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Print Edition 5.26.16

May 26, 2016 Staff 0

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Mayor Paul Dyster is shown with a model of a sculpture he plans for a small traffic circle on Rainbow Blvd. The sculpture will cost taxpayers $472,000 of state, city and Greenway money.  Standing next to him is City Administrator Donna Owens who will be axed - but not until after she stays on past her eighth anniversary so she can pick up additional taxpayer funded goodies. 
One thing about Dyster: He is never transparent. He could have said, when announcing Owens’ departure date, that he wanted her to stay until she got one more year of benefits. But he didn’t. Sly.
Mayor Paul Dyster is shown with a model of a sculpture he plans for a small traffic circle on Rainbow Blvd. The sculpture will cost taxpayers $472,000 of state, city and Greenway money. Standing next to him is City Administrator Donna Owens who will be axed - but not until after she stays on past her eighth anniversary so she can pick up additional taxpayer funded goodies. One thing about Dyster: He is never transparent. He could have said, when announcing Owens’ departure date, that he wanted her to stay until she got one more year of benefits. But he didn’t. Sly.

Brown Gets Bum’s Rush Here As Owens Hangs On For More Cash

May 26, 2016 Staff 1
by Mike Hudson

Inquiring minds want to know: What’s the big hurry to get City Controller Maria Brown out of office next week when Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster is letting City Administrator Donna Owens hang around until July 8?

Both women were canned by the mayor in the same press release on May 16.  Replacing Brown, who Dyster said will stay on with the city in the role of senior auditor, will require a majority vote by the city Council. Dyster can have whomever he wants as city administrator and, in the same press release, stated that he wants the politically savvy Nick Melson, whom he hired as an “executive assistant” in the run-up to last year’s election to help him in his campaign.

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The new Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center
The Reporter predicts it’s going to be a huge, empty [expensive] train station. The city got grants to pay for much of the construction, but will not get grants to maintain it. The taxpayers of this city will pay for this soon to be empty building. This suggests that just because you’re offered a grant, doesn’t mean you accept it. Suppose you got a grant that would be used to buy a white elephant, but you had to pay to feed and house him - and pay someone to clean up his manure, would you still accept the grant?

Without High Speed Rail Service What Good Is New Train Station?

May 26, 2016 Staff 2
by Mike Hudson

Back in 2010, for Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, it was all about high speed rail. President Barack Obama had committed to funding the concept, with New York State alone to receive $151 million to promote the concept. Dyster used the publicity to justify spending $44 million on a new train station here, and the suckers bought right in.

The now abandoned Empire Corridor proposal — a designated route between Buffalo and Albany — did not call for an extension of high-speed rail service from Buffalo to Niagara Falls to begin with, but Dyster argued that should not be viewed as an indication the city is being left out of the region’s overall rail improvement plans.

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Train travel the mode of transportation that never goes out of style
Train travel the mode of transportation that never goes out of style

No Lease Between Amtrak, City May Mean Future Surprises for Train Station

May 26, 2016 Staff 0
by Mike Hudson & Frank Parlato

Since no lease agreement exists between Amtrak and the city for space in the Whirlpool Street “Intermodal Transportation Center,” there is no guarantee that Amtrak will move into the $44 million facility at all, much less any sort of agreement as to how much of the 22,000-square-feet of space it will require or how much it will be willing to pay to rent that space.

Saratoga more riders than Falls.
Saratoga more riders than Falls.

Since 1978, Amtrak officials have been quite content with the 800 square feet they operate on Willard Avenue near Lockport Road. Peak traffic at the Niagara Falls station averages 30 passengers an hour, an event that occurs no more than four times each day. The smallish waiting room, about the size of a good sized dentist’s office, never lacks for seating, even with the hustle and bustle of 15 people getting on a train as another 15 disembark.

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Enough Already, The Train Station Name’s Too Long

May 26, 2016 Staff 1

The Niagara Falls International Railway Station & Intermodal Transportation Center – a name which is, by the way, a mouthful of grammatically contorted & ponderously laughable exaggeratedly glorified windy pretentiousness and with its nine word name it is an example of name sprawl.

Of the 51 railroad stations in America that presently use the word “Intermodal” in their official name, the longest names have five words: Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center; Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center; Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.

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US Attorney Preetinder Singh “Preet” Bharara prosecuted Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos for exchanging taxpayer money for donations or other favors.
US Attorney Preetinder Singh “Preet” Bharara prosecuted Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos for exchanging taxpayer money for donations or other favors.

Power is Corruption: Are Silver, Skelos and Cuomo Victims of the Progressive Government They Fought to Sustain?

May 26, 2016 Staff 1
by Jim Ostrowski

This may come as a shock but I have a slightly different take on the corruption scandal that led to the indictment and conviction of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.  I like to start with origins when analyzing historical events.  So let’s begin at the beginning.  Preet Bharara is a Democrat with degrees from uber-progressive Harvard  and Columbia.  He worked for uber-progressive US Senator Chuck Schumer for five years before being appointed by President Barrack Obama to be the U.S. attorney for Manhattan, the progressive capital of the world basically.  Beware Greeks bearing gifts.

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It’s time to move the Albright-Knox and Buffalo Zoo to Niagara Falls

May 26, 2016 Staff 2
by Matt Ricchiazzi

If we could ever put the interests of institutional advancement over the prissy sensibilities of cynics, we may be able to make something spectacular of the The Albright–Knox Art Gallery which barely earns 200,000 attendees annually at its Delaware Park location. To put that in perspective, the Niagara Falls State Park attracts more than eight million visitors per year and the Canadian side attracts another 14 million.   

By moving the Albright-Knox across the street from the state park [there is plenty of undeveloped land in downtown Niagara Falls], we could elevate the institution to global prominence. By placing an architecturally jawing museum within the photo-frame of Niagara Falls, we will make the institution instantly recognizable to global audiences, yielding newfound stature and influence that comes from a global stage.

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Nickled and dimed for 81 years. Motorists have been delayed and charged to enter Grand Island since the days of the model T Ford to the present.
Nickled and dimed for 81 years. Motorists have been delayed and charged to enter Grand Island since the days of the model T Ford to the present.

Despite Harm To Region, GI Tolls SNAFU May Face Slow Resolution

May 26, 2016 Staff 0
by Joseph Kissel

Straight from the pockets of commuters and tourists, the Grand Island tolls bring in $18 million a year for the NYS Thruway Authority.

And they also create pollution and rush-hour traffic jams virtually any time of the year but especially during the region’s critical tourist season.

“It’s just so ridiculous,” said Grand Island Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray.

“The Thruway Authority told me that the money from the bridge is being used to pave the I-90,” he said. “Is that $18 million enough to justify the pollution and traffic jams on this regions’ major conduit from north to south?”

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At the end of the day, what’s wrong with people renting out their private property to people from other parts of the country and the world, who clearly understand the terms and conditions of airbnb?
Why is there a sudden need for government to regulate and tax the people and deprive them of life’s simple joys? Like making a new friend half way around the world or earning a little money to pay your taxes while playing host to someone new and giving them an experience they might never get otherwise?
Once government gets in the middle of this - it will ruin it, not improve it, and another freedom will disappear: the simple right to rent one’s own room out to a stranger who might soon become a friend.
People have been taking in boarders and renting rooms in America for centuries without onerous regulations. Other than a money grab what’s the need now?
At the end of the day, what’s wrong with people renting out their private property to people from other parts of the country and the world, who clearly understand the terms and conditions of airbnb? Why is there a sudden need for government to regulate and tax the people and deprive them of life’s simple joys? Like making a new friend half way around the world or earning a little money to pay your taxes while playing host to someone new and giving them an experience they might never get otherwise? Once government gets in the middle of this - it will ruin it, not improve it, and another freedom will disappear: the simple right to rent one’s own room out to a stranger who might soon become a friend. People have been taking in boarders and renting rooms in America for centuries without onerous regulations. Other than a money grab what’s the need now?

Although “Illegal,” Airbnb Hosts In City Not Imminently Facing Bed Taxes

May 26, 2016 Staff 2
by Joseph Kissel

It’s certainly one of the nicest, best-maintained houses on 18th Street.

Inside, the meticulously clean house has been thoroughly updated while retaining the original architectural details that make this middle-class Niagara Falls home unique.

Part of what makes that home unique is the owner, an Airbnb “superhost” who’s been a part of the “sharing economy” for nearly two years.

“We’re not a hotel,” said the owner of the 18th street house. “We’re not a bed and breakfast. We’re hot a hostel. We are a sharing economy. It’s a different type of business model.”

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Richard Palladino (left), business manager of Local 91, has never been shy about criticizing either his own union’s past practices or the hiring practices of companies who take New York State taxpayer subsidies to develop businesses than hire out of state, low wage, non union workers. “I want local workers - people who live in Western New York to work on all projects locally that involve taxpayer subsidies,” he said.
Richard Palladino (left), business manager of Local 91, has never been shy about criticizing either his own union’s past practices or the hiring practices of companies who take New York State taxpayer subsidies to develop businesses than hire out of state, low wage, non union workers. “I want local workers - people who live in Western New York to work on all projects locally that involve taxpayer subsidies,” he said.

Unopposed, Palladino Wins Reelection As Laborers Local 91 Business Manager

May 26, 2016 Staff 0
by Mike Hudson

Six years ago, Dick Palladino ran to become business manager of Laborers Local 91 here based on a single premise – to clean up the once troubled union, and rid it of the last vestiges of the corrupt element that once controlled it for as long as most people could remember.

Since the early 1960s, the Laborers had been controlled by Michael “Butch” Quarcini with the assistance of a gang of toughs known within the union as the “Goon Squad.”

On construction sites, contractors who wouldn’t play ball often became the victims of assault, arson and theft. Millions of dollars worth of construction equipment was destroyed, and many well known contractors in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio simply refused to work in Niagara Falls out of fear.

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Community Memorial Day Parade Begins at 10 a. m. Saturday

May 26, 2016 Staff 0
by Tony Farina

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Niagara Falls Councilmen Kenny Tompkins and Ezra Scott Jr., the Niagara Falls Memorial Day Parade will launch the holiday weekend on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at City Market and continue down Pine Avenue, eventually concluding at the Niagara Falls Veterans Memorial where a ceremony will be held.

Councilman Kenny Thompkins proved up the spirit of Niagara Falls. When Mayor Paul Dyster could not find a few thousand dollars to fund the Memorial Day Parade, [the mayor had other important funding commitments] Thompkins, along with Councilman Ezra Scott, got it done through the people. This will be a parade to remember since the funds to put it on did not come from government coercion and force [taxation] but through the voluntary and joyful contributions of the people who want the parade to take place. This is the true spirit of America.
Councilman Kenny Thompkins proved up the spirit of Niagara Falls. When Mayor Paul Dyster could not find a few thousand dollars to fund the Memorial Day Parade, [the mayor had other important funding commitments] Thompkins, along with Councilman Ezra Scott, got it done through the people. This will be a parade to remember since the funds to put it on did not come from government coercion and force [taxation] but through the voluntary and joyful contributions of the people who want the parade to take place. This is the true spirit of America.

There was a brief moment last March when reports surfaced that due to a lack of city funding, there would be no Memorial Day Parade this year.  Fortunately, Tompkins, Scott, and retired City Court Judge Angelo Morinello stepped forward with Morinello becoming the parade’s prime sponsor.  Many others also stepped forward as well, and the parade has been re-christened the Community Memorial Day Parade.

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Seat belt road blocks coming to a street near you.
Seat belt road blocks coming to a street near you.

Nanny State ‘Click It Or Ticket’ Campaign In Effect; ‘Godvernment’ Law Will Harass Motorists

May 26, 2016 Staff 0
by Frank Parlato

Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, once again, is reminding motorists that the nanny state ‘Click It or Ticket’ revenue generator will be in effect between May 23 to June 5, just ahead of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

The county sheriff’s department says it will likely set up checkpoints and inspect and search cars in its efforts to force people to wear seatbelts.

And they will give tickets worth perhaps tens of thousands of dollars to citizens who thought they would make their own safety decisions inside their own property [car].

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