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Canal stories

There's just something about the Erie Canal that speaks to Stu Shapiro.

For the third time, the local songwriter and musician has won a national songwriting competition seeking new songs about the Erie Canal that is sponsored by the Niagara County Historical Society.

His winning song this year was "Diggers and Haulers," which celebrates the fact that the canal was dug almost entirely by hand, and the young boys who acted as whiskey runners for the canal diggers. "Diggers and Haulers" will be performed during the "Key to the Locks" ceremony and concert at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Erie Canal Discovery Center (24 Church St., Lockport). Admission is free; light refreshments will be served. For info, visit

-- Toni Ruberto