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

OLAF FUB SEZ: According to poet and Trappist monk Thomas Merton, born on this date in 1915, "The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little."

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YOUNG AND GIFTED -- The deadline is Feb. 10 for applications for the 2012 Young Miss Buffalo Pageant. It's open to young women ages 13 to 17 who attend middle school or high school and who are legal residents of Buffalo or the surrounding areas.

Between 15 and 20 applicants will be chosen to take part in a four-month program that includes personal development workshops, community service and other activities that culminate in an annual pageant to determine a successor to the reigning Young Miss Buffalo, Ashley Whiteside, 15, a student at Buffalo's Fredrick Law Olmsted School. For info and to download an application, visit www.ymbp.org.

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HOST FAMILIES -- The Fresh Air Fund's Southern Erie County area committee is seeking volunteer members and host families to help give children from New York City a summer vacation in a small town or rural environment. The program is now in its 136th year.

Volunteers recruit and interview host families, check references and coordinate group activities. For info and to volunteer, call Chris Tedesco at 984-7177 or the Fresh Air Fund toll-free at (800) 367-0003. Information also is available at www.freshair.org.

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ART FOR ART'S SAKE -- That souvenir poster each summer for the Allentown Art Festival is the winner of the Allentown Village Society's annual Design Our Poster contest, and entries are now being accepted. Prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250 will be awarded. Deadline for submissions is March 31.

Posters must be 14-by-22 inches, camera-ready and contain the words 55th annual Allentown Art Festival, the dates (June 9 and 10) and certain other information. For instructions, call 881-4269 or visit the association's website at www.allentownartfestival.com and go to the bottom of the "What's New" section.

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JUST FOR LAUGHS -- A group that wants to locate the National Comedy Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls has mounted an online petition drive to show would-be investors that there is support for the project. Their goal is 5,000 signatures by the end of January, which is tonight. Their total as of Monday evening? 191. It's kind of a long shot, but you can make a miracle happen by visiting www.ipetitions.com/petition/nchofniafalls/ and adding your name. Today.

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BEST BULLIES -- Bully breed dogs will have their day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday as the Maddie's Pet Rescue Project hosts its annual Bully For You! event, a session to improve the image of the American Pit Bull Terrier, in the auditorium of the SPCA Serving Erie County, 205 Ensminger Road, Town of Tonawanda.

Organizers note that pit bulls, when they aren't mistreated by irresponsible owners, are actually very social and loving pets. Puppies and adults from the SPCA, the Buffalo Animal Shelter and Black Dog Second Chance will be available for adoption.

Those who adopt a dog Saturday also will get a Kong dog toy and a bag of training treats. Adoption fees include the cost of vaccinations and spaying or neutering. In addition, Miranda Workman of Purrfect Paws Animal Behavior Center, will give demonstrations at noon and 1 p.m. to show dog owners how to develop their pets' natural scenting abilities. For info, visit www.MaddiesErieCounty.org.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY -- Marilyn Sultz, Allen Beroza, Betty Keiner, Joe Sasiadek, Bob Hawkins, Anna Scheu, Marie Maciejewski, Matthew McGowan, Sharon Rzeszutek, Brian Beals, Shirley Whitcomb, Paul Makowski, Genevieve Ferenc, Barb Brader, Sandy Olejniczak, Pat Mahoney, Robert Huisgen, Mary Fox, Alice E. Williams, Sandy Moskal Piatek, Alice E. Williams, Corrine Brady, Alexa Milan Ward, Chick Sonntag, Julie Damerau, Cheryl Jennings and Cindy Podkulski.

email: olaffub@buffnews.com