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Reporters' Notebook: Dec. 27, 2017

OLAF FUB SEZ: According to actress Marlene Dietrich, born on this date in 1901, “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”

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DEEP DISCOUNT – The weather outside may be frigid, but it’s always warm inside the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens in South Park. What’s more, Thursday will be Dollar Day. Instead of the usual $11 admission charge, tickets are just $1. Members and children 2 and under are free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info, visit

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NO CHARGE – St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3512 Clinton St., West Seneca, will hold a Christmas party at its monthly free community dinner from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Friday. The menu includes pizza, salad, chicken wing soup, desserts, beverages and fellowship. All are welcome. Free-will offerings are appreciated.

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PARTY TIME – Still looking for a place to ring in the New Year? Hard Rock Cafe Niagara Falls USA, 333 Prospect St., is celebrating from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Sunday night with live music and festivities, a balloon drop and viewing of the ball drop in Times Square in New York City on 10 large-screen TVs.
Dinner for two, with seating on the main floor, is $100 and includes party favors, a champagne toast at midnight and a $50 gift card redeemable that night. For an extra $100, you can add overnight accommodations for two at the nearby Holiday Inn, 114 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls, to the evening’s festivities.
For info and reservations, call 304-3308 or email

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WRENCH WIZARDS – Teams of high school seniors majoring in automotive repairs at 10 career and technical schools in Western New York will be put to the test Jan. 13 in the 2018 NFADA Ron Smith Memorial AutoTech Competition in the Erie Community College Vehicle Technology Training Center at ECC South, 5885 Big Tree Road, in Orchard Park.
Hosted by the Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Association and ECC, the competition will put the two-member teams through a series of diagnostic, work station and performance tests, beginning at 9 a.m. The Western New York Ford dealers will provide six 2018 Ford Escape SUVs for the students to work on.
In a separate event, high school juniors will compete in a Tire Changing Rodeo, seeing who can dismount and mount tires the fastest using a tire-changing machine.
Awards will be presented at about 3 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. The winners will go on to represent their school and the NFADA at the National Automotive Technology Competition in New York City in March. For more info, visit

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Bill Oar, Lou Ann Delaney, Larry Bayerl, Dennis Galucki, David Bunis, Lynn Lipczynski, Amy Popadick, Joe Long, Jessica Halt, Julia Pugh, Wendy Kelley, Patrick Lynch, Sherri Oliver, Sue Ann Golimowski, Carol Purdy, Caleb Darnley, Johnny Kiener, Reese Michaels, Alyssa Kelley, Cora Carver, Jillian Wereski, Christine Ziolkowski and Charlene Ihrig Rush.

To submit birthdays and other items of interest to Reporters’ Notebook, please email or send a letter to Reporters’ Notebook, Buffalo News, Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240.

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