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Batavia songwriter thrilled with Best Original Song prize

A Cheektowaga native who lives in Batavia has won an international "Best Original Song" contest with a song inspired by her nephew who died from cancer.

Lisa Barrett, who entered "When You Look at Me" into the contest, said she is a "shocked songwriter" after learning of her victory Monday night, when voting ended on

"Our family suffered so much. Who would have thought that after so much pain would emerge such joy?" Barrett said. "I am so grateful to each and every person that pushed that vote button."

Barrett, who has written about 50 songs, wrote "When You Look at Me" as a tribute to her nephew, Austin Bielanin.

Austin died in 2001 shortly before his second birthday. The contest attracted more than 100 entries from multiple countries, and voting for the final three took place this past week.


Housing agency to offer free landlord training course

Housing Opportunities Made Equal will conduct a free landlord training course at its offices on the third floor of 700 Main St., from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday.

The course will highlight the tenant screening process, fair housing laws, the landlord-tenant relationship and what to do when it doesn't work. Other topics include lead detection and remediation.

All participants will receive copy of the book "A Guide to Landlords' Rights" as well as other informational materials.

The course is free through a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo.

Space is limited and participants must preregister by contacting Rayna Grossman at 854-1400, Ext. 22, or by e-mail at


New computer center open at Reinstein Library

A new public computer center has opened at the Julia Boyer Reinstein Library in Cheektowaga featuring 13 new laptop and eight desktop computers.

It was funded with a $244,517 grant from the New York State Library Broadband Technology Program.

For information on the computer center and a schedule of classes, call 668-4991 or visit


Suit targeting construction of Petri warehouse dismissed

SILVER CREEK -- A legal challenge in State Supreme Court against the village and Petri Baking Products was dismissed Monday by Judge James Dillen.

Village Attorney Andrew Kehrer said the suit challenged the village's granting of a variance and rezoning to Petri's for construction of a large warehouse behind the company's existing bakery on Main Street.

"Hopefully they will go forward and construct the warehouse," said Kehrer.

Petri's has been a fixture in the village for more than 50 years. The company makes cookies under its own label and for private store labels. The company, which employs nearly 300, applied for the rezoning last year. Neighbors challenged the approvals, arguing that the warehouse would be too close to backyards and would create a traffic issue. The group has the right to appeal.

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