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AS NIAGARA FALLS <br> TALES OF THE STRANGE BUT TRUE

Would you ask?

LEWISTON -- Sometimes it seems Lewiston-Porter School Board President Edward M. Lilly raises his eyes to heaven and wonders if there's any logic to the universe.

He did that last week when Board member Jack Burmeister criticized him for helping hold up funding for the district's teacher mentoring program, which has been in place since 1999, when Lilly helped start it.

Lilly opposed the funding because teachers who receive $130 to mentor or advise a new teacher one year continue to get that money added to their paychecks every year for the rest of their careers, even if they never mentor again.

Burmeister indicated Lilly was being hypocritical when he criticized the old board for approving the program in 1999.

"You were on that board . . . you actually (voted for it) yourself. The board approved it, and you act like you did not approve it."

Briefly looking up to heaven with an "is everyone crazy" look, Lilly said, "Dr. (former Superintendent Walter S.) Polka wanted to begin a mentoring program in 1999. I had no reason not to support it. I still do."

He added, however, he was never informed that mentors would continue to be paid every year after their first, even if they no longer provided that service.

"I asked a lot of questions (back then). And I have to tell you, I would have never, in my wildest imagination, asked Dr. Polka if teachers who mentor for one year would get paid for the following 19, even if they are not mentoring. I did not ask that question. Some of my critics may say, 'Shame on you, you should have known enough to ask.' Well, I didn't. . .

"I don't think many people in the business world would have asked," Lilly said, "because it's assumed when you pay for a service you expect payments to end once the service stops."

A thief's gall

NIAGARA FALLS -- Talk about adding injury to insult.

A thief not only stole a Falls Street resident's car one night last weekend but crashed it into the victim's porch as he drove off.

Police said a 1985 Cadillac was stolen out of a Falls Street yard sometime between 11 p.m. 7:30 a.m. The thief backed into the porch while fleeing the scene, causing an estimated $300 damage, then drove over some shrubs and landscaping, police said. In all, the loss was estimated at $1,100.

A thief's gall, Part II

We don't want to judge anyone, but come on. Shouldn't some businesses be off-limits to thieves?

The owner of Presti's Karate, 2809 Pine Ave., told Officer Kelly Alcorn last week a man entered the business while he was out for just a few minutes. He left a man he trusted walking on a treadmill in the place.

Another man walked in, walked behind the counter and took about $400, then fled in a vehicle, said Alcorn.

Now what do you think would happen if business owner Carmen Presti, who also just happens to hold a black belt in karate, ever catches up with the thief?

As Niagara Falls predicts Presti will control his temper, but why risk it?

Contributions from Paul Westmoore and Pam Kowalik of the Niagara County Bureau and Niagara Correspondent Mike Kurilovitch.