Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 30, 2014

STROLL AROUND NEWFANE: Newfane church is planning Valentine event

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — What groundhog in his right mind would even come out of his hole in this weather? If the world’s most famous forecaster, Punxsutawney Phil, sees his shadow on Sunday, we don’t even want to know it. Let us at least hope this will all be over soon.

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Everything you always wanted to know about groundhogs is in this week’s trivia. The average groundhog is 20 inches long and normally weighs from 12 to 15 pounds. Punxsutawney Phil weighs about 20 pounds and is 22 inches long. Groundhogs are covered with coarse grayish hairs tipped with brown or sometimes dull red. They have short ears, a short tail, short legs, and are surprisingly quick, with exceptionally strong jaws. A groundhog can whistle when it is alarmed. Groundhogs also whistle in the spring when they begin courting. Insects do not bother groundhogs and germs pretty much leave them alone. They are resistant to the plagues that periodically wipe out large numbers of wild animals. One reason for this is their cleanliness. Groundhogs are one of the few animals that really hibernate. Hibernation is not just a deep sleep. It is actually a deep coma, where the body temperature drops to a few degrees above freezing, the heart barely beats, the blood scarcely flows, and breathing nearly stops. Young groundhogs are usually born in mid-April or May, and by July they are able to go out on their own. The size of the litter is four to nine. A baby groundhog is called a kit or a cub, and a groundhog’s life span is normally 6 to 8 years.

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It’s kickoff time! There are a lot of Relay For Life participants in Newfane, working all year round to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The 2014 Relay season has a Star-Spangled Relay theme and the kick-off celebration is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Roy B. Kelley Elementary School cafeteria, 610 East High St., Lockport. Participants will celebrate 2013 Relay For Life successes and get ready to break $2 million in 2014. There will be coffee, breakfast pizza, fruit, baked goods and more. Everybody is invited. All team captain materials will be available; veteran and new participants are urged to attend. The theme this year is “Star Spangled Relay,” so wear your red, white and blue with your Relay purple.

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Sign up now for the next AARP Smart Driver Course with instructor Pat Ludwig. It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 5 and 6 at Faith Lutheran Church, 2730 Transit Road, Newfane. You must register by Jan. 31, but this class fills up quickly. The cost is $20 for AARP members or $25 for non-members; all ages are welcome. The certificate of completion can get you a three-year discount on auto insurance or reduce license points. Call Ludwig at 433-0976.

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“Love: Hearts & Hands” will be held at Faith Lutheran Church in Newfane from noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 8. There will be a Valentine’s Day vendor/craft fair, pasta dinner, 50/50 draws and a Chinese auction. Sponsored by the Newfane Community Neighborhood Watch, the donation for the pasta dinner is $5 a plate. That includes pasta and sauce (meat or meatless), bread and butter, dessert and beverage. The proceeds from the dinner alone will be donated to Faith Church of Newfane. More than 20 crafters and vendors have registered for this event. Winners need not be present for the Chinese auction drawings, all winners will be notified by a phone call and will be told where they can pick up their winnings. This is an opportunity for the public to come out of hibernation from the cold, enjoy a nice warm meal with some fellowship and do a little pre-Valentine’s Day shopping for their loved ones.

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The community is invited to learn about the Newfane Community Neighborhood Watch Program, which meets at 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month at the Newfane Town Hall Community Center on Main Street. The next meeting is Feb. 19. The group made up of members of the community who care about the safety and welfare of the children of the Newfane community, as well as all of the citizens who live there, or visit. If anyone is interested in joining the group, there is no membership fee. For more information, call Linda Bixler at 778-8488.

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The Newfane Library will be holding a book sale at the Winery at Marjim Manor through Feb. 10. Browse through the selection in the magnificent building on the lake, and if you purchase a book, your wine tasting is free.

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The Annual Meeting of the Newfane Free Library Board of Trustees will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 10. This meeting is held at the library and is open to the public.

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For those hungering for the wonderful music of the local Celtic festival, the MacKenzie Highlanders invite you to the 5th Annual Cabin Fever Ceilidh, from 7 to 11 p.m. Feb. 15 at Frontier Fire Hall, 2176 Liberty Drive, Niagara Falls. Bring your pipes and drums and your love of Celtic music and join the fun. The price at the door is $10 a ticket, but if you go to mmjones@stepintimemusic.com you can get on the advanced list for $8 each or $15 a couple.

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Join the St. Brendan’s Seniors on a trip to Lancaster, Pa. The April 23-24 trip starts with transportation, lunch and shopping at Kitchen Kettle Village and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Music of the Night show at the American Music Theatre. Dinner at a popular family restaurant follows. The next day features breakfast at the hotel before checkout and a trip to see “Moses” at the Sight and Sound Theatre. The cost for bus, hotel, two shows and two meals is $249 double or $294 single. This is the last call; reservations must be in by early February. Contact Monica Barrett at 433-1162.

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On a personal note, I will be in the hospital for a week beginning Friday. I expect to be able to be able to continue the column without interruption, but if you have an event that must be publicized immediately, send the information to community editor Anne Calos at anne.calos@lockportjournal.com. Try to stay warm and safe, and look out for kids, pets and the elderly during this winter spell.

Newfane-area residents, send your news to juliechatterbox@msn.com (jpeg pictures, MSWord or text in e-mails only); or to 8691 Lake Road No. 9, Barker, NY 14012. To be in next week’s Stroll Around Newfane, information should be in Julie’s hands by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Newfane-area residents, send your news to juliechatterbox@msn.com (jpeg pictures, MSWord or text in emails only); or to 8691 Lake Road No. 9, Barker, NY 14012. To be in next week's Stroll Around Newfane, information should be in Julie's hands by 6 p.m. Tuesday.