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Veterans Day Ceremony - November 2020Grand Island, NY - The Town of Grand Island cordially invites veterans, family members and friends to attend the Veterans Day Ceremony on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 11:00 AM at Veterans Park located at 1717 Bedell Road. COVID-19 Safety Reminder: Attendees must wear face coverings when social distancing of 6ft or more cannot be maintained and follow all NYS mandates and guidelines. Bleacher seating will not be available this year. Attendees may bring their own chair if needed. If you have any questions you can contact Recreation Department at 773-9680, or by email to email@example.com. The Town of Grand Island extends a very gracious thank you in advance for your time and participation to honor our veterans.
Traffic Safety Advisory Board Message - October 2020Fall is a dangerous time of year for road users. Moisture from increased rain or early snow, combined with falling leaves, cause slippery conditions & reduced visibility. Fewer hours of daylight. Loss of tire pressure because of cold affects tire traction. Deer are more active this time of year. Adjust your speed for conditions and always obey speed limits.
Transplanting Trees at Veterans Park - October 2020
From left: Bill Domes & Joe Killian.
From left: Steve Mrzygut & Joe Killian.The Grand Island Parks Department has made improvements at Veterans Park, during the week of October 19th, by transplanting 12 trees with the help of Bill Domes of Domes Inc. Tree Farm.
Small Business Grant - October 2020Tonawanda, NY - During the last session of the Erie County Legislature, Legislator Kevin Hardwick co-sponsored a resolution supporting the creation of a small business grant program that would utilize Federal CARES Act funding to provide money directly to business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) announced a program earlier this year for businesses and non-profits. Given the considerable length of the public health emergency, the Majority Caucus felt an additional infusion of funding for businesses was warranted and requested the remainder of the CARES Act funding allocated to Erie County in April be used to support businesses of all kinds across the Western New York region.
On October 13th, the County Executive announced the Erie County “Back to Business” Grant Program which aims to support employers of less than 60 people for COVID-19 related expenses including lease and mortgage payments, payroll costs, personal protective equipment, and more. Legislator Hardwick stated, “I’m pleased with the program the County Executive has rolled out because it allows every single business, from restaurants to small scale manufacturers, to apply for financial support. Need is strongly emphasized on the application so that those who were impacted the most can get help to keep their doors open. Small businesses keep our neighbors employed with food on their tables, and I’m happy to support them.”
Funding awards are available in three separate benefit levels: awards of up to $10,000 are available for small businesses with a sole proprietor, $25,000 for businesses with 2-25 employees, and $45,000 for businesses with up to 60 employees. To apply, please visit: grants.ureeka.biz/backtobusiness. The application is open now through November 2. All funding must be spent by December 31st per Federal CARES Act guidelines.
Drug Take-Back Day - October 2020ERIE COUNTY, NY - On Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., eight sites in Erie County and 20 across Western New York will be set up for residents to dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Coordinated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), this is the 19th nationwide event held since its start in 2010. Closest locations are Kenmore Mercy Hospital - 2950 Elmwood Ave. Kenmore, NY, DeGraff Memorial Hospital -445 Tremont St. North Tonawanda & Mt. St. Mary's - 5300 Military Rd., Lewistion.
“Old or unused prescriptions, and expired over-the-counter medicines, don’t need to be taking up space in your closets or cabinets. Our department encourages people to dispose of their expired or unused medications, year-round, at community kiosks located in all parts of Erie County,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “With this event happening on October 24, take time to go through your household to collect these items for safe disposal. And if you have older family members who could use assistance, offer to help them with this task as well.”
Sites for the Drug Take Back Day are only able to accept pills and patches; sites for this event cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps. Kiosks in Erie County accept other medication forms and sharps. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Staff and volunteers on-site will follow and enforce local COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Drivers and passengers should stay in their vehicles at the site and wear a face covering while in their vehicle.
Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. DEA, along with its law enforcement partners, has now collected nearly 6,350 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010. This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Unused medicines in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Accidental poisonings and overdoses are also a consequence of drug misuse or improper storage. The FDA also provides information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs. More information is available here: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/where-and-how-dispose-unused-medicines.
Halloween UNICEF Tradition - October 2020
Previous years UNICEF photo.Do you still connect dressing up for Halloween with carrying a little orange box for Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF? This is the 70th year of this longest running youth engagement campaign in America! For most of those years Grand Island kids voluntarily helped through our schools’ education programs; small businesses cooperated, community donated coins and bills, Scouts sorted and counted, and our banks turned it all into generous checks to our annual UNICEF collection. Grand Island was one of the unique communities in the U. S. to have had a long, uninterrupted, faithful response!
But as so many other parts of our lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus, this important tradition has become virtual this year for safety. You can still make your contribution by writing a check made out to U. S. Committee for UNICEF and mailing it to: Grand Island UNICEF Chairman, Beth Boron, 120 Bishop’s Gate, Grand Island, NY 14072. She will see that our community receives credit for your donation. UNICEF has helped reduce deaths among children under the age of five by 50% since 1990. But much more remains to be done! 16,000 small children continue to die every day from preventable situations, needing safe water and proper nutrition and basic immunizations. You can help protect the world’s most vulnerable children!
Budgeting in the Age of COVID - September 2020By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
Nothing has been easy this year, as the pandemic has changed every aspect of our lives. Many people have gotten sick and some have tragically died. Businesses have been destroyed and people have lost their jobs. Schools and colleges have struggled with how to open safely. Proms, graduations, vacations and weddings have been postponed or cancelled and we have to wear masks wherever we go. It has not been a good year.
It is in this climate, however, that local governments must prepare their budgets for 2021. Like everything else this year, it will not be easy. Local governments across the nation have borne the brunt of the COVID epidemic. They have been saddled with additional expenses for first responders and personal protective equipment, while simultaneously losing revenue due to the economic slowdown. The federal government’s response has been relatively anemic, despite pleas from local governments in every state. As a result, local governments are preparing to make some tough choices.
For Erie County Government, this will be nothing new. In June we closed a $138 million deficit in the current year’s budget caused primarily by the loss of sales tax revenue and increased COVID related expenditures. We could not do this without cutting jobs. It was not easy to lay off dedicated county employees and cut back on county services. But we had little choice.
Now, as we begin to deliberate the 2020 Erie County Budget, more tough choices are looming. I have always viewed a budget as an important policy document, one that tells us something about a community’s priorities. It is easy say that something is important to us. It is another thing entirely to spend money on it. When we budget, we literally put our money where our mouth is.
It is a lot easier to fund our priorities when revenues such as sales tax are on the rise. In such instances, there always seems to be more than enough money to go around. It is a good deal more difficult, though, in the midst of a global pandemic and economic slowdown. Hence, the need to make more difficult choices.
The County Executive will send his budget to the Legislature by October 15th. We will then hold a series of departmental budget hearings, as well as a public hearing. We will work with the Executive to craft a budget that produces the least pain possible under very trying circumstances. There will probably need to be more job cuts. These actions will not be taken lightly, as we will be impacting people’s lives.
Many people in our community, though, have already lost their jobs and are hurting. We must do everything we can to avoid adding to their pain, as they cannot afford a tax increase. I am proud of the fact that during my time in the County Legislature we have never increased the property tax rate on equalized assessed value and have actually decreased it in several years. I want to assure my constituents in Grand Island and the Tonawandas that I will be advocating for another tax cut in the 2021 budget. It will be my top priority. 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.
Southpointe Project Information Meeting UPDATE - October 2020See Map
The Developer with the Southpointe Project will give a presentation on Monday, October 19, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. There will be no Q&A at this presentation.
Grand Island, NY - Thank you for sharing your postings with us that were sent in to public comments for the Southpointe Information Meeting. The notice for the meeting was just posted in the Island Dispatch yesterday (page 3, upper right). After reading the postings that were shared with us, we noticed that many of them were in the form of opinions and statements instead of questions. We have been advised that you should re-submit your input to public comments in the following format:
My question is for (the developer, members of the Town Board, or a specific person’s name). Then outline the specific question you have for that person(s).
Remember, this is the only way your questions and their responses will become part of the public record. For example, instead of saying: "Due to the long time lag, I think the zoning for the proposed project site should revert to its previous designation and a new zoning request should be submitted, along with an updated environmental impact study.” Re-phrase this into the form of a question: “My question is for members of the Town Board. Why are you still treating this project as having a PDD designation when that designation has expired? Why hasn't the zoning for this proposed project reverted to its previous designation in accordance with zoning law 407-121 that states "If construction has not started by that five-year anniversary date, such nonconforming use shall expire on that five-year anniversary date, and any construction thereafter must comply with the new regulations of the underlying district?”
It is critical that your submission be in the form of questions that will have to be answered by the developer or Town Officials so that their responses become part of the public record. Please submit or re-submit your emails to email@example.com before the deadline of Thursday, October 15th @12:00pm.
CRED4GI Steering Committee - firstname.lastname@example.org - cred4gi.org
Halloween Hours - October 2020Saturday, October 31 is Halloween and many have asked if Trick or Treating will be allowed. The Town Board has announced that hours for Trick or Treating will be 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. They are also asking to respect those that may not be comfortable with the activity this year by avoiding any homes that have the lights turned off. Stay Safe and don't forget your light!
Miracle League Remembrance Parade - October 2020
Robert Haag Photo  In remembrance of Michael (Moe) Dinsmore, an enthusiastic participant of the Miracle League, a drive-by remembrance parade took place at the Dinsmore residence, with his friends from the Miracle League. The event was organized by Dan Drexelius and took place on Sunday afternoon, September 27th.
Highway Department Winter Policies - October 2020A Friendly Reminder from the Town of Grand Island Highway Department.
November 1, 2020 is the official start of our 2020-2021 Winter Season. Please observe our "No Parking" restrictions on all public highways between the hours of 2:00 a.m. thru 7:00 a.m. from November 1, 2020 thru March 31, 2021. This allows us to give you effective snow plowing in all areas of the town. Our Town of Grand Island Police Department and the Erie County Sheriff's Department enforce this ordinance.
Branch Pick-Up: Limited pick-ups from September 1st thru October 15th, at this time we begin to turn the trucks over for the Winter Salting/Plowing season. For more Highway information check out the town website at www.grandislandny.us, go to departments and click on Highway. Email us at email@example.com or call 716-773-9632.
Richard (Dick) Crawford, Superintendent of Highways
Norman (Skip) Mrkall II, Deputy Superintendent of Highways
CRED4GI Call To Action - October 2020Grand Island, NY - Southpointe Project proposed for Grand Island needs your attention NOW.
CRED4GI steering members monitored the Grand Island Town Board meeting last evening (Oct 5th) and made public comments regarding the Southpointe project that was part of the Unfinished Business portion of the agenda. During the meeting, the Town Board was poised to vote on a motion to declare a negative SEQRA for the revised Comprehensive Site Plan for Southpointe that was submitted by the developer on 3-11-2020. The proposed negative SEQRA designation is based on their review/findings of a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that was completed 22 years ago in 1998. The language of the proposed resolution stated:
“Based upon a thorough review and examination of the known facts relating to the Proposed Action and its careful review of all potentially adverse environmental impacts, and the entire record and proceedings relating to the Action, the Board finds that the Action will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment and that a draft supplemental environmental impact statement will not be prepared.”
This action represents the first major approval step for the revised Southpointe project. After a vigorous debate between Town Board members Tom Digati and Mike Madigan (see YouTube video starting at 46:15 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc4Xqz0ltso). The final result of this discussion was an agreement by the Town Board to table the decision until after a “Public Information Meeting” could be scheduled to enable residents to ask questions and voice their concerns about the revised project. The Board has decided that all questions/comments must be “submitted in advance” and the cut-off date/time was determined to be THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15th at 12:00pm.
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOUR VOICE IS HEARD ON THIS MATTER! We are encouraging our members to submit their questions and concerns to the Town Board by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before the October 15th deadline. The developer and Town Board are expected to address the submitted questions during the Information Meeting. This will be your last opportunity to ask questions and communicate your concerns, as the Town Board plans to put the SEQRA resolution to a vote at their October 15th Board Meeting.
The CRED4GI leadership team has studied the revised Comprehensive Site Plan for Southpointe (see http://www.grand-island.ny.us/southpointe_documents/index.php#revize_document_center_rz1481, along with the proposed negative SEQRA resolution and notes from the Conservation Advisory Board (CAB), Traffic Safety Board and Planning Board discussions on this project. We have the following concerns about the project:
1) The project received a zoning modification to PDD in 2013. Grand Island zoning law 407-121 states that "If construction has not started by that five-year anniversary date, such nonconforming use shall expire on that five-year anniversary date, and any construction thereafter must comply with the new regulations of the underlying district.” Given that it is now seven years beyond the original PDD designation, we believe the zoning for the proposed project site should have reverted to its previous designation and a new zoning request should be submitted, along with an updated environmental impact study.
2) The developer stated in the CAB meeting notes that “Because Southpointe site was zoned PDD, there is no building height restriction.” We object to the proposed variance to our zoning laws for exceeding the 47 foot maximum height (and 4-story maximum limitation) for two proposed 6-story apartment buildings within the project site.
3) We are concerned about the sewer/water capacity issues that may be experienced with the completion of this development. Given the real-life water/sewer issues surrounding the proposed building site that many residents have described to us, we feel that the addition of so many new homes, townhomes and apartments to the area will have a harmful effect on surrounding communities.
4) The proposed project will disturb 106 acres of green space (out of a total of 282 acres or 37.5%). We believe, at the very least, that the remaining 176 acres should be designated as a conservation easement or be deed restricted, as recommended by the CAB.
5) The Town has not required that the developer provide a supplemental EIS, which would include public scoping in accordance with NYS SEQR regulations. The process is currently "developer driven," meaning that the developer has been stating since 2013 that there is no potential for any significant adverse environmental impact, and they have been modifying the plan and proposing it in a piecemeal fashion. As a result, there has been little ability for the public or other agencies to offer constructive and comprehensive scoping guidance and analysis of alternatives.
In our public comments during the meeting last night, we stressed the need to provide a more systematic process for public access to information and subsequent feedback. In addition, we stressed that developers should be required to follow the code. The Town Board should require such adherence as opposed to making exceptions or overlooking obvious infractions. Residents are certainly held to this standard and developers should be forced to comply as well. We encourage you to provide your feedback on these matters as well. Please join us in making sure your questions and concerns are heard by our Town officials.
CRED4GI Steering Committee - email@example.com - cred4gi.org
Pinto Sanitation Merger - October 2020Pinto Sanitation has merged with Casella Waste Systems as of October 1, 2020. Casella Waste Systems, Inc. and its predecessor companies were founded in 1975 as Casella's Refuse Removal in Rutland, Vermont. See Full Statement.
Past Due Water Bills Deadline - October 2020Grand Island, NY - The Town of Grand Island Water Billing Department would like to remind residents that any past due amounts not paid by October, 31, 2020 will be added to the 2021 Town/County tax bill.
Hardwick Delivers Additional Funding to Grand Island - October 2020Erie County, NY - Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick sponsored a unanimous resolution that awarded $4,000 in previously approved Erie County funding directly to the Town of Grand Island. This award, approved in the 2020 budget, will help the Town fund vital programs for its parks, senior, and recreation departments. Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick said, “We understand that many communities are hurting because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this funding isn’t a tremendous amount, I am hopeful it helps demonstrate my commitment to delivering for the Town of Grand Island on the Erie County Legislature.”
Many organizations and community groups were unable to accept allocations this year due to cancellations in programming because of New York social distancing regulations or public health concerns. For information about programs still open and available in the Town of Grand Island, visit their website at grand-island.ny.us.
Sod Party at DeGlopper Memorial Park - October 2020
Robert Haag Photos.The photos were taken during the second “Sod Party” at the DeGlopper Memorial on Saturday, September 26, 2020. Volunteers laid sod between the new sidewalk and Grand Island Blvd. Sod was provided by Lakeside Sod and equipment by Double “D” Construction.
Traffic Safety Enforcement Awareness Days - October 2020
Pictured from left: NYS Trooper Andrew Stanbro, GI Officers Robert Rine and Chris Pyc, Supervisor John Whitney, TSAB member Michael Beauchamp, EC Sheriff Chief Scott Joslyn, Councilperson Jennifer Baney.
Grand Island Traffic Safety Enforcement Awareness Days to be held October 9 & October 10. As the Traffic Safety Advisory Board continually looks to find unique ways to help our community, the board has partnered with Grand Island Police Officers Rine and Pyc to conduct our first ever Grand Island Traffic Safety Law Enforcement Days. As you read this, our local department is collaborating with others to create a multi-agency, high-visibility traffic enforcement event. They will work to promote community awareness amongst road users in some of our most highly trafficked areas, with a focus on safety.
Click for larger view.
Waterfowl Hunting Lottery Drawings Information - October 2020Beaver Island State Park, West River, Strawberry Island, and Motor Island included. The Niagara Region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has announced the procedures for the 2020-2021 waterfowl hunting lottery drawings for the state parks on Grand Island. Due to the restrictions on public gatherings all waterfowl permits will be completed through an electronic lottery system. The lottery form may be entered by filling out the form located at www.parks.ny.gov/parks/56/details.aspx and submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org . Submissions for the lottery will be due the Wednesday before the week of the hunt but hunters may select multiple weeks on one form. Permits will be valid for the entire week. One submission of the lottery form will allow hunters to select the weeks they would like to hunt for the entire season. Those who win blinds will receive their permit via email. Both Island blinds and River blinds will be available as will ADA accessible blinds..
As a reminder the season is as follows: Waterfowl First Half: 11/17-11/8. Goose Season: 11/9-11/28. Waterfowl Second Half: 11/28-1/03/21. Goose Season: 1/04/21 – 1/09/21.
Additionally, Beaver Island State Park is offering a youth hunt for the weekend of October 3rd and 4th. This will be done by calling the Park Office on Friday October 2nd at 716-773-3271 between the hours of 9am to 12pm. Permits will be available for pick up by 4pm at the park office. For more details on the lottery please visit https://parks.ny.gov/parks/beaverisland/maps.aspx
Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary Open - October 2020The Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary trails are open This is a remarkable 145-acre oak and hickory forest. Big and Little Sixmile Creeks each flow through this unique landscape as they make their way to the Niagara River.
To visit the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary, enter Assumption Cemetery at the west end of Whitehaven Road. The trail begins at the forest edge in the southwestern corner of the cemetery. There is a small parking area there for visitors. The trails are open to people walking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. Bicycles, motorized vehicles—such as ATVs—horses, or dogs are not allowed on the property. Website.
Grass Island Shoreline Restoration Project To Start - September 2020
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recently announced permits have been issued for the Grass Island restoration project. Construction is to begin this fall and continue through winter, completion by mid April.
CRED4GI - What we've been up to lately - September 2020CRED4GI is asking Island residents to fill out a community land-use survey to share "your vision for responsible economic development." Survey.
We want to give you a brief update on what’s been happening with our Coalition since the wonderful news that Trammel Crow and Amazon pulled their application to build one of the world’s largest warehouses on Grand Island.
We needed to make a critical decision on whether or not the work of our Coalition was done. We met as a steering group and decided that we want to continue our work with a renewed mission statement: The Coalition for Responsible Economic Development for Grand Island (CRED4GI) is dedicated to sharing information and informed discussion related to proposed development efforts on Grand Island. We are a non-political group of concerned citizens that represent the rights and views of Grand Island homeowners and residents to ensure that any proposed development is congruent with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and that zoning laws are respected and followed.
Because of the decision to move forward with this new mission, we have identified and have been working on the following objectives:
1. Incorporate our Coalition as a non-profit organization.
2. Provide a central point of contact/action for resident concerns and communication regarding development projects and zoning actions on Grand Island.
3. Update our website to reflect our new mission and provide education/updates on new/on-going development projects proposed for Grand Island.
4. Conduct a land-use survey of our members.
5. Work with the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) to develop an economic model for Grand Island which outlines the necessary growth in Commercial land-use to balance the growth of residential land-use with the stated objective of minimizing property tax increases for homeowners.
6. Monitor Town planning board meetings and Town Board workshops/meetings with the objective of informing our members of critical land-use actions.
7. Take legal action, if necessary, to ensure compliance with zoning laws and the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.
8. Obtain grants or additional funding from members to achieve our objectives.
9. Work with other local and national organizations to help support and achieve our mutual objectives.
The information we have is that approximately 900 residents responded to the original request for input on the Town’s Comprehensive plan (see link to review those responses). http://cms5.revize.com/revize/grandislandny/Advisory%20Boards/Long%20Range%20Planning/2018%20Master%20Plan(FinalW).pdf . Given that our membership is around 2500, we would like to get at least half of our members to provide us with their direct feedback. Please feel free to continue communicating with us through our email address (email@example.com) and we will continue to provide updates to you on the objectives stated above. Website.
Fall Community Education Classes Online - September 2020The Grand Island Central School District has moved its Community Education classes entirely online for the Fall session to observe COVID-19 safety practices.
A number of exciting and informative courses are available this session for K-12 students and adults. Course topics range from understanding your Medicare options to being introduced to coding or game design. Important topics for high school students looking to attend a postsecondary school are also being covered this session, including a four-hour ACT boot camp, writing the college application essay and a nine-hour SAT test preparation course.
The Community Education office also offers a wide variety of online classes through a partnership with ed2go. These online courses are completed in the privacy of your home at your convenience. The courses start once a month, and each course runs for six weeks and consists of 12 lessons. During the dates the classes are offered, you can work as many hours and days as you want. The classes are taught by well-screened instructors and are self-paced. Topics for these courses include Speed Spanish, Learn to Buy and Sell on eBay, Introduction to PC Security and Discover Digital Photography.
Registration for all Fall 2020 classes is available online or by mail. Complete registration instructions and the course brochure can be found online at www.grandislandschools.org/communityed. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (716) 404-1302.
Town Hall Contactless Payment Drop Box - September 2020
Scott Hammond is shown dropping off his payment.Town Clerk Patricia A. Frentzel is encouraging Island residents to use the Drop Box located outside the lower entrance at Town Hall. Be safe and go for contactless tax and water payments.
Pink Bag Ladies Donation - September 2020
From left: Ray DeGlopper, Joe Mesmer, Pat Shaw, Julie Scott & Gary Deutschlander.
On Friday, September 11, 2020, Julie Scott, Coordinator for Lady Veterans, at the VA Hospital Buffalo, NY, accepted a donation on behalf of the VA Western NY Healthcare System from the “Pink Bag Ladies” of Trinity United Methodist Church on Grand Island, NY. Hats and Comforters made by the “Pink Bag Ladies," will be distributed to homeless veterans at the VA Hospital in Buffalo, NY. American Legion members were on hand as they are a regular donator to the Pink Bag Ladies.
Photo by Robert Haag
School Tax Bills Sent - September 2020Town Clerk Patricia A. Frentzel announced that the 2020/21 School Tax Bills have been mailed. If you have changed banks, have paid off your mortgage or do not have an escrow account and did not receive a tax bill, please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 773-9600 ext. 620. The regular office hours are 8:30am - 4:30pm. The office will be open Saturday, October 10, 2020, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is October 15. The office will be open until 6:00pm on Thursday, October 15, 2020. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of October 15 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made October 16 and later. Payments can be made until November 30, 2020. After this date, payments must be sent to the County.
School Tax Bills To Be Sent Friday - September 2020
From left: Ann Dlugokinski, Lorraine Wilcox, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Martha Mueller and Kathy Lechner.
With the help of the Golden Age Recreation Attendants Erin Monnett and Sue Magro who have been working in the Town Hall lobby assisting residents coming in the building to conduct business and senior volunteers Ann Dlugokinski, Martha Muller, Lorraine Wilcox and Kathy Lechner we got it done!!
School tax bills will be sent out Friday! Due date for school taxes is October 15th.
From left: Sue Magro & Erin Monnett.
We encourage residents to please use the drop box outside Town Hall for safe, contactless payments for taxes and water. Avoid a visit to Town Hall if you are sick or have been around someone who is sick. Payments can be made on-line as well. For more information, call the Town Clerk’s office at 7739600 ext. 600.
Season of Change - September 2020By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
The summer of 2020 will soon come to an end. The pandemic has made this summer a memorable one, although not for the right reasons. There was no Canal Fest, no Erie County Fair, no parades and no Bisons baseball. Many youth sports leagues had their seasons curtailed or were shut down completely. There was also no travel to Canada or much of anywhere else for that matter. This summer will not go down as one of my favorites.
Fall will begin shortly and the hope is that the leaves will not be the only thing changing, as we desperately seek to get back to some semblance of normal. In order to get there, however, we all need to continue to do our part in stopping the spread of Covid-19. Like everyone else, I am suffering from a severe case of coronavirus fatigue. Another season of social distancing and mask wearing is not something to which I am looking forward. But adherence to CDC guidelines is the only way out of this crisis. So I will do my part, albeit reluctantly.
Because of the pandemic, Erie County voters have the option of voting by mail in the November 3rd general election. You must, however, first apply for a ballot. Information concerning absentee ballots can be found via the web at elections.erie.gov. You can even apply online at this site.
While on the subject of autumn and changes, remember to complete your Census form if you have not done so already. The results of the Census will produce a number of changes that will profoundly affect the way our local governments operate. So much of the federal and state aid received by our counties, cities, towns and villages is dependent on formulas based on population. If people are not counted we will lose federal and state aid for ten years until the next Census. Every dollar we lose in such assistance is a dollar that must either be cut from services or raised in additional property taxes. In addition, Erie County distributes a portion of our sales tax to our cities, towns, villages and school districts based on Census counts. So it is even more important to get an accurate count. If you have not filled out a Census form yet, you can do so online at 2020census.gov. It will be worth your time.
There is one more change I am hoping for as we usher in the season of change. In recent weeks there has been a surge in tense, sometimes violent and too often racist behavior. It is one thing to watch on television as things get out of hand in some other state. It is quite another to see it happen on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo. It is sickening, and it must stop. This year has been rough, and it has brought out the worst in some people. But it has also brought out the best in others, as first responders and healthcare personnel risk their lives to save others. We must all honor their sacrifice by doing whatever we can to get through this crisis together. That would be a welcome change. 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.
ECDOH Offers Free Rabies Vaccination Clinics - September 2020ERIE COUNTY, NY -The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is announcing scheduled dates for its free rabies vaccination clinics on Saturday, September 19 and Tuesday, September 29. Registrations will be required for these events, and the online registration will open on September 9. No walk-ins will be permitted. Locations, times and registration information for these events will be announced on September 9. Dogs, cats and ferrets that are four months of age and older are eligible for this clinic. Due to expected demand, ECDOH is limiting registrations to three pets per vehicle. Staff are asking pet owners to limit the number of people in the vehicle. Face masks or cloth face coverings will be required at all times, and physical distancing will be strictly enforced by clinic staff.
“Our Vector Control Program staff has had to make significant changes to the way our rabies clinics will operate,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “With support from our partners at the Medaille College Veterinary Program, Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, SPCA Serving Erie County and volunteers from Erie County SMART, we are looking forward to resuming this very popular service for Erie County pet owners.” “We are urging pet owners to make sure their animals’ vaccinations are up to date,” said Senior Public Health Sanitarian Peter Tripi. “COVID-19 has disrupted all types of health care, including veterinary health, and a rabies vaccination is an easy way to prevent a disease that is fatal to pets, wildlife and humans.” Pet owners are asked to bring proof of vaccination with them to the event in order to receive a three-year vaccination certificate; otherwise, a one-year certificate will be given. ECDOH – Rabies Information - https://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=rabies-information ###
Traffic Tips from TSAB - August 2020Schools will be opening soon with hours and bus schedules that will be different than we are accustomed to. Always be alert for buses and students. Remember, it is dangerous and illegal to pass a stopped school bus.
National Fuel Warns of Collections Scam - August 2020(Aug. 27, 2020) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) is warning customers of a recent collections scam. Scammers, posing as National Fuel representatives, are contacting customers and stating that the customer has 45 minutes to pay their bill or service will be disconnected. Customers are reminded that National Fuel DOES NOT disconnect gas service without following its proper collections procedures, including multiple attempts to contact customers via the mail, phone, or in the field. National Fuel DOES NOT force phone payments as the only payment option and DOES NOT request bill payment by prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer.
Customers should contact National Fuel at 1-800-365-3234 to report suspicious or unusual behavior involving someone claiming to be a National Fuel representative.
Other reminders: • National Fuel employees DO NOT conduct door-to-door sales of gas supply. Any door-to-door salesperson wearing a hard hat or another article of clothing or accessories commonly associated with utility employees is not likely a National Fuel employee. • National Fuel employees DO NOT visit customers’ homes to view their gas bills, to ask them to sign any sort of agreement, or to discuss account matters unless they are related to collection activities. • National Fuel employees DO NOT ask customers to replace gas meters at their expense. Gas meters are National Fuel’s property and its responsibility to replace or repair. • National Fuel employees DO visit customers’ homes for operational purposes, including meter reading, construction work, and gas emergencies. Company representatives always carry photo identification. When visiting a customer’s home, a representative’s identification card should be visibly noticeable, if it is not, the customer should ask the representative to see their ID.
GICSD Responds to Disturbing Message on Front Lawn - August 2020GRAND ISLAND (Aug. 24, 2020) - On the morning of Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, the Grand Island Central School District learned that a retired teacher placed a disturbing message on a front lawn. This was captured on video and is being viewed on YouTube as well as other social media outlets. The former employee in the video is no longer associated with the District in any capacity after retiring in January of 2020. The District, of course, does not endorse or support that message. Instead, the District encourages respectful and constructive dialogue on the issues of the day.
Six Undocumented Immigrants Arrested on GI - August 2020By Spectrum News Staff, Aug. 23, 2020 U.S. Border Patrol confirms to Spectrum News that six undocumented immigrants were arrested on Grand Island on Sunday. According to officials, at around 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, agents received a call from someone of Grand Island that undocumented immigrants were at the 7/11 on Love Road. Agents would not confirm, but the owner of Budget Motel on Grand Island tell Spectrum News that those six people were staying at the motel. Three were arrested immediately, and three others led agents on a foot pursuit. Two were apprehended shortly after, while a third was tackled by police and arrested just before 3:30 p.m. Spectrum News crews were on the scene. An hours-long search effort for the final man involved multiple agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Grand Island Police, Erie County Sherrifs, New York State Police, and took place in a heavily wooded area by the I-90. Those arrested have been taken to the Federal Detention Center in Batavia, where they are awaiting a deportation hearing. Witnesses say the search had been ongoing since at least 11:45 a.m. and the scene was clear by 4 p.m. The case has been handed over to the U.S. Attorney's Office, according to Border Patrol.
ConnectLife Blood Drive- August 2020ConnectLife Blood Drive - Wednesday, August 26th from 12 noon - 5:00 p.m. at the Town of Grand Island Highway Department, 1820 Whitehaven Road See flyer.
Parent Forum for Reopening of GI Schools - August 2020Grand Island Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Brian Graham, and Assistant Superintendent of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services, Cheryl Cardone, answer parent questions regarding the September 2020 reopening of schools in the Grand Island Central School District, during the first Parent Forum held virtually on Thursday August 13, 2020. See here. Questions regarding reopening.
Amazon Project Withdraws - August 2020UPDATE: Letter from CRED4GI - What It Means to Be a Community.
From CRED4GI...August 12, 2020 - Breaking News: Trammel Crow/Amazon Withdraws their Application for a Warehouse on Grand Island!
We have confirmed from multiple sources that Amazon has pulled its plan to build a warehouse on Grand Island. We remain cautiously optimistic that the project is now off the table, but will wait to receive notification in writing from the developer. Stay tuned and we will update you ASAP. Meanwhile, we wish to thank everyone who has spent countless hours helping us with this campaign and those who signed our petition!
See Buffalo News story announcing "Developer pulls Amazon megaproject eyed for Grand Island" by Stephen T. Watson, dated August 12, 2020.
Rabies Airdrop for Erie County - August 2020ERIE COUNTY, NY - In coordination with Cornell University’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center, the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) will participate in a wildlife vaccination program for rabies using airdrops to deliver vaccinated bait beginning the week of August 10.See press release.
Cleaning Up the Mess - August 2020By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
Anyone familiar with the history of Tonawanda Coke knows that its legacy is both sad and shameful. The corporation spewed its noxious emissions on the Tonawandas and Grand Island for decades. Many residents blamed the deaths of loved ones and their own health problems on Tonawanda Coke’s wanton disregard for the health of our community. When I walked neighborhoods downwind of the coke plant people would point to their neighbors’ homes and tick off the effects of this, saying “cancer, cancer, leukemia, etc.” It was heartbreaking and infuriating.
Were it not for the tireless efforts of a group of citizens, the air pollution would still be harming residents today. But Jackie James Creedon and others took on the corporate Goliath by, among other things, crafting homemade air monitors out of buckets. Their citizen organization, the Clean Air Coalition, was able to get the attention of the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. EPA and the full extent of the corporation’s harm to the community became evident. Tonawanda Coke was eventually convicted of violations of the Clean Air Act. A prison term for an employee and large fines for the corporation followed. The corporation finally shut down the plant a couple years ago and the community could literally breathe a sigh of relief.
This was not the end of the struggle, as there was still the unresolved matter of the contamination of the site, itself. Over the last couple of years I have talked with former Tonawanda Coke employees and officials at both the federal and state government levels. They all tell a story of an extremely toxic site, far worse than most of them have ever encountered. The problem of decades’ worth of toxic chemicals either spilled or buried is compounded by the site’s proximity to the Niagara River. Any chemicals that make their way from the site to the river will continue the saga of the corporation’s assault on the health and welfare of the citizens of Grand Island and the Tonawandas.
Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon. The site was recently purchased by Riverview and Technology Campus (RITC), whose ownership is committed to cleaning up the mess. A large portion of the property was recently enrolled in New York State’s Brownfield program. As part of the program, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation asked for public comments regarding RITC’s proposed cleanup plan. Together with Legislator Lisa Chimera who also represents parts of the Town of Tonawanda, I held a committee hearing on the matter. There were representatives present from all levels of government, including Councilman Bill Conrad from the town. Together, we listened to representatives from RITC and the Clean Air Coalition give their thoughts on the plan. We were impressed with the spirit of cooperation exhibited by all at the hearing.
Afterwards, Legislator Chimera and I introduced a resolution applauding the work of RITC and calling for DEC to establish a citizen advisory committee for the project to make sure that input from all concerned parties will continue to be heard. The resolution passed unanimously. After years of struggle, we have one chance to get the cleanup of the Tonawanda Coke site right. Our resolution helped ensure we make the most of it. 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.
Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit - August 2020
Ray DeGlopper accepting certificate from County
Clerk Mickey Kearns.
Erie County Clerk Michael "Mickey" Kearns started a program in 2018, the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit. On Monday, August 3rd, Mr. Kearns visited the Charles DeGlopper Memorial in the center of Grand Island and added Charles name to the book. He also gave Ray DeGlopper, nephew of Charles, a certificate and a lawn sign shown above.
Robert Haag photo.
Charles N. DeGlopper, a Grand Island war hero, was a U.S. Army soldier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the U.S. military. DeGlopper gave his life in the Battle of Normandy, during WWII.
August 7th is National Purple Heart Day and during this week Mr. Kearns and members of the Buffalo Purple Heart Society will be visiting other Purple Heart recipients to honor them and add their names to the 2020 book.
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military. Originally called the Badge of Military Merit, the Purple Heart was created by George Washington on August 7, 1782. In addition to receiving a purple heart shaped award, the honoree’s name and regiment were inscribed in the “Book of Merit” which was lost after the Revolutionary War and the award was largely forgotten until over 100 years later. The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration still awarded to members of the U.S military.
Do you know a living/deceased Purple Heart Veteran? Submit an application for the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipient Book of Merit. Applications can be found online at www.erie.gov/clerk/salutes.
Super Support for Peaceful Opposition Walk - August 2020
Youngest CRED4GI supporter Lillian Yensan.Great turnout for the CRED4GI peaceful opposition walk against Amazon's proposed warehouse, prior to the Town Board Meeting on Monday, August 3rd. Over 100 residents attended to show support.
Welcome Center Thursday Farmers Market - August 2020
Mary Stewart Photos.Thursday Night Taste NY Farmers Market at the Western New York Welcome Center, 1999 Alvin Road, Grand Island. Hours are 4 to 7 p.m. The market will be available until September 3rd.
EDAB Meeting Rescheduled - August 2020Please be advised that the Grand Island Economic Development Advisory Board Meeting Schedule for: Thursday, August 13, 2020 – 7:00p.m. Has been rescheduled and will be held: Wednesday, August 12, 2020 – 7:00p.m.
CRED4GI: Call to Action! - August 2020Please join us for a peaceful opposition walk against Amazon's proposed warehouse on Grand Island prior to the Town Board Meeting on Monday, August 3rd. We will walk in front of Town Hall from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Rain or shine. See What you can do.
CRED4GI Public Meeting - July 2020CRED4GI is hosting their second public meeting on Friday, July 31st at 7:00 p.m. at the Alt Family Farm, 2489 Whitehaven Road. Bring a chair.
Town Reassessment Update - July 2020Due to the worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic this past Spring, the Town of Grand Island had to postpone the implementation of the 2020 Reassessment Project till 2021. The new assessments for 2020 were never adopted by the Town and the Grand Island Town Board recently retained ENPM to update their 2020 assessment figures. Over the course of the next 9-months they will be working in the Town to accomplish that goal. The 9-month project calls for a town-wide review/update of all 8,941 parcels in the town. ENPM will be working closely with Town Assessor Judy Tafelski to provide a fair and equitable tax roll at 100% of market value for the July 1, 2021 Tax Roll.
A public meeting will be held in February 2021 to give an overview of the project and timeline as well as an opportunity for residents to ask questions. Updates will continue to be posted on the Town's Website: grandislandny.us.
Conservation Board Recommends Environmental Study - July 2020Grand Island, NY: In its Thursday, July 23, 2020 regularly scheduled meeting the Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) voted unanimously (9-0) to pass two motions in their recommendations to the Town Board.
The first motion passed was to recommend a positive declaration on SEQRA that would necessitate a complete environmental impact study for the project. The second recommendation was to deny the zoning request from M1 (light industrial) to PDD (Planned Development District). The nine members cited multiple reasons for approving these motions, centering on its lack of alignment with the town’s Comprehensive Plan and threats to the natural environment.
While TC Buffalo claims the warehouse will have no significant environmental impact, CAB members found that the scope of the proposed project adjacent to a state park, hiking trails, streams and neighborhood homes “would have obvious significant negative impacts”. The CAB specifically described negative impacts upon air quality, noise levels, light pollution, and threats to flora and fauna. Board members also stated the proposed 100’ height of the final facility is counter to the town’s restrictions laid out in its 2018 comprehensive plan.
CAB’s chairperson Jeffrey Green made the motion stating “due to the enormous environmental impacts Project Olive would have upon Grand Island, including noise pollution, air pollution, light pollution, traffic congestion, disruption of water flow, removal and destruction of flora and fauna, the relocation of the stream corridor, the Conservation Advisory Board recommends that the Town Board, as lead agency under NY State SEQR law, give Project Olive a positive declaration. This means a Type I action that requires a complete environmental impact statement (EIS) to account for its impact.”
Grand Island’s Planning Board on Monday, July 13, 2020 issued the same recommendation not to promote Project Olive to the Town Council and stopped further discussion of the site plan. Although a June 16, 2020 letter submitted by one member of the Long Range Planning Board stated the project does align with the comprehensive plan, it is not yet clear that the advisory board took a vote and the letter may not constitute a formal recommendation to the Town Council.
Coalition for Responsible Economic Development for Grand Island (CRED4GI)’s spokesperson Cathy Rayhill responded to the CAB’s unanimous decision stating, “Alongside the Planning Board’s vote not to approve the project based upon misalignment with the town’s character, the Conservation Advisory Board lays out substantive reasons for the Town Council to conduct a complete, independent, environmental impact study of the site, which has not been undertaken to date. The developer’s claims about minimal environmental impacts are based on a 30 year old SEQRA study.” A CAB member noted that so far all parties have relied solely on information provided by the developer. Starting at 1:04:15, HERE.
Highway Superintendent Crawford Comments - July 2020To: Town Board
From: Richard Crawford - Highway Superintendent
The Town of Grand Island Highway Department is responsible for 80 miles of roadway and corresponding storm sewer system, traffic lights, town right of ways and many other road related services.
The infrastructure of the town highway system was affected by the construction of the West River bike and pedestrian trail. Specifically, traffic on the town owned West River Road has increased by both truck and vehicle counts. This corridor of West River Road to Staley Road was and still is a preferred route to the commercial businesses on Staley Road by many.
Project Olive will have an access drive for employees off of town owned Bedell Road. This area currently has storm water issues, aging DOT bridge and re-pavement needs. This project will require a comprehensive look at the additional stormwater that will be added and its out flow to the Niagara River. A current assessment of the DOT bridge over the I-190 and coring of the pavement must be required to handle the proposed future traffic on Bedell Road west of Grand Island Boulevard.
The proposed project will add increases in all types of delivery trucks, passenger vehicles, bikes and pedestrians. Current road conditions will be greatly reduced during potential construction on Bedell Road, West River Road and Long Road (owned by county).
To fully plan this proposed 3 million plus facility a complete look at the current transportation routes across the island from North bridge to South bridge must be completed. A coordinated transportation meeting with the developer, Thruway Authority, Department of Transportation, Erie County Highway Department, Grand Island Town Board, Grand Island Traffic Safety Advisory Board, Grand Island Highway and the Project Olive Management team. Projections and improvements must be looked at for the next 5 - 10 -15 and 20 years.
Richard Crawford - Highway Superintendent
Town Commons Concert - July 2020
Mary Stewart Photos.The Tuesday Night Summer Concert series was well attended on July 21st. Tom Bender one man band extraordinaire, was the featured act. Winner of the 2017 Buffalo Night-Life and Club award for best male solo act. Next week is "23 Skidoo." See more details HERE.
CRED4GI Continues Its Fight Against Project Olive - July 2020July 21, 2020...Grand Island, NY Coalition for Responsible Economic Development for Grand Island (CRED4GI) is continuing its grassroots efforts amid developer TC Buffalo’s “pausing” of the proposed 3.8 million sqft warehouse facility in the residential community of Grand Island. According to Cathy Rayhill, CRED4GI’s spokesperson, the organization is continuing its outreach and plans to gather 2,000 signatures on its petition by Island residents in the next month. This goal seems within sight as 943 signatures opposing the project were collected in just 19 days. The petitions were delivered to Town Supervisor John Whitney Monday evening, just before the Town Board meeting.
At the Town Board Meeting on July 20th, Whitney mentioned receiving over 100 emails a day regarding the proposed Amazon warehouse. The last three rounds of public comments published on the Town’s website included 123 letters in opposition to Project Olive with only 2 letters in favor; one of which was written by an organization working with TC Buffalo.
During the same meeting, Dick Crawford, Superintendent of the Grand Island Highway Department, emphasized his concerns regarding the impact Project Olive would have on Grand Island’s roads and infrastructure. This, despite Kim Nason of Phillips Lytle, the law firm representing the developer, making a false assertion to the Economic Development Advisory Board on 7/16 that town consultants found “the existing roadway network can reasonably accommodate the project”.
In addition to the misstatements of fact regarding the traffic and infrastructure damage Project Olive would bring, Phillips Lytle’s reps recently issued a revised Economic Assessment Impact that dropped the previously estimated value of the project by $52,661,200. This is a drop of 25% from what they had alleged less than three weeks earlier.
At the 7/16 meeting of the Economic Development Advisory Board, Martha Ludwig said, “I find it very, very concerning that, at this high level of production and reporting and development those kinds of errors occured. I find that really, really troublesome. I think it should be a huge red flag for folks about the types of information that we can depend on in this next round and the accuracy of it, that really concerns me." 1:26:00-1:26:42. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZF1m1QFFr4
During the Town Board Workshop that took place prior to the board meeting on 7/20, William Huntress, the current owner of the property at 2780 Long Road, was allowed to speak at length about why he personally believes this project is good for the community. In doing so, Mr. Huntress misstated that TC Buffalo’s proposed tax benefit to the town of Grand Island would be 10% of the town’s budget. In actual fact the proposed “benefit” would only average $638,840 over 15 years, a mere 2% of Grand Island’s annual budget. The proposed benefit to the school district, which Phillips Lytle and TC Buffalo reps assert frequently as a community benefit, would be just 2.6% of the total school budget.
CRED4GI and concerned residents are continuing their efforts to provide information and full clarity across the community about the actual scope of the proposed project and to build a town-wide coalition promoting more responsible economic growth. CRED4GI continues to vigilantly monitor every step taken on the proposal. Spokesperson Cathy Rayhill states, “This fight is far from over and we remain committed to ensure that our grassroots efforts speak loud and clear to our elected officials that this project is not appropriate for our community.”
Public Comments Public Comments Public Comments
Project Olive "On Pause" - July 2020Developer Trammel Crowe Co. informed Supervisor John Whitney on Monday, July 20th, that it has put the Project Olive development "on pause." See Buffalo News story HERE.
A second story on Tuesday, July 21st in the Buffalo News quoted an attorney for the developer as saying the project is "very much alive." See story HERE.
CRED4GI Wants Your Help - July 2020Coalition For Responsible Economic Development For Grand Island (CRED4GI), is asking for your help today, Monday, July 20th. The Town Board will discussion Project Olive at their workshop at 6:00 p.m. and at the regular meeting at 8:00 p.m.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Participate in the Zoom Meeting NOT the Town of Grand Island YouTube Channel
a. Post the attached “NO AMAZON WAREHOUSE” photo as your virtual background screen.
i. To Post the Background Image
1. Click on “Stop Video”
2. Click on “Choose Virtual Background”
3. Upload the attached image from this email (after you download it to your computer). Your presence while showing this graphic on your screen will be powerful.
b. Email email@example.com in advance of the meeting to request to speak briefly.
c. Some short talking points for you to consider if you choose to speak:
i. “My name is [state your name] and I am a Grand Island resident living on [street address] and I am opposed to Project Olive”.
ii. “I oppose the Town Board rezoning this property from M1 to PDD”.
iii. “I request that the Town Board respond and commit to the Economic Development Advisory Board’s motion to perform an independent cost/benefit analysis BEFORE this rezoning goes to a vote”.
iv. “I request that the Town Board vote in line with the Planning Board’s recommendation to VOTE NO on the zoning change from M1 to PDD.”
ZOOM MEETING DETAILS: Time: Monday, July 20, 2020 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85777305005?pwd=dDRISnVTOHF4a3Z0bGQ1T3R5SlkxZz09
Meeting ID: 857 7730 5005
You may also participate in the Zoom meeting by telephone if you do not have access to a computer. Just dial the following:
One tap mobile +16465588656,,85777305005#
2. Participate in a Socially Responsible, Peaceful Opposition Walk in the park adjacent to Town Hall carrying your yard signs from 5:00 pm-6:15 pm. Have your presence felt by the Town Board before they enter Town Hall for their Workshop starting at 6:00pm.
a. PLEASE WEAR A MASK & OBSERVE SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES.
b. PLEASE EMAIL CRED4GI@gmail.com IF YOU ARE INTERESTED SO WE CAN ANTICIPATE HEAD COUNT.
c. Feel free to bring your children/ spouse/ friend and have a little picnic with lawn chairs.
Extra Yard Signs will be available.
Coalition for Responsible Development for GI - July 2020Stop Amazon Petition Go Fund Me Page www.cred4gi.org.
A group has been formed to stop the development of the Project Olive/Amazon Distribution Center. Check out the new website, www.cred4gi.org. In the "TAKE ACTION" header at the upper right, you can find links to our petition, GoFundMe, volunteer survey to get involved in our subcommittees, and emails to voice your concerns about the impact this project would have in the Grand Island community. The website also has printable petitions and graphics to share with anyone who does not have computer access who would like to get involved. Thank you for your support, please feel free to share with anyone who may want to join our efforts.
Vehicle Break-Ins Winkler & Staley Area- July 2020Note from concerned citizen. There were recent car break-ins that happened on Staley and Winkler Drive. Not only did they steal a camera, fishing gear, leather gloves, cell phone, gps and money, they opened every mailbox and stole packages. Police responded and are doing what they can. There are images of the guys and the car.
COVID-19 Antibody Testing - July 2020The Erie County Department of Health is offering free COVID-19 Antibody Testing on Thursday, July 23rd at Grand Island High School from 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. See flyer for complete details.
Guidelines for Branch Pick Up - July 2020Branch Pick Up is available for routine homeowner tree trimming only. This does not include tree removal. The Town Highway Department does not pickup branches from lots being cleared by builders or private owners. They will not pick up any branch debris left by tree removal contractors.
All Branches must be no larger than 6" in diameter.
All Branches must be piled as neatly as possible with all cut ends facing the road.
Please do not place heavier logs on top of branch pile.
We will not pickup branches on private property.
We do not pick up stumps, roots, leaves, lawn sweepings, vines etc.
Branches should not be stacked more than 4 ft. high.
Branch pickup is now done by route; we no longer have a branch pickup list. We will start at one end of the island and continue until the entire island is completed. Time frames will be determined by weather conditions, precedent duties, equipment, quantity of pickups and manpower.
Branch Pick up: Limited pick-ups from September 1st thru October 15th, at this time we begin to turn the trucks over for the Winter Salting/Plowing season. If you have any questions or an unusual situation, please call the Highway Department at 773 9632.
Grand Island Planning Board Votes Against Zoning Change for Amazon’s “Project Olive” - July 2020July 14, 2020, Grand Island NY - Last night, the Town of Grand Island's Planning Board voted against developer TC Buffalo's request for a Planned Development District (PDD) designation for a 3.8 million square foot Amazon warehouse. The PDD designation would have allowed the developers to work outside of the Town's zoning regulations. The PDD designation has been rarely used on Grand Island because it overrides the Town code and has historically led to controversial decisions on other projects.
The 3-2 vote, with one abstention, (see the July Planning Board Meeting video here, vote at 1:11:30), followed a passionate statement by Board member Dave Duchscherer (here at 47:30) who cited a variety of objections to the project. These included the strong and widespread public opposition to Project Olive, incompatibility with the Town’s recently-passed Comprehensive Plan, TC Buffalo's failure to follow the typical process of application for a PDD, uncertainty about the PILOT tax abatement application by TC Buffalo, distrust of Amazon (especially given its unwillingness to disclose its role in the development), and questionable data presented by TC Buffalo in its application.
Grand Island's five-member Town Board still has the power to override this decision, but that would be unprecedented. Without the PDD designation, aspects of the project would have to be scaled back drastically, or the developers would have to submit a number of requests-for-variance that would have to be individually approved by the Town's boards.
“We realize the fight to protect our community is far from over, but we appreciate the leadership and careful consideration shown by Dave Duchscherer and the other Planning Board members who voted to recommend the rejection of this zoning request by TC Buffalo” said CRED4GI co-founder Cathy Rayhill. CRED4GI is a recently formed coalition of Grand Island residents opposed to Project Olive.
CRED4GI believes last night’s decision is a potentially fatal blow to the developer's plans to build what would be one of the world’s largest warehouses on Grand Island. "This vote makes it clear: Amazon’s so-called Project Olive is not a "done deal," concluded Rayhill. "Our coalition is confident that citizen awareness and opposition to this proposal will only continue to grow now that the Planning Board has signaled that Amazon may be stopped."
July 16, 2020 - Buffalo News Story by Stephen T. Watson
New Fantasy Island Developer Needs $$$ - July 2020A Buffalo News story by Samantha Christmann details the plans of Empire Adventures, a group hoping to open the Fantasy Island property in 2021. See story HERE.
Recreation Department Summer Concert Series - July 2020The Grand Island Recreation Department has started their popular summer concert series. Next up is "Tom Stahl and the Dangerfields" on Tuesday, July 14th; "Tom Bender" on July 21st; "23 Skidoo" on July 28th; "The Pointless Brothers" on August 4th and "The Roadrunner" on August 11th. New Addition: Tuesday, August 18th, Reflector. See more details HERE.
The Summer of our Discontent - July 2020By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
Canisius College recently allowed faculty to return to their offices after shutting down the campus due to the pandemic. I returned to mine on July 1st for the first time since March 26th. I thought about what that span of over 3 months had meant and how much our world has changed.
For me, it involved a lot of online teaching and legislative zoom meetings. For others it included painful battles with the disease and the loss of loved ones. For all of us, it signified major, unwanted changes to our daily lives.
Fortunately, cases of Covid-19 in Western New York have been on the decline and businesses are reopening. Unfortunately, this is not the situation in most of the rest of the country as the majority of states are experiencing spikes. Too many states have ignored the advice of scientists and opened too quickly and without simple preventive measures such as requiring face masks. Eventually their reckless behavior could impact us despite our best efforts.
In the meantime, we need to keep doing everything we have been doing to this point. This, of course, is easier said than done. Like everyone else, I have suffered from quarantine fatigue and have let my guard down on occasion. I need to do better. We all do or all the sacrifices we have made so far will have been in vain, as a second wave will lead to even more pain and disruption. So we need to continue to follow the advice of the medical professionals until a vaccine becomes available.
Now, allow me to provide a quick update on the county’s financial situation. You might recall that the County Comptroller declared a $206.6 million deficit on May 4th. Normally this would have required the Executive and the Legislature to enact a deficit reduction plan by June 1st.
The calendar was altered, however, when County Executive Mark Poloncarz exercised emergency powers granted him by the state to override the timetable. Some members of the Legislature challenged the Executive’s power to do this. I led an effort, though, to pass a resolution affirming the Executive’s power and granting him until June 4th to submit his deficit control plan and us until June 25th to act on it. The resolution passed.
This is a good thing, as it became clear that the Comptroller’s $206.6 million estimate was way off. Instead, the County Executive estimated that based on more recent information the deficit was closer to $137.8 million. Although his plan to address the budget gap still included layoffs, the number was far fewer than it would have been had we accepted the Comptroller’s original estimate which would have required almost $70 million more in cuts. By waiting, we undoubtedly saved many jobs and avoided further service cuts. This does not mean that we are by any means out of the woods. A second wave of the virus could wreak further havoc on our local economy and thus on county finances. This would require further action on our part. So once again, it is important that we all do whatever we can, no matter how inconvenient, to stop the further spread of Covid-19. Stay safe.
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.
HEAP Remains Available for Customers Facing Financial Difficulties - July 2020(July 6, 2020) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - HEAP has been extended through Aug. 31, 2020, or until the funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first.
Customers whose income situations have changed in the last 30 days may be eligible for the Home Energy Assistance Program or HEAP, a federally funded program that provides financial heating assistance to those who qualify.
HEAP eligibility is based on the last four weeks of income. Customers who receive HEAP grants are also automatically enrolled in the Statewide Low Income Program or SLIP, a program that provides monthly discounts on gas delivery charges. The discount amount is based on the amount of the HEAP grant they receive. For more information, please visit HEAPhelps.com.
See full press release HERE.
Coalition for Responsible Development for GI - July 2020Stop Amazon Petition Go Fund Me Page www.cred4gi.org.
A group has been formed to stop the development of the Project Olive/Amazon Distribution Center. A meeting will take place on Friday, July 10th at a private home at 1583 West River Road at 6:30 p.m. You can also attend via ZOOM. See flyer for more details.
Empire Adventures to Bring Back Fantasy Island - July 2020From the Empire Adventures website.
Empire Adventures is working hard on bringing back Fantasy Island, a defunct amusement park located on Grand Island, NY.
Fantasy Island originally opened on July 1st, 1961, as a 12-acre, children's oriented theme park. An expansion in the 1970's made the park a reputable 75-acre summertime tradition that was enjoyed by millions of Western New York residents and tourists. Unfortunately, after a long roller-coaster ride that included many highs and lows, Fantasy Island was permanently shuttered in February 2020 ... so they say.
The initial plans to reimagine, revitalize, and reopen Fantasy Island are laid out below:
PHASE ONE - Once things are set in stone, we plan to use the rest of 2020 to make necessary beautification efforts to park grounds, such as cleaning up the mess left by previous management. In addition, we also plan on bringing in the initial line-up of new rides and attractions that will open with the park in May 2021.
PHASE TWO - We intend to reopen Fantasy Island in time for the summer of 2021. Our initial line-up of attractions will include the park’s famous wooden roller coaster, along with a wide selection of kids, family, and thrill rides. Popular amenities, such as free parking and the ability to bring your own food and drinks into the park, will rightfully return.
PHASE THREE - As proven successful throughout the industry, we are currently working on a 5-year plan to introduce new rides and attractions annually, eventually transforming the park into a world-class regional attraction. With Empire Adventures, you can be confident that Fantasy Island will always remain focused on providing a safe, quality, and family-friendly day of “Fun? WOW!”
Thruway Authority Announces Grand Opening of Pet Comfort Area - June 2020
From left: Diana Nobumoto, Jen Pusatier, State Sen. Angelo Morinello, NYS WNY Division Director Matt Latko, Town Councilman Pete Marston, Town Supervisor John Whitney, Former Town Councilwoman Beverly Kinney.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - The New York State Thruway Authority today announced the grand opening of the expanded pet comfort area at the Western New York Welcome Center in Grand Island. This collaborative effort between the Town of Grand Island and the Thruway Authority nearly doubled the size of the dog park.
Erik Fiebelkorn's rescue pups enjoy the pet area.
Town of Grand Island and Thruway Authority officials, including Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll, cut the ribbon on the expanded dog park Tuesday. “The Western New York Welcome Center is a comfortable, welcoming setting for travelers and residents of all ages and no detail has been overlooked, including amenities for our four-legged friends,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “Our partnership with the Town of Grand Island has allowed us to provide a safe and friendly location for pet owners and their pets to stretch and enjoy some fresh air while traveling.”
Town of Grand Island Town Supervisor John Whitney said, "I would like to thank Governor Cuomo, Executive Director Matthew Driscoll and Division Director Matt Latko for their assistance in making this dog park expansion project a reality. It's a great facility overall that not only serves the many travelers across this great state, but the people of Grand Island as well. We are happy and proud to be a part of this tremendous project."
The nearly 5,600 square foot expansion project included the installation of new chain-link fencing, gated entrance, and separation gates. The expansion project mirrors the original dog park area and included two park benches, landscape boulders, a fire hydrant and a dog waste station.
The Town of Grand Island purchased and provided all materials related to the new park, while the Thruway Authority was responsible for all construction and installation aspects of the new design. The majority of the work took place in fall 2019 and was completed by Thruway Authority Facility, Division Support and Niagara Maintenance Section employees.
Grand Island Chamber of Commerce President Eric Fiebelkorn said, "The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is excited to see the beautiful expansion of the dog park area at the WNY Welcome Center. This collaboration between the NYS Thruway Authority and the Town of Grand Island will benefit both local residents and visitors alike for many years to come. Yet another reason that our town, the Heart of the Niagara, is a grand place to live, work and play."
Note: Former Councilwoman Beverly Kinney and Councilman Pete Marston were singled out as spearheading this initiative.
Cornerstone Church Hosts ConnectLife Blood Drive - June 2020Cornerstone Church, 1290 Whitehaven Road, is hosting a ConnectLife Blood Drive on Tuesday, July 7th from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. See Flyer.
ECDH Covid-19 Update - June 2020ERIE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REMINDS RESIDENTS OF TRAVEL ADVISORY
June 30, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - Governors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a travel advisory on June 25, 2020 that requires all individuals traveling from states with significant community transmission of COVID-19 to remain under quarantine for a period of 14 days. As of today, June 30, those states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has established exemptions for essential workers, but in general, people who are returning to Erie County from those listed states are required to remain under precautionary quarantine. Those requirements include:
• Separate quarters with separate bathroom facilities for each individual or family group. Access to a sink with soap and water, and paper towels is needed.
• The contact must have a way to self-quarantine from household members as soon as fever or other symptoms develop, in a separate room. There must be a door that separates it from the rest of the living area and has its own bathroom. Given that an exposed individual might become ill while sleeping, the exposed individual must sleep in a separate bedroom from household members.
• Cleaning supplies, e.g. household cleaning wipes, must be provided in any shared bathroom.
• If an individual sharing a bathroom becomes symptomatic, all others sharing the bathroom will be considered exposed persons until the symptomatic individual is appropriately evaluated and cleared.
• Food must be delivered to the individual’s quarters.
• Quarters must have a supply of face masks for individuals to put on if they become symptomatic.
• Garbage must be bagged and left outside by the door of each of the quarters for routine pick up. Special handling is not required.
• Individuals should self-monitor for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19 daily throughout the duration of the quarantine period. Individuals or businesses with questions about this advisory should contact NYSDOH.
“If you are planning a trip, we are urging you to avoid travel to states or regions where there is a high prevalence of COVID-19,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “The number of reported Erie County COVID-19 cases is currently low. We must avoid importing new cases from outside of NYS which can lead to COVID-19 community transmission and new outbreaks in Erie County.” She continued, “We have done so much to reduce the number of cases in our community these past months, and we need to keep at it. Travelers who return from a high-risk state can contact our COVID-19 Information Line at (716) 858-2929 to report their travel as soon as they return and to schedule a free COVID-19 diagnostic test, 5-7 days past your last day in one of those states.”
To file a report of an individual failing to adhere to the quarantine pursuant to the travel advisory, please call 1-833-789-0470 or use the form on the ECDOH web site [www.erie.gov/covid19/travelform].
Per New York State, anyone who returns from a high-risk state from non-essential travel will not be eligible to receive paid sick leave benefits for their quarantine period.
County to Mill & Overlay Stony Point Road - June 2020Legislator Kevin Hardwick Announces Erie County Road Project on Grand Island.
Erie County, NY - At their June 18, 2020 legislative session, the Erie County Legislature unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a mill-and-overlay project for Stony Point Road, between Whitehaven and Beaver Island State Park. Under the project, Stony Point Road will have its top layer of pavement removed and a new layer applied, likely in August.
Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, who represents Grand Island said, “I’m glad we are safely getting back to business as usual in Erie County. Maintaining our roads and bridges has always been one of the most important ways Erie County serves our residents, and I know this infrastructure project will make a great difference to the residents of Grand Island.” The project is expected to cost over $300,000 to complete and is roughly 1.14 miles. Additional information or updates can be obtained from the Department of Public Works website at www.erie.gov/dpw.
Thursday Night Taste NY Farmers Market & Weekend Farmstand - June 2020Opening Thursday, June 25th and continuing through Sept. 3 is the Thursday Night Taste NY Farmers Market at the Western New York Welcome Center, 1999 Alvin Road, Grand Island. Hours are 4 to 7 p.m. In addition to regular vendors, the Taste NY staff will manage a stand with produce provided by area farmers who don’t have their own market booths. The center’s weekend farm stand also will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
2020 Household Hazardous Waste Program - June 2020ERIE COUNTY, NY -The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning (“DEP”) has announced the continuation of the county’s program for residents to dispose of their household hazardous waste (“HHW”) with the first HHW collection event scheduled for Saturday June 27th. In addition to periodic collection events around the county, DEP also introduced a new option for residents seeking to dispose of household hazardous waste: a new HHW voucher program that will enable residents to schedule a drop-off up to 50 lbs. of household hazardous waste at no charge to a hazardous waste facility in Tonawanda.
“By offering HHW collection programs and the new voucher program we are protecting our residents and our environment by removing potentially harmful substances and disposing of them safely. To carry on with this essential service in 2020 both our contractor and our staff will implement ‘COVID-19’ procedures to protect all involved,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “We are limiting contact by streamlining the check-in process and will only unload from the trunk or back of the vehicle. Participants will remain in their vehicles and have minimal contact with workers throughout the process.” Residents can register and learn more about the programs at www.erie.gov/recycling or by calling 858-6800.
The voucher program takes advantage of the existing Hazman facility in Erie County which accepts household hazardous waste and other difficult to dispose of materials at a “per item” or per pound cost. The county will provide households one voucher that will cover the cost of disposing of up to 50 lbs. of household hazardous materials from a specific list. Residents are required to register on-line. Hazman can also help residents register over the phone at 998-8073.
Several new COVID-19 pandemic protective measures have been implemented for the popular HHW collection events in 2020. At each event, all employees will be prescreened to ensure none are showing symptoms, and each employee will have additional PPE to reduce potential exposure. Participants will remain in their cars at all times, a distance of six feet between workers will be maintained, and only one staff at a time will unload a vehicle. All materials must be placed in the trunk/back of car; no materials will be taken through the side doors or windows. Signage will be increased in lieu of verbal directions. Mobile hand washing and sanitizer stations will also be on site.
Additionally, the reservation system put in place in 2019 for these collection events resulted in shorter wait times and a better experience for participants. By registering to bring materials, residents have a direct connection with DEP and will know what time to arrive at the event as well as exactly what materials can be disposed of through the hazardous waste contractor and which can be discarded at home or through other outlets. HHW includes household chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, pool and household cleaners), oil-based paints and spray cans, paint thinner and solvents, fuels, and one-pound propane tanks for camping stoves.
HHW does NOT include electronics, pharmaceuticals, motor oil, latex paint, smoke detectors, tires, car batteries, large propane tanks, appliances or waste that was not generated by a household. Please check registration information and/or website for complete list of items. Participants are required to verify that their waste products were generated by households.
Additional HHW collection events will be announced within the next few weeks and are open to all Erie county residents, as is the voucher program. Residents can also sign up to be notified of upcoming events at www.erie.gov/recycling . Specific location and times of HHW events will be provided at time of registration, which will open up approximately one month prior to each event. For more information on these events, or for details on how to properly dispose of motor oil, latex paint, and other materials visit www.erie.gov/recycling or call the Erie County Household Hazardous Waste 24-Hour Information line at (716) 858-6800. Additional support for these events is provided by the Northeast Southtowns and Northwest Solid Waste Management Boards, the City of Buffalo, SUNY ERIE and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Investors Want to Reopen Fantasy Island in 2021 - June 2020  June 17, 2020, GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WKBW) Story by Taylor Epps
It looks like the beloved park could be back in business again with potential new owners and a fresh vision, according to the Grand Island Town Supervisor. "There's a group of investors and they call it Empire Adventures Incorporated, they want to purchase it outright and if that doesn't go through, they're going to lease the property," said Town Supervisor John Whitney. This group has a Facebook page. They declined to comment to 7 Eyewitness News, only saying more information is coming soon. "I spoke to the people from Empire Adventures Inc. and said if there's anything we can do, I'd be glad to help out and advance those things," said Whitney. He says the group has plans to re-open in time for the 2021 season. "We're hopeful, keeping our fingers crossed, that'd be fantastic, but we don't know the outcome yet," said Whitney.
Town Partners with Local Agencies to Address Questions Related to Solar Energy - June 2020June 16, 2020...In response to the needs and questions of many Grand Island residents about solar energy throughout their community, The Town of Grand Island has partnered up with two local agencies to provide a virtual, live presentation with a question and answer session. Golden Age Center Director Jennifer Menter, Councilwoman Jennifer Baney, Councilman Thomas Digati, Regional Clean Energy Coordinator Jason Kulaszewski, and Program Assistant with PUSH Buffalo Lou DeJesus have been collaborating to bring a seminar to Grand Island residents. This seminar stemmed from inquiries from residents about solar parks and the desire of residents to know more about community solar plans.
“As public officials, we get a lot of inquiries, and I frequently hear from residents wanting to know more about their options to buy into existing community solar,” said Councilwoman Baney. “I reached out to some experts in the field that we have worked with before, so that our residents can feel educated and informed about solar projects that are happening in their community. There will be a focus on consumer protection and how to determine if a company is reputable, which was a very important component to me.”
“I look forward to joining forces with PUSH Buffalo and the Town of Grand Island and learning more about solar energy with the senior population. Learning how solar energy works, how to be more energy efficient, how to reduce energy consumption, and how to share this information through this virtual platform is an exciting and interactive way to learn about this popular energy source. I look forward to this presentation and this partnership,” said Jen Menter, of the GAC. “UBRI is happy to support efforts on Grand Island to educate residents about the benefits of solar energy. The town has been a local leader in solar development, and this event will continue to build on the success of previous educational campaigns like 2018’s Solarize Grand Island that helped Grand Island become a designated Clean Energy Community,” shared Kulaszewski.
The seminar is on June 30th at 2:00 p.m. Residents can join the interactive session by logging into the Solar Energy Zoom Meeting at the following direct link:here. The Meeting ID is 898 5615 3493 and the Passcode is 025688.
Residents can also call in to listen to the meeting and ask follow-up questions at the following phone number: 1-646-558-8656 and entering the Meeting ID. The meeting will be livestreamed and available for later viewing at the Town of Grand Island YouTube page. Questions can be directed to Councilwoman Baney at 716-622-9006.
Message from Town Supervisor John C. Whitney, P.E. - June 2020June 12, 2020 - Public Hearing Open
Thank you for taking time out of your day to participate in the Public Hearing for Project Olive held June 11, 2020 by the Planning Board and Town Board.If you still want to comment, please send your comments in writing to email@example.com . The Town Board portion of this public hearing remains open.
If you missed the public hearing, it was recorded and can be found on the Town’s website at www.grandislandny.us. There is a link in the upper left-hand side of the Home Page called “Meetings Live”. Click on that icon and it will redirect you to the YouTube page where all the meetings are listed.
I want to thank the Planning Board members and Town Board members for putting this together. In particular, I want to thank Councilwoman Jenn Baney and Councilman Tom Digati for their work in moderating this event. I hope to be able to continue this hearing with having the public present at a future time. The time and date for continuation will be posted by the Town Clerk as well as on the Town’s website. Best regards,
John C. Whitney, P.E. - Town Supervisor
WNY Welcome Center Early Voting Site - June 2020Absentee Voting Remains the Safest Way to Vote Amid the Ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. Initiative to Utilize Welcome Center is a Partnership Between the Town of Grand Island and Erie County Board of Elections.
The Town of Grand Island and the Erie County Board of Elections announce the Western New York Welcome Center in Grand Island will be used as an additional early voting location for the upcoming elections in New York State. Board of Election’s officials recommend that voters utilize absentee balloting as the safest means of voting, however, for those choosing to vote in person, social distancing, and avoiding areas with larger groups, remains some of the most effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while casting a ballot.
The Western New York Welcome Center will be used for early voting prior to the elections in New York State, including the 2020 Primary Election on June 23 and 2020 General Election on November 3. The Western New York Welcome Center, located at 1999 Alvin Road in Grand Island will be used as a polling location during the following dates and times:
Voters using the WNY Welcome Center are required to use face masks or other cloth face-coverings and will be required to maintain social distance. Additionally, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, poll workers will clean and disinfect voting areas during polling site hours. The Western New York Welcome Center will remain open to travelers during the scheduled polling dates and times.
Residents can find guidance on voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, information about how to register to vote, how to search for poll sites and more on the New York State Board of Elections website or by calling 518-474-6220. Registered voters in Erie County can cast their ballot at any designated early voting location. For a complete list, voters can visit the Erie County Board of Elections website.
Project Olive Public Hearings - June 2020UPDATE: See/hear youtube video of public hearing. HERE.
Notice of Planning Board and Town Board Combined Special Meeting and TC Buffalo Development Associatesm LLC - Project Olive Public Hearings, Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.via ZOOM. See details, ID number and password here.
COVID-19 Contact Tracing, Isolation & Quarantine - June 2020ERIE COUNTY, NY...June 9, 2020 - As Western New York moves through the phases of reopening with NY Forward, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) contact tracing program will continue to be an important part of reducing community transmission of COVID-19 in Erie County.
When people are tested for COVID-19, the result is sent to a statewide lab reports database. Each day, ECDOH epidemiology staff reviews those reports. The ECDOH contact tracing team contacts individuals with a positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and begins case investigations. “Contact tracing is a standard tool in public health to identify and isolate individuals with a communicable disease,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “With COVID-19, we are working with these individuals to identify their close contacts, advise those contacts of the need to quarantine and offer them diagnostic testing.” See full press release to learn what happens when you test positive.
Timing is Everything - June 2020By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
In sports, comedy and life in general, timing is important. Recent events bear witness to this.
A couple weeks ago I was shocked by the shooting of a City of Tonawanda Police Detective. When I learned the wounded office was Dave Ljiljanich I was stunned. Dave coached my granddaughter in soccer and is the salt of the earth. His sense of humor and easy going temperament were perfect for coaching a group of children and have also served him well as one of Tonawanda’s finest. I was relieved that his injuries were not life threatening and that he was home in a couple days. Still, I was shaken watching my friend Captain Fred Foels describe the shooting incident on television. Too often I forget how lucky I am to have such fine men and women protecting my family 24/7. The whole episode left me feeling great about the Tonawanda Police and renewed my respect for law enforcement professionals, in general. The timing, however, was far from perfect.
Within a couple days, my reverence for the role of police in our society was tested as news hit regarding the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police officers. Since then, of course, we have had many peaceful protests, some not so peaceful protests and plenty of examples of bad behavior by both protestors and police officers. Coming in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the timing could not have been worse.
Timing has also been a factor in another Covid-19 related matter. We all knew that the Erie County Budget has been adversely impacted the pandemic. With so many businesses closed, sales tax receipts were bound to be way down. In time, though, the hope is that the Federal Government will assist state and local governments.
The County Comptroller declared a $206.6 million deficit on May 4th. This normally would have given the County Executive 7 days to submit a plan to address the deficit to the County Legislature. We would then have 21 days to act on the Executive’s plan or let it go into effect in the absence of any legislative action. Under this schedule, we would have to have acted by June 1st to close the gap.
The calendar was altered, however, when County Executive Mark Poloncarz exercised emergency powers granted him by the state to override the timetable. Some members of the Legislature challenged the Executive’s power to do this. I led an effort, though, to pass a resolution affirming the Executive’s power and granting him until June 4th to submit his deficit control plan and us until June 25th to act on it. The resolution passed.
This is a good thing, as it became clear that the Comptroller’s $206.6 million estimate was way off. Instead, the County Executive estimated that based on more recent information the deficit was closer to $137.8 million. Although his plan to address the budget gap still included layoffs, the number was far fewer than it would have been had we accepted the Comptroller’s original estimate which would have required almost $70 million more in cuts. By waiting, we undoubtedly saved many jobs and avoided further service cuts. So sometimes we get the timing right and it works in our favor.
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.
COVID-19 Information Line - June 2020ERIE COUNTY, NY...June 5, 2020 - Erie County’s COVID-19 Information Line will change its hours of operation beginning Saturday, June 6. Callers use this information line to have general questions answered about COVID-19, and to schedule diagnostic or antibody testing through sites managed by Erie County. Foreign language interpretation is available for any caller who requires it. The new hours for the Erie County COVID-19 Information Line will be Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Since the Erie County COVID-19 Information Line opened in March, it has received nearly 47,000 calls from area residents and businesses.
Mobile Mammo Screenings - June 2020Mobile Mammo Screenings hosted by Windsong Radiology Group at Adriean's Custard & Beef on Friday, June 12th from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Overdue for your mammogram? Windsong Mobile Mammography will be coming to Grand Island to provide 3D mammography screenings. Need help with: Transportation? No Health Insurance or Limited Coverage? Wheelchair Accessibility? Translation Services? Call 716-929-9494 to make an appointment.
Memorial Day Flag Raising at DeGlopper Park - June 2020
Robert Haag photos.Robert Haag took photos of Charles DeGlopper Memorial Park on Monday, May 25th at the Memorial Day Ceremony.
COVID-19 Testing Resumes - May 2020ERIE COUNTY, NY...May 28, 2020 - Scheduling for COVID-19 antibody test appointments has resumed for Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) clinics taking place in June. Appointments will be available in half-hour increments from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Sites will rotate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at locations through Erie County. For the next two week period, those locations are Buffalo, North Buffalo, Orchard Park, Springville and Williamsville.
ECDOH will schedule appointments for Erie County residents ages 11 and older through its COVID-19 Information Line at (716) 858-2929. Antibody tests for COVID-19 should be done at least 21 days after onset of any COVID-19 symptoms. Those symptoms may include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
Full Press Release.
Clean-Up Initiative - May 2020Grand Island, NY...May 26, 2020 - The Heart of Niagara: Highway Superintendent, Richard (Dick) Crawford, The Grand Island Town Board, The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, and resident Debbie Whalen are seeking motivated community-minded volunteers and their family members to mobilize within their neighborhoods to clean up trash as part of an island-wide “Clean-up Initiative” on Saturday, June 13th, 2020, from 9 a.m. to noon. The event is rain or shine.
According to Crawford, Covid-19 has kept us isolated and indoors for the most part. "It’s time to soak up the sun and beautify the area. If everyone works together in their separate neighborhoods, on the same day, we are hoping to make a big difference in a few short hours." Crawford will be on site at the Town Highway Department, located at 1820 Whitehaven Road on the day of the initiative. Residents who find large items or medical waste are asked to call Crawford at 716-818-6992 to schedule a pick-up.
During this time, residents are encouraged to clean their homes and yards and dispose of excess trash, passenger car tires, and any items that could hold water and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Volunteers will be needed for some additional clean-up areas that have been identified. The additional areas will be made public on the Town website and Facebook page as the event nears.
Volunteers must be 16 years or older or be accompanied by an adult. Participants are encouraged to wear proper attire (gloves, work boots), sunscreen, insect repellent and stay hydrated. Wear a mask if social distancing cannot be accomplished.
If you have any questions, please contact Dick Crawford, Highway Superintendent, at 716-773-9632 or Jennifer Baney, Town Councilwoman, at 716-622-9006. Send in your photos of your family clean-up to email@example.com, if you would like them shared on social media. Refunds from cans or bottles found and returned to the Highway Department, with proceeds donated to The Grand Island Neighbors Foundation.
Message from Town Supervisor John C. Whitney, P.E. - May 2020May 24, 2020 - WE’RE OPEN!!! (with restrictions)
Yes!!! We have opened Town Hall to the public on a limited basis starting Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Hours of operation will be from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and workers will be present in accordance with Governor Cuomo’s guidelines.
Finally!!! Working from home and virtual meetings is not the same. I’m a people person. I want to see and hear from you in person. Even now, being open at Town Hall does not guarantee that I can see everyone. We are restricted to having only 50% of essential staff at work at any time. We have divided the staff into two teams. So, I’ll be in my office every other week until we can go back to full staff at Town Hall. I and the others on my team will be working from home during the weeks we’re not at Town Hall. This is being done to try to prevent cross contamination and to prevent any of our services from being damaged by this virus.
If you need to visit Town Hall, you will be subject to an infrared temperature check, you must wear a mask and we must log your visit. We will record the date, time and who you need to see during your visit. This is a NYS requirement for contact tracing should anyone be infected.
I really wish we didn’t have to put you through this, but we’re trying to keep everyone safe and do our best to prevent the spread of this disease. I sincerely hope everyone can stay safe and the end to this pandemic is soon.
Continue to be safe,
John C. Whitney, P.E. - Town Supervisor
Message from Town Supervisor John C. Whitney, P.E. - May 2020May 22, 2020 - Progress
During this novel Covid-I9 pandemic, we are finally making progress as evidenced by the opening of Phase I in Western New York under the state’s metrics required for reopening. We have also been holding press conferences with other municipalities asking the Federal and State governments to help the Towns with financial aid. There are 933 towns in NY and as of this writing, only two have qualified for aid. Hopefully, we’ll be successful. Progress has been limited, but after the last two months, I’ll take it. Hopefully, we will soon reopen Town Hall on a limited basis. Entrants will be tested by an infrared thermometer and they must wear masks. We are going to limit the amount of people in any specific area. We are keeping in line with the Governor’s mandates and striving to keep our services up to the level you expect and deserve.
On another note, we have received 10,000 masks from Erie County. They are available for pick up at the Golden Age Center, 3270 Whitehaven Road, between 8:00 AM-3:00 PM, Monday through Friday. We are limiting the amount to two masks per person. Everyone receiving masks does not need to be present, in other words, a family member can pick up masks for the entire family.
Let’s remember to shop local. We have many great restaurants that need our support. Also, don’t forget that the VFW is hosting its third Chivetta’s chicken BBQ on Wednesday. It’s been a sell out the last two times. Because of the drop in metrics required to fully reopen, I had to extend the State of Emergency last Friday. Due to this, we will be forced to hold a greatly reduced Memorial Day Celebration. I hate that we’re missing these important days. The Ceremony will be streamed live on the Town’s YouTube page and posted on the Town’s website.
Continue to be safe,
John C. Whitney, P.E. -Town Supervisor
Memorial Day Ceremony - May 2020May 20, 2020... Grand Island, NY - Monday, May 25, 2020
A Memorial Day Ceremony will be conducted in accordance with NYS mandates allowing gathering of no more than 10 people: The Town of Grand Island, the Charles N. DeGlopper VFW Post #9249 and the American Legion Post #1346 will honor the men and women who died while in the military service. They are remembered each and every day and will be honored on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.
All three groups have been working together to conduct an appropriate ceremony while adhering to the mandates and social distancing protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 19, 2020 Governor Cuomo announced that groups of no more than 10 can gather to conduct Memorial Day Ceremonies. In accordance with these mandates, on Monday, May 25, 2020, there will be a private ceremony at 10:00 a.m. at Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park. The park will be closed to the public from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. so the fallen can be properly honored.
The ceremony will be live streamed on the Town’s YouTube channel and we respectfully request the public to view the event on that channel. The link can be found on the Town’s website - grandislandny.us . Additional information can also be found on the Recreation Department website at grandislandny.myrec.com.
For questions on the ceremony please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text Recreation Supervisor Joe Menter at 465-8370.
Erie County Re-Opening Schedule - May 2020May 19 (Start of phase one): Construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, delivery from and curbside pickup at retail outlets, as well as agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.
June 1 (Projected start of phase two); Professional services, retail, administrative support and real estate/rental and leasing.
June 15 (Projected start of phase three); Restaurants and food services, hotels and accommodation businesses.
June 29 (Projected start of phase four); Arts, entertainment and recreation, Education, Mass religious gatherings, like church services.
ECDH Covid-19 Update - May 2020May 18, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - Starting Tuesday, May 19, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) will offer a series of clinics for COVID-19 antibody testing throughout Erie County.
The antibody test conducted by the Erie County Public Health Lab requires a blood draw from the arm. Appointments will be available in half-hour increments at clinics held three days each week from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. These clinics will be set up in locations throughout Erie County, including Amherst, Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Depew, Hamburg, Lackawanna, Orchard Park, Springville and Williamsville.
ECDOH will schedule appointments for Erie County residents ages 11 and older through its COVID-19 Information Line at (716) 858-2929, which is open daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Antibody tests for COVID-19 should be done at least 21 days after onset of any COVID-19 symptoms. Those symptoms may include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
"We have the ability to provide 100,000 antibody tests to our residents, which will start to provide a sense of who has been exposed to COVID-19 in our community," said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. "This is a massive effort coordinated by our health department, many other county departments, and partners in our cities and towns, and our thanks go out to them and to the staff and volunteers who will be managing these sites."
"There are some important distinctions to make about the differences between a diagnostic test for COVID-19, and the antibody tests that we are offering through these clinics," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. "Antibody tests can indicate past exposure to a disease, but a positive test does not necessarily mean you are immune to a future COVID-19 infection." She continued, "Regardless of your antibody test results, you should continue social distancing, wear a mask when you could be near other people, wash your hands with soap and water often, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and minimize the time you spend in public spaces, especially if you are elderly or have a chronic disease." Appointments are required and will be scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis for the next three scheduled clinic days. “With our diagnostic test locations, we are seeing a significant number of no-show appointments,” explained Dr. Burstein. “By having appointments scheduled within the next week, we hope to reduce those no-shows and maximize the number of people we can test.”
There is no cost for antibody testing through ECDOH. To maintain physical distancing within each test site, only individuals who have a scheduled appointment and their parent or guardian, if under 18 years old, will be allowed into the testing area. Anyone entering the testing site will be required to wear a cloth face covering or other appropriate mask. Antibody test results will be mailed within 7-10 days, and anyone who receives an antibody test through ECDOH is encouraged to speak to their health care provider about their results. Parents should discuss with their child’s pediatrician if they are interested in their child under 11 years getting tested for COVID-19 antibodies.
Diagnostic COVID-19 tests where a nasal swab is collected continue to be offered through ECDOH by calling (716) 858-2929. Diagnostic tests are available at this time for individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or if you feel you are at risk. ECDOH, COVID-19 Information Line: (716) 858-2929 – foreign language interpretation is available. Erie County Department of Health, COVID-19: www.erie.gov/covid19. Erie County online map of confirmed cases: www.erie.gov/covidmap. New York State Department of Health Hotline: (888) 364-3065.
Message from Town Supervisor John C. Whitney, P.E. - May 2020May 15, 2020 - Questions
At this time, who amongst us doesn’t have questions? We’re in the midst of a pandemic that is evolving as you read this.
There are many different opinions out there, some want to stay home, some want to open everything. Who’s to say what’s right? The conditions of this pandemic change daily.
I issued a State of Emergency (SOE) on March 16, 2020 and again on April 15, 2020. These stay in effect for 30 days unless rescinded. There are four specific orders included in the SOE that are good for five days, they have been renewed continuously and are in effect today. The SOE is in effect for 30 days unless I rescind it. If the situation warrants, I will rescind the SOE before the 30-day time period expires.
When will Town Government Reopen? While Town Hall is closed to the public, we are not out of business, we are still processing payments and vital records through the Clerk’s office. The Assessor, Building, Engineering and Court are also staffed. Some aspects of Town Government never closed, the Water and Wastewater Plants remained open, their maintenance crews continued to work, the Highway Department performed essential functions.
We are working to fully reopen Town government. We are working to allow Advisory Boards to meet again and we are working to hold public hearings again. Many Town employees are back working full time, others are working from home. I assure you that we will bring back our remaining furloughed staff as soon as the Governor’s guidelines permit.
This whole situation is horrible, I hate it. As a new Supervisor, we were just getting into a sense of normalcy and this was thrown into our midst. We will do our level best to get past this. We will restore our governmental operations to as close to normal as the new rules allow. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience. I need your input, we’re in this together.
John C. Whitney, P.E. - Town Supervisor
ECDH Guidance for Campgrounds - May 2020May 12, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is providing this update to the community related to the opening of campgrounds in Erie County.
The Local Emergency Order issued by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on April 15, 2020 related to the closure of all campgrounds in Erie County was allowed to expire on May 10, 2020. As of May 11, campgrounds may operate in Erie County in a manner that is consistent with their permit conditions, New York State Sanitary Code, NYS PAUSE Orders, and current county, state and federal guidelines, including conditions set by ECDOH.
"The Erie County Department of Health and our Division of Environmental Health have established this guidance to protect the health of campers and safety of campground facilities,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. Campgrounds within Erie County Parks are closed until at least May 30. ECDOH guidance includes:
All camping units should be self-contained not needing the use of common campground restrooms or shower facilities.
Only registered campers should be allowed into the campground. There should not be any outside visitors.
Campers shall not congregate at another camper’s site. No gatherings/parties of any kind. Campfires shall be kept to family members at individual site only.
All public gathering sites such as bathhouses, laundry facilities, recreational halls, pools/spas, beaches, fitness areas, playgrounds, pavilions, meeting areas, conference rooms, dining areas, or similar areas should remain CLOSED until further notice per the Governor’s Executive Orders.
All campers must practice social distancing at all times (6 feet minimum). No groups of any size may congregate for activities. Use of face masks must follow NYS guidelines.
Any camper that begins to feel ill with COVID-19 like symptoms shall self-isolate and contact their personal healthcare provider.
Dine-in Food Service Operations are prohibited until further notice. Take-out or delivery options to campsites is acceptable for food orders. Indoor seating at the food service facility should be blocked off to prevent use. Picnic tables located in the food service area should be removed to discourage congregation.
ECDOH sanitarians and local code enforcement officers will be monitoring campgrounds for compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders. If violations are witnessed on campground premises, law enforcement agencies including Erie County Sheriff’s Office will issue citations to any individuals involved.
Individuals cited for violations of the Executive Orders may be fined up to $1,000. Any campground that holds any events or that opens a venue that encourages people to congregate in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders will have further action taken, which may include a Campground Close Order and/or individual civil or criminal penalties. Additional details have been communicated to campgrounds that operate in Erie County.
Addressing the Financial Fallout - May 2020By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
Can we all finally agree that this coronavirus is not “just like the flu?” That sort of thinking promoted by irresponsible media personalities and amplified by countless social media posts has proven deadly. While we’re at it, can we also admit that maybe our nation’s doctors and scientists know more than one of our Facebook friends?
The impact of this pandemic has been devastating. In a little over two months 80,000 of our fellow Americans have lost their lives to it and that’s with practically everything shut down. Had extreme measures not been taken hundreds of thousands more people would be dead. Our economy is now in shambles and the virus continues to exact its terrible toll.
Our county executive, Mark Poloncarz, and our Erie County Health Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein, have been working hard to mitigate the health impacts of the virus. I find it hard to fault any of the measures they have taken and have nothing but praise for their efforts. But now it is time for the Erie County Legislature to step up and begin to address the financial mess resulting from pandemic.
The county is coming up way short on sales tax revenue because so many businesses have been shut down. This is also impacting the cities, towns, villages and school districts within the county with whom we share our sales tax. This coupled with anticipated cuts in state aid has us looking at a deficit that may stretch into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Even if we are back to business as usual tomorrow, we will never recover the sales tax on the gasoline we did not buy, the restaurant meals we did not eat, the sporting events we did not attend and all the other taxable expenditures we did not make the past two months. Since the county, like all other state and local governments, must maintain a balanced budget, we will need to address this problem right along.
Fortunately, the Erie County charter cites a procedure for us to follow. The County Executive is working on a plan that he will submit to the Legislature. Once we receive the executive’s plan the County Comptroller has seven days to submit his thoughts to us regarding the plan. We will have another two weeks to act amend the plan or adopt it as is. If we fail to take action, the executive’s plan takes effect automatically.
As it stands now, we are facing the potential of fairly massive layoffs. Nobody wants to see this. There are too many people already out of work. Cutting more jobs will only exacerbate the problem. That is why we are asking the federal government for assistance. Unlike the county, their budget does not have to be balanced and most economists will tell you that now is the time they should be deficit spending. If the federal government can consider aiding cruise lines that do not sail under our flag, they can certainly help state and local governments who provide the services like police, fire, and highways upon which we all rely. 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.
Town of Grand Island Sanitary Sewer Study - May 2020The Town of Grand Island will be conducting a study of the sanitary sewer system beginning Monday, May 18, 2020. This public notice provides details on the study. The study involves opening of manholes in streets and easements. An important task of the study will be the smoke testing of sewer lines to locate breaks and defects in the sewer system. You can access the public notice and maps of areas being tested here.
Town of Grand Island Water Quality Report for 2019 - May 2020The Town of Grand Island’s annual Water Quality Report for 2019 is now available for viewing on the Town's website here.
Message from Town Supervisor John C. Whitney, P.E. - May 2020May 8, 2020 - Victory in Europe, 75 years ago
Try if you might to transport yourself to this day in 1945. So many of you lost loved ones to the scourge of World War II. Maybe you had relatives that fell to Hitler’s brutality in concentration camps. The relief of the end of the war in Europe would have been bittersweet.
I know there is no way I can make a comparison to the emotions felt at that time and what we are going through today. I feel that was one of the greatest generations of all time. Now it’s our turn to show our mettle.
We are in the midst of a conflict that pales in comparison to that time, however, we must all pull together and face this with the type of resolve our forefathers showed us. Hopefully, we’re on the downside of this Covid-19 pandemic. We are all working to restore our daily operations to our previous normalcy.
Daily operations of Town government have already started to return to normal. While we are not allowing public access to Town buildings, we are processing transactions at Town Hall. We are working towards holding advisory board meetings virtually. These will be able to be viewed live via the Town’s YouTube channel and on the Town’s website.
The Town Board is also working towards conducting public hearings virtually. We will not close these hearings until all citizens have had a chance to voice their opinions. We will keep these public hearings open until all residents can be heard, even if we must find a way to offer a safe social distance to hold an in person public hearing.
I would like to commend the citizens of Grand Island. They have shown so many acts of kindness during this pandemic when we have been sequestered in our homes. Recently, the River Lea Quilters Guild organized to sew masks and they gave away over 1,000 the past two Sundays! We have a blood drive scheduled for Tuesday, May 12th from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Town Hall Parking Lot. This is a joint venture between the Town and the GI School District. Please join Dr. Brian Graham, Ed.D. and myself to donate to this worthy cause. Contact Connect Life at 716-529-4270 for an appointment.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill: “We shall defend our Island…We shall never surrender!” Victory in Europe was 75 years ago, Victory here is imminent.
Charles DeGlopper Memorial Expansion Photos - May 2020
Henry Ensminger and Ray DeGlopper.
Robert Haag photos.Robert Haag took photos of the progress being made at the Charles DeGlopper Memorial Park this week.
ECDH Covid-19 Update - May 2020May 5, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) has updated its COVID-19 testing to include anyone who believes that they may have been exposed to or at risk for COVID-19. This update will expand upon previous testing criteria, which included any individual with symptoms of COVID-19, including any of the following: fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell.
Individuals who are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (asymptomatic) at the time of sample collection would not be subject to a Commissioner’s Isolation Order. However, any asymptomatic person who receives a positive COVID-19 test result is subject to the Commissioner’s Isolation Order. Any individual who has COVID-19 symptoms at the time their sample is collected will be under a Commissioner’s Isolation Order until their test results are available. Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms before they receive their results should take immediate steps to remain at home, isolate themselves from others in their household and consult with their physician. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms are strongly encouraged to contact their primary care physician to help manage their care.
To start the COVID-19 diagnostic testing process through the Erie County Department of Health, call (716) 858-2929. Foreign language interpretation is available. The expansion of Erie County’s criteria is possible because of the increase in testing capacity by the Erie County Public Health Lab, the New York State Department of Health, and our partners in the health care community including Kaleida Health. ECDOH, COVID-19 Information Line: (716) 858-2929 – foreign language interpretation is available. Erie County Department of Health, COVID-19: www.erie.gov/covid19 Erie County online map of confirmed cases: www.erie.gov/covidmap New York State Department of Health Hotline: (888) 364-3065
National Grid Warns Customers of Latest Payment Phone Scam - May 2020National Grid is warning customers to beware of a new phone scam where imposters are demanding immediate bill payment and threatening service disconnection. The scammers are using sophisticated phone systems that display National Grid on the customer's caller ID. See full press release.
Final Days to Apply for Grand Island UPK Program Ahead of Lottery - May 2020GRAND ISLAND - The Grand Island Central School District will be holding its provider-choice lottery for its Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program on May 19 at 1 p.m., and interested families must reserve their spot in the lottery by May 15. The UPK program runs two sites. In addition to the Charlotte Sidway Elementary School location, which runs a morning and afternoon session, the district is currently working with Kiddo's Korner Preschool for the 2020-2021 academic school year. Kiddo's Korner Preschool, 2728 Stony Point Road, provides an afternoon session as the district’s community-based provider.
Since all school districts in New York State are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grand Island Schools has revised its approach to registering new families for the UPK program and lottery draw. As a result, parents and guardians can go online to www.grandislandschools.org for a link in the pop-up alert that will allow them to register their eligible child for the lottery. Please note that the requirements for enrollment remain the same. Once schools are reopened to the public, you will be invited to present proof of residency and proof of eligibility.
To be eligible for the UPK program, a child must be four years of age on or before Dec. 1, 2020. The child must also be considered a Grand Island resident, and a complete district enrollment packet must be submitted to apply for the program. Notification letters and phone calls will be made to parents in the weeks following the lottery to confirm the specific location and session assignments for incoming UPK students. Results of the lottery will also be posted on the district website after the drawing. Additional information regarding the UPK program is available on the Grand Island Schools website under the Student Registration section. Please stay tuned to the website to be able to watch the lottery draw live. If you have any questions, please contact the Curriculum Department at (716) 773-8818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Message from Town Supervisor John C. Whitney, P.E. - May 2020May 1, 2020 - April Showers...
As the old saying goes, April Showers bring May flowers. Hopefully, we can make an analogy that April Showers 2020 were the rise of COVID-19 and May flowers are the demise of this dreadful pandemic. I know its wishful thinking but hope springs eternal. Yes, hope springs eternal and Spring is here. Spring is always a new beginning, and this year it is truly a new beginning. It’s a time we start planning events that are on our horizon, such as high school proms and graduations, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, backyard family get togethers, and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, it won’t be the same this year, but let’s hope this Spring will be a great renewal for all of us on Grand Island. We are going to have to learn new everyday routines. Social distancing will be the new norm, along with wearing masks. It doesn’t mean we can’t have social gatherings; it just means they are going to be different. Proms and graduations may be postponed this year along with our usual Memorial Day and even Fourth of July celebrations. It’s sad, these are rites of passage and celebrations that we all love, and I feel for our residents who must forgo these events.
As your Town Supervisor, I must do my best to keep continuity in our government. While Town Hall is currently closed to public access, we do have a minimal amount of staff working while others work from home. Our Town Clerk has staff working to process bills and vital statistic information. Our Water and Wastewater plants are operating as always, our Highway and Parks Departments are performing necessary operations. Remember, the grass doesn’t stop growing because I issued a State of Emergency. I assure you that as soon as possible, we will start to implement a return to “normal.” I put normal in quotations because that is a nebulous term. It will have a new definition for all of us as we move forward when post Covid-19 begins.
We are posting new developments and updates as they are available on our website at www.grandislandny.us, under the section “Latest News” on the home page. The Town Board is still holding regular meetings and workshops the first and third Monday of every month, additional workshops are held as needed. You can watch these live streamed on our YouTube Channel. Please visit the website for dates, agendas, meeting minutes and the link for streaming and archived meetings. You can find this page under the header “Town Government” which will give a drop-down option of “Meetings”. Discussions have begun to explore virtual meetings for Advisory Boards and other town events. As always you can also contact me at 773-9600 extension 616 or via email at email@example.com.
We are blessed to live in such a great community. I see people reaching out to provide help to others, offering food, masks, going to get groceries or medications for others. Along those lines, the Town of Grand Island and the Grand Island School District have scheduled an Island-wide blood drive through Connect Life for Tuesday, May 12, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the Town Hall parking lot, 2255 Baseline Road. Local hospitals are in need of blood so please join me and School Superintendent Dr. Brian Graham. Ph.D. in donating to this worthy cause. It is by reservation only so please call 716-529-4270 or visit ConnectLifeGiveBlood.org and use sponsor code 000661.
Please don’t forget to support our local businesses. Many of our wonderful restaurants are offering take out services during this Covid-19 pandemic and they can use our support. As always, remember to practice safe social distancing, wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, disinfect surfaces, and stay safe!
Charles DeGlopper Memorial Expansion Photos - April 2020
Robert Haag photos.Robert Haag took photos of the progress being made at the Charles DeGlopper Memorial Park on Monday, April 27th. A new plaque has been added to the Honor Roll monument. Due to the Corona virus the dedication has been rescheduled to June 5, 2021.
Free Mask Distribution - April 2020
Due to popular demand.... Masks4All will be distributing free face masks in the Town Hall Parking lot on Sunday, May 3rd at 1:00 p.m. Please stay in your vehicle and they will come to you. One mask per family member. Last weeks event had 600 masks distributed and $1800 raised for the Quilters Guild.
Upon arrival, let them know man, woman, boy or girl. Child sizes fits 2-10, XL can be requested. If you are compromised or elderly, delivery to you can be arranged. Masks are free. Donations to River Lea Quilters Guild are accepted, but not required.
GI Named Best Community for Music Education for 9th Consecutive Year - April 2020Grand Island, NY - April 22, 2020 - The Grand Island Central School District has been honored with the "Best Communities for Music Education" designation from the National Association of Making Music (NAMM) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. This marks the ninth consecutive year that Grand Island has received this honor.
Now in its 21st year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Grand Island answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
"The Grand Island community has had a decades-long tradition of supporting music for students,” said Martin T. Allen, High School Band director. "The music education of Grand Island’s students is a community effort with a phenomenal community, administrative and parental support. This level of support has been unwavering for over 50 years! This is truly an award for the entire community." This award recognizes that Grand Island is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
A 2015 study supported by the NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlined the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum. Grand Island’s music department is recognized as an example of excellence in music education. The quality of education students receive from kindergarten through 12th grade is a source of pride for the community. Its ensembles (from elementary through high school) have been awarded New York State’s highest ratings at state evaluation festivals. Grand Island faculty members have presented clinics at state and national conferences and Grand Island is proud to support community events with music whenever possible.
Grand Island has long held a tradition of excellence in music education through the support of administrators, the Board of Education, and most importantly its community members. The excellence of the music department is evidenced by the large number of students participating in the various musical ensembles at all grade levels, and the large number of students selected to participate in ECMEA All-County, NYSSMA Area All-State, NYSSMA Conference All-State, NAfME National Conferences, Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra (GBYO), and other honors ensembles The music department actively participates in the Erie County Music Educators Association (ECMEA), the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the New York State Band Directors Association (NYSBDA), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and the Buffalo Philharmonic Educational Concert Series.
Free Mask Distribution - April 2020
Masks4All will be distributing free face masks in the Town Hall Parking lot on Sunday, April 26th at 1:00 p.m. Please stay in your vehicle and they will come to you. One mask per family member. Simply let them know man, woman, boy or girl. Child sizes fits 2-10, XL can be requested. If you are compromised or elderly, delivery to you can be arranged. Masks are free. Donations to River Lea Quilters Guild are accepted, but not required.
ECDH Covid-19 Update - April 2020April 20, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is making the following announcements. Testing Criteria and Standing Isolation Orders: The Erie County Department of Health is updating its criteria for COVID-19 testing to include any person who has symptoms of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its list of COVID-19 symptoms last week to include: Fever (100.4 degrees or higher), Cough, Shortness of breath, Chills, Repeated shaking with chills, Muscle pain, Headache, Sore throat, New loss of taste or smell.
Testing and sample collection for symptomatic individuals are by appointment only. ECDOH is coordinating with Kaleida Health for COVID-19 testing. Individuals who do not have a primary care provider may be tested through the Erie County Public Health Lab. Individuals who have a primary care provider that can provide a referral or prescription for a COVID-19 test may be tested through Kaleida Health. To be screened and to be scheduled for a test, please call the Erie County COVID-19 Information Line at (716) 858-2929. Please listen closely to the options as they have recently changed.
ECDOH encourages anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to talk directly to their doctor about how to manage their care.
Grand Island Food Service Alternate Meal Pick-Up - April 2020UPDATED INFORMATION (April 17, 2020): Click here for new form, (April 20 - May 1).
The Grand Island Central School District’s Food Service Department is providing an opportunity for families to pick-up meals for children in their family at two school sites. For those of you who have already completed this form please focus on indicating your preferences starting on April 20 and continuing through May 1st.
The two pick-up sites (Sidway and Kaegebein) will have breakfast and lunch items for students in all grades K-12. We are continuing our delivery service for students/families who are unable to make it to a designated pick-up site. Children do not need to be present in order for their meals to be provided. Meals will be available for pick-up at each site between the hours of 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM.
Message from Town Supervisor John C. Whitney, P.E. - April 2020April 17, 2020 - Thoughts on this dreadful pandemic.
Yes, this is an awful period in our lives. People are out of work, we are isolated, and we are trying to stay in quarantine. Cabin fever is creeping in. Let’s use this time in quarantine thinking of ways to help each other.
Let’s thank our health care professionals, first responders, restaurant workers, front line employees in grocery stores and pharmacies, delivery drivers or the many essential service providers who are risking their lives so we may continue to enjoy safety and health. Without them this situation would look much different and it would not be pretty. Imagine if we could not access food and those that at risk would have been without food from the very beginning of this craziness without delivery personnel being available to us.
Let’s help our local restaurants and order take-out meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We have many fantastic restaurants on Grand Island that have always been there for us and now we need to be there for them. Check out the list of restaurants open for take-out in this Dispatch and remember to tip them when you place orders.
I hear a lot of people comparing this Covid-19 pandemic to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. Think about how tough that must have been for those people, especially if they lived in a city. Remember, in that era, there were wealthy families who had their own large homes but if you were not part of that class, you probably lived in a city apartment. Not only that, but back then, large families were raised in those conditions. Social distancing would have been nearly impossible. Also, there was no telephone, radio was scarce, no television, and certainly no internet to provide Facetime, Zoom, Go To Meeting, or other forms of video communication.
Sanitation was still not fully understood back then. Maybe you lived on a farm and you made your monthly trip into town to buy your supplies. You had no way of knowing there was a pandemic and you were driving right into the middle of it. Today’s information age provides us news instantly.
So, let’s try to keep a positive outlook about the Covid-19 2020 pandemic. I know the amount of restrictions being placed upon all of us are burdensome, but this too shall pass. What new lessons have you learned in the quarantine that you will carry into whatever the New Normal will be?
One of the dangers of being under quarantine in our homes for so long is the risk of depression or anxiety if we try to figure all of this out. We must refrain from falling into those mental traps by staying active. Go for a walk or a bike ride, do an on-line exercise class and think outside of your normal routine to find other ways to stay busy. Make it a point to call, text or face time with family members or friends whom you have not spoken with in a while.
As Islanders, we are fortunate to have many beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy, especially with the weather breaking. I encourage families to organize walks, runs or bike rides through our New York State parks—Beaver Island on West River and Buckhorn on the East River or take advantage of the long, beautiful bicycle path along the West River or visit our Grand Island parks and trails, such as Veterans Park and Scenic Woods. Visit and walk through the DeGlopper Memorial Park at Baseline and Grand Island Blvd. to reflect on the Islanders who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
I have offered a lot of opportunities for us to be active during these quarantine times. Let me know how you and your family are handling it or what you are doing to help others by sending a note or a picture to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Rhonda Diehl at email@example.com We will post some on the Town of Grand Island website www.grand-island.ny.us or our Facebook Page--The Town of Grand Island. If you need to speak with us call 716.773.9600 ext. 616 and it will ring through to my cell phone or Rhonda at extension 617.
As always, remember to practice social distancing, wash your hands often, disinfect surfaces and continue to stay safe! We will get through this, we must.
All Erie County School Districts Closed Through April 29 - April 2020West Seneca (April 15, 2020) – In accordance with the Governor’s April 6 executive order regarding NYS on Pause, all Erie County school districts will remain closed and will continue to provide remote instruction through April 29. Food service will continue per each school district’s established temporary protocol. This notification serves as an official coordinated message confirming the notices already shared individually by local school districts. If a future executive order requires schools to remain closed beyond April 29, school districts will share that directive within their respective communities.
We miss our students and remain hopeful they’ll return to the classroom before summer break. The health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.
Emergency Order Closing Campgrounds - April 2020ERIE COUNTY, NY - April 14, 2020 - Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz today issued a Local Emergency Order closing all campgrounds, as defined by 10 NYCRR 7-3.1, which require a permit to operate under the New York State Sanitary Code. The Order also prohibits the use, at any campground within Erie County, of any camping cabin, camping unit, campsite, or seasonal campsite as defined by 10 YCRR 7-3.1, by any individual at any time.
“Based on reports we’ve received, and as approved by New York State, I have signed this emergency order on campgrounds that will go into effect at 9:00 AM tomorrow. Not only do campgrounds allow for large gatherings of people in contradiction of necessary social distancing measures, but under NYS law campgrounds must also be monitored and reviewed by our Public Health Sanitarians, all of whom are currently engaged in stopping the spread of the coronavirus in our community,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Our Public Health team is already being stretched in the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing these campgrounds makes better use of our resources and will help to protect our community.”
Linda Basta Memorial Walk Cancelled - April 2020Unfortunately, as you may have suspected, the Linda Basta Memorial Walk will be cancelled this year due to social distancing. You can still spread awareness, and help the young patients of Children's Hospital living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. In Lieu of the annual walk, there will be a raffle instead. The drawing will be held on May 9, 2020, and the prize will be $150. Each donation of $25 will equal an entry into the raffle; a $50 donation will equal two entries, and so on. If you find yourself in a situation in which you are able to participate in this worthwhile cause, any and every contribution is greatly appreciated! If you would like to add a donation, you may visit the website.
ECDH Covid-19 Update - April 2020April 14, 2020... ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is making the following announcements. COVID-19 Data Update: As of 4/14/2020 (3 p.m.), ECDOH received a total of 1,730 reports of positive lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 84 COVID-19 related deaths among Erie County residents. We are publishing these data to our online case mapping system at www.erie.gov/covidmap. Our Epidemiology Office has compiled positive COVID-19 cases by age group and gender. See here.
Take Care of Each Other - April 2020Island resident Russell Certo, PT OCS, of Trilogy and MOG National, has offered money to help those in need during the COVID crisis. If you know someone who needs help...food, medicine, help with bills, etc., help them. Russ will reimburse you, up to $100 per case, with a receipt. That is it. Check out the video for more details.
Fantasy Island Refunds Guaranteed by AG James - April 2020NEW YORK (April 7, 2020) - New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that she has negotiated a settlement guaranteeing that all consumers who purchased season passes, meal plans, and associated goods and services at the Western New York theme park Fantasy Island will be fully reimbursed for all advance purchases made for the 2020 season. After the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) issued subpoenas to Fantasy Island’s owner and individuals associated with the company last month, the OAG negotiated an agreement to ensure full restitution for all consumers, totaling nearly $425,000.
“While Western New Yorkers struggle financially with the economic impact of the coronavirus, I’m pleased to announce that we will soon make consumers whole by providing those who prepaid for season passes, meals, and associated services at Fantasy Island with nearly $425,000 in financial restitution,” said Attorney General James. “Our office was able to secure full refunds for all consumers thanks, in large part, to the hundreds of Western New Yorkers who promptly heeded our call to file a complaint with our office. Fantasy Island provided Western New Yorkers with great memories for years, but it’s vitally important that we don’t let that fantasy end with a nightmare.”
Fantasy Island first opened on Grand Island in Western New York in 1961, but announced its closure in mid-February. In just the first day after the news broke, Attorney General James’ Buffalo Regional Office received more than 150 complaints from consumers who prepaid for the 2020 season, asking for assistance obtaining refunds. Attorney General James immediately took action the next morning, sending a letter to Fantasy Island’s owner — Apex Parks Group LLC in Aliso Viejo, California — demanding that refunds be provided to consumers for the 2020 season, otherwise the company would face legal action. In the six weeks since Fantasy Island’s closure was announced, Western New Yorkers have filed more than 500 complaints with the OAG.
As a result of the negotiated settlement, the OAG has received a payment totaling $424,848.07, which the owners of Fantasy Island have represented is sufficient to provide full refunds to all consumers. Consumers do not need to follow up with the OAG or file a complaint if they have yet to do so, as names and contact information for all 2020 season pass purchasers have been shared with the OAG. The OAG has yet to set a timetable for mailing checks out, but will work expeditiously to do so. Due to the influx in complaints being filed with the OAG on a number of other issues related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the office asks consumers to avoid calling the OAG for status updates at this time so that phone lines can remain open for the reporting of new complaints and scams.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Christopher L. Boyd, under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Buffalo Regional Office Michael Russo, with assistance from Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Upstate New York Joseph Malczewski. The Division of Regional Affairs is led by Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Jill Faber, under the oversight of First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.
Message from Town Supervisor John C. Whitney, P.E. - April 2020Fellow Islanders:
Heartfelt Passover and Easter wishes to everyone as we truly live through a pandemic event that none of us could ever have dreamed of. Restaurants, which would have been packed this weekend, are suddenly relying on takeout business to stay alive but worse, our houses of spiritual worship on Grand Island and throughout New York State are closed forcing residents to praise via the internet or television.
In accordance with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders we encourage everyone to follow social distancing and best management practices to minimize the spread of this virus. Mostly, though, we encourage everyone to follow the orders of the Governor and Erie County Executive Mark Polancarz and continue to stay away from crowds.
We join them in encouraging residents to get out for some fresh air and exercise. We are also fortunate to live on this beautiful island that has two amazing state parks—Beaver Island on the West River and Buckhorn on the East River— which are perfect for walking, biking and fishing. For bicyclists and walkers, enjoy the beautiful bicycle path along the West River. Also, our Grand Island parks, Veterans Park and Scenic Woods are available for walking or biking. A ride around the island is 27 miles. Remember, social distancing!!!
Just to reiterate my message from last week: The town has reduced our staff to all but essential operations and we have closed all public buildings, including Town Hall, Highway, Library, Golden Age Center and Recreation buildings. We are asking residents to mail a check for their water bills or place one in the drop box located outside the lower level entrance to Town Hall. Online payment is another option.
Please continue to take this virus seriously! Continue to practice safe social distancing, wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer and wipe down surfaces with disinfecting wipes.
Be positive and when feeling low, call a friend or take a walk. If you can, order take out from the many restaurants on the Island. Enjoy the holiday and stay safe!
DeGlopper Memorial Paver Installation - April 2020
Photos by Robert Haag.The DeGlopper Memorial Park expansion has hit a new milestone with the installation of brick pavers. The company laying the brick is Simone Landscaping, owned by Jordan Simone. The park dedication is planned in the future.
Picking Up the Pieces - April 2020By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
The world has changed in the last month. The pandemic now dominates every news cycle and almost every personal conversation. Our response to this crisis will go a long way toward determining the kind of community we will have once life returns to some semblance of normal. For the time being, we all have to determine what role we can play in combatting the virus. For some, this is obvious. Health care workers and first responders are on the frontlines of this battle and have never been more appreciated by us all. Add to them the many grocery store workers, utility workers, truck drivers, delivery persons, reporters and others who have kept our society functioning and we have much for which to be grateful.
Elected officials are used to being on the news, leading the charge, announcing grand plans and proposals. But we are now at war and in a war, politicians need to step back and let the generals lead. Fortunately, from what I have observed, County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and their team are up to the task. My job is to make sure they have the resources to get the job done and get out of their way. That is why last month I implored Dr. Burstein to ask for whatever additional funds she needed to supplement her budget to save as many lives as possible. The $5 million that the legislature subsequently approved in a special session will hopefully be enough. If it isn’t, we will need to determine if more is required. Either way I trust the money will be well spent. It makes no sense, however, for legislators to micromanage the Health Department in the midst of this crisis.
We will have a much larger role, of course, in picking up the pieces once the immediate crisis passes. The pandemic and resulting quarantine have blown holes in budgets from the Federal level all the way down to the smallest village. In Erie County, we are seeing sales tax revenue plummet as businesses are shuttered and people do not spend money. This will prove disastrous for Erie County as we will lose tens of millions of dollars in sales tax, our largest source of local revenue. This will also impact the cities, towns, villages and school districts in Erie County with whom we share our sales tax revenue. The decisions we make regarding how to plug the budget gaps will have great consequences and we need to get it right.
Each municipality will have to make their own decision. In the county, we will have to choose among some combination of cuts, increased taxes and borrowing. These choices will be difficult as putting more people out of work will only exacerbate our economic problem and increasing taxes will be adding insult to injury to those who have already lost their jobs or are on fixed incomes. This is where the legislature must play a major role in representing the wishes of our constituents. Until then, however, we need to let the medical professionals do their jobs, because we cannot solve our financial problems until we resolve our health care emergency.
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.
National Fuel Donates to COVID-19 Relief Efforts - April 2020(April 7, 2020) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - National Fuel Gas Company Foundation, the charitable giving arm of National Fuel Gas Company (National Fuel or the Company), is pleased to announce a donation of $250,000 across the Company’s New York and Pennsylvania service territories to help address the most critical needs in our community in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. See press release.
ECDH Covid-19 Update - April 2020April 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 2020March 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 2020March 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 2020Emergency 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 2020March 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 2020March 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 2020The 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 2020LATEST UPDATE 3/18/2020 ON INFORMAL HEARING APPOINTMENTS FOR ASSESSMENT REVIEWS.
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 email@example.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 2020Erie 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 2020UPDATED 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 2020All 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 2020NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON TC BUFFALO DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATES, LLC’S APPLICATION FOR AN E-COMMERCE STORAGE AND DISTRIBUTION FACILITY FOR CONSUMER PRODUCTS
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 2020The 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 - March 2020By 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
ConnectLife Blood Drive - March 2020March 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 2020The 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 2020ERIE 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 2020The 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 2020UPDATE: 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 2020UPDATE: "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 email@example.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. 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 2020Emminger, 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.
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.
View of both areas.
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - February 2020The 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 2020My 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Teachable Moment - February 2020By 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 email@example.com.
WNY Welcome Center Hosts Staycation Stations - February 2020On 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 2020Blood 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 2020Erie 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 2020Grand 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail or drop off to: Town Court at 2255 Baseline Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072.
Southpointe Wetland Delineation - January 2020A 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 2020The 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 2020My 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 - email@example.com.
Free Rabies Clinic - January 2020The 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 2020Grand 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. - Flyer
Save the Michaels Presentation Video - January 2020The 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 2020Town 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 2020The 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: email@example.com. Or mail or drop off to: Town Hall at 2255 Baseline Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072.
Grand Island Town Prosecutor Vacancy - January 2020The 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 2020By 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 email@example.com.
GAC Volunteers Stuff Tax Bills - January 2020
Front, from left: Linda Clark, Brenda Cassoni, Martha Muller, Jean Schlegal.
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!
Back: Lorraine Wilcox, Kathy Lechner, Pat Ehinger, Pattie Frentzel.
Seasonal Dock Permits for West River Shoreline - January 2020The 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 2020Brianna'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 2020The 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 2020Attention 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. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com .
Morinello Staff Mobile Office Hours - January 2020The 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.
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.
Jude Kuehne photos.
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.