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Previous Letters to Editor Page

Letters To The Editor must include a name and contact (phone/email) and may be Emailed to
Editor or addressed to: Letters to the Editor, 1871 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, NY 14072

Editor Announces Retirement - Dec. 2012

Dear Friends and Readers,
   December 20, 2012 . . . The past 12 years as editor of Isledegrande.com have been enjoyable and very rewarding. My decision to retire with next week's issue was a difficult one for me. I want to thank Reg Schopp for putting me in charge right from the beginning. It was Reg who started Isledegrande.com in 1997 and it has become something very special for Grand Islanders, here and across the world.
   Special thanks to my co-worker, Jodi Robinson, who has helped to keep everything running smoothly, and special thanks to my sister, Mary Stewart, who has donated her time to Isledegrande.com by taking most of the photos over the past few years. A tip of the hat to Ray Pauley who serves the Fire Company in many ways. Ray has continuously provided us with the Fire Company news and photos.
   Thank you to those who have sent positive comments throughout the years. Keep them coming to Jodi Robinson at jodi@giecom.net.
   Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.
   May Isledegrande.com continue to be your Grand Island news source for many years to come.
~Teddy~ Linenfelser
December 20, 2012

Neighbors Foundation hopes for a Bit Extra this Holiday - Dec. 2012

    The Neighbors Foundation of Grand Island is preparing to help over 50 Island families for the Holidays, with a distribution of a large food basket, turkey or ham and gifts for any youths involved. Yes, the economy is still tough, here on Grand Island, you may not realize your neighbors are existing on part time jobs with short hours and little or no benefits. Although our food and financial reserves are sufficient at the moment, we face increased calls for help. We will maintain our tradition of helping Grand Island families in need in 2012; we sincerely hope the Grand Island community can help us help your neighbors, by contributing to our Holiday ‘Share Your Happiness’ fund drive through donations to P. O. Box 155, Grand Island NY 14072, or through on-line donations at www.GINeighbors.org where you can just click on the Donate Now button to help. Many groups, including the G I Schools, are having non-perishable food drives; increased generosity to those drives would greatly help those in need. The Neighbors Foundation is an all-volunteer charity with IRS 501c3 status helping Grand Island families (only) through their times of temporary, emergency need.
Henry G. Kammerer
President, Neighbors Foundation of Grand Island, Inc.
Posted December 10, 2012

(Appalling) Continuation of the Silly Season - Dec. 2012

   The end of the seemingly perpetual election season was thought to be behind us. How wrong can we be? Just when one gave sigh of relief here comes the Grinch, aka the school board, with another round of voting. This one is to spend money on the bus garage. This is a vote that deserves a resounding NO! Everything is wrong with this proposal.
   The district has an abominable track record on doing capital projects. How about if they first show that they can do the $51MM project we've already approved before they go off on another tangent? The previous projects have been poorly planned and executed. We have spent millions and what do we have to show for it? Answer: the need to spend even more money on the hope (over experience) that the project would be done right the next time.
   The district has yet to provide one scintilla of evidence that it should be in the bus business rather than contracting with someone who specializes in providing this service. Never, as not once, does this district ever consider putting out for bid activities that are tangential, at best, to their stated task of educating children. I say stated because self-aggrandizement and empire building seem to trump education.
   The rework of the bus garage isn't just an expansion and upgrading of the building but rather a complete make-over. (I'm tempted to suggest all board members and administrators be given a box of tinker toys, one of Lincoln logs, and an erector set so when the urge to build something and spend other peoples' money they can satisfy the urge with one of these.) It includes a new entrance to the west of the school. This will reduce the amount of playing fields.
   Worse, though, is the impact on the homeowners across the street. The buses will be pulling out right in front of their homes. Yes, I know they currently pass in front of them but that isn't the same as all of the starting and stopping in front of them. This will negatively impact their property values. Is the district planning to compensate them? They should, considering homes are a substantial portion of most folks' wealth. How many of the board members or administrators would like to have an entrance like that across from their homes? I didn't think so. The cost of their actions are being borne by others so they are displaying callous indifference.
   The district keeps repeating their mantra that doing this, or any of the recent projects, for that matter, "won't cost us a cent." Our taxes won't go up. The latter may be true but it does cost us. Further, our taxes would go down if they didn't keep collecting funds for their capital account. I have argued before and will do so again (like now) that the district should post its financial statements: balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and changes in equity or funds balances; within 45 days after their fiscal year-end. All publicly-traded companies are required to submit these to the SEC each quarter. Their businesses are much more complicated than the operation of the school district. We need to demand they do so. It is a sign of their contempt for us that they refuse to do so. If they say that they aren't required to do so is anon-answer and would be consistent with their contempt. Without this information it is nigh-on impossible to figure out what is going on.
   The final insult is the date of the vote: Tuesday, December 18th; a week before Christmas. Of course, everyone has more important things to devote their attention at this time of year than a school district vote. I know what you are thinking, "that is why they schedule them at times like this." You're right. There was no reason not to have this vote included on the ballot on election day. They had more than enough time to get it included. If it was included there would be lots of voters rather than the cabal they depend upon to get this nonsense passed.
   Unfortunately, I am working out of town through the end of the month, so I can't vote. Please go vote, round up all of your friends to vote, too. Vote NO!
Jim Mulcahy
Posted December 6, 2012

Community Thanksgiving Dinner Another Success - Dec. 2012

    Once again the Community Thanksgiving dinner was well attended and successful. While the dinner was held at Island Prysbyterian Church, it wouldn't have been possible without the generosity and support of other churches and individuals. On behalf of the communittee, we want to thank everyone who helped make it possible. This is another example of what makes Grand Island special.
Bill and Barb Wilson

Councilman Chris Aronica Expresses Appreciation - November 2012

   My family and I would like to thank each and every Grand Island resident for your vote of confidence on November 6th. I am proud to be continuing in my position as Grand Island Town Councilman. I cannot explain how gratifying and humbling it is to have had so many of you stand up in support of me. It is truly an honor, and I take the responsibility very seriously. During the campaign, your acts of kindness, calls, emails, letters, and especially your words of encouragement meant the world to me. I would also like to thank the over 100 volunteers who worked so hard on my campaign. This dedicated group of people was so important to my success. I take this opportunity now to renew my pledge to be accountable, accessible, and to be a strong leader with Grand Island's values first and foremost.
   I am proud to call Grand Island my home, we live in an incredible community. I want to assure you that I will represent all the people of Grand Island with passion, vigor and sincerity. As always, please feel free to call on me at any time. Your concerns and suggestions are always welcome as we work together to make Grand Island an even better place to live.
With gratitude and appreciation,
Chris Aronica
Posted November 15, 2012

Politics - November 2012

   In the last election Mark Grisanti won the State Senate seat in the 60th district. By defeating the previous Democratic Senator, the comical Antoine Thompson, control of the State Senate shifted to the Republican Party.
    This fact has had happy and encouraging consequences for the property owners and taxpayers of New York State. Democratic Governor Cuomo, an ambitious fellow, has his sights on the Presidency of the United States and is busily building his political bona fides with a progressive agenda which requires an alliance with the Republican Senate to proceed. This devil’s pact between a Democratic Governor and the Senate Republicans is necessary in order to keep Sheldon Silver and his free spending chronically taxing ways in a box.
   From many quarters, notably a couple of the columnists in The Buffalo News, as well as the hilarious mailings from the crack pots at The National Organization for Marriage, all manner of innuendo has been employed to paint a negative picture of the extraordinarily hard working Senator Mark Grisanti, in an attempt to undermine his reelection in the 60th district. A particularly favorite theme trotted out at every opportunity is the Senator’s correct vote in support of legalizing marriage in the State, between gay people. For most folks, this is an inconsequential non-issue, and those who keep bringing it up, over and over again are wasting their time. We don’t care.
   What we property owners and taxpayers do care about, is the new spirit of cooperation being demonstrated by the Republican Senate and Governor Cuomo, because it is keeping our hard earned money in our pockets and not having it looted away by another hare-brained Legislature tax scheme.
   It is critical, in this election, that the State Senate remain Republican in order to continue checkmating Silver and the Legislature; and accordingly, it is critical that all voters, Republican and Democrat alike vote for Senator Grisanti. The loss of his seat to either of his opponents would very likely mean the loss of Republican control of the State Senate and the financial consequences for we taxpayers would be disastrous.
   So this time, folks, vote your wallet, and vote for Senator Grisanti; the money you will retain, will be your hard-earned own.
Kevin J. Rung
Dolphin Drive
Posted November 5, 2012

Parents, Did You Know We Are Making Your Kids Cry? - October 2012

   Let me start by stating my district as well as most around the state, are trying to implement the new Education Law 3012-c, aka; Race to the Top – Annual Professional Performance Review, in the least intrusive way possible. However, as part of this law, teachers must have 2 different test scores for their “accountability” in their annual evaluation. Therefore, your children will be tested in all subjects including Music, Physical Education and Music this fall with follow up posttests this spring. This may not sound too awful but it is making young children cry and think that they are not smart. It’s making older children lose respect for the whole testing process. We are testing students on topics they have not been taught in order for the teachers to show gains in student abilities. Children as young as 4 are taking tests they can’t even read. Some students sobbed through the tests. We are also demoralizing most of our Special Education students.
   The dream of making New York State Teachers “accountable” is falling on the backs of your children. One school I know has started to offer “Play Therapy” to de-stress Kindergartners and 1st graders. This over-testing is outrageous! It could go by the label, “child abuse”.
   A colleague told me that some Physics students have dropped his class after taking the pretest. These students couldn’t picture themselves ever passing this test in June. And now they never will. This teacher has had a great passing rate on the Regents for over 20 years. Because these students became discouraged over test items that have not been yet been taught, they gave up. Imagine what will happen if every school year begins by first defeating its students. A co-worker’s 1st grade son crawled into bed crying about how hard school is now. He had just taken his “pretest” that day. Older students know these pretests don’t “count” so they are putting the lyrics to songs or listing menu items on their tests rather than answering the questions. The damage we are doing may be irreparable.
   New York State Teachers agreed to the implementation of this failed and flawed APPR law because if we didn’t, the school districts would lose the Federal Race to the Top money and State funding which would hurt students even more! Teachers and principals are between a rock and a hard place. It seems we have been legislated to make your kids cry!
   Parents: help us stop this madness for your child’s sake! Contact your state legislature, and the Governor and let them know this APPR law needs to be repealed until the flaws are worked out and kids don’t get over tested. Let’s stop hurting the state’s children.
By Kathy Brown, Special Education Teacher, Huth Road School
October 23, 2012

Fall Festival Praised - October 2012

The festival was great! So many people, never expected a crowd that large!! Too bad it didn't make the newspaper or TV, at least I didn't see it. I spoke with the owner of Just Pizza and he said it was great too. He is looking into the Christmas parade happening in Nov., said he would like to get some vendors for that. He would like to have the pizza truck for that event. Great to see things happening on the Island!!
Have a good one,
Cheryl Frailey
Posted October 16, 2012

Passing of Albert Payne Jr. - October 2012

    The members of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 168, The Grand Island Post 1346 American Legion and The Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Post # 9249, Veterans of Foreign Wars, mourn the passing of Member Albert Payne Jr. Bert as he was known was a true friend and comrade to his fellow Veterans, his family and his community. His many deeds and services will be long remembered. He took time to drive the DAV transportation van service at Veterans Hospital for many years, He promoted projects to help the Voluntary Services at the Hospital, He was an active Member of the Rod and Gun Club, past member of the Lions Club and kept active in his Union Retirees Credit Union. Bert was always happy to help with any project that came along whether it be for Veterans or the community. Thank you and Farewell Friend and Comrade Bert,You will be immensely missed by All.
Joe Synakoswki
American Legion,VFW and DAV
Posted October 4, 2012

NY District 26 Election - Oct. 2012

   This year (and decade) Grand Islanders, due to redistricting, are now in District 26. This means that we will no longer have Louise Slaughter as our representative in the US House. The incumbent in this district is Brian Higgins. The challenger is Grand Island’s own Mike Madigan. There is a world of difference. Let me note at the outset, I am an Independent. My belief is that government has become too intrusive and too inefficient, thereby reducing opportunities.
   Mr. Higgins is running a non-campaign. He is counting on voter ignorance, coupled with superior name recognition to carry him to victory. We need to ask, though, “Does he deserve another term?” I submit that he does not. Those who support him will say that he is doing wonderful things on the waterfront. Okay, but so what? Where is any of that in his job description as a member of the US House? How come no one ever asks him why he didn’t do anything about the waterfront when he was a member of the Buffalo City Council or as a member of the State Legislature? Those were places where it would fall under his purview. If he wants to be the head of the Waterfront Development Committee then he should resign from Congress and do so. The silly view that he gets federal dollars for us is laughable. New York continues to lose population and representation in the Congress, so any money he may wheedle will cost us multi-fold, as other more powerful districts demand their cut. Of course, this money doesn’t come cheap: it is being borrowed from the rest of the world or being printed by the Federal Reserve, neither of which is healthy in the medium term, much less the long term. Higgins ranks 409th out of 435 house members in the Club for Growth’s ranking. He supports pro-growth legislation only 3% of the time. This is coming from a guy in one of the slowest growing areas in America.
   Higgins is on the Foreign Affairs Committee so he can hobnob with Gerry Adams of Northern Ireland. Other than an interest in Irish affairs, which doesn’t make him unique, what does he bring to the discussions? The Mideast is aflame, the administration has lied (Kirsten Powers of the Daily Beast’s words) to us about the attack on our Libyan Embassy and where is Brian? He is talking about tearing down the Skyway, again something that is none of his concern as an elected official. Why is he doing the latter? Simple, it is free publicity provided by a duped, at best, media. He won’t speak about the former because he has nothing to add. If he says the truth he will be undercutting the administration; if he had spouted the company line he would look even more foolish.
   The Catholic Church, of which Higgins is a member when it suits him, is engaged in a serious constitutional issue with the administration over the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare. Where is Higgins? He’s a no-show. (I asked WGRZ-TV why they hadn’t shoved a microphone and camera in his face on this issue after the pummeling Kathy Hochul got. They said they thought it was a good idea. I’ve still to see it on TV.) In a word, he is a fraud.     Mike Madigan, on the other hand, actually stands for smaller government, education that works, and getting the country back to work. He is opposed to the fiscal nightmare known as Obamacare, and the job killing regulations of the EPA. He recognizes that Obamacare is an expensive scheme that will not increase access to healthcare, but only raise the cost. The regulations that all the administration’s departments and agencies churn out on a daily basis are increasing the costs of doing business. Firms are delaying, if not abandoning, plans to expand. These regulations hurt those least able to adapt. Not everyone can write computer software in C++ and relocate to another country. These regulations are undercutting our economy. Since the recession “ended” incomes are down 3.7%. This is a recovery? Mike believes in smaller government. We’ve had 3 ½ years of massive government involvement in the economy through deficit spending at an unprecedented (obscene is more accurate) rate and a flurry of regulations. The latter were intended to fix what the previous go-rounds of regulations hadn’t. It is useful to note that none of the previous regulations were stricken from the books to make way for the new batch. Mike will be our voice to ask if the regulation is required; is the most efficient, that is, least distorting; and what is it replacing. Currently, the attitude is that more, lots more, is better. How much evidence is required to see that is not the case?
   Robert Strauss, who is a prominent Democrat, once said that we get the government we deserve. I believe we have a clear-cut choice this Fall. I would ask that you take the time to familiarize yourself with Mike and his positions. His campaign website is www.mm4congress.com. Brian Higgins is a self-aggrandizing individual who does not deserve another term. Mike is the breath of fresh air we need.
Jim Mulcahy
Posted October 4, 2012

Politics as Usual - Sept. 2012

   Thursday, September 13 . . . This past Monday the school board held a vote whether to continue to allow the Niagara Sunday Fliers to utilize land the school district owns on Staley Road. It's been stated this club was given approval two years ago. One of the considerations to “continue” use of this land was due to improvements to the land by the club as well as no damage or interference to school activities since the approval was given. Who are they trying to kid? This land was not set up to accommodate planes until this past spring and planes have flown there two times, once on August 25 and again this past week. Of course there has been no interference to school activities or damage as this land is not anywhere near a school and can't be used for school functions. There are no restrooms, no utilities, and no adequate parking. The improvement referred to was a pipe placed in the entryway and applying stone to use as a driveway allegedly done by the club. There had been a driveway in the past but the town dug a trench to stop trespassing after numerous complaints a few years back by neighboring residents of cars, hunters, 4 wheelers and dirt bikes constantly entering the property. A no trespassing sign and a single strand of rope across the drive have been put in place to address trespassing now.
   The Niagara Sunday Fliers is a membership only remote control airplane club consisting of approximately 28 members. Not all are residents of Grand Island. The club has flown out of Veterans Park and most currently at Gratwick Park and Reservoir Park. It's been explained the club approached the town of Grand Island in 2008. In 2010, the school board and town supervisor decided to find land to accommodate this club choosing land not currently in our budgets to maintain. Again, the club had been using Veterans Park but the town stated “it’s too busy” to host this small club. Why isn't the park too busy for any other club they schedule to use it? The club flies one plane at a time. Why do they need an area that was not currently in the budget to maintain or used by any other clubs in the community? The approval allows use from dawn to dusk 7 days a week, to govern themselves to assure their rules are being followed, while the school district will seed, grade, and maintain it which is funded from our school tax dollars. Last fall the town invested tax money clearing, grading, and seeding portions of the land to accommodate the needs of the club stating they should have done it when the land was transferred to the school district 25+ years ago. I would like to know if any other club has been given use of school owned property or public open space from dawn to dusk 7 days a week?
   A sign was erected at the site May of 2012 showing it was home to the Niagara Sunday Fliers club. It was at this time taxpayers became aware their tax money was being spent to accommodate a private club on school owned land. Why isn't this club leasing the land and maintaining it themselves? The school board was notified residents were questioning the use of their tax dollars for a private club. They explained the club had been given approval two years prior to use this land, and was well documented for the public, due to the benefits they will provide to the school. I invite anyone concerned to look through the archives. I personally have found one mention of it on an agenda in March of 2010. I have asked for copies numerous times showing the public postings and have yet to receive anything except being told over the past 4 months these documents exist. As the interest in the community grew for an explanation of tax money spent, the school board felt it best to conduct a demonstration to make an educated decision to “continue” the clubs use of the land. Why did they approve this club two years prior without educating themselves then? If this was approved two years ago why didn't the town clean it up then? Why didn't the club put the sign up then? Why haven't they flown there?
   The demonstration held on August 25, 2012, was to address the issue of noise. The objection to this project has NEVER been about noise. It has been about the use of tax dollars and the safety to a private residence and farm adjacent to the property. During the demonstration a plane flew over the private home as well as her barn and pasture with 7 horses multiple times. This was with a club member assisting a beginner flier. The school board members in attendance were able to witness the safety issue for the tax payer next to this property and the concern for her animals. They saw once these planes are in the air it’s difficult to assure they will fly over only the land allotted them. The homeowner addressed the board at their next meeting and was informed she could contact the police when it happens and the flying club has a $2,000.000 insurance policy. When there is no set schedule and approval is 7 days a week from dawn to dusk she would have to be available at all times to assure her property and animals are safe. If she is not home, how would she know what truly happened if something was to happen?
   The interest for the school board to open this land is based on the opportunity offered to technology students in aerodynamics. The club welcomes high school student participation and planes have been donated from an estate to the school. These planes would be used in a technology class at the school. With only one flown at a time does this justify tax money spent to maintain another property when they could walk out to the open area behind the school or bus to Veterans, Gratwick or Reservoir Park? These areas have proper parking, restrooms, utilities, and are set up to host field trips. How can the Staley Road property be used without the amenities needed? This makes no sense.
   The Superintendent and school board state this area can be utilized by any other community club if they submit an application. The Staley Road field is now an area with specific spots mown to pull a few cars in and have a plane take off and land on. It was made CLEAR at a school board meeting for anyone to fly there they would HAVE to be members of the Niagara Sunday Fliers and the AMA. There is a sign posted in the front of the property this is home to the Niagara Sunday Fliers Club. There are no restrooms, there are no paved areas for buses, there are partially mown areas with overgrown areas in between, and there are no utilities. I am not sure what other club can utilize such a specific area to accommodate planes having no restrooms or utilities and inadequate parking.
   Our school taxes keep going up and were increased again this year. Does it appear our elected board and superintendent are investing tax dollars wisely when it has been documented we are over budget on the new transportation center? WHY are we spending money maintaining land which, at this time, can only accommodate a small club when there are alternate areas currently in our budget? Why are the school board and superintendent so involved with accommodating more area for this club? Why did our town supervisor act to find land for this club and allow town employees to clear this land when they have Veterans Park, the Sidway field, an open area directly behind the school, Gratwick Park and Reservoir Park?
   Over 500 Grand Island residents signed a petition stating this was not justifiable cause for their tax dollars being used. Another resident submitted over 27 hours of open air time at Veterans Park in a one month period. This was presented to the school board and superintendent. It was 500+ against 9, if you will, and the 9 overruled the 500+ taxpaying citizens.
   It is time our elected officials be accountable for what they were elected for, utilizing our town and school tax funds in the most efficient manner for the betterment of our community, schools and students. A modification was put in place on the approval stating it can be dissolved at any time. I strongly urge every taxpayer to contact the Board of Education and the School Superintendent to voice your objection to the frivolous use of your tax dollars.
   Send an email stating "I am opposed to wasting more of our school tax dollars on this land while we have alternate areas set up to accommodate what is needed". Please send to boe@k12.ginet.org and robertchristmann@k12.ginet.org
   You can also attend any school board meeting and state this in person under the General Topics section on the agenda.
Thank you,
Tina Giambra
Posted Sept. 13, 2012

Conservative Party - Conservatives Wake Up! - Aug. 2012

To the Editor,
   It has come to the attention of many that the leadership of the Conservative party on Grand Island has swayed from the right to the left. In the Town Council race they have endorsed a switcheroo. The Candidate was a Republican last year, then a Conservative and now has Democratic endorsement. In addition, now he wants to be an Independent too. How does that happen and is the public completely aware of this?
   Our party does not align itself with the core values of the Democratic Party. In fact, we are polar opposites. Reverend Backus, a leader of the Conservative Party on Grand Island, is known to be a right wing Conservative. Why would a right wing conservative discourage a candidate from seeking the Republican endorsement? Why would that same leader encourage or allow a candidate to seek the Democratic endorsement and still have the Conservative endorsement?
   In addition, the same leadership has endorsed a liberal Democrat for State Senate. I am just a rank and file Conservative, but I feel the people need to know what is going on in our party and in our town. It is imperative for the success of our Conservative party that these misleading actions be forefront in the minds of all Conservative voters.
   Our leadership has lost sight of our core Conservative values. We DON’T support the Obama agenda! Due to the actions of our party’s leadership, our endorsement is now meaningless. Conservatives wake up! We need to get involved and take our party back. Let’s get back to “Quality in America” by getting involved and being fully aware of misleading actions such as those mentioned. As the day approaches, it is critical that all voters be made fully aware of this information in order to make an educated decision. Don’t be fooled! Do your homework and vote for your Conservative candidates wisely!
Yours truly,
Tim Slazyk
Posted August 30, 2012

School Board Rescinds Huth Road Principal - And More - Aug. 2012

   I was at the school board meeting last Monday, August 13. If you read the Buffalo News the next day, you would have learned that the board rescinded tenure to the Huth Rd. School principal. I know, I know. You thought that once tenure is granted that’s it. Guess not. (Does this mean we can rescind tenure on some of the incompetents?) What you wouldn’t be aware of, though, is that other points were raised by members of the community including, of course, me. A big issue was the reworking of the bus garage and moving the entrance to the north side of Sidway. I don’t have as vested an interest as some of the others who spoke, other than as a taxpayer. The other speakers live on Baseline, across from Sidway. The rerouting of the traffic flow will reduce the value of their property, possibly significantly. My observations were that: a) it is less busy at Sidway today than it was in the early 1960s when all of the high school students were bussed off the Island and Sidway was chock-a-block with 7th to 9th graders; and b) why are we even in the business of bussing students? Other districts have contracted that service out to one or another of the local companies that specialize in it. I haven’t seen any cost comparison to justify doing what they propose.
    Then there is the issue of Mr. Christmann’s impending departure. A little over a year ago we juiced up his contract to allow him to collect his unused sick leave upon retirement and were to pay for his health insurance in retirement. He clearly isn’t retiring, he’s quitting. Are the taxpayers still going to be on the hook for this largess? We deserve to know. Clearly, we shouldn’t be. He hasn’t lived up to his end of the agreement.
   With Mr. Christmann’s departure we have to hire a new superintendent. I realize that state law requires superintendents to be lifers in the school system. Unfortunately, the track record here and elsewhere has been less than stellar. We should consider getting a businessman who has an interest in education for the job. It is a management job not a classroom instruction position. The system is littered with educators but there is barely one who can understand finances and opportunity costs. If we need a waiver we should get one.
   Fortunately, for us, NY State law requires that the term of a bond be determined by the useful life of the project. The list of assigned useful lives is maintained by the State Comptroller. In essence, this gives him approval power over the structure. Why is this important? In California, a school district borrowed $105MM and is paying it back over 40 years, starting in the 21st year. The total amount to be paid is $986MM, or about $50MM per year. For perspective, their current budget is $250MM. They did this to avoid having to ask for tax rate hikes. The board and administration will be long gone when the bill comes due. The property owners aren’t so lucky; the value of their properties will start to reflect this looming cost. That said, we should have easier access to the district’s financials. Corporations have to make their financials readily available within 45 days after quarter-end. (they’re online at the SEC website.) The various regulatory bodies have increased the reporting requirements for municipal entities so the taxpayers can see what they’ve been obligated for. Why aren’t we provided online (on the district’s website) the district’s operating statements and balance sheet for the past 5 years? Similarly, any and all bond indentures should be available online. This is close to a zero cost exercise. We’ve read about the use of school board property on Staley Rd. for radio-controlled airplanes. It was stated that we spent $500+ for field preparation. This seems a pittance but we cut field trips from next year’s budget that only cost $500 each. There are 28 members of the club, some of whom don’t live here. Bill them each $20 for that plus $25/yr. for maintenance. This has nothing to do with the district’s mission of educating children.
   Finally, as Yogi Berra might say, “It’s déjà vu, all over again.” I’m referring, of course, to the current capital project which the Island Dispatch informs us the District now is rethinking the designs of, at least, the technology wing. We voted on, what I’m sure everyone thought, were the plans and associated costs. It is clear that that wasn’t so. I referred to Yogi because this is what occurred in 1999. We voted for $18.4M in improvements including new science labs. Not only did the total project become a fiasco from start to finish but we didn’t get any labs, but we did get a 3rd gym. When questioned at the time the board denied there were any plans even though they had to have had some to come up with $18.4M amount. We were led to believe that substantial analysis and estimation was done to come up with the project costs. Likewise, the $54.1M we voted for last year had to be derived from specific plans. If it wasn’t, how was that number arrived at? I think the public has a right to know. (A partial answer appears to be that if we spent any money on specific plans before the vote, they wouldn’t have been reimbursable. Fair enough, but the architects shouldn’t be permitted to go off on a tangent to create their “masterpiece” unless, of course, they want to pay for it.)
   I’d venture that less than 5% of the taxpayers are aware that once we authorize the board to spend money on capital improvements they are not obliged to spend it on the items that were presented as the reasons for needing the funds which, of course, is why we got a gym and not science labs last time.
   What procedures are in place to ensure that this won’t happen again and that the work will be done correctly? As the Dispatch noted, noise from the roof over the music suite, which was a major part of the last project, is to be addressed.
   One thing that should be done, though, is if there are to be any brass plaques put up extolling these improvements, both in the school and on the athletic fields, they should say the following and only the following: Capital and Operational expense provided the taxpayers, 2008 to the present. No names of anyone or any firm. If the contractors/architects want to buy some advertising space, we can consider it but no board members or administrators. Eliminate the ego trips.
   See, if you didn’t read IsledeGrande you’d never know what goes on at the school board meetings. Jim Mulcahy
Posted August 23, 2012

In Honor Of The Pinkows - August 2012

   I wish to put another vote for the naming of the high school auditorium in honor of Bill & Marion Pinkow. My husband, Tony Wydra, graduated from McKinley Vocational High School where he played the trumpet in the band led by Bill Pinkow. Bill Pinkow led the McKinley High School Band across the new Grand Island Bridge in 1935. Marion Pinkow, a celebrated cellist and music teacher was also a member of the East Park Garden Club for many years. Thank you for reference to my letter.
Sincerely, Pat Wydra
Island resident from 1960-2012
Sign Petition

Family Appreciates Return of Cockatiel - August 2012

   Just wanted to let you know that our cockatiel is safely back home thanks to this ad. We are fortunate to have caring people who spotted him and realized he was someone's pet and with all their efforts on finding his owner led to a safe return. Thank you for your promptness of posting, our beloved pet is nice and cozy in his home again.
Bonnie Amodio
Posted August 2, 2012

Transportation Center Entrance - July 2012

   I am Betty Kaefer. I live at 2562 Baseline Rd., directly across the street from the proposed future "loop road".
   My husband and I, along with our neighbors, have made every effort to understand why this Sidway plan is so acceptable. We would like to know how, with so many options for a bus garage site, you decided on this one. One that doesn't alleviate any issues we were told were considered, safety of the children and easing congestion around the school. We feel that if this were true, the very last place you would consider putting a new bus garage would be on property that already housed an operating school, any school, and definitely not in an already overly congested area. This site has no advantages. The children will still be playing in the park and playground as the buses roll out on their runs. The congestion will not be eased at all, only moved down the road, therefore, making two congested areas.
   The current existing driveways from Sidway face the BACK of the plaza, not the front yards of current residents. This is a residential neighborhood. We already have issues getting in and out of our driveways. This will not only affect our immediate homes, but those on Baseline as far down as Bedell. You say you are trying to save money by not having to install a new gasoline storage facility. Why not invest the loop road money into a brand new gas storage facility on its own site along with the buses, one that doesn't interfere with ANY resident's enjoyment of their property.
   We do understand one of the proposed sites faced the same situation we are currently in, and we are in agreement with those residents. We all want the pleasure of enjoying our homes, but there are still other possibilities that can be explored that don't interfere as much with our rights as Grand Island residents.
   This new garage should be housed on its own property. It would eliminate most of the congestion at Sidway. The only buses entering and exiting Sidway school would be those transporting SIDWAY students. The same would apply to all the schools, only those students, that school. If supervised properly, no child should be around a bus unless they are boarding it.
   This would also free up former bus spaces for teacher/parent parking. It's much more logical than making a already poor situation, worse.
   The park land and playground that are constantly being used by our youngsters will also see a sizable decrease. Why? It doesn't have to be. We are not benefiting the children of Grand Island by taking away much needed playing fields used for our youths' activities. Where are you going to go when you outgrow this garage and parking facilities? Will you be forced to use the rest of the activity fields to accommodate expansion?
   Another issue to consider is the construction vehicles and workers who will, no doubt, be competing for the use of this road, daily, as the project moves forward.
   We, the majority of residents FACING the proposed loop road, urge you all to rethink this situation and realize that locating the new garage behind Sidway will only make a bad situation, worse. Thank you for your time.
Above statement read at the Grand Island School District Board meeting on Monday, July 23, 2012.
   If you are in agreement with this letter, please let your School Board members know. At this point, no final decisions have been made. Further discussions will be taking place at future School Board meetings.
Betty Kaefer
Posted July 26, 2012

Island Taxpayers: Recreational Airfield, Staley Road - July 2012

   See Letter to Editor - by Tina Giambra

Do You Know What Your Taxes Are Paying For? - July 2012

   Grand Island residents need to be aware that our tax dollars have/will be used to help maintain a recreational airfield for radio controlled aircraft on Staley Road. The following is from the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) website: (http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amaleadermember/2012/05/20/niagara-sunday-fliers-and-town-of-grand-islandny-working-together/) & (http://www.niagarasundayfliers.org/) Niagara Sunday Fliers has worked closely with Grand Island Board of Education and Grand Island Recreation department in a joint effort to develop a flying field and work with youth. The Board of Education gave the club a flying field and the town has graded, leveled and planted grass seed. The school and Town will do the grass cutting and general maintenance in the future and club members will help. Congratulations to the Niagara Sunday Fliers, Town of Grand Island, Grand Island Board of Education and Grand Island Recreation Department for a job well done. As a TAX PAYER of Grand Island I am very disturbed we were not informed or advised our tax money would be involved in this recreational activity. In speaking with the Town Supervisor she informed me the town minutes would show discussions had taken place possibly in 2008 or 2009. I have looked through the archives and have not found anything to support this. I have asked her to provide the documentation. My question is WHY does the town and school district need to be involved in helping this club solve their location issue??
   The residents surrounding this field were not sent a letter nor given any information about attending a meeting on this project or a special use permit meeting providing the recreational club this land. However, the residents who have had to obtain variances or special use permits for their personal properties have been required to notify the surrounding neighbors. Mrs. Cooke advised this is done as a convenience and not a requirement. I find that to be a double standard. Eleven years ago building our barn we were informed the Town was required to notify the neighbors we needed a variance and a meeting would have to be held for any of them to object or voice their concerns. Yet this project was put through without any of the surrounding neighbors being notified nor the tax payers being notified by the school district their money would be used to maintain the property.
   Mrs. Cooke also advised that the town has worked on trying to accommodate this project for approximately 4 years. That is 4 years of their time and our money being spent on accommodating a recreational club that a few residents of Grand Island belong to. This site was chosen as Veterans park has too much activity to support the club, the High School field by the hill is also being used too often. Kaegebein’s open field has too many wires around it to facilitate the planes and the parcel on Colonial the school owns cannot be used as the “air flow” is not conducive to the takeoff and landing of the planes. These are properties that are currently maintained. Again my question of WHY is the town and school district so involved in this project?
   The area chosen on Staley Road has been vacant and overgrown for 20+ years. The school district owns the land and has decided to GIVE IT to a recreational club to use for their hobby. In doing so the property needed to be cleared and cleaned up. The town stepped in and had their employees clean it up. The school district will pay to maintain this property by sending their employees to maintain the property. THIS COMES DIRECTLY FROM OUR TAX DOLLARS. Selling or renting this property could bring in some much needed money to support our schools. Also it would be interesting to find out if there is a contract in place showing who would be responsible if someone was injured and decided to sue the land owner while using their property.
   Mrs. Cooke advised me I should educate myself on the club before I let emotions become involved. While I personally do not think our street, which is overrun from traffic already from the businesses on it as well as test drivers from the car dealership, was the right location, my emotions become involved when my tax dollars are spent on something I was not given a chance to voice an opinion on. I do not have an issue with the members of this club nor with them wanting to pursue their hobby. I take objection to my tax dollars helping to support the field freely handed to them while I pay my taxes to own the land I pursue my hobby of horseback riding on.
   I hope I can count on the support of the tax payers of Grand Island, who should be outraged at how their money has already been spent to support a recreational activity that fulfills the needs of a few residents of Grand Island and the double standard of how it came about. This money should be used to better our schools or provide something more ample to the youth of Grand Island. The site should be moved to a location which is currently maintained and will not cost the tax payers one cent to support. If you agree, please email the Town Supervisor at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us to voice your opinion.
Tina Giambra
Posted July 11, 2012

Don't Reword, Rewrite Legislation - July 2012

   July 2, 2012 . . . Since the SCOTUS ruling came out this morning I have been trying to figure a way to continue to fight this unconstitutional legislation or now Law. I looked at this in so many ways and came to the conclusion that there was just no way the court could allow this, even under the commerce clause of the Constitution. The government cannot force you to buy something just because it deems it so. Well we got slapped hard about the face today, Roberts joining in with the liberal justices today just threw me for a loop. I had to stand back and look at what happened and really formed my opinion this morning, just had to formulate my thoughts and put it in to words.
   The Supreme Court has no power to re-word or re-write legislation, only to rule on it. They cannot reword any Law so it will pass their interpretation of the Law but this is exactly what happened today. During the whole healthcare debate in congress this was not a tax, during the arguments in front of the Supreme Court this was not promoted as a tax, the government vehemently denied it was a tax, this was a fine for people who did not buy healthcare. But one of the justices kept saying, this is a tax and the spokesman for Obama care said no repeatedly. So in this decision the Supreme Court replaced to work "Fine" with TAX. Which in my opinion changes this Law. They changed the wording to make this fit their purpose which use to find this Law Constitutional. I personally think they exceeded their own Constitutional authority.
   This healthcare Bill (Law) should go back to Congress, in the House of Representatives where all spending Bills are supposed to originate, call a vote where it will fail. I see this as our only option at this point until, of course, the election in November. But, are we a Nation of Laws? If we are then all branches of government need to abide by the Rule of Law. We demand this returns to Congress and be voted on the way the Supreme Court passed it, NOW!
Rus Thompson
Posted July 5, 2012

Boy Scout Troop 510 Expresses Appreciation - May 2012

   Grand Island Boy Scout Troop 510 would like to thank and extend our appreciation to Gui's Lumber for their help and support in our Hot Dog sale on May 26th. The funds raised help in funding various troop activities throughout the year. So thank you Gui's!
Troop 510
Posted May 31, 2012

Suicide Prevention Support Appreciated - May 2012

   Julia Garam and I would like to thank the businesses and residents of Grand Island who supported our fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on April 28th. It was another successful year and we donated over $5,000.00 to the Foundation, bringing our two-year total to over $11,000.00. What a great community Grand Island is, and we truly appreciate all the donations we received and the number of people that came out and had a great time with us. From the bottom of our hearts, again we thank you!
Kathy Butcher
Posted May 23, 2012

Message from Board of Education President Dave Goris - May 2012

   Thank you to the Grand Island community for caring about the future of our youth. On May 15, our community voted in favor of the proposed 2012-13 budget for the Grand Island Central School District. By doing so, you once again put your faith and trust in the board of education, administration, teachers and staff to provide our students with a quality education. During a time when the economy has turned downward and, we, as residents, parents and/or employees of the district are facing many financial challenges, I am proud that we have collectively chosen to continue to make education a top priority. The price of education is “priceless” to our students, and the entire community benefits from this investment.
   Glenn Bobeck, Joan Droit and myself as re-elected board of education trustees look forward to once again working with trustees Emily Ciraolo, Paul Krull, Tak Nobumoto and Donna Tomkins. As a unified board of education, we will continue to engage the community in our plans and projects as we have done over the course of the last year. We are committed to providing an excellent education for all our students, and we’re proud to serve as board of education members in a community that places a high value on educational excellence.
   Please check the district website at www.k12.ginet.org for ongoing meeting times and regular updates. If you have any questions, concerns or comments, we can be reached at boe@k12.ginet.org, or you can find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/GICapitalProject.
Thank you,
David Goris
Board of Education President
Posted May 17, 2012

American Legion Thanks Community - 2012

Dear Editors,
    The 0fficers and members of the Grand Island Post #1346, American Legion, wish to thank all who supported our Annual Mothers Day Flower Event. The Annual Hanging Basket Plant Sale is a means of earning funds to support the Veterans of Western NY, The Veterans Hospital, The DAV Transportation Network.(provides transportation to Veterans to medical appointment at the VAMC), Local community organizations such as the Neighbors Foundation, Relay for Life (Cancer Society), Boy Scouts, Miracle Field and other worthy causes. Our Veteran members of the American Legion are Veterans who care enough to work for their fellow Veterans and their community. We are seeking other Veterans to join us to help continue the fine work and deeds of the American Legion. A display at the Town Hall Lobby has informational materials of the Legion, check it out!! May is Recruiting Month. See if you are eligible to join the largest Veterans organization in the world. Check our web page on Isledegrande.com . For information please call Commander Fred Wornick at 773-9394 or Membership Chairman George DeGlopper at 773-5333.
Joe Synakowski; 1st Vice Commander (773-4180)
Posted May 17, 2012

Miracle League - Play Ball - 2012

   The Miracle League Opening Day is Sunday May 20, 2012. Opening Ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. with our first game starting at 2:15 p.m. A second game will begin around 3:30 p.m.
    Any Player who is planning on playing on Opening Day will need to complete a registration form ASAP.
   Anyone wishing to be a "Buddy" or volunteer also needs to complete a registration form (found on our web site) and mail in ASAP.
   Any questions or concerns please feel free to contact:
Teresa Hooper at thny2004@aol.com or call her at 773-9398
Gale Sander at Sander12@verizon.net or call her at 773-3929
See You at the field!!
Teresa Hooper, President
If you can’t make Sunday, that’s OK we can use volunteers throughout the Baseball season.
Posted May 10, 2012

Special Thanks From GI Coop Nursery School - April 2012

    The Grand Island Cooperative Nursery School recently held its 8th annual Family Fun Event and Basket Raffle. A special thank you goes out to the many people who volunteered their time to help make the event run smoothly. A great big thank you also goes out to the following local businesses for their generous support:
Dunkin Donuts, Gorden's Bar, Island Dispatch, Grand Island Auto, Dick and Jenny's, Eddies Art Shoppe, Flower a Day, Grand Island Dance, Hizair, Island Deli, Justin Thyme, KOA Campground, Kelly's Country Store, Rose Liquor, Russell's, TOPS, TJ Nails, Riviera Theatre, Fort Niagara, Pam's Gifts, Niagara Falls Aquarium, Branches of Niagara, Marston's Power Equipment, Rite Aid, Buffalo Sabres, Versailles Salon, Rocky's Pizza, Fantasy Island, Bounce Magic, Riverview Chiropractics, Burger King, Malliwitz Island Lanes, Wegmans, Mighty Taco, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dr. DaHill, Dr. Colassi, Say Cheese Pizza, A Breath Away Day Spa, Chocolate House, Bonefish Grill, Honey Bunz Day Spa and Albright Knox.
    Surely, it was their donations that made Family Fun Day a success!
Amy Moskala, Corresponding Secretary GICNS
Posted April 26, 2012

Thank You - April 2012

   I would like to offer our most sincere and heartfelt THANK-YOU! To the gentleman named “Mike” who happened to be driving south on Baseline near Fix Road on Friday, April 13, 2012 at about 2:30 in the afternoon when my son suffered a bicycle accident. It was very kind of you to stop and offer assistance to my son and to stay with him until the authorities arrived. Thank you!
The Tafelski Family
Posted April 19, 2012

Shattered Lives - April 2012

Buffalo-Niagara Schools Fail to Educate Blacks – Solutions are a moral imperative!

“It is easier to build healthy children than to fix broken men”
- Fredrick A. Douglass
By: Mike Madigan
   See letter
Posted April 12, 2012

Wastewater Treatment Plant Applauds Fire Co. - April 2012

Dear Chief Koch,
   On behalf of the staff of the Grand Island Wastewater Treatment Plan, I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the Grand Island Volunteer Fire Company for their efforts in fighting the fire of March 1, 2012 at the WWTP.
   Due to your Company's rapid response and excellent efforts in combating the fire, disaster was averted. Your professional methods kept the fire to a limited area and minimized the amount of damage incurred.
   Please pass our heartfelt appreciation to all members who contributed to this effort as well as to the other companies that aided with their support.
Very truly yours,
John C. Whitney, P.E.
Town Engineer
Posted April 11, 2012

Resident Applauds Middle School Play - March 2012

   We just got home from the Veronica Middle School's Performance of Willy Wonka Jr. My daughter brought home the flier from school, and said she wanted to go. Wow, is all I can say! I didn't have any family members in the play, and I have to say, there should be some extremely proud parents on Grand Island! What a great show! We certainly do have a great group of talented young people on the Island! Well done students and faculty!
Annmarie Schneider
Posted March 29, 2012

Resident Promotes Recovery International - March 2012

Dear Editor:
   Some things are just too good not to share. Two years ago, a friend invited me to attend a Recovery International meeting. I accepted her invitation out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised that this organization was just what I needed. My quality of life has immensely improved due to the Recovery Method of dealing with anxiety. The "tools" and ideas are very practical. At meetings one listens as an experienced Recovery participant recounts a situation that occurred recently and how he/she dealt with it using some of the Recovery "tools." The person also explains how this situation would have been handled prior to Recovery training. By listening to examples, usually three, one assimilates a different mindset toward problems and gradually starts using these ideas to decrease the anxiety level in everyday life as well as in crisis situations. The Recovery Method also works for depression, panic attacks, bipolar disorder and anger management issues.
   The meetings are stress-free as there is no need to share anything. Because this has been a life changer for me, I invite anyone who is curious about this organization to attend a meeting here on the Island (Tuesdays, 7 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, Whitehaven Rd.) or at any of the eight other local weekly meetings which can be found at www.lowselfhelpsystems.org (click on "community meetings"). There are also phone and Internet "chat room" meetings for those who can't travel.
Peg Price
Posted March 12, 2012

In Support of Teen Tanning Ban Legislation - March 2012

To the Editor:
    I am writing in support of legislation currently pending in the New York State Senate to ban minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning devices in our state.
    My husband died at the age of 55 in April 2008, after a two year battle with melanoma. Needless to say, it was a traumatic journey for him. It has been an even longer winding road of grief for his family and friends as we try to adjust to the loss of such a kind and decent man.
   Prior to this, I knew nothing about how aggressive and deadly melanoma can be. Research provides some shocking information. Here are a few facts to consider:
   It is the most common cancer in the 25-29 year age group and second most common in the 15 to 29 age group.
   Women under age 39 are more likely to develop melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.
   The U.S. incidence of melanoma is more than double that of new HIV infections and is increasing at an epidemic rate; 131,810 new cases are predicted in 2012. On the average, there is a melanoma death in the U.S. almost every hour.
    These statistics and more are provided by the Melanoma Education Foundation. Their focus is directed to melanoma awareness and education. Their link is: http://www.skincheck.org/ With their guidance, I have been working actively with the Grand Island school district to incorporate melanoma education into the health curriculum at the middle and high school levels.
    With spring break upon us, I feel especially compelled to reach out to the young people who will head to local tanning salons not knowing the possible consequences of their desire to look "healthy" - a false image promoted by the five billion dollar per year UV tanning industry . I can certainly attest to how "unhealthy" my husband looked as we watched him suffer through numerous operations and grueling treatments.
    I simply ask that you read the information that the Melanoma Educational Foundation provides and raise your own awareness of melanoma. If you agree, I urge you to voice your support of the teen tanning ban by contacting our State Senator, Mark Grisanti. It is my hope that if supporting this ban saves even just one person from the tragedy that my family went through, then it will be a successful effort.
Elaine Petit
Grand Island, NY
Posted March 8, 2012

Writer Supports Teen Tanning Ban Legislation - March 2012

To the Editor:
   I’m writing in support of legislation currently pending in the New York State Senate to ban minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning devices in our state. With over 107,000 cases of cancer expected to be diagnosed this year in New York and more than 34,000 deaths from this deadly disease, cancer issues need to be a state priority. This is why enacting policies and passing legislation to prevent future generations from developing cancer is extremely important to the health of all New Yorkers.
   Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with melanoma as one of the most common cancers diagnosed among young adults. Legislation prohibiting minors from using tanning beds is needed to help prevent skin cancer.
   Minors are banned from smoking and the time has come to do the same for tanning bed usage. This is not a parental consent issue; it is a public health issue. The evidence is clear. Using tanning beds increases your risk for developing skin cancer.
   In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) elevated tanning devices to its highest cancer risk category "carcinogenic to humans." Individuals who initiate use of indoor tanning devices at a younger age have a 75% increased risk for melanoma and a 69% increased risk of early onset basal cell carcinoma compared to individuals who never use indoor tanning devices.
   The tanning bed industry commonly points to tanning beds as a good source of Vitamin D. However, Vitamin D can be obtained without tanning beds' inherent risk of skin cancer by consuming items such as milk, eggs, oily fish, and some cereals. It can also be obtained through oral vitamin supplements.
   I strongly urge our State Senator, Mark Grisanti, to support the teen tanning ban in order to protect kids and save lives.
Paula Sciuk
2075 Staley Road, Grand Island, NY 14072
Posted March 1, 2012

Here We Go Again - School District Budget - Feb 2012

   See Letter
by Jim Mulcahy
Posted February 23, 2012

NY Legislative Pay Raises: An Atrocious Abuse of the Public Trust- Jan. 2012

   See Letter
by Jul Thompson
January 25, 2012

Erie County Sheriff Nets Irresponsible Snowmobiler - Jan. 2012

   The events of January 3, 2012 have prompted me to write this article about the illegal antics of an incredibly inept snowmobile operator. During the late afternoon this individual decided to take his snowmobile on a joy ride through the front yards of dozens of homes along Stony Point Road, Love Road and East River Road. No doubt concerned about the lack of snow cover on island roads, this person incorrectly reasoned that it was acceptable to move onto the lightly snow covered lawns of the homes along his route. Due to the relative lack of snow cover and the weight of the snowmobile he ended up rutting the front yards of numerous homes and even toppled a rock wall that was part of the landscaping of a residence on East River Road.
   Property owners contacted the Erie County Sheriff and asked for someone to investigate. After observing the range of damage caused by this misguided individual, the responding Deputy decided to track the snowmobile down. Within a half hour he had found the offending snowmobile at the parking lot of the Riverstone Grill located at East River and North Colony roads. The operator was interviewed and subsequently issued tickets for unregistered operation and failure to have insurance. Both tickets are classified as moving violations and carry substantial points that upon conviction will be added to the offender's driving record. In addition, the snowmobile owner was directed to have his snowmobile trailered to his home. The moving violations notwithstanding, this irresponsible snowmobiler is also liable for the damages he caused to private property.
    Obviously, this individual only cared about enjoying his snowmobile even though it was at the expense of his neighbors. This time he was caught and he will no doubt pay a hefty price for his reckless behavior. Others who enjoy this sport need to take a lesson from this incident. The lack of snow on paved island streets is no justification for snowmobile operation on private property. It is illegal to navigate through residential property without permission simply to reach your favorite snowmobile trail. The professionals staffing our expert law enforcement agencies on Grand Island are fully aware of these unlawful practices and will be on the lookout for violators.
   Snowmobiling is a great deal of fun but like anything else those that enjoy this sport need to understand that they are obligated to behave in a safe and responsible manner. If you don’t know the rules then take some time to find out. Read the New York State Snowmobiler’s Guide. A copy may be found at:
Paul G. Leuchner
Town of Grand Island
Commission for Conservation of the Environment