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Friday, October 31, 2014
Dear East Niagara Post,

I would like to commend you on the coverage you have provided with regard to Lockport’s new hockey team, Lockport Express. After waiting so long to have an ice rink back in our city, having this new team is very exciting. I’m glad there is one news outlet reporting on these young men as they chase their dreams.

Over the past weekend, the Express played two games at Niagara University. Saturday’s game was an offensive juggernaut for  the team as they won 7-4. Sunday’s game was a bit more defensively minded as they scratched out a hard-fought victory in overtime, 4-3.

There are a couple things that stand out about these games. First of all, the speed of the game is fast. These kids have one speed — afterburner. They swivel away from defenders, pass, shoot and hit with great exuberance. There is end to end action and endless passion from both teams on the ice.

The second thing I noticed was the general lack of attendance from the Greater Lockport Area. There were definitely people in attendance, but not nearly the numbers I expected after hearing how excited everyone was about having hockey in Lockport. Sure, the games were at Niagara University, but that’s only 16 miles away. Some people drive over twice as far to Buffalo to watch a team that just doesn’t capture the excitement that the Lockport Express delivered this weekend.

For those who came out, thank you. I want to see this team do well. Part of that is having a cheering audience. After the long wait for hockey and how many people seemed so excited, we should be filling the stands. And we will. Once Cornerstone Arena is up and running, I foresee great crowds cheering on their home team.

I took the plunge and purchased season passes for the Lockport Express. For Saturday’s game, I took my 12-year old nephew with me. It was his first hockey game and he was enthralled. He liked it so much he asked if he could come back for Sunday’s game. Of course he could.

On Sunday, the whole family went, including our nephew. Three of the kids sat right at the glass, pounding on it and watching intently. It as downright exciting to see the kids just as fired up as we were about hockey.

We cannot wait until we have a home game right in downtown Lockport. We will be there, and I’m sure there will be a lot more people attending. For those who missed the two games over this past weekend, be prepared for a great show on Chestnut Street on November 14th. It will be worth it.

Again, I would like to thank East Niagara Post for their exemplary coverage of the Lockport Express. I hope to see many more wins by the Lockport Express in the new Cornerstone Arena. I know the six of us in my family will be in attendance.

Craig Bacon is a city of Lockport resident and columnist for East Niagara Post. 

East Niagara Post will publish letters to the editor on topics of concern to our readers. 
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Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to stump for votes — for himself and fellow Democrats — in Niagara County this afternoon.

The governor's public schedule, made available daily to the media, lists stops in New York City and Onondaga, Monroe, Niagara and Erie counties today.

Niagara County Democratic Chairman Nick Forster says the incumbent governor will be at an event at the Como Restaurant in Niagara Falls around 4:30 p.m. Also expected to attend is Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

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Niagara County Majority Leader Rick Updegrove stands at the lectern with PB&J Drive founder Pete Robinson to his side. PB&J drive volunteers surround them. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS)


The official proclamation naming November as Peanut Butter & Jelly Month.
“This is a good reminder of why we’re here.”

That’s how Niagara County Legislature Majority Leader Rick Updegrove, R-Lockport, explained what has become an annual tradition to a pair of new lawmakers Tuesday: the donation, by Majority Caucus legislators, of a heaping portion of peanut butter and jelly to boost the local Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive.

“We are here to improve our community, and to support the people who work every day toward that goal,” Updegrove said. “The Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive turns five this year, and it has become a local charitable effort we should all be proud of. Along the way, it’s helped thousands of people.”

Updegrove and Legislator Wm. Keith McNall, R-Lockport, welcomed the volunteers at the core of the Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive Tuesday night, presenting them with a proclamation declaring November “Peanut Butter & Jelly Month” in Niagara County. Majority Caucus lawmakers also donated 11 dozen jars of sandwich spreads: six dozen jars of peanut butter, equally divided between creamy and chunky, three dozen jars of grape jelly, and two dozen jars of strawberry jam.

Lawmakers showing personal support for the PB&J Drive has become an annual fall tradition in Niagara County. Updegrove and his colleagues embraced the unique food drive in its second year, when he, McNall, and Legislator Tony Nemi, R-Lockport, made a surprise donation of six dozen jars of peanut butter and jelly to support the drive.

Since then, support for the drive has been a rite of passage in the Majority Caucus, with Republican lawmakers expected to each make a sizeable donation to the local effort. It also has, in some years, provoked good-natured competition between the Legislature’s Majority and Minority, with the two groups vying to show more generosity to the drive.

“The Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive keeps food that children like on the shelves of our local food pantries, and we wanted to recognize them tonight for proving, five years in a row, that good people can make the world better,” McNall said. “Making our caucus’s donation to the Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive is one of the truly satisfying things we do every year, because it’s good to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbors who are making good things happen for both people they know and total strangers.”

One of the major forces behind the drive has been New York State Courts Sgt. Pete Robinson, who helped organize the inaugural drive and every year’s collection since. Robinson was on hand Tuesday night at the Niagara County Courthouse.

“People want to be a part of something that they can see the fruit of their labor,” Robinson said in a recent interview in East Niagara Post. “You can make a change one jar at a time ... like our logo says, 'spread the love.’”

Niagara County legislators pose with PB&J volunteers.
That message resonated with freshman legislators Randy R. Bradt and Richard L. Andres, both of North Tonawanda, who made what they both said they hope will be the first of many donations Tuesday.

“As a social studies teacher, I try to instill in my students that they can make the world a better place, but they need to start with their own communities,” Andres said after handing a dozen jars of grape jelly over to Robinson. “The Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive proves that’s true. It was a real honor to get to talk with these great volunteers.”

The Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive will continue through Dec. 6. Individuals interested in learning more can visit the Drive’s Facebook page.

Lawmakers also urged county residents to do what they can to support the drive, pausing for a bi-partisan photo with PB&J Drive volunteers to promote the event. Individuals interested in supporting the drive are invited to stop by the Niagara County Clerk’s Office in the Courthouse, 175 Hawley St., Lockport, or any of the sites listed on the PB&J Drive Facebook page.

Niagara County Legislature Minority Leader Dennis Virtuoso said his party will be making a donation to the drive, as well.

Information on the drive is also available by calling Robinson at 510-7108.

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The National Weather Service calls for a chance of showers today with a high near 49 and an overnight low around 39.

Saturday calls for showers with a high near 42 and a chance of rain and snow showers overnight with a low around 30. Sunday, there's a slight chance of snow showers before noon with a high near 43 and a low around 32. Monday will be partly sunny with a high near 52 and a low around 41.

Tuesday offers a chance of showers with a high near 58 and a low around 42. Wednesday also forecasts a chance of showers with a high near 50 and a low around 40. Thursday: A chance of showers with a high near 49.

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BUFFALO — Buffalo's shot production was increased 50 percent Thursday night — to 15. And they scored two more goals than they did in Toronto. But they still lost.

Up 2-1 with five-and-a-half minutes to go in the third, the Sabres allowed Boston's Brad Marchand to score the game-tying goal. Marchand scored again 1:20 into the overtime to seal the deal for the Bruins.

After a scoreless first period, the Sabres got on the board first 5:12 into the second with a power play goal by Drew Stafford, assisted by the Tylers — Ennis and Myers. Boston tied the game at 1 at 11:36 with a goal by Adam McQuaid, assisted by Carl Soderberg and Marchand. Then Ennis put the Sabres back up 2-1 at 16:25 of the second with assists by Torrey Mitchell and Stafford.

From there it was the Marchand show with support from Loui Eriksson and Dennis Seidenberg on the third-period goal, and Reilly Smith and Dougie Hamilton on the overtime goal.

The Sabres shot output so far in the 2014-2015 season has been lackluster. Tuesday night the team got just 10 shots on goal in a 4-0 loss in Toronto. So while Thursday's 15 is nothing to celebrate, it is an improvement.

With the loss in overtime, the Sabres are now 2-8-1 for five points. Only the Carolina Hurricanes have a worse record at 0-6-2.

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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A woman walked out of Walmart on Monday with sheets, shirts and a blanket, according to a report filed by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

The woman, identified only by a single name by the report, put the items into a shopping cart and passed all points of purchase without paying for the $187.41 in merchandise, according to the report.

The store employee did not know the woman's address or phone number. Patrol checked with welfare fraud to see if the woman receives social service benefits. She did apply for such benefits, according to the report. Patrol submitted paperwork for a petit larceny warrant on her.

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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A North Tonawanda woman had told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies that she had marijuana during an interview — so they got a warrant on her vehicle and found it.

Jamie Lee Albert, 28, 1451 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana at the Niagara County Jail on Oct. 24, according to NCSO.

She was issued an appearance ticket returnable at the Town of Lockport court on Nov. 25.

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