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They said it couldn't be done. While the millennium didn't bring the apocalypse some predicted, it did mark the end of an era for newspapers. Many went out of business altogether, and many more remain financially hobbled.

Still, the Niagara Falls Reporter remains standing after 11 years.

Fran Iusi, who is Mayor Paul Dyster's director of the NFC Development Corp., was one of the first to predict a bad outcome for the Reporter. At the party we held to celebrate our first issue, she said it wouldn't last six months.

In her current job, she has handed out millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to start-up businesses that have indeed not lasted six months. The Reporter has never taken a dime of public money, has provided jobs for a number of people, and has pumped millions of dollars into the local economy, while remaining free for anyone who wants it.

And we remain grateful and glad that you continue to want it.

Among those who have threatened to sue us stands former Niagara Falls mayor and current federal prisoner Vince Anello, our current Mayor Dyster, the Niagara Gazette, the double-dipping county Legislator Dennis Virtuoso, and numerous other thugs, politicians and confidence men.

Some have actually sued us. Invariably, their lawsuits were dropped or thrown out by the courts.

In Dyster's case, his current antipathy flies in the face of his feelings about the paper shortly after taking office in 2008.

"The Niagara Falls Reporter has earned a reputation for breaking the big stories and showing a bright light on the shadier crannies of Niagara Falls politics," he said then. "Inch by inch, step by step, our local politics are getting cleaner, and the Reporter deserves credit for pushing the envelope."

To date, we have put more than 500 editions of the Reporter on the street, often affecting significant change. The Anello scandal, the continuing saga of Laborers Local 91, the recent re-bid of the Maid of the Mist contract and shake-up at the Niagara Parks Commission by the Ontario government were all the result of original investigative reporting that first appeared here.

From the start, our mission has been to expose corruption and injustice as we come across it, to make a living doing that, and to have some fun along the way.

We've been successful on all those counts, thanks to you, our loyal readers and advertisers.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com June 28, 2011