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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Governance institute changes its name

The University at Buffalo's Institute for Local Governance and Regional Growth has changed its name to UB's Regional Institute, a move made to highlight its main point of emphasis, officials announced this week.

"The 'Regional Institute' more clearly -- and more succinctly -- conveys our focus here at the institute, which is to promote regional progress by building understanding around critical regional governance and policy issues," said Kathryn A. Foster, the director.

The institute, entering 10 years in operation, also unveiled a new logo and a Web site that guides users to reports and data on the region's governments, economy and population.

Over the past year, the institute has linked to UB's Law School, set up a monthly series of policy briefs and launched a program that researches binational issues for the region.

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Heating help available through program grants

The Neighbor for Neighbor Heat Fund, a home heating assistance program for needy families and individuals, is taking applicants.

The fund, established by National Fuel in 1983, is administered by the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities, which process and approve applications. Grant amounts can be up to $300.

Applicants must provide proof of income, disability or medical hardship; receipts from rent or mortgage paid within the past 30 days; utility, loan and insurance payments, as well as a record of transportation, clothing and medical expenses.

The program is funded through contributions from National Fuel customers, employees and shareholders and private entities.

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Norwood to fill vacancy on state control board

A former Rochester City Council member has become the newest member of a state control board overseeing Buffalo's finances.

Wade Norwood will fill a seat that has been vacant since last spring when former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall resigned from the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority.

Gov. George E. Pataki, in one of his final actions before leaving office last month, finalized Norwood's appointment.

Norwood had been nominated several months earlier to fill the vacancy by State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, who has since resigned.

But Norwood's tenure on the board could be brief. He will fill McCall's unexpired term, which ends in June. It will be up to a new comptroller to decide whether Norwood should continue on the oversight panel.

Norwood is director of safety net initiatives for the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, a nonprofit community health planning agency. Control board Executive Director Dorothy A. Johnson said Norwood is expected to attend the panel's Jan. 31 meeting.

"We're happy to have him on board," Johnson said.

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