Niagara Gazette

October 24, 2013

GLYNN: The challenge to improving Three Sisters Islands

By DON GLYNN
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — That $2 million landscape improvement project at Three Sisters Islands had hardly been finished earlier this year when the critics started chirping with that familiar cry, “They should have left it the way it was.” 

Fortunately, that course was never pursued. And, in fact, some of those same critics later changed their minds when they visited the site for a closer look. For the record, a lot of foot traffic — what you’d expect with eight million visitors a year — had taken its toll through the decades. The soil had compacted. Erosion spread everywhere, especially in areas where visitors had ventured too close to the upper rapids, a risky maneuver within several hundred feet of the falls.

The projects at Three Sisters, Luna Island and Prospect Park are all part of the state’s $25 million commitment to revitalize the Niagara Falls State Park. The funds were made available through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Works program.

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Mike Duffy, a former broadcast reporter with the CBC and now a member of the Senate in Canada, contends he’s a victim of extortion by the Prime Minister’s Office. Duffy said Tuesday that he was being forced to repay $90,000 over alleged irregularities in his expense accounts or be fired.

The issues that involve two other Senate colleagues of Duffy has all the makings of a mini-Watergate in Ottawa. Sen. Duffy said that when the story first broke he had been assured by Prime Minister Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, that he had broke no residency rules. Later, however, the prime minister reportedly said it didn’t matter what Duffy did, it was the perception and that he needed to pay back the money.

Over the years Duffy has received numerous honors for his investigating reporting and commentary for the CBC Television Network. In 1997, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters at Niagara University’s Graduate Commencement.

In responding to the charges, Duffy blasted Harper and his top aides — one reporter described the counterattack as lobbing grenades — for trying to throw him under the bus.

It was a dramatic moment when Duffy started to answer the charges. “Today,” he said, “I rise to defend my good name ...” A reporter noted that a recent poll had found that the senator was considered the least respected man in the nation.

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FAMILY FUN: Treat the kids to that “Halloween Spooktacular” Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Power Vista, the visitors center at the Niagara Power Project, off Lewiston Road. The popular annual event is free.

Children up to 16 years of age may enter a costume contest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Prizes awarded at 2:30 p.m.) In addition, There’s also games provided by the New York Police Athletic League, crafts from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and visits to the haunted house by the Lockport YMCA’s Teen Leaders Group. Members from the New York Masonic Safety Identification Program will provide parents, guardians, college students and seniors with free safety ID packets.

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TRIVIA QUIZ: Where is the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame located? (Answer Sunday)

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A REMINDER: The memorial committee for Veterans Park in Youngstown is looking for names of all past and present veterans in the village and Town of Porter so that the monument in the park can be updated. Applications are being accepted until Nov. 11 and forms are available at the Village Center (Red Brick School) in Youngstown, the Town of Porter Historical Museum, and the Town of Porter Office, 3265 Creek Road. Additional information available at 745-7721.

Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2245.