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2021


Previous News Page



Vaccine Appt. Cancelled - January 2021

    ERIE COUNTY, NY – The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is announcing the cancellation of scheduled ECDOH COVID-19 vaccination Points of Distribution (PODs) for Saturday, January 23, Monday, January 25, Tuesday, January 26 and Wednesday, January 27. This includes locations at Erie Community College South and Erie Community College North. Appointments on Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22 are not affected by this announcement.
    These cancellations are based on lack of vaccine supply and NYSDOH instruction about vaccine availability. ECDOH has had its vaccine allocation dramatically reduced from the amount it requested. ECDOH is dependent on New York State (NYS) for its vaccine supply, and is not able to order COVID vaccine directly from vaccine manufacturers or the federal government.
    These cancellations will affect 4,315 individuals who have scheduled appointments at ECDOH PODs. Emails and an automated phone call will be sent to notify individuals of their cancelled appointments. Those affected will be rescheduled at a future POD site once a vaccine supply is secured. ECDOH’s allotment from NYS this week is 1,700 doses. Combined with remaining supply of 540 doses, ECDOH has enough vaccine to vaccinate the individuals scheduled for PODs on Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22.
    All future appointments at ECDOH PODs should be considered tentative, and are subject to vaccine availability. Upcoming first-dose appointments will be cancelled if ECDOH does not receive additional doses from NYS. Individuals who have scheduled second-dose appointments at ECDOH PODs are not affected by these cancellations.
    This announcement does not affect scheduled appointments at non-ECDOH sites, including pharmacies, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), hospitals and NYS sites. Those who are eligible are strongly encouraged to keep those appointments, and schedule at other locations if there are openings.
    Since opening up its first POD on January 4, ECDOH has distributed 14,176 first doses of the Moderna COVID vaccine to eligible persons. ECDOH is currently capable of distributing more than 2,000 doses daily at community PODs, with delivery being solely dependent on receiving sufficient vaccine doses to meet its capability.


GI Bills Parade - January 2021






Mary Stewart Photos.

    The Viking Diner was the gathering spot for a "Let's Go Buffalo" parade on Saturday, January 16th. The forty plus vehicles headed north to Long Road, over Huth Road, south on Stony Point, west on Whitehaven, south on Grand Island Blvd. into Grandyle Village. A second parade will take place on Sunday, January 24th. Line-up: St. Stephen’s back parking lot no earlier than noon to be respectful of mass.


NYS Parks to Provide Briefing on West River Landscape Plan - January 2021

    The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced that they will be hosting a virtual public meeting to review the West River Shoreline Trail landscape plan. The landscape plan is a guiding document to be used over the next few years that will prescribe how the agency plans to maintain and restore the West River Shoreline Trail greenspace and shoreline.
    The meeting will take place via Zoom on January 26 at 5:30 p.m. and pre-registration is required. Interested parties may email Angela.Berti@parks.ny.gov no later than January 25 and it is advised that participants use a computer to fully participate and view the graphics but a phone-in link will also be provided if you wish to just listen in. The plan will be also be posted at https://parks.ny.gov/parks/beaverisland/details.aspx or available in the park office during business hours.


2021 Town/County Tax Bills Mailed - January 2021

    Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel announced that the 2021 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:
    Friday, February 12 – 8:30am – 6:00pm
    Saturday, February 13 – 9:00am – 12:00pm
   Tuesday, February 16 – 8:30am – 6:00pm
    The office is closed Monday, February 15
    Checks should be made payable to Town Clerk. The last day to pay without penalty is February 16. Envelopes must show a legible postmark of February 16 to be accepted on time. Taxpayers should call the office for correct amounts for payments made February 17 and later. Payments can be made until June 30, 2021. After this date, payments must be sent to the County. Online tax receipts and payments can made at www.grandislandny.us. Service fees apply. Debit and credit cards are accepted at the counter, service fees apply.


Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - January 2021

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 1/16/2021. Data. - A portion of this was included in today's live video update (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3HCjUpk8do) These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology. 1/19/2021.


NYS Microcluster Guidance Enforcement- January 2021

    January 14, 2021 - ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is providing the following statement related to enforcement of NYS Microcluster Guidance.
    After consultation with our legal counsel, and based solely on the preliminary injunction issued by NYS Supreme Court Justice Henry J. Nowak on January 13, 2021, ECDOH public health sanitarians will apply “yellow zone” criteria to all permitted food service facilities that are currently located in “orange zones.” Practically, this means all restaurants in Erie County will be able to offer indoor dining at 50% capacity, as long as yellow zone measures including a maximum of four people per table and six feet of distance between tables are maintained.
    This action is only effective as long as Judge Nowak's preliminary injunction is in place. If an appellate court of law should rule differently, ECDOH will follow such new judicial order. Also, restaurants and bars must end on-premise food and beverage consumption at 10 p.m. pursuant to current New York State regulations. All permitted food facilities should be aware this action only applies to ECDOH’s enforcement of cluster zone regulations. It does not apply to enforcement that may be taken against any entity permitted by the New York State Liquor Authority. ECDOH public health sanitarians are continuing educational outreach to permitted facilities along with complaint investigations and inspections as appropriate.


New Year Offers New Opportunities - January 2021

By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
    The year that just ended saw deep divisions within both our community and our nation. A contentious presidential election, the pandemic and its economic impact were just a few of the reasons for this. Perhaps the only thing upon which everyone could agree is that we were happy to see 2020 end. Given the events of the last couple weeks with the discovery of a new, more contagious strain of Covid in the United States and the horrific violence at our nation’s Capitol, let’s hope this is not a case of “be careful for what you wish.”
    Despite these early problems, there is every reason to believe that 2021 will be a much better year. To make it so, however, we will all need to do our part. This begins with continuing to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus. Even though the vaccines are becoming available, it will be months before we reach the “herd immunity” we all crave. In the meantime we need to continue to wear our masks and limit our contact with others. This is not easy, but it is something we must do for a bit longer.
    As a county legislator, I have resolved to do all I can to make sure Erie County Government regains the momentum we had before the pandemic hit. The loss of revenue forced us to make painful cuts to the county budget. Some projects such as the push for a new convention center have been put on hold for the foreseeable future. Others, like repairs to our county road system had to be scaled back. But we cannot afford to neglect infrastructure for too long, as doing so will only cost us more down the road. So I will do everything I can to see that we make the most of the resources we have to keep the roads in good shape.
    Interestingly, the pandemic actually demonstrated the necessity of some other projects. This was the case for County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s proposal to build Erie Net, the backbone of a countywide public internet system. If the last year proved anything, it was that we all need access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.
    Another situation I am monitoring closely is the search for a new president for our community college. The pandemic has exacerbated an already difficult enrollment situation at the college and will almost certainly lead to major changes. This makes getting the choice of a new president all the more important. The college’s Board of Trustees needs to get it right, as ECC is an important asset in our community.
    The federal government, of course, can do a lot to help us make 2021 a better year. Last year they failed to adequately provide much needed assistance to state and local governments. A new president and congress offers hope that this will soon change. Regardless, we all need to work together to make this a better year than the last. I am confident we can meet this challenge and make 2021 a year to remember for different reasons than we remember 2020.
    If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.


Backyard Bird Count - January 2021


    The Conservation Advisory Board would like to invite you to participate in 24th Annual Cornell's Great Backyard Bird Count. It will take place February 12 -15, 2021. Participating is easy, fun to do alone, or with others, and can be done anywhere you find birds. Choose the easiest way for you to share your birds: Identify birds with Merlin Bird ID app and add sightings to your list; Use the eBird Mobile app; Enter your bird list on the eBird website (Desktop/laptop).
All you need is a free Cornell Lab account to participate. This account is shared with Merlin, eBird, Project FeederWatch and other projects at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. If you already have an account please use the same username and password for submitting your bird list for the Great Backyard Bird Count. We recommend observing birds for at least fifteen minutes. Website.


Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - January 2021

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 1/9/2021. A portion of this was included in today's live video update. Data. A portion of our data was included in our live video update today: YouTube Video. These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology.


Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - January 2021

    Monday, January 5, 2021 - Erie County Department of Health released a data set of Erie County ZIP codes, COVID cases reported for the week ending 1/2/2021, and a calculation of new cases per 100K population. See here.


Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 1/9/2021. A portion of this was included in today's live video update. https://www2.erie.gov/health/sites/www2.erie.gov.health/files/uploads/pdfs/ECDOH-data-vis-01-11-2021.pdf A portion of our data was included in our live video update today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS9boFxS5VM These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology. 1/12/2021

Town/County Tax Bills Mailed - January 2021

Sitting from L to R: Suzanne Mueller, Martha Mueller, Jeri Benzing.
Standing L to R: Linda Clark, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Patty Phillips, Kathy Lechner and Jean Schlegal

    Despite COVID – 19, the Town and County tax bills are in the mail!! Our volunteer seniors, socially distanced and wearing masks, prepared the tax bills and were treated to lunch. Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel reported that the last day to pay without penalty is February 16, 2021.


COVID-19 Vaccine Information - January 2021

   January 11, 2021...Erie County, NY - The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is providing the following statement regarding the availability of COVID-19 vaccine at our PODs - points of dispensing.
    Beginning at 4 p.m. on Monday, January 11, the NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline will open for scheduling vaccination appointments for eligible New Yorkers: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
    All vaccinations are by appointment only. ECDOH has a limited amount of vaccine and appointments through Tuesday, January 12 for Phase 1A individuals. Future POD schedules will depend on the amount of COVID-19 vaccine provided by New York State. Sign up to be notified of future Erie County PODs at https://www3.erie.gov/form/covid-19-vaccine-notification-fo.
    The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Vaccine Eligibility Form incorrectly lists the ECDOH main phone number, (716) 858-7690, and Sexual Health Clinic, as a local provider for vaccine. This is incorrect information and ECDOH is working to have NYSDOH fix this as soon as possible.
    Our department is not making vaccination appointments over the phone at this time. Please do not call our COVID-19 Information Line or main office for vaccine scheduling. As of Monday morning, these calls are interfering with the ability to schedule Erie County residents for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and other general questions. “We realize that there is intense interest in getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Right now, we need to temper that interest with patience. Our supply of vaccine is extremely limited. As Governor Cuomo has stated, it will take months to work through the Phase 1A and 1B populations.”
    Other information from NYS:
    Health care workers who are part of Phase 1a will continue to be vaccinated at hospitals and other clinical settings.
    People age 75 and over will primarily be vaccinated at pharmacies and other sites that are part of the “retail network.” Use the online tool to find a location.
    Public employees (for example, police departments, public school teachers and MTA employees) will primarily be vaccinated through their groups’ relevant health programs or as organized by their unions. NYSDOH Vaccine Eligibility Prescreen Form: https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/Public/prescreener


Town Wants Public Comment Re: Local Waterfront Program - January 2021

   Public Comment Needed! The development of the Town’s waterfront plan (LWRP) is continuing to move along! Just as a quick reminder, the LWRP is a community-driven document that provides guidance on future policies, projects, and actions specifically related to the waterfront. The Program will be used to seek grants and other funding to carry out identified projects, keying in on the waterfront and building on the broader guidance outlined in the recently updated Comprehensive Plan. Funding for the LWRP was provided by a grant from the New York State Department of State under the Environmental Protection Fund.
    We’ve done a lot of analysis, gotten good preliminary community feedback, and come up with some key projects to consider after the LWRP is adopted. Now we want to get your feedback on what we’ve come up with! Normally we would have a public meeting for this, but since health and safety is of the utmost importance, we’re going virtual with an interactive site below. There are a few different options for you to give us your feedback here including a map, survey, and discussion forum, so take it for a spin and let us know your thoughts! This is your opportunity to review these projects and help us refine them as needed to continue to develop the rest of the document – your input is valuable to the process!
    The site will be available until the end of January to ensure we get a good amount of feedback. It also includes a little background on the project and a timeline of future events. See website.
    The Town began this project in January 2019 with a deep analysis of the waterfront and its assets. Following that assessment, a kickoff and brainstorming meeting with the community was held in August 2019 where important issues and potential projects were provided. Using this information, the committee and consultants (CPL and WWS Planning) developed a set of projects that, when combined with policy and programming guidance, can be worked on over time to improve access to and use of the waterfront by residents and visitors alike.


Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - January 2021

    Monday, January 5, 2021 - Erie County Department of Health released a data set of Erie County ZIP codes, COVID cases reported for the week ending 1/2/2021, and a calculation of new cases per 100K population. See here.


DEC Announces Grant for Grand Island - January 2021

    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced grant awards totaling $1.4 million for urban forestry projects across the state to help communities’ inventory, plant, and maintain public trees. The grants are part of DEC’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, which works to increase public awareness of the importance of trees and helps communities develop and implement comprehensive tree management plans to create healthy forests while enhancing quality of life for residents.
    “Healthy community forests provide a host of environmental, economic, and social benefits, including wildlife habitat, watershed protection, flood reduction, increased property values, and improved public health,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Governor Andrew Cuomo is investing in the health of New York’s communities through the State's Environmental Protection Fund, providing crucial assistance for our state’s vital forests to thrive.”
    The 38 projects to receive funding were selected from a total of 154 applications, ranked by cost effectiveness, lasting benefits, use of partnerships, inclusion of outreach and education, and support from local stakeholders. The urban forestry grants complement DEC's ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change, environmental degradation, environmental justice, and urban sprawl. Over the last nine years, New York State has funded more than $11.4 million in grants to support projects with a total value of more than $18.3 million. Erie County: Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Inc. - $75,000; Tree Maintenance, Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County - $22,342; Education, Village of Depew - $25,617; Tree Inventory and Management Plan, Town of Grand Island - $50,000; Tree Inventory and Management Plan.
    Town Supervisor John Whitney, Co-chairs Diane Evans (Conservation Advisory Board) and Dick Crawford (Highway Superintendent) issued the following joint statement, “We are thrilled with the DEC announcement that the Town of Grand Island is the recipient of a $50,000.00 Urban Forestry Grant. This forestry grant will assist the town to develop a tree inventory, increase public awareness of the importance of trees in our community and assist in the removal of dead trees on town properties. Many hours of volunteer work through the towns Conversation Board were used to generate the documentation with the assistance of Grant writers Bernie Rotella and Nathan Taylor for submittal.