Memorial to begin parking garage renovations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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!

Image of the Day – February 9, 2017


Do yourself a favor and plan an evening at Gallo.
800 Center St. Lewiston, New York 14092
Find them on Facebook – HERE  or on their website – HERE

Friends don’t let friends miss Gallo [by Craig Avery]

I lived in Lewiston for 22 years and loved all the great places to eat. Of course, each meal ended with a trip to Hibbard’s custard. But now that I’m hanging in the big city of Niagara Falls, I rarely head 10 minutes north to eat anymore. So enter my buddy, Michael Hibbard, a new restaurateur with a trendy idea.

Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen on Center Street has fresh salads with greens I can’t pronounce, meatballs, hot pretzels, chicken dishes, pasta to kill for, and that’s just the start. The featured item is the coal fired thin crust pizza with a huge variety of toppings fit for all tastes. A full bar and tremendous wine list keeps patrons comfortable to hang out and chill with friends and neighbors. I counted 12 folks who needed a “how ya doing?” when I walked in with my daughter and a friend of hers. Of course I got the eye roll from my daughter because I talk to too many people.

The staff is welcoming and efficient, the place is comfortable and clean, and it smells great. We had salads and a pesto pizza, I really didn’t want to stop eating, but after Super Bowl weekend, I can’t take it anymore! Cheers to Michael and his family on a great operation, I’m truly sorry it took me so long to get there.

Do yourself a favor and plan an evening at Gallo. 800 Center St. Lewiston, NY 14092.

Find them on Facebook – HERE  or on their website – HERE

Image of the Day – January 10, 2017

Wanna get away? To book your own kayak fishing adventure, go to tell them you saw this video!

Barracuda wins tug-of-war (by Craig Avery)

My nephew and his son decided to do a little deep sea fishing in kayaks just off Del Ray Beach, Florida.

The guide had roots in Western New York, so you know they were well taken care of. I’m not gonna write much about this, the video says it all.What I think is exceptional is how calm everybody was when a guy falls out of a boat surrounded by big fish with big teeth!

The three amigos in this episode seem to handle things rather routinely.

Here’s the screen play:

Scene 1: Guy gets pulled out of boat by big fish, guide says, “you’re ok.”
Scene 2: Son paddles over to get fishing pole from dad in water.
Scene 3: Son lands fish while dad gets back in boat.
Scene 4: They take a picture of the fish.

They live in the South, and I guess things just don’t rattle them as much as us Yankees.

  Wanna get away?  To book your own kayak fishing adventure, go to tell them you saw this video!

Introducing “The HamCam” – Celebrating Development Progress

Introducing NiagaraHub’s “HamCam,” celebrating progress weekly on the Hamister project. Check in next Friday to help us measure success!