Niagara Gazette


February 22, 2013

HAMILTON: Oh, yes! I remember Catherine Golanka


Niagara Gazette — Speaking to me only a bit milder, but just as much a matter-of-factly voice as she often chastised the council members, Mrs. Golanka said to me, to wit, “You know; you go up there and talk about Highland all of the time, but there are other issues in the city that you should speak about, too.”

Her words and she made me shudder; but at the same time, she opened my eyes to the fact that, despite the size of our name — Niagara Falls, and despite our ample diversity, we are still a very small city.

I cannot remember a single time that Golanka spoke exclusively on Polish community issues.

We Niagarans connect at virtually every point that connects anyone. The proverbial ‘six-degrees of separation’ is not the case here. Usually, there are only one or two people between each of us.

I can pull out of my driveway and into anyone else’s within 15 minutes, and never have to leave a Niagara Falls city paving crew’s street. We are one city, and we are one people; and from the day of the Golanka, I began to see it the way that she saw it.

I thank people like the now-Reverend Herman Boyer, Fred Brown, Eddie Palmore, Art Ray, Michael Brundidge, Doris Jones and a plethora of others who helped to direct me into service to my neighborhood. However, I also have to thank the Victoria Famas, Josephine Feras and especially the Catherine Golankas that inspired me to look past the Highland Bridge and to connect myself to the good of the entire city.

For those of you who did not know Mrs. Golanka, here is an example of the power of a single citizen.

Former City Council Chairman Anthony Quaranto tells the story of one wintry council meeting in which the only people in the room were the council, the clerk staff and the assigned police officer. No citizens had shown up on that blizzardly evening. Noticing that Mrs. Golanka was not present, as she almost always was, Quaranto instructed the police officer to go to her home, pick her up and to bring her to the meeting; because, as he said, “I am NOT going to have a meeting and have her saying that we did something behind her back.”

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a room full of Golankas at every governmental meeting? Well, It starts with you.

Contact Ken Hamilton at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: A cupcake gets the Niagara Beautification Commission spotlight Not a cupcake per se, but a cute shop in LaSalle operated by a "sweet" lady who is a real dynamo when it comes to running a business.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug [Duplicate] GLYNN: A key factor in luring the convention A natural wonder in the nation's oldest state park isn't the lone factor for selecting Niagara Falls as a convention site.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Regional poetry and sad realities If that isn't (or wasn't) poetry, I don't know what is! I'm referring to the self-satisfied, sluggish trot of ice chunks emanating from Lake Erie in early May 2014 -- sauntering, it felt, along the lovely Niagara.

    July 27, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Quest for an appointment comes up short We're rolling up our sleeves for Quest. The Big Mac of blood tests, the Tops of tourniquets, the Sears of screenings, opens on our Island at Monday's crack of dawn.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Davis, Vincent mug VINCENT DAVIS: Pledge your allegiance to the Slurpee, America's treat By now you must be aware that it is, in fact, summer. And since summer is a season not characterized by any obvious weather events (sometimes it's hot for days in a row, sometimes you get a bunch of rainy days and chilly nights) but instead activities, I'd like to bring attention to an underrated staple of summer sun enjoyment: Consuming the brain freeze-inducing snack classic, the Slurpee.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Popeye's '7-Minute' guide to educating southerners -- and me! Writer Mark Twain said that when he 14, his father was so ignorant that he could hardly stand to have the old man around. But upon turning 21, Twain said that he was astonished by how much his father had learned in just seven years.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Wegmans call warns of bad fruit I was humming to myself the other day, getting ready for work on a lovely summer morning, when I decided to check my messages on the house phone. I hit the play button and heard a message from Wegmans warning me about some fruit that I had bought at their store. As quick as that, a message with the scary potential to change my life or the life of someone I love.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Ortt jumps on drive to repeal the SAFE Act It was a no-brainer for North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, a Republican candidate for the 62nd Senate District seat, to join the forces to repeal the state's SAFE Act.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Verplank: Turn back the clock at the Porter Cup

    July 24, 2014

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Tourists attracted here by history, beauty, politics As my friend and colleague, writer Don Glynn has so artfully portrayed over the decades, "For many years after the dawn of aviation, U.S. presidents visiting Western New York started at the Niagara Falls Airport. The reason: The main runway here was longer than that of the Buffalo airport and could easily accommodate Air Force One, the presidential aircraft."

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page