“How cool would that be to walk a wire across Niagara Falls!” Those were the thoughts of a young Nik Wallenda the first time he visited the Falls with his family while his parents were performing in Buffalo. Nik admits that might sound strange to most people, but being part of the seventh generation of Wallendas who continue in the family tradition, “It’s sort of in the blood,” he says.
Fast forward about 25 years. To make his longtime dream a reality, serious lobbying of US and Canadian officials began twenty months before the walk actually took place. The New York State Assembly passed a bill that granted a onetime anti-stunting law exemption early on in the process, however Ontario Canada’s Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) didn’t grant their approval until four months before the event.
On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to perform a tightrope skywalk over Niagara Falls since 1896. His successful crossing was performed in front of nearly 200,000 spectators and millions of television viewers across the world. “All my attention is focused right there on that wire and nothing else,” Nik stated. “It’s me and that wire in our own world.”
A key factor in Wallenda’s success rested on finding the right contractor to install the cable: experts who possessed the resources and equipment to rig and stabilize an 1800-foot span of wire rope without the use of guy-wires. He found what he was looking for in NECA Contractor O’Connell Electric and the IBEW Local 1249 tradesmen who work for them.
Turning Stone Resort & Casino, a top-five tourist destination in New York State, recently embarked on a $308 million expansion project. The project included three new structures featuring a twenty-story, 200,000 square foot, 287 room casino hotel, a 5000-seat multipurpose event center, and a 22,000 square foot Winter Garden entry way connecting the two structures.
With a student enrollment of nearly 29,000, the University at Buffalo (UB) is the largest public university in the Northeastern United States. As a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the school hosts home football and soccer games as well as track and field events at UB Stadium. Current televising of NCAA football games in High Definition (HD) required greater illumination of the playing field than the original stadium lights could deliver necessitating the rental of additional lights. Concerned about energy efficiency and operating costs of the existing lighting system, UB approved a permanent lighting upgrade for the stadium. In addition to facilitating HD television broadcasts the new eco-friendly stadium lighting system is reported to be saving the university $70,000 in energy costs annually. This aligns with the school’s energy conservation and green building goals outlined under the UB Green initiative.
Vernon Downs race track first opened its doors for the harness racing season of 1953. The track holds a prestigious place in the rich history of the sport, known for competitiveness and its fast miles, once coined “Home of the Miracle Mile” after the legendary, Adios Harry, set a world-record time at the track that stood for 18 years. More recently Vernon Downs has expanded its offerings to include hotel accommodations with a casino as well as event center operations to offset the slow decline in racing and to become more competitive in the region. Now coined a “racino”, this latest endeavor undertaken was an $8.1 million renovation and expansion project to upgrade and enlarge the complex’s event center.