Grandinetti’s bold commentary on “rape culture” hits home  

January 28, 2016 1
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Whether you agree with her or not, with Niagara Falls Council member Kristen Grandinetti, at least you know where she stands.

 Whether you agree with her or not, you’ve got to give Niagara Falls City Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti credit. She speaks her mind, lets the chips fall where they may and apparently doesn’t worry about what anyone thinks.

Last week, on her Facebook page, the kindergarten teacher posted a picture of a young woman, naked from the waist up, with a cigarette in her hand. Some white makeup is covering her nipples and the words “STILL NOT ASKING FOR IT” are scrawled across her torso with Magic Marker.

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Underground Railroad Interpretive Center casino funds defy transparency

January 28, 2016 Anna Howard 0

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Five years after it was due to open, the Underground Railroad Interpretive Center on Whirlpool remains a mystery as to maintenance expenditures, exhibits and how much was really spent [and will be spent] to complete it.
Niagara Falls – The Underground Railroad Commission has been receiving $350,000 per year in dedicated casino revenue since 2009. At $350,000 per year for seven years that’s a total of $2,450,000. The money is set aside annually out of the casino revenue account to support and promote the Underground Railroad Interpretive Center. The center was supposed to open its doors five years ago but failed to do so after the project director was mysteriously removed from his city hall job by Mayor Paul Dyster.

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Dyster administration has little interest in revealing casino account growth

January 28, 2016 Anna Howard 0

While great attention has been paid to the condition of the city’s casino revenue account, virtually nothing has been asked, much less revealed, as to how the city is using the interest earned by the many millions of casino revenue dollars that have been received and banked over the years.

The Reporter has repeatedly called for the city to post all information regarding the casino interest account and how it’s been spent or invested. After all those are taxpayer dollars. So far our request for simple and straight forward fiscal transparency has fallen on deaf ears. We’re not surprised. Our repeated recommendation that the entire city budget be posted in real time on the city website has met with similar stony silence.

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How has the casino revenue been abused, let us count the ways

January 28, 2016 Anna Howard 2
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Mayor Paul Dyster has had a unique opportunity among mayors in the nation. He has had $183 million n casino revenue to spend to build up a city. Critics say he has squandered it. The result is a city that is worse than before he was first elected mayor in 2008

What do tree stump removal, police overtime, engineering consultants, penguins, pothole patching and the train station all have in common? They were all supported with casino revenue over recent years.

It’s strange, but true, that every one of these things – and a whole lot more – were deemed by mayor and council as meeting the casino revenue expenditure prime directive: The city share of casino revenue must be spent on matters directly related to economic development. While that Albany directive is on the books the observance of the directive has never been supported with a definitive written casino revenue spending policy. Consequently the definition of “economic development” remains unsettled and conveniently cloudy for the spendthrift Dyster administration.

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Train station set to open with one tenant, no museum here?

January 27, 2016 Mike Hudson 3
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Niagara Falls has built a 20,000 square foot train station for a city that gets on average 64 passengers per day…. The costs are expected to far exceed the revenue generated. This rendering by Wendel – the designers of the station – accurately reflect that this is going to be a big mainly empty building – which taxpayer will pay to heat and maintain.

Niagara Falls – With the city’s new train station and Underground Railroad Heritage Museum ready to open by the end of May, a couple of questions linger.

How do you open a history museum when not a single artifact has been acquired or display fabricated? Despite the fact that the city’s Underground Railroad Commission has been given $2.45 million in casino cash, it is unknown what – if anything – they have done with the money.

Other than issuing a preliminary report shortly after the formation of the commission that failed to establish any unequivocal link between the Underground Railroad and what is now the City of Niagara Falls, little has been heard of the shadowy organization.

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An interview with Sam Fruscione: Correct about phony Hamister deal

January 27, 2016 2
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Sam Fruscione was right after all…..

It was the summer of 2013, almost three years ago, and the city of Niagara Falls was in the midst of a crisis. According to the Buffalo television stations and local newspapers quoting Mayor Paul Dyster, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, one man was standing in the way on an economic revitalization that would turn the city around once and for all.

That man, comically enough, it seems now, was popular former city Council chairman Sam Fruscione.

The affable Fruscione had served on the Council for years, providing the leadership for a dissident majority that questioned Dyster administration initiatives and fought against the mayor’s annual tax increases. Along with former councilmen Bob Anderson and Glenn Choolokian, Fruscione provided effective opposition.

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New Automated Parking System on Goat Island Stiffs Senior Citizens

January 27, 2016 James Hufnagel 0

Whether exposing the crooked Glynn Maid of the Mist monopoly, criticizing the Niagara Falls State Park “Landscape Improvements” plan which ruined Three Sisters Islands, sounding the alarm on the Parks Police barracks which was slated for the edge of the scenic Niagara Gorge, rallying the public against the demolition of the 1864 Carriage Barn of DeVeaux Woods State Park, documenting how the south Robert Moses Parkway upgrade serves to further isolate the city from its waterfront and tourist assets, or even complaining about closed restrooms at Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole State Parks during the off-season, the Niagara Falls Reporter has served as the de facto watchdog of State Parks for over a decade.

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Council meeting “walk on” resolutions come in several sizes and shapes

January 22, 2016 Anna Howard 1

The Reporter was pleased to see freshman council member Ezra Scott decline to support Mayor Dyster’s attempt to walk on a surprise resolution at the recent council meeting. The resolution aimed to tap the city till for up to $75,000 to support the hosting of a meeting of the Great Lakes Council Initiative. The mayor sits on the board of that organization.

We give high marks to Mr. Scott in recognition of his reluctance to spend taxpayer cash on short notice with insufficient information. That being said we can assure the councilman that this won’t be the last time he’s presented with late or deficient resolutions and requests for expenditures.

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Was City’s sale of Chilton Ave house transparent? Don’t bid on it!

January 21, 2016 Anna Howard 2

There’s a mystery brewing on historic Chilton Avenue and several community activists have expressed interest in getting to the bottom of the puzzle’s particulars at the January 13 Planning Board meeting.

The city, under the guidance of Seth Piccirillo, director of Mayor Paul Dyster’s Community Development Department, sold 631 Chilton Avenue to Develop Niagara LLC for $500. The remarkably low selling price has people questioning the deal. While the Planning Board signed off on the property transfer the final approval of the council is now needed to close the purchase.

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Anello questions the Dyster administration; is he getting stonewalled for his efforts?

January 20, 2016 Anna Howard 0

Vince Anello is a former Niagara Falls mayor and a current radio talk show host. He is also, by the nature of his time as mayor and councilman, a consummate student of municipal government. And for that reason he has  become persona non grata with the Dyster administration.

On his December 31 show the former mayor explained in a frustrated tone how the current mayor has apparently decided that he’s someone to be ignored. Mr. Anello explained that Mayor Dyster, “continues to take shots at me…I’ve been out of office for eight years now…none of my calls are returned.”

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Midtown arson recalls horrific Moonglow Hotel fire of 1957

January 7, 2016 Mike Hudson 1

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For some, last weekend’s torching of the Midtown Inn on Niagara Street brought to mind the Moonglow Hotel fire of November 1957. But while the destruction of the troubled Midtown may even be seen as something of a public service, the catastrophic Moonglow fire – which left 18 people dead including 15 children, was an epic tragedy that will never be forgotten.

The Moonglow was a decrepit rooming house that had recently been reopened by its’ owner, William Dietz, who was said to have bought the building in order to tear it down, as he was in the demolition business.

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Many New York cities pay $95,000 – or less – for competent city engineer

January 5, 2016 Mike Hudson 1
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Robert Curtis was the city engineer until the day Mayor Paul Dyster took office.

By Mike Hudson

Last week, our colleagues at the Niagara Gazette ran a thought provoking and largely sensible editorial calling for the hiring of a city engineer.

That is a sensible position. Paying vast sums of money to outside engineering consultants from Buffalo – as Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster has been doing for most of his two terms in office – makes no sense whatsoever.

The editorial was thought provoking because it reiterated a position Dyster has long maintained: That the $96,000-plus benefits that the city is offering to fill the position just isn’t enough to attract a qualified candidate.

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