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POWERLINK INTERNET ACCESS DISRUPTED

High-speed Internet access through Adelphia's PowerLink service was disrupted intermittently in the past couple of days for customers in Amherst because of an individual who inappropriately sent a large number of e-mails, the company said Friday.

"It was a customer who was connected to our PowerLink that interfered with our network," said Thomas M. Haywood, Adelphia's vice president of regional operations.

Adelphia's engineers detected the problem, which affected service in sections of Amherst, he said.

"This is not something that was done by accident," Haywood said. The company will investigate to see if the customer's actions warrant a further response, including criminal charges, he said.

The number of customers who lost service was not available Friday, nor was the number of e-mail messages the customer sent, Haywood said.

Man sentenced to 25 years for attack

Arturo J. DeJesus on Friday insisted he kept kicking his drunken and already brain-damaged cousin in the head in self-defense, but a judge denounced him as a "very violent person" and sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

DeJesus, 48, told State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti he did not get a fair trial. A jury found him guilty of attempted murder and weapons charges for the Jan. 16 incident, which has left his roommate and cousin, James P. Milligan Jr., 41, in a coma.

Rossetti imposed the maximum allowable term and told DeJesus he needs to take anger-management counseling in prison.

During the trial, two drinking buddies of both cousins testified that DeJesus assaulted Milligan -- disabled because of severe head injuries from an earlier mugging -- after he leaned back and broke a chair.

Court improvement project wins award

The Erie County Court Improvement Project was one of 18 organizations and individuals selected Friday to receive an Adoption Excellence Award by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The awards grew out of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. Recipients were chosen by a committee of nonprofit adoption agencies, child welfare and adoption advocates, adoptive parents, foundations, businesses and state and federal offices. This year, the panel reviewed 70 nominations and chose 18 winners in six categories.

The court improvement project -- a collaboration of state and county departments and other organizations -- began in 1998. The number of children in foster care has decreased by 44 percent since then, with 900 children being adopted into permanent families.

Among other winners was Allison Rosati, the former WGRZ-TV news anchor who now works in Chicago for the NBC news affiliate there.

Rosati, a former foster child herself, hosts a weekly feature that has helped in 23 adoptions and dozens more children moving toward living with permanent families.

Man sentenced for sex abuse of child

James Batchen Jr. was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison by a judge who rebuked him for forcing a now-10-year-old Town of Tonawanda girl to suffer a lifetime of "nightmares" for his repeated sexual molestation of her three years ago.

Batchen, 35, who had been free on $25,000 bail, was taken into custody shortly after State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti imposed the sentence on his Sept. 16 guilty plea to first-degree sodomy and attempted rape.

Batchen, who was living in the Town of Tonawanda, molested the girl from November 1999 through mid-January 2000.

Prosecutors said the victim, who continues to receive professional counseling, complained about being molested by Batchen, a close family friend, after she was removed from her mother's home and was placed in foster care for unrelated reasons two years ago.

The judge also imposed an 18-year order of protection barring Batchen from contact with his victim.

Power Vista will be open this weekend

LEWISTON -- The New York Power Authority's Power Vista will be open this weekend after all.

Thursday, the authority announced the visitor center at the Niagara Power Project would be closed today and Sunday because of repairs.

However, officials said Friday the repairs have been delayed and the Power Vista is open today and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., as usual.

Three-car crash critically hurts driver

One man was critically injured in a three-car crash in the Town of Holland shortly after 10 p.m. Friday. The man, who was alone in his car, was taken to Mercy Hospital with severe injuries, State Police said.

His car collided head-on with another vehicle containing four people, but no one in that car was seriously injured, troopers said. A third car then plowed into the other two.

The collision occurred on Route 16 near Blanchard Road. Police were still at the scene, and no further information was available.

Ten exposed to carbon monoxide

About 10 residents of an Amherst apartment complex were being treated for exposure to carbon monoxide fumes, including several expected to be taken to hospitals, officials said Friday night.

Firefighters were called to the 10-unit complex at 2227 N. French Road shortly before 11 p.m. Friday. The source of the fumes was unknown.

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