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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Reach for the Stars raises $350,000

Fifty youngsters with life-threatening medical conditions will have their wishes granted as a result of the proceeds from last weekend's Make-A-Wish Reach for the Stars 2007 Gala, event Chairman Michael B. Powers announced.

The creative black-tie affair Saturday night in Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in Niagara Falls, in which guests came dressed as their favorite movie character or star, raised more than $350,000, Powers reported.

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>Mayoral candidate seeks expanded bottle deposits

NIAGARA FALLS -- Mayoral candidate Paul Dyster called for the State Senate on Monday to pass the governor's proposed "Bigger, Better Bottle Bill," which would extend the nickel deposit to include bottled water and other noncarbonated beverages.

Dyster, a former councilman and Niagara River Greenway commissioner, took the stance at his formal campaign kickoff event at Justin Tyme on the River restaurant on the Niagara River.

"Because there is a nickel deposit, people are less likely to litter beer and pop bottles, and if they do, someone else usually picks them and turns them in," he said in a prepared statement. "But water, iced tea, juice and sports drinks come in bottles that don't currently carry a deposit. Those are the ones you find strewn across the landscape every time you work on a cleanup."

Dyster participated in a citywide litter cleanup Saturday and said he saw many more noncarbonated bottles among the trash than those that have a deposit.

Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer's proposed bottle bill was kept out of this year's state budget by lawmakers.

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