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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Lawmaker to revise hiring preference idea

LOCKPORT -- With some of his colleagues raising objections, Niagara County Legislator Richard E. Updegrove, R-Lockport, said Tuesday he will revise his proposal to require the county to obtain professional services from local businesses whenever possible.

The proposal would create a preference for hiring firms from Niagara County or any county bordering Niagara and require the county manager to compile lists of such companies and inform them whenever the county has a contract to offer.

"I don't think the county manager has to baby-sit these business entities," said Legislator Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls.

Legislator Harry J. Apolito, D-Lockport, said the county has to watch for price gouging. "If I'm a Niagara County firm and I know you're giving me a preference, then we as county legislators have to look out for the price," he said.

"This resolution does not require the county manager to retain firms that don't compete on price," said Updegrove. He said he will push for a vote at the April 11 meeting of the Administration Committee.

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Parents to hear talk on online predators

Parents can learn how to protect their children from online predators at a session from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Casey Middle School Auditorium, 105 Casey Road, East Amherst.

Holly Hubert, supervisory special agent for the FBI's cyber squad in Buffalo, will talk about how predators use instant messaging programs and Web sites such as Myspace.com to exploit and victimize children.

She will talk about what signs to look for to tell if a child may be at risk, and how to protect children from being manipulated by sex offenders online.

The program is intended for adults and high school-age children. It is not appropriate for younger children.

Free child care will be available.

The Williamsville PTSA Council, Williamsville Wellness Council and Wellness Facilitators are cosponsoring the event.

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Agent who headed probe of Lackawanna 6 retires

The federal agent who oversaw the Lackawanna Six investigation put in his last day Friday as special agent in charge of the Buffalo FBI office.

Peter J. Ahearn, 50, is retiring from the FBI and taking a new job in Washington as senior adviser in the office of the director of National Intelligence. He took command of the Buffalo FBI office in May 2001.

"It's been a great ride in Buffalo," said Ahearn. He said he was especially gratified earlier this week when the region's Muslim-American leaders hosted a dinner for him.

"Out of difficult times came a friendship," he said.

Lori Bennett, an FBI agent who has specialized in counterterrorism and organized crime investigations, will take over the Buffalo office later this month. Veteran agent Karen Spangenberg will head the office until Bennett arrives.

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