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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

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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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.

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Griffith will co-chair family violence task force

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Griffith, a Wyoming County judge and supervising judge of all Family Courts in Western New York, has been named co-chairman of a statewide task force on family violence.

A court spokesman in New York said Friday that Griffith was named by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to succeed Presiding Justice Anthony V. Cardona of the state's 3rd Department Appellate Division in Albany.

The 26-member panel of judges and lawyers holds training programs statewide for judges and court personnel to educate them on domestic violence issues as they relate to court proceedings.

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Firm offers to seek bids on center changes

The Wales Town Board received a proposal from CRW Infrastructure and Engineering for $11,500 to redesign and seek bids for a new facade for the community center on Route 20A to make it more accessible for the disabled.

It will entail removal of the vestibule. The entire project is expected to cost $98,000, of which $74,000 will come from a community block grant and $24,000 from the town.

In other business, the board delayed action on Russ Scheerer's application for a special use permit to operate Auctions International on Route 20A on the site of the old Foss Auction Barns, pending a review by the Conservation Advisory and Planning boards. Mr. Scheerer had submitted a new application that doubled the square footage.

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