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Sunday, August 31, 2014
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A juvenile arrested Thursday for stealing a bottle of Visine from Walmart told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies that his friends put him up to it "because they all smoke."

The juvenile was placed into custody around 7:40 p.m. and then released to the care of a family member. He was issued an appearance ticket to Niagara County Probation on Sept. 18.

The value of the Visine was $5.29, according to Walmart officials.



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From left,  Kim Mansfield, financial director of Lockport CARES, TJ Maxx Employee Joyce Hromowyk, Lockport CARES Executive Director Martha Nagy, and TJ Maxx employee Heather Fox pose with a donation check for $5,000 to the homeless shelter. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — At the Grand Opening of the new T.J. Maxx store, Lockport CARES Emergency Homeless Shelter was the lucky recipient of a very generous check for $5,000 from the TJX Foundation.

"This check was more than we could have hoped for" says Kim Mansfield, Financial Director. "It costs $41.34 to house a guest for one night, with TJ Maxx's generosity we will be able to welcome and serve our homeless here in Niagara County." Welcome to the Lockport community, TJ Maxx!"



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A Ruhlman Road resident told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on Thursday that someone in Connecticut was using her name and social security number.

The woman told patrol that the person had taken a job using her identity. The complainant stated that she has never worked at that place of employment.

She told deputies that approximately one year ago while living in Puerto Rico, her identity was stolen and a report was on file with their local authorities, however she never heard anything further.

Case closed pending new information.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A Lockport woman told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on Thursday that while she was shopping at Walmart, someone stole her bike from the store's exterior bike rack.

Patrol reviewed the security footage with store security, which revealed that two males arrived at the store in a blue Chevrolet Blazer-like vehicle with a white sticker in the rear window around 7:22 p.m. The two males walked across the parking lot, past the bicycle rack, and returned past the rack. While walking past the bicycle rack the second time, one of the unknown males, who was wearing a red t-shirt, got onto the bicycle and rode it southbound past the garden section and to the rear of the store. The male then rode the bicycle northbound on Snyder. The other male involved then returned to his vehicle which was parked on the north side of the parking lot.

The complainant described the bicycle as a silver in color BMX style bike with red stickers. She also stated that the seat post on the bicycle was bent, and it had black rims.

Patrol checked the area for the bicycle and any vehicle matching the description with negative results.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — An anonymous told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on Wednesday that a Newfane man who was wanted on a warrant was at a local gas station.

Ryan W. Finch, 31, 3160 Roland Dr., Newfane, was found to be a passenger in the back seat of a car at Crosby's Gas Station, 4531 Lake Ave. During the vehicle search, patrol located three hypodermic syringes in the compartment behind the driver seat, one of which was filled with a liquid substance believed to be an opiate. There was also a small piece of a pill with the syringes. The hypodermic syringes were in very close proximity to where Finch had been sitting.

Finch was taken to the Niagara County Jail, where he was held in lieu of $500 bail and ordered to appear in the Town of Lockport Court on Thursday to answer to charges of criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument.

The syringe containing the liquid substance and the pill which was unable to be identified was sent to the Niagara County Forensic laboratory for testing. Pending the results from the laboratory patrol will file for a warrant for criminal possession of a controlled substance.



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The National Weather Service says that showers and thunderstorms are likely today with a high near 79. Tonight, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a low around 67.

Labor Day offers a chance of showers and thunderstorms, but will be mostly sunny with a high near 82 and an overnight low around 68. Tuesday, showers and thunderstorms likely with a high near 81 and a low around 60. Wednesday will be sunny with a high near 76 and a low around 61.

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 79 and a low around 64. Friday forecasts a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 80 and a low around 63. Saturday brings a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 78.



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GASPORT — A trespasser on a Ridge Road property started a fire under a group of trees in an attempt to damage the property, according to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies were called to the address in the 7700 block of Ridge Road, where the homeowner told them that she had noticed around 8:30 p.m. Thursday, what she thought was a camp fire in a field behind her residence. When she discussed the camp fire with her neighbor, the neighbor said she had seen the fire and attempted to put it out.

It was then discovered the fire was on her property under the group of pine trees and not in the field, prompting her to call police. When patrol arrived, the grass and pine needles under the trees were still burning. There was visible burning on the bases of the trees and several piles of firewood were completely burned. Patrol requested Gasport Chemical Hose respond to the scene to put the fire out.

The complainant told patrol that she did not know who would have come on her property and started the fire but that she has had problems with an unknown person riding ATVs behind her residence. The woman's neighbors stated there are frequently unknown people riding ATVs behind the residences on private property.

The woman told patrol that nothing of value was lost or damaged by the fire.



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PENDLETON — A 44-year-old Royalton man was charged Thursday with driving while intoxicated by New York State Police.

According to state Troopers, Michael A. Keller, failed to keep right while operating his vehicle on Tonawanda Creek Road. During the interview process, Troopers detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from the Keller, who failed field sobriety tests and was subsequently charged.

Keller was processed at SP Lockport. He submitted to a breath test where he registered a 0.11% BAC. Keller was also charged with failure to keep right. He was ordered to appear in Town of Pendleton Court on Sept. 17.



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The organizer of the 2014 Lockport Duck Race, Jay Krull, carries the winning ducks from the canal to the main gazebo to announce the winners. Approximately 1,500 ducks were sold for the charitable cause. (ENP STAFF PHOTOS)

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Spectators watch as the ducks make their way down the canal. 
The 2014 Lockport Duck Race was held Saturday along the Erie Canal towpath near the Adam Street Bridge.

Scores of East Niagara residents came out to take part in the festivities and watch as approximately 1,500 plastic ducks made the swim of their lives about 100 yards downstream from the bridge to the finish line.

The ducks were "bought" for $5 a piece at area businesses — at at the canal before the race — with proceeds going to benefit Camp Happiness.

The big winners were:

  1. Duck #01536 (Meghan Eick): Chest freezer and $200 groceries from Murphy Appliance and Niagara Produce Lockport
  2. Duck #00369 (Karen Ferchen): Family dinner and movie night for six from Cammarata’s and the Palace Theatre
  3. Duck #00239 (Paul Perkins): $200 Gas Card from Crosby Stores
  4. Duck #07912 (Mike Landers): 32” HDTV
  5. Duck #00999 (Janeen Totten): Dinner and a show for two from Garlock's and the Palace Theatre.

There were also over 40 consolation prize winners drawn. Their names and ticket numbers will be shared at www.lockportduckraces.com.

There are more photos from the event here and a video of the winners being announced here.

Local musician Dave Stockton entertains the crowd prior to the release of the ducks at 2 p.m. In the background, Richard "Butch" Faery stands with Thomas the Tank Engine. 



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Saturday, August 30, 2014


Olive G. Main, 93, passed away on August 29, 2014 at her home under the care of her family and Niagara Hospice.

She was born on February 4, 1921 in Brussels, Ontario, Canada daughter of the late John and Frances (Baker) Spearin. She worked at Sample’s Store, Lockport where Olive was the Assistant Store Manager.   She was also a professional seamstress, enjoyed gardening especially roses. Olive was a member of Lockport Alliance Church where she also was the secretary and taught Sunday school. Olive was predeceased by her husband Charles W. Main on June 28, 2004.

Olive is survived by her children Ronald Main of Sanborn, Elaine (Gary) Allen of San Diego, CA, and Gerald Main of Greencastle, IN; grandmother of Michelle, Elisa, Scott, Amy, and Gregg; sister of the late Harvey Spearin and Stella Dean; also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends may call Wednesday, September 3rd from 2-4 and 7-9 PM in Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., Lockport where the funeral service will be held Thursday, September 4th at 10 AM.  Interment will be in Corwin Cemetery. Memorial donations to the Lockport Alliance Church, 555 Davison Rd., Lockport, NY 14094 would be appreciated.

Visit www.pruddenandkandt.com.




Joseph P. Di Giorgio passed away August 28, 2014.

Born in Depew on August 22, 1934 he was the son of Anthony and Violanda (Carnevalle) Di Giorgio. Joseph served in the US Army from 1954 to 1957 earning the Army of Occupation (Germany). He was a fireman for the Lockport Fire Department from 1969 to 1992. Joseph was a member of All Saints Parish, Knights of Columbus and was a Fourth Degree. He was also a lifelong fisherman and hunter.

Joseph is survived by his wife of 57 years Paola (Dell’oso) Di Giorgio of Lockport; father of Paula (Phillip) Austin of Sarasota, FL; grandfather of Noah J. and Julianna R. Austin both of Sarasota, FL; brother of Frank (Patricia) Di Giorgio of Spring Hill, FL, Anthony (Lyn) DiGiorgio of Nashville, TN, and Antoinette (Phil) DiBernardo of North Fort Meyers, FL; also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends may call Friday, September 5th from 2-4 and 7-9 PM in Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., Lockport where prayer will be offered Saturday, September 6th at 8:30 AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 9 AM to be celebrated in All Saints Parish, 76 Church St., Lockport.

Visit www.pruddenandkandt.com.


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Krystle Shaner
TOWN OF LOCKPORT — An Akron Road woman who refused to extinguish an illegal fire found herself facing more charges, according to a report filed by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

The woman, Krystle A. Shaner, 31, 6880 Akron Road, was asked by a Department of Environmental Conservation officer around 4 p.m. Wednesday to extinguish the fire because it contained pressure treated wood, but refused and became combative, according to the report filed.

She was charged with resisting arrest and second-degree obstruction of governmental administration. She was remanded to Niagara County Jail on $500 bail and is set to appear in the Town of Lockport Court on Thursday.



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An Olcott business reported Wednesday to Niagara County Sheriff's deputies that someone had stolen a pair of $200 designer shoes.

According to the NCSO report, the owner of Natures Child boutique said the shoes are "crushed velvet paisley and swirled pink and black loafer high heel pumps." The women's 6.5 size "Missoni" shoes went missing from the store on Aug. 17 but the woman didn't report the theft immediately because she'd hoped they'd turn up.

The case is considered closed pending further suspect information.



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Lois M. Parsons passed away Friday August 29, 2014 under the care of Niagara Hospice.

Born in Lockport on October 26, 1921, she was the daughter of the late William and Ruth Noble Smith. Lois is predeceased by her husband Albert Parsons, who passed away March 24, 2002, and predeceased by several siblings.

Lois was the mother of David (Marge) Parsons, Linda (Late Mike) Fura and the late Albert Parsons, Jr.  She was the grandmother of Susan Fura, Michael (Ceil) Fura, Matthew Fura, David (Julie) Parsons, Doug (Cari) Parsons, Nicole (Tony) Re, Tammy and Amy; and great grandmother of 18. She is also survived by her sister Andrea Gleason and several nieces and nephews.

Friends may call Tuesday September 2nd from 10 AM until 12 PM, followed immediately by a funeral service at 12 PM, in Prudden and Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee Street, Lockport. Interment will be in Glenwood Cemetery. Memorials to the Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 75 East Avenue, Lockport, NY 14094, would be appreciated by the family.

Online Condolences at www.pruddenandkandt.com.


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HARTLAND — A Chapman Road man told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on Tuesday that sometime in the past few months, someone had damaged his gun safe.

The man told patrol that the safe, which is located in a detached garage, was found on Tuesday with pry marks on the door. The door also no longer functioned and the spare keys to the safe were found next to it.

The owner forced entry into the safe while patrol was still on location. All 12 long guns and six pistols were still secured inside. It appears that the unknown suspect was unable to gain entry, due to damaging the locks when attempting to pry the door open.

The case is being forwarded to the Criminal Investigation Bureau.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — New York State Troopers charged a 22-year-old Lockport man with unlawful possession of marijuana Thursday following a Beattie Avenue traffic stop.

Jesse J. Coia was also charged with speeding during the stop, in which police say they detected a strong odor of marijuana, leading to their finding approximately 16 grams of marijuana in his jacket.

Coia was issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Lockport Court on Sept. 11.



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Jennifer Wallak will be one of four stylists on hand today for the grand opening and fundraiser at Ink & Style, 211 Chestnut St. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS)

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Ink & Style owner Nick D'Angelo was 
voted the best tattoo artist in Buffalo.
Ink & Style tattoo parlor and salon is holding a grand opening and fundraiser from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. at 211 Chestnut St.

The new tattoo parlor / salon combination will be raising money for their friend Elise Hilton, who has terminal skin cancer. They hope to send her on a trip of a lifetime to Las Vegas.

The shop offers haircuts, coloring, styling, tattoos, piercings, waxing and eyelash extensions. For kids, they offer stick-on tattoos and fake piercings. Walk-ins are welcome; no appointment needed.

For they day, they have four tattoo artists, a piercer, four hair stylists and a makeup/ eyelash extensions expert on site for walk-ins during the event. Stick-on tattoos for kids are free today.

A raffle today will include such prizes as a $200 gift certificate from "Oogie games," a remote car starter from "ATM Restyle," glass pieces and vaporizer from "California Dreaming smoke shop," and a generous donation of wine, tasting tokens and cork puller from "Schulze Winery."

For more information, check inkstyleny.com or call 201-1649.



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The National Weather Service calls for mostly sunny skies today with a high near 87. Tonight, there's a chance of showers before with a low around 71.

Sunday, showers are likely with a high near 81 and a low around 66. Labor Day, there's a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 83 and a low around 66. More rain is possible Tuesday with a high near 79 and a low of around 63.

Wednesday will be sunny with a high near 78 and a low around 62. Thursday brings a chance of thunderstorms with a high near 79 and a low around 63. Friday, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 78.



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Friday, August 29, 2014


Cynthia J. (Heal) James passed away August 28, 2014 under the care of her children with the support of Niagara Hospice.

Born in Lockport on December 4, 1936 she was the daughter of Leslie and Inez (Rosenthal) Heal. Cynthia first worked for the Lockport City School District at Roy B. Kelly Elementary School where she was a lunch monitor for eight years. She then went to work for Dr. Gordon Mittleman a Lockport podiatrist where she was a doctor assistant for 19 years until his retirement, and worked an addition 10 years until her retirement for Drs. Theodore and Michael Merletti.

Cynthia was a life member of Grace Episcopal Church, Lockport where she belonged to the Altar Guild, was co-chairman of the Grace Church Thrift Shop, served on the committee for the Arnold House, and was a delegate for the Episcopal Diocese of WNY Convention. She was also a member of the Golden Agers Club of Newfane and a former member of the UAW Retirees Travel Club. Cynthia was predeceased by her beloved husband whom she married June 23, 1956 in Grace Episcopal Church, William James, who passed away December 14, 2006.

Cynthia is survived by her loving children Jeffrey (Laurie) James of Toms River, NJ, Paula Pecoraro of Sarasota, FL, Kenneth (Jane) James of Lockport, and Todd (Deborah) James of Lisle, NY; cherished grandmother of ten:  Brittany James, Matthew James, Rachel James, Samuel Pecoraro III, Jillian Pecoraro, Jocelyn Pecoraro, Trevor James, Liam James, Ethan James and Avalon James;  sister of Charles (Judy) Heal, Joyce (Cono) Sammarco, Leah (Glenn) Foley, Virginia (Bill) Gregg all of Lockport, Janice (David) Wilson of Newfane, and the late Florence (Myron) Winegard; sister-in-law of Betty Rising (late Dana), Judith James (late Ralph), Veronica James (late Donald) and Connie Beccue (Karl); dear aunt of Rich and Anita Bloom, Grover City, CA; many nieces and nephews and a close friend Sam Pecoraro of Lockport.

Relatives and friends may call Tuesday, September 2nd from 2-4 and 7-9 PM in Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., Lockport. A funeral service will be held Wednesday, September 3rd at 10 AM in Grace Episcopal Church, 100 Genesee St., Lockport. Interment will be in Cold Springs Cemetery.

Visit www.pruddenandkandt.com.
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BUFFALO — Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York is warning Western New York consumers to check before hiring America’s Windows & More of Depew, which has unanswered complaints and an "F" rating with BBB.

America’s Windows & More has been in business since 2011. Its website says the company sells and installs replacement windows and doors. The company has an F rating with BBB for the following reasons:
  • 15 complaints filed against business (2012-2014)
  • Failure to respond to 2 complaints filed against business
  • 2 complaints filed against business that were not resolved
  • 5 serious complaints filed against business
  • Length of time business has taken to resolve complaint(s)
“It’s always a concern when a company becomes unresponsive to our resolution efforts,” said Warren Clark, President of Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York. “BBB will continue to work toward resolving the complaints and we encourage other consumers who have dealt with this company to call our office.”

Consumers from Lockport to Java Center say that America’s Windows & More took deposits and never showed up to do the work, or did shoddy or insufficient work.

One consumer told BBB he ordered windows, the company deposited his check, and never showed up. Another consumer says he’s been waiting 11 weeks for the company to show up with his replacement windows, and is getting no response when he calls. Some consumers have been waiting over a year for a resolution to their complaints, and in several cases, the company has been unresponsive.

Consumers who did received their orders tell BBB the work was done incorrectly, the windows were sealed either improperly or not at all.

The owners previously ran Window Depot USA-Buffalo, and had similar complaints on file with BBB.

BBB investigators contacted America’s Windows and More several times to address the complaints but received no response. Also, requests by BBB for business background information and complaint resolution went unanswered. Calls to the company’s Transit Road location in Depew were not answered.

Before making any home improvement decisions, BBB offers the following tips:
  • Solicit at least two or three bids. Find prospective contractors based on the same building specifications, materials, labor and time needed to complete the project. Compare costs before making a financial commitment toward any home improvement project.
  • Never let a contractor pressure you into making a fast decision. A reputable contractor will recognize that you need time to consider many factors when deciding which contractor to hire. 
  • Employ a contractor with an established business in your area. Ask for references and do your homework. Be wary of door-to-door solicitations.
  • Look up the company’s BBB Business Review. Go to bbb.org and check out a company’s BBB rating, history of complaints and how they responded to complaints, if any. 
  • Verify contractor’s license and insurance. Look into the contractor’s standard of work and his professional affiliations, verify insurance, and check to see if they need to be licensed. 
  • Get everything in writing. Do not allow any work to start without a signed written contract that includes all verbal promises that were made by the contractor. Be sure that the contract includes a start and completion date, a breakdown of the cost and information about the contractor, including license number, street address and phone number. 
  • If you are asked to pay for the entire job up-front, it’s a red flag. Arrange for payments to be made as parts of the job are completed.
  • BBB suggests a three payment cycle. A first payment after signing the contract, the second payment at a midpoint and final payment after the job is done to your satisfaction. Homeowners should pay by credit card whenever possible. Never use cash. 


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The National Weather Service forecasts partly sunny skies today with a high of 77 degrees and an overnight low of 62.

Saturday offers a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 85 and a low around 68. Sunday, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 83 and a low around 67. Labor Day, there's a chance of showers with a high near 83 and a low around 67.

Tuesday will be partly sunny with scattered showers and a high near 80. The low overnight will be around 62. Wednesday will be mostly sunny with a high near 78 and a low around 60. Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 79.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A 27-year-old Buffalo woman was charged Wednesday with three counts of petit larceny by New York State Police.

An extensive two-month investigation revealed that Stephanie L. Grimmer made three separate unauthorized ATM withdrawals for approximately a total of $500 from an acquaintance's checking account without his knowledge, according to police.

Grimmer was arrested and processed at SP Lockport. She was issued an appearance ticket returnable to the City of Lockport Court on Sept. 8.



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Thursday, August 28, 2014
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WRIGHTS CORNERS — Niagara County Sheriff's deputies are on the look out for a six-foot tall black man after a Lake Avenue gas station was robbed at gunpoint around 8:30 this evening.

According to the Sheriff's office, the robbery occurred at 8:27 p.m. at the Stop N Gas, 4004 Lake Ave. The suspect is approximately 200 pounds, wearing a red hoodie or red shirt, and black baggy jeans. He reportedly entered the store and demanded money from the clerk, displaying a black handgun. The suspect left the store southbound with an undetermined amount of money.

The Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Bureau is continuing the investigation.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A Tennessee woman and a Lockport woman were both taken to ENH-Lockport on Wednesday following a two-car crash on South Transit Road.

According to New York State Police, Nikki E. Ferguson, 22 of Walland, Tenn. was southbound on South Transit Road when she attempted to change lanes from left lane into the turning lane striking the vehicle operated by Audra E. Shepard, 24 of Lockport, as she was making a left onto South Transit Road.

Both vehicle operators were taken to Eastern Niagara Hospital-Lockport with non-life-threatening injuries and were released. Ferguson was issued a citation for failure to yield the right of way when entering a roadway.



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Frances M. Brown passed away Wednesday August 27, 2014 in Eastern Niagara Hospital Lockport.

Born in Lockport on November 25, 1912, she was the daughter of the late Anthony and Mary DiPasquantonio D’Angelo.  Frances was a hairdresser practicing from her early 20’s and retiring in 1994. Frances was blessed with the gift of curiosity. She wanted to learn and try to do everything and excelled in all. She painted porcelain dolls and taught others; an artist in all media and excellent in all, avid gardener, loved music playing the harmonica and piano. Her special love was her beloved New York Yankees and Derek Jeter.

Mother of Orville A. (Joan) Brown of Jay, NY and Marilyn Brown of Lockport. Grandmother of Brynn Bloomgren Gelband, Scott Brown and the late Jeffrey Brown and Marla Brown and great grandmother of six. Sister of the late Ida DeCarlo, Jessie Garuder, Louise Schultz, Amelia Manna, Connie Wendel, Grace D’Angelo, Rose Ann Bangasser and Patrick D’Angelo. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

There will be no prior visitation. Prayers will be offered Saturday August 30th morning at 9:30 AM, in Prudden and Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee Street, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 10  in St. John the Baptist R.C. Church, 168 Chestnut Street, Lockport. Entombment will be in Glenwood Mausoleum. Memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association of WNY, 2805 Wehrle Drive Suite 6, Williamsville, NY 14221-7380 would be appreciated by the family.

Online condolences at www.pruddenandkandt.com.


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Michael Carnes
TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A 46-year-old Lockport man was charged with petit larceny on Wednesday after New York State Police say he stole a donation box from a local coffee shop.

Michael S. Carnes was observed removing the donation box containing approx $30 and the gift card display from a local Tim Hortons, according to state police.

Carnes was arrested and processed ant SP Lockport. He was issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Lockport Court on Sept. 11.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — An 18-year-old Buffalo man was charged with moving violations after a two-car crash injured him and a 72-year-old Olcott man Tuesday.

Mario A. DiGiacomo was traveling northbound on Transit Road, according to New York State Police, when his vehicle exited the roadway onto the eastbound shoulder, striking a mailbox and sign. His vehicle then re-entered South Transit Road striking a vehicle operated by John C. Hughes, age 72 of Olcott, which was heading southbound on South Transit Road.

DiGiacomo and Hughes were both taken to Eastern Niagara Hospital-Lockport with non-life-threatening injuries and were released.

DiGiacomo was issued citations for uninspected motor vehicle, failure to keep right and moving from the lane unsafely.



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Nearly 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, according to AAA, marking the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1.3 percent increase over 2013.

Nearly 86 percent of travelers (29.7 million), including almost five million in New York, Pennsylvania and other states in the Mid-Atlantic region, will celebrate the holiday with a final road trip before summer comes to a close and children head back to school. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as today through Monday.

“Millions in the Mid-Atlantic region are planning a trip to celebrate their last taste of summer freedom before settling back into the school and work routines of the fall season,” said Jim Lehman, president of AAA East Central.  “We are ending summer on a positive note with travel demand trending upward.”

More than 4.78 million people from the Mid-Atlantic states (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania), expect to travel this holiday weekend by automobile, air and other forms of transportation. This represents an increase of 0.6 percent from Labor Day 2013. Some 4 million will be traveling by car, about 0.6 percent more than last year. Air travel is expected to increase slightly by 0.4% in the region with 408,000 expected to fly for the holiday.

Labor Day Travel Highlights:

  • Historically, when Labor Day weekend begins in August, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel.
  • Nationally, Automobile travel will increase by 1.4 percent this year, with 29.7 million travelers hitting the road.
  • Nearly eight percent of travelers (2.65 million) will travel by air, a one percent increase from last year.
  • Travelers will encounter airfares just two percent higher than last year and daily car rental costs that remain consistent at $51.
  • Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are nine percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are six percent more.
  • Travelers are likely to pay lower gas prices for Labor Day

Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $171 per night compared to $161 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen nine percent with an average cost of $125 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $51, the same as last year. Airfares have risen two percent.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. More information including an infographic for the AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast can be found here.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A Creekview Drive resident told Niagara County Sheriff's deputies that he had received a letter alleging that he owed Walmart more than $350 and gave an address to send the money to.

The man told police that the letter requested payment of $351.23 for a purchase made online from Walmart.com. The letter stated "our records indicate that you received but were not charged for merchandise from order number 2677190802644 during a recent visit to Walmart.com.

The man told patrol that he has never purchased any products from Walmart.com. He added that his sole credit card did not show any fraudulent charges or usage. The man contacted Walmart regarding the suspicious letter and was advised by Walmart staff that the letter did not appear to be sent by Walmart. 

The fake gave an address that was very similar to what Walmart officials say is the correct address for Walmart's asset recovery department, using a PO box in the same same St. Louis post office as the real asset recovery department.

A Walmart employee told patrol that the Walmart Asset Protection Recovery department does not deal with non-payment of merchandise issues. The local Walmart store was provided a copy of the letter received by the complainant and told patrol that they would forward the letter for further investigation by Walmart.



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TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A Dysinger Road woman was charged early Wednesday with driving on the shoulder of the road and without a license by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

Bethany M. Bayer, 6487 Dysinger Road, told patrol around 9 a.m. that she was having car trouble and drove on the shoulder to allow other vehicles to pass her. When patrol checked DMV records, they found that her license was suspended.

She was charged and released on an appearance ticket to return to the Town of Lockport Court on Tuesday. Her car was secured on private property where it was to be recovered by a licensed driver.



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ONEONTA — Jordan Perry of Lockport was selected to serve as a SUNY Oneonta Orientation Leader for the 2014-2015 academic year.

In addition to leading activities for new students and their parents during 10 summer orientation sessions, orientation leaders welcome new students into their new community by leading small groups, answering questions about the college and college life, and mentoring new students through the first few weeks of the semester. Orientation leaders are selected through a rigorous application and interview process. They receive a stipend for their work.

Perry, a senior majoring in Child and Family Studies, is a graduate of Lockport High School.

A liberal arts institution with a strong focus on undergraduate research, SUNY Oneonta consistently gains recognition for delivering excellence and value. The college has been named to Kiplinger's list of "100 Best Values in Public Colleges" for eight consecutive years, was ranked No. 2 on the 2014 Kiplinger's list of "10 Best Public Colleges With Lowest Debt at Graduation" and sits at No. 16 on the 2014 U.S. News and World Report list of the best public institutions in the region.The college enrolls 6,000 students in its 70 undergraduate majors and 14 graduate programs.



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Last week, the Buffalo News ran a front page story about the increasingly-famous “Eternal Flame” at Chestnut Ridge Park in Erie County which is created by gas seeping from shale at the park. In the ensuing report, the News made mention of some notable gas seepages across Western New York.

The article failed to mention the most notable of them all – the gas that accounts for the name of an entire community: Gasport.

That’s a significant oversight given our seepages’ natural and historical importance.

The young hamlet at the time of the construction of the Erie Canal was known as Jamesport. It was an unauthorized name, having no legal merit or consideration by the town of Royalton’s founding fathers.

In 1826, students from the Rensselaerian School (now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) were making an excursion up the Erie Canal for the purpose of geological study when they discovered gas bubbling in springs near the Canal. They suggested to one of the locals that the community be named Gasport instead, recognizing the oddity. The students were delighted on their return trip just days later to see that the name was painted on buildings and docks.

Over time, those gas springs have been mostly eliminated, covered up by progress – houses, farms, and businesses – and most people would not know how we got our name. But, there are still places where the gas can visibly be found if you do some exploring.

The near-surface pocket of gas is located in an area that begins roughly one block west of the Main Street bridge and is within a half-mile of each side of the canal from that point westward to the roughly the border with the Town of Lockport.

Most of the shale structures that allow the gas to reach the surface are buried under the soil, so you would have to search out the small streams that go under the canal, as through the centuries they have cut through the dirt, sediment and shale and allowed the gas to escape.

As you come upon one of the larger gas leaks, the smell is unmistakable. The area around it will smell like rotten eggs. While methane itself has no smell, in the presence of biological agents and sulfur it can create stinky methanethiol which accounts for the stench.

In some streams, the bubbles will be periodic, a series of them coming up for one to two seconds at a time and reoccurring every five to 10 seconds. In other springs which have cut deeper into the shale, the bubbles will be continuous and the water actually appears to boil, and the roiling noise can be quite load.

This photo shows a gas seepage that is located above the water level. 
(PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY BOB CONFER)
As some of these streams dry up in the summer, you can still encounter the gas. Exposed formations of shale will continue to bubble with even the slightest bit of moisture and the ground itself will make hissing and bubbling sounds. These above-ground seepages will leave a white-grey froth.

In areas adjacent to these larger seepages, the gas will impregnate into the soil around the creek. If you dig into the nearby soil (which, around these gas wells will be either sand or extremely-dark, almost black dirt) you will find that even in the heat of summer, the soil is cool to the touch, an outcome of lots of gas penetrating the ground.

You can even replicate the Eternal Flame here in Gasport (although the outcome will be a little different). As the video below shows, placing a match over bubbling rocks will create a brief flame as long as the match is held over it.


If the gas is captured and allowed to concentrate in a defined area rather than immediately escaping to the air, the results are even more impressive. To do so, just place a pipe into the shale around one of the leaks and loosely place a rock over the end of the pipe to allow a small release of the gas. Once you light it, it will stay light, just as the Eternal Flame does. The video below shows one such experiment that we conducted on our farm:

     

Although the total area in which gas seepages may or may not be found in Gasport is really not that large (four square miles, maybe), it has attracted the attention of some gas companies in recent years. On the heels of the fracking boom in Pennsylvania and the hopes that a similar industry is allowed in New York’s Southern Tier, one company sent letters to us and other local landowners about an exploration lease.

Everyone to a man said “no”.

Let’s hope it stays that way.

Gasport’s gas seepages are unique, perhaps fragile, and offer an interesting link to our geological and historical past.

Bob Confer lives in rural Gasport. As you see in the videos above, when he says he lights his gas…he means it. Follow him on Twitter @bobconfer or email him at bobconfer@juno.com 



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The National Weather Service forecasts mostly cloudy skies today, then gradually becoming sunny with a high near 70. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 53.

Friday will be mostly sunny with a high near 78 and a low around 62. Saturday, there's a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 87 and a low around 67. Sunday brings a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a low around 66.

Labor Day offers a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 84 and a low around 64. Tuesday, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 81 and a low around 59. Wednesday will be mostly sunny with a high near 78.



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More than a dozen cats were taken from a Prospect Street home on Tuesday. Ten more
were found in a Newfane field and one was removed from a Beverly Avenue home. 
(PHOTO COURTESY LPD / FACEBOOK)
Officials from the SPCA of Niagara rounded up two dozen cats at sites in Newfane and Lockport on Wednesday with the help of local law enforcement.

Niagara County Sheriff's deputies were called to a home on Applewood Lane in Newfane around 10 a.m. regarding a possible animal abuse complaint they had received Tuesday from a concerned resident.

Patrols met there with SPCA officials, where they found the trailer in "deplorable condition" and it was soon determined that the animals had been moved, according to the NCSO report. The Newfane building inspector was called out and the trailer was condemned.

Deputies then responded to an address on Prospect Street in Lockport, where LPD assisted in removing 11 cats and four kittens. They were taken to the SPCA of Niagara shelter for evaluation.

"All suffered from flea infestation and anemia, upper respiratory infections and several were emaciated, blind from eye infections and had open wounds," according to the SPCA.

Investigation led deputies back to Newfane — to an address on Drake Settlement Road —. where 10 cats were removed from a field.

"The owner of these animals is pending charges for not providing medical treatment for the animals," the SPCA said.

In a separate incident, LPD responded to a second Lockport address — this one on Beverly Avenue. One cat was removed from the home and it's believed that dozens more may be inside, however, due to the amount of debris in the home, the cats could not be located. The home was condemned by Chief Building Inspector Jason Dool due to unsanitary conditions. SPCA staff will be at the home for the next few days trapping the cats and taking them to their shelter.

Further investigation of these situations will conducted by the SPCA of Niagara.

The SPCA is accepting donations of cat litter and cash to offset the costs of maintaining the new influx of cats. Donations may be made online at www.niagaraspca.org or in person at 2100 Lockport Road in Niagara Falls. The shelter is also holding a fee waived adoption promotion to help with the number of cats in the building.



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Kyle Arcomano, a Red Bull employee, shows off in the Erie Canal. Arcomano was part of a team filming a web clip in the canal Tuesday and Wednesday. (HEATHER N. GRIMMER / ENP PHOTOGRAPHER)

BY SCOTT LEFFLER
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


A film crew watches on as Kyle Arcomano, center, talks with photographer Chris
Garrison, right. In the background is the Stevens Street Bridge. (HEATHER N. 
GRIMMER / ENP PHOTOGRAPHER)
The Erie Canal served as a backdrop for Lockport's latest foray into mass media as producers for a Red Bull "web clip" shot video and photos in the canal Tuesday and Wednesday.

The crew, consisting of about eight people, rode up and down the canal with multiple high-speed video cameras and a motorboat-mounted light setup to catch images professional wake skaters in the canal.

Kyle Arcomano, a Red Bull employee from New Jersey, got soaked from head to toe as he rode under a stream of canal water being shot from a Lockport Fire Department truck Tuesday afternoon just south of the West Genesee Street Bridge. While cameraman Chris Garrison of Orlando shot ample photos of the act, it was not part of the intended web clip. LFD's presence was happenstance.

Actually, according to City Clerk Richelle Pasceri, the Red Bull crew had requested to have an ambulance on standby but rescinded the request when they realized how close they were to the city's municipal building, where the ambulances are housed.

The finished web clip, which will feature professional wake skaters Brian Grubb and Andrew Pastura, is expected to be available for public consumption on RedBull.com on Sept. 9. Other images and videos from the shoot will also be available at a later date on the Red Bull website.


The Red Bull film crew goes through the locks on Tuesday. (PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY CALENE LEFFLER)

There's more photos online here.



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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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The 2014 Lockport Duck Race will be launched from the Adam Street Bridge at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Prior to the race, which will benefit Camp Happiness of Niagara County, there will be live music and other free activities near the bridge beginning at 10 a.m. Conductor Butch from the Medina Railroad Museum will be on hand, along with Thomas the Tank Engine. Flora the Clown and her crew will lead activities, make balloon animals, and have tattoos for children. And local musician David Stockton will play tunes beginning at noon. Kids can also play the free duck pond game. Every child who picks a duck wins a small prize. Reids II and Pete's Ice Cream will be there with a variety of food available for purchase.
       
Ducks for the race are $5 each and are still on sale at several area locations throughout the area.  They will still be available at the event on Saturday prior to the race. The first five ducks to cross the finish line win top prizes:

1st Place: Chest freezer and $200 groceries from Murphy Appliance and Niagara Produce Lockport
2nd Place: Family dinner and movie night for six from Cammarata’s and the Palace Theatre
3rd Place: $200 Gas Card from Crosby Stores
4th Place: 32” HDTV
5th Place: Dinner and a show for two from Garlock's and the Palace Theatre.

Winners need not be present. There will also be 40 consolation prizes drawn.



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A Passaic Avenue teen was charged around 10:10 p.m. Tuesday with second-degree harassment and criminal mischief. According to the LPD arrest report, the teenager got into a physical altercation with his mother, injuring her and damaging the drywall in their home. The woman obtained an order of protection against her son, who was to be in City Court this morning.




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