By Don Glynn
Niagara Gazette — Karl Rove, one of former President George W. Bush's top advisors, took time before a speaking engagement in Buffalo this past week, to attend a fundraiser at a Lewiston Heights residence.
Rove addressed some 500 persons at the Montante Cultural Center on the Canisius College campus Monday night when he predicted, among other things, that GOP candidate Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama in a close election this year.
Prior to that talk at Canisius, Rove told reporters that President Obama had railroaded the economic stimulus bill (crafted by Democrats) through the legislative channels with virtually no input from the Republicans.
Earlier in the day, Rove's itinerary included a sidetrip for a luncheon hosted by Jeffrey and Jerome Williams at 551 Mountain View Drive, Lewiston.
The invitation (in case you didn't get one) promised "lunch, cocktails, cigars and candid conversation" with Rove for $1,000 per person or $1,250 per couple. It wasn't immediately clear who would benefit from the proceeds.
Rowe, as you know, is often described as "The Architect," the deputy chief of staff and senior advisor in the Bush administration. Today, Rove also is a Fox News contributor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal.
REUNION IN NEVADA: What happens in Las Vegas doesn't always stay in that resort. In fact, the word has already spread to the Cataract City about an outing there next month that has nothing to do with gambling.
It's the annual "Niagara Falls Picnic" which has been coordinated for years by John Amendola, whose family operated a Pine Avenue printing business for decades.
Obviously, ex-Niagara area residents who have moved to Las Vegas comprise the majority of those at the picnic. Still a number of current residents here have attended over the years, especially when they find reasonable air fares.
Local musician Lew Custode, his wife, Marie, their daughter, Christina, and his brother, Anthony, will be among those at the Oct. 7 outing (set this year in Paradise Park, E. Tropicana and McCloud, Las Vegas). Lew, Christina and Anthony also plan to participate in the jam session. Phil Leo, son of Joseph Leo, who moved to Vegas years ago, is coordinating the session.
Amendola said the idea for an out-of-state Niagara Falls picnic had its roots in 1978, when a gathering was held in Los Angeles. That event was hosted by Carmie and Tommie Tedesco, the legendary guitarist.
Later, Amendola met with Tony Alotta who happened to have a book with the names of some 50 persons from Niagara Falls living in Las Vegas, After updating the 10-year-old list, Amendola was pleasantly surprised when about 100 persons showed up for the picnic. Subsequently, Amendola, using Tedesco's list from the Golden State, boosted the next year's attendance to 150. " It eventually drew 250 people to the American Club (in Vegas), complete with musicians from Niagara Falls," Amendola said. He ticked off a partial list: the Marillo Brothers, Joe and Tony, the DalPortos, Joe, Angelo and John, Dr. Sam Morealle, Roy Fintz, Tony Finali, and Frank Rotella, Others attending that day included Don Duffy, Frank Amendola, Tony Fera and Frank Aversa.
Anyone needing information about the picnic can reach the coordinator via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GLOBAL MISSION: Overheard in the cafeteria of Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Lewiston: "I admire the Pope. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can tour without an album," a pilgrim commenting on Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Lebanon.Contact Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.