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BLACK BEAR SIGHTINGS TERMED VALID

Black bear sightings in the last few days have moved around eastern and southern Erie County, convincing environmental officials that it's likely at least one bear is roaming residential areas.

"It sounds to me that by the sheer number of folks who have reported it that there's at least one of them," said Gerald F. Mikol, regional director of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Authorities have fielded a handful of calls about a bear being spotted in Alden, Elma and Orchard Park, the state DEC confirmed. While the callers all could be spotting the same bear, officials suspect there may be more than one.

And they're not surprised.

"It's become more and more common, as the bear population increases in size and as the development in the bear habitat continues in the Southern Tier," Mikol said.

Mikol suggested that people not get close to the bears and that they not put out birdseed, which may attract bears.

"There should be a healthy respect for these animals," he added. "They're wild and large and can be unpredictable."

March Against School Violence set

JAMESTOWN -- The annual March Against School Violence will be held Saturday, with participants gathering first at the Allen Park Band Shell, beginning at 8 a.m.

The march will start at 9, and a community rally begins at 10 at Tracy Plaza along Third Street.

Youth Services Director Vicki James said the march is special to the area's youths, because it's done "by the kids, for the kids."

"It's the brainchild of Aubree Bower, a senior at Jamestown High School who works in my office through the Youth Apprenticeship program. Aubree and a few other young people planned the whole event and ran all the organizational meetings," James said.

Bower has been hitting the streets to promote the march.

"I came up with the idea a couple of years ago when it seemed like school shootings were on the rise. One of the reasons for those shootings, I thought, was a lack of awareness among the students, teachers and staff about how to deal with the warning signs that lead up to the terrible attacks," she said.

For more information, call the Department of Youth Services at 483-7516.

Olean clambake set for June 11

OLEAN -- The 35th annual Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce clambake will be held June 11 in War Veterans Park across from Bradner Stadium. The event marks the start of the summer season in the community and offers food, prizes, fun and music from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The Old Library Restaurant will cater the food, including clams in several styles, chowder, chicken, ribs and ice cream.

Kevin O'Connell, meteorologist for WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, will broadcast live at 5 and 6 p.m.

Tickets are $25 a person and are available by calling the Chamber at 372-4433.

Roof repairs started on old dormitory

CASSADAGA -- Reconstruction has begun on the parapet and roof of an 86-year-old dormitory on the campus of the Cassadaga Job Corps on Glasgow Road.

Monday, some of the roof and bricks came down, according to Misty Sorensen Sax, public relations coordinator. Several fire companies responded. No one was hurt.

A structural engineer found that the parapet was waterlogged and that standing water came over the side, where the eaves buckled and the corner of the building was damaged.

The students were moved to other dormitories, and some doubled up, she said. Students are expected to return to the dormitory in 10 days.

Upward Bound program receives grant

FREDONIA -- Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, announced Wednesday that Fredonia State College has been awarded $294,169 for its Upward Bound program that supports high school students from low-income families, families in which neither parent has a bachelor's degree, and low-income first-generation military veterans.

The program has been at the college for more than 10 years and has a maximum of 50 students per year, according to the college.

The program includes instruction in mathematics, laboratory science, composition, literature and foreign language. Other services include assistance in completing college entrance and financial aid applications as well as academic, financial and personal counseling.

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