Niagara Gazette

June 29, 2014

GLYNN: Heavy traffic at the border; Wallenda ceremony coming July 7

By DON GLYNN don.glynn@niagara-gazette.com
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Customs and border protection agencies on both sides of the Niagara River are braced for heavy traffic over the two holidays this week — Canada Day (Tuesday) and Independence Day (Friday).

The Canada Day holiday is officially Tuesday, but more than half of the nation is expected to celebrate on Monday to enjoy the long weekend. 

NEXUS card holders, those people pre-cleared under the trusted travel program, should obviously have an advantage as they cross the border, The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge in north Niagara Falls is a dedicated NEXUS span, accessible only to those card holders.

L.J. (Lew) Holloway, general manager of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, notes that the Rainbow Bridge has no dedicated NEXUS lane for motorists entering Ontario. The U.S. Customs, however, accepts the NEXUS at all of its lanes.

At the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, in addition to the regular NEXUS lane, motorists can use that same card in the truck lane, if it’s not busy at the time. 

Agency officials have noted that the NEXUS system is so popular that the enrollment is now close to one million people along the northern U.S.-Canada border, Closer to home, the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge has experienced an average 20 percent increase each year since 2009. In 2013, the increase was 28 percent.

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RETURN VISIT: High-wire artist Nik Wallenda, who captured global attention June 15, 2012, when he walked across the Horseshoe Falls is planning to travel back here next month for a special dedication.

Wallenda’s family is expected to accompany him for a noon ceremony July 7 near the Terrapin Point site where he started his historic walk two years ago. A plaque is being installed to commemorate that event watched by countless thousands along the border as well as millions around the world via satellite television.

Wallenda is under contract this summer with Darien Lake amusement park where he will perform daily until Sept. 1. After his memorable 2012 feat, he walked across a section of the Grand Canyon.

Several times he has mentioned that he relishes the idea of someday having an attraction or exhibit area (e.g. museum) in downtown Niagara Falls. If that comes to fruition, there’s no doubt that the investment would prove a boost to Cataract City tourist industry.

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HIGH IN THE SKY: One of the best vantage points for the Independence Day fireworks in Lewiston is behind the Mini Plaza on South Eighth Street and Seneca Park, near the village library. Other people tend to favor Academy Park or even along Center Street. As most people are aware by now, parking along the hill on the Robert Moses Parkway is prohibited.

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SHOCKING STATISTIC: A Gov. Cuomo-appointed task force to develop a strategy for increasing participation in food assistance programs in the Empire State found that nearly 13 percent of New York households do not always know where they will get their next meal. It is said that about half of New Yorkers age 60 and up may be eligible for food benefits but have not applied.

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CITED FOR SERVICE: Five Niagara Falls, N.Y., airmen will be honored for making the supreme sacrifice while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. their names will be inscribed on a 300-foot granite wall with more than 18,000 other RCAF personnel who perished in the fight for freedom. The wall has been designated as “They Grew Not Old.” The ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of Canada’s entry into the war is set for Sept. 10 at the Commonwealth Air training Plan Museum at McGill Field in Brandon, Manitoba.

The local airmen to be posthumously honored: James L. Dunlop, George A. Firman, Bruce E. Greenhalgh, Orval B. Hughes and Norman L. Lauzon. Overall, 847 American airmen joined forces with the RCAF in that dark era.

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MIXED MESSAGE: The sign on the door read: “Toilet Out Of Order, Please Use Floor Below.” Surely, there’s a better way of putting it.

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TRIVIA QUIZ: (Answer to Thursday question): The National Soccer Hall of Fame was established in 1979 at Oneonta, N.Y.

Contact Reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.

Contact Reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.