School News Web Page
Previous News Page
here. Phase One is in green. This project will eventually provide walking trails over 229 acres, in the area of Ransom Road & East River Road.
This all began in 2000, after years of research by the Environmental Conservation Commission, Grand Island purchased 209 acres in the area of Ransom Road and East River Road. In June of 2008 a Master Plan and Recommendations for Bicentennial Park/Scenic Woods was published, see here.
Niagara Region PTA Holds Annual Partnership Dinner- March 2017
From left: Crystal Still, Connor Middle School vice president; Bonnie Nevans, Huth PTA president; Kristen Thore, Connor Middle School PTA president; Christie Lesser, Kaegebein PTA president; Jessica Mallabar, Kaegebein PTA vice president; Trish Eichel, high school PTSA president; Dr. Brian Graham, superintendent of schools; Michael Carter, high school assistant principal, Jennifer Walowitz, Huth PTA publicity chair; Mary Haggerty, Kaegebein principal; Rob Walowitz.
Grand Island was well represented at Niagara Region PTA's annual Partnership Dinner, held in Lockport on Wednesday, March 22. Keynote speaker Kyle McCauley Belokopitsky, executive director of the New York State PTA, brought parents, teachers, administrators, and school trustees up-to-date on the current goals of PTA as well as the political climate in Albany as regards education issues. She stressed the importance of publicizing the good things PTAs are doing in their local communities for the betterment of young people. She urged attendees to act as advocates for public school education and to promote family engagement in issues affecting education. Finally she challenged each person to reconnect with why they support PTA. Several awards were announced, including the Jane Skryzek NYS PTA Leadership Award, presented to Huth Road PTA publicity chair Jennifer Walowitz.
From left: David Steggles, Niagara Region PTA director; Jennifer Walowitz, Huth Road PTA publicity chair; Bonnie Nevans, Huth Road PTA president.
Lee Cohen story & photos.
Family Health Fair - March 2017
Event Chair Cindy Sharpe RN gets her face painted by Kelsey Mahoney.
The Grand Island CSD Health and Wellness Council sponsored a Family Health Fair on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at the GIHS.
Fire Captain Don Portik demonstrates CPR to Victoria Huang and mom Kathy Cheng.
Mary Stewart photos.
Elderwood Grand Island History Presentation - March 2017
From left: Bill Koch, Elderwood Community Relations & Admissions Manager Wendy Anzalone & Jodi Robinson.Elderwood at Grand Island started a monthly breakfast speaker series over the winter, to get people out of the house and entertain and inform the public and residents. In January a Alzheimer's Association spokesperson talked to a group. In February, the American Heart Assoc. gave 7 heart healthy tips and a Fat Tuesday celebration was held. On March 22nd, Historic Preservation Advisory Board Chairman Bill Koch and Town Historian Jodi Robinson gave a dvd presentation about Grand Island History. Watch for the "Paws for Love" coming to talk about the benefits of the pet in a nursing home next month. See if your pet qualifies as a volunteer.
Toll Removal Forum - March 2017Dozens attend public forum held in Niagara Falls for "WNY for Grand Island Toll Barrier Removal". See Buffalo News story by Nancy Fischer.
Mixing Bowl Bakery & Cafe Coming Soon - March 2017The Mixing Bowl Bakery & Cafe will be opening on Whitehaven Road soon, in the space previously used by the Baked Cupcakery. The dream of Ellen DeNormand will start with baked goods and breakfast items such as muffins, breads, breakfast cups, cookies, cupcakes, cheesecakes and more. Ellen will be using family recipes for her tasty treats. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday hours will be 6am-6pm. Saturday 8am-6pm and Sunday 8am-2pm. The bakery will be closed on Wednesdays. Ellen and her husband David have spent the last two months remodeling the space that will be decorated with photographs for purchase from Michael Cancilla, Barbara Lynch-Johnt and Jim Neiss. Mondays are going to be dedicated to the Grand Island/WNY Miracle League, with a percentage of sales donated each week. You can look forward to an opening in the beginning of April.
Toll Removal Public Forum - March 2017WNY for Gramd Island Toll Barrier Removal is hosting a public forum, tonight, March 22nd at 225 Old Falls Street at Third Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14303. The starting time is 6:00 p.m. This is a formal opportunity for the public to speak. Segment 1 will present the efforts to remove the toll barriers and how the public can support it. Segment 2 is open mic: members of the public are encouraged to offer commentary with a maximum time of 3 minutes per speaker. Segment 3: Leadership open mic. Local civic leaders will be offered an opportunity to provide feedback and updates on their involvement. www.gibarrier.com
By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County LegislatorFebruary was a very loud month for the United States. Every time you turned around it seemed someone was shouting at someone else. Much of this occurred at so-called "town hall" meetings held by various congressmen, as protestors packed the gatherings. Eight years ago it was Democratic congresspersons taking the flak from opponents of President Obama's policies. This year it was Republicans who were the target of those taking exception to the direction President Trump would like to steer the country. Many Republicans who have not held town halls are being criticized for not listening to their constituents.
To be honest, I have never liked the town hall format. A meeting where a politician stands on a stage behind a podium at the front of a crowded auditorium pontificating while people wait in line behind a microphone to ask their questions is not my idea of constructive engagement. When they devolve into planned protests complete with signs and organized chants they tend to do more harm than good. It may make for compelling television, but in the end they only serve to drive us further apart at a time when we need to come together to address serious problems affecting us all.
So although I think elected officials should keep in touch with citizens, I am not a fan of town halls. I have a better idea. For several years I have been conducting a series of meetings with my constituents I call "District Discussions." It's a simple concept. I randomly invite a number of people to a Saturday morning meeting at a local library and usually get 10 to 20 to show up. We sit around a table and discuss county issues for about 90 minutes. I begin by talking about two or three issues that I am particularly interested in and then invite comments and questions on these or any other issues of interest to attendees. The discussion is free flowing. My favorite part is that I am often able to sit back and listen to people discuss issues with their neighbors. The best part is that even though people may occasionally disagree, there is no shouting or name calling. It is all quite civil. It is government like it ought to be.
I recently held a couple of these district discussions. One was at the Grand Island Library in November and the most recent was a couple weeks ago at Brighton Place in the Town of Tonawanda. We talked about a number of issues at both. But the main topic was the devastating opioid epidemic that has ravaged the nation and has impacted too many families in our community. A number of people shared information on the topic that helped form my opinion regarding the direction the county should head in our battle against opioid addiction. I consider it time well spent and am thankful for all who attended.
Now I am thinking I should open these meeting up to more of our citizens. If you were not random enough to be among those I randomly invited in the past and would like to attend a future session, please contact my office and I will see that you receive an invitation to our next, as of yet unscheduled, district discussion. 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 email@example.com.
State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD)(Albany, NY) - State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD) called on federal representatives to resist drastic cuts being considered for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). In a letter to Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives Brian Higgins and Chris Collins, Jacobs articulated the impact of the program locally. "In our Western New York community, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has helped fund cleanup efforts along the Buffalo and Niagara rivers, where shorelines have been improved, wildlife habitats have been restored, and over a century's worth of industrialization on our shores is being properly addressed for future generations," the Senator wrote.
Since its implementation under President George W. Bush, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been historically funded at $300 million. Currently under consideration is a reduction down to $10 million, a level that Jacobs says would not only devastate the program going forward, but also roll back the tremendous progress already made. "There is so much more work to do to realize the full potential and impact originally envisioned by the GLRI," said Jacobs. "Elimination of 95% of its funding would put a halt to restoration efforts and make it virtually impossible to maintain the progress made to date."
A considerable portion of Jacobs's senate district is bordered by Lake Erie and the Niagara River. He called the effort to maintain funding levels an environmental initiative with great economic development and quality of life consequences. "From Grand Island to Brant, residents have benefitted from the GLRI funding critical restoration and preservation projects that have enhanced the greatest natural resource in our region," said Jacobs. "The environmental cleanup has spurred major private sector investment in residential and recreational development that is critical to Buffalo and Western New York’s economic revival," the Senator concluded.
Jacobs Calls For Removal of Tolls at Grand Island Bridges - see press release.
Independence Party Seeks Candidates - March 2017The Grand Island Independence Party Committee is now accepting letters and resumes from candidates interested in receiving their endorsement. Interested Candidates should send their information to:
Email address : jmclabeaux@gmail. com
Mailing Address: Jean Clabeaux, 25 Luther Lane, Grand Island, NY 14072
Coexisting with Coyotes - March 2017
Coexisting with Coyotes, a presentation and discussion with Lesley Sampson, internationally renowned coyote expert and co-founder of Coyote Watch Canada, is planned for March 22nd, 6-8:00 p.m., at Huth Road Elementary School (1773 Huth Road), Grand Island, NY. See flyer.
In conjunction with the presentation, www.citizencoalitionwe.com is asking you to submit your coyote artwork. Drawing, sketches, paintings and sculptures will be displayed at the event. Submit entry by March 10th. See flyer for details.
Individuals committed to the Conservative Party platform should send a letter requesting an interview for candidacy/endorsement to the Grand Island Conservative Party, P.O. Box 76, Grand Island, NY 14072 and email to GIConservativeParty@gmail.com. Letters must be received by March 10th, and must include a resume and contact information, including email. The Grand Island Conservative Party maintains a long history of supporting candidates who share their views. Today's Conservative political climate remains focused on reducing taxes and promoting economic growth and strong family values. Dr. Kevin Backus, chairman of the Grand Island Conservative Party, commented, "As the independent voice of conservative voters, we hope all candidates seeking this office take the time to make the case for our party's endorsement."
A Buffalo News story by Nancy A. Fischer titled "Grand Island is ready to welcome a new welcome center" gives details of the project. See story here.
Conservative Committee: Send a letter requesting an interview to GI Conservative Party, PO Box 76, Grand Island, NY and email firstname.lastname@example.org. Letter received by March 10, 2017
Democratic Committee: Contact Democratic Chairman Jim Sharpe at email@example.com or 553-1100.
Republican Committee: Send a letter of intent by March 17, 2017 to Dean Morakis, C/O GI Republican Committee, PO Box 104, Grand Island, NY, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The worship service invites you to explore concepts of economic justice both in the Filipino context and around the world, and our response in the light of God's generosity. A free-will offering will be taken to perpetuate the work of WDP and fund grants to organizations working on issues that affect women and children.
Refreshments featuring foods of the Philippines will be served at a social, following the service, which lasts about an hour.
Buffalo News story by Melinda Miller
On Fat Tuesday, February 28th, Elderwood Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is celebrating! Everyone is welcome to enjoy made-to-order pancakes and traditional Polish desserts such as Paczki, Chrusciki, Platzek and King's Cake. February is Heart Month and a $2 donation is requested when ordering your dessert. There will be a gift basket raffle. Times are 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. All proceeds go to The American Heart Association. See flyer.
The Land Conservancy is hosting a special talk with Twan Leenders, President of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and expert herpetologist at Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, on Thursday, February 23rd at 8:00 p.m. Each spring, salamanders have a "big night" where they all - that's right, all of them at once - come out of their forest homes and migrate back to the seasonal woodland pools where they were born. They breed at these same pools. Come find out more about these quiet but amazing creatures and how we can help with their survival. Register on the website or call to register at 716-687-1225.
Mary Stewart photo from Garden Walk 2016.The second annual Grand Island Garden Walk will take place this year on Sunday, July 9, 2017. After a very successful start last year, with over 500 visitors to the Garden Walk, the committee is looking forward to featuring more Island gardens as part of this year's walk. If you would like to join the 2017 Garden Walk, please contact us at email@example.com or contact Jan at 465-7396. We hope to feature a wide variety of gardens and welcome anyone interested in volunteering their garden. The walk will be free to the public. Watch for further information in the spring and check our website at grandislandgardenwalk.com for information.
Grand Island resident Mohamed A. Mohamed was elected president of Somalia on Wednesday, February 8th, after serving as Prime Minister. See Buffalo News story by Jane Kwiatkowski Radlich here.
By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County LegislatorJust because February is the shortest month, does not mean there is nothing happening. This is certainly the case at Old County Hall, as the County Legislature grapples with a number of issues vital to our community's future. The Board of Trustees at Erie Community College has chosen a search consultant to help them select the college's new president. The resolution to spend taxpayer dollars to hire the firm awaits the county legislature's approval. ECC is at a critical juncture. Declining enrollments, increasing costs and competition from other community colleges have made it more and more difficult for the college to make ends meet. The new president will have to meet these challenges and move the college forward. We need to select the best person for this important position and for this reason I favor the use of a consultant to help identify the best candidate. The Chair of ECC's Board of Trustees refers to this as an investment rather than a cost. I agree.
Erie County Medical Center is also facing some tough choices. They would like to refinance some existing debt and borrow additional funds to improve their facilities. They have asked the county to help them with the borrowing, as our credit rating is better than theirs. In return, they are willing to give us a credit against money we are obligated to pay them every year to cover costs associated with uninsured patients. The issue is actually quite complex. I have confidence, however, in our ability to work with hospital officials and the County Executive to continue to meet the medical needs of our citizens.
The County Executive also recently announced that the county is filing suit against a number of doctors and pharmaceutical companies, alleging they pushed opioids despite evidence they were dangerously addictive. The opioid epidemic is real and has touched too many families in Erie County and across the nation. The county has already expended hundreds of thousands of dollars in a variety of areas to try and address the problem. If it can be proven in court that the big pharmaceutical companies were aware of the risks and hid them from both doctors and patients, then they ought to be forced to pay for their actions.
On a personal note, my father passed away two years ago. He had been diagnosed four months earlier with acute myeloid leukemia. He did a lot of living in those four months. He saw another Thanksgiving, another Christmas and one more wedding anniversary. This would not have been possible without the blood and platelet transfusions he received, gifts of life from so many selfless donors. To honor them, as well as my father, I participated in last month's blood drive sponsored by the family of Tonawanda teen Jed Woomer, a wonderful young man who left us way too soon. The family turned their grief into something wonderful by helping the Red Cross replenish its blood supply during a critical shortage. They should inspire us all to do what we can to help others, even in a short month like February. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Grand Island Central School District Lady Vikings Softball teams are asking for your support. The team is registered with Bottle Junction in the Grand Island Plaza as the "Softball Booster Club". The girls are hoping you bring your Super Bowl party cans and bottle returns and support girls softball. The modified, JV and Varsity teams, all will benefit from your donations.
The District is offering many varieties of conservation trees and shrubs, wildflower seed mixes, and seedling packets which have combinations of trees and shrubs chosen to attract, feed and shelter birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Landowners can practice conservation by planting seedlings and wildflowers to provide wildlife food and habitat, shelter crops and landscape, reduce heating/cooling expenses, protect water quality, reduce air pollution, and stabilize erodible land. Seedlings are also an inexpensive alternative for replacing trees that have been damaged or lost.
Thirty-seven species of trees and shrubs are available this year. The one-to-three-year-old bare root seedlings, which range in size from 6 to 24 inches, are available in lots of 10 to 500. The District is offering an expanded selection of four-year-old evergreen transplants which are more mature trees with thicker stems, more branching and more developed roots. New seedling introductions to the 2017 program are basswood, eastern ninebark, shagbark hickory, winterberry holly, pin oak, swamp white oak, northern pecan and American larch.
Order forms may be obtained by:
The District also stocks marking flags, fertilizer tablets, and tree shelters to help promote the success of your plantings. Bluebird nest boxes can be ordered through the program or be purchased at the District office. Orders are due by March 17, 2017 and pick-up will be on Saturday April 22, 2017 at the Fairgrounds in Hamburg.
Survey and Website.
From the Citizen Coalition for Wildlife & Environment
Coyote sightings are not uncommon in Grand Island and at this time of year when foliage is bare, you may easily see coyotes more often. Coyotes are afraid of people and typically avoid interactions, but with the timing of their natural life cycle, seasonal changes, and changes in their habitats and surroundings, these factors may bring coyotes into sight and contact more often.
January and February is the mating period for coyotes. Coyotes mate for life and control reproduction rates and litter sizes when the pack structure remains stable. They are attentive parents, teaching their children natural boundaries and food sources, which is why disruption of coyote pack structure can change their biology and behaviors. During spring, coyotes will select their dens and prepare for having pups. Once the pups are born in March and April, the parents take care of them over the spring and summer and work to protect and educate them.
As coyote sightings may increase January through May, so might coyote-human interactions. Coyotes looking for mates may travel more often through neighborhoods and the coyote parents taking care of their families will be more protective when coming across people or pets that are near their homes. By understanding coyote behavior and ecology and by applying common sense and using proven coyote hazing techniques, we can minimize potential conflicts and appreciate the wildlife diversity that is within our environment.
Removing food and shelter sources to reduce coyote interactions: Coyotes are keystone predators and play a vital role in maintaining the balance of local ecosystems. They are important in controlling rodent populations, which is their primary diet source, and they also eat carrion, fruits, vegetables and other small mammals.
How to scare away the coyotes you encounter outside: Coyotes are very curious and visual animals and they will observe you just as you observe them and if you are walking and you stop, they will also stop to see what you are doing. Applying simple, low intensity scare techniques - known as hazing - will tell the coyotes that they are not welcome near you or in your yard.
Protecting pets: Coyotes are most active between the hours of dusk and dawn. Potential nighttime conflicts from other wildlife can also occur as owls, hawks, eagles, and fox can also prey on pets such as cats and small dogs. Coyotes may see small pets as food, especially with habitat and environmental changes, and may see them as a threat to their territory or their pups.
Coyotes are generally reclusive animals who avoid human contact. The best approach, for their benefit and ours, is not to habituate them. Do not feed them - keep them wild and wary of people. Do not approach them and teach children that all wildlife should be admired from a safe distance far away and not approached. By promoting respect, compassion and education, the community can safely coexist with coyotes and all wildlife.
If you have questions or concerns about coyotes in your backyard, contact the Erie County SPCA to speak to wildlife experts at 716-629-3528 or email email@example.com. (After hours 716-712-0251). Coming this spring to Grand Island, a coyote educator will conduct an educational presentation all about coyotes to share information and experience on coyote ecology and conflict resolution. Look for event information coming soon! For more coyote education, visit the following web sites: Coyote Watch Canada: http://coyotewatchcanada.com/ and Project Coyote: http://www.projectcoyote.org/. Coyote educational information courtesy of Coyote Watch Canada and the Humane Society of the United States.
here for sponsor form.
flyer for complete details.
ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health ("ECDOH"), in conjunction with the SPCA Serving Erie County, the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, and the Veterinary Technology Program at Medaille College, has announced a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs, cats and ferrets to be held on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the North Buffalo Community Center. This is the first free vaccination clinic of 2017 and builds off a tremendously successful vaccination effort in 2016, when ECDOH and its partners held six clinics across Erie County and vaccinated a total of 4,635 pets.
"Our free rabies clinics are a great way for Erie County residents to help protect families and their pets from rabies" said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. "New York State law requires pet vaccinations, so I strongly encourage pet owners around the County to take advantage of this opportunity to keep them and their pets safe." Residents are cautioned that any pet is at risk of being exposed to a rabid wild animal and that rabies is always fatal in animals. Potential rabies-bearing animals such as bats often find their way into homes, as well as raccoons, foxes or skunks gaining entrance through "doggy doors" or garages. ECDOH identified 31 animals that tested positive for rabies in 2016, including two domestic cats that had not been vaccinated.
"These vaccinations are an effective way to minimize the spread of rabies from wildlife to pets and humans," added Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. "I want to remind county residents that if they or their pets have been exposed to a wild animal, or bitten by a dog or cat, they should contact the Erie County Department of Health at 716-961-6800." Erie County Legislator Peter Savage (3rd District) said, "The free rabies clinics are a remarkable service offered by Erie County, allowing pet owners a safe and convenient opportunity to vaccinate their pets at no charge. Ensuring and promoting safe vaccination is beneficial to pets and the greater community." "We are pleased to continue working with our rabies clinic partners in 2017, who truly help us provide this vital and popular service to our community," said ECDOH Senior Public Health Sanitarian Peter Tripi. "Our goal is to have 100% of Erie County's pets vaccinated to protect them from rabies. It is very important that both indoor and outdoor cats get vaccinated, regardless of if the pet owner lives in the city, the suburbs, or a rural location, as rabid animals can enter homes undetected." Additional rabies vaccination clinics will be held in May and September of 2017.
By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County LegislatorA new semester will soon begin at Canisius College. On Day 1 I will walk into my American Political Process class and tell a group of eager freshmen about public policy. I will offer a simple definition telling them that it is a course of action to attain a goal. I will then caution them not to confuse policy with goals, because a single goal can have multiple policies associated with it. I will assert that most of the time we all agree on a goal. It is the particular course of action to attain the goal upon which we differ.
Then I'll employ a sports analogy. After a disappointing season, there is widespread disagreement among Buffalo Bills fans. Although everyone agrees on the goal of finally winning a Super Bowl, fans of the team cannot agree on how to do it. Some want to keep the nucleus of the current team, including the quarterback, and tweak the defense. Others view this as foolish and prefer trading for another quarterback or drafting one. Some people just want to blow the whole thing up and start from scratch. Remember that all of these fans want the Bills to succeed. They just disagree on how to do it. Some of us can recall 20 years ago when there were fistfights in bars over whether the Bills would be better off starting Doug Flutie or Rob Johnson at quarterback. Again, they agreed on the goal, but they disagreed on the policy.
The same thing happens in government all the time. We all share the goal of great services and low taxes. Often, though, we cannot agree on the specific policies we should pursue to attain our shared goals. As we move into 2017, I foresee a number of issues confronting us where this may be the case. Some of these issues are ones we have encountered before. Such is the case with our response to the opioid epidemic which swept the nation last year and left way too many local families struggling with the effects of a loved one's addiction. Last year after much deliberation, we opted to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an opioid addiction hotline. Some people feel that this is sound policy, the best use of taxpayer dollars to combat this scourge. Others feel the money can be more effectively spent on other programs to address the situation. So we have disagreement on how to best spend the money even though all agree we cannot stand by and watch more of our neighbors perish.
This is not the only example of agreement on goals and disagreement on policies in county government. Other instances involve the futures of Erie Community College and Erie County Medical Center. Most agree that both are important community assets. Not everyone concurs, however, on how to realize their full potential for the benefit of all. So 2017 will be a year of spirited debate in the Erie County Legislature. We must be careful, though, to always remember the goals we share in common as we passionately pursue our preferred policies. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
NYS Parks Offers Fun Winter Activities - January 2017New York State Parks is offering fun activities on Grand Island this winter. For the adventurous, the state parks will offer the opportunity to try snowshoeing from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, January 8 at Beaver Island State Park and Sunday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to noon at Buckhorn State Park. Participants must call 549-1050 for the two Grand Island parks to register for these free programs and information on where to meet. The state parks have several pairs of snowshoes for participants to use. "Birding on the Niagara River" will get people outside with their binoculars from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., February 11th at Beaver Island. Participants will visit the lagoon overlook as well as a few other viewing areas. Call 282-5154 to register for the program. A "Cabin Fever Break-Out" is planned for 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 4th at Buckhorn Park, with a brisk walk through the park's great trail system, along creeks and the Niagara River, on the agenda. Call 549-1050 to register.
2016 Year in Review - January 20172016 Year in Review
The most contentious issues of 2016 on Grand Island were the Trapping Law, Tourist Home Law and the closing of the West River Parkway for a multi-use trail.