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Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Erie Canal Discovery Center and Niagara History Center are seeking nominees for the 11th annual “Key to the Locks” award.

This yearly honor recognizes a Niagara County citizen who exemplifies the community spirit or promotes the heritage or preservation of the historic Erie Canal. The 2016 “Key to the Locks” will be presented at 11 a.m. May 7 at the Erie Canal Discovery Center, 24 Church St.

Nomination forms are available online at or in person at the Niagara History Center, 215 Niagara St. All nominations come from the public and will be reviewed by a selection committee. The deadline for 2016 nominations is March 1.

The winner of the 2015 “Key to the Locks” was the late Dianne Koplas, a driving force behind many programs that promoted tourism and the history of Lockport, the Erie Canal, and the Lockport locks.

Other previous winners have included: Rosemary Bernard, for her continuing support and promotion of Erie Canal history as a librarian at the Royalton Hartland Community Library; Carol Schmelz, for her work in establishing the Canalway Trail through Pendleton; artist Joe Whalen, for a lifetime of showcasing the Canal through his paintings; Jeffery Degnan, for his work in promoting the Erie Canalway Corridor, and Jane Whitmore, for beautification work along the historic Lockport locks.

For further information, contact Ray Wigle at 434-7433.

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