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Where time stands still

It's becoming well known that Lewiston Town Board meetings are, well, lengthy. So board members were poking fun at themselves recently, taking friendly bets about when their meeting would end.

Councilman George Briggs looked over to the reporters table and said, "Hey, you guys want to get in on this?"

Three hours later, when things still hadn't wrapped up, Councilman John Ceretto smiled and said, "I think I'm going to win, because we still have an executive session coming up."

Guess it takes dedication to be truly happy about a three-hour-plus meeting. Needless to say, all the reporters lost their bets, hoping for a short meeting.

All's fare in taxi talks

Councilman John G. Accardo called a sit-down to air Council concerns over the way city taxicabs and drivers look, the way they treat customers and the impression they make on visitors. All those things are regulated by the city's taxicab ordinance but not always adhered to or enforced, he said. Since the cabbies are asking for a rate hike, Accardo thought it was a good time for some gentle persuasion.

Some of those attending, however, didn't think the "politicians" on the Council should have any say over their economic fate, mindful as elected officials are to not offend the voting public. After the second or third such comment, Councilwoman Barbara A. Geracitano said, "You're meeting with politicians now, and we're trying to settle it with you."

"We're trying to settle it for you now so don't go beyond that," Accardo advised.

Upping the preservation ante

On the topic of the city's, not the cabbies', finances, Accardo came up with another idea. Taking a cue from SOS (Save Our Sites), the grass-roots historic preservation group battling to save the old Niagara Falls High School from the wrecker's ball, Accardo said he's forming a new committee, SOC (Save Our City).

Fightin' words

To kick the campaign season off early, Mayor Irene J. Elia is co-hosting a wine and cheese reception for the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara. The other host is Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, D-Niagara Falls. The event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on March 7 in Hanover House Bed and Breakfast, 601 Buffalo Ave.

Elia, who makes no bones about the fact that she wouldn't mind a bit to see most, if not all, of the five Council members whose terms expire this year booted out by the voters, said this week she hopes people will take stock of where we've been and who got us there before going to the polls. With the Council size being reduced, two of the five incumbents will be out whether they run or not. And Elia predicts there will be some fresh, new faces announcing soon to challenge the others.

Hang on to your hats. It's only February.

Those pink restroom blues

"The men's bathroom is all pink. I protest this Ally McBeal-style, unisex stuff," blurted out Niagara Falls School Board member Mark Zito at a recent meeting, causing board members to look around at each other in confusion.

Continued Zito, "I'm going to get all blurry, pass out and get arrested for being naked on the floor."

"What are you talking about?" board Vice President Russell Murgia finally countered.

Staff explained that the former men's room had become a men's and women's room, with a notation on the door because most of the staff working on that floor were women. However, they added, there is an occupied sign for the door.

But women staff respected Zito's protests and went upstairs during the break in the meeting.

Our suggestion? Lay off the soda pop. Zito was finishing up a second can when he voiced his complaints at the meeting.

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