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Wallenda on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel"

   When Nik Wallenda walks an 1,800-foot cable above Niagara Falls this summer, his biggest challenge won’t be the mist or wind in his face – it’ll be the first step of his historic feat.

   "The first step’s definitely the hardest one,” Wallenda said Tuesday on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. “After the first step’s over you’re there, you’re committed. After the first step, you’re not gonna turn around and come back. Youre just gonna go.” 


   Wallenda this week got a taste of the national fame he’s expected to bring to the falls when he walks the wire sometime between June and September.

   The stuntman and father told legendary Sports Illustrated reporter Frank Deford, now working with HBO, that his parents used to shake his practice cable to prepare him for the surprises he might face on the wire.

   “When I was younger, I’d be walking the wire and all of a sudden something would hit me from the side and it would be a pinecone. Or a football would fly in front of my face,” Wallenda told Deford. ”And it as my parents. You ever knew what was coming at you. And it as my parents trying to distract you so I would be prepared for anything.”

   The partiarch of the famous family, Karl, died in a 1978 wire-walking accident in Puerto Rico, though the younger Wallenda rarely mentions the accident and stresses the intense training and safety measures that precede his walks.

   "We're trained our entire lives ever since I was little -- even at 2 years old, when I could barely talk -- that when I get off of a wire, I grab the wire,” Wallenda told The Buffalo News in August. “It's very peaceful, actually, out on the wire, because it's just me and myself. All the troubles of the world go away, because it's just me and that wire."

   To see Wallenda practicing his wire-walking techniques, watch a trailer of the HBO special.

   Wallenda was scheduled to be in Albany today meeting with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s senior staff and state safety officials. He hasn’t set a date for the walk, but officials on both sides of the border are busy preparing for their day in the national spotlight.

   -News Niagara Reporter Charlie Specht


Live blog of Niagara Falls City Council meeting at 4 p.m.

   Join me tonight for a live blog of the Niagara Falls City Council meeting. The work session begins at 4 p.m. and the regular meeting begins at 7. Most of the decisions are made at the 4 p.m. meeting, while the 7 p.m. meeting includes more public input. 

   Read the meeting agenda here and the resolutions to be voted on here

   The council will vote to approve temporary lighting for the Hope VI housing project, which I wrote about this weekend

   The council will also receive an update from a representative of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the agency's base. A new border patrol station on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station has been discussed but not approved. 

  -News Niagara Reporter Charlie Specht


Live blog: Niagara Falls State of the City address at 5:30

   Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster, four months after his re-election, delivers his State of the City address at 5:30 p.m.

   Dyster, who recently became the city's first two-term mayor in two decades, ran on a platform of infrastructure improvements and development in the downtown core.

   The city has a number of development initiatives on tap for this year, including what officials are calling the first mixed-use, downtown structure since the 1970s Urban Renewal era.

   The public is invited to attend the speech, which will be given at Conference Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls St. Reservations are not required. Otherwise, join us right here at 5:30 p.m. to hear what Mayor Dyster has to say about the State of the City.


    -News Niagara Reporter Charlie Specht (


Live blog of Niagara Falls City Council meeting at 4 p.m.

   After a week's hiatus, our live blog is back tonight for the 4 p.m. work session and 7 p.m. meeting of the Niagara Falls City Council

   You can read the council agenda here and the see the resolutions lawmakers will be voting on here.

   Niagara County Industrial Development Agency Chairman Henry Sloma will give a presentation on a central business district marketing plan.

   Mayor Paul A. Dyster's department heads will give updates on the search for a new fire chief, human resources director and community development director. I written about the city's difficulty in finding a fire chief.

   City Engineer Jeffrey Skurka is also expected to give the council an update on the Pine Avenue lighting project.

   -News Niagara Reporter Charlie Specht