By DON GLYNN
Niagara Gazette — Mike Fox had been hoping to have a unique float in the Labor Day Parade in Youngstown but he couldn’t pull it all together in time.
Fox, who owns Fox BoyZ Marine off Water Street in the village, was planning to provide the parade spectators along Main Street with the first glimpse of a new jetboat — one of two — that could begin operating rides on the lower Niagara River this fall. A crew is putting finishing touches on the vessels at a shipyard near Boise, Idaho. Fox’s partner in the new attraction — Niagara Jet Adventures — is Chris Bohnenkamp, who owns Whitewater Customs of Meridan, Idaho.
Fox and Bohnenkamp, with their driver Beau Value, also of Meridan, made headlines in early May when they tested two jetboats transported from Idaho. They took the sturdy boats from the marina in Youngstown upriver past the Whirlpool and through the rapids to an area even beyond the Rainbow Bridge, near the base of the falls. As expected, law enforcement agencies like the Border Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, and park police on both sides of the river were initially alarmed about the boats operating in the treacherous waters. The authorities reminded Fox and his companions of the reporting requirements for such a venture.
At present, the fledgling jetboat company is in the process of securing permits and approvals, Plans have yet to be completed but the owners hope the new boats will be christened in late October.
The new jetboats will be the second such attraction in the lower Niagara River. The Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours, based at Niagara-on-the-Lake, were launched in 1992 and they continue to operate from the Ontario side to the Lewiston Landing, a satellite office for the company, and to the edge of the Whirlpool.
Fox’s tours will basically follow the same route, to the Whirlpool and back, although they will not at any time touch the Ontario shoreline.
‘THIS JUST IN’: State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, was calling the WJJL talk show “Viewpoint” Friday when host Tom Darro asked the lawmaker about is new website that will allow Niagara Falls residents to track online how the city is spending its share of the casino revenues.
“It should be up and running almost any day soon,” the senator said, hesitating for a second as though someone else (in his office) was trying to get his attention. “I’ve just been told, it’s up right now,” Maziarz said.
BIG BOOSTER: Proceeds from the annual Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival during the past 10 years have provided upward of $500,000 in contributions to more than 50 organizations in Niagara County, according to festival Chairman Randy Gorzka. Since 1958, the Kiwanis Club has donated more than $1 million to area groups and organizations. The three-day festival begins in Academy Park, Lewiston, Sept. 6.
FAMILY FUN: The popular Labor Day Field Days sponsored by the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co. opened Saturday and continues through Monday at Veterans Park, 625 Third St.
Activities start today at 1 p.m. and end at midnight. Rides, games, food and vendors will be available until 10 p.m. The band 90 West will perform, beginning at 8 p.m.
As usual, hundreds of people are expected to line Main Street on Monday for the annual Firemen’s Parade that forms in Fort Niagara State Park and proceeds along Main Street to Elliott Street and the firehall, opposite the park.
For various reasons, the number of firemen’s field days in Niagara County and elsewhere has dwindled during the past couple of decades. The Youngstown firemen have worked hard to keep the tradition alive. It’s one of their major fund-raising projects and they’re counting on strong community support.
Enjoy Labor Day weekend !
Contact Reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.Contact Reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.