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As Niagara Falls / Tales of the strange but true

Mixed menu

Gadawski's Bar on Falls Street is a local Niagara Falls melting pot.

Owners Edward and Irene Gadawski serve the food of their Polish heritage in rooms filled with memorabilia of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish college football team. There also are photos of a local Italian-American hero: one of Edward Gadawski's childhood friends, the late Sal Maglie.

One of the framed photos of the professional baseball star that hangs in the bar can also be found in a book that just hit the shelves, "Sal Maglie, Baseball's Demon Barber."

Gadawski said the author, Judith Testa, was referred to him by friends of Maglie, and he loaned her one of the photos to use in her book. The image shows Maglie posing with former New York Giants teammates Monte Irvin and Willie Mays at an Old Timers game in the 1970s in New York City.

Another photograph donated for the book by Daniel J. Bazzani, Niagara Falls School District athletic director, shows Maglie, 19, on the Niagara Falls High School boy's basketball team taken during the 1936-37 season.

While times have changed since that season, Gadawski's remains the place for those of all backgrounds, although it helps to be a Notre Dame fan. Just try not to mention the nine straight Fighting Irish bowl losses . . .


Softening the blow

Maybe he was reminding himself that public meetings can be worse than the Pendleton Town Board reorganizational gathering last week, or maybe Supervisor James A. Riester was reminding his audience.

A crowd of 70 gathered in Town Hall for the meeting, many of them to denounce a rezoning proposal to construct condominiums near the Pettit Castles along Campbell Boulevard.

"We have a letter from Wheatfield and it has to do with low-income housing," Riester cracked. "I just wanted to get that in there."

The Town Homes at Shawnee Landing, a church-sponsored project of 64 homes for low-income residents under construction, has drawn larger and more boisterous crowds in neighboring Wheatfield.

In Pendleton, the Town Board denied the condo rezoning request.

Board members also voted, 4-0, to reappoint Andrea Sammarco as town attorney, to which Riester joked, "Andrea Sammarco is approved. Condolences."


Too much revelry

The New Year's Eve period inevitably presents police with an interesting crop of impaired drivers and their traditional tales of woe. This year was no different.

Early New Year's Day morning, a North Carolina resident was pulled over for speeding on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Wheatfield. When Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Gerald Granto, smelling alcohol, inquired whether the driver had been drinking, the response was an emphatic "No, sir!"

"I'm only 20 years old, sir . . . it's illegal," continued Timothy K. Topor. After failing several field sobriety tests -- and registering a positive reading on Granto's Alco-Sensor device -- Topor realized the jig was up, the deputy reported.

"I'm so screwed," Topor reportedly said. "Back to . . . rehab, I guess!"

In the Town of Lockport, 25-year-old Aaron T. Wright was in more of a celebratory mood, deputies said.

Despite getting pulled over for driving 75 mph on the William Gregory Bypass, the Buffalo resident reported having had "a real good time . . . and a lot to drink" at a friend's birthday party.

What tipped off deputies to Wright's condition? The fact that he quickly lowered all the windows in his car after being pulled over was one clue, reports said. Deputies said it also didn't help that Wright left the vehicle in reverse, causing it to roll backwards and nearly strike the patrol vehicle parked behind it.


All in the spin

It's easy to see why some businesses around here are going down the drain.

Entering the ramp off Williams Road onto the LaSalle Expressway, the tall and proud claim of a local plumbing company can be seen, half-hidden by trees.

J.R. Swanson Plumbing proudly proclaims atop its business sign: "We are number one in the number two business."

With contributions from Gail Franklin and Pam Kowalik of the News Niagara Bureau and Niagara Correspondents Mike Kurilovitch and Thad Komorowski.

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