Lewiston’s Wydysh Gains Committee Chairmanship, Seen as Rising Star

December 22, 2016 Staff 51
County Legislator Rebecca Wydysh
County Legislator Rebecca Wydysh

One majority lawmaker whose star is on the rise is Lewiston’s Rebecca Wydysh.

The freshman Republican, who runs jury selection efforts at the county courthouse, has impressed her colleagues and party brass enough that she’s being given a portfolio heading the county’s opioid-addiction panel.

That effort, begun by Bradt himself and Wilson legislator David Godfrey, who heads up the legislature’s Community Security and Safety committee, won some favorable media coverage for the majority last year, including several community meetings to discuss the heroin and opioid epidemic and what a unified county policy for deploying naloxone, the potent antidote for heroin overdoses, might look like. read more

McNall Easily Fended Off Rivals

December 22, 2016 Staff 35

Sources close to the Republican caucus tell me that McNall, while the overwhelming choice of his colleagues and Republican Party leaders to continue in his post, was not the only legislator eyeing the job.

Entreaties were made on behalf of two other majority members, but party leaders are said to have shut them down.

“Of the 11 legislators in the majority caucus, Keith solidly had the votes of seven or eight, plus his own,” one party insider told me. “How do you argue with leading the first legislative majority to actually cut not just taxes, but spending too, in no-one-can-remember-how-many years?” read more

McNall Stays at Top County Slot, But Others Eyeing Post

December 22, 2016 Staff 28
Niagara County Legislature Chairman Keith McNall
Niagara County Legislature Chairman Keith McNall

The unsurprising news broke late Tuesday night: the chairman of the Niagara County Legislature, Keith McNall, R-Lockport, would be keeping his job.

In the annals of Niagara County’s political news, this wasn’t exactly an earth-shattering announcement; after all, save for the on-again, off-again sacking of former chairmen Bill Ross, C-Wheatfield, and Clyde Burmaster, R-Porter, the governing GOP bloc in the county legislature hasn’t exactly made big, bold moves to dump its leadership. read more

Look who’s calling the kettle black

December 15, 2016 Staff 35

Virtuoso slams GOP for Peck, Tamburlin raises, as he enjoys pension ala Dyster

Some of us here at the Niagara Falls Reporter had to laugh when we saw the story that Dennis Virtuoso was complaining about pay raises for Niagara County Public Information Officer Christian Peck and Niagara County Legislative Clerk Mary Jo Tamburlin, raises approved at the last minute by the Niagara County GOP–controlled legislature.

Tamburlin’s salary will be bumped up to $72,469, and Peck goes up to $69,146. According to Virtuoso, Tamburlin’s salary has been raised $24,000 in the last eight years and Peck’s has gone up $19,000 since 2010. read more

Virtuoso Says GOP’s Last-Minute Raises Out of Line

December 15, 2016 Tony Farina 15
Dennis Virtuoso is complaining that two GOP appointed county employees Christian Peck and Mary Jo Tamburlin got pay raises.
County Legislator Dennis Virtuoso is complaining that two GOP appointed county employees Christian Peck and Mary Jo Tamburlin got pay raises.

A last-minute budget amendment giving hefty pay raises to two appointees of the GOP majority of the Niagara County Legislature is coming under heavy fire today from Minority Leader Dennis Virtuoso of Niagara Falls.

Virtuoso told the Niagara Falls Reporter that the raises pushed through by the majority in the budget amendment before the full vote on the budget Tuesday night “are out of line,” and did not come before the home committees for discussion as they should have.

Democrats, who have only four of the legislature’s 15 votes, were overrun on a straight party line vote on the last-minute amendment that gave raises to Legislature Clerk Mary Jo Tamburlin and Public Information Officer Christian Peck. read more

Lack of Direction, Wasteful Spending rampant as Niagara Greenway enters 2nd decade

December 15, 2016 James Hufnagel 52


This newspaper first started reporting on the Niagara River Greenway Commission over ten years ago, in a Feb. 1, 2005 article headlined, “PATAKI GREENWAY PROPOSAL STINKS”.

Among the problems identified at the outset: When an activist group of Niagara County environmentalists realized that Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper was selling them down the river, so to speak, hustling to reap the hundreds of millions of relicensing dollars up for grabs for the benefit of Buffalo and Erie County waterfront, instead of communities that are actually impacted by the Power Project such as Niagara Falls, Lewiston, Youngstown and the Tuscarora Nation, and started complaining, NYPA summarily cancelled two separate rounds of public hearings on Greenway, emailing stakeholders with notice of their decision. read more

Ceretto Loss is LGBT Victory

November 10, 2016 James Hufnagel 23

For the most part, Niagara Falls’ LGBT community isn’t shedding any tears over John Ceretto’s impending departure from public service.

Ceretto’s defeat at the hands of retired City Court Judge Angelo Morinello over the hotly contested 145th District New York State Assembly seat became practically a fait accompli after numerous alleged violations of election law were uncovered, including fundraising activities out of his office by phone and mail and campaign planning meetings taking place there. read more


November 10, 2016 Staff 28

May Have Helped Other Republican Candidates Locally

Donald J. Trump’s victory was historic on a number of levels, not the least of which was that Trump won Niagara County, New York in a landslide.

“Mr. Trump won here, and he won ‘bigly,” Niagara County GOP Chairman Scott Kiedrowski said after unofficial results from the Niagara County Board of Elections put Trump’s margin of victory over Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton at 57% to 38%, storming past Clinton by 16,335 votes in Tuesday’s unofficial tally. read more

Critics say career politician’s arrogance is cause for concern

November 3, 2016 Staff 49

Assemblyman John Ceretto

by Matthew Ricchiazzi

John Ceretto is the quintessential career politician, first elected to public office in 1995 when he ran for the Lewiston Town Board as a Democrat.  He stood quietly and waited his turn for advancement, and was eventually elected to the Niagara County Legislature’s 12th district in 2005. Then came an abrupt move to the Republican Party in 2006, burning many bridges in Niagara County politics.

Observers say that he was angling for an opportunity to run for higher office. His opening came in 2010 in a three-way race against incumbent Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte and Niagara Falls Councilman John Accardo. read more


November 3, 2016 Staff 70
Hon. Angelo J. Morinello
Hon. Angelo J. Morinello

Angelo Morinello, candidate for the 145th Assembly District, has received yet another endorsement from a state business group, The Business Council of New York State, Inc. This is the fourth business advocacy endorsement Judge Morinello has received after Unshackle Upstate, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Associated Builders and Contractors of New York State, which have all granted him their endorsements.

“I’d like to thank the Business Council for putting its trust in me,” said Morinello. “Businesses, especially small family-owned businesses, are the backbone of New York State’s economy. They are the job creators for our communities, not the government. Unfortunately, the wayward politicians in Albany have forgotten that and insist on taxing businesses of this state out of existence.” read more


November 3, 2016 Staff 43

State Assembly hopeful outlines heroin & opioid legislative agenda

“As a judge, I’ve seen this tragic heroin epidemic rip through our communities, fracture families and take too many young lives. But, I’ve also seen how second chances have given many of our neighbors and their families a new and meaningful life.”

Angelo Morinello, candidate for state Assembly and former Niagara Falls City Court Judge, today threw his support behind a plan that addresses many issues in the heroin and opioid crisis. The plan has been hailed by many in the treatment and recovery community as the most comprehensive and thoughtful plan to help those struggling with this disease and addiction. read more


September 29, 2016 Staff 20
Niagara County Democratic Party Chair Nick Forster
Niagara County Democratic Party Chair Nick Forster

Nick Forster won his sixth term as chairman of the Niagara County Democratic Committee. Forster was re-elected by a unanimous vote at the party’s reorganization meeting at the LaSalle Sportsmen’s Club.

Forster told committee members he has worked to strengthen the party by “building bridges” and expanding the party’s base with organized labor.” We want labor to be our strong ally and make the Democratic Party reflect the hopes and values of working people,” Forster said. read more