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Falls hit-and-run injures man, 44

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Tonawanda man suffered back injuries Saturday in a hit-and-run accident in the 1300 block of Ontario Avenue, police said.

Herbert D. Turner, 44, was treated in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and released, a hospital official said.

The accident occurred at 3:10 a.m. A witness said she saw a "grayish or bluish car" hit Turner, knocking him to the ground, and drive away, Officer Jack Miljour said.

Falls man robbed of cash, groceries

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Seventh Street man was robbed of $280 and a bag of groceries at knifepoint Friday on his way home from shopping, police said Saturday.

The man told police that he was walking home near Seventh Street and Ferry Avenue from Tops Market with $15 in groceries when two men approached him at 12:20 a.m. He said one put a knife to his throat and said, "Don't move or we'll kill you," while the second took the money from his pockets and the groceries from his arms. The two fled the area, police said.

Suspicious fire destroys car in Falls

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 21st Street man's car was destroyed by a suspicious fire Saturday in an alley behind a Whitney Avenue address, fire officials said.

The fire started at 1:24 a.m. in the passenger seats of the 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass. The flames had engulfed the car by the time firefighters were called. The fire caused an estimated $10,000 damage, fire officials said.

Fire officials said it appears matches may have caused the fabric on the seats to ignite.

Police academy adds a co-director

CAMBRIA -- Niagara Falls police Lt. Les Kachurek has been appointed the new co-director of the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy, joining Niagara County Sheriff's Capt. Robert Drury in that capacity.

Kachurek succeeds Lt. Anthony Casilio, who returned to the city as a road patrol supervisor and is currently on leave with a work-related injury, said Lt. John P. DeMarco, Falls police operations officer.

Kachurek has 10 years' experience with the Niagara Falls Police Department and spent eight years previously as an officer with the New Orleans, La., and Franklin, Tenn., police departments.

Praxair will give $600,000 to UB

Praxair, a global supplier of industrial gases with operations in the Town of Tonawanda, has pledged $600,000, to be paid over five years, to the University at Buffalo. A total of $400,000 will go to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and $200,000 to the School of Management and its Executive MBA Program in China.

"We are pleased to continue to help the university enhance its academic, service and teaching roles," Steven L. Lerner, vice president of research and development for Praxair, said in a statement. "The university is a vital part of the local community, the state's outstanding higher education system and the worldwide research community in several important areas."

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