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As Niagara Falls / Tales of the strange but true

Political preparation

Sometimes, you just have to do what must be done -- even if you are running for supervisor.

Lewiston Highway Superintendent Steven L. Reiter is a case in point.

During the Kiwanis Lewiston Peach Festival parade earlier this month, the GOP candidate for the town's top elected post could have traveled with his political colleagues from both the village and town, including his opponent, sharply dressed Democrat Fred M. Newlin II, who marched down Center Street in unison.

Reiter, dressed in jeans, walked alone. He carried a shovel and pushed a wheelbarrow as he followed directly behind the horses in the Niagara County Sheriff's Mounted Division.

He shrugged his shoulders at the crowd as he took care of some of the few unpleasantries that go into making a top-notch parade.

Sheriff James R. Voutour explained that Reiter has been handling this Peach Festival parade duty for years, but did express surprise he would do it when he was running for supervisor.

The more politically jaded among us might argue Reiter was getting good practice for some of the unpleasantries of election season -- and, just maybe, public office.

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Cyberspace beats jail

Life in lockup just isn't what it used to be.

Case in point: Six activists from Rainforest Action Network arrested last week for unfurling a 70-foot banner off the observation tower in Niagara Falls State Park provided regular updates on Twitter describing their jailhouse experience via a cell phone.

"6 Arrestees, all ok. Climb back up was tiring but all climbers happy." An hour later . . .

"Waiting for bail else we spend night in slammer."

And then, after being released, this gleeful note . . .

"Park police were following our tweets from the other room!"

Who needs that one phone call when you've got instant access to the Internet?

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Money on the mind

The Niagara County Community College board of trustees held its monthly meeting in a newly remodeled boardroom and administrative offices last week.

The new digs grabbed the attention of Sanborn resident RoseMary Warren, who regularly attends meetings of the college and the Niagara County Legislature.

Warren informed the board she would be filing a request under the state's Freedom of Information Law for documents showing the costs of the renovations.

She also asked school officials about the whereabouts of a clock that had been located in the reception area of the administrative offices.

"We sold it to pay for the boardroom," Trustee Marvin E. Maziarz responded.

The clock was spotted in a nearby storage room after the meeting.

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Grace period

The proposal to turn the Niagara County Community College campus into a tobacco-free area came back for another round of discussion among school trustees last week.

School officials have been considering a plan that would prohibit tobacco use, and one of the issues is when the ban would begin.

Trustee Marvin E. Maziarz said pushing back the start date to next September, instead of January, would give students and faculty who smoke time to quit.

"Either that," he said, "or find a good hiding place."

Since a measure to enact the proposal was defeated last week, board members are expected to again vote on the initiative when they meet next month.

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Short memories

Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour tripped over the name of Wheatfield Supervisor Timothy Demler as he introduced him during a ceremony at St. Johnsburg Fire Company on Sunday.

"Supervisor Tem . . . Dem Tim . . . Tim Demler," the words trickled out.

Demler, who lost a brutal primary battle last week and will be out of office in January, had a quick response.

"How soon we forget," Demler quipped.

With contributions from News Niagara Reporters Nancy A. Fischer, Denise Jewell Gee and Aaron Besecker.

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