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Try calling Community Development; You might as well call the White House

July 10, 2017 Staff 0

By Mike Hudson

When you try to call Niagara Falls Community Development, you are answered by a robot, who proceeds to give you a number of “options.” Option one is to go to a directory of Community Development staffers, but if you go to it you are instead hooked up to a voicemail demanding to know who you are and exactly what you want.

Try it yourself. The number is (716) 286-8800.

The other way to contact Community Development is to fill out a form they have on their website.

“Do you have questions or need help with something that you couldn’t find on our website?  We’re here to help!  Fill out the contact form below and we will get you in touch with the right person,” it says. read more

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DiCienzo project to benefit from $3 million state grant to IDA here?

July 10, 2017 Staff 0

By Mike Hudson

A $3 million fund to assist new economic development projects in Niagara Falls was announced last week. State Sen. Rob Ortt and Assemblyman Angelo Morinello orchestrated the gift basket.

The money was obtained through the last two state budgets, but its original source was the state’s share of the Seneca Niagara Casino’s revenues.

The money, dubbed the Downtown Niagara Falls Tourism Target Zone program, will be administered by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. Its board will vote on all the grants recommended by a steering committee of NCIDA staffers, board members and other local leaders, according to Steve Brady, IDA chairman. read more

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Dismissal of charges against Ortt bodes well for Maziarz defense

July 10, 2017 Staff 0

By Mike Hudson

You read it here first.

How many times in the 17-year history of the Niagara Falls Reporter have we begun articles with just those words?

On May 11, we ran our last installment of what had become the saga of state Sen. Rob Ortt. State Attorney General Eric Scheiderman had indicted Ortt on three felony counts of filing a false instrument.

On Tuesday, Albany County Judge Peter Lynch dismissed the indictment in its entirety.

Ortt, the former North Tonawanda mayor, was accused of padding his mayoral salary through a no-show job for his wife, Meghan, who was indirectly paid $21,500 over four years by the Niagara County Republican Committee. The political nature of Ortt’s persecution was painfully obvious to anyone who bothered to look. read more

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Looming financial crisis debated as Dyster lives it up in Florida

July 10, 2017 Staff 0

By Mike Hudson

Imagine for a moment, if you will, that you are selling your house. Now imagine that, at the closing, you are so lame brained that when your lawyer hands you the contract, you don’t read it or have it explained to you, and find out only later that the document while obligating you to transfer ownership, it didn’t require the “buyer” to do anything, like pay you any money for your house.

That, in a nutshell, is exactly what happened to Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who – in 2013 – granted the Seneca Nation of Indians a 20 year extension on the compact that allows the tribe to operate the Seneca Niagara Casino here. read more

Chris Voccio

FORMER GAZETTE PUBLISHER TO RUN FOR COUNCIL

May 19, 2017 Staff 0

Niagara Falls, NY – May 12, 2017 – Chris Voccio, who until this afternoon was the publisher of both the Niagara Gazette and the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, announced his candidacy for the Niagara Falls City Council.

Voccio, who took the helm of the Gazette in September of 2014, announced to his staff in January that he was retiring in May when he turned 50. He didn’t specify his plans at that time.

“I moved to Niagara Falls to turn around the Niagara Gazette, and I fell in love with the place,” Voccio said. “We have so much going for us, but city government seems to be in its own way. There’s a lack of leadership at city hall, and the council needs a change agent to help turn things around.” read more

Sam Archie

Three Open City Council Seats May Attract As Many As 10 Candidates

May 18, 2017 Mike Hudson 1

At least six contenders will vie for three open seats on the Niagara Falls City Council this autumn, and insiders say as many as eleven others are likely to announce before the July filing deadline.

Charles Walker, a 20-year veteran of the Council, has decided not to seek re-election, while members Kristen Grandinetti and Andrew Touma have announced they are in the running.

Chris Voccio
Chris Voccio

The Council has been seen largely as a rubber stamp, approving the programs and policies of Mayor Paul Dyster, rarely questioning his decisions. This has led to fiascos such as the city’s new train station that has yet to see a train and the 72nd Street water main that left residents without water for two winters in a row. read more

NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

Turmoil At Empire State Development Revealed In State Comptroller’s Audit

May 18, 2017 Mike Hudson 0

By Mike Hudson;

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s scathing audit report of the Empire State Development Corp. reveals an agency in crisis, one all but unaccountable to the people of New York or anyone else.

Many here have long suspected that Empire State Development, headed up locally by former state assemblyman Sam Hoyt, and its’ subsidiary, USA Niagara Development Corp., run by former state assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, exist largely to benefit campaign contributors and provide jobs for political hacks. read more

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Moribund Wonderfalls back in news following DiCienzo’s harsh criticism

May 18, 2017 Mike Hudson 0

By Mike Hudson;

Nearly three years ago, in August 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to town to announce a “transformational” $150 million project known as Wonderfalls Resort.

Uniland Development and Delaware North would partner to build the project he said, which called for a 15-story tower, 300 hotel rooms, an indoor water park, upscale restaurants and boutiques and a daredevil attraction that officials have said would involve tightrope walker Nik Wallenda all appended to the largely unused portion of the Rainbow Centre Mall, now owned by the city. read more

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Violent Crime Sweeping The Falls Can Be Laid Directly At Dyster’s Door

May 18, 2017 Staff 3

By Mike Hudson;

The wave of violent crime currently sweeping over the city of Niagara Falls is something Mayor Paul Dyster doesn’t like to talk about.

Why would he? In 2010, when he bent over for then state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and entered into a consent decree that would cost city taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and make rank and file police officers here leery about pulling over a car filled with gang bangers unless it could be verified as stolen, he showed plainly what side he was on. read more

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Celebrating Niagara Falls Greatest Generation

May 18, 2017 Staff 0

By Councilman Kenny Tompkins & Terry Ortt Tompkins

Dick Lacey. Gordon Ortt. Chester and John Gawel. Patricia Knibbs.

They’re not household names and yet they are REAL heroes in our community. These are just a few of the men and women from Niagara Falls who proudly served our country in World War II.

In the Tompkins’ house, all veterans, especially those who served in conflicts like WWII, are revered for their valor. Terry’s dad, Gordon Ortt, served in the U.S. Army 345th Engineer Regiment from 1942 to 1946 and was an MP in Italy. Before he was honorably discharge from his honest and faithful service to this country, Dad was awarded the Victory Medal; America Service Medal; European, African, Middle Eastern Service Medals; Good Conduct Medal; and the Bronze Star. Dad died in 2014 at 92, but will forever live on in our hearts as the hero he was at home and abroad. read more

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Thomason Announces Comeback Candidacy For Return To Council Here

May 18, 2017 Staff 0

As a lifelong resident of Niagara Falls, former city councilwoman, businesswoman and longtime community advocate, Candra Thomason announced her candidacy for Niagara Falls City Council this week.

“As a former member of the Council, I worked hard to cut unnecessary spending while fighting for quality of life services, and I now feel I need to roll up my sleeves and get back to public service,” she told the Niagara Falls Reporter. “I hope to use the knowledge I have of business management, accounting, public relations, marketing and organization building in the public and private sector to help fix the fiscal crises we are in, and the multitude of problems facing our city.” read more

Sam Archie

Archie’s Candidacy Is About Saving You Money

May 18, 2017 Staff 0

By Sam Archie;

I have decided to run for City Council because of the lack of leadership and common sense. Too many times we have seen the council majority cave in to the wishes of the Mayor without asking questions. They have carelessly spent tax dollars and casino funds. I have witnessed council members silence residents who spoke to them with concerns that didn’t fit their narratives. I was infuriated when a council member told residents if they don’t like it, they can move. Enough is Enough. read more