Laugh it off – the Casino makes it easy (by Craig Avery)

Comedian Brian Regan took the stage at the Seneca Niagara Events Center and warmed a lot of us tired-of-the-winter locals with something to laugh at.  In a time when many stand-up comedy acts include topics of sexual dysfunction and masturbation, this guy was refreshing with his funny takes on normal life issues like kids, friends, shopping, and travel.  Sounds boring? Only because we’re so used to hearing about things that make us uncomfortable before we can laugh. Anyway, Brian Regan had the crowd going and even came out for an encore with a story familiar to many in the audience about a trip to the emergency room, and the nonsensical questions posed by the triage process.

Some thought the opening act, a Fredonia native named Pete Correale was just as good, if not better than the headliner.  Pete is another guy with good old fashioned clean humor on everyday observations.  But it’s hard to describe to anyone who didn’t attend. Ya gotta be there to enjoy it. So don’t miss the next comedy opportunity at the casino on April 6 at 8:00PM in the upclose venue of the Bears Den.  Tony Hinchcliffe will probably make us laugh with some of his political satire, as soon as we realize we can laugh at our current political situations.

And do you know what’s really cool? These guys travel all over the country and internationally, and they can say they’ve been to Niagara Falls in a great facility in front of a terrific audience. Damn we’re good!


Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, 1199SEIU seek community support

image004Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and 1199SEIU are urging the community to sign a petition imploring Governor Cuomo to provide $8 million in state funding for crucial infrastructure improvements to the medical center’s campus.

Improvements will include the restoration and transformation of the Tenth Street parking garage and connector. The ramp supports the parking needs of NFMMC’s 1,200 employees as well as patients and visitors. The bridge connector is in many ways the lifeblood of the medical center as it enables patients and visitors who park in the ramp to have weather protected, interior access to the entire campus including the hospital, nursing home, Heart Center of Niagara and Golisano Center for Community Health.

The opening of the Golisano Center for Community Health at NFMMC, combined with an expanding list of outpatient services have put a tremendous strain on parking in the neighborhood surrounding the medical center campus. A minimum expansion of 150 parking spaces is needed to accommodate this growth.

The final project will replace NFMMC’s outdated emergency power system to safeguard overall well-being on the medical center’s campus. This project will ensure adequate emergency power is available for all hospital functions in the event of a power failure.

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has been devoted to Niagara County residents for more than 120 years, addressing individuals’ needs and demands by offering patient-centered, compassionate medical care in a warm and caring environment.

Please visit and sign the electronic petition at the bottom of the page to urge Governor Cuomo to ensure these funds. Then share this message with your family and friends.

Southside Johnny ”on the spot” in the Bears Den (by Craig Avery)

Remember when you were a kid and the older boys in the neighborhood put a band together and played in your garage? Well, this was nothing like that. But, if you lived in New Jersey, the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and “Southside” Johnny Lyon may have influenced your taste in music. Johnny brought his “Asbury Jukes” to the Bears Den in the Seneca Niagara Casino and rocked the house. With the voice of Joe Cocker and the energy of Mick Jagger, Southside Johnny gave us an hour and forty five minutes of intravenously delivered musical saturation. He cranked. I remember hearing them when they first started back in the mid to late seventies, and I still pictured them as that start-up band with a youthful following. Well, those youths may have some grecian formula in their medicine cabinets now, but they can still boogie. Once again, the Bears Den venue proved excellent as the sound and lighting and intimate design of the room brought the crowd so close you could smell the fumes of the Jersey Turnpike from the guitar cases on the stage.

Thanks Seneca Niagara Casino for giving us great experiences in our own backyard!



Councilman Andrew Touma announces City Council re-election bid

[Press Release]

It is with great pride and honor that I announce my re-election bid for Niagara Falls City Council in 2017. I have never viewed myself as a politician, but rather a hard-working, public servant dedicated to providing a service for the residents in the City of Niagara Falls. I have aspired to be someone that residents can trust to represent their best interests and make the best choices for them. It is imperative to work together with all stakeholders – residents, business leaders, city officials, and elected officials – to obtain growth in our city.

I ran for City Council in 2013 because I thought the council lost sight of their purpose and ability to move our great city forward. In my opinion, some members needed to be more receptive to the needs of the public and provide them a voice. Over the past three years, two of which as Chairperson for the council, I am happy to say that we have given residents the opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process.
One example of this involvement is my neighbor-to-neighbor initiative, which was implemented by Councilman Walker, where we go into communities throughout the city to hear the concerns and ideas of the residents. Another example is the implementation of the Human Rights Commission, which ensures equal treatment of all individuals in our community.

During my tenure on the council I remained an independent voice, yet worked with my council colleagues to implement laws such as eliminating door-to-door solicitors, reducing the use of casino dollars in the general budget, reducing expenses, and increasing revenue. We have been successful with improving the quality of life through the improvement of city parks as well as the addition of a new skate park; all while lowering homestead taxes for residents.
Moving forward with a collaborative approach, it is imperative to keep our neighborhoods intact, provide efficient services, create a stable and sustainable budget, and use casino dollars wisely to incentivize economic development and job growth. We need to continue to provide our residents with training opportunities that will meet various industry needs.

I look forward to your support and participation as we pursue progress and continued momentum for our city.

Residents & Local Organizations Invited to the 3rd Annual LiveNF Volunteer Fair

Congressman Higgins & ReNU Niagara Host Event Designed to Match Volunteers with Local Organizations, Encourage Community Engagement

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), City of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and Niagara University’s ReNU Niagara announce the 3rd Annual LiveNF Volunteer Fair.  This year’s event will take place on April 18, 2017 from 4:00-7:00pm at the John Duke Center, 1201 Hyde Park Blvd in Niagara Falls, NY.

The event connects local residents interested in civic engagement with volunteer-driven organizations doing good work in the Niagara Falls community.   Dozens of organizations will be on hand to share details on their work in the community, needs and how you can get involved.  The volunteer fair is free and open to the public.

Organizations interested in participating should visit to register or call ReNU Niagara at 716.205.0287 for more information.

New this year is the Niagara Falls Volunteer Hall of Fame.  Members of the community are invited to nominate individuals who have made a significant impact on the lives of others through a lifetime commitment to community service.  Eligible nominees must be a current or former resident of the City of Niagara Falls and have a minimum of 15 years of community service.   For more details on Volunteer Hall of Fame criteria or to nominate a volunteer go to:

While over 3.1 million New Yorkers volunteered in 2015, the state ranks near the bottom in the nation, 49th among the 50 states and Washington, DC, in terms of resident volunteerism according to the Corporation for National & Community Service.   The event is a preview to National Volunteer Week, which will from April 23-29 this year.


The Hospitality Hub: St. Patrick’s Day Drink Recipes [by Jonathon Boas]

Fighting Irish

The Patron Saint of Ireland who may or may not of chased all the snakes from Ireland. It seems he was British born to Roman Catholic parents. He did indeed die in Ireland. All of the Shamrocks and Blarney aside this was a religious holiday until The Irish immigrants in Boston and New York turned it into a Feast with much drinking!

There are so many recipes… let’s do a shot, a classic beer, a hot drink and a frozen version, ah hell, let’s do ‘em all!


Pint Glass

1/2 full of Guiness Blonde or Bass Ale
Layer Guiness Stout to fill


Stemmed Shot glass

Layer in order
1/3 Kahlua
1/3 Baileys
1/3 Gran Marnier


Glass Footed Mug pre-heated w/ hot water

1/2oz Jameson’s, Bushmills or Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
1/2oz Baileys
1/2oz Frangelico

Fill to 1/2 inch from top with hot coffee.
Top with fresh whipped crème drizzled with Green Crème de Menthe.


Copper Mug
2oz Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
Several Fresh Mint Sprigs, save the best one for the garnish.
Jamaican Ginger Beer
1 Lime cut into 4 slices
Superfine Sugar

Muddle 3 of the lime slices and 6-10 Mint Leaves in the bottom of the Mug
add ice and Whiskey, fill with Ginger Beer.
Dip the Mint Sprig in superfine sugar to coat the leaves and garnish with the remaining lime slice.


Pint Glass

1oz of Baileys, Irish Mist or Kahlua
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
Fill slowly with Guinness Stout
…wait for it… fill it again… wait for it… it’s worth the wait!
use a spoon or put it all in a blender for a delicious shake.


Mixing Tin filled with ice
Chilled Martini Glass
Pour equal parts over ice.

1oz Green Crème de Menthe
1oz White Crème de Cacao
1oz 1/2 & 1/2

Shake and Strain into Martini Glass
Garnish with Mint Sprig and Shaved Chocolate.

OK All the Young Dudes are gonna say “What about the Irish Car Bomb?


3/4 Pint of Guinness Stout
3/4oz Jamesons
3/4oz Baileys Irish Crème poured into a shot glass
Make a toast…drop the shot into the beer and chug!

(No Guinness at all)

Shot Glass
2.5oz Kahlua
Layer 1/2oz Baileys for the Head on your “Beer”


Shot Glass
3/4oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
3/4oz Irish Mist Herbal Liquor

Y’all be safe!

Jonathan Boas
Master Mixologist
Niagara Falls Bartending Academy
Renovation, Rescue, Restorations and Operations Management

Entertainment Overload at Seneca Niagara Casino (by Craig Avery)

IMG_2550 Well, the Isley Brothers delivered the second blow of the one-two weekend punch to complete a Vegas-style entertainment package to the Niagara Community.  The R&B, soul, rock, doo-wop  and gospel group started belting it out in 1954. Yes, 63 years ago.  Lucky for them, younger brothers kept joining in, keeping their sound smooth and nostalgic.  Ronald and Ernie Isley headed up the performance at the Casino’s Seneca Niagara Events Center that brought the crowd to their feet several times.  I wasn’t too sure if they understood the significance of playing their signature song “Shout”  to a crowd of Western New York football fans, but it certainly garnered an enthusiastic response.  The crowd may have been football fans, but they sure didn’t look like the tailgating Bills fans we are used to seeing on Sundays. It was great to see an appreciative group of concert goers actually getting dressed up for an evening out.  Wornout Jim Kelly jerseys and T-shirts that say “I’m with stupid,” were replaced with furs, sequins, and leather in a fashion statement only longtime Isley Brothers fans could display.   Most of the audience stuck around to enjoy the Casino’s ambiance after the show. An hour and a half of great music was followed by a large gathering at the Hotel’s Lobby Bar and of course a little gambling.  People, I’m telling you, take advantage of what the Casino has to offer. It’s like going on vacation and sleeping in your own bed.

IMG_2551Ernie Isley belts it out for a packed house.


Klyczek stepping down as head of College Association of NCCC


Embattled Niagara County Community College President James Klyczek will step down as head of a non-profit corporation that, as part of its mission, oversees operations at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.

Barbara Pierce, a spokesperson from the Rochester-based public relations firm recently hired by the college’s Board of Trustees, confirmed Klyczek’s exit as president of the College Association of Niagara County Community College, Inc. on Friday…


Confessions of a Bear’s Den Junkie (by Craig Avery)


When you think about going to a Vegas style show for an evening of entertainment, the vision of a guy dressed in a dragon costume holding a chihuahua isn’t the first thing that pops into your mind. With show tickets in hand, I’m thinking of Cher on a swing singing “Believe” or Paul McCartney describing strawberry fields.  But last night it was the great venue of the Bear’s Den in the Seneca Niagara Casino that got top honors when Piff the Magic Dragon took the stage. Having never seen this nationally recognized comedian/magician I was comforted by what seemed to be over half the crowd who had seen him before.  One couple I met drove from Jamestown, NY to spend the night just for a chance to see the Dragon once again.  They had been to his show in Las Vegas, and the woman got to hold his dog for a half-hour. (So she’s got that going for her!)  His opening act featured a Monty Python type assistant who perked the interest of those like me waiting to be roasted by the Dragon.  I was sitting in the absolute last row of the theatre in the seat closest to the back of the stage, yet I felt as though I was front and center.  I’m telling you, each time I go to that place I am more and more impressed that it is here for us to take advantage of.  The seats are comfortable, the sound is great, and even the ushers talk to you and seem to care about your level of enjoyment with the evening.  So the dragon was a funny kind of guy, did some pretty cool card tricks and kept his dog under control. I was waiting for a great magic trick, but even with the upclose venue of the Bear’s Den, if he had tried to cut the dog in half, you couldn’t have seen it cause he was so small.  Dragon fans flocked to the photo-op after the show, and bought t-shirts and decks of dragon cards. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and had plenty of time to take advantage of the remainder of a cold, cold, night within the confines of the Seneca Niagara Casino.

Next up for the Bear’s Den?  Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, a phenomenal Springsteen-esque band that will bring the house down.  That’s on St. Patty’s day, so plan your day accordingly.  Then Dan Hill on March 25, followed by the fabulous Scintas on April 1.  You’ve got to take advantage of some great entertainment in your own backyard. Go to for ticket information.  

IMG_2544Dragon helper selling the goods!

2017 Action Plan – Next Level Participation [by Seth Piccirillo]

nf community development

Niagara Falls residents and the Community Development Department team worked together to build the 2017 Community Development Action Plan over the past 4 months. We thank our residents for being part of our 10 public meetings throughout the 16 week public input period and responding to citizen surveys, setting valuable priorities.

Our Community Development Department understands that the citizens who live, work, and play in our city are the true experts on the needs of our neighborhoods. When we increase citizen participation in our annual plans, our plans get stronger. As a result, we are presenting a budget that leverages $2.8 million in United States Department of Housing and Urban Development funds into a $4.9 million action plan focused on neighborhood investment. Our priorities are clear: continue the positive trends of home owner renovations, first time home buyer grants, investments in parks and public spaces, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) and programs that provide activities for our young people.

We are also taking community decision making to the next level with our 2017 Action Plan. For the first time, the proposal includes participatory budgeting (PB): the democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. PB invites taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives. This year’s focus will be towards advancing investment in our city’s parks. We will look at the remaining public park improvement recommendations made in the 2012 Parks Master Plan as the starting point. From there, residents brainstorm spending ideas develop proposals based on these ideas, vote on proposals, and the government implements the top projects. Traditionally, governments ask people to come to them, especially when it comes to giving opinions or raising concerns. Echo chambers can form as a result, where only a few voices are heard. We can do better than that.

With PB, we will go directly to the neighborhoods for ideas and project votes, bringing the process to you, and engaging new people in the conversation. We will use technology as a way to make better links and to show our youngest residents that government can speak their language. Time and again we are reminded that our best projects and initiatives start with the public’s ideas not ours. PB is our way of taking that community partnership and trust to the next level.

We invite the public to review the draft 2017 Action Plan at the Carnegie Building (1022 Main Street), both public libraries, online at and to email any questions to We are grateful to Mayor Dyster, City Administrator Melson and the Niagara Falls City Council for participating in this process. As always, our team is most thankful for the privilege of working together with the Niagara Falls community, every day.

[Seth Piccirillo is the Director of Niagara Falls Community Development and a lifelong resident of Niagara Falls]