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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Sale of Ramada Inn to Senecas completed

A Niagara Falls hotel was sold Friday to the Seneca Nation of Indians for expansion of the Seneca Niagara Casino complex.

Mark R. McNamara, an attorney representing Gennaro Villella, said his client had sold the Ramada Inn at 219 Fourth St. State officials recently announced plans to use eminent domain proceedings to force Villella and others to sell their property to the Senecas for casino expansion projects.

"The deal was closed today. We aren't disclosing the sale price," McNamara said.

Philip J. Pantano, a spokesman for the Seneca Niagara Casino, confirmed the sale. City records list the assessed value of the property at $2.3 million.

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>Nurses group resumes flu shot program

The Visiting Nursing Association of Western New York has resumed its 2005-06 flu immunizations.

Registered nurses will be administering influenza and pneumonia immunizations at various sites across Western New York until Dec. 18.

For site schedules, call the group's hotline at 862-3588 or visit its Web site, www.vna-wny.org. Vaccinations are for people 18 and older. Medicare Part B, Independent Health, Univera Healthcare, Community Blue and Senior Blue are accepted as payment in full.

In November, the association suspended immunizations because of diminished supplies of vaccine. At the time, it had provided more than 40,000 vaccinations.

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>Groups adopt family for special Christmas

Christmas is coming early for one needy Buffalo area family, thanks to West Seneca AmeriCorps and the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.

The family, which includes five children ranging in age from 2 to 17, has been adopted for Christmas by the PBA. A PBA donation to AmeriCorps has been used to buy gifts for them, including a television set, clothing, toys and a supermarket gift certificate.

AmeriCorps gathers donations to provide thousands of families with gifts during the holidays, but this is the first time an individual family has been adopted.

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>Empire Passport buyers get a few months' bonus

The State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is offering a holiday gift package for its Empire Passport, which provides unlimited vehicle access to state parks for 12 months -- buy one 2006 Empire Passport, which is valid from April 1, 2006, to March 31, 2007, and get a free 2005 Empire Passport, which is good through March 31.

Empire Passports are available during business hours on weekdays at the park offices at Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island and Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, Monday through Saturday at Woodlawn Beach State Park in Woodlawn and every day at the Niagara Falls State Park visitor center.

The Empire Passport, which costs $59, can be used at any of the 172 state parks and 35 state historic sites. For information, visit www.nysparks.com.

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