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

OLAF FUB SEZ: According to German actress and singer Hildegarde Knef, born on this date in 1925, "Success and failure are both greatly overrated. But failure gives you a whole lot more to talk about."

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FAIRWAY FANTASIES -- These more or less snowless days have gotten the Niagara Parks Commission thinking of balmier times ahead. It's opening up two holes of the Whirlpool Public Golf Course in Niagara Falls, Ont., as part of its open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on New Year's Day. Meanwhile, in the clubhouse, Niagara Parks' award-winning chili, hot chocolate and other treats will be available.

"There is no need to escape Niagara to get in some good golf and family cheer over the holidays," says Janice Thomson, Niagara Parks Commission chairwoman. "We welcome you to accept the challenge of golfing in winter by tackling two of the challenging holes on our original golf course, which just turned 60 this past summer."

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PARTY ANIMALS -- Want to make that birthday celebration special? Spend it with a speckled mousebird, a Brazilian agouti and a northern blue-tongued skink. They're among the hundreds of horned, winged and furry denizens of the Buffalo Zoo, which is accepting reservations for birthday parties most Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 to 4 p.m. all year long.

Each party includes room rental, decorations, full admission to the zoo, a guided tour of the exhibit of your choice, party gift bags for each child, pizza and soda for the kids, a special gift for the guest of honor and a live animal demonstration. The zoo does not supply the cake or candles, knives to cut the cake or forks to eat it.

Cost is $12 per child for parties hosted by zoo members, $15 per child for nonmember hosts. Parties must have a minimum of 10 children and no more than 25. Four adults may attend the party for free. Additional adults may attend for $8 each, unless they are zoo members or have guest passes. For info, call 995-6128 or visit www.buffalozoo.org.

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THINKING YOUNG -- The sixth annual WNED Kid Fest, an indoor carnival Feb. 4 and 5 in the WNED Studios at 140 Lower Terrace, will celebrate pets and animals. The animal theme prevails among the popular PBS characters -- Super Why! and his co-stars, Wonder Red and Woofster; The Cat in the Hat, Buddy from "Dinosaur Train" and Curious George -- who will be on hand for meeting, greeting and photos.

The festival also features a variety of activities to get kids excited about learning. Live performances both days will include stories, songs and demonstrations, as well as games, crafts, coloring, face-painting, raffles and prizes.

In addition, there's the WNED Kid Fest Character Breakfast from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 4 in the nearby Pearl Street Grill. It includes a full buffet meal, visits with the PBS characters and an exclusive mid-morning time slot at the Kid Fest.

Special discount tickets for the Kid Fest, available through Jan. 5, are $20 for two adults and two children ages 1 to 12, or $10 for one adult and one child. Cost for the breakfast is $25 per adult and $15 per child. For info and tickets, call toll free (888) 202-2859 or visit www.wned.org. Space is limited and tickets may not be available at the door.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY -- Norm Daley, Nan Tramont, Joyce Kryszak, Fran Urbanski, Sammy Grabowski, Avery Henry Vogt, Helen Mueller, Mary Ann Zenger, Ken Corcoran, Ron Hereth, Susan Nola, Toula Moskos, John Regensdorfer, Janice Marshall, Joe Dygulski, Patty Scheu and Ralph Brown Jr.

AND THURSDAY -- Barbara D. Hall, Grace L. Werts, Judith M. Powell, Debbie Magrum, Pete Simon, Lucy Pencille, Sister Mary Harriet Marie Bialobrzewski, Dave Adaszak, Linda Saab, Jill Reese, William Niefer, Tyler Flynn, Dave Wannemacher, Myrtle E. Johnston and Tracy Tumiel.

email: olaffub@buffnews.com