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February, 2016:

Friday, February 20

ART247 Black and White Exhibition

March, 2016:

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Sunday, January 31, 2016
The final game of the NA3EHL showcase for Lockport sees them take on one of the top teams in the league. George Root joins the broadcast team for the first time since his surgery. Welcome back, George.

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The Kenan Arena was crowded as always for the annual Niagara Wine & Beer Festival. This year's sold 1,200 tickets. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler

810 Meadworks was a popular addition to the festival, offering honey-based
meads to the masses.
Over 1,000 people filled the Kenan Arena Saturday evening for the fifth annual Niagara Wine & Beer Festival.

Local and regional wineries, breweries and restaurateurs delighted those in attendance for the event, which has grown each year since its 2011 inception.

Wineries included A Gust of Sun, Flight of Five, Honeymoon Trail, Long Cliff, Midnight Run, Niagara Landing, Schulze, Victorianbourg, The Winery at Marjim Manor, the Winery of Ellicottville. and 810 Meadworks, which offered a variety of their honey-based meads.

Sushi from Steak Stone & Sushi
was served with a fork for eating
Breweries were 12 Gates Brewing, 42 North Brewing, New York Beer Project, Big Ditch Brewing, Black Bird Cider Works, Brooklyn Brewery, Flying Bison, Resurgence, Saranac, and Woodcock Brothers.

There was food from Zambistro, Steak, Stone & Sushi, Wagner’s, Molinaro’s Ristorante, Pickle Annie’s, Sweet Melody’s, Blackman Homestead Farms, Hens Honey Bee Farm, Barker Chocolate Box, That Popcorn Shack, and Naturally Nuts.

This year saw the addition of a shuttle bus guests and a new seating area at the north side of the arena.

As is the norm, the event was most packed between its 5 p.m. open and about two hours later. It continued on to 9 p.m. for the hearty. A 4 p.m. VIP opening allowed 100 who purchased $50 tickets for the extra hour.

While many Lockport-area notables were in attendance, it was apparent that the event had become a regional draw. Many in attendance were from outside the county.

Co-chairman Tom Murphy called the event a success.


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The Lockport Express press the New York Aviators during the second period. New York went on to win in overtime. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler

A Daniel Backstrom goal 1:07 into overtime secured a New York Aviators victory over host Lockport Express this afternoon in Cornerstone CFCU Arena.

George Root, center, was back in the broadcast booth for East Niagara Radio.
To his left is Craig Bacon, while Howie Balaban stands to his right. 
Lockport had the early lead on a Ryan Logar Goal at 12:13 of the first period. Christopher Gasiewicz and Kurt Villani assisted. Late in the period, however, Jimmy Warrick tied it for New York, assisted by Dominick Sacco at 19:20.

It was Warrick again at 216 of the second period, assisted by Sacco and Eric Hewitt. Backstrom notched his first of the game at 10:02, assisted by Hewitt and Sacco. Gasiewicz pulled Lockport to within one at 15:11, assisted by Erick Santiago -- then tied it at 17:36, assisted by Ryan Logar and Frank Vecchio Jr.

New York re-took the lead at 3:16 with a Sacco goal, assisted by Warrick and Backstrom. Ryan Logar then re-tied it for Lockport at 11:13, assisted by Josh Evoy and Devin Kasperek.

The Backstrom goal in overtime gave New York the victory.

New York had 21 minutes in penalties during the game, while Lockport served none. Lockport netminder Sam Fitzpatrick stopped 29 of 34 shots on the day.

Lockport took three of a possible eight points over the weekend and end it tied with the Syracuse Stampede for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.


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Patrick J. Hicks, 80, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend entered into eternal peace of Friday January 29, 2016.

Patrick was born in Lockport on March 17, 1935, to the late Paul and Ruth Seifert Hicks.  He attended Lockport High School and served in the US Navy from 1952 until 1956, while in the Navy, he played on the Navy Softball team. Patrick was employed at Simonds Saw and Steel and then at Harrison Radiator, Division of General Motors, until his retirement. Patrick enjoyed hunting, fishing in his early years, cooking and enjoyed watching sports, especially the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Patrick is survived by his wife of 56 years, Marjorie Moran Hicks, and his children, Timothy P. (Linda) Hicks, of Cranberry Township, PA., Patricks Hicks, Jr., Susan Borner, Catherine Hicks and Kevin Hicks all of Lockport.  He was the grandfather of Gerald Olaf III, Melissa Borner, Joseph Borner, Benjamin Hicks, Lily Hicks, Patrick Hicks III, Hunter Hicks and Blake Hicks.  Patrick was the brother of Thomas R. (Jan) Hicks of Newfane and the late George M. Hicks, John P. Hicks and Shirley Preisch.  He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Friends may call Wednesday February 3rd from 4 to 8 PM, in Prudden and Kandt Funeral Home, Inc., 242 Genesee Street, Lockport, where services will be held on Thursday February 4th at 11 AM.  Interment will be in Glenwood Cemetery.  Memorials to the Arthritis Foundation, 122 East 42nd Street 18th Floor, New York, New-York 10168,, or to the Macular Degeneration Foundation, P.O. Box 551313, Henderson, NV 89053,, or to a charity of one’s choice, would be appreciated by the family.

Online condolences at

Donna M. DeBoe went to be with the Lord on January 28, 2016.

Born on June 1, 1950, she was the daughter of Donald and Delores Gallardy. Wife of Lawrence J. DeBoe Jr., and a long time partner of James Thomas. Mother or Tim DeBoe, Tammy (Jeremy) Dunlap, Kari (Brian) Hale, Donald (Karen) DeBoe. Grandmother of Timmi Lee, Jamie Lee, Nicholas (Jaclynn) Churchill, Coy, Cru, Hale, Tyler and Vanessa DeBoe. Great-grandmother of Tegan Page-DeBoe. Predeceased by grandson, Christopher Churchill.

Friends may call from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday at the Taylor & Reynolds Funeral Home, 70 Niagara St., where the funeral service will be held at 7 p.m.

Please visit


The National Weather Service calls for a chance of rain this afternoon with a high near 48. More rain is possible tonight with a low around 41.

Monday, there's a chance of rain in the morning and again in the late afternoon with a high near 44 and a low around 29. Tuesday will be partly sunny with a high near 40 and an overnight low around 36 with a 90 percent chance of rain. Wednesday, showers are likely with a high near 49 and a low around 26.

Thursday looks to be mostly sunny with a high near 30 and a low around 22. Friday will be partly sunny with a high near 31.

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I’m taking a brief break from kid hijinks to write a bit about my thoughts on new parenthood and baby showers ... specifically, do’s and don’ts as far as presents go. As always, this is my opinion alone. (Albeit opinion informed by years of parenting.)

So, last week I rattled on about what I saw as four don’ts. Each came with disclaimers. I’m sure these will, as well, but they’re things we found useful, once upon a time.

ONE: Practical clothing.

This was going to be divided up into two or three items, but it really does depend on the time of year and, to some extent, on the baby in question. It definitely did with ours.

Two words: Bodysuits and sleepers. You can never have enough.

(Note: By bodysuits, I mean those little one-piece outfits often called “onesies” – a term that’s actually trademarked.)

They often go under other clothing, but in the summer (or with a child who runs warm, like one of ours did), a onesie alone can be the garb of the day. They wash well, you’ll almost always need one and you can pick up a pack of five or so plain ones for $10-$15.

Want to be fancier? Get them in patterns or colors. Need something a little warmer? You can get them with long sleeves. You can find them with cute sayings on them, or characters. (The boys had one, passed on from older brother to younger brother, with Darth Vader emblazoned on it.)

On the flip side: Cozy one-piece sleepers.

Nothing fancy or frilly. Just a good ol’ terrycloth or fleece or something lighter weight for warm weather. When the parents are too exhausted or too busy or too ... whatever ... they’re a great way to say “Hey! The kid is clothed!” and move on to more pressing things. And I’m pretty sure that they must be more comfortable then many fancier items.

And, as I said before, it’s nice to get an array of sizes. When the kid is moving into size 9-12 months and all the tiny, adorable things don’t fit anymore, the parents will thank you.

TWO: Cloth diapers.

Bear with me. This isn’t just for those dedicated folks who decide to use these for their intended purpose. (Although good for them.)

You’ll see lots of so-called “burp clothes” in baby supply aisles and stores. They tend to be flimsy, colorful, sometimes decorated, and you might pay $12 or more for a package of four.

Skip these. Head for the cloth diapers.

They’re not pretty. They’re just white. They’re sturdy and they’re less expensive. They probably won’t be on anyone’s registry.

They’re the best.

Think about these things will be used for. (And believe me, they will be used.) Do you really want the pretty, embroidered, thin ones? Or do you want the sturdy ones that can be washed frequently without falling apart? With plenty of bleach?

It sounds silly, but these were one of the most useful things we received.

THREE: The little things.

Babies need a lot of big stuff. They need cribs and car seats and highchairs and strollers. But not everyone can pony up the cash for that sort of baby shower gift.

The thing is, babies need a lot of little stuff, too. New parents will find a need for a steady supply of baby wash (for sensitive baby skin) and lotion. Those soft little washcloths are good, too. Again, however, I suggest you go for the simple, inexpensive ones. These things tend to get lost.

So do baby spoons, when the kid is old enough to sample food. We had a pack of study plastic spoons in bright colors that someone bought us. They washed well and if one went missing (perhaps hurled across the room after Sam decided he hated carrots), it wasn’t a big deal. We kept a handful in the diaper bag at all times. Very useful.

If you’re looking for a baby gift and can’t spend a ton, a basket stocked with an assortment of the little stuff can be very helpful and useful. I still remember some of these types of gifts, many years later.

FOUR: Musical toys.

Big disclaimer here: Make sure it’s not too obnoxious and that there’s a volume control. And I’m sure that, as with all these items, it partly depends on the baby and the personality involved.

But if you’re the sort of person who likes to buy toys, even for an infant who hasn’t the foggiest grasp of what a toy really is, music tends to catch their attention. At least it did with my two.

To this day, Jim’s musical frog, purchased for him when he was 5 months old, is still a soothing companion for him. Just the other day, I found him sitting with it, listening to a lullaby. (And now that I think of it, I can hear it in the other room as I type this ...)

That leads me to another note: Make sure the batteries can be changed. He had a beloved teddy bear once with which that wasn’t possible. The demise of the music led to many tears and a lengthy (and not entirely successful) hunt for a similar model.

So, there you have it. But remember, every baby, every parent, differs. What we found practical and useful may not work for everyone.

However, nearly seven years after my youngest turned 1, these are still the things I remember. That has to count for something, right?

+Jill Keppeler cannot say enough good things about the practicality of cloth diapers as burp clothes. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler or email her at


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East Niagara Radio - Listen LIVE now

Howie Balaban and Craig Bacon broadcast live from Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Arena as the Lockport Express take on the East Coast Minutemen. 

If you miss any of the game, we'll offer it up Sunday via podcast for your listening convenience. 
By +Scott Leffler

Joe O'Shaughnessy
In the minutes following an ENP news story this morning concerning a special meeting of the Common Council slated for Tuesday and Council President David Wohleben's problems with it, two city officials took the Republican to task. Just moments ago, a third chimed in.

Anita Mullane
The three group emails -- from Democrat Aldermen Rick Abbott, Anita Mullane and Joe O'Shaughnessy -- all disagree with Wohleben's original assertion that the work session called for is illegal. O'Shaugnessy even goes so far as to call the Council president "shameful."

The mass email exchange started at 10:25 p.m. Friday with a group message from Wohleben to his fellow Council members, as well as Mayor Anne McCaffrey, City Clerk Richelle Pasceri, Corporation Counsel John Ottaviano, and members of the media: East Niagara Post, the Lockport Journal, Buffalo News and LCTV. It is unknown if Abbott and Mullane knew the media was in on the exchange. O'Shaughnessy clearly did, however, as he dressed down Wohleben for including the media. All three Democrats' responses appear below in their entireties and unedited. Wohleben's original email can be seen here. (link)

Rick Abbott
At 10:22 a.m. -- the exact moment the ENP story ran on Wohleben's email -- Abbott sent an email to Wohleben saying that his presence wasn't required for the meeting and that he did not have the "the authority to disqualify someone's signature or request." One of Wohleben's published concerns was that Alderwoman Anita Mullane's signature was on the request for the meeting. Wohleben took issue with that,"because Anita is a direct blood relative (to Lena Villella) and therefore she has a clear direct conflict of interest."

At 10:27 a.m., Mullane chimed in, noting that she has abstained from the votes in regards to the assessor's position "when I legally could have voted on some of them." She also states that the letter calling for the meeting was signed by four Council members.

Then, at 12:50 p.m., Alderman at Large Joe O'Shaughnessy backed up Abbott and Mullane, calling it "shameful that as Council President (Wohleben has) chosen to bash your fellow Council members in the media."

Thanks for your input BUT:

1)  You as Council president have the right to cancel the meeting if not properly notified.

2)  A group of Council members can hold an open meeting at any given time that we desire as long as we conform with the Open Meeting Law.

3) The fact that an alderwoman has a relative in the employ of the City does not prevent her from participating in public forums in regards to the duties of a given job, especially a job the relative

does not hold. Although that presentation may be better served by a representative of the Civil Service.

4) As Council President you do not have the authority to disqualify someone's signature or request.

5)  Please remember the Ethics Committee is only a Committee and does not have any power in regards to policy. It can make recommendations but the final decision is made by the Council, the same as any other committee or Board.

6) If the Council decides to bring in outside people for consultation, I will rest assure you that it will be a committee of individuals that we all agree to, and the outside consulting will not be cherry picked.

7) Your presence is not required for all work meeting, open meetings or Council meetings.


-- Rick Abbott
-- Alderman 5th Ward

Dave, a few things I would like to address with you regarding this email.

1. I have abstained on all resolutions during my tenure as a Council member that would give the appearance of any impropriety when I legally could have voted on some of them.

2. The letter requesting the COTW meeting for 2/2/16 was signed by FOUR Council members. Please refer to your email from the City Clerk's office sent on 1/28/16 with the aforementioned letter attached to it. The signatures are also provided.

Thank you, Anita


Let me say I emphatically agree with the statements from my fellow Council members.  I find it shameful that as Council President you have chosen to bash your fellow Council members in the media.  Your statement sends a message to me that this is an early and defining moment of who is going to run this City.  This City is going to be run by the people.  Let me remind you that we have been elected by the people.  It has been stated by the Mayor that our current actions are clearly a step backwards financially, ethically and that we are simply not informed and have poor judgement.

Dave, what is the fear of bringing a staff member to address the Council on one of the most important Departments of the City?  This lingering question of mine is being brought about at the right time for the right reasons.

-- Alderman at Large
-- Joe O'Shaughnessy
Aldermen Mark Devine and Joe Oates -- both Republicans who voted for the creation of the assessor's position -- have not responded publicly to the exchange.

Whether the 4:45 p.m. Tuesday meeting will be held and whether it will include Villella remain to be seen at this point.

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William Ernst
TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A Lockport man who was reportedly found to have a .19 percent blood alcohol content was charged Wednesday with aggravated DWI.

According to New York State Police, William C. Ernst was seen swerving in and out of his lane while speeding on South Transit Road.

In addition to the DWI charge, he was also charged with speeding and moving from lane unsafely.
Ernst is slated to appear in the Town of Lockport Court on Feb. 11.

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By +Scott Leffler

A special meeting of the Committee of the Whole of the Lockport Common Council has been called for at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday to discuss whether to hire a full-time assessor for the city. But an email from Common Council President David Wohleben suggests that maybe that meeting won't happen.

David Wohleben
The Common Council voted 4-1 on Jan. 20 to squash an agreement with the City of Niagara Falls to share an assessor with them, instead choosing to create a full-time assessor in Lockport. Mayor Anne McCaffrey issued a veto of that vote the following day. Now the Council is discussing how to proceed, with at least one saying openly that the Council should override the veto.

Tuesday's meeting, originally slated for 4:15 p.m., is slated to be held in room M-24. It was called to allow the real property assessor, Lena Villella, "to address the duties and responsibilities of the Assessor’s Department."

Not all aldermen are in favor of the meeting, however. Fourth-Ward Alderman and Common Council President David Wohleben, who was the dissenting vote on the original measure to create the full-time assessor position, sent an email to his colleagues explaining he had issues with the session, calling it "deficient and possibly illegal." He added that he is unable to attend the meeting and stated bluntly that "As I am unable to preside over this meeting, it will not take place."

Wohleben included the press on that email, which can be read below in its entirety and unedited.
Dear Council Members:

The Charter of our great city states that the Common Council shall hold stated meetings at least twice in each month, and the Mayor, or any three Alderman, may call special meetings, by notice in writing, to be signed by him or them and filed with the City Clerk, which shall be served personally upon the other members of the Common Council or be left at their several residences or usual places of business.

First and foremost, the notice I received yesterday from the Clerk’s office regarding Tuesday’s meeting is deficient and possibly illegal for the following reasons. The notice refers to the meeting as a “special meeting.” A “special meeting” is an official formal meeting of the common council. However, as I understand Tuesday’s meeting is nothing more than a “work session” and the work session schedule for the year is set forth in the Rules and Procedures of the Common Council adopted at the first meeting in January. Second, the “special meeting notice” states that the purpose of the meeting is to hear from Lena Villella, the Real Property Appraiser” about the assessment office. The signature by Alderperson Mullane cannot be counted as one of the three required signatures to call for a “special meeting” because Anita is a direct blood relative and therefore she has a clear direct conflict of interest.  Third, if the notice is for a “special meeting” it was not served upon me personally, left at my residence or usual place of business as required by Section C-51 of the Charter. Fourth, given the short notice period of the meeting I am unable to attend due to a prior commitment. As I preside over work sessions. As I am unable to preside over this meeting, it will not take place. Fifth, I also have serious concerns about having the Real Property Appraiser who has expressed a desire to have the job of assessor coming in to discuss duties and responsibilities of that office. Clearly, any and all information from that employee would be bias and self-serving at best.  I would suggest we look to a neutral third party perspective, like John Schumacher at the County Real Property Assessment department to give an overview of operations and duties of that department and how it relates to staffing, promotions, etc.

Sixth, bringing an employee in to discuss the possibility of a promotion will set a dangerous precedent for all future promotions.  Lastly and most important, I feel that the Council is clearly overstepping its authority because only the Mayor has the authority by Charter to appoint, hire, direct, discipline and promote employees not the common council.

Thank You

David Wohleben
Common Council President
4th Ward Alderman
UPDATE: Council flap over meeting on assessor's post continues

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ALBANY -- A Western New York-based organization was awarded more than $2 million from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The P2 Collaborative of Western New York, which serves Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties will receive the $2,053,020 over the next three years. Three other organizations in New York State were also awarded CDC grants.

"The health and well-being of New Yorkers continues to improve every day and a large part of that is the work of organizations promoting healthy living in their communities," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "This funding helps strengthen these organizations in the battle against deadly, but preventable diseases and helps pave the way towards a healthier New York."

The recipients of the four grants serve counties with high rates of chronic disease and/or more than 40 percent minority population. The funding will allow each organization to implement strategies in community and health care settings that promote health, support and reinforce healthful behaviors, encourage lifestyle change program participation, and link community programs to clinical services. This includes everything from increasing availability of healthy foods in small retail stores to implementing community plans that promote walking and increased engagement of health workers with their communities.

The other awardees include the Albany County Department of Health which received $879,880, the Health Advancement Collaborative of Central New York and Hudson River HealthCare, Inc., which both received $2,053,020.

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Gloria Sammons
TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A 43-year-old Lockport woman was charged Friday by New York State Police with violating an order of protection after reportedly kicking a man and refusing to leave his residence despite the complainant having a full stay-away order against the woman.

According to the police-issued report, Gloria L. Sammons was charged with second-degree criminal contempt and second-degree harassment following the incident.

She was arraigned in the Town of Lockport Court and remanded to Niagara County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.

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The National Weather Service calls for mostly cloudy skies today with a high near 41 and a low around 39.

Sunday, there's a chance of rain with a high near 48 and a low around 41. Monday, more rain is possible with a high near 44 and a low around 29. Tuesday will be mostly cloudy with a high near 40 and a low around 36.

Wednesday: Showers likely with a high near 49 and a low around 26. Thursday will be mostly sunny with a high near 30 and a low around 22. Friday looks to be partly sunny with a high near 31.

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The design and building of the Erie Canal took an incredible number of moving parts, and an inexhaustible labor force of man, animal and machinery. Once completed, traffic began almost immediately, and that traffic consisted primarily of packet boats carrying either passengers or freight, and the mules that moved them.The Erie Canal became one of the most significant engineering feats of the 1800’s, with some dignitaries calling it the 8th Wonder of the World.  The 363 mile stretch from Albany to Buffalo was truly a sight to behold, but this article is more about the story behind the scenes -  the story of the pieces that made it happen - the story of the packet boat and the mighty mule.

In the 1700’s and early 1800’s, Packet Boats were already established and were having great success in European canals, so their basic style and function needed very little changes. When the Erie Canal was designed, it was built with dimensions to accommodate them, and when the Erie Canal was opened for traffic, in 1825, the Packet became an immediate player.

Originally intended as a more comfortable alternative to the bone-jarring stagecoach, the Packet had a cabin space that could carry up to 60 passengers.  These boats came in different sizes, but the most common size was 60-80 feet long by just over 14 feet wide, and all featured the same basic accommodations: a multipurpose room which served as lounge, dining room, kitchen, and sleeping room (with a curtain to separate the ladies from the men).

The average charge for passengers traveling on packet boats was 4 cents per mile, and included meals and sleeping accommodations. These boats also helped many families to emigrate to Ohio and other parts of the Midwest by carrying them and their goods, transferring them to lake boats at Buffalo.

For those who couldn't afford the typical passenger ticket, working boats could take passengers at a charge of 2 cents per mile, and sometimes even just one cent, but accommodations were proportionally less comfortable and travel somewhat slower.

The freight onboard usually consisted of lumber, gravel or agricultural products going east, and manufactured products (stoves, nails, cloth, etc.) going west. In many cases, the boats were also home for a family, as the father would captain the boat, the mother would be the cook, and the children would play or help out as needed, with the young boys often taking on the role as “Hogee,” or minder of the mules.

These floating barges needed a means of propulsion that could withstand the rigors of waterway traffic, and the addition of the mule was a fit made in heaven.

“Low Bridge, Everybody down” was written by Thomas Allen in 1905, and is undoubtedly the most recognized of all the Erie Canal folksongs.  Allen’s lyrics portrayed life along the canal with some of the words being altered over time, but the original version commemorated the 15 years of working along the canal with his pal, “Sal.”  The newer versions no longer refer to 15 years, but 15 miles, which is the average distance a mule would tow a barge before resting or being relieved by another mule.

Both horses and mules were being used in the 1800’s for canal traffic, but the limitations of the horse quickly became evident. Horses could pull passengers at a speed of about 4 miles per hour, but they could not handle the additional weight involved in freight transportation, and needed rest after just a couple hours. The mule, even though they were smaller in stature, quickly became the animal of choice when it came to the actual transportation of goods.  They were slower, averaging a speed of just 2.5 miles per hour, but they could pull for 6 hours straight before changing out with another team.  As a result, 15 miles was the average distance that a mule had to work per shift, and hence, “15 miles on the Erie Canal.”

But where do we get mules like Sal?

The mule is actually the result of a genetic experiment by Man. Somewhere back in the time of the Ancient Greeks, around 500 BC, someone got the bright idea of mating a horse with a donkey.  By
crossing a female horse (a Mare) with a male donkey (a Jackass), the resulting offspring proved to have the beneficial characteristics of both, and the mule was born.

Mules possess the sobriety, patience, endurance, and sure-footedness of the donkey, while maintaining the vigor, strength, and courage of the horse. As a beast of burden it is less impatient under the pressure of heavy weights, and has a skin that is harder and less sensitive, which renders it more capable of resisting sun and rain, creating an extraordinary immunity from disease. It is very easily fed and equally good for carrying as for drawing loads.  It walks well and steadily, easily traversing the worst roads or paths with the surety and safety of a goat.

The mule foal does not grow as quickly as the horse foal, and it takes much longer, a full four years, to mature and be of use. However, once it reaches that level of maturity, it is able to work for a much longer period of service than its horse counterpoint, often working until it is 20, 30 and even 40 years of age.

The opposite genetic combination was also tried, but the donkey female (a Jenny) was much smaller than the mare, and the resulting offspring (a Hinny) does not carry enough size to be useful for canal boat service.  In either case, even though these man-inspired beasts can exhibit both male and female attributes, they are totally sterile and unable to reproduce more offspring amongst themselves.  As a consequence, mules need to be bred individually, and the hands of President George Washington sired some of the very first mules bred in the United States.  Washington was a mule enthusiast, and through a gift from the King of Spain of two Zamorano-Leones donkeys, he began experimenting with the great lines of American horses in hopes of developing the ultimate American Mule.  An interesting hobby, but the strength of the combination proved to be ideal for use along the canal.

The canal packet boats were drawn through the Erie Canal by 2 teams of two or three mules, one team of which would be housed in the bow of the boat, and the "Hogee" or driver would sleep with them. The normal shift was six hours on duty, six hours off.  The mule’s smaller size allowed for much easier storage within the packet boat than horses, and space was limited. The Hogee also had the benefit of being able to get the mule team up to speed for longer legs of the trip, and then slip away to ride comfortably, or to get much needed sleep. The mules were intelligent enough, or some would say dumb enough, to continue walking on course until someone or something created a change - kind of like a 19th Century Cruise Control.

Mules are also particularly fussy about the water that they drink, and apparently, you cannot make a mule drink water that isn’t clean.  This was of added importance to the travelers because the water of the early canal system was far from sanitary, and the mules became a sanitary check for all the water that they drank.

Compared to overland travel, the boats cut journey time in half and were much more comfortable. Travelers could get from New York City to Buffalo within ten days.  Because it was usually hot and stuffy in the cabin in the summer time, passengers commonly sat on deck or often on the roof.  Because headroom under bridges was usually low, passengers on the roof had to duck their heads, or occasionally to flatten themselves to the roof to avoid being swept off and into the canal, hence the lyrics, “Low Bridge, Everybody down.”  Everyone needed to keep his or her wits about them.

An interesting note is that the mule’s tail is destitute of hair at its roots, a condition that is defined in biological terms as “asinine,” a term we commonly use today for something that sounds peculiar or extremely idiotic or foolish.  Asinine has also been widely used for something relating to, or resembling an ass, and most likely, this term was thrown around most judiciously with the movement of packet boats during the heydays of the Erie Canal.

All in all, the Erie Canal created the means by which the United States was able to grow, and none of the players along the stretch leading from NY City to the Great Lakes was more important, or significant, than the pairing of the Packet Boat with the Mighty Mule.

+Dr. Scott Geise , a local businessman, has an active interest in Erie Canal history, specifically surrounding the local Mill Race in Lockport. His column, "Historically Relevant," appears on the first and third Saturday of each month.

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Lockport Express and Cape Cod Islanders players dig for the puck along the boards Friday night at Cornerstone CFCU Arena. (SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler

The Cape Cod Islanders were constantly one step ahead of the Lockport Express Friday night and ended the night two goals ahead of the hometown team, taking a 5-3 victory.

Chuck Costello opened scoring at 7:04 of the first period, assisted by Mike Jessman and Eric Szeker. Devin Kasperek tied it for the Express at 17;27, assisted by Gibson Stuart and Dylan Jenkins.

In the second period, Aaron Deady put Cape Cod up with the help of Jessman and Costello. Dan Moore then made it 3-1, assisted by Szeker at 8:28. Lockport's Frank Vecchio Jr. pulled the Express to within a goal, assited by Dylan Jenkins and Justin Andriaccio at 16:33.

Maxime Dordet took advantage of an Islanders hold-over power play leading into the third period, putting Cape Cod up 4-2, assisted by Jessman and Szeker just 1:12 into the third period. Vecchio made it 4-3 at 16:27, assisted by Justin Andriaccio. Costello's empty net goal at 18:55 wrapped up all the scoring.


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Friday, January 29, 2016
LPD responds to a three-vehicle crash at Transit and Walnut street around 8 p.m. There were no serious injuries in the crash. (SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)


A three-vehicle accident at the intersection of Walnut and Transit streets around 8 p.m. damaged an LPD cruiser and two other vehicles, but resulted in no serious injuries.

According to LPD, no one went to the hospital following the crash. And there were no charges filed immediately.

Further details were not immediately available, however police were still working on paperwork in regards to the crash.

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By +Scott Leffler

Tate Petrillo drops the puck for a ceremonial faceoff to start Thursday night's
game between the Lockport Express and the Skylands Kings. (PHOTOS BY
The Lockport Express fell behind 3-0 to the Skylands Kings early in the second period of Friday night's NA3EHL showcase contest. It was just too deep a hole to climb out of.

Skylands first goal came just 2:04 into the first period when Cole Skelly scored unassisted on the power play.

Cory Decosta started the second period with a short-handed unassisted goal for the Kings just 15 seconds after the first faceoff. And Tim Vant made it 3-0 less than two minutes later, assted by Mike King and Skelly.

Lockport got on the board at 6:08 with a Kurt Villani goal, assisted by Brendan McFall and Jordan Pocobello. Mark Friol pulled the Express to within one on the power play at 13:07. Ryan Logar and Christopher Gasiewicz assisted.

Despite getting 13 shots on net in the third period, the Express couldn't crack Skylands goaltender Mathias Yttereng, who stopped 37 shots on the night. Then with Express netminder Sal Stalteri pulled in favor of an extra attacker, Skylands scored an empty-net goal at 19:54. Matt Sinatra assisted the Ernest Komarnitskii goal.

ENR's Voice of the Express, Howie Balaban, left, talks with Express Head 
Coach Frank Vecchio after the game.
Express Head Coach Frank Vecchio said after the game that he was hoping the team would retain six out of a possible eight points in their four games this weekend. Thursday's loss means they'll have to win the rest to be able to do that.

The Express takes on Cape Cod at 6:30 p.m., East Coast at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and the New York Aviators at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. All Express home games are broadcast live on East Niagara Radio.

Despite Thursday's late 9:30 p.m. scheduled start, the official attendance is listed by the NA3EHL as 150.


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Philip H. “Butch” Walker, 67, of Lyndonville, NY, passed away on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at the Martin-Linsin Residence, Albion, NY.

Born on February 1, 1948 in Buffalo, NY, he was the son of the late William F. and Lois (Koch) Walker Sr.

Philip attended Barker High School and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. On returning home, he married the former Esther Newman on September 11, 1971. He was employed for thirty years as a Logistics Supervisor for Akzo Nobel Chemical Co. He was a member of the Barker Post #425 American Legion and he enjoyed golfing and playing euchre.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Esther Walker, children, William F. Walker III of St. Anthony, MN; Decia Mae Walker of Lockport, NY; five grandchildren, Autumn, River, Donovan, Nolan and Eero; brother to William F. (Annie) Walker Jr. of Rochester, NY, Corrine (Wallace) Coates of Barker, NY and Lois Christine (Christopher) Romney of Gasport, NY, also by several nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, December 19, 2015 at the County Line United Methodist Church, 1385 County Line Rd. Lyndonville, NY 14098, with the Pastor, Rev. Merrill Bender officiating and burial will be held at the convenience of the family.

Memorials may be made in Philip’s name to: Hospice of Orleans Co. P.O.Box #489, Albion, NY 14411. Arrangements were made through the Bates & Tuttle Funeral Home, 112 N. Main St. Lyndonville, NY.

Please sign the on-line register book at:


The National Weather Service calls for snow showers this morning with a high near 28 and an overnight low around 22.

Saturday, there's a chance of rain and snow showers with a high near 39 and a low around 36. Sunday offers a chance of showers with a high near 49 and a low around 41. Monday there's a chance of showers with a high near 47 and a low around 32.

Tuesday: A chance of showers with a high near 42 and a low around 37. Wednesday: A chance of showers with a high near 50 and a low around 27. Thursday will be partly sunny with a high near 30.

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Steven C. Guy, Sr. passed away January 27th 2016 in the Buffalo VA.

Born in Banner Elk, N. Carolina November 5, 1947. Son of Levi Guy and Ruby Jones. Steve was retired from Harrison Radiator, he worked there for 35 years. He was a Vietnam Veteran serving from 1967-69.

Surviving are his wife of 48 years of Maureen (Wilson) Guy, children, Julie (Rob) Johnson, Steven (Susan) Guy, Michael Guy, Tammy (Jesse Garcia) Guy, Ryan (Amanda) Guy.  Grandchildren, Samantha (Sunni) Johnson, Nick Johnson, Paige (Angel) Aguirre, Hannah, Madalyn and Leo Garcia, whom he never got to meet. Step grandchildren, Sheri (Brian) Scholl, son Gavin, Jake (Brandy) Landry, Tristen and Caden Garcia.  Steven was the brother of Jerry Guy, Janice (LeRoy) Wolfe and Lisa (Terry) Callahan;  he is also survived by nieces and nephews.

There will be no visitation, services will be held at the convenience of the family.  Donations can be made to the Buffalo VA or Save-A-Pet.

Online Condolences at


Brittany Saxton
TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A 27-year-old Olcott woman was charged Wednesday with third-degree bail jumping by New York State Police.

Police records state that Brittany R. Saxton was wanted on a warrant from the Town of Lockport Court.

She was arraigned and remanded to Niagara County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail for the bail jumping charge and another $1,000 on the warrant charge of petit larceny.

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BATAVIA -- Ten students from East Niagara were recently honored on the President's List at Genesee Community College. Another five were named to the Provost's List.

Both honors require students to maintain a 3.75 GPA with President's List honorees being full-time students and Provost's List honorees attending the college part time.

Those named to the President's List include:
  • Lindsey Turrell of Appleton 
  • Stephanie Batt of Gasport 
  • Rachel Diel of Gasport 
  • Moiona Eubank of Lockport 
  • Krystle Schaner of Lockport 
  • Rosemary Sharrow of Lockport 
  • Katlynne Tubo of Lockport 
  • Natalie Brooks of Middleport
  • Faye Conley of Middleport 
  • Kevin Fortuna of Middleport
Provost's List honorees include:
  • Emily Trinder of Barker
  • Morgan Ripley of Lockport
  • Athan Brown of Middleport
  • Matthew DaBella of Middleport
  • Brittany Manicki of Middleport
Genesee Community College offers over 60 academic programs and certificates, including two new associate in applied science degrees. The Food Processing Technology degree will help meet the demands of the thriving food manufacturing industry in western New York, and Nanotechnology studies the fascinating microscopic world at the atomic level leading to jobs in a wide array of different industries from biopharmaceuticals to information storage.

Genesee is accessible through seven campus locations throughout Western New York, as well as through its online program. College housing is available at College Village, just a three minute walk from the Batavia Campus. With small class sizes, yet state-of-the-art technology both inside and out of the classroom, Genesee Community College is known for being 'high-tech' and 'high-touch'.

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ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $11 million is available to protect soil and water resources through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program. These grants will assist farmers in implementing the best management practices to address water quality challenges in priority watersheds throughout New York State while increasing productivity and economic activity.

Andrew M. Cuomo
“The agricultural industry is a major economic driver in New York and our farmers must have access to the resources they need to grow and improve their operations,” Gov. Cuomo said. “By providing this critical funding to farms across the state, we are helping this industry remain competitive, while protecting our natural resources and continuing our production of quality agricultural products in New York.”

The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program is funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, which the Governor proposes to increase to $300 million in this year’s Executive Budget. This proposal would more than double the level of the EPF since 2011, and increase funding for agricultural water quality programming by nearly $5 million.

Grants will be awarded to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts for environmental planning or to implement best management practices such as agricultural waste storage systems, riparian buffer systems, conservation cover crops and structural soil conservation practices.

The program is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. It is a part of the Agricultural Environmental Management framework, a broader effort that helps farmers achieve better water quality and more effective farming systems. The Districts use the AEM framework to assist farmers with the planning and implementation of environmental improvement projects in a cost effective manner. As a result, farmers are able to meet business goals while protecting and conserving the State’s natural resources.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “This program received a record number of applications in the last round, demonstrating the agricultural community’s growing commitment to environmental stewardship. These important projects help prevent water pollution, reduce erosion and limit harmful sediments and other nutrients in New York’s waterways, while supporting the growth of the agricultural community. Looking forward, we’re excited that this program will also be a critical component in helping the State advance the Governor’s newly proposed New York Certified High Quality Foods initiative.”

Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “County soil and water conservation districts play a vital role in helping New York's farmers implement best management practices to protect the state's waterways while allowing farmers to provide families across the state with fresh, local food. These funds will provide farmers the tools they need to continue the important services they provide, while ensuring the environment is protected."

Chair of the NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, "The AgNPS Program is a stable funding source that provides important resources to New York State farmers for projects that greatly benefit soil and water quality. New York State Soil and Water Conservation Districts appreciate this funding as well as increased funding each year to the Environmental Protection Fund.”

County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can now apply for the AgNPS Program through the Department of Agriculture and Markets website here. All appropriate materials must be submitted through the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Sharepoint website by April 1, 2016.

For additional details about this program and other natural resource protection programs, please contact the local County Soil and Water Conservation District. A complete listing of County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can be found here.

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The Lockport Express will host a Red Cross blood drive from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union Arena.

All those who donate will get a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card.

Walk-ins are welcome, or for an appointment call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit

The Lockport Express take the ice at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

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The National Weather Service call for a chance of snow showers this evening with a high near 37. Tonight, snow showers are likely with a low around 25.

Friday, there's a chance of snow showers with a high near 28 and a low around 22. Saturday brings a chance of snow showers and rain with a high near 39 and a low around 34. Sunday: A chance of showers with a high near 47 and a low around 39.

Monday offers a chance of showers with a high near 46 and a low around 32. Tuesday, there's a chance of rain and snow showers with a high near 39 and a low around 35. Wednesday brings a chance of showers with a high near 47.

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