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Erie County's tally of dead birds infected with the West Nile virus is now up to 14 following the positive test results Friday for a crow found in the Town of Amherst, county Health Department officials said.

The crow, a young bird in its hatch year, was found in the Maynard Drive area of town, said Kevin Montgomery, a spokesman for the department. The crow brings Amherst's count of infected birds to three, he said. The newest crow was found Sept. 10, and the county received the results Friday, Montgomery said.

The West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can be transmitted to humans. In its most common forms, it can cause flulike symptoms. In its rarest, potentially lethal form, the virus can cause encephalitis, a deadly swelling of the brain.

Federal funds target airport improvements

WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration is releasing $3.8 million for taxiway and runway improvements at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, lawmakers said Friday.

Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-Tonawanda, said the growth of the airport "is beyond everyone's expectations."

Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, said the money from the Federal Aviation Administration will pay for a new 75-foot-wide taxi lane near the East Concourse.

Quinn said the allocation will pay for about 50,000 square yards of additional aircraft parking apron near the concourse.

The total cost of the project, Quinn said, is $4.2 million, with the state and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which owns the airport, each contributing $210,000.

Cross-border police session is low profile

It was a secret event -- with no advance publicity and no press coverage -- but the Canadian-American Law Enforcement Organization has completed a successful conference on organized crime here, organizers said Friday.

More than 125 law-enforcement officials from 75 federal, state and local agencies met to discuss traditional organized crime, alcohol and tobacco smuggling, cyber crime, the investigation of Ecstasy and other "rave" drugs and other topics.

Because of the sensitive topics and the number of undercover officers present, event organizers wouldn't discuss the conference until afterwards.

Keynote speakers were Joseph Peters, deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Ronald Goldstock, former head of the New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force.

The law-enforcement organization uses cooperation among agencies on both sides of the border to combat organized-crime groups in this area.

The conference, held in the Holiday Inn on Grand Island, was sponsored by the U.S. attorney's office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the law-enforcement organization.

$400,000 OK'd for Falls scenic projects

WASHINGTON -- Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-Tonawanda, said the National Parks Service has released $400,000 for construction of scenic improvements and tourist accommodations at Niagara Falls.

The State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Office will get $200,000 to help build a Niagara Gorge View Trail and $200,000 for renovations at the Whirlpool comfort station.

He said he discussed a number of possible improvements at Niagara Falls State Park with Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt when he visited the falls earlier this year.

Montessori school receives $25,000 grant

St. Columba-Brigid Montessori School at Hickory and Eagle streets has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation.

The grant will help in the expansion of the one-year-old school, which is at full capacity of 55 children, and assist in educational programming.

"We are pleased to play a part in supporting the school's mission of serving economically disadvantaged children," said Thomas E. Baker, the foundation's executive director.

Makeshift knife leads to more prison time

A makeshift knife will cost a state prisoner another four years behind bars.

Arandas Everette, 25, already serving time for his part in the execution-style murder of a young Buffalo businessman, received the additional sentence Friday from State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia.

Everette was convicted Aug. 4 on prison contraband and weapons charges for the knife-like piece of sharpened plexiglass with a taped handle found on him almost two years ago.

Everette is serving a three-to-nine year sentence he received two years ago for helping Joseph "Ty" Kimble and another man stage the 1995 attack in which John K. Schaus was fatally shot near a Bailey Avenue night deposit.

Buscaglia told Everette he won't begin serving his term for the prison weapon until he completes his term as an accessory in the Schaus murder.

Prosecutor Frank T. Housh said Everette, who is expected to be transferred to another state prison shortly, was charged with the prison contraband crime after guards at the state's Gowanda Correctional Facility found the sharpened plexiglass on him during a routine pat and frisk search Jan. 22, 1999.

Workshop scheduled for 'Welfare to Work'

A free theater workshop depicting the road that leads from "Welfare to Work" will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday in the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, 1 Lafayette Square.

It will be staged by the Child and Family Services Theatre for Change, made up of professional actors, writers and directors who will give presentations on job interviews, job survival techniques and self-esteem.

For information or to register, call Darleen Pickering Hummert at 882-0555, Ext. 404.

'Carnival' set to protest corporate power

Activists in Buffalo will stage a "carnival of resistance" Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in Bidwell Park to coincide with demonstrations against corporate power at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund fall meetings in Prague, Czech Republic.

The carnival, organized by the Western New York Coalition for Worldwide Economic Justice, will include music, dance, street theater, demonstrations and speakers.

In conjunction with the event, a number of teach-ins will be held at area colleges, high schools and churches.

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