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An emotional plea to honor fallen soldier Stepfather asks Falls Council to rename section of street in Henry's memory

The stepfather of Army Cpl. Lorne E. Henry Jr. vowed Monday night to return to every City Council meeting until city leaders agree to rename a section of Lindbergh Avenue for the fallen soldier.

"I'm going to fight right to the end," Charles Primerano told the Council.

If the street is not renamed, he said, "We will sell all our property and move and have the body of Lorne Henry moved to another city, another state, that will honor him."

Henry, a Niagara Falls High School graduate, died Feb. 27 in a roadside bombing in Iraq and was buried in Niagara Falls. His family has asked the Council to rename Lindbergh Avenue between 56th Street and Builder's Way in his memory.

Despite Primerano's plea, the Council again held off on a vote on the request and will enter its August recess without resolving a debate in the community over how to honor Falls veterans who were killed in action.

The Council first tabled the request to rename Lindbergh Avenue in June after Council Chairman Robert Anderson Jr. suggested that the city explore building a monument to honor all of the city's veterans. He believes that the city should wait until after the war is over to honor those who serve in Iraq.

Anderson, an Air Force veteran, told citizens Monday he has not changed his mind and recalled the military personnel who died in Vietnam but were never given memorials.

"We had to build three mortuaries so we could take care of the bodies," Anderson said. "I say, 'If you do one, you do them all.' "

To rename a street, the majority of the Council must vote to hold a public hearing on the request and publicly advertise the proposed change before it can vote to change the name, said Thomas M. O'Donnell, assistant corporation counsel.

The request to rename two city streets to honor Henry and Army Staff Sgt. Aram J. Bass, who was killed in Iraq in November 2005, drew more than a dozen comments from citizens.

Several veterans asked the Council to create a committee that would steer the process for creating a memorial or a veterans park in the city.

Councilman Lewis Rotella promised to follow through with plans to build the monument. Councilmen Chris A. Robins and Sam Fruscione said they support the renaming of streets but would also like to see money dedicated to plans for a memorial.

"These families have gone through this long enough," Robins said. "It's separating the community."

Jodi Bass, the sister of Aram Bass, said she would not change her request to have South 86th Street named for her brother, who attended Niagara-Wheatfield High School and graduated from Niagara Catholic.

"I completely understand that the veterans are upset about the fact that they were not honored, but why continue a vicious cycle?" Bass said before the meeting. "It is unfortunate that they were not honored properly, but it is unfortunate that this generation is going through the same thing."

Primerano told the Council that he and his wife chose between burying Henry in Niagara Falls or Arlington National Cemetery. They chose Niagara Falls because they thought he would be honored in his hometown. "Is he being honored? No," Primerano said.

Also on Monday, the Council debated how to acquire properties on North Main Street for a project to build a new courthouse and police station. A developer working for the city has signed contracts to purchase most of the parcels needed for the courthouse, but city leaders have debated whether the city or the development team should own the properties.

Councilman Charles A. Walker withdrew a request to have the city take title to the land. A development services agreement with the Amherst firms Ciminelli Development Co. and Largo Real Estate Advisors calls for the development team to acquire the property.


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