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As Niagara Falls / Tales of the strange but true

>Canada can have him

In the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper Friday, columnist John Petkovic included a visit to the Falls last year as part of his year in review column. He said he met a guy named Bob in Cocktail Bob's in Niagara Falls, N.Y. -- not the owner, but a burly, drunk patron.

Petkovic wrote that the guy was "hellbent on proving that Canadian women were classier and less materialistic than their American counterparts. So he took me over to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls . . . "

"After getting over, he made a beeline for a strip joint named Mints, to make his case, of course," the paper's nightlife columnist writes. "Before he could, the guy passed out in his chair."

This Bob guy is just the kind of Canadian ambassador we need on the America side of the Falls.

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>Bad rap in Lockport

Lockport hosted its third annual New Year's Eve ball drop Sunday night in the City Hall parking lot, and the event was punctuated by the sounds of the Lock City Rockers.

Common Council President John Lombardi III described the group as "a bunch of Polish guys, a couple of Irishmen and me."

As Niagara Falls wasn't buying a claim by Lombardi before the event, however, that there was a special appearance planned "by the Notorious TUC, up-and-coming rap star."

We doubt the rap claim, but do know Mayor Michael W. Tucker was slated to handle the ball drop.

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>Known far and wide

The Journal News in Rockland County had a recent feature on the area's Sloatsburg Travel Plaza, on the north side of the New York State Thruway, near Exit 15A. The piece touted the free coffee along the state system on New Year's Eve and also gave readers a taste of what workers deal with at the visitors center there.

The center welcomes visitors from all over the world, many of whom "ask for directions to Woodbury Commons, the Orange County shopping outlet center that advertises overseas," the paper reported.

Of course, more than 250 miles away from Western New York, there is also the large contingent that asks about the "usual attractions: Manhattan or Niagara Falls."

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>A junction for history

It won't be hard for Niagara County History Center Drama Committee Co-chairwomen Dianne Koplas and Lois Begley to come up with 19th century-style clothes for re-enactors anymore.

Richard Elmlinger, director of customer relations for Tuxedo Junction, recently announced the donation of eight tuxedos, complete with 19th century-style dinner coats, striped pants, pleated shirts, vests, cravats and shoes.

The new costumes will be used to outfit men who play the roles of famous early figures in Lockport history, ranging from Gov. DeWitt Clinton of Erie Canal fame; Jesse Hawley, who was credited with providing the plan for the original canal; Gov. Washington Hunt, the only Niagara County resident to be elected governor; Benjamin Carpenter, Lockport's first mayor; and inventor Birdsall Holly.

The re-enactors will undoubtedly be relieved at having new clothes for their old characters.

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>An honest politician

Nobody can empty a room like the Lockport mayor.

At the Dec. 20 Common Council meeting, there were about two dozen friends and relatives of Lockport barber Joseph Esposito on hand. They were there to hear Michael W. Tucker read a proclamation at the start of the meeting congratulating Esposito for his 50 years in business in the city.

After the proclamation was presented, Tucker said, "Espositos, if you don't want to stay for the meeting, it's not that interesting."

The Espositos headed for the exits, leaving the Council Chambers empty except for three reporters, a cable TV cameraman and one lone resident, Frank Rose.

At least one reporter who remained agreed with the mayor's assessment.

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

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