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Reporters' Notebook / Bits and pieces of news...

OLAF FUB SEZ: Words to live by from eloquent English essayist Charles Lamb, born on this date in 1775, "I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early."

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HELPING HANDS -- First, longtime South Buffalo resident Noreen Nowinski was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Then she was unable to keep working as a saleswoman at Becker's Beauty Supply, and, worse yet, she lost the prescription coverage in her health care plan, which means she has to cover the considerable expense of the medications she needs all by herself.

To help out, friends and family are holding a benefit to help her with her medical costs from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday in the Bison City Rod and Gun Club, 511 Ohio St. There will be basket and prize raffles, beverages, pizza and other snacks. Tickets are $20. For tickets or to donate, call Beaver Higgins at 380-5447.

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CHAPTER 11 -- Considered by some as essential viewing for the current economic slump, the documentary film "I.O.U.S.A." hits the screen in the Buffalo area for the first time at 7 p.m. today through Thursday in the Palace Theatre, 31 Buffalo St., Hamburg.

First shown at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, it explores the implications of America's ever-expanding national debt. Among the people who offer their insights in it is investment wizard Warren Buffett, owner of The Buffalo News.

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DIVINE DIVAS -- "Diva by Diva: A Celebration of Women!" -- with its songs, readings, poetry and humor by, for and about women -- has been staged regularly since 1999 by O'Connell & Company, but no performance will be quite like the one at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda.

"A Night of a Thousand Divas" will not only mark the 10th anniversary of the show, which has seen a revolving cast of more than 300 actors, but also will serve as a major benefit gala for a variety of charities and nonprofit organizations.

Tickets are $25, all of which will be donated. For a $100 contribution, there's a special patron reception at 6:30 p.m. with music, champagne, special desserts and prizes. For information and tickets, call 692-2413 or visit www.rivieratheatre.org.

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ARCTIC ALDEN -- The current thaw is expected to be over by the weekend, which is just fine with the organizers of the fifth annual Alden Winterfest from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday, starting at 8 a.m.

More than 35 indoor and outdoor events are scheduled -- most of them free -- including dog sled races, a hockey shoot-out, a 5K race, snowmobile rides, a tug-of-war, a bonfire, a pancake breakfast, a snowball dance and a wine and chocolate tasting. Competitive events may require preregistration. For information, call 937-9216, Ext. 10, or visit www.aldenwinterfest.com.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY -- Bonnie Platt, Glenn Sheesley, Patricia Weber, Mark Weber, Sarah Zakrzewski, Michael Merrell, Marilyn Schulz, Charles Coe, Courtney Willett, Bridget Sheehan-Murphy, Eric Sonntag, Meloney Brady, Melissa Goodman, Brandon Kochan, Arline Semlitsch, Sister Mary Aurelian Kosiba and John
Michael Buczkowski.

e-mail: olaffub@buffnews.com

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