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QUINTANA OKS TESTING PRIOR TO SENTENCING

Police Officer Robert Quintana on Friday agreed to submit to psychological and drug and alcohol testing to help a judge determine the appropriate sentence on charges of harassing a former girlfriend.

City Judge Thomas P. Franczyk delayed sentencing for Quintana, 39, on a noncriminal harassment charge until July 27.

Quintana, a former Niagara Council member, pleaded guilty June 6 to harassment for an incident involving Mildred Castro, his former girlfriend and Common Council aide.

During an argument on May 16, he threw Castro to the floor of the Jersey Street home they used to share.

At the request of prosecutor Brian P. McNamara, the judge also left in place a court order of protection for Castro, 38, directing Quintana to stay away from her or face a separate prosecution.

Quintana faces a possible jail term of up to 15 days, a $250 fine and court-ordered future counseling.

Body may be that of a suicide victim

Police believe the body of a Buffalo man that was discovered in a boat slip at the foot of Porter Avenue on Friday afternoon was a suicide victim, although an investigation continues.

The body of a white male in his mid-50s washed up at the Buffalo Yacht Club and was discovered shortly before 1:40 p.m.

Homicide Investigator James Giardina declined to identify the man because police had yet to notify any relatives. Giardina said the man's last known address was a boarding house on Fillmore Avenue.

Giardina said it did not appear that the body, which had no visible signs of trauma, had been in the water long.

"We don't know if he fell in or jumped in," he said. "We're handling it as an apparent suicide until we can find anything more."

Binational tourism campaign hailed

Officials from both sides of the border Friday hailed a new binational cultural tourism campaign that will strive to attract visitors on a regionwide basis.

The Binational Niagara Tourism Alliance launched the effort by unveiling a "Festival Showcase of the Niagaras" color brochure listing 21 events taking place across Buffalo Niagara and the Ontario Peninsula this summer, from Taste of Buffalo July 7-8 to the Tastes of Niagara in Queenston, Ont., Aug. 25.

In addition to photographs of the events, the brochure contains an easy-to-follow map directing visitors to each venue.

The alliance, which aims to "brand" the Niagara Region on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border as "a unified entity" known as the Niagaras, will distribute 200,000 brochures at tourist access points.

Such cross-marketing of cultural attractions is long overdue, and over time will foster "serious investment" and economic growth on both sides of the Niagara River, Mayor Anthony M. Masiello said at a press conference at the Mather Arch in Fort Erie, Ont.

The initiative, with strong support from the state and provincial governments, will use "our common language, culture and values" to benefit both regions, added Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop.

Woman who was critically burned dies

An 85-year-old woman critically burned Sunday afternoon when her clothes caught on fire while she was cooking in her Clinton Street home has died, authorities said Friday.

Monica J. Gorka died in the Erie County Medical Center on Thursday. The woman was taken by Rural Metro Ambulance to the ECMC with second- and third-degree burns over roughly 40 percent of her body.

The blaze left no damage to her home, Buffalo fire officials reported.

Judge's son indicted and is free on bail

Ronnie Ogden, the son of Buffalo City Court Judge E. Jeannett Ogden, has been indicted on reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and gun charges for allegedly shooting the tire of a car containing a man, a woman he knew and a child, prosecutors confirmed Friday.

Ogden, 23, of Bennett Village, is free on bail after pleading innocent this week before Erie County Judge Michael Pietruszka to the charges stemming from the May 29 incident on Bailey Avenue near Genesee Street.

Amateur radio group set for event

Members of the South Towns Amateur Radio Society have been gearing up for today's start of the Field Day weekend, when radio operators try to contact as many other stations around the country as possible.

Field Day was designed to test operators' abilities to set up and operate portable stations under emergency conditions such as the loss of electricity.

"We want the community to know that in the event of an emergency, we will be ready to assist in any way we can," said John Leitten of the South Towns group. "While people often think that cell phones or other communications technologies have replaced ham radio, we can still provide an important communications service that others can't."

The radio society will conduct Field Day from noon today to 2 p.m. Sunday at the former Nike Base on Lakeview Road in Hamburg.

"We hope that any one who is interested in seeing what amateur radio is all about will come out for Field Day," Leitten said.

More than 30,000 amateur radio operators across the country and Canada participated in last year's event.

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