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Tuesday, June 30, 2015
The City of Lockport's tug of war team try in vain to pull a team of town officials over the midway point at Ida Fritz Park. (ENP STAFF PHOTOS)

By +Scott Leffler

In what was billed as a contest to determine "the best Lockport ever," a team of five Town of Lockport officials handily defeated a team from the city.

City and town officials pose for a group shot following this afternoon's tug
of war contest at Ida Fritz Park.
Dressed in business slacks and a button-down shirt, Town Supervisor Marc Smith led council members Mark Crocker, Pat Dufour, Tom Keough and Paul Siejak to victory, taking just 50 seconds to draw the five members of the city team over the middle line. City Hall's team was comprised of Mayor Anne McCaffrey, Alderwoman Kitty Fogle, Alderman Pat Schader, Miss Lockport Lea Sobeiraski and Mr. Lockport Demetrius Grant. Alderwoman Anita Mullane dressed for the occasion in a Sesquicentennial Celebration t-shirt and gloves but watched from the sidelines to allow for a five-on-five match.

The town team used a 1-2-3-pull method to keep the city team on their toes — literally. While the city team made some headway in the first few seconds of the match and again later, it was the town team the kept the momentum going in their direction, pulling the city towards the east side of Ida Fritz Park.

Before the match began, it was discussed that it would be a best-of-three series but after the first round, the town team declared victory.

McCaffrey jokingly said after the match that the city team let their town counterparts win because they felt bad that the Town of Lockport hadn't gotten much attention during the city's Sesquicentennial Celebration.

McCaffrey and crew have two more chances for victory Wednesday as they play the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal in a round of lawn games at the US&J at 1 p.m. — and play Team ENP in a game of kickball at Outwater Park at 7 p.m.

Watch the contest on East Niagara Post's YouTube below:


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By +Scott Leffler

The kickballs are ready for Wednesday night's
kickball game between Team ENP and Team City
Hall. Visit our Facebook page to place a bid to
join the team. (HEATHER N. GRIMMER / ENP
Team ENP is looking to prove that you can beat City Hall.

We'll be playing game of kickball Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Outwater Park vs. city officials.

Team ENP, led by team captain Heather N. Grimmer, consists of News Editor Scott Leffler; contributors George Root, Craig Bacon, and Bob Confer; intern Jessica Cassick; and our new sales consultant Simon Chavers. Wendy Bacon, wife of Craig, will also be a team member. Contributors Stephen M. Wallace, Jill Keppeler and Jay Berent will not be available to play.

With each team slated to have 12 players (to allow for breaks), we're still looking for a few ballers to add to our team. If you'd like to be a part of Team ENP for the day and help us beat City Hall, it's easy to get in the game. We're holding an online auction of sorts via our Facebook page. Members must "buy in" to the game. We're starting bidding at $15 - with all proceeds going to St. John's Outreach Center.

Team City Hall is led by City Clerk Richelle Pasceri. It consists of Mayor Anne McCaffrey, some members of the Common Council, Mr. Lockport Demetrius Grant, Miss Lockport Lea Sobieraski, and members of the Lockport Police Department. The full team roster has been kept secret, however, likely due to their fear of losing.

The game will be held on the softball diamond sharply at 7 p.m. It is open to the public and free of charge, however, we encourage donations of peanut butter, jelly and/or fluff to donate to the PB&J drive. Baby Ribs will be on hand during the game with food and drink available for sale.

This is a Lockport Sesquicentennial Celebration event.


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Lockport Police and Fire departments block off traffic this afternoon for a fire on Ontario Street. Fireworks were the cause of the fire, which did an estimated $8,000 - $11,000 in damage. (PHOTOS BY HEATHER N. GRIMMER / ENP PHOTOGRAPHER)

By +Scott Leffler

This shed was deemed a total loss. The 
church behind it also suffered damages.
The first fireworks-related fire in East Niagara since they were made legal this year occurred around 3:15 p.m. in a shed behind an Ontario Street home.

The shed — valued at $3,000 — was deemed a total loss, while fire officials estimate $5,000 - $8,000 in damage to the exterior siding of the Church of Jesus Christ, to the east of the home at 341 Ontario Street. No one was injured in the blaze, which the fire department had subdued by approximately 3:45 p.m.

Lockport Fire Dept. Training Officer Luca Quagliano told East Niagara Post that the son of the homeowner "admitted to setting off fireworks in the back yard," adding "they assumed that the firework had run its course and that it was out ... and clearly it wasn't."

Quagliano said he believes that the fireworks that were set off were legal, but that "any firework, legal or legal has the potential to be dangerous."

The Niagara County Legislature voted in May to allow sparklers and other novelty items to be sold between June 1 and July 5 each year. They may also be sold during the Christmas/New Years' holiday. Fireworks have been seen for sale at a variety of places around Lockport, including Walmart.

Fire trucks line Ontario Street while the Lockport Fire Department investigates a shed fire they'd subdued this afternoon.

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David F. Hinton
PENDLETON — A 50-year-old Lockport man was charged with DWI, drinking while driving and speeding Sunday.

David F. Hinton was traveling on South Transit Road when Troopers observed him speeding, according to NYSP. Following the stop and during the interview, Troopers determined him to be intoxicated.

Hinton was transported to SP Lockport for processing which revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.13 percent. He was issued tickets returnable to the Town of Pendleton Court on July 15.

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Showers and thunderstorms are likely today with a high near 74, according to the National Weather Service. Tonight, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a low around 62.

Wednesday, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 75 and a low around 56. Thursday looks to be mostly sunny with a high near 74 and a low around 56. Friday will be sunny with a high near 78 and a low around 61.

Independence Day offers a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 79 and a low around 60. Sunday will be Mostly sunny with a high near 80 and a low around 62. Monday will be partly sunny with a high near 81.

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Lockport-area gas has increased a fraction of a cent according to AAA East Central’s weekly Fuel Gauge report. The average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline, based on reports from 22 stations in the Lockport area, is 2.854, same from $2.849 last week and $3.842 this time last year. The national average is $2.773.

Despite rising prices over the past several months, drivers are poised to pay the lowest prices at the pump over the Fourth of July holiday weekend in at least five years. While pump prices are down on the week, they are up four cents per gallon month-over-month, largely due to regional refinery issues that put upward pressure on the national average over the last 30 days. Gas prices continue to reflect considerable yearly discounts with drivers saving an average of 90 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

Pump prices often fall leading up to the Independence Day holiday. However, a seasonal decline in the national average this year has been offset by supply shortages due to localized refinery issues and global crude prices that have recovered from multi-year lows this spring.

Concerns of oversupply continue to characterize the global oil market. The pending June 30 deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal could contribute further to the market’s oversupply if current sanctions are removed and Iranian oil returns to the global market.. Escalating tensions in these regions have the potential to cause supply disruptions, which could contribute to price volatility in the near term.

Market watchers are also paying close attention the European Union, where Greece may default on its debt obligations this week. This sets up a Greek referendum for this coming weekend on whether the country should accept a bailout deal offered by international creditors. This news sent global oil prices lower this morning on worries of reduced global demand and the potential for instability in global financial markets. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down seven cents and settled at $59.63 per barrel.

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City of Lockport officials will hold a tug-of-war with Town of Lockport officials this afternoon at Ida Fritz Park as part of the city's Sesquicentennial Celebration. City officials will also host lunch at the city's municipal building at noon and be on hand to guide tours around city hall at 1 p.m.

Day 4 of the nine-day celebration includes a dozen special events around the city.

The full lineup:

10 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. Patriotic Storytime & Craft
10 a.m. - noon Tours of The History Center of Niagara
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Cornerstone CFCU Arena $1.50 Public Skate
Noon - 2 p.m. Odd Fellow & Rebekah Rehabilitation & Health Care Center Open House & Lunch
Noon - 1 p.m. Lunch with City of Lockport Common Council
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Tour of City Hall
3 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. City vs. Town Tug of War
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Market Street Studio: Introduction to Shadow Puppets
6 p.m. - 7 p.m. Y Splash Week
6 p.m. - 7 p.m. Independent Health YMCA Fitness in the Parks: Zumba
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Palace Theatre Tours
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Introduction to Exploring Meditation through Art and Art Journaling

For more details and the list of events for the rest of the week, visit

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Sometimes I find an author I really like and just have to pick up his or her books whenever they show up on the “New Releases”  shelf at the library. Joel C. Rosenberg is one such author, and his latest output, The Third Target was grabbed and taken home with me.

Good authors can grab headlines from television and newspapers and weave them into a tale that makes one wonder if the novel depicts actual, behind-the-scenes events in the world. In this latest J.B. Collins adventure, Joel Rosenberg gives us a possible inside look at one of the biggest threats facing America today -- ISIS.

Collins, a reporter for the New York Times, has latched onto a rumor that ISIS has captured weapons of mass destruction in the form of chemical weapons. Inexplicably, Collins is also given an exclusive, face to face interview with one of the leaders of the rogue group of terrorists. When he threatens to spill the beans on the chemical weapons aspect, his life enters a whole new realm of danger.

It is at this point that Collins’ life goes off the rails. He’s kidnapped, family threatened, and he’s used as means for the terrorists to get their demands out to the public. He moves from situation to situation barely escaping with his life each time. For a simple reporter, Collins has quite the knack for the spy game.

Collins needs to inform the rest of the world of the dangers faced by an ever strengthening terrorist organization. With the new weaponry, ISIS has delusions of even greater violence to those who don’t agree with them. Some of their more elaborate plans involve taking out the leaders of the infidels -- the Israeli Prime Minister and the President of the United States.

The reporter walks a fine line between reporting the news factually and giving out the information ISIS wants without getting himself killed. His various contacts across the entire Middle East set him up for one of the greatest interviews of his life and a chance to cover the impending peace treaty between Palestine and Israel. Again, Collins barely escapes with his life.

After a massive ISIS-led attack on the peace treaty, Collins escapes the inferno, but Air Force One and the President are missing. The book ends with Collins informing his editor of that fact. Obviously The Third Target is only the first volume in what could be a continuing series.

This book is terrifying in that it seems so realistic. The things in the book could actually happen and seem to be ripped from actual headlines. The action is fast paced and the characters inevitably find themselves in dire situations. These thrillers are a guilty pleasure – easy to read and exciting.

A couple things stand out with me, however, that detract from this book. The characters, especially Collins, seem to be mere caricatures rather than being fully fleshed out. There’s not a lot of depth to any of them and only play to simple stereotypes. The endless, exciting action does counter this fairly well, though.
The second issue I have with this book, and really all of Rosenberg’s books, is the preaching. As a born-again Christian, it is his duty to spread the Word. Unfortunately, it detracts from the story when he spends several pages on the subject. It sticks out like a sore thumb with the rest of the narrative, like a bump in the road. Don’t mistake this for being anti-religion. There is a time and place for it, and it just does not work in these books.

Aside from these minor issues, Joel Rosenberg’s books are exciting reads. In The Third Target, he tackles a hard truth about radical Islam and the threats faced by our country from terrorism. He also makes sure to highlight the difference between the fanaticism and conventional Islam. You will get hooked on this book and the excitement it generates. It’s worth taking the time to grab it from the library.

+Craig Bacon is a quasi-reporter for ENP, but the most dangerous situation he ends up in is being late for a deadline. You can follow him on Twitter at @hippieboy73.

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Saint Mary's steeple is lit for the city's 150th birthday. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)


Union Station is lit nightly from 9 p.m. to midnight.
A pair of Lockport landmarks are being bathed in light in celebration of the city's 150th birthday.

The steeple on St. Mary's is being illuminated through July 5, as is Union Station.

Father Walter Szczesny, pastor of All Saints Parish said the steeple is "symbolic of the rich heritage of the many churches in Lockport."

It was to be lit from July 3-5, but the lights were turned on early.

Union Station's lighting was the idea of Ellen Martin, who said it's being done "to celebrate it as a ruin instead of bemoaning the fact that it burned down 40-plus years ago."

She was joined last week by about a dozen volunteers to clear the former train station of years worth of brush to ready it for the lighting.


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Doug Hamlin, front left, and John Robinson, front right, are surrounded by local and state officials, as well as representatives from Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara as they head out on a 12-day journey across New York State. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler

John Robinson talks to the crowd about the
reasons for his bike ride. 
A pair of disabled bicyclists are taking a 12-day journey across upstate New York via the scenic and historic Erie Canalway Trail.

The duo, John Robinson and Doug Hamlin, started the tour on Sunday in Tonawanda and spent part of Monday in Lockport, kicking the tour off from Canal Street, where they were surrounded by nearly 60 friends, family and other disabled individuals, many of whom were from Lockport's Opportunity Unlimited.

Robinson, who along with Hamlin, founded Our Ability, said the Erie Canal itself is "a wonderful example of what we can do when we put our minds together."

"We're going to raise awareness for the ability in all of us," he added, before getting onto his specially designed bicycle and heading east towards Albany. The pair expect to make it there on July 11.

Robinson and Hamlin were joined at the kickoff in Lockport by a number of local officials, Canal Corp. President Brian Stratton, and Kellie Spychalski, executive director of Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara.

"From the early settlers, to the innovators, to the people who now make Lockport a diverse community, we welcome the Our Ability team," said Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey, a former member of the Opportunities Unlimited board of directors. "We pledge to carry on their message of advocacy for people with disabilities and assist agencies such as Opportunities Unlimted of Niagara to find greater opportunities for all to live, recreate and work in Lockport."

Born as a congenital amputee without full arms and legs, Robinson overcame countless obstacles to become a successful businessman, family man and inspirational speaker. He founded Our Ability with Hamlin, a 28-year veteran of the software industry who is also disabled as a result of an accident.

Robinson was inspired to undertake the first Journey Along the Erie Canal two years ago by his wife, Andrea, and two children after receiving a three-wheeled, hand operated bicycle as a donation. His family helped him learn how to ride and then train for the statewide journey.

For more information, visit

Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara Executive Director Kellie Spychalski speaks while New York State Canal Corp. Director Brian Stratton and Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey look on. 

There's more photos from the event here. (link)

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BUFFALO — The Buffalo Sabres announced the team has tendered a qualifying offers to seven restricted free agents.

Forwards Jerry D’Amigo, Johan Larsson, Tim Schaller, Philip Varone; defensemen Jerome Leduc and Mark Pysyk; goaltender Nathan Lieuwen were all given offers by the Sabres.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Raymond F. Bartz of Burt, husband of the late Midred Bartz entered into rest on Sunday June 28, 2015 in the Newfane Rehab and Health Care Facility.

Raymond was born on November 21, 1917 in Lockport, NY. Son of the late Frederick and Agnes Jaenecke Bartz. He served in the U.S. Army from 1946 – 1947. Raymond was a supervisor at Lockport Felt Company for over 30 years.  He was a member of the Concordia Lutheran Church, Wilson Conservation Club, NRA and enjoyed bowling, hunting and fishing.

Father of Duane Raymond (Joanne) Bartz of Wrights Corners, NY and Janice C. (David) Deats of Clarence Center, NY. Sister of June Kam of Sanborn, NY, Doris Eaton of Lockport, NY and the late Edward and Ruth Bartz. Grandfather of Duane, Amy, Dave and Joe. Great Grandfather of Samantha, Dylan, Jaden and Oliver.

No prior visitation. Burial will be held in Corwin Cemetery. Donations to Concordia Lutheran Church 3121 Beebe Rd. Newfane, NY 14108.

Please visit to send the family a condolence.

Faith A. Rucci of Lockport, NY wife of Michael Rucci entered into rest suddenly Sunday, June 28, 2015 in Eastern Niagara Hospital Lockport, NY.

She was born in Lockport, NY April 13, 1956, the daughter of Athena Gagliardi of Newfane, NY and the late Joseph Gagliardi. Faith worked for Harrison Radiator in Lockport, retiring 1996. She married Michael Rucci in 2005. Faith moved to Lockport in 2005 coming from Newfane, NY. She enjoyed doing nails, loved having family and friends to her house especially her grandchildren. Faith also loved dancing and Halloween.

Mother of Nikolas (Rebecca Koziol) Gifford of Kenmore, NY, Tiffany (Bryan) Shank of Sanborn, NY and Madison Rucci of Lockport, NY. Step mother of Anthony Rucci of Lockport, NY. Grandmother of Trystin and Trent Kagels and Bryan Shank. Sister of Stephanie (Daniel) Wilson of Newfane, NY, James (Angie) Gagliardi of Florida and Lisa (Joseph) Chernak of Edwell, NY. Daughter in law of Joseph and Kathy Rucci of Lockport, NY.

Family and friends may call at the RUTLAND-CORWIN FUNERAL HOME, INC. 2670 Main St. Newfane, NY THURSDAY 2-4 & 7-9 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on FRIDAY 11AM at St. Brendan on the Lake {St. Bridget’s}. Burial will be held in Glenwood Cemetery Lockport, NY.

Please visit to send the family a condolence.

James B. Preston Sr. of Gasport, NY Husband of the late Ruby K. Preston entered into rest Saturday, June 27, 2015 at home.

He was born in Newfane, NY on July 13, 1929, the son of the late Benjamin and Beatrice Tinney Preston. James was a veteran serving in the United States Army stationed in Germany. He married Ruby on February 25, 1966. James worked as a furnace operator for Simonds Saw & Steel in Lockport, NY from 1948 till his retirement in 1980. He was a member of the Charlotteville Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons for 53 years also a member of the Lockport Fraternal Order of the Eagles for 60 years. James was a member of the Newfane American Legion Post 873 for the past 60 years where he served as past commander. He owned and operated Country Estates Mobile Village Inc. for the past 38 years with his son James Jr. James loved to play cards and donate to local charities and raffles. Exempt member Miller Hose Fire Company.

James is survived by a son James B. Preston Jr. of Gasport; a step-son Herbert Newell of Buffalo ; a step-daughter Paulette (William) Loeschke of Wilson. Also surviving are six grandchildren, Seven great-grandchildren and one great great-grandchild; a brother in-law Jerry Moore and dear friends Mike and Ruth Martin and family also many nieces and nephews. James is predeceased by two sisters Naomi Moore and Lois Preston.

Family and Friends may call at the RUTLAND-CORWIN FUNERAL HOME 2670 Main St. Newfane, NY THURSDAY from 1-4 & 6-9 PM. Funeral services will be held FRIDAY at 11:00 AM in the funeral home. Burial will be held in Corwin Cemetery.

Please visit to send the family a condolence.


Raymond M. Wienke
TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A 43-year-old Lockport man was charged Friday with aggravated DWI after New York State Police say he was operating his motorcycle on South Transit Road while intoxicated.

According to the police report, Raymond M. Wienke was stopped for speeding. While interviewing him, he was determined to be intoxicated. He was transported to SP Lockport for processing which revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.21 percent, two and a half times the legal limit.

Wienke was issued uniform traffic tickets returnable to the Town of Lockport Court on July 9.

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The Niagara County Dept. of Health says that it's safe to swim again at Olcott Beach.

The beach had been closed last week due to "unsatisfactory bacteriological water quality" data obtained from water samples collected on June 25.

Division of Environmental Health Public Health Engineers will continue to monitor water quality closely, and will notify the public immediately of any changes.

Barker's Camp Kenan Beach remains closed. There is no public access to the beach, sand or swimming.

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Kristina M. Mottorn, 26, 144 West Ave., was charged around 9:05 p.m. Sunday with second-degree obstruction of government administration, third-degree menacing and resisting arrest. According to the LPD arrest report, police had responded to Mottorn’s address for a complaint and Mottorn refused to allow them access to the home’s upstairs. She attempted to block their way and kick an officer. She was subdued with a TASER and charged. She was transported to ENH-Lockport to be treated for TASER exposure. She is due in City Court on Thursday.

Daniel T. Truesdall, 23, 4192 Clubhouse Dr., was charged around 1 p.m. Sunday with seventh-degree possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a hypodermic needle, unlawful possession of marijuana and first-degree loitering. He was due in City Court this morning.

Brittany E. Cordaro, 410 S. Transit St., was charged around 1 p.m. Sunday with seventh-degree possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a hypodermic needle, unlawful possession of marijuana and first-degree loitering. She was due in City Court this morning.

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The National Weather Service calls for a chance of showers today with a high near 74 and an overnight low around 62.

Tuesday, showers are likely and thunderstorms are possible with a high near 72 and a low around 62. Wednesday, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 76 and a low around 59.
Thursday will be mostly sunny with a high near 76 and a low around 59.

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high near 79. Overnight, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a low around 61.Independence Day offers a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 78 and a low around 61. Sunday will be mostly sunny with a high near 80.

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It seems like artificially inflating a movie’s ratings on is now part of the marketing campaigns for movies that the studios know could use a little help getting accepted by the public. The best way to really see what people think of a movie is to go to because, for some reason, those ratings tend to be more accurate. On Rotten Tomatoes, Ted 2 got a 47% out of 100% rating. That means that more people hated it than liked it, but it isn’t so bad that we should consider the movie a total failure. I feel like that is a fair evaluation of this latest effort by Seth MacFarlane.

Roughly 80% of Ted 2 is recycled Family Guy material from the plot of the movie to some of the funnier scenes. Even Ted himself is pretty much the live action version of Peter Griffin that MacFarlane is essentially hiding in the guise of a talking teddy bear. That pretty much means that if you like Family Guy, then you will probably like Ted 2. But if you don’t like Family Guy, then you might wind up leaving halfway through the movie.

My wife and I did laugh out loud to the point of tears for a couple of the jokes, so I will give the movie that much. But the problem is that the jokes had nothing at all to do with the very weak plot of the movie. MacFarlane threw in a couple of sight gags that were not recycled from Family Guy to create some pretty funny moments – but those moments were way too few and far between.

As seems to be the norm with movie-making lately, this entire movie is pretty predictable from start to finish. And, as seems to be the Hollywood norm, there are a lot of scenes that make it incredibly difficult to suspend disbelief. I know, I know – “Lighten up, man. It’s a comedy.” Let me just say that I never, EVER had the problems with Mel Brooks or Marx Brothers movies that I have with comedies made these days. With those movies, the jokes were based on the plot and when you keep the jokes within the context of the story, then it is easier to just roll with it. But when everything is so predictable, as it is with this movie, the weak writing eventually gets on my nerves.

There are a couple of cameos in here that, once again, have absolutely nothing to do with the plot, but are very funny. My wife and I were especially surprised at the cameo Jay Leno agreed to do because you just never think of Leno like that. The Liam Neeson cameo was hilarious and Flash Gordon was pretty funny as well.

All of that being said, I have seen most of these jokes before and they were only marginally funny on Family Guy. When put in the context of the Ted movies, those jokes are still only marginally funny.

The problem with Ted 2 is the slew of scenes that are supposed to be funny but wind up making no sense at all. More than a few times I found myself wondering what the hell I was watching and wondering when it would end. I would say that, as a conservative estimate, around 40 percent of the movie had nothing to do with the plot and many of those unrelated scenes were simply not funny.

I am a fan of the early Family Guy stuff, but I have since moved on to funnier shows. I was not a fan of the first Ted movie and I thought A Million Ways To Die In The West was horrible. After watching a little of Seth MacFarlane’s Oscar hosting performance, I think it is safe to say that MacFarlane is out of ideas. Ted 2 only proves that it is time for MacFarlane to either start writing truly new material, or maybe think of a career change.

The one saving grace of Ted 2 is that MacFarlane included a few seconds of Godzilla in the movie and he even paid the rights to use Godzilla’s actual roar. If it weren’t for Godzilla saving Ted 2, MacFarlane’s latest effort would have only gotten a half of a star. If you miss Ted 2 then, trust me, you aren’t missing anything at all.

Rating: 1 ½ out of 5

+George N Root III is a drive-in fanatic that misses good comedy. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or email him at Join the conversation about this movie and others on Facebook at

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Ice skating at Cornerstone CFCU Arena is only $1.50 today. It's just one of
several fitness-themed events in Lockport today. (ENP FILE PHOTO)
The events planned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lockport's incorporation weren't themed by day. But if they were, fitness would be today's theme.

Slated for today are the kickoff to a state-wide bike tour, a walk with Mayor Anne McCaffrey, yoga in the park, ice skating at Cornerstone CFCU Arena, and a water safety course at the YMCA.

The weather is supposed to be nicer today than it was during the first two days of the nine-day celebration with the National Weather Service calling for "a chance of showers" and a high of around 74 degrees.

Today also begins "Restaurant Days" in Lockport, three days of specials at restaurnants around the city, each offering $15 deals. The restaurants include Attitudes, Canalfront Sandwich Shop, Davison Road Inn, Mericana, Pizza Oven, Pleasant Valley Tavern, Scripts Cafe, Shamus Restaurant, Ski Lodge, Sub Delicious and Village Eatery.

The full schedule for today is:

11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Cornerstone CFCU Arena $1.50 Public Skate
Noon - 1 p.m. Walk a Mile with the Mayor
3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Market Street Studios: Intro to Pottery Hand-building and Sculpture
4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. Free Vein Clinic
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Golden Knights Chess
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Lockport Monday Night Car Cruise
6 p.m. - 7 p.m. Y Splash Week
6 p.m. - 7 p.m. Independent Health YMCA Fitness in the Parks: Yoga
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. An Evening with Erie Canal Sal

For all the details of each event, visit

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Rob Ortt
State Sen. Rob Ortt released a statement Sunday night regarding the conclusion of the three-week long search for David Sweat and Richard Matt.

Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said David Sweat's capture is "welcome relief" to New Yorkers. He also commended law enforcement for their efforts.

Ortt's statement follows in its entirety:
Today’s news is welcome relief to all New Yorkers, but especially here in Western New York. Escapee Matt’s escape re-opened serious wounds from his horrific crimes in our community. I hope this brings closure to the Rickerson family, who have already endured so much. I’d also like to commend the tireless, courageous members of our law enforcement community who pursued these killers and ultimately brought them to justice.

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Andrew Cuomo
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanked and congratulated law enforcement late Sunday night for the capture of escaped prisoner David Sweat.

Sweat's capture Sunday afternoon brings an end to the three-week-plus search for Sweat and fellow escapee Richard Matt, who was killed on Friday while being sought by New York State Police.

The governor, standing before a crowd of law enforcement officials, said "the nightmare is over." He thanked law enforcement for their "tireless efforts over the last several weeks."

Tere were approximately 1,300 federal, state and local law enforcement members involved over the 22-day search. Agencies active in the search included: Forest Rangers and Conservation Officers from the Department of Environmental Conservation, officers from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Plattsburgh Police, Vermont State Police, the Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Washington County Sheriff’s Departments, and the Clinton and Franklin County District Attorney's offices.

Cuomo's speech can be seen on YouTube, below.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

AAA forecasts 41.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday, the most since 2007 and a 0.7 percent increase from the 41.6 million people who traveled last year. The Independence holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday to Sunday.

“With school out for the summer, it’s common that the July 4th weekend is the busiest time for summer travel,” according to Jim Lehman, President, AAA East Central. “Gas prices also play a role in the amount of people packing up their cars and driving to their holiday destinations,” he added.

Highlights from 2015 AAA National Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast include:

  • Independence Day holiday travelers total 41.9 million, a increase of 0.7 percent from the 41.6 million who traveled last year
  • 35.5 million travelers are expected to drive this holiday period, an increase of 0.7 percent from 2014
  • Holiday air travel expected to increase 1.5 percent to 3.21 million
  • The 41.9 million travelers expected to take to the roads, skies, rails and water is the highest since 2007 and 8.9 percent above the holiday average since 2000
  • Gas prices have averaged $2.76 in June, and as of June 17, were $0.86 per gallon below last year. Most drivers should pay the lowest gas prices for the holiday in at least five years

“The Fourth of July is typically a family-oriented holiday,” Lehman explained. “It is the perfect time to make vacation memories and enjoy a recess from the responsibilities of work and school. This year, Orlando, Myrtle Beach and Los Angeles are very popular getaways,” he added.

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In honor of Lockport’s 150th birthday celebration, The Dale Association invites the public to an open house from 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Thursday.

The open house will feature free exercise classes, building tours, a new membership special, live entertainment by drummer and guitarist Jim Caughill, and lunch in the front circle by J & L Boulevard Barbeque food truck.

Visit for more information.

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David Sweat
David Sweat, the second of two prisoners who escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility early the morning of June 6 was captured this afternoon.

Sweat was spotted by Sgt. Jay Cook of the New York State Police around 3:20 p.m. while walking down a roadway in the Town of Constable. Sgt. Cook pursued, shot and injured Sweat, who was taken into police custody alive.

Two days ago, New York State Police shot dead the first of the escapees. Richard Matt was seen by law enforcement around 3:45 p.m. Friday and shot for failure to respond to law enforcement commands. Matt had a shot gun in his possession.

NOTE: Story edited at 8:23 a.m. to correct date of escape.

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BISMARCK, ND — Ivan Andrijevic of Lockport graduated from Bismarck State College with a A.A.S. in Electric Power Technology during the college's 75th Commencement Ceremony on May 15 at the Bismarck Event Center.

The 2015 Commencement Speaker was Dr. Larry C. Skogen, Interim Chancellor of the North Dakota University System and the former and future BSC President. The Student Commencement Speaker was Landon Schmeichel.

The 2015 BSC Commencement Ceremony was recorded and is available for download on BSC's iTunes U site.

Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information, visit

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Cedric R. Carpenter, 21, 224 Washburn St., Apt. D, was charged around 6:22 p.m. Saturday  with first-degree criminal contempt and second-degree harassment. According to the LPD arrest report, Carpenter was in a physical altercation with a city woman, violating an order of protection. He is due in City Court Monday morning.

Christina L. Pennington, 36, 37 S. Vernon St., was charged around 10:20 p.m. Friday with DWI, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, unsafe backing, resisting arrest and second-degree obstruction of government administration. According to the LPD arrest report, Pennington was stopped for driving the wrong way on Carlton Place and determined to be intoxicated. When she was ordered to turn off her car, she put it into neutral and it rolled into the front of the patrol car, damaging it. During the booking process, she allegedly attempted to kick patrol. She is due in City Court Monday morning.

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Unshackle Upstate, a taxpayer advocacy organization, released a statement following the announcement that the property tax cap would be extended for four years.

Greg Biryla, Unshackle Upstate executive director, was pleased that the cap had been extended but disappointed that it wasn't made permanent.

Biryla's statement follows in its entirety:
Unshackle Upstate fought hard to advance a strong property tax cap in 2011 and proudly continued that fight this year. While we are disappointed that taxpayers have been denied a permanent cap, we are pleased that it will be extended through 2020. The tax cap has saved property taxpayers $7.6 billion since it was first enacted, and it will continue to save them billions more over the next 5 years.

In addition, we remind lawmakers of the need to address the problem of New York's sky high property taxes by enacting meaningful mandate relief. It seems that the effort to provide real relief to local governments, school districts, businesses – and ultimately taxpayers – has stalled.

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Niagara County officials were advised late Thursday that state testing had found “no reason for concern” about asbestos at a county office building in the town of Lockport.

County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz advised county employees of the findings by the New York State Department of Labor’s Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau in a memorandum.

In a detailed call with the county’s Risk Management Office, PESH Regional Supervising Safety and Health Inspector Darren Mrak stated that re-testing of the Shaw Building site on June 11 confirmed the indications of May 29 testing: that there are no airborne asbestos fibers or particulates present in the areas tested.

Surfaces in the Shaw Building were also found to be asbestos-free. Five vacuum dust tests conducted in Shaw hallways also came back negative, with the exception of what PESH Industrial Hygienist Daryl Ohdner, an asbestos expert and safety consultant, termed a “limited area of contamination” just outside the basement door threshold. Those areas were found to be free of airborne particulates.

PESH also noted that a “white chalky substance” reported to the Department of Labor as asbestos by William Rutland, a mechanic employed by the county, was in fact an instant spill absorber similar to a product with the brand name Speedi Dri. Such products are frequently used to absorb oil, grease, anti-freeze, and solvent spills.

The county continues to restrict access to the Shaw Building basement and is working with a licensed asbestos consultant, 56 Services, Inc., which is conducting an assessment and survey of the space, per PESH’s recommendation. Additional asbestos testing by 56 Services conducted Tuesday has also come back negative.

Glatz’s memorandum follows in its entirety:
Late yesterday afternoon, June 25, Niagara County was contacted by the New York State Department of Labor’s Public Employee Safety and Health (“PESH”) Division concerning the agency’s investigation and review of allegations of possible asbestos contamination at the Shaw Building.  As maintained by Niagara County Administration, and as expected based on preliminary reports, PESH has concluded that there is “no reason for concern about employee or public access” to this building.

In that call, the County received the “all clear” from PESH, in the form of a verbal report from Regional Supervising Safety and Health Inspector Darren Mrak to Niagara County Risk Management Director Jennifer R. Pitarresi and Confidential Assistant Marie Engert.  In short, Mr. Mrak conveyed that June 11 re-testing confirmed initial testing conducted May 29 which showed that no airborne asbestos fibers were present in the public and employee areas tested.

The testing also showed no migration of any asbestos fibers or other particulates had occurred as a result of the clutter removal project of a basement and crawl space in the facility during late May or any subsequent work at the site.  Mr. Mrak also confirmed that all follow-up air testing conducted at the site proved negative for presence of airborne asbestos fibers or particulate matter.

In addition, five vacuum dust tests of the hallways conducted on June 11 were negative, with the exception of what PESH Industrial Hygienist Daryl Ohdner, an asbestos expert and safety consultant, termed a “limited area of contamination” just outside the basement door threshold.  Mr. Ohdner said, again, testing showed nothing was airborne which is when asbestos can be a danger.  Mr. Ohdner said even where surface testing was positive, airborne tests were all negative.

Mr. Ohdner also said that PESH’s investigation concluded that a “white chalky substance” reported by the complainant (William Rutland) to be asbestos fibers or dust was instead an instant spill absorber (akin to “Speedy Dry”), a common household product used to soak up moisture or condensation in basements or from water leaks.

Mr. Mrak advised that a written report of PESH’s findings would be forthcoming, after departmental review and approval, following a formal closing conference with the complainant and the County to review findings and recommendations.  Both Mr. Ohdner and Mr. Mrak expressed that, despite allegations made to media and PESH, there is “no reason to believe there is a hazard to anyone” using the public and employee areas of the Shaw Building, including the hallway.

The County is following PESH’s recommendation to restrict access to the basement / crawl space and the immediate area around the door, which is currently being monitored by a licensed, certified asbestos consultant., 56 Services, Inc.   This consultant is conducting an assessment and survey of the space, as required.

In a conference call today, the County learned that all independent air testing performed by this expert asbestos consultant on Tuesday, June 23 – after PESH testing - also proved negative for airborne asbestos fibers or particulates.  In addition, 56 Services performed “wipe test” of the wall, floor and door surfaces in the same area as PESH which, again, proves negative.

Work continues on assessment and proper abatement and removal of the dumpster outside the Shaw Building, along with its contents.  This work is expected to be completed by Monday, June 29.

As the County has retained a licensed, certified asbestos consultant and contractor, who is in charge of the area, no unauthorized County personnel should be present or disturb the contractor.  Ongoing air monitoring will be done by the contractor for the duration of the project.

We will continue status updates, as necessary, until the project is completed.

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While damaged, this tent on Main Street appears to be repairable. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)


Many crafters will have to find new tents for today's show.
As vendors for the Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival return to Main Street this morning, many are finding that the tents they left standing Saturday are no longer standing. Some are finding them beyond repair.

The rains that swept through East Niagara Saturday afternoon and night swept many of the tents up and caved others in. Those that weren't weighted down seemed to suffer the worst damage.

Russ Halstead of Lockport Art Co. was busy setting his booth back up around 8 a.m. It suffered only minor damage in the storm. But one directly across from his — in front of the Old Post Office — was completely destroyed.

The arts and crafts show continues this morning at 11 a.m. Light drizzle is expected throughout the day, a major upgrade from Saturday's day-long soaking, which essentially closed the show early.

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Marvin L. Patterson Jr. entered into rest June 24, 2015.

Born April 29, 1962 he is the son of Belle Donna Marie (Chaffin) Patterson and the late Marvin L. Patterson Sr. Marvin drove for Union Cab for over 20 years, was an avid bowler and enjoyed sports.

He is survived by his beloved fiance, Sue Camman. Cherished son of Belle Donna Marie Patterson and the late Marvin L. Patterson Sr. Step father of Michelle, Elana and Brandon. Brother of Miles(Kathleen), James, Michelle and Alex(Carla) Patterson. Also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Calling from 2-4 & 7-9 on Sunday at the TAYLOR & REYNOLDS FUNERAL HOME, Transit and Niagara streets, where the Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM. Interment in Cold Springs Cemetery.

Please visit


The National Weather Service calls for showers this morning then occasional rain or drizzle throughout the day with new accumulation between a quarter and half of an inch possible. The daytime high will be around 60, dropping to 56 overnight.

Monday will be cloudy — then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 75 and a low around 62. Tuesday, showers are likely and a thunderstrorm is possible with a high near 75 and a low of around 61. Wednesday, there's a chance of showers with a high near 73 and a low of around 55.

Thursday will be mostly sunny with a high near 74 and a low around 59. Friday brings a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 75 and a low around 61. Independence Day: A chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 78.

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Why does age 7 sound so much older than age 6?

I don’t know why, but it does. Of course, I said the same thing about age 5 and age 6, and probably the years before. But the observation stands.

In some ways, I look at my “baby,” my newly minted 7-year-old and think, “Wow. He’s 7. How did that happen?” In other ways, it’s more like, “He’s only 7?” He’s only been the one who had to be a little older than his years at times, with a big brother who is younger than his years. It’s the role, so many times, of the sibling of the child with special needs, and Sam has fulfilled it admirably. He can be patient, and helpful, and as strange as it might seem to say of a child his age, the rock on which his big brother can lean.

And then he goes into gales of laughter at some silly first-grade joke and he’s 6 again.

We called him Oscar the Baby when he was an infant, with his perpetual scowl and disinclination to sleep. That grumpy newborn has turned into one of the most happy-go-lucky boys I know.

He often hates to sit still, but he will draw or read for hours. He’s a goofball, but he’ll be driven to tears by the plight of a lost pet in our neighborhood. He’ll ignore people trying to get his goat with the poise of some much more mature, but he’ll stand up to bullies twice his size for a friend.

And I can see the face of the teenager he’ll be, even the man, emerging from the face of the baby he was and the boy he is.

It’s eerie.

We celebrated the anniversary of his birth (8 days after his due date) with a trip to Fantasy Island and the Buffalo Museum of Science, a cook-out and a cake patterned after a Minecraft creeper. (His request for mom the baker this year.) It was a good time.

And now he’s 7.

Oh, how the years go by.

I don’t usually tend to delve into these sorts of things in this space, but sometimes it feels necessary.

I spent much of Friday smiling, reading the explosion of joy on my social media feeds after the Supreme Court ruled as it did on the topic of same-sex marriage. (Can we just call it marriage, now? OK?)

And I thought of the one time the topic came up with my  kids, the notion that two men or two women could fall in love and want to get married, just like Mom and Dad are married. I acknowledged this matter of factly. Sam considered it for all of perhaps a second.

“Oh. OK!”

And he ran off to play Minecraft.

Yeah, that was difficult.

In the “things to do with your kids that piqued my interest this week” category, I discovered that the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is playing at Artpark again this year … and one of the concerts is the music of John Williams.

My family loves Mr. Williams’ work. My husband and I were introduced at our wedding reception to the tune of “Raiders March.” The boys grew up thinking the Imperial March was a lullaby, we called the Superman theme Jim’s theme song when he was a baby and Sam can pick up the music from the Harry Potter movies in a matter of notes. Weather permitting, we’ll be there.

The concert takes place at 7 p.m. July 11 at Artpark. Visit for more information.

+Jill Keppeler’s hands are still green from coloring all the fondant necessary for that darned creeper cake. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler or email her at

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Lock tender demonstrations will be held today from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for those
brave enough to be outdoors. Otherwise, there's plenty to do inside today.
The Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, but with more rain forecast, area residents may be looking to partake in Sesquicentennial Celebration events inside. Fortunately, there are several.

The Lockport Fire Department will hold an open house between 1 and 4 p.m. with a number of activities including an obstacle course for kids, fire safety training trailer and auto extrication demo.

At the Historic Palace Theatre, the special video made for the city's 150th birthday will show between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is a longer version of the video that played on April 11 at the city's official birthday party at the Palace.

Market Street Studios will hold a "Monster Mix" from 2:30 - 4 p.m. where Instructor Jeffrey Lane will guide participants in creating a monster drawing or painting. There is a $20 fee.

At the Kenan Center, an opening reception will be held from 2-5 p.m. for its Fine Arts League of Buffalo exhibit.

Also inside, Cornerstone CFCU Arena is offering $1.50 open skating from 1-3 p.m.

The full list of today's activities follows:

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Giant Yard Sale & Flea Market
8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Poem on Canal Street
10 a.m. - noon Flight of Five Lock Tender Demonstrations
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 150th Birthday DVD showing
11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Annual Lockport Outdoor Arts & Crafts Festival
11 a.m. Chivetta's Chicken Barbeque
1 p.m. Cemetery Tales - Glenwood
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Cornerstone CFCU Arena $1.50 Public Skate
1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Lockport Fire Department Open House
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Fine Arts League of Buffalo Reception
2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. Market Street Studios: Monster Mix
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Heritage of Faith Outdoor Concert

For all the details, visit

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GASPORT — If you find yourself with a hankering for pancakes this morning but with no desire to make them, the Gasport Masonic Lodge No. 787 has a solution.

The lodge will host their 20th annual Pancake Breakfast at the Royalton Airport from 8 a.m. until noon. The breakfast includes pancakes, eggs and sausage for $8 for adults and $4 for kids under $12.

There will also be a baked goods sale during the event, held annually as a fundraiser for student scholarships. 

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