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By Mike Hudson

Assemblyman John Ceretto is sponsoring legislation to allow Nik Wallenda to traverse the Niagara Falls River Gorge on a high wire. Ceretto believes the event will promote tourism and increase local revenue for the region.

"From the earliest daredevils riding barrels over the falls to Evel Knievel's famous performance, Niagara Falls has attracted countless thrill-seekers and fans to the region," Ceretto said. "By allowing a skilled and famous high-wire walker to traverse the falls, the Legislature will help to promote tourism and increase local revenue to the region."

State Sen. George Maziarz is sponsoring companion legislation in the Senate.

"The Wallendas have been at the very top of their field for generations. Nik's walk on the high wire will be a first-class event that will draw extra attention to the wonders of Niagara Falls. I'm happy to help make it possible."

A seventh-generation tightrope walker, Mr. Wallenda holds two world records for his high-wire performances. He also is the star of a new Discovery Channel show entitled "Man Up," which focuses on his high-wire exploits.

"This legislation will promote tourism on the American side of the falls and give our region a needed boost to help spur economic development," Ceretto said. "We must step up our game to attract tourists and their dollars to our region. While this event will not be a cure-all, it can be a step in the right direction toward rebuilding the American side of the falls."

Traditionally, the state Parks Commission has denied daredevils permission to perform stunts at the falls, something Ceretto and Maziarz hope can be overcome by their legislation.

Congratulations to Brittany Catchpole, who, at the tender age of 18, has become youngest Legislator Niagara County ever had. The young Democrat was appointed to take over the 6th District seat vacated by the retiring Danny Sklarski.

Catchpole was the unanimous choice for the job, beating out a number of candidates, including Niagara Falls Block Club President Roger Spurback.

Because of redistricting and the downsizing of the Legislature mandated by county voters, the 6th District will include parts of the city and Wheatfield.

The county Democratic Committee, headed up by the odious Dan Rivera, has already endorsed another candidate for the district, so Catchpole will face a primary race in September.

But Rivera's record of endorsing losing candidates as such that his endorsement is seen as the kiss of death by veteran political observers.

Some might say that Catchpole is too young and inexperienced to be a county Legislator, but she couldn't possibly be any worse than some of the jokers and misfits we've seen serving on that august body over the years.

What is it about New York politicians?

First there was Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor following an ill-advised phone call from Shorty's bar on Pine Avenue to a New York City hooker scheduling a dangerous liaison in Washington, D.C.

Then there was Eric Massa, who left Congress after allegedly groping, pinching and tickling male staffers in his office.

Or Sam Hoyt, who barely hung onto his seat in the state Assembly after e-mails surfaced showing him to be intimately involved with a pair of young Albany interns.

Then there was Chris Lee, who destroyed his congressional career sending manly, bare-chested photos of himself to a bunch of women he was trying to pick up over the Internet.

Now there's Anthony Weiner, whose thing, apparently, is photographing his source of male pride and then sending the pictures out to girls he met on the Internet. Because his last name is also a slang term for the particular private part he enjoyed taking pictures of, the national press are having a field day.

Weiner denied it for two weeks, saying his account must have been hacked, then admitted to it, and then his wife went to Africa with Hillary Clinton.

Now the cops are investigating an online relationship he had with a 17-year-old Delaware girl.

You simply couldn't make it up.

And speaking of national politics and the press, what's up with the unending fascination with Sarah Palin? She holds no public office, isn't running for anything and is about as dumb as a box of rocks, yet the media hangs on her every word as though she were Christ resurrected.

Serious newspapers carry articles on what outfit she wore that day, her selection of jewelry, her nervous tics, unsound grasp of American history and mangling almost beyond recognition of the English language.

Now a phalanx of journalists are examining 24,000 e-mails she sent or received during her time as governor of Alaska. Thus far, they've found nothing even remotely interesting.

Maybe it's just that being at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, unemployment above 9 percent for years on end, the stock market tanking and the burst housing bubble are just, you know, kind of depressing.

"Bread and circuses," wrote the Roman poet Juvenal on the decline of the empire circa 100 A.D. In our own declining empire, people are flipping fast-food hamburgers for each other while the media takes care of the circuses.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com June 14, 2011