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As Niagara Falls / Tales of the strange but true

Pre-election bloom

It's only October, but the campaign to stop Lewiston-Porter School Board member Edward M. Lilly from being re-elected to a fifth three-year term next May apparently is in full bloom.

Vehicles are popping up with bumper stickers and ribbons that say, "Save Lew-Port: Stop Ed Lilly."

Lilly, a small-businessman who is not shy about holding positions that are not always popular within the school district, said Monday that he is not bothered by the bumper stickers.

"The campaign to keep me off the board has been going on for 10 years, so it doesn't surprise me," Lilly said. "It just surprises me that it's started this early."

Lilly has been at odds with the Lewiston-Porter United Teachers for a long time, claiming they are too highly paid and that local taxpayers can't afford their salaries and expensive benefits. However, he has always credited Lewiston-Porter teachers with doing a good job educating area students.

Fellow board member Edward Waller is sympathetic to Lilly's cause. Waller said he's going to have an identical sign made -- same shape, same color -- that says something like: "Save Lew-Port: Go Ed Lilly."

Waller added, "I'm going to have a lot of them made. I know a lot of people who'll use them."


Mixed signals

A dispute between Time Warner Cable and LIN-TV that has left Buffalo Bills games off the air has driven dedicated Bills fans to go to great lengths to view the game.

Judi's Bar and Grill on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Niagara saw its typically busy Sunday Bills crowd drop the first week CBS was taken off Time Warner Cable.

The bar is known around town for its Sunday football and 25-cent wing special.

"We were so slow," bartender Maria Justiana explained. "Everyone came in and said, 'Do you have the Bills game?' And then they left [when we didn't]."

So before last Sunday, they invested in a high-definition antenna and had plenty of Bills fans again. They also benefited from the game being shown on Toronto's CFTO-TV.

But Justiana said it was a quick learning process.

"The first week that it wasn't on, we tried the bunny ears," she said.

"You mean rabbit ears?" a patron at the bar jumped in. "Bunny ears are what Playboy girls wear."


Gangster rap

Ever want to get a close-up view of the FBI's files on the Magaddino family?

Thanks to Mike Rizzo, owner of Niagara Falls-based The Mob Tours, they're now just a click away.

Rizzo has begun posting documents from the files of federal investigators on his company's Web site,

"Our goal was always to present the most factual information on our tours," Rizzo said in a statement. "Now we can provide a lot of that information directly to other researchers."

Rizzo filed requests with the agency through the Freedom of Information Act.

He said he expects the files to include more than 4,000 pages of never-before-released material.

"This will be the most comprehensive collection of information about the Magaddinos that has ever been assembled in one place," Rizzo said.


Sign of desperation

A 53-year-old divorced man on the Ontario side of Niagara Falls got tired of looking for love in the all the wrong places, so he put up a sign on 21st Street, which gets a lot of traffic.

"Girlfriend Wanted," the sign says, with the man's phone number.

"It would require a daring and inquisitive woman to respond to the sign," David Morrison said Monday, "and that's the kind of person I'm looking for."

Morrison, who works as a waiter in Oakville, Ont., put up a similar sign five years ago. "I'd hide and watch the reaction of people as they drove by," he said, "but I never got any serious responses."

And this time?

"Someone called, but when I told them my age, they hung up," he said. "I'm still waiting."

If anyone's interested, the phone number is (905) 562-5503.

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

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