Niagara Falls

Official ribbon cutting ceremonies were held this morning for the Niagara County Community College Culinary Center, located in part of the old Rainbow Mall in downtown Niagara Falls.

Numerous dignitaries took part in today's ceremonies for the 90,000 square-foot facility, which includes state-of-the-art teaching and demonstration kitchens and laboratories, a student-run restaurant, pastry shop, deli, and wine boutique. There is also a theater and a culinary-themed bookstore.

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

Voters in Niagara Falls on Tuesday will be deciding on a multi-million dollar bond issue for the improvement of the region's schools.

A project titled "Inventing Tomorrow" would provide $67 million dollars for repairs, increased security, greater energy efficiency and many other improvements to the city's schools. The money for the program will come from state coffers and not local tax money. Voters last year turned down a $130 bond issue for similar purposes.

The money, if not approved, will be spent on other school districts in the state.

Search for man continues near Niagara Falls

Sep 20, 2012
WBFO News file photo

Authorities have resumed their search for a man who reportedly was seen in the Niagara River near the brink of Niagara Falls and may have been swept over. 

New York State Park Police say witnesses reported seeing the man go into the river at Niagara Falls State Park around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

Police and firefighters searched the riverbank near the brink of the falls, and a helicopter from the  Erie County Sheriff's office searched the river below the falls. 

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

Niagara Falls, Ontario police have determined that a woman whose body was found at the base of the Falls is a murder victim.

The cause of death has not been determined, and authorities are requesting help in identifying the body. The individual's age appears to be between 20 and 40. She possesses a pierced navel and a cesarean scar.

Police are reviewing missing persons files in hopes of a connection.

The Niagara County Coroner released results of an autopsy Tuesday revealing the cause of death of 5-year-old Isabella Sarah Tennant.  

Niagara County Coroner Cindy-Lou Joyce tells WBFO & AM-970 News Tennant died from "asphyxiation due to mechanical obstruction of the airway and compression of the neck."

Two teenage boys,  16-year-0ld John Freeman and 18-year-old Tyler Best, appeared in Niagara Falls City Court Tuesday morning for an arraignment on charges related to the death of Tennant.

Both entered not guilty pleas.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Daredevil Nik Wallenda is back in the City of Niagara Falls for the first time since his high-wire stunt over the Horseshoe Falls two months ago.

The purpose of the visit is to scout out possible locations for a family entertainment center.  While the attraction could end up on either side of the river, Wallenda says his heart is on the U.S. side.  

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

The Love Canal region of Niagara Falls is once again receiving scrutiny.

Students of the former 93rd Street School have begun to compare notes on a variety of health issues that have arisen amongst them. The school was located in the Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area and was razed in the 1970's.

A community meeting is being scheduled for Tuesday evening at the Evening Star Concert Hall.

Anyone who feels that they have been affected by exposure to chemicals near the school are welcome to attend.

Niagara Falls is staying about the same height while the buildings looking down on it from the Ontario side are continuing to rise.  

The Niagara Falls, Ontario City Council has cleared the way for two massive, linked hotel towers looking down on the Falls.

Niagara Falls, Ontario Mayor Jim Diodati said they will be pitched to Asian tourists, a rapidly-increasing segment of the tourism crowds arriving in the Canadian Cataract City.

The mayor and other city officials went to China, Abu Dhabi and Dubai looking for investment and tourism last year. 

WBFO News file photo

Highwire walker Nik Wallenda is apparently thumbing his nose at the City of Niagara Falls.

New York State legislation that paved the way for Wallenda's stunt last month required the City be reimbursed for providing public safety.

But Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said Wallenda still owes taxpayers more than $25,000 for overtime costs.

"A total cost for us.  This is just public safety overtime stemming from the event itself," said Mayor Dyster.

Wallenda told the Buffalo News "it's just disgusting and sad [that Niagara Falls is asking for money.]"

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hosted a roundtable discussion in Niagara Falls Tuesday morning to discuss ways for business leaders and elected officials to improve cross-border commerce.

Local stakeholders and area business leaders gathered in the City of Niagara Falls Tuesday  to attend a roundtable discussion on improving cross-border commerce hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. 

Gillibrand was joined by Rep. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Brian Higgins to discuss trade barriers and opportunities in tourism across the U.S./Canada border.  

New York Council for the Humanities / via Flickr

Niagara Falls, New York is testing a novel approach to attract new residents. City leaders are offering to pay the student debt of 20 recent graduates in exchange for two years of residency.

According to a recent New York Times study, 94 percent of recent graduates have student debt, adding up to more than a $1 trillion nationwide.

Arrest made in Falls hit and run

Jun 28, 2012

Niagara Falls police have made an arrest in connection with a June 18th hit-and-run which claimed the life of a young mother.

An arraignment is scheduled later this morning for 55-year-old Francis Maikranz for allegedly leaving the scene of the deadly crash along Hyde Park Boulevard.

Nicole Rodriguez and her six-year-old son were injured while crossing the road.

Rodriguez died later from those injuries.

Chris Caya WBFO/AM 970

Long-overdue maintenance work is in on the way for some bridges in Niagara Falls. 

Mayor Paul Dyster says the project will not only prolong the life of the spans, it will help create jobs in a region where unemployment is 8.5 percent.

"Trying to move as many of these construction projects  forward as possible is one of the ways, that we, in local      government, can contribute to try and put people to work  at this critical time," Dyster said.

Photos by Eileen Koteras Elibol l WNED Art Director l Photographer

Nik Wallenda completed his high-wire walk over Niagara Falls in a little more than 25 minutes Friday night.

Daniel Robison / WBFO

Niagara Falls, N.Y. sees Nik Wallenda’s Friday night wirewalk as its best chance in decades to revive tourism and spark economic development.

But measuring Wallenda’s long-term impact may be tough - assuming there’s an impact at all.

“Part of our mystique”

The Daredevil Museum in Niagara Falls, N.Y. is a shrine to those who have tried to conquer the natural wonder.

WBFO News photos by Daniel Robison

This is a big business week in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Anthony Annunziata, Marketing Vice President, says his customers will have the best view of the walk  from the Marriott Gateway at the Falls and the Marriott Fallsview hotels.

That's more than 800 rooms looking out at the Falls and the walk.

Perhaps the biggest event on the hotel calendar in the Ontario Cataract City is New Year's Eve. Annunziata believes this will be as big and and the hotel room rates will be high.

WBFO News photos by Daniel Robison

Law enforcement and emergency service agencies in Ontario have signed-off on an "integrated public safety plan" for Nik Wallenda's wire walk June 15.

Niagara Parks Police Chief Douglas Kane said the crowd for the rare event over the Horseshoe Falls will likely be "wall-to-wall."

As Nik Wallenda's walk across the Niagara Gorge gets closer, park authorities on both sides of the gorge are unveiling their plans for June 15.

Officials are expecting thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of people to show up and see what is expected to be a 35-40 minute walk by the aerialist across the gorge. That means thousands of pedestrians and the need to find space for thousands of cars.

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

Rescue crews from Canada and the US responded to a report of a man caught in the whirlpool currents near the Falls on Saturday afternoon.

Witnesses claim that a 22 year old Asian male fell into the water at the Niagara Glen nature preserve on the Canadian side. Crews used water craft and helicopters to search for the man. He was spotted in the water but was pulled under from the currents before he could be rescued. He never resurfaced.

The rescue effort was suspended Saturday evening.

With two apparent suicide attempts in two days at Niagara Falls, mental health experts say more may be forthcoming.

Every year, a large number of people use the waterfall to kill themselves, with the attempt by a 40-year-old man on Monday one of the few where the jumper survived. Police say there are many suicide attempts at the Falls each year, but not all are reported.

For the second time in two days, there is a report of a person going over Niagara Falls, this time on the American side.

New York State Park Police are investigating the report of a second person going over just after 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.  Police say they are interviewing witnesses, who say the person who went over was an adult, but police tell WBFO and AM 970 there is no further information at this time.

Authorities say due to the rocks below the American Falls, chances of survival are slim. However, a search for a body continues.

Daniel Robison / WBFO

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda concludes his public practices Tuesday in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Over the last week, Wallenda has invited spectators to watch him prepare for his June 15 wirewalk over Horseshoe Falls.

But almost a month before the main event, Wallenda's presence is already inspiring an eclectic atmosphere in this hard scrabble city of 50,000.

"Great for the city"

Niagara County's political wars aren't being suspended while Nik Wallenda readies for his walk above the Niagara Gorge.

State Senator George Maziarz and Assemblyman John Ceretto were sponsors of legislation to allow the Wallenda walk to take place.

Both have criticized City Hall and Mayor Paul Dyster, saying they aren't properly supporting the event.

Dyster found a defender in City Council Member Kristen Grandinetti.

mike desmond/wbfo news

Some improvements still need to be put in place, but some Niagara Falls residents and public officials took time yesterday to celebrate the new LaSalle Waterfront Park.

Built on what was once the Century Club on Buffalo Avenue just south of the Grand Island Bridge, the park gives the public some rare access to the river.
"Finally, this park has come to fruition," said Niagara Falls Councilman Charles Walker.

Man survives jump into Niagara Falls

May 21, 2012

A man is alive, but badly injured, after plunging into Niagara Falls.

Niagara Parks Police says witnesses saw the man climb over the retaining wall above the Horseshoe Falls and enter the waters below without any sort of protective device around 10:20 this morning.  He was then seen surfacing in the lower Niagara River.

An officer located the man near the shoreline as the Niagara Falls Fire Department, the Niagara Regional Police Service and Niagara E.M.S. arrived at the scene. He was extricated at 12:16 p.m. and taken via  ORNGE air ambulance to Hamilton General Hospital.

At network's insistence, Wallenda to be tethered

May 21, 2012
Daniel Robison/WBFO

Daredevil Nik Wallenda says he's not happy about it but he'll probably be tethered to the tightrope that he plans to walk over Niagara Falls next month.

Wallenda says Monday that ABC is adamant about making him wear the safety device out of concern for viewers who tune in to the network's three-hour, prime-time special on June 15.

He says he's upset by the condition because he's never worn a tether during a performance and it will give him another thing to contend with as he walks through the mist and wind over the waterfall.

Wallenda's wire walk to be televised nationally

May 11, 2012

The daredevil walk of Nik Wallenda over Niagara Falls has been turned into a primetime network event.  

ABC announced today that it will devote its entire primetime schedule on June 15 to a three hour special as Wallenda attempts to walk over the falls on a tightrope. 

Meanwhile, in Niagara Falls, outside the Seneca Niagara Casino, preparations are underway for the high-wire walk.  Construction of a 1,200- foot high wire and spectator seating is underway. 

A Niagara Falls man is safely in custody after authorities talked him down from the roof of a 7th Street home.

The man is a suspect in stabbing incident, and he barricaded himself on the roof as police closed in on him. SWAT team members were called in to handle the situation. After more than eight hours and a near fall from the peak, the man was safely convinced to surrender.

The identity and condition of the suspect have not been released.

File Photo / WBFO, AM 970 News

A Niagara Falls police officer, who is appealing a criminal conviction, is suing the city for the loss of his job.

Mark Feldhousen was 58 years old when he was transferred from a streets detail to a desk job two years ago. His suit alleges that the city discriminated against him based on age in the transfer.The suit, however, makes no mention of his 2011 conviction on third-degree assault charges filed by an ex-girlfriend.

Motions for the transfer began shortly after that conviction.

The suit was filed just this past week.