Front Page
Events Calendar
Letters To Editor
Better Health
Book Reviews
Love Your Home
In the Service


View our Archives

Between Archives

Town News
School Board
Town Board
Lost Pets
GI Schools
Fire News
Fire Report

Sign In
Old Guestbooks

ReUnion Central

Advertise With Us
Yellow Pages
Business News

New Photos
Old Photo Album
Town History

Alumni Association
American Legion
Autism Support
Bible Fellowship Center
Bible Presbyterian Church
Boy Scout Troop #510
Boy Scout Troop #630
Bridgeview Garden Club
Buffalo Launch Club
Bus Garage
Chamber of Commerce
Cinderella Isle
  Garden Club

Community Chorus
Connor Middle School
Conservative Committee
Coop Nursery School
Cornerstone Church
Cub Pack #425
Cub Pack #630
Democratic Comm.
East Park Garden Club
Fire Company
Friends of the Library
Girl Scouts
Golden Age Center
Grand Island Farms
GI Foundation
GI High School
GI Little League
GI Soccer Club
GI Teachers Assoc.
Historic Trinity
Historical Society
Holy Name Society
(St. Stephen's)

Huth Road
Elementary School

Presbyterian Church

Jack and Jill Preschool
Jr. Viking Football
Kaegebein School
Kiwanis Club
Knights of Columbus
Knights of Columbus
Good Samaritan

League of Women Voters
Lions Club
Miracle League
Moose Lodge #180
MOPS - Mothers
of Preschoolers

Neighbors Foundation
Parent Teachers Assoc.
Recreation Department
Relay For Life
Republican Women's Club
Republican Committee
River Lea Quilters
Rotary Club
Sandy Beach Yacht Club
Sidway Reunion
Sidway School
Snowmobile Club
St. Martin-in-the-Fields
St. Stephen Church
St. Stephen
Parish Players

St. Stephen School
St. Timothy
Lutheran Church

Save The Michael's
Teddy's Islettes
Trinity UM Church
VFW 9249
West River Homeowners
Women's Club of GI
Young Life
Zonta Club

Currency Exchange
Temperament Sorter
Language Translator
Online Recipes
NYS Government
Postal Services

Yellow Page Listings
Click Above to View


Roberta Butler, L.Ac.

Mallwitz's Island Lanes

GI Auto Tech

Blue Water Marina

Grand Island Chiropractic

Riverview Chiropractic

Sara Allen, LMSW

Miss Cathy's Dance

Flower A Day

Kaiser Funeral Home

Magic Towel Holder

the M.O.G.

Diane Garey Interiors

State Farm - Bob Piatek

deSignet International

Sam Long's Landscaping

Mark J. Frentzel
Mark S. Nemeth

Aceti's Wine & Spirits
Rose Liquor

GI Chiropractic & Massage

Grand Island Optical

Morgan Plumbing Inc.

Marston Power Equipment

Century 21/Gerrie Andolina
Town Center/Betty Harris
RE/MAX-Linda Kutzbach
HUNT-Sherry McDonald
Howard Hanna
Joan Dlugokinski

John's Pizza & Subs
Ellden's at River Oaks
The Village Inn

GI Waste Management

Island Ship Center Inc.

Elderwood at Grand Island

Otto Zimmerman and Son

Town Board News - 2014

Previous Town Board News Pages

Town of Grand Island Website

Town Board Action
Fire Company Contract Brings Out the Troops - December 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., December 15, 2014 . . .    A public hearing regarding the Grand Island Fire Company contract brought out many of GI's finest. The five-year contract was approved and calls for the Fire Company to be paid $1,138,270 in 2015 and rise to $1,284,681 in 2019. Former Fire Chief and current director Greg Butcher spoke, thanking the Town Board for "hard and diligent work" putting the contract together. The second public hearing was a resolution to set sewer rents in the Consolidated Sanitary Sewer District at $5.20 per 1000 gallons of water in 2015.
   At a Lighthouse Pointe Development public hearing, correspondence from the Planning Board regarding a 62 day default requirement was introduced and no action was taken. Several residents spoke against the project and there were no residents speaking in favor.

    Approved the creation of a Senior Account Clerk Typist-Part Time position in the Accounting Department. Helen Newkirk will continue to work in her retirement, managing all the health insurance portion of her former duties.

   Approved the request by Republic Services to change two routes for trash/recycling pickup. Majestic Woods from Wednesday to Thursday and New England Village from Thursday to Friday.

   Approved the bid from Lenzner Painting for the painting of nine exterior parking lot poles at the Grand Island Memorial Library in the amount of $2,950.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit at Sparks Trading Post, 2660 Bedell Road for the keeping of up to 50 animals.
•The site plan for a new hotel at 2710 Grand Island Blvd. was approved. C&B International plans to convert a former medical center into a 84 room hotel. It will be the home base of a bus tour company.
•Approved the extension of the Town's Computer Support agreement with Network Services, LLC from Jan. 1, 2015 - March 15, 2015.

Town Advisory Board Openings - December 2014

    The Town of Grand Island is seeking interested individuals to volunteer for numerous Advisory Board openings: TRAFFIC SAFETY ADVISORY BOARD, CONSERVATION ADVISORY BOARD, and an alternate to the ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD. 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. Letters received by 5:00 pm. on Monday, December 29, 2014 will be considered. For additional information contact any member of the Town Board.

Proposals for Sheltering Stray Dogs - December 2014

   The Town of Grand Island is seeking proposals for leasing space in the Town of Grand Island for sheltering stray dogs, beginning in January, 2015, pursuant to the provisions of Sections 115 and 116 of the Agriculture & Markets Law of New York State. Requirements include providing three indoor, heated cages with 24-hour access and the ability to care for dogs delivered to the facility by Dog Control or Law Enforcement Officers. Please include in your response contact information, photos of the space proposed to be used, price for a two-year contract, with 2 two-year renewals and any other pertinent information. Responses may be delivered in person, sent by mail or emailed to townboard@grand-island.ny.us. Responses received at Town Hall by 5:00 p.m. on December 19, 2014 will be considered.

Hello Islanders! - December 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    The Court Room was overflowing with citizens on Monday night, most of them in attendance for the public hearing on the proposed preliminary plat plan for the R-2 zoned Lighthouse Pointe project at the south corner of Whitehaven and East River Roads. The plan was reviewed at the November Planning Board Meeting on November 10, and on Nov. 17 the Town Board set the public hearing for December 1. The public hearing is the first opportunity for the Town Board to hear from the public and several citizens spoke in opposition to the proposal. There were also many questions posed, and the Town Board is seeking answers to those questions. It is important to know that the purpose of a public hearing is to hear what those in attendances at a meeting think about whatever matter is being considered. I heard from several people who were disappointed that the Town Board members did not express any opinions about the project on Monday night. As I explained to them, it would have been most inappropriate for us to express opinions about a matter at this very early stage. We are gathering information and are nowhere near making a decision. The public hearing has been left open and anyone wishing to express their thoughts on this proposal may do so by sending an e-mail to townboard@grand-island.ny.us Letter to the Town Board, sent to Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, are also fine.
    Grand Island is part of a mutual aid arrangement with many municipalities for emergency situations and for the recent snowstorm we were able to help. The Highway Department lent the Town of Lancaster a plow truck with a motor equipment operator and a wingman to assist in their post storm cleanup. Grand Island’s Emergency Services Coordinator, Nicole Gerber, spent a day helping West Seneca with their Emergency Operations. Our Fire Company deployed resources and assets during the storm as requested by agencies and towns. Due to the high need for the local American Red Cross to set up shelters, they requested the shelter trailer that had been stationed at the GI wastewater treatment facility and a GI Fire Company member assisted by taking the trailer to where it was needed. Our Code Enforcement Officers were on the call list but were not needed this time. Thank you to everyone involved for a fine effort!
    After nearly nineteen years on the Town Board, Councilman Dick Crawford has been appointed by Highway Superintendent James Tomkins to the position of Deputy Highway Superintendent. Joe Donlon, the previous deputy, has taken a position with the Erie County Highway Department. Thank you, Councilman Crawford, for your many years of dedicated service as a Town Board Member! Best wishes in your new role in town government. The Town Board is taking letters and resumes of Islanders interested in serving the remainder of the term that expires 12/31/15. Paperwork submitted by Friday, December 5 at 5 pm will be considered.
    Christmas and New Year’s Day are both holidays for Republic Services, the firm that handles Grand Island trash and recycling, so there will be no pickup on either of those days. During each holiday week, Thursday’s route will be picked up on Friday and Friday’s on Saturday.
    The Grand Island Neighbors Foundation’s biggest annual effort is food and gifts for needy families during the holidays. Contribution boxes will be all over town. Gift cards and non-perishable food are always appreciated and the high school students will be putting everything together in early December at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Whitehaven Road. This effort involves a wide variety of Islanders and no contribution is too small. Check online or in the Dispatch for more information.
    Several opportunities exist in our town to get into the holiday spirit. Trinity Church is again hosting the Starry Night program, this Friday and Saturday. The Community Chorus performs at St. Martin’s on Baseline Road on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 7 pm. The Island Holiday Tour of Homes is happening on Saturday, Dec. 13. Holiday concerts will be held at the schools and several churches and organizations have special holiday events. Please check the isledegrande for event listings. Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season and all the best for the New Year!
    If you have a concern or suggestion regarding Grand Island, please let me know. Stop by the office when you are at Town Hall, call me at 776-9600, ext. 616 or send an e-mail to mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.

Town Board Action
Hundreds Attend Lighthouse Pointe Public Hearing - December 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., December 1, 2014 . . .    A public hearing to add Lighting District #43 breezed through without a sound. The Lighthouse Pointe development public hearing was anything but. The lone speaker in favor of the development was their own lawyer, Sean Hopkins, who described it as 246, 2-3 bedroom rental units, priced from $1395 and up. Three phases would be planned with the first to start in the center of the property. Hundreds of concerned citizens packed the courtroom and the foyer to show their displeasure at the newest plan. Joe LaLonde and Hank Cushing began the over 90 minute comment period against the project. Another dozen spoke their mind on why the project is not welcome and in some of their eyes illegal. They covered rentals versus home ownership, HOA laws, green space issues, flooding potential, vacancy issues in pre-existing apartment complexes, auto, pedestrian and bicycle traffic issues, among others. Most of the surrounding homes are upper middle class neighborhoods. The bottom line for most is the project does not fit in, it is commercial. Many speakers thought the Town Planning Board had let them down after their approval of the Preliminary Plat. A meeting is planned with Mr. LaLonde, Mr. Cushing, Councilman Gary Roesch and Town Counsel Dan Spitzer on Thursday, December 4th to answer the myriad of questions that could not be answered on Monday night.

    The Grand Island Water Department was awarded a Water Fluoridation Quality Award by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The award recognizes those communities that achieved excellence in community fluoridation by maintaining a consistent level of fluoridated water throughout 2013. In large systems, every $1 invested in fluoridation saves at least $38 in cost for dental treatment.

   The Town received a check for $219,221.29 in November from Erie County for their share of the County Mortgage Tax for the period of April 2014 thru September 2014.

   Supervisor Mary Cooke has declined the Opt Out payment for health insurance, in the amount of $4000, as she does "not believe that not utilizing health insurance coverage was ever envisioned to be a revenue source" for those who do not need coverage.

In other business, the Board:
•Scheduled a public hearing for December 15th to consider a contract between the Town and the Grand Island Fire Company.
•Approved the status change of Timothy Krecisz from Wastewater Treatment Plant Assistant to Sewer Maintenance Worker.

Town Board Seeking Candidate - November 2014

    The Town Board is seeking a Grand Island resident interested in serving the remainder of a Town Council term ending December 31, 2015. Interested parties should email a letter of interest and a resume to townboard@grand-island.ny.us or mail them to the attention of Supervisor Mary Cooke, 2255 Baseline Road. Letters and resumes received by 5:00 pm. on Friday, December 5, 2014, will be considered.

Town Board Action
Proclamation for Small Business Saturday, Budget Approval - November 2014

From left: Councilmen Gary Roesch & Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Bob Piatek, Rod Reisdorf, Tim Callahan and Jim Sharpe.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., November 17, 2014 . . .    The Town Board suspended the rules and adopted the 2015 Town Budget at the end of Monday's meeting, but not by consensus. Councilman Ray Billica voted against the entire budget package, in particular, the Fire Company portion of it. He did not agree with a few issues besides the Fire Company; a Parks Department request for additional staffing was declined by the rest of the board and a freeze on salaries set years ago was upheld. 2015 Budget.

   A proclamation was presented to a group of small business owners from Grand Island at Monday night's Town Board meeting as a promotion of Small Business Saturday on Grand Island on November 29th. The event urges Island residents to support the local business community on that date and throughout the year. For every $100 spent at a independently-owned business, $68 returns to the community.

   The Town Board approved the planning of the installation of a Dog Park at the Nike Base on Whitehaven. It will be a fenced in, off-leash area in a yet to be determined location. This allows the Engineering, Park and Recreation Departments to plan and fund raising to occur.

   It was announced that Deputy Highway Superintendent Joe Donlon has resigned after 12 years with the Town Highway Department. Councilman Richard Crawford has been appointed to the position and has resigned from the Town Board. The Town is asking that anyone interested in filling the Council position for the 2015 year, send in a resume and letter of interest by December 5th.

   The Town requires installation of sidewalks in certain districts and in certain cases will install at the owner's expense and place the cost on the tax bill. An administrative cost of $250 will now be added to the bill, in those cases.

   The Town Board adopted a bond resolution for the "Safe Routes to School" project that includes the installation of sidewalks around Connor Middle School, estimated at $253,500. They also approved advertising for bids on the project on Friday, November 21st and receiving bids on Wednesday, December 17th.

   A public hearing is scheduled for December 1st regarding the Lighthouse Point subdivision located on land by Whitehaven and East River Roads. You can see current and past documents regarding the subdivision at the News & Information page of the Town website.

In other business, the Board:
•Set a Public Hearing for the creation of a new lighting district at Park Place for December 1st.
•Approved the signing of a Professional Services Agreement with Emminger Newton Pigeon and Magyar for the purpose of 2016 Island wide reassessment.
•Approved the hiring of Kimberly Green as a part-time Recreation Attendant at the Golden Age Center.
•Referred a letter received from Francis Amendola regarding zoning violations at the Riverstone Grill to the Code Enforcement Officer.
•Referred a letter received from Rick Poveromo regarding plowing of the South State Parkway bike path to NYS DOT.

Town Board Meeting - November 2014

   A Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 17th at 8:00 p.m. See Agenda.

Hello Grand Islanders! - November 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    November brings to mind our veterans and at Monday’s Town Board Meeting we issued a proclamation for American Legion Membership Month, urging all those eligible to join. A table of information is on display in the lower lobby of Town Hall. The Town’s Veterans Day Service will be held on Tuesday, November 11 at 11:00 am at the Veterans Wall on Bedell Road.
    Winter parking rules are now in effect (November 1 – April 1) so remember there is no parking on town and county roads from 2 am – 7 am. Keeping vehicles off the streets helps the Highway Department Crews do a great plowing job and keeps them (and your vehicle) safe. Even when there is no snow, you need to observe the parking regulations. We try diligently to make sure everyone is aware of the rules so they can avoid being issued a ticket.
   The Town Board, after extensive investigation and consultation with Highway Superintendent James Tomkins, has decided that the Town can no longer accept Electronic Waste. The E-waste processor with which the Town had a contract was no longer able to fulfill their obligations and is now charging us to remove E-waste. It is illegal to include E-waste in the trash. Disposal sites in the area include Hazman and Advanced Technology Recycling (ATR) in Tonawanda and any Best Buy store. More information can be found online at gigov.com, on the bulletin board in the Town Hall entrance and on the signs posted at the Highway Garage.
    On Monday Night the Town Board adopted a resolution supporting a statewide campaign to recover more textiles from the waste stream. It was amazing to learn that the average American discards 70 lbs. of textiles (clothing, bedding, linens, towels, belts, shoes and hats) every year and that 85% of these items are tossed into the trash when it is possible to recycle them. The bins for charity that are conveniently placed all over the Island are the place to put these items, even if they are stained or torn. These items can be recycled! Only items that have absolutely no other use should be in the trash and sent to Covanta for incineration. It is good to know that does not include clothing and textiles, even if they are torn or stained.
    You’ve likely noticed the construction on Grand Island Blvd. across from Webb Road. Nottingham Estates will have three new apartment buildings (two with 12 units, one with 8 units) and be ready for occupancy in the spring. Further north at the corner of GI Blvd. and Whitehaven Road, the new Noco Store will open later this month. The smaller building housing the current store will be demolished and that area will become part of the fueling islands.
    The Chamber of Commerce would like you to enter the Rudolph Run and the Electric Light Parade, slated for Saturday, November 22. Festivities begin at 2 pm in the Town Common, with vendors, games, music, crafts and Santa Claus in Town Hall. The run begins at 5 pm, followed by the parade and lighting of the Town Christmas Tree. More information is available at www.gichamber.org
   Small Business Saturday will be celebrated on Saturday, November 29. You are urged to find holiday gifts and anything else you need from local Grand Island merchants. This day was founded in 2010 by American Express who estimate that for every $100 spent in independently-owned businesses, $68.00 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other business expenditures. Members of the Chamber of Commerce will accept a proclamation for Small Business Saturday at the November 17 Town Board meeting.
    We are fortunate on Grand Island to have an active Ministerium that includes leaders from several local churches. They hold an annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service, this year on Sunday, November 23 at 7 pm at St. Timothy’s Church, 1453 Staley Road, at Stony Point Rd. It is a great way to celebrate. A Happy Thanksgiving to all!
    Please continue to stay in touch with your ideas for our town. Stop by when you visit Town Hall, call me at 773-9600, ext 616 or send an e-mail to mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.

Town Board Action
Proclamations for American Legion Membership Month - November 2014

From left: Councilmen Gary Roesch & Dick Crawford, Vice-Commander Rick Schmitz, Commander Fred Wornick, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Membership Chairman Joe Synakowski, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica.
Click photos for larger view.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., November 6, 2014 . . .    The Town Board announced that November was named 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. The American Legion is an active Veterans Post and a community asset on Grand Island.
   There were no speakers either in favor or against the Preliminary Budget during the Public Hearing on Monday night. The Town Board has been in discussion with the different Town departments over the last several weeks regarding the 2015 Budget. A resolution was passed supporting a statewide campaign to recover more textiles from the waste stream by promoting textile recovery. Supervisor Mary Cooke noted that items that are stained and ripped can also be placed in the clothing collector boxes as they can be used for other purposes.
   Two requests to split and merge properties were approved by the Town Board. They were 3580/3598 Stony Point Rd. by Frederick Thompson and 3998/4019 East River by Mark Deuble.
   The Town is no longer accepting electronic waste at the Highway Department due to rising fees. You may take your certified E-waste to Hazman, 7 Wales Avenue, Tonawanda, Advanced Technology Recycling, 200 Fire Tower Drive, Tonawanda or Best Buy, any location.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the promotion of John Podlucky from Highway Department Caretaker to Highway Department Laborer.
•Approved the hiring of Rhonda Tollner as part-time Zoning Clerk.
•Approved renewal of a special use permit to National Fuel Gas, 1589 Stony Point Rd. for a metering station and Richard Benz, 828 East River Rd. for the keeping of agricultural animals.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Don Batalaris from the Traffic Safety Advisory Board and from Gary McDannell from the Conservation Board.
•Approved the request to defer paving requirements for JM Science, 2408 Bedell Road.
•Approved a refund request by Kristen Perry of North Tonawanda in the amount of $100 for trees that failed to thrive, purchased during the Grand Island "ReTree" program in 2010.
•Approved the extension of the Preliminary Plat for the Park Place Patio Home project.

Town Board Action
Rezoning Referred Back to Town Board - October 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., October 20, 2014 . . .    Two public hearings to consider rezoning of two separate parcels of land in the 4100 block of East River Road were referred back to the Town Board for further review. The land is currently zoned B-2 which is Waterfront Business, dating back to the time of the Edgewater Resort. Zoning Code Enforcement Officer Doug Learman had suggested that the land be rezoned R-1B, Single Family Residential, "to be in harmony with the surrounding neighborhood." One property is actually three separate pieces owned by Richard Piccolo on the west side of East River Road. The other property is a waterfront parcel owned by Peggy Lichtenthal. Ms. Lichtenthal would like the property to remain commercial to "keep her options open" in the future. A handful of neighbors were at the meeting and wish to see the rezoning to residential occur.
   A public hearing was held for the discussion of Federal Community Development funds for the purpose of discussing possible projects that would benefit low-and moderate-income persons in the Town. Town Supervisor Mary Cooke noted that last year Grand Island was given $55,000 which was used for a new van for the Golden Age Center. There is enough money left over to purchase a small car to take one or two residents to appointments, instead of using the larger vehicle.

   Supervisor Mary Cooke mentioned a letter had been sent by NFTA-Metro regarding the upcoming winter challenges as far as keeping the bus stops and shelters clear of snow. Because Metro does not clear snow from Grand Island shelters, stops and nearby sidewalks, local businesses are being asked to provide assistance. The possibility of groups/businesses "adopting" a particular stop was mentioned.

   Moody's Investors Service recently reviewed and assigned a rating of MIG 1 to the Town of Grand Island Bond Anticipation Notes, 2014 and Aa2 for Public Improvement Refunding Serial Bonds - 2014. These are the highest ratings possible.

   A special use permit application was approved for a bed & breakfast at 1559 East River Road. Site plan approval was also given with the possibility of a variance being needed.

In other business, the Board:
•A bid was accepted from United Survey, Inc. for the 15" Interceptor Sewer Improvement Project in the amount of $1,927,450.00
•Accepted with regret the resignation of EDAB member Robert Ratajczak, Jr.
•Referred a letter from a Marlin Drive resident regarding abandoned property at 156 Marlin to the Code Enforcement office.
•Accepted with regret the retirement notice of Helen Newkirk after many years of service.

Town Board Action
Proclamations for Shirley Luther and Eagle Scout Ben Shaw - October 2014

From left: Councilmen Gary Roesch & Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Shirley Luther, daughters Nancy Sandford and Carol Dunworth, Councilmen Ray Billica and Chris Aronica.

From left: Councilman Gary Roesch, grandmother Diane Darmofalski, Councilman Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Eagle Scout Ben Shaw, parents Patricia & Scott Shaw, grandmother Pat Shaw, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica.
Click photos for larger view.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., October 6, 2014 . . .    A proclamation was presented to Shirley Luther in honor of her 90th birthday on October 15th. Shirley Kreger was born in 1924, went to Grand Island schools, and graduated from Tonawanda High School 1942. During WWII, Shirley edited a monthly newspaper for local servicemembers. Shirley and her husband LaVerne "Bunny" raised four children over the years, losing son Robert on Mother's Day 1970, killed in action in the Vietnam War. She worked for the GICSD from 1957-1985, retiring as the superintendent's secretary. Shirley has also been involved in many aspects of the community including, GI Historical Society, GI Library, Neighbor's Foundation, Veteran's Memorial committee, Historic Trinity and the Town's Historic Preservation Advisory Board. Shirley Luther Day is Wednesday, October 15th.
   A proclamation was presented to Benjamin George Shaw on the achievement of earning his Eagle Scout Rank in the Boy Scouts of America. Ben's project was the designing and construction of two giant pressure-treated storage boxes for the GI Soccer Club, one located at Charlotte Sidway School and the other at Veterans Park. Over 180 hours of effort was used in the planning and execution of this project. Ben is a cadet in the GI Fire Company, plays Varsity Soccer and works for the Town Recreation Department during the summer.

   A public hearing will be held on October 20th to consider project ideas for the 2015 Community Development Block Grant. Projects must be for senior citizens or the handicapped to quailify. Supervisor Mary Cooke noted that Grand Island is not likely to be chosen next year as we received a new transportation van in 2014.

   Two change order were approved. One is in the amount of $17,469.19 and was needed to correct deficiencies in the liner system in the Overflow Retention Facilities. The second is no cost and is to modify the date of Substantial Completion in the 15" Interceptor Sewer Improvements to October 15, 2014.

   Public hearings are being scheduled for two properties on East River Road for the rezoning from B-2 to R-1B on Monday, October 20th. The request for temporary office trailers at Fresnius Kabi, 3159 Staley Road has been approved. The duration of the project is 6 to 12 months and the trailers will be used as interior renovations and re-location of office and production space is completed.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the creation of a Assistant Acountant position and Gina Tedesco was hired for that position.
•Approved the hiring of Phyllis Martin as a lifeguard in the Recreation Department
•Approved budget amendments as the 2014 Highway Fund salt budget is overspent.
•Approved the special use permit renewal for 3440 Stony Point Road & 5345 East River Road for the keeping of agricultural animals.
•Approved the renewal of WNY Towing by Marty's, 1733 Baseline Road for motor vehicle repair shop.
•Approved the request by Golden Age Center Director Barbara Gannon for a part-time recreation attendant.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Barbara Birt as a trustee of the Grand Island Memorial Library.

Town Board Meeting - October 2014

   A Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday,October 6th at 8:00 p.m. See Agenda.

Happy fall, Grand Island! - October 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    Many guests from out of town will be on our Island this weekend, taking part in Wild Women Unite. Welcome to all and enjoy your stay!
    The last Drug Drop Off Day, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), was held on Saturday, September 27. These events have been held twice a year for the past 4 years. The Town Board appreciated permission being granted by the Fire Company to use the Main Fire Hall since the Town Hall parking lot was busy with Taste of GI set up. New rules allow many places, including retail pharmacies, to modify their registration with the DEA to become authorized collectors of unused prescription medications. We also have collection boxes for both drugs and used needles in the entrance to Town Hall. Because of the disposal alternatives now available, the DEA will no longer sponsor collection events. Please remember to use the collection boxes at Town Hall, or talk to your pharmacy about returning unused medicine. DO NOT flush medicine down the toilet or dump it down the sink. We do not want these items in the Town’s water supply!
    The Town's annual paving will be underway soon; work will take place on Sheree Drive, Blackmon, Ward Park, West Park, Carl and the west end of Staley Road. Please pay extra attention moving through these areas when the equipment and crews are working.
    We all appreciate your patience with branch pick up. The chippers needed repair and crews were busy with road and ditching work, causing a delay for branch pick up. The highway department is nearly caught up. After trying many methods for pick up, the Island is now divided into routes for branch pick up; this method has proven the most time efficient and cost effective and has been used for the past several years. There is no need to call and report branches that need to be picked up; the crews will get them on their next completion of the route.
    Hope you all enjoyed the 3rd annual Taste of GI on Saturday; the weather could not have been better! Most of the folks I spoke with at the event, and since then, think the new location along Whitehaven Road is the best spot for the Taste. I'm interested in your thoughts on what went well and any suggestions for improvements.
    October is budget time for the Town Board. The budgets I submitted to the Town Clerk on Tuesday, to meet the deadline of September 30 required by the state, keep the Town of GI under the 2% tax cap. After taking into account the growth factor and the tax cap multiplier, both determined by the state and assigned to us, that 2% is actually 1.83%. The Town Board now has about six weeks to deliberate and finalize a budget that must be passed by mid-November.
    The Town recently had an opportunity to refinance $2.57 million in 10 yr. old bonds for which we were paying interest rates of 3.85 - 4%. Part of the process was a conference call with Moody’s Investors Service to defend the Town’s current bond rating of Aa2, the highest rating allowed for a town our size. Town Accountant Pam Barton and I were on the phone for about an hour answering questions including, Has the town ever voted to exceed the tax levy limitation? Was there a reassessment in 2014? What is the town doing to manage healthcare and pension costs? Confirm that the town does not have RANS (revenue anticipation notes), TANS (tax anticipation notes) or variable rate debt.
    I am proud and pleased to report that our Aa2 rating was retained. The Moody's report cited "the town's healthy financial position and growing reserves driven by management's history of conservative budgeting. Also, the town's strong credit rating and the expectation of continued market success." The refinancing will save our town about $150,000 over 10 years. In other financial news, the town’s annual bond sale for capital projects was recently completed. $12,640,000 in bond anticipation notes were sold at an interest rate of .249%.
    A challenge for the Town Board is the request of the GI Fire Company to fund a new capital project line in the budget for replacing large equipment and completing capital projects on their buildings. We cannot meet this request, fund their operating budget and stay under the tax cap. My proposed budget allows for an increase, but it is much less than their request. Negotiations on the contract continue. We meet again on Saturday morning.
    Log on to www.GIChamber.org every day in October to have the best chance to win a prize in the "30 Days of Giveaways" sponsored by the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. It's not too early to start planning your entry in the Electric Light Parade, part of the Light Up the Boulevard Festivities on Saturday, November 22. Information is available on the chamber website.
    Two events to entertain you on Saturday-The Golden Age Center hosts their Holiday Happenings from 10 am - 2 pm at the Nike Base, 3278 Whitehaven Road and a Lawnmower Race and Fall Festival to benefit the Kaegebein Playground Fund from 12 noon until 8 pm on Whitehaven Road between GI Blvd. and Baseline Road and the Town Common. With a little luck the weather will be nice! Come out and enjoy the day!
    It's been a pleasure seeing so many of you; I appreciate your greetings and suggestions as you take care of business at Town Hall. I am also easily reached by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 and by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us

Town Board Action
Proclamation for Crop Walk & Family Day - September 2014

From left: Councilman Gary Roesch & Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Crop Walk Chairperson Cathy Rieley-Goddard & R.J. Wynne.

From left: Councilman Gary Roesch and Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, One Island One Team Coalition member Dan Stinson, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., September 15, 2014 . . .    The 27th Annual CROP Walk will take place on Sunday, September 28th at 1pm at Beaver Island State Park. The Town Board presented a proclamation to the CROP Walk in honor of its 67th anniversary. "Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty" (CROP) is sponsored by Church World Services to raise funds to end hunger in the the US and around the world. One quarter of all money raised at Grand Island CROP Walk is returned to the Grand Island community.
   The Town Board proclaims that Monday, September 22, 2014 is Family Day - a day to eat dinner with your family. After 13 years of surveys, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has consistently found that the more often children and teenagers eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs.

   A local law amending off-street parking requirements for medical and dental offices from eight spaces per examing room to three spaces per examining room was approved.

   The Board approved the signing of an application for funds from the NYS Local Government Citizens Re-Organization Empowerment Grant Program, for the purpose of lessoning the up-front implementation costs of proposed new lighting districts. Recently there was the dissolution of five gas lighting districts which will be replaced with three electric lighting districts, all at the north end of Grand Island.

   A request by Joanne Luciani of Pleasant Trail for an extension in the placement of a sidewalk on an open lot was granted. This is a final extension that will end June 15, 2015. A request by Daniel Marcus to set up telescopes on October 8th at the Veterans Park sledding hill was okayed. A Lunar Eclipse may be visible starting at 5:15am.

In other business, the Board:
•Issued a Notice of Intent to act as Lead Agency for the Southpointe Project located in the center of the Island between Love, Baseline and Staley Roads.
•Approved the HVAC Maintenance Service Agreement with M.J. Mechanical for a two year period commencing October 1, 2014.
•Approved a request to advertise for bids for the Red Jacket/Huth/Long Road Sewer Rehab project.
•Approved site plan approval for a grading permit at 949 Ransom Road.
•Approved event permits for the use of the Town Common, including alcohol sales and consumption for Taste of Grand Island, September 27th and Fall Festival & Lawn Mower Race, October 4th.
•Approved the hiring of Jason Clark and Kenneth Stevens as Town of Grand Island Police Officers effective September 16, 2014.
•Approved Final Plat Approval for New England Estates Phase 2.
•Referred to the Engineering Department a request by Mark Abate, 1939 Grand Island Blvd. for additional parking and revised storm water facilities.

Happy September! - September 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    Labor Day is one of the six holidays observed by Republic Services, the contractor who picks up Grand Island trash and recycling. Pick-ups will be one day later all week, with Fridays schedule happening on Saturday.
    School is back in session so please take note of buses, crossing guards and students walking. Allowing a little extra time for travel will improve safety for everyone!
    When you are next in the library, please take note of the display in the lobby. The Town’s Historic Preservation Advisory Board is responsible for presenting the extensive collection of school artifacts from years gone by. They’ve even included an antique school desk! Please see if you can identify anyone in the many photos of Grand Island school classes on display. A sheet is available for you to list names of anyone you recognize.
    An event looked forward to all year happens this weekend at the Buffalo Launch Club. It’s the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society’s 37th annual Antique Boat Show and Race Boat Reunion. For a $10 per car parking fee you can see some of the most beautiful restored watercraft around. Hope to see you there on Saturday from 10 am – 4:30 pm.
    The Town welcomes Wild Women Unite to Grand Island on October 3 – 5. Island resident Yvonne Folck has conducted this event in central New York with great success and is looking forward to bringing it here. Women are signed up from 2 countries, 8 states and 11 counties in NY State. The Island is a perfect spot for this event with ample meeting spaces and venues for horseback riding, archery, shooting and kayaking. Check it out and sign up at wildwomenunite.com.
    The Town is most appreciative that a dedicated group of Golden Age Club members prepare the tax bills for mailing twice each year. They were in Town Hall on Thursday, busy stuffing envelopes. This is another great example of help and cooperation that saves money and benefits everyone.
    The School Board and Town Board will meet on Monday, September 29 at 6:30 pm at Eco Island, 3325 Staley Road. We try to do this anytime there is a fifth Monday in the month and have encouraged other Town Boards and School Boards to do this to help foster better communication. On the agenda are items of mutual concern, including sheltering during an emergency. The American Red Cross has chosen Grand Island as a site for a shelter supply trailer which will be a great help and will be delivered soon.
    Please remember that only RECYCLABLE batteries are collected in the Town Hall lobby. Thank you to Town Hall Caretaker Jim Linenfelser for making the descriptive poster showing what we take in the collection box and what should be deposited in the regular trash. Non-recyclable batteries, including hearing aid and watch batteries, are allowed in the regular trash.
    Collection boxes are available at Town Hall for unused prescriptions and needles. It is very important that drugs are not flushed down the toilet or dumped down the sink. For you convenience, the fall Drug Drop Off Day for medicines and needles will be on Saturday, September 27 from 10 am – 2 pm. This time, please bring your items to the Fire Hall, 2275 Baseline Road. The Town Hall parking lot will be busy with set-up for the Taste of Grand Island.
    The 3rd Taste of Grand Island is scheduled for Saturday, September 27, beginning at 2 pm. This year Whitehaven Road will be closed from Baseline Road to Grand Island Boulevard for the Taste. This is a great place to meet your friends and taste what the Island restaurants have to offer!
    If you have any suggestions for bettering the Island, please let me know. Stop by when you are in Town Hall, call 773-9600 ext. 616 or send an e-mail to mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.

Town Board Action
Proclamation for Patriot Day Poppy Drive - September 2014

At center, Supervisor Mary Cooke presents Joe Synakowski with proclamation as members of the American Legion and Town Board look on.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., September 2, 2014 . . .    The Town Board meeting began with the presentation of a proclamation in honor of the American Legion Post #1346 Patriot Day Poppy Drive. The drive will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 5th & 6th. The Town Board urges residents to recognize the merits of the cause by contributing generously.
   A public hearing changing the local law regarding the Town Of Grand Island Police Department was referred back to the Town Board for further discussion. This will not change the basic make-up of the Town Police Department. It will change the law from having the Town Supervisor as designated Police Commissioner to having the Town Board exercise the powers of a Board of Police Commissioners. There will be a Police Chief designated by the Town Board in the future.
   The hiring of four new crossing guards was approved, they are Katherine Kemp, Tami Currie, Nino Violino and Stephen Birtz.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the rezoning of property at 1881 Bedell Road from R-1D to M-2 for the purpose of building a new Parks Maintenance facility.
•Reissued site plan approval for a parking lot expansion at Elderwood Assisted Living at Riverwood on Grand Island Blvd.
•Awarded Robinson Paving, the low bidder at $324,790.00, the resurfacing of Sheree Drive, Carl Road, West Park, Blackmon & Ward Park.
•Approved the hiring of Benjamin Freedman as a Recreation Attendant for the Recreation Department.
•Referred to the Planning Board a request to split lot/combine with primary at 3990 East River Road.
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit for the keeping of Agricultural Animals at 3030 Stony Point Rd.
• Approved the renewal of a special use permit for a convenience store at 2024 Grand Island Blvd.
•A public hearing to allow contractor's maintenance yards remains open for discussion by town residents.

Town Board Action
Proclamation for 12U Baseball & Maxwell Grenda - August 2014

Councilmen Gary Roesch & Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, members of 12U Baseball Team, Councilmen Chris Aronica & Ray Billica.

Councilmen Gary Roesch & Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Maxwell Grenda, parents Susan & Gregg Grenda, Councilmen Chris Aronica & Ray Billica.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., August 18, 2014 . . .    A proclamation was given to the GI Little League 12U team who made it into the NY State Championships in Cicero, NY, as one of only six sectional winners, representing all of WNY. This is the first Grand Island team to make it this far and the first WNY team to make it to states since Orchard Park in 1993.
   A second proclamation was given to Maxwell Ryan Grenda on his earning the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of Boy Scout Troop 510, led by Scoutmaster Patrick Garten and Ass't. Scoutmaster Susan Grenda. Maxwell's project was the planning and directing of a Commander's Dinner at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post #9249.

   A Remembrance Program has been in discussion for several months and a finalized plan has been approved. There are two options available: Option 1 requires the donors to purchase a tree from an approved list, have it planted and pay a total of $225.00 for three years of maintenance fees. This includes a 5"x7" marker, irrigation water bag and trunk protection for the winter. Option 2 provides alternative ideas for remembrance items including: benches, boulders, tables, trash receptacles, etc. Prices and selections are available through the Parks Department. The total cost would be cost of item, cost of installation and $40 for the plaque.

   The Town Board approved the special use permit application for a Bed & Breakfast to Thomas Duffy MacGuire, 3062 Whitehaven Rd. The permit allows three bedrooms and parking spaces. The Board also approved the permit for a Bed & Breakfast for Bryce & Robin Shipman, 2020 Fix Road for one bedroom and one parking space.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the scheduling of a public hearing for September 2nd for the purpose of establishing a Police Department in the Town of Grand Island.
•Approved the public improvement permit of Grand Park Vue Subdivision, Phase VII located near Havenwood Lane.
•Approved the reappointment of Paul Klock to Board of Assessment Review, a five year term beginning October 1, 2014.
•Approved the permit renewal for a parking lot at Sandy Beach Yacht Club, originally granted in July 1971.
•Approved the tower permit renewal at 1639 West River.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Jordan Grabar from the Grand Island Police Department.

Town Board Meeting - August 2014

   A Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 18th at 8:00 p.m. See Agenda.

Hello Islanders! - August 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    Hope you are getting outside to enjoy the beautiful Grand Island summer weather. We have one concert left on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 6:30 at the gazebo in the Marion Klingel Town Common.
    The 9th annual Niagara River Greenway Paddles Up event at Beaver Island State Park was a great success on Saturday, July 26 with 227 paddlers in 210 paddlecraft. Islander Paul Leuchner launched this event for the Greenway and has guided its growth as Chairman of the event since its inception in 2006. He’s passing the Chairmanship to GI Recreation Director Joe Menter but will help to insure that the 10th anniversary Paddles Up is another huge success. Plan now to be on the Niagara River the last Saturday in July 2015.
   If you are around the Town Hall at night, take note of the new LED parking lot lights. Installed with the help of a grant from New York State, we are looking forward to energy savings for years to come. Improvements are continuing to be made at the Nike Base Community Center. The concrete entranceway was replaced this week and nicely finishes off the new handicapped accessible door and panels that were installed in the spring. Both were accomplished with Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) funds to improve accessibility at this polling location. The Highway Department has patched the parking lot which is a welcome improvement.
    I was honored to attend the World War II Greatest Generation Veterans Appreciation Day Picnic at the Moose Family Center on Saturday. Co-sponsored by Loyal Order of Moose Grand Island Lodge #180 and Grand Island American Legion Post #1346, the event featured a delicious picnic for veterans, their families and friends. Fred Wornick, Commander of the Legion, and Erik Anderson, Governor of the Moose, presented a certificate of appreciation and an American Flag baseball cap to each WWII Veteran in attendance. Shirley Luther provided copies of a few editions of “The Islander,” the newsletter she and four of her friends produced monthly for the troops for three years beginning in January 1943. It was a great event to honor local heroes!
   As we do each year, the Town Board on Monday presented proclamations to celebrate National Airborne Day on August 16. The Airborne is especially important for us because two Island natives were Airborne members who gave their lives for our freedom: Pfc. Charles N.DeGlopper and Lt. Col. Terrence K. Crowe. The final resting place for both soldiers is here on the Island; the DeGlopper grave is in Maple Grove Cemetery and Lt. Col. Crowe rests at St. Stephen’s Cemetery. It is so important to remember the sacrifices made by others to insure our liberty; freedom is not free.
   On Monday night we began a public hearing on the idea of amending the Grand Island Zoning Code to allow Contractor’s Yards in Residential Zones. Right now the Town Code does not allow these. The Town Board is attempting to determine if these types of businesses can operate in residential zones without causing undue hardship on the rest of the neighborhood. The key is to find a balance between small contracting businesses that are just getting started (or someone who wishes to stay small) and running out of a residentially zoned property and the expectations regarding noise, dirt and outside storage of the surrounding property owners. Please find the proposed law on the Town website or stop by Town Hall and get a copy. We heard many ideas already and have left the public hearing open so more of you can express your opinion. We welcome your thoughts on this important matter. You may contact all five Town Board members at once by e-mailing townboard@grand-island.ny.us.
   The Town Board was most impressed to learn that recycling rates have risen 30% since the 95 gallon wheeled carts have been in use. Please see the separate news article for details. We expect this to continue and will be closely monitoring results from Republic Services. Please be sure to check the list that came with your cart to see all of the new items that can be recycled. Recycling as much as possible helps everyone. Thank you for your efforts to place only what is absolutely necessary in the trash.
   Grand Island Town Law concerning short-term rental of residential homes is the subject of a lawsuit in NYS Supreme Court. The case will be heard before Judge Diane Devlin on Thursday, August 14, 2014, 9:30 am, Part 32, 9th floor, 50 Delaware Ave, Buffalo. The ruling in this case will determine the direction the Town Board takes in this matter.
    Your thoughts and suggestions are important. Please stop by and share them when you’re at Town Hall. I am also easily reached by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.

Town Board Action
Proclamation for Margaret Rustowicz & National Airborne Day - August 2014

Councilmen Gary Roesch & Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Margaret Rustowicz, parents Maura and Kevin and Councilman Chris Aronica.

Councilmen Gary Roesch & Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Peggy Crowe White, Lt. Col. Kelly M. Carrigg (retired), Joe Synakowski and Councilman Chris Aronica.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., August 4, 2014 . . .    A proclamation was given to Margaret M. H. Rustowicz, Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, for the completion of her project entitled Peter Pan Jr. The project incorporated a youth play program within the St. Stephen Parish Players adult group. The children had a chance to learn about and experience theater while performing a play for the community. Margaret received her award on June 7th, 2014.
   The Town Board proclaimed August 16th to be National Airborne Day in honor of the 82nd Airborne Division and two of Grand Island's finest killed while serving our country. Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper died on June 9, 1944 in La Fiere, France and Lt. Col. Terrance K. Crowe was killed in Tal Afar, Iraq on June 7, 2005.

   Not quite a half dozen contractors were at the meeting, speaking against a public hearing that would amend the Town Code - "to allow contractor's maintenance yards as a special use in certain residential districts, subject to certain conditions." Contractors Dan Dan Drexelius, John Tripi & Dan Robillard have had contractor's yards at their homes in residential areas for over 25 years and questioned the limitations posted in the draft of the amendment. The public hearing was tabled for further review and the public is encouraged to read the law posted in the agenda packet and send in their comments to the Town Board, townboard@grand-island.ny.us.

   A request by the Town to allow commercial traffic to use the South State Parkway was turned down by Commissioner Rose Harvey of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Commissioner Harvey wrote, "I do appreciate the concern expressed by the Town of Grand Island to improve service to local businesses in the immediate area, but do not feel they have demonstrated that a significant benefit would result from this change.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the adoption of a Municipal Cooperation Resolution.
•Approved the hiring of the Cohen Law Group for the reviewing of Cable Franchise Services such as renewals, existing contracts and the auditing of cable franchise agreements.
•Approved the "refinancing" of Public Improvement Serial Bonds scheduled to mature in the years 2016-2025.
•Approved the road dedication and accept easements of the New England Estates Subdivision, part of Windham Lane and Windham Court.
•Approved a change order for the drainage improvement project on Fix Road for a time extension of 90 days, until September 30, 2014.
•Approved the hiring of Chris Dann as Principal Engineer Assistant effective August 5, 2014.
•Approved the site plan waiver recommended by Code Enforcement Officer Doug Learman for the conversion of a Church to a Nursery School at 2728 Stony Point Road.
•Approved the RFP to extend storm drainage in front of 2352 Grand Island Blvd. from Ackerman Plumbing.
•Approved the merging of property between 3922 and 3912 East River Road.

Town Board Action
Three Gold Awards & Moose/Legion Proclamations - July 2014

Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Kourtney Hoppel, mom & Scout leader Kathy Hoppel & Councilman Ray Billica.

Town Board with Alyssa Cino and Scout leader Kathy Hoppel.

Town Board with Lillian Cultrara and parents Patricia & Michael.

Town Board with Erik Anderson - Governor of Moose, Fred Wornick - Legion Commander, Al Prame - WWII veteran and Past Legion Commander and Bo Pikas - Legion Scholarship Chairman.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., July 21, 2014 . . .
   Absent: Councilman Dick Crawford and Councilman Chris Aronica.
   The meeting began with three young ladies receiving proclamations for their outstanding efforts in receiving the Girl Scout Gold Award. This is the highest honor bestowed to a Girl Scout and was achieved through their commitment in completing a community service project of at least 80 hours. Alyssa Cino completed a project entitled "Fun in Learning" which involved creating games to show children that education and learning can be fun, along with an instructional DVD for elementary teachers on how to make and play games. Kourtney Hoppel completed a project titled "Making Education Fun", where she created an educational box which was divided into sections and is used for children to answer questions while playing bean bag toss. She also created a DVD for teachers use. The third scout was Lillian Cultrara whose Gold Award project was titled "Hippotherapy: Horses as Healers". This involved educating individuals on the benefit of hippotherapy and special needs children. Hippotherapy uses occupational, physical and speech therapies using the movement of the horse while a child is upon horseback. A DVD and YouTube video were also made.
   Another proclamation was given to members of the Moose Lodge #180 and the American Legion Post #1346 who are hosting an appreciation picnic for World War II Veterans that will take place on Saturday, August 2nd at the Moose Lodge, 2524 Grand Island Blvd. All WWII veterans are invited to attend from 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The Town Board proclaimed August 2nd as World War II Veterans Appreciation Day.

   A public hearing will take place on August 4th to allow contractor's maintenance yards as a special use in certain residential districts, subject to certain conditions. A bond resolution for the reconstruction of and improvements to town roads was referred to the Town Board as their was legally not enough Town Board members to vote due to absence.
   A special use permit renewal was approved for Gail Villani of East River Road for one agricultural animal, there are no animals currently on site. Two cell tower permits were renewed for 318 Baseline-Sprint and 85 Carl-AT&T.

   Public Comments: Nancy Killian; regarding when the transient housing lawsuit hearing would take place. It is not scheduled at this time. Bryce Shipman; regarding special use permit for parking at a bed & breakfast he would like to open at his home at 2020 Fix Road. Mark Landroche; interested in the Contractor Maintenance Yards issue, a public hearing is scheduled for August 4th.

In other business, the Board:
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Marie Casey as a Kaegebein Crossing Guard as she is retiring.

Town Board Meeting - July 2014

   A Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 21st at 8:00 p.m. See Agenda.

Town Board Action
Amendment to Parking at Bed & Breakfast Facilities - July 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., July 7, 2014 . . .    At the first public hearing of the evening, there were no speakers in favor or against the zoning amendment that the Town Board okayed regarding setbacks for parking at Bed & Breakfast facilities. The change consists of adding the word "required" before front yard. The section now reads:
"An owner-occupied private single-family dwelling customarily used as a residence which regularly or seasonally offers overnight accommodations in not more than five bedrooms to not more than 10 tourists or transients, which includes one off-street parking space (not located in the required front yard) for each bedroom.
   A second public hearing to change the zoning of a parcel of land located at 1881 Bedell Road from R-1D to M-2 was left open as paperwork was in need of filing. The parcel will house a new maintenance building for the Town Parks Department. Another public hearing will be held in the future.
   Plans are being discussed for the recycling of broken cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and monitors. The recycling company, Sunnking, will be charging $.35/lb. as of July 23, 2014. The Town Highway Department accepts electronics but may have to refuse these items if they are broken. There is talk of placing security cameras at the Highway Department building after a contaminated barrel was left at the drop off site. Use caution when moving your old tv's and there won't be a problem.
   The Town Board approved the switching of two advisory board members positions. The Conservation Board will welcome David Reilly of the Parks & Recreation Board and the Parks & Rec. Board welcomes Paul Leuchner from the Conservation Board. The Town Board approved the request by the Highway Department to auction off a 1976 Mobile Street Sweeper Truck, Snap-On Vehicle Systems Scanner, Snow Plow for Wheeled Loader and four used Wheeled Loader Tires at Auctions International Inc.
   A letter was received from the U.S. Department/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acknowledging the "gracious support" of Jim Maloney and River Oaks Marina for their recent assistance to monitor pollution and assess baseline conditions in the East Channel of the Niagara River at no cost.
   Payment was received from Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP for full restitution in the amount of $4,794.26 in the People vs. Pitts case.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the hiring of Theresa Weaver to the position of Clerk to Justice Court effective Monday, July 14, 2014.
•Authorized Supervisor Mary Cooke to sign a Professional Services Agreement with Wendel for the lagoon rehabilitation work at the Grand Island Water Treatment Plant.
•Approved the request of James Szakacs to be appointed to the Board of Assessment Review for the remainder of a five year appointment set to expire September 30, 2015.
•Approved the request to adjust property lines by Billy & Nancy Gorrell of Stony Point Road.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Brian Clarkson as Senior Engineer Assistant.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Fran McMahon from the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board.
•Approved a Block Party request for Waterford Park on August 2, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Happy Independence Day Grand Island! - July 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    Summer is off to a great start with the first Tuesday concert complete and the Dick Bessel Road Race, parade and fireworks display set for Friday. Welcome to all of the guests in town for class reunions and family visits! Recreation programs are underway throughout the Island. Hope you get out and enjoy the fun! Remember that this year two of the concerts will be held at Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa, 100 Whitehaven Road: July 8 and 22. This is a joint effort between the Town Recreation Department and Byblos and we welcome your comments. If you need information on any of these events, please go to the Recreation Page at gigov.com or pick up a Recreation Program Booklet at Town Hall.
   Also on the website and in the Recreation Program booklet is a list and description of facilities at each of Grand Island’s nine town-owned playgrounds. All are open from dawn to dusk with supervision of children your responsibility. Don’t forget Fisherman’s Landing at the South GI Bridge, a very popular spot for viewing the river, fishing and enjoying the outdoors on these beautiful summer days. Park at the Wastewater Lift station and walk down; handicapped parking only down below. This is one of the prettiest spots on the Island to take a photo with the South Bridge in the background; I’ve seen numerous prom and wedding photos staged there.
   Our town was the lucky recipient of annual flowers from a horticulture program at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden, NY. The inmates learn a skill that provides beautiful flowers throughout Erie County. You’ll see them in the parking lot islands at Town Hall, around the Town Hall flagpole, in Veterans Park and in several other places throughout the town. I greatly appreciated the flexibility of Town Employees to take this unexpected, but most welcome, donation and put the plants to good use on town property.
   You may have received a solicitation for insurance to cover repair costs to the lateral service connections to your water and sewer lines from the main line to the house. The Town of Grand Island has nothing to do with this. You should read all terms and conditions carefully and use your best judgment on whether to purchase.
   Many of you likely saw the news of the U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and General Services Administration conducting an initial assessment of 100 Whitehaven Road, Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa, on Friday, June 20, for temporarily housing children who have come into the United Sates from other countries without an adult guardian. On Tuesday, I received this notification from the same federal departments: “I wanted to provide you the following update on the New York sites being examined for the Federal humanitarian response to unaccompanied children: the Grand Island site that we e-mailed you about last week has been determined to not to meet the requirements of the unaccompanied children program and is not being pursued further.”
   The few days of having Grand Island being considered for this effort provided a quick education on many aspects of the issue of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), one of the most striking facts being that there were 7,000 – 8,000 UAC in 2011. It has greatly grown each year since and for fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014) is projected to be 60,000. Some news agencies are reporting 100,000. I would encourage you to express your opinions on this issue by contacting New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillebrand and Congressman Brian Higgins:
www.schumer.senate.gov or 716-846-4111
www.gillibrand.senate.gov or 716-854-9725
www.higgins.house.gov or 716-852-3501
    As always, I appreciate hearing from you. Stop by when you are in Town Hall, contact me by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or send an e-mail to mcooke@garnd-island,ny.us

Town Board Action
Water System Capital Improvement Approved - June 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., June 16, 2014 . . .    A capital improvement project for the Town water facilities was approved on Monday night, along with a bond resolution to pay for those improvements. The project will generally consist of improvements to the water treatment plant, including the rehabilitation of the residual sludge lagoons and the installation of approximately 150 linear feet of new 24-inch water line. The cost is estimated at a maximum of $701,000.
   A resolution was approved to erect No Parking signs on the south shoulder of Love Road near East Park. Vehicles parked in that area block the sight lines of vehicles coming into the intersection. The request is to place signs a total distance of 300 feet east of East Park. Love Road is owned by Erie County and permission is needed from the Erie County DPW.
   A public hearing has been set for July 7, 2014 for the purpose of considering and possibly adopting a local law regarding setbacks for parking at Bed & Breakfast facilities. A special use permit was approved for the building of a larger convenience store at the NOCO site, 1898 Whitehaven Road. There will be a frozen yogurt franchise addition and outdoor seating will be added. A July 21st start date is planned and the project is expected to take 90 days to complete.

   The Town Board accepted with regret the resignation of Jeanne Anstett, retiring after 35 years as a crossing guard at Huth Road School.

   A public hearing will be set for the application of Russell Certo to rezone property adjacent to Veterans Park for the purpose of constructing a new parks maintenance facility.

   Concerned resident of Ward Park, William O'Connor spoke regarding the "tourist home" located in his neighborhood. The practice of tourist homes is "unfair and unsafe" and because there is a law already on the books that makes them illegal, it should be enforced.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit by Christopher Taylor of Certified Auto Brokers, 1693 Grand Island Blvd. for Used Car Sales
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit by Kim Leys for up to 10 Agricultural Animals at 2076 Stony Point Road. Presently there are eight poultry on site.
•Approved a revised site plan by Raj Chopra Family Trust, 1815 Love Road for storage of plastic storage tanks. A buffer area is planned to include a berm, fencing and trees.
•Approved a 50'x45' parking lot expansion at 1879 Whitehaven, at the request of Larry Playfair. Additional businesses will be locating at the site.
•Approved title changes and pay increases for six Parks workers at the request of Parks Dept. Crew Chief Tom Dworak.
•Approved the appointment of Nancy Anderson as Clerk to Town Justice, filling a vacancy created by retirement.

Hello Islanders! - June 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    Thank you for showing such strong support for the Memorial Day Ceremony at DeGlopper Park. After so much rain we were fortunate to have two warm, windy days and the park dried up enough so we could be there on Memorial Day. Thank you to Parks Maintenance Workers, Recreation Supervisor Joe Menter and his staff, Marty Allen and the Wind Ensemble and the Veterans from the American Legion and VFW. It is always appreciated that the GI Fire Co. and the Town’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) are present for the service. This is truly a town-wide effort and one of the many great things about living in a small town. Our veterans held a short Memorial Day Service at all six Island cemeteries on Memorial Day morning beginning at 7:40; it is always a wonderful way to spend a few minutes of your holiday. Please keep it in mind for next year.
    June 9, 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the death of Island native and World War II hero Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper, who was posthumously, awarded the Medal of Honor for sacrificing his life so his unit could run for cover. The Postal Service has issued Medal of Honor postage stamps featuring both the Navy and Army medal and honoring the 464 World War II soldiers who received this honor. Charles DeGlopper’s name is halfway down on the first page of names in the folder holding the stamps. Get some at the Post Office on your next visit.
    Grand Island has much open space and many wild animals. If you see a wild animal, leave it alone and it will generally go back to the woods on its own. DO NOT touch any wild animals, particularly those most likely to carry rabies: skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats. If you touch a wild animal, chances are you will be scratched or worse. When that occurs, the animal must be killed so that it can be tested for rabies. Please educate children that touching wild animals is a death sentence for the animal and could result in expensive and painful rabies shots for the victim of the contact. If you think there is a threat to public safety, call the DEC at 851-7000 or SPCA Wildlife at 629-3528. Flyers with excellent information about rabies are available in the kiosk at Town Hall. The Erie County Health Department has many good resources on their website at erie.gov
    Quest Diagnostics is coming to Grand Island! This has been often requested and especially desired by anybody with regular need for blood tests. Drawings were submitted late in May to transform the former NAPA Auto Parts Store in the plaza near the south bridge into a Quest location. While we do not have an exact time frame, it seems that it will be open before the end of the year.
    It is garage sale season! Signs are a great help to attract people to your sale but they are NOT allowed on road signs or on utility poles. Signs need to be kept out of the road right of way. Please be as enthusiastic about taking them down after the sale as you are to put them up before the sale begins. If everyone takes responsibility for their signs, nobody is left with a mess to clean up and the Island will look so much better.
    Sunnking is the company now taking the electronic waste that is collected at the Highway Garage, 1820 Whitehaven Road. Since 2012 electronics have not been allowed to be discarded in the trash; they can be left in the boxes under the awning. Microwave ovens are now accepted.
    Summer concerts under the gazebo in the Town Common begin on Tuesday, July 1 and run through August 12. This year two will be held at Byblos: July 8 and July 22. The schedule is on the town’s website:gigov.com and isledegrande. Hope you can get out to enjoy some free live music!
    It’s always a pleasure to hear from you and get your ideas about how we can improve our town. Please continue to stop by when you are at Town Hall. I am also easily accessible by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us

Town Board Meeting

   Disposition 6-2-14    Agenda 6-2-14    Agenda 6-2-14 Packet

Town Board Action
Proclamation for Buddy Poppy Days - May 2014

From left: Councilmen Gary Roesch, Dick Crawford, VFW member Spencer O'Boyle, Ladies Auxiliary President Kathy Blake, Poppy Chairman Dale Berger, Supervisor Mary Cooke, member Joe Synakowski, Councilmen Ray Billica and Chris Aronica.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon.,May 19, 2014 . . .    A Town Board proclamation began the meeting in honor of Buddy Poppy Days for the days of May 22, 23 and 24. Buddy Poppies have been distributed since 1922 in "honor of the dead by helping the living". The "red petals of the Buddy Poppy are symbolic of the vast outpouring of blood; the green of the stem is symbolic of the forests, meadows and fields where generations of Americans have perished to make this land free; the stem represents the courage and determination of our fallen warriors and the assembled product, a flower, is a symbol of resurrection." The poppies are assembled by disabled veterans and proceeds benefit widows, orphans of deceased veterans and needy veterans.
   The application of a special use permit for a Bed & Breakfast by Thomas MacGuire, 3062 Whitehaven Rd. was tabled for further discussion by the Town Board after neighbors Judy and Lynn Polizzi spoke against the project. The Town Board approved the site plan approval recommended by the Planning Board for a proposed boat dock at 4130 East River Road by Peggy Lichtenthal. A negative declaration was given for the rezoning of the Riverstone Restaurant parking lot at 971 East River Road and the rezoning was approved.
   Please note: the new recycling totes collection will begin the week of June 1st.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the acceptance of a bid for a new Heavy Duty Street Sweeper by J & J Equipment in the amount of $192,000.
•Approved renewing the HVAC Preventative Maintenance Contract with M.J. Mechanical Services.
•Referred to bond counsel for the Water Plant Lagoon Rehabilitation Project.
•Approved a list of part time employees by Joe Menter of the Recreation Department for Recreation Attendant positions.
•Approved the application from Fantasy Island for public fire works display July 4th.
•Set a public hearing for a special use permit for a new NOCO convenience store at the existing location, 1898 Whitehaven Rd.
•Approved the closing of Whitehaven Road from Grand Island Blvd. to Baseline Road for KidBiz on Saturday, June 28th, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Town Board Action
Proclamations Honor Older Americans and Municipal Clerks Office - May 2014

Town Board with Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel (center).

Town Board with Golden Age Center members.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., May 5, 2014 . . .The Town Board began the first May meeting with a proclamation honoring "Older Americans Month" for May. Many members of the Grand Island Golden Age Club were on hand to accept the proclamation. The Golden Age Club was established in 1959 and is available to Grand Island residents 50 years or older. There are many programs available through the center and lunch is served daily. The second proclamation was presented to Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel in honor of "Municipal Clerks Week." Noted in the proclamation, the Municipal Clerks office is the oldest office among public servants.
   At the "Public Comment" section of the Town Board meeting, Ward Park residents Pat Kostenbauder and Nancy Killian appeared to reiterate their displeasure of the illegal Tourist Home located on their street. Parking and garbage issues are problematic to neighbors.
   It is the time of year for summer hiring of interns and seasonal employees. The engineering department hired Robert Dickinson as a intern for the summer. Water & Wastewater Departments hired Patrick Gallagher, Sam Clarke and Max Tafelski as seasonal employees. The Parks department has re-hired Jacob Sweeney, Christopher Serra, Timothy Dyet, Sarah Williams and Shane Eddy.
   A bid was accepted by BIDCO Marine Group for the cleaning and inspection of the Water Treatment Plant Intake for the amount of $10,755. Councilman Gary Roesch noted that most of the money goes to the removal of Zebra Mussels.
   A public hearing has been set for May 19th for a special use permit application to operate a Bed & Breakfast at 3062 Whitehaven Road by Thomas Duffy MacGuire.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the Bed & Breakfast application of Glen Wallace, 917 North Colony as long as he resides at the site.

Hello Grand Islanders! - April 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    Thanks to all who participated in the Drug Drop off Day at Town Hall on Saturday; our site collected 125 pounds of drugs from fifty vehicles. DEA representatives and pharmacy students were on hand to accept the drugs, sort them and package them for proper disposal. This is a twice annual effort to keep drugs out of the wrong hands and out of the water system. Because of the intense use of the Drug Drop off Box in the entry of Town Hall, a second one has been added. If you missed the Drop off Day on Saturday, drugs and sharps (needles) disposal boxes are available whenever Town Hall is open. Should you arrive and find the doors locked, a phone number is posted so you can contact a Sheriff Deputy and your items will be taken.
    May is Older Americans Month, declared by the US Congress. For their purposes, “older Americans” are anyone age 60 years and older. Thank you to the members of the Grand Island Golden Age Club (you can join there at age 50) who will be leading the Pledge to the Flag at Monday night’s Town Board Meeting. To further celebrate this month, they will host a Garage/Baked Goods/Hot Dog Sale at the Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road, on May 17 from 10 am – 2 pm.
    Grand Island has some very interesting data from the 2010 Census. As you likely already know, the Island’s population increased 9.4%, from 18,621 to 20,374. Our median age is 43 years. In the 10 years between 2000 and 2010, all age categories between age 45 and over 85 years of age showed growth on Grand Island, with two groups having especially notable increases. The number of people on GI age 60 – 64 years increased by 87% and those 65 – 69 years by 60% from 2000 – 2010. At the other end of the spectrum, growth was seen in those groups age 15 to age 29 years with the largest increase (39%) in those age 20 – 24 years.
    Grand Island Veterans are busy this month, beginning with the American Legion Post 1346 Plant Sale at the VFW, 2121 GI Blvd, on May 9 and 10, 8 am – 5 pm each day. It’s a great place to purchase a Mother’s Day basket! The annual Poppy Drive will take place May 22, 23 and 24 at locations all around the Island. Island Veterans graciously conduct services at all six Island cemeteries on Memorial Day morning beginning at Whitehaven Cemetery at 7:40 am and ending at St. Stephen’s at 9:00 am. The schedule will be posted on isledegrande.com in the coming weeks. Grand Island’s Memorial Day Ceremony will be at 10:00 am on May 26 at DeGlopper Park, which is at the corner of Baseline Road and Grand Island Blvd. It is always a very reverent service and features the award winning GI High School Wind Ensemble performing beautiful patriotic selections. Please attend and bring along some family members and friends.
    Republic Services will be delivering the 95 gallon wheeled carts for recycling beginning on May 12. The carts are owned by Republic and will have a bar code on the cart that will be matched with each address. This will allow easy identification if the cart is lost. The automated recycling truck will begin pickup of the wheeled carts on Monday, June 2. A list of items to recycle will be heat stamped into the cover of the cart, as well as directions for proper placement at the roadside. Sheets giving refuse and recycling information will also be distributed with the carts. If you no longer want your yellow bin, it is recyclable and can be placed in the wheeled cart. If you want a new yellow bin, they are available in the Town Clerk’s Office for $7.
    Little League Opening Day, and a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Little League, is scheduled for Veterans Park at 8:30 am on Saturday, May 17. The 13th annual American Cancer Society Grand Island Relay for Life is on May 31, beginning at 2:00 pm. This is the second year it will be held at Veterans’ Park on Bedell Road. Please continue to let me know if you have an idea to improve the Town; I look forward to hearing from you! I am easily reached at Town Hall, by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us

Town Board Action
Lengthy Negative Comments Against Riverstone Rezoning - April 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., April 21, 2014 . . .The Town Board meeting began with a proclamation honoring Earth Day. Cub Pack #630 and the Conservation Advisory Board chairperson, Dorothy Westhafer were on hand. The Cub Scouts were commended for their clean up of the property located between NOCO and Realty USA this same night. The scouts picked up 25 bags of garbage then got treated to ice cream at Adrian's before heading to Town Hall. Also mentioned was the new recycle bins that were procured at no cost to tax payers and should be delivered starting at the end of May.

   The rezoning request by Chaz Bulera of Riverstone Grill went downhill fast after Mr. Bulera and resident James Dinsmore spoke in favor. Neighbor and Bed & Breakfast owner Glenn Wallace passed out packets of information to the Town Board and then began a lengthy commentary on why the request should be denied. On his list of illegalities is the non conforming use, no certificate of occupancy, illegal addition, all of which date back to the 1960's. Three other neighbors also spoke against the rezoning of the property. The request is to take the parking lot currently on the R-1D property and combine with the B-3 restaurant property. The request has been tabled for further discussion by the Town Board.

   The Town expects to receive some amount of funding for local street improvement/fixing pot holes, from the CHIPS program and the Marchiselli program. Supervisor Mary Cooke mentioned it could be as much as $100,000 or much less. The reimbursements have not been decided as of yet.

   Town Supervisor Mary Cooke and Councilman Richard Crawford made a visit to the Erie County Surplus Warehouse at the encouragement of County Controller Stefan Mychajliw recently and did a little shopping "on the house". Items transferred from the County to the Town's possession include a metal book shelf, coat rack, 2 tables, shelving unit, 14 chairs, turnstile, file rack, dry erase board, and wood desk, table and bench.

   The Erie County Mortgage Tax on real estate transactions is distributed to municipalities twice per year. The period of October 31, 2013 - March 31, 2014 is to be distributed around May 15th and the estimated value to the Town of Grand Island is $285,149.84.

   At the public comment period at the end of the Town Board meeting, Pat Kostenbauder of Grandyle Village spoke against a neighboring "tourist home" that has caused problems with parking and garbage strewn about. Fellow neighbor William Koch also complained about the same property. Town Attorney Dan Spitzer offered to meet with the residents to discuss the issue. West River Road resident Sandra Nelson also spoke against the "tourist homes" located in her neighborhood. Ms. Nelson has lived in the same house for 62 years and said their quality of life has diminished due to the guests who leave trash, have loud music and are disrespectful to residents in the area.

    Light House Pointe opponent and spokesperson Joseph LaLonde congratulated the Town Board on the new Nottingham Estates apartment complex for being located in the high density business district. He also mentioned having over 2000 supporters against the rezoning of the LHP property located at Whitehaven and East River Roads and that the developers had stated in the past that if the project wasn't accepted as planned that they would not proceed. New plans are in the works at this time.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the Professional Services Agreement for the Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey for year three of a ten year plan
•Approved the final plat for Park Place - Phase 9a (5 lots) located on Whitehaven Road.
•Approved bids for Topsoil-Leo Brenon Topsoil, $17.95 yard. Concrete-Podlucky Construction, $6/sq ft flat work, $42/lf - dish curb and $52/lf - upright curb. Water/Wastewater Repair Material will be purchased from the supplier with the lowest price.
•Approved seasonal part-time hires by Parks Maintenance Crew Chief Thomas Dworak.
•Approved the request by KOA, 2570 Grand Island Blvd. to install six new recreational trailer sites.
•Approved the site plan for a new 32 unit apartment complex "Nottingham Estates" located at 1955 Grand Island Blvd.
•Approved the change of use and site plan for 2389 Whitehaven Road from contractor's yard to add storage, maintenance and detailing of construction trailers.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of long time Golden Age Center employee Betty Clayton effective April 12, 2014.
•Referred to the Town Board a parking issue in the Zoning Code for Bed & Breakfast establishments.

Town Board Action
Proclamations for Little League, Alcohol Awareness & Shadow Day - April 2014

Town Board with GI Little League representatives.

Town Board with Dan Stinson (center), One Island chairman.

Town Board with Cheryl Chamberlain (center), Shadow Day representative.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., April 7, 2014 . . .The Town Board meeting began with three proclamations. The first honored the 75th anniversary of the Little League which began in 1939 in Williamsport, PA. The Grand Island Little League has been a member for 25 years. The second proclamation recognized April as being Alcohol Awareness month and the efforts of One Island, One Team, Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition in educating Grand Island residents. The third proclamation was to congratulate GISBA and the GICSD for sponsoring Shadow Day since 1990 and to set aside Thursday, April 10th as GISBA Shadow Day.
   The big news announced at the Town Board meeting was the cancellation of the Light House Pointe public hearing scheduled for April 21st. This project has brought together residents like no other in quite some time. The rezoning from R2 to R3 on undeveloped land between Whitehaven, East River Road and Timberlink was to become a large rental community. Neighboring residents did not like the rental aspect of the plan.
   The request by Councilman Raymond Billica to give the Parks Crew Chief a $1.00 per hour premium for the recent additions to his job duties was met with much discussion among the Board members. By a vote of 4-1 (Supervisor Mary Cooke against), the increase was approved with a 6 month probationary period attached.
   A public hearing for a special use permit to allow a Bed & Breakfast at 1559 East River Road had two comments in favor and zero against but was still tabled for further review.
In other business, the Board:
•Approved the appointment of James Ehde to the Cable & Communications Advisory Board for an unfulfilled term expiring in December 2014.
•Accepted the resignation with regret of crossing guard Gayle Nowak.
•Approved the extension of the Liquid Sludge Hauling contract for an additional two years.
•Authorized the Supervisor to sign the Design Approval Memo for the Safe Routes to School Project to take place on Ransom and Stony Point Roads for improvement of side walks.
•Set a public hearing for April 21, 2014 for the purpose of rezoning a portion of the parking lot at Riverstone Grill, East River Rd.
•Approved the application for a public improvement permit for Park Place, Phase 9a, 5 lots located on Whitehaven Rd.
•Approved the hiring of numerous seasonal part time workers for the Parks Department.
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit by Carol Merckel of East River Road.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Karen Conboy from the GI Town Court.

Happy April Grand Islanders! - April 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    It seems that spring is finally here! With so many of our residents cleaning up their property, we are taking many inquiries about branch pickup. The highway crews have three routes to organize branch pickup – there is no need to call. It can take several days to cover the entire Island. Please be patient but know that your branches WILL be removed. Please remember that this service is for trimming and broken branch removal done by the residential homeowner, not for tree removal or lot clearing. Please follow the rules posted online at gigov.com listed under the Highway Department.
    As the frost comes out of the ground, potholes in the road seem to be everywhere. I take many phone calls about road conditions, especially for East River, Whitehaven, Baseline and Stony Point Roads. Erie County is in charge of maintaining those four, as well as Bush, Huth, Long and Love Roads. Grand Island Blvd. and the South Parkway are handled by NYS Department of Transportation, the Thruway maintains the I-190 and the Grand Island Highway Department is in charge of the rest of the roads on Grand Island. The Town Board and Highway Superintendent work closely with our County Legislator Kevin Hardwick and the Erie County Highway Crew to report and quickly address the worst potholes. There is never enough money for perfect conditions but every attempt is made to do the best we can with the resources available. To report a problem to Erie County, call 825-6996. If it’s a town road call the Highway Department at 773-9632 to report a problem.
    The “Thank A Vet” program, offered by Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs, is seeking participation from businesses on Grand Island. If your business is not yet part of this, check out the information on the County Clerk’s page at erie.gov. You can fill out the form online and the amount of the discount is completely up to you. The Thank A Vet program will be signing up veterans on Grand Island on April 8 at the Nike Base Community Center from 1:00 – 3:30 pm.
    The Recreation Department has several activities planned for spring, including some for students on school vacation. Check out the Recreation Section of the Town website at gigov.com. Town offices and locations will close on Good Friday, April 18 at 12 noon. The Island Easter Bunny will visit the Town Common (that’s the green space south of Town Hall and along Whitehaven Road between GI Blvd. and Baseline Road) beginning at 10 am on Saturday, April 19. This is a great activity and photo opportunity for families and is appropriate for children up to age 10.
    The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Buffalo Resident Office will again host a Pill Take Back Day on Grand Island. Bring any needles or drugs (for humans or animals) to Town Hall on Saturday, April 26 from 10 am – 2 pm. You simply drive into the parking lot, drop materials into a bucket and go on your way. If that is not convenient for you, remember that there are drop boxes for both drugs and needles in the entrance of Town Hall. Should you arrive with material to deposit and find the doors locked, simply call the number posted and a Sheriff Deputy or other law enforcement officer will meet you and take the material. All of this is an effort to keep sharps out of the trash and drugs out of the water supply. Please do your part and properly dispose of these materials.
    While you’re out walking in your neighborhood this spring, take along a bag and pick up some of the liter that accumulated over the winter. If everyone picks up just one bag full, imagine the difference it can make! Dog walkers, please be considerate of others and pick up any poop left by your dog. I receive many complaints from folks who are left with a mess on their right-of-way by inconsiderate dog walkers who do not follow the pooper scooper ordinance.
    A reminder from all of the law enforcement agencies on the Island: lock your garage, house and car. Many of the recent “break-ins” were not break-ins at all because doors were left open. Often if the door is locked, the trespasser will move on. You make yourself an easy target with open doors. Please help law enforcement by reporting any unusual activity. Law Enforcement Officers cannot connect the dots to solve these situations if they have no dots to connect. Reports of incidents of trespassing or unusual activity are the “dots” they need.
    Your thoughts and ideas are important. I welcome your visit when you are at Town Hall and am also easily reached by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us

Town Of Grand Island Advisory Board Opening - April 2014

    The Town of Grand Island is seeking interested individuals to volunteer for an opening as an alternate on the Planning Board for a term expiring 12/31/14. 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, NY 14072 or by email to townboard@grand-island.ny.us
    Letters received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 2, 2014 will be considered. For additional information contact any member of the Town Board.

Town Board Action
Light House Pointe Major Concern - March 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., March 17, 2014 . . . The rezoning of the Light House Pointe project, located at Whitehaven and East River Roads, was initially scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, March 17th but was rescheduled at the request of the applicant. The court room was still filled with attendees that are opposed to the rental property nature of the project. Most left after hearing the Public Hearing is now on April 21st and that if they wanted to speak, it would be at the end of the Town Board meeting. Opposition spokesman Joseph LaLonde stayed until the public comment portion and advised the Town Board that the group has over 800 signatures on a petition against the project. He also said they would never agree to rental vs. homeowner dwellings. Dean Santorio of Timberlink Drive doesn't want an apartment complex behind his home and mentioned there are two other areas on Grand Island already zoned R3.
   Correspondence from the Planning Board and from Mike and Sue Stanko of Trail's End regarding the Light House Pointe project was referred back to the Town Board for discussion.
    A Bond Resolution was approved to increase and improve the Consolidated Sewer District and the authorization was approved to finance the project by the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $2,900,000. Repairs will be made along East Park, Red Jacket, Hennepin, Huth and Long Roads. Sewer mains to be inspected include Grand Island Boulevard, South Parkway and Broadway.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved a change order for the Water Treatment Plant Filter Media Replacement that entails the extension of time to complet the project. New date is May 15, 2014.
•Approved the hiring of Timothy Krecisz as a Wastewater Treatment Plant Assistant effective March 17, 2014.
•Approved a budget amendment to transfer unused funds from a Records Management Impovement Fund to the Engineering Department to buy a plotter/scanner.
•Set a public hearing for a special use permit application to operate a Bed and Breakfast by Alan Lemanski and Michael Rosenberg at 1559 East River Road.
•Approved the on-site sale of produce at the Community Garden located at Stony Point and Ransom Roads.

Town Board Meeting - March 2014

   A Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 17th at 8:00 p.m. See Agenda.

Happy March! - March 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   Spring is less than two weeks away, and the clocks move ahead for Daylight Savings Time on Saturday night. Warmer weather must be on the way!
    You have likely noticed two new buildings that we are very happy to have on Grand Island. JM Science, Inc. has a new 6,000 sq. ft. building under construction at 2408 Bedell Road, easily seen from the Thruway. The company, owned by John MacFarlane and currently operating on Lang Blvd., imports and exports scientific equipment. The building is a warehouse with a small office area; JM Science has three employees. The second is a new 3,420 sq. ft. professional office at 2620 Grand Island Blvd. Daigler Engineering PC, a Civil/Geo-Environmental Engineering Firm, has just moved in and looks to expand from their current seven employees to 10-15 in the future.
   The rehabilitation of an existing building behind the Allstate Mastantuono Agency at 1979 Grand Island Blvd. has been completed and Bon Joe’s Cycle Sport, Inc. is open for business. Owner Brett Bavisotto repairs motorcycles, ATVs and Jet Skis and sells new parts and accessories as well as new Gas Gas Competition Off-Road Dirt Bikes. Bon Joe’s is a series sponsor for the National Enduros.
   Congratulations to Skip and Judy Mazenauer on the 70th anniversary milestone of the Island Dispatch weekly newspaper! The Town Board presented a proclamation to them at Monday’s meeting. I wish them many more years of success!
    For the past 47 years, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce has honored Citizens of the Year. Please consider who helps make Grand Island the great place that it is and then complete a form, available from the Chamber, in the new Community Directory recently delivered to your home, in the kiosk at the entrance to Town Hall and online at gichamber.org. Nominations are due March 14 at the Chamber Office, 2257 Grand Island Blvd. Suggested categories include business, businessperson, corporation, civic, education, community service and senior. Special categories may be created depending on the recommendations received. Awards will be presented at the 48th annual Citizens of the Year Dinner at Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa on April 24.
   I am especially proud of the cooperation that exists among elected officials on Grand Island and other levels of government. Our Town Board and Highway Superintendent regularly meet with County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, with the main topic generally being roads and drainage. Whenever possible we try to coordinate projects to best use the resources available. Legislator Hardwick regularly meets constituents at the Golden Age Center and at the GI Memorial Library; dates and times are published on isledegrande.com and in the Dispatch.
    Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard has assigned a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate to Grand Island. Joseph Chudoba will be in the upper level of Town Hall every Monday and Wednesday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm and on Tuesdays from 8:30 am until 12 noon. The Sheriff’s Drug and Needle Drop Boxes are heavily used and have provided an obviously needed service. You’ll find them in the entrance to the lower level of Town Hall. If the doors are locked when you arrive, call the number on the sign and a Sheriff Deputy will meet you and take your drugs or needles.
    Congressman Higgins, Senator Grisanti and Assemblymember Ceretto routinely send staff members to Town Hall to meet with residents and solve problems you may have with that level of government. Days and times are posted on the Town’s website, gigov.com and at isledegrande.com and published in the Island Dispatch. Your thoughts and ideas are important. I welcome your visit when you are at Town Hall and am easily reached by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.

Town Board Action
Bed & Breakfast, Tourist Homes Hearings Fill Courtroom - March 2014

From left: Councilmen Gary Roesch, Dick Crawford, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Judy and Skip Mazenauer, Councilmen Ray Billica and Chris Aronica

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., March 3, 2014 . . . It was a standing room only crowd at the Town Hall Courtroom on Monday, March 3rd for the Town Board meeting. Two of the eleven public hearings scheduled filled the room with supporters and those against. The first issue was the application of Bryce and Robin Shipman of 2020 Fix Road for a Bed & Breakfast permit. There were a dozen supporters of the couple speaking in favor of the request and the character of the family. On the other hand, two of the closest neighbors were opposed to the request, citing unacceptable behavior including noise, parties, bonfires, and offensive smoke wafting into one of the neighbor's homes. It was also noted by the opposition that the property hosts flea markets, sells used cars, eggs and produce; activities not conducive to a peaceful neighborhood atmosphere.
   The second public hearing was an amendment to the Town Code to remove the phrase "Tourist Homes" from Chapter 351 that regulates short-term transient rentals in the town. Many were confused on the wording of the law and the proposed amendment. A large faction thought the transient rental facilities were good for the Grand Island economy, while others didn't want commercial ventures in residential areas. Both issues were tabled to be discussed at the Planning Board meeting scheduled for Monday, March 10th.
   Another local law introduced "prohibiting debris including snow on public roadways" was referred back to the town board for discussion as there is a state law already on the books.
Correction: The Community Garden on site sale of produce and alternate to Planning Board previously stated as approved was actually tabled for review by Planning Board. The use of "Best Value Procurement Standard" was approved. Five dissolutions of Gas Lighting Districts were approved from the following subdivisions; Morningside, Woodcreek, Regency Park, Queens Drive and Garden Parkway.
   A proclamation congratulating Niagara Frontier Publications on their 70th anniversary was read. The inaugural issue of the Island Dispatch was published by Oliver C. B. Howard on March 3, 1944. The current owners, Skip and Judy Mazenauer have been at the helm for many, many years.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the consideration of establishing a school speed zone around Kaegebein School to include, East Park, Love Rd. and Broadway.
•Appointed James Szajacs as temporary member of the Board of Assessment Review for 2014.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Waste Water employee Darryl Dodge and Reality Cafe Leader Phyllis Martin.
•Appointed Laura Prusinski as part-time clerk typist-recreation leader, effective March 4, 2014.
•Referred the communication from David Duchscherer regarding setbacks from telecommunications facilities for further discussion.
•Adopted the Development Concept Plan for Gun Creek PPD located north of Whitehaven Road with the suggestion by the Erie County Commissioner of Public Works that a traffic analysis be performed when the development reaches 75% of full build-out.

Town Board Action
Cell Tower Law Change - February 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., February 3, 2014 . . .    The amendment to the setback from Telecommunications Facilities is not a popular one with a resident of Autumnwood Drive at the north end of the Island. For the second Town Board meeting in a row, John Cook spoke of his displeasure with the change that minimizes the set back from a tower from five and a half times to one and a half times the tower's highest pre-engineered breaking point. Mr. Cook is worried about the possible tower placement behind Island Presbyterian Church located on Huth Road citing safety and esthetics. The amendment was approved by a less than enthusiastic Town Board.
   There will be a plethora of public hearings at the next Town Board meeting on March 3rd. Planned topics are tourist homes (transient rental facilities); prohibiting debris, including snow from being placed on public roads; allowing the sale of produce at the GI Community Garden; the appointment of alternate members to the Planning Board, and the use of the best value procurement standard for the Town. In addition, the dissolution of five different natural gas lighting districts is to be voted on.
   The American Legion Post #1346 and the Grand Island Rod & Gun Club sent in letters in opposition of the proposed Public Assembly Permit law that would require a permit for any assembly of over 200 people. A letter from Bryce and Robin Shipman requestedhe acceptance of tourist homes in residential districts to include the following proposed regulations:
A $100 licensing fee for the initial permit with a yearly $25 renewal.
Short term rentals to be no longer than 30 days.
Appropriate taxes to be collected.
Rental agreements.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the request by Town Engineer John Whitney to make Brian Clarkson a permanent Senior Engineer Assistant.
•Approved the request by Town Engineer John Whitney to post a position of Wastewater Treatment Plant Assistant.
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit by Mike Ludwig for his dog kennel on Alvin Road.
•Referred to the Planning Board the request of a special use permit to operate a Bed & Breakfast at 2020 Fix Road.
•Referred to the Planning Board a request to rezone property near the corner of Whitehaven and East River Roads from R2 to R3.
•Approved the splitting and merging of property located between 1865 & 1839 Stony Point Rd. by co-owners.
•Approved the change of status of Joanne Snyder at the Golden Age Center from part-time to full time to cover another employee on leave.

Hello Islanders! - February 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   After several warmer than usual winters, with very little snow, many residents have not had to think about clearing sidewalks or where to have the plow contractor put the snow (on your own property, please!) for a long time. This winter is bringing all of that, as well as driving on snowy surfaces, back into very clear focus. Thank you all for your patience in helping the Town deal with the cold and snowy weather. Before you conclude that your street has been forgotten by the snow plows, know that the highway department has 8 plow routes and it takes between 3 ˝ and 4 hours to plow the entire Island. Please help out by NOT putting snow from your property onto the road. In addition to being illegal, it is extremely dangerous for passing vehicles, including the Town plow trucks, to hit those piles of snow left in the road. If your mailbox does not survive the snow coming off the end of the plow, please contact the highway department. As a courtesy, if necessary, they will repair or replace a mailbox. The list of mailbox repairs gets long at times, but they will do their best to have something in place for your mail as soon as possible. Please observe winter parking rules, in effect until March 31: no parking on any roads between 2 - 7 am.
    When clearing snow from your driveways and sidewalks, please remember to clear the area around the nearest fire hydrant. The time saved during a fire will be appreciated by everyone involved. If you have elderly or ill neighbors, please offer them a hand with these tasks.
    A resident recently contacted me about the problems of feeding feral cats. If you are leaving food outside for these animals, please stop now. The problem is that these cats use neighboring bushes and gardens for their litter boxes and the smell of cat urine becomes unbearable. Some experiencing this are allergic to cats. Food left outside for feral cats also attracts rodents that become a problem for the entire neighborhood.
    Two successful grants for the Town! The Golden Age Center has received a $55,000 Community Development Block Grant for a new vehicle. Research is underway to make the best choice for seniors who use this service to get to medical appointments, for shopping and to get to the Center for activities. We expect to receive the grant in spring and purchase the vehicle as soon as possible after that. New entrance doors have been installed in the Community Center at the Nike Base under a Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) grant. Very shortly the handicapped accessible openers will be operational, making that site much easier to navigate for everyone, but especially for those in a wheelchair or with any other challenging condition.
    The Erie County Clerk’s Office visits Grand Island every Wednesday from 10 am – 3 pm. This is a very convenient opportunity to handle any Department of Motor Vehicle business. If you miss them on Wednesday and need to renew your vehicle registration, stop by the kiosk in the lobby and take a green envelope for your renewal. This keeps the money in Erie County, instead of sending it to the state. The green envelope is postage-paid – another reason to use it!
    Because of the increased traffic in Town Hall on Wednesdays, our State Senator, Mark Grisanti, will have someone at Town Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 12 from 4 – 7 pm and at that time on each second Wednesday of the month through June. Assembly member John Ceretto and Congressman Brian Higgins also schedule hours in Town Hall. Watch for notices around town and on isledegrande.com.
    I welcome your ideas. Stop by when you are in Town Hall and let me know what’s on your mind. I am easily reached by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us

Town Advisory Board Opening - January 2014

    The Town of Grand Island is seeking interested individuals to volunteer for an opening on the CABLE AND COMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY BOARD for a term expiring 12/31/14. 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. Letters received by 5:00 on Friday, February 14, 2014 will be considered. For additional information contact any member of the Town Board.

Town Board Action
Five Public Hearings Start Meeting - January 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Tues., January 21, 2014 . . . Ray Billica was excused from this week's meeting.
   There were five public hearings at the second Town Board meeting of 2014. The "Public Assembly Permit Law" had a couple of residents speaking against it and no one in favor. The Board decided the law needed further discussion and tabled it. The public hearing law regarding "Setbacks from Telecommunications Facilities" also had two residents that spoke against and was tabled for further discussion by a vote of 3-1, with Gary Roesch voting against.

   The special use permit application by Jonathan and Jennifer Conta of Fairview Court was approved for a home embroidery and screenprint business. Two other law amendments were approved. One being requirements for Final Subdivision Plat Approval and the other to designate the change of the Commission for the Conservation of the Environment to an Advisory Board.

   Delegates were chosen for the upcoming 2014 Association of Towns Annual Meeting in New York City. Gary Roesch was chosen as the delegate and Pam Barton as the alternate.

   The annual contract between the Town and the State Park Commission for water supply and sewer service was approved at the current rate of $3.95 per 1,000 for water and $8.98 per 1,000 for sewer.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the hiring of Kristen Thore as a Part Time Imaging Clerk paid for by the Local Government Management Improvement Fund of 2013-2014.
•Approved the special use permit renewal of Robert F. Mesmer of Love Road for Private Airport & Landing Strip.
•Approved the site plan for a proposed warehouse at Isle Chem, 2801 Long Rd., subject to Engineering Department approval.
•Approved the appointment of Mary Rossi to the Conservation Advisory Board.

Town Board Action
Public Hearings, Reorganization & Fee Schedule Approved - January 2014

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., January 6, 2014 . . . Three public hearings were held at this week's meeting. The Noise Pollution Law as it relates to Field Vehicles was approved with speakers in favor being Peter Marston, Jr., Paul Coughlin, and James Teator. There was no oppostion. The public hearing to amend the Town Sign Law was approved without any speakers either in favor or opposed. Likewise, the Vehicle Sales Overlay District was approved without public discussion.

   Supervisor Cooke was authorized by the Board to sign a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with CSEA, Local 1000 AFSCME, AFL-CIO, town of Grand Island White Collar Unit, Erie County Local 815.

   The Board authorized Supervisor Cooke to sign a two year contract for the electrical maintenance and emergency service at Town owned facilities to Frey Electric and to sign a professional services agreement with Wendel regarding services related to flow balancing at the water treatment plant.

   The general membership of plumbers, licensed to practice plumbing in the Town of Grand Island, have elected Eric Ackerman, Jim Frey and Gerald Soto to represent them on the Board of Plumbing Eaminer’s. The terms will be for two years and commence on January 1, 2014.

In other business, the Board:
•A special use permit has been renewed for Auto Fix/Terry Mesmer located at 2038 Grand Island Blvd. • Five public hearings have been set for Tuesday, January 21, 2014. They are: Setbacks from Telecommunications Facilities, Requirements for Final Subdivision Plat Approval, Conservation Advisory Board, Public Assembly Permit and Special Use Permit for Home Occupation, 192 Fairview Court.
•Approved the Town of Grand Island 2014 Reorganization.
•Approved the the Town of Grand Island 2014 Adopted Fee Schedule.

Town Officials Inauguration - January 2014

From left: James Tomkins, Mark Frentzel, Hon. Russell P. Buscaglia, Chris Aronica and Ray Billica
Click photo for larger view

   Town of Grand Island Inauguration of Elected Officials took place on Wednesday, January 1st at noon at Ellden's Grill at River Oaks Golf Club. The Master of Ceremonies was Richard Crawford and Boy Scout Troop 630 from St. Stephens gave the Presentation of Colors and Pledge of Allegiance. Rev. Kevin Backus of Bible Presbyterian Church gave the Invocation and Benediction. NYS Supreme Court Justice, the Hon. Russell P. Buscaglia presided over the installation of Councilmen Christopher K. Aronica and Raymond A. Billica and Town Justice Mark J. Frentzel and Highway Superintendent James B. Tomkins.

Happy New Year Grand Island!! - January 2014

By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   I hope everyone has had an enjoyable and restful holiday and that 2014 is off to a fine start.
    On New Year’s Day at noon, the newly elected town officials were sworn in at Ellden’s Restaurant at River Oaks. Best wishes to Town Councilmembers Chris Aronica and Ray Billica, Highway Superintendent Jim Tomkins and Town Justice Mark Frentzel as they begin new 4 year terms!
    The Town Board begins 2014 with new 5 year contracts for both AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1783-A) and CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association Local 815). We are pleased to have a long term agreements with these two units that include 57 of the Town’s 80 full-time workers. Of particular note is that the employees and the Town share responsibility for increases in health care costs that exceed 8%.
    Congratulations to the newly elected officers of the Golden Age Club for 2014: President, Lorraine Mangin; Vice-President, Casey Galeza; Secretary, Martha Muller; Treasurer, Chris Bihler and Sergeant at Arms, Bill Salansky. I very much enjoyed the Holiday Lunch and Party on December 19 and was honored to administer the Oaths of Office to the new leadership team. If you are 50 years old or older, check out the offerings at the Golden Age Center. Their newsletter is available in the lobby of Town Hall.
    It was an honor and privilege to attend the recent breakfast and a tour of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. The presentation by 914th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Walter Gordon, 107th Airlift Wing Commander Col. John Higgins and Niagara Military Affairs Council Chairman John Cooper, Sr. was most informative. The Station is the largest employer in Niagara County and includes many Grand Islanders. With nearly 2,000 personnel assigned to the station, and a total economic impact of $143,243,852, it is easy to see how important this facility is to Western New York.
    As many of you know first-hand, the warm weather and rain just before Christmas, along with a many hour power outage caused many flooding problems. We received 3 inches of rain and had snow melt to equal another inch of rain in a very short time period. The wastewater treatment plant worked well beyond capacity for many hours. Anyone with floor drains, laundry tubs or bathrooms in the basement have increased risk during these weather events. Please plan ahead and have the proper valves installed (and remember to use them) to prevent problems in your basement.
    Some winter weather-related reminders are in order:
• NY State Law prohibits placing or leaving snow, ice or other substances on any highway, which includes pavement, shoulders and ditches. It is particularly dangerous (and illegal) to plow or blow snow into the road, assuming that the highway plows will push it off. Whether you do it yourself or hire a snow plowing service, the snow from your property is best kept on your property. DO NOT put snow in the road.
• Please keep the sidewalks in front of your homes and businesses clear of snow and ice. We’ve taken several complaints at Town Hall about pedestrians being forced to walk in the street because the sidewalks are not cleaned up after a snowfall. It is especially dangerous when students are waiting in the street for the school bus on these dark mornings because a sidewalk is filled with snow. Please do your part to keep the Island sidewalks as safe as possible. If you are able, help an elderly or ill neighbor with the task of shoveling their sidewalk.
• Remember that there is no parking on roads between the hours of 2 am – 7 am from Nov. 1 until and including March 31. Avoid a ticket and help make it possible for the highway crews to keep your road in the best condition possible by keeping cars off the road.
    We have been notified by American Water Resources that they will be mailing information about water line maintenance to Grand Islanders sometime soon. The information in the letter states correctly that the homeowner is responsible for the water line to the house from the water shut off box, typically located just inside the front property line. However, it is very rare for a homeowner to incur expenses to repair this section of a water line. The Town of Grand Island is responsible for the portion of the service line from the water main to the shut off box.
    May 2014 hold much health and happiness for you and your family! Please continue to let me know if you have an idea that will help Grand Island be a better place to live, work and play. I am easily reached at the office when you are visiting Town Hall, by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by emailing mcooke@grand-island.ny.us