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>Lightning sparks house fire in Town of Lockport

LOCKPORT -- Lightning was blamed for triggering a fire that heavily damaged a Town of Lockport home at about 4:21 p.m., Niagara County sheriff's officials said.

Residents of 6090 Crosby Road alerted firefighters to smoke in the house after a lightning strike, and when Rapids firefighters arrived, smoke was pouring from the house and attached garage.

The fire was extinguished at about 5:30 p.m. Damage was put at $60,000. The house was declared uninhabitable.


>Judge denies motion in lawsuit aginst AES

LOCKPORT -- A motion on several issues that could have short-circuited a lawsuit against AES Corp. was denied Thursday, practically guaranteeing a long trial that won't begin until well into summer.

Niagara County, the Town of Somerset and the Barker Central School District are suing AES and the county Industrial Development Agency over $43.4 million in tax breaks the IDA awarded the coal-burning power plant in Somerset.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. refused to hear a motion brought by the Town of Somerset on a variety of complex issues that involved AES finances and IDA policy.

No trial date was set, but lawyers in the case said they are looking at midsummer.

Taxpayers will end up paying for an expensive trial that is expected to last at least two weeks, said Robert S. Roberson, who is representing the Town of Somerset.

Richard B. Sullivan of the Harris Beach law firm is representing the county development agency.


>Child porn sentence might reach 20 years

An Orleans County man faces a sentence of 20 years behind bars with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison after admitting he sent child pornography over the Internet, U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn reported.

Adam J. Seabolt, 33, of Kendall, conveyed the images via his computer to an undercover agent in Vancouver, British Columbia, who he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

The images included prepubescent minors or children under age 12, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick. He also sent the undercover agent revealing images of himself.

Sentencing was scheduled for July 30.


>Not-guilty plea entered in gas station robbery

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man pleaded not guilty in Niagara County Court on Wednesday after being arraigned on charges that he held up a Niagara Falls gas station with a shotgun Dec. 24.

Christopher T. Walker Jr., 19, of Whitney Avenue, was charged with two counts each of first-degree robbery and assault, and single counts of criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of a firearm, menacing a police officer, grand larceny and resisting arrest. He entered his plea before County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. and is free on $7,500 bail.

According to authorities, Walker, assisted by an unnamed accomplice, held up a Sunoco station on Dec. 24. Armed with a shotgun, he menaced the shopkeeper and Niagara Falls Police Officer Michael Trane, and made off with $3,000.


>Man accused of threats to officer, shop damage

LOCKPORT -- A Lockport man accused of threatening a Lockport police officer with a knife and damaging a Walnut Street Liquor Store was indicted on several charges Wednesday.

Bonnett Golson, 31, of Genesee Street, is charged with menacing a police officer, criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon.

On Nov. 28, he threatened Lockport police Lt. Brian Wentland and caused $250 in damages in the liquor store, police said.


>Man charged in theft of copper pipe from home

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Cleveland Avenue man was charged Thursday morning with burglary, possession of burglary tools and petit larceny at 1310 North Ave. after a witness said he took copper piping from a vacant house.

Tommy M. Pace, 43, was arrested by Officer Paul Warmington after the witness told police that a man was walking into vacant houses.

Pace agreed to let police look in a duffel bag he held, and Warmington said he found copper pipe, a crowbar, a lug wrench and bolt cutters.

Warmington said Pace told him the copper pipe was not stolen.


>Not-guilty plea entered to multiple charges

LOCKPORT -- A Wheatfield man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges including menacing, assault with a knife, burglary and criminal contempt contained in an indictment.

Michael J. Bentley, 48, of Ward Road, was arraigned before Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Bentley is accused of attacking a Wheatfield woman on Oct. 29 and threatening her with a pellet gun. In January, he allegedly stabbed and slashed a male relative of the Wheatfield woman. Bentley is being held in lieu of bail in Niagara County Jail.

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