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Previous News Page

Saving Historic Island Buildings - December 2014

June Crawford

   The Historic Preservation Advisory Board is hoping to have an ordinance passed in the next few months that would establish regulations for the preservation of buildings that have historical significance. Advisory Board member June Crawford is speaking with community groups to spread the word. On Friday, December 19th she spoke with four of GIHS teacher Robert Simpson's government classes, outlining the basics of the ordinance and giving a power point presentation of properties that have been lost and those still here. Ms. Crawford said “historical properties can be a catalyst for new business by becoming a stopping point for tourists”. An ordinance can help owners with funding and tax breaks. At this time the only Grand Island property that is on the National Register of Historic Places is the Spaulding Boathouse on West River. The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources. Mrs. Crawford will be speaking with 7th grade Social Studies classes at VCMS on Monday, December 22nd and with the Golden Age Center members on January 22nd.

First Day Hikes at Area Parks - December 2014

   First Day Hikes come to Buffalo Harbor, Niagara Falls and Ft. Niagara
   The Niagara Region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is pleased to announce the line-up for the annual First Day Hikes being held on Thursday, January 1st. The free hikes will be held at the regions newest State Park, Buffalo Harbor as well as Niagara Falls State Park and Ft. Niagara State Park.
   Held on New Year's Day, First Day Hikes offer a great way to connect with the outdoors, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. Participants can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of the season and spectacular vistas, and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable guide. State park staff and volunteers will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which average one to three miles or longer depending on the location. The line-up of hikes is as follows and pre-registration is strongly encouraged.
    A Buffalo Harbor New Year! Buffalo Harbor State Park - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
    Celebrate the "New Year" at New York's "Newest" State Park! Tour Buffalo’s historic waterfront past towering grain elevators, lighthouses, shipping ports and much more! Bring your cross-country skis if there is snow or it will be a walking tour in the event of no snow.
Meeting Place: Small Boat Harbor Parking Lot
Planned Route: Bike Path at Gallagher Beach to the Buffalo River Lighthouse
Gear Needed: Outdoor clothing and cross-country skis if the snow in more than 3 inches, hiking boots if the snow is less than three inches. A limited number of skis may be available for those who do not have their own. For more information and pre-registration call (716) 549-1050.
   First Day: Let's go to Niagara Falls! Niagara Falls State Park - 10:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    It's a new year and our park has a new look. We'll tell you things you never knew as you meet new friends on this walk in America's oldest state park designed for all aged and abilities.
Meeting Place: Niagara Falls State Park Visitors Center
Planned Route: The walk through the Park will be about two miles
Gear Needed: Warm clothes and footwear and a camera. For more information and pre-registration please call (716)282-5154.
   First Day History Hike! Fort Niagara State Park - 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Join us for a walk to view the Niagara River, War of 1812 Cemetery, and see the lighthouse and Old Fort Niagara from the parking lot. (The Fort is CLOSED on New Year’s Day.) There will be a tour of the Officer’s Club to view the paintings and visit the museum displays. We will also travel to the site where the POW’s were held during WWII.
Meeting Place: Parking Lot near the Officer’s Club.
Planned Route: The walk through the park will be about 1.5 miles and does include some stairs and climbing
Gear Needed: Warm clothes and footwear and a camera. For more information and pre-registration please call (716)282-5154.

Kelly's Country Store - December 2014

From left: Jacob and James Stewart

   Mary Stewart was visiting Kelly's Country Store last weekend with her son and grandson and shared some pictures.

2014-2015 Winter Waterfowl Drawing - December 2014

Beaver Island State Park, West River Parkway, Motor and Strawberry Islands:
   The remaining Waterfowl Hunting Season (12/27/14 - 1/9/15), which includes duck and goose, will be done by lottery in the basement of the Beaver Island Clubhouse. Please note that that drawings will take place the night before the hunt. Doors will open at 6pm and draw will begin at 6:30pm sharp on the following days:
       DRAW DATES              HUNTING DATES                                                                       
        Fri.    12/26/14        Sat.  12/27/14                             
        Sat.    12/27/14        Sun. - Mon.    12/28 - 12/29/14             
        Mon.    12/29/14        Tues. - Wed.   12/30  - 12/31/14             
        Wed.    12/31/14        Thur. - Fri.   1/1/15 - 1/2/15                 
        Fri.    1/2/15          Sat.    1/3/15   
        Sat.    1/3/15          Sun. - Mon.    1/4 - 1/5/15  
        Mon.    1/5/15          Tues. - Wed.   1/6 - 1/7/15  
        Wed.    1/7/15          Thur. - Fri.   1/8 - 1/9/15 
   A boat is required to be on site, “at the ready”, for use in retrieving or rescue, as necessary. To participate in the lottery drawings, hunters must present a valid NYS Small Game Hunting license with a signed duck stamp, proof of registration in the Harvest Information Program (HIP), and proof of completion of a Waterfowl ID course. You may contact the Beaver Island State Park Office at (716)773-3271 on weekdays between 8:00am and 4:15pm for more information.

Festive Homes Near Kaegebein - December 2014

   Our favorite photographer, Mary Stewart, took photos of these festive homes in the Kaegebein area over the weekend.

NOCO Express Celebrates Grand Re-Opening - December 2014

At center with giant scissors are from left, store manager Josh Mueller and District Manager Pete Smith.
Click on photo above for larger view


    NOCO Express celebrated its grand re-opening on Tuesday, December 16th at 9:00 a.m. The new store is 4,000 square feet and includes wi-fi, self-serve U-Swirl Frozen Yogurt, many snacks and beverages, along with Nickel City prepared foods. There is indoor and outdoor seating at the 24-hour convenience store. On hand for the opening were NOCO General Manager Jim DeFilippis, Executive Vice President Mike Newman, District Mangager Pete Smith, Store Manager Josh Mueller and many elected officials and vendors.

Grand Island Family Support Services Now Available - December 2014

GICSD Press Release
    Grand Island Family Support Services (FSS) are now available to Grand Island Central School District students and their families. Services include information and referral to outside agencies and resources in order to meet the needs of students and their families. Needs may include, but are not limited to, behavioral concerns, mental health issues, parenting, marital issues, and alcohol and/or substance abuse.
   These services will be coordinated by School Social Workers Heather LaPier, LMSW at the secondary level, and Heather Maras, LMSW at the elementary level. Parents can contact the school social worker directly to set up an appointment to assess the strengths and needs of the student and family and determine appropriate resources available to meet their needs. Follow-up will be provided to ensure that students and families are able to access the necessary services and that the services are a good fit for their family. The referral form for Family Support Services is available online at www. GrandIslandschools.org- Pupil Personnel Services - Social Work/Family Support Services and can be downloaded to complete before coming in for your appointment.
    It is our hope that Family Support Services will expand and provide easier accessibility to essential support services for both our students and their families in an effort to further promote healthy families and academic success.
Heather LaPier, LMSW - High School/Middle School (716) 773-8839
Heather Maras, LMSW - Huth, Kaegebein, Sidway (716) 404-1703

Marigold Open House/Craft Show - December 2014

    The People Inc. Marigold Senior Living is having a holiday craft sale and open house on Friday, December 12th from noon-5:00 p.m. at 3026 Grand Island Blvd. The craft sale will feature crocheted/knitted items, decorations, ornaments, baked goods, artwork, Mary Kay products and more. You can tour an apartment and the building and enjoy refreshments. There will also be crafts for kids.

Marjorie Drive Fire- December 2014

Buffalo News Story - Click on photo for larger view.

   An unattended candle was blamed for fire that heavily damaged a home Saturday night on on Marjorie Drive on Grand Island. Three 17-year-olds escaped from the raised ranch home owned by Judith McMahon when they smelled smoke coming from the living room at 11:16 p.m. The three teens, Michael McMahon, Michael Podlucky, and Jacob Foote were evaluated for smoke inhalation and cleared at the scene. According to Grand Island Fire Capt. John Podlucky the build up of “superheated gases” from the fire caused a living room window to blow out. The fire was confined to the living room and extinguished within 13 minutes by firefighters. Damage was estimated at $60,000 to the structure and $30,000 to the contents. Grand Island Fire Investigator Mike DeMartin and Erie County sheriff investigators called the fire accidental. They said the candle ignited a nearby wall and couch. Mutual aid was provided by Sheridan Park and City of Tonawanda volunteer firefighters. No injuries were reported.

National Grid Flood Safety Information - November 2014

    National Grid has provided Flood Safety and Restoration Information. See flyer.

Home for the Holidays Craft Show - November 2014

    Crafty Islanders are hosting a "Home for the Holidays" craft show on December 4th, 5th & 6th at 41 Sturbridge from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. each day. Pat Shaw, Jennifer Watkins and Sheila Colan have made lighted tabletop trees, decorated wreaths and baskets, cone wreaths & Christmas arrangements, table runners, baked goods, jewelry and more. If you have any questions call 773-4439.

Islettes' Elite Thank First Responders - November 2014

Click on photo for larger view

.     As the twirlers said, "Sometimes performing is just not the priority". On November 22nd, the Islettes' Elite Dance Twirl Team was scheduled to perform in the Grand Island Light Up The Blvd. Parade. However, the girls decided that parading and celebrating the beginning of the Christmas season just didn't feel right while so many in WNY were in a State of Emergency from the storm. Instead of performing the girls got together and baked over 500 cookies to deliver to the Emergency Operation Center in Cheektowaga, where so many of the first responders were headquartered. Islettes' captains and staff delivered the treats that evening. They were met there by Erie County Executive Mr. Mark Poloncarz. Polncarz later tweeted "thank you to the Islettes for coming out and thanking the great staff at the EOC with tasty cookies. It meant a lot!!!"

Island Lights Returns - November 2014

   The residents who reside at 544 Baseline Road are ready to debut their "Island Lights" show on Friday, November 28th. This year is bigger and better than ever with 25,000 lights on their house and yard and a 32 minute show. The music is broadcast on 100.3. They say to "pull up, dim your lights, tune in and enjoy!" The light show will be displayed until January 1st. See Facebook page.

Register Snowmobile Locally - November 2014

   Erie County, NY - Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs wants to remind snowmobilers to register their sleds "locally" and avoid the registration rush by mailing in their snowmobile registrations using the signature green "Renew Local" envelope or doing so at any of the Erie County Auto Bureaus. "Snow has already begun to fly and we do not want any snowmobiler to be delayed in being properly registered", said Jacobs. "Winter in Erie County is more fun on a snowmobile and we want riders ready to enjoy the season."
   Members of a snowmobile club will save money on their sled's registration, as the rate is only $47.50. Non-members will pay the full registration cost of $102.50. Snowmobilers are encouraged to contact the New York State Snowmobile Association by visiting www.nysnowmobiler.com for information on joining local clubs and to obtain your registration voucher. To register using the "Renew Local" envelope riders need to complete and mail in both sides of a New York State Snowmobile Registration Form (MV-82SN), a photocopy of existing snowmobile registration, and a copy of the registrant's driver's license. Snowmobile club members need to also send proof of membership in a NYSSA snowmobile club. Mail everything to: Christopher L. Jacobs, Erie County Clerk, 92 Franklin Street-Suite 1, Buffalo, NY 14202 including a check, per sled, made payable to the "Erie County Clerk". Your snowmobile registration will be mailed back to you within 10 business days upon receipt of renewal form.
    Erie County snowmobile trails are usually scheduled to open in mid-December, providing the ground is frozen and there is at least 6 inches of snow. Riders are encouraged to check with their local clubs to ensure trails have been opened and to obtain the latest information on snowmobiling safety courses in and around Erie County. "We hope that all snowmobilers will register their sleds locally," said Jacobs. "By doing so it helps keep needed money in Erie County instead of going to Albany." For forms and additional registration information riders can visit www.erie.gov/registrations or contact the Erie County Auto Bureau Call Center at 716-858-7450. Snowmobilers can also visit the Erie County Auto Bureau's website at www.erie.gov/autobureau, go to the Online Reservations page and schedule an appointment at any of the three largest Auto Bureaus operated by the County Clerk's Office - Amherst, Cheektowaga and downtown Buffalo.
Grand Island Snowmobile Club

Hardwick Announces Blood Drives - November 2014

    The recent snow emergency has meant that many regular blood donors have been unable to give blood despite the constant demand for their life-saving gifts. In light of this, 4th District Erie County Legislator Kevin R. Hardwick has arranged for two upcoming blood drives in cooperation with UNYTS and the American Red Cross. The first is in conjunction with the American Red Cross and will be held November 25th, 2014 at the Grand Island Fire Department, 2275 Baseline Road, Grand Island from 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The second one will be co-sponsored by UNYTS and will be held on Monday, December 1st, 2014 at the UNYTS location at 96 Niagara Street in the City of Tonawanda from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Ducks Unlimited Fundraising Dinner - November 2014

   The Niagara River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is celebrating their conservation successes with a dinner at the Buffalo Launch Club on Thursday, December 4th. Doors open at 6:00 p.m and dinner is served at 7:00 p.m. There will be raffles, and live and silent auctions. Everyone is welcome to attend. Tickets include membership and dinner and are $60(single) and $85(couple). For tickets and information call Bob Hobba at 774-1223.

Avoid Snow-Related Emergencies Before They Happen - November 2014

   National Fuel Press Release...November 18, 2014
   With more than 2 feet of snow accumulation across parts of Western New York and another big storm set to hit tonight and tomorrow, National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation reminds all homeowners that snow and ice pose a variety of safety and performance issues to their heating systems. See complete release.

Grand Island Holiday Tour of Homes - November 2014

   The Grand Island Holiday Tour of Homes is set to take place on Saturday December 13th from Noon until 5:00pm. This holiday themed event will feature six historic and modern day homes throughout Grand Island. Each home will be decorated to the 9's and include complimentary hors d'oeuvres and seasonal drinks from some of Grand Islands best restaurants. At each home you will also find holiday music by various performers such as a harpist, saxophone player, acoustic musician and more. Don't miss this wonderful holiday event. Tickets just $15 and are available by visiting Flower A Day at 2119 Grand Island Blvd or by calling Corey at 716-341-1040. Proceeds to benefit the Grand Island Historical Society. See flyer.

Assemblyman Ceretto Announces HEAP Program- November 2014

   Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston) announced that federal funding is being made available through New York's Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to help families in need heat their homes during the cold winter season. Eligible applicants can receive up to $625 to help heat their homes. Anyone who thinks they may need to apply for assistance can find more information about the program at http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/ and apply for assistance at https://www.mybenefits.ny.gov/. Applications can be submitted beginning Monday, November 17. "No household should have to go cold in the winter, especially those with young children or senior citizens," said Ceretto. "HEAP is a great program that can ensure our communities don’t go without heat this winter. If you think you may need help paying your energy bills, I encourage you to go to https://www.mybenefits.ny.gov/ and apply for assistance. If you need any help with the application process, please don’t hesitate to contact my office." Assemblyman Ceretto's office can be reached by phone at (716) 282-6062 or by email at cerettoj@assembly.state.ny.us.

Trash Pickup Schedule for Holidays - November 2014

   Town of Grand Island Press Release...A reminder to Grand Island residents: As we approach the upcoming holidays, please note the following changes in trash pickup schedules:
Thanksgiving Day - November 27, 2014 (Thursday)
Pick up day will be delayed one day for Thursday 11/27/14 and Friday 11/28/14 ONLY.
(Please note: Happy Hunting, but please DO NOT put any animal parts in your trash. We are unable to take them).

Christmas Day - December 25, 2014 (Thursday)
Pick up will be delayed one day if your pick up day is Thursday or Friday.

New Year’s Day - January 1, 2015 (Thursday)
Pick up day will be delayed one day if your service day is Thursday or Friday. Monday will be regular schedule.    If you have eWaste to dispose of, please see E Waste information.
   If you should have any other concerns, please call Republic Services/Allied Waste’s Customer Service Department at (716) 614-3333 or email to GrandIslandNY@republicservices.com. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Town E-Waste, Garbage, Recycling, Branch Removal Information - November 2014

   Due to the recent change in the electronic waste policy on Grand Island, you now will have to go over the bridge to drop off your old computers, tv's, printers, etc. See E Waste information.
   The Town of Grand Island recently adopted a resolution to recover more textiles from the waste stream. The average citizen discards 70 pounds of textile waste into their garbage each year. You can help by taking all your textiles to the clothes bins located around Town. The bins accept clothes that are stained and ripped and recycle them.
   Garbage, recycling and branch information links are below. If your scheduled collection day falls on a holiday, that day's collection and remainder of the week will be delayed one day. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day are the remaining holidays.
   Garbage, Recycling
   Garbage Recycling Cart Placement
   Garbage (Special Needs Dumping)
   Branch Pick-Up Information

Veterans Day Service - November 2014

Union Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps

A well attended service.

Joe Synakowski from American Legion Post 1346

American Legion Post 1346 Color Guard

VFW Commander Christian Eshelman

Veterans Memorial Wall - Jodi Robinson Photos

   The Town of Grand Island Veterans Day Service on Tuesday, November 11th was a well attended event due to the balmy weather. American Legion Post 1346 member Joe Synakowski acted as Master of Ceremony at the 11:00 a.m. event held at the Veterans Memorial Wall at Veterans Park. Members of Boy Scout Troop 630, 510 and Girl Scouts of Grand Island passed out programs and presented the Military Service Flags. Town Supervisor Mary Cooke welcomed the attendees and VFW Post 9249 Commander Christian Eshelman gave "A Call to Veterans". The VFW Honor Guard gave a Rifle Salute and GIHS Band trumpeters Max VeRost and Eric Riederer played Taps. The service was followed by an Open House at the VFW Post.

Assemblyman John Ceretto Announcements - November 2014

    Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston), in his role as the ranking member of the Assembly’s Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee, announced that virtual tours of all of New York’s state parks are being made available online at www.nystateparkstours.com. This website will help increase tourists traffic to New York’s state parks by giving potential tourists a sneak peak into their possible destinations. Ceretto is hopeful that this new website will drive more tourists to New York’s beautiful state parks and improve the local economies around them.
    Assemblyman Ceretto has also announced the release of a new online resource for veterans that will connect out of work veterans to temporary state employment opportunities. The Veteran’s Temporary Hiring Portal, which can be found at www.cs.ny.gov/vetportal, allows veterans to upload their resumes so that state agencies can find candidates for open positions within their organization. Ceretto calls the portal a positive step for veterans who are struggling to find employment in New York. "It is appropriate that we roll out a new hiring resource for veterans on the day before Veterans Day. One of the problems veterans face when returning home is finding good work. While the jobs offered through this portal are temporary, these jobs can be a bridge for veterans as they find long term work. I thank the governor for providing this new resource to our nation’s veterans, to whom we owe a great debt."

"Thank-A-Vet" Discount Program - November 2014

   Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs and the Erie County Clerk's Office pays tribute to veterans 365 days a year through the "Thank-A-Vet" Discount Program. All you need to do is file your honorable discharge papers with the Erie County Clerk's Office and receive the "Thank-A-Vet" Discount Card. Over 1,000 Erie County businesses have registered in the program to give valuable discounts on goods and services.
    When veterans put their discharge papers on file with the Erie County Clerk's Office, it ensures their safety and makes attaining complimentary certified copies hassle free for the veteran and their loved ones. The "Thank-A-Vet" photo ID card is issued on the spot and our heroes walk away with a real benefit of potentially thousands of dollars in savings. Veterans are encouraged to come to the Erie County Clerk's Office located at 92 Franklin Street in Buffalo, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the Clerk's "Thank-A-Vet" Discount Card Program or if you have a business and would like to participate, please visit www.erie.gov/clerk/thankavet or call 716-858-6985.

Holiday Tree Arrives at Town Commons - November 2014

From left: Superintendent of Highways JT Tomkins, Parks Crew Chief Thomas Dworak, Parks employee Tom Cecere. Councilman Dick Crawford and Highway employee Kevin Hagen.

Kevin Hagen trims trunk. - Click on photos for larger view

.    The Town Commons holiday tree was delivered on Tuesday, November 4th, after a trip from Councilman Dick Crawford's home on North Colony. The over 35 foot Spruce tree was leaning at a 15 degree angle after the storms of last winter, it was the perfect choice for the holiday "Light Up The Boulevard" event. Dan Drexelius from Double "D" Construction volunteered to cut it down and haul it on a flatbed trailer. Kevin Hagen then trimmed 10 feet off the bottom to fit into the custom tree stand. The event is scheduled for Saturday, November 22nd from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. The tree lighting will take place after the Rudolph Run and Electric Light Parade.

Halloween Highlights - November 2014


Mary Stewart Photos

   The weather may have been on the cool side and a bit rainy, but that didn't stop many trick or treaters going house to house collecting their "goodies". Pictured are a few of the brave ones who came out Halloween night.

Detour Open - November 2014

    Stony Point Road (County Road 308) from Whitehaven Rd. to Staley Rd. is now open.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive Starts Saturday - October 2014

    The Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive, aimed at bringing food pantries things that children like to eat, begins officially Saturday, November 1st, organizer Peter P. Robinson said Tuesday. The drive, which began in 2010 with a few Niagara County drop-off points, now will have over 200 bins scattered over Niagara, Erie, Orleans, Genesee and Monroe counties, Robinson said. Last year, the drive, which lasts until Dec. 6, yielded 12,871 jars of peanut butter, jelly and marshmallow fluff. Island locations include: Dana's Stylin Pets in the Grand Island Plaza, Pizza Amore-2024 Grand Island Blvd., Dick & Jenny's-1270 Baseline Rd and the Grand Island Moose Lodge-2524 Grand Island Blvd. The list of locations is available on the Peanut Butter and Jelly Facebook page, or those looking for a place to drop their jars off can call 510-7108, 735-7061 or 799-4013.

Beaver Island Golf & Concession Proposals Wanted - October 2014

    The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is requesting proposals (RFP) for the Operation of the Golf Course and Golf Course Food and Beverage Concession at Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island, NY RFP number X001199. For more information, please contact the Regional Administration Headquarters at 716-278-1770 for a copy of the RFP documents. All inquiries should refer to RFP number X001199. Proposals are due no later than Friday, November 21, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

Election Day Sample Ballot - 2014

Sample Ballot
   Election day is Tuesday, November 4th.

I-190 & Buffalo Ave. Update - October 2014

Press Release...October 28, 2014
    The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) today announced that NY Route 384 (Buffalo Avenue), in the city of Niagara Falls, Niagara County, is scheduled to be re-opened to all traffic on Wednesday, October 29. The roadway has been closed for construction since September 23. The Buffalo Avenue on and off ramps to Interstate 190 (Exit 21), as well as the Robert Moses Parkway eastbound ramp to Interstate 190 southbound, are scheduled to remain closed until Friday, October 31.
    The previously announced daily lane closures on Interstate 190 northbound and southbound will remain as scheduled. Through Friday, October 31, Interstate 190 northbound and southbound, in the vicinity of NY Route 384 (Buffalo Avenue) will be subject to daily lane closures from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. In addition, nightly lane closures are scheduled to occur on Wednesday, October 29 and Thursday, October 30 from 7:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. This work is weather-sensitive and could be delayed in the event of inclement weather.
   On Friday, October 31, all of the remaining ramp and lane closures on Interstate 190, Buffalo Avenue, and the Robert Moses Parkway will be open to all traffic. NYSDOT produced a rapid time-lapse video of the northbound Interstate 190 Bridge over Buffalo Avenue reconstruction work that took place over a recent 72-hour weekend. The video can be viewed by going to the project Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-190-Bridge-over-Buffalo-Avenue-Project-Page/389883184462111. Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license. For real-time travel information, call 511 or visit www.511ny.org. Find NYSDOT on the web at www.dot.ny.gov, and on Twitter at @NYSDOTBuffalo.

I-190 & Buffalo Ave. Update - October 2014

Press Release...October 27, 2014
    The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) announced that travel restrictions will continue on NY Route 384 (Buffalo Avenue), and Interstate 190, in the city of Niagara Falls, Niagara County, to allow for the continuing construction of new bridges carrying Interstate 190 over Buffalo Avenue. Beginning on Monday, October 27 through Friday, October 31, Interstate 190 northbound and southbound, in the vicinity of NY Route 384 (Buffalo Avenue) will be subject to daily lane closures from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. In addition, nightly lane closures are scheduled to occur on Wednesday, October 29 and Thursday, October 30 from 7:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. This work is weather-sensitive and could be delayed in the event of inclement weather.
    Motorists on Interstate 190 are advised to allow for additional travel time. Motorists are also reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license. For real-time travel information, call 511 or visit www.511ny.org. Find NYSDOT on the web at www.dot.ny.gov, and on Twitter at @NYSDOTBuffalo.

Fall Lawnmower Race Donates Funds - October 2014

From left standing: Peter Calieri, Gary Roesch, Dave Brand, Tom Snyder, Heath Mazenauer.
In front from left: Rob Schooping and Tom Long - Click photo for larger view

.    Recently, members of the Fall Lawnmower Race committee and the winning Super Modified team presented a check for $1000 to Dave Brand, Chairman of the Kaegebein playground committee. Plans are already in the works to hold a spring lawnmower race.

Property Tax Freeze Credit - October 2014

   The property tax freeze credit is a new two-year tax relief program that reimburses qualifying New York State homeowners for increases in local property taxes on their primary residences. To receive the credit in 2014, homeowners must meet the following eligibility requirements:
    Receive the STAR property tax exemption.
  • The property must be the homeowner's primary residence.
  • The total household income must be $500,000 or less.
        The school district where the homeowner's property is located must comply with the New York State Property Tax Cap. Throughout the Fall of 2014, the Tax Department will automatically mail checks to eligible homeowners. Eligible homeowners do not need to do anything to receive the credit. The Tax Department will review eligibility data and calculate the credit. Once all checks are mailed, homeowners who do not receive a check and who believe they are entitled to the credit (or who believe their credit was incorrectly calculated) will be able to contact the Tax Department to have their case reviewed.
       As a general rule, the freeze credit will fully reimburse eligible homeowners for increases to their property taxes. The freeze credit will be the greater of: the actual increase in the homeowner's tax bill, or the previous year's tax bill multiplied by an inflation factor (the lesser of 2% or inflation). For 2014, the inflation factor for school districts is 1.46%. Homeowners whose tax bills go down, stay the same, or increase less than the inflation factor will receive a credit equal to the previous year's tax bill multiplied by the inflation factor. To estimate your credit, multiply your 2013 school tax bill by 1.5% (.015).
       Exceptions: There are some exceptions. The credit will not reimburse homeowners for increases that are the result of:
  • improvements to the property that increase its value
  • changes in a property's exemption status, or
  • a jurisdiction-wide reassessment to the extent the increase in the property's assessed value exceeds the average change in assessed value.

    Byblos Niagara Up For Sale - October 2014

       Byblos Niagara Resort, formerly the Grand Island Holiday Inn, is back on the market. The owners are asking close to $10 million dollars for the 263-room property. All food service operations have been terminated at this time. See Buffalo News article by Business Reporter Jonathan D. Epstein.

    Come Shop at the Beach - October 2014

       The Sandy Beach Yacht Club Women's Organization is hosting a Craft and Art Show on Saturday, November 1st from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., 1851 Winter Road. There will be hand crafted items, jewelry, baked goods, hand painted ornaments and more.

    Town Advisory Board Openings - October 2014

        There are Advisory Board openings in: Parks and Recreation, Planning Board, Cable & Communications, Board of Ethics Review, Economic Development Advisory Board, Library Trustees and Traffic Safety Advisory Board. Interested parties should submit a letter of interest, including relevant experience, education or training to: Town Supervisor Mary S. Cooke, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island, NY 14072 or by email to townboard@grand-island.ny.us by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2014.

    Kayaker Tries to Enter States Illegally - October 2014

        A Canadian woman was recently arrested after illegally kayaking across the west Niagara River from Canada and trying to enter a taxi near the Beaver Island State Park. Olivia Leigh Suriani, 32, is being held pending a detention hearing on Friday, October 17th. Ms. Suriani was caught last January trying to enter the U.S. illegally from a cruise ship. The conviction of illegal re-entry carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

    Island Resident Arrested in Riverside - October 2014

        Erie County Sheriff Deputies arrested Gregory Swan, 44, of Grand Island and Alica Prine, 33 of Buffalo with an assortment of drug and paraphernalia possession charges. They were found on Tuesday, October 14th at the Black Rock Canal County Park off Niagara Street. In addition Swan was charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and trespassing. Prine was charged with trespassing and false personation. Both were taken into custody.

    Jacobs Commends Staff Efforts - October 2014

        Erie County, NY – When Chris Jacobs came into Office in January of 2012, he discovered rooms filled with over 100,000 original deeds and mortgages that had not been returned to homeowners for as long as 18 months. He also found piles of unprocessed mail that had been languishing for as long as 6 months, containing over $3 million in un-cashed checks. Today Jacobs updated the public on the status of this area. "The Clerk's Office is now returning deeds and mortgages within one month of recording instead of the prior 18-months; and processing mail within one week on average - instead of the previous six-month time period," said Jacobs. At the press event, Jacobs showed a photograph of the room stacked with bins several feet high containing un-returned deeds and mortgages and a current photograph of that same room which is now completely empty.
       "This Division is once again a model of efficiency," stated Jacobs. He also mentioned that it is becoming a model for utilizing new technologies. Several months ago Jacobs rolled out new technology to allow mortgages to be recorded electronically, so customers can avoid coming downtown to record mortgage documents. "This saves time and money for both the customer and the Clerk's Office…a win-win," says Jacobs. When Jacobs took office and discovered the backlog, he created a "Re-Engineering Working Group" to find solutions to these problems. "The key partners in our effort to find these solutions were our employees," said Jacobs. "They were anxious to work together to address the problem - and they really stepped-up to get this done." Jacobs also thanked M&T Bank for their assistance in loaning an executive with expertise in process improvement to the effort.
       "This Division plays a major role in the functioning of our real estate economy and generates revenue for the County of Erie. During this crisis both these areas were suffering," stated Jacobs. Since taking over the Clerk's Office, Jacobs has recorded a $4 million surplus. The Clerk's office does not retain these surplus funds but returned it to the County's General Fund to support important county services.

    Road Closure - October 2014

        Stony Point Road (County Road 308) from Whitehaven Rd. to Bedell Rd. will be closed from 6:00 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 16th until 6:00 p.m., Friday, Nov. 28th, or until cross culvert replacement is complete.

    Mortgage Tax On The Way - October 2014

       Erie County, NY- Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs announced local governments will soon receive their share of the Erie County Mortgage Tax collections based off of real estate transactions recorded in the Clerk's Office. The total to be distributed on November 15, 2014, is $7,839,083 and covers the six month period from April 1, 2014 through September 30, 2014.
       "Mortgage tax distributions are a major source of revenue for many of the County's cities, towns and villages," Jacobs said. "I believe it is essential to provide municipalities this financial information as soon as available so we can better assist them with their budgetary and cash flow planning for the upcoming fiscal year." Jacobs noted that since taking office he has made it a priority to review internal processes and procedures to identify efficiencies to more quickly deliver mortgage tax revenues to localities a full month earlier than in the past. "Municipal governments continue to tighten their belts in order to stay within their own budgets, and getting these funds one month earlier can make a huge difference," Jacobs said.
        Supervisor Mary Cooke received the letter from Clerk Jacobs informing her that the Town of Grand Island would receive approximately $222,715 in their mortgage tax distribution. Mortgage taxes are collected by the County Clerk's Office in accordance with specific state laws. Twice a year, the Clerk distributes mortgage tax receipts to the three cities, 25 towns and 16 villages located in Erie County. Distributions are determined by the amount of total mortgages entered into for each municipality during the applicable period.

    Island Man Headed to Prison - October 2014

        A Grand Island man was sentenced to 1 1/2 to three years in state prison on Thursday, October 9th for setting a truck on fire in Niagara Falls two years ago. Louis M. Rafe was originally scheduled to be sentenced two months ago, but after breaking his wrist in a altercation at a drug treatment facility, a delay was granted. Mr. Rafe's request for another delay for therapy was denied. He will have to make restitution of $4000 when released from prison.

    Lawn Mower Race - October 2014

    K & D Action Photos

       The Fall Lawn Mower Race was a "rain or shine" event that had more of the former than latter on Saturday, October 4th. It was held at the Town Commons with the "track" being Whitehaven Road. In spite of the weather, Committeeman Gary Roesch reported that over 30 contestants from Grand Island, Lewiston and Youngstown participated. The winners were: Vintage: Tom Long; Stock: Johnathan Dingey; Single cylinder modified: Peter Marston; Two cylinder modified: Dan Wsiewicz; Pro stock: John Caruana. The Super Modified could not race due to the poor weather conditions. The celebrity main event between Superintendent of Schools Teresa Lawrence, Ph.D. and Supervisor Mary Cooke was a "dead heat" or tie. The consolation race between Kaegebein Principal Mary Haggerty and GICSD Director of Instructional Technology Robin Kwiatek was won "hands down" by Robin. The race committee is making plans for a possible spring mower event along with the annual Father's Day event.

    Vintage winner Tom Long (left).

    Celebrity Race: Superintendent Teresa Lawrence (left), Supervisor Mary Cooke (right).

    Supervisor Cooke might be going too fast!

    Elderwood UNYTS Blood Drive - October 2014

       A Blood Drive by the Unyts Mobile Unit will take place at Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd, on Tuesday, October 14th from 11:00 to 3:00. Refreshments will be served to all blood donors. To schedule an appointment visit www.untys.or click the “Give Blood” icon and enter Sponsor Code 0139 or call Unyts at 512-7940. All donated blood stays in WNY to help LOCAL patients in LOCAL hospitals. See flyer for details.

    National Fuel Forecasts Possible 20% Decrease - October 2014

        Williamsville, NY - October 6, 2014...    National Fuel forecasts that utility customers will likely see a 20 percent reduction in heating season bills this winter. While the calendar just flipped to autumn, officials at National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation have been thinking about, and preparing for, the upcoming winter for months. On the heels of the coldest Western New York winter in more than 70 years, and increased consumption which translated to higher winter heating season bills for customers for the first time in recent years, National Fuel has good news for its customers. Based on the current forecast, customer bills are likely to decrease this winter by approximately 20 percent from last winter’s heating season, provided we have a more normal "Buffalo" winter.
       See complete press release.

    9th Annual Hoffman's Hospice Fundraiser- October 2014

       The 9th Annual Hoffman's Hospice Fundraiser will take place on Saturday, October 18th starting at 2:00 p.m. at the VFW, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. Event includes, beer, food, games, horse shoes, Kan Jam, 50/50 raffle and Chinese Auction. Music will be provided by the talented local country band, The Marshall Dillon Band. A VIP bracelet is available for $30 (All you can drink). Contact Justin Hoffman at 716-818-6836 for more information.

    Beaver Island Planting Project - October 2014

        Beaver Island State Park in conjunction with the Town of Grand Island and Dr. Donna Kester-Phillips will be introducing a memorial tree planting project at the Grand Island Park. Kester-Phillips, an avid park user, proposed the plan to park management to plant trees in memory and honor of loved ones as a way to restock sick and damaged trees at the parks. Many trees were lost during the 2006 October Storm as well as falling victim to insect infestation. The program will include comments from Grand Island Supervisor Mary Cooke as well as a brief history of the park by Curt Nestark of the Grand Island Historical Society. A reception will follow at the park office. Details of the project will be presented on Saturday, October 11th at 11:00 a.m. at Shelter 4, next to the Park Office. For more information call (716) 481-6990 or (716) 773-3271.

    Setting Priorities - October 2014

        By Kevin Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
       It is one thing to say something is important to you. It is quite another thing to prove its importance by spending money on it. Budgeting is all about putting our money where our mouth is. With the October 15th deadline for County Executive Mark Poloncarz to submit his budget to the Erie County Legislature fast approaching, this would seem to be a good time to talk about priorities. Our first priority must be to hold the line on property taxes. I have participated in four sets of budget negotiations and am proud of the fact that property tax rates did not increase in any of them. I am looking forward to keeping this streak alive with the 2015 Budget. I believe the county executive shares this priority, as all indications are that his proposed budget will not contain a property tax hike.
       Beyond our concurrence on maintaining the property tax rate at its current level, our priorities may differ, although I am sure there are other items upon which we will find considerable agreement. I am fairly certain, for instance, that we both want to see adequate funding for our public libraries. The role of libraries has evolved in recent years, but they are still as vital to an informed society as they were a century ago. Unfortunately, the Buffalo and Erie County Library System is still suffering the effects of cuts it absorbed a decade ago during the Red/Green Budget fiasco.
       I hope we would also agree that a greater emphasis must be placed on repairing our crumbling infrastructure, particularly the county road system. Last winter was devastating for roads throughout the county. We have made a great deal of progress this summer, but anyone who drives on county roads will tell you that we have a long way to go. This is where it gets difficult. Since we cannot afford to raise taxes, every additional dollar spent on county roads must be taken from somewhere else in the budget. Tough choices must be made. I am confident we can make these difficult decisions, just as we have on my previous four budgets.
       As the budget process progresses, I would value your input concerning your priorities. I will be holding, therefore, a series of my “district discussions” regarding the 2015 Erie County Budget. The format of these informal meetings (whose dates and times have yet to be determined) will be roundtable so all participants will have a chance to voice their views. Please call my office if you are interested in an invitation to one of these sessions. If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    GI Blvd Two Car MVA - October 2014

       The Erie County Sheriff's Department reported that a two vehicle crash at 2488 Grand Island Blvd., early Wednesday, October 1st resulted in no injuries to either party. A pickup driven by Michael Adamczyk of Derby rolled over and a car driven by Nicole Goodwin was severely damaged, causing the occupant to be extricated by the "Jaws of Life"

    Taste of Grand Island Slideshow & Winners - October 2014

    Slide Show

    .    The Taste of Grand Island on Saturday, September 27th was well attended and enjoyed by all. The following venders were winners in a wide variety of categories.
    Best soup: 1. Safire, 2. Beach house, 3. Village Inn
    Best wings: 1. Mallwitz, 2. Village Inn, 3. Just Pizza
    Best appetizer: 1. Elden's (crab cake, 2. Island Deli (stuffed pepper), 3. Marcos (bacon jalapeño)
    Best dessert: 1. Pizza Amore, 2. Baked Cupcakery (Carmel apple), 3. Sweet Melodys (mint gelato)
    Best pizza: 1. Say Cheese, 2. Johns, 3. Rocky's
    Best decorated: 1. Dick & Jennys, 2. Eldens, 3. Island Deli
    Most spirit: 1. Gondolas, 2. Mallwitz, 3. Sweet Melodys
    Festival favorite: 1. Old Bedell Grill, 2. Village Inn, 3. Say Cheese
    Rookie of the Year: 1. Old Bedell Grill, 2. Johns Pizza, 3. Gondolas Pasta
    Judges favorite: 1. Dick & Jennys, 2. Beach House, 3. Gondolas
    Children's choice: 1. Village Inn, 2. Pizza Amore, 3. Johns Pizza

    Community Flu Clinic - October 2014

       Members of the Erie County Legislature’s Majority Caucus are partnering with local Rite-Aid Pharmacy locations to offer Community Flu Clinics to residents who wish to vaccinate against influenza. Each year, the County Department of Health advises residents to get a flu vaccine. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
        The clinics are for adults, age 18 and older, and attendees are asked to bring their insurance card. Most insurance plans cover the vaccination in full. Hosted by Legislator Kevin Hardwick, a clinic will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8th at the Tonawanda Fire Headquarters, 44 William St., City of Tonawanda. For additional information, please contact Legislator Hardwick at 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    "School Days Past" Display - October 2014

    Display case with photos and textbooks.

    Old photos and school desk.

        The Grand Island Historical Society and the Grand Island Historical Preservation Advisory Board have teamed up to make a display at the Grand Island Memorial Library titled "School Days Past". The display contains an old school desk, pictures of classes as far back as 1896 and through to the 1960's, old school house photos and old textbooks. When you stop by the display, make sure to pick up a Driving Tour of Grand Island brochure. The brochure will lead you to some of the oldest and more interesting buildings on the Island.

    NYS Parks Fall Schedule of Events - October 2014

       New York State Parks has announced its Fall Schedule of Events at Western New York Parks locations. All events are free and registration is encouraged. There are two events scheduled for Grand Island; Saturday, October 11th, a Fall Foliage Walk at Buckhorn and Saturday, October 18th, a Fall Foliage Hike in the Woods at Beaver Island. See the full schedule of events here.

    Island Waterfowl Blind Drawings - October 2014

        Beaver Island State Park, West River Parkway, Strawberry & Motor Islands
        The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have announced that lottery drawings for the first half of Waterfowl Hunting Season have been scheduled at Beaver Island State Park. Draws will be held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday beginning Friday - October 17th. The doors will open at 6:00pm and the draws start at 6:30pm SHARP! The draws will continue to take place in the basement of the Beaver Island Clubhouse through Friday, November 28th. Please enter in the back door closest to Parking Lot next to the Clubhouse. Duck season will run from October 18 through December 2 and the Canada Goose season will run from October 25 through January 1.
        There will be call-ins ONLY for the Canada Goose blinds December 3 - 26 starting on Tuesday, December 2 by calling 773-2010 from 9am - 12noon. To participate in the lottery drawings, hunters must be present and show a valid NYS Small Game Hunting license with a signed duck stamp, proof of completion of a Waterfowl ID course and proof of registration in the Harvest Information Program (HIP).
        New this season, State Parks will be including two (2) ADA blinds which are handicap accessible. Blind #31 is located within Beaver Island State Park and Blind #41 is located on East River Road at Spicer Creek Wildlife Management Area (north of the cemetery). Waterfowl hunting is restricted to the wooden Universal Blind structure only. Also new this year, Beaver Island will be participating in Waterfowl Youth Hunt Weekend (October 4 - 5). Please see www.dec.ny.gov for more information about the youth hunt. For further information, you may contact the Park Office at (716)773-3271 between 8:15am and 4:15pm Monday- Friday.

    Grand Island Lawn Mower Challenge - September 2014

        The Grand Island Lawn Mower Challenge is Saturday, October 4th at the Marion Klingel Town Commons starting at noon. Be there to experience lawn mower racing of up to 70 MPH! Also on site will be a giant kid zone with bounce houses and face painting, food vendors, a beer tent (noon-11:00 p.m.) and live music! Bring the whole family for this all day event to benefit the Kaegebein Playground Association! There will be a food truck rodeo with Pizza Amore, Knight Slider, Lloyd's Taco Truck, The Great Foodini, Philly Flat Top and the Cheesy Chick participating. There will be live music from noon to 3:00 p.m. featuring Storm Watchers, then DJ/MC John Dudley from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The racing starts at 3:00 p.m. and awards will be at 6:00 p.m. Sponsors for the event are Sam Long's Construction, Marston Power Equipment and U'Ren Rental.

    Auto Bureau Reservation System Announced - September 2014

        Erie County, NY - Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs announced that the Erie County Auto Bureau is now accepting reservations online in order to improve wait times and make it easier for customers to conduct their business quickly during a time that is convenient for them. Jacobs says the Online Reservation System is easy to use and the system walks you through the process of scheduling an appointment. "With the Auto Bureau's 24/7 online reservation system, motorists can make appointments up to 30 days in advance or even on the same day," stated Jacobs.
        The reservation system allows customers to go online and book an appointment for a specific date, time, and location. The customer will receive a confirmation email, then a second reminder email one hour prior to their appointment time. Upon arrival, the customer checks in at the self-serve kiosk station with their confirmation number and will be taken care of at their scheduled appointment time. "We believe this on-line reservation system will eliminate the trepidation customers have as to the how long they will have to wait at the auto bureaus. They can now go on-line and reserve a specific appointment time." Jacobs' believes this technology will dramatically improve the customer experience and make the process more predicable for both the customer and the auto bureau staff.
       Motorists can visit the Erie County Auto Bureau's website at www.erie.gov/clerk/autobureau, go to the Online Reservations page and schedule an appointment at any of the three largest Auto Bureaus operated by the County Clerk's Office - Amherst, Cheektowaga and downtown Buffalo.

    Taste of Grand Island - September 2014

    Click on photo for larger view

    .     The Taste of Grand Island is Saturday, September 27th from 12:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Click on the photo above to see who will be participating. Below is the schedule of events:
    12:00pm - 11:00pm: Beer tent is open
    12:00pm - 8:00pm: Bounce houses galore
    12:00pm - 6:00pm: Music from Mark Smith at Solid Gold Entertainment
    1:00pm - 3:00pm: Visit with Elsa from the movie Frozen at 15 Monkeys booth
    2:30pm - 3:00pm: Performance by the Islettes
    3:00pm - 5:00pm: Silent food judging begins
    3:30pm - 4:00pm: Performance by the Islettes
    5:00pm - 6:00pm: Awards given out
    6:00pm - 8:00pm: Music from John Dudley
    8:00pm - 11:00pm: Music from The Mobile Hot Spots

    Walk-in Flu Vaccine Clinics for Veterans - September 2014

          Veterans enrolled in VA health care may obtain flu vaccines at upcoming walk-in clinics scheduled at VA Western New York Healthcare System, 3495 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo on the following dates and times.
    • Saturday, September 27, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Drive thru Clinic
    • Saturday, October 11, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Desk 4 (1st Floor)
    • Wednesday, October 15, 4:30 – 7 p.m. - Desk 4 (1st Floor)
    • Monday, October 27, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Freedom Hall (3rd Floor)
    • Saturday, November 8, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Desk 4 (1st Floor)
    • Wednesday, November 19, 4:40 p.m. – 7 p.m. - Desk 4 (1st Floor)
       Veterans may also obtain the vaccine during scheduled primary care appointments. There is no charge for the flu vaccine for Veterans enrolled in VA health care. Eligibility will be verified prior to administering the vaccine. For information regarding VA health care eligibility, call 1-888-823-9656 or www.buffalo.va.gov.

    Visit Buffalo Niagara President Tours District - September 2014

    From Left: Buffalo Niagara President Patrick Kaler, Legislator Kevin Hardwick and Supervisor Mary Cooke at Kelly's.

        Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, joined by Grand Island Supervisor Mary Cooke, City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis and Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony Caruana, recently welcomed Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler to the northern section of Erie County to tour sites in the municipalities they represent. The tour was part of Kaler’s summer-long effort to familiarize himself with local tourism attractions that make Erie County unique. "I want to thank Pat for taking the time to tour the district I represent and for his efforts to promote all the tourist attractions that Erie County has to offer. This regional approach benefits every city, town and village. District 4 is home to many unique sites, some of which are this area's best kept secrets, and getting the word out about them is very important,” said Legislator Hardwick.
    The Grand Island tour included:
    • The Miracle League and the brand new, innovative handicapped accessible playground
    • Kelly’s Country Store
    • Branches of Niagara Campground and Resort
    • Beaver Island State Park
    • Buckhorn State Park

    Pharmaceutical Drug Collection Event - September 2014

    Press Release     (Erie County, NY) – Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that Erie County, local agencies and businesses are partnering to set up collection sites for a Pharmaceutical Drug Collection Event. “Since their inception, the Pharmaceutical Drug Collection days have collected thousands of pounds of medications throughout the country, ensuring that medications don’t fall into the wrong hands or end up in our water systems. This is a great opportunity to easily dispose of any unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals safely,” said Legislator Hardwick.
    Pharmaceuticals will be collected from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27. Collection sites include:
    • Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Lot C, Buffalo
    • Grand Island Main Fire Hall, 2275 Baseline Road, Grand Island
    • Kenmore Mercy Hospital, 2950 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore
       Unwanted or expired prescription or over-the-counter medications, syringes, inhalers, liquids, ointments and patches will be accepted. Legislator Hardwick also reminds residents that the Erie County Sheriff’s Office maintains prescription collection boxes that are available 24/7 throughout the county. For a list of locations, please visit www.erie.gov/sheriff. Residents can drop off medications when it is convenient for them. For additional information or questions about a county issue, please contact Legislator Hardwick at 858-8672 or e-mail kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Buffalo Passport Agency Hosts Passport Day - September 2014

        The Buffalo Passport Agency, 111 Genesee Street, Suite 101, Buffalo, 14203 will be accepting passport applications on Saturday, September 27th from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. as part of National Passport Awareness Month. No appointment is needed. Routine and expedited service will be available. Expedited service will cost an additional $60.
    More information on how to apply for a U.S. passport, including necessary documents and fees, is available at travel.state.gov. U. s. Citizens may also obtain information by phone, in English and Spanish, by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778.

    New Tax Online Payment and Information Site - September 2014

    Press Release - September 18, 2014... Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel announced today that the new online payment and information link for taxes is up and running. The new link is user friendly and does not require a “user name” and “password” any longer. Pattie stated "We’ve been working with this new vendor for a few months to create the most user friendly payment option for our residents, we think it’s great. Another feature is that residents who own multiple properties will be able to put all the properties into a “cart” and pay with one transaction." Residents can now pay taxes online with a check or credit card (service fees apply) quickly and generate paid receipts. The Town's website will continue to offer an option to print receipts from previous tax collections using the former user name and password link: "2014 Town/County tax and prior". The Town's website is www.gigov.com. The new link is located on the front page: "Online Tax Payments". For more information, contact Pattie Frentzel, Town Clerk at 716-773-9600 ext. 600.

    GI Woman Charged with Theft - September 2014

       A Grand Island woman was arrested and charged with theft on Wednesday afternoon by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. While working as a cleaning lady in Wheatfield, Judith A. McMahon allegedly stole cash and jewelry from a client.

    Buffalo Avenue Exit Closure - September 2014

    DOT Press Release...September 17, 2014
        The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) today announced that travel restrictions are scheduled to go in effect on NY Route 384 (Buffalo Avenue), and Interstate 190, in the city of Niagara Falls, Niagara County, to allow for the continuing construction of new bridges carrying Interstate 190 over Buffalo Avenue.
        Beginning on Tuesday, September 23, at approximately 12:00 p.m., NY Route 384, (Buffalo Avenue), between 63rd and 65th Streets, will be closed to all traffic. In addition, Interstate 190 Exit 21, to NY Route 384, will also be closed. These closures are expected to last for approximately five weeks. Motorists will be directed to follow posted detour routes and should allow for additional travel time. Motorists are further advised that during these closures, the ramp from Interstate 190 northbound to the Robert Moses State Parkway towards Niagara Falls State Park, will remain open. This ramp is restricted for non-commercial traffic only due to low vehicle clearance.
        On Thursday, September 25, at approximately 8:00 p.m., Interstate 190, from the North Grand Island Bridge to the LaSalle Expressway, will be subject to lane closures and traffic stoppages no greater than 15 minutes in duration. Traffic will be diverted onto temporary detour ramps, and the posted speed limit in this work zone will be reduced to 35 MPH. The lane closures on Interstate 190 are scheduled to be removed no later than 6:00 a.m. on Monday, September 29. New York State Police will be present providing traffic control assistance.
       Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license. For real-time travel information, call 511 or visit www.511ny.org. Find NYSDOT on the web at www.dot.ny.gov, and on Twitter at @NYSDOTBuffalo. If you travel frequently on the Grand Island Bridges and haven’t already signed up for NIITEC alerts (Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition), do it now at MyNIITEC.org; you can receive alerts on your computer or any electronic device to help you manage your travels most efficiently. See information links below from the NYS Dept of Transportation.
    Listed below are the hyperlinks to the general project fact sheet and the various detour maps. Information can also be found by searching on Facebook: I-190 Bridge over Buffalo Avenue. The detours will take affect when Buffalo Avenue and I-190 exits to Buffalo Avenue are closed on September 23, 2014.
    5051.10 Project Handout
    I-190 NB to Buffalo Ave (NY 384) Short Term Detour Map
    I-190 NB to Buffalo Ave (NY 384) Detour Map
    I-190 SB to Buffalo Ave (NY 384) Detour Map
    I-190 SB to Robert Moses Parkway Detour Map
    Robert Moses Parkway EB to I-190 NB and I-190 SB Detour Map

    Department of Senior Services Public Hearing - September 2014

       The Department of Senior Services, Area Agency on Aging, is seeking public comment on 2015 draft plans for programs and services for older adults in Erie County. The Public Hearings will be held at the following sites on the dates listed below:
    Erie County Central Library, One Lafayette Square, 14203 – September 26, 2014 – 2-3pm
    Orchard Park Senior Center, 70 Linwood Ave., 14127 – October 30, 2014 – 1-2:30pm
       Commissioner Randy Hoak encourages all Erie County residents to attend and comment on programs they’ve participated in as well as plans for programs and services planned for 2015. Service Providers, Elected and Public Officials are encouraged to give public comment on the service plans, and on the emerging needs facing Erie County in light of changing demographics today and in the years ahead. A summary of the proposed plans will be available September 24th online at: www2.erie.gov/seniorservices, at the hearings, or by calling 858-7532.
       For further information, to inquire about transportation, or to register to speak, please call 858-7532. For those unable to attend, written comments are welcome and accepted until November 15, 2014. Send your comments to: Senior Services Public Hearing, 95 Franklin St., Buffalo, NY 14202 or by email to seniorinfo@erie.gov.

    Grand Island Schools Free Mobile App - September 2014

       The Grand Island Central School District now offers a mobile app that gives parents and students a one-stop spot to access important information any time of day or night. By downloading the app to the device of your choice (iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet), information can be found in one, easy-to-use location making it simple to access content needed while on the go.
       "Maintaining open lines of communication between school and home aids in the academic success of a student. The new app assists with that and we encourage all Grand Island families to download our app to their mobile device," states Robin Kwiatek, technology director, Grand Island Central School District. The Grand Island Schools app offers many features. It allows users to quickly add calendar items to their personal calendar. Users can also access the staff directory and make a direct call or add a contact to their personal, electronic address book. Parents can access the Parent Portal to review student academic information such as grades. Athletic schedules, lunch menus, mySchoolBucks lunch account information, Board of Education and PTA meeting dates are all at your fingertips once you download the app.
       To download the mobile app to your device visit www.grandislandschools.org and click on the images in the bottom left corner. It is available at the iTunes store or you can get it at Google play. Stay connected to Grand Island Schools while on the go!

    Beaver Island Volunteer Clean Up - September 2014

    Volunteers planting trees & shrubs.

    Volunteers inventory endangered Ash trees.

        The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and HSBC teamed up on Thursday, September 11th to clean up, restore and preserve areas in Beaver Island State Park. Volunteers from HSBC along with the Alliance for the Great Lakes planted trees and shrubs, inventoried endangered ash trees, painted picnic shelters, monitored water quality, cleaned up the shoreline of litter and installed fishing line recycling stations. Additionally, HSBC made a $1500 donation to the park to cover the cost of the trees that they planted. "We are so grateful to volunteers like our friends at the Alliance for the Great Lakes and HSBC. Our parks are wonderful community assets and it is gratifying to have support from the corporate and not for profit community to have help in keeping our parks as beautiful as then can be," said NYS Parks Western District Director, Mark W. Thomas.
        "I am very happy to continue to collaborate with a business partner like HSBC that recognizes the immense value the Great Lakes and Niagara River bring to Western New York" said Nate Drag, Watershed Project Coordinator for the Alliance for the Great Lakes. "Working together with Beaver Island State Park, this event is a great example of the innovative way volunteers can be engaged in protecting and preserving the Great Lakes." As a way to close their annual team meeting, a team of HSBC attorneys and legal staff joined forces to support the community, specifically Beaver Island State Park, and partner for the second year in a row with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. A key element of the meetings include community service so prior to arriving at Beaver Island, the team learned more about stewardship and issues facing the Great Lakes. "HSBC is delighted to be bringing to bear resources of our global HSBC Water Programme, to work with our local partner, the Alliance for the Great Lakes," said Stuart Alderoty, senior executive vice president and general counsel, HSBC North America Holdings Inc. "Our employees are excited to lend a hand in restoring Beaver Island State Park - one of the natural jewels of Western New York.

    Rochester Psychiatrist Faces Criminal Charges - September 2014

       See Buffalo News story by Phil Fairbanks.    William Lewek drove down an embankment and into the Niagara River off Grand Island on Sunday, September 14th.

    Driver Goes Down Embankment, Enters River - September 2014

       See Buffalo News story.

    Classic Car Cruise Day at Elderwood - September 2014

        Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is hosting a Classic Car Cruise Day on Saturday, September 20th, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., rain or shine. The event is to benefit Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. There is no registration fee and the first 25 entries get a dash plaque. Trophies will be awarded, call 716-345-5294 to register. There will be free food, music, face painting, balloons, raffle baskets and 50/50 split.

    CROP Hunger Walk Coming Soon - September 2014

       CROP Hunger Walks help Church World Service work with communities to determine the best solution to their challenges. It could be a sand dame to provide water or livestock to help start a farm. It could be tools or seeds to help keep a family fed and healthy. You can help by joining the CROP Walk on Sunday, September 28th at 1:00 p.m. at Beaver Island State Park. One quarter of all funds raised at the event helps meet the needs of the hungry here on Grand Island. For information contact coordinators Paul Robinson at revper@gmail.com or Cathy Rieley-Goddard at cathriego@gmail.com.

    37th Annual Antique Boat Show - September 2014


    Story & Photos by Mary Stewart

       Even though this past Saturday started out as a rainy and overcast day, that didn't stop boat enthusiasts from coming out to the 37th annual Antique Boat Show and Race Boat Reunion held at the Buffalo Launch Club. The event included more than 150 restored vintage wooden and fiberglass boats and newer models on display. They were docked and on the lawn for those attending to enjoy and relive the past. Vintage race boat "fly-bys" opened up their engines full throttle as they raced past spectators. A car show was also part of the event.
    A link to pictures provided by Bill DeGlopper. See photos.

    2014-2015 School Tax Notice - September 2014

    Golden Age Center members stuffing tax envelopes.
    Standing Gloria Diringer, Caroline Ungaro
    Seated: Chris Bihler, Martha Muller, Hank Carroll, Nonnie Carroll, Bernie Callahan & Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel

        Grand Island Town Clerk Patricia A. Frentzel received the tax roll and warrant for the collection of school taxes. Taxes will be collected in the Town Clerk's office, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island Town Hall, Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Last day for payment without penalty is October 15, 2014. Patricia Frentzel, Town Clerk 773-9600 ext. 600, 620.
    Additional Hours for Convenience
    Saturday, October 11, 2014 9:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
    Office Closed Monday, October 13, 2014
    Tuesday, October 14, 2014 8:30 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
    Wednesday, October 15, 2014 8:30 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.

    Town Advisory Board Openings - September 2014

        The Town of Grand Island is seeking Island residents interested in volunteering to serve on Town Board Advisory Boards, particularly the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Ethics Board. The Advisory Board list is available at gigiv.com or in a booklet available in the Town Hall kiosk.
        Letters of interest should specify the Board on which person would like to serve and a brief explanation of the reasons they desire to serve. A resume, though not required, is helpful. Submission via e-mail is fine to townboard@grand-island.ny.us or hard copies should be mailed to the Town Supervisor, 2255 Baseline Road, GI, NY 14072. Deadline for consideration is 5:00 pm Friday, October 3rd. If you have any questions, contact any Town Board member.

    Elder Abuse Outreach and Information - September 2014

       Members of the Erie County Legislature’s Majority Caucus, in partnership with the Council Against Elder Abuse, will host a series of Elder Abuse Outreaches to discuss forms of elder abuse, how to recognize signs of abuse, and where victims can get help. Grand Island’s representative Legislator Kevin Hardwick will be at the Town of Tonawanda Senior Center, 291 Ensminger Rd. on Friday, October 10th from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. See Elder Abuse flyer.

    A Testimony to Grand Island - September 2014

       From Town Supervisor Mary Cooke & School Superintendent Dr. Teresa Lawrence
        One of the things that makes Grand Island a great community is the way everyone comes together in a time of need. Thank you to everyone who assisted in any way in the search for Christian Wallinder. As we transition to healing, we will all continue to rely on the resources that make Grand Island a very special place.

    Lawn Mower Race & Festival - September 2014

        The Lawn Mower Race will be an all day festival on Saturday October 4, 2014 that runs from 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The Lawn Mower Race will include several different classes of lawn mowers and also include a barbeque competition, food vendors, a beer tent and live music. This event creates the opportunity for Grand Island to showcase all the wonderful cuisine, businesses and services that our community has to offer. In addition to the wide variety of entertainment, this event is also contributing to the Kaegebein Playground Association to help reach their goal of building a new playground for their elementary school. The event is expected to bring a large number of people from all over Western New York. Estimated attendance is over 2,000 people. We are currently in the process of negotiating with strategic media and sponsor partners. Enclosed please find more information on our exciting event and its sponsorship levels. We look forward to discussing everything in further detail at your convenience. See Sponsor Info.

    Grand Island Central School District Opening Day - September 2014

    Concert Choir under direction of Jennifer Mernitz

    .    Press Release from GICSD
        Superintendent Teresa Lawrence extended a warm welcome to Grand Island Central School District faculty and staff at the Opening Day Address on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Attendees were greeted by refreshments courtesy of Campus Management Group and Huth Road Elementary School fifth-grader Evan Walowitz kicked off the day by leading everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. The High School Concert Choir followed by performing the National Anthem and the Grand Island High School Alma Mater under the direction of Jennifer Mernitz. Board of Education President, Lisa Pyc and Student Council Co-Presidents Katie Gentz and Lexi Miller welcomed staff to the start of the new school year.
       Superintendent Lawrence took a few moments to introduce the new Board of Education members and staff to the Grand Island school community before addressing two major components: capital project renovations and Common Core Standards. She began by telling this three sentence story: A woman came upon a building site. When asked what they were doing, the first man answered 'I am laying bricks.' The second said 'I am making a wall' and the third replied 'I am building a cathedral'. Lawrence stated, "It's about vision, isn't it? And how we literally and physically are building cathedrals. Sure, we have the important day to day laying of the bricks and building of walls, however, our motto, our moral purpose calls us to be 'cathedral builders' of thought, passion and conviction for 3000 students."    Lawrence reported on the progress of the $52 million capital project that was approved by voters in December 2011. The project addresses renovations, upgrades and new learning spaces. She stated, "We are half way there. We recognize that approximately 56% of our employees are residents of Grand Island and this project is personal to our community. We thank them for investing in our cathedral."
        Lawrence also addressed the second year of Common Core Standards and how Grand Island is making gains in student learning. "We must ask ourselves how does every single decision impact our ability to foster academic excellence, personal growth and social responsibility in ourselves, others and most importantly, our students?" Lawrence closed the morning ceremony by reminding staff to "Expect MORE from all students, BELIEVE they can do it and HELP them want it." To view the superintendent’s presentation, please visit www.grandislandschools.org.

    Grand Island Environmental Initiative PhotoVoice Project Video - September 2014

        Grand Island residents were asked to take pictures of things in their outdoor environment which impact their health and quality of life, called the Grand Island Environmental Initiative PhotoVoice Project. The project was initiated in response to the Tonawanda Coke Case and other environmental and health concerns in the area. You can see a 15 minute video on YouTube that shows the good and the bad. See video.
    In response to the information collected, the group is planning to:
  • Plant more trees to replace the Ash.
  • Reinstate the Air Monitor on Grand Island.
  • Promoting Grand Island Parks.
  • Planting brush and trees on the riverbanks to slow erosion.

    37th Annual Niagara Frontier Antique and Classic Boat Show - September 2014

       The 2014 Buffalo Launch Club Antique Boat Show will take place on Saturday, September 6th and is one of the largest and most recognized Antique Boat Shows in the country. More than 150 restored Wood and Fiberglass Boats will be on display in the water and near the docks at the Buffalo Launch Club (BLC). Formed in 1903, the BLC has the distinction of being “The First Power Boating Club in the U.S.” It is located at 503 East River Road, Grand Island.
        An APBA (American Power Boat Association) sanctioned Vintage Race Boat Event with in-water race boat Fly-Bys. They will run at speeds over 100 mph on the Historical Buffalo Launch Club Oval in the Niagara River. There will be a vintage car show with 100 classic cars and outboard motor and model boat displays. Also, a kids camp, nautical vendors and a ladies' boutique. The event will run from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $10. For more information, visit OldBoatsBuffalo.org.

    "Friday Night Under the Lights" - 2014

       Save the date!!! The dedication of the new Gene Masters Field at the GIHS sports complex is scheduled for Friday, September 19th, at 7:00 p.m. The Grand Island Alumni Association and Athletic Director Jon Roth have teamed up to make this a extra special event. "Friday Night Under the Lights" will began at 5:00 p.m. with a gathering of old friends, classmates, and players from the past 50 years. There will be raffles, commemorative t-shirts and refreshments. Everyone is invited to attend.
        The Vikings will take on Williamsville South in the first night game in Grand Island history. Game time is at 7:00 p.m. and retired Athletic Director H. David Myers is scheduled to preside over the coin toss. Sponsors are being sought to cover expenses and proceeds will go to the Gene Masters Athletic Scholarship fund and the GI Alumni Scholarship fund for graduating GIHS seniors. A "fence wrap" is also planned to be installed by the fundraising. Former GI Vikings football/sports players tend to stand along the first 50 yards of the field, catch up with their friends and lean on the fence. A Viking blue, cushion wrap will be installed in this VIP area.
    Platinum: McDonnell Family, Isledegrande.com
    William G. Hennigar Sr. & Sons: Grant, Dave, Scott, Neal, Dale, Curtis
    Dan Buenafe in Remembrance of '64-'65 Team: Coach Masters, Bobby Luther, Rich Trotter, Paul Kaegebein, Danny Carroll, Art Bascomb
    Rayhill Family, Genovese Family, H. David Myers Family

    Gold: Peter Hayes, Tomkins Family: JT '74, Donna, Nick '08 & Ben '11,
    Darrell Smith ‘72, Robert Smith '70, The Hillman Family
    Podlucky Family: John & Joanne (Robinson) ’72, Jenna ’03, Danielle ‘04
    John Michael ’00 & Christina (Basta) ’03, Rebecca (2031)
    Roesch Family: Gary, Carol, Todd '83, Tracy '84 & Gregg '89
    Jon Roth-Masters Family, Daniel Cap, Class of 1995

    Silver: Coach Roger Wise, Kevin "Skee" Zoldowski '70, Grunzweig Family,
    Amy Grant Fox '91, John "Reidy" Martini, Mallwitz's Island Lanes, Coach Bill Riffel, JT Tomkins & Class of '74, John's Pizza & Subs

    Patron: Chris Aronica, Shirley Luther, Brothers Breier & Families, Todd Brandon, Jamie '86 & Trish '87 Eichel, Scott Kaniecki '04, Classs of 1983, Mike Dowd, Nancy Hayes, Cliff Scott, Linda Tufillaro

       Sponsorships are available: Platinum-$1000, Gold-$500, Silver-$250. These sponsors will be included in all advertising including a banner that will be featured at all home games in 2014, the event program and announcer shout outs.
       Patron-$100, Friends of Gene-$25.00. These sponsors will be listed in the event program and announcer shout outs.
       Contact Dick Crawford 716-818-6992/richard.crawford.jr@gmail.com or Chris Aronica 716-510-8302/aronicaco@gmail.com. You may also send a check to GIAA, 1871 Whitehaven Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072.

    Krolick's Chicken and Rib BBQ - August 2014

        The Sandy Beach Park Club is hosting a Krolick's Chicken and Rib BBQ on Saturday, September 6th from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Chicken dinner will be $9 and Rib dinner will be $10.50 and will be available at the park and by pre-ordering your tickets. Call Chuck at 870-1365 to purchase tickets. All proceeds will benefit the Sandy Beach Park Club property.

    Rules of the Road: School Bus Safety - August 2014

    By Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs

        As summer winds down, children across Erie County are heading back to school and once again yellow school buses dot our highways. For over 130,000 elementary and secondary students in Erie County, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. Many children will be going to school for the first time and may not be careful when crossing the street or running to catch the bus. Older children know the routine, but may forget in their excitement to catch up with friends. Unfortunately, every year some school bus trips end in tragedy and children are injured or killed when motorists fail to follow the rules of the road. Statistically, more children are hurt outside the bus than inside by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus. This could be easily prevented. Although drivers are required to stop for a school bus while it is loading or unloading passengers, children should not rely on them to do so, a fact that parents should discuss with their children.
        The rules of the road in New York State are specific when it comes to school buses. Drivers need to know and obey the "flashing signal light system" that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions. Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. That is the time to slow down and prepare to stop your vehicle. Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again. This law applies on all roadways in New York State even when driving on the opposite side of a divided highway.
        All drivers should know that the fine for passing a stopped school bus ranges from a minimum of $250 for the first violation to a maximum of $1,000 for three violations in three years. A conviction places 5 Points on your driver's license and may result in increased insurance premiums. If convicted of three violations in three years, your license will be revoked for a minimum of six months. Even one instance of passing a stopped school bus is unacceptable; it could mean the life of a child. Parents need to also take time to instruct their school-aged children on school bus safety. Children need to know to stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb when waiting for the bus to arrive. Children must also wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the doors open, and the driver says it is okay before stepping onto the bus. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the greatest risk is not actually on the school bus, but getting on or off. Children need to be reminded to be cautious in and around the "danger zone" of the school bus, which is the 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the bus. School is back in session - slow down around school zones and be alert for children approaching or exiting school buses.

    Prevention Needs Assessment (PNA) Survey Results - August 2014

        The Prevention Needs Assessment (PNA) Survey is a nationally-validated, anonymous youth survey administered in schools across the United States. Earlier this year, 1,223 Grand Island Middle and High School students completed the survey. The PNA provides data on youth attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. Results on the Drug-Free Communities Support Program’s Core Measures can be viewed here.

    Women of the Word Bible Study Program - August 2014

        Women of the Word (WOW) announced their Premier Celebration planned for Thursday, September 18 beginning at 9:15 a.m. This year’s host church is Trinity United Methodist, 2100 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. Women of the Word are in their 26th year of interdenominational Christian Bible study. This year’s topic is a survey of the Old Testament. The group meets each Thursday from September to May from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. See calendar. For more information call Patty Cancilla at 289-4139 or Kathy Duff at 867-7966.

    Erie County Rabies Vaccine Airdrop - August 2014

       Press Release...August 19, 2014
        Grand Island is scheduled for distribution via helicopter tentatively set to begin August 25th and conclude by August 30th. To date in 2014, 16 animals from Erie County tested positive for rabies, predominantly bats and raccoons but other animals such as skunks and fox also. Vaccinating wildlife against rabies is a highly effective method to decrease the risk of exposure to rabies by coming in contact with rabid wildlife.
       Residents should not disturb baits if they see them. Most baits are eaten within four days and almost all baits are gone within a week. If baits are not found and eaten, they will dissolve and expose the vaccine; sunlight and exposure to air inactivates the vaccine. Residents should WASH HANDS IMMEDIATELY if they come into direct contact with the vaccine or bait, then call the New York State Department of Health Rabies Information Line at 1-888-574-6656. See Press Release for full details.

    Taste of Grand Island Participants Wanted - August 2014

       The 2014 Taste of Grand Island is scheduled for Saturday, September 27th from 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Town Commons and Whitehaven Road. Restaurants and vendors are asked to register at their earliest convenience as a August 25th deadline is fast approaching. Event planner Corey McGowan expects over 5000 people to attend this year's event. This is the third year of the festival, and every year it gets bigger and better. The event will be a taste of everything that is Grand Island. See Restaurant Application and Participant Application for details.

    Town Water Bill Changes - August 2014

       Press Release...August 15, 2014
        Starting August, 2014, the Town of Grand Island water customers will notice a change in the format of their quarterly water bill. Bills will no longer be printed on postcards; rather they will be printed on paper and mailed in an envelope. The larger size enhances readability and allows room for more specific account information to be provided. Please note: When your new bill arrives for the first time, please review it carefully and make any necessary changes directly on the remittance stub to be returned when paying your bill. You will have a new account number, which will be displayed on your new bill. If your bank automatically withdraws funds from your checking or savings account to pay your bill OR if you use your bank's online bill pay service, please provide your bank with your new account number to ensure that payments will be posted properly. See Sample Bill.

    Ceretto Endorsement Announcement - August 2014

       Press Release...August 5, 2014
       Incumbent Assemblyman John Ceretto announced his endorsement for re-election by the New York State Republican, Conservative, and Independence Parties. The endorsements are a validation of Ceretto’s track record of fighting for middle-class Western New York families. Ceretto’s accomplishments include delivering an increase in jobs and investment to Western New York through the Buffalo Billion, tax relief through the two percent tax cap, and promoting tourism, such as bringing Nik Wallenda to Niagara Falls. “In the last four years, we have accomplished a lot by working together in a bipartisan manner, putting the people of Western New York ahead of Albany’s special interests. I’m proud to have picked up these endorsements and be running on three party lines in this November’s election. I vow to continue to the work I have started and keep representing the people of Niagara Falls and Western New York,” said Ceretto.

    Thunder on the Niagara - August 2014

    Information from Mike Endres
       The "Thunder on the Niagara" races are coming this weekend, August 16 & 17 to Gratwick Park in North Tonawanda. The event is sponsored by Snyder Industries and racing starts at 10:00 a.m. each day and runs till 4:00 p.m. The 4 ACHA classes include the exciting Grand Prix hydros along with 2 classes of APBA flat bottoms that will provide continuing racing action all weekend. Grand Island’s Ken Brodie in the GP:50 Intensity is one of the Grand Prix hydro pre-race favorites. Ken is currently 3rd in the season Grand Prix points standings highlighted by his victory in Cornwall, Ontario earlier this season. The event has scheduled more crafters and vendors than ever before and will have a petting zoo. You may walk in for free, preferred parking includes a program and is $10.

    Coppertone at left, Steeler at right.

       Local favorite “Steeler” is out of action for the rest of the season after a major crash last weekend at the race in St Felicien, Quebec. The “Steeler” collided with the “Coppertone” at 135 mph causing the "Steeler" to violently crash, destroying the boat and putting driver Bert Henderson in the hospital. Henderson is on the mend and will be in attendance at Thunder on the Niagara. The Coppertone is being repaired and is expected to compete at the Thunder on the Niagara. See video of crash.

    Hardwick Supports Taxpayer Savings - August 2014

       Press Release...August 7, 2014 (Erie County, NY)
       The Erie County Legislature has approved the Declaration of Need, allowing the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority (Control Board) to borrow the annual Revenue Anticipation Note (RAN) on behalf of the county. Due to the Control Board’s superior bond rating, it can borrow at a cheaper rate, saving money on financing costs on the approximate $110 million bond. The Legislature approved the item 11-0 during a special session held today, Aug. 7, 2014.
        “I am pleased that the County Executive has once again seen the wisdom of realizing considerable savings by allowing the Control Board to borrow on our behalf. The Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority is a tremendous asset to our community and we must continue to embrace it,” said Legislator Kevin Hardwick. On June 26, the Legislature approved a resolution strongly urging the County Executive to issue the Declaration of Need before its recess. The County Executive ignored the request and failed to submit the critical document, choosing to limit the county to the more expensive borrowing option. At its final session, held July 24, the Legislature approved the RAN to ensure the money could be bonded and county government remained operational. When it became necessary for the Legislature to hold a special session for the CSEA contract, the Majority Caucus sent a letter to the County Executive, again requesting the Declaration of Need, highlighting how his actions could cost taxpayers $1 million. The document was received soon after. When it became necessary for the Legislature to hold a special session for the CSEA contract, the Majority Caucus sent a letter to the County Executive, again requesting the Declaration of Need, highlighting how his actions could cost taxpayers $1 million. The document was received soon after. With the Declaration of Need approved for the RAN, Erie County can save approximately $250,000 by borrowing through the Control Board. The Legislature will continue to push for a Declaration of Need to bond the next round of capital projects, an additional estimated savings of $800,000. The Comptroller’s Office and the Control Board have both reported that the Control Board is the better option and should be utilized by the County Executive.

    Fantastic Recycling Program - August 2014

       “Fantastic” was the word used to describe the amount of increased recycling by Grand Islanders in the first month of using the 95 gallon wheeled recycling carts that were delivered in May. Republic Services representatives, Buffalo Division Manager Terry Schweitzer and Municipal Services Manager Terry Grady, met recently with the Town Board to review the recycling numbers and the overall program.
       When compared to the same time period last year, the Grand Island recycling rate has increased by over 30%. The analysis compared May and June of 2013 to the same months this year. Grand Island’s 1758 tons of municipal solid waste for May and June of 2014 included 273 tons of recycling, compared to last year’s total of 1735 tons, 206 of which were recyclables. The increase is expected to continue and will be closely monitored by both Republic Services and the Town Board.
       Recycling is important for the environment as it reduces our carbon footprint, decreases our dependency on solid waste disposal facilities, and reduces the need to develop new virgin products. As the industry continues to grow and expand, new job growth opportunities arise. In the long run it will reduce the volumes of waste that we incinerate at the Covanta Waste to Energy plant in Niagara Falls. The 95 gallon wheeled recycling cart is designed to make recycling easier and more convenient. The bigger cart is better able to accommodate all of the items that are now recyclable, many of which did not fit into the yellow totes. The new list of recyclables, delivered with the wheeled cart, has increased to include plastic toys, plastic furniture, large plastic containers (including your old yellow recycling tote if you no longer want it), pots, pans, metal utensils, aluminum tins and unsoiled pizza boxes. It also reduces the need to breakdown small to medium size cardboard boxes, as they will fit right into the cart. The list is available online at gigov.com. You may put the wheeled cart out for pickup when it gets full; it is not required to be placed at the road each week.
       Less than 4% of the nearly 7,000 residential homes who receive residential refuse pickup have contacted the Town or Republic regarding the new wheeled carts and they will be contacted by Republic in the coming weeks to discuss whatever concerns or questions they may have. Over the next few weeks, you will also notice the new state-of-the-art recycling trucks that will be replacing the current vehicles. In addition to the automated features, these trucks also feature the most up to date emission control equipment available.
       For any concerns or questions regarding trash or recycling pickup, contact Republic Services. They prefer an e-mail to grandislandny@republicservices.com because a written record is established, making it much easier to track your concern. If necessary you may phone Republic Services at 716-614-3333.

    Light Up the Boulevard - August 2014

       Save the date! The 3rd Annual Electric Parade, Festival and Rudolph Run is scheduled for Saturday, November 22nd. New this year is the early start time of 2:00 p.m. See flyer.

    Welcome Home Event for All Veterans - August 2014

       VA Western New York Healthcare System will host its 10th annual welcome home event and memorial ceremony on Saturday, August 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, held for the 10th time since 2004, will take place at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, One Naval Park Cove, Buffalo. A memorial ceremony will be held at noon with a reading of the names of local Service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country during the post 9/11 conflicts. Open to all Veterans and their families, activities include refreshments, an auto show, tours of the naval ships and activities for children. Veterans will have the opportunity to enroll in VA health care and receive information about Veterans benefits. Community agencies and VA health care and benefits counselors will be on hand with health, vocational, employment, educational opportunities and more. “The event is bigger and better each year with the support of the Pathfinders, our Vietnam Veteran volunteers, along with the Western New York community, partnering with VA to ensure Veterans are connected to health and other services,” said Kathy Smythe, Program Manager, Operation Enduring Freedom/ Operation Iraqi Freedom/ Operation New Dawn. Please show a VA or Military ID card for free entry into the park. Admission fees have been graciously donated by VA Western New York Pathfinders. For more information, please call (716) 862-7344.

    2nd annual Backpack Giveaway - July 2014

       The Cellular Connection (TCC) located at 2162 Grand Island Blvd. in the Top's Plaza is hosting its 2nd annual Backpack Giveaway on Saturday, August 2nd from noon - 2:00 p.m. The company is donating 100,000 backpacks in total and each store will be giving away between 75-300. Any leftover packs will be donated to local schools. The TCC believes in giving back to every community where they do business. Each backpack will include pencils, paper, a pencil box, folders and glue.

    Town Employee Appreciation Picnic - July 2014

    JT Tomkins & Dick Crawford on dog detail.

    From left: Bob Dickinson, Pat Gallagher, Mark Lydle, Joe Donlon, Rob Ross, Ryan Hughes & Liam Dodd

        The Town Employee Appreciation Picnic was held on Tuesday, July 29th at the Town Commons. Elected officials prepared and cooked for the many Town employees. The Town normally has 80 full-time employees, but the number is closer to 140 in the summer. Most of the summer help work for the Highway, Recreation and Parks Departments. Many retired employees also attended.

    Paddles Up Niagara Slideshow - July 2014

    Photos by Kevin & Dawn Cobello, K & D Action Photo

       See slideshow.
       The 9th Annual Paddles Up Niagara went off without a hitch on Saturday, July 26th. Despite bad weather forcasting by local media, over 80 paddlers were at the early morning Poker Run and 227 individuals in 210 watercraft participated in the afternoon voyage.

    Island Kids Childcare Center Fundraiser - July 2014

       The Island Kids Childcare Center, 1353 Ransom Road is hosting a Women and Children's Hospital fundraiser on Saturday, August 16th from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to join the fun. There will be a bounce house, petting zoo, pony rides, games, fish game (like at the fair), face painting, Grand Island fire fighter, fire truck, hotdog sale, basket raffle, 50/50, a great DJ (DJ Erich Kruger) and much more!! If you are interested in donating a basket, or gift certificate for the basket raffle call Ann MacClellan at 863-5859. The raffle will take place in the gymnasium at Island Kids. See flyer.

    Showcase Your Home in the Holiday Tour of Homes - July 2014

        Event Director Corey McGowan has announced the "Holiday Tour of Homes", taking place on Saturday, December 6th from 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. In total there will be 8 participating homes, including Grover Cleveland’s former home, River Lea. Expected attendance is 100 – 200 people in total throughout the day. Please join us this holiday season and support your local community by showcasing your home and celebrating the holiday season. The Holiday Tour of Homes will be a ticketed event with proceeds benefiting the Grand Island Historical Society at River Lea. Patrons who purchase a ticket to the event will be able to tour all of the participating homes that are showcasing their holiday décor and homemaking. The tour will be confined to only the rooms and floors you make available to showcase. In addition to the tour, each home will feature a different Grand Island restaurant who will be serving complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages during the tour. By taking part in this event you will also receive a complimentary carpet cleaning and holiday gift. For more information contact Corey McGowan at corey.mcgowan89@gmail.com.

    Accident Closes I-190 North - July 2014

       See Buffalo News story.

    $11 Million Study to Assess Tonawanda Coke Effects - July 2014

       See Buffalo News story by Phil Fairbanks.

    4th Annual Roast For Life Fundraiser - July 2014

       Roast for Life is hosting a Pig & Chicken Roast from 3:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 9th at the VFW, 2121 GI Blvd. to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The fundraiser includes all-you-can-eat meal, all-you-can-drink draft beer, live music, door prizes and a basket raffle. All proceeds raised will be donated to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. For ticket and donation information please contact Kathy Butcher at 716-481-0588.

    NYS DEC Offers Waterfowl ID Class - July 2014

       Beaver Island State Park will be sponsoring a waterfowl ID course presented by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on Saturday, August 2nd from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in the Beaver Island Club House. This course, which is required for entry in waterfowl blind drawings at local New York State Parks including Beaver Island, will teach hunters how to properly identify various waterfowl in the field and the hunting regulations that apply to each species. Participants must pre-register by calling 716-773-3271 and the session is free to attend.

    Independence Parade Slideshow - July 2014

    Photos by Mary Stewart

       See slideshow.

    E-ZPass E-Mail Phishing Scam - July 2014

        Erie County, NY...Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs is warning every Erie County motorist of an e-mail phishing scam which is being sent to E-ZPass users in an attempt to collect unpaid tolls. Jacobs was notified of the scam today by E-ZPass officials from the New York State Thruway Authority. “I caution all motorists who receive this type of message not to open or respond to any such request,” Jacobs advised.
        The solicitation uses the official logo and looks like an E-ZPass notice, along with the following message: “Dear customer, You have not paid a toll for driving on a toll road. This invoice is sent repeatedly, please service your debt in the shortest possible time. The invoice can be downloaded here.” A link to download and pay an invoice follows.Jacobs was assured by the E-ZPass Service Center that they did not authorize any such e-mail nor do they send out invoices for payment via e-mail. If a driver does owe money for using E-ZPass on a toll facility, they issue an invoice for payment using the US Postal Service. “If you have concerns about your account or the validity of any message you receive from E-ZPass, I encourage you to contact the E-ZPass Service Center at 800-333-8655,” said Jacobs. The Erie County Clerk’s Office began selling pre-packaged On-the-Go tags in October of 2012 and at all Erie County Auto Bureau locations.

    Notice From Town Assessor - July 2014

    Notice of Completion and Filing of Assessment Roll After Grievance Day (Real Property Tax Law, Sec.516)
    Notice is hereby given that the Assessment Roll for the Town of Grand Island in the County of Erie, for the year 2014, has been finally completed by the undersigned Assessor, and that a certified copy thereof has been filed in the office of the Town Assessor, at the Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Rd. of the said Town where same will remain open to public inspection.
    Dated this 1st day of July, 2014
    Judy M. Tafelski, SCA
    Town of Grand Island Assessor

    Can You Help Emily? - July 2014

       The "Buckin' Up for Emily" fundraiser is planned for Saturday, August 9th at the GI Rod & Gun Club, 1083 Whitehaven Rd. Emily Smith Burkett's mom, Pam Smith Miller, was raised on the Island and Uncle Barry Smith is still here. Emily is 32 years-old and was scheduled for routine hip surgery three months ago. Before the surgery could begin she nearly lost her life from respiratory failure and shortly after was diagnosed with Idiopathic Subepiglottal Stenosis. She now needs to go to Massachusetts General Hospital, where a world renowned surgeon can correct her condition with tracheal reconstructive surgery. The fundraiser will take place from noon - 5:00 p.m. on August 9th. Pre-sale tickets are $20 / $25 at the door. There will be food, drinks, raffles, prizes and more. If you can help by making a donation either for the fundraiser or at Emily's website it would be greatly appreciated. See flyer for complete details and website to make a donation.

    Road Closure For Independence Day Run & Parade - July 2014

       Grand Island Boulevard, from Staley Road to Baseline Road, on Grand Island will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon Friday to accommodate the 39th annual Dick Bessel Memorial 3K Independence Day Run and parade afterwards. Registration for the run will start at 8:30 a.m., after which the kids’ run will kick off at 9 a.m., followed by the adult run at 9:15 a.m. A 1 1/2-hour, 30-unit parade in honor of Independence Day will follow the run at around 10:30 a.m. During the event, traffic will be controlled by local law enforcement which will direct motorists to follow a detour route.

    Fisherman's Landing Landscaping - June 2014

       The Grand Island Parks Department has been working hard sprucing up the Town parks. Last week the Town Commons received new bricks and stones surrounding the Town Commons Sign. This week the project was at Fisherman's Landing, just in time for the Fishing Contest scheduled for Saturday, June 28th. The team of Dave Cole and Jared Billica created the stone Island outline and the landscape artists, Bev Benton and Linda Tufillaro did the plantings. It looks wonderful! Stop by and take a look and drop a line.

    Material Drop Off Reminder - June 2014

    Brighton Fire Company Haz Mat team.

    Story and photo by Bill Stanley
       The Grand Island Fire Company called in the Brighton Hazmat Team on Wednesday, June 25th for a suspicious 55 gallon drum that was left at the GI Highway Dept. garage near the E-waste collection drop off. After inspecting the drum the team found that there were no hazardous materials in the drum and the drum was placed in a safety container and will be disposed of by the town. Please remember that the E-waste collection site is for electronics only. Any other materials such as old paint, gas cans, spray paint, and many other chemicals can be dropped off at the Erie County Hazardous Waste Drop-Off. To find out when the county will be having these collection days contact the Erie County Household Hazardous Waste 24-hour hotline at 858-6800, visit www.erie.gov or email Lynn.dixon@erie.gov.

    Independence Day Parade and Road Race - June 2014

        A 2.3 mile Run, Race Walk, and Kids Dash takes place on Friday, July 4th, along GI Blvd. The 9:00 a.m. Kids Dash, 9:15 a.m. Run/Race Walk is followed by the parade. Roads closed at 8:45 a.m. Race registration at www.score-this.com. Registration deadline is July 1st.

    4th Annual "Grand Reunion" - June 2014

        Mallwitz's Island Lanes is having the 4th Annual "Grand Reunion" party on Thursday, July 3rd at 6:00 p.m. and everyone is welcome. Live music by "Wide Right" will begin at 7:00 p.m., see flyer for details.

    Rock on the River Summer Concert Series - June 2014

        Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa is proud to announce its "2014 Rock on the River" outdoor summer concert series presented by Miller Lite. Every Friday night this summer, beginning June 27th and ending August 15th, Byblos Niagara will host the area’s hottest bands along the shores of the Niagara River. Each week will feature a different band that will be rocking the river with your favorite classic and modern hits. Beer concessions and a 6 foot barbeque will feature favorite brews and summer food all night long. Also, join Byblos Niagara on July 8th and July 22nd as they team up with the Town of Grand Island at Byblos Niagara to support their Tuesday night summer music series.
    Summer concert lineup:
    June 27: Murphy’s Law & Joe Marohn
    July 4: The Scott Celani Band
    July 8: David Gerald (Special event with Town of Grand Island)
    July 11: 90 West
    July 18: Kick Start Rumble
    July 22: Steve Balesteri Band (Special event with Town of Grand Island)
    July 25: David Nolf Band
    August 1: Getting Better Band
    August 8: The Informers
    August 15: Strictly Hip

    NYS Citizen Preparedness Training Program - June 2014

        A New York State Citizen Preparedness Training Program is scheduled for Saturday, June 28th at 10:30 a.m. at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14303. All participants must register in advance at www.prepare.ny.gov.

    No Immigrant Youths at Byblos Niagara - June 2014

       "Feds drop proposal to house undocumented immigrant youths at Grand Island resort."
    Buffalo News Story by Jerry Zremski, News Washington Bureau, see story

    "Time and Pack" Refuse Option - June 2014

       For residents with extraordinary occasional trash needs, "Time and Pack" may be an option to consider. This Republic/Allied Waste service accommodates special needs dumping when a resident has to exceed the regular weekly residential limit of 10 bags and/or containers. Some examples of when this might be necessary would be after a flooded basement, during a small remodeling project, when preparing your home to sell, etc. Materials left behind by a private contractor will not be collected. For these projects you need to rent a dumpster, or the contractor will need to haul the debris away.
       Time and Pack requires payment in advance with a credit card over the phone, with an estimate of quantity of garbage. Adjustments can be made after the fact if the estimate is incorrect. A route supervisor will drive by to help with the estimate; this gives the company an idea of the space the truck needs to have available. The cost is $25 every time the driver has to pull the lever to compact a full hopper. There is also a $1.50 per minute charge, from the time the driver arrives to throw the materials into the hopper, until the driver is finished and ready to leave. There is a 60 pound limit on the items, just as there is for weekly refuse pick up. The trucks are usually manned by one individual; properly preparing your trash in advance will speed the loading time.
        Carpets need to be cut and wrapped with duct tape in rolls not to exceed 4 feet long, and must weigh less than 60 pounds. Wet carpeting can be disposed of, but needs to meet the size and weight requirements. Christmas trees will be collected throughout the Holiday Season, and are exempt from the 4 feet in length rule. Call Republic Services at 614-3333 to make arrangements for this service.

    Nottingham Estates Apartments - June 2014

       Empire State Property Holding has begun building a 32 unit apartment complex at 1955 Grand Island Blvd., across from Marston's Power Equipment. Nottingham Estates will be three separate buildings, two buildings will house 12 units each and the third building will have 8 units. See the elevation and layout pages for more details. The company is hoping for a Spring 2015 completion for the project.

    PhotoVoice Introduction Workshop - June 2014

       St. Timothy's Lutheran Church is hosting a PhotoVoice Introduction Workshop on Wednesday, June 18th from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at 1453 Staley Road. Wikipedia describes as follows: PhotoVoice is a group analysis method which combines photography with grassroots social action, and is commonly used in the fields of community development, public health and education. Participants in the process are asked to represent their community or express their point of view by photographing scenes relevant to the examined community. These photographs are brought before the group attempting to study the community, which then develops narratives for each photo.
       At the first session, they will:
  • Introduce the project and explain more about the purpose.
  • Review citizen photo-documentary ethics and guidelines.
  • Ask you to be a part of the future project by taking pictures and coming to future discussions.

       Questions? Contact Kim Yaeger at gi.environmental.photos@gmail.com or Pastor Dean Hunneshagen, St. Timothy Church, 773-4400.

    Social Host Law Passed - June 2014

        A Social Host Law has recently been passed in Erie County. The intent of the law is to help prevent underage drinking by holding adults accountable for allowing minors to drink. It is now unlawful for any person 21 years or older who owns, rents, or otherwise controls a private residence, to knowingly allow the consumption of alcohol or alcoholic beverages by one or more minors on such premises or to fail to take reasonable corrective action upon becoming aware of the consumption of alcohol by one or more minors on such premises.

       What the law says:
    The law will provide a penalty:
  • against private land holders who allow consumption of alcohol by minors (dependents of the land holders are exempt)
  • to anyone over the age of 21 who knowingly allows minors to consume alcohol in his/her home or on his/her privately owned property

    What does the law mean?
  • "Allow" means to give permission for, or approval of, possession or consumption of alcohol by any of the following means:
  • in writing
  • by oral statement
  • by any conduct that would cause a reasonable person to believe that permission or approval has been given
  • "Knowingly" means to be aware of
  • "Residence" shall mean any home, apartment, or any other unit or dwelling unit of any kind, including yards and open areas adjacent thereto.

  • Violation for first and second offense. A misdemeanor for the third and subsequent offenses.
  • First offense: fine of $250
  • Second offense: fine of $500
  • Third and subsequent offenses: either a fine of $1,000, a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both
  • In accordance with NY General Obligation Law, this law shall hold the parents or guardians liable for up to $5,000 worth of damage for the acts of a minor under said guardian's supervision.

    Paddles Up Niagara - June 2014

        Grand Island, NY, June 6, 2014...The Niagara River Greenway Commission (NRGC) announces the Ninth Annual "Paddles Up Niagara" along the south eastern shores of Grand Island on July 26, 2014. Beaver Island State Park along with the Town of Grand Island, Anchor Marine and WEKANU will host the day's activities with the centerpiece being the non-competitive paddle from the Little Beaver Launch site around to East River Marsh Site returning back to Little Beaver all within the Beaver Island State Park, a 4.8 mile journey.
        The day begins with a Poker Run at 7:00 a.m. launching at East River Marsh around Strawberry Island followed by the Paddle Fair commencing at 8:30 a.m. During the Paddle Fair portion of the event businesses from the Town of Grand Island will be on hand to give the public an opportunity to "Discover Grand Island" along with paddlesports retailers to give the public and participants an opportunity to try out canoes and kayaks. Beginners and enthusiasts alike will also have the opportunity to learn more about paddlesports safety and the natural, recreational and cultural attributes of the Niagara River corridor. A freestyle and rescue demonstration will be presented by Jeff & Laura Liebel. "Paddles Up Niagara 2014" will begin after a traditional Native American Departure Ceremony at 11:30 a.m.
        The phrase "paddles up" is derived from a longstanding Native American custom. When approaching camp canoe paddles were pointed skyward signifying that the traveler comes in peace and is seeking permission to land for food and rest. In some cultures the upward pointed paddle also symbolizes the start of a long journey.
        The first 100 paddle powered boaters to register will receive a free "Paddles Up Niagara 2014" tee-shirt. All on water participants will be required to register and complete the necessary waiver forms. Boat crews must wear a US Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Device and the condition of each participating canoe and kayak will be checked to insure that it can safely transit the Paddles Up Niagara Water Trail. All of the day's activities are free including registration for Paddles Up Niagara, the exception is a Lunch Fund Raiser & Tour of the Historic River Lea Site, a prepaid donation of $14 is required. Normal State Park entrance fees will apply. Upon entering Beaver Island State Park, participants should take the first right toward the Sledding Hill or Little Beaver for parking and launching. To receive or download registration forms for Paddles Up Niagara or for more information regarding the Niagara River Greenway Commission visit the website www.niagaragreenway.org or call the NRGC office at (716) 773-5361. See Flyer.

    Lawn Mower Race Returns to Raise Relay Funds - June 2014

        The Father’s Day Classic Car Show & Lawn Mower Race benefiting the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life on Grand Island will be held this year on West River Parkway at Long Road, Saturday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A highlight of this year’s event is the “The Kevin Doring Walk” 5K held in Kevin’s memory. Registration for the run/walk is from 9-11 a.m. The walk begins at 11 a.m. Registration for the lawn mower races also is from 9-11 a.m. Visit www.gilawnmowerraces.webs.com for more information on the race categories and for registration forms. Both the lawn mower and running/walking races are open to the public. Guests are encouraged to gather along the road to watch the races free of charge, and to take advantage of the food stations and 50/50 raffle.
        The Father’s Day Classic Car Show will take place throughout the day. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. This is a non-alcoholic family event. In case of inclement weather, the races will be held Sunday, June 15. •Media outlets are welcome to contact race chairman Gary Roesch at 716-583-7969 or Skip Mazenauer (Niagara Frontier Publications) at 716-208-1753.

    Free Boater Safety Course - June 2014

    Classes Full
        Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick in partnership with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office will hold a free Boater Safety Course that allows boaters to meet the requirements of a new New York State law that took effect on May 1st. The course will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 24th and Wednesday, June 25th, at the City of Tonawanda Fire Department, 44 William St., Tonawanda. Registrants must attend both sessions of the two-day course in order to be eligible for a New York State Boating Safety Card.
       The new state law specifies that individuals who were born on or after May 1, 1996, who are at least 10 years of age, must successfully complete a boating course to be able to operate a powered/motor boat. Also, according to New York State law, operators may not operate a personal watercraft (JetSki, SeaDoo, etc.) unless they are at least 14 years of age and hold a boater safety certificate for having completed an 8-hour classroom based course of instruction. “I am pleased to once again partner with the Sheriff’s Office to offer a free boating course and ensure all residents wishing to boat this summer have the proper certificate and training,” said Legislator Hardwick.
       This course is designed as a comprehensive boating safety course, teaching the fundamentals of safe boating operation and has been approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators:
    Students must be at least 10 years of age to attend the course.
    This course requires a minimum of 8 hours of classroom instruction.
    Students must pass a final exam with a score of 76 percent.
    Students will receive a temporary boating safety certificate upon completion of the course.
    Students 18 years of age and older will be required to pay a $10 fee to NYS for issuance of a permanent boating safety certificate.
    Permanent boating safety certificates do not expire.
    Space is limited. For additional information or to register, please contact Legislator Hardwick at 858-8672 or e-mail kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Love Road Closure - June 2014

    Love Road reopened as of Wednesday, June 18th, two days ahead of schedule.
       Love Road will be closed from Baseline Road to Alt Road beginning Monday, June 9th at 6:30 a.m. to Friday, June 20th at 6:30 p.m. or until complete, for the purpose of culvert replacement at Big Six Mile Creek. Local traffic only to culvert location, no thru traffic.

    Academic Year in America (AYA) Opportunities - May 2014

       Press Release...May 29, 2014    What if someone told you there was a way to contribute to world peace, expose your family to a new culture without ever leaving your home and make someone's dream come true? Does this sound too good to be true?
       Each year, Academic Year in America (AYA) offers this opportunity to American families. Each year, AYA brings more than 1,000 students age 15 to 18 1/2 to the United States. With AYA's tailored matching system, families have the unique opportunity to find a student who will be the perfect fit for their household. Students come from more than 30 countries, such as Germany, Brazil, France, Italy and South Africa and have a multitude of diverse talents and interests. Bringing an international student into your home is an excellent way to give your family a "world view" of a different culture, according to host dad Tim McMahon, whose family has hosted five AYA students. "The result is that my children have made friends and traveled around the globe," McMahon said. "My children have visited several of our students on their own and have made extremely close and personal friendships. In fact, our entire family has visited the families of two of our exchange students and developed close friendships between the families."
       There are several key elements to the hosting experience. For five or 10 months, host families must provide their student with two meals a day and a place to sleep and study. Most importantly, they must welcome their student into their home as if they were a son or daughter. To help facilitate the exchange experience, host families will receive assistance from an AYA Local Coordinator. AYA is a not-for-profit organization designated by the U.S. Department of State to offer J-1 visas to international students. AYA is sponsored by the American Institute For Foreign Study Foundation, which was founded with the assistance of the late Robert F. Kennedy. To learn more about hosting an exchange student with AYA, call your Local Coordinator Dan Stinson at (716) 983-6521, or e-mail danstinson@roadrunner.com. Visit AYA on the web at www.academicyear.org. See flyer.

    West River Connector Trail Project Info. Meeting - May 2014

    Connector Trail Map

    .    Press Release...May 28, 2014
        The Town of Grand Island, in conjunction with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, is seeking a grant for the West River Connector Trail Project from the Transportation Assistance Program (TAP). The public is invited to learn more about the project at an information session on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 from 4 pm – 8 pm in the upper lobby of the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road. Handicapped entrance is from Baseline Road; please park in the lot to the north of Town Hall, in the lot between the Town Hall and the Fire Hall, and use the entrance ramp. For more information please contact the Town Board at townboard@grand-island.ny.us or call the Supervisor’s Office at 773-9600, ext. 616. Large Project File.

    Big Six Marina Improvements - May 2014

    New Docks - click for larger view.

    Bridge to fishing docks - click for larger view.
    Rendering of improvements

    .    Construction of dock and parking facilities at “Big Six” began with a first phase in the late 1950’s, followed by additions in several stages in the 1960’s. The most recent improvement was the expansion and reconstruction of the boat launch in the early 1980’s. Most if not all of the facilities, with the exception of the boat launch and bulkhead, have exceeded their normal lifespan and were in dire need of replacement.
       In the past, 25 - 60 boats were launched on a typical weekend day at Big Six during season. The existing launch was undersized for the amount of traffic and a larger area to expedite safe entry and exit is planned. The floating dock system is in place with 144 boat slips available. Three fishing docks are also in place. Two are accessed by a new bridge over the creek and the pathway is under construction. The marina looks great, stop down and take a look. Don't forget your fishing pole!

    Memorial Day Service - May 2014

    All photos taken by Mary Stewart

    American Legion Commander Fred Wornick & VFW Commander Michael Mehltretter

    Guest Speaker Kris DeGlopper Banks and Supervisor Mary Cooke

    Grand Island High School Band

    VFW Color Guard

    George DeGlopper

    Carol Luther Dunworth, Shirley Luther and Commander Mike Mehltretter

    During the Vietnam War, Corporal Robert Luther was killed in action on Mother’s Day in 1970.

    Mary Ann & George Crowe

    Parents of Lt. Colonel Terrence Crowe killed in action on June 7th, 2005, Tal' Afar.

    Randstad Job Fair at Town Hall - May 2014

        Randstad representatives will be in the foyer of the Grand Island Town Court on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 from 10:00 a.m, - 12:00 p.m. They are eager to meet with workers in the manufacturing, warehousing, and customer service industries. No appointment is necessary, just bring your resume and come prepared to interview with one of the consultants. Call or email with questions: (716) 706-2155 or elizabeth.vanharken@randstadusa.com.

    Leg. Hardwick Presents Little League Proclamation - May 2014

        On Saturday, May 24th, Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick joined Grand Island Little League for its opening day ceremonies. Legislator Hardwick presented a proclamation to Grand Island Little League President John Cacciatore recognizing the 75th anniversary of Little League and acknowledging the longevity of Grand Island’s Little League history. The GI Little League joined the organization in 1989 and has eight divisions in both the baseball and softball leagues.

    Kids Summer Sports Program - May 2014

       A Summer Sports Program is coming back to the High School for five one week sessions starting June 30th. Half day ($60) or full day ($110) sessions are available. For registration sign up on-line @ www.k12.ginet.org, (departments, community education) or call Community Education 773-8864

    Domestic Violence Advocate Introduced - May 2014

    From left: Town Justice Mark Frentzel, Councilman Dick Crawford, Sheriff Chief of Patrol Division Scott Joslyn, Supervisor Mary Cooke, Sheriff Detective Jim Hatch, Advocate Joseph Chudoba, Justice Sybil Kennedy and Sgt. Brian Moore.

        A Meet & Greet was held on Monday, May 19th at the Town Hall to introduce Joseph Chudoba as the Grand Island Domestic Violence Victim Advocate of the Erie County Sheriff Department. Mr. Chudoba will have office hours at Town Hall on Monday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. - noon. Supervisor Mary Cooke introduced Mr. Chudoba and noted that "no one is immune from domestic violence" and "statistics show that it takes 7-8 attempts by the abused to leave the abuser." Mr. Chudoba said the majority of victims are women and it is his job to listen and provide services to the victims and to the perpetrators if he can. Getting the word out to the young, starting with pre-k and kindergarten, can stop the "anger in schools today" that causes, bullying, cyber-bullying and teasing. It is his job to build confidence in the victims and help them get in touch with the programs available. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence call Joseph Chudoba at 773-9600 ext. 654 or 717-341-0544. There is a 24-hour domestic violence hotline 716-862-4357 and for shelter call 716-884-6000. You can also walk in without an appointment.

    GI Man Avoids Jail In Pot-Growing Case - May 2014

       See Buffalo News Story...5/15/14.

    National Fuel Offers Flooding Precautions - May 2014

       Press Release...5/14/14

    Grand Island Community Garden Kick-Off - May 2014

    Photo from September 2013.

        The Grand Island Community Garden located at the corner of Stony Point Road and Ransom Road is gearing up for the Memorial Day Kick-off weekend. The folks that started the garden project last year, John and Brigette Drehs, are passing the baton to new director Morgan Milovich and she is very excited. Morgan was the premier grower last year and was successful with corn, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, sweet potatoes and romanesco. In a email sent to garden participants Morgan wrote; "My plot was VERY fruitful, but I was there almost every night. I love gardening, as does my son Max, and I'm sure you'll see us around almost everyday. The reason I am taking on this role as director? I truly believe in it. I grew up in the southern tier; if you didn't garden, you didn't can, which meant you didn't eat in the winter. I have a profound love of the land, and being able to pass that on to my son is an amazing thing. I grow enough at my home to feed us all year round. But, I choose to become a member of the community garden, our community, because I feel that we can all grown from each other's experiences, knowledge and failures. We are a community, plain and simple."
        A Farmer's Market is in the works with Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday days planned. Each grower is asked to donate 30% of their harvest each week to the market to offset water costs. Morgan has a 1/2 acre plot planned, with most of the harvest going to the market. She has also talked to local restaurants about buying some of their produce through the Community Garden. If you are interested in getting your own garden, email gi_gardens@yahoo.com or call 716-400-5359.

    Friends of the Library Meeting News - May 2014

    Library Director Lynn Alan Konovitz, Jackie Albarella, President Mary Cooke and trustee Jill Banaszak.

    Mary Cooke receives plaque from Jill Banaszak

       The Friends of the Grand Island Memorial Library held its annual meeting on Thursday, May 8th. Mary S. Cooke was named Volunteer of the Year and presented with a plaque in recognition of her years of service to the library. Jackie Albarella, author of "The Hotel Lafayette: Restoring Louise Bethune's Masterpiece", gave a slide presentation about the restoration of the Hotel Lafayette.

    Father's Day Lawn Mower Race and Classic Car Show - May 2014

        The annual GI Father's Day Lawn Mower Race and Classic Car Show is on Saturday, June 14th this year. The proceeds of this event are donated to the Grand Island Relay For Life. The Kevin Doring 5K Run/Walk will take place from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., the Car Show is from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and the lawn mower racing begins at 1:00 p.m. You can register for the racing and the 5k by going to the website. Live music begins at 2:00 p.m. and food will be available. All events are located on West River Parkway between Long Road and Sunset.

    County Surplus Program Saves Town $ - May 2014

    From left: Supervisor Mary Cooke, Recreation Supervisor Joe Menter and Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick

       Grand Island, NY... Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick and Grand Island Supervisor Mary Cooke announce that the county and town have partnered to outfit various offices in town hall with furniture from the county’s surplus warehouse, saving the town money. “The county maintains a surplus of office equipment and makes items available to local governments who are in need of furniture or other supplies. We are able to save taxpayers by reusing and recycling items not currently needed by the county,” said Legislator Hardwick. “This partnership provides the town with many the materials it was in need of at no cost.”
        Among the items donated are a book shelf, tables, chairs, dry erase board and a turnstile that was used at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The furniture will be used throughout town offices, including the Recreation Center, Town Hall and the Police Department. “I was pleased to learn about this opportunity and that the town was able to find several pieces of equipment we needed. By taking these items from the county’s surplus, the town saved money that would have been spent to buy or upgrade our furniture,” said Supervisor Cooke.

    Karen's Aerobics Celebrating 35 Years - May 2014

    Above: Sitting center in blue is class instructor Karen Figler. - Click photos for larger view.

    Above: Fit & fabulous in their 90's! from left: Winnie Zarbo, Mary Becker and Helen Thomas.

    Above: Class on the move.

       Written by Karen Figler
        "While still attending college back in 1980, I started an exercise to music fitness program, following a similar format of the founder of Aerobic dance, Jackie Sorenson. My first sound sytem was an oversized 15 pound reel to reel tape player....wow, times have really changed. Little did I know what a long standing and enriching experience it would turn out to be. The program is unique in the sense that it benefits the participants physically, as well as mentally and emotionally. Long standing friendships have been formed and the relationships have endured the test of time. More than just providing fitness benefits the class is an encouraging environment where people who range in age from 40 to 90 years old share life experiences and support for one another in a special "sisterhood". Over the years, this group has been generous in their support of many fund raisers to help the community of Grand Island. I am grateful for having this opportunity for all of these years, and hope to share many more with my wonderful and "fit" ladies." The aerobics class is at St. Timothy's Church at the corner of Staley and Stony Point Roads. Aerobics class is on Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. A resistence band class is on Friday from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Everyone of all ages is welcome to attend. For more information call 773-5254.

    Island Man Flees Accident at 100 mph - April 2014

    After a property damage accident on Whitehaven Road, Island resident Tyler Rice, 40 fled the scene at 100 mph in 45 mph zone.    See Buffalo News Story.

    Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick Fundraiser - April 2014

       Erie County Legislator Legislator Kevin Hardwick will be holding a fundraiser on Wednesday, April 30th at Say Cheese, 1771 Love Road, Grand Island from 5:30 to 7:30. Cost is $30/person, $50/couple.

    State Police Investigating Hit & Run - April 2014

       State Police based at SP Grand Island are investigating a car-pedestrian hit and run which occurred on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at about 10:30 PM. Troopers responded to a report of a 58 year old male victim being struck as he was walking north on the east shoulder of Grand Island Boulevard near Bedell Road. He was struck from behind by a vehicle also traveling north. Witnesses say the vehicle drifted onto the shoulder and hit the victim. The victim was aided by the Grand Island Fire Department and was transported to Erie County Medical Center by Twin City Ambulance with head injuries. Anyone with information is asked to call SP Grand Island at 716.773.9651 or 716.759.6831.

    East River/Whitehaven Road Repairs - April 2014

       Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that the 2014 Road Project List includes funding to repair sections of East River Road and Whitehaven Road on Grand Island this year. “We had an extremely harsh winter and motorists are very discouraged with the condition of many roadways. I am pleased that we will be addressing several of the issues that my office receives many calls about,” said Legislator Hardwick. The 2014 Road Project List calls for East River Road to be repaired from Whitehaven to Harvey, and for Whitehaven to be repaired from Grand Island Boulevard to East River Road. On April 10, Legislator Hardwick and his colleagues in the Majority Caucus called for a special session for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, April 24 to ensure the 2014 Road Project List is reviewed and approved as soon as possible.

    Island Man Stabbed at Niagara Falls Business - April 2014

    Buffalo News Story by Nancy Fischer
       See Story.

    "Ladies of Charity" Book Bag Program - April 2014

    Donations collected at St. Stephen's narthex from April 21 - May 20th.
        Yearly the Diocese of Buffalo "Ladies of Charity" distribute school supplies to children, ages 5-17, by referral from Catholic Charities case workers in several WNY counties. Recently, there has been a large increase of requests due to many family members having lost jobs due to businesses closings, merging or downsizing. Last year over 700 children were equipped for the new school year and as needed during the year. Families of all faiths are eligible because of low income, victims of house fires, domestic abuse, and new immigrants. About 13 years ago, the program started with 50 requests.
    New School Supplies Needed: Book bags, erasers, ballpoint pens, highlighters, primary & regular crayons, magic markers, loose leaf paper, comp. & spiral notebooks, folders, glue sticks, scissors, rulers, #2 pencils, colored pencils, 3 ring binders and small tissue packages.
       This is a great spring project for families, school children, discussion & prayer groups or anyone wishing to assist the Ladies of Charity. Donations may be placed in specially marked boxes in the St. Stephen's narthex from April 21 - May 20th. Monetary donations are also accepted. For more information contact Angelo & Barbara LaDuca at 773-2888. Supplies may also be dropped off at 139 Parkview Dr., Grand Island. High school students in need of volunteer hours are needed during the school year to sort and count supplies. Olmstead students received work experience sorting and counting the donated supplies. In July & August book bags are packed and ready for distribution.

    8th Prescription Drug Take Back Day - April 2014

       Grand Island is collecting on Saturday, April 26th from 10:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m. at the Town Hall.
        WASHINGTON, D.C. – After collecting more than 1,700 tons of expired, unwanted prescription medications over the past three-and-a-half years, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and more than 4,200 national, tribal, and community law enforcement partners will hold another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 26th. Americans can take their pills to one of over 5,600 collection sites across the country between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
        The public has embraced the opportunity these Take-Back Day events provide to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs. Last October Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs. Since DEA’s first event in September of 2010, the public has surrendered over 3.4 million pounds of pills. Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft, misuse, and abuse. Almost twice as many Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And more Americans died in 2010 from overdoses of prescription medications (22,134, including 16,651 from narcotic painkillers) than from motor vehicle accidents, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Surveys of users have found that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
        The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database where they enter their zip code. Or they can call 800-882-9539. Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites--liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted. DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications (that is, a patient or pet owner or the patient’s caregiver) to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.

    Island Teen Faces Prison Time - April 2014

        A Grand Island teenager faces up to 7 years in prison in stolen car chase. See Buffalo News Story

    Eggertsville-Grand Island Lodge #1138 Pancake Breakfast - April

        Eggertsville-Grand Island Lodge #1138 40th Annual Pancake Breakfast, Palm Sunday, April 13, 2013 (8am - 1pm), River Oaks Clubhouse (New Location!), 201 Whitehaven Rd,Grand Island, NY.

    Islettes Elite Baton Team Spaghetti Dinner - April 2014

       The Islettes are having a fundraiser spaghetti dinner on Saturday, April 12th from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, Factory Outlet Blvd., Niagara Falls NY. See flyer.

    "Thank-A-Vet" Outreach Program at Nike Base - April 2014

    Chris Jacobs greets veterans.

       Erie County, NY...Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs recently held a “Thank-A-Vet” Outreach Program at Nike Base Community Center in Grand Island to issue discount cards to honorably discharged veterans who file their original DD-214 (discharge papers) with the Erie County Clerk’s Office. More than 100 veterans showed up to sign up for the Clerk’s “Thank-A-Vet” Discount Card which can then be used by veterans at over 650 participating local businesses who have agreed to honor the card with a discount on purchases or services. “My office continues our effort to recognize the area’s veterans through this important program,” stated County Clerk Jacobs. “Certainly we want to do our part to honor our veterans and to also encourage them to record their discharge paperwork with the County Clerk’s Office,” he added. For the veteran, filing discharge or separation papers is free of charge and certified copies of recorded discharges are made, free of charge, for veterans or their immediate families whenever needed. Original discharge papers are proof of military service, and can be used to establish eligibility for a variety of benefits. For information on how to participate in the program, visit www.erie.gov/clerk/thankavet.

    Light House Pointe Public Hearing Cancelled - April 2014

        The developer of the Light House Pointe project planned for the area of Whitehaven Rd. and East River Road has asked that the public hearing on rezoning scheduled for April 21st be cancelled. According to Coucilman Crawford, the developer may submit another development plan in the future that possibly could consist of all R2 or a mixture of R2 and R3 which would again require rezoning.

    NYS Parks Spring Events Schedule- April 2014

        The Niagara Region of the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation has released its spring schedule of events. Registration is highly encouraged as activities do tend to book quickly. Starting Friday, April 11 at Evangola Park and continuing through April, May and June at western New York State Parks. See schedule.

    The Jerusalem Marketplace at Whitehaven Baptist - April 2014

       The Whitehaven Road Baptist Church, 1290 Whitehaven Road is hosting "The Jerusalem Marketplace" on Wednesday, April 9th from 6:15 - 8:15 p.m. This is a family adventure you can taste, touch and smell. Everyone is welcome.

    Maple Grove Cemetery Meeting - April 2014

        The Annual Maplegrove Cemetery Meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 29th at 6:30 p.m. at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road. All decorations, memorials, etc., must be removed by April 15th of each year.

    Top Spellers at Niagara Region PTA Bee - April 2014


    Left: Hannah Schiffmacher, right: Abishek Selvakumar

       Two Grand Island students are top spellers in the Niagara Region after a recent Spelling Bee. The Niagara Region PTA held their annual 4th and 5th grade Spelling Bee on Saturday March 29, 2014 at the Newfane Middle School Auditorium in Newfane. 68 students in Western New York participated in the Spelling Bee. Students came from PTA Units representing fourteen schools across Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties. Huth Road student Abishek Selvakumar came in 2nd place in the 4th Grade Bee and Hannah Schiffmacher from Kaegebain came in 1st in the 5th grade Spelling Bee. Hannah also won 1st place last year in the 4th grade Spelling Bee.

    Handicapped SCUBA Training at Byblos Niagara - March 2014

       Press Release...(March 31, 2014) Grand Island, N.Y.
    See complete story and photos.
       The liberating world of SCUBA is now a fun and exciting option for disabled people in the Western New York area with its first student, Tom Schofield of Burford, Ontario, a quadriplegic. After 30 years out of the water, and a few false starts to learn SCUBA diving, Tom was finally able to realize his dream of training to become a diver with the help of the regional Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA) Training Team, Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa and Adventure Scuba and Watersports. “We are so excited to welcome Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa to our HSA Family. Finding indoor pool facilities for training that are accessible and affordable, is a very difficult barrier to overcome. Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa has opened their doors to us and removed this barrier”, says Felicia Kostecky, Program Director and native Western New Yorker.

    Jacobs Warns Homeowners of "Deed Scam" - March 2014

       Press Release...(March 27, 2014) Buffalo, N.Y.
       County Clerk Chris Jacobs wants to caution all Erie County property owners to watch for misleading solicitations offering to sell you a "Certified Copy of Your Deed". Record Transfer Services, a company based out of California is soliciting and dramatically overcharging homeowners for this service by as much as 1000%. "I want to inform the citizens of Erie County that the entities marketing such requests are not at all related to the County Clerk's Office or any other department inside Erie County government," said Clerk Jacobs. "If you receive one of these letters, you should disregard it. A certified copy of your deed is always available from the County Clerk’s Office."
       The solicitation looks like an official government notice, contains public information about the property and instructs the property owner to include payment of $83. Upon payment, the citizen gets a copy of their current deed which is not a certified copy. "Deeds for every parcel of land in Erie County are recorded and maintained on permanent record at the County Clerk's Office," stated Jacobs. "Once placed on record and processed, the original deed is returned to the property owner or their attorney."
       County Clerk Jacobs encourages concerned residents to contact his office for assistance with any deed related questions at 716-858-8785. Certified copies can be easily obtained directly from the Erie County Clerk's Office-Old County Hall, 92 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202 for a fee of $5 to $10. "These companies are misleading property owners into paying an excessive amount for a record they can easily obtain for less than 1/10th of the cost. This type of solicitation is a disingenuous way to conduct business," stated Jacobs. "The Clerk's Office is the only source to obtain a certified copy of their deed." Property owners may request a copy by mail; include name, property address, and phone number, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and a check or money order made payable to the Erie County Clerk for $10. For your convenience a deed request form is available on the Clerk’s website at www.erie.gov/clerk/deedrequest.

    Town/School Joint Meeting - March 2014

       The Grand Island Town Board workshop meeting for Monday, March 31st is a joint meeting with GICSD School Board. It will be held in the Professional Development Room at the high school, 1100 Ransom Rd. at 7:00 p.m. See Agenda.

    Author James Bruchac Visits Schools - March 2014

    Children’s author, James Bruchac

        On March 10th and 11th, Kaegebein Elementary and Huth Road Elementary Schools hosted children’s author, James Bruchac. James Bruchac is the author of several Native American folktale picture books and nonfiction books for children. While here, James shared with the students about his lifelong love of nature and wildlife. Students loved hearing several of his stories performed live, including "How Chipmunk Got His Stripes" and stories from his book "When the Chenoo Howls". He also shared some of the tracks he has collected throughout his explorations in nature. His presentations inspired the children to carefully observe the world around them and use the information in their writing. He also inspired the students to read as much as possible which explains why the 71 copies of his books between both libraries are checked out with lots of students patiently waiting for the book to come back for them. This program was a joint venture between the schools’ PTAs and the Grand Island Central School District. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who made this event such a success!

    Tonawanda Coke - March 2014

       Buffalo News Story - March 23, 2014
       $24 million message Stiff sentence for Tonawanda Coke sets an example for other polluters. See story.

    National Fuel Warns Customers of Utility Scams - March 2014

       Press Release...(March 18, 2014) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.
        National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation ("National Fuel" or the "Utility") cautions customers to be aware of scammers acting as Utility representatives, threatening service shutoff and demanding immediate payments. Utility customers should not respond to these calls, and they should contact National Fuel immediately to verify their account statuses. Customers should look for the following warning sign: These callers will not accept payment by credit card or check - as National Fuel does. Instead, the scammer wants the customer to pay by prepaid debit card. The scammer instructs the customer to obtain one and call him or her back. Prepaid debit cards are like cash. Once the money is transferred, a customer will be unable to redeem it.
        Scammers use a variety of ways to prey on Utility customers. They may also claim that the gas meter is not working properly and must be immediately replaced at the customer's expense or the gas service will be shut off. Other scammers use email to reach customers. Customers should be aware of emails disguised as overdue notices from the Utility. Clicking on a link or attachment may load malware on your computer.
        Because National Fuel does sometimes contact their customers by phone, it can be difficult to tell a scammer from a real customer service agent. Here are some tips:
    • Prepaid debit cards are a red flag. If a caller specifically asks for payment by prepaid debit card or wire transfer, this is a warning sign. National Fuel will accept a check or credit card.
    • Remember that gas meters are the property of National Fuel and would be the responsibility of the Utility to replace or repair.
    • Never allow anyone into your home to check natural gas lines, meters or appliances without asking to see proper identification that the person is a Utility employee.
        National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation is the Utility segment of National Fuel Gas Company, a diversified energy company that is engaged in a number of natural gas-related activities. The Utility provides natural gas service to approximately 730,000 customers in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit www.NationalFuelGas.com.

    Learn More About Common Core - March 2014

       Rescheduled to Tuesday March 18, 7 pm - 9 pm.
    The League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara is hosting a forum for the community to learn more about Common Core on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 695 Elmwood Ave. at 7:00 p.m. One of the panel members is former Grand Island Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann. See flyer for complete details.

    GISD Adjusts April Break Calendar - March 2014

        On Wednesday, March 12, the decision was made to close schools due to blizzard conditions. As a result the school district is now one day short of the required student attendance days according to New York State Education Department regulations. In planning for this potential scenario, the Board of Education approved 2013-14 calendar scheduled for days to be taken in reverse order from first the February recess and then the April Recess. As a result of Wednesday’s closing, it is necessary to adjust the school calendar and make Monday, April 14 a regular student attendance day. Please adjust your calendar accordingly. The Events Calendar on the district website has been adjusted as well. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Let’s hope that this is the end of what has been a very long winter season!
    Teresa Lawrence, Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools, Grand Island Central School District

    GI Woman Killed In PA Crash - March 2014

       Buffalo News Story, March 14, 2014.

    GISD Addresses Recent Discipline Matter - March 2014

       Press Release...Friday, March 15, 2014
    The Grand Island Central School District appreciates the many emails and calls received about recent news reports of student discipline. We thank everyone for sharing their views on this matter. I am personally reading all the emails and listening to all messages. A review of our policies, procedures, practices, including our discipline, will be conducted to confirm that the fundamental Constitutional rights of our students are honored, including Freedom of Speech. It has long been our District’s policy - indeed State statutory policy - to review our Code of Conduct and the practices applicable to it each year. It is important that our policies and practice honor the law, meet the needs of our students, our school community and the community at large. The administrators in this instance acted consistently with existing policy and practice. Every event - including this one - presents an opportunity to consider the future direction of policy and practice. I will ask for community, staff, and student assistance with that review, especially our review of the student Code of Conduct. I embrace this opportunity to reflect on, and update, our practices with their help. The Grand Island Central School District is committed to providing a comprehensive educational program in a safe learning environment in which Constitutional and legal rights are supported and protected.
    Teresa Lawrence, Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools, Grand Island Central School District

    Golden Age Center Closed - March 2014

       The Golden Age Center closed on Friday, March 14th due to lack of heat. The book club will be meeting at the library.

    Golden Age Center Closed - March 2014

       The Golden Age Center closed on Thursday, March 13th due to lack of heat. It is expected to re-open on Friday, March 14th.

    Town Court Cancelled - March 2014

        Grand Island Town Court is cancelled tonight, Wednesday, March 12th. Anyone scheduled for an appearance will be contacted by the court with a new date.

    New Project Concerns Nearby Residents - March 2014

       The Light House Pointe mixed residential housing project located south of Whitehaven and west of East River is causing a big concern to nearby neighbors on East River Road and Timberlink. The project needs to be rezoned from R2 to R3 and consists of upscale two story luxury apartments on the west side of the site and five, three story senior housing units on the east side. The original plan was a total of 264 units, no more than eight to a building, in the luxury apartment section and a total of 150 senior apartments. An informational meeting was held on February 27th by the construction/management company, with the closest neighbors invited to attend.
       A Planning Board meeting held on Monday, March 10th was attended by a couple dozen interested residents. Attorney Sean Hopkins representing Light House Pointe went over some modifications to the original plan that are the result of concerns voiced at the informational meeting in February. The buffer zone between the luxury units and Timberlink was increased from 40 feet to 55 feet and 3 building units were deleted. A walking path previously located on the outer edge of the plan was talked of being located within the development. Balconies would not be located on the western units, overlooking the Timberlink houses. The buffer zone could be landscaped berms, fencing or a combination. On the eastern side of the development, the senior housing could be configured so the short ends of the buildings would face the East River Road homes and dense vegetation maintained to block lighting and privacy issues.
        The spokesperson for the opposition group is East River Road resident Joe LaLonde. Over a two day period this past weekend, over 400 signatures were collected for a petition against rezoning from R2 to R3. Mr. LaLonde was allowed to speak at the Planning Board meeting and said the group’s main concern is the fact that these are rental properties. The Planning Board tabled the rezoning until a new plan is in place and another meeting with concerned residents is held. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 21st.

    Learn More About Common Core - March 2014

        The League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara is hosting a forum for the community to learn more about Common Core on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 695 Elmwood Ave. at 7:00 p.m. One of the panel members is former Grand Island Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann. See flyer for complete details.

    Historic Preservation Advisory Board News - March 2014

        The goal of the Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board is to raise the community's awareness of the natural beauty, the rich heritage and the role Grand Island has played and continues to play in the fortune of the Niagara Frontier. As a community board they are committed to the preservation of all natural and historic structures, which contribute to the making of this community.
       Grand Island has a rich history; unfortunately many of the structures that contributed to this history have been lost, but the Island still retains its natural beauty and a significant number of early structures and sites. Located between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, it also could be an important stop on the Heritage Trail. Currently Grand Island has one structure listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places - the Spaulding-Sidway Boat House. There are other structures that go beyond local interest. For example, Lewis F. Allen's River Lea has a national connection with a former U. S. President, Grover Cleveland, and there are two architecturally significant, and wonderful old wooden churches, plus a number of farm houses as well as "cottages."
        The Historic Preservation Advisory Board has developed many historic exhibits to raise awareness that may be seen at the Grand Island Memorial Library, Town Hall and special events. Historic sites have been identified and plaques installed at numerous locations. The advisory board is interested in collecting a list of homes and buildings that were built before 1900. Please contact Town Historian Jodi Robinson at 773-6789 or email historian@grand-island.ny.us to be added to the list of historic buildings.

    Supervisor Cooke Tours Erie County Legislature - March 2014

    Supervisor Mary Cooke with Legislator Kevin Hardwick

       Grand Island Supervisor Mary Cooke visited the Erie County Legislature’s Open House on Feb. 20th at Legislature Chambers, downtown Buffalo. Legislator Kevin Hardwick accompanied Supervisor Cooke at the event which was attended by several local officials and members of the public for the purpose of meeting with the Legislators and touring the chambers.

    Sled Hockey for Veterans - February 2014

       Ice times have been announced for Veterans to learn skills for sled hockey and to participate on a Veterans only team that has regular practices and games. The Buffalo Sabres Sled Vets are looking for Veterans to participate on team as part of VA Western New York Healthcare System’s recreation therapy program. The program will assist Veterans of all abilities to learn sled hockey skills necessary to play the sport. Previous hockey experience is not required and Veterans do not have to be disabled to participate. The program is made possible through a donation from the Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Sabres Foundation and National Fuel.
    Upcoming ice times are as follows:
    Saturday, February 22, Riverside Bud Bakewell Rink, 8:00 p.m. - 8:50 p.m.
    Saturday, March 1, Riverside Bud Bakewell Rink, 2:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.
    Saturday, March 8, Cazenovia Rink, 7:00 p.m. - 7:50 p.m.
    Thursday, March 13, Cazenovia Rink, 6:30 p.m. - 7:50 p.m.
    Tuesday, March 18, Riverside Bud Bakewell Rink, 6:30 p.m. - 7:20 p.m.
    Saturday, March 29, Cazenovia Rink, noon - 12:50 p.m.
    Saturday, April 5, Riverside Bud Bakewell Rink, 5:00 p.m. - 6:20 p.m.
    Sunday, April 6, Cazenovia Rink, noon - 1:20 p.m.
       Veterans interested in participating can contact Pamela Kaznowski at 862-6814 or Pamela.Kaznowski@va.gov to learn more. Veterans must be enrolled in VA health care and can do so online at https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/ or in person at VA Western New York Healthcare System, 3495 Bailey Avenue Buffalo. Rink locations: Riverside Rink, 2607 Niagara Street, Buffalo 14207; Cazenovia Rink, 25 Cazenovia Street, Buffalo 14220.

    Telephone Line Severed at Nike Base - February 2014

    From Mary S. Cooke, Town Supervisor     A telephone line at the Nike Base was accidentally severed, disabling ten phone lines. Earthlink has been contacted and we are awaiting a site visit. Four phone extensions (80, 81, 82 and 83) have been forwarded to a cell phone being handled by Sharon Szafran. Barb Gannon requests that inquiries regarding the Golden Age Center be directed to her cell phone at 870-9058. Thanks for your patience as you might not able to use the usual phone numbers to reach the town departments you are seeking.

    Legislator Kevin Hardwick Outreach Meeting - February 2014

       (Erie County, NY) – Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick has planned two District Outreach Meetings on Tuesday, March 4th to meet with residents and discuss County issues. The meetings have been scheduled at the following times:
    • 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 4 at the Grand Island Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road
    • 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 4 at the Tonawanda Senior Center, 33 Main St.
       Information about Senior Services, Social Services, Veteran Affairs, the County Clerk’s office and other County departments will be available. Notary services are also offered, free of charge. Anyone who is unable to attend a scheduled District Outreach Meeting and is interested in speaking with Legislator Hardwick is encouraged to contact the Legislative Office to schedule a meeting at a time and location that is convenient for them. For additional information, please contact Legislator Hardwick's Office at 858-8672; email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov; or visit website.

    “Kids Before Cons” Petition - February 2014

        Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston), who came out against the plan to give free college tuition to convicts this week, is now circulating a petition against the plan. The "Kids Before Cons" petition, which is being sponsored by the entire Assembly Minority Conference, already has almost 4,000 signatures in just three days. The petition can be found at KidsB4Cons as well as on Ceretto's facebook page.
       "My office has received a lot of calls and emails in opposition to the idea of giving free college education to convicts. Together with my Assembly Minority colleagues, we are organizing that opposition into one, cohesive voice. We are united in the belief that New York must put 'Kids Before Cons' and help the working-class families who go into serious debt to pay for college," said Ceretto. "As a father whose kids have taken out loans and worked to put themselves through college, I know that hard-working families deserve help before people who have been incarcerated for breaking the law. I'm working with my Assembly Minority colleagues to put a stop to this unfair plan. We need to focus on the real problem that college education is now unaffordable for everybody." Since the plan to give convicts a free college education was announced, Ceretto has been working to stop this plan from being passed by organizing opposition. Ceretto believes a better use of this money would be to decrease the cost of college overall. One avenue to accomplish this would be putting it towards increasing funding for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for the first time since 2001.

    Huntley Coal Plant Information Meetings - February 2014

        The Clean Air: Organizing for Health and Justice will hold four public assemblies in response to a recent report released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) regarding the future of the Huntley Coal Plant in the Town of Tonawanda. The four, "Just Transition Assemblies" will provide participants a chance to learn about the report’s findings, brainstorm what residents, workers, and local governments will need in the future and identify community priorities moving forward.
       The Huntley Plant, located on the Niagara River in the Town of Tonawanda, is Erie County’s last coal-burning power plant. Huntley is one of the last remaining coal fired power plants in New York State. The report, entitled Huntley Generating Station: Coal Plant’s Weak Financial Outlook, Calls for Corporate and Community Leadership states "the plant's weak economic condition makes it a likely candidate for retirement or substantial change in its operation." Link to IEEFA's press release. IEEFA concludes "There will be a transition process that will prove useful if time and resources are used well. The fiscal challenge is best addressed now." The potential loss of the Huntley plant creates a challenge in the loss of tax revenue to the local Kenmore-Tonawanda School District, the Town of Tonwawanda, and Erie County. In addition, the plant employees about 70 employees.
    The group would like to take a pro-active step to come to the table to protect Huntley’s workers, preserve the environment and generate sufficient tax revenue for schools and local governments. The meeting dates are as follows:
    •SATURDAY, March 1st, 3pm: Boys and Girls Club at 54 Riverdale Rd. in the Town of Tonawanda
    •MONDAY, March 3rd, 6pm: Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Rd., Grand Island
    •THURSDAY, March 6th, 6pm: Northwest Community Center, 155 Lawn Ave. in Buffalo
    •THURSDAY, March 13th at 6pm: Tonawanda City Hall, 200 Niagara St. in the City of Tonawanda

    Waterfowl Permits Available - February 2014

        Permit distribution for the remaining waterfowl hunting season which runs from March 1st - March 10th at Beaver Island, West River Parkway and Motor and Strawberry Islands will be done by call in. Blinds and permits may be obtained by calling 773-2010 between 9:00 a.m. and Noon on the following dates:
    Call in Date                   Hunting Dates
    Thursday, Feb. 27         Saturday, March 1 - Tuesday, March 4
    Tuesday, March 4         Wednesday, March 5 - Friday, March 7
    Thursday, March 6         Saturday, March 8 - Monday, March 10
        A boat is required to be on site, “at the ready”, for use in retrieving or rescue, as necessary. To participate in the hunt, hunters must present a valid NYS Small Game Hunting license with a signed duck stamp, proof of registration in the Harvest Information Program (HIP), and proof of completion of a Waterfowl ID course. You may contact the Beaver Island State Park Office at (716)773-3271 on weekdays between 8:00am and 4:15pm for more information.

    Austin Against Autism Fundraiser - February 2014

        The Austin Against Autism fundraiser began in 2012 as a way to help Austin Irons with needed equipment, medical supplies and technology to help with his quality of life. Austin is the son of Matthew and Stephanie Irons and grandson of Islanders Tom Rodriguez and Linda Irons. This years fundraiser will help Jack Schroeder of Ransomville, a boy who has autism as well as being diabetic and is trying to get a diabetic alert dog. The specially trained diabetic alert service dog may be just as essential as the blood glucose meter and insulin injection pens they must use to treat Jack. The dogs are supposed to smell a low blood sugar which is very dangerous and then they can alert the parents that something is wrong. The fundraiser is Saturday, March 1st from 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. at Brick Oven Pizzeria, 2457 Grand Island Blvd. There will be raffles and 50/50 drawings. See flyer for details.

    Town Engineer John Whitney & James Panepinto Receive Awards - February 2014

    Pictured from left: John Whitney receiving the award from John Storey, GHD.

        Grand Island Town Engineer John Whitney received the Charles W. Nichols Award from the American Public Works Association (APWA) of WNY on February 6th at their 2014 awards banquet. APWA is a group of engineers who honor their peers for exemplary work; seven project awards and three individual awards were presented. Whitney was nominated by GHD Consulting Services, Inc. who is the Town’s team for the waste water system on Grand Island. Whitney was recognized for his professional and exemplary response to the collapse of the 30” wastewater line during August 2013.
       Another Islander recognized was James Panepinto from Pinto Construction who received the 2014 Project of the Year Award in Construction/Repair for his renovation of Gratwick Riverside Park Marina in North Tonawanda.

    School Board Candidate Workshop - February 2014

       The Erie County Association of School Boards will present a free workshop for prospective school board candidates from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 22 at Erie 1 BOCES, 355 Harlem Road, West Seneca. Topics will include information on school boards and the law, the election process, board-superintendent relationships and perspectives on school board service from new and veteran board members. To register, call 821-7297 or email snowak@e1b.org.

    Community Forum Regarding Tonawanda Coke - February 2014

        Federal Prosecutors, Tonawanda Leaders and Citizen Science Community Resources (CSCR) is having a community forum to update and solicit input from community in determining the extent of Tonawanda Coke’s pollution that has impacted residents and nearby neighborhoods.
       Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango and Senior Trial Attorney Rocky Piaggione for the U.S. Department of Justice, who handled the prosecution in the landmark case U.S. v. Tonawanda Coke Corp. and Mark Kamholz, will provide a sentencing update regarding the government’s position pursuant to the Crime Victims’Rights Act (CVRA). It is the prosecution’s position that certain community members living and working in the vicinity of Tonawanda Coke may potentially be classified as victims because they have suffered harm under the CVRA. If you have been exposed to Tonawanda Coke’s pollution and believe that you have suffered harm, you should attend the meeting.
        Local Tonawanda Leader and founder of the Clean Air Coalition of WNY, Jackie James Creedon, along with university researchers, Dr. Joe Gardella from University at Buffalo and Dr. Mike Milligan from SUNY Fredonia, will present soil test results from a study conducted by the group and local high school citizen scientists in four impacted neighborhoods on Grand Island, the City and Town of Tonawanda, NY. The group believes contaminants coming from Tonawanda Coke could have migrated off site into people’s backyards.
        Citizen Science Community Resources (CSCR), formerly Tonawanda Community Fund, is sponsoring the event on March 3, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Sheridan Parkside Community Center located at 169 Sheridan Parkside Dr. in Tonawanda. A community question/answer session will follow the presentation.

    National Fuel Warning, Costs Going Up! - February 2014

       February 12, 2014...National Fuel Warns that extreme cold will be impacting heating costs. January 2014 was 11.7 percent colder than normal and 29 percent colder than last year. An early start to the winter heating season, coupled with sustained cold weather in January has National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation urging consumers to consider budget billing to spread out heating bill balances over 12 months and to check to see if they qualify for available payment assistance programs. Without question, this winter has been cold. The month of November was 11.7 percent colder than normal, December was 5.4 percent colder and January was 11.7 percent colder than normal. When compared to last year, January 2014 was a staggering 29 percent colder than a year ago.
       "Since December, cold snaps triggered by the polar vortex have led to record demand for natural gas," said Karen L. Merkel, spokesperson for National Fuel. "The bigger the difference between the temperature outside and the thermostat setting inside, the harder your heating system will work and the more energy it will use, even if you don't turn the thermostat higher." Bitter cold temperatures accompanied by ice and snow have led to widespread school and business closings in many areas across Western New York, prompting local families to remain home during periods when they might otherwise adjust their thermostats downward.
       "Customer heating bills will be higher this winter because consumption, or customer usage, of natural gas to heat homes has been higher than in the previous two winters, which were warmer than normal," Merkel said. "Weather can have a substantial impact on a homeowner's heating bill, and with this year's extreme, prolonged cold, it takes considerably more energy to maintain the comfort we are used to. More energy translates into higher bills." This winter has been one for the record books for extreme and prolonged cold and gas usage. According to National Fuel's records, Jan. 28th was the "peak day of natural gas usage," which was the highest single day of usage since the winter of 2003-2004. The high temperature of 7 degrees and the low of 0 degrees was the coldest day in a frigid month, and gas usage was nearly 70 percent higher than an average January day.

    Minus 16 Degrees at 7am - February 2014

       Wednesday morning was reported to be -1 on local TV but in Reg Schopp's backyard it was -16! Thank goodness the sun is out and the temperature is expected to climb into the mid 20's by this afternoon.

    Found, Valentina Kolock - February 2014

    Feb. 19, 2014....With great help from the FBI and the Town of Tonawanda police, Valentina has been located in down state NY and is on the way home.
       The Town of Tonawanda Police Family Offense Unit is requesting assistance locating 15 year old Valentina Kolock whose picture is displayed here. Valentina is 5'8-1/2" tall, approximately 140 pounds, and her hair is currently dyed burgandy. She has been missing since Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 8:00 am when she was dropped off at Kenmore West High School. Please contact Det. Ray Marello atrmarello@tonawanda.ny.us or 716-879-6640. If he is not immediately available please call our Front Desk officer at 716-876-5300 to report any information.

    "Hire A Hero" Veterans Employment Fair - February 2014

       The VA Western New York Healthcare System is hosting "Hire A Hero" a Veterans Employment & Education Fair on Saturday, March 1st from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in Freedom Hall (Room 301), 3495 Bailey Avenue. Veterans will be able to meet with prospective employers, learn about education opportunities at local colleges and attend workshops. There will also be information available to assist Veteran owned businesses in the process to bid for government work. See flyer for more details.

    Passport Day At Town Hall - February 2014

       Grand Island Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel is having a Passport Day on Saturday, February 15th from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Town Hall. Photos are available for $7.00. Regular hours are Monday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and by appointment. For more information call 773-9600 ext. 600.

    Possible New Regulations at Boat Launches - February 2014

        The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing new regulations to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) at DEC boat launches. The proposed changes require boaters to remove all visible plants and animals from boats, trailers and associated equipment and to drain boats before launching at or leaving a DEC boat launch and waterway access.
    DEC will accept public comments on the proposal through February 24, 2014. See press release for more details.

    Deadline for Property Tax Exemptions - February 2014

        The deadline for all Basic STAR, Enhanced/Senior STAR and Veterans property tax exemptions to be added to the assessment roll for School tax year 2014/2015 and Town/County tax year 2015 is March 1, 2014. There will be no courtesy telephone calls made. If you have not already done so, please bring your paperwork to the Assessor’s office at Town Hall on or before Monday, March 3rd.

    Debra Remson Memorial Concert - February 2014

       This year, the annual “Kaleidoscope String” concert will be a memorial concert in honor of Debra Remson who passed away in early November. Ms. Remson was the string teacher in Grand Island for many years and touched the lives of many students. The concert is on Thursday, February 13th at 7:00 at the Grand Island Senior High school. We will be selling carnations before the concert and donating the proceeds to Music is Art in honor of Ms. Remson.
       In addition, we are inviting back all alumni who would like to come and perform our last piece with us for the concert. We have parts for all ability levels. If you feel you would like to play but haven’t picked up your instrument in a while – it’s no problem! If you or someone you know are interested in playing in our grand finale to honor Ms. Remson, please e-mail Eve Roushey at EveRoushey@k12.ginet.org and a copy of the music will be sent to you. We will also be having a special rehearsal for the concert on Tuesday, February 11th at 6:30. If you are unable to play, but want to participate or would like to help out in any capacity, please contact Eve Roushey (EveRoushey@K12.ginet.org) for more information.

    February Break Camp - February 2014

        Looking for a fun way to spend February Break? Join Just for Kids for the 2014 February Break Camp! Daily themes, sports, arts and crafts, kids’ choice hobbies, special guests, cold breakfast, hot lunch, and afternoon snack are all included! Camp runs from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm on February 18th -21st, for K-6th grade at Sidway Elementary School! Spots fill up quickly, so register today! Register online at www.justforkidsonline.org/break-camps or call (716)639-8500 for more information.

    Special Spaces is coming to Grand Island! - February 2014


    Island resident Ilana.
       You can help!

        Special Spaces Buffalo is a local chapter of a national non-profit organization, exclusively providing bedroom makeovers for Western New York children with cancer and other life-challenging illnesses. They are completely volunteer run and donor based. The volunteers spend weeks raising enough money to create unique bedrooms that are dreamt by the child they help. Once enough money has been raised, a volunteer work crew tackles an entire bedroom in one day. While the family enjoys a day of fun and adventure planned by the Special Spaces team, the team is busy at work, creating a very special space.
        Envisioned by the children they assist, Special Spaces provides them with a place to rest and recover while undergoing treatments for the illnesses they face. The most rewarding part of the work they do is seeing the face of a little boy or girl light up when their special space is revealed in front of friends and family. They exist to help children and their families who are enduring the pain and fear that comes with a life-threatening illness. Special Spaces Buffalo creates a day of joy while providing a space for a child to recover in at home.
        Currently, they are focused on creating a special bedroom for Ilana, a 17-year-old girl from Grand Island with Epilepsy and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The team will create a bedroom that reflects her love of photography. Like all of the dream bedroom makeovers, costs will be entirely covered as a result of fundraising efforts. The Grand Island Lions Club and Gui’s Ace Hardware on Whitehaven Road have teamed with Special Spaces to provide the makeover. Ilana’s room will undergo its’ transformation on February 11. At this moment, volunteers are needed to help clear her room, transform it, then welcome her to her personal space of comfort and hope. Volunteers must register with Special Spaces on their website at www.specialspacesbuffalo.org. Click on “Volunteer Sign-Up Form” just below the “Welcome” paragraph. Special Spaces will then contact the volunteer candidates.
        For more information about Special Spaces Buffalo, contact them through the aforementioned website or “Like” them on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/specialspacesbuffalo. The Grand Island Lions Club contact is Lion Tom Witkowski, 909-1862, liontom20n@roadrunner.com.

    Wild Women Unite Weekend Planned - February 2014

       Grand Island, NY...Whether women are looking for a relaxing weekend with friends or looking to enhance their outdoor skills, the Wild Women Unite weekend, scheduled for October 3rd through 5th, 2014 will provide a fun and empowering place to gather in the name of the great outdoors.
       Founder Yvonne Folck has established a powerful, growing network of women, which first began in 2003 with a weekend event in Sandy Creek, New York. This year Yvonne will host the weekend on Grand Island, New York, with partners at Byblos Niagara Resort, Beaver Island State Park, and Branches of the Niagara Campground. 500 women from all over the world are expected to attend, with varying levels of outdoor experience, in order to become more familiar with and comfortable in the environment while learning new or enhancing existing outdoor skills.
       The weekend begins with Keynote Speaker Jennifer Haddow, world adventurer and owner of Wild Women Expeditions. On Saturday, participants can choose four workshops (from thirty options) all of which are beginner level, ranging from outdoor yoga and tai chi to boating, fishing, hiking, and archery. This year, for the first time, a senior track of four workshops are being offered specifically for mature women. All workshops are designed to support all sorts of interests, from easy living to heart-racing adventure, allowing for every woman to participate.
       A registration day happy hour and health fair round out the weekend, and an outdoor bar-b-que at the Beaver Island Clubhouse on Saturday night catered by the Riverstone Grill closes out the day. On Sunday, women are encouraged to further explore their interests or stay in the Buffalo-Niagara region to explore the natural beauty, tourist spots, and culture unique to WNY. Registration opens on the Wild Women Unite website on February 1st, 2014. (www.WildWomenUnite.com) Only 500 spots are available and Yvonne expects the event to be a sellout.

    State Senator Grisanti Office Hours - January 2014

        State Sen. Mark Grisanti will have special satellite office hours on Grand Island once a month through June. A staff member will be on hand and have available; forms, informational brochures and contact information. Office hours are 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall. Dates are Wednesday, February 12th, March 12th, April 9th, May 14th and June 11th.

    2014 Native American Handicraft Lottery - January 2014

        Applications for the 2014 lottery for Native American handicraft sales permits are now available at the Niagara Falls State Park Administrative office. To be eligible, applicants must be eighteen years of age or older and registered as a Native American or provide verifiable proof of Native American heritage. Entries for the lottery are due by Monday, March 17th, 2014 and the drawing will be held on Friday, March 21, 2014 at 11:00am, at the Orin Lehman Visitor Center, on the upper level. Six names will be drawn and applicants must be present to be selected. For additional questions, please contact Mary K. Dugan at 278-1750.

    Free Tickets Available At deSignet Jewelry - January 2014

       A "Kids Fun Fair & Zoo" is scheduled for the Erie County Fairgrounds Agri Center in Hamburg on Saturday, February 8th and Sunday, February 9th. There will be food, games, 100 animals and attractions. Free children (under 13) tickets are available at deSignet Jewelry, 1869 Whitehaven Rd. See ticket.

    Nathan Grisanti Fundraiser - February 2014

       Islander Marty Grisanti's five year-old son Nathan was born with a life threatening congenital heart disease called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He had his first surgery at 4 days old and second at 6 months old. Nathan has his last surgery scheduled soon in Boston, MA and needs help with expenses, etc. A fundraiser is planned for Saturday, March 1st at the Knights of Columbus, 1530 Kenmore Ave., Buffalo, 14216. See flyer for details. Donations of baskets and money may be made by contacting Amber Thornton at 563-7736.

    Bluebirds Find Strength In Numbers - January 2014

    Chris Cinelli photo - click for larger view.

        This weather is tough on everyone, including the birds. Last week Chris Cinelli observed approximately 8-10 bluejays huddled in a nesting box he had built. Large numbers of birds will often cluster together in a cavity (artificial or otherwise) as a survival strategy to conserve heat and maintain body temperature during the harsh weather. Like their cousin the robin (both are thrushes), bluebirds often flock together in large groups in the winter and seek out sheltered areas where they forage on berries and other plant materials until their preferred diet of insects become available again. Chris and his sons often provide meal worms as a dietary supplement to tide their neighborhood bluebirds over during lean periods.

    CROP Walk for Hunger Team Meeting - January 2014

        The CROP Walk for Hunger Team is having their first planning meeting for the 2014 CROP Walk this Thursday, January 30th, at 9:00 a.m. at CROP Walk coordinator Rev. Paul Robinson's home, 61 Parkview Dr. Everyone is welcome to attend.

    Island Man Sentenced To Jail - January 2014

        A Grand Island man was sentenced Tuesday, January 21st to one year in Niagara County Jail for stealing an air conditioner from the Niagara Falls Walmart store last April. In addition, Michael G. Kargatis Jr. of Bedell Road was barred from entering the store in the future.

    GI Rod and Gun Club Present Plaque - January 2014

    From Left: Jim Bartolotta, Michael Yensan, Eleanor Payne and Lyle Dinsmore
    Jodi Robinson photo

        The Grand Island Rod and Gun Club presented Connor Middle School Vice Principal Eleanor Payne with a plaque of recognition for saving the life of a student in September, 2013 at the school. The student had collapsed in the hallway and had no pulse, Ms. Payne immediately began CPR, which got the girl breathing again and saved her life. President Michael Yensan along with directors Jim Bartolotta and Lyle Dinsmore began the first meeting of the year on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 with the presentation to the delighted vice principal.

    Town/County Tax Bills Mailed - January 2014

        Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel announced that the 2014 Town/County Tax Bills have been mailed. If you have changed banks, have paid off your mortgage or do not have an escrow account and did not receive a tax bill, please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 773-9600 ext. 620 or 600. The office will be open extras hours on Friday February 14 – 8:30am – 6:00pm, Saturday February 15 – 9:00am – 12:00pm and Tuesday February 18 – 8:30am – 6:00pm. The office will be closed Monday February 17. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is February 18. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of February 18 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made February 19 and later. Payments can be made until June 30, 2014. After this date, payments must be sent to the County. Online tax receipts and payments may be made at www.gigov.com, service fees apply. Debit cards are accepted at the Town Clerk's office and service fees apply.

    Old Issues for a New Year - January 2014

       by Kevin R. Hardwick - 4th District County Legislator
       Last week I took the oath of office for my third term in the Erie County Legislature representing Grand Island and the Tonawandas. Although much has changed since I first was sworn in four years ago, some of the issues we will be addressing this year have carried over from previous years.
       The Buffalo and Erie County Library system’s quest to create a separate independent library district, for instance, is among the topics with which we continue to wrestle. 2014 would appear to be a critical year for this proposal. Currently, the system relies on an annual appropriation in the Erie County Budget for the lion’s share of its funding. At last report, however, the central library board was drafting state legislation to allow for an independent countywide library district, complete with its own taxing authority. If they get it passed in Albany, the question of whether to create the district would be put to the county’s voters. Although I remain skeptical regarding the wisdom of creating another layer of government, I favor allowing the central library board to make their case to the citizens of Erie County and letting the voters decide.
       Another issue that may be coming to a head concerns the construction of a new building at ECC’s North Campus. The location of the new academic building has been a bone of contention for several years. The college’s administration and Board of Trustees favor the North Campus. So does a consultant’s report. Others, though, would like to see it located in the City of Buffalo. They argue it should be next to the medical corridor.
       The problem with this argument is that it would do little to help taxpayers in the North towns who are burdened by additional property taxes to cover the costs of so-called chargebacks from Niagara County Community College (NCCC). Every time an Erie County resident takes a course at NCCC, Niagara County sends Erie County a bill to cover the cost of the student’s county share for the course. These chargebacks are then added to the property taxes for the city or town in which the student resides. This amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional taxes every year for each municipality. Locating the new building on the North Campus will hopefully persuade more students to attend ECC rather than NCCC. Locating the building downtown would do little to alleviate our chargeback dilemma, as many students from the North towns are reluctant to attend school in Buffalo for a variety of reasons. Hence, it is in our economic self-interest to see that the building is constructed on the North campus.
       As the new chair of the Legislature’s Community Enrichment Committee, I will be devoting a great deal of time to topics involving the libraries and the community college. If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Two Small Islands in the Mighty Niagara - January 2014

       A presentation of "The Lore, Legend and Future of Strawberry and Motor Boat Islands", presented by the Buffalo Launch Club Heritage/Entertainment Committee and the GI Historical Society will take place on Saturday, January 25th at 8:00 p.m at the BLC. Presenters of stories and photos include President of GI Historical Society Curt Nestark. BLC Historian Tom Frauenheim and Niagara River Historian Paul Leuchner. Gary Kenline, a member of the Kenline family who owned Motor Boat from 1937-1984 will be speaking. Also, "Lefty" Lowenstroh, assistant to the caretaker of Motor Boat after 1937, will be telling stories. Jeffrey and Lyle Dinsmore of LDC Construction will be speaking about the current reconstruction that is taking place on both island. See flyer for details.

    Island Eyesore Sold - January 2014

    Jodi Robinson photo

        The building that was formerly known as the Hooker Chemical, Occidental, Dunlop and most recently Metz building has been sold to Rudra Management and Rosewood Hotels of Cheektowaga for $850,000. The building is located on Long Road. The first level is expected to be used for retail and office space. The second and third floors may be used for a hotel and residential.

    Garbage Pick-up Attempting To Resume Normal Schedule Thursday

       Press Release January 8, 2013...Allied Waste has extra crews available so they will be on the Island today to catch up the Tuesday garbage and recycling pickup, and do as much of Wednesday as they can. Tomorrow they will finish whatever Wednesday did not get done, and do all of Thursday’s customers on Thursday if at all possible. Anything not done Thursday, will be done Friday as well as the usual Friday customers. Saturday will involve pickups only if normal routine was not able to be maintained due to additional weather complications.

    Clean Air's Hope and History Forum - January 2014

        Clean Air's Hope and History Forum will feature stories of hope from local residents and how their experience fighting for justice led them to become agents for change. The forum will take place on Wednesday, January 15th at 7:00 p.m. at St. Timothys Church, 1453 Staley Rd. Grand Island. Clean Air: Organizing for Health and Justice was founded by residents in Tonawanda, NY who suspected that their health problems were linked to the 53 industrial plants in their neighborhood. Residents conducted their own research, joined together with their neighbors to build the power of their community, and forced enforcement agencies and decision makers to take action. Since then their work has grown. The fight has expanded to work not only to reduce toxics in the Tonwandas, but also to address the asthma epidemic on Buffalo’s west side. Fighting for justice can be difficult, overwhelming, and never ending. This is why remembering and celebrating community wins is not only meaningful, but necessary.

    Blizzard 2014 - January 2014

       The Blizzard of 2014 did not hit Grand Island anywhere near as bad as south of Buffalo. Frigid temperatures caused the Grand Island School District to close Tuesday and Wednesday, January 7th & 8th. Near white out conditions on and off throughout Tuesday, ended in a travel advisory in the Town for the afternoon and evening hours. An ice jam in the East River resulted in some flooding along the Grand Island shoreline.

    Mary Stewart took this photo mid-day in her LaSalle neighborhood. (1-7-14)

    John Williams sent in this photo taken at Steeg Road near Sandy Beach. (1-7-14)

    Aaron Bobeck's photo of the south bridge. (1-7-14)

    Emily Dahlstom photos. (1-7-14)
    The first picture is neighbor Betty Killian's dock under water. The second picture is Emily's property, showing the dock under water, and the floor of the small building in danger! This morning the water has gone down, not to normal levels, but it is down.

    Jodi Robinson photo taken at southern point of Beaver Island looking south to Buffalo.
    Strawberry Island in left of photo. (1-8-14)