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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Ceremony set Nov. 23 to open Holiday Lights

NIAGARA FALLS -- The Holiday Lights of Niagara Trail, which has raised more than $120,000 for the United Way of Niagara since 2004, will open for this year's season with a ceremony at 5 p.m. Nov. 23 in Sal Maglie Stadium.

Sponsors said there will be more than 50 lighting displays in Hyde Park, with 10 others along Pine Avenue, Main Street and Third Street to the planned Holiday Market on Old Falls Street. Individual businesses are being encouraged to decorate their storefronts in keeping with the holiday lighting theme.

Holiday Lights began as a United Way fundraiser in 2004 in Oppenheim Park. After three years, it was moved to Hyde Park, with the City of Niagara Falls as the main sponsor.

The program has just opened a new website at holidaylightsofniagara.blogspot.com with a 30-minute video of past displays in Hyde Park, a map of this year's trail and a list of holiday events.

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Polish community pays tribute to bishop

Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo received a special thank-you from the area's Polish community Sunday.

St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church on Peckham Street celebrated a Mass commemorating Kmiec's time as bishop in Buffalo the past seven years. Kmiec, who is of Polish descent, submitted his resignation in June to Pope Benedict XVI when he turned 75, as is Vatican tradition. The Mass also marked the 33rd anniversary of Karol Wojtyla's elevation to Pope John Paul II.

The Rev. Thaddeus Bocianowski, pastor of St. Stanislaus Church, recently returned from Poland with relics of Pope John Paul II that were blessed, displayed and venerated for the first time.

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Cuomo endorses Whyte in race for clerk post

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has thrown his support behind Maria R. Whyte in the race for Erie County clerk.

Whyte, Democratic majority leader in the Erie County Legislature, will face Republican candidate Christopher L. Jacobs on Nov. 8 for county clerk.

Cuomo, in a written statement released by Whyte's campaign, said Whyte had a "passion for effective and competent government."

"She is deeply committed to her family and to her community," Cuomo said. "She is a dedicated public servant who will make an outstanding county clerk."

The election will fill the position left vacant when Kathleen C. Hochul won a special election for the 26th Congressional District.

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Public tours planned at two firehouses

Two Buffalo firehouses will be open for public tours next week.

Engine 19 at 209 Forest Ave., at Hawley Street, will host an event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Another open house will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Engine 38, 398 Linden Ave., at Colvin Avenue.

A representative of Mayor Byron W. Brown's office will be in attendance.

Free smoke detectors and batteries also will be available.