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Witryol touts need for campaign finance reform

Amy H. Witryol, Lewiston resident and Democratic candidate for the 62nd state Senate district, speaks to a crowd of about 20 people outside North Tonawanda City Hall this afternoon.

NORTH TONAWANDA --The Democratic challenger running against Republican State Sen. George D. Maziarz continued her call for campaign finance reform during a campaign stop this afternoon.

Standing in front of North Tonawanda City Hall, Amy H. Witryol of Lewiston said she believes the state's campaign finance laws have so many loopholes and allow so much money into the system, the influence from ordinary voters is diminished.

"This, in my view, is one of the major causes of the problems in the state of New York," Witryol said in front of a crowd of about 20 people. "We have a system that’s an obstacle to challengers to incumbents and to people who have different experiences and expertise to bring to the Legislature. And that’s why I'm running -- to change that."

Witryol also took aim at money she said has been raised by Maziarz, a 15-year incumbent and Newfane resident who is a former North Tonawanda city clerk and a city native.

If elected, the former banking industry executive said the first piece of legislation she would introduce would be a bill that would return unspent campaign funds at the end of each election cycle to the district covered by that office.

The name of the bill: "You Can't Take It With You."

"Legislators can take all of the money they raised while in office and use it to make money when they leave office by lobbying with it," she said. "That’s got to change."

Campaign finance reform has been the most pronounced message from Witryol's campaign in the race for the 62nd Senate District, which covers all of Niagara County, except for the City of Niagara Falls, as well as Orleans County and a section of western Monroe County.

According to the most recent filings with the state Board of Elections, Maziarz's campaign account has $698,971 on hand, while Witryol's campaign account has $8,919.

Speaking of campaign finance, here's a story from August by my colleague Thomas Prohaska about Maziarz's campaign coffers.

Here's a story from July when Witryol joined the race.

--Aaron Besecker

Video and Audio: Independent film shooting in Falls


Director Ken Cosentino shoots a scene with actress Lizzy Bruno at a house on Ferry Avenue in Niagara Falls for the independent film "CRIMSON: The Motion Picture." (Charles Lewis /Buffalo News)

The Niagara Weekend section in this Sunday's Buffalo News will feature a story about some area filmmakers working on a movie about a comic book artist-turned-vigilante.

Dubbed "CRIMSON: The Motion Picture," the film is currently in production in Niagara Falls, and has also shot in Lewiston and Greece, N.Y.

Here's a video with interviews with the filmmakers during a day of shooting in late September inside and outside a home on Ferry Avenue in the Falls:

Director Ken Cosentino further describes the plot of CRIMSON in this audio clip:

Listen to writer Michael Shimmel talk about the origin of the story:

Here's actor/producer James Ventry describing what it was like taking on his first acting role:

Here's a teaser for the film from YouTube:

Find out more about the film at, and don't forget to check out Sunday's Niagara Weekend section for the front-page feature story.

--Aaron Besecker