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Children from Ireland Bid Farewell to Buffalo

BUFFALO, (WGRZ) -- More than 30 children who spent the summer in Western New York, will be returning home to Northern Ireland on August 9th.

The children and their chaperones were in Buffalo through the Belfast Summer Relief Program. The BSRP brings children from Northern Ireland to Buffalo to show them you can live together in peace despite their religious and/or political differences.

The BSRP was founded by Tom and Martha Harkin in 1975, and is celebrating its 35th year. "It is very exciting to have this group here as we celebrate the program's anniversary," says Program Director Jack Fecio.

Fecio also says many of the children form strong bonds with their host families since their arrival on July 6th. "Although the children are looking forward to going home to their families, they will miss their American families, too" says Fecio.

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ASPCA's $100K Challenge

BUFFALO, NY - This Sunday marks the official start to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals $100K Challenge to Save More Lives.

Back in April, shelter contestants across the country started working tirelessly to save at least 300 hundred more animals than they did over the same three month period in 2009.

The shelter that achieves the greatest increase in lives saved during that three-month period over the last year will receive a $100,000 grant from the ASPCA to continue its life-saving work. A second grant of $25,000 will be awarded to the shelter that does the best job of engaging its community in helping to save more lives.

South Buffalo Welcomes Unique Festival

BUFFALO, NY-Festival season continues in Buffalo and welcomes a new entry to the summer lineup.

The First Annual "Shades and Sounds" Festival will take place on Saturday, August 7th, in the outside lot of Charlie O'Brien's on Elk St.

The event is designed to not only bring people together for a good time, but to showcase local music. All types from celtic to hip-hop will be featured throughout the day.

Some of the groups taking part include, Southside, Go Dog Go, Ando, The Dudes, The Vandersons, Wooden Waves, Sam Brenner, Biacco and the O'Sullivan Dance Academy.

"You won't want to miss this opportunity to hear such a diverse range of local music in one place," said event sponsor Eva-Marie Edukonis. "We've worked hard to make this event a collection of artistic excellence and a showcase for the abundance of talent in the Buffalo area. We hope everyone will stop by and check it out."

Kaisertown Coalition Readies for National Night Out

BUFFALO, NY-The Kaisertown Coalition is getting ready for this year's  National Night Out events.

The annual observance encourages people to leave their porch lights on and get out and meet their neighbors, all with the goal of combatting crime in their communities.

The Coalition, which has been in existence since 1999, will host activities from 6-9 PM at St. Casimer's Parish Center at 1833 Clinton Street at Weiss Street.

Free hot dogs and drinks, chips, music and crime information will be available.


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Man Drowns in the Buffalo River

BUFFALO, NY-A 44-year-old man drowned Monday morning in the Buffalo River. The man has now been identified as Blaine Szyszkowski.

He and two other men in the water near the Bailey Avenue bridge by South Park Avenue around 9 AM.

When the man started to struggle, one of the other two tried to get to him, while the other got out of the water and went for help.

Buffalo Police and the Coast Guard were on the scene, but could not get to the man in time. He was located by divers around 10:30 AM. The victim apparently had ties to the Rochester area, and friends reported he had been living in Buffalo for the past six months.

An autopsy will be performed Tuesday morning to determine exact cause of death. The Buffalo Police Department Homicide Squad is investigating the incident, although no foul play is suspected.


Iron Island Museum Celebrates 10th Anniversary

BUFFALO, NY-The first neighborhood museum in the City of Buffalo is ten years old and getting ready to celebrate.

The 10th Anniversary fundraiser for the Iron Island Museum in the city's Lovejoy section is set for Friday, August 6th from 6-10 PM at the museum, which is located at 998 Lovejoy.

Cost is $25 per person and includes wine, beer, pop, coffee, tea, hors d'oeuvres and dessert.

Members will be on hand to answer questions about both the paranormal realm and history of the building, which was both a church and a funeral home in past lives.

For more information, you can call the Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy at 892-3084.

Mercyfest Weekend Honors 2 South Buffalo Residents

BUFFALO, NY-Two lifelong South Buffalo residents were honored recently by Mt. Mercy Academy at the school's Mercyfest weekend 5K Race.

Erik Bohen teaches 5th and 6th grade at Hamlin Park School #74 and serves as union president for the school. He was presented with 2010 Mercy Civic Pride Award. The honor recognizes Bohen's many contributions to the community, including organizing a road race/walk in 2009 for a student in his school with a rare form of cancer.

Maureen Diggins was recognized as the 2010 Honorary Race Starter. Among her many activities, Ms. Diggins is very involved at St. Martin's Parish and is a member of Pax Christi, a peace and justice group.