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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
The Reporter, in its December 30 print edition, stuck the proverbial fork in the hind end of the Hamister hotel project as we called it “deader than dead.” The very next day council chairman Andrew Touma appeared on the Vince Anello radio show to say, during his one hour visit, that the Hamister hotel could potentially break ground within coming weeks.
Chairman Touma told Joe Schiro, an Anello caller, when Schiro mentioned the moribund Hamister project: “Joe, multiply your frustration by ten times and that’s my frustration” with the Hamister arrangement. The chairman then said he had heard there may be a Hamister ground breaking coming soon. The show’s host chuckled at the thought of a purported winter construction start. But the Hamister deal stopped being amusing a long time ago.
One hundred thousand dollars.
It’s a lot of money anywhere, but in a place like Niagara Falls, where money’s tight and jobs are scarce, it can be considered a fortune.
In a city where the per capita income for all residents is just $20,327 and the average household scrapes by on $31,531, according to the website City-Data.com, $100,000 is the stuff that dreams are made out of.
A report by the New York State Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments shows Niagara Falls to be the most highly taxed municipality in New York State in proportion to the value of the property being taxed.
We’re looking, we’re listening, we’re paying attention. The Reporter is watching the moves of Mayor Dyster as his re-election fades in the rear view mirror and the post-election city hall gears get greased with quid pro deals that were made pre-election.
The mayor cobbled together a clumsy but ultimately effective political campaign as his witches brew of support gave him a third term with a mere 47% of the vote. That John Accardo would be getting sworn in as the new mayor next month, had Glenn Choolokian not engaged in a doomed from the start write-in campaign, is beyond doubt.
The local construction company suing the state over its termination as the Canalside contractor in July of 2013 has won a major victory in the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.
In a unanimous ruling handed down last week, the court reinstated DiPizio Construction’s claim that the president of the state’s Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) may have lacked the legal authority to terminate DiPizio from the $20 million replica canal project without authorization in the form of a vote from the Board of Directors, something DiPizio’s lawyers contend never happened.