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Upward Basketball League Sign-Up/Evaluation - December 2019Cornerstone Church, 1290 Whitehaven Road is sponsoring Upward Basketball, for ages K - 8th grade. First evaluation is Saturday, December 14th. First game Saturday, January 11th. Teams are created for our Upward basketball league here on Grand Island. Sign your kids and their friends up! K-8th grade. This league is for all skill levels (new to basketball and those who play travel and special needs)! Evaluations for players are this Saturday. The schedule for evaluations and Game Day for each age group is below. Free coffee for parents and FULL snack shack to purchase food/drinks/snacks for the players!
Here is the schedule for this season for those who need it. The times are set so it's first come first serve. Evaluations (Dec. 14th): K-1: 9:00-10:00; 2nd-3rd: 9:00-10:00; 4th-5th: 10:30-12:00; 6th-8th: 12:00-2:00.
Gameday: K-1: 9:00-10:45; 2nd-3rd: 11:00-12:45; 4th-5th: 1:00-2:45; 6th-8th: 3:00-4:45. Register for basketball here: https://registration.upward.org/UPW70197 --- Register for Cheerleading here: https://registration.upward.org/UPW70197.
Balancing Priorities in the 2020 Erie County Budget - December 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
Government budgets are important. Look at a budget and you can tell what the government’s real priorities are. When we budget we put our money where our mouths are. In this respect, the Erie County Budget is a good example.
I represent the Towns of Grand Island and Tonawanda. But I also represent a city, namely the City of Tonawanda. The needs of each of these municipalities are not necessarily the same as the needs of the other two. I try to be mindful of this when working on the county budget. This year, County Executive Mark Poloncarz sent the Legislature a good budget. It had money to operate the many services that county residents rely on and also contained funding for a number of his new initiatives.
One of these is his proposal to study the feasibility of a county owned internet system he dubbed Erie Net. If this plan comes to fruition, the county would build the backbone of a countywide system which private internet providers could then lease. This would provide more internet provider choices to both residents and businesses. The county executive’s proposed budget also contained a property tax cut of a dozen cents from $4.84 to $4.72 per $1,000 of equalized assessed valuation.
Upon receipt of the executive’s proposed budget in October, we in the Legislature worked with him to make it even better by reflecting some of our priorities. We established, for instance, $200,000 in funding for the WNY Law Center to assist us in addressing the problem of abandoned homes that afflicts too many neighborhoods in every corner of the county. We also included funding for sub-oxone treatment for addicted prisoners in our holding center and correctional facility. The scourge of addiction in our community impacts all of us either directly or indirectly and has ruined too many lives. So we felt that the need to address this problem.
We also added more funding for county roads. This will help my constituents in Grand Island and the Town of Tonawanda. Over the years, I have worked closely with officials of the two towns and the county’s DPW to improve their county roads. As a result, county roads in the Town of Tonawanda are the best in the system and Grand Island is getting there. The City of Tonawanda, however, has no county roads. Yet city taxpayers pay the same property tax rate as everyone else in the county despite deriving no benefit from county highway funding. That is why I proposed setting aside $250,000 in the 2020 County Budget to compensate the City of Tonawanda for their lack of county roads.
We also added funding for a number of worthwhile organizations in the budget. These include senior centers in Grand Island and the Tonawandas, Brighton Place, the Ken-Ton Closet, Ken-Ton Meals on Wheels, American Legion Post 264, Vietnam Veterans Post 77, VFW Post 9249, the Grand Island Historical Society and a number of others. We then managed to cut enough from the original budget to reduce the property tax rate even further. In the end, I believe we produced a budget that balanced the needs of all Erie County residents.
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.
Hands on Holiday Event at Welcome Center - December 2019Taste NY is hosting "Hands-On Holiday" event at the NYS Welcome Center, 1999 Alvin Road, on Saturday, December 14th from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. You may enjoy many crafts including a live holiday door swag lead by Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, 6 different ornaments made out of recycled material for your tree, and holiday cookie decorating! Learn about the 6 different NYS Certified and Grown trees we have on display and stay for a tree lighting and shopping from local artisans and vendors. And, of course, no holiday party is complete without samples of food from around the state! See flyer.
Help with Heating Bills Now Available - December 2019(Dec. 3, 2019) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. If you need help with your heating bill, National Fuel can help. A customer outreach event will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14th from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at National Fuel’s Customer Assistance Center located at the Appletree Business Park, 2875 Union Rd, Cheektowaga, NY. Representatives from both National Fuel and Erie County will be on hand to assist with the HEAP application process. Appointments are necessary so please contact 716-686-6123 for scheduling purposes.
HEAP is a federally funded program that provides assistance to eligible customers to pay their home heating bills. National Fuel customers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for assistance as funds are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Grant amounts vary and will be provided only while HEAP funding remains available. Additional assistance may be available for those with a heating emergency. The maximum regular HEAP grant for customers who use natural gas to heat their homes is $401. HEAP grants are immediately posted to customer accounts when they are received from New York state. HEAP eligibility is determined using the last four weeks of your gross household income. You may be eligible to receive HEAP benefits if your gross household income is at or below gross income limit.
New Play "Joseph and Mary" at Kaegebein School - December 2019A new original musical, "Joseph and Mary" will be performed at Kaegebein School auditorium on Friday, December 13th (8pm), Saturday, 14th (8pm) and Sunday, 15th (2:30pm). The play is a holiday fundraising event for St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church Charitable Ministries and the Grand Island Community Food Bank. Tickets available at the door. See flyer.
White Whiskers Sr. Dog Sanctuary Info Meeting - December 2019
White Whiskers Senior Dog Sanctuary of Western New York will be a unique dog shelter in the Buffalo NY area. We are an all-volunteer venture that aims to ease the stress that senior dogs experience when they lose their homes by providing a compassionate option for them to live out their years in safety, comfort, and peace. On Monday, December 9th, a Grand Island Town Hall will take place at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Rd. from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Farmer & Agricultural Workshops at Welcome Center - December 2019Beginning farmers can learn the basics about crop insurance in a free workshop at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 10th in the Western New York Welcome Center, 1999 Alvin Road, Grand Island. It will be led by Sharon Bachman of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County and Katelyn Walley-Stoll of the Cornell Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program.
Also at the Welcome Center at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 10th, Cornell Cooperative Extension will offer a class on how to develop a marketing plan for an agricultural business. Registration is $15. For more info and to register for either session, call Jolie Hobit at 652-5400, ext. 176, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly's Country Store Donates to DeGlopper Park - December 2019
From left: Kevin Kelly, Air Force Reserve Staff Sergeant Alex Kelly, expansion committee members Ray DeGlopper, Alan Lee and of course SANTA!A check presentation was made on Tuesday, December 3rd at Kelly's Country Store. The Kelly family raised $1500.00 at the 2018 Christmas tree sale and donated it to the DeGlopper Park Memorial Expansion Fund. On hand for the check presentation was owner Kevin Kelly, his son Air Force Reserve Staff Sergeant Alex Kelly, expansion committee members Ray DeGlopper & Alan Lee and Santa! This years beneficiary will be the GI Fire Company. Trees are available for purchase from 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. until they are gone.
Tree Ordinance Explained - November 2019Proposed Tree Ordinance
By Councilman Mike Madigan
Above is the redlined Tree Ordinance that will be further reviewed and edited on Monday, November 25th at the 3:00 p.m. Workshop - First Floor Town Hall conference room.
The primary goal of this law is to require a 60 day review (controlled by a permit) prior to clearcutting for any housing development or commercial development. This permitting requirement does not impact most property owners on Grand Island. Most other parts of the law pre-existed regarding town trees in parks and on right of ways.
What the law does:
Requires commercial or housing developers to submit for a permit prior to clear cutting.
Requires a response from the town board within 60 days (a tree advisory board advises the town board who decides action - if any). Failure to respond within 60 days is a defacto approval.
What this law does not do:
Does not stop any private property owner, who is not submitting a site plan for a housing or commercial development, from at any time clearcutting their land.
Does not create endless process - after sixty days, if the Town Board has not responded, the developer is considered approved and may proceed with their plan.
It does not prevent developer from clearcutting - it just creates a permitting process that may include mitigation.
Holiday Makers Market at Welcome Center - November 2019GRAND ISLAND, New York -The Taste NY Market at the new Western NY Welcome Center has gathered an array of local artisans to host a Holiday Makers Market for the community.
The event will be held on Friday, November 22, 2019 from 2-7 p.m. inside the Western NY Welcome Center. Browse and sample a wide selection of New York State products and unique gifts from Taste NY vendors! Enjoy crafts with the whole family as well. Check out Taste NY gift baskets for personalized holiday gift giving.
The Market showcases a wide variety of dairy products; craft beer and other specialty beverages; local, farm-fresh fruits and vegetables; New York sauces, snacks, and syrups; preserved and pickled products; locally made ice cream; sandwiches and baked good; coffee and tea; and artisan gifts.
Participating vendors offering local food and gifts include: Nando’s Pizzelles, Every Good Herb, Thompson Farms, Mimi’s Posies, Herb’N Garden, Coop Bakery, Everything Grand Island, Buffalo Gals, Wrights Homestead, Alpine Made, Jim’s Metal Kettle, and Go Veggies. The Taste NY Market is actively seeking new vendors for the store and special events. For more information email email@example.com.
Island Family Indicted in 2018 Bank Robberies - November 2019BUFFALO, N.Y., Monday, November 18, 2019 (U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York) - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging four members of a Grand Island, NY, family for their roles in two bank robberies. Timothy L. Mulvey, 33, is charged with aggravated bank robbery; entering a bank with intent to commit a larceny; bank larceny; obstruction of justice; false statements; conspiracy to obstruct justice; tampering with evidence; conspiracy to tamper with a witness; and tampering with a witness. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
In addition, Timothy’s father, mother, and sister were charged as follows:
• Lawrence M. Mulvey, 66, (father) is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice; obstruction of justice; accessory after the fact; and making a false statement;
• Kelsey A. Mulvey, 27, (sister) is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice; and
• Cheryl A. Mulvey, 67, (mother) is charged with obstruction of justice; conspiracy to tamper with a witness; and tampering with a witness.
Lawrence, Kelsey, and Cheryl Mulvey all face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that according to the superseding indictment, on June 27, 2018, Timothy Mulvey is accused of robbing the Northwest Savings Bank located at 2300 Grand Island Boulevard, Grand Island, NY. He is also accused in a July 11, 2018, robbery which took place at M&T Bank, 880 Military Road, Niagara Falls, NY. In both instances, Timothy Mulvey displayed a weapon in a threatening manner.
The superseding indictment alleges that on July 12, 2018, the day after the second robbery, the defendant destroyed his cellular telephone. On July 13, Timothy Mulvey falsely told Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that on July 11, 2018, (the date of the M&T Bank robbery) that he was in Rochester, NY, for work, and that his cellular telephone was electronically wiped by his employer.
In addition, the superseding indictment alleges that between mid-July 2018 and March 2019, defendants Timothy, Lawrence and Kelsey Mulvey are accused of conspiring to and destroying a black gun in order to prevent it from being used as evidence in this case. Timothy Mulvey is also accused of persuading an individual to throw the black gun, which was stored in the basement of the Mulvey residence, into a dumpster. Timothy and Cheryl Mulvey are also accused of encouraging the individual not to cooperate with law enforcement officers. In addition, Timothy and Cheryl Mulvey are accused of instructing the individual to tell law enforcement officers that such individual was drunk when initially interviewed in July of 2018.
Cheryl Mulvey is also accused of testifying falsely and evasively as to whether she spoke with Timothy Mulvey about certain bank robberies; testifying falsely and concealing information about Timothy Mulvey's possession of a black gun; refusing to testify and concealing information about whether Kelsey Mulvey found BB pellets in Timothy Mulvey's vehicle; concealing information about a black gun that was delivered to her residence in July 2018; and attempting to undermine the credibility of a witness.
The defendants were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth, Schroder, Jr. Timothy Mulvey is in custody. Lawrence, Kelsey, and Cheryl Mulvey were all released on conditions. Prior to the return of the superseding indictment in this matter, Kelsey Mulvey was separately charged in a different indictment returned earlier this year which charged her with illegally obtaining controlled substances by fraud, tampering, and violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
The superseding indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard, and the Niagara Falls Police Department, under the direction of Superintendent Thomas Licata. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
GI Man Dies in ATV Accident - November 2019A Grand Island man believed to be hunting in Allegany County died Saturday, November 16th, after his ATV overturned, the State Police said Monday. Daniel G. Berg, 67, was found at about 3:25 p.m. pinned beneath his ATV on a trail near County Road 33 in Bolivar, troopers said. Another person traveling on the trial discovered Berg, who was unresponsive. Emergency responders attempted to resuscitate him at the scene.
Election Reflections - November 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
With the 2019 elections now history, allow me to look back on them before we turn our attention to the challenges ahead. I am obviously grateful to the people of Grand Island and the Tonawandas for permitting me the opportunity to serve them for another two years. My opponent, Jacob McMahon, certainly gave me a run for my money. Jacob is a nice young man with a very promising future. At the age of 23, he did what I encourage all of my Canisius College students to do – he got involved. Democratic elections only work when the voters are given choices, and we should all be thankful for Jacob’s willingness to step forward and put his name on the ballot.
By the same token, we should thank all of the candidates in this year’s contests, regardless of whether they won or lost. In fact, I am especially appreciative for those that came up short. Having lost a couple of elections myself, I know how difficult it is to give up a year to campaign for an office only to lose in the end. Candidates spend hundreds of hours on the stump and much of their own money and have seemingly little to show for their efforts. They do, however, have my admiration and I hope they and their families know that they helped make our communities better places to live.
This election also saw the advent of early voting in New York State. Erie County was among the leaders in early turnout. This may be because we had 37 early voting locations, more than any other county in the state. Now that the election is over, we need to evaluate the program. Do we really need 37 sites or can we get by with fewer? After all, there is a cost to staff each one for ten days. In the end, we will need to balance the benefit of greater participation in elections with the cost to the taxpayer. Regardless, early voting gave us a glimpse of the future with the use of electronic poll books. Anyone who voted early had to be impressed with them and it appears just a matter of time before we will be using them in every election.
Come January, the successful candidates will begin their terms of office and legislative bodies throughout the county will reorganize. Before then, however, the current public officials have to attend to some unfinished business. For the Erie County Legislature, this includes finalizing the details of the county’s 2020 Budget. This is arguably the most important thing we do each year, and this year is no exception. It appears as though next year’s budget will contain another modest tax rate decrease. But there are a number of other important items that will be determined in the coming weeks. Chief among these will be allocations for vital services such as roads, parks, libraries, our community college and sheriff protection. But the final budget will also contain appropriations for a number of worthwhile community organizations that taken together contribute greatly to our quality of life. The degree to which we are able to adequately meet the needs of the community is something the voters will judge us all on during the next election cycle.
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.
Tonawanda Coke Soil Study Community Meeting - November 2019University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia scientists will hold a community meeting on Thursday, November 21st to update the public on their Tonawanda Coke soil study. The session will be at Riverview Elementary School auditorium, 55 Taylor Drive in the City of Tonawanda at 6:00 p.m.
Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary - November 2019
New trail head at nature sanctuary. - Nancy Savoy photo.The Western New York Land Conservancy has started work on the trail system at the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary, located surrounding the Assumption Cemetery on the west side of Whitehaven Road. It will be a 145-acre forested nature preserve where people will be able to hike, snowshoe and cross country ski. The trail head will be located at the south west corner of the cemetery.
Veterans Day Ceremony - November 2019
VFW Commander Ann Marie Pfohl, VFW Post 9249 Honor Guard.
The Town of Grand Island Veterans Day Ceremony was held on Monday, November 11th at 11:00 a.m. at Veterans Park. Close to 100 people braved the wintry conditions to salute Veterans.
Left: Union Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps. Right: GIHS trumpeters Nathan Wallens & Ryan Pinzel.
Boy Scout Troops 630 & 510, and Girl Scouts of GI presented the Military Flags. VFW Post 9249 Commander Ann Marie Pfohl introduced American Legion Chaplain Joe Mesmer, Supervisor Nathan McMurray and joined with American Legion Commander Ray DeGlopper in the presentation of a wreath in honor of all Veterans. GIHS Wind Ensemble Trumpeteers Nathan Wallens and Ryan Pinzel played Taps. Union Volunteer Fife and Drum Corps played patriotic music before and during the ceremony. An Open House was held at the VFW Post 9249 after the ceremony.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - November 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, November 19th from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.
Grand Island Raises Tax Levy for 2020 by 3.5%, Stays Within Tax Cap - November 2019A Buffalo News story by Stephen T. Watson reports the Town Board approved a $24.5 million budget at a workshop meeting on Thursday, November 7th. It raises spending by 4.86%. See story.
3rd Annual Veterans Day Parade - November 2019
From left: Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post 9249 Past Commander Dan McMahon, American Legion 1st Vice Commander Joseph Mesmer & American Legion Commander Ray DeGlopper.
The third annual Veterans Parade was held through the halls of the Grand Island Middle and High School on Thursday, November 7th. Over 30 Grand Island Veterans, from all service branches, were honored by students and teachers lining the halls, holding mini-U.S. flags, clapping and cheering. "We are very proud of our U.S. Veterans and the service they gave to our country. We wanted to honor them in a very personal way by inviting them to our buildings," said Dr. Brian Graham, superintendent of Grand Island
Central School District. At the end of the parade the group gathered in the high school cafeteria for breakfast and were entertained by the high school chorus, singing patriotic songs.
Parade through Viking Mall.
High School Chorus.
Honorary Diploma recipient Warren Richard.
A special surprise was awaiting 92-year-old Veteran Warren Richard at the event. High School Principal Michael Lauria explained that Mr. Richard had not graduated from high school, due to joining the Army. The Principal then gave the Veteran a graduation cap and presented him with a honorary high school diploma. Mr Richard was invited to "walk the stage" at the Grand Island class of 2020 graduation on June 28th, where his grandson will also be graduating. Many members of Mr. Richard's family surprised him and were in attendence.
Republicans Make Clean Sweep - November 2019
From left: Mark Nemeth - Town Justice, John Whitney - Supervisor, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Councilman Mike Madigan, Tom Digati - Councilman.The Grand Island Republicans made a clean sweep on Election Day at the polls. Elected: John Whitney - Supervisor, Tom Digati - Councilman, Councilman Mike Madigan, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel and Mark Nemeth - Town Justice. See Town of Grand Island Election Results. Erie County Board Of Elections Page.
Amazon Buys 184 Acres For Distribution Center - November 2019WIVB TV announced Thursday, October 31st that Amazon has bought 184.5 acres at the north end of Grand Island, west of the 190. See story here.
Veterans Day Ceremony- October 2019The Town of Grand Island cordially invites veterans, family members and friends to attend the Veterans Day Ceremony on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Veterans Park, located at 1717 Bedell Road.
There will be a reception following the ceremony at the Charles N. DeGlopper Post #9249 located at 2121 Grand Island Boulevard. If you have any questions you can contact Recreation Department at 773-9680, or by email to email@example.com. The Town of Grand Island extends a very gracious thank you in advance for your time and participation.
Third Annual Support A Soldier Event - October 2019Island Ship Center,1879 Whitehaven Rd, is ready to have their Third Annual Support A Soldier Event on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11th. They are open normal hours that day (from 9 am to 6:30 pm). This event helps connect the Grand Island community with active duty military personnel all across the globe that are serving from Grand Island, New York. The elementary schools again this year will have cards for the soldiers by all the children. Yoiu can help by coming to the store on that day and help pack the care packages for our troops, many of whom are graduates of Grand Island High School. The goal is to send a care package to every active duty military personnel from Grand Island so that he/she receives it in time for the holidays. Last year Island Ship Center received several heartfelt notes from recipients thanking them for this event and these care packages.
You can also help by sponsoring a shipping box for only $22. All monies raised in this account will go 100% to shipping these packages to active duty military stationed worldwide from Grand Island. You can donate, toothbrushes, socks, deodorant (travel size preferred), personal toiletry items, noodles, chips, candy and other acceptable items that are allowed to ship to military addresses.
Ontario Residents Will Be Billed For Bridge Tolls - October 2019The New York State Thruway Authority announced on October 24th, an agreement with the Province of Ontario to access the addresses of Ontario residents to send a bill in the mail after they travel through a cashless tolling facility on the Thruway. The agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation expands the billing options already available for Ontario motorists which include E-ZPass, payment online via the Tolls by Mail website, or over the phone by calling the Tolls by Mail Customer Service Center at 1-844-826-8400. The agreement is effective as of October 25, 2019.
Past Due Water Bills - October 2019The Town of Grand Island Water Billing Department would like to remind residents that any past due amounts not paid by 10/31/19 will be added to the 2020 Town/County tax bill.
HEAP Outreach Sessions Scheduled - October 2019(October 23, 2019) Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick is announcing that three HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) outreach sessions for the fourth legislative district will be held. The first outreach session will be held at the Town of Tonawanda Senior Center (Room #14), 291 Ensminger Rd in Tonawanda on Tuesday, November 12th, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The second outreach session will be held on Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 from 9:00 AM -4:00 PM at the City of Tonawanda Senior Center, 35 Main St in Tonawanda. The third outreach session will be held at the Grand Island Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Rd on Grand Island from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Wednesday, November 20th, 2019.
HEAP is a federally funded program to assist Erie County Residents with their heating bills. The HEAP outreach will be administered by the Erie County Departments of Social Services and Senior Services and is open to all income eligible households. For more information, contact the HEAP Hotline at 858-7644 or visit: www.erie.gov/depts/socialservices/heap.asp and www.mybenefits.nygov. Requirements & Guidelines.
Erie County HEAP and Emergency Services department has re-located from 478 Main - 1st floor to 460 Main St, second floor, effective October 15, 2018. Clients are to report to this new HEAP location via the Main Street entrance. For regular benefit assistance, customers can request an application be mailed to them by calling the application request line at 858-1969.
Beaver Island State Park Waterfowl Hunting Information - October 2019Beaver Island State Park 2019-2020 Waterfowl Hunting Information & Regulations. Duck Season is November 30, 2019 - January 5, 2020. Canada Goose Season is October 26, 2019 - January 13, 2020. Draw dates start Tuesday, October 29th.
Island Resident Pleads Guilty to Fraud - October 2019(October 22, 2019) Island resident Jeffery Pietrzyk, a former high-level official in the UAW’s General Motors Department, pleaded guilty today to conspiring with other UAW officials to engage in honest services fraud by taking over $123,000 in bribes and kickbacks from UAW vendors and contractors and to conspiring to launder the proceeds of the scheme announced U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.
Jeffery Pietrzyk, 74, of Grand Island, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in honest services wire fraud and to conspiring to launder money between 2006 and 2018. During the plea hearing, Pietrzyk admitted that he conspired with two other high-level UAW officials in the UAW’s GM Department to take millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from vendors doing business with the joint UAW-GM Center for Human Resources. The Center for Human Resources is supposed to be a center for training UAW workers employed by GM. Pietrzyk and the other UAW officials served on the Executive Board for the Center for Human Resources, and they were responsible for approving contracts with the vendors. Pietrzyk admitted that over the course of the twelve year conspiracy, he and the other two UAW officials demanded and accepted bribes and kickbacks from the vendors in exchange for securing or maintaining contracts with the Center for Human Resources or with the UAW’s GM Department.
Pietrzyk and his co-conspirators took bribes and kickbacks from the vendors in exchange for contracts with the UAW and/or the Center for Human Resources for watches, jackets, and UAW stores at GM manufacturing facilities. For example, in 2011, Pietrzyk and two other UAW officials demanded that a vendor give them a $300,000 kickback on a $6 million contract to purchase 50,000 jackets emblazoned with “Team UAW-GM.” One UAW official collected the $300,000 kickback and delivered the proceeds to Pietrzyk, who in turn delivered the money to another UAW official.
In another corrupted contract, Pietrzyk and his UAW co-conspirators demanded kickbacks on a $3.9 million contract for the Center for Human Resources to buy 58,000 watches for all UAW members employed by GM. The UAW officials demanded over $300,000 in kickbacks on the watch contract to be distributed between 2013 through 2016. Some of the kickbacks were distributed in the form of checks disguised as tens of thousands of dollars in payments for “antique furniture” which were deposited into Pietrzyk’s personal bank account. The majority of the kickbacks were distributed as cash. In 2014, the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources received the 58,000 watches from the vendor. However, the watches were never distributed to UAW members. Instead, the watches have been sitting in storage in a warehouse for over five years.
Besides conspiring with other UAW officials and vendors to the UAW, Pietrzyk also admitted that he conspired to launder the proceeds of the kickback scheme by using various methods to conceal and disguise the bribes and kickbacks through a lengthy and complicated series of financial transactions. Pietrzyk is the tenth defendant to plead guilty in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation into illegal payoffs to UAW officials by FCA executives and corruption within the UAW itself. The following individuals have already pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme and have been sentenced: former FCA Vice President for Employee Relations Alphons Iacobelli (66 months in prison), former FCA Financial Analyst Jerome Durden (15 months in prison), former Director of FCA’s Employee Relations Department Michael Brown (12 months in prison), former senior UAW officials Virdell King (60 days in prison), Keith Mickens (12 months in prison), Nancy A. Johnson (12 months in prison), Monica Morgan, the widow of UAW Vice President General Holiefield (18 months in prison), and former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell (15 months in prison). Michael Grimes has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Early Voting Starts Saturday, October 26th - October 2019Sample Ballot
Early voting starts on Saturday, October 26th at 12:00p.m. at Grand Island Town Hall. Dates are October 26 - Sunday, November 3, 2019. Hours are Monday-Friday Noon-9pm, Saturday-Sunday Noon-6pm. You can also vote at dozens of other locations, see list here.
Rotary - Interact Supervisor Candidates Night - October 2019
Candidates on right from left: John Whitney, Jim Sharpe and Tom Franz.The Rotary Club sponsored Grand Island Supervisor Candidate Night was held on Wednesday, October 16th in the Grand Island High School Grand Viking Theater. Candidates participating were Thomas Franz, Conservative Party; Jim Sharpe, Democratic and Working Families Parties; and John C. Whitney, PC, Republican and Independence Parties. The two hour event was attended by over 100 people, and was also available streaming on the Grand Island News Facebook page. The GI High School Interact Club acted as moderators and asked over two dozen questions of the candidates. There were no bomb-shell moments. All candidates noted the seriousness of overdevelopment; bridge and GI Blvd. traffic concerns and infrastructure. All pledged to work full-time at the Supervisor position and "do whatever it takes" to get the job done. They all also said they have no further political aspirations beyond Supervisor.
Sunset Striders – Grand Island Walks - October 2019Sunset Striders is a weekly walking group that meets every Tuesday on the West River Greenway Trail/Bikepath. Meet in the parking lot between Whitehaven Road and Staley Road. This Tuesday, October 22nd and October 29th, meet at 5:30 p.m. Throughout November the time will change to 4:00 p.m. due to earlier sunsets. Please follow our Facebook site for more information and weekly event postings at Sunset Striders- Grand Island Walks.
National Fuel to Host Open Interviews for Meter Readers - October 2019(Oct. 16, 2019) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - National Fuel has immediate employment opportunities available for full-time meter readers and will conduct open interviews on Oct. 23, 2019, at the Buffalo Employment & Training Center located at 77 Goodell Street in downtown Buffalo from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Each candidate, 18 years and older, must bring his or her resume, have a high school diploma or equivalent and hold a driver’s license with a clean driving record. Interested individuals are encouraged to reserve a space in advance by emailing their name to firstname.lastname@example.org and referencing “meter reader open interviews” in the subject line.
Meter readers are required to drive a small truck or van and are responsible for reading residential and commercial gas meters, accurately recording readings using a handheld device, handling customer inquiries, and performing collection work. Candidates must have a valid driver’s license and high school diploma or equivalent.
The ideal candidate will be self-motivated, and have customer service experience, strong verbal communication and record keeping skills, as well as physical endurance to walk long distances in all types of weather conditions. Candidates must be able to work a flexible work schedule Monday through Saturday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. The rate of pay is $14.50/hour plus incentive pay based on the number of meters read. National Fuel also offers a comprehensive benefits package.
Please do not call the Buffalo employment & Training Center with inquiries. Any candidate offered a position with National Fuel will be required to successfully complete a pre-employment drug test after receiving a job offer. National Fuel is an equal opportunity employer.
Senator on Your Street - October 2019From NYS Senator Chris Jacobs:My philosophy of public service has always been guided by the principle that the government closest to the people best serves the people. That is why I am always trying to find creative and cost-effective ways to make my office, my staff and the services we provide more accessible to the people we serve.
For busy families and individuals who need the constituent services provided by my district office, coming downtown is not always easy or convenient. That is why I initiated the “Senator on Your Street” program. Each week we will be holding community office hours at locations throughout the 60th Senate District. Office hours for all dates and locations are from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 23rd at Grand Island Town Hall.
Ceiling Collapse at Western New York Welcome Center - October 2019A Buffalo News story by Lou Michel reports that a 3-by-21-foot section of the ceiling collapsed at the Western New York Welcome Center on Alvin Road on Monday, narrowly missing a tourist. No one was injured. See story.
Fall Fest Photos - October 2019
Mary Stewart photos.This year's Fall Fest hosted by Kelly's Country Store was enjoyed by a good crowd. For the kids there were bounce houses, face painting, pony rides and a petting zoo, with a special enclosure of young kangaroos. Children got to hold one of the younger kangaroos which was a treat for them. Several food and craft vendors were participating.
GI Highway Department Winter Parking Policy - October 2019
November 1, 2019 is the official start of the Grand Island Highway Department 2019-2020 Winter Season. Please observe our “No Parking” restrictions on all public highways between the hours of 2:00 a.m. thru 7:00 a.m., from November 1, 2019 thru March 31, 2020. This allows us to give you effective snow plowing in all areas of the town. Our Town of Grand Island Police Department and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department enforce this ordinance.
Erie 1 BOCES Workforce Open House - October 2019CHEEKTOWAGA (Oct. 8, 2019) - The Erie 1 BOCES Workforce Development Center will hold an open house on Tuesday, Oct. 22nd for anyone looking to set themselves on a path to a new career.
The Workforce Development division of Erie 1 BOCES offers career training programs that can be completed in one year or less, putting people on the fast track to success. Members of the public who attend the open house can meet instructors, speak with financial aid officials and talk to placement officers who will help find a job for you!
Program offerings include Administrative Assistant, Auto Technician, Barbering, Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Production Technician, CNC Machining, Cosmetology, Electrical (Residential and Commercial), Electro Mechanical Maintenance, HVAC, Licensed Practical Nursing, Medical Billing Clerk, Medical Office Assistant, Phlebotomy, Sterile Processing Technician, Welding and more!
The Workforce Development Center is located at 1526 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga, at the corner of Walden and Harlem. The Oct. 22 open house is from 4-7 p.m. No registration is necessary. Visit www.e1b.org/WFD for more information. You may also email email@example.com or call (716) 821-7500.
Holding OTB Accountable - October 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
Controversy has been swirling in recent months around the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTBC). There have been several media reports indicating that the FBI is investigating the organization’s contracts with firms tied to its leadership. WROTBC, however, has denied media requests for information under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. All of this is very disturbing for a number of reasons.
First, the profits of the corporation are shared with local governments throughout Western New York. Last year Buffalo and Erie County received over $700,000 from OTB. This revenue is sorely needed. Every dollar we receive from them is a dollar we don’t have to raise in property taxes. So if the corporation makes less money than they should due to whatever the FBI is investigating, our taxpayers suffer. A further problem is the apparent lack of transparency at this public agency.
For these reasons, I recently invited Erie County’s representative to the WROTBC board, Beverly Mazur, to appear before the County Legislature’s Government Affairs Committee, which I chair. Although Ms. Mazur was kind enough to make time to come before the committee and field our questions, she was unable to shed much light on the current situation at OTB. She did not know what the FBI was looking for or what documents they had requested. She did indicate she would probably know more after their next board meeting.
Media reports have indicated that a number of individuals have enjoyed free use of the OTB’s luxury suites at Bills’ and Sabres’ games at New Era Field and Key Bank Arena. The corporation, however, has refused news outlets’ Freedom of Information requests for the names of these people. I asked Ms. Mazur how the WROTBC could withhold these names. She responded that the guests were “high rollers” and the organization wanted to keep their list of such clients form other establishments. I expressed my concern that this was not sufficient grounds to deny a Freedom of Information request and asked if OTB had a legal opinion justifying their action. She agreed to try to supply me with one.
I also asked if OTB employees and their families had access to the suites at Bills’ and Sabres’ games. She indicated that each event included an employee host who was permitted one guest. At some point she also mentioned that the corporation kept meticulous records of everyone who entered the suites. So I asked that in addition to the legal opinion, she provide us with the names of people at the events, including employees and their family members. I asked that she supply this information within a week.
A week came and went and there was no reply from OTB. I subsequently sent them a letter putting my earlier requests in writing. We will see if they respond. If they do not, the County Legislature may have to consider further action. In the meantime, I would observe that the lack of transparency at Western Regional OTB is troubling and reinforces the notion that they have something to hide. We owe it to the people of Erie County who rely on OTB revenue to keep down our property taxes to find out one way or the other. 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.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - October 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, October 15th from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.
Veterans Parade & Breakfast - October 2019On Thursday, November 7th, Veterans from the Grand Island School District, GI American Legion Post 1346, Charles N. DeGlopper VFW Post 9249 and members from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station are invited to a Veterans Parade and breakfast. The parade will start in the Veronica Connor Middle School at 7:45 a.m. and will end in the Large Cafeteria in the Grand Island High School where breakfast will be served. Please register by calling Anna Bruno at 773-8830. See flyer.
Neighbor for Neighbor Heating Assistance Program - October 2019WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - The Neighbor for Neighbor Heat Fund, a first-come, first-served home-heating assistance grant program, will re-open on Oct. 1st. Qualifying Western New Yorkers may receive a one-time annual grant of up to $300. Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Be 55 years or older; Have a disability (or another household member has a disability) that reduces the household's income; Have a certified medical emergency; Be a military veteran; or Be receiving unemployment benefits.
Applicants must reside in National Fuel's service territory, however, they do not need to be National Fuel customers. The fund provides grants to help prevent disconnection of utility service, pay current or past-due energy bills, or purchase home heating fuel of any kind. Applicants must have made at least four payments to their heating bills within a 12-month period from the date of application (other than those provided by HEAP or other assistance programs). Each grant is determined by individual need and will be sent directly to the home heating supplier.
To apply, contact: The Salvation Army at 716-883-9800, extension 230; or; Catholic Charities at 716-856-4494 or 716-218-1400 (ask for Parish Outreach).
Niagara River Designated "Wetland of International Importance" - September 2019A Buffalo News story by Thomas J. Prohaska reports that the U.S. side of the Niagara River from Buffalo to Lake Ontario is now a Ramsar site and a designated wetland of international importance. This designation can bring eco-tourism dollars to the area and is quite the honor. See story.
Kelly's Country Store's 4th Annual Fall Fest - September 2019Kelly's Country Store's 4th Annual Fall Fest is on Saturday & Sunday, October 5th & 6th at 10:00 a.m. The family-friendly event will feature: a petting zoo with kangaroos, pony rides, bounce houses, face painting, fresh vegetables, pumpkins, hay bales, flowers, apple cider, live DJ and beer and wine from Share Kitchen & Bar Room! The address is 3121 Grand Island Blvd.
Pinto Sanitation Pink Cart Program - September 2019
Pinto Sanitation is now offering The Pink Cart Program. They are in partnership with the American Cancer Society bto build awaremess about breast cancer. For every 96-gallon Pink Garbage Cart purchased for $100, Cascade will donate $5 per cart and Pinto will donate $20 per cart to the American Cancer Society's breast cancer awareness program. See flyer. Call 716-775-0123.
Mary Dunbar-Daluisio Memorial Garden at Veterans Park - September 2019
The project started as a memorial bench in Veterans Park, in memory of Mary Dunbar-Daluisio, who passed away in October 2017 from a long fight with cancer. As donations started coming in from Mary’s friends, from near & far, through Relay For Life, and the Grand Island community, the memorial began to grow. The addition of community support from Fuccillo Automotive and Double D Construction allowed the Town Parks Department to turn the memorial tree and benches into a beautiful garden. Thank you to all that contributed and a special thanks to Dave Cole and Steve Mrzygut from Grand Island Parks Department for taking the ideas and turning them into a wonderful tribute to our dear friend.
Southpointe Development On Hold - September 2019It was announced on Facebook by Town Supervisor Nate McMurray that the Southpoint developers have decided to end their plans for development at this time.
Branch Pick-Up Information - September 2019From Highway Superintendent Richard Crawford
The chipping of brush/branches is for the general yard maintenance of trimming on a residential property. All branches should be a minimum of 4 ft. in length, neatly stacked with butt ends facing the roadway no more than 3 ft. high.
The program is not meant for clearing of lots. If a contractor is hired, they are to dispose of and remove all brush/branches, the HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT WILL NOT PICK UP FOR THE CONTRACTOR. We do not pick up root balls or wood cut exceeding 6 inches.
Please understand that chipping is an extremely hazardous service that the highway department provides and appreciates your cooperation. We do not pick up decorative grasses, plants with vines or weeds. If we see poison ivy or poison oak we will not pick up. It is the resident’s responsibility to dispose of the weed.
We assign two summer crews for pick up 5 days per week from May 15 thru August 31 each year. Limited pick ups from September 1st thru October 15th, at this time we begin to turn the trucks over for the Winter Salting/Plowing season. Exceptions to this will be made when we experience ice/sleet and high wind/rain events.
New Location for Grand Island Dog Park - September 2019
Current dog park at the Welcome Center.The Town Board Workshop and Meeting on Monday, September 16th had some good news for Grand Island dog owners. The long awaited dog park at the Nike Base will no longer be in the works. Councilwoman Bev Kinney announced that she and Councilman Pete Marston have been working with New York State to expand the Welcome Center dog park on Alvin Road. The plan is for the Town to purchase fencing and stone to double the size of the current park. New York State employees will add on to the existing park and maintain it. The expectation is that the total cost to the Town would be under $20,000. Estimates to build a park at the Nike Base were upwards of $80,000, which is why very little progress was ever made.
Senator on Your Street - September 2019From NYS Senator Chris Jacobs:My philosophy of public service has always been guided by the principle that the government closest to the people best serves the people. That is why I am always trying to find creative and cost-effective ways to make my office, my staff and the services we provide more accessible to the people we serve.
For busy families and individuals who need the constituent services provided by my district office, coming downtown is not always easy or convenient. That is why I initiated the “Senator on Your Street” program. Each week we will be holding community office hours at locations throughout the 60th Senate District. Office hours for all dates and locations are from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 25th at Grand Island Town Hall.
Erie County Board of Elections 2019 Early Voting Information - September 2019Voters may vote at any location in Erie County regardless of where they reside. See location list. Hours are: Saturday, October 26th & Sunday, October 27th - Noon to 6:00 PM. October 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st & November 1st - Noon to 9:00 PM. Saturday, November 2nd & Sunday, November 3rd - Noon to 6:00 PM.
Maras Family Fundraiser - September 2019A fundraiser is planned for the Maras family on Saturday, September 21st at the Destroyer Park Golf Course, 7065 Sand Hill Road, Akron. The 6th Park Golf Pay It Forward Open can be enjoyed by everyone, as it is a variation of golf that uses one club and a large ball. The cost is $25 and includes dinner. Registration begins at 3:00 p.m., and golf starts at 4:00 p.m. To register, call 270-3883 or email email@example.com.
Welcome Center Review - September 2019A Buffalo News story dated September 12th is titled "Critics: $25M welcome center on Grand Island is like a ghost town." It was written by Lou Michel, who took a day in August to check out the action, or inaction at the Welcome Center on Alvin Road. See story.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - September 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, September 17th from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.
Choosing SUNY-Erie is Less Taxing - September 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
About once a year I write a column about the cost of so-called community college chargebacks. This is that column for 2019. Most people still are not aware of the impact of these chargebacks on their county property tax bills. This is truly a case of what you don’t know can hurt you, at least financially.
So let’s start with the basics. Community colleges such as SUNY-Erie (formerly known as ECC) have three sources of revenue: the state, the county and student tuition. They are supposed to be relatively equal in terms of the share of the budget they fund. But in Erie County, the students’ share is extremely high, as tuition accounts for about half of SUNY-Erie’s revenue.
The chargeback issue involves students from one county going to another county’s community college. When they do, the college in the other county gets their tuition and state aid. But the county piece is missing. So the college bills, or charges back, the county from which the student came to make up for the lost revenue. For instance, when an Erie County resident attends Niagara County Community College (NCCC), Niagara County sends Erie County a bill for $4,640.
The charges are then added to the Erie County property tax bills of the municipalities in which the students live. These can begin to add up, given the high number of students attending community colleges in other counties. For 2019, students from the City of Tonawanda racked up $303,779 in community college chargebacks. The figure for Grand Island was $556,679 and a whopping $926,423 for the Town of Tonawanda. These amounts are among the highest in the county due to our proximity to Niagara County and the number of our students who attend NCCC.
In past years these costs would be covered by the taxpayers in each town. This year, however, County Executive Mark Poloncarz agreed to assume the lion’s share of these chargebacks in the general county budget. This greatly benefited Grand Island and the Tonawandas because our chargebacks were much higher than other areas of the county. It amounted to savings of $192, 926 in the City of Tonawanda, $353,540 to Grand Island and $588,359 to Town of Tonawanda property taxpayers. Even so, we all paid dearly for students who attended community colleges in other counties.
My point in publicizing these figures is not to discourage students from attending NCCC or other community colleges. There are plenty of good reasons to do so, such as the availability of certain programs not offered at SUNY-Erie. But I am hoping to encourage students who can find what they need at SUNY-Erie to stay in the county and save their neighbors the expense of these community college chargebacks. In addition, I also want to emphasize the importance of making improvements to SUNY-Erie so we can attract more students and keep them from attending other community colleges, thus sparing us from another chargeback. The college has made a number of enhancements in recent years and is constantly improving. So if you or someone you know is looking to attend a community college, make sure to take a good look at SUNY-Erie. The entire community will benefit as a result. 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.
2019/2020 School Tax Bills In the Mail - September 2019Town Clerk Patricia A. Frentzel announced that the 2019/2020 School Tax Bills have been mailed. If you have changed banks, have paid off your mortgage or do not have an escrow account and did not receive a tax bill, please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 773-9600 ext. 620. The regular office hours are 8:30am - 5:00pm. The office will be open Saturday, October 12, 2019, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is October 15. The office will be open until 6:00pm on Tuesday, October 15, 2019. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of October 15 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made October 16 and later. Payments can be made until December 2, 2019. After this date, payments must be sent to the County.
Soluri Resigns From Grand Island Police - September 2019A Buffalo News story written by Stephen T. Watson and dated September 5, 2019, announces Christopher Soluri has resigned from the Grand Island Police Force. See story,
Seniors Stuff Tax Bills at Town Hall - September 2019
This is the 15th year a group of seniors from the Golden Age Center have stuffed tax bills for Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel. The seniors spend the day stuffing envelopes for the School taxes and get treated for lunch in return. They also come back each January to stuff Town/County tax bills.
My Stop App for Bus Location Information - September 2019My Stop is a web-based application available to all Grand Island Central School District parents to access live bus GPS information using a smartphone, tablet or computer and securely view the current location of their child’s bus on routes. The system also provides the school bus’s estimated time of arrival at your child’s bus stop.
How My Stop Works: The new MyStop tracking software is integrated with the District’s computerized bus routing system and the GPS devices installed on every school bus used in the Grand Island Central School District. Data integration takes the student’s bus route information and overlays it onto a map that tracks the actual location of a student’s school bus to the designated pick-up/drop-off point. A parent (guardian) can only view information related to their child(ren) using a secure login and password.
How Do I Access My Stop? Each student has a unique Student ID # that will serve as the user name. Their password will be provided on the bus routing information Transportation letter sent home. Once you have logged into My Stop, you will be able to access all other children in your family through a drop-down menu so you only need to log in once.
Note: Currently, My Stop is available only for morning and afternoon routes that serve K-12 students attending Grand Island Central Schools, not field trips, activity/late buses, or Off-island, non-public school routes. For complete instructions go to transportation webpage.
Kevin Maras Remembered - August 2019The Buffalo News has a story by Larry Ott headlined "Kevin Maras remembered by local drag racing community." Kevin Maras was killed in a tragic accident in Lake Placid on August 17th, which also injured his wife and daughters. See story.
Southpointe Project, "Not So Good" - August 2019Of the more than two dozen speakers at the Southpointe Information meeting on Monday, August 26th, only two thought the project might be a good addition to Grand Island. They were in favor of the senior housing aspect. All the others were against the project, citing sewer limitations, the increase in student population would tax school system, decimation of natural woodlands, wetlands and wildlife, road and bridge traffic, etc.
In describing the project, Doug Scheid of Scheid Architectural, said only 11% of the 284 acres would be developed, with a total population of 1000 or less. He also noted that 200 jobs would result from the development. If you would like to learn more, link to the Scheid Architectural Southpointe Page. You can see the meeting in its entirety on the Grand Island News Facebook page.
A Buffalo News article written by Stephen T. Watson was published on September 2nd, "Southpointe project proposal is back on Grand Island. So is the opposition to it." It details the informational meeting held on Monday, August 26th at Town Hall. See article here.
Maras Family Fundraiser - August 2019Don’t forget the Maras Family Fundraiser is Thursday, August 29th at Island Kids, 1353 Ransom Rd, from 4pm-7pm! The fundraiser will be held behind Island Kids in our large green space! No one will be permitted in the building, only parents who are picking up their children. Parking must stay reserved around the bus circle and in the spaces across from the main entrance, these spaces will be marked for parent parking only. Parking can be used in the back lot, the streets.
There are about 110 beautiful baskets for raffle, there will be a 50/50 drawing each hour, an ice cream social (ice cream donated by Adrian’s and Anderson’s), a magic show, face painting by a Shelia Reigh, cupcakes by Dana’s Desserts, and 2 big prize raffles which include 4 tickets to the Buffalo Bills home opener with a limo ride to and from the game along with a signed Josh Allen Jersey with the certificate of authenticity, there is also a big prize of a night out at the Westin Hotel with dinner for two to Patina 250 and two tickets to a show at Sheas!! We also have about 50 gift certificates ranging from $25 to $250!! Please come and support the Maras family in their time of need. Please continue to pray!! Thank you! 100% of all proceeds will go directly to the family!
Field Trip & Special Events Vendor Expo - August 2019Town of Grand Island Recreation Supervisor Joe Menter is the president of the Niagara Frontier Recreation and Parks Society (NFRPS). The society is hosting a Field Trip and Special Events Vendor Expo on Thursday, September 26, 2019 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Woodland Beach State Park. You will be able to meet different vendors that may be able to come to your school or facility as well as new ideas for field trips and other special events. The event is free and lunch is included. See expo flyer. You can also participate as a vendor, see vendor flyer.
GI Woman Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter - August 2019Grand Island resident Brianna Valenti, 27, has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend's two-year-old daughter. Sentencing is on October 7th. See Buffalo News article, written by Keith McShea and Harold McNeil, dated August 26, 2019.
ConnectLife Blood Drive at Highway Department - August 2019
UNYTS has changed there name to ConnectLife. They will be holding a blood drive on Wednesday, August 28th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Grand Island Highway garage, 1820 Whitehaven Road. Help save a life, Donate blood. All donors will receive a patriotic United We Give t-shirt. Please consider donating as our inventory levels are critically low. Remember that one pint of blood can save up to three lives right here in Western New York! You can make an appointment here.
Southpointe Development Information - August 2019
The Southpointe Development information meeting will take place on Monday, August 26th at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall. This project was originally approved 20 years ago, with the focus on allowing Island residents to stay on the Island as they age, an Assisted Living Campus. That is still the plan and they will also have two areas of single family homes. The project is purported to preserve 99% of the wetlands on the site and will remain 89% open space. If you would like to find out more information before Monday night's meeting, go to the Scheid Architectural page, Southpointe Information.
Zombie Home Initiative - August 2019Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns has started the "Zombies Inititiative" with the Western New York Law Center. "The primary goal and purpose of this collaboration is to provide resources to Erie County municipalities and communities facing zombie foreclosures." If there is an abandoned home in your neighborhood that you would like to report, check the doors for any notices, take photo of house and notice. After you fill out a form you will be contacted and asked for this information. Zombie Form.
Expect Delays on South Bridge, August 25th - August 2019Southbound South Grand Island Bridge to be Reduced to One Lane for Northbound and Southbound Traffic, Severe Delays Expected in Both Directions for the Duration of the Scheduled Closure.
Closure to Accommodate Paramount Pictures’ Filming of ‘A Quiet Place II’ and Support New York State’s Growing Film Industry Which Has Grossed More Than $26 Billion Since 2011.
August 19, 2019...... The New York State Thruway Authority today announced the northbound South Grand Island Bridge will be closed to all traffic Sunday, Aug. 25 from midnight until 1 p.m. All traffic traveling northbound on the Niagara Thruway (I-190) entering Grand Island will be diverted to a single lane on the southbound South Grand Island Bridge during the scheduled closure. Additionally, the exit 17 entrance ramp from River Road to I-190 north will also be closed. Traffic on River Road desiring to go north on I-190 will need to enter I-190 north from Grand Island Boulevard. During the same period, New York State Police will be performing periodic traffic slowdowns and stoppages for southbound and northbound traffic.
Motorists traveling through Grand Island in both directions are advised to expect severe delays, especially after 9 a.m. and are encouraged to avoid the area or seek alternate routes, if possible. The scheduled closure is to accommodate Paramount Pictures and the filming of ‘A Quiet Place II’ which has been filming in the Western New York region since July. The thriller, Directed by John Krasinski, is expected to hire more than 400 people in the WNY area and invest more than $10 million into the regional economy.
According to Empire State Development, New York's $420 million film incentive program is one of the best in the nation. Since 2011, film and television productions have spent more than $26.4 billion in New York State and more than 1.5 million jobs have been created as a result. Information on the scheduled closures and delays are displayed on Variable Message Signs (VMS) in the Grand Island area. Motorists are encouraged to download the Thruway’s mobile app which is available to download for free on iPhone and Android devices.
Island Man Killed in Auto Accident - August 2019Kevin Maras, 50, of Grand Island was killed in an auto accident on Saturday, August 17th, near Lake Placid. Wife Heather and daughters Sierra and Ashley were injured.
By Elizabeth Izzo, Adirondack Daily Enterprise
LAKE PLACID - Two men died and three women were airlifted to area hospitals after a headon collision Saturday morning in the Wilmington Notch, on state Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington. The drivers of the two vehicles - 62-year-old Rene Castonguay of Quebec and 50-year-old Kevin Maras of Grand Island, near Buffalo - were both pronounced dead at the scene at 10:25 a.m. by Essex County Coroner Frank Whitelaw.
Kevin Maras’ wife and two teenage daughters, who were passengers in his 2016 Ford Flex SUV, were taken to two different hospitals. State Police said Heather Maras, 51, was transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington with head, neck and spinal injuries. She was listed as being in critical condition Sunday afternoon. Sierra Maras, 18, was taken to the same hospital with hip and leg injuries. She was listed as being in fair condition. Ashley Maras, 16, was transported to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake with cuts on her face.
Kevin Maras’ brother came up and brought 16-year-old Ashley Maras to Vermont to be with her mother and sister, according to Whitelaw. The collision happened around 9 a.m. Saturday. Castonguay was driving west on Route 86, toward Lake Placid, in a 2013 Dodge Avenger and Maras was traveling east when the two vehicles ran into each other head-on in the town of North Elba. State Police said Sunday afternoon that they are still investigating the collision. Route 86 between River Road and Fox Farm Road was temporarily closed due to the crash, NBC5 reported Saturday. Officials rerouted drivers, and the road had reopened by 4 p.m. The coroner said autopsies were scheduled for both drivers Monday at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh.
Island Kids will be having a fundraiser for the family on Thursday, August 29th from 4pm-7pm. There will be an ice cream social, basket raffle, 50/50, and tickets to purchase for free childcare. If you would like to donate a basket or a gift certificate to be placed in the raffle, please drop it off at the North location on Ransom Road. This event will be open to the public. Tickets will be sold at the door for ice cream social or may be purchased before hand.
Rev. Paul Nogaro Placed on Leave - August 2019St. Stephen's Church Pastor Rev. Paul Nogaro has been placed on administrative leave by Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone. See Buffalo News article by Aaron Besecker, published August 15, 2019.
Sandy Grillo Benefit Planned - August 2019Save the date. A benefit is planned for long-time Island resident Sandy Grillo. Sandy had a very bad accident in January 2019. This accident resulted in serious brain damage. After several operations and a month of therapy, she is now confined to long term care. A basket raffle and meat raffle benefit is planned for Sunday, September 15th at the Sandy Beach Yacht Club. See flyer. If you can donate to the raffle, see donation letter here.
Rabies Vaccine Airdrop Scheduled for Erie County - August 2019ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) will coordinate a wildlife vaccination program for rabies using airdrops to deliver vaccinated bait from August 20 until August 29. This program is a team effort for the County, Cornell University’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center, the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services. This program will deliver an estimated 407,100 rabies vaccine baits in Erie and Niagara County this month. Website
Five fixed-wing aircraft will distribute bait to rural areas, weather permitting, between August 20 and August 23. Helicopters are used to distribute bait in suburban towns and villages and in open areas of the city of Buffalo from August 24-29. This schedule will depend on the weather. In densely populated urban areas, ECDOH Division of Environmental Health Rabies Disease and Vector Control staff will distribute baits by hand between August 24 and 28.
“When you see aircraft circling your neighborhood, or see our Vector Control program staff leaving bait packets, know that they are part of a county-wide effort to protect against rabies, which is a fatal but preventable disease,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “This bait delivers the rabies vaccine to raccoons, foxes and skunks in their natural habitat. In New York State, these animals, along with bats, are presumed to carry the rabies virus.”
Rabies vaccine bait with ruler guides for size.“Using aircraft to reach rural and suburban areas of the county, and ground distribution within the city of Buffalo, is part of our aggressive and effective program to vaccinate wildlife, especially raccoons, against rabies,” said Senior Public Health Sanitarian Peter Tripi. “We want to reduce the risk that humans and domestic pets will come into contact with a rabid wild animal.”
Do NOT disturb baits. Most baits are eaten within four days; almost all baits will be gone within a week. If baits are not found and eaten, they will harmlessly dissolve and exposed vaccine will become inactivated. If you must move bait, wear gloves or use a plastic bag or paper towel to pick it up. Place any damaged baits in the trash; throw intact baits into a wooded area or other raccoon/wildlife habitat.
Residents should WASH HANDS IMMEDIATELY if they come into direct contact with the vaccine or bait, then call the New York State Department of Health Rabies Information Line at 1-888-574-6656. “We have reports of individuals who leave food out for feral cats, birds and squirrels in their neighborhoods,” continued Tripi. “By doing so, they are attracting wild animals that can increase the likelihood of an encounter with humans and pets.” Erie County residents who feed a feral cat are considered to be its owner, and are responsible for that cat’s care and rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccinations are required by law for all dogs, indoor and outdoor cats, and ferrets ages three months and older. Free rabies vaccination clinics are scheduled on September 11 at ECC South, September 18 at ECC North and September 25 at the Cheektowaga Highway Garage. Additional recommendations include:
Supervise children’s outdoor activities during bait distribution and for one week afterward.August 24 - September 5th
Confine dogs and cats indoors and observe leash laws during the bait distribution interval and for one week afterward. August 24 - September 5th
This will increase the probability of raccoon vaccination and decrease the chance of pets finding the baits.
Baits and vaccines are not harmful to domestic animals. However, an animal may vomit if it consumes several baits.
Residents should not risk being bitten while trying to remove bait from your pet’s mouth.
CALL Before You Dig! - August 2019In recognition of 811 Day on Aug. 11, National Fuel reminds homeowners and professional contractors to Call Before You Dig. Before starting any excavation projects, call 811 - a toll-free national phone number - or visit digsafelynewyork.com to enter a single address ticket request. New York state law requires residents and contractors to do this at least two but no more than 10 business days in advance of the start of their projects in order to prevent accidental damage to underground utility lines.
The national 811 phone number connects callers with local One Call Centers. Operators record the excavation locations and notify National Fuel of callers’ plans. National Fuel then dispatches professional locators to mark the approximate locations of its lines. The online program allows homeowners the freedom to create occasional location requests 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no training requirements or hold time on the phone.
“All excavation projects - even small or shallow digging landscaping projects like planting trees and shrubs, or installing a fence or mailbox require you to contact 811,” said Emily Ciraolo, spokesperson for National Fuel. “It’s a fast, easy way to protect yourself and those around you. When a locate request for utility lines precedes an excavation, damage is avoided 99 percent of the time.”
As always, if you smell gas, leave fast! If a rotten-egg natural gas odor is present, leave the premises immediately and call National Fuel's emergency line, 1-800-444-3130, from a different location. If you smell gas outdoors, call National Fuel’s emergency number and provide the address nearest to the site of the odor. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit www.nationalfuelgas.com/forhome/gassafety.aspx.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - August 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, August 20th from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.
A Productive Summer - August 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
One of the nice things about living in Western New York is that we get to experience all four seasons. For many, though, summer is their favorite. Sometimes it seems like we wait all year for summer to arrive and in the blink of an eye it is gone. Under such circumstances, what can be accomplished over the course of any given summer?
This year the answer is a great deal, especially if your frame of reference is Erie County government. For starters, the county road system has been getting a much needed makeover. I’ve often noted that the county roads have yet to fully recover from the effects of the disastrous Red and Green Budget battle of 2005. The budget fight saw the county’s Department of Public Works decimated by a series of budget cuts and layoffs. As a result, preventive maintenance suffered and the road conditions deteriorated. The county highway system has been clawing back ever since. This year, though, we have changed the trajectory of the comeback, as we have greatly accelerated repairs. Ellicott Creek Road in the Town of Tonawanda was the beneficiary of this. So, too, were Bush, Love and Baseline Roads on Grand Island. This has been a welcome development for people who travel these roads on a regular basis.
Last month I wrote extensively about the County Executive’s proposal to create a Division of Consumer Protection within Erie County Government. Since then, the Legislature has passed a local law creating the office. This is a big win for consumers. People have always tried to defraud others. But with the advent of the internet, the scams are on steroids. Hardly a week goes by without someone trying to get me to reveal my personal information via a clever email so they can steal my identity and my money. Like many people, I have had to cancel several credit cards and wait for new ones to arrive in the mail because of data breaches. My hope is that the new county consumer protection office will be able to reduce the frequency of these efforts to defraud the people of our community.
Finally, the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation (also known as the Land Bank) has not taken the summer off. In fact, it has been quite active. The Land Bank has continued to fulfill its mission of acquiring so-called zombie homes at tax auctions and doing whatever is necessary to rehabilitate them and get them back on the tax rolls. In the last few years the Land Bank has acquired about 20 properties in my legislative district and has done a marvelous job with them. They will pick up at least one more next month, as I have been working closely with the Land Bank regarding a house on Dupont Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda. I am confident that once they are done with their work, the neighbors will be happy. They almost always are. So please enjoy what is left of your summer, secure in the knowledge that the men and women of Erie County Government are working hard to make our community an even nice place to live, work and raise a family. If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at email@example.com.
Part Time Dog Control Officer Wanted- August 2019The Town of Grand Island is looking for a Part Time Dog Control Officer. Position Details. Please note: Letters will be accepted until Wednesday, Augst 21st.
Southpointe on Grand Island Fills a Need - August 2019The Buffalo News Editorial Board published an article on August 13, 2019, entitled "Southpointe on Grand Island Fills a Need". Their point is Western New York has a need for senior housing and Grand Island is lacking in it. See editorial. The project located between Staley, Baseline, Love and South State Parkway, has already got the pot stirring. An information meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 26th at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.
Jacobs Calls for Suspension of Bridge Tolls - August 2019(Buffalo, NY) - New York State Senator Chris Jacobs is calling on the New York State Thruway Authority to stop charging tolls at the Grand Island bridges until Canadian drivers are also required to pay tolls.
Recently it was discovered by local news outlets that Canadian drivers can drive at no cost over the Grand Island bridges because no agreement exists between the Thruway Authority and the Canadian provinces to charge Canadian license plates. Contrast that with the 407 Toll Road to Toronto where all New York drivers must pay the toll when they drive that Canadian roadway.
“It is simply unfair that New York State taxpayers and American citizens must pay tolls or receive fines while Canadian drivers have a ‘free ride,’” said Jacobs. “Why the Thruway Authority would not have negotiated this agreement with the Canadians before going to cashless tolling on the bridges is shocking to me,” said Jacobs. Jacobs added that thousands of Canadians pass over the bridges on a regular basis, meaning millions of dollars are lost due to this oversight. “In a way, U.S. drivers are subsidizing the roads for Canadians,” said Jacobs. “This needs to stop.” Jacobs called for the suspension of tolls on the Grand Island bridges in a letter to Matthew Driscoll, the Executive Director of the New York State Thruway Authority.
E-Waste Recycling - August 2019There is an E-Waste Recycling event at Town Hall on Saturday, August 24th from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. It is sponsored by Pinto Sanitation. For guidelines, check out www.pintosanitation.com. There will be a fee for disposal of tube tv's. Acceptable Items List.
National Airborne Day Proclamation - August 2019
Supervisor Nathan McMurray presents proclamation to American Legion member Joe Synakowski.
The Town Board gave Grand Island members of the 82nd Airborne Division a proclamation at the Monday, August 5th Town Board Meeting, marking August 16, 2019, National Airborne Day, Two Island residents died in service of the 82nd Airborne. They are Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper (MOH), at La Fiere, France on June 9, 1944 and Lt. Col. Terrance K. Crowe, at Tal Afar, Iraq on June 7 2005. You can find commemorative markers at the newly expanded Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park at Baseline Road and Grand Island Blvd.
Robert Haag photo.
Hardwick Assesses County Roadwork - August 2019
Erie County, NY - Preparation for the rehabilitation of Baseline Road in Grand Island has commenced, starting with a total shoulder reconstruction to help alleviate previous drainage issues that existed on the two-and-a-half-mile stretch being repaired by Erie County this year. The portion from Whitehaven to East River will require decreased speed and additional caution while the work takes place.
Legislator Kevin Hardwick visited the work site as crews prepared multiple culverts for the installation of new drainage pipes. After that work is completed, milling of the road is expected to begin on August 19th, with paving to follow. The projected start date for the final phase of the project is August 26th. Erie County hopes to have the roadwork completed in time for school to start in September so as not to disrupt bus patterns.
"This section of Baseline Road was desperately in need of repairs. We prioritized conducting the drainage work to help prevent more serious problems in the future. I know it will be an inconvenience while the work is going on, but the people on Grand Island will benefit from these improvements for many years when the work is completed," said Legislator Hardwick. For updates on the status of additional roadwork projects, please visit www.erie.gov/dpw. You can also report problems on county roads via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or through a form at the same website.
National Night Out Photos - August 2019
Creed Bend Band
Left: Tom Digati awaits his fate! Right: Fire Truck tour.
Mary Stewart photos.National Night Out is a chance for the community to come together to foster strong law enforcement/community partnerships as well as neighborhood camaraderie. This year's event took place on Tuesday, August 6th under very threatening skies!
Grand Island Waterfront Revitalization Meeting - August 2019The Town of Grand Island Long Range Planning committee is hosting a meeting regarding local waterfront revitalization. they are asking for your input on Wednesday, August 14th at the Grand Island High School Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. They will be looking at water quality, habitat protection, shoreline erosion, public access, and other elements. See flyer.
Vandalism at Havenwood Courts - August 2019The Town Board has agreed with the Town Safety and Security Team's recommendation that the Havenwood Sport Courts should be monitored under video surveillance with signage noting the monitoring. The signage would include the phone number and agency to contact if suspicious behavior is noted. The committee will now look into monitoring equipment. The area has been vandalized in the recent past.
Southpointe Development Back in the News - August 2019A Buffalo News story dated August 6, 2019 by Stephen T. Watson details a planned development over 25 years in the making. It is located between Staley, Baseline, Love, South State Parkway and the I-190. It is to feature senior housing, some commercial and single family homes. A public information session is to take place on Monday, August 26th at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall. See Buffalo News story.
McMurray Removes Soluri as Officer in Charge - August 2019August 4, 2019...A Buffalo News article by Stephen T. Watson details GI Supervisor Nathan McMurray's decision to remove Christopher Soluri as officer in charge of the town police force. Soluri is still an officer in the department. This all stems from accusations of making racist comments on a mobile messaging service on December 31, 2014. See story.
No Fishing License Required - August 2019To encourage anglers to get outside and enjoy fishing and help local economies affected by the high water levels on Lake Ontario, Lower Niagara River and the St. Lawrence River, Governor Cuomo is giving New York residents and visitors the opportunity to fish these waters without a fishing license for a limited time.
Starting Friday, August 2nd and continuing through Labor Day - September 2nd at 5 p.m., new and experienced anglers will be able to fish these New York waters without needing to purchase or possess a State fishing license. A New York State fishing license is still required to fish all other waters in New York and all relevant State and Federal rules and regulations apply.
New York Waterfowl Hunter Education Course - August 2019Waterfowl hunters looking to improve their species identification for birds in the field can sign up for one of the New York Waterfowl Hunter Education courses in August. In addition, this course is mandatory should you decide to hunt any of the national wildlife refuges, state wildlife management areas or state parks that offer waterfowl hunting opportunities. You must first register for a course at https://register-ed.com/programs/new_york/129.
Once registered, you must complete the assigned homework by the start of the class. This can take several hours. Direct reference can be made to “Ducks at a Distance: A Waterfowl ID Guide” that can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/92272.html. If you have any questions on the homework, call 379-6376. The following courses are coming: August 3 – Beaver Island Clubhouse, 2136 W. Oakfield Road, Grand Island, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. August 18 – Alden Rod and Gun Club, 12 County Line Road, Alden, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. August 19 – Somerset Conservation Club, 1129 Johnson Creek Road, Barker, from 6 to 10 p.m.
Baseline Road Milling & Paving Project Update - August 2019(August 1, 2019) Erie County Department of Public works repaving project of Baseline Road from Whitehaven to East River Road will continue to have road closures and lane closures throughout the construction project. Currently shoulder and drainage work is being done from Bedell Road to Long Road. This section will see limited lane restrictions starting on Monday, August 5th. Beginning Monday, August 19th, road closures will be scheduled as main sections are milled out. Detours will be posted for Baseline between Whitehaven and Grand Island Blvd. As work heads north down Baseline, contiguous sections will also be closed or limited. Updates will be provided. The Erie County Department of Public works and the Grand Island Highway Department ask for your cooperation as major improvements are made to the county highway system.
National Fuel Trains Employees to Prevent Dog Bites - August 2019(July 30, 2019) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - At National Fuel, we love dogs but we don’t love dog bites. We ask our customers to help us minimize dangerous situations - not only for the safety of our employees but for their dogs, too. When service is being done at home, make sure your dog is kept safe in a separate, enclosed area.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. While educating the public is crucial, we also recognize the importance of teaching our own employees how to manage potentially dangerous dog encounters and what to do if an encounter should escalate into an attack.
On Aug. 1, National Fuel meter readers and customer service representatives will attend a dog-bite safety course conducted by nationally recognized Bulli Ray Occupational Dog Bite Safety. Employees will receive classroom training about dog behavior, procedures to work around dogs and tactics during an aggressive attack. Attendees also will participate in a controlled, hands-on simulation with a highly trained dog.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - August 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, August 6th & August 20th from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.
14th Annual Paddles Up & Summerfest - July 2019
Recreation Department staff.
Golden Age Center staff Carrie Mesmer and Barry Conway served breakfast to the hungry paddlers.
From left: Gary Dueschlander, Ray DeGlopper & Allen Lee from the DeGlopper Park Expansion Committee.
Mary Stewart photos & story.The 14th annual Paddles Up Niagara plus Grand Island's Summerfest were held at Beaver Island State Park on Saturday, July 27th. Over 300 kayakers came to the event sponsored by GI Recreation Department, Anchor Marine and Blue Water Marina.
Later, there was the Outdoor Adventure Race, sponsored by Niagara Outfitters. It consisted of a sprint style adventure featuing a 3.5K kayak paddle followed by a 5K run. Prizes were awarded across a variety of categories. There was also a slow roll biking event.
Starting at 11:00 a.m. there was food available and various vendors, crafters and farmers stalls set up. Music was provided by NIk and the Nice Guys and Adams Acoustic Band. A free kids zone offered various activities. Free horse and buggy carriage rides around the park were also available.
Baseline Road Milling & Paving Project - July 2019(July 29, 2019) Baseline Road between Whitehaven and East River will be milled and paved over the next month. At times, portions may be closed to through traffic. Tentative schedule: shoulder work first, followed by drainage repairs and replacement. Then, August 19th they will start milling the road surface starting with the 4 lane section between Whitehaven and the Blvd. Then they will proceed north towards East River.
Free Electronic Recycling Event - July 2019State Senator Chris Jacobs is hosting a free electronics recycling event on Saturday, August 10th at Tonawanda High School, 600 Fletcher Street, Tonawanda. It will take place from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. See flyer for acceptable items.
SolarPark Energy to Donate with Sign-Up - July 2019SolarPark Energy is offering a $100 donation to the DeGlopper Expansion Committee Memorial Fund for every residential or business customer that joins SolarPark as their energy source. SolarPark will be announcing the details of this program at the Summerfest on Saturday, July 27th, at Beaver Island Park, with an opportunity to sign up that day. If you sign next Saturday, they are offering a free cellular solar powered battery charger valued at approximately $60. You will need a copy of your National Grid bill/account number in order to sign up , so, take a picture, or bring your bill along. Summerfest Flyer
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event - July 2019Erie County is hosting a household hazardous waste collection event on Saturday, August 10th. Residents will be required to pre-register to attend a collection event. See flyer for list of dates and locations and acceptable items. FLYER.
Grand Island Man Going To Prison On Child Pornography Charge- July 2019BUFFALO, N.Y., July 24, 2019 - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Anthony Weber, 36, of Grand Island, NY, who was convicted of attempted receipt of child pornography, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to serve 75 months in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Cantil, who handled the case, stated that on April 9, 2017, the defendant engaged in a online conversation with Victim 1, a 15 year-old female. On April 12, 2017, Weber invited Victim 1 to a bonfire, stating they would drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. Victim 1 responded, “Im 15.”
On August 10, 2017, the defendant again engaged in an online conversation with Victim 1, offering to provide cocaine to Victim 1 in exchange for sexual intercourse. Victim 1 agreed to consider having sex with Weber in exchange for cocaine. The defendant then requested that Victim 1 send him sexually explicit pictures. Victim 1 subsequently reported this incident to the City of Tonawanda Police Department. After the incident was reported, the Federal Bureau of Investigation assumed Victim 1’s online identity and continued to engage in online conversations with the defendant. On October 11, 2017, Weber agreed to meet the person he believed was a minor female to engage in sexual activity. The defendant arrived at a retail store parking lot believing he was going to meet and have sexual intercourse with the minor.
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the City of Tonawanda Police Department, under the direction of Chief William Strassburg; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; and the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack.
New Picnic Pavilion at Veterans Park - July 2019
Parks Department employees hard at work.
A new pavilion is now in place at Veterans Park. This is located near the soccer and softball fields off of Baseline Road. Thanks to Toth Construction and the Grand Island Parks Department for their work on the project.
Grand Island Man Indicted by A Grand Jury For Robbing Two Banks - July 2019BUFFALO, N.Y., July 18, 2019 - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a six-count indictment charging Timothy L. Mulvey, 32, of Grand Island, NY, with aggravated bank robbery, entering a bank with intent to commit a larceny, and bank larceny. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated according to the indictment, on June 27, 2018, the defendant robbed the Northwest Savings Bank on Grand Island Boulevard, on Grand Island. During the robbery, Mulvey displayed a weapon when demanding money from a bank teller. Subsequently, on July 11, 2018, the defendant robbed the M&T Bank on Military Road in Niagara Falls, NY. Once again, Mulvey displayed a weapon during the robbery.
"I commend the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the Niagara Falls Police Department for the tremendous work they did in investigating these bank robberies," stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Working with the FBI, our dedicated and professional partners in local law enforcement worked diligently for over a year to conduct a thorough and exhaustive investigation which culminated in the charges contained in this indictment. The citizen of both Erie and Niagara County are well served by the many dedicated men and women of state, county, and local law enforcement who truly stand on the front line of our defense against violent criminals.”
The defendant was arraigned this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder and was detained. The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard; and the Niagara Falls Police Department, under the direction of Superintendent Thomas Licata. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Cooling Station at GI Memorial Library - July 2019The Erie County Dept. of Health has asked the library system to consider opening branches this weekend to serve as cooling locations in direct response to the anticipated high heat index. After consulting with the library board and Mary Jean Jakubowski (BECPL System Director), the staff has found enough coverage for the following hours this weekend: Saturday July 20th, 9:30 a.m. -2:00 p.m. (there are soccer games scheduled all morning in Veteran's Park) and Sunday, July 21st, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Growing Readers Inititiative - July 2019
Pictured from left to right are three members of the Growing Readers initiative: Mary Cooke, President of the Friends of Grand Island Memorial Library; Stephanie Pritchard, Librarian at Kaegebein Elementary School and Bridgette Heintz, Director of the Grand Island Memorial Library.
Award on display at GI Memorial Library.The 2019-20 Hodgson Russ Excellence in Collaboration Award recognized several Grand Island groups who collaborated to launch the very successful Growing Readers initiative. Presented to Dr. Brian Graham, GI School Superintendent, at a dinner in June, the trophy and certificates are now touring the town, spending time in each place involved in the program. "Growing Readers - Working Together to Grow a Passion for Reading in our Community" is the official title of the effort that provides books for the doctors at Island Pediatrics to "prescribe reading to children" when parents have their 2, 6, 12, 18 and 24 month well baby visits.
Groups involved in Growing Readers are Grand Island Pediatrics, GI School District, GI Memorial Library, Neighbors Foundation, GI Rotary, Friends of GI Memorial Library, GI Teachers Assn, GI School Related Professionals, GI School District Administrators' Union, Fuccillo Automotive Group, GI Golden Age Center and several private community donors. . The awards are currently displayed in one of the showcases in the lobby of the Grand Island Memorial Library.
GISBA Golf Outing - July 2019The Grand Island School and Business Alliance (GISBA) annual golf outing will be Monday, August 19th at River Oaks Country Club. Registration and lunch starts at 11:00 a.m. with a noon tee off. Price per golfer is $135. All proceeds of the outing benefit students who participate in the events and activities sponsored by GISBA. Registration Form.
"Senator on Your Street" Hours - July 2019From NYS Senator Chris Jacobs - My philosophy of public service has always been guided by the principle that the government closest to the people best serves the people. That is why I am always trying to find creative and cost-effective ways to make my office, my staff and the services we provide more accessible to the people we serve.
For busy families and individuals who need the constituent services provided by my district office, coming downtown is not always easy or convenient. That is why I initiated the “Senator on Your Street” program. Each week we will be holding community office hours at locations throughout the 60th Senate District. On Wednesday, July 24th - Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island. Office hours for all dates and locations are from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
National Night Out 2019 - July 2019
Along with thousands of towns across the United States, Grand Island will be participating in National Night Out 2019 on Tuesday, August 6th from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. National Night Out is a chance for the community to come together to foster strong law enforcement/community partnerships as well as neighborhood camaraderie. It takes place at the Marion Klingel Town Commons. See flyer for a list of participants. The GI Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary is hosting a chicken bbq that day. See flyer for details.
Grass Island Restoration Project Update - July 2019
New Grass Island Restoration Plan. Click photo for larger view.
From : Mike Madigan - Grand Island Councilman.
An update meeting with NYS representatives was held Thursday, July 11th that included Grand Island Town representatives and several resident recreational boater representatives (Dan Kilmer, Robert Copeland and Bill Fortier) regarding recreational boater concerns related to the Grass Island Restoration Project.
The original "Preferred Plan" introduced by NYS Parks in 2018, eliminated essentially all of the safe shallow water anchoring area on the upstream end of Grass Island - one of the most popular safe recreational boating anchoring areas in the region. NYS Parks introduced a new plan at the meeting that they referred to as a “Refined” plan that leveraged new data collected by further surveying the project area with divers and by other methods. The new “refined” plan moves the rock reef barrier approximately 150 feet closer to the main grass island area.
The new plan, as per Western District Director of New York State Park Mark Mistretta, still meets all of the primary restoration project goals while preserving some portion of the highly popular recreational boating parking locations - the new plan impacts between one and two boater parking rows. The general consensus of those at the meeting was that both sides were not completely satisfied (compromises made by both the boaters and environmentalists) but the final plan would likely be accepted as presented.
The project timeline is the Engineering design will be finalized in August 2019, the project will go out to bid the Spring of 2020 and construction would begin tentatively in early September of 2020 (minimal if any impact on boaters prior to September 2020). One opportunity that the NYS Parks was interested in investigating was the upstream (outside of project area) rock obstacles that are a hazard to recreational boaters. NYS Parks committed to reviewing the feasibility of removing this hazard which would improve boater safety and may increase the upstream area where boats may park. Previous Plan.
Traffic Safety Advisory Board Tip - July 2019A recommendation from the Grand Island Traffic Safety Advisory Board for all drivers who use the I-190Northbound and Southbound off ramps at Whitehaven Road. I have noticed motorist who want to make a right turn on to Whitehaven Road using the shoulder of the road to make the turn instead of staying in the travel lane. As you approach the traffic signal, you should notice two rectangular loop detectors in the pavement before the Stop bar. Your vehicle needs to be over these loop detectors so the traffic signal will get a call telling you are there. This will guarantee the light will turn green. If you are on the shoulder, the signal has no way of knowing you are there and since the intersection is signed "NO TURN ON RED", you will sit there a long time. Try it, it works.
Wood Chips Available - July 2019
The Town Highway Department is out with two crews canvasing island neighborhoods Monday through Friday grinding up tree branches. We have a large inventory of wood chips available and will deliver to Grand Island residents. Call the Highway Department at 716-773-9632 to schedule delivery.
Looking Out for Consumers - July 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
Each year in his State of the County Address, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz proposes a number of initiatives. Some are eventually adopted by the county legislature and others never come to fruition. This year he made a number of proposals that caught my attention. One, the creation of a publicly owned internet system he dubbed ErieNet, I discussed in an earlier column. Another of the executive’s initiatives worth embracing is the creation of a Division of Consumer Protection within county government.
Under the county executive’s proposal, the existing Office of Weights and Measures which currently is part of the Department of Public Works would be moved to a new Division of Consumer Protection in the Department of Public Advocacy. I have long pointed to the work of weights and measures as the sort of thing that makes sense for county government to do. Think about it. If the office did not exist, there would be no way for us to know if we were really getting a gallon of gas at the pump, short of bringing our own gallon jug and measuring it ourselves. The same principle applies to the pound of roast beef we buy at the deli. Because the Office of Weights and Measures regularly examines the scales at the deli and the gauges on the gas pumps, we do not have to worry about being cheated. An expanded Division of Consumer Protection could extend this principle to other areas. This is why I joined several of my colleagues in the County Legislature in co-sponsoring the local law to create it.
In addition to calling for the creation of the consumer affairs office, the county executive’s state of the county address also contained other consumer-oriented proposals. Of particular note is his call for a local law requiring the registration of all stand alone ATMs that are not affiliated with banks. These are the kind often found in bowling alleys or convenience stores. Consumers using such machines have much less protection than when they utilize ATMs affiliated with a bank. Credit card theft via the use of card skimmers and other methods is a much bigger problem with standalone machines. The county executive believes that by requiring them to be registered we at least will be able to track down the ATM’s owner and better investigate cases of fraud. The executive’s proposal would require another local law. If adopted, the responsibility for administering the ATM registration would fall to the Division of Consumer Protection.
Of course, the problem of credit card skimming is not confined to ATMs. You might recall last fall when a number of gas station pumps in the county were found to have devices which allowed criminals to obtain the credit data of anyone using the pumps. The new consumer affairs office would be tasked with helping to prevent detect and prevent this pernicious practice in the future.
Technological advances such as cellular phones and the internet have made our lives better in many respects. But they have also made it easier for criminals to prey on us. It is necessary, therefore, that government adapt to this new environment. Hence, my support for the changes proposed by the county executive. 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.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - July 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, July 16th from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.
4th Annual Grand Island Garden Walk - July 2019
Mary Stewart photos.The 4th Annual Grand Island Garden Walk took place on Sunday, July 7th. A dozen Island residents opened up their gardens to the many interested garden enthusiasts.
50th Annual Independence Day Parade - July 2019
Mary Stewart photos.
Grass Island Compromise? - July 2019There may be a compromise in the works regarding Grass Island in the East Niagara River. A Buffalo News article by T.J. Pignataro delves into both sides of the issue. See article.
Pop-Up Tent Tops May Be Removed - July 2019A Message from our Highway Superintendent:
In an effort to keep public safety first, we will be lowering any tents that have been put up with tops along the parade route. If a tent with frame and top is obstructing a motorist's view the top will be removed and secured in place with frame. For pedestrian and motor vehicle safety a clear field of vision must be maintained for exiting out of parking lots along Grand Island Boulevard.
Thank you for your understanding and Have a Happy Fourth of July!
50th Anniversary for Independence Day Parade - July 20192019 is the 50th Anniversary of the Grand Island Independence Day parade. All thanks to the efforts of a couple, who after seeing Grand Island had no celebrations in 1968, started the ball rolling. Bob and Doris Ryan moved to Grand Island in 1962 and wanted to teach their four children "good old fashioned patriotism." After receiving permission from the Town Board, Doris at the helm, got to work. Former husband Bob Ryan recalls, "It was "pulling teeth" at the outset in late 1968 to get participating units and just as Doris Ryan swung into high gear after the '68 holidays, a personal tragedy drained every ounce of her patriotic enthusiasm." Her younger brother, just days away from coming home, died after stepping on a landmine in Vietnam. At first Doris couldn't make any effort to continue on with the parade, but with much encouragement, eventually got back to work planning. She succeeded in organizing a small, but enthusiastically received first Independence Day parade.
Doris was the Grand Marshall at the 10th and 25th anniversary for the parade. She passed away in 2017 in Colorado. Her daughter, Grand Island High School Class of 1976 graduate Linda Ryan, will be in Town to recognize this very important milestone. She will be the starter for the Dick Bessel Independence Day Run.
This holiday has become a favorite for current and former residents, and many graduation classes work their reunions around this date each year. Along with the parade, a comparatively new (only nine years) tradition is Mallwitz's Island Lanes Grand Reunion, held every July 3rd, starting at 6:00 p.m. After the parade, a visit to the VFW for cold beer, lunch and visiting with long lost friends has been enjoyed for many years. Happy 4th of July!
Insurance Reserve Funds Help School District - July 2019
Photo, L-R: Grand Island Central School Superintendent Brian Graham, Grand Island Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Support Services Rubie Harris, State Senator Chris Jacobs, Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Superintendent Stephen Bovino, Tonawanda City School Superintendent Timothy Oldenburg.(Buffalo, NY) - New York State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD) was joined by representatives of four local school districts in announcing passage of legislation that would allow each one to establish an insurance reserve fund to better manage escalating health insurance costs. "While I have always fought for fair funding for our school districts, equally as important is providing them with the tools they need to maximize those resources and more efficiently manage costs and district finances," said Senator Jacobs. "Establishing these insurance reserve funds will enable them to accomplish these goals while better serving students, faculty, administrators and taxpayers in each school district."
The four school districts - Frontier Central, Grand Island Central, Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free and Tonawanda City - have all opted to self-insure their health benefit programs to more prudently manage their costs. Current state law prohibits school districts from maintaining more than four percent of their budget in an unappropriated fund balance. This created a scenario where any severe or unanticipated claims could cause a district great financial hardship, essentially defeating the purpose of self-insuring.
The bills that Jacobs sponsored and secured passage of provide a vehicle for the school districts to maintain the resources necessary to effectively manage their self-insured programs. "Senator Jacobs’ efforts have provided our district a very important tool to ensure that our health care costs savings can be maintained and safeguarded, while enabling us to allocate valuable resources to other areas of need when necessary," stated Ken-Ton Superintendent Stephen Bovino. "The ability to establish a local health insurance reserve provides Frontier with an additional tool to manage our long term budget. This has become more critical as the school aid increases for Frontier continue to be under 1% and unpredictable on a year to year basis," said Superintendent Richard Hughes. "Senator Jacobs understands how this practice is unfair to the schools and taxpayers in our area, and we thank him for his continued support for local control."
"The support and leadership demonstrated by Senator Jacobs with this Health Insurance Reserve will be huge for Grand Island," said Superintendent Brian Graham. "Our district assumes the brunt of the expense of our self-funded system and could be exposed to unexpected claims and expenses during the school year. Being able to stabilize the impact of self-insuring by establishing a reserve fund will allow us to better plan for each upcoming school year."
"The passage of this legislation, sponsored by Senator Jacobs, will allow the Tonawanda City School District to better plan for the increasingly volatile costs of providing health insurance coverage for our employees," said Superintendent Timothy Oldenburg. "What once was a fringe benefit, health insurance premiums and claims are now a significant cost driver for school districts operating in a permanent tax cap era. By carefully funding a reserve for unexpected health insurance claims and double-digit premium increases, we will be better positioned to overcome these challenges without changes to student programming."
There are several benefits associated with self-insuring including cost savings, improved loss experience, a safer workplace and individual benefit plan designs more appealing to employees that might not be available in the commercial marketplace. Faster settling of claims and improved cash flow are also among the financial benefits of self-insuring. All four bills initiated by Jacobs have passed in the Assembly as well and are now awaiting signature by the Governor. "I want to thank Superintendents Bovino, Hughes Graham and Oldenburg for their vision and leadership of their districts, and for taking proactive measures that benefit their schools and the communities they serve," said Jacobs. "I hope that the Governor will quickly sign these bills into law and that perhaps more school districts in the future will seek similarly creative ways to control their costs," the Senator concluded.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - July 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, July 2nd and Tuesday, July 16th from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.
4th Annual Grand Island Garden Walk - July 2019
The 4th Annual Grand Island Garden Walk takes place on Sunday, July 7th from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Pick up your map of participating gardens at the Town Commons Gazebo area, 2255 Baseline Road. This event is free. Website.
Cashless Tolling Customer Assistance - June 2019Twice-a-week sessions will be held this summer to answer questions from Thruway motorists about cashless tolls and to resolve any billing issues, the Thruway Authority has announced. The cashless tolling customer assistance sessions will take place at the WNY Welcome Center in Grand Island. Thruway Authority staff will be available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer months at the welcome center in Grand Island.
Customers will be able to: Resolve violations resulting from unpaid toll bills; Pay or dispute toll bills; Sign up or update account information for E-ZPass and Learn about cashless tolling. The WNY Welcome Center is located at 1999 Alvin Road in Grand Island, accessible from Exit 19 (Whitehaven Road) off the Niagara Thruway. Cashless tolling will be implemented on the entire New York State Thruway system by the end of 2020. Cashless tolling is already operational at the Grand Island bridges.
Guilty Plea in Sales Tax Fraud Case - June 2019The former owner of the restaurant at the Beaver Island Clubhouse has pleaded guilty to a felony count of criminal tax fraud. Island resident Patrick Wirth, 28, has paid restitution of $15,000 of the $56,976 he collected. Sentencing is set for September 3rd. See Buffalo News story by Keith McShea.
Primary Election Results - June 2019Town Justice
Democratic: Mark Nemeth - 318; Robert Mesmer - 297
Republican: Mark Nemeth - 558; Robert Mesmer - 219
Conservative: Mark Nemeth - 44; Robert Mesmer - 20
Working Families: Robert Mesmer - 8; Mark Nemeth - 6
Green: Mark Nemeth - 2; Robert Mesmer - 1
Independence: Mark Nemeth - 94; Robert Mesmer - 66
On the Independence line, the Town Council results are Beverly Kinney - 104, Michael Madigan - 93, Thomas Digati - 70.
Filing Cabinets Replaced at GI Town Hall - June 2019
New file cabinets in Town Clerk's office.Grand Island Town Clerk, Pattie Frentzel, announced the Clerk’s office recently received a $19,000 grant from the state’s, Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund, to replace all the active filing cabinets in Town Hall.
Clerk Frentzel stated, “We are extremely proud of this grant as it provides 100% of the funding to upgrade the Town’s records’ storage. Receipt of this grant represents my personal commitment to actively pursuing grant money - money that directly correlates to significant savings for Grand Island tax payers.” Frentzel went on to say, “This represents the eighth grant totally over $211,000.00 we’ve been able to secure for the town since taking office”.
Together with the Town’s grant writer, Clerk Frentzel prepared the request to replace the aged filing cabinets. The new, state-of-the-art, cabinets weigh approximately 650lbs, meet 2-hour fireproof standards and are fully equipped with locks for heightened security. Working closely with the grant writers, Frentzel is known for identifing opportunities to move towards total digitization of both active and inactive records as well as preparing plans for records disaster recovery.
Clerk Frentzel serves as the Records Management Officer overseeing the critical function of effectively managing the Town’s records ranging from creation, to destruction or preservation. The New York State Archives oversees and guides local governments, school districts, state agencies with workshops, training, retention and disposition publications for practical strategies in managing records programs across the state. With regard to the future, Clerk Frentzel is already targeting additional cost saving measures. “Our plan continues to be writing grants to fully digitize town records for greater public accessibility. It’s just one of the many ways my team works to provide the Town with outstanding service in the Clerk’s office.”
Riverside-Salem Presents Music in the Woods - June 2019
Riverside-Salem Environmental Sanctuary, 3449 West River Road is hosting "Music in the Woods" on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 4:00 p.m., rain or shine. Featured will be Nan Hoffman, Joe Tumino and Kathy DeLoughry. Refreshments/potluck - Free-will donation. For more information call Nan (773-5315), June (773-1426).
GICSD Offers Summer Sports Camp for Grades 2-7 - June 2019The Grand Island Central School District community education program is offering full-day and half-day summer sports camps, that will keep students entering grades 2-7 busy this summer. Sports camp is taught by NYS certified teachers with experience in physical education and coaching. Students will play soccer, volleyball, baseball, archery, lacrosse, rock climbing and swim at the Grand Island High School facilities. Students bring their own lunch and water bottles.
Parents must register in full week increments; no single days are available. Five weeks of camp is offered from July 1 through August 2; Monday - Friday. Fees are $100 per child per week for full days from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Half days are $50 per child per week with choice of morning session from 8 a.m. - noon or afternoon session from 1 - 5 p.m. Register online at https://www.grandislandschools.org/communityed.
Primary Day Sample Ballot - June 2019Official Primary Sample Ballot
Primary Day is Tuesday, June 25th. For the PRIMARY ONLY, the Nike Base Community Center will be closed for reconstruction. All voters in District 1 and 4 who normally go there will report the GOLDEN AGE CENTER for voting, (right across the parking lot). ALL eight polls are open on Primary Day from 6am-9pm. There is a primary in EVERY party. So any party-affiliated voter on Grand Island may vote on Primary Day.
75th D-Day Commemoration at DeGlopper Park - June 2019
Kelly Petrie rings the bell as Deputy James Sharpe, veterans and family members look on.
The National Medal of Honor Museum commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day with a bell tolling on June 6th at 2:00 p.m. ET, where organizations across the country will toll their bells 13 times to honor the 13 American men who earned the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions on D-Day. Veterans, DeGlopper family members and residents gathered at DeGlopper Memorial Park and honored Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper at that time.
Robert Haag photos.
DeGlopper, born in Grand Island, New York, was one of the 13 soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor for his service during WWII. Pfc. DeGlopper saw action at La Fiere, France, where he volunteered to support his comrades by fire from his automatic rifle while they attempted a withdrawal through a break in a hedgerow 40 yards to the rear. Scorning a concentration of enemy automatic weapons and rifle fire, he walked from the ditch onto the road in full view of the Germans, and sprayed the hostile positions with assault fire. Pfc DeGlopper was killed outright, but he was successful in drawing the enemy action away from his fellow soldiers, who continued the fight from a more advantageous position and established the first bridgehead over the Merderet.
Town Commons Rotary Gazebo Torn Down - June 2019
George Panepinto at the controls of the backhoe.
The gazebo at the Town Commons was demolished on Thursday, June 6th, because of safety issues. The Rotary Club of Grand Island built the gazebo in the early 1980's.
Island resident George Panepinto of Pinto Construction was behind the controls of the backhoe and donated his services. Pariso Logistics also donated their services to remove the debris. The plan is to have BOCES trade school students build a new gazebo starting in the fall.
Mary Stewart photos.
Investments in Our Community - June 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
2018 was a very good year for Erie County Government, at least from a financial standpoint. The county ended the year with a surplus of about 45 million dollars. The lion’s share of this was due to the state’s failure to collect approximately 31 million dollars from the county until 2019 for our 2018 share of indigent care expenses at ECMC. Even so, the remaining 14 million dollars is a healthy surplus.
A couple of factors contributed to this result. First, of course, we need to give credit to the county administration. They worked closely with the legislature to ensure that our limited resources were utilized in an efficient manner. Perhaps the biggest reason, though, is pure luck. The county benefitted from a strong local economy which yielded higher than expected sales tax revenue.
It is not easy to forecast revenues and expenses a year in advance. The county executive must deliver his 2020 Executive Budget to the Legislature in October. In it, he must project how much sales tax we will bring in and how much we will spend on various programs, including a number of social welfare programs. These figures will be highly dependent on the state of the economy throughout 2020. Does anyone really know how things will look in December of 2020? If the economy is roaring then people will spend more during the Christmas season and fewer people will need public assistance. If we are in a recession sales tax receipts will be down and welfare spending will be up. We were fortunate in 2018. Hence, we have a surplus.
The Legislature voted recently to invest the remaining $14 million from the 2018 county budget surplus in a number of worthy places. $5 million was set aside for the Albright Knox’s expansion to fulfill a pledge made previously by the county executive. These funds will leverage a matching grant by billionaire Western New York native Jeffrey Gundlach. Using the $5 million from the 2018 surplus saves us the need to bond and pay interest on this investment in a world class cultural treasure. The banks may lose some money. But the rest of us will prosper.
We also designated $600,000 of the surplus funds to go toward the purchase of body cameras for Erie County Sheriff’s Deputies. Hardly a month goes by when we do not read of tension in an American community spawned by allegations of police misconduct. Often times there is no clear evidence to support or dispel these charges. Police body cameras diminish the chance that one of these ugly incidents happens here. They serve to protect both the police and the public by providing a clearer picture of the situation.
There were a number of other investments made with the excess funds. I fought hard for $150,000 for regional assets in the City of Tonawanda including boat docks along the city’s waterfront and a playground in Niawanda Park for children with disabilities. We also returned over half a million dollars to the county’s fund balance or “rainy day account” because, as we’ve seen this spring, we are not always so lucky and it does rain.
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.
2019 Erie County Business Assistance Directory Available - June 2019ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning has announced the completion of the 2019 Erie County Business Assistance Directory, a comprehensive and current fifty-page compilation of business and government agencies, economic development service providers, transportation, planning, and zoning information, and much more. The Directory is intended to assist a businessperson or someone unfamiliar with Erie County by providing a comprehensive guide to the local business and governmental landscape in order to reduce the time needed to get the information they need to start and operate a business here.
“The Erie County Business Assistance Directory was last updated in 2009, and a lot has changed in Erie County in the ten years since then. Today there are more jobs and lower unemployment, but also issues not contemplated in 2009, such as where a business owner can turn to help an employee with an opioid addiction. The Directory will help business owners to navigate the economic and governmental field here in Erie County and will make it easier for them to expand their operations and provide the benefits required under the law to their employees,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “It is an easy to use Directory that is full of current information and contacts for a wide spectrum of business leaders and elected officials at all levels, as well as industrial development agencies, educational and training resources, minority and women-owned business assistance, and many more resources.”
Along with inclusive alphabetical indexes for local agencies and individuals, the 2019 Business Assistance Directory has information on twenty-one potential areas of inquiry for interested business owners including utilities, workforce development resources, small business startup and technical assistance, engineering assistance and environmental resources, tourism, and more. The Directory will be used by local governments, Chambers of Commerce, and economic development entities who may be the first point of contact from outside businesses seeking technical assistance.
Lawnmower Race Committee Meets - June 2019
Lawnmower Race Committee: from left: Tom Long, Mike Geblein, John Whitney, Ron McNamee Gary Roesch, Betty Harris, Lynn Dingey, Jon Dingey, Brian McFee, Floyd Doring & Mark Leffler.
The Grand Island Father's Day Mary Dunbar-Daluisio Memorial Lawnmower Race and Kevin Doring Memorial 5K Walk/Run & Car Show will be held on Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 3957 West River Parkway, (near Long Road). There will also be a kid zone, food, music and 50/50. See flyer for more details.
Missing from photo: Mary Ehde, Pete Marsten, Tom Snyder, Eric Burger and Michael Manuszewski.
Click photo for larger view. Photo by K & D Action Photo & Imaging.
New Soccer Signs at Veterans Park - June 2019
The Grand Island Soccer Club and ASI Signage Innovations recently donated soccer signs at Veterans Park on Bedell Road. The Grand Island Parks Department added landscaping block and flowers to highlight the improvement.
Share Your Independence Parade Memories - June 2019July 4, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the the first Grand Island Independence Day Parade. Island resident Doris Ryan and then husband Bob, discussed the lack of celebration in the community for the July 4th holiday and came up with the idea for a patriotic parade. They got to work and after the tragic death of her brother in the Vietnam War in January 1969, Doris wanted to quit. She rallied and with help from Island organizations, started an Island tradition. If you would like to share your memories of the Independence Day parade, please email email@example.com.
Hardwick Visits Love Road Re-Paving Project - June 2019
Erie County Department of Public Works employees with Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick & County Executive Mark Poloncarz (far right).Grand Island, NY - In the 2019 Adopted Erie County Budget, more than $40 million was allocated for rehabilitation and maintenance of County-owned roads, bridges and culverts. Some of this additional funding was developed by Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick in the 2019 budget amendments.
The Erie County Department of Public Works began road and infrastructure projects a few weeks ago, and County roads in the Town of Grand Island will see numerous milling and paving projects this year. These include the milling and overlay (re-paving) of Love and Bush Roads, both of which projects have just commenced.
Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick visited the road construction sites on May 31st with County Executive Mark Poloncarz to monitor progress. Legislator Hardwick said: “I am grateful the County Executive agreed with me and prioritized these road projects in Grand Island this year. While there is some slight inconvenience due to the work being performed, I know the residents will be very satisfied with the investments the County is making.” Both Bush and Love Roads are expected to be paved during the first week of June, and Baseline Road, from Whitehaven to East River Road, will be milled and re-paved later this month.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - June 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, June 4th and Tuesday, May 18th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Grand Island Town Hall. Residents and elected officials are welcome and encouraged to stop by to address any ideas or concerns they may have.
75th Anniversary of D-Day to Honor Charles N. DeGlopper - May 2019The National Medal of Honor Museum is commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day with a bell tolling on June 6th at 2:00 p.m. ET, where organizations across the country will toll their bells 13 times to honor the 13 American men who earned the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions on D-Day. Participants include Trinity United Methodist Church, St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church, and the Grand Island Town Hall.
Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper, born in Grand Island, New York, was one of the 13 soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor for his service during WWII. Pfc. DeGlopper saw action at La Fiere, France, where he volunteered to support his comrades by fire from his automatic rifle while they attempted a withdrawal through a break in a hedgerow 40 yards to the rear. Scorning a concentration of enemy automatic weapons and rifle fire, he walked from the ditch onto the road in full view of the Germans, and sprayed the hostile positions with assault fire. Pfc DeGlopper was killed outright, but he was successful in drawing the enemy action away from his fellow soldiers, who continued the fight from a more advantageous position and established the first bridgehead over the Merderet.
Memorial Day - May 2019
Left: Guest speaker MSgt. George R. Smith, Ret. U.S. Air Force.
Mary Stewart photos.The Grand Island Recreation Department hosted a Memorial Day program at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, 2019. Many Island residents gathered to honor the men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country. Special guest speaker was Island resident MSgt. George R. Smith, Ret. U.S. Air Force.
Benefit for Jason Flading - May 2019A fundraiser is planned for Island resident, Jason Flading, who lost his home to fire. The event takes place Saturday, June 9th at the Grand Island Rod & Gun Club. See flyer for details.
Amazon Scouting Two Island Locations - May 2019A Buffalo News article posted May 24, 2019 announced that Amazon is scouting locations for a distribution facility, two sites being in Grand Island and one across the river in Tonawanda. See article by Stephen T. Watson.
The Grand Island Commerce Center property mentioned in the above article is described as being "Located at the Long Road Exit of Interstate 190, the major thoroughfare to Niagara Falls with over 3,700 feet of frontage along I - 190, the site offers exceptional visibility to the more than 16.5 million vehicles passing annually. The property is +/- 208 acres with 144 acres zoned commercial and approximately 64 acres zoned for residential use."
Arbor Day Celebration- May 2019
Mary Stewart photos.An Arbor Day celebration took place on Saturday, May 4th at the Grand Island High School. It was sponsored by the Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board and the Grand Island Central School District. There was a proclamation and planting demonstration, followed by a scavenger hunt, games & crafts, a greenhouse tour and storytelling. Everyone was asked to take a tree seedling when they left.
Grand Island Band, Yasgur Project - May 2019
The Grand Island band "The Yasgur Project" will be having a concert on Saturday, June 1st at the Knights of Columbus, 1841 Whitehaven Road. Band members are Tony Nigro, Marty Binda, Reed Stewart, Bob Piatek and Ferd Duesel. The show is called "Classic Rock Radio Live" and begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $5. See flyer for details. Their tag line..."Music from the 60's by guys in their 60's."
Town of Grand Island Memorial Day Service - May 2019
The Grand Island Recreation Department has announced the Town of Grand Island Memorial Day Service will take place on Monday, May 27th at 10:00 a.m. at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park, intersection of Grand Island Blvd. and Baseline Road. Veterans, family members, and friends are cordially invited to attend the program. The Town of Grand Island extends a very gracious thank you in advance for your time and participation.
Thruway Authority to Hold Cashless Tolling Outreach - May 2019The New York State Thruway Authority invites Western New Yorkers to a Cashless Tolling Customer Outreach Event which will include personalized customer service for individuals regarding their E-ZPass and Tolls by Mail accounts, opportunities for customers to sign up for E-ZPass, and information will be available on the conversion to cashless tolling on the entire Thruway by the end of 2020. Customers can call or email in advance to schedule appointments and walk-in appointments will be permitted the day of the event.
It will take place on Wednesday, May 15th at the Western New York Welcome Center, 1999 Alvin Road, from 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Customers are encouraged to make an appointment by calling 518-471-5300, Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Flyer.
The Important Role of the Traditional Media - May 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
I recently found myself thinking about last year’s biggest controversy. I am speaking, of course, of Yanni vs. Laurel. People who listened to exactly the same audio clip heard entirely different names. I was reminded of this as I watched media commentators and average citizens alike react to the release of the Mueller Report. People looking at the same set of facts came to very different conclusions.
I refuse to get dragged into the debate over the president’s involvement, or lack thereof, is something nefarious regarding agents of the Russian government, as I can get in enough trouble on my own. Even so, I am horrified to read about how the Russians were able to manipulate the behavior of ordinary Americans through the clever use of our own social media. They methodically spread misinformation about all sides of the political spectrum via Facebook and Twitter which fed into our pre-existing biases. They even enlisted our unwitting support for their plan to divide us by getting us to share and re-tweet their fake news. When friends saw what other friends were sharing they naturally assumed it was true.
This got me to thinking about the importance of social media in our personal and communal lives. I have reached the conclusion that we are much too reliant on our cell phones for everything. I long for the days when people counted on the traditional media, such as newspapers, for their information. Back then we were all better informed and more united. We could argue about the interpretation, but we at least had a common set of facts.
Things have gotten so bad that a few months ago I felt compelled to provide weather alerts to my students at Canisius College. I did this because I knew that if the snow, high wind or blizzard warnings didn’t show up in their twitter feeds, then they were not going to prepare for the perils of winter in Western New York. It makes me wonder if a tree falls in the forest and nobody tweets about it, did it really fall? I would argue that it did, and this is exactly my point. Things like potentially dangerous weather are going to happen regardless of whether they are tweeted or not. In the past, we relied on the traditional news media to protect us. Now, too many people neglect newspapers and traditional newscasts and rely on the internet for their information.
Too often, though, I’ve seen misinformation about state and local government actions spread by well-meaning citizens on Facebook pages and through their tweets. I hope that the days when we read the accounts of well-trained news reporters who actually attend meetings and interview the decision makers in their quest to get the story right are not gone forever. It is an extremely valuable service provided by traditional media and we would be foolish to let social media supplant it. But that is exactly what our foreign adversaries are counting on us to do. We can defeat them, though, if we simply choose to stay informed.
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.
Passport Saturday Held at Town Clerk's Office - May 2019
The Lewandowski family on Passport Saturday in the Clerk’s office, with Deputy Town Clerk, Karen Cooney.Town Clerk, Pattie Frentzel and the staff in the Clerk’s office held “Passport Saturday” on May 4, 2019. Several families and individuals took advantage of the special Saturday hours last weekend to complete their applications for passports and passport cards. Passport applications are taken at the Town Clerk’s office Monday - Friday, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily or evenings by appointment. Passport photos are available at the Clerk’s office as well for $7.00 "Our office has been accepting applications since 2006 and I am proud to offer this service to our Grand Island and neighboring residents," stated Frentzel. "Whether this is the first time or a renewal, we will guide you in the process." Please contact the office anytime for information on passports at 773-9600 ext. 600.
Purple Martin Gourd Racks Added at Beaver Island - May 2019
From left: Ryan Tomko, Amy Roe of U.S.F.W.S and Mark Filipski NYS DEC.
Story and photos by Tom Burke.
Close-up, note decoy upper center.The DEC and US Fish and Wildlife Service recently installed three purple martin gourd racks at Beaver Island State Park!! Purple martins are the largest North American representative of the swallow family. Martin's nest communally (typically in man made structures in this day and age). Many Islanders are probably familiar with the more traditional housing structures generally associated with purple martins. Gourds, however, haven proven to be more appealing to purple martins while appealing less to non native cavity nest site competitors (starlings and house sparrows).
Two of the structures can be seen on Little Beaver Island (opposite marina). The third structure is near bridge ,which crosses lagoon, by sledding hill. Mote the crescent shaped starling resistant entry holes and the purple martin decoy on the close up view. As a final step: Volunteers will be playing recordings of purple martin vocalizations to make these structures even more appealing. Many Thanks to these agencies and State Parks for their continued commitment to enhancing the natural environment here on our Island!!
Natural Resource Restoration - May 2019Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation will be hosting a program about the restoration on Spicer Creek and Little Beaver Island. It takes place at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road, on Thursday, May 16th from 6:30 p.m. - 7:45 p.m. See flyer.
Grand Island School Board Election "Meet the Candidates" - May 2019Video of Candidates Night.
The Grand Island PTA Council is hosting a "Meet the Candidates" night on Tuesday, May 7th at 6:00 p.m. at the Professional Development Room at the Senior High School. There are five candidates running for two positions. They are Colleen Wilkinson, Donna Elia Tomkins, James Grover, Lisa Pyc and Nicole Novak. Questions will be accepted from the audience prior to the start. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m.
Thermo Fisher to Lease CannonDesign Building - May 2019Thermo Fisher Scientific, located on Staley Road, will be leasing the CannonDesign headquarters on Whitehaven Road. See Buffalo News article by Stephen T. Watson.
Senior Center Theft Ends in Probation - May 2019Ex-Senior Center Supervisor Barbara Gannon was sentenced to five years probation for stealing $116,000 from the center, on Thursday, May 2nd. See Buffalo News story by Stephen T. Watson.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - May 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, May 7 and Tuesday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Grand Island Town Hall. Residents and elected officials are welcome and encouraged to stop by to address any ideas or concerns they may have.
Linda Basta Memorial Charity Walk - May 2019
The Linda Basta Memorial Charity Walk and basket raffle will take place at Veterans Park, 1845 Bedell Road on Saturday, June 1st at 10:00 a.m. See website for walk details and team signup. Flyer.
Celebrate Trees! at Grand Island High School - May 2019
The Grand Island School District Buildings and Grounds team helped to plant 9 new trees at the HS/MS campus.
The Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board and the Grand Island Central School District are hosting an event in honor of Arbor Day. The event is scheduled from 10 to noon on May 4th at the high school where there will be games, a scavenger hunt, tree planting ceremony, and other fun activities for kids of all ages. There will also be free saplings for attendees to take home with directions on planting and care. Please join us at Grand Island Senior High School, 1100 Ransom Road. See flyer.
Dr. Brian Graham photo.
DeGlopper Memorial Park Work Party Progress - May 2019
From left: John Braddell and American Legion Commander Ray DeGlopper.
Dan Drexilius moving sod.
Above photo click for larger view. Photos by Bob Haag
Completed sod installation - Mary Stewart photo.
Over five dozen volunteers made short work of 34,000 square feet of sod on Saturday, April 27th, at the Charles Deglopper Memorial Park. The park, located at Baseline Road and Grand Island Blvd., is in the midst of an expansion project. Island resident John Braddell and family, owners of Lakeside Sod, donated the turf for the project. Lakeside Sod began in 1966 as a small sod farm on Grand Island and is now located in Clarence Center. Work started at 8:00 a.m. and was completed before noon. Thanks also to Jim Ehde of GI Waste Management for providing the outdoor restroom and to Brick Oven Pizza for lunch! You can Donate Here.
Postal Workers Food Collection Benefits Neighbors - May 2019
On Saturday, May 11th, our Grand Island Postal Workers will be collecting food during their mail delivery. The food will be provided to the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation to supplement their food pantry to the benefit of our neighbors in need on the Island. Island residents are encouraged to place non-expired and non-perishable food in a bag near their mailbox for pick-up by the postal workers. They can also bring their food donations directly to the Neighbors Foundation Pantry in the St. Stephen's Old Church Basement between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on 1May 11th. Additionally, the Neighbors Foundation is seeking volunteers during the same hours to help receive and sort food as it arrives during the day. Pizza and soda will be provided! If interested in helping out, please contact Dave Conboy at 773-7476.
Armed Forces Celebration Begin May 5th - May 2019Island resident Major General David Conboy, United States Army, Retired, has announced Armed Forces Celebration begins Sunday, May 5th and he is General Chairman of events. He also noted that through fellow Islander Marty Bobak's good work, Marty's employer Moog is serving as primary sponsor of the events. See press release.
The opening ceremony takes place on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 12:00 noon at Buffalo Riverworks, 359 Ganson Street. The event is free and will feature Military Color Guards and the American Legion Band of the Tonawandas. On Thursday, May 9th, an Armed Services Luncheon will take place at Salvatore's Italian Gardens at a cost of $30 per person. The Armed Forces Ball will take place, also at Salvatore's Italian Gardens, on Saturday, May 18th, tickets are $50.00. For complete information, go to the www.wnyafw.com website.
Trio Charged with Poaching at Beaver Island - April 2019Two Buffalo men and a minor boy have been charged with poaching, after being caught netting at Beaver Island State Park. Using nets, the group had 3,537 perch, 187 carp, 14 rock bass and two sunfish. Surprisingly, most of the fish survived and returned to the river. See Buffalo News story by Aaron Besecker.
CannonDesign Moving to Fountain Plaza - April 2019A story by Jonathan D. Epstein in the Buffalo News today, announced CannonDesign will move to Fountain Plaza by August of this year. Supervisor Nate McMurray said he plans to submit a proposal at the next Town Board meeting to enter into "serious negotiations." See story.
DeGlopper Memorial Park Work Party - April 2019A DeGlopper Memorial Park work party is set for Saturday, April 27th, starting at 8:00 a.m. Everone is welcome to come lend a hand laying 34,000 squares of sod. Committe member Chris Taylor said "even an hour of your time will be very helpful." The park is located at the corner of Grand Island Blvd. and Baseline Road.
Woods Creek Deck Sealing Planned - April 2019Erie County, NY - Legislator Kevin Hardwick is pleased to announce upcoming rehabilitation work by the Erie County Department of Public Works on a bridge in Grand Island. The bridge over Woods Creek on Baseline Road (near Long Road) will undergo deck sealing under a resolution approved by the Legislature on April 18, 2019.
The deck sealing process helps maintain the extensive infrastructure across Erie County by helping to prevent further deterioration. In conjunction with the New York State Department of Transportation, this project will be partially funded by the Locally Administered Federal Aid Program.
Legislator Hardwick, who represents Grand Island, stated: “Erie County is really prioritizing infrastructure investments this year, and I am grateful the County Executive submitted this resolution for approval in such a timely manner. We know that preventative maintenance goes a long way in a climate like ours which is undeniably harsh on any outdoor structure, especially our bridges.”
4th Annual Grand Island Garden Walk - April 2019
Spring is here and it is time to start thinking about planting and enjoying gardens! The fourth annual Grand Island Garden Walk will be held on Sunday, July 7, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The garden walk is a free event for participating gardens and for the public. Hundreds of visitors have toured and admired Island gardens during the walks and such annual successes have the planning committee excited for the 2019 gardening season!
With each event, the Garden Walk committee has seen the number of attendees grow. The island is a short drive from communities north and south, including Canada, and the Walk showcases the beauty and efforts of Grand Island gardeners. Previous walks have featured beautiful flower gardens, native plant gardens, themed gardens, and the vegetable and pollinator gardens created by the Kaegebein Elementary Garden Club. Such local successes have been enjoyed by not only the hard-working gardeners, but also by community members who visit the gardens and share in the beauty of the natural environments.
This free event would not be possible without community participation and support! The Garden Walk Committee is very grateful to all who open their gardens to the public and for the continued generous support of local businesses and individuals. Last year, generous supporters included: Liz Wilbert of Howard Hanna, Lakeside Sod Supply Company (Big Yellow Bag), Mastantuono Allstate Insurance, Grand Island Auto Tech, Island Ship Center, Marston Power Equipment, Ellden’s Grill and Banquet, Flower A Day Florist, Dick & Jenny’s, Assemblyman Angelo Morinello, Copper Valley Roofing, Grand Island Secure Storage, and Mosquito Joe.
Betty Hopkins, owner of E.H Enterprises Nursery of Ransom Road, added an extra supportive bonus to the 2018 Garden Walk by donating a gift certificate to the nursery to every household that placed their garden in the walk. Such generous support from the community makes this event possible. If you are interested in placing your gardens in this year’s walk, garden applications are being accepted now until June 1 and can be found online at www.grandislandgardenwalk.com or by calling Jan at 465-7396 or Nancy at 435-9738. All kinds of gardens, from large to small, shady to sunny, are invited to participate in this year’s walk. If you are developing new gardens or adding a unique theme to your landscape, consider sharing it with the community! Donations to support the 2019 Grand Island Garden Walk are also gratefully accepted and the contributions will help make this year’s event a continued annual success.
Mark your calendar for July 7 and get ready to explore the Island and its beautiful gardens and natural scenery! Garden Walk maps can be picked up on event day at the Town Commons Gazebo, 2255 Baseline Road and information on the walk can be found at: www.grandislandgardenwalk.com.
Annual Maplegrove Cemetery Meeting - April 2019The Annual Maplegrove Cemetery Meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road. Refreshments will be served.
Republic Recycling Tote Pick-Up - April 2019The Grand Island Highway Department will collect remaining Republic recycling totes between April 22nd and May 3rd. Leave your empty Republic tote out on your garbage day for pick up.
Father's Day Lawnmower Race, 5K and Car Show - April 2019The Grand Island Father's Day Mary Dunbar-Daluisio Memorial Lawnmower Race and Kevin Doring Memorial 5K Walk/Run & Car Show will be held on Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 3957 West River Parkway, (near Long Road). There will also be a kid zone, food, music and 50/50. See flyer for more details. Grand Island Father's Day Lawnmower Race Classes and Rules.
National Night Out 2019 - April 2019
Along with thousands of towns across the United States, Grand Island will be participating in National Night Out 2019. National Night Out is a chance for the community to come together to foster strong law enforcement/community partnerships as well as neighborhood camaraderie. The Chairman for the event will be Mr. Chuck Grunzweig. As the Chairman of the Traffic Safety Advisory Board and community member, Chuck is looking to begin building his team to again provide a wonderful night for the families and neighbors of Grand Island.
The event will be held on Tuesday, August 6th from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. If you are interested in helping with the event, either as a vendor, volunteer, or in some additional way, please contact Chuck at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings focusing on the event will begin soon and we would love to see as many involved as possible.
Nicaragua Mission Collection - April 2019The Nicaragua Mission Collection will be held Thursday, May 9th at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1841 Whitehaven Road. Summer clothing, shoes, and household items (dishes, pots & pans, glasses, bedding etc.) of any kind may be brought to the hall between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Non-perishable food items are also needed. Donations of cash are most welcome to purchase cows or pigs for families or to help defray shipping costs. Ann Marie Zon will bring her truck for loading at 6 p.m., and give a presentation about the Mission after the truck is loaded. Refreshments will be served. Thank you for your support again this year. Please no bicycles or large furniture.
20,000 Panel Solar Field Being Installed - April 2019A Buffalo News article dated April 15th, by Stephen T. Watson, describes the 20,000 panel solar project being constructed north of Whitehaven, near Stony Point Road. Another project along the I-190, near Bedell Road, will include approximately 13,000 solar panels. See full story here.
NYS Parks to Provide Seasonal Dock Permits Along West River Shoreline Trail - April 2019The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced that they will be issuing temporary seasonal dock permits for up to 50 docks along the West River Shoreline Trail on a first come first serve basis for the 2019 season.
With the opening of the new 8-mile trail last fall, State Parks is anticipating increased pedestrian traffic along this section of waterfront. Permit applications and further information are available at the Beaver Island State Park Office or on line here, beginning on April 12, 2019.
Interested parties must submit their application in person at the Beaver Island State Park Office at 2136 West Oakfield Road, Grand Island, NY 14072 beginning on April 13. Permit applications will be accepted seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. until 50 permits have been issued, but no later than close of business on May 1. To secure a temporary seasonal permit for 2019, insurance and a permit from the Army Corp of Engineers must be provided and docks must align with safety standards developed by State Parks. For more information on this program, please contact the Beaver Island State Park Office at 716-773-3271.
Senator on Your Street - April 2019NYS Senator Chris Jacobs "Senator on Your Street" program, Wednesday, April 24th, from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.at Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island.
Morinello Supports Free Tuition Bill - April 2019April 10, 2019.
Today, Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) supported a bill (A.2991) to provide free college tuition to family members of New York state military personnel who lost their lives performing their military duties. Eligibility for assistance would require the surviving dependent family members to attend a SUNY or CUNY institution. Recipients would receive free tuition and room and board through a “MERIT” scholarship.
Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, chairwoman of the Higher Education Committee, has repeatedly called the bill an “entitlement” and said it would cost hundreds of thousands in tax dollars. The bill was shot down by Assembly Democrats in Albany earlier today.
“It is truly shameful that members of the majority voted against a bill that could have helped so many grieving families in New York state,” said Morinello. “Our state’s military men and women are among the bravest in the nation and it’s our duty to give back to families who lost a loved one in the line of duty. It’s impossible to diminish the loss or to replace a family member, but this bill would eliminate the financial weight of earning a higher education, and help them to have a better chance at success. As a Vietnam War Veteran, I’m proud to support this bill and urge my colleagues in the majority to do the right thing and help pass it in the future.”
4 duffel bags of marijuana found after search at Beaver Island State Park - April 2019Buffalo News story by Harold McNeil - Published April 10, 2019.
Federal border patrol agents discovered four large red duffel bags containing marijuana following a search Tuesday at Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Buffalo Station agents had observed a helicopter hovering at a very low altitude at about 8:20 p.m. over a parking lot at the state park, which prompted the search.
Deputies from the Erie County Sheriff's Office were called in to provide air support and conduct a K-9 search of the area. Inside each duffel bag were 25 sealed plastic packages of marijuana weighing a total of 108 pounds and with an estimated street value of $151,200, customs officials said. An investigation was being conducted by federal, state and local law enforcement.
Girl wins $14,000 settlement after breaking arm at Taste of Grand Island - April 2019Buffalo News story by Stephen T. Watson - Published April 10, 2019.
Grand Island and Leaping Beauty Bounce House Rental are poised to pay $14,373 to settle with a girl who suffered a broken left arm at the Taste of Grand Island in September 2014. Another child jumped on Emma Wilkins, then 5, at the festival, according to documents filed in State Supreme Court. Parents Jason and Nicole Wilkins never formally filed suit, but they've reached an agreement that would place $7,700 in a trust for Emma, pay $4,500 for their legal fees and reimburse $1,000 to the Wilkins' health insurer, along with $873 previously paid for medical expenses. Deputy Grand Island Supervisor James Sharpe said the Town Board won't need to approve the settlement, which should be covered by the insurance carrier for the town and rental company. It's not clear how they'll split any payment.
Erie County Offering Rain Barrels & Compost Bins - April 2019ERIE COUNTY, NY - Erie County, in partnership with the City of Buffalo, the Town of Wheatfield, and the Western NY Stormwater Coalition, is once again offering rain barrels and compost bins to encourage households to reduce their environmental footprint through water conservation and reducing fertilizer use.
Rain barrels reduce stormwater runoff, water produced in heavy rainfalls that does not soak in to the ground and can transport many pollutants to our local waterways. By using harvested rainwater for watering lawns, gardens and potted plants, rain barrels conserve water. As an added bonus, the natural nutrients in rain water make it far better for plants than tap water, which has chlorine and fluoride in it. With a rain barrel, gardeners can also minimize or eliminate their use of chemical fertilizers.
Home composting is a simple way to restore nutrients to soil. The addition of compost enriches soil, stimulates plant growth, and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Composting yard trimmings and food scraps has the added benefit of keeping those wastes out of our local landfills. For details visit: www.eriecompostersale.ecwid.com Quantities are limited. Deadline to order is May 3, 2019.
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events - April 2019Erie County is hosting five household hazardous waste collection events over the next six months. Residents will be required to pre-register to attend a collection event. See flyer for list of dates and locations and acceptable items. FLYER.
Hope for Higher Speed Internet - April 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
I live on Frederick Road, the last street in the City of Tonawanda. On the other side of the power lines in my backyard is the Town of Tonawanda. I often find myself looking across at the houses on the other side of the right of way and envying their owners for having access to something I do not. You see, the Town of Tonawanda has Verizon FiOS high speed internet and the City of Tonawanda does not. Now I have heard both good things and bad about Fios. But I wish I had the option to judge for myself. Instead, I have to be content with Spectrum as my internet service provider. This may soon change as the result of a proposal by County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Citing poor internet speeds and lack of internet access by too many county residents, the county executive called for the construction of “ErieNet,” in his state of the county address. This proposal would see the county lay down approximately 360 miles of fiber cable to provide the backbone for a high speed internet system with the potential to serve every neighborhood in the county. The county would not sell internet to individual residents, though. Rather, it would rely on other internet companies, perhaps several new ones, to tap into the county’s network to provide “last mile” service to individual homes and businesses throughout the county. The county would then charge these companies to access ErieNet in an effort to recover the estimated $20 million cost for the county’s broadband system.
The benefits of such a proposal are easy to see. According to a recent study, we have some of the slowest internet speeds in the nation. This comes as no surprise to those of us who regularly complain about our internet performance. Access to ErieNet should increase speed dramatically. Another benefit would be price competition. For those who already have access to Verizon Fios it would provide the possibility of other companies offering comparable service. This could only mean good things for the consumer.
The benefit of ErieNet would not be limited to private individuals. It would also be available to businesses. In 2019, many companies require fast and reliable internet. For many businesses our lack of options for such internet service is a bigger problem than our long winters. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the availability of the type of network the county executive is proposing could serve as a tool in attracting businesses and jobs to Erie County. In addition, schools, public libraries and other municipal buildings throughout the county would profit from access to the broadband system.
The promise of ErieNet is great. It could be the answer to many of our prayers, as it would benefit businesses and individuals, alike. Still, $20 million is a lot of money. That is why I intend to be engaged at every step of the process, making sure that the right questions get asked and answered to my satisfaction. Toward this end, I would welcome your participation.
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.
GI High School Distinguished Alumni Awards Presentation - April 2019
From left: From left: Dr. Anna Quider, Wayne Sharpe & Dr. Malcolm Merriweather.
The 2019 Grand Island Central School District Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony was held at the Grand Island Viking Theater on Friday, March 29th at 10:00 a.m. This year's Distinguished Alumni are Wayne Sharpe - Class of 1982, Dr. Anna Quider - Class of 2002 & Malcolm J. Merriweather - Class of 2003. Click on their names to read a biography.
From left: MC Dick Crawford, Asst. Principal Karen Surdyke, Jude Kuehne, Alumni Comm., Distinguished Alumni Dr. Malcolm Meriweather, Dr. Anna Quider & Wayne Sharpe, School Board Vice President Sue Marston, Principal Michael Lauria, Maura Rustowicz, Alumni Comm., & School Superintendent Dr. Brian Graham. Click photo for larger view.
The Master of Ceremony was Dick Crawford. The three awardees gave very interesting and entertaining presentations. You can see the ceremony here, thanks to Mark Gorton, GICSD video technician. Congratulations to this year's fantastic distinguished alumni!
Neighborhoods Affected By Road Race - April 2019The Purple Ribbon Warrior Road Race in honor of Mary Dunbar-Daluisio will be held on Sunday, April 14th at 10:00 a.m., at Say Cheese Pizza Co., 1771 Love Road. The race committee would like the public to know there will be limited road closures during the time of the race. See map of race and flyer to participate.
Island Man Arrested After Wild Chase - April 2019Buffalo News Story - by Mike Kurilovitch, published March 31, 2019.
A sports car driver faces numerous charges after a wild chase at speeds of more than 90 mph, Town of Niagara Police reported. Ayman Abdellatif, 39, of Fernwood Lane, Grand Island, was charged with reckless driving, obstructing governmental administration and numerous violations of the Vehicle and Traffic Code, police said. Police said they began pursuing a speeding black Corvette about 5 p.m. March 20 near Porter and Tuscarora roads, following it as it swerved in and out of traffic, passed slower cars on the right and drove into oncoming traffic several times, forcing other drivers to take evasive actions. Officers said they were finally able to block traffic and force the driver to pull over near Packard Road and Haseley Drive.
County Road Improvements - March 2019ERIE COUNTY, NY - Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced on Monday, March 25th, $40 million will be spent on county roads this year. The Grand Island projects listed are: Baseline Road from Whitehaven to East River roads, Love Road from East River to West River Parkway, and Bush Road from East River to West River.
Highway Superintendent Visits Pre-K Class - March 2019
Top row from left: Tracy Caughill, teacher's assistant; Ed Manz, four-year-old and pre-k teacher, town employees Steve Dickenson & Bill Stanley; Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford.The four-year-old class at Kiddo's Korner Preschool was treated to a visit by Grand Island Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford and he brought along a snow plow for the kids to check out. During the month of March, teacher Ed Manz has featured many students' parents and friends to discuss their careers. On Wednesday, March 20th, Crawford, and highway employees Steve Dickenson and Bill Stanley answered many questions and gave the students an up-close look at the plow. At the end of the demonstration, the children were given informative coloring books to take home and show their parents.
Senior of the Year Nominees Sought - March 2019ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Senior Services is seeking nominees for Erie County Senior of the Year, a resident over the age of 60 whose community involvement has made a difference to others - improving the quality of life in and around Erie County - and putting to use his or her knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to enable that difference. A brief history of the nominee including a short biography, a list of volunteer activities the nominee is involved in or has participated in in the past, and a description of the nominee’s contributions to the community through civic engagement can be submitted on the nomination form at the Erie County Senior Services website.
“Erie County is blessed with many older adults who volunteer, give back to the community and make a positive difference in the lives of the people around them,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Volunteering not only helps people on the receiving end, the people who volunteer report they are more satisfied with their lives, are mentally and physically happier, and have a greater sense of purpose. We are celebrating that spirit and searching countywide for the senior who best embodies it.” Nominations for Senior of the Year must be mailed to: Erie County Senior of the Year, 95 Franklin St- Rm. 1341, Buffalo NY 14202, and postmarked no later than Friday, April 19 2019. For more information on the Erie County Department of Senior Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/seniorservices/.
Lost Wedding Band - March 2019A men's wedding band was found in the Grand Island Town Hall parking lot and has yet to be claimed. It was found on March 7th and is being kept in the Town Clerk's office. Call 773-6700 for more information.
Brazilian Charged with Attempted Smuggling - March 2019A Brazilian national from Toronto is charged with the attempted smuggling of two into the United States from Canada. A personal watercraft was used and spotted at Beaver Island State Park on Wednesday, March 13th. See Buffalo News article by Harold McNeil.
Businesses Give Back to the Community - March 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
Given the current political climate where everyone seems to be mad at everyone all the time, we might do well to pause and count our blessings. If we do, we will find that there are many people who are doing their part to make our community an even nicer place to live. There are many businesses, too.
I was reminded of this recently when I attended a press conference at Colvin Cleaners on Elmwood Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda. The purpose of the event was to promote their “Gowns for Prom” program. This is the 14th year for the program founded by Colvin Cleaners’ President and CEO Paul Billoni and his wife, Cyndee. Other businesses sponsoring this year’s gown drive are Allstate, Reed’s-Jenss, Shea’s Performing Arts Center and Townsquare Media.
The aim of the program is to provide dresses to young ladies who might not otherwise be able to afford them. It can only work, though, if people are willing to part with their old prom dresses. Please consider helping to make this year’s program a success by donating slightly used gowns, shoes or purses at Colvin Cleaners, 2375 Elmwood Avenue in Kenmore, DMV offices in Erie County or a number of other sites. For a complete list, go to colvincleaners.com or gownsforprom.com. If you, or someone you know, are in need of a gown, they will be available by appointment April 16-18 from 3-8 pm at Shea’s Performing Arts Center stage. Young ladies wishing to make an appointment to pick out a gown can do so by visiting gownsforprom.com. Once selected, gowns will be altered, dry cleaned and delivered to the school prior to prom. All of this will be free of charge. What a great program!
The free gown program is just one more instance of Colvin Cleaners giving back to the community. Eight years ago, I visited the same building in which the press conference was held to make a donation to another program supported by the Billoni family. The program was called Jammies for GIs and was the brainchild of Cheryl Lepsch of the City of Tonawanda. Cheryl became aware of the dire need for clothes and other items in military hospitals for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Billoni family was quick to offer Cheryl space at Colvin Cleaners to operate the program.
Colvin Cleaners, of course, is not the only business that regularly gives back to our community, nor is Gowns for Prom the only example of businesses helping to make prom a special occasion for our young men and women. Every year a number of businesses make donations to post-prom parties at several of our local schools. These drug and alcohol free events go a long way toward ensuring that prom season is both fun and safe.
So as I was sitting, waiting for my turn to speak at the press conference, I could not help but think how blessed our community is to have so many fine corporate citizens. 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.
Job Fair Hosted by Senator Chris Jacobs/ Roswell Park - March 2019Saturday, March 9, 2018 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., New York State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD), and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center will be sponsoring a Job Fair at the North Park Branch Library, 975 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14216. Staff from Roswell Park will be on hand to help attendees build a better resume and discuss open positions for administrative assistants, clinical laboratory technologists, clinical center associates, hospital clinical assistants, pharmacy tech trainees, medical billing clerks, and more. Anyone wishing to RSVP or get more information can contact Senator Jacobs’ office at 854-8705, or email@example.com.
Technology Satisfaction Survey- February 2019The Technology Advisory Board of the Town of Grand Island is collecting anonymous information from residents in order to better understand current issues in regards to Internet/Television service providers with Grand Island. Survey.
Beaver Island Park Closed - February 2019**ALERT** As of Monday, Feb. 25th Beaver Island State Park is currently CLOSED due to winter weather and high winds.
Retired Golden Age Center Employee Pleads Guilty - February 2019Former Golden Age Center supervisor Barbara Gannon, 71, pled guilty in Erie County Court on Tuesday, February 19th, for stealing $116,000 over a six-year period. See Buffalo News article by Stephen T. Watson.
Improve Your Health, Choose Healthy WNY - February 2019Program: March 9 - April 13, 2019
Choose Healthy WNY is hosting a free six-week community workshop series for adults who are ready to make the choice to improve their health today. Each Saturday, March 9 - April 13, 2019, the workshop will take place at Marigold Senior Living Apartments, 3026 Grand Island Blvd., from 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome. To register call 716.773.0907. Flyer.
Town of Grand Island Agriculture & Farming Plan - February 2019Public Meeting - Tuesday, February 26th, Grand Island Senior High School, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The Town of Grand Island is in the process of preparing A Resource Guide for the Protection and Promotion of Agriculture and Farming. This project is being funded through a grant from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The purpose of this project is to develop a plan that will further the recommendations of the Town’s newly adopted Comprehensive Plan; build a consensus among the Town’s farmers, agricultural business representatives, residents and Town officials; provide a framework to preserve the Town’s agricultural heritage and existing farming activities in the community; and to promote and enhance opportunities for new or expanded agricultural activity of any size or scale on Grand Island.
An essential part of this effort is public participation. Therefore, the Town is inviting residents and other interested parties to attend a Public Information Meeting for the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. This meeting is being held at the Grand Island Senior High School from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The meeting will include a brief presentation about the project, followed by interactive participation at breakout sessions to gather public input on farming on Grand Island and farming related issues and opportunities that may exist in the Town.
The intent of this meeting is to allow participants to provide comments and hold an open dialogue on agricultural and farming activities in the Town. Are residents aware of the farming activity that exists? Do they support it? Are there other farming enthusiasts in the community who would like to be involved? The Town’s Agriculture and Farmland Planning committee is strongly encouraging residents to attend this meeting to learn about this project, discuss their thoughts on the extent of agriculture in the community, and identify the needs and concerns of farmers and residents alike to help the Town prepare an effective plan for the future of agriculture and farming on Grand Island. Without input and support from the community, this plan cannot be a success.
For further information on this meeting or the project, contact Wendy Salvati, WWS Planning, (716) 870-2724 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sheila Daminski, chairperson of the Farmland and Agriculture Planning Committee at (716) 514-6544 (email@example.com).
Weathering the Storm - February 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
In January we dealt with two storms. One was a figurative storm. The other was a literal one. We managed to make it through both. In the process, many of us came away with a deeper appreciation for the role of government in our daily lives.
The first storm, the figurative one, actually began in December with the shutdown of significant portions of the federal government. At first, it did not seem to impact our lives much, if at all. As it dragged on, however, many of us came to realize how wrong this initial assessment was. It hit home for me when I attended a presentation by the University at Buffalo scientists studying the impact of pollution from the Tonawanda Coke plant. One of the researchers commented that he was unable to reach anyone at the Environmental Protection Agency due to the fact that his contacts had all been furloughed.
I also was not happy that federal meat inspectors experienced the same fate during the shutdown. Although I did not fly during the shutdown, I was concerned about the fact that air traffic controllers and TSA agents were working without pay and many failed to show for work. This put more pressure on those who were working, which increased the prospects for a catastrophe. Fortunately, the government was reopened before this could occur. Hopefully, congress and the president will do their jobs and keep the government running.
The second storm, the literal one, was the Blizzard of 2019. As blizzards go, I think most of us would say that we have seen worse. Still, the storm represented a major event and presented significant danger to all members of our community. From my vantage point, I think that we can be proud of our response to what Mother Nature threw at us, as everyone did their job.
For starters, nobody was surprised by the storm. The weather forecasters at the National Weather Service, who worked without pay during the aforementioned government shutdown, gave us plenty of warning. The local print and broadcast media did an excellent job of conveying this information to us and updating us on the effects of the storm. Area school superintendents did us all a favor by canceling school for a couple days and doing so in a timely matter that allowed parents adequate time to make childcare arrangements.
Thousands of state, county, city, town and village employees protected us from the storm. Departments of Public Works did their best to keep our roads clean, although this was nearly impossible at the height of the storm. Police, fire and other emergency personnel came to the aid of many of our neighbors who had trouble dealing with the storm’s fury. They all deserve our thanks and praise.
Although I did touch base with local officials throughout the event to make sure they were getting what they needed from the county, for the most part I tried to stay out of the way of the professionals. That is because I view the role of a legislator as making sure that adequate resources are available and then letting the experts do their jobs. It seems to have worked. 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.
Suicide Prevention Program - February 2019A suicide prevention program will take place on Sunday, February 17, 2019 from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (+potluck) at Riverside-Salem UCC Cottage, 3449 West River Rd., Grand Island. Dr. Celia Spacone, "Talk Saves Lives," presentation on suicide prevention, covering risk factors, warning signs, protective factors and how to help someone. See flyer for more details.
State Parks Seeking Lifeguards - February 2019It’s never too early to start thinking about summer. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced that four lifeguard qualifying procedures are scheduled in the Niagara Region for the 2019 season.
Lifeguard positions in the Niagara Region will be available at Beaver Island, Evangola, Fort Niagara and Wilson-Tuscarora State Parks. However, lifeguards are needed state wide and qualifiers taken locally can be used for employment elsewhere in New York State. Lifeguards in New York State Parks start at $13.27 an hour. Successful completion of this qualifying procedure is required for anyone wishing to work as a lifeguard at any New York State Park. The qualifier includes demonstrated experience in CPR and swimming skills. Tests will take place at Niagara University and Hamburg High school on the following dates: Niagara University; March 9, April 6 and June 1. Hamburg High School:May 11. Tests at both locations begin at 8:30 a.m. and are free of cost.
Prior to employment, successful candidates must be at least 16 years of age and must furnish proof of completion of CPR for the Professional and completion of the American Red Cross 1994 Revised Lifeguard Training, which includes First-Aid, with a certificate for the Waterfront Module or equivalent courses. Successful candidates will also need a physician's certification of adequate physical fitness including a minimum of 20/40 uncorrected vision after receiving a conditional job offer. For more information or to register for a test, please contact Melissa Emhardt at (716)278-1761 or by text at (716)319-8100. For specific information regarding the test, please visit www.nysparks.com/employment/lifeguards/default.aspx.
Direct Line to EZ Pass - February 2019Supervisor Nathan McMurray has announced a direct line for EZ Pass issues, 1-518-471-5300.
Statement: "Cash less tolling is a proven technology. But it's a new technology here and the system has had some problems leading to overcharges. You can be assured that I take this issue as seriously as I have since my first day in office. After a productive an informative discussion with the Director of the NYS Thruway Authority this week, I can report that they are aware of and working diligently on software upgrades to resolve the anomalies regarding misclassifications and the overcharges that those lead to. And in the interim, I am pleased that Islanders can now call a direct line to that office to resolve any tolling issue, rather than deal with EZ Pass Customer Service. That number is 1-518-471-5300.
I will continue to work with the New York State Thruway Authority, state officials and our Town Board to do everything in my power to help our residents."
Thruway Authority recommends calling E-Z Pass Customer Service at 1-800-333-8655.
McMurray Won't Seek Re-Election - February 2019Supervisor Nathan McMurray recently announced he will not be running for re-election. Read statement here.
Buffalo News story by Stephen T. Watson.
Town Building Inventory Assessment - February 2019A contract has been drawn up with CGR of Rochester to assess the Town of Grand Island's municipal building inventory, and to find out if the CannonDesign building on Whitehaven Road could become the new town hall. It could take as little time as a few weeks.
The Center for Governmental Research, Inc. (CGR) is a non-profit corporation delivering data support, management consulting and implementation assistance to governments, educational institutions, foundations and non-profit organizations. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, it was founded by George Eastman in 1915 as the Rochester Bureau of Municipal Research to provide research and guidance to its home city's government and community institutions.
$25M Welcome Center - February 2019WGRZ TV journalist Michael Wooten has been investigating the Western New York Welcome Center, located on Grand Island, since it opened late last summer. At a cost of $25 Million, most of the numbers are astonishing. See pdf file or link to the story on WGRZ-TV here.
Town of Grand Island Advisory Board Vacancies - February 2019The Town of Grand island is looking for residents to fill the following board vacancies: Conservation Advisory Board (one alternate); Economic Development Advisory Board (two alternates); Human Rights Commission (one active member); Technology Advisory Board (one alternate); Traffic Safety Advisory Board (two alternates).
Please send your resume and or qualifications to Town Supervisor Nathan D. McMurray by February 22, 2019. Email: email@example.com or mail/drop off to:Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.
"Hoopin for Julie" Honors Athlete, Mom, Teacher - February 2019"Hoopin for Julie" was held at the Grand Island High School gym on Friday, February 1st. The event was in honor of Grand Island native, resident and Huth Road Elementary teacher Julie Roth Neville, 40, who died last October after a battle with breast cancer.The fundraiser was to benefit the Neville Boys Education Fund, for sons Jonathan, 10; Jayden, 8; James, 6; and Jaxson, 4. Julie's "24" Vikings jersey was also retired at the event. She was a 1996 graduate and the first girls basketball player to score 1,000 points. See Buffalo News story by Jonah Bronstein here.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - February 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, February 5 and Tuesday, February 19, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Grand Island Town Hall. Residents and elected officials are welcome and encouraged to stop by to address any ideas or concerns they may have.
Free Education Classes - February 2019Free basic education classes will be offered for adults seeking to obtain their high school equivalency diploma or improve their math and writing skills to enroll in college. This class, provided by a cerified teacher, will be held at the Grand Island Memorial Library. Call 874-8411, ext. 35316, for urther information and to register for the class.
Winter Weather Advisory - January 2019(January 31, 2019)...Message from Superintendent of Highways Richard W. Crawford.
The winter blast hitting our town and region has brought heavy snowfall, heavy wind and bone chilling wind chill. The Grand Island Highway Department employees have been working around the clock and successfully kept the main roads and subdivisions open for travel. We continue to ask that you adhere to the no parking law from 2am to 7am. To help us clear your street we also ask that you do not put your garbage or recycling in the street. Due to the current conditions we also caution you on any unnecessary travel, if travel is required drive with extreme caution.
NYS Parks Announces Beaver/Big Six Concessionaire - January 2019(January 29, 2019)... The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) announced today that Montana International, LLC has been selected through the New York State procurement process to operate concessions at Beaver Island State Park and the Big Six Marina, all located on Grand Island.
Owned by Grand Island resident Cyndy Montana, the company will oversee operation of the golf course, pro shop, course bar and grill as well as catering and event management at the current park casino. In addition, the marinas at Beaver Island and Big Six will be included in the license. The contract, once complete, is subject to the approval of the New York State Attorney General and the New York State Office of the Comptroller. State Parks and Montana International are working on details of the partnership with hopes that plans are in place for this summer season.
Grass Island Information - January 2019A notice on Facebook mentioned someone spoke with David Spiering of NYS Parks regarding the closure of Grass Island to boaters. See the following: "I just spoke to David Spiering in NY Parks today, he stated they have tried to reach out to boaters regarding the Grass Island project but have received very little response. He encouraged me to give his information out and for people to email him with concerns or suggestions regarding Grass Island. I will be sending him a email today along with the petition that was started a few weeks ago. I encourage everyone to send a email . He even was on board with his email being posted on Grass Island Facebook. So if someone would do that it would be great. The response doesn't have to be that sophisticated. Once you send an email, future meetings and stuff is supposed to be communicated to us by the parks dept. his email is David.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Niagara Footprint Festival Photos - January 2019
Paul Yeager, Niagara Frontier Wood Carvers.
From left: Councilwoman & festival organizer Bev Kinney, Parks Manager Greg Brown, festival organizer Jenn Pusatier and Historical Society President Curt Nestark.
River Lea bonfire.
From left: Cap Cooke, Sam Schmidt and Ben Haravitch.
The Gone Homes Blue Grass trio entertained visitors to River Lea during the Niagara Footprint Festival on Saturday, January 26th at Beaver Island State Park. Cap Cooke is an Island native who now makes his home in Ithaca, NY. Sam Schmidt is from Ithaca and Ben Haravitch is from Warsaw, NY.
The GI Historical Society sold chilli and cornbread, had tours of River Lea, a bonfire and blacksmith display.
Mary Stewart photos.
The festival included horse drawn wagon rides, ice carving by the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, a Disc Golf Tournament in the snow, sled dog demonstration, fat bike and snowshoe opportunities and the casino building with food, craft and organization vendors. It was very well attended and everyone is hoping there will be a second annual!
Adrian's Custard & Beef Making A Move - January 2019It's Official! Adrian's Custard & Beef is moving across the street, to the Town Cafe site. The Town Cafe closed on December 29th, after the death of owner Louise Alessi. Adrian's plans on getting a beer & wine license and to be open by early April. See Buffalo News article by Stephen T. Watson.
Grand Island Town Court Cancelled - January 2019Grand Island Town Court is cancelled on Wednesday, January 30th. The Town Court office will be open as usual that day, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tree & Shrub Seedlings Available - January 2019Erie County, NY - Order forms for the 2019 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 packs 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.
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. Order forms may be obtained by: stopping at the District office at 50 Commerce Way in East Aurora (behind Post Office), or by calling (716) 652-8480 ext. 5, or by printing the order form from the District website at www.ecswcd.org . Orders are due by March 15, 2019 and pick-up will be on Saturday April 27, 2019 at the Fairgrounds in Hamburg.
Hardwick Wants Federal Funds for Clean Up - January 2019Thursday, January 17, 2019... Erie County Legislature Calls on the EPA to Designate Tonawanda Coke as a Federal Superfund Site. A resolution introduced by Legislator Kevin Hardwick urges the NYS DEC to request federal funds for Tonawanda Coke clean up. Concerned by the negative legacy and known and potential contaminants on the Tonawanda Coke property in the Town of Tonawanda, today, the Erie County Legislature approved a resolution requesting that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) add the property to the federal Superfund list.
If supported by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), a federal Superfund designation would place the Tonawanda Coke site on the National Priorities List and recognize it as being contaminated by hazardous material(s) that pose a known risk to human health. The State of New York has already designated Tonawanda Coke as a state superfund site. The federal Superfund status would provide financial and other federal resources for clean-up efforts.
Airborne contaminants like benzene and methane have decreased considerably since the plant ceased operations in October 2018. However, soil studies completed in part by the University at Buffalo have indicated that other dangerous chemicals such as arsenic and cyanide exist underground and there are concerns about other hazards on-site in standing water and pools.
The resolution’s prime sponsor is Legislator Kevin Hardwick who represents the 4th Legislative District which includes the Tonawanda Coke site. Legislator Hardwick said: "Given the past and current monitoring and clean-up work being undertaken by the DEC and EPA at the property, it makes sense that the EPA take the lead through the federal Superfund program to provide resources and financial assistance to remediate the known and likely unknown hazards at Tonawanda Coke." Hardwick added: “" am pleased that my Legislature colleagues understood the urgency of asking for the federal designation and I hope that the DEC will expeditiously act to support such a federal status at Tonawanda Coke."
DA Investigating Theft of $116,000 - January 2019A Buffalo News article by Stephen T. Watson states that the Erie County District Attorney's Office is investigating the theft of $116,000 in town funds from the Grand Island Senior Center. Town officials believe a former employee is involved. See article. Resolution regarding theft.
River Lea Looks Awful! - January 2019
The decrepit state of the Grand Island Historical Society's museum and headquarters at River Lea, can be seen in the above photos. Rotting wood and peeling paint is the norm. These photos were taken over the last couple months to document how run down the property really is. NYS Parks is responsible for the upkeep of the outside of the building. It is located in Beaver Island State Park on the East River.
A fundraising effort is being started to add an ADA compliant restroom to the first floor, and to add a front porch, which was original to the structure. Both projects were okayed by the state, but with no funding towards it. An archaeological survey must be completed before the addition of the restroom, also on the historical society's dime. The society is going to be selling chilli at the Footprint Festival on Saturday, January 26th from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. There will also be tours, live music and a bonfire. Come down and see Grand Island history and help out River Lea.
Tonawanda Coke Update - January 2019With the closing of Tonawanda Coke last fall, many people wondered why smoke still appeared coming from the stack. The boiler was shut down on December 26th after the treatment and disposal of on-site ammonia. For more information, click on the following links:
Buffalo News article by T.J. Pignataro Tainted soil found near Tonawanda Coke as on-site threat lessens
Tonawanda Coke Soil Study Phase 1 Map
Letter from Superintendent Brian Graham regarding Tonawanda Coke and school property.
DeGlopper Statue Moves Ahead - January 2019
Seated from left: Eric Anderson, Sculptor Susan Geissler, Ray DeGlopper, Alan Lee and Dan McMahon.The DeGlopper Memorial Fund Committee met on Monday, January 7th at the VFW to sign paperwork with Sculptor Susan Geissler for the Charles N. DeGlopper statue. Geissler, of Youngstown, NY will be making a larger than life statue that will be the centerpiece of the DeGlopper Memorial Park expansion. You can see how a statue takes shape at the artist's website.
The irrigation system has been installed at DeGlopper Park and sod will be laid in the spring. Most of the memorial plaques have been completed by Grand Island High School students. Donations are still being accepted and you can purchase a paver on the Website.
Town Flower Discovered - January 2019Interesting information found by Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel. The Town of Grand Island named the "Niagara Rose" as its official flower at a meeting on December 3, 1962. It originated and was developed by a West River Road resident named Clarence Davis. I've searched the internet for the flower and found the following description: Hybrid Tea. Red. Strong, fruity fragrance. Double (17-25 petals), high-centered bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season. USDA zone 6b through 9b (default). Davis (1952).
This was located on the site: http://www.helpmefind.com/rose/plants.php, but did not include a photo. Perhaps a relative has this in their garden? If you know anything about Mr. Davis or the flower, please contact me at email@example.com or 773-6789.
Resolutions for the New Year - January 2019By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
It is customary to make and subsequently break New Year’s resolutions. This has certainly been my experience, especially with ones involving eating less and exercising more. The intent is there. But the persistence is not. I am, however, much more serious about my resolutions for Erie County Government in 2019.
In general, the theme of my resolutions is to maintain the momentum we have built in recent years, while at the same time remain aware of external developments that threaten our continued progress. Some of this progress is specific to my district. Grand Island and the Tonawandas are impacted more than any other area of Erie County by heavy industry. Residents know all too well the health dangers posed by polluters such as Tonawanda Coke. With the closure of their plant in the Town of Tonawanda benzene levels in the air plummeted according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Benzene is a known carcinogen. So this comes as welcome news to all of us who live downwind of the plant. There has also been progress in the quest to find a new purpose for NRG’s Huntley Plant in the Town of Tonawanda. This has been a result of the cooperation of officials at all levels of government and community groups such as the Clean Air Coalition. I was pleased, therefore, to be able to secure funding for the Clean Air Coalition in the 2019 Erie County Budget, as well as the Citizens Science Community Resources which is investigating the deleterious health effects of Tonawanda Coke.
Much more of the progress I am resolved to continue impacts the county as a whole. This has been the case with our progress against the opioid epidemic. This scourge has affected the entire nation and has been particularly acute in our community. Although our efforts have been vast and have resulted in far fewer opioid related deaths, it is still a huge problem and will continue to be a major priority in 2019.
Another problem facing the county is the condition of our road system. Although we have been making progress in recent years, we have still not recovered from the disastrous Red and Green Budget of more than a decade ago. In 2019 this has to change. The additional money for roads to which County Executive Mark Poloncarz is committed should make a big difference. It will not fix all the roads in one year. But it should change the trajectory of the road system’s recovery.
While we can look forward to continued improvements in a number of areas, we also need to be cognizant of factors that could slow our progress. Chief among these is the state of the economy. Since the “Great Recession” we have enjoyed a strong economy evidenced by consistent job growth. We certainly hope that this will continue. But there are signs that the economy may be slowing. If this is the case, we need to be prepared for a drop in sales tax revenue and increased expenditures in a variety of social programs. Our ability to address these challenges effectively will enable us to keep our other resolutions.
If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morinello Staff to Hold January Mobile Office Hours - January 2019The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, January 15th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road. Residents and elected officials are welcome and encouraged to stop by to address any ideas or concerns they may have.
2019 Town/County Tax Bills - January 2019Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel announced that the 2019 Town/County Tax Bills have been mailed. If you have changed banks, have paid off your mortgage or do not have an escrow account and did not receive a tax bill, please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 773-9600 ext. 620 or 600.
The office will be open extras hours on Saturday February 9 - 9:00am -12:00pm and Thursday, February 14 - 8:30am - 6:00pm and Friday, February 15 - 8:30am - 6:00pm. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is February 15th. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of February 15th to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made February 16th and later. Payments can be made until July 1, 2019. After this date, payments must be sent to the County. See Flyer. Online tax receipts and payments, (service fees apply), www.grandislandny.us/, Debit and credit cards accepted at counter, (service fees apply).
Republic Services Tote Collection - January 2019Republic Services will be on the Island Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, January 7th - 9th, picking up any of their empty recycle totes that were missed last week.
County Budget Includes Funds for GAC - January 2019Legislator Hardwick Announces Funding in 2019 Erie County Budget for Legislative District 4. Youth and senior organizations to receive additional funding for this coming year.
Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick is pleased to announce additional funding in the 2019 Erie County Budget which was signed into law on December 10th by County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. The budget contains the largest decrease in the county’s tax rate in over a decade, funds for public health programs and infrastructure improvements, as well as increased funding for community and cultural organizations.
Grand Island will receive part of $3,000 for additional senior services across Grand Island and Tonawanda. Legislator Hardwick noted that, "This budget was a compromise, and I am happy we were able to support the services residents value while granting them much-needed relief on their taxes. I thank the County Executive and my legislature colleagues for coming to the table with open minds."
GICSD Capital Project - January 2019UPDATE: The Capital Project was passed on January 8th with a 68% approval rating. Yes-540, No-257, Abstain-1..
There will be a community vote on Tuesday, January 8th in the Viking Mall at Grand Island High School for a new capital project, from 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. The Project Cost is $24,149,626. State Building Aid is Approximately 74%. Current projections estimate an increase of $15-$16 a year for a home assessed at $180,000 provided they fund the capital reserve. A capital reserve fund allows the district to set aside money for future construction projects and major purchases, much like a savings account. The fund cannot be established without voter approval AND reserve funds cannot be spent without voter approval. See Narrated Overview here.