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Reporters' Notebook/ Bits and pieces of news ...

OLAF FUB SEZ: According to Nobel Prize-winning German novelist Thomas Mann, born on this date in 1875, "War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace."

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WINE COUNTRY -- Buffalo Bandits forward John Tavares joins with Merritt Estate Winery, 2254 King Road, Forestville, to host a Strawberry Festival on Saturday and Sunday to benefit a charity chosen by Tavares, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Admission is free both days. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. In addition to strawberry desserts, there will be crafters, a classic car cruise and Merritt's famous Sangria Wine Slush.

Blood Money, Black Widow and Sean Patrick McGraw will provide music Saturday, while Fallen Union and Coal Train will play Sunday. For info, visit www.merrittestatewinery.com.

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WALK ON -- Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis, a fundraising walk to help find a cure for the intestinal disorders, will be held Sunday afternoon in Como Lake Park, Lancaster. Registration begins at 4 p.m., and the 5K walk begins at 5. After the walk, there will be a basket raffle, many vendors and music by Social Class and the Alison Pipitone Band. For info, call Ken Sikora at 839-2796 or email ksikora@ccfa.org.

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LOOKING BACK -- Elected officials will join members of the Cheektowaga Historical Association at 11:30 a.m. Sunday for ceremonies commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 at a resting place of victims from that conflict, the War of 1812 cemetery on Aero Drive behind Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The public is welcome.

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FAR-SIGHTED -- Tours of the newly rebuilt Roycroft Power House in East Aurora will be featured when the Mill Road Spring Gala is held there from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

The evening also will include tastings and desserts from the Roycroft Inn, jazz guitar music from the Natural Elements Duo and an auction with prizes ranging from a guided owl prowl to a round of golf with football commentator and former Bills star Steve Tasker.

Tickets are $30 and are available in the Roycroft Inn or by visiting www.friendsofmillroad.org. The group is raising $630,000 to acquire 60 acres on Mill Road near East Aurora to build a scenic overlook and take other steps to preserve the wonderful view.

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BON TON -- The remarkable background of the Town of Tonawanda will be explored when town historian John W. Percy speaks at 2 p.m. Saturday in the North Tonawanda History Museum, 54 Webster St.

The Town of Tonawanda was the first township in the area to exceed a population of 100,000. It also is the site of the area's first suburban village -- Kenmore.

Percy, a retired history teacher in the Tonawanda city schools and historian for more than 30 years, is the author of two books about the town.

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WELCOME MAT -- People Inc. will hold an open house from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at its Lilly Senior Living complex at 36 Arthur Ave., Blasdell. Tours will be given of the apartments, which are available to people 62 and older who meet federal income guidelines.

A yard sale also will be held in conjunction with the open house. A portion of the proceeds will benefit activities at the complex. Call 821-1230.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY -- Robin Holcomb, Sheila Benevento, June Feuerstein, Rose Stoklosa, Tom Kaminski, Sean Seivert, Mickey Kelley, Molly Mazurek, Florence Binis, Nart Beyers, Brigette Rose Cellino, Don Grande, Tom Rudyk, Father Albert Bosack, Arthur Russo, Jean Q. Stanton, Nathan Moser, Patrick Lesswing, Pat Garry, Florence Dzierba, Khristin Pietraszewski and Chris Wilczak.

AND THURSDAY -- Sarah Pyszczynski, Bill Feasley, Ross Markello, Willie Nile, Sister Mary Amelia Pieczynski, Sister Teresa Marie Patora, Gloria Thomson, Chris Cieslik, Jeffrey Lathrop, Claire Buchbinder, Frank Sardo, Shirley Grill, Danny Nigro, Peter Gonciarz, Carmen J. Panaro and Kevin Carr.

email: olaffub@buffnews.com