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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 - May2019
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.