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LOCAL NEWS ?BRIEFS

Wigel picked to manage Grape Discovery Center

WESTFIELD – The Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association has announced that Ray H. Wigel will serve as manager for the Grape Discovery Center, to be opened in Westfield.

"Ray brings a lot of skills and experience in tourism to this effort," said David Momberger, association vice president.

Wigel has worked as director of communications with the Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, as director of operations with Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, and at other tourism venues in Western New York.

The Grape Discovery Center is expected to open in the spring and is working on a "soft opening" this fall, Momberger said. Grape product venders, local artists, craftsmen, specialty food makers, wineries and tourism officials are working on the project.

The center will feature locally made and grape-themed products, as well as exhibits and displays that will highlight the region's 150-year grape industry heritage.

The center will be located at 8305 West Main Road (Route 20), just west of the village line and centrally located in the Concord Grape Belt region.

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Council approves purchase ?of replacement sewer truck

BATAVIA – The City Council in a brief meeting Monday authorized the purchase of an International Jet/Vacuum sewer truck for $283,716, to replace a 12-year-old model used in several municipal operations.

The Council also voted to finance the purchase from Peirce Equipment Inc. with a seven-year lease from First Niagara Leasing at a rate of less than 2 percent.

The leasing will cost $25,330, or $9,000 less than serial bonds, the Council was told.

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Graduates can apply now ?for loan payment program

NIAGARA FALLS – Applications for a program aimed at attracting recent graduates downtown are available online starting today.

Those interested in applying for the downtown housing improvement program, in which the city will pay ?the annual student loan payment amounts of graduates for two years while they live in a downtown neighborhood, are available at www.live-nf.com.

The program gained national publicity after its unveiling in June. Applications are due Nov. 16.

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Davis to be keynote speaker ?at Housing Authority event

NIAGARA FALLS – Nelson Davis, a former Niagara Falls Housing Authority resident who now runs his own Los Angeles production company, will be the keynote speaker at the authority's 70th anniversary reception and dinner Thursday in the Niagara Falls Conference & Event Center, 101 Old Falls Street.

"Celebrating the Hope, Passion and Legacy" begins with a reception at 5 p.m., dinner at 6, and the speaker and awards to follow.

Davis, a former Center Court resident, is president of Nelson Davis Productions.

Tickets for the dinner are $50. For more information, call 285-6961.