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NFTA PANEL RECOMMENDS FARE INCREASE

Metro Bus and Rail riders are another step closer to paying more for public transportation after action by a Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority committee.

The authority's Surface Transportation Committee gave unanimous approval Wednesday to boosting fares to $1.50 from $1.25, the system's first fare increase since 1995.

Luiz F. Kahl, NFTA chairman, said the decision to put the fare increase before the full board of commissioners Tuesday followed a broad internal review and a round of public hearings.

If approved by the full board, the increases would take effect June 1. Board approval is virtually guaranteed, because commissioners already have included the revenue in the budget that took effect April 1.

While adult cash fares will rise by 25 cents a trip, those for senior citizens, children, the disabled and Medicare recipients will climb to 65 cents from 55 cents. Adult transfers will go up 5 cents, to 30 cents.

The across-the-board fare changes also will affect Flash Pass prices. Monthly one-zone adult passes will cost $55, up from $44, while the price of one-zone passes for senior citizens, children and the others eligible for discounts will rise to $27.50 from $22.

All-zone passes will cost $66 for adults and $33 for others.

Kuryak now considering re-election bid

Lackawanna Mayor John J. Kuryak says he might seek re-election after all.

Kuryak has accepted a job with the Erie County Water Authority, effective Tuesday, and has said he would serve out the remainder of his term until Dec. 31 but not seek re-election.

But Wednesday he said he might seek some type of arrangement where he would run again and be a part-time mayor with reduced pay.

"My first priority has to be the Water Authority job, and I'll have to talk to them, but I've received 25 or 30 calls and three letters from people who want me to run," he said.

A common theme in the calls and letters was that people like the way the city is being run and don't want it to revert to the old way of doing things, he said.

A part-time arrangement would not be in accord with the City Charter, but the charter was written at a time when the city had many more people and needs to be revised, Kuryak said.

He said he plans to make a final decision within the next few days.

Outdoor music series set at cathedral

An outdoor summer program of music and entertainment will begin outside St. Joseph's Cathedral on Tuesday with a concert by the Olmsted School 56 strings.

The Spirit of Summer performances will be at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday on the church property at 50 Franklin St. Guests may bring their lunch or buy baked goods during the program. Parking is available in the Church Street lot behind the cathedral.

Future performances follow:

June 3, singing and dancing by Children of Mary Home Schoolers; June 10, the elementary choir of the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts; June 17, piano music by the Rev. Arthur Smith, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish; June 24, a piano duet by Barbara and Michael Musial.

July 1, Irish and American folk music by Kindred; July 8, the vocal group of SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Williamsville; July 15, the Kickin' Rhythm Cloggers; July 22, the Parable Players of Our Lady of Victory Basilica; July 29, the St. Martin de Porres Parish gospel group.

Aug. 5, pianist Ivan Docenko with chorus; Aug. 12, Bonnie Lockwood singing; and Aug. 18, Woodgate School of Traditional Irish Dance with music by Kindred.

Fireboat Cotter docked by budget cuts

Buffalo's financial woes are confining the city's historic fireboat, the Edward M. Cotter, to its home port for the Memorial Day holiday.

The 103-year-old vessel was scheduled to fire salutes with its water cannons in weekend ceremonies at the Erie Maritime Museum in Erie, Pa., but what would have been its fifth appearance at the museum has been canceled. The museum is home to the U.S. Brig Niagara.

Officials in Erie said earlier this week they were notified by Mike Higgins, captain of the fireboat, "that all voyaging for the Cotter this season has been canceled due to budget problems."

However, Mayor Anthony M. Masiello said that the Cotter would still get to make an occasional appearance in other ports this summer.

Pupils sought for Dino Write project

Wednesday is the deadline for registering children for the Dino Write project May 31 at the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Sponsored by the Western New York Writers Project, Dino Write invites children, from grades 2 through 6, to walk through the "Dinomania" dinosaur exhibit with a clipboard and write their impressions. Children will also receive a snack and a book.

Admission is $6 for the event, from 10 to 12:30 p.m., and parents are welcome. To register, call Cheryl Jessell-Yates at the Writers Project, 888-3134.

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