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Get a $50 Gap Gift Card for $25 Today / Freebies & Coupons

In my continued search to find the best deals and websites to save you time and money, today something we can all use, free e-cash.

Today only, if you buy a $25 gift card for the GAP, it doubles in value. That means you'll have a $50 gift card that you can use until November 19, 2010, in store. CLICK HERE and while this is listed under Groupon's deals for New York City, read the fine print. The offer is available to anyone at any Gap Retail store in the U.S. or Canada. UPDATE: Since this article was written at 5am, so many people in WNY have purchased the deal, that Groupon has now made it available on the Buffalo Groupon page too. Well done!

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Catholic School Teachers Go Back to School

With the start of the new school year less than two weeks away, Catholic elementary school teachers are not only busy preparing their classrooms, they are engaged in professional development as well.

During the week of August 17, the diocesan Department of Catholic Schools hosted a number of workshops, ranging from brain-based learning to using learning centers in the classroom.

The sessions included:  Brain Based Learning: Procedures and strategies to address all learners; Using Learning Centers in the Primary Classroom; a Practical Guide to Design and Manage Learning Centers.

State Senator Antoine Thompson Birthday Greeting Angers Constituents

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. - Call it a birthday greeting gone bad.

Several Grand Island residents are complaining to 2 On Your Side about something that recently came in the mail from State Senator Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo).

"I was very upset," said Grand Island Resident Michael Pontikos. "And I still am."

The greeting is a generic birthday card mailer from Senator Thompson. The mailer is complete with his photo and a birthday wish. And all of it is printed, paid for, and mailed with state taxpayer dollars.

Ed Shelp, also of Grand Island, showed us the same card sent to his wife Rosemarie.

"I think it's wrong," Shelp said. "Why should we all be paying for something where he's campaigning, or whatever he's doing, and we have got pay for it. Let it come out of his own pocket."

Senator Thompson refused an interview with us Wednesday, but 2 On Your Side Photojournalist Norm Fisher caught up with Thompson recently.

Buffalo Business Board Meets to Discuss Downtown Concerns

BUFFALO, NY-- The Board of Directors of Buffalo Place, Inc. held its monthly meeting Wednesday, but the issue of crime in regards to the weekend shooting, took center stage.

Developers, businessmen, and bar owners met to discuss how the recent outbreak in crime could impact their businesses. All agreed it was a tragic and rare occurrence, but they also realize that public perception is a reality. The downtown area has recently taken several hits to its pubic image.

Brian Patterson, Chief of Downtown District Police, spoke to a group about several law enforcement ideas that could be put into action. One idea was implementing a paddy wagon, so multiple offenders could be detained at once with little impact on man-power.

Patterson also talked about having officers walking more focused beats, an increased emphasis on curfew enforcement, and better communication between business owners and law enforcement.

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Kaleida's Global Vascular Institute Gets Federal Funding Boost

BUFFALO, NY-Congressman Brian Higgins and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter were on hand Thursday to turn over nearly $300,000 in federal funds for Kaleida Health's new heart and vascular institute currently under construction next to Buffalo General Hospital.

The funds bring the total to over $608,000 awarded to the project, which is due for completion in the fall of 2011. The money will be used to buy equipment and technology for the flagship medical facility on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The new building will house five floors of Kaleida Health's $173 million merger of its cardiac, stroke and vascular operations, plus a new and expanded emergency department. When done, it will house nearly 600 patient beds, 30 operating rooms, 17 labs, as well as four CT scanners and four MRIs.


Buffalo's Chippewa Street Could Become An Adult Entertainment District

BUFFALO, NY - "I think we need to begin having a conversation," began Buffalo Police B District Chief Brian Patterson, as he addressed a meeting of about two dozen downtown bar and restaurant owners Monday.

"Anyone who has spent any time on Chippewa Street knows an element exists which brings with it excessive loitering and a propensity for violence in the late hours," Patterson said.

And while many of those who make their livelihood in the area agree things have gotten out of hand, the ideas brought forth to find solutions provided some spirited debate among them.

One idea being considered is to designate Chippewa and surrounding streets as an "adult entertainment district", and restrict access to those areas at night solely to those over 21.

A New Plan For Policing Downtown Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Business owners and clergy met with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and police brass Tuesday night to go over a new policing strategy in the city. Mayor Brown says the timing of this, days after the mass shooting that killed four people and injured four others, is pure coincidence.

"Would you say this is a wake-up call of sorts, to get things rolling?" 2 On Your Side's Josh Boose asked the mayor.

"I don't think it's a wake-up call at all," Brown responded. "I think we have been working on these issues."

After taping a few set-up pictures the media was asked to leave the meeting. The mayor wouldn't outline any of the new ideas, but did say the city needs to spend money more wisely and collaborate with other organizations better to make this new system work.

"How big of a role is prevention going to play in this?" Boose asked the mayor.

"Prevention will play some role, prevention is important," he replied.