Uber driver hold­ing phones for ran­som, women tell po­lice

The Buffalo News - - LOCAL NEWS - – Aaron Besecker – Bar­bara O’Brien – Harold McNeil

Two women told Buf­falo po­lice Wed­nes­day that their Uber driver was hold­ing for ran­som cell­phones they left be­hind in his ve­hi­cle.

The vic­tims told po­lice they re­ceived a ride through the ride hail­ing ser­vice from a bar on Franklin Street to a home on Lex­ing­ton Av­enue, ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­port.

The driver told one of the women over text mes­sage that he won’t re­turn their phones un­less they pay $500. That woman told po­lice she took screen shots of the text mes­sages, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Com­puter test­ing went well Thurs­day morn­ing for thou­sands of fifth- and eighth­graders who took the state ELA tests.

Nearly 73,000 stu­dents took the tests on com­puter Thurs­day, Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sioner MaryEllen Elia said.

Stu­dents on Tues­day had prob­lems log­ging into the sys­tem and sub­mit­ting their tests, and some were kicked off the sys­tem, so the state post­poned the tests Wed­nes­day while the prob­lems were di­ag­nosed and fixed. About 7 per­cent of stu­dents were not able to fin­ish their ses­sions Tues­day.

Schools that par­tic­i­pated in com­put­er­based test­ing will not be pe­nal­ized, and no stu­dent will have to re­take a ses­sion, the com­mis­sioner said.

“We will en­sure no school is un­fairly pe­nal­ized for par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­puter-based test­ing,” Elia said in a state­ment.

She said re­sults from com­puter-based and pa­per-based tests will be com­pared and an­a­lyzed thor­oughly.

“We will make the ap­pro­pri­ate ad­just­ments to stu­dent scores as we did last year,” she said.

The test­ing ven­dor, Ques­tar As­sess­ments, ran out of mem­ory on its servers when stu­dents around the state logged on Tues­day morn­ing.

The state al­lowed com­puter test­ing in just grades five and eight Thurs­day, and they can fin­ish to­day.

Elia said all schools can re­sume com­puter tests for the other grades – third, fourth, sixth and sev­enth – Mon­day. Schools had the op­tion of switch­ing to pa­per-based tests af­ter the prob­lems.

Man pleads guilty to heroin, firearms pos­ses­sion charges

A Buf­falo man pleaded guilty to heroin and weapons pos­ses­sion charges Wed­nes­day in fed­eral court, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Jose O. Felix, 38, pleaded guilty be­fore Se­nior U.S. Dis­trict Judge Wil­liam M. Skretny to pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute 100 grams or more of heroin and pos­ses­sion of a firearm in fur­ther­ance of drug trafficking.

Felix faces a manda­tory min­i­mum of 10 years and a max­i­mum of life in prison when sen­tenced July 31.

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