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Letters to the Editor

Union Leader Takes Issue With DA Probe

A recent story in this paper said that Niagara County Attorney Claude Joerg has been investigating accusations of sexual harassment by DA Mike Violante, gathering statements from women in the DA's office.

As president of AFSCME local 182, the union representing the cleaning staff, I can attest that County Attorney Claude Joerg has not discussed this claim with any member of our union, male or female.

I am not implying that any AFSCME worker at that location has ever been sexually harassed. I am only saying that not one female member of the cleaning crew has been contacted by Joerg.

In fact in my three years as Union President, and over 10 years in contract negotiations for the union, I have never met Mr. Joerg. Even though his signature appears on the pages of our collective bargaining agreement, he has never met in a negotiation session. Niagara County has been hiring an outside law firm, Jaeckle & Fleischmann, to do this work, as well as other personnel related issues. Last year alone, we, the taxpayers, paid them nearly a quarter million dollars! For this sum we have- no new labor contracts with any of six unions. Negotiations are a big money maker for this firm. Lots of billable hours studying contracts, drafting proposals, and meeting in sessions that seem pointless. Let's be real: How can the county GOP majority ask for big concessions from workers while at the same time they provide full time benefits for part-time political patronage jobs! When they spend $1,000,000 on a transfer of record storage to their biggest campaign contributor, David Ulrich. Now they are planning a $3,000,000 hi tech phone system in buildings they either don't own, or say we need to close!

What they have done, though, is create another huge contributor to the Niagara County Republican Party. Jaeckle & Fleischmann, and their predecessor firm Damon & Morey have contributed tens of thousands of dollars in a typical Niagara County "Pay to Play" scheme. At a meeting of the legislature last year, when discussing NCCC budget (under an expired labor contract which still provides cosmetic surgery to staff there!), GOP Majority leader Rick Updegrove questioned, "have they hired outside counsel.”

Rick would never miss an opportunity for your tax dollars to help provide campaign funds for the GOP. They even got Wayne Jagow to give them $10,000 on Nov. 20, 2011, a month later on Dec. 20 they granted him a hefty raise.

This foolish wasting of your tax dollars has got to end.

By Bill Rutland

President AFSCME Local 182

Niagara County Blue Collar


Planned Parenthood Should Not be Demonized

Greetings NFR staff,

I do not live in the city of Niagara Falls & I do not know Kristen Grandinetti. I read with amazement your paper's articles regarding her antics on the city council & would not vote for her if I did reside in the city. That being said, I feel your recent articles regarding her pro-choice position & money raising efforts for Planned Parenthood are extremely judgmental, despite your claim that you make no editorial judgment on these positions.

You equate pro-choice with being pro-abortion. That is just not true. I know many women, some Catholic, who are pro-choice and, given a choice, would choose not to have an abortion. Yet these women believe that it is not for them to decide for other women. Each woman should have the right to decide for herself.

Your latest article also seems to equate funding for Planned Parenthood solely with abortion funding. Planned Parenthood provides many services-family planning, exams for women & men, informational packets, & testing for HIV & other infectious diseases.

Some years ago, I was a single mother with 3 daughters. I was grateful for the services Planned Parenthood provided for my girls for a nominal fee at a time when I was without health care coverage. I was never made to feel that I was less because I was not paying more.

Planned Parenthood should not be demonized. And speaking of "demons" - I know a few Wiccans who would not be willing to dance the night away for abortion. They are very pro-life.

Sherry Chiappone


Hamister Deal

Whatever you do, DON’T LET UP!

Mark Breznay


Officials Not Truthful on Hamister Project

The REAL Hotel Deal

As we approach another year of elections, I thought it time to speak up as a Niagara Falls resident and former candidate for public office, and clear the fog that has become the Hamister hotel deal… We’re not being told the truth by our elected officials, hard to believe I know! So, in order to help us all make a more informed decision when we go to the voting booths on Tuesday, allow me to simplify the relevant issues. Please note that the following statements are not my opinion (although I do have one) but are a statement of fact:

-The City Council has said from day 1 that they DO want to see the land developed.

-The $100,000 price tag(less than 7%) is for a parcel of land appraised for at least $1.5 million.

-Hamister will also receive a 10 YEAR deferment of property taxes worth at least $5 million.

-The deal also gives Hamister $2.75 million from NY State (USA Niagara).

-Hamister has NOT even secured the $25 million in funding for the hotel project.

-The deal does NOT even require Hamister to build a hotel, nor does it prevent him from selling the land for an immediate profit.

-The deal does NOT require Hamister to use union labor or even local labor!

-If Hamister were to not hold up his end of the contract, and the city was forced to take the land back, the deal requires the city to pay off any of Hamister’s outstanding mortgages or loans against the property.

-Hamister has given $850,000 in donations to Gov. Cuomo.

We do not need another deal that goes the way of The Turtle, the Nabisco plant, Hotel Niagara, or the Rainbow Mall!!!

Therefore, I personally want to say that I believe in Sam Fruscione! I believe in Glenn Choolokian! I believe in Bob Anderson! And, I thank the City Council majority for having the courage to uphold their sworn oath and protect the residents of Niagara Falls.


Matt Cole


Route 66 Episode Available on DVD

I'm a former NF resident who is also a route 66 fan. (The "r" in the series route 66 was never capitalized.)

I would just like to note that the season 4 episode 4-21, "I'm Here to Kill a King," is available to the general public on DVD.

It is part of "route 66 - The Complete Fourth Season" produced by Shout! factory LLC. Anyone can purchase it and it is available through general DVD retail sales outlets including Amazon for less than $20 at http://www.amazon.com/Route-66-Season-Martin-Milner/dp/B00AWHDFAS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378745126&sr=8-1&keywords=dvd+route+66+season+four . The series was filmed entirely in black & white. Additionally, Seasons 1, 2 and 3 are also available on DVD. Season 4 was shorter though, because it ended the struggling series after actor George Maharis left in the 3rd season.

I should note that there are 2 other episodes that were filmed in western NY on the same DVD. One is titled "93 Percent in Smiling" and it was filmed at Sunny Acres mobile home park and the Deveaux section of the city. The other is "Come Home Greta Inger Gruenchaffen" which was partially filmed at the Buffalo Central Train Terminal.

All these episodes were filmed in the fall of 1963.

You may find this link interesting too http://www.ohio66.com/93/ as I worked this past summer collecting some comparison photos of an episode for a friend. I have more besides this.

There's some good stuff in these series episodes for folks who were living in the city back then.

Myself, I live down in Perrysburg, NY now - near Gowanda. I graduated from NFHS back in 1964. Those were the days. Contact me if you want more information at this e-mail or my cell.

Keep up the good work of fair & balanced news reporting. I read your website as do many who live out of town but still maintain connections.

Dale Flagler


Paying ‘Developers’ Wrong Path Again

The home owners, and taxpayers in Niagara Falls work hard for their money, and are entitled to clean, well maintained streets and sidewalks, and safe neighborhoods. To take money away from these services to basically pay "developers" to do business here, (under the guise of expanding the tax base), so that they can turn a profit is wrong. It hasn't worked in the past, and it won't work for our future.

Russ Vesci

Republican Candidate for Niagara Falls City Council


Marking 10 Years of NT History Museum

Ten years ago.... an idea was born...

We won't have a formal celebration. Perhaps no one but me will recognize the day. But Tuesday, Sept. 10, is an anniversary! It was 10 years ago on Sept. 10, 2003, that New York State Sen. George D. Maziarz called a public meeting to discuss the possibility of starting a history museum about North Tonawanda in North Tonawanda. That meeting began the "history of the History Museum!" and changed my life permanently.

As our Board of Trustees meets on Wednesday evening the day after, only I will be thinking of that day in September 2003 and how it led to us coming this far in 10 years. Our first Board of Trustees’ meeting was held on Oct. 9, 2003. I will quietly celebrate that date next month also. That was the day a small group of volunteers formed a Board of Trustees, I became the Secretary of the Board--and the first Director, later to become the Executive Director. We will celebrate our 10th anniversary as a chartered history museum on April 20, 2014.

Thank you....

To all who have hung in with us from the beginning, those who joined our effort early on and those who have come on along the way and even those of you getting this as your first weekly newsletter. Those of us here in "the arena" getting us this far for you and keeping us going for you, we are a crazy bunch but we are totally serious and committed to the vision and mission of the North Tonawanda History Museum:


The North Tonawanda History Museum will provide leadership to the North Tonawanda community in the promotion of historic awareness and interpretation of the people's history in the community.


The mission of the North Tonawanda History Museum is to assemble, preserve, protect, and exhibit collections pertaining to the history of North Tonawanda, its people and community life, focusing especially on our rich immigrant heritage and role as an important shipping and manufacturing center strategically located on the historic Erie Canal and Niagara River in the 19th and 20th centuries. As a research and educational institution, we plan to be both an active participant in the historical and cultural tourism focus of North Tonawanda and a focal point for students of all ages to participate in historical studies and activities of the City.

Approved by the Board of Trustees, Feb. 19, 2004

Vision Statement moved to top location on January 29, 2011

Donna Zellner Neal

Executive Director

North Tonawanda History Museum



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

SEP 10, 2013