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Reporters' notebook: Bits & pieces of news ...

OLAF FUB SEZ: According to brewer and patriot Samuel Adams, born on this date in 1722, "We cannot make events. Our business is wisely to improve them."


HUUUGE! -- An event that keeps getting bigger every year, it seems, is the World Pumpkin Weigh-off, which takes place in two Western New York locations this weekend. The giants will be lifted onto the scales at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Great Pumpkin Farm, 11199 Main St., Clarence. Results should be known about noon. In Clarence, last year's competition was won by Paul Schweigert of Newfane, who brought in a 1,070-pounder.

At Pumpkinville, 4830 Sugartown Road off Route 98 in Great Valley, not far from Ellicottville, there were a dozen giants bigger than that in last year's weigh-off, the biggest being a 1,531-pound entry from Karl Haist of Clarence Center. This year's competition begins at noon Sunday. A total of $5,000 in prizes will be awarded.


THE ART OF PIE -- Pumpkins also will be in the spotlight this weekend at the Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center, 2001 Union Road, West Seneca. At 2 p.m. Saturday, judging will be held in the center's annual contest for bakers of fruit and pumpkin pies. Slices of the pies will be available for $1 right after the judging.

Judges also will make their choices Saturday afternoon in the center's annual pumpkin carving contest. The carved pumpkins will be raffled off during the Fall Festival at the center from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. For info, call 677-4843 or visit


POLICE ESCORT -- If you're looking for an officer of the law Thursday evening, chances are you'll find one at the nearest Western New York Applebee's restaurant. The gendarmes won't be writing tickets, though. Instead, from 5 to 8:30, they'll be opening doors, greeting guests, serving beverages, busing tables and delivering food to customers.

The occasion? A fundraiser to support Special Olympics athletes in upstate New York. All tips they collect from patrons will go the cause. Since 2008, the police have raised more than $100,000 for Special Olympics athletes.


TAKE A CHANCE -- An autographed Ryan Miller jersey, two tickets to the Bills-Titans game on Dec. 4, a 42-inch TV set, a Kindle with a lighted cover -- these are among the hundreds of prizes in the Big Bonanza Basket Raffle sponsored by Twin Cities Community Outreach Inc. on Sunday afternoon in Sikora Post American Legion Hall, 950 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda. Sale of tickets and previewing of prizes begins at noon. Drawings start at 3. You need not be present to win.


WORLD EATS -- St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church at Lafayette and Richmond avenues holds its 29th annual International Food Fair from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the parish hall. In addition to barbecued ribs from the outdoor grill, there will be Southern fried chicken, Asian stir fry and Mexican, Indian, Polish and Italian treats. Homemade soups and home-baked breads will be available, along with a variety of desserts. There also will be a coffee kiosk, a wine-tasting booth and a kids booth with hot dogs and chips, plus door prizes and raffles. For info, call the church office at 885-1112.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY -- Robert F. Bamrick, Patrick Mangan, Steve Lakomy, Betty Virostko, Madison Juskiewicz, Jackson McCarthy, Roger Rooth, Marie S. Zorrilla, Karen Regensdorfer, Kristy Ernest, Sister Linda Love, Bob Hartmann Sr., Paige Samaniego, Kaleigh Quinn Schwab, Hannah Grandy and Zachary Highway.