$42 million project will return Hotel Niagara to ‘upper-upscale’ 1920s glory

[From BuffaloNews.com]

Thomas Ashford remembers the grandeur that once defined the Hotel Niagara.

“It was a gorgeous hotel, the atmosphere of the place,” said Ashford, 86, who has lived in Niagara Falls since 1950 and recalls attending galas there with fellow Masonic lodge members…

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: http://buffalonews.com/2017/07/18/renovated-hotel-niagara-described-as-upper-upscale/

The Soapbox with guests Brylinn, Leandra, Linda & Ezra Scott, Katie Cassens, & Kaya Coleman from the Special Education Family Workshop

Today we had a full table at the NiagaraHub for today’s Soapbox interview with Brylinn, Leandra, Linda & Ezra Scott, Katie Cassens, & Kaya Coleman – giving us information for the upcoming Special Education Family Workshop. Watch the video here:




NFR calls for 20-story hotel at Turtle site

[From Niagara-Gazette.com]

It appears as though the owners of the Turtle building are interested in razing the structure to make way for the development of a new hotel in downtown Niagara Falls.

NFR Turtle LLC, an affiliate of Niagara Falls Redevelopment, has submitted a request for a variance through the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals that would allow the company to exceed height limits in the downtown area as part of the proposed construction of a 200-foot hotel and tourist hospitality center at 25 Rainbow Mall, the address of the turtle-shaped building that years ago housed the Native American Center for the Living Arts…

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: http://www.niagara-gazette.com/news/local_news/nfr-calls-for–story-hotel-at-turtle-site/article_88225d22-0092-55c5-9f72-9eb68b19169c.html

Pedestrian struck and killed on River Road in North Tonawanda

[From BuffaloNews.com]

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle late Monday night on River Road in North Tonawanda, city police said.

The victim was a 47-year-old man, police said…

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: http://buffalonews.com/2017/07/04/pedestrian-struck-killed-river-road-north-tonawanda/

Area July 4th fireworks displays

[From Niagara-Gazette.com]

Here’s a list of Independence Day displays:

• Village of Lewiston —Lewiston Escarpment with viewing at Academy Park, 890 Center St. A band will play prior to the fireworks.

 • Pendleton — Pendleton Town Park

• Niagara Falls — Hyde Park

• North Tonawanda/City of Tonawanda — Views from Niawanda and Gratwick Waterfront parks.

• Wheatfield — Oppenheim Park, 2713 Niagara Falls Blvd.

• Grand Island — Fantasy Island, 2400 Grand Island Blvd. with live music and flag raising

• Niagara Falls State Park — Fireworks over the falls 10 p.m.


• Lockport — Downtown as part of Erie Canal Bicentennial Celebration.


Come one, come all! Touma opens for Seneca Niagara Comedy Night July 6

Niagara Falls’ own Luke Touma, currently a comedy club host in Boston, MA will be the opening act for the Seneca Niagara Casino’s Barrel of Laughs comedy show this coming Thursday. Touma, a Niagara Falls resident turned funny guy in Boston is the son of City Court Judge Diane Vitello and area attorney, Craig Touma.  His travels in stand up comedy have taken him from Hawaii to Colorado, Texas to Michigan, and wherever he goes, he brings his Niagara Falls related stories and observations with him.
Luke Touma

The Barrel of Laughs show is hosted by 97 Rock’s, Rob Lederman and on Thursday will feature nationally recognized comics, OWEN BENJAMIN AND MIKE LAWRENCE.  The venue of the Bear’s Den Showroom is perfect for stand up comedy as the audience can’t hide from the potential to be “included” in the act. But on rare occasions, and bad weather, a small crowd even in the Bear’s Den makes it difficult for any performer to get comfortable. (See link to a previous review http://niagarahub.com/2017/04/07/bears-den-bigger-than-you-think-by-craig-avery/)

In January, Allyson Demunda, another Niagara Falls comedienne, entertained as well, opening for this show with a really fun crowd of family and friends.  So pick up a couple of tickets to Thursday’s show, enjoy a fun night of professional comedy, and support this up and coming national laugh maker. You’re sure to see people you know, and get a good sense of how laughter really is the best medicine.  See you at the Bear’s Den.

Use this link to buy tickets or visit the ticket office at the casino.http://www.ticketmaster.com/venue/78?brand=senecabearsden

French Toast at the Bear’s Den [by Craig Avery]

What a delight!  Jean-Luc Ponty cranked it for a packed crowd last night leaving most wondering, “How does he do that?”

The master violinist took the stage and immediately displayed the bond between himself and the instrument most of us cringed at when our little cousin would attempt to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” at Thanksgiving dinner.  His command of the violin provided the foundation for a night of exquisite musical performances by Jean-Luc and a backup-band extraordinaire.  The bass player looked like Steve Martin playing the banjo, a drum solo made Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” sound like a wind up toy soldier drummer boy, and I’m pretty sure Billy Joel is still trying to get an autograph from Jean-Luc’s keyboard player.  

As always, the venue of the Bear’s Den will bring out the best in any performance, and takes a two hour segment of an evening and makes the whole night alright.  Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the top notch entertainment of people-watching in the Casino after the show.  Between the nightclub atmosphere of Stir, the ringing of the bells and whistles on the gaming floor, and just watching the arrivals and departures in the Hotel Lobby bar, you are entertained non-stop.

Been to Seneca Niagara Casino lately? If not, you’re missing out on some pretty intense enjoyment of perhaps an otherwise boring evening.



‘Urban explorer’ arrested inside Falls church

[From Niagara-Gazette.com]

A Falls man was arrested Thursday night after he was found inside a North End church by police investigating a burglary call.

Officers were called to the church on the 1100 block of South Avenue about 10:30 p.m. Thursday for a report of a burglary in progress…

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: http://www.niagara-gazette.com/news/crime/urban-explorer-arrested-inside-falls-church/article_e73ac3ce-5503-11e7-be2a-c3945fdebfd1.html

He told you he’d be back… with a new tasty beverage

Founded by Master Sommelier Richard Betts, Astral Tequila is a unique spirit reminiscent of the way tequila was made 150 years ago before it was industrialized. Produced as a celebration of beautiful culture and spirit, Astral was awarded The New York Times’ highest rating, a Double Gold medal from San Francisco World Spirits Competition and named one of the “Top 10 Blanco Tequilas” by Food & Wine magazine.

See FORBES article here: http://fortune.com/2017/06/14/most-interesting-man-world-tequila/

“Music Mania Mondays” Complete Concert Schedule Released

Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee Wallace has released the full schedule for the 2017 “Music Mania Mondays” free concert events. “We wanted to release the schedule of local groups that will be playing each Monday night prior to the regional and national acts,” said Supervisor Lee Wallace. “We have assembled a great lineup of local bands to take the stage at 6PM, groups that have been mainstays at the Town of Niagara’s summer concerts over the years,” added Wallace.

The Music Mania Mondays concerts all feature food trucks and beer & wine and soft drinks for sale. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, but no alcoholic beverages. Absolutely no pets allowed except certified service dogs and no smoking permitted in Veteran’s Memorial Community Park. A weekly 50/50 drawing will take place with proceeds going to a different local charity. All concerts begin a6 6 PM.

The full schedule is as follows:
6/12 Eli
Chicago Authority

6/19 Storm Watch
Absolute Journey
6/26 Minstrels in the Gallery
The Wholigans

7/2 Brothers of Invention
Strictly Hip
JJ Swing
The Thurman Brothers
Cock Robin

7/10 The A-List
Hotel California

7/17 The Kokomo Band
Dancing Dream

7/24 White Chocolate
Keep the Faith

7/31 Dave Stayner
Head Games

8/7 Steel Horse

8/14 Mombrey Brothers
That 60’s Show

8/21 NY Rockin Revue
Nerds Gone Wild

8/26 The Struggle
90 West
Dark Horse
Smokin Gun
JB Aaron

Premier level sponsors of the 2017 Music Mania Monday summer concert series are Republic Services and Covanta. Platinum level sponsors are Tam Ceramics, Joe Cecconi’s, Mark Cerrone Inc., Custom Bench, Clark Patterson Lee, Macerich Niagara, Viola, Cummings & Lindsay, Anthony Restino Attorney, GHD Engineering, Dee Jay the DJ, Niagara Frontier Publications, Niagara Hub, Skylighter Fireworks, Ransomville Speedway, and 97 Rock.