Leading off today:
Ernie Lorch, the founder of the Riverside Church Hawks basketball program whose legacy was tainted by sexual-abuse allegations, has died, various New York City media reported Wednesday.
Lorch, 80, died Sunday at a senior living facility in Yonkers. The cause of death was not immediately known.
For many years, Lorch was indisputably one of the most influential men in metro-area basketball. A lawyer by trade, he coached dozens of players in the youth ranks — including Mark Jackson, Chris Mullin and Ron Artest — who enjoyed college and pro success after coming up through the ranks with the Riverside program, founded in 1961. "Riverside was the yardstick we measured ourselves against," AAU coach Gary Charles told The New York Daily News. "Mr. Lorch was a pioneer in this AAU thing. They don't make guys like him no more."
But Lorch had to contend with allegations of sexual abuse over the last decade of his life. The Daily News first reported in 2002 that Lorch was at the center of a sex-abuse investigation launched by the Manhattan District Attorney's office but scuttled over statute of limitations restrictions.
Massachusetts prosecutors filed charges in October 2010, with Lorch indicted by a western Massachusetts grand jury on attempted rape of a person over 14 years old, the paper reported. The indictment said Lorch assaulted the alleged victim sometime between March of 1977 and April of 1978 during a tournament in Amherst.
Lorch fought extradition on medical grounds, and a New York State Supreme Court justice ruled Lorch was not competent to be shipped to Massachusetts to stand trial.
Several New York men subsequently told the paper that they had been paid into the millions of dollars to remain silent about alleged abuse.
David Sullivan, the Massachusetts DA who prosecuted Lorch last year on the criminal charge, said he will move to dismiss the case once he receives a copy of the death certificate, the paper reported.
Budget news: What amounts to the "winner" for horror story of the day related to Tuesday's school budget votes comes from Hornell, home of the state's three-time defending Class B football champions.
As voting by residents was in progress, the school board increased the budget for the turf replacement at the high school stadium by up to $372,000 because inadequate drainage was found as a construction crew ripped out the existing artificial turf during a project to install Field Turf.
The stadium project, part of a $52.7 million construction package OK'd in 2008, is now budgeted at $1.5 million, a number that includes contingencies according to The Evening Tribune.
What it doesn't cover, however, is the athletic budget that was shot down by voters Tuesday. Though the base budget of $32.9 million for the upcoming school year sailed through with 67.7 percent of the vote, the separate proposition for athletics and other extracurriculars fell short of the 60 percent super majority required. Slightly more than 55 per-