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Islanders In The News Web Page

Previous News Pages

Michelle DiMartile - July 2010

   Michelle DiMartile has been elected president of the Insurance Women of Buffalo (New York) for its 2010 term, starting next month. DiMartile, who specializes in Personal Insurance lines with Russell Bond Insurance Wholesalers, has been active in the group for a decade, and has served in several positions prior to being elected president. She is a 1984 graduate of Grand Island High School and currently resides on Ransom Road.

Taylor Kozlowski - July 2010

   Taylor Kozlowski, daughter of Dave and Tracey Kozlowski, has been selected to perform with a national performing organization known as The Sound of America. Taylor, who will be a senior next year at Grand Island High School, is a member of several school choruses and Wind Ensemble. She has represented Grand Island schools at the All-County level for three years and at the Conference All State level this past fall. She has also sung with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. In addition, Taylor has performed in musicals with GIHS, St. Stephen’s Parish Players and Niagara Regional Theatre Guild.
   Taylor will join other select student musicians chosen from applicants representing nearly every state when The Sound of America Honor Band and Chorus begins its 2010 European Concert Tour in July. Selection into the Sound of America membership is a distinguished honor for all participants. All applicants are carefully screened and chosen after a rigid character and musical evaluation.
   All student performers will meet on the campus of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania in early July. After four days of intensive rehearsal and orientation the group will depart for Frankfurt, Germany. The group is scheduled to present nine performances in some of Europe’s finest concert halls and cathedrals, including Notre Dame, during its 23 day tour.
   The students will experience the cultures of six countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France and Luxembourg. Some of the exciting locations that will be visited during the tour are Paris, Venice, Salzburg, Stresa, Verona, Rothenburg, Grindewald and La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Dr. Willard Ruth, D.O. joins Memorial Medical Center staff
Grand Island physician will move practice to Freedom Place office - July 2010

   Dr. Willard Ruth, D.O., has joined the staff of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and will begin seeing patients in a new Grand Island office beginning Wednesday, July 7. His appointment was announced by Memorial President & CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo.
    “Dr. Ruth is universally respected for the high quality of care he has provided his patients for many years on Grand Island,” Ruffolo said. “We are proud to welcome him and his team to our Memorial Medical Center family, and we will work closely with them to link his patients with our health and wellness services, especially those at the Summit Healthplex in nearby Wheatfield.”
   Dr. Ruth will be welcoming patients to his new Grand Island Family Practice office at at Freedom Place, 1801 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island. His office phone will remain unchanged at 773-6181.

Mark Anderson Benefit - July 2010

   Friends of Island resident Mark Anderson, injured in an ATV accident, suffering significant head trauma, are hosting a benefit to help him with medical bills that are overwhelming. The benefit will be held Thursday, July 8th from 6-10 p.m. at Manor Lanes in Amherst (170 Tonawanda Creek Rd. Amherst, NY 14228). ($20 a ticket for adults and $8 for Kids 10 and under - Includes bowling and meal (raffles and 50/50's will be available)) Mark is the nephew of Grand Island Town Supervisor Peter McMahon (and McMahon's Restaurant). For more information, or how you can help, call Martha Martinic at 716-444-5152, or Destiny Chambers at 716-563-4898.
    Donations are greatly appreciated and may be taken to McMahon's Restaurant (1849 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island NY 14072) or call Martha or Destiny. Arrangements may be made for pick up as well.

Public Boating Class - July 2010

   Island resident Lt/C. Karen Wallace, treasurer, has announced that the Niagara Power Squadron will offer a Public Boating Class on July 10, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The class will be offered at the Elks Lodge behind the Factory Outlet Mall. Registration is on a walk in basis. Call 773-2140 for more information. This class is helpful for all boaters and required for those driving a personal watercraft.

Father/Son Win Gold At NY Empire State Senior Games - June 2010

   Peter Bellanca of Ferry Road won a gold medal in singles racquetball competition and his son, Mark, of Meadow Lane won a gold medal in the javelin throw. This was Peter’s first time at the games while Mark is a multi-medalist in his field. Both medals were awarded on June 11, 2010. The Empire State Senior Games were held at SUNY Cortland, from June 7th to the 13th. "I believe this is the first time a father and son from Grand Island both won gold medals at the same Senior Games," Peter said.

Medicine Show
Holiday Inn - July 2010

   Members of the band Medicine Show and friends will perform live music July 4th on the grounds of the Holiday Inn Grand Island. 6:30pm to 9:30pm overlooking the river. After their successful 25th year anniversary reunion last year, the popular Catskill’s band from the early 1980s boasts the return of original members and crew including: Floyd Prince, Charlie Raffiani, Harry Scott, Joe Ventura, and Grand Island’s own Rob Wynne. Molly and Beth Wynne will also lend their musical talents to the event. The band will perform some original songs and some fan-favorite covers. The show will also feature singer / songwriter Ashley Paige, who will perform several of her original songs. For more information, please contact Rob Wynne at 716-622-9632.

Genevieve Dobmeier - June 2010

Sharon Watz, Jen Dobmeier, Linda Kutzbach
   Grand Island resident Genevieve McNeil Dobmeier was honored during the Annual D'Youville College Alumni Spring Luncheon held June 12, 2010 at Brierwood Country Club. College President Denise Roche recognized Mrs. Dobmeier for her service on the Board Of Directors. Other DYC Alumni from the Island in attendance to celebrate the event with Mrs. Dobmeier were Linda Kutzbach and Sharon Watz.

Lenore Tetkowski Honored - June 2010

   Long time Island resident Lenore Tetkowski received the honor of being noted by the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara for "MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK IN OUR COMMUNITY." The recognition took place at the Michael's Banquet Facility in Hamburg on June 5 as part of a special event to commemorate the Ninetieth Anniversary of the Founding of the League of Women Voters. Throughout the United States, local Leagues selected their outstanding members for similar honors. A long list of Lee's community activities for the last fifty years was read, which included KIDS VOTING, and that long ago chairmanship of the Island's Citizens Committee for the High School. Local actress, Christina Rausa, entertained with a wonderful interpretation of Carrie Chapman Catt, the very first President of the League of Women Voters, 90 years ago. Lee was awarded a certificate and a leather portfolio and pen marked League of Women Voters. Her son, Neil, was able to come from New York City to join her at the event.

Joe Beauchamp - June 2010

Click photo for larger view
   Joe Beauchamp, son of Mike and Maureen Beauchamp, won 2nd place in The Erie County American Legion Essay Contest. The topic of the essay was: what is my patriotic role as a U.S. Citizen. Joe received his award Saturday, June 5, 2010 at the County Convention in Orchard Park. His entry will now go on to compete at the state level. Joe is in the 8th grade at St. Stephen School.

Ralph & Jean Hoover - June 2010

Click photo for larger view
   On May 8, 2010, Ralph and Jean Hoover of Wallace Drive celebrated 60 years of marriage with an intimate buffet dinner with family and friends at My Tomato Pie restaurant in Amherst. Their original wedding cake was replicated and served as the dessert. This is quite an accomplishment these days and they still enjoy each other's company and travel to Florida in the winter, as well as being very active in the lives of their children and their families and serve as volunteers for Meals on Wheels.
   The Hoovers have four children, pictured with them above: Don, Kathi, Nancy and Ken, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The actual anniversary date is June 10th, but they needed to celebrate early due to their granddaughter Kate expecting a baby on June 10th. The family is happy to report Kate had a baby girl on June 8, 2010 in Ohio and will be moving to Grand Island July 1st.

Paula Sciuk - Recent Photographs - June 2010

   Island resident Paula Sciuk is one of the artists featured at the gallery of Buffalo Big Print, 78 Allen Street, Buffalo. Her photo exhibit is titled "The State of Miscibility" and will run through June 24, 2010.

D’Abate - Soluri Engagement - June 2010

Click photo for larger view
   Island residents Eric and Robin D’Abate and Robert and Arlene Soluri are pleased to announce the engagement of their children, Danielle Nicole D’Abate to Christopher Michael Soluri. Chris and Danielle are both graduates of Grand Island High School. Chris is employed as a Police Officer and Danielle is an attorney. A September 2011 wedding is planned.

3rd Annual Leon D. Carr Memorial/Redbone Classic Golf/Disc Golf Tournament - July 2010

    The 3rd Annual Leon D. Carr Memorial/ Redbone Classic golf & Disc Golf tournament will be held July 4th, 2010 in Beaver Island State Park. This event, as in the past will have food, drinks, raffles, activites for kids, and fun! We donate yearly a Erie Commununity College scholarship, and to UNYTS. We have also donated to the Grand Island Conservation Commitee as well as other local groups and charities. For more information and tournament sign up you can go to www.leondcarr.com.

"Collins' Cans For Kidneys" - June 2010

    The Kevin M Murray family is promoting a fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation at Tops Market on Saturday, June 12. For information on how you can participate in "Collins' Cans For Kidneys" see www.isledegrande.com/islanders/murray6-3-10.pdf

Gliding Stars Walk-a-thon - June 2010

   The Gliding Stars Walk-a-thon will be held on Friday, June 18, 2010 in Beaver Island State Park (marina pavilion). Registration will take place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the Walk begins at 6 p.m. There is a $10 minimum pledge per person/raise $75 or more to be entered into a drawing for an American Express gift card. This is a family fun event and includes a finish line cookout. Print out your pledge form at www.glidingstars.org or call the Gliding Stars Office #608-8345.
   The annual event is in its fifth year under the direction of Eileen Klein who has chaired the Walk-a-Thon since its inception. The Kiwanis Club of Lewiston donating bicycles to 5 deserving Stars, and also a donation being presented to Gliding Stars from Praxair Inc.
   The following are Island Stars:
Elizabeth Podsiadlo
MaryClaire Bobak
Joey Borona
Katey Harrington
William Hjalmarson
   Volunteers from Grand Island:
Rich Sander
Gale Sander
Bridget Sander
Gale Podsiadlo
TJ Podsiadlo
Dave Resetarits
Emily Sommer
Jenna Stufkoski
Jordon Hobba
Maddy Mankowski
Maddy and Emily Hjalmarson
    Those who would like to support the Gliding Stars but cannot attend the walk are asked to call the office at 608-8345 or Eileen Klein at 774-0120.

Family Benefit - June 2010

   A benefit for the family of Michael Frederick who lost his life in a tragic accident on April 1st will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 19 at Mallwitz's Island Lanes, 1887 Whitehaven Road. Donations are $25/bowlers and$20/non-bowlers. The event will feature food desserts, baskets and more.
   Michael leaves behind a young widow, Kristia Gatti Frederick, infant Maverick, 4-year-old Charlotte and 11-year-old Ian. The benefit is being held to help the family with medical and living expenses.
   Donations and baskets may be dropped off at:
Century 21 Winklhofer
1770 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island
Or call for pickup:
Shari Schmidt, 716-743-6292
Fawn Gross, 716-697-6188
Checks may be made payable to "Benefit of Michael Frederick"

Ian Hennessy, First Place Winner - June 2010

   Ian Hennessy, a 2nd grade student at Kaegebein Elementary School, won 1st place in forms and 2nd place in weapons in the youth advanced color-belt division at Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do 2010 Verizon Yellow Pages 15th Annual Open-Invitational Tournament held in Amherst on May 29, 2010. Ian trains at Master Gorino’s Pil Sung Tae Kwon-Do in Amherst and will be testing for his child black belt in September 2010. He is the son of Rob and Debi Hennessy of Grand Island, and the grandson of Greg and Judy Prior of Grand Island and Dick and Jean Hennessy of the Town of Tonawanda.

Rebecca Hennessy, First Place Winner - June 2010

   Rebecca Hennessy, a 6th grade student at Veronica E. Connor Middle School, won first place in the Musical Form Competition (youth division) at Master Gorino's Tae Kwon-Do 2010 Verizon Yellow Pages 15th Annual Open-Invitational Tournament held in Amherst on May 29, 2010 where she won a flat screen TV. Rebecca is a child black belt and trains at Master Gorino’s Pil-Sung Tae Kwon-Do in Amherst. She is the daughter of Rob and Debi Hennessy of Grand Island, and the granddaughter of Greg and Judy Prior of Grand Island and Dick and Jean Hennessy of the Town of Tonawanda. Pictured is Rebecca with her instructor, Master Chuck Gorino.

Aaron Bobeck, 3rd In WNY Spelling Challenge - May 2010

   Aaron Bobeck, a 6th grade student at Veronica E. Connor Middle School, finished in 3rd place (out of approximately 100 participants) in the 9th annual WNY Spelling Challenge. The event was sponsored by New York State Sen. Antoine Thompson and was held on May 22, 2010 at the Erie County Historical Society.

Jimmy Stewart - May 2010

   CHC {Center for Handicapped Children) Learning Center - a special school for these very special children and young adults and located in Williamsville, held its annual prom on Friday, May 21st. There was also a "spring fling" for the younger students. This year's prom and spring fling had a Hawaiian theme. The highlight, as in any school prom, was the crowning of a king and queen. Refreshments and "dancing" rounded out the festivities. Pictured, along with one of the school's staff members, is Jimmy Stewart 17, grandson of Jim and Mary Stewart; son of Jim Stewart Jr.; and stepson of Jackie Stewart. Jimmy, shown above with Miss Misty, had the honor of being crowned king at the 2008 prom.

Timothy Blonski Syracuse University Grad - May 2010

   Timothy Blonski, a 2006 graduate of Grand Island High School, graduated from Syracuse University on May 15, 2010. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Supply Chain Management and a Minor in Information Management and Technology, from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. During the last four years, Tim has been involved in many areas. He was an assembly representative in the Student Association as well as a member of the Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity. He was selected as a team member to represent Syracuse University in the Michigan State Case Competition in Supply Chain Management against 13 other national universities. Finally, he was Senior Vice President for the Franklin Group Supply Chain Management Club. Last summer, he interned at Pratt and Whitney in Hartford, Connecticut. To begin his post college career, Tim is moving to Jacksonville, Florida to work for Bradco Supply Corporation, one of the nation’s largest distributors of building materials.

Carissa Bailey, Cum Laude Fredonia State - May 2010

   Carissa Bailey, 21, daughter of David and Cheryl Bailey of Garden Parkway, graduated from Fredonia State College this month with honors. Miss Bailey received a degree in Music Education (voice concentration), Cum Laude.
   She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, Zeta Upsilon Chapter; an International Honor Society in Education and is dedicated to scholarship and excellence in education.
   Miss Bailey served as a resident assistant for five semesters at Fredonia. During graduation Carissa was presented with three sets of cords representing her accomplishments in honors, membership in an honor society and work as a resident assistant.
   This past semester, Carissa had the honor of student teaching at Huth Road Elementary School where she attended as a child, Huth Road, under the tutorship of her former music teacher, Mrs. Carol Horrigan. It was a thrilling experience to work in a school district she is so passionate about and with a teacher she has such respect for. Carissa also worked closely with high school musicians at West Seneca East High School, under the guidance of Philip Farugia.
   Last November marked a highlight of Carissa’s career when she completed her solo senior recital; a stressful and exciting time for all college music seniors. Miss Bailey is a soprano voice and preformed an eclectic mix of classical and musical theater numbers and was accompanied by Meghan Koch on piano, Dave Gorfien classical guitar and performed a baritone duet with Kurt Wissing. After the concert, a reception was held for Ms. Bailey at the White Inn to commend her for her accomplishments in music.
   She is a 2006 graduate of Grand Island High School where she was involved in many clubs and organizations. She is a winner of the Erie County Music Educators Association scholarship and several other music and theatre related scholarships. She is a former Grand Island Youth Ambassador and the 2007 Miss Lancaster as well as Regional Representative for Region 12 DECA.
   Carissa is currently substitute teaching at Clarence and Grand Island school districts and is pursuing a full time position as a music educator this fall while beginning her master’s study.

Melissa L. Rayhill Becomes Medical Doctor - May 2010

   Melissa Lynn Rayhill received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on April 30, 2010. In an awards ceremony that occurred in the morning prior to the graduation ceremonies, Melissa was presented with the Department of Neurology’s American Academy of Neurology Student Prize for Excellence. Melissa had previously been inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and she received the John B. Sheffer Award for the highest performance in the pathology laboratory. Melissa also received a Dean’s Letter of Commendation and graduated Cum Laude from the Medical School.
   During the graduation ceremony, Melissa’s grandfather, Edward A. Rayhill, M.D. (a 1954 graduate of UB Medical School), had the honor of placing the hood over Melissa as she received her diploma. The graduation speaker was Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., the Surgeon General of the United States.
   Melissa and her husband, William Raskopf, will now move from Grand Island to Boston, Massachusetts. She will complete her neurological residency at the Boston University Medical Center.
   Melissa is a 2001 graduate of Grand Island High School and a 2005 graduate of Boston University. She is the daughter of Michael and Donnette Rayhill of Grand Island.

JoAnn Vanderheite - Artwork Chosen For Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival - June 2010

Shown above are just a few of JoAnn Vanderheite's artistic pieces to be displayed at the 40th Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival June 4-6.
   JoAnn Vanderheite has been chosen to show her artistic guards, figural containers and masks in the 40th Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival being held from June 4-6 at the Kenan Center Arena in Lockport, NY. This is the seventh year in a row that JoAnn has had her art work accepted for this strictly juried show and sale where she will showcase her gourds including some that have been grown on her West River property. A longtime Island resident, she is a former art teacher in the Starpoint School District.
Hours are:
• Friday, June 4 - 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Saturday, June 5 - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Sunday, June 6 - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Click http://kenancenter.org/arts /craftsmen.asp for complete information on the "100 American Craftsmen Festival."

Steve Roy - GIHS Class of 1974 - May 2010

   Steve Roy, Grand Island High School Class of 1974, is raising money for Roswell Park by taking part in "Bald For Bucks." He is married to Sherry Webster who he met at Grand Island High and they live on Marjorie Drive here on Grand Island. Steve, who works as a Database Administrator, includes the following on his "Bald For Bucks" page: "I lost a friend to it (cancer) back in 7th grade, my dad and brother-in-law had surgeries because of it, and other family members have suffered and died because of it over the decades; more recently, a number of friends and family members have had success."
   "On the evening of May 27, 2010, I will be Goin' Bald for Bucks, along with an old high school friend, to raise funds for critical research and patient care at one of the nation's top comprehensive cancer centers - Roswell Park Cancer Institute."
   See Steve's Baldforbucks web page
   Steve's friend, Daniel Arthur Welsch (Mr. Wizard), GIHS Class of 1974, currently living in Franklinville, NY along with Daniel's grandson, Robert John (RJ) Loomis of Delevan, NY are also participating in Bald For Bucks. See Dan's and Robert's Baldforbucks web page

Marciniak - Vertino Wedding - May 2010

   The Erie County Botanical Gardens was the setting on May 7, 2010 for the marriage of Michael Vertino, formerly of Grand Island, and Melissa Marciniak. Michael is the son of Mickey and Robin Vertino of Grand Island and Jaquelynn Vertino of Buffalo. Melissa is the daughter of Tammy Marciniak of Attica and the late Kenneth Marciniak. Ryan Vertino served as Best Man for his brother and Preston Vertino, the couple's son, was the Ring Bearer. Amanda Paoletti was Maid of Honor and Ava Pericak, cousin of the groom, was the Flower Girl. A reception was held at Shanghai Reds/Templeton Landing. The couple will reside in Buffalo.

Loretta Ann Condino-Grupp - May 2010

(left) Loretta; Loretta and children; Loretta and husband, Christopher; Loretta and her parents
   Continuing a family tradition of excellence, Mr. & Mrs. Albert L. Condino (retired CEO of Our Lady of Victory Hospital; one of the original founders of the Western New York Hospital Association), and Mr. Christopher P. Grupp, M.B.A. (Senior Business Operations Manager for T-Mobile Corporate) respectively of 248 and 238 Forest Creek Lane, Grand Island, proudly announce that wife, mother, and daughter, Loretta Ann Condino-Grupp has successfully completed her required coursework and defense of dissertation, resulting in conferral of the degree, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University at Buffalo. Condino-Grupp participated in the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education Commencement, which took place at 9 a.m. Friday, May 7, 2010.
   Loretta Condino-Grupp is a life-long resident of Grand Island, graduating from Grand Island Senior High School with high honors, continuing her studies in higher education at the University at Buffalo. There, she initially received her B.A. in English, with concentrations in American Literature, Humanities, and Film Studies. She went on to achieve her Ed.M. in English Education with a concentration in Curriculum Studies, finally culminating with her intensive study and research for a Ph.D. in English Education with a specialization in English. At present, Condino-Grupp is a tenured teacher in the English Department at Grand Island High School.
   Loretta is the sister of Dr. Dalinda A. Condino – dual board certified in pediatrics/adolescent medicine, Director of Adolescent Medicine at Women’s’ and Children’s’ Hospital of Buffalo, New York, residing on Grand Island; Mrs. Marisa P. Condino D’Addario, M.S. – tenured faculty member at Hyde Park Elementary School, Niagara Falls, New York, residing on Grand Island; the late Mr. Dean A. Condino, J.D., one of the youngest New York State appointed law administrators, and Dr. Adria A. Condino – dual board certified in pediatrics/pediatric gastroenterology, in private practice, residing in Tampa, Florida.
    Loretta and her husband of twenty years have three children, Albert Jonathan, 13; Sophia Christina, 10; and Natalie Deanna, 8; who all currently attend Grand Island schools. "With much love and respect for her incredible accomplishment, our family wishes her much happiness and continued success in all of her future endeavors."

Nicholson - Blonski Engagement - May 2010

   Thomas and Anne Blonski of Grand Island wish to announce the engagement of their son, David, to Michelle Nicholson, daughter of Rod and Faith Nicholson of Grove City, Pennsylvania. David is a 2002 graduate of Grand Island High School and a 2007 graduate of RIT. Presently, he is an associate at The Carlyle Group in Washington D.C. Michelle is also a 2007 graduate of RIT and works as a Multimedia Solutions Engineer for Gatehouse Media. They plan to be married at The Belhurst Castle on Seneca Lake in July, 2011.

Eric Roloff Fundraiser - May 2010

   A fundraiser is being held at the Grand Island Moose Lodge 180, 2524 Grand Island Blvd., at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 22 to help Eric Roloff with medical expenses. Two years ago Eric was diagnosed with stage IV brain cancer. Friends and family of Eric have organized the benefit to support him as he fights this disease.
   Tickets are available now for $25 and also at the door. There will be a Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle, food and cash bar.
   For those unable to attend the fundraiser, donations may be made to the Eric Roloff Foundation at any M&T Bank location. All proceeds will benefit the Eric Roloff Foundation and the American Cancer Society. For more information, call Paul Golembiewski, (716)418-5197.

Diane Meyer - May 2010

   Diane Meyer, a senior at Buffalo State College, will graduate May 15, 2010. As the final project for her degrees (Apparel Design, Textile Technology), she participated in RUNWAY 3.0 and was the winner of the Wearable Art Award. See http://bscrunway.wordpress.com
   Diane is the daughter of Albert and Kathleen Meyer.

John and Beverley Mikulski - Golden Wedding Anniversary - April 2010

John and Bev Mikulski will mark their golden wedding anniversary on April 30th. The Mikulskis were married in St. Carthaghs RCChurch, Tweed, Ontario, Canada, in 1960. Both are retired and spend time in Grand Island, NY and Sun City Center, Florida. Bev and John are parents of four children and grandparents of seven grandchildren. A family celebration is being planned for a later date.

Local Marathoner Making a Difference in Lives of Many - April 2010

    Carly Jo Hudson, a resident of Grand Island, announced recently that she would be running in the Rock 'n Roll Marathon in memory of her grandfather, Paul Santospirito, and a dear family friend, Larry Maxick. Carly Jo is committed to raising $2,900 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of Paul and Larry. See Carly Jo Hudson for the complete story and how you can help Carly Jo reach her goal.

Filmmakers Mark and Christine Bonn - April 2010

Christine Seibert Bonn is a member of the GIHS Classof '79 - Click photo for larger view
   The following was submitted to Isledegrande.com by Sue Phillips of North Tonawanda.
   Filmmakers Mark and Christine Bonn met on Grand Island, while both worked at WNED. It may not have been love at first sight, but love it is, between the two, for each other, and for their passion for telling a story in film.
   The WNY natives, Christine of Grand Island, and Mark Bonn of North Tonawanda, have 3 movies under their belt--all documentaries. All with heart. All about "Times of War" WWII style.
   The latest production is "Wings of Silver: The Vi Cowden Story" featured recently in the Tonawanda News: http://tonawanda-news.com/feature/x993492851/NT-native-brings-flygirls-story-to-life
   You can see "Wings of Silver: The Vi Cowden Story" Friday, April 23rd, at 9pm on the silver screen at North Tonawanda's historic Riviera Theatre, Webster Street.
   I personally bought a copy of "Wings of Silver: The Vi Cowden Story" after meetting these two homegrowns as featured guests at the Buffalo Movie-Video Makers (BM-VM) annual banquet, in Amherst's Screening Room Cinema Cafe, Sun April 18th.
   Attached photo shows special guests Christine and Mark Bonn at the BM-VM event sharing with film maker Steve Powell of Buffalo and Pat Phillips of North Tonawanda.
   You can watch the Vi Cowden Story movie trailer at: http://intimesofwar.us/index.html . Catch the link to "meet the producers." You'll want to meet them in person. They've kept the best of their WNY roots.
   Check out the multi-award winning "In Times of War: Ray Parker," story, the second in the series of documentary films by the Bonns. http://www.intimesofwar.us/itow_trailer.html
   The "In Times of War" documentary film series began with a film project Bonn's expected to share with family--a labor of love in "Letters to Defiance." Turns out, it was popular. Viewers wanted more.
   Christine Bonn opened a box of letters written by WWII Lance Corporal Francis Seibert. The letters, written by Christine's Uncle revealed comic art on each and every envelope he mailed to his mother during his WWII experience. The artistically rendered envelopes were so popular, that the letters Seibert sent to his mother weren't received until the second mail delivery of the day, back when mail was delivered twice a day. The envelopes were so popular, each postal worker wanted to see the envelope first, before it could be delivered.
   Bonn's husband urged Christine to look beyond the envelopes and read the letters her uncle had sent his mother. She discovered articulate poignant letters worthy of being shared. "Letters to Defiance" was born. http://www.intimesofwar.us/ltd_trailer.html
   What started off as a project expected to be appreciated by family, turned into award winning documentary. "Letters to Defiance" refers to Defiance, Ohio, the home of Seibert's mother.
   Now is your chance to see the Bonn's latest documentary. You'll even see aircraft from the Niagara's Bell Aerospace. Vi Cowden, already in her 90s, wins your heart with her elegance, pure sense patriotism and spirit of continued adventure shares her love of flying in WWII. A recent recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, Vi Cowden remembers those who never made it home. She'll never regret that when "all men were needed", she "answered the call."
   See "Wings of Silver: Vi Cowden Story" Friday, April 23, 2010 at 9pm on-screen at historic Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda as part of the Buffalo Film Festival weekend events. I know I'll be there! Be sure to meet the producers: http://intimesofwar.us/producers.html
See 2/23/10 Buffalo News story by by Mark Sommer.

Hailee Clayton Has Lead In "Beauty & the Beast" - April 2010

   Hailee Clayton has been chosen for the lead in Beauty & the Beast, a Charter School for Applied Technologies production being presented Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Charter School, Kenmore Ave. Hailee is in the 7th grade and is the daughter of Dave and Karen Clayton of Elsie Lane.

John A. Faso - SPCA of Niagara - April 2010

   John A. Faso is the new executive director of the SPCA of Niagara. See Buffalo News.

Rosanne McKee - My Father - April 2010

   John J. Quinlan,, the father of Rosanne McKee who has lived here over 40 years, was a Lt. in the New York City Police Department (in the Board of Water Supply) assigned to an upstate area in the Catskills, near Liberty, NY, where watershed areas and dams were being constructed to provide clean water for NYC. On patrol one night, he had an accident and was killed in the line of duty on October 2, 1953, at age 45. Rosanne had just turned 16, her sister was 12 and her brothers were 10.
   A few months ago, her family was contacted by a detective from the same department, was told their father was the only officer killed in the line of duty from that department, and that his name was being installed on a wall honoring deceased NY Law Enforcement officers in Albany, NY on May 11. He is also being honored in Washington, DC on a national wall for deceased Law Enforcement officers on May 13.
   "It amazes us that after all these years, someone noticed that my father should have been recognized. My siblings and I are thrilled that this is happening and only regret that our mother didn't live to see this. She was so proud of my father," Rosanne said.

Carminati - Misko Wedding - April 2010

Paticia Ashley Carminati, daughter of David Carminati and the late Kelly Carminati-Levere, was married April 10, 2010 to Daniel Patrick Misko. The ceremony took place at St. Johns RC Chuch in Kenmore with a reception for 122 at the Buffalo Launch Club. Parents of the groom are Dennis and Kathy Misko of Tonawanda, formerly of Grand Island. Maid of honor was Callen Fernandez with bridesmaids Danielle Podlucky, Casey Carminati and Andrea Rozansky. Vince Puglia Jr. served as best man with groomsmen James Pizzutelli, Kevin Koelemeyer and Raja Sztorc. Ashley and Casey's mother, Kelly, was remembered throughout the celebration.

Welcome, Lucian Joseph DeMike - April 2010

Former islander Greg DeMike and his wife, Becky, welcomed their first grandchild, Lucian Joseph DeMike on March 30, 2010, born to daughter, Becky DeMike. Lucian weighed in at seven pounds, twelve ounces. Great grandmother is former islander Mary DeMike.

Sotos Begin 6th Great Strides - April 2010

   We are at the beginning of our 6th year with Great Strides and I want to start out by saying Thank you to every one who has been supporting and helping us raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Over the years we have raised about $25,000! Paul and I are touched every year by the generosity of our friends and family. I know in the past I have included in my letters just how important the CFF is to those who live with this disease, but I wanted to share some exciting news - the CFF is literally on the brink of creating a medicine that could act as a cure! Studies which are solely supported by this organization have already created one medication which is in the trial phases of being approved that reverses the effect CF has on the body! There have been many advances made in only the past few decades. James is about to start kindergarten, 25 years ago children were not expected to live much longer. This is heartbreaking for me, but also inspiring - who knows what the next 25 years will bring. The CFF is a non profit organization which heavily relies on donations for its funding. Therefore we need to continue to raise money and support them in their efforts to give those who have CF every opportunity at living a long healthy life.
Thank you again,
Paul, Mary Jo, James and Lucas
See View My Personal Invitation! with information on how you can become a part of the Sotos Great Strides campaign.

“Change for Haiti” Benefit Concert - March 2010

See “Change for Haiti Benefit" By Kelly Petrie.

Welcome, Kennedy Lee Lucinski - March 2010

Lindsey Smith, a former islander and Tim Lucinski welcomed a daughter, Kennedy Lee on February 8, 2010. Kennedy weighed in at eight pounds, six ounces. The baby is the granddaughter of Island residents Karen and Barry Smith and Steve and Rosetta Lucinski of Niagara Falls.

Welcome, Jack Greggory Roesch - March 2010

Gregg and Nicole Roesch welcomed a son, Jack Greggory Roesch on January 11, 2010. Jack weighed in at nine pounds, two ounces, and was welcomed home by his sister, one-year-old Lucia Suzanne. The baby is the grandson of Island residents Ilene and Bob Dee and Carol and Gary Roesch. Gregg and Nicole, who were born and raised on the Island, now reside in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

Ellen E. Grant - March 2010

See "Buffalo News Story" By Deidre Williams.

Gliding Stars Show - Emily Sommer - Jenna Stufkosky - Winter 2010

Emily Sommer - Jenna Stufkosky
Click photo for larger view

    Sisters Emily Sommer and Jenna Stufkosky will be performing in the upcoming Gliding Stars Show at the Amherst Pepsi Center. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, March 26th and 1 p.m. Saturday, March 27th. Emily and Jenna have volunteered with The Gliding Stars organization for many years. They enjoy skating with individuals with disabilities and seeing the smiles on their faces as they achieve their goals. The mission of Gliding Stars is to give individuals with disabilities the opportunity to increase their personal potential through the development of ice skating skills in a regular program of instruction and practice in their own, local community, culminating in the demonstration of those skills publicly in an end-of-season, on-ice, choreographed performance, which itself serves as a source of motivation, teamwork, increased self-esteem and the 'magic' that results from transcending one's barriers in order to accomplish one's dreams. Gliding Stars, Inc. was originally founded in 1994 by Elizabeth M. O'Donnell. Ms. O'Donnell is an accomplished figure skater who turned her talents toward providing an extensive program of adaptive ice skating for people of all ages and challenges. She did this so that they could experience a part of normal life and the life-changing effects of regular exercise, social interaction, teamwork, family sharing, and a few hours of fame during the end-of-season Ice Extravaganza performance! Emily, a sophomore at Grand Island High School, and Jenna, an 8th grader at Connor Middle School, are extending an invitation to all Islanders with the hope that they will come out and give their support for a show that by far is one of the best in Western New York.

Police Officer Sean Ford Receives Heroism Award - Winter 2010

Officers Jonathan Fletcher and Sean Ford
Click photo for larger view

   University at Buffalo Police Officer Sean Ford was honored by the 100 Club of Buffalo at its annual Hero Awards Dinner at 6 p. m. February 26 in the Country Club of Buffalo, 250 Youngs Road, Amherst. The following explains what brought about the honor:
On May 21, 2009 Officer Sean Ford of Grand Island, NY and Officer Jonathan Fletcher responded to a call of three individuals drowning in Lake LaSalle. Upon arriving on scene they discovered two individuals struggling to swim. After exiting their vehicles, both officers removed their gun belts and jumped in to rescue the victims. It was then discovered that the two individuals had entered the lake in an attempt to save their family dog, struggling to swim back to shore. When the officers reached the two individuals, a man and his daughter, it was apparent that the man could not stay above water. Officer Ford brought the man back to the shore, while Officer Fletcher was able to lift the dog above the water and swim back to shore. Once back to shore, all individuals were assisted out of the lake and Officer Fletcher attempted to resuscitate the dog by administering CPR.
   Through their swift action and observations, these officers were able to deflect a potentially life threatening situation with the man and his daughter. Although their attempts to revive the dog were unsuccessful, these two officers should be commended for their swift actions and dedication to the community which may have saved a life, while disregarding their own personnel safety. See "Buffalo News Story"

John J. Fiore Feature - February 2010

The late John J. Fiore is featured in the February 22 edition of the Buffalo News. See John Fiore Feature.

Welcome, Jackson Robert Tower - February 2010

Jackson Robert Tower was born February 8, 2010 to Darren and Erin (Fred) Tower of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He weighed six pounds, 14 ounces, and was welcomed home by his sister, Charlotte Ann. Baby Jackson is the grandchild of Skip and Joan Fred of Grand Island and Bob and Debby Tower of Berkshire, Vermont and the great grandchild of Norma Fred.

Benefit For Frank Eldridge - Feb. 2010

   Island resident Frank Eldridge is in need of a liver transplant. To help with expenses, a benefit is planned for Sunday, March 14th from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Mallwitz's Island Lanes, 1887 Whitehaven Rd. Tickets are $25.00 per person or two for $40.00 and include pizza, wings, pop, bowling and shoe rental. Featured will be a Chinese auction, a 50/50 drawing, door prizes and baked goods. Tickets may be purchased at Island Lanes or contact Joyce at 773-6357 or Lisa at 998-4666. Gift baskets or other donations are appreciated. Information Flyer.

Erica and Alexis Raepple - Feb. 2010

   Erica and Alexis Raepple were honored by being named to Deans List of their respective schools this past semester. Erica, a third year student at SUNY Cortland, majoring in Sports Management, has been on the Deans list for the past five semesters. She is currently Interning through Cortland at Disney this semester. Alexis, a first year student at Medaille, was named to the Medaille Deans List. Alexis is looking to Major in Secondary English Education.

Leon D. Carr Memorial Event - February 2010

   The Leon D. Carr Memorial Fund will host an event on February 19, 2010 at the Grand Island Moose Lodge starting at 7 p.m. Featured will be raffles, a 50/50 drawing, a soup competition, and food will be available, all for a $20 donation at the door. To enter the soup competition email me sgurbacki@leondcarr.com or "Always Remembering Leon Carr Facebook Page."

Niagara Experience Players - February 2010

   Come share your talents with the 2010 SUMMER production of Broadway meets Hollywood in the MUSIC! being held at the Niagara Arts & Cultural Center, Room 202, 1201 Pine Ave at Portage Rd. (Please enter at the Portage Road RED DOOR), Niagara Falls, NY 14301. For additional information go to: www.niagaraexperienceplayers.com or leave your contact information at 743-7410. The “Niagara Experience Players” is a not-for-profit community organization created for the Children of the greater Niagara region and is entering its 35th year! Information Flyer.

Kelsey Foote - Feb. 2010

Kelsey Foote, daughter of Pat and Jackie Foote, has been placed on the Dean's List for the Fall 2009 semester at the State University of New York College at Cortland. Kelsey is a June 2009 graduate of Grand Island High School.

Welcome, Julius Byron Jeraquel Schopp - January 2010

Julius Byron Jeraquel Schopp, son of Carolyn and Michael Schopp, was born on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at Sisters Hospital, weighing eight pounds, 3 ounces and was 21 inches. The Schopps, who adopted Julius through Adoption STAR, were chosen by the baby's birth mother and were present at his birth. Proud grandparents are Reg Schopp and Jeri Schopp of Grand Island and Dr. Earl McGrath Sr. and Garnet McGrath, Cornwall, NY.

Melissa's Angels Fundraiser - 2010

   Jon Conta of Grand Island is promoting a fundraiser for Melissa's Angels (Melissa Ueblacker), a non-for-profit benefit to help two autistic children who lost their mother in September 2009. The mother was a family member of the Conta family. The benefit will be held on April 11, 2010 at the Buffalo Irish Center - 245 Abbott Road, South Buffalo 14220 (1-7pm). Tickets are available at the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce office, 2257 Grand Island. Blvd.

Frentzel Elected President Erie County Tax Receivers - January 2010

From left: Mark Frentzel, Pattie Frentzel, Cathy Rybczynski-Town of Hamburg, Vice President; Kim Burst-Town of Cheektowaga, Secretary and Margaret Orrange of North Collins, Treasurer

Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel of Grand Island was sworn in Wednesday, January 6, 2010 by the Honorable Town Justice Mark Frentzel as President of the Erie County Tax Receivers & Collectors Association. Other officers include: Cathy Rybczynski-Town of Hamburg, Vice President; Kim Burst-Town of Cheektowaga, Secretary and Margaret Orrange of North Collins will serve as Treasurer. Pattie will serve a two year term as President. The purpose of the group is to meet monthly to bring local and state legislation to the table that may have an effect on tax collection, provide training, exchange ideas, methods and information with other town and village receivers and collectors in Erie County to fully realize the all important position in local government.