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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS - Niagara

Ex-superintendent new head of Water District

LOCKPORT -- Former Somerset Supervisor Herbert A. Downs was introduced to the Niagara County Legislature Tuesday as the new director of the County Water District.

The district is headed by a board comprising the 12 town supervisors and provides water to about 150,000 users in those towns. It employs 27 workers.

Downs replaces Ronald E. Johnston, who retired from his $62,826-a-year post July 29 after 10 years at the helm of the district.

Downs, who had been town supervisor for 15 years, said his pay is in the $55,000 range. He said the appointment came too late for him to get his name off the ballot for re-election as supervisor.

He is unopposed, but he said he will decline election and allow the Town Board to appoint a successor who will have to run for a one-year term in 2006. For now, former Councilman Richard N. Ray Jr. is Somerset supervisor.

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Effort unable to trace political call from school

LOCKPORT -- The probe of who made a telephone call on school time seeking votes for Niagara County Legislature candidate W. Keith McNall may have hit a dead end.

Superintendent Bruce T. Fraser said Tuesday that AT&T won't release detailed phone records for Sept. 9, the day the call was made, without a subpoena. Fraser said the district can't issue one and authorities can't because the case isn't a criminal matter.

District records narrowed the source of the call to either Lockport High School or Charles Upson Elementary School, but the limitations of the district's phone system make it impossible to determine which line was used to make the call.

McNall, the Board of Education president, was trounced in the Republican 16th District primary by incumbent Glenn S. Aronow, who called reporters to make an issue of the 2:59 p.m. call to a voter. David Betsch told Aronow of the call after finding a school district number on his mother's caller ID screen.

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Legislature votes to sell 2 Davison Rd. parcels

LOCKPORT -- The Niagara County Legislature voted Tuesday to sell two parcels of land on Davison Road in Lockport to adjoining homeowners.

Three Windermere Road homeowners paid $37,080 for 10.2 acres to be used as a buffer strip in case of development on the other 84 acres of land the county still owns.

For a similar purpose, the Waterford Estates Condominium Association bought 1.2 acres for $4,218.

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