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Previous News Page

Mary Cooke & Joe Synakowski - December 2017

Mary Cooke and Joe Synakowski

New U.S.S. Little Rock.

Buffalo Adademy for the Performing Arts Choir

Navy Band. - Mary Cooke photos.

    Mary Cooke and 82nd Airborne WWII Veteran Joe Synakowski were able to take in the commissioning of the new USS Little Rock LCS 9 on Saturday, December 16, 2017. Only 10,000 tickets were available and all were reserved before Thanksgiving. The gates opened at 8:00 a.m. and they arrived at 9:00 a.m., after parking on Court Street and taking the Metro Rail. Security was tight, but there were no waiting lines at that time.
    Guests were required to show their ID and tickets in the pre-clearance area, then moved through the official entry and metal detectors to the "Naval Base". Once inside, you were not allowed to leave and come back in. After securing good seats with a view of the jumbo tron, the duo tried to stay warm by walking around and taking photos of the sights. Students from the Buffalo Academy for the Performing Arts sang for an hour before the 11:00 a.m. start. Music performed during the ceremony was by the Navy Band.
   Ship sailors were scattered throughout the audience, and when they were called to report to duty, ran through the audience and up onto the ship. The commissioning ceremony continued a three century old tradition, and used by the US Navy since December 1775, when Alfred, the first ship of the Continental Navy, was commissioned in Philadelphia. When the ceremoney was over, the audience was invited to take a tour of the ship and talk to the crew.
   This was Joe's second commissioning experience. In 1982 he traveled with The Chopin Singing Society, as an assistant to support the group, to Newport News, VA. On May 8th, the SSN Buffalo 715, a nuclear submarine, was launched. The Chopin Singing Society sang at the ceremony. Joe says the weather was great that day, much warmer than on Saturday! After over 35 years in service, the SSN Buffalo 715 will soon be decommissioned.

Eva Bobeck - December 2017

    Eva Bobeck, daughter of School Board Trustee Glenn Bobeck and Ann Bobeck, recently submitted a music video to the PTA Reflections Program. This is a national PTA program that encourages participation in the arts. The theme this year is "within reach" and her video is titled "Promised Land". The music and lyrics were composed by Eva. All instruments, lead and harmony vocals were by Eva. She also recorded, mixed, mastered, video design, produced and edited. Camera work was done by sister & friend Sophia. Click to see the video on facebook or YouTube.

Jean Wholahan - December 2017

From left: Joan Photiadis, Lee Tetkowski, Louie D'Orazio, Terri Parks, Daisy Moore, and seated is 103 year old Jean Wholahan. Photo taken by friend, Janet Massaro.

    On December 2nd, Jean Wholahan turned 103 years old! Here she is with some of her friends who brought a luncheon party to her home on Broadway to celebrate. Jean enjoyed the fun and food and memories of many shared times with the League of Women Voters and her church group, from many decades of involvement.

Saundra Marcel - November 2017

    New York, November 28, 2017 - Former Grand Island resident Saundra Marcel this month launched the website lifeonaporkchop.com which sells Island-themed products such as hats, tote bags, postcards, and more. The purpose of this initiative is to raise money to fund the printing and production of Life on a Pork Chop, a self-published book about Grand Island. It is described as "a combination of GI history and personal memoir essays, some funny, some idyllic, all relatable to fellow and former islanders. It's a project I've been working on (slowly) for several years. A few more months of hard work and it will be ready to share with all of my dearest GI friends." The products are for sale for prices ranging from $25 to $55 and are marketed exclusively to current and former Grand Island residents.
    The products are branded "pork chop," which references the shape of Grand Island and the book's title. This project is a creative way to raise money, with 100% of proceeds from the sale of these items supporting publication of Life on a Pork Chop. Just in time for holiday gift-giving, "pork chop" items are great stocking stuffers that come with a special bonus. Give cool gifts, and support a cool project. Customers who spend $100 or more will have their name included in the book. For more information, contact saundra@lifeonaporkchop.com.

P.J. Marston - November 2017


From left: Pete Jr., P.J. & Susan Marston.

   P.J. Marston joined the Junior Drag Racing Series at Lancaster Dragway this summer. Every Tuesday night, he and 2 dozen other kids 8-16 years old raced their Purpose Built Junior Dragsters. It was a family affair, with parents and kids enjoying the fun. At a recent banquet, P.J. was named to the top 10, in his rookie year. Congratulations P.J.!

Daniel Tracy - October 2017

Top five Iron Event winners with Dan Tracy.

From left: Dan Tracy Sr., Dan Tracy Jr., Jeff and Jane Cooke.

   A fundraiser for Grand Island native and executive chef Daniel Tracy was held on Sunday, October 15th at Buffalo RiverWorks. It is called "The Iron Event" and is a "top-chef - best amuse bouche" competition. This fundraiser, in its 7th year, features a group of WNY Chefs supporting one of their own. Daniel Tracy was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease) in May of 2010, when he was a chef at Black & Blue. The fundraiser started with a couple of chef friends offering to help Dan plan a benefit to defray the $10,000 in medical bills that had accumulated in coming up with Dan's diagnosis. The Iron Event name was inspired by Lou Gehrig's nickname "The Iron Horse" and capitalizes on the natural competitive nature of chefs. While ALS has taken Dan's ability to be a chef, he is able to organize The Iron Event on a computer at a small desk in his room at a nursing home, despite not being able to talk or move much.
   This competition, requiring each competitor to provide every guest with an amuse bouche (literally, a "mouth amuser" to prepare the guest for a meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef's approach to the art of cuisine) and the guests vote for the winners. This year's top five, from over 20 competing chefs/restaurants are shown with Dan Tracy. In first place, Park Country Club; second, Grange Community Kitchen; third, This Little Pig; fourth, Barrel & Brine; and fifth, Yoshi Sushi Bar. Trophies were awarded, as well as prizes donated by The Sausage Maker. Dan's Dad, Dan Tracy, Sr., lives on Baseline Road and is shown with his son, and Jeff and Jane Cooke from This Little Pig. A huge contingent of volunteers, several from Grand Island, along with the chefs and staff from their restaurants and event sponsors, makes the annual event possible and very successful.
   ALS is a serious neurological disease that causes muscle weakness and quickly affects one's ability to control the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. There is no known cause and no successful treatment. The cost of care for a person with ALS is staggering, estimated at $250,000 - $350,000 a year beyond the second year after diagnosis. When asked about a typical day, Dan said, "Every day is harder than the last. With ALS you have to find new ways of doing things that were easy just the day before." Find more photos on Facebook at The Iron Event and online at theironevent.com.

Jeff & Jane Cooke - October 2017

   New Williamsville Restaurant has Island Ties.
   Chef Jeff Cooke (GI Class of 1991) and his wife Mandy are the proud owners of a new upscale American Restaurant, This Little Pig. It opened at Main Street and Transit Road in Williamsville on July 20, 2017. On board as Sous Chef is Jeff's sister, Jane Cooke, GI Class of 2013 and a 2015 graduate of the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. Open every day of the week except Mondays, you can enjoy lunch Tuesdays - Fridays from 11 am - 2 pm and dinner Tuesdays - Saturdays, 4 pm - 10 pm. Brunch, featuring a Bloody Mary Bar and bottomless Mimosas, is served on Sundays from 10 am - 2 pm.
   This Little Pig features fresh local food creatively prepared into awesome standards and daily specials. A full menu of appetizers, salads, pizzas, entrees and desserts is complimented with local brews, an extensive wine selection and a full bar.
   Just weeks after opening, This Little Pig entered Buffalo's 2nd Annual Meatball Street Brawl in the freestyle category with Jeff's creation of a Smoked Pork and Bacon meatball in Carolina Barbeque Sauce. If you think that sounds sublime, you're right! This Little Pig's entry captured "Best Freestyle Meatball" from the judges, and "Best Overall Meatball" from the crowd! Check out This Little Pig on Facebook, to see daily specials, and head over to 4401 Transit Road soon for some delicious food!

Denise Filosofos - October 2017

    Denise Filosofos was recently named the 2017 recipient of the Susan G. Komen Upstate New York annual LOVE Award. It honors a volunteer who works tirelessly to advance the Komen mission and inspires others to do the same. The award was presented on Saturday, October 7th at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, at Komen's 16th annual Survivor Luncheon. Denise is a breast cancer survivor and has participated in the Race for the Cure since 2001. After retiring in 2010, she has been a regular volunteer with the group.

Marwa Eltagouri - October 2017

    On September 29, 2017, the Washington Post announced that former Islander Marwa Eltagouri is joining the General Assignment News desk at their publication. Marwa started her journalism career as an intern at Isledegrande her senior year of high school. She graduated from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a degree in magazine journalism and worked for three years at the Chicago Tribune. See press release. Congratulations Marwa!

Natalie Charlotte Menter - September 2017


Left: First car ride home from hospital. Right: Cheering on the Bills in their win over Denver.

    Congratulations to Jen and Joe Menter on the arrival of their lovely daughter, Natalie Charlotte Menter. Natalie was born on September 8th and was 6 lbs, 8 oz; 21 in. long.

Dorothy Bittner - September 2017

By Mary Stewart

   Recently, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, formerly known as the Buffalo Naval Servicemens Park, celebrated the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the USS Little Rock and USS The Sullivans. As part of the celebration, a plaque was unveiled with the names of those who were instrumental in securing the decommissioned ships and bringing them to Buffalo. Among the names listed was Islander, Dorothy Bittner, who was and still is a member of the USCG auxiliary.
     In the mid 1970's, former City Court Judge Anthony La Russo contacted Dorothy to see if she would be interested in being on the committee to work on getting a decommissioned ship to Buffalo. She accepted the offer and became part of an eight member team who spent over a year setting the ground work. In 1977, most of the crew who went to Philadelphia to bring back the USS Sullivan were Buffalo city employees. When they arrived in Philadelphia to pick up the Sullivan, they were asked if they would like to take the Little Rock also. The answer was yes, and both ships were brought to Buffalo.
    People attending the 40th anniversary celebration were told there wouldn't have been a naval park had it not been for the efforts of the people to make this happen. Among the projects Dorothy was involved in was the small handouts that were given to visitors as they toured the ships. She wrote stories about the ships and explanations of "ship language". Included in the handout were pictures and drawings. Dorothy enjoys looking back at the early years when the naval park had its beginning.
    On August 4, 2017, New York State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD) announced a $500,000 grant that will be used to support the construction of a Hall of Honor. The hall will highlight the heroic actions of WNY veterans. The commissioning of the future USS Little Rock LCS 9 is tentatively scheduled for December 16th, 2017 at Canalside Buffalo, adjacent to the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. This will mark the very first time in the Navy's 241-year history that a ship will be commissioned alongside its namesake ship. This is an historic event that will draw national interest! buffalonavalpark.org.

Mary Howard - September 2017

From left: New York State Commission of Education MaryEllen Elia stands with Mary Howard and her husband, Henry.

Grand Island Sixth-Grade Teacher Reflects on Experience as a Finalist for NYS Teacher of the Year Award.
   Mary Howard, a sixth-grade teacher at Veronica E. Connor Middle School, recently competed as one of five finalists for the 2018 New York State Teacher of the Year. Her experience also had an embedded lesson for her students. "I encourage my students to be critical thinkers, to express themselves and to be fearless, because when we take risks (especially academic ones) it can lead to great things. There was no better way to model that than for them to see me go through the Teacher of the Year selection process," she said.
   The annual selection for Teacher of the Year recognizes the exceptionally skilled and passionate educators who exist in every school in the state. As part of this effort, Mrs. Howard engaged in professional development and reflection as she completed the rigorous Teacher of the Year application. A comprehensive selection process included review of Mrs. Howard's reflection essays, lesson observation, panel interview, delivering a speech and a site visit where interviews were held with colleagues, administrators and students.
   As far as not coming home with the big award? Mrs. Howard was most worried about disappointing her students. VCMS held a dress for success day in viking blue the day she left for her panel interview. "I told the students how nervous and scared I was every step of the way. In fact, they saw it first-hand. I always create an atmosphere that fosters risk-taking in the classroom," she said. Brockport Schools' fourth-grade teacher Christopher Albrecht was selected as the 2018 Teacher of the Year out of 207,000 teachers across New York State.
   "My students checked in with me all summer long and during the first two weeks of school hoping to hear the big news," she said. "When I returned, they might have been disappointed, but they were proud, they celebrated and they certainly gave generous hugs!" she said.
   On Sept. 12, Mrs. Howard visited the NYSED Board of Regent's meeting to receive her finalist award. At the ceremony, Christine Collins, 8th Judicial Regent, read an extensive list of Mrs. Howard's accomplishments that contributed to her finalist award; her bronze Presidential Volunteer Service award, the Lee M. Bryant Outstanding Teacher award, serving and speaking on behalf the New York State Conference for Technology in Education, numerous speaking engagements locally at Niagara Community College, Canisius College, and Cornell University and nationally at the Michigan Conference for Computer Use in Learning and at the International Society for Technology in Education. Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, Chancellor Betty Rosa and Vice Chancellor Andrew Brown were among the Regents that were on hand to congratulate the finalists.
   Reflecting on her experience, she said it was rewarding and yet humbling. When listening to the vast wealth of experience and dedication of her fellow recipients she was thrilled to be included. "The support of my students, colleagues and the district was incredible. During the site visit by the interview panel, NYSUT Union President Michael Murray, Veronica E. Connor Middle School Principal John Fitzpatrick and Superintendent Brian Graham all took time out of their busy schedules to be interviewed by the Teacher of the Year committee on my behalf," she said.

Angelo F. LaDuca. - September 2017

   Grand Island artist has message for seniors. - Samples of paintings to be displayed.
   Beginning October 5th, there will be an art show with 42 oil paintings created by Island resident Angelo F. LaDuca, at The Heritage Village Museum in Amherst. The purpose of the show is to let people know that it is never too late to pursue your desire to become an artist. or to learn any new hobby that will challenge your ability to do something that you have always wanted to do. Angelo began painting at the age of 68 and in the past 12 years has created over 175 oil paintings that will become his legacy to family, friends and others.
   Angelo invites all to see the fruits of his labor. The Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village Museum located at 3755 Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst NY 14228, will during the month of October, display 42 works of art created by Mr. LaDuca,. The title of the show is "Angelo LaDuca Celebrates Being 80 With An Art Show". There will be a free opening reception Thursday, October 5th, 2017 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. In addition, there will be a free Artist talk on Thursday, October 12th at 6:30 p.m. Mr. LaDuca will be giving a talk entitled "What an Artist thinks about when doing a painting". A second free reception will take place Saturday, October 14th from 12 Noon-4:30 p.m. The art show will be on exhibit for the month of October for museum visitors.
   Visiting any of these three free events will enable many individuals to experience, for the first time, the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Museum. which is a 35 acre complex featuring historical buildings, memorabilia and the art gallery. One of the events will be a talk by Angelo, who will tell about the experience of learning how to create interesting paintings. Learning a new hobby requires time and effort to acquire the skill needed. As a person ages it is easy to become dormant. Angelo likes to say, "If you don’t use it you lose it". It is easy to become a couch potato in front of the TV, but when you look at what is on TV these days, that is not always good choice. It is a proven fact that the more you use your mind, the more your mind can continue to work for you. Angelo will discuss the types of things that he had to learn to be able to paint his artistic works.
   Another aspect of exploring a new field of interest is that it will bring you in contact with many people who are working out the same problems that you are seeking to deal with. People who share a hobby learn from one another. There are many events, that with like-minded people, will add to your enjoyment of life. As people age, their capacity to do what were once easy tasks becomes more and more limited. Angelo pointed out that art for him is still within the range of his capabilities.
   Western New York has plenty of excellent educational opportunities. There are many talented artists in our area and the benefits of taking on Angelo's challenge can bring great rewards to all that accept it. Also, as a Senior citizen, many local colleges allow you to take classes free of charge. So if you have the opportunity, you are invited to come to one of the three events to meet Angelo, talk to him and to see his work.

Robin Coffey - September 2017

   Buffalo, N.Y. - Clark Patterson Lee, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for more than 40 years, is pleased to welcome Robin Coffey as senior marketing coordinator. As senior marketing coordinator, Coffey is responsible for preparing proposals and qualifications materials, and providing business development support for the Buffalo region. She has 30 years of marketing experience in the industry and joins Clark Patterson Lee after serving as senior marketing coordinator for Cannon Design. Coffey resides in Grand Island, NY.
   Clark Patterson Lee has a contract with the Town of Grand Island consulting on the Comprehensive Master Plan. They are also working on a feasiblility study for a community center at no charge.

Jacob McMahon Injured in California - September 2017

   A Grand Island resident is among the 15 Marines injured at a Camp Pendleton, CA. accident. Jacob McMahon, son of Maryann and Sean McMahon, was injured when a personnel carrier burst into flames. Jake is in Scripps Memorial Burn Center with 1st & 2nd degree burns. Maryann and Sean left immediately to be at Jakes bedside. Jake is the grandson of Mary McMahon of Grand Island and Peter McMahon of Massachusetts. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in California went to the Hospital on September 13, 2017 to offer any assistance and help. Several phone calls between the VFW and members of the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post were made to reassure Jake was in good hands and everything was being done to treat Jake for his injuries.
   See WGRZ story.
   Go Fund Me - The goal is to help the FAMILY of Jake McMahon (including his parents and grandparents!) while they remain by Jake's side as he heals from the injuries he sustained.

Bob Weaver, Boat Restoration Project - September 2017

   On Thursday, September 7th, a story about Bob Weaver and the 40 year restoration of his 1929 Dodge Watercar 26' was featured on the Woody Boater website. The "Barracuda" was purchased when Bob was in his twenties and restored in the Muskoka, Canada area. See story here.

Ellie and Paul Robinson - August 2017

Paul Robinson photo.

The Robinsons enjoying the show - Mike Moses photo.

   Ellie and Paul Robinson traveled to Paducah, KY to see the eclipse last Monday. After many years on the Island, they are now headed to Victor, NY, to live. You will be missed!.

Charlie & Jack Pratt - August 2017

From left: Jack & Charlie Pratt.

   Grand Island brothers, Charlie & Jack Pratt, won gold at the Royal Canadian Henley competition in Ontario last weekend. See Buffalo News story by Matt Schneidman.

Jon & Kayla McGinn - August 2017

Jon & Kayla McGinn.

   The parents of Kayla Salonek and Jon McGinn proudly announce the recent marriage of their children, married in a private ceremony in the Salonek backyard. The bride is the daugher of Paul and Christine Salonek and the groom is the son of Dennis & Linda McGinn. The bride wore her mothers wedding gown and carried a bouquet of flowers from her own garden. Jon will be taking a job as Superintendent of the Black Canyon Golf Course in Montrose, Colorado. A party is being held in the couples honor to celebrate the nuptuals and the move to Colorado.

Rayhill's Celebrate 71st Anniversary of Meeting - August 2017

Joanne and Ted at Med School graduation in 1954.

   Today Dr. Edward A. Rayhill and Joanne Decot Rayhill celebrate their seventy-first year together. On August 17th, 1946, a young Edward known as "Ted" to his friends, crashed Bud Decot's wedding reception, where he met the groom's younger sister Joanne and fell in love at first sight. After dating for almost seven years, they were married in 1953 and now have four children, eight grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. Grandson Michael wrote: "I thought this photo of Ted's Med School graduation in 1954 would be fitting because Joanne's father was an eye doctor and I think it was nice for his son-in-law to follow into the medical practice. My Grandma also helped him study through pre-med and medical school. Congratulations Rayhills!

Melissa Fargino - August 2017

    Melissa Fargino is helping to organize a multiple sclerosis fundraiser, inspired by her mom Denise who was diagnosed with MS three years ago. The event will be held on Saturday, August 19th at D'Arcy McGee's, 257 Franklin St. from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. See the Buffalo News story by Scott Scanlon.

Happy Birthday Gigi! - July 2017

Gianna Priscilla Lesanti

Sent by Jeffrey J. Lesanti Jr., the daddy.
   To Our Sweet Daughter on Your First Birthday.
   To my sweet baby girl on her first birthday,
    Gigi where do I begin? Should I start with when your Mommy first told me that you were growing in her belly? Or can it be when I heard your heart beat for the first time? Could it be when I saw your precious silhouette on the ultrasound while holding your Mommy's hand? Or should it be when we were trying to find the perfect fitting name?
    From early on we knew we had a precious Angel to prepare for. It was time to plan the items needed: a crib; a changing pad; onesies and sleepers; stuffed animals; and books. Soon we realized, a new home was in order as we outgrew our first, and needed something bigger, something better. The home went up for sale and Mommy and I looked upon 'The Island' that we grew up on, knowing it was best for our family.
    The day you entered this world, your Mommy, Bobshi, Nana, your big brother Valentino and I were full of emotions. Questions stirring, thoughts provoking, feelings circulating, and anticipation growing. Bag packed, we headed to the hospital and in the late morning on August 4th 2016 our lovely 'Gianna Priscilla Lesanti' was born. Happy, healthy and beautiful you were. The fair skinned, light eyed perfect package created by God. Snuggled up to mommy soon after delivery and not wanting to break the bond you two were. Daddy itching to get to hold you, to kiss you, and to tell you how much you will be loved, protected, and nurtured. Two dozen long stem roses delivered to the hospital room to show my appreciation and to tell your mom she did a marvelous job.
    From the first time I had a chance to hold you, to just last night when I put you to bed, I am proud to call you my daughter, I am equally proud to call myself your Daddy. I cherish every moment we have, every memory we make, every smile, every laugh, every everything we encounter. I laud your accomplishments, your ability to walk at nine months, your capacity to talk at ten months, your intelligence to understand direction.
    Baby girl on your First Birthday let it be known,
    You're loved
    You're nurtured
    You're protected
    You're you and I would not change a thing.
    To many more to come. With so much love,
    Daddy on your 1st birthday OXOX

Arielle Mae Bennett - July 2017


Right: Arielle, Annabella & Adalynn.

   Arielle Mae Bennett was born on July 18, 2017, 8 lbs 20 3/4 inches. She was welcomed home by her sisters, 4 year-old Annabella Patricia and 20 month-old Adalynn Justine. Beaming parents are Korey Bennett and Morgan Green-Bennett. 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.

James P. Kennedy Jr. - July 2017

   A Buffalo News article by Phil Fairbanks outlines why Island resident James P. Kennedy Jr. may be named permanent U.S. Attorney in Buffalo. See story, dated July 22, 2017.

Nick Bauman - July 2017

From left Dennis & Nick Bauman, with Billy the goat.


Story and photos by Mary Stewart.

    Nick Bauman, who will be starting his freshman year at Grand Island High School in the fall, is looking to a future in farming and being self sufficient. He started to think of ways to earn money besides doing snow plowing or mowing lawns and raking leaves. What better person to ask for advice than your dad. Nick approached his father, Dennis Bauman, who told Nick how he raised chickens when he was Nick's age and shared his knowledge and experience with him.
    There was an old chicken coop on the property, which Nick and his dad readied for the first batch of 40 chickens, delivered in March of 2016. The chicken population has now grown to 80 chickens that produce free range eggs. Nick also plans on selling honey in the fall, he has one hive with bees busy at work, and has prepared an area to plant a variety of raspberries, which will be available through the fall season. The raspberry plants have been ordered and will be planted soon. Nick will also have maple syrup available and is raising goats for meat. However, there is one young white goat, named Billy, who has become a pet and will never leave the farm.
   Nick and his dad have worked together to make Nick's dream a reality. He is calling his business Bauman's Black Hills Farm. There are two set of hills on the property, behind his grandmother's house which for many, many years were called The Black Hills by the family. Hence the name Bauman's Black Hills Farm.

Maj. Gen. David Conboy - June 2017

Maj. Gen. David Conboy

    Maj. Gen. David Conboy, U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) Deputy Commanding General, Operations, retired June 23rd, after more than three decades of service in the U.S. military. Maj. Gen.Conboy has served in the Artic Circle, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Korea. In between, he has resided on Grand Island, when the opportunity arose. See U.S. Army Reserve Command story, by Staff Sgt. Felix Fimbres.

Team Luke's Ride For Roswell - July 2017

Team Luke- Click photo for larger view.

    TEAM LUKE had another amazing year raising money for the 22nd Ride For Roswell. This year the team had 27 riders who raised over $25,000 thanks to generous sponsors and donations from the community. Ten riders raised over $1000 each, earning them a coveted spot in the Extra Mile Club. This brings the total raised to $93,000 in 4 short years! There were various fundraisers held throughout the year. The team would like to thank the major sponsors; Aceti's Wine & Spirits, Bottle Junction, DeSignet International, Dick & Jenny's Restaurant, Marcos on Niagara, Robs Comedy Play House & Sahlens Packing.
    This year the Ride for Roswell raised more than 4.6 million dollars, and over 22 years - 43 Million dollars, to fund research and compassionate care programs for the patients and families of Roswell Park. All of this couldn'' have been done without the following team members; Bill Gworek Jr, Luke Gworek, Faith Gworek, Bill Gworek Sr, Casey Dahlstrom, Eric Dahlstrom, Jayson Dieckman, Sue Braun, Tony Peters, Ken Robinson, Doug Eberhard, Susan Marston, Sue Spiez, Kim Kalman, Scott Kalman, Natalie Baldasarre, Bryce Callen, Jenna Hutzler, Shannon Spencer, Jim Teator, Sue Teator, Jeff Smith, Deb Smith, Maria Defeo, Bill Welker, Melanie Welker & Elizabeth Kozlowski.
    In August two TEAM LUKE members, Bill Gworek Jr and Doug Eberhard, will participate in the Empire State Ride from Staten Island to Niagara Falls. They will be riding 542 miles over 7 days. All monies raised go towards The Ride for Roswell . If you are interested in finding out more information on how you can become involved or donating to their ride you can find their individual links at empirestateride.com.

Lindsey Spiker - June 2017

    SUNY Plattsburgh has released the names of students who made the college’s dean's list for spring 2017. Congratulations to Lindsey Spiker, entering her senior year, majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She has spent the last three summers working in the genetics laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh, under the direction of Dr. Yvette Conley.
    To be eligible, undergraduate students must achieve a minimum 3.5 semester grade point average with at least 12 credit hours. Part-time, matriculated students are also eligible for the dean's list after accruing 12 credit hours consecutively and achieving a minimum 3.5 grade point average. These credits may be accumulated in more than one semester. Pass/fail credits do not count.

Brentyn Mendel - June 2017

   Twenty-five University at Buffalo students have been named WNY Prosperity Fellows for 2017-2018. The fellowships, which are made possible through support from the Prentice Family Foundation, are awarded to college and graduate students with an entrepreneurial drive who want to make a difference in Western New York. Island native Brentyn Mendel is one of these students.
    Mendel is an Honors College student pursuing a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering. He intends to pursue a master's in mechanical engineering with a focus in biomechanical devices. In order to improve his understanding of business practices, Mendel also intends to earn his MBA. He is an active member of the Grand Island Fire Company, and has been certified as an interior firefighter and an emergency medical technician. While volunteering in this capacity, Mendel was able to identify many deficiencies in the current pre-hospital care system that he believes could be improved. He aims to correct the deficiencies by starting his own company that will specifically address problems that first responders face on a daily basis in order to improve the care they provide.
    Each fellow is awarded $25,000 in scholarship and internship support for an academic year, based on their financial need. Including this year's gift, the Prentice Family Foundation has invested $4.3 million in the program at UB alone.

Corey McGowan - June 2017

Corey McGowan

   Island resident Corey McGowan of Corey McGowan Productions was recently named to the "30 Under 30" list for 2017. The sixth annual 30 Under 30 is sponsored by Business First and the University at Buffalo School of Management. Winners were chosen from more than 100 nominations by judges who were honored in recent years for their own accomplishments. The winners will be honored at a party and awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m., June 21 at The Tralf in Buffalo. Corey is a successful event planner, whose events include: Taste of Grand Island, Gus Macker, Taste of Lewiston, Taste of Niagara Falls, Concert for a Cure, among others. He is a Grand Island High School graduate and attended Buffalo State. Congratulations Corey!

Mark Jansen - June 2017

Mark Jansen (CBS Photo).

   The CBS reality show "Big Brother" will have Grand Island resident and personal trainer Mark Jansen as one of the houseguests this season. The two hour premiere will be shown on two consecutive evenings, June 28 & 29th. See Buffalo News story by Alan Pergament here.

Islanders on NBC's Spartan Challenge - June 2017

Left to right, The Mathletes: Trevor Bernard, Zoe Herrick, Kyle "Wooch" Graff, Ellen Lutnick and Chris Komin. (Photo by: Eli Joshua Adé/NBC).

    UB graduate Chris Komin and junior Ellen Lutnick recently took part in the NBC competition, "Spartan Challenge". The show airs Monday nights at 10:00 p.m., the first was June 12th. See Buffalo News story by Jay Tokasz, published Tuesday, June 13th.

Bill & Heather Stewart - June 2017

Bill & Heather Stewart.

Cake top was originally on Bill's parents cake 53 years ago.
Mary Stewart Photos.

   The Rev. Calvin VanderMey presided over the vow renewal of former Islander Bill Stewart and wife Heather on Saturday, June 3rd, at the Bible Fellowship Center. The event, held on their 10th wedding anniversary, gave many friends and relatives a chance to celebrate, as not many were able to attend the ceremony held in Georgia, where they live. A reception was held at Beaver Island Park after the ceremony.

Bridget Kennedy, Naval Academy Graduate - June 2017

Bridget Kennedy receives her diploma from Vice President Mike Pence.

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Bridget Kennedy of Grand Island, NY successfully completed four years of challenging academic, physical, and professional military training, graduating with Distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy, on May 26, 2017, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Honors Oceanography and a commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy. She will be stationed aboard the USS Carney in Rota, Spain. She is a graduate of Grand Island Senior High School.
   Kennedy graduated with an overall G.P.A. of 3.97 and was the recipient of the CAPT Charles C. Hendrix Award as the top graduate in the Oceanography Department. At the academy, Kennedy served as Battalion Administrative Chief, Company Adjutant, Company Training Corporal, and Company Platoon Sergeant. She was the recipient of the Looker Scholarship, which allowed her to study abroad in Sydney, Australia during the Fall of 2016. She also helped to organize the Joint Service Academies Military Atrocity Prevention Symposium, and was selected as the Naval Academy’s sole representative to travel to Poland to study the Holocaust as part of the Auschwitz Jewish Center’s American Service Academy Program. While at the Academy, Kennedy also had two journal articles published--one on the Holocaust and the other on Sexual Harassment and Assault in the Military. She was also a member of the Girls on the Run Team, and played intramural volleyball and soccer.
    Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically to be professional officers in the naval service. More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college. Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. The also study subjects such as leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, and military law. Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 25 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.
    The Brigade of Midshipmen is comprised of approximately 4,400 students from every state in the union. Each year, approximately 1,200 young men and women are admitted to the Naval Academy's incoming class. The academy's more than 81,000 alumni include one president, 21 members of Congress, five governors, 73 Medal of Honor recipients, two Nobel Prize winners, 52 astronauts, and 4,000 admirals and generals.

Joann Vanderheite - May 2017


Two examples of gourd art.

    Islander Joann Vanderheite will once again be showing her contemporary gourd art at the 47th Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival. The show is on Friday, June 2nd, Saturday, June 3rd and Sunday, June 4th at the Kenan Center, 433 Locust Street, Lockport, NY.
    Featuring fine contemporary craft art, along with live music, indoor cafe, specialty food vendors, emerging and first-time artisans in the Annex Marketplace, and the exhibit, "Three Generations of Burchfields: Works from the Schoene Collection," in the Kenan Gallery. (Sat & Sun only). For $1 off coupon good for 2 people, schedule, exhibiting artisans, and more, go to www.100americancraftsmen.org.

Dalton & Drew Pitts - May 2017

Dalton Pitts at graduation.

    Dalton Pitts recently graduated Cum Laude from Brockport College with a medal of achievement, Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with an Emphasis on Directing & Stage Management.
    Drew Pitts has been named to the Deans List at Niagara University for the third time. Drew is majoring in Computer Science and Forensics and has successfully been certified as a forensics examiner. Congratulations!

Winnie Zarbo - May 2017

Don Burns and Winnie Zarbo.

   Happy 96th birthday to Winifred R. "Winnie" Zarbo. On Thursday, May 11th, a celebration dinner was hosted by daughter Penny and son-in-law George Panepinto at Dick & Jenny's Restaurant for family and friends. Ultimate entertainer Don Burns delighted the group playing old time favorites on the piano.

Former Islanders Plan New Buffalo Festival - May 2017

    Former Island residents Mary Friona-Celani and husband Scott Celani are co-chairs of the first annual 'Totally Buffalo Festival' that will take place on Saturday, May 27th at Buffalo Riverworks.
   See Press Release...A brand new festival is launching on Memorial Day Weekend to celebrate all things Buffalo in one of the WNY's most historic locations. This Totally Buffalo Festival is all about Buffalo and everything that makes us love it - the food, the drinks, the music, the sports, the historical events, the art, the architecture and most importantly - the people. All of the food offered will be creations that originated in Buffalo, from beef on weck and wings to stuffed banana peppers and much more. The beer, wine, soft drinks: all Buffalo brands. The live music will feature 6 WNY-based bands playing genres with a rich history in Buffalo - rock, pop, r & b, Latin, country, jazz and blues.
   The Totally Buffalo Festival has the honor of showcasing 85 vendors offering stunning Buffalo-themed signs, shirts, towels, jewelry, photographs, paintings and more. The event also features a Kids Zone, Sports Zone and many other interactive and family-friendly activities. Portions of the proceeds will go to Special Spaces Buffalo and Carly's Club.
   "In Buffalo and WNY, we love our festivals. There seems to be one great festival after another during our warm months," says Mary Friona-Celani, founder of totallybuffalo.com and Festival Co-Chair along with her husband, Buffalo-based musician Scott Celani. "What makes the Totally Buffalo Festival unique is that it's about Buffalo and Buffalo only. And given the WNY region's current resurgence, the timing couldn't be better."
    The Totally Buffalo Festival runs from 12 Noon to 9:00pm on Saturday, May 27th. Admission is $5 at the door and kids 5 and under are admitted for free. Advance tickets are available at totallybuffalo.com . Buffalo Riverworks is located at 359 Ganson St. in Buffalo.

Emma Santorio - May 2017

   Emma Santorio, a 5th grade student at Kaegebein Elementary, recently represented New York State at the Regional Gymnastics Championships in Springfield, Massachusetts, last weekend. Emma placed fourth on balance beam with a 9.300, fourth on floor exercise with a 9.400 and fourth on vault with a 9.425. The New York State team took second place in the region.

Alexis and Grace Fredricks - April 2017

   Congratulations to freshmen Alexis and Grace Fredricks of Grand Island, swimming for Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils. They were part of the North East Conference Championship team. This is the third straight title for CCSU. Alexis also received NEC Rookie of the Meet honors.

Melissa Mroziak-Hartwick - April 2017

   Island resident and vet Dr. Melissa Mroziak-Hartwick was featured on a WIVB story on her advanced imaging equipment that can do CT scans for pets such as dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits, using 3D technoology. Dr. Mroziak-Hartwick's company Paws Advanced Imaging is the first to introduce this equipment in the Western New York area. See story.

Emma Santorio - April 2017

   Gleason's School of Gymnastics Level 7 Niagara Gymnastics team recently participated in the Level 7 State Gymnastics Meet, March 31-April 2 in Suffern, NY. The Level 7 team placed 2nd in the state at the competition. Emma Santorio, a 5th Grader at Kaegebein Elementary, placed 3rd on vault, 11th on uneven bars, 6th on balance beam, and 5th on floor exercise. Her overall score of 37.200 earned her 5th place in the All-Around in the Child C age division. Emma's excellent all around score earned her a spot at the Region 6 Regional Competition to be held April 22-23 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Ashli Dreher - April 2017

    Island resident and Lew-Port Special Ed teacher Ashli Dreher is to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. The first Buffalo Niagara teacher to be honored. Ashli was named New York State Teacher of the Year in 2014. See Buffalo News story by Thomas Prohaska.

Tom Long - March 2017

   Tom Long recently entered his beautiful 1932 Ford in the Buffalo Motorama Car Show. It was held the weekend of March 24-26 at the Buffalo Convention Center. Tom was awarded "Best Truck" in show and an "Outstanding" award from the WNY Shelby and Mustang Club. Congratulations Tom!!!

Jessica Louise Melgar - March 2017

    Jessica Louise Melgar graduated from her Medical Assistant program achieving the Dean's List for the 2016 Fall Semester at Erie Community College. Employed at Mash Urgent Care, Jessica is currently pursuing an EMT certification. Jessica graduated from Grand Island High School in 2013. She is the daughter of proud mother Eileen Melgar and sister of Dave Melgar, a 2005 Grand Island High School.

Peter T. Xanthos - March 2017

   Long-time Grand Island resident Peter T. Xanthos, 91 was featured in the Buffalo News "Saluting Our War Heros" feature on Sunday, March 12th. See story by Lou Michel here.

Anna Czarples, Esq. - March 2017

   Anna Czarples, Esq. has been selected as a "Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney Under 40" by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys (NAOPIA) for the year 2017. Attorney Czarples is a 2001 graduate of Grand Island Senior High School. Her parents are Helen and James Czapla of Grand Island. NAOPIA's selection criteria is rigorous and their Board of Governors selects the final top ten in each state. Attorney Czarples has been practicing personal injury and medical malpractice law in Corning since 2009 and she is a partner at her firm Welch, Donlon & Czarples PLLC.

Lindsey Spiker and Marisa Atkinson - March 2017

   PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (March 10, 2017) - SUNY Plattsburgh has released the names of students who made the college's dean's list for fall 2016. To be eligible, undergraduate students must achieve a minimum 3.5 semester grade point average with at least 12 credit hours. Part-time, matriculated students are also eligible for the dean's list after accruing 12 credit hours consecutively and achieving a minimum 3.5 grade point average. Grand Island residents are Lindsey Spiker - a junior majoring in Biology and Marisa Atkinson.

Michael W. Rayhill - March 2017

    History buff, Michael W. Rayhill, 24 was featured in a story in the New York Times on March 7, 2017. See "Life on Colonnade Row: The Hidden History Behind the Columns" written by Alex Vadukul.

Alley Cutting - March 2017

   KENNESAW, Ga. - Kennesaw State freshman Alley Cutting was honored for her dominant performance during the Dr. Bobbie Bailey Memorial Tournament this past weekend by being named ASUN Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week, the conference announced on Monday (Mar. 5). It marks the first time in her career that she has been honored. See story.

Rachael Ruszkowski - March 2017

    Niagara University senior Rachael Ruszkowski recently published a novel that draws from her experiences coping with the death of a loved one and the bond with her sisters. See story in the NU NEWS written by Michael Freedman.

Elena G. Mendel - March 2017

    Elena G. Mendel has been promoted to Assistant Controller of National Fuel's regulated companies, including National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation, National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation and Empire Pipeline, Inc. Mendel was hired at National Fuel in 1994 as a financial accountant after six years at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Throughout her time at National Fuel, she has held various management positions in the audit, accounting and benefits services areas, including at Seneca Resources Corporation - the Company's exploration and production segment. In 2012, she was promoted to Chief Auditor with oversight of the Audit Department. Mendel holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University at Buffalo and is a Certified Public Accountant. She resides on Grand Island, N.Y.

Kim Kalman-Rhonda Diehl - March 2017

From left: Kim Kalman & Rhonda Diehl.

   Runners Kim Kalman and Rhonda Diehl heard about a young girl with a chronic condition from Mary Friona-Celani, who writes the blog "TotallyBuffalo". Nine year-old Ella Wintinger of Orchard Park has been collecting race medals, to give to sick children at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The ladies are donating medals and Rhonda has planned two runs on March 18th and 22nd on Grand Island, "The Brave Run". All medals from the walk/race will be donated to Ella. See story and race details here. Nice job ladies!

Dulak Family - February 2017

    An Island couple was featured in a Buffalo News story about the Erie County foster parent program on February 5th. Brandy and Drew Dulak have adopted two foster kids and are in the process of adopting a third. They have two other children, a biological child and a private adoption child. See their heartwarming story here.

Allyson Nemeth & Jessica Flash - February 2017

   Island residents, 14 year-old Allyson Nemeth and Jessica Flash invite you to their 4th Annual Pasta Sauce-Off on Saturday, March 4th at the LaSalle Yacht Club. Last year the dynamic duo raised over $5,000 for Carly's Club and they would like to do it again! They are looking for participants to make a pasta suace, items to be donated for the basket raffle, volunteers to work the event and lots of attendees to taste and judge from 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. See flyer for complete details.

Sarah Chamberlain - February 2017

   Fredonia College President Virginia Horvath recently announced that Sarah Rose Chamberlain will be the recipient of the 2017 Lanford Presidential Prize from the Oscar and Esther Lanford Endowment of the Fredonia College Foundation. The award will be presented at Commencement on May 13, 2017. The award, generously created and endowed by the late President Emeritus Oscar E. Lanford and Mrs. Lanford, recognizes a member of the graduating class who has exhibited balanced achievement and exemplifies Fredonia's ideals.
    Sarah Chamberlain, from Grand Island, New York, is completing a major in Applied Mathematics: Physics. Her leadership and campus and community activities are extensive:
President, Engineering and Physics Society
Vice President, Math Club
Tutor, Learning Center
Instructor, Aerobic Center
Participant, Fredonia Fall Sweep
Participant, Mini Maker Faire
Member, Honor Society
Member, Golden Key International Honour Society
Member, Sigma Pi Sigma
Member, Pi Mu Epsilon
   Sarah has received many honors and awards, including the Presidential Math and Science Scholarship and the Robert E. Maytum Scholarship. She attended several undergraduate conferences in physics as well as the Student Creativity Exposition promoting research she completed with Dr. Justin Conroy and Dr. Erica Simoson. After graduation, Sarah plans to go into a Biophysics or Medical Physics Ph.D. program. Congratulations to the Lanford Presidential Prize recipient, Sarah Rose Chamberlain.

From Grand Island to Mogadishu, the new president of Somalia - February 2017

    Former Island resident Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is the Somalia President-elect, see Buffalo News story by Jane Kwiatkowski Radlich, published Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

Ben Shaw - February 2017

   Ben Shaw has been named to the D'Youville College Deans List for the Fall 2016 semester. To qualify for the honor, they must have maintained a quality point average of 3.40 or above for the previous semester. This indicates superior academic performance and becomes a permanent part of the student's college record. Ben is a Physical Therapy major. Congratulations Ben!

Diane Tetkowski Pokorski - February 2017

Diane Pokarski shown with brother Neil Tetkowski and artwork.

   Diane Tetkowski Pokorski, who grew up and attended Gand Island Schools, a member of the second graduating class of the high school, is exhibiting her drawings and other artwork at the Clarence Presbyterian Church, 9675 Main Street, Clarence on Friday, March 3rd from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on Saturday, March 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Her newly developed skills have surpassed expectations. Diane's many friends remember her severe limits since she suffered a brain aneurysm sixteen years ago. Her detailed fine line drawings are available as notecards. Her work has been accepted in this upcoming "You Gotta Have Art" Festival.

Zito-Hattersley Wedding - February 2017

    Nikki Ann Zito and Michael Jason Hattersley exchanged wedding vows on September 24, 2016 at Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph Church, Niagara Falls, NY (formally St. Joseph's Church). Father Louis Klein performed the ceremony. The reception was held in The Garden Pavilion at Kloc's Grove in West Seneca, NY. The bride is the daughter of Joseph and Cheryl Zito of Grand Island, NY. Her husband is the son of John and Jacqueline Hattersley of Skaneateles, NY. Allison Moulin was the Maid of Honor. Bridesmaids were Angela Szafran (Miller), Crissy Morrison, Jen Plesa (Lingenfelter), and Stacy Chesnick (Sister of the Groom). Amorai Netravali was the Flower Girl. Best Man was Wilhelm Mitchell. Groomsmen were John Mowbray, Dan Ozminkowski, Justin Seefeldt, and Erik Zito (Brother of the Bride). Lucas Seefeldt was the Ring Bearer. Nikki is a Special Education Teacher at Sweet Home Middle School and is pursuing her degree in Administration. Michael is working as a Data Monitor at Valuecentric. The couple is currently living in Williamsville and has planned their honeymoon for later this year.

Anna Martinez - February 2017

   MIDLAND, Mich.- Anna Martinez of Grand Island, New York, was named to the Northwood University Dean's list for the fall 2016 semester. "We are proud to recognize the academic accomplishments of the students on the Dean's List this past semester," said Keith Pretty, President and CEO of Northwood University. "We commend their hard work and dedication to their futures."Students on the Dean's List are those who have achieved a cumulative grade point average between 3.25 and 3.84 in a semester, and who have no incomplete or ungraded courses. Martinez is a freshman at Northwood.

Ashley Giambra - February 2017

    Jay and Carol Giambra are pleased to announce that Ashley Giambra, in her first year Fall semester 2016, enrolled in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program at Daemen College, has proudly been named to the Dean's list.

Justina Potenzo - January 2017

   2007 Grand Island High School Graduate Joins Chelus, Herdzik, Speyer & Monte, P.C.
   Buffalo, NY, January 25, 2017...Chelus, Herdzik, Speyer & Monte, P.C., today announces that Justina Potenzo has joined the firm as an associate attorney. She will be working with the other members of the firm in handling the firm's litigation files as well as other general practice matters. In addition to working with the firm at its downtown office at the Main Court Building, 438 Main Street, Tenth Floor, at Lafayette Square, Ms. Potenzo will also be practicing at the firm's branch office at 2448 Union Road in Cheektowaga.
   A current resident of Tonawanda, New York, Ms. Potenzo graduated magna cum laude from both the State University of Buffalo Law School and Buffalo State College. She earned her juris doctor in 2016 after completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies Education in 2011. She also taught at Buffalo Public School 66 before attending law school. Ms. Potenzo now joins with the other associates of Chelus, Herdzik, Speyer & Monte, P.C. in serving the legal needs of the Western New York Community.
   Chelus, Herdzik, Speyer & Monte, P.C. is a full service Law Firm practicing in the areas of civil litigation, real estate, corporate and business law, estate and estate planning, criminal defense, and matrimonial law. The Firm is headquartered at the Main Court Building, 438 Main Street, Tenth Floor, at Lafayette Square in Buffalo, with a branch office at 2448 Union Road in Cheektowaga, New York.

Stacey Watt - January 2017

   The Grand Island Challenge - Complete a room with care for the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital. Residents of Grand Island are invited to make a donation.
   It isn't every day a community can build a brand new Children's Hospital. In fact, there are only 43 stand-alone Children's Hospitals in the country and Western New York is set to open its state-of-the-art facility on the Buffalo/Niagara Medical Campus some 125 years after the original Hospital opened at its current location on Bryant Street. This is an event of historic proportions for Western New York. If ever there was a time to step out and make a difference, this is the moment. By lending our support, we will be making a promise to children of this community that there will always be a place to go when they need medical care - today and for generations to come. It's an important example I want to set for my children.
   That's why I'm inviting all of my fellow Grand Islanders to join me in this Challenge. The $270 million John R. Oishei Children's Hospital will open in November 2017. The project has already received $48.9 million in philanthropic support with gifts from local businesses, organizations, foundations, medical practices and the community at large - an amazing feat in and of itself. And, now we're in the home stretch with just $1 million needed to reach our $50 million goal. And my hometown community of Grand Island can help get us to the finish line. If everyone donated just $1, we could reach our $25,000 goal in one day!
   And, when children and families come to the Oishei Children's Hospital, they'll know the Grand Island community provided a very special and spacious room designed specifically for their care and comfort. It will be a lasting symbol of the generosity and support of our Grand Island community. I won't stop here, though. I'm challenging every community across Western New York to Complete a Room with Care. Give us a call today and be part of history in the making! Contact: Stacey Watt, MD, 716-878-7938 or Susan Spanitz, Children's Hospital Foundation, 816-881-8230. See poster. Donation Link.