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As Niagara Falls / Tales of the strange but true

When you gotta go . . .

A Youngstown woman who worked as a cleaner at the American entrance to the Rainbow Bridge closed the women's restroom for cleaning for a short period of time one day last week.

As far as she was concerned, it was just another day on the job.

While the restroom was closed, a woman tried to enter, despite being told she would have to wait.

The woman then charged at the cleaning lady, pushed her into the wall and when she fell to the ground, kicked her 10 times in the stomach, the 38-yearold cleaning woman later told Niagara Falls police.

The cleaning woman was taken to Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston, suffering from pain and swelling in her abdomen.

Police were looking for a 5 foot, 6- inch woman, about 120 pounds. It was not known if she ever got to use the bathroom.

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If rocks could talk

A small chunk of rock with a red ribbon tied around it has been on the floor of the Market Street Art Gallery in Lockport for many months.

The rock was chipped from the "Kissing Rock" at the waterfront in Thorold, Ont., Lockport's sister city.

According to Thorold lore, sailors on the Welland Canal used to take their female friends there.

The rock was to be placed on a boulder set up in Lockport's Carveth Park along Market Street, across from the gallery. Meanwhile, it sits unidentified in the gallery.

Gallery owner Sally Bisher said several children came to the gallery one day for a children's book signing.

"They were standing in line and one little girl tapped her dad and said, 'What is that?,' pointing to the rock," Bisher related. "And he said, 'I don't know. Maybe's it's somebody's idea of art.' "

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Broderick vs. Dykes (1)

As Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. heads toward retirement at year's end, he's been dishing out liberal doses of life counseling to the young criminal defendants who make up such a large portion of his caseload.

A recent example was Broderick's exchange with Qumane R. Dykes, 16, of Niagara Falls, whom he had placed on interim probation for attempted third-degree burglary. The purpose of the interim probation was for Dykes to show he could keep out of trouble and earn youthful offender status.

But Dykes was soon caught smoking marijuana and was thrown in jail. "Apparently he didn't understand what 'interim' means," Broderick groused. "He had one foot on the banana peel and the other in state prison - at 16."

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Broderick vs. Dykes (2)

Dykes told Judge Broderick he had an explanation, although he admitted, "It's probably not a reason you're going to want to hear." He said he started smoking pot again after finding out his girlfriend was pregnant.

Broderick's advice was, "Stop smoking marijuana, stop impregnating young girls and your life becomes easy."

He then let Dykes out of jail and placed him back on interim probation until Nov. 16, still with the carrot of interim probation in one hand and the stick of prison in the other.

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The Mullaney saga

Richard P. Mullaney has seen them come and go over his years in Lockport City Hall. He was hired by Mayor Michael Shanley in 1976 as a streets department laborer and drove snowplows through the Blizzard of '77.

After that, he was in charge of compiling reports the city used to obtain federal disaster reimbursements, and by 1978, he was transferred to the former Department of Planning and Budgeting as a statistical researcher.

When Budget Director Robert Richards died in 1982, Mullaney was promoted to that job. He added city clerk to his portfolio in 1985 and has been in the dual role ever since. He was just reappointed for five more years.

But Mullaney said his first city gig came in the summer of 1970, when he was chosen as a summer youth worker by Mayor Rollin T. Grant.

Quipped Deputy Corporation Counsel David E. Blackley, "He never had an eye for talent, did he?"

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

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