Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — For more than 10 years I have used my final opinion opportunity before Christmas to present annual “gifts” to people in the community or in the news. There’s usually 12-15 presents, many of which need no explanation, but I’ll provide insight on my generosity where it’s needed.
Some of the gifts are truly heartfelt, but as you’ll soon see some of these are offered with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
So kick back, relax and take a look at what’s in Santa Hopkins’ gift bag for 2012.
To Sandy Pfohl: A year free of disaster. It was terrible when this woman, who runs a not-for-profit animal sanctuary, watched in horror as the sanctuary barn burned to the ground, killing dozens of creatures she had helped save. Then she had the misfortune of losing a truck to fire just a few months later. That seems like cruel and unusual punishment.
To area concert goers: A fantastic lineup of acts for the 2013 Labatt Canal Concert Series at its new location. I have my wish list; I’m sure there are thousands who have their own fantasy lineup.
To the YMCA and Lockport Library: A satisfactory resolution to the parking situation behind their buildings on concert nights.
To the Lockport Police Department: Less “boofing” on the city streets. Most of us in the newsroom learned a new word recently when we reported on the arrest of a man for possession of marijuana. He had concealed the substance in his anus, and couldn’t retrieve it, requiring police to bring him to the Eastern Niagara Hospital - Lockport emergency room where personnel there removed 12 ounces of the stuff. “Boofing,” we learned, is the street term for concealing drugs in that area where the sun doesn’t shine. I think, for the benefit of everyone involved, the less boofing the better.
To local hockey players: Substantial progress on a downtown Lockport ice arena. It’s incredible to think that the closest sheet of ice to downtown is nearly 15 miles away, at the Northtown Center in Amherst. There are enough hockey players, figure skaters and recreational skaters in eastern Niagara County to support a facility. Fortunately, with September’s announcement that a major source of funding had been secured, it’s looking better that we’ll see a rink, although I don’t think there will be enough time to open a facility before 2014.
To local hockey fans: An immediate end to this insipid NHL lockout.
To the residents of Olcott: More visitors, intrigued by the hamlet’s designation as an “Ultimate Fishing Town.”
To the staff and board of the Niagara County SPCA: Continued success in bouncing back from the scandal — broken by Greater Niagara Newspapers — that caused its director and board to step down. A Lockport native, Amy Lewis is helping to steer them back in the right direction and they’ve already made leaps and bounds.
To Walmart officials: Expedited construction of the new super Walmart, before the seagulls return to nest.
To local shoppers: A predator with a taste for seagull to take up residence at the former Lockport Mall site.
To those who used to ride f NFTA Bus Route 201: That they find the service offered by Rural Niagara Transportation to be satisfactory.
To local farmers and wineries: More rain than we saw in spring and summer of 2012. (But not on the weekends.)
To the Niagara County Legislature: A smack to the back of their collective heads for failing to represent the people who elected them and instead wasting everyone’s time by finding new ways to thumb their noses at each other on the public’s time.
To Congressman-elect Chris Collins: The courage to do what is right for his constituents and a healthy aversion to party politics.
To the readers of the US&J: A happy, healthy, safe and Merry Christmas, and I mean that form the bottom of my heart.John J. Hopkins is the managing editor of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. His column appears on Sundays. Contact Mr. Hopkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.