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As Niagara Falls / Tales of the strange but true

>Lockport's big cheese

There are large pizzas, extra large pizzas, supersized pizzas -- and then there's "The Mayor."

Sub Delicious, a Lockport restaurant, is advertising a 30-inch-diameter pizza named in honor of Mayor Michael W. Tucker, who has lost more than 130 pounds since having his stomach stapled last year.

That means the mayor can no longer eat "The Mayor," but as he said, "There was a time when I could have."
The ads for the $34.95 three-layer pizza feature a photo of Tucker's face superimposed on a pizza. An enlargement of the ad adorns the desk of the mayor's secretary. Sub Delicious is donating $2 from each sale to a charity chosen by Tucker; he said it would be related to breast cancer, since his wife has had the disease.
"The Mayor" comes with "50 party-size slices," the ad says. "That means at least 50 constituents will be happy," sniped Common Council President John Lombardi III, who's never had so much as a pizza log named for him.

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>Different rules

County Manager Gregory D. Lewis has posted a dozen rules for decorum in every county meeting room. Lewis said the rules don't really apply to Legislature meetings, which is fine, because if obeyed, they would render Niagara County politics totally unrecognizable.
Check these out: "Arrive on time; come prepared." "Listen without interrupting." "Leave titles and personal agendas at the door." And more: "Address all issues in the meeting -- avoid hallway or side discussions." "Upon reaching consensus, be sure everyone supports the final decision before leaving the table."
That's not the Niagara County Legislature we know.
Said Legislator Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls, "The only rule I know of in the Legislature is, 10 votes." That's the number needed to pass something.

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>A higher power

Wheatfield Assessor Gerry Maerten hoped God would be on his side when he made a recent request to the Town Board.

Maerten, whose department is in the basement level of Town Hall, asked board members Monday night to amend a recent resolution regarding a property tax payment. In its original form, the resolution would have required a homeowner to pay Niagara County $780 and then receive the same amount back as a refund from the town. The assessor said that process was unnecessary and would be a financial burden to the homeowner.

The error, which Maerten owned up to, occurred while data was being manually entered into a computer program. Frequently, the data-entry work had to be put on hold while the staff attended to regular duties, like answering the phone.

Supervisor Timothy E. Demler, whose office is on the upper floor of Town Hall, summed up the error: "a $780 phone call."

"It must have been from upstairs," Maerten said.

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>Higher salaries show

The County Legislature is to vote Tuesday on 2 percent pay raises for 163 non-union employees, including some, but not all, department heads.
At an Administration Committee meeting, legislators were paging through the lengthy list to see who was in it, but the department heads seemed to already know.
"Look at the ones that are smiling," advised Majority Leader Malcolm A. Needler, R-North Tonawanda. "They're in it."

With contributions from Thomas J. Prohaska of the News Niagara Bureau and Niagara Correspondent Thad Komorowski.

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