aids town's rails-to-trails effort

The Town of Clarence has secured a $400,000 grant to continue its rails-to-trails project with the Town of Amherst.

Councilwoman Barbara A. Guida said Wednesday that the grant from the Greater Buffalo Niagara Region Transportation Council nearly replaces funds that Clarence lost when Amherst's half of the project became derailed this summer. Both communities have begun projects to convert old railroad rights of way into recreational trails.

Amherst and Clarence had jointly applied for a $1.2 million federal grant to help finance the project, which would have connected existing trails in the two towns at a location along Transit Road. Clarence's share of the grant would have been $500,000.

But a group of Amherst residents opposed the town's plans to create a recreational trail along the old Peanut Line railway right of way, ultimately affecting funding for the project in both towns.

Amherst is seeking an alternative route for its trailways project, which eventually will be connected to Clarence's recreational trail.

Nativity scene in spotlight at festival

LEWISTON -- Our Lady of Fatima Shrine will open its Festival of Lights on Saturday with a blessing of the giant Nativity scene after the 4 p.m. Mass in the basilica, 1023 Swann Road, just off Route 18.

Hours will be from 5 to 9 p.m. daily through Jan. 5. Admission is free.

The Rev. Julio Ciavaglia, rector of Our Lady of Fatima Shrine and the designer of the illuminated decorations, said he hopes that "the festival will inspire all to look at the spiritual roots of our Christmas season and find in it Jesus, the true source of joy and peace."

The display offers dozens of lighted displays, including Joseph and Mary on their way to Bethlehem, the Ten Commandments and a Nativity scene with some figures that are more than 9 feet tall. Santa Claus is there, too, but as the more correctly religious form of St. Nicholas, bishop of Asia Minor in the fourth century.

This year a new display, "The Mystery of the Rosary," will feature each of the 20 mysteries shown in illuminated 8-by-4-foot cases.

Writing, art sought for youth anthology

The Western New York Writing Project at Canisius College is accepting writing and artwork from students in kindergarten through 12th grade for possible inclusion in its annual "Young Writers and Artists at Work Anthology." The deadline is March 1. For information, call 888-3134.