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Off Main Street: Kitty Bird finds a new perch

A new resident mimic

There has been a lot of buzz this week about a new male African lion cub at the Buffalo Zoo, but the Aquarium of Niagara is showcasing its own attraction with a feline name. But it is a bird of a different feather.

Kitty Bird is a Sulphur-crested cockatoo and so-named because it likes to meow like a cat. The finely feathered, mewling mimic arrived this week in Niagara Falls, courtesy of a private donor. Turns out that, despite their easy availability at most pet stores, cockatoos – like lions – do not make ideal house pets, according to aquarium officials.

“Cockatoos often outlive their owners and require a lot of care,” said Brock Malenke, an assistant trainer in marine mammals.

“Birds like these thrive in an aquarium like ours. He gets a lot of attention from the staff,” Malenke added.

Reportedly, Kitty Bird is unruffled by his new home. He is acclimating well to his new surroundings and bonding with his trainers.

A judge with opinions

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. had issues this week with defendant Maulana J. Lucas of 18th Street, Niagara Falls.

Lucas, 23, had been on interim probation after pleading guilty last year to two drug felonies that included selling and possessing crack cocaine. Kloch received a negative report from Lucas’ probation officer, who said he inspected Lucas’ cellphone but found it had been “wiped clean of all messages.”

Kloch told Lucas, “You could be an adviser to Hillary Clinton. She’s looking for you, man.”

Lucas also failed several recent drug tests. “If I were Vince Lombardi, I would say, ‘That’s not good enough,’ ” Kloch said. But apparently Lucas was baffled.

“You don’t know who Vince Lombardi was, do you?” Kloch asked, as Lucas shook his head no.

“That’s that age thing. OK, Bill Belichick. Do you know who Bill Belichick is?” Kloch asked.

“No, Your Honor,” Lucas replied.

“I knew I liked you,” Kloch said. Sentencing was adjourned to give Lucas a chance to get into a drug rehabilitation facility.

A landmark proclamation

An East Aurora teen and her mother make a brief, picturesque appearance in front of the American Falls in a video that was broadcast on Ireland’s official national television channel.

It’s part of the nation’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, an armed rebellion that started Ireland’s process of freedom from Britain. The video features people from all over Ireland and the world – some standing before landmarks in London, Paris, Boston and Sydney – as they read lines from the proclamation, a statement of freedom that was read 100 years ago.

Bridget Carroll Hager, 18, a senior at Nichols School, got the support of her parents, John Hager and Ellen Carroll, whose grandmother, Bridget Gaffney Carroll, immigrated from County Roscommon more than 100 years ago. They discussed where to film it and decided on the falls, where the taping was done on a frigid January day. For good measure, Bridget Hager wore an Aran knit hat and a brooch that belonged to Bridget Gaffney Carroll, her great-grandmother.

In the video, Bridget says the line “has not extinguished the right,” part of the sentence referring to the right of the Irish people to claim ownership of Ireland: “The long usurpation of that right by a foreign government and people has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people.”

Bridget’s family was “absolutely thrilled and so proud” to find that Hager’s line had been used in the official video that was broadcast by RTE (Radio Telefis Eireann) as part of the Easter centenary celebration, Carroll said.

The video that includes Carroll and Hager can be found by Googling “Irish disapora read the Proclamation.”

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by Thomas J. Prohaska and Anne Neville.