Previous Letters to Editor Page
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Grass Island Restoration Project Update - June 2019A meeting was held on Tuesday June 11 with NYS Parks and Grand Island Representatives that covered several issues including the Grass Island Restoration project. Following this meeting Angela Berti (NYS Parks Public Affairs) and David Spiering (Grass Island Project Director) provided additional updates that were not fully covered at the meeting. The following is a brief summary of the current project status:
Confirmed that there will be “no impact to the 2019 boating season” resulting from this project.
The originally planned September 2019 construction start date is likely delayed as a result of reviewing options that “could be considered a compromise” for the recreational boating community.
Note: These plans are still going through feasibility and have not yet been shared with the Town.
The current delay will likely mean the project construction start date will not be until after August 15, 2020. No construction will occur between April 15 to August 15 in order "to protect habitat and not disturb fish spawning and bird nesting".
Mike Madigan – GI Town Council
Thank You from the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation! - June 2019We would like to thank the Grand Island Postal Carriers, our Grand Island High School Student Volunteers and the generous people of Grand Island for making the May 11th Food collection such a tremendous success. The Postal Carriers did a fantastic job picking up significant quantities of food while also completing their important mail delivery responsibilities.
We could not have processed all of the food without our wonderful volunteers from the High School who helped us sort and categorize the food for distribution and storage. And none of this would have been possible without the generosity of the people of Grand Island. Through your support, our pantry and storage areas are full and we are well positioned to continue to provide food to our Neighbors who are in need. As a reminder for confidential assistance, please call 773-1452 or 773-7476.
Finally, big thanks to Jodi Robinson from IsledeGrande and Larry Austin from the Grand Island Dispatch for all that they do to publicize and support events that benefit and enhance our community.
Gratefully On Behalf of the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation,
David J. Conboy - President
Time to Secede - June 2019Imagine you went to Tops or Wegman’s to purchase some foodstuffs. At the checkout, the cashier said your total bill was $43.57. You gave the cashier a $50 bill. Rather than give you change he/she grabbed a Snickers bar, some gum, and a copy of the National Enquirer (just what you wanted to read!). Doing that would bring your total to $50. As such, you get no change. You would have been enraged, and rightly so.
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? What the County Legislature did last week squandering the budget surplus, rather than returning it to the taxpayers, is exactly the same. The taxpayers are being forced to subsidize (buy) things they may or may not care to. The choices aren’t the taxpayers; they are the politicians.
That said, given that they weren’t going to refund the money, shouldn’t they have spent it more wisely? Why should Albright-Knox get $5 million while road repairs only received $600,000+. (Don’t the pols drive around the County?) In fact, why should Albright-Knox receive a dime? There is nothing inherently governmental about it. I would rather give my contributions to cultural endeavors to other entities. I am sure that the rest of us have our own preferences, including none of the above. Why should politicians make the determination? This is the arrogant attitude that the politicians display towards us.
One of the worst decisions this Erie County ever made was junking the system where the town supervisors and city mayors ran the county. They had to answer to their local constituents. You could buttonhole them in the supermarket. The county legislature exists to self-perpetuate itself. As such, it likes to spend our money and tell us how much they did for us.
Now, back to the title of this article. Grand Island should investigate becoming part of Niagara County. We have as much in common with them as we do Erie County. We would be 9.2% of Niagara County, population-wise, versus 2.3% of Erie County. As such, we would have a much larger say in the spending of our tax dollars. Further, Niagara County doesn’t have delusions of grandeur. It won’t waste money on new stadiums or even studies of them. Islanders would be further ahead by getting out of Erie County. We should seriously consider it.
Crony Capitalism on Display - May 2019The lead article in the Friday, May 17th issue of the Grand Island Dispatch was titled “Holiday Inn Express receives $1 million Restore NY funds.” The story was about how the Holiday Inn Express in the former Hooker Chemical office building on Long Rd. received this money as a bribe to help get the new owners (or anyone, for that matter) to repurpose the building. The usual suspects were on hand: McMurray, Hochul, Morinello, and the owner, Patel. It is interesting to note that the article stated that ‘Hochul visited Grand Island Friday’ with the operative word being Friday. By doing this on a Friday we paid for her transportation home for the weekend.
Why should the taxpayers hand out this largess? Patel paid $850,000 for the property according to the article. Dollars to donuts, the asking price stopped declining as soon as the smell of taxpayer money was in the air. Without the rehabilitation one must assume the property was worthless. Why not sit on one’s hands for another couple of years until the price dropped to under $100,000 which it would have because there are still costs being incurred on the property: taxes and liability insurance, at a minimum.
Basically, each Grand Islander has written a check for $50 to Mr. Patel. We get nothing out of it. He has sunk $8 million into the property, including the $1 million we contributed. Is the Town going to receive 12.5% of the annual profits and 12.5% of the profits when it is sold? Of course not. We just bailed out the previous owners and helped line this guy’s pocket. It is nonsense like this that have millennials pandering after socialism (unfortunately they were so poorly taught history and economics that they actually think it is a good system.)
The cronyism doesn’t stop here. The Solar City fiasco is costing every person in Erie County $800. Who, in their right mind, would have invested $800 in that white elephant? I say the Erie County residents and Grand Island residents are paying for them even though it comes out of Albany. First of all, WE are Albany. Cuomo and Hochul aren’t lavishing their own wealth on these loser projects. It is our tax money. Secondly, we aren’t the only areas where this vote-buying is occurring. It is everywhere, with nothing to show for it in terms of greater economic vitality. (I would be remiss in not pointing out the $20 million plus (non)Visitors Center that we taxpayers have funded.)
The 19th Century French economist, Frederic Bastiat, wrote about the “Seen and Unseen.” We can all see the spiffier building on Long Rd. What we can’t see are all of the alternative uses of those funds because they were worse than stillborn. They never even considered. As long as we continue to allow a blithering economic illiterate like Cuomo to make economic decisions for us, NY will continue to lag the rest of the country.
Locally, we have (for only seven more months and 11 days, thankfully) Big Pink wanting to spend our money foolishly so that he can get his name on a brass plaque. (I am sure we could do a Go Fund Me campaign to raise the funds to buy him a plaque to put over his commode.) We must demand that our elected officials put an end to this economic waste and political favoritism.
Legion Thank You - May 2019
Photo by Robert Haag.On behalf of the members and officers of Grand Island American Legion Post 1346, I would like to thank all who bought hanging flowering baskets during this Mother's Day weekend. Even with the inclement weather and the cold, everything turned out very well. I would like to thank all Legion members who helped set up for the sale and were there trying to keep warm and accomodate buyers and their needs. The post appreciates the donations of equipment and materials to make the 2019 sale a success.
Raymond DeGlopper, Commander
American Legion Post 1346
Pride of the Island - May 2019Dear Parents,
Since 1991 the Grand Island Teachers' Association has recognized students that we believe to be the "Pride Of The Island." These students have demonstrated compassion, determination, a love of learning, and most importatly are friendly and respectful. This year we recognized 271 students who fit that description.
Parenting today is extremely difficult. We would like to thank parents for all of the times you did the following:
- Drove your children to countless activities.
- Taught them how to treat people with respect and kindness.
- Turned off the television and encouraged your child to read a book.
- Unplugged Xbox/video games and suggested to your child that they go outside and play.
- Sat at the kitchen table with your child for the often stressful homework time.
Thank you for all that you do to help us develop them into lifelong learners. We are your partners in education.
Mike Murray, GITA President
Tonight’s School Budget "Hearing"- May 2019We are told that there will be a Budget Public Hearing at 7:00 pm tonight (Monday, May 13) . The regular board meeting starts at 7:30 pm with an executive session at 6:30 pm. So, the Budget component, arguably the most important topic, gets sandwiched in between for a grand total of thirty minutes.
It is bad enough that the public input/questioning takes place eight days before the vote; translated: “Nothing you say tonight amounts to a hill of beans. This is just a social safety valve.” But thirty minutes? Really? Let me tell you now how the thirty minutes will play out. First, the superintendent will welcome everyone, fulsomely, for ten minutes; babbling on about how happy he is to be here and to have you here, too. They will then waste another ten minutes or so reading to you the budget you have in front of you. At this point, a question will be asked and they will filibuster away the remaining time. What a waste.
The blunt truth is that they don’t want to have to be confronted by the taxpayers; yours is not to reason why, yours is to pay or die (Pace Tennyson). The fiasco known as the current capital project had its public sessions scheduled to elicit the least possible turnout. (For one they hit the jackpot: no one came!) The vote was held, also, to have the smallest turnout and it did, less than 900 voted. This is the contempt they show for the people who pay the bills.
As a matter of principle, everyone should vote no next Tuesday to send a message to them that we have had it with their contemptuous, arrogant ways. Don’t fall for their Chicken Little hysteria that if the budget fails famine and pestilence will be upon us. They won’t. The contingency budget isn’t that much smaller; they will only have a few less dollars to waste.
What is Wrong with Nathan McMurray - May 2019I wonder if he will ever realize the reason we have five board members is they make decisions, not him. The town hall meeting on Monday May 6, 2019, everything was about Nathan. He said, I did this and that so many times in his five minute speech, it was hard to listen to. Nathan was upset because Grand Island’s largest employer signed a contract with Cannon Design for their building. He lost all control, making nasty remarks about other board members. Nathan’s behavior was unprofessional. I, like many, would rather see more jobs created on Grand Island, rather than take on a three million dollar debt, for a building that is forty years old and would cost far more to maintain. The fact is that the residents of Grand Island like the town hall where it is.
The elections are coming and it is time to listen to what the candidates’ views are. The question is, would you vote for someone who shares Nathan’s agenda? I would like to see a professional person and not a politician, who will do anything to be a politician, run for town Supervisor.
South Pointe Development Project - May 2019Grand Island Residents Please Be Aware.
The South-Pointe Development Project is on the Town Board Regular Meeting agenda Monday, May 6th (8PM Town-Hall). This project is one of the largest and most impactful to town green space and population that I can recall. This project includes:
1) Total forecasted incremental resident population of >1,100
2) Approximately 450-600 homes and apartments
3) Impacts between 200-300 acres directly or indirectly involving mature hardwoods, wetlands - the area is teaming with birds, waterfowl, beaver and other wildlife…etc.
4) The project impacts much of or most of the greenspace between the 190 (near the South Grand Island Bridge) and is surrounded by GI Blvd, Staley Rd, Baseline Rd, Love Rd and the South Parkway.
In the past many residents raised many concerns regarding this project (over the past 30 years) and it was shelved for some time. With rapidly accelerating development on the Island this project has again become active with the developer investing on progressing the project. The lack of what I view as enough pre-notice to the public concerns me and as a result I am asking for a delay on acting on (voting on) the following three South-Pointe items on May 6th:
1) Re-affirm South-Pointe SEQR (environmental impact) determination based on proposed modified plan for the PDD
2) South-Pointe Sewer district expansion approval
3) Approval of revised South-Pointe development concept plan
The motions I will be putting before the Board Monday will involve two motions: The first motion will be to delay the above votes until after the developer or designate reviews the proposed project with the Conservation Advisory Board and Traffic Safety Advisory Board for their input. The second motion will request no vote be taken until after a public hearing is held that would provide the public the opportunity to provide input to the town board for their consideration when they vote (it has been several years since the last hearing and much has changed with this project, the location and on the Island). Public input supporting passage of these motions would result in them being more likely to be passed by a majority of the Board.
Mike Madigan - GI Town Councilman
Just Keep Saying No - May 2019Last Wednesday, 4/25, it was reported in the Buffalo News that Cannon Design will be leaving their facility on Grand Island for Fountain Plaza in downtown Buffalo. (Remember, it was not that long ago when Cannon was looking for tax abatements and other crony capitalism-type handouts? Their fleeing is all the evidence one needs to know that corporate largess is something to be avoided.)
Our supervisor is still hell-bent on the Town acquiring Cannon’s property. As I have said elsewhere, McMurray should be excluded from any decisions concerning the Town as he will be gone by the end of the year. His reign has been awful. This obsession with the Cannon property is just the most recent exhibit. The Cannon site is probably the most valuable piece of commercial property on the Island. We purportedly want to encourage commercial activity on the Island. Why, pray tell, would we want to "nationalize" the best location?
McMurray, as I have said, does not have the best interests of Grand island at heart. He just wants things he can attach his name to, irrespective of the damage done. One needs to look at the opportunities foregone, which tend to be hidden, by acquiring the property in addition to the very visible benefits from doing so.
The article states that "However, McMurray’s effort [to acquire the property] has been held up by hesitant Town Board members." Thank the Lord for them! The writer seems to buy into McMurray’s line that they are "hesitant"; that is Big Pink-speak for not falling into line immediately. No. They are wise enough not to want to commit the taxpayers to unnecessary expenditures. McMurray doesn’t seem to have any qualms about saddling the Islanders with more tax liabilities. Call the Board and tell them not to go along with Big pink’s latest boondoggle.
DeGlopper Park Expansion Thank You - May 2019On behalf of the DeGlopper Expansion Committee, the VFW Post 9249 and American Legion Post 1346, we would like to thank everyone who came to the sod laying party on Saturday, April 27th. With such a cold and dreary day, it was great to see so many people there; putting sand in the low spots, carrying sod from pallets, over to someone to then roll it out.
Special thanks to John Braddell and family, owners of Lake Side Sod, for donating all the sod for the site. The memorial site is really shaping up. Benches are ready for placement, along with the granite walls, that will be used for the site name and listing of Grand Island veterans' names that have served.
Thanks to Dan Drexelius for being in charge of the construction on the project and for supplying equipment and tools for the work. Thanks to Jim Ehde of GI Waste Management for supplying the outdoor restroom, and to Brick Oven Pizza for lunch for the volunteers.
In closing, I would like to give a special thanks to all the people who showed up on Saturday, and worked for what ever amount of time they could.
Ray DeGlopper, Commander
American Legion Post 1346
Serving Our Town - April 2019When residents think of service to the town, they likely often think of the roles elected officials and town employees play in keep projects moving forward and our town operating in a safe and responsible manner. However, though it is known to many, the advisory boards of Grand Island also play a critical role in our decision making process. As their name clearly suggests, as a board member, I rely heavily on the advisement and expertise of those serving on our advisory boards. With over 100 people serving, advisory board members inform and support so many crucial decisions that we make.
As you will likely see advertised, both the Economic Development Advisory Board and the Traffic Safety Advisory Board have openings. These boards meet monthly and at times involve discussion or research in between the meetings. They are essential to the function of our town, and operate in a way that each member’s opinion and insight is heard and valued, with decorum a priority.
If you have both time and interest, please consider submitting your resume to the town board. You may drop off a letter of interest and/or resume at town hall or by using the email address email@example.com, with the due date being May 3rd. Have interest, but not for this board? Please continue to monitor local publications, such as Isledegrande, or check out our town website. When a need comes along that may suit you, we would love, as a board, to talk with you about it.
Councilwoman Jennifer Baney
Our Big Pink - April 2019Big Pink - When Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev met with Richard Nixon in June, 1973, the columnist, Nicholas von Hoffman, referred to him as “Big Pink". This was a dig at his being the head honcho of the Commies. Our own Commie wannabe, Red Nate McMurray, is our Big Pink.
Our Big Pink had a missive on Facebook (FB) the other day. I don’t patronize FB but a friend sent it to me. It is eight sentences long. It packs more ignorance, inane policy suggestions, and variance with facts than I thought possible in eight sentences. Let me quote it in its entirety, as published:
OPTION A: Huge numbers of American people spend hours every in bed, hopeless, unable to work (even part time) or obligated to prove they can’t find work – because they risk losing a roof over their head.
OPTION B: We tap a small portion of the dynastic wealth to create a base income for all – no strings attached. So people can start businesses, or heck work at Taco Bell without the risk of losing everything. It’s gravy money. Ambition is triggered. People feel their worth. Unlock our potential. Create that base.
You can’t make this drivel up. No one would believe you.
Start with Option A, I don’t know about you but if I don’t work, I risk losing the roof over my head! How many are “huge numbers”? Why are they unable to work (it matters for Option B)? As is usual for Big Pink he engages in hyperbole with numbers, “huge” in this case. He cites no evidence to support his contention. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that there were 7.1 million job openings last month. Their data show that 6.2 million were unemployed in March. If discouraged workers, also unemployed, are included the total increases to 6.7 million, still less than job openings. Here is a news flash, if someone needs a job in order to keep a roof over their head, the current labor market is excellent and is the best in over 50 years. Again, Big Pink was never one to let facts intrude upon his fanciful narrative.
Let’s turn to Option B. He wants to expropriate a portion of the wealth (over and above that already taxed away) of those who have created the wealth that has made the U.S. economy the envy of the world. Does he think they will stand for that? They will find ways to reduce the wealth attributed to them. Many of these efforts to avoid the taxman will reduce the economic vitality of the economy. All of the evidence since WWII that shows that lower tax rates are associated with greater tax revenues and a more robust economy than they are with high tax rates. His position is just populist pandering and ignorance (and hoping the voters trust him to be honest). Further, how much more of the taxpayer’s money does he want us to lavish on them? It isn’t as if we aren’t already providing many benefits.
In Economics 101 (or Economics 181/182 at the University at Buffalo) one learns that if you lower the price of anything, the quantity demanded of it will increase. Big Pink, by giving (other people’s) money to those who won’t work, will increase the number of those who are happy to be kept (subservient) by the taxpayers. Does he really think those bemoaning their fate in their beds are budding Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak’s?
Here are two quotes from Thomas Edison: 1) Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work; and 2) Success is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. Where do you think the folks in bed fit?
Giving people money for doing nothing does NOT trigger ambition. It triggers dependence and sloth. People may “feel” (interesting choice of words) their worth; even if they don’t, those who do work will recognize their worth.
“Unlock our Potential!” That old commie, Karl Marx, would have been hard pressed to make a more stupid statement. “Create our Base” sounds like pandering to a constituency that is small and, thankfully, shrinking. (Big Pink was never a deep thinker.)
Big Pink has never had an original or useful idea. Arrogance and narcissism are not admirable qualities. He has been a flop as supervisor. He isn’t running for re-election because if he lost, and he would, decisively, his political career would be on the rocks. Instead, he serves up some nonsense about not being able to commit to “serving” us for four more years. Who is he kidding? If he thought he could win decisively, he would run. He would have zero compunction about bailing if he won a different seat. He planned on doing that last Fall. As I have said before, he should be excised from the Town Board. He doesn’t do anything for us; he shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions that may affect us long after he is, mercifully, gone.
One last question: has he asked Jeremy Jacobs, the owner of Delaware North (Big Pink’s most recent employer) what his view is on taxing dynastic wealth to help those who won’t get out of bed.
Repairs to Town & County Roads - April 2019We see that the Town and County are going to repave a number of roads on Grand Island this summer. The question is: “Are they going to it properly or the “good enough for Government” approach they typically use?”
This is a serious issue. The last time any road on Grand Island was properly redone was Whitehaven in the 1980s when it was widened from the Boulevard to East River. Other than that, repair is slipshod: score the current surface an inch and, then, put 4 inches of blacktop down. This, obviously, raises the road height 3 inches. It makes the shoulders steeper and less amenable to walking on. One can guess when homes were built based on the slope of their driveways to the road.
Why do we continue to tolerate this (lack of) quality performance from our government officials. They love to regulate private firms to within an inch of their lives but are immune from the same scrutiny. This needs to change and the repaving of our roads is a perfect place to start. I know their response will be “That will be more expensive.” Fine, do fewer miles of road each year or find the funds elsewhere. We are squandering money contemplating new or improved stadia for the Bills and Sabres. Let them pay for their facilities. Use the money for the taxpayers.
WNY is an underperforming area in no small part because of the pathetic public officials people keep re-electing, hoping for a different result. Remember what Einstein said about doing this. Enough is enough.
Undies Sunday Thank You - March 2019
Jonathan Beckman, Community Mission of Niagara Falls; Susan Falbo, events and volunteer manager at the mission and Rev. Mark Breese, agency minister.
Our homeless neighbors in Western New York are a bit warmer these days because of the wonderful, generous people of Grand Island. Hundreds of pairs of socks and underclothing, plus cash, were donated to the recent Rotary Club of Grand Island’s annual Undie Sunday promotion.
Rotary Club of Grand Island members sort through the multitude of donations to Undie Sunday. From left Richard Earne, club president and members Sherry Miller and Mike Billoni, Faye Teluk, chair, Undie Sunday and Dan Flair, treasurer.
The less fortunate clients of Buffalo City Mission, Harbor House, St Luke’s Mission of Mercy and The Community Mission of Niagara Falls were the beneficiaries of these donations and they were extremely grateful for these much-needed gifts. On behalf of all of them, we say “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You” to our generous neighbors and to the churches and businesses who collected the items. "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." Aesop
The Rotary Club of Grand Island
U.S. Flag at Welcome Center - March 2019Our town of Grand Island is home to an engaging new tourist facility, The Western New York Welcome Center. The State has spared no expense to build and equip this sparkling new asset going so far as to be installing new traffic signals at the top of the Whitehaven exit ramp, off of 190 south. If you haven’t stopped by for a look you ought to, it’s a really great facility.
If this new facility were a sparkling, crisp, new white shirt, there - like an annoying coffee stain dribbled on the front - is the morose U.S.flag sadly drooping on the wrong pole; like an afterthought. This symbol of our freedom, paid for in blood by many men and women, deserves more attention and respect than this.
Whenever the U.S. flag is displayed as one of three, it always occupies the center staff, hoisted to the top of the pole. It doesn’t matter if the three poles are all the same height, it belongs on the center pole – full height. The next consideration is the observer’s position. In the case of the Welcome Center, that position should be from interstate 190, not the parking lot; accordingly, the point of honor is to the flag’s own right – the observer’s left. That pole should display, let’s say - the Canadian flag - if it were displayed, and it should be hoisted so that it flies approximately one foot below the U.S. flag. The other staff, to the flag’s own left should display the New York State flag, again – approximately one foot below the U.S. Flag.
The display of the flag is based on the conventions of heraldry - the king always rode in the center, with his champion to his right - thus the flags’ position in this instance. If the U.S.flag were displayed as one of two, or one of four or more, then it always occupies the first position in the row, to the observer’s left. The display of the U.S.flag as one of three is the only exception to this rule, and is displayed as outlined above.
I’m confident the incorrect display at the new Western New York Welcome Center, is merely an oversight; placing the flag on the incorrect pole when it’s one of three is a common mistake - so common, in fact, that one can observe the same incorrect display, of all places, in front of the new United States Courthouse in down town Buffalo.
Kevin J. Rung
When are we going to wake up and smell the roses? - January 2019The front page of the Local News section in the February 3, 2019 edition of the Buffalo News contains an article about our illustrious town supervisor Nate McMurray. The headline is "Nate McMurray may have lost but he’s never stopped running for Congress". In his December 28, 2018 article published in the Island Dispatch one of his statements was, "loves being supervisor and thankful and humbled to serve every day."
All one has to do is read the Buffalo News article and realize what a mockery he is making out of his Grand Island constituents. Just to share a couple of highlights in the article - Democrat Nathan McMurray lost his race to represent the voters of New York’s 27th Congressional District by a mere 1,087 votes back in November - but ever since, he’s continued as if he represents them, McMurray’s Hamburg campaign headquarters remains open, He’s planning a town hall event just outside Collins’ Geneseo office on Feb. 23 as well as a "Before You Run 101" boot camp for prospective Democratic candidates the same day in Naples.
Perhaps the best, "What’s more, McMurray continues tweeting several times a day, mixing progressive call to battle with personal reflections and an occasional pure silliness, just as he did during the campaign. And, just as he did last fall, McMurray taunts Collins online. On Friday, for example, he called Collins "literally an invisible congressman" and added: How long must we wait? Please resign."
The good news, the Buffalo News is finally on to Nate and sees what an out of control individual he really is. When you read what Nate is saying in the paragraph above pertaining to Collins being an invisible congressman and how long must we wait? Please resign, that is what the people of Grand Island who by the way are in the 26th Congressional District should be asking the invisible town supervisor to do, resign.
Nate McMurray makes our President look like a saint. Let’s wake up and smell the roses and rid ourselves of this con artist.
EZPass Overcharges - January 2019Honorable Town Board:
Please contact the NYS Thruway Authority regarding EZPass overcharges at the Grand Island Bridges, and publicly warn EZPass users to diligently check monthly statements. Please inquire about a long term solution to this problem, and let us know if and how to avoid these overcharges.
I had two mistakes for Nov: in both cases $1.90 instead of $.09. It took a phone call and about 15 minutes to get a promise for a credit which did happen on the next statement, which then had another $1.90 instead of $.09. I felt a bit silly spending another 15 minutes to get a credit of $1.81, but did it, and I'm hoping to find the credit (and no more mistakes) on the next monthly statement.
It was extra frustrating to have the person on the phone ask me for the lane number for the toll I was challenging. It took me a minute to realize we no longer have lanes. When I told the person there are no lanes, GI Bridges have cameras, she seemed surprised and didn't appear to believe it. We did get through that bump and I did get the refund credited to my account. The second time I called there was no request for the lane number.
Thank you for investigating and I look forward to hearing about what you learn about this issue from your contacts at the Thruway Authority.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors - January 2019Regardless of how we each individually feel about the government shutdown and the southern border wall, as I have spoken with Island residents, I am aware of the concern they have for some federal workers that are not receiving pay. On Grand Island, neighbors are already helping each other during this time.
In speaking with The Grand Island Neighbor's Foundation, the needs of Federal workers clearly qualify for their assistance. The foundation provides temporary assistance to Islanders in need. And they want to help. Please contact them at 773-1452 or 773-7476. Someone will return your call if you leave a message, and all support will be provided in a confidential manner.
This is a big task they are taking on right after the Holiday season, when supplies are lower and their food drive is still months away. If you find yourself with more than enough, could you also make a call to one of the numbers of the above and ask how you can support them? Even a small food or financial donation helps.
Thank you all in advance. This Foundation, and all of those that support it, are two of the reasons Grand Island is indeed so grand.
Councilwoman Jennifer Baney
Donations can be made online here.
Town Resolution Supporting The Second Amendment - January 2019On Tuesday, January 22nd at the 8 PM Town Board meeting, I will be proposing a resolution re-affirming support for the Second Amendment. In March 2013, our former town board passed a resolution supporting the Second Amendment following passage of the NY Safe Act which eroded NY resident’s second amendment rights. My proposed resolution re-affirms the Town of Grand Island’s support of the Second Amendment in opposition to pending legislation that further infringes on our rights to keep and bear arms - if passed.
I am doing this as a town board member based on the oath of office I took where I committed to support and uphold the Constitution. My proposed resolution is one of the responsibilities I accepted when I took office - adding our voice to many other towns, villages and counties supporting similar resolutions.
I am proposing this motion for another purpose - Of particular concern is NY Assembly Bill S2857A (Parker) which, when passed, which is likely, will require each gun owned to carry a minimum of a $1M liability insurance policy. It is a costly proposition that will disproportionately impact low income gun owners - many of whom will no longer be able to afford to own a gun legally - a unquestionable infringement on their rights.
These folks are the true underdogs and their Second Amendment rights are under full assault and elected officials should support and defend these folks by going on record in opposition of such legislation.
Any new state legislation responding to firearm violence should focus on increasing penalties for criminals who use firearms to harm and threaten law abiding citizens and address the issues of mental illness related to violence. The focus on infringing the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens must end.
Please consider attending Tuesday night’s meeting at the Town Hall and comment at the beginning of the meeting regarding this matter - I am hoping for a unanimous vote of support and you can help deliver it.
Mike Madigan - Town Council
Republican Party Seeks Candidates - January 2019Letters of intent and Resumes wanted for this year’s local elections.
The Grand Island Republican Committee is seeking persons interested in running for the following local positions: Town Supervisor, two Town Council positions, Town Clerk, and Town Judge.
On Tuesday, January 15th, both houses of the state legislature passed an election reform bill and it was signed by the Governor. This new law accelerated the time that we have to endorse, collect signatures, and conduct primaries. Therefore, we will be accepting applications from now until Saturday, January 26th. Interviews will be conducted during the week of January 27th and the endorsement meeting will be held during the week of February 3rd.
This will give the Erie County Board of Elections ample time to create the petitions which will be circulated for signatures during March this year instead of June as it has been done in the past. The local primary this year will be in June instead of the usual September.
If you are interested, or know anyone that is interested, please let them know about the accelerated schedule, and send your letter of intent and resume to either me; at firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred) or the Grand Island Republican Committee, PO Box 104, Grand Island, NY 14072.
Thank you very much for your interest in serving our community!
Dean Morakis - Chairman, Grand Island Republican Committee
Niagara Footprint Festival - January 2019Dear Friends of Grand Island,
We would like to invite you to an exciting new winter family fun event. Join us Saturday, January 26th at Beaver Island State Park. The Niagara Footprint Festival will be held from 11-5pm. The festival will not only be promoting our beautiful state park but also reduce our carbon footprint. Many activities and vendors at the festival will be highlighting our local resources and how we can do better to protect these resources in the years to come.
A special guided morning bird walk will be held at 9am. Interested walkers can meet the Buffalo Audubon Society at the Clubhouse, the old Casino, by 8:45am. All ages welcome and feel free to bring binoculars.
The Clubhouse (Casino) will be open from 11-3pm. A Farmers Market will fill the Clubhouse along with many “green” friendly organizations such as Solar CIR, PUSH, NYSERDA for All, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeepers, Citizen Science and more. Arts and Crafts will be available for the kids sponsored by the GI Recreation Dept.
From 12-2pm the NF Culinary Institute will be creating an ice sculpture in the outdoor pavilion. Dog sledding will be on display courtesy of the Siberian Husky Club. NYS Parks and Campus WheelWorks will be offering Fat Tire Bikes, and Snowshoes to enjoy. (small fee for some items). Kiwanis of GI will be selling coffee and hot chocolate at the bar. Enjoy a small snack or lunch with Herb-NGardens pizza, Caseys Cabana, Popcorn Jim and House of Munch. Disc Golf and Snow Softball registration can be found on our facebook page.
Take a free horse and carriage ride from the Clubhouse (Casino) to River Lea historical farmhouse. From 3-5pm the Historical Society will be hosting a chili sale, bon-fires, a bluegrass band and tours at River Lea. Soma Cura Wellness Center will lead an interpretive meditative hike at 3pm beginning at River Lea. Parking is limited at River Lea. Consider taking the horse and carriage ride early to River Lea to get back to the Clubhouse if walking is limited.
This is a free event! What better way to break out of that cabin fever than a fun filled day at the park? Please join us and help us get the word out by telling your friends and family. A raffle for free Discovery Passes will be held throughout the day! Facebook: Niagara Footprint Festival Website: www.grand-island.ny.us.
Town of Grand Island, Councilwoman B. Kinney
New York State Parks
Niagara River Greenway Commission
GI Chamber of Commerce
GI Recreation Department
GI Economic Development Committee
GI Historical Society
GI Conservation Board
Thank You Grand Island Community - January 2019We are grateful to the Grand Island Community for approving the Capital Improvement Project this evening. There was a 68% approval rate with 540 affirmative votes and 257 negative votes.
This project will allow us to improve the overall safety of our students, faculty staff and administrators at the Middle School and High School. Additionally, the project will allow us to improve all of our facilities and enhance the overall program for all of our students.
I would also like to thank our Facilities committee, along with the Board of Education, for the work they engaged in over the past year. Their effort and commitment to continuously improving our school district needs to commended and recognized.
The Flim-Flam Artist - January 2019After reading the article in the December 28, 2018 edition of the Island Dispatch from our illustrious Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray, it made my stomach muscles vacillate. However, my initial reaction was to let sleeping dogs lie and just consider the source. After speaking with a few friends about the article and then reading it again, really riled my juices.
Since losing the election to become the Congressman representing the U.S. 27th Congressional District he is now back tooting his own horn as usual. First of all, he starts out by stating that he loves being supervisor and thankful and humbled to serve every day. The question to be asked, is that even in a “no show” role? He then gets into his love for some big projects that he helped bring to fruition such as the West River Shoreline Trail, which many individuals think was a waste of money. He loved helping the wreck of an old building that got turned into a glistening hotel (wonder what the occupancy rate is?). He loved protecting hundreds of acres of shore line (not sure what that was). Another classic was that he loved fighting Tonawanda Coke "(and getting that poisonous mess shut down)".
Does he really believe that he was a key player in making that happen? If so, he must think that the readers of his articles also believe in the TOOTH FAIRY. He also mentions that he loved working with the governor to give us cashless tolls and a beautiful Welcome Center.
Now to change gears, one of his current agenda items is to move Town Hall to the Cannon Design building which if memory serves me correct, he maintains is a "turn key" facility. Some Islanders think it would be more beneficial to attract a private sector business to that facility and keep it on the tax rolls and leave Town Hall where it is. However, another option could be for Nate to speak with his friend the governor and see if he would be willing to donate the Welcome Center to be the new Town Hall. Passing by there frequently, it is the exception to the rule of seeing more than a handful of vehicles. Now in the writer’s humble opinion that would be a win/win situation for both the Town of Grand Island and the State of New York.
In closing, reading the tea leaves one might interpret Nate's remarks pertaining to "what do I do" as an indication that he will not run again for Grand Island supervisor. What a shame that would be not to have a self-centered, condescending, arrogant and pompous individual to be supervisor again.
Zero, Zip, Nada, Nil, Nothing! - January 2019They did it. The School Board and Administration have managed the equivalent of bowling a 300 game or pitching a perfect baseball game. They had a forum to which no one came. This is the Holy Grail of bureaucrats. They couldn't have asked for a better result. At least, they got their Christmas wish. As I said in my earlier letter: “Here We Go, Again”; it doesn't take a cynic to realize that this is what they were looking for by scheduling this hearing at 6 PM, for God's sake, on Thursday, December 20.
We learn that the cost to a home assessed at $180,000 is not going to be between $15 and $16 which would have led one to believe it would be about $15.50. It is going to be $15.95. So, we know the price but we don't know what we’re going to get for this $15.95 per $180,000 home. They don't have hard and fast plans. They don't have any bids. We could, very easily, have a replay of the 1999 project where bids came in 10% above the budget and they had to scale everything back. As I have asked: What is the pecking order for deleting items if the cost is higher than estimated?
As I said in the earlier article, the biggest issue here is the timing of this vote. It is cynical on their part to have the vote at this time of year. They can give all this lame reasons and excuses they want but the fact of the matter is they're doing it because they don't expect people to show up, except their buddies. We should reflect on the fact that we've entrusted the education of our children to folks like this. Would you buy a used car from them?
Shoving in this sports field which is about one-third of the project is wrong. They are doing it because it would get voted down on its own. As such, the vote should be in two parts: the safety components and the rest of this junk.
A number of the items are things we have spent money on in the last two or three capital projects; HVAC equipment, in particular. We've replaced and repaired the HVAC twice in the last 15 years (it has showed up in every capital project). So, why is this equipment being amortized over 15 years when it probably won't last that long? We will be replacing it in eight years or 10 years. This would be like buying a car and financing it for 15 years, even though you knew the car wouldn't last more than 10. This is the height of fiscal irresponsibility but is being done to keep the increase in the tax rate down. In their thinking somebody, not the current Board or Administration, can deal with it in the future. This is what happens when people spend other people's money.
We need to turn out in force on Tuesday, January 8, and vote no. The Board needs to understand that their contempt for us is not going unnoticed and will be dealt with severely. If you don't vote, you have no one to blame but yourself for allowing travesties like this to continue.
Editor's Note: There is another Capital Project Public Hearing on Thursday, January 3rd at 6:00 p.m. at the GIHS Professional Development Room, 1100 Ransom Road.