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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Law firm's free rides kick in when 2012 begins till 4 a.m.

For the fourth straight year, personal injury attorney William Mattar is teaming up with Designated Drivers of Buffalo to help New Year's Eve partygoers and their vehicles get home safely.

The William Mattar Safe & Sober Ride Home Program will offer free rides home from the minute that 2012 begins until 4 a.m. from any location within the City of Buffalo. Ride requests should be made by calling Designated Drivers of Buffalo at 713-7703 and saying that William Mattar is picking up the tab. Two uniformed drivers will pick up the caller and his or her car.

Rides will be given only to the caller's residence, not to another location. Ordinarily, callers pay for the service, but Mattar will pay for rides up to a maximum of 20 miles within Western New York.

Designated Drivers of Buffalo says it will make every effort to answer all requests, but can not guarantee a ride to every caller if there's a high volume of calls.

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Forts to exchange fire for war's bicentennial

YOUNGSTOWN -- Fort Niagara and Fort George will bombard each other Sunday to mark the beginning of the bicentennial year for the War of 1812.

Ontario Lt. Gov. David C. Onley will hold a New Year's Day levee at Fort George, on the Niagara River at Niagara-on-the-Lake, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

At 3 p.m., the Canadian artillery is to fire a salute, to which volunteer gunners at Fort Niagara will reply.

The event at Fort George will be open to the public, but Fort Niagara will not be open to visitors Sunday.

In 1812, the forts fired on each other for real, and the following year British troops captured Fort Niagara.

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UB taps physician-scientist to head new research center

The University at Buffalo has named Dr. Timothy F. Murphy director of its Clinical and Translational Research Center.

The CTRC is scheduled to open in May 2012 as part of the $291 million UB Kaleida Health building under construction on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus at Goodrich and Ellicott streets.

"Dr. Murphy is an internationally recognized physician-scientist in the area of infectious diseases," Dr. Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences and dean of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said in a statement. "He has the special skill set needed to bring together scientists from diverse backgrounds who have a common interest in improving the public health through innovative research."

The CTRC, which will occupy the top four floors of the new building, will be one of a few centers in the country focused on expediting creation of new medical tests, treatments and cures.

"Dr. Murphy is already creating a unique environment that is enabling powerful synergies across departmental barriers that brings medical innovation from the bench to the bedside," Cain said.

Murphy, a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine and Microbiology, is an internationally recognized expert in respiratory tract bacterial infections.