City gives funds to new aquar­ium project

The Buffalo News - - LOCAL NEWS - – Thomas J. Pro­haska – Dei­dre Wil­liams – Thomas J. Pro­haska – Aaron Besecker

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.

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