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March 2, 2021

Austin Tylec kicks off NT’s next chapter; announces campaign to be its next mayor

Four years ago, NT phenom Austin Tylec chose another local success story, Platter’s Chocolates, to kick off his campaign to become one of the city’s Aldermen at Large.

Austin went on to soundly defeat former County Manager Jeffrey Glatz to take the seat and begin a four-year mission to bring vitality, transparency and accountability to the city’s council chambers and day-to-day operations. He’s done more to keep residents “in the loop” and encourage public participation than the other council members, the mayor and his office combined.

As Assemblyman Bill Conrad (below) said during this morning’s [...]

 
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January 28, 2021

The Blizzard of ’77: Fast, furious and unforgettable 44 years later

The clouds came rolling in from the west and they were black as coal, moving fast like a locomotive.

Having spent a good portion of his life outdoors as an excavator, Roger Storey, in a field on Stone Road in Pendleton, knew enough to get the heck out of there.

Outside that Friday morning in Niagara Falls, the beagles were barking at the bitter cold and biting wind. Which is not unusual for Western New York. Still, Charles Clark, a snowplow operator getting ready to go to work, had a feeling he should make an exception and put the hounds in the basement with plenty of food and water.

Something was brewing, and it [...]

 
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January 26, 2021

North Tonawanda issues no public statement about emergency $4.2 million loan taking place tonight

Is this the kind of situation the NT council was going to pay The Niagara Reporter $2,000 a month to publicize when it made that spendy and ill-fated decision during 2020?

Probably not.

Although an effort has been underway for weeks to secure $4.2 million in monies to keep the city chugging along for another four months (until tax bills come in), the first peep outside the secretive NT city-hall bubble happened only Friday.

Yesterday, Alderman at Large Austin Tylec issued a press release about tonight’s 6:30 p.m. workshop meeting, which is scheduled to host an item at 7:45 p.m. calling for borrowing $4.2 million because … the city’s out [...]

 
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December 18, 2020

North Tonawanda residents rescuing animals to heart of Niagara County

Whispering River Animal Rescue in Gasport is just a few months old but already the refurbished barn is brimming, baying and neighing with a passion almost as great as the volunteers who’ve all made it happen.

Whispering River Rescue Treasurer Julie Smith takes the farm’s miniature horses out for a walk.

Each rescued animal has a name and a rescue tale, getting care and love that’s re-writing the story of their often grim lives.

The rescue farm is situated on an idyllic stretch of Chestnut Ridge Road, and already neighbors are welcoming the group of animal advocates — largely [...]

 
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October 12, 2020

EDITORIAL: Invocation innovation blows chance to respect semblance of separating government, religion

The NT council has opened countless council meetings throughout the years with a religious prayer, and always of the Christian vein.

Last Tuesday, something different happened.

“Let us not bow our heads, but raise them high with eyes and minds open, striving to avoid personal bias and instead embrace rational, fact-based governance in all matters,” said NT resident Donald Wittcop Jr. (above) in the council chambers on Oct. 6th.

All things considered, it was a refreshing change advocating for logic and equality instead of entreating a higher power to somehow compel the city’s common council to do [...]

 
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August 27, 2020

Botanical gardens could get visitor’s center with gift shop; disturbing graffiti sparks concern from Gosch

The NT common council addressed a variety of nuts-and-bolts city issues at Tuesday’s workshop session.

The city’s botanical gardens (“The Jewel of the 3rd Ward”) received particular attention as two volunteers asked the board to consider letting the group have its own funding line in the Parks Department budget.

The move would facilitate buying flowers to landscape the 12-acre site, they said. That money comes in part from $50 reservations to rent the Gazebo. (Reservations have been down this year to only four, but the previous years saw 10.)

Sentiment on the council and from department heads seemed to suggest its was problematic to earmark [...]

 
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August 14, 2020

Disturbing N.T. audit report sees Republican council reject Alderman Tylec’s “fiscal stability committee”

“The Mayor and Council did not adopt structurally balanced budgets, properly monitor the City’s financial operations or take appropriate actions to maintain the City’s fiscal stability.”

That’s the verdict rendered by New York State’s Office of the Comptroller after reviewing North Tonawanda’s finances from Jan. 1, 2017, through April 27, 2020.

But there’s more … 

“The general and sewer funds experienced operating deficits from 2017 through 2019.”

“Despite the City’s deteriorating financial condition, officials did not establish a fund balance policy, multiyear financial plan or capital plan.”

“The Mayor’s and City [...]

 
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July 21, 2020

NT’s “Proclamation Against Hate” is actually sweeping an uncomfortable racial history under the rug

“I’ve got a proclamation that we are not a sundown town,” said NT councilman Robert Pecoraro during the closing comments of last week’s workshop meeting.

Lately, talk of NT’s history of racial exclusion and intimidation has been generating much discussion on social media.

“There is no empirical evidence that we were ever a sundown city,” said Pecoraro. “And I’m TIRED (raises voice) of people saying that North Tonawanda was once a sundown city. It is NOT TRUE (raises voice) and I want to make sure everybody understands that.”

However, since there’s never been an involved public discussion of NT’s former status as a sundown town [...]

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The Blizzard of ’77: Fast, furious and unforgettable 44 years later
 
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North Tonawanda issues no public statement about emergency $4.2 million loan taking place tonight
 
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Austin Tylec kicks off NT’s next chapter; announces campaign to be its next mayor