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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Upstate New York seen as fit for venture capital initiative

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins are pushing to bring an Obama administration venture capital program to upstate New York.

In a letter, the two lawmakers urged the Commerce Department and the Economic Development Administration to approve a new organization called "Launch New York" as part of the federal venture capital effort.

That effort, called "JumpStart America," aims to bring together university-driven research and venture capital in order to create jobs.

"We have fantastic universities that are producing game-changing technology and a talented and capable work force hungry for more job opportunities," said Schumer, D-N.Y. "Now is the time to bring them together."

Higgins, D-Buffalo, agreed, saying: "This community is well positioned for growth and this project has enormous potential to provide the lift needed to move the exciting innovation happening in Western New York to tangible business development and job creation."

If its federal application is approved, Launch New York would serve 27 upstate counties. The effort is seeking $1.2 million in federal support as it sets plans to invest $5 million in approximately 17 start-up companies in its first 28 months of operation.

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Six-hour driving class scheduled for Saturday

YOUNGSTOWN -- The village will host a six-hour driving class for point and insurance reduction on Saturday.

The class is approved by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

The course will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Village Hall, 240 Lockport St. Class fee with advanced registration is $25 and the fee is $30 at the door.

For information, call 283-5048.

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Annual orchid show, sale on tap Friday and Saturday

The annual Orchid Show and Sale will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Botanical Gardens.

The show, held in conjunction with the Niagara Frontier Orchid Society, will include orchid displays, demonstrations, specialty merchandise and care products. There will also be a photography exhibit of orchids by Doug Hansgate and a presentation, on Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the medicinal benefits of plants and common plants that may be toxic to humans and pets.

Tickets are $9 adults, $8 seniors and students and $5 for children 3 to 12. For more information, go to www.buffalogardens.com.

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Presidents' Day closings

This is how the following area offices and services will be affected Monday by the Presidents' Day holiday.

City Court .... Closed

County courts .... Closed

State courts .... Closed

Federal courts .... Closed

City offices .... Closed

County offices .... Closed

State offices .... Closed

Federal offices .... Closed

Post Office .... Closed

Schools .... Closed

Banks .... Closed

County libraries .... Closed

Most stores .... Open

Metro Bus, Rail .... Regular

City garbage .... Regular