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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Hospital union to picket if contract isn't settled

MEDINA -- The union representing employees at Medina Memorial Hospital and affiliated health care agencies in Orleans County announced Thursday that it will picket the hospital next week if no new contract is settled in talks set for today and Saturday.

Local 1199, Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers East, has held 18 bargaining sessions since Dec. 13 with Orleans Community Health. Three separate contracts for units totaling 325 members have been extended three times since they expired Dec. 31.

"We feel we'll be able to settle this," said Mary Williams, hospital human resources director. "We are down to the economic proposals, which are always the hardest ones."

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Flurry of green activity set for Delaware Park

More than 60 local arborists and tree care professionals will donate their muscles, equipment and expertise Saturday to help the Buffalo Olmsted parks Conservancy and improve the health of the trees in Delaware Park in recognition of Arbor Day.

The work Saturday will focus on two areas on the north side of the park -- the Mirror Lake Woodland along Nottingham Terrace east of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Museum and Crandall Woods off Amherst Street behind the Buffalo Zoo.

The crews will remove dead and ailing trees, do structural pruning, grind stumps, take preservation measures for the ash trees and fertilize recently planted trees.

Elsewhere in the park, at 9 a.m., volunteers will help plant more than 50 trees in the meadow of the Delaware Park Golf Course, and Upstate New York Transplant Services volunteers will plant a commemorative garden near Agassiz Circle.

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ECC students, faculty to begin park project

Students and faculty from Erie Community College will be fixing up Fireman's Park, between North and South Division Streets adjacent to the City Campus, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

The ongoing beautification project is a partnership between the City of Buffalo's Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets, and the college's service learning, building management and maintenance and architecture departments.

The first phase of the project consists of replacing the wood on all 14 benches.

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Fundraising under way to save feral cats

NEWFANE -- Fundraising efforts began Thursday for dealing with the feral cat colony in Olcott.

An account called "Save the Olcott Cats" was opened at the Bank of America branch in Newfane. Kenneth and Elizabeth Allore of Lockport said an anonymous donor has agreed to give $1,000 if public donations match that amount.

Donations for account number 483039712436 may be made at any Bank of America location or mailed to Bank of America, 2700 Main St., Newfane, NY 14108.