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July 9, 2019

Waterfront complex on former brownfield commanding rents up to $3,200 a month

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who’s been instrumental in toxic-waste site clean ups in Niagara County, re-appeared in North Tonawanda this morning to tout the state’s brownfield remediation program in catapulting the brand-new apartment complex on River Road as a catalyst for more development along the waterfront.

Hochul: “I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time in North Tonawanda. And the transformation to someone is so visible. When I lived in the Southtowns we didn’t actually come up to the Northtowns. We didn’t spend time in North Tonawanda. Now it’s a destination. It has a reputation for being a culinary place. A place where people can congregate. New [...]

 
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July 6, 2019

Basket raffle Thurs. benefits Kaboom! “destination” playground at Mayor’s Park

East of the Twin Cities Highway, there aren’t many community assets in North Tonawanda.

With the July 27 build date for the Kaboom! playground at Mayor’s Park, though, that short list is getting a little bigger.

Enjoyable for all kids — but designed for those with special needs — the playground will feature a zip line, climbing areas, slides and a forgiving play surface.

The playground will be built in six hours through the help of about 200 volunteers. (You can sign up here.)

“There’s a job for everyone,” said Kaboom’s Bryan McNamara during the design day May 13, when kids doodled their dream playgrounds.

Afterward, adults [...]

 
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July 3, 2019

NT belatedly pursuing security concerns at city hall; ignores questionable ethics

Two threats to the well-being of NT city government were handled very differently by the common council Tuesday.

After last week’s firearms-and-explosives scare at city hall, Alderman at Large Robert Pecoraro — who that night also lost the Independence Party primary by a wide margin to challenger Bob Brennan — called to create a committee focusing on the security of the city’s municipal buildings.

During Tuesday’s meeting, however, the mayor noted he’s brought up security concerns in past years and is still worried about “all the nooks and crannies” at city hall and its many points of entry.

Alderman at Large Austin Tylec also said he’s spoken to NT [...]

 
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June 26, 2019

NT Independents score impressive victories over incumbents

The North Tonawanda common council may be getting a major makeover in November judging by Tuesday’s primary results as well as Erik Herbert clobbering majority-party appointment Jesse Gooch in his county-legislature race.

The most lopsided victory of the day found Independence Party member Herbert knocking out Gooch by a margin of 89 to 23. Going into the primary, Gooch held many tactical advantages over Herbert including his legislature appointment and pseudo-incumbent status, extensive media coverage, more help going door-to-door and Herbert’s relative obscurity in Wheatfield (which covers two thirds of the 7th legislative district.)

On the city side, [...]

 
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May 8, 2019

Niagara County Legislature doubles down on secrecy

With its move to keep hidden decades of financial disclosure forms as well as not pursuing an audit of Off Track Betting for its widely criticized VIP ticket giveaways, the Niagara County Legislature on Tuesday proved once again it’s not accountable to the public and afraid of what it may find.

Niagara County’s unelected kingpin and CEO of Western Off Track Betting — attorney Henry Wojtaszek (above) — made his first appearance in four years before the legislative body to present financial results of the public benefit corporation and address the on-going VIP ticket scandal first brought up by his mentor — former State Senator George Maziarz — and now being reported on [...]

 
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April 26, 2019

Your ‘Game of Thrones’ guide to Niagara County politics

The most-watched TV series on the planet — which is wrapping up a record-breaking eight-year run — isn’t really about dragons, knights or wights in George R.R. Martin’s fictional Westeros, which itself is loosely based on England’s “War of the Roses.”

Given that, not surprisingly, it’s really all about politics: family dynasties, secretive back-room bargaining and backstabbing as well as plenty of revenge served up with ice and fire.

As we dive into the last epic season of GOT, can local fans of the record-breaking series — which hasn’t aired new episodes in almost two years — find insights and parallels between Niagara County’s 2019 political scene and the one [...]

 
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April 5, 2019

From North Tonawanda to Tinian: A Story of John Lukasik

As “Citizen Kane” played in one of Buffalo’s lost movie palaces, North Tonawanda resident John Lukasik sat in the audience as Orson Welles made cinematic history. That is, until the lights abruptly flashed on that Sunday afternoon on December 7th, 1941, and an even larger history wrote itself.

 “I remember thinking, ‘Where was Pearl Harbor?”

That Monday an 18-year-old John and a buddy went to a Marine recruiting station to sign up — out of anger at the sneak attack — and because “the Marines had a really nice dress uniform,” Lukasik said. His buddy got in, but John got rejected. Too many fillings in his teeth …

It would take another two years [...]

 
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February 26, 2019

Term limits needed at local level, NT council candidate Niemiec says

Term limits should exist across all levels of government and local government should not be exempt from them, says Zach Niemiec, candidate for 2nd Ward Alderman in North Tonawanda.

“There are many models out there,” Niemiec says. “The simplest to follow is that of the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution which was ratified in 1951 by the states which placed term limits on the President.”

“The 22nd Amendment states that no person shall be elected more than twice (8 years) and can not serve more than a total of 10 years if appointed or filling the remainder of a vacant term for the role of President.” Niemiec proposes Aldermen and Alderwomen, mayor, [...]

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1
NT Independents score impressive victories over incumbents
 
2
Erik Herbert sets his sights on Niagara County Legislature
 
3
Niagara County’s Independence Party is a total sham! Here’s what you need to know …
 
4
Waterfront complex on former brownfield commanding rents up to $3,200 a month
 
5
NT belatedly pursuing security concerns at city hall; ignores questionable ethics
 
6
From North Tonawanda to Tinian: A Story of John Lukasik
 
7
Niagara County Legislature doubles down on secrecy
 
8
Your ‘Game of Thrones’ guide to Niagara County politics
 
9
Basket raffle Thurs. benefits Kaboom! “destination” playground at Mayor’s Park
 
10
Term limits needed at local level, NT council candidate Niemiec says