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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Exploratory meeting on forming block clubs

LOCKPORT -- The Common Council will host a meeting for residents at 7 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall, One Locks Plaza, to discuss the possible formation of block clubs throughout the city.

There now is only one active block club in Lockport, the North End Neighborhood Watch. Its leaders will attend Wednesday's meeting to give pointers to others who wish to start a block club.

Council President John Lombardi III, R-5th Ward, said he and Alderwoman Phyllis J. Green, R-2nd Ward, originally called the session as a joint ward meeting for their constituents, to discuss general topics as well as block clubs. But Lombardi said the other aldermen have expressed interest, so it's being opened to all city residents.

"All topics of discussion are welcome and will be addressed. This will not be a debate on any one issue, but an open discussion for the betterment of the community," Lombardi said in an e-mail announcing the meeting.

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Families hail renewal of tuition tax break

A college tuition tax deduction program the U.S. Senate extended Saturday is popular with Western New Yorkers.

Some 18,707 families in Western New York took advantage of the college tuition tax deduction in 2003, the most recent year for which numbers are available, according to a statement from Sen. Charles E. Schumer's office.

Over the past five years, the average price of going to college in Western New York increased by 35 percent, rising from $8,596 in 2001 to $11,584 in 2006, the statement said.

Schumer authored the college tuition tax deduction, which allows middle-class families to deduct up to $4,000 in tuition costs. The tax deduction was scheduled to expire this year, if not extended, as it was Saturday by both the House and Senate.

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Raffle winners to get dinner in Bond House

LOCKPORT -- Raffle tickets are on sale now for a chance to have a Victorian Christmas dinner Dec. 27 in the Bond House.

The names of the winning six couples will be drawn Wednesday on the Niagara County Historical Society's radio program on WLVL-AM.

"Good Neighbor" Dave Marmon, the host of the show, will serve as maitre d' for the dinner.

After a wine toast, a five-course gourmet meal, prepared by David Cohen of Mr. & Mrs. Catering, will be served in the home's formal dining room. A tour of the decorated house will be included.

Raffle tickets are $5, or three for $10, and will be available until Tuesday at the Historical Society, 215 Niagara St., or by calling 434-7433.

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Holiday cookie event invites volunteers

SALAMANCA -- Volunteers are invited to take part in Cattaraugus Community Action's holiday cookie event beginning at 9 a.m. Friday at 25 Jefferson St.

Holiday cookies will be baked, decorated and delivered at that time to needy households. Volunteers should call 945-1041, Ext. 122 by Wednesday.

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