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Islanders In The News Web Page

Previous News Page

Island Swimmers Battle and Come Up Big at States - December 2014

From left Grace and Alexis Fredricks.
Photo & Story by Joe Fredricks

   Island residents Grace and Alexis Fredricks, didn't let the closing of the Thruway because of Snowbember or the fire at their hotel, that forced them to evacuate in the middle of the night, keep them from competing at the NYS Girls High School Swim Championships at Ithaca College November 21-23. The Juniors from Mt. St. Mary Academy were both part of the 200 medley relay (along with sophomore Kelly Burns and junior Hannah Lawrence). They were seeded in 36th place and finished 29th. In the 200 free relay, (with Burns and junior Hannah Sykes) they were ranked 43rd and finished 33rd. Alexis also swam the 100 butterfly (ranked 20th) and finished in 9th place with a time of 57.71 and the 100 back stroke (ranked 32nd) finishing in 17th place with a time of 58.99. Congratulations ladies.

John V. O’Connor - December 2014

    Island resident John V. O’Connor, 89 is a Battle of the Bulge veteran and was recently reunited with a fellow soldier and 'best friend' after 69 years. See story by Buffalo News reporter Gene Warner.

Congratulations Raisa & Kevin Mehltretter - December 2014

    Raisa Aspaas and Kevin Mehltretter were married at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 6 in Delaware Park Rose Garden, Buffalo. Guests gathered for a reception at Marcy Casino, Buffalo. Rob Galbraith of Buffalo heard the couple’s vows. The bride’s parents are Kathie Menduni Aspaas of East Aurora and the late Eric K. Aspaas. The bridegroom’s parents are Kathie and Michael Mehltretter of Grand Island. The bride is a graduate of East Aurora High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from SUNY Fredonia. The bride is an art teacher at Autism Services. The groom is a graduate of Grand Island High School. He earned a finance degree from Empire State College. He is a financial planner. After a trip to Jamaica, the couple will make their home in Buffalo.

Luke Gworek Star of Tree of Hope - December 2014

Roswell Park Press Release

Friday, December 5, 2014
   When eight-year-old Luke Gworek flips a switch during Roswell Park's 2014 Tree of Hope celebration on Friday, December 12th , nearly 75,000 lights will flash to music and shine from a towering tree in Kaminski Park. He can't wait for the evening to arrive. A leukemia patient at Roswell Park, Luke is a modest guy, even in the spotlight. What makes him special? "Nothing, really," he says. But events of the past year prove otherwise. (See Luke's commercial for event.)
    For one thing, Luke is the Band-Aid King. He was the driving force behind a campaign to collect boxes of kid-friendly Band-Aids for the Roswell Park Pediatric Department and Women and Children's Hospital. The idea took shape when he needed a Band-Aid after receiving chemotherapy. All the Band-Aids with fun designs were out of stock, so he had to settle for one with a frowny face. He decided no other kids should have to deal with that disappointment - especially after a hard day in the clinic. Luke's appeal launched a Band-Aid bonanza, bringing in donations of more than 500 boxes, and "we continue to get more all the time from people in the community," says his mom, Danielle. "Sometimes they come from people we don't even know. It's amazing what this project has done, and he takes pride in it. He likes to always be busy, and he's an all-around good kid."
    That's for sure: earlier this year, he helped his family organize Team Luke, whose 25 members raised more than $12,500 for the 2014 Ride for Roswell to support cancer research and patient-care programs. He and his dad, Bill, both earned places in the Ride's Extra Mile Club for raising at least $1,000 each. The family has also made generous contributions to Carly's Club at Roswell Park to stock the Pediatric cupboard where other young cancer patients can always find a snack.
    A second-grader, Luke enjoys music, trains, hockey and other sports, playing in the snow with his friends, riding his dirt bike, and going to school. He looks forward to taking a drive to look at the holiday lights with his family, including his 13-year-old sister, Faith. His family will be right beside him as he lights the Tree of Hope. After all, he’ll be the star — and he’s already shining.

Caring for Ken Benefit - December 2014

Ken Kalinowski, far right and family.

Written by Paul Baer
   On August 24, 2012, Ken Kalinowski, my stepfather, was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer. Surgery to remove the affected area of his colon showed that the cancer had metastasized to the abdominal wall. Ken underwent 6-months of agonizing chemotherapy before facing a very radical surgery to remove the cancerous tumors. This procedure also involved heat-treated chemotherapy administered directly into his abdomen; an eight-hour ordeal. Although this procedure was to have placed his cancer in remission, scans taken in February of 2014 showed that this destructive cancer had returned, and spread to his liver. Ken underwent 6 additional months of aggressive chemotherapy, and yet another surgery, that failed. He is currently on chemotherapy, indefinitely.
    Ken worked as long as he could, but due to his illness and its side effects, he had to stop working in May of 2014, and is not able to return to work because of his treatments and current condition. The overwhelming costs of his medical care and lost wages are taking its toll on the family. I am part of a small group of friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, who joined together to host a benefit for Ken and his family to help defray medical expenses, which have become overwhelming. For the benefit that will be held on April 25, 2015 at the Grand Island Knights of Columbus, we plan to have a spaghetti dinner along with basket raffles, 50/50 split, entertainment and silent/live auctions. I am asking for your assistance with this benefit; please consider donating a gift certificate, gift basket or monetary donation. It would be greatly appreciated and I’ll pick this up at a time that is convenient to you. If you have any questions or need further information, I can be reached at 716-417-6939 or paulb0920@yahoo.com. See flyer.

Happy 100th Birthday Jean Wholahan - December 2014

Jean at her reception. - Photo and story by Lee Tetkowski

    Congratulations to our long-time Grand Islander, Jean Wholahan, on reaching the milestone of a one hundredth birthday! When she walked into the Fellowship Hall of the Island Presbyterian Church on Sunday, November 30th, she was greeted by her many good friends from her church, and a large group of her League of Women Voters friends. The reception included a special birthday cake, ice cream, flowers, old photos, cards and lots of memories. Al Sommer spoke of some typical examples of life when Jean was born! Jean was a founding member of this church and the congregation was happy to help honor her.
    Lee Tetkowski told about Jean’s dedication to the League of Women Voters from the 1950's on. Jean faithfully kept track of membership, prepared budgets and with the help of her husband, Al, who had the first local computer, prepared non-partisan information for the pamphlet now called "They Represent You". Jean continues to follow League activities.Thanks, Jean Wholahan, for your many, many years of service to the League and to your church. Happy 100th Birthday!

Grace & Alexis Fredricks Headed to States - November 2014

From left: Alexis Fredricks, Hannah Sykes, Hannah Lawrence, Kelly Burns, Grace Fredricks, coach Samantha Yorko Back coach Tyler Craver, coach Ali Lowes.
Photo & Story by Joe Fredricks - Click photo for larger view.

   Islanders Grace and Alexis Fredricks had another awesome season swimming for the Mount St. Mary's Thunder. The twins, juniors at Mount, are going back to the Girls High School State Swimming Championships in Ithaca NY November 20 - 22. The 2 were part of the relay team last year that was the first from Mount to make it to States. After losing last year's Seniors Molly Meka, of Grand Island, and Natalie Brophy, the team knew they would have their work cut out for them if they were going to repeat this year.
   The relay team of Alexis and Grace, along with Junior Hannah Lawrence and Sophomore Kelly Burns, qualified in the 200 Medley relay with a time of 1:52.26, which also took 1st place at sectionals. The relay team of Sophomore Hannah Sykes, Kelly Burns, Grace Fredricks and Alexis Fredricks also qualified for States, and took 1st place with a time of 1:41.44. Grace Fredricks also took 1st place in 200 Individual Medley (2:16.52) and 1st place in the 100 Breast Stroke (1:10.34). Alexis Fredricks qualified for States, took 1st place, and set a new league record in the 100 Butterfly (58.54), Qualified for States, took 1st place, and set a new league record in the 100 Back (58.72).
   Alexis was awarded the newly renamed Natalie Lewis Outstanding Swimmer Award. Natalie was an incredible young woman and swimmer with Nardin High School, where she still holds two league records, as well as the Tonawanda Titans swim club. She went on to be a stand out swimmer at the University of Richmond. Natalie's life was tragically cut short last year by a hot air balloon accident. Members of the Lewis family were there to present the award to Alexis. Good luck in Ithaca ladies!!

Pastor Cal VanderMey - October 2014

Pastor Cal VanderMey - Photo and story by Mary Stewart

    The "little white church" at 1136 Baseline Road became the home of the Bible Fellowship Center, 10 years ago this month. November 1, 2004 marked the beginning of a new life for the church building which had been vacant for quite some time. Pastor Cal VanderMey saw the opportunity to serve the community, rented the building and began holding services. Since those early years, the church has been able to purchase the property, plus adjoining property for expansion. It has grown to over 200 members making it necessary to hold two morning services. Programs throughout the week for adults, children and young adults are also part of what Bible Fellowship Center offers.
    At the 2008 Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year awards, Pastor "Cal" was asked to give the invocation. Little did he know, until he received a phone call from one of the Chamber members, that he also was the recipient for the civic person of the year. Pastor Cal comes from a family of pastors. His grandfather was pastor at a church in Buffalo for several years and his father, Rev. Robert Vandermey, was founder and senior pastor at Bible Presbyterian Church on Love Road for 40 years until his retirement. Bible Fellowship Center looks forward to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ for many years to come. For information regarding the church, go to www.bfcgi.org.

Lorenzo Mark Pascucci - November 2014

   Mackenzie Hassan and fiance Angelo Pascucci announce the birth of their second son, Lorenzo Mark Pascucci. Lorenzo was born on Wednesday, November 5th at 10:24 a.m., 7 lbs. 11 oz., 20 3/4". His big brother, Vinny, absolutely adores him! Congratulations!

Vienna Laurendi Haak - November 2014

    Grand Island resident Vienna Laurendi Haak and two partners, Beth Geyer and Aimee Levesque are the proud co-founders of a new theater production company called Unique Productions (UP!) which is dedicated to providing a venue where persons of all levels of ability & experience can express themselves through art, playwriting and acting.
   UP! Is currently comprised of aspiring and/or working playwrights, actors and other crew members who have an interest in giving voice to persons with disabilities, who have a desire to change cultural perceptions of what it means to be a person with disabilities, and who aspire to promote community integration through the arts.
   UP!’s first professional theater production opens Thursday, November 13th at the Ujima Theater Company’s Theater Loft located at 545 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo. There are eight shows to choose from. Tickets are only $15 and can be purchased online through Facebook or by contacting Vienna at 716-430-5118 or uniqueproductionsup@gmail.com.

Mr. and Mrs. David Butcher - October 2014

   Mr. and Mrs. David Butcher of Grand Island celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a family gathering. Mr. Butcher and the former Joan Schick were married Aug. 29, 1964, in St. Stephen’s Church, Grand Island. He is retired from General Motors and Harrison Radiator, Buffalo. She is retired from Eastman Machine Co., Buffalo. They have three children and three grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Earl Grimes - October 2014

   Mr. and Mrs. Earl Grimes of Grand Island celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. A family gathering is planned for November. Mr. Grimes and the former Janet Gabel were married Sept. 8, 1954, in Perrysburg. He is retired from Keller Technologies. She is retired from Jenss Department Store. They have five children and six grandchildren.

Shirley Luther's 90th Birthday - October 2014

From left: Shirley Luther with daughters Carol Dunsworth, Nancy Sandford and Gail Click.

Shirley with her 90th birthday cake.
Mary Stewart Photos

   An open house in honor of Shirley Luther's 90th birthday was held Sunday, October 12th, at old Trinity Church. The open house was hosted by Shirley's daughters and was enjoyed by the many friends who came to wish Shirley a happy birthday.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul J. Belter - October 2014

   Mr. and Mrs. Paul J. Belter of Grand Island celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a dinner and cocktail reception with family and friends. Mr. Belter and the former Valerie Doucette were married Aug. 22, 1964, in St. Christopher’s Church in Tonawanda. He is a retired English teacher at North Tonawanda High School. She retired from auto sales and management at Ray Weil Chevrolet. They have two children and five grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Doug Smith - October 2014

   Mr. and Mrs. Doug Smith of Grand Island celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary with a gathering with children and grandchildren at Warfield’s Restaurant, Clifton Springs. Mr. Smith and the former Polly Titel were married Aug. 8, 1959, in Trinity Reformed Church, Bloomsburg, Pa. He is a freelance writer and public address announcer formerly with WIVB-TV, Courier-Express and The Buffalo News. She is a freelance writer, formerly with Morning Press, Bloomsburg, Pa. Both continue to write as freelance columnists. They have two children and four grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Dubiel - October 2014

    Mr. and Mrs. Gerald "Jerry" Dubiel of Grand Island celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a Mass at St. Stephen Catholic Church, followed by a reception at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Grand Island. Mr. Dubiel and the former Diane Podlas were married Aug. 8, 1964, in St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, Buffalo. He was a self-employed licensed barber in Grand Island for 17 years, followed by a 17-year career as a Prudential Insurance agent, and a 10-year career with New York State Thruway Authority. She was a New York State employee for 34 years, including 30 years at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, retiring as a financial counselor. They have a son and three grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin Mazzara - October 2014

   Mr. and Mrs. Martin Mazzara of Grand Island celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a dinner at the Brooklyn Room in Kenmore, followed by a party hosted by their children for family and friends. Mr. Mazzara and the former Carolyn Maranto were married Aug. 1, 1964, in Holy Angels Church, Buffalo. He is retired from Local 210. She is retired owner of Carolyn Mazzara Insurance Agency in Buffalo. They have four children, nine grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Justin Lee, Named to Mercyhurst Dean's List - October 2014

   Congratulations to Justin Lee of Grand Island, one of 524 students named to the Mercyhurst University Dean's List 2013-2014 academic year. The Dean's List is computed annually after summer term, which marks the end of the academic year. It is based on the completion of a minimum of 24 credits with a cumulative index of at least 3.6 out of a possible 4.0 each term. "I salute all of our Dean's List recipients for the dedication and commitment necessary to achieve this goal," said Mercyhurst President Thomas Gamble, Ph.D. "This is truly an outstanding accomplishment."

Robin Lally Develops Breast Cancer Program - October 2014

   Robin Lally is an Island resident who is originally from Minnesota and recently featured in a Buffalo News article. She is an associate professor of nursing at the University of Buffalo and is developing the "CaringGuidance After Breast Cancer Diagnosis program". The program's main goal is to reduce the distress that comes after diagnosis. See a Buffalo News article by Scott Scanlon.

Lisa Sorri Benefit - October 2014

   Longtime Islander Lisa Sorri was born with a chronic illness and recently had several major surgeries. A benefit is planned for Sunday, November 2nd at the Knights of Columbus, 1841 Whitehaven Rd. from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. to help offset medical and living expenses. Tickets are $20 and include, food, pop, beer & live music. There will be a basket raffle, 50/50 raffle and the door prize is an ipad. To donate or buy tickets call Cheryl at 949-6070, Ron at 903-8143 or Glenda at 773-7676.

Sara Vescio, Executive Director at Canisius - October 2014

    Grand Island native Sara Vescio has been named the new executive director of the Women’s Business Center at Canisius College. Buffalo News writer John Hickey wrote a nice article on October 5th about her plans for the future of the program and her background leading up to this position.

Dan McMahon, Veteran of the Month - October 2014

   New York State Senator Mark Grisanti recently named Dan McMahon as the ninth recipient of his "Veteran of the Month" recognition program. A resident of the Town of Grand Island who served in the Army and spent time deployed in Vietnam, McMahon is the ninth recipient of a monthly honor presented by Senator Grisanti through an application and nomination process coordinated by staff members who work in Grisanti’s Veterans’ Liaison Office. "I am pleased to honor Dan for serving our country and also for continuing his service with his outstanding contributions to our community representing other veterans," said Senator Grisanti, a member of the New York State Senate's Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committees. "Dan is very active with the VFW and represents VFW posts throughout Western New York by serving in the past as the Erie County Council Commander and currently serving as the District 6 VFW Department Commander."
    McMahon was drafted into the Army in 1968 and received basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He also received AIT training in Infantry at Fort Polk, Louisiana with specialized training for jungle warfare. He was deployed to Vietnam from March 1969 to March 1970. His duty there was with the 9th Infantry Division, operating in the 3rd and 4th Cores. After returning to the United States, McMahon was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas for completion of his active service. McMahon is a decorated veteran, having received various awards and medals recognizing his service, including the following: Combat Infantry Badge; Bronze Star Medal with "V" device; Air Medal; Army Commendation; Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with palm; National Defense Medal; Civil Action Medal with Oak Leaf; Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars; Republic of Viet Nam Campaign Medal. Expert (Rifle); Expert Grenade; Marksman (M-60 Machine Gun.)
    McMahon joined the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post 9249 in 1971 and served as Post Quartermaster for one year and Post Commander for three years. He is a past Erie County Council Commander and the present Commander District 6 VFW Department of New York. He has also served as a Department of New York VFW Patriotic Instructor and Membership Chairman and Chairman of the Commander's Special Project. McMahon has been a member of the Grand Island Fire Company for 53 years and was a member of the original Paramedic crew with the Grand Island Fire Company for 26 years. He also served as Communications' Supervisor for 14 years. A lifelong resident of Grand Island, he has been married for 43 years to his wife, Sue McMahon. The couple has two daughters, Bridget and Molly. For more information about Senator Grisanti's "Veteran of the Month" recognition program, including how you can submit a nomination, visit www.senatormarkgrisanti.com and click on the "Veterans" tab.

Shirley Luther’s 90th Birthday Open House - October 2014

   Everyone is invited to wish Shirley Luther a happy 90th birthday on Sunday, October 12th from noon - 3:00 p.m. at Historic Trinity Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road. Her family is having an Open House and asks, "please join us in celebrating her birthday!"

Carlee Conway Wins Singles/Doubles Championships - October 2014

Right: Carlee Conway with doubles partner Maria Cespedes, left.

    Former Sacred Heart Academy tennis player and Grand Island native, Carlee Conway won the ITA Southern Regional Women’s Singles Championship held in Meridian, MS Sept. 25th-27th. She now advances to the ITA National Junior College Championships in Sumter, SC scheduled for Oct. 9th-12th. Conway, who attends Marion Military Institute, won a total of five matches in the 32-person draw where she was the #1 seed. In the finals, she played her MMI team-mate and doubles partner, Maria Cespedes, winning 6-2/6-2.
   Cespedes and Conway then teamed up in the Doubles competition, defeating Meridian Comm. College’s Jennifer Smith and Paige Gibson in the finals. The MMI pair broke open a close 5-4 contest by winning three straight games to close out the match, 8-4. "Even though Carlee and Maria probably played their best tennis in their semifinal match (an impressive win over Itawamba's Taylor Patterson and Ivy Robbins), they played just well enough in the crucial moments of the final match to win the title," said Charles Wright, MMI's women's tennis coach.
   Conway and Cespedes will compete in the 2014 USTA/ITA National Small College Doubles Championship in Sumter, SC. Match play begins on Thursday, Oct. 9 and continues through Sunday, Oct. 12 at the Palmetto Tennis Center. Conway was selected the Buffalo News Prep-Talk Player of the year in Girls Tennis this past spring. She was a finalist in the 2014 Buffalo MUNY hard-court Championship and was the Champion in the 2014 Buffalo City-Wide Clay Court Championship played at Miller Tennis Center.

Kara Dudley on Steve Harvey Show - September 2014

   Island resident Lisa Dudley recently wrote in about daughter Kara Dudley's latest exciting news. She wrote: My daughter Kara Dudley, age 22, Grand Island native, aka as the girl who accidentally photobombed Victoria Secret model Karlie Kloss, is going to be on the Steve Harvey talk show Wednesday, October 1st at 2pm on Channel 2 (NBC) sharing her photobomb experience. Last week the Steve Harvey show flew her to Chicago to tape the show and what a thrill it was to live like a star for a day! Her picture went viral back in July and the story keeps going. Kara is an aspiring actor and model presently living in NYC! Original link.

Shannon Driess - Rensselaer Medal Winner - September 2014

   GIHS senior Shannon Driess was named a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal Winner. The award recognizes promising students who excel in math and science. Shannon is planning on majoring in Chemical Engineering. For more than 90 years, Renssaelaer Polytechnic Institute, in conjunction with high schools around the world, has awarded the Rensselaer Medal and scholarship to promising high school juniors who have distinguished themselves in mathematics and science. Each participating high school is allowed to select one member of the junior class to be honored with the award. The merit scholarship, with a minimum value of $15,000 per year, is guaranteed for four years for accepted and enrolled students. Congratulations Shannon.

John Sanborn - Franciscan Peace Award - September 2014

From left John Sanborn OFS, Regional Minister Alfred Picogna, OFS and Rick Heist, OFS.

    SKANEATLES, NY -- John Sanborn of Grand Island, NY, was presented with the Franciscan Peace Award, and Rick and Mary Heist of Hamburg, NY, were named Franciscan Family of the Year by the Secular Franciscan Order’s St. Kateri Tekakwitha Region. Regional Minister Alfred Picogna, OFS, of Sanborn, NY, announced the awards during the annual regional gathering held Sept. 12-14 at Stella Maris Retreat and Conference Center in Skaneateles, NY. “JOHN IS a loving and compassionate Franciscan and brother to all,” noted Picogna.
    A Secular Franciscan and former minister of St. Patrick Fraternity in Buffalo, Sanborn has served the Order as national treasurer, national vice minister, national chairman of the 2007 Quinquennial Congress, and regional treasurer. He also co-edited the book, “Essential Documents of the Secular Franciscan Order.” In his parish, he has served as Eucharistic minister and lector. In the community, Sanborn has served as local treasurer for the Boy Scouts of America, treasurer for Niagara Polish Cultural and Historical Society, and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Sanborn is a retired tax audit supervisor for the State Department of Taxation and Finance. He and his wife, Christine, are both natives of Niagara Falls and graduates of Niagara University. They volunteer at Historic Holy Trinity Church in Niagara Falls, working in the thrift store and helping to restore the interior of its school building. The Sanborns are parents of four grown children (a daughter and three sons) and seven grandchildren.
    The Secular Franciscan Order (Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis) is an order of single and married men and women who profess to live in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. The Kateri Tekakwitha Region covers most of upstate New York and northwestern Pennsylvania.

Luke Gworek Band Aid Drive - August 2014

   From Luke's mom, Danielle Gworek. She wrote: I just wanted to share this story with you as Luke has been working really hard at collecting band aids for Roswell Park Cancer Institute Pediatric Oncology units and WCHOB Pediatric Oncology unit.
   Luke was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in December 2013 and will continue chemotherapy treatment until April 2016. He is a 2nd grade student at Huth Road Elementary. One day after receiving chemotherapy in the form of injections, his nurse apologized because the only kid friendly band aid she had left was one with a sad frowning face on it. When Luke inquired why it was the last one, she reported that the order had not yet come . Luke told his nurse that he would be sure to bring in a few boxes the next time he was in clinic since he alone was using about 20 band aids every week after his shots, mediport access and lumbar punctures. Luke decided that he never wanted a kid to have a sad face band aid again.
   On our way home from clinic, all Luke could talk about was that sad face band aid and how it did not make him feel better. So we discussed starting a kid friendly band aid drive. We posted the story on Lukes Journey Facebook page and the rest is history. Luke has received band aids from the Grand Island community and from all over the country. Massachusetts, New Mexico, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and Wisconsin are just a few. Each day he gets excited when the mail is delivered to see where his next package is from.
To date Luke has received approximately 700 boxes of kid friendly band aids that he will distribute on September 23rd. Luke also chose to deliver the band aids in September because it is the month of Childhood Cancer Awareness. Luke realizes at a young age the need to give back since so many people have helped him along his journey. Luke will continue to accept donations after the September 23rd if anyone is interested in donating to his cause. Band aids can be mailed to Luke at 2070 Long Road Grand Island, NY 14072.

Welcome Ellie Elizabeth Timmerman - September 2014


Right: Ellie with big sister Chloe.

    Born August 18th to Anne (Barker) Timmerman and Staff Sergeant Ryan Timmerman. Welcoming her home with loving arms was big sister Chloe Timmerman. Proud grandparents are Greg and Liz Barker of Grand Island and Rick and Pat Timmerman of Colo, Iowa. Grandma Liz and Grandpa Greg made the trip to Fort Lee, Virginia to see the birth of Ellie. Ryan, Anne, Chloe and Ellie are stationed in Fort Lee, Virginia with the US Army.

Maxwell Grenda - Eagle Scout - August 2014

Kevin Hardwick and Eagle Scout Maxwell Grenda

   A proclamation was presented to Eagle Scout Maxwell Grenda by Legislator Kevin Hardwick on Sunday, August 24th at Maxwells’s Eagle Scout Court held at Trinty United Methodist Church on Grand Island. The Eagle Scout project was planning and directing a Commander’s Dinner at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post #9249 on Grand Island, honoring the Men’s and Ladies Auxiliary for their dedicated service to our veterans. Maxewell has been a member of Troop 510 since 2007 and has earned 27 merit badges and has been with Troop 510 since 2007 and has served as Librarian, Scribe and Patrol Leader, and assisted as a Leader at Boy Scout Camp Merz on July 31st, 2014.

Congratulations James & Gloria Brown - August 2014

   Mr. and Mrs. James Brown of Grand Island celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Mr. Brown and the former Gloria Risden were married June 26, 1954, in University Methodist Church, Buffalo. He is a World War II Army combat veteran who served in the 7th Field Artillery Regiment and a retired accountant. She is a retired school teacher for Grand Island Schools. They have four children and eight grandchildren.

Can You Help Noelle - August 2014

   Amanda Sutter is a Grand Island resident and wrote in about her niece Noelle Harris of Indian Trail, North Carolina. Noelle's mom is former islander and GIHS class of '87 graduate, Jennifer Sutter Harris and Mike Sutter is Noelle's grandfather.
From Amanda Sutter:
   On Tuesday August 5th, Noelle was taking a bike ride around her grandmother’s neighborhood in St. Simons Island, Georgia. What should have been a leisure bike ride, turned into my family's worst nightmare. Noelle was the victim of a hit and run. Not only was she hit by the initial car that fled the scene, she was thrown underneath the Recycling company truck picking up the neighborhood's recyclables. That truck dragged Noelle at least 15 feet down the road. Noelle was transported to Brunswick Hospital and then helicoptered to the nearest trauma center in Savannah, Georgia. She was admitted to Memorial Hospital to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and had undergone 4 surgeries. Noelle experienced injuries much like a person who suffered 3rd degree burns. She has lost a very large portion of skin around the stomach, back, pelvis and thigh area, as well muscle and tissue. The medical team at Savannah Memorial felt after a week of Noelle in their care that it would be best to transport her to a medical center in North Carolina, the state Noelle resides in. She was transferred to the specialty burn unit in North Carolina on August 13th. She will undergo several more surgeries including more debridements, then eventually reconstruction and plastic surgery.
   Her road to recovery is nowhere close to being over. Not only did she suffer physical injuries, but Noelle has been and will continue to struggle with the mental aspects of the accident. Thankfully Noelle did not suffer a brain injury; however she does remember every aspect of the accident. She remembers before, during and what happened after she was hit, she remembers thinking she was going to die. No 10 year-old should have to relive such a traumatic experience. Thankfully the new facility she was transferred to has all the aspects of care she will need, including surgeons, physical and occupational therapists, and psychiatrists. Jennifer and Stephen Harris, Noelle's parents, are going to need help covering the medical expenses not covered by insurance, as well as lawyer fees as there will be charges made. They are already in over their heads with expenses and I am trying to do everything in my power to raise money for them. I have created an online fundraiser on www.giveforward.com titled "Noelle Margaret Harris's Road to Recovery."

Congratulations Brittany & Michael Gruttadauria - August 2014

   Brittany M. Papaj and Michael J. Gruttadauria were married at 3 p.m. June 27 in St. Louis Catholic Church, Buffalo. Guests gathered for a reception at Statler City, Buffalo. The Rev. Salvatore Manganello, of St. Louis Church, heard the couple’s vows. The bride’s parents are Donald and Dana Papaj of Grand Island. The bridegroom’s parents are Salvatore and Marilyn Gruttadauria of Amherst. The bride is a graduate of Grand Island High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in literacy from Medaille College. The bride is a teacher’s assistant and will begin her teaching career in September at Windermere Boulevard Elementary School. The groom is a graduate of Amherst High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in literacy from Medaille College. He is a teacher for Buffalo Public Schools. After a Caribbean cruise, the couple will make their home in Kenmore.

Amy Bidell DeRego - August 2014

From left:Islander & Kids Event Tickets volunteer Ty Gallagher, Renaissance graduates Peter Goretti & Islander Amy Bidell DeRego, Renaissance Campus Director Jodi Altman, Renaissance Recreation Director Tim Smith and VP Rainbow Tours Pat Proctor.

   On Thursday, August 7th Islander Amy Bidell DeRego and fellow WNY Renaissance Campus graduate Peter Goretti were taken on a helicopter tour over Niagara Falls, courtesy of Pat Proctor, Vice President of Rainbow Air Helicopter Tours. These young adults are the success stories everyone should know about from the Renaissance Campus. Both Amy and Peter spent months at the campus fighting their addiction to alcohol and drugs. These amazing people graduated in 2010 and are both attending college; Amy attends Norwich University in Vermont where she is in the ROTC program studying Nursing. Peter attends Niagara University and upon graduation plans on entering Law Enforcement. Amy and Peter agree that fighting addiction is incredibly difficult and admit that time, effort, determination and assistance from the Renaissance staff made their progress to a healthy lifestyle possible.
   Thanks to Rainbow Air Helicoptor Tours located at 454 Main Street in Niagara Falls. Tours are available daily through October, weekends through November. Check out their website for more information.

Congratulations Thomas and Danielle Rayhill - August 2014

   Islanders Danielle Wink and Thomas Rayhill married June 21st at Templeton Landing. The Buffalo News did a story in the August 10th edition. See story by Anne Neville.

Caleb James Cooper - August 2014

   Congratulations to Aimee Anderson-Cooper and Jasen Cooper of the Town of Tonawanda who are the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy. Caleb James Cooper was born June 24, 2014 at 7:41 p.m. weighing 6 lbs 9 oz and measuring 21". Caleb was welcomed home by siblings, Tyler, Alyssa, Ayden and Ashlynne. Grandparents are Nancy ("Mima") Anderson, David Anderson, James and Carol Cooper of Arkansas, Great-Grandparents are Ralph Hoover of Grand Island and Judy Anderson and the late Jean Hoover, Russell and Lynn Anderson, James and Esther Cooper and Arthur and Lucille Grinham.

Jill Endres - July 2014

Jill Endres after completing the Lake Placid Ironman.

   Mike Endres wrote that his daughter Jill participated in the Lake Placid Ironman this past weekend. It consisted of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a full 26 mile marathon, all run consecutively. Jill finished in 12 hours 40 minutes to beat her goal of 13 hours 30 minutes. It was certainly a grueling feat. The entire family was there to cheer her on and are very proud of her accomplishment. Jill lives in Bondi, Australia and returned home just for this event.

Carlee Conway Splits Tennis Titles - July 2014

Ruth Englert seen with her grand-daughter, Carlee Conway after winning the City Wide Clay Court Championship at Miller Tennis Center.
Photo courtesy of MTC. Story by Brendan Conway Sr.

   Grand Island’s, Carlee Conway, had mixed results over the past three weeks in WNY’s premier tennis tournaments. July features the hard-court MUNY championships in Delaware Park and the City Wide Clay Court Championships held at Miller Tennis Center in Williamsville. In the 92nd annual Buffalo MUNY’s Tournament, Conway teamed with partner, Derick Acker to win the Mixed Doubles Open Championship. It was the second year in a row that they won the title, this year with a 6-3 / 7-5 win over Taylor Cole and Gary Schutrum from East Aurora in the finals. The MUNY’s were played on the McMillen Courts in Delaware Park July 9th thru July 19th. Conway also competed in the Women’s Singles Open where she was last year’s singles champion. This year she met Smaranda Stan in the finals. Stan had a very successful tennis career at University at Buffalo. Stan is now the assistant Tennis Coach at UB. Stan won the match with a convincing 6-3 / 6-2 win to earn her first MUNY’s Singles championship.
    The City Wide Clay Court Championships has a 54 year tradition and had been held at the Buffalo Racquet Club until moved to the Miller Tennis Center in 2007. This year’s dates were July 25th-27th with much cooler weather than last year’s 88+ temps. The Women’s Singles Open finals came down to a rematch of Stan vs. Conway. There was a different result this weekend with Conway winning 6-4 / 7-5. Conway credits the win to a slightly different approach than the week before. This time her first serve percentage was better and put pressure on Stan’s returns. Conway also used better placed ground-strokes to stay in the point longer, winning the majority of the long cross-court rallies. The likelihood of a rubber match is slim. Conway will be leaving for Marion Military Institute prep-school in Alabama for two semesters in mid-August. The US Naval Academy Foundation is sponsoring her at MMI for this school year prior to her Fall 2015 entrance to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

Kara Dudley - July 2014

Kara Dudley doesn't know super model Karlie Kloss is behind her.

   Former Island resident Kara Dudley moved to New York City January 1st after graduating from college to become an actress. Just this week, Kara had her 15 minutes of fame after being photographed coming out of a store in NYC with Victoria Secret super model Karlie Kloss behind her. Check out these stories and photos from ABC News and the Mirror website; first article and second article. Kara is the daughter of Lisa and Michael Dudley.

Islanders in Great Contraption Race - July 2014

Floating contraption for race.

    The Great Contraption Race (GCR) is a fun, 2-person and 4-person team race starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday August 2, 2014. Contestants will float down the lower Niagara River from Lewiston, NY finishing in Youngstown, NY. Island residents Paul Truesdale, Bill Day, Doug Parker and Jessica Coughlin are participating and are asking for donations to benefit the It Happened to Alexa Foundation". The purpose of the foundation is to help support rape survivors through the trauma of the criminal trial, in the hopes that more survivors will go through with the prosecution in order to put these perpetrators behind bars. To donate call 775-5276, email pjt3445@live.com or send a check made out to "Alexa Foundation", 3445 Greenway Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.
    The race occurs on floating amphibious contraptions designed and built by each team. The contraptions, unless you are a kayaking team must be custom made by the participants and their teams. The contraptions and kayaks must be able to float, and they can only be powered by human power, and or a man-made sail to race down the River. The contraptions can either be carried by teams, or rolled on portable, or affixed wheels by the teams and their support crews into the Niagara River at the starting point of the race. This start is located at the public boat ramp in Lewiston, NY. You will know where it is because of the crowds and loud music. You have two minutes to get into the water from the start gate when started, as another team will start right behind you.
    The contraption must be able to travel down the mighty Niagara River 6.2 miles (9.97km) to Youngstown, NY where the contraption must then be carried, or rolled out of the river by each team with their support crew's help (you can have as many support members that you want). Once out of the water your contraption must be carried, or rolled a half mile (.80km) to the finish line in Youngstown, NY's Veteran's Park.

Sharon and James Watz - July 2014

    Mr. and Mrs. James Watz of Grand Island celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with an intimate gathering for family and friends. Mr. Watz and the former Sharon Fenlon were married June 6, 1964, in St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Buffalo. He is a retired partner for Phillips Lytle Llp. She is a retired English teacher for Kenmore School District. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Ernie and Maria Beck - July 2014

From left: Pastor Calvin Vandermey, Dave and Joanne Kohl and Ernie and Maria Beck.
Story and photo by Mary Stewart

    The members of Bible Fellowship Center on Baseline Road and Pastor Calvin Vandermey celebrated two wedding anniversaries on Sunday, June 30th. It was a surprise to Dave and Joanne Krehl married 50 years on July 11th and Island residents Ernie and Maria Beck celebrating 45 years on June 28th. The Krehl's were married at Bethal Baptist Church in Buffalo on July 11, 1964. The congregation celebrated with a cake.
    For Ernie and Maria Beck, their courtship and ultimate marriage is quite unique. Ernie and his family came to the United States from Germany when he was 11 years old. Later in Ernie's life, he became friends with Maria's uncle who also was an immigrant from Germany. It was suggested by Maria's uncle that Ernie should write his niece who he said was "a very nice girl and a good Christian." Ernie was a little hesitant at first about starting to write Maria but eventually the letters started going to Germany and Maria. Maria responded and for three years, they had a long distance courtship. After the three years of exchanging letters, Ernie went to Germany, married Maria and brought her to the United States. Maria said she didn't speak a word of English but was able to learn our language quickly. Also, she said, she felt very welcomed when she came to our country. The Beck's give proof that love can bloom between two people and become something beautiful, even if hundreds of miles of ocean separate them.

Staff Sergeant Andrew Bluhm - July 2014

    Grand Island resident Staff Sergeant Andrew Bluhm received a Purple Heart military service medal at a formal ceremony at the Niagara Falls Veterans Memorial in Hyde Park on Monday, July 7th. Members of the military, Veterans of Foreign War, U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster attended the ceremony. See Buffalo News story.

Emily Ray Stoorza - July 2014

   Lt. Joel and Mrs. Lauren Stoorza announce the birth of their daughter Emily Ray Stoorza on May 31, 2014. Betty and Steve Manganiello of Stoneham, MA and Joyce Jones of Grand Island are the proud grandparents.

Emily Kernin Scholarship Winner - July 2014

   GIHS senior Emily Kernin was awarded a $700 yearly scholarship from Riverside Presbyterian Church in Niagara Falls on June 1, 2014. Emily has been a part of the Riverside community since birth and became a member in 2011 when she was confirmed. She has dedicated many volunteer hours in different programs like Vacation Bible school (VBS) as a crew leader, Riverside Workers Annual Bazaar, Heart & Soul and is currently serving a 3 year term as a Deacon. Emily will be attending Niagara University in the fall with a major in Nursing and a minor in psychology.

Liam Dodd - July 2014

    Liam Dodd of Grand Island has been named to the Dean's List for the School of Health and Human Performance at the College at Brockport for the Spring 2014 semester. The Dean's List recognizes students who have earned a 3.40 - 3.69 GPA. Liam is a double major in Sports Management and Communications.

Jean Anstett - June 2014

From left: Allison Anstett, Dave Anstett, Wayne Anstett, Jean Anstett, Sue Marston and Dick Crawford.

   Mrs. Jean Anstett retired today, June 26th from 35 years as the Huth Road Elementary school crossing guard. She has the longest consecutive years at that post in Grand Island history. On hand for her last day with bouquets of flowers were husband Wayne, daughter Sue Marston, son Dave Anstett and grand daughter Allison Anstett. Town Crossing Guard coordinator Councilman Dick Crawford also came out to thank Jean for her many years of service. Jean started in her position the year that her youngest child started first grade at Huth Road. Sue and Dave remember that Mom's first purchase was a microwave that was enormous. There are five crossing guard posts on Grand Island, four of them at the Kaegebein site. Congratulations on your retirement Jean!!!

Meals on Wheels’ Hollis Busch Appointed to WNYDA Board - June 2014

   BUFFALO, NY – Hollis Busch, RD, CDN, a Registered Dietitian with Meals on Wheels for WNY, has been appointed to the board of directors for the Western New York Dietetic Association (WNYDA). She also will serve as the Nominating Committee chair elect. WNYDA, a membership organization consisting of primarily Registered Dietitians, is a local resource for diet, nutrition and healthy living information.
   Busch completed her dietetics and nutrition education at the SUNY College at Buffalo in May 2013 and began at Meals on Wheels for WNY in August 2013. In her current role, she assists with menu planning, nutrition education and assessment, food safety monitoring, client well-being checks and more. She plays a crucial role in ensuring that more than 3,500 nutritious meals reach WNY’s homebound seniors each day and that another 1,200 are available for seniors healthy enough to reach a congregate center.
    Prior to her new career in dietetics, Busch enjoyed a career in engineering and business. She also has her bachelors of science in Ceramic Engineering with a minor in Business from Alfred University. She has a significant background in database management, web design, technical assistance and teaching. Busch is a member of the American Dietetics Association, Western New York Dietetics Association, and is the President of the River Lea Quilter’s Guild.

Dave and Marsha Hammond - June 2014

   Congratulations to Dave and Marsha Hammond, celebrating their golden anniversary on Friday, June 27th. Mr. and Mrs. Hammond were married at Salem Church in West Seneca in 1964 and moved to the Island in the late 1960's. A party with friends and family is planned to celebrate on Sunday, June 29th at the Buffalo Launch Club.

James E. Stewart III- June 2014

   Island resident James E. Stewart III, son of James E. Stewart, Jr. and stepson of Jacqueline Stewart, Jr., grandson of Mary Ellen Stewart and the late James E. Stewart, Sr., graduated from the Center for Handicapped Children, Inc. this past Friday, June 13th. Three graduates were honored at this year's commencement with "Pomp & Cicumstance", turning of tassels and throwing caps in the air. They have attended CHC all of their school years and graduate at the age of 22, so emotions ran high when their teacher's said goodbye. In the future, Jimmy will continue learning life skills at one of the People's Inc. facilities.

Rayhills Donate Boat to West Side Rowing Club - June 2014

Left: Mrs. Rayhill christens the shell as Dr. Rayhill, far right looks on.
Click photo for larger view.

    At the recent West Side Rowing Club of Buffalo’s Annual “Friends” Party, several new boats in its fleet were christened, including the generous donation of a training single shell from Dr. Edward “Ted” Rayhill. Dr. Rayhill, an alumnus of West Side Rowing Club, rowed for West Side and Bennett High School, beginning in 1946. One of his prime rowing accomplishments was rowing in a double with Sonny Fox at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in St. Catharines, Ontario. After high school, he attended Canisius College, where he secured a job working in the main office, precluding his college rowing career. Dr. Rayhill remained in Buffalo to attend medical school at the University of Buffalo. He now resides on Grand Island with his wife, Joanne, of over 60 years.
    Following his graduate work, he once again commenced rowing, taking his single out on the West River at White Haven Road as part of his daily routine. His last row in his single was a few years ago with his son Mike’s kids, who flanked him in kayaks, guiding him safely to shore. Dr. Rayhill had also taught his granddaughter Dr. Melissa Rayhill Rascopf, Chief Resident at Mass General to row, as she followed in her grandfather’s footsteps with her love for rowing.
    Rayhill’s generous boat donation, a 30-40 year old Maas single, was accompanied by an historic set of English wooden oars. Each new generation of rowers who pass through West Side’s doors will benefit from Rayhill’s generosity. In the company of his family, Rayhill’s had his wife christened the newly named “Rayhill” boat. WSRC graciously accepted this wonderful donation, as yet another WSRC Family alumnus so kindly contributes towards a sport which has touched the lives of so many.

About the West Side Rowing Club
   The West Side Rowing Club was founded in 1912 with a mission to promote the advancement of the physical, mental, and moral well-being of the youth of the City of Buffalo, New York and surrounding communities by education, training, instruction, and participation in the sport of rowing. In 1921, West Side became the first rowing club in the United States to sponsor public high school rowing programs. Throughout its over 100 years, West Side has won countless national and international championship events, having sent over 30 athletes to represent the United States at the Olympic Games and Elite World Championships, and advanced hundreds of youth athletes to top collegiate schools and rowing programs across North America. In 2007, the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Fontana Boathouse opened adjacent to the Doc Schaab Boathouse to form the West Side Rowing Club Campus. With two boathouses, over 100 shells, 400 feet of dock, 20,000+ square feet of indoor training space, and the only indoor rowing tank in Western New York, the West Side Rowing Campus is the premier rowing and training center in Buffalo and one of the top training centers in the United States.
   Contact For Further Information: Barbara Zarish Johnson, Director of Recruiting and Fundraising bjohnson@wsrc.org

Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Howe - June 2014

    Mr. and Mrs. Gerald D. Howe of Grand Island celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. A family gathering is planned after a return trip from their honeymoon destination at Lake Placid. Mr. Howe and the former Johanna T. Tucholka were married May 23, 1964, in St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Buffalo. He is retired from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She is retired from Grand Island Central School District. They have four children and eight grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Moscoe - June 2014

   Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Moscoe of Grand Island celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a liturgy at St. John’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Kenmore and a dinner with family and friends. Earlier, their son, Darren, and his wife, Donna, treated them to a cruise to Alaska. Mr. Moscoe and the former Nina Letnik were married May 9, 1964, in St. George Byzantine Catholic Church in Linden, N.J. He is a retired operations manager at Graphic Controls in Buffalo and also retired from Multisorb Technologies as vice president. She is a retired technical engineer with Western Electric in Newark, N.J. They have a son.

Brianna Gibney, Dean's Honor List - June 2014

   Canisius freshman Brianna Gibney was recently named to the Dean's Honor list at the College. Brianna earned a place on the Dean's list with special distinction for a perfect academic record of 4.0 during the spring 2014 semester. She is majoring in Bio-Chemistry with an eye for pre-med. Proud parents are Shelly and Chris Gibney of Grand Island.

Courtney Weiser, Scholarship Winner - May 2014

   The Episcopal Diocese of Western New York announces that Courtney Weiser of Grand Island, NY, has been awarded a scholarship through the diocese’s DeVeaux Scholarship program. She is one of twelve Episcopal students who have been awarded full or partial tuition scholarships to attend Niagara during the 2014-15 academic year. Courtney was a 2011 graduate of Grand Island High School. DeVeaux Scholarships are available to Episcopal students from Western New York who attend Niagara University.
    In 1852,the will of Judge Samuel DeVeaux, who was both a civic and church leader in Niagara County, bequeathed to the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York both land and funds for the establishment of a school for orphaned and destitute boys. When the DeVeaux School closed in 1971, the property transferred to Niagara University. According to the terms of the agreement, one full-tuition scholarship and three smaller scholarships would be provided by Niagara University in perpetuity. An endowment fund was also established. All of these benefit Episcopal students from Western New York who attend NU. Since 1979, the Judge DeVeaux Endowment Fund alone has awarded nearly $600,000 in scholarships. Overall, more than 155 Episcopal students from the Diocese of Western New York have benefited from this unique collaboration with Niagara University.

Ralph Hoover, Religious Service Award Honoree - May 2014

   Island resident Ralph Hoover was recently honored at the 34th Annual Appreciation Dinner of the Network of Religious Communities. He received the Religious Service Award from Faith United Presbyterian Church for 2014 at Salvatore's Italian Gardens on May 8th.
   Ralph Hoover became a member of Sheridan Park Presbyterian Church in 1957. He has served as a Deacon for several years, an Elder for 25 years and as President and Trustee for 2 years during the merger of Sheridan Park Presbyterian Church into Faith United Presbyterian Church. He currently is a member since the merger in 1982. Ralph has received numerous awards including Scoutmaster of the Year in 1979 and God and Service award in 1987. He helped charter Cub Pack 450 in 1964 and Boy Scout Troop 450 in 1967; he has been active in the Boy Scouts for 55 years, holding the position of Scoutmaster for 22 years and currently serving as Scout Coordinator. Ralph was married to his wife, Jean, who passed away in 2011, for 60 years and blessed with 4 children and a multitude of grandchildren and great-children. Both Jean and Ralph were very active together in every aspect of church and community activities; from maintaining the building, bringing food for potluck dinner, delivering Meals on Wheels for years, or visiting church members who were confined to their houses or nursing homes. At the age of 86 he still continues to deliver Meals on Wheels, is currently active in scouting, goes bowling every Tuesday afternoon and golfs in the summer. Ralph has been retired from the Town of Grand Island for 22 years. Daughter Nancy Anderson let us know that three children and all the grandchildren were on hand to watch Mr. Hoover receive his award.

Mitch Weise, Lacrosse Player - May 2014

   GIHS senior Mitch Weise has been the manager and the ball boy for Coach Reddien's jv lacrosse team for the past four years. On Wednesday, May 14th in the final game of the year against Williamsville North, Mitch got his chance to play thanks to the coaches and teams. Grand Island resident and WGRZ TV personality Mary Friona did a heart-warming story on Mitch this week. See story on WGRZ-TV.

Luke Gworek Fundraiser - May 2014

    A fundraiser is planned for Luke Gworek at the Grand Island Moose Lodge, 2524 Grand Island Blvd. on Sunday, May 25th from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. Luke is a first grade student at Charlotte Sidway school and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L.) on December 18, 2013. He is currently receiving treatments at Roswell Park and will continue for another 2-3 years. The family needs help with co-pays, parking and the other costs associated with long term care issues. Tickets are $10 and include food. They can be purchased at DeSignet Jewelry, 1869 Whitehaven or at the door. There will be a cash bar available, 50/50 and basket raffle. For more information contact Amy at 479-3240 or Kim at 465-5574. See flyer.

Esther Lozo Celebrates 100th Birthday - May 2014


Left: Esther at 20, right: childhood home on Stony Point.

Esther Bertha Lozo today.

   A very happy 100th birthday to Esther Bertha Lozo, who will celebrate this wonderful occasion on Saturday May 17, 2014, with family & friends at the VFW Pavilion on Grand Island. Esther was born in Buffalo on May 19, 1914. Esther, one of the eight Webb children, grew up on the Henry Schutt (her grandfather's) farm on Stony Point Road and attended School #9, a two-room school. She met her husband, the late Clifford Henry Lozo, while he was working on the Hardy farm on Ransom Road (where the high school and middle school are now located). They were married in Trinity Church on June 5, 1941. Esther and her late husband enjoyed country western music and were avid square dancers. They always made a special effort to attend Ramblin' Lou concerts. Mrs. Lozo has three children, Richard Lozo, Sr., Linda Lozo and JoAnn Holmes, all who reside on Grand Island within 1/4 mile of each other. Esther is grandmother to six (Richard Lozo, Jr., Heather Landroche, Lisa Lozo, Christine Iser, Sara Ervin and Erin Wilson) and great grandmother of seven (Kaitlyn Lozo, Stefani Rhodes, Eric Sander, Robert Arch, Brooklyn Landroche, Irelynn Landroche and Emma Wilson). Esther lives with her daughter JoAnn on Grand Island.

Congratulations Nancy & Arnold Colbert - May 2014

    Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Colbert of Grand Island celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a family dinner in Niagara Falls. A trip to Hawaii is planned for the fall. Mr. Colbert and the former Nancy Hein were married April 25, 1964, in St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Amherst. He is a retired electrical engineer at WER Industrial in Grand Island with 30 years of service. She is a retired laboratory technician at ACTS Testing Labs in Amherst with 25 years of service. They have two children and four grandchildren.

Children’s Hospital Helps Reynold's Family - April 2014

   Weekly transfusion at Women & Children’s Hospital helps shrink girl’s brain tumor.
Buffalo News story by Barbara O'Brien, see story.

Congratulations Ralph & Peg Zauner - April 2014

   Grand Island residents Ralph & Peg Zauner celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a family dinner at Red Osier. Mr. Zauner and the former Margaret “Peg” Willwerth were married April 24, 1954, in St. Francis Xavier Catholic in Black Rock. He is a retired tool maker for J.H. Williams Co. and Chevrolet Plant. She is a retired cafeteria aide for Huth Road Elementary School in Grand Island. They have a son.

Nick Sendlbeck Fundraiser - April 2014

   Former Islanders Jenn (Cardigan) and Nick Sendlbeck could use your help. Nick is very sick and in need of major medical care. A fundraiser is planned for Saturday, May 10th at the Dugout, 6856 S Transit Rd, Lockport, NY. from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. There will be raffles, 50/50 drawings and music. Jenn asks "friends old and new to come and share a story."

Gary Astridge - April 2014

Gary Astridge in Los Angeles.

    Former Islander and current Tonawanda resident, Gary Astridge, noted authority on Ringo's Beatle drum kits & gear, will be the guest speaker at the GRAMMY Museum's Clive Davis Theater, located in Los Angeles, on Sunday, April 27. His talk is part of the grand finale on the last day of the Ringo: Peace & Love exhibit. Astridge is the only speaker for that day and a large turnout is expected. Astridge has spent years researching this subject and has amassed a rare collection of vintage drums, specific to what Ringo used during his career with the Beatles. His primary source of information has been photographs. Detailed forensic analysis of photos has played a key role in providing information that verifies specific drums and hardware and gives a timeline. Astridge has also interviewed a number of people with a Beatles/Ringo connection.
    Since The Beatles break-up in 1970, there has never been an accurate undertaking to clearly document the details of Ringo's Beatles kits. In June of 2013, Gary Astridge had the distinct honor of handling and documenting two of Ringo's Beatles kits, and his Ludwig gold plated snare drum, for the GRAMMY Museum’s popular Ringo exhibit. This included being the first person since Mal Evans, the Beatles road manager and trusted friend, to set up Ringo's The Ed Sullivan Show and Let It Be kits. Since that time, Astridge has been involved in other related projects and has now documented all five of Ringo's remaining Beatle kits. When asked about his involvement, Astridge said: "The experience of being able to document and set up Ringo's Beatle drum kits is beyond words. You are talking about priceless and iconic pieces of Rock n' Roll history. If that isn’t enough, to be invited into Ringo's small inner circle has me still pinching myself."
    Currently, Astridge is involved in implementing a plan to organize, preserve and securely store each iconic kit for history and their future placement in museums and other cultural institutions. In May, Astridge will be guest speaking at the Chicago Drum Show. This is the largest and longest running drum show in the country. Astridge is also the drummer and founding member of The BBC band. A local favorite that is described as a Beatles Tribute and 60's Music Experience.

Magdalyn Chauby Awarded Scholarship - April 2014

From left: Mark Gravel and Magdalyn Chauby

   Theatre in the Mist, a local community theatre group, recently presented the Lisa Gravel Memorial Performing Arts Scholarship to two local students: Sabrina Kahwaty, a Theatre Performance Major at Niagara University and Magdalyn Chauby, a senior at Grand Island High School with aspirations to attend college in the Fall for Vocal Performance. Lisa Gravel was a dedicated supporter, volunteer and actress for Theatre in the Mist who suddenly passed away in 2008. The scholarships were presented by Lisa’s husband, Mark Gravel of Wheatfield at an awards luncheon on at Stella Niagara. Theatre in the Mist is in its 15th season will open its 2014-2015 Season with Fiddler on the Roof in October.

The Villages Public Safety Department “Grand Island” Contingent - April 2014

From left: Lt. Jason Weis, Captain Gail Lazenby, FF/Paramedic Mike Connell and Lt. Jeff Loder

   The Town of Grand Island is well represented in "The Villages", Florida with four Islanders working at Villages Public Safety (Fire-Rescue). Former Middle School teacher and administrator Gail Lazenby joined the VPSD in 2003 after having served as a Town Councilman and retiring from Connor Middle School. He currently is a Captain in the department and is responsible for EMS services. Lazenby also served the Island as a member of Grand Island Fire Company as the EMS Captain, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. He will be retiring from VPSD in June after nearly 47 years of continuous fire service. The Villages Public Safety Department is an-all paid department with approximately 100 personnel, serving a population of 100,000 from seven stations.
   Lt. Jason Weis has been with Villages Public Safety for ten years and is assigned to Station 45 as a company officer. Jason learned his fire and EMS basics during ten years of service with the Grand Island Fire Company. Jason completed his paramedic training after moving to Florida. He and his wife, former Islander Maureen Rotella Weis, have two children and live in Spring Hill. Jason's parents, long-time Island residents Bill and Nancy Weis are also Villages residents.
    Lt. Jeff Loder, The VPSD’s newest lieutenant, also gained his fire and EMS experience with Grand Island Fire. Recently completing his paramedic certification, Jeff was immediately promoted to the position of lieutenant and he is a company officer at Station 41. Jeff has been with The Villages for 8 1/2 years. He and his wife, the former Jennifer Weis, have one son, Brandon, and they live in The Villages, as does Jeff’s mother, Dorothy Loder.
   Fire Fighter/Paramedic Mike Connell grew up on Grand Island and has been with VPSD for a little over a year after almost 12 years of active duty with the Army. While Mike was not a Grand Island firefighter, his father, Tom Connell, was one of the original GIFCo paramedics in 1979. Mike’s parents, Tom and Maria, moved to The Villages approximately four years ago.

Emily Certo Wins Scholarship - March 2014

   The University of New England has named Nichols School senior and Grand Island resident Emily Certo as a runner-up in their MLK, Jr. Essay contest and she has won a $1,000 UNE scholarship and an iPad mini. The University of New England awarded $11,000 in scholarships on March 6 as part of its 50th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking on the campus of St. Francis College, now the University of New England, in 1964. Emily is the daughter of Russell and Elizabeth Certo. She intends to study pre-med at UNE.

Zanne Mangin, Author - March 2014

   New author Zanne Sue Mangin (GIHS class of '79) lived on the Island from 1974 to 1984, still considers the “Island” her hometown, and returns a couple times a year to visit family. Zanne has recently authored a self-help personal growth book called, “Get To The Point! When It Comes To Relationships & Dating”. She has been interested in human behavior and why people do things and has spent the past 20 years documenting and researching behavior when it comes to relationships and dating. “Get To The Point!” helps you get to those answers about relationships & dating more quickly so you don’t waste your time. She is a true believer that the more knowledge you have about a situation - the better the decisions you can make. Her ebook is available via iTunes, Barnes & Nobles Nook, Amazon Kindle and other retailers. It is also available in paperback at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble or at your local bookstore. Zanne lives in Madison, Alabama.

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Whiting Celebrate 70th Anniversary - February 2014

   Long time Island residents Richard and Rosemary Whiting were married at the Rectory of St. Joseph’s Cathedral on West Utica Street in Buffalo on March 4, 1944. A reception followed at the Park Lane restaurant on Gates Circle. The Whiting’s lived on Grand Island from 1964 until 2011 and raised seven children here. They currently reside at Amberleigh in Amherst. Richard is a retired self-employed sales representative and Rosemary is a long-time weekly volunteer for the American Red Cross. A family celebration is planned at the Culbert residence on Grand Island and dinner and accommodations at the Red Coach Inn, Niagara Falls, NY.

Matt Zarbo CLASS Award Finalist - February 2014

Your Vote Counts! Vote Now

    Grand Island native Matt Zarbo, a senior forward on the Clarkson University Hockey team, has been selected as one of ten finalists, who excel both on and off the ice, for the 2013-14 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate hockey. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. Go to the senior CLASS award page and read about Matt's accomplishments and vote. Fan balloting counts for 1/3 of the total with the remaining 2/3 determined by NCAA Division I coaches and national media members. You can vote every day, per computer through March 31st.

LaSalle Yacht Club Installs 2014 Officers - January 2014

From left: Paul Grenga of Niagara Falls-Fleet Captain, Michael P. Dallessandro of Grand Island-Rear Commodore, Marty Houck of Orchard Park-Vice Commodore and Tim Phillips of Grand Island-Commodore.

   The LaSalle Yacht Club held their annual installation dinner at the clubhouse on 68th street on the evening of January 11, 2014. Installed were Tim Phillips-Commodore, Marty Houck-Vice Commorore, Michael P. Dallessandro-Rear Commodore and Paul Grenga-Fleet Captain. New director Raymond Folmar joined sitting board members Sal Moreno, Don Boland, Paul Merletti, John Petrishin and Past Commodore Tony Rogers. John Caputo will serve as Treasurer and Mike Sheppard will again serve as Secretary. The LaSalle Yacht Club is a member organization that promotes social camaraderie and recreational boating. Any person interested in membership should feel free to contact the club at 283-3080.

Congratulations Kara and Nathaniel Brenton - January 2014

    Kara E. Glose and Nathaniel Brenton were married at 2 p.m. Sept. 14 in Zion Lutheran Church, Clarence Center. Guests gathered for a reception at Glen Oak Golf Course, Amherst. Pastor Randy Milleville of Zion Lutheran Church heard the couple’s vows. The bride’s parents are James J. and Marsha A. Glose of Grand Island. The bridegroom’s parents are Paul and Charlene Brenton of Clarence Center. The bride is a graduate of Grand Island Central High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from D’Youville College. The bride is a registered nurse at R&B Medical Group. The groom is a graduate of Clarence Central High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University at Buffalo and is a design engineer. After a trip to Hawaii, the couple are making their home in Clarence Center.

Congratulations Neil Tetkowski - January 2014

Mira Berkley, Neil and Lee Tetkowski

    When Lee Tetkowski heard that her son, Neil, had been nominated and selected for a prestigious annual award, for spreading the name of Siena, Italy through cultural work in the world, she and daughter, Mira Berkley, quickly planned a trip to Italy to witness this! The honorees of this “Celli Award” had to be either of Senese birth or of adoption of the city. Neil qualified by his years at the elementary school in Siena as a child, lifetime connections, with many visits, opportunities to create ceramic art and to have exhibits there. His reputation as a ceramic artist is worldwide, with work in museums in many countries. The event took place on Friday, December 13, inside the ancient Palazzo Pubblico. Pages dressed in medieval outfits and played trumpets and city dignitaries made speeches.
   The award is in memory of Mario Celli, who founded a newspaper of Siena. The Tetkowskis have a long relationship with Siena. The Siena Semester Abroad with students from Buffalo State was started in 1961, the brainchild of Dr. Clem Tetkowski, Art Professor. Those brave first twenty college students and the young Tetkowski family arrived in Naples after 12 days on the Saturnia, then an old ship, and were met by Mario Celli. He escorted all by train to Siena and became very helpful to the program. It was his daughter, Paola Celli, who worked with Clem to find twenty Italian families to host the students individually, still today a major benefit of this ongoing program and it was this same Paola Celli who participated in this ceremony.