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AS NIAGARA FALLS / TALES OF THE STRANGE BUT TRUE

Reality bites

Two companies were flagged for overoptimism by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency board recently.

The companies' exemptions from having to pay sales tax on building materials expired before their projects were done. The IDA agreed to extend the breaks for Impressive Imprints of North Tonawanda and Summit Wellness of Wheatfield, the latter being a Calamar project.

IDA Assistant Director Larry D. Witul said companies often put down "an ideal completion date" for their projects. "Reality gets in the way," Witul said.

Niagara Falls School Superintendent Carmen A. Granto, an IDA board member, pointed out that the board extended the sales tax exemption on another Calamar project earlier this year. "This company's been more idealistic than other companies," he commented.

Modern solutions

Lockport's aging infrastructure didn't react well to a solid half-hour of pouring rain Monday.

Mayor Michael W. Tucker saw the effects close up, as water poured onto his secretary Erin Buerger's desk from a leak in the roof directly above it. "Thank God she was here, or it really could have been a disaster. We would have lost the computer and everything," Tucker said. The mayor also reported that some manhole covers blew out on Market Street.

"Again?" said Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, D-4th Ward. "There's a rock on top of a manhole cover in the middle of Minard Street for just that reason."

The longest day

Lewiston Councilman John Ceretto had jury duty prior to Monday's meeting and was happy to share his exploits with the board.

"This is the first time I've had jury duty in 52 years," said Ceretto.

He was excused when it was discovered that the attorney for the defense was the town's own attorney Joseph Leone Jr.

"I don't envy him doing this all day long. It was a long day," said Ceretto.

Breaking the reverie, Supervisor Fred Newlin broke in to get the meeting back on track saying, "Don't make it any longer John."

Humor most fowl

Newlin has brought some occasional comic relief to Lewiston's meetings.

Catching a misspelled word on the agenda related to the Sanborn Fire Company adding new members, he said loudly and seriously, "I'm taking a firm stand against any additional poultry costs in the town." After the laughter died down, Newlin said, "I assume they meant roster, not rooster."

Final answer?

The vote was 9-6 in favor of a one-week sales tax holiday on clothing and footwear when Niagara County Legislature Clerk Michael P. Carney called the name of Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, the last name on the roll call.

Ten votes are needed to pass anything in the Legislature, so Virtuoso was on the spot. He had publicly expressed his support for the proposal, but now he was hesitating. "Can I think about this?" asked Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls.

"You're on the clock," said Chairman William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield. "Five, four . . ."

"Final Jeopardy," said Legislator Peter E. Smolinski, R-North Tonawanda.

Virtuoso voted yes.

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