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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

To My Hairitage Salon Family - December 2013

   December 19, 2013 . . .
I don't know where to start; we have been family since 1988. We have shared our joys, our sorrows, laughter and tears. All the little ones who came for their first hair-cut, are now parents, some still going to school, others have moved away. I cannot put into words how much my Hairitage family means to me and always will. As you probably figured out by now, since the car accident, the pain in my neck and lower back is making it difficult for me to continue. I don't want to say goodbye, but the time has come and sadly this is what I have to do December 31, 2013. I love you; I will miss you and all our happy times together. Never say goodbye.
Carol Volk
Hairitage Hair Salon, 1871 Whitehaven Road

American Legion Thanks Grand Island - December 2013

   December 19, 2013 . . .
The Officers and Members of the Grand Island Post 1346, American Legion, wish the Veterans and citizens of Grand Island a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.and we thank you all for your support during the past years. With your help we will continue our work with various Veterans Service Organizations,our youth and the charitable organizations on and off the Island. We are always looking for qualified Veterans to join us in our Post to make it a strong force locally and nationally. The American Legion is the largest Veterans Organization in the world, and with its many programs for Veterans and Community Programs it is at the front of the line in getting things done. All Veterans should belong to a Veterans Organization, so please consider membership in the American Legion. For more information please call Membership Chairman George DeGlopper at 773 5333 or Commander Fred Wornick at 773 9394.
Joe Synakowski
Assistant Membership Chaiman

To the good folks of Grand Island - December 2013

   December 18, 2013 . . .
    The Neighbors Foundation of Grand Island is happy to report that we will be helping 64 families, your neighbors on Grand Island, this Holiday Season. Well, no, we are not happy to report that number of families in temporary distress on the Island, all wish that the economy and sources of good-paying employment were better. What we are happy about is that so many Grand Islanders have helped: financial and food donations, gift cards, hands-on help, to allow the Foundation to provide that service to some of our less fortunate neighbors. We will provide non-perishable food, a turkey plus Tops gift card to allow those families to purchase some of their Holiday festive meal. We are also providing their children (over 135 of them in total) with some sort of Holiday gift, primarily store gift cards, or toys, games for the younger ones. Although the Island people and organizations have been generous so far in this ‘tough economic’ year, we hope for further donations, sent to P.O. Box 155 or thru our web site: www.gineighbors.org to help us fund this major undertaking to help our Grand Island neighbors.
Henry G Kammerer
President, Neighbors Foundation or Grand Island

Community Thanksgiving Thank You - December 2013

   December 10, 2013 . . .
   The annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner was a wonderful success this year due to the effort of so many Grand Island residents. We would like to thank the whole Grand Island community for their generous donations of money, publicity, food and most importantly time. A huge thank you is in order to the members of various island churches and island residents who chose to spend their Thanksgiving Day volunteering at our dinner. Without the help of so many people this dinner would not have been possible.
Bill and Barb Wilson

Tempting Fate - December 2013

   December 6, 2013 . . . by Kevin R. Hardwick 4th District County Legislator
    On the same day that a federal judge ruled that the City of Detroit could file for bankruptcy, a slim majority of the Erie County Legislature voted to approve the 2014 Budget. I was not part of that majority. I voted against the Budget, as I had too many concerns that its passage takes the first steps toward a return to the days of Red and Green Budgets.
    To avoid joining Detroit in bankruptcy court, we need to make the tough decisions now. If we fail to do so, the difficult decisions of today will become the impossible ones of tomorrow. My major criticism of the 2014 Budget involves the county executive’s plan to borrow from the state to pay for $8.6 million of our current pension costs. The loan would be repaid with interest over a 10 year period. So in 2015 we would presumably be paying for that year’s pension costs, as well as part of our deferred 2014 costs. This is the sort of practice that led us to Red and Green Budget and has landed Detroit in bankruptcy.
    One of the justifications given by the administration for its proposal is that pension costs will come down. After years of inaction, New York State has finally begun to reform the pension system resulting in significant savings to taxpayers. For example, most county employees are in Tier 4 of the state pension system and the county makes a contribution equal to about 20 percent of their salaries to the state retirement system. By contrast, new employees are in Tier 6 where the county’s pension contribution is slightly under 11 percent of salary. As time goes on, a greater portion of county workers will be Tier 6. Even so, kicking the can down the road is something we need to avoid.
    Together with four of my colleagues, therefore, I proposed amendments to the budget that would have allowed us to pay for our full pension obligation by cutting expenses elsewhere. These cuts were not easy and included the elimination of several positions. They were, however, the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, we could not muster enough votes and the amendments did not pass. This leaves us with assurances from the county executive that if good things happen next year we may not have to follow through with his plan to borrow from the state to pay for our current costs.
    This could indeed happen, as there are a number of promising possibilities that could turn in our favor next year. Let’s hope they materialize. Otherwise, Detroit may have company. If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

How We Reached Our UNICEF Goal - December 2013

   December 3, 2013 . . .
   Our self-made goal for our annual Grand Island Trick-or-Treat collection has been $2,000. This year, the children collected only $1,271.71. When Tom Burke, one of my former students heard that, he encouraged many other former students to send additional checks toward reaching that goal. These professional adults, graduates of Grand Island High many years ago, who fondly remember carrying the little boxes here on Grand Island, were motivated to help. Many checks to U.S. Fund for UNICEF began to arrive in my mailbox! And so we have reached our goal! Teachers from Huth Road School raised $200 for the Halloween collection in October by having a “dress down day”. However, that was sent by them directly to UNICEF. Usually that is included in our community-wide collection. Therefore I has requested that it be counted toward our goal.. All these together form the beautiful final grand total that has become $2,251.71. Many, many thanks to all who helped! Debbie Beis has agreed to be Grand Island Chair for UNICEF next year.
Chairman Lenore Tetkowski

Trick or Treat For UNICEF - November 2013

High school students and Key Bank manager Michael Keating.

   November 20, 2013 . . .
   Imagine a baby growing up in one of the world’s poorest countries. The child is underweight from birth, and does not receive the early breast milk needed to prevent and fight illness. In the first two years of life, he or she is often hungry and rarely, if ever, gets the nutrients needed. Poverty, a lack of clean water and proper sanitation, and a lack of maternal education mean that he or she is often sick. Growth is irreversibly stunted. Somehow, this child survives, and is one of 165 million children suffering from stunting—the irreversible outcome of nutritional deficiency.
   Now imagine UNICEF distributing food supplements to help these children grow up healthy and strong. This is part of what TRICK-OR-TREAT FOR UNICEF each Halloween is really about! Did you have any costumed kids at your door with little UNICEF cartons? Many thanks to you who did generously stuff bills and coins into those little boxes! Many thanks to the dedicated teachers who coordinated: Linda Samland at Sidway, Jayne Schaber at the Middle School, Maria Siebert at Kaegebein and Jennifer Kropidlowski at Huth Rd. This year St. Stephens and the Grand Island Cooperative Nursery School also participated.
   After the Boy Scouts directed by Hal Pierce opened and sorted the collection (money sorters list), it was taken to the Key Bank, where with the help of Manager Michael Keating and new UNICEF Assistant, Debbie Beis, a high school group organized by Cheryl Chamberlain counted and rolled everything. The students were Cole Kline, Kris Masiello, Qian Chen, Quinn Corrao, James Pufpaff and Austin Loveric.
   Halloween this year was a dark and stormy night, and maybe that’s why our Grand Island total is very low this year. Please help with a check made out to U. S. Fund for UNICEF and mailed to L. Tetkowski, 1530 Whitehaven Rd. It will be added before the final total is sent in.
Lee Tetkowski, UNICEF

Mrs. Tetkowski Got Your Help - November 2013

November 21, 2013...
   Well a generous pledge by our generous Senior Town Council Member Mr. Richard (The Big Hearted) Crawford appears to have put Mrs. Tetkowski over her $2000.00 2013 UNICEF drive goal!! Muchas Gracias Dick!! Other generous contributors include Kevin Brady, Bill Whitford, Neil Tetkowski, Susan (Crawford) Brown, Lynn Daigler, Joan Dlugokinski, Gary Roesch and Peter (Good old Pete) Hayes. That doesn't mean we have to stop there!!
Tom Burke

Mrs. Tetkowski Needs Your Help - November 2013

   November 19, 2013 . . .
    Tom Burke wrote in that when talking recently to Mrs. Lee Tetkowski, she "just told me that her annual Halloween UNICEF effort came up about $600.00 dollars short of her annual $2000.00 dollar goal!! I said, Well Mrs. T. I'm gonna narrow that gap to $500.00. I can still remember (like it was yesterday) Lee standing in front of my first grade class (Mrs. Schopp's) holding that little orange Unicef carton and say " There are little boys and girls just like yourselves around the world who don't get enough food to eat!! Mrs. Tetkowski is 91 years old and has been running this drive for more than 50 years. I'm not going to allow her to fall short of her goal!! How many of our Class of '73 schoolmates (and others) can help out here?"
Lenore Tetkowski, 1530 Whitehaven Rd., Grand Island, N.Y. 14072. Checks payable to U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

Neighbors Foundation Request - November 2013

   November 14, 2013 . . .
    Dear Friends and generous supporters of the Neighbors Foundation,
   It is that time of the year when we look to our friends and generous supporters of the Neighbors Foundation in our planning for the Annual Holiday Distribution to the less fortunate family members on Grand Island. For the past 39 years, we have provided food pantry gift baskets and toys/gift donations to our families in need, all made possible from donations from various groups and organizations. In our planning this year we realized that while appropriate games, plushes, dolls and toys are obvious for young children, the modern world has made gifts for intermediate age youth very difficult. We cannot supply IPods, Xboxes, etc, and must depend on parents of 7 to 13 year olds to use their ingenuity to provide appropriate gifts. Keeping that in mind, the Neighbors Foundation has decided to distribute gift cards to our families which have those 7 – 13 year olds, so those parents may use gift cards to purchase gifts for their children. As such, we would appreciate and graciously accept (for our Holiday Distribution) gift cards in denominations of $5, $10, $20 and $25 for the following merchants/stores:
1. Walgreens
2. Dollar Tree
3. Rite Aid
4. Target
5. Walmart
6. TJ Maxx
7. Toys R Us
   With the above switch to gift cards for many children, we will need only a modest amount of toys and gifts to distribute to the young as we have in the past. We hope generous supporters will consider donating gift cards, or providing financial donations that can be used to provide the cards we will distribute to our families in need. We have found it quite successful to provide toiletries gifts for older teens – yes, we know they wash their hair every day! That portion of our Holiday Distribution remains unchanged.
    Thank you for your consideration in participating in our gift card campaign. Last year we provided gifts for close to 150 children. Your donation to us helps to make a difference in the lives of these children during this holiday season.
Henry G. Kammerer, President
Neighbors Foundation of Grand Island, Inc.

Kinney Thank You - November 2013

   November 13, 2013 . . .
   I have a simple philosophy in my life and that is ‘Make it Count’. This campaign was no exception. For me ‘Make it Count’ means that you come away with something special that matters to you and others. I was able to reconnect with old friends and made new friends with whom I shared common goals and objectives. Although it was long hours and a ton of work, what I gained was so worth it. I feel my team ran a competitive campaign; coming within 4% of the winning total is a testimony to their hard work. As an Independence candidate, that is an amazing accomplishment, one that I am very proud of.
   Thank you to Jeanie Clabeaux, Independence Party and Jim Sharpe, the Democrat chairman, and the Democrat Committee. Their support and their belief in me meant more than words can express. My running mates, Bill Stanley and Joy LaMarca are just plain good people with a passion to make a difference. Dolly D’Orazio is just one of the best people I know. It was my privilege to have her as a running mate and a friend. I cannot leave out another dear friend, Judy Schmidt. She is my treasurer and made me toe the line every cent of the way! More than that she was the emotional compass that every candidate needs in their camp and I was blessed to have her in mine.
   Congratulations to my opponents, Chris Aronica and Ray Billica. I look forward to continuing my work with the Town Board on future projects. Lastly, thank you to the hundreds of voters that we met at the doors. It was great to meet and talk with all of you!
Happy Holidays!
Bev Kinney

Tourist Homes - November 2013

   November 12, 2013 . . .
Grand Island Residents,
   On Tuesday 11/5/13 at the strong urging of residents, the Town of Grand Island sent "Cease and Desist" letters to the 13 “Tourist Home" establishments in R1 Private Residential Zones on Grand Island. These are not Bed and Breakfasts. These are not homes that have been rented for an extended period of time to a single party. They are Tourist Homes, rented by the day, to various individuals.
   Owners of private residential homes who live near these establishments have complained loudly that these Tourist Homes were allowed to operate. They complained about loud parties going up to 4 am, beer cans thrown in neighbors yards, 2 am check-ins, party buses, parking problems, increased traffic, and loss of privacy. It is destroying the residential atmosphere for the neighbors of these Tourist Homes who bought a home in a residentially zoned area and expected zoning codes to be enforced. Since there can be a large number of people in these tourist homes, it also is a good possibility that septic system capacity and fire codes are being violated.
    It now appears that a few people who stand to gain financially from Tourist Homes have encouraged Town Government to change the Zoning Laws to legally include these establishments. The change in the zoning law would make them legal, probably inviting more of the same. This is not a good thing! Just ask the residents that are directly involved. R1 Zoning Laws (which are published on the GI Town’s Web Site) are very clear, change is not necessary. Business Zones already exist on Grand Island that can be designed for these types of establishments. For those who advocate that Tourist Homes in residential areas increase Grand Island business, consider that if these homes were occupied by families that they would increase business even more as people shop for items that they usually get where they live, like insurance, new cars, car repairs, financial advisors, dentists, doctors, lawyers and so on. If you want to increase business don't replace residents with tourists, but have both by having tourists stay at motels. Also converting residential homes to Tourist Homes doesn't add to the Town tax base.
    This is a serious matter that calls for the Grand Island Community's attention......the value of our homes and the demeanor of our neighborhoods are at stake. As Homeowners of Grand Island, we want our existing zoning laws enforced, not changed. If you agree with this statement, then please call or e-mail the Town Supervisor 773-9600, mcooke@grand-island.ny.us, and the Town Board Members. Let them know how you feel.
Board of Directors of the West River Home Owners Association

Aronica Thank You - November 2013

   November 12, 2013 . . .
I want to sincerely thank the residents of Grand Island who supported and voted for me in last week’s election. I am honored to have been elected as your Town Councilman for the next four years. It is truly humbling, and I am committed to continuing to act in the best interests of our community. I have always, and will continue to strive to do my very best to address the issues and concerns of all Grand Islanders. Thank you to all the other candidates for running a well-fought race and for their commitment to Grand Island. I look forward with enthusiasm to the next four years serving this great community. We should all be very proud to call Grand Island our home. Thank you for trusting me with your vote, as I am confident our best days are still ahead of us.
Chris Aronica

Frentzel Thank You - November 2013

   November 8, 2013 . . .
To the Grand Island community,
I sincerely wish to thank the voters of Grand Island for their overwhelming support in my Primary and General elections. Words cannot say enough to the many volunteers who worked so tirelessly during the campaign.
A special thanks to my wife, Pattie, whose energy and focus in these campaigns is second to none.
I also wish to acknowledge the hard work of all the candidates, successful or unsuccessful. It's not easy running for election, the time and financial commitments are staggering.
In closing, I look forward to serving as your Grand Island Town Justice and promise to fulfill my duties both fairly and impartially.
Hon. Mark J. Frentzel
Grand Island Town Justice

Billica Thank You - November 2013

   November 7, 2013 . . .
Grand Islanders,
I would like to thank all the people who time out of their busy schedules to exercise their right to vote on Election Day. I, of course, would like to especially thank all those who cast a ballot for me. I appreciate it very much. I will continue to work hard for YOU, the people of Grand Island. If at any time you you have any concern, please email me at rbillica@grand-island.ny.us or call 773-9600 ext. 703. Again, a big THANK YOU from me to you!
Ray Billica

Stanley, Thank You For Support - November 2013

   November 7, 2013 . . . I would like to extend a sincere “thank you” to all my supporters… The late Tom Clabeaux, head of the Independent Party, and his wife Jean for their confidence in me. Jim Sharpe and the entire Democratic Committee for all their help and guidance. Running mates Beverly Kinney and Joy LaMarca for the drive and enthusiasm throughout this campaign. To EVERYONE who supported me whether it was going door-to-door, distributing mailers, or voting – your support was positively overwhelming. I truly appreciate and will NEVER forget everything you all have done for me. From talking to the Grand Island residents to seeing the closeness of the numbers, I take comfort in knowing that I have opened the eyes of many when it comes to the role of Highway Superintendent in our community.
Thank you to all.
Bill Stanley

Jean Clabeaux - October 2013

   October 30, 2013 . . . I am writing this letter in support of Town Council Candidate, Beverly Kinney and Bill Stanley, running for Highway Superintendent. My husband, Tom Clabeaux as head of the Grand Island Independence Party, was proud to endorse these two dynamic, registered Independence Party members. I speak for myself and Tom, who recently passed away, when I say, Bev Kinney and Bill Stanley are the hardest working and most cohesive team we have ever had. From day one, Tom and I knew that these two were special individuals. They knew what they wanted and had the qualifications required for the positions they were seeking. We felt that they were running for the right reasons… to help make Grand Island a better community. They both ran aggressive and positive primary campaigns despite the lawsuit challenge by the Republican Party. They stayed focused, persevered and WON the Primary and also the lawsuit. I am sincerely grateful to the Democrat Committee for their trust and support for all of our candidates. It has been a great collaboration. Grand Island could not be in better hands if Bev and Bill are elected. I believe they will bring the same dedication to the Town Council and Highway Department that they have already given to our community.
Jean Clabeaux
Secretary – Grand Island Independence Party

In Response To Tomkins Letter - October 2013

   October 30, 2013 . . . The definition of integrity is the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles and professional standards and especially…HONESTY. My opponent has said that I have been running a negative campaign. I think that if you have been following this race from the beginning, you know my campaign has been nothing but factual.
• The office requires dedication to the public and to the workforce. It requires the full attention of the Superintendent, being available especially during critical periods.
• Tax accountants don’t take vacations during tax season; the Highway Superintendent shouldn’t take vacations during snow season.
• If the Highway Superintendent can jump in a snow plow as needed, the Deputy running the daily snow operations should be able to do the same, but can’t.
• The department procedures should change with technology, but the current management style has diminished the service provided in the past.
• Norm Mrkall’s and Ray Dlugokinski’s contributions set a foundation for the department; their “old way of doings things” is still relevant to today’s work practices. As I have stated all along, I’m a straight shooting, hardworking person that sees an environment in need of effective leadership.
Bill Stanley Candidate for Highway Superintendent

In Response To White's Letter - October 2013

   October 29, 2013 . . . It is correct that Mr. White has expressed his concern that these tourist homes are operating illegally. When I was first made aware of this problem, I read the town code and determined that these operations were illegal. I asked our attorneys if my interpretation of the code was correct, and their answer was affirmative. I then suggested to the Code Enforcement Office and the Town Board that these operations be told they are operating illegally and need to stop. I was in the minority on this issue. The attorneys for the Town were directed to draft a law, with restrictions, that would somehow allow these operations to exist. I was then, and I am now, against changing our current law. Right now there is a process to obtain the right to operate a Bed and Breakfast, and I believe that is sufficient at this point.
Raymond Billica

In Response To Ad - October 2013

   October 29, 2013 . . . Of course I am offended by the tone and lack of civility to my opponent’s campaign material. Like most people I think that negative campaigning is distasteful. I believe in presenting my attributes to the public, not tearing my opponent down. My opponent has run a negative campaign from the beginning, but I think at this point he has crossed way over the line of integrity. The truth has been either ignored or twisted till it’s unrecognizable.
    First of all I went to Florida twice during the winter in the last 10 years of working at the highway department. Both times were during especially mild winters that would in no way have any effect on our departments’ performance. I don’t run the daily snowplowing operation, my deputy does and he is very capable. In fact he is one of the most capable and respected Deputy Highway Superintendents in Erie County. Joe went to E.C.C. for Civil Engineering Technology and worked for our towns engineering department starting in 2003. I hired him in 2010 mainly because of his knowledge of the town’s infrastructure. Joe’s experience with road construction and his work with area contractors was an added bonus. The Deputy’s job description does not require a truck drivers CDL license and I wouldn’t want him in a plow truck. His job is to keep our plow trucks organized and informed while he patrols the Island in his pickup during a snow event. If we need another driver I can and have jumped in or we have plenty of CDL’s sitting in the wing seats.
    The timeline on the development of our snow fighting equipment goes as follows: Norm Mrkall brought in the large tank sitting next to our building and used calcium chloride that was sprayed on top of the salt in the truck before leaving the yard. This liquid is used when the outside temperature gets below 23 degrees to make the rock salt more efficient. Ray Dlugokinski improved this setup during his tenure by installing saddle tanks on the salter only trucks with a pump to spray the liquid on the salt as it dumped onto the spinner just before hitting the road. The next iteration was to bring in all-season dump bodies to not only haul dirt and stone in the summer season, but to also spread salt in the winter while mounted on our front line plow trucks. I was Ray’s Deputy at the time and saw these dump bodies at a trade show and convinced Ray to convert a couple trucks and try it out. At that point we switched liquids to Magnesium Chloride which is less corrosive and we began putting the application computers in all the trucks to better control the use of salt. With Ray’s blessing we designed a removable tailgate mounted tank and pump setup to provide liquid deicer to the new plow/dump trucks. After I became the Highway Superintendent we have continued the process of building all of our trucks to this specification and the design is still changing. We save money by designing and building the trucks ourselves, we save on salt usage by applying it properly and we save on labor cost by shortening the time our workers are on the road after an event has passed.
    It’s not hard to see the evolution of the process here. I don’t believe that anywhere in my literature I have claimed to invent all this equipment or the processes. The point is that we should not be married to the old ways of doing things, that we should always be looking to the future and moving the Department forward. I am proud of the fact that I have embraced these ideas and applied them to all of our equipment. These changes have brought significant savings to the taxpayers of Grand Island. I am also proud that I trusted my instincts and made the changes to our equipment. Trust me, change doesn’t come easy in this environment. There are a lot of forces working against it. But someone needs to make the tough decisions and I have proven that I can and that I can also implement them properly to save the taxpayer’s significant money.
James B. Tomkins

Tomkins Deserves Re-election - October 2013

   October 27, 2013 . . . As a proud alumnus of the Grand Island Highway Department, I was looking forward to getting a tour of the place where I spent three summers and two Christmas vacations working during college. I have many fond memories of working at the Highway Department and was looking forward to seeing how it has changed over the years. JT Tomkins, our current Highway Superintendent, led the tour. All these years later, I had not seen anything beyond the first bay of the garage while voting each year. As JT Tomkins took me past the first bay into the rest of the garage, I was amazed at how large and complex our Highway Department had become. JT described all of the new equipment as well as the maintenance programs that kept all of the old equipment running smoothly. What impressed me the most was how much capability has been brought into the department for things that the department used to have to pay an outside contractor to perform at considerable expense to our town. Not only does this insourcing save the town money on new equipment, it saves both time and money when maintaining equipment. It was also evident that JT Tomkins applied his extensive computer, software, and information management experience to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Highway Department. JT has not only used these skills to improve work scheduling and project management, he has used modern forecasting data to make sure that people are only being paid when they are needed.
    When I worked for the Highway Department, it was common practice to pay people to be there just in case bad weather should occur. At other times, people would be paid for overtime during good weather even when it was not critical to finish a job in a certain timeframe. While this approach can be very unpopular among highway department workers, JT Tomkins has stepped up to these uncompetitive work practices. Doing what’s right in this regard has made our Highway Department more cost effective and provided our town great value.
    JT Tomkins has modernized our Highway Department with new equipment, increased in-house capability, added modern information management and implemented competitive work practices. He has proven that he is willing to do what’s unpopular in order to do what’s right. If Grand Island is interested in continuing to receive outstanding highway services while controlling our taxes, then JT Tomkins deserves our votes to re-elect him as Highway Superintendent on Election Day.
Mike Rayhill

Illegal Rental Properties - October 2013

   October 16, 2013 . . . After 21 years in our home, we recently woke up to find ourselves sandwiched between two properties that are intentionally being operated as full-time, year round, non-owner occupied rental properties - - in clear violation of the Town Zoning Code. The result has been a change in the nature and atmosphere of our neighborhood and a negative impact on our daily life (not to mention our property value). As we looked into the matter, a few things became surprisingly clear. First, a number of other properties on Grand Island have also been operated for some time as rental properties in violation of the Town Zoning Code. The owners market and advertise the properties in detail on the internet as full-time rental properties. At least some of these properties are being operated illegally in districts - - like ours - - that are Zoned R-1A for a Low Density Single Family Residential District.
    Second, the Town of Grand Island has been fully aware for some time both that these rental properties have been operating and that they are illegal. Residents have made complaints to the Town. Town officials have admitted that the properties are being used illegally. Third, the Town has made a conscious, deliberate decision not to enforce the Town Zoning Code - - despite complaints by residents and even though Town officials admit that the properties are being used illegally. Instead, the Town Board has spent the last few months attempting to rewrite the existing laws to make them more hospitable to these rental businesses that are currently illegal. The Board has engaged the Town Attorney to assist in the drafting process and it has been the subject of Board meetings and workshop meetings.
    The Town has it completely backward. The Town should enforce the current Zoning Code, citing violators and shutting down illegal uses. A party seeking to engage in a special use permitted under the Zoning Code in a particular district can, of course, apply for a special use permit. That application then can work its way through the established process for its granting or denial. Likewise, parties seeking use of a property not allowed in a district can follow the existing process to seek a variance or locate their business in a district where it is allowed as a principal use. Indeed, that is what law-abiding citizens do all the time. Instead, the Town apparently intends to reward bad (indeed, illegal) behavior, actively assist violators of the Zoning Code in circumventing the law and, in the meantime, protect them while they continue their illegal uses.
    On a substantive level, the whole purpose of the Board’s proposed revisions to the Zoning Code is to make it much easier to operate rental properties, even in residential districts, even right next door to your home, and even over your objections. And make no mistake about it, that is precisely what a faction of the Town Board intends to do - - take away your ability to live in the residential district the existing Zoning Code provided for your home when you bought it, and deprive you of the protection you have under the existing Zoning Code from unlawful uses of neighboring property.
    At its most recent workshop meeting, the Town Board indicated its intention to finalize the proposed revisions in time to use its November 4 meeting to set a public hearing for November 18 on the proposed revisions to the Code. The existing Town Zoning Code is perfectly adequate to balance and protect the rights and interests of both residents and prospective business owners. We urge you to oppose the proposed revisions to the Town Zoning Code.
Randall D. and Margaret (Peggy) S. White

To the Individual Responsible For Returning My Wallet - October 2013

   October 2, 2013 . . . My name is James S. Kehoe and I want to thank the person who was kind enough to drop the wallet I lost on Sunday in the Tops parking lot into a mailbox. I retrieved the wallet yesterday from the post office. I must say that I was more than a little discouraged to find it completely drained of its monetary contents. However, on a more positive note, it thankfully still contained my long since cancelled credit cards, enhanced license and pictures of my two daughters. Thank you for that small consideration. I would not have expected such thoughtfulness.
   I would not have even been there on Sunday except for the fact that it was the birthday of a very close friend with whom I go back to childhood. Back in our younger days, my friend-Jeff Wendling would enjoy a Tanqueray on occasion, so I thought I'd pick him up a small sample bottle and place it symbolically on his headstone, as he has been gone three years now, from cancer. So I went to the liquor store in the Tops plaza and did just that. I figure the wallet fell to the ground as I got back out of my truck to clean a window before heading over to the cemetery. I should have heard it drop, I should have felt it drop, I should have gone to the bank before going to the cemetery, but I had a lot on my mind that day, I was a bit distracted.
   I never even noticed that I didn't have it until I returned home from the cemetery about 45 minutes later. But by then it was apparently too late? I must say though that I am glad that I was at least able to visit by friend's gravestone before my faith in humanity's sense of doing the right thing was crushed. I've spent each day making numerous phone calls to put credit cards on hold and then to cancel them and then to have new cards issued and then even more calls to try and drum up extra work for myself to replace the monetary contents of my wallet. Not so much for me but because I have a family that depends upon my hard earned income. But I suppose your need for that money was greater than my families and mine.
   In closing, I truly hope that you too are fortunate enough to have your lost wallet returned by an individual such as yourself. I hope that after having worked on a hot roof for several days, having crawled through sewer muck for an entire afternoon, after having just gotten paid for those jobs and stopping to get a sample bottle of gin to adorn your deceased friend's grave on his birthday-that you too are as lucky as I to have your lost wallet found by someone who was thoughtful enough to place it in a mailbox after having depleting it. But at least you won't have to be plagued by thoughts of what if and not ever knowing its fate.
Yours truly, James S. Kehoe
PS: Since you obviously know where I live, how 'bout coming forward and telling me where you live so that you'll have a chance to do the right thing and regain some of your moral compass.

Thank You Isledegrande - October 2013

   October 2, 2013 . . . My family and I want to thank you and the Isledegrande classified page for the unbelievable help you provided us. I never thought that we could have had such a fantastic resolution to our 5 day nightmare. It started 5 days ago on Friday morning with our 6 month old African Gray named Angel zipping out the front door, followed by days of searching streets, woods and fields, fliers, phone calls and an email Monday night to you and the great Isledegrande. Thanks to you, Super DiAnne {found Angel at Burger King}, and everyone that provided help and encouragement as we tried to recover our friend Angel .
The Beatty Family

Everyone Should Learn CPR - September 2013

   September 16, 2013 . . . The September 12th reports of the 10-year old girl saved with CPR at the Veronica Connor Middle School earlier that week demonstrates once again the lifesaving potential of CPR. Congratulations to the school officials and teachers for calling 911 and beginning CPR; they are to be commended for their quick action. The assistant principal on scene took the time to learn CPR and was prepared to act. This story is a poignant reminder of why everyone should take just a few minutes to learn CPR.
   CPR can double or triple survival rates for victims. With the American Heart Association’s new guidelines for hands-only CPR, it’s easier than ever to teach, learn, and perform. There are two simple steps: Call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest. If someone in your family, or a neighbor, or someone in the grocery store collapsed of sudden cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? Of the nearly 400,000 people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year, the vast majority do not survive. We can change this if more people simply learned CPR.
   I strongly encourage all of our local schools to train their students in CPR before they graduate high school so that our community will be filled with individuals who know how to respond in this type of emergency. In addition, I hope our area lawmakers will lead the way in passing legislation ensuring all students learn this lifesaving skill before graduation. I wish this young student and her family the very best and a speedy recovery.
Anne B. Curtis, MD, FACC, FHRS, FACP, FAHA
Buffalo Niagara Board of Directors, American Heart Association

Thank You Voters - September 2013

   September 16, 2013 . . . I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the voters that came out on September 10th to vote in the Primary Election. Also, a big thank you goes out to all of my supporters. Your support is the backbone of my campaign, and it keeps me going every day.
Thank you,
Bill Stanley

Thank You Supporters - September 2013

   September 16, 2013 . . . Thank you so much to everyone who supported, voted and believed in me throughout the Independence primary on Sept 10th! I am so very grateful for giving me the opportunity to represent you in the General Election. I also want to thank all those who have worked tirelessly on my campaign. No one wins by themselves. It takes grass roots supporters and a team effort. I could not have asked for a more dedicated team.
    Over the last several weeks, it has been my privilege to talk to many of you at your door on so many different issues. I am encouraged that the primary results show what I have been hearing: Grand Island citizens want a new, fresh voice on the Board. I promise I will do my best to be your new voice. I will study the issues. I will listen to you. I am very grateful to continue to have the opportunity to earn your trust and your vote to be your voice on the Town Board. Onward to November 5th. See you all at the polls. Please vote.
Thank you.
Bev Kinney

American Legion Thanks You - September 2013

   September 12, 2013 . . . Thank You Grand Island for making the recent Grand Island Post # 1346 , American Legion Patriot’s Day Poppy Drive a GREAT success. We thank the Town Board for proclaiming The 6th and 7th of September as Poppy Days for Patriots and the generosity of its citizens. We wish to thank Tops Friendly Markets, M&T Bank and First Niagara Bank for their cooperation in the success of this drive. The funds derived from the donation will be used to help veterans projects and various community charitable and civic programs. THANK YOU GRAND ISLAND !!!
Joe Synakowski

Thank you Volunteers, Supporter, Voters - September 2013

   September 12, 2013 . . . I want to take an opportunity to express my appreciation to all of my volunteers, supporters and donors. Without your generosity, I would have not made it this far in my candidacy for Town Justice. I would like to thank the Grand Island Democratic, the Erie County/Grand Island Independence and the Working Families Parties for your endorsements. I am honored to be endorsed by three outstanding parties. More importantly, I want to thank the residents who voted for me. Your confidence in me is memorable. It was a pleasure to meet many of you during my campaign trails. I am overwhelmed and extremely grateful that as a newcomer to the Island, you embraced me as a candidate. I have made long lasting friends and absolutely love our community. Lastly, I want to congratulate my opponent, Mark Frentzel with his victory in the Primary on September 10, 2013.
Joy (Carrier) LaMarca

Miracle League Damaged

   September 3, 2013 . . . I would like to start by thanking the community for all of your support this year at our weekly games and Carnival on August 10th. Our players and their families appreciate your attendance and cheers!
   When we got to the field this Sunday, we were disappointed to see damage to our field that seemed to be made by bicycles and rollerblades. A police report has been filed. A broken bike pedal was found on the field and is now part of the investigation. If anyone has any information that they would like to share please call the Erie County Sheriff's office.
   We would like to encourage anyone that has a few extra minutes in their day to drive by the field anytime to help us protect the field. At this time, we have games scheduled for Sunday afternoons and a night game on September 14th. There should not be anyone on the field at any other time. Our field was very expensive because it is made of the safest materials for our players. We are blessed to have a great community asset that the Miracle League kids can enjoy. If anyone sees anything other than Miracle League baseball going on at our field, please call the Sheriff at 858-2903 (GI substation direct number).
RJ Wynne, Board President

A Response to Kevin Rung's Letter Below - August 2013

   August 19, 2013 . . . At the outset, let me acknowledge that Kevin has been a friend for 50 years, since we went to high school together. I take a somewhat different slant on the debacle occurring in the city of Buffalo's school system. While I agree that we should not subsidize anyone coming to GI schools. However, if they are willing to pay the $13,000 (obtained by taking the $54MM budget less $2MM (gross overestimate) of busing kids to schools off the Island less 20% of the remaining $52MM for special ed and dividing the remainder by 3200 students) it costs, all-in, to educate a kid here and there is a vacant seat in the classroom, let them come in. I would require that all of this manna from heaven be used to pay down existing debt. The district shouldn't be able to squander this new-found money. The interesting and important aspect, though, of Buffalo's travails is what it reminds us about school districts. They are not required to operate schools; just to see that the kids get educated. Grand Island is a perfect example. Prior to 1965-1966 school year all children were bused to high schools off of the Island. The district wrote checks to the schools that educated them. In my opinion this is what all districts should do: get out of the operation of schools. Let the parents decide which school they want their kid to go to and if he/she can get in, they let the district know where to send the money. This would increase competition among schools, reduce wasteful bureaucracies, and allow innovation to take place. In effect, all schools would charter schools. The argument in favor of societal funding of education is not equivalent to centralized government provision of the product. Competition works.
James Mulcahy

Failure of Administrative Leadership in Buffalo School System is not Grand Island Tax Payers' Problem

   August 15, 2013 . . . By now, everybody in Western New York is aware of the crisis of leadership exposed in the administration of the Buffalo Public School System; the result is that the Education Commissioner of New York State has taken the extraordinary step of closing Buffalo's East and Lafayette High Schools. One consequence of these closures is the impending transfer of over 2000 students from these and other of Buffalo's under-performing schools to others which are doing a marginally better job of graduating kids.
    In response to the State's requirement to submit a plan outlining how this transfer will be accomplished, The Buffalo School Administration's William Keresztes cobbled together a bunch of ideas which included this bomb shell: They will - "Begin immediate work to collaborate with other area school districts, presumably neighboring suburban districts, to establish seats for students seeking transfers." Presumably neighboring suburban districts........like Grand Island, maybe? You can forget it, Mr. Kereszetes. The Property owners and taxpayers on Grand Island pay a suffocating level of school taxes for our own children. It is not our responsibility to shoulder the added burden of bailing out the leadership burlesque show masquerading as the Buffalo Schools Administration because it is demonstrably incapable of providing even minimal instructional levels for the children of the City of Buffalo. Buffalo Parents could not be blamed if they ran the whole bunch of you out of town and started over. If they are smart, on behalf of the welfare of their kids, they'll run Philip Rumore and the BTF out with you.
Kevin J. Rung

Grand Island Relay for Life Thank You

   August 2, 2013 . . . When you try to make changes to something that already runs like a well oiled machine, you worry that the change will bring failure. The 2013 Relay For Life of Grand Island was anything but that. The 2013 Olympic Theme, "Going For The Gold", Grand Island's 11th event, proved to be extremely successful as almost $150,000.00 has already been raised and we still have a month to go with our fundraising efforts.
    The new venue, Veteran’s Park, was overwhelmingly well received by many. On June 8th and 9th right in the heart of Grand Island the tents were open, the track was full and energy surrounding the area was electrifying. Opening ceremonies began at 6:00 pm where the survivor lap, caregiver lap and team lap took place. At 10:00, the luminaria ceremony lit the night and guided our path to all of those that we honored that night. The Luminaria Ceremony occurs at every Relay For Life event. As the sun sets, luminarias lining the track light up the night. A hush falls over the crowd that had been overflowing with celebration. Relay For Life participants, survivors, and caregivers then gather to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those whose fight continues. The event wrapped up at 5:30 am with a closing ceremony.
    The original Grand Island event took place in June of 2003 raising $12,325.00. That number has spiraled over the years and in 2012 Grand Island's edition raised over $163,000.00 and was ranked with the 19th largest fund total in all of New York and New Jersey. This just goes to show how when people put their minds together, pay it forward, a phenomenon is reached and that is just what our Relay is. Our eleven year total is well over 1.25 million dollars.
    We would like to thank each and every one that came out to celebrate with us the lives of those that have been touched in some way by cancer. Truly saying thank you is not enough but there really are no other words to describe our gratitude to so many. We do not put this event together by ourselves. The incredible committee members, team captains and team members, countless members of our community as well as surrounding areas are there with us every step of the way and they are all absolutely amazing. This joint effort is not only about making money for the cause but it also brings together a group of strangers all on the same team, all battling the same disease. That truly is what makes Relay a family: A family of Angels, of Survivors, of Caregivers, of HOPE!
    Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” As we looked around the track, watched the view that was before us, the answer was clear. We knew why. We thank you for inviting us into your lives and for sharing your stories and for sharing your Hope. We look forward to celebrating our next Relay with you in 2014 on Saturday May 31st to Sunday June 1st once again at the beautiful Veteran’s Park. Please help us stomp out cancer and no longer bring us to our knees but bring us to our feet. Together, we will win.
Becky Sommer-Stufkosky and Lynn Dingey, Relay for Life Co-Chairs

Letter writer should check her facts on fundraising event

   June 20, 2013 . . . In response to the June 24 letter in the Buffalo News, “Let’s find better ways to raise vital funding,” it amazes me how the writer, by only looking at a picture in The News, could condemn the Grand Island lawn mower race that raised more than $6,000 to fight cancer. She cites people pictured covering their ears and surmises, it was a “horrendous decibel level.” Loud, yes. Ear shattering, no. In fact the noise adds to the excitement of the event. What would the Fourth of July be without fireworks shows? How about Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture without cannon fire? Should we eliminate percussion sections altogether from symphony orchestras? Her environmental issues don’t even need rebuttal.
   As for the letter writer’s safety concerns, the picture did not show the paramedics standing by the barricades between racers and spectators, or the countless man hours put in by volunteers addressing every safety aspect. Fortunately, there were no mishaps such as occurred this summer at a bicycle ride for charity. Kevin’s Walk was added to this year’s lawn mower races. The walk is in memory of our son, our only child, who died earlier this year from cancer. We, as all volunteers, are doing our best to aid in finding cures for cancer. Please, don’t belittle our efforts without knowing the facts.
Floyd R. Doring
Chie Doring

This is Ridiculous

   June 16, 2013 . . . The following headline: "Tonawanda Coke Fines Could Fund Community Projects - June 2013"; on IsledeGrande refers readers to a vote on how to spend the potential fines that the Tonawanda Coke Company may face when sentenced next month. Am I the only one who finds this whole process surreal? Tonawanda Coke was charged and convicted of polluting the atmosphere. Presumably this meant that the particulates it emitted were carcinogens. Real people were affected. Why in the world should a bunch of self-appointed busybodies decide on a wish list of projects they want someone else to finance. If, as alleged and proved, people were impacted then shouldn't they be taken care of? If there are health consequences to these pollutants, some of which may not appear for years or decades similar to that of mesothelioma, shouldn't the fines be put in a trust fund for the victims? This would seem to be the logical approach. In cases of sicknesses in the past it has not always, in fact rarely, been possible to identify the source. In lieu of that the net was thrown wide and anybody and everybody even tangentially associated with the product found themselves as a defendant. Victims had to endure long drawn-out trials to obtain redress. In the Tonawanda Coke case we have identified the source of the pollutants and are making them bear the cost. This is the ideal situation, given that there were pollutants emitted. The victims would have a known dedicated fund to treat diseases as they appear over time. Instead, we have the sorry spectacle of the busybodies glomming onto these funds to spend on their pet projects. The public will be embarrassed into believing these are great things to do with the money. I'm sure that my suggestion isn't one of the choices. Why? It cuts the busybodies out of the process. They can't spend other people's money. (Remember Milton Friedman's dictum: an individual will spend someone else's money on a third person the least wisely). The defense that this has been done in Brazil, a known paragon of liberalism, and Chicago, America's poster child of public corruption, is not to be taken seriously. When wonders why a place as lovely as Western New York never gets ahead, one can just look at nonsense like this. Anyone who is planning on voting should write-in in favor of a victims' fund.
James Mulcahy

Forest Found!!!!

   June 10, 2013 . . . Forest is found and is safely home. Thank you to the many Islanders of West River Rd. Alt, Bush and Ferry Rds who helped and searched for Forest. A special thanks to the Pellitieri family for trapping Forest in their garage. We are so appreciative and thrilled with this happy outcome.
Dianne Victor

Help For Oklahoma Residents

   May 30, 2013 . . . In case you missed the televised story on channels 2, 4 or 7 last week, as I did, here is the information for helping a local residents family whose home was destroyed by the tornado in the Moore, OK area. Melissa Marranca's extended family all live in the Moore area and her cousins family is the one that suffered the extensive damage. This is the second time in two years that this family has lost everything to a tornado. Their names are Ryan and Jessica Stephens, of Newcastle, OK and they have four children, Kaleb-10, Avery-9(girl), Andrew-5 and Liam-22 mos. Everything is gone. They are presently living in a one bedroom apartment with a relative. They are grateful that they are alive as they escaped in their car just before the tornado struck their home.
Melissa will be driving to OK in a U-Haul or truck with donated items, furniture, kitchen supplies etc. The size of the vehicle that she will drive has not been determined as of this writing as she is hoping to get the use of one that doesn't cost too much. She is asking that anyone who would like to help contact her at (716) 207-0578. In addition to household items, gift cards to Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, Target or checks/cash to cover the cost of the trip, or for use of the family are welcome. Checks may be made out to Melissa Marranca, P.O. Box 23, Depew, NY 14043.
Melissa spoke at our church service as she is a friend of a member, items mentioned were crib, beds, dishes, kitchen supplies, towels, blankets, pretty much anything. Any items not used by the relative will be passed along to neighbors. The Red Cross, FEMA, etc. do help in disasters, but it often takes a long time to get help. This is a chance for those who want to help but are, for whatever reason, reluctant to contribute to organizations.
Speaking with Melissa personally , I commended her for her courage and determination to see this project through. She is one exceptional young person and an inspiration to those of us who are not so young. Thank you, on her behalf, for any help you can offer. I will be able to collect small items so feel free to contact me at 773-4291. For contact with Melissa call 207-0578.
Peg Price

An open letter to all of Grand Island:

   May 13, 2013 . . . This week’s Postal Workers ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ Food Drive was a huge success for the Neighbors Foundation on Grand Island. Even with our economy in Western NY still struggling, Grand Islanders donated about 12,000 pounds of non-perishable food, which ‘over-filled’ our Food Pantry. The Neighbors Foundation thanks the community for their generosity, and we especially thank the Letter Carriers for their hard work collecting and bringing the food to our pantry at St. Stephens Old Church. We are also indebted to over 15 very hard working High School students, who were coordinated by teachers Cheryl Chamberlain and Michael DeDario for their community service time; their carrying / lifting / careful sorting made all the difference in handling this food. Because of the generous outpouring of fellow Grand Islanders, the Foundation was able to share almost 5000 pounds of food with the ‘Food for All’ pantry in Buffalo. Surely all recognize that even with our needs on Grand Island, we should share our generosity with areas of greater need. The economy here looks better than in the inner city; that does not make the needs down your street or on the next block any less serious for our needy. Your generosity and the hard work of many has allowed the Foundation to help all our neighbors for 35 years, and make Grand Island an even more grand place to live. Thank you again.
Henry G Kammerer
Neighbors Foundation of Grand Island, Inc.

Silver Blaze

   May 2, 2013 . . . This is the Sherlock Holmes story where he notes that the curious thing was that the dog didn't do anything. Well, over at our very own comedy central, a.k.a., the School Board, there were curious things at last week's meeting. The first had to do with the proclamation that the school board was going on record as being opposed to all of the testing that Albany and Washington were requiring. The teachers' union thought this was wonderful. I don't. Don't get me wrong, I agree that testing is a pain. I have taught economics and finance both at the undergraduate and MBA levels and will be teaching a MA level course this Fall. I have given numerous exams and graded many test papers. It is the least appealing part of the job (except for listening to whining mark grubbers).
   Did it ever occur for anyone to ask why all of this testing came to be? The fact is that the elected officials, in response to our declining academic performance nationwide, needed a way to assess the quality of teaching. Teachers' unions everywhere have fought evaluations tooth and nail. It is almost impossible to fire an incompetent teacher so, instead, two generations of students are condemned to a rotten education; an expensive one, at that. The testing was an attempt to identify those who are really bad. The public school system is the only product where one can't withdraw their patronage and go elsewhere. You can go elsewhere but you still have to buy the product. Think if GM could have done that; they wouldn't have gone broke. Go ahead, buy a Camry, you still have to buy an Impala even if it rusts in the driveway. People would revolt if that happened. It IS happening with respect to the school system. Competition is an anathema to the teachers' union and administrators. Is it any wonder they wanted that silly proclamation? When I taught principles of economics, I always impressed upon the students the concept of "cui bono?": who benefits? We should ask cui bono about this proclamation.
   The second curious thing to come out of, or not come out of, the meeting was not the fact that the budget was passed but that we haven't had one public session about it. As I write this, the evening of 5/1, there are no public sessions scheduled on the IsledeGrande website. Why? Are we going to have to pass it to find out what is in it, to coin a phrase? The continuing contempt of the board for the taxpayer is appalling. When the dog fails to bark, we need to ask why. Cui bono?
James Mulcahy

Response to "Medications Not Needed"

   April 5, 2013 . . . I was so excited to read about an alternative for medication disposal in the letter to the editor entitled "Medications Not Needed."  in the most recent issue of the Isledegrande.  I was quickly disappointed by the recommendation posed by Mr. Brozek RPh..  I am hoping that Mr. Brozek misspoke when suggesting that throwing out unused medication in garbage (in a plastic container with undesirable items to deter animal consumption) was the best option.  Despite being the DEA approved method and the exciting news that "this container goes into landfill and will notharm anybody for 100's of years."  I am alarmed.  I would like your audience to focus more on the suggestion of Mr. Brozek that there is a "Take Back" day at DeGraff Memorial Hospital on Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 10-2pm.
   At the risk of being labeled a "tree hugger" or "extreme leftist," I would prefer that suggestions be made to help people choose to dispose of potentially dangerous materials properly and with the least effect on our world.  Our family has found that keeping a locked container somewhere convenient but out of the way (the garage or under the sink) helps to stay on top of those medications needing disposal until a community drop-off is available. The minor inconvenience of having such a container in your home, until such items can be turned in to a medication drive to be incinerated, is minimal.  Many of the issues this generation is now dealing with with regard to the environment are unknown side effects of industry from the turn of the last century.  Additional problems have been created from short-sighted and careless behavior from the mid-1900's to today. 
   Why do we continue to create more problems for future generations?  We know better.  I am sure that 100's of years from now there will be concerns that we are unwittingly creating now.  I caution against ideas that perpetuate impulsive and self-absorbed behavior and result in an entitled population of people who look for the easy way out and not how to make responsible decisions. 
   Having said all of these things, I admit that I do not recycle as much as I could/should and have tossed a stray advil (that fell on the floor) into the toilet or battery into the garbage.  That does not make my behavior acceptable.  BUT, I do try.  We now have safe containers in our home for recycling and proper disposal of hazardous waste.  I ask that others also try to make responsible decisions: to set a good example for others and do the right thing.
Cathy Worrall

"Understanding the Power to Change through the Community" - April 2013

   April 4, 2013 . . . Ever wonder how much just "One" voice has on the impact of the community? Ever look around your area, your neighborhood and think "there is a problem here". Maybe sometimes people do not really know there is a drug problem or understand that is happening in their own community. Well that’s exactly what "Coffee and a Conversation with the Community" hopes to accomplish. The One Island, One Team, One Dream to be Drug Free Coalition knows there are issues, the goal of the night is to show the community there is a problem with Prescription Drugs and concerns about Marijuana. With the involvement of the community and its Coalition members we can hope to answer those questions some or all may have on April 16th. With several guest speakers on hand and their presentations, we hope to enlighten the community. So please join us for a Cup of Coffee and a Conversation, maybe even a dessert or two at the Grand Island Fire Company, 2275 Baseline Road at 7:00pm on Tuesday, April 16th.
Specialist Justin Chernogorec
New York Army National Guard (NYARNG)

"Drug Disposal Law Needed" - March 2013

   March 27, 2013 . . . Recently I sent a letter to my county legislator concerning unused prescription medications. I collected a bag of old meds and was looking and asking around where are the official disposing sites. I could not find even one place to send these old meds. I suggested to Kevin Hardwick that a law needs to be passed on this subject for there can be such harm to our waterways and environment with improperly disposing them. I suggested a simple law requiring drug stores that dispense these drugs should be required to accept old medications to be disposed of in a environmental friendly way. Years ago when we changed our own oil we used to just throw out the old oil in the garbage and a lot of people just dumped the old oil down the drain. Now that is unheard of. A law was passed that old oil has to be accepted by places that sell oil. A great law. Now we need a law making drug companies accept old medications.
Frank Pusatier

Reply from interested reader.
*University at Buffalo has a prescription drug drop off box at the University Police station on the north campus off Millersport Hwy. They are open 24 hours a day and prescription drugs or sharps can be dropped off for safe disposal at any time without question.

"Medications Not Needed" - March 2013

   March 25, 2013 . . . Flushing medications that are not needed, expired or not wanted can be problematic. The water we all drink can be polluted with these drugs. Fish, other wildlife, pets and people can then ingest these medications. Trying to retrun them to the pharmacies like Rite-Aid, Walgreens etc. is not wise because those folks are bound by very strict company policies etc. There are certain times when the DEA or NYS has return sites, but they are infrequent.
    The best [and DEA approved] method is to place all the unwanted medications in a plastic rigid Tide, Era etc. container. Dump the medications in without the Rx container. Place used coffee grounds or used kitty litter or something else that is disgusting into the container with the medications. Simply dispose of the closed container on trash day with your regular garbage. This container goes into landfill and will not harm anybody for 100's of years. I hope that this information helps somebody.
There will be a "Take Back" day at DeGraff Memorial Hospital on Saturday, April. 27, 2013 from 10-2pm.
Craig Brozek, RPh Pharmacist

"You Can't Make This Stuff Up" - March 2013

   March 25, 2013 . . . In its article on the Grand Island School Board meeting last week, The Buffalo News reported this: 'William K. Zografos, vice president of Cannon Design, which is serving as architect on the project, said the solar panels would cost $96,000 to install on the new 16,000-square-foot building; that figure does not include the cost of reinforcing the roof to handle the panels’ weight. He said state incentive programs could lower the cost to $58,500.
    Zografos projected the potential annual savings in energy costs with solar panels would be $1,025, “so the payback is 57 years.” The state Education Department “won’t give aid on a payback of that length,” he said.' The question that leaps to mind is, " Would we actually consider this if the State did give aid?" Why this topic ever left the cutting room floor escapes me. It is a stunning financial loser. Only people who like to spend other peoples' money wastefully would contemplate this for more than a millisecond.
    Mr. Zografos doesn't understand economics. He totally ignored the time value of money in his calculations, to say nothing of operating (mainly repair and maintenance) costs. One of the fundamental concepts, if not THE fundamental concept, is that of opportunity cost. This is the idea that the true cost of something is the best alternative use of the funds; that is, what aren't we doing because we chose to do X. In this case, we are foregoing the use of at least $96,000. Yes, $96,000 (plus the cost of reinforcing the roof). "State Aid" is nothing but a euphemism for "We, the School Board, don't have to hit you up for those funds, we let the folks in Albany do that." Regardless, though, we, the taxpayers, are on the hook for the full $96,000 whether it comes out of our left hand pocket or our right hand one.
    What could we do with the $58,500 or the $96,000 instead of putting up these solar panels? If our taxes weren't raised, we could pay down credit card debt at an annual savings of 12% per year; paying down mortgages could save 6%; or 4%. The School district, if it taxed us $58,500, could pay down debt saving us to 2% or 3%. Translating this into dollars the savings are: at 12%, $7,020; 6%, $3,510; 4%, $2,340; 3%, $1,755; and 2%, $1,170. For the full $96,000 the savings are: $11,550; $5,700; $3,840; $2,880; and $1,920. These are per year amounts and all are greater than the savings. Also, the expected life of solar panels is in the neighborhood of 40 years. This means, of course, that the savings would have to be 42.6% greater to have a payback using Zografos' methodology. Borrowing the funds at 2% would require annual savings of $2,138.51. The project is a loser. Keep in mind that these folks at the School Board are the ones that are spending your hard-earned money. Remember that on election day and stop giving them blank checks.
James Mulcahy

"This Is Wrong" - March 2013

   March 21, 2013 . . . Please take a minute to read the attachment from the March 11th School Board Meeting in the Buffalo News. This brings to light again the fact we are using our school tax dollars to maintain a field for the Niagara Sunday Fliers Club, which is a recreational club, yet considering cutting school personnel because the district is over budget. Please take a stance and send an email to the Grand Island Board of Education stating you do NOT support the use of tax dollars to be taken away from the budget for an overgrown field to be maintained when we have current areas in the budget properly maintained and set up to accommodate this club. The email address is: boe@k12.ginet.org
Thank you…..Tina Giambra

Invitation To A “Community Conversation” - March 2013

   March 12, 2013 . . . Just imagine that every day, day after day and month after month, three school bus loads of kids are accidentally killed on their way to school. That is the equivalent to how many people die every day from accidental prescription drug overdose alone, (not counting all other illegal drugs). Prescription drug overdose has now surpassed automobile accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in our country. Don’t you think that a crisis like this should warrant our attention?
   Come out on April 16th, 7:00 -8:30 pm at the Grand Island Fire Hall for a “Community Conversation” on the topic of Prescription Drug Abuse and let’s talk about what can done to protect our community from this epidemic. The event is being organized by One Island, One Team, One Dream, to be Drug Free and will be moderated by Luke Moretti of Channel 4 news. Speakers include Dr. Robert Whitney - Former ECMC Medical Director Substance Abuse Unit, Dale Kasprzyk – Agent In Charge Buffalo DEA, Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, Town Supervisor Mary Cooke, Town Justice Sybil Kennedy, Bob Simpson – Teacher at Grand Island High School and Grand Island High School Student Kim Gacon. Invite your neighbors, bring a friend and join us on April 16th to show your support of this most crucial and important topic.
Dan Stinson, Chairman
One Island, One Team, One Dream to be Drug Free

Cubs Win! - March 2013

   March 8, 2013 . . . The threat of global warming officially ended last Monday night. How do I know that? Well, the School Board actually did the right thing: they didn't appoint anyone to fill the remainder of Dave Goris' term. Instead they chose to let the taxpayers decide in May. Be still my heart.
   What does this have to do with global warming, you may ask. Well, since Hell would freeze over before the Board would make a right decision, one can reasonably infer that we are headed into another ice age. Who knows, maybe this could be the year the Chicago Cubs win the World Series. Stranger things have happened (see above).
   Don't unplug your air conditioning just yet, though. Other than this extreme outlier, the Board meeting was business as usual. There was a discussion about the capital project. Of course, it is being delayed by those nasty folks in Albany. We are told that there are other, many other, projects from other school districts requesting approval. The temerity of these districts to do the same thing we are just isn't fair. “We still plan to make every attempt to get the work done by August of 2015,” said [Thomas] Caruso [Campus Construction vice president] . The interesting point is the implication that the improvements to the grammar schools will be delayed beyond the above 2015 completion date. The improvements to the football field (but not the drainage on the baseball diamonds) and running track (solely for the benefit of other schools, quite frankly) will come first. Yes, one can clearly see that the education of our children is always foremost in the minds of our district personnel and Board.
    There is an election for three Board members in May. It is incumbent that individuals who are truly independent be elected. There needs to be greater scrutiny of the spending choices the District makes. With the fiscal constraints even the public sector is beginning to have operate under, we can't afford to waste a dime. Elect someone who can count and will ask hard questions.
James Mulcahy

When will it ever end? - Feb. 2013

   February 6, 2013 . . . I looked on the School Board's website and, lo and behold, they are advertising for a replacement for Dave Goris who resigned less than a year into his term. There is going to be an election in less than fifteen weeks. Let whoever comes in third in the election fill out the remainder of his term. This isn't rocket science. The Board doesn't appear to want to let the voters decide. It is impossible for them to justify this course of action. There is no reason to do this other than they want to put someone who won't rock the boat on the Board. The Board has a history, going back to John Fontana in the 1960s, of being arrogant and contemptuous of the voters: they're the clever ones who will show us poor souls the way. Hogwash. As I have written on these pages many times before they are the merest of mortals. They can't find the time to do the most basic and fundamental of things like seeing that the District's financials are posted on the website but they can find time to do this. This speaks volumes about their priorities. Again, I urge everyone to demand that the Board put the financials on the website, including the proposed and adopted budgets, immediately and drop this nonsensical effort to replace Mr. Goris by fiat rather than through the electoral process. How hard can this be?
James Mulcahy

The Upcoming School Budget - Feb. 2013

   February 5, 2013 . . . Groundhog Day has come and gone. Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow so he's prognosticating only four more weeks of winter. Don't put your overcoat away just yet, there is still a cold wind blowing over on Ransom Rd. The School Board is in the throes of concocting next year's budget.
   I used to be surprised that so few people took an interest in the school budget. After all, it is over 50% of our property taxes, to say nothing of our sales and income taxes. People rightly complain about their tax burden but seem to find solace in just grousing about it. Why? It is their money; they should see that it is wisely spent.
   Part of the reason, a big part, I am convinced, is that it is nigh on impossible to figure out what is going on with the budget. The Board provides nothing of value to ascertain if the money is being well spent. I believe that this is deliberate. They complain that few, if any, of us show up to their dog and pony (my apologies to any dogs or ponies I've offended) shows. The data presented are barely useful to understand the budget.
   Last April there was a presentation one evening at Bible Presbyterian's Family life Center. Mr. Christmann made the presentation. I'm convinced, given this and other presentations I've attended, that the hope is that no one will be quick enough to catch the flaws or lies. This particular one didn't have any lies but others have which I have caught. There were four items that were memorable to me: 1) he bemoaned the fact that state aid was going to be down $3MM from 2010. I pointed out that if one used 2006 as the starting point, aid was only down $500K. The big drop was due to the access to Federal "stimulus" money that they blew, even though they knew it was not going to be forthcoming in the future. They spent every nickel, baking it into the budget, and then had the chutzpah to say that the world would come to an end if we didn't pony up. The second item had to do with energy prices. They included savings of $200K in natural gas bills this year because of the decrease in the commodity price of natural gas. Gas prices fluctuate. I asked if they were going to hedge their purchases to lock in these lower prices. I was met with the deer in headlights look. Clearly, it had never occurred to them. Their response was that they get their gas through BOCES. I asked the obvious question: "do they hedge?" The deer hadn't budged. Gas prices have risen since then, eliminating a substantial amount of those purported savings. The third item had to do with field trips for students. I always liked them when I was in school: going to the philharmonic , or a museum; so I am partial to them. They cost $500 per trip. The district was eliminating one issue of the Bridge, saving $500. I asked how many issues there were. It turns out there were six. I asked why not reduce it to four and add some trips back in. Rigor mortis is setting in on that poor deer. And finally, we were going to be asked to approve the purchase of two new pickup trucks for the stated purpose of plowing the high school parking lots. (We did approve them.) I asked why haven't we considered bidding this job out? Where is the SPCA when you need them. That deer deserved better.
   The problem is wasn't just the administration, it included the Board. None of them seem to do more than add up the columns without analyzing any of the expenditures or asking if we could do better. The public, as I said, never see the budgets or any financials, for that matter. As such they can't contribute anything, but their money, of course. This is why no one attends these meetings. Almost anything you can think of doing, including fixing the proverbial sock drawer, is a better expenditure of time for most people. The other reason is that the district can be very vindictive, so parents with children either in the school system or who will enter in the future stay mum.
   What to do? If one goes to the following site: http://www2.erie.gov/comptroller/ and clicks on the "financial" tab one will observe the appropriate approach a government agency should take. All of the financial statements for the past ten years and the budgets: both proposed and adopted; since 2005 are there. Why won't the school district do the same. They put other stuff on their website, so it isn't as if they don't know how to upload documents. The documents all exist, either as Excel spreadsheets or texts that can be converted to PDFs. We need to demand that they do so and do so, now! The only reason not to do so is that they want to keep the public in the dark. Think about that. It is your money and they don't believe you deserve to know how it is spent.
   There will be at least two board members whose terms will be up this year. Anyone who wants to run should be required to commit to putting these data on the website. It is, after all, our money.
James Mulcahy

Thank You Island Prescription - Jan. 2013

   January 24, 2013 . . . On December 9, 2012 my father-in-law passed away. He lived with us and we cared for him for many years. He was on dozens of medications, including some narcotics. All of his prescriptions came from Rite Aid on Grand Island. Immediately after his passing, I collected all of his medications and tried to return them to Rite Aid. I am not comfortable flushing these down the toilet and adding toxins to our water supply. I am not comfortable throwing them in the garbage. And I am certainly not comfortable keeping them in my home where our teenage sons can get themselves into trouble with the narcotics.
   Rite Aid refused to dispose of them. I then took them to Walgreens. Walgreens refused to dispose of them. I then contacted the Town Hall. They told me to keep them until their annual drug collection. Seriously? I made one last effort by taking them to the Island Prescription Center. They were glad to take them and dispose of them. I am very appreciative to Island Prescription Center. Both of my boys have, unfortunately, had trouble with having narcotics in the house, despite us locking them in a safe, counting them daily, etc. I never imagined that, in a time when large numbers of parents on the island are struggling with keeping narcotics out of the hands of their teenage children, the retailers on the island and the Town Hall would stifle my trying to do the right thing.
   I will be taking all of my business to the Island Prescription Center from now on. I have been reminded that keeping our local small businesses open is far more important than ever shopping at Rite Aid or Walgreens.
   Thank you for your time.
Gretchen Beach

Thank You Teddy - Jan. 2013

   January 10, 2013 . . . Speaking for the GIHS class of 1969, I would like to say Thank You to Teddy Linenfelser for all she has done for us. Whether it is a news story or an obituary, you have always been there to help us stay connected. Good luck in your retirement.
Dr. Ron Gasbarro