One costly message
We have seen the glazed eyes of motorists trapped in a construction zone. So perhaps someone just wanted to forewarn fellow drivers of what to expect on Lockport Road in Pendleton.
Someone broke into a message sign control box and reprogrammed an electronic highway sign that advised drivers about upcoming road work.
The new message read, "Zombies Ahead."
Niagara County Highway Superintendent Michael F. Tracy said the vandalism happened last weekend.
Although the new message amused travelers, county officials were not laughing. The vandal damaged the keyboard and a hitch that was inside the control box. Damage amounted to more than $300.
Looking for Lockport ghosts
A "Ghost Hunters" crew from the Syfy Network traveled to Lockport a few weeks ago searching for spirits.
The crew looked in the Lockport Cave and also the Electric Building, a vacant structure near the Erie Canal locks.
Mayor Michael W. Tucker tells us neither he nor cave owner Thomas Callahan learned whether the crew found anything. But a show featuring Lockport is expected to air in a month or two.
"Callahan says he's seen signs of paranormal activity," Tucker said.
"There's always been strange things that can't be explained," Callahan said.
Callahan signed a "strict confidentiality agreement" so he is not allowed to elaborate on those strange things.
The Electric Building was built in the 19th century with six stories. But the top three were removed in the 1970s. An architect proposed a $1.5 million banquet facility in the building in 2010, but nothing ever happened.
So maybe it is haunted by the ghost of failed economic development projects. If so, it would not be the first.
The high price of justice
Who knew Niagara Falls attorney James J. Faso Jr. was a deficit hawk?
At a recent Niagara County Court appearance, Faso asked Judge Matthew J. Murphy III for a two-month delay in sentencing a county inmate for beating up a fellow inmate last year.
The reason, said Faso, is that 39-year-old inmate is serving an 18-month federal sentence in a marijuana case while sitting in the County Jail, and that term has two months left to run.
"If he was sentenced now, they'd come and get him, take him to a federal prison somewhere, then bring him back to Niagara County Jail and then ship him to state prison," Faso said.
But waiting on the county conviction would avoid all that back-and-forth, saving the taxpayers money and keeping the inmate near his family until he goes to state prison.
"We don't often look to save the federal government money," Murphy said.
"Hopefully, they can use this savings to increase the salaries of government employees," Faso replied.
Message from above
Perhaps the squirrels were just trying to do their part.
During an opening ceremony for a 1,200-square-foot addition to the West Seneca Community Food Pantry, the furry rodents shelled walnuts and dropped nuts from a large walnut tree overhanging the new structure.
Spectators, looking incredulously into the tree for the culprits, dodged the falling nuts and husks.
Mary Lou Dietrich, the food pantry director, already feels blessed by overwhelming community support for the pantry. Now, even the squirrels are donating.
Written by Patrick Lakamp with contributions from Thomas J. Prohaska, Nancy A. Fischer and T.J. Pignataro.