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Islanders In The News Web Page

Previous News Pages

Welcome, Eralin Hope Krebs - 2011

   Eralin Hope Krebs was born at 7:51 a.m. November 1, 2011 weighing eight pounds, four ounces and 20 1/2" long. Proud parents are John and Lauren Krebs of Grand Island, NY. Even prouder grandparents are Bill Krebs of San Antonio, Texas; James and Dorothy Malkiewicz of Attica, MI as well as Mary Ann DiCello and Mario Boria of Garden City, MI. Siblings are Anthony, Emily, Zachary, Robert, Jackson, Joseph and Eden. Eralin was baptized on December 4, 2011 at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Wayne, MI. The Godfather is Aaron Malkiewicz, Eralin's uncle and the Godmother is Patricia DiCello, Eralin's great aunt.

Hyland - Oliverio Engagement - November 2011

   Kathy Hyland is happy to announce the engagement of her daughter, Molly Hyland, to Joseph Oliverio, son of Nicki Oliverio and the late Ernie Oliverio. Both the bride and groom’s families are long-time Grand Island residents, including Molly’s proud grandparents, Mike and Sandy Beauchamp. Molly and Joe are 2009 Grand Island Senior High graduates. Molly is a junior English Education major at Niagara University and Joe is a junior Civil Engineering major at UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The couple is planning a 2013 summer wedding celebration.

Jim Wright Performs in Nickel City Opera's Amahl & the Night Visitors - November 2011

    Jim Wright, a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 2004, will be performing with the Nickel City Opera's production, Amahl & the Night Visitors at the Riviera Theatre. Nickle City Opera performance times are:
Friday and Saturday, November 25-26 - 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 27 at 3 p.m.
A candidate for the Master of Music degree in Voice from the School of Music, plays the role of Melchior in Gian-Carlo Menotti's Amhal and the Night Visitors with the Nickel City Opera of Buffalo. Jim is currently serving as the graduate assistant in Voice for the School of Music.
   Jim was among musical artists taking part in the Western New York Chamber Orchestra's classics series, Cosi fan Tutte (W.A.Mozart libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte) in March 2011 in King Concert Hall, Rockefeller Arts Center at the State University of New York at Fredonia.
    Jim received his B.M. in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia where he studied with Daniel Ihasz. A native of Grand Island, Jim has been in opera choruses including the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra's production of Verdi's Otello, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra's production of P.D.Q. Bach's Abduction of Figaro with special guest Peter Schickele and the Hillman Opera Productions of Bernstein's Candide and Bizet's Carmen. In 2008, Jim was the chorus master for the Hillman Opera's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute and in 2010 he returned as the chorus master of its production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann as well as playing the role of Crespel. Jim has been a guest conductor and featured soloist for the Grand Island Community Chorus. He has also been featured as a soloist for the Freudig Singers of Buffalo and St. Joseph's University Cathedral. In January 2009, he presented choral acoustics research at the 4th International Physiology and Acoustics of Singing conference in San Antonio, Texas. Recently, Jim was a recitalist for the Trinity United Methodist Church Recital Series on Grand Island and has been a featured soloist in multiple concerts. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in Voice Performance at SUNY Fredonia and is the graduate assistant for the voice area where his responsibilities include teaching voice classes.

Taelor Reynolds in NU TV Commercial - Nov. 2011

   See Taelor Reynold Press Release

Nicholson - Blonski Wedding - Nov. 2011

   Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Blonski of Grand Island would like to announce the marriage of their son, David, to Michelle Nicholson, daughter of Rod and Faith Nicholson of Grove City, Pennsylvania on July 23, 2011.
   The wedding and reception took place at the Bellhurst Castle in Geneva, NY. Guests who arrived early were treated to a wine tour and a welcome dinner the night before. After their honeymoon in Bora Bora, David and Michelle, along with their two Yorkiepoos, moved to Menlo Park, California. David is pursuing his MBA at Stanford University, while Michelle is working at Bizo Marketing in San Francisco.

Island Chefs On "Come Dine With Me" - November 2011

Sarah Smith and Artie Harper - Jodi Robinson Photo

   The Village Inn Restaurant chefs, Artie Harper and Sarah Smith, will be featured on a local tv show in November and December. "Come Dine With Me" is a cable show hosted by Russell Salvatore and Jan Ferington that showcases local restaurants. Sarah and Artie filmed the episodes on Oct. 4th at Artisan Kitchens & Baths on Amherst Street with Chef Marco Sciortino of Marco's Restaurant. Sarah made Firecracker Crab Soup and Artie made a beef entree. The first show, airing on Channel 5 (WBBZ) on Thursday, Nov. 10th at 6:00 p.m. will feature Artie Harper making an entree. It is repeated on Channel 8 (MYTV) on Sunday, November 13th at 10:30 a.m. The second show is on Channel 5 (WBBZ) on Thursday, Dec. 1st at 6:00 p.m. will feature Sarah Smith making her soup. It is repeated on Channel 8 (MYTV) on Sunday, December 4th at 10:30 a.m.

Three National Top Tens At Horse Nationals - October 2011

Mary Beth Smith with Pistachio PA++ - Jeff Smith Photo

   Mary Beth and Jeff Smith, owners of White Oak Farm, closed out the 2011 horse show season by competing at the Arabian and Half-Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in Kentucky this past September. Mary Beth took two of the farm's horses, Pistachio PA++ and WOF Gold Standard+//. Both horses competed in Dressage Adult Amateur Owner to Ride and Amateur to Tide Training Level, and placed in the Top Ten in both divisions. After a very busy and successful 2011 show season, Pistachio PA++ stands in 3rd place in National Amateur Dressage Training for the US Equestrian Fed. Arabian Horse of the Year award, ahead of 75 other competitors.

Welcome, Decklan Harold Burke - 2011

   Congratulations to Mark and Kate Burke of West River Road, Grand Island, on the birth of their son, Decklan Harold Burke, born October 18, 2011, weighing in at seven pounds, 15 ounces and 19 inches long. Decklan's proud siblings in the photo are Corban and Teagan. The proud grandparents are Harry and Kathi Applegate of Tonawanda, Frank and Sylvia Burke of Ashville, North Carolina and Great-Grandpa, Ralph Hoover, of Grand Island.

Cannata Tonawanda Citizen of Year - October 2011

    The Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas has announced that Frank Cannata has been named 2011 Citizen of the Year for all of his hard work and dedication to one of the jewels of the Tonawandas, The Riviera Theatre. “This has had a major impact on the revitalization of our communities,” a spokesman for the Chamber said this week. Frank also donates his time and musical talent to many area churches and organizations including Roswell Park Cancer Institute, St. Marks’ Episcopal Church, Calvary Episcopal, the Historical Society of the Tonawandas, the Episcopal Diocese of WNY and many others. Frank will be honored at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner to be held on Wednesday, November 9th at Banchetti by Rizzo’s. The public is invited to join in celebrating. For more information, please contact the Chamber at 692-5120.

Mary Cooke Announces Candidacy for Supervisor - October 2011

   Councilwoman Mary Cooke is running for Grand Island Supervisor because she believes the Supervisor's Office needs new energy and a clearer focus on the issues important to Grand Island residents. Maintaining the status quo does not work in today's constantly changing business environment. Leadership means maximizing time and resources to do the work required to make informed decisions. Cooke believes that public service is important work and promises an accessible, energetic and responsive Supervisor's Office.
   Cooke recognizes Grand Island's unique geography, location and resources and believes we can capitalize on those qualities. The Island's bountiful recreational opportunities can be promoted to distant travelers coming to see Niagara Falls as well as to local Western New Yorkers looking for a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Keeping the Island a “special place” while continuing to provide the best local government at the lowest possible cost will be a top priority.
    In her time on the Town Board Cooke has earned a solid reputation for doing her homework, researching the issues and basing her votes on facts. She has invested great amounts of personal time above that required of the part-time council position, to gain unique valuable experience and make many important contacts. Mary Cooke proudly carries the endorsements of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties. She has been endorsed by The Good Government Club of Western New York.
    Cooke has made a difference as a member of the Town Board. At the time of each employee retirement, a careful examination of job requirements is made before a replacement is hired, often resulting in consolidation of jobs. Cooke has saved the taxpayers $21,356 by returning the medical bonus for 11 years. She has helped achieve an A-1 bond rating for the town and maintain it since July 2008.
    Mary Cooke is active in the Grand Island community, serving as president of the Friends of Grand Island Memorial Library and on the Education Committee of the GI Historical Society. She is a lector and teaches religious education at St. Stephen Church and is the secretary of the Grand Island School Business Alliance (GISBA). Cooke has served as ReTree planting volunteer coordinator since 2007 and is a member of the GI High School PTSA.
    Cooke earned a Masters Degree from Niagara University and a Bachelors Degree from Buffalo State College. She taught for 11 years before being elected to public office and completed a two-year part-time teaching assignment at Veronica Connor Middle School in June 2011. She can be reached at 773-7058 or at maryscooke@roadrunner.com
Find her on facebook at maryscooke

JoAnn Vanderheite Wins Numerous Awards - Oct. 2011

JoAnn Vanderheite's artistic pieces, all winners
   Longtime Island resident JoAnn Vanderheite attended the recent 49th annual Ohio Gourd show in Greenville, Ohio and entered three of her gourds in the craftsman competition. Each piece won a first place blue ribbon in its category, and two received the judges' special recognition ribbons. Most importantly to JoAnn was receiving the Stevens Family Award for overall best in show.

Jim Sharpe Announces Candidacy for Councilman - October 2011

    Community leader Jim Sharpe has recently announced his candidacy for a position as Grand Island Town Councilman. Over the past 30 years, Jim has been actively involved in improving the quality of life within our community. See Press Release 10/5/11

JennaBeth Stockman - 2011

    JennaBeth Stockman is participating in two exciting productions in the next few weeks. JennaBeth is the head choreographer and back-up dancer for both events. The first production is a CD release show for American Idol's Tanya Diona on Friday, October 14th at the Tralf Music Hall. The second production is the "2nd Chance Prom" at the Statler Towers on Saturday, October 15th. Tickets are available at the Tralf and Ticketmaster and www.prombuffalo.com.

Four Generations - September 2011

   Four generations of the Tetkowski family were together on Sunday, September 25, 2011 to watch the Bills game together. Lee Tetkowski is standing, grandddaughter Heidi, visiting from California, is holding her child, Sabrina, alongside Diane Pokorski, Lee's daughter, who is the mother of Heidi. Lee and her husband, the late Clem Tetkowski, and children moved to Grand Island in 1949.

Councilman Gary Roesch Seeks Third Term - September 2011

   Gary Roesch has served the Town of Grand Island as councilman since 2003 and is seeking his third term on Election Day. He and his wife, Carol, have resided on Grand Island for 48 years. Gary served 36 years as a manager at a local petroleum company. Gary and Carol are the proud parents of Todd (Karin), Tracy (Bobby) Williams and Gregg (Nicole) and grandparents to Lucia and Jack Roesch. Gary is registered with the Conservative Party and endorsed by the Conservative, Republican and Independence parties. He can be reached at groesch@roadrunner.com with any questions you may have regarding his campaign. He will be visiting as many residents as possible and is available to meet with any residents or groups. Election Day is November 8, 2011. Please remember to vote.

Steak Roast for Supervisor Peter McMahon - September 2011

   A re-elect Supervisor Peter McMahon Steak Roast fundraiser is planned for Friday, October 7th at 5:00 p.m. at the VFW, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. Tickets are $25.00 and reservations are recommended. Children under 12 are free with a special menu. There will be door prizes and a basket raffle. Call 773-9352 for information and reservations.

Trzewieczynski-Linenfelser Wedding - August 2011

    Jenine Trzewieczynski and Daniel Linenfelser were joined in marriage on August 12, 2011. The ceremony was officiated by Father Paul Nogaro at St. Stephen’s Church with a celebration following at Joseph’s Grove. The bride is the daughter of Leonard and Joanne Trzewieczynski of the Town of Tonawanda and is the Director of Campaign Development at the SPCA serving Erie County. Parents of the groom are Dan and Jo Ann Linenfelser of Grand Island. Dan and his brother work for their company, Felser Bros. Construct. Dan and Jenine will soon be moving into their new home on Grand Island.

Heather McDonnell Wins "Cupcake War" on Food Network - 2011

   "They almost burned down the kitchen and at one point served the judges raw cake batter, but Fort Mill businesswoman Heather McDonnell and her sister-in-law, Debbie McDonnell, survived to win the "Cupcake Wars" Sunday, September 11, 2011 on the Food Network," and claimed the $10,000 cash prize along with the opportunity to provide cupcakes at the record release party for Jeanette McCurdy, an up and coming country singer. See Haroldonline.com story by Shannon Greene (South Carolina's newspaper, The Herald).
    Heather currently lives in Fort Mill, SC with her husband, fellow former Islander, Bob McDonnell and their four children. She recently opened her own cupcake bakery called Cupcrazed Cakery.

Nicole Gerber& Therapy Dogs - 2011

    In 2006 the Therapy Dog Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute was initiated with Monty as the first therapy dog. Since its inception, this program has received rave reviews from both patients and staff and has now grown to 10 dogs and has served as a model for therapy dog programs at other hospitals.
   Nicole Gerber, Monty’s mom, was dedicated to bringing a Therapy Dog Program to Roswell Park. She researched programs at other hospitals and provided the information needed to start the program at the Institute. Nicole recalls how Monty truly enjoyed coming to Roswell and how he loved meeting so many people: “He looked forward to the visits just as much as people looked forward to seeing him. I was always very proud of Monty for all he did. I thank Roswell Park for helping remember Monty in such a special and significant way”.
   See Therapy Dog Program.

Gormady - Jeanty Wedding - 2011

   Court Clerk/Marriage officer Maria C. Burns performed the first same-sex marriage at the Town Hall on August 24, 2011. Louis-Victor Jeanty, M.D. and Thomas Gormady exchanged vows on the 23rd anniversary of the day they met. Tom is an honors graduate of Grand Island High School, Class of 1976, and was well known in the area for his love of art and music and for his theatrical performances. He performed onstage at Fantasy Island's Golden Nugget Review from 1978-1981. He holds a B.A. degree in Design from Buffalo State College. Louis-Victor graduated from New York Medical College, worked locally as a psychiatrist at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center and originates from Gonaives, Haiti. They currently reside in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Heather McDonnell Competes In Cupcake Wars - 2011

   UPDATE: Heather and Debbie succeeded in winning the "Cupcake Wars" competition on Sunday, September 11th and a $10,000 prize.
   Former Islander Heather (Prast) McDonnell, GIHS class of 1993, is going to be featured on the Food Network show "Cupcake Wars" on Sunday, September 11th at 8 p.m. Assisting Heather is sister-in-law and island native, Debbie (Reid) McDonnell, class of 1996. The ladies are married to Bob and Sean McDonnell, respectively and live in Ft. Mill, South Carolina. Check out the story and pictures from the Fort Mill Times. Heather's mother is Denise Prast, former Islander also living in Fort Mill. Debbie's parents are Harold and Laury Reid of Grand Island and Bob and Sean's parents are islanders, Terry and Sherrie McDonnell.

Gail J. Lazenby - Reflections on Former Isle Firefighters - August 2011

   It's been a while, so I thought that you might like an "update" on "my" Grand Islanders in The Villages.
    Jason and Maureen Weis continue to live in Spring Hill (with children Anthony and Eva) while Jason serves as a paramedic/lieutenant in The Villages Public Safety Department. Considering that the Department just hired 15 new staff, Jason's responsibilities have also grown as his crew at Station 43 has grown. Jason has become an effective station commander, aggressive firefighter, and competent paramedic.
   Jeff Loder continues to serve the VPSD as a firefighter/EMT, and is one of the most respected members of the Department. Jeff is a self starter, and takes great pride in wheeling the Department's 95-foot tower truck. He has been chosen as one of the Department's "Firefighters of the Year," and is frequently called upon to work with new personnel to insure that they become productive members of the Department.
   Jeff's wife, Jennifer Weis Loder (Jason's sister), now works for the Village Center District's Human Resources Department while their son, Brandon, attends The Villages Charter School. While Jennifer holds a BA in social work from Buffalo State, she is busy learning "the tricks of the trade" as a Human Resources technician.
   Mike Lowe wasn't an Islander, but he is a firefighter/EMT from Amherst's Snyder Fire Department (my other fire department). Mike is the nephew of long-time Island ECSD deputy and GI police officer Dick Stoll. Mike has become a real contributor to the VPSD and his background from Snyder has held him in great stead.
   I, of course, continue to serve The Villages Public Safety Department as a Captain in charge of EMS training and quality assurance. With the 15 new hires, my days have become extremely long as I have to see each of these individuals perform in the field. I certainly didn't expect to be this busy after 33 years at the Island's Connor Middle School, but the work is very similar to what I did with Grand Island Fire for nearly 35 years.
   Grand Island is never far from any of our minds. In fact, I was on the Island only three weeks ago and made a bee-line to The Beach House for a traditional fish fry. While I miss lots of Island friends, what I really miss is the Western New York food.
   While Kathy and I see Bill and Nancy Weis with some regularity since they frequently travel to Florida to visit Jason, Jennifer, and Jon (who lives in South Florida), we're always open to other visitors. The Villages is a great place to live and an equally great place to visit. With nearly 500 holes of golf, plus every other type of recreational activity, you'll never be bored.
   Thanks for letting me ramble!

Hulett - Cole Engagement - 2011

   Mr. and Mrs. David and Adele Cole of Grand Island are pleased to announce the engagement of their son, Michael Cole, to Jordan Hulett, granddaughter of Novis Ratliff of Lubbock, Texas.
   Jordan currently manages a farming corporation and is her grandmother's caregiver. Michael is presently employed at Hallmark Rehab as the director of rehab services.
   A November 2011 wedding is planned at Trinity United Methodist Church on Grand Island, with a reception to follow at Samuels Grand Manor. The couple currently resides in Lubbock, Texas. They are in the planning stages for their honeymoon.

Cynthia Czapla - 2011

Click photo for larger view
   August 10, 2011 . . . Cynthia Czapla, Grand Island High School Alum and daughter of Helen and James Czapla of Grand Island, represented the State of Pennsylvania this past weekend in the Miss Czech-Slovak US pageant competition. Cynthia won the Lois Fiala Spirit of the Czech and Slovak Heritage Award, thus joining the royal court. Cynthia is shown modeling her ethnic kroj, a family heirloom from Slovakia which is over 90 years old. Cynthia's talent at the competition was a cooking demonstration where she made Slovak cookies.

Mohamed A. Mohamed -August 2011

   Mohamed Mohamed, prime minister of Somalia
   Buffalo News
His first day back to work was a bit surreal.
Less than two months ago, he was prime minister of Somalia. He battled terrorists, pirates and warlords. He addressed dignitaries from the United Nations.
Now, Mohamed A. Mohamed is back at his old job at the state Department of Transportation downtown, back to his little cubicle with a window overlooking Swan Street.
See 8/7/11 Buffalo News story by Jay Rey.

Kelsey Percival - Jill Anderson- 2011

    Islanders Kelsey Percival and Jill Anderson have starring rolls in the Ghostlight Theatre production of "Oklahoma." The show runs August 4-6, August 12 and August 19, 2011. Tickets may be reserved through www.starrynighttheatre.com

Islanders Attend One-week SCORE International - July 2011

   The morning of July 22nd marked the start of the one-week SCORE International - Kenmore Stars mission to San Jose, Costa Rica for Islanders Amanda Cinelli, Stephanie Senn, Kristen McLaughlin, Mickey Pariso, Tony Pariso and Diane Pierce. SCORE International is a ministry to expose people to short term missions, to Evangelize, Encourage missionaries, and Equip participants to do the work of foreign missions. The team has had the opportunity to not only play some local soccer and visit the communities around the mission, but to provide support to the local food kitchens and foster homes. To follow their blog see http://www.kenmorestarscostarica.blogspot.com.

Islanders In NFAP "Hairspray" Production - July 2011

Pictured: Keelan Erhard and Natalie Baldassarre
   About a 100 students and adults from all over WNY auditioned through the Niagara Fine Arts Program for the summertime musical, "Hairspray". This is the 18th production produced by the NFAP. Three islanders were cast into the production. They are Keelan Erhard, a junior at Grand Island as “Sketch”; Natalie Baldassarre, a sophomore at Grand Island as a “Motormouth Maybelle Kid/Dancer”; & Ben Smith, a senior at Grand Island as “IQ”.    Performances will be held at Niagara Falls Senior High School on the following dates: August 11th, 12th & 13th and August 18th, 19th & 20th. See Flyer for more information and tickets.

Kristopher R. Haag - 2011

   The Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service was presented to former Island resident Kristopher R. Haag by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in The Pentagon where Kris is employed. See:
Defense Medal
   Kris is a graduate of State University of New York at Buffalo Masters (Eng, Industrial Engineering 1994), State University of New York at Binghamton (BS, Mechanical Engineering 1993). He is a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 1988 and the son of Bob and Pat Haag of Grand Island. Kristopher and his wife, Evelyn, and their two children, Matisse and Amelia, reside in Bethesda, MD.

Wietan - Cross Wedding - July 2011

   Kelly Wietan and Dustin Cross were united in marriage on June 24, 2011. The wedding and reception, immediately following, were held at Kloc's Blossom Grove. The bride is the daughter of Don and Sheila Wietan of Grand Island. Parents of the groom are Ken and Marsha Cross of Rochester. After a honeymoon in Jamaica, the couple is residing in Amherst, NY.

Cynthia Czapla - 2011

   Cynthia Czapla, daughter of James and Helen Czapla of Grand Island, has been named Miss Czech Slovak Pennsylvania Queen 2011. She will be competing in the national pageant in early August in Wilber, Nebraska. Cynthia graduated salutatorian from Grand Island High School in 2004. She earned biomedical engineering BS and MS degrees from University of Rochester and Northwestern University. She currently attends University of Pittsburgh’s School of Dental Medicine for general dentistry. Cynthia is pictured in traditional Slovak attire called “kroj”.

Lynn Schutt and Tracy Pufpaff - 2011

(left) Lynn Schutt and Tracy Pufpaff

    Lynn Schutt and her daughter, Tracy Pufpaff recently become area co-chapter leaders (www.14072.theheartlinknetwork.com) for The HeartLink Network, a woman's networking group, which supports, inspires and encourages women in business. This is an industry exclusive and invitation only network. At this time, Lynn and Tracy have one luncheon per month but are hoping to expand this as their network grows. Please check out their website above and the main link at www.theheartlinknetwork.com.

Richard Seeley - July 2011

   Richard Seeley, Dept. of Defense Civilian, is stationed at Camp Dwyer in Southern Afghanistan. He was deployed on June 24, 2011 and will return "to the good old USA" on December 18, 2011. Richard is employed by Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) which falls under the Dept of Defense (DOD). He is a Quality Assurance Specialist, and oversees the Contractors at Camp Dwyer who are providing all the services to our War Fighters. Richard ensures the soldiers are receiving quality service and support and the tax payers money is being spent properly.

Matthew Mondoux - July 2011

   See Matthew Mondoux - Buffalo News.

Congratulations, Leanne (Pizur) Ortolano - 2011

Leanne and Tom Ortolano

   Leanne (Pizur) Ortolano, daughter of Martin and Carol Pizur of Grand Island, graduated May 21, 2011 with a Master's of Science Degree from the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at D'Youville College. Leanne graduated from Grand Island High School in 2001 and attended D'Youville College for her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. She is currently employed at Roswell Park Cancer Institute as a Registered Nurse and resides with her husband Tom in Tonawanda. Her plans after graduation include working in internal medicine while continuing graduate school to complete her Doctorate in Nursing.

Mohamed A. Mohamed - June 2011

   Mohamed Mohamed, prime minister of Somalia, has stepped down from the post. See 6/23/11 Buffalo News story by Jay Rey.

Patricia Frentzel, Town Clerk Candidate - June 2011

   Patricia Frentzel has announced her candidacy for re-election for the office of Town Clerk. Pattie has served with distinction as Town Clerk since January 2004. During her tenure many changes have been made to improve the services provided to the residents of Grand Island. Through Pattie’s efforts, Grand Island is one of the few Town Clerk offices in Erie County that can accept US passport applications.
   In addition to serving as Clerk to the Town Board, the Clerk’s office recently took over the dog licensing program due to NYS budget cuts. Pattie’s office acts as the central clearing house for Town information such as Town services, recycling, maps, voting, taxes, DMV, etc. The Clerk’s office is responsible for the collection of fees from water/sewer rents, building permits, hunting and fishing licenses as well as Town/County and School taxes. The Town Clerk serves as Registrar of Vital Statistics for purposes of recording births, deaths and marriages on Grand Island.
   On Tuesday, June 21st, Pattie Frentzel will host a “Meet and Greet” at the River Oaks Golf Club from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Information regarding the event may be obtained by calling 773-8788.

Congratulations, Hibbah Mojawalla - 2011

   Island resident Hibbah Mojawalla recently published her first book, "Allie Hamilton and the Hollow Critters", quite an accomplishment for a twelve-year-old. Hibbah entered a contest last November with a Young Writers Program that specified the writer had to complete a 19,000 word book within a month's time. It would then be printed. The story is an action/adventure about two sisters, Allie and Hannah, who enter a fantasy world through a portal and run in to many bad characters and just a few good ones. A sequel is already in the works. The book may be purchased through Create Space, an Amazon Company. Hibbah is homeschooled by her dad, Fahim, who owns Creative Leather/Island Ship Center here on Grand Island. Dad notes that Hibbah's writing, grammar and syntax, along with researching techniques have greatly improved during her experience writing the book. When Hibbah is not busy writing, she enjoys travel soccer, swimming and reading her favorite authors, Anthony Horowitz, JK Rowling and James Patterson.

Welcome, Irelynn Isabella Landroche - 2011

   Grand Island residents Mark and Heather Landroche are proud to announce the birth of their second daughter, Irelynn Isabella Landroche, born March 30, 2011 at 4:42 p.m., weighing in at seven pounds, 6.7 ounces and 20.5 inches long. The baby girl was welcomed by big sisters Brooklyn Raine Landroche and Stefani Rhodes, grandmothers Jo Ann Holmes of Grand Island and Nancy Landroche of Lockport and great grandmother Esther Lozo of Grand Island. Mark and Heather are both GIHS graduates, Classes 1993 and 1991. Mark is the owner of Mark's Island Tree Service.

Madeleine HusVar - 2011

   MTC Productions presents Annie at the Lancaster Opera House! Madeleine HusVar, a 5th grade student at Kaegebein Elementary will perform as Annie on June 11th at 7:30 p.m., June 12th at 2:30 p.m., and June 18th at 2:30 p.m. Additional show dates include June 3rd at 7:30 p.m., June 4th at 7:30 p.m., June 5th at 2:30 p.m., June 9th at 7:30 p.m., June 10th at 7:30 p.m., June 16th at 7:30 p.m., June 17th at 7:30 p.m., June 18th at 7:30 p.m., and June 19th at 2:30 p.m.. Tickets are availabale by calling the Lancaster Opera House at 716-683-1776 or lancopera.org.
   Madeleine was one of over 80 girls who auditioned for the role.

John Costanzo Family Benefit Golf Tournament - 2011

   John Costanzo grew up on Grand Island and graduated from GIHS in 1977. Sadly, he passed away this past year, leaving a family with five children who could use your help. A golf tournament is planned for Friday, July 15th at the Oak Run Golf Club in Lockport. Organizers are looking for golfers, volunteers, sponsors and prizes. For more information see Costanzo Benefit information

Jennifer O'Donnell - June 2011

    Jennifer O'Donnell has published her masters thesis and has received an MA in Screen Writing from the University of California Northridge in May. She was recently hired to work in development at Intuitive Entertainment in Los Angeles. Jennifer is a 2005 Grand Island Graduate. She is the daughter of Bob and Colleen O'Donnell.

Adam Reisdorf - June 2011

   Rod Reisdorf is proud to announce that his son Adam Reisdorf is now a partner in the family business, Mr. Best Wrench. The business was founded in 1985 as a mobile repair shop and opened the present location in 1998. Adam and Rod Reisdorf are both graduates of Alfred State College. Adam graduated in 2004 and has spent the last seven years working in Williamsville. Mr. Best Wrench specializes in import, domestic, classic and exotic car repair and restoration and is located at 2401 Bedell Road. Mr. Best Wrench Website

French Citizen Pays Respect to Local WWII Hero - May 2011

Slide Show
Mary Stewart Photos

   National Union of Veterans (Union Nationale des Combattants) member Guy Sarkissian paid his deepest respects to the late Joseph “L’il Joe” Stefaniak and to his family in a memorial ceremony Sunday, May 22, 2011 at DeGlopper Park, Grand Island Blvd. and Baseline Road. Mr. Sarkissian traveled from Paris, France in order to meet the Stefaniak family and present them with the French flag flown during the liberation of France in 1944. The flag was accepted by Councilwoman Mary Cooke on behalf of the Town of Grand Island and Joe Synakowski on behalf of the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post 9249.
   Mr. Sarkissian presented small French flags to the family of the late Joseph "L'll" Joe Stefaniak and Ray DeGlopper who accepted the flag on behalf of the late Charles N. DeGlopper.
   The brass quintet from the Grand Island High School Wind Ensemble played France's National Anthem followed by the United States National Anthem.
   See Town Board Proclamation
   See Guy Sarkissian Letter
   See Previous Story

Mary Anne Shea - May 2011

   Mary Anne Shea of Grand Island will receive the annual Effective Leadership Award for Women in Business at the June meeting of the Grand Island Professional Women's Chapter, New York State Women Inc. Dr. Sherry Bradford, president of Advanced Cancer TheranosTX, will present the award on behalf of ACT. See Click Mary Anne Shea for complete story.

Leon Carr Memorial Fundraiser - Spring 2011

   The 4th Annual Leon Carr Memorial Fundraiser & Redbone Classic Disc Golf & Golf tournament will be held July 3rd, 2011 in Beaver Island State Park. The Disc Golf Tournament starts at 9 .m., the fundraiser and golf tournament start at noon. The event will feature live music, food, drinks, raffles, 50/50 and more! Proceeds will go to the Erie Community College Scholarship and the Miracle League of WNY www.miracleleaguewny.com To register for either tournament and for more information, see www.leondcarr.com to register for either tournament www.leondcarr.com

JoAnn Vanderheite - Artwork Chosen For Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival - May 2011

Shown above are just a few of JoAnn Vanderheite's artistic pieces to be displayed at the 41st Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival June 3-5.
   JoAnn Vanderheite has been chosen to show her artistic guards, figural containers and masks in the 41st Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival being held from June 3-5 at the Kenan Center Arena in Lockport, NY. This is the eighth 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. A longtime Island resident, she is a former art teacher in the Starpoint School District.
Hours are:
• Friday, June 3 - 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Saturday, June 4 - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Sunday, June 5 - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Click http://kenancenter.org/arts /craftsmen.asp for complete information on the "100 American Craftsmen Festival."

Leon Carr Memorial Fundraiser - Spring 2011

   The 4th Annual Leon Carr Memorial Fundraiser & Redbone Classic Disc Golf & Golf tournament will be held July 3, 2011 in Beaver Island State Park. The Disc Golf Tournament starts at 9 a.m., the fundraiser and golf tournament start at noon. The event will feature live music, food, drinks, raffles, 50/50 and more! Proceeds will go to the Erie Community College Scholarship and the Miracle League of WNY www.miracleleaguewny.com. To register for either tournament and for more information, see www.leondcarr.com to register for either tournament

French Citizen Pays Respect to Local WWII Hero - May 2011

   On Sunday, May 22nd at 2p.m., Mr. Guy Sarkissian will pay homage to the late Joseph “L’il Joe” Stefaniak in a memorial ceremony at DeGlopper Park on Grand Island, New York. Mr. Sarkissian, a member of the National Union of Veterans (Union Nationale des Combattants) will travel from Paris, France in order to meet the Stefaniak family and present them with the French flag. Mr. Sarkissian was instrumental in the awards process which led to Mr. Stefaniak being presented with the French Legion of Honor in 2008 for heroic actions as a U.S. Army Paratrooper in Normandy, France in June 1944. Mr. Sarkissian had always wanted to personally meet Mr. Stefaniak who unfortunately passed away in October 2010. Sunday’s ceremony will be attended by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Grand Island Town Council and the Grand Island High School Ensemble. A reception will follow at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post #9249. The Memorial Service is open to all Little Joes' Friends.

Jade Gormady - May 2011

   Dr. Jade Renee Gormady, O.D., a Grand Island native, will graduate this June with the Class of 2011 from the SUNY School of Optometry in New York City. Her parents, Robert and Tami M. Gormady, will attend the graduation June 5th at the Millennium Broadway Hotel and Hudson Theatre, 145 West 44th St., New York City. They live on Grand Island with their son, Ryan Gormady. Jade resides in Manhattan, where she will begin her optometry practice. She is a 2003 graduate of Grand Island High School and a 2007 graduate of Canisius College in Buffalo, where she received a bachelor of science degree. Her proud grandparents are Patrick and Ann Gormady of Grand Island and the late Nancy Schmauss. Jade has achieved her academic success amid the well wishes of her entire family, including her many uncles.

DeDe Secic Stars in "Serenata D'Amore" - May 2011

   Former islander and GIHS graduate DeDe Secic is starring in a locally written play, "Serenata D'Amore" at the Woodbox Theatre in the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls. Opening night is Friday, May 6th and the play will run weekends until May 22. Niagara Falls elementary school teacher, Dr. Linda Silvestri, wrote the play about a dysfunctional Italian family whose grown daughter has returned home to live in the kitchen pantry. Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 for students and seniors. For more information call 297-5910.

Reg Schopp - April 2011

   The Cross designed by Grand Island goldsmith, Reg Schopp, will help the Episcopal diocese welcome their 11th bishop of Western New York, the Rev. Dr. R. William Franklin, on Saturday, April 11th at 11:00 a.m. at the UB Center for the Performing Arts.
   The pectoral cross, a gift of the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, was designed and made by Reg Schopp of deSignet International in Grand Island, NY. The bishop-elect preferred a simple Jerusalem-style cross and requested that the words scripture, creed, sacrament and episcopate be inscribed on it. These four words, drawn from the historic Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral, describe the basic tenets of the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal faith tradition.
   The bishop-elect wanted a gold cross, so reusing the donated gold was an easy task. Schopp, however, felt the silver that had been donated also needed to be incorporated into the cross. Several suggestions for how to do so were made and rejected. Finally Schopp hit upon a concept that satisfied both the bishop-elect and himself. A matrix of gold layers with a cross shaped hollow at the center were cast. The donated silver—crosses, rings, pins, and coins, were melted together and cast into silver ingots. Now, the layers of gold are assembled and polished. The cross appears to be solid gold. But within, where once there was a hollow, lies a silver cross.
    The essence of Western New York will be uniquely present, A special altar frontal was made specifically for the consecration service. It was designed by the Reinvestment Group of St. Peter’s Church in Westfield, NY, using pieces of fabric donated by various Episcopal churches across Western New York. The crozier that will be presented to Bishop Franklin was designed and crafted from cherry wood native to Western New York by Art Werner, a member of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Kenmore, with the help of Tom Heyer, a member of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
   Bishop-elect Franklin is a native of Mississippi. He was educated at Princeton and served as both a seminary professor and dean. As a priest, he has served the Episcopal Church in New York City, Europe and Philadelphia. He brings a broad view of the church and the world to Western New York, and soon, close to his heart he’ll wear a cross that symbolizes the breadth of God’s Kingdom and the embrace of the people of Western New York.

Welcome, Liam James Hillman - April 2011

   Liam James Hillman was born on March 9, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. weighing eight pounds 13 ounces and 20.5 inches long. He is welcomed by his parents Bob J. Hillman and Jarilyn E. Hillman (Stoorza) and big sister, Haley. Proud grandparents are Jim and Kathy Hillman, and Joyce E Jones all residing on Grand Island. He is also welcomed by aunts and uncles: Bill Hillman (Jenelle Nowacki), Joel E. Stoorza, and Jenel and Jeremy Hoover and cousin Dylan.

Aimee Anderson to Ride For Roswell - April 2011

   Aimee Anderson's Team C.H.A.I.N. Linked is holding a basket raffle on Friday, April 22nd at Mallwitz's Island Lanes, 1887 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. The event will take place from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Those who would like to make a donation to the basket raffle or to the "Ride For Roswell" are asked to contact Aimee Anderson (716) 930-7011.

Welcome, Luke Gabriel Michaud - April 2011

   Paul and Jamie Michaud are proud to announce the birth of Luke Gabriel, born on April 13, 2011 weighing seven pounds, seven ounces and 20 inches long. Luke Gabriel joins his older brothers, Paul Guy, James, Andrew and David. Proud grandparents are Guy Michaud of Grand Island, Priscilla Schad of Amherst and James and Delores Leith, of Orchard Park.

Alfred University Leadership Center Named for Beth Robinson Judson - April 2011

   4/06/11 . . .Alfred University is creating the Beth Robinson Judson Center for Leadership to honor an alumna, trustee and founding member of the Women’s Leadership Center (WLC). Elizabeth (Beth) Robinson Judson, a 1982 graduate of Alfred University with a degree in ceramic engineering, died Oct. 26, 2010, when the small plane in which she and her husband were flying crashed shortly after take-off. Both were killed. See http://www.alfred.edu/pressreleases/viewrelease.cfm?ID=6700 for complete story.

Emily Sommer - April 2011

   Emily Sommer, a junior at Grand Island High School, has been awarded the Sunday Skate Youth Volunteer of the Year for the Gliding Stars Association. Emily has volunteered with the organization for the past five years and was notified of her accomplishment at the recent Gliding Stars show on March 25th and 26th. Gliding Stars recognized Emily as a great volunteer, and that she has been able to develop a bond with her skater. Her skater knows that she can depend on her to be there for her. On days when her skater is not there, she can always be counted on to fill in wherever she is needed and everyone gets the same attention and care. Gliding Stars is very proud of Emily and they thanked her very much for all she does for her skater and the rest of the skaters.

Welcome, Jacob Taylor Zulawski - March 2011

   "Brian and Katie Zulawski welcomed a son, Jacob Taylor Zulawski, on March 25, 2011. Jacob weighed in at eight pounds, four ounces. Jacob is the grandson of Island residents Dominic Jr. and Jenny Caruana and Kenneth and Mary Zulawski. Brian and Katie, who were born and raised on the Island, have recently purchased a home on the Island. Brian is a member of the Class of 2001 and Katie is a member of the Class of 2003.

Jim Wright - March 2011

   Jim Wright, a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 2004, was among musical artists taking part in the Western New York Chamber Orchestra's classics series, Cosi fan Tutte (W.A.Mozart libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte) on Sunday, March 27, 2011 in King Concert Hall, Rockefeller Arts Center at the State University of New York at Fredonia.
   Jim received his B.M. in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia where he studied with Daniel Ihasz. A native of Grand Island, Jim has been in opera choruses including the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra's production of Verdi's Otello, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra's production of P.D.Q. Bach's Abduction of Figaro with special guest Peter Schickele and the Hillman Opera Productions of Bernstein's Candide and Bizet's Carmen. In 2008, Jim was the chorus master for the Hillman Opera's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute and in 2010 he returned as the chorus master of its production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann as well as playing the role of Crespel. Jim has been a guest conductor and featured soloist for the Grand Island Community Chorus. He has also been featured as a soloist for the Freudig Singers of Buffalo and St. Joseph's University Cathedral. In January 2009, he presented choral acoustics research at the 4th International Physiology and Acoustics of Singing conference in San Antonio, Texas. Recently, Jim was a recitalist for the Trinity United Methodist Church Recital Series on Grand Island and has been a featured soloist in multiple concerts. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in Voice Performance at SUNY Fredonia and is the graduate assistant for the voice area where his responsibilities include teaching voice classes. Jim is a student of Ms. Julie Newell.

Judith Nolan Powell - March 2011

   Judith Nolan Powell, first vice president and commercial relationship manager for HSBC Bank USA, has been elected to a three-year term on the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center board of directors.
   Powell, who joined HSBC in 1983 as western region public relations director, managed the HSBC Center branch from 1993 to 2000. She served as vice president and senior officer for placements/human resources from 2000 to 2002 and managed HSBC’s Elmwood Utica branch from 2002 to 2004.
   Prior to joining HSBC, she was employed as director of public relations and development at Trocaire College.
   Powell holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Geneseo and a master’s in education from Buffalo State College.
   She is chairman of the board of Niagara Catholic High School; trustee of the Canisius College Women’s Business Center, where she is also former chairman of the board and current Marketing Committee chair; and serves on the Buffalo Urban League's Revolving Loan Fund Committee.
   A past trustee of WNY Public Broadcasting, Inc., she is a former member of the Diocese of Buffalo’s Board of Catholic Education, the nominating committee for Everywoman Opportunity Center, Inc., the Elmwood Village Association and Trocaire College. She is a former vice chair of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Workforce Development Council.
   Powell was honored by the U.S. Small Business Association as the Women’s Business Advocate for Western New York in 2003 and was named to the prestigious HSBC Group Chairman’s Club in 2005. Both awards recognized her excellence in commercial business development and customer service.
   A Niagara Falls native, she lives in Grand Island with her husband, William.

Jason Gazy - GIHS Class of 1998
Local TV Production Company Scores Hit on HRTV - March 2011

   Jason Gazy, son of Grand Island High School teacher, Cindy Wynne, has produced a national TV show for HRTV. See "Jason Gazy" for the story by Carlos E. Medina.

Compliments To Cook's "Nature's Bounty" Website - March 2011

   Naturalist Photographer and Island resident Nathan Cook has contributed volumes of nature photos and descriptions to Isledegrande.com over the years and was recently complimented by Michelle Rabkin, the Student Experience Coordinator at The Chicago Academy of Sciences. Michelle found just what she was looking for when she discovered Nathan's “Nature’s Bounty” website. Ms Rabkim sent the following letters to Mr. Cook.
Hello Mr. Cook –
My name is Michelle Rabkin, and I am in charge of the student programs at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago – the museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. We are opening a new exhibit that we developed here at the Museum called “Nature’s Architects” in April, and it’s going to be fascinating – with live animals as well as structures and systems and replicas of structures and systems created by a variety of animals!

The exhibition will focus on the different functions, methods, and materials different type of animals use in their varied architecture, and I (and some of my colleagues) are tasked with developing a student workshop to accompany the exhibit. We’ve been writing this program, and we’ve decided to focus on mud daubers as part of the hands-on, inquiry based workshop that will accompany the exhibit for those teachers who chose to take it during their visit to the Museum. Our Collections department has kindly offered to give us some real mud dauber nests; however, your website really shows some fantastic images of things we definitely do not have in our collections regarding mud daubers. And, I’m wondering if you would be so kind as to allow us to use some of your mud dauber images in our program.

Your photographs are really the best ones I’ve found, and I think they will really help our students understand all of those three aspects we are trying to communicate – the function, material, and methods used by these fascinating insects! Would you be willing to let us use some of the images from your naturalist photography/ “Nature’s Bounty” website?

Thank you for your time, and I’m so glad that I stumbled across your website. What fascinating information and great photography – especially for our shared interest in science education!
Michelle Rabkin

Thank you Mr. Cook!
Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and generosity! We would be ecstatic to cite the images as yours and cite the Nature’s Bounty site as well; thank you so much. The larger files of the images would be perfect as we don’t yet know how large we would like to print them, and we would love as many images of the nests as you can send us (the ones posted as well as ones not posted!). I think having a variety that show different things will only highlight the different methods, functions, and materials used by mud daubers to build these nests.

Thanks for sharing your aunt’s tip – I will definitely explore to maintain our nests from collections and to highlight the interesting parts of the nests to the kids! I’m also really glad to hear that you grew up here in Illinois – I also believe it is so essential to make those local connections with nature, and that’s how we can foster each kid’s connection to nature in whatever way he or she likes best.

You are a great example of that, and I am so happy that we can use your passion to incite passion in even more our local students. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Here are some of the images I am interested in, but anything else you see fit to send would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you so so much,
Michelle Rabkin

Sisters Perform in Gliding Stars Show - March 2011

Emily Sommer and Jenna Stufkosky

   Sisters Emily Sommer and Jenna Stufkosky will be performing in the upcoming Gliding Stars Show at the Northtown Center, 1615 Amherst Manor Drive. This year's theme is Movies and Musicals on Ice. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, March 25th and 1 p.m. Saturday, March 26th. 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 skate around the rink. 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. This culminates in the demonstration of those skills publicly in an end-of-season, on-ice, choreographed performance. This 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. Emily, a Junior and Jenna, a Freshman at Grand Island High 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. Don't forget to bring the kleenex and all of your enthusiasm to cheer on a very special group of skaters.

Sherry McDonald - March 2011

   Sherry Mongan McDonald, a real estate professional at RealtyUSA.com and a Grand Island native, was honored at the company’s recent Awards Banquet as the top sales agent at the Grand Island office. This is Sherry’s fifth consecutive year earning the top sales position at her office. Sherry was also selected as a member of RealtyUSA.com’s elite President’s Council which is comprised of the company’s top 100 agents from over 800 agents for all of Western New York and Rochester.
   In 2010 Sherry began focusing her marketing efforts on the internet. Studies have shown that most house hunters today use the internet as a major part of their search. So Sherry’s listings are now featured on all the major real estate web sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Homes.com and Loopnet.com. In addition she has identified sites which specialize in specific types of properties such as waterfront and featured her properties on these sites.

Mohamed A. Mohamed - March 2011

   For the story on Island resident Mohamed Mohamed, see 3-14-11 Buffalo News story by Stephen T. Watson.

Dr. Ellen Grant - March 2011

National Association of Social Workers Media Release: Social Work Month with Grand Island Social Worker Dr. Ellen Grant
   March Is Social Work Month!
Q&A with Grand Island Social Worker Ellen Grant, PhD
To celebrate Social Work Month, we asked social workers to talk to us about their career.
Q. Dr. Grant, where did you earn your social work degree and where are you employed?
I earned my Masters in Social Work from the State University of New York at Buffalo. My current work is as President, First Advantage Consulting, a health, behavioral health, human services and health benefits company.
Q. Why did you choose social work as your profession?
I chose social work as a profession as I wanted to have an area of interest whereby I could impact families and communities. I like to believe I’ve accomplished that through my years working with families at a state hospital. Commissioner of Mental Health, CEO of an inner city hospital and Vice President at a large insurance company.
Q. What is your proudest professional achievement?
Though I continue to be proud of the positive impact I’ve made for children in need in my community, I am Blessed that I can continue to impact women and children who are living in dysfunctional family units. Women and children coming for help to the Women’s Shelter I lead, (Buffalo City Mission’s Cornerstone Manor), because their Mother is dealing with domestic violence, mental illness, alcohol, substance abuse and or homelessness are issues that are exacerbated by today’s struggling economy. I work hard with a team of committed staff to ensure these Mothers can leave with hope and a plan for an improved life for themselves and their children.

Welcome, Bellagrace Scarlett Rance - March 2011

   Heidi Pitcher and Shawn Rance of Grand Island are thrilled to announce the birth of their daughter, Bellagrace Scarlett Rance on February 2, 2011. She weighed in at nine pounds six ounces and was 21.5 inches long. Bellagrace was greeted by proud grandmother Kathleen Kendzierski, "Babci" Arvilla Kendzierski and "Dramma" Patricia Kendzierski.

Cannata Assists YWCA With Concert/Movie Event - March 2011

   Former Islander Frank Cannata, executive director of the Riviera Theater, has generously offered the theatre to the YWCA Tonawandas for its March fundraiser that mixes music with message. In an effort to build awareness and salute WNY breast cancer survivors, the YWCA will screen Marcy Brenner’s inspiring and award winning documentary, Dead Girl Walking, at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24 at the Riviera Theatre. Following the short film, Marcy will join the rest of the Molasses Creek Band for an energetic, fun-filled concert. All proceeds from the $20 ticket will benefit the YWCA’s women’s initiatives.
   Marcy was 34 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the same year she lost her mother to ovarian cancer. Her journey from the brink of despair to being truly alive is captured in a beautifully rendered 30-minute film for breast cancer survivors and their partners, for spiritual seekers and for anyone whose life has been touched by a life-threatening illness.
   Marcy and her husband, Lou Castro, are newer members of the Molasses Creek Band, known for its bluegrass and folk music throughout the Southeast since 1993. The band was born amidst the exotic fig trees and rich tidewater marshes of Ocracoke Island, NC, a magical place where stunning natural beauty mixes with community to create a rich melting pot of art and musical traditions. The high-energy acoustic band continues to win loyal followings with its captivating stage presence, elegant harmonies, blazing instrumentals, and a quirky sense of humor.
   Award winners from Garrison Keillor's “A Prairie Home Companion,” Molasses Creek has recorded 10 albums over the past 17 years and two of its members were featured in Warner Brothers’ movie "Nights in Rodanthe."
   YWCA Executive Director Jill Townson applauds Cannata for his support of organizations that make a difference in the lives of its community members. By lending the theatre for a variety of community sponsored events he raises awareness of the vital services being provided by organizations like the YWCA where 50 percent of its services are focused on serving victims of domestic violence. For more information, on the concert and movie, call the YWCA at 692-5580.

Ernie Underwood Event Huge Success - March 2011

   Ernie Underwood, who suffers from pancreatic cancer, was guest of honor at a benefit to help with his medical expenses. The event, held Sunday, February 20, 2011, was held at Island Lanes and well supported by Ernie's friends and family. The gathering included live music by band members Ellen Cameron, Gary Stegmeir and John Cameron. Those who to pictures are asked to share them with Ernie who would very much like to see them.

Kali Mordaunt - March 2011

See "Kali Mordaunt" for a Buffalo News story.

Neil Gallagher Powder Keg's Chili Cook-off Winner - Feb. 2011

See "Neil Gallagher" for photo and story.

Paula Sciuk – Feb. 2011

From left, Protean, Imbuere, Susurrus. First Place photo far right

   Buffalo Society of Artists member Paula Sciuk recently had three pieces accepted into "Observations", a photography exhibition at the Market Street Art Center. Ms. Sciuk was awarded a first place for her photograph "Susurrus". The exhibition is running through March 4, 2011 and is located at 247 Market Street, Lockport, NY.

Tracy Roesch Williams – Feb. 2011

Click photos for larger view.

   Tracy's story
Orca Jean started her life as ‘Sandy’. She was adopted and returned to the pound as her family did not want her. She then was adopted by a gal named Gina who was ill with M.S. Gina got Orca for protection and changed her name from Sandy to Orca (as Gina thought, she was as big as a whale). Orca protected Gina until the end of Gina’s life. She then was homeless. Gina’s friend took her in and found that she was chasing the little day care children along the fence and barking at them. Orca is a Shepherd/husky mix so she requires much exercise or she gets bored. She came to Bobby and Tracy (Roesch) Williams' home five years ago with one garbage bag full of dog food and one blue piece of rope (we call the tug toy).
   Orca has lived at the Williams home for the last five years. She acquired the name Orca Jean as it seemed to fit her. She got to walk daily (lost 15 lbs), ate good food, got amazing grooming care, owns baskets of toys and beds, and got to play "tons" with her new humans. Everywhere we went people would smile when they met her.
   Orca was not feeling well in December and was diagnosed with Cancer that had metastasized throughout her chest and lungs. Her humans were give two days max with her. She was smothered with love and steak. She rebounded and would walk daily 2-3 miles. Human Tracy has been posting facebook updates and people from all over the world responded with prayers and continue to ask how is Orca J. doing? Before Christmas, Tracy took Orca to David Jensen’s Pet-ography studio to surprise Bobby with Christmas photos.
   David Jensen just featured Orca J. in his show, “Talking to the Animals 2011”. Her picture is on display at Border Books in Anchorage, AK where Tracy and Bobby reside.
   As her humans, we know our time is short with our furry gift of love. She is a constant reminder each day to enjoy the here and now. What a gift Orca Jean has been in our lives. What a precious gift life is each day.

Alicia Sommer - Feb. 2011

    Island resident and John Carroll University Junior, Alicia Sommer, has continued with her efforts of supporting organizations dealing with cancer programs. During the 2010 school year, Alicia served as the Vice-President of her local chapter of Colleges Against Cancer and has been appointed President for the 2011 academic year. Her goal is to not only raise money for cancer research but to actually go out and visit with cancer patients. In the past she volunteered her time to help patients at Cleveland's Hope Lodge. While there, knowing what these patients go through during their disease, Alicia's time was spent giving them hope brightening their day even for just a little while. Alicia continues to pursue her dream of working in the medical field in the area of Pediatric Oncology. She is currently a Psychology Major with a concentration in Chemistry. Her course load this semester consists of 16 credit hours plus another seven hours for an EMS class that will help with her future endeavors. Her motto is "you can never learn enough" and she can't wait to actually start working in her field. Alicia is the daughter of Island residents Becky and Rich Stufkosky and Kevin and Debbie Sommer.

Welcome, Adam Gary Kopf - Jan. 2011

   Adam Gary Kopf was born born January 12, 2011 to Isle residents, Rob and Jenn Kopf. The baby weighed in at eight pounds, 12 ounces and was welcomed home by his big sister, Natalie. Adam is the grandson of Island residents Bob and Mary Kopf, and Trudi Melamed of Kingston, NY.

Katie Kilian - Jan. 2011

   Katie Kilian of Staley Road, Grand Island has been named to the Dean's list at Thomas M. Cooley law school in Michigan. Katie graduated from University at Buffalo in 2008 with distinct high honors. She is an international law student at Cooley and is currently finishing her last semester, studying abroad in Australia and New Zealand.

Amy Stewart – Jan. 2011

From Left: Speech Language Pathologist Heather D’Errico, Physical Therapist Clare Ganey, Director, Rehabilitation Department Barb Rosen, Physical Therapist Julie Buono, Amy Stewart, ECMC CEO Jody Lomeo, Amy's parents Ann Marie Stewart and Robert Stewart.

   Amy Stewart was a 22-year-old student at UB graduate school and enjoying an evening out with a friend when she was the victim of a hit and run driver on March 7, 2009. In a coma, she was rushed to the trauma center at Erie County Medical Center where she was hospitalized for 75 days. Amy suffered a traumatic brain injury and needed rigorous rehabilitation for nine months as an outpatient.
    Amy’s recovery has been miraculous, and she is now finishing her Masters degree in education with an emphasis on literacy. Amy’s determination and indelible spirit, as well as the remarkable staff of ECMC played, a key role in her recovery.
   In the spirit of giving back, Amy wanted to do more than just thank the staff of ECMC, so she and her family held a benefit race called “Strides for Stewart 2 Benefit ECMC,” on Grand Island to raise funds to help the hospital that helped her so greatly.
   Thanks to the success of the race, and with the support of her family and friends, Amy Stewart presented a check to the ECMC Lifeline Foundation and CEO Jody Lomeo in the amount of $6000 in appreciation for the care and support she received at ECMC, which will benefit both inpatient and outpatient rehab.

Amber Hultgren – Jan. 2011

   Amber Hultgren of Grand Island has been named to the Fall 2010 Dean’s List at Cornell University. Amber is a 2008 graduate of GIHS, and is currently a junior in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology studying Human Development and Gerontology. She is also a member of the Cornell University Cheerleading team. Amber will be pursuing graduate study in psychology after completing her bachelor’s.

Cribbs - Mondoux
Engagement - Jan. 2011

   Angela Cribbs and Christopher Mondoux will be married May 21, 2011 at the Niagara Falls Air Force Base. The couple is currently living in Tonawanda. Christopher's parents, John and Debbie Mondoux, live on Grand Island and Angela's father, Timothy Cribbs, and her mom, are currently living in Tonawanda.

Patricia A. Frentzel - Jan. 2011

   The Erie County Association of Tax Receivers and Collectors and the Erie County Association of Town Clerks met jointly on December 14, 2010 for its month meeting. Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul officiated the swearing in of the 2011 officers for the Erie County Town Clerk’s Association. Grand Island Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel was installed as treasurer.
   Shown are Mary Travers Murphy and Mrs. Frentzel, president of the Erie County Association of Tax Receivers and Collectors, making a donation on behalf of both groups to the Family Justice Center of Buffalo, an organization that serves victims of domestic.

Fundraiser for Ernie R. Underwood - Winter 2011

   A fundraiser for Ernie R. Underwood, GIHS Class of 1975, will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, February 20th at Mallwitz's Island Lanes, 1887 Whitehaven Road. Ernie and his family have received the devastating news: Ernie has pancreatic cancer. They will start chemotherapy and/or radiation as soon as possible. Ernie had surgery to have his spleen removed just before Christmas. Please keep him in your prayers.
   Tickets are $25 and include 3 games of bowling, shoe rental, pizza, wings and pop. There will be a basket raffle, bake sale and 50/50 drawing. "Please join us and show Ernie your support during this difficult time.
   For tickets, contact Beth at 603-7974 or Marlene at 628-7964.

Lenore Tetkowski Organizes Education Forum - Jan. 2011

   A Community Forum on Public Education co-sponsored by Buffalo State College and American Association of University Women, Buffalo Branch is being held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. January 20, 2011 in the WNED Studios, Horizons Plaza, 140 Lower Terrace, Buffalo. See "Community Form."
   Longtime Island resident and member of the League of Women Voters Buffalo Niagara, Lenore Tetkowski, chaired the committee that organized the Education Forum. Carpools to the WNED Studio from Grand Island are being arranged. If interested, call Lee Tetkowski at 773-3266.