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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Actors go into the entrance of the Lockport Caves and Underground Boat Rides during the Syfy hit "Sharknado 2: The Second One." The movie featured about two minutes of Lockport footage. (COURTESY OF SYFY)

BY SCOTT LEFFLER
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


The inside of the Lockport Caves and Underground Boat Rides as seen 
during Syfy's Sharknado 2. (COURTESY OF SYFY)
The biggest shark-based weather movie of 2014 took Lockport by storm — and the rest of America, too.

The campy disaster movie reportedly had 3.9 million viewers Wednesday night, making it the most watched Syfy channel movie ever. There's no telling how many from East Niagara watched it, but the buzz on the street and online says that people took the time to watch what some are calling "the best worst movie ever."

Lockport (and Buffalo) scenes, of course added to the local attraction and Lockport Caves & Underground Boat Rides owner Tom Callahan said he was very pleased.

"I was amazed that they used as much as they did," Callahan said of the footage shot in early  April. "Loved the subway going across the top of Upson Park."

"The texts and the emails were really coming in from people (during the movie)," Callahan said. "The alligator seems to have confused everybody though."

When filming took place in early April, people were told it was part of a movie called "Alligator Attack" and that people in the caves would be fighting off alligators. Then it was found that it was part of Sharknado 2 and people assumed that they were fighting off sharks — but it was still an alligator.

In all, about two minutes worth of footage from the Lock City was used, some outside the entrance to the caves and some inside. For anyone who has been in the caves, it was instantly recognizable.

The Pleasant Valley Tavern had Sharknado-theme specials
during the movie Wednesday night. (COURTESY PVT)
"You could tell it was the caves," said Pleasant Valley Tavern owner Jodi Newton. "We were all freaking out."

The Van Buren Street bar held a Sharknado party complete with shark-themed specials and even patrons showing up in shark gear.

"We all watched the movie and laughed. I thought it was awesome," Newton said. "It was one of our busiest Wednesdays in a long time. People that normally come out for a drink, stayed for the whole movie."

For the PVT, Sharknado was a boost for a day, but for the region as a whole, it's part of a larger puzzle that could have a much longer impact.

Mike Murphy, owner of Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises, said Hollywood's interest in the Lockport area is helpful.

"Anything that brings attention — that brings tourists to the area — is good," Murphy said, adding that everytime the History Channel airs a feature on the Erie Canal, "my phone rings."

Mayor Anne McCaffrey agrees. "It's exciting for our city to be able to say that we had a part in such a popular movie. Hollywood is welcome in Lockport any time."

While the mayor says she missed the movie Wednesday night, she does plan to watch it over the weekend. "I've seen the trailer and I'm looking forward to seeing it," she said. "It looks like a fun cult classic movie."

Jennifer Stevenson of Lockport didn't go so far as to call it a classic, but she did say it was fun to watch.

"Turn off your brain, suspend your disbelief, don't focus on the plot too much and relish the cheesy fun and B-movie homage that is Sharknado 2," she said. "Mindless good fun and footage shot in Lockport to boot."



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This smooth-barked tree shows what a healthy beech 
looks like. (PHOTOS BY BOB CONFER)
The Erie Canal towpath was once the interstate for itinerant workers — hoboes, if you will — who traveled from town to town in search of their next farming or handyman gig. While doing so, they frequently stopped over on my family’s farm, which butts up to the canal. It was an attractive spot to set up camp because of the fresh water they could drink from a brook that runs through our woods, the same brook from which they ignited gas for cooking (there is a reason it’s called GASport).

While there, they often killed time by carving their names and other things in the bark of the beech trees that are common in the woods. The smooth gray bark, so easy to cut with a pocketknife, has always been quite inviting to amateur artisans, not to mention young lovers who wanted their names forever inscribed in Mother Nature for all the world to see. The hoboes, the lovers, and anyone else interested in making a statement left their calling cards on the beeches — old-fashioned graffiti that remains to this day.

Those trees tell stories. On the trees that were cut when they were mature and thus slower to grow, I can still make out dates from the early 1930s. Some of the handiwork, less legible as the tree grew, obviously came from much earlier times. There are names; some of them belonged to the hoboes, while others I recognize as locals who probably carved the tree when they were in their teens and 20s. Now, they are in their senior years and their arboreal artwork has aged less dramatically than they.

Two beeches show the efforts of my family. One has neatly cut into its bark two words: “Ray Confer.” My grandfather probably did that when he purchased the farm in 1955 when he was six years younger than I am now. He has since passed, so that tree has always offered a comforting portal to a time gone by. The other tree in question displays my dad’s boast of having hunted his first squirrel. He likely carved that when he was just 12 years old. That tree is like a trophy, one as impressive as the deer heads on his wall.

How a beech tree looks when beech bark disease has run its course. This
tree is dead.
Sadly, all of these trees will, quite soon, no longer be able to tell their stories. About a half-dozen years ago, beech bark disease reared its ugly head on the Niagara Frontier in volume, bringing with it its deadly one-two punch. First, an insect attacks the bark. Then, the wounds left by the insects are infiltrated by a fungus. It doesn’t take long for the once-beautiful bark to crack then fracture completely, falling off the tree. The malnourished beech topples over within a couple of years of its first symptoms.

It won’t take long for the disease to take its toll on local forests, wiping out one of our most abundant trees and our best storytellers. It’s disheartening to think that the trees that should have outlived me won’t, taking with them the interesting connection I have to my family and the dozens of hardworking men who made their way across the region in hopes of overcoming the economic realities of their time.

Not one to let memories — better yet, history — die so pitifully, over the past few years I’ve taken photographs of the various trees and their carvings that remain. If you have a stand of beeches, especially one along the towpath or the rail line, you should take the time to do so, too, to familiarize yourself with the people who once called our fair community “home,” be it for years or just one night.

By capturing the images on film we can maintain the carvings for the ages, just as their artists had intended.

Bob Confer lives in rural Gasport where he won’t carve “Bob loves Bernadette” on trees because, unfortunately, the trees might not last as long as their love. Follow him on Twitter @bobconfer or email him at bobconfer@juno.com.



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Brittany N. Fanton, 24, 5974 Cumming Road, Akron, was charged around 11:08 a.m. Tuesday with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of sale of a controlled substance. According to the LPD arrest report, Fanton sold a quantity of off-white substance to an undercover agent of the police, which tested postitive for cocaine. A check of Fanton found her to have more crack cocaine on her, according to the report. She was slated for City Court on Wednesday.

Andrew J. Bailey, 21, 364 Hawley St., Lower Apt., was charged around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday with unlawful possession of marijuana and being a pedestrian in the roadway. According to the police report, Bailey was seen walking on Lock Street when patrol stopped him to interview him. When asked where he was going, Bailey said "I'm just trying to go home to smoke my weed. Yeah, I have a little bit on me." Patrol confiscated the marijuana and charged Bailey, who is due in City Court on Tuesday.

Adebola A. Adegbite, 38, 1736 LaFayette Ave., Apt. 48, Niagara Falls, was charged around 10:40 p.m. Wednesday with aggravated unlicensed operation and failure to signal. She is due in City Court on Wednesday.




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The National Weather Service calls for another wet one today with showers and thunderstorms likely with a high near 73 and a low around 59.

Friday will be mostly sunny with a high near 82 and a low around 62. Saturday calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 79 and a low around 59. Sunday brings a chance of showers and thunderstorms again with a high near 79 and a low around 62.

Monday will be mostly sunny with a high near 80 and a low around 62. Tuesday offers a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 78 and a low around 61.Wednesday: Mostly sunny with a high near 76.



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A day at the fair without fair food just isn't fair. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
It's Chicken BBQ day at the fair as the traditional fair BBQ made with Cornell’s famous sauce will some from noon until they're gone at the food tent. The price per meal is $9, which includes half a chicken, corn on the cob, coleslaw, choice of beverage, and a dinner roll.

If BBQ isn't your thing, there's plenty more food to go around, like tacos, hot dogs, pizza, turkey legs, Italian sausage, chicken fingers, even seafood. And of course, there's plenty of tasty desserts to chase lunch of dinner down with.

If you need entertainment to enjoy your food, check out Deanna Civilette, a singer-songwriter based out of Fredonia. She is a solo artist that plays original songs as well as covers. She will be playing at the covered stage at 3 p.m. with Bendix, a 5 piece indie/alternative band from Newark. Craig Wilkins will also perform at 7 p.m.

Other highlights of the day include a jaws of life demonstration at 4 p.m. and the finals to the Karaoke contest that began on Wednesday.

The full fair schedule for the day:

9 a.m. 4-H Western Horse Show – HA
10 a.m. 4-H Beef Showmanship & Show – SR
10 a.m. Rabbit/Cavy Judging & Showmanship – RB
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pie Sales – TC
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Milk Bar Sales –4-H MB
11 a.m. Farm Tour – SR
11 a.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration – CO
11 a.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
Noon Chicken Barbecue sponsored by Cornerstone CFCU – FT
Noon Equine Tour — HA
1:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
1:30 p.m. Face Painting –TC
2 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
2:30 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
3:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
3 p.m. Deanna Civilette with Bendix — CS
3 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff K9 Demo – PV
3 p.m. 4-H Western Dressage/Trail – HA
4 p.m. Serendipity Swing — MS
4 p.m. Jaws of Life Demo — PV
4 p.m. 4-H Goat Products Contest – TC
4:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
5 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
5 p.m. 4-H Sheep Showmanship – SR
5 p.m. Gardening Hot Topics Q & A — CT
5:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
5:30 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
6 p.m. Farm Tour — SR
6 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff’s K9 Demo – PV
6 p.m. Popsicle Stick Farm Animal Craft – TC
6:30 p.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration –CO
7 p.m. Jaws of Life Demo — PV
7 p.m. Craig Wilkins- CS
7 p.m. Equine Tour – HA
7:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
7:30 p.m. Karaoke Contest Finals — MS
8 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV

Legend:
4-H MB = Milk Bar 
AB = Admin. Building
CO = Coliseum
CS = Covered Stage
CT = CCE Tent
FT = Food Tent 
GB = Goat Barn 
GH = Greenhouse
HA = Indoor Arena 
LB = Livestock Barn 
MB = Merchants Building
MS = Main Stage 
PV = Pavement 
RB = Rabbit Barn 
SR = Show Ring
TC = Training Center 



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — More than 300 NYSEG customers in the town and a handful in the city are without power currently.

The outage affects Town of Lockport customers on Commerce Drive, Crown Drive, Crown Drive Extension, Enterprise Drive, Gothic Hill, Gothic Ledge, Gothic Lane, IDA Park Drive, Junction Road, Lockport Junction Road, Lower Mountain Road, Mount View Drive, Niagara Street, Niagara Street Extension, Renaissance Lane, Sebastian Lane, Sunset Drive, Townline Road, Twilight Lane and Upper Mountain Road. In the city, customers are without power on Upper Mountain Road and Heath Street.

Many of those affected are businesses, including Delphi/General Motors.

NYSEG says power should be restored, hoewever, by 4:45 a.m.



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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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RAPIDS — A Crosby Road couple reported Tuesday to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office that someone had stolen three guns from a gun cabinet in their home.

The couple said that they had previously noticed small sums of money missing occasionally but didn't feel the incidents warranted reporting. Most of the losses occurred from a bedroom that the couple uses as storage.

On Sunday, the couple discovered that three long guns were missing from a gun cabinet in the same room. The guns, a .12 guage shotgun, a .20 guage shotgun and a .22 caliber rifle, went missing sometime between Jan 1, 2009 and Saturday.

The complainants advised that they lock their home regularly when they are away and that their Labrador is always in the house when they are gone. Complainnats further advised that the perimeter of their home has never shown signs of damage or of having been breached, and no other persons have access to the keys to their home.

Complainants list three persons with familiarity of their home sufficient to allow thefts of this type, but told NCSO that it is unlikely that any of them is the culprit.



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The annual Antique Tractor Parade went out without a hitch tonight at the Niagara County Fair. The on-again, off-again rain stopped just in time for nearly 60 tractors to make their way past happy spectators. (HEATHER N. GRIMMER / ENP PHOTOGRAPHER)

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The rain today fluctuated between torrential downpour and slight drizzle. For short period, though, the sky was clear and the sun shone down. Such was the case for this evening's Antique Tractor Parade at the Niagara County Fair.

Nearly 60 tractors took part in the parade at 7 p.m. at the Niagara County Fairgrounds, an annual staple of the parade. Some tractors and their drivers took home awards.

Oldest tractor

  • John and Paul Brown, 1920 Cletrac

Rarest tractor

  • Joe Stewart, Oliver OC-3

Best Original Paint

  • Mike Jowdy, John Deer 60 Standard

Most Original Display

  • Cliff Grant, trailer of tractor

Most Unique Tractor

  • John and Paul Brown, Ford 8N Articulated

Best Static Display

  • Friend sprayed on trailer

Most Unique Tractor Display

  • Chris Kelly, Superman and friends spray pump

Most Tractors of the Same Brand Owned by One Person

  • Joe Ohol
Best Tractor Out of the Barn and to the Tractor Show


  • Dave and Justin Daigler, Allis Chalmers WC

Best Appearing Tier I

  • David McCollum, 2030 w duals
  • David McCollum, MH55
  • John and Gretchen Brown, McCormick 1020
  • John and Paul Brown, John Deer 5010
  • Timothy Gilliam, MM 45
  • Joe Townsend, John Deer D
  • Pete Ketch, International H
  • Wayne Jagow, Super A
  • Don Walck, W9
  • Hoovers Dairy, Allis Chalmers WD

Best Appearing Tier II

  • Rick Fullunell, 706 International
  • Zahno, John Deer 730 D
  • Pete Ketch, Ford Jubilee V8
  • Ralph and Pat Vinson, Ford 9N
  • Wayne Jagow, International Cub
  • Norm Human, Oliver 66
  • Grieg Ketch, International 66
  • David McCollum, John Deer 830 D
  • Hoovers Dairy
  • McCollum Farms, John Deer 2030

Best Appearing Tier III

  • Ron Wendt, John Deer 420
  • David McCollum, International 1066
  • Robert Perry, International H
  • Joe Stewart, John Deer BO
  • Andrew Townsend, John Deer M
  • Brian Wyhte, John Deer 2840
  • Morris and Audrey Wingard, Super A
  • Bob Urtel, International 560 with loader
  • The Maerten Family, International Cub
  • Sue Rowel, International 40

The parade tractors and many more are on display throughout the fair, which runs through Sunday.



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Norman Robert Dershem passed away July 28, 2014. Born in Lockport on August 26, 1926 he was the son of Ralph J. and Ruth S. (Gursling) Dershem. Norman served in the US Army from February 1945 to December 1946 in the Military Police earning the Army of Occupation Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. Upon discharge from service he earned his GED and went to work for Harrison Radiator for 33 years retiring in 1978.

Norman enjoyed gardening, antique cars, and especially enjoyed restoring antique radios, so much so that he has restored 300 radios. He also loved all animals especially his cats, dog, and just sitting in his backyard watching the birds and all that nature has given us.

Norman is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Elizabeth (Wintermuth) Dershem of Lockport; beloved father of Cynthia (Bill) Russell and Carolyn (Jeff) Koup; cherished grandfather of two and great grandfather of eight.

Private graveside services will be held at the convenience of the family.

Please visit www.pruddenandkandt.com.


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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A Lockwood Drive woman reported to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office on Monday night that someone had stolen four tires and rims from his backyard.

The woman told patrol that the incident occurred sometime from 1 - 6 a.m. Monday.  The total value of the rims is $100.

The case is closed pending further information.



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Pauline Dorothy Lesser of Burt, New York, died on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at Niagara Hospice, Lockport, New York.

She was predeceased in 1994 by her husband of 53 years, Raymond A. Lesser, parents Willis John and Agnes (Stonebreaker) Irwin, sister Iva Mae Jones and brother Robert Irwin. She is survived by sons John Lesser of Show Low, Arizona, Richard (Luba) Lesser of Fayetteville, New York, sisters Ruth Master of Fort Pierce, Florida, Shirley (Jack) Winter and Sandra Lee Schmitt of Williamsville, New York, grandchildren Christopher Lesser (Arizona), Jeffery Lesser (Lockport), Christina Tetraul (Lockport), Simon and Willis Lesser (Fayetteville) and several great-grandchildren.

Pauline was a member of the United Methodist Church in Olcott, New York and a former member of Eastern Star. For many years she drove school bus for the Newfane Central School System with best friends Emma Kramp, Betty Erck, and Sylvia Padillano. She loved to bake and could be counted on to provide delicious pies for the church bake sales. Local history and national politics were of great interest to her and were topics for lively discussion whenever family visited. Musicals, movies, and music, especially Dixieland, Ragtime and Jazz, were passionate delights in her life and she shared that joy with friends and family alike. Pauline was a loving and supportive mother, grandmother, and friend.

The family wishes to thank the many people who were especially supportive in her final years including Sam Clogston of Olcott, Molly Lalich of Lockport, neighbors Rob and Sue Andreas and Joe Maraglino and Linda Michals of Burt, the wonderful staff at the Lockport Presbyterian Home and the personnel at Niagara Hospice on Sunset Drive.

A Celebration of Life will be celebrated SATURDAY, August 9, 2014 at 1:00 PM at RUTLAND-CORWIN FUNERAL HOME, INC. 2670 Main Street Newfane, NY. Following the celebration a reception at  The Brookside 2990 Lockport-Olcott Road Newfane, NY from 2-4 PM.

Please visit www.rutland-corwin.com to send a condolence to the family.


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The National Weather Service has extended the flash flood warning for southern Niagara County — including the city and town of Lockport, Gasport, Royalton, Middleport, and Hartland — to 6:45 p.m.

Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding of small creeks and streams, highways and underpasses. Additionally, county roads and farmlands along the banks of creeks, streams and other lowlying areas are susceptible to flooding.

The flood watch, issued at 12:53 p.m., was originally in effect until 3:45 p.m.



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Local gas prices were at about $3.76 a gallon, a slight dip from last week, according to AAA East Central. The average price of $3.765 is down a penny from $3.777 last week and nearly nine cents from the $3.848 it was a year ago.

Despite continuing geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa, American motorists are paying the lowest average retail price at the pump since March 17. This is due to U.S. refineries running near their highest rates since 2005, according to the Energy Information Administration, and domestic demand that was reported last week to have dropped back below nine million barrels per day.

The national average price for unleaded gasoline has dropped every day in July and has fallen on 32 consecutive days, which is just short of the multi-year record of 36 straight daily declines registered last fall. Today’s average of $3.52 per gallon is five cents less than one week ago and 11 cents less than the same date last year.

Over the last week consumers in 46 states and Washington D.C. have seen the price at the pump continue to fall, led by drivers in several Midwestern states who are saving more than a dime per gallon.



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HARTLAND — A Carmen Road resident told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies that her home was broken into on Monday.

Similar to an incident on Hoffman Road that also occurred Monday, the woman told patrol that she came home to find the window to her back door broken. The security alarm to the home was activated when the window was broken, it appears.

Patrol found four pill bottles on the woman's kitchen counter which is located in close proximity to the door that was broken into. The woman said that her residence was broken into last year and Hydrocodone pills were taken but she did not report it.

The woman had no possible suspects in mind.



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SOMERSET — A Hoffman Road resident told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies that someone broke into her home through her sliding glass door but didn't appear to have taken anything.

The woman said the break-in occurred between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. when an unknown person broke the glass on the door and opened the door approximately one foot. The door was locked when she left for work in the morning. A window on the home was broken, as well.

The woman told patrol, however, that nothing appeared to be missing or out of place. Patrol believes that the woman's dog may have scared off the unknown suspect.



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The Niagara County Fair kicked off this morning with the famed annual Farm City Breakfast. It continues through Sunday evening.

The theme for this year’s fair is “A Good Thing Growing – Celebrating Niagara County Agriculture”. Earlier this year, CCE held its annual fair logo contest, open to Niagara County youth age 5 to 19 years. The winner, Matthew McAuley of Lockport, was awarded his $100 prize during this morning's breakfast.

Matthew is a 15-year-old sophomore at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. He is a member of the Science Olympiad, intramural bowling teams and art club. Outside of school, Matthew spends his time as a Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 4 in Lockport at St. John the Baptist Parish and the Knights of Columbus Columbian Squires. His hobbies include cycling, drawing and camping.

The other top 10 entrants of the contest were also recognized during the Farm City Breakfast and all the submitted logos will be displayed throughout the fair.

Other highlights of the fair today include the Niagara University Repertory Theatre (N.U.R.T.), performing at 2 p.m. and the annual tractor parade, to be held at 7 p.m.

Today's full fair schedule:

8 a.m. Farm City Breakfast Sponsored by NCCC — FT
8 a.m. 4-H English Horse Show – HA
10 a.m. 4-H Swine Showmanship & Show – SR
10 a.m. 4-H Poultry Show/Awards – LB
10 a.m. Rabbit/Cavy Judging – RB
10 a.m. to 8 p.m Pie Kitchen – TC
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Milk Bar Sales – 4-H MB
11 a.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration – CO
Noon Livestock Judging – LB
1:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
1:30 p.m. Make Window clings — TC
2 p.m. NU Repertory Theatre — PV
2:30 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
3 p.m. Gardening Hot Topics Q & A – CT
3 p.m. 4-H Meat Goat Showmanship & Show and Working Goat – SR
3 p.m. 4-H English Dressage/Trail – HA
3:30 p.m. Karaoke Contest — CS
3:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
3:30 p.m. “Talking Trash” Craft –TC
4:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
5 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
5:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
5:30 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff’s CERT Demo – PV
7 p.m. Antique Tractor Parade—PV
7 p.m. 4-H Dog Showmanship—SR
7 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
7:30 p.m. Jonesie – MS
8 p.m. to 10 p.m. 4-H Annual Achievement Dance—CS

Legend:
4-H MB = Milk Bar 
AB = Admin. Building
CO = Coliseum
CS = Covered Stage
CT = CCE Tent
FT = Food Tent 
GB = Goat Barn 
GH = Greenhouse
HA = Indoor Arena 
LB = Livestock Barn 
MB = Merchants Building
MS = Main Stage 
PV = Pavement 
RB = Rabbit Barn 
SR = Show Ring
TC = Training Center 




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Tuesday was the day that bidders interested in buying the Buffalo Bills filed their official bids. Donald Trump sounds like he is already backing out by announcing that the price for sports franchises has become so stupidly high that it isn’t worth placing a real bid. A rare moment of clear thinking from the Donald.

Let’s set something straight here; Jon Bon Jovi is not looking to buy the Buffalo Bills on his own. Jon Bon Jovi is the face of a group that is actually funded, almost completely, by Rogers Communication in Toronto. Jon Bon Jovi is being the “face” of this group and he is making only a token contribution to the nearly $1 billion the Bills will certainly sell for. But from the beginning, the “Bon Jovi group” has made nothing but mistakes.

Somehow along the way, a long time ago, it was revealed that Bon Jovi and the Rogers people want to buy the Bills and move the team to Toronto. At first, Bon Jovi said nothing. Now it has all but been confirmed that if Jon Bon Jovi’s group buys the Bills, then the team will move to Toronto by 2020.

The big question is – why?

The Bills have played several preseason and regular season games in the relatively small Rogers Centre in Toronto (it only holds 54,000 for an NFL game) and none of those games sold out. The ones that were on television started the first quarter with the stadium nearly empty. By the time the Bills fans from Buffalo were done tailgating and started to filter into the stadium along with the thousands of people who were given free tickets to make the stadium look full, the game was half over.

The only people in Toronto who want the Bills to move there is the Rogers family. Every single other Canadian that has commented on the subject either does not want the Bills or wants the Bills to stay in Buffalo. To move the Bills to Toronto, the city would need to build a new stadium. That is actually convenient because the CFL team, the Toronto Argonauts, is going to need a new stadium in a couple of years as well because the Blue Jays are going to be throwing the Argos out of Rogers Centre.

So to help smooth over this whole transition with us fans, the Rogers family hooked up with famous rock star Jon Bon Jovi…and now Bon Jovi is the most hated man in Western New York. That is some good business planning, right there. If Bon Jovi and the Rogers family win the bid, the fans know that the team is moving. That means that ticket sales will slowly dwindle down to nothing and the last two or three seasons could be played in front of an almost empty house.

The Rogers family, for some inexplicable reason, thinks that Buffalo football fans will follow the Bills to Toronto. It is a well-known fact among sports fans in WNY and Southern Ontario that Buffalo sports fans do not travel to Toronto to see any games. We don’t go to see the Leafs play the Sabres in the Air Canada Centre, and the legions of Yankees fans in Buffalo would rather drive to the Bronx to see the Yankees play than go to Toronto.

Toronto sports fans, however, seem to love coming to Buffalo for sporting events. By picking up the Bills and moving them to Toronto, Rogers will have created a situation that will cause complete financial collapse in less than five years. In Buffalo, the Bills sell out the stadium and remain financially viable. In Toronto, the franchise withers and dies. It does not take a genius to figure that out, but apparently, it has eluded Bon Jovi and the Rogers family.

So with the Donald out, that means that Rogers wins and the worst business decision in sports gets put into action, right? Not so fast. Everyone seems to be forgetting one very important and stupidly wealthy person – T-Pegs, also known as Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula.

Two months before all of this hubbub started, T-Pegs sold exactly $1.7 billion worth of property that he owned for cash. Then, he announced that he is bidding on the Buffalo Bills. The Rogers family has a lot of money, but it is doubtful that they have $1.7 billion extra. It is money that is literally burning a hole in T-Pegs’ pocket and he could, conceivably, throw the whole thing at the Bills.

What would T-Pegs do with the Bills? He would finance his own downtown stadium and then, just as he has done with the Sabres, he will also finance a series of attached businesses that will significantly aid in revitalizing downtown Buffalo. He will do all of this without asking for a single dime from the taxpayers. How do I know that? Because he has already personally funded millions of dollars worth of construction projects in his own little slice of downtown and he has billions more to go around.

If the Bon Jovi group wins the bid, then the NFL will be facing a problem it cannot solve. Someone suggested that, since Toronto is only 90 minutes away, having the Bills play in Toronto would not be considered relocation. The league can play all the games with the wording that it wants, we would know the truth.

These will be anxious times in Western New York for the next few days. The Bills do not have nearly the economic impact on Buffalo that the Sabres do, but losing the Bills would be a kick in the gut that this area would take years to recover from.

Can T-Pegs save Buffalo again? Sure he can. Will he? Until we hear the final bid results, we are all just living on a prayer.

Nick Oliver is a resident of Niagara County and die-hard Buffalo sports fan. His column can appears every Wednesday and it gives sensible commentary a bad name.



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The National Weather Service calls for scattered showers and thunderstorms today with a high near 70. More rain is likely tonight with a low around 56.

Thursday calls for more rain with a high near 73 and a low around 58. Friday will be mostly sunny with a high near 82 and a low around 64. Saturday, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 81 and a low around 65.

Sunday offers a slight chance of showers with a high near 80 and a low of around 63. Monday will be mostly sunny with a high near 81 and a low around 63. Tuesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 80.



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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


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Vote tallies by ward as read to the media and 
school board. (ENP STAFF PHOTO)
Voters of the Lockport City School District passed the sale of the former Washington Hunt Elementary School to business owner Bob Muscarella by a total 1,656 - 291.

Muscarella, owner of Ultimate Physique gym on Ann Street, will purchase the former school building for $65,000 with plans to move the gym there and expand it.

Today's vote was the second effort by the school district to sell the building to Muscarello. The first attempt failed by a vote of 805 - 772 on May 6.

Voting was closest in the 1st Ward, where the Washington Hunt building is, but at 177 votes for and 57 against, it wasn't exactly close even there. The 2nd Ward approved it 341 - 39, the 3rd Ward voted 109 - 25 in favor, the 4th Ward voted 207 - 41 in favor, and the 5th Ward voted 249 - 35 in favor. Outside the city, the vote was 573 - 94 in favor.

District officials say that the vote brought out a higher number of taxpayers to weigh in on the issue than the first vote did, which coincided with a budget vote. A back-and-forth campaign between supporters and opponents raised interest in the proposed sale.

One poll worker dropping off ballots at the Board of Education building was overheard saying "we never even got a chance to eat." Polls were open from noon to 9 p.m. and voting was reported as steady throughout the day.

There was a minor glitch in voting at one of the district's five voting locations as the machine at Anna Merritt Elementary School was not functioning at the start of the day. The malfunction was quickly fixed, though, according to district officials.

Opponents had said that Muscarella's offer was too low — the building is assessed at $195,000 — and that the district hadn't done enough to market the school to prospective buyers.

Muscarella was the only person to make a written offer following a 10-day notice of the district's intention to sell in the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal.

He said he hopes to begin construction as soon as possible and would like to open by the first of the year.



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Shamir Allen
U.S. Marshalls are on the look out for a man they say is a suspect in several shootings in the Lockport area.

The suspect, 19-year-old Shamir W. Allen, aka "DuWop," also has active warrants in the Town of Niagara for several violent felonies. He is described as 152 pounds, 5-foot, 10-inches tall with brown eyes and brown hair.

According to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Allen has two active warrants for his arrest, both issued July 22. Those warrants list a Charlotte, N.C. home address.

Law enforcement agents warn Allen should be considered dangerous.

Wednesday, the U.S. Marshall's office lead raids on two Lockport homes — one on Willow Street and the other on North Transit Street — searching for a suspect on a warrant.

Lockport Police Capt. Brian Wentland said that Allen was the target in those searches. He was reluctant to refer to Allen as a suspect, however, but did say he is a "person of interest" in a number of shootings.

There have been approximately a dozen shootings in and around the city this year, including one LPD has no doubt Allen was involved in — as the victim. That happened on June 9 when police were called to Eastern Niagara Hospital-Lockport to talk with a man who had been shot in the leg. The victim — Allen — refused to tell police where he had been shot or who shot him.

Wentland said Allen is well known to the police department, having been arrested four times in 2013 and once this year.

Officials from the Greater Buffalo Metropolitan Crime Stoppers have offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to Allen's arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call 867-6161.



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The 2014 Niagara County Fair logo was designed by  Matthew McAuley of Lockport. The fair opens Wednesday. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF CORNELL COOPERATIVE EXTENSION)

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The Niagara County Fair starts Wednesday morning with the annual Farm-City Breakfast and concludes Sunday evening with the crowning of the 4-H royalty.

Fair organizers note that the midway opens at noon daily at that Lake Avenue will be closed at 4 p.m. Saturday for the parade. The rest of the schedule follows.

Wednesday 

The midway will open each day at noon. 
8 a.m. Farm City Breakfast Sponsored by NCCC — FT
8 a.m. 4-H English Horse Show – HA
10 a.m. 4-H Swine Showmanship & Show – SR
10 a.m. 4-H Poultry Show/Awards – LB
10 a.m. Rabbit/Cavy Judging – RB
10 a.m. to 8 p.m Pie Kitchen – TC
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Milk Bar Sales – 4-H MB
11 a.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration – CO
Noon Livestock Judging – LB
1:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
1:30 p.m. Make Window clings — TC
2 p.m. NU Repertory Theatre — PV
2:30 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
3 p.m. Gardening Hot Topics Q & A – CT
3 p.m. 4-H Meat Goat Showmanship & Show and Working Goat – SR
3 p.m. 4-H English Dressage/Trail – HA
3:30 p.m. Karaoke Contest — CS
3:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
3:30 p.m. “Talking Trash” Craft –TC
4:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
5 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
5:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
5:30 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff’s CERT Demo – PV
7 p.m. Antique Tractor Parade—PV
7 p.m. 4-H Dog Showmanship—SR
7 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
7:30 p.m. Jonesie – MS
8 p.m. to 10 p.m. 4-H Annual Achievement Dance—CS

Thursday 

9 a.m. 4-H Western Horse Show – HA
10 a.m. 4-H Beef Showmanship & Show – SR
10 a.m. Rabbit/Cavy Judging & Showmanship – RB
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pie Sales – TC
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Milk Bar Sales –4-H MB
11 a.m. Farm Tour – SR
11 a.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration – CO
11 a.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
Noon Chicken Barbecue sponsored by Cornerstone CFCU – FT
Noon Equine Tour — HA
1:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
1:30 p.m. Face Painting –TC
2 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
2:30 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
3:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
3 p.m. Deanna Civilette with Bendix — CS
3 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff K9 Demo – PV
3 p.m. 4-H Western Dressage/Trail – HA
4 p.m. Serendipity Swing — MS
4 p.m. Jaws of Life Demo — PV
4 p.m. 4-H Goat Products Contest – TC
4:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
5 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
5 p.m. 4-H Sheep Showmanship – SR
5 p.m. Gardening Hot Topics Q & A — CT
5:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
5:30 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
6 p.m. Farm Tour — SR
6 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff’s K9 Demo – PV
6 p.m. Popsicle Stick Farm Animal Craft – TC
6:30 p.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration –CO
7 p.m. Jaws of Life Demo — PV
7 p.m. Craig Wilkins- CS
7 p.m. Equine Tour – HA
7:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
7:30 p.m. Karaoke Contest Finals — MS
8 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV

Friday 

There's always something tasty to eat at the fair. 
8:30 a.m. 4-H Light Harness Driving Show – HA
9 a.m. 4-H Dairy Cattle Showmanship & Show – SR
10 a.m. to 8:00pm Pie Sales – TC
11 a.m. to 10:00pm Milk Bar Sales –4-H MB
11 a.m. Discover Aquaponics — GH
11 a.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
11 a.m. Farm Tour – SR
11:30 a.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration- CO
Noon Equine Tour — HA
1:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
2 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
2 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
2:30 p.m. Gardening Hot Topics Q & A — CT
3 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff’s K9 Demo – PV
3 p.m. 4-H Gymkhana (Games) – HA
3 p.m. Play With Your Food Contest – TC
3:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
4 p.m. Celtic Cross – CS
4 p.m. Make “Goop” – TC
4:30-8 p.m. Fish Fry – FT
4:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
5 p.m. Scott Celani — MS
5 p.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration – CO
5 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
5:00pm Roller Girls – PV
5-11 p.m. Beer Tent
5:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
5:30 p.m. 4-H Auction – SR
6 p.m. Hot Country Liners – PV
6:30 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
7 p.m. Cue the Sun – CS
7 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff K9 Demo – PV
7 p.m. 4-H Rabbit/Cavy Exhibitor Judging – RB
7-11 p.m. 90 West – MS
7:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
8 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV

Saturday 

9 a.m. 4-H Dairy Goat Showmanship and Goat – SR
9 a.m. 4-H Miniature Horse Show – HA
9 a.m. 4-H Livestock Skillathon – LB
10 a.m. to 4:00pm American Red Cross – Blood Drive – PV
10 a.m. to 8:00pm Pie Sales – TC
11 a.m. to 10:00pm Milk Bar Sales -4-H MB
11 a.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
11 a.m. Farm Tour – SR
11 a.m. Discover Aquaponics – GH
11:30 a.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration – CO
11:30 a.m. Garden Hot Topics Q & A – CT
12 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
12 p.m. Equine Tour — HA
12 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
12 p.m. Country Cloggers — PV
12 p.m. Tanzen Dancers (NCCC) – MS
12:30 p.m. Lockport Community Band – CS
1 p.m. Hot Country Liners – PV
1 p.m. Make Boondoggle Bracelets — TC
1:30 p.m. 4-H Food Demonstration -TC
2 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
2 p.m. Billy “D” /Johnny Cash Impersonator – CS
2 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff’s ERT Demo – PV
2 p.m. 4-H Dog Obedience – SR
2:30 p.m. Charlie & Checkers – PV
3 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
3:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
3:30 p.m. Egg Carton Craft -TC
4 p.m. Firefighter’s Parade – Lake Avenue
4 p.m. Dog Rally – SR
4:30 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
4-11 p.m. Beer Tent
5 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff’s K9 Demo – PV
5 p.m. 4-H Rooster Crowing Contest – LB
5 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
5 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV
5 p.m. Paul Bunyan – (sign-up at 5pm) – SR
5:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
6 p.m. Charlie & Checkers – PV
6 p.m. 4-H Rabbit/Cavy Costume Contest–RB
6 p.m. Dairy Princess – Ice Cream Demonstration –TC
6 p.m. Farm Tour – SR
6:30 p.m. Pack Goat Obstacle Course Demonstration – CO
7 p.m. Rock Angels – CS
7 p.m. Equine Tour – HA
7 p.m. Niagara County Sheriff’s K9 Demo – PV
7-11 p.m. Cock Robin – MS
7:30 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
8 p.m. Chainsaw Sculpting Demonstration — PV near Admin Bldg
8 p.m. Charlie & Checkers – PV near Sheriff’s Tent
8 p.m. Greased Pole Competition – near FT

Sunday 

Proudly Sponsored by Niagara’s Choice Credit Union
7:30 a.m. English/Western/Games Horse Show (Open) – HA
8 a.m. Swine Obstacle Course – SR
10 a.m. to sold out Pie Sales – TC
10 a.m. 4-H Goat Product Competition – GB
10 a.m. -4:00pm American Red Cross – Bloodmobile – PV
10 a.m. -4:00pm Classic Car Show featuring “Jukebox Tonight” – PV
11 a.m. to sold out Milk Bar Sales –4-H MB
11 a.m.- 1:00pm Free Kid Activities/Crafts – TC
11 a.m. Little Britches—SR
11 a.m. Discover Aquaponics — GH
11:30 a.m. Garden Hot Topics Q & A — CT
12 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
12 p.m. 4-H Master Showmanship Contest – SR
12 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
1-3 p.m. Lockport Cheerleaders — PV
1-3 p.m. Gravitational Bull – CS
1 p.m. Toy Tractor Pedal Pull –PV
1:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
2 p.m. K9s in Flight – Near the 4-H MB
2:30 p.m. Agriculture Discovery Zone — CT
3:30 p.m. Balloon Workshop — MB
5 p.m. 4-H Awards Ceremony, Crowning of 4-H Royalty – SR
6 p.m. Fair Closes: See you next year!

Legend:
4-H MB = Milk Bar 
AB = Admin. Building
CO = Coliseum
CS = Covered Stage
CT = CCE Tent
FT = Food Tent 
GB = Goat Barn 
GH = Greenhouse
HA = Indoor Arena 
LB = Livestock Barn 
MB = Merchants Building
MS = Main Stage 
PV = Pavement 
RB = Rabbit Barn 
SR = Show Ring
TC = Training Center 



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The Lockport Rampage defeated the Buffalo Gladiators for the second consecutive week on Saturday, winning by a score of 26-6.

The Rampage also raised $700 during the game for WNY Challenger Sports, an organization dedicated to providing individuals with mental and physical conditions the opportunity to play competitive sports.

The Rampage started the scoring off early when  Jeremy Brown returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown. The Gladiators came back to tie the game in the first quarter, but those were the only points they would score for the rest of the night.

In the first meeting between the two teams, the Gladiators relied heavily on the run. In this contest the Gladiators were pass heavy, but the Rampage still held them to 129 yards of total offense (and -2 yards rushing). Cliff McDowell lead the defensive effort with five tackles, (two tackles for a loss), a pair of forced fumbles, and a pass defended. Jeremy Brown had four tackles, three passes defended, and an interception. Tom Covey had six tackles (two for a loss) and Marcus Wyche added five tackles. Defensive lineman Dave Gross and Al Scott both recovered fumbles at key points in the game.

The Lockport offense scored three more times and racked up over 300 yards in the process.  The Rampage had 97 yards on the ground, with RB Tewaine Panell leading the way with 50 yards (8 carries, 6.25 yards per attempt).  WRs Darrel Keith, Nick Peterson and James Celotto all caught TD passes from QB Lamont Rhim.  Rhim finished the day with 201 yards passing and 3 TD passes.  Six different players caught passes from Rhim, with WR Chris Montgomery leading the way with 4 catches for 63 yards.

With the win the Rampage improve to 7-0 in the NFA (8-0 overall) and clinch a playoff spot.



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This M&T Bank surveillance photo shows the armed robber enter the story at around 12:05 p.m. Police continue to look for him in the City of Lockport. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF LOCKPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT)

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Lockport police have issued surveillance video photos from this afternoon's M&T bank robbery at Pine and Walnut streets.

At approximately 12:07 p.m., an employee called 911 to report that a black male armed with a hand gun had demanded money and then fled the bank on foot.

The suspect is described as a black male approximately 5-foot 6-inches to 5-foot 8-inches tall, thin build, wearing a black and white checked hat, blue zip up hooded sweatshirt and dark blue baggie jeans.

The investigation is on-going at this time and police ask that anyone with information please contact Det. Capt. Brian Wentland at 439-6666 or the confidential tip line at 439-6707.

Also assisting in the investigation is the FBI, New York State Police and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

M&T officials directed all questions to corporate communications.





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More than 1,400 students graduated from Buff State in May, including more than three dozen from East Niagara. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

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BUFFALO — More than 1,400 students graduated from SUNY Buffalo State in May, including dozens from East Niagara. Local graduating students include:

  • Andrea Rongo of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in art.
  • Cassidy Milliman of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in history.
  • Elizabeth Oehmler of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in history.
  • Melissa Reineke of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in mathematics.
  • Christopher Scirto of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in media production.
  • Stephen Yoder of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in media production.
  • Abby Criswell of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in psychology.
  • Shannon Mangan of Barker received a bachelor's degree in psychology.
  • Tricia Kolovrat of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in communication design.
  • Reann Nye of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in communication design.
  • Rachel Parker of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in art education k-12.
  • Aaron Albrecht of Middleport received a bachelor's degree in business administration.
  • Danielle Chausse of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in business administration.
  • Molly Fitch of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in business administration.
  • Joseph Van Schoonhoven of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in business administration.
  • Kristine Dipasquale of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in business and marketing ed.
  • Andrea Bongiovanni of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in childhood education.
  • Tiffany Ellis of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in childhood education.
  • Alexander Hazlett of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in computer information systems.
  • Salvatore Angelo of Lockport  received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
  • Melissa Reineke of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
  • Brittany Watson of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in individualized studies.
  • Amanda Clay of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in social work.
  • Hannah Mattiuzzo of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in social work.
  • Shannon Smith of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in social work.
  • Ashley Austin of Gasport received a bachelor's degree in exceptional education and elementary education.
  • Samantha Bowes of Lockport received a bachelor's degree in exceptional education and elementary education.
  • Jesse Young of Lockport received a master's degree in public and nonprofit management.
  • Alyssa Boron of Lockport received a master's degree in adult education.
  • Katherine Trombley of Lockport received a master's degree in adult education.
  • Josh Yaple of Newfane received a master's degree in adult education.
  • Laura Kowalczyk of Lockport received a master's degree in higher education and student affairs administration.
  • Brittny Smith of Lockport received a master's degree in multidisciplinary studies.
  • Brittanie Phillips of Newfane received a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.
  • Daniel Barrancotta of Lockport received a master's degree in educational technology.
  • Angela Reeb of Lockport received a master's degree in special education: childhood.
  • Tammy Robinson of Lockport received a master's degree in special education: childhood.


Buffalo State offers 169 undergraduate programs and 65 graduate programs. For more information, please visit suny.buffalostate.edu.



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Local law enforcement scours city streets this afternoon looking for a man who got away from M&T Bank with an unknown sum of money. (PHOTOS BY STEPHEN M. WALLACE / CONTRIBUTOR)

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The armed robber didn't get away with all of the money. 
Here's a pile of cash that got left behind.
Lockport police are at the M&T bank at the corner of Pine and Walnut streets investigating an armed robbery that occurred shortly after noon.

A black male displayed a gun and then fled with an unknown amount of cash, according to Lockport police.

Police arrived at the scene almost immediately, Police Chief Larry Eggert said, but the suspect had already fled.

Niagara County Sheriff's investigators and New York State Police are also on scene, as well as helping with the neighborhood manhunt.

M&T officials directed all questions to corporate communications.



There's more photos online here.

Shannon L. Richardson, 36, 237 N. Transit St., was charged around 9:45 p.m. Monday with second-degree harassment. According to the LPD arrest report, Richardson got into a verbal altercation with a woman, then sprayed her in the face with Lysol. "Richardson then used his hands to grab (her) neck and lift her off the ground, push her up to a wall and  drop her." Strickland is to appear in City Court Wednesday morning.



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A crew spent a day and a half making sure that the Lockport Caves and Underground Boat rides looked just right for the filming of Sharknado 2. (PHOTO COURTESY OF LOCKPORT CAVES AND UNDERGROUND BOAT RIDES)

BY SCOTT LEFFLER
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


Sharknado 2 was partly filmed right here in Lockport.
The movie airs Wednesday on Syfy. (PROMOTIONAL
IMAGE COURTESY OF SYFY)
Movie footage shot at the Lockport Caves and Underground Boat Rides will be seen Wednesday night on the Syfy original movie Sharknado 2.

The footage, shot in early April, was done under the guise of being a scene in an Asylum movie called "Alligator Attack." Actors were asked to act as though they were fending off alligators in the cave. The alligators would be added later by CGI, they were told.

Asylum is the production company that created Sharknado in 2013, leading some to speculate that the scenes were actually for a Sharknado sequel and it was sharks, not alligators, that would be added later.

April 23, the operators of the Lockport Caves and Underground Boat ride announced via their Facebook page that that was precisely the case; "Alligator Attack," also referred to as "Alligator Apocalypse," was actually Sharknado 2.

Asylum PR people, however, wouldn't confirm anything. On May 1, a spokesperson said the Lockport footage was "stock footage" and may or may not end up in Sharknado 2.

"We were shooting some stock scenes that get used in a number of Asylum productions, and I think part of the confusion stemmed from them being directed by one of the Asylum's directors who also did Sharknado," Rene Ridinger said  via email. "We're not sure exactly where they'll end up yet, as the company shoots about two to three movies a month."

Monday it was confirmed via an emailed response from Ridinger: "Just got confirmation that yes, footage shot was used in the scene."

Lockport Caves owner Tom Callaghan said this morning that he never had any doubt the footage would be used due to the amount of time the production company spent here.

"They spent an entire day and a half underground" lighting the cave, Callaghan said. "I couldn't believe how great the place looked."

There is also footage that was shot in downtown Buffalo used in the movie. Both Buffalo and Lockport are used as stand ins for New York City, where the sequel takes place.

Tim Clark, film commissioner for the Buffalo Niagara Film Office, said the raceway in the Lockport Caves could get more play in upcoming movies because there aren't many places like them available to film studios.

"I think we'll probably get a lot out of this Sharknado thing," he said this morning.

Callaghan concurs. In fact, he said another Syfy crew was in two weeks ago to film something else. Based on past experience, he gave them free reign. He also said New York State Film Commission Executive Director Gigi Semone was in for a tour a week ago.

"There's more to come," Callaghan said. "We've worked hard to make sure that these companies are satisfied. ... and I think that's starting to pay off for both us and Lockport."

"This has been a niche that 30 years ago, I never would have thought would have been available to us," he said.

Sharknado 2 will feature Tara Reid and Ian Ziering, reprising their roles from the 2013 film. It will also feature Vivica A. Fox, Kelly Osbourne, Mark McGrath, Billy Ray Cyrus, Andy Dick, and former WWE superstar Kurt Angle. It airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on Syfy.



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