By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette — There were oversights in my life — both personally and professionally — in 2012.
None bigger, I’d say, than my failure to formally recognize the arrival of a little girl named Isabelle Forgione.
That’s right, the man affectionately known to the world as my “heterosexual life partner” Rick Forgione and his wife, Nicole, had their first baby back in November.
That’s right. November.
Yes, I’m a slacker for not telling the world sooner and, sure, most people - especially Facebook users - heard the news weeks ago.
But, since Rick is and will always be an honorary member of the Gazette family and is one of the best all around guys I know, I think it’s appropriate for his new family to get a little extra front-page love.
I’m sure others who know Rick and Nicole wouldn’t mind and would no doubt join me in saying the privilege of parenthood could not have been bestowed upon two more deserving people.
So, Since it’s still 2012, I’ll get it in just under the wire: Congratulations to the Forgiones and best wishes in the coming year and beyond.
Now, for a few other items that need to be addressed before 2013 arrives:
• Goodbye John Chella. The city’s outgoing superintendent of police was one of the better public officials I’ve dealt with during my tenure at the Gazette. It’s a testament to the quality of his work that he managed to survive the transition from former Mayor Vince Anello to current Mayor Paul Dyster. He regularly made himself available to the staff here at the Gazette and I can personally attest to several occasions in which he went out of his way to investigate a matter of public interest or simply respond to calls from concerned citizens.
• Good luck Bryan DalPorto. The man who has been tapped to fill Chella’s shoes has a big job ahead of him. I don’t know him all that well, but if he comes recommended by Chella, he should do a fine job. Here’s hoping he gets off to a strong start in 2013.
• So long to the unsung. Chella’s the big name leaving city government this year, but there are several others. City Council secretary Geri Mondi departs as does longtime purchasing division manager Dean Spring and police Capt. Morris Shamrock. Mondi was one of my go-to people when I needed information, contacts or telephone numbers quickly. I didn’t know Spring all that well, but he seemed like a good guy, a solid worker and never hesitated to answer questions whenever I had any. And Shamrock, well, I didn’t know him well either but there’s no question he was a good source of information for the Gazette and, more importantly, a top investigator who handled many successful cases for the department. May each of them find happiness and fulfillment in retirement.
• When next we meet. Year-end stuff can become tedious real quick. Years pass. What are you going to do? In the new year, here’s hoping Niagara Falls shifts away from the poor-decision making and reputation that has plagued it in its past and finally begins to create the sort of atmosphere that is conducive to what it desperately needs most - fresh faces, less ego-driven leadership and genuine growth.
Contact City Editor Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250.