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Friday, April 29, 2016

WHEATFIELD -- The makers of Original Pizza Logs have will break ground on its new Wheatfield facility at 10 a.m. Tuesday, marking the latest chapter in the story of a company that started making its products by hand in the back of a Niagara Falls convenience store more than a quarter-century ago.

Jason Cordova, the owner of Finger Food Products, Inc., the maker of Original Pizza Logs, and an assortment of county, town and city leaders will be on-hand at a groundbreaking ceremony where Cordova’s flagship product is set to take center stage -- with samples sure to be on-hand.

“We’re pleased with our company’s growth profile since we began partnering with the Niagara County Center for Economic Development,” Cordova said. He noted that, prior to acquiring the site where the Original Pizza Logs manufacturing facility is set to be built, he utilized “business incubator” space at the Vantage Point building.

The chairwoman of the Niagara County Legislature’s Economic Development Committee, Legislator Kathryn Lance, R-Wheatfield, said county officials were pleased to be retaining a popular brand associated with Western New York in the county.

“People know that Original Pizza Logs grew up here, in Niagara County, in the same way they associate chicken wings with Buffalo,” Lance said. “We were able to provide an environment that fostered private capital investment and job creation, and we are glad that Original Pizza Logs will continue to be a Niagara County brand.”

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Thursday, April 28, 2016
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, center, and Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey, right, took a short trip Tuesday by bike on the newly opened Erie Canalway Trail path through Lockport. (ENP PHOTOS BY HEATHER N. GRIMMER)


The Erie Canal opened for travel on Wednesday. A new stretch of bike path along the canal in Lockport and Pendleton officially opened a day earlier.

Officials cut the ribbon, officially opening the new four-mile stretch.
The 192nd season of navigation along New York's Canals April 27 opening is the earliest the waterway has opened in more than 30 years thanks to a mild winter which allowed staff to complete maintenance projects, and opening preparations, ahead of schedule. The Canal system includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals in upstate New York.

"New York's Canal system is an engineering marvel of epic proportions and its construction demonstrated the sort of vision, determination and boldness that define us as New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "Nearly two centuries after its completion, the Canal system continues to be an important tourist destination, while also playing a vital role supporting industries throughout Upstate New York."

The Erie Canal represents one of the most significant engineering achievements in New York’s history and along with its adjoining canals, it continues to play a pivotal role in supporting the state’s economy. According to a 2014 report, the system generates nearly $380 million in tourism spending annually across upstate New York, and more than $6.2 billion from non-tourism uses such as agricultural irrigation, commercial shipping, and renewable power generated at 27 hydroelectric facilities located along the Canal. The report also determined that the Canals support 26,472 jobs, $1.6 billion in personal income, and $702 million in tax revenue, both directly and indirectly.

Canal Corp. Director Brian U. Stratton discusses the upcoming boating -- and
biking -- seasons along the Erie Canal. 
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, "Each year, our iconic Canal system draws scores of visitors from all over the world to travel along America's most storied manmade waterway and to enjoy walking, biking, and fishing along its banks. It is a historical marvel that has consistently fueled New York's economy through recreation and tourism, and I look forward to seeing what this year's Canal navigation season adds to that already-rich history."

The Canal navigation season is scheduled to end on Nov. 20, weather permitting.

For those who want to travel along the canal but not necessarily on it, there's a newly constructed section of the Erie Canalway Trail between the city of Lockport and the town of Pendleton. The opening marks the completion of a $5.4 million project to construct four new miles of 10-foot wide asphalt trail between Stevens Street in Lockport and Fisk Road in Pendleton, as well as additional work in the town of Amherst. The 365-mile trail that stretches from Lake Erie to the Hudson River is now more than 75 percent complete.

In addition to the four miles of new trail, a pedestrian bridge was built over Donner Creek in Lockport near Fisk Feigle Road and an on-street path was added from Stevens Street to Erie Canal Locks 34 and 35. Informational kiosks have been installed on the trail to guide visitors, and parking and trail access is now available on State Street.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday's cold weather wouldn't deter her from
biking along the new path.
At Tuesday's grand opening and ribbon cutting, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "The completion of this part of the Canalway Trail will help these communities thrive. It is imperative that we continue to preserve the land and trails surrounding the Canal so it can be enjoyed by future generations."

The Canalway Trail's popularity among New Yorkers and visitors alike has made it an economic engine for communities throughout upstate New York. Each year, approximately 1.5 million people use the Erie Canalway Trail, resulting in an estimated $253 million in economic activity from visitor spending statewide. The Buffalo-Pendleton segment is the most heavily used part of the Canalway Trail with approximately 350,000 annual users.

State Sen. Rob Ortt said, "Shortly after its completion in the City of Lockport a couple of months ago, I’ve seen dozens of people taking advantage of the Canalway Trail, whether they’re walking or biking. The trail offers scenic views along the Erie Canal, and has the potential to attract more tourists to the area with the help of the Flight of Five locks and the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride virtually down the street. I have no doubt this project will have a positive economic impact that’ll also bring a sense of resurgence to the city."

Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey said the bike path 
makes Lockport more accessible.
Town of Lockport Supervisor Mark Crocker called the project "a great example of State and local government working together to finish a project that will enhance the lives of people for many generations to come." He said he expects people to use the path hundreds of years from now.

Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey said, "The expansion of the Canalway Trail from Lockport to Pendleton is exciting for our residents as well as visitors who come to enjoy the Erie Canal, Bicyclists and runners will have the opportunity to take in the Erie Canal while doing so on a safe and well-maintained trail. We're looking forward to showing off our city and locks to more neighbors and visitors on the trail."

Following the ribbon cutting, Hochul, McCaffrey and others went for a short ride down the path.

A grand opening for the Lockport Locks, including a first-ever Lock Tenders Tribute event will be held on May 20.

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The Department of Justice today issued a statement today requiring 18 local First Niagara branches to be sold as terms of KeyCorp's acquisition of  the company -- including the East Avenue branch.

The department said that the divestitures will ensure that the transaction does not harm competition for retail banking services in the Greater Buffalo area.  As a result of the acquisition, KeyCorp will become the 13th largest bank in the nation, with about $135 billion in assets, $99.8 billion in deposits and more than 1000 branches across 15 states.

Under their agreement with the department, the companies have agreed to divest 13 branches in Erie County and 5 branches in Niagara County.  The divested assets will include the commercial loans associated with the divested branches.  The companies have also agreed to suspend existing, and not to enter into new, non-compete agreements with their small business and middle market relationship managers and their retail regional and branch managers, in the state of New York, for a period of 180 days following the consummation of their merger.  Further, the companies have agreed to sell or lease branches closed within two years of the consummation of the merger in the state of New York to other depository institutions.

“Americans value the convenience of retail bank branches,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Today’s agreement will ensure that customers in Buffalo and other New York markets will continue to enjoy the benefits of competition among banks with retail branch networks.”

The proposed merger is subject to the final approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.  The department said that it will advise the Federal Reserve Board that it will not challenge the merger provided that: the parties divest the branch offices, associated loans and deposits and the entire customer relationships associated with the divestiture branches; the parties commit to the Federal Reserve Board that they will comply with the agreement with the department; and the parties’ commitments to the department are included as a condition to any order the Federal Reserve Board enters allowing the transaction.

Other Niagara County branches required to be sold include one in Lewiston, one in North Tonawanda and a pair in Niagara Falls.

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Heritage Wind, LLC, a project of Apex Clean Energy, has launched a synchronized communications effort to stakeholders in and around Barre to discuss the feasibility of a potential wind energy project there.

Apex has been attempting to build a wind project in Somerset and Yates despite resistance from an organization opposed to the project.

Despite that resistance, Mark Goodwin, president and COO of Apex Clean Energy said the company has "talked to hundreds of local people who are interested in bringing more wind energy to (Orelans) county. Orleans County is blessed with a very strong wind resource, and we look forward to working with the people of Barre to bring the benefits of wind energy to their community as well.”

Apex is currently working through the Article 10 process on Lighthouse Wind. Article 10 is the current permitting process required by the state, and it requires that communities be given the opportunity to weigh in on several procedural items before an actual application for a wind project is prepared.

“Much like the old State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, Article 10 requires us to work closely with local stakeholders to discuss the project, scope studies for the project, and review those results,” said Dan Fitzgerald, senior director of development for Apex. “Though we need to work within the new permitting framework, we will do everything we can to ensure that those who had the opportunity to comment under SEQRA will also have the opportunity to participate under Article 10. In addition to our work with the Town of Barre, we will also be working with the Town and Village of Albion, Orleans County, and many other stakeholders throughout project development.”

Over the next six months, Heritage Wind plans to submit its Public Involvement Plan, take part in hundreds of conversations within the community, and determine what specific studies will be needed to assess the appropriateness of a wind energy facility for the area.

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The National Weather Service calls for increasing clouds with a high near 52. East wind 10 to 15 mph.
Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38. East wind 8 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Friday: A slight chance of showers after 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 57. Northeast wind 9 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 39. East wind around 6 mph.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 62.
Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42.

Sunday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Sunday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 43. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Monday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 57. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42.

Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 62.
Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46.

Wednesday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 62. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

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We had occasion to go to two fast food restaurants for breakfast on a recent weekend.

Breakfast one: Tim Horton’s: 5816 Transit Rd, Lockport NY 14094, (716) 478-0382

Features: Open 24 hours, Drive-thru, Tim Card Accepted, In Restaurant Seating, Tap-to- Pay Mobile Payment, Scan-to- Pay Mobile Payment, WIFI, Catering, Parking is a private lot with handicapped places.

A very, very short history: Tim Horton’s was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton and Jim Charade. In 1967, Horton partnered with investor Ron Joyce, who assumed control over operations after Horton died in 1974. Tim Horton’s franchises spread rapidly and eventually overtook McDonald's as Canada's largest food service operator. The company opened twice as many Canadian outlets as McDonald's. On August 26, 2014, Burger King agreed to purchase Tim Horton's for US$11.4 billion.

Timmy Ho’s (a local nickname) was offering 2 of their breakfast sandwiches for 4.00 so we decided to go for breakfast on Saturday. My wife got a donut and a hot chocolate. I ordered a medium English toffee cappuccino and 2 sausage sandwiches on an English muffins. They delivered 1 sausage and 1 bacon. OOPS. All told, with my senior discount, breakfast cost 6.96. Too bad they got my order wrong.

That being said, they get a 7.0 out of 10. Getting the order right is one of the things that can make or break a restaurant, franchise or not.

Breakfast two: Burger King: 5720 S. Transit Road, Lockport, NY 14094-5865, Phone: (716) 439-0249

Features: In Restaurant Seating, Drive thru, WIFI, Parking is a private lot with handicapped places.

Hours: Sun: 7:00 AM-10:00 PM, Mon thru Sat: 6:00 AM-10:00 PM

Burger King was founded in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida, as Insta-Burger King. Inspired by the McDonald brothers. Original store location in San Bernardino, California, the founders and owners, Keith J. Kramer and his wife's uncle Matthew Burns, began searching for a concept. After purchasing the rights to two pieces of equipment called "Insta" machines, the two opened their first stores around a cooking device known as the Insta-Broiler. The Insta-Broiler oven proved so successful at cooking burgers, they required all of their franchises to carry the device. After the original company began to falter in 1954, it was purchased by its Miami, Florida, franchisees James McLamore and David R. Edgerton. The two initiated a corporate restructuring of the chain; the first step being to rename the company Burger King.

The duo ran the company as an independent entity for eight years, eventually expanding to over 250 locations in the United States, when they sold it to the Pillsbury Company in 1967. Burger King would eventually be merged with Canadian-based donut and coffee chain Tim Hortons in 2014. Every day, more than 11 million guests visit over 13,000 BURGER KING® restaurants near them in 97 countries around the world. The BURGER KING® restaurant in Lockport, NY serves burgers, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We went to Burger King for breakfast Sunday. We got 2 croissant breakfast sandwiches for the price of one. One with bacon and one with sausage for 3.19. I got a small coke for 1.59 and my wife got an OJ for 1.39. When I got to the table I saw they had put an order of hash browns on it. OOPS. Again a 7 out of 10 for getting the order wrong.

This is the second time in 2 days where we were given the wrong order at a fast food restaurant. I know what I think about fast food workers getting 15.00 per hour.

Norb Rug is a dedicated foodie He has had Mexican food in Mexico, Italian food in Italy, Greek food in Greece and ethnic food in several other countries.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The National Weather Service calls for showers and possibly a thunderstorm today with a high near 44. Northeast wind 11 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 30. Light and variable wind.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 53. Northeast wind 5 to 9 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon.
Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 33. North wind around 6 mph becoming calm after midnight.

Thursday: A slight chance of showers after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 54. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Thursday Night: Cloudy, with a low around 39.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 59.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 40.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.
Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42.

Sunday: A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 60. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Sunday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 44. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Monday: A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 59. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

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