Brook D’Angelo to represent USW Local 9434 in Mexico

On February 19th, 2006, 65 miners perished in a mine explosion at the Grupo Mexico mine at Pasta de Conchos in the Mexican state of Coahuila. The situation began with (unfortunately common) horrible labor conditions and unfair compensation for workers. It climaxed with untold government and corporate corruption, leading to the deaths of dedicated laborers. Though they had been fighting for their rights as workers and as humans, they were consistently ignored by their employers, who were in favor of higher corporate profit.

The explosion seemed to be ignored as officials tried to sweep it under the rug. They had not even attempted recovery of the trapped miners. And when Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, the leader of the the national union of mine, metal and steelworkers (Los Mineros), denounced the killings, the government tried to remove him from office.

Enough was enough. In April 2006, the union called strikes across the country. Workers stood together to fight for basic rights. Government and corporations feared cuts to their profits if the workers were successful in standing up for fair wages and improved safety measures. Especially because they had such a capable Union leader and could actually win.

President Vicente Fox ordered an attack by police and military forces on the strikers. That order resulted in the deaths of Hector Ấlvarez Gómez and Mario Alberto Castillo Rodríguez, two union members at the steel mill in the Mexican town of Lázaro Cárdenas.

To commemorate their bravery and to stand in solidarity, annually thousands of members of Los Mineros are joined by more than a hundred United Steelworkers and members of Unite the Union from the UK and Ireland. They march to commemorate Hector and Mario and remind the world that the fight for safe and decent working conditions is not over.

This year, 4 people are going to join the march from the Western New York area to represent a portion of the District 4 United Steelworkers. Joe Vertalino, David Wasiura, Valerie Thomas (staff at the District 4 Office), will be joined by City of Niagara Falls employee Brook D’Angelo of USW Local 9434 (who is also their Women Of Steel Chairwoman).

Follow their journey as they travel to Mexico. This year they will be departing April 18 and returning April 22nd. Take this opportunity to promote the noble cause of international laborer unification and the support of the most basic of human rights and work safety. Ms. D’Angelo plans to extensively photo-document their journey. Consider interviews pre-trip and even see them off as they fly out of Buffalo.

United Steelworkers Presence in Western New York

USW District 4 has headquarters in Cheektowaga. The district covers CT, DE, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT and Puerto Rico. It is lead by Director John Shinn. The USW Buffalo office opened around 50 years ago. Once on Genesee Street in Buffalo, now located in Cheektowaga on Cayuga Road.

The USW office serves as meeting space, a place for negotiation facilitation, mediation for conflict resolution, and even as training space. The staff are there to assist the membership in  any way that they can. They serve over 6,500 workers in Western New York alone and from many different industries. In WNY there are 70 plus Locals, from: steel, rubber, chemical, paper, public sector, mining, beverage distribution, and manufacturing, to name a few.

The United Steelworkers not only support their own members, but are very active within their communities. Groups like Women of Steel, Next Gen, and the Legislative committee groups are busy volunteering and often collecting items such as food, diapers and toiletries to help build stronger neighborhoods. They often work alongside other unions to ensure working families have good jobs and a bright future.


The Hospitality Hub: Traditional Easter Brunch Cocktails [by Jonathon Boas]

Happy Easter from The Hospitality Hub! Enjoy these delicious and fun holiday cocktails:

Carrot Easter-ita

Margarita glass rimmed in green sugar
(use superfine sugar and green food coloring)
Make a blender full!
Recipe yields one drink.
2oz Patron Silver or your favorite Tequlia
1/2oz Grand Mariner, Cointreau or Triple Sec
1/2 freshly squeezed lemon (no seeds please!)
1oz OJ
1oz Carrot juice
1 scoop Crushed ice, cubed will do
Blend until slushy
Garnish with a Chocolate Carrot!


Chilled Martini Glass
Make several saucers with Easter colored Superfine sugar and food coloring to rim the glasses.
Make your favorite Martini or a pitcher full on ice.
2oz Double Cross Vodka or Bombay Sapphire Gin
1/4oz or a Dash of Dry Vermouth
Pour into a mixing glass with cubed ice for one, or in a pitcher for several, and stir until very cold. Be careful not to bruise the ice too much.
1 drop food coloring in bottom of glass with colored sugar rim
Garnish with a Peep on  the rim and a Jelly Bean in the Glass

Chocolate Easter Egg, Cosmopolitan and Appletini Trio

Three Chilled Mini Martini Glasses
Build each with ice in three separate mixing tins, shake and strain.
Chocolate Egg
Swirl Chocolate Syrup decoratively around the inside of the glass
Pour into the tin
2oz Marshmallow Vodka
1/2oz Godiva Chocolate Liquor
1/2oz Baileys Irish Crème
Splash of 1/2 & 1/2
Shake and strain
Float small chocolate Easter egg on top. (without the foil!)
2oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
1/2oz Triple Sec
Juice of 1/2 fresh Lime
1oz Cranberry Juice
Shake and strain
Garnish with a Lime wheel or spritz and float a Lemon twist
2oz of YOUR favorite vodka – Tito’s? Double Cross? Stoli?
1/2oz Green Apple Pucker
1/2oz Apple juice
Shake and strain
Garnish with Maraschino Cherry
Get Fancy and Stack ‘em up!

No ‘grand lodge’ talk for Cuomo during WNY visit


During his visit to Buffalo on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not address a controversial plan to establish what he’s described as a “grand lodge” in Niagara Falls.

Cuomo did not stick around to answer questions from reporters after a speech at the Family Life Center on Michigan Avenue…


Memorial to begin parking garage renovations

Renovations to the parking garage at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center will begin Monday, April 10.

The work, which will be completed in stages, is expected to last into the summer and will include structural repairs and maintenance on five of the structure’s seven levels.

The project is the first stage of Memorial’s plan to renovate and transform the parking garage and bridge connector into an aesthetically attractive interactive facility that will also host medical center and community activities.

“These repairs will ensure this nearly 40-year-old structure remains a safe and viable parking alternative for the patients, visitors and staff members who depend upon it,” said Steve Lewis, Memorial’s director of facilities management.

Although the garage will remain in operation, up to 180 parking spaces will become unavailable in order to maintain worker safety. Alternate parking arrangements will be made for hospital employees who use the garage to keep the remaining parking spaces accessible to patients and visitors.

“We will make every effort to minimize disruption and keep as much of the garage as possible available for use,” Lewis said. “However, we are asking those who park there as the project takes place to exercise extra caution when using the facility.”

In use since 1978, the 570-space parking structure also houses the nationally recognized Wound Center of Niagara and several physician offices. Its top level serves as a helipad for Mercy Flight helicopter.

Bear’s Den: Bigger Than You Think (by Craig Avery)

So as intimate as I’ve said the venue of the Bear’s Den is, a small crowd makes it hard for a comedian to really get on a roll. That’s what we learned at Thursday’s Barrel of Laughs when a crowd of about 100 appeared to be about 35 people, according to the headliner comedian, Tony Hinchcliffe. After taking a few shots at Niagara Falls, he admitted that his very life was consummated nine months prior to his birth in Niagara Falls, NY. He began to warm up to this chosen few who braved a miserable rainy night to get some good old fashioned entertainment via this comedy club at the Seneca Niagara Casino.

I’ve said it before folks, “Get off your couches on a Thursday night, and go see some good comedy for a couple hours during an otherwise ho hum evening!” A hundred people got a good deal, but two hundred would make the show even better. These comedians suck energy from big happy audiences and their stuff gets funnier and funnier with more folks responding. You gotta do it; I’m getting tired of trying to describe the experience, go see it for yourself.

Anyway, the show opened with the host, Buffalo’s own Rob Lieberman, who is really a very funny guy. He just starts talking and you laugh! He introduced another fellow radio personality Mix96’s Tony Pusateri, who at least got the crowd to begin to giggle.

A few hecklers, who Hinchcliffe identified as 90 year olds, made it easy for the audience to relate to the performer. Not sure what happens when the elderly drink heavily, buts it’s not a pretty scene.

All in all, another fun night, if you missed it, mark your calendar- Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 8:00 PM. BEN ROY AND ADAM CAYTON-HOLLAND
will be at the Bear’s Den. Let’s give ‘em a big crowd, you’ll enjoy yourself even more.

Netflix’s Tony Hinchcliff rises like the mist at Seneca Niagara Casino’s Barrel of Laughs on Thursday night

2017 Draft Community Development Plan Approved

[Press Release]

The Niagara Falls City Council approved the $2.8 million 2017 Niagara Falls Community Development Draft Action Plan on March 20, 2017, as a result of four months of public participation with residents.

“Our 2017 action plan process featured the most comprehensive public outreach in our department’s history,” said Seth Piccirillo, Director of Niagara Falls Community Development. “When residents join in and are treated as valued partners, our plan action plan gets stronger.”

Over the past four months, CD hosted 10 public meetings throughout the city and created an online/paper citizen survey to gather public opinion, offered a 30-day written public comment period, created an email address specifically for action plan dialogue, and accepted competitive application for eligible Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program projects. The City Council approved Draft Action Plan leveraged an additional $2.1 million in non-municipal matching funds, for a total budget of $4.9 million. City Council Approved 4-1: Yes (Walker, Grandinetti, Scott, Touma) No (Tompkins)

The complete plan and citizen’s guide can be viewed at:

The City of Niagara Falls is proud to include participatory budgeting (PB) in the 2017 Action Plan.  PB is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives. A total of $360,000 in CDBG funds has been allocated for public park improvements that will be decided through PB. A series of public meetings will be held to create proposals for park improvements.  These initial proposals will be refined with budget amounts and turned into ballot items that will go directly to the community for a vote with electronic tablets that allow residents to rank and ultimately decide which projects should be completed.

Spring Refuse Reminders for the City of Niagara Falls

[Press Release]
Spring has sprung and residents of the City of Niagara Falls will soon be beautifying their homes and yards! Department of Public Works Director John P. Caso would like to remind citizens that there are options when it comes to yard waste and bulk items.

Please note that you are allowed to place out one item (one bulk item or bag of trash) weekly next to your blue refuse cart. This does not include construction debris or hazardous items.

Yard waste (grass clippings, weeds, vegetation) can be put in clear plastic bags, or brown paper craft bags (sold in most hardware stores) and can be placed next to the blue trash cart from April 1 until November 30, 2017. Limit of 10 bags per week.

If you have branches and twigs, please tie them in bundles of under 4 feet long and under 50 lbs. One bundle can be placed out weekly as your bulk item. If there are large branches or limbs down from a City tree, that may have resulted from a storm, please call 716-286-4840 to report it.

Electronics can be brought to the Department of Public Works, 1785 New Road. Regulations, times, and a full list of acceptable electronics can be found at

The Department of Public Works also provides free dump permits for residential properties, for those looking to dispose of excess refuse or debris. Restrictions apply. Please review the rules and regulations in the available document on our site.

Additional questions can be directed to the Department of Public Works & Parks at 716-286-4840 or visit

Variety Telethon benefits Women & Children’s Hospital hosted at Seneca Niagara Casino [by Craig Avery]

When I was a kid, I would stay up all night – no kidding – watching the Telethon on channel 7. I got such a kick out of the people who would come in and tell their stories of how hey raised money:
“I dribbled a basketball around my block 427 times, and raised $312.45 from my neighbors!”

“My daughter and her friends washed cars all day in the rain, now they’ve all got colds, so I delivered the money.”

“We sold friendship bracelets at school, but we ran out of friends, so we have $24.50.”

Seriously, I love the Telethon and got to witness the action first hand this year, as Frank Scinta and Paul Cambria hosted the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls, Elvis impersonator, Terry Buchwald, and more. Area business leaders were there with oversized checks (how do they fit in the drive thru window at the bank?) raising a boatload of bucks for the Hospital.

Niagara Falls’ own, Chris Borgoti, representing the WNY Area Labor Federation dropped over $43,000 into the bucket. How cool is that? We saw Niagara Falls developer and building owner of the current location for the Craft Kitchen & Bar, Paul Stephens with a donation from his Rock Oaks Estates housing complex in Clarence. That donation entered into a challenge that doubled his donation with contributions from callers watching on TV.

This 55th annual production of the telethon is the first year it was held in Niagara Falls. We’re happy to be part of such an effort, and are confident the hospitality of the Seneca Niagara Casino played a big part in its’ success.

IMG_2606Was it killing Chris Borgati to part with $43,000? Naaaaaah!

HOLY SCINTA! Cosied up in the Bear’s Den (by Craig Avery)

IMG_2674I can honestly say I have seen the Scintas over 50 times. This show was one of the best. The locally grown Vegas sensation entertainers started wowing their fans in the late 70’s. We first saw them in Williamsville at a place called Goldie’s Apartment, and it was our little secret. When they moved to the Buffalo Playboy Club in the Executive Hotel by the airport, we brought customers there a couple of times a week. The act is a Vegas style mix of great music, comedy, impersonations, you name it. Frank Scinta was the main man last night at the Bear’s Den in the Seneca Niagara Casino, as his brother and sidekick, Joe, was dealing with a medical issue back in Vegas. Frankie didn’t miss a beat though, as his energy is endless, and his content is as unpredictable as it is awesome. He is a tremendous musical talent, playing keyboards, guitar, mandolin, and even the spoons. But it’s his delivery that makes the night. He and his backup band could play four chords of an Elton John song, and you’d swear they did the long version. He’ll interrupt a music set with impersonations of George Burns and Dean Martin, mocks ethnicities, then jokes at the thought of the audience being uncomfortable with it. You’ve just gotta laugh. He’s a master. Janien Valentine is the backup singer, and even belted out an opera song that brought the audience to its feet. She joined the band a few years ago, and hails from East Amherst.

American patriotism is a big part of Frankie’s show, and singing, “America the Beautiful,” while doing an impersonation of Ray Charles brought the Americans and Canadians in the audience closer together than the Rainbow Bridge could even think to. A full house of lucky concert goers at the Bear’s Den left smiling after a full two hours of laughing and singing. So Western New York is well represented in the world’s biggest entertainment venue, Vegas, while we still get up close and personal performances when these folks come home. And as Frankie repeated throughout the night, “There’s no place like home.”

Despite the extra workload Frank carried to manage the show by himself, he took the time to hang out with us locals at the Lobby Bar in the casino hotel for about an hour after the show. He was to start as a co-host of the Variety Club Telethon for Buffalo’s Women & Children’s Hospital at 7:00AM, a 12 hour gig for charity, then back to Vegas.

The entertainment industry- think about it. These guys have been “on” for almost 40 years straight, and haven’t missed a beat. Thanks to the Seneca Niagara Casino, they’ve got a great place to play to the hometown crowd.


Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Guest View (by local physician Dr. Robert L. Bull Jr.)

Bull, Robert, MD 2017The Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center campus has undergone a tremendous transformation over the past 12 years.

The opening of the ER1/Heart Center of Niagara in 2006 and the Golisano Center for Community Health in 2016 have doubled the size of its downtown campus. The addition of a host of skilled and experienced physicians to its staff has resulted in greatly expanded high end surgical services and the opening of a primary care center, comprehensive wound care center, OB/GYN Center, bariatric surgery center and other vitally needed medical services along the 10th Street Medical Corridor.

All told, Memorial provided inpatient and outpatient services to more than 44,500 people (unduplicated count) in 2015 and again in 2016. In recent years, it has further solidified its status as a major economic contributor to the Greater Niagara Region with a stable work force of 1,200 employees, the creation of 150 well-paying new jobs during the past four years and an annual economic impact on Niagara County and the surrounding area of $275 million annually.

With this growth have come some serious challenges, especially at Memorial’s downtown campus. Its aging seven-story parking garage needs the kind of attention all such structures require after 40 years of service in a climate such as ours.

This structure is much more than a place to park. Its seventh floor houses vital hospital services including the Wound Center of Niagara and several doctors’ offices. The top level provides a helipad for Mercy Flight helicopter, a capability that will take on added importance in early April with the implementation of lifesaving cardiac catheterization emergency services at Memorial.

The growth being experienced along the 10th Street Medical Corridor has also added urgency to the need for Memorial to replace its aging emergency power generators.

The medical center and 1199SEIU, the union that represents more than 800 Memorial employees, recently launched a major joint initiative asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to provide state funding for needed capital and infrastructure improvements. The requested funds would renovate and transform the aging parking facility and bridge connector into an aesthetically attractive interactive facility that would host medical center and community activities.

They would also replace Memorial’s antiquated emergency power system with one that will guarantee adequate emergency power to support its critical role as a First Responder facility in the event of a public emergency situation.

Implementing these infrastructure upgrades will ensure Memorial’s continued ability to provide high-quality care by Memorial’s skilled and dedicated employees in a safe and secure setting for decades to come, as well as positioning the medical center for continued growth.

I urge you to show Gov. Cuomo your support for this project by visiting and adding your name to the petition at the bottom of the page.

[Robert L. Bull Jr., M.D., F.A.A.F.P., is a family physician at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center’s Lewiston Primary Care Center.]