City gives funds to new aquarium project
The Niagara Falls City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to grant $166,000 to the Aquarium of Niagara for its “Explorer’s Reef” attraction, which will consist of three shallow pools near the entrance where aquarium visitors can reach into the water and touch animals.
Small bamboo sharks and stingrays will be among the creatures in the $1.36 million project expected to open in the summer of 2020. Empire State Development, the Niagara Falls Tourism Target Zone Fund and two private foundations are among the other funding sources for Explorer’s Reef.
The contribution of $83,000 a year for two years is not the first time the city has helped fund an aquarium project. The city sent $175,000 of Seneca Niagara Casino revenue to the Humboldt penguin habitat that opened last year.
Fontana no longer interested in becoming interim comptroller
Lovejoy Common Council Member Richard A. Fontana has withdrawn his name from consideration for interim comptroller, saying there is not much time for him to make a difference even if he did get the appointment.
“With less than eight months, the clock is ticking. What am I going to do in seven months? If I had a better part of a year I could put some things in motion,” Fontana said.
The position became vacant when Mark J.F. Schroeder resigned Jan. 27 to become state Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner. The Council interviewed five candidates, including Fontana, on Feb. 26 but has not made a decision.
Fontana is not seeking re-election to the Common Council this year, after 21 years representing Lovejoy.
Jamaican avoids deportation in plea deal over Lockport assault
A Jamaican citizen living legally in Lockport pleaded guilty Thursday to whacking a man in the head with a beer bottle July 29 in Casa Montego, a Lockport bar.
Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon said from the bench that the plea bargain was crafted so Rohan G. Purville would be able to remain in the U.S.
Purville, 43, of Beverly Avenue, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree assault, which is listed as a nonviolent felony, and Sheldon agreed to place him on probation. A prison sentence or a guilty plea to a violent charge could have required Purville to be deported.
Sheldon warned Purville that if he breaks any laws before his sentencing May 17, the deal is off.
Victims with kids report daytime gunpoint robbery downtown
Two people with two small children told police they were robbed at gunpoint Thursday afternoon in downtown Buffalo, according to a police report.
The victims told police they were robbed by two men at about 3 p.m. while walking near the intersection of Pearl and Court streets.
The robbers approached the victims, pointed a gun at them and demanded money, they told police. Both of the children present were younger than 4 years old.
The adults each had hundreds of dollars stolen, according to the report. The suspects were described as men in their mid 50s who were about 5-foot-6 and overweight.