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Last updated: Fri, 21 Jul 2017 16:36:00 GMT

  Niagara County Central Rotary's Tom Grimm receives Paul Harris Fellow Award Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:36:22 -0400
Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney, formed the first Rotary Club in 1905 so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful and lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.
Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney, formed the first Rotary Club in 1905 so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful and lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities. Today, Rotary is an international organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
The Rotary Club of Niagara County Central was chartered by Rotary International on June 23, 1987. Thirty years later the club is still active and supportive in the community. The Rotary Club of Niagara County Central presented Tom Grimm, past Rotary President, with a Paul Harris Fellow Award, the highest form of recognition for a Rotarian. Grimm joins the company of individuals throughout the world, all recognized for their devotion to the ideal of goodwill, peace and understanding.
New members of the Rotary Club of Niagara County Central are welcome. Those interested in joining can attend a breakfast meeting, held at 7:15 a.m. each Thursday at the Olympia Restaurant, 3312 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda.
Past President of the Rotary Club of Niagara County Central Tom Grimm stands alongside his wife, Pat, as they display his Paul Harris Fellow Award.
  Town of Niagara Lions host special guests Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:33:51 -0400
The Town of Niagara Lions Club recently hosted Lion President Tatiana Maslennikova and Lion Elena Mitriaeva of the Stars of St. Petersburg Lions Club from Russia. Maslennikova and Mitriaeva were on their way to the Lions International Convention in Chicago.
The Town of Niagara Lions Club recently hosted Lion President Tatiana Maslennikova and Lion Elena Mitriaeva of the Stars of St. Petersburg Lions Club from Russia. Maslennikova and Mitriaeva were on their way to the Lions International Convention in Chicago. The two guests were treated to a tour of Niagara Falls, including a ride on the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds. The visit included gift exchanges by the two Lions presidents. Also, Lion Joan Boyce presented Maslennikova and Mitriaeva with four scarfs and Mary Ann Hess of Niagara's Honeymoon Sweets gave them Niagara Falls specialty chocolates.
The club may create a joint project, which would exchange the culture of both countries.
Pictured, from left, are Lions Mitriaeva, Joan Dugan, Maslennikova, Al Kontrabecki, Theresa White, Ange Onevelo and Jim Greig.
  Process of installing fence around former landfill continues Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:32:10 -0400
Plans are moving along to install a fence around the inactive Niagara Sanitation Landfill, which formerly took in waste from various chemical companies.
By Lauren Zaepfel
Tribune Editor
Plans are moving along to install a fence around the inactive Niagara Sanitation Landfill, which formerly took in waste from various chemical companies.
The Town of Wheatfield received three bids to complete the project, which were read aloud at Monday night's Town Board meeting.
The low bidder was New York State Fence with a total of $106,800. The other bids included one by Woodsmith Fence Corp. at $153,800 and another by Fox Fence at $219,500.
Professional Engineer and Chief Operating Officer at Wendel Timothy G. Walck said the company will contact New York State Fence "to make sure they have a good understanding of the specs, the work, and prepare a recommendation for the next Town Board meeting."
Walck said he thinks the project will be able to be completed this year.
In February, the town designated approximately $80,000 of its appropriated fund balance toward installing a fence. New York State Sen. Robert G. Ortt also secured $75,000 in grant funding for the fence last year.
Town of Wheatfield Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said the town has not received the grant funds yet. "It would be nice to have that in hand. I've been told by DASNY (Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, I've been told by Sen. Ortt that the money's there, it's just a matter of time."
Earlier this month, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced that results of soil sampling tests conducted at properties adjacent to the former landfill indicated contaminants were not impacting surface soils.
Several people living nearby the landfill joined in filing a lawsuit against the Town of Wheatfield earlier this year. Some suffer from health issues, which they claim were caused by contaminants from the landfill migrating to their properties.
"With the news of the testing results that were released last week, this fence becomes even more important for future generations," Cliffe said.
He further explained after the meeting that the DEC's findings help indicate "The material from the landfill is not migrating out, so, if you can keep people out of there, you know that future generations won't be affected by these chemicals."
An issue that has been brought up by both town residents and board members is that people trek through the landfill using all-terrain vehicles.
"It's not so much people walking through (the landfill site) as it is ATV operators, motor bikes and anything that drives through there that can dig the dirt up," Cliffe said.
He explained the contaminants are covered by a natural clay cap, which has been covered with dirt. "So if you send ATVs through that and you send motor bikes through that (and) they pick up a little bit of dirt when they go through, when does it become a problem?"
The DEC stated in a release sent out earlier this month that further testing will be conducted throughout the summer regarding groundwater and subsurface conditions at the landfill.
In addition, the DEC stated it will dig test trenches around the landfill to ensure waste was not present outside of the landfill property.
The DEC, depending on the investigation's findings, may conduct additional tests, as well.
•The Town Board did not pass a resolution allowing Wendel to look into the cost and work needed to widen shoulders on Krueger Road.
This comes after all board members, excluding Cliffe, voted against accepting a New York State Department of Transportation grant to help pay for a sidewalk on the road after hearing several resident comments both for and against the project.
Cliffe said Monday he thinks adding a sidewalk is still "the way to go," instead of widening the shoulders.
As two board members were absent during Monday night's meeting, "We only have three members here and I'm sort of opposed to the concept," Cliffe said. "So it wasn't going to fly, so just put it on hold for another three weeks and try again."
In order to change the scope of the grant from requesting a sidewalk to widened shoulders, the DOT requires a preliminary engineering report indicating the method in which the shoulders would be widened as well as anticipated costs.
Wendel, as the town engineer, provided a cost estimate of $5,000 to prepare the report. The board may choose to approve this at its next meeting scheduled for Aug. 7.
•Town Board members agreed to send a letter to the DOT asking for another speed study to be done on River Road.
The letter would also suggest other measures the DOT may be able to take to slow down the traffic on the road, including adding rumble strips and additional signage.
"If you recall, just a few weeks ago there was a person killed on River Road, it was a little father down into North Tonawanda," Cliffe said.
He added, New York State Sen. Robert G. Ortt "has had several calls from people in the River Road area and he is very concerned about the speeds there. The speed on River Road is 45 mph until you get into the area where there's no people and then it slows down, which I don't quite understand."
Cliffe noted River Road has a high volume of traffic, where vehicles travel at "extreme speeds."
"There's an awful lot of houses that are on that road that come out directly onto the street ... and it's a road that needs to be looked at," he said.
  Anne Burrell & Rachael Ray return to transform celeb cooking disasters into culinary masters in new season of 'Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition' Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:19:19 -0400
Food icons Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray return to lead a star-studded culinary boot camp for cooking-challenged celebrities this summer with a brand-new season of "Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition," premiering Wednesday, Aug. 23 (9 p.m. ET/PT), on Food Network.
8-episode series premieres Wednesday, Aug. 23, on Food Network
Food icons Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray return to lead a star-studded culinary boot camp for cooking-challenged celebrities this summer with a brand-new season of "Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition," premiering Wednesday, Aug. 23 (9 p.m. ET/PT), on Food Network.
Burrell and Ray will each lead a team of recruits through the intense kitchen challenges, but only the most improved star wins a $25,000 grand prize for the charity of their choice - and bragging rights for their team master. The new celebrity recruits are: Nora Dunn, Carmen Electra, Erik Estrada, Vivica A. Fox, Perez Hilton, Carson Kressley, Sean Lowe and Melissa Peterman.
"Anne and Rachael have their culinary work cut out for them with this batch of celebrity recruits - and the results are high-energy and hilarious," said Courtney White, senior vice president, programming, Scripps Networks Interactive. "These stars enter boot camp with less-than-impressive cooking skills, and watching them gain confidence in the kitchen is remarkable."
In the first episode, Burrell and Ray kick things off with a social media-inspired challenge. The celebrities must make a dish inspired by their tastiest food snaps on social media. Judging from their pages online, these stars love a good meal, but clearly do not know how to cook one.
The mentors follow with a lobster lesson, which proves to be a disaster for some of these clueless cooks. Burrell and Ray then choose their teams, and the culinary training begins.
Upcoming episodes feature international flavors, dessert-themed milkshake and cupcake challenges, and the return of trivia game "Family Food," this time with a "freaky food" twist. The most-improved celebrity cook is awarded a $25,000 grand prize for the charity of their choice in the season finale on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
Viewers can learn more about the famous faces competing for kitchen glory at FoodNetwork.com/WorstCooks, and watch video highlights, see photos from the challenges and take quizzes to improve their own cooking. Tell Food Network who your favorite celeb is on social media using the hashtag #WorstCooks.
  Collins, Tenney, Katko applaud requirement of Lake Ontario report included in appropriations bill Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:16:02 -0400
Congressman Chris Collins, R-NY-27, on Friday applauded the release of the fiscal year 2018 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, which includes language requiring the secretary of state to issue a report on damages to the shoreline of Lake Ontario.
Congressman Chris Collins, R-NY-27, on Friday applauded the release of the fiscal year 2018 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, which includes language requiring the secretary of state to issue a report on damages to the shoreline of Lake Ontario. The report would also require an assessment of damages attributable to the implementation of Plan 2014 by the International Joint Commission. Finally, the report will include options for providing compensation to shoreline property owners adversely affected by the flooding.
"This is welcome news for Western New York and those impacted by the horrific flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline," Collins said. "This report will be a productive first step in determining the extent of the damage caused by Plan 2014, and will provide answers to our questions about what compensation is available.
"I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues from New York to replace the disastrous Plan 2014."
"Plan 2014 has created considerable uncertainty for home owners and municipalities and has no doubt contributed to damage along the Lake Ontario shoreline, just as the International Joint Commission said it would," Tenney said. "I applaud Congressman Collins for his work in including this important language in the FY18 State and Foreign Operations. This report will be vitally important in working to find the cause of the flooding and the impact of Plan 2014. This will ensure that we can work to mitigate future disasters, while giving us better information to better protect shoreline property owners from the expected impact."
"Plan 2014 has resulted in magnified, drastic changes in water levels, and property owners in shoreline communities across Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego counties are facing significant property damage and shoreline erosion," Katko said. "I am pleased to see the advancement of this amendment, which will take the first steps towards getting these property owners the relief and support they deserve."
For text of the bill, click HERE.
  Seether's 5th annual Rise Above Festival to pay tribute to Chester Bennington & Chris Cornell Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:15:11 -0400
Seether's 5th Annual Rise Above Fest, the largest suicide awareness event in the world, which will be held this Saturday and Sunday at Darling's Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, Maine. It will feature performers including Korn, Shinedown, Stone Sour, Skillet, Halestorm and Falling in Reverse.
Event to benefit 'SAVE,' build awareness for suicide prevention
Features Seethe, Koran, Shine down, Stone Sour, Skillet, Hailstorm, Falling In Reverse
Seether's 5th Annual Rise Above Fest, the largest suicide awareness event in the world, which will be held this Saturday and Sunday at Darling's Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, Maine. It will feature performers including Korn, Shinedown, Stone Sour, Skillet, Halestorm and Falling in Reverse.
The event will pay tribute to the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden.
"Losing another great rock voice to suicide yesterday is absolutely tragic and heartbreaking," Seether's Shaun Morgan said. "It's exactly why we are doing what we set out to do this weekend - to build awareness for this mental disease. I started this festival as a tribute to anyone who has lost someone. If this festival does something to help one person reconsider the tragic choice of suicide, then it will be the greatest success of my career. We will honor the memories of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell and dedicate this weekend to them."
Morgan, Rise Above Fest's founder, was honored in 2016 with the "Artistic Expression" Award from the National Council for Behavioral Health at the Awards of Excellence in Las Vegas.
Fifteen years deep into a consistent and rewarding career, Seether continues to thrive, pushing their creative boundaries while remaining true to their fiercely loyal, worldwide fan base. "Poison the Parish" is Seether at their very best, a gripping and self-assured affirmation of a quintessential hard rock band in peak form.
For Rise Above Fest tickets and information, visit Rise Above Fest.
For more information on Suicide Awareness Voices of Education ("SAVE"), visit SAVE.org.
In a crisis? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  New 'Marvel's Inhumans' trailer revealed at San Diego Comic-Con Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:13:58 -0400
A new "Marvel's Inhumans" trailer was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con. The highly anticipated new Marvel television series will bring the fan-favorite comic book series and a new kind of family drama to the small screen this fall on ABC.
'Marvel's Inhumans' will premiere on ABC Friday, Sept. 29
A new "Marvel's Inhumans" trailer was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con. The highly anticipated new Marvel television series will bring the fan-favorite comic book series and a new kind of family drama to the small screen this fall on ABC.
The network series premiere, including the first two episodes of "Marvel's Inhumans," will air Friday, Sept. 29 (8-10 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.
The legendary comic book series will be brought to life in a way that has never been done before, as a version of the first two episodes will be shown globally in IMAX theaters for a two-week period, beginning Sept. 1. ABC will then air the entirety of the series throughout this fall on the network, with additional exclusive content that can only been seen on ABC.
"Marvel's Inhumans" explores the never-before-told epic adventure of the royal family, including Black Bolt, the enigmatic, commanding king of the Inhumans, with a voice so powerful that the slightest whisper can destroy a city. After the Royal Family of Inhumans is splintered by a military coup, they barely escape to Hawaii, where they are greeted with surprising interactions with the lush world and humanity around them. Now they must find a way to reunite with each other and return to their home before their way of life is destroyed forever.
  Erie County: Household hazardous waste collection event coming Aug. 5 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:13:13 -0400
The Erie County Department of Environment & Planning, in cooperation with Erie Community College and the Northwest Solid Waste Management Board, has announced a household hazardous waste drop-off day will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Erie Community College North Campus in Williamsville.
Free event from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Erie Community College North Campus
The Erie County Department of Environment & Planning, in cooperation with Erie Community College and the Northwest Solid Waste Management Board, has announced a household hazardous waste drop-off day will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Erie Community College North Campus in Williamsville.
Due to high demand, participants should allow approximately one hour to be unloaded.
Enter from Wehrle Drive.
"These free collection events continue to be very popular and, while residents are encouraged to do their part to protect the environment through safe disposal of these items, we are also asking for their patience at the event as our volunteers work to unload cars," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. "We are all working towards a common goal with these events, and together we'll get the job done. So please plan on a little extra time on site to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
To expedite the process, residents attending the collection event should look carefully at what items will be accepted and bring only those things to the event."
Items that will be accepted for disposal include:
  • Pesticides, fertilizers, pool and household chemicals/cleaners (limit two gallons or 20 pounds)
  • Oil-based paints, spray cans (limit 10 gallons) *no latex paint*
  • Paint thinner, stripper and solvents (limit two gallons)
  • Batteries (lead acid and rechargeable)
  • Oil, gasoline, kerosene, antifreeze, automotive fluids (limit 10 gallons)
  • Mercury (thermometers, thermostats, metal)
For a complete list of acceptable and not-acceptable items, visit www.erie.gov/recycling.
Participants may need to verify that their waste products were generated by households.
This collection event is co-sponsored by the Northwest Solid Waste Management Board and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It is supported by Erie Community College, NOCO Energy Corp. and The Battery Post Inc.
  Collins, Higgins support measures to reduce 'unnecessary delays' at border Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:12:17 -0400
Congressmen Chris Collins and Brian Higgins sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan urging them to implement protocols that would reduce processing times at the northern border for commercial vehicles.
Congressmen Chris Collins and Brian Higgins sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan urging them to implement protocols that would reduce processing times at the northern border for commercial vehicles. A recent evaluation of existing programs found two protocols that would reduce processing times for trucks crossing the border, require all empty trucks to report via e-manifest and modernize the collection of the port of entry user fee.
"Our border is vital to the economic well-being of Western New York, and I support any steps to address the cause of delays and to find workable solutions," Collins said Thursday. "These recommended, common-sense reforms would free up resources to make the flow of traffic and goods over the border more efficient."
"The economies of Western New York and Southern Ontario are interconnected, and delays on our bridge crossings mean stalled economic opportunity," Higgins said. "These changes, which can be implemented quickly, are important steps in a comprehensive approach to improve northern border efficiency."
"Most people understand that congestion at international crossings, particularly truck congestion, is primarily due to customs procedures," said Ron Rienas, general manager of the Peace Bridge Authority. "These common-sense regulatory fixes should be implemented as soon as possible. Having customs officers collecting cash and manually inputting manifest data does nothing to enhance national security."
Since 2007, e-manifests have been a requirement for all trucks crossing the northern border at a land port of entry, except for those with empty containers. It is estimated one in six trucks (amounting to approximately 1 million in 2016) crossing the border had an empty container. CBP officers must manually process data for trucks crossing the border without an e-manifest, adding an additional 75 seconds per truck.
Trucks paying the port-of-entry user fees by transponder or by pre-paying can be processed up to 90 seconds faster than if paying by cash or credit card. At the Peace Bridge, approximately 10 percent of trucks pay by cash or credit card.
Officials said modernizing these protocols will lessen delays so that the U.S. and Canada can continue to share a robust economy. Collins and Higgins are supportive of implementing these procedures and urge CBP to look for additional fixes that will lessen border delays.
For a copy of the letter, click HERE.
  Theresa Elizabeth Insana Memorial Scholarship awarded Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:11:56 -0400
Niagara Falls High School seniors Kaitlyn Ivancic and Jeante Fitzsimmons were named the 2017 recipients of the Theresa Elizabeth Insana Memorial Scholarship. They were honored at a dinner Thursday at The Como Restaurant on Pine Avenue.
Niagara Falls High School seniors Kaitlyn Ivancic and Jeante Fitzsimmons were named the 2017 recipients of the Theresa Elizabeth Insana Memorial Scholarship. They were honored at a dinner Thursday at The Como Restaurant on Pine Avenue.
Ivancic has been a class officer, a member of the national honor Society, and participated in the drama club, and the All-County chorus. She has been an active member in her church and, as a result, founded the Anchored Bible Club, which has a purpose to connect others in relationships, serve the school and community, and grow in the gospel. Her "Serve Projects" include the Magdalene Project and the Summit Life Outreach Center.
Kaitlyn plans on pursuing a degree in social work from Roberts Wesleyan College and studying in Uganda for a year. She said she hopes to be able to start a program to help the children of Uganda who are victims of abuse and human trafficking.
Jeante was also awarded a scholarship, but unable to attend due to a prior leadership camp commitment. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the STEM program. She was a member of the soccer, basketball and track teams, and has done extensive volunteer work with many local charities, including AIDS Walk, Gay Pride, Renaissance Center, Boys and Girls Clubs and Evergreen Health.
Jeante was chosen to participate in the Tim Hortons Youth Leadership Program and was the recipient of the Presidential Education Award. She plans on attending Fredonia State University to pursue a degree in engineering, and said she hopes to be an inspiration to young women to strive through difficulties and pursue their dreams.
The Theresa Elizabeth Insana Memorial Scholarship was first awarded in 2005 following Insana's untimely death. Each year, two Niagara Falls high school graduating seniors are awarded a scholarship in her memory.
Theresa's father, Joseph, and her uncle, Tom, presented the awards.
  'Shooter' star Shantel VanSanten: 'We've far exceeded the action from last season' Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:27:36 -0400
Shantel VanSanten: "This season is something that I feel so excited about. I think it's so much better than the show that we had last year."
Season 2 premieres on USA Network
In BTS interview, VanSanten praises creative team for season two's approach to events threatening Swagger family, Julie's emotional state of being
Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
President Ronald Reagan once said, "History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap."
Indeed, a steep cost was paid by Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe), his wife, Julie (Shantel VanSanten), and their daughter, Mary (Lexy Kolker), in the first season of the USA Network series "Shooter." He was the fall guy for the U.S. government's mishandling of clandestine war activities: framed for attempted murder of the U.S. president and the assassination of the Ukrainian president, arrested, and forced to go on the run to clear his name - all while trying to stave off a bullet and keep his family alive.
Though he was exonerated for the assassination (foiling the plans of Russian spy Grigory Krukov and U.S. turncoats Jack Payne and Lon Scott in the process), Bob Lee once again finds himself in the crosshairs in season two (10 p.m. Tuesdays).
In a TV Line article/interview by Matt Webb Mitovich, "Shooter" Executive Director John Hlavin said season two would be inspired by "Time to Hunt," the third book in author Stephen Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger series.
Moreover, Chechen master sniper Solotov, the "Angel of Death," was revealed as the new threat. A past foil for Bob Lee and his troops, Solotov comes forward to hunt these soldiers in the aftermath of season one's events.
Bob Lee's family, meanwhile, is still recovering from the emotional scars of season one. In a recent interview with BTS, VanSanten revealed the Swaggers are still paying the price of aggression. Julie, in particular, is in emotional anguish as war, once again, comes to her door.
VanSanten, a talented actor, intellectual and photographer, also described her past few years, a time in which she starred in several high-profile projects.
"Shooter": The calm before the storm in season one. Pictured, from left: Ryan Phillippe as Bob Lee Swagger, Lexy Kolker as Mary Swagger and Shantel VanSanten as Julie Swagger. (USA Network photo by Dean Buscher)
Q: I'm excited for new episodes. A lot of shows don't see season two nowadays. Are you excited for the premiere?
Shantel VanSanten: I am. You know, it's really funny. This season is something that I feel so excited about. I think it's so much better than the show that we had last year.
And it's very true; a lot of times shows don't see season two. And a lot of times, they kind of die, if they do see a season two. So, it's been something that has lived up to any expectation and far exceeded the ones that I had probably set for season two.
I think I knew we had something really special with coming out with a show that highlighted the military, but in a way that was fun, because of the conspiracy theory aspect, and because we were coming off of the name of a movie, but based on books. There was just a lot for people to sink their teeth into.
It's 10 episodes that takes a hold of you and doesn't really let go. The action is nonstop and, somehow this season, we've far exceeded the action from last season (laughs). And the pace is similar, if not probably even more fast-paced. But I think because we didn't have to follow-up on the movie with this season, and Bob Lee didn't have to be on the run, and it could kind of stand alone as the show that we wanted it to be, I feel more excited for people to see what we've done with this season, because it feels different, but in the best possible way.
"Shooter": Shantel VanSanten as Julie Swagger (USA Network photo by Jeff Daly)
Q: You touched upon so many interesting things. Let me ask you about going from that first season, and it was so action-packed - it was so emotional - but you finish that first season; you go home and live your life; and then you have to come back for season two. Like you said, everything is ramped up and with higher stakes. What are the challenges of leaving it, coming back to it, and then having to take it to the next level?
Shantel VanSanten: I think the challenges were where do we find the characters, first and foremost. What world do they live in now? What are the effects of kind of what happened to them last season, because, yeah, they didn't bring it upon themselves. It's not as though it was a normal protocol for, "OK, Bob Lee's going overseas. He's going to be gone." It was very different. Our family was actually in danger and, you know, it put Julie behind a gun - in a way that I don't think she was prepared for. And we get to kind of see the effects of that this season. And I feel grateful that we're doing some things like that, and we're bravely writing the responsibility of the person who stands behind the gun as much as the responsibility in the act we see of the person in front of a gun. And the effects on the family.
So, our show has always had this wonderful, delicate balance on the humanness, and having the heart and emotion, along with all of the action. The reason I feel people related to the Swagger family or certain characters was because they do find ways to make sure that they humanize and relate to fears that are actually in our world today, you know military and caregivers.
Going into this season, it is a challenge, because what do we know? It feels like we kind of wrapped up last season. ...
We sat at a lunch with John (Hlavin), all four of us (including co-stars Omar Epps and Cynthia Addai-Robinson), like, "OK, what are we doing this season? How do we make this better?" And he explained to us his ideas, and we all decided right then and there that we were all going to show up and make this show better than anybody could ever have expected it to be for a second season.
It slowly - we're dying inside (laughs) - but it's been the challenge of a lifetime for everybody physically, mentally, emotionally, and I think that that will be seen as people watch this season. I watched the guys do their own stunts, and I'm constantly in awe and impressed, and I get to do a little bit of it all, as well. It's been really a lot of fun.
Now I'm begging the question of, "OK, if we get season three, now what do we do?" (laughs). It feels like, you know, how do we keep making a better and better show? And John Hlavin, our creator, really delivered this season on every single character. There's this internal pain and struggle and that manifests itself in such a physical way, and through so many different circumstances that it brings together a show that, once again, doesn't really let go of you, if you sit down to watch it.
"Shooter": Shantel VanSanten as Julie Swagger in the season two premiere. (USA Network photo by Isabella Voskmikova)
Q: You talk about the emotional challenges, and making it an authentic show - and an authentic experience for the viewer. We're talking about your character having to be in a lot of really intense situations, with her husband and daughter in danger; her own life at risk; like you said, having to take up arms. These are heavy things.
For you, what is the prep process? What does it take for you to get into the character and be in those moments?
Shantel VanSanten: Yeah, you know, in season one, the scene where I take the gun from Bob Lee and I'm the one who ... who kills Eddie McClintock's character, I remember feeling scared, you know, to be honest. I felt scared of how everybody was going to perceive it, because I didn't know. I'm a human being. I don't know - I didn't understand the justification, because I don't have a daughter. And all I could do was talk to everybody who did have kids, and say, "Is this something you would do?" And, "Could you actually fathom this?" Because I would never want our audience to look at my character and think - I feel a responsibility, I think, in our day and age, the minute you hold a gun, and the minute you take a life. Even if it's onscreen. It's there, and it's in people's heads.
And, you know, I'm even more happy that this season Julie struggles, a lot, with post-traumatic stress disorder, because of her actions. Because that is the true reality of it. It would never not affect somebody. It affects Mary, it affects her, and that is a constant theme for her this season, while their world is crumbling in on them again - and amidst everything - a new threat for their family - is that it all feels eerily similar. And I think that she wants to avoid everything that's she's feeling, and yet, somehow, still take responsibility for it all.
I'm so fortunate to get to play a character who I can really sink my teeth into. I walked into the writers' room this season, and I said, "Write me $hit that scares me. I want to be terrified when I read this, and not know how to do it, and dig into the depths of myself, and fight for Julie to find her way." And that's what they did. They definitely delivered.
In between the challenges of all the physicality, Julie is really struggling mentally. And, again, I feel grateful that we are responsible enough of a show to follow through, I guess, with a character, and the mental place that we find them in, even a year later.
"Shooter": Shantel VanSanten as Julie Swagger, and Ryan Phillippe as Bob Lee Swagger (USA Network photo by Jeff Daly)
Q: I want to ask you about you. We've talked about your character. I'm wondering about what the past few years have been like for you? If we go through the list: You were recurring on "The Flash," which is a huge series; I was in Toronto at Fan Expo Canada and saw you in the "Timeless" pilot; I loved your work in "Love Blossoms," in which you starred; now you're doing "Shooter." I know you've been a successful working actor for many years, but you're now working on bigger projects; you're getting starring roles; and you're really becoming a household name. How do you view all of that?
Shantel VanSanten: I didn't until you started saying it, and then I got chills.
I feel really grateful. You know? I think that - that's all I've ever wanted was to just work. To find jobs that help me evolve as a human being and as an actor. And sometimes they're light and fluffy and fun, and all of my family in Minnesota and the Midwest can watch my Hallmark movie, whereas some of them can't watch "Shooter."
It's just kind of about finding a balance. And I remember I had a really wonderful agent, whose name was Sheila, and a long time ago she told me - because, you know, you move to this town and set expectations for yourself based on people that you admire - and she said to me, "Your career has to be evolutionary, not revolutionary, because that's the same way that life is." You don't recover as well from revolutionary moments. You don't have very many of them. Instead, it's just a slow and constant evolution, where you go from job to job, and you meet people, and you discover a character, and you love them, and you play them, and you breathe life, and then they go away, and you find a new one. That's, I think, the struggle of being an actor, is finding any sort of consistency in a world where it doesn't exist for us and our jobs. And to have found any at all makes me extremely grateful.
I loved playing Patty on "The Flash." It was so much fun. And I miss it; and I would love to go back. But "Shooter" called me. I've been very fortunate to play on this.
"Love Blossoms" brought me over to Belgium, where I got to explore and travel and shoot a movie that was really lighthearted and a fun, romantic comedy - and one I needed after last season (laughs). Now I'm feeling I need another comedy after this season!
... I feel very fortunate that I've been able to work. That's all that really matters to me, is I get to keep doing what I love every single day. I said it today to somebody. I said, "You know, I can't really complain about working, because I love what I do. And I can't believe that I get to do this as a job."
WATCH:
  Kingdom Bound: Britt Nicole living life, making music for a greater good Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:27:12 -0400
Britt is one of the performers at this year's Kingdom Bound Music Festival at Darien Lake. She is slated to perform at 8:15 p.m. Friday, July 29, on the amphitheater stage.
Artist performing July 28 at Kingdom Bound Festival inside Darien Lake
Preview by Joshua Maloni
Managing Editor
Britt Nicole would never say this - heck, I'm pretty sure the thought has never crossed her mind.
But it's readily apparent to this writer that other musicians have watched Britt's music videos on YouTube and felt really silly.
Here she is, praying with others, encouraging people, telling us all that we're special, worthwhile and unique - actually striving to make the world a better place!
And there they are, singing about some ridiculous boy crush, fretting about clothes or dressed with inane costumes.
Their parents must be proud.
Now, it's not that those feelings and theatrics are wrong; it's just that these other artists could be doing more with their time, talent and platform.
For Britt, "I think it is important for people to know that they're loved," she said in a phone interview last week. "God's word says that the love of God draws people to repentance. I think that that is something I want to do, at my shows and when I meet people, is that I want them to feel loved. I think when they do then they can go, 'Man, I've got this area that I'm struggling with.' They feel that trust, you know, to open up. And we can go, 'Hey, let's talk about it. Let's pray about it. Let's see if there's some people around you that can help you get through that.'
"Yeah, I mean, I had definitely had times in school, in middle school and high school, that I was picked on or bullied, or just made to feel like I wasn't good enough. Different things like that. And I meet so many people who walk through those kinds of things, and even students, you know, they're walking though it right now. I want to just be their friend! You know? And go, 'Hey' I'm here. I know you don't know me, but I'm for you. I love you. I believe in you.'
"And just speaking that into somebody's life one time can change their whole life; to hear someone say that to them. Hopefully I can be that voice in their life."
That kind of beats dirty dancing in the club, don't you think?
That's not to say Britt couldn't go in another direction. She's an attractive young woman with a pop sound and a keen fashion sense. Some music industry types would be thrilled to dress her more seductively and pose her more provocatively; or sway her to sing about frivolous things and maybe have her start a feud with someone.
"I definitely, at times in my career, was put in some situations," she said. "I remember my music had crossed over to pop, which was awesome - and God totally opened the doors, and I look forward to the future and what he does with that, because I love (that type of music). ... If I have the opportunity to stand in front of those girls (idolizing these other pop stars), then I would say, 'God, I want to do it.' I want to be a voice to them. I pray that God continues to open doors.
"But I do remember times in my career - like I got to go to Japan with my first record. It had crossed over into their pop market there, and I remember doing this photo shoot, and they would say, 'We really need you to wear this,' or 'Kind of be more like this on the camera,' and I was just like, 'No.'
"I definitely remember being (pressured) on the first record. I was young at the time, and I wasn't probably as brave or as bold and outspoken as I am now, but I still made it known. I feel like now I would be like, 'Nope; I'm good.' You know? 'I don't need to do that.' But then it was like, 'Wow; this is very interesting. I've never been put in a situation like this.' "
"But for me, I choose to just be who God has called me to be," Britt said. "I don't look at other people around me and go, 'Oh, man, you shouldn't do that or this or whatever.' But, I know for me, who is the artist that God has called me to be - the woman that he has called me to be? ... I just try and live that out.
"Have I always done it perfectly? Of course not. But I try, and just show women that they are royalty. It's all of us. God said he made us a royal priesthood. He crowned us with glory and honor. I feel like a lot of that, especially girls, sometimes, they don't see themselves that way. And that shows in other areas, when they don't see themselves as who they really are."
Britt Nicole (Photo by Nikko La Mere)
Ironically, Britt's selflessness has made her music royalty. Earlier this month, the Grammy-nominated singer scored her seventh No. 1 single with the song "Be The Change." At that time, the song had been streamed more than 2.5 million times.
"You know, it's always so just encouraging that people want to play the songs and that they're connecting - and fans are connecting to it; and they're making it their own; they're living out the songs," Britt said. "And every time my label reaches out and goes, 'Hey, the song is No. 1,' I'm like, 'Yay!' It's so fun and so encouraging. If I ever go, 'Eh,' you know, 'I don't care,' I feel like that would definitely not be the right place to be in.
"I'm just always so grateful that people are enjoying the music, and they're responding to it. I'm super thankful."
The album's first single, "Through Your Eyes," also shot to No. 1.
Britt said the self-titled album "felt like a representation of my heart. I wrote songs only about my husband, about my kids, about my friends, my faith - every single area of my life was represented in that record - and it was my first record that I had ever written while being married and having kids. It's definitely a new process for me."
Of course, both songs have a ways to go before they reach "Gold" status. The video for Britt's 2013 single has been viewed more than 20 million times.
Still in disbelief, she said, "I don't usually keep up with all the views and everything - I see stuff here and there if I'm posting things, or whatever. But someone just told me that recently. They said, 'Man, I think your 'Gold' video is at 20 million views.' And I was like, 'Wow, that is amazing!' You know?
"It just shows you, obviously, that people are responding to that song and that message. It really did feel like the song that would never die - in a great way! Even (now) at every show, when I go into 'Gold,' people just - that's the moment that they love.
"It's a message that people need to hear. I wrote that song from that place. I remember being in the writing session and my friend said to me, 'Britt, I'm here to remind you that you're the apple of God's eye.' And I just started crying, because I was like, 'I know I believe that; that's true; but I don't feel like I'm really believing it.'
"And I said, 'Man, if I feel this way, then there's got to be other people that feel this way.' I just feel that people connect with that song, and they watch that video over and over and over again - or 'Lost Get Found' or other songs like that."
Britt Nicole (Photo by Nikko La Mere)
Britt is one of the performers at this year's Kingdom Bound Music Festival at Darien Lake. She is slated to perform at 8:15 p.m. Friday, July 29, on the amphitheater stage. Tickets and more information can be found HERE.
"It's so fun," she said. "Festivals are so different than touring, because you do, you get to see new artists every weekend, and hang out with friends that you haven't seen in a while. And then, the people are really there to have a great time. I think that's what makes the summer festivals so much fun. They're there riding rides and having a good time with their family.
"But it's so cool to see in those moments, too, that, in the midst of all that, that there's someone there who's hurting or broken and needs to see God just touch someone's life. And maybe they felt they were coming just to ride rides and have a good time, but then they see one of the artists that they love, and see God just really move in their life. And that's so special.
"So, I've always enjoyed doing the festivals, and I'm so excited to come see you guys!"
Get connected with Britt Nicole
  St. Vincent de Paul Society to open new store in Niagara Falls Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:05:22 -0400
The gift of a building from a Youngstown businessman will allow the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to resume retail operations in Niagara Falls.
The gift of a building from a Youngstown businessman will allow the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to resume retail operations in Niagara Falls.
Richard Hastings donated the former business school, located at 1601 Main St., not far from the Rapids Theater and the new Amtrak station.
In the fall of 2016, the society closed its Pine Avenue store in Niagara Falls. The building was unable to provide enough space for furniture sales, the type of items in the highest demand.
The new building is approximately 3,000 square feet, four times larger than the previous store, which the society rented. It also has an equal amount of space in the basement, which will be used for storage and may allow for future expansion.
Mark Zirnheld, executive director and CEO of the society, said, "This generous donation will allow us to continue our mission of love of God and love of neighbor in Niagara Falls.
"Mr. Hastings' connection to the society dates to when he was a young child," Zirnheld said. "He recalled his mother had gone to the St Vincent DePaul Store to get him a pair of school pants. He said that he has not forgotten that. Since the society was there for his family, he wanted to donate the building to the society to help us out with our mission in Niagara Falls."
The society is working with an architect to develop plans for the property. The grand opening will be announced at a later date.
Larry Brooks, president of the Western New York Society's board of directors, said, "We are grateful for Mr. Hastings' generosity. He shares our vision to open a store that will be available to the needy of Niagara Falls."
Until the new location opens, Vincent's Discount Store, operated by the society in Buffalo at 1298 Main St., is available for customers.
Buffalo's Diocesan Council, the second oldest of its kind in the U.S., is celebrating its 170th anniversary year and is the oldest continuously operating charity in Western New York. Since 1847, the society has been answering the need of the poor by providing donated clothing, furniture and household items.
  Glatz, Andres call on Lamar Inc. to pull 'lewd' billboard ad from downtown NT Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:31:54 -0400
A pair of city leaders are calling on one of the nation's top billboard advertising firms to pull what they call an offensive ad from downtown North Tonawanda after residents expressed shock at the ad's adult content.
A pair of city leaders are calling on one of the nation's top billboard advertising firms to pull what they call an offensive ad from downtown North Tonawanda after residents expressed shock at the ad's adult content.
The billboard - located on a prominent corner of North Tonawanda's Webster Street, part of the city's revitalized family-friendly downtown - touts a Cheektowaga business and features a scantily clad model peddling adult novelties. Lamar Advertising Co., of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, owns the billboard.
"This kind of advertising doesn't belong in North Tonawanda," Alderman-at-Large Jeff Glatz said. "We have worked hard to protect our city's family-friendly atmosphere. We are calling on Lamar to remove this sign immediately."
Niagara County Legislator Rich Andres, who has been involved with various downtown improvement projects for many years, stated, "We're in the midst of Canal Fest and tens of thousands of people are visiting our community, and this is not what North Tonawanda wants as their first impression."
Andres describes how he first became aware of the billboard's presence in just blocks away from city residences.
"As a father of a young family, I was mortified when my children began asking questions about the sign during a recent trip to the Canal Side Creamery," Andres said.
"This area has experienced a renaissance over the past several years, and this sign cheapens the entire downtown" Glatz added.
The billboard also has drawn the ire of the local business community.
Jay Soemann, president of the North Tonawanda Merchants Association, said, "Many of our local business owners have also commented on the billboard, and they are most definitely against having it in North Tonawanda."
Glatz and Andres said they are asking Lamar to remove and replace this advertisement with a more appropriate ad.
"In the future, we ask that they consider the location of the advertisement when placing their ads, keeping in mind the family friendly atmosphere we have here in North Tonawanda," Glatz said.
  NFMMC announces management appointments Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:20:48 -0400
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has announced several new appointments to its management team.
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has announced several new appointments to its management team.
Vicky D. Wideman, LMSW, was appointed director of inpatient social work.
A graduate of the University at Buffalo, with a master's degree in social work and a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor, Wideman most recently served as a family program manager and clinical supervisor at the Horizon Village campus of Horizon Health Services.
She is a recipient of UB's Julian Sodja Memorial Award and the Horizon Health Services President's Award.
Brian Jackson, NP, was named an administrative coordinator on Memorial's nursing staff.
Jackson, a nurse practitioner, holds a master's degree in family health from UB, where he also earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. He has extensive experience in both critical care and nursing management, and has taught nursing at Niagara University, Niagara County Community College and D'Youville College.
A 2016 Kaleida Health Nurse of Distinction, he is a member of the Professional Nurses Association of Western New York.
Christy Lynn Benjamin, RN, BSN, joins Memorial as director of inpatient behavioral health. Benjamin, who has more than 13 years of experience in hospital and outpatient behavioral health environments, most recently served as director of nursing at Haven Behavioral Hospital of Albuquerque (New Mexico).
She is a graduate of the Chamberlain College of Nursing, St. Louis.
  City of Niagara Falls uses award money for Hyde Park fish stocking Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:19:50 -0400
Mayor Paul A Dyster was joined by officials from the city's Department of Public Works on Thursday as 2,500 channel catfish were released into Hyde Park Lake. The lake, located in the second-largest municipal park in New York after New York City's Central Park, is an impoundment of Gill Creek, which is a tributary of the upper Niagara River.
Mayor Paul A Dyster was joined by officials from the city's Department of Public Works on Thursday as 2,500 channel catfish were released into Hyde Park Lake. The lake, located in the second-largest municipal park in New York after New York City's Central Park, is an impoundment of Gill Creek, which is a tributary of the upper Niagara River.
"Each year, the DEC stocks the lake with brown trout from the state hatchery, and that's a good thing, but that's mostly a 'put-and-take' fishery, where almost all the fish are caught and removed by anglers in the same year they are stocked," Dyster said. "What we're doing here is starting to work on creating a more sustainable sportfish population and a more balanced ecology."
The fish were purchased using funds from a $5,000 award the city received in June from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative for sustainability initiatives in small cities. The city received the award, funded by the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Wege Foundation, for its efforts at environmental restoration of the Hyde Park Lake.
The Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper has been the city's partner in efforts to control storm run-off, increase native vegetation, naturalize shorelines and improve bird and fish breeding habitat.
The catfish are juveniles roughly 6-to-8-inches long, purchased from Hickling's Fish Farm in Edmeston. Channel catfish growth rates vary depending on water temperature and availability of food, among other factors. They favor still waters, and are very tolerant of murky conditions like those that exist at Hyde Park Lake much of the time. They are known to favor flooded shorelines as feeding areas, and have a wide-ranging diet that includes a variety of food sources abundant in the lake, from small panfish to crayfish to aquatic insects.
"We're hoping fishermen will release the catfish for the first year or so and give them a chance to grow," Dyster said. "In the process, the fish will benefit the fishery by clearing out overabundant prey fish."
  Grace VanderWaal shares music video for 'Moonlight' Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:18:33 -0400
Thirteen-year-old singer/songwriter Grace VanderWaal unveils the official video for her infectious song "Moonlight" today. Featuring a concept that was visualized by Grace herself, the video was filmed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and directed by Blythe Thomas. Watch the video here: http://smarturl.it/MoonlightVideo.
Thirteen-year-old singer/songwriter Grace VanderWaal unveils the official video for her infectious song "Moonlight" today. Featuring a concept that was visualized by Grace herself, the video was filmed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and directed by Blythe Thomas. Watch the video here: http://smarturl.it/MoonlightVideo.
"Moonlight" is a taste of what's to come on Grace's debut album due to release later this year.
"I had so much fun making my very first music video. I really wanted a visual aspect to show the story behind the song, which is about having a friend go through depression and seeing them change as a result of it," Grace said. "You guys were really supportive about the song and I'm so thankful for that. A lot of people go through depression, so if you know someone who is, please try to reach out and let them know that you're there for them.
"The song is like a walk down memory lane and remembering just last year when everything was so magical that it almost felt like you were dancing in the moonlight. I hope you guys enjoy!"
Following in the theme of her music video, which includes appearances from many of Grace's friends and her sister, Grace is set to participate in DoSomething.org's "Treat Yo Friends" campaign. The mission of the campaign is very close to Grace's heart and is all about celebrating your friends and what makes them unique to combat social isolation and encourage individuality.
Grace was also recently nominated for Choice Next Big Thing for Teen Choice 2017.
"Moonlight"
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  Usain Bolt - world's fastest man - headlines IAAF Diamond League Track & Field coverage from Monaco on NBCSN Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:17:34 -0400
Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt is expected to compete in the men's 100m in his final IAAF Diamond League race before the World Track & Field Championships in August. Bolt has said the World Track & Field Championships will be his final competition before retiring.
Bolt to compete in his last race before World Track & Field Championships in August
NBC Sports Group continues coverage of the IAAF Diamond League Friday, July 21, from Monaco, live at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN and streamed live via authentication on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, and with a subscription to NBC Sports Gold's "Track and Field Pass." As part of its coverage, NBC Sports Gold will present exclusive bonus coverage of field events, highlights, replays and an exclusive 30-minute preview of the event.
Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt is expected to compete in the men's 100m in his final IAAF Diamond League race before the World Track & Field Championships in August. Bolt has said the World Track & Field Championships will be his final competition before retiring.
Coverage is also highlighted by reigning Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz competing in the men's 1500m, U.S. champion Vashti Cunningham in the women's high jump, and U.S. champion Ajee Wilson in the women's 800m.
Jim Watson handles the call, joined by Kellie Wells and Paul Swangard.
  Kiwanis Club of Niagara-Wheatfield awards scholarships Thu, 20 Jul 2017 11:59:21 -0400
Two Niagara-Wheatfield graduating seniors are the recipients of scholarships awarded by the Kiwanis Club of Niagara-Wheatfield. Both Madison Klondonas and Perya Bhagchandani earned a $1,000 award from the organization.
Two Niagara-Wheatfield graduating seniors are the recipients of scholarships awarded by the Kiwanis Club of Niagara-Wheatfield. Both Madison Klondonas and Perya Bhagchandani earned a $1,000 award from the organization.
Madison and Perya, along with their families, were invited to a scholarship dinner at Jack's Backyard Grill, where they were presented with their awards.
Officials report 50 percent of the scholarship application is based on a student's community service, both in and out of school.
Madison will attend St. John Fisher College for English education, while Perya will attend the University of Rochester to study neuroscience. The two girls are close friends and will be able to stay in touch, as their respective schools are in the Rochester area.
Kiwanis is a community service organization dedicated to serving the children of the world.
  PHOTOS: Ziggy Marley, Cyro Baptista, Philip Burke, Brit Floyd at Artpark Thu, 20 Jul 2017 11:48:23 -0400
Classic rock, pop-rock-reggae, world music and a Slyboots Circus took center stage at Artpark this week.
Classic rock, pop-rock-reggae, world music and a Slyboots Circus took center stage at Artpark this week.
The Lewiston performing and visual arts venue hosted acclaimed Pink Floyd tribute act Brit Floyd as part of its "Tuesdays in the Park" concert series. The band performed two sets - the second featuring a striking laser light show and creative videos - while covering songs from a half-dozen albums.
Ziggy Marley took the mic on Wednesday, impressing the crowd with his musical versatility and energy. Prior to his performance, Cyro Baptista and his Banquet of the Spirits presented a cavalcade of percussion instruments, while Buffalo's Slyboots Circus entertained in the courtyard.
World-renowned artist Philip Burke returned to Artpark to paint Marley.
(Photos by Joshua Maloni)
Brit Floyd
Slyboots Circus
Bentley from 103.3 "The Edge"
Cyro Baptista
Ziggy Marley
Philip Burke