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As Niagara Falls

The Barry Lillis show

The Rev. Barry Lillis, former Channel 2 weatherman and a member of the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, was born in Niagara Falls -- in a house at Seventh and Niagara streets to be exact.

"They put up a monument for me," Lillis said Friday at an honorary lunch in Niagara Falls for Iney Wallens, whose legendary WJJL-AM radio show ended in August after decades on the air.

"I told Barry Snyder a simple plaque would've done," Lillis added, referring to the president of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

The "monument," of course, is the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, which towers over downtown Niagara Falls.

Lillis was in good form, cracking up the audience when he recalled his weatherman days. "The forecast I gave before the Blizzard of '77," he said, "was partly cloudy."


The vanishing house

When Hilda and Jackie Rogers bought a lot on South Avenue at a City of Niagara Falls tax auction in June 2007, they were told the land had a two-story tan house with vinyl siding and brown trim.

There was even a photograph showing a boarded up house with overgrown bushes in front of it -- a challenging fixer-upper, to be sure, but the buyers were game.

The photo, it turned out, was an old one, the couple later discovered. In reality, there was no house.

According to city records, the house at 1801 South Ave. was never removed from the auction, despite being slated for demolition. The building was razed shortly after the Rogerses purchased the property.

The city agreed last week to give $1,780.17 back to the Rogerses for the purchase price and property tax payments and take back the land.


A Hallmark moment

It appears an attempt at a Valentine's week reconciliation with his ex-girlfriend didn't work out too well for a Town of Tonawanda man.

Lockport police said Seth D. Gugliuzza, 25, of Avon Road, allegedly forced his way into a woman's home on Elmwood Avenue early Wednesday morning and tried to give her a plant and a card. The woman told Gugliuzza to get lost and called Gugliuzza's father, a move which led him to exit stage right.

City police pulled Gugliuzza's car over on Beattie Avenue a short time later and charged him with second-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a year in jail.

The police report failed to mention what became of the plant and the card.


Cross-country sprint

One of the witnesses in the murder trial of Paul A. Osborne Jr. and Brandon Dennis in Niagara County Court last week was Jennifer Scheid of Overland Park, Kan.

Scheid is the custodian of records for Sprint Nextel, one of the big wireless phone companies. Basically, that means she flies around the country and testifies at trials so attorneys can introduce cell phone records into evidence.

In Lockport, as is typical, Scheid testified for only a short time, answering questions on whether the computer printout she prepared contained a certain phone number, which in this case was that of one of the suspects' girlfriends, and how often her phone was used and who was called "on the night in question."

We can't decide if Scheid has the best job in the country or the worst.


Thrifty move

A proposal to allow Lockport's Trinity Lutheran Church to erect a sign at South Transit and LaGrange streets, pointing toward its thrift shop on Saxton Street, has been withdrawn from Common Council consideration after Mayor Michael W. Tucker said it would set a precedent for unnecessary clutter.

"I don't know why we're doing this," he said. "People from out of town aren't coming to Trinity Lutheran Church. Everybody in Lockport knows where Trinity Lutheran Church is."

"I can see St. John's [Catholic Church] wanting to put up a sign on East Avenue that says 'Sister Helen's Food Pantry,' " Council President John Lombardi said. "We also have a sign ordinance, and this probably don't meet anything in it."

With contributions from Denise Jewell Gee, Bill Michelmore and Thomas J. Prohaska of the News Niagara Bureau.

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