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Chamber of Commerce News Web Page 2014
Grand Island, NY, Chamber of Commerce Website

President Eric Fiebelkorn
First Vice President Jim Sharpe
Secretary - Dr. Sherry Bradford
Second Vice President Robert Ratajczak
Treasurer Michael Trachimowicz

Previous News

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.





Light Up The Boulevard Parade - November 2014






Mary Stewart Photos

   The Chamber of Commerce held their 3rd annual Light Up the Boulevard Parade and Festival on Saturday, November 22nd.




Light Up the Boulevard Festival Vendors - November 2014

   Vendors are being accepted for the November 22nd event at the Town Commons. The following will be participating: Pixix Mommas, Financial Trust Credit Union, Island Ship Center, Murdock & Roo, Corey McGowan, GI Dog Park Information Center, McMahon's Family Restaurant, Avon, Step in Time Dance Studio, Baked Cupcakery, Youth Ambassadors selling Pizza, Visit with Santa from 2-4, Face Painting & Kids Games. If you would like a booth call Kim at 773-3651 or email info@gichamber.org by Wednesday, November 19th.




Baked Cupcakery Ribbon Cutting - November 2014


Click above photo for larger view.

From left: Jonathan, Carter, Cameron & Tara Bondi

.    The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce held the Baked Cupcakery ribbon cutting on Tuesday, November 11th. The bakery is located at 1879 Whitehaven Road in a newly renovated space that is bright and cheerful. Island residents Tara and Jonathan Bondi opened the store on October 7th and have been selling out of their delicious creations regularly. Many family members, Chamber members and Town officials were on hand to celebrate.




Light Up the Boulevard Electric Parade & Festival Sponsors - November 2014

Platinum Sponsor - LDC Construction
and Fuccillo Auto Group

See complete Sponsor List

   Press Release...With October behind us and the Holiday Season now in sight, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Grand Island, especially the Recreation Department, we are counting down the days until the 3rd annual Grand Island Light Up the Boulevard Electric Light Parade and Festivities. This community event will take place on Saturday, November 22, 2014. Please note the new family-friendly time table with festivities starting at 2:00 pm with Santa's first visits of the season (only till 4 pm), vendors, games, music and crafts. Grand Island Boulevard will be closing at 4:30 pm in anticipation of the Rudolf Run, which starts promptly at 5:00, followed by the Electric Parade. The festivities close with the tree lighting in the Town Commons at the end of the parade. Mark your calendars and start your decorating early.




Light Up the Boulevard Electric Parade and Festival - November 2014

   Press Release... On Saturday, November 17, 2012 the 1st Light Up the Boulevard Electric Parade and Festival for the Grand Island community took place, conceived by Francine McMahon, a Director of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. The Grand Island Parks & Recreation Department, Grand Island Town Board and many others worked together with the Chamber to make this special night happen. The parade route started at Island Lanes parking lot and ended in the Town Hall parking lot where a Holiday Festival began. Santa started the festivities with the official tree lighting ceremony and then visited with many children. Fire pits in the parking lot kept many warm as they listened to the Grand Island Community Chorus, the Middle School Singcopation Singers and the Grand Island High School Band, lead the singing of holiday carols. Vendors were on hand selling items and many gave away hot chocolate, cider and candy canes. Theodore’s gave away 200 hot dogs!
   The 2nd Annual Annual Light Up the Boulevard Electric Parade and Festival on Saturday, November 23, 2013 with one goal in mind and that was to make it bigger and better. The Parade started at Sunoco 2024 GI Blvd. and ended at Baseline Road, before the parade began there was a Rudolph Run with 54 participants.
    This event will now be a family tradition for many Grand Island residents; and the Chanber hopes you will join them for the 3rd Annual Light Up the Boulevard Electric Parade and Festival on Saturday, November 22, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Anyone in the community can be a participant in the parade or festival. From 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. there will be visits with Santa, vendors and games in the Town Hall Parking lot. The Rudolph Run will take place at 5:00 p.m., followed by the Parade and right after the parade the Tree Lighting in the Town Commons. Hope to see you there!!




Grand Island Chamber of Commerce 30 Days of Giveaways - September 2014

    The Grand Island Chamber's 2nd Annual 30 Days of Giveaways online contest will begin on October 1, 2014 at midnight. The Chamber has obtained prizes that have been generously donated from 30 different businesses in the local area. Each prize is worth at least $100. Members of the community are then being given the opportunity to win these prizes by entering the contest daily. All you have to do is visit the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce website (www.gichamber.org) each day and fill out the registration and confirm your email for a chance to win that day’s prize! You are allowed to enter once a day, every day, for 30 days. This contest allows people on the island to find out more about local businesses and allows the chamber to promote these businesses and thus, boost the local economy.
Here are some of the Prizes we have received:
Dana's Stylin' Pets gift Basket & Gift Card
Island Ship Center Luggage & Portfolio
Mallwitz's Island Lanes Bowling Party
deSignet International Jewelry
Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa Overnight Stay & Gym Membership
Four Points by Sheraton Overnight Stay
Island Fun Center for the 2015 Season A Great Day of Fun for 4
MOG 3 Month Membership for 2
Toshiba Business Solutions Blue Ray Player
McMahon's Family Restaurant Gift Card towards a Catering
Soma Cura Gift Basket
Husky Logic Computer Service
Grand Island Optical Gift Card
Key Bank Golf Basket
Step in Time Dance Gift Card
Mr. Best Wrench Car Service Gift Cards
Piatek Insurance Agency Inc. Gift Basket
Shear Paradise Salon Product and Gift Card for Hair Coloring
Baked Cupcakery Cupcakes
Tan Lines Xtreme Gift Basket and Gift card
Martin's Fantasy Island Gift Card for the 2015 Season
A Greener Planet Lawn Maintenance & Snowplowing LLC Gift Card for Fall or Winter Services and Small Gift Package
Snap Fitness 3 Month Membership
Popular Graphics Gift Card

Any inquiries about this or any other chamber event can be directed to media@gichamber.org




2014-2015 Youth Ambassadors Introduced - August 2014

From left: Outgoing Ambassadors Natalie Baldassarre & Chris Swagler, 2014 Scholarship Winner Lucas Siebert, new Ambassadors Cole Kline and Maggie Rustowicz.

   The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize the 2013-2014 Youth Ambassadors for Service and welcome the 2014-2015 Youth Ambassadors. We would like to thank Natalie Baldassarre and Chris Swagler for the past year of service as the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Youth Ambassadors. In the past year, Chris and Natalie have represented the Chamber at the following events: Light Up the Boulevard, Chamber Holiday Party, Citizen of the Year, KidBiz, the Scholarship Hotdog Sale, 4th of July Parade, and the Chambers Directors’ Summer Picnic. In the fall Chis Swagler will be attending Niagara University and Natalie Baldassarre will be attending Canisius College. The Chamber Board of Directors would like to thank Chris and Natalie again for a job well done and wish them the best of luck in the future!
    The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce selects 2 Youth Ambassadors, to promote interaction and goodwill between the business community and students, to bring them an awareness of the economic development of Grand Island. The two Youth Ambassadors selected will represent the youth of Grand Island at local business events such as the Citizen of the Year Awards Dinner, KidBiz, the 4th of July parade, Light Up the Boulevard Electric Parade & Festival and other Chamber and community events. This program is open to students in grades 11 and 12. The two chosen Youth Ambassadors will each receive a $1,000 scholarship. In June we held interviews for our 2014-2015 Youth Ambassadors. The Chamber would like to introduce the Grand Island Community to the 2014-2015 Youth Ambassadors, both members of the Grand Island High School Class of 2015:
   Cole Kline is an involved Senior at Grand Island High School. He represent the students of the school as Class of 2015 Vice President and Student Council Treasurer and also serves as President of DECA, the school business club/organization. He is a distinguished member of the National Honor Society, and is one of three people who do the morning and afternoon announcements daily. Cole is on both the Varsity Football team in the fall and the Varsity Bowling team in the winter. Cole is looking forward to going to college in Washington, DC to pursue a degree and later a career in Economics/ Politics.
    Maggie Rustowicz is a life-long Islander and has attended Grand Island schools since kindergarten. Throughout her educational career she has strived to do her best, achieving the honor or high honor roll since sixth grade, while taking a strenuous course load including advanced and honors classes, band and chorus. Maggie has been very involved in school. She is a three-sport Varsity athlete, earning letters and bars in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track, and has represented Grand Island at the sectional level, where she placed third and fifth in race walk. This year, Maggie has joined the cheerleading squad. Maggie has been active in DECA for three years, and is in several school clubs, a class officer, and an editor with the Venture Yearbook staff. Maggie has always been taught it is important to give back and has been a volunteer in the community for as long as she can remember. Maggie, the fourth of six children, is the daughter of Kevin and Maura Rustowicz. She plans to pursue a career in law. We would also like to congratulate our 2014 Scholarship winner Lucas Siebert! Best of luck at the University of Buffalo!




100+ Vendors Participate at KidBiz - July 2014

Mary Stewart Photos
See slideshow.

   Kids Biz, sponsored by Grand Island Chamber Of Commerce, was held this past Saturday, June 28th. Through this yearly event, kids learn how to run a business and then apply what they have learned at the Kid Biz Sidewalk Sale. This year's event was another successful year and well attended as 100+ participants set up their "store fronts" offering a wide variety of items to purchase. They included homemade bath bombs and soaks, hand decorated clipboards and rulers, candy, popcorn, cotton candy, manicures, frames made from hockey sticks, baked goods, sno cones, sundaes and much more.




KidBiz Training Session - May 2014


    The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce will host the 18th annual KidBiz Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, June 28th from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.. A Training Session will be held Tuesday, June 3rd from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Grand Island 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. Parents are encouraged to attend with their kids.
   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 second 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". Last year the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce coordinated the event with over 120 children selling their products in the Grand Island Town Park in the center of our town. 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 rental space fee and received a "license" to sell at the site. KidBiz is an excellent opportunity for children to engage in a real-life business experience. For more information contact the Chamber office at 773-3651.




Additional Citizen of the Year Sponsor - April 2014


Gold Sponsor: Thermo Fisher
Left to right: Shannon Zaccaria, Liz Wilbert and Scott Baird    The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Thermo Fisher for being a Gold Sponsor for the 48th Annual Citizen of the Year Awards dinner on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa.




Nonnie Carroll, Volunteer Service 2013 - April 2014


    When seeking nominations for special contributors throughout our community, we received a huge outpouring singing the praises of Nonnie Carroll, a Grand Islander for 36 years. She and her husband, Hank, have been married over 67 years, and have lived here longer than in any other place. Nonnie calls this "God’s Island". She and Hank are members of St. Stephen's Church, where she has been President of the Altar Society three times under three different pastors, as well as volunteering with Ladies of Charity and Catholic Charities. She assisted Barney Karl in organizing the first Blood Clinic at St. Stephens, when the Red Cross turned to him for help in getting donors on Grand Island.
    In addition to the numerous projects she has been active with throughout the parish, Nonnie is well known as the current hostess at the Golden Age Center, where her warm and friendly face helps people feel at home as they enjoy a good meal and the camaraderie the Center provides. She and her husband delivered Meals on Wheels for eight years, delivering hot balanced meals and a pleasant safety check on seniors throughout the Island. One of the other interesting ways she serves our community is that twice a year she organizes a group of volunteers to assist the Town Clerk with sending out the tax bills, providing a unique service and saving taxpayers money.
    There are numerous other organizations that have benefited from her support including baskets for fundraisers, and having been President twice of the Golden Age Club. Known as a fair woman with good judgment, Nonnie makes herself available to anyone who has a problem. Her active participation in this community is an inspiration to others, and she is truly deserving of this recognition.




Hizair Hair Salon, Business of the Year 2013 - April 2014

From left front: Tracy Williams, owner Sue Ohrum, Cristina Waz.
From left back: Chrissy Decker, Laura Handy and Tammy Matlock.

    Sue Ohrum has been a hairdresser her entire life, even before Sue knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. In high school, Sue was the go-to girl for perms, colors and cuts- even for the "mean" girls who wouldn't even acknowledge her in the hallways otherwise. In tenth grade, Sue's foreword thinking guidance counselor made the suggestion that she attend beauty school. She admits to being a difficult student, whose counselor basically told her parents - this girl is not college material, let's at least send her out into the adult world with a skill she can use. Sue began the BOCES cosmetology program in 11th grade. Suddenly the C average girl who couldn't be bothered with traditional high school was a perfect attendance, top- of- the- class student in the program. She was the first student to apply for her state license in 1997, acing both the written and practical on her first try. The summer before her senior year, Sue was hired to sweep the floors at a chain salon. For a year Sue assisted the other stylists and learned so much by watching. Before Sue even graduated high school, she received her license and was promoted to a stylist; within a year she was given another promotion to shift manager. In 1999, Sue was managing her own location before she was old enough to legally drink a beer in celebration! Sue met her best friend, Julie, during those years at the chain salon. They worked together for about 3 years; they just loved their job! Sue and Julie always talked about opening their own salon and getting out from the corporate grind. Sadly before they could make their dream a reality, Julie was taken from this world far too young in a tragic one-car accident. Work was never the same for Sue again. Every day just hurt at work, and Sue lasted about 4 months before she finally couldn't take it anymore and quit her job, with only two dollars in her pocket.
    Sue's sister, Tammy, happened to be dating a great guy who owned some properties on Grand Island. They convinced Sue to give her dream a try, and showed Sue a few store fronts. When she saw the biggest, ugliest one of all, Sue said- this is the one! Everyone said- that space is too big for one little girl, what will you do with it all? Her reply - grow my business! Sue went to her grandmother and told her about her dream. She asked her how much money she would need to make it happen, and Sue replied $25,000. Sue's grandmother looked at her for a long minute, and replied "you'll do it with $15,000. Find a way to make it work, and I will loan you the money." Sue's first lesson in business, and still the best advice she has ever gotten. It took almost six months to transform the space from a big, dirty, empty box with no bathrooms, heat or even drywall into a respectable salon. With a lot of help from friends and family, they did it themselves.
    On December 1, 2001, Hizair Hair Salon opened their doors, in a new town, with no clientele, on a shoe-string budget and a prayer. Sue's little cousin stood out front in a Tigger costume with a sign that read "free haircuts". She was busy all day that Saturday meeting new people, and getting the word out that there was a new salon in town. In those early days, Sue only offered two services- haircuts and cap highlights. Sue still can't believe the wonderful reception she received from Grand Island. The nice people here welcomed her with open arms. As time went by, Sue invested in a color line and learned as she went. Hizair added more things to the menu as the business grew. And always, by Sue's side was her sister, Tammy. Tammy would keep her company on evenings and weekends, after working at her regular job, and help out when Sue was busy by sweeping, cleaning and answering the phones. Tammy decided to go to beauty school, since she practically lived at the salon anyways! Tammy would offer free services to Sue's customers, to get experience until she was licensed. Her plan was to move to New York City and work at a big salon there, but as with all best laid plans... Sue still gets to work with her every day and is so grateful!
    A few years later, Sue's best friend who also happens to be her cousin, Chrissy, decided to change careers and join the family business. Chrissy has been with Hizair now for many years, and has taken over Hizair special events team, which caters to brides, birthday parties, even fashion shows. Laura, a high school friend's little sister, joined Hizair about two years ago. Tracy was discovered through Facebook pictures of her fabulous special occasion styling ability, and last but not least, Kristina applied out of the blue; she was so adorable they had no choice but to hire her. So now there are six of them, and Sue's little salon has grown into a big, bustling company where you can get a wide array of beauty services, including eyelash extensions, body sugaring, and soon body treatments!
    Sue has loved Grand Island since the first day she opened the doors of Hizair, twelve years ago. She has gotten to know so many families, and has been involved with as many community events as she is capable of. It's really nice to work in a community where everyone seems to know each other. We have watched kids grow up, who were just toddlers when their parents first brought them in; now they drive themselves to their appointments. Some of our clients have been with us since that first day when they took a chance on a free haircut. Sue knows she is lucky as many small businesses fail within the first five years. With the love and support of this town, Hizair has thrived. Grand Island is a great place to own a business.




Lynn Alan Konovitz, Professional Contributor 2013 - April 2014


    The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce has named Grand Island Memorial Library Director Lynn Alan Konovitz - Professional Contributor 2013. For the past 30 years Konovitz has been director of the Grand Island Memorial Library. Before coming to Grand Island in 1984 he worked at various branches in the Town of Tonawanda from 1980-1984. He started his career in 1978 working in the Buffalo city branches at North Park and Fairfield libraries. Konovitz obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has permanent certification to teach social studies grade 7-12. Because of a challenging teaching job market, he chose another path in obtaining a Masters of Library Science in 1978.
   The Board of Trustees of the Grand Island Memorial Library hired Konovitz in February 1984 to run the Island Library. One of his first tasks was to help the board expand the library which was then in the town hall. Konovitz was instrumental in the HUG (help us grow) campaign, speaking to many groups about the need for a new library. The new library broke ground in 1988 and opened up the following year, 1989. Konovitz worked on obtaining capital grants from Erie County to furnish the new library with all new furniture and a major infusion of funds to greatly increase the book collection. Obtaining grants became a speciality for Konovitz as he has continued to obtain grants for the library. He has successfully obtained two New York State Construction grants which has helped the library replace boilers, ballasts, sidewalks and refurbish the parking lot. In addition he has obtained two Western New York Library Resources Council RBDB grants. These grants allowed the library to microfilm and digitize the Island Dispatch newspaper.
    Professionally, Konovitz has been active in the Librarians Association holding numerous offices for over 30 years. In addition he has been active in Grand Island Rotary helping with fundraisers and serving on the student of the month and scholarship committees. In his spare time he enjoys working out and playing racquetball. He likes taking long walks with his wife Debrah. He has enjoyed working at the Grand Island Memorial Library because of his wonderful staff and library board and supportive Friends of the Library and Town Board. And most of all - he loves interacting with his Grand Island patrons.




Citizen of the Year Sponsors - April 2014

Platinum Sponsor: Niagara Frontier Publications
Left to right are Skip & Judy Mazenauer, owners; Liz Wilbert, Citizen of the Year Chair; and Shannon Zaccaria, Citizen of the Year Co-Chair.

Platinum Sponsor: Byblos Niagara Resort
Left to right: Renee Ganje, Marni Bator, Shannon Zaccaria, and Liz Wilbert.

Gold Sponsor: Financial Trust FCU
Front left to right: John Morrison, CEO; Lori Wydysh, CFO; Joani Philips, Support Service Coordinator; Liz Wilbert, Citizen of the Year Chair; back left to right: Jack Keefe, Loan Officer; and Mike Judson, Member Service Representative.

   Bronze Sponsors: Aceti's Wine & Spirits, Creative Leather Concepts/Island Ship Center, Realty USA - Liz Wilbert, Citizens Bank, Mr. Best Wrench, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, First Niagara Bank, Elderwood Healthcare at Riverwood, Island Turf Care, Re/Max North - Linda Kutzbach, Dana's Stylin' Pets, River Oaks, Riverside Federal Credit Union, Snap Fitness, Grand Island Optical, Toshiba Business Solutions, Tops, Sam Long's Landscaping and Excavating.




Teddy Klingel Linenfelser, Service to the Community 2013 - April 2014


   Teddy Klingel Linenfelser was born to Ted and Marion Klingel shortly after they and daughter Mary Ellen moved into their new house in Grandyle Village. She attended grades kindergarten through ninth grade at Charlotte Sidway School before taking the school bus off the Island for 10th through 12th grades. Her children attended Sidway and her grandchildren also went to kindergarten and first grade at Sidway.
   A 1960 graduate of Riverside High School, Teddy held a Civil Service job at the downtown Buffalo & Erie County Library and at the same time took her long time hobby of baton twirling a step further. The Grand Island Fire Company gave her permission to teach baton twirling in the fire hall where she eventually formed Teddy's Islettes. The Fire Company at the time felt that there was so much more for the Island's boys to do and believed this would be a much needed activity for girls. The Fire Company served as sponsor for several years, going so far as to provide a bus for the group to attend the annual Erie County Fair's Firemen's parades. Teddy began teaching 21 7th, 8th, and 9th grade girls in January 1961. A year later younger girls were invited to join the classes. At one point in the 1960s the 100+ twirlers were proclaimed the largest contingent in the Erie County Fair's Firemen's Parade. Eventually Teddy started a drum corps of about 6-8 boys adding much needed rhythm for the baton twirlers. Also added was a boys' rifle team, and eventually a mothers' drum corps was enthusiastically formed. The first Grand Island Blvd. Independence Day parade took place in 1969 and Teddy's Islettes received a long and loud applause from the local crowd. Known as Miss Teddy, her upbeat personality and attention to every student and every detail, as well as her appreciation of the self esteem her students gained through the lessons and performances, made Teddy's Islettes an ambassador for Grand Island, NY for many years. At the end of the summer of 1987 she made the decision to retire.
   At that time she began a new career, joining the editorial staff at The Island Dispatch, and learning the ropes from editor Joelle Logue. From there, she moved on to the new "Grand Island Record." It was then that Reg Schopp offered to post her weekly column, "Between the Bridges," on the internet at Isledegrande.com. The response was outstanding. Former and current Islanders from here and around the world found Reg's Grand Island internet guest book. In 2000 he started the isledegrande.com all Island, online newspaper and gave Teddy the editor's chair, one of the highlights of her life.
    As an active member of the Grand Island Historical Society and its board, Teddy has helped to maintain its headquarters, River Lea in Beaver Island State Park. Teddy, who has an extensive collection of old Grand Island photos, has presented several programs at the Society's monthly meetings. As town historian for the past 16 years, she has enjoyed hearing from young and old, former and present Islanders and sharing the Island's unique history with them. She enjoys greeting visitors to the Christmas luncheons and Victorian Teas, taking part in the yearly 4th Grade Tours and serving as a Sunday afternoon docent at the Society's open houses at River Lea. When a representative from Tops Market's headquarters asked her for 10 or 12 old Island photos last year for a display in our own Tops, they accepted all 30 of the pictures Teddy submitted. They are and will remain attached to the foyer above our Tops Market windows. As a former member of the town's Historic Preservation Advisory Board, she has worked with that group to impress upon the residents the importance of saving as much of the 100+ year-old homes and buildings.
   Teddy, who served on the Sesquicentennial's executive committee in 2001-2002, created the Sesquicentennial Program Book of Island history, became involved with the historic pageant of Island history, continued throughout the year to supply Sesquicentennial publicity, and served on the Sidway School reunion committee, a gathering of Sidway grade school classes 1937-1963. Teddy and over 30 former members of Teddy's Islettes in the 40-50 age range and older, practiced a twirling routine by attending classes here and watching a video in homes across the country. This was followed by an impressive appearance in the Sesquicentennial Independence Day parade in 2002.
   As an active 47-year member of the Fire Company's Ladies Auxiliary, she organized the first members' memorial service. At the time, a plaque was hung in the fire hall where names of deceased members are added. Life long residents, Teddy and her husband, Jim Linenfelser, are parents to son Jim (and Laury) and daughter Julie Dee (and Donald) and grandparents to John and Amy Bidell and Evan Linenfelser, all Island residents.




Cheryl Chamberlain, Educator 2013 - March 2014


   Cheryl Chamberlain has been teaching with the Grand Island Central School District since 2000 when she and her husband Gregory moved back to where he grew up to raise their daughter's Brooke and Sarah. When they moved into their home on Stony Point Road, Cheryl was considering going back to school and her husband said, "Why don't you substitute teach at the schools on Grand Island!" This started Cheryl's career focus in business education.
   Cheryl earned her Associates in Applied Science in Retail Business Management at Niagara County Community College after high school, where she was told by her professor David Nemi to go into teaching. From there, she attended Buffalo State College and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business and Distributive Education in 1992 and Master's in Educational Computing in 2002. It was at the end of her student teaching that she and Greg decided to start a family and soon Brooke was born. During these early years, Cheryl worked in the private sector for a car dealership, a rental car company, and the McGuire Group. Cheryl then took some time off spending time at home as a mom and soon Sarah came along.
   Cheryl began subbing in 2000 and when a teaching assistant position came up at Grand Island High School in the Science Department, Cheryl went for it! Working with Claire Cieslewicz and Carolyn Manzo as her mentors, Cheryl worked as a TA for four years until the retirement of Roberta Frisoni in the Business Department. In 2006, Cheryl took on a permanent position as Business Teacher and School-to-Work Coordinator where she built the DECA business club from six members in 2006 to over 140 members today. Cheryl continues to build programs with the assistance of her advisory board, the Grand Island School Business Alliance and key members of the CTE department at GIHS. Cheryl has been instrumental in the resurrection of the school store, renaming it Casey's Corner after another influential friend, George Casey. The store has been successful and gives back through scholarships and funding of programs. Cheryl has also been an active member in the community through membership at the Niagara Sailing Club, Co-President of Region 12 DECA and High School Graduation Coordinator. In addition Cheryl also coordinates most of the volunteer work for the high school for the past five years with her position as the CAS Coordinator of the International Baccalaureate Program and Internship Coordinator in her Career Exploration Program.
    Cheryl enjoys time at the gym and running as a pastime. She is proud that she has helped build a strong networking and business communications program for her students over the past fourteen years and will continue to work for every student in the future.




Chamber Announces Citizen of Year Winners - March 2014

   The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of the awards for the Chamber of Commerce's 48th Annual Citizen of the Year event. They are Nonnie Carroll - Volunteer Service, Cheryl Chamberlain - Educator 2013, Hizair Hair Salon - Business of the Year, Lynn Alan Konovitz - Professional Contributor, Teddy Linenfelser - Service to the Community. Congratulations everyone! The award dinner will take place on Thursday, April 24th at Byblos Niagara Resort. Tickets are available at the chamber office, 2257 Grand Island Blvd. or by calling 773-3651.




Chamber Announces Citizen of Year Sponsors - March 2014


From left: Michael Samland, First Niagara Bank; Cathlene Lambert, Elderwood Health Care at Grand Island; Linda Kutzbach, Re/Max North; with Liz Wilbert, Citizen of the Year Chair.

From left: Fahim Mojawalla, Island Ship Center/Creative Leather Concepts; Liz Wilbert, Realty USA; and Rod Reisdorf, Mr. Best Wrench.


The 48th annual Citizen of the Year Awards dinner will take place on Thursday, April 25th at the Byblos Resort. Sponsors to date are:
Platinum: Niagara Frontier Publications
Gold: Financial Trust Federal Credit Union
Bronze: Island Ship Center/Creative Leather Concepts, Realty USA, Mr. Best Wrench, First Niagara Bank, Elderwood Health Care, Re/Max North




Chamber Cancels Business & Food Expo - February 2014

   Message from Rod Reisdorf
As the chairman of the Grand Island Chamber Business and Food Expo, I would like to inform everyone that the event this year has been cancelled due to lack of participation in the business community. Many factors could have affected this outcome: the time of year, pricing of booths or the concept of an actual expo. We hope to host a business expo in the future and show how it can help businesses attract new customers or say thank you to existing ones. Before we do that, however, The Chamber would like to receive some feedback on what the Grand Island businesses would like to help them promote their business. E-mail any suggestions to the Grand Island Chamber office. Thank you, Rod Reisdorf.