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Previous News Page

ECDH Covid-19 Update - April 2020

    April 6, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health is making these announcements.
    COVID-19 Data Update As of 4/6/2020 (5 p.m.), we have received reports of 1,148 total positive lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Erie County residents. 30 Erie County residents have died, and 206 people have recovered. There are currently 912 people in isolation. We reported 1,149 cases during our live video today. Through our contact tracing process, we discovered that one of those cases is outside Erie County. Our total is 1,148
    See complete press release here.

ECDH Covid-19 Update - April 2020

    March 31, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health is making these announcements.
    COVID-19 Data Update: As of 3/31 (12 p.m.), we have received reports of 499 total positive COVID-19 cases in Erie County residents. Eight Erie County residents have died, and 53 people have recovered. There are currently 438 people in isolation. As of the evening of March 30, 102 individuals with positive tests for COVID-19 were hospitalized in Erie County hospitals. Of those cases, 48 were in ICU beds.
    See complete press release here.

ECDH Covid-19 Update - March 2020

    March 23, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health is making these announcements.
As of this afternoon, ECDOH is aware of 87 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Erie County residents.
379 Erie County residents have tested negative, and tests for 171 people are pending as of this afternoon.
Erie County has made arrangements to purchase 400,000 N95 masks for use locally. The first shipment is scheduled for arrival on April 11. These masks will be distributed with area healthcare providers based on priority and need.
Child care providers or parents who are essential workers are asked to fill out a survey from the Childcare Resource Network (CCRN) at www.wnychildren.org. CCRN is the clearinghouse for childcare openings and for requests for child care openings.
Residents can call the Erie County Department of Social Services at (716) 858-8000 for an application for Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF). No in-person interview is required, and all interviews can be done by phone.
In response to many questions about restaurants and take-out food, we are reminding Erie County residents that even with the shift to take-out only services, restaurants still have to follow all food safety and sanitary regulations. Public health sanitarians are inspecting food facilities that remain open. Examples of how restaurants are adapting include:
Ordering by phone & charge via credit card
Customer calls when they arrive
No interaction between restaurant and customers picking up
Food placed in vehicle trunk
As an additional update to clinic services at the Jesse Nash Health Center at 608 William Street in Buffalo: PrEP patients can call (716) 858-2779 for medication refills and other questions. If a PrEP patient has concerns about an STI or suspects HIV infection, please contact Evergreen Health on South Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo at (716) 847-2441.
We will continue to provide updates about positive COVID-19 tests as they are confirmed and available. The Erie County Online Case Mapping Tool at www.erie.gov/covidmap is updated regularly.

Emergency Toll Procedures In Place - March 2020

    Emergency Toll Procedures Implemented to Protect Toll Collectors and Motorists. Cash Customers Will Receive a Bill in the Mail Instead of Paying Cash Until Further Notice.
   The Thruway Authority announced emergency toll procedures will be in place effective Sunday, March 22 at approximately 8 p.m., at cash toll lanes on the Thruway’s ticketed-system. This plan will convert the collection of cash tolls to toll billing by the license plate during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) response in New York State. The procedures will be in place until further notice.
    “We are implementing these emergency toll procedures for the health and safety of our employees and motorists,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “We need the next 48 hours to take necessary operational steps to implement the procedures effectively and seamlessly. In the meantime, we continue to enhance safety measures to protect toll collectors and motorists. We thank the toll collection staff and all of our workforce for their dedication during this public health crisis.”
    Effective Sunday, March 22 at approximately 8 p.m., when non-E-ZPass customers enter the Thruway in a cash lane, they will continue through the lane without collecting a ticket. When the customer exits the Thruway, they will inform the toll collector which exit they entered the Thruway and provide the toll collector their license plate information, without paying cash to the toll collector. Customers without an E-ZPass should not enter an E-ZPass lane, as they will receive an E-ZPass violation.
    Motorists will then be sent a bill in the mail in approximately 30 days. Toll bills will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle at the address on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once they receive a bill in the mail, customers can pay with a credit card through the Thruway Authority’s website.
    E-ZPass customers should travel through E-ZPass lanes and be billed as they normally would. E-ZPass customers who travel through a cash lane will be given a green light to pass through by the toll collector. Motorists who wish to save time and bypass the emergency toll procedures can sign up for E-ZPass online.

Visiting NYS Parks During COVID-19 Outbreak - March 2020

    New York state parks, trails, and grounds of historic sites are open for solitary outdoor recreation. To encourage social distancing during this crisis; All public programs and events are CANCELED until further notice. All indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, visitor centers, and historic houses, will be CLOSED to the public until further notice. For the safety of all visitors and to stop the spread of COVID-19, all State Park playgrounds, athletic courts and sporting fields are CLOSED.
    If you do plan on visiting, it should be for a solitary nature break. Please limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact, and avoid activities where you may come in close contact with other people. If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park, a different trail or return another time/day to visit. We appreciate your support and patience as we navigate this public health crisis together.

Grand Island Town Court Closed Indefinitely - March 2020

    March 20, 2020...GRAND ISLAND, NY - Effective today the Grand Island Town Court will be closing until further notice. all appearances are postponed indefinitely. Letters will be sent with new appearance dates once we are back in operation. This includes all matters-traffic, criminal, civil, arraignments, and hearings. No one will be suspended for failing to appear or pay. All payment due dates have been extended. We will send new fine notices once we are back in operation. At this time no suspensions can be lifted. Web Page.

ECDH Covid-19 Update - March 2020

    March 19, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health is releasing results of its disease investigations on the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 in Erie County. There are currently 29 lab confirmed cases in Erie County residents. Additional tests are being run by our Public Health Lab and results will be released when available. We are further advising any individuals who were present at the following locations on the specified dates to monitor themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19.

3/7, Shamrock Run, South Buffalo
3/9, Spirit Airlines Flight F9N2500, Tampa to Buffalo
3/9, all day, Hamburg High School
3/11, 12-1 p.m., Catalyst Fitness, 1402 French Road, Cheektowaga
3/11, 6:15-10 p.m., North Collins Vol. FD, North Collins
3/12, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Hotel Henry Wellness Event, Buffalo
3/12, 7:30-8 p.m., Walmart, Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg
3/12, 8-8:30 p.m., Lowes, Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg
3/13, 9-9:30 a.m., Aldi, Sheridan Drive, Tonawanda
3/14, no time listed, Premier Liquor, 3900 Maple, Amherst
3/14, 2:45-3:15 p.m., Tops Markets, 5274 Main Street, Amherst
3/16, 12:40-1 p.m., Tops Markets, 2351 Maple Road, Amherst
    If you were at any of these locations please monitor your health conditions. You do NOT need to call our information line. ECDOH will release additional guidance as it affects the public as it becomes available through our investigation process.

US Census Information - March 2020

    The following is information from the NY Regional Census Center of the US Census Bureau you may find helpful, especially those that have seasonal homes in another state.
    If you have a PO Box you will not receive a census form at the PO Box. In that case a census field worker will hand deliver a form to your home and place it in your mailbox. This service has been delayed however, due to the current CDC recommendations but is expected to resume in approximately 2-4 weeks. Meanwhile anyone can complete the census on line or via phone.
   To clarify some points from the census questionnaire -
   If you receive an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census at a seasonal or vacation residence (where you do not live and sleep most of the time), and you know that no one else usually lives there, then you can respond online or by phone and answer "no" when asked if you or anyone else is living or staying at that address on April 1, 2020. This will allow us to mark the seasonal residence as vacant so that we do not have to send a census taker to follow up in person.
    If you own a seasonal residence and you know no one usually lives or sleeps there, you can respond online or by phone and answer "no" when asked if you or anyone else is living or staying at that address on April 1, 2020.
   If you have more than one residence, you can respond for each, letting us know whether anyone usually lives there. Please be sure to enter the correct address or the unique Census ID for each home.
   For example, if you own beach houses that you rent out to short-term vacationers, you could respond for each property, indicating that no one usually lives or stays at that address. (Even if the house is rented out the week of April 1, mark “no” if the renters usually live someplace else.)

Assessment Review Appointment News - March 2020

    This message is from the Town of Grand Island regarding Informal Reviews for the recent assessment update project. In light of the rapidly changing conditions of the COVID-19 virus a recent decision was made to cancel all face to face interviews replacing them with teleconferences only. You may continue to challenge your assessment by faxing your info to 716-558-2825. You may send an email to gi@enpmappraisers.com or mail your info to Emminger Newton Pigeon & Magyar Inc at 2440 Sheridan Drive, Suite 100, Tonawanda, NY 14150 and follow up with a phone call to 716-453-4300 to speak to an appraiser about your property. Please refer to the Town of Grand Island website for the most current information and instruction. We apologize for any inconvenience this change may have caused.

Staying Positive During Coronavirus - March 2020

    Erie County Department of Health - ERIE COUNTY, NY - There are a number of tips and practices to follow to maintain a positive outlook and avoid fear or panic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anxiety is a normal human response to stressful situations but knowing how to manage stress during this time is critical.
    Reducing anxiety by reducing risk: By practicing good hygiene, safe social distancing, avoiding sick people, disinfecting surfaces, and thoroughly washing your hands, you relieve yourself from worry that you may become infected. Prioritize self-care and positive communication:
   Exercise, drink plenty of water, maintain a healthy diet, and spend time outside while still practicing safe social distancing. Healthy habits and fresh air make a huge difference.
   Create a support network of friends, family, colleagues, people with similar interests, faith-based organizations, etc. Connect with them virtually as much as possible. Loneliness and isolation can feed anxiety. Safe social distancing does not equal loneliness. We are all in this together.
   Remember that you will need social support and others will rely on your support. Create a mutually beneficial channel of communication. Manage your information intake and enjoy new activities:
    Identify a few reliable sources of information such as www.cdc.gov, www.erie.gov, www.health.ny.gov and the World Health Organization. Commit yourself to only checking these a couple times a day for factual updates. Sensationalistic news increases anxiety.
    Try something new! Endless social media scrolling and binge-watching can increase anxiety. Practice mindfulness by going on a walk. Read those books you’ve been meaning to get to. Make crafts or do an art project. Try writing in a journal. Practice mindfulness or meditation. Now is the time to explore a new, enriching activity.

Grand Island Food Service Alternate Meal Pick-Up - March 2020

UPDATED INFORMATION (March, 25, 2020): Click here.
    From GICSD: The Grand Island Central School District’s Food Service Department will provide an opportunity for families to pick-up meals for children in their family at three school sites. These sites will have breakfast and lunch items for students in all grades K-12. We are also establishing a delivery service for students/families who are unable to make it to a designated pick-up site. Meals will only be provided on days when students would otherwise have been in school. Children do not need to be present in order for their meals to be provided. The student’s identification number must be presented at pick-up time in order to receive a meal. Meals will be available for pick-up at each site between the hours of 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. Form.

Recreation & Senior Activities Cancelled - March 2020

    All Recreation Department and Golden Age Center activities and facility usages are suspended through March 21, 2020. This includes all recreation programs, Golden Age Center lunches, and rentals of the Community Center.Press Release.

Public Hearing on Project Olive - March 2020

    Notice is hereby given that the Planning Board of the Town of Grand Island shall hold a public hearing at 7:00 PM on March 23, 2020 at the Grand Island High School Auditorium, Grand Island Viking Theater, 1100 Ransom Road, Grand Island, New York, 14072, for the purposes of soliciting public comment on TC Buffalo Development Associates, LLC’s application for an e-commerce storage and distribution facility for consumer products at 2780 Long Road. Copies of the application are available on the Town of Grand Island’s website http://www.grandislandny.us. At the time and place above, all members of the public shall be heard.

Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - March 2020

    The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, March 17th, from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.

District Discussions - February 2020

By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
   A few years back I initiated the practice of inviting a random group of constituents to a Saturday morning roundtable discussion on a variety of county issues. I enjoyed these “district discussions” because I had the opportunity to escape from the Old County Hall bubble and listen to real people talk to me and to each other about their concerns.
   Earlier this month I had one of these sessions in the Town of Tonawanda. There were about 15 of us sitting around a table in the community room of Brighton Place. The issues we discussed ranged from the future of the Bills’ stadium, ECC and the convention center to the possibility of a county owned high speed internet system.
   I could have surveyed residents about these issues, but I preferred to hear directly from them in their own words. I have always been suspicious of surveys with their yes/no, or agree/disagree responses on complex issues. The problem is that most issues are not that simple and surveys don’t pick up the nuance in many people’s responses.
    Hence, I enjoy talking to people in small groups. In my Brighton Place discussion, for instance, I asked people what they thought about the stadium negotiations which will commence soon with the Buffalo Bills. People at the meeting were not simply for or against a new stadium. Factors such as location, cost and who would shoulder the cost were variables they took into consideration in formulating their responses. Similar items were brought up when discussing the proposal for a new convention center.
    One thing upon which most people agreed, though, was the need to seriously consider County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s proposal to build the backbone of a countywide high speed internet system, something he has dubbed Erie Net. Folks at my district discussion liked the idea of developing more internet options and pointed to a number of advantages to such a system.
   Our conversation regarding ECC included my informing them of the devastating impact on county taxpayers of community college chargebacks. These result from Erie County students attending community colleges in other counties. There was also some discussion of the college’s three campus system.
    Finally, the topic of coronavirus was on everyone’s mind. Given the gravity of this situation and the high degree of uncertainty, allow me to make a few points here. Since we do not know much about this new virus, we need to take it seriously and prepare for the worst. We need to rely on the public health workers who have been working hard to contain the outbreak. It is unlikely that we will be able to completely stop the virus’ spread, but we should do everything we can to slow it down. This will buy us time while researchers develop a vaccine. Along the way we will all have to make some sacrifices. If we commit, however, to setting our politics aside and instead work together to keep our community safe, I am confident that we will get through this. In the meantime, I remain committed to keeping the lines of communication open with my constituents.
    If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

ConnectLife Blood Drive - March 2020

    March 5, 2020....ConnectLife, formerly Unyts, will be hosting a blood drive at the Town of Grand Island Highway Department on Whitehaven Blvd on Monday, March 9th from 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Walk- ins and the general public are welcome. All donors will receive a free t-shirt and will be entered to win one of two pairs of Buffalo Bandits tickets. Should you wish to make an appointment, please call ConnectLife at 529-4270. All donors are asked to bring valid photo ID with them at time of donation.
   The Town of Grand Island Highway Department has been a community blood drive sponsor since 2016 and in that time has collected over 130 units of blood. While that number might look small, it is no easy feat and means that through their blood drives alone they have saved or impacted over 400 lives right here in Western New York. Our biggest thanks to Dick Crawford and his team, along with the residents of Grand Island.
    ConnectLife is WNY’s only community blood bank which means your donation impacts the lives of those right here. To learn more about ConnectLife and our mission, please visit www.ConnectLife.org.

Project Olive aka Amazon Warehouse Application - March 2020

    The Project Olive (Amazon Warehouse) application can be viewed on the Town of Grand Island website. The attorneys for the project will be at a Monday, March 2nd workshop meeting at Town Hall at 6:00 p.m. There will be no public comment at that time. Comments will have to wait until the end of the regular Town Board meeting that evening. The meeting is supposed to be live streamed. Town Website.

2020 Conservation Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale - March 2020

   ERIE COUNTY, NY - Order forms for the 2020 Conservation Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale are now available from Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District. Thirty-eight species of trees and shrubs are available.
   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-eight 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 also offers a 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), • 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 13, 2020 and pick-up will be on Saturday April 25, 2020 at the Fairgrounds in Hamburg.

E-ZPass Outreach Continues - March 2020

    The Western New York Welcome Center on Alvin Road will continue to hold cashless tolling customer assistance on the first Tuesday of each month. The next date is March 3rd, with hours of 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    Since the original outreach event in May of 2019, the Thruway Authority has held more than two dozen sessions and helped more then 760 customers. Representatives will be able to address cashless tolling questions and offer personalized assistance for E-ZPass and Tolls By Mail customers. Customers can: Resolve violations, Pay toll bills, Dispute toll bills, Update E-ZPass account information, Receive personalized E-Zpass Customer Service.

Application Received for 4 Million Square Foot Project - February 2020

UPDATE: Buffalo News Story by Stephen Watson, "Grand Island warehouse could mean 1,800 jobs in likely Amazon deal", dated February 25, 2020.
    The Town of Grand Island recently received an application for a planned development district at 2780 Long Road submitted by TC Buffalo Development, LLC. The application proposes the construction of an “e-commerce storage and distribution facility for consumer products by a single confidential prospective entity.” The proposed facility has a footprint of approximately 823,522 square feet and a total floor area of 3,783,124 square feet. The project is expected to provide at least 1,000 new jobs.
    The attorneys for TC Buffalo will introduce the project during the Town Board Workshop Monday, March 2, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. The Town Board is committed to evaluating this project in an open and transparent manner and will keep the public closely advised of all information the Town receives and any opportunities for public input relating to the proposed project. Please check our website and Facebook page for updates.

Fantasy Island Permanently Closed - February 2020

UPDATE: "Announcement of the park’s closure has sparked interest from new potential buyers and the company is working with Grand Island Supervisor John Whitney, along with other local officials, to help facilitate solutions to permanently closing the park. Qualified, interested parties can reach out to local officials or email info@apexparksgroup.com," Apex said in a statement Tuesday, February 25th.
    GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) - Fantasy Island is ceasing operations. The theme park’s director of marketing, Doug Mandell, released a statement on Wednesday afternoon: “Despite significant effort and a great deal of investment in infrastructure, rides and new themed areas, we have not seen an improvement in operating results,” Mandell said. “As such, we made the difficult decision to cease operations. This was not a decision entered into lightly. Team members are being assisted by their supervisors and the company is working to minimize impact to those affected. Guests may visit www.fantasyislandny.com for answers to commonly asked questions.” Prior to this, reports stated that the park was selling its rides, but at the time, it was not clear whether or not it was shutting down completely. Fantasy Island’s website prominently displays “permanently closed” on the front of it.
    History of Fantasy Island from Wikipedia... Fantasy Island opened in July 1961 and went bankrupt in 1982. It was acquired out of bankruptcy by Charles Wood, the original owner of Storytown USA. Wood sold the park to International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) in 1989 and later re-acquired the park in 1992 when IBC went bankrupt. In his second stint of ownership, Wood changed the park's name to Two Flags Over Niagara Fun Park, a name it kept until 1994 when local businessman Martin DiPietro purchased the park and re-dubbed it Martin's Fantasy Island. This name remained until the end of the 2016 season.
    On May 14, 2016, the day the park opened for its 56th season, DiPietro announced that Fantasy Island had been sold to Apex Parks Group, a California-based company.[1] The park's name reverted to Fantasy Island after the 2016 season concluded.
    Originally, the park occupied only 12 acres of land; it expanded to the current 85 acres in 1974. On August 11, 1991, 14-year-old Kenneth Margerum fell 60 feet to his death from the Ferris wheel after his seat dropped from its axle. It was revealed that the park operators routinely removed one or two seats from the ride each day to prevent the ride from moving around in high winds during off-hours. Each time the ride opened, the seats were bolted back onto the frame of the ride. Investigators found that only one side of the victim's seat had been bolted properly, causing Margerum's seat to drop from its axle and subsequently leading to his death.
    The park's Silver Comet roller coaster, which opened in 1999, was created in the style of the original Comet roller coaster that was located at nearby Crystal Beach, Ontario for many years. The original Comet was stored at Fantasy Island after Wood purchased it in 1989, the year Crystal Beach closed, before moving the Comet to his Great Escape park in Queensbury, New York, where it was reassembled in 1994 and remains in operation to this day.

Town of Grand Island Reassessment Project - February 2020

    Emminger, Newton, Pigeon & Magyar, Inc. was awarded the town-wide equity reassessment project by the Grand Island Town Board last year.
    In an effort to keep the property owners informed as to what information they will receive in the mail in March 2020, a public meeting will take place on Thursday, February 27, 2020 in the court room of the Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. At the meeting, information will be given as to exactly when the "new" assessment notices will be mailed out to the property owners and what the property owners' next course of action is once they receive the notice. In addition, the timeline and process for exemptions will be reviewed and any questions the public may have, will be answered.
    If anyone has questions but cannot attend the meeting, they may call the Grand Island Project Hotline at 716-453-4300 or the Assessor is available at 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island, or 716-773-9600, Ext. 648, Ext. 651 or Ext. 653.

Charles DeGlopper Statue News - February 2020

    The Charles DeGlopper statue is on its way to Colorado for casting and bronzing. The larger than life likeness is being made by Youngstown Sculptor Susan Geissler. It will be the centerpiece of the Charles DeGlopper Memorial Park expansion, and set to be dedicated on Saturday, June 6th. The process of casting and bronzing will take approximately three months.
    The expanded DeGlopper Memorial site will not only honor Charles N. DeGlopper, but all Grand Island residents, past, present, and future, who have proudly served the United States as a member of the military. The site will include a memorial to all branches of our Armed Forces. If you would like to donate or purchase a paver, click here.

Welcome Center Dog Park Doubles in Size - February 2020

New area at north side.

View of both areas.

    Town of Grand Island officials recently partnered with the New York State Thruway Authority on a project that doubled the size of the dog park located at the GI Welcome Center. The GI Town Board agreed last September to pay for the fencing and stone, while the Thruway Authority provided the manpower and machinery to increase the size of the original dog park. Thanks to Town Council members at that time, Beverly Kinney and Peter Marston, the Town paid under $4000 for the improvement. Everyone is welcome to take their dogs up for a romp.

Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - February 2020

    The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, February 19th, from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.

Chris Jacobs Schedules "Senator on Your Street" - February 2020

    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, February 26th – Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island.
    New York State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD) has announced that effective Monday, January 6, 2020, the new address of his district office will be 60 Lakefront Boulevard, Suite 125, Buffalo, New York 14202. The office phone number will remain the same - (716) 854-8705, as will the Senator’s email - jacobs@nysenate.gov.

A Teachable Moment - February 2020

By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
    I recently received a notification from my mortgage company that they had paid my 2020 Erie County Property taxes. A few days later, I was informed I had paid too much due to an error in the manner in which the tax had been computed. As a County Legislator I wanted to know how this happened, how it would be fixes and how we could insure that this does not happen again. I also realized there was an opportunity in this crisis to educate ourselves on some very important aspects of our county property taxes.
    The source of the error in this year’s tax bills concerns community college chargebacks, an issue that I have covered in previous columns. In short, whenever a resident of Erie County attends a community college in another county, Erie County is sent a bill from the other county to cover the county share of the student’s education. For the last 35 years Erie County has then added these chargebacks to the property tax bills of the citizens in the same municipality as the student. This has been particularly onerous for the people I represent in Grand Island and the Tonawandas because of our proximity to Niagara County and the number of our neighbors who attend Niagara County Community College. The chargeback cost for NCCC varies from year to year. It is currently $4,340 per full-time student. This is why I have been urging students to at least consider ECC before turning to NCCC.
    Because of the disproportionate impact of these chargebacks on my constituents, I have supported shifting a significant percentage of them to the county’s general fund during the last three budgets. Although we still pay for them in the general fund, the cost is spread out over the entire county and our share is less since our residents incur so much of the original expense.
    By doing this for the 2020 County Budget, we were able to reduce the amount of community college chargebacks added to the bills of Town of Tonawanda taxpayers from $950,339 to $363,454.14, a considerable savings. Likewise, City of Tonawanda chargebacks were reduced from $310,008 to $118,562 and Grand Island’s from $563,064 to $215,342. So I was pleased with this outcome when we passed the budget in early December.
    Unfortunately, there was a lack of communication between the County Budget Office and the folks who printed the tax bills at the county’s Real Property Tax Services. As a result, the original higher chargeback figures were added to our tax bills instead of the significantly lower ones. The error was not discovered until the bills went out and many of us had already paid our taxes. A great deal of discussion ensued about how to handle the situation, and some of it was heated. The bottom line, though, is that people who received the incorrect bills should still pay them. The county will then issue a refund. In the meantime, we should all be concerned about the high cost of community college chargebacks and do whatever we can to try to make ECC more appealing than community colleges in other counties. Doing so will reduce future chargebacks and thus reduce our property taxes. If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

WNY Welcome Center Hosts Staycation Stations - February 2020

    On Sunday, February 16th, the WNY Welcome Center, 1999 Alvin Road, will host Staycation Stations, discover great places to visit in your own backyard. Restaurants to spa resorts...skiing to hiking. Activities take place from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. See flyer for details.

No Parking Ordinance in Effect - February 2020

Parking Violation.

    A reminder to Grand Island residents that the NO Parking ordinance is in effect from 2am thru 7am – November 1 thru March 31. We ask for your cooperation to not park on the street, even though its been a mild winter you are in violation and can be ticketed. Winter snow storms can hit at any time, your cooperation allows our plow drivers to safely open up the streets for pedestrians, and vehicular Traffic.

Blood Drive at GI Highway Department - February 2020

Blood Drive Postponed until Monday, March 9th.
    ConnectLife will be bringing their bus to the Town of Grand Island Highway Department, 1820 Whitehaven Road on Monday, March 9th, from 12:00 - 5:00 p.m. You can schedule an appointment by visiting ConnectlifeGiveBlood.org, enter sponsor code 000252 or by calling ConnectLife at 716-529-4270. Photo ID is required to donate. See Flyer.

GI Man Pleads Guilty in Arson Case - February 2020

    Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 34-year-old Robert L. Shoemaker of Grand Island pleaded guilty before Erie County Court Judge Suzanne Maxwell Barnes to one count of Attempted Arson in the Second Degree, a Class "C" felony. He pleaded guilty on January 30, 2020.
    On January 31, 2019, at approximately 10:00 p.m., the defendant caused a fire in his Ransom Road apartment by setting clothing ablaze using a lighter. The fire was largely contained to the defendant’s apartment and a hallway, but eleven neighboring residents had to be evacuated from the building. Damage to the building was estimated at approximately $100,000 at the time of the incident.
    Shoemaker faces a maximum of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. He remains held without bail. DA Flynn commends the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the Grand Island Fire Department for their work in responding to the fire and investigating the incident. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nathanael C. Kapperman of the DA’s Felony Trials Bureau.

Grand Island Town Court Clerk Vacancy - February 2020

    Grand Island Town Court is looking to fill the position of Grand Island Court Clerk. Legal or court experience is a plus but not required. Please send resume and cover letter to the Town Court, Hon. Mark S. Nemeth by February 14, 2020. Email: mnemeth@grand-island.ny.us, or mail or drop off to: Town Court at 2255 Baseline Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072.

Southpointe Wetland Delineation - January 2020

    A letter dated January 29, 2020 by Councilman Mike Madigan to Jeffrey Palumbo, an associate of the Southpointe Developement project, asks for an update on the wetlands delineation. It also gives a timeline on what has transpired since last July regarding this issue. See letter.

Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - February 2020

    The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, February 4th & February 19th, from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.

School & Town Signs Recognize Volleyball State Champs - January 2020

From left: Highway Superintendent Richard Crawford, GI Athletic Director Jon Roth, GIHS Principal Michael Lauria, Deputy Highway Superintendent Skip Mrkll and School Superintendent Dr. Brian Graham.

Small signs for players, coaches, etc.

    The Grand Island High School Boys Volleyball team became State Champs last fall, the first team in school history to achieve such an honor. The Grand Island Highway Department Superintendent Richard Crawford, a GIHS 1974 graduate, and chairman of the GI Alumni Association, wanted to show his appreciation to the team, and had four large signs made for the school and town. Forty smaller signs were made to give to players, coaches, etc. Once a Viking, always a Viking!

Chris Jacobs Schedules "Senator on Your Street" - January 2020

    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, January 29th – Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island.
    New York State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD) has announced that effective Monday, January 6, 2020, the new address of his district office will be 60 Lakefront Boulevard, Suite 125, Buffalo, New York 14202. The office phone number will remain the same - (716) 854-8705, as will the Senator’s email - jacobs@nysenate.gov.

Free Rabies Clinic - January 2020

    The Erie County Department of Health has scheduled a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs, indoor and outdoor cats, and ferrets on: Wednesday, January 29, 3-7 p.m. at the North Buffalo Community Center, 203 Sanders Road, Buffalo, 14216. QUESTIONS: visit http://www.erie.gov/health/rabies or call (716) 961-6800. Bring pets on a secure collar/harness and leash, or in a carrier. Avoid using retractable, extended dog leashes. If you are using one, be sure it is no longer than 4 feet and in the locked position. Bring a copy of your pet’s vaccination record, if possible. Please contact your veterinarian for vaccination information and for any questions you have regarding your pets.

Senior Wishes Seeking Wish Applicants - January 2020

   Founded by the United Church Home Society, Senior Wishes strives to bring special moments to seniors across WNY by granting numerous wishes each year for individuals 65+ with qualifying incomes or who permanently reside in a care facility.
    Senior Wishes wants to enrich the lives of deserving seniors by providing an experience to be cherished and remembered. Over 260 wishes have been granted since 2014, including traveling to visit long-missed family, attending a sports or cultural event, or even providing supplies or lessons to continue an abandoned hobby.
    Qualifying seniors may submit an application which is reviewed bi-monthly by a volunteer wish granting committee. After approval, a Senior Wishes representative will work together with the senior to plan the details of their wish experience. Community members are encouraged to reach out to deserving seniors, talk to them about their unfulfilled dreams, and help them fill out the paperwork.
    According to Wendy Miller Backman, Executive Director, “Senior Wishes was created to recognize many of our seniors have activities they want to participate in or people they’d like to see again, and they are unable to make this happen on their own. It is so rewarding to see a senior light up with joy at a wish granting, especially when it’s been something they’ve wanted to do or someone they’ve wanted to see for years. We remind seniors they are not forgotten.”
    Wish recipients must be 65+ and a resident of Western New York with an annual income under $38,000 for a household of one or under $44,000 for a household of two. Permanent residents of care facilities are exempt from the income qualification. Vacations, medical items, furniture, household repairs, bill payments and travel outside of the continental U.S. are excluded. Full details can be found at www.SeniorWishes.org or by calling Wendy at 716-508-2121.

Team Luke Benefit - January 2020

   Team Luke is holding its annual fundraiser on Saturday, February 8th at the Knight's of Columbus Hall, 1841 Whitehaven Road. The event is to raise funds for the 25th annual Ride for Roswell and for the 6th Empire State Ride, which is a 546 mile cycling event from NYC to Niagara Falls. This will be the third time Bill Gworek Jr. will take participate in the Empire Ride, starting July 25th. Team Luke was formed when Bill and wife Danielle's son Luke was diagnosed with cancer. Come help raise funds for research and patient care programs! Flyer.

Flurry Fest at WNY Welcome Center - January 2020

   Grand Island, NY The Taste NY Market at the Western New York Welcome Center is prepared to embrace the snow and winter activities this season with a brand new event, the Flurry Fest. It will be held at the center, 1999 Alvin Road on Saturday, January 25th from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
   Join us for a day of fun winter activities, including a snow sculpture competition, snow-shoe demos by Path, Peaks and Paddles, and more. Light up the evening by creating your own luminaries and enjoy chili throughout the day from The Village Inn. A hot cocoa bar will be inside for those that like to stay warm.
   The Market showcases a wide variety of dairy products, craft beer and other specialty beverages, New York sauces, snacks, syrups, preserved and pickled products, locally made ice cream, sandwiches, baked goods, coffee, tea and artisan gifts.
   Participating vendors include: Every Good Herb, Thompson Farms, Coop Bakery, Everything Grand Island, The Village Inn and Jim's Metal Kettle. All events will take place snow or shine! The Taste NY Market is actively seeking new vendors for the store and special events. For more information email erietasteny@cornell.edu. - Flyer

Save the Michaels Presentation Video - January 2020

    The Grand Island Wellness Committee is excited to share that the Family Support Center has reestablished a relationship with Save the Michaels of the World, Inc., an organization that provides assistance and support in many forms to families who are battling the disease of addiction. The following presentation is brought to you by GICSD and Save the Michaels from Tuesday, January 7th in the Grand Viking Theater of Grand Island High School. Hear stories from people in recovery, and learn more about Save the Michaels offering a monthly support group right on Grand Island for any individuals with a loved one in active addiction or early recovery. See Video.

2020 Town/County Tax Bills Mailed - January 2020

    Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel announced that the 2020 Town/County Tax Bills have been mailed. If you have changed banks, have paid off your mortgage or do not have an escrow account and did not receive a tax bill, please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 773-9600 ext. 620 or 600. The office will be open extras hours on Friday, February 14 - 8:30am - 6:00pm, Saturday February 15 - 9:00am - 12:00pm and Tuesday, February 18 - 8:30am - 6:00pm. The office is closed Monday, February 17. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is February 18. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of February 18 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made February 19 and later. Payments can be made until June 30, 2020. After this date, payments must be sent to the County. ONLINE TAX RECEIPTS AND PAYMENTS - SERVICE FEES APPLY - www.grandislandny.us. DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED AT COUNTER - SERVICE FEES APPLY. Flyer.

Town of Grand Island Advisory Board Vacancies - January 2020

    The Town of Grand Island is looking for residents to fill the following board vacancies: Architectural Review Advisory Board, Conservation Advisory Board, Economic Development Advisory Board, Historic Preservation Advisory Board, Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, Planning Board, Technology Advisory Board & Traffic Safety Advisory Board.
    Please send your resume and or qualifications to the Town Supervisor John C. Whitney, P.E. by February 15, 2020. Email: rdiehl@grand-island.ny.us. Or mail or drop off to: Town Hall at 2255 Baseline Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072.

Grand Island Town Prosecutor Vacancy - January 2020

   The position of Grand Island Town Prosecutor is vacant. Please send resume and cover letter to the Town Supervisor, John C. Whitney, P.E. by January 31, 2020. Email: rdiehl@grand-island.ny.us, or mail or drop off to: Town Hall at 2255 Baseline Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072.

Reflecting on a New Year In Local Government - January 2020

By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
    A new year provides us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the events of the old year and look forward to the prospects of the new one. A series of recent swearing-in ceremonies for local officials has afforded me the opportunity to do the same for local government.
    On December 28th I chose to be sworn in for my new term on the County Legislature with the City of Tonawanda’s newly elected officials. I did so because the City of Tonawanda has been my home since my wife, Debbie, and I moved into our starter home on Frederick Road 30 years ago. We’re still there and along the way I was lucky enough to represent my neighbors in the City’s First Ward on the Common Council from 1996-2001. I had many good memories of my time on the City Council, several involving Treasurer Joe Hogenkamp. Joe served admirably for decades and kept the city’s finances in order. He was in government for the right reasons and served as an excellent example of a true public servant. Joe did not take the oath of office this year, as he decided to retire at the end of last year. He will be missed. Fortunately, though, his successor is Bill Reece. Bill has been active in the community for years and is well-qualified for the position. He has a tough act to follow in Joe Hogenkamp. But Bill is more than capable of getting the job done.
    A couple days later, on December 30th, I attended the ceremony for the newly elected Town of Tonawanda officials. Long time Council Member Dan Crangle was not among them due to term limits. Like Joe Hogenkamp in the City of Tonawanda, Dan was an institution in the Town. He had a passion for good government and his work with the town’s parks and recreation programs are legendary. All residents of the Town of Tonawanda benefited from his years of service on the Town board. Former Council Member Lisa Chimera was also not sworn in because she joined me in representing the Town of Tonawanda in the County Legislature where she is already making an impact. Fortunately for the Town, Carl Szarek and Shannon Patch stepped forward and were sworn in to replace Dan and Lisa. They are now working in behalf of the citizens of the Town together with newly reelected Supervisor Joe Emminger and Council Members John Bargnesi and Bill Conrad.
   On New Year’s Day I was honored to attend the inauguration ceremony for Grand Island’s new officials. Chief among them was newly elected Supervisor John Whitney. I worked with John for several years when he was the Town Engineer and I know that he will use his years of experience and knowledge of the town to the benefit the Citizens of Grand Island.
    Sandwiched in between the other ceremonies, I witnessed County Executive Mark Poloncarz take his oath for the third time. Afterwards, he spoke of his many accomplishments and goals for the next four years. This, however, is story for another day. For the time being, let us all be grateful for the dedication of our local officials, both past and present. If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

GAC Volunteers Stuff Tax Bills - January 2020

Front, from left: Linda Clark, Brenda Cassoni, Martha Muller, Jean Schlegal.
Back: Lorraine Wilcox, Kathy Lechner, Pat Ehinger, Pattie Frentzel.

    This is the 17th year a group has volunteered from the Golden Age Center to stuff tax envelopes. For their efforts, the Town of Grand Island provides lunch!

Seasonal Dock Permits for West River Shoreline - January 2020

    The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has 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 2020 season. Permit applications will be accepted beginning at 8:00 a.m. on February 1, 2020 until 50 permits have been issued. If all 50 permits are not issued on February 1, the office will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on February 3rd.
    Interested parties must submit their application in person at the Beaver Island State Park Office at 2136 West Oakfield Road, Grand Island, NY 14072 It is advised that you call the office before heading there. Permit applications and further information are available at the Beaver Island State Park Office or on line at www.parks.ny.gov/parks/56/details.aspx beginning on January 9, 2020. For more information on this program, please contact the Beaver Island State Park Office at 716-773-3271.

New Law for Safer Boating - January 2020

    Brianna's Law is in effect as of January 1, 2020, which requires all operators of motorized boats and personal watercraft to take a safe boating course and get a boating safety certificate by 2025. This new law is named after Brianna Lieneck, an 11-year-old Long Island girl who was killed in a boating accident. Governor Cuomo Signs Brianna's Law to Strengthen Boater Safety.
    Boaters can obtain a boating safety certificate by taking either a classroom or approved online course - both free and paid options are available, visit: parks.ny.gov for more information. Students 18 years of age and older will be required to pay $10 for their permanent certificate. There is no charge for students under the age of 18.
    Who needs a boating safety certificate?
    Motorboats: Under a new law, known as Brianna's Law, all motor boat operators: Born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2020. Born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2022. Born on or after Jan. 1, 1983 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2023. Born on or after Jan. 1, 1978 will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2024. All motor boat operators regardless of age will need a boating safety certificate beginning in 2025.
   Personal Watercraft: Anyone operating a Personal Watercraft (JetSki™, Wave Runner™, etc.) must have a boating safety certificate, and be at least 14 years of age or older.
   Boating Safety certificates issued in other states; If you are a New York resident, you will need to have a NYS boating safety certificate; if you are from out-of-state, New York recognizes the boating safety certificate issued by your home state.
   Renting a boat: Persons may rent and operate a motor boat from a livery without first obtaining a boating safety certificate. Operators of sailboats, kayaks, standup paddleboards, rowboats, canoes and any other watercraft without a motor are not required to have a boating safety certificate to be on the water.

E-ZPass Outreach Continues - January 2020

    The Western New York Welcome Center on Alvin Road will continue to hold cashless tolling customer assistance on the first Tuesday of each month. The first date is January 7th, with hours of 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    Since the original outreach event in May of 2019, the Thruway Authority has held more than two dozen sessions and helped more then 760 customers. Representatives will be able to address cashless tolling questions and offer personalized assistance for E-ZPass and Tolls By Mail customers. Customers can: Resolve violations, Pay toll bills, Dispute toll bills, Update E-ZPass account information, Receive personalized E-Zpass Customer Service.

Low Income Senior Announcement - January 2020

    Attention all Enhanced STAR recipients. Please review your 2018 income tax and/or your year end statements to ensure your total income (including all non-taxable and Social Security income) is over $35,400. If your total income for 2018 is less than $35,400 you may qualify for the Low Income Senior program. Call or email the Assessor’s office for further information. 716-773-9600 ext 648 and 651. jtafelski@grand-island.ny.us jmcginty@grand-island.ny.us .

Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - January 2020

    The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, January 7th & January 21st, from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon at the Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.

Town of Grand Island 2020 Inauguration of Elected Officials - January 2020

Councilman Mike Madigan, Councilman Tom Digati, Supervisor John Whitney, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Town Justice Mark Nemeth.

Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford, Councilman Mike Madigan, Councilman Tom Digati, Councilwoman Jennifer Baney, Supervisor John Whitney, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Town Justice Mark Nemeth, Town Justice Mark Frentzel and Councilman Peter Marston.
Jude Kuehne photos.

    The 2020 Inauguration of Grand Island Elected Officials took place on Wednesday, January 1st at the newly renovated Grand Island Community Center at the Nike Base Park. The ceremony started with the presentation of colors by the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corp. - Sullivan's Division. The National Anthem was sung by Samantha Garcia and the Invocation & Benediction by Pastor Calvin VanderMey of Bible Fellowship Center. The Master of Ceremonies was Karen Conboy and Installing Officer was Grand Island Town Justice Mark Frentzel.
   The Installation of Elected Officials were comprised of Town Clerk Patricia A. Frentzel, Town Justice Mark S. Nemeth, Town Councilmen Michael H, Madigan and Thomas A. Digati and Town Supervisor John C. Whitney. The inductees were then presented with certificates of election. Following the inauguration was a reception.