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First period at Bennett High School was interrupted Monday by a rock concert. At least it started out that way. The Nashville-based, Kansas-bred band GOODING rocked the high school’s auditorium for four or five songs before the band’s lead singer and namesake turned teacher and gave the howling crowd of students a lesson on a subject they don’t often hear abou…

An Albany County Court judge Monday turned down a motion to dismiss a corruption case against State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, on a claim that he was improperly denied a chance to speak before an Albany County grand jury on March 23. In his decision, Judge Peter A. Lynch noted that Ortt had declined to give a statement in advance of questioning in front of the…

An effort to turn the former Central Park Plaza site into the new Highland Park Village is now cleared to begin in coming months. After a two-week delay to obtain needed zoning variances, and because of a public notice glitch, Buffalo's Planning Board on Monday approved the first phase of construction for one of the biggest redevelopment initiatives in Buffalo, by geo…

WASHINGTON — It's no joke: Both the federal and state governments are lining up to support the new National Comedy Center being built in Jamestown. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, announced Monday that the federal New Market Tax Credit would, in essence, provide $4.8 million in net funding for the comedy center. That money comes on top of $8.3 million appropriated to th…

Buffalo police are investigating a report that a 15-year-old girl was accosted Monday by two men in a yellow SUV. The incident happened about 11 a.m. near South Park Avenue and Louisiana Street, police said. The girl told school officials that the men asked her if she wanted to get into the vehicle with them. Police are seeking to hear from anyone with information ab…

The newly named president of the Buffalo Zoo has big shoes to fill. But Norah Fletchall starts her new job May 22 knowing Donna Fernandes, the outgoing zoo president and chief executive officer, was firmly behind Fletchall's selection. The two industry leaders became acquainted through their involvement with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which sets industry st…

Local dairy farmers such as John Richmond suddenly see one of their biggest challenges – and President Trump's first big trade controversy – emerging from, of all places, north of the border. Amid a worldwide milk glut that has pushed prices down and left some local farmers just scraping by, the Canadian dairy industry in recent months made moves that, in essence, c…

An Albion man is in hot water for pretending to be a law enforcement officer. Walter R. Batt, 59, was arrested Saturday by New York State Troopers and charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor. Police said an investigation was launched April 6 based on a complaint that Batt was unlawfully performing vehicle and traffic stops. Batt, who had emergency lights on hi…

LOCKPORT - A Town of Lockport man pleaded guilty Monday to a felony for forcibly fondling a 13-year-old girl in Somerset last year. John E. Castro, 27, of Strauss Road, accepted a preindictment plea offer to a reduced charge of attempted first-degree sexual abuse. The crime occurred Nov. 1. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said he could send Castro to priso…

For nearly two years, Thomas Cox ran a sex-trafficking ring that did business in Buffalo and at least 10 other cities across the nation. Cox, a Buffalo resident, victimized several people, including a minor girl, as part of an operation that advertised on backpage.com and social media outlets. Convicted of sex trafficking a minor, he was sentenced Monday by U.S. Dis…

The name of a 19th-century North Buffalo creek that was buried long ago is coming back to life – as apartments and retail. Seeking to capture a century-old piece of Western New York history, Iskalo Development Corp. has decided to name its newest residential conversion project after Cornelius Creek. The waterway, shown on maps dating to the 1870s, once ran along He…

An annual conference that highlights restoration efforts and needs across the Great Lakes will be back in Buffalo in October, the Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition announced Monday. The 13th annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference will be held Oct. 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency at Fountain Plaza. It's the three-day conference's first visit to Buffalo since 20…

LOCKPORT - An assistant district attorney who sued Niagara County over allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination has accepted a $335,000 settlement offer from the county. In her lawsuit, prosecutor Elizabeth R. Donatello alleged former District Attorney Michael J. Violante sexually harassed her and other female prosecutors, making unwelcome comments abo…

Morning-show personalities on 97 Rock were just trying to be funny last week when they solicited Polish jokes from callers on one of the biggest days of the year in Polish-American culture, according to radio station management. But the on-air talent "used poor judgment" when they put the callers on the radio on Dyngus Day, the day after Easter, the station's owner sa…