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Previous News Page

ThermoFisher Scientific Adopts Staley Road - May 2017

Click for larger view.

   ThermoFisher Scientific officially became sponsors of the Adopt -A- Highway program for Staley Road, west of Grand Island Blvd. For many years they did a once a year clean-up in the spring. The official program requires a group to do a clean-up twice a year. On May 19th, 20 something employee volunteers started out before eight am, armed with safety vests, grabbers and litter sticks. Forty bags of garbage were picked up over the course of the day.

Highway Department Removes Ash Trees - May 2017

From left Kevin Hagen, Assistant Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford, Chuck Berlinger and Steve Dickinson.

   The GI Highway Department took down 21 ash trees last week at the Town Hall. A $1000 grant paid for five replacement trees to be planted immediately. More trees will be removed after the July 4th holiday.

AFSCME Scholarship Winner - May 2017

From left: Bill Stanley union Vice President, Nicholas Dingey, and Justin Bridenbaker union President.

    Nicholas Dingey was awarded the AFSCME local 1738-A town employees union scholarship of $750. He plans on attending UB in the fall, majoring in engineering.

Macker Registration Deadline Extended - May 2017

    Grand Island, NY - Registration for the Gus Macker 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament has been extended to Monday, May 29th at midnight! This year marks the 26th year for the 3 on 3 tournament in Western New York and the third year on Grand Island. Players may go to www.macker.com to register. For more information,please contact Corey McGowan at (716) 341-1040 or corey.mcgowan89@gmail.com.

Domestic Violence Community Meeting - May 2017

   Grand Island has the most reported domestic violence cases in Erie County, according to local and county police reports. A community meeting will be held Wednesday, May 24th with Mary Travers Murphy, Executive Director of the Family Justice Center, will speak. The meeting takes place at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road at 7:00 p.m. See flyer.

Father's Day Lawnmower Race and Kevin Doring Memorial 5K Run/Walk - May 2017

   The Father's Day Lawnmower Race and Kevin Doring Memorial 5K Run/Walk is taking place on Father's Day, Sunday, June 18, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 3957 West River Road (at Long Road), Grand Island, New York. In addition to the 5K Run/Walk, there will be a Classic Car Show, Lion's Club Garage Sale, Kid Zone, and Food Trucks.
    This is a family-friendly event for all ages, and all proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Live Music will be provided by the Rick Hoover Band and the Max Yasgur Project. Registration for the Devin Doring Memorial 5K Run/Walk will begin at 9:00 a.m., with the start of the race at 10:00 a.m. Registration for the Lawnmower Races will begin at 10:00 a.m. and ends at noon, with the races taking place beginning at 2:00 p.m. The Classic Car Show is from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Grand Island Tolls Educational Forum - May 2017

    An educational forum on the Grand Island toll's environmental and health impact on the greater Buffalo Niagara region is planned for Thursday, May 25th at 6:00 p.m. at 3354 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14217. There will be presentations on local air pollution levels, toxicity effects on your health, cancer rate impact and carbon footprint. For more information go to www.GIBarrier.com.

Town of Grand Island Memorial Day Service - May 2017

    Veterans, family members, and friends are cordially invited to attend the GI Memorial Day program on Monday, May 29, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park. The park is located at the interesection of Grand Island Blvd. and Baseline Road. If raining, service will be moved to the VFW Post, 2121 Grand Island Blvd., under the pavilion. Signs will be posted if needed.

Father's Day Lawnmower Race Sponsors - May 2017

From left: Brian Runions and Floyd Doring.

   The Father's Day Lawnmower Race, Kevin Doring Walk and Car Show is scheduled for Sunday, June 18th at the West River Parkway, near Long Road. Recently, Floyd Doring accepted a gold sponsor check for $500 from his nephew Brian Runions, manager of Northtown Land Rover. Other early sponsors are the men and women of the Moose and John Pedlow Flooring. This year food trucks will be available for refreshment purchases and there will be live music.

Spring Cleaning - May 2017

By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator

   The historic rain of April has finally given way to the seemingly endless rain of May. Since this has made it virtually impossible to mow my lawn, let me instead take time to put some of my thoughts down on paper regarding the spring of 2017.
   The large amount of rain in recent weeks has hampered more than just my lawn mowing efforts. It has made patching this spring's crop of potholes a real challenge for the county's DPW, as throwing blacktop in a pothole filled with water would be counterproductive and a waste of both time and money. Another impediment for the proper patching of many of our roads is that the county crews that service Grand Island and the Town of Tonawanda come from our facility on Harlem Road in West Seneca. These crews are spending an inordinate amount of their time patching county roads on the route of next month's Ride for Roswell, which runs through their district.
   Although we are all supportive of this event, we still need to give proper attention to the rest of the county road system. That is why in a recent meeting I arranged on Grand Island, the Town of Grand Island's Highway Department agreed to work with us to insure that county roads on the island receive adequate patching in a timely fashion. We have enjoyed this sort of cooperation in the past from Grand Island, as well as from the Town of Tonawanda. When governments work together in this manner, everyone wins.
   As I reported last month, the opioid epidemic is an increasing concern for Erie County and the nation. County legislators and other officials continue to meet with service providers and other experts in an attempt to do what we can to combat addiction and its effects. Some of these conversations can be very disturbing. Recently, for instance, we were warned by a member of a criminal justice task force that the problem may get significantly worse in the not too distant future as more powerful drugs, including animal tranquilizers, make their way into Western New York.
    The County Legislature is currently considering a proposal to spend another million dollars in our fight. Like most of my colleagues, I have no qualms about spending this money to save the lives of our citizens. We want to be sure, however, that we spend the money where it will do the most good. Individuals can also aid in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The Erie County Department of Health has scheduled a number of trainings on recognizing and responding to opioid overdoses. This includes training in the use of Naloxone to treat overdoses. For more information you can visit www.erie.gov or contact my office at 858-8672.
   Finally, the Erie County Department of Health is sponsoring a free rabies vaccination clinic on Wednesday, May 24 from 4-7 pm at the Town of Tonawanda Highway Garage, located at 450 Woodward Ave. The clinic is for dogs, cats and ferrets. You can find more information on the county's website or by contacting my office. 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 kevinhardwick@erie.gov.

Rain Barrel & Compost Bin Sale - May 2017

    Erie County, the City of Buffalo and the WNY Stormwater Coalition are selling rain barrels, compost bins and accessories. Orders must be placed by May 31, 2017. See flyer for details.

Village Inn Spring Golf Outing - May 2017

    The Village Inn Spring Golf Outing is on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at Beaver Island Golf Course. It will be 9 holes starting at 11:30 a.m. The Callaway System will be used for scoring. Cost is $13 for golf, $12 for cart and buffet lunch is $10. For reservations and tee times contact Gary Roesch at groesch@gtsupplies.com or 583-7969. See flyer.

Polish Villa Food Truck at Elderwood - May 2017

    Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd., is hosting Polish Villa Food Truck from 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 12th.

Calling all Grand Island Gardeners!!! - May 2017

   The second annual Grand Island Garden Walk will be held on Sunday, July 9, 2017 from 10am to 4pm. The planning committee is currently seeking all kinds of gardens, from large to small, shady to sunny, to participate in this year's walk. The garden walk is FREE to all applicants and visitors. If you are interested in participating this year, applications are being accepted now and are available by calling Jan at 465-7396 or Nancy at 435-9738. Applications are also available online at www.grandislandgardenwalk.com. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2017. Last year's walk was a tremendous success with over 500 visitors to 19 different gardens. We are looking forward to sharing many of Grand Island's beautiful gardens once again See flyer.

Nursing Scholarship Available - May 2017

   Applications are now being accepted for the Ruth and William O. Sass Scholarship to encourage excellence in the field of nursing. Named in honor of Dr. and Mrs. William O. Sass, the scholarship is awarded annually to one or more qualified applicants pursuing a course of study for a baccalaureate degree in nursing. It is funded from interest income assigned to an endowment fund in their name at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Foundation. Scholarship recipients must be graduates of high schools in Niagara Falls, Lewiston, Grand Island, North Tonawanda or Niagara-Wheatfield.
   Other criteria for consideration include academic achievement, community involvement and commitment, nursing career goals, personal and professional references and the availability of other resources. Upon graduation, awardees are expected to apply for appropriate employment vacancies at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and to accept a position if offered. Applications must be submitted to the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Foundation no later than May 22. For information, contact the Foundation at 278-4604.

New Sign at Roundabout - May 2017

From left: Highway Department - Joe Zito, Assistant to Supervisor Cyndy Montana, Asst. Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford, Supervisor Nathan McMurray, Deputy Supervisor Jim Sharpe, Highway Department- Kevin Hagen.

    A temporary sign was placed at the roundabout on Friday, April 28th by the Grand Island Highway Department. The sign was made by Grand Island firm ASI Signage Innovations, as a temporary measure until funds can be raised for a permanent likeness. Town Hall and Highway Department representatives were on hand to make it official.

Jr. Viking Football Registration - May 2017

   The 2017 Registration for Jr. Viking Football and Cheerleading is Monday, May 22 (returning players) & Wednesday, May 24 (new players) at the Nike Base - 6pm - 8pm. See details.
    Fundraiser has been cancelled.

New Local Law Helps Farmers - May 2017

    A recent local law approved by the Town Board makes it easier for Agricultural District property owners to own farm animals. See Buffalo News story by Nancy A. Fischer. See draft of local law.

FREE Rabies Clinic - May 2017

    Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick encourages pet owners to attend the County's upcoming free rabies clinic for dogs, cats, and ferrets. Organized by the Erie County Department of Public Health, in partnership with the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, the SPCA, serving Erie County and Medaille Veterinary Technology, the clinic is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at the Town of Tonawanda Highway Garage, 450 Woodward Avenue (off of Military Rd.), Tonawanda.
   "Pet owners have a responsibility to protect their animals and their community against rabies. Last year we saw an increase in animals carrying the disease, which is why it is important to vaccinate. These free clinics offered by the county makes it easy for all pets to get the rabies vaccination," said Legislator Hardwick.
   The following requirements must be met in order to receive the rabies vaccination:
  • Pets must be at least 3 months old.
  • Proof of previous rabies vaccination must be provided to receive a three-year certificate; otherwise a one-year certificate will be issued.
  • All dogs, cats and ferrets must be restrained using a leash and/or pet carrier.
        An additional clinic is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at the Broadway Market, 999 Broadway, Buffalo (parking ramp in the back). For additional information, please call Legislator Hardwick at 858-8672 or e-mail, Kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Check for County Plowing Presented - May 2017

    From left Highway Superintendent Jim Tomkins, Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw and Assistant Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford.

       Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw stopped by the Grand Island Highway Department garage on Tuesday, May 2nd to drop off a check for the plowing of county roads. There are 71.62 miles of Erie County roads on Grand Island. The total check for the winter 2016/2017 was $273,865.34.

    Operation Safe Stop - April 2017

    Members of law enforcement, Transportation Supervisor Theresa Alizadeh, bus drivers and mechanics.
    Click for larger view.

           The Grand Island Town Police & Erie County Sheriff's Dept. participated with the Grand Island Central School District in Operation Safe Stop on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Operation Safe Stop is a state-wide enforcement effort aimed at drivers who fail to stop for stopped school buses, and is part of the District's School Bus Safety Program. An estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass New York State school buses every day. The police followed school buses on their morning bus run where drivers often fail to stop for the buses.
        NYS Law States:
  • It is illegal - and very dangerous - to pass a stopped school bus when the large red lights located on top of the bus are flashing. Flashing lights mean the bus is picking up or discharging students.
  • You must stop whether you are approaching the school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear.
  • You must always stop for flashing red lights, even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds.
  • The first-time fine for illegally passing a school bus is a $250 to $400 fine, 5 points on your license, and/or possibly 30 days in jail.
  • Bicycles are supposed to follow the same rules.

    National Drug Take Back Day - April 2017

       Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces local sites that are part of the National Drug Take Back event happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. Collection sites include: Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island, with the Erie County Sheriff's Office, and Kenmore Mercy Hospital, 2950 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore, with the Tonawanda Police Department. Legislator Hardwick also reminds residents that the Erie County Sheriff's Office maintains prescription and needle collection boxes that are available throughout the county. For a list of locations, please visit www.erie.gov/sheriff or www.erie.gov/health.

    Work Day at DeGlopper Memorial Park - April 2017

       The DeGlopper Memorial Park Expansion committee is looking for help on Saturday, April 29th at 9:00 a.m. Everyone is welcome to lend a hand. The park is located at the intersection of Baseline Road and Grand Island Blvd. Call (716) 725-5750 if you have any questions.

    Sidewalks Planned for GI Blvd. - April 2017

        A story in the Buffalo News on April 24, 2017 announced that state funding will cover 80% of a $1.2 million project to develop sidewalks along Grand Island Blvd. from Webb Road, north to Fantasy Island. See story by Nancy A. Fischer.

    Middle School Student Threatens School - April 2017

       A notice from Superintendent Dr. Brian Graham was emailed on Monday morning, April 24, 2017.
        "It was reported to the Grand Island Central School District at 6:45 a.m. that a Grand Island Middle School student posted on Snapchat a threat to harm the school. School officials immediately met with law enforcement and began investigating the threat. The district's threat assessment protocols were put into place and students were released from buses when the school was determined to be safe.
       Superintendent Dr. Brian Graham and Middle School Principal John Fitzpatrick, along with law enforcement, went directly to the student's home this morning to begin the investigation. The student was at home and at no time was on school property. The matter is now being handled by law enforcement.
       Since this was communicated on Snapchat, we ask parents to continue to reinforce with their children if they see social media postings that are of concern to them, to share that with parents, a school counselor and or teacher. Should any student need assistance or have any concerns, they can talk to their school counselors or school social worker or psychologist. If parents have questions, they can call the superintendent at 773-8800.

    Whitey Dlugosz Fundraiser - April 2017

       Danny Buckley would like to challenge all Islanders to raise funds for his good friend Whitey Dlugosz. Whitey recently had surgery for an aggressive form of cancer, removing a tumor on his neck, and is now going through chemo and radiation. Treatments and surgery are very expensive, and a gofundme page has been created. You can donate here, or you can drop off donations at the bowling alley.

    iMapInvasives Spring Training Workshop - April 2017

       iMapInvasives in an online mapping tool that supports efforts to protect New York State from invasive species. Learn about the program and become trained to contribute data by atttending a iMapInvasives training session. The Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board has scheduled a session on Saturday, May 6th at eh Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road, starting at 10:30 a.m. See flyer for details.

    Arbor Day Celebration - April 2017

       Arbor Day will be celebrated in the Town Commons on Saturday, April 29th from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. The goal is to replace the dying ash trees with a few new tree species each year. Join the Girl Scouts of Grand Island, the EAB Task Force and the Conservation Advisory Board for the first planting. See flyer.

    Boater Cooperation Needed - April 2017

       Press Release: Tuesday, April 18, 2017
       Boater Cooperation Needed to Help Protect Bald Eagles and Habitat Improvements at Strawberry Island
        As boating season approaches, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) remind boaters to observe the signage, buoys, and various motorized boating restrictions in place around Strawberry Island in the Niagara River. The restrictions are part of an ongoing, multi-agency effort to protect critical Bald Eagle nesting habitat and to preserve recently installed habitat improvement projects at the island.
        "We are extremely fortunate to have a nesting pair of Bald Eagles here in the Niagara River," said DEC Regional Natural Resources Supervisor Paul McKeown. "We need your help to ensure that their critical nesting habitat is undisturbed and the ecosystem that they depend on remains protected". Avoiding human disturbance at Bald Eagle nests is critically important to protecting the species and ensuring the success of nesting sites. Disturbance through noise or human proximity to nest sites can cause Bald Eagle nest site failure or even abandonment of nesting territory. In addition, high wakes, propellers and anchors from motorized boats can cause damage to wetland habitat planting projects and sensitive ecosystem areas.
       Boaters can help minimize disruptions to the Bald Eagle nesting site by:
  • Observing all boating restrictions in place, including federal navigation laws that require maintaining a 5 mph speed limit while traveling within 100 feet of the shoreline.
  • Eliminating all motorized activity within 660 feet at the north end of the island's cove area by observing the restricted area marked with buoys.
  • Adhering to signage restricting any visitor access (including non-motorized vessels) within 330 feet of the north end of the islands cove area during the Bald Eagle nesting season that lasts from January to the end of September in a typical year.
  • Sharing this information with others who recreate in the Niagara River and Strawberry Island Area.
  • Reporting any observed illegal activity in the Strawberry Island area to DEC's 24 hour tip hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).
       State DEC and OPRHP have collaboratively enacted a plan to protect the Bald Eagle pair nesting on Strawberry Island in the Niagara River. The plan includes a multi-year effort to restore wetland habitat at the island and to minimize the effects of motorized boating activity through the restrictions listed above. The wetland restoration project, which began last year, will be ongoing through the end of 2017.
        Law enforcement divisions from OPRHP, DEC and the Erie County Sheriff Department are cooperating in the effort to enforce restricted area rules in place to protect the Bald Eagles and habitat projects at Strawberry Island. Visitors to the island are reminded that any repeated disturbance to Bald Eagles by humans is unlawful under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and under the State Environmental Conservation Law.
       The Bald Eagle, currently listed as a threatened species in New York, continues to make a remarkable recovery across the state. New York State was instrumental in the restoration and recovery of the Bald Eagle in the northeast United States and continues to play an important role in providing suitable habitat for our nation's symbol. More information about Bald Eagles can be found on DEC's website.

    Supervisor Suggests Moratorium on Apartments - April 2017

       Supervisor Nathan McMurray made a motion at the Monday, April 17th Town Board meeting to have a one year moratorium on the building of any new apartment complexes on Grand Island. At least until the development of the new Master Plan is complete. See Buffalo News story by Nancy Fischer.

    Linda Basta Memorial Charity Walk - April 2017

       The Linda Basta Memorial Charity Walk to benefit the Arthritis National Research Foundation will take place at Veterans Park, 1845 Bedell Road on Saturday, May 6th. The walk is from 9am-12pm. Christina Podlucky started the walk in honor of her mom. To read her heart warming story and to sign up or donate, click here. Flyer.

    26th Annual Gus Macker Tournament - April 2017

       Corey McGowan Productions is hosting the 26th annual Gus Macker 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament on Saturday & Sunday, June 10 & 11, 2017 at the center of Town. Grand Island Blvd. will be closed Friday evening through Sunday night from Whitehaven to Baseline Road. Special events open to the public are a free throw contest, 3-pt shoot out and "Little Gus" shot clock. The cost is $144 and you can register here.

    Maple Grove Cemetery Annual Meeting - April 2017

       Maple Grove Cemetery, located on Stony Point Road, will be having their annual meeting on Monday, May 8th at 6:00 p.m. at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road.

    Team Luke Booster Night - April 2017

       Join Team Luke at Dick & Jenny's on Wednesday, April 19th, 5pm-10pm, for the Ride For Roswell Team Luke Booster Night. 20% of every food puchase will be donated to the team, just mention Team Luke. There will be a 50/50 drawing and take out orders do count!

    GICS Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program - April 2017

       Lottery Form and Registration Applications for GICS Universal Pre-Kindergarten Accepted Until May 19.
       The Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Program within the Grand Island School District runs two UPK sites. 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). To be eligible for the UPK program a child must be four years of age on or before December I, 2017 and a Grand Island resident.
       Two documents must be completed to register - the registration application packet and the UPK lottery application. The documents are available online at www.grandislandschools.org or call Susan Carter at 773-8818 for information. Appointments must be made in advance to register your chiId. Please call 773-8800 extension "0" to schedule an appointment. The application deadline is Friday, May 19, 2017. The last appointment to register on this date will be 2 p.m. Families will receive a "lottery ticket" which identifies their number in the lottery system.
        Grand Island Central School District will hold a lottery to determine enrollment for the 2017-2018 UPK program. Lottery results will be announced during an open meeting on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 2 p.m. in the Grand Island High School Professional Development Room, located at 1100 Ransom Road. 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.

    White Supremacist Fliers Found - April 2017

       White Supremacist fliers were found on Wednesday, April 5th in the Woodstream Meadows subdivision. The fliers were signed by a group called the Aryan Renaissance Society.
    See Buffalo News story by Aaron Besecker published April 7, 2017.

    Assumption Forest Preserve - April 2017

        The WNY Land Conservancy would like to purchase 140 acres of the 157-acre Assumption Cemetary located at 2950 Whitehaven Road, to create a forest preserve. The property is owned by the Catholic Cemetaries of the Diocese of Buffalo. The purchasing agency is requesting funds from the Niagara River Greenway Commission, which will consider the proposal at a Tuesday, May 16, 2017 meeting at 3:00 p.m. at DeVeaux Woods State Park office, 3160 DeVeaux Woods Drive, Niagara Falls, 14305. Public comment on this project will be accepted through May 8, 2017. The project proposal is available at www.niagaragreenway.org. Comments may be submitted to Jeanne.Leccese@parks.ny.gov or by hard copy to the Commission at 3160 DeVeaux Woods Drive, Niagara Falls, NY 14305.
    See Buffalo News story by Nancy Fischer, published April 7, 2017.

    Electronics Recycling Day - April 2017

       An Electronic Recycling Day will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the GM Tonawanda Engine Plant #1, 2995 River Road, between Sheridan Drive and Vulcan, from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Computers, TVs, phones etc. See flyer for details.

    Supervisor Requests High-Speed Tolling System - April 2017

        Supervisor Nathan McMurray recently released a request to replace the Grand Island Bridge tolls with a high-speed tolling system. You can see an in-depth press release here, that will be sent to New York State.

    GI Farmers Host Spring Market - April 2017

    Mary Stewart Photos.

       The Grand Island Farmers Market held its spring market this past Sunday, April 2nd, at the Knights of Columbus hall on Whitehaven Road. There was an array of items to purchase from home made jelly and herbal tea to baked goods and pet items. The market will also be open May 6th, from 9 am to 2 pm. The Thompson Farm Farmers Market is scheduled to start May 15th and will open on Mondays from 4 to 7 p.m. - weather permitting. It is located on Long Road near Grand Island Blvd.

    National Fuel Reminds Public to Call Before You Dig - April 2017

        (April 4, 2017) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - Now that spring is here, many homeowners, business owners, schools and communities are planning outdoor landscaping projects. National Fuel reminds individuals and professionals to Call Before You Dig.
        New York state law requires residents to call 811 - a free service - prior to digging in order to prevent accidental damage to underground utility lines. Before starting any landscaping, gardening or outdoor improvement projects this year, call 811, a toll-free national phone number, or visit www.call811.com. The national 811 phone number connects callers with local One Call Centers. Operators record the excavation locations and notify National Fuel of callers' plans. National Fuel then dispatches professional locators to mark the approximate positioning of lines for free. It's a fast, easy way to be safe and protect those within the vicinity of the project.
        "All excavation projects - even small or shallow digging projects like planting trees and shrubs, or installing a fence or mailbox require a call," said Emily Ciraolo, spokesperson for National Fuel. "Many of the pipeline leaks and emergencies we respond to each year occur when homeowners and businesses dig on their properties without knowing the location of underground utility lines. These types of accidents can be easily avoided by calling 811 before you dig - anywhere on your property."
       The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a national association representing the utility industry and committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure, states that:
  • There are more than 20 million miles of underground utilities in the United States.
  • Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
  • When you make the call to 811, damage occurs less than 1 percent of the time.
       New York homeowners and contractors should call 811 at least 2 and no more than 10 business days in advance of the start of their projects. As always, if you smell gas, leave fast! If a rotten-egg natural gas odor is present, leave the premises immediately without turning on or off any electrical appliances and call National Fue''s emergency line (1-800-444-3130) from a different location. If you smell an odor of gas outdoors, please call National Fuel's emergency number and provide the address nearest to the site of the odor.

    Senators Reinstate Child Care Funding - April 2017

        Albany, NY - (April 5, 2017) ...New York State Senators Chris Jacobs and Patrick Gallivan succeeded in a last minute effort this evening to reinstate $500,000 in funding for the Facilitated Enrollment Child Care Program in Erie County. The program helps low and moderate income parents that are working attain affordable child care. As budget negotiations neared the April 1st deadline last week, it was clear that the $500,000 allocated in last year's budget was not included in the spending plan that was eventually passed this evening.
       "Child care often is a huge impediment to people seeking or trying to keep full-time employment," said Senator Jacobs. "This program provides much needed assistance as they transition to becoming more economically independent," said Jacobs. "This program is a worthy public investment to assure these parents succeed in their efforts to achieve employment success," said Senator Gallivan. The Facilitated Enrollment Child Care Subsidy program is operated out of the Workforce Development Institute. The program offers subsidies to parents earning less than 275% of the federal poverty level. It is designed to support parents who earn too much to qualify for the Erie County Child Care Subsidy but cannot afford quality childcare on their own.

    Meals on Wheels Support - March 2017

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator

        Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick has sponsored two resolutions that call on members of Congress to maintain funding for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and Meals on Wheels in the federal budget. Both resolutions were approved 11-0 by the Erie County Legislature at the March 23, 2017 session. "Heating homes during harsh Western New York winters can be difficult for the more than 92,000 families who benefit from HEAP assistance. This program offers help to those in need, including seniors and families with young children, and should not be cut," said Legislator Hardwick.
        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. The Legislature also approved a resolution urging Congress to restore funding for Meals on Wheels. In Erie County, more than 900,000 meals are delivered annually to clients. "I am very grateful to our Meals on Wheels volunteers, distribution site directors, and central staff at the commissary for their hard work and compassion. Meals on Wheels of WNY and independent sites are to be commended and must be funded in the federal budget to allow the continuation of service to those in need every week. We are talking about a relatively small budget item that has a significant impact," said Legislator Hardwick. For additional information, please visit www.erie.gov/legislature, or contact Legislator Hardwick at (716) 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Scenic Woods Project Begins - March 2017

        On March 23, 2017, Supervisor Nathan McMurray announced the Scenic Woods project was being started on Friday, March 24th, with Phase One. See the Scenic Woods Map 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 acquired 209 acres in the area of Ransom Road and East River Road with mitigation funds from the Army Corp of Engineers and the Fish & Wildlife Service. 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.

    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.

       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.

    Elderwood Spring Celebration - March 2017

        Elderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd., is hosting a spring celebration on Saturday, April 1st at 2:30 p.m. There will be a kids activity station, free take home picture with the Easter Bunny, refreshments, treat bag, petting zoo, Dave Jeffers Magic and basket raffle.

    Family Health Fair - March 2017

    Event Chair Cindy Sharpe RN gets her face painted by Kelsey Mahoney.

    Fire Captain Don Portik demonstrates CPR to Victoria Huang and mom Kathy Cheng.
    Mary Stewart photos.

        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.

    Spring Farmers Market - March 2017

        Grand Island Farmers Market is hosting a Spring Farmers Market on Sunday, April 2nd from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 1841 Whitehaven Rd. Local vendors will have meat, eggs, herbal teas, honey, maple syrup, baked goods and more! Website.

    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 2017

       Dozens 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 2017

       The 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 2017

       WNY 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

    Dialogue - March 2017

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator

        February 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 kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Great Lakes Initiative & Tolls - March 2017

    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 2017

       The 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.

    Conservative Party Calls For Candidates - March 2017

        The Grand Island Conservative Party is putting out a call for qualified conservative candidates to fill the following positions for this fall's elections:
  • Town council (two positions)
  • Town justice
  • Town superintendent of highways
       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."

    Grand Island Welcome Center - March 2017

       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.

    Joint Town Board School Board Meeting - March 2017

        A joint meeting with the GI Town Board and the GICSD Board of Education will take place on Thursday, March 2nd at 6:30 p.m. at the Professional Development Room in the High School.

    Town Government Positions Available - February 2017

       There are four positions in Town government up for election this fall; Town Council (two), Town Justice and Town Superintendent of Highways. If you are interested in these positions contact your local political party.
    Conservative Committee: Send a letter requesting an interview to GI Conservative Party, PO Box 76, Grand Island, NY and email giconservativeparty@gmail.com. Letter received by March 10, 2017

    Democratic Committee: Contact Democratic Chairman Jim Sharpe at jsharpe3138@me.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 deanmor@roadrunner.com.

    World Day of Prayer - February 2017

       The World Day of Prayer takes place on Friday, March 3rd and will be held at St. Stephen RC Church, 2100 Baseline Road at 10:00 a.m. Men and women from churches all over the Island will be participating. The women of the World Day of Prayer Committee of the Philippines call us to worship considering the words: "Am I being unfair to you?"
       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.

    Island Man Arrested for Metal Theft - February 2017

       Kenmore Police arrested Ryan Hudson, 29, of Bedell Road on Friday, February 17th, after finding him in possession of 30 steel pipes taken from a Tonawanda steel company. The pipes were valued at $1,500. A company employee found Hudson loading the pipes into his vehicle and alerted authorities. He was found within an hour of leaving the premises and charged with a felony count of fourth-degree grand larceny.

    Rus Thompson Pleads Guilty to Voting Fraud - February 2017

       Rus Thompson pled guilty Thursday, February 16th to a misdemeanor offense in a case from September 2015. See Buffalo News story by Melinda Miller

    Elderwood Grand Island Celebrates Fat Tuesday - February 2017

        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.

    Tonawanda Coke Impact Study - February 2017

        A public meeting will be held on Thursday, February 16th at Tonawanda City Hall, 200 Niagara Street regarding the Tonawanda Coke plant impact on Tonawanda and Grand Island residents. It will be held from 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The 10-year, $11 million study will be done by U. of Buffalo public health researchers. See Buffalo News story here.

    Big Night for Salamandars - February 2017

        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.

    2017 Garden Walk Planned - February 2017

    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 grandislandgardenwalk@gmail.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 Elected President of Somalia - February 2017

       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.

    Golf Course Proposals Wanted - February 2017

       New York State is looking for proposals to operate the golf course, pro services, shop and concessions at Beaver Island Golf Course. The contract would be for five years, and proposals submitted by February 22, 2017 at the State Parks office. See details here.

    Making the Most of a Short Month - February 2017

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator

        Just 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 kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Drugs, Addiction, and our Children -February 2017

       One Island, One Team and VCMS PTA is hosting a program on "Drugs, Addiction and our Children" on Wednesday, February 15th at 7:00 p.m. at the Grand Island High School, Room 110. Everyone is welcome. See flyer.

    Deadline Approaching for all Property Tax Exemptions - February 2017

        March 1 is the deadline for all Basic STAR (apply online at tax.ny.gov or by phone at 518-457-2036) Enhanced/Senior STAR and Veterans property tax exemptions to be added to the assessment roll for School year 2017/2018 and Town/County tax year 2018. 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.

    Donate Your Returns to Lady Vikings Softball - February 2017

        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.

    Tree & Shrub Seedlings Available - February 2017

       ERIE COUNTY, NY - Order forms for the 2017 Conservation Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale are now available from Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District.
       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:
  • stopping at the District office at 50 Commerce Way in East Aurora (behind the Post Office), or
  • by calling (716) 652-8480 ext. 5, or
  • by printing the order form here or at the District website at www.ecswcd.org .
        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.

    Expand Firefighters' Benefits Law - January 2017

       (ALBANY, NY) - New York State Senator Chris Jacobs (SD-60) voted in favor of Senate Bill S1411, which expands the Volunteer Firefighters' Benefits Law. Jacobs was also a co-sponsor of the bill. "Volunteer firefighters in our community deserve our support and respect," said Senator Jacobs. "Every time a volunteer firefighter leaves their family to respond to a fire they do so at great exposure and risk. The least we can do for those who volunteer to fight fires in our communities is to ensure that they receive the best health care possible for any illnesses or complications, including cancer, that they develop as a result of the work they do to keep us safe." The bill expands coverage to volunteer firefighters with at least five years of service who developed lymphoma or leukemia after their service, and coverage for volunteer firefighters with at least 10 years of service who develop stomach, skin, breast, prostate and other reproductive cancers after their service. Volunteer firefighters would have had to pass their physical upon entry into the firefighter service with no cancer diagnosis.

    Grand Island Farmers Market Survey - January 2017

       Help to make the Grand Island Farmers Market even better in 2017! Please take a look at our new website and complete the survey. The survey will help guide the Market committee in selecting vendors and make the market experience exciting for all. Survey and Website.

    Town/County Tax Bills Mailed - January 2017

       Town Clerk Patricia A. Frentzel announced that the 2017 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. The regular office hours are 8:30am - 5:00pm. The office will be open Saturday, February 11, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is February 15. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of February 15 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made February 16 and later. Payments can be made until June 30, 2017. After this date, payments must be sent to the County.

    Coyote Coexistence in Grand Island - January 2017

    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.
  • Remove potential food sources from your yards (unsecured trash or compost, pet/livestock food left outside or unsecured, bird seed fallen from feeders, fallen fruit) – not only are they potential coyote food sources but they also attract the wildlife, such as the rodents, that are natural prey for coyotes.
  • Pick up dog feces as this can attract coyotes to your yard or areas.
  • Do not feed coyotes - anywhere or at any time!
  • Check your yard, outdoor buildings and porches for openings that wildlife may want to enter to make a den or nest - repair broken boards to eliminate openings.
  • Never allow a coyote to linger or bed down near your home - scare it away.
       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.
  • In a very firm and loud voice, yell "Go away coyote!" and wave your arms above your head. Make yourself big and loud!
  • To be even louder to scare away a coyote, you can also use a shaker can (coins/pebbles placed in a metal can), whistles, air horns, bang pots, and you can throw small objects towards and not at the coyote, or pop open an umbrella.
  • Do not turn your back or run from a coyote and do not allow your pet to chase or harass a coyote.
  • Pick up small pets and small children when you see a coyote near you.
  • To deter them from entering your yard, you can use flashlights, motion-operated lights, tape-recorded human noises, and ammonia-soaked rags.
       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.
  • Keep pets under your watch and control - accompany your pets on a leash outdoors after dusk, especially in backyards (unfenced and fenced). Keep pets indoors at night or enclosed in kennels.
  • Obey local leash laws when walking dogs in yards, neighborhoods, and parks.
  • Keep cats indoors to protect them - letting cats roam can actually draw coyotes into the area.
  • Keep chickens, rabbits and other small animals in covered enclosures, constructed with heavy mesh wire. Coyotes, raccoons and weasels can break through chicken coop wire.
  • Neuter pets - although a rare occurrence, coyotes may mate with domesticated dogs.
        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 wildlife.spcaec@gmail.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.

    Father's Day Walk/Run Lawnmower Racing Series - January 2017

       Father's Day Walk/Run Lawnmower Racing Series will take place on Sunday, June 18th on West River Parkway near Long Road. This year the committee is hoping for a sanctioned 5K run, car show, expanded kid zone and a food truck rodeo. Sponsors are being sought for the event. Click here for sponsor form.

    Water Department Announces Increase in Rates - January 2017

       The Town of Grand Island Water Billing Department announces an increase to the water rate and administrative fee. Effective 1/1/17, the water usage rate has increased $.15 from $2.85/1,000 gallons of usage to $3.00/1,000 gallons of usage. The administrative fee has increased from $2.00 per quarter to $3.00 per quarter.

    "Just For Kids" February Break Camp- January 2017

       "Just For Kids" February Break Camp runs February 21 - 24 from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. at Sidway Elementary School. There will be fun-filled and mysterious activities for kids ages 5-12, includes breakfast, lunch, snack and all activities. See flyer for complete details.

    18-Acre Solar Farm Planned for GI - January 2017

       A story in the Buffalo News published January 18th was written by Nancy Fischer and details the proposed 18-acre solar farm to be located on Lang Blvd., off of Grand Island Blvd. See story here.

    Rabies Vaccination Clinic - January 2017

       Free Vaccination Event for Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets; ECDOH, Partners Vaccinated over 4,600 pets at 6 clinics in 2016 .
        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.

    Policy and Goals 101 - January 2017

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator

       A 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 kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    Services in the Community for Caregivers Program - January 2017

        Ellderwood at Grand Island, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. is hosting a breakfast speaker series by the Alzheimer's Association on Wednesday, January 25th at 10:30 a.m. Admission is free but space is limited. Please RSVP by January 20th to 773-5900. Breakfast foods, coffee, tea, and juice will be served. You will have a chance to win a basket with $100 value.

    Ken-Ton Closet Donation - January 2017

        The Grand Island School Related Professionals recently made a donation to The Ken-Ton Closet. The Ken-Ton closet provides clothing for kids in need. Donations were collected in all of the buildings with all of the departments participating. School Related Professionals are the non-instruction personnel employed by the Grand Island School District. The donation was highly appreciated. Union President Michelle Driess implemented this drive and they hope to be able to continue supporting others in need in the future.

    NYS Parks Offers Fun Winter Activities - January 2017

       New 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 2017

       2016 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.
  • After much public discussion, a resolution was adopted by the Town Board on November 28, 2016, to approve a trapping permit for Josh Shipman to trap on three Town owned parcels. They were Woods Creek/Bike Path, Town Water Tank Triangle (bordered by Stony Point and Whitehaven) and Love Road (39.09 acre parcel on north side of Love Road at Alt Blvd.). Shortly after, the Woods Creek/Bike Path was removed from the permit for allowable trapping.
  • At this point the Tourist Home Law voted in, Fall 2015, is the current law, meaning tourist homes are illegal. An effort to revise the law was voted down at a meeting December 6th. There are 9 properties asking the Zoning Board for a variance to allow the continuance of a non-conforming use. They are: 2012 East River, 3541 West River, 3595 West River, 80 Ward Park, 76 Ward Park, 70 Carl, 2881 Fix Road, 1900 & 2124 East River. The next meeting of the Zoning Board is January 5, 2017.
  • 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.