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AS NIAGARA FALLS
TALES OF THE STRANGE BUT TRUE

Book sales plummet

Niagara Falls historian Paul Gromosiak wrote a children's book called "Owahonton, Maid of the Mist," about the legendary Indian woman whose specter has been hanging over local history for centuries.

The legend tells of a young woman, distraught over the deaths of her first three husbands, who attempts suicide by going over the falls in a canoe and miraculously survives.

The legend is Seneca, but the Indian Nation doesn't want anything to do with it -- the book, that is.

Copies of the slim volume had been on display in the gift shop of the Seneca Niagara Casino in downtown Niagara Falls, but the book recently was been pulled from the shelves because Gromosiak is not Native American, according to the shop manager, who would not give her name.

Gromosiak said the Maid of the Mist Corp. gift shop at Prospect Point in Niagara State Park won't sell the book either because he once criticized the company for regaling tourists on its boats with what he said was a false Maid of the Mist legend of sacrificing a young Indian maiden by sending her over the falls in a canoe.

"I can't even sell the book in Canada," he said, "because I'm an American."

Now, it seems, his book is really history.

She's no angel

A Cambria woman got an unwelcome surprise opening the door to her apartment earlier this month.

She said that, as she entered her Shenk Road apartment, a dog ran out and pushed her up against the wall, then bit her in the right thigh, puncturing the skin. The woman was able to drive herself to the hospital, where she was treated and released.

The dog owner said she was unaware that she had left the door open and her shepherd-huskie mix had gotten out.

The dog, named Angel, was quarantined by the owner until the Niagara County Health Department completes a report.

Dangerfield-like reign

Lockport Common Council President John Lombardi III is always trying to assert his authority, but it seems to be a hopeless cause.

Lombardi took umbrage earlier this month when he found out 10 minutes before a work session that Alderwoman Phyllis J. Green had invited Police Chief Neil B. Merritt to address the Council.

Lombardi lectured, "The rules and orders of Committee of the Whole are that if you have a guest you want to bring in, you have to call the Council president."

Pretending to ignore Lombardi, Alderman Joseph C. Kibler looked at Green and asked, "Phyllis, who's the Council president now?"

Like Rodney Dangerfield used to say, "No respect, no respect at all."

Slip of the lip

Village of Lewiston Mayor Richard Soluri was back on the bench last week looking well-rested and tanned after some vacation time and a short illness.

A slip of the tongue may have hinted about his state of mind.

Soluri, asking the board to approve the final payment for tearing down the Village Department of Public Works garage, asked them to approve a payment for disablement, rather than dismantlement.

When questioned about the slip Soluri said, "I think I'm talking about myself."

With contributions from Nancy A. Fischer, Bill Michelmore and Thomas J. Prohaska of the News Niagara Bureau.