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Rest in Peace Alan N. Dikcis

soldier_mournedSpc. Alan N. Dikcis, 21, of Niagara Falls, N.Y., died March 5 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 630th Engineer Company (Clearance), 7th Engineer Battalion (Combat Effects), 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne), Fort Drum, N.Y.

A Letter To Dalton McGuinty Premier of Ontario

harper-mcguinty-456

Protect our Parks, an activist blog dedicated to protecting the Parks of Southern Ontario, has published this letter to the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty.

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March 2, 2010

The Honourable Dalton McGuinty Premier of Ontario

This letter will be emailed and served by Registered Mail

Re: Reasonable Apprehension of Bias in Maid of Mist Lease Negotiations

Sir.

First, please let me tell you the reason for this whole letter. It is an embarrassment to the people of the Province of Ontario and your Provincial Government to have allowed the present Board of Commissioners and General Manager of the Niagara Parks Commission to still remain in their present positions with what you and the citizens already know.

Second, I fear that if you respond to this letter you will give me a standard explanation that you are forwarding this to Minister Chan, Tourism Minister. To pass the buck again to a new Tourism Minister who has done nothing to improve the credibility of your Government, nor show the people that the process will be fair, is negligence on your behalf. You already know some of the conflicts and dirty inner workings of the Niagara Parks Commission through this ordeal and you choose not to take control and be a leader, but to hope we all go away. That’s not going to happen unless we are assured a fair, unbiased tendering is done that is transparent in its selection.

Here are some of the facts:

1. The Chairman (Jim Williams) and General Manager (John Kernahan) of NPC were involved in a meeting with the CEO of IMAX in fall of 2006 where an option was presented that IMAX will
build a new attraction at Table Rock fully financed by IMAX. This meeting and all information was suppressed from the Niagara Parks Commissioners and never exposed until I was told in May of
2008. In the mean time the NPC borrowed $38 million to renovate Table Rock and build the attraction “Fury” which has been exposed to be a dismal failure.

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Vote to help local Niagara Falls animal shelters

468x120_ShelterChallenge_Jan2010Now you can help The Animal Rescue Site choose which eligible Petfinder.com animal rescue organizations will receive up to $100,000 in funds to help animals! Voting is simple: just select your Country and (if U.S. or Canada) State/Province. The contest ends April 18th, 2010  and you can cast one vote every day for your favorite rescue organization.

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Memo: Code of Conduct for the Commissioners and Sr Staff

niagara-parks-footer-logoCode of Conduct
Code of Conduct for the Commissioners and Senior Staff
January 20th, 2010
Memo to: Commissioners & Senior Staff
From: Howard Grant, Fairness Commissioner
PPI Consulting Limited
Re: Restrictions on Lobbying Activities related to the Request for Proposals for Tour Boat Services

I have been hired by the Ministry of Tourism to assist the Niagara Parks Commission with the competitive process for tour boat services. In my role as Fairness Commissioner, I will provide oversight and process advice to ensure fairness throughout the competitive process.

The Niagara Parks Commission has established a Project Team comprised of John Kernahan, Nick Murphy and Joel Noden for the planning, design and advancement of this initiative. From time to time, others in the Commission may also be requested to contribute their expertise to the initiative. more…

Maid of the Mist legal claim denied

niagara-city-maid-of-mistAn Atlanta businessman with eyes on tour boat operations at the base of Niagara Falls has lost a legal battle in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

In a decision rendered earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon denied motions filed by businessman William Windsor in a case involving the owners of the Maid of the Mist Corp. more…

Let it snow

weatherAre we finally going to get some snow?… Defiantly not the case for Vancouver and the Olympics.

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Debra Mauro wins $1 million

Debra Mauro of Niagara Falls wins $1 million after buying the Smooth 7s scratch and win lottery ticket.

Find it Local with Mypelham.com

mypelhamThe Pelham community is in the process of becoming a fully connected on-line neighbourhood called “www.MyPelham.com“. For both Pelham residents and visitors alike, the developers of MyPelham.com, are aiming to make the web portal a one stop source for all aspects relating to life, work and entertainment in the Town of Pelham.

MyPelham.com is a joint venture project of Tiger Eye Solutions, a boutique marketing company operated by Pelham-based real estate broker, Cathy Berkhout-Bosse and local web designer, Melissa Wells, owner of Ex Nihilo Web Designs.

“We are not simply creating a website”, Berkhout-Bosse clarifies, “we are establishing a social enterprise – a co-operative business model that provides long term economic development and tourism benefit to all community members while also generating sufficient advertising revenue to be a self-sustaining entity that limits the potential tax burden of Town promotion. more…

Want to bid on Operating the Maid of the Mist?

motmThe Niagara Parks Commission has released details of how they intend to proceed with opening up the Maid of the Mist (Niagara Falls Boat Tour) operations bid process.  Bidders will be able to submit their proposals this spring on merx.com.  If you are interested in bidding you should preregister for a information session here.

A copy of the official Niagara Parks Commission press release is available following this jump.

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Gypsy Theatre may be leaving Falls

JOHN LAW QMI Agency — The newly-renovated Seneca Queen Theatre on Queen St. in Niagara Falls may be looking for new tenants this year. It’s unclear whether Fort Erie’s Gypsy Theatre will return for a second season.

NIAGARA FALLS — Gypsy Theatre’s stay in Niagara Falls may have been a short one.

After a much-ballyhooed debut on Queen Street last year, the Fort Erie-based company’s future in the Seneca Queen Theatre appears uncertain for 2010.

Mordechai Grun, president of property owners Historic Niagara Development, says while Gypsy Theatre “tried their best, and they worked hard,” he would not confirm the company is returning for a second season this year. more…

Niagara-on-the-Lake Culinary School Raided

closedNiagara-on-the-Lake Culinary School was raided and shut down by government officials this Friday.  Allegations about the  private school, who’s students are mainly from India, include that it is running illegally, issuing false certificates, and exploiting students for cheap labour in some of Niagara Falls top wineries and restaurants.  The school closure is affecting 40- 50 students.

It is important to note that the Niagara-on-the-Lake Culinary School is not affiliated with the The Niagara Culinary Institute (NCI), which is a part of Niagara College, one of Ontario’s 24 publicly-funded Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology.

Special Falls Illumination for Winter Olympics

As the 2010 Winter Olympics kick off in Vancouver, Niagara Falls will be showcasing the start of a brand new type of special illumination.

During the 17 days of the Winter Olympic Games, visitors to the Ontario Pavilion in Vancouver, over 3,000 kilometres away, will have the unique opportunity to change the colour of the lights on Niagara Falls using the power of their minds!

The Illumination of Niagara FallsThe Illumination of Niagara Falls more…
Bug-a-licious Insect Food Festival on Family Day Weekend

Tempt your taste buds with a variety of insects, including crickets, scorpions, grasshoppers, ants and stinkbugs prepared right before your eyes! Visit the Butterfly Conservatory over Ontario’s Family Day (or U.S., President’s Day) long weekend, February 13 – 15, 2010 for the 5th annual International ‘Bug-a-licious’ Insect Food Festival.

Linda Keeping Enjoys a Scorpion

Visitors will be able to sample delectable insect recipes created by Chef Jeff Stewart and guest chefs daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Chef Stewart and his colleagues will be conducting cooking demonstrations with insects, and a new addition this year will be a friendly cooking competition – the Insect Battle Show Down – where visitors can cast their votes for the most delicious insect dish!

The event will feature two cooking battles each day at 12:30 p.m & 3 p.m. This annual event challenges us to consider insects as a beneficial nutrition source, a practice common to cultures from around the world for thousands of years. more…

Forcing residents to shovel snow bad idea

Recently the city council had indicated that they would come door to door asking people to bring a shovel and help clear the sidewalks of snow. This stunt that would help to lower costs to cover snow plows and road salt distributions. Residents were outraged when they heard they were being ‘Forced’ to march outside and contribute to city hall. It was definitely a bad move by the city council. Where most costs are being spent on clearing the main roads and school routes, the public does not want to cut those services off. The issue is too much of a reliability and the liability of residents to perform that duty may fall short. That’s something we don’t want to see. Courts have been upheld that residents are not responsible for clearing snow and actions to do so are a personal choice or of that of the city’s duty. If a homeowner were to clear the snow from their sidewalk and a passer had fallen injured due to the ice, the city would get sued and not the home owner.

Celebrating Black History Month

Niagara and the Underground Railroad

Many do not realize that Niagara was the major terminus of the Underground Railroad. The Anti-slavery Act of 1793’s ban on slave imports made American blacks free as soon as they crossed Niagara River. A woman named Chloe Cooley’s brave actions inspired change that would ultimately lead to the end of slavery in this country.

Plaque Honouring Chloe CooleyPlaque Honouring Chloe Cooley

In 2007, The Niagara Parks Commission and the Ontario Heritage Trust unveiled a provincial plaque in Niagara-on-the-Lake to commemorate Chloe Cooley and the 1793 Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada. more…

Congratulations to Niagara Parks Culinary & Edgewaters Tap & Grill

Congratulations to the Niagara Parks Culinary Team for bringing home their third consecutive People’s Choice Award at the 6th Annual Mayor and Council’s Chili Cook-off today at the Optimist Hall in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The winning recipe was created by Mike Deroche of Edgewaters Tap & Grill.

Niagara Parks Culinary Team

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Big Bang at Walker Brothers Quarries

Last week, Niagara Falls citizens experienced a loud bang that shook homes and windows; and which could be heard across the border. Workers at the Walker Brothers Quarries on Thorold Townline Road use explosives to blast rock about 4 times a week. Only 1 blast was heard throughout the night disturbing citizens, rushing out of their homes to investigate. The Warner Brothers quarries had actually blasted twice, the first blast seemed fine, although the 2nd blast was unusually loud. Nobody was hurt during the explosion, and the investigation is underway, although there seemed to be nothing unusual as it was standard procedure and there were no change in technique or materials. Its been the same for years.

Olympic torch reaches Loretto

Students at Loretto Catholic Elementary School experienced the presence of the Olympic torch last month. The torch that was lit through the relay in Niagara Falls Dec. 20th. The Torch was donated to the city and Niagara Falls Mayor Ted Salci is taking it to various schools in the city as a surprise, allowing kids to hold the torch and pose for pictures with it. Ted Salci believes this will help embrace the Olympic spirit in everyone.

Family Literacy Day Jan 27th

Forestview Public School is promoting literacy with the encouragement of the Olympic games. Literacy Day is held annually, created by ABC Canada Literacy Foundation and Honda Canada. Family Literacy day is to promote families to read and learn together. Honda vehicles were stationed in front of book stores on Jan 27th, collecting donations for public school libraries. Forestview students were dressed in red to support Canadian athletes and promote Family Literacy Day. The Canadian Olympic Committee wants their towns to be paint red, starting with schools by combining poetry, art, and literature about the athletes. Student’s will trace their hand on paper to show their encouragement. Family Literacy Day was a success, children and parents, families together in the schools, reading to one another and sharing tasty treats. For their hopes are being passed down to our athletes.

New York Wineries Upset with Canada

wineIf a customer with a Canadian accent comes to Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars in Hammondsport, Fred Frank knows they’re there to taste, not to buy.

That’s because it wouldn’t make financial sense.

Canadians who visit any of New York’s 255 wineries are allowed to bring home two bottles per person duty-free. But the price of wine bought in the U.S. almost doubles with duties and excise taxes imposed by the Ontario government if a Canadian returns home with more than two bottles.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers can fill the trunk of their car with bottles from the wineries that dot the northern side of Lake Ontario and pay insignificant taxes when they cross the border on their return home. The first two bottles also are duty-free.

“It’s bothersome because it’s unfair and it’s the antithesis of free trade,” said Frank, part owner of the winery. “For us, even though we are not close to the border, Toronto is closer than New York City.”

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