Chamber Office: 2257 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island, NY 14072
Phone: (716)773-3651 Fax: (716)773-3316
This Chamber is organized for the purpose of advancing the economic, industrial, professional,
cultural and civic welfare of Grand Island; to encourage the growth of existing industries
and business, while giving all proper asssistance to any new firms or individuals seeking to
locate in Grand Island; to support all these activities believed to be beneficial to the
community and area, and in general to promote the welfare of all area citizens following always
those policies intended to accomplish the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Brochures, Maps, Videos and Post Cards (viewed on opening page of website) available through the Chamber
Office. Feel free to email us and we will forward your request to the Chamber Office or call (716)773-3651.
Thank you for your interest in Grand Island.
Chamber Of Commerce Election - 2009
(left) Outgoing officers; (right) Youth Ambassadors M. Scott Stallard and Susan Head
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Members of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce held their Holiday Party on December 15, 2009 and re-elected four incumbents to the Board of Directors and three newly elected directors. Incumbents re-elected are Sam Aceti of Aceti’s (Wine & Spirits), Andrew J. Beyer IV, Dawn Bonora (Mary Kay Cosmetics Sales Consultant), and Robert M. Ratajczak Jr. (P.C.). ToniMarie Antonelli of TMA’s & Sons (Adrian’s Custard & Beef), Michael Trachimowicz of First Niagara Bank and Derek Ostrom of Ostrum Enterprise were elected as new Board Directors. The incumbents will serve three-year terms, Toni and Michael will serve two-year terms and Derek will serve a one year term.
John Bonora of FSC Securities was re-elected as president, Beverly Kinney of Carol Ann’s Hair Fashions was elected to 1st vice president, Diane Thompson of Emerson/Control Techniques was re-elected to 2nd vice president, Dr. Sherry Bradford of Oncology Research Therapeutics will remain as Chamber secretary.
Other directors include Teresa Costello from the Grand Island Holiday Inn Resort & Conference Center, Eric Fiebelkorn of Toshiba Business Solutions, Skip Mazenauer of Niagara Frontier Publications, Fran McMahon of McMahon’s Family Restaurant, Michael Anthony Rossi, Esq., Jim Sharpe of Sharpe Associates and Liz Wilbert of Century 21 Winklhofer.
The Chamber looks forward to another productive year. The Chamber’s Board meetings are open to all members and the general public at 7 p.m. at the Buffalo Launch Club on Grand Island each third Tuesday of the month. The installation of Directors and Executive Officers will be held on Tuesday, January 19, 2010. "Please attend some of these meetings and show your support for the business community," a Chamber spokesman said this week.
Awards were presented to out-going officers: Joanne Kud, Chamber Past President; Judy Schmidt, Chamber Treasurer; and Tony Brindisi, Chamber 1st Vice President.
Joanne was instrumental in founding the Youth Ambassador program which began in 1999. She was Chair of the Youth Programs during her 11 years with the Chamber and became very involved with the Grand Island youth through different Chamber, school and town events. Judy came on board with the Chamber in 2001 as secretary, then began her committee involvement with the Citizen of the Year Awards Dinner and held the treasurer position for five years. Tony has been with the Chamber for over five years and has chaired many committees. He was one of the founders of GISBA (Grand Island School and Business Alliance) along with Shadow Day and Job Search. All officers will be sorely missed by their peers and the community.
"The Youth Program Committee, Jim Sharpe would like to thank the following businesses and individuals for their donations to our Chinese auction. Amherst Museum, Anderson’s Custard & Beef, Beach House Restaurant, Buffalo Bisons Baseball, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Brite Ideas Sales & Marketing, Carol Ann’s Hair Fashions (Bev Kinney), Chef’s Restaurant, Century 21 Winklhofer (Liz Wilbert), Eddie’s Art Shoppe, Fortuna’s Restaurant, Gilman & Ciocia Tax Service, Himalayan Institute, Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center, Lotions & Potions, Maid of the Mist, McMahon’s Family Restaurant, Niagara Frontier Publications (Island Dispatch/PennySaver), Piatek Insurance Company, Robert M. Ratajczak, Jr. P.C., Salvatore’s Italian Restaurant, Diane Thompson and Toshiba Business Solutions."
Chamber Of Commerce:
Chamber Announces Semi-Finalists and Finalists for 2010 Youth Ambassador Scholarship Program - 2009
(left) Semi-finalists from left to right are Alex Howard, Amanda Heftka, and Andrea Nicolia with Susan Head, finalist.
(right) Semi-finalists from left to right are Jonathan LoTempio Jr., Lauren Fonte, and Joshua Little with Michael Scott Stallard, finalist
Click photos for larger view
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce announced the Finalists for 2009-2010 Program. They are Susan Head and M. Scott Stallard. Susan Head is currently a senior at Grand Island High School and is secretary of DECA and General Manager of the high school bookstore. She has been instrumental in many activities throughout her high school years, such as String Orchestra, GIHS PTSA, and GISBA Corporate Bowl placing 3rd place in all three years. She has assisted in editing of the GIHS Venture yearbook, taken part in Mastermind, Interact and CEIP/Portfolio. Her community activities include St. Stephen’s Church Altar Society, assistant teacher at Vacation Bible School, summer volunteer at Mt. St. Mary’s Hospital, Relay for Life fundraising, and assisted in the clean up at the annual spaghetti dinner through the Grand Island Lions Club. Susan has also received many awards through the PTSA: AP Scholar with Distinction and DECA Region 12 Award placing in the top ten for NYS in Travel and Tourism Team Event. She is very excited to have been chosen as one of this year’s Youth Ambassadors for Grand Island and is ready to take on the responsibilities and help build a stronger and caring Grand Island community. Michael Scott Stallard, a senior at Grand Island High School, knew what he wanted to become at a very early age. In 2003, at just 11 years old he worked for an entire year to raise $5,000 to start a school in Uganda, Africa. This experience taught him how to professionally communicate with the business field. His career goal is to become a General Contractor and Construction Manager. Another project he is working on is a HUD home, to help revitalize a local community, while gaining experience to assist in his career goals. Scott started a local organization called “Kid’s Who Care,” that promotes other kids to help and serve in their community. Organized fundraisers include the Buffalo City Mission, monthly volunteer outings at Cornerstone Manor where they provide childcare for homeless kids while their mothers have time to relax and fellowship. He is a very hard worker and is looking forward to taking on the responsibilities as Youth Ambassador to help build a stronger and caring Grand Island community.
Chamber Health Insurance Open Enrollment Meeting - 2009
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce has set a Health Insurance Open Enrollment Meeting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, December 3, 2009 at the Grand Island Chamber Office, 2257 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island. This meeting is open to all Chamber members and interested parties.
Representatives from Community Blue, Independent Health and Univera and the Dental Shop will be present to discuss plans and answer questions. RSVP at 773-3651.
Chamber Of Commerce:
RE/MAX North, Aceti’s Wine & Spirits Host Networking Event - 2009
(left) Kelly McGarvey, Sam Aceti, Beverly Kinney, Chamber President John Bonora.
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Realtor Linda Kutzbach and Sam Aceti of Aceti’s Wine & Spirits hosted a networking event on Thursday, November 5th at the RE/MAX North office located in the Grand Island Plaza, in conjunction with the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. The event was very well attended with a wine tasting and mini roast beef sandwiches and hors d’oeuvres served.
Chamber Of Commerce:
Scholarship Presented To Hannah Cliff - 2009
(left) Chamber Director and Youth Program Chair Jim Sharpe with Scholarship Award Winner Hannah Cliff, her mother, Nancy Cliff and Chamber President, John Bonora.
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Hannah Cliff was selected as this year’s recipient of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Annual Scholarship Award, which was presented at the Chamber Board of Directors meeting on July 21, 2009 at the Buffalo Launch Club. Hannah was selected for her academic achievement, leadership and community involvement.
Hannah will be attending Grove City College in Pennsylvania with her major in English Literature. Hannah was president of the National Honor Society, secretary of the Interact Club and active member of Spotlighters Drama Club and the Spanish Honor Society. During her time at Grand Island she received several school awards: Certificate of Academic Excellence, Adacemic Pin, Academic Letter, AP Scholar, Student Sage Award, and the University of Rochester Fredrich Douglas and Susan B. Anthony Award. While with the Interact Club she served Christmas dinners at the Buffalo City Mission, and Mission trips to Alabama, New Orleans, Haiti and Nashville.
Mary Stewart Photos
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce provided its Island Happenings business expo, KidBiz and the battle of the bands on Saturday, June 27, 2009 in Klingel Town Commons. The event was deemed a huge success as it has been for the past 12 years. See KidBiz Slide Show by Mary Stewart.
Chamber's Island Happenings 2009
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Island Happenings (Business Expo and KidBiz) event scheduled for Saturday, June 27, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Town Commons off Whitehaven Road between Baseline and Grand Island Boulevard. This event, in its 13th year, has over 30 booths and 80 Grand Island students participating this year! Chamber officials urged everyone to support your community, area youths and local businesses.
This year's sponsors include:
SILVER SPONSORS – M & T Bank (Johanna Blue) and North Point Vantage (Jennifer Conta), Carol Ann’s Hair Fashions, Erie County Legislator Michele Iannello, Mark J. Frentzel, Attorney at Law and McMahon’s Family Restaurant.
KidBiz, developed by the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College and Forever Elmwood, was launched in 1996. It was designed to give children in the third through eighth grade the experience and excitement of running their own business.
KidBiz made its debut on Grand Island in 1997 as part of the “Plaza Happening.” Mike Heftka and Sue Hillock coordinated the event with over 30 children selling their products along the sidewalks under the canopy of the Grand Island Plaza. For the past four years, Jim Sharpe and Beverly Kinney, along with Mike Heftka, have come on board as coordinators and are making this event bigger and better every year. Articles sold included old books, toys, crafts, baked goods, and a whole lot more. The young business owners particularly got a sense of running a business as they had to pay a dollar rental space fee and received a “license” to sell at the site after the rent was paid.
Chamber's 13th Annual kidBiz Sidewalk Sale Announced Training to be held June 10th - 2009
The 13th annual KidBiz Sidewalk Sale will be held Saturday, June 27th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of the many activities planned for the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce “Island Happenings”. Training for KidBiz will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 at the Connor Middle School Little Theater. Young entrepreneurs will learn various aspects of running a business. Topics such as pricing, marketing and customer service are covered at the training event.
KidBiz, developed by the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College and Forever Elmwood, was launched in 1996. It was designed to give children in the third through sixth grade the experience and excitement of running their own business.
KidBiz made its debut on Grand Island in 1997 as part of the “Plaza Happening.” Mike Heftka and Sue Hillock coordinated the event with over 30 children selling their products along the sidewalks under the canopy of the Grand Island Plaza. Articles sold included old books, toys, crafts, baked goods, and a whole lot more. The young business owners particularly got a sense of running a business as they had to pay a dollar rental space fee and received a “license” to sell at the site after the rent was paid.
The Chamber of Commerce is appreciative of its sponsors who have come on board so far for Island Happenings – Silver, M & T Bank ~ Bronze, Carol Ann’s Hair Fashions McMahon’s Family Restaurant and Mark J. Frentzel, Attorney at Law.
KidBiz is an excellent opportunity for children from grades 3rd through 8th to engage in a real-life business experience. For more information call the chamber office at 773-3651.
Chamber representatives Diane Thompson, Dawn Bonora, Fran McMahon, Bev Kinney, Jim Sharpe and John Bonora
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce will host its 13th Annual Island Happenings (Business Expo, KidBiz and Battle of the Bands) on Saturday, June 27, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Marion Klingel Town Commons off Whitehaven Road between Baseline and Grand Island Boulevard. This event is in its 13th year with the Battle of the Bands in its 3rd year. Chamber of Commerce members urged everyone "to support your community, area youth and local businesses. Last year we had over 40 booths and 80 Grand Island students participating!"
This year's sponsors to date are: Silver - M&T Bank, Bronze - Carol Ann’s Hair Fashions, and McMahon’s Family Restaurant.
Sponsor packages are available: $500.00 Platinum, $375.00 Gold, $250.00 Silver and $125.00 for Bronze. For those interested in the Business Expo, booths are $15.00 for Chamber members and $35.00 for Non-members. For more information on the event contact the Chamber office at (716) 773-3651.
Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast Report - 2009
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce presented its spring Business Breakfast meeting on Wednesday morning, May 20 at the Holiday Inn where those attending heard the status of the Town, School District, Grand Island Marketing, Economic Development Committee, and Restore NY now, and the effects the status has on the Town of Grand Island.
Town Supervisor Peter McMahon gave a report on The State of Grand Island, including the status of re-decking of the South Bridge. Deck work will be done during the night hours this year and full reconstruction work commencing in 2010. This will also be done during the night time hours. Traffic tie-ups are anticipated to be less than originally expected.
The town’s bond rating was raised providing the town with the same reduced interest as larger towns such as Orchard Park. At the state level there are reports of major short falls in the state’s revenues, which might cause budget problems for the state during the second half of the year.
Bonnie Sciuk asked about the intersection of the thruway and Whitehaven Road, as she is concerned about the lack of maintenance to the roadway. According to the Supervisor, there are two Agencies who handle the intersection, and he will advise the agencies of the problems.
Grand Island School Superintendent Robert Christmann reported on the School District elections, sports program, academics and the music accomplishments of the students. The Superintendent said the budget passed by a 3 to 1 margin, which was attributed to a balance between the high quality of education and budget constraints. David Goris and Glenn J. Bobeck were re-elected to the Board of Education while there was a tie for the 3rd seat on the board between incumbent George Casey and first timer Teresa Price who garnered 505 votes each. This will result in a run off election with in the next 30 days. Notice will be published shortly.
The pre-engineering program hosted 125 students this year and it is expected to grow to 300 students in the fall with 40% of the class being female students. General Motors has selected Grand Island high school to showcase GM’s new cell fuel car. This demonstration will be done during the first week in June. The Superintendent said the awards and honors, received by the music students is outstanding. Kaegebein Students recently competed with high school students and scored higher than the high school classes.
Jim Sharpe and Frank Burkhart gave a presentation on the status of the Long Range Planning for the Island. Jim reviewed “The Business District Town Center” concept and how the direction has been improved over the last few years.
Councilman Gary Roesch reported on the status of the Restore New York Now Grant(s), the vacant Metz Building on Long Road as well as applications for more Restore New York Now grants. Some major developments may be announced in the near future.
Bev Kinney and Gary Roesch spoke about the Grand Island Marketing Materials and packet the Chamber has developed. This will be presented to developers and businesses wishing to relocate to Grand Island. The Packet may be reviewed at the Chamber offices.
Tom Knught and Jeff Halpin focused on the Economic Development Advisory Committee update. They are in the process of developing a informative web site and video to assist bringing businesses to the Island.
Chamber President John Bonora focused on the Chamber activities and the need for the business community to get involved with the Chamber and its activities. The Chamber has partnered with the EDAB and they are trying to assist small, medium and large businesses with relocating to the Island and at the same time keep the transition smooth and simple.
Citizen of Year Awards Banquet Televised - 2009
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce 2008 Citizen of the Year Awards Banquet, held on April 23rd will be aired onTime Warner Cable Channel 22 every Monday in May and June from 7-8 p.m. This will begin on Monday, May 11th.
Chamber Of Commerce:
Erie Plumbing Receives Property Improvement Award - 2009
(left) Chamber Director Skip Mazenauer, Stacey Soto and Gerry Soto and Chamber President John Bonora.
Click photo for larger view
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Property Improvement Award was given to Gerry Soto of Erie Plumbing and Remodeling, Inc. at 1730 Baseline Road on Friday, April 24th. Gerry has been in business on Grand Island for over 30 years. He moved into the Baseline location three years ago and has been updating the property over the past year. The Chamber of Commerce commends him for his accomplishments on improving the appearance and safety of his property, thus enhancing the beautification of Grand Island.
Chamber Extends Thanks - 2009
(left) Chamber Director and Youth Program Committee Chairman Jim Sharpe with 2008-2009 Youth Ambassador Lauren Fermoile, Mary Beth Wrobel and Youth Ambassador Benjamin Soos.
(right photo) 2008 Citizen of the Year Award recipients, Calvin VanderMey, Chair Beverly Kinney, Bob Soluri for American Legion Post #1346, Mark Raepple for John’s Pizza & Subs, Angela Diebold, Master of Ceremonies Mary Beth Wrobel, Kathleen Fik, Anthony DePinto for ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood and Citizen of the Year Awards Co-chair Andy Beyer.
Click photos for larger view
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone who attended the 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Award Banquet held on April 23 at the Holiday Inn Resort & Conference Center. Over 150 people joined the chamber in honoring the 2008 award winners.
A special thank you goes out to those who helped make the evening a memorable one for our guests: Holiday Inn Chef Rick Arnold and Banquet Manager Marcia Malizie for a wonderful dinner with impeccable service; Pastor Calvin VanderMey of Bible Fellowship Center for the invocation; Charles N. DeGlopper VFW Post 9249 Color Guard for the presentation of colors; Mary Beth Wrobel for singing the “Star Spangled Banner,” accompanied by Carolyn Lokken on the piano. Also Channel 4 News Meteorologist Mary Beth Wrobel for serving as Master of Ceremonies; Judy Schmidt and Jennifer Peresie for creating the centerpieces; Jim Sharpe for his photography; Youth Ambassadors Lauren Fermoile and Ben Soos for selling tickets for the Chamber Scholarship Raffle; Administrative Director Laura Anderson for attending to all the details that made this event special; our sponsors whose contributions make this evening possible; and committee members Joanne Kud, Judy Schmidt, Jennifer Peresie, Jim Sharpe, Phil Buchanan, Laura Anderson, Dr. Sherry Bradford, and Sybil Kennedy.
And finally, we would like to thank our award recipients, ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood, John’s Pizza & Subs, Grand Island American Legion Post #1346, Calvin VanderMey, Angela Diebold and Kathleen Fik, for their dedication to making Grand Island a better place to live. It was our privilege to honor you for your contributions to the Grand Island community.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Calvin VanderMey will receive the
Civic Person of the Year Award at the 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Banquet. This year’s event will be held at Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 23. Channel 4 News Meteorologist Mary Beth Wrobel will return as Master of Ceremonies.
Calvin VanderMey, pastor and founder of Bible Fellowship Center, is no stranger to the Island. Born in 1966, he was raised on Baseline Road and has spent almost his entire life living on the Island. Calvin has been an employee of Roadway Express, now YRC Worldwide, for over 20 years, where he continues full time. He married his wife, Kaegebein Elementary 4th grade teacher Joan McGraw, in 1988 and they have three beautiful children, Johnny, Joy and Grace.
With a strong call in his heart to do something positive in his community, in November of 2004 he began renting the empty “Little White Church” right up the street from where he was raised. The Sunday services began with only one or two people and has now grown to over 130 congregants. The church has now purchased the building. At the same time he began the church, he bought a snowplow truck and began plowing the driveways of senior citizens and single parents. For the past five years he has plowed 39 homes at no cost to the individual. Where some choose to go door to door, Pastor Cal chose to go driveway to driveway.
The focus of the Bible Fellowship Center has always been to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ not only in word but in deed. Many have had a hand in improving and maintaining the building at 1136 Baseline Road. Not only has the building had a facelift on the exterior and grounds, but the entire interior has been renovated by its members as well. The center has been home to numerous events open to the community free of charge, including egg hunts, picnics, breakfasts, luncheons, dinners and frequent concerts, which Calvin enjoys contributing to with his strong professional background in music. He sang and soloed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra for many years and has performed in churches and communities and at sporting events as well as volunteering at various Western New York food pantries and postal food drives.
Calvin has always encouraged the members to support Grand Island businesses and follows through with that charge by using them as much as possible in the ministry and upkeep of the church. Calvin is very grateful for the opportunity to serve as pastor of Bible Fellowship Center and looks forward to many more years of service in this community.
(left) Jeremiah Anderson, Alex Rumsey and Mark Raepple
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that John’s Pizza and Subs will receive the Small Business of the Year Award at the 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Banquet. This year’s event will be held at Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center 6 p.m. Thursday, April 23. Channel 4 News Meteorologist Mary Beth Wrobel will return as Master of Ceremonies.
John’s Pizza & Subs, with four locations across Western New York, is owned and operated by the Raepple family. The first location to open was on Niagara Falls Boulevard over 20 years ago with the Grand Island location following soon after. The other two locations are in Tonawanda and Orchard Park.
John’s has sponsored many local sporting teams such as Grand Island Little League Baseball, Grand Island High School Athletic Department and several Town of Grand Island Recreation softball teams. They also serve as a donation drop for the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation and have supported this for many years.
The Raepples are life long residents of Grand Island and are actively involved with the community and Chamber events.
It is great to see a small business such as John’s Pizza & Subs keep its doors open for so long with the many competitors in their industry during this period of economic crisis.
Dinner tickets are available at the Chamber office or by calling 773-3651.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce Kathleen Fik of Kaegebein Elementary School as the Educator of the Year at the 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Banquet. This year’s event will be held at Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center on Thursday, April 23, at 6 p.m. Channel 4 Meteorologist, Mary Beth Wrobel will return as Master of Ceremonies.
Mrs. Kathleen Fik was raised in the Town of Tonawanda, the only child of William and Mildred Ryan. She knew in fourth grade that being a teacher was what she wanted to do. She graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s Academy and received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the State University College of New York at Buffalo in elementary education. The August after her graduation, she was interviewed and hired by Kaegebein Elementary School Principal Mrs. Norma Sutter, for a position as a kindergarten teacher at Kaegebein School. Three years after she began teaching at Kaegebein, she married Gregory Fik in July of 1974 and they moved to their home on Wallace Drive on Grand Island that same year.
Besides kindergarten, she has taught second and fourth grades at Kaegebein. Mrs. Fik has served on the Grand Island School’s Science Curriculum Committee and was fourth grade level chairperson for many years. Every October for over fifteen years, Mrs. Fik has been the UNICEF coordinator at Kaegebein. She has also served as chairperson of Kaegebein’s Kid’s Vote and has spearheaded her school’s Hospice Drive each year, participating in the donation of flowers for Riverwood Health Care Center. She has been very active in the Grand Island Teachers’ Association in various capacities and has been a committee member of Young Life for the past seven years. Mrs. Fik has been a big supporter of Relay for Life and of the mini-relay at Kaegebein.
Mrs. Fik and Mr. Fik, have been blessed with a daughter, Laura, a 2002 graduate of Grand Island High School and a graduate of RIT. Laura is working on her master’s degree in landscape architecture in North Carolina and was married this past August to Robert Underhill. In her spare time Mrs. Fik enjoys reading books and discussing them with her book club, rooting for the Buffalo Sabres, and walking her golden retriever, King.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the Grand Island American Legion Post # 1346 as the recipient of the Organization of the Year Award at the 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Banquet. This year’s event will be held at Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center on Thursday, April 23, at 6 p.m. Channel 4 Meteorologist, Mary Beth Wrobel will return as Master of Ceremonies.
After about 35 years of inactivity and the loss of their building, the Grand Island American Legion reorganized their group in 2001 with 11 members and without a meeting place, money or uniforms.
With the help of Grand Island Family Moose Lodge #180, they began holding meetings at the lodge free of charge.
Robert Soluri Sr. was elected Post Commander in 2001 and still holds that position today, turning down a Vice Commander position for Erie County. American Legion membership now stands at 100, and without their help and support this would not be possible.
The Legion holds two fundraisers a year, one being the annual flower sale held Mothers Day weekend, and the 9-11 Poppy drive. Legion members would like to thank everyone for their support of these two fundraisers. "With our fundraiser funds, we split 1/3 of a new van for the transportation of Veterans, in the memory of Paul Kane, along with the VFW Post #9249 and the DAV Post #168," Commander Soluri said.
The Legion has a full functional color guard with uniforms and does duty for many functions on Grand Island. The Legion members planted a tree in Veteran’s Park in memory of Lt. Col. Terrance Crowe and their organization maintains all the flag poles and flags for the cemeteries on the Island.
The many recipients of Legion donations are as follows: The Neighbors Foundation, Reality Café, Two yearly Scholarships for Grand Island students, a special one-time scholarship for Stacy Edwards, a JROTC who died in a fire, CARE packages for our troops, water bottles for the VA oncology department patients, sponsorships of Chamber Youth Ambassador program, Corporate Bowl, Relay for Life, Little League, as well as yearly donations to V.A.L.O.R. and sponsorship of a youth for The American Legion Boys State.
Without the work of their members and the donations from the community, none of this would be possible.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce Angela Diebold as the Community Service Person of the Year Award. She will be honored at the 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Banquet being held at Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center on Thursday, April 23, at 6 p.m. Channel 4 Meteorologist, Mary Beth Wrobel, will return as Master of Ceremonies.
Angela has been married to Joe Diebold for thirty-five years and is the mother of three fantastic children. Norline Wild who is an Early Childhood teacher for the JCC in Buffalo and her husband, Jason Wild, who works for HSBC, J.M. who works for the 911 center of Monroe County, NY and is a volunteer fireman for the Brighton Fire Company and Josie who is a senior at Canisius College.
She is also Grandma to Mara Wild and Grandma of the heart to Emily and Max Steinberg.
The Diebolds have lived on Grand Island for thirty-one years. When they joined St. Stephen’s parish thirty-one years ago Angela signed up to volunteer as a Catechist there and is still involved in the Religious Education program. In the beginning she dealt only with children in pre-k and kindergarten, later she added the primary grades and for the past four year has overseen the whole Religious Education program. At the present time they have over 150 teachers/helpers and close to 1100 children in their program. She says, “It is a humbling experience to now have the children of children I taught in our program.”
From 1983 to 2003 Angela was part of the Ecumenical Vacation Bible School. It was a wonderful experience sharing a week each summer with the children and adults from different churches on Grand Island.
When her children were pre-schoolers she was very involved at Jack and Jill Pre-school, as they moved on to St. Stephen school she also became involved there.
Angela has been a member of the WOW Bible Study since it started on Grand Island over twenty years ago. For a time she was also the facilitator of their children's group, "COWs." At the present time she is their treasurer.
Bronze Sponsors Named For Citizen of the Year Dinner- 2009
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Aceti’s Wine & Spirits, APP Pharmaceuticals, Creative Leather Concepts/FedEx Shipping Center, Grand Lady Cruises, Inc., Rockwood Brothers Collision, and Rose Liquor Store are Bronze sponsors for the 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Award.
This year’s event will be held at Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center on Thursday, April 23rd and will honor businesses and individuals whose contributions have made our town a better place. Channel 4 Meteorologist Mary Beth Wrobel will be our Master of Ceremonies.
Platinum Sponsors include Grand Island Holiday Inn Resort and Conference Center and Niagara Frontier Publications. Gold Sponsors are HSBC Bank USA and Life Technnologies (formerly Invitrogen Corporation). Silver Sponsors are Fuccillo Auto Park and Tops Market.
Dinner tickets can be purchased at the chamber office, adults are $42.00 and children $16.00. For more information call the chamber office at 773-3651.
Business Of The Year ElderWood Health Care - 2009
(left) Jerry Clark, Joanne Muldoon, Melissa Dumovich, Karen Pedini, Rita Kollie, Anthony DePinto, Jean Peters, Alyson Molino, Melanine Robinson, Kristen Carosi, Beth Pusatier, Mary Lou Menna, Janelle Atkinson and Ellen Valvo (not picture)
Click photo for larger view
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce will honor ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood with the Business of the Year Award during the Citizens of the Year Banquet Thursday, April 23rd in the Holiday Inn.
ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood is a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility located at 2850 Grand Island Boulevard. Formerly Grand Island Manor, Riverwood was acquired by ElderWood Senior Care in 1990.
In 2006, Riverwood completed an extensive renovation project, which included the addition of ten beds, on-unit dining rooms, serveries for restaurant-quality service, spa-themed bathing suites and new lounges for visiting. Cosmetic updates gave Riverwood a modern, homey feel.
Riverwood enjoys a strong reputation on Grand Island and beyond. Late last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services instituted a new, national Five-Star Rating System for nursing homes. Riverwood earned the top rating of five stars, which was determined based on staffing levels, quality indicators and Department of Health surveys.
The American Health Care Association also recognized Riverwood in 2008. The facility was one of just 22 in the country to earn the AHCA Step II Quality Award for continuous quality improvement in caring for the elderly.
Seeking news ways to improve resident health, safety and quality of life is integral to Riverwood’s culture. Riverwood is a three-time recipient of the Innovative Practice Award from the New York State Health Facilities Association.
More than half of Riverwood staff members are Grand Island residents. A strong corporate citizen, Riverwood enjoys participating in the Fourth of July Parade every year. The facility also sponsors an annual sponsorship at Grand Island High School, and to date, Riverwood has awarded over $3,000 in scholarship money.
Scroll down for Citizens of the Year dinner information.
Island Dug-Out & Training Center Opens - 2009
(left) Mariah Ciffa, Owner Joe Ciffa (Head of Operations, Island Dug Out), Joe Winkelsas (MLB Chief Instructor and General Manager, Island Dug Out), Owner Brad Bowman (Head of Finance, Island Dug Out), Erie County Legislator - 10th District Michele Iannello, Councilman Gary Roesch, Chamber of Commerce President John Bonora, Councilman Richard Crawford, and Liza Bowman.
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A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was held Saturday morning, March 21, 2009 for a new business at 2409 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, NY. The Island Dug-Out and Training Center features state-of-the-art indoor batting cages, pitching mounds and a practice infield, with plans in the near future to include a dome with full turf inside, and additional outdoor facilities.
Private instructional lessons are available from an All-Star staff, headed by Buffalo’s own Joe Winkelsas, Chief Instructor and General Manager and former MLB player for the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. Joe’s inspirational story has been the feature of several local and national news media articles in recent years. Other trainers and instructors include John Vandermark and Chris Snusz, who were AAA ball players, along with James Pernick and Rick Ruggero, who played NCAA Division 1 baseball.
Monthly and yearly memberships are available along with a variety of facility use options. “This facility, although it is unique to Grand Island, will be utilized by a multitude of ballplayers and athletes from all over Western New York,” stated Joe Winkelsas, “and is open to baseball and softball players of all ages and genders.” Winkelsas has dedicated himself to make the new Grand Island business a success: “I’ve put aside several professional training and scouting opportunities to devote my expertise and professional baseball experience into opening and managing the Island Dug-Out,” added Winkelsas.
Event Chair Beverly Kinney with Christopher Granholm, General Manager of Fuccillo Auto Park
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Tops Friendly Market and Fuccillo Auto Park have signed on as Silver Sponsors for the 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Award.
This year’s event will be held at Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center on Thursday, April 23rd and will honor businesses and individuals whose contributions have made our town a better place. Channel 4 News Meteorologist Mary Beth Wrobel will be Master of Ceremonies.
Platinum Sponsors include Niagara Frontier Publications, and the Grand Island Holiday Inn Resort and Conference Center. Gold Sponsors to date include HSBC Bank USA and Life Technologies (formerly Invitrogen Corporation). Bronze Sponsors are Aceti’s Wine & Spirits, APP Pharmaceuticals, Creative Leather Concepts, Grand Lady Cruises, Inc., Rockwood Brothers Collision, and Rose Liquor Store.
For more information call the chamber office at 773-3651.
Chamber Names Citizens of the Year - 2009
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the winners of the 2008 Citizen of the Year Award.
Elderwood Health Care at Riverwood will be honored as the 2008 Business of the Year. John’s Pizza & Subs will be awarded the Small Business of the Year, and American Legion Post 1346 will be given the Organization of the Year Award.
Angela Diebold will be recognized for her contributions to the community and will be given the Community Service Person Award, Calvin VanderMey, the Pastor at Bible Fellowship Center, will be awarded the Civic Award, and Kathleen Fik, a teacher at Kaegebein Elementary School, will be named Educator of the Year.
The 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Award Banquet will be held on Thursday, April 23rd at the Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center. Channel 4 News Meteorologist Mary Beth Wrobel will be Master of Ceremonies for the honoring of businesses and individuals who have made Grand Island a better place.
The Chamber invites all to honor these outstanding citizens. Dinner tickets are now available at the chamber office or by calling 773-3651.
Cell Phones, Laptops For Soldiers Program - 2009
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Go Green Electronics Recycling with their Cell Phone and Laptop Computers For Soldiers Program.
Dispose of your cell phones, laptop computers, batteries and charges at the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce office drop box located at 2257 Grand Island Boulevard, Grand Island. Proceeds will fund the Soldiers initiative program.
Go Green Electronics Recycling is a Grand Island company that specializes in cell phone and laptop computer recycling for businesses and individuals. Their industry leading programs feature free pick up and Zero Landfill Policy.
If your company would like to host their own drop box to benefit a charitable organization or to do your part in preserving our environment, please contact John Henshaw at (716) 400-6003 or email at email@example.com.
For larger waste collections we will coordinate a pick up right at the collection site. More information can be obtained by visiting their website at www.Go-Green-Electronics-Recycling.com
RECYCLING TODAY FOR A BETTER TOMORROW!
Owners Ken Knight and Catherine Knight are presented with their Property Improvement Award by Chamber President John Bonora on Friday. March 6th.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Property Improvement Award was given to Catherine Knight of SereniTea Cottage & Gift Shoppe at 2014 Grand Island Boulevard on Friday, March 6th. A Grand Opening in April 2008 was complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house. The vacant building sat untouched for years until Catherine and Ken Knight purchased the property and began rebuilding into what is now a beautifully decorated and maintained Victorian tea and gift shoppe. In the age of cellphones, laptops and iPods, they invite you to take a step back in time to a slower, simpler Victorian era and enjoy a cup of tea in a bone china tea cup. Leave all the technology behind and allow a steaming cup of tea to clear your mind, a warm scone to encourage your spirit and the ambiance of Serenitea to quiet your heart. Reservations are recommended with the Cottage hours of Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seatings at 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. with walk-ins welcomed. Those reserving parties for up to 35 people (birthdays, showers, anniversaries or any occasion) are asked to call for details (716) 774-8322. You can also visit their website at www.sereiteacottage.com.
(left photo) Scott Zeplowitz, Hotel Manager with Citizen of the Year Chair Beverly Kinney and Director of Sales, Teresa Costello of the Grand Island Holiday Inn Resort & Conference Center.
(right photo) Skip Mazenauer, Publisher of Niagara Frontier Publications with Beverly Kinney, Chair for 2008 Citizen of the Year Awards Banquet accepting their sponsorship check.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Grand Island Holiday Inn Resort & Conference Center and Niagara Frontier Publications have signed on as Platinum Sponsors for the 43rd annual Citizen of the Year Award.
This year’s event will be held at Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center on Thursday, April 23rd and will honor businesses and individuals whose contributions have made our town a better place. Channel 4 Meteorologist Mary Beth Wrobel will be this year’s Master of Ceremonies.
Gold Sponsors to date include Life Technologies (formally Invitrogen Corporation). Silver sponsors include Fuccillo Auto Park and Tops Friendly Market. Bronze Sponsors are APP Pharmaceuticals, Grand Lady Cruises, and Rockwood Brothers Collision.
For more information on becoming a sponsor or about the dinner please call the chamber office at 773-3651.
LAST CHANCE - Citizen of Year Nominations Due Soon - 2009
Deadline for nominations for the 43rd annual Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Awards is March 2, 2009. Suggested categories for nomination include business, businessperson, corporation, civic, education, community service, and senior citizen. Nomination forms may be found in the 2009 Chamber of Commerce phonebook, on the Chamber website www.gichamber.org or at the Chamber office 2257 Grand Island Blvd. Award winners will be honored at a dinner on Thursday, April 23rd at the Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center. Scroll down for more information, or call the chamber office at 773-3651.
Mary Beth Wrobel
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that WIVB-TV Channel 4 Meteorologist, Mary Beth Wrobel will return as Master of Ceremonies for the 43rd Annual Citizen of the Year Awards Banquet. This year’s event will be held at Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center on Thursday, April 23rd and will honor businesses and individuals whose contributions have made our town a better place.
Mary Beth Wrobel came to WIVB-TV, NEWS 4 in December of 2000 as the weekend evening meteorologist.
Prior to coming to WIVB TV, Mary Beth worked as a meteorologist in Rochester, NY at WROC TV, St. Louis Missouri at KSDK TV and in Greensboro, N.C. at WFMY TV. Ms. Wrobel received the American Meteorologist Society Seal of Approval for Television Broadcasting in 1993. Mary Beth enjoys meeting people and frequently participates in career and science fairs, school lectures, and numerous other community events. She gives Weather Merit Badge presentations to Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, as well as promoting weather education among youth in area schools. She graduated Cum Laude from SUNY College at Brockport,and Magna cum Laude, from SUNY College at Fredonia. Ms. Wrobel received recognition as vocal soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic in 2000. Mary Beth studies classical voice and plays the piano and flute. In her spare time, she enjoys step aerobics, baking and traveling. CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD RECIPIENT
Each year the Grand Island Chamber Commerce selects those businesses and individuals whose contributions have made Grand Island a better place to live, work or play. As volunteers in our community they have gone the extra mile, taken the extra step, above and beyond their day to day responsibilities and jobs.
Volunteerism is the foundation of a good community. Our recipients are part of that foundation. Award recipients are nominated by letters from the community and selected by the chamber Citizen of the Year committee. Please join us in honoring this year’s awardees.
The Chamber is currently accepting nominations for this year’s award. Suggested categories for nomination include business, businessperson, corporation, civic, education, community service, and senior citizen. Nomination forms may be found in the 2009 Chamber of Commerce phonebook, on the Chamber website www.gichamber.org or at the Chamber office 2257 Grand Island Blvd. Deadline for nominations is March 2, 2009. For more information, call the chamber office at 773-3651.
If you are a member of this organization, we need your help. GIECOM.Net has partnered with the Connections program to help Grand Island as a community "Get it Together." Please visit our website G-I-Together.ORG and fill out our SURVEY. Every group on Grand Island will have its own FREE web page showing: meeting times and location, contact persons, your Mission Statement and a listing of events. We will also be linking your news events that appear in the local media and on IsledeGrande.Com, Grand Island's E-News Source, to your page, maintaining an archived journal of pictures and news. This is the perfect opportunity for your group to connect with potential new members and the community.