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Islanders In The News Web Page

Previous News Page

Paul "Fast By" Gast - October 2023

    Drag bike legend Paul "Fast By" Gast only attends a few Pro Nitrous Motorcycle events per season, but he makes the most of his occasional appearances. In just his second PDRA race of the year, Gast qualified No. 2 and raced to victory aboard his Fast By Gast Hayabusa at the Pro Line Racing Brian Olson Memorial World Finals presented by ProCharger Sunday night at Virginia Motorsports Park. The final round was decided by five thousandths of a second, as Gast and Kuwait’s Meshal Al-Saber left the starting line with identical .034 reaction times and Gast ran a 4.002 to Al-Saber’s 4.007.
   "Well, it was a race of attrition because a lot of guys were having trouble with engine parts in the bike class and I think I was hearing a little bit of that going on in the car classes,"said Gast, who thanked crew chief John Schwartz and the Fast By Gast employees. "I had trouble figuring it out, but this motor here seemed to hold up really nice all throughout race day. That was a nice plus so we could focus on tuning. I think I rode it pretty good actually too because I was hitting the tree really nice. I’ll tell you what, these guys, even though they were fighting through some problems, they’re fast out there and Meshal showed it in the final."
    Gast started race day with a 4.004 at 170.86 over Tyron Lemons and his 4.079 at 171.03. He set low E.T. of race day in the semis, running a 3.989 at 176.33 to beat rookie Brayden Davis and his 4.044. Al-Saber, who won the last race on tour, qualified No. 4 on the Brad McCoy-tuned Q80 Racing/BMRC Hayabusa. He ran a 4.002 at 176.01 to defeat Jeff House’s 4.084 in the first round, then coasted to a 5.102 at 107.99 in the semifinals after newly crowned champion Chris Garner-Jones had trouble on the starting line.

Dr. Stacey Watt - September 2023

   Story about incoming president of the Erie County Medical Society features Island resident Dr. Stacey Watt. It was published in the Buffalo News on Sunday, September 24 and written by Jon Harris. See HERE.

Geoff Federspiel - September 2023

Left to right: Christa Drexelius, Dan Drexelius, Geoff Federspiel, Joanne Federspiel, Jim Federspiel, Mike Federspiel, Charlene Murphy, and Jeff Leusch, track EMT.
Photo DirtyLens Photography.

   Federspiel claims another Feature Win at Limerock. - By Jim Federspiel
September 9, 2023 - Limerock Speedway, Caledonia NY - 4th Annual First Responders Night, where the track honors all that serve and have served to protect and help us. The events highlights included displays from Fire, Police and the Military.
   The 600 Wingless Micro Sprint Class held their special race with the winner of the A Main feature taking home $911 and a custom made trophy. Islander Geoff Federspiel, driving the 21G FedcoSpeed Special, captured the win while holding off a charging field of veteran drivers, after taking the lead.
   The track had a two hour rain delay but that only made for a super grippy track surface, with the Winged class setting a new track record. Geoff was fast time in the feature with that happening on LAP 21! Key adjustments were made for the conditions and it worked perfectly. "Won against some heavy hitters and got to take home the custom trophy we made", said Geoffs Dad, Jim. "We had family, friends and a sponsor in attendance and that was very special to us".
    It has been two months since racing Limerock because of running special events in Pennsylvania, and other obligations. Great to hit the ground running back at Limerock. Next up is September 16th, last points night. A double header, The Butch Coffey Classic, on September 22nd and 23rd, was won on Friday night last season by Geoff. Thank You to all our supporters and Island companies that sponsor us. Woodchuck Tree Service, Childress Performance and Fitness, Double D Construction, and Wheelfind Auto.

Madeline Dallessandro - August 2023

   Madeline Dallessandro has been awarded Sales Analyst of the year for her work with Clorox Corporation in the Burt’s Bees division at their national sales meeting held in Phoenix Arizona. Maddy is a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Niagara University. Maddy grew up on Grand Island but now resides in North Carolina.

Kim Schopp Kalman - August 2023

   A recent article in the Island Dispatch by Alice Gerard details Island native Kim Schopp Kalman's journey as a bone marrow donor. See Article Here

Brooke Christensen - August 2023

   Competing independently, Brooke Christensen, a rising junior at Grand Island High School and current Section VI weight throw champion took home Top 3 medals in all her events against open competition at the Empire State Classic last Saturday at SUNY Cortland. Christensen won the discus throw with a personal record of 32.91 meters, beating Nattaly Lindo of the Long Island Alliance Track Club. Christensen finished second behind Lindo with a throw of 9.32 meters in the shotput. Her most impressive effort of the day came in the hammer throw. Competing in her first ever hammer competition, she finished third with a throw of 42.76 meters. She finished 12.04 meters behind reigning Big East Conference champion Natalia Surdej of UConn (and Lancaster HS) and 3.69 meters behind SUNY Cortland graduate Sarah Parr. In addition to track and field, Brooke is a cheerleader at Grand Island and trains out of Mustache Fitness and Barbell in Tonawanda.

Lenore Tetkowski - July 2023

    Weavers’ Guild of Buffalo will celebrate Lenore "Lee" Tetkowski's 100th birthday with a retrospective of many examples of her weaving at the UNITY CHURCH, 1243 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. The reception, free to all, is from NOON to 2:00pm on Sunday, July 9. She hopes many friends will be there!

Geoff Federspiel - June 2023

Geoff Federspiel is left in picture, holding checkered flag.
Photos courtesy of Dirtylens Photography

   Federspiel Dominates at Limerock Speedway - By Jim Federspiel
   Coming off a very successful rookie year in the 600 cc Wingless Sprint Class at home track, Limerock Speedway in Caledonia, NY, Islander Geoff Federspiel once again found victory lane. He won both his heatrace, as well as the Feature Event in his class. This is his third Feature Victory, which includes night one of the Butch Coffey Classic, back in September 2022.
   Geoff, #21G will race both Limerock, as well as about 15 dates at tracks in PA. including Lindas Speedway, Greenwood Valley and Lanco. These cars run on dirt tracks, small, 1/8 to 1/4 mile ovals. Geoff runs in the 600cc wingless class, which is powered by a high performance 600 cc Suzuki engine and is chaindriven. Very similar to a full size Sprint car that is powered by a V8 engine.
   That makes 5 heat and 3 Feature or A Main wins, as well as several top 10 and top 5 finishes racing at Limerock and Pennsylvania. Our victories are a personal win for our entire family after Geoff was able to recover from a severe lower right leg injury during a motocross accident only three short years ago. Geoff gained both mobility and confidence back by driving a friends Drift car at Erie Speedway.
   Our goal is to race at as many PA tracks as possible, and learn as much as we can. Pennsylvania is the East Coast hub for both full size Sprints and Geoff's "microsprint". We will participate in Hyper Racing Speedweek, mid July and race at 6 different tracks in 7 days. Also in August, for four nights during PA extreme midget series week. We will return to Limerock on July 8th.
   Sponsorship is key to be able to afford to do this. Fuel, parts, travel, all add up. This season we are proud to have some Grand Island businesses sponsoring our race team. They include: Woodchuck Tree Service, Childress Performance & Fitness, Wheelfind Automotive and Double D Construction. Other sponsors: Larry's Towing & Rigging, N. Tonawanda; Niagara Power Sports, Ransomville; 600cc Performance, Shermans Dale, PA.
   Pit Crew consistes of Geoff, his mom Joanne and dad Jim. Limerock Speedway runs every Saturday night and includes 4 classes of both winged and non winged sprints as well as quarter midgets.

Chamberlain/Staubitz Engagement - June 2023

    Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Chamberlain of Grand Island would like to announce the engagement of their daughter Brooke Chamberlain to Derek Staubitz, son of Malinda Wolfley of Lancaster, NY. A September 23, 2023 wedding is planned. Brooke and Derek have made their home and business, Hybrid Defense, here on Grand Island.

Happy 70th Wedding Anniversary - June 2023

Ted & Joanne Rayhill

    Congratulations on their 70th wedding anniversary to Dr. Ted and Joanne Rayhill on June 20th!

Grand Islander Brings Home the Bacon - June 2023

    Grand Island resident Neil Gallagher led the Too Sauced To Pork Championship Barbecue Team into competition at the 45th annual Memphis In May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, May 17 - 20. Gathered there along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi were 150 of the best cooking teams in BBQ from around the world. Recognizeable names at the contest include Chris Lilly, Tuffy Stone, Melissa Cookston, Moe Cason and Malcolm Reed among many others. The pitmasters all come to Memphis for one reason. A shot at winning the world pork BBQ championship.
    The categories are Pork Ribs, Whole Hog and Pork Shoulder. Placing top ten in a category is considered a high honor. A top 3 is something many BBQers quest for, but never see during their entire career. The team brought home a $2000 prize, huge trophy and the 3rd place world title for ribs. The team also placed 5th in the Kingsford Tour of Champions, a shoulder competition held among 18 of the top teams in the contest.

Dr. Molly Oliverio New Executive Director - May 2023

    Mr. Robert Bennett, President of Opportunities Collaborative for Special Needs Students Inc. announced the appointment of Dr. Molly Oliverio as the organization’s new Executive Director. Dr. Oliverio is a former special education teacher and university professor with over a decade of experience working with students with disabilities and their schools’ special education teams. Dr. Oliverio earned her Ph.D. at Niagara University, with her research focusing on improving the success of students with disabilities.
    Mr. Bennett expressed confidence that Dr. Oliverio will bring creative ideas and new energy to the organization’s mission of supporting children with learning disabilities. Opportunities Collaborative for Special Needs Students is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to the professional development of classroom teachers, principals, and administrators working with students with disabilities. They work with parochial, charter, and private schools in Erie and Niagara Counties. Their offices are located at Daemen University.
   Dr. Oliverio is a Grand Island native and a graduate of GIHS.

John Fletcher Promoted to CFO/CIO at Crowley Webb - March 2023

    BUFFALO, NY, March 13, 2023 – Crowley Webb, the leading full-service marketing communications agency in Buffalo, NY, has announced that John Fletcher will move into the role of chief financial officer/chief information officer. In this position, John will continue to manage and oversee the agency’s financial operations along with the organization's information technology strategy and implementation.
    As the longest tenured employee at Crowley Webb, John first joined the agency in 1990. After Crowley Webb’s former CFO’s retirement in 2015, he seamlessly transitioned into a leadership role within the accounting and HR department as vice president, comptroller/IT director.
    With a knack for innovation, John turned Crowley Webb into a paperless office well ahead of the trend. He has also worked to ensure that the agency is compliant with GDPR, APEC and Privacy Shield protocols while recently pursuing ISO 27001 accreditation for the company.
    "John’s performance directing and managing our finance, accounting, compliance and IT departments has been nothing short of stellar," said Jim Hettich, CEO, Crowley Webb. "He has an undeniable foresight and ability to prepare for the future – skills that have allowed our company to triple in size over the years despite facing a global pandemic. And thanks to the technology and communications infrastructure John built before it was necessary, our agency has been able to easily pivot to our employees’ preferences during the pandemic – whether they choose to work remotely, hybrid or within the office full-time."
    Along with overseeing a couple departments across Crowley Webb, John also manages all aspects of The Sweeney Building, where Crowley Webb has been headquartered since 1989. To learn more about Crowley Webb, visit www.crowleywebb.com.