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Previous Letters To The Editor
DAV Thanks Community For "Forget Me Not" Donations - 2009
A big Thank You to all who donated to and helped with our recent "FORGET ME NOT" drive. The Grand Island Chapter #168 Disabled American Veterans are happy to report the Drive was a huge success. The funds will be used for Veterans' projects, the DAV Transportation Network at the VA Hospital, and various Community Projects. Our Veterans are Our First Priority.
American Legion Extends Appreciation - 2009
The American Legion wishes to thank the community for another splendid Mother's Day flower sale. I hope everyone had a good Mother's Day. We sold out again this year and had to order additional deliveries. We have been told, we have the best flowers and reasonable priced. Our revenue will again be used for veterans and the local community through donations we make. Thank you again and hope you will remember us next year.
American Legion Commander Robert Soluri
Posted July 2, 2009
Thompson Speaks Out On Toll Collector Issue - 2009
Last night I was informed that toll collector David Zelonis has been put back to work. Zelonis was suspended for 30 days without pay for sending me and my family threatening emails for almost two years.
The NYS Thruway Authority suspended him and claimed they would be investigating his actions and they would be looking to terminate his employment for breaking TA policy by sending me and my family threatening emails. Well the investigation has not started and after his 30-day suspension he has been put back to work due to Civil Service Law? His next court date is July 15th and the TA is saying there is a hearing for him in August. August?
First of all if this had happened in the private sector Zelonis would have been fired. How could a business keep an employee that had been threatening customers. It would not happen.
Not in NY State and the protections the unions have on their employees. Any investigation should have started immediately. First Zelonis has admitted to sending the email threats, he admitted to everyone that I had sent to Lt. Savage by putting his initials on them. Now he plead not guilty and wants to plea to a lesser crime than Aggravated Assault.
What bothers me the most and should bother every New Yorker is, how did a toll taker get any information from the EZ Pass system? How, they are an entity of their own and are simply a collection agency for the TA. There is and was some collusion between Zelonis and someone in the EZ Pass office. That is most likely how he found out where I lived. What else is going on between these two beaurocratic authorities? What kind of information do they have access too? Your privacy is no longer private. You all should be concerned.
Donna Luh told TJ Pignitaro from the Buffalo news this.
Rus Thompson http://NoGItolls.com
Posted June 23, 2009
"Oh What A Night" June 5, 2009
The day started with the excitement of the Seniors, what fun! The little village was already beginning to take form with major tents and bounce house in place. After almost a year of planning it unfolds before our eyes. Such an outstanding committee we have! This year's theme of "Imagine & Believe" was shown off by the design of some of Disney's greatest characters when team SidwaySuperstars took the track. But the common denominator of teams Huth Road Elementary and Kaegebein Elementary schools' decorations & theme "BEE"lieve, brought yet another "moment to remember" to Relay as a queen bee had decided to move the hive and landed on a bench in front of the registration tent. Committees just don't plan for such things, though we all understand the power of Mother Nature and have to work each year with whatever comes our way.
Last year the American Cancer Society chose Grand Island to be the site in western New York for their Cancer Prevention Study 3 which was such a great honor but came with a lot of responsibility. Our newest committee member Nancy Webb agreed at our first meeting to chair this event and what a terrific job she did. The impact of every individual who became part of this study speaks volumes as to what kind of people live in western NY and Grand Island! The research that this study will provide to the American Cancer Society will bring the HOPE for our mission to eliminate this disease and its suffering in our lifetime. I believe this!
With an amazing 58 teams and over 700 registered participants, our "Island Of Hope" has raised over $123,391.67. Many of you are still FIGHTING BACK by fundraising until August 31st, and don't forget to check out the Lawnmower Race on Father's Day (West River between Long Rd. & Sunset).
We come together as a community with such spirit and compassion for each other. It is so great to see people of all ages engaged in the celebration that Relay For Life brings to our Island Of Hope.
Peter McMahon and I are honored to have such a wonderful committee and they are: Sue & Eric Berger, Deb Bota, Cat Bruch, Cheryl Chamberlain, Sandra Cook, Barbara Custodi, Lynn Dingey, Dennis Donovan, Lisa Dudley, Sheryl Fiedler, Daneen Gallagher, Kevin Hagen, Rosemary Hajnos, Arlene Larry, Dan McBride, Candise Mye, Mandy Myers, Jodi Robinson, Marietta Rotella, Kim Kalman, Bonnie Sciuk, Becky Sommer-Stufkosky, Kathy Smith, Donna Tomkins, Nancy Webb and Liz Wilbert.
A very special THANK YOU goes out to Doug Bruch & Jim Noe of UFOUNDASOUND our dj's, NFADA, Linda Tufillaro and gang from our Town Recreation Department, Dolly D'Orazio and Ted Zukic and Jim Bates with young men from Boy Scout Troop 630 (AM clean-up crew ), Neil Buyer who provided the Survivor tent cake, Laura Anderson of GI Chamber of Commerce, Desi Gallagher, NFP Publications and Isledegrande.com for our own online web page.
Without the "whole" heart of Grand Island in on this we could not bring this into being.
So Imagine there is no CANCER - it isn't hard to do! Imagine all the people living life in PEACE. And I hope someday you'll join us and the world will live as one.
With all my heart I love all of you Grand Island,
Mary A Dunbar-Daluisio Relay For Life co-chair
Posted June 16, 2009
DAV To Hold Annual "Forget Me Not Flower Drive" - June 2009
The Grand Island Chapter # 168, Disabled American Veterans are holding their annual “FORGET ME NOT FLOWER DRIVE“ on Thursday the 18th, Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th of June. The Volunteers will be working at the following locations on the Island: Tops Friendly Markets, Wilson Farms, HSBC Bank and the M&T Bank.
The Funds derived from this project are used to support Disabled Veterans, hospitalized Veterans, The DAV Transportation Network at Veterans Hospital and Local Community Projects.
As most of our members are physically unable to assist in working this project, some of the volunteers are friends of the DAV and give their time to help the Veterans of the community. We thank them for their service.
Members and volunteers are asked to come to the The Loyal order of the Moose #180, 2524 Grand Island Blvd. at 8:30 a.m. on the 18th, or at their convenience for their instructions. Your help is necessary to make this “Drive" successful. Thank You.
Joe Synakowski Commander (716) 773-4180
David Birt Adjutant (716) 773-5300
Posted June 10, 2009
A Tribute to Joe Chimento from a fellow Teacher - June 2009
I met Joe Chimento in September 1965. He was a warm friendly guy who you couldn’t help liking. A real people person. We were hired together. Joe took so much pride in the group of teachers that were recruited that year. Dr. Eidens, the first principal at Grand Island High School, in our first faculty meeting, described the new teachers as the “hand picked.” Joe loved that description and it became a part of his lexicon for the next 44 years. He would always say…lets not forget the hand picked and then he would go through the list: Bessel, Fitzgerald, Cohen, Chimento, Mazza and then the questions…was Tahara in that group, what about…and the names would continue. He was so proud of us!
The students and the faculty truly loved Joe Chimento.
Joe Chimento was a brilliant Educator.
He wasn’t much of a disciplinarian in the sense of that word. But Joe led and cajoled in other ways. The students called him “candy man” because when they saw him for what ever reason…the encounter would end with a piece of candy. That candy led to a number of educational opportunities and wonderful memories. Students have reflected that whenever they got in serious trouble, where they truly needed help…they would go see Mr. Chimento. He would find some sort of solution for their problems. The same was true of the Faculty. If some family matter came up where permission was needed to leave the building and you did not have time to go through the third degree… you would look for Joe…who would “say simply… yes …leave”…no further questions were asked.
Then there was the social side of Joe. Always present for a party or social event. Joe Chimes would bring his Trio to school year closings, faculty retirements, Christmas parties, dances, credit union affairs…you name it - Joe’s beautiful music was in the air.
Joe Chimento was always at Graduations, dances, and banquets, Proms…even Arbor Day ceremonies.
On Arbor Day, which later became earth day…Joe would arrange the podium and flags and set up loud speakers and music all out of doors in front of the High School. It became a major event and Joe would relish every moment. The students would speak about the tree, the tree was planted and Joe would have that wonderful warm smile on his face. Joe looked forward to the event and did it for many, many years.
Mr. Chimento loved proper decorum and would see to it that it was followed. Joe made sure that all the flags in each room of the High School were maintained. If they looked shabby they were replaced. When the High School was celebrating its 25th anniversary Joe saw to it that an enormous banner was hung from the top of the building for all to see. Joe so loved that school and all it stood for.
Then there was Mr. Chimento the sports announcer…he would be in the press box during High School football games…calling out the play by play for the fans to hear. Joe had such a colorful way of calling out the plays. “Wow” he would explain…that was some dippsy doozle. Everyone would laugh and know exactly what he meant.
Joe also fed the teachers. He would prepare his famous “peppers and onions” which became a staple at the faculty stags and picnics. We all looked forward to his culinary delight.
And now to Joe’s Beautiful Family: His wife Connie and Daughters: Marilyn and Susan and son Joseph…thank you for sharing him with us…he had given so much of his time and talent to the educational community. Thank you most sincerely from all of us.
Joe has come to the end of his life…and to quote him from a speech he delivered to the class of '88 on graduation day …”Like a piano with 88 keys…the class of '88 has made beautiful music”…and you know something..so did Mr. Chimento: He was a beautiful husband, father, grandfather, music teacher, guidance counselor, vice principal and a very gentle…. man…Joe Chimento you have made beautiful music.
Posted June 2, 2009
DAV Supports Isledegrande.com - Challenges Isle Organizations - May 2009
(left) DAV member David Birt, Isledegrande.com Editor Teddy Linenfelser, DAV members Joe Synakowski and Jerry Ast.
Click photo for larger view
The Grand Island Chapter #168, Disabled American Veterans, made a donation this week to Isledegrande.com in appreciation for the services provided to the Veterans of Grand Island and Western NY. Isledegrande.com has made available, a Web Page to each Veterans Organization free of charge to make announcements of the various projects concerning Veterans. Local News and information are vital to keep Veterans aware of Veterans Affairs and Benefits. Links to the VA and Government Offices are readily available. Isledegrande.com supports our Troops and helps to keep contact with them.
The service provided by Isledegrande.com is gratefully appreciated and deserves to be continued. PLEASE consider making a donation to keep this vital link of information flowing.
THANK YOU ! Isledegrande.com (GIECOM.net ) for your concern for the Men and Women serving our Country and the Veterans of the Niagara Frontier.
The officers and members of the Grand Island Chapter #168, Disabled American Veterans:
David Birt: Adjutant
Joseph Synakowski: Commander
Albert Payne: 1st Vice Commander
Mike Cutini: Treasurer
Jerry Ast: Trustee
Merry O’Conner: Chaplain
Posted May 28, 2009
Rus Thompson and Bridge Tolls - May 2009
South Bridge Photo A
South Bridge Photo B
Click links above for photos
Each and every year the Thruway Authority collects over 20 million dollars at the Grand Island Bridge tolls and each and every year close to ten million stays just to pay the toll workers and the toll booths themselves. After that the money disappears into the black hole of the Thruway Authority coffers. In the 90's then Gov. Pataki put $3 billion into a special account designated just for bridges. 95% of that money went to other sources as in maintaining the DMV and pork projects of our legislators in Albany.
I have been watching the Grand Island Bridges for years now and continue my work to eliminate the tolls, 74 years is too long and they must be removed as all they are is a cash cow for the Thruway Authority and Albany. Last year I was labeled as a scare monger because I pointed out structural flaws in the concrete piers, frozen and corroded bridge bearings and concrete that had been swelled and falling off exposing the steel rebar beneath.
Here are pictures I took today at 5:30 PM. First it is about time this work started as it was long past due. Second this type of work should be in the maintenance budget that supposedly the Thruway Authority has each and every year to the tune of $15 Million plus. More so since the toll increase of last year. BUT, this work being performed is not paid for, they are borrowing over $50 million to do this work. Why borrow? Where is the 100's of millions paid and collected at the toll booths? Why are we going to pay for this work for the next 30 years with the continued collection of cash that is being ripped out of our pockets each and every day?
Note the steel beams now holding up sections of the bridge, the steel is now holding up the bridge, the bearings are gone. Note the concrete that has been stripped away. These are just a couple of the piers that need work. So much for me scaring people. So much for them denying that they were in need of repair and refusing to admit that I said there was structural damage at these piers.
Biggest issue here is the borrowing of money to do the work that the Thruway should have on hand as they have told us for years, "the dollars collected at the toll booths are to maintain the bridges." Borrowing just to keep the tolls. When is Antionne Thompson going to introduce the Bill that the Governor said he would sign to get rid of the tolls. When are our elected representatives ever going to have the guts to stand up for the people in Western New York? We are tired of waiting, we are tired of the inaction and the inability of them to stand up for us. When is it going to end???????
Grand Island, New York.
Posted May 28, 2009
Troubles on Grand Island - Concerned Resident - May 2009
I have lived on Grand Island my entire life and just recently purchased my first home on Staley Road. Last night, I was woken up by the sound of a car alarm. At first I thought nothing of it until I saw spot lights passing by in my bedroom window. I got dressed and went out to take a look at what was going on. Someone had tried to break into my neighbor's vehicle. Apparently, someone not only tried to get into their vehicle but managed to take things out of their front yard and also went into their garage. Since I moved into my house nearly 2 1/2 months ago, we had this incident and also the home burglaries which the intruders were arrested. It just sickens me that the Island that I grew up on is turning into a place that I don't feel safe. What can I do? Get a home security system? Put up cameras? Start a neighborhood watch? I'm just at a loss.
Posted May 21, 2009
Amy Stewart Is Home - Family Voices Thanks - May 2009
May 20, 2009 . . . "Since our daughter, Amy, is being discharged from Erie County Medical Center today, we would like to take this opportunity to provide this statement to express our thanks and update everyone on her condition.
"As a pedestrian struck by a hit-and-run vehicle on March 7, 2009, Amy sustained critical injuries including head trauma. However, she is recovering remarkably well.
When we learned that ECMC had the best trauma survival rate in New York State, we knew Amy was in the right place.
"We wish to express our deepest gratitude to: the four witnesses who called 9-1-1 immediately after the accident; the paramedics and other first responders who arrived swiftly on the scene and took immediate and necessary action; ECMC's emergency and trauma teams - the doctors, nurses, support staff for their expertise and exceptional care; and the ECMC pastoral care and social work staff for their compassion and support.
"We wish to convey our thanks to our family and friends who have consistently 'been there' for us. We also would like to thank the Sweet Home School District for their support, and especially the Glendale Elementary School (our daughter's employer) administration and staff, and certainly the children for their wonderful cards and pictures.
"Our daughter is a Daemen College graduate and was attending graduate school at the University at Buffalo. Both college communities have been extremely supportive and we are grateful to them as well.
We are so thankful to all of our neighbors on Grand Island, and to the Grand Island Schools* for their expressions of concern and support. (* Employer of Ann Marie Stewart)
"We are proud, but humbled by the kindness and generosity of so many in these difficult economic times. Even a Face Book support group was established where over 1,000 messages of hope and healing have been conveyed to Amy.
"In addition to the swift response and medical expertise, we strongly believe that the prayers, church services, and all of the love and support helped Amy to make a miraculous recovery. Amy still has quite a long way to go on her road to recovery as a rehabilitation outpatient at ECMC, but all her life Amy has had an inner strength. She has always been strong, determined and one who perseveres through adversity. Amy is a survivor. With the continued support of her family, friends, and so many in the community, and with our life-sustaining love and prayers and God's blessing, we anticipate the very best outcome for Amy.
"Again, we wish to convey our sincere appreciation and thanks to all who have touched our lives and embraced our Amy during this ordeal."
Posted May 20, 2009
Parents Happy With Son's ADHD Outcome In School - May 2009
Our son, Joshua, started out this school year with quite a struggle. He switched classes two months into the school year. He needed a more accommodating classroom with teachers who understood the daily struggles of ADHD and Central Auditory Processing Disorder.
After many debates with teachers (Mrs. Seibert, Mrs. Hartman and Mrs. Reddien), doctors and each other, we decided that the benefits of putting our son on ADHD medicine outweighed the possible side effects of the medicine.
Now, only a few short months later, he is doing so well in school and at home. He focuses now and is really enjoying his class (even if his twin sister is in his class now).
He is learning so much more now that he can actually stay on task.
I am writing this to everyone so that they understand the good side of ADHD medicine. So many times parents are advised by friends and family to stay away from "drugging" their children. And we (the parents) are never told of the tremendous achievements our children can achieve.
We are proud to announce that our son has been chosen to be Grand Islands 2009 "Pride of the Island." This award is given on behalf of the GI Teachers Association in recognition of those students who make a positive contribution to the atmosphere of their classroom, their school and their community. These students are recognized as Positive, Responsible, Interested, Determined and enterprising.
Julie and Eric Cook
Posted May 19, 2009
Dan McBride - The Fight for His LIFE! - May 2009
This is a story about a young man caught in the middle of everyone’s worst nightmare. He is once again beginning one of the toughest struggles he will ever have to face….a struggle that only some of us can even imagine…..The Fight for His LIFE!
Dan McBride is a young 42-year-old man in the prime of his life with so many things to look forward to. He is the father of two, Rachael and Nick, and grandfather of Little Nevaeh, and soon is expecting his second grandchild. This year, Dan was also given the honor of being chosen The Honorary Survivor for the 2009 Grand Island Relay for Life.
In January of 2006, Dan was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma. He underwent a bone marrow transplant in October 2006 and was cancer free. In December 2008, he noticed swelling in his neck and just didn’t have as much energy as he normally had. This was very concerning for him so of course he went to see his Doctor’s at Roswell Park. The diagnosis…the cancer had returned. After going through a few courses of experimental treatments, the doctors realized that this wasn’t working. They placed Dan on a much stronger protocol, which was received with a positive response. Now, after several months of agonizing over whether or not a new donor would be found, Dan’s dreams came true and a bone marrow donor has been located. The big day would be May 1st.
So on April 26, 2009, Dan entered Roswell Park to face yet another bone marrow transplant. Dan was given his new lease on life on May 1st and is now recovering, working his way back to becoming stronger. Throughout all of this, Dan has never wavered in his fight and he will continue his struggle to beat this cancer once and for all.
For years, Dan has been giving to many with his positive outlook and his generosity. It is now our turn to give back to Dan and to help in any way that we can. We are in need of baskets, gift certificates, food items or even cash donations to help us to be successful in our fundraising efforts.
We will be hosting a benefit in honor of Dan on August 23, 2009 at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post #9249, Grand Island.
For information or to help us in our efforts, please contact: Becky Sommer-Stufkosky at 774-8978, Rachael McBride at 957-0409 or Dorothy McBride at 773-4660. We cannot thank you enough for your support and generosity. Together, we can help Dan get through this and we can all be winners.
Thank you so much and May Our Lord help and guide us to finding a CURE.
The Committee for “A Day For Dan”
Posted May 11, 2009
Successful Postal Workers Food Drive - May 2009
To the thoughtful Postal Workers, Postmaster Marty Klaffka, and especially the generous people of Grand Island:
Despite the current poor economy, this week’s Postal Workers Food Drive produced a record amount (over 13,000 lbs.) of food collected from Grand Island’s wonderful residents. The Neighbors Foundation of Grand Island compliments the Postal Service workers for their hard work and thanks approx. 1500 households that put food out to ‘Stamp Out Hunger’. The Neighbors Foundation has seen an increased call for help in recent months. Our pantry was getting a bit low, but this tremendous outpouring by Grand Islanders has fully restocked our shelves. The huge collection even allowed us to share your bounty with the Network of Religious Communities in Buffalo, and with St. George’s Orthodox Church in Niagara Falls (who have an active outreach to Niagara Co. migrant farm workers). Here on Grand Island, we continue to help your neighbors; sometimes you do not realize the difficulties that occur down the street or on the next block. We stand ready to help in emergency, temporary, situations. Your generosity allows the Foundation to help all our neighbors, and make Grand Island an even more grand place to live.
Thank you again.
Henry G. Kammerer
Neighbors Foundation of Grand Island
Posted May 11, 2009
GIHS Alumni Challenge - May 2009
Everyone enjoys keeping in contact and hearing about the Island "news" through Isledegrande. In these tough economic times we all need to pitch in. I am challenging anyone in the class of 1969 (since we have a reunion coming up this summer) to make a donation to Isledegrande. I am sure any donation large or small would be appreciated. I would also challenge any other classes of Grand Island High. Make sure you include your class year. Maybe Isledegrande would keep tabs on the total number of donations - not the dollar value.
Posted May 6, 2009
Chamber Extends Thanks - May 2009
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to be present at the 43rd. Annual Citizen of the Year Awards dinner at The Grand Island Holiday Inn Resort & Conference Center to recognize & honor this year’s award recipients. The Grand Island Holiday Inn resort & Conference Center did another outstanding job with a fantastic dinner and great service! We would like to thank Manager, Scott Zeplowitz, Teresa Costello & Dale Van Allstein and their staff for all their help. Chef Rick Arnold out did himself with this year’s dinner. Dinner was outstanding! On hand for the invocation was Pastor Calvin VanderMey of Bible Fellowship Center.
Mary Beth Wrobel (Meteorologist Channel 4 News) was Master of Ceremonies; she brought warmth, professionalism & fun to this year’s event that made the evening a memorable one for all of our 2008 award recipients. A special treat for our audience was Mary Beth singing the ‘Star Spangle Banner’, to bring in the Charles N. DeGlopper VFW Post 9249 Color Guard to present the colors and lead the pledge.
Jim Sharpe, (Youth Ambassador Committee Member) & Youth Ambassadors, Lauren Fermoile & Benjamin Soos did a fine job selling Scholarship Raffles. Benjamin & Jim Sharpe were also busy taking the official pictures for our event. Our Ambassadors worked hard on soliciting items & stuffing all our guest grab bags. We would like to thank Joanne Kud, Past Youth Ambassador Chair & Current Chair Jim Sharpe, who have both done a great job with the our Youth Ambassadors.
We would like to say thank you to our committee for all their hard work. The quality of this event would not be possible without these dedicated & talented people. Committee Members: Judy Schmidt, Jim Sharpe, Joanne Kud, Jennifer Peresi, Phil Buchanan, Dr. Sherry Bradford, Sybil Kennedy. We can’t leave out Administrative Director, Laura Anderson, she is a great asset to this event. Our job would be much tougher without her support.
Mark Traina from Mile Stone Video Production filmed our event and Time Warner will be announcing the times it will be show in the Dispatch, PennySaver, Isledegrande & on gichamber.org website.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS WHO MAKE THIS EVENT POSSIBLE!
Finally, on behalf of the whole committee and the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, We would like to thank all of the award recipients for allowing us a glimpse into their lives through the letters of their family, friends, and co-workers. It was our privilege to get to know you. It was our privilege to honor you for your contributions to the Grand Island community.
Beverly Kinney, Chair & Andy Beyer, Co-Chair
Posted May 5, 2009
Grand Island Has An Employee With a God Complex - April 2009
Grand Island has an employee with a God Complex. That being said I am going to make a short story even shorter.
Last week I was washing both of my vehicles and as I finished one I put it on MY front lawn. I then pulled the other out of the garage and washed it. After wiping it down I went in to have lunch, while eating I noticed a car out front with a man writing something down. I went outside and had eye contact with him, and he pulled away. Strange but not as strange as it got 2 days later, I received a letter from the person who turned out to be our Grand Island zoning officer. On official Grand Island letter head he writes that I am in violation of Chapter 49-148 A 2 of the town code of Grand Island which states that “Permanent front yard parking areas for residential uses are prohibited. I am shocked at the letter; I am totally disgruntled over having eye contact and him driving away so I go to town hall to find out what the definition of “Permanent" is. I am told by our Zoning officer that the definition is “when he sees the vehicle” and he never gets out of his car to talk. He goes on to say he does this all the time, I can only presume there are many more bad people besides myself living under the rule of our zoning officer. So the bottom line is I still do not have a definition of “Permanent” and if the actions do not represent a God complex, then I have wasted a lot of money on myself. Dale Berger
Posted April 23, 2009
Cancer Prevention Study Coming To Island's Relay For Life Event - April 2009
This year our town of Grand Island has an unprecedented opportunity to directly participate in cancer research and make an impact on the lives of many.
The third Cancer Prevention Study of the American Cancer Society will be enrolling participants at the Grand Island Relay for Life on June 5, 2009 on Masters Field at the Grand Island High School, 1100 Ransom Road, Grand Island, NY between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. this year only. Individuals who choose to participate will complete a brief questionnaire, give a waist measurement and a small blood sample. After enrollment, study participants will be followed over time to update information via mailed questionnaires every few years. Your involvement in the Cancer Prevention Study will help American Cancer Society researchers understand the causes of cancer, and ultimately determine ways to prevent cancer.
If you are 30-65 years old and have never been diagnosed with cancer, then you will want to participate in this study. If you don't meet the eligibility requirements, your significant participation comes from telling everyone you know about the opportunity to help prevent cancer.
We encourage you and loved ones to find the 25th hour in your day to enroll in the Cancer Prevention Study at Grand Island's Relay for Life June 5, 2009. Visit www.cancer.org/cps3 or call 1-800-227-2345 to learn more about the difference you can personally make in the fight against cancer.
Mary A. Dunbar-Daluisio
Peter A. McMahon
Co-chairs, Grand Island Relay For Life
Grand Island, New York
Posted April 23, 2009
Mulcahy Applauds School Board's Budget Decision - April 2009
I attended last night’s April 6 School Board meeting. (The absence of everyone was duly noted.) My purpose was to disabuse the Board of spending one more millisecond contemplating building another gym. There isn’t going to be any State aid, besides, we just built one. This isn’t the reason I’m writing this, though.
I stayed to listen to the presentation of the 2009-2010 operating budget for the District. Lo and Behold, the School Board and the District have embraced reality. The budget that was presented was very good. A number of difficult decisions were made. Any time one has to shrink operations it isn’t easy. The budget recognizes the financial constraints that all of us are confronted with, which is a good thing.
On the whole, I was very impressed with the decisions and the thought process that led to them. This isn’t to say that there still aren’t issues that need to be addressed going forward. To wit: $150,000 of this year’s revenue comes from the sale of real estate to Invitrogen. That revenue isn’t going to be there in the future. State aid is flat this year, and can be assumed not to increase in the near future. Both of these imply that either some other revenue sources must be found: tax increases or larger tax base; or expenditures must be cut. Another disconcerting piece of news, more important in my mind, was that a science teacher position was eliminated in the High School. This, I believe, was due to decreased enrolment in the classes. Why are our students shying away from science courses. They are also avoiding social studies classes, as measured by the reduction of .8 FTE position. On the other hand, there are more AP students. Something seems to be amiss/inconsistent, or I don’t have sufficient information.
Nonetheless, as I have criticized the Board and the District in the past for their poor performance, I believe that in fairness that it is appropriate that I recognize a good job. This budget is that. Congratulations, folks. Keep it up.
Posted April 7, 2009
ECO Team Anyone? - April 2009
Who wants to lose 5000 pounds? Be part of the global warming solution! Do you know what your carbon footprint is? There is a step-by-step program to help us reduce our personal carbon footprints. Small changes in our lifestyle, like taking shorter showers, increasing carpooling, changing those light bulbs add up to significant improvement.
If 5 or 6 of you are willing, we can have an ECO team and possibly compete with another group's team to see who can lose the most CO2 in 30 days. I have been leading a group on Grand Island, and would love to help you organize. I have all the materials and helpful websites. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 773-3266 if you are interested.
Posted April 7, 2009
Library Board Wants Your Views - March 2009
Dear Grand Island Resident/Leader:
Thank you for your support of the Grand Island Memorial Library. In 2008 the Grand Island Memorial Library had an 11.7% increase in library material usage, one of the largest increases in Erie County. Computer use continues to soar with over 72% increase in 2008.
The Grand Island Memorial Library Board of Trustees wants to continue this success in serving the needs of our community. One of the ways we do that is with your input. The Board would like to learn from you what your views and desires are as we plan for the library’s future.
We invite you to attend a public discussion of the future of our library. Three sessions are planned for:
Tuesday, March 31 - 7 pm-9 pm - Grand Island Memorial Library 1715 Bedell Road
Thursday, April 2 - 12:30-2:30 pm - Golden Age Center, Nike Base Park, 3278 Whitehaven Road
Saturday, April 4 - 10 am-12 pm - Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road
We have included the mission statement and the goals of the Grand Island Memorial Library. They will be the basis of the discussions.
We hope you will be able to join us at one of the above sessions. If you are unable to attend, we welcome your written comments. Please send them to Library Director, Lynn Konovitz, at the Grand Island Memorial Library by April 4.
Again, thank you for your continued support.
The Board of Trustees
Grand Island Memorial Library
Posted April 1, 2009
Isledegrande.com Reader Loves Hometown News - March 2009
I put my check in the mail this morning..........I was thinking of the amount of pleasure I get from Isledegrande, compared with the Sunday paper. That is the only paper we buy anymore. It costs 50 cents per issure here in Florida, and I think it is $1.50 at home....Of course we get coupons and local sale ads with that, but the pleasure of reading hometown news pales by comparison. If each of us who look forward to reading Isledegrande, donates $1.00 a week instead of buying a lottery ticket (which I never do)....We would be winners every week. Good luck with all you do, and tell Reg I said I am thinking of him through all this too.
Posted March 30, 2009
Bridge Tolls - March 2009
During a recent press conference, a Grand Island resident asked Governor Paterson if he would support legislation to eliminate the toll on the Grand Island bridges. The governor seemed unaware of the issue. He promised to investigate, but why would he eliminate our 9 cent toll when tolls for New York City bridges will increase by 23 percent or more?
On March 25 the Metropolitan Transit Authority voted to increase one-way E-ZPass tolls in the New York City area on major bridges and tunnels from $4.15 to $5.26. The increase will take effect in mid-July. Commuters who cross any bridge connecting Manhattan with Long Island, will pay $10.52 in daily tolls, more than 100 times the cost for Grand Islanders.
Efforts to eliminate tolls on Grand Island bridges are foolish and possibly counter-productive. Instead of whining about a 9 cent toll that has not changed for the 42 years I have lived on Grand Island, we would be better served by silence. Creating an issue over this trivial sum could easily result in a substantial increase when Albany politicians realize how low the toll actually is.
Richard J. McCowan
Posted March 26, 2009
Baseline Resident Opposes New Rezoning - March 2009
Paul K. Salonek
2005 Basline Rd.
Grand Island , N.Y. 14072
Long Range Planning Committee of the Town Of Grand Island
I purchased my home at 2005 Baseline on 11/04/2005 with zoning best described as R1-D. I oppose any changes in the zoning which borders my property as vacant land to the South and East property lines.
Had I known this land could be developed as business classifications I would not have purchased the property. I find it ironic the Town board can take the former Bell’s supermarket commercial property and turn it into a park outside their offices. They enjoy a scenic view and have lunch at picnic tables in the summer. The town has maybe 12 events during the summer at this “park,“ which does not have ample parking spaces and clogs a 4-lane road to 2 lanes in front of our fire department. How does that affect response times?
I challenge the Town Board to do something significant vs. rubber stamping zoning changes to vacant land that currently is not needed. How long do we need to look at the graffiti painted Dunlop building? We now have a vacant Pizza Hut. The main Plaza is at 50% vacancy. You talk about Main Street East Aurora and Ellicottville, when Grand Island Blvd is full and busy, then and only then encroach on the residential areas. Step up and do something significant to impress us residents and earn our respect and tax payers.
Paul K. Salonek
Posted March 25, 2009
Former Resident Loves Kelly's Country Store - March 2009
I read Isledegrande faithfully every Friday morning from Atlantic Beach, FL even though I moved away 22 years ago. I am a descendent of the Staleys so Grand Island will always be "home."
I noticed that Kelly's Country Store is a featured advertiser this week and wanted to drop you a line about what a great staff they have. My daughter, Lindsay Fisher Franqui (former Islette), can only eat white chocolate. Before the Christmas holidays we were reminiscing about GI. I think it was in October I ordered online from Kelly's some white holiday chocolate for Lindsay's Christmas stocking. (Yes she is 28 years old and married but mom still needs to make her a stocking.) Someone from Kelly's called me to let me know they had not yet started production of the holiday chocolate and offered to hold my entire order until the chocolate would be ready to ship in November. They didn't have to make a personal call to ask how I wanted to proceed, but they did and I really appreciate their efforts on my behalf.
Rather than put the chocolate in Lindsay's stocking, I wrapped the box from Kelly's. When Lindsay opened it she was overcome with tears because it not only held the white chocolate but her warm and happy memories of Kelly's Country Store and Grand Island as a child.
Jessica Wroblewski Fisher Baird
GIHS Class of 74
Posted March 11, 2009
Bridge Tolls - Jim Mulcahy - March 12, 2009
This is in response to Mr. Ratajczak’s letter. To go directly to the conclusion, I disagree with him on all but one point. He talks about the fact that the Town board and the County Legislature passed resolutions calling for their removal. So what? I called Iannello’s office last year and the woman who answered was shocked that I was opposed to removing them. I explained why. She had never thought about the issues I raised. Iannello just assumed that everyone was for it, because it would save us nine cents. They didn’t think past stage one. Iannello’s latest resolution is more pandering. The benzene issue is a canard. Have you ever been stopped at one of the NYC bridges, or stood at 50th St. and Fifth Ave. in NYC at rush hour, or Madison and State in Chicago? Why haven’t all lights and tolls been removed in these locations if benzene is so bad? There may be ‘an irrefutable scientific body of evidence linking it to cancer, but again, so what? Saccharine, also, has an irrefutable body of evidence linking it to cancer, which is why it was banned. Of course, one would have had to drink three 16-ounce bottles an hour, fourteen hours a day to ingest quantities that would have put one at the thresholds that cause cancer. One’s kidneys and bank account would have given out first. Also, just because the DEC classifies it as a carcinogen, keep in mind that it is no fun being a regulator if you don’t have anything to regulate.
I wasn’t aware that a clothing store or a gift shop were essential services? This is a real stretching of the term essential. Tops may be “overpriced” but they bring the goods to you, saving you the trip off of the Island. He says we should all be better at supporting our local businesses and then in the next breath he wants off-Islanders to stop supporting their local businesses and support ours!
Yes, the toll is a cost but it is a minor aspect of the cost of patronizing businesses on the Island. The cost of gas and the value of one’s time swamp the effect of the toll. No one is going to come to GI to buy a greeting card or quart of milk. There is nothing unique about GI in these areas. The professional services industry or Fuccillo market sufficiently high priced goods that the total commuting costs are a small fraction of the total cost. If there is something special about one’s service people will pay an extra dollar for it, just ask BMW. One could hand off-Island customers a buck as they left to cover the toll.
His section on taxes is confused, at best. If more people move to GI , unless they are childless, the demand for teachers will rise. Therefore, there won’t be any savings on govt. retiree salaries. Until the State goes to a Defined Contribution pension plan for state employees, we will continue to be hit and that goes through our income taxes. The only way to avoid that tax is to move out of state. I am at a loss as to how taxes at the County, State, and Federal level would be ameliorated by increased population or businesses on GI. I can assure you that our state and federal tax rates aren’t indexed in some fashion to reflect the fact GI has only 20,000 people.
We will look like Amherst if the tolls go. People who move here now don’t do it willy-nilly but really buy into the ethos of GI. There is nothing to guarantee that will continue. The fact that ‘we don’t want it and our town officials simply won’t allow it’ reflects a real naivety with how govts. work. If there were votes in it, town officials someday in the future would pander to that constituency just like they did with the sewer district to support the Holiday Inn and River Oaks.
He states, “The real cost of the toll is far more than nine cents.” He is right, but not for the reasons he thinks. Simply put, there will be substantially more traffic over the bridges, including more truck traffic, with the overwhelming preponderance being non-Islanders ”cutting through” if the tolls are eliminated.
Just look what happened on the 190 when the tolls were removed. The commute is a good ten minutes longer, with much more stop-and-go traffic, as more people have started driving to work. So, we have saved $.75 in tolls at the expense of ten minutes, thus valuing our time at $4.50/hour. Our gas consumption has increased due to the stop and go nature of the traffic. Since there hasn’t been an influx of people to WNY on account of the elimination of the tolls, the additional drivers must be former bus riders. We can look to having to pay more property taxes to underwrite the increased NFTA losses. If enough people drive we can expect to see higher parking fees downtown. The roadbed will also deteriorate faster. Yeah, removing those tolls was a great idea!
Currently, it is a nuisance to get on the southbound South bridge in the morning, where there are no tolls. The traffic backs up to Love Rd. on the Beaver Island Parkway and on the thruway overpass coming from the Boulevard. (What are we going to do about that benzene?) This situation exists because of the increased traffic coming across the Island, due among other things to the elimination of afore-mentioned tolls on the 190.
While eliminating the tolls will increase traffic, that is, demand, the supply of bridges can’t increase, so the congestion will worsen. If one thinks it is a problem now trying to get on the thruway at rush hour , wait until the traffic increases. The increased traffic, especially trucks, will deteriorate the roads faster. Even if the money to repair them comes from the tooth fairy, there still would be the cost in terms of inconvenience while they are being fixed. The correct thing to do is to complete the LaSalle Expressway around to the Twin Cities Extension and/or the 990. Most of the traffic across the Island is from vehicles attempting to get to the mainline thruway or Canada. Why do we want more traffic crossing the island? The tolls force traffic to slow down as they exit off the 290 or enter from Sheridan Drive, as well as head north on the 190. If there was no need to slow down there would be five lanes of traffic plus those attempting futilely to enter from River Road squeezing into two lanes. The accident rate will increase.
From a purely provincial viewpoint, the tolls provide Grand Island with a level of police protection that it could never afford. Grand Island is as large as Manhattan in area with 20,000 or so residents. Does anyone think we could afford to patrol it if it was open season here?
Yes, the true costs are more than the nine cents we pay.
Posted March 11, 2009
Bridge Tolls - Christopher Yoder - March 12, 2009
I, like many, moved to Grand Island to enjoy a quality of life lost in many of the suburbs of Buffalo. Grand Island has an atmosphere similar to East Aurora or the Elma of old while also being 15 minutes from downtown. This is an oasis which manages to exist without the congestion, crime and environmental degradation found in Amherst, Cheektowaga or Tonawanda.
While eliminating the tolls would without doubt benefit business and prospective land developers (or those holding title to large tracts of land), I feel it will do irreparable harm to those wishing to make Grand Island their home for years to come. While the argument can be made that property owners will have to pay a heavier tax burden without growth, there is still a basic premise to adhere to..."there is no free lunch". Who will pay for the infrastructure upgrades in preparation for this expansion? Who will pay for the needed police and municipal facilities? If growth is the answer, then explain why my taxes in Cheektowaga were twice what I pay in Grand Island? Is there a vacancy in that town or lack of growth? One must only look at what is found just across the north bridge to see what a future without the tolls looks like. Will that do wonders for property values?
I submit that Mr. Ratajczak as a corporate attorney is speaking from a perspective of potential personal gain just as Mr. Thompson does. The "silent majority" view Grand Island as a place to live and raise a family, not as a business opportunity. This may be the root of the problem. I know that I for one will be putting my house on the market the very day the tolls are removed and I expect that many others would follow suit.
Posted March 11, 2009
Time for Love Affair to End - March 2009
If the self proclaimed “silent majority” believes this battle is about nine cents you could not be more misguided. In fact, I believe the reduced rate for high volume users is intended to keep us from complaining about this tax. That however is a topic for another day.
Let’s start with some facts. Both our Town Board and the Erie County Legislature passed resolutions calling for the removal of the tolls in early 2008. Both called for the removal based upon the negative economic impact on Island businesses. Most recently, and perhaps more significantly, the Legislature, passed a new resolution calling for the removal of tolls due to the serious health impacts of automobile exhaust, specifically benzene, on individuals and the environment. Benzene has been classified by the DEC as a Class-A Carcinogen. That definition, as explained to me, is that an irrefutable scientific body of evidence links the substance to cancer. The experts tells us we can reduce the amount of environmental benzene by reducing high concentrations of idling vehicles or congestion at the tolls. In a discussion with Legislator Iannello, she suggested a traffic study to determine the amount of congestion that would be reduced if the tolls were removed. At the time, I thought it a good idea, but a waste of resources. If cars keep moving, the backup decreases. The toll barrier would be removed and the merge to two lanes could occur over a longer stretch of road. While a bottleneck would still exist, traffic would not be required come to a complete stop. We know this works, because we navigate the bridge faster than those stopping to pay the toll. However, since the “silent majority” may not believe this to be true, a study may be in order.
How about population? Well, local Realtors will advise that the main reason people do not move here is that the community lacks essential services. Sure, we have an overpriced supermarket and our share of pharmacies, but what about when you need a gift or some clothing? We should all be better about supporting our local businesses, but we simply do not have the population to support them by ourselves. The tolls create a competitive disadvantage for our businesses as consumers do not pay the added expense to frequent our businesses. With a depressed population, and lack of business presence to increase the tax base, residents share of taxes will have to increase to support the services we have come to enjoy. We are about to learn of the future cost of retiree health insurance. This, like the teachers retirement is an untouchable in the budget. It costs what it costs and we have to pay it. Thank you New York State. Even if Grand Island is spared a significant hit from retiree health, we have been experiencing tax increases on the County, State and Federal level. Without an increase in population or new business to add to the overall tax roll, we as taxpayers will have to make up that increased expense. The real cost of the toll is far more than nine cents.
I ask only that the “silent majority” take a look at the true impact of the tolls on our precious Island. Removal of the tolls will not make us Amherst. We do not want it and our Town officials simply will not allow it. We need smart growth, both residential and commercial, to allow our Town to continue to be a grand place to live, work and play.
Posted March 5, 2009
Relay For Life Team Appreciates Support - Feb. 2009
Relay For Life Team "Racing Toward A Cure" would like to thank all those who helped make our pancake breakfast a success again this year. Thanks to all who donated supplies, baskets and their time. Thanks to all those who came out to support our cause. And thanks to all the team members who worked long and hard to make this a success.
Fighting cancer is a team effort. The impact we can make together is much greater than what any of us could do alone. By supporting our team, you are a part of a life-changing event that celebrates the lives of those who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost, and empowers all of us to fight back against a disease that takes too much.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR!
Posted February 26, 2009
Letter From Assemblyman Sam Hoyt - Feb. 2009
One of my highest priorities as a Legislator is fighting for increased funding for our schools, and the impact on schools of the current state budget deficit is of great concern to me, as I know it is for so many of my constituents. I recognize that decreased aid from the state often leads to property tax increases in order to close the gap. This is why I am pleased to report that the Federal Stimulus package includes a significant amount of money for education which will help restore proposed reductions in education funding.
This is great news for Grand Island’s school children and their families, as well as for all Island taxpayers. It is my hope that this additional aid will help prevent property tax increases and will help ensure that schools have the funding they need to provide our children with the best quality education possible. As we continue budget negotiations for the upcoming fiscal year, I assure you that I will continue to do all that I can to ensure that our schools receive the funding they need.
MEMBER OF ASSEMBLY
Posted February 26, 2009
Starting Over On Tolls Legislation? - Feb. 2009
I think I may have been naive, just thinking that our elected officials would do the right thing by resubmitting the toll Bill back into the Senate and the Assembly. We would think so if they really were representing the people in their district and really were supportive of eliminating the Grand Island Tolls that have been a plague on the commuters that have to travel the 190 and traverse the Niagara River on a daily basis.
Was I naive thinking that Senator Maziarz could simple resubmit the Bill he sponsored last year when the Republicans controlled the Senate? I guess I was. Now apparently the minority party cannot introduce and sponsor legislation like the one below? Hello, Senator Thompson, Senator Stachowsli? Can one of you sponsor this Bill? Senator Thompson, I would have hoped that you would have jumped right on this, you told us that when the Democrats took over the Senate the tolls would be removed. Can we do this now?
In the Assembly we have Assembly members Hoyt, Schimminger, Delmonte, Schroeder and Gabryszak that serve with the majority Democrat party. Can one of you get this introduced and sponsored in the Assembly? Mr. Silver, can we please do this for this district that is dying from taxation and people are forced to pay to get home and commuters have to pay daily just to get to and from work?
We have been paying tolls at the Grand Island Bridges for 74 years. 74 years and hundreds of millions of dollars have left to return to the general fund of the thruway authority and 15 Million of it was spent on rebuilding Drurey Lane at the Stewart Airport in Hudson Valley. Our tolls are still paying for route 87/84 in Hudson Valley.
We need relief and doing this is the right thing to do to show you really do care about the dying communities on the Canadian border. Turning the 190 over to the D.O.T. would open the door to Federal funding not just for roads but also for Homeland Security dollars as this road travels parallel and traverses federally navigable waterways.
I guess I was just naive to believe this would be done with out constant prodding and poking of our representatives.
Rus Thompson, Grand Island, New York
Posted February 26, 2009
It is Time to Recognize Reality - Jan. 2009
In the January 23, 2009 edition of the Island Dispatch School Board President Richard Little was quoted as saying, “It is frustrating from an individual perspective. We spent the last few years building back positions that, years ago, were hacked away and cut when things were tough then. You worked hard to get to this point. When you get here you’re lopped off again at the knees. We have developed some very well utilized programs, some very successful programs. We want to continue these things.” This statement was made in the context of the current State budget fiasco. As I have often said, Grand Island is going to fare poorly in any budget cut deliberations since we are viewed as an above average income community. More importantly, if there ever was a statement that encapsulated what’s wrong with School Board management, Little’s is it. Of course the programs were well-utilized: they are subsidized. Dollars to donuts, if the participants had to fund them rather than the taxpayers at large, the demand would decline. It is no great achievement to get utilization if it is priced below cost. Anybody can do that, just look at ethanol.
These programs were, obviously, not part of the core curriculum or they wouldn’t have been cut in the past. As usual they were implemented at the behest of some vocal interest group (yes, Virginia, even schools have special interest groups). The Board likes to be liked. They play to the crowd, just like Leslie Neilsen, as Lt. Frank Drebin, in The Naked Gun when he was the home plate umpire, calling balls and strikes. He had no idea what call to make, so he said ‘strike’. The home fans cheered. After that no matter how far out of the strike zone the pitch was, he called it a strike. Likewise, the Board plays to the cheers, ignoring their responsibility for fiscal soundness. Let me point out the obvious: New York State is broke. This budget ‘problem’ isn’t due to the recession. It may be exacerbated by it, but it didn’t cause the problem. New York’s rate of expense growth has far outpaced its ability to generate revenues. It has relied on Wall Street to fund it. Those days are gone. The Wall Street business model is dead. This is a long-term problem. There are few things done in NY anymore that can’t be done elsewhere less expensively. Raising taxes will just drive more people out of the state and, more importantly, cause fewer to migrate in. Schools are going to have to learn to live within their means.
Chuck Schumer is trying to get stimulus or TARP funds to plug the funding gap for schools this year. What about next year? There won’t be any TARP or stimulus funds available but NY’s deficit problem won’t have disappeared. In fact, due to the ability to ignore it for one more year, it will be worse. If the Board is at all responsible they will use any of these funds that we may get to make extra debt reduction payments rather than use them to bolster spending. Mr. Little’s last sentence was, “We want to continue these things.” If they are so valuable to those who partake in them, let them pay an extra-curricular fee for them.
There are plenty of areas where the Board could make real cuts, not the smoke and mirrors type that have been done in recent years, that would not affect the academic programs of the school. It only needs the will to do so.
James M. Mulcahy
Posted January 29, 2009
Bone Marrow Drive At Roswell Park - Feb. 2009
Hello to everyone,
Thurs., January 29, 2009 . . . Great News.....Roswell Park Cancer Institute will be sponsoring a bone marrow drive on Thursday, February 26th from 4-6 p.m. right at the hospital. There is absolutely no cost to come and be tested. As many of you know, Dan McBride has relapsed and will be needing another bone marrow transplant. Dan is the 2009 Honorary Survivor for Grand Island's Relay for Life. How awesome would it be if one of us were a match? Even though this drive is not in Dan's honor, it would mean the world to him if we could come together and be tested....if not for him....for the many other people who are waiting for that call that a match has been found.
I want you all to know that the actual testing is easy (a little bit of paper work and a few swabs of the mouth). However, if you are considered to be a match some day, it is very important that before you sign up to do this, that you fully understand what you are agreeing to do. Of course you always have the option of backing out. However, how heartbreaking for someone who has just been given the thumbs up to suddenly have that light of hope taken away. Education is the best way of learning about bone marrow donation. You can go to marrow.org or if anyone has any questions they can call Sue Paprocki 1-888-298-6571 ext 101.
So please spread the word to everyone you know and let's show Dan and everyone else who is waiting, just how much they are loved. Thank you so much for your support and blessings to everyone.
Becky and Team Record Breakers Featuring The Polka Dot Chix
Posted January 29, 2009
Thompson And Tolls - Jan. 2009
January 7, 2009
To The Office of the State Comptroller
Attn: Thomas DiNapoli, Mary Louise Mallick and Jennifer Freeman
Monday, our local radio station WBEN, ran a story that was written by Dave Debo, one of their best reporters. In this report Dave interviewed Donna Luh, a board member for the NY State Thruway Authority. She stated that our toll dollars are being used to run the Stewart Airport in Newburgh NY. This is in Hudson Valley, the same area where our toll dollars were funding two other sections of roadway, the 87 and the 84. It just so happens the airport is close to the intersection of these two highways.
Two years ago when the Buffalo tolls were finally removed 10 years after they were required to be removed by State Law, one of these roads, the 84 or the 87, was given back to the DOT as part of the deal. Now we find out from Donna Luh that we are paying for an Airport in Hudson Valley. Is this true? Is this fact? As the petition creator at http://nogitolls.com/ , we need to know the answer to this question.
To be honest, this is infuriating. Would you please check for me and the rest of Western New York? Also I would like the list of everything that our toll dollars are being used for including how much money has been taken over the past few years to be put in the state budget. The Governor himself said that he would be using the surpluses from the authorities to help the budget. This is illegal as these funds are dedicated funds to be used for the thruway.
How much longer will we allow the state to use the Thruway and the Dormitory as borrowing agencies for the state, in violation of the Law?
Western New York is a depressed part of the state, where the economy is worse here than downstate - especially Hudson Valley, probably the richest community this side of NY City. Why are we paying for their roads and their airport with our toll dollars? In the meantime the NYSTA is "borrowing" $50+ Million to do work on the South Grand Island Bridge? This money has already been taken from us and well more in the 74 years we have been paying tolls to get home.
Thank you and it was a pleasure meeting you last year after the audit of the NYSTA.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Posted January 8, 2009
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