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December Newsletter    December Menu

Golden Guide    Sunday Swim     Fall Winter Program     Light Up the Boulevard Parade
2019 University Express Classes Full Erie County Schedule - Grand Island Classes Only

Tax Volunteers Needed
Calling All Chess Players!
Social Group Respite Program
Dementia Support Group
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GAC Celebrates 60th Anniversary - December 2019

Golden Age Seal

Newly revovated Nike Base Community Room.

GAC Recreation Director Jennifer Menter leads a tour.

60th Anniversary Committee

Dessert Cake.

Example of new signage in dining room.

The Roadrunners

Mary Stewart photos.

    The Grand Island Golden Age Center at the Nike Base celebrated their 60th anniversary on Monday, December 16th. It is known that the club was formed in December of 1959. The meetings were sponsored by the Rotary Club in the Sidway School and eventually at various sites throughout Grand Island. The Knights of Columbus Hall was home for the club from 1961-1974. In 1975 they moved into the Nike Base.
    Recreation Director Jen Menter gave a tour of the newly renovated community room across the parking lot from the Golden Age Center. She also pointed out some interesting sites at the center building. Jen had learned that the building was mostly used as an Infirmiry for the base. You can see where the original entrance was blocked over, in the north wall. In the crafts room, you can see the track in the ceiling where the curtains hung to close off cubicles for the sick.
    In the dining room, there is new signage for the different areas; Nifty 90's Club, 100 Club, Past Presidents, and new for 2020 a Senior of the Year. Jen has also been successful in getting money from Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick for the purpose of adding a push-button entrance to the east entrance of the center building.
    The GAC members enjoyed a 50's themed lunch of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, jello salad and birthday cake. After lunch they listened to the sounds of "The Roadrunners" playing music from the 50's & 60's. Thanks to the anniversary committee for all their hard work. They are: Rose Bahgat, Rick Berti, Michelle Chasse, Lee Cohen, Michele Drabik, Tom Drabik, Joy Mesmer, Mary Stewart and Anna Vaccaro.
    If you are interested in becoming a member of the GAC, just drop in. If you are interested in using the community room, contact Recreation Director Joe Menter at 773-9680.

GAC Seniors Tree Sells For $250 - December 2019

Mary Stewart photo. - Click for larger view.

    The Golden Age Center entry in the Festival of Trees sold for $250.00 at last weekend's event at the Buffalo Convention Center.

GAC Seniors Enter Festival of Trees - December 2019

From left: Mary Stewart, Fran Tracy, Joy Mesmer, Anna Vaccaro, Michelle Chassé, Jacquie DesJardins-LoManto, & Nancy Tobe.

Bottom: Mary Stewart photo.

    Golden Age Center Recreation Leader Carrie Mesmer reports that she and the seniors have been working hard for the last several months crafting a variety of homemade ornaments, mixed with a minimal amount of store bought items for a special event. They are participating in the Festival of Trees - the event of the holiday season benefitting John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. It is at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin Street. They are in the volunteer designer group category and chose to do a 6.5’ tree. The theme is “It’s Snow Wonderful” and they are very excited to see their tree in complete form!
    The Golden Age Center group of elves headed down to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center to set the tree up, fluff and decorate on Wednesday, December 4th. All trees, wreaths and displays will be judged on Friday, December 6th. The event is open on Sunday, December 8th for Family Day but is sold out. Community Day is Monday, December 9th from 10 am – 6 pm, free admission. Carrie encourage you to check out the beautiful holiday displays and be sure to look for their tree! Who knows? Maybe one of you will purchase the happy tree and have it grace your home or office. (Most trees and wreaths are available for purchase at the event along with a shopping boutique to do your holiday shopping.) This is the 42nd year of this event and it is a very heartwarming and special way to celebrate and support another worthwhile local cause.

GAC Light Up the Boulevard Replica - December 2019

Standing: Pat Ehinger, sitting: Lorraine Wilcox, kneeling: Anna Vaccaro.

   In support of our wonderful community annual activity, Light Up the Boulevard, several Golden Age Center members have created a miniature replica of this event. Members who helped make this indoor version are Pat Ehinger, Lorraine Wilcox, & Anna Vaccaro.

GAC Annual Turkey Dinner - November 2019


Left: Violinist Peter Scozza. Right: Ryan Zygmunt

Chef Barry Conway (center) with pals.

Photos & story from Mary Stewart.

    The Grand Island Golden Age Center annual Thanksgiving dinner was held on Thursday, November 21st. The dining room was packed with members enjoying Chef Barry Conway and kitchen staff turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Those who came also enjoyed the violin music of Peter Scozza ,who played during the special feast. Four lucky people were picked to take home fresh, home baked pies at the end of the dinner.

Holiday Happenings Photos - October 2019


Photos & story from Mary Stewart.

    This year's "Holiday Happenings" at the Golden Age Center took place on Saturday, October 19th, It had a good number of vendors, drawing a large crowd. There were 229 baskets for the raffle, plenty of baked goods for purchase, which were about sold out by the end of the event. Chili, chicken noodle soup and roast beef sandwiches were available for lunch. Two big screen TV's were won by Mary Cooke and Dick Crawford. Thank you for all those involved and the people who came to support the Center.

Senior Health & Wellness Fair - September 2019

   On Friday, October 4, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., New York State Senator Chris Jacobs will be hosting a free Senior Health & Wellness Fair with health screenings, wellness information and healthy giveaways. The event will take place at the Town of Tonawanda Senior Center, 291 Ensminger Road, Tonawanda, 14150. Attendees will receive free blood pressure checks, hearing and vision tests, as well as receive free dietary and nutritional advice. Seniors wishing more information can contact Senator Jacobs’ office at (716) 854-8705 and jacobs@nysenate.gov.

September Birthday Celebration at Golden Age Center - September 2019

Bernie Callahan is holding Town of Grand Island Proclamation, with Town Councilwoman Bev Kinney.

Birthday gal Barb Nowakowski.

23 Skidoo
Photos from Mary Stewart.

   September birthdays at the Grand Island Senior Center were celebrated at the beginning of the month. It was a special day for Bernie Callahan as she was presented the Town proclamation honoring her 100th birthday, and the years she has been a member and involved with the senior center. The proclamation was to be presented to her at the recent town board meeting, but Bernie was unable to attend so Recreation Supervisor Jennifer Mentor accepted it for her. The birthday luncheon always features a special menu item and ice cream and birthday cake, graciously donated by Elderwood at Grand Island. This month's entertainment featured 23 Skidoo.

GAC Annual Picnic - August 2019


Story & photos by Mary Stewart.

   It was a fun day on Thursday, August 22nd, when the Grand Island Senior Center held its annual picnic. It included indoor and outdoor games, a chance to win prizes and just enjoy yourself. Lunch included hot dogs and hamburgs on the grill, and macaroni salad. Games consisted of Ladder Ball led by Nancy Tobe and Kathy Lechner, won by Marge Lebrenz; Clothes Pin Drop led by Joy Mesmer, won by Iris Galeza, Cathy Mancuso and Judi Mazur; Ring Toss led by Linda Clark and Marge Lebrenz won by Don Lewis; Bean Bag Toss led by Ada Payne won by Lloyd Potter; Putt Putt led by Jerry Kutis won by Dave Rogers; Croquet led by Erin Monnett won by Ruth Landel and Bingo led by Carrie Mesmer. Winners of 13 games played included Kathy Shaklee, Jane Consier, Gail Sturm, Lucy D'Alessadro, Jim Walf and Kathy Loth. There was also a make your own sundae bar!

Bernie Callahan 100th Birthday Party - August 2019

Bernie Callahan with Evelyn Lewis.

Well attended luncheon party.
Photos from Mary Stewart.

    You can never have too many birthday parties! The Golden Age Center hosted a birthday luncheon for 100 year-old Bernie Callahan on Thursday, August 15th. Lunch was beef stirfry, a favorite of Bernie, and cake and ice cream.

Golden Age Center - Reminiscing: Weddings - July 2019

Mary Stewart wedding gown.

Carrie Mesmer wedding gown and veil.

Wedding albums and photo display.
Story & photos from Mary Stewart.

    The Golden Age Center and Carrie Mesmer hosted a special program "Reminiscing: Weddings" on July 19th. Carrie and Mary Stewart brought in their gowns, which were 22 years (exactly!) and 55 years old, respectively. Others brought in photos and wedding albums to share.

Senior Wishes Is Looking For Dreams To Fulfill - July 2019

   Senior Wishes is looking for seniors who could use a bit of extra joy. The local non-profit’s mission is to fulfill wishes that may have been set aside by qualifying seniors. A wish can be any meaningful experience the recipient deeply desires. Past wishes have included traveling to visit long-missed family, cheering on a favorite team in person, and revisiting an abandoned hobby. Whatever the wish, Senior Wishes wants to hear about it.
   According to Wendy Miller Backman, Senior Wishes Executive Director, "Senior Wishes was created to foster respect and appreciation by providing seniors with a life enriching experience to be remembered. These are people who have spent their lives serving our country, caring for others, volunteering in the community and raising their families. We want them to know they are not forgotten."
   Wish recipients must be 65+ and a resident of Western New York with an annual income under $38,000 for a household of one or under $44,000 for a household of two. Permanent residents of care facilities are exempt from the income qualification. Vacations, medical items, household repairs, bill payments and travel outside of the continental U.S. are excluded. Full details can be found at www.SeniorWishes.org or by calling Wendy at 716-508-2121.

Past Presidents Luncheon - June 2019

Story & photo from Mary Stewart.

    On Thursday, June 20th, the Golden Age Club held its annual past presidents luncheon. Seated from left: Dorothy Lew, 2000 - 2001, Evelyn Lewis 2010 - 2012; Katy Lechner, 2009 - 2010 and 2016 - 2017; Lonnie Carroll, 1998 - 1999, 2007 - 2009. Standing is Jennifer Menter, Recreation Supervisor - Senior Citizen, Lorraine Mangin president from 2013 - 2014, Nancy Tobe president from 2017 - 2019 and Bev Kinney, member of the Grand Island Town Board.

GAC Closed June 28th - June 2019

    Golden Age Center CLOSED Friday, June 28 for Staff Training and Facility Maintenance; Meals on Wheels program running on normal schedule Do you need immediate assistance? Please call us at (716) 420-5027.

Book Presentation with Christina Abt - May 2019

    Local author Christina Abt will be at the Golden Age Center on Friday, June 7th at 10:00 a.m., for a presentation and book signing for her book "Beauty and Grace." The historical fiction takes place in Ireland and America, starting in the early 1900's, through the 1970's. See flyer.

Volunteer Luncheon at Golden Age Center - May 2019

Story & photo from Mary Stewart. Click photo for larger view.

    There is a saying, "many hands make for light work". Volunteers, whether they oversee the many activities offered by the center or deliver meals on wheels, have given their time and talents to make the Golden Age Club a special place for our seniors to enjoy club's benefits and meet their friends. To show their appreciation, a special volunteers luncheon was held Wednesday, April 24th to recognize and say thank you for all they do. About 40 attended this special day. Volunteer List.

Spring 2019 University Express Classes - April 2019

    Spring 2019 University Express classes.

EPIC Program Information Session - April 2019

   Senator Chris Jacobs is sponsoring a EPIC (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage) Program Information Session at the Golden Age Center on Friday, April 12th at 1:00 p.m. See flyer.

Birthday Celebration at Golden Age Center - April 2019

Betty Marinell celebrates 98th birthday.

Councilwoman Bev Kinney also has a birthday in March.

    Betty Marinell celebrated her 98th birthday at the Golden Age Center on Tuesday, March 26th. She celebrated with her friends over gourmet Macaroni and Cheese, with a decadent homemade Chocolate Cake with homemade Chocolate frosting (her favorite), lovingly made by the Barry, Denise, Sue and Victoria from the Golden Age Center kitchen. She finished her day having a blast playing Bingo Bonanza games with 26 of her friends!

Golden Age Club Nashville Show Trip - April 2019

   The Golden Age Club Nashville Show Trip takes place on October 7 - 12, 2019. It is a motorcoach tour and includes five nights lodging. Register by Friday, April 12th. See flyer for all details.

Seniors Celebrate St. Patrick's Day - March 2019

Kathy Menter and Kathy Lechner.

Ed and Trudi Shelp.

Ann and Dave Rogers.

It was a tie between Patti Phillips - left - and Ruth Landel - right - for the special prize.

Clann na Cara Irish Dance group.
Mary Stewart Photos.

   St. Day was celebrated at the Grand Island Senior Center on Thursday, March 14th with the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner prepared by chef Barry Conway and his kitchen staff. Many GAC members came decked out in green, with the most festively dressed winning a special prize. After the dinner everyone enjoyed entertainment by Clann na Cara Irish Dance putting on a Irish Step Dancing program.

Seniors Celebrate Valentine's Day - February 2019


Left: State Senator Chris Jacobs with Joanne and Bob Gesl, married 53 years.
Right: Shirley Martin with flowers given her for her 93rd birthday.

From left: Sue and Ray Whitbeck, married 66 years and Ann and Dave Rogers, married 54 years.

Nancy and Chick Toby, married 52 years, with Chris Jacobs.
Story & Photos by Mary Stewart.

   Valentines Day - a day when love blooms, sweethearts share a little extra love with flowers, candy or maybe a special night out. The Grand Senior Center honored those members who have been married 50 years or more this year. There were seven couples celebrating. After a delicious Valentines luncheon special certificates were given to the couples by Chris Jacobs to celebrate these anniversaries. They also received a special certificate from the center. Those honored were Chuck and Nancy Tobe - 52 years; Bob and Joanne Gesl - 53 years; Buddy and Lynn Black, Dave and Ann Rogers - 54 years; Richard and Barbara Brzyski and Don and Evelyn Lewis - 56 years and the longest married Ray and Sue Whitbeck hitting 66 years. Shirley Martin celebrated her 93rd birthday at the special luncheon.

Seniors Celebrate Chinese New Year - February 2019


Right: Cindy Lin

Mary Stewart Photos

   Grand Island's Senior Center celebrated the Chinese New Yea on Tuesday, February 5th with a stir fry lunch, and a talk by Cindy Lin. Cindy moved to the states from Tawain after graduating from college and is a member of the Golden Age Club. Cindy had several interesting items she brought from Tawain including artwork, books and a dress. She also wrote everyones name in Chinese on a card to take home. This year is the Year of the Pig. The pig is the representation of diligence, kindness and generosity.

Free Tax Preparation - February 2019

   The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offering free in-person tax preparation to anyone of any age, especially if you are 50 or older or can't afford paid tax preparation. It will be available Wednesdays, February 6 through April 3rd at the Golden Age Center by appointment. Call 773-9682.