FREE THE TRUTH IS ALWAYS FAIR FREE Bureaucratic Indifference Contributes to Little Girl’s Suffering, Death DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 VOL. 15, NO. 49 2 NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 Bureaucratic Indifference, New York Style Contributes to Little Girl’s Suffering, Death Mike Hudson To say that 8-year-old Donella Nocera -- who died last week at Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo following a year-long battle with brain cancer – was a victim at every level of New York’s nanny state bureaucracy would be an understatement. From the Niagara Falls City Police, who intervened on a domestic dispute at the home of Nocera’s mother, Lisa Miljour, to the Niagara County Department of Child Protective Services, who took little Donella from her home, to the Governor’s Mansion in Albany, where foot dragging on the part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo prevented the girl from receiving medical marijuana treatments some believe could have staved off the cancer and certainly would have relieved her pain in a healthier way than the hard narcotics that eventually put her into a coma, the system failed the child in the worst way imaginable. The story began with a phone call, shortly before the holidays in 2013. Lisa Miljour received the heartbreaking news that her beloved grandmother was dying from cancer in Cleveland. In a bad decision she’s regretted ever since, Miljour and her boyfriend George Billings, the father of Donella’s half-sister Maxine, reacted to the bad news by having some drinks. The couple began arguing, and things escalated. The baby Maxine was asleep in her crib at the time, while Donella was away visiting her father, Nathan Nocera. It wasn’t long before there was a knock on the door. "I thought they were just some nice guys from the neighborhood checking to see that everything was all right," Miljour told the Niagara Falls Reporter. It turned out she was wrong. In reality they were undercover Niagara Falls Police Department narcotics officers, dressed in the down at the heels style common to many who frequent the louche saloons of Miljour’s Cuddaback Avenue neighborhood. The situation quickly deteriorated, according to both Miljour and the arresting officers. By the time it was over, the couple was under arrest, charged with assaulting each other, resisting arrest and endangering the welfare of a child. The baby Maxine was remanded to the custody of Child Protective Services, which Their last Christmas. Donella and mother Lisa Miljour in a hotel room during the four-hour visit permitted between mother and daughter by Child Protective Services on Christmas Day. placed her in foster care. Despite the fact that there was no prior record of any kind of abuse in the home and that Miljour's previous criminal record had amounted to a single seat belt violation, Child Protective Services took NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER “The Truth is Always Fair” CHAIRMAN & EDITOR IN CHIEF Frank Parlato PUBLISHER Peter Mio MANAGING EDITOR Dr. Chitra Selvaraj SENIOR EDITOR Tony Farina PHONE: (716) 284-5595 P.O. Box 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304 Phone: E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.niagarafallsreporter.com All contents copyright © 2014 Niagara Falls Reporter Inc. Marijuana interferes with cancer’s reproduction methods and kills tumor cells. a tough stand. Not only would Maxine remain in a foster home with strangers, but Miljour was forbidden from further contact with Donella and another daughter as well. She could visit the girls under supervised conditions at the county welfare office for one hour each week, a county official ruled. On one such visit, Miljour said, she noticed that her Donella, then 7-years-old, had developed a facial tic and that her hands were trembling. "I told the supervisor something's wrong and she said it was nothing," Miljour said. "I said no, she's going to the hospital." Donella was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and finally to Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo where she was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Surgery was followed by a series of intensive radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Still, the county forbade Miljour from visiting her dying daughter, beyond the one hour a week supervised meeting proscribed in the original order. "It's inhuman," Miljour’s mother, Donna Chew, told the Reporter. "That poor little girl, in intensive care, isn't even allowed to see the mother she loves." The painful treatments, surgery and the pain of the cancer itself led doctors to administer an escalating series of narcotic painkillers, administered intravenously. Little Donella began lapsing in and out of consciousness and it wasn’t long before her father, Nathan Nocera stepped in. He made repeated, and desperate personal calls to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, beg- Happier times: A smiling Donella (R) sisters Rubi (L) and baby Maxine pose for a family snapshot. ging Albany to speed up the availability of medical marijuana, which, under a state law passed earlier this year, will remain illegal in New York State until Jan- NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 Vicious Nanny State Exposed in Child’s Death medical marijuana for treatment of a wide array of maladies ranging from anxiety to cancer. New York, known throughout the country as a liberal bastion, has remained remarkably conservative in getting with the program. Montana, New Mexico, Maine and even Alaska would seem to be more progressive than the Empire State when it comes to patients and doctors being permitted to decide what the best course of treatment might be for any individual patient. According to a report issued by the National Cancer Institute, marijuana – or cannabis, as the active ingredient is known – may retard the growth of tumors, block the growth of cancerous cells, act as an anti-inflammatory agent and as a far more benign painkiller than opiate based drugs, which were administered to little Donella. Furthermore, the report cites a recent human study that would indicate that cannabis increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy. In most medical applications, cannabis is administered using pills or an under the tongue mouth spray. But Cuomo, perhaps worried about the conservative Upstate voters who largely opposed him in the 2010 election and again this year, has been anything but liberal in his approach to the matter. Which may have cost Donella her life. “Gov. Cuomo, I know you cannot turn back time to get us the medical mar- ijuana that could have slowed the aggressive growth of the tumor in her brain. I know you cannot give us back the days, turned into weeks, turned into months that we lost Donella to a narcotic-induced sleep. But you have the power to end the needless suffering of so many New York families, and I urge you to use it,” Nathan Nocera said in a written statement released Friday. Admitting that he had illegally secured marijuana for his daughter, who at last lapsed into a coma because of the narcotics his daughter could legally be administered, the grieving father asked for help on behalf of other endangered children “In the name of my little girl and at least two other children who have died waiting for medical marijuana, I urge you to take action. When you gather with your loved ones this holiday season, I ask that you keep my family in your heart as we suffer the loss of our dearest Donnie.” The nanny state that is New York was, in the end, created by liberal minded people to protect the innocents most of all. In the case of 8-year-old Donella Nocera, it succeeded in taking a little girl from a loving home, ignoring signs of serious illness and perhaps hastening her death through a bureaucratic nightmare paid for by you, the taxpayer. Arjun Walia, writing for collectiveevolution.com, compiled a list of 20 studies that suggest marijuana may be of vital use to cancer sufferers. Sufferers might want to investigate these studies to determine if marijuana is the right medicine for them. Here is Walia's list: Brain Cancer: 1. British Journal of Cancer; Conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Complutense University in Madrid. Determined that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THCthe main active compound in marijuana) inhibits tumor growth. THC was found to decrease tumor cells in two out of the nine patients. 2. The Journal of Neuroscience. Found that THC reduced neuronal injury in rats, providing evidence that cannabinoids can protect the brain against neurodegeneration. 3. The Journal of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeutics. Examined the effect of cannabidiol on brain tumors and concluded cannabidiol was able to produce significant antitumor activity. 4. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Outlined how brain tumors are highly resistant to current anticancer treatments and demonstrated the reversal of tumor activity in Glioblastoma multiforme. Breast Cancer: 5. US National Library of Medicine, conducted by the California Pacific Medical Centre. Determined that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation and inva- sion. Demonstrated CBD reduces tumor mass. 6. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Determined THC dramatically reduced breast cancer cell growth. 7. Journal Molecular Cancer. Showed THC reduced tumor growth and tumor numbers. Determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell proliferation, induce cancer cells' death. 8. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.. Determined cannabinoids inhibit human breast cancer cell proliferation. Lung Cancer: 9. Oncogene, by Harvard Medical Schools Experimental Medicine Department. Determined THC inhibits epithelial growth factor induced lung cancer cell migration. 10. US National Library of Medicine by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology, from the Department of General Surgery in Germany. Determined cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell invasion and invasiveness. 11. US National Library of Medicine, conducted by Harvard Medical School. Investigated cannabinoid receptors in lung cancer cells. Determined its effectiveness, suggested its use for treatment against lung cancer cells. Prostate Cancer: 12. US National Library of Medicine. Illustrated decrease in prostatic cancer cells through cannabinoid receptors. 13. US National Library of Medicine. Outlined multiple studies proving effectiveness of cannabis on prostate cancer. 14. US National Library of Medicine. Determined cannabinoid receptor activation induces prostate carcinoma cell apoptosis and cannabidiol inhibited cell viability. Blood Cancer: 15. Molecular Pharmacology. Showed cannabinoids induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in matle cell lymphoma. 16. International Journal of Cancer. Determined cannabinoids exert antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in certain cancer and in mantle cell lymphoma. 17. US National Library of Medicine conducted by Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University. Determined cannabinoids induce apoptosis in leukemia cells. Oral Cancer: 18. US National Library of Medicine. Results show cannabinoids are inhibitors of cellular respiration and are toxic to malignant oral tumors. Liver Cancer: 19. US National Library of Medicine. Determined THC reduces the viability of human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cell lines and reduced their growth. Pancreatic Cancer: 20. American Journal of Cancer. Determined cannabinoid induced apoptosis, reduced the growth of tumor cells, and inhibited the spread of pancreatic tumor cells. (Continued from page 2) uary 2016. But his pleas fell on deaf ears. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of Astoundingly, Donella, then seven years old, diagnosed with brain cancer remained at Buffalo Children's Hospital, while Child Protective Services of Niagara County refused to let her mother, Lisa Miljour, see her aside from weekly one-hour supervised visits. Studies Show Marijuana May Help Cure Cancer 3 4 NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 Mike Hudson Peaceful Falls Protest in Support of Criminals Does Society no Good Last week in Niagara Falls, Niagara County Legislator Owen Steed helped organize a demonstration called “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” one of many protests organized around the country following a grand jury’s failure to indict Ferguson, MO., police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, a 300pound, 18-year-old that some witnesses said punched the officer in the head, attempted to grab his service automatic and then charged Wilson when ordered to stop. The cop was white while the suspect he was trying to arrest and ended up killing was black. A week earlier, in New York City and Los Angeles, freeways and bridges were shut down by hundreds of “peaceful protesters” alarmed also by the death of a black man, Eric Garner, who died as a result of being choked by a white police officer in New York and, in Ferguson itself, whole blocks of black-owned businesses were looted and burned by other blacks, presumably not business owners, who wished to demonstrate their outrage. What is the mentality of people burning down their own neighborhood? Ferguson firefighters were unable to respond to the arsons and extinguish them because people in the neighborhood kept shooting at them. Large, flat screen television sets, Adidas and Nike sneakers and other valuable yet easily portable items disappeared en masse from the burning buildings. According to the Centers for Disease Control which – perhaps ironically -keeps tabs of such things, 123 African Americans were shot dead by cops in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. That same year, 326 whites were killed by police nationwide. Also in that same year, 2412 African Americans were murdered by other African Americans, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reports figures. And where was the outrage there? A black person in the United States was 94 percent more likely to be killed by an- In one of his last acts on earth, at 6’4”, 300 lbs, Michael Brown (left), was caught on video tape robbing a $48.99 box of cigars and strong arming a clerk (right), who tried to stop the thief from removing the stolen item from the store. While some peacefully protested, others, criminals, used the killing as an excuse to steal and plunder. other black person in 2012 than by a white person, police officer or otherwise, yet not a single protest, peaceful or otherwise, was reported. You could look at this a different way, of course, you could consider the number of whites who get killed by blacks. Again, according to the FBI, 431 whites were killed by blacks in 2012, compared to 193 blacks killed by whites. In other words, if you’re white, you’re more than twice as likely to be killed by a black person as a black is to be killed by a white. The most celebrated killing of white people by a black was the O.J. Simpson case, in which the former football star allegedly hacked Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, O.J.’s ex-wife, to death. He was acquitted in 1995 after what was referred to in the press as the “Trial of the Century,” and you’ll look long and hard, unsuccessfully, to find any record of whites closing freeways, burning and looting stores or engaging in any kind of criminal behavior in outrage over that verdict. Keyona Dunn, one of the organizers of the Falls demonstration, said the rally was held during the city council meeting in an effort to grab the attention of the lawmakers and citizens in attendance and let them know that they want to see more done to make sure that incidents like those that have sparked controversy around the country do not play out in Niagara Falls. “Our basic concern is what are we doing to prevent this from happening here,” Dunn said. “That’s our number one concern.” It’s wonderful to be concerned. But let’s face it, in Niagara Falls and elsewhere, young black males are responsible for an entirely disproportionate share of crime, regardless of who the victims are. Why this is so may be debatable, but the simple truth of the matter is not. What, exactly, is Dunn seeking to prevent? A young black male from robbing a store, assaulting a police officer, attempting to grab his gun and then charging when ordered to stop? Our governor, Andrew Cuomo, is working along the same lines. Based on complaints filed by around 30 Niagara Falls criminals or family members, Cuomo, then serving as state attorney general, courted minority votes by getting the city to enter into an agreement to “govern police practices in the city in response to claims of excessive force and police misconduct.” “Claims,” of course, being the operative word since no member of the NFPD had been found guilty of using excessive force. The order led to the hiring of a company with a checkered past, Warshaw & Associates, to monitor city police activity, in 2011. For around $100,000 a year, the company has yet to issue a public report that would indicate it is doing anything other than feeding at the public trough. In the meantime, rank and file city police officers have told the Niagara Falls Reporter that they feel hamstrung in their efforts to combat crime on the mean streets of the Cataract City, and police Supt. Bryan DalPorto said trying to operate under the agreement was challenging. All across the country, cops just trying to do their job are being greeted with an increasingly hostile moral and political climate that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. So called peaceful protesters take up the cause of criminals at the expense of law and order. The “victim” of the Ferguson shooting, a hulking 300-pound, 18 year old named Michael Brown, is just the latest poster boy for what has become a disturbing nationwide trend. Lawlessness begets lawlessness, after all, and when politicians and otherwise law abiding citizens begin taking up the cause of the thugs, there would seem to be little hope for society. NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 John Kane True Champion of Native Sovereignty 5 Tony Farina John Kane is a familiar name and face when it comes to Native issues, not only locally but across the state and the nation. While he is often regarded in Western New York as a leading voice of the Seneca Nation, in fact Kane is a Mohawk who lives on the Cattaraugus Territory of the Senecas and enjoys a direct connection to the people and territories of the Six Nations. When it comes to the issue of Native sovereignty, Kane is a champion who carries the message “we are constantly fighting for our rights” against leaders who don’t give us the respect we deserve. As an example of that kind of thinking, Kane points to recent remarks (Dec. 10) by Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar who referred to American Indians as “wards of the federal government.” Gosar’s comment came at a meeting about a controversial Arizona land deal and drew a strong response from Phil Stago, a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Stago said of Gosar’s comments: He kind of revealed the truth--the true deep feeling of the federal government: ‘Tribes, you can call yourselves sovereign nations, but when it comes down to the final test, you’re not really sovereign because we still have plenary power over you.’” “That kind of thinking is what we are up against across the country and right here in New York,” says Kane, referring to efforts by the state government to squeeze the life out of tax-free cigarette sales of the Seneca brand on Indian land. Kane makes the comparison to the death of Eric Garner in New York City: “Now that the NYPD has literally been caught on video choking a man to death for defying the most oppressive taxation scheme in the United States and then exonerated itself of any wrongdoing, it’s time to make a few things clear.” Kane says Garner was with the majority of the state’s tobacco consumers who vote with their wallets every day. “Hell! Every bar and bodega in New John Kane, activist, writer, radio host and fighter for Native American rights. York City has loose cigarettes behind the bar and the cops know it. So letting an established business beat the system is okay but apparently the line gets drawn in front of a black man in his neighborhood. Kane says that 56.9 percent of all cigarettes consumed in New York State are smuggled in from out of state. “And this doesn’t include Native or reservation sales. Those aren’t smuggled. They are just sold outside the state’s reach on sovereign Native lands and the state is trying its damnedest to choke that out too.” In a letter on the issue written for Indian Country, Kane said: “Aggressive tax enforcement may have resulted in the choking death of Eric Garner but Andrew Cuomo had better work on a much stronger grip if he thinks he will succeed in choking out Native tobacco. The Native tobacco industry will not lie down for the Governor, his courts or his cops.” John Kane is not paid by the Seneca Nation to speak out on Native issues but survives on the money he earns from advertisers, from speaking engagements, and from contributors who support his powerful voice on Native issues. He is married and the father of three children, a one-man crusade on behalf of Native causes and an articulate and personal gentleman who realizes that he must keep on pushing his crusade to help raise awareness to accomplish meaningful change. “We’ve come a long way to go, but there is still much to be done,” he says, and there’s no doubt you’ll be seeing and hearing from John Kane sometime soon. John Kane hosts two weekly radio shows, one of which is heard locally on ESPN Sports Radio WWKB-AM 1520 on Sunday nights. John also hosts a weekly show in New York City (WBAIFM 99.5), is a national commentator on Native issues, and has a very active “Let’s Talk Native…with John Kane” Facebook group page. I’ve had the pleasure of appearing with John on local television broadcasts and was a guest on his radio show, and there is no stronger voice for Native sovereignty or crusader for Native rights than John Kane. 6 NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 Exploding the City Budget and Finance Myths Anna M. Howard The Dyster administration 2015 budget, after having begun its irregular and dramatic journey four months ago, limped to the finish line and gained passage before collapsing on the floor of the council chambers Monday evening. All in all the 2015 municipal budget process was a shameful display with more than enough blame to go around from the mayor to the council to all Dyster administration points in between. The 2015 budget will have a tax increase for homeowners of 1.5 percent and business owners will see a 6.6 percent increase. How did the routine bureaucratic act of creating the city’s annual spending plan become this dramatic, complicated and confusing? It began with Dyster announcing that the anticipated city debt for 2015 was as high as $9 million. He then slipped his proposed budget into his desk and hid it for the next 37 days. On November 7 he finally released it to the residents and council. To this day he has refused to explain why he withheld the peoples’ budget. It was due on October 1. What we do know is that during those 37 days both the mayor and the acting city controller took turns telling the press that the deficit was expected to be (at various times) as high as $9 million and as low as $3 million. They never properly explained the exact reason for the deficit and they never gave a comprehendible reason why the deficit soared and fell week to week. What followed after November 7 were a series of contentious council budget sessions that saw the council make amendments to Dyster’s 2015 budget, followed by the mayor vetoing most of those amendments, with the council overriding a few of those vetoes, as it all concluded on Monday evening with the tax increases. The mayor must explain why he withheld the budget and crippled the entire budget process. This shameful display of non-transparent bureaucratic chicanery by the Dyster administration must be exposed so that it never happens again. Meantime there are several fallacies out there among the populace of Niagara Falls concerning the 2015 budget of Mayor Paul Dyster. It is our pleasure to set the record straight: That the state issued Niagara Falls a clean report in their 2013 audit. The audit of the NYS Comptroller’s office as issued in the spring of 2013 as- sessed the city’s financial management system. The report stated that the city was repeatedly using “one shot gimmicks” to close operating deficits. The audit suggested that such gimmicks be ended immediately. In opposition to those recommendations, the Dyster administration prepared the 2014 budget by closing the budget deficit by using $4 million in cash reserves held by the city in the event of an emergency to close the budget gap. The Dyster administration again is planning on closing a current $4.5 million budget gap for 2015 by using city reserves in violation of the State Comptroller's warning. Also reported in the 2013 audit, page 12, was notification that funds were apparently lost and could not be located within the budget. Page 12, in part, reads, “Beyond the amount reported as unassigned fund balance in the capital projects fund, additional funds may be in other projects which should also be returned to the general fund. At the end of our fieldwork, City officials were unable to demonstrate, and we were unable to definitively establish, the total amount of these other moneys. However, based on our review of the records, we conservatively estimate that the amount could range from $1 million to $1.4 million. Furthermore the City has maintained unassigned fund balance in the debt service fund, which should have been transferred to the general fund.” Funds lost within the city’s budget? How does that happen? While the most of the state audit document was made public (most of the state audit of Niagara Falls is available on the NYS Comptroller website) there was part of the audit that was labeled "confidential" and not revealed to the public, called the Information Technology audit. The Reporter has learned that this “sub-audit” took the city to task with regard as to how the city’s financial-computer-system was open to attack from both outside and inside city government. The Reporter is seeking a copy of that Information Technology audit. That casino cash cannot be used for non-economic development matters The Reporter has written about how the Dyster administration spends casino funds on projects and expenses that are not remotely connected to what is commonly considered “economic development.” Despite what local pundits and former city office holders say, there are no set rules or definitions as to how state law 99-H interprets “economic development.” Mayor Paul Dyster used casino funds for the failed Isaiah 61 house rehab program; he’s given Community Missions funds to avoid the federal tax man; he’s bought cars for Code Enforcement; police equipment; fire equipment; hired contractors to trim trees and remove tree stumps; paid police overtime; paved city hall parking lots and hired consultants and a more with “casino funds.” The only rule of casino cash spending for Mayor Dyster seems to be “You can only spend casino cash on economic development, and economic development is what I and only I declare it to be.” The budget preparation system is orderly and transparent The budget preparation process is anything but transparent. That lack of transparency begins with the fact that the mayor held the proposed 2015 budget hostage from October 1 to November 7… 37 days late with no explanation for his actions. That delay caused disarray in the budget process with hurried decisions and a lack of time to review the proposed budget. This will play out throughout 2015 as city residents are forced o live with the fruits of the (deliberately?) late budget preparation process. That the 2015 budget was prepared with input from city department heads Sources in city hall say that most department heads had no input into the budget process. Jobs were eliminated without warning. John Cahill, chief of MIS, learned of his own job abolishment when the mayor rolled out his spending proposal on Nov. 7. How could that be? The “Dyster team” of Dyster, Acting Controller Maria Brown, City Administrator Donna Owens, HR director Ruby Pulliam and Corporation Counsel Craig Johnson, met and made cuts and budget adjustments for 2015. We challenge the Dyster administration to prove us wrong in our assessment. That the city budget and finance system is transparent and “online” Right now you can read up to date casino cash expenditures online on the city’s website. That is due to the demands of NY Sen. George Maziarz in the face of stiff resistance from the Dyster administration. While the public can see, finally, after seven years, the casino account balance, the public cannot see casino cash interest. The “transparent” Dyster administration has taken to spending interest funds and not reporting it on the city website. In fact Senior Planner Tom DeSantis was approved for expensive new rugs and curtains courtesy of the casino interest account. While the council had to approve the mayor’s expenditure, the account balance and related information has yet to be shared with the public. The reality of the “transparent” Dyster administration is that contracts, winning bids and requests for casino cash expenditures are routinely given to the city council at the last minute, which limits questions and research needed to make informed votes. The Hamister contract, the Isaiah 61 casino cash award and the mayor’s call for golf course cart paths being just three examples of this. Employee overtime, stipends and promotional pay appear in an almost whimsical fashion as does office equipment, new vehicles and other expenditures. Compounding this is April of each year at which time the “budget is opened” and money begins to flow in mysterious ways moving from line to line and project to project. The Dyster cheerleaders who applaud the administration for being financially transparent should consider this: the NYS Comptroller has ruled that the city continues to use unacceptable accounting “one shot” gimmicks to manage its finances and that money has literally been misplaced within the city’s own budget. In light of just those facts we’d say that bets are off as to the city having transparent or accountable financial reporting systems in place. NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 No Rhyme or Reason to Justify Dyster’s Casino Cash Spending Anna M. Howard Enough already. Enough of the criticism leveled at Councilman Glenn Choolokian, taking him to task for recommending the use of casino funds to offset costs related to the regular city budget. Former Mayor Vince Anello and former city controller Patrick Brown (who is one of the owners of Brown Accounting and husband of Acting City Controller Maria Brown - the latter who was awarded an annual $10,000 stipend last year for handling the casino cash) are all over social media and/or the airwaves taking Choolokian to task for wanting to offer relief to taxpayers by using casino funds. Yet Dyster has a proven public record of abusing the casino cash for the past seven years. The Reporter has reported on how the Dyster administration (Dyster, not the council, not the taxpayers, not the state) has refused to write, develop, make available or discuss any plan of any sort with regards to the expenditure of casino funds. The Dyster administration, while telling council and taxpayers that casino money “according to state law 99-H” can only be used for matters of economic development,” has repeatedly used casino funds in every conceivable manner unrelated to economic development. Those casino expenditures can be viewed (thanks to George Maziarz, not the Dyster administration) on the city website. We have written at length as to how many, if not most, of those expenditures are not related in any way to economic development. Unless of course you consider “rugs and drapes” purchased for the city planner’s office to be economic development. We have to note that the rugs and drapes were technically bought with “casino cash interest.” That hair-splitting “interest account” earned by the casino fund remains hidden within the Dyster administration. Can you say “defiantly nontransparent”? Dyster practices an almighty, kinglike approach in deciding what is and what isn’t casino cash eligible. This has allowed (and we have written on this at length) Mayor Dyster to, in part, abuse the casino cash account thusly: $500,000 to Isaiah 61; $1.5 million to USA Niagara, a state agency; $100,000 for a parking study; $100,000 to remove tree stumps; $150,000 to Community Missions; $450,000 to repave the city hall parking lot; $190,000 for Code Enforcement vehicles; $2.3 million for trash totes; $350,000 to the police drug squad; $3 million annually for the courthouse debt; While Mayor Paul Dyster may be able to explain to this second grade class what is good governance, discerning adults realize that his budget charade and his arbitrary definitions of “casino cash must be used for economic development” are self-serving. $350,000 to “re-bid” the train station; $25,000 for police overtime, $150,000 for the pothole killer, $450,000 top repave city hall's parking lot, and the list goes on and on for every possible expenditure Mayor Dyster can think of, including a yet to be approved, but requested $304,000 for golf cart paths and $3.2 million to create a city animal shelter. Dyster, the masterful international nuclear arms negotiator, has been unable to come to terms with the SPCA and his newest move is to use casino funds to 7 open and operate a city animal shelter. It’s quite remarkable and yet un-remarked upon by those who criticize Choolokian for trying to balance the 2015 budget. Train station, did you say? Why no word from the media and sideline commentators with regard to the totally unknown operating costs of the soon to open train station? Does anyone doubt that the costs to operate the train station are going to be subsidized with casino revenue by Dyster? Animal shelters and train stations are ok, but using casino cash to lower taxes – the ultimate move in economic development – is a no-no. That is simply foolish on the face of it. Deriding Choolokian for wanting to put casino cash to work to stabilize, if not lower, taxes for both homeowner and business owners is the new height of absurdity to which the city has descended. Until the state weighs in as to exactly how casino cash can be used, until the state reviews Dyster’s use of casino funds to date, and until the Dyster administration comes clean with how it intends to spend all future casino cash, the questions surrounding 99-H will remain unsettled. But you see, we believe that this is exactly how Mayor Dyster prefers the casino cash issue to be: cloudy and completely in his control. 8 NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 The Reporter Offers to “Restructure” City Finances Anna M. Howard Niagara Falls-- The city council has, for the second time this year, voted 3-2 in voting no to a Mayor Paul Dyster's request to enroll the city in what New York State calls their "Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments". The program offers up to $5 million in grants in exchange for the participating municipality adhering to recommendations made by the state board. Some in the media and local city hall observers have shaken their heads in dismay as the council failed to snap at the chance to snag the financial wit, wisdom and cash offered by Albany. That refusal to take the cash and accept the direction of the state program make sense, especially when one stops to consider there are steps the Dyster administration could do to right the city’s financial ship without input from Albany. One Shot Gimmicks Why hasn’t the Dyster administration accepted the advice of the state as contained in the 2013 NYS State Comptroller's audit of the city in which the state’s number one recommendation was to stop using “gimmicks and one shot tricks” to close the annual budget gap? By gimmicks and one shot tricks the comptroller meant, among other things, using "rainy day" savings accounts that the city maintains in the event of an emergency, a shortfall or sudden downturn in revenue to balance the budget. The advice not to use this "one shot" was delivered by Albany in writing in 2013 and the Dyster administration in 2014, and again in 2015, used this “oneshot gimmick” to close the gap. Develop a Casino Spending Plan Why has Mayor Dyster refused, for the past seven years, to create a casino cash-spending plan? How can a municipality that received $89 million in June, 2013 not have a plan as to how this windfall is to be managed? Figure the Cost of the Train Station How is it possible that the train station has no plan as to how it is to be maintained and operated? Last year Senior Planner Thomas DeSantis told the council that such costs would be calculated after the building was complete and its doors opened. A conservative estimate as to operating costs would be $250,000 annually but it could be more, no one apparently knows. Stop the $100,000 Salaries Why has Mayor Dyster created a city hall where $100,000 salaries for top officials are the rule rather than the exception? During the administration of the previous mayor, Vince Anello, top salaries were in the $60- $70,000 range. Dyster is paying his people more money than similar positions pay in larger cities such as Buffalo. In addition Dyster has taken overtime through the roof and continues to hand out stipends as if they were candy. Dyster has – until these top salaries, stipends and overtime handouts are rolled back – skewed the city’s payroll and all related costs of government. Deliver the Budget on Time What is Mayor Dyster’s reason for violating the city charter for two of the last three years by withholding the proposed city budget beyond October 1? The failure to deliver the budget affects the financial rating of the city, makes the city appear as a bad risk for investors, gives the impression to Albany that we can’t handle our finances and insults city residents. Hire a City Engineer Why does the Mayor continue to violate the charter by refusing to hire a city engineer? The failure to have a licensed engineer has cost residents millions of dollars. Dyster fired city engineer, Bob Curtis, and allowed the courthouse to run wildly out of control as it was built without a city engineer overseeing the work. Since then Dyster has: built roads that have begun to crumble in their second year; failed to open the costly Underground Railroad Interpretive Center; constructed a train station that is swelling in cost; continued to drop millions into the Ice Pavilion for consultants and work; essentially destroyed Jayne Park and spent money on consultants for everything from parking studies to parks studies to lawyer fees. Dyster fired the last city engineer Jeffrey Skurka - just before the train station was to get set to be built and already change orders have come in making the train station like the courthouse - more expensive than promised and without a city engineer overseeing the work. Do Mayor Dyster and the council need an Albany financial restructuring board to explain to them what you read here? Gazette Agrees With Reporter on Dyster’s Hard Rock Party Last week, in our story, "Taxpayers to Foot Bill for Dyster's New Year's Eve Hard Rock Gala," a caption under a partying Mayor Paul Dyster read, "Let the good times roll.” Dyster, who said we have to share the pain of lean times, and will be raising taxes, wanted to blow $27,000 on a Hard Rock Party... Is the Niagara Falls Reporter the only one that sees the blatant hypocrisy of this?" Well a week did not pass before someone seemed to agree with us. The Niagara Gazette wrote in an ed- itorial last week entitled "City's focus should be on finances, not parties," that "while we’re all for the unique New Year’s Eve event, we don’t feel it’s something the city needs to help fund, even if the money, as (Mayor Paul) Dyster explains, comes from bed tourism funds, money raised through bed tax charged by hotels and pooled to promote tourism in the city and region….(S)ending $27,000 to the Hard Rock on the heels of the city waiting weeks for Dyster’s late proposed 2015 city budget, which featured a total tax increase of 4.5 percent, with recommendations to cut 17 city positions, is hard to swallow…. Falls officials this year need to be focused on fixing the city’s financial situation, not funding New Year’s Eve parties." We couldn't have said it better. Mayor Paul A. Dyster (right) takes to the stage at a taxpayer-funded Hard Rock Concert/beer party to emcee. State Lawmakers Seeking Pay Raise, Should Get Pay Cut They're doing such a great job keeping New York State the highest taxed, least business friendly and fastest shrinking state in the nation that Albany lawmakers are now negotiating with the governor to give themselves a pay raise. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he might agree if lawmakers adopt certain ethics reforms. Legislators receive a base salary of $79,500 a year for their six-month job, plus $172 per day whenever they set foot in Albany. Many get bonuses for holding leadership posts that can make their total pay $120,000 a year or more. Only California and Pennsylvania pay their legislators a higher salary. Both of those states have full-time legislatures. In neighboring states the pay is less — $28,000 a year for Connecticut’s legislators and $49,000 a year in New Jersey. The governor told leaders of the Senate and Assembly that he would like new restrictions on legislators’ personal use of campaign funds and on the $172per-day stipends they receive when in Albany. More significantly, the governor suggested a limit on the amount lawmakers can earn from outside jobs, a probable deal killer since many legislators earn sizable sums working at private law firms where influence may be sought and purchased. Lawyer-lawmakers do not have to disclose their clients. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reported earning $650,000 to $750,000 in 2013 from his law firm. It is not known who his clients are. Senate leader Dean Skelos, reported outside law income of between $150,000 to $250,000 last year; how he made that money is secret. The Republican leaders of the Senate support a raise, as does Assembly Speaker Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, who faces little pressure from his bizarre and non descript cult of liberal New York City members, where cost of living is high. Silver and other top earning legislators will presumably not capitulate to outside income limits, or a requirement that lawyers reveal conflicts of interest. Under the State Constitution, lawmakers cannot raise their salaries during the term in which they are elected; if they do not approve a greedy raise this month, they will have to wait two years. A pay increase would be the first for members of the legislature since 1999. In the name of income equality that Obama and Democrats are so fond of squealing about, since the average New Yorker is earning $39,000 at his or her job, it seems to us that part-time state lawmakers - at least the Democrats should volunteer to take a $40,000 cut in pay. When the average worker in New York earns more, then, and not until then, would we support a pay hike for what is probably the most corrupt and self-serving bunch of scoundrels in the galaxy. Even in socialism, you try not to reward poor performance. 10 City Hires Hodgson Russ to Fight Age-Discrimination Complaint Anna M. Howard Niagara Falls - The Council majority and the Dyster administration, after ignoring the recommendation of a New York State Division of Human Rights judge to pursue a settlement with regard to a complaint of age-discrimination filed by former council secretary, Kevin J. Ormsby, has hired the Hodgson Russ law firm of Buffalo to represent the City and Council members Charles Walker, Andrew Touma and Kristen Grandinetti. Hodgson Russ has been the go-to law firm that the Dyster administration repeatedly hires in place of the mayor’s four member city legal staff. The hiring of Hodgson Russ came suddenly as the City and Council faced a two day hearing on Ormsby’s complaint that was set for December 10 and 11 in Buffalo. That hearing had been scheduled almost five months in advance. Hodgson Russ argued that their short notice hiring, a medical appointment, and the snowstorm that occurred before Thanksgiving had forced them to require additional time to prepare the case. As a result the age-discrimination hearing was moved to February 2015. “After sitting on their hands for more than three months, and after essentially refusing to arrive at a settlement at the directive of a New York City judge, the City and Council majority hired an outside law firm and started the meter ticking,” said a local attorney familiar with the Dyster administration. “When that meter starts moving it’s at great expense to the taxpayer,” said the source. Ormsby was 61 at the time he was removed from his council secretary position in December 2013. He was replaced with Ryan Undercoffer, 24 a friend of the Dyster administration and political operative from the City Democratic Committee. Walker told the press at the time that he hired Undercoffer because “he is Young At Heart: While Kristen Grandinetti (l) told the Buffalo News the council needs a “young fresh face”, Charles Walker told the Gazette the council needs someone “young.” young and qualified,” while Grandinetti remarked to the press that she desired “a young fresh face.” Ormsby filed the age-discrimination complaint in February with the New York State Division of Human Rights in Buffalo. After a lengthy investigation the Buffalo office issued a finding of Probable Cause in July supporting Ormsby’s claim. Ormsby, Mayor Dyster’s former media specialist, represented himself from the complaint filing through the finding of Probable Cause. The Reporter understands that attorney Andy Fleming of Hamburg, NY, has been representing Ormsby since August. City hall insiders told the Reporter that at the time of Ormsby’s filing, Dyster’s law department had scoffed at the chances of Ormsby representing himself to a level of Probable Cause, but he proved them wrong. The discrimination complaint, having been filed with the state, is automatically cross- filed with the federal government. In the state’s “Determination After Investigation” they wrote, in part, “After investigation the Division has determined that it has jurisdiction in this matter and that Probable Cause exists to believe that Former Council Secretary Kevin Ormsby, 61, was just plain too old for the council majority. the Respondents have engaged in or are engaging in the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of…the record supports complainant’s allegations that he was terminated based on his age. The evidence indicates complainant was terminated and replaced by a younger person. Witnesses verify that the decision makers made comments stating the reason for complainant being replaced was based on age.” At the time the Probable Cause was reported upon in the Reporter (Jul 29, 2014) Mr. Ormsby was quoted as saying “I trust the City and Council majority will value the state’s determination and respect the state’s finding by moving forward in good faith.” It appears that the City and Council majority have no intention of respecting the New York State Division of Human Rights finding or of proceeding in good faith. “It’s no surprise that Dyster and the Council majority hired Hodgson Russ. It’s an obvious favor to a Dyster campaign supporter,” a legal expert with past ties to the city law department told the Reporter. “Unfortunately the taxpayers are paying the City and Council legal fees.” Others have remarked that hiring outside counsel to fight Ormsby is an imprudent move by the Dyster administration since it makes it appear that the mayor did, after all, have a hand in removing Ormsby and of practicing age-discrimination. Until now the unofficial blame within city hall had fallen upon Walker, Touma, Grandinetti and Ruby Pulliam, Dyster’s Director of Human Resources. “This has the mayor’s fingerprints,” said a city department head that requested anonymity. “For five years Ormsby worked to make Dyster look like a statesman, writing quotes, press releases, proclamations, he did it all. Then the mayor pulled him from the 2012 budget and in 2013 the Council majority and mayor take him out a second time as council secretary. I can’t understand why the mayor and Council majority have gone after a very capable and well-liked employee like this,” said the city hall source. The irony of Dyster, who pledged to end discrimination in city government when he took office in 2007, now being involved in an age-discrimination complaint has not been lost on local government observers. In addition there are Councilman Walker, a leader in the African-American community and Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti, a vocal supporter of women’s rights, abortion rights and sexual orientation rights having been investigated and found by the NYS Division of Human Rights to have discriminated against Ormsby. The reason for the City and Council’s move to delay the age-discrimination hearing could be linked to the rumor that Ormsby, a cancer survivor, is ill. “This wouldn’t be the first time delaying tactics were used in order to wait out a sick plaintiff,” said our source. “The federal government used that trick on Agent Orange victims, hoping the veterans would die before the government had to settle.” Repeated attempts to reach Ormsby for comment were unsuccessful. Standing Tall: Dyster Did Not Delete Photo of Bill Cosby Last week we posed the question of whether Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster would remove the picture of himself, and city administrator Donna Owens, posing with embattled comedian Bill Cosby on the city’s website. Cosby posed backstage with Dyster and Owens during an appearance at the Seneca Niagara Casino on August 4, 2010 and Dyster displays the photo on the city’s photo gallery page (http://www.ni- agarafallsusa.org/Gallery.cfm). With stories emerging almost daily about Cosby possibly drugging and raping women, many people distanced themselves from the star; his new show was canceled, reruns of old shows pulled off the air and concert dates canceled. Naturally we wondered if Dyster would follow suit. As of press time, the photo is still posted on the city’s website where it takes a prominent position near other photos of the Mayor, such as the Mayor welcoming the Stanley Cup and the Mayor with Niagara Falls Charter School 2nd grade class. As of press time., Cosby has not been charged with any crime. No lawsuit by any of the women who allege Cosby drugged and sexually abused them has been adjudicated in any woman's favor. Cosby is innocent until proven guilty. Standing next to Dyster and Owens, he looks as innocent as a new born lamb. NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 No One Seems to be Able to Get Enough Skrlin 11 Rafael Guillaume Gautier-Shapiro (In our continuing series on the works of artist Gerald Skrlin, art critic Rafael Guillaume Gautier-Shapiro joins the chorus of art critics piling praise on this master cartoonist. Skrlin arrived to sudden fame after lampooning Niagara Falls Acting-Controller, Maria Brown, who, along with Acting-Mayor Kristen Grandinetti, sought to suspend the first amendment of the US constitution - and tried to have the distributor of the cartoon, Sam Fruscione - a former councilman, arrested, since the language and the art were insulting to the ladies. Here is the discerning and trenchant commentary of Gautier-Shapiro on two of Skrlin's most recent works.) MASTER PLANning The viewer is encouraged to note the date of completion on the work because the date of 2009 contrasted to the present year of 2014 tells one all they need to know when it comes to Senior Planner Thomas DeSantis, the city planning efforts and what has "become" of those plans as planned by the planner, in the intervening five years. This particular political cartoon is a refreshing "throwback" to cartooning days of yore in which the lampooned subject was writ large, the images blunt, and the message quite "in your face." Note the clever "re imagining" of the Third Street directional structure as a tombstone for those businesses that died during the "re-birth" of Third Street....a re-birth that was no re-birth at all but instead a $5 million funeral for a streetscape better forgotten than celebrated. The homey American gothic image of a cow is corrupted to become the city of Niagara Falls as it is abused/milked by Mr. DeSantis as he counts down the days to his retirement. At the end of it all the viewer is led to grasp the fact that from 2009 to 2014 not one single positive thing has been planned, realized or achieved by Thomas DeSantis with regard to the city's downtown overall and the city's Third Street specifically. The humor of human folly has been perfectly juxtaposed against the sad and disturbing reality of a flawed political process. DeSantis has been a planner for 20 years. He is the one constant through a spate of mayors. What has he The artist and his subject . When Mayor Paul Dyster (left) commented to artist Gerald Skrlin (right) that he didn't look like his cartoon (below), Skrlin replied, "You will". planned? What has been realized? NEW HEIGHTS The artist has characterized the political process as a veritable monster much in the vein of the proverbial Dark Ages "dragon" that was reputed to haunt the woods and hollows of Northern Europe waiting to waylay the innocent villager and swallow them whole. In this cartoon incarnation the "beast" of the political process has destroyed both Johnny Destino - he lost his race for state senate - and Mark Grisanti who abandoned the Democratic Party, then gained office in the state senate as a Republican and failed this year to win reelection as an Independence Party member. Most importantly this artistic rendering presents an auto named NF1 which is the license plate number of Mayor Paul Dyster's official car - as poised to enter the dragon's gaping maw. While the driver of the NF1 automobile is too small to accurately identify, there is little doubt that Mayor Paul A. Dyster is behind the wheel, pedal to the metal, driving headlong into the darkness of the belly of the beast...and taking the City of Niagara Falls with him due to the extravagance of his city hall administration. The beast of politics, the death sport of the political process and the foolishness of a spendthrift mayor - who has had enough casino cash under his control to make Niagara Falls one of the lowest taxed cities - instead of one of the highest taxed - with Dyster picking the special interests who will get casino cash - are all on display in this masterpiece of political commentary. This cartoon doesn't auger well for Paul Dyster's reelection next year. (The above is parody. The reader is advised to take it seriously at his own risk.) 12 NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 History: Glynn Shamed into Dropping Fake Maid Legend by Local Historian and Native Allies James Hufnagel Recent news stories from Buffalo concerning the proposed renaming of Squaw Island, a designation considered disrespectful to Native American women, are reminiscent of a similar controversy that captured the attention and imagination of Niagara Falls residents, as well as the entire nation, some two decades ago. At that time, the millions of tourists who crowd the decks of Maid of the Mist tour boats, which have plied the waters of the Niagara River below the falls on and off since as far back as 1846, were subjected to a recording over the PA rendering a suspect account of the traditional Maid legend. The canned "history" talk blaring over the loudspeakers recounted a tale of brave, if slightly reluctant, maidens set adrift in canoes laden with symbolic food offerings above the falls, swept over the mighty cataract in order to appease angry gods who would be inclined to smite Native peoples with suffering and worse should this cruel human sacrifice not be performed. It is universally held by historians and scholars that never in their history have the Senecas, who consider the Maid legend a sacred parable with respect to their relationship with the Creator, ever participated in human sacrifice. "Unfortunately, myth has become reality," stated Richard Hill, a Niagara Falls resident and UB history professor in a Sept. 1, 1996 newspaper story headlined "Native Americans ask (Maid of the Mist) Tours to Drop Dubious Tale". "I see it as a real fabrication, a racial stereotype," he added. "The legend utilized by Maid of the Mist complies with the stereotypes - heathens sacrificing a maid to some superior gods," complained Oneida tribe member and writer Bruce King. "The real legend is about community spirit, moral behavior... and the tragedy of suicide." "We just want them to tell the true story," said Bill "Grandpa Bill" Swanson, executive director of the state chapter of the American Indian Movement at the time. "We're portrayed as savages. This has got to stop." Earlier in 1996, author, historian and retired Niagara Falls schoolteacher Paul Gromosiak decided that he'd had enough, and arranged a meeting of local Native American leaders at a Buffalo coffee shop. They discussed strategies to disabuse Maid of the Mist owner James Glynn of his grotesque Maid human sacrifice fiction, which exposed legions of tourists from all over the world to a false and hurtful lie. Gromosiak and the Native advocates, which included Swanson, Hill, director Alan Jamieson of Nento (a Native American arts and cultural group) and Elwood Green issued a press release, and commenced a letter writing campaign. It immediately resulted in vigorous pushback from Maid of the Mist. “To accuse us of racism is outrageous,” then-Maid Vice President Christopher Glynn declared, “And we are not real anxious to change what we’ve been doing for 100 years.” Actually, Chris’ father James Glynn acquired the company in 1971. What finally persuaded Glynn and Maid to drop the tasteless defamation was the announcement that the popular TV show “Regis and Kathie Lee” was coming to town to do a show on Niagara Falls and related attractions. Gromosiak sent a letter to the show’s producer, which read in part, “(The Maid story) is a misrepresentation of Native Americans given to the public by the Maid of the Mist Corporation. They tell the public about a legend about Native Americans sacrificing young maidens at the falls… Native Americans never sacrificed anyone…” Things came to a head when Gromosiak and his group threatened to picket the Maid of the Mist docks during the telecast, and on Sept. 5, 1996 Maid capitulated, announcing that they were discontinuing the warped narrative. According to Gromosiak, the historian and author of over two dozen books on Niagara Falls, Christopher Glynn phoned shortly afterwards to chastise him. "I hope you're happy now, Gromosiak!" chided the multimillionaire tour operator. “He was mean to me on the phone. His father was not that mean,” recollected Gromosiak. That point is debatable, given that James Glynn ordered the removal of all of Gromosiak’s books from the shelves of his Maid of the Mist souvenir and gift shop. That was two decades ago, and despite numerous attempts at reconciliation on Gromosiak’s behalf, the ban is still in effect today. When boat rides began under Niagara Falls back in 1846, the owners called their boats "Maid of the Mist." The latest Maid of the Mist owners, James and Chris Glynn formerly played a recording telling a bogus version of the Maid of the Mist legend, claiming human sacrifice and calling it historical fact. The Original Legend of the Maid of the Mist The Maid of the Mist was originally a Haudenosaunee myth and predated European colonization of America. In the ancient myth, a young widow, in a suicidal bereavement, got into her canoe and entered the waters above the falls. At first she felt peace, but when she heard the roar of the falls, her hands began to tremble, as she realized there would be physical pain with death. She prayed to Heno, the God of Thunder, said to inhabit the waters below the falls, that her death should be swift and her courage would not fail her at the point of death. As the canoe entered the rapids, she threw away her paddle, and watched the falls growing near, and the sky reached down to touch the edge of the water as it plunged into the cataract. She gripped the sides of her canoe as the current heaved it, moving her to and fro, swiftly to her end. But Heno, having heard her prayers, caught the maiden in his arms, just as she was going over the crest, and carried her to his home beneath the waters, where he and his sons ministered to her, and ultimately she married the Thunder god's younger son. In time, a son was born to the couple, and the lad followed his grandfather everywhere, learning what it was to be the God of Thunder and they lived happily for a time. But the Maid of the Mist longed to see her people once more. One day, Heno told her that an immense snake had come down the Niagara River poisoning the waters. Soon the snake would devour her people until they became extinct. The Maid implored with Heno that she might return for one hour to warn her people. The god agreed and lifted her up through the falls and set her down amongst her people so that she might give them warning. She advised her people to move to higher country until the danger passed. They agreed and were saved and at the end of one hour, Heno came back and took the maiden back to her husband and home beneath the Falls. In a few days, the serpent appeared at the village, seeking to consume the bodies of those who had died from its poison. When the snake realized the people had deserted the village, it turned upstream to search for them. Heno alert, heard the serpent hiss, and, rising up through the mist of the falls, he threw a thunderbolt and killed the snake. The body of the giant snake floated downstream until it lodged just above the falls, creating a giant semi-circle at the precipice and deflecting all the waters of the Falls just above the god's home. Horrified by this turn of events, Heno swept in through the falls and tried to stop the massive influx of water, but it was too late. His home was destroyed. Heno called his sons to come away with him. The younger son caught up his wife and child and they followed Heno through the water of the Falls up to the sky, where the Thunder God made them all a new home. From this place, they watch over the people of earth, and Heno thunders now in the clouds as once he thundered in the vaporous mist of the great falls. To this day, an echo of the Heno's voice can be heard in the thunder of the mighty waters of Niagara Falls. 14 Reporter Launches New North Tonawanda Column Sweeney Payne My name is Sweeney Payne. I am a North Tonawanda resident. My family lives in North Tonawanda. I work in North Tonawanda. I love North Tonawanda dearly. I have been given the opportunity as a North Tonawanda resident to create a column for the Niagara Falls Reporter. It is hoped that it may become a forum for North Tonawanda residents who need a place to share their concerns, desires and complaints without fear of retribution. In the past 10 years, changes have taken place in how our city is managed. Some have been good. Others have been for the benefit of the politically connected. The nepotism that in years past was a known thing with the police and fire departments and other city departments has gotten worse. A listing of those who serve the residents of North Tonawanda shows too many who are related to, are friends with, or owe favors to those responsible for our current one-party government. The touted new development we read about is superficially fine. When you look behind the curtains, however, you discover a different kind of nepotism Tax credits at taxpayer expense are distributed by those at the political level on the basis of fa- voritism. Conflicts of interest are ignored and voters are kept in the dark. Residents have to go to other communities for the kind of businesses and restaurants and services they need and want. The ones supported by the economic development and business groups are oriented more toward non-residents than toward those who live here. In the last 10 years, the city created additional boards and commissions to have more positions to reward supporters with. There are no open meetings for most of these, no minutes available for residents to see. Common Council meetings have become vote yes and no sessions with little opportunity for input from residents. Decisions are made which affect residents but we have no control over those decisions because we never know about them. Streets throughout the city are an embarrassment. Basements full of water. Streets flooded. Oliver Street has been neglected except for certain property owners who get political plum positions and don't have to properly repair their properties. We have our once wonderful downtown shopping center and our Oliver Street shopping center. We have no overnight accommodations in our city for returning former residents or our out of town family members to stay in. Our police and fire dispatch was shipped to Lockport and response times went from three to four minutes to 10-12 minutes. Police don't patrol the downtown bar crowds who litter and cause damage in the late evening and early morning. Residents complain they find drug addicts and alcoholics taking over public parks. We have shops and restaurants but everyday staples we need require us to go to Budwey's or Tops, both of which are, for those close to downtown, which has gotten so much attention bringing in all those bars and restaurants, on the other side of the city. To do serious shopping, we have to drive to Amherst, Buffalo, the Town of Tonawanda or Niagara Falls. We don't all want Walmart or dollar store products. Our downtown wasn't all bars and restaurants in the past, with sprinkling of pleasant shops, none of which offer our every day staples. We lost most of the family or dinertype restaurants and have too many expensive restaurants fighting for the same local clientele. We're stuck with fast food chains or budget-stretching choices--and have to go to other communities for our kind of restaurant food. We were supposed to have a commerce park where Buffalo Bolt was. There is only one new industry there, and how it got its part of the commerce park is rife with conflicts of interest. The only other action there was the installation of a fence paid for with State tax funds nearly 10 years ago and an expansion of an existing business on the northern border of the commerce park area. Instead of develop- ing this commerce park and bringing in tax-paying businesses, we have a marina most of us don't want, a highly-touted downtown which is mostly expensive bars and restaurants and, of course, we have the Walmart store at the Wheatfield border, as well as a Meadow Drive extension we're trying to find a need for. We have a lot of concerts and other events which no one ever informs us of the cost. Out-of-town developers have no regard for our residents other than about the money they can make on them. The cronyism and operating our City as if it is a golden pot of patronage and favoritism for the special few needs more daylight shined on it. Sadly, our local daily newspaper has come to an end. One of the important columns, called "Sound Off," provided an anonymous way to express opinions on a variety of community situations without fear of retaliation. Hopefully, our column will become a venue in which those who have opinions to express can see them in print. The Niagara Falls Reporter has done a noble job, some would consider it a dirty job, of bringing to light goings on in Niagara Falls and other Niagara County communities. North Tonawanda has needed a publication to do the same for it. I want this column to be a platform for residents of North Tonawanda to get their concerns out without fear of retaliation in the tradition of the Reporter and Sound Off. If warranted, we will follow through on those concerns and seek to bring them to public view. For readers who live in North Tonawanda, please give us your feedback. Tell your friends and family members about our new opportunity to be heard. The column will also share some of the wonderful things that go on. May I hear from you? Email me at [email protected] Penis necklace here. Harper Bizarre published an article last week entitled "Tom Ford's surprising charm necklace, Christmas shopping dilemmas, solved." The magazine wrote, "In June, Tom Ford, designer and provocateur, made weary fashion journalists in London for the men's shows perk up and do a double take at what was then called a crucifix/penis necklace…. The phallic jewelry is now available for purchase on tomford.com, and lest there be any lingering confusion, it is called, simply "the penis necklace"—crucifix not mentioned (we're sure Catholics the world over just sighed in relief)…." The writer, trying to be clever, doesn't know the difference between a cross and a crucifix...a frequent misunderstanding of those who think they are being clever and snarky. A cross is the “t-shaped” instrument that was used for crucifixion which now bears more of a symbol of triumph for Christians. A crucifix is any image of the cross with Jesus’ body depicted on it. Catholics wear either and display in their churches although most Catholic Churches choose to have a crucifix while many Protestant churches opt for the cross. In any event, can we imagine the uproar if this joke had been made at the expense of Jews or Muslims? Proof, indeed, that it is true. The last acceptable prejudice is anti-Catholicism. Anti-Catholic Necklace NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 Republican Majority Passes $336 Million 2015 County Budget, Despite costly state welfare mandates, taxes lower than decade ago LOCKPORT—Niagara County lawmakers approved a $336-million spending plan a week ago that marginally bumps taxes —despite a $2.3 million hike in county spending on an Albany-mandated welfare program The approved 2015 budget sets a full value tax rate of $7.66 per $1,000 of assessed value, up 6 cents, or .79 percent, over last year’s rate—but remains lower than the $7.72 rate set in the 2013 spending plan. Despite the minimal uptick in rates, the budget maintains deep cuts in county tax rates achieved over the course of the past decade, with taxes still lower than the $8.71 per $1,000 rate set in 2005. The budget passed the 15-member Niagara County Legislature by an 11-4 vote with 11 Republicans voting for the budget and four Democrats voting against it. Despite passing the spending plan, county leaders remain concerned over a surge in costs to fund the statemandated “Safety Net” public assistance program brought about by unilateral changes in state funding levels beginning in the 2011 New York state budget. While the state formerly funded 71 percent of the cost of that program, beginning in 2011, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive budget changed the state funding level to 50 percent—meaning county taxpayers have to make up the difference in the increasingly expensive program. Safety Net is unique to nanny state New York, where welfare recipients can remain on welfare- now mainly at the county where the welfare taker resides-after the 5-year federal limit for welfare expires. In New York, generous-with-your-money legislators allow a welfare recipient to remain so for life. Most other states go with the five year federal limit. County lawmakers also approved, by an 11-4 vote, again along party lines, a plan to provide 75 percent of the county’s share of Seneca Niagara Casino slot machine revenues - estimated to be about $1 million - to the county’s 12 towns and the cities of North Tonawanda and Lockport for tax relief, while devoting the remaining 25 percent to economic development efforts. This is nearly the opposite of Niagara Falls' plan under Mayor Paul Dyster, who uses all the casino money on whatever he deems is economic development as he picks the winners and losers for who will get casino cash while using none for tax relief. (Legally, as a host city Dyster can’t use the casino cash for anything but community development but he has found ways to seemingly circumvent the law when he sees fit. There are no such restrictions on the county’s casino cash) Dyster, in his 2015 budget, preferred to break the two percent state tax cap rather than use casino money for tax relief. Studies have shown that tax relief is the quickest way to achieve economic development. Low taxes attract investors. The city of Niagara Falls, one of the highest taxed cities in the nation - in proportion to the value of its real estate - receives its share of casino funds - about $20 million annually - directly from New York state, while the portion for residents of the 14 other municipalities is appropriated to the county under Section 99-h of New York State Finance Law, which governs appropriations of funds generated under the Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact. The 2015 budget also restores step increases to unionized county employees. “This budget accomplished several significant goals, including direct tax relief to residents of the municipalities outside Niagara Falls,” said Legislature Majority Leader Rick Updegrove, R-Lockport, following the budget’s passage. “It should be noted, however, that Gov. Cuomo could lower the costs borne by Niagara County taxpayers by $2.3 million by simply restoring the previous Safety Net funding levels and not passing costs on to county taxpayers for a program that Albany mandates.” Teenage, Suspected Murderer of Falls’ Man Seeks Plea Deal Megan Nachreiner, Jessica Doty, Stacey Martinez and Shelly Weaver; grandparent, Ralph Zastrow; godmother, Patricia Nachreiner; mothers of his two children, Jennifer Szampruch and Tonia Hathaway, and his aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, will never see him again in this life. And will live with the fact that (Above) Darell Jermaine Belton, 18, is accused of murdering William Reilly. (right). As many readers know, Darrell Jermaine Belton, 18, was accused of fatally shooting 30-year-old William A. ''Billy'' Reilly, around 11 p.m. on Tuesday Sept. 23 - the culmination of an argument. The unarmed Reilly was shot twice, at close range, in his upper body. Reilly's girlfriend called 911. Police found Reilly dying in his home in the 800 block of Pierce Ave. Belton, who led police on a high speed chase before he was arrested, was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree criminal use of a firearm. Reilly was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center where he died. Now a plea deal for Belton may be in the offing. According to the Niagara Gazette, the alleged murderer's attorney, Angelo Musitano, asked State Supreme Court Justice Richard Kloch, Sr., not to schedule pre-trial hearings for Belton while he attempts to get a plea deal. Belton, who lived on Whitney Ave., was out on bail in a drug case when he allegedly shot Reilly. He pleaded not guilty to charges related to the death of Reilly and has been jailed without bail by Kloch since his arrest the night of the murder. Niagara County Deputy DA Doreen Hoffmann told the Gazette that she plans to meet with the late Reilly's family and see what their attitude is toward available plea options. Reilly was employed as a laborer for construction companies; he enjoyed playing basketball, video games and listening to music. He was outlived by his parents. And his parents, along with his two daughters, Destiny and Jaelyn Reilly, his brother, Ryan Nachreiner; sisters, Jennifer Nageotte, Amanda Weeks, This world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong. ― Swami Vivekananda he was murdered. Some of them may have a say in the plea bargain. As for Belton, it is unlikely the teenager will see the light of freedom no matter what the plea deal is - for many, many years to come. Dyster Proposes Getting City into Business of Animal Rescue Mike Hudson Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster’s policies toward criminals and city police have resulted in our municipality having the highest per capita population of registered sex offenders in the state, and the city being ranked as the most dangerous place in New York. And now he’s preparing to bring the same sort of expertise to bear on cats and dogs. The centerpiece of his crime fighting efforts is the North Main Street courthouse, an insanely expensive ($46.5 million) structure that was to have revitalized the city’s North End, one of the most dangerous parts of this dangerous city. Thus far, it has failed in that mission. Now Dyster wants to build a no-kill animal shelter. The project is being budgeted at $3.2 million, but the odds of it actually being built for that amount are slim to none. When the courthouse was initially proposed, the state said it should cost around $14 million. In a city as poor as Niagara Falls, many have trouble feeding and housing themselves. Dogs and cats are routinely abandoned as an unnecessary expense, often taking up residence in the city’s many abandoned houses and eating garbage. The problem is so bad that the SPCA, which has served the city for decades, is threatening to stop taking dogs and cats from Niagara Falls, where the overwhelming number of strays originate. The SPCA also serves Lockport, the Town of Niagara, Wheatfield, Pendleton and Cambria. "We need now to begin exploring alternatives, so if they follow through and decide that they're no longer going to have municipal sheltering services available we have an alternative," Dyster said. Should Dyster’s policies toward homeless dogs and cats be as effective as those he’s brought to bear on crimefighting, it is likely that the city will witness a population explosion of animals. Beth Ceretto Joins Walker in Not Filing Disclosure Reports Last week, the Niagara Gazette published a story about Lewiston's councilwoman elect, Beth Ceretto, a member of the Independence Party, who is closely aligned with Republicans - she is the wife of Republican Assemblyman John Ceretto –citing her failure to file her election finance reports with the New York State Board of Elections. Niagara County Democratic Chairman Nick Forster chose to weigh in, essentially criticizing her: “I would tend to think it’s very embarrassing not to file,” Forster told the Gazette. “It raises questions of impropriety if you don’t follow the guidelines. That’s why most people do.” Forster however failed to mention one of his own - Niagara Falls Councilmember Charles Walker, who, unlike Beth Ceretto, is not a few months late, but two years late in filing his reports. Walker was re-elected in 2013. Ironically Ceretto used the same excuse Walker used: she delegated the job to a friend. In her case, Charles Stojak, who purportedly handles her finances, and an electronic process that confused them. Walker also blamed his "campaign treasurer," Isaac Williams, who, Walker If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right? Councilman Charles Walker refuses to let the public know who contributed to his reelection campaign. said, was unable to learn how to file the simple reports online. Walker's allegedly computer illiterate treasurer, the Reporter learned, taught computer courses and is an information technology expert at Unifrax Corporation. Williams later told the Reporter that he was not Walker's treasurer and that the councilman lied. By failing to file disclosure forms, Walker and Ceretto are in violation of New York State election law. Failure to file could result in penalties being assessed. According to New York State Election Law 14-126 (1) "Any candidate who willfully and knowingly fails to file required forms can be fined $1000 per failure." In addition (EL 14-126 (4) provides that any candidate or his treasurer can be charged with a misdemeanor. Back in July, when questioned by the Niagara Gazette, Walker said he was going Lewiston Councilwoman-elect Beth Ceretto was taken to task for not filing her campaign disclosure forms. "to sit down this week or next week to get that figured out." Five months later he has neither sat down nor filed. 17 Back in the fall of 2013, when questioned by the Buffalo News why he was the only council candidate who did not file election filings during the 2013 campaign season, Walker told the News, "he would check with the two people helping to manage his campaign about the unfiled paperwork." More than a year has passed since he told that one to the News. Walker has been a councilman for 17 years. Internet records suggest he has not filed disclosure forms for more than a decade. Ceretto told the Gazette she is pursuing the matter of filing adding, “I’m going to have someone else complete it for me.” Walker, who refuses to talk to the Reporter, continues to flaunt the law. CBP Officers in Falls Seize Cocaine Hidden Inside a Tire And Other Sad and Stupid Cocaine-related Smuggling and Misdeeds NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – Around midnight, last Thursday, a 28-year-old woman --whose name authorities have yet to release - gave up her freedom for what is probably years to come when she crossed the border, driving over the Rainbow Bridge with six vacuum sealed bags of cocaine, weighing approximately 5.5 kilos or about 12 pounds, hidden inside the spare tire of her car. As the woman- a U. S citizen - tried to enter the USA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers questioned her and made an inspection. Something led the officers to doubt and the woman was referred for secondary exam. An Giuseppe Tombolan Gonzales smuggled cocaine in the bellies of his St Bernards. The cocaine seized at the Rainbow Bridge was vacuum sealed to ensure freshness. inspection of the vehicle revealed the spare tire looked a little strange. An exam of the tire resulted in the discovery of the vacuum sealed bags. The contents of the bags tested positive for the properties of cocaine with an estimated street value of just under $200,000. The female traveler was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) Special Agents and charged with possession of a controlled substance. Her story reminds us of one in Lima Peru, where Giussepe Tombolan Gonzales, 22, a Mexican-Italian, was arrested earlier this month for trying to smuggle more than six pounds of cocaine to his country inside the bellies of two St. Bernard dogs. Local police chief Basilio Grossman said the drugs were placed inside the bodies of the dogs during an operation in a hotel room. For several weeks, the National Police and narcotics agents were monitoring Gonzales’ after receiving an anonymous tip about his illegal activities. Gonzales was arrested in a hotel room in Augusto Pons Muzo in El Callao. Officers found a male dog named Bombon on the hotel’s rooftop and a female called Lola in the bathroom. Both dogs had several cuts on their bellies. The amount of blood and the tools found in the hotel indicate that the dogs were operated on, and the drugs were placed inside their bodies in the same room. Police Canine Unit brought the dogs to a veterinarian of the National Police, who removed eleven packages of cocaine from their bellies. The vet revealed that the animals suffered from grave peritonitis, an infection of the tissue lining the abdomen’s inner wall, as well as high fevers and vomiting. Bombon died from the infection. Tombolan was arrested. Grossman said it was the first time Peruvian officials had found someone trying to smuggle drugs inside dogs. It reminded us of a U. S. woman arriving last month from Georgetown, Guyana, at John F. Kennedy International Airport carrying three packages of custard and three packages of milk powder in her luggage. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said a K-9 unit dog smelled something other than dairy products and alerted its handler to the woman's suspicious suitcase. A baggage check turned up the packages labeled milk powder and custard powder. The substance inside was examined and tested positive for cocaine. The woman is facing federal narcotics smuggling charges. That reminds us of a 23-year-old Savannah Turachak of Uniontown, Pa. The lady had a snoot full and had been taken to the police station and cited for public drunkenness. After police cited her, she was released. Turachak left the station, but foolishly came back a few minutes later to report that someone had harassed her. While she was walking into the station she fluffed her shirt and unhappily a bag of crack cocaine fell out and landed on the floor. According the station's surveillance video, Turachak tried to pick up the bag but left it when three people walked in behind her. The police then found it and charged her. Turachak now faces a drug posses- Savannah Turachak dropped her bag of crack on police floor. sion charge. Which reminds us of Bari Joy Williams, 44, of Gardendale, Ala.,, who’s in charge of Olivia's House in Birmingham - a residential treatment fa- Bari Joy Williams, manager of a drug rehab center, caught with crack. cility for people with substance abuse issues, who was caught smoking crack cocaine while driving a car with a fiveyear-old girl inside. Police in Hoover, Ala., arrested after she was driving erratically on a state road last month. The five-year-old girl was taken by a state Department of Human Resources employee. Williams was charged with chemical endangerment of a child, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. “Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” ― Augustine of Hippo NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 Mike Hudson (Editor’s note: Sometimes, instead of calling this column “This week in stupid crime,” it could just as easily be titled “This week in stupid victims.” Read on.) Remember the purse! A hapless Canadian shopper left her purse in the shopping cart at the Walmart parking lot one afternoon last week and when she remembered and went back to retrieve it – Surprise! – it was gone. Another Walmart shopper reported that she saw an unknown white female take the purse, a Louis Vuitton, and make off with it in a silver SUV. The purse in question contained a Canadian passport, a couple of credit cards, the woman’s driver’s license, cell phone and an identity card for the fine Canadian health care system, police said. Despite the fact that three video surveillance cameras film the parking lot at all times, cops could find no useful footage and the case remains unsolved at this time. Gangstas on the loose Pine Avenue and 21st Street was the scene of an armed robbery one morning last week. It was during what cops call the B Shift. A woman who’d spent the night at her boyfriend’s house got up early and went to get the lucky fella some breakfast from McDonalds. She was walking down Pine when she saw a group of five African American individuals approaching. Almost unbelievably, she was holding a wallet containing $600 cash in her hand. Nervously, she turned away in an attempt to avoid contact with the group. Her ploy failed, however. The gang – three men and two women – was on her. They asked her if she was looking to buy some drugs, and what she had in her wallet. She was flummoxed, and then beaten badly. The homeboys and girls made off with the wallet, the $600, her driver’s li- This Week in Stupid Crime cense, credit cards and other contents. There would be no breakfast for her boyfriend, merely a tale of woe and a morning completely shot to hell. Only in Niagara Falls, kids, only in Niagara Falls. Black males figure in crime! City police were called to the emergency room at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon last week after a 31-yearold black male checked in with gunshot wounds to both legs. Upon arriving, officers found a brown Buick minivan riddled with bullet homes and a trail of blood leading from the driver’s side door to the ER entrance. Inside the hospital, they found the victim, who said he wasn’t doing nothing, just sitting in his vehicle, parked on Niagara Street near Portage Road, minding his own business, when two black males approached and started shooting. He had no idea who they were or why they wanted to shoot at him, he told cops. The officers thought, “Yeah, right,” and left the victim to have his injuries attended to by a medical staff all too familiar with the treatment of gunshot wounds. An investigation into the shooting is continuing, police said. Caught on camera In somewhat happier, or at least less violent news, a black man and woman were videotaped while stealing about $200 worth of merchandise out of the 7Eleven store on Niagara Falls Boulevard last week. The couple had robbed at the store a couple of days before, an incident that was also taped, and the store manager was kind enough to prepare a DVD, which showed both incidents, and present it to city police nearly two weeks before Christmas. The couple’s images are now taped to the dashboard of every police cruiser in the city, as well as being displayed behind the counter of all 7-Eleven out- lets. It’s just a matter of time until the small time losers are picked up, because anyone stupid enough to steal from a nickel and dime place like 7-Eleven, which is renowned for its’ video surveillance, is by definition also stupid enough to try it again. Armed robbery! In other 7-Eleven related news, the Niagara Falls Boulevard location was also robbed by a black male wearing a ski mask and wielding a gun the manager said he thought was a toy but didn’t want to take any chances. 19 The suspect demanded cash and cigarettes and the manager complied, handing over the $40 that was in the till and eight or 10 packs of Newports, the preferred smoke for Niagara Falls felons. Armed robbery carries a minimum sentence of seven years in New York State. The boldness of a man who would risk seven years of his life for enough cash to get him dinner and a couple of drinks at the Como plus a week’s worth of smokes is matched only by his stupidity. NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 20 Mayor Paul Dyster and DPW Director Dave Kinney just announced their new snow removal plan. It’s called April. City Hall Jokes ate for conversation that he’s actually speaking to Donna Owens. Three is a charm. First Dyster had trash inspectors with no ordinance to enforce. Now he’s got an ordinance with no trash inspectors to enforce it. There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that things are getting strange inside the Dyster administration. “Jonathan,” the mayor’s imaginary friend, issued a statement saying, “Everything at city hall is just honky dory!” Heard at city hall: “As mayor I have a real problem with the council telling me how to misuse casino cash. I’ll be the judge of how to misuse casino cash!” Help is on the way. Mayor Dyster Mayor Dyster set December 18 for his city hall Christmas party. Maria Brown, Ruby Pulliam and Donna Owens are drawing straws to see who wears the Grinch costume. The mayor was so touched at the thought of city employees losing their jobs in the 2015 budget that he almost shed a tear. Paul Dyster finally admitted why his budget was 37 days late, his dog ate it. The mayor doesn’t have a dog. City hall insiders say that Dyster is now considering hazard pay for everyone that has to work with the city Controller. Always willing to try innovative techniques to get more out of his employees, Dyster has made a move to keep all the men at city hall on their toes...he raised the urinals. Now that his top department heads have shunned him, Dyster is so desper- How is the Niagara Falls city budget like the Chinese culture? They’ve both been described as an enigma wrapped in a riddle inside a contradiction. He Spent it “My Way” A recent Niagara Falls Reporter discovery is Pistol Pete, producer and singer of parodies, who last month created the parody on Mayor Paul Dyster, based on the song Mack the Knife, and entitled Pauley the Dice. This month Pistol Pete is hard at work on a new parody called, a "New video of the Mayor singing 'My Way'. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB jmfY2geew). Here is the opening verse, which A story in our December 09, 2014 issue, entitled "12 tasteless jokes about may permit readers to get a sense where old Pistol Pete is going with this: And now the budget's here. And in the Falls people are hurting Our finances aren't clear but taxes will rise that much I'm certain I took a budget full and sent our cash right down the highway and more, much more than this, I spent it my way. America's (once) favorite comedian," by Moose, Jr. incorrectly listed the answer to the question "What is Bill Cosby favorite of the Seven Dwarfs?" as Sleepy. The correct answer was "Dopey." The Niagara Falls Reporter regrets any inconvenience this may have caused our readers. has contacted Albany. He’s asking the state to “restructure” his snow removal plan. White People Don’t Protest Blacks Killing Whites Here is a topic that could help or hurt race relations. When people of any race, in any location, for any reason feel that an injustice has prevailed on them, this is a good opportunity to protest so that your point of view is front and center for all to hear. But when the looters come out and steal from others in their community and set fire to property in their community, this is wrong. I remember back in October of 1995, after the verdict of the O.J. trial, how white people where looting their communities. Oh yea, that’s right, there were no white looters because of the unfavorable decision. I bring this up because the newspapers should be doing a better job at reporting the news. It seems that the liberals are making up excuses for people who do wrong. When you give someone an excuse for their bad behavior, it will not change their behavior, it will only enhance it. If this bad behavior is not addressed, if excuses are doled out for them, then race relations will drift farther apart. Alphonse Michalewicz Lockport, NY Letters to the Editor teach us is that 'innocent until proven guilty in a court of law' is a pipe dream for men accused of rape. The media tries and condemns the accused without a shred of evidence to back up the charges. The word of a woman is enough to destroy a man’s career, reputation, an entire lifetime of achievements…. "Here is what needs to change: since allegations of sexual assault and rape carry such devastating penalties for the men accused of those crimes, it should be a crime to name a man period. Victims should file criminal charges and the accused should be granted anonymity until convicted. We need court-ordered and enforced anonymity for men accused of rape. For women accused of rape too. Without a conviction, without evidence, without proof, no one gets to call anyone else a rapist." Lastly I want to applaud Mayor Dyster for not succumbing to your yellow journalism tactics and for keeping Cosby’s picture up. He is innocent until proven guilty. Janet Moore Buffalo ------ Loved that Trashy Article Loved the article, in the Reporter, this past week, regarding our female council person and her lack of using the garbage totes!!! (Do as I say, etc. applies here). Carol Niagara Falls ------ Bill Cosby Might be Innocent I read with disdain your article about Bill Cosby questioning whether Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster would take his photo down off the city website. Bill Cosby has not been proven guilty of anything. Cosby is worth $400 million and that's a hell of an incentive to claim what these women are claiming. NO proof has been offered yet that any of this is true. I'd like to quote writer Janet Bloomfield: "The current witch-hunt in the media is a stark reminder that no matter how rich, how powerful, how well connected, or how critically acclaimed a man might be, even an accusation of rape can tear his life apart and destroy him. Proof? What proof? The word of a woman can destroy a man’s life with no evidence of any kind required. Rape shield laws should apply to the accused, not the accuser. The accuser will go on to garner sympathy, appropriate pharmaceuticals, and a speaking engagement where she can discuss her terrible trauma, and the accused will be left with a shattered life even if all the allegations are proven to be outright lies…. "What the Bill Cosby allegations (Editor’s note: While it is not exactly a letter to the editor, one of our readers sent us this cartoon) ----------- by Anna M. Howard, brought to light the concerns of many fellow taxpayers and Petition Participants for police consolidation. Items needed to be added to ist of questionable spending is some $300,000 given to the Council of the Arts, $35,000 to the Jazz festival and $50,000 to the Lewiston Historical Society a over the last five years. Most taxpayers do not have a problem with supporting the Historical Society, but in this case, the society and its members, some who belong to the Town and Village Board managed to get up to a Million Dollars funneled from the Greenway Funds to support their own recognition and a Welcome Center which nobody including the Chamber wanted. Many of the Historical members are also responsible for pressuring the Town Board for thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds to be used for their special interest in stopping CWM’s expansion. Regarding the Police consolidation issue, the arguments and the town’s excuse for a merger in my mind has little merit. Town law 90, article 90 Section 7, 90 94 gives individuals the right to Petition. The Article Town Law 81 given as an excuse by the town attorney not to grant a referendum is invalid. Police supporters argument of little savings and local officers knowing its people and lack of protection are not substantial. The freedom of information figures on Police expenditures tells us we could save $355,000 by eliminating part timers, LPD’s office clerk and $50,000 in gas expenses alone. We are asking for like protection, Petition signers have noticed more of a Sheriffs presence in their areas and with the number of burglaries and vandalism brings the argument of better protection by the LPD into question. From my perspective the town could have allowed a referendum, but is unwilling to do so because their special interests group would have to pay for their own security at festival functions. This was brought to light when I suggested merging with attrition and the Town Supervisor countered with “what would we do about Art Park and the festivals?” The truth of the matter is the town board needs the guts to make the really tough decisions. We the taxpayers need to get involved or we will continue to foot the bills for festivals and money given to special interest groups. This will be done by higher taxes or a Town Tax, take your pick. Ronald Craft Lewiston -------- Ronald Craft is an outspoken critic of Lewiston government. The Inevitable Lewiston Town Tax Dilemma The article in last weeks Reporter Affordable Care Act All Wrong Oiive Oil Better Recently I was given a pneumonia shot to my left shoulder. By the next day my shoulder and triceps were unbearably sore, but then I remembered antiquity's advice about the curative powers 21 of olive oil. So I rubbed some in and within 10 hours I was 80 percent better! Ancient people who used olive oil sought cures and would not have tolerated obstructionist health care like the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA channels medical needs into 110,000 statistical categories and then treats for the categories, not the patients. This procedurism diverts money, doctors' attention and pushes off treatment as everyone waits for approval and treatments other than what is most expedient - such as Big Pharma's mass issuance of Statins. The ACA follows the Netherlands' model of Triage by accountants. Care for older people and the very young gets deferred since neither are part of the High Finance driven marketplace. We need the Iceland model. That's where you give your name at the hospital and get everything you need. If cost is a factor then let's bring back the physical economy so we can pay for things! Steve Kaylor Niagara Falls, NY -------------- Dyster and UN Agenda 21 As per UN Agenda 21 - Agenda 21 which is an action plan of the United Nations with regard to government control as opposed to market control of development and the loss of human freedom - please see how this dovetails with the Niagara Falls mayor's request to participate in the NYS Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments. Gov. Cuomo is a globalist and on his quest to the White House he has put forward Regionalization Plans which will eventually affect property owners. This progressive incrementalism will profit billionaire investors at the expense of smaller business and homeowners. Police and fire unions will gain or lose depending where Cuomo stands in his quest to the White House. There is no excuse for Dyster to push the city into this due to his financial mismanagement, including his "intermodal choo choo train station". The Reporter had excellent ideas on how to meet budget woes and instead of utilizing local solutions Dyster wants to involve the supposed big boys with all the answers. Ceding local control or the Home Rule on anything leads to disaster. Water Board as evidenced. Please do a story on this. P.S. The most recent issue of the Niagara Falls Reporter was awesome. Thank you, Joanne Niagara Falls ------ DiLaura OK J. Gary DiLaura is correct. It's good that you give him a voice. Rick Shupton 22 NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014 Tony Farina Great Dane Puppies Available The Great Dane is sometimes referred to as the “king of dogs,” and for those of you who might like to have a majestic pet like a Great Dane, the opportunity is here. Long-time Western New York dog breeder Eddie Fusco has 11 Great Dane puppies available for a suitable buyer out of a litter of 13 born just 10 weeks ago. “These puppies have all their shots, are wormed, and I have all the paper work,” says Fusco who now lives in North Tonawanda. “They are in excellent shape and are ready to go to a good home. I have the father right here with me, and these pups are certain to bring a great deal of joy to their owners.” Two of the puppies have already been sold (average price $950), and the rest are yelping and ready to go. I personally visited their quarters and can vouch for their energy and sparkling appearance as they await going to a new home. Fusco has been a breeder for more than 20 years, and I first came into contact with him in early 1990’s while working on a story about missing dogs for a local television station. The Great Dane puppies are absolutely delightful, and while there are certainly many dogs at local shelters that are in desperate need for a loving home, for those people who might be attracted to the majestic Great Dane, this is an opportunity to acquire one for your family to enjoy for years to come. For anyone who might be interested in taking a look at these adorable little giants-to-be, you can call Fusco at 716-909-6969 for more information. When I arrived to take my own look at the puppies last Saturday, I ran into Steven Smider of Gasport who had just purchased one of the pups and was leaving Fusco’s home with the dog cradled in his arms. He reportedly purchased the dog for a relative in the Southern Tier. “The Gift Of Love” Christmas concert will be presented on Friday, December 19. Embrace the holiday spirit by attending the Niagara Falls Housing Authority’s annual Christmas concert. Featuring wonderful performances by the NFHA’s spectacular youth choir, this is a holiday event you won’t want to miss. The holiday concert, themed “The Gift Of Love,” will take place on Friday, December 19, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. The event will take place at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building, at 3001 Ninth Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14305. The concert is free of charge and open to the community. Last year over 50 talented youth choir members participated in the annual show entitled “A Rock & Rollin’ Christmas.” Equipped with members aged 5-15, this year’s show is set to be a showstopper as well. Come out and support Niagara Falls youth in one of the most inspiring local events of the holiday season! About the Niagara Falls Housing Authority The Niagara Falls Housing Authority is a high performing, award winning housing authority that provides Steve Smider with his Great Dane puppy Niagara Falls Housing Authority’s Youth Choir to Host Annual Christmas Concert Bills Defense Is Super Bowl Material; Offense Still Lacking Tony Farina The Buffalo Bills may not be going to the playoffs again, but Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers won’t be shedding any tears. In back-to-back games, the Bills defense has throttled two of the game’s best quarterbacks, the latest coming on Sunday when they made Rodgers look very bad (34.3 rating) in a 21 to 13 win over the mighty Packers helped by two interceptions from their totally secret weapon Bacarri Rambo, signed off the street before the game. What a shame that a team with a defense capable of stopping Manning and Rodgers probably won’t make the playoffs, even if they win out over Oakland and New England for a 10 – 6 record. The Bills started their season with E J Manuel struggling badly to look like an NFL quarterback and then turned to journeyman Kyle Orton to try and give them a chance to win. Orton did that but not much more. He didn’t do much against the Packers on Sunday but he didn’t need to as the defense did more than enough to overcome the poor offense and humble the mighty Packers. So where does that leave the Bills? Well, they are slightly alive for the playoffs but will need to win out and get help to make it. Not likely. But they still need a quarterback down the road to become a legitimate playoff team and that is a problem for the front office. But on defense, the Bills have made it. No matter what happens in the last two games, the Bills have eight wins for the first time since 2004. That credit goes to the defense and a terrific field goal kicker in Dan Carpenter, 4 for 4 against the Packers. The Packers were rolling with five straight wins before they hit Buffalo’s defense, and that was it. At the very least, the strong performances against two certain Hall of Famers has been great for the loyal fans who have suffered so long with this franchise. Let’s hope they get lucky and make the playoffs because there’s no telling how long they can hold this defense together. If they do make it, they now realize they can probably beat anybody even without much of an offense because their defense is so very good. I wish the team luck in the final two games and hope for a playoff miracle. You never know what could happen, as they proved the last two weeks, by humbling two of the game’s very best quarterbacks of all time. Finally, fans have a little something to cheer about. affordable, safe and quality housing in the City of Niagara Falls. In existence for more than 70 years, the Niagara Falls Housing Authority is responsible for over 900 affordable housing opportunities. With a mission to empower individuals and families, programming and services have been developed with the goal of removing as many obstacles as possible. Residential communities include: Packard Court, Beloved Community, Harry S. Jordan Gardens, Anthony Spallino Towers and Henry E. Wrobel Towers. Find out more about the Housing Authority at www. nfha.org.
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