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Town Board News - 2013


Previous Town Board News Pages

Town of Grand Island Website





Town Board Action
Fire Company Contract Approved - December 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., December 16, 2013 . . . A public hearing was held regarding the Grand Island Fire Company yearly contract. Speaking in favor was Greg Butcher and there were no speakers in opposition. The contract runs from January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014, at a cost of $1,056,538 with an additional $25,000 to be used as either debt service or reserved for future capital expenditures. The cost is a 1.5% increase over the 2013 contract. The contract was approved by the Town Board, 5-0 and will be paid in quarterly installments on April 1, July 1, October 1, and December 1 in equal payments of $270,384.50.

   Supervisor Cooke was authorized to sign a five year contract with the AFSCME employees of the town. They include mechanics, water and wastewater plant operators, water and sewer maintenance workers, laborers, caretakers and motor equipment operators.

   The Wendel Company was approved to provide professional services during construction for replacement of the media in four filters at the water treatment plant and painting of two of the filters interiors. The cost of the project is $9,700.

    Three public hearings are scheduled for January 6, 2014 regarding amending the Town Code in two areas: noise pollution and signs and the adoption of a vehicle overlay district. George Newman has been elected to a two year term to serve on the Electrical Examining Board starting January 1, 2014.

In other business, the Board:
•The Town Board voted to change the Conservation Commission into an Advisory Board.
•Approved the low bid of NFP & Sons at $433,500.00 for the WWTP ORF Hydraulic Improvement Project.
•Richard Earne has been reappointed as a Library Trustee for a new term beginning January 1, 2014.
•Accepted with regret and a certificate of appreciation the resignation of Ms. Shelia Ferrentino from the Planning Board.




Happy December Grand Island! - December 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   The annual Pearl Harbor Memorial Service is scheduled for Saturday, December 7 at 12 noon at the flagpole at the Charles N. DeGlopper Post 9249 VFW, 2121 GI Blvd. It is a great way to remember the sacrifices made for our liberty. Hope you can attend! It’s a short service but do dress for the weather.
    Catch some Christmas Spirit at the Gala of Trees hosted by Byblos Niagara from 3 – 8 pm on Saturday. There will be lots of activities for kids and beautiful trees and wreaths up for auction. Admission is free and a donation of a non-perishable food items will give you tickets to vote on the prettiest decorations. Students from GI High School are involved and proceeds benefit the GI Neighbors Foundation. The GI Historical Society hosts one more Holiday Open House at River Lea in Beaver Island State Park on Sunday from 1 – 4 pm. The Grand Island Community Chorus performs on Sunday at 7 pm at Trinity Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road. Special guests are the GI High School Madrigals.
    Welcome to Advance Auto Parts who officially cut the ribbon on their store in the Tops Plaza on Tuesday! Store Manager Patrick Lewis and his staff look forward to meeting all of you and satisfying your car care needs.
    If you are not one of the 82% of Grand Island homeowners who have already registered for the STAR tax program, get it done now. The deadline is December 31, 2013. You can do it online at www.tax.ny.gov or by calling the Tax Department at 518-457-2036.
    The Chamber of Commerce reminds you to “buy local” this holiday season. We have many Island merchants who will be happy to help you find the perfect gift!
    Chamber President Eric Fiebelkorn and I had the pleasure of being interviewed on LCTV for the Access to Government Program on November 21. You can catch the show on Time Warner Cable, Channel 22, several times this month. LCTV welcomes announcements for your non-profit group’s events. Send them to me at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us
    The Grand Island Golden Age Club will install new officers for 2014 at the Christmas Party and Luncheon at 12 noon on December 19, at the center at 3278 Whitehaven Road. If you are 50 years of age or older, stop by the center, join the club and sign up for lunch on the 19th. You’ll enjoy a fine meal, meet some new friends and learn about what’s planned for the New Year.
    It was a great to have so many come out on a cold Saturday evening for the 2nd annual Light Up the Boulevard Electric Parade and Festival. Congratulations to the Chamber of Commerce for continuing to develop this event. The snow was a great addition but the strong wind proved to be too much, ending the evening earlier than planned. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a third annual for 2014.
    What an honor and privilege it was to witness Carol Blasinski-Rhonemus receive from Congressman Higgins, her Dad’s Silver Star and other medals from the Korean War at the Charles DeGlopper Post 9249 VFW on November 27. Marine Corporal Richard Blasinski saved many lives on November 27, 1950, under extreme conditions, fighting in rough terrain in one of the coldest winters ever recorded in North Korea. Mike Mehltretter, Commander of the Post, did an excellent job hosting the event and it was great to have the Blasinski Family on the Island for this very special presentation. Carol is a member of the Ladies Auxiliary at the DeGlopper Post.
    A few winter reminders: No parking on roads from 2 am – 7 am, Nov. 1 – April 1. Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and a snow plow or salt truck. If you follow too closely, the drivers cannot see you and you will be unable to stop in time to prevent a collision if they stop quickly. Holidays for garbage pick-up are Christmas and New Year’s. No collection on those Wednesdays and pick-ups are delayed one day after that, with Friday pick-up on Saturday.
    I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It is an honor and privilege to serve as Town Supervisor and I welcome your comments and suggestions. You are welcome to stop by when you are at Town Hall, and I am easily reached at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us




Town Board Action

   Mon., December 2, 2013 . . .

SUPERVISOR MARY S. COOKE:
1. Authorize Supervisor to Sign Memorandum of Understanding – 2013 STOP DWI Contract
2. Fire Company Contract – Set Public Hearing
3. Standard Workday – Part-time Police Officers 1. Billica/Aronica, Approved 3-0
2. Set Public Hearing for Monday, December 16, 2013 at 8:00p.m. Aronica/Billica, Approved 3-0
3. Billica/Aronica, Approved 3-0

COMMUNICATIONS – OTHER TOWN OFFICIALS:

HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT – JAMES TOMKINS:
1. Authorize Supervisor to Sign Agreement – Inter-Municipal Highway Shared Services Agreement 1. Aronica/Billica, Approved 3-0

DEPARTMENT OF ENGINEERING & WATER RESOURCES – JOHN WHITNEY:
1. Request to Advertise for Bids – 2013/2014 Drainage Program D-40
2. Award Contract – Water Plant Filter Media Replacement – Job #M-209 1. Aronica/Billica, Approved 3-0
2. Savarino Companies, LLC – Amount - $180,005.75, subject to Town Attorney approval Billica/Aronica, Approved 3-0


ZONING OFFICE:
1. Special Use Permit Renewal – Judith Schneider, 1952 Harvey Road – Keeping of 3 Agricultural Animals on 6.02 Acres 1. Billica/Aronica, Approved 3-0




Town Board Action
Small Business Saturday Proclamation - November 2013

From left: Councilmen Gary Roesch, Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Chamber reps Fahim Mojawalla, Jim Sharp, Skip Mazenaur, Councilmen Ray Billica and Chris Aronica

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., November 18, 2013 . . . The Grand Island Town Board presented a proclamation to members of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce in recognition of Small Business Saturday on November 30, 2013. This event, founded by American Express in 2010, is a national effort to drive consumers to shop at local independently owned businesses on one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. The Town urges all residents to shop Grand Island on that day and whenever possible.

   A public hearing is scheduled for December 2, 2013 regarding the proposed establishment of the Southpointe Extension to the Consolidated Sewer District. The Southpointe development is located between Love Rd., Baseline Rd., Staley Rd. and the Beaver Island Parkway.

    Authorized the revised rates for the Intermuniciapl Snow Removal and Ice Control Agreement between the Town and Erie County. The rates are: September 2013-August 2014 - $3,494.92 per lane mile, September 2014-August 2015 - $3,599.77 per lane mile, September 2015-August 2016 $3,707.76 per lane mile.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the request for upgrades to the Time Warner Internet service at the Golden Age Center. The new monthly charge will be $299.99, an increase of $70.00 per month.
•Approved the bid by Visone Construction Inc. of $462,600.00 for the 15" Interceptor Sewer Improvement Project.
•Approved a two year contract renewal from Polydyne Inc. to provide polymer for phosphorous removal at the current price of $.90 per pound.
•Approved the proposed 2013/2014 Drainage Program that will alleviate a drainage problem on Elmwood Rd., reconstruction of a drainage system on Fix Rd. and reconstruction of the drainage outfall at the end of East Park Rd. to the Niagara River.
•Approved the special use permit renewal for agricultural animals at 828 East River Rd.
•Approved the request to merge property on Harvey Rd. by Kristen Thore.
•Noted the request by the NFTA in keeping bus stops and shelters cleared from snow. In the past, because only the Tops Shelter is on private property, the Boys Scouts have assisted in snow removal. The other shelters are in the NYS right of way.




Town Board Action
American Legion Membership Month Proclamation - November 2013

American Legion accepts proclamation from Supervisor Cooke and Town Board.
Click photo for larger view.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., November 4, 2013 . . . The Grand Island Town Board named November as "American Legion Membership Month", and urges all eligible veterans and service members to join the Grand Island Post #1346 during the month-long membership drive. Commander Fred Wornick announced at the meeting that the membership year 2012-2013, Grand Island Post #1346 finished first in Erie county for recruiting new members and had the highest percentage of renewing existing members. Erie county has 40 American Legion Posts and they plan on finishing first again. It was accomplished by the hard work of all their officers.

   The consent agenda contained correspondence from Erie County Clerk Christopher Jacobs regarding County Mortgage Tax distribution. The estimated revenue to be sent to Grand Island is $298,606.01 and is for the period of April 1, 2013 - September 30, 2013. These monies are distributed twice each year.

    The Town Board authorized Supervisor Mary Cooke to sign the Intermuniciapl Snow Removal and Ice Control Agreement between the Town and Erie County. The rates are: 2013-2014 - $1,747.46 per lane mile, 2014-2015 - $1,799.88 per lane mile, September 1, 2014 - December 15, 2014, then $1,799.89 per lane mile December 15, 2014 - April 15, 2015. In 2015-2016 - $1,853.88 per lane mile.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the bid by BIDCO Marine Group to perform the removal of the diffuser plates on the 48" outfall in the amount of $9,940.00
•Approved the request to advertise for bids for the Wastewater Treatment Plant ORF Hydraulic Upgrade.
•Announced the Delinquent Water and Sewer Accounts total $483,718.21 and will be applied to the Taxroll of 2014.
•Approved the hiring of two part-time recreation life guards by Recreation Supervisor Joseph Menter.
•Councilman Dick Crawford mentioned that the Winter Parking Ban is in effect starting November 1st and cars will be ticketed if they are parked on the roads between 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.




Hello Grand Islanders! - November 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    With the arrival of November 1 comes winter parking regulations that prohibit you from parking vehicles on roads from 2 am – 7 am until April 1. It is important for the highway plows to have clear access to roads for the most efficient plowing of snow. When cars are blocking the plows, valuable time is spent contacting tow trucks and waiting for the vehicles to be removed. Avoid the possible ticket, or the towing charge and inconvenience, by keeping vehicles off the road.
    The Vikings for Vets 5K Race will be held on Saturday, November 9 at Veterans’ Park on Bedell Road beginning at 9 am. Being held for the second year, the race and walk is sponsored by the Grand Island High School Student Council and the Student Advisory Council. Money raised will be benefit Hometown Heroes and a leadership conference. The Island’s Veterans’ Day Service will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, November 11 at the wall at Veterans’ Park, 1715 Bedell Road. This year’s special salute will be to the Veterans of the Cold War, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and the Afghanistan Campaigns. Please attend to show your appreciation and respect for those who have given so much for our freedom. An Open House will follow at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Post 9249, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. All are invited.
    The Chamber of Commerce is planning the 2nd annual “Light Up the Boulevard” event on Saturday, November 23. The Rudolf Run begins at 5 pm with a parade to follow. The Town Common and Whitehaven Road will be the site of vendors, a campfire and Santa Claus after the parade. The Town Christmas Tree will be lit as part of the festivities. Hope to see you there!
   Grand Island is an extra special place for many reasons. One of them is Grand Island Ministerium, a group of clergy from several Grand Island Houses of Worship. The Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service, sponsored by the MInisterium, is on Sunday, November 24 at 7 pm at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, 1453 Staley Road. If you’ve attended in the past, you know what a beautiful experience it is. If you haven’t attended yet, make this the year that you go!
   The holidays will be here before we know it. Please remember that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day are holidays for Allied Waste/Republic Services, the contractors who pickup Grand Island garbage and recycling. There will be no pickups on the actual holiday itself, and in the days following the holiday, pickup will be one day late, with Friday pickup happening on Saturday.
   The Town Board renewed the contract for the next five years with Republic Services for garbage collection and recycling pickup with the understanding that wheeled recycling carts will be used beginning in summer 2014. We believe this is a positive step to increase recycling and to keep the wind from blowing recycling out of the bins that we currently use. The cost of the carts will be borne by the company, with the town paying an increase each year for the contract equal to the consumer price index which is the arrangement we have had for the past five years. The Town Board has several decisions to make regarding the rollout of these new recycling containers and you’ll be hearing much more in the coming weeks.
   Small Business Saturday will be observed on Grand Island on Saturday, November 30. What a great time to get started on holiday shopping and patronize local merchants! A proclamation from the Town Board will be presented to the business community and Chamber of Commerce at the Monday, November 18 Town Board Meeting.
   I wish you all a great November and a very Happy Thanksgiving! It has been a busy fall and I’ve enjoyed seeing and talking to so many of you. You are welcome to stop by when you are in Town Hall and I am also easily reached by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us or by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616.




Town Board Action
Proclamations Honor Lee Tetkowski & UNICEF - October 2013

From left: Councilmen Gary Roesch, Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Lee Tetkowski, Hal Pierce, Councilmen Ray Billica and Chris Aronica

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., October 21, 2013 . . . The Town Board meeting began with two proclamations honoring Lenore "Lee" Tetkowski and her over 60 years of service promoting UNICEF. Lee began her journey with UNICEF in 1952 when her children were in nursery school and has been at the helm ever since. She has been awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award, a national honor in recognition of her dedicated volunteer service and exemplary citizenship. The second proclamation announced October 31st as UNICEF Day on Grand Island. Trick-or-Treat-for-UNICEF collection provides clean water supplies, good nutrition, immunization, and educational opportunities to children in over 100 developing countries.
   A contract extension with Allied Waste Services of North America through December 2018 was approved. Beginning on or before July 1, 2014, a large covered rolling tote/cart will be provided to residents at no charge.
    There was no public comment during the public hearings for the creation of Park Place Phase VI Lighting District or the Bond Resolution for the Emergency Sewer Repair to the water main located on Whitehaven Road. Both items were approved by the Board.
    Soil Testing Results will be announced at the Tonawanda Health Outcomes Review during a public meeting on Thursday, November 7th at 7:00 p.m. at the St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1453 Staley Road. There will be a brief presentation followed by a question and answer period.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved a tower permit renewal from Upstate Cellular at 423 Ransom Road.
•Tabled a request by the Conservation Commission to change to Advisory Board status and a request for quote for Network Support Services until further review by the Town Board and Town Attorney.
•Approved a motion to authorize Supervisor Cooke to submit a block grant application for the purchase of a new vehicle for the Golden Age Center
•Approved the signing of a new agreement that allows the Town Clerk's office to sell hunting and fishing licenses.
•Approved Preliminary Plat Approval for Park Place Patio Homes Phase 9B, 54 lots.
•Approved authorization to advertise for bids for Water Plant Filter Media Replacement Project. It was noted that media typically will last 15 - 30 years and the Water Plant media is 35-years-old.
•Referred to the Planning Board a request to re-divide adjacent parcels at 2116 and 2126 Harvey Road.




Hello Grand Islanders! - October 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    Congratulations and a huge thank you to Corey McGowan who organized a very well-attended 2nd annual “Taste of Grand Island” Fall Festival on Saturday. With major sponsorship from the MOG on Grand Island Blvd, the event featured many restaurants, craft vendors, organizations and a Kid Zone in the Town Common. The spectacular weather made for a perfect day and it seemed that a great time was had by all who attended. I have heard from many that they had a wonderful time and are already looking forward to next year!
    Each year our Fire Company celebrates Fire Prevention Week with an Open House at the main Fire Hall at the corner of Baseline Road and Grand Island Blvd. Come out on Thursday, October 10 from 5pm – 8pm to see equipment in action, view demonstrations and learn all about safety. Students can enter the drawing for the very popular “Ride to School in a Fire Truck” that eight lucky entrants from each school will experience. It is always a great event and I hope to see you there.
    If you use electronic banking to pay your bills, please be aware all banks recommend you pay online in advance of your payment due date, sometimes as many as ten days ahead. Please check the fine print on your bank’s website to learn their policies. This will help you avoid late fees being issued on water bills because the funds from the bank did not reach the town in time.
    Election Day is right around the corner on November 5 and you must be registered in order to vote. There is still time to do this: voter registration forms must be postmarked by October 11 and received by the Board of Elections by October 16. If you will be out of town, absentee ballots can be used. Your application for an absentee ballot must be postmarked by October 29. Both registration forms and absentee ballot applications are available in the Town Clerk's Office at Town Hall. Be sure you are prepared to participate in one of the most important activities in our country.
    The month of October is extra special for the GI Chamber of Commerce with the 30 Days of Giveaways promotion. Log on to www.GIChamber.org every day from October 1st – October 30th for your chance to win great prizes from Chamber members. Over $3,000 worth of prizes will be awarded with a different valuable prize given away each day. Check it out today! Visit often!
    The Golden Age Center at the Nike Base, 3278 Whitehaven Road, hosts a delicious daily lunch and many activities for anyone over age 50. On the first Wednesday of each month there is a Birthday Lunch, honoring members who celebrate that month and the festivities often include special entertainment. The Lunch Bunch of the Barbershop Harmony Society, including Grand Island's own Don Lewis (husband of Golden Age Club President Evelyn Lewis), had everyone singing and laughing on October 2. Check out the Golden Voice newsletter, available at the center and also in the kiosk at Town Hall, and online at gigov.com for all the latest news. The Center's Holiday Happenings Event is on October 19 from 10 am – 2 pm and gives you another great opportunity to check out this great town program.
    Halloween will be celebrated at the Nike Base with the Town's Recreation Department teaming up with the High School Art Club to create a haunted house. It will be open on Friday and Saturday nights, October 25 and 26 and there are plans for a special “younger kids” event early in the day on Saturday. Get details online at isledegrande.com and gigov.com. The Town's Official Trick or Treat Hours are 5pm – 8 pm on Thursday, October 31.
    It has been nice to see and visit with so many of you when you are at Town Hall. Thanks for stopping by! I welcome your ideas and comments and am easily reached by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us and by phone at 7739600, ext 616.




Town Board Action
Agreement Reached With County - September 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., September 16, 2013 . . . As we enter the second half of September, the lack of a contract between the towns of Erie County and Erie County for plowing of county roads had become worrisome. Without a contract, the towns cannot legally put a plow down on roads they do not own. Roads owned by Erie County and plowed by GI Highway Department are: Stony Point Road, from E. River to South Bridge, Baseline Road from E. River to Bush Road, East River Road from Baseline(north end) to Bush Road, Huth Road, Long Road, Love Road, Whitehaven Road & Bush Road. An agreement was reached between the towns and Erie County on Wednesday, September 18th. The county will pay a 3% increase each year of the three-year contract, up from the .5% they initially offered. The towns wanted a 5% increase each year, the same as they have received over the past twelve years. Buffalo News article.

    It was announced that the Regional Computer Recycling & Recovery program has collected 64,113 pounds of electronic waste in the first six months of 2013. Grand Island has received a $5,513.73 credit which is $1000 more than the first six months of 2012. CRT tubes will no longer be counted for credit but will be recycled.
    Tom Halter of the NYS Office of Real Property Services spoke about the need to re-register either by phone or online for the STAR program by December 31, 2013. 500,000 notices were sent out in Western New York. If a homeowner is applying for STAR for the first time, the applicant must file an application with the Town Assessor.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the hiring of John Mondoux as part time Dog Control Officer, primarily for nights and weekends.
•Authorized Supervisor Cooke to sign an agreement with First Niagara Risk Management for General Liability, Auto Liability and Property Insurance Coverage.
•Authorize to advertise for bids for the furnishing of Ferrous Chloride for the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
•Awarded a contract to replace the Williams Road Waterline to Knab Brothers Inc. in the amount of $58,818.35.
•Refer to bond counsel the Engineer's report of emergency sewer repair on Whitehaven Road at an estimated cost of up to $1,000,000. A public hearing is planned for the next Town Board meeting on Ocotber 7, 2013.
•Approved change of status for employees in the Town Recreation and Parks departments.
•Approved the Assessment Maintenance proposal from Emminger, Newton, Pigeon & Magyar, Inc. for professional services for a two year period.
•Reappointed Cornelius O'Donnell to the Board of Assessment Review to a five year term beginning Oct. 1, 2013.
•Accepted with regret the retirement of Jack Thompson, a 24 year employee of the Grand Island Police Department.




NYS Comptroller Announces Municipal Audit - September 2013

   New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli recently released a municipal audit of Grand Island titled "Internal Controls Over Fuel Purchases". The audit found that a former employee who had not worked for the Town since September 30, 2011, was found to have used a lockbox key and user id in 140 unauthorized fuel transactions totaling $6,971. These unlawful transactions occurred between May 9, 2011 — June 14, 2013. After being advised of the situation, Town officials took corrective action and a new fuel use policy was implemented. See complete audit.




Town Board Action
American Legion Poppy Drive Proclamation - September 2013

From Left: Councilmen Gary Roesch, Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Joe Synakowski, Commander Fred Wornick, 1st Vice Commander Rick Schmitz, Rick Bonarek, June Beard, Paul Dansereau, Bo Pikas, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica.
Click for larger view.

By Jodi Robinson
   Tue., September 3, 2013 . . . A proclamation was read in honor of the American Legion Post #1346 Patriot Day Poppy Drive taking place Friday and Saturday, September 6th & 7th. The Grand Island Post # 1346 observes September 11th as Patriot Day, remembering the souls lost on 9-11-2001 in the Twin Towers, Pentagon and Flight 93, and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Legion sponsors many community programs such as high school scholarships, Americanism contests, Wounded Warriors and Veteran Hospital activities. They also sponsor children's activities including the American Legion Baseball League, Essay Contests and Boy Scout Activities. The town board urges the citizens of Grand Island to recognize the merits of the American Legion by contributing generously to this drive.
    At a public hearing, the Town Board approved a bond resolution increasing the cost of the improvements to the sewer district from $430,000 to $518,620, due to the additional cost of engineering services required for the project. The Board also authorized the issuance of serial bonds in the increased amount. There were no public comments.
   The Board approved a resolution confirming the Town's solidarity with other towns and villages in Erie County in the negotiation of a new snow plowing contract with the Erie County Department of Public Works. Erie County made a counter proposal dropping the annual increase from 5% to 0.5% and increasing the length of contract from 3 to 5 years.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the status change of several employees in the Recreation Department from seasonal to part time.
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit for the National Fuel Gas Metering Station at 1589 Stony Point Rd. It was noted there are several breaches in the security fences that need to be repaired.
•Approved a sidewalk installation deadline extension for a Pleasant Trail resident.
•Approved the Miracle League of GI & WNY request to host evening baseball games in September and October.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Keith Wood as a GIPD court officer and road patrol officer after 32 years of service. A certificate of appreciation will be awarded.




Hello Grand Islanders! - September 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   I can hardly believe it is already September. Grand Island has one of the latest school openings in recent times with students going back to class on Monday, September 9. That has worked out well for the wastewater line replacement on Whitehaven Road, which will be completed enough to open the road on Friday or at the latest, early Saturday. Thanks to the residents of the immediate area, and for commuters traveling along Whitehaven, for their patience and flexibility as we dealt with a 30” collapsed line. The Town Wastewater, Water and Highway crews have been doing whatever is needed to solve this problem, under the direction of Town Engineer John Whitney, since it was discovered on August 13. While there have been several challenges and inconveniences, the situation could have been much worse. It is great to have the emergency repair project nearing completion.
   The southbound South Grand Island Bridge needs an overlay coat on the surface of the deck and it will be applied beginning Friday night, September 6. To accomplish this, the southbound South Bridge will be closed from 11 pm Friday until 9 am, Sunday, September 8. Both northbound and southbound traffic will be using the northbound South Bridge so there will be delays. Plan accordingly. If you haven’t already done so, now would be a great time to sign up for Thruway traffic alerts at www.thruway.ny.gov or NITTEC.org. So many technologies are available to help you plan ahead and avoid the surprise of unexpected traffic delays. The key is using them!
   On Monday night the Town Board approved the request from Miracle League of Grand Island and WNY for two night games. WNY Lions Clubs, including Grand Island’s and possibly some from Canada, will host a game on September 14 from 7:30 until 9 pm. The Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Sabres Alumni will host a night game in later September or early October. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see the Miracle League Baseball Diamond in action, now is the time. You will be very impressed with this beautiful regional resource that we have right here on Grand Island in Veterans’ Park.
   Tuesday, September 10 is Primary Election Day with the polls open from 6 am – 9 pm. Grand Island voters registered as Democrats, Conservatives, Independents, Republicans and Working Family Party members have elections. If you are registered to vote but did not affiliate with a political party, you are considered a “blank” and cannot participate in a primary election. Check out the ballots on isledegrande so you are prepared when you go to the polls.
   The recent Island-wide Dispatch, mailed to all homes last month, contained a bright yellow card reminding dog owners of the requirement to license any dog over four months of age. To date, nearly 300 dogs on Grand Island have been licensed. If you have yet to do so, get in to the Town Clerk’s Office as soon as possible with proof of a rabies vaccination and get your dog license. It will save you a ticket from the Dog Control Officers and more importantly, help your dog be found and returned to you if it gets lost or runs away.
   Be sure to get out to the Buffalo Launch Club on Saturday to check out the Antique and Classic Boat Show. This year the Grand Island Historical Society will have a photo display at the show, featuring the many resorts and clubs that dotted the Grand Island Shoreline in the 1800s. At the end of the month, on September 28, the second annual Taste of Grand Island will be held in the center of town. Hope to see you at both of these fine events!
   We are blessed on Grand Island to have active veterans’ organizations. This Friday and Saturday our American Legion Post 1346 will be conducting a Patriot Day Poppy Drive in preparation for the 12th anniversary of 9/11. The service to honor those who valiantly gave their lives on 9/11, and in the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be at the flagpole in front of the VFW, 2121 Grand Island Blvd, at 7 pm on Wednesday, September 11. This is a great opportunity for you to show your gratitude for the many freedoms we enjoy in America.
   Thank you for the many e-mails, letters, phone calls and personal visits; I appreciate your interest in our town and the suggestions to improve operations. Please continue to stay in touch by stopping by when you are at Town Hall, phoning at 773-9600, ext. 616 or e-mailing at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.




Town Board Action
Two Proclamations Begin Meeting - August 2013

   

Left photo: Cinderella Isle Garden Club President Mary Barabasz at center.
Right: Phyllis Lange (in green) with friends and family. Click photos for larger view

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., August 19, 2013 . . .The Cinderella Isle Garden Club received the first proclamation presented at the Town Board meeting, congratulating the club on their 55th anniversary. The garden club was organized in 1958 with a mission to encourage and educate members in gardening, horticulture, ecology, conservation and home and civic beautification. Currently there are 35 members who plant and maintain the Grand Island Memorial Library's outdoor and indoor gardens as a community service. The Cinderella Isle Garden Club was the first organization to adopt a Town highway and have cleaned Bedell Road from Baseline to Stony Point Road for decades.
   The second proclamation was given to Phyllis Lange congratulating her on her retirement from volunteer service at a soup kitchen for over 31 years and her outstanding community service. Mrs. Lange started out volunteering as a cook at the kitchen of the "Good News Dining Room" at the Asbury Delaware U.M.C. She cooked and served lunch to 150-300 people, five days a week for six months until a cook could be hired. After that she coordinated the recruitment of volunteers to serve the meals. In 1990, Mrs. Lange moved to another location and continued volunteering for another 23 years. At the age of 86, and after 31 years of service, Mrs. Lange retired on July 26, 2013.

   The Town Board approved the rezoning of the property located between Baseline & Webb Roads and Grand Island Boulevard from R1D/CBD to R3. This property plan is for a 55+ community, and although the Town Board has heard from many residents against the project, they have stated they will be thorough in the planning process, making sure certain conditions must be met.

   Resolutions were recognized from the Town's of Alden, Orchard Park, Concord, Marilla and Colden regarding the plowing and de-icing of county roads by the towns. The rate proposed (increase contract from 3 to 5 years and reduce the monetary increase from 5.0% to 0.5%) by the Erie County Department of Public Works is one the Towns cannot afford, so the Towns are asking the Erie County Executive and the Erie County Legislature to help resolve the issue. Councilman Dick Crawford will be checking with Highway Superintendent JT Tomkins about adopting a similar resolution.

   In a thank you letter from Executive Director Rob Belue of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, the Town Recreation Supervisor Joe Mentor and the GI Fire Company and EMT's were singled out "for going the extra mile" and making "Paddles Up Niagara" a success. A total registration of 275 participants and 260 water-craft were involved in the event.

    In other business, the Board:
•Approved a resolution for Park Improvements to the Scenic Woods/Bicentennial park.
•Approved a bond resolution of $200,000 for the purchase of a new street sweeper as the current sweeper is over 40 years old.
•Approved the request to advertise for bids in the Williams Road Waterline Replacement project.
•Approved the hiring of Kristen Thore as a Part Time Clerk Typist for the Engineering Department
•Approved the signing of a two year contract for the annual inspection and emergency service on Town owned traffic signals to J.J. Emergency Electric in the amount of $1200.00 for each year.
•Approved a revised site plan of the Sheridan-Transit Rod & Gun Club, 551 Ransom Road regarding proposed grading work ordered by the Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers.
•Approved the yearly renewal of a HVAC Maintenance Service Agreement for the Library and Parks Building with M.J. Mechanical in the amount of $2,400.00.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Dog Control Officer Christopher Garcia.




Town Board Action
National Airborne Day Proclamation - August 2013

From Left: Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Joe Synakowski, Lt. Col. Kelly M. Carrigg (retired) and Councilman Chris Aronica.
Click for larger view.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., August 5, 2013 . . . Former members of the 82nd Airborne Division, Lt. Col. Kelly M. Carrigg (retired) and Joseph Synakowski were on hand to accept a proclamation from the Grand Island Town Board designating August 16, 2013 National Airborne Day. The 82nd Airborne started out in 1940 as the Parachute Test Platoon and has been serving our country for over 70 years. Two Island residents and 82nd Airborne members died in the line of duty, they are Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper, June 9, 1944 (MOH) and Lt. Col. Terrance K. Crowe, June 7, 2005.
    Councilmen Dick Crawford and Ray Billica were absent from this week's meeting. In the Public Comment portion of the agenda, Mr. & Mrs. David Carson of Tracey Lane spoke in oppostition to the Gunn Creek development. They gave the Town Board a petition signed by 102 people also in opposition to the project. The Carsons would like to see a 500 foot buffer zone between the project and Tracey Lane homes, the elimination of the Park Lane entrance and an increase in green space at the north end of the project. A request was also made for a new environmental study and traffic study as the last ones were in 2006 and many changes have been made in the area since that time.
   A public hearing for the purpose of considering amending local laws regarding signs, noise pollution and zoning was referred back to the Town Board after no one spoke in favor or against the changes.
   The Town Board approved a motion to adopt two resolutions seeking funding for the Scenic Woods - Bicentennial Park Project. The project is located south of Ransom and west of East River on 220 acres of woodlot and wetlands owned by the Town. Phase I of the project will consist of a parking lot, secondary trails, signs and kiosks, a rest area and installation of vegetative buffers. An application for $196,488 in funds from NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's Recreational Trails Program with matching funds of $49,122, is approved for filing. Another application for $70,459 in funds from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's Environmental Protection Fund-Municipal Grant Program was also approved to be filed.
   A resolution from Highway Superintendent JT Tomkins was presented to the Town Board to adopt an appeal to maintain the "Cornell Local Roads Program" scheduled to be terminated September 30, 2014. The program has been providing technical assistance and training for local highway officials through Cooperative Extension since 1951. The Highway Department is asking other local highway officials to join them in seeking the reversal.
   Town Engineer John Whitney request to advertise for bids for the Town Hall Parking Lot was approved, along with a request to hire a consultant to complete the design work for the Scenic Woods project. A change order was approved for the Town road resurfacing project, with the addition of the resurfacing of Bruce Lane , Marjorie Drive and Redway. The additional work resulted in a net increase of $142,621.03 to the project. A renewal of maintenance agreements for the Xerox 303 and HP 5500PS copiers in the Engineering Department was approved.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit for a parking lot at Sandy Beach Yacht Club.
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit for two agricultural animals at 3030 Stony Point Road.
•Approved the hiring of Christi Madigan as Zoning Clerk Part-time effective August 6, 2013.




Happy August Grand Island! - August 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    I hope you've caught at least one Town-sponsored concert and/or free movie in the center of town this summer. If not, get going this month so you don't miss out! Concerts are on Tuesdays at 7 pm in the Town Common Gazebo and movies at dusk on Saturdays, also in the Town Common. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket and enjoy a free evening of entertainment. August 6th is National Night Out when, in addition to the concert, many organizations will have informational booths and the GI Fire Company Ladies Aux. will host a chicken barbeque dinner.
    Republic Services, the company who picks up Grand Island's garbage and recycling, has a new way to contact them. Send an email to GrandIslandNY@republicservices.com. They hope this will improve customer service by providing a verifiable record of complaints and 24/7 access for Islanders.
   The lower level entrance to Town Hall is the new home of The Drug Collection Unit and Needle Disposal Box. Non-liquid drugs of any kind that are no longer needed and any type of sharps can be left in the designated containers anytime Town Hall is open. If you arrive with materials to deposit and doors are locked, simply call 858-2903 (this number is posted and able to be read from the outside) and the Erie County Sheriff Deputy on duty will meet you and take the material. The Town of Grand Island is pleased to be a designated location for these boxes to make proper disposal easy and convenient. Thanks to Erie County and the Sheriff’s Department for their help in locating these boxes on Grand Island. DO NOT flush drugs or needles down the toilet or place them in the garbage can! They can easily get into the wrong hands, pollute the water or injure someone.
   Paddles Up proved to be a very successful event on Saturday in Beaver Island Park and the Niagara River. 260 kayaks and canoes, holding 275 people, paddled in the mighty Niagara for this 8th annual extravaganza hosted by the Niagara River Greenway Commission. It is an honor and privilege to host this great event on the Island! Founded by Islander Paul Leuchner, who continues to chair the event, this year's festivities featured the first celebrity lap complete with medals and the Leuchner Cup. Paul himself came in first with newly appointed Greenway Chairman Greg Stevens, State Parks Director Mark Thomas, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and former NYS assembly member Sam Hoyt also placing. Islander Dorothy Westhafer was recognized for her many artistic contributions to the Greenway, which include organizing the Niagara River Greenway logo contest. Dorothy is the first local citizen to receive such recognition. A lunch sponsored by the GI Historical Society followed the paddling. Paddles Up is a joint venture of the Town of GI, NYS Parks and the Niagara River Greenway with sponsorship from the GI Chamber of Commerce, Anchor Marine, Eastern Mountain Sports, Wekanu Canoe and Kayak Lessons and Zoar Valley Paddling Club. Check out the great photos on the web at niagaragreenway.org.
    You can now purchase an EZPass at the Town Clerk's Office. The prepaid On-the-Go tags have a $25 value, and the first $15 can be used immediately for tolls. The other $10 is available to you after the tags are registered. EZPass gives users a 5 percent discount on all Thruway tolls. For the Grand Island bridge tolls, Grand Island residents who use EZPass get a 91% discount and commuters can save 72 percent but remember that both programs require registration.
    Town Hall will soon be back to normal after the flooding in early June. Drywall repairs and painting have been finished and carpeting will be installed this week. Stop by and see our improvements! Please continue to stay in touch. I am easily reached most days at the office, by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.




Town Board Action
55+ Housing Tabled For Further Review - July 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., July 15, 2013 . . .Colby Development has to wait a bit longer to see if their 55+ housing development will become a reality. The project located between Baseline, Grand Island Blvd. and Webb Road has a plan for three buildings with 108 units. There were three people in favor of the project, pointing out there is a need as other Island senior housing is for 62+. The ten speakers against the project were mostly concerned that there are no guarantees that the project would remain 55+. The most recent concept plan has moved the pond to the south side of the project as a buffer from the Webb Road homes. The Planning Board has approved the rezoning from CBD/R-1D to R-3. The Town Board tabled the rezoning for further review.
   The Town Board approved a resolution authorizing an application jointly with NY State Parks to the Niagara River Greenway for the "West River Connector Trail Project". This project will install a stone-based asphalt trail between Beaver Island and Buckhorn State Parks with minimal land clearing and excavation. It will not have an impact on wetland, woodland or riparian habitats in the area.
   Supervisor Mary Cooke has written an impact statement on behalf of Grand Island residents in regard to the Tonawanda Coke case. The Supervisor stated in part "Tonawanda Coke should be fined enough to pay to mitigate the damage done by their illegal actions." She requested that "fines levied be used for the local communities negatively affected by the illegal emissions from Tonawanda Coke to fund projects that will enhance the health, welfare and environment of those communities." The Town Board approved this communication.
   You will now be able to pick up an E-ZPASS tag at the Town Clerk's office as Grand Island has been approved as a retailer. The $25.00 tag fee is to be added to the Town's Fee Schedule.
   A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 5th to consider amending the Town Noise Pollution Control law. The proposed action will be to place back into the law that a field vehicle shall not be operated at a distance less than 1,000 feet from a location occupied by people or an approved sanctuary for birds and animals.

   Site plan approval for the new Arrow Mart (formerly Getty) located at 2211 Grand Island Blvd. and the Southpointe Development concept plan have been approved by the Town Planning Board. However, the Town Board has tabled the requests for further review as a response from Erie County is needed for the Arrow Mart project and the Southpointe project needs more work before approval can be made.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the special use permit renewal of Jennifer Tirone for keeping horses on Whitehaven Road.
In other business, the Board:
•Approved the application for a block party on Wallace Drive, closing the street to traffic between North Park and Middle from noon - 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 27th.

Happy Summer Grand Island! - July 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   We’re all set for the annual Island Independence Day festivities, beginning with the 38th annual Dick Bessel Race, Walk and Kids’ Race at 9:15 am on Thursday. Grand Island Boulevard closes at 8:45 am. The parade follows the race, and the VFW Open House will be ready for you following the parade. Beginning at 5 pm, Grand Island residents with ID and proof of residency have free admission to Martin’s Fantasy Island. The fireworks begin at dusk. Sponsors for the huge fireworks display include Keyser Cadillac, Life Technologies, Niagara Falls KOA, Pritchard & Kennedy Attorneys at Law, Try-It Distributing and of course, Martin’s Fantasy Island. Thanks to all of them for helping make Grand Island’s July 4th extra festive. Enjoy a safe and happy holiday!
   U.S. District Court Chief Judge William Skretny has delayed the sentencing until September of Tonawanda Coke and their Environmental Control Manager in the case that found them guilty of 14 and 15 counts, respectively, for violating clean air and other laws. In order to make an appropriate sentencing decision, the judge has requested impact statements from residents who have been impacted by the illegal emissions. Forms are available on the town's website, at isledegrande and in the lobby of Town Hall. Because of the delay until September for sentencing, statements are now due to the judge by July 31.
   A huge thank you to the Town's Assessment Board of Review who had extra work this year as a result of the Town-wide Reassessment Project. The dedicated volunteer team worked on three different days for long hours to hear everyone who wanted to discuss their assessment with the hope of having it lowered. Town Assessor Judy Tafelski and Clerk Jackie McGinty did a fine job of organizing the entire process to get residents in and out as efficiently as possible. The final tax roll was filed with Erie County before the July 1 deadline, and the new assessments will be used to calculate school taxes in the fall.
   The Town Board used the May retirement of long-time Recreation Director Linda Tufillaro as an opportunity to change the way the Town’s Recreation Programming and Parks/Maintenance responsibilities are organized. There were several reasons for this change. As Grand Island’s recreation facilities expanded over the years, it became increasingly more difficult for one person to manage all aspects of both programs and facilities. As Veterans Park developed, the Town gained much more infrastructure that the Highway Department is better equipped to manage and maintain. Newly hired Recreation Supervisor Joe Mentor handles recreation programs and reports to the Town Board. Parks Maintenance Crew Chief Tom Dworak now reports to Highway Superintendent JT Tomkins. While new to Grand Island, this arrangement has been very successful in many other municipalities. The Town Board is most grateful that JT and Deputy Highway Superintendent Joe Donlon embraced the change, focusing on improved efficiency and service to Grand Island residents. After one month we have been able to successfully work through the challenges that have arisen and will continue to do so. I welcome any thoughts you have on the new arrangement.
   Last month Island garbage pick-up was especially challenging. Republic/Allied Waste has assured the Town that permanent improvements are now in place, and we have noticed the difference during the past week. Remember, July 4th is one of the six recognized garbage pick-up holidays, so Thursday pick-up will be on Friday and the Friday route will be picked up on Saturday.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you at the parade and over the holiday weekend. Please continue to stay in touch - stop by when you are at Town Hall, dial 773-9600, ext. 616 or send an e-mail to mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.




Town Board Action
Lack of DOT Mowing Upsetting To Board & Residents - July 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., July 1, 2013 . . .The NYS Department of Transportation is responsible for mowing the grass along West River Parkway, South State Parkway, the entrance to GI Blvd. from the south bridge and the round-about splitter islands. They are all a mess. It looks like a meeting is going to be called soon to address these issues. In a letter sent from the DOT to Senator Mark Grisanti that was added to the Town Board meeting packet, the DOT stated that their policy since 2008 "has developed a statewide approach to managing resources to ensure that public safety and mobility are maintained. Mowing policy prioritizes safety and infrastructure first and appearance second." The Town Board believes that safety is an issue and will be looking into it.
   Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel is being designated as the town officer to receive Notice of Claims for the town. A fee of up to $250 may be charged to a person filing a claim, half of that fee will be forwarded to the Town, the other half retained by the Secretary of State.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the signing of a Profession Services Agreement for the Water Plant Filter Media Replacement.
•Approved the hiring of Zoe Dodd as a part-time recreation attendant.
•Approved two applications for public display of fireworks at Martin's Fantasy Island on July 4th and at Grand Island Holiday Inn on July 6th.
•Set a combined public hearing for the rezoning of property located behind Baseline Road and Grand Island Blvd. for July 15th.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Secretary for the Engineering Department Edie Thompson.
•Referred a request by a Baseline Road resident to be exempt of the required sidewalk resolution to the Town Board, Town Attorney and Planning Board.




Town Board Action
Resolutions Approved By Town Board - June 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., June 17, 2013 . . .A public hearing on the creation of Park Place Phase VII Lighting District had no speakers either in favor or against and was approved by the Town Board. This resolution is effective immediately. The Final Plat Approval of John Stickl's Grand Park Vue Subdivision Stage VII was approved. This is located adjacent to Buckhorn State Park. A bond resolution authorizing improvements to the Town Hall parking lot at an estimated cost of $150,000 was approved.
   A request regarding IsleChem Sewer Treatment Facility was discussed. The Town of Grand Island does not object to the owner of adjacent property at 2791 Long Road to enter into an agreement with IsleChem LLC to utilize the sewage treatment facility. It was noted that the town will not be responsible for any issues that may arise in the future.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the signing of Professional Service Agreements for Wastewater Service Years 1 & 2 and Wastewater Treatment Plant Hydraulic Upgrades by Supervisor Mary Cooke.
•Approved the installation of Time Warner High Speed Internet at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, replacing a previous provider.
•Approved the low bid of $279,080.15 from Milherst Construction Inc. for resurfacing of various town roads.
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit by Gail Villani of East River Road.
•Approved the site plan of Hugill Storage of Bedell Road to erect another building on the property.
•Approved the site plan of Gateway Center situated between Long and Bedell Road, west of the I-190. This project has been proposed since the late 1980's.
•Denied the request of Thomas Bennett to abandon a portion of Second Ave. as this paper street is adjacent to Town property and may become important in the future.




Town Board Action
Recreation Supervisor Announced - June 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., June 6, 2013 . . .The Town Board meeting was very quiet and quick on Monday evening. It was announced that Joe Menter would be replacing Linda Tufillaro as head of the Recreation Department, effective June 4th. To assist Joe in his beginning days, Linda Tufillaro has been hired in a part-time capacity for a period not to exceed 90 days.
   A special use permit was granted to Kim Leys, 2076 Stony Point Road, to keep up to ten chickens on her property. An annual inspection is a requirement. The Grand Island Memorial Library 2012 Annual Report was mentioned and noted that the library offers 15 computer workstations, an online public access catalog and wireless internet. The GI Library is the 13th busiest out of 36 in the Erie County system.
   Correspondence from Scheid Architectural regarding amending Sanitary Sewer District 7 at the Southpoint planned development, outlined some plans for the project. There is an area planned as assisted living, along with single family attached and detached units. An informational meeting is being organized.

In other business, the Board:
•The Town Board approved the bid by Global Contracting and Painting for the amount of $245,000 for the maintenance painting of water facilities.
•Approved the resurfacing of the Town Hall Parking Lot and referred the matter to bond counsel.
•Approved the hiring of Andrew Podlucky as Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Trainee and the promotion of Timothy Burns as Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator.




Hello Grand Islanders! - June 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   Memorial Day arrived with extra beautiful weather and an extra-large crowd was on hand for the Town’s 10 AM Service at DeGlopper Park on the corner of GI Blvd and Baseline Road. Special thanks to the Grand Island High School Wind Ensemble under Mr. Allen's baton and to the guest speaker, Lt. Col. Paul Dansereau. We are fortunate on Grand Island to have three very active veterans’ organizations, the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), American Legion and DAV (Disabled American Veterans), who join together with the Town's Recreation Department to organize such meaningful services. It is always an honor to have Gold Star Mothers Shirley Luther and Mary Ann Crowe in attendance, as they were again this year. Thanks to everyone who came out to remember those who gave their lives to keep us free.
   The Town's Historic Preservation Advisory Board has assembled a very informative display about the life of Islander and Medal of Honor recipient Charles N. DeGlopper, who was killed in La Fiere, France on June 9, 1944 at age 22. Be sure to take a look the next time you're at the library; it's to the left of the entry. The display will eventually move to the upper lobby of Town Hall. The next time you're getting a cart at Tops, look up and see the beautiful historic photos of Grand Island, arranged in a mural along the perimeter of the entire entry area. Teddy Linenfelser, recently retired Town Historian, is responsible for answering Tops request for photos.
   Welcome to two new Town Employees! At Monday night's Town Board Meeting, Joe Menter was appointed Recreation Supervisor and Paul Krull became a Wastewater Operator Trainee. With summer approaching we have many seasonal part-time staff helping with recreation programs and maintenance in many departments. I wish all of them a productive and rewarding time employed by the Town.
   Grand Island Little League opened their season at Veterans Park on May 11 with an energetic parade of all the teams, a thoughtful ceremony and a spirited awards presentation. Best wishes to all for a very successful season! The Luther, Haller and Potter Awards are given each year to Little League players who exemplify the positive characteristics of the young men whose families and friends honor their memory with these three awards. The memorial plaques for each award hang in the lower lobby of Town Hall – check them out the next time you're there.
   The Miracle League of Grand Island and WNY kicked off the 2013 season on May 19 and has a full schedule on Sundays along with some special events. This Sunday, June 9, is Law Enforcement Day when many uniformed police from all over WNY will be on hand to assist with the games and be buddies to the Miracle League baseball players. The Buffalo Bisons will be at Miracle League Field on Saturday, July 20 and a carnival to raise money for a handicap useable playground is scheduled for Saturday, August 10.
   Grand Island Relay for Life's 11th annual fundraiser is being hosted for the first time at Vet's Park on Saturday overnight into Sunday. Setup begins on Saturday morning with the opening ceremony scheduled to begin at 6 PM. Much effort goes into fund raising all year long to make this the successful event that it is. Come out for some fun and help raise money for the American Cancer Society.
   The Father's Day Lawnmower Race on the West River is another way to support the American Cancer Society. Added for the first time on June 16 will be the Kevin Doring Memorial Walk and Race, sponsored by Islanders Floyd and Chie Doring in memory of their son who recently lost his battle with cancer. This is a great way to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather with Dad and help a good cause at the same time. Hope to see you there!
   Town Hall is getting back to normal after a power outage over the weekend caused the lift station to fail, in turn causing the sewer to back up into the first floor. Carpeting and the lower portion of drywall have been removed throughout and everything has been sanitized. I'm grateful to all of the Town Employees who pitched in to help with the cleanup and whose flexibility and hard work prevented the closure of Town Hall. It was truly a team effort!
   I greatly appreciate seeing and talking to so many of you when you are in Town Hall or when I see you around town. Thanks for all of your ideas and suggestions. Contact is welcome in person, by phone at 773-9600 ext. 616 or via e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us




Town Board Action
Many Voices Against Rezoning - May 2013


VFW Commander Mike Mehltretter accepts proclamation from Town Board. By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., May 20, 2013 . . .Seven public hearings were held at this week's Town Board Meeting. The most vocal response was to the possible rezoning of two properties that are located between Baseline Rd. and Grand Island Blvd. Colby Smith of Colby Development would like to use the properties to develop a plan of senior/55+ housing of conventional apartments. There were four individuals in favor of the plan and more than twice as many against it. Most of the people against live on Webb Road and were concerned about increased traffic on their road and also about the proximity of a road in the development to their back yards. They have been fighting for many years against changes to the properties that were originally zoned residential, are now mixed use and wish to be CBD (Central Business District). The matter was tabled for further review by the Town Board.
   A second project, the Gun Creek PDD, located off Whitehaven Road and running north to Tracey Lane was looking to amend their development concept plan. Two individuals who live nearby spoke against the project, wanting to keep the area undeveloped. The project includes plans for 74 townhomes and 152 home lots on 98 acres of land. It has been in planning stages since 2006.
   The Town Board proclaimed May 23, 24 and 25 as "VFW Buddy Poppy Days 2013" on Grand Island and urges all residents to buy a poppy. The funds raised are used to benefit widows and orphans of deceased veterans and also for disabled and needy veterans at the National Home in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.
   Three bond resolutions for the improvement of sewer systems, sewer capital improvements and water systems were approved.
   Grand Island's share of the Mortgage Tax collected by Erie County for the time period October 2012 through March 2013 is $282,014.52 and will be distributed in May.
   A resolution supporting the Disposition of Proceeds from the Verdict Against Tonawanda Coke Corporation was approved by the Town Board. The Town Clerk's office was approved to apply to become a retail location for E-Z Pass On-The-Go. This system allows you to get a toll transponder but not pay for fees.

    In other business, the Board:
•Approved the transfer of John M. Podlucky from the Waste Water Department to the Highway Department effective July 8, 2013.
•Approved the hiring of Matthew Zarbo as a summer intern in the Engineering Department and hired Patick Gallagher, Ben Tomkins and Steven Henderson as summer help at the Water and Wastewater Departments.
• Approved the request by the Town Engineer to advertise for bids for the Bituminous Resurfacing of Various Town Roads.
•Approved hiring of Clifford Smith and Kristen Stark by the Recreation Department as summer hires.
•Set a public hearing for June 3rd for the application of a special use permit to keep chickens at the property of Kim Leys, 2076 Stony Point Road.
•Approved the renewal of special use permits for Jayne Schaber, 394 Ransom Road and 1441 Ransom, Inc., Ransom & Stony Point Road.
•Approved the creation of two lots from a 11 1/2 acre parcel located at 2877 West River Road.
•Referred a request by Nancy Killian for signage in front of her residence to the Highway Department and the Traffic Safety Advisory Board.




Town Board Action
Three Proclamations Begin Meeting - May 2013

   

Left: Golden Age Club members, Right: Becky Stufkosky and Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel with Board.

Grand Island Fire Company

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., May 6, 2013 . . .Three proclamations were presented at the May 6th Town Board meeting. Members of the Golden Age Club were on hand to accept a proclamation as May has been designated as "Older Americans Month" by the United States Congress. The second proclamation was in honor of "Municipal Clerks Week". Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel and Deputy Clerk Becky Stufkosky accepted the proclamation that thanked them for their "exemplary dedication and for the vital services they perform." The third proclamation was presented to the Grand Island Fire Company honoring their 75th anniversary. It was noted that the Fire Company handles over 1500 emergency calls per year.
   The Town Board is sending a letter to the Erie County Department of Public works, requesting permission to erect "No Parking" sings on the north side of Love Road, from the intersection with East Park, 300 feet to the east. Parked cars cause visual problems for motorists and crossing guards in that area.
   Seven public hearings are scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2013. Two of them are requests to rezone properties that back up to each other between Baseline and Grand Island Blvd. The intent is to build senior citizen housing.
Town Code Amendment
Bond Resolution
GI Blvd. Zoning Change
Baseline Zoning Change
Sewer Capital Improvements
Water Improvements
Sewer Improvements


    In other business, the Board:
•Approved the request to advertise for bids for painting of water facilities.
•Approved retaining Wendel Company to provide professional services for the maintenance of the Towns' Geographic Information System.
•Approved the realignment of property lines at 1612 & 1622 Whitehaven Rd.
•Awarded BIDCO Marine Group's bid to clean and inspect the Water Treatment Plant Intake in the amount of $10,620.00.
•Approved the hiring of numerous part time recreation attendants and three parks general workers for the 2013 Summer season at the Parks & Recreation Department. Appointed Thomas Cecere as a Seasonal Crew Chief.
•Approved the split/merging of property owned by Lester and Diane Lee located at 2447 Bush Rd.




Hello Grand Islanders! - May 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   The Town participated in the regional Drug Drop Off on Saturday and collected the largest amount of drugs yet. 125 cars brought 374 pounds of drugs and needles during the 4 hour collection at the Grand Island Town Hall. Totals from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Buffalo Resident Office were 4,148 cars bringing 12,604 pounds of drugs. In the very near future a Drug Drop Off Box will be available on Grand Island at Town Hall for easy disposal of unused drugs or those that are no longer needed. Island Prescription Center, 1728 Grand Island Blvd, will also take back unused or unwanted drugs. It’s very important to keep them out of the water system (do not flush or put them down the sink) and out of the garbage can to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands.
   At Grand Island’s Community Conversation at the Fire Hall on April 16 we learned about the many contributing factors leading to the rise in heroin addiction and the reasons that heroin addiction is so different from other addictions and so very difficult to overcome. There are many resources available for help. FOHAT (Friends and Family of Heroin Addicts Talk) is a good source of information. Check them out online at YouTube. Thanks to the One Island One Team One Dream Coalition for sponsoring this very important event.
   It was an honor to attend the 47th GI Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Dinner on April 25 at the Holiday Inn. What a positive, spirited evening! In addition to honoring this year’s seven winners the evening included the Presentation of Colors by the Charles N. DeGlopper Post #9249 VFW Honor Guard and the National Anthem sung by the GI High School Choir Madrigals under the direction of Carolyn Lokken. If you’ve not had the pleasure of attending a Citizen of the Year Dinner, I’d encourage you to get there next year.
   Cleaning up the litter on vacant lots is the responsibility of the property owner. Many have contacted Town Hall with complaints about the mess on vacant property and the Code Enforcement Officers have been reminding property owners of their responsibility. Everyone can help by being careful with recycling and garbage: make sure heavy items are at the top, weighing down the rest of your recycling, and use garbage cans with tight covers to prevent your garbage from blowing all over your neighborhood. A little common sense can go a long way!
    The Island is fortunate to have many volunteers who help keep litter cleaned up. Islander Zach Schaab organized an effort and 15 others, including Islanders and UB students, worked on Sunday, April 21 and made a big difference on Love Road from Baseline to the Sunoco gas station. 53 bags were collected, 28 of recyclable material and 25 of trash. You can join the West River Homeowner’s Assn. on Saturday May 11 to clean up the West River Parkway; meet at 10 AM at the Whitehaven Overlook. It’s very easy to help out, even if you can’t attend an organized event. Take a bag on your next walk around your neighborhood and pickup along the way. You can make a difference!
   Several “Adopt-A-Highway” programs exist on the Island. The West River Homeowners Association was the first group in New York State to adopt a highway, the West River Parkway, and have taken responsibility for cleaning that area since 1984. GI Rotary handles the South Parkway and the Cinderella Isle Garden Club adopted Bedell Road years ago. Signs showing that GI Little League adopted the roundabout at Staley and GI Blvd. have just gone up, and the Little League Board Members spent Sunday morning, April 14 on their spring clean-up. Life Technologies is exploring the idea of adopting Staley Road. You’ll be hearing more about that effort as it develops. Thank you all for stepping up with a great volunteer effort!
   The 4th graders will be taking their annual Historic Tour of Grand Island during May. They visit River Lea where Historical Society docents bring history to life, see several historic sites around town from their bus and spend 30 minutes at Town Hall learning about the branches of government, seeing the many artifacts gracing the walls of the Town Hall Lobby and visit the historic jail cell at the south end of the Town Hall in the State Police substation. A “Historic Grand Island Self-Guided Tour” flyer is given to each student. You can get one at the Chamber of Commerce Office, in the kiosk in the Town Hall Lower Lobby and at other sites around town.
   Be sure to put Memorial Day Services on your calendar for Monday, May 27. The VFW visits all six Island cemeteries beginning at 7:40 AM at Whitehaven Cemetery. The Town Service at DeGlopper Park begins at 10 AM, featuring patriotic music by the High School Wind Ensemble and Calling the Roll of Grand Islanders who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Gold Star Mothers Mary Ann Crowe and Shirley Luther will be honored. VFW Poppies will be sold around town during Memorial Day weekend; be sure to get one and wear it to the service on May 27.
   It is an honor to serve as your Supervisor and I’m most grateful to all of the Grand Island citizens who every day help make our Island the great place that it is. Thank you! Please let me know if there is an idea you have or a concern that needs to be addressed. I am easily reached at the office, by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us




Town Board Action
Permit Event Law Opposed By Many - April 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., April 15, 2013 . . .The second public hearing of the night regarding amending the Town Code elicited zero in favor and many (5), against at Monday night's Town Board meeting. The Permit Event Law had some in the audience thinking that a large party or funeral would necessitate getting a permit. Due to the confusion, the law was tabled for further discussion. A formal plan is needed after the success of the "Taste of Grand Island" event last year at which thousands of people were in attendance. See copy of "Local Law To Require Public Assembly Permits".
   The Town is participating in an Island Prescription Center advertising opportunity. The Confidential Tip Line phone number will be posted on the prescription bags. The Tip Line is where you can report information on any illegal alcohol/narcotics activity, including underage drinking and sales to minors.
   The Town Board approved the purchase of a 2013 Dodge Charger by the Grand Island Police Department at a cost of $24,997 off the Ontario County Bid, in accordance with General Municipal Law 103. The Board also approved the Site Plan modification of 101 Whitehaven Road, River Oaks Marina Sales & Office building pending review by the Board of Architectural Review.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the summer hire list of Parks & Recreation Director Linda Tufillaro for Recreation Attendants and Maintenance workers.
•Approved the waiver of Site Plan Requirements for 2457 Grand Island Blvd. formerly TCBY and McDonald's. The new owner is converting the property to a restaurant/bar, which is a change of use.
•By a vote of 3-2, approved the addition of a $75 application fee for "Community Gardens." Councilmen Gary Roesch and Chris Aronica voted against.
•Approved the application of the "Community Garden" located at the corner of Ransom Road and Stony Point Road.
•Approved the appointment of James T. Szakacs to a temporary one year term on the Board of Assessment Review to facilitate the potential increase in complaints on Reassessment Grievance Day.
•Approved the Final Plat for five frontage lots on Whitehaven Road in Phase 9A of the Park Place Subdivision.
•Approved the special use permit for a home barber shop at 3059 Second Ave.
•Approved to continue the renewal of special use permits each year.
•Approved the request to make off street parking at 125 Sturbridge Lane for access to a model home in New England Estates Subdivision.
•Re-designated Sam Akinbami to an additional two-year term on the Erie County Environmental Management Council.




Hello Grand Islanders! - April 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   Happy spring! As the warm weather finally arrives it will be great to get outside. Please help clean-up the debris from the winter that is strewn about your neighborhood. Several organized clean-up opportunities exist; please check isledegrande.com for details. In a related beautification effort, nine trees will be planted in Ed Ball Park (corner of Love and Stony Point Roads) on Saturday, April 13 beginning at 9 AM. Bring shovels and rakes marked with your name and dress for the weather. To help keep things around town looking neat please pay attention to your garbage cans and recycling bins. Garbage is required to be in rigid, covered containers. Please place heavy recycling items at the top of your recycling box to keep papers and plastic containers from blowing all over your neighborhood.
   If you haven't already done so, sign up for alerts so you know when the bridge suddenly backs up, as it did on Wednesday morning. At around 10:30 AM a plate that came loose needed to be secured, causing the right lane of the southbound south bridge to be closed for about 2 hours. With only one lane in use, traffic backed up to Whitehaven Road in a very short amount of time. If you were signed up you received an alert letting you know that this delay was happening, allowing you to make the necessary adjustments to your travel schedule. Go to Thruway.ny.gov or NITTEC.org to sign up. Be sure to specify the areas of interest or you will receive alerts for the entire length of the Thruway!
   Don't forget the Boater's Seminar and Luncheon this Saturday, April 6 at the Buffalo Launch Club at 9:30 AM. Speakers from both US and Canadian Law Enforcement Agencies will be on hand to explain the rules they will be enforcing out on the water. Cost is $15 and reservations can be made by calling 773-7629.
   The Town-wide Reassessment Project is nearly complete. Informal hearings were held during March and those residents who had an informal hearing will receive new notices in the mail informing them of changes, if any, in their assessment. The Tentative Tax Roll must be filed by May 1. The Board of Assessment Review will meet on Tuesday, May 28 to hear from any property owners who wish to challenge their assessment. An appointment can be scheduled after May 1 by calling the Assessor's Office at 773-9600 ext. 648.
   Prescription Drug Abuse is a huge problem, especially with teenagers, and a Community Conversation is planned to help educate you about the problem and offer suggestions for prevention. Come to the Grand Island Fire Company Main Hall at Baseline Road and Grand Island Blvd. on Tuesday, April 16 at 7 PM. Islander and WIVB-TV reporter Luke Moretti will moderate a panel of experts and refreshments from Marco's Deli and Dunkin’ Donuts will be served. The event is sponsored by One Island, One Team, One Dream, Drug Free and the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. If you have unused prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs around the house that are no longer needed, bring them to the Drug Drop Off Day on Saturday, April 27 at Town Hall from 10 AM – 2 PM. This is the best way to dispose of them. For convenient disposal anytime you may take these items to the Island Prescription Center, 1728 Grand Island Blvd. DO NOT flush them down the toilet or put them down the drain of a sink as they get into the water supply and could cause trouble for others.
    I hope you have a chance to get outside to enjoy the springtime! If you have any suggestions for our town please stop by and let me know, call the office at 773-9600, ext. 616 or send an e-mail to mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.




Town Board Action
Community Garden Law Passes - April 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., April 1, 2013 . . . Councilman Ray Billica absent.
    The Town Board and Supervisor approved the adoption of Local Law #1 to amend the town code and provide for community gardens. Speaking in favor at the public hearing was John and Brigette Drehs and Corey McGowan. Mr. Drehs stated that 31 plots have been registered and that there is space for 114 plots. The Drehs' have been active in the past in a community garden in Oregon and stated that the gardens "promote community wellness." A yearly permit will be required.
   The Board approved the bond resolution to increase and improve the Williams Road Project at a cost not to exceed $130,000. The project consists of the replacement and installation of 1,100 linear feet of 8-inch watermain and associate costs.
   A motion was approved to cover the purchase and installation of security cameras and fire system upgrades for Town Hall at an amount not to exceed $13,000. The Board appointed Tom Franz as Assistant to the Officer in Charge of the part-time Grand Island Police effective April 2nd. Three parcels of land were rezoned due to the fact a planned canal was never built, therefore the parcels cannot be classified as water front. The parcels were a portion of the Buffalo Launch Club, a portion of Anchor Marine and a vacant lot at the corner of East River and Ferry Roads.
   New signs on the South Parkway near Kaegebein School were changed to reflect actual arrival and departure times of students. The new signs omitted the phrase "School Days" and have caused confusion to motorists. The Board approved the request by Councilman Ray Billica to send a letter to the NYS DOT to have the phrase restored to the signs.
\    A 100% federally funded grant from "Safe Routes to School Project" is in place that will improve the safety of students in the Grand Island High School and Veronica Connor Middle School area. Sidewalks will be constructed on the north side of Ransom Rd. from International Lane to Stony Point and assorted areas around Regency, Bishops Gate, Cardinal Lane, Brandywine Lane & Continental Lane. The project will also purchase a vehicle speed feedback sign for deployment by the Town Police. Councilman Dick Crawford noted that Councilman Ray Billica "did a good job" in making this project happen.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the setting of a public hearing for April 15th regarding the Increase and Improvements of the Consolidated Water District, Water Tank Painting Project.
•Approved the bid of $30,956.00 by Comforts of Home for a Restroom Trailer to be located at Veterans Park as a cost efficient alternative to a restroom building (approx. $100,000).
•Approved the hiring of five Recreation Attendants part time, by Parks & Rec. Director Linda Tufillaro.
•Approved the renewal of two special use permits; by Glenn Wallace for a Bed & Breakfast on North Colony and Carol Merckel to keep 2 agricultural animals on East River Road.




Town Board Action
Parks & Recreation Director, Assessment Clerk Retiring - March 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., March 18, 2013 . . .Two long time Town employees have tendered their letters of retirement. Parks & Recreation Director Linda Tufillaro began with the Town as a park attendant in 1970 and has spent the last 39 years as Director. Assessment clerk Mickey Kujawa is also retiring after 22 years of service to the Town. The Board accepted with regret their letters and will be sending letters of appreciation to them both.
   Starting April 10th, a member of State Senator Mark Grisanti's staff will be available at the Town Hall every 2nd Wednesday of each month, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. to answer any questions or concerns. The Town's claim for property damage at the Nike Base due to vandals has been turned down by U.S. Specialty Insurance Company. The repair costs are $2,791.31 and the deductable is $10,000.
   The Knights of Columbus has started a Tuesday BINGO night which requires the Town to provide a bingo inspector, to "ensure that the games are being conducted fairly and to prevent the diversion of proceeds". Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel's staff has been acting as inspectors to date. Town Clerk Frentzel recommended the appointment of Jen Buckley for the remainder of 2013 at a rate of $40 per event that is investigated. The Knights of Columbus pays an $18.75 permit fee for each event and 3% of net profits. The Town Board approved this measure.

In other business, the Board:
•A special use permit was approved for Arlene Clark of Second Ave. to operate a barber shop in her home.
•Approved the request of Parks & Recreation for the purchase of a water wheel from John Deere Landscapes at the low bid price of $7,795.00.
•Tabled the request for a recreational pond and grading permit for the Burkman residence, 800 Kirkwood Drive, pending a historical and wetland review.
•Approved the site plan approval for JM Science, 2405 Bedell Road, for fewer parking spaces, contingent upon Zoning Board variance.
•Approved the site plan for the addition of one extra space for a recreational park trailer at KOA, 2570 Grand Island Blvd.
•Set a public hearing for April 1st to consider improvements of the Grand Island Consolidated Water District and also a local law amending the Town Code to provide for community gardens. The community garden is located at the corner of Stony Point Road and Ransom Road.




Hello Grand Islanders! - March 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    You’ve likely noticed all the signs of an upcoming South Grand Island Bridge Project. Closure of the southbound South Bridge for the deck rehabilitation project will begin on Sunday, March 17 at 8 PM. On Sunday through Thursday nights the bridge will be closed from 8 PM until 6 AM the following morning. After Memorial Day the project start time will move to 9 PM. This project is much less intense than the deck replacement of the northbound South Bridge that happened in 2010. A great way to keep abreast of bridge closures and traffic is to request personal alerts from NITTEC, the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition. Find them at NITTEC.org. The NYS Thruway Authority is planning a press conference next week so you will likely see more information about the South Bridge Project throughout the media following the press conference.
    Information from the Thruway Authority to help you plan trips that involve the South Bridge: The Beaver Island Parkway ramp to Southbound I-190 will be closed Sunday through Thursday while the contractor is working between 8pm to 6am. NOTE: The Beaver Island Parkway On-Ramp will be closed approximately one-half hour before the start of work at 8p.m. So around 7:30pm the contractor will start closing that ramp so they can start working on the bridge at 8pm. Traffic will be detoured to Whitehaven Road on-ramp or Long Road on-ramp. Additionally, on the main-land the southbound River Road Exit 17 will be closed during the same work period. Also, the sidewalk on the southbound south bridge is closed. The northbound south bridge sidewalk remains open.
    By now all Grand Island property owners have received their 2013 Assessment Notification. In addition to the informal reviews that can be made by appointment, there is an opportunity to ask questions of the project contractor, Emminger, Newton, Pigeon and Magyar, Inc. Head over to the library, 1715 Bedell Road, on Tuesday, March 12 from 4:30 – 6:30 PM. The comparable sales books will be available and experts will be on hand to answer any questions. It is important that everyone understands the reassessment project and its effect on their property. If you have questions contact the Assessment Hotline Office at (716) 712-5550. They are there to help you. Comparable sales books are conveniently available in the Town Hall and at the Library anytime those buildings are open.
    We have a new Town Historian! On Monday night the Town Board unanimously appointed isledegrande’s own Jodi Robinson to the position. She will also serve on the Town’s Historic Preservation Advisory Board. Also appointed Monday night were Kim McMahon to the Board of Ethics and Angelo Grande to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Welcome! These are the final appointments for 2013 and very soon the updated Advisory Board Booklet will be available in the kiosk in the lobby of Town Hall. We have over 100 diligent volunteers who advise the Town Board on a wide range of topics. Thank you all!
    We remain hopeful that the case of the Nike Base vandalism will be solved. Many hours of investigation and interviews have produced good information. Should you have anything to add please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 858-2903.
    We just received the great news that the Town of Grand Island is the 2012 recipient of the New York State Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) Structures Project of the Year Award for Fisherman’s Landing. Previously the project had won the award from the Western Branch of the NY APWA and now it has won from all the projects submitted from across New York State. The awards will be given at a banquet in April that is part of the annual New York APWA conference in Geneva, NY.
    If you need to take the 8-hour required boater safety course there is one at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road on Saturday, March 23 from 8 AM – 5 PM. The Launch Club will host a Boater’s Seminar featuring both United States and Canadian Law Enforcement Agencies on Saturday, April 6 from 9:30 – 12 noon.
    Please continue to stay in touch, especially with any suggestions that could help improve our town. I am easily reached in the office at 773-9600, ext. 616 or at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us




Town Board Action
Courtroom Packed By Firearms Resolution Supporters
Alex Brown Honored With Proclamation - March 2013

Alex Brown, center, receives Proclamation as family and Town Board look on.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., March 4, 2013 . . .The Town of Grand Island introduced a resolution adopting the suspension of the "New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013" on the agenda and it brought out many supporters. Three of the crowd spoke at the public comments section; Rus Thompson thanked the board for their action, adding that Grand Island would become the 24th town or village to pass a resolution. Jay Hardy offered a lengthy opinion in support of repealing the entire bill. Grand Island Rod & Gun Club representative Mark Hassan gave an official position statement on behalf of the club. There were no speakers against the resolution.
   A proclamation honoring Grand Island High School senior Alexandra Brown was read by Supervisor Mary Cooke. Alex was the 2012 Niagara Gazette Athlete of the Year, holds the GIHS high jump record, has been named the best girls' volleyball player in GIHS history and named to the All WNY Volleyball Team for the past two years. Alex has also received a full scholarship to the U. of Maryland where she will play Division I volleyball.
   The Town Board approved the appointment of three individuals to various advisory boards. Angelo Grande to the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, filling an unexpired term ending December 31, 2016. Kimberly McMahon apointed as a member of the Board of Ethics filling an unexpired term ending December 31, 2015 and Jodi Robinson as Town Historian and a place on the Historic Preservation Advisory Board for the remainder of a one-year term expiring December 31, 2013.
   Two other resolutions were adopted supporting the funding for grass cutting along the West River and South Parkways and in support of State legislation to make financial institutions accountable for abandoned or foreclosure properties.
In other business, the Board:
•Adopted the Town part time seasonal salary schedule, which reflects the 1% raise given all other town employees as of January 1, 2013.
•Approved the preparation of bond resolutions for the Williams Road Waterline Reconstruction and the maintenance painting of the water treatment plant clear well and Whitehaven Road tank.
•Awarded the bid for a 2013 Ford Transit Van to low bidder, Basil Ford Inc. in the amount of $20,849.00.
•Approved the promotion of Gillman Clarke and James Federspiel to full time Water Treatment Plant Operator.
•Authorized the advertising for bids for a Restroom Trailer for Veteran's Park.
•Approved budget transfers and amendments to balance 2012.







Reassessment Research Center Available - February 2013

   Town Assessor Judy Tafelski has announced a Reassessment Research Center will be set up at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Rd. on Thursday, March 7th, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday, March 12th, from 4:30p.m. until 6:30 p.m. A representative of the town reassessment contractor, Joseph H. Emminger of Emminger Newton Pigeon and Magyar, Inc. will be available with research materials and staff to answer any questions you may have on the informal hearing process.



Reassessment Information Meeting & Videos - February 2013

   A public meeting will take place on February 28, 2013 in the court room of the Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. At the meeting, information will be given as to exactly when the “new” assessment notices will be mailed out to the property owners and what the property owners’ next course of action is once they receive the notice.
Property tax and assessment videos
About property taxes and assessments - video
Contesting an assessment - video
Is your assessment fair? - video
Property tax exemptions - video




Grand Island 2013 Reassessment Project Update - February 2013

   Buffalo, NY, February 14, 2013.... In an effort to keep the property owners informed as to what information they will receive in March 2013, a public meeting will take place on February 28, 2013 in the court room of the Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. At the meeting, information will be given as to exactly when the “new” assessment notices will be mailed out to the property owners and what the property owners’ next course of action is once they receive the notice.
   If any resident or business owner has any questions on the project, they may call the Grand Island Project Hotline at 712-5550.




Hello Grand Islanders! - February 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   The Town-wide Reassessment Project is on schedule with an informational update scheduled for Thursday, February 28 at 7 PM in the court room at Town Hall. Those needing handicapped access should use the parking lot to the north of Town Hall and enter using the ramp from the parking lot between Town Hall and the Fire Hall. Letters detailing the new assessment for each property will be mailed on March 1. Included with the new assessment will be directions for the next steps to take if you do not think the assessment assigned to your property is accurate. Grand Island property owners will have the months of March and April to have an informal review with the project contractor to resolve any incorrect information or to provide different comparable properties. Be sure to visit the recently updated Online Assessment Information page at gigov.com. It contains a wealth of facts and you will be able to easily compare your property to similar properties that have recently sold. For those needing to view a hard copy of Grand Island sales, books will be available at Town Hall and at the Grand Island Memorial Library, during the normal operating hours for both locations.
   Additional hours for tax collection at the Town Clerk’s Office will be on Saturday, February 9 from 9 am -12 Noon and on the afternoons of Thursday, February 14 and Friday, February 15 until 6:00 PM. February 15 is the last day to pay taxes without a penalty.
   The Town Board will not meet a second time in February because three Councilmembers and the Town Clerk will be attending the Association of Towns annual meeting in New York City, February 17 – 20. Joining them will be one judge and the Town Accountant. The next regular Town Board Meeting is Monday, March 4 at 8 PM with a workshop at 6:30 PM.
   Dog Control Officers Mike Ludwig and Chris Garcia want to remind everyone that dogs over six months of age need to be licensed. They are currently working with the Town Clerk’s Office on the list of delinquent dog licenses. If you receive a bright yellow reminder card please follow the directions are get your dog’s license renewed. If you no longer own the dog or if it has died, a quick call to the Clerk’s Office with that information will save a great amount of time and aggravation for you, the Dog Control Officers and the Clerk’s Office.
   Congress on Your Corner will be in the upper lobby of Town Hall on Thursday, February 21 from 10 AM- 12 Noon. This is a great way for you to bring any concerns you have to the staff of one of Grand Island’s federal representatives, Congressman Brian Higgins.
   As you have probably seen and heard, the town has been dealing with an unusual amount of vandalism at the Nike Base. Erie County Sheriff Detective Brian O’Hara would appreciate any information at 858-2903 concerning anything you may have observed in and around the Nike Base on Dec. 30, Jan. 19, Jan 20 or the weekend of Jan. 26 and 27. Crime Stoppers have offered up to $1,000 as a reward for information.
   If you haven’t already taken a look, stop by the library lobby to see the “Tugs and Scows” photo display, prepared by the Town’s Historic Preservation Advisory Board (HPAB), showing transportation to and from Grand Island in the days before the bridges. Members of the HPAB are interested in preserving Island history and would like to scan your historical photos and documents for future use. Watch for announcements for days and times when members of the HPAB will be in the library meeting room. They scan while you wait so you can take your photos and documents home with you. Also on display in one of the library lobby cases is memorabilia found in the Kaegebein School time capsule from 1952, as well as the time capsule itself, that was opened in honor of Kaegebein’s 60th anniversary last fall.
   If you have any idea you would like to share or information you think I should know, please contact me at 773-9600, ext. 616 or mcooke@grand-island.ny.us




Town Board Action
Grant For Senior Van Turned Down - February 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., February 4, 2013 . . .The Town of Grand Island applied for a Community Development Block Grant to purchase a van for the Golden Age Center at a cost of $55,700. The request was not recommended for inclusion by the Project Selection Committee. Forty-six applications were received with a dollar value of $3,271,576.
   Three public hearings were held, two increased the bond resolutions for sewer improvements at Park Place/Whitehaven Farms and at the Facilities of the Consolidated Sewer District. The third public hearing was to rezone and amend the Town Zoning Map for the areas of 503 East River, 1501 Ferry Road and a vacant lot at the corner of East River and Ferry Roads. There were no speakers either for or against and all were approved.
    Time Warner Cable has announced price changes going into effect on March 1, 2013 for Grand Island. Most customers will average an increase on their total bill of 2.6 percent.
   The Town Board approved the recommendation of GIPD Officer in Charge Christopher Soluri to hire Thomas Dewey, Thomas Doctor, Michael Haynes, Albert Liberatore, Lisa Marrone and Lee Richard as part-time GIPD officers.
In other business, the Board:
•Approved the request by Town Engineer John Whitney to advertise for bids for a Water Department Ford Transit Connect Van.
•Approved the Tower Permit Renewals from Global Signal Acquisitons for the towers located at the Bedell Road Bikepath and at 3078 Staley Road.
•Approved the appointment of Jacqueline McGinty as Assessment Clerk, Part-time.
•Set a public hearing date of March 4, 2013 for a request to amend the Gun Creek Development Concept Plan.




Property Tax Exemptions Deadline - January 2013

   March 1st is the deadline for all Basic STAR, Enhanced/Senior STAR and Veterans property tax exemptions to be added to the assessment roll for School tax year 2013/2014 and Town/County tax year 2014. There will be no courtesy telephone calls made. If you have not already done so, please bring your paperwork to the Assessors office at Town Hall on or before Friday, March 1.




2013 Town/County Tax Bills Sent - January 2013

    Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel announced that the 2013 Town/County Tax Bills have been mailed. If you have changed banks, have paid off your mortgage or do not have an escrow account and did not receive a tax bill, please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 773-9600 ext. 620 or 600. The office will be open extras hours on Saturday, February 9th from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Thursday, February 14th from 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Friday, February 15th from 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is February 15th. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of February 15 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made February 16th and later. Payments can be made until July 1, 2013. After this date, payments must be sent to the County. Debit cards are accepted at the office, service fees apply. Online tax receipts and payments are available at www.gigov.com. Service fees apply.




Town Board Action
Town Receives $205,004 Safe Routes To School Grant - January 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Tue., January 22, 2013 . . .The Town of Grand Island recently received approval for the request of $205,004 in funding for Safe Routes to School Program. The program is 100% federally funded and will be used to upgrade the area around the high school and middle school. The project will include 4,156 feet of sidewalk and a crosswalk. Maintenance will be shared by the school district and town. Homeowners are expected to keep the sidewalks clear in front of their homes.
   The Town Board accepted with regret the retirement notice of Mrs. Diane Nesbitt after fifteen years of service at the Town Hall.
    An application for funds for the Scenic Woods Nature Trail has not been selected by the Department of State. The Town will look for other sources to continue the project.
   The Town has announced they have received $9,734.77 for recycled eWaste in 2012. The first year of eWaste recycling gathered 113,195 pounds at 8.6 cents per pound.
   The Town Board denied the request of Jack Hugill to purchase/acquire a paper street (George Alt Blvd.) adjacent to 2527 Bedell Road. The rejection is due to the uncertainty of future development, possibly as a utility corridor.
In other business, the Board:
•Approved the reappointment of Assessor Judy Tafelski to a six-year term ending in September of 2019.
•Authorized Councilman Gary Roesch to cast one vote for the Town at the Associations of Towns meeting.
•Approved the position of Assessment Clerk Part-Time.
•Approved the bid of $35,092.25 with a $6,000 trade-in by Niagara Frontier for a Highway Department Brush Chipper.
•Approved the bid of $24,182 by Viking Cives for a Highway Department All Season Dump Box.
•Authorized Supervisor Mary Cooke to sign contracts for Water/Wastwater Service for Beaver Island State Park with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
•Referred the matter of clear cutting commercial property to the Town Board for further discussion.
•Approved the request by the Parks and Recreation Department to purchase a new pick up truck with lift and an off road utility vehicle, not to exceed $22,000 and $6,800 respectively.




Advisory Board Openings - January 2013

    The Town of Grand Island is seeking interested individuals to volunteer for openings on the PARKS & RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD and the BOARD OF ETHICS REVIEW. Any member of the community who is interested in serving should submit a letter of interest, including relevant experience, education or training to Town Supervisor Mary S. Cooke, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island, New York 14072 or by email to townboard@grand-island.ny.us. The position of Town Historian, which is paid an honorarium of $1,500 annually, is open. Interested parties should apply following the same process shown above. Letters received prior to 5:00 p.m. Friday, January 25, 2013 will be considered. For additional information contact any member of the Town Board.




Town Board Action
Town Receives $230,000 Settlement - January 2013

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., January 7, 2013 . . .The Town of Grand Island breach of contract lawsuit against Waste Management of New York has been settled to the tune of $230,000. The dispute came about on January 2, 2007 when the Town wanted to renew its contract with Waste Management. Waste Management informed the Town later that day that the contract had expired and would not be renewed. The settlement will help pay for the costs of emergency garbage pick-up that ensued.
    A long list of items regarding the organization of the Town were adopted by the Town Board. See list for details. The advisory board appointments and Supervisor's appointments were also adopted, see list. Part-time Dog Control Officers, Michael Ludwig and Christopher Garcia were reappointed.
   The Town Board accepted with regret the resignation of Teddy Linenfelser as Town Historian.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the purchase of security upgrades at the Town Hall not to exceed $3,000 and $5,000 for tables and chairs for the Golden Age Center. This money is from a dedicated source from 2007 by the State of New York.
•Approved an amended site plan for the Dunkin Donuts property with the requirement that paving be completed.
•Approved the low bid of L.D.C. Construction in the amount of $9,380.00 for the Rupp Creek Drainage Improvement Project.
•Approved the hiring of Molly Meka as a part-time Recreation Attendant.
•Approved the special use permit renewal of Robert Mesmer, 2548 Love Road for use of private airport/landing strip.




Golden Age Center Members Stuff Tax Bills - January 2013


Standing: Dorothy Lew, Gloria Diringer, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Bernie Callahan and Betty Marinell
Seated: Chris Bihler, Martha Mueller, Hank and Nonnie Carroll - Click for larger view

   Members of the Grand Island Golden Age Center spent Tuesday, January 8, 2013 stuffing envelopes to mail the 2013 town and county tax bills to residents of Grand Island. This is the 10th year, different members have donated their time for this project and also for the mailing of the school tax bills in the fall. Making it extra special was Hank Carroll celebrating his 91st birthday. Happy Birthday Hank!



Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board Seeks Old Family Photos/Documents - January 2013


Click for larger view

   The Town of Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board will have volunteers available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, January 19, 2013 and on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at the Grand Island Memorial Library, Bedell Road, to scan any pictures and/or documents you may have that will provide historical information about Grand Island. The Board is particularly interested in pictures of Island residents and/or visitors who can be identified by the person who owns the picture, and in pictures of buildings that no longer exist on the Island.
The Town of Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board will have volunteers available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Board is asking that information about the photos accompanies them. The volunteers will scan your pictures at the library and return them to you immediately. Have you ever wondered why your family's old home on Grand Island hasn't been featured in one of the public displays at the library or Town Hall? Would you like the rest of the Town residents to know about your grandparents or great-grandparents (or great-great-grandparents) and their contribution to the settlement of Grand Island? Here is your chance.




Hello Grand Islanders! - January 2013


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
Happy New Year Grand Islanders!
   The Grand Island Town Hall Court Room was the setting on December 31 for the swearing in ceremony for Assembly member John Ceretto and Councilmember Chris Aronica. Grand Island is now the southernmost part of New York State Assembly District #145, the only Erie County municipality in the otherwise Niagara County District. I believe this is the first time that the Island's NYS Assembly representative has chosen our town for an inauguration. Best wishes to both John and Chris for much success in their terms!
   My sincere thanks to Teddy Linenfelser for over 12 years of dedicated service as Grand Island Town Historian. With her retirement comes an opening for this important job. If you have any interest in serving as Town Historian, please contact any town board member or send an e-mail to townboard@grand-island.ny.us.
   I am very sad to report extensive vandalism at the Nike Base, we believe on Sunday and early Monday. The buildings on the west side of the complex were entered and stored paint was used to put graffiti on both interior and exterior building walls and on the Golden Age bus. The interior of the bus was also heavily damaged. The police investigation is ongoing. Please contact the Sheriff at 858-2903 if you have any information.
    On a much happier note Fisherman's Landing, Grand Island's waterfront park on East River Road at the South GI Bridge, was awarded the 2012 Facilities/Structures Project of the Year Award by the Western New York Branch of the APWA, the American Public Works Association. This award promotes excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the partnership between the managing agency and participating consultants and contractors. The Town's Engineering Department nominated the project and a group of town representatives will accept the award at a banquet next month.
   Please remember it is the property owner's responsibility to shovel sidewalks. Many people rely on cleared sidewalks for safe walking so do your part to keep them clear. Besides being a good neighbor, cleared sidewalks will also keep you from getting a ticket and having to pay a fine.
   The Library has great news: it is open on Tuesday nights until 9 PM, which is an addition of 4 hours each week. An eReader open lab is scheduled for Saturday, January 12 from 10 AM- 1 PM, giving everyone a chance to learn about using electronic reading devices and borrowing electronic books from the library. Get more information and sign up for the class by calling the library at 773-7124.
   The Town's Historic Preservation Advisory Board would like to scan your historic photos and documents, while you wait, at the library meeting room on Jan. 19 from 10 AM – 2 PM. While you are there take a look at the historic ferryboat photos on display. During January the Kaegebein Time Capsule items will be placed in one of the display cases in the lobby of the library.
   A few reminders about trash pickup: trash should be placed at the curb no more than 24 hours prior to pick up. The Erie County Health Department requires trash to be placed in a rigid container with a lid. Cleaning up strewn trash is the property owner's responsibility. There is much less of a chance for trash to be strewn and blown about if it is in a covered container and if it is at the curb for the shortest amount of time possible. Christmas trees may be placed with the trash. Again, they should be at the curb no more than 24 hours ahead of pickup. Electronic waste cannot be taken with the trash. You need to take it to the Highway Garage, 1820 Whitehaven Road, any business day between 8 AM and 4 PM.
   It is hard to believe it is already 2013! I hope your holidays were relaxing and enjoyable and the New Year is off to a great start for you and yours. If you have any ideas or concerns about our town please let me know the next time you are at Town Hall or when I see you around town. I am also easily reached at 773-9600, ext 616 or mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.