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Keep it on ice 

Not too many things have lasted for 50 years in Monroe County, but the Rochester Americans have.

Since the Amerks were founded a half-century ago, the demographics of its hometown have completely changed, Kodak has withered away, and countless other American Hockey League teams have come and gone.

In fact, the Amerks are one of the few Rochester institutions local residents can count on. Summer turns to fall. The leaves change. Days grow shorter. And the Amerks hit the ice.

Along the way, the Amerks have become one of the most storied minor-league hockey teams in the country. Only one other AHL team, the Hershey Bears, has been around longer, and it could be argued that no other team has a richer, more successful history than the Amerks.

And the team will celebrate its 50th season in 2005-06 by adding a second NHL parent club. The Buffalo Sabres have served as Rochester's sole parent team for 26 years, but this summer the Florida Panthers signed on as well.

The 2005-06 Amerks will also be motivated by the disappointing conclusion to last season: After posting the best regular-season record in the AHL, the injury-riddled Amerks lost to Manitoba in the second round of the playoffs.

Fortunately, most of last season's team, including coach Randy Cunneyworth, is coming back in 2005, and you can count on both owner Steve Donner and general manager Jody Gage doing everything they can to make sure the Amerks make it farther than they did last year.

With an off-season realignment by the league, the Amerks will face their division rivals in 52 out of 80 games this season. The league also preserved Rochester's heated rivalry with the Binghamton Senators, who will play the Amerks eight times this year.

The Amerks open their season against the Toronto Marlies October 7 at home in the Blue Cross Arena. Season tickets range from $110 to $310, with individual game tix running from $11 to $19 (add $1 day of the game). Go to www.amerks.comor call 454-5335. Games can also be picked up on WHAM 1180.

In This Guide...

    Fall Guide 2005

    A big autumn embrace Jewel-bright leaves trapped between sheets of wax paper.

    Sounds good to me

    Here are music writer Frank De Blase's concert picks for the fall.
    Leon Redbone September 21

    What's so great about Mozart?

    Why, over two centuries after Mozart lived, is he still such a fixture in our cultural consciousness? Why, as we near the 250th anniversary of his birth, is a worldwide celebration mounting, with orchestras clamoring to produce concerts of his music, tourists tracing his footsteps in Austria, and Steinway and Sons giving away an all-expenses-paid trip to Salzburg, the city of his birth?

    Of particular note

    The opening of the concert season is a cause for celebration any time, but this year is particularly noteworthy. Resident musicians --- in the Rochester Philharmonic and smaller classical groups, from the Eastman School's outstanding faculty, and in churches and other venues --- will continue to provide exceptional performances.

    The best of all grapes

    Late this summer there were at least two terrific "Winemaker" dinners at Ravines Wine Cellars overlooking Keuka Lake --- Chasing Pinot: In Search of the Perfect Pinot Noir and Meritage: The Art of Blending. "Meritage"?

    How'd you get so lucky?

    When people stumble upon my not-so-secret identity as a movie critic, they often start chucking questions at me. Most believe that getting paid to give your unsolicited and subjective opinion sounds like a dream, and I do spend a great deal of time pinching myself. But when the clock strikes midnight and I'm trying to get enthusiastic about a film I had zero interest in seeing, it can seem a little nightmarish.

    Let them entertain you

    It's time for the local theatrics to gear up and people to start dancing. You will have your pick of performances to attend, from community theater shows in school gymnatoriums to visiting blockbusters --- along with a matching range in ticket price --- but here's what we're excited about.

    Turn on the reading light

    Well, the Rochester Arts and Lectures series is already sold out. If you don't have tickets, you may be able to get standing-room-only tickets to hear Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)and Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, The Sunday Philosophy Club) --- both worth it.

    Satisfy your inner nerd

    The autumnal re-opening of school doors calls us back inside to the world of books. Summer paperbacks with sand trapped between the pages get shelved.

    They'll fight their hearts out

    There's a certain smell to freshly mowed grass on a high school football field, a mixture of chlorophyll and dew and mud that wafts into a player's nose and triggers a release of adrenaline and testosterone that carries him through the picturesque violence that will consume his mind and body and soul for a quartet of 12-minute quarters. Books and movies like Friday Night Lights can only go so far in relaying the passion and release that is a high school football game.

    It's the season for eating well

    "It is a time when every cook wishes time could stand still and the bounty of the fall last forever." So says Max chef-owner Tony Gullace, and you'll get no argument from the dozens of food-loving friends who jumped to say what they like best about food in the fall.

    The learning never stops

    School is great, but why stop there? There are plenty of museums offering kid-friendly exhibits and events to keep the structured (but fun!)

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