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Friday, February 28, 2014
The Buffalo Sabres have confirmed that they have traded goaltender Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for goaltender Jaroslav Halak, forwards Chris Stewart and William Carrier, a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and another conditional draft pick.

The Sabres organization confirmed earlier this week that they were looking to deal Miller, who was to start in goal tonight against the San Jose Sharks but was a late scratch, leading to speculation a trade had been made.

Halak had four shutouts for the Blues this season, tied for second-best in the NHL. He has played four seasons with the Blues after being acquired through a trade with the Montreal Canadiens following the 2009-10 season. In 2013-14, Halak has played 40 games for the Blues, earning a 24-9-4 record with a .917 SV% and 2.23 GAA.

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Two of Lockport's finest and a Niagara County Sheriff's Office Sergeant are among the honorees at the "Hero Awards" this evening in Buffalo.

Lockport Police Officers Lt. Todd Chenez and Officer Michael Stover will receive their honors because they saved a Lockport man from a burning home on March 19, 2013. The two officers were completing a training run when they saw smoke coming from a Hawley Street home. Rushing to the rear of the house, they found thick acrid smoke billowing from the rear entrance door.

Homeowner Roselyn Storms met them and said that her husband was still inside. The officers immediately ran into the home searching for him. As they were only wearing the running gear, the search was difficult and they quickly were forced to retreat. Mrs. Storms said that her husband was probably in the basement workshop. Both officers again entered the home and were able to spot Harold Storms lying at the foot of the basement stairs, unconscious and not breathing. The officers had to make several attempts to lift the victim. However the man’s physical size of nearly 300 pounds, combined the lack of breathable air, again forced the officers to exit the home.

With the help of Officers Anthony Pittman and Heather Glenn, who had just arrived on the scene, Mr. Storms was carried outside to safety. Arriving paramedics quickly transported him to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition. Emergency Room physicians advised that Mr. Storms was only able to survive because of the officers’ quick action.

Niagara County Sheriff Sergeant Gary May is being presented with the Outstanding Service Award for going above the beyond the call of duty for his first aid prowess.

Sergeant May responded to a serious injury accident involving a motorcyclist and another vehicle on October 2, 2013 on Old Shawnee Road in Cambria. Arriving at the scene and finding that the motorcyclist’s leg was nearly severed, May quickly retrieved a tourniquet from his patrol unit and with assistance of fire personnel on the scene, he applied the tourniquet to the victim’s leg.

The victim was quickly transported to Erie County Medical Center. Unfortunately, the medical team was unable to save the victim’s leg.  However, due to Sgt. May’s quick action, the victim’s life was saved.

The award ceremony, hosted by the 100 Club of Buffalo, will take place at 6 p.m. at the Buffalo Club, 388 Delaware Ave., Buffalo,
The 100 Club of Buffalo, Inc. is an independent, non-profit, non-political organization. Its purpose is to provide service to the members of local law enforcement, fire services, and emergency medical services and their families.  Established in 1957 to provide cash assistance to the families of police officers killed in the line of duty, The 100 Club has grown to provide scholarships, educational assistance and awards to the members and families of the police, fire and emergency medical service agencies of Western New York.

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Kirsten (Burke) Kenny of Lockport was one of only 10 educators, nationwide, selected to receive the 2014 World Trade Center Teaching Award. Presented by the 9/11 Tribute Center in New York City, the national award recognizes educators who have developed exemplary educational projects that help sustain the memory of September 11, 2001.

Kenny is a ninth-grade religious education teacher at the Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart. She earned master’s degrees in both childhood education and literacy from Canisius College, which she largely credited for the award.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to Canisius College for making me into the teacher that I am,” said Kenny. “If I hadn’t been a part of the childhood education and literacy programs, I wouldn’t be able to put together such a strong curriculum for my 143 students. I wouldn’t know how to write such a strong lesson and unit plans, or engage students with my interaction in ‘real’ classroom experiences. I most definitely would not have had the tools to earn this award.”

Recipients of the World Trade Center Teaching Award are recognized for introducing 9/11 through curricula in the arts and humanities: history, language arts, visual, media and performing arts. Kenny was awarded for the ways in which she engages students in discussions about the ongoing impact of the September 11 attacks, and for her focus on the humanitarian responses to 9/11.

Kenny received her World Trade Center Teaching Award at New York City’s Tribute Center
on Wednesday, which marked the 21st anniversary of the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

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The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance announced this week that it has issued $1 billion in refunds and reminded New Yorkers to use free e-filing options for faster refunds.  Already, refunds have been issued to more than 1.1 million taxpayers – a 50 percent increase over last year’s total by this date of 776,000. The average refund to date is $906.

More than 97 percent of the 3.1 million returns received this year have been e-filed.  The average refund for e-filers is issued in 22 days, while refunds for paper filers can take 8 to 12 weeks.

“Most New Yorkers are eligible for free e-filing options that result in fewer errors on returns and faster refunds,” said Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox.  “Visit our Web site to learn more about the options available to you.”

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Daniel Prosser of Lockport, has earned a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Prosser was among approximately 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees during Georgia Tech's 246th commencement exercises.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the nation's leading research universities, providing a focused, technologically based education to more than 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Georgia Tech has many nationally recognized programs and is ranked in the nation's top ten public universities by U.S. News and World Report.

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Construction continues on the Lockport Ice Arena despite the freezing cold temperatures.

Mulvey Construction of Lockport handled the tear-down of the old supermarket to make way for the Lockport Ice Arena, expected to be completed and open for business by mid-September.

The facility will have two NHL-sized ice rinks, spectator seating for 630 people, a performance training center, community room, and 7,000 square feet of retail space, including food service, once completed.

Organizers expect that the arena will bring 150,000 people to downtown Lockport annually and require 4,000 hotel room stays annually.

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State Sen. George Maziarz was recently presented with the 2013 Industry Appreciation Award from the Buffalo Niagara Builders Association. The prestigious award was presented to the Newfane Republican “in recognition of industry excellence.”

“I am truly honored to receive this award,” Maziarz said. “I am working hard to fight for policies in our state government that support increased economic activity in Western New York.  The members of the Builders Association keep a close watch on this progress, as it is near and dear to their livelihoods, so I am particularly grateful for their recognition.”

The Buffalo Niagara Builders Association is a non-profit organization that serves as the voice of builders, developers, and associated industries in Western New York.  Its members include residential and commercial builders, developers, contractors, suppliers, realtors, attorneys, and others.

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Forty-seven upstate New York hospitals and health centers — including ENH-Lockport and ENH-Newfane — last year earned $24.5 million in quality improvement incentive payments from Univera Healthcare and its Rochester-based parent as part of the health insurer’s Hospital Performance Incentive Program (HPIP). In the past 10 years quality performance incentives have exceeded $169 million.

“With all the changes in health care brought about by the Affordable Care Act, we applaud our hospital partners for continuing to focus on improving the quality of care and patient safety,” said Carrie Frank, vice president of quality and health informatics at Univera Healthcare.

Participating in this program in 2013 were 15 Western New York hospitals and health centers, including the two Eastern Niagar Health System sites, three Catholic Health System sites, Erie County Medical Center, four Kaleida Health sites, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, United Memorial Medical Center, Women’s Christian Association (WCA) Hospital and Chautauqua Integrated Delivery System.

Launched in 2004, the HPIP program evaluates participating hospitals on over 250 performance measures. In 2013, hospitals achieved 89 percent of all target quality levels. In addition to required clinical and patient safety measures, other nationally-endorsed measures and target outcomes are jointly agreed upon by each hospital and the health insurer using benchmarks established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, The Joint Commission, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and others.

Areas targeted for improvement include:

  • Clinical Processes of Care – Focused on improvements in heart attack care, heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical care
  • Patient Safety – Centered on reductions in hospital-acquired infections, falls, pressure ulcers, readmissions,  and other adverse events or errors that affect patient care
  • Patient Satisfaction – Using the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, which is the first national, standardized, publicly-reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care

"Univera Healthcare has continued to reward improvements in quality through our contracts with hospitals,” said Frank. “These improvements also have the effect of lowering the costs of care, which is critical to hospitals in this environment.”

Univera does not disclose how much each hospital or health care center got of the annual incentive payments.

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The 2013 New York hunting season had the lowest number of hunting related shooting incidents on record, according to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens.

“Sportsman education is an essential background to have in the field and teaches future sportsmen and sportswomen how to be safe, responsible and ethical hunters and trappers," Martens said.

New York’s hunting incident rate has fallen by more than 70 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to 4.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.

In 2013, a total of 19 hunting accidents —including two fatalities — occurred in the state, down from 24 in 2012. Fourteen of last year’s accidents where self inflicted. Investigations of all accidents are completed by trained Environmental Conservation Officers. The findings of these investigations are used to improve New York’s Hunter Education Course to ensure that the most common causes of accidents are addressed and emphasized during instruction.

While statistics show that hunting is safer than ever, accidents still happen. The DEC says it is important to remember that every hunting related shooting incident is preventable. Many, if not all of these incidents could have been prevented, if only the shooter or victim had followed the primary rules of hunter safety to:

  • treat every firearm as if it were loaded
  • keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction
  • identify your target and what lies beyond
  • keep finger off the trigger until ready to fire
  • wear hunter orange

For more information, including the 2013 Hunting Safety Statistics, visit the Sportsman Education Program DEC web page at

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The shift supervisor from Mark's Pizzeria on McKee Street in Newfane told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies Wednesday night that someone stole a cancer donation jar from the front counter.

The unknown person can been seen on the restaurant's video entering the store, going directly to the jar, grabbing it and leaving. The unknown person is wearing a black bandana over his face and has a hood over his head from a hooded sweatshirt with a Mark's Pizzeria logo on it, tan pants and tan boots.

The suspect headed east after he exited the business, according to the NCSO report. Patrol canvassed the area and attempted to locate him with negative results.

The pizzeria employee told NCSO that he was unsure how much money the donation jar had in it, but believed it to have been at most, $15.

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A Barker woman is facing charges following a one-car accident on Quaker Road on Wednesday.

According to a report filed by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, 31-year-old Lynette Delacruz, 1701 Quaker Road., was traveling northbound on Quaker Road in the Town of Hartland when the vehicle overturned.

Also in the vehicle were a 32-year-old Barker man and a four-month-old child.

The report states that when a passerby arrived on scene, all three subjects were inside the vehicle. The infant was laying inside the vehicle on the roof of the car, not in a safety seat. However, "when the car seat was removed the shoulder harnesses and center buckles were still intact and buckled. This indicated that (the infant) was not in the car seat prior to the accident," the report states.

Delacruz told police that the infant was in the car seat and must have fallen out. Her passenger, however, said that he was holding the infant prior to and during the accident and that she was not in the car seat.

The four-month-old was taken by ambulance to Women's and Children's Hospital. Patrol reported the incident to Child Protective Services. Charges are pending.

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Another day brought another surprise from Lockport's new mayor, Anne McCaffrey.

Thursday morning, Mayor McCaffrey announced that she would not serve as chairman of the Greater Lockport Development Committee, the quasi-government development arm of the city.

While there is nothing dictating that the mayor must serve as head of the group, each of McCaffrey's predecessors since the agency's founding — Mike Tucker, Tom Sullivan, Ken Swan and Tom Rotondo — have all acted as chairman.

McCaffrey said she declined the post for two reasons: she thinks it should be run by a businessperson, and she thinks that having someone other than an elected official will enforce the fact that it is not actually a department of the city, despite the

The group will instead by headed by James Macaluso, a Lockport hearing specialist who has served on the GLDC board for 26 years.

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Today's high will barely be double digits, inching up to 11 degrees before falling back down to 6. A wind chill advisory remains in effect until 10 a.m.

Saturday's high is projected at 34 with a low of 16 and snow. Sunday will bring a high of 17 and a low of 7 for Olcott's Polar Bear Swim. Monday will only offer a high of 15 and a low of 5 with a chance of snow.

Tuesday will bring a high of 15 again with a low of 9, followed by a high of 23 and a low of 13 Wednesday. Thursday the mercury heads close to the freezing point with a high of 28.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Niagara County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the passenger in this morning's one-car crash on Lincoln Avenue.

The Sheriff's Office says that 21-year-old Christpher W. Blake of Elba remains in critical condition at ECMC.

The driver, 21-year-old Levi K. Dieterle of Medina was charged with DWI and other vehicle and traffic charges following the crash.

The investigation is continuing by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office Accident Investigation Unit.

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Social media has been a boon for musicians. Starting with MySpace a decade ago and growing to include Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the musically inclined have used the internet to promote their wares.

Now a Lockport musician has taken to YouTube to promote a concert being held Friday night at the Tuscarora Inn via a tongue-in-cheek campaign for mayor.

Aaron Anson, guitarist for the band Dark Eyes 55, says he was trying to think of a way to drum up support for the show and thought the recent resignation of Mike Tucker would be a unique way to do so.

"I really just wanted to promote this show," the 2004 LHS graduate said. "I just wanted a lot of people to come out of the show ... I thought I would capitalize on the mayor's resignation."

Anson's video says all of Lockport's problems can be summed up in one word: potholes. The video even suggests that recent crime — including the stabbing at Big Lots and the string or armed robberies — can be attributed to potholes.

"These potholes are bringing this city to a slow crawl. We're here to speed things back up. Vote for me for mayor of Lockport," Anson says in the video, which also features him playing "pothole hopscotch" on Chestnut Street.

Another gem in the spoof video features Anson getting out of a barber's chair and reciting the line, "Do you like haircuts? Well I do, too. So vote for me for mayor of Lockport."

Anson's "opponent" in the race is Charles "Chaz" Whitbourne, who has his own not-safe-for-work video promoting his campaign. His campaign calls for "more potholes" and "more smoke stacks."

Whitbourne, a bass player from Rochester, is Dark Eye's 55 newest member.

Anson said he's overwhelmingly pleased with the reaction to the video. "I did not intend for it to be this viral, but obviously it took off and a I got a bigger response than I anticipated."

The "election" will be held at 9 p.m. Friday at the Tuscarora Inn when Dark Eyes 55 takes the stage with Buffalo band Whiskey Reverb. Anson says there will be a voting booth at the show and that all voters will get a copy of a Dark Eyes 55 CD.

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Mayor Anne McCaffrey will be sworn in before a special meeting of the Common Council at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Palace Theatre.

Although McCaffrey officially took the reigns of the city early Monday morning, public swearing in ceremonies are commonplace for officials who take office suddenly, as was the case for McCaffrey, who was pushed to the city's top spot less than a week ago when Mayor Mike Tucker resigned suddenly.

McCaffrey has had a busy few days in office, appointing Joe Kibler as Common Council President on Monday, announcing Tuesday that the city would auction off the mayor's car, and declaring Wednesday that the city's credit cards would be canceled and replaced with another type of procurement system.

She has also suggested that the city should attempt to tackle the pothole problem earlier than usual due to the scope of the issue.

Response to McCaffrey's actions on social media and in the public has been overwhelmingly positive.

The new mayor still has to appoint a 2nd Ward alderman to fill her old post. She has said she would take applications for the spot until Friday. Applicants must be Republicans living in the 2nd Ward. The decision of who to appoint is McCaffrey's alone, not subject to Common Council approval.

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State Sen. George Maziarz said Wednesday on an Albany show that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to offer college degrees to state prison inmates is a poorly thought out idea.

"I just don't know what the governor was thinking, to be honest with you," Maziarz said on Your Voice, a New York State Senate made-for-Internet show hosted by Julia Lilkendey.

The Republican from Newfane said he believes the majority of his constituents are with him in his opposition to the plan.

"I've gotten so many emails on this subject. I think it may top all previous issues," he said, adding, "I've run into maybe a handful of people ... I can count on one hand the number of people who thought this was a good idea."

There are two state prisons in Maziarz' district.

Maziarz also discussed Common Core on the show, which can be seen in its entirety on YouTube.

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A Charlotteville Road man told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on Wednesday that someone purchased $467.14 worth of items from Walmart in his name.

According to the report filed with the Sheriff's Office, the complainant received two Phillips Avent Digital Video Baby Monitors, valued at $219.97 each, with a package slip advising that he would be billed later for $467.14. The packing slip stated that the purchase was made on Feb. 19 over the internet by an unknown person using the complainant's name, address and phone number. The report further states that the unknown person received a $50 e-card that was emailed him when he made the purchase.

The complainant told NCSO that he contacted Walmart in regards to the incident and they advised him how to return the items. He also contacted a credit monitoring company although it's unknown if the credit of the complainant was affected and he has not suffered any loss of funds at this time.

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An early-morning one-vehicle accident on Lincoln Avenue landed a Medina man in jail and his passenger in Erie County Medical Center.

According to a report by the Niagara County Sheriff's office, a small pickup truck, driven by 21-year-old Levi K. Dieterle of Medina, was eastbound on Lincoln Avenue when the driver stuck a snowbank and mailbox on the south side of the road, causing him to lose control of the vehicle. It then crossed over the road and struck a tree in a yard on the north side of the roadway.

When Sheriff's deputies arrived, the driver had exited the vehicle, but his yet-to-be-named passenger was pinned inside and had to be extricated by emergency personnel. He was transported to ECMC by Mercy Flight with serious injuries and is listed in critical condition as of this morning.

Dieterle was taken to Eastern Niagara Hospital-Lockport with minor injuries and charged with DWI and several traffic violations.

Terrys Corners Vol. Fire Co. responded to the scene, along with Tri-Town Ambulance and Rural Metro Ambulance .

The investigation is continuing and further charges are possible.

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Niagara County Community College is seeking employers to participate in the Spring 2014 Job & Internship Fair to be held from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on April 2 in the Main Cafeteria, G Building, on the Sanborn campus.

This bi-annual event typically draws well over 200 job-seeking students, graduates, and members of the community. There is no cost for employers to participate and each employer will be provided with a table to display materials and lunch. The job fair is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the NCCC Student Development Office at 614-6290 or email by March 7.

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The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory for the next 24 hours, calling for wind speeds of 20 to 30 mph and wind chills as low as 25 below zero. The addition of falling snow may lead to poor visibility, the weather service suggests.

Removing the wind chill factor, today's high is expected to be 15 degrees with an overnight low of -1. The chance of snow means as much as two inches may fall on East Niagara.

Friday's high is only expected to be 13 degrees with a low of 9 and a 20 percent chance of snow. Saturday offers a day of "warmth" with a 33-degree high and 15-degree low before cooling off again on Sunday, which forecasts a 20-degree high and 10-degree low. Monday brings a high of 17 and a low of 1, followed by Tuesday's 14-degree high and 5-degree low.

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Mayor Anne McCaffrey has ordered City Treasurer Mike White to cancel the two city credit cards which are central to an ongoing investigation within the city.

The credit card that had been under the direction of former Mayor Mike Tucker was used by Youth and Recreation Director Melissa Junke to purchase items for a department fundraiser in June of 2013. That prompted then-Council President McCaffrey to order an investigation into what she called a misuse of the card. A report from that investigation is expected within the next couple weeks.

Suggested to take the place of the city's two credit cards are "purchase cards" — similar to debit cards — designated per department. Those purchase cards would have spending limits and their use would have to be pre-approved. The proposed policy would also include penalties for their misuse.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Charges against a Town of Lockport man accused of violating New York's SAFE Act were thrown out Wednesday by Lockport City Court Judge William Watson.

Paul A. Wojdan was charged under the provision of the law which prohibits a gun magazine from having more than seven bullets loaded into it.

Judge Watson ruled that on Oct. 12, when Officer Daniel Barrancotta counted the bullets in the magazine, he did so in violation of Wojdan's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.

During a traffic stop, Wojdan had told Lt. Adam Piedmont that he had a gun in its holster in the glove compartment of his vehicle. Wojdan also had a permit for the 9 mm Ruger.

Piedmont asked Barancotta to "make the gun safe," by which he meant for Barancotta to remove the magazine. When Barancotta did so, he says he noticed through "observation holes" in the magazine that there were 10 rounds loaded, more than the seven-round limit under the SAFE Act.

Watson, however, ruled that Barancotta should not have checked for the number of bullets in the magazine.

The case is not yet over, though. Wojdan says he wants his confiscated guns returned to him. After Wojdan's arrest, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office confiscated all of the guns listed on his pistol permit. His attorney said he will file a motion with Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III for their return.

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FILE PHOTOS BY HEATHER N. GRIMMER/CONTRIBUTOR - The Polar Bear Queen Contest is always popular with the cameras. Here's the race to the water on March 6, 2011. 

The Polar Bear Swim for Sight takes place this Sunday at Olcott Beach.

Swimmers in costume is something to
expect at Sunday's Polar Bear Swim.
The event serves as a fundraiser for the Olcott Lions Club, which has been doing it for 45 years now. Similar to a walkathon — but much colder — swimmers raise contributions, participate in the Polar Bear Swim and receive a t-shirt and other rewards based on various contribution levels.

It's all fun and games until
... no, pretty much it's just
all fun and games.
While the Lions Club hopes that each swimmer will try to raise $100 for the cause, there is a minimum required of at least $20. Most swimmers collect contributions from friends, family, and acquaintances. Many get their workplace involved and co-workers help them raise funds in and outside the workplace. Some simply pay their own $20 for the opportunity to jump in the freezing cold water with friends and random strangers.

Swimmers may register on-site beginning at 11 a.m., where they are asked to provide their contribution and receive their t-shirt and other eligible rewards on the day of the swim at the Lions Pavilion in Olcott’s Krull Park. They they follow the beach for the 2 p.m. swim. Swimmers under the age of 18 have their own swim at 1:50 p.m., just after the 1:45 Polar Bear Queen contest.

Swimmers are advised to arrive early and bring sneakers, a towel and blanket, dry clothes, a camera, friends and a spotter.

Spectators are welcome. Viewing areas are marked on the grass near the beach.

Following the swim, many Olcott businesses are open serving food and beverages.

Who doesn't love a good swim in Lake Ontario in early March? 

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Niagara County Sheriff's deputies responded Wednesday morning to an Old Niagara Road business for a larceny complaint.

According to the report filed by NCSO, a 2012 Wheeler Reeler construction utility trailer, valued at $10,172.44, was stolen. The complainant told patrol that the trailer was last known to be at the business on Nov. 3. It has likely been on jobs since then, but it is unknown exactly when or where from the trailer was taken.

Due to time that has elapsed and not knowing where exactly the larceny occurred, the complaint was forwarded to the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

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A Walmart employee told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on Monday that on two separate occasions, a man stole merchandise from the mens' department.

According to the report, the first instance was at about 6:50 on Feb. 17. A black male entered the store and went into Men's Wear, took an empty Walmart bag out of his pocket and put two packages of socks and a pack of t-shirts that he got off the shelf into the bag. The male then exited the store passing all points of purchase at 6:54 p.m., getting into a blue minivan

The second incident occurred on Monday at around 4:50 p.m. when the same man arrived at Walmart, went into Men's Wear, and started putting items into a Walmart bag. This time the man was confronted by the Walmart employee, which caused him to immediately walk to the front and exit —with the bag — passing all points of purchase.

The value of all items taken from the two incidents is $116.85. 

The employee gave patrol the suspects name as well as his license plate number, which was passed along to the criminal investigations. The paperwork was also sent to the Town of Lockport Court for a warrant for the suspect.

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A Town of Lockport woman told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on Monday that someone else had filed her income taxes in her name.

The Purdy Road resident said she had received a phone call from H&R Block stating that an unknown person filed them electronically with the IRS. The woman then contacted the IRS who told her to file a report with her local police.

Patrol told the complainant that the investigation would be handled by the IRS.

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Niagara Falls police apprehended a suspect in the Sunday afternoon stabbing at Big Lots on South Transit Road.

According to police reports, officers were chasing Big Lots suspect Jason Clark in connection to another assault Tuesday night when a 23-year-old woman grabbed for one of the officer's guns. It fired, grazing another woman in the leg who was inside the Orleans Avenue home at the time. She was taken to the hospital and released a short time later.

The 23-year-old Brittany Blenker was charged with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and obstructing governmental administration. She was also wanted for outstanding warrants for aggravated harassment, according to Niagara Falls police

Clark, 39, of New York Street in Lockport, was charged with assault.

Both Blenker and Clark were arraigned in court this morning.

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GOOGLE MAPS SCREEN SHOT - Quaker Road between Chapman Road and Seaman Road is closed until further notice due to a rollover accident that occurred on the road around 12:15 p.m.

Quaker Road in Hartland - between Chapman Road and Seaman Road - reopened to traffic around 1:45 p.m. after having been closed due to a rollover accident that occurred around 12:15 p.m.

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The Niagara Art Trail's second annual Spring Fever Antique Fair will be held on March 8 at the Kenan Center Arena.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Patrons check out antiques at last
year's Niagara Art Trail Spring Fever Antique Sale at the Erie
Canal Discovery Center. Due to the popularity of the event, 
it will be held at the Kenan Center Arena this year.
As many as 60 vendors from the Western New York region — and at least one from Canada — are expected to be offering a variety of antiques and collectibles for sale. There will also be free presentations throughout the day from various collectors on a variety of subjects.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and porters will be available to help buyers load their purchases.

Last year’s event, held at the Erie Canal Discovery Center, was jammed packed with over 30 vendors and attended by over 700 people. With double the vendors for this year's show, and an expected increase in patrons, organizers felt the move to the much larger Kenan Arena was necessary.

Booth space is available for additional vendors from the Niagara Art Trail. Download an application, at or call 609-0433.

General admission is $3 per person for the 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. event. Early birds can get into the fair an hour earlier for $6. Children 12 and younger will be admitted for free when accompanied by an adult. Discount admission coupons are available online at

A free door prize drawing and a basket raffle will be held. Proceeds from the basket raffle benefit Niagara Art Trail events. Basket winers will be notified after the show.

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Mayor Anne McCaffrey
On Tuesday Mayor Anne McCaffrey declared that that the city-owned vehicle set aside for mayoral use was frivolous and unnecessary.

“Considering the serious financial conditions facing our city, the issuance of a city-owned vehicle to the mayor is clearly an unnecessary expense to city taxpayers," the new mayor said in a statement. "As the chief executive officer of our city, it is important that I lead by example and that’s why I am putting an end to the use of LP1.”

LP1 is the plate number on the 2009 Dodge Charger that had been driven by former mayor Mike Tucker, who resigned last Friday.

Third Ward Alderwoman Kitty Fogle will sponsor a resolution at the March 5 meeting of the Common Council to put the car up for auction.

Funds from the sale will go into the city's general fund and taking the car off the road will save the city money in gas and upkeep, McCaffrey said.

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Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has announced that Jessica Monzyk of Lockport earned a place on the school's Dean's List for the Fall 2013 semester.

Dean's List status is awarded to students who have successfully completed their course work with a semester grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 score.

Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is a private, independent institution committed to graduating the best health care minds in the world. In addition to its doctor of pharmacy program, ACPHS offers six bachelor's programs and five graduate programs in the health sciences. The College's main campus is located in Albany.

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It would appear that in 2014, March is coming in like a lion — a very cold lion.

The weather forecast for the next several days calls for single-digit low temperatures with below zero wind chills and snow.

Today offers a high of 13 with a low of 7 and a chance of snow. Thursday calls for a high of 15 with a low of zero and a chance of snow. Friday brings some sun with a high of 12 and a low of 9.

Saturday — the first day of March — actually does warm up a bit, with a high of 27 and a low of 12 and snow likely. Sunday brings a high of 19 and a low of 10. Monday offers a high of 20 and a low of 7.

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On Friday, you just up and quit. Not even the Common Council knew you were quitting, which is the one group that should have been warned in advance. No two-week notice, no “this will be my last term” ... nothing. You just ... quit.

What kind of a mayor quits on his city in the middle of his term? We didn’t realize that you had been putting out resumes while you were supposed to be running the city. You said that you lost your passion for the job. Was it something we said? Or was it something you did?

Mr. Tucker, just tell us the truth. After everything we have been through together, just tell us the truth. Because I would honestly rather hear it from you than from a state or federal investigator. I would rather have the man who ran my city longer than any other mayor stand up like a responsible human being and just admit that he made mistakes. But you didn’t do that.

Dennis Gabryszak resigned his public position in shame, but he never took his Facebook page down. The day you quit on us, Mr. Tucker, your Facebook page was down. It is still down.

If you have nothing to hide, then why are you hiding?

You will be exploring jobs in the private sector? Okay, but what about all of those people who believed in you enough to vote you in for a third consecutive term?

I could have actually just brushed the whole thing off it weren’t for your smug interview on television in your last hours in office.  In your television interview, you smirked when you indicated that your resignation had nothing to do with the credit card scandal. You said that “no one resigns over $9,000.” Then you smiled again.

That is the point when I got angry. How dare you act smug as you abandon a city that has nothing but problems facing it. And how dare you act like every politician just up and abandons his constituents when a private sector job comes calling.

If you didn’t want to be mayor, then why did you run? You knew you were locked in for four years. If we were just your carry-over hobby until you got a “real” job, then why didn’t you tell us that in the beginning? There were a lot of things you left out when you told us stuff on the campaign trail, weren’t there Mr. Tucker.

I agree with you Mr. Tucker. No one resigns over $9,000. That is why a lot of people are assuming that this whole thing has just begun. What was the real story behind the bid opening for the parking ramp demolition? What about the engineering study that convinced you that a parking lot should replace the parking ramp, instead of putting shops there to bring people downtown?

Lockport is in a heap of trouble Mr. Tucker, and you just abandoned us like that. It would be like a surgeon doing an important surgery and then deciding, halfway through the surgery, that he wanted to take a job at an auto assembly plant. You were elected to serve a full term. Now you won’t. And you don’t have the decency to tell us why.

Now here’s the part that really hurts. You did a lot of good things for Lockport. Most people don’t know how hard you fought to get public funds to come to a city that Albany and Washington could care less about. You fought for our city and you did everything you could to leave your mark on our city.

Being a mayor is a thankless job. No matter what you do, you are not going to make everyone happy. But it just seemed like you were a lot more interested in keeping your friends happy than in keeping the city happy.

I used to be a supporter of yours. I defended your name to people who did not understand how hard it is to be the mayor of a city with such a diverse population as Lockport. Now you have abandoned me, and you have abandoned my city. I guess the others were right.

A politician does not just suddenly resign his position and disappear unless there is a good reason. What did you do to our city, Mr. Tucker, that caused you to quit so suddenly? I hope that whatever you did, Anne McCaffrey can fix it. We all hope that.

I want to wish you good luck Mr. Tucker, but you turned your back on my city before I could even say anything. Whatever you did will come out in the coming months and years, and then we will all understand why you quit on us. Maybe then, you won’t be smiling when you admit what really happened.

Nick Oliver is a Niagara County resident and former Mike Tucker supporter. You can read his column every Wednesday. He can be reached at

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Permit distribution for the Canada Goose hunting season which runs from March 1 through March 10 for Golden Hill, Fort Niagara and Wilson Tuscarora State Parks will be done via two lottery drawings.

The lotteries for hunting during these times will be held on Wednesday for hunting March 1- March 5 and on March 5 for hunting March 6-10. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the drawing will be done at 6 p.m. at the Fort Niagara State Park Maintenance Building

To be eligible to participate in the lottery drawing hunters must have a current New York State Small Game license, a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp, a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, and must have successfully completed the New York State Waterfowl Identification Course. A dog or boat for retrievals is also required. For additional information on these parks drawings, call 745-7273.

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COURTESY NCSO - Todd M. Delavalle was arrested 
Tuesday in connection with the robbery of the Town of 
Lockport NOCO station on Sunday.
A Town of Lockport man was arrested this afternoon in connection to the armed robbery of the NOCO gas station on South Transit Road Sunday afternoon.

According to Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, 24-year-old Todd M. Delavalle was charged with one count each of first-degree robbery, third degree criminal possession of a weapon, and petit larceny.

The investigation included joint investigative activity between the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police.

Delavalle was arraigned in Lockport Town Court in front of the Honorable Judge Tilney, where bail was set at $100,000/$500,000. A return court date was set for Thursday at 9 a.m.

The press release from the Sheriff's Office does not mention the other two robberies done in similar fashion on Sunday, but it does note that the investigation is continuing.

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Local gas prices rose almost six cents this week to $3.67, according to AAA East Central.

The average price during the week of Feb 18 was $3.61, while the average price a year ago this week was $3.98.

Nationwide, the average price at the pump is $3.43 per gallon, up six cents from one week ago and 14 cents more than one month ago; however national prices remain 35 cents per gallon less than the same date last year.

National pump prices have started to exhibit the seasonal increase motorists are familiar with as we approach spring. While international conflicts or domestic refinery issues exacerbated this run up each of the last three years, the absence of such catalysts has resulted in a less dramatic increase thus far in 2014.

Cold weather and limited demand across the country have helped to keep a lid on gasoline prices so far this year. As the weather warms and refineries begin the switchover to produce more expensive summer-blend gasoline though, pump prices are likely to continue higher, especially if crude oil prices remain elevated. Crude oil prices may be affected in coming weeks by ongoing geopolitical tensions in South Sudan and Venezuela.

At the close of Monday’s formal trading on the NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices settled up 62 cents at $102.82 per barrel, which began the third consecutive week above the $100 threshold.

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Le Moyne College congratulates the following students who have been named to its Dean's List (those with a GPA of 3.5 or higher) for the Fall 2013 Semester.

  • Marissa Chaffee of Lockport, a junior majoring in biology
  • Katherine Naughton of Lockport, a senior majoring in English
  • Alexandra Paulin of Lockport, a freshman majoring in communications
  • Anthony Polechetti of Lockport, a junior majoring in biology
Located in a suburban setting in Syracuse, Le Moyne College is one of only 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Offering more than 30 majors, Le Moyne provides a values-based education that helps students explore their potential through academics, experience and service. 

In 2014, for the first time ever, Le Moyne was ranked by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education, according to "The Best 378 Colleges." 

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Joseph Monti of Middleport has been named to the Dean's List at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for the Fall 2013 semester. The Dean's List recognizes full-time students who maintain grade-point averages of a minimum of 3.0 out of a possible 4.0 and have no grades below "C." Monti studies Physics.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation's oldest technological research university. The university offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF US NAVY MASS COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST 3RD CLASS MARK EL-RAYES - Ensign Jeremy Orton, from Lockport, uses a bearing circle to find a true bearing on the bridge of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) during a mined channel transit drill in the Arabian Gulf earlier this month. Harpers Ferry is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. 

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The following Lockport students have been named to the Recognition Roll at Christian Central Academy in Williamsville for the second quarter of the 2013-2014 school year.

  • High Honors: Joanna Nie, YiHu (Kevin) Nie
  • Honors: Joshua Gritzmacher, Isabel McClain, and Lucas Wirth
  • Merit: Connor Fancher, Ella Fancher, Hannah Hilkey, Thomas Kazmierczak, Mia Polechetti, Cassandra Szafranski, and Zixian (Viola) Zeng.

Christian Central Academy is an independent, inter-denominational, college preparatory Christian school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. It is chartered by and registered with the New York State Board of Regents with full authority to award Regents diplomas. Accredited by the Middle States Association and member of the Association of Christian Schools International, Christian Central Academy offers seven advanced placement courses in Science, Math, History & English.

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As part of the state’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be holding a "State of Lake Ontario" fisheries public meetings in Lockport in March.

“Lake Ontario anglers continue to experience outstanding fishing on Lake Ontario and its tributaries,” Commissioner Joe Martens Martens said.  “DEC’s goal is to support the Governor’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative by growing Lake Ontario’s high-quality angling opportunities and associated economic benefits. The State of Lake Ontario meetings provide an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in the lake to interact with the scientists who study its fisheries.”

Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout and salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch and panfish. New York’s Lake Ontario waters comprise more than 2.7 million acres. A 2007 statewide angler survey estimated more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and major tributaries.  The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million annually to the local New York economy.

The Lockport meeting will be held from 6:30 - 9 p.m. March 13 at the Cornell Cooperative Extension building at the Niagara County Fairgrounds. It will be co-hosted by the Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.

There are also meetings scheduled for March 3 in Rochester and March 18 in Oswego.

DEC, United States Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources biologists will make a number of presentations, including updates on the status of trout and salmon fisheries, forage fish, stocking programs and fisheries management plans. Time will be provided at the end of the scheduled program for the audience to interact with the presenters.

Information summaries for a host of Lake Ontario fisheries assessment programs will be posted at, where previous annual reports can also be found. For further information contact Steven LaPan, New York Great Lakes Section Leader at Cape Vincent Fisheries Research Station, (315) 654-2147.

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The Niagara County Community College Small Business Development Center and Cornerstone Community Credit Union are sponsoring free business workshops every Saturday in March for local business owners to help their business succeed.

All classes will be held at the Cornerstone Community Credit Union, 6485 South Transit Road. Each class runs for two hours, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Classes include:

  • Business Organizational Forms: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC’s, and Corporations, to be held from on March 1.  
  • Financing Sources and Business Plan Development, to be held March 8. 
  • Developing a Marketing Plan, to be held March 15. 
  • Recordkeeping for Small Business, to be held March 22. 
  • Using Facebook to Promote Your Business, to be held March 29.
To register for any of the classes, call  210-2515 or email Visit the NCCC Small Business Development Center website at for more information.

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