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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Lois Gibbs will address Bethlehem Steel Action Group

Lois Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice and former head of the Love Canal Homeowners Association, will be guest speaker at the February meeting of the Bethlehem Steel Action Group at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Martin Road Senior Center, 230 Martin Road, Lackawanna.

The action group was formed in 2001 to help Bethlehem Steel workers and their families who suffered exposure to radioactive materials that were processed in secrecy at the plant during the Cold War. For information, call Joyce A. Walker, 627-5214.

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Music teacher accused of hitting pupil shifted

NEWFANE -- Newfane School Superintendent Gary J. Pogorzelski has reassigned the music teacher accused of striking a third-grader with a xylophone mallet during a music class last fall.

Marie VanDette has beem reassigned to help with some needed curriculum work while the district re-examines the results of a previous investigation into the alleged incident, Pogorzelski said.

VanDette, 49, who works in the district's elementary and intermediate schools, was removed from the classroom for a time while the original investigation was launched but returned last month. The re-examination follows continuing concerns expressed by Scott and Patricia Jurek, the parents of the boy allegedly struck with the mallet, and other parents who have shown up at recent School Board meetings. Several parents pulled their children from VanDette's classroom after she returned.

The Jureks have filed a notice of claim with the school district to let district officials know they may proceed with a lawsuit.
In a written statement, the superintendent emphasized that "no one should conclude that the reassignment was made because of a belief that the teacher is guilty of any misconduct."

"Reassigning Ms. VanDette will not only aid the district in bringing the matter to a conclusion, but it also will relieve both the teacher and the Elementary School from the distractions that have accompanied the controversy," Pogorzelski said.

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Pulaski Association to hold wreath-laying

The General Pulaski Association of the Niagara Frontier will hold its annual wreath-laying ceremony at 5 p.m. March 6 in front of the General Pulaski statue just north of Ellicott Square on Main Street in downtown Buffalo.

Dignitaries planning to attend include Mayor Byron W. Brown, Cheektowaga Supervisor Mary Holtz and U.S. District Judge William Skretny.

After the ceremony, the group will hold its annual installment dinner in Protocol Restaurant, 6766 Transit Road, Amherst. At the dinner, Sgt. 1st Class Edward Stefek, a Polish-American veteran, will be honored for his outstanding efforts in Iraq.

For tickets and information, call 553-5236.

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Presidents Day closings

This is how the following area offices and services will be affected Monday by the Presidents Day holiday.

City Court .... Closed

County courts .... Closed

State courts .... Closed

Federal courts .... Closed

City offices .... Closed
County offices .... Closed
State offices .... Closed
Federal offices .... Closed
Post Office .... Closed
Schools .... Closed
Banks .... Closed
Most stores .... Open
Metro Bus, Rail .... Regular
City garbage .... Regular

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