Grand Islanders in the News 2007
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Mary Cooke For Supervisor Campaign Fundraiser Huge Success - October 2007

(left) Councilman Gary Roesch, Councilman Dick Crawford, Mary Cooke, Chris Collins, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel and Highway Superintendent Ray Dlugokinski
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   According to an October 10th press release, supporters filled the Niagara Sailing Club on October 3 for a very successful fundraiser for the Mary Cooke for Supervisor campaign. Dinner hors d’oeuvres, music by the Jazzbugs and a basket auction were enjoyed by all. Cooke spoke to the group, urging everyone to get out to vote on November 6. Voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications were on hand. Chris Collins, candidate for Erie County Executive, addressed the capacity crowd and outlined his vision for the county’s future.

Islander Trains With World Famous Horse Trainer - 2007

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   Tina Giambra of Staley Road recently attended a one-day clinic in Niagara County with world famous horse behaviorist GaWaNi Pony Boy. Tina and her horse, Disco, spent the day learning basic skills of natural horsemanship in three aspects of training: round pen, in hand and mounted skills. GaWaNi Pony Boy has authored 10 bestsellers and has an online college where horse lovers can work toward a Bachelors in Equine Studies. Tina has worked with horses most of her life and was until recently the organizational leader of the Grand Island Gallopers 4-H Club.

Beautiful October Day At Beaver Island Park - 2007

Beaver Island Park Beach, right: Genna Baldassarre, Zoe Dodd and Natalie Baldassarre.
   Hard to believe the fall we've been having. On Friday, October 5th it was 85 degrees outside and felt more like July. Many people were visiting Beaver Island State Park beach for what was probably the last glorious day of summer. All the Grand Island schools, except the high school, had a half-day for staff-development, so many were able to enjoy the day.

Jazz at BA's Featuring Jim Beishline - Oct. 2007

   Everyone is welcome to join the Grand Island High School Class of 1967 at BA's Saloon on East River Road, Friday, October 12th at 8 p.m. Jim Beishline, former GI student, class of '68, and one of Western New York's premier jazz pianists, will be performing from 8-10 p.m. Nancy Aydelotte, wife of the late Billy Aydelotte (Class of '68) has recently renovated the property and has much to be proud of. Plan on joining Grand Island alumni in listening to great music and seeing old and new friends.

Christopher Pennuto, Buffalo State Biology Department Receive Grant to Increase Diversity - October 2007

   Christopher Pennuto, a Grand Island resident and associate professor of biology at Buffalo State College, has received a $381,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to increase the number of minority students pursuing graduate studies in biology.
   Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Program (URM) students will participate in a two-year research experience in aquatic and watershed ecology, resulting in presentable and publishable research. The overall goals of the program are to increase diversity representation in biology, with a special focus on recruiting Native American students, and to improve post baccalaureate research success.
   “Minorities are extremely underrepresented in this field, and the National Science Foundation has recognized that by making the investment to improve minority success,” Pennuto said. “Through this grant, we are trying to create a research culture for these students. By immersing the participants in a scientific community with their peers, it will be a mind-opening experience.”
   Taking advantage of two state-of-the-art facilities — the Great Lakes Center and the Point Peter Brook instrumented watershed — the project will utilize faculty expertise from the departments of Biology, Geography and Planning, and Earth Sciences and Science Education to create a watershed research institute.
   The URM program will accept nine students for the initial two-year period, which will feature courses, research, social functions, and a seven-day watershed dynamics immersion workshop. Funding will be made available to renew the grant for an additional two years based on the progress of the initial program.

Figure Skater Taylor Firth To Compete In Finlandia Trophy In Helsinki - October 2007

   Freestyle figure skater Taylor Firth, 16, of Grand Island, New York, has been selected to compete in the Finlandia Trophy in Helsinki. See The Post-Journal for the complete story.

Gormadys Celebrate 25th Wedding Anniversary - 2007

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   Robert and Tami Gormady celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on October 2, 2007. They were married at Trinity United Methodist Church and their reception was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Whitehaven Road, Grand Island on October 2, 1982. The Gormadys will celebrate this year with a quiet dinner. They hope the next 25 years are as wonderful as the last 25 years.

"Fiddler On The Roof" - Plays Friday and Saturday Nights - October 2007

Paul Bene as Tevye and Karen Conboy as Golde
By Teddy Linenfelser

   The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild's production of "Fiddler On The Roof" is a professional performance you won't want to miss if you enjoy a good musical stage play. Grand Island's own Karen Conboy plays the lead as Golde, a not so friendly wife to Tevye, played by Paul Bene. She's crabby, she's impatient, and she plays the part to a T. Paul Bene, who we truly enjoyed so much in the NRTG's 1776 last March 2007, was equally as good in "Fiddler."
   The adorable nine-year-old Maggie Rustowicz (Bielke) of Grand Island appears with the Niagara Regional Theatre guild for the fourth time and has taken parts in several other WNY shows. She is joined on stage by her father, Kevin Rustowicz and her brother and sisters James, Katie and MaryElisabeth.
   Islander Steve Olszewski does a fine job playing the part of Mordcha. His children, Daniel, Gracie and Rachel were among the cast's Villagers.
   Completing the family affair was David Conboy, a Villager, and son of Karen Conboy (Golde).
   The "Matchmaker" number was pure delight, thanks to the voices of Amy Lee Reusch (Tzeitel), a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Choir; Nativity Middle School 8th grader Kaitlyn Baldwin (Hodel); and Kristin Gelia (Chava), a Canisius College graduate with much theater experience.
   Also highly rated by this writer were the blended voices of the entire cast during the singing of the "Sabbath Prayer." The production's other featured songs, now Broadway standards, include Sunrise Sunset, To Life, Far From the Home I Love, and If I Were a Rich Man.
   It just wouldn't be fair not to mention the "little fiddler," Rachel Mellas of Lockport. Rachel is a talented sophomore at NCCC.
   Directing "Fiddler on the Roof" is Island resident, Fran Newton. Dawn Marcolini Newton is credited with all of the choreography. This was the Niagara Regional Theatre Guild's first production in their new home, Cardinal O'Hara High School Auditorium. "Fiddler On The Roof" will be back on the O'Hara stage for the last time this weekend, 8 p.m. Friday, October 5th and 8 p.m. Saturday, October 6th. See or call 284-6358 for ticket information.

Abram Morgan - Sept. 2007

   SUNY-Geneseo Freshman Abram Morgan has been cited as an “AP Scholar with Distinction.” The citation presented by the College Board AP program recognizes students who receive an average grade of at least 3.5 on all Advance Placement exams taken and grades of 3 or more on 5 of these exams. A 2007 graduate of Grand Island High School, Abram completed 30 college credits through the AP program during his studies on Grand Island.

Welcome, Lukas Charles Wright - 2007

   It's a Boy! Charles (Chuck) and Erika Wright, formerly of Grand Island and now residing in Indianapolis, IN, announce the birth of their son, Lukas Charles, born on September 22, 2007, weighing six pounds, four ounces. Lukas was welcomed home by his big sister Mya Jade, and grandparents, Jim & Debbie Gold.

Cocktail Party Fundraiser For Supervisor Candidate Mary Cooke - 2007

   The Committee to Elect Mary Cooke Supervisor invites the community to a Cocktail Party Fundraiser, themed The Right Woman ..The Right Time, on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Niagara Sailing Club, 3619 East River Road, just north of Ransom Road. Enjoy Dinner hors d'oeuvre while listening to the Jazzbugs. Beer and wine are included with a cash bar available. Also featured will be a basket raffle and split club. Donation of $30/person and $50/couple. For more information call 773-7058. Tickets may also be obtained at the door.

Roses For Rosanna - Rosanna Russell Fundraiser - Oct. 2007

   Roses For Rosanna, a benefit for Island resident Rosanna Russell, will be held from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 20, 2007 at the Sandy Beach Yacht Club, 1851 Winter Rd., Grand Island, NY. Tickets are $20/adult and $10/child and include Food & Entertainment, Live Music on the River performed by SuckerPunch, Karaoke by Sandy’s Sound Express along with Children’s Activities: Face Painting, Making Fall Crafts & More. The event will also feature a Basket Auction & 50/50 Split.
   See "Letter To The Community."

Phil Razem Teaching In China - 2007

   Phil Razem, Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2001, is living and teaching in the People's Republic of China as a Peace Corps volunteer. See "Phil Razem" for his story. See also Philip's blog where he writes about his adventure. (Editor's Note: This is a "must read!")

Mangus - Dalbo Engagement - 2007

   Donna and Paul Linenfelser of Grand Island announce the engagement of their daughter, Jamie Lynn Mangus to Jonathan William Dalbo, son of Janice and Thomas Dalbo of West Seneca. Miss Mangus graduated from Grand Island Senior High School in 2001. She received a degree in business administration from Niagara County Community College in 2004 and her Cosmetology License from Leon’s Studio One in 2005. She is a receptionist at the University at Buffalo. Her fiancé graduated from West Seneca West Senior High School in 2001, and received a degree in social studies and education from Buffalo State College in 2005. He is a teacher at West Seneca West Senior High School. A November 2007 wedding is planned.

Wozniewski - Stewart Wedding - 2007

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   James E. Stewart Jr. and Jacqueline Wozniewski were married at the Marion E. Klingel Town Commons, Grand Island, NY, on Saturday, August 25, 2007.
   The groom, a member of the GIHS Class of 1985, is the son of James and Mary (Ellen) Stewart of LaSalle Avenue, Grand Island. The bride's parents are Richard and Amy Ball of North Tonawanda, NY. A reception was held at the home of the groom's parents. The newlyweds are residing in North Tonawanda, NY.

Welcome, Layla Nicole Rein - 2007

   Laura O'Donnell and Nick Rein announce the birth of their daughter, Layla Nicole, on June 29, 2007 weighing five pounds, three ounces. The baby girl was welcomed home by her sister, Kaylee Rein. Her proud grandparents are Bob and Debbie Rein of Jamestown and Colleen and Bob O'Donnell of Grand Island.

Welcome, Grace Anne Carpenter - 2007

Shown from left are Jackie and Jim Carpenter, baby Grace Anne, Elizabeth and Sam.
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   Grace Anne Carpenter was born Tuesday, September 4, 2007 weighing seven pounds, eight ounces. Grace Anne is the daughter of (left) Jackie and Jim Carpenter of Warner Drive. She has a sister, Elizabeth Roisin, 2, and a brother Sam, almost 4 years old. The baby's proud grandparents are Donna and Paul Linenfelser of Grand Island and Bill and Moey Carpenter of Rochester.

Memorial Gathering For Marty Wolverton - 2007

(left) Former Islanders Jim Rossney and Marty Wolverton pictured in Marty's 1935 Ford Roadster in 1977 - Click photo for larger view.

   A get-together is being held at the end of September in memory of Martin J. Wolverton, 85, a former Grand Island resident who died in Daytona Beach, Florida Wednesday, August 1, 2007. Marty was the founder of Marty's Towing on Grand Island. Those interested in attending are asked to contact Marty's daughter, Barbara at (386) 299-8603 or email to

Friends of County Legislative District Candidate Rus Thompson Host Fundraiser - Sept. 2007

   Friends of Erie County 10th Legislative District Candidate Rus Thompson will host a fundraiser from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road. Hors d'oeuvres, beer & win, cash bar - minimum donations: $50/person, $75/couple. Checks should be made payable to: Friends of Rus Thompson and mailed to: PO Box 1344 Grand Island, NY 14072 For more information, call 716-444-8908 or email

Niagara Regional Theatre Guild Production Fiddler On The Roof Features Islanders - Sept. 2007

    The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild will present the musical Fiddler On The Roof, with opening night scheduled for September 21, 2007 and running through October 6th at Cardinal O'Hara Performing Arts Center, 39 O'Hara Road, Tonawanda, NY. See or call 284-6358 for ticket information.
Islanders as follows:
• Karen Conboy as Golde
• Maggie Rustowicz as Bielke
• Steve Olszewski as Mordcha
• Villagers - Kevin Rustowicz, James Rustowicz, Katie Rustowicz, MaryElisabeth Rustowicz, Daniel Olszewski, Gracie Olszewski, Rachel Olszewski, David Conboy
• Director: Fran Newton
• Choreographer: Dawn Marcolini Newton
• Costumer: Nancy Watts
• Master Carpenter: Roger Watts
• Scenic Art Designer: Sam Santospirito
Show Times
Friday & Saturday, Sept. 21st & 22nd at 8:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, Sept. 28th & 29th 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 30th Matinée at 3:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, Oct. 5th & 6th at 8:00 p.m.

Welcome - Annagrace Rose Vieceli - 2007

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   Carrie Anne (Badame) Vieceli, GIHS Class of 1993, and her husband, Dr. John Vieceli are the proud parents of Annagrace Rose Vieceli, born August 8, 2007 weighing nine pounds, eight ounces and measuring 20 3/4 inches long. The Viecelis are living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Grandparents are Dennis and Janet Badame of Grand Island and James and Anita Vieceli of Los Angeles.

Chicken Wings Save The Day for Andersons Very Rough Start
Island Native And Family Find Success With Popular WNY Wings - 2007

(left) Floyd Anderson and his wife, Judy (right) with their daughters. Click photo for larger view.

Editor's Note: Floyd Anderson, whose roots on Grand Island, NY go back many generations, was born and raised on Whitehaven Road. He attended Charlotte Sidway School and later traveled off the Island to attend Riverside High School.

The Start
   It was 1975 when Judy and Floyd Anderson crammed their family and their belongings into their car and did what Americans have been doing for over two hundred years . . . they headed west to chase a dream. Exactly what dream? They weren’t so sure. They had other things to worry about. About to embark on a cross-country move from Buffalo, NY to Phoenix, AZ with their four young daughters, Debbie, Linda, Sherri and Jami in the backseat, Judy and Floyd were more occupied with concerns like . . . “Why are we moving?” “Exactly how are we going to support ourselves?” and “Might our friends and family be right? Are we crazy?”
   But press on they did. Steeled against a constant barrage of “Are we there yet?” coming from the backseat, Judy and Floyd discussed their destiny on the drive west. As mile after mile passed beneath their tires and the temperature gradually crept higher, the Andersons decided that after they settled in Arizona, they would open a restaurant. The more they thought about it, the more excited they became. Sharing a passion for food and for people, Floyd and Judy believed that a restaurant would allow the family to work together while taking advantage of Phoenix’s exploding, hungry population. It seemed a simple, tailor-made plan. However, they would soon learn that even seemingly perfect plans are never that simple.
The Struggle
   Just a few short months later, still growing accustomed to the dry heat and scorpions, Judy and Floyd had the opportunity to buy LaMonica’s, a small, local pizza joint. Ready to begin turning their dreams into reality, they went to the bank, got a loan, and took the plunge into bona fide entrepreneurship.
   Things started slowly. When total nightly sales consistently failed to break $60, they didn’t panic, knowing that building a business and a reputation takes time. But as their first days in business turned into months and then into their first year without any improvement, it became increasingly difficult to keep telling themselves things were going in the right direction.
   Eventually, worry became desperation, with the family changing the menu and trying every promotional campaign they could think of. Nothing worked. Nagged by the incessant idea that they were running their family’s finances into the ground and with no one but creditors knocking on their door, the Anderson’s did what they had to do; they borrowed more money.
The Save
   After a valiant effort and a long, long, struggle, the Anderson’s family dream was breathing its last, death-rattled breaths. All their money was spent. All of their ideas rendered bankrupt. Their dreams nothing more than dust, another sun-bleached skeleton claimed by the merciless desert landscape.
   And then, just days before the end, it happened. Lightening struck. Not one to bow out quietly and unable to utter clichés like, “We gave it our best shot.” Or “It was fun while it lasted,” Judy decided to try one more final idea: Chicken Wings.
   Being from Buffalo, NY, Judy and Floyd had spent many nights feasting on a local culinary phenomenon served at the now famous Anchor Bar. “If it worked there”, she thought, “why not here?” And with that in mind, Judy made a trip to the local grocery store to buy some chicken wings.
   A day later, their new Buffalo Chicken Wings received rave reviews from the few customers who had the chance to try them. Reviews weren’t enough and certainly didn’t pay the bills. But it was just enough positive feedback to try this “wing thing” a little while longer. Over the next few weeks, Tuesdays became “Wing Night” at the restaurant.
   With a guarded optimism, the whole family decided to “not give up just yet.” Judy, Floyd and the girls banded together for one more remodel, repainting and redecorating their restaurant, determined to be the first successful Wing joint west of the Mississippi. And that’s when lightening struck again.
   From paint fumes and overly-tired, slap-happy kids, genius can spring. And when oldest daughter Debbie took a moment respite from complaining about how much her painting arm hurt, she heard three lyrics of a disco song by Odyssey playing on the stereo. Three lyrics that would define the Anderson family for the rest of their collective lives – Native New Yorker.
   With a new image, a new niche and a new name, Native New Yorker’s chicken wings started to gain a foothold in the local dining community. In a move of obvious genius, Native New Yorker chicken wings were set free from their Tuesday night cage and landed on the menu for the remaining six days of the week.
   Lightening struck for a third time. The Andersons had no way of knowing that their delicious, unique chicken wing was quietly developing a following throughout the Phoenix Valley. With good word of mouth and limited but positive reviews, their business was growing slowly but steadily and they couldn’t have been happier. Nothing could have prepared them for what was about to happen to them that fateful Friday night in 1978. It started out like any other, with Floyd and Judy preparing for another Friday night like any other. But only minutes after opening, the restaurant was filled. That certainly looked promising. An hour later, there was a line at the front door, something that up until this time had never been seen before. An hour after that, Floyd and Judy were looking at two-hour wait to get into their restaurant. Judy and Floyd looked at each other and decided it was time to bring in the big guns. Running to the phones they called home, where Grandpa was watching the girls. Twenty minutes later, Judy was giving Debbie and Linda a crash course in table serving, Floyd was guiding Sherri through the intricacies of managing the door, Grandpa was learning the art chicken wing cutting and little Jami began cutting her teeth answering the phones. By the end of the night, Native New Yorker had crushed all sales records by at least ten times. The whole family sat down to a much deserved break and each of them, tired but ecstatic, knew that their two-year long business struggle had suddenly become an “overnight” success.
   Now, Judy and Floyd were saddled with the equally challenging problems faced by owners of a run-away success. They were quickly becoming known for the wings but they had no chicken distributor. Customers raved about the wing sauce, but they had no hot sauce supplier. They had no wait staff to handle the surging crowds and someone still had to manually cut every chicken wing that was served.
   Knowing that she couldn’t run the restaurant with a nine-year-old answering the phones and an eleven-year-old as hostess, Judy scrambled to hire staff while Floyd renovated the operational systems in order to handle the new volumes. Their service and operations improved, but distribution and supply were harder problems to crack. Judy was quickly becoming Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of every grocery store within a ten-mile radius. Still with no chicken distributor and no hot sauce supplier, Judy would pillage the local groceries, buying every chicken wing and every bottle of hot sauce they had within a matter of minutes. Unhappy to be out of stock to the rest of the community, the stores began to keep a watchful eye out for Judy and her crew, spurring an ongoing cat and mouse game of intrigue that often ended with Judy, arms and carts loaded with chicken and hot sauce, racing to the checkout aisle before being caught and lectured by store managers.
   With the service solidified by the family and Judy handling the “off the books” acquisition of chicken wings and hot sauce, Floyd took the whole thankless job of cutting each and every chicken wing. With thousands of pounds of chicken wings going through Native New Yorker every week, Floyd learned to cut an eleven-pound case of chicken wings in a matter of minutes. But even at that pace, cutting wings still occupied 4-6 hours of his night, every single night.
The Success
   Eventually, Native New Yorker did find a distributor for pre-cut chicken wings and Floyd was able to retire his knife. They also found a hot sauce supplier, allowing Judy to once again walk through Scottsdale supermarkets without a disguise. With their recent struggles now seeming like so distant memories, Judy and Floyd began looking to the future.
   By the early eighties, Native New Yorker began winning what would become two decades worth of local, regional, and statewide dining awards. From their humble beginnings, the Anderson family opened up 5 more Native New Yorker restaurants, each more successful than the last. After rocking success with each of the 5 new stores, the Native New Yorker concept matured. Wanting to offer more than chicken wings, the Native New Yorker menu and image slowly evolved into a family-friendly, sports-themed restaurant with a distinctive menu of traditional American fare.
   Today, Grandpa no longer works the floor and the Anderson daughters work in the corporate office, not serving tables. But that early experience, shared by the whole family, still overshadows every part of the Native New Yorker franchise system. Knowing the real value of having operational, marketing and distribution systems in place, the Native New Yorker management team shares a hard won perspective on the value of a proven model.

A member of the Anderson family will represent the Native New Yorker at the annual Chicken Wing Festival being held at Dunn Tire Park this weekend. There is a $5 admission fee.
Hours are:
Saturday, September 1 - 12 noon to 10 p.m.
Sunday, September 2 - 12 noon to 7 p.m.
Take I-190 to the Elm Street Exit (exit #6). Keep left at the fork and then turn left onto Swan Street. Dunn Tire Park is on the Left.
The USA Chicken Wing Eating Championship Finals (the main event!) takes place at 6:00pm on Saturday, September 1.
Chicken Wing Festival History.

Baby Joe Mesi To Attend "Friends Of Frentzel" Reception - 2007

   Grand Island Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel will be the guest of honor at an evening reception on Friday, September 14th at River Oaks Golf Club. In addition to recognizing the contributions Frentzel has made over the past four years as Grand Island’s Town Clerk, the evening will also feature a guest appearance by local heavy weight boxing champion, Baby Joe Mesi. Event organizer, Karen Conboy, is excited to have Baby Joe Mesi at the reception due to the fact that “Baby Joe’s heartfelt commitment to his career is similar to the passion Pattie brings to the position of Town Clerk; both individuals love what they do and are constantly looking for ways to improve their performance.”
   Since taking office as Town Clerk, Frentzel has introduced numerous cost saving measures and customer focused services. Passport Processing, which includes passport photo services, and application submission has been extremely well received by the community. The new service has become increasingly more popular as residents prepare for the mandatory requirement of passports for travel between the US and Canada. Another recent service enhancement spearheaded by Frentzel is the introduction of online tax payment and tax receipts.
   When asked of her future plans for the clerk’s office, Frentzel is enthusiastic in her expectations. “My staff and I are constantly searching out new ideas, seeking greater efficiencies and striving to exceed the expectations of Grand Island residents. When you are blessed to work with a terrific staff, every day is a day of opportunity.”
   All Island residents are invited to attend the reception that will run from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. under the tent on the back lawn at River Oaks Golf Club. Admission is $20 per person, and includes a bounty of hors d’oeuvres and a full open bar. A Chinese Auction with a variety of baskets will also be part of the main event. Those interested in making a reservation, contributing a raffle item or making a monetary contribution to the “Friends of Frentzel” campaign, are asked to contact campaign manager Karen Conboy at 773-7476. "All expressions of support are greatly appreciated," she said.

Islanders Take Part In White Coat Ceremony - 2007

   The University of Buffalo Pharmacy Class of 2011 White Coat Ceremony was held Thursday, August 23, 2007 in Slee Hall on the Amherst Campus. This ceremony marks the beginning of four years of intensive course work after which the students will earn their Doctorate of Pharmacy Degree or Pharm.D. Pictured are Robert Goris, Justine Kirsch and Sara Hilliard from the Grand Island High School Class of 2005. Not pictured are Alicia Harrison and Calvin Meaney. Only 123 students were chosen from over 1000 applicants. Congratulations and good luck.

Lillian Carpenter Receives Volunteer Award - 2007

   Lillian Carpenter, 99, has been honored with The President's 2007 Volunteer Service Award, presented by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation and in recognition and appreciation of her commitment to strengthening our Nation and for making a difference through volunteer service. Lillian, who has been a very active member of the Golden Age Center for 35 years, was nominated by the Erie County Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and received her award on the Friday, August 24, 2007 at the Center.

Welcome - Michael Vincent McGavisk - 2007

(left) Caroline, Gabrielle and Michael Vincent. - Click photo for larger view.

   Mike and Danielle (Normandin) McGavisk announce the birth of their son, Michael Vincent McGavisk, on July 1, 2007. He weighed eight pounds, 12 ounces and was 21 1/4 inches long. Michael is the brother of twin sisters, Caroline and Gabrielle, and the grandson of Serge and Gerri Normandin of Grand Island and Vincent and MaryAnn McGavisk of Dansville, NY.

Patricia Czora O'Gorman - August 2007

   Island resident Patricia Czora O'Gorman will be competing in the world's largest festival of traditional Irish music, song and dance. See "Buffalo News Story"

How Does Your Garden Grow? - 2007

Aidan and Madison MacNeil are shown in their garden. - Click photo for larger view.

   Five-year-old Madison MacNeil and her brother, Aidan, three, have planted their very own vegetable garden with a little help from there mother. They have faithfully taken care of it everyday, watering it and pulling weeds. "When vegetables were ready to be picked it was like Christmas morning for them. They were so excited to pick them," Sarah MacNeil said. "Now every morning when they wake up, they run outside to look for ripe veggies!" she said. Rob and Sarah MacNeil and Madison and Aidan reside on Bush Road.

Linton - White Wedding - 2007

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   Kristen Linton, daughter of William and Nancy Linton of Grand Island, and Brick White, son of Larry White of Hornell, NY were united in marriage on June 23, 2007 at the Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY. After a reception at the Yodeler Lodge, the couple enjoyed a Hawaiian honeymoon. Kristen, a 1991 graduate of Grand Island High School, earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Cortland and a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from SUNY Fredonia. Brick earned a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo and an MBA from Canisius College. The couple reside and work in the Northern Virginia area.

Mancuso - Yanes Wedding - 2007

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   Hanford, California residents Kelly Mancuso and Patrick Yanes were married Saturday, August 4, 2007 in East Otto, NY, at the vacation home of the bride's parents. Kelly, daughter of Daniel and Lela Mancuso of Grand Island, and Patrick traveled to New York for the wedding, and will live in Hanford California, but hope to make Grand Island their home in the future.

Allison Ewert - National Baton Twirling Winner - 2007

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   Grand Island, NY resident Allison Ewert, 6, competed at the National Baton Twirling Championships at the University of Notre Dame on July 17-21 and won five medals. She represented New York State as the Beginner Little Miss Majorette of NY State. In the Beginner Little Miss Majorette of America contest she placed 6th overall against 28 girls. She placed top 10 in two of the three events, placing 2nd in strutting and 7th in modeling. In the open contest events Allison placed 1st in the Novice Strutting and 6th in the Beginner Baton Twirling Solo, both in the age 6 and under division.
   A first grader attending Sidway School in September, Allison is a member of the Niagara Royalettes Majorettes and is coached by Judy Evans and Linda Kozlowski.

Islanders Softball Team Earns 2nd In Tournament - 2007

Allie Weiser, Ashley McCrae, Alexis Raepple, and Kaileen Shoemaker are members of the Cayuga Gamblers Red 16u Girls Fastpitch Softball Team
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   The Cayuga Gamblers Red 16u Girls Fastpitch Softball Team finished 2nd in the 10th annual Orchard Park Tournament over the weekend of July 28-29. In the Quarterfinals Gamblers defeated The Geveva Lady Panthers 6-0 behind a 7 K, 4 hitter from Kaileen Shoemaker in the circle, Marteen Crogan and Katie Destino a pair of hits and 2 rbi`s each. In the semifinals Gamblers registerd a 5-2 victory over the Southerntier Lady Legends, Alyssa Bradley P/U the win with a 6 K, 4 hitter, Carly Knight single, double, 2 runs scored and Alexis Raepple's 3 singles led the offensive charge. The Kanata Pirates from Ottawa, Ontario took the the title with a 6-1 victory over the Gamblers in the finals. Players include Alyssa Bradley, Sam Broas, Marteen Crogan, Katie Destino, Lene`e Gray , Carly Knight, Caitlin Kirbis, Ashley McRae, Heather Carella, Kaileen Shoemaker, Alexis Raepple, and Allie Weiser. Coach`s, Rod Knight, Jim Bradley, George Zemla.
   Rod Knight is the Cayuga Gamblers Red 16u Coach

Bailey Graduates Cum Laude from NU - 2007

(right) Brieanna Bailey at the Columbus Children’s Theatre

   Brieanna Bailey, daughter of David and Cheryl Bailey, graduated cum laude from Niagara University in May 2007 with a duel degree. She received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre with a performance track and a Bachelor of Arts in English.
   During her four years at Niagara, Brieanna was active in the theatre department and was only one of two female thespians graduating this spring who were cast in theatrical roles every semester. Miss Bailey’s favorite roles included Hunyak in the musical ‘Chicago’, Darla in ‘Flora and the Red Menace’, Giainna in the Italian comedy, ‘The Fan’ and the eldest daughter in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. Additionally Brieanna earned a spot on the Dean’s List status 6 out of 8 semesters while working part time throughout her college career. She also managed to choreograph several musical productions for Coop Productions at the Lancaster Opera House.
   Brieanna was an active member of the Niagara Players Board and served as treasurer of the organization this past year. The NU Players sponsored various events to benefit the department and participated in a variety of school-sponsored events. Miss Bailey is also a selected member of the prestigious Institute on the Arts, an organization supporting the arts in education.
   Brieanna has accepted a position with the Columbus Children’s Theatre touring company this fall. She will star in renditions of Rumplestiltskin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Thomas Edison the Boy, Picture This!, Magic Bone, Plant A Story and Mr. Scrooge throughout the next year.

Welcome, Morgan Kate Blum - 2007

   Sherry and Joe Blum are excited to announce the arrival of their baby girl, Morgan Kate Blum, born at 12:47 a.m. on Monday, June 25th weighing eight pounds, 10 ounces. Isle grandparents are Margaret Cortright and Diane Blum.

Islander Carissa Bailey Competes for Miss New York - 2007

Carissa Bailey at the Miss York Scholarship Pageant
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   Carissa Bailey of Grand Island and the reining Miss Lancaster, traveled to Huntington, Long Island to compete in the Miss New York Scholarship Pageant on July 12-14. The 18-year-old Fredonia State student competed along with 21 other aspiring women representing various regions of the New York State at the pageant for a chance to compete for the Miss America crown.
   Carissa platform is Promoting Values as a Tool for Success. Miss Bailey sang a powerful song from the Broadway musical "Wicked, Defying Gravity" for the talent portion of the show. She wore a beautiful pink and gold formal dress during the evening gown competition that was donated by the Jacqueline Shop of Williamsville. During the fitness portion of the competition she donned a lovely metallic blue bathing suite with rhinestone accents given to her by the Buffalo Beach House. Carissa was able to stay fit and trim by attending 24 Hour Fitness in Hamburg and working with her talented trainer, Donna Omar. Carissa was also judged in a 12-minute private interview with the panel of prestigious judges from around the country. An on-stage interview of general knowledge was also presented to the contestants over the three days of competition.
   The Miss New York Scholarship Organization is a licensed franchise of the Miss America Organization; one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. The Miss New York Organization as well as the Miss Lancaster Organization are not-for-profit organizations that have maintained a tradition of empowering young women to achieve their personal and professional goals while providing a forum in which to express their opinions, talent and intelligence.
   At the finals on July 14th the crown and the $6,500 Miss New York scholarship were awarded to Miss Elisabeth Baldanza, a 23-year-old graduate student and the former Miss Empire Rose. Carissa described her experience at Miss New York as ‘excellent’ and hopes to have the opportunity to return in the future.
   Carissa will be a sophomore at Fredonia State this fall where she has been selected as a residence assistant. She is an active member of the Resident’s Advisory Council and member of the Music Educators National Conference and American Choral Directors Association. She is pursuing her goal of obtaining a degree in music education and hopes to teach elementary school choir in the future. Carissa is the daughter of David and Cheryl Bailey of Grand Island.
   Carissa would like to thank all her sponsors and supporters; especially the Miss Lancaster committee members who joined her in Long Island including: President Deborah Rogers, Executive Director Cynthia Mediak, Denise Tunney (Public Relations) and their families.
   Miss Bailey will continue her rein and appearances as Miss Lancaster through November of 2007.

Islanders Are Enthusiastic Members Of Niagara Experienced Players - 2007

(left) Andrew Fix - (center) Abigail Armitage - Genevieve Davis
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(left) Niagara Experience Players "Kids" - (center) Elizabeth Davis - Genna Davis and Abby Armitage
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   The Niagara Experience Players put on a great show for the kids and adults attending the 49th Annual Special Children's Picnic sponsored by the Grand Island Lions Club and held Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at the Buffalo Launch Club. The young guests loved the music and dancing and joined right in with the 'Players.'
   Niagara Experience Players, a not-for-profit Niagara County organization of young people, was formed over thirty years ago and is geared to youngsters ranging in age from 8-18 who perform choreography and vocals during their shows. Island resident Michele Fix is a member of its board of directors and the cast includes Grand Island High School students Andrew Fix, Alexandra Davis, and Elizabeth Davis, and Kaegebein Elementary School students, Abigail Armitage and Genna Davis. The group will perform at the Summit on Saturday, August 11th and at the Lewiston Art Festival on Sunday, August 12th, in addition to a number of other shows at The Summit, home for NEP.

Island Residents On Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Dean's List - July 2007

   The following Grand Island students have been named to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute dean's list for the spring 2007 semester:
David Dillen
Christian Dommell
Patrick Donnelly
Thomas Rayhill
Katharine Rogers

Michael Lockett Inducted Into Praxair Technology Hall of Fame - July 2007

   Grand Island resident Michael Lockett was recently inducted into the Praxair Technology Hall of Fame for his consistent and outstanding record of technical innovation that led to the development and commercialization of Praxair’s most significant technologies.
   Lockett was honored for his role in the development of innovative distillation and heat transfer technologies, which improved the performance of cryogenic air separation plants while decreasing costs and reducing energy consumption. He is the recipient of 42 patents and has authored 61 technical articles as well as a textbook, "Distillation Tray Fundamentals", which has become an industry standard. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the United Kingdom.
   The Praxair Technology Center in Tonawanda, N.Y., is Praxair’s largest engineering and research and development center worldwide. Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX), based in Danbury, Conn., is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2006 sales of $8.3 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technology bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries including aerospace, chemicals, electronics, energy, food and beverage, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others.

Ed McCaffery Celebrates 75th Birthday With Family Party - July, 2007

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   Ed McCaffrey, born July 3, 1932, enjoyed a great celebration of his 75th birthday with a party held at the Holiday Inn on Grand Island. The day started off with a surprise visit from granddaughter Fawn Loquasto and her boyfriend, Frank, who flew in from New York City. The pair were dressed as Uncle Sam and Hillory Clinton, complete with look-alike masks, and performed a singing telegram. The very patriotic red, white and blue celebration was attended by Ed and his wife, Chris; son Mike and his son, Ken, of Grand Island; daughter Patti, her husband, Sam of Grand Island and their daughter Fawn; daughter, Valerie and her husband, Greg and two children, Ben and Calista of East Aurora; son Ed Jr. and his wife, Bobbi and their two children, Ed III and Jamie of Rochester; son, Jack, and his wife, Wendy and their two children, Tom and Claire, living in the homestead on East River Road; and Bob and Terri Weaver of Grand Island.
   Ed and Chris now live in East Aurora and winter in Florida.

Huff-Cloud - Stewart Wedding - 2007

Heather and Bill are shown with Heather's daughter, Elizabeth
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   William B. Stewart and Heather Michelle Huff-Cloud exchanged vows on June 30, 2007 at the Alpine Wedding Chapel in Helen, Georgia.
   The groom is the son of James and Mary (Ellen) Stewart of LaSalle Avenue, Grand Island. The bride's parents are Michael and Lynn Huff of Demorest, Georgia.

Longtime Isle Resident Myrtle Killian To Celebrate 101st Birthday - 2006

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   Myrtle Killian, who spent most of her life on Grand Island before moving to Briarwood Manor in Lockport, New York, will celebrate her 101st birthday on Thursday, July 30th with a party of about 75-80 people from the Killian family. Myrtle is very much looking forward to that party and also one earlier in the week for Briarwood Manor residents celebrating birthdays in July. According to her daughter-in-law, Judy, Myrtle is felling fine, enjoys three meals a day in the dining room and remembers most of her visitors. She has been a resident of Briarwood Manor for nearly nine years and is the oldest resident, very much loved by staff and residents. Myrtle is very excited as she looks forward to the birth of her granddaughter, Debra's first baby in December. Debra, a teacher at Veronica Connor Middle School, and her husband, John Coram, are living on Grand Island, a delight to Grandma Killian.
   Moving to the Island as an eight-year-old in 1914, she has fond memories of the horse and buggy days, and walking 1 1/2 miles to a one-room school, even during the cold winters. Myrtle, who helped her mother clean the church (German Evangelical, now Trinity UM Church) every week, was a typical farm girl who learned to cook and can and drive the tractor.
   She and her husband, Howard, were married on November 12, 1924, sharing 61 years together until he died at age 85. She and her late husband are the parents of Nan E. Nesbitt of Batavia and the late Howard R. Killian who lost his battle with Leukemia in May 2006. Both children were born in the Whitehaven Road farmhouse.
   Myrtle remembers well the farm she and her husband owned on Whitehaven Road, all 23 acres of it where they raised chickens, sold brown eggs, and had hired hands to help work on the farm.
   Myrtle has spent her life as a very giving person. During World War II she wrote letters to all 27 relatives who were fighting in the war. She is a member of the Grand Island Historical Society and at one time took her turn riding the Society's school tour bus, telling students all about the one-room schoolhouses on Grand Island that she attended. She is also the oldest member of Trinity UM Church. She never worked outside her home and when the time arrived, she couldn't believe that she was receiving her Social Security. A wonderful babysitter, she would stop all other activities to make the time fun for her grandchildren. Myrtle kept a diary for 70+ years, jotting down her daily activities. In her 89th year she challenged herself to read all of the Bible, a goal she did accomplish.
   Myrtle moved from her Whitehaven Road home nine years ago. The Killian farm was sold and the new owner completely updated the old homestead. The subject of many local artists, the old barn was dismantled several years ago. Myrtle has continued to enjoy a sharp mind, good health and her life in general. Poor eye sight in her later years hasn't discouraged her from enjoying bingo, pinochle and crafts.

Former Resident Eleanor Bauer Turns 90! - July 2007

Eleanor Bauer

Former resident Eleanor Bauer will celebrate her 90th birthday at a reception in her honor on Friday, July 27, 2007 in Fullerton, California. Eleanor and her late husband, Fred, and their children Sharon and Lin, lived on East Park Road near Stony Point in the 1940s and '50s. Eleanor, whose mind is still sharp, has become a "regular web junkie" and enjoys using her computer to send and receive emails and browse the internet for all sorts of things. She is shown with her beloved dog, Charlie.

Fundraiser For Councilman Roesch Huge Success - July 2007

(left) Raffle winners Jake and Carolyn Kreutz with Carol and Gary Roesch
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   According to the Friends to Elect Gary Roesch Councilman, their fundraiser held July 12 in the Buffalo Launch Club was a huge success with over 100 people attending. The crowd enjoyed listening and reminsicing to the music of Donnie Burns and Gary Garth. The highlight of Gary’s campaign event was the “Money Tree” raffle won by Carolyn and Jake Kreutz.

Island Resident Named Development Manager At Praxair - July 2007

   TONAWANDA, NY, July 16, 2007 . . . Praxair, Inc. named Hank Howard program development manager for its Research and Development (R&D) organization’s New Facilities Network. He is located at the Praxair Technology Center in Tonawanda.
   In his new position, Howard will work with engineering, R&D and Praxair’s global market networks to identify and evaluate supply systems technology opportunities for cryogenic air separation and liquefaction. Since joining Praxair in 1990, Howard, a Grand Island resident, has been a key contributor to the development of many of Praxair's supply system technologies. He has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University at Buffalo.
   The Praxair Technology Center in Tonawanda, N.Y., is Praxair’s largest engineering and research and development center worldwide. Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX), based in Danbury, Conn., is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2006 sales of $8.3 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technology bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries including aerospace, chemicals, electronics, energy, food and beverage, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others. More information on Praxair is available on the Internet at

Lauren Priest - 2007

   Lauren Priest, who will enter 11th grade at Grand Island High School in September, has been chosen to participate in the exploration of Western Europe for 20 days during the summer school break as a member of the WNY delegation of the People to People Student Ambassador Program. People to People is an educational travel program for gifted students in elementary, middle and high school, and founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Lauren will participate in the Paris to Casablanca itinerary, where she will become familiar with the people, culture, and history of places visited. Lauren's letter of recommendation and her participation in an interview process helped her achieve the honor of being chosen to make the trip.
   Lauren is the daughter of Sharon and Bob Priest.
   For further information on the People to People Student Ambassador Program, visit or call 1-800-669-7882.

Welcome, Megan Rae Zahradnik - 2007

   Megan Rae Zahradnik was born June 25, 2007 to Chad and Stacey Hamlin Zahradnik of Lewiston. Megan weighed in at seven pounds, six ounces and was 20 1/4 inches long. She is the grandchild of David and Carol Hamlin of Grand Island and Al and Paula Hunt of Lewiston and the great granddaughter of Mary Lou Kohlhagen, Helen Pollow and Betty Beckwith.

Fun'd Raiser For Re-Election Of Councilman Gary Roesch - 2007

   A Fun'd Raiser for the Re-Election of Councilman Gary Roesch will be held at the Buffalo Launch Club from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 12th. Ticket, $20, available at the door, include finger foods and non-alcoholic beverages. A cash bar will be available. The evening will feature raffles, door prizes, and Grand Island's Don Burns on the piano, accompanied by Gary Gath. To purchase tickets in advance, call 773-3967.

Welcome, Peyton Gregory Golde - 2007

   Greg Golde and Beth Glessner announce the birth of their son, Peyton Gregory Golde on May 19, 2007 weighing six pounds, 13 ounces and 20 inches long. Proud grandparents are Darcey Golde, Dean aznd Cyndie Golde, Linda Glessner (the late Gary Glessner) and Ernie Underwood (the late Jeannie Underwood). Great grandparents are Bill and Fay Wood, and Gwen Kennedy (the late Bill Kennedy).

Former Islanders Work With Habitat For Humanity - 2007

From left: Susan Radder is shown using a power nail gun; Carole Radder Murphy works with a chop saw; Susan and Carole shown in front of one of the houses they were building.
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   Former Island residents Susan Radder and her sister, Carole Radder Murphy, recently spent time in Bay St. Louis, MS working for Habitat for Humanity. "It was a GREAT experience!" Susan wrote. "The region from New Orleans to Biloxi is still in really desperate shape. There is still so very much to be done. We were so blessed to be a part of the work that continues there. We helped finish two houses and then helped start a third in Waveland, MS," she said. The women learned how to use all kinds of power tools, learned a lot about rebuilding houses and a lot about rebuilding hope in response to extreme devastation. "We made a lot of really good friends in our team of workers as well as the people we were there to help. It was very rewarding for everyone. We encourage everyone to get involved in whatever way they can!" Susan said.

Rus Thompson Endorsed For Erie County Legislature, 10th District - 2007

   Co-Founder of the political reform groups Primary Challenge and Free, Rus Thompson has gratefully accepted the endorsement of the Erie County Republican Committee to run for Legislature in the 10th district.
   Rus has been a leader in the reform movement and as co-founder of Primary Challenge helped candidates run against incumbents in the county legislature and Amherst town board races two years ago. With the successful elections of Supervisor Satish Mohan and Legislator Cynthia Locklear, his desire to continue with the reform movement across Erie County drove him to run for legislature again this year.
   Rus has been leading the petition drive to eliminate the Grand Island Tolls ( and has recently received the help of Carl Paladino who was instrumental in the successful removal of the Buffalo tolls. "We are moving forward with a positive attitude that we can and will succeed in not just the removal of the tolls but we will be successful in our drive to reform County Government," Thompson said.
   A major part of the campaign will be to focus on the down sizing of County government, reduce the legislature to nine seats, close all district offices and have a central staff with less employees at County Hall, lowering the sales tax and consolidating county services.
   As a registered Conservative for 13 years, Rus was an active member of the Grand Island Conservative Committee and will be launching a Primary against the endorsement of his opponent. "When the County Conservatives care more about preserving their peoples jobs and less about the fiscal health of Erie County, they have lost focus and must now be challenged," Rus said.
   See for further information on his plans.

BA's Memorial Golf Tournament - July 6, 2007

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   BA's Memorial Golf Tournament will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, July 6, 2007 at the Beaver Island Golf Course. Cost is $80 per person and $60 for children under 21 years of age. A maximum of 72 people may take part and spots must be reserved and paid in full by June 25, 2007. Price includes 18 holes, golf cart, lunch, giveaways to - Longest drive and closest to the in! A steak dinner will be held at BA's Saloon at 5 p.m. The day will also feature raffles and 50/50's and most important - it will be a lot of fun! Lots of friends! And open bar and food!
   Proceeds of the tournament will be for the benefit of the Association for Research of Childhood Cancer (AROCC).
   For more information, call BA's Saloon, 773-9737; Dale at 909-2292; or Gary, 208-4721.
   The tournament is in memory of BA's Saloon owner/prorietor William A. "BA" Aydelotte II who passed away on March 10, 2007.
"Remember you have to swing hard in case you hit it."

Gabrielle Montemage - 2007

   Grand Island resident Gabrielle Montemage is the recipient of the William G. McGowan Scholarship for the 2007-2008 academic year. She is a student at Niagara University’s College of Business Administration and a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2003. See
Gabrielle Montemage for Buffalo News story.

Barber Celebrates Golden Anniversary - June 2007

From Left: Arlene Clark, Council Members Mary Cooke and Richard Crawford, Seated: Marion Mancuso.
Jodi Robinson Photo - Click for larger view
   For fifty years Marion Mancuso has had his barber shop at the Grand Island Plaza. In fact, he was the first tenant. Mr. Mancuso had to retire due to health problems and daughter Arlene Clark made a career switch after 20 years with the town and became a barber herself. Friday, June 1st was a day for reflection at the shop. Many customers and friends stopped by to say hello and offer congratulations.

Shannon Driess - 2007

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   Ten-year-old Shannon Driess, daughter of Scott and Michelle Driess, has been taking Hunter/Jumper English riding lessons for two years. Her hard work recently paid off when she entered an open horse show by the 4-H at the Niagara County Fair Grounds on June 10, 2007. Shannon entered the Walk/Trot Hunter Hack taking 6th place out of 17 riders and Walk/Trot Equitation and placed 4th out of 14 riders. Shannon is finishing 4th grade at Kaegebein Elementary School.

Surprise 95th Birthday Party Planned For Ora Glor-Newton - 2007

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   Shhhhhh! It's a secret that Ora Glor-Newton's large family will be on the Island to surprise her in celebration of her 95th birthday (June 10th). The surprise party will take place at the close of the second service (11:45 a.m.) in the vestibule at Trinity UM Church, Whitehaven Road on Sunday, July 15, 2007. Ora's friends are cordially invited to attend the lunch buffet including cake and ice cream for everyone. As a special treat for Mrs. Glor-Newton, Don Burns will play piano as he has done for several of her milestone birthdays. Ora doesn't know that all six of her children (Bernie, Barbara, Liz, Peter, Ellen and Gene), grandchildren (including Bernie's son Gino pictured above) and even some great grandchildren are converging on Grand Island for her milestone birthday. Folks who meet Ora during the week of the 15th are asked to remember that the Sunday event is supposed to be a surprise.

Rhodes - Landroche Engagement - 2007

   Former Island residents Jo Ann Holmes and Nancy Landroche are pleased to announce the engagement of their children, Heather Marie (Dean) Rhodes and Mark Alan Landroche. Heather and Mark, both graduates of Grand Island High School, are living on Grand Island and currently work for Mark's business, Mark's Island Tree Service. An October wedding is planned. Heather Marie is also the daughter of the late Dennis Holmes.

Abe Morgan Places Fifth – Statewide - 2007

(left) Steve Morgan, Amy Morgan, Fay Wood, Abe Morgan and Bill Wood
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    The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons recently awarded Abram Morgan with fifth place in the 2007 Frank M. Totton Essay Contest. The topic for the 350 word essay was "How have advances in technology affected our daily lives?”
   The cash award and commemorative certificate were presented at the annual installation of Eggerstville-Grand Island Lodge on June 5 by Abe’s grandfather, retiring Master of the Lodge, Bill Wood, assisted by District Deputy Grand Master Richard J. Kessler.
   The contest, funded by the 5th Manhattan Masonic District, is open to all high school seniors who are sons, daughters and grandchildren or a member of the extended family of a Master Mason and who anticipate entering an accredited college in the Fall of 2007. A Grand Island High School Senior, Morgan has been accepted to SUNY-Geneseo for the fall 2007 semester where he will major in history and minor in music.

   Abe is shown with his father and mother, his grandmother and grandfather.

Island Firefighter Trains (Long) Island Firefighters - 2007

   Grand Island Fire Company Life Member and Board Chairman Michael Dallessandro was the guest speaker at a special training event held on June 2, 2007 by the Coram Fire District in Suffolk County, Long Island. Mr. Dallessandro spoke on safe operation of emergency vehicles while responding to and returning from emergency calls. Mr. Dallessandro's RESPONDSMART program and various Leadership and Team Building programs for fire departments have started to attract national attention. So far for 2007 Mike has been invited to speaking engagements in Indianapolis, Indiana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Lake Placid and Lake George in New York and for many special training events hosted by individual fire departments on the East Coast.

Mt. St. Mary Honor Roll - 2007

   Grand Island students attaining honor roll status for the third marking period at Mt. St. Mary Academy are:
Grade 9 - Emily Bolles, Georgia Buscaglia, Elizabeth Merritt, Alexandra Morell, Maria Todaro
Grand 10 - Rachel Meyer
Grade 11 - Alexandra Armusewicz, Nicole Hemedinger, Mary Kate Sidoti, Courtney Talarico, Morgan Weir
Grade 12 - Andrea Alli, Sara Slovick, Jaime Stewart

Chris Kneidel - 2007

   Chris Kneidel, a 1990 GIHS graduate, is currently the Officer of the Quarter for the Port St. Lucie Police Department in Port St. Lucie, Florida where he has been an officer for six years. Chris is currently assigned to the School Resource Officer program as well as a Field Training Officer, Gang Unit Member, and Honor Guard Member.
Award 1
See Award 2

Happy Birthday, June Byron - 2007

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   June Byron, who turned 86 on June 1, celebrated her birthday at a surprise party held for her at John and Zdenka Gast's house. Shown from left are Skip Oursler, John Gast, Kelly Petrie, June Byron, Zdenka Gast, Lynette Byron and Donna Oursler.

Sue Braun
Rides In 12th Annual Ride for Roswell - May 2007

Dear Friends and Family,
   For the third year, I recently accepted the challenge to raise funds to support cancer research and patient care programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute by riding in the 12th Annual Ride for Roswell on June 23. Perhaps you know someone with cancer - a friend, a family member, a colleague, an employee. The fact is that one out of three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in a lifetime. Cancer affects everyone -- rich and poor, young and old. It is the leading cause of death from disease in children ages 1 to 14. Your tax-deductible contribution is greatly appreciated. It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause - you can make your donation online by simply clicking on the link at the bottom of this message. If you would prefer, you can also send your tax-deductible contribution to the address listed below. Or you can send it to me (1787 Staley Road, Grand Island, NY 14072), and I'll hand it in. Together you helped me raise $365 in 2005 and $1,431 in 2006. It would be great to raise over $1,000 again this year! Every penny goes to Roswell to further their good work. Whatever you can give will help -- large or small - it all adds up. Thank you very much for your support and I will keep you posted on my progress.
Sue Braun
To send a donation:
Make all checks payable to:
(Please note rider name in your check memo field)
Ride for Roswell
P.O. Box 644
Buffalo, NY 14240

Help Abe Morgan Go To Europe on a Plate of Spaghetti!! - May 2007

   Grand Island High School senior Abe Morgan has been selected as the primary first French horn for the Empire Tour Edition of American Music Abroad.
   A spaghetti dinner will be held from 3-7 p.m. June 2, 2007 at the Island United Presbyterian Church, 1822 Huth Road, to help defray the costs associated with program. The cost of the dinner is $5.00 per person for unlimited spaghetti with bread, salad, beverage and dessert. Children 5 years old and under are free. Money raised in excess of two-thirds (2/3) the cost of the program will be donated to the Grand Island High School Music program for the purchase of music needed sheet music.
   In the view of American Music Abroad, music is indeed an "international language". It is their mission to provide opportunities for musical exchange fostering better understanding and friendship. American Music Abroad encourages groups to feature a repertoire that represents the diverse culture of America.
   The European Tour begins with a three-day familiarization and practice at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. The group departs July 17 for Zurich and will return via New York City on August 2.
   For more information on the program and sponsorship opportunities visit

JoAnn Vanderheite Again Chosen To Take Part
In Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival - 2007

Photos show just a small portion of JoAnn Vanderheite's work to be displayed at the Festival June 1-3.
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   JoAnn Vanderheite of Grand Island, N. Y. has again been chosen to show her artistic guards, figural containers and masks in the 37th Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival being held from June 1-3, 2007 at the Kenan Center, 433 Locust St., Lockport, NY. This is the fourth time the art work of this longtime Island resident and former art teacher has been accepted for this strictly juried show and sale.
    Click for complete information on the "100 American Craftsmen Festival."

Jacob LaLiberty - 2007

   Jacob LaLiberty of Grand Island, New York graduated from Niagara University during the 150th Anniversary Commencement on May 20th, 2007. Jacob was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice, graduating magna cum laude and was named to the dean’s list for each semester during his four years. During the spring of 2006, Jacob was inducted into Delta Epsilon Sigma, the National Scholastic Honor Society for Catholic Colleges and Universities. Jacob is a 2003 graduate of Grand Island High School and is the son of Gary LaLiberty of Grand Island and the late Deborah Jacobs-LaLiberty. He is also the grandson of Donald and Amelia LaLiberty of Norwich, Connecticut and the late Donald and Marilyn Jacobs of Niagara Falls.

Friends Of Lynnette Bike Tour - 2007

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   The 14th annual Friends of Lynnette Bike Tour is being held on Saturday, July 21, 2007. Registration takes place at the Nike Base at 8:15 a.m. (3278 Whitehaven Rd.) and start time is 9 a.m. Advance registration by July 5 is $15 and $20 day of tour. Call 773-3321 or 773-9483 for more information. A Chinese Auction will be held with ticket sales (25 for $5) beginning at 8 a.m. and drawing starts at 9:30 a.m. Preview of auction items 6:30-8:30 p.m Friday, July 20. Proceeds to benefit Roswell Park Pediatric Unit.
   Two very special people were diagnosed with cancer in 1988. Billy Gugiano Jr. at 8 weeks, and his grandmother, Lynnette Grisanti. Billy was diagnosed with a brain tumor and Lynnette was diagnosed with breast cancer. Bill passed away a year later, while Lynnette lived another four years.
   During Billy's treatment, he and his family spent hours, days, even weeks, at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The "Friends of Children with Cancer" helped make their stay as comfortable and homelike as possible.
   On the anniversary of Billy's death, Lynnette reminded us of John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." She was reminding us that those who believe in God the Father shall one day be reunited in heaven. Until that time, Lynnette and Billy will be remembered in a special way.
   In our support of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Friends of Children with Cancer, we are dedicated to helping families whose lives have been affected by cancer. Our goal is to provide support to patients and their families in the form of providing necessities, as well as comfort items. With your help, we can make a difference!
   Over the past 13 years, we have been able to donate more than $45,000.00 to Roswell Park. with the support of our sponsors, volunteers and riders, we have been able to make the ride one to look forward to each and every year.

James Soto - 2007

   James Soto was born on December 28, 2004 and within two weeks was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. His parents Paul and MaryJo Linenfelser Soto, will participate in the annual Great Strides walk on Saturday, May 19, 2007 to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Their team, "James' Buddies," has raised almost $6000 during the 2005 and 2006 walks, thanks to friends and family. Donations by check, made out to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, may be mailed to the Sotos, 1728 Fix Road, Grand Island, NY 14072. For learn more about the disease or the foundation, see

Kinney - Forbes Wedding - 2007

Erica & Michael Forbes
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   RIU Cancun Hotel, Cancun, Mexico was the setting at 5 p.m. April 23, 2007, when Erica Kinney became the bride of Michael Forbes during a ceremony overlooking the ocean. The couple stayed at the same hotel with their 60 guests to share their honeymoon in Cancun. They plan to purchase a house on Grand Island.
   Ingrid and Keith Kinney of Grand Island are the parents of the bride. The bridegroom is the son of Tamey and Mike Henderson of Grand Island and David Forbes of Florida. The bride is a cosmetologist at Wavelength's Hair Design on Grand Island. The bridegroom is a plumber at Roy's Plumbing in Tonawanda.

Mackenzie Hassan - 2007

   Mackenzie Hassan will graduate from Niagara University at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 19th with a Masters degree in Special Education with a 3.90 GPA. She graduated with honors from Grand Island High School in 2001 and graduated Summa Cum Laud from Niagara University having earned a degree in Secondary French in 2005. Mackenzie, daughter of Diane and Mark Hassan of Wallace Drive, is a substitute teacher at Grand Island High School.

Herbert and Abigail Sullivan To Mark 60th Anniversary - 2007

   Dr. and Mrs. Herbert W. Sullivan of 36 King Street, Warrensburg, NY 12885 will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on May 25, 2007. They were married in 1947 in Revere, Massachusetts. Herbert is the oldest son of the late Jeremiah and Helen Sullivan. He retired as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Grand Island Central School District in 1985. Abigail is the oldest daughter of the late James and Alice Connor. She retired as Director of Religious Education for Saint Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in 1994. They have five children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A special celebration on May 26, 2007 will include their children, spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Jade Renee Gormady - May 2007

   Jade Renee Gormady of Grand Island will graduate on May 17, 2007 from Canisius College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She is the daughter of Robert and Tami Gormady and the granddaughter of Patrick and Anna Gormady, all of Grand Island. She was on the dean's list for all four years of her college career. Jade Renee will graduate magna cum laude and with honors. She will attend the State University of New York School of Optometry in New York City starting in August. Following completion of course work, she expects to become an optometrist in the spring of 2011.

Last Weekend For Sound Of Music - May 18-19, 2007

Islanders Maggie Rustowitz and David Conboy play the parts of Marta and Kurt.
Click photo for a larger view.

   This will be the last weekend of performances of the Niagara Regional Theatre Guild's musical Sound Of Music. The play takes place at 8 p.m. Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19th at The Riviera Theatre.
See Islanders In The News for more information on the Island residents involved.
See also "Sound of Music Review."

McMahon Family Celebrates - 2007

(left) Mary McMahon and Margie McMahon Prange pose with their retirement cake.
(right photo) From front left are Michael, Margie, Bridget McMahon Anderson, Patty Jo McMahon Phillips (center front), Molly McMahon Power, Sharon McMahon Tokash, and Peter McMahon; (back) Joe, Chris and Dan McMahon.
Click photos for larger view

   Marge and Tom McMahon moved to Grand Island in the early 1940s and raised their large family on Love Road in Grandyle Village. They have passed away but their ten children manage to get together more often than many large families, due to the fact that only Margie Prange, the oldest, lives out of state in Florida, and of the other nine siblings, all but Christopher live on Grand Island. The occasion for the party on Sunday, May 5, 2007 when these photos were taken, was the recent retirement of Margie who has been working in the field of education in Panama, Florida and Mary McMahon who retired from the Grand Island school district.

ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood Honors Linda Clark, Volunteer of the Year- 2007

Linda Clark, seated, is pictured with ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood Director of Volunteer Services Melanie Robinson and Administrator Anthony DePinto.
Click photo for a larger view.

   Grand Island resident Linda Clark has been named Volunteer of the Year at ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood, 2850 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island. Mrs. Clark, a volunteer at the facility for a little more than a year, visits two or three days a week to help organize the resident bowling game and the cheese and crackers social. She also assists at some of the evening bingo games and has been known to make up a foursome for cards. Recently, she began involving her husband, Harold, in volunteer activities, including the formation of a Men’s Group. “Mrs. Clark constantly says she never feels she’s doing enough to help; she always wants to do more,” said Melanie Robinson, director of volunteer services. “She is a blessing to this facility.” In honor of National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, Ms. Clark, along with more than 300 volunteers serving at ElderWood Senior Care facilities in Western New York, were acknowledged during ElderWood’s annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon May 2.
   Volunteer of the Year award winners from ElderWood’s eight local skilled nursing facilities were presented with a clock, signifying the gift of their time.

Ian Cameron - 2007

Ian Cameron is pictured with his aunt, Kelsy Miller. Ian's caricature was drawn during his visit the the museaum. Click photos for larger view.

   Ian Cameron, 3, recently visited the Thomas the Tank Engine at Medina RailRoad Museum where he saw "Thomas," Sir Toppin Hat, and his favorites, the Imagination Station Tents that provide the different activities. Ian, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 10 months of age, is the son of Dona and Robert Cameron. "Ian is the Youngest Survivor for the Islands Relay For Life and our Team name is Ian Choo Choo," his mother said this week. "Ian was left paralyzed from his cancer and trains are the only thing that comfort him and he can play with like other kids," she said.
   See for lots more information about the museums.

Kimberley Walker Inducted Into Daemen's Wall of Fame - 2007

Click photo for Kimberley, her coaches and Daemen athletic director

   Kimberley Walker, daughter of Craig and Marge Walker of Grand Island, was inducted into Daemen's Wall of Fame Thursday, May 3, 207 at the Athletic Awards Banquet. Walker is the first soccer player to achieve this honor. Daemen began its soccer program in 2000. Kim, a 2003 graduate of Grand Island High School, was a starting player on the Girls' Varsity Soccer team under coach Peter Prozik.
   She is a four-time All-AMC North selection gaining 2nd-team honors three times and 1st-team honors once. She is also a three-time team MVP. Kimberley graduates as Daemen's all-time leader in every offensive statistical category including:
Games (68) Single season goals (19)
Career goals (54)
Single season assists (9)
Career assists (24)
Single season points (47)
Career points (132)
   Kimberley has been student teaching at Kaegebein Elementary School under the direction of Alexann Incao and will graduate May 19th, 2007 with a degree in Art Education.
   Daemen College is located at 4380 Main Street, Amherst, NY.

Kate L. Endres - 2007

   Kate L. Endres, a Grand Island High School senior, has been named the Niagara Region PTA recipient of the NYSPTA Youth Humanitarian Award in Memory of Stanley Marcus.
   This award is presented annually to an outstanding junior or senior who exemplifies the humanitarian efforts of the late Stanley Marcus who was a vice president of NYSPTA. It is given to honor a student who has demonstrated a contribution of caring for other people through quality volunteer work to better serve our society.
   The daughter of Terry and Mike Endres of Grand Island, Kate has won this honor for two years, as a junior and now as a senior. She has volunteered for the schools on Grand Island and is an active member of the Grand Island PTSA. She is a fine example for the youth of today.
   Niagara Region PTA comprises PTA units in Niagara, Orleans and parts of Erie counties. It is part of NYSPTA and the National PTA. Membership into the National PTA is open to anyone who is concerned with the education, health and welfare of children and youth.

Peters - Cordello Engagement Announced - 2007

    Shannon Peters and Raymond Cordello are pleased to announce their engagement. Shannon is the daughter of Island resident, Sherry Peters. Shannon, a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 2001, graduated from SUNY at Fredonia, and received her bachelor's degree in Music Education. She teaches music for the Catholic Dioceses of Rochester. Raymond, a member of the Webster Schroeder High School Class of 1997, graduated from SUNY Fredonia and received a Bachelors in Percussion Performance and Sound Recording Technology. He is a sound engineer of the Eastman School of Music. An October wedding is planned.

Sound Of Music - What A Great Performance - May 2007

By Teddy Linenfelser
   The hills and the city of North Tonawanda were alive with music Friday night (and Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6) for the opening performance of Sound Of Music, a Niagara Regional Theatre Guild production in the Riviera Theater. Island resident John Quackenbush did an excellent job of directing and the results were fantastic. Stars of the show were the seven children of Capt. Von Trapp (Stephen Jakiel), who knew their lines, their dance steps, their positions and the lyrics to all of their songs, right down to the youngest, Gretl (Madalyn Teal). What a joy to see Islanders David Conboy, 12, as Kurt, and Marta played by Maggie Rustowitz, 10, giving stellar performances and singing equally as well.
   Playing the lead as Maria Rainer was Carolyn Q. Johnson who stole our hearts as she poured her own into every note she sang and step she took. I've never seen the part played any better!
   All of the music, so pleasurably familiar, was high quality and talent at its best. Favorite? There were many, however, Climb Every Mountain featuring Mary Barrett (Mother Abbess) brought the emotions of many of us to a new level!
See Islanders In The News for others from Grand Island who helped to make this a wonderful night of entertainment for all ages. The show goes on tonight (May 5, 8 p.m.), tomorrow (May 6 matinee, 3 p.m.) and Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through May 19th. A 3 p.m. matinee is scheduled for May 13th.

Islanders Join Bike Ride To Benefit Crohn's Disease - May 2007

   "Get Your Guts In Gear" brings together people who are interested in connecting to a supportive community of people affected by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – as patients, caregivers and friends. GYGIG sponsors three fundraising bike rides in Texas, New York and Seattle each year. This year two Grand Island High School alumni will be bicycling 210 miles (70 miles per day), from New York City to Saratoga Springs, in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the fight against Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. Ian ( Class of 1975) and Patricia Hecko Stapley (Class of 1976) are hoping to reach a fundraising goal of $5000 to make a difference in the lives of 3000 people in WNY with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). To donate go to the
"donation website."

Welcome, Brooke Elizabeth Christensen - 2007

(left) Brooke Elizabeth - (right) Michael and baby Brooke Elizabeth

   Brooke Elizabeth Christensen was born in Sisters Hospital on Thursday, April 26, 2007 to Kris and Michelle Christensen of Sandpiper Lane. The baby girl, who weighed in at seven pounds, 13 ounces and measuring 20 inches long, was welcomed home by her two-and-a-half year-old brother, Michael. Proud grandparents are George and Marianne Christensen of Carter Drive and Ron and Gail Muffler of Wheatfield. Brooks's great grandmother is Dallas LaBarber of North Tonawanda.

Jason Weis - Firefighter Of Year - 2007

Shown left are Gail Lazenby, Jason Weis, and Deuty Chief Edmund A. Cain. (right photo) Jason and his wife, Maureen.
Click photo for larger view.

   Former Island resident Jason Weis was named "Firefighter of the Year" by the local Elks Lodge in The Villages, Florida in a ceremony in The Villages on Monday, April 9th. Also attending were Jason's wife, Maureen, (the former Maureen Rotella of Grand Island), his one-year-old son, Anthony, and Jason's parents, Islanders Bill and Nancy Weis.
   Jason is a 3 ½ year member of The Villages Public Safety Department (Fire-Rescue) and is currently an EMT/Firefighter stationed at Fire Headquarters on the Department's aerial truck. Jason was nominated for the honor by Chief Michael S. Tucker based upon Jason's positive work ethic and accomplishments. Currently enrolled in paramedic school, he was previously a 10-year volunteer firefighter/EMT with the Grand Island Fire Company before relocating to Florida. Former Island resident Gail Lazenby is now working full-time as a Captain for Villages Fire (EMS Training Officer).

Islanders Take Parts In Niagara Regional Theatre Guild Production of Sound Of Music - May 2007

    The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild will present the musical Sound Of Music, opening May 4 and running through May 19th at The Riviera Theatre. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and two Sunday matinees on May 6th and May 13th at 3 p.m. On Mothers Day, all Moms receive admission for $10.00. "We will also be holding our biggest fundraiser, a basket auction at every performance," Dawn Marcolini of the Niagara Regional Theatre Guild said.
Islanders as follows:
• Director: John Quackenbush
• Choreographer: Dawn Marcolini Newton
• Sister Sophia: Diane Quackenbush
• Kurt: David Conboy
• Marta: Maggie Rustowicz
• Baron Eberfeld: Kevin Rustowicz
• Nuns: Christine Amabile, Katie Rustowicz
• Costumer: Nancy Watts
• Piano: Kelcie Hanaka
• Set Design: Roger Watts
• Scenic Art: Sam Santospirito

R.J. Wynn & Sons - 2007

Click photo for larger view

   R.J. Wynne and his sons, David, 5; Paul, 2; and Brian, 8, have shaved their heads at Hizair Hair Salon as a fundraiser for the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Buffalo (IHN). This is the third year that they have raised over $2,000 from family and friends to benefit the homeless. IHN assists temporarily homeless families in finding permanent housing. Susan Matlock, owner of Hizair and three other employees (Christina Sergakis, assistant, Tonja Sutton,stylist, and Tammy Matloc, assistant manager) donated their time and talent for the shavings. This photo was taken by Emily Wynne, age 12.

Jacob McMahon - April 2007

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   Jacob McMahon celebrated his 11th birthday on Friday, April 20th by attending the Buffalo Sabres hockey game that evening with his father when they watched the Sabres win 4-3 over the New York Islanders, but that was just the frosting on the cake. Jake and his parents, Maryanne and Sean McMahon, attended a private party for 40 people "and the Stanley Cup" at the WGRZ TV Channel 2 studio. The trip to the studio was kept secret from Jake and what a thrilling surprise it was.

Welcome, Eden Grace Krebs - 2007

    Eden Grace Krebs was born at 6:10 p.m. April 6, 2007 weighing seven pounds, 14.5 ounces and is 19" long. Proud parents are John Krebs and Lauren Malkiewicz of Grand Island. Even prouder grandparents are Sharyn Krebs of Grand Island, Bill Krebs of San Antonio, TX, James and Dorothy Malkiewicz of Attica, MI as well as Mary Ann DiCello and Mario Boria of Garden City, MI. Excited siblings Anthony, Emily, Zachary, Robert, Jackson and Joseph can't wait until Eden Grace is more mobile and able to play.

Welcome, Tyler Jeremy Ranger- 2007

Click photo for larger view.

   Tyler Jeremy Ranger was born on Saturday, April 14, 2007 at 12:32 a.m. in Sisters Hospital in Buffalo. The second child of Scott and Amanda (Piccolo-Houck) Ranger of Lewiston, he weighs six pounds, 11 ounces and is 19 inches long. Tyler is joined by his big sister, Melaina, who is 19 months old. The baby's paternal grandparents are Gary and Elaine Ranger of Eden, NY and his maternal grandparents are Melissa Piccolo of Fishkill, NY and Richard Piccolo of Grand Island, NY. Tyler's great grandmothers are Jeanette Grobengieser of Wheatfield, Eileen Houck of Grand Island and Rita Piccolo of Kenmore. Amanda is a 1999 graduate of Grand Island High School.

Barker - Timmerman Wedding - 2007

Anne and Ryan Timmerman - Mrs. Timmerman and bridesmaids Julie Mackeller, Jill Endres, Denise Mulvena, Jeannie Haller and Katie Endres, all of Grand Island.
Click photo for larger view.

   Anne Barker and Ryan Timmerman were married Saturday, April 14, 2007 in St. Timothy Church. The bride's parents are Liz and Greg Barker of Grand Island. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Timmerman of Colo, Iowa are parents of the groom, a sergeant in the U. S. Army. The bride and groom are living on Grand Island.

Jason Vandusen Fundraiser - April 2007

    A Medical Expense Benefit will be held for Jason Vandusen, injured in a horrific automobile accident on August 12, 2006. Jason did not have health insurance and the medical expenses for this family are enormous and continue to add up. The date of the fundraiser is Sunday, May 20, 2007. For complete information, see "Jason Vandusen Fundraiser." See also "More Fundraiser Information." Baskets are still being accepted for the raffle by calling Aimee Anderson, 909-4543.

Abigail Chambers Thanks Friends For Birthday Donations Taken To SPCA - 2007

Click photo for larger view.

   Abigail Chambers, a student at Kaegebein Elementary School, would like to say thank you to all of her classmates, friends and family for the generous donations brought to her 10th birthday roller skating party that she in turn gave to the SPCA of Erie County. Abby reported that 51 kids attended her party and that she collected various donations that will be appreciated by all of the animals. Abigail, daughter of Debi Ruppel, delivered everything to the SPCA Friday, April 13th, receiving much appreciation from the SPCA representatives.

Dr. Grant Hennigar - April 2007

1966 photo

    Dr. W. Grant Hennigar has been selected to be inducted into the Nichols School Athletic Hall of Fame along with eight other former students on Friday, September 28, 2007 at the school. Dr. Hennigar, who played football, basketball and ran track at Nichols and still holds the school record for the triple jump, practices dentistry at his Whitehaven Road business, American Family Dental Group. Nichols School is located on Amherst Street Buffalo.

Franklyn Truesdale - 2007

Click photo for larger view.

   Franklyn Truesdale of Grand Island graduated from Universal Technical Institute in Chicago, Illinois on February 16, 2007. He graduated with a 3.5 average and perfect attendance in auto tech and diesel mechanics. Prior to his graduation, in September 2006, he enlisted with the United States Navy, and is now in his second month of boot camp. Upon completion, he will apply his trade in the Navy. Frank is the son of Wendy Truesdale, brother of Paul, and friend of Dave Carminati all of Grand Island.

Ice Skater Dawn Gruszka Wins SABAH Spirit Award - 2007


Dawn out on the ice and (right) receiving her award from SABAH director Sheila O'Brien
By Teddy Linenfelser

   Sunday, March 25, 2007 was a very big day for Dawn Marie Gruszka, daughter of Sean and Sarah Gruszka of Love Road. Dawn, who has been skating with the SABAH School Day Program since 2004, not only participated in the show in HSBC Arena, she received the Emily Hermance Spirit Award during the program. This award is presented to a skater who exhibits the same spirit and enthusiasm as Emily did in meeting her own daily challenges with the support of family, friends or volunteers while participating with SABAH. The award is dedicated in Emily's memory.
   Dawn, who is blind and has mild cerebral palsy, is nearly nine years old and started skating at age six. She has had the honor to skate in three SABAH shows.
   Her surgery in 2005 was to help straighten her legs and feet, and she works hard to keep her feet straight and also to stand up tall, so she can skate her best.
   Dawn skates at the Riverside rink with her dad, Sean, and classmates from the Cantalician Center for Learning, and as part of this year's SABAH program, was chosen to be one of three SABAH community ambassadors. She was featured on the SABAH's promotional poster, program book and on billboards around the Niagara Falls and Buffalo area.
   "This little girl is so special," neighbor Nancy Anderson said this week. "If I am having a not so good day, seeing Dawn playing outside makes me smile, a warm and fuzzy comes over you when you see this precious girl. She has the biggest smile,” she said. "It was such a thrill last year to see Dawny Bawny, which I affectionately call her, pedaling on her tricycle with her dad, Sean, pushing the handle on the back of the tricycle, with Dawn doing all the work on the pedals. This was a truly amazing endeavor since Dawn had surgery to straighten her legs in December 2005," Ms. Anderson said.

Dodge - Walworth Engagement Announced - 2007

   Island residents Keith and Donna Dodge and Jerry and Barb Walworth are pleased to announce the Valentine's Day engagement of their children, Rene' Ivy Adria Dodge to Nicholas Aaron Walworth. Rene' and Nicholas, graduates of Grand Island High School, are living in Sahuarita, Arizona where Nicholas is a Border Patrol Agent. Rene' is pursuing her Veterinary Career.

Islander Carissa Bailey Celebrates the Green - 2007

Click photo for larger view.

   The Island's own Carissa Bailey, 18, the reigning Miss Lancaster, began the parade season this past weekend as she took part in two St. Patrick’s Day parades. Carissa participated in Lancaster’s own hometown parade on Saturday afternoon. It was followed by a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Elk’s Club where Carissa sang an Irish tune and emceed an Irish trivia contest. Traditional corn beef & cabbage was served, bag pipers played, Irish dancers danced and fun was had by all, raising money for local charities.
    Carissa participated in one of Buffalo’s grandest traditions, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday afternoon. The crowd, clad in green, stretched from Niagara Square to North Street along Delaware Avenue. Carissa was one among 170 units participating in the 90-minute parade. She was chauffeured by Mark Rogers and joined by Lexi Mediak, Ashley and Debbie Rogers.
   Carissa has already participated in several dozen appearances and events since receiving her crown in November of 2006. Later this month she will emcee Lancaster Idol preliminaries, and will also speak to over 200 school children about the importance of volunteering within the community. She also continues to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.
   Carissa is continuing to prepare for the Miss New York scholarship pageant to be held in Long Island, New York on July 12-14. The winner of Miss New York goes on to Miss America, the largest scholarship organization for women in the world. For more information on the Miss America program and local events go to

Fundraiser For 4-Year-Old Blake Kenney - 2007

   A benefit For Blake Kenney is scheduled from 5-10 p.m. Saturday, June 2, 2007 at the Sheridan Park Fire Hall, 738 Sheridan Drive. A $25 donation for tickets will include food, pop, beer, and music. A theme tray auction, 50/50 raffles every hour and door prizes will be featured. For tickets and information call Melissa at 913-6789 or Kathy at 773-9129 or email For information and donations regarding the theme tray auction, contact Susanne Fetzer-Teator, 773-9427 or Kim Domagala, 773-3382.
   Blake is the 4-year-old son of Dennis and Jacqueline Kenney of Staley Road, Grand Island. On Christmas Day 2006 Blake was diagnosed with a Stage 4 cancerous tumor. He had the tumor, his kidney and a portion of his lung removed. He has undergone radiation treatments and receives weekly chemotherapy treatments. An account has been set up for Blake at Citizens Bank. Donations may be made at all Citizens Bank branches c/o Blake Kenney.
   Blake's mother, Jacqueline Kaefer Kenney, is a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 1988.

Ashly Cinelli - March 2007

   Ashly Cinelli recently graduated cum laude from SUNY at Fredonia and was on the dean's list many times. She received her bachelor's degree in Music Education with a GPA of 3.60, and is awaiting her New York State Certification.
   The daughter of Michael Cinelli of Grand Island and Dawn Cinelli of Florida, Ashly continues to give cello lessons to many Grand Island students in grade 4 and up, including NYSSMA participants. She is a member of MENC, the National Association for Music Education ad ASTA, American String Teachers Association. She was a camp counselor at VIVACE String Camp at Houghton, NY during July 2005 and 2006. While attending school, Ashly worked weekends at JC Penney as an associate in the shoe department.
   Ashly completed her student teaching at West Seneca/Allendale/Winchester Elementary K-6 and West Seneca West Senior High School, 9-12 and continues to substitute teach there as well as Grand Island. Upon returning from a trip to Italy and receiving her certification, she will seek a position in Music Education.

Kevin Freedman Featured In Buffalo News - March 2007

Kevin Freedman (Photo by Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

   Ten-year-old Kevin Freedman, a student at Huth Road Elementary School, was featured in the Buffalo News NeXT section in a story by NeXt Editor Jean Westmoore. Click "Kevin Freedman" for the March 14, 2007 feature and scroll down for the story. Kevin is the son of Denise and Donald Freedman.

"1776" At Riviera Theater Niagara Regional Theatre Guild Production - 2007

(left) Benjamin Franklin (Paul Bene), Martha Jefferson (Allison Watts), and John Adams (Fran Newton)
Bernard Gosset Photo - Click for larger view.

   The Revolutionary War was raging, the independence of the United States of America was just around the corner and the rule of England was the rule of the day. And "1776," the musical, is on stage at the historic "Riviera Theater" under the capable direction of Island resident Dawn Marcolini Newton who obviously had the players in the palm of her hand!
   Casting of the mostly aging men for the Niagara Regional Theatre Guild's "1776" is superb with none more perfect than Benjamin Franklin himself, played extremely well by Paul Bene whose voice and experience put him at the top of the heap. Taking the lead as the pushy, firebrand John Adams, was Island resident and seasoned actor Fran Newton who filled the roll to a T. Other standouts include the energetic and funny Andrew Tornowski as Richard Henry Lee, New York representative Lewis Morris played by Ed Voetsch, Islander John Quackenbush as John Hancock, and the handsome Thomas Jefferson (Robert Zahm). The only two women in the cast were outstanding. The lovable demeanor along with the beautiful voice and ability of Judy Rodriguez in the roll of Abigail Adams was pure delight, gaining her a nice applause at the play's end. Grand Island's cute and charming and very talented Allison Watts as Martha Jefferson was a necessary spark to the production.
   Arriving at the theater early has two advantages, the best being the music of the huge 1920s Mighty Wurlitzer organ, played by Andy Wos on Friday night. We arrived 45 minutes before show time and were able to park in front of the theater. The show continues Friday through Sunday this weekend and next with 8 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.
    See "1776" for all of the Island residents who helped to present this very interesting and entertaining play.

Read About Ashley Carminati - March 2007

Ashley Carminati

   Ashley Carminati is now in the hospital undergoing a bone marrow transplant. To keep up with Ashley's daily progress, check the "" site. Once at the "Carepages page," click "carepages" at the top of the page and you will be given the options of "visit" or "create" Choose "create." Now when you "visit," you will need to sign in, then fill in carepage name with ashleycarminati. Please keep her in your prayers. For more about Ashley, click "Ashley"

Jason Vandusen Fundraiser - March 2007

   A Basket Raffle Fundraiser will take place at the Grand Island Rod & Gun Club, 1083 Whitehaven Road, from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, May 20, 2007 for Jason Vandusen's medical expenses. Tickets ($15 includes pop, food and desserts) may be purchased at Century 21 Winklhofer, Island Lanes or Call Aimee Anderson at 909-4543 or Nancy Anderson at 909-5865.

Goris - Pitek Engagement Announced - 2007

   David and Sally Goris are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Melissa Jane, to Christopher Michael Pitek, son of Michael and Catherine Pitek of Buffalo. Melissa, a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 2000, graduated summa cum laude from SUNY at Fredonia, and received her master's degree in Speech Pathology from Old Dominion University in Virginia. She is a Speech Therapist in the Tuscaloosa City School District. Christopher is a graduate of Canisius High School Class of 2000 and received his bachelor's degree at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. He teaches at Holy Spirit Catholic High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A June wedding is planned.

Islanders Take Parts In Niagara Regional Theatre Guild Production of 1776 - March 2007

    The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild proudly presents the musical "1776" March 9 through March 24th at the Historic Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 18th at 3:00 p.m.
   The production stars Paul Bene, Robb Zahm, Les Baily, Bob Mazierski and Grand Island resident John Quackenbush. Other Island residents follow:
• Dawn Marcolini Newton: Director/Choreographer
• Roger Watts: Set Design/Master Carpenter
• Nancy Watts: Costumer
• John Study: Poster Design/Program
• Sam Santospirito: Scenic Artist
• John Quackenbush: John Hancock
• Steve Olszewski: Dr. Josiah Bartlett
• Allison Watts: Martha Jefferson
    Ticket prices are $17 General, $15 Student/Senior, and admission on opening night only is $10. For more information visit or call 692-2413.

Linenfelser - Stuardi Wedding - 2007

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   Anne Linenfelser and Oliver Stuardi Jr. were married February 2, 2007 at the Duval Beach Club in Key West, FL. The bride is the daughter of Penny and Michael Linenfelser of Grand Island, NY and the groom is the son of Susu and Oliver Stuardi of Theodore, Alabama. The newlyweds are living in the Florida Keys where the groom is stationed with the United States Coast Guard and Annie is employed at Glynn Archer Elementary School.

Fundraiser Planned For Ashley Carminati - February 2007

Ashley Carminati

   Patricia (Ashley) Carminati is ill and fighting a similar disease that her mother, the late Patricia (Kelly) Levere suffered from. Kelly died from complications of a bone marrow transplant in May of 2005.
   Ashley, 21, is a life long Island resident, diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia. She is currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant scheduled for sometime in March. She undergoes blood and platelet transfusions several times a week and is looking at a 16- to 24-month recovery period after the transplant. During this time, she is unable to work. The daughter of David Carminati, Ashley is a 3rd year student at Niagara University and a summertime life guard at Beaver Island State Park.
   A benefit for Ashley will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 14, 2007 at the Grand Island Moose Lodge #180, 2524 Grand Island Blvd. The event will feature a basket auction, 50/50 split raffle and the admission price of $20 per person includes food, beer and soda.
   For tickets, contact Ron McNamee, 480-262-6621, Jim Leavy, 716-574-5889, Butch Levere, 716-983-0813 or The Grand Island Moose Lodge, 716-773-6655.
   Theme baskets and raffle items of all types are now being accepted. Contact Ron McNamee or Butch Levere (773-1130). See "Fundraiser For Ashley"

Welcome, Natalie Rachel Kopf - February 2007

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   Natalie Rachel Kopf was born February 2, 2007 to Rob and Jenn Kopf of Grand Island. Natalie weighed in at seven pounds, six ounces and is the granddaughter of Islanders Bob and Mary Kopf, and Trudi Melamed-Turck of Kingston, NY.

Andrew Chambers Jr. Commissioned For Gates In Washington, DC - 2007

   Andrew Chambers Jr., an accomplished Blacksmith, has been commissioned to make a gate for the platform that is used when political figures are laid in state in the Capitol building in Washington, DC. This gate is going to be a major exhibit in the newly constructed visitor center at the capitol in Washington. Andy is forging and fabricating the bronze gate that will enclose the pedestal that statesmen and presidents are laid to rest on in the rotunda.
   Andy, Grand Island High School Class of 1991, and his wife, Stacey and their daughter, Lyvia, live in Snyder, NY. The Blacksmithing Shop is located with his family business in the Worthington complex in South Buffalo. For Andy's metal creations, see ARC Iron Creations

Carol Rastelli - In Need Of Lung Transplant -2007

   Carol (Grisanti) Rastelli must have a lung transplant operation to survive. Her family and friends are contacting people who may be willing to help. A fundraiser is being held from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, March 3, 2007 at the Noco Pavilion, 540 Ensminger Road, Tonawanda. For more information on Carol and on the fundraiser, see "Fundraiser Information" and "How You Can Help".
   For those who cannot attend the March 3rd event, donations by checks payable to Carol Rastelli Transplant Fund may be sent to 3479 Wallace Drive, Grand Island, NY 14072.

Michael Fahey - January 2007

   According to a January 28, 2007 story in the Buffalo News by Louise Continelli, Island resident "Michael Fahey has a knack for being in the right place at the right time." For the story, see "Staring Cancer In The Face."

Welcome, Ryan Vlade Tasevski - January 2007

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   Ryan Vlade Tasevski was born January 14, 2007, weighing seven pounds, four ounces. Proud parents are David and Andrea (Demmin) Tasevski of Tonawanda. Ryan is the grandson of Tim and Alice Demmin of Grand Island and Rodna Tasevski of Lackawanna.

Island Residents On NCCC Dean's List - January 2007

   The following Grand Island students have been named to the Niagara County Community College dean's list for the fall 2006 semester:
Ashley Bielec
Amy Consier
Eric Coram
Rachelle Cote
Andrew Decker
Christine Donner
Jane Erhart
Mary Jo Hilferding
Bradley Hutton
Gary Jones
Allison Kulak
Andrew Lang
Bryan Lazeration
Laura McDonnell
Mary Mohr
ReNae Okelberry
Jennifer Rott
Tina Rott
Daniel Stack
Daniel Turoldo

Natalie Baldassarre - January 2007

(left) Natalie Baldassarre - (right) Natalie is shown in the center of the photo.
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   Natalie Baldassarre, 10, was one of 27 students who participated in a piano recital on Saturday, January 27, 2007, sponsored by the Music Forum for Piano Teachers. The students in this recital had to play without reading music.
   Natalie, who has taken piano lessons for five years, studies with piano instructor Laurie Jircitano of Niagara Falls. This was her second recital at Baird Hall in the University of Buffalo. A fifth grade student at Kaegebein Elementary School, she also plays the flute in the 5th grade band and recently earned a perfect score on the flute at the All County Band tryouts at Depew High School, where she represented Kaegebein, under the instruction of Mike Robertson. Natalie is the daughter of Kim Schopp of Grand Island and Italo Baldassarre of Niagara Falls.

Steve Kopf - 2007

   Steve Kopf, a sophomore at Niagara University and son of Mary and Bob Kopf, has earned Dean's List status for the 3rd consecutive semester. A Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2005, Steve is an Education major and a member of the NU Men's Varsity Tennis team. He is also an assistant hockey coach for the Niagara Junior Purple Eagles Squirt Select team.

Joanne Carr Honored For Service - January 2007

Joanne Carr (right) with Erie County Legislator Michele Iannello

   Joanne Carr was presented with a proclamation by Erie County Legislator Michele Iannello, D-10th District, in honor of her more than 30 years of service with Grand Island's Commission for Conservation of the Environment. The presentation was made at a party in her honor on Thursday, January 11, 2007 at the Niagara Sailing Club.
   Joanne resigned from the commission in November 2006. The get-together at the Niagara Sailing Club was attended by Commission Chair Dorothy Westhafer; current and past commission members including Rochelle Smith, Sam Akinbami, Mark Lazeration, Paul Leuchner, Christopher Pennuto, Ed Standora, Jim Tomkins, Tom Burke and Paul Reger; Supervisor Peter McMahon and Town Board members Mary Cooke, Dick Crawford and Gary Roesch; as well as family members.

Gerrie Andolina Of Century 21 Recipient of Centurion Award - January 2007

   Eric and Amy Winklhofer, broker/owners of Century 21 Winklhofer recently announced that Century 21 Real Estate LLC has recognized sales associate Gerrie Andolina of Grand Island, with the Century 21 Grand Centurion Producer award following her successful 2006 sales totals.
   "Receiving the Grand Centurion Producer award is a tremendous accomplishment for Gerrie Andolina and is testament to her unwavering commitment to professional excellence and customer satisfaction," said Winklhofer. "Gerrie is a valued and trusted real estate resource for the WNY community and a major contributor to the overall success of CENTURY 21 WINKLHOFER and the Century 21 System as a whole."   Gerrie has over 30 years of experience in the real estate industry and has been with the CENTURY 21 System for all of them. Not only has she been honored by Tom Kuntz, president & CEO of Century 21 Real Estate LLC, she is also the Number 1 agent in WNY for 2005 and 2006 according to BNAR stats.

Jill Endres - January 2007

   Jill Endres heard how Thrivent Financial for Lutherans can increase the impact that people's kindness can make in her community. This has led to her being recognized as a "Fraternalists-in-Action" for the week of January 15, 2007. The National Fraternal Congress of America (NFCA) is proud to recognize Jill as Fraternal MVP (Most Valuable Participant) for the week of January 15, 2007. Fraternal MVPs are “Fraternalists-in-Action” who volunteer their time, energy and compassion to strengthen their communities through participation in local lodge activities and other charitable endeavors. For the complete story, click "Jill Endres"

Joey Wagner Earns Black Belt - January 2007

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   Kaegebein Elementary School student Joey Wagner, 8, received his black belt in Tae Kwon Do from Master Chong's World Class Tae Kwon Do Center in December 2006. He has been a student for four years and has received many awards. Joey is continuing in his sister, Megan's, footsteps as they are both training for their second degree. They are the children of Jerry and Patty Wagner.

Taylor Firth To Enter National Skating Championships - January 2007

   Taylor Firth, 15, of Grand Island, New York will be the second youngest skater entering the national ice skating championships in Spokane, Washington where competition will be held from January 21-28. Click "Buffalo News" for a feature story on Taylor by Amy Moritz.

Janie Hiam - January 2007

   Janie "Martin" Hiam received a letter of congratulations from Douglas M. Stein, Ph.D. of the The Art Institute Online, a division of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, for her recent academic achievements during the Fall quarter 2006. Janie obtained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher, coupled with receiving a final grade of A- or higher in her coursework during the past quarter. Janie, a member of the GIHS Class of 1996, relocated to Georgia with her husband, Dan, and family in 2005.

Gordon Frasier - January 2007

   Baseline Road resident Gordon Frasier recently announced a fundraising effort to benefit his grandson, Brandon Hartsch, and good friend Tania Marion. Brandon is in need of a kidney and Tania, who is a tissue match for Brandon, stepped forward to volunteer one of her kidneys. Donation of the kidney will involve uncovered expensed for both people and Grand Island residents are asked to step forward to help.
   A fundraiser is being held at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 13, 2007 in the American Legion Hall, 60 Main Street, Tonawanda. Tickets are $20 and will go towards helping defray hospital bills and Tania's loss of work and her recovery and Brandon's. There will be plenty of food and refreshment. Any excess funds will go the Kidney Foundation.

Island's "First Baby of 2007" Welcomes Brady Thomas Maroni - January 2007

   Brady Thomas Maroni was born on January 3, 2007 at 1:20 a.m. to Tim and Julie Maroni of Colonial Dr. Brady Thomas, new baby brother of Madeline, 4 and Aidan, 2, was born on the Maronis' kitchen floor with assistance from the Grand Island Fire Company's EMS Squad. Grand Island's first baby of the year 2007 (until otherwise corrected!) weighed in at six pounds, eleven ounces. Congratulations to the Maroni family.

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