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Vince Anello; Former Niagara Falls Mayor Takes Plea Deal

BUFFALO, NY - Former Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello appeared in court Thursday morning to take a plea deal.

Anello plead guilty to a felony charge of making false statements to the IBEW Local 237, after leaving office.  In return, prosecutors are dropping charges of bribery in a separate case. 

Anello faces 10 to 16 months in jail when he's sentenced. 

Anello had an electrical business prior to becoming mayor in 2004.  When he retired from the union he started receiving a pension of about $4,000 per month.  But the government charge claims he violated union rules after he left his job as myaor by working more than the permitted 40 hours per month, and ultimately stealing nearly $100,000 from the pension fund. 

Withheld Casino Funds Could Cause Budget Gap For Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, NY--  The state's efforts to collect taxes on cigarettes sold to non-natives on Indian land is on hold indefinately.

The governor has suspended the tax collection following a state appellate court ruling that stopped the effort statewide.

The City of Niagara Falls says a decision by the Seneca Nation of Indians to withhold Seneca Niagara Casino slot revenue from the state will blow a four million dollar hole in their budget.

The Senecas voted to do this to protest the cigarette tax, as well as the state's growing racino business.

City Councilmember Sam Fruscione says one immediate effect-- is that this will interfere with the city's ability to pay for its new municipal complex on main street

Niagara Falls Police Ask For Help To Solve Assault Of Christopher Scrivano

NIAGARA FALLS, NY -Niagara Falls Police have arrested the man they believe is responsible for an assault in July that still leaves the victim hospitalized.

John Baldassara, 52, of Lewiston, was accompanied by his lawyer when he turned himself in to police Tuesday morning. He's charged with 2nd degree assault in the July 17th attack of Christopher Scrivano.

Scrivano , 47, of Mason Drive, was discovered outside Players Lounge at about 10:45 that night semi-conscious and bleeding from a gaping head wound. 

NYS Police Investigate NF Robbery

NIAGARA FALLS, NY - New York State Police are investigating a strong armed robbery that happened in the Big Lots parking lot on Military Rd. Sunday afternoon around 2:30 p.m.

Sergeant Lepczyk of the NYS Police told 2 On Your Side a woman was parked in her car when 2 black men approached her and  tried to sell her electronics devices. When the victim refused,  they demanded money from her and stole $100.

The two suspects fled the scene in a Chevy Uplander vehicle.

The Town of Niagara Police are investigating a similar case.

If you have any information you are asked to call the New York State Police at 297-0755.

Woman Contacts Tipline for Help With Cemetery Dispute

Niagara Falls, N.Y. - A Niagara Falls woman contacted our tipline Friday, for help with a dispute she's having with a local cemetery.

Karen Centofanti lost her mother, father and 17-year-old son in a tragic car accident back in 1994. To help cope with their loss, Karen and her daughter, Anne Marie, visit St. Joseph's cemetery every week to spend time with their family.

But last week, Karen discovered something at her son's grave that made her and her daughter very upset; a solar cross that was once attached to the grave had broken off. And they say that's not all.

"We found a piece of granite knocked off the back of the stone," said Anne Marie Lodick. "Also, the solar panel is very loose and coming off and the way that is was broken it was tilted forward."

Anne Marie and her mother believe the cross was broken by a lawnmower or other piece of equipment used by the cemetery's maintenance workers.

City of Niagara Falls Salaries Lower Than State Average

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- City of Niagara Falls employees had an average pay of $37,998 for its 308 employees, according to a report released Thursday by the Empire Center for New York State Policy. The average pay for city employees across the state is $43,817.

The highest paid city employees outside New York City were in Westchester, one of the nation's most expensive places to live. The city of Yonkers, with 993 employees, led the state with an average pay of $71,659.

Niagara Falls Third Street Development Project

NIAGARA FALLS, NY - Local developer Craig Avery is hoping some hard work and more than $800,000 in grants and private investments will help revitalize Third Street in Niagara Falls.

Avery bought a building located at 451 Third Street for $180,000 at an auction.  It was a foreclosure that had been vacant for more than 10 years.  He's currently gutting the building, and once renovations are complete, the building will be home to five businesses and eight apartments.

Three businesses have already signed leases or letters of intent to move in once the construction is done.  The completion date is set for some time in November.

Avery hopes renovating the once abandoned building and filling it with commercial and residential tenants will bring in more tourist traffic.