Grand Islanders in the News 2005
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Islanders In "Broadway In Concert III" - 2005

   Grand Island will be well represented when the Niagara Regional Theatre Guild presents its "Broadway In Concert III" Friday and Saturday, January 27th & 28th at 8 p.m. This is the Theatre's third annual concert of the very best songs from Broadway, past and present. Production director is Islander John Study, who will also be performing in the concert. Other Islanders involved in the show are vocalists Fran Newton and Adria Ryan, along with Frank Cannata at piano. The performances will be held at the Historic Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St, North Tonawanda NY. Tickets are $10.00 presale or $15.00 the night of the performance. For more information call 692-2413 or visit

Riley - Swan Wedding - 2005

Click photo for larger view.

    Carol and Greg Swan were married during a candlelight mass by Rev. Jerome Stelmach on November 18, 2005 at St. Stephen's RC Church. Carol is the daughter of former residents Barbara and the late Donald Anderson. Greg is the son of Robert and Arlene Swan of Grand Island. Matthew Riley, the bride's son, escorted his mother to the altar. Bridesmaids were sisters of the bride, Pattie Frentzel and Cathie Shaw. Robert Swan, brother of the groom, and Douglas Gruber served as groomsmen. Carol and Greg went on a ten-day Panama Canal cruise following a wedding reception at River Oaks Golf Clubhouse Restaurant.

Patti Merritt - 2005

   Grand Island resident Patti Merritt has been doing her very best to make it easier on everyone involved in organ transplant surgeries in this area.
   The former Pattie Klein, GIHS Class of 1983, said this week that she plans to continue advocating for organ and tissue donation. According to Patti, the fee for the MatchingDonors nonprofit website ( will be waived if the individual can’t afford it. "They also have made arrangements to get free or reduced air fares for individuals who are traveling to donate," she said. "Being a living donor does not cost the donor. The recipient’s insurance covers all testing and surgical costs. This is an important point," Patti said. "Also, people are allowed to donate a kidney altruistically, meaning that they donate and offer their kidney to whoever is next on the waiting list. This is the kind of thing that I have been advocating for, and am thrilled to say that Kaleida is now fully supportive," she said.
   For a recent Buffalo News story by Irene Liguori about Patti, click "Patti".

Welcome, Emma Grace Santorio - 2005

   Emma Grace Santorio was born December 13, 2005 weighing in at six pounds, one ounce, and 19 1/2 inches long. Proud parents are Dean and Sandy Santorio. Baby Emma Grace was welcomed home by her 18 month-old sister Morgan. Proud grandparents are Sharyn Krebs, and Penny and Tom Giambra, all of Grand Island.

Roesch - Williams Wedding - 2005

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   Tracy L. Roesch and Robert C. Williams were married October 22, 2005 in Kincaid Park Chalet, Anchorage, Alaska, and honeymooned in Manzanillo, Mexico. The bride is the daughter of Gary and Carol Roesch of East River Road.

Hassan - Martin Wedding - 2005

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   Danielle Marie Hassan and James Bradley Martin were joined in marriage on Saturday, December 10, 2005. A lovely reception for family and friends was held at Banchetti by Rizzo's in Amherst, NY following the ceremony. The newlyweds, who honeymooned in Ontario, Canada, make there home on Grand Island, NY.
   Danielle is the daughter of Mark and Diane Hassan of Wallace Drive. Jim is the son of Kathy and James Martin of Huth Road.

Patrick McEnchrow White - "A Christmas Story" - 2005

Shown left are Islander Patrick McEnchrow White as Ralphie, Deirdre Madigan as The Mother, Michael Heintzman as The Old Man, and Max Wojtasik as Randy.
Leg Lamp Photo/Jim Bush Photography - Click photo for larger view

    Patrick McEnchrow White of Grand Island will play the part of Ralphie in the Studio Arena Theatre performance of A CHRISTMAS STORY by Philip Grecian, and directed by John McCluggage. Patrick, 12, is a 7th grader at St. Stephen School and the son of Randy and Peggy White. The show runs from November 25 through December 29, 2005 at Studio Arena Theatre. For tickets and information, call 716-856-5650 or 1-800-77STAGE. For more information on the play, click "A Christmas Story"

Welcome, Tyler Allan Lorence - 2005

   Tyler Allan Lorence was born November 21, 2005 weighing nine pounds, three ounces and is 21.5 inches long. Proud parents are former Island residents Erica and Jonathan Lorence of Youngstown, NY. Tyler Allan is the little brother to big sister, Hailey Lorence. Grandparents are Roberta and Harry Lorence of Grand Island, NY and Bonnie and Pat Smith of Newfane, NY.

Dennis Donovan Plays Ebeneezer Scrooge - 2005

   Grand Island resident Dennis Donovan will play the lead role of Ebeneezer Scrooge in the Curtain Up Productions play, Scrooge the Musical, in the Palace Theatre, Lockport. Show times are:
• Friday, December 2 - 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, December 3 - 7:30 p.m.
• Sunday, December 4 - 3 p.m.
   The musical is an original work by David Smith of Corning, New York. The classic Dickens’ story comes to life on stage with Dennis singing his way through the memorable tale. Tickets are $15/adults and $13/seniors and children under 10. For more information call 438-1130.

Mark Abate Wins General Motors Best Design Sport Compact Trophy - 2005

Dan McMahon Photo/Story - Click Photos For Larger View

   November 17, 2005 . . . Sound Choice Audio Performance’s (SCAP) entry in the SEMA Show in Las Vegas earlier this month took top honors in the Sport Compact Class. Industry leaders come by the 1000’s from all over the world for the Las Vegas SEMA show, the premier automotive specialty product trade event in the world. Mark Abate's Customized 2005 Saturn Ion Red Line was awarded the General Motors Best Design Sport Compact Trophy. This prestigious design award is presented by General Motors engineers. While most trophies are presented annually to the most deserving car in each class, the Best Design Sport Compact trophy is awarded only when the General Motors Engineering judging panel feels the entry is most deserving of the award. Comments by the panel of GM Engineers included the “extra thought, design and engineering” Mark used in this year's entry in the SEMA show were well above other entries. Some GM engineers quipped about wishing they had thought of some of the ideas Mark has used this year. Equipment Mark used in his entry include a custom wide body kit, motorized carbon fiber hood and trunk lid with TV monitors and cameras mounted, front Lamborghini doors, and a custom fiberglass dash with TV monitors. Inside are custom AMP racks holding 3 “Kicker” amps, 18” speakers and custom racing seats. The car is also equipped with a Nitrous Oxide system. S.C.A.P is located at 1939 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island, NY and is open 10 a.m. daily. For more information click Sound Choice Audio & Performance.

Fundraiser Planned For Al Salamone, Headed For 2006 Paralympic Games in Italy - 2005

Photo by Tom Kimmell (Tom Kimmell Photography)
Al Salamone, a senior at Grand Island High School, is a member of the U. S. National Sled Hockey Team and will compete in the 2006 Paralympic Games in Italy. Click Al Salamone for his full story.

    Grand Island resident Al Salamone along with Chris Manns and Brad Emmerson are members of the U. S. National Sled Hockey Team and are headed for the 2006 Paralympic Games in Torino, Italy. A fundraiser to help bring their families to the games to support them is being held from 5-11 p.. Saturday, December 10, 2005 at Sweeney Hose Co. #7, 4999 Zimmerman Rd., at Erie Rd. in North Tonawanda, NY. Emcee will be the Bulldog from WGR Sports Radio 550 with entertainment by John Valby. The event will feature Chinese auctions, silent auctions and $plit club raffles. Special guests will be the The Ford Lords of Western New York.
   A tax deductible donation of $20 or more per person includes a hot munchie buffet, beer and beverages. Checks should be made payable to W.N.Y. Physically Challenged Sports.
   "We are asking your help in sponsoring donations and/or prizes for the raffles at this event," a spokesman for the boys said this week. Those interested in helping are asked to call Sue Salamone at 775-0715.

Grand Island Residents Take an Active Role in Fundraiser - 2005

   Grand Island resident Frieda Litzel will chair the 31st annual Victorian Christmas at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. Fellow Islander and Volunteer Coordinator Liz Krawczyk is scheduling volunteers to fill the more than 300 work shifts needed to present this ever-popular fundraiser.
   Victorian Christmas begins with the traditional Wine Tasting and Silent Auction on Friday, December 2nd and continues through Saturday, December 10th. “A Yuletide Celebration – An Olde English Christmas” will be the theme carried out by the Eighth District Federated Garden Clubs of New York State as they take us back in time for a view of Christmas long ago. This historic home will be handsomely decorated in true Victorian style with fresh greens and all natural materials fashioned into beautiful holiday displays. According to Frieda and co-chairs, Dick and Donna Hughes there are all new menus for both the luncheons and candlelight dinners and new gift ideas in all three boutiques and wonderful entertainment each day. Another exciting new twist on this long standing holiday event is the addition of two new corporate lunch days, Thursday, December 8th and Friday, December 9th. These days will feature a more flexible luncheon time, new menu and informal entertainment, in addition to convenient holiday shopping. One of the entertainment highlights will be a special performance by the Grand Island High School Madrigal Singers during the candlelight dinner on Tuesday, December 6th. Their beautiful voices are sure to raise everyone’s spirits and create a festive holiday mood. Reservations are still available for these Victorian Christmas events. To reserve tickets or for further information, please contact the Site, 884-0095.

Welcome, Jacob Paul Smith - 2005

   Jacob Paul Smith was born October 4, 2005 weighing nine pounds, nine ounces and was 20 1/4 inches long. Baby Jacob is the son of Bob and Shelley (Arcouet) Smith of Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania and has two brothers - Thomas, 9, and Mikey, 6. The baby's mother is a member of the GIHS Class of 1983. Proud grandparents are Pat and Harold Arcouet of Grand Island and Betty Smith of Williamsville.

Abram Morgan To Be Presented First Bill Eaton Award - 2005

   Abram Morgan will be presented the first Bill Eaton Award, named for the late gay activist, and awarded to a high school student who has helped to create a safer environment for gay and lesbian schoolmates. Abram, a junior honor roll student at Grand Island High School and son of Amy and Steven Morgan, came out on National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2005. The presentation will be made at the 22nd anniversary GAYLA on Thursday, November 10, 2005 in the Golden Ballroom in Statler Towers.
   GLYS board of directors president Linda J. Marsh, and Alice Hillery Sullivan are chairing the event. Tickets ($50 each - patron tickets are $95) are available by calling GLYS administrative office at 855-0221.

Jim Sharpe - 2005

   Washington D.C. - November 3, 2005 . . .The National Republican Congressional Committee announced that Jim Sharpe has been appointed to serve on the Business Advisory Council (BAC) in recognition of valuable contributions and dedication to the Republican Party.
   Sharpe will serve the state of New York and is expected to play a crucial role in the Party's efforts to involve top business people in the process of government reform.
   The Business Advisory Council is part of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and is dedicated to making sure that small business has a voice in Washington.
   Sharpe, who has long supported Republican ideals, particularly dept reduction and tax reform, will be a key member of the Council.

Alyssa Accardo Selected For Macy's Parade Appearance - 2005

    Alyssa Accardo was selected to perform in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as part of Camp Broadway's "We Give Thanks Today" program. Camp Broadway is a theater arts education company based in New York City that provides performing arts programs and camps for children and teens interested in theatrical arts. Auditions were held in various cities across the country this summer. Selected participants will spend a week in New York City in November attending workshops and rehearsals, in preparation for their live performance on Thanksgiving Day. The Camp Broadway performers will be featured as the opening number of this year's parade. Alyssa is an eighth grade student at Connor Middle School.

LCPL Mike Mehltretter Returns From Iraq - 2005


Kathie Mehltretter, mother of LCPL Mike Mehltretter enjoys his party with friends. (right) Mike Mehltretter Sr. with his son at Friday night's welcome home party at the VFW Post.
Dan McMahon Photos

   Lance Corporal Michael Mehltretter, United States Marine Corps, was welcomed home by friends and family at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post #9249 Friday evening, October 14, 2005. Mike, a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2002, finished training in 29 Palms, California and was deployed to Iraq in March 2005. Mike's immediate plans are to attend college in Rochester. He is the son of Kathie and Michael Mehltretter Sr.

"Miracle Worker" Features Island Residents - 2005

Sarah Mye

   The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild’s “The Miracle Worker,” directed by Islander Fran Newton, stars Sarah Mye, a junior and high honor roll student at Grand Island High School. Sarah is taking the part of Helen Keller. Other Island residents in the cast are James Rustowicz as Percy, and his sisters, Katie, Maggie, and MaryElisabeth Rustowicz, who will play three blind girls.
   The following Isle residents are also part of the production: Nancy Watts (Costumer), Sam Santospirito (Scenic Art), Beth Dommer (Costume Crew) and Roger Watts (Master Carpenter).
   Dates/times for "Miracle Worker" follow:
• November 11 - 8 p.m. - (Opening)
• November 12 - 8 p.m.
• November 13 - 3 p.m. (Matinee)
• November 18 - 8 p.m.
• November 19 - 8 p.m. (Closing)
   For more information, click Niagara Regional Theatre Guild’s “The Miracle Worker” Offers Interpreters or

Nicole "Dee" Hoffman - 2005

   Former resident Nicole "Dee" Hoffman, GIHS Class of '92, continues to do very well with her motorcycle racing. Now riding under Team Vallely Racing, the third bike entry of Nicole and teammate Rhiannon Lucente earned their team another trophy in the Formula USA Team Challenge event, taking second place honors in GT lights at Daytona International Speedway, October 21, 2005. Click for Nicole's "BlondOnWheels" website (more pictures, more information).
   Nicole is living in Palm Coast, Florida and is Manager, NASCAR Partner Web Site in the Brand & Consumer Marketing Department at NASCAR.

Neighborhood Children Collect For “Olivia’s Journey” - 2005

Shown front left are Kaitlyn Rose and Madeline Jackson; (back) Nick Rossi, Chris Rose, Katie Greiner and Alie Cook.
Missing from the photo is Jonathan Oyer.
Click photo for larger view

   When Chris Rose recently decided to do something for his neighbor, Olivia Williams, to help her with her medical bills, he rounded up his friends and the group walked their neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods asking for donations to “Olivia’s Journey.” With the help of donations made by neighbors and members of St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Chris and his friends were able to raise $605 for Olivia. "To our surprise, St. Timothy Lutheran Church Thrivent Financial for Lutherans/Eric County Chapter, is adding fifty cents for every dollar ...making their donation to Olivia’s Journey just over $900," Chris' mother, Karen Rose said.
   Click for Olivia's Story, August 2005
   Click for Olivia Is Home, September 2005

Former Lady Vikings Help Advance Daemen To AMC Playoffs - 2005

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Shown from left are Cortney Bota (#10), Kim Walker (#5), Amy Stewart (#12) and Lauren Nedwick (#17), former players of the very successful Grand Island High School Lady Vikings Soccer team, now playing on the Daemen College Lady Wildcats Soccer Team.

   Cortney Bota, Lauren Nedwick, Amy Stewart and Kim Walker have all contributed to the Daemen Lady Wildcats success. The Lady Wildcats (10-6, 6-3 AMC) advance to the American Mideast Conference playoffs for the first time, after securing the post season spot last Saturday, October 22, 2005 when they beat Geneva 5-4 in overtime. Cortney, Lauren, Amy and Kim are starters for the Daemen Women's Soccer Team.
   Daemen will play at Houghton College at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, October 29, 2005. in the opening round of the American Mideast Conference Tournament. There is a possibility of the team traveling to Europe to participate in a World Class Soccer Tour during next year's preseason (August 2006).
   The girls were players on the GIHS Lady Vikings soccer team that made history in 2002 when they became the Section VI Class A champions, the Far West Regional Champions and a New York State semi-finalist.
   Besides playing soccer at GI High School, these girls all grew up on Grand Island and played on many recreational and travel teams on the Grand Island Soccer Club.

John Moore and Art Borgeson
BluesRoot To Perform At Grand Island Holiday Inn - 2005

   BluesRoot, a music duo made up of long time music veterans and Grand Island, NY residents John Moore and Art Borgeson, are bringing their musical and historical tribute to the early years of rock and roll to Western New York.
   BluesRoot will perform Friday, December 2, 2005 in the Settlement Room at the Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center. Doors will open at 7 p.m. with the show scheduled from 7:30–10:30 p.m.
   Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Food and beverage service will be available in the Settlement Room. A limited number of advance tickets are available. Advance ticket reservations may be made by calling JDM Promotions at 631-2023, or by asking for Dale at the Holiday Inn, 773-1111.
   BluesRoot delivers guitar and harmonica based versions of the early blues, early rock and roll and rockabilly classics of the mid to late 1950s and early 1960s. Their material pays tribute to mainstream artists like Elvis, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Roy Orbison; and the blues influences that made them, and others, great.
   The duo also will play their own blues laced roots music from their newly released CD, “Live. Real. In the Moment.”
   John and Art grew up in the 1950s and ‘60s and played the music then. After a lifetime in the business world, the duo got together last year to revisit and recapture the roots music of the boomer generation.
   “BluesRoot shows are family friendly and more than just music. We play the songs that memories are made of,” John said. He added, “We try to create an intimate atmosphere of two guys setting on their deck playing the music they love for their neighbors and friends.”
   Playing music professionally isn’t a new thing to either John or Art. During the 1960s John was the lead singer for various mid south based rock bands including “The Slightly Fabulous Rivieras.” That band was reunited three years ago and has been performing regularly since. He also has been a concert promoter working in conjunction with cities and professional sports teams throughout the northeast and mid south. Art, who grew up in Niagara Falls, NY, has been a frequent player with top name guitar legends in Nashville, Tennessee.
   The duo features John on electric/acoustic guitar and harmonica as well as lead vocals, and Art on lead guitar and backing vocals.

Coach Dick Bessel - 2005

Photo taken by Jeff John at the St. Gregory's The Great "Great Race" 5K in Williamsville, New York June 21, 2002 and featured on the site.
Jeff John Photo - Click for full view

   Longtime Grand Island coach and race official Dick Bessel, who is and has been well respected throughout the area for his dedication to track and road race events for half a century, is featured today in a wonderful article by Buffalo News writer Jerry Sullivan. For the article, click "Dick Bessel Story."

Merritt Kinsey - 2005

Click photo for Merritt's band, the King 'n Trio
   Former Island resident Merritt Kinsey grew up on Grand Island where he started his musical career with school district music teacher Mr. William Pinkow. He continued playing bass and tuba in groups while attending high school in Connecticut where his family had moved to in 1964. Merritt, who graduated from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1971 and received an MBA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1973, is president of Western Slope Industries, Inc. in Grand Junction, Colorado where he lives with his wife, the former Lois Wheeler, GIHS Class of 1967. His love of music continues today as a member of a group called The King 'n Trio, whose sponsor is the Grand Junction Rotary Club. The band's mission is to bring good music and entertainment to people of all ages, and to raise monies for both Rotary International and the projects of the Grand Junction Rotary Club.
   The Kinseys are parents of Adam and Sarah of San Francisco and Chicago respectively. Merritt's parents, Kenneth and Doris Kinsey, were very active Island residents from 1941 to 1964, and are now living in Ithaca, NY. Lois' father, former Love Road resident Bill Wheeler, resides at St Francis in Lockport. Old friends may get in touch the Merritt and Lois by emailing

Mary Cooke Announces Candidacy for Town Council - 2005

Councilwoman Mary Cooke is proud of her record of service on the Town Board and is running for re-election on a platform of Experience, Leadership and Action. She pledges to continue working hard for all Grand Islanders and will continue to be readily available to listen to ideas and answer questions. EXPERIENCE
Cooke has served on the Town Board since 1994 Councilwoman Cooke currently serves on the Audit and Special Districts Committees and is the Town Board Liaison to the Conservation Commission, the Human Rights Committee and the Historic Preservation Committee. While not her assigned responsibility, she has helped to reorganize GIFTS (Grand Island Families, Town, School) in the past year as funding from the United Way has ended. During her time as a councilwoman, Cooke has also served as Town Board Liaison to the Cable Television Committee, Community Enrichment Council and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Councilwoman and was Deputy Supervisor from 1995-1997.
Councilwoman Cooke is known for doing her homework and getting all the facts before making a decision. While not always popular at the moment of the vote she bases her votes on facts, not emotion. Lawsuits against the Town have been prevented in contentious land development issues because decisions are thoroughly researched before a vote. Cooke spearheaded the comprehensive review of the Local Waterfront Development Plan (LWRP) that could play an important role in how Niagara River Greenway Commission funds are spent on Grand Island. She organized production of the annual Town-wide Newsletter containing the Water Quality Statement for the past six years. Along with Supervisor McMahon, Councilwoman Cooke was honored with a Quality Quest Coalition Community Stewardship Award in 2000 for her role in the 206-acre “Scenic Woods” land purchase. Cooke chaired the Sidewalk and Bikepath Committee from its inception until January 2000. During that time a sidewalk and bikepath plan for Grand Island was developed in-house and the sidewalks around the Town Common were installed. Local laws requiring sidewalks in major subdivisions in sewer districts and requiring sidewalk maintenance were passed unanimously by the Town Board. Councilwoman Cooke spearheaded the effort to consolidate sewer districts. The Town Board unanimously passed this plan in March of 1999.
Conservative budgets have been the norm in Councilwoman Cooke’s tenure on the Town Board, achieved through communication and cooperation with Department Heads and all elected officials. In July 2005 the Town was issued a Moody’s bonding rating of A2 based on several years of conservative budgeting. Cooke helped to bring the Supervisor’s 2001 budget increase from 21% to 9%. The Energy Performance Contract currently in place will achieve long term energy savings by replacing water meters and installing more efficient windows, lighting, motors, pumps and drives. Cooke has supported department consolidation and reorganization at the time of employee retirement instead of simply rehiring for the same position and supports the move to a computerized payroll. Employee and retiree health benefits continue to be examined for cost effectiveness and employees hired after October 2002 contribute to their health care insurance. Communication with citizens has been improved with production of an Advisory Board Booklet listing the purpose, meeting dates and times, names of volunteer members and terms of office for all serving the town as Advisory Board Members. Cooke spearheaded utility audits that have saved the town over $32,000.
Councilwoman Cooke is proud to be endorsed by the Grand Island Republican, Independence and Conservative Parties.
Mary Cooke serves was elected President of the Friends of Grand Island Memorial Library in May 2205 and had served as Vice-President since 1995. She has been a lector at St. Stephen’s Church for 11 years and has coordinated the semi-annual clothing drive since 1994. As a member of the Grand Island Historical Society, Cooke serves on the Education Committee and has helped organize the annual Grand Island Tour for the 4th graders since 1997. She volunteers for the PTA of the Middle School and Kaegebein Elementary School and at the Town of Grand Island’s Reality Café. Cooke serves as Secretary for GISBA (Grand Island School Business Alliance), is a member of the Grand Island Republican Committee and is Vice-President of the Grand Island Republican Women’s Club.
Cooke earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Buffalo State College in 1981 and a Master’s Degree from Niagara University in 1988. She taught Home Economics for 11 years, one year at Salamanca Central School and ten years at Wilson Central School. Cooke co-authored a middle school level home economics textbook Decisions In Action which was published in 1988 and a second edition in 1990.
Cooke moved to Grand Island in 1988 and lives on North Colony Road with her husband Jeff and children James (“Cap”) and Jane.

Islanders Star In Annie Get Your Gun - October 2005

(left) Megan Spencer, Islander James Rustowicz and Brittany Ziarnowski; (right) Islanders Danielle, Kayla, and Nicole Nash, ensemble - Click Photos For Larger View
(left) Islander John Quackenbush with Carolyn Johnson (Foster Wilson and ensemble); (right) James Rustowicz (Little Jake) - Click Photos For Larger View

   The above Islanders are appearing in the cast of Annie Get Your Gun, playing for the last time Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8, 2005 at 8 p.m. at the Riviera Theater, 6 Webster Street, North Tonawanda. Annie Get Your Gun is a Niagara Regional Theater Guild production. Islander TJ Slipko is also in the cast which is being directed by Fran Newston and choreographed by Dawn Marcolini Newton of Grand Island. Tickets are available at the door. For ticket information, click

Maria Capolupo - 2005

   Grand Island High School graduate Maria Capolupo has joined forces with Jason Beaudreau of the Guitar Woodshed to teach guitar and violin lessons. Maria returns to her hometown after living in Saskatchewan, Canada for the past seven years. While in Canada, she ran her own music school where she taught guitar, bass, violin and music theory. She is thrilled to be a member of the Guitar Woodshed located in Niagara County where she will offer the same services.
   Maria has extensive experience in both teaching and performing environments. Her musical studies began at age four when she began singing and performing with Yolanda Gambino’s “Angels.” Soon after, she began studying guitar with Sam Mameli of Niagara Falls and guitar quickly became her passion. In addition to guitar lessons, Maria studied violin, bass, voice, music theory and music history. She also performed in several plays and musicals at Grand Island High School and local dinner theatre. Maria has played professionally in several bands covering many different styles of music: jazz, metal, classic rock, alternative rock, folk and more. As a solo player, Maria continues her studies and enjoys a wide variety of styles; blues, metal, and flamenco being her personal favorites. She utilizes her education and experience to offer students a well rounded musical learning experience.
   For more information call Maria at 773-0081.

Fundraiser For Daemen College Student Adam Rivers - 2005

   Daemen College student, Adam Rivers, will be traveling to Africa for a Daemen College student trip where he will be teaching lessons at a school in Tanzania and painting with a local artist. To raise funds for his trip, a Basket Raffle is being held from 5-9 p.m. Friday, October 14, 2005 at the Grand Island Moose Lodge #180 Family Center on Grand Island Blvd. The evening will feature 50/50 split, door prizes and refreshments. Those interested in donating baskets or items for the baskets are asked to contact Nancy Anderson, 773-1619. Adam, who has excelled in art, is a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2002.

Octoberfest Fundraiser to Re-Elect Mary Cooke, Councilwoman - 2005

   An Octoberfest from 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, October 7, 2005 in the Niagara Sailing Club, 3619 East River Road is being held as a fundraiser to Re-Elect Mary Cooke, Councilwoman. Click Octoberfest Fundraiser/Mary Cooke, Councilwoman for complete information.

Dan Robillard Announces Candidacy for Town Council - 2005

   September 29, 2005 . . . Town Councilman Dan Robillard, the endorsed Republican, Independence and Conservative candidate, has announced that he will seek re-election for a second term on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, 2005.
   Councilman Robillard's fiscal responsibility has been proven in the savings of taxpayer dollars. He established a 0% pay increase for town board members, worked to combine government services, and initiated computerized time-keeping. He also wrote legislation to refund unnecessary fees, and designed a residential complaint form to solve issues.
   Dan worked diligently with the town board, staff and employees on budgeting and controlling costs to see the A2 bond rating become a reality, giving the taxpayers the services they desire at a reasonable cost.
   As Planning Board liaison, Dan assisted and supported development projects such as Tim Horton's, Fuccillo Auto Park, American Pharmaceuticals, US Border Patrol, Island Physical Therapy and South Bridge Plaza.
   Committed to the Grand Island community, Dan served on the steering committee for the Meaghan's Miracle Fundraiser, is a coach and league coordinator for the Grand Island Soccer Club, was coordinator of the Veteran's Park Sesquicentennial tree planting, co-coordinator of the annual Grand Island Blvd. Cleanup and is currently involved with the Huth Road Elementary School's playground renovation project.
   Dan is employed at McKinley High School, Buffalo as a Career & Technical Educator, and is president of Total Landscape Care, a business he started in 1982. He graduated from Buffalo State College with an M.S. in Education, from UB with a B.S. in Business and from NCCC with an A.A.S. in Horticulture.
   Born and raised on Grand Island, Dan lives on Ransom Road with his wife, Marge and daughters, Shannon and Chelsea.

Sue Argy Announces Candidacy for Town Council - 2005

   September 29, 2005 . . . Sue Argy, a lifelong Grand Island resident, has officially announced her candidacy for Grand Island Councilman. Sue is the endorsed candidate of the Democratic party.
   As a working mother of four children, Sue truly understands the challenges that the working families face each day. Sue feels her accounting education and work experience gives her a knowledge of financial decisions, management and problem resolution that can aid her in making sound choices to benefit the Grand Island Community. As a Grand Island High graduate, Sue completed her education with Bryant & Stratton, receiving high honors in Accounting.
   If elected, Sue would focus on smarter development of the community. She would promote strengthening of commercial development, while protecting the great rural characteristics that make this Island such a Grand place to live and call home.
   As Grand Island Councilman, Sue would promote a stronger relationship between the Town and School boards. It is a priority for Sue to keep our children safe, involved and active in community and recreational activities.
   Sue plans to make herself available and accessible to the residents and taxpayers of Grand Island. As a voice for the community, Sue will work hard to control taxes by making each tax dollar count, promoting accountability for spending and eliminating waste.
   Sue has proven organizational and leadership skills as founder and president of The Parents Link, a support and advocacy group for parents of children with special needs due to neonatal brain injury. Sue is a parent representative for Parent to Parent of Western New York and Headway for Brain Injured. She is also a member at St. Stephen’s Parish here on Grand Island.
   Sue has never run for a political office prior to this year’s general election, November 8th. Sue states, “I was born and raised here on Grand Island. My husband Mark and I enjoy raising our children here. I welcome the opportunity to return something to our residents. I believe my education and work experience give me the skills necessary to make effective choices for the best interest of our community. I have strong work ethics and a commitment to Grand Island and its residents.”
   Sue Argy lives on Sandy Beach Road with her husband, Mark, and three of her four children. She is employed by a Buffalo law firm.

Raymond Dlugokinski Seeks Re-election As Highway Superintendent - 2005

   September 29, 2005 . . . Raymond Dlugokinski has announced his bid for re-election as Grand Island's Highway Superintendent. He has been endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties.
   A 39 year employee of the Department, Dlugokinski currently holds the position of Highway Superintendent. He started as a laborer, was moved up to motor equipment operator, then promoted to crew chief and from there appointed Deputy Superintendent by Norm Mrkall 29 years ago. Dlugokinski has been elected twice as Highway Superintendent and has made the Grand Island Highway Department one of the best in Western New York, earning an A+ rating for snow removal.
   The knowledge that he brings to the position has proven invaluable. There is no substitute for experience, and Dlugokinski has worked every job that is done by the Highway Department. He is able to apply this knowledge, and in critical situations residents may find him working alongside his fellow employees, checking road conditions or even behind the wheel of a snowplow.
   Dlugokinski is a hands on manager and knows what it takes to make the Highway Department function efficiently. Budgeting, purchasing and employee relations are also his concerns as he must keep his costs within the Department's allocation. His ability as a highway maintenance professional has earned him the respect of others in similar fields who often seek his advice. He has a reputation as one who can solve problems and get things done.
   His professional affiliations include the Erie County and New York State Associations of Highway Superintendents and he is the Audit Chairman for the Erie County Highway Superintendents Association. Dlugokinski received a 5-year award from the School for Highway Superintendents, for classes he has attended at Ithaca College, sponsored by the Association of Towns of the State of New York and Cornell University Local Roads Program. He has certified in the following areas: Asphalt Paving Principles, Reducing Liability for Local Highway Officials, Small Highway Dept. Management, Roadway & Roadside Drainage, Snow and Ice Control Operations for Local Highway Officials, and Powers & Duties of Local Highway Officials.
   Dlugokinski has implemented a program for the Highway Department to service other Town department's vehicles and equipment, and uses highway equipment and facilities to aid the Water, Wastewater and Recreation Departments when they need assistance. A computer program has been created for inventory control, vehicle repair and cost, and pavement management; making the Highway Department more efficient and cost effective. He continues the limb and branch pick up service for residents.
   Dlugokinski is NOT a politician seeking a political job; he is a dedicated employee of the Highway Department, having been voted into office twice by the residents of Grand Island. His love and concern for the Island compels him to excel at his job. His roots are on Grand Island. He attended school here and raised his three sons - James, Stephen and Mark - on the Island. He has been a continual Island resident for 55 years and is married to the former Ann Burns.
   With the voters' approval, Ray Dlugokinski hopes to continue serving the Town.

Pooch Rescued In New Orleans Has New Home - September 2005

Michele Beauchamp and Callie - Click photo for larger view
   Callie, a 14 week old Cavachon (half Cavalier King Charles and half Bichone Frise), was rescued in New Orleans 11 days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Michele Beauchamp, GIHS Class of 1982, has written that a friend of hers traveled to the Houston Astrodome to help with the hurricane evacuees for 10 days and then went on to New Orleans to assist with the animal rescue efforts. "She called me and asked me if I would open my home to an evacuee and today my little bundle of joy arrived," Michele wrote this week. "I am sure that Callie and I will be happy living together in Lubbock!" she said.
    Callie weighs a grand total of four pounds!

Fundraiser For 3-year-old Olivia Raye Williams Family HUGE Success - 2005

   Island response to the Olivia's Journey Fundraiser, held Sunday, September 18, 2005 at River Oaks was "HUGE" according to committee members who put the event together to help out Roxanne and Bill Williams with medical bills that continue to include every-other-week trips to Pittsburgh for Olivia Raye's follow-up appointments.
   Serving on the committee for the Olivia's Journey Fundraiser were Co-chairwomen Cindy Kaiser and Pat Pierce, Heather Hill, Christine and Robert Ratajczak, Barbara Conrad, Roz Bartholomay, Trudy and Carl Walbert, Elaine Ciechoski and Mary Casella. "We had a great basis of volunteers to help us move the baskets, set up, assist for the event and tear down the event," a spokesman for the group said. "We can't thank River Oaks and their staff enough for all their help. In addition we want to thank all those people who helped make this event a "HUGE" success. We know we are not able to thank everyone individually, but we want everyone to know that their generosity has been greatly appreciated and has not gone unnoticed," she said.
   Funds raised from this benefit have helped the family to only concentrate on getting Olivia well, and not on how they were going to pay for their living expenses while going through this tremendous medical miracle.
   Donations may still be made to: Williams Family Fund, PO Box 914, Grand Island, NY 14072.

Duignan Family - Five Generations - 2005

Pictured are (standing) Chris Stafford (granddaughter), Kathy McKinney (daughter), Anna McCarthy (great granddaughter); (seated) great great grandmother Florence Duignan with Chloe McCarthy (great great ganddaughter)
Story and photo by Mary Stewart - Click photo for larger view

   September 22, 2005 . . . Having five generations in one family pose for a photograph doesn't happen very often but that is just what the Duignan family did when Michigan resident Kathy (Duignan) McKinney and her family returned to the Island for a visit this past weekend.
   The Duignans, whose family eventually included six daughters, came to Grand Island in 1951 and built their home on the corner of Stony and Huth roads where they lived for many years. Florence Duignan worked as a nurse at Memorial Hospital in Niagara Falls. Her husband, Bernard, known to family and friends as "Barnie," was a maintenance mechanic for Dupont. A few years after Barnie passed away, Florence and her daughter, Linda Schneckenburger, bought their present home on Schutt Court where Linda's daughter, Missy and granddaughter, Keanna also live, making four generations under one roof! Presently daughters Eileen DeCharlia lives in Rochester, Sue Kline resides in Springville and Betty Coi is still a resident of Grand Island. Another daughter, Mary, is deceased.

Stone Henderson Filipovich And Stone's Buddies - 2005

   September 21, 2005 . . .A little Grand Island boy lost his battle with a malignant brain tumor on August 16, 2004. Stone Henderson Filipovich was honored on Tuesday, September 20, 2005 at Woman's and Children's Hospital when "Stone's Buddies," a support organization for young patients and their families, was launched. Four-year-old Stone lived with his parents, Mark and Roberta Ritchie Filipovich, who have since left the Island and reside in Texas.
   Click "Stone's Buddies" for the story that appeared in the Wednesday, September 21, 2005 edition of the Buffalo News.

Lisa Mrkall Passes Certified Public Accountant Exam - 2005

   Gaines Kriner Elliott LLP, a certified public accounting and consulting firm, announces Lisa A. Mrkall has passed all parts of the certified public accountant exam. Lisa is a senior accountant and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health & Human Services from the University of Buffalo and an MBA in Professional Accounting from Canisius College.
   Lisa is the wife of Skip Mrkall and daughter of Ken and Linda Koch.

Welcome, Elizabeth Roisin Carpenter - 2005

   Elizabeth Roisin Carpenter was born Friday, September 9, 2005 weighing eight pounds, four ounces. Baby Eliza is the daughter of Jackie and Jim Carpenter of Warner Drive, and is shown with her brother, Sam, who will be two years old on September 25th. The baby's proud grandparents are Donna and Paul Linenfelser of Grand Island and Bill and Moey Carpenter of Rochester.

Fundraiser Announced For Wayne Weis Family - 2005

   Wayne Weis, a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 1978, donated one of his kidneys to a friend and co-worker, Frank LaVia of Lewiston on August 8, 2005 in the transplant unit at Buffalo General. A fundraiser party to help defray the mounting medical costs and loss of wages for both men, will be held from 1-10 p.m. Saturday, October 22, 2005 at the Elk's Lodge at 1805 Third Ave, Niagara Falls next to the Prime Outlets.
   Tickets are $20 and include food and beverages. The event will feature a Chinese Raffle and basket auction, as well as silent and live auctions and some special guest appearances.
   For tickets, call Wayne at 773-6242 or MaryJo Zacher at 285-0377. Donations in the form of checks, may be sent to:
LaVia - Weis Benefit
PO Box 1502
Niagara Falls, NY 14302
   Donations may also be made in any amount to "Friends of Frank Lavia" at any M&T Bank branch.
   Wayne and his wife, Louise are parents of Elena and Mitchell, 5th and 3rd grade students at Kaegebein Elementary School respectively.

Welcome, Eileen Aurora Rose Krause - 2005

   Eileen Aurora Rose Krause was born to Debra Krause on August 11, 2005. Ellie weighed six pounds, three ounces and arrived at 5 a.m. Deb, a member of the GIHS Class of 1997, and Ellie are residing in Buffalo, NY and both are doing well.

Renee A. Woloszyn, Candidate for Town Council - 2005

   September 15, 2005 . . . Renee Woloszyn, a resident of Grand Island for eight years, officially announced her candidacy for Grand Island Town Council. Renee is the endorsed candidate of both the Democratic and Working Families parties.
   Renee has been involved in several charitable and political organizations in Western New York. Through her involvement, she has seen first hand the issues facing working families today. Renee hopes that if elected she can find ways to improve the quality of life for the residents of Grand Island.
   Renee’s educational background includes graduating from a public high school and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Binghamton University. In addition, she has continued her studies through a certificate program at the Cornell School for Industrial & Labor Relations.
   Renee’s intention is to find new and creative ways of dealing with the issues that are important to Grand Islanders. She would first accomplish this by being more responsive and open with her constituents so that the issues can be properly identified.
   Renee will make ethical decisions that are in the best interest of Grand Island. She will work toward controlling taxes through efficient spending and accountability. Another priority will be balancing commercial and residential development with the residents’ needs and desires, along with improving services to aid a growing community. Renee will also try to expand recreation so that the youth on Grand Island have something constructive to do.
   When asked why she wanted to run for town council, Renee responded, “I love living here in Grand Island and I would like to give something back to this community that has already given so much to me. I believe my experience, education, and work ethic give me the necessary background to successfully represent the residents of Grand Island. I hope I get that opportunity.”
   Renee Woloszyn lives on Laurie Lane with her husband George. She is employed by Verizon Communications.

Sawmill Run and Independence Lane Kids Collect For Katrina Disaster - 2005

Click photo for larger view
   September 8, 2005 . . . Jennifer Amato (10 years old), Joey Halpin (9 years old), and Catherine Navagh (9 years old) raised funds for the Gulf Coast disaster by riding their bikes in their Sawmill Run and Independence Lane neighborhood. They set out around noon on September 3, 2005 to ride 27 laps around the circle and finished shortly after 2:30 p.m. for a total of nine miles, and raising a total of $150. The children went door-to-door for sponsorships and collected donations in tubs they made out of chalk containers.

Olivia Is Home!
Fundraiser Set For Sunday, September 18th At River Oaks - 2005

Click photo for larger view
   September 8, 2005 . . . Olivia Raye Williams is back home, playing with her toys and enjoying life. But her short three and one half years hasn't always been this happy. Olivia was born with a rare birth defect, jejunal atresia, a complete separation of her small intestine. She and her parents have just returned home after her second, successful transplant surgery that took place on June 3, 2005.
   After numerous surgeries and months in the NICU at Children's Hospital in Buffalo the year she was born, Olivia was able to go home. However, after just a few weeks she was Medi-Vac'd to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh with severe complications. She received her first transplant (liver, small intestine and pancreas) on November 3, 2002 when she was hospitalized for eight long months. Over the next two years, she suffered complications, often fighting for her life.
   Olivia was given a second chance with a second transplant on June 3rd of this year. Her parents brought her home on Thursday, September 1st. She is a very happy little tot, reacquainting herself with her toys, playing outside, and taking walks and bike rides with her parents, Island residents Roxanne and Bill Williams (GIHS Class of 1988).
    A fundraiser for the family is being held from 1-6 p.m. Sunday, September 18, 2005 at River Oaks Restaurant. Click for "Olivia's Journey Fundraiser Information."
   Channel 2 and Jodi Johnston visited the Williams home this week to do an interview and story which will be aired on the 5 p.m. news Tuesday night, September 13, 2005. The women who are hosting Olivia's Journey fundraiser on Sunday, September 18th at River Oaks will appear live on the DayBreak show at about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, September 14.
   For the latest update on Olivia Raye Williams, click then click "Olivia's Journey Updated."

David Karb Starring In "Breaking Legs" Production - 2005

   David Karb of Stony Point Road has a starring role in the Silver Lining Productions and Western Door Playhouse presentation of "Breaking Legs." The show, directed by Linda Silvestri, is scheduled for 8 p.m. September 9, 10, 16, 17 and at 2:30 p.m. September 11 and September 18.
   The play will be staged at the Niagara Arts & Cultural Center (NACC) - Woodbox Theatre, 1201 Pine (at Portage), Niagara Falls, NY. Enter at red door. Reservations are recommended by calling 297-5910 or 282-7530 (Margaret Laurie at the NACC).
   The comedy by Tom Dulack has the worlds of the Mafia and the theater clashing hilariously in an Italian restaurant. A madcap entree of murder and menace with a side order of pasta and laughter."
   An Italian dinner is available before the show by pre-paid reservation only. Ask about group rates.

Webbs Get Together - 2005

Click photo for larger view
   September 1, 2005 . . . Members of the Webb family gathered together in July 2005 on Love Road where their ancestors lived as far back as the mid 1800s. They are (left) Dawn Webb Trivette, Sugar Grove, NC; Ron Webb, Olcott, NY; Arvilla Webb Kendzierski, Love Road, Grand Island; and Ed Webb, South Dayton, NY.
   Arvilla and Dawn are sisters. Ron and Ed are cousins to each other and also to the girls.

Weinee-Palooza Goes On In Remembrance of Pete Courey - 2005

A group of friends gathered for the Weinee-Palooza at the home of Don Hoover in memory of Peter Courey. Click photo for a larger view.

   September 1, 2005 . . . It all started at a birthday party that the late Pete Courey hosted back in January 2005 at his home on the river. A decision was made to hold a Wienee-Palooza summer party at his home in July or August. With final details were worked out, invitations were prepared and the date of August 27, 2005 for the party at Pete's house was set. Unfortunately, Pete passed away on July 25th. It was decided that Pete would have wanted the party to go on and it was held in his memory at the home of Don Hoover.
   A party requirement was to bring a dish that included hot dogs, therefore there were several creative and unique dishes, including dessert, which consisted of several small cakes each looking exactly like a hot dog in a bun with condiments.
   Raffle tickets raised $52 and a huge box of canned goods was collected and donated to the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation in memory of Peter Courey. Stories of their friend Pete were shared through the evening and sentiments were all the same - "there is a void in our lives with him passing." "Thanks for the memories Dr. Pete!"

Charlotte Booth Crowned America's Fair Princess - August 2005

Left is Charlotte Booth, 2005 America's Fair Princess and (right) 2004 Miss Erie County Fair Princess Carissa Bailey with newly crowned Princess Charlotte Booth
Click photos for a larger view.

   Charlotte Booth, from Grand Island, NY was named the America’s Fair Princess at the Erie County Fairgrounds on Thursday, August 11, 2005. Carissa Bailey, 16, also of Grand Island, relinquished her crown as 2004 America’s Fair Princess and crowned the 2005 Fair Princess. The princess is the ambassador during the 11-day fair where she appeared in the daily parade, and judged various contests and events including the 4-H dressing contests. It was a true learning experience and a high honor to represent the fair to the public. Carissa was thrilled to pass the crown on to a fellow Grand Islander. Charlotte and Carissa will be seniors at Grand Island High School this fall.

Welcome, Sara Margaret Fletcher - 2005

   Sara Margaret Fletcher was born June 23, 2005 to John and Lisa Fletcher of Grand Island. Sara Margaret, who weighed in at six pounds, six ounces, was welcomed home by her brother John II, 3. Proud grandparents are Jean Fletcher, Linda Grasso, and Dan Powell, all of Grand Island, NY.

Welcome, Melaina Laurelle Ranger - 2005

   Melaina Laurelle Ranger, daughter of Scott and Amanda (Houck-Piccolo) Ranger, was born in Sister's Hospital in Buffalo, NY on Wednesday, August 24, 2005. The baby girl weighed in at five pounds, 14 ounces and is 18 3/4 inches long. She is the granddaughter of Melissa Piccolo of Danbury, CT; Richard Piccolo of Grand Island, NY; and Elaine & Gary Ranger of Eden, NY and great granddaughter of Jeanette Grobengieser of Niagara Falls, NY; Eileen Houck of Grand Island, NY; and Rita Piccolo of Tonawanda, NY.

Welcome, Joseph Edward Martin - 2005

   Joseph Edward Martin, son of Danielle Hassan and James (Biff) Martin of Grand Island, was born on Saturday, August 20, 2005 at Women's & Children's Hospital of Buffalo weighing seven pounds, one ounce and measuring 20 1/4" in length. He is the grandson of Diane and Mark Hassan and Kathy and Jim Martin, and the great grandson of Alfred Bykowicz, all of Grand Island. Joseph Edward is welcomed home by his big brothers, Andrew Sander, 10; Jimmy Martin, 7; and Kevin Sander, 5.

Marilynn Fleckenstein Named Niagara University's Associate Vice President For Academic Affairs - 2005

    Island resident Marilynn Fleckenstein became Niagara University's associate vice president for academic affairs on Wednesday, August 24, 2005. The chairman of Niagara University's philosophy department, she will work with the Rev. Daniel O'Leary who has held the position since 1999 and is retiring in December. A teacher at Niagara University since 1966, for the past 11 years Ms. Fleckenstein has been director of Learn and Serve Niagara, which involves 2,000+ Niagara students in community service programs each year.

GS-15 Jay Tolbert In Afghanistan - 2005

   August 18, 2005 . . .Grand Islander Jay Tolbert GS-15…GIHS class of 1984 has been over in Kandahar, Afghanistan since November 2004 as an Air Traffic Controller, recently took over as Air Traffic Manager at the Kandahar International Airport while working with the Department of Defense (DOD). Jay is there on a one-year tour and then will relocate to Grand Island in November of this year taking over as Air Traffic Manager at the Niagara Falls International Airport. His daughter has already relocated to the Island and for the first time will be attending Grand Island High School this fall. For the preceding eight years prior to his deployment, he held the Air Traffic Control Manager position at the Jackson County Airport in Jackson, MI. "We have not lived on the Island since 1985 when I left for a 12-year stint with the U.S. Air Force, then in ‘97 made the transition from Air Force to the Civilian sector for a combined total of 20 plus years service in the Air Traffic career field," Jay wrote. "I eagerly look forward to returning to our beloved Island!"

Lynn Argy Ryan - 2005

   Click for story on former resident
"Lynn Argy Ryan".

Laurie McCarthy, TV Writer - Update - 2005

   Laurie McCarthy, who grew up on Grand Island, has written and produced "Windfall," scheduled to begin airing midseason on NBC TV. Click
"Laurie" - 8/17/05 Story for the Buffalo News story of August 17, 2005. See also "Laurie" - 7/28/05 Story

Mike and Lisa Dudley - 2005

Mike Dudley and daughter, Kara. Click photo for a larger view.

   August 17, 2005 . . . Mike and Lisa Dudley are not only celebrating their 21st wedding anniversary tomorrow and Lisa's birthday today, but also the last of a series of chemo treatments on August 3, 2005. It was in March of 2005 that Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a lumpectomy to remove two very early stage spots. She then started the first of the four chemo treatments on June 21st. Along with the usual side effects such as losing her hair, she has also been able to maintain an altered running schedule three days a week on her good weeks. After a couple of weeks off from the final chemo treatment, she will start radiation treatments five days a week for six weeks.
   Lisa has been away from her job and on disability since her surgery on April 16th and will return to work the second week of September. Regrettably after a 20-year career with State Farm Insurance, she will be losing her job at the end of October because of the office relocating to Rochester.
   Mike, who has been riding in the annual Ride For Roswell bike-a-thon for most of the last 10 years, raised almost $1000 in contributions from friends, family and co-workers, along with his daughter, Kara, 13. He had specially designed shirts made for this ride in honor of his wife. Roswell's recent Roswellness publication covering the ride included a picture of Mike and Kara.

Former Islander Wins Alumni Prize - 2005

1st Prize winner Helen Dinero and committee member Dick Crawford.
Jodi Robinson photo

   August 18, 2005 . . .Former Islander Helen (Lutz) Dinero came back two weeks ago to enjoy the music at "Jazz on the River" at the Holiday Inn. Helen's daughter knew the drummer, so they traveled from Buffalo to Helen's old stomping grounds. Little did she know, she was to be the lucky winner in the Grand Island Alumni Association's raffle of a catered dinner for 20 donated by Chef's Restaurant and wine donated by
   Helen lived on East River Road just east of Warner Drive in Sandy Beach from 1950 through 1961. She remembers going to a little store that is now The Beach House Restaurant, swimming at the Sandy Beach Park Club and tagging along with her sister to the Sidway School dances. Helen never went to school on Grand Island, but took the bus over the river to "the Mount." Helen is leaving shortly to visit a son out west who is in the armed services. She plans on saving her prize until Christmas time when her son is due home on leave.

Michael T. Coutu, Esq., Candidate for Town Justice - 2005

   August 16, 2005 . . . Michael T. Coutu, Esq. announces his Democratic Endorsement as a candidate for the office of Grand Island Town Justice. The following was submitted by Mr. Coutu.
   I am the endorsed Democratic candidate running for Grand Island Town Justice. I have never run for office before. I am running now so that I have the opportunity to serve and improve the community which brought my family to Grand Island. I want to do something positive and constructive for my community. I can best serve as Town Justice because I have experience in the courtroom, in the classroom, and in facilitating out of court resolution through mediation, arbitration and negotiation. In addition to work in local village and town courts ranging from small claims to misdemeanor defense, I have varied courtroom experience defending towns, cities, schools, and other public and private entities and individuals when they are sued.
   I was born in Burlington Vermont. I grew up in a small Vermont town (although it is now suburban by Vermont standards). Growing up we (my brother, sister and I) learned to share (or inherited) our mother’s commitment to the betterment of our community. My mother, in addition to teaching fulltime, has been either the Recreation Commissioner or committee chairwoman for more than two decades. Growing up I developed not only a strong commitment to my hometown, but was also active in town recreation and planning issues for many years. Grand Island reminds me a great deal of where I grew up. My wife, Sarah and I look forward to raising our children on Grand Island and instilling in our children the same work-ethic and commitment to education that brought us to Grand Island.
   I believe the lifelong commitment to hard work and self-improvement through education will allow me to best serve Grand Island as Town Justice. From being paid by the pound to pick berries at a local berry farm, to clerking at the local convenience and hardware store, I always worked my way through school. I earned my Bachelors Degree at the University of Vermont, majoring in Environmental Studies. After working for a year as a Teacher’s Assistant in a second grade classroom, I moved to Portland, Oregon to enroll in the nation’s top ranked environmental law school, Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College. I graduated from Lewis & Clark with my law degree and a Certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law.
   After graduating from Law School, we moved to Western New York so that my wife could attend Pharmacy School at the University at Buffalo. While my wife started at UB, I volunteered at the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project before I began practicing law at Altreuter Habermehl in 1998. I am currently a senior attorney at Sliwa & Lane, in Buffalo. I have tried cases in courtrooms from the Bronx to Buffalo. I have learned from what I have seen in the courtroom and can use the knowledge to improve our Grand Island Court.
   Since law school, I have completed the 6-course certificate program in Alternative Dispute Resolution offered by Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. I have also obtained a certificate from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, a ten-day intensive trial technique program held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have spoken widely on varied legal issues at programs sponsored by the International Young Lawyer’s Association, the New York Bar Association, and other entities.
   I am strongly committed to education, safety and Alternative Dispute Resolution. One of the best ways to keep children out of Court is to teach them not only the consequences of their actions, but to empower them to resolve disputes constructively. I have had the opportunity to work with folks of all ages as a volunteer mediator for the Dispute Settlement Center and Child and Family Services of Erie County. Mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution empower people to resolve legal problems creatively and completely, reducing repeat offences and saving Court resources.
   Before profiting from all that Grand Island has to offer, I hope to be able to serve Grand Island. It would be an honor to serve Grand Island as your next Town Justice.

   Mike lives on East River Road with his wife, Sarah and their daughter, Zoe. The Coutus are expecting their second child in October.

Olivia Raye Williams
Olivia's Journey - Three-Year-Old Has Multiple Organ Transplant - 2005
Fundraiser 1-6 p.m. Sunday, September 18th At River Oaks Restaurant

(left) Olivia - dad Bill Williams & Olivia, mom Roxanne; and Roxanne, Olivia and Bill.
   Olivia Raye Williams, daughter of Roxanne and Bill Williams (GIHS Class of 1988), was born on March 28, 2002 with a rare birth defect, jejunal atresia, a complete separation of her small intestine. After months in the NICU at Children's Hospital of Buffalo and numerous surgeries, Olivia was able to go home. However severe complications followed. A second, successful transplant surgery took place on June 3, 2005. A fundraiser for the family is being held from 1-6 p.m. Sunday, September 18, 2005 at River Oaks Restaurant.
   Featured at the fundraiser will be a Chinese auction, door prizes, raffle, 50/50 drawings, silent auctions, entertainment, food and drinks. The admission tickets are $20 and include a Door Prize Drawing, food and drinks. Raffle tickets are being sold at $10 each, 3 for $25 or a book of 12 for $100. Prizes are $2,500 cash, Dell Dimension 3000 Computer with 17” Flat Panel Monitor and Printer, Ladies Nike Graphite Irons, HP Digital Camera with Photo Smart Printer, One Night at the Holiday Inn Grand Island with Breakfast and Dinner.
   Through a generous offer by John's Pizza Shop a Olivia Williams day is being held on Sunday, August 21 with a portion of each large and party tray of pizza purchased that day going to the Williams Family Fund.
   For donations, questions or tickets, contact Christine Ratajczak, 774-8478 or Heather Hill, 773-7336. Donations may be made to: Williams Family Fund, PO Box 914, Grand Island, NY 14072. For photos and further information, click "Olivia's Journey" or
   For more information, contact Co-Chairwomen Cindy Kaiser, 773-2279 and Pat Pierce, 773-3916

Fundraiser For County Legislature Candidate Rus Thompson - 2005

   Friends of Rus Thompson, 10th District Republican candidate for the Erie County Legislature, are hosting a Meet the Candidate Nite and Fundraiser from 5-9 p.m. Friday, August 19, 2005 at the Brounshidle Post at 3354 Delaware Avenue in Kenmore. Hors d'oeuvres and entertainment will be provided. The cost is $20 per person. For more information call 773-4437.

Suzanne Tomkins Update - 2005

   Island resident and professor at UB Law School, Suzanne Tomkins, has been riding her bicycle across the nation since Saturday, June 18, 2005 to raise awareness for the opening of Carolyn's House, a supportive shelter for women and their children, located in Niagara Falls. And at the same time, she has raised money for its operating costs. Click
Suzanne Tomkins for a 8/8/05 Buffalo News feature. Click 6-16-05 Isledegrande Story

Jon Cinelli Honored At Dunn Tire Park - 2005

   Former Grand Island firefighters and paramedic Jon Cinelli was honored with his own day at Dunn Tire Park Sunday, June 26, 2005 after being nominated by Amy Ananiadis for his role in saving the life of her mother on Christmas Day 2004. The honor was sponsored by Bank of America.
   The following is the letter of nomination
   On Christmas Day my family was at my sister's for dinner. When I picked my mom up from her house, she didn't seem to be breathing right. I asked her and she said she was fine. To make a long story short, while at my sister's house, my mother couldn't breathe. We called 911 and they responded within minutes. Jon was in the driveway I think before I hung up the phone. He immediately started to do his job.
   He started to ask my mother questions and then asked my sister and I some questions. We could see my mom was getting worse and we were panicking. Not only was he working on my mother at this point, but he was answering our questions and trying to keep us calm.
   He got her into the ambulance and was still working on her. We got two blocks away and Jon yelled to the ambulance driver to change routes and go to Kenmore Mercy instead of Millard Fillmore because my mom was starting to "crash." Jon made it a point to yell to me that he was going to make sure we got to the hospital in time.
   When the ambulance arrived at the hospital, they would not let me go with my mom. Jon told me he would come see me once he helped get my mom into the emergency room. He did just that.
   What separates Jon from someone who is just doing their job is the compassion and sincerity he showed to my mom and our family. He did everything he could to try to make my mother feel safe. He had to leave for another call. He came back two more times that day and talked to the nurses, went to see my mom, and came and talked to us.
   Two days later, he came to visit my mom in her room. It has been a long road to recovery for a woman who shouldn't have made it but thanks to the incredible first aid she received, she is alive. Jon will always be our hero. No words could describe his incredible love of his job and the people he takes care of. I know he boss, Chief Palmieri, personally and when I called him, he was not surprised to hear it was Jon I was talking about.

Amy Ananiadis

Joelle-Yvette Marie Scheffler - 2005

Joelle-Yvette is shown with her medals won at the national baton twirling competition at Notre Dame in July 2005. Click photo for a larger view.

   Joelle-Yvette Marie Scheffler will turn five years old on August 21, 2005. According to her mother, Lisarenee Guagliano, she was not supposed to live past 24 hours as she was born at 23 weeks gestation, weighing in at one pound, one ounce. Now, five years later, she is getting ready for kindergarten and is the youngest member of the Islettes to go to nationals and win lots of medals!
   "Joelle-Yvette is such a loving child," her mother said this week. For her birthday she told her family that she does not want any presents. She wants to collect presents for the sick babies at the hospital where she was born. "So we are going to start collecting cans and change so that Joelle-Yvette can donate money to the NICU at Buffalo Women's and Childrens Hospital," said Mrs. Guagliano.

Harold Lansbury Receives Purple Heart For Service In WWII - 2005

Shown from left are Senior Vice Commander Larry (Butch) Backlund, VFW Commander Dan McMahon, Harold Lansberry, recipient of the Purple Heart Award, and his wife, Jane.
Mary Stewart Photo - Click photo for a larger view.

   Harold O. Lansberry received a long overdue Purple Heart award in a ceremony on the afternoon of Friday, August 5, 2005 in the VFW Post #9249. The award was presented by VFW Commander Daniel McMahon.
   Supervisor Peter A. McMahon was also on hand to present a proclamation in recognition of Mr. Lansberry's service to his country during World War II.
   Harold, a member of the Army Air Corps, earned the Purple Heart on September 27, 1943 while on a bombing mission over Germany, however, the medal was never presented. Now, six-two years later, he has this famous award, and the pride that goes along with it.
   The PURPLE HEART is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration. For more information, click

UAW Congratulates Mark J. Frentzel, Town Justice Candidate - 2005

   Grand Island Town Justice candidate Mark J. Frentzel recently received a letter of congratulations from the United Auto Workers (UAW) on his endorsement. The letter states, "We are pleased to inform you that the Western New York CAP Council-Region 9 UAW has endorsed your candidacy for election this year. Good luck for a successful campaign and victory on election day."

Maggie Rustowicz Donates To Locks For Love

Click photo for a larger view.
 Maggie Rustowicz, daughter of Kevin and Maura Rustowicz, was just following in the footsteps of her sister and brother when she had 15 inches of her hair cut off Wednesday, August 3, 2005 to benefit "Locks of Love." Maggie decided to do this after sister, Katie, donated her hair for the second time last winter with the Bald For Bucks program at Connor Middle School, along with brother, Michael, who shaved his head! This was Maggie's first real haircut and she and Katie will both grow their hair again for future donations to "Locks of Love." Maggie will return to Huth Road School in the fall as a 3rd grader.
   Locks of Love, a non-profit organization, makes wigs for children who have hair loss due to cancer or other traumatic conditions, and Trend Setters is just one of many hair salons who can donate hair to this fine organization. Click Locks Of Love for further information.

Meet & Greet Mark J. Frentzel, Town Justice Candidate - 2005

   A Meet & Greet Mark J. Frentzel, Grand Island Town Justice Candidate, is being held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, August 23, 2005 at the Brick Oven Restaurant. The evening will feature complimentary food and beverages, live music and a Chinese auction. For reservations and information, call 773-1381. Mark is endorsed by the Republican, Independence, Conservative and Working Families parties.

Judy Chapin Buzby, Historian - 2005

Barbi Lare Photo
   Editor's note: Please click The Illustrated Chapin John Reuben Chapin, (1823-1904) By Judy Chapin Buzby. Her explanation follows.
   I have always lived close to John Reuben Chapin, illustrator and painter (1823-1904). My parents had several of his wonderful watercolors hanging in their home and also had one of his Civil War, pen and ink drawings, prominently displayed in their living room. My father was very proud of his heritage and often told the story that as the "first son of the first son" of John Reuben, he had inherited all of the memorabilia and art work that was passed down. When my parents died, I was the one that became the "keeper" of the art and the Chapin Genealogy written by Orange Chapin in 1862. In the first pages of the Genealogy, John Reuben had written, in a most beautiful hand; "This book is now (1890) out of print. It is to go to that son of mine who has at the period of my death a living son. In case of two grandsons then to the oldest of them. I have drawn up a synopsis of the genealogy which my other children may copy for themselves. JR Chapin Dec. 29, '89"
   He had also filled in some of the information about his children and their children. My father added information about his family and their children. The book is tattered and torn and falling apart but has wonderful information about the descendents of Deacon Samuel Chapin who was a prominent leader of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1642.
   As I approached my retirement from Niagara County Community College as Professor of Nursing in 2000, I decided to do more research on John Reuben and fill in the oral history that we had heard at home. It was my great fortune to know Professor Nancy Knechtel at Niagara County Community College, as she was an expert in 19th Century American Art and had also taught classes on research methods. She felt that John Reuben's work was worthy of further scrutiny and that it had a certain appeal to those who enjoyed 19th century art. She encouraged me to do further research and to write an article for the Western New York Heritage Magazine since JR had lived in Buffalo for 20 years. With her help and expertise, I was able to gather more information and connect with another of JR's great-great grandsons in California.
    Alan Stanchfield the great-grandson of Will E. Chapin, (another son of JR's) also had much information about JR and was able to send me pictures and articles that JR had written in the 19th century.
   Alan had information about another daughter of JR's, Harriet Chapin Barnard. "Hattie" had written a memoir of her life before and during the Civil War. I have used that memoir to develop a presentation of Hattie and what she remembered of Abe Lincoln and all that went on in Rawhay, NJ during that time. It has been very well received at local venues and I have enjoyed talking in the "voice" of my great-great Aunt Hattie.
   Genealogical research is very satisfying, especially when you are able to connect with relatives who you have not known. It is also exciting because when you find new information, it opens up new areas of inquiry. You become a detective and there always seems to be questions that need answers. Retirement has opened up a whole new world for me and I am lucky to have the contacts, friends, and family that have supported me in this journey through the past.
   A longtime Island resident, Judy is married to Robert Buzby and they are the parents of four sons.

Wayne Weis Donates Kidney - Prayers Requested - 2005

    Wayne Weis, a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 1978, is donating one of his kidneys to a friend and co-worker, Frank LaVia of Lewiston. The surgery, first scheduled for Wednesday morning, July 13, 2005, has been postponed to August 8th in the transplant unit at Buffalo General. There will be a fundraiser in October at the Elks Lodge in Niagara Falls to raise funds and awareness for the need for organ donation. Wayne's wife, Louise Weis, is asking "all of the islanders out there to please pray for my husband this week."
   Organizers of a fundraiser have set up a bank account at M&T Bank, under the name "Friends of Frank LaVia." Donations may also be sent to "Friends of Frank LaVia," P. O. Box 1502, Niagara Falls, New York, 14302. "The smallest donation will be most whole heartedly appreciated, and everyone is welcome to the October fundraiser in Niagara Falls," Wayne and Louise wrote this week. Details on the fundraiser to benefit both families, will be posted as they become available.

Laurie McCarthy - 2005

   Laurie McCarthy, a Mount St. Mary's High School graduate who grew up on Grand Island, will have her new show, "Windfall," on NBC TV. Click
"Laurie" for the Buffalo News story of July 26, 2005. Laurie is the daughter of the late Joyce and Paul McCarthy.

Kristina Tetkowski Graduates From Pratt Institute - 2005

   Kristina Tetkowski, daughter of Neil Tetkowski and Patricia Czora, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn on May 13, 2005. Kristina is a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2001 and served as a Grand Island Youth Ambassador during her senior year at GIHS.

Welcome, Nathaniel David Cohen - 2005

   Nathaniel David Cohen, son of Morey and Sandy Ernst Cohen of Amherst, was born on July 18, 2005 weighing nine pounds, one ounce. Proud grandparents are Sidney and Lee Cohen of Hennepin Road. Baby Nathaniel was welcomed home by his sister, Emily Rose, 2 1/2.

Island Eagle Scouts Recognized At Court Of Honor - 2005

(Left) Eagle Scouts Louis and Anthony Albano are shown center with their mother, Lori (left) and father, Tony Albano (right).
(Right) Eagle Scout Elliot Mertz and his mother, Janice Mertz.

   Boy Scout Troop 652, sponsored by St. Andrews Church and Holy Name Society announces five Scouts who have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. The five Eagle Scouts are Anthony Albano of Grand Island, Louis Albano of Grand Island, Matthew Jasinski of North Tonawanda, Elliot Mertz of Grand Island and Matthew Moliterno of Kenmore.
   They were honored in an Eagle Court of Honor ceremony on Saturday, July 23, 2005 at St. Andrews Church, 1525 Sheridan Drive, Kenmore at 5 p.m. in the Church. Bruce Kaiser of Grand Island served as MC for the Court of Honor. Following the ceremony a dinner was served in McNulty Hall.
   Anthony and Louis chose painting to accomplish their Eagle Scout projects. Anthony painted the outside of the Golden Age Center while Louis painted fire hydrants.
   Elliot chose as his Eagle Scout project the revitalization of the Nature Trail at Beaver Island State Park.

Fundraiser for Sue Argy, Endorsed Democratic Candidate for Grand Island Councilwoman - 2005

   A fundraising event in support of Sue Argy, endorsed Democratic candidate for Grand Island Councilwoman, will take place Friday, August 12, 2005, from 6-11 p.m. at the Grand Island VFW Post 9249, 2121 Grand Island Boulevard. Tickets, available at the door or by calling 774-0027, are $20/person. Food, drinks and live music will be provided.

Smith - Lorence Wedding - 2005

   K. Jonathan Lorence and Erica E. Smith exchanged wedding vows on Saturday, June 25, 2005. Erica, formerly of Newfane, and Jonathan, a former Island resident, were married in Cambria, NY. The parents of two-year-old Hailey Rose Lorence, they are enjoying their life together in their brand new home on four acres of land in Porter, NY.

Welcome, Megan Elizabeth Pinzel - 2005

   Megan Elizabeth Pinzel weighed in at six pounds, eleven ounces on July 2, 2005. She is the daughter of Michelle and Mark Pinzel and joins her brother, Ryan Derek, 21 months. Proud grandparents are Bob and Mary Kopf and Linda and Carl Pinzel of Grand Island. Megan Elizabeth is the great grandchild of Frank Pinzel and Jim and Harriet Johnstone, also of Grand Island.

Kelly N. Gast and James M. Petrie Jr. Exchange Vows - July 2005

Bridal party from left: Jill Masters, Paul Taefi, Chris Dann, Rebecca Leone, Jay and Kelly Petrie, Jared Petrie, Michele Gast, Mike Forbes, Matt Faix and Nicole Dee Hoffman. - Click this photo for a larger view.

   Kelly N. Gast, daughter of Zdenka and John Gast Jr. of Grand Island, and James M. Petrie Jr., son of James Petrie Sr. of Charlotte, NC and the late Debra Petrie, were married on Saturday, July 2, 2005 at Trinity United Methodist Church. The Rev. James A. Lange performed the ceremony during which the Trinity UMC Choir performed. The bride along with Mark Lange, also sang a duet, Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts, as a surprise for her husband. There were several other musical performances as well.
   Bridal attendants included Michele Gast, Maid of Honor; Nicole Dee Hoffman, Matron of Honor; Jared Petrie, Best Man; Rebecca Leone, Jill Masters, Paul Taefi, Matthew Faix, Michael Forbes and Christopher Dann. The bride's grandmothers served as "flower girls."
   The bride's chapel length mantilla veil was created from the veil her mother wore on her wedding day, 35 years ago. Kelly also carried a rosary blessed by Pope John Paul II.
   Friends and relatives from all over Europe were in town for three days of wedding festivities, which culminated with a brunch and a relaxing day of swimming and boating at the home of the bride's parents on East River.
   The newly married couple took a brief trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, after spending a week at home with relatives. They are planning a Hawaiian honeymoon to Maui in November.
   The bride is a copywriter with the Manzella Marketing Group in Buffalo and also works as a freelance writer. The groom is a parts inspector with Stellar Technology in Amherst. They are at home on Grand Island.

Jack Kammerer - 2005

   Former Island resident, Jack Kammerer, is a legislative assistant to the under secretary of the United States Army. For a very interesting story on Jack, click
Wounded Veterans - Patients Tour The Unknown . The July 8, 2005 article is featured at the site and written by Beau Whittington, Pentagram editor.

Scott W. Pickard Receives Outstanding Achievement Award - 2005

    Scott W. Pickard of East River Road received the 2005 Outstanding Achievement Award from the U.S. Army Engineer Great Lakes and Ohio River Division located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Scott was recognized on July 13, 2005 for superior scientific achievement and contribution to substantial cost savings in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He was cited for his professional and well-respected reputation as an authority on contaminated sediments in the Great Lakes region. His knowledge, research and expertise on sediment ecotoxicology are repeatedly sought after by scientists, academics, consultants, regulators, municipalities and port authorities alike.
    Scott is an Ecologist at the Corps’ Buffalo District office, as well as a part-time professor at Buffalo State College. The Buffalo District office is Commanded by LTC Timothy P. Touchette, also a resident of Grand Island.

Fundraiser for Ed Krecisz, Democratic Candidate for Highway Superintendent - 2005

   The "Friends of Eddie K" will host a fundraising event in support of Ed Krecisz, Democratic Candidate for Grand Island Highway Superintendent, from 6-8 p.m. Friday, July 15, 2005. The fundraiser will take place at the Grand Island VFW Post 9249, 2121 Grand Island Boulevard. Tickets are $20/person and may be obtained at the door or by calling 775-9287.

Michael Anthony Rossi, Candidate for Town Justice - 2005

   July 14, 2005 . . . Michael Anthony Rossi, a local practicing attorney, has announced that he is a candidate for the office of Grand Island Town Justice. “I have spent the past 24 years standing before judges and juries in courtrooms throughout New York State. My extensive experience in local justice courts has provided me with the insight, competence, and knowledge of how to make our local court run smoothly and efficiently.”
   Rossi first began practicing on Grand Island in 1987 when he merged his practice with former Grand Island Town Justice, Richard O. Robinson, to form the law firm of Robinson & Rossi. “Having an office on Grand Island for the past 18 years, I have come to know first hand the family values and concerns of our community. I have built my law practice on hard work, trust, honesty, and integrity. I will bring those values and character traits to your local court as your next Town Justice.”
   “Too often, judicial candidates are hand picked by political committees based on their political party activities. Judges should be selected on experience and qualifications, not political party activities.” In order to maintain the highest level of independence and integrity, Rossi stressed that he will not accept any political contributions. “I am running for this office because I am uniquely qualified and I have the necessary working experience to be a Town Justice all Grand Islanders can be proud of, regardless of political affiliation. I have no political influence, I have no political ties, and no one in my family has a political job. I owe no political favors to anyone. There is simply no room for politics in the courtroom!”
   Rossi cited his work with young people and youth groups over the past 25 years in his plan to take the courtroom into the schools. “I am convinced that many young people do not understand the consequences of their actions or that a criminal conviction will stay with them for life. As a sitting judge, I pledge to spend a minimum of one hour per week in our schools talking to our children about the penalties for breaking the law, respect for the law and our community, and the unpleasant experience of appearing in my courtroom. If we take the time to talk and listen to our children, they will make good decisions. As your Town Justice, I pledge to you that I will take the time to help educate our children to make the right choices resulting in a safer community for all Grand Island residents.”
   Rossi also cited the need to expand the Island's local youth court and institute programs to deal with repeat offenders of alcohol and domestic abuse crimes. “Every election year you hear judicial candidates talk about the problems of alcohol abuse and domestic violence. I say it is not enough to simply talk about these problems. We must solve these problems. I pledge to you that in my courtroom, there will be no tolerance for repeat offenders of alcohol and domestic violence crimes, plain and simple!”
   Rossi is a 1980 graduate of the SUNY at Buffalo School of Law and a 1977 magna cum laude graduate of Niagara University where he earned his B.A. degree. He is past president of the Bar Association and Chamber of Commerce and currently serves as chairman of the Grand Island Board of Ethics.
   In addition to his professional accomplishments, Rossi has been and remains active in a variety of community activities. Over the past 20 years he has served on numerous boards and chaired many committees raising funds for a variety of charitable organizations including the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and funds used for the prevention of child abuse. He has shared his knowledge on a number of legal topics with others in the community so they can effectively deal with the legal issues they face. His speaking engagements include community groups, service clubs, and local schools.
   “I would like to thank the over 1,200 Grand Island voters who signed my nominating petitions. Thanks to this overwhelming support, the voters have placed me on the ballot for the September 13th primaries on the Republican, Democratic, Independence, Working Families, and Conservative lines.”
   “Grand Island has been good to me and my family and I feel the need to give something back to this ‘grand’ community. It would be an honor and privilege to serve as your next Town Justice and I ask that you give me that opportunity by voting for me on September 13th.”
   Rossi resides on Fairview Court with his wife, Mena, and their four children, Anthony, Nicholas, Karalyn, and Michele.

Mark J. Frentzel Announces Candidacy for Town Justice - 2005

   July 7, 2005 . . . Mark J. Frentzel has announced his intention to seek the office of Grand Island Town Justice. For 20 years Mark has served the legal needs of Grand Island residents, representing them in real estate transactions, small claims, traffic court and family and criminal matters. No stranger to the town courts, Mark has spent a considerable amount of his legal practice in town courts. "My town court experiences have given me invaluable insight into the procedures and workings of numerous town courts throughout Western New York. These experiences will allow me the opportunity to enhance our Grand Island Court," he said this week.
   "For the first time ever, Grand Island will have an attorney who is not only a local practicing attorney but also a former law enforcement officer," a spokesman for Frentzel said.
    "My 10 years of law enforcement experience coupled with my 20 years of legal experience gives me the unique ability to see our criminal justice system from both perspectives. This knowledge will allow me to fairly and effectively serve the residents of Grand Island."
   As part of Mark's enhancement plan for town court, he is looking to implement an Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, Drug Court and a Domestic Violence Court. "Too many times, I have seen repeat offenders in our town court. Many times the problems are fueled by alcohol and/or drug abuse. Hopefully, these programs will reduce the incidents of repeat offenders in our town court. An Alternative Dispute Resolution Program would allow residents to resolve many of their legal problems in a forum where both sides could come together and amicably resolve their problems."
   For over a decade Mark has been an active participant in the Grand Island High School Internship Program. As part of this volunteer program, Mark "takes in" a Grand Island High School student who has an interest in becoming an attorney. The student learns the inner workings of an active law practice as well as attending court proceedings. "The experiences are invaluable to the student. Many of my interns have gone on to law school," Mark said. Mark has been a member of the Assigned Counsel Program for the past 20 years. This program provides legal services for those who cannot afford legal representation.
   In an effort to ensure impartiality and judicial integrity, and in keeping with an almost 30-year Grand Island tradition, Mark will not seek campaign contributions. "I feel it's extremely important that judicial candidates maintain a high level of judicial impartiality, independence and integrity. Accepting campaign contributions for Grand Island residents can only diminish these high values."
   Mark has received the endorsements of the Grand Island Republican Committee, the Grand Island Independence Party, the Grand Island Conservative Party and the Working Families Party.
   "I wish to thank Judge Randall White for his last four years of service. It's not often that a town court has the fortune of having a Harvard lawyer as a town justice. I know it must have been a difficult decision for him not to seek re-election," Frentzel said. "I wish him and his family the very best."
   Mark resides on Settlers Row with his wife, Pattie, and three children, Lee Richard, John and Justin.

Chaz Fahrer - Birdhouses Are Fifth Grader's School Project - 2005

   Chaz Fahrer, a 5th grader at Kaegebein Elementary School, was asked to do a school project for Mrs. Susan Latona's class this past spring. Students were allowed to make anything they wanted so long as they could draw plans and explain the "How To." Chaz's idea was to make some birdhouses.
   Four birdhouses where made from an old ping pong table Chaz's dad, Peter Fahrer, had in his garage. After earning an A+ on his project, Chaz hung the four birdhouses in trees on his dad's Sandy Beach property. As of July 3rd all four birdhouses are occupied, each with a family of birds and baby birds. This picture was captured while a mommy bird was feeding her young in one of Chaz's home made houses.

Philip Lee - 2005

    Philip Lee, a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2002, earned the top student spot among more than 2,400 students and teachers who entered the Barron's Challenge collegiate stock-picking contest. He received a prize of $1,500 and a trip to New York City which includes lunch with Barron's editors. Lee, a recent graduate of UCLA, is the son of Tenpao and Christin Lee of Grand Island. His father is a professor of commerce at Niagara University.

Mary Elizabeth Lacki - 2005

   Mary Elizabeth Lacki, a recent Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2005, was named the Niagara Region recipient of the New York State PTA Youth Humanitarian Award. The award is presented annually to an outstanding junior or senior who exemplifies the humanitarian efforts of the late Stanley Marcus, former vice president of NYSPTA. Mary Elizabeth received the award at the Grand Island PTSA awards night.

Raymond F. Dlugokinski - 2005

   Grand Island Highway Superintendent Ray Dlugokinski was honored at the 60th annual School for Highway Superintendents, co-sponsored by the Association of Towns of the State of New York, Albany and the Cornell Local Roads Program, Ithaca on June 8, 2005.
   Ray received a 5-year attendance award at the event. He is shown with Lynne H. Irwin, Director, Cornell Local Roads Program (left) and G. Jeffrey Haber, Executive Director, Association of Towns of the State of New York (right).

Paul Michaud Graduates, Recognized For Research - 2005

   June 2005 . . .Paul Michaud, GIHS Class of 1995, is currently a physician in the U. S. Army and recently graduated from his internship at Eisenhower Army Medical Center on June 10. During the ceremony, Paul was recognized for his research entitled “Ovarian Dysfunction after Uterine Artery Embolization” and was awarded an Army Achievement Medal.
   Paul and his wife, Jamie and their boys, Paul Guy, almost 3; James, 19 months; and Andrew, four months, will move to Washington DC in July where Paul will begin his residency in radiology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Welcome, Jeffrey Scott Wansart - 2005

   Jeffrey Scott Wansart III was born Monday, June 13, 2005 to Jeff and Elizabeth (Backlund) Wansart of Virginia. Proud grandparents are Barb and Butch Backlund and Jody and Jeff Wansart of Grand Island and Joe and Alicia Pace of Cheektowaga. Baby Jeffrey has an older brother, Gabriel Lawrence, 13 months. Jeff and Elizabeth are both members of the GIHS Class of 1999.

Suzanne Tomkins To Ride Her Bike Across Country - 2005

   Jodi Robinson Photo - Click photos for a larger view.

   Suzanne Tomkins, a professor at UB Law School and the co-chair of the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Niagara, is riding her bike across the country to commemorate the opening of Carolyn's House, a supportive shelter for women and their children. The facility is located in Niagara Falls. Her trip starts on Saturday, June 18, 2005 when she will fly into Seattle and should culminate in approximately nine weeks.
   Suzanne is hoping to be joined by her father, Jim Tomkins, on the first leg across New York State. She is riding with the touring company CycleAmerica, an organization that hosts bike tours throughout the US. Click for her schedule.
   Suzanne is a 1973 graduate of Grand Island High School and received an AAS from Alfred, a BA from SUCB and JD from SUNY Buffalo School of Law. She grew up on Grand Island, and returned when her two daughters, Emily and Allison, were in school. They in turn have graduated from GIHS.
   Suzanne, who has done bike touring in the past with her dad and her partner, John Study, is looking forward to the trip and plans to keep the Island abreast of her travels.

Gatti - Frederick Wedding - 2005

Click photo for larger view

   Former Island resident, Kristia Louise Gatti, became the bride of Michael Angelo Frederick of Buffalo, on Friday, February 25, 2005 at Trinity United Methodist Church. Kristia, a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 2001, is the daughter of Barbara Gatti of Grand Island and Louis Gatti of Newark, Delaware. She is a full-time student at Bryant and Stratton College, and willgraduate in August 2005 with her Paralegal degree. The groom is the son of Phillip and Patricia Frederick of Buffalo and is a full-time painter at Sal's Painting, a locally owner painting company. Kristia and Michael are currently living in Amherst, NY and will soon be moving to Fayetteville, NC where the bride will continue her education at Methodist College.

Welcome, Jason Peter Hill - 2005

   A new Grand Island arrival! Enola Road residents Joe and Heather Hill are happy to announce the birth of their son, Jason Peter, born June 3, 2005 weighing in at nine pounds, and 20 inches. He is the grandson of Barbara and Peter Conrad of Grand Island. Heather, a GIHS graduate, Class of 1988, and Joe are also the parents of a daughter, Allison, 2 1/2.

JoAnn Vanderheite,
2nd Best Of Show - 2005

   Island resident JoAnn Vanderheite's artistic guards won a 2nd place for Best of Show in the 35th Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival June 3-5, 2005 at the Kenan Center, 433 Locust St., Lockport, NY. JoAnn's artwork has been selected for the strictly juried show and sale for the second time in two years. Click Vanderheite Photos for JoAnn's entries.

Melissa Rayhill, Boston University Graduate, Magna Cum Laude - 2005

   Melissa Rayhill graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston University on Sunday, May 22, 2005. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, with a minor Biology. The daughter of Mike and Donnette Rayhill, Melissa is the North East Field Marketing Manager for STAT!Ref, which sells electronic resources to healthcare professionals and medical schools. STAT!Ref is part of Teton Data Systems. A Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2001, she currently resides in New York City.

Paul G. Leuchner - 2005
   Grand Island resident Paul G. Leuchner is one of seven people named by Governor George E. Pataki to a group to oversee the ongoing recreation area from Lake Erie to Ontario. According to the Buffalo News, Paul is the chief environmental scientist for American Consulting Engineers of Florida. He is the principal environmental consultant for the promoters of the proposed Ambassador Niagara Signature Bridge, which would be a privately built replacement for the Peace Bridge.

Welcome, Sean Maxwell Mesmer - 2005

Click photo for larger view

   Russell and Erin Mesmer are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Sean Maxwell Mesmer. He was born Friday, May 20, 2005 weighing eight pounds, six ounces and 21 3/4 inches long. Russ is a 1995 graduate of Grand Island High School. Proud grandparents are Nathaniel and Janel Slotiuk, Robert and Joy Mesmer and great-grandfather Max Hopper.

Isle Artist JoAnn Vanderheite Chosen
To Show In 35th Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival - 2005

Click photos for larger view

   JoAnn Vanderheite will take part in the 35th Annual 100 American Craftsmen Festival being held from Friday, June 3 through Sunday, June 5, 2005 at the Kenan Center, 433 Locust St., Lockport, NY. A longtime Island resident and former art teacher in the Starpoint School District, JoAnn has again had her art work accepted for this strictly juried show and sale where she will showcase her gourds, some of which are shown above, and some having been grown on her West River property.
   The show has the distinction of being the only show and sale in Buffalo Niagara dedicated to contemporary craft art. This year's festival features live music, children's artspace, craft demonstrations and herbal plant sale (Saturday). Hours follow:
• Friday, June 3 - 6-9 p.m.
• Saturday, June 4 - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Sunday, June 5 - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
   Admission is $5 and benefits the Kenan Center, a regional community center for arts, education and recreation. Kenan Arena, Kenan Gardens and Gallery are open to the public during festival hours. Free parking is available.

Thies - Lange Wedding - May 2005

Bob Kopf Photos - Click photos for a larger view.

   Joshua Lange and Sarah Thies were married by the groom's grandfather, the Rev. James Lange, on May 15, 2005 in the Pioneer Conference and Retreat Center in Angola in the outdoor wooded chapel overlooking Lake Erie. Mr. and Mrs. Lange are living in Tonawanda. The bride is the daughter of Anthony and Deborah Thies of South Wales, NY. Joshua, who works as a Network Administrator at, is the son of Mark and Marci Lange of Grand Island.

2nd Lieutenant Erin M. Fred, SUNY Brockport Graduate - 2005

Click photo for larger view

   Erin M. Fred graduated with a Bachelor's degree from SUNY Brockport. She majored in Health Science, receiving a minor in Military Science and a NYS Certification in Childhood Education. Erin was commissioned into the U. S. Army Signal Corps as a 2nd lieutenant on May 14, 2005. She will be completing her Officer Basic Course in Ft. Gordon, GA, followed by her first duty assignment which is in South Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division. Erin, a 2000 graduate of Grand Island High School, is the daughter of Joan and Skip Fred.

Brieanna Bailey - 2005

   Brieanna Bailey, daughter of David and Cheryl Bailey of Grand Island, was named to the Niagara University Dean’s List for the spring 2005 semester and selected to the NU Players board of directors.
   Brieanna finished her sophomore year at NU with a GPA of 3.71 and was honored with Dean’s List status. She is a double major in Theatre and English, working towards a BFA in Theatre and a BA in English. As a theatre major she is invited to audition for the school’s theatrical performances and has been cast each semester. This spring she appeared as Darla in the musical ‘Flora the Red Menace.’ Past performances include the musical ‘Sweet Charity,’ and dramatic performances in various one act plays. Brieanna also appeared in the 2003 Christmas Concert. Ms Bailey is also an accomplished professional choreographer and has composed the dance sequences for ‘Jesus Christ Super Star’ at the Lancaster Opera House and ‘Anything Goes’ at the Ghostlight Theatre, North Tonawanda among others. She has appeared in over 30 musical and dramatic performances over her career which began in 1995 with her debut appearance in ‘Oliver.’
   At the Theatre Department’s recent awards night, Brieanna's instructors honored her with a position on the Niagara University Players board of directors; catalyst for the quality and professionalism of the productions it presents each academic year. On a lighter note she was given the ‘Golden Hanger Award’ for best dressed attendee.
   Brieanna is a 2003 graduate of Grand Island High School and a current recipient of the NYS Lottery Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship. She is also receiving academic and talent scholarships from Niagara University. Brieanna plans to continue her studies at NU and hopes to go on to graduate school for choreography, with long term goals of opening her own dance and theatrics school.

Mackenzie Hassan, Niagara University Graduate - 2005

Click photo for a larger view.

   Mackenzie Hassan, daughter of Mark and Diane Hassan of Wallace Drive, graduated Summa cum laude from Niagara University on Sunday, May 22, 2005, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Adolescent Education (7-12) French. She received the Distinctive Scholarship Father James O'Keefe Award For Excellence In Foreign Languages and a Certificate of Departmental Honors Program in recognition of her commitment to academic excellence as demonstrated by her completion of a Departmental Honors Thesis. Her successful college career includes a cumulative GPA of 3.96 and being selected for inclusion in the 2005 Who's Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges for achieving the Dean's List for eight consecutive semesters. She is a member of Delta Epsilon Sigma National Honor Society, President of Phi Sigma Iota National Honor Society, and Vice President of Phi Beta Delta National Honor Society for International Scholars.
   Mackenzie graduated with High Honors from Grand Island High School, Class of 2001 where she had the honor of being selected for inclusion in the 2001 Who's Who Among American High School Students.
   Mackenzie plans to attend graduate school at Niagara University in the fall to pursue her Master's degree in Special Education.

Philip Razem, SUNY Fredonia Graduate - 2005
   Philip Razem, a 2001 Grand Island High School graduate, has graduated from SUNY Fredonia with honors Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English- Adolescent Education. He will be teaching “Summer in the City” in New York City this summer and will attend graduate school at SUNY Fredonia in the fall. Philipwill be working as a Teacher’s Assistant for Fredonia’s English Department.

Shannon Peters, SUNY Fredonia Graduate - 2005
   Shannon Peters, a 2001 Grand Island High School graduate, has graduated from SUNY Fredonia on May 14, 2005 with a degree in Music Education. Shannon plans to attend grad school in the fall at UB to obtain her master's in music education, then pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a music teacher. She lives on Grand Island with her mother, Sherry Peters, and sister, Alex.

Melissa Marie Wannemacher, Buffalo State Graduate - 2005
   Melissa Marie Wannemacher graduated with honors and summa cum laude from Buffalo State College on Saturday May 14, 2005 with a bachelor of science degree in Urban and Regional Analysis and Planning and a minor degree in Geography.

Welcome, Carly Frances Passaro - 2005

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   Jennifer and Ralph Passaro, Jr. of Danbury, CT are happy to announce the birth of their daughter, Carly Frances, born April 17, 2005 and weighing eight pounds two ounces. Carly Frances was 20" long. She is the granddaughter of Ruth and David Slepian of Grand Island, NY and Frances and Ralph Passaro, Sr of Darien, CT. Jennifer attended Island schools and graduated from Nichols School in Buffalo in 1990. The Passaros are looking forward to moving to Farmington, CT where their new home is being built.

Bernadette Franklin Surprised At Farewell Party - 2005

From left are Judy Polizzi, Bernadette Franklin, Elizabeth Beach and Mary Bianco.
Click photo for a larger view.

   Bernadette Franklin, longtime Isle resident and hairdresser, was completely surprised at the large crowd of her clients, spanning several generations, who attended a farewell party in her honor Saturday, May 7, 2005 in the Holiday Inn, Grand Island. The luncheon, hosted by Judy Polizzi, Mary Bianco and Elizabeth Beach, was kept a deep, dark secret for several weeks as the list grew to over 60 guests.
   Bernie and her husband, Ben, are leaving the Island and will be living in Arizona where their two daughters and families are residing.
   The former Bernadette Carminati moved to Grand Island with her parents, brother and sister in the late 1950s. She attended Charlotte Sidway School here, and graduated from Tonawanda High School.
   Joe Rizzo's Barber Shop was the first on the Island to introduce beauticians, and among first to be hired was Bernadette. From there she went on to open her own shop and has been in the business over 40 years.
   The Franklins are parents of Dale Franklin of Buffalo, and Nancy Franklin and Kristen Rosser of Mesa, Arizona, and grandparents of 2 1/2-year-old Jesse Rosser.

Fundraiser Planned For Jim Roberts, Severely Injured In January - 2005
   Jim Roberts, 19, of East Oakfield Road, was seriously injured in an accident in January 2005 and continues with his rehabilitation, much of which is not covered by insurance. He suffered serious brain injury and was in a coma for about six weeks. A benefit for Jim and his family will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, 2005. Proceeds will help defray medical costs. Click "Jim Roberts Fundraiser" for Buffalo News story.

Dorothy Bitner Presented With Annual Award By Erie County Traffic Safety Board - 2005
   The Erie County Traffic Safety Board presented Dorothy Bitner with the William G. Payne Memorial Award at its annual breakfast meeting on April 20, 2005. This award is presented annually to persons in recognition of their exemplary commitment to Traffic Safety. Ms. Bitner began her career in transportation safety in 1967 as a driver education instructor and later joined the United States Coast Guard serving as an Operations Officer. She has been a member of the Grand Island Traffic Safety Advisory Board since 1973 and served as chairperson from 1997-2004. She joined the Erie County Traffic Safety Board in 1990 and presently serves as its co-chairperson.
   In presenting the award to Ms. Bitner, Carol Siwek, from the Erie County Traffic Safety Department noted that in addition to her many professional achievements, Dorothy has always demonstrated both kindness and generosity in her dealings with the safety community as well as the public.

Matthew Vincent Benns - 2005
   Matthew Vincent Benns, son of Richard and Susan Benns of Louisville, KY, received his Doctor of Medicine degree at the Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis commencement exercises on Sunday, May 8, 2005 in the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome. Matthew, whose parents were born and raised on Grand Island, is the grandson of the late Flora Benns who resided on Love Road for many years.

Mackenzie Hassan - 2005
   Mackenzie Hassan was honored May 5, 2005 at Niagara University Castellani Art Museum by the College of Arts & Sciences/Modern & Classical Language Department. She was the proud recipient of the Father O'Keefe Medal for Excellence in the Study of French for maintaining the highest GPA in the French Program at NU. Mackenzie received a certificate and a beautiful medallion to be worn at her graduation ceremony on May 22, 2005.

Welcome, Paul Aidan Zoltoski - 2005

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   Chris Zoltoski, GIHS Class of 1983, and his wife, Amy of Las Vegas, Nevada are the parents of a son, Paul Aidan Zoltoski, born March 1, 2005 weighing seven pounds, six ounces and measuring 19 1/2 inches long. Proud grandparents are Patricia Zoltoski of Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Barb and John Naour of California. The baby was named after his late uncle Paul Zoltoski who passed away in 1979. To email Chris, click

Carissa Bailey, 2nd Runner Up in State Pageant - 2005

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   Carissa Bailey, 16, of Grand Island participated in the inaugural pageant of New York’s Outstanding Teen receiving the honor of 2nd runner up. The competition was held in Cortland, New York April 29-30, 2005 and emceed by Miss New York State, Christina Ellington.
   The Miss America organization launched this new program, Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, to promote scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living and community involvement for America’s teens.
   Young women, ages 13-17, are eligible to compete and are judged on personal interview (40%), talent (30%), evening wear (10%), casual wear (10%) and lifestyle/fitness (10%) and the demonstration of community service is required. Carissa presented a talented vocal performance of Not for the Life of Me from the Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. Her platform is ‘empowering today’s youth to make better choices’ and her community service includes captaining a ‘Relay for Life’ team, which raises money for cancer research and the American Cancer Association.
   The daughter of Cheryl and David Bailey, Carissa is a junior at Grand Island High School where she majors in music. She currently studies voice, piano, violin and guitar and she was chosen for ‘All State Chorus’ this past fall. She is active in DECA where she achieved top ten in the state for public speaking this past year. As the co-president of the Spotlighters Drama Club, she is very active on and off the theatrical stage and she is the one of the high school’s morning announcers. Ms Bailey is in ‘Who’s Who Among American High School Students’ and a member of the ‘National Honor Role’. She is a three-time recipient of the ‘Pride of the Island’ award. Carissa is also the reigning Miss Erie County Fair Princess.
   Carissa aspires to become a music and elementary educator while continuing her theatrical performances.

SPC E4 Corey Burke - 2005

   SPC E4 Corey Burke, United States Army, airborne qualified, stationed at Ft. Benning, GA and deployed to Log Base Seitz near Baghdad since December 2004. SPC Burke, who joined the service in early 1993, is the son of Dave and Brenda Burke of Panama City, Florida; grandson of late Roy and Marge Dinsmore; and nephew of Dan and Laura Dinsmore of East River Road, Grand Island. He was recently back on midtour leave from Baghdad to visit his parents in Florida. SPC Burke fondly remembers splashing around in the Niagara River and catching a big black bass one year off the dock.

Amanda George, Robert Goris, Winners of The Hewitt Sports Scholarships - 2005
   The 40th annual Tom Hewitt Sports Awards Dinner was held Sunday evening, May 1, 2005 and the two scholarship winners, out of a field of 18 students from Western New York, were Grand Island's Amanda George and Robert Goris. The GIHS seniors received $2000 scholarships, named for the late Niagara Gazette city editor, Tom Hewitt. Judging involved an interview, and gave consideration to scholastic and athletic achievement, and school and community involvement.
   Robert is the son of David and Sally Goris and Amanda is the daughter of Joyce and Mike George.

Robert Goris - 2005

   Grand Island High School senior Robert Goris, son of Sally and David Goris, will be among 18 student-athletes representing nine area high schools at the 40th annual Tom Hewitt Sports Awards Dinner being held at the Niagara County Community College on Sunday, May 1, 2005. Two $2,000 scholarships will be presented to the top male and female candidates, as determined by a panel of judges. The award is named for the late Niagara Gazette city editor. The dinner is sponsored by the Board of Associates of Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center.
   Robert plans to attend the State University at Buffalo where he will study pharmacy. Click "Student of the Month" for Robert's accomplishments.

Amanda George - 2005

   Grand Island High School senior Amanda George, daughter of Mike and Joyce George, will be among 18 student-athletes representing nine area high schools at the 40th annual Tom Hewitt Sports Awards Dinner being held at the Niagara County Community College on Sunday, May 1, 2005. Two $2,000 scholarships will be presented to the top male and female candidates, as determined by a panel of judges. The award is named for the late Niagara Gazette city editor. The dinner is sponsored by the Board of Associates of Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center.
   Click "Student of the Month" for Amanda's accomplishments.

Kevin Freedman - 2005

   Kevin Freedman of Grand Island, along with his cousin, Nate Mutka, of Buffalo, constructed two displays for the Buffalo Geological Society’s annual Rock and Gem Show at the Fair Grounds and won the First Place Award. Following the theme of this year’s show, “What Rocks Around The House”, they used common items found around the house and correlated the raw materials and the common products. Items such as tooth paste, common nails, electrical goods, and the like were matched up with fluorite, hematite, copper, and the like. Kevin is a 3rd grader at Huth Road Elementary and resides on the Island with his mother and father Denise and Don Freedman, and siblings Benjamin and Marissa.

Islanders Participate In Theme Basket Raffle - April 24 - 2005
   Islanders Chris Amabile, Beth Dommer, Marianne Nash, Kayla Nash, Nancy Watts and Co-Chair Dawn Marcolini Newton are busy preparing theme baskets for the Niagara Regional Theatre Guild's Theme Basket Raffle to be held at each performance of the upcoming musical "Nunsense".
   The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild has recently been awarded a challenge grant by M&T Bank to secure funds to purchase new sound equipment. NRTG, the resident theatre company of the Riviera Theatre, has chosen their last production of the season, the popular musical "Nunsense" as the venue to also hold a theme basket raffle. The organization boasts numerous theme baskets, which will be raffled off at each and every performance. Theme basket items include tickets to area attractions, gift certificates to area restaurants, home décor, and even autographed items from Ani DeFranco and the Goo Goo Dolls.
   'Nunsense", the popular musical about five nuns from Hoboken who put on a talent show as their own fundraiser, is directed by Islander John Quackenbush. The production, which runs May 6 - May 21st at the Historic Riviera Theatre, promises to be filled with laughs for the entire family. Performance dates are May 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21 at 8:00 p.m. and May 8th and 15th at 3:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $17.00 General, $15.00 Students & Seniors, with a special ticket price of $10.00 for all Moms on Sunday May 8th only. Doors open one hour before each performance for basket viewing, and there is an organ concert one-half hour before each performance. For reservations call 692-2413, or visit .

Roggow - Duscher Wedding - April 2005

Click photos for a larger view.

   Scott Duscher and his bride, the former Kimberly Roggow, were married Friday, April 8, 2005 in Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in North Tonawanda, with the reception following at the Buffalo Launch Club. The bride, daughter of Felicia and Blake Roggow of North Tonawanda, is employed at VIP Pharmaceutical. Scott is the son of Cathy Thomas of Grand Island and Michael Duscher and a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 1996. He owns and operates Grand Island Greatscape, a landscape and snowplow business on the Island. After a honeymoon in Aruba, Mr. and Mrs. Duscher will be at home on Grand Island.

Rowswells Celebrate 50th Wedding Anniversary - 2005

Dorothy and Al - April 2005
   Longtime Isle residents Dorothy and Al Rowswell celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday, April 9, 2005 at Banchetti's as planned. The only difference in the plan was that some unexpected relatives made the trip across the country due to the death of Dorothy's mother who lived to be 92 1/2. Nearly their entire extended family came home including nieces and nephews who travelled from Arizona and Colorado in respect for their Grandmother, "and now we will enjoy their presence at our celebration," Dorothy said last week. The Rowswells' four children, and spouses along with their 12 grandchildren were in attendance and all of the "girls" from their wedding party, as well as two of the guys were able to attend the celebration.

Benefit For Jim Roberts - April 24 - 2005
   Canisius College student, Jim Roberts, 20, was in a serious automobile accident on January 17, 2005 on Route 219. Jim was in a coma for approximately three weeks after the accident that took the life of his best friend, John Stark also of Grand Island.
   Co-workers of the Grand Island Small Animal Hospital where Jim was employed are sponsoring a fundraiser for him from noon to 6 p.m., Sunday, April 24, 2005 at the Elks Lodge in Niagara Falls (behind the Prime Outlet Mall on Factory Outlet Blvd.). A $20 donation will be taken at the door and the afternoon promises to be an enjoyable event with music, food and a Chinese auction.
   During his time at Erie County Medical Center, Jim has endured many medical issues from head and brain trauma, internal injuries that required surgery to correct, pneumonia, and a very serious sinus infection. He will need many months of physical, occupational and speech therapy to fully recover.
   "If you or your company can donate a gift basket or gift certificate related to your business, we would like to incorporate it into our Chinese auction. All proceeds will go to the Roberts family," a spokesman for the event said this week.
   The committee asks that all donations be ready for pickup no later than April 20, 2005. Michelle Chevrier, 940-6808 or Molly Bradshaw, 465-0624 are taking phone calls regarding donations and pickup.

Anna Czapla - 2005

Anna Czapla (right) is shown with her debate partner, Ilana Kaplan-Shain.
   Anna Czapla, Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2001, qualified for the National Debate Tournament held at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Ms. Czapla currently debates for the University of Rochester where she is a double major in Spanish and political science. The National Debate tournament is a special honor awarded to only the top 78 varsity debate teams in the country. The process for admittance to this tournament is very selective, with less than 20 percent of the debate teams nation-wide being selected. The NDT was the crowning glory of a very successful debate season which included taking first place at the SUNY Binghamton Tournament. Ms. Czapla, a 1997 graduate of St. Stephen School and daughter of James and Helen Czapla of Grand Island, is a senior at Rochester and looks forward to attend law school next year, but has not yet finalized plans on which law school she will be attending.

Ahrens - Lesika
Engagement - 2005

   Donald and Bonnie Ahrens of Grand Island are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Danielle, to Kevin Lesika, son of Dennis Lesika and Linda Hall, also of Grand Island. Danielle is a 2000 graduate of Grand Island High School and a graduate of Buffalo State College. She teaches English at Hopevale School in Hamburg, New York. Kevin is a 1996 graduate of Grand Island High School and a graduate of Paul Smith’s College. He is employed in the Land Surveying field with TVGA Consultants in Elma, New York. A July 2006 wedding is planned.

World Record Wahoo Caught By Julia Kelly - 2005

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   Julia Kelly, 8, successfully boated an IGFA (International Game Fish Association), girl's Small Fry Division, all tackle class, new world record for Wahoo. Pending formal IGFA certification, Julia's fish will shatter the old record of 47 pounds, four ounces by weighing in at 110 pounds even and measuring 77" in length!! The event took place approximately 12 miles off the coast of Rum Cay, The Bahamas, aboard the 57' Sportfisherman, "Relentless," captained by Ross "Flash" Clark, with first mate Bobby LaRue on Tuesday, March 29, 2005.
   Also aboard to celebrate this tremendous catch were Julia's dad, David, and brother, 11-year-old Dylan, a 5th grader at Huth Road School.
   Julia, also the daughter of Linda Kelly, is a 3rd grade student at St. Stephen School and lives with her family on Deerwood Lane.

Mikayla Claus - Pride Of the Island Recipient - 2005

By Fred Claus

   Mikayla Claus is taking her turn in a family tradition. Mikayla is a "Pride of Grand Island" 2005 award winner for Ms. Barbara Goldman's kindergarten class at Charlotte Sidway School. Pride runs deep in Mikayla's family as well. Cousin Alex Gormady was an award winner last year, as was her cousin Sarah Lew. Mikayla's cousin Lena Gormady also won the award this year. The license plate cover is proudly displayed on the van her father uses for work, and the certificate is framed and hanging on her bedroom wall. Children are our future and we are proud of all the past and present winners of this award. Makayla is the daughter of Kelly and Fred Claus of Marilyn Drive.
   Click "Pride of the Island" for complete list of recipients.

Welcome - Mackenzie Renee And Sarah Nicole Gascon - 2005

   Tony and Rachel Judkins Gascon of Wickliffe, Ohio are proud to announce the birth of their twin girls, born March 24, 2005. Mackenzie Renee Gascon arrived at 2 p.m. and Sarah Nicole Gascon was born at 2:10 p.m. The twins were welcomed home by their siblings, Tyler and Christian Gascon. Rachel is a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 1994. Proud grandparents are Jimmy and Mary Judkins of Grand Island. The twins are the nieces of Brian Judkins.

Wouldn't You Like To See Your New Born Here? - 2005

   Everyone loves to see a new baby or a new bride. To have your photos added to this page, email them along with information pertaining to the birth or wedding. There is no charge. The baby on the front page of today's (April 7, 2005) E-News is Sarah Ann Brand, born November 14, 2004 to Kristen and David Brand and featured in the November 24, 2004 edition of the E-News at

Welcome, Martin Rasmus Adevag Guagliano - 2005

   Martin Rasmus Adevag Guagliano was born Monday, March 28, 2005 weighing five pounds, 14 ounces and is 20 inches long. He is the the first child of Joel and Sofia Guagliano who are living in Arlington, VA. Joel is a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 1984. Proud grandparents are Francis and Jean Guagliano of Grand Island who reported the birth of their 10th grandchild, and Rose-Marie Adevag and Sverker Hanson of Falkoping Sweden.

Donald V. Freedman - 2005

   Donald V. Freedman, PE, Ferguson Electric, is the recipient of the United Way of Niagara's first “Shining Star” Award. Mr. Freedman earned this award for his exemplary leadership and volunteer efforts in bringing back a longtime family tradition with the Holiday Lights of Niagara…a Festival Returns from November 23, 2004 – January 1, 2005. Don was instrumental in recruiting the volunteer manpower that enabled the energizing of Oppenheim Park for this event.
   Don dedicated his time and energy along with that of his family to ensure this event was a success. “It was truly a joint effort of dedicated staff and volunteers that made the Holiday Lights of Niagara…a Festival Returns occur. I was proud to be a part of bringing this longtime family tradition back to our Western New York community,” he said. “I look forward to this year’s adventure that will begin on November 22, 2005.”
   Don resides in Grand Island, with his wife Denise, and children Kevin, Benjamin and Marissa.

Wouldn't You Like To See Your New Born Here? - 2005

   Everyone loves to see a new baby or a new bride. To have your photos added to this page, email them along with information pertaining to the birth or wedding. There is no charge. The baby on the front page of today's (March 31, 2005) E-News is Jacob Charles Cali, born September 27, 2004 to Michael and Elizabeth Schopp Cali and featured in the September 30, 2004 edition of the E-News at

Buffalo Seminary Singing Group Dedicates CD To Zachary Zarbo - 2005
A Buffalo Seminary singing group, Siren's Song Girls, has produced a CD and dedicated it to Zachary Robert Zarbo, a 16-year-old Grand Island High School honor student who died unexpectedly October 24, 2004. Zachary's passion was music and singing in the Grand Island High School Concert Choir. His last appearance with the group was at the New York State School Boards Association's convention in Buffalo the night before he died. All proceeds from the CD will go to separate scholarships set up in Zachary's name and also for Rachel Sacha, another Western New York teen who recently died. The CD is available ($10 donation) by calling 885-6780. To hear the group, click .

Sarah McLeod - 2005

   Sarah McLeod, a former resident of Grand Island and niece of Jill Proctor and granddaughter of Ray Pauley and Helen McLeod of Grand Island, will be graduating in May. As a senior this year at Scott County Senior High School in Georgetown, Kentucky, she was a forward on the basketball team that won the regional championship. Sarah has been accepted to Boston University, University of Kentucky, Georgetown College and Transylvania University and has also been recruited to play on Transy's basketball team. She has also lettered in track and field. Sarah, who hopes to pursue a career in broadcasting and communications, is the daughter of Don and Lisa McLeod also former Grand Island, New York residents now residing in Kentucky.

Christine's Garden Of Hope - March 2005

Dr. Dave Johnson's Grand Island Jazz Workshop members are (front) David Johnson and David Lillie; (back) Bill Liscavage, Terry Eberl, David Silverstein and Don Copley.
Click photo for a larger view.

Christine Ryshkus

   Island resident Christine Ryshkus has been fighting ovarian cancer for over three years. She and her husband, Gene, are the owners of The Grand Island Garden Center, and are very active in the community.
   In an effort to help them with their financial burden during this time, the Grand Island Rotary Club will sponsor a fundraiser from 2-6 p.m. Sunday, April 10, 2005 at the Buffalo Launch Club. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at the Niagara Frontier Publications office at 1859 Whitehaven Road or Christine Learman's office at 1763 Baseline Road, or from any Grand Island Rotarian.
   Entertainment will be "A Battle of the Bands - Jazz at its Best" and will feature three jazz groups: the Barroom Buzzards, Custode & Parisi and Dr. Dave Johnson's Band.
   "We are asking for your consideration to help us with a basket for our Chinese auction," a Rotary Club spokesman said this week. "A financial contribution, gift certificate, or any merchandise would be very much appreciated," he said. Checks may also be made out to "Christine's Garden of Hope" and sent to HSBC Bank, 2300 Grand Island Blvd.
   Arrangements for a non-financial donation are to made by calling Florence White, 773-7943, or Ann Dahl, 773-1452. Community support in any capacity would be greatly appreciated.

Step-In-Time Dancers - 2005

Step-in-Time Dance Class (left) and dancer Heather Robinson with John Stevens
Click photos for a larger view.

   Six- and seven-year-old Island dancers in the Step-In-Time dance class provided some of the entertainment during Sunday, March 13th 2005 Variety Club Telethon. The celebrity child, Brianna Wik of Grand Island, who also danced with her class, is not pictured as she was preparing for her appearance on the telethon. After the girls performed, American Idol John Stevens took the time to sign each girl's hat, give them an autograph and let parents take pictures of John with each child.

Brianna Wik - 2005

   Brianna Wik of Grand Island is the celebrity child for the 2005 Variety Club Telethon. Brianna came into this world weighing 21 ounces. She had breathing problems and her parents, Ron and Deanna Wik, were told of the possibility the baby would be blind. The Wiks, whose healthy 7-year-old Brianna is a first grader at Sidway School, cannot say enough about the care their child was given at Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo. For the complete story, click "Brianna".

Mackenzie Hassan - 2005

   Mackenzie Hassan has been selected to receive a very prestigious award sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Modern and Classical Languages in honor of her maintaining the highest GPA in the French Program at Niagara University.
   She will be receiving her award in a ceremony at Niagara University on May 5, 2005.
   Mackenzie also received a letter on March 9, 2005 stating that she has been selected for induction into the Pi Lambda Theta National Honor Society at NU as a "commendation for her outstanding academic achievements."

Jodi Lewis - Laura Lewis-Mason - 2005

Left: Jodi Lewis and Laura Lewis-Mason
   Isle resident Laura Lewis-Mason (right) and her sister, Jodi Lewis, formerly of Grand Island, will be running in the Kailua-Kona Marathon as members of the American Stroke Society's Team. They are running in honor of their grandmother, the late Arlene Maurer who also lived on the Island. The run will take place June 19th, 2005 in Hawaii. Through the association's Train To End Stroke program, they are trying to raise thousands of dollars for stroke research and education programs. Jodi and Laura are asking for your donations to help support their efforts.
   To make a donation, click "Sponsor Participant", type in a name: Laura Lewis-Mason or Jodi Lewis. "Your support and contribution are greatly appreciated!"

Josal Diebold - 2005

   Holy Angels Academy senior Josal Diebold was recently recognized for her volunteer work at St. Stephen's parish at the Diocesan Youth Conference at the Adams Mark Hotel. She was one of 15 recipients of a Manus Christi Award and also honored with an "Outstanding Catholic Youth" award for 2004. Daughter of Joseph and Angela Diebold, Josal's many accomplishments include holding the highest grade point average at Holy Angels for three years, and a black belt in Tae Kwando.

Patrick McEnchrow White - 2005

   Patrick McEnchrow White, 12, will play the part of The Urchin in The Irish Classical Theatre Company's production of The Cobbler by Bryan Delaney. The play opens Friday, March 4, 2005 and will run through Sunday, April 3, at ICTC’s home, the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main Street, Buffalo, New York.
   Patrick, a sixth grade student at St. Stephen School, most recently appeared as Ollie Herdman I Theatre of Youth’s production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. He has also appeared in four youth productions of the St. Stephen’s Parish Players and has studied piano for six years. This is Patrick’s first performance with the Irish Classical Theatre Company.
   This production of The Cobbler, winner of the London International Playwriting Competition, marks ICTC’s third world premiere, the first being Nightmaze by Vincent O’Neill, based on the renowned James Joyce novel Finnegans Wake, in 2002 followed by Penumbra by Anna Kay France, also in 2002. The Cobbler is sponsored by Jack Cullen and Multisorb Technologies, Inc. For further information, click

Mackenzie Hassan - 2005

   Mackenzie Hassan has been chosen as one of 75 students nominated by Niagara University for inclusion in the 2005 edition of Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges. The Who's Who award is given annually to outstanding student leaders. Colleges have adopted this program as part of their annual campus honors. Selections are made by the campus nominating committees and are based on decidedly above average academic standing, community service, leadership ability and potential for continued success. Mackenzie, who is studying Secondary French and majoring in Education, is a 2001 graduate of Grand Island High School the the daughter of Mark and Diane Hassan of Wallace Drive.

James A. Wright, Jr. - 2005

   James A. Wright, son of April Wright of Grand Island, has been named to the SUNY Fredonia Dean's List. James, a 2004 graduate of Grand Island High School, is a Music Major.

Ashly Cinelli - 2005

   Ashly Cinelli, daughter of Dawn and Michael Cinelli, has recently been named to the Fredonia dean's list. A junior at Fredonia majoring in music education, she is the granddaughter of Sue and the late Joseph Cinelli and Sue and John Agnello all of Grand Island. Ashly is a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 2002.

Justin Palamuso - More Than Just A Snow Fort - 2005

Submitted by proud grandparents Ray and 'Sam' Pauley

   When seven-year-old Justin Palamuso (center) returned home from St. Stephen School on Thursday, February 17, 2005 and notice the fresh snowfall, it seemed like a good time to build something.
   With the help of his five-year-old brother, Trevor and sister Katelyn (twins), he carefully fashioned a mound of snow next to the driveway so that everyone could see it. After flattening out the top, he asked 'Poppa' for an American flag, which he then placed in the center.
   When complimented on his great fort, he quickly replied, "No Poppa, it isn't a fort. It's a memorial to the soldiers who died." He then had everyone stand at attention while he led a hand salute with a serious determination that sometimes catches us by surprise.
   Maybe our children can teach us all a lesson in respect, compassion and humility I thought, as I turned away misty eyed.
   Justin, Trevor and Katelyn are the children of Mark and Kelly Palamuso.

Author Thom Hatch Wins "Spur Award" - 2005

   Former Island resident Thom Hatch, who now resides in Colorado, has won a "Spur Award" from the prestigious Western Writers of America for his latest book, Black Kettle: the Cheyenne Chief Who Sought Peace But Found War (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). The award was for the best biography of 2004. The list of "Spur Award" winners includes such well known authors as Stephen Ambrose, Louis L'Amour, and Elmer Kelton.

Thomas A. McMahon - Company President - 2005

   Thomas A. McMahon, GIHS Class of 1980, has recently been named president of RGS Associates in Crystal City, Virginia. Tom directs the day to day operations of RGS to meet the company's strategic objectives. He is responsible for customer growth and financial management of the corporation and providing the leadership to achieve results. Tom has nearly 20 years of experience in Defense and civilian agency process engineering and IRM projects as well as over 10 years with RGS. Tom has extensive know-how in shared services programs, business process reengineering techniques, technology evaluation and integration, information management practices, and implementation of geographically distributed information systems for defense acquisition programs. He holds a BS degree from Park University and is an MBA candidate at Troy State University.
   RGS was founded in 1984 to help government executives apply teamwork, innovative techniques and technologies to meet their performance goals.
   Tom lives with his wife Nadine in Springfield, Virginia and is the father of Caitlin and Ryan of Springfield and Sarah of Grand Island, NY. He is the son of Island residents Mary and Peter McMahon.

Islanders Earn 2-year Degrees From NCCC - 2005

   Grand Island residents who have received two-year degrees from Niagara County Community College for the fall 2004 semester are:
Dwon Daniels, Steven Fox, Karen Hillo, Michael Jeffrey, Michael Judson, Jacqueline Kowzan, Melissa Mackenna, Amy Pawlowski, Audra Peter, David Vergari, and Stephen Zabaldo.

Kyle Kinney - 2005

   Former Grand Island resident Kyle Kinney, son of Island resident Beryl Kinney and the late Ed Kinney, was selected as the Community Association Manager of the Year for 2004 by the Community Association Institute Southwest Florida Chapter. Kyle is the president and Chief Operating Officer of the Pelican Bay Foundation (Master Homeowner Association) in Naples, Florida, a beach-front community with 14,000 residents.

Kelly O'Brien - 2005

   Kelly O'Brien, daughter of Daniel and Mary O'Brien, finished her first semester at Buffalo State College on the Dean's List. Kelly is a 2004 graduate of Grand Island High School and plans on going into Art Education.

Christella Gress - 2005

    The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary recently elected Islander, Christella (Greenwood) Gress as Flotilla Commander for 2005. The Auxiliary is the voluntary section of the Department of Homeland Security, and assists in assuring that our waterway borders are safe. In addition, the Auxiliary provides safe boating education to the public, and works directly with the Coast Guard providing search and rescue patrols, vessel examinations, and environmental protection of the waterways.
   Christella, a native of Grand Island, has been a volunteer in the USCG Auxiliary since 1994, and has served nationally as the Diversity Advisor. She was also named "Auxiliarist of the Year" for 2004 at the Coast Guard Auxiliary's Change of Watch Ceremony this past November. Christella's husband, Ray, is also active in the USCG Auxiliary, and currently serves as the Rear Commodore, overseeing activities in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Welcome, Andrew Michael Michaud - 2005

Click photo for a larger view.

   Paul and Jamie Michaud (GIHS class of ‘95, Orchard Park class of ‘97 respectively) are proud to announce the birth of Andrew Michael, born on February 7, 2005 at the Medical College of Georgia. Andrew joins his older brothers Paul Guy, 2 and James, 15 months old. The proud grandparents are Guy Michaud of Grand Island, Priscilla Schad of Williamsville and James and Delores Leith, formerly of Orchard Park.

Dana Brindisi - 2005

   Dana Brindisi, daughter of Jackie Brennan and Anthony Brindisi of Grand Island, has been named to the University at Albany's dean's list for the fall 2004 semester. Dana is a 2004 graduate of Grand Island High School.

Kaitlin M. Certo - 2005

   Kaitlin M. Certo, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell A. Certo of Grand Island, has been named to the Saint Anseim College dean's list for the fall 2004 semester. Saint Anseim College is located in Manchester, New Hampshire. Kaitlin is a 2002 graduate of Grand Island High School.

Island Residents On NU Dean's list - 2005

   The following Grand Island residents have been named to the Niagara University Dean's List for the fall 2004 semester:
Neil Reddien, Francis Sirianni, Nicholas Martino, Emily Zimdahl, David Michaels, Brian Kopf, Rocco D'Aloise, Jonathan Lacki, Stephanie Nardozzi, Shauna Freiermuth, Mackenzie Hassan, Stephanie Fick, Deborah Jones, Amanda Benko, Mary Kucharczak, Shannon McCormick, Rikki Nawotka, Jacob Laliberty, Kathleen Moriarty, Rebecca Goetz, Sean Paonessa and Tierney Smith.

Steven Morgan 2004 Leader of the Year - 2005

   Members of “Buffalo’s First” Chapter of Business Networking International gathered with local chapters at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens January 27, 2005 for dinner and the 2004 Team Western New York Awards Banquet. Awards represented an individual’s achievement in the enhancement and application of BNI’s networking and referral practices. Island resident Steven L. Morgan, CFP® of Contour Financial Planning, L.L.C. on Grand Island, was recognized as the 2004 Leader of the Year for both his Chapter and the Western New York area.
   Started in January 1985, BNI is a business and professional networking organization that offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and most importantly, referrals. “Buffalo’s First” Chapter meets on Friday mornings at 7:00 am. If you’re interested in BNI business networking opportunities contact Carl Lewandowski at 651-9851 or visit

Peter Baker, Former Resident- 2005

   Former resident Peter Baker, who grew up on
Grand Island, NY is shown as he was riding
with Dale Earnhart Jr. at a recent race. Peter now
resides in Dania Beach, FL.

Island Well Represented in Niagara Regional Theatre Guild Play - 2005

   The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild will present the Tony Award winning musical farce, "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum", at the Historic Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St. North Tonawanda. Island residents involved in this production, both onstage and behind the scenes are as follows:
• Cast:
   Pseudolus (the leading role): John Study
   Gemini twins: Nichole Nash & Danielle Nash
   Miles Gloriosus: Fran Newton
   Coutesans: Kayla Nash and Sarah Mye
• Production Staff:
   Director/Choreographer: Dawn Marcolini Newton
   Technical Director: Fran Newton
   Master Carpenter Roger Watts
   Costumer: Nancy Watts
   Scenic Artist: Sam Santospirito
   Performance dates are:
• February 25, 26 - 8 p.m.
• March 4, 5, 11, 12 - 8 p.m.
• March 6 - 3 p.m.
   Tickets, $17.00 general, $15.00 student/senior, may be purchased by calling the Riviera Theatre box office at 692-2413. For more information call 284-6358, or visit

Mark W. Rathmann - Jan. 2005

Mark Rathmann (center) and (right)E3 Cory Clare Rathmann, United States Navy.

      Mark W. Rathmann was installed as Worshipful Master of Orange Lodge #36 F&AM in Apopka, FL. Orange Lodge is the oldest continuous moon lodge still in continuous use in the state of Florida. Mark is a former Island resident and a member of the GIHS Class of 1979.

Barry Conway Cooking On WNED - 2005

   Barry Conway will be demonstrating "Make-Ahead Ooey-Gooey French Toast" on "WNEDCooks" at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 29, 2005. Barry has demonstrated on the cooking show in the past. WNED is located on channel 17 (Adelphia channel 3). Barry also taught a cooking class on January 20, 2005 at Tops West Seneca Cooking School. The grilling recipes he prepared will be featured in the January 27 edition of Let's Talk Chow" column.

Victor J. Gagliardi, Attorney - 2005

   Victor J. Gagliardi, of the law firm, Gagliardi & Wright, has been named special counsel by Bouvier Partnership to specialize in tax law, wills and estates. He is a graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law and has worked for the Internal Revenue Service as counsel for 26 years before entering private practice. Gagliardi will service clients in his offices in Grand Island, Lockport and Canandaigua as well as the Bouvier offices in Alden, Elma and Hamburg.

Fay Wood Quilting For Operation Homefront Quilts - 2005

   Longtime Island resident Fay Wood, who has been making quilts for her family for many years, is now working to provide her handmade quilts for families of U. S. troops killed in Iraq. Fay has been spreading the word to local quilting groups to get involved in the Operation Homefront Quilts project. "I think it's the least we can do," she said in an interview on Channel 2's 11 p.m. newscast Monday, January 17, 2005. For an internet website with more information, click

Tegan Kroening - Jan. 2005

   Tegan Kroening, a senior majoring in Intercultural Studies and Sociology, has been named to the Houghton College Dean's Honor List for the Fall 2004 semester. Students must achieve a GPA of 3.75 or higher and carry a full-time course load of at least 12 hours.

Welcome, Julia Brielle Capage - 2005

Click photo for a larger view.
   Lisa and Chuck Capage are the proud parents of a baby girl, Julia Brielle Capage, born Tuesday, December 7, 2004 weighing seven pounds, 15 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

Love Road Snowman Is HUGE - 2005

Click photo for a larger view.

John Fletcher and his son, John II, 2 1/2, built this snowman on their Love Road property Saturday, January 8, 2005. Father John reports that the snowman is about 9 to 10 feet tall. If you can build a bigger one, we'll post your picture!

Pat Elmes - Alive And Well And Playing With A Great Band In Texas - 2005

Pat Elmes is kneeling in front.    Former Grand Islander, Pat Elmes, has been playing music and involved in bands since at least as far back as the 1970s. Pat is a 1977 Grand Island High School graduate now residing in Arlington, Texas and is a Paramedic working in EMS regulation at the Texas Department of Health. His parents, Dr. Robert and Nancy Elmes, are still Island residents.
   He is now a part of a talented and popular band, Bluebonnet Plague and will be performing in Dallas, Texas with that group at the North Texas Irish Festival "as one of their token Bluegrass offerings." The annual festival, running this year from March 4 through 6, is attended by upwards of 30,000 people.
   To get an idea of the logistics of the North Texas Irish Festival, click Pat's band is listed under "Regional Performers."
   Bluebonnet Plague is an infection that originally resulted from the interaction between a disparate group of bluegrass, string-band, jug-band, folk and blues musicians, who congregated on a weekly basis in various venues during the late 1980's and early 1990's. The band has a standing engagement every year at the Lone Star Dulcimer Festival in Glen Rose, Texas, and appears at events around the state. Band members areRick Caster - hammered dulcimer, vocals; Kathleen Jackson - upright bass, vocals; Pat Elmes - harmonica, guitar, vocals; John Scott - banjo, vocals; and David Giddens - guitar, resophonic slide guitar, vocals.

Lillian Choi - Rebecka Schaber Named To Syracuse U. Dean's List - 2005

Lillian Choi                           Rebecka Schaber
   Two Grand Island residents have been named to the dean's list at Syracuse University. They are Lillian Choi who is majoring in voice and Rebecka Schaber, majoring in architecture.
   A 2004 Grand Island High School graduate, Lillian was a high honor and honor roll student who excelled in music and sports and was a member of the GIHS Honor Society.
   Rebecka Schaber, a Grand Island High School graduate, Class of 2004, and High Honor Roll student most of her high school years, has excelled in music, was a member of the GIHS National Honor Society and the Corporate Bowl's winning team in 2004 and did much volunteer work including the tutoring of math and science.

Corinne Razem’s Stellar Start at GWU - 2005

   Former Grand Island High School scholar athlete, Corinne Razem has begun her college career at Gardner-Webb University-NC in fine style.
   Academically, she carried a heavy 17 credit hour workload and aced all six classes for a 4.00 average.
   Athletically, Razem won the starting goalkeeper position on the GWU Division I Women’s Soccer team, and helped the Lady Bulldogs to an overall 10-8-2 record, good for 4th place in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Although she missed three weeks of the season with a knee injury, she finished strong, helping GWU to the school's first ever appearance in the conference tournament semi-finals. Razem’s 12 starts resulted in an excellent 0.83 goals against average, including 4 shutouts. She was also named the Conference Defensive Player of the Week October 25, 2004 after playing 220 straight minutes without allowing a goal.
   Razem is a 2004 GIHS graduate. Currently she is a business major in the school’s honors program. She is the daughter of Mike and Dawn Razem, who now reside in Dundas, Ontario.

Emily Rallo To Run Marathon In Disney World
In Honor Of Leukemia Patient And Island Resident, Lynn Galenza - 2005

Sept. 2004 photo of Emily Rallo and Lynn Galenza
Jodi Robinson Photo

   Move over Mickey …there’s a marathon in town - This weekend, Sunday, January 9, 2005, Grand Island resident Emily Rallo will be running in the Leukemia Society’s run for a cure marathon. She will be completing the 26.2 mile event being held at Disney World in Orlando in honor of a Grand Island resident, Lynn Galenza, who is a two time cancer survivor. Emily has been training for five months as she prepares for her first ever marathon, in fact prior to getting involved in this event she had never even entertained the possibility of jogging. She would like to send out a gigantic thank you to all the Grand Island residents who contributed to helping raise over $3600 for the Leukemia Society. Emily knows that running a marathon will be physically challenging but it also pails in comparison to living with Leukemia. Emily will focus on finishing the marathon one step at a time and will be inspired by the courage and determination that Leukemia patients display, as they must take one day at a time and that is a much more challenging task.
   For previous story, click Leukemia Society’s Run For A Cure Marathon

Cynthia Hoover - 2005

   Island resident Cynthia Hoover has been named director of the Electronics and Analytical Research and Development Group at the Praxair Inc. Technology Center in Tonawanda. She is a graduate of the University at Buffalo and joined the company in 1997. Her most recent position has been serving as manager of Organometallics Research and Development.

Family Chili Cookoff - 2004

Shown during the chili cook-off are (left) Ed Knab, Denise Prast, Sher Knab and Joe Knab.
Fred Claus Photo - Click for a larger view.

   A Chili Cook-off was hosted by Peter Fahrer, chef at The Pepper Mill Restaurant on Grand Island, and Judy Knab in their home on Grand Island. Said to be the first of an annual event, it was held on December 6, 2004 during the Buffalo-Miami game. The day's winner for the best chili was Sher Knab and her first place apron was designed by Jessie Knab, 10. Second and third place winners were Denise Prast and Joe Knab respectively. The special Big Head award went to the person with the biggest head about his/her chili and the award went to Ed Knab. The apron was designed by Chaz Fahrer, 11.

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