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As Niagara Falls / Tales of the strange but true

Should've used a bottle

Everybody knows government business works a little slower than the rest of the world -- but you don't expect it to take seven decades.

That's how long it took a letter sent in 1937 from then-Niagara Falls Comptroller Charles H. Brown Jr. to arrive back at City Hall.

The letter was delivered last week to current City Controller Maria Brown -- no relation -- with a note from the Buffalo Post Office explaining it had been "found loose in the mailroom."

The yellowed paper, with an unidentified stain, detailed the prevailing wages of the time.

Current Councilman Christopher Robins couldn't resist when he heard that the mayor's salary back then was 60 cents an hour. The mayor, Robins said, was "still overpaid."

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No beer nuts?

A public science lesson on radiation at CWM Chemical Services last week stayed on topic for most of the two-hour session.

But then discussion turned to a foamy discharge found recently in the Niagara River.

The topic had made headlines with state environmental officials saying that the release, caused by flows from an underground pipeline, violated the landfill facility's operating permit.

But when the topic of discharge was broached at the meeting inside the landfill's training building, there were more than a few chuckles about the situation.

Jill Banaszak, the facility's tech manager, said she was on the scene when reports of the foam first came in.

The foam was produced because of high flow rate and the steep drop of the pipeline near the shore, Banaszak said.

The result was similar to the head you get on your favorite lager.

"It was exactly like pouring a beer," Banaszak said.

Here's betting that sipping the foam in the river wouldn't have been as tasty as something out of the tap at your local watering hole.

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The court cycle

Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. is retiring at the end of the year because he's turning 70, the mandatory state retirement age for judges.

Some cases must make Broderick, who was district attorney before ascending the bench, feel older than others. Take the matter of Takina D. Haslip, 18, of Niagara Falls, who pleaded guilty Friday to crack cocaine possession.

After Haslip left the courtroom, Broderick said, "That's the grandchild of a guy I prosecuted 30 years ago. I guess it's time to retire when you start seeing the grandchildren."

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Keg party

Mayor-elect Paul A. Dyster's business is brewing. Literally. He runs a small company that supplies equipment to microbreweries.

So it made sense that his Election Night victory party featured five kegs of locally brewed beer. Tim Herzog, owner and head brewer at Flying Bison Brewing Co. in Buffalo, donated the suds to the campaign.

More than a few campaign workers found it their duty last Tuesday night to make sure it didn't go to waste.

"That's why we're saying, 'Everybody drink up and take a taxi home,' " volunteer Amanda McPherson said on Election Night. "It's a donation, so it has to go back through the campaign."

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Cold case

County Legislator Rebecca E. Cuddahee of Niagara Falls is a lame duck, having decided to run for coroner, a contest she lost, instead of seeking re-election to her Legislature seat.

Lame ducks are the forgotten people of politics, as Cuddahee found out at the Legislature meeting the night after the election.

A resolution urging construction of a "Welcome to Niagara County" sign at the Rainbow Bridge for drivers entering the U.S. was on the agenda. Co-sponsors were announced as Niagara Falls lawmakers Renae Kimble, Dennis F. Virtuoso and Sean J. O'Connor.

"And Cuddahee," the soon-to-be-former lawmaker chimed in.

"Who?" O'Connor asked.

"How soon they forget!" said Legislator Malcolm A. Needler, R-North Tonawanda. "She's not even cold yet."

With contributions from Denise Jewell Gee, Aaron Besecker and Thomas J. Prohaska of the News Niagara Bureau.

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