Lockport High School's Participation in Government students often turn up at Lockport Common Council meetings.
At a recent budget session, three students sat transfixed -- or maybe dazed would be more accurate -- as the aldermen sifted through the public works budget.
"These decisions are the bedrock of a democracy," proclaimed Alderman David E. Blackley.
"Thank you, Fred Flintstone," commented Mayor Michael W. Tucker.
Aware that the Council had just approved a whopping $100 cut in out-of-grade pay for parks maintenance workers, an incredulous reporter asked Blackley, "These decisions?"
"Well, maybe not these exact decisions," Blackley conceded.
A grain of salt
Meanwhile, Lockport Public Works Supervisor Kevin Norris tried to squelch any Council efforts to cut the $75,000 budget for road salt.
"If you want to compromise public safety, that's up to you guys," Norris declared.
"That's nice," a miffed Mayor Tucker said.
"I take everything the mayor says with a grain of salt," Blackley punned.
Before the County Legislature's Administration Committee late last month, County Manager Gregory D. Lewis defended his proposal to save money by taking the duties of Legislature clerk on himself, doing away with the patronage appointee of the majority party who traditionally holds the job.
"I think you have a lot on your plate as it is," Legislator Glenn S. Aronow, R-Lockport, said solicitously. "You want $95,500 a year to put together the agenda?"
"I'm a big-time delegater. I would delegate it to my team," Lewis said, acknowledging the work would likely be done by the same two women who do it now.
Legislator Lee Simonson, R-Lewiston, saw the likely political impact of Lewis as the clerk instead of a political appointee: "Instead of half of us not liking you, we would all not like you."
"That's my goal," Lewis said.
Taking stock of welfare
County Social Services Commissioner Anthony J. Restaino disclosed to the Administration Committee that 359 people have moved into the county and joined the welfare rolls since March.
"Why are they moving into Niagara County?" Legislator Lee Simonson asked.
"Because my business is the best business," Restaino said.
"We should buy stock in this stuff," grimaced Majority Leader Malcolm A. Needler, R-North Tonawanda.
Insult to injury
WILSON -- As if putting your car into a roadside ditch weren't bad enough, a Bay Street resident returned to the scene of the accident last weekend to find all the windows of his car had been smashed out.
The man had been unable to remove the car from the Daniels Road ditch, but since it was posing no road hazard, sheriff's deputies allowed him to return later to retrieve the vehicle.
By that time, someone else had gotten there first. In addition to breaking the windows, the car's compact disc stereo unit, valued at $450, was stolen.
Contributions from Thomas J. Prohaska of the News Niagara Bureau and Niagara Correspondent Mike Kurilovitch