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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

13 guardsmen leave for training in Texas

Thirteen members of the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing departed Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on Saturday for a three-week intensive training event at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The guardsmen will hone their combat skills prior to deploying overseas to Afghanistan. Family members, friends and fellow airmen gathered to bid them farewell as they boarded an aircraft to depart for their six-month tour of duty.

Members of the 107th Security Forces Squadron will be assigned as part of a joint ground combat force protecting a key airfield in Afghanistan.

The veteran team is made up of 11 members who have previously deployed in Iraq.

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Hearing set on moving Women & Children's

A public hearing on the environmental impact of moving Women & Children's Hospital from the Elmwood Village to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus will be held before the Buffalo Planning Board at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in Room 901 in City Hall.

As part of the state's environmental review process, issues including traffic, noise, parking, construction and neighborhood impacts are to be studied.

The public comment period runs through March 23.

Written comments should be sent to Martin Grunzweig, Office of Strategic Planning, City of Buffalo, 901 City Hall, Buffalo, NY 14202.

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'Bundle Up for Polar Bears' aims to preserve habitat

The Buffalo Zoo wants Western New Yorkers to turn down their thermostats to help polar bears.

The zoo, along with Polar Bears International, is asking local schools, organizations, businesses and families to turn down thermostats by two degrees on one or more dates between Monday and March 16 as part of an initiative called "Bundle Up for Polar Bears."

The initiative is aimed at lowering carbon emissions, which could help slow or reverse climate changes, thereby saving sea ice, which is needed for polar bears to hunt.

The zoo is looking to gather information from those who participate.

Information, including the name of the organization, the number of participants and the dates, can be emailed to tvanderwerf@buffalozoo.org. Photos can be uploaded to www.flickr.com/photos/buffalozoo.

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Forum to discuss efforts to end cycle of poverty

The Junior League of Buffalo will hold a round-table discussion on "Food Access in Western New York" from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday in room 100 Allen Hall on the University at Buffalo South Campus.

The topics will include discussions on the importance of community empowerment policies and efforts to end the cycle of poverty among households headed by single women.

Panelists include Diane Picard, executive director of the Massachusetts Avenue Project; Jessie Goucl, project coordinator for Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities of Buffalo; and Susannah Barton, executive director of Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo. The event is free and open to the public.