FEATURE ARTICLES
Front Page
Features
Events Calendar
Letters To Editor
Better Health
In the Service

DONATIONS

View our Archives

Between Archives

TOWN NEWS
Town News
School Board
Town Board
Lost Pets
GI Schools
The Bridge
Government
Islanders
Fire News
Fire Report


GUESTBOOK
Sign In
Guestbook
Search
Old Guestbooks


ReUnion Central



BUSINESS
Advertise With Us
Yellow Pages
Business News


MISCELLANEOUS
Churches
Deaths
Food
New Photos
Old Photo Album
Sesquicentennial
Sports
Town History


GRAND ISLAND GROUP LIST
Alumni Association
American Legion
Artists Haven
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.
Distinguished Alumni
East Park Garden Club
Fire Company
Fire Company
Ladies Auxiliary

Friends of the Library
Girl Scouts
Golden Age Center
GI Foundation
GI E.D.A.B.
GI High School
GI Little League
GI Professional/
NYS Women

GI Soccer Club
GITA
Grand Niagara
Hockey League

Historic Trinity
Historical Society
Holy Name Society
(St. Stephen's)

Huth Road
Elementary School

Island
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

Library
Lions Club
Ministerium
Miracle League
MOMS Club
Moose Lodge #180
MOPS - Mothers
of Preschoolers

MVK of WNY
Neighbors Foundation
Niagara Power Squadron
One Island, One Team
Parent Teachers
Associations

PTSA
Recreation Department
Relay For Life
Republican Women's Club
Republican Committee
River Lea Quilters
Riverside-Salem
Rotary Club
Sandy Beach
Yacht Club

Sesquicentennial
Sidway Reunion
Sidway School
Snowmobile Club
St. Martin
-in-the-Fields

St. Stephen's Church
St. Stephen's
Parish Players

St. Stephen School
St. Timothy
Lutheran Church

GI Teachers
Association

Teddy's Islettes
Trinity UM Church
Tuesday Crafters
VFW 9249
West River
Homeowners Assoc.

Women's Club of GI
WOW
Young Life
Zonta Club


USEFUL LINKS
Currency Exchange
Dictionary
Temperament Sorter
Enneagram
Language Translator
MedicineNet
Online Recipes
NYS Government
US Gov -IRS
Postal Services




Yellow Page Listings
Click Above to View

PLEASE PATRONIZE
OUR ADVERTISERS
LISTED BELOW



AMUSEMENTS
Mallwitz's Island Lanes

AUTOMOTIVE COLLISION/REPAIR
GI Auto Tech

BEAUTY SALON
Wavelengths Hair Design

BOATS
Blue Water Marina

CHIROPRACTOR
Grand Island Chiropractic

CHIROPRACTOR/
PEDIATRIC
Riverview Chiropractic

DANCE
Miss Cathy's Dance

FLORIST
Flower A Day

FUNERAL HOME
Kaiser Funeral Home

GIFTS
Magic Towel Holder

GYM/PHYSICAL THERAPY
the M.O.G.

HOME DECOR & MORE
Diane Garey Interiors

INSURANCE
State Farm - Bob Piatek

INVESTMENT SERVICES
Edward Jones - Steve Kopf

JEWELRY
deSignet International

LANDSCAPING/EXCAVATING
Sam Long's Landscaping

LAWN MOWING SERVICE
Island Mowing

LAWYERS
Mark J. Frentzel
Mark S. Nemeth

LIQUOR
Aceti's Wine & Spirits
Rose Liquor

MEDICAL CENTER
GI Family Practice
by NFMMC


MUSIC
Ray Braselton

OPTICIAN
Grand Island Optical

POWER EQUIPMENT
Marston Power Equipment

REAL ESTATE
Century 21/Gerrie Andolina
Town Center/Betty Harris
RE/MAX-Linda Kutzbach
HUNT-Sherry McDonald
Realty USA/Joan Dlugokinski

RESTAURANTS
Ellden's at River Oaks
John's Pizza & Subs
Sandi's Family Restaurant
Town Cafe


SEPTIC SERVICES
GI Waste Management

SHIPPING
Island Ship Center Inc.

SKILLED NURSING
Elderwood at Grand Island

WATCH REPAIR
Otto Zimmerman and Son

Town Board News - 2015


Previous Town Board News Pages

Town of Grand Island Website





Town Board Action
Final Town Board Meeting for Mary Cooke - December 2015

From left: Deputy Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford, Town Justice Mark Frentzel, Highway Superintendent Jim Tomkins, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Councilmen Ray Billica and Chris Aronica.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., December 21, 2015 . . .    The Town Board meeting ended with the presentation of a certificate of appreciation to Supervisor Mary Cooke. It read, "The Town Board of the Town of Grand Island takes pleasure in awarding this certificate of appreciation to Mary S. Cooke in recognition of her dedicated service and personal contributions to the Town of Grand Island on the Town Board 1994 to 2015." Gary Roesch was absent from the meeting and was presented with a certificate at the December 7th meeting. Both Town Board members lost in the general election in November.
   A site plan revision was approved for Erie Plumbing, 1730 Baseline Road for expansion of outdoor storage. The rezoning of a property at 2339 West River Road from B2 to R1A was approved. A single family home will be built on the site. A building addition and parking lot expansion was approved for 1879 Whitehaven Road to add storage space for Island Shipping. The amendment to R-2 Zoning was tabled as the Town is waiting for Erie County to sign off on the changes.

   A sheltering agreement was approved between the Grand Island Central School District and the Town to use the Grand Island Library located at 1715 Bedell Road as a temporary shelter for the Veronica Connor Middle School on an emergency as-needed basis. The agreement agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the Town from claims and suits connected to that use.

   Supervisor Cooke announced that in addition to the $197,634 funding provided by REDC Consolidated funding for the Scenic Woods-Bicentennial Park Trails, there is over $100,000 left from a Niagara Riverkeeper grant for the project. That gives a total of over $300,000 to start the trail system.

   A facility use agreement was approved to be signed between the Town and the supporters of the Grand Island Dog Park, soon to be located at the Nike Base. A fenced off-leash area approx. 1/2 acre will be the first phase of the1.5 acres allotted to the Dog Park. The Dog Park is responsible to pay all costs including material, labor, contractors and equipment. The Town will then maintain the upkeep and lawn area.

   A residential sidewalk installation at 891 Baseline Road has been completed by the Town of Grand Island at a cost of $4,198. The owner will pay back the funds in five equal installments of $839.60 starting in tax year 2017.

In other business, the Board:
•Updated Policy and Procedure Manual for Town Employees, Health & Safety Manual and a new Town Police Policy & Procedure Manual were adopted.
•Cyndy Montana was appointed Clerk Part Time effective December 22nd for on-the-job training with Liz Wilbert for incoming Supervisor Secretary position.
• The Highway Department was given permission to sell at auction four pieces of surplus equipment.
•A two-year contract for the electrical maintenance and emergency services at Town owned facilities was signed with Cross Controls & Electric.
•A special use permit renewal was approved for an auto repair business at 2038 Grand Island Blvd.
•George Newman of Newman Electric recieved the most votes for Electrical Examining Board and will serve a two year term.
•A new "third party" electrical inspection agency has been approved, NY Atlantic-Inland, Inc. will replace Common Wealth.
•Peter Marston and David Bruno have been named as alternates to the Board Of Assessment Review for 2016.
•Elizabeth Wilbert has been named Golden Age Center Recreation Attendant replacement, effective January 4, 2016.




Inauguration of Newly Elected Officials - December 2015

   The Town of Grand Island announces that the Inauguration of the newly elected officials will take place on Friday, January 1, 2016 at 12:00p.m. (noon) at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road, Grand Island. To be inaugurated are Nathan D. McMurray – Supervisor, Patricia A. Frentzel – Town Clerk, Michael H. Madigan – Councilman, Beverly A. Kinney – Councilwoman and Sybil E. Kennedy – Town Justice. Phil Buchanan will serve as MC. The ceremony will be followed with a coffee, juice and light refreshments. All are invited to attend.




Town Board Action
Four Public Hearings Approved - November 2015

From left: Councilman Ray Billica, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Councilmen Gary Roesch & Chris Aronica.
Councilman Roesch accepts certificate of appreciation at his last Town Board meeting.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., December 7, 2015 . . .    Four public hearings were approved at the beginning of the Town Board meeting. The first set sewer rents for 2016 at $5.20 per 1000 gallons of water usage. The amending of the Town code regarding R-2 zoning is approved, but awaits sign off from Erie County regarding impact on county roads. In amending the R-2 regulations, duplexes will no longer be allowed and existing duplex status will not be affected. The law mentions that appropriate buffers may be required between R-2 and adjoining districts "as appropriate to each subdivision or site plan, based on the terrain, existing developments and uses..." Also mentioned in the law, no more than four dwelling units may be included in a single contiguous structure. A property at 2339 West River Rd. will change from B2 to R1A, but is also awaiting sign off from Erie County. This property owner will be building a single family home. The Town Plumbing Code will be amended to update the process for filling vacancies in the Town Plumbing Board of Examiners. Five nominees will be required for the ballot, of which, the three top vote getters will serve a term of two years.

   Councilman Gary Roesch announced that Monday's meeting was his last after 12 years of service. The Town Board presented him with a certificate of appreciation.

   A public hearing will be scheduled on Monday, December 21st for the creation of Grand Park Vue Phase VII Lighting District in the area of Havenwood and Pin Oak.

   Town representatives at the Upstate NY Munical Workers' Compensation Program for 2016 are Pamela Barton (Voting Member) and Richard Crawford Jr. (Alternate Voting Member and Facilitator). A resignation by Deborah Mondoux of the Golden Age Center was accepted with regret and a certificate of appreciation will be sent. Parks junior workers Jake Lawley and Joshua Ungaro will be re-hired for seasonal employment at 19 hours per week.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the signing of a Professional Service agreement for the Water Plant Rehabilitation Project.
•Approved the signing of a two year Traffic Signal and Emergency Service contract.
•Approved the change of status of Water Department employees Stephen Hinkle and David Whitney from laborer to water maintenance worker.
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit by Mike Ludwig for a dog kennel at 2120 Alvin Road.




Hello, Islanders! - December 2015


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    I hope you and your family are enjoying the holiday season! The Chamber of Commerce “Light Up the Boulevard” festivities on November 21 were a huge success. Thank you to Islanders Kevin and Cindy Hagen who graciously donated the large evergreen that is lit for the season in the Town Common.
    Small Business Saturday proved very prosperous on Grand Island with many local businesses seeing a noticeable increase in sales on November 28. For every $100.00 spent in independently-owned businesses, $68.00 returns to the community in taxes, payroll and other expenditures. Grand Island is full of businesses looking for you as a customer and they contribute greatly to our quality of life and the Town tax base. Let our local businesses know how much you appreciate them by shopping in their stores!
    There are several exciting projects happening in our town. 303 Industrial Drive, LLC has purchased the former Sihi Pumps facility and will bring to Grand Island the United States affiliate of an All-Terrain Vehicle Assembly company headquartered in England. Town employees were instrumental in the decision of this company to purchase the property and bring this business to the Island. The company plans to employ at least 30 people. Find out more at www.maxatvs.com
    When you drive by Martin’s Fantasy Island, notice the change to the bus shelter. For several seasons I have been urging the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) to consider re-orienting bus shelters so that the snow plows do not fill them with ice and snow. Because of the terrain near the shelter, re-orienting it so the opening faced the south required the installation of concrete and railings. It will be interesting to see how this works through the winter and, if it proves successful, I expect that this test case will become a model that can be replicated on Grand Island and elsewhere. A huge thank you to the NFTA for addressing this winter problem!
    The asbestos has been removed from the Patel Building, 2761 Long Road, slated to become a 100 room Holiday Inn Express. The presence of asbestos has long been a big stumbling block in moving anything forward on this site, so having it removed is a huge step forward. Councilman Roesch reported at a recent Town Board Meeting that bids for the building’s mechanical work, the next step in the rehabilitation of this building, are being sought.
    Cianbro Corporation, the company under contract with the New York State Thruway Authority to replace the deck on the southbound North Grand Island Bridge, is in the final weeks of completing their work. Recently a stone haul road that was constructed in Buckhorn Island State Park for the project, needed to be removed and the area restored to the original parkland. I was contacted by the project manager and asked if the Town could use some stone. With highways, sewer lines and water lines, Grand Island uses tons of stone each year, so the answer was, “Yes!” Over 40 dump truck loads of stone were donated to the Town by Cianbro; the Highway Department arrived onsite with trucks that were loaded by Cianbro and the stone has been used (with some stockpiled for future use) at the Highway Garage. I am very proud of the relationships developed over the years that allowed this type of donation to occur. Cianbro saved money by not having to haul and dispose of perfectly good stone that is very useful to the Town. This is a great example of how establishing relationships with agencies and partners, and keeping lines of communication open, can benefit everyone.
    A most exciting concept plan was brought to the Town Building and Engineering Departments earlier this fall: Elderwood is moving ahead with Independent Senior Housing! The plan shows three buildings with 100 units extending from their current building to the south, all the way to Bedell Road. The zoning for all three parcels involved is North Business District and more detailed plans should be in front of the Planning Board in the next couple of months. Several Islanders live in the Elderwood Independent Living Apartments in Wheatfield because we have nothing here, making this a most welcome development.
    Lynn Alan Konovitz, the Director of Grand Island Memorial Library for 32 years, is retiring in December. An Open House reception is scheduled for Monday, December 7 from 5 pm – 7 pm in the Meeting Room at the Library, 1715 Bedell Road. Please stop by! I’ve had the privilege of working with Mr. Konovitz in many capacities over the years and greatly appreciate his thoroughness and complete dedication to our Town Library. It is a strong institution because of his leadership and the amazing cooperation among the Library Staff, Library Trustees, Friends of the Library and the Town are a credit to him. Best wishes, Lynn!
    This is my final Supervisor Column for isledegrande. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Grand Island for 18 years as a Councilwoman and for 4 years as Supervisor. This column has been a great opportunity to keep you informed of the many things happening in our great Town and I sincerely thank isledegrande for making it possible. Thank you to all of you, who have stopped by, called, e-mailed or sent letters with comments and suggestions. If you’re around Town Hall during December, please stop by and say hello. I’m easily reached at 773-9600, ext. 616 and by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island,ny.us.




Town Board Action
Small Business Saturday Proclamation - November 2015

From left: Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Chamber of Commerce members Fahim Mojawalla and Beverly Kinney, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., November 16, 2015 . . .    The Town Board meeting began with a proclamation designating Saturday, November 28th as Small Business Saturday on Grand Island. This is a national effort, started in 2010 by American Express, to drive consumers to shop at local independently owned businesses. For every $100 spent at local, small business, $68 goes back into the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.
   A local law was passed amending the Telecommunications Facilities Regulations. No telecommunications facility shall be sited, located, constructed, erected, or modified without the issuance of either a site plan approval or tower permit. In addition, in industrial districts, a tower permit may also be required. Other amendments include modifications to existing facilities, compatibility with surrounding land uses, and a fall zone 1 1/2 times the height of the tower. A full draft of the law can be found in the agenda packet - page 4.
   The 2016 Preliminary Budget was unanimously adopted. A summary and tax levies can be seen here.
   Supervisor Mary Cooke announced at the meeting she has declined the "opt out" payment for health insurance coverage and in doing so has saved the Town $4000.
   Supervisor Cooke was authorized by the Town Board to sign a cost sharing agreement with the Grand Island Central School District, regarding a property located at 5303 East River Road owned by the Lovullo family. The Lovullo's are challenging the assessment of the 16,000+ square foot home. The shared agreement will split the $6000 cost to the firm of Emminger Newton Pigeon and Magyr, for the undertaking of a court-ready appraisal of the property.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit by Richard Benz, 828 East River Road for the keeping of three agricultural animals.
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit by Shannon Martino, 977 Ransom Road for home occupation-graphic design, photo business.
•Approved the revision of a site plan for Erie Plumbing, 1730 Baseline Road, showing outdoor storage.
•Approved Local Law #14 to establish regulations for historic preservation in the Town of Grand Island.
•Set public hearings for December 7th for amending R-2 Zoning and rezoning 2339 West River Road from B-2 to R-1A.




Happy November, Grand Island! - November 2015


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    Recently, several people have expressed concern about phone calls they’ve received telling them they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), their grandchild is in jail or they’ve won flowers or a sweepstake contest. All of these calls eventually lead to the caller asking for a bank account number or a social security number. This is a complete fraud; do not be drawn into it. The IRS NEVER conducts business by phone. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Hang up the phone immediately! This is NOT the time to be worried about manners, just hang up. Remember—someone is attempting to steal from you! If you feel threatened in any way, call and report the situation to the police at 858-2903.
    This 2015 Veterans Day Service will be held at a different location: DeGlopper Park, at the corner of GI Blvd. and Baseline Road. It is at 11 am on Wednesday, November 11. You’ll want to attend to learn about an exciting project regarding DeGlopper Park. Later that day, at 5 pm, at Martin’s Fantasy Island parking lot, Grand Island will have its first Watchfire Ceremony to retire American flags. Eagle Scout William Soos, Scout Troops, High School DECA and Island Veterans are teaming up for what is hoped to be an annual Veterans Day event on Grand Island. Hope to see you there!
    November is American Legion Membership Month and on Monday night the Town Board presented a proclamation to the Grand Island Legion’s Judge Advocate Joe Synakowski. The Legion has a national goal to have one million members by their 100th anniversary in 2019. We are blessed on Grand Island to have a very active American Legion Post #1346 who would love to help achieve the national goal by adding to their local membership. Learn more on isledegrande.com; click “American Legion” on the left side of the home page where all of the local organizations are listed.
    Winter parking rules are in effect from Nov. 1 to March 31, which means no parking from 2 am – 7 am on streets. Even if there is no snow, you could be ticketed. This policy has been in effect for many decades, but each year I get calls from residents who claim ignorance of the rule and get a ticket. Forewarned is forearmed!
    Hope to see you all at the Chamber of Commerce’s Rudolph Run and Light Up the Boulevard on Saturday, November 21, beginning at 2 pm in the Town Common. The run begins at 5 pm, followed by the parade, and the lighting of the Town Tree finishes the evening. Complete details are available on isledegrande. Small business owners will be present at the November 16 Town Board Meeting to accept a proclamation for “Small Business Saturday” on November 28.
    The Friends of the Library Fall Used Book Sale is scheduled for Nov. 20 and 21, in the Meeting Room at the Library, 1715 Bedell Road. Friends’ members only on Friday night, with memberships conveniently available at the door. The ever-popular Bag Sale, a bag of books for only $2, happens on Saturday from 1 pm – 3 pm. This is one of Grand Island’s greatest recycling projects and a very cost-effective way to get lots of winter reading material. I’ll see you there!
    The Grand Island Historical Society hosts Open Houses at River Lea in November and December, as well as their annual Christmas Luncheons. If you’ve never been to River Lea, located on the loop at the south end of Beaver Island State Park, or haven’t been there in a while, this is the perfect time to take in the splendor of the gorgeous Victorian home decorated for the holidays. Find details on isledegrande.
    Thanksgiving is one of the six holidays honored by Republic Services, the Town’s solid waste contractor. The Thursday, November 26 garbage and recycling collection will be delayed one day, as will Friday’s collection. The other holidays for Republic are Christmas, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. All follow the same schedule: no pickup on the holiday and pickup each day after the holiday delayed by one day with Saturday being used for Friday’s pickup.
    I am pleased that so many residents stop by to say hello when they are in or near Town Hall. All are welcome, and I greatly appreciate your suggestions for improvements in our town. I am also very easily reached by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island,ny.us.




Town Board Action
American Legion Membership Month Proclamation - November 2015

From left: Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, American Legion Judge Advocate Joe Synakowski, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., November 3, 2015 . . .    A proclamation was read honoring the American Legion and designating November as American Legion Membership Month. The Grand Island American Legion Post #1346 was reactivated in 2001 and membership has steadily increased over the years. They are looking to help make the national goal of one million members by the 100th anniversary in 2019.
   A public hearing amending the regulations governing the Conservation Advisory Board was approved. Part of the boards duties are to review applications received by the Town that concern the use or development of any open area listed in the open space index. The Board then submits a written report within 45 days of receipt of the application. Refer to Chapter 39 in the Town Code Book for full description of Conservation Board.
   Approved an amendment of sanitary sewer remediation requirements for new developments. These fees will be used for projects reducing infiltration problems elsewhere in the Town.
    The Town will be receiving an estimated $279,536 check from Erie County for their share of the Mortgage Tax for the period of April 1 - September 30, 2015. The check is expected on November 15th.
   Supervisor Mary Cooke was authorized to sign and submit a application for a community Development Block Grant in the amount of $100,000 for the demolition of Building 3 at the Nike Base. These grants can only be used for senior citizens, the handicapped and blight issues.
   Country Club Cottages Phase 2 was approved to start the construction of waterline, storm sewer, sanitary sewer and roadway of 23 lots.
   An application by Parkland Development for a fill and grading permit was approved. It is for a vacant lot, north of Meadow View Lane. This area is north of Ransom Road and east of Stony Point Road, near the Grand Island Market.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the hiring of Jake Nowak, part-time, for the Recreation Department.
•Approved the renewal of a special use permit at 2660 Bedell Road, for a commercial riding stable owned by Peter Sparks.




Town Board Action
Quick and Quiet Town Board Meeting - October 2015

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., October 5, 2015 . . .    After months and months of long and loud Town Board meetings, Monday was a breath of fresh air. Nary a discouraging word was heard. In fact, there were plenty of positive comments from Island residents, commending the Town Board for keeping the tourist home, short-term rental law, intact.
   A public hearing was set for October 19th to hear project ideas from residents on 2016 Community Development Block Grants. These grants are federal funds that in the past have paid for senior transportation, handicap access and sidewalks. A proposed plan to sign a Municipal Cooperation Agreement with the City of Tonawanda and the Town of Tonawanda for shared Assessor Services was tabled until the next Town Board meeting.
   A proposal by Councilman Gary Roesch to provide Red Cross Certified Training to interested Town employees was approved. The cost would be $35 per person for materials and cost of the instructor, for Professional Rescuer certification, which involves AED and CPR training. This will be unpaid time, unless the training is mandatory for the job.
   A resolution proposed by Councilman Chris Aronica to ban tobacco products from Town parks was approved by the Town Board. Town parks, playgrounds and recreation areas are designated as tobacco-free. Signs will be provided by the Erie Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition.

In other business, the Board:
•Appoved the hiring of Maureen Lewis as a full-time Court Clerk effective October 6, 2015.
•Renewed a contract with Kemira Water solutions to provide Ferrous Chloride at the current price of $0.87/lb. for an additional two years for the Wastewater Department.
•Approved the proposal from CB Design Group for the designing of a Pavilion at Veterans Park at a cost of $8,500.
•Renewed a special use permit for John Ventry of Stony Point Road for the keeping of one agricultural animal on 2+ acres.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Clark Nesbitt Sr. as a crossing guard.
•Approved the establishment of sanitary sewer remediation requirements for new developers.




Hello Islanders! - October 2015


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   Happy October! I hope you’ll get out to the 4th annual Taste of Grand Island on Saturday from 11 am – 7 pm along Whitehaven Road and in the Town Common. It’s always a great chance to see friends and neighbors and taste some delicious food and drink from our many Island establishments. Another chance to get outside comes on Sunday, October 4 at 1 pm at the shelter nearest the marina in Beaver Island State Park for the Island’s 28th annual Communities Response to Overcome Poverty (CROP) Walk. One quarter of the money raised in this effort stays in the Western New York Community.
    On Tuesday, October 6 in the upper lobby of Town Hall, from 5:30 – 8:00 pm, State Parks representatives, Town Board members and staff from C&S Engineers will be on hand to take suggestions and comments about the exact location of the West River Connector Trail. This multi-purpose trail will be constructed on State Parks property between the parkway and the Niagara River in the 8-mile stretch from Beaver Island State Park to Buckhorn Island State Park. Comment forms are available at Town Hall and online at www.gigov.com.
    The GI Fire Company hosts its very popular Open House on Friday night, October 9 from 5 – 8 pm at the Main Fire Hall in the center of Town at Grand Island Blvd. and Baseline Road. Baseline Road will be closed from Whitehaven Road to GI Blvd. to accommodate what is always a very educational fire demonstration. Hope to see you there!
    The Town Board recently approved, upon the unanimous recommendation of the Planning Board, the site plan/building expansion and conversion to a hotel for the long abandoned building at 2761 Long Road. The request for conversion from an office building to a 100 room Holiday Inn Express was made by Jonathan E. Bennett Architecture, P.C. representing Grand Island Hotel, LLC. We have learned that much of the asbestos has already been removed from the building and, while there are many more steps to completion, the owners are anticipating an opening of the hotel in 2016. It is very exciting to see this site on its way to a new use!
    I was honored to be part of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Bosslift trip last week from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. In order for the Guard and Reserve to succeed, employer and civic leader support is essential. Trips such as this are designed to show civilians the importance of the Guard and Reserve Forces and their mission in the overall defense of our country. Thirty of us flew in a C-130 to Dover Air Base and had most informative tours of Air Force Mortuary Affairs and the Center for the Families of the Fallen, Joint Personal Effects Depot, Cargo Handling Areas and Air Force Museum. A Ravens demonstration and tour of the service area for the C-5s was eye-opening. We were walking on the wings of the aircraft that was in for repairs from Travis Air Force Base in California! A C-5 is one of the largest aircraft in the world, the largest airlifter in the Air Force inventory and can carry a fully equipped combat-ready military unit to any point in the world on short notice and then provide the supplies required to help sustain the fighting force. It has the ability to carry simultaneously 36 standard pallets and 81 troops. This trip was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
    I am honored to serve as your Supervisor and very proud of the work of my colleagues on the Town Board and all of the Town Employees to make your dealings with our Town efficient and fruitful. I welcome your comments and suggestions – stop by my office when you are in or around 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
Four Proclamations at Town Board Meeting - September 2015

Connor Harrigan and parents with Town Board.

Ellie Robinson and Tom Witkowski with Town Board.

From left Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Father Paul Nagaro and Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., September 21, 2015 . . .    Four proclamations were presented at Monday night's Town Board meeting. The first proclamation was presented to Connor Patrick Harrigan as he received his Eagle Scout award at a Court of Honor on September 19, 2015. Connor's Eagle project was designing and building a reading loft at Mary Queen of Angels School in Cheektowaga. A proclamation honoring the 28th annual CROP Walk, scheduled for October 4th at Beaver Island State Park was presented. This community wide event raises funds to end hunger in the US and around the world. Father Paul Nagaro of St. Stephen Church was presented with a proclamation in honor of the 125th anniversary of the parish. The final proclamation was for a fund raising event, Keep Grand Island Beating, on September, 26th, for the purchase of a portable AED machine for sporting events at the high school.

    The public comment section regarding "agenda items only", had two residents against the Tourist Homes and one in favor. Comments on the R2 zoning issue from resident Paul Koppman was in favor of reducing the density and omitting PDD from the law. A public hearing to establish sanitary sewer remediation requirements was referred back to the Town Board and the hearing will remain open.

   The public comments at the end of the Town Board meeting were mostly referring to the Zoning Department removal of polital candidates signs after the Primary. Candidates Beverly Kinney, Nathan McMurray and Jim Maloney thought they were targeted by the Town Board. Incumbent Gary Roesch and candidate Mike Madigan also reported that they had signs missing. Party leaders and candidates are informed ahead of time when the Zoning Department is going to "crack down" on sign placement. The general rule of thumb is placement should line up with utility poles, under wires, behind sidewalks and behind ditches. Missing signs are reportedly available at Town Hall.

   The request to revise the landscaping site plan for Nottingham Estates on Grand Island Blvd. was approved. Four trees are being eliminated as 23 bushes and 3 smaller trees were added. Site plan approval was given for the Grand Hotel LLC, 2761 Long Road. The old Dupont Building will be converted into a 100 room Holiday Inn Express.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved a road dedication creating Castlewood Court in the Havenwood neighborhood.
•Tabled a request for approval of a change order for the Safe Routes to School project on Ransom Road for further review.
•Approved change of status for a group of Town Recreation Attendants from seasonal to part time effective September 21, 2015.
•Approved the hiring of Phyllis Martin and Laura Szczepankiewicz by the Recreation Department as lifeguards.
•Approved splitting property at 2020 Fix Road by Bryce and Robin Shipman.
•Approved purchase of a turf lift by the Parks Department from Grasslands Equipment for $6195.
•Approved the special use permit renewal of Jennifer Tirone, 993 Whitehaven; Cyrus Ardalan, 5345 East River Road; WNY Towing by Marty's, 1741 Baseline Road and Jeffrey Matthews, 2389 Whitehaven Road.




Town Board Action
Proclamation for Poppy Drive & Hydrocephalus Walk - September 2015

Town Board with WNY HA representatives.

Town Board with American Legion Post # 1346 members.
Click photos for larger view.

By Jodi Robinson
   Tue., September 8, 2015 . . .    Two proclamations were presented at Monday night's Town Board Meeting. The American Legion Post #1346 accepted a proclamation making September 11 & 12th, "American Legion Patriot Poppy Days" on Grand Island. The Legion will honor the 9-11 tragedy by collecting donations that will be used for veterans, scholarships, childrens activities, etc. The second proclamation encourages all residents to participate in the WNY Hydrocephalus Assoc. (HA) Walk on Saturday, September 19th at Beaver Island Park. See flyer for details.

    After numerous comments from half a dozen Island residents, the public hearing to amend the Zoning Code regarding agricultural animals was referred back to the Town Board for further discussion. A couple from Stony Point Road didn't feel the changes were enough to protect them from sounds and smells from a neigboring property. The other speakers were pro agricultural animal special use and thought the law was too limiting.

   A bond resolution was approved by the Town Board authorizing the acquisition of the new Veterans Park Maintenance building at an estimated cost of $1,448,124. It will be financed by the issuance of serial bonds.

   Golden Age Director Barbara Gannon asked the Town Board to approve the naming of the NIKE Base Golf Course in honor of Henry Carroll who passed away in July of this year. Mr. Carroll was a volunteer in many areas of the community, including the Golden Age Center. As a past President of the club, he was involved in many activities especially the golf course, where he started children's golf instructions. The request was approved.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the signing of a Professional Services Agreement with GHD Consulting Services for Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey Year 4 at a cost of $182,000
•Tabled a request for approval of a change order for the Safe Routes to School project on Ransom Road for further review.
•Approved a motion to set a public hearing for a local law setting sanitary sewer remediation requirements.
•Approved the appointment of James Szakacs to the Board of Assessment Review for a five year term beginning October 1, 2015.
•Approved a special use permit renewal for National Fuel Gas Meter Station at 1589 Stony Point Rd.
•Approved a special use permit renewal for a convenience store, Grand Island Blvd. LLC, 2024 Grand Island Blvd.
•Accepted with regret the retirement of Marcia Shaffer as Clerk to Town Justice Kennedy.




Hello Grand Islanders! - August 2015


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   Happy September! With the latest possible Labor Day this year, we have a few extra days to enjoy summer, with fitting weather in store.
    Classes have begun, and with buses and extra traffic, please allow extra time so you do not have to speed in the school zones. The sidewalks around the Ransom Road Middle School/High School/District Office Complex are finished and will provide for safer pedestrian travel. They were possible through a "Safe Routes to School" grant. I was pleased to meet nearly twenty new Grand Island teachers last week, and give them a tour of our Town and a bit of history. Wishing teachers, staff and students a very successful new school year!
    Thank you to the countless volunteers who made last weekend's Gus Macker 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament possible and a great success. Being a first for the Island, there were many challenges and unknowns. Islander and Event Promoter Corey McGowan never gave up and deserves great credit for this accomplishment. Everyone I spoke with at the event was very enthusiastic about it. If you have any impressions you would like to share, I welcome them.
    Friday night concerts and Saturday night movies were requested and approved by the Town Board for the Town Common this summer. Both programs were from Corey McGowan Productions. The 4th annual Taste of Grand Island, begun and continuing to be organized by Corey McGowan Productions is scheduled for Saturday, October 3 from 11 am – 7 pm along Whitehaven Road in the Town Common. As the Town Board evaluates requests for use of the Town Common, Veterans Park and other Town facilities, we welcome your thoughts. The easiest way to reach the entire Town Board with one communication is to send an e-mail to townboard@grand-island.ny.us.
    If the weather cooperates, and the panel replacement is completed on schedule, the southbound North Grand Island Bridge will be closed for one weekend in September to allow the polyester coating to be applied to the entire bridge surface. An added consideration for timing this work is the Buffalo Bills schedule; the Thruway avoids this type of extensive work on weekends of home games. The best way to stay informed of work schedules and closures is to consult the Thruway website at www.thruway.ny.gov or NITTEC (Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition) at www.nittec.org Both have sign-ups for traffic alerts, allowing you to receive notices on your cell phone or computer. Forewarned is forearmed!
    A large majority of Islanders registered to vote with a political party have selections to make in the 2015 Primary Election. Get out to vote on THURSDAY, SEPETEMBER 10 from 6 am – 9 pm. All Island polling locations will be open. Find a map showing voting districts at www.gigov.com Click A-Z Guide, then Voting. If you registered to vote but did not affiliate with a party, you are a "blank" and not eligible to vote in Primary Elections.
    Grand Island is very fortunate to have active Veterans of Foreign Wars and an active American Legion Post. These groups take the lead in our many Remembrance Services throughout the year. On Friday, September 11, at 7:00 pm, please join our Veterans and Scouts in honoring the nearly 3,000 Americans whose lives were taken by terrorists in NY City on 9/11/2001. The service will be held at the flagpole in front of the Charles N. DeGlopper Post 9249 VFW, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. With the terrorist attack of 9/11 happening fourteen years ago, middle school age kids were not even born and high school students were small children. Be sure they know about the events of 9/11 – attending Grand Island’s service is a great way for them to learn about it and to help us never to forget that American freedoms come with responsibility.
    It is both an honor and a privilege to serve as your Town Supervisor and I welcome your thoughts and ideas about Grand Island. Stop by the office when you are in or near 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
Irate Homeowners Bash Town Board - August 2015

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., August 17, 2015 . . .    At a long and loud Town Board meeting, over a dozen irate homeowners chastised the GI Town Board for allowing the discussion of the development of Lighthouse Pointe, at the corner of East River Road and Whitehaven, to drag on for over 16 months. They didn't seem to care that written in the night's agenda was a resolution to deny preliminary plat approval of the project. See resolution. A public hearing for a local law amending the Town Code regarding R-2 zoning regulations was referred back to the Planning Board after the lengthy input by many members of the STOP GI Zoning group. One resident made an accusation of corruption by the Town Board which brought a strong response from Councilman Ray Billica noting he "takes his responsibilities seriously" as a Board member and "takes offense at being called corrupt". Councilmen Gary Roesch and Chris Aronica agreed with Billica.

   A public hearing for a special use permit by F. Loyd Garten to operate a home occupation-professional home office at 905 Baseline Road was tabled at the request of the applicant.

In other business, the Board:
•Adopted the Erie County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
•Approved a resolution establishing a capital reserve fund (2015 Reserve Fund), for the purpose of accumulating and using moneys to finance a portion of the new maintenance building on Bedell Road. Transfer of $331,000 from funds established previously will be used; 1993 Veteran's Park Building Reserve Fund and the 1996 Veteran's Park Improvements Reserve Fund.
•Authorized the Supervisor to sign a Professional Services Agreement with Geographic Information Systems.
•Renewed the HVAC Preventative Maintenance Contract for the Library & Parks Building with M.J. Mechanical for one year commencing 9/1/15.
•Approved a filling and grading permit for New England Estates to move stockpiled material from Phase 1B to Phase 2.
•Approved budget amendments for the purchase of a 2015 Dodge Caravan for the Golden Age Center by an Erie County Grant and a Justice Court Grant for $7,229 from the Justice Court NYS Grant.
•Approved renewal of a special use permit for a parking lot at the Sandy Beach Yacht Club.
•Set a public hearing to amend the zoning code regarding agricultural animal and special use permits.




Happy August, Islanders! - August 2015


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   I was most pleased to meet Mark Mulville from the Buffalo News last week! He’s the reporter/photographer assigned to the "A Slice of Life in the (insert a zipcode)" back page of the Sunday Gusto section of the paper. 14072 will be featured this Sunday, August 9th. I provided several information pieces to him and it will be interesting to see what he found on his travels around our Island. Be sure to get a Buffalo News on Sunday and check it out!
    Representatives of the new owner of Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa asked for a meeting recently and it was reassuring to hear their excitement as they spoke of their ideas to move the hotel forward. With 1812' of waterfront along the Mighty Niagara, this parcel offers its new owner and management team a very unique opportunity to create a destination. I learned that the owner is very experienced in the hotel industry and is interested in a world class venue. I look forward to working with them as they make progress on their new investment.
    One more concert is on the schedule for the Town Recreation Department's Tuesday night series. "Then and Now" will perform Classic Rock on August 11th beginning at 6:30 in the Gazebo in the Town Common. If you're seeing this before Thursday night, check out the Sid Winkler Band playing an entertaining mix of music on August 6th beginning at 6:30. They’re appearing on Thursday because rainy weather cancelled Tuesday's performance and the National Night Out activities. Friday night Concerts and Saturday night Movies continue through the end of August, compliments of Corey McGowan Productions. Specifics on these weekend events (as well as cancellation notices if the weather does not cooperate) can be found online at www.CoreyMcGowan.com
    The 10th annual Paddles Up came off beautifully in Beaver Island State Park on July 25th. I was honored to welcome so many to the Island to enjoy the water. The Town's Recreation Supervisor, Joe Menter, chaired the event, ably taking the reins from Islander Paul Leuchner , who was the originator of Paddles Up and who chaired it for 9 years. New York State Parks had their fleet of kayaks available and many (including yours truly) took the opportunity to try the sport. I'm happy to say my paddle around the Beaver Island Lagoon was the nicest 45 minutes I've spent in quite some time! Thank you Ro and Tina for the expert advice and guidance, and Carol for the encouragement to give it a try. State Parks has Thursday and Saturday kayaking classes through September. Find out more at www.nysparks.com or call 282-5154 for details. You’ll find a complete summary of Paddles Up, as well as gorgeous photos, on the Niagara River Greenway website, www.nigaragreenway.org
    At last Thursday's Progress Meeting for the southbound North Grand Island Bridge, it was reported that 267 of the 486 deck panels have been installed, making the deck replacement project 55% complete. Work continues on Sunday through Thursday nights, and often on Fridays, to make up for weather delays. For a look at real-time cameras at the bridges, and to get traffic updates, check the Thruway website: www.thruway.ny.gov Traffic alerts, sent to your cell phone or computer, are available by signing up through NITTEC.org The Bedell Road Bridge over the Thruway should be finished and opened by Labor Day. That is a great relief to Bedell Road residents who, for the past few months, have had a long drive on the detour to get to points east.
    I've enjoyed talking with so many of you as you're out and about in the gorgeous summer weather. Your ideas and suggestions are always welcome - stop by when you are in or near Town Hall, call me at 773-9600, ext. 616 or send an e-mail to mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.




Town Board Action
National Airborne Day Proclamation - August 2015

From left: Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, George & Mary Ann Crowe, Joe Synakowski, Ray DeGlopper and Councilmen Chris Aronica

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., August 3, 2015 . . .    The Town Board recognized National Airborne Day on August 16, 2015 as this year is the 75th anniversary of the first official Army parachute jump on August 16, 1940. Islanders Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper (d. June 9, 1944) and Lt. Col. Terrance K. Crowe (d. June 7, 2005) were Airborne members and killed in action. Members of their family were at the meeting to accept the proclamations.
   The Board approved a bond resolution to increase and improve facilities of the Consolidated Water District along Ferry Road. They also approved a development and funding agreement with Grand Island Hotels, LLC. The building was at one time the Dunlop Building and most recently the Metz Building. The Town had received a commitment of funding in the amount of $1,000,000 from the NYS Empire Development Corp. Restore Funds and needed to transfer the grant to the new owners. No tax payer money will be used on the property.
   The new Parks Maintenance building at 1875-1889 Bedell Road commencement date of August 3, 2015 was approved. Due to doors being damaged in transit, the building may not be fully occupied and the rent will reflect the limited space available. The lease agreement was revised due to a list of change orders requested by the Town of Grand Island. The changes totaled $56,940 and included additional rebar, conduit for cable, paddle fans, tile, water cooler, stationary tub etc. A pathway from the back parking lot of the property to Veterans Park made of stone, 12' x 700', including grading and seeding was the largest item at $32,290.

In other business, the Board:
•Awarded a bid for the resurfacing of various Town roads to Amherst Paving for $299,348.40.
•Approved the re-appointment of Court Clerk Maria Burns as Marriage Officer for a four year term.
•Accepted the resignation with regret of Tom Knight of the Economic Development Advisory Board and Tim Worrall of the Planning Board.




Town Board Action
Plethora of Public Comments - July 2015

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., July 20, 2015 . . .    The Town Board meeting began with comments regarding the upcoming Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament scheduled for August 29th & 30th. Speaking against the event were nearby business owners Sam Aceti, Bonnie Sciuk, Linda Feldman and Kurt Villani. Several residents also voiced their concerns over security. In favor were volunteer coordinator Cheryl Chamberlain, Katie McGowan and Patricia McGowan. In the end, the Town Board voted 3-1 in favor of the event as long as all security and parking demands were met.
   The public hearing regarding not permitting short-term rentals, transient rentals and tourist homes was also well attended, with many speaking out in favor and against the law. Rental owners Anne and Bob Fahning, Tom Burke, Nancy Savoy, Vince and Joanne Ciffa, Glenn Wallace and Liz Lutnick spoke against the new law and say they provide a service to tourists and to Island business owners. Many neighbors to the properties are in favor of the law, citing bad behavior by guests, including loud parties, garbage issues and disruption to their quality of life. Most complaints came from the West River area properties. The public hearing was left open and the Planning Board will be looking at the law at their next meeting August 10th.
   The public hearing to establish regulations for Historic Preservation was referred back to the Town Board for further discussion. At this time, owners of historic properties are unable to qualify for grants without this type of local ordinance. A property would be designated historic only with the permission of the owner.
   A special use permit request by C&B International for placing a hotel on the property of the old Health Care Plan site, 2710 Grand Island Blvd. was approved. The 86 room hotel will be used strictly for tourists coming by bus. Two stories will be added.

In other business, the Board:
•Re-approved a site plan application for the construction of a recreational pond at 2858 Staley Road.
•Re-affirmed a the site plan for 1917 Staley Road and the addition of a stone circulation driveway.
•Approved a change of use at 2920 Grand Island Blvd. from mercantile to business.
•Approved the appointment of Jacqueline McGinty to the permanent position of Assessment Clerk.
•Set a public hearing for for a home occupation at 905 Baseline Road.
•Approved a special use permit renewal for 2 agricultural animals at 3030 Stony Point Road.
•Approved a special use permit for the keeping of 2 agricultural animals at 2076 Stony Point Road. It previously was for 10 chickens.
•Approved the site plan for an addition to the Island Pet Lodge, 2120 Alvin Road and a construction of a storage barn.
•Approved the site plan for the Heron Pointe residential project on Grand Island Blvd.



Happy July, Grand Islanders! - JJuly 2015


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   Please join in celebrating Independence Day on Saturday, July 4. Grand Island has a whole day of events for your enjoyment, beginning with the 40th annual Dick Bessel Independence Day Run. If you’ve not registered already, you may do so until 8:15 on Saturday morning at Town Hall. GI Blvd. closes at 8:30 am; Kids Race begins at 9:00 and the Race/Walk at 9:15. The Town’s annual parade follows, at about 9:45. Joe Menter and his recreation staff have been busy for months organizing the many entrants and, with any luck, the weather will cooperate.
   Immediately following the parade is the VFW’s annual fundraising party at the Post, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. This year an “Art in the Park” event (music, food, vendors, kids’ play area) is happening in the Town Common mid-afternoon until dusk. Fireworks are at Martin’s Fantasy Island where Grand Island residents, with proof of residency, get into the park for free after 5 pm. Please observe the parking restrictions along area roads and enjoy a safe and happy holiday!
   Recreation Department Tuesday concerts in the Town Common Gazebo are underway and happen at 7 pm each Tuesday until August 11. Music in the Park (Fridays) and Movies in the Park (Saturdays) happen in July and August, sponsored by Corey McGowan Productions. A complete listing of details for all of these events is available online at isledegrande.com.
    Thanks to Highway Superintendent JT Tomkins, Deputy Dick Crawford, the department’s summer help and Town Hall Caretaker Jim Linenfelser, weeds were recently removed from the roundabout and the outer ring of sumac was trimmed. The five Japanese tree lilacs (Syringa reticulata) in the center are flowering and, if you look closely, you will see the roses and lilies in bloom. The roundabout will be getting some additional plants this season with the hope that as the plants grow, fewer weeds will have the chance to develop. The Town continues to work with the State’s Landscape Architect to balance safety, beauty and manageable maintenance in the roundabout.
    The 10th annual Paddles Up is scheduled for Beaver Island State Park on Saturday, July 25, from 7 am until 2:30 pm. Begun and chaired for nine years by Islander Paul Leuchner, this event is the Niagara River Greenway’s opportunity to show off the Niagara River with a 4.8 mile kayak/canoe journey in the river around the park. An event t-shirt is free to the first 100 entrants. Pre-register by July 17 at (www.niagaragreenway.org) GI Recreation Supervisor Joe Menter has taken on the chairmanship role this year and looks forward to a great event!
    Elsewhere on isledegrande (Town News page) you can read all about the Horticulture Program at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden. Next time you are around Town Hall, the Town Common and the Nike Base, notice the beautiful flower beds and know that they were grown by the inmates at the Correctional Facility under the guidance of John Fisher and Superintendent Paul Evans. I am most grateful that Grand Island is able to receive the results of this valuable program.
    Thanks to all who have stopped by or let me know of your ideas for, and concerns about, our town. Please continue to reach out when you visit Town Hall, by phone at 773-9600, ext, 616 or through e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.




Town Board Action
Dick Bessell Race 40th Anniversary - June 2015

From left: Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Richard "Dick" Bessel, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., June 15, 2015 . . .    The Town Board recognized and congratulated Dick Bessel on the 40th Anniversary of the Independence Day Road Race he started on July 4, 1976. The first race began under the South Grand Island Bridge and finished at the parade Judges' stand, a total of two miles. In 1977 the race moved to its present location, a total of 2.3 miles. Over the years, the Race Walk and Kid's Race have been added and the race is in the top three of the longest running races in the area.
   A public hearing was held for an extension of two months for the moratorium on approvals in R-2 districts and was approved. A public hearing will take place on Monday, July 6th for the purpose of considering and possibly adopting an open container law on public lands and in public.
   The creation of a position of part-time Building Safety Inspector was approved by the Town Board and Robert Hassett, a Tonawanda Firefighter, was hired to make Fire Safety inspections.
   The meeting ended with a short presentation, in the Public Comments section, by Sean Hopkins of the Heron Pointe Residential project, located on Grand Island Blvd. Mr. Hopkins noted that developer Anthony Cutaia is ready to begin work this summer on the 232 unit rental development.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the hiring of Eric Corson as Town of Grand Island Police Officer, part-time, subject to pre-employment required paperwork.



•Suspended the rules to appoint Justin Figler and Matthew Riley to seasonal positions with the Parks Department.




Hello Grand Islanders! - June 2015


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    How can it be June already? With summer just 2 weeks away, I hope you're enjoying the outdoors and our (mostly) great weather!
    All of the Island's 4th graders had an historic bus tour of our town in late May that included time at River Lea (home of the Grand Island Historical Society) and a walk through Town Hall with stops at the Court and the Town Clerk's Office. A favorite stop, because it contains the jail cell, in the New York State Police Office at the south end of Town Hall. When our Town Hall was built in 1968, two jail cells were included in the plans, and were built and used. Sometime later it was deemed much more efficient to utilize the Erie County Holding Center in downtown Buffalo for anyone needing incarceration. One of our original jail cells remain and is a highlight of each year's tour. Help is needed for the Historical Society to continue this valuable program for the 4th graders. Please let me know if you have any interest in assisting our young citizens learn about Island history. Even an hour or two on tour days can be most helpful.
    The Town's Memorial Day Service would not happen without the effort of Recreation Supervisor Joe Menter, who plans the program in close co-operation with the American Legion and VFW, and with the great support of the High School Wind Ensemble and Director Marty Allen. The weather cooperated and it was great to see the large crowd who attended. DeGlopper Park was in fine shape thanks to Parks Crew Chief Tom Dworak and his staff. The presence of uniformed Grand Island Fire Company members is a great addition to the service and very much appreciated.
   In the coming days you will notice the flower beds around Town Hall and in various other Town spaces being filled with beautiful color, compliments of the Inmate Horticulture Program at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden. Town Hall Caretaker Jim Linenfelser and I had a tour of operations on Wednesday and were able to select a trailer load of gorgeous plants for use on Town properties. Look for pictures and a more detailed article in a future edition of Isledegrande.
    Miracle League Opening Day was rained out last Sunday but has been rescheduled for Sunday, June 7th at 2 pm at the Miracle League Field in Veterans Park, 1715 Bedell Road. Stop by and catch some inspirational baseball and experience the beautiful playground and shelter that are part of the Miracle League complex.
    Cub Scouts from Troop 630 will be cleaning up the vacant lot between Rite Aid and the Post Office on Saturday morning, June 13th. Efforts such as this help keep our Town looking good and are most appreciated. Everyone can contribute to beautifying our Island: please toss your trash into a can and pick up what you are able to as you walk around town. Thanks!
    Come out to the gazebo at the Marion Klingel Town Common (the greenspace along the north side of Whitehaven Road between GI Blvd. and Baseline Road) for the first concert of the summer on Tuesday, June 3th0 at 7:00 pm. The Barroom Buzzards, entertaining nationally and locally for over 45 years, will be in town to play Classic American Jazz. Rain date is Thursday, July 2nd.
    Should you have a suggestion or idea that could benefit our Town, please stop by and let me know. 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
Eagle Scout Proclamation - June 2015

Town Board with Eagle Scout Jacob Matwijkow and parents Dory and John.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., June 1, 2015 . . .    GIHS senior Jacob Matwijkow celebrated his Eagle Court of Honor Ceremony on May 31st at Trinity United Methodist Church, sponsor of Boy Scout Troop 510. The Town Board honored Jacob at Monday nights meeting with a congratulatory proclamation. The completed project entailed leading family, friends and fellow scouts in the replacement and painting of a fence and secure gate for the Friends of the Night People Soup Kitchen.
   A public hearing was held for the increase and improvement of facilities of the consolidated sewer district in the Town, at the estimated maximum cost of $2.5 million. There were no public comments.
   Highway Superintendent James Tomkins was given permission to sell at auction, surplus equipment, including seven plows, 95 Ford L8000 chassis and parts, AC arc welder, steel storage lockers and a 1993 Salter Body.

   An Amendment to the Zoning Code regarding Agricultural Animal permits and Special Use permits was referred to the Planning Board for further discussion. A public hearing will be held on Monday, June 15th on a proposed extension of the moratorium on development in R-2 Zones of two months.

In other business, the Board:
•Two part-time Dog Contol Officers were approved by the Town Board for weekend shifts. They are Joie Celano and Sean Ford.
•Approved the seasonal hiring of Highway Department summer laborers and a Parks Department junior worker.
•Approved the application for Fireworks Display by Martin's Fantasy Island on July 4, 2015. The rain date is July 5th.
•Accepted the bid of Sam Long's Landscaping in the amount of $224,860 for the Water Plant Lagoon Rehabilitation.




Town Board Action
Three Proclamations Announced - May 2015

Town Board with Eagle Scout John Sosnowski, center.

From left: Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Town Engineer John Whitney, Highway Superintendent JT Tomkins, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica. National Public Works Week.

Gary Roesch accepts proclamation for VFW Buddy Poppy Days.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., May 18, 2015 . . .    The highest and most prestigious rank in Boy Scouts was achieved by John Sosnowski, a Canisius High School senior on May 14, 2015. The Town Board presented a proclamation and its congratulations on a job well done at Monday night's meeting. John had been a Boy Scout for 12 years, active in Troop 630, led by Scoutmaster Scott Swagler, sponsored by St. Stephens Church. The Eagle Scout project replaced carpet in the meeting room of the Old Church basement, and painted molding and columns. John directed a team of 22 scouts, leaders and adult volunteers and raised $2500 to cover the cost of supplies.
    A proclamation was presented to Town Engineer John Whitney and Highway Superintendent JT Tomkins at Monday's meeting in honor of National Public Works Week, May 17-23, 2015. Public works is the combination of physical assets, management practices, policies, and personnel necessary for government to provide and sustain structures and services essential to the welfare and acceptable quality of life for its citizens.
   The Town Board proclaims May 21, 22 & 23, VFW Buddy Poppy Days. The Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled veterans and the proceeds are used for the benefit of widows and orphans of deceased veterans, and for needy veterans at the National Home in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.

   The Town Board approved the declaration of Nike Base Building #3 as an area of spot blight and will be applying for a demolition grant to the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved the hiring of David Whitney as a Water Department laborer.
•Awarded BIDCO Marine the Water Treatment Plant Intake cleaning and inspection in the amount of $11,645.
•Approved the internship of Robert Dickinson in the Engineering Department.
•Approved the hiring ot Patrick Gallagher and Nick Kellner as summer help in the Water Department.
•Approved a change order for the Safe Routes project on Ransom Road, extending a completion date from June 30 to August 31, 2015.
•Approved hiring of Mark Zerilli for recreation attendant at the Golden Age Center.
•Referred to the Town Board the R-2 Zoning Review Committee report.




Town Board Action
Three Proclamations Announced - May 2015

Town Board with Golden Age Center members.

From left:Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica.

Town Board with U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers.

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., May 4, 2015 . . .    Three proclamations were announced at the Town Board meeting on Monday. At the first proclamation, the Town Board designated the month of May as "Older Americans Month", as has the United States Congress. The population of Grand Island includes 7,753 citizens, age 50 and older, representing 38% of the population. The Town Board also congratulated the Golden Age Center, established in 1959, for providing many years of service to the Island's older residents. Members of the Golden Age Center were on hand to accept the proclamation.
   The second proclamation was presented to Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel to celebrate Municipal Clerk's Week, May 3-9 and to thank Town Clerk Frentzel and the Deputy Town Clerks Karen Cooney, Sally Kaiser, Betty Lantz, Becky Stufkosky and Wendy Valint.
   A proclamation was presented to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo and Division 3-9th Eastern Region United States Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers in honor of WNY Safe Boating Week, May 16-22nd. The Town Board thanked the Coast Guard for educating thousands of WNY boaters and reminds everyone "one size does not fit all", a proper-sized life jacket is necessary to all passengers.

   The public is invited to support the new Dog Park proposed for the Nike Base. Saturday, May 16th is dedicated "Clean Up the Dog Park Day" and assistance is needed in clearing debris from the designated area.

In other business, the Board:
•Awarded NOCO Energy Corp., as the lone bidder, for supplying diesel and unleaded fuel for the Town's useage.
•Approved the hiring of numerous Recreation Attendants for the summer Recreation season.
•Approved the hiring of Parks Department employees for the 2015 season and the purchase of two mowers.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of David Reilly from the Conservation Advisory Board.
•Accepted with regret the resignation of John Mondeaux as part-time dog control officer.


Hello Grand Islanders! - May 2015


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
   It's always nice to get good news and I'm pleased to share some with you. In 2012 members of the Conservation Commission (now called the Conservation Advisory Board) recommended to the Town Board that a no-mow buffer strip be established along Woods Creek in the Town Common, and native plants be placed in the area to help stabilize the stream bank and provide filtration for the storm water that collects there before it moves further along in the stream. The Town Board agreed and volunteers worked with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, to plant appropriate native species. Today the riparian buffer is fully established and provides a beautiful naturalized area along Woods Creek with multiple environmental benefits. On Friday, I was honored to attend an awards ceremony at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery where “The Woods Creek Living Shorelines Project” was one of four municipal projects to receive an award from the Erie County Environmental Management Council. Conservation Advisory Board Members Sam Akinbami and Diane Evans joined me in receiving the award from the County Executive.
    The Town also recently received the news that we are the recipient of a nearly $14,000 grant from the NYS Department of State to help with the consolidation of gas lighting districts. Several years ago National Fuel Gas stopped maintaining the gas light fixtures in five districts on Grand Island and the lighting districts have been dissolved. This grant will assist in the installation of street lights in those areas if enough of the property owners want them.
    The "Images of America - Grand Island" book launch, held on Tuesday in the Town Hall lobby, was a huge success. Authors June Justice Crawford and Gerald Carpenter were on hand to autograph copies of the book for a steady flow of gracious patrons. Purchasing a copy from a Historical Society member, at X-Press Dry Cleaners or deSignet International supports the Grand Island Historical Society. It is a proud moment for Grand Island to join the ranks of many towns in the area with an Images of America publication. The authors, as well as the Town’s Historic Preservation Advisory Board and the Grand Island Historical Society, deserve a huge thank you for a job well done!
    A very concerned citizen came in this week and asked that I remind our citizens of the dangers of walking alone on our many paths and trails. He is particularly concerned about all of the solo walkers he sees using the South State Parkway Trail connecting the South Grand Island Bridge to Beaver Island State Park, and the trails through the parks. It's always a good idea to walk in pairs or larger groups. Also, make sure someone knows where you are going and about how long you expect to be walking.
    1700 pounds of donated items were collected in the Grand Island Memorial Library parking lot on Saturday at the "Earth Day in May" event. Sponsored by the WNY Coalition for Donated Goods, we were one of eight locations around the area hosting a collection. Our site had a truck from Goodwill Industries. The Coalition also includes Erie County, the City of Buffalo, Society of St. Vincent DePaul, Amvets, Hearts for the Homeless, Buffalo City Mission and The Salvation Army. Please remember to donate clothing and textile items (shoes, belts, purses as well) even if they are torn or stained. These items DO NOT have to be tossed in the trash – the items not able to be sold are recycled. With each citizen disposing an average of 70 pounds of these items annually, it is important to keep them out of the trash so they are not unnecessarily buried or incinerated.
    Thank you to all of our citizens who are picking up litter and debris from winter in their neighborhoods. As always, there are several groups organizing efforts around town. Girl Scout Troop No. 31157 did a great job recently at Fisherman's Landing. The West River Homeowners will meet on May 9 at 10 am at the Whitehaven Overlook to do the annual spring clean-up along West River. We have three "Adopt a Highway" efforts that occur several times each year: Rotary handles the South Parkway, the Little League Board of Directors does the roundabout and the Cinderella Isle Garden Club cleans Bedell Road from Stony Point to Baseline. Please let me know if I've missed anyone and know that everyone’s efforts are most appreciated!
    The annual Mother's Day American Legion Plant Sale gets underway early (7 am) Friday morning at the Charles N. DeGlopper Post 9249 Veterans of Foreign Wars, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. What a great place to get gorgeous hanging baskets and support a very hard-working Island group! They'll be at the Post until all the plants are sold, usually sometime on Saturday. I hope everyone is out enjoying the gorgeous spring weather and that everyone has a pleasant Mother's Day. Should you wish to speak to me about anything regarding our town, stop by when you are in or near 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 of Grand Island 2015 Tentative Tax Roll - May 2015

    2015 Tentative Tax Roll




Town Board Meeting - May 2015

   A Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 4th at 8:00 p.m. See Agenda.




Town Board Action
New Website and Sod Cutter for Parks - April 2015

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., April 20, 2015 . . .    The Town Board approved a request by the Town of Grand Island Parks Department to purchase a 12" sod cutter at the price of $2907 and to sign a contract for a new website for Parks and Recreation, created by RL Computing, for $3295. The seasonal hires were also approved.

   Bids for topsoil (Leo Brenon), concrete (Podlucky Construction) and water/wastwater repair material (various suppliers) were approved for 2015.

   The Town Board accepted with regret the resignation of Zoning Officer Dan Linenfelser. The Town Board also congratulated Gillman Clarke on his retirement after 30 years of service to the Town. Both will receive a certificate of appreciation.

   Correspondence received from the law office of Ralph Lorigo regarding a required sidewalk at Town Cafe, 2353 Grand Island Blvd. was referred to the Town Attorney and the Town Board.

In other business, the Board:
•Approved a new collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters (Parks & Recreation Maintenance).
•Approved new hires: Recreation Instructor Amy Smith and Golden Age Center part-time kitchen staff Lynn Marie Lindaman.
•Approved the appointment of Paul Jasik to fill a position on the Economic Development Advisory Board for a term ending in December 2015.




Town Board Action
Gary Roesch Named Deputy Supervisor - April 2015

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., April 6, 2015 . . .    Supervisor Mary Cooke appointed Councilman Gary Roesch as Deputy Supervisor for the remainder of 2015. Roesch stated, "I have in the past enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Supervisor Mary Cooke and the other members of the Town Board. I accept with honor and pride the appointment of Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Grand Island. I will continue to work to ensure that the interests of the residents of the Town of Grand Island are first and foremost."

   The Town Board approved the appointment of Roberta Lang to fill an opening on the Economic Development Advisory Board for a term that expires December 31, 2017. The Town Board approved the hiring of Christopher Steckelberg as a Water Treatment Plant Assistant effective April 7, 2015 at a rate of $16.73/hr. The Town Board approved the request of Grand Island Parks Crew Chief Thomas Dworak for the re-hiring/hiring of Parks seasonal workers for the 2015 season.

   The Town Board approved the use of a one acre site at the Nike Base for use as an off-leash Town Dog Park. The site is located on the west side of the gravel driveway, south of the baseball outfield. Councilman Gary Roesch will act as liaison to the committee.

In other business, the Board:
•Accepted with regret the resignation of Economic Development Advisory Board member Jeff Halpin effective March 16, 2015.
•Approved the split/merge of property on Amy Drive by David Norman subject to paperwork being filed with the County Clerk's office.




Town Board Meeting - April 2015

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




Happy Easter, Islanders! - April 2015


By Supervisor Mary Cooke
    It's so nice to see spring flowers poking through and the snow banks almost gone. I hope everyone has a most enjoyable holiday weekend! If you’re seeing this before Friday morning, and you have children in your life who would enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt, head over to the Town Common (Whitehaven Road between Baseline Road and GI Blvd.) for a visit with the Easter Bunny. Festivities get underway at 10 am on Friday, April 3, and include the hunt, coloring, games and a visit with the Easter Bunny.
   Monday night's joint School Board/Town Board Meeting provided a great opportunity for some very special happenings. A gorgeous painting, Perilous Flow, by Grand Island High School Alumnus (Class of 1975) Neil Tetkowski hangs in the Viking Mall, compliments of Tetkowski, fellow GI alumnus from the Class of 1972, William Whitford, and several other donors. A reception and dedication of this generous donation began the evening. Guests were then taken on a tour of the high school's Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) wing, housed in the new construction closest to Ransom Road. Ten-year Technology Teacher Carl Koppmann proudly showed off the spacious, well-equipped multi-room addition and all on the tour marveled at the amazing technology and the student projects that have resulted thus far. An upcoming technology fair will give everyone an opportunity to see highlights of student achievement and take a tour of the facility. Watch for the announcement and don't miss it!
   The joint meeting of the two boards began with recognition of five school staff members whose quick action last fall saved the life of student Camryn Fisher when she suffered a cardiac event. Carley Antonelli, a Middle School Health and Physical Education teacher, Jeff Green, a High School Science teacher, Dean Santorio and Michael Stauffer, both High School Physical Education teachers, and now-retired Middle School Nurse Angela Howarth, were honored for their heroism with a proclamation from the Town Board and words of gratitude from Camryn's parents, Colleen and Jeff. The Fishers hope to educate others about the importance of knowing how to administer CPR and utilize an AED, and raise funds for the purchase of additional AEDs. Monday's presentation was the start of this effort.
    You may have noticed many new utility poles around town, particularly along Baseline Road between Staley and Love Roads. National Grid, as part of their Connect21 strategy, has recently completed a $3.25 million project that includes the new poles, 3.5 miles of new lines and other equipment. The project created a new distribution circuit served by the Whitehaven Road substation, providing relief to existing circuits. Increased demand, primarily in the southern half of the island, had started to strain the existing network. This new investment will relieve that pressure and provide room for additional growth. This is good news for residents and businesses, and provides a boost for economic development on Grand Island.
    Several residents have expressed concern about the recent discovery of a methamphetamines lab on Bedell Road and have asked what the average citizen can do to help in the fight against illegal drug use. One of the most important actions you can take is to report unusual activity to law enforcement. Officers can connect the dots and solve crimes only if they have the dots to connect. Average citizens who notice things often provide those dots. Use the Town's Tip Line, 773-8696, or the Erie County Sheriff's Tip Line, 858-7755. If you see something, say something!
    The North Grand Island Bridge southbound will soon begin to be closed, Sunday through Thursday nights. Don't be caught in traffic unnecessarily. Sign up for traffic alerts at www.thruway.ny.gov or www.nittec.org. With warmer weather, highway crews are able to begin spring work. Erie County has had a truck on the Island several times already and we are grateful for the attention that potholes on the county roads have received. Use potholes@erie.gov or 858-8672 to report any on county roads. For problems on Town Roads, contact the highway department at 773-9632. Find a list of road ownership on the Town’s website www.gigov.com.
    Please contact me with concerns or suggestions. Stop by when you are at Town Hall, call at 773-9600, ext. 616 or e-mail mcooke@grand-island.ny.us.




Town Board Action
Supervisor Signs Letter of Commitment - March 2015

By Jodi Robinson
   Mon., March 16, 2015 . . .    The Grand Island Town Board approved the signing of a letter of commitment to the Western New York Stormwater Coalition for a water quality improvement project. The proposed project is to map the entire storm sewer conveyance system for all newly designated urbanized areas with MS4's (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) in Niagara and Erie counties.
    WHAT IS AN MS4? An MS4 is a conveyance or system of conveyances that is:
  • Owned by a state, city, town, village, or other public entity that discharges to waters of the U.S.;
  • Designed or used to collect or convey stormwater (including storm drains, pipes, ditches, etc.);
  • Not a combined sewer; and Not part of a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (sewage treatment plant).

       The Town Board approved the bid from Sam Long Landscaping in the amount of $194,990 for the Grand Island Safe Routes to School project. The project will construct sidewalks and crosswalks by the High School/Middle School complex.

       Two properties on Grand Island Boulevard were okayed to provide space for short term parking as there is no change of use. Martin's Fantasy Island has recently been used as a temporary storage site for new vehicles coming in from Canada as there are transportation issues in Canada. The other site is at the north of Grand Island Boulevard on property owned by Kelly's Country Store. That space will be used for parking of vehicles associated with the North Bridge construction project.

       Three special use permit renewals were approved by the Town Board. They are for keeping 2 agricultural animals at 2324 East River Road, a Bed & Breakfast renewal at 917 North Colony Rd. and the Sprint Communications Tower renewal at 3078 Staley Road.

       Three special use permits were approved by the Town Board. They are; keeping up to 12 chickens at 1839 Stony Point Rd., an addition at St. Timothy Lutheran Church for administrative offices for the Child Care Center, and two additions to Thermo Fisher Scientific at 3175 Staley Rd.

    In other business, the Board:
    •Approved a request by the GI Parks Department to purchase playground equipment for the Nike Base at a cost of $7,455.96.
    •Approved a request by Christopher Soluri for the purchase of a new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe for the Grand Island Police Department to replace a 2005 Tahoe that has 205,000 miles on it.
    •Acepted with regret the resignation of James Hatch from the Town of Grand Island Police Department.




    Hello Islanders! - March 2015


    By Supervisor Mary Cooke
       Spring weather is on the way, we can only hope! With each day getting a little longer and the move to Daylight Savings Time early Sunday morning, all signs are pointing away from this long, record-setting cold month of February. It will take a while for all of the snow and ice to melt, so please be sure the fire hydrant that would be needed to save your home is accessible. We have well over 1,000 hydrants on the Island that are spaced about every 500’along the roadsides. If you are unable to clear the hydrant yourself, please enlist the help of your neighbors. Many don’t think about this until the fire is underway and precious minutes are lost as the firefighters clear the hydrant so they can attach a hose. Make it your business to learn the location of the hydrant nearest to you and get this job done!
        Representatives of the New York State Thruway Authority will be in the Town Hall Court Room on Tuesday, March 17 at 9:00 am to explain the Grand Island North Bridge Southbound re-decking project that will be underway soon. Both directions of traffic will be driving on the North Bridge Northbound in the evenings as sections of the bridge deck on the North Bridge Southbound are replaced. Flyers describing the project are available around town, including in the kiosk in the Town Hall Lobby. Another Thruway project, scheduled to begin in mid-March, is the replacement of the bridge on Bedell Road over the Thruway. Bedell Road will be open to local traffic only and detour routes will be posted on Whitehaven and Long Roads. The Thruway website is a great source of information, including a sign up for notifications for these projects, at www.thruway.ny.gov Traffic cameras can be viewed at www.thruway.ny.gov/webcams.
        On Monday night the Town Board adopted a 120 day moratorium on approvals in the R-2 zoning district and appointed a nine member committee to review the R-2 code. We have charged the group to have a report back to the Town Board in 60 days and look forward to their findings. Check the town website, www.gigov.com to learn about meetings for this review if you are interested in observing.
        The proposed Historic Preservation Ordinance was the subject of a public hearing on Monday night. Thank you to all who spoke or sent comments. The Town Board will take the recommendations presented, work with the Historic Preservation Advisory Board, and likely have a revised draft law soon.
        It is an honor and pleasure for me to represent the Island at milestone occasions in the lives of our citizens. On Friday, I had the privilege of presenting a 100th Birthday Proclamation from the Town Board to Elderwood resident Beatrice Goodman. It was a beautiful gathering for Bea! On Sunday, Grand Island Class of 2015 Boy Scout Nolan Tyler Miles received his Eagle Scout Rank. The Town Board signed a proclamation that I presented at the Court of Honor Ceremony. For Scout Gold Awards and Eagle Scouts, we present the proclamations at a Town Board Meeting to guarantee their entry into the permanent record of the town, and did that on Monday night for Nolan. It was especially nice that many of his classmates were on hand, completing their government class requirement of attending a Town Board Meeting. Nolan’s Eagle Scout project was of particular interest to the Town Board as he organized the scraping and painting of the Nike Base Community Center.
        Your thoughts and ideas are always welcome! Stop by when you are 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 Honors Eagle Scout Nolan Miles - March 2015

    From left Councilman Gary Roesch, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Eagle Scout Nolan Tyler Miles, Susan & Mark Miles, Councilmen Chris Aronica and Ray Billica.

    By Jodi Robinson
       Mon., March 2, 2015 . . .    The Grand Island Town Board announced a proclamation in honor of Nolan Tyler Miles earning his Eagle Scout ranking on Sunday, March 1st. Nolan is a senior at GIHS and has been a Boy Scout for 12 years, active in Troop #630. His Eagle Scout project was the rehab of the Community Center at the Nike Base park, at which he led friends, family and other scouts over two weekends, scraping and painting. A total of 150 man hours were performed by the group. Nolan is a member of the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts, the Order of the Arrow.
       A public hearing to establish regulations for Historic Preservation in the Town was referred back to the Town Board after a public comment period that saw a few residents against the measure and a few speaking in favor. An addition to the law stating "with property owners approval" will be added, and another public hearing will be scheduled.
       A special use permit application for 2671 Bedell Road was approved for the riding of snowmobiles over jumps and landing ramps between the hours of 8am-10pm. There were no speakers against the project and three in favor.
       It was announced that the Professional Planning Services of AECOM have been accepted relating to the R-2 Zoning Review. The following were appointed as members of the review committee: Diane Evans-Conservation Advisory Board, Beverly Kinney-Economic Development Advisory Board, Dave Lyons-Planning Board, Bob Starzynski-Planning Board/Chairman, Betty Harris-Zoning Board of Appeals. At large members are Dave Bruno, Joe LaLonde, Dan Robillard and Ron Rezabek. Owners of vacant R-2 properties will also be invited to attend the meetings.

    In other business, the Board:
    •Approved the appointment of Nathan McMurray to the Economic Development Advisory Board.
    •Approved the purchase of furniture and equipment from IRF Properties at the the cost of $4,250 for the new Parks Maintenance Building and other locations. The value far exceeds the asking price.
    •Announced an upcoming meeting to discuss the North Bridge Redecking Project on March 17th at Town Hall at 9am.
    •Approved signing contracts with the NYS Office of Parks for Water and Sewer services at Beaver Island.
    •Approved the promotion of Paul Krull to Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator.




    North Bridge Re-Decking Project Meeting - March 2015

       The NYS Thruway Authority has scheduled a meeting to review the North Grand Island Bridge southbound re-decking project that will be happening beginning in April and lasting through the 2015 construction season. You are invited to attend the meeting on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. in the Grand Island Town Hall 2nd Floor Court Room. There will be a power-point presentation and other informational sharing followed by a question and answer period. For handicapped access to the court room, please use the parking lot off Baseline Road to the north of Town Hall, between the Town Hall and the Fire Hall. Access the Baseline Road entrance of Town Hall from the parking lot by using the ramp.




    Town Board Meeting - March 2015

       A Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 2nd at 8:00 p.m. See Agenda.




    Hello Islanders! - February 2015


    By Supervisor Mary Cooke
       If the winter weather has you wishing for summer, head over to the Buffalo Launch Club on Saturday night, February 7. Warm up on a cold winter night with some boating friends to hear and see the program “Two Small Islands in the Mighty Niagara.” The first presentation on January 24 was sold out, so a second chance to catch this fascinating PowerPoint and discussion is being offered. Reservations are required; call 773-7629. Dinner at 6:30, program at 8 pm.
        The Town’s Historic Preservation Advisory Board invites you to check out their latest photo display in the Library lobby, 1715 Bedell Road. Featured are historic structures from all over Erie County, showcasing the area’s architectural heritage. All are historic sites and some (be sure to take a sheet from the basket on the display) have met the requirements for a National Historic Landmark. The Historic Preservation Advisory Board has proposed a Historic Preservation Ordinance for Grand Island, which is the subject of a public hearing on March 2 at 8 pm in the Town Hall Court Room. Check out gigov.com for more information.
        The Town Board held a public hearing on Monday night regarding a 120 day moratorium on approvals in the R-2 zone. We expect to pass the law on March 2, at which time a nine member review committee will be appointed. The Town Board would like a report back from this committee in 60 days so that any appropriate action can be taken during the time of the moratorium. The Town Board welcomes your comments on the R-2 zone. Check out these links to see the proposed law, the current regulations for the R-2 zone, located under zoning in the Code Book and the zoning map showing the areas of the town that are zoned R-2. These documents are vital in understanding the issue and helping you make productive suggestions for changes. If you are not able to access the items online, the library has copies for use while you are in the building. Of course, all are also available at Town Hall.
        United States Congressman Brian Higgins, who represents the 26th district that includes Grand Island, will have staff in the upper lobby of Town Hall on Tuesday, February 17 from 9 – 11 am. If you have any comments or concerns, this “Congress on Your Corner” event is a great opportunity to bring them to the Congressman’s attention. We are pleased to make Town Hall available to our elected officials to interact with Grand Islanders.
        Town Hall is closed on Monday, February 16 for Presidents’ Day. There is no second Town Board Meeting in February to allow attendance at the Association of Towns Annual Meeting and Training in New York City. Councilman Roesch is representing the Grand Island Town Board and voting at the meeting on Wednesday morning. Taxes normally due on February 15, since the 15th is on a Sunday this year, will be collected from 8:30 am – 6 pm on Tuesday, February 17. The Town Clerk’s Office will also be open Saturday, February 14 from 9 am – 12 noon for your convenience.
        Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs will host the “Thank A Vet” Discount Program Outreach Event at the Nike Base Community Center on Friday, March 27 from 1 – 3:30 pm. Over 1,000 Erie County businesses have signed up to offer discounts to veterans on purchases and services. Veterans will receive a “Thank A Vet” photo ID card upon filing their original discharge papers at the Nike Base. For additional information you may contact the County Clerk at 858-4737 or check out erie.gov/clerk/thankavet.
        Check out “Shrek the Musical” this weekend at the High School, 1100 Ransom Road. In addition to seeing a great family show, you’ll be able to experience the new Grand Viking Theater, part of the ongoing Grand Island Central School District’s Capital Project. Showtime is 7:00 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At $10 a ticket, you can’t beat the price for an evening of great entertainment and a chance to see talented students at their best.
        I enjoy speaking to so many of you when you are here in Town Hall; things are especially busy on Wednesdays when the Erie County Department of Motor Vehicles is in the lower lobby. I am also easily reached by phone at 773-9600, ext. 616 or by e-mail at mcooke@grand-island.ny.us and welcome your contact.




    Town Board Action - February 2015

       Mon., February 2, 2015 . . .    Disposition 2-2-15.




    Public Hearing on R-2 Zoning - January 2015

        A public hearing is scheduled for February 2nd at 8:00 p.m. at Town Hall to consider a local law to establish a 120-day moratorium on R-2 building and create a nine member committee to review said zoning. The law is in response to the backlash coming from the planned Lighthouse Pointe development at the area of Whitehaven Road and East River Road. This planned community would be a development of 246 rental townhouse units. Town Attorney Dan Spitzer wrote in the proposed law "The Town Board of the Town of Grand Island, after consultation with the Planning Board, finds that the portion of the Town Code creating R-2 Districts, may no longer reflect the state of development, growth in the community, and the values of the community." The committee will be made up of two Planning Board members, one Zoning Board member, one member from the Conservation Commission and Economic Development Advisory Board, and four from the Grand Island community. There will also be a member from the group of residents opposed to the Lighthouse Pointe project. An outside consultant will be hired by the Town to answer questions and concerns from the committee.




    Town Board Action
    Council Position Remains Vacant - January 2015

    By Jodi Robinson
       Tue., January 20, 2015 . . .    The Grand Island Town Board could not reach a consensus on filling the open Council seat after two months of interviews and discussion. Former Councilman Dick Crawford resigned in November to take a job with the Grand Island Highway Department. Councilman Gary Roesch noted that their "were too many good people" that applied for the position. Councilman Ray Billica said that the last time an appointment was made was "considerably easier" and he was "torn between applicants and could not choose one over the other." Supervisor Mary Cooke ended the meeting saying that the seat may not be filled at all. This is an election year where two council seats and the Supervisor position will be on the ballot.

       The five public hearings on the agenda were approved. Two concerned the increase and improvements of facilities in the consolidated sewer district. The others were: an amendment in the definition of a Day Care Center or Nursery school; establishment of an alternate member position to the Architectural Review Board and a procedure to adjust property boundaries where there is a subdivision of land.

       The Golden Age Center yearly attendance was reported on by Supervisor Cooke who noted that the center was open 248 days in 2014 and served close to 12,000 lunches.

       Three public hearings are being scheduled for February 2nd, they are; establish a moratorium on approvals in R-2 districts for a period of 120 days; the keeping of 12 chickens at 1839 Stony Point Road; consider a special use permit for a camping trailer park at 2761 Bedell Road.

       The Town Board had communication from the GI Dog Park committee to review a proposed site at the Nike Base and provide assistance in removing debris from the site with Town equipment. This request was referred back to the Nike Base Land Use Committe, Parks & Recreation Departments, Highway Department and Town Board.

       Communication from Dan Hager of the Grand Island Rugby Football Club requesting the Town provide paint for the rugby home field at Sidway School was referred back to the Town Board for details.

    In other business, the Board:
    •Approved the site plan for a 3200 sq. ft. auto storage building at Mr. Best Wrench, 2401 Bedell Road.
    •Approved the site plan for JB Landscaping & Snowplowing, 2569 Whitehaven Road, upon the removal of RV's at the site.




    Town Board Action
    2015 Reorganization Items Adopted - January 2015

    By Jodi Robinson
       Mon., January 5, 2015 . . .    The Town 2015 Reorganization items were adopted at the first Town Board meeting of 2015. See list. The Town of Grand Island 2015 Adopted Fee Schedule was also approved. Items in bold are changes.

       New Advisory Board appointments include: Patrick Soos to the Economic Development Advisory Board; Richard Crawford as a Library Trustee; Jason Masker to the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board; Norman Stessing as an alternate to the Planning Board; Krystella Gress to the Board of Ethics Review; Lea Milatello-Scheff and Mark Nemeth to the Traffic Safety Advisory Board.

       The Town Board set five public hearings for Tuesday, January 20th.
  • A local law providing for an alternate member of the Architectural Review Board.
  • A local law providing for a procedure to adjust property boundaries where there is a subdivision of land.
  • Two bond resolutions increasing cost of improvements of sewer facilities.
  • JB Landscaping & Snowplowing, 2569 Whitehaven Rd. - Site Plan Approval.

    In other business, the Board:
    •Authorized Supervisor Cooke to sign an agreement for grant writing services with Rotella Grant Management on a month to month basis.
    •Welcomed Wendy Valint as a part-time Deputy Town Clerk.
    •Approved a change order from Town Engineer John Whitney for Visone Construction in the amount of $6,392.46.
    •Accepted the resignation of Richard Crawford as Councilman effective November 21, 2014.
    •Approved renewal of special use permits to Terry Mesmer, 2038 Grand Island Blvd. for Auto Repair Business and to Robert Mesmer, 2548 Love Road for a private airport.




    Town Board Meeting - January 2015

       A Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 5th at 8:00 p.m. See Agenda.




    Happy New Year Islanders! - January 2015


    By Supervisor Mary Cooke
        Unlike many other Western New Yorkers, we have experienced very little snow this season. Nevertheless, it will come. Many residents have inquired about placement of the recycling carts when snow banks line the roads. DO NOT put the carts on top of snow banks. Place the cart in the driveway or clear a spot along the front of your property for the cart. Remember to keep the cart at least 4 feet from obstructions such as parked cars, mailboxes and utility poles. The arms of the truck have to be able to get around the cart in order to lift, empty and place it back on the ground. Republic uses the same carts and trucks that we have on Grand Island all over the country, in places that deal with much more snow than we do. They have had great success with winter pickups and assure us that the same will happen here. For your convenience there are pictures on isledegrande.com (click Town News and scroll to November 2014 Town E-Waste, Garbage, Recycling, Branch Removal Information) and on the Town Hall Lobby Bulletin Board.
        A great opportunity to learn about the lore, legend and future of Strawberry and Motor Boat Islands is available at the Buffalo Launch Club on January 24. “Two Small Islands in the Mighty Niagara” includes a video, photos and stories from people with many years of experience in all aspects of the islands. Posters are all around town and information is on isledegrande.com. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy water oriented learning on a cold winter night.
        Several citizens noticed the new bike path signs around the Island, many of them along West River Road. They are part of an effort by the Niagara River Greenway to sign the 70 miles of shoreline trail from Fort Niagara to the Small Boat Harbor in Buffalo. The goal is to make it easier for bicyclists unfamiliar with the area to locate an appropriate bike trail. Along the West River, the newly funded Connector Trail-to be located between the Parkway and the river- will replace West River Road as the preferred route once it is complete.
        As you clean out book shelves and closets to make room for holiday gifts, please donate the items you no longer want. The library will take books anytime they are open. The Friends of the Library will hold their next Used Book Sale on March 27 and 28. Useable clothing is welcome in any of the many collection bins all around town, but so are stained and torn pieces of clothing and other textile items and things like shoes and belts. Items that cannot be sold as is are baled and repurposed, providing income to the charity collecting them. Anything that is kept from the trash helps keep disposal costs lower and prevents needless use of energy to bury or incinerate items that could be reused.
        The Joanne Pinner Carr Nature Trail, located on the east side of the Nike Base Park on Whitehaven Road, has had some welcome improvements and maintenance. Organized as an Eagle Scout Project by Brian Wynne, the trail was widened, brush was trimmed and wood chips were spread. The trail from the entrance to the crossing of Big Six Mile Creek is about a quarter mile. It’s a great area for a winter walk. A big thank you to Brian and all who helped him complete this project.
        The Town’s Recreation and Golden Age Departments teamed up on December 30 for the first Grand Island Grandparent and Grandkid Day. Festivities included crafts, games, a movie and making a homemade pizza for lunch. It was a huge success! Be alert for program announcements on the Town’s website, gigov.com and on isledegrande.com and posted on bulletin boards throughout Town; both departments hope to implement new program ideas in 2015.
        I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful holiday and that the New Year brings many blessings to you and your family! Please continue to let me know if you have ideas for improvements in our Town – stop by when you are at Town Hall, send an e-mail to mcooke@grand-island.ny.us or call me at 773-9600, ext. 616.