Niagara Gazette

June 20, 2013

GLYNN: Niagara still divided over its tourist industry

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

Niagara Gazette — It seems like only yesterday that the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation was christened as the ultimate solution to the endless bickering over how the tourist industry should be operated.

The record is replete with the sharp debates between the Niagara County Tourism Department and the Niagara Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau, until both entities were eliminated by the NTCC created in 2002. 

Some readers may recall, a Florida tourism consultant was hired — the tab picked up by the state and Niagara University — and that in-depth study recommended that the CVB and the county tourism office be dissolved for a single entity to coordinate tourism promotion and convention sales. That move to consolidate was spearheaded by state Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, who viewed the transition as taking politics out of the entire process. A search committee then selected David Rosenwasser, who had headed a private company that operated a tourism promotion agency in Green Bay, Wisc. Rosenwasser took a hefty pay cut, from his $190,000 post in the Badger State to about $115,000 in the Cataract City.

John Percy, then serving in the No. 2 slot at NTCC, succeeded Rosenwasser when the latter accepted another tourism job in St. Charles, Mo. Percy’s tenure has been riddled with criticism — some of it unfair — about expense accounts, costs for trips abroad and a general reluctance to provide a more specific accounting for some expenditures. Now, some county lawmakers have sought to renew his contract for only a year. As legislator Paul B. Wojtaszek, R-North Tonawanda, explained, the short term is designed to derive “transparency, oversight and better supervision of expenses.”

What’s worrisome to some observers now is speculation that a Niagara Falls City Council member will attempt to influence the appointment of a close friend to the top NTCC post. Since that person apparently has no valid credentials for the position, it would make a mockery out of  Maziarz’s oft-repeated pledge to keep NTCC free of politics. 

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MEDIA NOTES: Niagara Falls native Jack Marsh, a founding director of the American Indian Journalism Institute, is president of the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota.

 Marsh was among the speakers at a May program in tribute to the late Neuharth, longtime executive editor of the Gannett Newspaper Group and a prime mover in establishing the immensely popular USA Today. Gannett owned the Niagara Gazette for more than 40 years before selling it to Community First Holdings Inc., Birmingham, Ala.

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MAJOR SETBACK: U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, raised a number of valid points during a recent hearing on this nation’s sexual assault problems in the military. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, saw fit to kill Kirsten’s proposed measure that would have provided more a way for victims to report the abuse without having their complaints stonewalled by their military superiors. 

The shameful record shows that an estimated 26,000 men and women in the military were subjected to some form of unwanted sexual contact in 2012. That was up 40 percent from 2010. Our troops deserve better treatment and protection. 

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READY TO OPEN: Jane Dey and her husband Aaron, Lake Road, Youngstown, and Elizabeth Beaty are planning to open the new Dory Trading Post, 435 Main St., in the village. Others involved in the venture are Gary and Marilyn Brennan of Brennan’s Irish Pub.

Earlier, the new proprietors said a “soft opening” would be held today for the Beginning of Summer Street Dance from 6 to 10 p.m., on Main Street. For years, the popular Dory, close to the Village Diner, was operated by Sue McNaughton.

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FAMILY FUN: A reminder that the 13th annual International Festival, sponsored by the Niagara Street Area Business & Professional Association is set for Saturday, from noon to 9 p.m. at Gill Creek Park, Niagara Street & Hyde Park Boulevard. The festival continues at the same time Sunday. For additional information, call 946-1744.

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QUICKIE QUIZ: Answer to Sunday question: Neisner’s Department Store, corner of Falls and Main streets (where the former Warren-Hoffman & Associates opened its first office.)

Contact Reporter Don Glynnat 282-2311, ext. 2246.

 

 

 

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