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As Niagara Falls / Tales of the strange but true

Merry-go-round

A traffic circle constructed during a multimillion-dollar road project on Rainbow Boulevard has people, well, going around in circles.

Dozens of redundant signs were removed during the state Department of Transportation project to turn Rainbow Boulevard South into a two-way street, only to reappear all around the new traffic island at Rainbow Boulevard and First Street.

The new roundabout, designed to slow down traffic, is surrounded by a clutter of one-way and two-way directional arrows, all battling for attention with more helpful signs directing traffic to Goat Island and other locations.

A visiting family in a car with Ohio plates was observed last week driving around the traffic circle several times, apparently trying to figure out which way to go. In the end, they gave up and drove back the way they came.

Mayor Vince Anello said he's working with the DOT to get the number of signs reduced, or at least to prevent them from multiplying further.

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Don't quit your day job

Town of Niagara Supervisor Steve Richards had a touch of laryngitis at last week's Town Board meeting and asked Marc Carpenter, the deputy supervisor, to read a long list of resolutions.

As he struggled through the list, Carpenter decided to have a bit of fun with Item 10 on the agenda, which authorized the Police Department to send an officer to New Orleans for special training, with all expenses paid by the Department of Homeland Security.

Carpenter amended it a tad and read, "All expenses paid for by Steve Richards." The people in Town Hall laughed, Richards gave him a playful jab, and Carpenter continued on down the list, mispronouncing names and stumbling over details.

At Item 13, he reassured board members, "I'm almost finished, bear with me, folks."

After reading the final item, he handed the agenda back to Richards and said, "This is the last time you'll ask me to do this."

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Good heavens

The Rev. James Hulihan, pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church of Kenmore, was so taken with the North Tonawanda History Museum during a recent visit that he told the museum director he would include it in his Sunday sermon.

"I was very impressed," said Hulihan, who lives in North Tonawanda, and described the director, Donna Zellner Neal, as a "dynamo."

Hulihan said he was going to make a connection between what Neal is doing with the museum and President Bush's description of Virginia Tech after the shootings as a "strong, viable community."

"I feel that's what the museum director and her colleagues are doing for North Tonawanda," Hulihan said. "Building a strong, viable community."

As it turned out, the pastor ran out of time during his Sunday sermon, and the museum didn't make the cut.

"I plan to retain that material," the pastor added, "and use it at another time."

Neal says amen to that.

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Beauty contest

A few months ago, Dr. Steven Lewis, a Lockport veterinarian and a longtime member of the Niagara County Board of Health, resigned from the board and moved out of the area.

His seat remains vacant, and John Gotowko, the current board president, is lobbying to fill it with Lewis' brother, Donald.

Gotowko described his choice as "the prettier, taller, hair-on-his-head brother of our former Steven Lewis."

Flattery may get him everywhere.

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Who loves ya, baby?

It has been a while since his colleagues ripped Lockport Common Council President John Lombardi III for his lack of height, so the topic was almost fresh when Alderman Patrick W. Schrader took the floor at a Council work session.

Schrader, just back from a trip to Aruba with WLVL-AM Radio morning host Paul Oates, said they had picked out a gift for Lombardi.

Schrader then handed Lombardi a pink T-shirt barely large enough to fit a baby.

"It's just my size and my color," Lombardi said. "It matches my eyes."

With contributions from Gail Franklin, Bill Michelmore and Thomas J. Prohaska .

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