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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Front-yard makeovers featured in magazine

An article casting a favorable light on last year's Front Yard Garden Competition, which featured 19 makeovers along North Parade Avenue, is in the current issue of Country Gardens. The event, held during the Buffalo Garden Walk, paired local landscapers with families to design and plant front yards.

It was organized by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Western New York Nursery & Landscape Association, New York State Certified Nursery & Landscape Professionals, Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the National Buffalo Garden Festival organizing committee.

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BOCES session will describe career-mentoring program

College-bound high school juniors and seniors interested in a medical or legal career are invited to an information session Thursday about yearlong internships.

The Erie 1 BOCES New Visions program links highly qualified high school seniors with mentoring professionals in the workplace and colleges and universities. The programs integrate English and social studies credits needed for graduation but take place at locations such as Medaille College, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and Veterans Affairs Hospital.

The information session is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Harkness Career & Technical Center, 99 Aero Drive, Cheektowaga. All BOCES programs are part of the public education system. For more information, visit www.e1b.org or call 821-7035.

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Jewish Community Center unveils new fitness center

The Jewish Community Center showed off its new fitness center recently during a grand reopening in the Benderson Family Building at 2640 North Forest Road, Amherst.

The renovated center -- part of a complete overhaul of the JCC's Buffalo and Amherst sites -- features 94 pieces of state-of-the-art fitness equipment, as well as full studios for cycling, Pilates, group fitness and yoga.

It also includes a Sportwall XerPro and XerDance for children. JCC officials said the center is the first gym in New York state to have the latest in cardiovascular exercise equipment, the Precor system, which combines exercises and personal entertainment.

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Surge in interest prompts redesign of tourism website

NIAGARA FALLS -- The Niagara Convention and Tourism Corp., whose mission is to promote tourism in Niagara County, has redesigned its website.

The layout, navigation, colors and interactivity all have been overhauled to keep up with the demand for information about Niagara USA, said Jennifer Starkey, communications manager and head of the NCTC's Internet marketing.

Visitors to the site now can connect immediately with various social media outlets, read updated content on Niagara USA and be encouraged to book their trips directly on the Niagara-USA.com site. The redesign took nine months. In 2010, the website got more than 1 million visits.

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