Budget goes to Pope
Mental Health Director Antoinette Lech missed a recent session of the Niagara County Legislature's Community Services Committee.
Deputy Director Michael A. White said, "Toni is in Rome and has an audience with the Pope on Thursday."
"Is she saying some prayers for our budget?" asked Legislator William M. Davignon, D-North Tonawanda.
"She also said she was going to say a prayer for the county manager," said Manager Gregory D. Lewis.
"She did not!" said astonished Legislator Danny W. Sklarski, of Niagara.
"God's truth," Lewis said.
Age of exploration
Lockport School Board Member Allen W. Jack was ruminating over how things had changed in American schools from the time he was a lad when he was blindsided with a wisecrack that sent the whole board into laughter Wednesday night.
Discussing the proposed expenditure of about $2,500 on 42 books for a 12th-grade Spanish IV class at Lockport High School, Jack said, "It's changed over the years. When I was in high school, there wasn't a lot of emphasis placed on Spanish. But that was years ago, which I won't go into. . . . Obviously, it's very popular in schools now."
"They hadn't discovered Spain when you were in school," board member Beverly McDonough cracked.
Even Jack laughed, admitting, "I left myself wide open for that."
The board approved purchasing the Spanish books, with school officials noting that the same book is used at Niagara County Community College and students who go there can apply for a college credit in Spanish if they do well in in high school.
Deep pockets? Really?
County Attorney Claude A. Joerg told the Legislature that he had to hire an outside law firm to defend against the Democratic legislators' lawsuit that also targeted the 13-member majority caucus, charging illegal private meetings, because the Democrats also sued the county.
Joerg said the court papers asked that he not participate in the suit, so he won't, and it will cost the county $5,000 to $10,000 for lawyers.
Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, said he thought the Republican Party was going to pay for the lawyers.
At any rate, he said, "There's one way around that. Just don't break the law and we won't have to take you to court."
"We haven't done that, by the way," said Majority Leader Malcolm A. Needler, R-North Tonawanda. "If you'd only sued the legislators, the Republican Party would have picked it up, but you chose to sue the deep pockets."
Niagara County with deep pockets?
Tell that to the 2005 county budgetmakers.
Taking no chances
They're not out of the woods yet, but they will be this week.
During his Nov. 15 report on the progress of a drainage survey in the Nash Road area, Wheatfield Town Engineer Timothy Walck told the Town Board that surveyors would be taking off Thanksgiving week.
The reason: hunting season.
"They're not on vacation," Walck explained. "It's not a good week to be walking around in the woods."
Contributions from Thomas J. Prohaska and Paul Westmoore of the News Niagara Bureau and Niagara Correspondent Thad Komorowski