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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

When are we going to wake up and smell the roses? - January 2019

   The 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.
Dave Grant

EZPass Overcharges - January 2019

    Honorable 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.
Mary Cooke

Neighbors Helping Neighbors - January 2019

    Regardless 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.
In Service,
Councilwoman Jennifer Baney

Donations can be made online here.

Town Resolution Supporting The Second Amendment - January 2019

    On 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 2019

    Letters 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 deanmor@roadrunner.com (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 2019

   Dear 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.
Thank You,
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 2019

    We 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.
Brian Graham

The Flim-Flam Artist - January 2019

    After 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.
Dave Grant

Zero, Zip, Nada, Nil, Nothing! - January 2019

    They 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.
James Mulcahy
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.