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Islanders In The News Web Page
2015


Previous News Page



Caralyn Reynolds - December 2015

    LEWISTON, N.Y. (WKBW Story) - With the stroke of a pen, 11-year-old Caralyn Reynolds from Grand Island became the newest member of the Niagara University Women's Lacrosse team. " Team Impact is a program that pairs a child fighting, some sort of illness, with a college athletics team, hoping to make the lives of both better. They become a part of the team, are on the roster. They are part of daily activities, to the extent that they are able and want to be," said Wendy Stone, Head Coach of the Woman's Lacrosse Team. Caralyn has had eight surgeries and has just completed 33 months of weekly chemotherapy for treatment of a brain tumor. "I like it here and I want to come here when I am older and maybe play lacrosse", Caralyn remarked.
   The team members have welcomed Caralyn into their lives. "It allows their perspective on life to change. There is way more to this than academics and playing lacrosse all the time. It gives you a little bit more perspective to see somebody who has fought through and battled. It allows us to give back and to share our experiences and what we are so lucky to have, with someone else," Stone added. The Reynolds family is thankful for all the support Caralyn has been getting. "And through the journey that she has been on, we have constantly been reminded that we never walk alone. That each one of you is part of her story. Is part of the story that got us telling through her. So know that this little piece that may seem so simple to you, is huge in the life of not only Caralyn, our whole family and the world as they see it, as it's played out," Caralyn's mother Jennifer said. Throughout this fall, Caralyn has been spending time with her new team members. The university's lacrosse season starts in the spring.


Jean Wholahan - December 2015

From left: Jean Wholahan, Lee Tetkowski, Joan Photiadis and Dorothy Westhafer.

    Jean Wholahan celebrated her 101st birthday at a luncheon in her honor on Wednesday, December 2nd with long-time friends Lee Tetkowski, Joan Photiadis and Dorothy Westhafer. There were many memories shared of League of Women Voters' projects through the years. It was Alan Wholahan, Jean's late husband, who had the first computer in this group, and who so generously joined in preparing voting information and names of elected officials using the new technology! Amazingly another year has passed since Jean's big celebration of her 100th! She is our inspiration, still living in her home, and continuing her interest in making the world a better place! Her memory of names and events is astonishing.


Vienna Laurendi Haak - December 2015

   Grand Island resident Vienna Laurendi Haak and her partner Beth Geyer of Buffalo are the proud co-owners of the WNY 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 second professional theater production FACE IT opens on Thursday, December 3, 2015 and runs through Sunday, December 13, 2015 at The Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave, Buffalo NY 14207. General admission tickets are only $15 and can be purchased online at uniqueproductionsup.com/upcoming-production, by phone 716-243-8889, or via email at uniqueproductionsup@gmail.com.
    Face it, nobody likes to be bullied and we all have a little anxiety. FACE IT is comprised of two separate plays.Respect, a short play written by Engelic Everett introduces the audience to Sherry, a young woman -proud of her Down Syndrome- who is bullied both at home and at school. How she faces and resolves her inner pain is heartwarming. Day Tripper, a play written by Nick Cacciotti has us traveling by elevator with Dylan, a young man with great anxiety who is fearful of just about everything. His day trip into a multi-level building allows him to work through his fears and anxieties and in the end find love. In both stories, each main character faces their fears and anxieties face on. Face it: we’ve all been there at one time or another.
    Don't miss this two part production written by Engelic Everett & Nick Cacciotti, directed by Beth Geyer, and starring a fantastic cast loaded with fresh talent & charisma, including Grand Islanders Vienna Laurendi Haak & Jason Sokody, that will keep you captivated throughout all the comedy & drama that FACE IT promises to deliver! Pre-purchased tickets and reservations are highly recommended. Cash & check only at the door, credit cards accepted for advance sales. For more information, please contact UP! at 716-243-8889 or uniqueproductionsup@gmail.com.


Mike Dallessandro - November 2015

Karen and Commodore Mike Dallessandro.

   The LaSalle Yacht Club has elected its officers for 2016. Mike Dallessandro will serve as Commodore. Paul Grenga will serve as Vice Commodore, John Caputo will be Rear Commodore and Todd Wilson will serve as Fleet Captain. Board members for 2016 include Tim Philipps, Keith Kinney, Bret Hennesey, Marty Houck, Mike Sheperd, Tony Rodgers. Ken Argona will serve as Treasurer and Kari Bullman will be Social Director. The Commodore's wife heads the mates organization so Karen Dallessandro will be the LYC Mates President in the new year. The LaSalle Yacht Club celebrates 80 years as a boating organization in 2016. New members who enjoy water sports, food, drink and camaraderie are always welcome.


Timothy J. Kendal - November2015

   Former islander Timothy Kendal was featured in a Salute Our War Hero's article on November 15th in the Buffalo News. See article written by Lou Michel.


Thom Hatch, Author - November 2015

   
   Former Grand Island resident Thom Hatch has authored his 11th book, "Back To The Place And The Time". In it he writes about a second chance for a baseball dream.
   Press Release - Fantasy or reality, we all want to get lost in our fantasies sometimes, but John might be able to stay in his, what would you do? John Ripley and his granddaughter attend a Colorado Rockies game and reminisce about how John lost the opportunity at age seventeen to play professional baseball. He had been asked to sign by a scout but had already enlisted in the Marines. During this game, John is struck by a foul ball and thought to be in a deep coma. John, however, has actually gone back to the days of his youth.
   Young Johnny Ripley had not signed his enlistment papers after all and was free to play baseball. This second chance leads to a fantastic baseball odyssey of a boy coming of age. By season’s end, he plays against legendary Mickey Mantle—but faces a dilemma. Should he wake up and return to his old life or remain locked forever in his baseball fantasy? The thought-provoking ending will make the reader fall in love with baseball all over again. "Plausible yet fanciful, Back To The Place And The Time introduces a host of fascinating characters, episodes of adventure, romance, drama, humor, and the conflicts facing a boy coming of age. Most of all, this book offers readers a most pleasant, uplifting, and unique taste of baseball when baseball was the national pastime and young men played for the love of the game."
   Thom is the award-winning author of eleven books, including The Last Outlaws, Glorious War, and The Last Days of George Armstrong Custer. He has served as consultant and on-screen expert commentator for documentaries on the History Channel, PBS, and others. Thom is a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran who lives with his wife and daughter in Colorado.


Andrew Dale, Movie Producer - November 2015


Top: USS Croaker
From left: Andrew Dale and Vinny DiVirgilio filming in the USS Croaker.

    Islander Andrew Dale is a 2011 graduate of Grand Island High School and recently graduated from UB with a degree in Media Studies with a focus on Production. He has always been interested in film and now hopes to make a career of it. In the spring he got hooked up with Paramount, the producers of the recent "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" movie filmed here, and spent two weeks as a production assistant on the second unit for specific stunts.
    Andrew met Vinny DiVirgilio of North Tonawanda at UB. There they teamed up on a short film "The Normal", with Vinny as writer and director and Andrew as producer. The film was selected to be shown at the recent Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival 2015 and was nominated for Best Action Thriller Short Film and Best Student Short Film. Vinny is now working on his masters in Media Art Production.
   Their next project is a short film titled "Beyond the Sea" and will be filmed entirely at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, inside the submarine USS Croaker. Vinny came up with the concept this summer when he took a tour of the submarine. He wrote down some ideas and brought them to Andrew, and after months of work, they had their script.
   It is a period piece, taking place during WWII. Jimmy is a sailor fresh from boot camp, assigned to work on an attack sub. During a routine restocking mission on land, malaria breaks out and wipes out the crew. Jimmy is alone, isolated in a submerged submarine, behind enemy lines and must find a way to survive. The cast includes one principal actor and two supporting actors and will begin shooting the first week of December. A crowdfunding campaign launched at the end of October and you can be a part of the film. Go to www.indiegogo.com, you can see a trailor that was filmed in October and donate to the project.


Adalynn Justine Bennett - November 2015


    Adalynn Justine, born October 20, 2015 is welcomed home by her two-year-old sister, Annabella Patricia and parents Korey Bennett and Morgan Green. Proud grandparents are Scott & Dorothy Bennett and Scott & Michelle Green all of Grand Island. Great grandparents are Patricia Bennett of Grand Island, Sally Bennett of Statesville, NC, Robert Kessler of Florida and John & Kathleen Martz of AZ.


Mr. and Mrs. William Burch - October 2015


    Mr. and Mrs. William Burch of Grand Island celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary with a family gathering. Mr. Burch and the former Olive O. Lightfoot were married Sept. 3, 1948, at the Central Park Methodist Church in Buffalo. He was a metallurgical engineer at Bell Aerospace, retiring after 35 years. She worked testing aircraft engines at the Chevrolet Engine Plant during World War II and later worked at Linde Corp. They have three sons, two granddaughters and two stepgrandsons.


Linda Gaines - October 2015


   Senior Wishes reunites a Grand Island mother with her son.
    Senior Wishes, the only organization dedicated to bringing the dreams of WNY's low-income seniors to fruition, recently granted a wish to Linda Gaines of Grand Island. Gaines recently traveled to Wisconsin to visit her son after a seven year separation. He is an injured Navy veteran and is unable to travel due to seizures. During her visit, Gaines was also able to spend time with her ten-year old granddaughter. "I felt like a queen for a weekend" said Gaines upon her return. "The trip was more than I could have ever imagined." This wish was funded in part by a donation made in memory of Mr.& Mrs. Russell H. Potter by the Charlotte Potter Whicher Trust at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
    Established in late 2013 by the United Church Home Society (UCHS), Senior Wishes' mission is to honor and recognize the lifelong contributions of our oldest citizens by granting meaningful wishes that will enhance seniors' lives and bring them joy. Wish recipients must meet the following requirements: Must be 65+ and a resident of Western New York; U.S. Citizen; Annual income $38,000 or less for a household of one or $44,000 or less for a household of two; cognitively, emotionally and physically capable of communicating and experiencing the wish; and unable to fulfill the wish on their own. If you are, or know, a low-income senior with a special wish, Senior Wishes would like to help. Visit www.seniorwishes.org or call 716-508-2121 for guidelines and an application.


Izzy Burt - October 2015


   Kaegebein student Izzy Burt celebrated her birthday in a special way this year. She told friends and family, instead of gifts, she would rather have gifts of money to donate to the new Kaegebein School playground. Izzy's donation totaled $75. She was recognized at the recent playground dedication on September 17th.


Master Sergeant Brent M. Helman - October 2015

   On October 1, 2015, Brent M. Helman was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force. Brent has been serving on active duty for over 13 years, and this is a significant milestone in his career as he now joins the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer corps and "Top 3" in the USAF. Brent resides in El Paso Texas with his wife Jamie and son, Lucas and is currently stationed at Fort Bliss where he is a Ground Combat instructor at the Desert Defender Ground Combat Readiness Training Center. Brent is a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and a GIHS class of 2001 graduate. Brent is the son of Ken and the late Pam Helman of Grand Island.


Mary Beth and Jeff Smith- October 2015

Pistachio PA+++// - Mary Beth, Jeff, Janet Henderson (Mary Beth's Coach) and presenter Cynthia Richardson President of Arabian Horse Association - Bob Tarr Photography.

WOF UB Up Atdawn; Bred and owned by Mary Beth and Jeff Smith, pictured with Jeff and Mary Beth. - Don Stine Photography

   White Oak Farm returns from Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in Raleigh, North Carolina with four Top Ten awards, a National Championship and a Reserve National Championship. Mary Beth and Jeff Smith with two of their horses, Pistachio PA +++// "Stash" and WOF UB Up Atdawn+ "Lily", competed successfully winning multiple awards. Stash and Mary Beth competed in Dressage Arabian Training Level AAOTR (adult amateur owner to ride), placing Top Ten and winning the National Championship trophy and rose garland in a class of 36 horses. Lily and Mary Beth competed in Half Arabian Hunter Type Open, placing Top Ten in a class of 19(4th overall), Half Arabian Dressage Type ATH (amateur to handle) placing Top Ten in a class 26(7th overall) and Half Arabian Hunter Type ATH (amateur to handle) placing Top Ten and moving on to win the Reserve National Championship trophy and roses out of a class 24 mares.


Mr. and Mrs. Charles Markarian - October 2015


   Mr. and Mrs. Charles Markarian of Stuart, Fla., formerly of Grand Island, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with an intimate family gathering. A cruise is planned to return to their honeymoon destination this fall. Mr. Markarian and the former Delores O'Day were married July 30, 1955, in St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Buffalo. He is retired from Markarian Rugs. She is a devoted full-time homemaker. They have four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.


Kyle Aronica - October 2015


    Hamburg, N.Y., September 29, 2015 - Evans Bank has welcomed Kyle Aronica as a Banking Officer and Branch Manager, overseeing the organization's Williamsville location. She is responsible for advising branch staff, training, and developing and implementing branch sales, strategy, and objectives. Aronica joins Evans with nearly 20 years of banking and management experience. Most recently, she served as a Branch Manager for Northwest Savings Bank in Amherst; previously she was an Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager for KeyBank. Aronica holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Houghton College.
   Active in the community, she is a member of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce Business Resource Council, UniteNY, and Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives. She also volunteers for St. Stephens RC Church in Grand Island, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, St. Gianna Molla Outreach Center in Buffalo, and Summit Life Outreach Center in Niagara Falls. She resides in Grand Island with her family.


Sarah Pedlow & Douglas Dodge - October 2015


   Sarah A. Pedlow and Douglas A. Dodge were married at 3 p.m. on June 20 in the gazebo below Water Street Landing in the Village of Lewiston. Guests gathered for a reception at Lewiston No. 2 Fire Company. Judge Mark Frentzel of Grand Island heard the couple's vows. The bride's parents are John and Judy Pedlow of Grand Island. The bridegroom's parents are Darryl Dodge and Lynn Ford of Grand Island. The bride, a graduate of Grand Island High School, earned a bachelor's degree in health and wellness from SUNY Buffalo State. The bride is a bartender at TC's Island Bar and Grille. The groom, a graduate of Grand Island High School, is a base services specialist at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. The couple will make their home in the Town of Lewiston.


Chris Tybor - September 2015

   Island resident and fitness club owner Chris Tybor is headed to his first mountain climb at Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The plan is to start out on Tuesday, September 29th and hopefully reach the summit the following Sunday. Along with preparing for the climb, he has raised $10,000 for the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, which supports victims of sexual assault and their families. See the full story by Teresa Sharp, Buffalo News Niagara Correspondent, posted on September 27, 2015.


Chuck Meyer Promoted to Vice President at Evans Bank - September 2015


   Hamburg, N.Y.... Chuck Meyer has been promoted to Vice President at Evans Bank. Meyer currently serves as the Senior Manager of Development and Core Systems at Evans. He officially joined the bank in 2009 as part of an acquisition of Suchak Data Systems (SDS), where he began his career in 1986. Meyer previously held the positions of Senior Information Technology Manager, Lead Systems Analyst, and Senior Systems Analyst in his time with Evans.
    Meyer holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from the State University of New York at Brockport. Outside the office, Meyer volunteers at the Niagara Sailing Club as a board member, holds the officer position of Fleet Captain, and runs the adult and Junior Sailing. He has also been an active volunteer for community youth baseball and soccer. Meyer resides in Grand Island, N.Y.


Jennifer Marsala - September 2015


   Island resident Jennifer Marsala is a mother of four, a Pro-Natural Figure competitor and a physical education teacher at Kaegebein Elementary. She is a former CAN/AM Fitness Champion and an AAU Deadlift record holder. Jen took a 15 year hiatus to start a family with her husband Jerry and returned to competing this summer. They both are co-owners of Natural Muscle which is a Bodybuilding promotions and Nutrition counseling company. In order to co run a business and be a mom Jen gets up at 2:30am every morning to fit her two plus hour workouts in. Jen says "I believe and teach lifelong fitness. I want my students to learn that physical activity and good nutrition is something we should do thorough our entire lives". After her last child was born, Jen suffered from a torn abdominal cavity and needed surgery. The surgeons told her that she would never be able to compete again. Jen proved them wrong.


Islanders Take Part In The Biggest Loser Race - September 2015

From left: Paul Clinkhammer, Grant Hennigar, Lynn Clinkhammer, Kim Kalman, sue Marston and Jill Miller. Click photo for larger view.

    The Biggest Loser Half Marathon, 5k Run and a 5k Walk took place on Sunday, September 6th at Canalside, downtown Buffalo. Island residents Paul Clinkhammer ran the 1/2 Marathon, Grant Hennigar - 5k Run (placed 1st in his age group), Lynn Clinkhammer – 5k Walk (placed 1st in her age group), Kim Kalman – 5k Run (placed 2nd in her age group), and Sue Marston and Jill Miller ran the 5k.


Leah Feroleto and Neil Walsh -September 2015


    Leah C. Feroleto and Neil A. Walsh were married at 4 p.m. on May 23rd on Chiesa di San Filippo Neri, Florence, Italy. Close friends and family gathered for a reception at il Santo Bevitore Restaurant. Father Daniel Jankowski of Florence, Italy, heard the couple's vows. The bride's parents are Anthony and Nanette Feroleto of Buffalo. The bridegroom's parents are Maurice and Sherry Walsh of Grand Island. The bride is a graduate of Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, earned her master's degree in higher education administration. The groom is a graduate of Canisius High School, earned an MBA from the University at Buffalo. After a trip to Santorini, Greece, the couple will make their home in Grand Island.


Eric Fiebelkorn - August 2015

   BUFFALO, NY (August 25, 2015) - Toshiba Business Solutions (TBS) is proud to announce that Eric Fiebelkorn, general manager of TBS Buffalo, has been promoted to vice president / general manager. Buffalo native Eric Fiebelkorn joined Toshiba Business Solutions in 2006 as a sales manager and was promoted to general manager in 2008. During his tenure, Fiebelkorn has led the Buffalo marketplace to unprecedented growth in solutions, hardware, and service sales. His Buffalo area sales and service team members have won multiple individual and team awards for outstanding performance under his leadership. "Eric has been a key part of the success that the Buffalo marketplace has achieved in the past 10 years," said John Jabbour, executive vice president at Toshiba Business Solutions. "I'm confident that with his talent and experience, Eric will have a positive impact on our entire enterprise."
   Eric demonstrates a strong commitment to his community, currently serving on the board of directors for Mikey's Way Foundation, and March of Dimes. Since 2011, he has served as president of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, and co-chairman of the Grand Island School & Business Alliance (GISBA) Board of Directors, and is involved in fundraising and volunteering for several other charitable organizations. Fiebelkorn was honored with the Grand Island Schools Friend of Education award in 2012, is a 2013 Buffalo Business First Forty under 40 inductee, 2015 Mikey's Way Annual Hero, and 2015 Sweet Home Schools Wall of Fame inductee. Prior to joining Toshiba, Eric gained experience as a district sales manager for Sprint Nextel, and before that owned his own small business, Bottomline Enterprises. Fiebelkorn resides in Grand Island with his wife, Alicia, and their three children Danika, Anthony, and Molly.


Ralph Quarantillo - August 2015

Ralph Quarantillo, an 81-year-old Veteran, receives a three wheel bike from Senior Wishes.

   Senior Wishes, the only organization dedicated to bringing the dreams of WNY's low-income seniors to fruition, granted a wish to Ralph Quarantillo, a Grand Island resident, on August 21st. Mr. Quarantillo, an 81-year-old Veteran, received a three wheel bike. He no longer drives, and wished for the freedom a bike would give him to ride to the store, and to exercise.
    Senior Wishes was founded by the United Church Home Society (UCHS) with a goal of fostering respect and appreciation for seniors by granting life-enriching wishes. Wendy Backman, Director of Programs and Development for Senior Wishes, explained that the organization encourages "experiential wishes that might be beyond the scope of organizations trying to provide basic necessities. Whether it's seeing a greatly missed, faraway friend or family member or finally going to a live stage performance, if the wish is meaningful to the individual, we're interested in making it come true." If you are, or know, a low-income senior with a special wish, Senior Wishes would like to help. Visit www.seniorwishes.org for guidelines and an application or call 716-508-2121.


Carlee Conway - August 2015

Carlee Conway (L) was sworn into the US Navy on Induction day, July 1, 2015 by her brother, Lt. Brendan Conway USN.

    There is a saying regarding the US Naval Academy; "...three things that you have to get through: one is Plebe Summer, the next is Plebe Year and lastly, the next three years". Carlee Conway has successfully navigated Plebe Summer which came to an end after Parents weekend August 14-16th. The six-plus weeks of "boot-camp" for those entering their first year at the USNA is held at various locations on the Annapolis, MD "Yard". This year's incoming class started with 1,192 plebes representing all 50 states and included 12 international students. It also marks the highest percentage of female plebes at 27%. The Academy received over 17,000 applicants, accepting less than 7% into its incoming class with a median SAT score of 1340 (math/reading). 92% of the incoming class participated in HS varsity sports.
    Conway has been recruited to participate on the Navy Women's Div. 1 Tennis team that competes in the Patriot League. She recently completed one year of prep-school at Marion Military Institute in Alabama which was sponsored by the Naval Academy Foundation. She finished her one year NCAA Jr College career going undefeated in Southern Regional play at a combined 25-0 (singles and doubles) and was voted the Conference's Most Valuable Player. She competed in the NCAA's ITA National individual championships where she finished 6th in the country. Academic classes begin Aug 24th as she moves into phase-two, navigating thru Plebe Year. Carlee is the daughter of Margaret and Brendan Conway and the grand-daughter of long-time Grand Island resident, Ruth Englert.


Lee & Pat Smith - August 2015


    Congratulations to Lee & Pat Smith, long-time residents of Grand Island, on celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary. The Smiths were married on August 26, 1965 at St. Stephen's Church, Grand Island. A surprise party was held in their honor with their friends and family at their daughter's home in July.


Patricia Nardone - August 2015


   Buffalo, NY - BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York today announced the promotion of Patricia Nardone to the position of Director, Talent Acquisition. Nardone will report directly to BlueCross BlueShield's Vice President, Human Resources Melissa Tucker and will be responsible for maintaining the health plan's status as a preferred employer within the region. BlueCross BlueShield has been named a Buffalo News Top Workplace for the past two years.
   As Director, Talent Acquisition, Patricia Nardone is responsible for developing and deploying talent acquisition strategies to strengthen the organization's capabilities and ensure it has the talent to meet current and future business needs. Nardone focuses on implementing talent acquisition programs that positively strengthen the organization's capabilities in attracting, assessing, selecting, and on-boarding best in class talent.
   Previously, Nardone served as Executive Recruiter, where she lead talent acquisition efforts across corporate-wide senior management and executive functions. Nardone will continue to be responsible for the Executive Recruiter responsibilities. Nardone has diverse experience in talent acquisition, and career transition training and counselling. Prior to joining BlueCross BlueShield, Nardone held a number of talent acquisition/recruiting positions at companies including M&T Bank Corporation, Praxair, Inc., and Career Partners International.
   A resident of Grand Island, Nardone earned a bachelor of fine arts from St. Mary's College.


Sarah Chamberlain - August 2015

   Sarah Chamberlain has recently completed an internship with the prestigious Roswell Park Cancer Institute where she conducted research using sophisticated software to aid in creating functions and running simulations to compare dose distributions. She presented her work entitled "MLC Optimization for VMAT Treatment Planning," which was funded by the National Institute of Heath. Sarah was one of 26 college students from all over the United States chosen to take part in various forms of research at Roswell. Sarah is a dual major of Theoretical Physics and Applied Mathematics at SUNY Fredonia.


Jenna Lee & Joseph Juliano - August 2015


   On August 1, 2015, Jenna Lee and Joseph Juliano were joined in Holy Matrimony. The service was held at The Chapel @ Crosspoint at 3 pm with the reception immediately following at The Mansion on Delaware. The honeymoon will be enjoyed in St Lucia in the Caribbean. Jenna is a Surgical Technologist at Kenmore Mercy Hospital and Joe is finishing his education at Liberty University. The two met while attending Penn State and were victims of cupids arrow poisoning them with love at first sight! The Lee and Juliano parents could not be prouder and are blessed with witnessing the love that resonates in this special couple.


Chuck & Sue Wahl - August 2015


   Former Islanders Chuck & Sue Wahl celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary at their new home in Round Hill, Virginia. The couple, who were married July 12, 1975 at the Executive Inn in Cheektowaga, had lived on Fareway Lane for nearly 30 years. They moved south two years ago to be closer to their two children and two grandchildren, all of whom live in the Metro DC area.


Matt Brennan Fundraiser - July 2015

From left: Krista & Matt Brennan

   Former Islander Matt Brennan and his family could use your help. Matt was partially paralyzed by a disease called CIDP(Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) last December. CIDP is an autoimmune disease which attacks and destroys the insulation around the nerves. He is currently being treated with IVIG(Intravenous Immunoglobulin Transfusions) and corticosteroids. His body has stopped responding to the monthly IVIG infusions, and he has developed medicine induced diabetes from the steroids.
   A fundraiser for medical expenses is planned for Saturday, August 22nd from 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Grand Island Rod & Gun Club, 1083 Whitehaven Road. Basket Raffle, door prizes, 50/50, food and drink included. See flyer. You can also help by making donations at the Go Fund Me page.


Anna (Czapla) Czarples - July 2015

From left: Anna (Czapla) Czarples with fellow attorneys, Jacob Welch & Michael Donlon

    Anna (Czapla) Czarples daughter of James and Helen Czapla of Grand Island has been recently named an ownership member of the Law Office of Jacob P. Welch in Corning, NY. Anna Czarples received a BA degree with double majors in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Rochester in 2005. While studying at Rochester, Ms. Czarples interned for a member of Congress and was a highly successful member of the Rochester debate team. She was a recipient of the Irene Grace Bunde Award given to the most persuasive female speaker as well as the debate union’s Woman of the Year Award. She also won first place in a prestigious Cornell University debate tournament involving colleges from throughout the United States.
   In 2008, Attorney Czarples obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Minnesota Law school where she was awarded Magna Cum Laude (high academic) honors upon graduation. While in law school, she studied a diverse range of topics, and was awarded the Royal Stone scholarship for her academic efforts. She has also been a member of the Women’s Law Association and actively participated in Environmental Law Moot Court competitions. She also spent a semester in Sweden at Uppsala University studying comparative and international law.
   For the past seven years, Attorney Czarples has been a true asset to the Jacob P. Welch Law Firm of Corning, NY. She is looking forward to continuing her success as an ownership member.


Mr. and Mrs. Richard Cass II - July 2015

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Cass II

   Madelaine Grace D'Angelo and Richard Willis Cass II were married at 5 p.m. on May 23 in Church of the Ascension, Lake Como, Cadenabbia, Italy. Guests gathered for a reception at Villa Altea, Lake Como, Italy. Father Russ Ruffino of Church of the Ascension heard the couple's vows. The bride's parents are Salvatore and Theresa D'Angelo of Grand Island. The bridegroom's parents are Richard and Heather Cass of Chevy Chase, Md. The bride is a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy. She earned a bachelor of science degree in finance and art history from Catholic University of America and also earned a master's degree from Harvard University. The bride is founder of Arthena. The groom is a graduate of St. Albans School. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Yale University and also earned a medical degree from University of Maryland Medical School. He is a surgical resident at Weill Cornell Medical Center. After a trip to Taormina and Panarea, Italy, the couple will make their home in Manhattan.




BJ Gorrell - July 2015

   BJ Gorrell, son of Bill and Nancy Gorrell, will be in town soon. He has been asked to speak at Bible Presbyterian Church, 1650 Love Rd. on Sunday morning, July 19th, at 10:45 a.m. He wanted to let old friends know and invite them to church that morning, and/or to drop in at the corner of Huth and Stony Point that afternoon for a cook out. He would love to see most of you (ha, ha). BJ has served three churches over the past 23 years, and has been located for the past 12 years near Huntington Beach, CA. BJ and his wife Nancy three children, a daughter who just graduated from Azusa Pacific, a son playing football for Azusa Pacific, and a son in high school.




Dick Bessel - July 2015

   Buffalo News Story by Budd Bailey Saturday, July 4th marked the 40th anniversary of the Dick Bessel Independence Day Run in Grand Island, named after the gentleman who started it to celebrate the bicentennial in 1976. Budd Bailey of the Buffalo News did a nice story on July 4th. See story.


Mr. and Mrs. Michael Davis - July 2015

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Davis

    Former Islanders Michael Craig Davis and Christie Anne Utz, of Springfield, Virginia had a beautiful wedding on June 13th in the Niagara University Chapel. Father O' Malley officiated. His Mass was thoughtful and enjoyable. He went out of his way to make it personal by telling the congregation why the bride and groom were so special to each other using their own words. The bride was gorgeous in her exquisitely appointed dress and the groom was equally splendid. The two young people professed their vows poised on the altar absolutely sure of themselves and each other. The wedding was followed by dinner, drinking and dancing at the Beaver Island Casino. It was a beautiful evening in a great venue with lovely views. Friends and family happily celebrated the newly united husband and wife. Christie, the daughter of Maureen and Robert Utz, is the Nurse Manager of Falls Church Pediatrics. Michael, the son of Craig and Sheila Davis, is a Digital Forensic Examiner for the U.S Department of Justice. They have made themselves a home in Virginia, for now, but their families are ever hopeful that these bright lights will find their way back to Western New York.


Mr. and Mrs. Paul Ianni - July 2015

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Ianni

    Mr. and Mrs. Paul Ianni of Grand Island celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary with a dinner gathering with family. Mr. Ianni and the former Marian Ferraro were married June 10, 1940, in Niagara Falls. He is a retired chemical analyst at DuPont in Niagara Falls. He is also a professional drummer who played in venues all over Western New York until recently at the age of 90. She is a retired sales associate at Sears Roebuck & Co. For almost 30 years, she also has been the coordinator of ushers at Kavinoky Theater at D'Youville College. They have two children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.


Joseph M. Falbo Jr. - July 2015

   Grand Island resident Joseph M. Falbo Jr., 45, was recently elected president of the 28,000 member NYS Society of Certified Public Accountants. Buffalo News Business Reporter Matt Glynn did a Q & A with Falbo that was published on June 28th. See story.


Mary Jane Fonte - June 2015

Mary Jane Fonte and Agnes Becker

   Mary Jane Fonte was presented with the Chapter Woman of Distinction pin and certificate at a recent meeting of Gamma Delta chapter of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a society of outstanding female educators. Past chapter president Agnes Becker presented the award.


Brianna Gibney - June 2015

   Brianna Gibney, daughter of Michelle and Chris Gibney, has been named to the Canisius College Dean's List with Distinction with a 4.0 grade point average. This is the second year in a row that the sophomore, pre-med student has achieved this honor. Brianna is spending the summer in Spain.


James Rustowicz - June 2015

   James Rustowicz, son of Kevin and Maura Rustowicz, has been named to the Spring 2015 Dean's List at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. James is a sophomore, majoring in Business and Marketing. To be eligible for the Dean's List at St. John Fisher College, a student must have attained at least a 3.5 grade-point average for the semester. St. John Fisher College is an independent, liberal arts institution in the Catholic tradition of American higher education. The College emphasizes liberal learning for students in traditional academic disciplines, as well as for those in more directly career-oriented fields.


Amy Bidell DeRego, Valedictorian - May 2015

Amy Bidell DeRego

    Amy M. Bidell DeRego graduated Summa Cum Laude from Norwich University, Vermont. Amy received a ROTC Scholarship through the United States Navy. She graduated as the Valedictorian of the Nursing Program and received the Rose Caprio Academic Achievement Award. Amy will be commissioned into the Navy active duty. Amy is the wife of Isaac DeRego, and the daughter of Julie and Don Dee and John and Ginger Bidell.


Neil Gallagher, Champion BBQ Team Captain - May 2015

From left: Danny Zellers, Jonathan MacBride, Eric Chester, Shane Greer and Captain Neil Gallagher

   Islander and Team Captain of the "Too Sauced to Pork" Championship BBQ Team, Neil Gallagher reported that the team recently returned from the "Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Competition" in Memphis TN. Also known as the "Superbowl of Swine" They competed against 270 teams from around the world and represented WNY very well:
2nd Place in the Kingsford Tour of Champions, a pork shoulder competition voted on by 100 judges. They were beat by 4 time World Grand Champion Chris Lily of Big Bob Gibson BBQ and beat the current World Champion, the Shed.
1st Place in the Big Hog Run, a .2K (634 feet) downhill footrace for persons over 175 pounds that takes into effect Age, Weight, BMI, and Time - Their runner was 420 pounds and finished in 1 minute 2 seconds.
2nd Place in Poultry with a Smoked, Double dry rubbed bone in Chicken Thigh with a Hot Honey BBQ Sauce.
7th Place in Wings with an Asian inspired Mahogany sauce wing.
They were the only team to win prizes each day of the contest (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Congratulations!!!


JoAnn Vanderheite, Gourd Artist - May 2015

Examples of Gourd Art available at Kenan Center.

   Artist JoAnn Vanderheite is participating in her 11th year at the "Kenan Center 100 American Craftsman Show" at the Kenan Center,433 Locust St., Lockport. The show will take place on Friday, May 29th 6-9pm, Saturday, May 30th 10am- 6pm and Sunday, May 31st 11am-5pm. It will feature live music, food & wine vendors and an herbal plant sale on Sat. 10am-3pm. There will be a new annex market featuring emerging artists as well as the ceramic art of Robert L. Wood in the Kenan house gallery. JoAnn's booth is C-13.


Christian Dommell, Rocket Scientist - May 2015

Christian Dommell

    2003 GIHS graduate Christian Dommell recently spoke at the "Star Wars Celebration Live" in Anaheim, CA. Christian is a rocket scientist at Boeing and speaks about his work with space technology, the influence of Star Wars on engineering, and whether anything seen in the films may be possible in the future. See the video on YouTube.


Jane Cooke, 2015 Student Chef of the Year- April 2015

From left: Islander Mark Mistriner, Chair of the Business and Hospitality Division; Jane Cooke; Islander John Matwijkow, Culinary Instructor and Restaurant Management Coordinator; and Jessica Kronenberg, 2015 Restaurant Management Student of the Year.

   At the recent Niagara Falls Culinary Institute's Award Ceremony, Grand Islander Jane Cooke was named 2015 Student Chef of the Year. She will graduate as a member of the Class of 2015 with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and a Certificate in Baking on May 16th.


Joan Barone, Gets Senior Wish - April 2015

Joan Barone is in center of photo.

    Senior Wishes, the only organization dedicated to bringing the dreams of WNY's low-income seniors to fruition, granted a wish to Grand Island resident, Mrs. Joan Barone, on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the Millennium Hotel Buffalo in Cheektowaga, NY. Mrs. Barone was granted a wish request for a family reunion dinner at a nice restaurant as the family has been unable to gather together and dine out for many years. She was thrilled to reconnect with her family and make "wonderful, wonderful memories". Senior Wishes was founded by the United Church Home Society (UCHS) with a goal of fostering respect and appreciation for seniors by granting life-enriching wishes. Senior Wishes Director of Programs and Development Wendy Backman explained that the organization encourages "experiential wishes that might be beyond the scope of organizations trying to provide basic necessities. Whether it's seeing a greatly missed, faraway friend or family member or finally going to a live stage performance, if the wish is meaningful to the individual, we're interested in making it come true." If you are, or know, a low-income senior with a special wish, Senior Wishes would like to help. Look for guidelines and an application at www.seniorwishes.org or call 716-508-2121.


Rob Kopf, Running Buffalo Half Marathon - April 2015

   Island resident Rob Kopf is running the Buffalo Half Marathon on Sunday, May 24th to raise funds for Great Strides, a Cystic Fibrosis foundation. Rob's son Adam was diagnosed at a very young age with CFTR Related Metabolic Syndrome. For Adam this means that he needs to be closely monitored and he goes to the Lung Center at Women's & Children's Hospital every 6 months for evaluation and testing. The good news is that, so far, his test results have always come back negative and his health is that of a normal 4 year old. In the four years the family team, Adam's Apples, has been involved in the Great Strides events they have raised over $35,000. Rob hopes to raise $1310 at the half marathon. Please help Rob meet his goal. Click on this link to donate to Great Strides.


Sarah Chamberlain - April 2015

From left: Professor Rogers of Math Department and Sarah Chamberlain.

   The SUNY Fredonia Math Department honored sophomore Sarah Chamberlain with two highly prestigious scholarship awards and induction into the Pi Mu Epsilon National honorary Mathematics Society at their annual awards dinner on March 23rd. As a triple major in two areas of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Sarah received the Frank R. Olson Scholarship and the MAA/Fawzi Yaqub Award for her outstanding work in the Math Department at Fredonia. Sarah is the daughter of Greg and Cheryl Chamberlain of Grand Island.


Harry & Roberta Lorence - April 2015

From left: Roberta & Harry Lorence

   Harry & Roberta Lorence of Grand Island celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with their family. Harry Lorence and the former Roberta Cronin were married April 28, 1955 in Buffalo. He is retired from the Beaver Island Golf Course where he held the position of Golf Course Superintendent for over 20 years. They have five sons and one daughter, and 12 grandchildren.


GI Gumps Run Shoes For Shelter 5k - April 2015

From left: Kim Kalman, Kirsti Hunt, Lisa Hammond, Sue Marston and Tara Caldwell

   The GI Gumps running group gave back by running the 17th Annual Shoes for Shelter 5k held on Sunday, April 19th in downtown Buffalo. The race was sponsored by Independent Health and Canisius College. All the runners were encouraged to turn in a pair of sneakers or shoes for the St. Vincent de Paul shelter. Since 2002, 28,997 pairs of shoes have been collected, including 3,997 pairs of shoes in 2014. The Gumps team donated ten pairs. Distance runners should only run 200-300 miles before replacing their sneakers and as the sneakers are still in good condition, they are perfect for those in need. The Gumps team signs up for races that are fundraisers for assorted charities in the Western New York area.




David Conboy Awarded Distinguished Service Medal - April 2015


   Major General David J. Conboy was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Army's third highest military decoration. The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded by the President for "exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility". Conboy's other noteworthy awards include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal.
    Major General Conboy, his wife Karen, and 6 year old daughter Clare are permanent residents of Grand Island but currently reside at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where Major General Conboy serves as the Deputy Commanding General (Operations) for the U.S. Army Reserve Command, overseeing units throughout the Continental United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Europe and Korea. In addition to stateside assignments, he has previously served in Iraq, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Greenland.
    Major General Conboy is a 1980 graduate of Grand Island High School and a 1984 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He has Masters Degrees from the University at Buffalo, and the U.S. Army War College. The Conboys have two other children: Sarah, a Notre Dame graduate and Iraq War Veteran who lives on Grand Island and teaches ROTC at Canisius College; and David, a junior studying International Relations and Chinese at the University of Pennsylvania. They also have a 7 year old granddaughter, Hailey, who attends St. Stephen School.




Islanders Join Lifetime Retriever Study - April 2015

From left: Lacey at 8-9 weeks and "Aunt Ruby", 7 1/2.

   GI High School classmates and friends Julie Smith Deveso and Dr. Melissa Mroziak have teamed up to participate in the Golden Retriever Lifetime study. "Having lost my parents and a 3-year-old golden to cancer within a four year span, I could not be more dedicated to this study," said Julie. Julie’s good friend and veterinarian, Dr. Melissa Mroziak, echoes Julie's sentiments. "We feel good that we are doing something to help. This is what we need to do."
   Julie and Melissa have been friends since high school, and have supported each other through some tough times; Melissa lost her dad around the same time as Julie's mother passed. Enter Ozzy, a "gorgeous" golden retriever who became a comfort to Julie as she navigated through this sad time. Unfortunately, Ozzy developed lymphoma at the tender age of 3, and succumbed to the disease very quickly in spite of chemotherapy. Melissa remembers the sense of helplessness she felt as she watched her friend's dog, her "baby," decline. "I remember thinking 'I can't help this dog'. We were devastated by his loss."
   Melissa was proud when she heard that Julie wanted to get a new pup, and she had an idea - together they would participate in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study as a team. "I'm in if you're in, I told Julie," Melissa said. "It is an opportunity to do something positive, not just for goldens, not just for all dogs, but for people, too!" said Julie. Her involvement in the study also is fostered by her work as a registered nurse with an interest in research with broad applications.
   The decision to enroll Lacey, Hero Dog #2399, into the study was made even before she was born. Lacey is now an active and happy 1-year-old ("She is so stinkin' cute," said Melissa). Together, these two good friends are working together to provide a brighter future in honor of the loved ones, both furry and human, they've lost to cancer. To learn more about Morris Animal Foundation's Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, and other studies, visit www.morrisanimalfoundation.org.




Andrea Nicolia - April 2015


   Two Niagara University graduate students are among eight selected by Kappa Delta Pi to facilitate leadership training this summer to students in grades 6-12 from 140 countries. Clark Davis, a graduate student in Niagara's middle childhood and adolescence education program, and Andrea Nicolia, a school counseling graduate student, are recipients of People to People Leadership Summit and World Leadership Forum travel scholarships from Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education. Davis, of Toronto, will participate in the forum being held at Harvard University, while Nicolia, a Grand Island resident, will attend the program at UCLA.
   Kappa Delta Pi maintains a partnership with People to People Ambassador Programs, which has organized unique experiences for students in fifth grade through college for 50 years. Davis and Nicolia will be part of a small team facilitating student leadership training that focuses on global citizenship, leadership skills and goal setting with students from all over the world. "We are extremely proud that two of the eight students selected nationally are from our College of Education at Niagara University," commented Dr. Debra Colley, dean of the college. The selection process was very competitive and Kappa Delta Pi received a large number of qualified applications. Applicants were selected based on international experience, strength and clarity in writing (essay responses), and their competency and confidence, as evidenced through video submissions.
   Graduate programs at Niagara position students for leadership in their field of study through extensive field experience, service contributions tied to Niagara’s mission of serving those most in need, and involvement with faculty in theory and research," Dr. Colley added. "Congratulations to Clark and Andrea for this tremendous recognition and opportunity." Davis and Nicolia are members of the Niagara University Alpha Alpha Beta chapter of Kappa Delta Pi. Nicolia serves as an officer for the chapter. Kappa Delta Pi was founded in 1911 "to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching." It currently has more than 1.2 million members.
   People to People has more than 500,000 program alumni across the globe. Niagara University's College of Education holds Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (formerly NCATE) accreditation in the U.S., Ministerial Consent through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in the Province of Ontario, and accreditation through the Ontario College of Teachers. Niagara University has had a strong presence in Ontario, Canada, for the past four decades, educating Canadian students both on its New York campus and at various sites in the greater Toronto region of Canada.




Madeleine HusVar - April 2015


   The Community Music School of Buffalo is pleased to announce that Madeleine HusVar of Grand Island is among the winners of the 24th Annual Ruth W. Marcy Scholarship Competition. Community Music School holds the annual competition to recognize the talent of its students. A soprano voice student of Community Music School teacher Maria Goodrich, HusVar won in the 12-14 year old category and will receive a $100 scholarship to the school.
    Judges for the 2015 competition included soprano Audrey Shafer, guitarist Peter VanDyke and pianist Anna Whistler, all members of the Community Music School faculty. Other 2014 competition winners were Jennifer Balazadeh of North Collins, Lia Hanes-Stetter of East Aurora, Andreea Merzianu of Buffalo and Emily Salerno of Buffalo. Founded in 1924, Community Music School provides instrument and voice lessons for people of all ages. For information, contact the school at 884.4887 or info@cms-buffalo.org, or visit www.communitymusicbuffalo.org.




Jessica Silvestri & Paul Canallatos - April 2015

Photo by StuStuStudio Photography
Article by Anne Neville, Buffalo News

   Paul Canallatos, whose ancestry is half Greek, knew how much her Italian family meant to his girlfriend, Jessica E. Silvestri. So before he proposed to her in February 2014, he went to the Kenmore home of her grandparents, Rocco and Domenica D’Abate, and asked for their blessing. And he asked in Italian. "He doesn't know Italian, but he figured out how to ask them in Italian," said Jessica. The D'Abates are the parents of Jessica's beloved mother, Dora, who died in May 2013. "Because my mom had passed away, he wanted to ask them," Jessica said.
   The pair met in August 2010, when Paul, from Long Island, was a third-year student at University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, and Jessica, from Grand Island, was attending her first-year orientation. "He thought I was someone else," said Jessica of their meeting. "He knew there was a Greek girl in the first-year class and he thought I was her. So he came up to me, and I said I wasn't that girl, but we started talking a little bit and we realized we had the same birthday, although he is two years older. So that kind of made us stick in each other's minds." After "a few dates," Jessica and Paul became a couple in January 2011. In February 2014 - the week after Valentine's Day, because Paul "doesn’t like to do cliched kinds of things," said his bride - he invited Jessica for what he said was a historical tour of Shea"s Performing Arts Center. "It was just the two of us on the tour," she said. Even when it ended on the stage, on scattered rose petals, she still "had no idea," said Jessica. "He asked me right there." After her overjoyed "yes," the couple had lunch, then went to her grandparents' house for a family get-together, with espresso. "They were so excited," said Jessica of her grandparents, who knew of her fiance's intentions before she did.
    The couple are both first-year residents in the three-year prosthodontics program at West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va. The dental specialty deals with dentures, implants and other tooth replacements. Although they plan to return to Western New York after graduation, they might not practice together. "He wants to do more hospital-based work, and I'm thinking more of a private practice," said Jessica. The pair were married at 2:30 p.m. on March 7 in St. Paul Catholic Church in Kenmore, with the Rev. Joseph Vatter of St. Paul's hearing their vows. Guests gathered for a reception at Hotel @ the Lafayette. The bride, daughter of Philip J. Silvestri of Grand Island and the late Dora M. Silvestri, is a graduate of Nardin Academy. She earned a bachelor's degree in biology from SUNY Geneseo and a doctorate in dental surgery from UB Dental School. The bridegroom, son of Paul Canallatos of Mamaroneck and Paula Canallatos of Deer Park, graduated from Farmingdale High School. He earned a bachelor's degrees in biomedical sciences with minors in pharmacology and toxicology from the University at Buffalo and a doctorate in dental surgery from the UB Dental School. After a trip to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the couple are back at home in Morgantown.




Grace Whelan Justen & Donnie Hennigar - April 2015

From left: Grace Whelan Justen and Donnie Hennigar

    Grace Whelan Justen and Donnie Hennigar, ages 85 and 91, have been great friends for many years and recently reunited at Lighthouse Point Yacht Club in South Florida. Also in attendence were their children Jodi Whelan Lurcott and Steve Lurcott, Curtis Hennigar, Scott and Marie Hennigar, Don Whelan and grandchildren Julie Thorne and Brendon Hennigar. A great time was had by all visiting with three generations, together for an island reunion. The Hennigars and Whelan's go back over 40 years to the good old days living on West River.




Neil Tetkowski - March 2015


    Grand Island native Neil Tetkowski has an exhibition of his artwork in nearby Waterloo, Ontario beginning Sunday, March 29th. "RETHINKING MYTHOS: A Mid-career Retrospective" is at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, located at 25 Caroline Street North. A reception will be held on opening Sunday from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. This comprehensive exhibition will include the "World Clay", large ceramic sculpture that was featured at the United Nations in New York City in the year 2000. The sculpture contains material from all 188 member nations that were at that time in the UN. The exhibit will be featured until June 21, 2015. Neil is a graduate of Grand Island High School. See gallery description.




Mr. and Mrs. David Henderson - March 2015


   Mr. and Mrs. David Henderson of Grand Island celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary at a dinner with family and friends. Mr. Henderson and the former Judith Greenwood were married March 12, 1960, in St. John Bosco Church in Malone. He is retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and formerly worked part time at River Oaks Golf Course. They have four children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.




Mr. and Mrs. Robert Grabowski - March 2015


    Michelle L. Mays and Robert M. Grabowski were married at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 7 in Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, Buffalo, where a reception was held following the ceremony. Friend of the groom, Joseph Costa of Universal Life Church in Buffalo, heard the couple's vows. The bride's parents are Mark and Lori Mays of Grand Island. The bridegroom's parents are Robert J. and Debra Grabowski of West Seneca. The bride is a graduate of Mount St. Mary Academy. She earned a bachelor's degree in history and secondary education from Mercyhurst University and also earned a master's degree in education from SUNY Buffalo State. The bride is a social studies teacher at Mount St. Mary Academy. The groom is a graduate of West Seneca East High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Canisius College. He is an instructional support specialist at Canisius College. After a trip to the Finger Lakes, the couple will make their home in Kenmore.




Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sugar - March 2015


    Carissa M. Bailey and Robert E. Sugar were married at 4 p.m. on Jan. 2 in Westminster Presbyterian Church, Buffalo. Guests gathered for a reception at Hotel @ The Lafayette, Buffalo. The Rev. Carla Kline of Island Presbyterian Church, Grand Island, heard the couple's vows. The bride's parents are David W. and Cheryl A. Bailey of Grand Island. The bridegroom's parents are James and Cristine L. Sugar of Grand Island. The bride is a graduate of Grand Island High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in music education from SUNY Fredonia and also earned a master's degree in music education from the University at Buffalo. The bride is an elementary music teacher at Freetown Elementary School. The groom is a graduate of Grand Island High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University at Buffalo and also earned a master's degree in architecture from Rhode Island School of Design. He is a professional associate at Sasaki. After a trip to Mount Washington Resort, the couple will make their home in Providence, R.I.




Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Janowski - March 2015


    Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Janowski of Grand Island celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with their family. Mr. Janowski and the former Ruth Schultz were married March 12, 1955, in First Trinity Lutheran Church in Buffalo. He is retired from Georgia Pacific, formerly St. Regis Paper Co. in Kenmore. She formerly worked at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Buffalo. They have two daughters, a grandson and a great-granddaughter.




Tara McDonnell Bondi - March 2015

Angel Sanchez and Tara McDonnell Bondi

    Baked Cupcakery owner Tara McDonnell Bondi won the Best Cupcakes in WNY title on Thursday, March 12th. Kiss 98.5 sponsored the event at the Classic V Banquet Center. The winning cupcake was a "Twix" flavor. Congratulations.




Luke Gworek Team Fundraisers - March 2015


   Luke Gworek has "Team Luke" raising funds for the Ride for Roswell in his honor. They have two fundraisers planned over the next couple months. The first is easy, save your cans and bottles, take them to Grand Island Bottle Junction at 2447 Grand Island Blvd and tell them you would like to donate to Team Luke. The team will even make a pick up at your home, call 713-2452.
   The second fundraiser is a Comedy Show at Rob's Comedy Playhouse on April 26th. If you would like to donate to the basket raffle that evening or sell tickets to the event, call 713-2452. See flyer for details. Team Luke has 25 members and raised over $12,000 for the Ride For Roswell last year. This year their goal is $20,000.




Lindsey Spiker - February 2015

   Dean's List Announcement
    SUNY Plattsburgh has released the names of students who made the college's dean's list for fall 2014. To be eligible, undergraduate students must achieve a minimum 3.5 semester grade point average with at least 12 credit hours. Congratulations to Lindsey Spiker of East River Road, she is a freshman majoring in Biology.




Claire Marie Tarbell - February 2015


   Congratulations to Dr. Justine (Kirsch) Tarbell and Dr. Stephen C. Tarbell II of Anchorage, Alaska, proud parents of a beautiful baby girl, Claire Marie Tarbell, born January 28th, weighing 6 lb. 13 oz. Grandparents are Jeff and Barb Kirsch of Grand Island and Steve and Pam Tarbell of Perry, NY.




Megan Karpie - February 2015


    Grand Island's Megan Karpie will be among the participants when members of the RIT women's cross-country team embark on a eight-day, 1,400-mile "Tiger Trail" run beginning March 21st in Auburn, Ala. Each participant will run 3-mile shifts during the journey that benefits and cultivates awareness for the "Tigers for Tigers" (T4T) coalition concerned with the dramatic worldwide decline in tiger populations. RIT's runners will start at Auburn University and head north through Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga., Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., Towson University in Towson, Md., Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., SUNY Cobleskill in Cobleskill, N.Y., and back to the campus of RIT on Sunday, March 28. Each stop will be at a college or university that features the Tiger as its mascot, like RIT, or is otherwise affiliated with T4T.
    The goals of the national Tigers for Tigers coalition are to make a positive impact on the tiger conservation, associate the tiger mascot pride with the tigers of the wild and establish passion for the T4T organization, and create conservation professionals out of student leaders. For more information visit www.t4tcoalition.org. To help support the RIT women runners and Tigers for Tigers, please donate here.




Matthew Robinson, Christopher Swagler - February 2015

   Dean's List Announcements
   The College at Brockport (SUNY) recently announced that Matthew M Robinson, GIHS class of 2012, has been named to the Dean's List for the Fall 2014 semester. Matt, a junior, is a Athletic Training major and Kinesiology minor in the Department of Kinesiology, Sport Studies, and Physical Education. Matt is the son of Ken and Deb Robinson. Congratulations!
    Niagara University recently announced that Christopher Sean Swagler, GIHS class of 2014, has been named to the Dean's List for the Fall 2014 semester. Christopher, a freshman, is majoring in Bio/Chemistry. Congratulations!




Pastor Cal VanderMey - February 2015


    WIVB Story & video.
   Channel 4 news did a story on Pastor Cal VanderMey of Bible Fellowship Center on Tuesday, February 17th. Pastor Cal has 40 customers on his snow plow list and his service is free! Click on the link above to see the full story and video of this special Island resident.




Scott Henderson, Regional Sales Manager - February 2015


   Essex Homes is pleased to announce the recent hire of Scott Henderson as Regional Sales Manager. His primary focus is on our patio homes in the Essex Greens at Waterford community located in Clarence. "With over 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and management, we look forward to the fresh ideas and professionalism that Mr. Henderson will bring to the Essex team," said Philip J. Nanula, President of Essex Homes of WNY.
    Scott currently serves on the Board of Directors for Niagara Sailing Club of Grand Island, Board of Directors for Riverside Business Association and on the Board of Managers for the Town Boy & Girls Club of the Northtowns. In addition, he previously worked as the Sales/Project Manager at Advantage Woodshop and Blackbox Creative where he developed local marketing strategies, product sales and customer service and worked with interior design/build projects. Scott graduated from Buffalo State College with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
   Essex Homes invites you to stop by and meet Scott Henderson at their Essex Greens model, located at 9072 Bancroft Drive in Clarence Center open Saturdays or Sundays 1 - 5pm.




Emily Kernin - February 2015

    Niagara University recently announced that Emily Kernin, GIHS class of 2014, has been named to the Dean's List for the Fall 2014 semester. Emily, a freshman, is majoring in General Studies with a minor in Psychology. Congratulations!




Ashley Serianni - February 2015

   Ithaca College recently announced that Ashley Serianni, GIHS class of 2013, has been named to the Dean's List for the Fall 2014 semester. Ashley, a sophomore, is a television-radio major in the Roy H. Park School of Communications, with a minor in theatre at Ithaca College. Congratulations!




Michael Davis & Christie Utz Engagement - February 2015


   Former Islanders Michael Craig Davis and Christie Anne Utz, of Springfield, Virginia are happy to announce that they are engaged and planning a summer wedding. The couple graduated from Grand Island High School in 2007. Christie, the daughter of Maureen and Robert Utz, is the Nurse Manager of Falls Church Pediatrics. Michael, the son of Craig and Sheila Davis, is a Digital Forensic Examiner for the U.S Department of Justice. Their family and friends are looking forward to celebrating the joyous union of these two beautiful and successful young people at Niagara University Chapel...and then they will live happily ever after.




Thom Hatch, Author - February 2015


   Former Island resident Thom Hatch has written numerous books about the west, many of them about George Armstrong Custer. His most recently published book is "The Last Days of George Armstrong Custer", "the true story of the battle of Little Bighorn." The publisher writes "Hatch's The Last Days of George Armstrong Custer reveals the untold and controversial truth of what really happened in the valley of the Little Bighorn, making it the definitive history of Custer's last stand."
   Thom grew up on Grand Island and moved prior to his senior year. After serving in Vietnam, he worked as a newspaper columnist and radio announcer and ended up in Colorado, publishing his first book in 1996. Take a look at his website to learn about the almost dozen books he has written over the years. Thom's books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. A few of them are also available through the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.




Tetreault Named NEAC Student-Athlete of the Week - February 2015


    Buffalo, NY - Freshman Brock Tetreault (Grand Island, NY/Grand Island) has been named the North East Athletic Conference Student-Athlete of the Week, announced by the NEAC on Tuesday.
   The freshman had another impressive week to begin his first season as a Spartan. Against Penn State-Behrend, Tetreault led the team in both kills (17) and digs (11) in the 5 set game. With a team high 18.5 points, Brock was all over the offensive end. Adding 1 service ace to go with his 1 block assist, Tetreault was a key player for the Spartans in their first home game of the season. D'Youville fell to the Lions 3-2.
    In the team's win over nationally ranked Stevenson University on Sunday, Tetreault was a team leader once again, including getting the game winning point for the Spartans. The Grand Island, NY native tied for the team lead with 16 kills and was second on the team with 14 digs. Tetreault had 18.5 points to lead the team for the second straight game, also tallying an assist, one service ace and 3 block assists. The Spartans came back to defeat Stevenson by the final score of 3-2.
   This season, Brock is the team leader in kills, digs, points, is second in service aces and is tied for third in total blocks. The freshman currently leads the NEAC in total kills (65) while being second in points (77.5) and fourth in digs (61) for the Spartans. Earlier this season, Tetreault was also named to the All-Tournament Team at the SUNYIT Invitational.




Marc Scibilia - February 2015


    Marc Scibilia grew up on Grand Island, graduated from GIHS in 2004 and has been living in Nashville as a singer-songwriter for the last five years. Marc was the featured singer in a Super Bowl commercial for JEEP on Sunday, February 1st, singing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." Writer Brian Mansfield of USA Today wrote an article in the February 2nd edition of the paper. Click here to see the article and a video of Marc singing the song from the commercial.




Alyssa and Alexis Cino, Zoe Dodd - February 2015

   Dean's List Announcements
   SUNY Cortland recently announced that Alyssa and Alexis Cino, GIHS class of 2013, have been named to the Dean's List for the Fall 2014 semester. Alyssa is majoring in Psychology and Alexis is majoring in Criminal Justice. Congratulations!
   St. Bonaventure University announced that Zoe Dodd, GIHS class of 2013, has been named to the Dean's List for the Fall 2014 semester. Zoe is majoring in English.




Stephanie Senn - January 2015

    Congratulations to Stephanie Senn on her superior academic achievement for the Fall 2014 semester at Kent State University, and being named to the Dean's List. Stephanie is also the starting goalkeeper for the Kent State Women's Soccer team, and her accomplishments on and off the field are a source of pride and pleasure to her family as well as the College of Arts and Sciences at the University. Stephanie is a 2012 graduate of Grand Island High school and is majoring in Criminology & Justice Studies, with a concentration in Deviance and a minor in Psychology.




Jenna Lee & Joseph Juliano Engaged - January 2015


    Todd and Jamie Lee of Grand Island, NY and Joseph and Leigh Juliano of Indianapolis, IN, are overwhelmed with excitement in announcing the news of a Christian Wedding Ceremony, between daughter and son, Jenna Lee and Joseph Juliano in August 2015! Meeting while away at college the two have fallen deeply in love and have been inseparable ever since. The future bride has completed her surgical technology degree and her fiance is finishing up his pastoral degree and will be attending Seminary School in the near future.




Kelly Remington on CBS "Survivor" - January 2015


   Grand Island resident and NYS Trooper Kelly Remington, 44, is on the 30th edition of the CBS reality series "Survivor". This year's series is called "Survivor: World Apart" and the teams are broken up into three teams, white collar, blue collar and no collar. Kelly is on the blue collar team. A 90-minure premiere is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on February 25th on Channel 4. Kelly is quoted as saying in her Survivor bio that her favorite sport is watching football and playing racquetball and her reason for being on the program is "the million dollars and the adventure of being on Survivor."




Grace Schillaci Marries James Szakacs - January 2015


    Grace Schillaci and James Szakacs were married at 2 p.m. on July 12, 2014, in St. Amelia Catholic Church, Tonawanda. Guests gathered for a reception at Acqua Restaurant and Banquets. The Rev. Dave Baker of St. Amelia Catholic Church heard the couple's vows. The bride's parents are Salvatore and Rita Schillaci of Amhest. The bridegroom's parents are Tibor and Vilma Szakacs of Appleton. The bride is a graduate of Amherst High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from SUNY Buffalo State and also earned a master's degree in education from Canisius College. The bride is a teacher for Buffalo Public Schools. The groom is a graduate of Kenmore East High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University at Buffalo. He is a commercial real estate appraiser at KLW Group. The couple will make their home in Grand Island.




Emily A. Dinsmore Marries Frederick N. Meyer - January 2015


    Emily A. Dinsmore and Frederick N. Meyer were married at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2014, in Four Points by Sheraton, Niagara Falls, where a reception was held following the ceremony. Dr. Jennifer K. Lang, close friend and college roommate of the bride, heard the couple's vows. The bride's parents are Suzanne E. Tomkins and John R. Study of Grand Island; and Edward F. Dinsmore and Karen Waybright of Buffalo. The bridegroom's parents are Agnes and Ronald N. Meyer of North Tonawanda. The bride is a graduate of Grand Island High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Cornell University and also earned a juris doctor degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law. The bride is a law clerk at Hodgson Russ, LLP. The groom is a graduate of North Tonawanda High School. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in applied mathematics from SUNY Buffalo State. He is an assistant vice president and senior risk analyst at M&T Bank. After a road trip from Portland, Ore., to San Francisco, with stops in Napa Valley and Big Sur, the couple will make their home in Buffalo.




James Osborn - January 2015

   Congratulations to James Osborn of Grand Island for making the President's List at West Virginia University in his first semester with a 4.0 average. James is the son of Al & Lisa Osborn and is studying Petroleum Engineering. They are very proud of his achievement.




Don Aschenbrenner - January 2015


   Grand Island resident Nancy Wonacott passed along a "good news" story about her cousin and former Island resident Don Aschenbrenner. Don, 52, grew up on the Island in a water skiing family. His earliest ski memory is riding on his dad's shoulders skiing in the Niagara River. Don participates in short-line slalom tournament skiing and in the last two years won his division in the GOODE Water Ski National Championships (2013 & 2014), making him a back-to-back national champion.
    Don started skiing the Niagara River at age seven and entered his first tournament in 1979. Don moved south to a town near Charlotte, North Carolina in 1997 where he can ski daily from late March until October. The short-line event works like this: skiers pass through a course and maneuver around six buoys, after each pass the rope is shortened. The boat runs at a constant 34 mph and most skiers finish each pass at 17 seconds or less. He entered his first national event in 2001 and has qualified every year since. See story from Charlotte Observer.




James P. Rustowicz - January 2015

    James P. Rustowicz, son of Kevin and Maura Rustowicz of Tracey Lane has been named to the Fall 2014 Dean's List at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. Rustowicz, a sophomore, is a Business and Marketing major, with a minor in finance and law. To be eligible for the Dean's List at St. John Fisher college, a student must have attained at least a 3.4 grade-point average for the semester.