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February, 2016:

Friday, February 20

ART247 Black and White Exhibition


March, 2016:



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There's a chance of flurries around East Niagara this morning while the afternoon is forecast to bring cloudy skies and 33-degree temperatures before dropping to an overnight low of 26.

Saturday will bring an even warmer high of 37 with a 90 percent chance of rain and snow and a low of 30.

Sunday morning - Groundhog Day - offers a high of 31, mixed with a chance of early spring. The overnight low of 9, however, indicates that the groundhog might not have such good news. Monday will be mostly sunny with a high of 23 and a low of 11, followed by a high of 27 and a low of 21 Tuesday.







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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Two men, believed to have been responsible for as many as 21 armed robberies in Niagara and Erie counties, were arrested by Cheektowaga police this morning.

Anderson Arroyo, 29, of Amhest, and Timothy Reinard, 45, of Lockport are in police custody and charged with first-degree robbery.

Police say a NOCO station on Transit Road was robbed for the third time in the past few weeks by suspects were wearing hoods and bandanas. They displayed a handgun and demanded the gas station clerk get down on the floor. They then fled.

Officers responded and searched the area. While searching, they came across a vehicle which ran a red light at the Losson Road and Towers Boulevard intersection. The vehicle was then stopped and clothes matching the description of the recent robbery were found in the car.



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A Town of Lockport man who was arrested last week for allegedly injuring a child will be given a psychiatric evaluation.

Christopher T. Fuller, Jr.was charged Friday with one count each of first-degree assault and reckless assault of a child.

On Wednesday, Fuller's attorney, Michael H. White, requested - and was granted - a psychiatric examination to see if he is mentally competent to stand trial.

Fuller is currently being held in the Niagara County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

The five-month-old baby remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Women & Children’s Hospital, where he has been since the incident.



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DeSales Catholic School's version of Seussical the Musical Jr., will be performed at Lockport's Historic Palace Theatre from tonight until Saturday.

The on-stage production is a "fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza! All of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters come to life in this delightful Seussian gumbo of musical styles, ranging from Latin to pop, swing to gospel, and R&B to funk."

Tickets to the show are only $5 at the Palace box office.



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Following single-digit and below-zero temperatures, today's high of 26 will feel almost tropic. But tomorrow it will be even warmer - above freezing, in fact.

Today's forecast calls for some snow later and an overnight low of 25, just a degree lower than the afternoon high. Friday it will start at 25 and climb to 33 with more snow likely before falling back to 25.

Saturday forecasts a high of 34 with more snow (and maybe some sleet) expected and a low of 26. Sunday's high will only be 27 before falling back to 10 degrees.

Monday offers a high of 24 and a low of 12. Tuesday will bring a high of 27 and a low of 17.



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Wednesday, January 29, 2014
A Rapids-area man told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on Tuesday that an unknown person used his identity to purchase two iphones and open an AT&T account in his name.

The complainant said that he had received a bill from AT&T for the amount of $274.05 for cell phone service from Jan. 18 to Feb. 18 and activation fee for the two phones. He told NCSO that he had contacted AT&T and was advised that the transaction was done at a Target store but was not told which store location.

AT&T had told the complainant that the unknown person provided a social security number, birth date, address and a non-valid New York license. AT&T's fraud department told the complainant that they would look into the incident.



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A Vine Street man was charged by Niagara County Sheriff's deputies with harassment on Tuesday after employees at a Transit Road restaurant say he made a scene and used a racial epithet.

Employees at Might Taco, 5691 South Transit Road, said that at about 6:20 p.m., a customer came up to the drive-through speaker and ordered an "el nigro burrito," followed by a derogatory term. The employee taking the order was African American and took offense to the remark.

When the customer came around to the drive-through window, he had an exchange with another Might Taco employee and said he didn't want his food. A few minutes later, however, the customer entered the restaurant with two friends, yelling. Webster then spit in the face of one of the restaurant employees, according to the report.

Using surveillance video and the license plate from the vehicle, NCSO tracked down the customer, Michael W. Webster, 28, of Vine Street, who stated that he was the person driving the vehicle at Mighty Taco. He also said that it was the Mighty Taco employee who had used a racial epithet against him, and he had gone into the restaurant to confront her.

Webster was charged with harassment in the second degree and disorderly conduct. He was ordered to appear in Town of Lockport Court on Feb. 13.



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Today's temperatures will continue to be brutally cold, but a warm spell is coming - comparatively speaking.

The National Weather Service expects a high temperature of 12 degrees today. But it also calls for an overnight low of 12, meaning it's not going to get colder than it is right now. Some snow is forecast for this afternoon, but it will clear out by night.

Thursday's high is projected at 29 degrees with a 23-degree low and some light snow returning Thursday night into Friday. A 40 percent chance of snow is on the radar for Friday with a high of 33 and a low of 22. Saturday's high is projected at 35 with a low of 19, followed by a daytime high of 27 Sunday and a low of 10.

Monday and Tuesday forecast highs in the upper 20s and lows in the lower teens.



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Lockport City School District faculty and staff were asked to report to school today, but most students were let off the hook. Most students, that is, except for those scheduled to take New York State Regents exams.

All four East Niagara schools were closed Tuesday, as well. Also closed were Starpoint, Wilson and Medina schools. Medina schools, however, asked students taking Regents exams to report.

The exams aren't necessary for graduation for most students, but for those going after a Regents diploma, considered of high value among state colleges, they are required.

Today's continued wind chill advisory made for dangerous conditions for kids who walk to school, especially the younger elementary school students. School officials have previously said that any time there is a wind chill of 10 degrees below zero, school would be canceled.

Also closed today are the Kenan Center and DeSales Catholic School, both of which are closed any time Lockport City Schools are cancelled. Lockport Meals on Wheels cancelled for the day, as did Niagara County Headstart.

Newfane, Barker and Roy-Hart schools are started with a two-hour delay.



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Congressman Chris Collins, R-Clarence, panned President Barack Obama's Tuesday night State of the Union Address while New York's Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, praised it.

"For weeks now, President Obama has been talking about using a pen and a phone to get things done. But the American people don’t need a pen and a phone, they need jobs and a paycheck," Collins said in a post-State of the Union press release. "We need to focus on strengthening our economy.  There are 91.8 million Americans out of work and at the end of the day jobs are created by economic growth, not mandates from Washington."

Collins said the president failed to address certain key issues he had been hoping for, such as tax reform, energy independence, and significant changes to the Affordable Care Act.

"We could immediately bolster our nation’s economy by changing ObamaCare’s definition of a full-time work week from 30 hours back to the traditional 40," Collins said. "And we could repeal the medical device tax, which is hurting American manufactures. But we didn’t hear any of these solutions from the President. Instead, we heard more 'big government knows best' solutions that are paid for by borrowing more money from China."

"Sadly," Collins concluded, "nothing in President Obama’s address indicates he has gotten the message that government works better when we work together. We need a President who will work with Congress, not around Congress."

Gillibrand and Schumer had very different takes from Collins.

Gillibrand specifically stated that she was impressed by the president's focus on the economy - and one of her primary concerns: women.

"This evening President Obama presented a compelling plan of how to achieve real opportunity for all hard working Americans," she said. " There is no doubt, the state of our union will grow stronger when every middle class American has a fair shot to earn their way ahead in our economy, and the next generation is equipped with the skills they need to reach their full economic potential."

“A growing economy and secure middle class also relies on making sure that hard work is rewarded with wages that can actually support a family," New York's junior senator said. "I am pleased the president is taking real action to raise the minimum wage for federal contractor workers to the level I am fighting for. But Congress must do its part this year, and raise the minimum wage for the 28 million Americans who have earned it."

“I hope that with President Obama, and with Democrats and Republicans working together in Congress, we can bring America’s outdated workplace polices into the 21st century, and give middle class workers the security they deserve. Because only when every woman and family gets the opportunity they deserve to achieve their potential, can America achieve hers.”

Sen. Schumer agreed with Gillibrand via his Twitter account, saying "Helping the middle class will supersede every other issue in November; the president’s speech shows that he gets it."



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Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Cold temperatures and bitter cold wind chills are expected today, according to the National Weather Service.

A wind chill advisory is in effect through 10 p.m. tonight with real temperatures hovering between near zero degrees throughout the day and night.

"A wind chill advisory is issued when strong wind will combine with cold temperatures to create dangerously cold conditions for exposed skin," according to the weather service. "The wind will make it feel like it is 15 degrees below zero or colder for several hours."

The weather service advises those who will be outdoors to "use common sense and dress warmly, making sure that all exposed skin is covered."

The severe wind chill is the primary reason for so many school closings today.

Wednesday will bring a 10-degree high and a 6-degree low with more wind. Thursday the temperature jumps to 29 for the high and 21 for the low while snow sneaks back into the forecast. Friday predicts more snow and a high of 27. Friday's low is forecast as 17.

Saturday offers a chance of snow with a high of 31 and a low of 18. Sunday is expected to be partly sunny with a high of 27 and a low of 11.



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Having been called to Walmart in Lockport Monday for a report of a bottle of pills found, Niagara County Sheriff's deputies were asked to take a report of a stolen Xbox controller.

According to the report, around 7:45 p.m. on Jan. 16, a male and a female entered the electronics department, where the male took an Xbox controller to the men's clothing department and removed it from the package while the female stayed in the electronics department. The pair then met up at the front of the store and left without paying.

The report says that the male was wearing a dark hoodie and blue jeans while the female was wearing a dark coat and dark pants.

The Xbox controller was valued at $29.96. The case is closed at this time until more information is discovered.

The pill bottle, which contained four white pills had been found on the floor in Vision Center at around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Patrol seized the pill bottle with the pills and has turned them in for destruction.



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Employees from Mike Smith Buick on Transit Road returned from the weekend to find that the four Bridgestone Dueler tires that had been on a 2014 GMC Sierra were replaced with cinder blocks.

Sometime between 4 p.m. Saturday and Monday morning, an unknown person entered the west side of the dealership lot and removed the four tires, valued at $695 each, according to a report by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

No suspect information could be provided to patrol at the time of report.



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Monday, January 27, 2014
Having declared that Lockport was sufficiently yarn bombed, local businesswoman Ellen Martin announced her latest project for Lockport: Saturday Cash Mobs.

"The idea of a Cash Mob is not original. The idea of a Cash Mob in Lockport is not original. But good ideas are worth repeating," Martin posted on her new Facebook Downtown Lockport Cash Mob Page. "So saddle up and get ready to support local small businesses. Have a little fun and spend $20 to treat yourself to something in downtown Lockport. February 1, 8, 15 and 22."

According to the Facebook page, "If 1,500 people came to Downtown Lockport and each person spent $20, you would have a boost to your community to the tune of $30,000. This is an opportunity to make a difference to the small businesses that you know and also is a great time to try something new. A glass of wine? Some flowers? A great cup of coffee? Baked goods? Lunch? Dinner? An elusive piece of hardware? A Lockport Tshirt? A haircut? The possibilities are endless. Come and re-discover Downtown Lockport."

As of 7 p.m. only 39 people had liked the Facebook page, but that number is sure to increase significantly before Saturday's kickoff, the page having just been created on Sunday.



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Three flood recovery bills aimed at providing financial assistance to municipalities and residents affected by excessive flood damage in Niagara County in the early summer of 2013 were approved today by the New York State Senate, state Sen. George Maziarz announced today.

Senate Bill 5931 would enact the “Mohawk Valley and Niagara County Assessment Relief Act,” which would allow municipalities in Niagara County to offer reduced assessments for qualifying real property owners whose property lost substantial value as a result of the severe weather events of last year. School districts offering such reduced assessment would be held harmless by the state, according to a press release from Maziarz, R-Newfane.

Senate Bill 5985 would establish a state income tax credit for storm victims, the value of which would be equal to the amount of real property taxes paid or incurred on real property that was severely damaged by flooding events, and Senate Bill 5987 would create a New York State Disaster Recovery Program to provide storm relief funds to residents when federal disaster assistance is unavailable through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We need to be creative to provide relief to communities and families who are still rebuilding after the floods that hit our region last summer,” Maziarz said. “Through no fault of their own, property owners suffered extensive property damage after the rains and floods hit, and unfortunately there simply has not been enough help for them from the government. We are trying to rectify that.”

The bills, which were all sponsored by Maziarz in the Senate, will be sent to the New York State Assembly for consideration.



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Due to dangerous weather conditions, Lockport City School District announced that schools will be closed Tuesday. With Lockport City Schools closed, DeSales Catholic School is also closed for the day. Newfane, Barker and Roy-Hart districts all canceled classes and activities for Tuesday, as well.

Other East Niagara Tuesday closings include the Dale Association, the Kenan Center, Lockport's Meals On Wheels, all Niagara County Headstart sites, Christian Academy of WNY, and Lockport Day Habilitation. Nearby, Starpoint and Wilson school district are also closed. Medina schools are closed but open for students taking state Regents exams.

This list will be updated as further closings are announced.

If you have a closing or cancellation to announce, email news@eastniagarapost.com.



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The Niagara County Sheriff's Office released surveillance photos from the failed Saturday armed robbery attempt at a Kwik Fill station in North Tonawanda.

The photos, posted to their Facebook page this afternoon, show a man in what appears to be a blue or purple coat with a hood, black gloves, black pants and black shoes. The original complaint report described the assailant as being possibly white, 5-foot, 5-inches tall with a stocky build wearing a red hoodie, dark winter hat, a dark bandana covering his face, black pants, dark gloves and dark colored boots.

ANOTHER ROBBERY IN NORTH TONAWANDA

Meanwhile, Monday afternoon, a report was made of a robbery at Able Agency, 1551 Erie Ave, North Tonawanda. The assailants in this afternoon's robbery were described as two teens with handguns. One was African American and the other was white. They were both said to be wearing  camouflage bandanas, black mittens with white snow flakes, black hoodies and jeans.



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A Town of Lockport man was arrested over the weekend following an investigation into a complaint of an injured child.

According to Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour, Christopher T. Fuller, Jr., was charged with one count each of first-degree assault and reckless assault of a child.

Fuller was arraigned in Lockport Town Court, where bail was set at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond. He was then remanded to the Niagara County Jail, with a return court date of Wednesday.



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Snow and blowing snow is forecast for today by the National Weather Service, followed by wind, wind and more wind through Thursday.

Today's high is expected to get up to 16 degrees before it plummets to -2 degrees overnight. The negative temperature and wind combine for a wind chill warning from 3 a.m. until 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Tuesday's high is forecast as only 6 degrees with another low of below zero. There is, however, no snow in the forecast for Tuesday or Wednesday, when the high is projected as 16 and the low forecast at 9.

Thursday and Friday bring a relative warm-up with highs forecast in the mid-20s and lows in the teens. Snow is back on the radar for Friday, as well as Saturday, which offers a high of 28 and a low of 19.



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Sunday, January 26, 2014
PHOTOS BY HEATHER N. GRIMMER - Flight of Five Winery owner Jackie Connelly pours a sample for one of the hundreds of happy customers at the Kenan Center's Niagara Wine & Beer Tasting Festival on Saturday.  
Corks were popping all night long at the Kenan Center on 
Saturday as part of their fourth annual wine and beer fest.
The Kenan Center's third annual Niagara Wine & Beer Tasting Festival went off without a hitch Saturday night despite getting no help from Mother Nature.

The event featured 12 wineries, mostly from the Niagara Wine Trail, and 11 breweries including Woodcock Brothers Brewery from Wilson, Flying Bison from Buffalo and West Seneca's McKenzie's Hard Cider.

According to the Kenan Center, there were less than 100 tickets unsold out of 1,100 available.

Spotted at the event were Town of Lockport Supervisor Marc Smith, North Park Junior High Principal Ryan Schoenfeld, Niagara County Legislator Tony Nemi, former County Legislator Glenn Aronow, Economic Development Director Chuck Bell, Main Street Inc.'s Heather Peck, Bob Hagen, Laurie Ferris from the YMCA, Kathy Jackson from the YWCA, LPD's Steve Ritchie, business owner Tony Weiland, and local artist and photographer Alec Maslowski.

There was live music interspersed with a disc jockey at the event. 

David Licata pours a bottle of Marjim Manor wine Saturday night. 

There was more than just beer and wine on hand, there were also specialty foods like oils and spices from Lakefront Olive Orchard.

Each patron was given a small tasting glass as well as a tasting journal and reference guide. 

Although the Kenan Arena was filled with people, the lines kept moving all night. There were few complaints. 

An employee from the Winery of Ellicottville discusses the winery's different options Saturday night at the Niagara Wine & Beer Tasting Fest. 


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An attempted armed robbery at a Town of Wheatfield Kwik Fill, 3945 Niagara Falls Blvd., resulted in the robber leaving with nothing, according to a report from the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

The report says that a male entered the store, pointed a small handgun at him and demanded money from the register. Nothing was reported missing from the gas station at this time, but NCSO hasn't said why the intended thief left the store without the money he demanded.

The suspect is described as being possibly white, 5'5" tall with a stocky build. He was wearing a red hoody, dark winter hat, a dark bandana covering his face, black pants, dark gloves and dark colored boots.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau and Crime Scene Identification Unit were called to the scene to assist in the investigation. The investigation is continuing by the Criminal Investigation Bureau

The Sheriff's office has not said whether this attempted robbery is related to a recent string of robberies but there are several similarities between Saturday's night's failed robbery attempt and about a dozen successful robberies in the past month.



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The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory from 9 o'clock tonight until 6 a.m. Monday.

During the course of the advisory, about an inch of snow accumulation is expected with winds of 25 to 35 mph blowing the snow and making visibility difficult.

East Niagara will see an overnight low of 16 after a daytime high of 19 today. Monday's high will be approximately 17 degrees with a -3 degree low for the day. The chance of snow is 40 percent. Tuesday's high will be 6 degrees with a low of -2 and a 20 percent chance of snow. Wednesday will be partly cloudy with a daytime high of 10 and a low of 6.



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Saturday, January 25, 2014
The Niagara Wine & Beer Tasting Fest at the Kenan Center today had not sold out as of noon. Less 100 (of 1,100) remained as of Friday morning, however.

The $25 pre-sale tickets are available at the Kenan Center Arena box office through 4 p.m. After that, $35 tickets may be purchased at the door when the event opens at 5 p.m. $10 designated driver tickets tickets will be available even if the event sells out.

This year's edition of the winter event will feature more than 30 wineries, breweries, specialty foods, and a variety of restaurants who will be serving up their favorites.

Attendees - who must be 21 and over with proof of age - will each receive a tasting glass, journal, 20 tickets, and a $5 food voucher. Additional tasting tickets may be purchased.

Proceeds of the event benefit the Kenan Center and its diverse arts, education, and recreation programs.

Check back here later today for photos from the event. 



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Snow and blowing snow is expected throughout East Niagara today, resulting in a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service.

A high of 22 today will drop down to around zero overnight. Snow is expected on and off all day with an inch or two accumulation overall.

Sunday forecasts a high of 15 and a low of 12 with more snow expected. Monday's high will be 18 but the low will be below zero. Tuesday offers up a 9-degree high and another below-zero low. Wednesday will bring an 11-degree high and a low hovering around zero.

Thursday it "warms up" again with a high of 22 and a low of 11.


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Friday, January 24, 2014
The Lockport Business Association is looking for a few good businessmen - and women - as nominees for this year's awards dinner in March.

The business group wants to know who you think is the business of the year, business person of the year, service club of the year, community support group or person of the year, and who is most deserving of their Lifetime Achievement award.

The nomination ballot can be found on the LBA website. Nominations are due by Feb. 8.

The awards will be presented at the associations annual dinner March 27 at the Lockport Town & County Club.



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Thursday, January 23, 2014
Niagara County Sheriff's deputies are looking into whether an overnight robbery in North Tonawanda is related to a string of robberies in Middleport, Newfane, Lockport and Wheatfield.

According to the sheriff's office, a man robbed the 7-Eleven at 1060 Niagara Falls Boulevard at the corner of Ruie Road at about 2:45 this morning.

Similar to other local robberies, the man showed a handgun before demanding cash and running from the scene.

If it is related, it would make it the ninth related robbery in a series dating back to Christmas Eve when the 7-Eleven in Middleport was robbed.

Of the nine incidents, three were 7-Elevens, four were gas stations, one was a private home and the other was the the Comfort Inn on Transit Road in Lockport.

The most recent robbery was 10 days ago when the Jolly Roger Citgo Station in Wheatfield was robbed.

In most instances, there has an unarmed and silent accomplice, but reports from this morning's robbery have not mentioned an accomplice.

The public is asked to keep vigilant in and around local businesses. Anyone who sees suspicious behavior or has any information about the armed robberies should call the sheriff's office 24-hour hotline at 438-3393.



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FILE PHOTO - A magician performs at the 2013 Niagara
County Fair. Cornell Cooperative Extension is holding a logo
contest for the 2014 Fair.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County is conducting a logo contest for the 2014 Niagara County Fair.

The contest, eligible to youth ages 5-19, will focus on farmers and their families, the produce they grow, the animals they raise, the beauty of their land, and their contribution to our community. The theme is called “A Good Thing Growing – Celebrating Niagara County Agriculture."

According to the contest rules, the logo must be an original, colorful piece of artwork designed either by hand of computer. It should be "attractive, eye catching and easy to use in advertisements, decorations, posters, etc." Submissions may incorporate some aspect or component of the Niagara County Fair,

The first-place winner will receive a $100 cash prize, two tickets to the Farm-City Breakfast, and two weekly Fair passes. Second prize is $50 cash, two tickets to the Farm-City Breakfast, and two weekly fair passes. Third prize is $25 cash, two tickets to the Farm-City Breakfast and two daily fair passes. Those who place fourth through 10th will each receive a certificate of participation and two daily passes to the fair.

Entry submissions must be received by Feb. 28 at 4 p.m.

The 2014 Niagara County Fair will be held July 30 through Aug. 3.



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Town of Lockport business owner David Mongielo was granted a stay of sentence on Wednesday, delaying his 10-day jail sentence until Niagara County Judge Matthew Murphy rules on an appeal put forth by Mongielo's attorney Frank T. Housh.

Mongielo had been ordered Tuesday by Town of Lockport Justice Leonard G. Tilney Jr. to report to Niagara County Jail at 4:30 Wednesday afternoon for violation of a conditional discharge he received in 2010 regarding a town sign ordinance.

The Town of Lockport sign ordinance prohibits electronic signs from changing more than once every 10 minutes. Mongielo's sign, in front of his business on Robinson Road, had displayed a video for a fundraiser, captured on video and reported by then-Lockport Republican Committee Chairman Donald J. Jablonski.

Mongielo's appeal is based, in part, on the political affiliation of Jablonski and Tilney, also a Republican. He says that the political system in the Town of Lockport makes it impossible for him to get a fair trial in front of the judge and has pressed for a jury trial in the matter.

A date for the appeal hearing has not been set but on Feb. 26, Mongielo will be in Lockport City Court over a traffic violation he was charged with on June 27. Mongielo turned down a plea deal earlier this month that would have had him plead guilty to obstruction of governmental administration, a class B misdemeanor. His original charges included resisting arrest and using a cellphone while driving.

Mongielo says he was using his cellphone to record the officer's interview with him. He contends that he was roughed up in that traffic stop and had attempted to file a police brutality suit, but it was dismissed by State Supreme Court Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto on Nov. 14 because the officers weren’t properly served with the papers.



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State Sen. George Maziarz, chairman of the Energy and Telecommunication Committee, is pushing the state's public service commission to move forward with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's siting process for transmission lines to get upgrades as soon as possible.

Maziarz, R-Newfane, said in a press release posted on his website that the state hasn't had a major transmission project in over 25 years, adding that 85 percent of our power transmission infrastructure was built prior to 1980.

"Due to the problems inherent in an older system, we cannot transfer power effectively from abundant upstate generation resources to the New York City market, where prices and demand are high," Maziarz said. "This scenario threatens upstate generation jobs and causes massive system congestion that increases energy rates across our state by $650 million a year. This means higher utility bills for individuals and businesses."

Maziarz said that power transmission upgrades will generate more than $7 billion in economic activity in the state and will create 12,000 direct and nearly 38,000 total jobs. It will also reduce CO2 and NOX emissions by 370,000 tons and 200,000 tons respectively.

"These transmission projects are good for the economy, good for the environment, and good for working men and women in our state," he said. "However, time and again steel-in-the-ground economic development projects that would benefit our state have been stymied in the regulatory process or succumbed under pressure from special interests. We simply cannot let that happen this time."



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The National Weather Service warns that overnight temperatures at or around zero degrees with winds of 10 to 20 mph will make it feel very cold late tonight and early Friday morning.

"A wind chill advisory is issued when strong winds will combine with cold temperatures to create dangerously cold conditions for exposed skin," the weather service states. "The wind will make it feel like 15 degrees below zero or colder for a period of several hours. If you will be outdoors, use common sense and dress warmly."

The snow showers currently ongoing in East Niagara are expected to slow by early afternoon, but about an inch of precipitation is expected to accumulate throughout the day. Today's high of 9 will gradually decrease to the overnight low of zero.

Friday's high is forecast as 17 degrees with a low of 15. Snow is likely Friday, especially later in the evening. Saturday offers a high of 25 but a low of only 6. The chance of snow is 90 percent. More snow is likely Sunday with a high of 21 and a low of 7.

Monday has a chance of snow showers with a forecast high of 14 and a low of 3. Tuesday will be mostly cloudy with a high of 11 and a low of 3. Wednesday's high is forecast as 17 degrees.



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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Niagara County residents rank near the top when it comes to health insurance. 

A study released today by Univera Healthcare found that Niagara County has a lower uninsured rate than the state and nation.  The county's 7.6 percent uninsured rate for residents of all ages is even lower than all but three U.S states and the District of Columbia.

Univera also found that more individuals in Niagara County receive their health coverage from employers compared to others in the state and nation. The 66.3 percent of those receiving health care from employers is 3.6 points higher than the Western New York average, 3.8 points higher than all of upstate, 9.9 points higher than the state as a whole, and 11.9 points higher than the nation.

GRAPHIC COURTESY OF UNIVERA HEALTHCARE - A closer look at uninsured rates (all ages) in upstate New York from 2010 to 2010. Niagara County had a lower uninsured rate than any region average, as well as the state average.


Even more significant, the percentage of Niagara County residents with health insurance already exceeds goals set by health care reform. A recent Congressional Budget Office report predicted that by 2023 when the Affordable Care Act is fully in place, 89 percent of those younger than age 65 would have coverage. But 92.3 percent of those in Niagara County already have health insurance — three points better, and nine years ahead of the CBO prediction.

Niagara County isn't alone in our higher-than-average numbers. Actually, within Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region, Erie, Monroe and Livingston counties have even higher percentages of insured residents than Niagara County does. Only Livingston County has a higher percentage of those who get their insurance from an employer, however.

“From a taxpayer’s perspective, job-based health insurance is preferable to government-based coverage, because it costs taxpayers less,” Univera President Art Wingerter observed. “We have 371,000 more upstate New Yorkers covered due to job-based benefits than we’d have if we were at the national rate for employer-based coverage.”

“Our region is in much better shape than most of the country,” Wingerter added. “I believe that upstate New York promotes a climate for wiser health care spending fostered by strong local collaborations among those who provide care and the employers and insurers who finance it. Upstate New York is also in a predominately local, nonprofit health plan marketplace characterized by low operating margins among most competing insurers.”



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Colder than average weather settled in East Niagara for the next few days.

According to the National Weather Service, today's 7-degree high will drop to an overnight low of 2 with a likelihood of snow both this afternoon and overnight.

Thursday brings a slightly higher high of 10 degrees but will drop down to 2 again. A chance of snow Thursday afternoon is high, while there's a slight to moderate chance Thursday night.

Friday warms up a bit with a high of 17 and a low of 14. Saturday's forecast high is 26 and low is projected at 8. Sunday into next week, forecast temperatures drop back down to single digits.



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An unidentified person is dead following a one-car crash on Ridge Road in the Town of Hartland Tuesday night.

According to a report from the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, around 8 p.m., an eastbound vehicle on Ridge Road left the road and went onto the south shoulder, striking a tree in the front yard of a home in the 8500 block of Ridge Road.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to ENH-Lockport shortly after and was pronounced deceased.

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

The driver's identity was withheld by NCSO pending the notification of the family.



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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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Town of Lockport businessman and government critic David Mongielo was sentenced to 10 days in jail for violating a town sign ordinance.

Technically, Mongielo's sentence is for violation of the conditional discharge he received in 2010 for his first conviction on the town’s sign ordinance, which bans electronic signs that change message or format more than once every 10 minutes.

The electronic sign in front of Mongielo’s business on Robinson Road was reportedly used to show a video advertising a fundraiser. The one-year conditional discharge would have expired the following month.

Mongielo had argued that his sign didn't change message or format. He additionally argued that the law itself wasn't legal.

Mongielo's supporters claim that the charge is rooted in politics. Mongielo ran unsuccessfully against Town of Lockport Supervisor Marc Smith in 2009 and 2013.

Frank T. Housh, Mongielo's attorney, argued that Mongielo should have a jury trial, in part due to the fact that Lockport Town Justice Leonard G. Tilney Jr. is a Republican, as was the complainant, Lockport Republican Committee Chairman Donald J. Jablonski.

Mongielo is set to begin serving his 10-day sentence Wednesday afternoon.

Next month, Mongielo will be in Lockport City Court over a traffic violation he was charged with on June 27. Mongielo turned down a plea deal earlier this month that would have had him plead guilty to obstruction of governmental administration, a class B misdemeanor. His original charges included resisting arrest and using a cellphone while driving.

Mongielo says he was using his cellphone to record the officer's interview with him. He contends that he was roughed up in that traffic stop and had attempted to file a police brutality suit, but it was dismissed by State Supreme Court Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto on Nov. 14 because the officers weren’t properly served with the papers.



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A community with a love of sports and a family with ice in their veins combined to create an upcoming pond hockey tournament.

William Ernst was watching softball at The Dugout/Toni Pepperoni on Transit Road, impressed with what he saw from Jeffrey Lowery and Ryan Maefs - the young entrepreneurs who run The Dugout.

"I asked them the question, since there was considerable property there and the theme of their place is a sports bar and restaurant, if I could hold a pond hockey tournament there," Ernst said.

"I brought up the idea to my friend Jim Quinnones back in early October 2013," Ernst said. "He also had thought about doing something of this nature. I also contacted other friends, Mike Licata and Nick Southard to help out in any way they could to make this tournament happen."

For Ernst, it was more than just wanting something to do in the winter. Hockey is in his blood and the inspiration came, in part, from his father, Quentin Ernst.

"(He) was one of the original people to install the boards in the Kenan Center which are still up today," he said. "He also was the original Lockport High School hockey coach. I was thinking of him while coming up with this idea."

With a team of eager organizers in place and a willing host agreeable to the cause, the pond hockey tournament was set in motion.

The "First Annual" Pond Hockey Tournament will be held at The Dugout (formerly Jimmy B's), 6856 South Transit Road on Feb. 8 and 9. It is expected that 24 three-person teams will participate in the event. Registration is still ongoing.

The tournament was originally set for Saturday and Sunday, but they moved the date back to Feb. 8 and 9 so as not to compete with the Tim Horton Backyard Classic, a 75-team charity tournament taking place this weekend.

Depending on the number of teams that register, one to three rinks will be constructed. One of which is already built in the rear of the complex but will moved to the baseball diamond.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Salvation Army, Niagara Hospice, the SPCA of Niagara and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Those who attend are also asked to bring a jar of peanut butter or jelly for the PB&J Drive.

"The charities were decided while being with my friends Mike and Nancy Licata," Ernst said. "I felt the Salvation Army gives back one of the highest amount of their donations to the needy. Nancy being a dog lover suggested the SPCA of Niagara. We felt Make-A-Wish of Western New York and Niagara Hospice would also be good candidates, trying to keep the donations in the area."

Organizers are still soliciting baskets for the basket raffle on Feb. 7. They have received a few already with the promise of others.

For more details, email lkptpondhockey@aol.com or visit the tournament's Facebook page.
   


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Niagara County Sheriff's deputies arrested a 20-year-old Lockport man and charged him with DWI following a one-car crash on Robinson Road on Sunday.

According to the police report, Michael A. Neuland of Saunders Settlement Road was driving at a high rate of speed westbound on Robinson Road at approximately 4:30 Sunday when he lost control of his vehicle, striking a utility pole.

Neuland had to be extricated from the vehicle due to the damage done when the driver's side of the car struck the pole. He was transported to the Erie Count Medical Center by the City of Lockport Ambulance.

Patrol went to ECMC to interview Neuland and administer sobriety tests, two of which he failed. No further tests could be adminstered "due to the physical condition of Neuland," who refused a blood-alcohol content test. Patrol filed paperwork to have his blood checked at ECMC, however.

He was ordered to appear at Town of Lockport Court on Feb. 18. His car was towed and a 12-hour hold was placed on it.

A female passenger was treated and released at ENH-Lockport, according to reports.



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A third resident of Jim Kelly Drive reported a theft from their vehicle to Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on Monday.

According to the police report, the Village mobile home park resident told NCSO that sometime between midnight and 8 a.m. on Sunday, an unknown person entered her vehicle and stole money, which she kept in her center console.

The complainant said that she examined her vehicle and found no damage and no other missing items. She assumed she must have left her door unlocked. She advised patrol that she believes a total of $7.50 was stolen.

Sunday, it was reported that two other residents of Jim Kelly Drive reported someone broke into their vehicles sometime Thursday or Friday. In those instances, a winning $2 lottery ticket was stolen from one car while nothing was taken from the second.

All three cases are currently considered closed due to lack of evidence.



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Today's forecast high of 8 degrees is about as warm as it's going to get until the weekend. The good news is, though, that the overnight low of -2 is also the coldest it's going to get over the next week.

Scattered snow showers are expected throughout the day with more snow forecast throughout the week.

Wednesday's high is forecast as 8 degrees again with an overnight low of 4. Thursday's temperatures are 11 for the high and 1 for the low. Friday it warms up a bit with 18 for the high and 14 for the low.

The real issue in the forecast is the wind chill advisory from the National Weather Service. Tonight's overnight low of -2 will be met with winds of 5 to 15 mph, resulting in wind chills of -15 to -24 degrees. That will likely lead to some school cancellations in East Niagara Wednesday morning.



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Monday, January 20, 2014
A Newfane teenager, was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving while intoxicated by Niagara County Sheriff's deputies.

According to the report, 18-year-old Anthony S. Wells of West Avenue in Newfane, was pulled over at around 5:30 a.m. on Market Street in Lockport.

After failing field sobriety tests, Wells was charged with DWI and running a red light. He was remanded to Niagara County Jail on $250 bail and his car was towed.

A female passenger in the car was taken home by sheriff's deputies.

Wells is scheduled to appear in Lockport City Court on Wednesday.


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Sunday morning, Niagara County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a house fire on Lockwood Drive in the Town of Lockport.

The homeowner told NCSO that he was attempting to thaw pipes when he began to see and smell smoke coming from the are of his hot water tank. The homeowner told patrol that he never saw any flames, and the smoke was mainly coming from the outside siding of his home.

Rapids Volunteer Fire Co. responded and stated the fire was out, but there is damage to the siding, insulation, and some of the wood structure. Town of Lockport building inspection was contacted to assess the damage, but the homeowner was able to remain in his home.



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Monday 

  • The Barker School Board will meet at 7 p.m. in the district’s administrative offices, 1628 Quaker Road.

Tuesday

  • The Middleport Village Board will meet at 7 p.m. in Village Hall, 24 Main St.
  • The Newfane School Board will meet at 7 p.m. in the Early Childhood Center on Godfrey Road.
  • The Niagara County Legislature will meet at 7 p.m. in the County Courthouse on Park Avenue.

Wednesday 

  • The Lockport Common Council will meet for a work session at 5 p.m. in City Hall, 1 Locks Plaza.
  • The Newfane Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 2737 Main St.
  • The Royalton Planning Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport.

Thursday 

  • The Greater Lockport Development Corp. will meet at 7:45 a.m. Thursday in Lockport's City Hall.



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A speeding infraction on Lockport-Olcott Road early Sunday morning led to a DWI arrest for a Newfane man.

According to a report by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Nick E. Turvey Jr., 23, of Chestnut Road, was traveling 57 mph in a 45 mph when patrol spotted him. Following a series of field sobriety tests, he was given a blood alcohol test, which he failed.

Turvey's car was towed and he was remanded to Niagara County Jail on $250 bail. He was given an appearance ticket for Town of Newfane Court on Tuesday.



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