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Council OKs starting curfew at 10 p.m.

The Dunkirk City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that would move the curfew for minors from midnight to 10 p.m.

The Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed local law at 5:45 p.m. Aug. 6 in Washington Park.

Councilman Richard Mackuch introduced the curfew ordinance.

He said he had received several complaints about children being on the streets late at night.

Several people spoke on the topic at Tuesday's meeting, including James White, candidate for Dunkirk mayor, who suggested that different times on weekends versus school nights may be appropriate.

Police Chief David Ortolano said that the law allows for the arrest of those 16 or older who are in public areas after midnight. He said parents of younger children can be charged if they are found on the streets after hours.

The law does not apply to minors who are accompanied by someone 21 or older or to children returning from an organized activity or work.

The chief said the new proposal may have tougher fines. He said repeat offenders could be charged more than $100 or be sentenced to jail terms.

Child Protection Services may be called in when young children are involved.

The Council was set to meet at the site of the former Marsh Valve plant on Brigham Road but was driven indoors by rain.

Councilman Kevin Muldowney noted that $2.3 million in federal funds were spent to clear and ready the site for development.

"This is a great potential site of 3 1/2 acres," he said. "We need to get this site developed."

City residents were reminded that portable fire pits are illegal. Fire Chief Keith Ahlstrom said that so far most residents have extinguished them when they were asked. He said local laws prohibit fires except for charcoal fires used for cooking.

Council members spend the summer months moving their meetings to various locations in the city.

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