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Thomas J. Prohaska

I graduated from Starpoint Central High School in 1979 and St. Bonaventure University in 1983. I worked at WLVL Radio in Lockport from 1985 to 1995, when I joined The News.


Crime

A driver who crashed her car into another last year in Niagara Falls, then backed over a curb and struck a woman waiting for a bus, was sentenced Tuesday to one to three years in state prison. Karin T. Sebring, 42, of 22nd Street, Niagara Falls, pleaded guilty Nov. 20 before State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. to driving while impaired by cocaine and mariju…

The United Way of Greater Niagara on Monday announced that it has begun a Women United initiative. Members will be asked to donate $200 a year and invest their time and expertise in local causes they care about. "Women United is a global growing network of over 70,000 women dedicated to creating a world of opportunity for everyone," said Erika Kastel, United Way dire…

Local News

The North Tonawanda History Museum will hold a rummage sale Thursday through Saturday of artifacts, office furnishings and fixtures it won't need at its new location. The current museum at 54 Webster St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. all three days for the cash-only sale. Access will be limited to five parties at a time. Smaller items may be taken immediately, whi…

Crime

A police dog specially trained to search for bodies found partially decomposed remains – possibly of a missing California man – in a ravine about one-quarter mile off an unpaved seasonal road in East Otto. The cadaver dog from the Erie County Sheriff's Office took about 90 minutes on Saturday night to find the corpse, said Capt. Bruce Elliott, chief of the Niagara Count…

Education

Next school year, Lockport schools will have in place the kind of security software used at airports, casinos and sensitive government installations. Facial recognition and tracking software will add an unprecedented level of security at the schools. District officials have decided locked entrance doors, bullet-proof glass and sign-in registers at the front desk are not…

Crime

Denzel K. Lewis of Niagara Falls pleaded guilty Friday in a shooting death Oct. 14 at a gas station at 19th Street and Walnut Avenue in the Falls. Lewis, 22, of Cleveland Avenue, admitted to first-degree manslaughter for the killing of Lerowne Harris, 35. State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. could imprison Lewis for up to 25 years at sentencing Aug. 2…

Local News

Niagara Falls Councilman William Kennedy II wants suggestions from his constituents on what to do with the bricks and other debris left over from the state's demolition last week of the 155-year-old carriage house in DeVeaux Woods State Park. The building was part of the former DeVeaux School, later a Niagara University auxiliary campus. It was torn down after the long-…

Local News

A charitable organization operated by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Lockport is seeking funding and instructors for a planned program of financial skills classes, targeted at the 17 percent of Lockport residents who live below the poverty line. Michael Boron, director of Community Outreach at St. John's, said Friday that he has applied to foundations for about…

Local News

A judge has allowed the City of Lockport to seize title to two large, blighted and vacant apartment houses, even though property taxes had been paid by the out-of-town owner since he acquired the buildings in 2005. State Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Furlong declared Wednesday that 271 and 281 Genesee St. were abandoned because owner Raja Adimoolam of Staten Island ne…

Crime

James E. Walcott, who held police at bay for an hour during an armed standoff on Halloween 2016, was placed on five years' probation Thursday. He said he intends to move to Michigan. Walcott, 47, fired a shot inside his home on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield, where his estranged wife was present, and threatened to fire at officers, Niagara County Assistant Distri…

Crime

A Niagara Falls man, who is awaiting sentencing on two felony counts of driving while intoxicated, pleaded not guilty Thursday to a new indictment accusing him of having a loaded, defaced, unregistered handgun in a Falls bar Jan. 19. Tommy D. George, 47, of 22nd Street, was arrested after police checked out a report of an armed man in the Empire Sportz Lounge on Pine Av…

Crime

Michael J. Paonessa III, accused of vomiting several bags of alleged heroin in an Erie County Sheriff's Office patrol car April 8, was sentenced this week to five to six years in state prison for two other crimes in Niagara Falls. Paonessa, 28, of the Falls, was ousted from a court-supervised drug treatment program and sentenced Tuesday by Niagara County Judge Matthew J…

Education

Tuition would rise and security would be strengthened at Niagara County Community College under a tentative budget for the next academic year. The proposed $48.4 million budget for 2018-19 includes about $250,000 for two armed peace officers and a contract with a local police agency to supply a regular police officer to patrol the Sanborn campus during the academic day,…

Local News

A $25,000 donation from KeyBank will cover the cost of Independence Day fireworks in Niagara Falls. The City Council in April unanimously voted against appropriating money for fireworks because of worries about how the loss of Seneca Niagara Casino revenue would affect the city's finances. The bank's donation will go to the Niagara Police Athletic League, which will …

Crime

A Wheatfield man, rejected for further treatment by two psychologists who counsel sex offenders, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Wednesday for violating probation on child pornography charges. Brent J. Manz is "arrogant, condescending and sarcastic," Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said. "I'm the kind of personality that is somewhat confrontational,…