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November 6, 2017

EDITORIAL: Frank observations on single-party politics going into Tuesday’s critical elections

I’ve been faithfully attending North Tonawanda’s common council meetings for the past year and half partly because it’s my job as editor of Niagara News Source.

But as an individual, it was also well past time for me to get informed, involved and finally speak up in the city where I was born, raised and will continue to live in. We all share this right and duty. And it’s from this point of view as an individual and observer of the city council that I submit this frank editorial.

I’ve been a reporter for most of my professional life, but in the past I’ve opted out of the political process on the local level for reasons similar to [...]

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November 2, 2017

Support, prevention sought in turning around district’s violence issues

Is North Tonawanda, New York, ground zero for bullying in America?

The Lumber City received national and international attention for a recently adopted anti-bullying ordinance — based on one from Shawano, Wisconsin — and a fight in the high school cafeteria brought more media coverage after one student was sent to the hospital and a 10-second video was uploaded to Instagram.

“It’s a sad situation when my daughter who lives in Tennessee sees her alma mater in a negative, terrible way,” said school board member Michelle Golding (above center) at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We are doing so many positive things in [...]

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October 28, 2017

They’re not doing it right! Executive-session motions almost always flout rules

You really don’t want your local municipality going into executive session because it often means bad news.

A lawsuit against the town or city.  A sticky personnel matter. Or contract discussions. At the very least, an issue the public should be aware of.

So be wary — be very wary — when the council calls to go into executive session.

Before they retreat behind closed doors, though, listen up to how they go about it because 97 percent of the time in Western New York, they’re doing it wrong.

“I move we go into executive session for the purposes of litigation” is a commonly heard phrase after you’ve [...]

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October 5, 2017

Tompkins, Walker warn against community development merging with code enforcement

While four other cities in WNYork received a combined $10 million from Albany on Wednesday, Niagara Falls took another step closer to a control board when the bulk of a one-hour meeting on the 2017-18 budget resulted mostly in warnings against a certain department merger.

Developed “in isolation” by the Dyster administration, the idea to combine community development and code enforcement was met with skepticism from councillors Kenny Tompkins (above center) and Charles Walker (above left) who are worried the merged department would lack the technical expertise and qualified personnel to carry out inspections and generate revenue.

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