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Previous News Page

Residents Move to Ban Town Land Trapping - December 2015

   Buffalo News reporter Anne Neville has written a story about Whitehaven Road residents Nicole Gerber and Dave Reilly and their efforts to ban trapping on Town land. See story.

GI Man Arrested for Robbery - December 2015

   Buffalo police arrested a Grand Island man over the weekend in the robbery early Saturday of the Kwik Fill at 2212 Niagara St. Adam P. Riley, 46, of Schwegler Road, is charged with with felony first-degree robbery and criminal possession of a weapon. Police said Riley threatened the clerk with a chrome box pipe. The suspect was found beneath a pickup in the 100 block of Thompson Street with $231 of the stolen cash.

Santa Visit at Kelly's Country Store - December 2015

   Our favorite photographer Mary Stewart visited Kelly's Country Store over the weekend and snapped a photo of the beautiful Hayes girls of Grand Island. They are Eirelyn on the left and sleepy Scottlyn with Santa, Mom Keira is waiting in the wings.

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Church Services - December 2015

Bible Presbyterian Church, 1650 Love Road.
Christmas Eve
Thursday, December 24th, Candlelight Service at 7:00 p.m.

Trinity United Methodist Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road
Christmas Eve
Thursday, December 24th, Children & Family Service at 5:00 p.m., Contemporary Candlelight Service with Praise Band at 7:00 p.m., Traditional Candlelight Service with Chancel Choir, Bell Choir and Orchestra at 11:00 p.m.

St. Martin's Episcopal Church, 2587 Baseline Road
Christmas Eve Thursday, December 24th with Bishop Franklin at 7:30 p.m.
Christmas Day at 10:00 a.m.

St. Timothy Lutheran Church, 1453 Staley Road
Christmas Eve Thursday, December 24th, Family Candlelight Service at 4:00 p.m. and Festival Candlelight Service at 10:00 p.m.

Winter Concert Series Planned - December 2015

Click for larger view.

    For the second winter in a row, the area's best bands are coming to Grand Island! Starting in January and continuing through the season, a different band and themed event will be featured each month. An unforgettable 80's Bash with Nerds Gone Wild will be on Friday, January 22nd, Country Night with WNY's best country band 90 West is on Saturday, February 27th and a St. Patrick's Day Party with Strictly Hip is set for Saturday, March 19th. It's all happening at the beautiful venue of Ellden's at River Oaks located at 201 Whitehaven Rd. This event is open to the public and tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by visiting River Oaks or calling 716-341-1040. Table reservations are available. Don't miss these wonderful concert events happening at Ellden's at River Oaks this winter!

Grant for Scenic Woods Bicentennial Park - December 2015

Dark green - Phase 1, Light Green - Phase 1-A.

Rendering of watch tower.

    New York State Senator Marc Panepinto recently announced the 2015 Regional Economic Development Council Awards (REDC) for the 60th State Senate District. "Through this latest round of Regional Economic Development Council Awards, Governor Cuomo has once again demonstrated his steadfast dedication to the people of Western New York. The distribution of $83.9 million to these deserving projects is not only indicative of their strength but of the faith our state government holds in our community. I am proud to serve as the representative and advocate for 19 of these outstanding awardees and look forward to continuing to work on their behalf." The 19 projects were funded for a total of $11,242,732. Grand Island will receive $197,634 for Phase 1 and Phase 1A of the Scenic Woods Bicentennial Park, located off of Ransom Road and Sturbridge Lane. Phase 1 consists of Sturbridge Lane parking, trailhead, buffer plantings, mitigation area trail loop, one watch tower and 3 rest intervals. Phase 1A consists of Gun Creek trail loop, two rest intervals and one creek crossing. See phasing map. There is not a scheduled date for the work to begin.

Irish Dance & Music Performance - December 2015

    The McCarthy School of Irish Dancers will be performing at the Grand Island High School auditorium, 100 Ransom Road, on Saturday, December 19th at 2:00 p.m. Special musical guests will be Dan, Rick and Frankie from the Blarney Bunch. Tickets are $10 pre-sale by contacting mccarthycelticchristmas@gmail.com or 716.533.8266, or $12 at the door. Doors will open at 1:00 p.m. for a large basket raffle. There will be a collection of canned goods for the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation and St. Luke's Mission of Mercy during the show. See flyer

Grand Island Historic Homes Display - December 2015

    The Historic Preservation Advisory Board has recently put a new display of Grand Island Historic Homes in the foyer of the Grand Island Memorial Library. 26 current photos of homes and schools are on display with a handout listing the address and descriptive information. Stop by and see the old homes of Grand Island then take a tour.

County Budget Process Produces Sound Budget- December 2015

   by Kevin R. Hardwick - 4th District County Legislator
    Call it "A Tale of Two Budgets." On the one hand, there is the Federal Budget. Hardly a week goes by when there isn't someone threatening to shut down the government if they do not get everything they want. This sort of brinksmanship has led to several government shutdowns over the years and even entire years without a federal budget.
    Then there is Erie County and the recent adoption of our 2016 budget. Our process presents quite a contrast to what happens in Washington. After receiving the county executive's proposed budget in October, I joined my colleagues on the Legislature in proposing a number of amendments. These changes included a number of job cuts to pay for increased funding for Erie Community College and a modest property tax cut. Rather than trying to force the cuts on the executive, we entered into negotiations with him. We basically said, "We want to increase funding to ECC and cut property taxes and here is how we plan to get the money to accomplish our objectives." We then invited him to suggest alternative cuts that would retain some of the jobs while still freeing up the money for ECC and the tax cut. He was able to do so and we accepted his suggestions. The process was both collegial and professional. In short, it was about as different from DC as you can get.
   Most important, the resulting budget was something that will benefit all citizens of Erie County. It certainly will comfort the county's property taxpayers, as we delivered a second tax cut in two years. It also provided for slight increases in funding for libraries and cultural institutions, what the county executive likes to call "the People's Mandates." But it also provided a half million dollars more for ECC, which I like to refer to as "the People's College." This money will aid the college in its twin missions of providing a quality college education to students who might otherwise be unable to afford one and training the workforce of tomorrow. This is extremely important, as education is one of the surest pathways out of poverty and we have more than our share of poor in Erie County. We are making strides, though, in turning this around and this budget certainly bolsters our efforts.
   All in all, the 2016 Erie County Budget process has confirmed my contention that by working together we can make Erie County an even nicer place to live, work and raise a family. 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 Dog Park Fundraiser - December 2015

   The planned Grand Island Dog Park, soon to be located at the Nike Base on Whitehaven Road, is having a fundraiser. Order your 4x5" automotive grade magnet, diecut in the shape of Grand Island, personalized with your dog(s) photo, with or without caption. Order by December 16th for December 19th pickup at the Nike Base. See order page. Donations are also being accepted as $15,000 in fencing is needed for the area.

Island Lights Back in Action - December 2015

544 Baseline Road near Bush Road. - Aaron Bobeck photo.

   The Island Lights display at 544 Baseline Road, near Bush Road is back in action for the fourth year. It gets bigger and better every year. The over 20,000 lights are set to music and can be enjoyed Monday - Sunday, from 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. until January 1st. Just set your radio to 100.3 FM.

Island Park Drive Lightshow - December 2015

   The Schnettler family has a holiday display at 47 Island Park Dr. off Baseline. First year in action come enjoy a wonderful light and music display. Sunday -Thursday 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and Friday - Saturday 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. until January 1st. Enjoy the show...Happy Holidays.

Christmas Craft Show - November 2015

Some of the items for sale at the Christmas Craft Show.

    A group of crafty Islanders are hosting their annual Christmas Craft Show at 41 Sturbridge Lane on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 3-4-5, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. There will be many beautiful wreaths, decorated trees and baskets, some with lights, and tree ornaments, all made by local crafts people. New this year is a table of handmade wooden crafts, by a young Island man starting a woodworking business. Three rooms are filled with items to help make your gift giving and home decorating easy and fun. Prices are $20 or less, call 773-4439.

Mudd Ox ATV Coming to GI - November 2015

   The former Sihi Pumps facility at 303 Industrial Drive was recently acquired by a English company, Mudd Ox ATV. Thirty new employees are expected to be hired at what will be a all-terrain vehicle assembly plant. The authorized representative in the sale wrote a glowing letter to the Town Board saying Town employees "were key in our decision to acquire this property on Grand Island". You can see the letter in its entirety here. Company website.

Town Christmas Tree Arrives - November 2015

Grand Island's official holiday tree, a Blue Spruce at the Town Commons.

   Grand Island's Christmas tree was hoisted upright on Tuesday, November 17th, on a balmy afternoon at the Town Commons. The tree was donated by Kevin and Cindy Hagen from their residence on East River Road and is estimated to be 30 feet. LDC Construction kindly delivered it at no cost. Town workers Dick Crawford, Chuck Berlinger, Kevin Hagen, Terry Wendel, Dave Williams, Skip Mrkall and Tom & Dick Dworak had their hands full getting the tree upright and secure. The tree will be lit at the Light Up The Boulevard Festival on Saturday, November 21st.

McMurray Wins Supervisor Race - November 2015

    Buffalo News Story by Barbara O'Brien - November 18, 2015
   Newcomer Nathan McMurray defeated incumbent Mary Cooke for the Supervisor race by 14 votes after absentee and affidavit ballots were counted Tuesday and Wednesday.

Absentee Votes Failed to Decide Some Erie County Races - November 2015

   Buffalo News Story by Barbara O'Brien
   Nathan McMurray has a 12-vote lead over Supervisor Mary Cooke after the absentee ballots were counted on Tuesday, November 17th. The affidavit ballots will be counted Wednesday, November 18th. See story.

Ducks Unlimited Conservation Dinner - November 2015

    Ducks Unlimited will have its 7th Annual Wetlands Conservation Dinner at the Buffalo Launch Club on Thursday, December 3rd starting at 6:00 p.m. There will be dinner, cash bar, live auction, door prizes, raffles, firearms and more. Contact Bob Hobba at 774-1223 for tickets and information. This is one of the group's major fundraisers for the year. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Veterans Day Service at DeGlopper Memorial Park - November 2015

From left: Mike Mehltretter, Commander Christian Eshelman and Eric Anderson announcing DeGlopper Park plan.

VFW Honor Guard Rifle Salute.

Dan McMahon-VFW & Rick Schmitz-American Legion present memorial wreath.

Rendering of new park addition - click for larger view.

   The annual Veterans Day Service was held at Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park this year instead of Veterans Park on Bedell Road. This was due to a big announcement that the American Legion Post 1346, Grand Island Moose and the VFW Post 9249 are purchasing the land next to DeGlopper Park and going to enlarge the park. Former VFW Commander Mike Mehltretter made the announcement with Eric Anderson of the Moose Lodge and Ray DeGlopper of the American Legion.
    VFW Commander Christian Eshelman greeted the attendees to the service and Supervisor Mary Cooke spoke of all Veterans bravery and sacrifice. State Assemblyman John Ceretto presented a proclamation honoring the 50th anniversary of the VFW Post and pledged his time looking for funds to help with the park. The Union Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps provided music for the event, along with GIHS Wind Ensemble Trumpeters Max VeRost and Eric Albrecht.
   The new project team is looking for input from the community as far as ideas and donations. The next meeting will be at the GI Moose Lodge on Monday, December 14th. If you would like to make a donation, checks can be made out to VFW Post 9249, write DeGlopper Park Expansion in the subject. The Post address is 2121 Grand Island Blvd.

Special Veterans Day Service at Elderwood - November 2015

Veteran Kester Bleich and VFW Post 9249 past Commander Mike Mehltretter.

Pin received by Veterans.

   A recent move to the the Elderwood at Riverwood residence by well-known GI veteran Kester Bleich prompted a Veterans Day ceremony there on Wednesday, November 11th. Eighteen residents were thanked for their service in a speech by Grand Island VFW Post 9249 Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Commander Christian Eshelman. Department of New York VFW Commander Marlene Roll provided her official pin to be presented to the Veterans by Island resident and Department of New York Membership Chairman Dan McMahon.

Election Reflections - November 2015

by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
    The 2015 election ended at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd. What some call the "silly season" was over. Now that it is behind us, I would like to share some thoughts on this year's election, as well as elections in general.
    I was fortunate to be granted another two-year term in the Erie County Legislature by the voters of Grand Island and the Tonawandas. I am extremely grateful to them for having done so. I look forward to working with others who won their elections. One of these, of course, is County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Despite being from different political parties, we have worked well together the past four years and I have every reason to believe this will continue. This is, after all, not Washington, D.C. It is Erie County and we have proven that Democrats and Republicans can work together.
    Toward that end, I am also looking forward to working with the new Supervisor of the Town of Tonawanda, Joe Emminger. Joe and I are both members of the Mt. St. Mary Academy Board of Trustees and already have developed a good working relationship. I also know that I will enjoy productive relationships with the new City of Tonawanda Council President, Jenna Koch, and whoever emerges as the Town of Grand Island Supervisor once the absentee ballots are counted. So I congratulate all of this year's election winners. Emerging victorious on Election Day is no small feat. It is the result of a lot of hard work.
    They are not the only ones who worked hard, as those who came up short on Election Day also gave up their summers to provide us with a choice. Having lost a couple of elections of my own a few years back, I know how disappointing it is to sacrifice so much and get so little in return. So we owe them all a huge debt and I want to thank them all and wish them the best in their future endeavors, starting with my opponent, Todd Potter, Jr. Todd is a young man who has already made significant contributions as a member of the Ken-Ton School Board. He has a bright future. Two years ago, another fairly young man named Bill Conrad faced me in the November election. Recently, Bill and I have been working together to drum up support for a brilliant idea of his to reduce community college chargebacks from other counties that add millions of dollars to our Erie County property taxes. I have enjoyed working with Bill and hope to have the privilege of working with Todd someday soon on something equally beneficial to us all.
    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.

Grand Island Veterans Day Service - November 2015

    The annual Veterans Day service will be held at Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park at Baseline and Grand Island Blvd. instead of Veterans Park this year. The Grand Island VFW and American Legion posts will have a special project announcement at the service.The service takes place on Wednesday, November 11th at 11:00 a.m.

Thank-A-Vet Program Pays Tribute to Veterans - November 2015

   Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs
    To each and every American who has worn the uniform of the United States, I simply say, "Thank you for your service." - Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs     On Veterans Day, we honor the men and women who have served our Nation and answered the call to defend it. The United States rose to greatness on the strength of their service and their stories are woven into the fabric of our Nation's history. More than 26 million veterans are alive today, one million of which have been wounded, and many who receive treatment for battlefield injuries and mental trauma.
    Since 1776, nearly 2 million men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in combat. We know them as our fathers and mothers, our aunts and uncles, or perhaps our next-door neighbors. Whether they served in times of war or peace, all veterans share a common bond, their belief in the cause of freedom. A belief so strong they are willing to give their lives, if need be, in its defense. Here in Erie County there are over 64,500 veterans who have risked their lives to protect us. As Americans, we all must take the time to honor and thank them for their service.
    Events are planned throughout Erie County to honor these men and women for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice. I encourage all Erie County residents to take time from your busy day to attend the Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, November 7, 2015. The annual parade starts at 11am beginning at Delaware Avenue and Edward, ending at Buffalo City Hall, and celebrates the heroism and courage of our local veteran community. At the Erie County Clerk's Office, we pay tribute to our veterans 365 days a year through our "Thank-A-Vet" Discount Program. I would like to remind veterans if they haven't already filed their honorable discharge papers and received the "Thank-A-Vet" discount card, to come in and do so. Over 1,180 Erie County businesses have registered in the program to give valuable discounts on goods and services.
    When a veteran puts 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 716-858-4737.

Free Veterans Day Concert - November 2015

    The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a free Veterans Day Concert, "Salute to Veterans" on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda at 7:00 p.m. The BPO honors veterans, their families, and the community with this free Veterans Day concert at the Riviera Theatre.The Fifth and Sixth Grade Meadow Elementary School Chorus and Buffalo Suzuki Strings join the orchestra in paying tribute to those who fought for our country. Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" will be narrated by North Tonawanda mayor Arthur G. Pappas. Garrett Martin, organist and music director of Buffalo's Westminster Presbyterian Church, will perform on the theatre's iconic Mighty Wurlitzer organ. Stefan Sanders is on the podium. All tickets to this concert are free thanks to the generosity of Russell J. Salvatore. Salvatore bought the entire house for the event, allowing the Buffalo Philharmonic to distribute tickets through select area Veteran's organizations. A limited number of tickets are available at the box office or by calling 885-5001.
    Tickets are also available at:
Niagara County Veterans Service, Veterans Affairs Department: 111 Main St. Suite 200, Lockport, NY, 14094, (716) 438-4090
Veterans One-stop Center of WNY, Inc.: 1280 Main St., Suite 204, Buffalo, NY 14209,(716) 995-4312
Riviera Theatre box office: 67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda, NY 14120, (716) 692-2413

Grand Island Company helps you Vote-Educated - November 2015

    Casting a vote is one of the most important things we do as Americans. So why do so few of us vote? One of the problems is getting to know the candidates and what they stand for. Too many times politicians tear down their opponents without really telling you why they deserve your vote. The information on the candidates is hard to find and often laced with negative comments. A start up company located on Grand Island is changing that. Maybe you have seen the signs for Voter-Ed.com, and asked yourself what is that? Go to Voter-Ed.com and see what the buzz is all about.
    Voter-Ed.com is an unbiased website where the candidates list up to ten things they want you to know about them. It has their political opinions, biographies and personal information. The website has one guiding principal, the politician cannot discuss the other candidates; they only tell you why they deserve your vote and the topics that are important to them. There are several key races in Grand Island this year, and eight of the ten candidates are listed on the site. Voter-Ed.com will prepare you to vote by helping you get to know the candidates and vote educated.
    The company has been getting interest and followers from over 16 different states ranging from Town Council candidates to State Senators and State Supreme Court Justice candidates. Next year Voter-Ed.com has plans to provide the service on a National scale and they look forward to Americans voting in greater numbers and voting educated!

"Don't Lose Your Edge", Riparian Flyer - October 2015

   The Town of Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board has published a Riparian Zone flyer called "Don't Lose Your Edge", to inform residents of the best way to protect their property, that abuts a water source. The establishment of a vegetated area along bodies of water, that consist of trees, shrubs and vegetation, prevents erosion. See flyer for details.

2015 Lawn Mower Race #3 - October 2015

Jonathan Dingey.

Big Pete and little Pete Marston.

   The last of the 2015 Lawn Mower racing series was held on Sunday, October 25th at Veterans Park. It was delayed from Saturday due to inclement weather. The event was a fundraiser for the Grand Island Little League. Race and series point winners are as follows.
Race Winner - Jonathan Dingey
Series Winner - Jonathan Dingey
Race Winner - Tom Long
Series Winner - Scott Endres
One Cylinder Modified:
Race Winner - Dan Wasiewicz
Series Winner - Pete Marston
2 Cylinder Modified:
Race Winner - Pete Marston
Series Winner - Pete Marston
Pro Stock:
Race Winner - Scott Endres
Series Winner - Scott Endres
Super Mod:
Race Winner - Rob Schooping
Series Winner - Rob Schooping
Bubble Race:
Winner - Little Pete Marston

Sign Lawsuit Outcome - October 2015

   Following an appearance last Friday, October 23, 2015, in NY State Supreme Court, political candidate James T. Maloney has agreed to drop his sign lawsuit without any relief being granted by the Court. The Town's sign enforcement in the right-of-way has been assigned, at the request of the Town Board, to the Highway Superintendent. In open Court, Mr. Maloney acknowledged that the Highway Superintendent was handling this responsibility in a fair manner. The Town has confirmed to the Court that the Town has and will continue to enforce the Sign Code in a public safety first, non-discriminatory way.

National Grid Preps For Strong Winds - October 2015

    BUFFALO...October 27, 2015 - High wind warnings and watches have been posted for most of Western New York beginning overnight tonight, and National Grid crews are prepping for any damage those winds may cause to its energy delivery network. The company is urging its customers to be prepared, and be safe, in the event of service outages. National Grid is closely monitoring local forecasts, and will have its regional storm rooms prepped and fully staffed early Wednesday morning. All local crews are on stand-by to report early, if necessary, and will be available to address service issues throughout the event as soon as it is safe to do so.
   National Grid advises customers to be prepared in the event of service interruptions. It's a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as National Grid provides news media with timely information regarding service restoration efforts.
    National Grid offers the following tips for customers to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety in the event that storm-related power interruptions do occur.
  • National Grid customers who experience outages should call National Grid';s outage line at 1-800-867-5222 immediately to expedite restoration.
  • Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
  • Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it’s an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
  • People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company's Customer Service Center at 1-800-642-4272.
  • Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.
  • If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, disconnect from National Grid's system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public.
  • If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
        The company provides a number of channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms. Customers can receive text message alerts and updates by texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743) or follow the storm on their mobile devices by using the National Grid mobile app. The company provides real time outage information on its Outage Central web site at nationalgridus.com/OutageCentral. E-mail alerts are also available to customers who create an online profile on the company's website. All alert services can be started and stopped at the customer's request. National Grid also provides storm and restoration updates through Facebook and Twitter.

    GI Schools STEM Program Honored - October 2015

    From left Mark Cassell and Superintendent Teresa Lawrence

       At its second annual "Celebration of STEM", (science, technology, engineering, and math), event on October 15th, the WNY STEM Hub honored 14 school districts and one charter school as an Emerging STEM School System. Nine additional schools were cited for being "Schools on the Move"" for advancing STEM programs. Grand Island Central School District was designated an Emerging STEM School System; Superintendent Teresa Lawrence accepted the honor from Mark Cassell from Siemens who sponsors this program for the WNY STEM Hub.
       This year's honorees join the inaugural cohort of 29 systems that were recognized in 2014. Emerging STEM School Systems have begun to make substantiated efforts in advancing STEM/STEAM learning. The program for new and emerging school systems is co-sponsored with Siemens. The WNY STEM Hub is a volunteer-driven incorporated nonprofit organization with more than 400 individual members representing nearly 200 organizations in Western New York. It is affiliated with the national STEMx network and the Empire State STEM Learning Network. Its aim is to create awareness and partnerships that serve learners of all ages in accessing STEM/STEAM learning and careers. Further information can be found at wnystem.org.

    Island Man Dies in Accident - October 2015

       A Grand Island man died after crashing his vehicle in the Town of Humphrey, Cattaraugus County, on Saturday, October 24th. 39-year-old Steven Kessler was found dead on the side of the road, a short distance from his vehicle. The New York State Police are asking the public for information, call (716) 353-4029.) An investigation has ruled it an accident.

    Highway Department Winter Policy - October 2015

       A friendly reminder from the Town of Grand Island Highway Department. November 1, 2015 is the official start of our 2015-2016 Winter Season. Please observe our 'No Parking' restrictions on all public highways between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., from November 1, 2015 thru March 31, 2016. This allows us to give you effective snow plowing in all areas of the town. Our Town of Grand Island Police Department and the Erie County Sheriff's Department enforce this ordinance.
    Thank you,
    JT Tomkins
    Superintendent of Highways
    Town of Grand Island, New York

    Sandy Beach Park Club Shoreline Restoration - October 2015

    Sandy Beach Park Club Shoreline Restoration Plan.
    Click above for larger image.

    Current shoreline.

    Celebratory cake made to resemble new shoreline.

    Breaking Ground.

       Grand Island, NY...Monday, October 26, 2015 - On Monday morning, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and members of the Sandy Beach Park Club were joined by Senator Marc Panepinto at a press event to announce the beginning of a collaborative effort to construct a shoreline restoration project on the Park Club's property. Representatives from the Town of Grand Island, the town's Conservation Advisory Board, the Greenway Commission and the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee also attended the groundbreaking to express their support for this innovative project. The goal is to restore nearly 100 feet of Niagara River shoreline in a project that removes a concrete bulkhead wall and replaces it with a beach and "living shoreline." A living shoreline increases habitat, biodiversity and coastal resiliency. Living shorelines also perform beneficial services such as stabilizing coastal areas, controlling erosion, filtering pollutants before they enter the water and mitigating flooding. The native plants and log features that will be installed during the project will also provide important habitat required for the life cycles of local fish, birds and other wildlife.
        ""Through this collaboration, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is committed to building resilient shorelines that support habitat, prevent flooding, and protect property," said Jill Jedlicka, executive director. "By partnering with Sandy Beach Park Club, we are demonstrating the numerous benefits that ecosystem protection can provide to landowners. Due to the continued loss of unique island habitat throughout the Niagara River, this project will also benefit emerald shiner and lake sturgeon populations. We thank the Town of Grand Island for their ongoing commitment to protecting the Niagara River, and we hope that this is the first of many more restoration efforts in this geographically significant community."
        Construction will begin in early December and will be complete by spring of 2016. The funding for this effort was provided by the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee. The project at Sandy Beach is the first of several living shorelines projects to be completed by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper through this effort. All of these sites will serve as demonstration projects and learning laboratories to illustrate how artificial, hardened shorelines can be transformed back into their natural condition in order to provide beneficial services to the river and community.
        "The work being announced today is about more than just aesthetics," said Senator Marc Panepinto (D-Buffalo). "The efforts being made by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper will help to protect our shoreline, create a healthy ecosystem for our wildlife and provide invaluable waterfront access that our residents deserve. As the representative of Erie County's entire share of waterfront nothing is more important. The renaissance we are experiencing along Buffalo's shoreline is proof. As we continue to make great strides, I am proud to stand alongside Riverkeeper and partner in their efforts to grow and strengthen a blue economy for all of Western New York." Grand Island Town Supervisor Mary Cooke stated, "Grand Island is the very center of the Niagara River Greenway, with 23 miles of shoreline. Efforts to improve the shoreline are always welcome and having this area along the river as a demonstration project for others to imitate is a huge bonus. Thanks to the Sandy Beach Park Club, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and the Niagara River Greenway Ecological Standing Committee for making this possible."
        Hardened shorelines, such as concrete, rip rap and sheet metal walls create an unnatural separation between water and land. They decrease the shoreline's ability to carry out natural processes such as stormwater filtration, erosion control and protection from waves and extreme weather events. During the last 100 years, over 80% of shoreline in the upper Niagara River has been altered to hardened conditions, reducing the shoreline's ability to filter drinking water and eliminating the presence of important habitat needed for many plant and animal species. Tim DePriest, chair of the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee, stated, "The Niagara Greenway Ecological Standing Committee regards the Sandy Beach living shoreline project as a great example of how Niagara's shoreline can be restored to sustain a wide range of ecological benefits that are enjoyed by both visitors and residents of the Greenway."
        Sandy Beach Park Club is a community membership organization that provides a place for families within the Sandy Beach neighborhood to enjoy the waterfront, and features a picnic area, beach access, and small dock. Founded over 75 years ago, the park features a beach which is actively used by the community. The design of this living shoreline project at Sandy Beach will provide an example of how shoreline uses can include beach access while incorporating natural elements beneficial to the surrounding ecosystem and wildlife. The Sandy Beach Park Club is donating in-kind services in the form of equipment and technical support, and has offered to invite schools and community groups on-site to learn about the science of living shorelines. The site will feature educational signage in order to communicate the importance of natural shorelines.
        Brian Murphy, representing the members of the Sandy Beach Park Club, stated, "This project is a remarkable example of how teamwork, dedication and common sense can benefit both our community and the environment! This living shoreline project will restore the waterfront to our vision and will add enhancements that will benefit the environment. We're proud to be able to say that Sandy Beach will actually have a sandy beach once again."
        Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization that has taken on the region's biggest environmental challenges for over 25 years. We clean up toxic contamination, work to eliminate sewage overflows, restore critical habitat and advocate for the health of the Great Lakes. Our actions protect drinking water, connect people to waterways and build a thriving blue economy. For more information about Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, please visit bnriverkeeper.org or contact Susan Kornacki, Communications and Development Manager, at (716) 852-7483 ext. 38 or skornacki@bnriverkeeper.org.

    Fence the Dog Park Fundraiser - October 2015

    Mary Stewart Photos

        Dogs and their owners came to support the "Fence the Dog Park" which was held on Saturday, October 24th at the Nike Base. There was a bit of "sniffing noses"" and the wagging of tails as the dogs met their other four legged friends. A basket raffle and one mile walk was followed by a hot dog cookout.

    Elderwood Hosts Pet Blessing and Adoption - October 2015

    Mary Stewart Photos

        Elderwood at Grand Island hosted a a pet adoption and blessing event on Saturday, October 17th. Father Earl from St. Martin-in-the Fields Church blessed the pets. There were representatives from Buffalo Cares, a foster care program, and the SPCA with kittens to adopt. A variety of pet products and services were available, plus children had a chance to see the pets at the petting zoo.

    Inter-Municipal Shared Service Agreement - October 2015

    From left: Anthony Caruana, Rick Davis, Judy Tafelski, Mary Cooke and Joseph Emminger

        Press Release - October 23, 2015
        Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony F. Caruana, Town of Grand Island Supervisor Mary Cooke and City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis were joined by Town of Tonawanda Deputy Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger in announcing the Towns and City have reached agreement on terms for an Inter-Municipal Shared Service Agreement. The Agreement will result in Judy M. Tafelski, SCA continuing to serve as the Town of Grand Island Assessor, with the Town and City of Tonawanda sharing services and costs. Ms. Tafelski has served as Town of Grand Island Assessor since August 2010.
        Supervisor's Cooke and Caruana and Mayor Davis stated, "In these difficult economic times, when taxpayers deserve and expect their elected officials do more with less, and find ways to provide quality public services in a more efficient manner, this Agreement between the Towns and City does exactly that. Our three communities will be sharing the services and costs of a highly qualified Assessor in Judy Tafelski and save the taxpayers of the communities over $100,000 per year combined."
        Under the terms of the Inter-Municipal Shared Service Agreement negotiated between the municipalities, it was reviewed and acted upon by the City Common Council on October 20, 2015. The Town Boards of both Tonawanda and Grand Island approved the agreement on October 19, 2015. The communities will share costs on a weighted average basis. Each community will pay for the salary and fringe benefits, based on a pro rata basis.
        It is anticipated Ms. Tafelski would start her duties under the Agreement on or about November 2, 2015. Deputy Supervisor Emminger, along with Supervisors Caruana and Cooke and Mayor Davis added, "We are highly confident this Agreement will serve as a great model for future municipal shared service delivery throughout the county. It has been crafted with language that can easily accommodate the addition of more municipalities , resulting in additional savings for the taxpayers in the future."

    Shelter in Place at GIHS - October 2015

        A shelter in place was conducted this morning (10/23/15) at Grand Island’s high school. After it was concluded that there was no evidence to support a threat to safety, the shelter in place was lifted at approximately 9:45 a.m. The shelter in place protocol, in cooperation with the Sheriff’s department, was enacted as a safety precaution following the discovery of a lone 22 caliber bullet on the premises. The bullet was found during the nightly cleaning of the high school and brought to the attention of high school administrators at the onset of the school day. The safety of our students and employees is paramount. I am thankful for the cooperation of the Sheriff’s department, our administrators, faculty, staff and students. Any time we have an incident we take the time to review our safety plans and protocols to assess ways to improve upon them. As always, if I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to email me at teresalawrence@grandislandschools.org or call me at (716) 773-8801.
    Teresa Lawrence, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools

    One Island Volunteer Facilitator Wanted - October 2015

        The One Island, One Team, Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is seeking a part-time volunteer facilitator/coordinator. This is a community wide group that exists to address underage substance abuse on Grand Island, focusing on both underage individuals and on their families. Duties include attending a monthly Steering Committee meeting, establishing the agenda and running a monthly full Coalition meeting, and participating in special events several times a year. Training is available, locally and regionally. The schedule is flexible, and the emotional rewards are huge.
        Coalition members include local business owners, school personnel, members of the Town Board, parents and grandparents, and law enforcement. If you are interested in participating in the Coalition's efforts, but not in committing to a leadership role, we'd love to hear from you too. Please send a letter of interest describing your qualifications and a resume to "One Island, One Team, Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island, NY 14072" or by email to the Coalition secretary at lwilbert@grand-island.ny.us. The One Island Steering Committee will respond promptly.

    Common Core Online Survey - October 2015

       The New York State Education Department has launched an online survey that will allow New Yorkers to provide detailed feedback on the State's English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy and Math Common Core Learning Standards for prekindergarten through grade 12. Input is sought from teachers, administrators, school board members, parents, the business community, and anyone with an interest in the future of our schools. The link can be found at the bottom of this webpage: http://www.nysed.gov/aimhighny.

    Candidates Night - October 2015

    From left, Gary Roesch, Cyndy Montana, Nathan McMurray, Jim Maloney, Mike Madigan, Bev Kinney and Mary Cooke.

       A Candidates Night sponsored by the Lions Club, Isledegrande.com and Island Dispatch/PennySaver was held on Thursday, October 15th at Kaegebein School auditorium. It began with opening statements from all Grand Island candidates. They are; Supervisor candidates Mary Cooke and Nathan McMurray. Candidates for Town Council Bev Kinney, Mike Madigan, Jim Maloney, Cyndy Montana and Gary Roesch. Candidates for Town Justice; Sybil Kennedy and Mark Nemeth made opening statements and were not asked questions. Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel also made a opening statement and was not asked questions as she is running unopposed. The moderator for the evening was Mike Rayhill. The candidates were asked questions regarding their views on candidates roles in Economic Development, cutting taxes, Vacation Homes, Senior Housing, Gus Macker and budget experience, to name a few. Questions were provided by political party chairs and the audience. Thanks to Mary Haggerty and the GICSD for providing the auditorium for the event. Over 200 people were in attendance.

    Candidate Maloney Files Lawsuit - October 2015

        A lawsuit was filed by Town Board Candidate James T. Maloney on October 11th, in New York State Supreme Court, alleging violations that include his rights to free speech. It is asking for a permanent injunction for the removal of political signs throughout the General Election, taking place on November 3rd. It is also asking for costs and fees for filing of the complaint. Named in the lawsuit are the Town of Grand Island, Town Board, Supervisor Mary S. Cooke and Deputy Supervisor/Councilman Gary G. Roesch. The lawsuit will be heard by the Honorable Shirley Troutman on October 23, 2015.

    Jacobs Reminds Snowmobilers to Register Locally - October 2015

       Jacobs Reminds Snowmobilers to Register their Sleds in Erie County Riders save money and help County Clerk retain up to $1.5M locally.
       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 Erie County Auto Bureau. "The snow will be here before we know it and we do not want any snowmobiler to be delayed in the process of 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 and trailers through their local auto bureau," said Jacobs. "Doing so helps keep needed money in Erie County instead of going to Albany." For forms and additional registration information riders can visit www.erie.gov/clerk/autobureau 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/clerk/reservations to schedule an appointment at any of the three largest Auto Bureaus operated by the County Clerk's Office - Amherst, Cheektowaga and downtown Buffalo.

    Ceretto Pushes to Fix Foreclosure Process - October 2015

       Assemblyman Ceretto pushes to fix foreclosure process, address 'zombie' properties.
        Assemblyman John Ceretto (D-Lewiston) recently held an event in Grand Island, joined by Assemblyman Michael Kearns and Grand Island Town Supervisor Mary Cooke, to highlight the flawed foreclosure process and its impact on communities. Assemblyman Ceretto is working to pass legislation that would hold lenders responsible to ensure that foreclosed properties are maintained and surrounding neighborhoods are not negatively affected (A.6932).
        "There are several problems with the current foreclosure process, and it is leading to a large number of abandoned properties throughout New York State," said Assemblyman Ceretto. "Niagara and Erie counties alone have over 100 abandoned homes, not only in cities, but in residential neighborhoods. We must remedy this problem to keep our communities safe."
       "We started this journey in the City of Buffalo back in 2011 at 44 Arbour Lane where we had a successful resolution to a problem property,"" said Assemblyman Kearns. "Working with our partners, we will continue to display signs every Friday until the banks get the message and clean up their houses. Once again we identify HSBC - another national bank - as playing a role in banks not being responsible neighbors to the broader community. At the pace of these problem incomplete foreclosures, we may run out of signs."
       "Abandoned homes are a huge frustration, consuming endless time and Town resources with little progress. New York State laws give us the longest foreclosure process in the country," said Grand Island Town Supervisor Mary Cooke.    "Houses need to be occupied; empty houses deteriorate very quickly, especially if they're empty over the winter. Changes in the foreclosure process have to be made to solve this problem. Once a house falls into disrepair it is too late." "The negligence being shown by major financial institutions across New York State is shameful. Their continued inattentiveness toward these 'zombie' properties negatively impact our neighborhoods, increasing the potential for criminal behavior while driving down property values," said Senator Panepinto. "This kind of careless behavior must be stopped. I am proud to co-sponsor legislation to hold these financial institutions responsible and to highlight this critical issue with my fellow lawmakers today."
        New York State has the third-highest number of zombie foreclosures in the U.S. According to the state Attorney General's office, there were 99 zombie homes in Erie County and 23 zombie homes in Niagara County last year. The problem is not limited to cities. Smaller towns and communities are experiencing a rise in the number of zombie properties, including Grand Island. These zombie properties are not only unsightly, but can lower property values in an area and are often used for criminal activity.
        Assemblyman Ceretto is pushing for the passage of the Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act to require lenders to inform homeowners of their rights early in the foreclosure process and hold lenders responsible for the upkeep of vacant properties to prevent zombie properties from harming neighborhoods and burdening residents and taxpayers. Further, the legislation would mandate that mortgagees and their loan servicers identify, secure and maintain vacant and abandoned properties earlier in the delinquency process and electronically register properties in a "Vacant and Abandoned Property Registry." This would help families stay in their homes longer and create an organized method to track abandoned properties to prevent zombie properties. Abandoned properties often lead to increased crime rates and lower property values and take a toll on surrounding communities, noted Ceretto.

    An Evening with the Town Clerk at Beaver Island Casino - October 2015

       Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel presents an evening at Beaver Island Casino on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 and include appetizers and soft drinks. See flyer for details.

    Legislator Hardwick to host District Outreach Meetings - October 2015

       (Grand Island/Tonawanda, NY)
        Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick has planned District Outreach Meetings for Tuesday, Oct. 27 to meet with residents and discuss County issues and answer questions. "District Outreach Meetings are a good opportunity to sit down and discuss any issues residents may be having. Among the issues I expect to discuss are infrastructure, the 2016 budget, ECC's Excels program, and other county matters," said Legislator Hardwick.
    The Oct. 27 District Outreach Meetings will be held at the following times:
    8:30 to 9:45 a.m. at the Grand Island Senior Citizen Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island
    10 a.m. to noon City of Tonawanda Senior Center, 33 Main St., Tonawanda
        Information about the 2015-2016 HEAP program, Thank A Vet discount card, Senior Services, Social Services, Veteran Affairs, DMV services, and other county programs 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 www.erie.gov/legislature/district04.

    ECC - Embracing Excellence - October 2015

       By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        There comes a time when you have to say enough is enough! Every time a student from Erie County attends a community college in another New York State county we get a bill from that county. For students attending Niagara County Community College, for instance, that bill is currently a little over $3,000 for a full-time student. These bills are then passed on to property taxpayers in the students' city or town. In recent years this has meant additional property taxes of more than $300,000 per year for City of Tonawanda residents, over $450,000 per year for taxpayers in Grand Island and well over $800,000 added to the county property taxes of citizens of the Town of Tonawanda.
        Although these so-called chargebacks come from community colleges throughout New York State, the big problem for those of us in the North towns has been NCCC. Simply put, they are eating our lunch. But this is only because we have allowed them to do so. While Niagara County has invested in its college’s facilities, ECC has struggled to get by on inadequate funding from New York State and Erie County. Given how badly we are getting hammered by chargebacks from other community colleges, we have been penny wise and pound foolish.
        ECC has been an underappreciated gem for far too long. That is why in my role as Chair of the Legislature's Community Enrichment Committee, which oversees matters pertaining to ECC, I recently requested that the college administration and Board of Trustees develop a blueprint for the college's future. I asked them for something both bold and visionary, something comparable to UB's 2020 campaign. I was pleased when they responded with ECC Excels. My hope is that we will all be hearing a great deal about the details of ECC Excels in the coming months and that people will come to embrace it, as ECC plays a vital role in workforce development and access to higher education for those who would not otherwise be able to afford it.
        Some may look at the blueprint and say that it is merely an expensive wish list and there is no way we can accomplish its objectives. I would hasten to remind them that in the spring of 1961 President John F. Kennedy set the goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth before the end of the decade. Eight years later, a man took that one small step, that one giant leap. This, despite the fact that the lunar module he landed in was still being designed a few short months before the moon landing. We as a nation accomplished our objective in the 1960s; we as a community can realize ECC Excels today. 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.

    Taste of Grand Island - October 2015

    Mary Stewart Photos

       The Taste of Grand Island on Saturday, October 3rd was chilly and damp with passing showers, but that couldn't keep the diehard Island residents away from the delicious vendors. Kudo's to those vendors for braving the inclement weather!

    All Decked Out for Halloween - October 2015

       The Hawley family has decorated their front yard as a spooky cemetery for Halloween. Take a drive by 3371 Greenway Rd. in Sandy Beach and see over a dozen monsters, including the Grim Reaper, shown above.

    Fence the Dog Park Fundraiser - October 2015

       A fundraiser is planned for the new dog park to be constructed at the Grand Island Nike Base, 3278 Whitehaven Road. "Fence the Dog Park" will be held on Saturday, October 17th from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. There will be a one mile walk (dogs welcome), a hot dog cookout and a basket raffle. For more information contact. Kate Lansberry at 773-7157. Basket donations are being accepted at Realty USA, 2139 Grand Island Blvd., Island Pet Lodge, 2120 Alvin and Island Pets & Feed, 2488 Grand Island Blvd. See flyer.

    Grand Island Candidates Night set for Oct. 15 - October 2015

       The Grand Island Lions Club in conjunction with Isledegrande.com and the Island Dispatch will sponsor "Grand Island Candidates Night" from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 15, in the auditorium at Kaegebein Elementary School, 1690 Love Road. Candidates in the general election will meet to discuss campaign topics such as Tourist Homes, Zoning, events in the Town Center and others . Questions for the candidates will also be collected on 3x5 cards from the audience prior to the start and may be used. The moderator is Island resident Mike Rayhill. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Candidates who have agreed to attend include: Supervisor candidates Mary Cooke and Nathan McMurray, Town Council candidates Beverly Kinney, Mike Madigan, Jim Maloney, Cyndy Montana and Gary Roesch, Town Clerk candidate Pattie Frentzel and Sybil Kennedy and Mark Nemeth, candidates for Town Justice.
       Please bring donations of eyeglasses, walkers and wheelchairs for the Lions Club.

    Pattie Frentzel Announces Candidacy - October 2015

        Patricia "Pattie"" Frentzel has announced her candidacy for re-election for the office of Town Clerk. Pattie has proudly served Grand Island as Town Clerk since January 2004. During her tenure many changes and improvements have been made to the services provided to the residents of Grand Island.
        Pattie is highly regarded for providing excellent customer service to our residents. She and her staff are fully cross-trained in all aspects of daily operations and procedures. She has turned the Town Board Meeting preparation process into an almost completely paperless system. She and Town grant writers have obtained over $181,000 in grant money during her tenure. Many of these funds were used to insure transparency and efficiency of the record keeping segment of the Clerk's office which remains a high priority to Pattie.
        Pattie's office is one of the few town clerk offices in Erie County authorized as "passport agent" by the United State Department of State. Since 2006, Pattie's office has processed over 4,400 applications and 5,500 sets of photographs for US Passports generating revenues of over $150,000 for our Town. In 2014, to better assist our residents, Pattie sought and was approved to be an EZ PASS Retailer and has issued over 500 Island commuter tags to our residents.
        In addition to serving as clerk to the Town Board, The Clerk's office oversees the dog licensing program and serves as the Records Management Officer for the Town. Information regarding Town services, recycling bins, maps, voting and simple general questions is available through her office. She and her deputies collect fees from water/sewer rents, building permits as well as hunting and fishing licenses and Town/County and School taxes. Also, the Town Clerk serves as Registrar of Vital Statistics and records all the birth, death and marriages on Grand Island.
        Pattie is professionally linked in with the community, Pattie has conducted Voter Registration for graduating seniors at GIHS (each May), and have been invited as a Guest Lecturer on Town government at Grand Island High School. She is NYS Registered Municipal Clerk and has held Executive Offices in Erie County Town Clerk's Association - Past Treasurer, Erie County Tax Receiver's and Collectors - Past President, Past Vice-President, and the NYS Tax Receiver's and Collectors Assoc. - Board Member. Pattie also volunteers at St. Stephen's Church for various functions throughout the year. She looks forward to serving another term as Town Clerk.
        On October 20th, Pattie Frentzel will present an evening at the Beaver Island Casino in Beaver Island State Park from 6:00-8:00p.m. Join Pattie for an informal evening of conversation and enjoy appetizers catered by Riverstone Grill. Information regarding the event can be obtained by calling 773-8788.

    Elderwood Hosts Pet Blessing and Adoption - October 2015

        Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is hosting a a pet adoption and blessing event on Saturday, October 17th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Father Earl from St. Martin-in-the-Fields will be blessing pets at 1:00 p.m.. The Erie County SPCA, Shenandoah Farms Petting Zoo and vendors of pet products will also be at the event. See flyer.

    Gliding Stars Program Begins - October 2015

        The arrival of fall signals the start of Gliding Stars, an adaptive ice skating program for people with disabilities. In preparation for the 2015-2016 skating season, Elizabeth M. O'Donnell, founder and president of Gliding Stars, announces the program days for the Hamburg Ice Arena and Hyde Park Ice Pavilion in Niagara Falls. Gliding Stars enables people of all ages, from 18 months to senior citizens, who have disabilities to increase their personal potential by developing ice skating skills in a regular program of instruction and practice in their own communities. The instructional and motivational program culminates with an end-of-the season performance in April at the Northtown Center.
        Skating sessions at the Hamburg rink are Saturday's from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. and at Hyde Park on Sunday's and Monday's from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Gliding Stars is always looking for volunteers of all skating levels during any of our three weekly sessions. For more information regarding this season rink schedules and how to become involved in the Gliding Stars Western New York Chapter please visit www.glidingstars.org/wny.html or call (716) 608-8345.

    West River Greenway Connector Trail Public Meeting - October 2015

       Rescheduled to October 6th from 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Grand Island Town Hall, Second Floor Lobby, 2255 Baseline Road.
       The 8-mile connector trail will start at the circle at Beaver Island State Park and run along the West River, north to the existing walkway near Buckhorn State Park. From the original application, "By using primarily pre-cleared land, construction of the connection will be completed with minimal environmental impact and no wetland, woodland or riparian habitats will be affected." "The West River Connector Trail will allow complete public access to 70% of the Niagara River Greenway waterfront."
       A website has been set-up to post your comments on the project, see www.gigreenwayproject.com or see comment form.

    Zonta, Lion & Rotary Joint Meeting - October 2015

    From left are club presidents Amber Storr, Grand Island Rotary; Thomas Rusert, Grand Island Lions; and Barbara Sherman, Zonta Club of Grand Island.

       Three Grand Island service clubs held a joint meeting on September 23rd at the Buffalo Launch Club to share news of their current projects and hear a talk by Dr. Gareth Lema of the Ross Eye Institute. The meeting was hosted by the Grand Island Lions Club. .Dr. Lema spoke about medical advances in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. The Lions Club has a special emphasis on serving the needs of those with vision and hearing impairments. The Lions hold a spaghetti dinner fundraiser in the spring and host a Special Kids Picnic in July. The Rotary Club will hold an art auction Oct. 24 at Byblos Resort Hotel on Grand Island, with all profits going to fund scholarships that the club has given to high school seniors for more than 40 years. Zonta, with a mission to advance the status of women, holds a fashion show fundraiser in the spring and has awarded $115,000 in scholarships to women over the years.

    Walk-In Flu Vaccine Clinics For Veterans - October 2015

        Veterans enrolled in VA health care may obtain flu vaccines during walk-in clinics, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at primary care clinics in Buffalo, 3495 Bailey Avenue and Batavia, 222 Richmond Avenue, and during scheduled appointments. In addition, walk-in clinics are scheduled at VA Western New York Healthcare System, 3495 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo on the following dates from 4pm-8pm at Desk 4 on the first floor:
    Tuesday, October 6, Thursday, October 8, Wednesday, October 14, Tuesday, October 20,
    Thursday, October 22, Wednesday, October 28, Tuesday. November 3, Thursday, November 5,
    Monday, November 9, Tuesday, November 17, Thursday, November 19, Monday, November 23,
    Wednesday, December 2, and Tuesday, January 5
       VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics will also have walk-in flu vaccine clincs each of these weekdays during the season; Lackawanna (1234 Abbott Road) Tuesday, 1pm-4pm, Wednesday, 9am-noon, Thursday, 1pm-4pm, & Friday, 9am-noon, Niagara Falls (2201 Pine Avenue) Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm, Lockport (5883 Snyder Drive) Wednesday, 1pm-4pm Olean (465 North Union Street) Monday - Friday, 8am-4pm, Jamestown (608 West 3rd Street) Monday-Friday, 8:30am-3:30pm, Dunkirk (166 East 4th Street) Tuesday-Friday, 8am-4pm, Springville (15 Commerce Drive) Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, 9am-11am & 1pm-3pm.
        There is no charge for the flu vaccine for Veterans enrolled in VA health care. Eligibility will be verified prior to administration of the vaccine. For information regarding VA health care eligibility, call 1-888-823-9656.

    Beaver Island Park Tree Planting - October 2015

       The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Beaver Island State Park Memorial Tree Planting Project announced today that they will be holding the next tree ceremony. The event will be held on Saturday, October 17 at 10:00 a.m. Dr. Donna Kester-Phillips, an avid park user created the program with support from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in 2014 with the goal of restocking trees lost at the park due to disease and recent harsh winters. Interested participants can make a contribution to honor a friend or family member, a dedication for a special event or just to remember a special memory of the park. Park staff will determine what indigenous trees or shrubs will be planted in conjunction with the park tree management plan. Interested participants can learn more by calling the park at 773-3271.

    Island Waterfowl Blind Drawings - October 2015

       The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced today that lottery drawings for the first half of waterfowl hunting season have been scheduled at Beaver Island State Park. Early duck season will run from October 24 through December 6 and the Canada Goose season will run from October 24 through December 20. Draws will be held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday beginning Friday, October 23. The doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and the draws start at 6:30 p.m. The draws will continue to take place in the basement of the Beaver Island Clubhouse through Friday, December 4th. Please enter in the back door closest to parking lot next to the Clubhouse.
        Canada Goose season for December 7 - 20 will be call-ins only on Tuesdays and Fridays. Call-ins start on Friday, December 4 by calling 773-2010 from 9:00 a.m. - 12 noon. 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).
        State Parks will be including three (3) ADA blinds which are handicap accessible. Blind #31 is located within Beaver Island State Park and Blinds #41 & #42 are 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. Additionally, Beaver Island will be participating in waterfowl youth days October 3 and 4. The drawing will be on Friday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the basement of the Beaver Island Clubhouse. 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 8:15 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. Monday- Friday.

    Agricultural District Enrollment - September 2015

        Do you have or want to keep livestock such as chickens and horse, or do you crop or want to rent your land for farm use? The Grand Island Agricultural Cooperative Association wishes to identify and help all landowners who would benefit from joining the Erie County agricultural district that is forming on Grand Island. The deadline for filing the free application is Wednesday September 30th.
        There will be an agricultural district enrollment application help forum from 6-8:00 p.m. on Tuesday September 29th at 2487 Long Road. We will answer any questions you may have about the benefits of joining the district, help you to complete the simple application form, and immediately file it for you. There is no cost to file the application. Call 773-5648 for more info, or if you are interested but cannot attend the forum. The application form may also be downloaded here:.
        The Grand Island Agricultural Cooperative Association is a friendly networking group of family-owned farms who produce diverse farm products and services including fresh produce, eggs, meat, honey, wood products, horse boarding and recreational riding.

    How to Care for Your Stream Bank - September 2015

       The Conservation Advisory Board of Grand Island,, in partnership with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is hosting a meeting on how to care for your stream bank. Residents along Grand Island creeks, may have problems with erosion, seasonal flooding, or pesticide runoff. Recent studies report that the water quality of our streams is poor. You can do something to improve that. Learn how to protect your shoreline and restore Grand Island’s waterways. The meeting is on Tuesday, September 29th from 7:00 - 8:15 p.m. at the Grand Island Memorial Library meeting room, 1715 Bedell Road. Informational materials & door prizes will be given away. For more information, contact Diane Evans at giconsab@gmail.com.

    Residents Be Alert - September 2015

       Thursday, September 24, 2015 - The Erie County Sheriff's Office asks residents to be on alert to the presence of a young white male intruder driving a white box van. Yesterday he dressed in a haz mat outfit, posed as a Water Department employee, and assaulted and robbed a person in their home on West River Road. The day before, he posed as a Code Enforcement employee to gain access to another home, and assaulted and robbed a person there. If you see any suspicious vehicles, immediately call 858-2903 or 773-7508.

    Town Regulations for Political Signs - September 2015

        Town regulations regarding political signs:
       Political signs do not require a permit. they shall be on stakes or frames, only on private property, outside the road right-of-way. Such signs, if they apply to an election, shall only be permitted for 45 days before the election to which they apply and shall be removed 7 days after the election to which they apply, except that signs for primaries may be retained through the general election.
        Political signs may only be placed on property for which you have received permission and they may not be placed to obstruct or impair vision or traffic. Power poles are usually, but not always, located along the right-of-way. In sub-divisions, signs should always be behind the sidewalk. Any questions contact Code Enforcement at 773-9600, ext. 625.

    C.R.O.P. Walk Collecting Donations at Taste - September 2015

       The C.R.O.P. Walk of Grand Island will be accepting donations of non-perishable foods between the hours of noon and 7pm during the Taste of Grand Island being held Saturday, October 3rd and on the day of the annual C.R.O.P. Walk held the following day, Sunday, October 4th, 1 pm, at the Beaver Island Marina North shelter. The food collection will be donated to the Food Bank of WNY that supplies food to over 160,000 people in the western New York region. Henry Kammerer, director of the Neighbors Foundation, stated that the island community’s store of emergency relief food is doing very well and has gratefully declined a share of the food raised at this year’s Taste.
        Recommendations for food donations include foods that are nutritionally balanced and not in glass containers. Suggestions are canned vegetables (reduced/low sodium preferred); canned fruits in natural juices; canned tomato sauces; 100% fruit or vegetable juice; canned tuna, chicken, stews, and chili; canned or dried beans and legumes; peanut butter; grain-based foods such as pasta, rice, cereal, and oatmeal (whole grain/wheat preferred); shelf-stable milk (dry or evaporated); canola or olive oil; baby food, and baby formula.
       Since hunger is a relentlessly present and urgent global issue, the C.R.O.P. Walk tent will also accept monetary donations that will help alleviate hunger locally and internationally. Donations will also assist food and drinking water initiatives across the globe. Hunger is responsible for over 7.5 million deaths annually (one-third of them children) more than deaths from tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS combined. For further information regarding the food drive or the C.R.O.P. Walk contact Tom Witkowski at 909-1862 or liontom20n@roadrunner.com.

    Fall Community Education Classes Available - September 2015

       There's still time to register. Don't miss out, classes begin the week of September 28th. CLICK HERE to view the entire brochure and register online. If you have any questions, we can be reached at 773-8864 or email lynnziehm@grandislandschools.org.

    Certified Agricultural District Informational Meeting - September 2015

        September 1 through September 30 has been designated by the Erie County Legislature as the period for landowners to submit requests to include viable agricultural land into an existing certified agricultural district. Grand Island currently does not have a designated district. See Erie County Agricultural Districts map. An informational meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 23rd at 2020 Fix Road at 7:00 p.m. to discuss this issue. Call 773-5648 for an application and information. Erie County Agriculture webpage.

    4th Annual Light Up the Boulevard Electric Light Parade - September 2015

        With Holiday Season quickly approaching, the excitement is building for the 4th Annual Grand Island Light Up the Boulevard Electric Light Parade and Festivities. A joint venture between the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Grand Island, especially the Recreation Department, this community event will take place on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at the Town Hall. Please note the new family-friendly time table with festivities starting at 2:00 p.m. with Santa's first visit of the season, vendors, games, music and crafts.
       Grand Island Boulevard closes at 4:30 p.m. in anticipation of the Rudolph Run, which starts promptly at 5:00 p.m., followed by the Electric Parade. The festivities close with the tree lighting in the Town Commons at the end of the parade, and an opportunity to patronize the vendors until 8:00 p.m. Mark your calendars and start your decorating early.
       Light Up the Boulevard kicks off the traditional holiday shopping season with local businesses competing for the prestigious award and bragging rights for most decorated establishment. Sponsors and vendors are being sought. For more details, call the Chamber office at 773-3651, or www.gichamber.org.

    2015/2016 School Tax Bills - September 2015

        Town Clerk Patricia A. Frentzel announced that the 2015/2016 School 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. The regular office hours are 8:30am - 5:00pm. The office will be open Saturday, October 10, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is October 15. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of October 15 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made October 16 and later. Payments can be made until November 30, 2015. After this date, payments must be sent to the County.
       Additional Hours for Convenience
    Saturday, October 10, 2015 9:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
    Office Closed Monday, October 12, 2015
    Wednesday, October 14, 2015 8:30 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
    Thursday, October 15, 2015 8:30 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.

    Southbound South Bridge Lane Closures - September 2015

       The Southbound South Bridge will have lane closures due to concrete deck repairs.
  • Monday, 9/14, Right Lane, 7:30 pm - 5:00 am.
  • Tuesday, 9/15, Left Lane, 7:30 pm - 5:00 am.
    Rain Date: 9/16.

    Unofficial Primary Results - September 2015

    These results are from the Erie County Board of Elections, last updated Friday, September 11th at 5:01 a.m.

    Vacant Building Plans & Views - September 2015

    Entrance to new hotel.

        The long vacant office building at 2761 Long Road appears to be one step closer to becoming a 100 room hotel. An application and supporting materials requesting Site Plan approval will be going before the Town Planning Board on Monday, September 14th. Take a look at the plan and views looking east and north of the building and keep your fingers crossed.

    Western New York Hydrocephalus Walk - September 2015

        Bring the family and friends to enjoy music, food, refreshments, basket raffles and visits from the USA Paralympic Gold Medalist, Adam Page, Sabretooth, the Grand Island Fire Department and much, much more! The WNY Hydrocephalus Assoc. Walk will be at Beaver Island State Park on Saturday, September 19th at 11:00 a.m. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m., see flyer. No registration fee to participate but all registered walkers raising $75 or more receive a 2015 Hydrocephalus T-shirt!

    CSCR Conference & Meeting - September 2015

        The Citizen Science Community Resources (CSCR) group is hosting a a conference and meeting where the prosecuting attorneys of Tonawanda Coke will provide history and updates on recent actions. The event is open to the public and will take place on Saturday, September 19th at 169 Sheridan-Parkside Drive, Tonawanda from 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. See Press Release for more details.

    WNY Players Hold Auditions - September 2015

        Auditions for "The Singing Detective and two other 1940's Radio Plays and Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap" will be held at Brighton Place Library, 999 Brighton Road, Tonawanda (next to Kenmore East High School) on Tuesday, September 29th and Thursday, October 1st from 6 to 7:45 pm. No monologue has to be prepared. The audition will consist of doing a reading. The performance date for the radio plays is at the beginning of November. Performances of "The Mousetrap" will be at the end of April 2016. Please call John at 716-692-0906 after 6 pm weekdays for more information.

    9/11 Service - September 2015

        A 9/11 Service will be held at the Charles N. Deglopper Post 9249 VFW, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. on Friday, September 11th at 7:00 p.m. at the flagpole. Everyone is welcome.

    Good Government - September 2015

       by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
       Like many of my constituents, I was a big fan of the New York Yankees growing up. I was an even bigger fan of the New York Mets. I have fond memories of sitting up with my father watching the Amazing 1969 Mets make their playoff run. With apologies to my friends who root for the Red Sox, I also loved the 1986 World Series. The Mets team that beat the Sox that year had one of my all-time favorite slogans. Those Mets were all about "baseball like it oughta be!"
        I thought of this slogan recently as I welcomed a new crop of freshmen into my introductory political science class at Canisius College. Over the next four years, I hope to teach them something about government like it oughta be. This got me thinking anew about what this would look like and the appropriate role of government. After all, there are many views on this topic, as some people think government should do more than other others. It is difficult, therefore, to get any two people to agree on the precise role of government. So, I wondered, what should I tell my students?
       The answer came to me at the beginning of our legislative meeting on September 3rd. I sponsored a resolution honoring a Kenmore Police Officer and made a presentation to her at the beginning of our meeting. The officer's name is Jo-Anne Davis. You might recall that back in June she responded to a 9-1-1 call to a house fire in the village. Officer Davis entered the smoke filled house and rescued a 4-year old boy who was in one of the bedrooms. The nation's law enforcement community has had a difficult month with the murder of several police personnel. It felt good, therefore, to celebrate the heroic actions of Officer Davis with her husband, daughters, other Kenmore police officers and my legislative colleagues before our meeting. It also made me reflect once more about the appropriate role of government. As a parent of four and the grandparent of three, I always want to be there to protect my kids. I know, though, that I cannot always do so. It is comforting to know that Officer Davis and those like her in the police, fire and emergency service community are there for our kids in those times when we are not around. They truly personify government like it oughta be. On this, I think we can all agree. 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.

    Taste of Grand Island Vendors Wanted - September 2015

       The 4th Annual Taste of Grand Island is Saturday, October 3rd, 11am-7pm at the Town Commons & Whitehaven Road. See flyer for vendor opportunities.

    Gus Macker Problem Free - September 2015

    From left: Corey McGowan, Macker Local Organizer and Event Promoter, Bill Gorman, Macker National Staff, Event Manager,Mary Cooke, GI Town Supervisor, Scott Richardson, Macker National Staff, Dream Court Announcer, Scott McNeal, aka Gus Macker.

    Click above photo for larger view. Photos by Kevin & Dawn Cobello/K & D Action Photo

    Mary Stewart Photos

       The Gus Macker came and went and Grand Island survived. The participants enjoyed themselves. Parking was not an issue, except for a few that received tickets for illegal parking. As far as local business, there were ups and downs. The closest, Subway, McDonald's and T.C.'s Island Bar & Grill, were happy. Dan Stedman of T.C.'s said he got good exposure and sold a lot of food, but thought he lost his regulars on Friday & Saturday night due to the road closure. Other nearby restaurants, Adrian's, John's Pizza and Just Pizza, and Aceti's Liquors reported their business was down as the regulars stayed away. There were no arrests reported.
       Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel was a volunteer score-keeper over the two day event. She said it was "an incredible experience, very positive". She worked with the same group of 30-35 year-old males, nine teams total, Saturday & Sunday.

    West River Greenway Connector Trail Public Meeting - September 2015

       Rescheduled to October 6th from 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Grand Island Town Hall, Second Floor Lobby, 2255 Baseline Road.
       The 8-mile connector trail will start at the circle at Beaver Island State Park and run along the West River, north to the existing walkway near Buckhorn State Park. From the original application, "By using primarily pre-cleared land, construction of the connection will be completed with minimal environmental impact and no wetland, woodland or riparian habitats will be affected." "The West River Connector Trail will allow complete public access to 70% of the Niagara River Greenway waterfront."
       A website has been set-up to post your comments on the project, see www.gigreenwayproject.com.

    Wood Chips Available, Branch Guidelines - September 2015

       If you need wood chips to decorate around gardens and trees or to create paths and fill in low areas, the Highway Department has free wood chips available and delivery is included. Deputy Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford says that because of the unusually wet June this summer, residents are still trimming brush and trees at a higher rate than normal. The chipping program is still in full swing and the opportunity to get free wood chips has never been better. Please give us a call @ 773-9632 and get on our delivery list.
       Guidelines for Branch Pick-Up Service
        This service is available for routine homeowner tree trimming only. This does not include tree removal. We do not pickup branches from lots being cleared by builders or the land owners. We will not pick up any branch debris left by tree removal contractors.
  • All Branches must be no larger than 6" in diameter.
  • They must be piled as neatly as possible with all cut ends facing the road.
  • Please do not place heavier logs on top of branch pile.
  • Our workers are not allowed to go on private property.
  • We do not pick up stumps, roots, leaves, lawn sweepings, vines etc.
  • Branches should not be stacked more than 4 ft. high.
       Branch pickup is now done by route; we no longer have a branch pickup list. We will start at one end of the island and continue until the entire island is completed. Time frames will be determined by weather conditions, precedent duties, equipment, quantity of pickups and man power. If you have any questions or an unusual situation, please call the Highway Department at 773-9632.

    Independence Party Endorses Grand Island Contenders - August 2015

    From left: Supervisor Mary Cooke, Councilman Gary Roesch, Mike Madigan, Mark Nemeth and Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel.

       Press Release... Solid record of strong leadership earns Grand Island candidates the Independence party endorsement.
       The New York State Independence Party announced their endorsements for the 2015 election in the Town of Grand Island:
    Supervisor: Mary S. Cooke
    Councilman: Gary Roesch
    Councilman: Mike Madigan
    Town Clerk: Patricia A Frentzel
    Town Justice: Mark Nemeth
       "Mary Cooke has an established track record of robust, independent leadership. She has worked to hold the line on taxes and provide accountable government. We are proud to announce our endorsement of her re-election campaign," said New York State Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay.
       "With a lengthy record of independent views and governing, Gary Roesch has been a devoted member of the Grand Island Town Board. We strongly endorse him for another term," stated MacKay.
       "Mike Madigan is a successful businessman that has devoted his career to Grand Island. His independent record in the private sector will make a great addition to the Grand Island Town Board which has led us to endorse him," claimed MacKay.
       "Patricia Frentzel is a devoted public servant that has worked to keep taxes in line and provide first rate services to the taxpayers of Grand Island. We are pleased to announce our endorsement of her re-election," held MacKay.
       "As the town prosecutor for eleven years Mark Nemeth has fought for justice in Grand Island. He knows the importance of civic responsibility and is devoted to serving the people, we are confident he will be an excellent town justice," added MacKay.

    Elderwood Cruise Night - August 2015

       Elderwood at Grand Island Cruise Night is Wednesday, September 2nd from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., 2850 Grand Island Blvd. The event is FREE and will have food, music and cars from classic to sports models. See flyer

    Whitehaven Road Baptist 100th Anniversary - August 2015


    Mary Stewart Photos

       Whitehaven Road Baptist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary this past weekend. A family fun night on Friday, August 21st, kicked off the event. Kids enjoyed the bounce houses, face painting, games, and a magician. There was also live music, food and lots of fun for all. Following the special Sunday service, which was open to everyone, a buffet dinner was served. The church had its beginning in Bufffalo 100 years ago and eventually relocated to Grand Island. The church changed its name to Whitehaven Road Baptist Church.

    Electronics Recycling Day - August 2015

       An Electronics Recycling Day is planned for Saturday, September 12th from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., at the GM Tonawanda Engine Plane #1. The plant is located on River Road between Sheridan Drive and Edgar Ave. Items accepted include: computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, video systems, tv's, etc. See flyer for complete list.

    Gus Macker Information - August 2015

       Set-up for the Gus Macker Tournament will begin after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 28th. Opening ceremonies are Saturday, August 29th at 8:00 a.m. with games beginning at 8:30 a.m. There will be special events held throughout the day from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Games resume playing at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday and special events from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
       Vendors will be at the Town Commons throughout the event and include the following:
    Tropical Ice
    Just Pizza
    House of Munch
    St. Stephens - Exclusive Hot Dog Sales, Snacks and Candy
    Sweet Melody's
    Dick & Jenny's
    McMahon's - Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, Nachos, Popcorn, Cotton Candy
    Women's BAC
    American Bounce Rentals (kid zone)
    Gus Macker Threads
    15 Monkeys
    Paparazzi Jewelry

       Closed on Saturday, August 29th will be: Eddie's Art Shoppe, Wavelengths Hair Design, DeSignet Jewelry, Sheer Paradise Salon, Island Shipping.

    McMahon Family Fundraiser - August 2015

       A fundraiser for the McMahon Family will take place at the McMahon Family Restaurant, 1849 Grand Island Blvd. on Saturday, August 29th from noon - 4:00 p.m. There will be music, a basket raffle, bounce house, vendors, wheel barrel of cheer raffle and food. Baskets and bottles of cheer are being accepted for the raffle. Call 523-1071 or drop off at Mallwitz's Island lanes or 2015 Baseline Road. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. They are available at Mallwitz's Island Lanes and McMahons Family Restaurant and from Judi Dinsmore, 2015 Baseline Road. See flyer.

    Ceretto Pushes to Protect Pets - August 2015

       Assemblyman Ceretto renews push for stronger protections for animals. Assemblyman John Ceretto (D-Lewiston) is continuing to push for legislation he authored to protect pets. His bill, which has bipartisan support, would ensure that anyone who breaks a vehicle window to rescue an animal from a hot car is protected from civil and criminal liability (A.7715). "Leaving an animal inside a hot car is cruel and reckless," said Assemblyman Ceretto. "This legislation will protect our pets and ensure that anyone who steps up to save an animal's life isn't faced with unnecessary consequences."
        Last week, Niagara Falls Animal Control Officer Dave Bower was forced to break open a car window to save the life of a small dog, which had been locked inside for over an hour during 85 degree heat, after the owner was nowhere to be found. This legislation would ensure that concerned citizens can save the life of a pet without being charged as a criminal in situations where the animal is in distress and there is no time to wait for the arrival of a police officer. The legislation does not advocate breaking windows in instances where it is not absolutely necessary, Ceretto noted.
       "Although summer is winding down, there are still plenty of warm days ahead of us," said Amy Lewis, Executive Director of the Niagara County SPCA. "Even on a 75 degree day, temperatures inside a car can become dangerously hot, putting your beloved companion at risk. Keep your pets safe and remember to leave them at home or make prior arrangements for their care with friends or family on hot days." According to the Humane Society, even when temperatures are as low as 72 degrees, the inside of a car can reach as high as 116 degrees within an hour. At 80 degrees, it can reach almost 100 degrees in a car within 10 minutes, while leaving windows open does very little to mitigate the extreme temperature increases.
       Earlier this year, Assemblyman Ceretto voted for legislation that would allow dogs to accompany their owners in outdoor dining areas, noting that this could potentially prevent them from being left in a hot car. "Our pets truly are a part of our families, and they deserve to be protected," added Assemblyman Ceretto. "I'll continue fighting to ensure that animals are treated fairly and humanely."

    September Primary Sample Ballot - August 2015

        Primary election day is on Thursday, September 10th. All registered voters, except those not affiliated with a party, can vote on Primary Day on Grand Island. Polls are open from 6am-9pm in Erie County. See ballot. Scroll down pdf, total of 6 pages.

    Candidates for Public Office
    Town Board Candidates

    Gary Roesch
    Cyndy Montana
    Beverly Kinney
    Mike Madigan
    James Maloney

    Mary Cooke
    Nathan McMurray

    Town Justice
    Sybil Kennedy
    Mark Nemeth

    Erie County Legislative 4th District Seat
    Kevin Hardwick
    Todd Potter
    Cassandra Valentino

    Beverly Kinney, Town Council Candidate - August 2015

    Candidate's Announcement
        Long-time Grand Island resident, Beverly A. Kinney has announced her candidacy for Grand Island Town Council. Beverly is endorsed by the Democrat Party & Working Families Party. She also qualified to be on the Independence Party line for the Primary Thursday, September 10th. Kinney will be the only Registered Independence Party member on the ballot.
       As a successful independent businesswoman, Beverly personifies the cornerstones of a good work ethic; namely, hard work and dependability. She demonstrated this dedication as president of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, successfully leading that organization for three years and serving on its executive board for more that fourteen years. She took great pride in making the Citizen of the Year Awards Dinner one of the Chamber's most successful events, acting as chair from 1998 to 2010. Beverly has a hands-on approach to public service and will make the same commitment to the office of Town Council. Beverly serves as Vice-president of the G.I. Professional Business Women's Chapter. Some of the issues that the PBW Chapter deals with are; Domestic Violence, Equal Pay for Equal Work, Sexual Harassment on the job & Human Trafficking. They raise funds for scholarships for women returning to the workforce and need of additional education.
        In 2005, Beverly was one of the first appointees to the newly established Economic Development Advisory Board. As its co chair, she was instrumental in developing the Town's marketing tools. Beverly believes that promoting economic development while still maintaining the Island's distinctive environment is essential. As a member of several Town Advisory committees, her non-partisanship has never let politics keep her from making the best decisions for Grand Island. Beverly's life includes her large extended family. Realizing the importance of a safe, family friendly town has led to her involvement in many family oriented events and organizations. Maintaining and enhancing programs available to the people of Grand Island will have a prominent position on her agenda.
        Over the next few months, Beverly will be walking door-to-door. Grand Island residents will have the opportunity to meet Beverly and discover her vision for Grand Island. To put forward your opinion, convey a concern or offer a suggestion, you can reach Beverly Kinney at: www.Facebook/ElectBeverlyKinney & website www.votebevkinney.com check out her blogs about the campaign trail from a candidate's point of view, as well as, town issues that affect all Grand Island residents.
    Member: Town of Grand Island Economic Development Advisory Board (14 yrs), R-2 Zoning Committee for the Town of Grand Island, Fairway Greens of River Oaks HOA Board (2 yrs), Professional Business Women's Chapter of NYS Women’s Inc. (8 yrs), PROI Foundation for Cancer Research (5 years), Relay for Life Grand Island Chamber Team (10 yrs), Light Up the Blvd Event Committee, KidBiz Committee (18 yrs) for G.I. Chamber of Commerce, VFW Women's Axillary (3 yrs), Grand Island Chamber of Commerce 14 yrs (Past Board member), Town of Grand Island - Long Range Planning Committee.
    Awards: 'Citizen of the Year for Community' (Chamber 2013), 'Outstanding Leadership' (2007), 'Effective Leadership' (2008), ORT Award, G.I. Professional Women, 'Outstanding Leadership' (2010), Chamber Board of Directors.
    Citations & Proclamations: 2008 & 2013 Grand Island Town Board, Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, Assemblyman John Ceretto, Past Legislator Michele Iannello-Ward, former County Executive Chris Collins, former Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.

    Town Council Candidate Cyndy Montana Fundraiser - August 2015

       A fundraiser for Town Council candidate Cyndy Montana will be held on Friday, August 28th at 1660 East River Road from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $50 each and include music, food and beverages. See flyer for details.

    Cyndy Montana, Town Council Candidate - August 2015

    Candidate's Announcement
       Cyndy Montana has announced her candidacy for Grand Island Town Council. Cyndy is endorsed by the Democrat Party & Working Families Party and is in the Independence Party primary.
       Cyndy grew up on a dairy farm in Quebec, but married life-long Islander, Pete Montana thirteen years ago and has happily made Grand Island her forever home. She has two children, Kaylee (10) and Jaxen (8) and is very involved in the school system. Cyndy is currently President of the Kaegebein PTA and has been an active PTA board member as well as room parent ever since her children started school. She also sat on the Facilities Committee preparing for the Capital Campaign for the Grand Island Central School District and is an active member of the Kaegebein Playground Committee.
       Cyndy's strong work ethic, common sense, commitment to bi-partisan teamwork, varied work experience and attention to detail make her a great candidate for Grand Island Town Council. She will represent a portion of the population that doesn't currently have representation on the Council - families with young children. Since moving to Grand Island, Cyndy has been co-owner of two successful companies that she and her husband built from scratch. She has a Bachelor of Commerce that specializes in Hotel and Food Administration and she has had a diverse array of careers. Some of her positions include an Assistant Department Head at the Four Seasons - Downtown Toronto, Front Office Manager at the Prince of Wales in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Quality Assurance Manager for Ontario's Finest, Development Coordinator (Fundraising and Public Relations) for Women's Place - a shelter for abused women and Advancement Officer at Brock University. Ever an entrepreneur, she has already created a Business Plan for her next idea.
        As well as her work within the schools, Cyndy is a member of the G.I. Professional Business Women's Chapter and helped organize this year's Citizen of the Year Awards Dinner hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. She has also chaired events such as Women's Place 25th Anniversary Gala, (named Best Special Event at 2002 Voluntary Sector Innovation Awards) and charity golf tournaments. She was the Coordinator for the Niagara Fundraisers Network, a member of the Board of Directors for RAFT (drop-in center for teens) and was a Provincial Director for the Young Farmers Association.
       Cyndy is very excited about helping shape the future of our wonderful home - Grand Island! She looks forward to meeting more of her fellow Islanders and getting to know the issues that are important to everyone. Cyndy would appreciate your vote on September 10th (you can write her name on the ballot for the Independence primary) and November 3rd. Learn more about and communicate with Cyndy at www.cyndymontana.com or on FaceBook at 'Cyndy For Council' or at www.voter-ed.com. Or call 716-775-1831 to discuss issues that are important to you. She would love to hear from you.

    Community Use of Track/Outside Athletic Fields - August 2015

       The Capital Project renovations have been made to the Grand Island High School Track and Outside Athletic Facilities. In our effort to maintain the facilities, community members are asked to abide by the following guidelines when using the track/facilities:
  • The track is open to all during the hours of 7:30 AM and 4 PM. (Unless it is being used for classroom instruction).
  • The track will be available for limited use during the evening hours (not available when student activities are taking place).
  • No pets are allowed on the track or inside the gated athletic field.

    Competition from FIOS Expansion Would Benefit All - August 2015

       By Kevin R. Hardwick - 4th District County Legislator
        On August 5th I testified at a public hearing in Buffalo conducted by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) regarding the state of telecommunications in our region. I focused on the lack of competition for high speed broadband internet service for much of Western New York. Buffalo residents, for instance, do not have access to Verizon's FIOS service and must rely almost exclusively on Time Warner Cable for such service. In my legislative district, FIOS is available in the Town of Tonawanda, but not in the City of Tonawanda or Grand Island.
        The absence of competition in so many communities negatively impacts everyone, even those in towns who have FIOS as an option. This is because businesses, as well as residents expect high quality internet service at an affordable price. Competition encourages this. It’s the American way. The business climate, therefore, suffers when competition is lacking.
        People also suffer when they are denied realistic options. I told the PSC representatives at the hearing that I live on Frederick Road, the last street in the City of Tonawanda and that right outside my backyard is the Town of Tonawanda, where Verizon FIOS is available. I have no access to FIOS and must be content with Time Warner Cable. I explained that my internet service can be both intermittent and extremely slow, so much so that in preparing for my testimony I gave up waiting for my home internet and opted to travel to my office at Canisius College to conduct my research.
        I also relayed to them a conversation with my 11-year old granddaughter after she heard me talking to myself in the car. She asked what I was talking about and I replied the PSC hearing and explained how people in the Town of Tonawanda have access to FIOS and those in the City of Tonawanda do not. She immediately concluded that "that's not fair!" Her totally accurate response took me back to a much simpler time, a time before billion dollar executives and the proliferation of high-powered corporate lobbyists.
        I concluded my testimony by thanking the PSC for having the hearing in Buffalo and I urged them to channel their inner 11-year old and consider the plight of so many who suffer due to the lack of competition for broadband internet service and do whatever is within their means to stimulate such competition. Although the public hearing is over, you can share your sentiments with the PSC via their website at www.dps.ny.gov and searching for case number 14-C-0370. 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.

    McMurray Running for Town Supervisor - August 2015

    Candidate's Announcement
        Nathan McMurray ("Nate") is an experienced attorney, businessperson and proud citizen of Grand Island. He has used his talents to help build and defend some of the world's most successful companies, like Samsung Electronics and Buffalo's own Delaware North. Now he wants to use those same skills to serve you as your new town supervisor.
       You may not know Nate - this is his first time running for office - but some people you do know are fully behind him. Just ask around. Longtime Town Supervisor Peter McMahon and longtime Town Clerk Nancy Samrany have both endorsed Nate. Former Councilman Jim Sharpe has also endorsed him. And Independence Party stalwart Jean Orsini-Clabeaux is fully behind his candidacy.
       You see, Grand Island is changing. And it's sadly changing for the worse. While other communities are adapting and taking advantage of development in our region, we run the risk of becoming little more than overflow space for Buffalo and Niagara Falls. We need someone to keep Grand Island special and help it prepare for the future.
       Most our town leadership has been in place for a very long time. And they have failed to even find solutions for many of the long-standing problems we all see. Plus, they lack the creativity to adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Nate can help lead where they have failed. Specifically, he will:
  • Lower taxes by actively attracting new business that suits our island setting
  • Block bad development deals that eat up our green space, burden our schools and infrastructure, and raise taxes
  • Breakup the long-standing, insiders only politics of town hall that has divided the island
  • Beautify the island by cleaning up old eyesores and finding grant money for recreation and more beautiful pedestrian environments.
       To learn more about Nate, his vision for the Island, and a candid view of how he sees the issues that affect Grand Island, visit Nate's website (www.votemcmurray.com). And then on Nov. 3, Vote McMurray, for a more Grand Island!

    Lawrence Recognized as WNY's Outstanding Women of Influence - August 2015

       Superintendent Teresa Lawrence, Ph.D. was recognized by Buffalo Business First as one of Western New York's 2015 Outstanding Women of Influence in the Inspiration category. This category honors women leaders who, through their words, actions and attitude, inspire those who work with and around them. Her exemplary leadership efforts will be recognized at a luncheon on Thursday, September 17th at The Grapevine Banquets.

    Town Employee Appreciation Picnic - August 2015

    From left: Councilman Chris Aronica and Highway Superintendent JT Tomkins.

       The Annual Town of Grand Island Employee Appreciaton picnic was held at the Town Commons on Tuesday, August 11th. Every year the Town elected officials provide the whole lunch: hot dogs, drinks, salads and desserts to the employees and retirees. Over 100 employees enjoyed the event.

    Call Before You Dig - August 2015

       (Aug. 5, 2015) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - In recognition of National 811 Day on Aug. 11, National Fuel reminds homeowners and professional contractors to Call Before You Dig. Before starting any excavation projects this year, call 811, a toll-free national phone number, or visit www.call811.com. New York state law requires residents to call 811 prior to digging in order to prevent accidental damage to underground utility lines.
       The national 811 phone number connects callers with local One Call Centers. Operators record the excavation locations and notify National Fuel of callers' plans. National Fuel then dispatches professional locators to mark the approximate locations of its lines. This is a free service, and it’s an easy way to protect yourself and those around you. "All excavation projects - even small or shallow digging projects like planting trees and shrubs, or installing a fence or mailbox require a call," said Emily Ciraolo, spokesperson for National Fuel. "Many of the pipeline leaks and emergencies we respond to each year occur when homeowners and businesses dig on their properties without knowing the location of underground utility lines. These types of accidents can be easily avoided by calling 811 before you dig - anywhere on your property."
       The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a national association representing the utility industry and committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure states that:
  • Every 6 minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
  • When you make the call to 811, damage occurs less than 1 percent of the time.
  • Striking a single line can result in injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages.
       New York homeowners and contractors should call 811 at least 2 business days and no more than 10 in advance of the start of their projects. Along with Call Before You Dig, National Fuel cautions that if you smell gas, you should act fast and call 1-800-444-3130. Gas leaks can be serious, so if you notice a smell like rotten eggs or suspect a gas leak, leave the premises immediately and then contact the Utility. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit www.nationalfuelgas.com/forhome/gassafety.aspx.

    Gus Macker Information - August 2015

       The Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, August 29th & 30th. Grand Island Blvd. between Baseline and Whitehaven will be shut down from Friday, August 28th at 5:00 p.m until Sunday evening. According to the tournament's website, the "Original Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament" began in 1974 in Lowell, Michigan. Scott McNeal (alias Gus Macker) and brother Mitch gathered eighteen friends who played competitively for a tournament purse of $18. As the tournament grew, the McNeals moved their tournament to Belding, MI in 1987, then took the tournament on the road to other communities, branding it as the "Gus Macker All-World Tour". According to the website, over 10,000 players entered the tournament as it visited five cities that year.
       The tournament currently holds both indoor and outdoor competitions annually in more than 75 cities, with over 200,000 players and 1.7 million spectators attending. The tournament prohibits alcohol and tobacco sponsorships. According to the company, the six (6) basic objectives that have guided the development of Gus Macker across the country are:
  • A wholesome, family-oriented event.
  • A tournament designed by players for players.
  • Value to sponsors.
  • An outstanding fund-raising event for the local community.
  • A major media sporting event.
  • Entertainment for the spectators.

    Roundabout Plantings Donated by DOT - August 2015

    From left: Dick Crawford, Gary Lazik, Paul Minton and Jim Linenfelser

        The roundabout at Staley and Grand Island Blvd. was given a new look on Wednesday, August 5th by Highway and Town Hall workers. After conferring with the NYSDOT landscape architect who designed the area, a plan was made to create ten pockets in the sumac surrounding the center, and planting donated day lillies. The plants were dug up by Town employees from an entrance ramp to the 33 that was under construction. Sumac dug up to make room for the plants are going to be used at Grand Island Town Hall. The key point in designing a roundabout is to keep drivers eyes to the left, not to look across the planted area. A plan is in place for weeding and trimming by Town Highway, Parks and the Town Hall Caretaker to maintain.

    AFSCME Scholarship Presented to Colton McGraw - August 2015

    From left: Mary McDonnell, treasurer; Gill Clarke, president; Ed McDonald, Council 66 rep; Colton McGraw, scholarship winner; Bill Stanley, secretary.

        The Town of Grand Island AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) #1738 presented a check for $750 to recent Grand Island High School graduate Colton McGraw on Wednesday, August 5th. Approximately 36 employees of the Waste, Water and Highway departments pay dues to the AFSCME union monthly and quite often, rebates are received back. In the past donations have been made to many Island and off Island non-profits. 2015 is the first time a scholarship has been given to a GIHS graduate. Colton is headed to the University of Buffalo at the end of August and will be studying Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.

    Come Meet Judge Sybil Kennedy - August 2015

        A "Come Meet the Judge" event will kick off the re-election campaign of Grand Island Town Justice Sybil Kennedy on Wednesday, Aug. 26th, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the VFW, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. Light refreshments and beverages will be served at the free outdoor party. The event is a chance to come out and meet the candidate, socialize and enjoy a complementary beverage and hors d'oeuvres.
       The get-together for the public is a refreshing change from traditional fundraisers that are only open to those who buy tickets. "Of course, there will be no charge to come by and meet me," Judge Kennedy said. "I have never taken any contributions from anyone in my 16 years in office." Usually, you know it's election season when there's a knock on the door, and it's another candidate wanting you to get to know them. But there’s a better alternative. Come down to the VFW on Aug. 26 and spend some quality time getting to know your Town Judge Sybil Kennedy.

    10th Annual Paddles Up - August 2015

    Paul Leuchner and Joe menter

    Photos by K & D Action Photo

        The 10th Annual Paddles Up was held on Saturday, July 25th at Beaver Island Park. The 7:00 a.m. Poker Run was followed by a Paddle Fair and demonstration, and then the Niagara River Fun Paddle. Former chairman, Paul Leuchner was presented with a plaque of appreciation after stepping down from the position after nine years by new chairman, Joe Menter, of the GI Recreation Department. K & D Action photo took many photos which can be seen here and a video. Thanks to all the sponsors of this event, see list here.

    Upgrade Drivers License to Enhanced - July 2015

       Erie County, NY - Over the next few years most Erie County drivers will need to renew their New York State Driver's License. Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs is urging drivers to consider upgrading to an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) at renewal time because, as soon as 2016, a federal law called the REAL ID Act will prohibit the use of a regular New York Driver's License for domestic air travel.
       The Homeland Security website already lists New York State "non-compliant" with the REAL ID Act. However, the NYS Enhanced Driver's License has been designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security as acceptable for official federal purposes such as boarding a commercial aircraft. "If you take the opportunity to upgrade to an Enhanced Driver's License when your regular license is up for renewal, it will ensure that you can use your license for domestic travel in the future," said Jacobs. The New York Enhanced License is also valid identification that can be used instead of a passport to travel by land or sea to and from Canada, Mexico and some countries in the Caribbean while a regular driver's license is not accepted.
        "My concern is many motorists are going to renew their regular driver's license and as soon as a year from now they will have to come back into our office, pay again, to upgrade to an Enhanced License so they can travel by air. The State is doing a poor job of informing motorists about this and it may cost our citizens extra money paying license fees twice," said Jacobs. Enhanced Driver's Licenses cost $94.50 and require additional forms of identification to obtain. Non-Driver Enhanced Licenses are always available and are also "REAL ID Act" compliant. For more information Jacobs encourages residents to contact the Erie County Auto Bureau Customer Call Center at (716) 858-7450 or go to www.erie.gov/clerk.

    National Night Out - July 2015

       National Night Out is Tuesday, August 4th from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. at the Marion Klingel Town Commons. Join your neighbors and share your concerns and ideas for a safer community. There will be law enforcement present, offering regulations and information on road rules, motorcycle, kayaks and boats. Instructors will be on hand to answer your questions. There will be special displays, traffic safety handouts and special events - "your safety is our concern". Come out and meet members of the Grand Island Traffic Safety Advisory Board. The Sid Winkler Band will be performing and the GI Fire Company is having a chicken bbq.

    Garden Ladies of Grand Island - July 2015

    Veterans Park

       The garden ladies of the Grand Island Parks Department take care of all the beautiful flowers and garden beds you see in the Town parks. They include the Nike Base, DeGlopper Memorial Park, Veterans Park, Fisherman's Landing, Town Commons and the Town playgrounds. Next time you drive by, take a closer look, our garden ladies do a wonderful job keeping the Town parks beautiful.

       Bev Benton is on season eight as a garden lady. She worked for five years, took a few years off while living full time in Florida and has now been back for three seasons.

       Linda Tufillaro has worked as a garden lady the past two years, after retiring from the Recreation Department after 39 years as the Director.

       Bonnie Weiser is on her first season as a garden lady, taking care of Fisherman's Landing is job one.

    National Fuel Announces Availability in its Call Center Class - July 2015

       (July 28, 2015) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - Today, National Fuel announced open spots in its customer service representative/call center training classes in Williamsville, N.Y., and Erie, Pa., this fall. National Fuel customer service representatives work full-time in a fast-paced call center assisting customers. The position requires a high school diploma (or equivalent), proficiency with computers and web-based programs, and the availability to work a flexible schedule, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fall training class, scheduled to start Sept. 21, 2015, will provide new hires with extensive on-the-job training.
        In New York, starting salary for a customer service representative is $18.75 per hour. Benefits include health insurance, paid vacation time and a 401(k) Plan. Those interested, should submit resumes and cover letters by mail or email to the address listed below:
    National Fuel
    Human Resources - Position #15-043NY
    P.O. Box 2081
    Erie, PA 16512
       Please note: Resumes must be received by Aug. 5, 2015. The position number and job title should be included in the subject line of an email. 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 more than 735,000 customers in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.nationalfuelgas.com.

    McMahon Family Fundraiser - July 2015

       A fundraiser for the McMahon Family will take place at the McMahon Family Restaurant, 1849 Grand Island Blvd. on Saturday, August 29th from noon - 4:00 p.m. There will be music, a basket raffle, bounce house, vendors, wheel barrel of cheer raffle and food. Baskets and bottles of cheer are being accepted for the raffle. Call 523-1071 or drop off at Mallwitz's Island lanes or 2015 Baseline Road. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. They are available at Mallwitz's Island Lanes and McMahons Family Restaurant and from Judi Dinsmore, 2015 Baseline Road. See flyer.

    Holiday Inn Express Proposed for Former Dunlop Headquarters - July 2015

       An article by James Fink in Buffalo Business First was published on July 22, 2015. The piece reported the former Hooker/Dunlop building, owned by Jay Patel, will be a 75-90 room Holiday Inn Express. See story.

    Garden Wonderland on Fix Road - July 2015


    Mary Stewart Photos

       Dennis and Adele Upton, of Fix Road, were all ready for visitors to enjoy their garden as part of the Grand Island Garden Tour which was to be held this past Saturday. They had spent many hours preparing for the show and even though the event got cancelled, the Upton's decided to open their garden and welcome visitors to view their unique "garden wonderland" of plants and flowers.

    Gus Macker Given Green Light - July 2015

        The Gus Macker Basketball Tournament scheduled for August 29th & 30th on Grand Island Blvd. was given the green light by three out of four of the Town Board on Monday evening, July 20th. After hearing from many for and against the event, the Town Board approved, but said they could cancel at any time if demands for security and parking are not met. Speaking against the event are nearby business owners Sam Aceti, Bonnie Sciuk, Linda Feldman and Kurt Villani. Several residents also voiced their concerns over security. In favor were volunteer coordinator Cheryl Chamberlain, Katie McGowan and Patricia McGowan. Event planner Corey McGowan said he has filled every request by the Town over the course of 14 meetings and expects the event to go off without a hitch. A cap of 500 teams is planned. Councilman Gary Roesch was the dissenting vote.

    Police Chase Ends on South Bridge - July 2015

    Buffalo News Story by Matt Gryta - Monday, July 20, 2015
       A man who damaged at least four cars and tied up traffic on the southbound South Grand Island Bridge in an apparent attempt to flee from police is a suspect in a string of area burglaries, Town of Tonawanda Police Capt. Joseph F. Carosi said Monday. The commotion began at about 1:10 p.m., when a town patrol officer spotted a pickup truck that had been seen being used in some local burglaries. The truck, a black GMC with Ontario license plates, had been reported stolen in Buffalo. The pickup was pulling out of a motel on Sheridan Parkside Drive and was proceeding west on Sheridan when the patrol officer tried to pull it over. But the driver accelerated, blowing through a red light, and a chase began, Carosi said.
       The pickup got on the I-190 North entrance from Grand Island Boulevard, proceeding onto the Niagara Thruway and exited at River Road in the Town of Tonawanda, police said. "It then made a couple of left turns and re-entered the 190," police said in a statement. But this time, the driver went north on the southbound lanes, heading straight into southbound traffic coming off the South Grand Island Bridge. The vehicle ended up wedged between a tractor-trailer and a minivan on the bridge as traffic came to a stop. The officers ran up the bridge and took the driver into custody. Police said they would release the name of the suspect Tuesday and that charges were still being sorted out.

    CROP Walk for Hunger - July 2015

       Grand Island's CROP Walk for Hunger will be on Sunday, October 4th at Beaver Island State Park. The planning team is now led by Cathy Rieley-Goddard, co-pastor of the Riverside Salem UCC Church on Grand Island. The team will be recruiting businesses and individuals to help raise funds to support the work of reducing poverty, hunger and the scarcity of clean water locally and around the world. CROP Hunger Walks have been an annual event on Grand Island since 1987. For more information and to learn how and where to secure participation envelopes, contact Pastor Rieley-Goddard at cathriego@gmail.com or 310-6860.

    Backpack Giveaway at Verizon Store - July 2015

    Note: The advertising agency with Verizon was given an outdated list of stores. As the GI store is closed, the closest location to receive a free backpack is 2290 Delaware Avenue, Ste. 800, Buffalo, NY 14216.
        Residents can benefit from a national backpack giveaway campaign. TCC, the largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer in the U.S., announces today that it will be donating 100,000 backpacks full of school supplies to children through its annual School Rocks Backpack Giveaway. Since 2013, the company has donated 260,000 backpacks filled with supplies to ensure children are well-prepared for the start of the school year.
        More than 400 participating TCC stores across the U.S. are inviting local families to bring their children to the store between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 1st to pick up a backpack filled with pencils, paper, a pencil box, folders, glue and other school supplies. One backpack per child present will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. All leftover backpacks will be donated to local schools.
        In 2014, the National Retail Federation predicted the average person with children in grades K-12 would spend $101.18 on school supplies, such as notebooks, pencils and backpacks, compared to $90.49 in 2013. With nearly 16 million children in the U.S. living in poverty, TCC is working to alleviate the rising costs of school supplies through this annual program. "We are grateful to be able to play a role in ensuring that as many children as possible are set up for educational success," said Scott Moorehead, CEO of TCC. "The backpack giveaway is something that both our employees and customers look forward to every year. It is our ultimate goal to make a difference equally in the lives of our employees, customers and the communities where we live, and this effort is one in which we accomplish all of these objectives."     The School Rocks Backpack Giveaway is one of TCC's four annual Culture of Good initiatives. Other programs include providing canned goods to local food banks, giving supply packs to 3,500 teachers across the U.S. and volunteering time to improve the environment. Learn more about TCC's Culture of Good by visiting www.cultureofgood.com. YouTube Video.

    Ransom Road Safe Routes Sidewalk and Stormwater Improvements - July 2015

    From left: Jason Moore, Ryan Foote and Tom Long in cab.

       The long awaited Ransom Road Safe Routes to School sidewalk installation is moving along at a brisk pace. The project will soon have completed sidewalks on Ransom Road from International Lane to Stony Point Road. Crosswalks will also be installed across from the middle and high school complex. Island contractor Tom Long of Sam Long's Landscaping/Excavating Inc. was awarded the bid and the project is funded by a Safe Routes to School grant.

       GI Highway Department employees were working on a stormwater drainage project on Ransom Road on Wednesday, July 15th. New, large pipes, graded and seeded will take the place of ditches in the area.

    Town Council Candidate Beverly Kinney Fundraiser - July 2015

       A fundraiser for Town Council candidate Beverly Kinney will be held on Wednesday, July 29th at Ellden's Restaurant at River Oaks Golf Club. The event will run from 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $40 per person. See flyer for details.

    GICSD 2015-2016 School Calendars Available - July 2015

        The Grand Island Music Boosters are selling the 2015-2016 GICSD school calendars and orders are still being accepted. Print the order form and either drop off at any school office or the District office, or mail it to Diana Nobumoto 581 Pin Oak Circle.

    Grand Island is Ready to Play Basketball! - July 2015

    Story & photo by Cassidy Siebert

        Grand Island, for the first time, will be part of the Gus Macker Tour. The Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball event will be held on August 29th and 30th and will be located on Grand Island Boulevard with proceeds from the event benefiting the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo and Youth Advantage. With the event date quickly approaching, preparations are in full swing in and around the courts.
       Grand Island High School DECA is supporting the event with over 50 student volunteers. Students will be scorekeeping and working concessions. However, more hands are needed. Any adults interested in volunteering should contact Cheryl Chamberlain at cherylchamberlain@grandislandschools.org. Registration for teams is now open. Individual wishing to sign up for a 3-on-3 team should visit Macker.com.

    Town Justice Candidate Mark S. Nemeth Fundraiser - July 2015

       A fundraiser is being held on Tuesday, July 28th by the committee to elect Mark S. Nemeth, candidate for Town Justice, at Ellden's Grill at River Oaks Golf Club. The cost is $50 per person or $90 per couple and includes Hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine and soda. See invitation for details.

    Independence Day Parade - July 2015

       The Grand Island Independence Day Parade was Saturday, July 4th.
    See Mary Stewart slideshow.

    Independence Day Parade Memories - July 2015

    By Robert B. Ryan

       The recollection is dimmed, to be sure, but the simple facts still resonate. In attending the 46th annual Independence Day parade on Grand Island all my memories of the organization of the first one in 1969 came flooding back. Here is what I remember.
       It was shortly after Independence Day in 1968 that Bob Ryan and his then spouse, Doris Ryan, discussed the lack of any meaningful celebration of our nation's independence in the community. They had moved to Grand Island in 1962 and six years later were raising four children there and part of their parental input for them was a sense of good old fashioned patriotism. They decided that their adopted community needed a civic celebration of our nation's independence and began formulating ideas for such an event. Bob began crafting a plan but long work hours on a new job and business travel necessities caused him to realize that he could not carry out a planned observance and thus he suggested to Doris that she take the leadership role and he would provide backup when needed.
       It was evident that the formal approval by the Grand Island Town Board was absolutely necessary or the project would die aborning and so a draft of a preliminary plan was created and Doris presented it in person to Ray Griffin, then the Town Supervisor. He had some minor reluctance, mainly about traffic issues and safety, but agreed to present it to the Town Board for consideration. Memory is a bit dim as to their reluctance or acceptance but it was approved and formal planning began.
       It was "pulling teeth" at the outset in late 1968 to get participating units and just as Doris Ryan swung into high gear after the '68 Christmas/New Year holidays, a personal tragedy drained every ounce of her patriotic enthusiasm. Her younger brother, just days away from completing his Army tour in Viet Nam, stepped on a land mine and was killed instantly. Her grief was profound and she simply lost interest in the parade effort in the weeks following her brother's burial. With encouragement from her husband who suggested that the parade be a tribute to her fallen sibling, she rallied her spirits and recommitted to the hard work of organizing Grand Island's first Independence Day parade.
       By today's standards for this effort, it was a small event but enthusiastically embraced by many citizens and organizations and by the second year (1970), it was on its way to becoming a community fixture in Grand Island that has thrived and grown exponentially in the years since. Each year, many former residents, predominately younger folks who have left the island for job opportunities, return in a homecoming mode to revisit family and friends and join in celebrating America.
       Doris Ryan was honored by the town in 1979 at the tenth annual parade when she was Grand Marshal of the event. She now resides in Longmont, Colorado near her eldest daughter, Linda Ryan, a graduate of Grand Island High School, class of 1976.

    Elderwood Hosts Vendor Fair - July 2015

       Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is hosting a Vendor Fair on Wednesday, July 22nd from noon - 6:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public, see flyer.

    Byblos Sold to Long Island Firm - July 2015

        The McSam Hotel Group of Great Neck, Nassau County, paid $6.25 million for the Byblos Resort after two years of ownership by Byblos Hospitality Group of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. See Buffalo News story by Jonathan D. Epstein.

    Superintendent of Schools Reflects on District Progress - July 2015

       by Teresa Lawrence, Ph.D. - Superintendent of Schools
       On June 13, we hosted a new Board of Education member orientation. Part of the orientation included review of accomplishments, projects underway and future tasks that the District will tackle. Later that evening, as I reflected on the day, I was delighted with the numerous gains we have made together during my tenure here to date. Based on what I was charged to do by the Board of Education and what our leadership team identified as areas needing to be addressed, the Grand Island School District has a greater focus on the academic program and accountability for academic performance, student and employee safety, financial stability and has more formalized policies, procedures and processes for the way we conduct business and ourselves.
       I am proud of the many accomplishments we have achieved together. Some of the many highlights include:
  • Vision planning around eight themes to ensure our District's sustainability and growth. The themes include: 1) safety, 2) infrastructure investment, 3) financial stability, 4) relationships/social capital, 5) capacity, 6) adaptability, 7) academic programs and 8) student success and wellness.
  • Two school budgets, which strengthen our District's programs, ensure financial stability and reflect community values, were passed by wide margins.
  • An additional $1,072,744 in building aid for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) addition was secured after I initiated a meeting with officials in Albany to address their concerns and present our case.
  • Curricula have been aligned to provide multiple pathways to graduation that maximize our community's investment in the STEM addition.
  • Legal costs have been reduced by 70%.
  • Two new contracts, one with our administrators' association and one with our central office administrators, increase employee contributions to health insurance to 13% and 15% respectively.
  • Rigorous and fair hiring processes have been established and consistently applied resulting in high quality hires across the District.
  • A renewed focus on student safety produced an evacuation plan for the Ransom Road complex.
  • Strong positive relationships have been built with students, employees, families and town officials.
  • A $51 million capital project, which includes significant improvements to our classrooms and athletic facilities, is forecast to be completed on time and within budget.
       On the eve of my arrival, a contract between the Grand Island Teachers' Association and District, which had been negotiated by the interim superintendent, did not receive Board approval. The sides remain far apart on money related issues including salary and health insurance. I share the disappointment and frustration teachers have regarding the contract negotiations. The Board has set what I consider appropriate and responsible financial parameters which our negotiating team has, and is, continuing to operate. I remain confident that, working together, a fair contract will be agreed upon by both parties.
        With the exception of the construction of our new transportation facility, the capital project is approximately 90% completed. The project is on time and on budget. Based on a very successful bid process in phase one, we are able to include enhancements to our facilities outlined in the original community approved scope of work. We are grateful for the community’s support and are pleased with the improved infrastructure and investment in our future.
        In my 24 years' experience in education, and what research tells us, is that any organization is largely defined by the relationship of the governance team. In the case of a school district, this translates to the superintendent and Board of Education. As of July 1, 2015, our seven person School Board will have had 12 different members over the last two plus years; five of whom are currently serving in their first term. It goes without question that I value the individual perspectives and opinions of each board member. My task as superintendent of schools is to find a balance between meeting the needs of individual board members as they work to establish themselves as a cohesive unit around the issues that matter most while focusing efforts and energy on moving the District forward.
        These successes are a result of the relentless commitment we all share for our students. The partnership among parents, staff, Board members and community leaders allows us to provide a top notch education to the students of Grand Island.
        As I enter year three, I will uphold my reputation of being an individual who is accessible with a strong work ethic, known for being tough but fair and one who operates with integrity and an upbeat character. Additionally, I continue with my sense of eagerness and excitement to serve as superintendent of schools and lead this District forward. Thank you for a great year!

    Grand Island Garden Tour - July 2015

        A Grand Island Garden Tour will take place on Saturday, July 18th from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Six homes, gardens, music, and hors d'oeuvres from local restaurants will be at each home on the tour. Advance sale tickets are $15 at Flower a Day, 2119 Grand Island Blvd. Tickets at door on day of event at $20, 3331 Calvano Drive. Tour Map with ticket purchase. Come and experience Grand Island's finest gardens and outdoor cuisine!

    Summer of '15 - July 2015

        by Kevin R. Hardwick - 4th District County Legislator
        Six months ago we were contending with one of the most brutal Februarys in recent memory. It seemed like it would never end. But it did. Now it is July. The temperature is well above the freezing mark we failed to achieve in February and the kids are out of school. Let's enjoy this summer. After all, we've earned it.
       Erie County Government is making the most out of this summer. For starters, miles of roads that were ravaged by two successive brutal winters are being repaired. Much of the work is being done by county personnel, including several new motor equipment operators who were recently added to the county work force. Other work is being done by private contractors in order to enable us to make the most of our all too short construction season.
       The county parks are also ready for the influx of visitors that comes with the nicer weather. I have two of the parks in my legislative district, Ellicott Creek and Isle View. Ellicott Creek Park was recently the beneficiary of the Correctional Facility's Service Action Crew. Under this program run by the Sheriff's office, low risk inmates planted flowers and picked up debris in the park. The park system is a tremendous asset and shelter reservations can now be made on-line at erie.gov. The site also contains helpful information concerning the county's beaches. You can also access the Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries from erie.gov or you can choose to go straight to the library system's site at buffalolib.org. Once there you can find a host of valuable information concerning summer programs in Grand Island and the Tonawandas. You might also be surprised to discover the wide range of services the libraries offer year round.
       The county is also looking out for the welfare of our pets this summer. Toward that end, we are co-sponsoring a series of free rabies clinics throughout the county. The closest one will be held on Wednesday, September 9th from 4-7 p.m. at the Town of Tonawanda's Highway Garage at 450 Woodward Avenue. Pets must be on a leash or in a carrier and owners wishing a 3 year certificate must show proof of an earlier vaccination. Additional clinics will be held on September 23rd from 4-7 p.m. at the Erie County Fire Training Academy, 3559 Broadway in Cheektowaga and on September 16th from 4-7 p.m. at the ECC North Campus' Noonan Center Maintenance Garage.
       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.

    Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sale - July 2015

       Erie County, in conjunction with several other sponsors, is offering "Two Great Ways to Save in the Garden." For the month of July, you can pre-order (checks only) a rain barrel and/or compost bin (order form). Complete the form and make check payment out to "Keep Western New York Beautiful". Mail to: Erie County DEP, Room 1077, 95 Franklin Street, Buffalo, New York 14202. All orders much be received by July 31st! Pick up will be in August.
       A rain barrel helps prevent storm water from reaching waterways, reduces the potential for pollution and helps to save water that residents use for their plants and grass. The SYSTERN 55 gallon capacity rain barrel can lower municipal water demands and save energy at water treatment facilities by reducing water pollution and storm water runoff. Rain water, free from chlorine and water treatment chemicals, is an excellent water source for lawns, plants and gardens.
       A backyard compost bin is the most practical and convenient way to handle your yard wastes. It can be easier and cheaper than bagging these wastes or taking them to a transfer station. Compost also improves your soil and the plants growing in it. If you have a garden, lawn, trees, shrubs or even planter boxes, you have use for compost.

    Grand Island Benefits from ECCF Horticulture Program - July 2015

    From left: ECCF Superintendent Paul Evans, Industrial Training Supervisor John Fisher, Town Hall Caretaker Jim Linenfelser.

    ECCF Industrial Training Supervisor John Fisher and Supervisor Mary Cooke

       The beautiful flowers in the beds around Town Hall, the Town Common and the Nike Base were grown by inmates at the Erie County Correctional Facility. The Horticulture Program, a victim of the red/green budget days of the mid-2000s in Erie County, has been brought back through the efforts of the Legislature, including District 4 Legislator Kevin Hardwick, representing Grand Island. Correctional Facility Superintendent Paul Evans reports that this is an extremely popular program with the inmates, who are under the immediate supervision of John Fisher, Industrial Training Supervisor. This year the program expanded and over 800 flats of plants were grown. They are used at various county facilities and in several towns. Recently Town Hall Caretaker Jim Linenfelser and Town Supervisor Mary Cooke had an early morning tour of the Correctional Facility Greenhouses and brought back to the Island 25 flats of plants and 4 hanging baskets. The program allows inmates to learn valuable skills and be part of a large positive project. In addition, it helps pay back the communities that were damaged by the actions of the inmates.

    Grand Island Recreation Department Summer Programs - July 2015

       The Grand Island Recreation Department Summer Programs began this week. The well attended Sports Craze program at Veteran's Park has over 50 kids signed up. The tennis program also began Monday.

       The first Tuesday concert of the summer was on June 30th and featured the Barroom Buzzards. Thanks to Mary Stewart for taking pictures.

    Grand Island Music & Art Festival - June 2015

        New this 4th of July is the Grand Island Music & Art Festival at the Town Commons! This event will begin immediately following the parade and will include artisan vendors along with a giant kid zone and food from area restaurants. Later in the day the beer tent will open and feature live music by Strictly Hip (3pm - 6pm) and a performance by legendary Kiss Tribute Band, KISS THIS (7pm - 10pm)! Music and beer until 10pm!
       In order to promote responsible drinking, Corey McGowan Productions is offering free shuttle bus transportation from 11pm - 3am. The shuttle will pick anyone up, anywhere on Grand Island and take them home to anywhere on Grand Island. To schedule a ride home please call 716-341-1040.

    Lawn Mower Race Results - June 2015


    Right: Jim Mazza entry.

    Relay For Life team Stomp It Out mans the food concession at race.

    Gary Roesch and Pete Marston.
    Photos by K & D Action Photos

       Bubble Race: Sammy Geblein, Ryan Kearney, Peter Marston
    Stock: Kaden Smith (9 yrs-old), who beat out Floyd Doring in the first elimination heat.
    Vintage: James (Skip) Bartolotta 1 Cylinder Mod: Pete Marston
    2 Cylinder Mod: Dan Wasicwicz
    Pro Stock: Scott Endres (special mention to AJ Custodi)
    Super Mod: Rob Schooping
    Special recognition to Jim Mazza for the "most patriot, best GI Viking and having a special touch with a candelabra on the hood of the machine."

    Staley Road Roundabout Clean-Up - June 2015

    From left: Liam Dodd, Ryan Hughes, Jim Linenfelser and Kevin Minton.

       Town of Grand Island Highway Department employees teamed up with Jim Lininfelser from the Town Hall maintenance department to clean up the roundabout at Staley and the Boulevard on Monday, June 22nd. Vehicles were parked on the roundabout walkway at the south end to avoid any wayward cars entering the area being weeded. The area has numerous dogwood trees, Black-Eyed Susans, roses and lilies, and the outer edge is lined with Sumac plants. In 2013, NYS-DOT Landscape Architect Mike Christner stopped by and checked on the area and said the area is not unkempt, it is supposed to look "natural".

    Julie Klein Family Benefit - June 2015

        Tragically, Julie Klein passed away on June 7th from a heart aneurism, leaving behind husband Chris and daughters Samantha and Sarah. Family and friends would like to help the family with present and future expenses by collecting monetary donations made out to the "Klein Family Benefit". Donations are being accepted at Key Bank, Attn: Michelle (Klein Family Benefit) 2180 Grand Island Blvd., with "For Deposit Only" written on back of check. See flyer for more details.

    Thermo Fisher Scientific Cleans Up Staley Rd. - June 2015

    From left:
    Back Row: Mark Stramagila, Will Conrad, Irad Ramadan, Andrew Tucker
    Front Row: Andrew Tubiolo, Chad Cowell, Michelle Guiziotti
    Not Pictured: Eric Hirtizel, Chris Martin

       On Friday, June 19th, a volunteer group from Thermo Fisher Scientific cleaned up Staley Road from Burger King to West River. The group has been doing the clean up for the past 11 years, and Chad Cowell has lead the clean up for the past three years. On average, they fill 25-30 bags with small garbage and pull large items including car bumpers, headlights, tools, and large pieces of scrap lumber. Chad said "we are dedicated to keeping the road we work on in tip top shape. It is the least we can do for the community that we work in." The Grand Island Recreation Department provides pokers, gloves, and bags. The Grand Island Highway Department picks up all of the trash bags and large items that the group picks up from the ditches and surrounding road side area.

    Free Fishing in NYS, June 27-28 - June 2015

        Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced on Friday, June 19th that New York State residents and visitors may fish for free without a fishing license in any of the state's 7,500 lakes and ponds and 50,000 miles of rivers and streams during the weekend of June 27-28. Saltwater anglers may also fish in marine waters for migratory marine fish species without enrolling in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. In addition to the June free fishing weekend, legislation signed by Governor Cuomo now allows for an increase in the number of authorized yearly statewide free fishing days. This year, Veteran's Day, November 11, has also been designated as a free fishing day.
        "New York has some of the best fishing in the nation, and we're making it easier than ever for people to come out and see all this state has to offer," Governor Cuomo said. "These free fishing days are the perfect opportunity to cast a line and take in the great outdoors, and I encourage everyone to explore New York's lakes and waterways this summer." Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, "There's really no better time to take someone fishing. The weather is warm, the fish are usually cooperative and beginners can give the sport a try while exploring some of our state's great outdoor resources."
        Those interested in learning more about the sport of fishing are encouraged to attend one of 40 free fishing events held during throughout the summer. A list of these clinics can be found on the Department of Environmental Conservation's website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27123.html. The public should check back regularly as the list is updated with new events as they are received. Anglers are reminded that although the requirement for a license and enrolling in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry has been waived during free fishing weekend, all other regulations remain in effect.
        NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. In support of this initiative, last year $10 million in NY Works funding was dedicated to fish hatchery repairs and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, trails and parking areas.
        Under the initiative, the 2015-16 Enacted Budget included an additional $8 million for state land access projects and an additional $4 million for the state's hatcheries in NY Works funding. The Budget also creates a new capital account which along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat, and to improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation. License Requirements; Anyone 16 years of age and older who desires to fish on dates that are not designated as New York State Free Fishing Days must have a state fishing license. Fishing licenses are now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.
       New York reduced license fees in 2014 for both resident and nonresident anglers, making fishing in New York more affordable than ever. Buying a license has also been made more convenient. Anglers can purchase their license and print it for immediate use on their home computer via the NY License Center (http://licensecenter.ny.gov/sporting-and-recreational-licenses). Anglers can also purchase their license by phone by calling 1-866-933-2257, or from the numerous license issuing agents across the state. Those purchasing over the phone will receive a confirmation number allowing them to fish immediately. Those interested in purchasing a lifetime fishing license should consider a New York State Adventure license, which is incorporated on their NY Driver's License and provides a free fishing themed license plate.

    Ceretto Hosting Car Seat Safety Check - June 2015

       Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston), alongside the Erie County Sheriff's Office, recently announced that he will be hosting his annual car seat safety check and child ID kit event from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 2th7 at the Grand Island Fire Company on 2275 Baseline Road in Grand Island. "I'm looking forward to teaming up with the Erie County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police to ensure that the children of Western New York are safely secure in their car seats," said Ceretto.
       Statistics show that over 90 percent of all child car seats are improperly installed or misused. "Working together, we can ensure a safe summer driving season for our children. Simply stop down to the Grand Island Fire Company and have trained State Troopers inspect the installation of your child or grandchild's car seat," Ceretto said. Ceretto also noted Deputies from the Erie County Sheriff's office will be on hand registering children for Operation SAFE CHILD identification cards. In addition to quickly providing important details to police agencies investigating child disappearances, the SAFE CHILD card can be used in conjunction with the NYS AMBER Alert and Missing Child Alert programs. If a child goes missing, the SAFE CHILD program allows their information to be electronically disseminated within minutes, significantly increasing the possibility of bringing a missing child home. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Assemblyman Ceretto's office at 716-282-6062 or at cerettoj@assembly.state.ny.us.

    Giant Hogweed Mistakenly Identified - June 2015

        The Isledegrande facebook page had a posting regarding Giant Hogweed found at Beaver Island. Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a Federally listed noxious weed. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves. See response below from Steph Thorpe of NYSDEC.
       "We have had several reports of "Giant Hogweed" at this location (Beaver Island), however, after receiving photographs from the callers, we have identified the plants photographed as Cow Parsnip. This plant is in the same family and genus as Giant Hogweed and, therefore, can also cause skin irritation and burning. Currently, we are not providing control on Cow Parsnip as it is a native plant."
        "I have attached some photographs of Cow Parsnip photos, and Giant Hogweed photos, and a few other look-a-like plants. If you happen to see any plants that looks like Giant Hogweed (8 to 14 feet tall when in bloom late June to early July, red blotches and white hairs on stem, large leaves), please contact us at your earliest convenience after taking photographs of the plants without touching them. We will need photographs of the stem, leaves, flower (if applicable), and entire plant before we are able to enter the site into our database." Steph Thorpe can be reached at ghogweed@dec.ny.gov.

    Lawn Mower Race Schedule - June 2015

       The GI Father's Day Lawn Mower Race, Classic Car Show & Kevin Doring Walk/Run is Saturday, June 20th on West River Parkway between Long Road and Sunset. Walk/Run - 10am, Car Show 9am-3pm, Lawn Race 2pm. See flyer for details.
    Schedule of Events
    9am - Registrations for walk / run
    10am - Registration for Lawn Mower Races
    10am - Walk / Run Start
    12:30 - Celebrity race with Mike Schopp & the Bull Dog
    1pm RC's / Testing of LM
    1:30pm - Driver's meeting
    2pm - Races start
    3pm - Car show awards
    3pm - Band
    5pm - Lawn Mower awards

    5th Annual Grand Reunion at Mallwitz's - June 2015

        Mallwitz Island Lanes is hosting the 5th Annual Grand Reunion at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 3rd. This is an outdoor event, for 21 and over. Music by Wide Right begins at 7:00 p.m., no cover. See flyer. Everyone is welcome. The class of 1970 is going to have an RV in the parking lot so people from that class have a place to meet.

    New Pool Arrives on GI - June 2015

    Making the turn from Stony Point, east onto Staley Road.

    East on Staley Road. - Click photos for larger view.

       It's not everyday that you see a large swimming pool shell traveling around the Island. On Friday, June 5th, a caravan including a very large in-ground, swimming pool shell, two state troopers and two construction pick-ups made their way from the 190 east on Whitehaven, south on Stony Point, east on Staley and south on East River to a location near the Grand Island South bridge.

    LOL Great Water Walk - June 2015

       On Saturday, June 20, 2015 the "Let them LOL Great Water Walk" will take place at Beaver Island State Park. The Great Water Walk is a community event to raise awareness and funds for clean drinking water. Every day in Sierra Leone, women and children walk miles carrying Jerry cans weighing up to 40 pounds, collecting dirty water that may lead to sickness and death, the walk will be on their behalf. With two distances to choose from: 1 mile and 4 miles, every walker and team is welcome. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m., for more information visit greatwaterwalk.com.

    Ceretto Helps Pass Medical Marijuana Legislation - June 2015

       Press Release - June 9, 2015
        Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston), alongside fellow lawmakers and dozens of Compassionate Care NY supporters, continued his efforts to expedite the process for critically ill patients to receive medical marijuana in New York State. Today, Assemblyman Ceretto helped pass legislation, which he co-sponsors (A7060), that would allow patients under specific circumstances to obtain medical marijuana immediately. The legislation passed with near-unanimous support in the Assembly, and enjoys bipartisan support in the Senate.
        "I'm pleased that we passed legislation today in the Assembly that would provide certain patients access to medical marijuana," said Ceretto. "It is depressing and unacceptable that four critically ill children have died in New York State while waiting to receive medical marijuana. We passed legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in New York State over a year ago; there is no excuse for our critically ill patients not to have immediate access to this much-needed medication." "I strongly encourage my fellow lawmakers in the Senate to promptly pass this bill as well. It's important to pass this bill before the end of this year's legislative session. Critically ill patients in New York State should not have to suffer for another day," Ceretto concluded.
        Ceretto's support for medical marijuana does not stop at A.7060; he also has advocated for the installation of marijuana hydroponics greenhouses in Western New York to boost the economy and provide medicinal-grade marijuana to Western New York patients who need immediate relief for critical illnesses.

    Lawn Mower Race News - June 2015

    Fire Chief Matt Osinski accepts a check from Lawn Mower Race Chairman Floyd Doring.

    From left to right: Tommy Long - Sam Long Landscaping and Excavation, John Whitney, Tom Snyder - B.A.D. Racing, Eric Berger - AA Insurance Company, Mary Dunbar - Fuccillo, Gary Roesch - Committee Chairperson, Lynn Dingey - GI Relay Chairperson, Linda Kutzbach - Remax, Kevin Cobello - K&D Action Photo, Chi Doring - Founder, John Pullano - Lipsitz and Ponterio & Floyd Doring - Founder.

       The GI Father's Day Lawn Mower Race, Classic Car Show & Kevin Doring Walk/Run is Saturday, June 20th on West River Parkway between Long Road and Sunset. Walk/Run - 10am, Car Show 9am-3pm, Lawn Race 2pm. See flyer for details. Sponsors gathered on Thursday, June 4th for a photo and Floyd Doring presented a check for $200 to the GI Fire Company Chief Matt Osinski for their wonderful volunteer service. Thanks to following sponsors:
    GOLD: B.A.D. Racing, Marston Power Equipment, Sam Long's Landscaping, R.B. U'Ren Equipment Inc., Lipsitz & ponterio, LLC, North Town Volvo, Porsche & Landrover of Buffalo, Niagara Frontier Publications, Fuccillo Auto Group, ReMax.
    SILVER: Steel Crazy Iron Art, Certified Auto Brokers, Joe's Dent Removal Service, Empire Development Corp., K&D Action Photo & Aerial Imaging, Eric Berger Insurance, Empire Dismantelment, Rhino Tees. BRONZE: Gui's Ace Hardware, Say Cheese, Kelly's Country Store

    10th Annual Paddles Up Niagara - June 2015

       The 10th Annual Paddles Up Niagara is Saturday, July 25th. See flyer for complete details. Registration Form. Poker Run Map. Fun Paddle Map.

    Father's Day Lawn Mower Races, Classic Car Show & 5K Kevin Doring Walk and 10K Run - June 2015

       The Grand Island Father's Day Lawn Mower Races, Classic Car Show & 5K Kevin Doring Walk and 10K Run is taking place on Saturday, June 20th at West River Parkway. Rain date is Sunday, June 21st. All proceeds go to the Grand Island Relay For Life. See flyer for details. You don't want to miss it!

    Ferry Fest, Sunday at Village Inn - June2015

    Tim Carr playing bass with "Chef Dan & the Croutons".

       Kick off the summer season this Sunday, June 7, with "Ferry Fest" at the Village Inn, 1488 Ferry Road. The outdoor event, from 5 to 10 p.m., marks the 27th anniversary celebration of Mike Carr's restaurant. There will be live music from four bands. Food, pop and beer will also be available for purchase. The bands are The Gallow Walkers; Chef Dan & the Croutons; The John Dudley and Ken Johnson band; and Pets Are Friends Slaves.

    GI Man Arrested for Marijuana Trafficking - June 2015

       24-year-old Kuljit Singh was arrested on felony charges of marijuana trafficking on Monday, June 1st and is being held at the Orleans County Jail. See Buffalo News story.

    Memorial Day Service - May 2015

    Gold Star mothers Shirley Luther & Mary Anne Crowe.

    Supervisor Mary Cooke welcomes guest speaker Christian Eshelman, U.S. Air Force.

    Kester Bleich and Fred Wornick
    Photos by Mary Stewart

        Many members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and the community were present on Monday, May 25th to honor the dead who made the supreme sacrifice in each of our nation's wars. The program took place at Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park. The guest speaker was Christian Eshelman, U.S. Air Force. The GIHS Wind Ensemble directed by Marty Allen played musical selections.

    17th Annual GICSD Art Exhibit - May 2015

    From left: 8th grade students Faith Gworek and Jordan Simon.

        With hundreds of students, their families, teachers and staff in attendance, the Art Department of the Grand Island Schools presented their 17th annual District-wide art exhibit beginning with an opening reception on the evening of May 18th. Artworks by students enrolled in each of the district's five schools displayed artworks which visually tell stories, record and explore the world, solve visual problems and express the students' unique ideas. Work in a wide variety of media including paint, pencil, ceramics, photography, collage and mixed-media was on display. Students frequently use the visual arts an appropriate vehicle for self-expression; art making serving as a healthy, creative outlet for their varied ideas and individual point of view. The public is cordially invited to view the show which will remain on view through May 2nd.

    Charges Dismissed in Sales Tax Case - May 2015

       All charges have been dismissed against Gail Villani, owner of Gui's Lumber chain, in a falsely accused state sales tax case. The company actually overpaid taxes during the time period. See Buffalo News story.

    Father's Day Race Sponsor - May 2015

       On May 19, 2015, Margaret Eisenhauer, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX North Real Estate, presented Floyd Doring with a $500 check in support of the Grand Island Father's Day Lawn Mower Race & Classic Car Show. Floyd founded the organization in 1978. In 2013 it expanded to incorporate a 5K walk and 10K run in memory of his son, Kevin Doring. The organization, which hosts the annual events on Father's Day weekend, was honored as the 2015 Organization of the Year by the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds benefit the Grand Island Relay For Life.

    Florida Man Arrested for DWI After Crash - May 2015

       State Police report that 31-year-old Adam Rock of New Port Ritchie, FL was observed flipping his Harley motorcycle on Saturday, May 16th while attempting a stunt and later charged with DWI. No injuries were reported. A blood-alcohol test was given and found to be 0.22 percent, almost three times the legal limit. Rock was ordered to appear June 10th at Grand Island Town Court.

    Transportation Center Groundbreaking - May 2015

    Retiring Supervisor for Transportation Jack Burns

        The Grand Island Central School District held a ceremony on Friday May 8th, 2015 to officially break ground on a new Transportation Center behind Sidway Elementary School. The new $6.3 million Transportation Center will be located next to the current building, which will become the Buildings & Grounds headquarters. The new facility will feature a lit ring road that will have an automatic gate, a building with four bays and room for parts and supplies. School Superintendent Dr. Teresa Lawrence announced at the ground breaking that Supervisor for Transportation Jack Burns and Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Tom Rachow will retire at the end of the school year. See video by Mark Gorton, Audio Visual Technician of Grand Island Schools.

    Mark S. Nemeth Announces Candidacy - May 2015

       Mark S. Nemeth is announcing his candidacy for Grand Island Town Justice this year. He has received the endorsement of the Grand Island Republican and Conservative parties. For the past 11 years, Mark has been the Town of Grand Island Prosecutor. In that capacity, he has had responsibility for prosecuting all violations within the town's jurisdiction including violations of the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law, New York Criminal Law, and the Grand Island Town Code. He has tried hundreds of cases in Grand Island Court and handled thousands more over the last 11 years.
       Grand Island is a dynamic and growing community with complex challenges like other modern suburbs. The problems it faces today are different than those of 30 or even 16 years ago. Mark will use his legal education and experience to address the challenges Grand Island faces today.
       Mark S. Nemeth received his law degree, with honors, from Cleveland State University's Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1993, where he was given the American Jurisprudence Award in Ethics and in Secured Transactions. He graduated with honors in 1987 from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a B.S. in history and a minor in education.
       In Mark's private practice, he is a partner in the law firm of Feldman Kieffer, LLP. He has been a licensed attorney and a litigator for more than twenty-one years, practicing in NY Supreme Court, town courts, and Federal District Courts throughout the state. He has extensive trial experience and appellate experience. Mark is a member of the WNY Prosecutors Association, the Erie County Bar Association, New York State Bar Association and the Defense Research Institute.
       Mark has been married to his wife Michelle, a high school math teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools, since 1993. They moved to Grand Island from North Buffalo in 1997. Mark and Michelle have two children, Miranda and Alex. Grand Island has been very generous to Mark and Michelle by providing a very peaceful and comfortable place in which to raise their children. Mark has been deeply involved with community by serving on the Grand Island Traffic Safety Advisory Board, coaching youth soccer for the Grand Island Soccer Club and St. Stephens, volunteering as a swim league official, and working the Lenten fish fry at St. Stephens. Mark is a past member of Grand Island Rotary and a volunteer for Lawyers for Learning, an Erie County Bar Association organization providing lawyers to act as tutors for students in need of extra help at School 18 on Buffalo's West Side.
       Mark is looking forward to continuing his efforts to give back to Grand Island and make it an even better place to live by running for Town Justice. He is uniquely qualified to be Grand Island's next justice. He will bring his legal education, professional experience, and his sense of duty to the community to the office of Town Justice, and he will make Grand Island a better place to live and work. Mark can be reached by phone at 773-7782, by phone or text at 481-8904, or by email at mmnemeth@roadrunner.com or mnemeth@feldmankieffer.com.

    Progress Continues in Key Areas - May 2015

        by Kevin R. Hardwick - 4th District County Legislator
        Erie County's 2005 Red and Green Budget fiasco claimed a number of victims. Many county employees lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Citizens throughout the county were shut out of their county parks and had to endure long lines when most of the DMV offices were closed. One of the hardest hit county agencies was the Department of Public Works' Highway Division. The ranks of county highway workers were decimated and as a result the road system has suffered for the past decade. We are slowly restoring the Highway Division's workforce and continuing to make improvements to the roads. Earlier this month, the County Legislature agreed with the county executive to modify the budget to create a number of additional positions in the agency, including several motor equipment operators. So beginning July 1st, we will have more resources to fix the roads and mow the grass on the county right of ways. These additional positions will also enable us to do a better job of plowing the roads next winter. Important to note is that these improvements have been accomplished without an increase in county property taxes. Property taxes, in fact, were cut when we passed the 2015 budget back in December.
        Another casualty of the Red and Green Budget mess was the county's conditional release program. This program permitted non-violent offenders to gain early release from prison under intense supervision from the county's Probation Department. Many familiar with the program have indicated it was very successful and its demise has had negative consequences for both its target population and the county, itself. A number of community groups have been pushing for the past year or so to resurrect the program. They were even able to secure a large donation from the Oishei Foundation to pay the lion's share of the program's first year costs. The advocates argued that the program will actually save the county money, as we will not have to pay to house the prisoners at the county correctional facility. Although I am not convinced that we will save any money in the short term, as I think proponents failed to distinguish between average and marginal costs, I did vote in favor of the program. I did so because I thought it was the right thing to do. I believe that the program will provide these non-violent offenders, who will be released into the community soon anyway, a better chance of succeeding on the outside. The reduction in recidivism will save the county taxpayers in the long term. To make certain of this, I sponsored a resolution providing for an annual review of the program. 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.

    Last Days at GI Schools 2015 - May 2015

       The last day of attendance for students in grades 9 through 12 is Friday, June 12, 2105. Local, Regents and RCT examinations are scheduled from Monday, June 15 through Wednesday, June 24. Graduation will be held at Kleinhan's Music Hall on Sunday, June 28, 2015. The last day of attendance for students in grades Pre-K through 8 is Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The last day of attendance for teachers is Thursday, June 25, 2015.

    "GI Sings For Hope" Concert Video - May 2015

        Mark Gorton is the Audio Visual Technician for Grand Island Schools. Back on April 1st, 2015, Grand Island Schools and the entire community once again put on an amazing show of charity and love during the 2015 "GI Sings For Hope" Concert, which he recorded. Beautiful voices were on display by the Huth Road 5th Grade Select Chorus, Middle School Singcopations, Grand Island Community Chorus, Pink Chorus, and Grand Island High School Concert Choir. Plus GIHS Alum James Wright dazzled the audience with his operatic talent! In addition, Huth Road Elementary kids smiled and danced in a pair of special videos presented by Mrs. Carol Horrigan. The night was capped off with all 5 choirs singing together in the finale. Proceeds from the event were shared among GI Relay For Life, and the Make A Wish Foundation. See video.

    Gus Macker Tournament Press Conference - May 2015

    Gus Macker founder Scott McNeal and Corey McGowan

        A press conference was held on Thursday, May 14th announcing that Grand Island will be the site of this year's Gus Macker basketball tournament on August 29 & 30. The event promoter is Islander Corey McGowan who expects 400-500, 4 person teams will be registered for the event. It will take place on Grand Island Blvd. between Whitehaven and Baseline Roads. Also on hand was Gus Macker founder Scott McNeal, he said he was excited to have Grand Island be the location for the 24th annual Buffalo area tournament. "At Macker we come in and provide the baskets, the equipment and give advice on structure and organization." Registration will begin shortly. See complete press release.

    Lawn Mower Race Results - May 2015

        Video & photos from the Lawn Mower Races by Kevin & Dawn Cobello from K & D Action Photo.
    The results from the Lawn Mower Race held at Town Commons on Saturday, May 2nd are as follows.
    Stock-John Dingey
    Pro-Stock Scott Endres
    Vintage-Scott Endres
    1-Cylinder Mod-Pete Marston
    2-Cylinder Mod-Pete Marston
    Super Modified-Rob Schooping/BAD Racing

    Beaver Island Tree Planting Project - May 2015

       The Beaver Island Tree Planting Project, established in October of 2014, has announced that they will be doing the second round of tree plantings on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Beaver Island has lost many of its trees due to insect infestation, extreme weather and other natural events; this project will assist in replacing the lost trees. Trees can be purchased in consultation with Beaver Island State Park staff and planted in honor or memory of loved ones or an event. For more information on this project please contact the Beaver Island State Park office at (716) 773-3271 or go to https://sites.google.com/site/beaverislandplantingproject/ If you would like to plant a tree at the May 30th event, please call prior to May 15.

    Unknown Stories of WNY: Return 2 Normandy - May 2015

    Charles DeGlopper

       A feature on WGRZ TV the week of May 4-8th, "Unknown Stories of WNY: Return 2 Normandy" honored the 70th anniversary of V.E. Day. The second story of the series was about Grand Island's own Charles DeGlopper, a 22 year-old private first class, who sacrificed his life on June 9th, 1944. He saved his platoon by standing in the middle of the road and firing at the Germans until he was killed. In 1946, his father accepted the Medal of Honor, the only soldier from his division and regiment to receive the award. See the complete story here. Islanders featured in the story are Ray DeGlopper, nephew of Charles DeGlopper, and Joe Synakowski, a driving force in making sure WNY and Grand Island did not forget Charles DeGlopper's sacrifice.

    BW's Smokin Barrels BBQ Fundraiser - May 2015

       Elderwood at Grand Island is sponsoring a bbq fundraiser for the Grand Island Fire Company first responders on Thursday, May 28th at the facility, 2850 Grand Island Boulevard. The BW's Smokin Barrels BBQ is to go only and is from 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. There will be Fire Trucks on display, balloon sculptures and a basket raffle. Tickets are $9 pre-sale and $10 at the door and are available at Elderwood and the St. Stephen's Church Rectory office. See flyer for details.

    Dog Park Development Day - May 2015

        Dog Park Development Day is Saturday, May 16th from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Nike Base, 3279 Whitehaven Road. You are asked to bring shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows if you can. See flyer for details. Call Kate Lansberry at 773-7157 with questions.

    Grand Island Volunteers Help Shoreline Cleanup - April 2015

    Top Photo: Charging Rhinos Team
    Bottom: Aura Salon Team

       On Saturday, April 25, 2015, a group of boys from the Grand Island Travel U16 Charging Rhinos soccer team joined forces with volunteers from Grand Island's Aura Salon to participate in the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper's Spring Shoreline Sweep 2015 event. Grand Island High School Junior Cam Smith was the Site Captain - working alongside 27 volunteers to clean up Grand Island's scenic Buckhorn Park. Riverkeeper organizes the largest Shoreline Cleanups in Buffalo Niagara with over 1,500 volunteers at 40 waterfront sites throughout Western New York. This direct form of citizen action re-connects the public with our local water and makes our community a better place. Thank you for joining the effort to protect and revitalize our waterways by cleaning up trash that is harmful for fish and wildlife!

    Town Reassessment Contract Awarded - April 2015

        In their effort to maintain a fair and equitable tax assessment roll, the town of Grand Island town Board, has committed to a four-year assessment cycle. At their meeting on November 17, 2014, they awarded the reassessment contract for 2016 to Emminger, Newton, Pigeon & Magyar, Inc. (ENPM). The one-year contract calls for a town-wide revaluation of all 8,983 parcels in the town. ENPM will will work closely with Town Assessor Judy Tafelski to provide a fair and equitable tax roll at 100% market value. ENPM was the contractor on the most recent revaluation project, which went info effect in 2013.
        Beginning immediately, and over the next twelve months, ENPM will be conducting exterior inspections on all parcels within the town, and analysing sales and property value trends, prior to placing values on the individual parcels. Interior inspections will be made ONLY at the residents request by calling 712-5550 to set up the date and time. In an effort to keep the property owners informed, the first of several public meetings over the next twelve months will take place at 6:30 p.m. on April 30, 2015 at the Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road. The meeting will give an overview of the project, and give a timeline for the residents and businesses to follow, as well as give the property owners the opportunity to ask any questions or concerns they may have.

    At Baked Cupcakery, cupcakes just getting started - April 2015

       The very successful Baked Cupcakery, 1879 Whitehaven Road, was written up in the Buffalo News on April 27, 2015. See story by Andrew Z. Galarneau.

    Nicaragua Mission Collection at Knights of Columbus - April 2015

       There is a Nicaragua Mission Collection at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1841 Whitehaven Road, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 14th. Bring your donations of summer clothing, shoes and household items (dishes, pots & pans, glasses, bedding, etc.) Ann Marie Zon will come with her truck at 6:00 p.m. and give a presentation about the Mission after the truck is loaded. Donations of cash are welcome to purchase cows or pigs for families, or to help defray shipping costs. Non-perishable food items are also needed. Old eyeglasses are also being collected. All are welcome, refreshments will be served.

    Lawn Mower Races This Saturday - April 2015

       Grand Island Lawn Mower Racing Series has scheduled a Spring event at the Town Commons on Saturday, May 2nd. There will also be a Chili, Chowder & Soup Cook-off. The event takes place from 12noon - 6:00 p.m. There will be racing, a beer tent, kids zone and live music. Special thanks to sponsors Marston Power Equipment, Sam Long's Landscaping and Excavating, Snyder Industries, Steel Crazy Iron Art, RB'Uren, Empire Dismantlement. See flyer.

    Guidelines For Branch Pick Up Service - April 2015

       The Town of Grand Island offers branch pick up for routine homeowner tree trimming only. This does not include tree removal. They do not pickup branches from lots being cleared by builders or private owners. They will not pick up any branch debris left by tree removal contractors.
  • All Branches must be no larger than 6" in diameter.
  • All Branches must be piled as neatly as possible with all cut ends facing the road.
  • Please do not place heavier logs on top of branch pile.
  • We will not pickup branches on private property.
  • We do not pick up stumps, roots, leaves, lawn sweepings, vines etc.
  • Branches should not be stacked more than 4 ft. high.
        Branch pickup is now done by route; they no longer have a branch pickup list. They will start at one end of the island and continue until the entire island is completed. Time frames will be determined by weather conditions, precedent duties, equipment, quantity of pickups and manpower. If you have any questions or an unusual situation, please call the Highway Department at 773 9632.

    Senator Panepinto & Superintendent Lawrence Meet - April 2015

       On Friday, April 17th, Grand Island Central School District Superintendent Teresa Lawrence met with Senator Marc Panepinto to discuss possible collaborations, efficiencies and ways to advance high quality opportunities for the students and community of Grand Island.

    Democrats Endorse Potter for County Legislature - April 2015

        Tonawanda, NY...On the evening of April 20th, approximately 75 Democratic Committeemen and women of Erie County's 4th District gathered at the Brounshidle Post in Kenmore, NY to make an endorsement for the County Legislature. John Crangle, chairman of the Town of Tonawanda Democratic Party nominated Ken-Ton School Board member and Tonawanda resident, Todd Potter, Jr., for the endorsement. The motion was seconded by Grand Island's Democratic Committee Chair Jim Sharpe. Potter was unanimously endorsed as the Democratic candidate for Erie County’s 4th Legislative District.
       Potter hopes to restore bi-partisanship to county government, make meetings more accessible and transparent, and create more communication between all levels of local government for more efficiency. An advocate for public education, Potter also hopes to increase funding to ECC's north campus and advocate for a satellite campus on Grand Island because of the large student population in his district that leave Erie County's border to go to neighboring counties' community colleges. Potter has also pledged to be an ambassador of the district for county government to ensure all residents are kept up to date on what county government is doing and how it is benefiting them.
        Potter, approaching 24 himself, says that encouraging youth participation has also been a longtime mission of his. "By enabling and empowering our young adults to get involved in local decision making, we are not only protecting our youth but also our community's future by growing a generation of informed and in-tune leaders. My campaign is largely composed of young adults looking to get involved in politics for the first time and I gladly welcome anybody in to get a firsthand look at local politics and decision making to show that anybody can effectuate positive change in their communities."
        Potter also credits his time as a Board of Education member, overseeing the districts $150 million annual budget and nearly 6,800 students, as preparing him well for taking on an additional role as Erie County Legislator of a majority of the Town of Tonawanda, Grand Island and the City of Tonawanda. For more information visit Todd-Potter.com.

    Images of America: Grand Island - April 2015

    Books available at Isledegrande office, 1871 Whitehaven, Monday-Friday 9am-3pm
        Island resident June Justice Crawford has co-authored a photo book of Grand Island history with Dr. Gerald Carpenter, "Images of America: Grand Island". A book sale and signing will be held at the Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5th. The book price is $21.99, cash and checks payable to GI Historical Society. Proceeds will go to the Grand Island Historical Society. This is a great gift for all your Island family and friends.
       From the publisher Arcadia Publishing; "When people think of Grand Island, they invariably picture the bridges connecting it with Buffalo to the south and Niagara Falls to the north. They might also think of it as a pleasant and conveniently located suburb or envision the island's natural beauty with the majestic Niagara River flowing serenely around it. But there were no bridges before 1935, and most people know little of the island's long, fascinating history up to that time. To the Iroquois, it was a valued hunting and fishing preserve; to British and French imperialists, a contested frontier asset. After American independence, it became whatever people could dream up-a tax-free utopian settlement, a refuge for Europe's persecuted Jews, a source of timber for Yankee clipper ships, a summer retreat for the wealthy, a playground for the masses, or a collection of small farm villages-all before it assumed its suburban form. Its colorful story, presented through this book's images, emerged from interactions between its unique geography and human imagination."

    Earth Day in May - April 2015

        The WNY Coalition of Donated Goods is sponsoring "Earth Day in May" on Saturday, May 2nd. Donations of used clothing, shoes and textiles will be accepted at many locations around Western New York. The Grand Island drop-off will be at the GI Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Other locations nearby can be found here.
        Each year, the average person throws away 70 lbs. of clothing, shoes and textile items. On average, 85% get tossed in the trash and therefore buried in a landfill, or burned at an incineration facility (GI trash is burned at Covanta in Niagara Falls), while only 15% (again, an average) get donated or recycled.Please help spread the message to donate clothing, shoes and textile items. Even those with tears or stains can be recycled. The charitable organizations involved will recycle the items that are not worthy of sale as is. This provides an additional source of income for the organization and having these items recycled is far better than burying them or incinerating them. In addition to this special collection, you may drop these items anytime in bins behind St. Stephen's Church, in the shed in the Trinity Church parking lot, in the bin at McMahon's Restaurant and in the bin in the parking lot across Staley Road from Tim Hortons.

    Father's Day Lawnmower Race - April 2015

    From left:Rick Smith, Skip Mazenauer, Kevin Cobello, Floyd Doring, Marlene Potter, John Pullano, Peter Marston Jr., Gary Roesch, Eric Berger and Tom Long.
    Mary Dunbar-Daluisio on mower. - Click photo for larger view.

        The Father's Day Lawnmower Race, Kevin's 5K Run/Walk and Classic Car Show committee has been busy getting ready for the event. At the latest meeting, committee members Marlene Potter and John Pullano presented a donation from their employer Lipsitz & Ponterio LLC. The scheduled date is Saturday, June 20th. Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m., the race/walk will start at 10:00 a.m. and the lawnmower races will begin at 2:00 p.m. Car show awards will be presented at 3:00 p.m. and the lawnmower awards will be awarded at 5:00 p.m. The race takes place on the West River Parkway, close to Long Road. There is food and beverages available for purchase.

    Operation Safe Stop - April 2015

    Back row from left: mechanic Rick Staub, office staff Kelly Lesinski and Theresa Alizadah, head mechanic Tim Blevins, Sheriff officers Chris Ginnane and T.J. Was, NYS Trooper Steve Barker.
    Front row from left: Bus drivers Jackie Steckelberg, Karen Dallessandro & Michelle Driess, Supervisor Mary Cooke, NYS Trooper Brian McCloud and Town Police officer Tom Franz.
    Click for larger view.

        Operation Safe Stop's statewide enforcement against passing stopped school buses was conducted on Thursday, April 16th, with two details; 6-9 a.m. and 2-5 p.m. This year's enforcement focuses on the dangerous driving behavior of illegal passing stopped school buses which put our children at risk of injury and possible death. Grand Island was fortunate to have officers from the Town Police, Erie County Sheriff's office and the New York State Police patrolling the school bus routes.
        The Sheriff's Office has participated in Operation Safe Stop Day since October 2003. Since the beginning of this partnership, law enforcement agencies, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the New York Association for Pupil Transportation have been active in coordinating this traffic safety initiative. The goal of Operation Safe Stop is to reduce fatalities and personal injuries of school children through the use of high visible enforcement with the goal of educating motorists of the laws against illegally passing stopped school buses. In 2014, Operation Safe Stop patrols resulted in 1174 tickets issued statewide for passing a stopped school bus; in Erie County 91 tickets were issued.
       New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law (1174) require all motorists to always stop for a school bus with red lights flashing. This rule applies on all roads including multi-lane or divided highways, on school grounds, in driveways or parking lots - everywhere. The first time conviction for illegally passing a school bus is a $250-$400 fine, 5 points on your license, and/or 30 days in jail. Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean the bus is preparing to stop. If you continue to creep up on the bus, students won't cross and the process will take longer. Do not try to time the lights. The safety of any student that is outside of the bus is in jeopardy when this happens. If you drop off your child at school, do not drop them off in the bus loading zone.

    Excalibur Boating/Fishing Special Programs - April 2015

        Excalibur is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, which services eight Western New York counties and over 150 human services agencies each season. Since its inception, the program has provided boating/fishing opportunities to 66,000 special needs persons. Their goal is to provide unlimited, FREE access to Lake Erie, as well as offer developmental, therapeutic and recreational opportunities for Human Service agencies and their related programs. On average, it costs Excalibur $75 per person to provide services for a two hour session. As this program continues to grow, and becomes more successful so does the need for viable support. A fundraising Inaugural Golf Tournament sponsored by GP:50 will be held on Monday, June 15th at Niagara Falls Country Club. See golf outing flyer. If demands on your time keep you from participating in this event. Please consider providing your support financially. Excalibur information.

    Herron Point Estates - April 2015

        The 31-acre, 232 attached multifamily unit residential project on Grand Island Boulevard is moving ahead after being granted a 6'8" building height variance for the 3 story apartment buildings at the Zoning Board meeting on April 2nd. The project, at the behest of the Conservation Committee, has been renamed Herron Point Estates. There will be 4 - 26 unit 3 story apartment buildings and 16 - 8 unit 2 story garden apartment buildings. The development is intended to be an upscale project. It would have one entrance on Grand Island Boulevard with a clubhouse and other amenities. The buildings are designed to have a residential look with gabled roofs and some with attached garages.

    Maplegrove Cemetery Meeting - April 2015

        The Annual Maplegrove Cemetery Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 5th at 6:00 p.m, at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road.

    Vandals Shatter Three Bus Windshields - April 2015

    Head mechanic Tim Blevins with one of the vandalized buses.

        Vandalism to Grand Island School District buses was discovered on Friday, April 10th. Three buses parked behind Sidway School, near the playground, had the right front windshield shattered. Due to construction on the new transportation building, the bus fleet is no longer locked behind gates as they were in the past. Thankfully there were spare buses out of the 65 total buses available. Head Mechanic Tim Blevins reported that each windshield will cost $230.43 to be replaced. Security cameras have been installed to deter any further vandalism.

    Ken Kalinowski Family Benefit - April 2015

       A benefit for the Ken Kalinowski family will be held on Saturday, April 25th at at the Knights of Columbus, 1841 Whitehaven Road from 1:00-6:00 p.m. Ken lost his battle with cancer in March, but his family still needs your help to cover costs. Tickets are $25 and include spaghetti dinner, pizza, desserts, snacks, pop, water, coffee, tea and beer. A cash bar is available. Highlights of the event are 250 baskets, gift cards, silent auction for items such as a Mario Williams signed jersey; signed mini helmet by Rob Gronkowski; Bills, Sabres, Bisons tickets; overnight stays at Russell’s, Wyndham, and Adam’s Mark; DVD player, juice machine, soda stream maker; lottery ticket boards; golf, golf and more golf items; many wine and liquor baskets; craft beer basket, a huge basket of cheer and much more! Music will be provided by "A Band Named Sue" and "Shaky Stage". Rob Lederman of 97 Rock and Rob's Comedy Playhouse will be the guest auctioneer. Please see flyer for details and to donate. Please note: flyer ticket price of $20 is incorrect. Tickets are available at the door.

    290 Bridge Replacement Meeting - April 2015

       A "Community Open House" is scheduled for the I-290, Delaware Avenue and Military Road bridge replacement project in the Town of Tonawanda. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. at Sheridan Parkside Community Center, Room 113 located at 169 Sheridan-Parkside Drive, Tonawanda, New York 14150. See Flyer.

    R-2 Zoning Review Committee Meetings - April 2015

       The R-2 Zoning Review Committee meetings with Robert Starzynski, Chairman are scheduled for Wednesdays, April 15th, April 22nd and April 29th at 7:00 p.m. They will take place in the Town Hall First Floor Conference Room. Meetings are open to the public but are not public hearings. R-2 Moratorium.

    Roast for Life's Annual Pig & Chicken Roast - April 2015

       The Roast for Life's Annual Pig & Chicken Roast is on Saturday, April 25th from 4-10:00 p.m. at VFW Post #9249, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. Tickets are available at the VFW and are $20, all you can eat. There will be a basket raffle, 50/50 and a DJ. Proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

    Spring Cleaning - April 2015

        by 4th District County Legislator Kevin R. Hardwick - The snow has finally melted and our thoughts are turning to the annual ritual of spring cleaning. In like fashion, our local governments are also preparing to clean up the mess left by the most brutal winter in recent memory. In order to coordinate our efforts, I arranged a meeting of Town of Tonawanda and Erie County officials last week to discuss plans to address the county road situation. I have arranged a similar meeting with Grand Island officials for later this month. I began organizing these meetings a few years ago when it became apparent to me that there needed to be better communication between town and county personnel in order to maximize our effectiveness. We do, after all, serve the same people.
        The response of the town officials has been overwhelming, as they have enthusiastically assisted us in our efforts to improve a county road network that suffered greatly from the fallout over the Red and Green Budget fiasco of 2005. Meeting several times a year with the towns has produced benefits in other areas. At one of these sessions a couple years ago, for instance, Town of Tonawanda Highway Superintendent Bill Swanson offered to have his forces sweep county roads. At the time, the county was down to one street sweeper of its own for the entire county. So we graciously accepted his offer. Now, town residents on county roads get their streets swept every week along with other town residents.
        Swanson's attitude was that residents who live on county roads are still citizens of the town and deserve excellent service. It is a sentiment shared by everyone at our meetings and has led to a great deal of cooperation. In addition to sweeping county roads, the Town of Tonawanda has loaned us their milling machine which has allowed us to resurface more roads than we would have been able to do otherwise. In return, the county has loaned the town our roller and allowed them to store materials at the county's facility on the corner of Military and Ensminger, thus enhancing their efforts. On Grand Island, the county and town are working on ways to improve drainage in several persistent problem areas on the island.
        As for our plans for specific county roads, the county's Department of Public Works is currently assessing the ever-changing condition of roads throughout the county. They should have their list to the Legislature later this month. We will then work with our partners in the towns to assure that all roads, county and town, get the attention they deserve. 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.

    National Fuel Says Call Before You Dig - April 2015

        Before starting any excavation projects this year, call 811, a toll-free national phone number, or visit www.call811.com. New York state law requires residents prior to digging in order to prevent accidental damage to underground utility lines. See information.

    Italian-American State Legislators Offer Scholarships - April 2015

        Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston) is pleased to announce the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators will be awarding academic and athletic scholarships to current or future college students. "With college tuition costs rising, it's important that students take advantage of the countless scholarship opportunities our state offers. The Italian-American scholarship allotment of $2,500 provides needed support for students facing heavy financial burdens after graduation," said Ceretto. Four students will be awarded scholarships, two for academic accomplishments and two for athletic and extracurricular endeavors. Students applying for the academic scholarship must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.5, and students applying for the athletic scholarship must be involved in organized sports or participate in extracurricular activities in their community.
       "We need to reward and recognize the students who maintain stellar grade point averages and stay active in their communities. I will be sure to spread the word to local school districts of the generous scholarships the Italian-American State Legislators offer," Ceretto said. Please email cerettoj@assembly.state.ny.us or send completed applications to Assemblyman Ceretto's district office by April 27th, 800 Main Street, Suite 2C, Niagara Falls, New York, 14301. Academic Scholarship - Athletic Scholarship.

    James Hatch - April 2015

       The Erie County Sheriff's Office recently honored Senior Detective Jim Hatch, who retired after 32 years of distinguished and decorated service, citing his exemplary investigative skills, professionalism, leadership and tireless work ethic, which served to inspire his colleagues while enhancing public safety throughout Erie County. Senior Detective Hatch began his career in law enforcement after 11 years of dedicated service in the United States Marine Corps. Officer Hatch retired from the Grand Island Police Force, effective January 2, 2015. He had honorably served the Town in this capacity since 2006.
        A champion for senior citizens, youth, and families in crisis, Detective Hatch made 938 arrests during a career that emphasized justice on behalf of domestic violence, elder abuse/neglect and juvenile victims, earning him far-reaching admiration and countless accolades including awards from the Hamburg American Legion, the National Federation for Just Communities, the Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center, the Erie County Sheriff's Foundation and the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation. In addition to supervising the Detective Bureau, Detective Hatch served as our agency's liaison and member of numerous task forces, organizations and committees to combat the issues of abuse, assault, family violence, child endangerment and underage drinking/drug abuse. Detective Hatch, and his wife, Susan, and their two daughters reside in Tonawanda.

    County Legislature Creates Pawn Shop Law - April 2015

       (Erie County, NY) - The Erie County Legislature approved a local law (11-0) at the March 26, 2015 session that would require pawn shops to upload information, including photos, serial numbers, marks of identification, and the name and image of the seller, for items they purchase. This information must be uploaded onto a database before re-selling to allow members of law enforcement an opportunity to search for a stolen item. By requiring pawn shop owners to take this step, victims of theft will have a better opportunity to recover stolen items.
        "In addition to giving law enforcement another important tool, this law will allow many victims of thefts to recover their valuables, thus saving them immeasurable heartache," said Legislator Kevin Hardwick. The law applies to pawnbrokers, secondhand dealers, and jewelry, precious metals and coin exchange dealers. It calls for a countywide electronic reporting program to be created with access for all local law enforcement agencies. Any purchased item must be held by the shop for 14 calendar days before selling, to allow law enforcement adequate time to search items that were acquired. The law also requires shops affected by this law to be licensed. The law is subject to approval by the County Executive and would take effect after he signs it into law. Members of law enforcement encourage the County Executive to support the law.
       "The Sheriff's Office is pleased that a Pawn Shop Law was passed that protects individual's property and provides law enforcement agencies an opportunity to thoroughly investigate and recover stolen property. Instead of property being melted down, altered, or sold, investigators will have the chance to review a database to determine whether a stolen item was sold to a pawn shop increasing our chances of recovery," said Chief Alan Rozansky of the Erie County Sheriffs' Narcotics Unit. "The Sheriff's Office and many of our law enforcement partners encouraged the Legislature to pass a law that protected the victim and aided investigators. We commend all of the Legislators for their diligent and bipartisan efforts." Once the law is implemented, pawn shops and other brokers will be informed of what steps they need to take to abide by the law.

    April is National "Donate Life" Month - April 2015

       Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs Reminds Motorists - Join Organ Donor Registry through the Erie County Auto Bureau.
        April is National "Donate Life" Month and a good time to consider helping the growing list of people living on hope. As you read this, more than 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for a life-saving transplant, including over 500 right here in Western New York. Thousands more are waiting for life-enhancing tissue and eye donations. 118 people are added to the national waiting list every single day. The good news is that each day approximately 74 individuals will get a new lease on life by receiving an organ transplant. One organ and tissue donor has the ability to save and enhance the lives of up to 50 people.
       "I am very proud that our Erie County Auto Bureau plays a significant role in saving lives through the New York State Donate Life Registry. In fact, last April we launched an aggressive campaign to significantly increase the number of Erie County citizens opting to become organ donors. Our year-long goal is to increase the number of registered organ donors at our Auto Bureau by 30%. This will result in successfully adding 22,000 new individuals to the New York State Registry. Most importantly, it means more lives will be saved. We at the Erie County Auto Bureau have a unique privilege and a responsibility to tell our customers that the simple act of "checking a box" can save countless lives." According to Unyts, 80% of people that become organ donors, register at their local Auto Bureau. In total, over 180,000 Erie County residents have enrolled through the local DMV.
       "I encourage all motorists that come into any of the Erie County Auto Bureau offices to enroll in the Donate Life Registry by completing an MV-44 and simply signing the "New York State Organ and Tissue Donation" consent box on any license or non-driver I.D. application. A symbol of a red heart and the words "ORGAN DONOR" will be printed on the front of your document at no extra charge. Unyts and their volunteers will be available at our Auto Bureau offices throughout the month of April to answer any questions regarding the organ and tissue donation process. If you have further questions on how to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry, contact the Erie County Auto Bureau's Call Center at (716) 858-7450. For complete information on organ donation visit www.nydrives4life.com or www.unyts.org."

    Erie County Road Fund Proposed - April 2015

    From left: Legislator Ed Rath and Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs.

        Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs and members of the Erie County Majority Caucus proposed a Local Law that would direct any and all excess revenues generated by the Erie County Auto Bureau into the dedicated "Erie County Road Fund." Currently, Auto Bureau revenues are co-mingled into the County's General Fund. The Auto Bureau revenues are derived principally by motor vehicle fees and taxes. If this law were enacted it is estimated that more than $15 million dollars of additional funding would be generated for the Road Fund which is devoted to the repair and upkeep of Erie County Roads and Bridges. The goal of this new law is to increase sorely needed road repair funding on an annual basis.
        "By approving this local law, the Legislature would ensure that the County Road Fund receives a boost in funding. The result of this increased investment will be additional road projects being completed each year. The revenues are currently generated through the Auto Bureau so this will not come as an increased cost to taxpayers. What the law accomplishes is simply designating a specific funding source for road projects. I think one of our biggest challenges in Erie County is maintaining more than 1,200 lane miles and the extra funding will go a long way to ensuring safe roadways and bridges for residents," said Legislator Rath. "We now see with all the potholes on county roads that more resources are needed to deal with our deteriorating infrastructure," said Legislator Lynne Dixon, a supporter of this local law.
       "If we start this program in 2016 we estimate generating $15-20 million dollars over 4 years, a significant increase in the amount of dollars devoted to our roads," said Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs. "This increased annual funding could translate into 30-40 additional miles of roads over 4 years, or a major increase in our level of snowplow coverage." "I want to thank Clerk Jacobs for his leadership on this issue and for proposing the idea to me. I strongly support this proposal and hope the Legislature will support this local law to allocate much-needed funding for our roads," added Rath. Jacobs added, "We also hope that if motorists know that their auto bureau fees will go to road upkeep they will consider renewing their registration and license locally so part of the fee revenue stays here." If passed, the law would need to be approved by the voters on the November ballot.

    Put Students First Rally - April 2015

    Story and photos by Lee Cohen

       Huth Road's auditorium was standing room only as parents, school personnel and community members rallied last week to speak in opposition to Governor Cuomo's state budget proposals for education. Speakers included Lisa Pyc, school board president; Dr. Teresa Lawrence, superintendent of schools; Chris Lawrence, representing state senator Marc Panepinto; Cindy Ames, Niagara Region PTA director; Mike Murray, Grand Island Teachers Association president; Dr. John McKenna, Tonawanda school principal and co-founder of the Partnership for Smarter Schools; Tim Williamson, GIHS science teacher, Ashli Skura Dreher, special ed. teacher named 2014 Teacher of the Year; and Katie Gentz, GIHS senior. They were critical of the governor's budget proposals, which they alleged would underfund public education, would add 100 charter schools, would change teacher evaluation procedures and bring in outside evaluators. They also were critical of the Common Core and the overtesting of students.

    Fachko Sentenced to Prison - March 2015

       Grand Island man sent to prison for crash that paralyzed grad student.
    By James Staas | Buffalo News Staff Reporter on March 26, 2015. See story

    Meth Lab Shocks Neighbors - March 2015

       Grand Island neighbors shocked by discovery of alleged meth lab. 'One-pot' shops bring drug to the suburbs.
    By Lou Michel | Buffalo News Staff Reporter on March 26, 2015. See story

    Hardwick Proposes Ethics Law Revision - March 2015

       (Erie County, NY)...Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that he has proposed a revision to Erie County's ethics law that would require additional reporting from elected officials, improving transparency. This proposal will be considered at the March 26, 2015 session. According to Legislator Hardwick's resolution, the revision would require that all county elected officials and employees in policy making positions submit their financial disclosure documents for any year in which they served or held their title for any length of time. Prior to the proposed change, those affected by this policy would not be required to file if they left their position. These changes will help ensure that during transitions of government officials the process remains transparent and taxpayers are ensured that they are being fairly represented. "This closes a huge loophole that has existed for some time. As such, it will serve to strengthen personal responsibility and encourage ethical behavior in Erie County," said Legislator Hardwick. For additional information, please contact Legislator Hardwick's Office at 858-8672; email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov; or visit www.erie.gov/legislature/district04.

    WNY State Parks Seek Lifeguards - March 2015

        The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced that there are three lifeguard exams scheduled in the Niagara Region for the 2015 season. Testing, which is required for anyone wishing to work as a lifeguard at any New York State Park, will take place at Niagara University, Lewiston, NY 14109 on the following days. Registration for the classes will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Kiernan Building on Saturday, April 11, 2015, Saturday, May 9, 2015 and Saturday, June 6, 2015.
        "Lifeguards are crucial to the success of our State Parks throughout the most popular months of the year," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "Lifeguarding is a rewarding way high school and college students can make money and gain valuable job experience in a friendly, active and fun environment." Candidates may register for testing by calling the Niagara Region Administrative Headquarters at (716)299-0813. For specific information regarding the test, please visit www.nysparks.com and once in the site, click on the "Inside Our Agency" button.
        Prior to employment, successful candidates must be at least 16 years of age and must furnish proof of completion of CPR for the Professional and completion of the American Red Cross 1994 Revised Lifeguard Training, which includes First-Aid, with a certificate for the Waterfront Module or equivalent courses. Successful candidates will also need a physician's certification of adequate physical fitness including a minimum of 20/40 uncorrected vision after receiving a conditional job offer. Lifeguard positions in the Niagara Region will be available at Beaver Island, Evangola, Fort Niagara and Wilson-Tuscarora State Parks. For further information and to register for the test, call Vince Iacovitti at (716)299-0813.

    Todd Potter Announces Candidacy for 4th Legislative District Seat - March 2015

       March 23, 2015...Todd Potter announced today that he is a candidate for Erie County's 4th Legislative District, which includes Grand Island, the City of Tonawanda and the Town of Tonawanda. Potter is a lifelong Tonawanda resident, a D'Youville College alumnus, and a member of the SUNY Buffalo Law School class of 2015. He currently serves as an elected Trustee on the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District Board of Education. As a board member, Potter is responsible for the development of the district's $150 million annual budget and policies that impact nearly 7,000 students. First elected in 2013, Potter has worked to implement fiscal responsibility, good governance and effective strategic planning.
       Potter credits his time on the board for his ability to build coalitions behind common goals. He has worked with his fellow members to promote transparency and greater participation by the public in decision making. Potter believes the communities of the 4th District have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take advantage of the new investments taking place in the region. "I look around at the exciting changes happening throughout Erie County, and I know we can play a vital role," said Potter. "With a strong voice in county government, we can capitalize on our strengths and overcome our weaknesses to promote smart development and growth. It's time to show what we in the 4th District can accomplish by working together." For more information on Potter and his campaign, please visit todd-potter.com.

    Bedell Road Overpass Closure - March 2015

        The Bedell Road overpass rehabilitation on Grand Island begins on Monday, March 23rd and Bedell Road will be closed to all but local traffic from West River Road to Grand Island Boulevard. The road will be closed until the end of June.

    Ceretto Announces Facebook Town Hall - March 2015

        Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston) announced on Tuesday, March 17th that he will be holding a Facebook Town Hall this upcoming Monday, March 23, from 6 to 7 p.m. Because this Town Hall is taking place during state budget negotiations, constituents will have the opportunity to ask questions about the budget and provide their input. Ceretto will use the input he receives from his constituents to guide his decision making as the state budget is created and the legislative session continues.
       "Facebook is a great tool to keep in touch with my constituents while I work on their behalf in Albany. That's why I wanted to host another Facebook Town Hall at a time when our state is deciding many important questions that must be resolved in the state budget," said Ceretto. "From education funding and infrastructure improvements to tax relief and anti-corruption reforms, the input of my constituents on these issues is extremely valuable to me. I am looking forward to an informative discussion with them during this Facebook Town Hall on Monday."
        To participate in the Facebook Town Hall, log in to Facebook and find Ceretto's Facebook page at facebook.com/johndceretto, and like the page. When the Town Hall begins at 6 p.m., Ceretto will post a status update asking for questions. Simply post your questions as a comment on the status update, and Ceretto will reply with his answer.

    Lawn Mower Race and Cook-Off - March 2015

        The Grand Island Lawn Mower Racing Series has scheduled a Spring event at the Town Commons on Saturday, May 2nd. There will also be a Chili, Chowder & Soup Cook-off. Local restaurants and organizations are invited to participate as over 1000 patrons are expected to attend. Along with the all day lawn mower racing, this event will also feature live music and a beer tent. The event fee will go to the Kaegebein Playground Fundraising project and all revenue generated at your booth is yours to keep. See application for more information.

    Elderwood Easter Egg Hunt - March 2015

        Elderwood, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is sponsoring an Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 29th at 2:00 p.m., rain, snow or shine. Activities include over 2000 eggs, the Easter Bunny, a petting zoo and an ice cream sundae bar. All activities are free. See flyer.

    North Bridge Rehabilitation Project - March 2015

        The work has begun on the North Bridge Rehabilitation Project, at which, the deck of the Southbound, North Bridge will be replaced. Starting March 25th the bridge will be closed nightly, Sunday through Thursday as follows:
  • Sunday, March 25 - Wednesday, May 20 from 8 p.m. - 6 a.m.
  • Tuesday, May 26 - Wednesday, September 2 from 9 p.m. - 6 a.m.
  • Tuesday, September 8 - Friday, October 30 from 8 p.m. - 6 a.m.
       Dates and times are subject to change, depending on weather and construction activities. Southbound traffic will be detoured onto the adjacent Northbound Bridge. Two-way traffic will be maintained on the Northbound Bridge with traffic reduced to a single land in each direction.
       Sign up for TRANSalerts on the Thruway Authority's website at www.thruway.ny.gov to receive information about unscheduled incidents. You can view traffic camera webcams at www.thruway.ny.gov/webcams. You can also vist www.nittec.org and www.511.ny.org for regional traveler information. See flyer.

    R-2 Zoning Review Committee Meetings - March 2015

       The R-2 Zoning Review Committee meetings with Robert Starzynski, Chairman are scheduled for Wednesdays, March 25th and April 8th at 7:00 p.m. They will take place in the Town Hall First Floor Conference Room. Meetings are open to the public but are not public hearings.

    Clean Air Coalition calls on DuPont to limit emissions - March 2015

       The DuPont Town of Tonawanda plant is located across the Niagara River from Grand Island on River Road. They were ranked third in 2013 on Erie County's biggest polluters list. A public comment period ends on Monday regarding the next Title V permit which sets pollution levels.
       Buffalo News Story by Joseph Popiolkowski See story.

    Michele Breier Memorial Blood Drive - March 2015

    Michele Breier

        A Michele Breier Memorial Blood Drive is planned for Sunday, March 22nd at the MOG, Freedom Place, 1801 Grand Island Blvd, in the aerobics room, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Michele received mutiple blood transfusions and was always grateful and a strong advocate of donating blood. To schedule an appointment visit www.unyts.org, click the "Give Blood" icon and enter sponsor code 000187. Walk -ins are welcome. There will also be a basket raffle. See flyer.

    Looking Beyond a Brutal Winter - March 2015

    by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
       Many of us thought last winter was a bad one. By most objective standards, it was. But this winter has been downright brutal. I am sure you recall how horrible the roads were at the conclusion of last year's winter. We can only imagine how bad they will be this year. Potholes are already popping up everywhere and it figures to get much worse.
        Last year the county legislature was successful in getting an additional $5 million dollars in county fund balance, our "rainy day" account, committed to additional road repairs. With the cooperation of the county executive and the hard work of the county's Department of Public Works personnel, we were able to significantly mitigate the effects of last winter. Committing these rainy day funds to the roads was not something we took lightly, as once the funds are expended they are gone. But it was not just raining, it was pouring. So I am proud of our actions.
        This year we are presented with even bigger challenges, as the winter was much more severe. It is incumbent upon us, therefore, to work together to find the optimum solution to this pending crisis. In so doing, we might take our cue from the many men and women who have worked so hard to help us survive this winter. I am talking about the road crews, the water workers, and the police and fire personnel, who have labored under incredibly harsh conditions to keep us safe. We should also not overlook the mail carriers and the utility crews. I have great respect for them all.
        My father was a lineman for New York State Electric & Gas when I was growing up. I can recall seeing him brave the elements time and time again. He did it because people were without power and someone had to see that it was restored. He was a great man. Last month he lost his battle with leukemia. I will be forever grateful to the anonymous blood and platelet donors who helped him enjoy one more Thanksgiving, one more Christmas and one more wedding anniversary. Before the onset of winter I sponsored a pair of blood drives in his honor. I am told that blood donations are now down, another casualty of this ferocious winter. I would encourage anyone who is able, therefore, to consider donating blood or platelets to help save the lives of our neighbors who desperately need our assistance.
        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.

    Thank A Vet Discount Program - March 2015

       Grand Island Supervisor Mary Cooke is hosting the Erie County Clerk's "Thank A Vet" Discount Program Outreach Event at the Nike Base Community Center, Friday, March 27th from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. This program allows vets to receive discounts at over 1000 Erie County Businesses. See flyer for details.

    Successful Pasta Sauce-Off Fundraiser - March 2015

    Jessica Flash and Allyson Nemeth

    Sauce Off winners: Tina Giambra (1st place) and Kim Nemeth (2nd place)

       Cooking for Cancer founders, Allyson Nemeth and Jessica Flash held their 3rd Annual Pasta Sauce-Off Fundraiser on Saturday, February 28th at the LaSalle Yacht Club. The girls are seventh graders at St. Stephen School and the event raised $5,000.00 for Carly's Club of Roswell Park. The competition included 14 different sauces to be sampled from volunteer chefs. After sampling a voting card is included to vote for a winning sauce. This year's winner, for the second year in a row, was Tina Giambra with her Creamy Basil Tomato Sauce. The event also included a huge basket raffle, 50/50 raffle, silent auction, and bake sale. The goal was to raise more than the previous year of $4,600.00 and the event was a huge success.

    Disaster Drill Volunteers Needed - March 2015

        Volunteers are being sought to take part in a disaster preparedness drill from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. at Erie Community College North Campus in Amherst on March 13th. Pre-registration is encouraged by those who want to take part in the free event. The drill is being staged by the Erie County health department's Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness. The exercise will provide county employees and the county's planning partners with practice in the mass distribution of medications required during a public health crisis. It is a precursor to a larger statewide exercise that is planned for 2016.
        Among other goals, the requirements of the "point of dispensing" exercise calls for dispensing medications to up to 2,000 people per hour over a sustained 2-hour period. County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said the county's Public Health Emergency Preparedness scores have been going up for the past three years. In addition to taking part in the exercise, participants will have access to safely dispose their unused or unwanted prescription drugs and needles, obtain public health information and educational materials, and enter free raffles for door prizes.

    Smell Gas? Act Fast! - March 2015

    Feb. 27, 2015 - Williamsville, NY
       If you smell rotten eggs, it could be a natural gas leak. National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) wants to remind you to call its 24/7 emergency line at 1-800-444-3130 if you smell natural gas indoors or outdoors. Natural gas, in its natural state, is colorless and odorless. Because of this, natural gas providers must add a harmless, non-toxic odorant to it to make it more readily detectable. These odorants produce the well-known gassy odor that is associated with natural gas, usually described as a rotten egg smell. If you smell an odor of gas outdoors, please call national Fuel's emergency number immediately and provide the address nearest to the site of the odor.
       If you detect a faint smell of gas indoors, check to see if you have a pilot light out or a burner that is not completely turned off. Then open windows and doors to ventilate. Do not attempt to re-light without ventilating the area first. If you smell a strong gas odor, or are unable to detect the cause of the odor:
    DO Leave the premises and call National Fuel emergency line, 1-800-444-3130 from a different location.
    DON'T turn on or off any electrical appliances or smoke or use any open flames.
       It's also important to remember that snow, ice and extreme cold temperatures can pose a variety of safety and performance issues to heating systems. National Fuel advised all homeowners to be extra vigilant and pay careful attention to their furnaces, vents and outdoor gas meters throughout the winter season.

    GI Rugby Club Spaghetti Dinner - February 2015

       Come out and support the Grand Island Rugby Club at the annual Spaghetti Dinner & Bakesale Fundraiser on Tuesday March 3rd from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Cost of the event is $5 presale and $6 at the door. You can also purchase the family pack which includes 5 dinners for a cost of $20. The proceeds from the event will go towards assisting the Grand Island Rugby Club, a team which is entirely self-funded, representing both the community of Grand Island and Grand Island Central School District There is a Kaleidoscope Concert that evening at 7:00 p.m.

    Earned Income Tax Credit Information - February 2015

        Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs reminds citizens that the EITC puts money in your pocket, see if you qualify. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax benefit created by the federal government in 1975 for working people who earn low to moderate incomes. The EITC is a refundable credit that reduces or eliminates income taxes owed and helps individuals keep more of what they earn. If the amount of tax credit the worker qualifies for is more than the taxes owed, the worker will receive the difference as a cash refund, and New York State also has a match. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. You need to have worked in 2014 and meet the income limits below. Also, you must have one or more qualifying children or be between the ages of 25-65 without a child.

       The EITC can contribute a substantial amount of money to families who are struggling to make ends meet, as much as $6,143 depending on the size of the family. The IRS estimated that over 28 million citizens and families received over $66 billion in EITC in tax year 2013. Those EITC dollars had a significant impact on the lives and the local communities of the nation's lowest paid working people. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the EITC helped bring over 6.2 million people above the poverty line, including 3.2 million children. Everyone who qualifies should take advantage of the tax credits available to them. Let the United Way CASH (Creating Assets, Savings & Hope) partner agencies help you navigate through the somewhat confusing aspects of tax preparation. CASH Buffalo works to increase the financial stability of low-income families by increasing awareness of tax credits and other income supports, connecting people to free tax preparation services and financial education and other local asset building resources.
        All of the credits have one thing in common, you cannot receive them if you do not file your tax return. The United Way's CASH partner agencies along with hundreds of volunteers assist taxpayers each filing season to prepare accurate State and Federal returns. The earned income tax credit puts extra money, cash that you have already earned, in your pocket. Additionally, there are three ways you can qualify to get your taxes filed for free. If you have worked in the past year and:
  • earned $60,000 or less and apply online using www.myfreetaxes.com;
  • earned $53,000 or less and apply in person at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout Erie County;
  • are active/ non-active military personnel or veteran earning $53,000 or less.
        It is not too late to apply for the 2014 Earned Income Tax Credit - the filing deadline is April 15, 2015. If you think you may qualify for the EITC and have additional questions on how you can have your taxes done for free, you can contact 2-1-1 for more information.

    Martin's Fantasy Island $1 million Expansion - February 2015

        GRAND ISLAND, NY, February 23, 2015...Martin's Fantasy Island is excited to announce a $1 million expansion, with a brand-new ride and a new version of a classic to be ready for the 2015 season. Fantasy Island's newest ride, Rock'n Roll Musik Express, will be ready and waiting to thrill guests with a dynamic experience full of speed and sound. The Rock 'n Roll Musik Express will take riders round 'n round, up 'n down, and of course backwards & forwards! High energy tunes that change from ride to ride and spectacular lighting complete the rockin' experience.
        For younger guests, the all-new Jack & The Beanstalk ride in Kiddieland will give everyone a more fun and exhilarating experience. This family ride still consists of a fun-sized drop or two, but now they've added some twists to make the ride even more fun and unpredictable. The anticipation of Fantasy Island's 54th Opening Day continues to grow! The continued excitement of the Silver Comet, energetic entertainment, and perennial Fantasy Island favorites are all reasons to celebrate.
        Martin's Fantasy Island is a family-oriented, classic American theme park situated just minutes from Buffalo & Niagara Falls. With so many rides, shows & attractions, you'll spend the day, not a fortune, at Martin's Fantasy Island. Enjoy their "thrill" rides, the wide variety of family rides, and the exciting Water Park - all for one low admission price. Martin's Fantasy Island Season Fun Passes are on sale for $214.95 for a four-pack. That's just $53.75 each...less than the cost of two full-day adult admissions. 2015 Season Fun Passes can be purchased at www.MartinsFantasyIsland.com or by calling 716-773-7591 during normal business hours.

    On-Line Home Closings - February 2015

       (Erie County, NY)...Jacobs Announces Home Closings Can Be Now Done On-Line. New Technology Will Save Time and Money.
       The long-held tradition of attorney's and their prospective homebuyers having to come downtown to Old County Hall to sign a multitude legal documents to purchase their new home might soon become a thing of the past. Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs announced today that in Erie County homeowners can now electronically record (e-Record) deeds and deed related documents. Meaning homebuyers can close on their home electronically at their attorney's office. "We believe e-recording of deeds and mortgages will give homebuyers a much more convenient option in terms of closing and hope over time decrease closing costs," said Jacobs.
       When Jacobs took office three years ago he unearthed a crisis in the Clerk's Real Estate Division, finding more than 100,000 deeds and mortgages unreturned to homeowners and over $3 million dollars in uncashed checks. After an extensive "Re-Engineering" project Jacobs has transformed the division into a model of efficiency. The Clerk's Offices records hundreds of different types of property related documents, over 185,000 transactions last year. "When I took office three years ago not one document-type in our Land Records Division could be processed electronically, all had to be transacted in paper, now 99 percent of our transactions can be done electronically," stated Jacobs. Jacobs has coordinated efforts with experienced electronic recording facilitators such as Corporation Service Company, a registered submitter with Erie County. "We're pleased to partner with the Erie County Clerk's Office to expand its document recording capabilities," said Mark Rosser, Vice President of CSC. "The increased efficiency and accuracy has the potential to significantly reduce both origination and recording costs, saving money for the recording office and those they serve on a day-to-day basis." For more information on how to begin e-recording deeds and deed related documents with the County Clerk's Office please visit www.erie.gov/clerk/erecord or call 716-858-8797.

    Gary Roesch Announces Candidacy - February 2015

        Gary Roesch has announced his candidacy for Grand Island Town Councilman. Gary is a member of the Conservative Party and was first elected to the Town Board in 2003. Gary's platform is to continue to:
  • Provide strong commitment to responsible government.
  • Believes in providing sound fiscal management to town residents without sacrificing the quality of services.
  • Current liaison to the Planning Board, Economic Development Advisory Board, Cable-Communication Committee, Safety Committee, Waste Water plant and Golden Age Executive Board.
  • Leader in the Nike Base Master Plan.
  • Leader in the Town Commons Master Plan
  • Past Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Commission, Planning Board and Long Range Planning Committee.
  • Military Service: US Naval Veteran, Member of the American Legion and VFW
        Gary and his wife, Carol, have resided on Grand Island for 50 years and after a 36 year career, retired as a manager from a local petroleum company. Gary and Carol are the proud parents of Todd (Karin), Tracy (Bobby) Williams and Gregg (Nicole) and grandparents to Lucia and Jack Roesch. Gary can be reached at groesch@roadrunner.com. or by phone at 773-3967 with any questions you may have regarding his campaign. He intends to visit as many residents as possible and is available to meet with any residents or groups.

    World Day of Prayer - February 2015

        The Grand Island Ministerium "World Day of Prayer" is at St. Martins-in-the-Field, 2587 Baseline Rd. on Friday, March 6th at 2:00 p.m. The "World Day of Prayer promotes justice and equality for women through prayer, partnership, service and celebration." This year the service is written by the women of the Bahamas. Guest speaker is Mary Murphy of the Family Justice Center. A reception will follow.

    Proposed Erie County Term Limits - February 2015

       (Erie County, NY) - Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, along with co-sponsors Chairman John Mills, Legislator Lynne Dixon, Legislator Ted Morton and Legislator Edward Rath have introduced a proposed local law that would give voters the right to decide on term limits for Erie County's elected officials. The timeline calls for the referendum to be on the ballot in the November 2015 election.
       According to the proposed local law, the term limit for legislators would be 12 consecutive years of service, which is six (6) two-year terms. It would also impact the offices of county executive, clerk, comptroller, district attorney and sheriff, limiting each office to 12 consecutive years of service, which is three (3) four-year terms.
       "In a perfect world we would not need term limits. But the Sheldon Silver scandal in Albany is the most recent reminder that we do not live in a perfect state, let alone a perfect world. We need to protect ourselves from the excessive influence of career politicians. If the Legislature passes this resolution, I am confident voters will ratify this important reform in November," said Legislator Hardwick.
       According to Erie County Charter, the Legislature will hold a public hearing on the proposed local law before the 11 members vote. Following legislative procedure, a referendum is placed on the ballot, needing public approval to become law. The referendum on term limits would appear on the November 2015 ballot. For additional information, please visit the Legislature's website at www.erie.gov/legislature.

    You're Invited to the Pasta Sauce-Off - February 2015

        St. Stephen's students Allyson Nemeth and Jessica Flash are hosting their 3rd Annual Pasta Sauce-Off on Saturday, February 28th from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the LaSalle Yacht Club in Niagara Falls. The event raises funds for Roswell Park Carly's Club. Last year over $5000 was raised. The event will include a variety of different pasta sauces to vote on, 50/50 raffle, basket raffle, silent auction and bake sale. Everyone is welcome to attend, see flyer for details.

    Historic Preservation Display & Ordinance Information - February 2015

    Historic Treasures Display at Library.

    .    The Town of Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board has a dedicated space at the entrance to the Grand Island Library where they display local history throughout the year. The current display is of Erie County "Historic Treasures", with Grand Island's own River Lea featured in the center. These are buildings that are National Historic Sites and National Historic Landmarks. The Landmark distinction carries the most prestige and affords the greatest amount of protection. It is the highest designation a man-made structure, a significant place, or an archeological site can achieve in the U.S.
        The Historic Preservation Advisory Board is in the process of requesting that an ordinance be passed to protect historic buildings, structures, and districts that have been designated historically significant. A draft of the local law may be seen here. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 2nd at 8:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Courtroom. Island residents are welcome to share their opinion at that time.

    "Congress on Your Corner" at Town Hall - February 2015

        United States Congressman Brian Higgins, who represents the 26th district that includes Grand Island, will have staff in the upper lobby of Town Hall on Tuesday, February 17th from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. If you have any comments or concerns, this "Congress on Your Corner" event is a great opportunity to bring them to the Congressman's attention. The Town is pleased to make Town Hall available to our elected officials to interact with Grand Islanders.

    Avoid Snow-Related Heating Emergencies - February 2015

    Williamsville, NY...February 10, 2015
       National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation ("National Fuel") reminds all homeowners that snow and ice pose a variety of safety and performance issues to their heating systems. National Fuel advises all homeowners to be extra vigilant and pay careful attention to their furnaces, vents and outdoor gas meters throughout the winter season.
       Natural gas furnaces and fireplaces each have a vent pipe or flue that sends out exhaust and gaseous byproducts to the outdoors. Depending on the type of furnace, venting takes place through a pipe on the outside of the house or through the chimney. These furnace exhaust vents can easily become clogged with debris, ice or snow. When snow piles up and blocks furnace vents, your furnace could shut off as a safety measure. Other times, it can cause furnaces to operate inefficiently or stop running altogether and break down. Blocked vents can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide gas. Homeowners should make sure that their furnace vents are clear of snow, ice , debris or other obstructions. The same applies to your dryer vent; it it is blocked, your dryer may not operate as efficiently as it should.
       Equally important are outdoor gas meters. The following safety tips will provide you with instructions on how to care for the gas meter during the winter:
  • Keep the gas meter free of snow. If the meter becomes buried in snow, it could affect your gas service.
  • Keep the area around the meter free of snow and ice, and try to have a clear path to the meter for easy access.
  • Remember to use caution when shoveling, plowing or snowblowing around the meter.
  • Avoid accidental damage by a third party by informing anyone who works near your meter (such as a snow removel service) of its location.
  • Exercise caution when removing icicles from the meter and any area of your roof above the meter.
  • Call us if the meter becomes encased in ice; DO NOT try to melt or break the ice yourself.
  • Do not let children play or climb on the meter.
       If you are experiencing an emergency due to the extreme cold weather, please call our emergency number at 1-800-444-3130. This line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 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.

    Hardwick Addresses ECC New Construction Issue - February 2015

       New ECC Building will improve North Campus, term limits introduced at county level.
    by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
       Regular readers of this column know that I am a strong proponent of the much-debated construction of a new academic building at Erie Community College's (ECC's) North Campus. I believe that all taxpayers in the northtowns should share this conviction. It really is in our financial self-interest. This is because of the so-called "chargebacks" from other counties whose community colleges our residents choose to attend which are added to our property taxes. Niagara County, for instance, sends a $3,320 bill to Erie County for every full-time student who crosses the border to attend Niagara County Community College (NCCC). This is then added to the county property taxes of the city or town in which the student resides. Given our proximity to NCCC, this arrangement proves disastrous for those of us in the northern sector of the county. In 2013 this cost Town of Tonawanda taxpayers an additional $846,204 in additional property taxes. It cost City of Tonawanda taxpayers $305,759 and Town of Grand Island $453,803. These figures are staggering and are why I am pleased that we are moving ahead with the North Campus building. The hope is that we will be able to retain more of our students in Erie County by improving the North Campus.
        Another project upon which I have been working has taken on an even greater importance as a result of recent events in Albany. With the downfall of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, there have been renewed calls for ethics reform in New York State and term limits for public officials at every level. The idea behind term limits is that the power of the incumbency creates an uneven playing field in elections and it is nearly impossible to beat an entrenched incumbent. By placing limits on the number of consecutive years someone can hold office, we insure that there will be new blood with new ideas constantly entering public office. Last year I introduced a term limit resolution for county legislators. I have been working to gain support from my colleagues ever since. Some have indicated they would support my call for term limits with some modifications. As a result, I will be introducing a new resolution this week calling for term limits for all elected county officials. I am optimistic that this will gain approval from the county legislature and hopefully be put to the voters this November. Stay tuned. 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.

    National Salute to Veteran Patients - February 2015

       The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Salute is observed annually during the week of Valentine's Day, a day of caring and sharing which underscores the Salute's expression of honor and appreciation to inpatient and outpatient Veterans, February 8-14. VA Western New York Healthcare System invites Veterans and the public to participate in an open-house at the Buffalo site, 3495 Bailey Avenue, on Friday, February 13, during the National Salute to Veteran Patients. All Veterans are encouraged to attend the special ceremony to introduce local celebrities in Freedom Hall, room 301 at 1 p.m. See flyer.
        For the thirty-seventh consecutive year, the nationally syndicated column started by Ann Landers, now called "Annie's Mailbox" has devoted a column to the National Salute, asking readers to send Valentine cards and letters to hospitalized Veterans at VA medical centers. "The colorful Valentine cards made by school children will be displayed and distributed to Veterans," said VA Medical Center Director Brian G. Stiller. "The messages in these cards to our Veteran patients reflect how much we care about them. You can also show some very special patients at VA Western New York Healthcare System how much you care by visiting them during the National Salute to Veteran Patients," said Stiller.
        Local celebrities and civic officials and groups will be here to show their support, including Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Buffalo Bills Alumni, UB Football coach and players, WIVB-TV Meteorologist, Don Paul, WGRZ-TV Reporter Steve Brown, WKBW-TV AM Buffalo Host Linda Pellegrino, and local Veterans Service Officers. Director Stiller encourages Veterans who may be visiting for the first time to know we are here to serve their health care needs, and to stop in to the Veterans Service Center to enroll in VA health care. In addition, the public can learn about volunteer opportunities at this special event. "Our medical center's volunteers are an important part of our health care team and the National Salute program is a great way for people to learn more about helping Veterans we serve here at the medical center," Stiller said.

    Participants Wanted for Pasta Sauce-Off - February 2015

        St. Stephen's students Allyson Nemeth and Jessica Flash are hosting their 3rd Annual Pasta Sauce-Off on Saturday, February 28th from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the LaSalle Yacht Club in Niagara Falls. The event raises funds for Roswell Park Carly's Club. Last year over $5000 was raised. The girls are looking for participants to make pasta sauce, items to be donated for the basket raffle, volunteers to work the event and lots of attendees. If you would like to be involved, check out the flyer.

    Deadline For Property Tax Exemptions - February 2015

       March 1st is the dealine for all Basic STAR, Enhanced/Senior STAR and Veterans property tax exemptions to be added to the assessment roll for School tax year 2015/2016 and Town/ County tax year 2016. There will be no courtesy telephone calls made. If you have not already done so, please bring your paperwork to the Assessors office at Town Hall on or before Monday, March 2nd.

    School District Fiscal Stress Monitoring System - February 2015

       New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli's has a school district Fiscal Stress Monitoring System. DiNapoli's office evaluated 672 school districts with fiscal years ending on June 30, 2014. This is the second year DiNapoli's office has assessed and scored the financial stability of school districts. The second round of scoring designated 10 school districts in "significant fiscal stress," 27 in "moderate fiscal stress" and 53 as "susceptible to fiscal stress," using financial indicators that include year-end fund balance, short-term borrowing and patterns of operating deficits.
        Of the school districts that were classified in "significant stress, close to home were Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District 88.3, Lewiston-Porter Central School District 71.7, and West Seneca Central School 71.7. Grand Island was listed as susceptable of fiscal stress with a score of 33.3. Other WNY schools listed in this category were East Aurora 38.3 and Springville-Griffith 35. Moderate stress designation included Lackawanna 55, Evans-Brant 53.3 and Frontier 48.3.

    Not Too Early to Plan for Spring Planting - February 2015

    by Mary Rossi, Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board
        The midst of winter is the perfect time to plan spring plantings for your yard or gardens. Each fall, the gardeners among us put their gardens to bed, protect their trees and shrubs, and close out the season with intentions for more - more color, more foliage, more shade. Before we know it, spring is upon us, and the unpredictable onset of summer weather follows closely. We've cut grass in April and have shoveled snow in May after all! For those fall plans to come to fruition, it is never too early to plan for spring planting.
        Historically, our local garden centers and nurseries have met consumer demands for shows of color and curb appeal in part with non-native species - exotics and hybrids, some of which were invasive as well. Non-native species often struggle to thrive and may require more maintenance, fertilizers, and pesticides. Invasive species simply take over garden space and aggressively spread far beyond the confines of our property. Non-native, invasive species are particularly troublesome as they out-compete native plants and alter the balance of natural habitats. Perhaps you’ve heard of Purple Loosestrife, a non-native invasive plant cultivated and marketed as an ornamental. If you've never heard of it, I am confident you have likely seen, and perhaps admired, its attractive purple flowers in mid-summer along roadside ditches and stream banks and in wet areas. Then there's Japanese Knotweed, a towering non-native invasive plant that resembles bamboo. It grows up to nine feet tall, has extensive foliage and propagates with a density that obliterates all other vegetation as it spreads. Japanese Knotweed is so invasive that it easily penetrates even hard surfaces, such as asphalt.
        As public awareness increases and consumer demand rises, garden centers and nurseries are offering far more native species than they have in years past. Native species are ideal, primarily because they are tolerant of our climate conditions and soil characteristics. Their tolerance translates into less maintenance. They show an ability to withstand the periodic dry/wet conditions that characterize our growing season. They also have less need for fertilizers and pesticides than non-native species. For a show of color, readily available native plants include Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea Purpurea), Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya), Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis). For vertical interest, try Spotted Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum). It's a durable flowering perennial that thrives under wet conditions. For an effective privacy screen, cluster Joe-Pye Weed; its density and height (three to six feet) will meet your objective.
        Shrubs are planted for a number of purposes: to border property, to balance landscaping and to provide a windbreak. Many native shrub species attract birds and butterflies with their flowers and fruit, thus adding wildlife value. They have the added benefits of providing colorful fall foliage and winter interest to landscaping. Black Chokeberry (Aronia melancarpa) produces beautiful white flowers, purple berries, and striking red-orange fall foliage. Redosier dogwood (Cornus Sericea) blooms with clusters of white flowers, followed by white berries. Its fall foliage is attractive, and its bright red branches compliment any blanket of snow. Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is an attractive ornamental shrub that tolerates wet, swampy conditions. Flowers are round, white puffballs that resemble a pin cushion. The button-shaped seed heads persist through winter, adding visual value to the landscape.
        The final consideration for our spring planting plan is trees. There is no shade on a hot summer day that compares to that cast from a tree. Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipfera), also known as Yellow Poplar, is a fast growing hardwood tree with beautiful, tulip-shaped flowers once it's established (six to ten years) and gold to yellow foliage each fall. At maturity, the four- to eight-inch length leaves of the Tuliptree will meet all your expectations for shade. The bright red fall foliage of the Red Maple (Acer rubrum) will brighten any fall day. It too, is a fast grower, and is suitable for many soil types, and it tolerates wet conditions as well. If your soils are sandy, poor, boggy and wet, the River Birch (Betula nigra) is your tree. It grows well on flood plains and along stream banks. The River Birch has unique reddish-brown papery bark that shows well in all seasons, particularly in winter. For detailed information on trees and shrubs, University of Florida maintains a webpage that will assist you with selecting suitable trees and shrubs. Their Tree Fact Sheets provide detailed information on 680 North American tree species.
        The suggestions listed above are just a few examples of the native species that populated the landscape of western New York long ago. For information on many native flowers, shrubs, trees and more, the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper publication, Western New York Guide to Native Plants for Your Garden is an excellent resource . For trees and shrubs, the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District's 2015 Conservation Tree and Shrub Seedling Program offers a variety of native species, in quantities of ten, at affordable prices. Orders are due by March 13, 2015, and pick up will be on April 18, 2015, at the Hamburg Fairgrounds. Forms and information on the species offered are available on their webpage. A limited number of order forms are on the pamphlet kiosk in Town Hall. This article was prepared on behalf of the Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board, in cooperation with the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

    Two Small Islands in the Mighty Niagara Encore - January 2015

       The Buffalo Launch Club will be hosting an encore dinner and historical presentation titled "Two Small Islands in the Mighty Niagara" on Saturday, February 7th. The last one, on January 24th, sold out immediately and was a huge hit with islanders and off islanders. Nearly 300 people were treated to a sumptuous meal that included the now famous "Strawberry Island Shortcake". It was followed by a riveting presentation that included a recollection of life on the islands a century ago. The program is sponsored by the BLC Heritage/Entertainment Committee and the Grand Island Historical Society and will feature "the lore, legend and future of Strawberry and Motor Boat Islands. Reservations are required. See flyer for details.

    DeGlopper Air Assault School Dedication - January 2015

    From left: Command SGM Isaia Vimoto, Raymond DeGlopper, R. Charles DeGlopper,General Joseph Anderson (Commander of 8th Corps )

    Group Picture of the DeGlopper Family and friends at Iron Mike Statue at Airborne and Special Ops Museum, Fayetteville, NC From left: seated, Joann Dinsmore, Marilyn Synakowski, Anita DeGlopper, Elaine DeGlopper, Jeanne Ensminger.
    Standing: Eugene Dinsmore, Peter Dinsmore, Henry Ensminger, Ray DeGlopper, Tim DeGlopper, R. Charles DeGlopper, Joe Synakowski - Click above photo for larger view

    .    Family and friends of the WWII MoH Recipient Charles N. DeGlopper joined Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, the XVIII Airborne Corps Commanding General, and Command Sergeant Major Isaia T. Vimoto, the XVIII Airborne Corps Command Sergeant Major, for the DeGlopper Air Assault School's renaming ceremony on Thursday, January 22nd in North Carolina. During the ceremony, the school's archway and a shadow box displaying the awards and the MoH citation of Charles N. DeGlopper were unveiled. The School would like to thank everyone, especially the family and friends of Charles N. DeGlopper, for attending the ceremony. The school trains soldiers in Combat Assault Operations, Sling load Operations, and Rappelling.

    Fort Bragg to rename Air Assault School for Islander - January 2015

    Fort Bragg Press Center

       Fort Bragg's recently established Air Assault School is scheduled to be renamed for Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Charles DeGlopper, at 3 p.m., Jan. 22nd. Charles N. DeGlopper was a private first class in the 82nd Airborne Division's C Company, 1st Battalion, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment when they landed in France as part of the D-Day invasion. In the battle of the La Fiere Bridge over the Merderet River, DeGlopper stood up firing his Browning Automatic Rifle in order to distract the Germans from seeing the rest of his company, who were crossing the river at a different point. DeGlopper continued firing even after being hit numerous times. DeGlopper died as a result of his actions but the unit was able to secure the bridge which allowed the regiment to continue to attack Chef du Pont. Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps, will host the ceremony.

    Safe Boating Course Scheduled - January 2015

        The New York State Boating Safety Course, an eight hour program of instruction, is being presented by certified instructors of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. It will be on Saturday, March 7th from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Niagara River Station Fishing Club, 355 East River Road, Grand Island. The class fulfills the mandatory education requirement for all boaters who operate Personal Watercraft and those individuals born on or after May 1, 1996 who are planning to operate a motorized vessel in New York State. All other boaters are welcome to attend. The completed course is good for the lifetime of the individual. The New York State boating safety card fee is waived for children age 10 to under18 who successfully complete the course. All others age 18 or older must remit a fee of $10.00 directly to the New York State Office of Parks to obtain their laminated boating safety card. Lunch will be available on site, reservations are required by calling 773-1385 or emailing giducks@aol.com. See flyer.

    Ceretto Announces Push To Cut Gas Tax - January 2015

    Press Release....January 15, 2015 - Ceretto to introduce legislation to cut gas tax to the national average.
       Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I-Lewiston) today announced his major push for the 2015 Legislative Session. As gas prices fall below two dollars nationwide, New York's gas prices are still in the mid to high two dollar plus range. This discrepancy is wrong, and Ceretto is moving to correct it by pushing to lower New York State's gas tax down to the national average. This measure would cut the state gas tax by almost 40 percent from 34 cents per gallon to 20 cents per gallon. This translates to consumers paying 14 cents less per gallon at the pump every time they fill up. Ceretto believes this will help put more money in the pockets of Western New Yorkers and stimulate economic growth.
       "Gas prices have been dropping for the last several months, and this has been great news for Western New York families. However, our state still has one of the highest gas taxes in the country. In fact, New York is one of only five states left in the country where gas is still over two dollars per gallon. This is a hidden tax on all hard-working Western New Yorkers that we need to reign in," said Ceretto. "By reducing this tax to match the national average, we can lower home heating and commuting costs for families, operating expenses and transportation costs for businesses, and improve the Western New York economy."
        The economic benefits of this cut to New York's families are significant, as transportation costs are a major part of a family's budget. When coupled with the savings on home heating costs that would occur during winter months, this progressive tax cut would have an extremely positive impact on low and middle-income families.
        Much of the revenue generated by the gas tax goes to pay for the maintenance and improvement of highways and roads. Since Ceretto believes these infrastructure projects are critical to the future of Western New York, he proposes using both the bank settlement money and the state surplus to fully fund the Mass Transportation Trust Fund, the Highway and Bridge Trust Fund and the Mass Transportation Operating Assistance Fund.
        "In my first four years, we have lowered the middle class tax rate to the lowest in 60 years, passed an important property tax freeze program, and turned a $10 billion deficit into a $5 billion surplus," said Ceretto. "We have made lowering taxes on middle-income families a top priority, and I have full confidence that we will be able to make progress with gas taxes as well."

    Resident Charged with DWI - January 2015

    Buffalo News Story

        A Grand Island motorist had a blood-alcohol content of .30 when she was pulled over for driving the wrong way in traffic - toward an oncoming State Police patrol vehicle, authorities reported Wednesday. It was about 4:45 p.m. Monday when a trooper saw a vehicle make an improper turn south onto East River Road, then head south in the northbound lane. The northbound patrol vehicle stopped quickly to avoid a collision, police said. The motorist drove around the stopped patrol vehicle, then entered the proper lane and subsequently was pulled over, police said. While talking to Tammy M. Johnston-Czworka, 54, the trooper noticed a strong odor of alcohol, police reported. After she failed field sobriety tests, she was taken into custody and charged with driving while intoxicated, along with unspecified vehicle and traffic law violations. Johnston-Czworka was scheduled to appear Wednesday in Grand Island Town Court.

    2015 Town/County Tax Notice - January 2015

       Taxes will be collected in the Town Clerk's Office at 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island Town Hall.
    Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Last day for payment without penalty is February 17, 2015. Debit and credit cards are accepted at the counter, service fees apply. Credit Card and check payments are available online, service fees apply. Any questions call Patricia Frentzel, Town Clerk, 773-9600 ext. 600. Town website www.gigov.com.
    Additional Hours for Convenience:
    Friday, February 13, 2015 8:30 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
    Saturday, February 14, 2015 9:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
    Monday, February 16, 2015 Closed
    Tuesday, February 17, 2015 8:30 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.

    Monica Rd. Fire Causes $60,000 Damage - January 2015

    Buffalo News Story

        A Grand Island woman returned home Sunday evening, January 11th, to discover a fire that caused $60,000 damage to her residence, officials said. Firefighters were called shortly before 8 p.m. for a report of smoke and flames in the front room of the home on Monica Road, Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski said. The homeowner tried to put out the fire but was forced to flee with her dog to a relative’s home nearby, he said. The fire was contained in the front room, which sustained significant heat damage, Osinski said. He placed damage estimates at $20,000 to the structure and $40,000 to its contents. Fire investigators from the Erie County Sheriff's Office were called to the scene to determine the cause. One firefighter suffered a minor cut.

    Baseline Rd. Fire Causes $250,000 Damage - January 2015

    Buffalo News Story

        A fire that started in the first-floor kitchen and quickly spread caused $250,000 damage to a two-story frame home at 2960 Baseline Road, Grand Island late Friday afternoon, January 9th. The Grand Island Fire Company was alerted to the fire by a neighbor who noticed smoke coming out of the roof at about 4:25 p.m. Working fast after finding two hydrants near the house to be frozen, Grand Island Fire Company crews used water on their trucks and found a working hydrant on a nearby street. Damage to the building was listed at $150,000 and damage to property was listed at $100,000. The Erie County Sheriff's Department is investigation the cause. No residents were home at the time of the fire. A firefighter with the Sheridan Park Fire Company, which assisted at the scene, suffered respiratory problems and had to be taken to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for treatment.

    Ceretto Sworn in to Third Term in NYS Assembly - January 2015

    Pictured from left: Assemblyman John Ceretto, his wife Beth Ceretto, City of Niagara Falls Chief Judge Hon. Mark A. Violante, and Dr. Kevin Bakus, senior pastor Bible Presbyterian Church of Grand Island.

        Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,C,I - Lewiston) was sworn in to his third term to the New York State Assembly on Sunday, January 4th. Ceretto, who is a ranker on the Assembly Tourism Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee and serves on the Cities, Education, Energy and Labor Committees stated during his swearing in ceremony that he believes 2015 will be a big year for Western New York.
        "I am very excited to get to work this week and hit the ground running for the 2015 legislative session," said Ceretto. "I am hopeful that this year will provide us with the opportunity to fully restore state school aid to our local districts, provide billions in funding to fix the state's crumbling infrastructure and continue investment in our region's economy. As a member of the "People's Chamber" I look forward to getting the job done in 2015 for the hardworking men and women of Western New York."

    Free Rabies Clinic - January 2015

       Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, along with Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and Erie County Legislator Peter Savage (3rd District), have announced that a free rabies vaccination clinic has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 28th from 3 PM - 7 PM at the North Buffalo Community Center. Vaccinations are available for dogs, cats, and ferrets. Residents are asked to bring their pet to the clinic either on a leash or in a carrier, and to bring along the animals' vaccination record as well, if possible. See flyer.

    2014 Year in Review - January 2015

       The biggest story of the year for many Island residents is the ongoing battle to keep apartments out of the R-2 zoned parcel, located at Whitehaven Road and East River Road. Click on the link to see some of the happenings around Town from 2014.

    One Island Special Meeting - January 2015

       Discover the reality of adolescent substance abuse on Grand Island and join us to learn about the issues that were identified in the Prevention Needs Assessment Survey taken by Grand Island Teens. Learn how YOU can be part of the solution! Mark your calendar now and plan to attend the Grand Island Town Hall event on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, in the Grand Island Town Courtroom located at Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road. Channel 4 News Team and Grand Island resident, Mr. Luke Moretti will be the moderator for the evening. Speakers will include Mary Cooke - Town Supervisor, Dan Stinson - Coordinator of the One Island One Team Coalition, Dr. Teresa Lawrence - Grand Island School Superintendent , Chris Pyc - School Resource Officer, Dr. Dan Webb - Catalyst Research and Sally Yageric, CPP - ECCPASA.
       The event begins with a light dinner from 5:30 to 6:00, with entertainment by a Grand Island School District Musical Group; the program runs from 6:00 to 7:30. The Town Hall event is being funded through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration secured through the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA). Increase your awareness of the problems our youth face, and find strategies our community can adapt to build a healthy environment for our youth. Join us on February 10th to find out how you can become involved. For further information, please call Dan Stinson, One Island, and One Team Coordinator at 983-6521.

    Destination Discovery Camp during February Break - January 2015

        Just for Kids is offering a fun-filled themed Day Camp during February Break. New experiences and hobby choices like Ooey Gooey, Make-It, Take-It, and Sports Spectacular are offered. Kids will enjoy a Mardi Gras carnival, beach party, and an arctic adventure to keep them busy. The week-long session is a perfect solution for working parents, and kids can attend one or all days. The program is located at Sidway School, February 17-20, 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Enrollment open through February 6. Email info @justforkidsonline.org for a registration form, or call 639-8500.

    RedTail Hawk Saved After Collision - January 2015

    Dr. Karen Moran releasing hawk.
    John Mondoux Photos - Click photos for larger view

    .    A female RedTail Hawk was injured on December 27th after colliding with an automobile near Kelly's Country Store on Grand Island Blvd. On Tuesday, January 6th, the hawk was released back into the wild at Buckhorn State Park by Dr. Karen Moran of the SPCA. Animal Control officer John Mondoux rescued the bird after the accident and took it to the SPCA facility on Ensminger Rd. Tom Burke passed along the photos and noted that he believes the hawk resides in a tree just south of the Long Rd. Thruway overpass, east side and that her mate has perched alone since the injury.

    Island Man Sentenced to One Year in Jail - January 2015

        A Grand Island man has been handed a one-year Niagara County Jail sentence after pleading guilty to attempted third-degree robbery. The incident took place on July 14th at a Wegmans in the Town of Niagara. Joseph D. Incorvia, 45, of Baseline Road took an item and pulled a small knife on the employee that confronted him.

    Man Jumps From Grand Island Bridge - January 2015

       The Buffalo News is reporting that a man jumped from the South Grand Island Bridge around 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 6th. See Janice Habuda story.

    WIVB Story
       GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) – A man is presumed dead Tuesday morning, after an overnight incident that stretched from Niagara Falls Boulevard, in Tonawanda, to the Grand Island Bridge in a matter of 20 minutes. A stolen vehicle parked at the top of Grand Island Bridge around 2 a.m. matched the vehicle involved in a police pursuit. The vehicle was stolen during a domestic dispute on Monday, police said. Town of Tonawanda Police said an aggressive driver targeted an officer in a marked car on Niagara Falls Boulevard around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday. Police report the driver tailgated the patrol car, before passing it at a high rate of speed and blaring its horn. The officer followed the car onto I-290 West, and the car reportedly traveled at 100 mph while turning its hazard lights on and off. The car didn’t yield to the officer, and a supervisor called off the pursuit. The officer watched the vehicle exit onto I- 190 North.
        Police learned of a distraught caller who contacted CPS and made threats about crashing his vehicle. Then police searched the area of River Road and the I-190 for signs of the car. Several minutes later, police found a vehicle parked on the Grand Island Bridge. Police said a distraught man was on the outside of the railing. During negotiations to bring him to safety, police said the man let go of the railing and fell into the Niagara River. The presumed subject’s name is being withheld until positive identification is made, according to police. The family involved is aware of the incident. The incident impacted traffic on the Grand Island Bridge early Tuesday morning.

    Grandparent & Grandkid Day - January 2015

       The Town of Grand Island Recreation Department and the Golden Age Center teamed up for a special day on December 30th. Grandparents and grandchildren made a craft, played games, made their own special homemade pizza for lunch, and watched a movie together.

    Mary Stewart Photos

    Thermo Fisher Scientific Career Fair - January 2015

        Thermo Fisher Scientific will be hosting a Operations Career Fair on Wednesday, January 28th from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. and Thursday, January 29th from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. There are over 50 positions available at the facility located at 3175 Staley Road. See flyer for details.

    Two Small Islands in the Mighty Niagara - January 2015

       The Buffalo Launch Club will be hosting a dinner and historical presentation titled "Two Small Islands in the Mighty Niagara" on Saturday, January 24th. The program is sponsored by the BLC Heritage/Entertainment Committee and the Grand Island Historical Society and will feature "the lore, legend and future of Strawberry and Motor Boat Islands." Reservations are required. See flyer for details.