to read the Niagara Falls Reporter, Dec 16th edition, exactly as it

Bureaucratic Indifference Contributes to Little Girl’s Suffering, Death
DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014
VOL. 15, NO. 49
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
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
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
“The Truth is Always Fair”
Frank Parlato
Peter Mio
Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Tony Farina
PHONE: (716) 284-5595
P.O. Box 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: E-mail: [email protected]
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
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
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-
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
Furthermore, the report cites a recent
human study that would indicate that
cannabis increases the effectiveness of
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
“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, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
John Kane True Champion of Native Sovereignty
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
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
“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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
$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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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 (
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.
No One Seems to be Able to Get Enough Skrlin
Rafael Guillaume
(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
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.)
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?
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.)
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
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
"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
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
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
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.
Reporter Launches New North Tonawanda Column
Sweeney Payne
My name is
Sweeney Payne. I
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
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, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
“Because God has made us for
Himself, our hearts are restless
until they rest in Him.”
― Augustine of Hippo
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
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
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
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
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-
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.
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.
Mayor Paul Dyster and DPW Director Dave Kinney just announced their
new snow removal plan. It’s called
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
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
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'.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
Niagara Falls
DiLaura OK
J. Gary DiLaura is correct. It's good
that you give him a voice.
Rick Shupton
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
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
“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
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
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.