• UNITED FRONT: Officials with the newly merged United Way of Greater Niagara kicked-off the 2019 annual fundraising campaign late last week. The drive, which runs through Nov. 29, marks the first campaign since the organization joined forces with United Way’s Tonawanda chapter earlier this year. Michael Sigurdson of Wegmans and Marcus Latham of the Niagara Falls City School District emphasized the many ways you can support UWGN, from volunteering and community presentations to making a monetary contribution. A goal hasn’t been set for 2019 but the organization typically tries to raise about $1 million. It’s a worthy operation to donate to — United Way of Greater Niagara currently serves 30 organizations throughout Niagara County. To donate to the United Way’s 2019 campaign, visit uwgn.org or call 731-4580.

• MEMORIAL SERVICES: Thanks to the efforts of local emergency responders, we’ll ‘never forget’ the Sept. 11 attacks. In the Falls, city firefighters gathered for the 18th year to commemorate the 9/11 attacks. In parade dress uniforms, standing next to the Falls Firefighters Memorial Park and in front of a piece of a girder recovered from Ground Zero at the Trade Center site, speakers described the dedication to duty and service shown by the 343 New York City firefighters and 60 New York City and New York-New Jersey Port Authority police officers who died that day. In Lockport, Wednesday was also a day of solemn remembrance as emergency responders and guests gathered at Lockport City Hall to remember those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The ceremonies are a much-appreciated gesture in the community.

• FLIGHT OF FIVE: It was pretty cool to see the gates installed on to lock 68, the third lock in the Flight of Five, this past week. It should be even cooler to see them in action. We’ll get one chance in 2019 — Locktoberfest on Sept. 28, according to David Kinyon, president of the nonprofit Locks Heritage District Corporation. The demonstration will follow a locks dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. The Erie Canal are then slated to close Oct. 16. Busy on Sept. 28? Have no fear — LHDC is evaluating its tours and demonstrations for 2020 that take advantage of the third operational Flight of Five lock.

• CAT KILLING: Here’s another local case that has us shaking our heads — a Buffalo man is facing animal cruelty and child endangerment charges for hanging his family’s cat and sending photos of the deceased animal to two juveniles via text. Antonio Martin, 40, of Buffalo, now faces one count of aggravated cruelty to animals, a class E felony, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail. What more can you say about this case?

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