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Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013: All-state hoops player charged in home invasion case

   Leading off today: All-state basketball player Justice Feggans of Buffalo Riverside was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of first-degree burglary late Wednesday in connection with an alleged home invasion and assault on a 96-year-old man, The Buffalo News reported Thursday.

   The victim suffered critical injuries, including a broken jaw, in the Nov. 24 attack by three armed robbers, the paper reported, and was hospitalized for weeks. He has since been moved to a long-term health care facility.

   Feggans, 18, a 10th-team all-state pick in Class A last season as a junior, was identified with the help of video from a surveillance camera in the victim's house, which police believe was being used by a relative of the man as a drug house.

   “This was a terrible crime and we are very pleased today to announce that, with the tremendous diligence of our police department, we were able to make an arrest,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said. “The public was outraged by this case.”

   Feggans, who averaged 22.1 points as a junior and also quarterbacked the football team, scored 68 points over three games this season. He last played Dec. 27.

   The newspaper reported Feggans had at least two brushes with the law last year. On the morning of Oct. 11, Feggans and as many as three others allegedly ordered a city resident into his garage at gunpoint, but the man escaped into his house. Attempted robbery charges against Feggans are pending.

   In March, he was charged with possession of marijuana during a traffic stop, the paper reported.

   Feggans is in custody at the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $250,000 bail.

   Downsizing ahead? McKinley, Bennett and South Park would be among schools losing their football identity under a proposal to consolidate the Buffalo Public Schools’ football teams into four grid squads next fall, The Buffalo News reported.

   District officials cited declining participation as the reason for the proposed changes. In August 2010, 535 athletes participated on eight teams. This year, that dwindled to 428 players at Bennett, Burgard, McKinley, Riverside, East, South Park, International Prep and Hutch Tech.

   “I think we need to downsize our football program and make our teams more competitive,” Athletic Director Aubrey T. Lloyd III told the school board Wednesday. The board could vote to accept the plan next week in the face of expected protests.

   “Winning solves a lot of problems, folks,” board member John B. Licata said, a reference to the likelihood that consolidated teams would be stronger teams.

   Under the plan, each new team would be composed of players from three or more city schools:    

  • North: Bennett, Burgard, Olmsted, and Math, Science and Technology Prep.    
  • West: Riverside, McKinley and Lafayette.    
  • East: City Honors, East, Performing Arts, International Prep, da Vinci and the Academy School.

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  • South: South Park, Hutch Tech, Emerson and Middle Early College.

       Lloyd also wants to give schools the ability to more easily hire qualified non-teachers as coaches to improve the quality of instruction in some cases. Under the Buffalo Teachers Federation contract, the district has to hire teachers for the positions.

       Germantown mourns: An automobile accident early Monday left one former Germantown athlete dead and another facing charges related to the crash.

       State police responded early Monday morning to the crash in Livingston and said Max Kelly, 21, succumbed to the injuries he sustained after driver Thomas Griffin, 19, slammed into a utility pole at approximately 1:30 a.m.

       Kelly, a designated hitter for the Columbia-Greene Community College baseball team, earned all-conference honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association's Mountain Valley Conference last spring.

       Griffin was initially charged with DWI and vehicular assault in the second degree, a Class E felony. He was arraigned in Greenport Town Court and released on his own recognizance. The Columbia County District Attorney’s Office indicated additional charges could be forthcoming in light of Kelly's death, the Register-Star reported.

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