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All posts by Joseph Kissel
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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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