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1918 Town Hall Cupola Moved for Renovations - December 2021

Highway Department employee Steve Dickinson guides cupola onto forklift at Kelly's Country Store.

Highway Department employee Jeff Korzen moves the Cupola down Grand Island Blvd.

   The old Town Hall was built about 100+ years ago, as a school house, and demolished in 1968. Fortunately, the Historic Cupola from the top of the building was saved by Walt Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Country Store, and stored on their property. It originally stood as a beacon of light for the community, and during World War II, became a “lookout” tower, watching for enemy planes. Many Island residents volunteered to sit in the Cupola each day. Among them were Mabel Long Krieger (Shirley Luther's mother), Julia B. Long (Shirley’s aunt) and Marion Long Young (Sharon Nichols aunt). Fortunately, no planes were sighted.
    Recently, Kevin Kelly gifted the cupola to the Town of Grand Island. On Thursday, December 30th, it was moved from the Kelly's Country Store property to the Grand Island Highway Department for hopefully, renovations. Highway employee Steve Dickinson is excited to look into the project.

Test-To-Stay Program Results - December 2021

   Test results from Grand Island Central Schools pilot test-to-stay program. Story by Buffalo News reporter Barbara O'Brien. See Story.

Tonawanda Community Environmental Benefits Program Results - December 2021

    The Tonawanda Community Environmental Benefits Program community preferencing took place September 19 to 26, during which a total of 2,881 ballots were cast by eligible participants. The preferencing process was intentionally designed by the Community Foundation, the Advisory Panel and the State to ensure that all residents who were eligible to cast a ballot had the ability and opportunity to do so. To be eligible, participants had to reside in an affected community and be 16 years of age or older on the date the ballot was cast. Participants were required to cast a ballot for at least one project in each tier and allowed to cast ballots for up to 5 projects in each tier. To ensure equitable access to the process, balloting was offered both in-person at libraries and online at TonawandaFund.org. Every effort was made to ensure the public preferencing process was fair, transparent, and inclusive. RESULTS

Inauguration of Newly Elected Officials - December 2021

   The Town of Grand Island announces that the Inauguration of the newly elected officials will take place on Saturday, January 1, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) at the Sandy Beach Yacht Club, 1851 Winter Road, Grand Island. To be inaugurated are Mark J. Frentzel – Town Justice, Richard Crawford, Jr. – Highway Superintendent, Peter Marston, Jr. – Councilman and Christian Bahleda – Councilman. Eric Fiebelkorn will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The Honorable Joseph Cassata will be the installing officer. The ceremony will be followed with a coffee, juice and light refreshments. The public is invited to attend.

Excelsior! - December 2021

By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
    Excelsior. It is Latin for “ever upward” and it is the official motto of the State of New York. It is a great motto. It is aspirational and appeals to people at all stages of life who seek to improve their lives and those of their families and neighbors.
    I have been thinking a lot about our state’s motto recently as I contemplate my future. I was fortunate to win the election for Erie County Comptroller last month. I will, therefore, be transitioning from my current role as a county legislator representing Grand Island and the Tonawandas to my new position as the chief financial officer for the County of Erie. As I get ready to assume this new position, I have been reflecting on my dozen years in the Erie County Legislature.
    Serving in the legislature has been a tremendous honor. It afforded me the opportunity to participate in decisions of an extremely important, albeit often overlooked, level of government. During the last twelve years we have made a number of decisions of which I am extremely proud. Together with the County Executive and New York State, we were able to reach an agreement with Ralph Wilson and the Buffalo Bills which kept the team in Buffalo. Now, of course, that agreement will be expiring soon and the next legislature will soon be deciding on the team’s future home.
    Another issue we faced during my tenure on the legislature was the county’s response to the opioid epidemic. Like so many in government, we were slow to recognize the severity of the crisis. Once we realized what we were up against, however, our response in Erie County was a model for the rest of the nation. This is due in large part to the hard work of the county’s Department of Health. They worked tirelessly and no doubt saved many lives.
    The thing of which I am most proud, though, is the impact we have made on the county road system, particularly the portion in my legislative district. When I took office in January of 2010, the county’s roads were in deplorable condition. This was, in large part, due to the impact of the county’s 2005 Red/Green Budget Crisis which resulted in serious cuts to the Department of Public Works’ Highway Division. By committing more resources to the care of our roads, though, we have clawed our way back to the point where the county roads in the Town of Tonawanda and Grand Island are in much better shape.
    Speaking of the 2005 budget, I am proud that there was no repeat of that crisis. This was despite our having to deal with the financial impacts of the first pandemic in a century. There are so many more memories I have of the last dozen years in the County Legislature. But now it is time to move on to my new role as County Comptroller. It is a challenge that I am looking forward, as it will afford me an opportunity to work with my partners in government to make Erie County an even nicer place to live, work and raise a family. Excelsior! 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.

Message from Supervisor John Whitney Re: Mask Mandates - December 2021

   Grand Island, NY...December 8, 2021
    While I issued a press release and the Town Board in my absence passed a resolution not in support of the County Executive’s mandates, NOTHING in either of them purports to supersede the County Executive’s mandates. Therefore, I am directing all Town of Grand Island employees to comply with the mandates. I am asking all Grand Island businesses and citizens to comply as well. I hope this clears up any confusion.

American Red Cross Blood Drive - December 2021

    American Red Cross Blood Drive at Grand Island Fire Hall, 2275 Baseline Road, sponsored by Assemblyman Angelo Morinello on Tuesday, December 21st from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. See FLYER.

Grand Menorah Lighting - December 2021

Mary Stewart Photo

    Grand Menorah Lighting on Sunday, December 5th at Grand Island Town Hall, 6:30 p.m. Music, lights and Chanukah treats. FLYER

Supervisor Whitney Press Release Regarding Mask Mandate - December 2021

    Press Release from the Desk of John C. Whitney, P.E. Town Supervisor
    Grand Island, NY Dec. 2, 2021 - As Town Supervisor of the Town of Grand Island, I cannot place my support behind the mandatory mask mandate issued by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Personally, I wear a mask where required and support vaccinations. However, I feel that the mandate will damage our businesses by forcing our residents to cross the bridge to Niagara County, where the mandate doesn't exist. I have received several pleas from local businesses and residents asking me not to support the mandate. While I recognize that the Covid-19 Pandemic virus has become a widespread global disease that will likely never be eradicated, I believe that managing it by declaring a State of Emergency and declaring mandates every time a new variat and/or spike in cases arises is counterproductive. I also believe that doing so has negative impacts on mental and general well-being. It will place negative impacts on businesses and schools including their ability to cope with and manage what will likely be regular occurrences in the coming months and years.
    I also recognize that this virus will continue to be part of our every-day life and must no longer be used to infringe on individual rights and freedom by declaring a State of Emergency, issuing mandates, and ultimately closing public access to local businesses.
    Actions associated with mandates decrease capacity, eliminate jobs, and severely limit the ability to hire.
    I believe that a long-term management plan is required to manage the Covid-19 virus and suggest that Erie County and New York State prepare plans that proactively address hospital capacity issues that do not impact the health and well-being of our residents by suspending certain procedutes. I ask the County and State to allocate ARPA funds to increase hospital capacity to meet the increases.
    Due to Grand Island's proximity to neighboring Niagara County, I feel that this mandate will cause economic damage to our residents and businesses. Therefore, I support proposed legislation in the New York State Senate that would require approval by the Town Board of the County Executive's or County Health Board's extension of a State of Emergency beyond 30 days within our Town.

Highway Department Winter Policies - December 2021

    Town of Grand Island Highway Department states its policies for winter; November 1, 2021 is the official start of our 2021-2022 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, 2021 thru March 31, 2022. 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.
    The Highway Department requests all residents adhere to this ordinance allowing us to clear the streets of snow for safe passage. The Highway department also reminds residents on their assigned garbage day do not place your cans or totes in the street, place them in your driveway or on grass behind the curb.

Nike Base GI Town Trail Ribbon Cutting - November 2021

This bridge was funded by a State Municipal Facilities Grant and completed with the efforts of several Town Departments including Engineering, Parks, Water and Highway.

    The Nike Base GI Town Trails Ribbon Cutting was held on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. The Nike Base Trail system consists of over 3 miles of six (6) marked trail loops. The trailhead is at Nike Base and allows access to ample parking. The trail network connects the West River Shoreline Trail to WNY Land Conservancy's Margery Gallogly Nature Preserve. The trails are a new addition to our system, well marked and a beautiful experience, see the map on the Town's Website.
    Prior to the Ribbon Cutting, NYS Assemblyman Angelo J Morinello, Mark Mistretta the Western District Director of NYS Parks, the Niagara River Greenway Commission, Gregory Stevens, Executive Director and Michelle Lockett, Community Engagement Manager along with Supervisor John Whitney, Councilman Pete Marston and members of the Town's Parks Department, Tom Cecere and Joe Killian, met to review Grand Island maps to discuss not just current progress but possible future projects for the residents of our community.

Parks Employees Create Holiday Cheer - November 2021

From left: Steven Mrzygut and David C. Cole.

    Town Parks employees David C. Cole and Steven Mrzygut are the guys to thank for festive holiday displays at the Nike Base and Town Commons. These are just a few of the cast of characters from holiday classics, that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

Erie County Clerk’s Zombies Taskforce Outreach - November 2021

From left: Code Enforcement Office, Ronald Milks, Town Supervisor John Whitney, Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns and Joe Kelemen, Executive Director of the Western New York Law Center.

   Erie County, NY - Erie County Clerk Michael P. “Mickey” Kearns, a long-time advocate in the fight against vacant and abandoned zombie homes, met with Town of Grand Island Supervisor John Whitney and Code Enforcement Officer Ronald Milks to discuss how the Erie County Clerk’s ZOMBIES Initiative can provide technical assistance and outreach services for municipalities and communities facing zombie foreclosures.
    The Erie County Clerk’s ZOMBIES Initiative is a collaboration between the Office of Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns and the Western New York (WNY) Law Center. The mission of the Task Force is to share ideas among key stakeholders, distribute strategies with proven results, identify obstacles, and create new ways of dealing with zombie properties. With the support and data from the County Clerk’s Office, the Task Force is able to identify those at risk for foreclosure sooner so that efforts can be made to prevent zombie properties. The ZOMBIES Initiative is defined as: Zero tolerance, Open lines of communication, Municipal participation, Bank accountability, Investment in neighborhoods, Engage & educate communities, and Solutions.
    Erie County Clerk Kearns and the ZOMBIES Initiative Team meet weekly with supervisors, mayors, and code enforcement officers in cities, towns and villages throughout Erie County to provide assistance and resources to municipalities and communities with zombie foreclosures before blight becomes an issue. “A zombie home is a vacant property in which the homeowner moves out of due to mortgage default and threat of foreclosure,” explained Joe Kelemen, Esq., Executive Director, of the WNY Law Center. “The home becomes a “zombie” because the bank has not completed the foreclosure process and in many some cases, the bank decides to abandon the foreclosure years after determining it no longer wants the property.” Kearns added, “Unfortunately, this allows the banks to reap the tax, insurance, and accounting benefits from documenting a loss. In turn, the zombies haunt former homeowners who find themselves legally liable for properties they did not even realize they still owned. All the while, the zombies bring down property values and negatively impact entire communities.”
    To learn more about the Erie County Clerk’s ZOMBIES initiative or report a vacant and abandoned home in your community go to eriecountyclerkzombies.com or call 716-858-6985.

Election Reflections - November 2021

By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
    America is special for many reasons. Chief among them is our belief in democracy and our commitment to free and fair elections. On November 2nd there were elections all over America, including right here in Erie County. Although it may be a few days before the final results are known in some of the closer contests, the mere holding of elections marked another victory for our nation.
    There are many people we need to thank for this, beginning with the candidates. The successful candidates probably don't need to be thanked, as they are happy to have won their elections. It is the candidates who came up short, however, that really deserve our praise. Without their willingness to step forward this democracy thing that we cherish would disappear.
    I have won 13 elections over the course of my life. But it is the 2 losses I remember the most. Losing isn't fun whether it's a football game or a night at the casino. But losing an election is different and far worse. Candidates put their lives on hold for a year or more, spend countless hours away from their families and spend considerable amounts of money on their campaigns. It really is the toughest job interview in the world. Winning an election makes all the sacrifices worth it. Losing leaves one with little but a basket full of regrets. So, we should all tip our hats to all the candidates in this year's elections, regardless of whether or not they won.
    We should also be grateful to the people the election workers who staffed the polls and worked behind the scenes to make sure everything ran smoothly. Looking around the country we can see all sorts of irregularities and claims of stolen elections. Here in New York State, though, we do elections right. This is in no small part due to the dedication of our various Boards of Elections and our bipartisan system. Democrats and Republicans share responsibility for the administration of elections from the state level, through the county level and right down to each individual polling place. At each level there's one Democrat for every Republican. One hand watches the other and it appears to work. Thank you to the many election inspectors who had to get up early on Election Day to be at the polls at 6 am and worked all the way until the polls close at 9 pm.
    The final group deserving of our gratitude, of course, are the voters. This year's voter turnout was not as great as last year's. This is not surprising, as the presidential election always pulls out more voters. But it is the local election years that impact citizens most directly, as they determine who will be in charge of providing the basic services upon which we all rely. Local elections are also where voters can make the most difference, as many contests are decided by a handful of votes.
    This year's elections are history. But before we move onto next year's, including a race for Governor, let's pause and thank once again all that made our democracy work for another year. 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.

10 Acre Forest Protected - November 2021

    The WNY Land Conservancy recently announced that they have purchased an ecologically significant 10.5-acre forest on Staley Road in Grand Island. This purchase is the result of the ongoing Greenway / Grand Island Land Protection Program, which began in 2018. The program - and the purchase of this forest - was supported by the Niagara River Greenway Commission and the Town of Grand Island, and was funded by the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee. With this purchase, they will establish the Funk Preserve, named after the landowner who chose to sell the property to us. There is no trail system, so the property is not open to the public. It is adjacent to a 39-acre Town-owned forest. A connecting trail system is possible in the future.

Anxiety & Depression Program - November 2021

    The Family Support Services program, an initiative of the Wellness Committee of the Grand Island Central School District, is extending an invitation to Islanders to participate in the first in-person presentation in its wellness education series. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the emotional well-being of children and teens. Shacarah Henry from Horizon Health Services will present “Anxiety and Depression in Children,” a program for participants to learn how to identify signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression and how to help children cope if they are struggling.
    The presentation will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 18, in the Grand Viking Theater of Grand Island High School, 1100 Ransom Road. The presentation can be attended virtually at this link: https://events.locallive.tv/events/63613. Those with questions about the presentation, or those seeking emotional support for a child, can email Jessica Hutchings, Family Support Services coordinator, at jessicahutchings@gicsd.org.

Morinello Staff to Hold November Grand Island Mobile Office Hours - November 2021

    The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, November 16th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Grand Island Town Hall. Residents and elected officials are welcome and encouraged to stop by to address any ideas or concerns they may have.

Nike Base GI Town Trails Ribbon Cutting - November 2021

   A ribbon cutting to officially open the Nike Base GI Town Trails will take place on Wednesday, November 10th at 10:00 a.m. at the Nike Base, 3278 Whitehaven Road. See flyer.

GI Councilman Election Results - November 2021

   Election Breakdown - Erie County Board of Elections Results
   Peter J. Marston Jr. - 3898
   Christian J. Bahleda - 3431
   Richard D. D'Agostino - 1918
   John T. Mikkelson - 1748

State Parks Rangers Needed for 2022 Season - November 2021

    Know anyone who has ever thought about being a seasonal Park Ranger? State Parks is recruiting Rangers for the 2022 season to handle duties that focus on protecting park patrons and park property. Park Rangers are there to assist and guide patrons, as well as enforce park rules and regulations through voluntary compliance where possible. Park Rangers patrol campgrounds, beaches, cabin areas, marinas, trails, gorges, picnic areas, and park buildings. Park Rangers are generally hired to work from mid-May through Labor Day, although some assignments can run beyond that. Park Rangers act as security guards for NYS Parks and are neither police nor peace officers.
    Recruitment for the positions, which pay $20.56 an hour, runs through December. There are openings in all 11 regions of State Parks. Applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time of appointment, have a high school diploma or equivalent, have a valid driver’s license, meet physical and medical standards, and pass a background investigation and a 24-hour security guard training certification. For more information about this position visit: Park Ranger Employment Questions? contact (518) 474-5030, or email: ParkRangerRecruitment@parks.ny.gov.

Grand Island Town Council Candidates Respond to CRED4GI Questionnaire - November 2021

    One of the primary goals of our organization is to inform and educate Grand Island residents about responsible economic development. We have a very important election coming up next Tuesday, November 2nd, to elect two members to our Town Council. CRED4GI sent a short questionnaire out to each of the four candidates running for Town Council. We are a non-political 501c3 non-profit and will not endorse any particular candidate for local office. Our aim is to educate residents as to the views of each of the candidates towards responsible economic development on Grand Island, so that you may have this information to register an informed vote. We only received responses back from two of the four candidates (D'Agostino and Mikkelson). Pete Marston and Christian Bahleda did not respond to our questionnaire. Here are links to the two responses we did receive: Rich D'Agostino and John Mikkelson.

No More UNICEF Boxes - October 2021

Story by Mrs. Lenore Tetkowski

    No more iconic UNICEF boxes! The global and domestic Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF will change to socially distanced and internet events!
    Long ago the “Children Helping Children” triggered my emotions. As a young mother in our Grand Island Cooperative Nursery School I participated in a new project at Halloween: Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. I learned that soon after the end of World War II, in 1950 a small group of children had organized to combine Halloween collecting candy for themselves to also carrying little decorated milk cartons, and ask for coins for the starving children in far away places. That idea quickly took hold throughout the United States, and became part of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.
    Soon I became Chair of that activity. As my children moved on, I continued to reach other parts of our community. Local churches and businesses helped. In each of those early years the opening of the little orange boxes took place in my kitchen. My children and a few neighbor friends helped roll coins in papers from the bank, and I would send the total to UNICEF in New York City. As president of the PTA I got School District permission to distribute boxes to all our schools.
    Wonderful age-appropriate materials were sent for the teachers to use in their classrooms. There were displays in bank windows. Photos of our school age kids in their costumes carrying the boxes were in the local newspaper. Many dedicated friends and the Girl Scouts helped, and there were annual “opening and sorting nights”. I would get empty canvas bank bags which would be filled and returned, and for years the bank would produce the final check for UNICEF.
    In 1965 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to UNICEF. President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation of October 31 as National UNICEF Day. Years later our Town Supervisors would proclaim Grand Island’s UNICEF DAY. In 1978 Hal Pierce joined enthusiastically, leading his Boy Scouts Troop 254 and Explorers to adopt the annual program. Troop 510 continued diligently for ten years! Hal kept meticulous records of the great many individuals who helped!
    In 2010 to celebrate the 60th year of Trick-or Treating for UNICEF, 25 schools across the country were chosen to have a special program with a visitor from New York City. Grand Island was one of the chosen 25, and I was proud to meet the representative from UNICEF from New York City, who came to assemblies at Huth Road School and Kaegebein School to present a Power Point Program showing the work that UNICEF does for children around the world. In 2013 at a Grand Island Town Board Meeting I was honored for Chairing the UNICEF program since 1952. A few years ago other dedicated former teachers took over and a high school service club assisted, continuing this tradition until its end.
    After 70 years Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has raised more than 180 million dollars to support children with healthcare, nutrition, safe water, education, emergency relief and more. Here on Grand Island we averaged about $2,000 each year. A great many of you generously helped. Many hearty thanks! Needs continue. Millions of children across the globe face additional threats due to Covid. You can still help by contributing directly to U. S. Fund for UNICEF, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, New York 10038. Many of us will miss the participation of our kids in their costumes ringing our doorbells. I will miss being a part of this long-running community tradition!

Indoor Parade to Honor Veterans - October

    Grand Island schools to honor veterans with indoor parade Wednesday, November 10th.
    An indoor parade through the halls of Grand Island middle and high schools will honor U.S. veterans from the Grand Island community. Veterans from the Grand Island American Legion Post 1346 and Charles N. DeGlopper VFW Post 9249 and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station have been invited to walk in the parade, which is scheduled for Wednesday, November 10th. Students from both buildings will line the halls holding mini-U.S. flags, cheering, clapping and thanking veterans. "We are very proud of our U.S. veterans and the service they gave to our country. We wanted to honor them in a very personal way by inviting them to our buildings," said Dr. Brian Graham, superintendent of Grand Island Central School District.
    The parade route will begin in front of the Veronica E. Connor Middle School Library, go through middle school classroom hallways, and end at the high school auditorium. Recognition of veterans and a brief program conducted by the high school chorus ensemble and high school band will follow. The event will conclude with breakfast prepared by district food service staff. Grand Island Veterans are asked to register for the event by calling 773-8830.
    Parade Schedule: Veronica E. Connor Middle School/Grand Island High School complex is located at 1100 Ransom Road, Grand Island. Parking is available in the front lot.
    7:45 a.m.: U.S. veterans and color guards (Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 9249), will assemble in the Connor Middle School Library.
    8:15 a.m.: The parade will begin at the middle school library and make its way through the middle school and high school ending in the Grand Viking Theater of Grand Island High School (auditorium). Students at both buildings will line the hallways as the parade passes.
    9:00-10:30 a.m.: The parade will end at the Grand Viking Theater. A program with brief remarks and a performance by the high school chorus and band ensembles will follow. Afterwards, breakfast will be served for the veterans in attendance.

Initial Look at the 2022 Budget - October

By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
    The Erie County Legislature will soon begin the process of examining, deliberating, amending and passing Erie County’s 2022 Budget which the County Executive submitted earlier this month. Disposing of the budget is, perhaps, the most important thing the Legislature does every year. This is because the budget is above all else a policy document. Through the allocation of funds, we reveal our priorities by literally putting our money where our mouth is.
    The Executive’s $1.8 billion proposal contains funding for the services provided by various county departments. Much of the proposed spending simply keeps existing programs and services operating at current levels and, therefore, will probably not be very controversial. But there are some noteworthy aspects of the Executive’s budget that deserve further attention.
    One area that fares well in the County Executive’s plan is funding for county roads. During my tenure on the Legislature, I have consistently advocated for more road funding. As a result, we have been able to steadily improve the county’s highway system and allowed it to finally recover from the neglect it received due to the disastrous Red and Green Budget fiasco of 2005. Today the roads in Grand Island and the Town of Tonawanda are among the best in the county system. There is still room for improvement, though, and funds are included in the 2022 Executive Budget to make this possible. Under the plan submitted by County Executive Poloncarz, portions of Kenmore Avenue and Elmwood Avenue would undergo major reconstruction. Funds are also included to improve other sections of the county highway system.
    The Executive has also included a number of initiatives in his 2022 budget. One of the most intriguing involves spending $9 million on a welfare to work program designed to address the so-called “benefits cliff” encountered by people trying to better themselves. The problem is that when people go to work or obtain better paying jobs, they lose their eligibility for public benefits. As a result, they find themselves worse off at the end of the day when this loss of benefits is considered. So, there is a perverse incentive for them to remain on welfare rather than go to work. The Executive’s plan would allow them to continue receiving partial benefits so they will be better off working.
    The lion’s share of local revenue to support the spending plan will once again come from the county’s share of sales tax. In the last couple years sales tax receipts have been all over the board. They nosedived last year when the pandemic shut down much of our local economy. But then they came roaring back this year as businesses opened back up. Sales tax revenue is expected to continue to increase next year. The property tax rate called for by the Executive’s budget will drop by 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to what Poloncarz refers to as an “historic low.”
    This, however, is just the Executive’s take on the budget. We in the Legislature will have our say before we adopt next year’s budget at our December 2 meeting. In the meantime, I welcome your comments on the proposed budget. 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.

Grand Island Water Billing Department Reminder - October 2021

    The Town of Grand Island Water Billing Department would like to remind residents that any past due amounts not paid by 10/31/21 will be added to the 2022 Town/County tax bill. If you are a resident or small business that has experienced a change in financial circumstances due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, you may be eligible for a deferred payment plan and relief from relevy on 10/31/21. Supporting documentation may be required. Forms are available upon request, on-line at www.grandisland.ny.us (see Departments/Water Billing) and in the Town Clerk’s office. For further information, please contact the Water Billing Department at (716) 773-9600 ext 614 no later than October 24, 2021.

Grand Island New Certified Climate Smart Community - October 2021

   Grand Island, NY - Grand Island is proud to announce that it has achieved a Bronze Level Certification in New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program, by completing and documenting clean energy and conservation efforts across all municipal buildings and departments.
    “This designation is a tremendous honor and a humbling recognition,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Baney, who also serves as the Town of Grand Island’s Clean Energy Coordinator. “With the exception of Erie County and The City of Buffalo, no municipality within Western New York has accomplished what is required to receive this designation. Over 30 employees invested their time into this effort, in addition to efforts by The Town of Grand Island CSC Task Force and support from Jason Kulaszewski and Heike Jacob, through The University at Buffalo Regional Institute.”
    “We’re happy for the Town,” shared Kulaszewski. “They committed to bringing community and government together to reach this goal and were able to do so in only 6 months after taking the pledge in April. That’s a big deal! With sustainability as one of UBRI’s pillars, it’s rewarding to work with communities that embrace sustainability practices that have a positive impact on our community. The UB Regional Institute (UBRI) provides free technical assistance to local governments as part of the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities program; which includes the DEC’s Climate Smart initiative.”
    Supervisor Whitney, when asked about the designation, was proud of the efforts by many in achieving this ambitious goal. “Not only does this designation set us apart as an environmental leader within the state, it opens opportunities for grant funding that would not otherwise be accessible. Access to additional funding benefits all of Grand Island, and I recognize this accomplishment as a win for our entire community.”
    Throughout the fall, Grand Island’s accomplishment will be shared in various publications throughout New York State, with their official award arriving mid-November. For additional questions, feel free to contact Councilwoman Jennifer Baney at (716) 622-9006 or jbaney@grand-island.ny.us.

Morinello Staff to Hold October Grand Island Mobile Office Hours - October 2021

    The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, October 5th and Tuesday, October 19th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Grand Island Town Hall. Residents and elected officials are welcome and encouraged to stop by to address any ideas or concerns they may have.

Child Passenger Safety Check - September 2021

    Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard announced that a car seat check has been added to GI. Thursday, September 23 - Grand Island Veterans Park, 1845 Bedell Rd, 4-8:00 p.m.

Grand Island Waterfowl Blind Drawings - September 2021

   Beaver Island State Park, West River Parkway, Strawberry & Motor Islands
    The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have announced that lottery drawings for Waterfowl Hunting Season have been scheduled at Beaver Island State Park. Duck season will run from October 16 through January 2, Goose season will run from October 16 through January 13, 2022 and Waterfowl Youth Days are October 1 – 2. ALL blinds will be issued electronically so a valid email is required.
   To participate in the lottery drawings, hunters must visit https://parks.ny.gov/parks/beaverisland/details.aspx , click on the hunting tab, then select the corresponding blind occupancy dates. Awarded lottery dates are in blocks of 3-4 days, weekends are split, block links include link expiration times and winner notification times. Hunters will also be notified if a blind has been not been awarded. The link will direct hunters to fill in the survey and submit to get a blind. Hunters will be emailed their blind permit and access instructions. Hunters must have a valid NYS Small Game Hunting license with a signed duck stamp, proof of completion of a Waterfowl ID course and proof of registration in the Harvest Information Program (HIP). The lottery is currently open for submissions.
    Blinds #33 is no longer available. State Parks will be including three (3) ADA blinds which are handicap accessible. Blind #31 is located within Beaver Island State Park and Blinds #41 & #42 are located on East River Road at Spicer Creek Wildlife Management Area (north of the cemetery). Waterfowl hunting is restricted to the wooden Universal Blind structure only. For further information, you may contact the Park Office at (716)773-3271 between 8:15am and 4:15pm Monday- Friday.

Vote for Island Projects - September 2021

    The Tonawanda Community Environmental Benefit Program – a program of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of the Attorney General – is making up to $1 million in grants available for projects that will improve the environment or public health in the Tonawanda/Grand Island community. The Program is considering 25 project proposals and seeking your help in selecting which ones to fund. This September 20 – 26th , eligible Grand Island/Tonawanda/NT community residents may cast a ballot in-person or online for the projects you want for your community.
    Three projects with direct benefit to Grand Island are:
    Western New York Land Conservancy: New Nature Preserves, Improving Public Access, Restoring Habitats, and Offering Environmental Education. Grant Amount: $160,777. On Grand Island: at the Gallogly Nature Sanctuary, funding will restore habitat for nesting birds, and improve the existing trail and entrance; at the Love Road Preserve, it will open a new walking trail and restore its forests; at the Alt Preserve, funding will protect the forest and meadow with a conservation easement, and the landowners will open a walking trail system; and at the Funk Preserve, the funds will purchase the forest and restore habitat for frogs and salamanders. At all of these preserves, the Land Conservancy and Buffalo Audubon will lead hikes, volunteer days, and environmental education for children. If this project is chosen, there is a $160k matching grant offered.
    Erie County Department of Environment and Planning
Subsidized Community Rain Barrel/Compost Bin Sale
Grant Amount: $25,000. Location: Buffalo, City of Tonawanda, Grand Island, Kenmore, North Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda
Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, as the lead agency for the WNY Stormwater Coalition, provides technical guidance to 40 municipalities to assist them with New York State stormwater permit compliance as well as community-based environmental programs. One long-standing initiative is an annual rain barrel and compost bin sale. For the sale, Erie County staff work with a contractor to set up a website for the purchases and to schedule dates for customer pick up. This grant will provide a 50 percent subsidy to offset the cost of purchasing a rain barrel or compost bin by residents in the Tonawanda community. The subsidy will benefit a potential minimum of 338 people (if all customers purchase both items) and a maximum of 676 (if all customers purchase one item).
    Citizen Coalition for Wildlife and Environment project, entitled: Plant for Nature! Ecological Gardening for Community Health and Native Plant Giveaway
Recent scientific research has demonstrated that ecosystems that are healthy and biodiverse are crucial to public health. Although awareness is rising that mature and healthy ecosystems are a necessity, we are witnessing an unprecedented loss of species and habitat. In New York State, only approximately 550 square miles of old-growth forest remain–or .01 percent of the state landmass. It is no surprise that 37 percent of NY State's native plants, vertebrate animals, and ecosystems are in jeopardy of extinction, and 7 percent may have already been lost. The grant will allow the Citizen Coalition for Wildlife and Environment to host a one-day event that will educate and provide tools to community members for achieving immediate and tangible improvements to our surrounding environment. It will emphasize actions that contribute to healthier ecological systems–such as planting native trees, bushes, flowers, and grasses–which will improve our social and public health. The event will include a plant giveaway to allow participants to transform their yards promoting biodiversity and ecological balance. In addition, local environmental organizations will host tables at the event and share resources to help citizens become better stewards of their surrounding environment. By working together, we can empower the community to foster ecological health.
    Starting September 20, visit this website and make your selections by clicking on your preferred projects. You may choose up to six projects in each Tier. You must select at least one project in each Tier to submit your ballot. A box with a green check mark in the top right corner of the project will indicate you have selected it after clicking on it. If you chose a project in error, click on the project again to uncheck it.    You can also vote in person by visiting the Grand Island Memorial Library from September 20 – 26. Each library will have an overview poster, paper ballots and information about the projects.

Plaza Mural Destroyed - September 2021

    In 2012 Corey McGowan spearheaded a beautification project to enhance the back of the GI Plaza facing Baseline Road. The 250 foot long mural was designed and painted by artist Terry Klaaren and included the bridges, Buckhorn and Burnt Ship Creek, the gazebo at Town Commons, BLC range light, statues of Charles DeGlopper and Charlotte Sidway and other historic sites.
    Recently, plaza owner Don Singh had the mural painted over with white paint, reportedly to give the plaza a "fresh look". He intends to put in 10 truck bays in that area for a storage/warehouse facility. This is just months after time and money were spent to correct damage from vandals, which was ok'ed by Mr. Singh.

Crisis and Opportunity - September 2021

By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
    I have long subscribed to the belief that in every crisis there is opportunity. I hope this is the case with our current governmental crisis in New York State.
    As we endured the heat wave last month, I thought of another August, some 47 years ago. I was between my junior and senior years in high school. It was a Thursday and I had recently been elected as the student council’s representative to the board of education. The board met that evening of August 8, 1974 and I was in attendance. Fortunately, it was a short meeting, as I can remember rushing to a nearby friend’s house just in time to watch President Richard M. Nixon announce that he was resigning.
    The following morning, I was glued to the television again, as President Nixon addressed the White House Staff in one of the rawest, most emotional political speeches I have ever seen. Shortly thereafter he departed on Marine One for Andrews Air Force Base where he boarded Air Force One for the trip to his home in California. By the time the plane touched down, he was simply Citizen Nixon.
    After the resignation took effect, Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States. In his first address to the nation on that Friday afternoon of August 9, 1974, he assured the American people that, “our long national nightmare is over.” Looking back on the years that followed, President Ford did not solve all of our nation’s woes. But what he did do is to begin to restore trust in the presidency. Despite the problems that plagued the nation during his tenure as president in the mid-1970s, I had no doubt that there was a decent, caring man in the Oval Office. This, for me, was very important and for that, I am thankful.
    Fast forward 47 years and one day to Tuesday, August 10. I watched another disgraced leader, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, announce his resignation. I had flashbacks to the Nixon resignation almost half a century earlier. I thought about the person who, like Gerald Ford, would suddenly be thrust into an important leadership role. This time, though, I personally knew the person, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. I had worked with her in my capacity as an Erie County Legislator during her tenure as Erie County Clerk. I knew of her ability to supervise an office and her persistence to make sure that things got done efficiently and effectively. More importantly, I knew of her decency.
    A couple weeks later, she was sworn in as our new Governor. She made history as the first female to hold that office. As important as this milestone, however, is the opportunity she has to change the direction in which the state is moving. We all know that we are not out of the health and economic crises resulting from the pandemic. Governor Hochul will have the opportunity to put the transgressions of the Cuomo Administration behind us in pursuing policies that move us forward. We need to help her seize this opportunity by putting our personal differences aside and pledge to support her efforts. Excelsior!
    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.

2021/22 School Tax Bills Mailed - September 2021

   Town Clerk Patricia A. Frentzel announced that the 2021/22 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 9, 2021, 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 14 and Friday, October 15, 2021. 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, 2021. After this date, payments must be sent to the County.

Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show Photos - September 2021



Mary Stewart Photos.

   The Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show took place at the Buffalo Launch Club on Saturday, September 11th and was well attended. There were boats of all kinds, a car show and activities for children.

School Tax Bills Mailed - September 2021

L – R First Row: Linda Clark, Martha Mueller, Suzanne Mueller.
L- R Back Row: Lorraine Wilcox, Kathy Lechner, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Jean Schlegal, Pat Ehlinger, Jeri Benzing

    Thanks to members of the Golden Age Center, school tax bills are in the mail. These volunteers help in January and September each year to help Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel.

Clean Up Grand Island - September 2021

    FLYER - On Saturday, September 18th, from 9am until 12pm, The Town of Grand Island and The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce are partnering with civic groups, local agencies, and environmentally-minded residents to participate in an additional Clean Up Grand Island. With such a significant response during our spring event and additional requests for another organized effort, the Island will be again cleaning up together.
    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. Please keep in mind this is also the day of the Town of Grand Island E-Waste Drive sponsored by Casella, taking place in the Town Hall Parking Lot. Volunteers will be needed for some additional clean-up areas that have been identified. A map will be posted online showing the areas and the committee requests that you contact a member listed on the flier if volunteering to clean in a certain area.
    Underage volunteers must be accompanied by an adult. Participants are encouraged to wear proper attire (gloves, work boots), sunscreen, insect repellent and stay hydrated. Additionally, groups wishing to work along heavily trafficked roads should speak with Highway Superintendent Crawford to be aware of regulations and safety practices required. If you have any questions, please contact Dick Crawford, Highway Superintendent, at 716-773-9632, Jennifer Baney, Town Councilwoman, at 716-622-9006 or Eric Fiebelkorn at 319-7292.

Erie County Highway Paving Projects Underway - September 2021

   The Erie County Highway Department is paving Huth Road on Tuesday, September 7th and East River, between Broadway and the Whitehaven Cemetary on Wednesday & Thursday, September 8 & 9.

Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show - September 2021

    The Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show will take place at the Buffalo Launch Club on Saturday, September 11th from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Open to the public! Free admission with paid parking ($10/car).
    The Niagara Frontier Antique and Classic Boats Club is a not-for-profit organization focused on the appreciation of and dedication to the restoration of Antique & Classic Boats. They are a Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society, an international organization of wooden and classic boat lovers from around the world. This is one of the largest Antique and Classic Boat Shows in the United States and Canada each September. The 2021 event at the Buffalo Launch Club will feature Turcotte Gar Wood Custom Boats of Brant Lake, NY. http://www.garwoodcustomboats.com/
    The Buffalo Launch Club enjoys a unique position in the history of the Niagara frontier, as well as, the national scene. When the Buffalo Launch Club was formed in 1903 it was the first Power Boat Club in North America, if not the world, and contributed much to the recognition of our area. In 1908 The club was responsible for the first boat show ever held between New York City and Chicago and had received national acclaim as a number one power boat club in United States. In the ‘40s and ‘50s the Buffalo Launch Club also receive national and international recognition for the speed boat regattas they sponsored and which attracted the top boat drivers in the world.

Morinello Staff to Hold September Grand Island Mobile Office Hours - September 2021

    The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, September 7th and Tuesday, September 21st from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Grand Island Town Hall. Residents and elected officials are welcome and encouraged to stop by to address any ideas or concerns they may have.

Grand Island Tree Inventory - August 2021

    The Town of Grand Island has received a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grant to inventory all trees on Grand Island town roads (right of way) and parks. The inventory will commence the week of August 30, 2021 and be concluded in fall 2021. The inventory will be conducted by Davey Resource Group. The inventory will provide GPS location and health status of all trees on Grand Island town roads (right of way) and parks, as well as vacant town sites for potential future tree plantings. The inventory will yield a Community Forest Tree Management Plan to guide future tree maintenance on Grand Island town roads (right of way) and parks. For further information contact: parks@grand-island.ny.us or, highway@grand-island.ny.us.

ConnectLife Blood Drive - August 2021

    ConnectLife Blood Drive on Tuesday, August 31st, 12pm - 5:00 p.m. at the Town of Grand Island Highway Department, 1820 Baseline Road. Visit ConnectLifeGiveBlood.org or call 716.529.4270 to make an appointment. Use sponser code 000252. See FLYER.

Branch Pick-Up Guidelines - August 2021

   Superintendent of Highways Richard Crawford, Jr. recently posted guidelines for Town of Grand Island branch pick-up service. This service is for routine homeowner trimming only. See Guidelines for Branch Pick-Up Service.

National Fuel Joins Coalition - August 2021

   HOUSTON – August 25, 2021 - Our Nation’s Energy Future (“ONE Future”) today announced that National Fuel Gas Company (National Fuel) (NYSE: NFG) has joined the Coalition. National Fuel is a diversified energy organization headquartered in Western New York that operates an integrated collection of natural gas and oil assets across four business segments: exploration and production, pipeline and storage, gathering, and utility. “For more than 100 years, National Fuel has maintained operational excellence in Western New York and Northwest Pennsylvania,” said Richard Hyde, Executive Director, ONE Future. “National Fuel’s extensive knowledge of natural gas assets, coupled with its geographic reach will provide our existing members with invaluable information around emissions reduction, and I am confident National Fuel will grow from our learnings, too.”
    The ONE Future Coalition is a group of natural gas companies working together to voluntarily reduce methane emissions across the natural gas value chain to 1% (or less) by 2025 and is comprised of some of the largest natural gas production, gathering & boosting, processing, transmission & storage and distribution companies in the U.S. and represents more than 15% of the U.S. natural gas value chain. As a ONE Future member, National Fuel will report its 2021 methane results within the Production, Gathering & Boosting, Transmission & Storage and Distribution sectors; and hold a seat on the board of directors.
    “National Fuel goes back nearly two centuries to the very formation of the natural gas industry, and we have been in exploration and production for more than 100 years. We pride ourselves in fueling the daily lives of the families and businesses that call the regions in which we operate, home,” said David P. Bauer, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Fuel. “Our commitment to responsible business operations is rooted in six guiding principles: Safety, Environmental Stewardship, Community, Innovation, Satisfaction and Transparency. Our membership with ONE Future is a natural fit with these beacons.” Through the efforts of coalition members, ONE Future has surpassed its one percent goal in each of the three years that it has reported its methane intensity. The 2019 Methane Intensity Report, released in November 2020, registered a 2019 methane intensity number of 0.334%: beating its one percent goal by 67%. This means that methane emissions by coalition members across the natural gas value chain consisted of only about one-third of one percent of all natural gas produced and delivered, demonstrating that the natural gas industry can minimize methane emissions and increase production and throughput while supplying much needed energy to the U.S. and around the globe for years to come.

Ransom Road Closure - August 2021

   Ransom Road will be closed Tuesday & Wednesday, August 17 & 18th at 861 Ransom Road, just east of Sturbridge Lane. Grand Island Highway Department will be replacing 48" pipe under the road.

National Night Out Photos - August 2021

Mary Stewart Photos.

   Grand Island celebrated National Night Out on Tuesday, August 3rd at the Town Commons. This annual event promotes police-community partnerships and is a community building campaign. Many residents gathered to listen to the Erie County Wind Ensemble and enjoy the Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary chicken bbq. Nearly a dozen local law enforcement and emergency response agencies displayed their equipment.

Kearns Recognizes GI Veteran - August 2021

Pictured with County Clerk Kearns is the wife of Grand Island resident Joseph V. Caffery, Sandra Caffery (left) and his daughters, Eileen Torrance(middle) and Linda Richter(right).

    Erie County Clerk Kearns presented Certificates of Recognition and Purple Heart pins to the family of U.S. Army veterans and brothers, Joseph V. Caffery and John J. Caffery during a ceremony honoring service members whose names were added to the 2021 edition of the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit that is kept on permanent display in the Erie County Clerk's Office. “An estimated 1.8 million Americans have earned that venerable award, however commemoration of those who earned the Purple Heart have been eclipsed by COVID-19,” stated Kearns. “This is just one more reason for all of us to take time to honor and thank the many service men and women who fought and lost their lives or received life-altering injury protecting our great country.”
   National Purple Heart Day is observed August 7th of each year and dedicated to remembering and honoring the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who were wounded on the battlefield or lost their lives ought in combat operations. 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.
    “It is my esteemed honor to present the 2021 Purple Heart Recipient Names being added to the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Book of Merit,” said Kearns. “The lack of records on Purple Heart recipients was always a surprise to me. As the chief document and records holder for the county, I wanted to create a way for the names of Purple Heart Recipients to be acknowledged and remembered.” The 2021 volume of the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit holds the names of an additional twenty-two (22) Purple Heart Recipients from across Erie County, which will be added to the existing four hundred eight one (481).
   The book is named after Buffalo native and leading advocate for the Central Intelligence Agency, William J. Donovan. Prior to becoming known as the “Father of American Intelligence”, Donovan served in the United States Infantry and was one of the first units deployed to Europe during World War I. Donovan would receive three Purple Hearts during his service in the military, and would go on to heard the predecessor of the CIA, during World War II.
    This year’s ceremony was held in front Old County Hall, home to the Erie County Clerk’s Office, and fittingly at the statue of President George Washington. The ceremony began with a welcome from County Clerk Kearns, followed by the raising of the Purple Heart Flag. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by World War II Veteran Dr. John Long, and the National Anthem was performed by Cordell Hopkins from the Buffalo Academy of Performing Arts. Kearns presented Certificates of Recognition and Purple Heart pins to recipients or their family members as the honoree’s names and branch of service was read aloud.
    Within 9 months the Purple Heart was awarded to the two brothers from South Buffalo, Staff Sgt. Joseph V. Caffery was wounded on Luzon. His brother John J. Caffery was wounded in Normandy on D-Day. Upon his return, Joseph Caffery resided on Grand Island with his wife, Sandra and three daughters, Eileen, Linda and Pat. The William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit will be on permanent display at the Erie County Clerk’s Office inside Old County Hall at 92 Franklin Street. Along with the book, there are also historical photos of William Donovan, a portrait of Donovan, and a World War I era Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters donated to the Clerk’s Office. Submissions for the 2022 Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit are currently being accepted online at erie.gov/clerk/purpleheartform or by contacting the County Clerk’s office at 716-858-6787. “I think it is important to honor the brave men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. They deserve to be recognized and I am happy we are able to keep a record of our local heroes at the Erie County Clerk’s Office,” added Kearns.

Call Before You Dig - August 2021

    (Aug. 11, 2021) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - In recognition of National 8/11 Day, National Fuel reminds homeowners and professional contractors to Call Before You Dig. New York state law requires professional contractors to call 811 - a free service - before digging to prevent accidental damage to underground utility lines. Homeowners and contractors should call 811 at least two and no more than 10 business days in advance of the start of their projects. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions, and costly repairs.
   Homeowners can also visit call811.com to learn more. The national 811 phone number connects callers with local One Call Centers. Operators record the excavation locations and notify National Fuel. National Fuel then dispatches professional locators to mark the approximate positioning of lines for free. It’s a fast, easy way to be safe and protect those within the vicinity of the project. “All excavation projects - even small or shallow digging home-improvement projects like planting trees and shrubs or installing a fence or mailbox require a call,” said Emily Ciraolo, spokesperson for National Fuel. “Many of the pipeline leaks and emergencies we respond to each year occur when homeowners and businesses dig on their properties without knowing the location of underground utility lines. These types of accidents can be easily avoided by calling 811 before you dig.”
   The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a national association representing the utility industry and committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure, states that:
  • There are more than 20 million miles of underground utilities in the U.S. This figure equates to more than one football field’s length (105 yards) of buried utilities for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.
  • By calling 811 before digging, the likelihood of damaging a utility line is less than 1%.
  • Of those homeowners who plan to dig for projects like landscaping, installing a fence or mailbox, or building a deck, pond, or patio, 36% will put themselves and their communities at risk by not calling 811 before digging.
        Smell gas? Leave fast! As always, if you smell gas, leave fast! If a rotten-egg natural gas odor is present, leave the premises immediately and call National Fuel's emergency line, 1-800-444-3130, from a different location. If you smell gas outdoors, leave the area immediately, call National Fuel’s emergency number and provide the address nearest to the site of the odor. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit www.nationalfuel.com/utility/gas-safety.

    Morinello Staff to Hold August Grand Island Mobile Office Hours - August 2021

        The staff of Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I-Niagara Falls) will hold mobile office hours on Tuesday, Aug. 10 and Tuesday Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Grand Island Town Hall. Residents and elected officials are welcome and encouraged to stop by to address any ideas or concerns they may have.

    Huth Road Road Work - August 2021

        Road work is scheduled by Erie County for Tuesday - Thursday, August 9 - August 11, 2021 on Huth Road. The scope of work includes the replacement of two culvert pipes in areas just behind the school playground (1728 and 1754 Huth). Please be prepared for road closure.

    Volunteer Opportunities for Town Boards and Committee - July 2021

        The Town of Grand Island is looking to form a Complete Streets Committee. The purpose of The Complete Streets Committee is to develop an Implementation Plan based on our Town Board approved policy. Those interested would need a willingness and work collaboratively with others to help future roadways and road projects as accessible as possible for roadway users. There will be an opportunity to work with town employees and other community members on developing processes, guidelines, and recommendations as it related to roadways and trail systems.
        The Town of Grand Island also has a vacancy to fill on The Board of Architectural Review. At the request of the Town building inspector, this board reviews applications for building permits for excessive uniformity, dissimilarity, inappropriateness, or poor quality of design, to determine if the exterior appearance of the proposed building or home is appropriate for the location in which it is planned. Please send your resume and or qualifications to the attention of Rhonda Diehl by Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Email: rdiehl@grand-island.ny.us Or mail or Drop off to: Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.

    National Fuel Meter Reading Info. - July 2021

        (July 19, 2021) Williamsville, N.Y. – National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel or the Utility) wants to remind residential customers that timely meter readings ensure accurate billing. National Fuel owns, maintains, and uses meters to measure how much natural gas is used by its customers. Outside meters will be read by a National Fuel representative on or about the scheduled date noted on your bill. It’s important to make sure the path to the meter as well as the meter is unobstructed all year round. If the meter is inside, a National Fuel representative will visit the customer’s property on or about the scheduled date noted on their bill. For their safety, customers should always confirm that the National Fuel employee has proper company identification before letting them inside. It usually takes just a few minutes to complete the reading. Please note: Indoor meter readings have been on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, they will be resumed soon. Affected customers will be notified accordingly.In addition to readings, National Fuel is required by New York state law to perform periodic leakage surveys and atmospheric corrosion inspections on the meter and associated piping located inside customers’ properties.
        When access is not provided for this purpose, National Fuel is required to notify the customer that gas service may be shut off until this safety inspection is permitted to take place. To avoid the shutoff, customers should call National Fuel at 716-827-5560 to schedule the inspection. For more information on that notice as well as important rights and responsibilities under the Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA), please visit www.nationalfuel.com/utility/your-meter-ny-home-business. Finally, a meter reading schedule allows customers to call and report their accurate monthly meter readings to the Utility. To request a schedule, please call 716-686-6123 or 1-800-365-3234. As always, if you smell gas, leave fast! If a rotten-egg natural gas odor is present, leave the premises immediately and call National Fuel's emergency line, 1-800-444-3130, from a different location. If you smell gas outdoors, leave the area immediately, call National Fuel’s emergency number and provide the address nearest to the site of the odor. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit www.nationalfuel.com/utility/gas-safety.

    Crisis and Opportunity - July 2021

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
       A year ago we had yet to see the worst of the Covid-19 Crisis. Even so, we in the County Legislature knew quick action was needed to make up for the loss of sales tax and other revenues. So we made well over $100 million dollars in painful cuts. A number of jobs were cut in the process. Some were vacant. But many were not and people were laid off. The anticipated loss of revenue also impacted our 2021 Erie County Budget, as we were expecting deep cuts in state aid signaled by the Governor.
        Fast forward to this year and the picture is very different. Congress has passed the American Rescue Plan which provides bountiful assistance to Erie County and municipalities across the nation. In addition, the deep cuts in state aid never materialized. As a result, local governments in New York State received a financial windfall. What a difference a year makes!
        Although our new found money cannot bring back the almost 2,000 county residents claimed by the pandemic, it can help improve the quality of life for those of us who suffered through the last year and a half. Together with input from individual county legislators, County Executive Mark Poloncarz crafted a plan to make the most of our historic opportunity.
        The $123 million we had to spend came primarily from two sources. The first was one-half of our federal American Rescue Plan allocation. We will get the second half next year. The federal regulations prohibit us from using this money for reducing taxes. So it is a case of “use it or lose it.” In addition, much of this money can only be used for certain things, such as specific types of infrastructure. The second source of funds was from revenue we did not expect when we put together the 2021 Budget.
        The spending plan we agreed upon was heavy on capital improvements. These included repairs to county park facilities and a number of sewer and water lines. The money we spent on sewers was not sexy, but it was necessary. I have never been to a ribbon cutting for a new sewer line, but I have gotten phone calls from homeowners whose sewer was backed up and flooding their basements. Spending this money now should minimize those calls in the future.
        We also funded a number of projects in Grand Island and the Tonawandas which I suggested to the County Executive. Chief among these is money for repairs and enhancements to the Miracle League’s facility on Grand Island. The organization provides a venue at which children with a wide range of physical and mental challenges from all over the region are able to experience the joy of playing baseball. The project includes a splash pad near the diamond, which will benefit the residents of Grand Island. Other funds were allocated to the Boys Club of the Northtowns, the Tonawanda American Little League, the Tonawanda Football Clinic, and various veterans’ organizations. All in all, the planned expenditures should go a long way toward making Erie County an even nicer place to live, work and raise a family. If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.

    West River Trail Landscape Plan Meeting - July 2021

        The Niagara Region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced a second public information meeting to review the landscape plan along the West River Greenway Trail on Grand Island. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 20 from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Rd, Grand Island, NY 14072. A presentation about the landscape plan will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. and be followed by discussion.
        For details on the plan or to view a previously held virtual meeting on the landscape plan, please visit https://parks.ny.gov/parks/beaverisland/details.aspx. A printed copy of the plan is also available in the Beaver Island State Park Office and you may visit between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

    National Fuel Press Release - June 2021

       June 29, 2021 - National Fuel Customers are eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to Help Pay Past Due Utility Bills.
        New York state is now accepting applications for $2.7 billion in funding for income-eligible renters who fell behind on rent or utility payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) is encouraging all eligible customers to apply for up to 12 months in back rent and up to three months of future rent payments, as well as up to 12 months of overdue gas bill payments.The Emergency Rental Assistance Program or ERAP is funded largely by the most recent federal stimulus package and provides the money directly to landlords and utility companies on the renter's behalf. See full Details.

    National Night Out at Town Commons - June 2021

        Grand Island National Night Out is happening on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. It will take place in the Town Commons next to Grand Island Town Hall from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. It is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch, neighborhood watch, and other anti-crime efforts. Neighbors throughout Grand Island and across the nation are asked to lock their doors, turn on their front porch lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and law enforcement. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy some music, fun, and activities that will focus on keeping our entire community healthy and safe.
        Locally, National Night Out is co-sponsored by The Grand Island Traffic Safety Advisory Board. There will be live music and food with a variety of local vendors. There will also be entertainment, visits by police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, and other local companies & organizational vendors with safety demonstrations, exhibits, and projects/activities for all residents of all ages & abilities. Nearly a dozen local law enforcement and emergency response agencies with equipment will be on display.
        Returning for the third year in a row will be the Grand Island "celebrity" dunk tank, with all donations benefitting The Grand Island Neighbors Foundation. We hope to see everyone at Grand Island National Night Out on August 3, 2019 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the Town Commons (Baseline and Whitehaven Roads). Additionally, The GI Fire Company is hosting a recruitment event and The Ladies Auxiliary is hosting a chicken barbecue. FLYER

    44-Acre Forest Purchased on Love Road - June 2021

        The Western New York Land Conservancy Completes Purchase of Love Road Property on Grand Island.
        The Western New York Land Conservancy is pleased to announce that it has purchased a beautiful 44-acre forest on Love Road on Grand Island from the Buffalo Ornithological Society. The purchase was funded by the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee, and was supported by the Niagara River Greenway Commission.With this purchase, the Land Conservancy will establish the Love Road Preserve. The property is not open to the public, but the Land Conservancy hopes to open a walking trail system in future years.
        The Love Road Preserve includes mature forests that are home to colorful songbirds like Scarlet Tanagers and elusive salamanders like the Blue-spotted Salamander. As a forest, it absorbs and filters stormwater, reducing flooding in nearby neighborhoods and improving water quality in the Niagara River where hundreds of thousands of people get their drinking water.
        The Land Conservancy continues to work toward protecting other forests on Grand Island.“By purchasing the Love Road property, we are protecting another crucial piece of open space to the Niagara River Greenway,” said Nancy Smith, Executive Director of the Land Conservancy. “We are thrilled the Buffalo Ornithological Society worked with us to permanently protect this wonderful place.
        ”David F. Suggs, President of the Buffalo Ornithological Society, said,“The Buffalo Ornithological Society was organized in 1929 to scientifically study birds and improve the conditions affecting birds. For the last few years, our Society has faced the challenge of preserving and maintaining our Grand Island Bird Sanctuary. Although we have owned the property since 1953, our members firmly agreed that it was time to find a new steward to uphold the property as an accessible, permanent sanctuary. Thanks to the sale of our property to the Land Conservancy, we have fulfilled our optimistic goal, and respected the intents of the founders of our Society.”This sentiment was shared by many local residents,including the Town Supervisor, John Whitney.“We welcome thepurchase of this important parcel on Grand Island by the Land Conservancy. They have been tremendous partners for the town,” he said. “Our residents are the beneficiaries of this partnership, and we’ll all be able to enjoy greater watershed protection, cleaner air, and more wildlife. Preserving this Love Road property is yet another significant public benefit to the people of Grand Island, Erie County, and the State of New York.”
        The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, non-profit land trust that has protected more than 7,000 acres of land with significant conservation value in Western New York for the benefit of future generations. We envision a future in which forests, farms, meadows, and waterways are connected, cherished, and protected in Western New York. Our clean air, clean water, and fertile soils will equitably support the health and wellbeing of future generations of every living thing. The Land Conservancy is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, or the mission of the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call (716) 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.

    CRED4GI Issues Statement - June 2021

        June 24, 2021 - Proposed Giant Grand Island Warehouse Hits Another Roadblock with Town Board Resolution.
        Developer Relies on 30-Year Old Studies to Advance Proposal.
        The Grand Island Town Board unanimously passed a resolution to issue a positive declaration of environmental significance for the one million square foot Acquest warehouse being proposed at 2780 Long Road (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVbtVOL8yW8&t=1204s @15:55). This resolution requires the developer to "prepare a Draft Scope for a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the SEQRA regulations 6 NYCRR Part 617.” Dan Spitzer, Town attorney, outlined the need for a positive declaration noting that significant changes have occurred to SEQRA since the original 1991 Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) was submitted and Environmental Impact Study (EIS) was performed, which have not been evaluated. The Town is requiring the developer to submit a draft scope of an EIS to be evaluated by the Town Board and open to public comment.
        William Huntress, the developer, spoke at a workshop meeting (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf6lyFOMVII @45:55) that was held prior to the Town Board meeting, stating that he was opposed to the broad nature of the resolution. Spitzer explained that the Town Board was in no way bound by a Town Board determination in 2012 that did not require a supplemental EIS for a totally different site plan.
        Dave Reilly, a Grand Island resident who spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting prior to the vote, encouraged the board to require a full Environmental Impact Study, not just a Supplemental EIS, due to the significant differences in the newly proposed project and the significant time lapse from the original EIS in 1991. In fact, the version the Town Board published for the proposed resolution on its web site before the meeting on Monday night omitted the term “Supplemental”, which changed at the last minute prior to the vote.
        Cathy Rayhill, spokesperson for the Coalition for Responsible Economic Development for Grand Island (CRED4GI) echoed Dave Reilly’s comments. “We are disappointed in the last-minute change to the resolution by the Town Board to require a Supplemental EIS vs. a full EIS. We believe the details of this site plan are completely different than the one that was proposed and studied in 1991 and 2012, including the continued aging and deterioration of our bridges and Long Road Thruway overpass, the presence of endangered species such as short-eared owls, the digging of a retention pond that would reach below the level of the Niagara river, the significant level of air, noise, light and water pollution that would be generated, and the RAMSAR designation given to Grand Island and the surrounding area in 2019 that recognizes this region as a critical wetland and rare ecosystem for migrating birds.”
        Rayhill went on to say "For the purposes of SEQRA (State Environmental Quality and Review Act), “environment” is very broadly understood. It includes not only physical conditions, such as land, air, water, plants, animals, and human health, but also agricultural, historic and aesthetic resources, and socio-economic considerations such as the existing character of the community or neighborhood, and patterns of population distribution and growth. CRED4GI anticipates a variety of negative impacts to our community, including traffic, health, wildlife and habitats, migratory birds and the Niagara River. We also know, in violation of the Comprehensive Plan, that this project does not fit the character of our community and the neighborhood in which it is proposed to reside, and because of its size and scope will excessively pollute our Island and neighborhoods. In spite of every effort that Acquest Development may make to mitigate these impacts, they cannot claim that this project will not have significant environmental impacts on Grand Island and its residents. This is why the scoping process is so important and why public input is sought during the process."

    Don't Touch Wildlife - June 2021

        ERIE COUNTY, NY - Following a notable amount of rabies investigations from bats in homes and other wildlife encounters, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is reminding residents that wildlife - especially raccoons, bats and foxes - should never be touched or handled.
        Rabies investigations can involve several different types of situations. Animal bites from pets or any warm-blooded wild animal will warrant an investigation, as will cases where someone has handled or touched a wild animal, and encounters with bats, especially inside a home and while people are sleeping.
        “Rabies is transferred through the saliva and nerve tissue of an infected warm-blooded mammal,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “When any person has an exposure to that animal’s saliva, as with an animal bite, our department investigates and will send the animal for rabies testing, if possible, to confirm or rule out rabies exposure. If we cannot confirm that the animal is negative for rabies, we may refer those cases for post-exposure prophylaxis with rabies vaccine.”
        “Post-exposure prophylaxis” (PEP) is a series of four or five doses of rabies vaccine along with immunoglobulin that, when given in time, is a highly effective way to prevent an individual from developing rabies. The rabies virus is 100% fatal to humans if a post-exposure treatment is not given, is not given correctly or is given too late. “We want people to call our department if there is any question about a potential rabies exposure,” said Dr. Burstein. “Since rabies is 100% fatal, it is always better to be safe than sorry.”
        ECDOH receives reports each year of adults and children who have picked up wildlife, in some cases even bringing them into their home. “Unless you are a trained wildlife rehabilitator or animal control officer, leave wild animals alone. Stray cats can also be a vector for rabies, and should only be handled by qualified experts. If you touch or handle any wild mammal, or if any animal bites you, please call the Department of Environmental Health at (716) 961-6800 so we can investigate,” explained Dr. Burstein. “If we determine that post-exposure prophylaxis is needed, our epidemiology team will make sure the exposed person can receive it, regardless of ability to pay.”
        In the summer season, increased wildlife movement and more people spending time outside lead to more chances for contact between wildlife, humans and pets. ECDOH conducted 2,758 rabies investigations in 2020, which was a decline from the average of more than 3,000 per year. Based on those investigations, ECDOH offered PEP to 419 people in 2020; 60% of those approvals were due to encounters with bats.
        “There are some situations where we definitely want people to call our department at 716-961-6800 to investigate,” explained Dr. Burstein. “When a bat is discovered in a home or building that could have been near an unattended child, a sleeping person or pet, or someone with a sensory or mental impairment, we consider that a contact and will investigate. We encourage people to capture the bat if they are comfortable doing so and can do it safely. The bat can be sent for rabies testing, as long as the head is not damaged.” Instructions on how to safely capture a live bat are available from NYSDOH. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YhnV5WJQBA]
        Though any mammal can carry and transmit rabies, bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks are always presumed to have rabies in New York State. In Erie County, woodchuck, cats, cattle, sheep, deer, beavers and a dog have been found to have rabies in the past three decades. Through May 28, 2021, seven bats and one raccoon have tested positive for rabies in Erie County, including urban, suburban and rural areas.
        People who have frequent contact with warm-blooded animal saliva or bodily fluids, such as those who work in veterinary clinics, animal grooming, or agriculture should talk to their health care provider about pre-exposure vaccination as a precaution.
        Dogs, cats and domestic ferrets three months of age and older are required to be vaccinated against rabies in Erie County. ECDOH vaccinated more than 1,100 pets at two free drive-through rabies vaccination clinics in May 2021. More clinics will be scheduled this fall.

    Family Justice Center News - June 2021

        The Grand Island Family Justice Center (FJC) is a resource center for victims of domestic violence and has been at a satellite office since June 2018. They recently moved into the former parsonage at Trinity UMC on Whitehaven Road. The center has safe spaces to eventually meet with clients and services, including filing charges, its forensic medical unit and securing an order of protection via teleconferencing. services, including filing charges, its forensic medical unit and securing an order of protection via teleconferencing. The FJC is not currently accepting walk-ins or in-person meetings at any location. Advocates are still available by phone, email, and the online chat-box. Call the FJC SafeLine at (716) 558-7233.

    Citizens Coalition Plant Sale Photos - June 2021

    Liz Zilbauer and Dave Riley.
    Mary Stewart Photos.

        The Citizens Coalition for Wildlife and Environment had a fundraiser plant sale on Saturday, June 5th, at the historic Alt Family farm at 2489 Whitehaven Road. A wide variety of plants were available for purchase, native and wildlife-beneficial plants that help create healthy ecosystems. There were also books on flowers and gardening available. There was a good turnout to help support this organization.

    DeGlopper Memorial Dedication Photos - June 2021


    Charles N. DeGlopper Statue. Raising of the flag.

    Mary Stewart Photos.

       The DeGlopper Memorial Dedication took place on Saturday, June 5th at 9:45 a.m. The project began five years ago, doubling the size of the park and including other community veterans and a life-size statue. Charles N. DeGlopper was a Grand Island war hero, a U.S. Army soldier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor after giving his life in the Battle of Normandy in WWII. See legacy page HERE.
       The welcome and introduction for the event was made by Major General {retired} David J. Conboy. A special presentation of a wreath for Civil War veterans was presented by Chaplin Philo G. Cook, Camp #223, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and Lodema Strickland, Tend 56, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. The program also included Roll Call for Killed in Action, a Charles N. DeGlopper tribute, prayer for the fallen by Alan Lee, rifle salute, taps by Mark Huges and a tribute to past, present and enlisted forces.

    A Time to Reflect - June 2021

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        We are in the middle of a five week period when we are repeatedly called to reflect upon events that were critical to the founding and survival of the United States of America. In a few weeks we will celebrate the 4th of July, which commemorates the birth of our nation in 1776. We just marked the anniversary of D-Day, when allied forces began the liberation of France on June 6, 1944. A couple weeks ago on Memorial Day we remembered the sacrifices of those who fought and died to ensure the survival of our republic. A couple of recent events put all this into context for me.
        The first occurred during Memorial Day weekend, sitting in my living room with my wife, Debbie, watching a movie. The movie was one of my new favorites, Darkest Hour. It won a Best Actor Oscar for Gary Oldman’s portrayal of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. It is set in late May and early June of 1940, a time when France is falling to Hitler’s forces and the British Expeditionary Force is surrounded by the German Army at Dunkirk. Churchill’s War Cabinet favors negotiating peace terms with Hitler, terms which would not be favorable to Britain or the rest of the free world. Britain is on the verge of capitulation. This is, of course, several months before the Battle of Britain, more than a year prior to Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into the war, and a full four years before D-Day. It is, as the title of the move suggests, England’s darkest hour.
        It is then that on June 4, 1940, Churchill goes to Parliament and delivers his famous speech vowing to fight on the beaches, on the landing grounds, the fields and the streets, and declares that “we will never surrender!” The film ends with Oldman portraying Churchill exiting the chamber, after the speech convinced the British government to continue the fight against long odds. It was as at this time that I turned to Debbie and said “he saved the world.”
        Now fast forward to Saturday, June 5th at the DeGlopper Memorial Dedication Ceremony on Grand Island. Charles N. DeGlopper posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Normandy three days after D-Day. Before his statue was unveiled, the names and brief biographies of DeGlopper and 16 other Grand Island residents who had been killed in action in America’s wars were read, some by family members.
        As I listened to each of their stories, I thought back to the comments I made to my wife regarding Churchill’s speech. Indeed, great men like Churchill and our own President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did save the world from tyranny. But they did not do it alone. It was the Charles DeGloppers, as well as the Niland brothers from the City of Tonawanda and so many others that did the training, the fighting and even the dying that made the victory possible. They saved our democracy and America’s military continues to preserve our way of life. For this reason, I was honored and humbled to be present at the DeGlopper Ceremony. My thanks to the organizers for planning such a solemn and moving event. 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.

    Memorial Day Service Photos - June 2021

    Guest speaker Lt. Col. Daniel Brown, Ret. US Air Force.

    Grand Island Boy Scouts.

    Presentation of Wreath: Ann Marie Pfohl and Ray DeGlopper.

    Gold Star Family, Shirley Luther and daughters.

    VFW and American Legion Honor Guard

    Grand Island Fire Company.
    Mary Stewart Photos.

        The Town of Grand Island gathered to remember fallen soldiers at the Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 31st. The guest speaker was Lt. Col. Daniel Brown, Ret. US Air Force. The Grand Island High School Wind Ensemble provided musical selections. In attendence were members of the GI Fire Company, Boy Scouts, American Legion and VFW, along with many residents.

    Canine Distemper Advisory - May 2021

       Be advised: Canine distemper is spreading through the raccoon population of Grand Island. It is fatal to raccoons and poses a threat to unvaccinated pets. Canine distemper does not rule out the presence of rabies. All wildlife appearing ill should be avoided.

    Memorial Day Ceremony - May 2021

       The Town of Grand Island, Charles N. DeGlopper VFW Post #9249, American Legion Post #1346 and GIHS Wind Ensemble will honor the men and women who died while in military service. A service will take place on Monday, May 31st at 10:00 a.m. at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park. See details HERE.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - May 2021

        Tuesday, May 18, 2021 -    Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 5/15/2021. DATA. A portion of this was included in today's live video update [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlhFor7guII]. These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology. 5/18/2021.

    4th of July Parade and Race - May 2021

       The Town of Grand Island announced on May 18th that preparations are underway to hold the Independence Day Parade and Dick Bessel Run. They will take place on Saturday, July 3rd. Applications for participation in parade are available May 21. Race registration is not yet available. See press release for more information.

    Linda Basta Memorial Foundation Fundraiser - May 2021

        The Linda Basta Memorial Foundation fundraising raffle will take place on June 12, 2021. Tickets are $10 each or three for $20.00 All proceeds go to support Pediatric Rheumatology at John R. Oishei Children's Hospital. Check out the webpage to learn more about Linda Basta and to buy tickets.

    Native Plant Sale - May 2021

        The Citizens Coalition for Wildlife and Environment is having a fundraiser plant sale on Saturday, June 5th from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the historic Alt Family farm at 2489 Whitehaven Road. Native and wildlife-beneficial plants will be offered that help create healthy ecosystems. See Flyer.

    At Home Vaccinations Available - May 2021

        ERIE COUNTY, NY - The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is introducing a service where a “Vax Visit” team will go to any individual’s residence to administer COVID-19 vaccine. Any Erie County resident can call the Erie County COVID-19 Information Line at (716) 858-2929 to schedule a Vax Visit. This program will use Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine as supply is available. After more than 60% of eligible residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, demand for COVID-19 is declining. That trend in Erie County and Western New York follows what is happening nationwide.
        “Our Vax Visit program is another way we are shifting our large, centralized vaccine clinic model to a more flexible model that meets people where they are – close to their home, close to their workplace or when they are at events or activities,” explained Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “We have an active calendar planned to reach Erie County residents at places they like to spend time in the warm weather, like Erie County parks and community events. Those events will complement our other popups clinics at senior housing, schools, village and town halls, houses of worship, business and workplace sites.”
        “Our department began vaccinating homebound and home-limited residents at home in March 2021 with county staff and partnering with Buffalo Homecare Inc. and the Visiting Nursing Association of Western New York,” said Dr. Burstein. “To date, this program has fully vaccinated more than 1,000 residents at their homes. This has proven to be a slower, but effective, vaccination model, and this expansion emphasizes convenience and access for all county residents. We have always said we would go door-to-door to vaccinate if we have to, and now is the time to start.” Residents who sign up for a Vax Visit will be contacted to schedule their visit; these residents are strongly urged to pick up the phone if they receive a call from an unknown number. Until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides its approval for emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the 12-15-year-old age group, the Vax Visit program will be available only to residents ages 16 and older. ECDOH will coordinate COVID-19 vaccination clinics for ages 12 and older at school sites throughout the county and partner with community pediatricians to vaccinate their patients in their medical home once authorized by the federal and state governments.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - May 2021

        Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 5/8/2021. A portion of this was included in today's live video update [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlhFor7guII]. DATA. These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology. 5/11/2021

    School’s Almost Out - May 2021

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        We are only 4 ½ months into the calendar year. But at Canisius College, we are nearing the end of the academic year. In another month the school year will also be over for elementary and high school students. I think I speak for everyone when I say, “good riddance!”
        For me, this has been the most difficult of my 32 years teaching political science at Canisius College. I have had to teach classes in-person and online simultaneously which has been fraught with all sorts of opportunities for things to go wrong. I know that it has been even more difficult for my students. Many of them are freshmen. They had their high school senior years wrecked with disruptions to their proms and graduations, and they forfeited last goodbyes to their favorite teachers and fellow classmates. Their entire freshman year of college has also been much less than anticipated. They have had to attend their classes via zoom or sit in half-full, socially distanced classrooms where they were unable to see anyone’s face due to masking requirements.
        Our students’ struggles are a microcosm of what we’ve all been forced to endure this last year. But now things appear to be getting better. Restrictions are being lifted and restaurants and theaters are beginning to open up.
        Still, controversies arise about how far and how fast we should proceed with the reopening. Some say that we should follow Florida’s lead and remove all restrictions immediately. They claim that it’s working in Florida and it will work here. They fail to consider a couple of important factors. The first is that the climate there is a bit different than ours. You might have been able to go without both a mask and a winter coat in March in Florida, but it would have been inadvisable here. Remember that Covid was not as big a problem here last August, but it sure became one by December. The other important point is that people are still dying, both here and in Florida. My biggest fear is that the high number of Covid deaths has desensitized us to the importance of protecting life.
        Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz set off a mini-furor recently when he announced that the stadium for Bills’ games this fall would be at full capacity, but only people who received vaccinations would be permitted entry. The governor appeared to contradict him shortly thereafter when he claimed that this decision was the state’s to make. I am guessing that this will be a moot point by September when the NFL begins its season. At least, I am hoping it is because that would mean we are back to normal.
        This will depend, of course, on all of us doing the right thing. The virus is still circulating in our community and we must continue to take precautions. The quickest and safest path to “herd immunity,” of course, is through vaccination. If we all do our part, this fall our schools will be back to normal and the stadium in Orchard Park will be full. Go Bills! 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.

    Proclamations Presented at Town Board Meeting - May 2021

    From left: Town Clerk Pattie Anderson Frentzel accepts proclamation from Town Supervisor John Whitney.

        A Proclamation for Town Clerk’s Week was presented to Town Clerk Pattie Anderson Frentzel on Monday, May 3rd. The Town Board extended its appreciation to Town Clerk Frentzel and to Deputy Town Clerks Karen Cooney, Dorothy Garcia, Betty Lantz, Becky Stufkosky and Wendy Valint.
        A Lifetime Achievement Proclamation honoring Dorothy L. Bitner was presented prior to the Town Board meeting on Monday night. She has been involved in numerous local projects and boards including CERT and Traffic Safety Advisory Board. She is also co-founder of Buffalo Naval and Servicemen's Park. Read full proclamation HERE.

    Share Your Garden at GI Garden Walk - May 2021

        The Grand Island Garden Walk committee is inviting you to share your garden with the community. The event will take place on Sunday, July 11th from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. This is a free event. Applications are being accepted until June 1st and can be found online at www.grandislandgardenwalk.com or by calling Jan at 465-7396 or Nancy at 435-9738. Email inquiries can be sent to grandislandgardenwalk@gmail.com. Donations to support the walk are gratefully accepted . Checks can be made payable to Bridgeview Garden Club, 3280 Stony Point Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.

    Big Six Boat Launch Closed for Season - May 2021

        Due to a $2.2 million construction project to upgrade the facilities at Big Six Marina, the public boat launch will be closed until early September. This project involves upgrades to the parking lot, site drainage, site electrical, sanitary sand filter, removal of buried fuel tank and installation of above ground fuel tank, landscaping, and rehab of the existing buildings and restrooms. For a list of public boat launches in Erie County please visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/23898.html and in Niagara County visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/23883.html.

    Town of Grand Island Advisory Board Vacancies - May 2021

        The Town of Grand Island is looking for residents to fill the following board vacancies:
  • Agriculture & Farmland Advisory Board
  • Architectural Review Advisory Board
  • Historic Preservation Advisory Board
  • Technology Advisory Board
        Please send your resume and or qualifications to the Town Supervisor John C. Whitney. P.E. by Monday, May 10, 2021. Email: rdiehl@grand-island.ny.us or mail or Drop off to: Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.

    Meet the Candidates Night - May 2021

       The Grand Island PTA Council is hosting a "Meet the Candidates Night" on Tuesday, May 4th at 6:30 p.m. at the High School Professional Development Room. There are three seats open and five candidates. Read candidates bios HERE.
        The event will be streamed live for viewing purposes only, there will be no live chat available. On the day of the event visit the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN8QxeYrgfkOFOxlkwqmeYA or search GITV AVTech Youtube channel.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - April 2021

        Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 4/24/2021. See Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9DQk50gzA4]

    Arbor Day on Grand Island - April 2021

    Mary Stewart photos.

        The Town of Grand Island and Grand Island Farmers Inc.celebrated Arbor Day on Saturday, April 24th by passing out tree seedlings at Veterans Park. On a first come, first serve basis, 300 seedling bunches were handed out. They included one white oak and two blue spruce. Arbor Day was started in 1872 and is traditionally the last Friday in April. It is a day set aside for planting trees.

    Clean-Up Grand Island - April 2021

    Event coordinators from left: Jennifer Baney, Richard Crawford & Eric Fiebelkorn. (Missing Debbie Whalen)

    After clean-up.

    Girl Scout Troop 30440 & friends.

    Team Rotary Club.

    Written by Chamber President Eric Fiebelkorn
        On Saturday, April 24th, the Grand Island community rallied in awesome fashion. Teams comprised of businesses, civic groups, clubs, organizations, families, Town departments and individuals came together to clean up over 50 linear miles of area across our Island. An unbelievable total of over 200 bags of trash was collected, to finally be properly disposed of. The effect of these efforts was immediately visible and had great impact on our environment. I'm so proud of everyone who came out to beautify our community and serve their fellow Islanders. In the words of environmentalist Chai Jing, "The strongest governments on earth cannot clean up pollution by themselves. They must rely on each ordinary person, like you and me, on our choices, and on our will." Today Grand Islanders showed their will to do better. The Chamber of Commerce offers our sincere thanks to all the businesses and citizens who came out to participate in Clean UP Grand Island 2021. We look forward to seeing you again next year for an even bigger and better event. Here's to all of us making efforts year round to keep our Island a Grand place to live, work and play!

    Below: Mary Stewart photos.

    Passport Day - April 2021

        Passport Day at Grand Island Town Hall is Saturday, May 8th from 9:00 a.m. - 12 noon. Passport photos will be $7.00. For more information contact Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel at 773-9600 ext. 600.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - April 2021

        Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 4/17/2021. See Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGrKdjqxttI]

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - April 2021

        Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 4/10/2021. Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQQwR5n-4vE] .

    Internet Satisfaction Survey - April 2021

        The Technology Advisory Board of the Town of Grand Island is collecting anonymous information from residents in order to better understand current issues in regards to internet service provider with Grand Island. Take survey HERE.

    Multi Sports Complex Ribbon Cutting - April 2021

       A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the GI Central School Districts new Multi-sports complex on Monday, April 12th. It is located behind the high school and middle shool. The students as well as our community youth sports programs (baseball, softball, LAX, football and soccer) will have the best facilities to utilize for many years to come. The district is grateful to the entire community for the exceptional support with this capital improvement project!

    Johnson & Johnson Vaccine On Pause - April 2021

        ERIE COUNTY, NY -The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) will pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine following a joint recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).
        A statement issued by the CDC and FDA today, April 13, recommended pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This followed reports of six cases of a “rare and severe” adverse events involving blood clots. Anyone who received Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and develops symptoms of severe headache, stomach or abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of their vaccination should contact their health care provider. The CDC and FDA statement noted that symptoms in those cases occurred between 6 and 13 days after vaccination. ECDOH does not have any PODs (points of distribution) scheduled with Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. ECDOH PODs planned for this week will administer Moderna vaccine, which is a two-dose series.
        ECDOH has received a very limited quantity of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which is a one-dose course. This supply was primarily used for vaccinating homebound and home-limited Erie County residents and individuals in congregate living settings. Any additional Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine administration to any Erie County resident has been placed on pause until further guidance is available. The CDC and FDA are reviewing available data as part of their ongoing assessment for the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. ECDOH is closely monitoring the situation and will provide more information as it is available.

    Covid Concerns Continue - April 2021

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        Like most people, I had hoped that we would be done with the pandemic by now. Sadly, we are not. People are still dying and recently the Erie County Department of Health reported that new Covid cases are now at their highest level since mid-January. I was shocked, therefore, to see that another elected official was encouraging people to attend a mask-burning fundraising event in a crowded parking lot. As sworn officials, public health is ALL of our responsibility - and the most pressing public health threat of our lifetimes thus far is COVID-19. For anyone in public office to ignore science and facts is a travesty.
        This is not to say that there are not legitimate questions that can be raised about the responses of governments at all levels. Some of the state’s regulations, for instance, leave me scratching my head. Wearing masks in public places, though, is not one of these. Masking up is an inconvenience, but it remains a necessary one.
        The Republican caucus in the County Legislature recently raised another legitimate Covid related issue. Since the pandemic hit home a year ago, many changes have occurred in the way Erie County does business. One of these changes was made when the Legislature adopted the 2021 Erie County Budget. At that time, we gave the County Executive authority to enter into contracts up to $250,000 for Covid related items without prior legislative approval. The rationale for this temporary change was that the administration needed the flexibility to move swiftly to combat the spread of the virus. Since the Legislature normally only meets twice a month and actionable items need to be introduced days ahead, this seemed like a prudent move. I certainly believed it was, which is why I supported it.
        Now, however, the Republicans are arguing that this measure should be repealed, since we have a better handle on what is needed to battle the pandemic. They make a decent case and their point is definitely worthy of consideration. I am still concerned that we are not out of the woods yet and the County Executive needs the ability to move swiftly as conditions change. Even though the Legislature can hold a special meeting upon 48 hours’ notice, I still prefer to err on the side of caution for the time being. I can, however, envision a time in the near future when we in the Legislature may want take back some of our fiscal authority. In fact, I hope that this is the case, as it would signal that our long, costly nightmare with the pandemic is coming to an end.
        Until we get to this point we all need to do everything we can to defeat the virus. More and more of us are getting vaccinated every day, although appointments can be difficult to schedule. For anyone still searching, I would recommend a web site developed by a group of UB students. It can be accessed at vaccinehound.org and it searches other web sites for availabilities. The students should be commended for designing the site. It serves as further proof that by working together, we can accomplish great things.
        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.

    Maple Grove Cemetary Meeting - April 2021

        The 2021 Maple Grove Cemetary Meeting will take place on Monday, May 3rd at the Grand Island Memorial Libary at 5:30 p.m. Due to Covid-19, refreshments cannot be served. Cold beverages will be provided.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - April 2021

        Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 4/3/2020. Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy58WStxIMA] . Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 4/3/2021.

    Arbor Day Celebration 2021 on Grand Island - April 2021

        Arbor Day, which was started in 1872, is traditionally on the last Friday in April. It is a day set aside for planting trees. On Grand Island we will be celebrating on Saturday, April 24th. 300 Tree seedlings will be given away. Trees will be given away in bundles of three (12 – 16” high) including one White Oak and two Blue Spruces. Handouts are available with planting instructions, some information on the tree species, and activities that can be done at home for Arbor Day/Earth Day. Pick up time is 11:00 am to 12:30 pm in Veterans Park. Proceed to parking lot 7 at north end of park where there is a picnic shelter. Volunteers, wearing masks, will bring a bundle directly to your car. This is first come, first served until trees are gone.
        One larger species of tree will be planted in Vets Park by the Parks Department. The planting of this tree will be videotaped and available on the Town’s you tube channel. The proper way to plant a sizeable tree will be demonstrated by Parks staff. Thanks to sponsors Grand Island Farms, Inc., and the Town of Grand Island. See flyer

    GICSD Music in Our Schools Month - April 2021

        The GICSD Elementary Music Department is proud to present a celebration of Music in Our Schools Month for the 2020-2021 School Year! This collection of videos features performances from general music class and instrumental lessons at Charlotte Sidway. William Kaegebein, and Huth Road Elementary Schools. See video HERE.

    National Fuel Donations - April 2021

       (March 30, 2021) WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - The Board of Directors for the National Fuel Gas Company Foundation (Foundation), the charitable giving arm of National Fuel Gas Company (National Fuel or the Company), held its annual meeting on Friday, March 26, 2021. Foundation directors, led by David P. Bauer, Foundation President, and President and Chief Executive Officer of National Fuel, reviewed the more than $1.3 million in Company gifts from fiscal 2020, including $250,000 in emergency grants that addressed critical needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic across the Company’s New York and Pennsylvania service territories.
       COVID-relief grants were provided to the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund, FeedMore WNY, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania, Erie Community Foundation, and Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County. “Last year, the Foundation was pleased to help the communities where we live and work meet the challenges presented by the pandemic,” Bauer said. “The Foundation will continue to support local nonprofits as we enter new recovery phases.” The Board of Directors also discussed the preliminary enrollment results for the 2021 Employee Charitable Giving Program, a matching gift program through which the Foundation will match employee donations dollar for dollar up to $750 per employee per year to employees’ chosen nonprofits. This year, nearly half of employees have elected to participate in the program, pledging more than $500,000 to nonprofits across the U.S. with the majority located in the Company’s New York and Pennsylvania service territories. With the Foundation match, the program will donate nearly $1 million.
       This year’s top 10 nonprofits are St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, United Brethren in Christ, SPCA Serving Erie County, Families of FANA, Hospice Foundation of WNY, Make-A-Wish Western New York, United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Salem Lutheran Church, and Buffalo City Mission. “This matching program aligns a large portion of National Fuel’s charitable support with the wishes and generosity of our employees,” Bauer said. “Since its inception in 2005, the Company, Foundation, and our employees have given more than $21 million to more than 800 charitable organizations.” Going forward, the Foundation remains committed to initiatives that advance strong and vibrant communities and to its focus areas: the underserved/economically disadvantaged, education, community vitality/economic impact, and veteran services. The National Fuel Gas Company Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation funded entirely by Company shareholders and is one element of National Fuel’s commitment and support to its local communities.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - March 2021

        Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 3/27/2020. Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mp91wQgNhOk . This data set includes estimates by ZIP code of Erie County residents who have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of 3/27/2021.

    Large Scale Effort to Clean Up Grand Island Planned - March 2021

       On Saturday, April 24th, from 9am until 12pm, The Town of Grand Island and The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce are partnering with civic groups, local agencies, and environmentally-minded residents to participate in the 2nd Annual Clean UP Grand Island. See flyer.
       “Putting litter in its proper place during both last year’s Clean UP and everyday helps build community pride and shows respect for our Island environment, which we describe as the "Heart of the Niagara", shared citizen committee member, Debbie Whalen. It was Mrs. Whalen’s concern with the litter throughout the Island last year, when shared with Councilwoman Jennifer Baney and Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford, that served as a catalyst for the creation of this event, now in its second year.
       “Regardless of where in the world you live, chances are, litter is a problem”, stated Superintendent Crawford. “It is estimated that 9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year. Litter that ends up outside of the landfill pollutes our natural ecosystem and wildlife. Everyone is encouraged to protect our environment and dispose of trash properly.”
        Eric Fiebelkorn expressed a greater interest in engaging the Chamber of Commerce this year. He will be reaching out to local chamber members and encouraging them, as a business or as a group of business owners, to participate in the chance to beautify the community. 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 and are listed below, as well as on the Town of Grand Island Website and Facebook page.
        Underage volunteers must 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. Due to the wet spring and tall grass areas, we encourage all to be very mindful of ticks. Additionally, groups wishing to work along heavily trafficked roads should speak with Highway Superintendent Crawford to be aware of regulations and safety practices required.
    If you have any questions, please contact Dick Crawford, Highway Superintendent, at 716-773-9632, Jennifer Baney, Town Councilwoman, at 716-622-9006 or Eric Fiebelkorn at 319-7292. Send in your photos of your family clean-up to jbaney@grand-island.ny.us if you are okay with your pictures being shared on social media and are interested in winning prizes. Businesses, groups, and families will all be eligible to win, and we look forward to showcasing what is sure to be a wonderful community event.

    2021 Rain Barrel & Compost Bin Sale - March 2021

        Erie County, in partnership with the Western New York Stormwater Coalition, the City of Bufffalo, and the Town of Wheatfield, is selling rain barrels, compost bins and accessories at wholesale prices. See details. Orders must be placed by May 8, 2021.

    Plaza Mural Tagged - March 2021

        Some time between March 21st and March 22nd, the mural located at the Grand Island Plaza was “tagged” in multiple spots. In an effort to clean up the mural and re-paint the damaged imagery, a GoFundMe page was created to offset the costs of purchasing paint and associated materials. Any excess funds that are raised will go towards wireless solar lights to be attached to each mural archway. This will allow for the mural to be showcased at night and hopefully deter any future graffiti. In the event any monies collected exceed the cost of paint and lights, it will be donated to the Deglopper Memorial Fund. For more information or to be added to a volunteer list for a ‘painting day’ to be determined, please contact GoFundMe page directly.
       The property manager at the Grand Island Plaza has been contacted and he has given permission for painting and light installation to occur. Nancy Wonacott, retired art teacher and avid community supporter, will be supervising and instructing volunteers who sign up to assist in the restoration of the mural. The tentative plan is to schedule a date near the end of April to start and complete the restoration work over the course of one to two days.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - March 2021

        Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 3/20/2020. Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjTr6i5bTFA. This data set includes estimates by ZIP code of Erie County residents who have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of 3/20/2021.

    Preparing for Normal - March 2021

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        A year ago we had no idea what was in store for us. One day we were getting ready for spring and summer. The next day our world was changed forever. Since then, we have lost so much. People have lost jobs, kids have lost entire sports seasons, high school seniors have graduated in parking lots and missed their proms, families have missed vacations and, saddest of all, we have lost too many of our neighbors to Covid-19.
        Now, however, more and more of us are getting vaccinated as additional vaccines get approval and manufacturers ramp up production. Our response to the pandemic has been far from perfect. But we all owe a great deal of gratitude to all those whose job it was to keep us safe. There’s was not an easy task and too often they were subjected to unwarranted criticism. But they persevered and here we are – on the verge of something approximating normality. Thanks to them we can begin to prepare for normal.
        When the pandemic hit last spring and created a huge hole in the Erie County budget due to loss of sales tax revenue, our attention was naturally diverted from everything else. Since becoming a county legislator, I have scheduled several meetings between the county’s highway division and the towns in my district to coordinate our efforts at repairing county roads. Those meetings did not happen last year. This year they must and they will. The cooperation we have received over the years from the Towns of Grand Island and Tonawanda have given us the best roads in the entire county system and I will do all I can to see that the progress resumes in 2021.
        I have been effusive with my praise of the job the Erie County Department of Health has done this past year under the most difficult of circumstances. As we get back to normal, I hope to heap more of that praise on the work of the Department of Mental Health. I have been in several meetings with Commissioner Mark O’Brien, and I am excited about the direction he is taking the county. Mental health is not something most of us think about every day. But people who suffer mental illness and their families cope with a host of issues every day. I have long believed that we should be doing more in this area, and I think this may finally be the year. It is a good thing, as the pandemic has impacted everyone’s mental well-being and served to further exacerbate problems of those already afflicted with some form of mental illness. So this increased emphasis could not happen at a better time.
        All of our hopes for a better, more productive 2021, of course, are contingent on controlling the spread of Covid. As more get vaccinated every day, we are getting there. But given the emergence of new, more contagious strains of the virus, we cannot afford to get complacent. So please continue to follow social distancing and masking guidelines. We have come so far and the stakes are too high to let up now. 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.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - March 2021

        Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 3/13/2020. Data.

    Assemblyman Morinello Red Cross Blood Drive - March 2021

        Assemblyman Angelo Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) and the Red Cross will be hosting a Community Blood Drive Tuesday, March 23, 2021 from 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, Grand Island. The community event will honor the lives lost and the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. “Our healthcare workers are in constant and ongoing need of blood and platelet donations,” said Morinello. “The pandemic is not over and the importance of blood donors cannot be understated. I encourage everyone who is able and willing to donate to join me for this event to meet the needs of patient care. Thank you.”
        Please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit RedCrossBlood.org to schedule an appointment. T-shirts will be provided to those who donate. Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. Please see the registration link and information regarding COVID-19 procedures and safety guidelines here: Donors Presenting: Must wear a mask or face covering; Will have their temperature taken; Must be 14 days symptom free if recovered from COVID-19; May not donate if they’ve had a positive diagnostic test or experienced symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days; May not donate if they are currently under self-quarantine restrictions. LINK TO REGISTRATION: https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - March 2021

        Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 3/6/2020. Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-8Mo9MoOxs]. This data set includes estimates by ZIP code of Erie County residents who have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of 3/6/2021.

    Grand Island UPK Lottery Draw Registration Now Open - March 2021

        GRAND ISLAND - Registration is now open for the Grand Island Central School District’s provider-choice lottery for its Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program. The lottery will be held on May 17 at 1:00 p.m., and interested families must reserve their spot in the lottery by May 14.
        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. Kiddo's Korner Preschool, 2728 Stony Point Road, provides an afternoon session as the district’s community-based provider.
        To register your eligible child for the UPK program and lottery draw, please go online to www.grandislandschools.org/upk. Once there, you will see a link to the UPK lottery application. Upon completion of the UPK lottery draw in May, if your child secures placement, student registration must be completed in order to be fully enrolled. The enrollment packet can be found on the district website under the Student Registration section. To be eligible for the UPK program, a child must be four years of age on or before Dec. 1, 2021. The child must also be considered a Grand Island resident.
        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 livestream. If you have any questions, please contact the Curriculum Department at (716) 773-8818 or email jillmorrish@gicsd.org.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - March 2021

        Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 2/27/2020. Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrS_X3-5fPc]. This data set includes estimates by ZIP code of Erie County residents who have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of 3/1/2021.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - February 2021

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 2/20/2020. Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxI7aWjDy-0]. These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology. 2/23/2021.

    Town of Grand Island 2021 Reassessment - February 2021

        GI 2021 Reassessment.. Notices will be mailed out end of February beginning of March. Do you have questions about our 2021 Reassessment Project? The video below, created with the assistance of our Town Assessor, Ms. Judy Tafelski, and Mr. Joe Emminger, of ENPM, Inc., takes a careful look at the process and timeline involved in this town-wide project. Towards the end of the video, contact information is provided to answer questions that remain. Please view and share this video to help other Grand Island residents become increasingly informed about this project. See Video.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - February 2021

        Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 2/13/2020. Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLNXMh5wsFI] These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology. 2/16/2021.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - February 2021

        Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 2/6/2020. Data. A portion of this was included in today's live video update [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JAc9UGD7bM]. These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology. 2/9/2021

    Island Veterans KIA Information Sought - February 2021

        The DeGlopper Memorial Expansion Committee is seeking help from the community to obtain contact information leading to family or friends of the following Grand Island Veterans Killed in Action since World War I: Edward P. Pierce, WWI; Francis K. Goodchild, WWII; Howard W. Salton, WWII; Charles A. Smith, WWII; George E. Smith, WWII; Albert J. Keppler, Korea; George H. Kinney, Korea; Joseph A. L'Huillier, Vietnam. We hope to have representatives of each hero present at the formal Dedication Ceremony of the expanded Memorial site on June 5, 2021.Please contact Mary Cooke with any information. Call or text 716-255-5838, e-mail maryscooke@roadrunner.com, or snail mail 775 North Colony Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.

    Free COVID-19 Tests Available - February 2021

        February 9, 2021 - ERIE COUNTY, NY - Nursing home data show 86% of eligible residents have received at least a first dose; 8% of Erie County’s population has received a first dose.
        The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is expanding eligibility for accessing a free diagnostic COVID-19 test at county-run test sites. New eligibility criteria include all Erie County residents. Appointments are still required, and can be scheduled by calling the Erie County COVID-19 Information Line at (716) 858-2929.
        Erie County residents who should strongly consider getting a diagnostic COVID-19 test include:
        Individuals of any age with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, muscle or body aches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea) – this includes people who received one or both doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
        Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, 5-7 days after last known exposure - this includes people who received one or both doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
    Other populations that may schedule a diagnostic COVID-19 test through ECDOH include:
        Individuals who require a test for travel – departing from or returning to Erie County
        Individuals whose employer requires a negative test to return to work or school following a positive test and completion of isolation period
        Individuals seeking a test to qualify for a visit to a nursing home or other care facility
        Individuals whose physician requires a negative test prior to surgery
        Individuals at high-risk of exposure based on the nature of their job.
        “The addition of new state-of-the-art equipment in our Public Health Lab has increased our daily capacity to perform PCR (molecular) diagnostic testing,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Between our Public Health Lab and point-of-care (rapid) tests on-site, we want to make sure that we are providing diagnostic tests to people who need them and who want to know their status.” She continued, “We want to reinforce that testing does not prevent COVID-19. Testing identifies new COVID-19 cases. Public health measures of wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, avoiding in-person indoor gatherings, staying home when ill, and getting vaccinated when you are eligible are the primary ways we can reduce community transmission of this virus.”
        Previously, only Erie County residents with COVID-19-like symptoms or who were under quarantine due to a close contact with a confirmed case were eligible for diagnostic testing through Erie County. This change does not affect eligibility at other private or state-run diagnostic testing sites.
        Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH), COVID-19: http://www.erie.gov/covid19
        ECDOH, COVID-19 Information Line: (716) 858-2929 – foreign language interpretation available
       COVID-19 Testing Sites in Erie County: www.erie.gov/covidtestsites
       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

    GI Distinguished Alumni Program Seeks Nominations - February 2021

        The Grand Island Distinguished Alumni committee is seeking your input for nominations. We are looking for exemplary candidates who have graduated at least ten years ago and have made significant contributions to their field of expertise. Worthy candidates must also demonstrate a sincere concern for humanity through their charitable actions. We will be reviewing all of the nominations and selecting the best candidate(s) who exemplify the distinguished Grand Island alumni tradition. Recipients or a representative, if given posthumously, will be invited to speak to our high school students at a date and time to be determined. Complete this form to the best of your knowledge and submit your nomination. Thank you for your input! All nominations should be in by February 24, 2021.

    We Need to Continue to Take Covid Seriously - February 2021

    By Kevin R. Hardwick, 4th District County Legislator
        Even in the “City of Good Neighbors,” great neighbors are hard to find. In the last few months I’ve unfortunately lost two of them to Covid-19. Don, an elderly gentleman a couple doors down, succumbed to the virus a couple months ago. More recently, Derek, my 45 year old next door neighbor was also infected and eventually passed away. Both men’s deaths were heart breaking losses for their families. But they also impacted everyone around them. Again, good neighbors are a blessing.
        We are now a year into this pandemic. Although there are encouraging signs as more and more people get vaccinated every day, we still have a long way to go. Reports of Covid variants from South Africa and Brazil that might be more resistant to the vaccine should concern us all. These two mutations, as well as the one from the United Kingdom, appear to be much more contagious than the original virus that has already claimed nearly half a million American lives.
       So there is a race to get everyone vaccinated before more people become infected by one of the versions of the virus. For some, of course, it is too late. Three of the eleven members of the county legislature have already been infected. Fortunately, they all are okay. But this just highlights the importance of getting vaccinated, as we will all get the virus eventually unless we acquire the immunity provided by the vaccine.
        Unfortunately, the distribution of the vaccine has run into a number of problems. Although my wife, a Buffalo school teacher, was able to get vaccinated last week at a state clinic and I hope to get mine soon, many others have had their appointments canceled due to supply issues. It is extremely frustrating for the folks at the Erie County Department of Health to spend many hours planning clinics to administer the vaccinations, only to have to cancel them due to a lack of vaccine to administer. Appointments are being rescheduled, but one cannot help but think that this should have gone more smoothly. In a few years books will be written about our nation’s less than perfect response to the pandemic. There certainly will be plenty of time later to point the finger of blame. For now, though, we need to do all we can to live to see that day.
        Given the slower than expected distribution of the vaccine and the fact that the virus is not taking any time off, it is up to us to do all we can to stop the spread via more conventional means. By now it sounds like a broken record, but we have to continue to wear our mask, wash our hands, sanitize everything and practice social distancing. This is not easy, because everyone is tired of it. But it is the only way that we will beat this thing and we will never return to that normal for which we all long unless we first win the war against Covid-19. As difficult as it may be, we all need to continue to be strong for a few more months. The stakes are too high to do otherwise.
        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.

    Environmental Grant Program Available - February 2021

        The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is accepting applications for the Tonawanda Community Environmental Benefits Program (Tonawanda Community EBP). This is an environmental grant program developed from a $1 million settlement established as part of a consent decree between the NYSD Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York Office of the Attorney General (collectively referred to as the State) and the Tonawanda Coke Corp. regarding various enviironmental violations at TCC's former facility in Tonawanda.
        The primary goal is to fund environmental projects that will improve the environment or public health. A portion of Grand Island is included in the area. See flyer for details as type of funding, who can apply, and key dates. More information can be found here.

    GICSD Sports News - February 2021

       GIHS Athletic Director Jon Roth recently announced the following GICSD sports news.
        Wrestling postponed until Spring season, May 10th - June 30th.
       Competitive or Sideline Cheerleading moved to Fall 2 Season.
        Girls Swimming March 22 - May 15th
       Currently, NO WINTER MODIFIED which included Girls & Boys Basketball & Wrestling.
        Fall 2020 9/14-11/13 Soccer, Cross country, Golf,Girls Tennis
        Winter 2021 2/1 - 3/27 Boys Swim Bowling Basketball Hockey
        Fall 2 2021 3/22 - 5/15 Football Volleyball Girls swim Competitive/Sideline Cheer
        Spring 2021 5/10 - 6/30 wrestling Softball Baseball Lacrosse Track Boys Tennis
        Unified Bowling - 2/22-3/26(all virtual) and Unified Basketball - 5/10 - TBA.
        Winter Season NO SPECTATORS and hopefully we can stream some winter contests.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - February 2021

        Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 1/30/2021. Data. - A portion of this was included in today's live video update (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLP7n84RoHk) These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology. 2/2/2021.

    COVID Vaccine Update - February 2021

        ERIE COUNTY, NY – Nursing home data show 86% of eligible residents have received at least a first dose; 8% of Erie County’s population has received a first dose.
        The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is providing an update on the number of COVID-19 vaccinations administered to Erie County residents, including residents at nursing home facilities in Erie County, based on information provided by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). The NYSDOH Vaccine Tracker data through January 27 reports that the Western New York region administered 86% of received vaccine doses through county, state, nursing home, pharmacy, and community sites. This is the second highest percentage among all NYS regions.
        As of January 28, at ECDOH Points of Distribution Clinics (PODs) 17,628 first doses and 715 second doses were administered. All remaining first doses will be administered at today’s clinics, with second dose clinics continuing next week. Individuals with appointments at ECDOH PODs that were cancelled due to lack of supply will be rescheduled in February as supply becomes available, with the first potential PODs being rescheduled for as soon as the end of next week.
        As of January 27, 34 of 35 nursing homes in Erie County completed first dose clinics. One facility, Brothers of Mercy Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Clarence, has residents that received a first vaccine dose but the first dose clinic has not yet completed vaccinating. In total, 1,879 nursing home residents received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
        Also as of January 27, 20 nursing facilities in Erie County completed second dose clinics. As a result, 1,344 nursing home residents received both their first and second doses. 513 residents declined receiving the vaccine. Accordingly, 86% (3,223) of 3,736 eligible nursing home residents received at least the first dose of vaccine and 36% (1,344) of all eligible nursing homes residents received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
        Also from data provided to the Erie County Executive’s Office by NYS, as of January 28, 72,633 first doses have been administered to Phase 1A and 1B eligible Erie County residents, not including the doses administered by the long-term care nursing facility program. This total is equal to 8.0% of Erie County’s estimated 2019 population of 918,702, and is higher than the current NYS average of 6.5% of the population receiving at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Combining Phase 1A, Phase 1B, and nursing home residents, at least 8.3% (75,856) of Erie County’s residents have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

    Sports Leagues Allowed - January 2021

        ERIE COUNTY, NY – The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is providing the following information for schools, coaching staff, athletes, parents of student-athletes and youth and adult amateur sports leagues in Erie County.
        ECDOH and its Office of Epidemiology reviewed the New York State (NYS) Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation revisions announced by Governor Cuomo on Friday, January 22, 2021. These revisions allow local health departments to determine if non-professional and non-collegiate sports, such as wrestling, ice hockey, basketball, contact lacrosse, and volleyball, can proceed with individual and group training, and competitions and tournaments. Updates were also made to low- and moderate-risk sports and recreation activities.
        After extended internal discussions and consultation with the New York State Association of County Health Officials, ECDOH has determined that it will allow higher-risk and moderate risk sports to proceed, with the following conditions and recommendations:
       For moderate- and higher-risk sports, if an athlete or coach has a positive COVID-19 diagnostic test, all in-person team or group activities (e.g., practices, scrimmages, games, meetings) will be cancelled for a 10-day period.
        As with all positive COVID-19 cases in Erie County, contact tracing will be conducted for players and coaching staff, and coaches and teammates identified as close contacts will be placed in quarantine.
       Travel for games and competitions outside the Western New York (WNY) and Finger Lakes regions is strongly discouraged. All current NYS Travel Advisory guidance for quarantine will apply to athletes, coaches and family members who choose to travel to non-contiguous states.
        ECDOH gives its permission for sports and recreation activities in Erie County’s orange “microcluster” zones to travel for games and activities within the WNY region (Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties), and to the Finger Lakes region (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties). This permission will be periodically reviewed to consider regional and county-level rates of transmission and other epidemiological data. In addition, teams from other counties with the WNY and Finger Lakes region may travel into Erie County to participate in games and other activities.
       Athletes are required to wear an appropriate cloth face covering/mask when not playing or practicing. For children under the age of 18, at a parent’s direction a child may wear a mask when playing or practicing.
       The use of locker rooms is strongly discouraged. If locker rooms are used, they must be cleaned/disinfected as per NYSDOH guidance.
       Each team is responsible for screening all athletes and coaches for COVID-19 symptoms for every team event, including practice, scrimmage, or tournaments. Individuals who were exposed to a COVID-19 case or diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 10 days are not allowed to participate in the sport or join spectators.
       Spectators are limited to two per player. In addition, indoor sports facilities are limited to allow 50% of capacity into their facility.
       Vaccination status does not alter regulation requirements.
       All other requirements outlined in the January 2021 update to the Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation must be followed by sports teams, recreation activities, and facilities where games and practices are held. League staff, school athletic directors, sports facility directors, coaches and parents are strongly encouraged to review this guidance and take steps to make sure current team and league operations align with this updated guidance.
        Coaching staff and recreation officials with questions about this announcement may contact the ECDOH Division of Environmental Health at (716) 961-6800.

    Erie County DOH Releases COVID Data - January 2021

        Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - Please see the data set from the Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology for the week ending 1/23/2021. Data. - A portion of this was included in today's live video update (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrJJ9Hu7hEQ) These data are preliminary and subject to change. Source: Erie County Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology. 1/26/2021.

    Vaccine Appt. Cancelled - January 2021

       January 26, 2021 - ERIE COUNTY, NY – The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is cancelling COVID vaccine appointments scheduled for ECC South on Friday, January 29 and ECC North and ECC South on Saturday, January 30 due to lack of vaccine supply.
        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.