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Previous News Page

DeGlopper Memorial Park Expansion - December 2016

Ray Deglopper is shown at center accepting a $3000 check from Certified Auto Broker's Chris Taylor. Click for larger view.

   A check presentation was made on Tuesday, December 27th at the George DeGlopper Memorial Park that will go towards the new expansion fund. Certified Auto Brokers has held numerous fund raising efforts since the ground breaking on June 9, 2016. On hand Tuesday were members of the American Legion, VFW, expansion committee and contributors; Lyle Dinsmore, Kathy Barton, Jeff Dinsmore and Mike Madigan. For more information on how to donate; visit the DeGlopper Memorial Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DeGlopperMemorial, email DeGlopperMemorial@gmail.com or go to the website.

Funding for Senior Centers Allocated - December 2016

    (Grand Island, NY) - Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick has allocated additional funding for the senior centers in his district to support programming and services. The City of Tonawanda Senior Center, Town of Tonawanda Senior Center and Grand Island Golden Age Center will each receive $1,000 in the 2017 Erie County budget. The Legislature approved the funding at the Dec. 6, 2016 annual budget meeting. "Whenever I hold my outreaches or visit the senior centers in my district for other reasons, I am always amazed at the amount of activities and the amount of fun people are having. These funds will help them continue their important work," said Legislator Hardwick.
   "With the dramatically increasing numbers of seniors utilizing the services of the Grand Island Golden Age Center, Legislator Hardwick's bonus funding will be applied to office equipment to streamline our functions and eliminate current inefficiencies, helping us to better serve our seniors," said Barbara Gannon, Director of the Grand Island Golden Age Center. The additional funding was added into the 2017 budget without increasing overall spending in the next fiscal year. In fact, the property tax rate will decrease for the third consecutive year. For information or assistance, please contact Legislator Hardwick’s Legislative Office at (716) 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

Winter Fun at Erie County Parks - December 2016

   (Erie County, NY) - The Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry is ready and waiting with a full slate of family-friendly winter activities at county parks for residents and families with children or visitors hoping to experience some free seasonal outdoor fun over the holidays. Weather-dependent activities including sledding, ice skating, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing can be enjoyed in various Erie County parks. Parks winter activities are updated daily at the Erie County Parks website and residents are encouraged to check the site before heading out for a day of winter fun.
   "There are all types of winter activities waiting to be enjoyed at our Parks, whether visitors want the thrills of sledding or ice skating or just the peaceful pleasure of cross-country skiing or simply walking outside in our beautiful natural spaces," said Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Daniel J. Rizzo. "Because we don't control the weather, we can't be certain that all activities will be happening on any given day in the winter. We update our Parks activities webpage every day so it is a good idea to check it as part of your preparation for winter fun and then head to the Park with family, friends, and holiday visitors who want to enjoy our Erie County winter."
   Ice skating is available at Akron Falls and Como Lake Parks, and sledding is available at Akron Falls, Chestnut Ridge, Ellicott Creek, and the recently-upgraded hill at Como Lake Park. Ungroomed cross-country skiing is available at Akron Falls, Chestnut Ridge, Como Lake, Ellicott Creek, Elma Meadows, Emery, and Sprague Brook Parks along with Grover Cleveland golf course. Sprague Brook, Grover, and Elma Meadows golf course also offer groomed cross-country skiing. Snowboarding is available at Ellicott Creek, Chestnut Ridge, Akron Falls, and Sprague Brook Parks, with snowshoeing available at all Parks. The toboggan runs at Chestnut Ridge are not yet open as Parks officials await a hard freeze and more snow for the runs. When the ground is frozen and there is at least six inches of snow, snowmobile trails will also open in select Erie County parks. Information from the Erie County Federation of Snowmobile Clubs can be found on the Parks' website, with snowmobiling permitted only on approved trails. For more information on the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry visit www2.erie.gov/parks.

Grand Island Nature Photo Contest Voting - December 2016

First Place - Mammal, Willis Schwartz - Red Foxes.

   The 1st annual Grand Island Nature Photo Contest was sponsored by the Citizen Coalition for Wildlife & Environment. Entries were accepted, starting in October 2016. Residents were invited to take nature pictures on Grand Island in five categories; mammals; birds; insects; reptiles and amphibians; and trees, plants and flowers. There were many submissions in each of the five categories of the contest. Participants shared their photographic talents and captured the beauty of the Grand Island wildlife and environment. From December 3, 2016 through December 17, 2016, photo submissions were displayed in the community for citizens to view and to vote on their favorites. The results are in! The top three winners in each of the five categories are as follows. All photos will be available for online viewing at www.citizencoalitionwe.com.

Mammals: 2nd place - John Thomas (Mink), 3rd place Paul Leuchner (Deer)

First Place - Birds, Willis Schwartz - Baltimore Orioles.

Birds: 2nd place - John Thomas (Green Heron), 3rd place - Mary Stewart (Gray Heron).

First Place - Insects, John Thomas - Tiger Swallowtail.

Insects: 2nd place - Willis Schwartz (Crab Spider), 3rd place - Alice Gerard (Bee).

First Place - Reptiles/Amphibians, John Thomas - Turtle.

Reptiles/Amphibians: 2nd place - Willis Schwartz (Eastern Garter Snake), 3rd place - Paul Leuchner (Frog).

First Place - Trees/Plants/Flowers, John Thomas - Purple Trillium.

Trees/Plants/Flowers; 2nd place - Jennifer Gast (Lightning strike Tree), 3rd place - Sandra Watkins (Red Tree).

Team Luke Receives Donations - December 2016

Luke center, surrounded by Sam Aceti and family, Gworek family, friends and Aceti's staff.
Click for larger view.

   Sam & Kim Aceti of Aceti's Wine and Spirits presented a check for $1740 to Team Luke's Ride for Roswell on Tuesday, December 20, 2016, at their store in Top's Plaza. The money was raised during Aceti's 10th anniversary celebration on December 2nd, from donations made by party attendees, staff members and long-time customers. Aceti's have supported Team Luke since 2014 because as Sam said, "Luke and the entire Gworek family are a part of our community and our community comes together when a neighbor needs it". Luke was diagnosed in 2013 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. His chemo treatments ended in April 2016, but he will require monthly visits to Roswell Park Cancer Institute and aftercare for the remainder of his life.

Pistol Permit Recertification - December 2016

   (Erie County, NY) - From Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs office. The Erie County Pistol Permit Department recently received information that the New York State Police will send letters to pistol permit holders who received permits prior to January 31, 2013 that will provide information on the pistol permit recertification process required under the NYSAFE Act. The notified permit holders will have until January 31, 2018 to submit their recertification form in order to be in compliance. The State Police will be solely responsible for this new requirement and all questions regarding this process should be directed to them. The State Police will follow up with the permit holder if there are any discrepancies between the information provided and the information on file. For additional information on the NYSAFE Act’s Recertification Program, please visit www.safeact.ny.gov or call 1-855-LAW-GUNS (529-4867).

Wreath Program Benefits Town - December 2016

From left: program Supervisor John Fisher and Jim Linenfelser, caretaker at Grand Island Town Hall.

Foot pedal operated wreath frame machine.

   Town Buildings have a little extra Holiday Spirit this year, compliments of the Erie County Correctional Facility's wreath program. Inmates at the Correctional Facility handle all parts of the project and use a foot pedal operated frame machine, seen in the photo, to construct the wreaths. Other tasks include collecting pinecones on the grounds, painting them, wiring them together, making bows and decorating the wreaths with the cones, berries and bows. You can see these beautiful wreaths at both entrances of Town Hall, on the doors at Highway, Parks Maintenance, the Water and Wastewater Plants, and on the light poles lining the driveway at the Nike Base. This program could not happen without the support of Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard and the Erie County Legislature, including Kevin Hardwick who represents the 4th district that includes Grand Island. Instrumental in the program are Erie County Correctional Facility Staff in Alden: Paul Evans, 1st Deputy Superintendent; Al Harris, Chief and John Fisher, Industrial Training Supervisor.

Purchase Engraved Paver at DeGlopper Memorial - December 2016

   Become a permanent part of the DeGlopper Memorial by purchasing engraved pavers to be placed in the memorial in honor of military service members. With your engraved inscription, you may choose to memorialize a fallen soldier or honor a friend or family member who served our country. To purchase a paver download and complete the Paver Order Form then follow the instructions on the form. Go to www.degloppermemorial.org/pavers.

Uber Important - December 2016

   (Erie County, NY) - by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
    Anyone who has travelled to New York or any one of dozens of other cities in the United States is probably familiar with Uber or other so-called ridesharing services. When I travelled to Brooklyn last year for my son's wedding I was amazed with the convenience of Uber. My wife ordered and paid for the ride on her smart phone and the car showed up within minutes. We tracked our progress on the cell phone app and tipped the driver upon arrival at our destination. It was just that easy. Uber is not available in Buffalo or anywhere else in the state outside of New York City due to the inaction of the state legislature. This is unfortunate because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage with other cities when it comes to attracting tourists and conventions. All other NFL cities have ride sharing. Buffalo does not. Even Kazakhstan has Uber. But Buffalo does not.
    Visitors to Buffalo expect access to ridesharing in the same way that wi-fi in hotels is now standard. The lack of Uber was the most common complaint of those attending the NHL draft and combine earlier this year. Even Buffalo natives returning for the holidays are shocked to discover we do not yet have it. Over Thanksgiving weekend it was reported that more than 43,000 people attempted to open the Uber app in upstate New York. They were unsuccessful, of course.
   We have spent millions of dollars in recent years to improve our zoo, restore Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House and develop Canalside. It would be nice if we had ridesharing so that visitors to our region could easily get to these attractions. Ridesharing would also make our roads safer. In a letter to Governor Cuomo, the New York State Association of Police Chiefs cited a link between the availability of ridesharing and a reduction in the incidence of drunk driving.
   With all this in mind, the County Legislature amended the 2017 County Budget to provide funds to Visit Buffalo Niagara, the organization responsible for running the convention center and promoting tourism, to conduct a campaign in Albany to allow ridesharing throughout the state. If successful, NCAA basketball fans will be able to enjoy Uber when they pour into our city in March. The availability of ridesharing should not come at the expense of existing taxi and limousine services. The legislation I would like to see our state legislature adopt would treat all modes of transportation equally. By doing so, visitors will have a wide array of transportation options from which to choose and all of our local vendors will profit.
   Regardless, we must pressure state lawmakers to act to insure we do not remain behind other cities in the world when it comes to providing both our citizens and our guests with reliable, convenient and affordable transportation options. There are a lot of good things happening in Erie County. We need to add this to the list. 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 Nature Photo Contest Voting - December 2016

   The Grand Island Nature Photo Contest is now on display for citizen judging at Pizza Amore (2024 Grand Island Blvd). The display was at the Golden Age Center at the Nike Base last week and will be on display for judging at Pizza Amore until December 17th. Please see attached flyer, let family and friends know, and head down to Pizza Amore to check out all the beautiful nature photographs submitted.

Living Shorelines at Sandy Beach Park Club - December 2016

Shoreline in October 2015.

    A Buffalo News story titled "Living shorelines bringing life back to Niagara River on Grand Island" by T.J. Pignataro was published December 8, 2016. Great story on the collaboration between Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper's and the Sandy Beach Park Club in the shoreline restoration project at the property on East River Road between Steeg and Winter Roads. See story here. Sandy Beach Park Club, founded over 75 years ago, 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. The groundbreaking for the project took place on October 26, 2015.

Wild Bird and Environmental Educational Event - December 2016

Left:Mary Jo Graham, founder of Oakmoss Education. Right: Christine Patrice Gebera with her wildlife themed artwork.

Horned owl is blind in one eye.

White shouldered hawk.

Some of the photo contest entries.

The Green family checks to see if their tickets won one of the door prizes.
Mary Stewart photos.

   A Wild Bird and Environmental Educational Event Featuring Oakmoss Education and Wild Spirit Education took place on Saturday, December 3rd from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Nike Base Community Center. A talk on "wild bird care for winter" was presented by Mary Jo Graham, founder of Oakmoss Education. She shared some easy and fun projects to help birds during the lean days of winter. Also represented was the Wild Spirit Education who brings nature into the classroom and other groups. The horned owl and white shoulder hawk from Wild Spirit Education gave people a chance to see these beautiful birds close up. Artwork by local artist, Christine Patrice Gebera was available and door prizes given away. Photos which have been entered in the contest by the Citizen Coalition for Wildlife & Environment were on display for voting.

Miracle League Funding - December 2016

    Legislator Hardwick announces funding for Miracle League to purchase 'beeper baseballs'.
   ( December 6, 2016...Grand Island, NY)- Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick has identified funding in the 2017 Erie County budget for the Miracle League of Grand Island and WNY to purchase "beeper baseballs" for the hearing impaired. The Legislature approved the $2,000 grant at today's annual Budget Meeting. "This awesome organization combines two things near and dear to my heart, baseball and children with disabilities. The addition of beeper baseball will allow hearing impaired children to experience the joy of our national pastime," said Legislator Kevin Hardwick. "Thanks to Legislator Hardwick and Erie County for the funding of beeper ball equipment. We look forward to our sixth season in 2017 where an expanded group of kids can experience baseball," said Miracle League Board President RJ Wynne. The additional funding was added into the 2017 budget without increasing overall spending in the next fiscal year. In fact, the property tax rate will decrease for the third consecutive year. For information or assistance, please contact Legislator Hardwick's Legislative Office at (716) 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

NYS Parks Still Favors Closing Parkway - December 2016

    In a letter dated December 5, 2016, NYS Parks WNY Director Mark Thomas confirmed no other option but the closing of West River Parkway is under consideration for the West River multi use trail. See letter here.

Drugs, Addiction and Our Children - December 2016

Cancelled 12-14-16
    An information session on Drugs, Addiction and Our Children will be held on Wednesday, December 14th at Grand Island High School at 7:00 p.m.in Room 110. Presented by Kids Escaping Drugs and Face 2 Face Programs, the information will focus on kids age 7 - 70. See file for more information.

Christmas in the Woods - December 2016

    Riverside-Salem Cottage is hosting "Christmas in the Woods" a carol sing & potluck on Sunday, December 11th from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (+ potluck). The carol sing will be led by Nan Hoffman and Joe Tumino. The cottage is located at 3449 West River Road, between Whitehaven and Bedell Roads. Everyone is welcome.

Grand Island Peace Rally - December 2016

    A Peace Rally is planned at the Town Commons on Saturday, December 10th from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.Hosted by Kristen Dennis Obarka and Bekki D'Orazio-Orten. "Due to recent national events that have had the tendency to suggest more division and hate instead of inclusion, love, hope and peace; we thought it was time for Grand Island to stand together as a community and show that we are an inclusive, safe and supportive community for all! We welcome you to come together peacefully, express yourself in a civic and dignified manner and demonstrate that while others may feel divided we are a unified community." Facebook page.

2nd Annual Artisan Open House - December 2016

    2nd Annual Artisan Open House on Saturday, December 10th from noon-4pm, 2020 Fix Road. Handmade items, too many to list. Check out the flyer for list of artisans and items.

State to Close Parkway - November 2016

   A Buffalo News story regarding closing of West River Parkway for multi-use trail was published in the November 25th edition, written by Joseph Popiolkowski. See story here.

Christmas Craft Show - December 2016

Nikki Zimmerman showing off decorative wood decor.

    A group of crafty Islanders are hosting their annual Christmas Craft Show at 41 Sturbridge Lane (off Ransom, east of school complex) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 8-9-10, 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. There are also wooden decorative holiday items for inside and out, decorated handle bags, handmade coasters and framed Christmas art. Three rooms are filled with items to help make your gift giving and home decorating easy and fun. Call 773-4439.

Grand Island Citizen Science Meeting - November 2016

   Grand Island Citizen Science Meeting: Tonawanda Coke Soil Study.
A meeting will be held at Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road on Saturday, December 3rd from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. In collaboration with Supervisor Nathan McMurray, University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia. Discussion will include:
  • Information regarding the local soil study Tonawanda Coke was ordered to fund and how to get involved.
  • Moving forward as a community by arming ourselves with citizen science tools to protect from future environmental threats.
       For more information visit www.csresources.org, Facebook page @GISoilHealthStudy, call 873-6191 or contact Cyndy Montana at Town Hall at monatnacynwagn@gmail.com. See flyer.

    Historic Home Designated - December 2016

    Dave Reilly and Nicole Gerber

    On stairs, Alt family members, top: Nicole Gerber, Carleen Alt Gerber and Dave Reilly.
    Bottom: Josh Reilly and Caitlin Conlon.

       The Historic Preservation Advisory Board presented a third plaque in their historic building project on Friday, November 24th, at the home of Nicole Gerber and Dave Reilly. The historic home is located at 2489 Whitehaven Road, built circa 1870 by the Alt family who came from Liepzig, Germany. Nicole is 6th generation Alt to live in the clapboard farmhouse. The Alt family founded the first car dealership on Grand Island in the 1930's and were very prominent in much of Grand Island development . The house and barn are on 33 acres, what is left from hundreds of acres farmed years ago. Also on the property is an original Grand Island schoolhouse #8, listed on the 1887 school district map as being located on Bedell Road near Baseline.

    Grand Island Family Practice Recognized - November 2016

       Washington, DC - The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today announced that four primary care medical offices operated by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center have received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships. They are:
  • Grand Island Family Practice, 2608 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island
  • Niagara Falls Memorial Primary Care Center, 533 10th St., Niagara Falls
  • River Road Primary Care, 624 River Road, North Tonawanda
  • Summit Family Health Center, 6934 Williams Road, Wheatfield
        The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients' experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient's care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.
       "NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "Recognition shows that these four primary care offices have the tools, systems and resources to provide their patients with the right care, at the right time." "The providers in the offices being recognized are very dedicated to meeting these standards," said Memorial Vice President Sanjay Chadha. "We are grateful to doctors Nitin Arora, Jeffrey Burnett, Richard Castaldo, Amarpreet Grewal Bath, Simmanjeet Mangat, Sathia Nathan, Willard Ruth and Rosalind Sulaiman, Physician Assistant Colin Tedesco and Nurse Practitioners Annmarie Lally, Kathleen Ventry and Cristina Virtuoso for their commitment and hard work."
        To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, the offices demonstrated the ability to meet the program's key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards align with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

    Holiday Tour of Homes - November 2016

       Grand Island, NY - This holiday season, Grand Island is gearing up for the 2nd edition of the Holiday Tour of Homes. On Saturday December 10th, event goers will take part in a self-guided tour, featuring interiors of seven beautiful island homes, all decorated for the holidays! Tour includes a special stop at a holiday decorated barn and complimentary food and live music at River Oaks! Also on December 10th, enjoy shopping at 2020 Fix Rd, one of Grand Island's oldest farm houses - featuring 12 local vendors Noon to 4pm. Advance tickets are just $15 and are available at Flower A Day (2119 Grand Island Blvd). Tickets sold day of the event at River Oaks (201 Whitehaven Rd). For more information please contact Corey McGowan Productions at (716) 341-1040 or corey.mcgowan89@gmail.com.

    Turkeys Donated to Food Bank - November 2016

       Erie County, NY - The Erie County Legislature's Majority Caucus joined 97 Rock, DJ Jickster, WKBW and the Food Bank of WNY to help provide Thanksgiving meals to families in Erie County. The Majority Caucus - Chairman John Mills, Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo, Legislator Edward Rath, Legislator Kevin Hardwick, Legislator Lynne Dixon and Legislator Ted Morton - donated 40 turkeys, paid for with personal funds, and with the support of Tops and Dash's Markets to the 11th annual 97 Rock - Operation: Rock Out Hunger trailer on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
       "This is an incredible event. The staff and volunteers who have been out here all week are truly amazing people. To know that more families will be provided for because this community stepped up to help is a great feeling," said Chairman Mills. "I want to congratulate DJ Jickster, 97 Rock, WKBW and the Food Bank for once again motivating the greater Buffalo region to recognize the challenges many families face and to help out." "Everyone deserves to have a hot meal on Thanksgiving and I couldn't be prouder to be a part of this effort. I also want to say thank you to DJ Jickster, and everyone who has helped with this effort. Our county is a community because of people like you and organizations like the Food Bank," said Legislator Hardwick.

    Historic Home Designated - November 2016

    From left: Bryce, Robin and Josh Shipman.

       The Historic Preservation Advisory Board presented a second plaque in their historic building project on Friday, November 18th, to the Shipman family. The historic home is located at 2020 Fix, corner of Baseline Road. The Shipman home was built circa 1865 by Asa Ransom, a historic land owner in Western New York and the third supervisor of Grand Island. The property was later purchased by Peter DeGlopper in 1885. He ran a blacksmith and wagon shop. DeGlopper purchased the McCabee Building, an attraction at the Pan American Exposition in 1901, tore the building down, hauled it to Grand Island and enlarged the original Ransom house. The site was also operated as a large fruit farm by the Ransom and DeGlopper families.

    Light Up the Boulevard Parade - November 2016


    Mary Stewart photos.

       The Chamber of Commerce 5th Annual Light Up the Boulevard Parade and Festival took place on Saturday, November 19th.The weather finally cooperated in time for the parade, making it an enjoyable night for all the families in attendance. Santa made a visit, food trucks offered refreshments and the Town Commons holiday tree was lit.

    Your Septic System, How It Functions and How to Care For It - November 2016

       A septic tank education seminar was held recently at the Veronica Connor Middle School hosted by Grand Island Waste Management and the Erie County Health Department. The Western New York Stormwater Coalition and Erie County Department of Environment & Planning have provided an informative flyer, "Your Septic System, How It Functions and How to Care For It". See here.

    Veterans Day Services - November 2016

    Jim Pace (fife) and Brian Seibel (drum) of the Union Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps.

    VFW Commander Christian Eshelman.

    Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts with military service flags
    American Legion Color Guard

    VFW Commander Christian Eshelman and American Legion 1st Vice Commander Ray DeGlopper present memorial wreath.
    Color Guard at Elderwood Veterans Day Service.

    Jean and Kester Bleich with daugher Debbie.

    Helen and Thomas Vickers being presented with certificate of appreciation by Seth Kozek.

    Frank Antonacci served in the Korean War, with daughter.

    Frank Antonacci's many service awards and medals.
    Mary Stewart photos.

        Well attended Veterans Day services were held at Veterans Park and at Elderwood Adult Residence on Friday, November 11th. The morning service at Veterans Park included: a military service flag presentation by Boy Scout Troops 630 and 510 by and the Girl Scouts of Grand Island, invocation by American Legion Post 1346 Chaplain Joseph Mesmer, pledge to the flag by VFW Post 9249 Commander Christian Eshelman, welcome by Supervisor Nathan McMurray, music by Jim Pace and Brian Seibel of the Union Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps, placing of the wreath by Christian Eshelman and Ray DeGlopper, rifle salute and closing with taps and the benediction. Elderwood at Grand Island hosted a special service for their residents who have served in the military. Many family members attended and enjoyed refreshments with the veterans.

    Wild Bird and Environmental Educational Event - November 2016

       A Wild Bird and Environmental Educational Event Featuring Oakmoss Education and Wild Spirit Education will take place on Saturday, December 3rd from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Nike Base Community Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road. Admission is free and information and door prizes will be given away. At 11:00 a.m., a special presentation by Mary Jo Graham, founder of Oakmoss Education titled "Wild Bird Care for Winter" will share easy and fun projects that birds will appreciate during the lean days of winter. Wildlife themed artwork will be available by local artist Christine Patrice Gebera. Paul from Wild Spirit will be bringing live birds to the event. Grand Island Nature Photo Contest will be on display for citizen judging at this event. The pictures will then be on display at other locations in the community for display and continued judging. See flyer.

    Home Energy Assistance Program Available - November 2016

       (Erie County, NY)
       The Erie County Department of Social Services is now accepting applications for 2016-17 Home Energy Assistance Program regular benefits, with county officials anticipating increased need and encouraging residents to apply for benefits online to avoid potentially lengthy waits at HEAP offices. Eligible households whose primary heat is electricity or natural gas can receive a $350 regular benefit. Households using a different heating source or that have heating costs included as part of their rent may receive a larger or smaller amount.
       "The opening week of HEAP is always busy, so we are encouraging residents to save themselves a trip downtown, avoid a long line and wait time, and apply for HEAP benefits online," said Erie County Department of Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger. "Residents with their heat service currently on and without a shutoff notice are advised to apply online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov or by calling the HEAP Application Request Line at 858-1969."
       Regular HEAP eligibility and benefits are based on income, household size, primary heating source and the presence of a vulnerable household member who is under age 6, 60 or older, or permanently disabled. An eligible household may receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year. Households currently receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and/or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits may qualify for an automatic basic HEAP benefit and would not be required to file a separate application. Households may ascertain the status of an AutoPay by calling the HEAP Hotline at 858-7644.

    Troubling Incidents After Election - November 2016

       A Buffalo News story by Henry Davis and Aaron Besecker published on November 10th details some incidents that occurred in Western New York following the recent election. One of the incidents happened at the NFTA bus stop located at Bedell Road and Grand Island Blvd. See story for details.

    Historic Homes Plaque - November 2016

    Historic Preservation Board members present plaque.
    Top row: From left back: Carolyn Doebert, Sharon Nichols, June Crawford, home owner Susie Myers.
    Front row: Chairman Bill Koch, Joe Macaluso & Jodi Robinson

        The Town of Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board presented their first historic homes plaque to Susie Myers, 2488 Whitehaven Road on Saturday, November 5th. The plaque reads circa 1865. The clapboard farmhouse was built by the Alt family in the mid 1860's and has round arch windows and an ornate natural wood door. The HPAB has been working on the historic homes plaque project for the last few years and will be presenting more plaques in the near future.

    Election Results, Jacobs, Morinello Win - November 2016

       Republican Christopher L. Jacobs came out on top over Democrat Amber Small for the State Senate 60th District seat.
    Small (D/WF/WE) 38.59% 46,389 votes
    Jacobs (R/C/I/RF) 59.21% 71,163 votes
       Retire Judge Angelo J. Morinello defeated incumbent John D. Ceretto for the 145th Assembly District seat.
    Ceretto (D/WF) 45.41% 22,086
    Morinello (R/C/I/RF) 54.59% 26,548

    The Crunch - October 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        Any college student, current or former, knows about the end of semester crunch. During the last few weeks there are several papers due and a slew of final exams for which to prepare. It can be a very stressful time for students. Having taught at Canisius College now for over 27 years I can attest that it is not easy for professors either. After all, someone has to grade all those papers and administer the exams. If everyone keeps calm and works together, however, my experience has taught me that everyone will survive.
        The end of the year for my other job in the County Legislature is not all that much different. We have our crunch time, too. In fact, it is quickly approaching. A few weeks ago the County Executive delivered his proposed $1.7 billion 2017 budget to the County Legislature for our review and possible amendments. The proposal funds most county departments and programs at more or less their current levels and would result in a slight decrease in the county property tax rate.
        Upon receipt of the executive's budget we began our examination of the massive document and recently completed a week of budget hearings with the heads of the county's larger departments. By early December we must adopt our budget or the executive's becomes the default budget. The County Executive can also veto any additions we make to his Executive Budget. The vetoes would then be subject to override by the Legislature. I doubt this will be necessary. If the past couple years is any indicator, we should be able to work with the administration to improve the 2017 budget by making modest changes to his proposal and still deliver a property tax rate decrease.
        At the same time we are dealing with the budget, the County Executive has asked us to consider a complex proposal that would enable Erie County Medical Center to borrow millions of dollars utilizing the county's higher credit rating to make needed capital improvements, including construction of a new operating room. Under the arrangement, ECMC would then repay the county and share its interest savings with us via a credit for the annual payment the county makes to the hospital for the cost of care to the indigent. This amount has been rising in recent years, even though we were expecting it to decrease with the implementation of Obamacare. Regardless, we are responsible for these costs and the County Executive sees this as a way of alleviating some of our financial pain. Not everyone shares this assessment. The County Comptroller and several of my colleagues on the Legislature view this as a risky use of the county's borrowing authority. I prefer to keep an open mind and will be devoting a good deal of my time in the coming days to looking at all sides of the argument.
        So the next few weeks will be busy ones for me and the rest of legislators as we cope with the budget crunch and other important matters. Like, the Canisius crunch, though, I am confident we will survive if we all work together. 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.

    Halloween Photos - November 2016

       Mary Stewart took photos in her neighborhood at the south end of the Island while passing out goodies.

    Veterans Day Service - November 2016

        The Town of Grand Island cordially invites veterans, family members and friends to attend the Veterans Day Services on Friday, November 11, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at Veterans Park located at 1717 Bedell Road. If you have any questions you can contact Recreation Department at 773-9680, or by email to recreation@grand-island.ny.us. The Town of Grand Island extends a very gracious Thank You in advance for your time and participation.

    DeGlopper Memorial Park Donation Page - November 2016

        To donate to the DeGlopper Memorial Park Expansion, go to degloppermemorial.org.

    62 Applications for Ag District Status - October 2016

       Legislator Hardwick facilitates hearing on Grand Island for numerous agricultural district requests.
       (Erie County, NY) - by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
       Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that due to the volume of requests from Grand Island property owners to receive Agricultural District status, he has arranged for the hearing to be held in the town. The county is holding the hearing at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Grand Island Library, 1715 Bedell Road, Grand Island. "There has been a surge in requests from Grand Island property owners to join the Erie County Agricultural District. These hearings are an important part of the application process and I thought it made the most sense to hold this hearing on Grand Island to accommodate the applicants," said Legislator Hardwick.
        The public hearing will consider 115 parcels which applied during the 2016 open enrollment period. The parcels are located as follows: 105 parcels in Grand Island, 1 parcel in Alden, 2 parcels in Amherst, 1 parcel in Collins, 2 parcels in North Collins, 1 parcel in Concord, 1 parcel in the Village of Springville and 2 parcels in the City of Buffalo.
       The board recommends which properties to be added as an Agricultural District and the Legislature acts on these recommendations. Agricultural District law helps land owners who are thinking of farming or have a full farm enterprise to have certain protections, set by New York State law, to be able to farm without unreasonable restrictions from government. You can review the list of applicants here. Anyone wishing to comment for or against any of the properties is welcome to speak at the hearing.

    Highway Department Winter Parking Policy - October 2016

       November 1, 2016 is the official start of the 2016-2017 Winter Season. Please observe the " "No Parking" restrictions on all public highways between the hours of 2:00 a.m. thru 7:00 a.m., from November 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2017. This allows the Highway Department to give you effective snow plowing in all areas of the town. The Town of Grand Island Police Department and the Erie County Sheriff's Department enforce this ordinance.
       Highway Superintendent, JT Tomkins states that there are approximately 129 miles of roads on Grand Island, of which 78 miles belong to the Town of Grand Island; the rest are divided up among the Erie County Highway Department, the Department of Transportation and the New York Thruway. If you are not aware of which roads you live on, please refer to the list below submitted for your convenience. Do not be confused in the wintertime, as the Grand Island Highway Department, under contract, plows all County owned roads.

    Roads owned by Erie County and maintained by the Erie County Highway Dept.:
    Stony Point Road, from E. River to South Bridge
    Baseline Road from E. River to Bush Road
    East River Road from Baseline to Bush Road.
    Huth Road, Long Road, Love Road, Whitehaven Road & Bush Road.
    Call the Harlem Road Maintenance Shop at 823-4243 or 825-6996.

    Roads owned by the D.O.T. New York State Department of Transportation:
    West River Parkway
    South Parkway (Beaver Island)
    Grand Island Blvd. (Rt. 324)
    You may call 438-2396 for all Departments of Transportation Roads.

    Jacobs Favors Sharing Charge Back Costs - October 2016

        Buffalo, NY...October 26, 2016...Chris Jacobs, Erie County clerk and candidate for New York State Senate in the 60th District, announced today his plans to address a little-known policy in Erie County that is costing towns at the northern end of the county upwards of half-a-million dollars annually. "When a student from Erie County attends a community college in another county, state law requires the home county of to pay a portion of the tuition to the other county," said Jacobs. "Many counties have lamented over this law and advocated for statewide reform. Erie County is one of the few counties in New York State to place 100% of these chargeback costs on local cities and towns."
       Jacobs said Erie County used to pay the chargeback costs, but during the Gorski Administration, they found a provision in State Education Law that allowed them to dump these costs on local governments. "The towns most affected, of course, are the towns that are in closest proximity to other community colleges - the northernmost, easternmost and southernmost suburbs of Erie County," said Jacobs. "In particular, Tonawanda and Grand Island are hammered by these pass-through costs every year, and it's a huge burden on local taxpayers."
        Jacobs pointed out that last year the Town of Tonawanda paid nearly $800,000 in "chargeback costs" for its residents who attended out-of-county community colleges, a number that becomes even more prominent as the Town faces the loss of tax revenues from the closure of the Huntley power plant. In 2014, Grand Island paid nearly $550,000 dollars in chargebacks, constituting nearly 8 percent of the total town budget. "These towns are paying 100% of the chargeback costs, but have no say in the quality of the education or programming at Erie Community College, which may be factors in students choosing to go elsewhere," said Jacobs. "With local governments dealing with the property tax cap, unfunded state mandates, and in Tonawanda's case millions in lost tax revenue due to the closing of Huntley plant, it is time for the County to pay its fair share of these costs."
       Jacobs says if elected to the state he will push to change the state law and require at least a minimum contribution amount from counties in regards to "chargeback costs." As state senator, he would also propose an overhaul in the chargeback system since it pits community colleges against one another. For more information on Chris Jacobs, and his campaign for New York State's 60th Senate District, visit www.chrisjacobsforsenate.com. The 60th Senate District includes Grand Island, the City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda, portions of the City of Buffalo and City of Lackawanna, Hamburg, Orchard Park, Evans and Brant.

    Halloween Decorations Gone Wild - October 2016

        The Michael Hawley family went all out for Halloween this year. Take a ride to 3371 Greenway Road in Sandy Beach to see the spooky display. Photos here.

    Open Road Tolling Favored - October 2016

        (Erie County, NY)...October 20, 2016...The Erie County Legislature's Majority Caucus unanimously approved a resolution in support of upgrading the entire New York State Thruway system to electronic tolls, which would allow motorists to pass through more easily. Cars and trucks would be tolled through a high speed EZ Pass system that doesn't require stopping and thus bringing with it many improvements.
       "The traditional toll plazas in the greater Buffalo region have been a topic of conversation for several years as they have caused various issues for motorists and residents. The Erie County Legislature supports upgrading our region's toll plaza to electronic tolls to virtually eliminate delays and reduce pollution," said Legislator Edward A. Rath, R-Amherst. "The area around the Williamsville toll booth will especially benefit from this change as it has been a trouble spot for years."
        Recently, New York State announced that it will begin the conversion to 100 percent electronic tolling for several bridges and tunnels in the New York City area. The Erie County Legislature supports expanding this project and outfitting toll plazas in the Buffalo region with the same technology. "During peak traffic times the Lackawanna Toll Barrier can be a nightmare, even with multiple booths open. The electronic tolling would allow cars and trucks to pass through easily, eliminating noise and pollution concerns that plague that area. Most of us have dealt with the headaches associated with today's method for toll taking and would all benefit from the upgrade," added Legislator Lynne Dixon.
       "The Legislature wants to see the current upgrades planned for the New York City region brought to Western New York. I encourage the Thruway Authority to take the necessary steps to install electronic tolling here so that our roadways can improve thanks to the advantages of open road tolling," said Legislator Kevin Hardwick. "I know the residents in my district, especially those living or working on Grand Island, would welcome this improvement as soon as possible as the bridge toll barriers often cause significant delays." The resolution was also cosponsored by Chairman John Mills, Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo and Legislator Ted Morton and approved 11-0. Copies of the resolution will be sent to the Western New York delegations for the New York State Senate and Assembly, Governor Andrew Cuomo's office, the office of the Director of the New York State Department of Transportation.

    New Grand Island Welcome Center Planned - October 2016

        Albany, NY...October 18, 2016...Governor Andrew M. Cuomo hosted the New York State Tourism and Craft Beverage Summit, where leaders in the tourism and craft beverage industries met with state officials to explore new industry opportunities. At the summit, the state's largest investment in tourism to date was unveiled - an unprecedented $55 million dedicated to promoting New York's world-class attractions, drawing more visitors, creating jobs and further growing the industry throughout the Empire State.
        Initiatives announced at the event include new welcome centers in every region of the state that will feature Taste NY markets and offer locally-grown produce, and an additional $2 million in funding to promote special events specifically related to agritourism and the craft beverage industry. These announcements build on the administration's historic investments in tourism and highlight the successful series of Tourism and Wine, Beer and Spirits summits held in Albany since 2013.
        WELCOME CENTERS: The new welcome centers will feature a Taste NY Market offering locally-made and produced food and beverages and three interactive I LOVE NEW YORK kiosks for visitors to learn about the region's history and destinations. Travelers can create an itinerary based around regional attractions and receive a copy by e-mail. New and improved welcome centers will be opened in all regions throughout the state:
    Western New York - I-190 Grand Island
    Finger Lakes - Geneva Visitors and Events Center
    Central New York - Auburn Visitors Center
    Southern Tier - Broome Gateway Center
    Mohawk Valley - Lock 13, Canajoharie
    North Country - Thousand Islands International Tourism Council Visitor Center
    Capital Region - I-90 westbound exits 11-12, Schodack; Northbound I-87 exits 17-18, Glens Falls
    Hudson Valley - I-84 Exits 16-17, Stormville
    New York City - Javits Center
    Long Island - Long Island Expressway between exits 51 and 52

    Grand Island Nature Photo Contest - October 2016

       The Citizen Coalition for Wildlife & Environment is hosting a Grand Island Nature Photo Contest. Share your photographs of Grand Island's wildlife and environment in a local contest that will feature the animals, trees, insects and plants of the Island. Five categories for photo entries include: mammals; birds; insects; reptiles and amphibians; trees,plants and flowers. The contest starts October 10th and entries must be received by November 20th. See flyer for complete details. The photos will be on display for citizen judging at the Wild Bird and Environmental Education Event on Saturday, December 3rd. See flyer. The pictures will then be on display at other locations in the community for display and continued judging.

    Septic Tank Education Seminar - October 2016

        Grand Island Waste Management and the Erie County Health Department are hosting a Septic Tank Education seminar on Wednesday, November 2nd at the Veronica Connor Middle School, 1100 Ransom Road. from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. At this meeting you can learn how to care for your septic system, how often it should be pumped/inspected, effects on environment, etc. See flyer for details. You can see the poor Grand Island "report card" here. This event is sponsored by the Conservation Advisory Board of Grand Island, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, and the Erie County Health Department. Contact: giconsab@gmail.com or 774-0074.

    National Fuel Predictions - October 2016

       (Oct. 7, 2016) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - Cooler nights, less day light and falling leaves are sure signs that the weather is changing across Western New York. As customary in this region, the upcoming winter means plenty of unpredictable weather - a snowstorm here, a quick melt there, hail, rain, ice and everything in-between. The one thing that is certain: Homes will need heat and National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation's (referred to as National Fuel or the Utility) winter heating season bill forecast brings good news and bad news.
       The cost of keeping warm this winter, based on the current forecast for the months of November through March, will remain at a record low level. On average, residential heating customers should expect their 5-month winter bill to total $497, provided the weather is more typical of a Western New York winter. Last year's second warmest winter ever on record for this region, with temperatures that were 17.8 percent warmer than normal, resulted in record low customer winter heating season bills that averaged $381. Comparatively, the previous winters from 2014, 2013 and 2012 ranged from $635, $808 and $586 for the 5-month periods. As a reminder, last winter Buffalo was without measurable snow until Dec. 17, 2015, a full 2 weeks later than the previous latest date for the first seasonal snowfall.
       "Lower winter heating season bills seem destined to repeat this winter across Western New York," said Karen L. Merkel, spokesperson for National Fuel. "With the exception of last year's record warm winter, the upcoming winter is forecasted to have the lowest winter heating season bill in the last 17 years, even lower than 2011-12 which featured the region's warmest winter ever on record with temperatures 22.3 percent warmer than usual. That season's winter heating season bill averaged $615."    While the commodity price of natural gas is anticipated to creep up on the New York Mercantile Exchange to $3.30 a thousand cubic feet as winter rolls in, National Fuel utilizes costconscious gas procurement procedures in which nearly half of the natural gas that will be used this winter was purchased in the summer months. Pennsylvania shale production was selling at less than $1.50 this summer. This time last year, natural gas commodity gas prices hovered between $2.59 and $2.89 a thousand cubic feet. Diverse contractual and pricing arrangements allow National Fuel's gas supply management team to purchase natural gas at the best available market price. Local demand for natural gas is currently being met by hydraulically fractured shale in neighboring states including Pennsylvania, despite the fact that no shale production is taking place in New York state.
        "Certainly the weather has a major effect on customer bills as the lower the temperatures, the higher the thermostats go for more prolonged periods of time," said Merkel. For those needing some help when it comes to heating costs, the federally-funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides payment-challenged families and individuals with financial assistance on a first-come, first-served basis, based on income guidelines. HEAP will open across New York state on November 14th. Visit www.HEAPhelps.com or contact 1-877-443- 2743 to check eligibility.
       A quick call to customer service can provide information on the following programs:
    Neighbor For Neighbor Heat Fund is open year round and helps qualified customers, aged 55 years or older, or have a certified medical condition, or are disabled, or are currently receiving unemployment benefits to prevent an energy emergency; Low-Income Customer Affordability Assistance Program offers stable bills, reduced rates and debt forgiveness; a Deferred Payment Agreement allows the potential to negotiate a repayment plan in the event of a problem or special circumstance; Special Protections is applicable for households where all residents are aged 62 years or older, 18 years or younger, blind or disabled. Customer assistance is available each weekday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. by contacting 1-800-365-3234.
        Numerous programs are available to help individuals who struggle to make their payments, and the Utility encourages its customers to contact a customer assistance representative to discuss their personal situation. For customers who want to have level, predictable month gas payments this winter, National Fuel suggests budget plan billing as a way to stabilize monthly heating bills. Information is available on the Utility's website at www.nationalfuelgas.com.

    Kelly's Fall Festival Photos - September 2016

    Allie Rumsey and Kaitlyn Scott enjoying candy apples.

    Maren Williams paints a design on her pumpkin

    Evan Pyzynski gets his favorite character, spider man, for his face painting done by Lynn Kelly

    Fluse band, from left: Ricky Hoover, Zach Morano and Stephen Parisi.
    Mary Stewart Photos.

        The Fall Festival, hosted by Kelly's Country Store this past Saturday and Sunday, was a big success. Children enjoyed a variety of activities including pumpkin painting and face painting. Fall produce from area farmers was available plus various vendors were on hand. The old schoolhouse, built in the 1840's was open for a look into the past. The band "Fluse" featuring Ricky Hoover, Zach Morano and Stephen Parisi entertained.

    GI Farms Co-Op Farm to Table Feast Fundraiser- October2016

       Before the Bridges Farm to Table Feast is being hosted by the Grand Island Farms Cooperative on Saturday, October 22nd at the Knight's of Columbus, 1841 Whitehaven Rd. Doors open at 5:00 p.m., dinner at 6:00 p.m., tickets are $25.00 and are available at 773-5648 (Tom). There is also a basket raffle and door prize. See flyer for menu and details.

    Focus on the Budget - October 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        As I write this, we are just days away from getting a look at Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz's 2017 budget proposal. Under the county charter, the executive must submit his budget to the county legislature by October 15th. We then have until the second Tuesday in December to approve or amend the proposed budget. If we fail to do this, the county executive's proposal becomes the default budget. So we will be spending a great deal of time the next several weeks scrutinizing the approximately $1.5 billion spending document. It is a task I do not take lightly, as it may be the most important thing we do in the course of any given year. It is not, though, the only thing.
        So prior to turning my full attention to the budget, I am looking to clear the deck of a number of other important issues. Chief among these, perhaps, are changes to the Erie County Charter. Charter revision is not the sexiest topic in the world, but it is more important than most realize. A volunteer charter revision commission spent months earlier this year studying the document and suggesting much needed changes. Since then, charter revision has become a bit of a political football with dueling revision packages, executive vetoes and finally consensus as to what changes to approve. A bipartisan group of legislators recently agreed with the executive on such a plan, as well as a separate revised ethics law. I am hopeful that these will be dealt with before we must devote the lion's share of our attention to the 2017 budget.
        Later this month I will also be attending to a final round of meetings I arrange several times each year between the County Highway folks and town officials in both Grand Island and the Town of Tonawanda. I initiated these several years ago and they have proved to be an overwhelming success, as the meetings facilitate better communication between the towns and the county. At these meetings we discuss the progress on repairs to county roads in each town and discuss any new problems. These gatherings have also fostered a spirit of cooperation between the county and the towns. This, in turn, has resulted in many instances of shared services. This saves all parties involved a significant amount of money each year.
        Saving money. This brings us back to the county budget. The average equalized county property tax rate is less now than it was when I took office in January of 2010. This was no accident. It was the result of hard work on the part of county legislators and county executives. Although there have been notable exceptions, for the most part it has involved Democrats and Republicans working together for the benefit of all county residents. This is not Washington, DC. It is Erie County and we do our best to get along. I call it, "government like it ought be." 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.

    Kelly's Country Store Fall Festival - September 2016

    Supervisor Nathan McMurray, Kelly's Country Store organizer Amanda Diamond and owner Sean Kelly.

       Kelly's Country Store, 3121 Grand Island Blvd. is hosting a Fall Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 8th and 9th from 8am - 4pm. There will be a farmer's market, wine tastings, bounce house, face painting, pumpkins/apples for sale and vendors. Lots of activities for young and old.

    Community Meeting - October 2016

       An open discussion on community issues affecting Grand Island with special guest speaker Nate McMurray, will be at the VFW Pavillion, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 6th. A new group, "Grand Ideas for Grand Island" invites you to join them for donuts and apple cider and an open forum atmosphere without intimidation to promote thoughtful discussion regarding the future of Grand Island. All ideas are welcome, but main topics will be the Community Center, West River Bike Path, Conservation and Building Community Pride.

    Elderwood at Grand Island Hosts "Chef's On The Go" Food Truck - October 2016

       Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is hosting a food truck event featuring "Chef's On The Go" on Thursday, October 13th from 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. See flyer.

    Job Fair at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls - October 2016

       There is a Job Fair at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls on Wednesday, October 5th from 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. With the holiday seasons around the corner, they are seeking to fill more than 50 positions. Please bring several copies of your resume and expect to be interviewed on the spot for positions. For more information, visit www.fashionoutletsniagara.com.

    Grand Island Lawnmower Racing - October 2016

        The Grand Island Lawnmower Racing Series on Saturday, October 15th at Veterans Park will benefit the Grand Island Little League. This is the third of three racing events held in 2016. The GILL will be selling hot dogs and warm beverages and water. The Miracle League will sell cold beverages and flu shots will be available courtesy of Rite Aid. The schedule of events is: registration, testing, and food available at noon, racing from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. There are six classes, stock, vintage, 1 cyc mod, 2 cyl mod, pro stock and super mod. Thanks to sponsors: Marstons Power Equipment, B.A.D., Sam Long Landscaping, Steel Crazy Iron Works, RB U'ren Rentals, Dowd Battery, Empire Dismantlement and Isledegrande.

    Community Flu Clinic - September 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - Members of the Erie County Legislature's Majority Caucus are partnering with local Rite-Aid Pharmacy locations to offer Community Flu Clinics to residents who wish to vaccinate against influenza. Each year, the County Department of Health advises residents to get a flu vaccine. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
       "Together with Rite-Aid, Legislators have scheduled flu clinics throughout the community to make it as convenient as possible for residents who wish to protect themselves against the flu this year. Medical professionals encourage most residents to get the vaccination annually," said Legislator Lynne Dixon, Chairwoman of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. The clinics are for adults, age 18 and older, and attendees are asked to bring their insurance card. Most insurance plans cover the vaccination in full.
  • Hosted by Legislator Kevin Hardwick, the clinic will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12 at Viet Nam Veterans of American Chapter 77, 57 Main St., City of Tonawanda. For additional information, please contact Legislator Hardwick at 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov. For additional information, please visit Erie County's Department of Health's website at www.erie.gov/health and search under "Health Topics" for Influenza (Flu) Information.

    Taste of Grand Island Photos - September 2016

    Honey Falls Farm.

    River Lea Quilters.

    Pony rides.

    Shannon Zaccaria - Everything Grand Island

    Lynn Dingey, Relay For Life.

    One Island, One Team.

    Historical Society-from left: Becky Gushue, Jeri Benzing, Curt Nestark and Sharon Nichols

    Say Cheese.
    Mary Stewart Photos.

       Beautiful day for the Taste of Grand Island on Saturday, September 24th. As far as some vendors.....best one ever!

    Grand Island Lawnmower Racing - October

        The Grand Island Little League will be participating in the Grand Island Lawnmower Racing Series on Saturday, October 15th at Veterans Park. This is the third of three racing events held in 2016. The GILL will be selling various grilled food items and non-alcoholic drinks. The schedule of events is: registration, testing, and food available at noon, racing from 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    Tonawanda Health Study Includes Grand Island - September 2016

       The University of Buffalo will be doing a health study on the effects of the Tonawanda Coke plant, located across the East River from the southern part of Grand Island. As part of the study, 38,000 residents of Town of Tonawanda, City of Tonawanda and Grand Island will have their health monitored over the next 5-10 years. See story by Phil Fairbanks featured in The Buffalo News on Sunday, September 25th.

    Wildlife in Your Community - September 2016

       Grand Island, NY - A community educational event is being held at the Grand Island Nike Base Community Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road on the evening of Thursday, October 6th to provide information on wildlife and their behaviors, and what you can do to understand and prevent human-animal conflicts. The event will be from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
       With increasing land development brings changes in wildlife habitats and behaviors and a potential increase of wildlife in our yards and our neighborhoods. As wild animals are typically afraid of people and create their homes, find their food, and raise their families in the fields, woods and streams next to our homes, changes in their natural environment can bring them closer to people and increase the potential for negative interactions. Come speak to wildlife educators on these topics and receive information and guidance to help understand our wildlife neighbors and find solutions to alleviate potential conflicts that may be experienced in the community.
        At 7:00 p.m., there will be a special presentation on "Wildlife in Your Community" by renowned fox and coyote expert Elise Able, veteran Wildlife Control Operator and Wildlife Rehabilitator. Elise is the President and Founder of Fox Wood Wildlife, Inc. a not-for-profit wildlife center and sanctuary in East Concord, NY. She has over twenty years of experience working with wildlife and has created and implemented public education and wildlife control programs for organizations and municipalities.
    T   he event is co-sponsored by Animal Advocates of Western New York and the Grand Island Citizen Coalition for Wildlife and Environment. The coalition is a new citizens group formed to educate, increase awareness, and advocate for topics relating to the wildlife and the environment. Animal Advocates of Western New York (AAWNY) was founded in 1985 and is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of animal exploitation and abuse. AAWNY is an all-volunteer educational organization with a primary goal to enlighten the public about animal injustices and to promote greater understanding and compassion to all animals. Flyer.

    West River Parkway Multi-use Path Meeting - September 2016

    Update: Tonight's meeting at the High School is an official meeting of the Grand Island Town Board. Jim Sharpe will be officiating, the Town Clerk will be taking minutes. Roberts Rules of Order will be followed AND the results will be on the official record as town business.
       The Town of Grand Island has invited representatives of New York State Parks to a meeting on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at Grand Island High School Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The purpose is to get resident input, prior to finalization of plans. Everyone is welcome to attend. See letter to NYS Parks.

    H. David Myers Athletic Complex Dedication - September 2016

        A dedication will take place at the Friday night, September 30th, Homecoming game at Gene Masters Field against Will East. The finishing touches were made on the new entrance to the sports fields, named the H. David Myers Athletic Complex. H. David is 97 years young this year and will be at the game. Known as the "Father of Viking Athletics", he was employed in the school district from 1948-1983. He named the GI athletic teams the "Vikings", designed the athletic fields and indoor facilities, was the first male faculty member and Phys. Ed. teacher, first athletic director and PE coordinator and was the first GI Town Recreation Director. GIHS alumni athletes and coaches are encouraged to attend. At the half-time dedication, alumni will be asked to gather on the turf by decades, as the football alumni did at the Gene Masters Field Dedication. Game time is 7:00 p.m.

    29th Annual CROP Walk - September 2016

       The 29th annual CROP Walk for Hunger (Communities Response to Overcome Poverty) is planned for Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 2 p.m. The meeting place is Beaver Island State Park. Registration will precede the walk. The walk raises funds to end hunger in the WNY community and around the world. Everyone is welcome. Grand Islanders are encouraged to pick up an envelope and encourage family, friends and colleagues to support them financially as they walk for those who have to walk for food and water.

    Elderwood at Grand Island Hosts "Ted's Hot Dogs" Food Truck - September 2016

       Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is hosting fun events this fall. Everyone is welcome to attend. The next event is Ted's Hot Dogs" Food Truck on Friday, September 30th from 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. See flyer.

    Are Your Ash Trees Dying? - September 2016

        Learn about the emerald ash borer from a statewide expert, and what options you have for treatment and removal of your trees. The Grand Island Conservation Board and the GI Emerald Ash Borer Task Force are hosting a public information seminar on Tuesday, October 4th at Town Hall. Speakers will be Dr. Mark Whitmore, Cornell University and Patrick Marren, NYSDEC Forester. 6:15 p.m. - Walk at Town Commons to see EAB signs. 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Public Information Session. Contact giconsab@gmail.com or 716-774-0074.

    Fundraising Walk for the Children With Apraxia of Speech - September 2016

    Aprixia Stars with their medals.

    Bonnie Nevan with top fundraiser, Charlie Healy.

    Katie Wyant holding daughter, Kinley. With her are daughters, from left: Sydney and Madisyn.
    Mary Stewart Photos.

       On Saturday, September 17th, a fundraising walk was held, "Walk For the Children With Apraxia of Speech" at Miracle League Field, Veterans Park. The Grand Island Fire Company was there with a truck for participants to tour. Two Erie County Sheriff Deputies helped give out awards to the "Champions Club", those who raised over $1000. Fourteen teams participated and Charley Healy received a trophy for raising the most funds, over $2000. The money raised plus other donations made this years donations just under $18,000. This figure included all of western New York. Proceeds from this yearly event go to the CASANA (Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North Ameria) to fund apraxia research, provide training to speech professionals and make people aware of this speech handicap in children.

    Erie County Road Work - September 2016

    From left: Erie County Engineering Department employee Rich Denning, GI Highway Superintendent JT Tomkins, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Director of Engineering for Erie County Charlie Sickler, GI Asst. Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford and Supervisor Nate McMurray.

       Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz held a press conference on Friday, September 16, 2016 announcing a second Erie County road project on Grand Island. He was joined by Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, Highway Superintendent JT Tomkins and GI Asst. Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford, Director of Engineering for Erie County Charlie Sickler and Rich Denning of the Engineering Department. The first project was milling and overlay on Baseline Road between Alvin and Whitehaven, a .8 mile stretch of road that carries 5,700 vehicles per day. The second project is on Whitehaven Road and runs from Stony Point to the I-190, 1.6 miles. This is also mill and overlay, where approximately 5,300 vehicles drive each day. Weather permitting, the projects should be completed by September 26th at a cost of $1-1.5 million dollars.

    Village Inn Golf Outing- September 2016

    From left: Gary Roesch, Kevin & Sara Slachciak and Kim Kalman.

       On Tuesday, September 13th, 25 golfers enjoyed a beautiful 9 holes of golf at Beaver Island State Park during the Village Inn Open. The participants decided the course is in the best condition that it has been in years. Tee time started at 11:30, followed by refreshments at the Village Inn. This is the first Village Inn Golf outing in five years and Mike Carr went over and above with his hospitality and food. The top golfer that gets his name on the VI Plaque is Dennis Dahl with a 39. Dennis was followed by Dave Scruggs and Kevin Slachciak each with 41 and Scott Kalman with a 45. High score was Gary Roesch with a honest 68. Thank you Mike and we look forward to continuing the tradition in 2017.

    DeGlopper Memorial Expansion Deed Signing - September 2016

    Seated from left: Expansion committee members Ray DeGlopper, Chairman Erik Anderson, VFW Commander Christian Eshelmann, Allen Lee.
    Standing: Moose members Amy Garten, Marge Robillard, Deb Bota, Dan Robillard, American Legion members Al Prame & Joe Synakowski, Exp. Treasurer Jim Sharpe, VFW member Dan McMahon, VFW Senior Vice Commander Matthew Fox, John Forest, Project Manager Dan Drexilius and Patrick Soos.
    Click photo for larger view.

       Members of the Charles DeGlopper Memorial Expansion project met on Tuesday, September 13th to sign the deed for the old Exxon property over to the VFW. The expansion is a cooperative effort by the Grand Island VFW Memorial Post 9249, Grand Island American Legion and Grand Island Moose Lodge #180. The property is located between Adrian's Custard and Beef and DeGlopper Memorial Park.
        The expansion of the DeGlopper Memorial site will not only honor Charles N. DeGlopper, but all Grand Island residents, past, present, and future, who have proudly served the United States as a member of the military. Design features will include a Gold Star for mothers of the fallen, personalized memorial pavers, flagpoles with the flags from each arm of the military, black granite walls with engravings of the names of Grand Island residents who have served, benches for visitors, parking, and much more. Donation opportunities for the expansion were recently announced by the committee on Memorial Day. The expansion is projected to cost about $750,000 and take about one year to complete.
       Tax deductible donations are being accepted through the Grand Island VFW Memorial Post 9249. For more information on how to donate individuals can visit the DeGlopper Memorial website, Facebook page at or email DeGlopperMemorial@gmail.com.

    Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Receives Award - September 2016

        Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper has been awarded the International Riverprize at the 19th annual International Riversymposium in New Delhi, India on Tuesday, September 13th. This global award is in recognition of the years of excellence of river restoration on the Niagara River watershed. See full press release.

    Elderwood Cruise Night - September 2016

    Mary Stewart photos.

       Elderwood on Grand Island held a well attended cruise night on Thursday, September 8th. There was entertainmet by the Black & Blues Trio, vendors and for those who wanted a bite to eat there was the Hawaiian BBQ food truck and an ice cream truck.

    New High School Principal Named - September 2016

       Trustees at Monday night's school board meeting unanimously appointed Michael Lauria the high school's new principal. Lauria served as vice principal here from 2012-3014, resigning to become principal at Silver Creek High School. Commenting at the meeting Lauria said he was pleased and excited to be back. "This is a great community with fine young people and I look forward to working with an excellent staff as well." A former chemistry and biology teacher at Sweet Home High School, he is a graduate of Canisius College.

    Primary Election Results - September 2016

       The movement to "shake-up" the GI Republican Committee failed on Tuesday, September 13th. See election results here. Election District Map.

    Evergreen Tree Moved to Town Commons - September 2016

       Recently a perfectly good Spruce Evergreen tree was moved from the new Parks Department property on Bedell Road to the Town Commons on Whitehaven Road. The service was provided by Domes Tree Inc. The 18 foot tree will be decorated with lights for the Christmas holidays. Thank you Domes Tree Inc., Parks Department and Highway Department for assisting with the finishing touches!

    Health, Education and Welfare - September 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        In 1953 the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare was created. For the next two and one-half decades it was one of the biggest agencies in the federal government. In 1979 the Carter Administration separated out the department’s education component and created the United States Department of Education. The health and welfare functions remained together in the new Department of Health and Human Services.
        For some reason while pondering what to write about this month I could not stop thinking about the original cabinet level agency. Health. Education. Welfare. The more I thought about it, the more I realized much of county government is devoted to these three purposes. Welfare, in its many forms, consumes the lion's share of the Erie County Budget every year. New York State relies heavily on county governments to administer and partially fund a slew of mandated state and federal social programs. Primary responsibility for most of these programs in Erie County falls on the Department of Social Services. The underappreciated, dedicated civil servants who deliver these services do an amazing job.
        The county's biggest impact on education comes in the form of our community college. Erie Community College is a gem. Its faculty and staff work hard to provide a quality college education at an affordable cost. Education, as I have said in this space before, is the most certain path out of poverty for many of our neighbors. The importance of the college cannot be overstated. Last month I was pleased, therefore, when ground was finally broken for construction of a new academic building on the North Campus. Upon its completion in January of 2018, it will provide much needed classroom space for the expansion of popular programs and the introduction of new ones to help the college advance its critical mission.
        It will also help to mitigate the chargebacks from community colleges in other counties that occur when an Erie County resident elects, often for good reasons, to attend some other county's college. The current chargeback rate from Niagara County Community College, for instance, is $3,730 per full time student. These bills from other counties are added to the Erie County property tax bills of the students' home communities. This costs taxpayers in both the City of Tonawanda and Town of Grand Island over $500,000 per year. The cost to property taxpayers in the Town of Tonawanda is almost $800,000 per year. The courses offered in the new building should help to reduce these exorbitant costs.
        The Erie County Department of Health has a long history of tending to the healthcare needs of our community. Next month my office will also be contributing to this cause, as I am sponsoring a flu shot clinic in conjunction with Rite Aid. The clinic will be hosted by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 77, 57 Main Street in the City of Tonawanda, on Wednesday, October 12 from 5-7 pm. I plan to get my shot that evening. Join me and we can chat about health, education and welfare in Erie County or whatever other topic you might choose. 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.

    Free Rabies Clinic - September 2016

       Erie County is hosting a free rabies clinic on September 14, 20 & 28. See webpage for information.

    One Island, One Team, Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Meeting - September 2016

       The One Island, One Team, Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is having a networking opportunity on Thursday, September 15th at the Niagara Sailing Club, 3619 East River Road from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Are you concerned about the drug epidemic and how it's affecting our youth and community? Would you like to be involved or just come and hear what the coalition has done or is planning for this upcoming school year? If so, please join us for an opportunity to network and socialize with members of the coalition and key members of the Grand Island community! Hors d'oeuvre and Cash Bar will be available. EVERYONE WELCOME! RSVP to Cindy Sharpe 773-8827, cynthiasharpe@grandislandschools.org. See poster.

    Driver Killed in I-190 Accident - September 2016

       Friday, September 9, 2016...State Police believe a medical emergency may have caused a Buffalo woman to leave the southbound I-190 on Grand Island, strike a fence and end up in a Staley Road backyard on Thursday around 8:00 p.m. Kimberly J. Perkins, 50 was in a 2005 Ford Explorer when her car slowly left the roadway. She was taken to Kenmore Mercy Hospital where she later died. State Police are investigating.

    Primary Day Tuesday, September 16 - September 2016

       Grand Island Primary Day is Tuesday, September 13th. All the voting sites will be open from 6:00a.m. - 9:00p.m. See sample ballots

    5th Annual Taste of Grand Island - September 2016

        The 5th Annual Taste of Grand Island will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2016 along Whitehaven Rd at Grand Island Blvd and the Town Commons. Over 100 vendors will be on site including 25 island eateries and restaurants. From pumpkin decorating and face painting to food sampling and craft buying, the Taste of Grand Island will have everything to get you in the fall spirit. Food tickets may be purchased at each entrance to the festival. All food is priced at an even dollar incriment. Beer & wine tent opens at Noon - 11pm. Patrons must be 21+ years or older. All day music.

    Town Removing Diseased Ash Trees - September 2016

    Liam Dodd and Bobby Frazier.

    Assistant Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford.

    From left: Jeff Korzen and Kevin Hagen man the chainsaws.

    Joe Zito.

       A crew from the GI Highway Department was busy on Friday, August 26th, starting the removal of a dozen diseased Ash trees from the Highway Department property on Whitehaven Road. The Town will be removing all affected trees from Grand Island Parks, municipal buildings and right of ways. The prognosis for the many Ash trees located in our area is not good. For more information, check out these websites: New York Invasive Species Info or DEC Site or Emerald Ash Borer Information Network.

    2016/2017 School Tax Bills -September 2016

        Town Clerk Patricia A. Frentzel announced that the 2016/2017 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 15, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is October 17. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of October 17 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made October 18 and later. Payments can be made until November 30, 2016. After this date, payments must be sent to the County.

    Driver Killed in Two Car Crash - August 2016

       State Police reported Jeremy T. Wallens, 36, of Grand Island was killed in two-car head-on crash on Stony Point Road near Ransom. The accident occured just before 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 30th. Wallens was headed north when he crossed the yellow line and hit a pick-up driven by a 23 year-old Grand Island woman. A female passenger in Wallen's car suffered minor injuries. Wallens was not wearing a seat belt.

    Witness Sought in West River Boating Accident - August 2016

       A boating accident occured in the West River at the foot of Whitehaven Road on Saturday, August 20th between 8:30-9:30 p.m. A Canadian boat took off before information could be obtained. A witness was at the scene, thought to dock their boat at Big Six Marina. If you have any information regarding this incident, please call Len at 863-873-6736.

    Elderwood at Grand Island Hosts Cruise Night - September 2016

       Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is hosting fun events this summer and fall. Everyone is welcome to attend. The next event is a Cruise Night on Wednesday, September 7th from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Music by The Black & Blues Trio, Hawaiian BBQ food truck and vendors. See flyer.

    Rus Thompson Refuses Felony Plea Offer - August 2016

       Rus Thompson was in court on Wednesday, August 24 and refused to accept a plea deal in his voter fraud case. See Buffalo News story by Melinda Miller. Thompson will go to trial in January.

    Farmers Market Packs Them In - August 2016

    Chase Luthringer with mom Tina Giambra at their market tent.

       The GI Farms Cooperative Farmers Market was a busy place on Monday, August 22nd. The market is located at 2487 Long Road, near Grand Island Blvd. A dozen vendors were on hand to serve a large crowd at the 4:00 p.m. opening. The parking in the yard filled up fast, with lots of cars parking on the road. Can be tricky getting in and out. You have to get there early, as most people are sold out way before the 7:00 p.m. closing time. Tina Giambra and her daughter Chase were selling vegetables, baked goods, jams and jelly and craft items. They sold out two weeks in a row. Other vendors supply eggs, meats, honey, and other products. See website www.gifarms.org.

    Agricultural District Open Enrollment - August 2016

       Per New York State Agriculture and Markets Law Section 303-b, the Erie County Legislature designated September 1 through September 30 as the annual thirty-day period during which landowners may submit requests to include predominantly viable agricultural land into an existing certified agricultural district. Copies of the application form have been provided to Municipal Clerks, Assessors, and Chief Elected Officials for distribution to interested landowners. The application is also available on the DEP website at www.erie.gov/environment. The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning will accept applications from September 1 through September 30. Any questions on this process should be directed to the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning. A public hearing will also be scheduled at a later date to consider all inclusion requests and the recommendations of the Erie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board. Application.

    Elderwood at Grand Island Hosts Fun Events - August 2016

       Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is hosting fun events this summer and fall. Everyone is welcome to attend. See list below:
  • Hawaiian BBQ Food Truck - Wednesday, August 24th, 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. See flyer.
  • Cruise Night at Elderwood - Wednesday, September 7th from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Music by The Black & Blues Trio, Hawaiian BBQ food truck and vendors. See flyer.
  • Ted's Hot Dogs Food Truck - Friday, September 30th from 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. See flyer.
  • Chef's On The Go Food Truck - Thursday, October 13th from 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. See flyer.

    Option 4 Sent to NYS Parks Reps. - August 2016

       A motion was made at the Monday, August 15th Town Board meeting to propose Option 4 as a West River bike path alternative. It was approved by a vote of 3-1, Mike Madigan, Chris Aronica and Ray Billica in favor, Beverly Kinney against. A letter was sent by the Grand Island Town Council to NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation representative Mark Thomas on Thursday, August 18th with motion details and a letter outlining the Option 4 details and comparison to Option 3. Option 4 motion letter and Option 4 details.

    Village Inn Golf Outing - August 2016

        The Village Inn on Ferry Rd has announced it's annual "Village Inn Golf Outing" is on Tuesday, September 13th. 9 Holes of golf starting at noon at Beaver Island Golf Course. Upon completion of golf there will be a buffet at the Village Inn. Cost for golf is $13 to Beaver Island ( $12 for a cart). Buffet cost is $10. Only reward will be for the low score (verified by a Supreme Court Judge), your name to be added to the "Village Inn" plaque hung proudly on the Village Inn wall. Please contact Gary Roesch for tee times at Groesch@roadrunner.com or cell # 583-7969.

    Farm Cooperative Market - August 2016

       The GI Farms Cooperative is currently running a farmers market every Monday from 4 - 7 p.m. at 2487 Long Road. One of the farm buildings at the host farm is being converted into a farm market retail store that will become a year-round outlet for the co-op's members to sell their products. The goal of the weekly market and the store is to make locally farmed products available to residents. The group anticipates that the renovations at the co-op's market store will be done in September.
       The market features produce, eggs, meats, honey, and other products from the 40 state-certified family farms on Grand Island. Plan to stay for dinner with the Oarhouse Eatery serving entrees prepared from Island-grown foods. Artists from Grand Island will also have work available for sale. For more info or to become a vendor visit GIFarms.org or call 773-5648.

    Farm Cooperative Seminar - August 2016

       The GI FARMS COOPERATIVE will host a free seminar at the Grand Island Public Library on Thursday August 18 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. on "Your RIght to Farm: How to Join an Agricultural District." An attorney will discuss the application process and legal benefits of adding property at no cost to a NYS certified Ag district. Ag district enrollment is available to property of any size where any farming activity occurs and includes crops, fruits, vegetables, horticultural specialties, livestock, maple sap, aquaculture, and bee products. Ag district enrollment occurs only once per year between September 1-30. Forty family-owned farms on GI are in an Erie County Ag district, and want to have more residents join them.
       A representative from the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District will discuss what grows well in the many types of soil on Grand Island. He will also discuss agricultural assessment reductions and the many resources available to residents from their department. The GI Farms Cooperative is a friendly non-profit association of family farm owners dedicated to preserving and protecting your right to farm on GI. They connect members with resources needed to grow their small farms and improve the community, including making GI-grown products available at their Farmers Market at 2487 Long Road. For more info call 773-5648 or visit GIFarms.org.

    Close West River Parkway Petition - August 2016

       The state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation plan calls for the closure of West River Parkway to motor vehicles and transformation of it into a bike trail. If you are in favor of this plan, you can sign a petition here.

    Keep Grand Islands' West River Parkway - August 2016

    Do Not Close Off Vehicle Traffic
    UPDATE: Online Petition.
        The West River Homeowners Association has made a pettition letter to send to NYS WNY District Parks Manager Mark Thomas and to Assemblyman John Ceretto. Print out here. They also have created a political contact list.

    West River Bike Path Meeting Minutes - August 2016

       A meeting was held on August 6, 2016 with Grand Island Councilman Mike Madigan, Director of WNY District, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Mark Thomas and Public Affairs Director Angela Bertie regarding a review of the Grand Island West River Bike Path options. Read minutes here.

    Legislator Hardwick: Legislating Concussions - August 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
       We take concussions a lot more seriously today than we did a few decades ago. This is particularly true of youth concussions. Each year we have more and more studies demonstrating the extent of the brain damage that concussions can cause. As a result, sports leagues from the NFL to a variety of youth sports have changed the manner in which they deal with concussions. This is a good thing.
        Even so, I could not support a local law proposed by two of my colleagues in the Erie County Legislature imposing new regulations regarding head injuries on youth sports leagues. The local law requires broadly defined “collision” sports to certify that every coach, assistant coach and game official take a course on concussions. Failure to provide the necessary paperwork to prove that all took the class is punishable by a $100 fine.
        Again, I am anti-concussion. But I also have great respect for the men and women who volunteer their time to coach our young people. I, myself, was a Tonawanda American Little League Baseball coach for 16 years when my children were younger. I was even on the league's board of directors for one year. I was on the board for one year because I did not want to be on it for two years. Members of the boards of these volunteer organizations are saints. They must recruit players and coaches, schedule fields and game officials, purchase equipment, raise money, pay the bills and deal with irate parents. Most receive no compensation for the hundreds of hours they devote to serving our youth. Now on top of this they have to worry about maintaining paperwork certifying that everyone in a position of responsibility has taken a concussion course.
        This becomes even more problematic when you consider that many leagues utilize 13 and 14 year olds as umpires or referees for games involving younger children. So if one of these teenagers fails to take the concussion course the league can be fined. As a parent of four I can attest to the fact that it is tough enough to get teenagers to do their homework. I do not know how the leagues will get them all to be certified in concussion protocol. I do not think they need to, though. As long as someone with the league is present who is schooled in head injuries, we do not need to require leagues to make sure everyone is. This is not to say that it might not be a good idea. It is just to say that fining leagues for the failure to certify a 13 year old referee is more than a bit excessive. So is requiring teams from outside Erie County to comply with this new policy, which is another problem created by the law.
        Fortunately, cooler heads seem to be prevailing. The County Executive recommended changes to the law to deal with many of these problems. As a result, I hope to be able to vote in favor of a more realistic revised local law in the not so distant future. 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 Schools Increases Per Diem Rate for Instructional Subs - August 2016

       (Grand Island, NY) - Grand Island Central Schools, like many other school districts in Western New York, is looking for qualified substitutes for teaching and non-instructional roles. The district recently increased its per diem rate for instructional subs to help attract applicants. Application information for all substitute positions is on the district website, grandislandschools.org. The per diem rates for instructional substitutes has been increased to $95 for certified applicants and $75 for non-certified applicants. Substitute teacher applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree. There is an on-going recruitment process for these certification areas: art, English, ESL, foreign language, math, music, physical education, science, social studies and special education. The district is also in need of non-instructional subs for these on-call positions; school monitor, bus attendant, bus driver, teacher aide, food service, cleaner, clerical and nurse.

    Paddles Up Photos- August 2016

    Photos courtesy of K & D Aerial Imaging.

       The 11th Annual Paddles Up Niagara took place on Saturday, July 30th at Beaver Island State Park. The morning Eco Tour was full and Early Bird Paddle was well attended.

    Legislator Hardwick: District Outreach Meeting - August 2016

       (Grand Island/Tonawanda, NY) - Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick has planned District Outreach Meetings in August to meet with residents and discuss County issues and answer questions. "There is a lot going on in Erie County right now and these outreaches are a good opportunity for me to update residents, and for them to come to me with questions and concerns," said Legislator Hardwick. "It is also a chance to just obtain information on county programs and special events." The District Outreach Meetings will be held at the following times:
  • 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 at the City of Tonawanda Senior Center, 33 Main St., Tonawanda.
  • 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17 at the Grand Island Senior Citizens Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island
       Information about the County Clerk's 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.

    Legislator Hardwick: Offers Free Fishing Map - August 2016

        (ERIE COUNTY, NY) - Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that copies of the 2016 Western New York Hot Spot Fishing Map are available through his office. The map highlights WNY's best fishing spots, helping local anglers and visitors have successful outings. The map was created thanks to Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties, Visit Buffalo Niagara and Fish Niagara.
       To request a free copy of the map, please contact Legislator Hardwick's Legislative Office at 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov. Copies of the map will also be available at Legislator Hardwick's District Outreach Meetings: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 at the City of Tonawanda Senior Center, 33 Main St., Tonawanda, and 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17 at the Grand Island Senior Citizens Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island.    The fishing guide includes: Bait and Tackle Shops, Charter Captains/Services, Emergency Numbers, Fish Key, Launches and Marinas, License Fees, NYSDEC Fishing Hotlines, Regional Fishing Clubs, Shore Fishing Sites and Travel Information.

    Ash Tree's On Your Property? - August 2016

    Healthy tree on left, unhealthy right.
    By Ray Billica

        There is a very serious situation confronting all residents who have ash trees on their property. There is an insect called the emerald ash borer that is here on Grand Island and will, with all probability, destroy all our ash trees. The Town EAB Task Force urges you to educate yourself on this subject. There are steps you can take that MAY save your tree(s), or you will have to decide how and when they will need to be cut down. The first step would be to identity if, and how many, ash trees you have. Then you can decide which one(s) you might want to try to save by contracting with a certified pesticide applicator to provide that service. The next step would be to determine those you won't try to save and make as plan for the removal of those trees. Excellent websites to visit for more information are: New York Invasive Species Info or DEC Site or Emerald Ash Borer Information Network.

    Thunder on the Niagara Coming Soon! - July 2016

        The Niagara Frontier Boat Racing Association and the American Canadian Hydroplane Association are hosting "Thunder on the Niagara" on Saturday & Sunday, August 6th & 7th at Gratwick-Riverside Park in North Tonawanda. There will be over 80 boats on hand in numerous categories. Buffalo Motorama is hosting "Rumble at the Niagara", a car and motorcycle show on Saturday with over 400 vehicles and bikes. There will also be vendors, crafters and a petting zoo for the kids. Gates open at 8:00 a.m. and racing will be from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Click here for the racing schedule. Other events include Vintage Jersey Speed skiffs, Vintage Grand Prix and sky divers. Admission is free, and a $10 donation for parking will benefit the Food Pantry, Clothes Closet and Meals on Wheels in Tonawanda/North Tonawanda.

    Strawberry Island Eagle Nesting Site - July 2016

        The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have enacted a plan to protect Bald Eagles that are nesting on Strawberry Island in the Niagara River. The plan will also help ensure that a multi-year effort to restore wetland habitat at the island will not be impacted by the effects of motorized boating activity.
        Buoys have been placed across the North end of the cove to eliminate all motorized activity into the cove at Strawberry Island. The intent is to both protect the eagles from noise disturbance and the wetland plantings, that were recently installed as part of a habitat improvement project by the New York State Power Authority, from boat wakes and damage from propellers and anchors. The wetland restoration project, which began last year, will be ongoing through the end of 2017. Signage has also been installed on the island and in the cove that demarks an area that is restricted to visitor access within 330 feet of the Eagle nest during the nesting season that lasts from the January to the End of September in a typical year.
        Law enforcement divisions from NYS Parks, DEC, and Erie County Sheriff Department are cooperating in the effort to enforce the restricted area rules. While motorized boats are prohibited from entering the cove, non-motorized vessels are not restricted outside the 330 foot buffer zone, which is marked with a separate buoy. In addition to the restricted area, boaters are reminded that federal navigation laws, such as maintaining a 5 mph speed limit while traveling within 100 feet of the shoreline, are important for the protection of the island and other natural resources.
        The bald eagle, currently listed as a threatened species in New York, continues to make a remarkable recovery across the state. Avoiding human disturbance at bald eagle nests is important to protecting the species. Some bald eagles are very sensitive to human activity and disturbance, especially at nest sites. Motor traffic, approaching too close on foot, frequency of visits or nearby tree removal can result in nest failure, nest abandonment, or abandonment of the nesting territory altogether. Any repeated disturbance by humans is unlawful under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and under the Environmental Conservation Law of New York.
        Violations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, as amended in 1972, increased civil penalties for violating provisions of the Act to a maximum fine of $5,000 or one year imprisonment with $10,000 or not more than two years in prison for a second conviction. Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment. The fine doubles for an organization. Rewards are provided for information leading to arrest and conviction for violation of the Act. Violators may be subject to additional fines under New York State Environmental Conservation Law. DEC recently announced a new, comprehensive conservation plan to manage New York's population of the bald eagle. The Conservation Plan for Bald Eagles in New York State describes the historic status, restoration efforts and current status of the bald eagle in the state and provides guidelines for future management actions. The Final Plan and additional information on bald eagles can be found on DEC's web-site at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/74052.html.

    GI Farms Cooperative Meeting - July 2016

        The GI Farms Cooperative will meet on Wednesday July 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Niagara River Station Fishing Club, 355 E River Rd, Grand Island, near corner of Ferry Road. All interested residents are welcome to attend. Please join us if you currently or want to garden, raise crops or livestock, keep horses or bees, or are looking for locally grown foods. Our discussion will include participation in the cooperative's farm market store, the benefits of adding your property to an Ag District at no cost, and a town law update including the formation of an Agricultural Board to protect your right to farm. For more info call 773-5648 or visit GIFarms.org.

    West River Bike Path Info. Meeting - July 2016

    Mark Thomas welcomes attendees.

    Link to West River Bike Trail presentation.
    NYS DOT Traffic Counts for GI
       The public information meeting for the West Rvier Greenway Connector Trail took place on Wednesday evening, July 20th at the Grand Island High School. Mark Thomas, Western District Director of NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, welcomed the 200+ crowd to the 2nd public meeting on the issue. The first meeting was at Town Hall on October 6, 2015. Thomas said a focus group meeting was held with the West River Homeowners Assoc. and the Town Conservation Board/Recreation Advisory Board on November 11, 2015. A member of the Conservation Board, Ron Rezabek, later in the meeting stated he didn't recall a meeting. West River Homeowners Assoc. President Frank Greco stated he didn't recall a focus group meeting with his organization either.
        Island resident and C&S Company representative Victor O'Brien gave a presentation on the bike path. The audience was told there were three alternatives considered. The first was the original plan of placing a 10' wide ribbon of asphalt between the parkway and the shore, connecting Beaver Island and Buckhorn. The second was some meandering concept that did not follow the West River. The third, now preferred plan, is on the parkway. In a comparison of alternatives shown, construction costs would be one million less than the other two plans at $1.81 million. Only eight trees would be removed, instead of 30 from the original design and brush removal would be at a minimum. Obstructions such as guardrails and signs would not be necessary and maintenance would be easier. A 10' wide paved trail would be constructed from Beaver Island State Park to West Oakfield Road and transition to the former parkway. A 27' trail would transition the bike path to the existing trail at the north end. Seven parking lots would be added throughout the trail, located between the service road and the bike path.
        This was not a question/answer session. This was a share your comments and concerns. There were a few in favor of the plan; some Islanders and some off-islanders. They thought is would add to the quality of life, help Island business, increase riverfront access to all. Many, many objected, mostly West River Road residents. Some of their concerns were; vehicles diverted to the service road would increase traffic and danger to homeowners, too many parking lots will impair the view, how would the duck blinds be accessed, who would maintain the bike path and its landscaping. Others noted, who knows how many people would actually use the path. Has there been a study done on that? Some of the homeowners came up with alternative #4, add a bike lane to the West River Service Road, keep the parking at the overlooks. That would be the least invasive plan for everyone involved and should cost much less.
        The plan was to have the design approved Fall 2016, bids accepted Summer 2017, begin project Fall 2017, with a completion date sometime in 2018. This appears to be a ways away from being settled. The state is looking for your comments, submit via email to vobrien@cscos.com or by mail to Victor O'Brien, C&S Companies, 141 Elm Street, Suite 100, Buffalo, NY 14203 by August 3rd. Isledegrande encourages you to send in your comments. Email jodi@giecom.net and we will post.

    Grand Island Community Chorus Concert - July 2016

        Grand Island Community Chorus invites you to enjoy its "family and friends" concert of American music, Tuesday, July 26, at 7 p.m. at St. Timothy's, Staley Road, Grand Island. Admission is free; donations gratefully accepted.

    Daughters of Creative Sound - July 2016

       Riverside-Salem UCC is hosting the Daughters of Creative Sound on Wednesday, July 27th at 6:30 p.m. at the DC Cottage, 3449 West River Road. They are a African American women's drum and percussion ensemble. Founded in 2004, the group expresses itself through vocal, visual, and percussive avenues. The event is free, donations accepted. See flyer for details.

    Town Receives Flowers from Inmate Program - July 2016

    Jim Linenfelser, Town Hall Caretaker, is shown planting the beds at the entrance to Town Hall in late May.

    Miracle League park.

    Chamber of Commerce sign at the south entrance to Grand Island.

    Veteran's Park on Bedell Road. In honor of the Grand Island Relay For Life theme "Give Cancer the Boot".

        This spring, the Town of Grand Island was once again the recipient of beautiful flowers from the Horticulture Program at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden. This popular prison rehabilitation program allows inmates to learn to plant seeds and care for seedlings at their various stages of growth, until the plants are ready for transplanting. The Correctional Facility has three greenhouses that were busy places beginning in February, with plants ready for distribution throughout Erie County in late May. Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard's Team at the Correctional Facility includes Chief of Operations Paul Evans and Industrial Training Supervisor John Fisher. The Town received several dozen pots of individually potted geraniums and larger plants and two dozen flats that each contained 48 seedlings. Plants from the inmate program have been used on numerous Town Properties, in addition to Town Hall, including in the areas shown in the photos. The Chamber of Commerce sign at the south entrance to Grand Island and Veterans Park - shown here are the Miracle League Sign and the boot designed for this year's Relay for Life that had the theme "Give Cancer the Boot!" The Town Flower Ladies are Bev Benton, Linda Tufillaro and Bonnie Weiser. They take care of the parks beautiful plantings.

    Garden Walk Photos - July 2016

        The Grand Island Garden Walk was held on Sunday, July 10th, all over the Island. A total of 18 gardens were on display from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on a beautiful day. Over 200 people enjoyed the event. All photos by Mary Stewart.

    Private Alzheimer's Care Planning Meeting - July 2016

       The Alzheimer's Association Western New York Chapter are planning a special consultation program on Grand Island. The Chapter's dementia care experts will be available at the Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road between the hours of 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. on Monday, August 1, 2016. Those diagnosed with dementia, their care partners and their families are encouraged to discuss care plans, information about local resources, managing behaviors and overcoming day-today challenges. To ensure ample time and materials for the private meetings, reservations are strongly suggested by calling 1-800-272-3900. for additional information about Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, community resources and educational programs, visit website alz.org/WNY. See press release for details.

    Rod & Gun Club HUGE Meat Raffle - July 2016

       The Grand Island Rod & Gun Club, Inc., 1083 Whitehaven Road, is hosting a HUGE Meat Raffle on Saturday, July 30th. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and the raffle will start at 6:00 p.m. sharp. Tickets are $8 presale, available at the club bar or $10 at the door. Includes some refreshments. See flyer for details.

    Mobile Traffic Speed Monitor - July 2016

    From left: Traffic Safety Advisory Board members Mark Nemeth, Lea Milatello Schnepf, Dorothy Bitner, Betty Harris and Asst. Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford.

    Notice the smiley face when you are at or below speed limit!

       By Dorothy Bitner, Traffic Safety Advisory Board Chairperson
       After a long sought after grant, the Grand Island Traffic Safety Advisory Board has obtained a mobile traffic speed monitor. The monitor is intended to help promote driver awareness and get drivers in the habit of constantly checking their speedometer. It is believed that many drivers do not intentionally disobey speed limits, which leads them to a habit of not keeping check on their speed.
        Due to numerous complaints of residents in different neighborhoods, the monitor will be moved around to these areas. In areas where there are persistent violators, police will give out tickets. The motorist will then be subject to fines and other costs. The Vehicle and Traffic law requires motorists to drive according to road conditions. Motorists are distracted today due to many outside factors including; driving too fast, road conditions, weather, pedestrians, animals, texting and talking on the phone are a few.
        To sum it all up, driver awareness is number one in driver safety. The Traffic Board hopes the monitor will be one more step in helping to make Grand Island a safe place to drive. The Board meets every second Tuesday in the Town Hall Conference room at 7:00 p.m. Visitors or anyone wanting to address traffic problems are welcome to attend.

    Legislator Hardwick: Progress Requires Renewed Cooperation - July 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - by Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        Last month the other county legislators and I voted on a number of proposed amendments recommended by the Erie County Charter Revision Commission. One of the more controversial ones called for the creation of a Council of Governments comprised of representatives from the county's cities and towns. The council would have the ability to propose local laws to the county legislature, to nominate members of an advisory county planning board and advise the legislature and executive on matters regarding regional cooperation. The proposal was far from perfect and received much criticism. The vote in the Legislature was 10-1 against the recommendation. I was the one. I voted for the proposal because I have seen the value of intergovernmental cooperation and believe we need to foster more of it. Despite its drawbacks, I felt the council of governments would have done this.
        It is not easy to work with others. Most of my students at Canisius College would prefer working alone rather than being asked to work with others to accomplish a task. I assign members of my upper level public administration class a variety of group projects in order that they can learn the power of cooperative efforts. Locally, we need look no further than the rails to trails project which is nearing completion. The project linking the City of Buffalo with the Town and City of Tonawanda is a good example of what governments can accomplish if they work together, as New York State, the NFTA, Erie County, the Town of Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda had to unite to pull off this project.
       Another, perhaps even better example of the power of intergovernmental cooperation is what was accomplished at the former Spaulding Fibre site in the City of Tonawanda. Ten years ago this 47 acres was host to a dilapidated, contaminated factory and plenty of rats and other vermin. Today it has been cleaned up and will hopefully soon be the home of new businesses and scores of new jobs. The cleanup and installation of new infrastructure was the result of cooperative efforts of elements of the federal government, New York State, Erie County and the City of Tonawanda. The project was a bit of a miracle, as turf wars were suspended and Democrats worked with Republicans at the various levels to make good things happen in our community. It was the poster child for government as it ought to be.
       Now we face another challenge that will require us all to work together with the shutdown of NRG's Huntley Power Plant in the Town of Tonawanda. The loss of tax revenue, which would have been especially crippling to the town and the Ken-Ton School District, has been temporarily mitigated by the passage of state legislation providing transition funding to local governments. The long-term solution of cleaning up an area more than double the size of the Spaulding Fibre site and restoring the tax revenues will require us all to work together once again. I believe we are up to the task. We will have to do it, however, without the benefit of the Council of Governments. 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.

    Erie County Civil Service Opportunities - July 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - Erie County Civil Service Exams: Applications Currently Being Accepted.

    Elderwood Fundraiser Fun Night - July 2016

       Elderwood at Grand Island is hosting a fundraiser to benefit the Alzheimer's Association on Wednesday, July 20th from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at their facility, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. There will be music, food, petting zoo and vendors. Check out the poster for details.

    Independence Day Parade - July 2016

    Mary Stewart photos

       The 47th annual Independence Day Parade was held on Monday, July 4th. Music and announcements were provided by Premier Sound DJ.

    West River Bike Trail Meeting - July 2016

        The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced that a public information meeting to outline the preferred alternative for a new bike trail along the West River Parkway will be held on Wednesday, July 20 at the Grand Island High School, 1100 Ransom Rd, Grand Island, 14072. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., there will be an open house where drawings of the plan will be available for review and staff will be on hand for discussion. At 7:00 p.m. there will be a formal presentation of the plan. Participants will be able to submit written comment during the open house or verbally following the presentation.
        Plans call to build an 8-mile bike trail along the West River that will connect Beaver Island State Park and Buckhorn State Park as well as to provide a link between the cities of Niagara Falls and Buffalo for non-motorized vehicles. Additionally, when complete, this project will provide a critical missing connection to the Niagara River Greenway. Comments may also be submitted via email to atvobrien@cscos.com or by mail to Victor O'Brien, C&S Companies, 141 Elm Street, Suite 100, Buffalo, NY 14203 by August 3rd. This project is being completed in partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation and the Town of Grand Island.

    Kayaking Classes at Beaver Island - July 2016

        A state parks naturalist and certified kayak instructor will teach a free, one-hour Basic Beginner's Kayaking Class at three locations this summer. Classes will be offered at 11 a.m., and 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 16; Aug. 6 and 27; and Sept. 3 at Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island. In addition, classes will be offered at the same times on July 9 at Wilson Tuscarora State Park and on July 23 at Buffalo Harbor State Park. Space is limited and a kayak, paddle and life jacket will be provided for the class. Pre-registration is required by calling 282-5154.
       In addition, a free Beginner's Class called "SmartStart: Paddling Orientation on Your Kayak," will be offered by state parks from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on July 7, 14, and 28; Aug. 4 and 25; and Sept. 1 at Beaver Island State Park. Space is limited and kayaks may be available to borrow. Pre-registration is required.

    Radioactive Material on Grand Island - July 2016

        An Investigative Post story published July 5th, titled "Radioactive hot spots pepper Niagara County", includes mention of half a dozen locations on Grand Island. A radiological survey was conducted in October of 1984 and identified numerous locations on Grand Island Blvd. with an elevated level of radiation. This was due to the material (phosphate slag) used in asphalt driveways and parking lots, The maximum gamma exposure rate was measured in a culvert northeast of 3060 Grand Island Blvd. See full story, map, gamma exposure rate results. According to the story, "Although the exposure to the radioactive waste does not pose an immediate health risk, the EPA and the National Academy of Sciences have concluded there is no safe level of radiation."

    2016 Final Assessment Roll - July 2016

    2016 Final Assessment Roll

    Notice of Completion and Filing Of Assessment Roll After Grievance Day
    (Real Property Tax Law, Sec. 516)

    Notice is hereby given that the Assessment Roll for the Town of Grand Island in the County of Erie, for the year 2016, has been finally completed by the undersigned Assessor, and that a certified copy thereof has been filed in the office of the Town Assessor at the Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Rd. of said Town where the same will remain open to public inspection.

    Dated this 30th day of June, 2016.

    Judy M. Tafelski, SCA
    Town of Grand Island Assessor

    Erie County Rabies Information - July 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - July 24, 2016 -Rash of Rabid Animals in Erie County
       Just this week, a fox was found in Eden and a pet cat in the town of Aurora; both tested positive for rabies. Exposure to these animals has necessitated that several individuals receive Rabies Post Exposure Prophylaxis ("PEP"), which is a series of five injections, including four that must be administered intramuscularly, given over a two week span.
       "Rabies remains a very serious disease; nearly always fatal once symptoms are evident," stated Dr. Gale R. Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. "Everyone should always remain cautious around wildlife or domestic animals. No one can know if an animal has rabies just by its appearance. Rabid animals' behavior can range from normal to lethargic, aggressive, or overly friendly. Already in 2016 we have investigated 1,185 incidents for possible rabies exposure. From those encounters, 116 people are now undergoing rabies PEP. It is equally important that "indoor" or "indoor/outdoor" cats are vaccinated against rabies. It is difficult to ensure that any cat will be completely free of rabies exposures. Bats, which have a high incidence of rabies, commonly find their way into homes through small openings. Raccoons can find ways inside buildings in a search for food. In addition, an "indoor-only" cat may sneak outdoors through an open window or door.
       "Although the majority of the rabid animals we see in Erie County are wildlife, your pets can be at risk of infection if they come in contact with a rabid animal and are not vaccinated," said Peter Tripi, Senior Public Health Sanitarian. "Unfortunately, we identified a cat recently that was not vaccinated against rabies that became infected. The cat subsequently attacked members of the household, exposing them to rabies. If you love your pets, please take advantage of our free clinics to ensure that all your pets, including both "outdoor" or "indoor" cats, are vaccinated against the rabies virus."
        In addition, handling abandoned raccoon and fox pups can lead to rabies virus exposures. Recently, 17 individuals recently handled and delivered an injured fox to the SPCA. A few days later the injured fox began to exhibit rabies symptoms and subsequently tested positive for the deadly virus. Those individuals must now undergo the rabies PEP protocol.
    How to Protect against Rabies
  • Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or cats. Assume all wildlife & feral animals are rabid.
  • Be sure your pet dogs, cats and ferrets and horses and valuable livestock animals are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccination protects pets if they are exposed to rabid animals. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors and allowed outside only under direct observation.
  • Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
  • Do not attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods that may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cap or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
  • If nuisance wild animals are living in parts of your home, consult with a nuisance wildlife control expert about having them removed.
  • Teach children not to touch any animal they do not know and to tell an adult immediately if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.
  • If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors who are outside.
    Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals:
    ECDOH Vector Control
    716.961.6800 M-F Business Hours
    716.961.7898 Evenings/Weekends
       No one wants to see an injured animal on the road or abandoned pups or kittens without offering assistance. However, what may seem like a compassionate gesture could put you and your family in danger. Please report wildlife encounters to an appropriate agency like the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC"), the SPCA's Wildlife Department, or a DEC-licensed wildlife trapper who can provide guidance.
        If you come in contact with wildlife, please contact ECDOH immediately to determine the likelihood of rabies exposure and risk of infection. Wildlife are NOT pets and should not be treated as such. Rabies is common throughout New York State and in Erie County wildlife. The brain is used to test animals for rabies, which requires the animal to be euthanized. Alternatively, if a pet with an unknown or unvaccinated rabies vaccine status bites a person, to avoid rabies testing, the animal must be confined and observed for ten days at the owner's expense. A six-month quarantine is required when an animal comes in contact with a confirmed or suspected rabid animal. Vaccinating our pets with rabies vaccine not only protects them, but also can protect family and friends from rabies exposure and the need for the PEP immunizations.
    Three free rabies vaccination clinics are scheduled across Erie County in September:
    Wednesday, Sept. 14th ECC-North Campus
    Tuesday, Sept. 20th Springville Vol. Fire Dep't
    Wednesday, Sept. 28th West Seneca Highway Garage

    Jacobs Brings "Thank-A-Vet" to GI - June 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs will bring a "Thank-A-Vet" outreach event to the Nike Base Community Center, located at 3278 Grand Island Blvd. in Grand Island on Wednesday, July 13th from 11am-1pm to issue discount cards to honorably discharged veterans who file their original DD-214 (discharge papers) with the Clerk's Office. The event is hosted by Grand Island Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray.
       Veterans can use the Clerk's "Thank-A-Vet" discount card at over 1,250 participating local businesses who have agreed to honor it with a discount on purchases or services. "My office continues our effort to recognize the service and sacrifice made by Erie County veterans through this important program," stated Jacobs. "We are pleased to work with Town Supervisor McMurray to provide a convenient location for veterans on Grand Island to place their DD-214's on file with County Clerk's Office," Jacobs added. For the veteran, filing discharge papers is free of charge and certified complimentary copies of recorded discharges are made for veterans or their immediate families whenever needed. Original discharge papers are proof of military service and can be used to establish eligibility for a variety of benefits including property tax exemptions and civil service credits. For complete information on the "Thank-A-Vet" discount card program or to enroll as a participating merchant, please visit www.erie.gov/clerk/thankavet or call (716) 858-4737.

    Lawn Mower Race Photos & Results - June 2016

    Chi Doring, winnner of celebrity race.

    Mary Dunbar-Daluisio came in 2nd place in celebrity race.

    Dan Rott and Floyd Doring.

    Kathy Barton and Lyle Dinsmore with their vintage cars and hydoplane race boat.

    Above photos thanks to Dawn & Kevin Cobello, K & D Action Photos and Aerial Imaging.
    Mike Yensan races with vintage motor.

       The Father's Day Lawn Mower Race on Saturday, June 17th Race Results:
    Kids class - Pete Marston III
    Vintage - Scott Endres
    Stock - Pete Marston Sr.
    Modified - Pete Marston Jr..
    Pro-Stock - Scott Endres.
    Super Modified - Mitch Wendling (top speed reached at the end of the 300' track was 74 mph) .

    Elderwood Kick Off the Summer Party - June 2016

       Elderwood at Grand Island is hosting a party on Thursday, June 23rd from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. There will be live music by Zak Ward, chicken dinners for $10, a petting zoo, balloon sculptures and vendors: Schultz Winery, Barrett Purses and Mary McClive Handmade Jewelry. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Grand Island Fire Department. See flyer.

    Grand Island Father's Day Lawnmower Race, Run/Walk & Boat Show - June 2016

       The Grand Island Father's Day Lawnmower Race, Kevin Doring Memorial 5K Walk/Run and Vintage Boat Show will take place on Saturday, June 18th at West River Parkway and Long Road. There will be food vendors, music, children's activities and a 50/50 raffle. since the Lawn Mower Race began in 1978, it has raised over $40,000 on behalf of local charities. This is the sixth year funds will go to the Grand Island Relay For Life.

    Lawn Mower Race Schedule: Kevin Doring Memorial 5K Walk/Run
    Registration 9am - $10
    Starting Time 10:15am

    National Anthem 10am

    Lawn Mower Race
    Registration 9am - $10
    Inspections 12:00pm - Inspection Form
    Drivers Meeting 12:30pm
    Testing Mowers 1-2pm
    Races start at 2pm
    Super Stock
    Super Modified
    Awards 5pm

    Vintage Boat Show 9am-3pm

    Rick Hoover Band Noon-3pm

    All proceeds are donated to the Grand Island Relay For Life/American Cancer Society.
    Thanks to sponsors: Eric Berger Ins.; John Pullano; Lipsitz & Ponterio; Dowd Battery; Rhino Tees; Marston Power Equip.; Coffee Pause; R.B. U'Ren Equipment; Sam Long's Landscaping; Isledegrande; Kelly's Country Store; BAD Racing; NFP; K&D Action Photo; Say Cheese; Remax; Certified Auto Broker; Empire Development; Northtown Volvo, Porsche & Landrover of Buffalo.

    FREE Grand Island Garden Walk - June 2016

       July 10th, 2016 marks the day for the first annual FREE Grand Island Garden Walk. Plans have been underway for months by a committee of 10 dedicated gardeners. Twenty gardens will be open for viewing from 10 am to 4 pm. They include a variety of garden styles, plantings and garden decor, ranging from the sophisticated to the whimsical (what else could you call a large metal chicken made out of an old Coca Cola sign??). Free maps of the participating gardens will be available at the Town Gazebo at Whitehaven Rd. and Grand Island Blvd. July 10th, all day beginning at 9:45 am. When you pick up your map we encourage you to buy a chance to win a BIG YELLOW BAG (one cubic yard) of premium black garden soil donated by Lakeside Sod Supply. Community businesses have been very supportive in helping get this new event launched. Our participating gardeners are working hard putting on the finishing touches. Now all we need is YOU! Please join us on July 10. For more information or questions contact Jan at 465-7396 or grandislandgardenwalk@gmail.com.

    Thermo-Fisher Scientific Adopts West Staley Road- June 2016

    Click for larger view.
    Top row: Will Conrad , Andrew Tucker, Jason Davis, Cyrus Benning, Ed Williams.
    Middle Row: Andy Tubiolo, Site Leader: Manny Tavarez, Joe Polizzi
    Ground level: Asst. Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford, Chad Cowell , Ashley McRae, Julia Doll, Amy Maiteng, Angie Dauphin, Kaitlyn Parris, Isabelle Rodriguez, Recreation Supervisor Joe Menter.
    Not pictured: Eric Hirtzel, Sany A. Chavan

        On Friday, June 10 at 8:00 a.m. fourteen volunteers from Thermo-Fisher Scientific cleaned up Staley Road from the traffic circle to West River Road, a 3.6 mile stretch. The lab equipment and supply company has been doing this for eleven years as part of their Global Volunteer Clean Up Day initiative. Over 19 bags of garbage and large pieces of trash were collected. Last year, group leader Chad Cowell inquired about adopting the highway and doing more to clean up Staley Road. Chad and Andrew Tucker from ThermoFisher worked with the Town Highway and Recreation Departments to finalize an agreement. As part of the agreement two Adopt-A-Highway signs with the ThermoFisher Scientific name on it will be place on Staley Road - one facing East bound traffic and one facing West bound traffic.
        The Adopt-A-Highway program is available for Town owned roads and is designed for groups to "conduct activities at a frequency which will enhance the attainment of the goal, which is to provide a clean and healthy appearance along and within the adopted roadway". Under the agreement, Thermo-Fisher will now clean Staley Road at least two times a year - once between March 1 and July 31 and again between August 1 and October 31. As part of the agreement, Adopt-A-Park is also available. Contact the Town's Highway, Recreation or Parks Department with inquiries about adopting a highway or park.

    Spring Piano Recital - June 2016

    Click for larger view.

       A Spring Piano Recital was held on Monday, June 13th at St. Timothy Church by Mrs. Debbie Bastian Studio students. The students and their selections are listed below.
    Bella Mathieson - Wishing Well
    Evelyn Meinhold - The Zoo
    Eleora Johansen - What Can We Do?
    Eric Glahe - The Donkey
    Cameron Harding - Sonatina
    Guenevere Stender - Money Can't Buy Everything
    Ava Satterlee - The Donkey
    Thomas Wolski - Horse Sense
    Carl Beckley - A Cowboy’s Song
    Ben Hastings - It's Halloween
    Timothy Johansen - Sonatina
    Maria Miss - Oh! Suzanna!
    Levi Mathieson - The Major and The Minor
    David Hoover - Indians
    Hugh Mathieson - Enchanted City
    Marissa Aceti - The Greatest Show on Earth!
    Sydney Wilson - Fandango
    Kephas Stender - Roman Holiday
    Lidya Weng - Black Forest Polka
    Jude Stender - Prelude
    Fransisco Stender - The Battle Hymn of the Republic
    Vanessa VanNorman - Mighty to Save
    Julie Klein - Fur Elise
    Taylor Reign - Over the Rainbow
    Miranda Nemeth - Liebestraum

    DeGlopper Park Expansion Groundbreaking - June 2016

    Drawing of 7 foot bronze DeGlopper statue.

    From left Christian Eshelman, Ray DeGlopper, Allen Lee, Fred Wornick, David Castiglia and Erik Anderson.

       The groundbreaking for the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park expansion was held on Thursday, June 9th at 7:00 p.m. The expansion of the DeGlopper Memorial site will not only honor Charles N. DeGlopper, but all Grand Island residents, past, present, and future, who have proudly served the United States as a member of the military. Design features will include a Gold Star for mothers of the fallen, personalized memorial pavers, flagpoles with the flags from each arm of the military, black granite walls with engravings of the names of Grand Island residents who have served, benches for visitors, parking, and much more. Donation opportunities for the expansion were recently announced by the committee on Memorial Day. The expansion is projected to cost about $750,000 and take about one year to complete. Tax deductible donations are being accepted through the Grand Island VFW Memorial Post 9249. For more information on how to donate individuals can visit the DeGlopper Memorial Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DeGlopperMemorial or email DeGlopperMemorial@gmail.com.

    Volunteers Needed For Events - June 2016

       Corey McGowan Productions is seeking volunteers for this summers Music in the Park, Movies in the Park series and Taste of Grand Island. Volunteer duties will consist of selling drinks, 50/50 raffles, event clean up and event setup/tear down. No previous experience needed - a fun way to meet new people and support your community! All volunteers eat and drink complimentary and will receive an event t-shirt! Event dates: June 24, June 25, July 29, July 30, Aug 26, Aug 27 and Sept 24. If interested, please submit a volunteer application which can be found at www.coreymcgowan.com/staffing.

    Transportation Center Ribbon Cutting - June 2016

    Administrative Offices.

    Bus garage interior.

    Bus garage exterior.

    From left: John Robinson from Campus Construction, William Zografos from Cannon Design, School Board Vice President Sue Marston, Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, Transportation Supervisor Theresa Alizadeh, Superintendent of Schools Teresa Lawrence, School Board members Donna Tomkins, Joy LaMarca and Karen Carroll, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel.

        The new transportation center located behind Sidway School was dedicated with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, June 14th. The Grand Island Schools Naming Committee announced recently that the building will be called the "Jack Burns Transportation Center" after previous transportation supervisor, Jack Burns, retired in 2015, after 33 years of service. The building has four maintenance bays in the garage, spacious office for administration and driver lounge and locker space. It is surrounded by a secure parking lot for all buses and a new ring road that keeps the buses away from the Post Office and Sidway School entrance. On hand to cut the ribbon were outgoing Superintendent of Schools Teresa Lawrence, School Board members Donna Tomkins, Sue Marston, Karen Carroll and Joy LaMarca, Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel and John Robinson from Campus Construction & William Zografos from Cannon Design. The building broke ground in May of 2015 and was on-time and on-budget throughout the 13 months of construction.

    Gus Macker Tournament - June 2016


    Natalie Baldassare,left. Supervisor Nate McMurray, right.
    Mary Stewart photos above.
    K & D Action photos below.

       The Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament took place on June 3-5th. Thanks to photographers Mary Stewart, Kevin & Dawn Cobello for submitting their photos.

    Activist Rus Thompson Pleads Note Guilty to Voter Fraud Charge - June 2016

    UPDATE: At a hearing on Thursday, June 16th, Rus Thompson pleaded not guilty to voting fraud charges. Supervisor Nate McMurray and Carl Paladino were present to show their support. See Buffalo News story by Melina Miller.
       Buffalo News story, June 13, 2016 by Michael Canfield. See article.

    Island Woman Faces Animal Cruelty Charges - June 2016

        WGRZ.COM - GRAND ISLAND, NY - A Grand Island woman is facing animal cruelty charges after police say they found seven dogs and two cats living in filth at her home. According to the police, the animals didn't even have food or water. Jessica Block, 32, is charged with torturing animals, disorderly conduct and endangering the welfare of a child. The Erie County SPCA has seized the animals.

    Summer Sports Camp at Grand Island High School- June 2016

       Looking for a place to Play this summer? Come to the Grand Island Summer Sports Camp for kids grades 2 thru 7. You'll play soccer and tennis, baseball and lacrosse. We also play Floor Hockey and Archery, along with our indoor Rock Wall. Our coaches are certified teachers with interscholastic coaching experience. You can sign up for full (8am - 5pm) or half (8 - 12 or 1 - 5) days . Come and spend your summer Active and Healthy all mixed in with FUN.
       There are five, one week sessions, sign up for 1 or all 5: June 27th, July 5th, July 11th, July 18th and July 25th *Hours-8am to 5pm * Only $110 per week. Sign up with your friends through GI Community Education Summer Enrichment brochure online at www.K12.ginet.org (click Department and Services, then Community Education and visit their web store to enroll) Call 773-8864 for more information.

    DeGlopper Park Expansion Project - June 2016

       The Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Expansion Committee, Grand Island VFW Memorial Post 9249, Grand Island American Legion and Grand Island Moose Lodge #180 announce the groundbreaking of the DeGlopper Memorial expansion on June 9, 2016 at 7PM. The event will take place at the intersection of Grand Island Boulevard and Baseline Road.
       Charles N. Deglopper is a Grand Island, New York native and U.S. Army soldier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the U.S. Military, after giving his life for his country on June 9, 1944 during the Battle of Normandy. He was the only World War II soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division to receive the honor for action in Normandy. "Mr. DeGlopper is a Grand Island treasure," shared Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Expansion Committee spokesperson Kaitlin Brunner, "all of the men and woman who have served, or currently serve are, and they deserve a place on Grand Island that expresses our gratitude. It is time for the current Memorial to get a facelift, and we are honored to do so. We want this to be a place where loved ones can come pay their respects, but also where families and individuals can come learn about these brave men and women."
        The expansion of the DeGlopper Memorial site will not only honor Charles N. DeGlopper, but all Grand Island residents, past, present, and future, who have proudly served the United States as a member of the military. Design features will include a Gold Star for mothers of the fallen, personalized memorial pavers, flagpoles with the flags from each arm of the military, black granite walls with engravings of the names of Grand Island residents who have served, benches for visitors, parking, and much more. Donation opportunities for the expansion were recently announced by the committee on Memorial Day. The expansion is projected to cost about $750,000 and take about one year to complete.
        Tax deductible donations are being accepted through the Grand Island VFW Memorial Post 9249. For more information on how to donate individuals can visit the DeGlopper Memorial Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DeGlopperMemorial or email DeGlopperMemorial@gmail.com.

    Legislator Hardwick: The Rules of the Game - June 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - The rules of any game are important. They make a difference in how the game is played and who wins. Even little known rules have consequences. Who even heard of the NFL's "tuck rule" before it cost Oakland a playoff game and propelled New England to a Super Bowl in 2002?
        In like fashion, the rules under which our government operates matter a great deal. Various nations have different rules. The Constitution of the United States is not the same as that of Canada or France. In addition to our national constitution each state has its own constitution and there are differences. Nebraska, for instance, has a unicameral legislature. That means that, all other things being equal, it is easier to pass a bill in Nebraska than other states with their bicameral legislatures. We need look no further than Albany for evidence of this. Every year hundreds of bills are passed in the State Senate that die in the State Assembly and vice versa.
        We also have rules in local government. In Erie County government they are embodied in our charter and they are not the same as in other counties. Unlike most of the 62 counties in New York State, for example, Erie has an executive. Niagara County does not have one. Neither do Wyoming or Cattaraugus. This has an impact on the way we do business and thus affects us all. Every 10 years our current charter mandates that a charter revision commission be empaneled to study potential changes to this governing document. This is one of those years. For the past several months a dedicated group of our fellow citizens have volunteered their time and talents to review our charter and suggest improvements. Their work concluded last month and their report is currently before the County Legislature. Their recommendations range from non-controversial ones such as making nouns in the charter gender neutral to changes in the way we enact laws. Once we finish our deliberations regarding possible amendments, the County Executive will have an opportunity to weigh in. Any major changes would then need to be ratified by the voters in November.
        Periodic review of our rules is an important undertaking. Voters in the November, 2017 general election will be asked if we should have a convention to propose changes to the New York State Constitution. This proposition is put on the ballot every 20 years. In 1997 it was voted down. As a county legislator, I was given one appointment to our county's charter revision commission. I chose Dr. Peter J. Galie of Grand Island. Peter is a former colleague of mine at Canisius College and an expert on the State Constitution. He has written a couple books and numerous articles about it. I know that he believes change is needed in Albany and is supportive of a convention. Regardless of whether or not you favor change in Albany, we all have almost a year and a half to educate ourselves about this 2017 vote. It is important that we all do so, as the rules do indeed matter. 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 Man Gets 12 Years - June 2016

    Buffalo News article, June 3, 2016
       A Grand Island man who is responsible for a series of local robberies was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday in State Supreme Court. Charles Henry, 43, pleaded guilty in April to third-degree robbery and attempted robbery in the second degree. He threatened a clerk with a hammer in January to rob Harry's Gulf Mart on Delaware Street in Tonawanda, fleeing with $250. In February, he handed a teller at Summit Federal Credit Union on Delaware Avenue a note saying he had a bomb and took more than $10,000. That money was recovered by Buffalo Police. Henry's plea covers several other robberies that occurred between Jan. 20 and Feb. 8 in Kenmore, the Town of Tonawanda, Amherst and Buffalo.

    Veterans Park Speed Hump Installation - June 2016

        Parks Department will be installing signs & speed humps on the roadway in Veterans Park.
    The install is planned for early June.

    Ducks Unlimited Sportsman Night Out - June 2016

       Ducks Unlimited Niagara River Chapter is hosting Sportsman Night Out on Thursday, June 23rd from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the 3F Club in Youngstown, NY. Tickets are $35 and include food, beer, water and raffles. Contact Ron at 773-1385 or Bob at 774-1223. There is a pre-sale raffle bonus package. Proceeds benefit Ducks Unlimited conservation efforts.

    Erie County Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Day - June 2016

       The Erie County Legislature's Majority Caucus reminds residents that the Erie County Department of Environment & Planning, in cooperation with the Northeast Southtowns Solid Waste Management Boards, and Erie Community College will be hosting its second "Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Day" event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the ECC South Campus in Orchard Park. The events are open to all Erie County residents and allow for the safe disposal of hazardous items that cannot be thrown out in the regular garbage, helping to reduce pollution and the potential contamination of groundwater.
    Pesticides, Fertilizers, Pool and Household Chemicals/Cleaners (limit 2 gallons or 20 pounds)
    Oil-based paints, Spray cans (limit 10 gallons)
    Paint Thinner, Stripper and Solvents (limit 2 gallons)
    Batteries (lead acid & rechargeable)
    Oil, Gasoline, Kerosene, Antifreeze (limit 10 gallons)
    Mercury (thermometers, thermostats, metal)

    Latex paint
    Automobile tires
    Computers and other electronics
    Fluorescent bulbs
    Commercial/industrial wastes
       For more information on these events, for a full list of items that will be accepted, or for details on how to properly dispose of latex paint, call the Erie County Household Hazardous Waste 24-Hour Hotline at (716) 858-6800 or visit www.erie.gov/environment. Participants may need to verify that their waste products were generated by households.

    Memorial Day Ceremony - June 2016

    Donated flags.

    Boys Scouts salute during National Anthem.

    From left: Supervisor Nate McMurray, American Legion Post Chaplain Joe Mesmer and Legion member Joe Synakowski.

    American Legion Color Guard.

    Guest Speaker Col. John J. Higgins, Ret. U.S. Air Forces.

    Presentation of Wreath .

       The Town of Grand Island held a Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 30th at 10:00 a.m. at Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park. The Grand Island High School Wind Ensemble directed by Marty Allen, played a selection of pieces including, the National Anthem, Esprit de Corps, Armed Forces Salute, Taps and America the Beautiful. Guest Speaker at the event was Col. John J. Higgins, Ret. U.S. Air Forces, who spoke of friends lost in the war effort. Patrick Soos, US Army, spoke about the parks expansion plans. Opportunities to donate are www.gofundme.com/DeGlopperMemorial or Giving Opportunities. The rendering of the park expansion is below, click photo for larger view.

    Island Pet Lodge Celebrates - June 2016

       The Island Pet Lodge is celebrating their five year anniversary with a party and pet rescue fundraising event on June 11th, from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Lodge is located at 2120 Alvin Road. They have recently expanded, adding 20 more kennels. There will be music, vendors, basket raffle, a flea market/garage sale and food. Bring your dog to walk around their nine wooded acres and pond, and tour the facility. See flyer.

    Sidway Tree Removal - June 2016

    UPDATE, June 1, 2016 - 9:09 a.m.: Superintendent Teresa Lawrence emailed "The decision is being further explored."
       An email was sent in by Island resident Terrie Sledziewski stated the following: "The 100 + year old tree in front of Sidway School is scheduled to be cut down this Saturday, June 4th so that a sign can be installed to declare that it is Charlotte Sidway School. As part of the School District Capital Improvement projects, the architect in charge at Cannon Design has specified that a sign be placed exactly where the tree has been living for over 100 years! You can call me a "tree hugger", but this seems rather pathetic and I hope that it will be re-evaluated by Cannon Design and the Town of Grand Island. I think that another location could be chosen and or a smaller sign be considered. I'm fairly confident in saying that a sign will not last as long as that tree has stood the test of time!" Many people have commented on the FaceBook site of "You know you grew up on Grand Island, NY when you remember...", against the tree removal. You can contact the School Board at boe@grandislandschools.org and Superintendent Lawrence at teresalawrence@grandislandshools.org. Sidway Principal Denise Dunbar reported that last year the tree was described as not in the best of health and the location was the only spot for a sign due to parking lot constraints.

    GI Man Receives Two Year Sentence - May 2016

       Buffalo News story by Melinda Miller, "Grand Island man gets two years for breaking into home, terrorizing residents". See story.

    Buddy Poppy Days on Grand Island - May 2016

       This weekend, Friday-Sunday, May 26-28th, is Buddy Poppy Days on Grand Island. A time when residents can donate cash for the honor of wearing a Buddy Poppy. All monies collected remain in the Buffalo area for the Veterans and their families in need. Recently VFW Post 9249 donated money to The Vet Center and Veterans Treatment Court in Buffalo. In the past donations have gone to purchase special televisions for Veterans while patients at Veterans Hospital in Buffalo as well as to help purchase a van to transport veterans to and from treatment at VA in Buffalo. When you see a veteran or auxiliary member, please support this very worthwhile cause. Members of the VFW Post 9249 and Auxiliaries will be stationed at Tops Market, First Niagara Bank, M&T Bank and at 7-11 on Love Rd. as well as other locations around the Island. Veterans wishing to join the VFW may call the Post at 773-6343.
       In "The Story Behind the Poppy"; "Each year around Memorial Day, Veterans of Foreign Wars members and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers distribute millions of bright red poppies in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. The program provides multiple benefits to the veterans and to the community. The hospitalized veterans who make the flowers are able to earn a small wage, which helps to supplement their incomes and makes them feel more self-sufficient. The physical and mental activity provides many therapeutic benefits as well. Donations are used exclusively to assist and support veterans and their families." Story Behind the Poppy.

    Roundabout Area Facelift - May 2016

    White Oaks planted at entrance to Grand Island Blvd.

    Finishing touches at the roundabout.

    From left: Assemblyman John Ceretto, Councilwoman Bev Kinney, Town Hall Caretaker Jim Linenfelser, DOT Landscape Architect Alisia Vilonen, Supervisor Nate McMurray.

       A press conference was held at the roundabout at Staley and Grand Island Blvd. on Thursday, May 26th. At the urgings of Supervisor Nate McMurray and Assemblyman John Ceretto, DOT officials okayed a facelift for the area, at no cost to the Town. DOT landscape architect Alisia Vilonen reported that after much of the old plantings were removed, 3 more tree lilacs were added and 80 yards of river rock. Fourteen white oak trees were added on either side of the first Island exit from the I-190. Upkeep will be shared by Town Highway & Recreation Departments and Supervisor's Office. In season, the white oaks need to be watered at least weekly for three years.
       DOT officials thanked by the Town included Matt Driscoll, Commisioner of DOT and WNY Regional Director Darrel Kaminski. Supervisor McMurray mentioned he would like to see improvements at the north end of Grand Island with the old Hooker Chemical building and the gas station/garden center at Long Road and Grand Island Blvd. He promises that the buildings will be torn down or improved within the next three and a half years.

    Grand Island Memorial Day Service - May 2016

       The Town of Grand Island is hosting a Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 30, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. It will be held in the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park, located at the intersection of Grand Island Boulevard and Baseline Road. Veterans, family members, friends and the community are cordially invited to attend the program. Guest speaker will be Col. John J. Higgins, Ret. U.S. Air Force. See Program. The Town of Grand Island extends a very gracious thank you in advance for your time and participation.

    DeGlopper Park Expansion Project - May 2016

       Charles N. DeGlopper, a Grand Island war hero, was a U.S. Army soldier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the U.S. military. DeGlopper gave his life in the Battle of Normandy, during WWII. The park at the corner of Grand Island Blvd. and Baseline Road was named to honor him. The neighboring property to the park has been acquired. The Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial expansion project will honor all Grand Island residents, past, present and future, who have proudly served the USA as a member of the military. The Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Expansion Committee will be announcing details regarding the expansion design as well as opportunities to support the project at the Memorial Day Service, Monday, May 30th. Work is anticipated to start in June and be completed by summer of 2017. You can help by giving to the help fund at www.gofundme.com/DeGlopperMemorial or Giving Opportunities.
        Buffalo News story dated May 30, 2016 by Jonathan Epstein, "Park honoring Grand Island war hero Charles DeGlopper due for $750,000 upgrade".

    AFSCME Members Present Scholarship - May 2016

    From left: AFSCME VP Bill Stanley (Highway), President Justin Bridenbaker (Water), Treasurer Ken Kinderman (Waste Water).
    Front: Cassie Shickluna

       Town of Grand Island AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) members presented a $750 scholarship check to Grand Island High School senior Cassie Shickluna on Thursday, May 19th at the Viking Mall. Cassie is headed to Grove City College in Pennsylvania and will major in Mechanical Engineering. All seniors are invited to apply for a number of scholarships each year by writing an essay and listing their activities, volunteerism and qualifications. Parents of Cassie are Tracey and Bill Shickluna.

    Gus Macker Press Conference - May 2016

    From left Supervisor Nathan McMurray and Corey McGowan.
    Mascots Macker Man and Victor E. Bull.

       A press conference for the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament was held on Tuesday, May 17th at the Grand Island Town Hall. The tournament is scheduled to take place on Friday-Sunday, June 3-5 along a closed Grand Island Blvd, between Whitehaven and Baseline Roads. Registration has been extended until midnight on May 23rd and teams are encouraged to sign up asap. Promotor Corey McGowan expects upwards of 350 teams this year. There will be family friendly acitivites at the Town Commons and in the Town Hall parking lot, including a kids fun zone and food trucks, vendors and crafters. Following is a tentative schedule:
    Friday, June 3rd
    4:00pm-7:00pm Registration
    7:00pm-9:00pm Local Celebrity Tournament
    7:00pm-9:00pm Kids Fun Zone
    7:00pm-9:00pm Special Events Contests
    7:00pm Doug Allen sings National Anthem
    7:15pm Mascot 3 on 3 game featuring Sabertooth, Victor E. Bull, Golden Griffin, GI Viking, Purple Eagle and the Macker Man
    7:30pm-9:00pm Celebrity All-Star Games

    Saturday, June 4th
    7:00am- 12:00pm Registration
    8:00am-8:30am Opening Ceremonies
    8:30am Games Begin
    11:00am-5:00pm Special Event Contests
    11:00am-3:00pm Special Olympics Games
    12:00pm-3:00pm Live Music at Gazebo
    5:00pm Woman's 3-pt shootout (players only)
    5:30pm Men's Slam Dunk Contest (players only)

    Sunday, June 5th
    8:30am Games Begin
    10:00am Awards Given as Brackets Close
    11:00am-4:00pm Special Event Contests

    Teresa Lawrence Receives Distinguished Alumni Award - May 2016

    Dr. Lawrence with children Anna Mae and William

       Lawrence Again Recognized For Her Impact on the Western New York Community. Teresa Lawrence, Ph.D., superintendent of the Grand Island Central School District, was the recipient of the 2016 University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education (GSE) Distinguished Alumni Award. This honor is bestowed upon an alumnus who has impacted the field of education through an exemplary history of research, teaching and service. Dr. Lawrence is recognized for her contributions to the field of education in Western New York.
       Dr. Lawrence completed a Ph.D. in Social Foundations at the University at Buffalo. In addition to completing her Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education, Dr. Lawrence also completed her master's degree, administrative certificates, and an advanced certificate in educational study at UB.
        Dr. Lawrence has been active in the Western New York educational arena for 25 years, serving in the roles of teacher, lecturer, consultant and staff developer; and currently as superintendent of schools for the Grand Island Central School District. Last fall Dr. Lawrence was identified by Business First as one of WNY's Women of Influence. Dr. Lawrence was presented the award at the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education commencement exercises on Friday, May 13, 2016.

    Legislator Hardwick: Our Moment on the World Stage - May 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - Normally I discuss Erie County issues in this space. But I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to share my thoughts regarding last month's presidential primary. After all, it is not every year that the attention of the nation is focused on the Empire State. The presidential nominations of both parties are usually sewn up by the time we have our primary. So every four years I end up lamenting that my vote does not matter in the nomination phase of the presidential contest. This adds insult to injury, as New York typically is not a factor in the general election. This year, though, was different.
        The eyes of the world were focused on New York for a full two weeks prior to our April 19 primary. Candidates of both parties descended on New York to ask for our votes, rather than our money. Prior to New York, Republican Donald Trump had suffered a major defeat in Wisconsin and was getting beaten by Ted Cruz in delegate selection conventions left and right. On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton limped into New York having lost most of the recent primaries to Bernie Sanders. New York turned the tide for both frontrunners and changed the complexion of both campaigns.
       The relevance of the primary also brought in a slew of voters who had never participated in the process. It also brought to light several aspects of the New York State Election Law of which most people were unaware. One was that New York's primaries are closed, meaning that only voters registered in a particular party can vote in their primary. An even more controversial provision involves registered voters seeking to change their party status. Many independent voters wanted to enroll in one of the major parties so as to vote for their candidate in the presidential primary. There were also a number of Democrats who wanted to change to Republican and vice versa.
        The problem is that the state election law does not make party enrollment changes effective until after the next general election. Hence, in order to vote in this April's presidential primary, voters would have had to be registered in the party last October. This tripped a lot of people up, including Donald Trump's own children. The reason for this stipulation concerns protecting New York's minor parties from party "raiding." Otherwise, you would have thousands of voters changing parties to vote in an important upcoming Green Party or Conservative Party primary and then changing their registration back the day after the vote. This would also prove costly to taxpayers as we would need to hire additional workers at the Board of Elections to process all the changes.
        Despite all the confusion of the past couple months, it was still nice to get some national attention. 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.

    Jacobs Supports Toll Removal - May 2016

       Erie County, NY - Erie County Clerk and State Senate Candidate Chris Jacobs voiced his support for the removal of the tolls on the Grand Island Bridges and said if elected to the Senate he will make the toll removal a legislative priority. "This toll removal legislation has languished for too long in Albany, it is time to lift this burden off the backs of our residents once and for all," said Jacobs. Jacobs commended Grand Island Supervisor Nathan McMurray for reviving community discussion on this issue. "The Grand Island tolls are patently unfair to the residents of Grand Island, impose an unfair burden on all who cross into Grand Island and stymie economic growth," said Jacobs. Jacobs's also mentioned the idling trucks at the tolls cause pollution problems and increased stress on the bridge structure. Currently, the legislation (S.7555/A.9863) is pending in both the Senate and Assembly Transportation Committees.

    Toll Removal Rally - May 2016

       Supervisor Nathan McMurray held a press conference on Sunday, May 15th at 3:00 p.m. at Fisherman's Landing regarding the elimination of tolls at the Grand Island bridges. Assemblyman John Ceretto and NYS Senator Tim Kennedy have joined in the endeavor by introducing bills in the NYS Assembly and Senate. See Buffalo News story by Michael Canfield.

    Garden Walk Planned - May 2016

        Share your gardens by joining the Grand Island Garden Walk! Sunday, July 10 - 10:00am-4:00pm, (Event is Rain or Shine). Garden Walk is FREE for all applicants and attendees. Applications being accepted now, deadline is May 30th. Call Jan 465-7396 or Nancy 435-9738 for applications and more information. See flyer.

    Historical Signage at Niawanda Park - May 2016

    Mary Cooke photos - click for larger view.
        The Niagara River/Erie Canal Signage Expansion Project, Erie County-Tonawanda section, was unveiled by City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis on May 11th at the Niawanda Park Pavilion in Tonawanda. Facsimiles of the eight historical signs were on display. The actual installed panels will be viewable along the Shoreline Trail (Riverwalk) at various points between Two Mile Creek and the Canal/Swing Bridge area. Funding for this project was made possible by a grant from the Niagara River Greenway Commission. Members of the Historical Society of the Tonawandas created the panels in conjunction with the design staff at ASI Signage on Grand Island. Similar signage for North Tonawanda is in the works and should be ready for installation by the end of the year. Two of the panels feature Grand Island history; one regarding ferry boats and the other titled Great Escapes, Grand Island as a get-away from the mainland.

    Rus Thompson Charged With Voter Fraud - May 2016

       Story by Dave McKinley , WGRZ 11:39 AM. EST May 11, 2016
       BUFFALO, NY - Well known political activist Rus Thompson is due back in court on Friday, where he will face charges of voter fraud. Thompson appeared in court to face the charges Wednesday morning, but the case was put over to another judge when Judge Kenneth Case recused himself because he was Facebook friends with Thompson. According to Thompson's attorney, Thomas Eoannou, Thompson is accused of voting in Grand Island during a primary election last fall, several months after he had moved to Niagara Falls. Thompson was a Grand Island resident for 21 years before moving to the Falls. Though voter fraud is technically an "unclassified felony", it is being charged as an E-Felony, which is the lowest felony level under New York law. Still, the charge carries a maximum sentence of four years imprisonment upon conviction.

    Byblos to Become Radisson Hotel - May 2016

       The hotel that most Grand Islanders still refer to as the Holiday Inn will become part of the Radisson chain on May 17th. $5 million in renovations are planned. For more information see Buffalo News article by News Business Reporter Jonathan D. Epstein.

    May is Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Month - May 2016

    A message from Erie County Clerk Christopher L. Jacobs
        A time to remind motorists and motorcyclists to safely share the roadways See article.

    Nicaragua Mission Collection - May 2016

        Donations of summer clothing, shoes and household items will be accepted at the Knight's of Columbus, 1841 Whitehaven Rd. on Thursday, May 12, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Eyeglasses, non-perishable food and cash donations are also most welcome.

    Trends in Community Alcohol Use - May 2016

       The GIPTA Council, One Island, One Team, and ECCPASA are hosting a presentation on trends in alcohol use in the community on Thursday, June 2nd at 7:00 p.m. at the Grand Island High School Auditorium. See flyer.
       This is a hands-on presentation of the latest trends in alcohol use by adolescents in the Grand Island community. Also discussed will be the trends for cigarette, marijuana and prescription drug use to demonstrate how alcohol use impacts the use of other drugs. Included in the presentation is the paraphernalia that accompanies drug use. Participants can see first-hand what drug users use. The workshop is an educational, interactive experience that is designed to raise adult awareness of drug use today! Presenter: Sally Yageric, CPP, Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse.

    National Fuel Proposes Rate Increase - April 2016

       (April 28, 2016) Williamsville, NY - National Fuel Files First Rate Increase Proposal since 2007 for Western New York. See complete press release.

    Hazardous Waste Drop Off - April 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick reminds residents that Erie County hosts two Hazardous Waste Drop Off Events each spring, with the first of 2016 scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at Erie Community College's North Campus. Anyone with acceptable materials is encouraged to dispose of them properly through this event. Items will be collected from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at the ECC North Campus in Williamsville (enter from Wehrle Drive). "These events help ensure that materials aren't dumped unsafely and improperly. Please take some time to check your home, basement and garage for accepted materials and plan to attend one of the two events sponsored by Erie County. Your participation is appreciated as we all work together to protect our environment," said Legislator Hardwick.
    Accepted items include:
  • Pesticides, fertilizers, pool and household chemicals/cleaners (limit 2 gallons or 20 pounds)
  • Oil-based paints, spray cans (limit 10 gallons)
  • Paint thinner, stripper and solvents (limit 2 gallons)
  • Batteries (lead acid and rechargeable)
  • Oil, gasoline, kerosene, antifreeze (limit 10 gallons)
  • Mercury (thermometers, thermostats, metal)

       Residents are warned that they can NOT bring these items: latex paint, automobile tires, computers and other electronics, appliances, pharmaceuticals, fluorescent bulbs or commercial/industrial waste. The second event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the ECC South Campus in Orchard Park (enter from Big Tree Road/Route 20A). For additional information, please contact Legislator Hardwick at 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Grand Island Man Pleads Guilty - April 2016

    Buffalo News Article, 4/21/16
       A robber charged with a series of crimes in the northern suburbs and Buffalo between Jan. 20 and Feb. 8 pleaded guilty to two felonies Thursday in State Supreme Court. Charles Henry, 43, of Grand Island admitted to one count of attempted robbery in the second degree and one count of robbery in the third degree before Justice Penny M. Wolfgang. Henry robbed Harry's Gulf Mart on Delaware Street in Tonawanda of $250 on Jan. 20, showing a hammer as a weapon. He went into Summit Federal Credit Union on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo on Feb. 8 and passed a teller a note claiming he had a bomb. He escaped with $10,000, but was arrested later that day and the money was recovered. The plea covers five robberies committed in Kenmore, the Town of Tonawanda, Amherst and Buffalo. Henry, who remains jailed, has two prior robbery convictions. He faces a minimum of 12-years to life in prison when he is sentenced on June 3.

    Grand Island Repaving Projects - April 2016

       (Grand Island, NY) - Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announced that Whitehaven Road and Baseline Road on Grand Island will both be repaved this year. The Legislature unanimously approved more than $26 million in road work funding at the April 14 session, including these two important projects. "These are two of the major roadways on the island and these projects will give Island residents the quality roads they deserve," said Legislator Hardwick.
       The Legislature expedited the process after receiving the final list from the County Executive just a short time ago to ensure that crews can get on the roadways as soon as possible and address the many issues facing the county's infrastructure. The county will repave Baseline from Staley to Whitehaven and Whitehaven from Stony Point Road to Interstate 90. Legislator Hardwick will continue to update residents on the timeline for road work once start dates are scheduled. He reminds motorists to use caution in work zones, slow down and abide by all posted signage to keep crews safe. For additional information, please contact Legislator Hardwick at 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Affirmation of Hope: All Things Irish - April 2016

       The Buffalo Master Chorale and the Buffalo Niagara Youth Chorus present "Affirmation of Hope: All Things Irish", a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, in two performances: Friday, May 6th, 7:30 pm - Trinity United Methodist, 2100 Whitehaven Rd, Grand Island and Saturday, May 7th, 7:30 pm - Salem Lutheran, 10 McClellan Cir, South Buffalo.
       The show features Celtic folk favorites and stirring compositions by contemporary Irish composers, plus traditional instrumental tunes and dances from the Emerald Isle to honor one of the defining moments in Ireland's struggle for independence. Under the direction of Doreen Rao, the Master Chorale and Youth Chorus will be joined by husband and wife duo, David and Felicia Meyer, known as "Kindred", and the award winning McCarthy School of Irish Dance, Beth McCarthy, Dance Master. Tickets available at the door or online: www.bnchoirs.org. $15 preferred seating, $10 general admission, and $5 students.
       The Buffalo Master Chorale is an auditioned ensemble of experienced volunteer and professional singers united by a shared love of choral singing whose goal is enabling the power of the human voice to educate, uplift, and transform communities. In 2013, the Chorale merged with the acclaimed Buffalo Niagara Youth Chorus to create a new, multi-generational choral organization, Buffalo Niagara Choirs, Inc. Five members of the Master Chorale are residents of the Island: Jane Faruga, Joyce Cline and John Cline, Linda Yund, and Nell Mohn. McCarthy School of Irish Dance Director Beth McCarthy is also a resident of Grand Island.

    Rain Barrel & Compost Bin Sale - April 2016

        Erie County and the Western NY Stormwater Coalition, are once again selling rain barrels and compost bins. Orders must be placed by May 20, 2016. Estimated date for pick up is June 15, 2016. There will be two locations for pick up: Tonawanda and Orchard Park. Order online at www.erie.gov/stormwater. See flyer for more details.
        There are several environmental benefits associated with rain barrels. Foremost, rain barrels reduce stormwater runoff, this is water that does not soak in to the ground and can transport many pollutants to our local waterways. By using collected rainwater for watering lawns, gardens, potted plants and for washing off patio furniture and tools, rain barrels conserve water. From a gardening perspective, the natural nutrients in rain water make it far better than tap water, which has chlorine and fluoride in it. With a rain barrel, gardeners can minimize or eliminate their use of chemical fertilizers. Composting yard trimmings and food scraps, is a simple way to recycle nutrients and return them to the soil. The addition of compost enriches soil and will stimulate plant growth, thereby reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Composting has the added benefit of reducing the amount of solid waste that would otherwise go to a landfill.

    Pattie Frentzel, Erie County Clerk of the Year - April 2016

       On Tuesday, April 5th the Erie County Town Clerks and Tax Receivers and Collectors Association at their monthly meeting presented the honor of Erie County Town Clerk of the Year for 2016 to Grand Island Town Clerk, Pattie Frentzel in front of her colleagues, staff and family. The award, presented annually to a Town Clerk who has served a minimum of ten years, recognized Pattie for her professionalism and dedication in her everyday management of the Grand Island Clerk's office as well as for her numerous contributions to and involvement with the Association and the local Grand Island and Erie county communities.
       Pattie is a NYS Registered Municipal Clerk and has held Executive Offices in the Erie County Town Clerk's Association where she served as Treasurer; the Erie County Tax Receiver's and Collectors Association where she was a Past President and Vice-President and helped spearhead the merger of the two organizations. She also served on the NYS Tax Receiver's and Collectors Association as a Board Member representing Erie County. As Grand Island's Town Clerk, Pattie conducts Voter Registration for graduating seniors at Grand Island High School (GIHS), where she has also been a Guest Lecturer speaking to students about town government. In the community, she is a volunteer at St. Stephen's Church for various functions throughout the years, and has also served on the GIHS Alumni Association.
       As the Grand Island Town Clerk for the last 12 years, Pattie is known for maintaining a professional atmosphere while providing quality, friendly customer service to Island residents. Among her many accomplishments has been the introduction of Passport Services which she initiated in 2006. Once her staff completed Department of State training the Clerk's office has been an agent accepting passport applications ever since. The office also goes above and beyond by providing on site passport photographs. Innovative ideas are a hallmark of Pattie's tenure in the Clerk's office as evidenced by the 2014 introduction of 'EZPASS on the GO' another convenience that offers residents a local option to purchase EZPASS transponders. When asked what she is most proud of as Grand Island's Town Clerk, Pattie smiled brightly and stated, "The opportunity I have to serve Grand Island residents by going above and beyond."

    Grand Island Community Chorus Spring Concert- April 2016

        The Grand Island Community Chorus, directed by Carolyn Lokken, invites you to its Spring concert, "Night and Day," featuring songs from around the world, at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, May 1st, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, 2587 Baseline Road, Grand Island. The concert is free; refreshments will follow.

    Beaver Island Tree Planting Project - April 2016

       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, May 21 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.

    Maple Grove Cemetary Meeting - April 2016

        The annual Maple Grove Cemetary meeting will take place on Thursday, May 5th at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road, at 6:00 p.m., sharp. Refreshments will be served.

    Legislator Hardwick: 'Major Decisions Looming' - April 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - Some days the life of an Erie County Legislator can be routine and not all that exciting. Thursday, April 7 was not one of those days. The day began for me at 9 a.m. with my first visit ever to the new Federal Courthouse in Buffalo. That is where I witnessed 59 people become citizens of the United States. It was a very moving experience. Seeing their smiling faces and observing the pride with which they recited their oaths made me appreciate that which I have taken for granted all my life.
       I had to leave the ceremony before all 59 of our new countrymen received their certificates because it was committee day in the county legislature. So I walked a few short blocks to Old County Hall where the Health and Human Services Committee was gaveled in at 9:45 a.m. Although I am not a member of this particular committee, I wanted to sit in because the issue of the heroin/opioid epidemic was being discussed. The committee discussed the county executive's proposal to spend $375,000 on a 24 hour crisis line, as well as two new positions in the County Health Department to combat the epidemic. The presence of several family members who had lost loved ones to the epidemic reminded everyone of the gravity of the situation.
        Later in the day, the Finance and Management Committee, of which I am a member, tackled a couple of other pressing issues. The first involved the county executive's proposal to spend $1.5 million on increased security for the Rath Building. Our county employees work hard and do a great deal of good for the community. We owe them a safe working environment, especially in light of a number of recent incidents at the Rath Building. The Finance Committee also discussed the county executive's proposal to spend $750,000 on additional efforts to address the problem of children with elevated lead levels, a situation that is not confined to Flint, Michigan. This dilemma is particularly acute in Erie County, given our older housing stock. Most of the money in the executive's proposal would be designated for additional positions in the Health Department.
        So over the course of one day, we considered proposals to spend additional county funds totaling over $2.6 million. The problems are real. But so is the money. During the Finance Committee meeting, we also considered a report from the county comptroller informing us that county sales tax revenues are down due to lower gasoline prices and fewer Canadian shoppers because of the weak Canadian dollar. The comptroller's office cautioned that if trends continued, we could face budget deficits down the road..
        Given all this, our job as legislators is to decide what our priorities are and how to best spend our limited resources. In so doing, we must carefully weigh the benefits and costs of every proposal, make modifications where appropriate, and spend the taxpayers’ money where it can do the most good. Our citizens, both old and new, deserve nothing less. 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.

    Kid's Summer Camp at Beaver Island - April 2016

        The Northtowns Boys and Girls Club has operated Camp TeBeCe at Beaver Island for more than 40 years. This year's camp will be held from August 1 - August 26, Monday - Friday, from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. There is a 3 day rate and weekly rate, depending on the number of children in each family attending. All campers are provided with breakfast and lunch and will participate in recreation, games, arts& crafts, sports, field trips, swimming, sand sculpture and fishing. See flyer for complete details.

    Grand Island Lawn Mower Racing Series - April 2016

       The Grand Island VFW Post 9249 and Auxiliary will be participating with the GI Racing Series Lawn Mower event at Veterans Park on Saturday, April 30th. This is the first of three 2016 Lawnmower races to be held on Grand Island. The VFW and Auxiliary will be selling various grilled food items and non - alcoholic drinks. They will also have information as to the various GI charities that are supported by the VFW. Information on membership will also be provided. The schedule will be; Lawnmower registration at noon along with food available at that time, testing starting 1:00 p.m., actual racing 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and awards 5:30 p.m. Rain date will be Sunday, May 1st.

    Red Cross Volunteer Info. Meeting - April 2016

        The Red Cross is hosting a volunteer information event on April 20th, 2016. It is open to anyone interested in learning about the ways in which the Red Cross supports residents in its community. Red Cross staff members and current volunteers will be availabe to discuss opportunities in several lines of service: Disaster Services, Blood Services and Services to the Armed Forces. Volunteers are also needed for the Disaster Action Team (DAT), which responds to local emergencies and nationwide disasters. The Red Cross encourages people to attend this event and consider volunteering regardless of their experience level. This event is being held on April 20th, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the American Red Cross located at 786 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209. Anyone interested in this event should RSVP to Nicole Roma at nicole.roma@redcross.org.

    Mordecai Noah Day Article - April 2016

        The Grand Island Town Board proclaimed September 2, 2016 as Mordecai Manuel Noah Day at the March 21st Town Board meeting. Mordecai Noah had a grand vision of creating a Jewish Refuge, Ararat, on Grand Island, and on September 2, 1825 dedicated a cornerstone at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Buffalo. A Buffalo News article by Michael Canfield tells the story of Island resident Michael Barsoum and his enthusiasm for sharing the Noah vision. See article.

    Grand Island Garden Walk Planned - April 2016

       Grand Island is one of the few remaining nearby towns without an established yearly garden walk. A committee composed of local garden enthusiasts continues to plan with great anticipation toward the Open Garden Walk scheduled for Sunday, July 10, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.. We encourage residents to consider opening their gardens to show visitors our Island's beauty and sense of community. It is a great way to meet fellow gardeners, encourage neighborhood beautification; and a wonderful opportunity to introduce the public to our unique and historic town. The more gardens the better! No judging, no fees! For more information and application contact Jan Freedman at 465-7396 or Nancy at 773-4948 or Grandislandgardenwalk@gmail.com Please submit application by May 14th.

    2016 Gus Macker Announced - Registration is Now Open! - April 2016

       Spread the news!! Tell your kids, students, family members, players and friends that the 2016 Gus Macker 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament is officially open for registration! This years tournament is set to take place on Saturday & Sunday, June 4th & 5th on Grand Island. New this year, Gus Macker will welcome a celebrity 3 on 3 tournament on Friday June 3rd! All local businesses, organizations and media personalities are welcome to enter a team at no cost. There will also be a mascot game featuring Sabretooh, Victor E. Bull, Gus Macker, Golden Griffin, Batman and the Grand Island Viking!
       The Macker Tournament is designed so that anyone can play: male or female, young and old, short and tall, the most experienced or no experience at all. This maintains the purity and integrity of the driveway game. Since 1987, the Macker tour has expanded, holding a total of 972 tournaments with over 2.2 million players - male and female from 7 years old to 50+ - and more than 23 million spectators. Teams are computer-matched into male and female divisions within one of the following categories: Junior, Adult, or Top. The age, height and experience of all four (4) players are considered. Teams receive at least three (3) scheduled games each tournament. The Macker is a double elimination tournament with a consolation bracket: the "Toilet Bowl" for teams losing their first two games. A GusBuster maintains law and order on each court and calls all fouls and violations in the Junior Divisions.
       PLAYER AND TEAM REGISTRATION - Registration ends on May 16th, $140 per team. To register your team for the 2016 Gus Macker, please visit www.macker.com/local/buffalo-grand-island-ny.
       VENDOR AND SPONSOR INFORMATION - Interested vendors visit www.coreymcgowan.com/vendors, Interested sponsors visit www.coreymcgowan.com/sponsors.
       VOLUNTEERS AND BASKETBALL OFFICIALS NEEDED -If interested in participating please visit www.coreymcgowan.com/staffing.
       SPECIAL EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, $5 per event - Prizes given each day.
  • Free Throw Contest
  • 3-pt shooting contest, to benefit the future Grand Island Community Center
  • "Little Gus" shot clock - $2 per event
       Supporting the Salvation Army of Buffalo and the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo.

    Health & Wellness Fair - April 2016

        Grand Island Central School District Health and Wellness Fair will be in the GIHS large cafeteria, 1100 Ransom Road on Saturday, April 23rd from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. There will be free healthy snacks, fun activities, health screenings, free massages, a blood drive, raffles, cpr demonstrations, fun for the entire family. Many Grand Island and Erie County organizations and businesses will be participating, see flyer for list.

    Island Man Charged with Robbery - April 2016

       City of Tonawanda police reported Charles J. Henry, 43, of West River Road has been charged with robbing a convenience store in the city of Tonawanda in January. He was armed with a claw hammer and threatened a clerk at the Gulf Mart, located at 265 Delaware Street. That same night, Henry was involved in other convenience store robberies in Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda. He faces charges of first-degree robbery, weapons possession, petit larceny and menacing.

    Ceretto Announces State Budget Eliminates the GEA - April 2016

       Assemblyman John Ceretto (D-Lewiston) announced that the 2016-17 state budget increases aid to schools by $1.4 billion. This historic investment in our schools will completely eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), and increase Foundation aid, the base amount of funding school districts receive from the state, by $627 million from the previous school year. "I'm proud to announce after tireless effort, we have finally eliminated the GEA and secured this crucial funding for our schools," Assemblyman Ceretto said. "This long awaited restoration will help our students receive the quality education they deserve and I’m glad we finally got it done."
       Ceretto fought to secure over $247 million in aid for local schools and to completely eliminate the GEA. The 2016-17 state budget includes funding increases to schools within the 145th Assembly District, as follows:
    Niagara Falls City School District: $2,201,128;
    Niagara-Wheatfield Central School: $794,822;
    Grand Island Central School District: $4,200,042;
    Lewiston-Porter Central School District: $2,070,393;
    North Tonawanda City School District: $1,670,938;
    Starpoint Central School District: $694,596;
    Wilson Central School District: $840,260.
        "Ensuring our children have a brighter future and every opportunity to succeed has always been my number one priority," said Assemblyman Ceretto. "This isn't just an investment in Western New York schools and our students, it's an investment in our community, our economy and our future."

    Drive-Thru Medication/Needle Disposal - April 2016

        (Erie County, NY) - Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that Erie County will host a Free Drive-Thru Disposal event to collect medications and needles. All prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as needles will be accepted, no questions asked. "There are several problems related to keeping medications in the home, first of all being abuse. I encourage anyone with unwanted or expired medications to bring them to this event to ensure they don’t end up in the wrong hands. This also greatly reduces the risk of accidental ingestion by a child, which could be deadly," said Legislator Hardwick. "If you don't need these medications, dispose of them properly. Not only do we keep residents safe, we also ensure these drugs don't end up in our waterways, which has been a growing problem due to drugs being flushed down the toilet."
       The Drive-Thru Disposal event will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 12 at the Erie County Fire Training Academy, located at 3359 Broadway, Cheektowaga. This event is being held at a time when Erie County is dealing with a severe heroin addiction problem and all residents with medications or needles are encouraged to remove them from their home and drop them off at this event. Also happening in April, several local sites will be participating in a large drug collection event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30. Any unwanted or expired prescription or over-the-counter medications, syringes, inhalers, liquids, ointments, patches, etc. can be dropped off. The following locations, in and around Legislator Hardwick's district are participating:
    Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave Lot "R4," Buffalo
    Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island
    Kenmore Mercy Hospital, 2950 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore
    DeGraff Memorial Hospital, 445 Tremont St., North Tonawanda
        Legislator Hardwick also reminds residents that the Erie County Sheriff's Office maintains prescription collection boxes that are available throughout the county, including Grand Island Town Hall and Erie County Community College's three campuses. Thousands of pounds of drugs and needles have been properly disposed of through this program. For a list of locations, please visit www.erie.gov/sheriff. Residents can drop off medications when it is convenient for them. For additional information or questions about a county issue, please contact Legislator Hardwick at 858-8672 or e-mail kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Emerald Ash Borer Information Seminar - April 2016

        The Town of Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board is hosting a public information seminar titled "Emerald Ash Borer: The beetle killing our ash trees!" on Tuesday, May 3rd at the Connor Middle School Auditorium, 1100 Ransom Road at 7:00 p.m. The destructive emerald ash borer beetle has been detected on Grand Island. If you have ash trees, learn how you can minimize loss of tree cover. Featured speakers are: Patrick Marren, NYSDEC and Sharon Bachman, Cornell Cooperative Extension & WNY Emerald Ash Borer Task Force. Doors open at 6:30 pm; presentations begin at 7:00 p.m., with Q&A to follow. Local tree service providers will be present for questions and consultation. Informational materials & door prizes will be given away. For more information, contact Diane Evans: giconsab@gmail.comor 716-774-0074. See flyer.

    Electronic Waste Recycling Information - March 2016

       The Town of Grand Island is committed to improving the local environment in our community and neighborhoods to create a cleaner, safe place to live and work. Our town wide goal is to promote recycling, leading to a sustainable future and to improving the social, economic and environmental well being of the community. Won't you pitch in today and act locally, by pledging yourself to recycling! See locations flyer.

    Lawrence Receives Distinguished Alumni Award - March 2016

       Teresa Lawrence, Ph.D., superintendent of the Grand Island Central School District, has been selected to receive the 2016 Graduate School of Education (GSE) Distinguished Alumni Award. This honor is bestowed upon an alumnus who has impacted the field of education through an exemplary history of research, teaching and service. Dr. Lawrence is recognized for her contributions to the field of education in Western New York.
       Dr. Lawrence says her decision to complete a Ph.D. in Social Foundations at the University at Buffalo was simple to make. Having already completed the necessary leadership and administrative schooling and certificates to work as a school district superintendent, she had the desire to expand her perspective of what it meant to serve in a leadership position. “School is a social experience. As such, I wanted to participate in a program that would deepen my understanding of the role which school plays, not from an administrative perspective but from a social perspective,” says Dr. Lawrence. “Every day as I walk the halls, interact with students, faculty and staff, and with every decision I make as a school leader, I ask myself three questions: 1. What message are we sending students about who they are? 2. What meaning are they making about themselves as a result? 3. How is that meaning preparing them for what comes next?”
       “The Common Core Standards are explicit in telling schools what students need to know academically at every grade level and upon graduation. While schools have a responsibility to convey content, school leaders have an obligation to know the context in which the learning takes place. The best I can do for the students and the community I serve is to apply theory into my daily practice. Completing my Ph.D. in Social Foundations at UB prepared me to do just that,” says Dr. Lawrence. In addition to completing her Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education, Dr. Lawrence also completed her master’s degree, administrative certificates, and an advanced certificate in educational study at UB.
       Dr. Lawrence has been active in the Western New York educational arena for 25 years, serving in the roles of teacher, lecturer, consultant and staff developer; and currently as superintendent of schools for the Grand Island Central School District. She has invested her energy, talent and spirit in the Western New York community and is known for her commitment to mentoring and coaching aspiring school leaders. She is generous with her time, serving on boards and committees that seek to improve her community. Last fall Dr. Lawrence was identified by Business First as one of WNY’s Women of Influence. Dr. Lawrence will be presented the award at the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education commencement exercises on Friday, May 13, 2016.

    Highway Department Tip to Homeowners - March 2016

       Whether you are installing a mailbox, planting a tree, landscaping, building a fence or a deck, or installing a pool, no project that involves digging is too small or insignificant. If you are planning to dig on your property for any reason, state law requires you to place a location request with Dig Safely New York at least two (2) full working days, but no more than 10 working days, before beginning your project, to ensure all underground utility lines are properly marked by their owners. Working days are defined as weekdays (Monday through Friday), excluding holidays. You can place a location request by calling 811or by using our online location request programs: i-notice and Single Address Ticket at www.digsafelynewyork.com.
        Because the depth and placement of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, including erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces, making assumptions about where the utility lines are under your property can be extremely dangerous. Striking a single line can result in injury, significant repair costs, fines, and inconvenient outages for you and your neighbors.

    Niagara Gorge Stair Reconstruction - March 2016

        Beginning on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 the stairs into the Niagara Gorge at Whirlpool State Park will be closed as work to replace them begins. They are expected to be closed through July. Additionally, as the project advances, the trail below the stairs may be closed Tuesdays-Thursday for safety purposes. The $385,000 project will provide greater access into the Niagara Gorge will involve the reconstruction of approximately 300 linear feet of the stairway at the top of the Whirlpool Trail in Whirlpool State Park. The existing stairs will be removed or re-purposed and approximately 125 new stairs and stone crib walls will be installed.
       Access to the Gorge will be available via the Great Gorge Railway Trail (begins at Niagara Gorge Discovery Center), The Suspension Bridge Stairs (under the Whirlpool Bridge) Devil's Hole and the elevator at the Schoellkopf Power Plant Ruins at Niagara Falls State Park. Fishing access is also available at Artpark and at the New York Power Authority South Access Road Fishing Platform (opens April 1). For a copy of the Niagara Gorge Trail Map, please visit Niagara Gorge Trail Map

    Ceretto Student Scholarship Opportunity - March 2016

        Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, D-Lewiston, is encouraging students to submit applications for the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators' scholarships, which include two academic and two athletic awards worth $2,500 each. The submission deadline is Monday, April 11. "As the cost of higher education continues to rise, scholarships like these are increasingly important opportunities for students and their families," said Ceretto. "I encourage all eligible students in our community to apply for these awards." Students with demonstrated need, a GPA of 85 or higher and involvement in community service and extracurricular activities are eligible to apply for the academic scholarships. Those applicants considering the athletic awards must also be involved in organized sports. Eligible students can apply through Assemblyman Ceretto's website (assembly.state.ny.us/Ceretto).

    Grand Island Lawnmower Racing Series - March 2016

        The Grand Island VFW Post 9249 and VFW Auxiliary will be participating in the Grand Island Lawnmower Racing Series on Saturday, April 30th at Veterans Park. This is the first of three racing events to be held in 2016. The VFW and Auxiliary will be selling various grilled food items and non-alcoholic drinks. They will have information on VFW membership and the various local charities they support. The schedule of events is: registration and food available at noon, testing lawn mowers begins at 1:00 p.m. and racing from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. The rain date will be Sunday, May 1st.

    Congress On Your Corner - March 2016

        Staff from the office of Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, will hold a Congress on Your Corner session from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, March 24th at Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island. Residents will be assisted with questions about such issues as Social Security, veteran benefits or medals, passports, federal student aid or small business assistance.

    Jacobs to Run For State Senate - March 2016

        Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs will officially launch his campaign for the 60th Senate District Friday, March 18th at 10:00 am. The 60th Senate District is currently held by Marc Panepinto, who announced earlier this week he would not be seeking re-election.

    Legislator Hardwick: 'Renew Local' - March 2016

       (Erie County, NY) - Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick reminds motorists that when their automobile registration renewal arrives in the mail to "Renew Local" using a green envelope from Erie County to keep more of the revenue here. The simple act of renewing locally keeps approximately $1.5 million dollars in Erie County each year that would otherwise go to New York State.
       "When vehicle registration renewals are done at the local level, we keep a portion of the revenue here in Erie County. However, when registrations are processed through New York State using the pink envelope mailed to us or online, 100 percent of the revenue is sent straight to Albany," said Legislator Hardwick. "Please remember to 'Renew Local' the next time your registration is due. Each transaction processed locally keeps 12.5 percent of the revenue here, adding up to more than a $1 million each year. That is money that Erie County can put to very good use. I have referred to the 'Renew Local' program as the Citizen's Tax Cut, one way we can all work to keep county costs down."
        Erie County’s 'Renew Local' program is easy. When an automobile registration renewal application arrives in the mail, sign the certification on the back. Then, fill in your inspection number on the back of the renewal form. Enclose a check or money order payable to: Erie County Clerk and use a postage-paid green "Renew Local" envelope and mail to the Erie County Auto Bureau, instead of Albany. Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs's office will mail the new registration and sticker to the motorist.
        The green 'Renew Local' envelopes can be obtained from any the county's Auto Bureau locations, including the new Tonawanda location at Sheridan Plaza, 2309 Eggert Road, at the corner of Sheridan Drive, where Legislator Hardwick renewed his vehicle registration on March 14. For a complete list of locations or to request a signature green envelope, please visit www.renewlocal.erie.gov. Additional information is also available at www2.erie.gov/clerk/autobureau or by contacting the Erie County Auto Bureau Call Center at 858-7450. "Renew Local" Envelopes are also available through Legislator Hardwick's Legislative Office, please call 716-858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Earned Income Tax Credit & Free Tax Filing - March 2016

    By Erie County Clerk Christopher Jacobs
       If you worked in the past year and earned $62,000 or less - you can get your taxes filed for free and you may qualify for both the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Everyone who qualifies should take advantage of the tax credits available to them. The limit for the in person tax prep is $54,000 and $62,000 is the limit for the online tax filing option at www.myfreetaxes.com. See complete information.

    Dog Park Fundraiser - March 2016

    Saundra Hagerdon with service dog Norton.
    Eileen and Rob Stevic & Mary Schreiner from the Buffalo Greyhound Adoption group. With them are dogs Eddie and Shadow.

    Samantha Mesmer and Tank

    Stella Costanzo and her grandson Jason Breeden with Bentley who was recently adopted and is now in a "forever" home.

        A fundraiser for the Grand Island Dog Park was held on Saturday, March 12th at the Nike Base Community Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road. There were vendors, pet information, tours of the planned dog park, and the Bufffalo Greyhound Adoption group. Many pets were on hand to meet new friends. Funds are being collected to start the fencing of the cleared area.

    Quilters Donate to Hope Lodge - March 2016

    From left: Janet Jackman, Sandy Nethero, Betsy Tranter, Susan Mills.
    Mary Stewart Photo.

        The Trinity Church Quilters have been busy, not only working on quilts, but also creating pillow cases to benefit Hope Lodge which is part of Roswell Cancer Institute. Families and/or patients can stay at the lodge for as long as needed at no cost to them. The pillow case project was started by the Trinity Church Quilters and later the project was brought to the attention of the River Lea Quilters, who also joined in this endeavor. 70 pillow cases and some charity quilts will be delivered to Hope Lodge. Fifty five pillow cases and some charity quilts have been given to McDonald's House by the Trinity Quilters. All the fabric for these projects is donated by the quilting groups members.

    2016 Women of Distinction Awards - March 2016

        Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, D-Lewiston, is seeking nominations for exceptional women to be recognized at his 2016 Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony. The nomination deadline is March 31st, and the awards will be presented in a ceremony at 1 p.m. April 16th in Niagara Falls City Hall, 745 Main St. March is Women's History Month, which Ceretto called "a time to pay tribute to the hardworking women who have helped shape our history and recognize the important contributions women make to our communities every day."Residents of the 145th Assembly District, which includes western Niagara County and Grand Island, may nominate a local woman who has made a difference in their lives or the lives of others by visiting assembly.state.ny.us/Ceretto.

    Assessment Information - March 2016

       An appraiser from Emminger Newton Pigeon and Magyar will be available at the Nike Base on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and again on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for questions homeowners may have prior to their appointment for their informal meetings to challenge their assessment.
       Also: Starting May 2nd, please call the Assessor's Office (773-9600 ext 648) to schedule an appointment with the Board of Assessment Review for Grievance Day, Tuesday, May 24th.

    Island Ship Center Anniversary - March 2016

       Save the Date! Tuesday, April 5th at 11:00 a.m., Island Ship Center is celebrating 10 years on Grand Island with a Ribbon Cutting and a tour of their expanded store. Refreshments will be served. RSVP Fahim or Seema at shop@islandshipcenter.com by Sunday, March 20th. New services: 24 hour private mailbox rentals, digital mailboxes and secure shredding/document destruction services. See flyer. Island Ship Center is located at 1879 Whitehaven Rd., and open Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Closed Friday 1-3pm), Saturdays 10-3:00 p.m.

    Gus Macker Back on GI - March 2016

    Corey McGowan

        Grand Island promoter Corey McGowan held a press conference on Tuesday, March 8th at Fisherman's Landing, located at the base of the south Grand Island Bridge, announcing the 25th Annual Gus Macker 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament is on for Grand Island in June. The tournament was given the go-ahead at the Monday, March 7th Town Board meeting by a 5-0 council vote and will be held on Saturday & Sunday, June 4th & 5th. This will be the second year for the tournament to be located on Grand Island Blvd. 350 teams are expected to participate and registration is now open at www.macker.com. Registration ends May 16th.
        McGowan spoke of other activites available for players and spectators including a petting zoo, kid zone, three point contest and vendors. He also said he would like to educate the players as to what Grand Island has to offer besides national chain restaurants. Last year, many local businesses said they lost business due to their regular customers staying away from the center of the Island. If you are interested in sponsor or vendor opportunities go to www.coreymcgowan.com.

    Honoring Mary Cooke - March 2016

        The Grand Island GOP is hosting a St. Patrick's Day Event honoring former Supervisor Mary Cooke on Wednesday, March 16th from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. Tickets are $25 each. See flyer.

    Taking Stock - March 2016

       By Kevin R. Hardwick 4th District County Legislator
        This month the County Executive delivers his annual state of the county address. It is a useful vehicle to both assess our progress and chart our future. With this in mind, I would like to use this space to make some of my own observations on the state of our county or at least that portion of it I represent in the County Legislature.
        The county road system has been playing catch-up for at least the last decade following the severe cuts resulting from the 2005 Red/Green Budget debacle. This past year, however, we made great progress by working with our governmental partners in the towns. To foster this cooperation, I arranged several meetings between officials in the county's Department of Public Works and leaders in the Towns of Grand Island and Tonawanda. The Legislature also approved the County Executive's proposal to add several new positions in the highway division. This enhances our ability to keep up with routine maintenance of our highways. The future appears bright as this winter has been nowhere near as severe as the past couple. There will still be potholes, but they should not be as abundant as last year's crop.
        Our county park system was also adversely impacted by the Red/Green Budget. Last year we resurrected the county's ranger program and added several maintenance positions to enhance the quality of our county's parks. We also acted to protect our area's waterways by banning the sale of products containing microbeads in Erie County. This first in the nation such measure was proposed by Democratic Legislator Patrick Burke and received the support of legislators of all parties. This willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion is one of things of which I have been most proud and something that sets us apart from many other legislative bodies.
        We continue to work together to try to insure the future of another of our region's important assets, Erie Community College. The County Executive included a quarter million dollars in this year's proposed budget for ECC. We in the Legislature saw the wisdom in this and added another quarter million for the college. ECC will continue to be one of my top priorities as we move forward. Good things are happening there. We hope to begin construction soon on a new academic building on the North Campus, the one that most students from Grand Island and the Tonawandas attend. This will hopefully entice more Erie County students to choose ECC over community colleges in other counties. This, in turn, will save us money from so-called "chargebacks" from other counties.
        The future also presents some significant challenges. The lower than expected sales tax revenue due to the weak Canadian dollar is a major concern. Like everyone else, I have enjoyed low gasoline prices. But this is another factor contributing to sluggish sales tax growth. By continuing to work together, though, I am confident that we can make the tough decisions to overcome any obstacle in our path. 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.


    Island Pet Expo - March 2016

       A fundraiser for the Grand Island Dog Park will take place on Saturday, March 12th from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Nike Base Community Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road. There will be vendors, pet information, tours of the planned dog park, rescue groups and lunch available. Pets are welcome! See flyer.

    New York Flood Safety Awareness Week - March 2016

        New York Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 13 - 19, 2016. Though Grand Island is relatively free of major flooding, there are areas along the river and near local waterways where flooding may be more impactful to areas and homes. See the National Weather Service flyer and remember "Turn Around, Don't Drown!". Only two feet of water will move most vehicles and 6 inches of water will knock you off your feet.

    Universal Pre-Kindergarten Registration is Now Open - February 2016

       Grand Island Central School District will be holding a lottery to determine enrollment for the 2016-2017 Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program. An open meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. in the Grand Island High School Professional Development Room (located at 1100 Ransom Road, Grand Island, New York) to announce the results of the UPK lottery. All interested parents are welcome to attend. Notification letters and phone calls will be made to parents in the weeks following the lottery to confirm the specific location and session assignments for the incoming UPK students. Results of the UPK Lottery will also be posted on our website shortly after the drawing.
       To be eligible for the UPK program a child must be four years of age on or before December 1, 2016 and a Grand Island resident. Half day sessions, five days per week are offered at Charlotte Sidway Elementary School (morning and afternoon) and also at Kiddo's Korner Preschool (afternoon only). UPK applications are now available online at www.grandislandschools.org or call Susan Carter at 773-8818 for information. Appointments must be made in advance to register your child. Please call 773-8800 extension "0" to schedule an appointment. The application deadline is Friday, May 20, 2016. The last appointment to register on this date will be 2:00 p.m.

    Town Social Media Policy - February 2016

       The Town of Grand Island has recently announced a Social Media Policy. The Town started a FaceBook page on February 17th. Their description of the policy is "Basically don't be mean or swear on this page or we will take the post down! And if you post pics or videos, the Town has the right to use them as their own." To see the complete policy click here.

    Cooperative Nursery School Family Fun Day - February 2016

        A Family Fun Day will be held by Grand Island Cooperative Nursery School in the family room of Trinity United Methodist Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road on Saturday March 12th, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Enjoy, food, games and a big basket raffle open to the public. All are welcome.

    New Northtowns Auto Bureau Location - February 2016

       Erie County, NY - Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs has announced that the Erie County Auto Bureau located in Northtown Plaza will relocate to Sheridan Plaza at 2309 Eggert Road, at the corner of Sheridan Drive, in the Town of Tonawanda. The current Northtown location will be closed on Thursday, February 25th and Friday, February 26th to accommodate the move, with operations re-opening at the new Sheridan Plaza location on Monday, February 29th.
       The relocation was prompted as a result of the sale of Northtown Plaza to WS Development Company, who has already demolished the Bon-Ton store to make way for a new 50,000 square foot Whole Foods Supermarket. Jacobs stated, "We have known since last year that the sale of Northtown Plaza was pending and that the new owner's plans may not include us or any of the other tenants." "Our goal was to find a suitable location that would be convenient for our customers throughout the area, as well as affordable for taxpayers," says Jacobs. "Sheridan Plaza met our objective as it is easily accessible and less than a quarter mile up the road." Jacobs added, "The Sheridan Plaza location will be a completely renovated space with a more contemporary look."
        The Northtown Auto Bureau is one of 6 offices operated by the Erie County Clerk's Office. For a complete list of locations and hours, call the Erie County Auto Bureau Customer Call Center at 858-7450 or go towww.erie.gov/clerk/autobureau.

    Preschool Openings at Cooperative Nursery School - February 2016

        Looking for a preschool for your child? Grand Island Cooperative Nursery School enrollment is now open for the 3-year-old class next year. GICNS is proud to be teaching the youngest students in the Grand Island community for 66 years, providing the best Kindergarten preparation aligned with the district's curriculum. Every GICNS graduate is more than ready for Kindergarten. GICNS is located inside Trinity United Methodist Church at 2100 Whitehaven Road. For more info, visit gicns.com.

    Niagara County Independence Party Endorses Morinello - February 2016

       Niagara Falls, New York...February 13, 2016
       The Niagara County Independence Party chairwoman Susan Agnello-Eberwein announced the endorsement of former Niagara Falls City Court Judge, Angelo J. Morinello's bid for the New York State Assembly race in the 145th district today. Morinello, R-Niagara Falls, who has also received both the Niagara County Republican party endorsement, as well as the Niagara County Conservative party endorsement, was thrilled to hear about the Independence party support.
       "Judge Angelo Morinello was the clear choice for us for state Assembly. His knowledge from working on the Niagara Falls City Court bench for over a decade has given him a clear understanding of what is needed for not only the future of our youth, but of our entire community."" Eberwein said. ""He is straight forward, has the ability to get along with people from all walks of life, and is a family man at heart who genuinely cares about our children and their futures."
        Judge Morinello served on the Niagara Falls City Court bench from 2001 until December 31, 2015 when he retired from the bench. "The people elected me to serve them for 10 years however I was only allowed to serve three of the years due to age restrictions. I feel that I owe the people seven years of service," said Morinello. "I still have a lot left in me. I am excited about this upcoming race and am thrilled to have the support of the Niagara County Republican, Conservative and Independence parties."
       The seat is currently held by John Ceretto (D-Lewiston) .

    National Fuel Advises Homeowners - February 2016

       (Feb. 16, 2016) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y... Avoid Snow-Related Heating Emergencies BEFORE They Happen!
        With the recent snow accumulation across parts of Western New York, 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 and vents before, during and after any snowstorm. 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; if it is blocked, your dryer may not operate as efficiently as it should.
        Keep the area around and above the outdoor gas meter free of snow and ice. Remember to use caution when shoveling, plowing or snow blowing around the meter. Use a broom to remove snow from the meter itself. To avoid accidental damage by a third party, inform anyone who works near your meter (such as a snow removal service) of its location. 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. Due to severe winter driving conditions, National Fuel is experiencing delays in its service calls in certain affected areas. In those areas affected by the severe snow accumulations, all non-essential, nonemergency calls or prescheduled work is on hold to focus strictly on emergencies.

    2016 Father's Day Lawnmower Race - February 2016

    Standing: Mary Dunbar-Daluisio, Gary Roesch, Bill DeGlopper, John Whitney, Peter Marston.
    Seated: Floyd & Che Doring, Skip Mazenauer & Lynn Dingey

       The third committee meeting for the 2016 Father's Day Lawnmower Race was held on Wednesday, February 10th at Say Cheese Pizza. The race will be held on Saturday, June 18th, the day before Father's Day. The rain date is Sunday, June 19th. The event's proceeds will be donated to the 2016 GI Relay For Life. Co-chairs are Floyd Doring, Mary Dunbar-Daluisio, Pete Marston and Gary Roesch. This year will also include a 5K run / walk in memory of Kevin Doring, and a boat show (antique and new) arranged by Bill DeGlopper. There will be music, children's activities, a variety of food and other activities supporting the American Cancer Society. The Celebrity race contestants will be Mary Dunbar-Daluisio and Chi Doring.
       The Father's Day race is the second of a three part series in 2016. The first event is April 30th at Veterans Park (proceeds to the VFW), and the third, tentatively scheduled for September 17th at Veterans Park, with the proceeds to the GI Little League. Awards are given at the conclusion of the series for the contestant that wins his or her class. The next committee meeting will be at noon at Say-Cheese on March 16th. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor, or to help or participate please contact Floyd (984-9053), Mary (818-33260), Pete (773-9396) or Gary (583-7969).

    Seminar on Backyard Chickens & Livestock - February 2016

        The Grand Island Agricultural Cooperative will offer a free seminar on backyard chickens and livestock, presented by Erie County Farm Bureau member Hermann Weber of HLW Acres, on Monday February 15th at 6 p.m. We will also discuss the development of an agricultural board to positively facilitate farmland preservation and farm enterprise relations with the town. All interested residents are welcome to attend. The meeting will be at the Niagara River Station Fishing Club, 355 E River Rd, Grand Island, NY, near corner of Ferry Road. Large parking lot across from meeting hall. Call 773-5648 with any questions.

    Public Input Invaluable - February 2016

       By Kevin R. Hardwick 4th District County Legislator
       Last week I voted in favor of moving the closing time for bars in Erie County from the current 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. The resolution, however, failed to pass. This is not a column about my vote or why I think more of my colleagues should have voted with me. Instead, it is an article about how I arrived at my decision and the value of public comments.
       Last summer when County Clerk Chris Jacobs initially raised the issue of an earlier closing time and my colleague Ted Morton introduced such a resolution I was very skeptical. I felt that it might have the unintended consequence of increasing DWI accidents, as the most intoxicated drivers would be on the road at an earlier hour when there were more other cars for them to hit. I held this view three weeks ago when the Legislature was initially going to vote on the measure. Even though I opposed the change at the time, I joined a number of other members in calling for a public hearing prior to our vote. As a result, we delayed the vote and scheduled a public hearing. At the time, I figured we would hear the same arguments we had been hearing for months and it would not change any minds. I was mistaken.
       Rather than wasting three hours of my life, the hearing proved to very enlightening. The people on both sides of the issue who took time out of their lives brought up points that I had not considered. We heard from bar owners and their employees who told us that it was not just the hardcore drinkers who were in the bars after 2 a.m. Even though the Bethlehem Steels of our community are long gone, they told us, there are still plenty of people who work late and are looking for someplace to unwind. This includes the employees of other bars and restaurants that close before 2 a.m. currently.
       We also heard from neighbors of bars, several of them from Allentown, who pleaded with us to give them a couple hours of relief from what they deal with every night. In the end, though, it was the testimony of a series of researchers from UB and Buffalo State who talked about a number of studies linking later closing times to increased drowsy driving, DWI and even domestic violence. After the hearing I asked some of them for links to these studies and read through several of them. The evidence they offered was compelling and caused me to seriously reexamine and eventually change my position.
       This is all by way of saying that public input is important because more often than not non-politicians have knowledge that elected leaders do not. That is why I encourage my students at Canisius College to write or email government officials about their concerns. It really can make a difference. 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.

    Island Wide Reassessment Project - February 2016

       The Town of Grand Island is hosting a presentation with a representative of Emminger, Newton Pigeon & Magyar, Inc. on the topic of the Island wide re-assessment due to be completed by March 1. The presentation will take place in the courtroom of the GI Town Hall located at 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island on Thursday, February 25, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

    Island Couple Arrested in Bank Robbery - February 2016

       Buffalo News Story
       Buffalo police have announced the arrests of a man and woman in connection with a Monday afternoon robbery of a credit union on Delaware Avenue in North Buffalo. Patrol officers responding to the robbery at the Summit Federal Credit Union, less than two blocks south of Hertel Avenue, apprehended the female suspect outside, in the parking lot. They later caught the male near the Shoreline Apartments in downtown Buffalo, following a police pursuit. Detectives have charged Charles J. Henry, 43, and Samantha Brown, 34, both of Grand Island, in the incident.

    Property Tax Exemption Deadline - February 2016

       March 1, 2016 is the deadline for all Basic STAR, Enhanced/Senior STAR and Veterans property tax exemptions to be added to the assessment roll for School tax year 2016/2017 and Town/County tax year 2017. 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 Tuesday, March 1st.

    Local Schools Deserve Their Fair Share - January 2016

       Assemblyman John Ceretto (D-Lewiston) announced that while the governor's budget proposal includes increased aid for local school districts, it's not enough. Ceretto will be pushing for more funding as budget negotiations continue. "As a former teacher and the father of two educators, I know how important it is for our schools to have the funding they need to educate our children," said Ceretto. "That's why I'm fighting for every penny they need." The governor's proposal allocates nearly $161 million in Foundation Aid for local school districts, which include Grand Island, Lewiston-Porter, Niagara Falls, Niagara-Wheatfield, North Tonawanda, Starpoint and Wilson. That is only a 1.19 percent increase over last year. The proposed aid falls drastically short of what our schools require to provide students with the tools for lifelong success, noted Ceretto.
       In addition, the districts are still owed, altogether, over $3.6 million in Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) funding. The GEA, which was implemented in 2010, effectively lowered state aid to schools in order to remedy state budget deficits. Many schools cannot continue to function and provide essential services without restoring this funding and getting rid of the GEA once and for all, noted Ceretto. Ceretto has also been consistently vocal about Common Core and supports a full review of the Common Core curriculum. "The rollout of Common Core in New York State has been a disaster," said Ceretto. "Our focus must be on learning, not high-stakes testing, and the concerns of parents and teachers must always be heard. I'll keep working to ensure our children get the best education possible."

    Historical Churches of Buffalo Presentation - January 2016

       Have you ever marveled at Buffalo’s beautiful churches, wondered about their origins, the date they were built, who the architect was? Well let Bill Koch show you slides of these churches and answer these questions for you on Friday, February 5th. Meet in St. Stephen's hospitality room at 7:00 p.m. for a short social and the talk begins at 7:30, come and bring a friend.

    Hardwick Hosts HEAP Outreach - January 2016

        Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) Outreach will be held on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016 at Grand Island Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. Interviews will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. Doors open at 8:30am. All applicants will be interviewed.
        HEAP is a federally funded program to assist income eligible Erie County residents with the costs of home heating, electricity, and energy conservation. The HEAP outreach will be administered by the Erie County Departments of Social Services and Senior Services and is open to all income eligible households. "As winter approaches it is extremely important that anyone who needs help heating their home take the proper steps to apply for HEAP to ensure they receive assistance. These outreach events help eligible residents with the applications process, which can be overwhelming. Anyone who needs an application or has questions is encouraged to contact my office," said Legislator Hardwick.
    Applicants must bring the following documentation to the outreach:
    1) Proof of gross income received within the last 30 days for all household members
    a) Wages: If paid weekly, last four (4) paystubs
    b) Wages: If paid bi-weekly, last two (2) paystubs
    c) Award letters, if applicable (Social Security, Pension, Unemployment, Workers Comp, Disability, etc.)
    d) Yearly statement of interest received (savings, checking, CDs, money market account, etc.)
    e) Dividend proof (stocks, bonds securities, etc.)
    2) Social Security numbers for all household members
    3) One (1) form of ID for all household members (birth certificate or Social Security card or driver’s license or school ID, etc.)
    4) Proof of residency (Rent receipt, mortgage statement, utility bill)
    5) Current heat and/or electric bill.

        For questions or additional information, please call the HEAP Hotline at (716) 858-7644 or HEAP Application Request Line at (716) 858-1969. Also, Erie County residents can apply online by visiting www.mybenefits.ny.gov. To request a HEAP application, please contact Legislator Hardwick at (716) 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov or visit www.erie.gov/socialservices.
    The HEAP 2015-2016 income guidelines are as follows:
    Household Size Maximum Gross Monthly Income
    1 $2,244
    2 $2,935
    3 $3,625
    4 $4,316
    5 $5,006
    6 $5,697
    7 $5,826
    8 $5,956
    9 $6,085
    10 $6,215
    11 $6,671
    Each additional Add $520

    Community Events Informational Meeting Planned - January 2016

    From Corey McGowan
        It is with great pleasure that I invite you to join me for an informational community events meeting, taking place at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 15th at Mallwitz Island Lanes. After a wonderful 2015 year of events, I am looking forward to an even bigger, better and more exciting year for 2016 and look forward to sharing all plans with you in more detail.
       This meeting will discuss event dates, locations, available business opportunities and the importance of embracing and being a part of community events. For questions and information or if you cannot attend this meeting, please call me at 716-341-1040 or visit www.coreymcgowan.com. I look forward to working with you in 2016 and thank you for your continued support of community events on Grand Island.
        Some of the events include, Taste of Grand Island, Gus Macker Basketball Tournament, Music in the Park, Movies in the Park and Slide the City. See flyer.

    State Seeks Partner at Beaver Island Golf Course- January 2016

       The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the golf course and cafe at the Beaver Island State Park Golf Course. The RFP calls for a qualified partner who will provide the sale and rental of golf-related equipment, carts and merchandise as well as the operation of a food and beverage concession at the Grand Island golf course. Though the term will begin in the spring of 2016, beginning in the fall of 2016, the chosen partner will be based in the brand new pro shop that is currently under construction. Interested parties may request copies of the RFPs by contacting Amy Ortman at (716) 299-0816 or downloading at www.nyscr.ny.gov.

    Island Garden Walk Being Planned - January 2016

       Grand Island gardeners are planning to establish a yearly garden walk. A group of Grand Island garden enthusiasts have met recently and are planning a garden walk from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 10th. As in other Western New York towns, the garden walk will be free of charge. The organizers are looking for Island residents to be included on the walk. Those interested in volunteering your garden, or who know of a great garden, can contact Jan at 716-465-7396, or grandislandgardenwalk@gmail.com.

    Legislature Public Hearing on on Closing Time for Bars - January 2016

       The Erie County Legislature will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, February 2nd for the purpose of hearing public comment on imposing an earlier closing time for bars in Erie County. Anyone wishing to speak may sign up at karen.mccarthy@erie.gov. Remarks and presentations from all speakers will be limited to 3 minutes. It will be in the Chambers of the Legislature, at Old County Hall, 92 Franklin Street, 4th Floor, Buffalo, NY.

    Fish Attraction Project Begins at Fisherman's Landing - January 2016

    Top: Barge from Fisherman's Landing.
    Bottom: View from South Bridge.

    Placement of rocks.

    Photos and story by Paul Leuchner - Click top photos for larger view.
    Above photo shows placement of boulders.

       On January 8, 2016, work started on a project that will enhance fishing success at Fisherman's Landing Town Park, a popular riverfront access point. A field of seventeen boulders ranging from four to six feet in diameter will be placed on the bottom of the river at a depth of about 10 feet. The boulders will add habitat value and in doing so are expected to attract smallmouth bass, yellow perch and musky. This project is part of a larger fish attraction initiative that is taking place at several locations in the upper Niagara River. Funding was provided through a grant to the Niagara Musky Association from the Habitat Enhancement Restoration Fund established by the New York Power Authority.

    Town/County Tax Bills Mailed - January 2016

        Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel announced that the 2016 Town/County Tax Bills have been mailed. If you have changed banks, have paid off your mortgage or do not have an escrow account and did not receive a tax bill, please contact the Town Clerk's office at 773-9600 ext. 620 or 600. The office will be open extras hours on Friday February 12 - 8:30am - 6:00pm, Saturday February 13 - 9:00am - 12:00pm and Tuesday February 16 - 8:30am - 6:00pm. The office will be closed Monday February 15. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is February 16. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of February 16 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made February 17 and later. Payments can be made until June 30, 2016. After this date, payments must be sent to the County.

    Joining the Amherst Agricultural District - January 2016

        A group of residents from Grand Island would like to be added to the Amherst Agricultural District in a vote to take place by the Erie County Legislature on Thursday, January 21st. If this measure passes, the properties are still subject to Town law, but the homeowner can appeal to the Commision of Agriculture, who then can deem the law unreasonable and override the decision. You can see the Resolution in its entirety here It lists all the properties that have been asked to be included and those that have been rejected. If you have an opinion on this matter, email Grand Island representative Kevin Hardwick at hardwick@erie.gov. You can find out more from the county website Agriculture Page.

    Town Advisory Board Openings - January 2016

       The Town of Grand Island is seeking interested individuals to volunteer for several Advisory Board openings: One opening for CONSERVATION for a term expiring 12/31/20. Four openings for ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; one for a term expiring 12/31/18, one for a term expiring 12/31/17, and two for terms expiring 12/31/16. Two openings for TRAFFIC SAFETY with terms expiring 12/31/18. Any member of the community who is interested in serving should submit a letter of interest, including relevant experience, education or training to:
    Town Supervisor Nathan D. McMurray, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island, New York 14072 or by email to townboard@grand-island.ny.us.
       Letters received by 12:00 noon on Wednesday, January 27th will be considered.
       For additional information contact any member of the Town Board.

    Town of Grand Island Insignia - January 2016

    Click photo for larger view.

       Thanks to Supervisor's Assistant Cyndy Montana for sharing this information.
    It was compiled by Mary Cooke in 2013.

    Town Insignia as pdf.
       The Town Insignia of the Town of Grand Island was developed in 1961 by the Building Inspector at that time, Harold Doerr. The Town Seal uses the Insignia without the crossed anchors. The Town Clerk is the keeper of the Town Seal, and imprints (embosses) the seal design on official papers. In this way, government documents and copies are certified as being authentic under the elected government of Grand Island.
       Each element of the Town Insignia has specific meaning:
    1. The crossed anchors are for boating.
    2. The blue is for the water that surrounds the Island. (bottom half of circle)
    3. The small map of the island shows the principal roads and four small drawings:
    a. In the southwest corner, a Native American village for the earliest settlers.
    b. In the southeast corner, sheaves of grain for the agricultural industry that was once very important to the Island.
    c. In the northeast corner, a sailing vessel under construction, for the white oaks that were harvested and shaped for masts and heavy timbers used on ocean-going sailing vessels in the 1800's.
    d. In the northwest corner, a small research building for Grand Island's newest industry.
    4. The "La Grande Ile" banner at the bottom is in French to honor the Frenchman, Father Marquette, who in the 1700's gave the Island the name "La Grande Ile" - the Great Island.
    5. The motto "Centre De Recherche Et De Science" - Center of Research and Science was based on the Hooker Research Center (now Isle Chem, 2801 Long Road).
    6. The sun rays are for the beautiful sunsets seen often on Grand Island.
    7. The shield is for the government of the State of New York, upon which we rely for the guarantees of State freedoms, authorized under the Constitution of the United States of America.
    8. The wings on top of the shield are for the government of the County of Erie, which is a subdivision of New York State. It is authorized to govern its people within the framework of the government of the State of New York.

    New Year Brings New Faces to Key Positions - January 2016

       By Kevin R. Hardwick 4th District County Legislator
        The last week of 2015 and the first day of 2016 were extremely hectic. Much time was spent watching other recently elected officials take their oaths of office. It began shortly after Christmas with the ceremonies for our new State Supreme Court Justices, Emilio Colaiacovo and Frank Sedita. Both are good men and will make fine judges. I then had the privilege of witnessing Joe Emminger sworn in as the new Supervisor of the Town of Tonawanda. Joe has a tough act to follow, as Tony Caruana did such a masterful job as town supervisor. Joe is a former town councilman, though, and knows the lay of the land. He and I are both members of the Mount Saint Mary Board of Trustees where I know him to be a hard worker and a wonderful human being.
        On New Year's Eve I was at Tonawanda City Hall, as new City Court Judge Mark Saltarelli was sworn in by the retiring judge, Joe Cassata. Joe made his mark as Tonawanda's City Court Judge over the course of the last twenty years and transformed the job with the addition of his successful Drug Court, as well as other innovations. Fortunately, the transition to Judge Saltarelli will be seamless, as Mark is a former Acting City Court Judge and has been serving the community for years in a wide range of volunteer activities.
        On New Year's Day I needed to be in three places at once, as County Executive Mark Poloncarz and officials of Grand Island and the City of Tonawanda were sworn in the early afternoon. Although I could not make his ceremony, I look forward to continuing to work with the county executive. I also look forward to working with the new Grand Island Supervisor, Nathan McMurray. I was able to get a lot done working with his predecessor, Mary Cooke, and am confident that I will partner well with Nathan and newly elected councilpersons Beverly Kinney and Mike Madigan.
        I was honored to be sworn in by Judge Joseph Cassata along with the City of Tonawanda officials, including new council president Jenna Koch and new councilmembers Tim Toth and Sean Rautenstrauch. As a former member of the Council, I take pride in knowing it is in good hands. After New Year's there was still one ceremony left. On January 4th, the Tonawanda Town Board appointed Bill Conrad to fill the vacancy created by Joe Emminger's election to Supervisor. Bill ran against me for county legislator in 2013. After the campaign, we became good friends and have collaborated on a number of worthwhile projects. After he took his oath, surrounded by his wife, Mary Kate, and three children, I asked for his autograph. I figured it might be worth something someday if he lives up to his potential. All of the Swearing-in Ceremonies were full of promise. Now it is time to get back to work and deliver on that promise. 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.

    Year in Review - 2015

       For a look at some of the news from 2015, click on Year in Review - 2015.

    New Dog Park Sign Installation - January 2016

    From left: Saundra Hagerdon, Dale Hennigar, Shannon Zaccaria of Popular Graphics, Liz Wilbert (assistant to recent supervisor Mary S. Cooke), recent supervisor Mary S. Cooke, Melissa Wilbert and Luke Hooper.
    Click photo for larger view.

       For the past two years, a small group of volunteers has worked towards the goal of an off-leash area for dogs and their owners to enjoy freedom to run and play in a safe environment. Now officially incorporated as the Supporters of the Grand Island Dog Park, Inc. the group has achieved IRS 501(c)3 status enabling them to accept donations with a tax benefit to the donors.
       Present for the installation of the initial dog park sign on December 30th were Town Supervisor Mary S. Cooke, Shannon Zaccaria of Popular Graphics, Saundra Hagerdon, Luke Hooper and 4-footed family members, Stihl and Lego, and Dale Hennigar, Melissa and Liz Wilbert with their dog, Dixie. Donations can be made directly at the Grand Island branch of First Niagara Bank, or to the Grand Island Dog Park c/o 3800 East River Road. For questions or to volunteer, call Liz Wilbert at 983-7363. Watch for news of a Dog Park Expo February 13, 2016.

    Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Information Group - January 2016

       On Friday, January 8th, in St. Stephen's Hospitality Room, Emily Sadowski, a Natural Resource Planner from Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, will discuss the importance of Grand Island streams, their current condition, and how we can protect and restore our local waterways. Meet at 7:00 p.m. for a short social, discussion will begin at 7:30, come and bring a friend.