From the scandal plagued “Buffalo Billion” program to the outrageous expenditure of $43 million tax dollars on a new train station that might be obsolete in less than a year, and from the abrupt shutdown of the Moreland Ethics Commission to the hiring of a “city engineer” unlicensed to practice engineering anywhere in the United States, the leaders of Niagara Falls and New York State – Mayor Paul Dyster and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, respectively – have shown themselves to be incompetent if not downright corrupt.
ess than two months until Voters decideThe candidates will be wearing out shoe leather and knocking on stranger’s doors between now and September and, with so many to choose from, how’s a person to make a decision? The newest entries in the race are Democratic newcomers Bill Kennedy, Amber S. Hill-Donhauser and Lakea Perry.
Bill Kennedy.Mr. Kennedy, an actor and producer best known for his remake of the cult classic horror film “Attack of the Killer Shrews,” (2016) is also a vocal opponent of commercial development in Niagara Falls State Park and the Niagara River gorge. Mr. Kennedy recently spoke at a city Council meeting regarding park and gorge development. “Many Niagarans stood up against the idea of a lodge on Goat Island and we won that fight by using our voices and passion, along with the love for our city and the beauty that surrounds it,” he said. “New York State will soon start taking bids for a proposal to set up zip-lining, rappelling and possibly other tourist-aimed recreations in the Niagara Gorge. The Niagara Gorge needs to be preserved, not commercialized.” Ms. Hill-Donhauser may be the first Native American, and is certainly the first Native American woman, ever to seek election to the City Council in Niagara Falls. She is the President of The Hill Financial Group and volunteers throughout the community in her capacity as a financial advisor by teaching financial literacy seminars at the Niagara Falls Public Library and hosting open hours at the Doris Jones Resource Center to empower the residents in the local communities. Ms. Hill-Donhauser also coaches youth lacrosse, and continues to volunteer at the Local 9 Union hall, teaching financial literacy classes to incoming apprentices. She is also a four time Federation of International Lacrosse Captain for the Haudenosaunee Nationals.
Lakea Perry, a mother of six, worked for 15 years at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center as an operations supervisor. She is a graduate of Leadership Niagara and has served on the Board of Directors of the Legend’s Park Board. She also serves as executive secretary for the Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH), where she worked with Rev. Joanne Scott on city issues concerning workforce development and employment equality, especially in minority communities.
Historic building may soon be razed
Even though the local State Parks office reaps $20 million annually from its operations in Niagara Falls State Park and $3 million a year from Niagara Greenway, it seems they can’t spare a few dollars for a new roof on the historic DeVeaux Woods Carriage Barn, and insiders say the distinguished and celebrated structure is again, as it was a few years ago, under threat of being flattened by their wrecking ball.
Formerly the location of a private school attended and fondly remembered by hundreds of local residents, the grounds of DeVeaux Woods State Park feature several buildings, the oldest of which is the Carriage Barn, a brick structure built in 1863, the same year President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
Dyster’s folly cost taxpayers millionsWhat is there left to say about Mayor Paul Dyster’s new train station? That it was the biggest misuse of taxpayer money here in the last half century? Mayor Dyster and his cohort, governmental gadfly Tom DeSantis, dropped nearly $43 million into the project, which very well might be obsolete as early as next year (See related story). They also desecrated the old Customs House, a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places by, among other “improvements,” cutting a large picture window – of the type found on any cheap suburban dwelling – into the proud, river stone wall of the structure, originally built in 1863. Mayor Dyster and Mr. DeSantis told the gullible that the station would also house a museum dedicated to the history of the Underground Railroad in the city. The problem was that there is no Underground Railroad history in the city, but around $3 million went into that as well. Upscale shops and restaurants would fill out the massive 22,000-square-foot space, Dyster and DeSantis assured the ignorant. Dyster had been talking about the new train station since 2010, and ground was broken more than three years ago. And in all that time, the city’s crack community development and economic development teams have been unable to attract a single tenant to the white elephant sitting at 2245 Whirlpool Street. Except for Amtrak, of course. The taxpayer-funded, money losing railroad had Dyster twisting in the wind, refusing to sign a contract to occupy the station even after it had officially opened. Finally, a settlement was reached, although fuzzy math prevents an accurate assessment of how much of the station’s operating costs will be covered. One thing is certain, however. The Niagara Falls station is more than 10 times larger than what Amtrak specifications call for, given the number of passengers arriving or departing here daily, fewer than 100. “It feels really good. It’s a relief,” said DeSantis, who reacted to the belated opening. “This is the thing everyone has been waiting for — service to start at the station. We all wished it would have happened a little sooner, but sometimes these things just take a little longer to happen.” DeSantis declined to specify who “everyone” was. Dyster himself made excuses. “We are a tourist city and we are fortunate to be located on the rail line between two of the great metropolises in North America – Toronto and New York City,” said Dyster. “It’s also a great responsibility because we have to have a custom facility, which made this a more complicated project.” At 22,000 square feet, the new Niagara Falls train station is one of the largest in the state despite the fact the Niagara Falls has one of the lowest ridership numbers in the state (Amtrak posts all its ridership numbers on its website, and we have republished this information for several years as we correctly predicted this debacle in dozens of stories). Dyster, of course, doesn’t call it a “train station” at all, but an “intermodal transportation center.” Since the dictionary defines “intermodal” as involving two or more different modes of transportation, one might suppose he is referring to the taxicabs that pick up and drop off passengers in that particularly desolate section of the city’s forbidding North End. Not given to straight talk, and allegedly the holder of an advanced degree from some college back east, he is often forgiven for using ten-dollar words when a twenty-center would do just as well. In the beginning, it was all about high speed rail. President Barack Obama had committed to funding the concept, with New York State alone to receive $151 million to promote the concept. Dyster used the publicity to justify spending $44 million on a new train station here, and the suckers bought right in. It wasn’t long before the plan died in Congress. The now abandoned Empire Corridor proposal — a designated route between Buffalo and Albany — did not call for an extension of high-speed rail service from Buffalo to Niagara Falls to begin with, but Dyster argued that should not be viewed as an indication the city is being left out of the region’s overall rail improvement plans. “More, better and faster train service can be an engine for economic growth throughout New York State,” he said. And that wasn’t all. “The line between Buffalo and Niagara Falls is relatively low on the high-speed agenda,” Dyster admitted after attending an Albany meeting on fast-rail service during the height of the 2010 hysteria. “Transportation planners are thinking about the eventual possibility of re-establishing railroad commuter service between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and we could see expanded use of the ‘Maple Leaf’ train to Canada if the downstate portion of its route is upgraded for faster service.” Who these “transportation planners” were or whether the actually existed anywhere other than the mayor’s mind was never determined. “Perhaps most exciting of all, it gives us an opportunity to play a leading role in development of a high-speed rail system that is going to connect New York City to Toronto, one of the most exciting developments in transportation in all of North America over the next decade,” Dyster said in 2010. So he went out and spent $43 million of other people’s money. For nothing. Even as a boy, Dyster was fascinated with trains. A former employee of a drugstore near Dyster’s boyhood home told the Reporter that Dyster “used to come in every week with a roll, two rolls of film to be developed. He’d go down by the old train station, the rail yards, and take pictures of the locomotives, the men working on them. … He must have taken a thousand pictures.” Now he’s presiding over a largely empty train station that must now be regarded as a public safety hazard, according to one former law enforcement official who visited the facility last week. “There wasn’t ten people in there,” he told the Reporter. “This massive space, no security, staircases… It’s a disaster waiting to happen.”
The Right Side
By J Gary DiLaura
Our Rule of Law comprises three branches of the government; the Legislative (makes the laws), the Judicial (interprets the law) and the Executive (enforces the law).
The President is the Chief Executive and Chief Law Enforcement officer. He is the boss of the Department of Justice. He can listen to ANY eavesdropping matter by ANY of the intelligence Agencies, like NSA, FBI, CIA, et al. He can open or close any investigation by any agency. He can review the evidence collected by ANY Agency in the entire government, period, no exception!
A young Paul Dyster came crying to his father.
“Dad, my college frat brothers say that I’m a liar!” he sobbed.
“But son,” his father replied, “you don’t belong to a frat!”
“Are you aware,” asked the recruiter when Dyster applied for his first job, upon examining his resume’, “that a half truth is the equivalent of a whole lie?”
His parents once punished Dyster for lying, and he turned on them, stamped his feet and shouted, “Santa! Easter Bunny! Tooth Fairy!”
A Lewiston resident and a Niagara Falls resident were discussing their housing situations.
The Lewiston resident said, “Only 14 more days, and my contractor said I can move in!”
The Niagara Falls resident said, “Only 14 more public housing forms to fill out, and my social worker said I can move in!”
This recent question was presented in a poll: “What do you think is the biggest problem in Niagara Falls? Uncertainty or indifference?” Over 90 per cent answered, “I don’t know and I don’t care!”
Do you have an ongoing health condition?
If you have a chronic illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic pain, arthritis or chronic anxiety, please join us for a free Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop series, beginning on Friday, August 4, 2017 at the John Duke Senior Center, 1201 Hyde Park Boulevard, Niagara Falls, 14301 from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM.
This program has proven health benefits for individuals with any type of ongoing health condition and augments any health care a person may be receiving. The purpose of the workshop is to provide simple steps that help people manage symptoms of their disease, to promote active and fulfilling lifestyles and to help people feel better. Program instructors encourage caregivers to attend as well, as the program provides opportunities for caregivers to share and support each other.
“Alan James Roscetti was the clear choice for us for Niagara Falls City Court Judge. His knowledge from working as a Public Defender for over a decade has given him a clear understanding of what is needed for not only the future of our youth, but of our entire community. The choice was unanimous.” Kiedrowski said. Bill Carroll, Chairman of the City of Niagara Falls Republican Committee added, “He is straight forward, has the ability to get along with people from all walks of life, and is a family man at heart who genuinely cares about our children and their futures.”