Grand Island Town/School News Web Page
JAN. - JUNE 2007

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Whitehaven Road Resident Pleads To 2nd Degree Rape - June 2007

   A Whitehaven Road resident, jailed since May 2007, gave a guilty plea on Friday, June 29th to second degree rape involving a teenage girl. See
"Guilty Plea" for the June 30, 2007 Buffalo News story.

Community Leaders, Stakeholders Breakfast - Senator Thompson - June 2007

   A Community Leaders & Stakeholders Breakfast with Antoine M. Thompson, New York State Senator 60th District is being held from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, June 30, 2007 in McKinley High School, 1500 Elmwood Avenue. This event is FREE and open to the public. Hot breakfast will be prepared. The senator will give uppdates on current and future Projects.

Response To Relocation of Island E-Z Pass Service Center - July 2007

    Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo, Grand Island) announced today (June 27) that the New York State Thruway Authority will be relocating the Grand Island E-Z Pass Service Center on Monday, July 16, 2007. The Service Center, which is currently located at the Burger King site on Grand Island Boulevard, will be closed permanently Friday, July 13th. The new address will be 2293 Grand Island Boulevard located in the Town Hall Plaza just across from the Grand Island Town Hall.
   “This is great news for EZ-Pass customers. For several years now, I have been in continuous contact with the Thruway Authority regarding the relocation of the Service Center, so I’m pleased to finally hear that they have made this decision and are implementing the changes as early as July 16th,” said Hoyt.
   With the new location also comes extended hours. The current hours are Monday-Friday from 3pm-6pm. However, once the new site is opened, business hours will be from 9:00am-5pm. “This certainly provides customers more access to services as the hours fall within normal operating business hours. They no longer have only three hours out of the day to receive assistance. I think this will enable the Service Center to act with greater efficiency and meet the needs of EZ-Pass customers with ease,” said Hoyt.
   The Thruway Authority will put up signs announcing the relocation around July 2nd and will work with Burger King to maintain a sign at the old office for a few months. In addition, EZ-Pass customers will receive a statement notifying them of the change.

"The Masters" 2nd Annual Memorial Golf Tournament - July 2007

   "The Masters" 2nd Annual Memorial Golf Tournament - The Legend Lives. . . will be held Monday, July 30, 2007 with a 1 pm. start at River Oaks Golf club, Grand Island, New York. See "The Masters" for complete information.

Baseline/Fix Two-Car Crash - June 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to two-car crash at 5:11 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, 2007 at the corner of Fix and Baseline roads. Two cars ended up in a ditch with one upside down. Fire Company EMS personnel evaluated two patients who were transported to ECMC by Twin City Ambulance. All GIFC units returned in service at 5:30 p.m. More information may be added to this story as it becomes available.

Carl Road Resident Arrested On Drug Charges - June 2007

   Paul W. Silsby, 26, a resident of Carl Road, Grand Island was arrested Tuesday, June 19, 2007 on charges of felony possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful imprisonment. The charges stemmed from a call to the Erie County Sheriff's Department for a report of a domestic dispute at the Carl Road residence. Items confiscated included bags of marijuana and a 22-caliber rifle. According to Sheriff's Dept. Detective Dennis Fitzgibbon, the Sheriff's Department continues to address the Island's drug problem.

Motorcyle Accident Sends Two To ECMC - June 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to a motorcycle accident at 11:23 a.m. Tuesday, June 26, 2007 when a car and motorcycle collided at Love and West River roads. Evaluated were the driver of the motorcycle, Bernie Scozzaro, and his passenger, Molly McMahon, both of Grand Island. Ms. McMahon suffered a broken leg and both were transported to the Erie County Medical Center by Twin City Ambulance. The cycle was traveling on West River service road when the car coming from Love Road cut across the service road, causing the accident. The Erie County Sheriff's Department sited the driver of the car for failure to yield. All GIFC units returned in service at 11:59 a.m. with the incident turned over to the Erie County Sheriff's Department. More information may be added to this story as it becomes available.

Car Crashes Into Fuccillo Toyota - June 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to a one-car motor vehicle accident at 11:01 a.m. Monday, June 25, 2007 when a car was driven into the front of the Fuccillo Toyota building on Alvin Road. Fire Company personnel included Deputy Chief Kevin Koch and 2nd Assistant Chief Chris Soluri. Two patients were evaluated with one sign-off and one transported to Millard Suburban Hospital by Twin City Ambulance. Grand Island Fire Company returned in service at 11:18 a.m.

Center of Presidential Links To Be Local Attraction - June 2007

   A Center of Presidential Links is in the making and includes dramatic ties to Grand Island, New York. See
"Buffalo News Story 6/20/07" by Chrissie Thompson.

Island Resident Accepts Major Insurance Settlement - June 2007

   A Grand Island resident, injured in a car crash in 2004 when the car in which he was riding went into the Niagara River, has accepted a major insurance settlement. See
"Buffalo News Story 6/20/07". See also "Fire Company Story Nov. 2004.". See also

Paddles Up Niagara 2007

2006 photo by Lyn Laman - Click for larger view
   The Niagara River Greenway Commission (NRGC) announces the Second Annual "Paddles Up Niagara" along the south eastern shores of Grand Island on Saturday, July 28, 2007. Beaver Island State Park along with New York Power Authority, Centerstone Development and Ambassador Niagara Signature Bridge Group will host the day's activities with the centerpiece being the non-competitive paddle from Little Beaver Launch site around to East River Marsh Site returning back to Little Beaver all within the Beaver Island State Park, a 4.8-mile journey.
   The day begins with the Paddle Fair at 8:30 a.m. During this portion of the event paddlesports retailers and company representatives will be on hand to give the public an opportunity to try out canoes and kayaks. Beginners and enthusiasts alike will also have the opportunity to learn more about paddlesports safety and the natural, recreational and cultural attributes of the Niagara River corridor. New York State Park's Interpretive Staff will be on hand for "Learn to Paddle," an introductory canoe program for children. Paddles Up will begin after a traditional Native American Departure Ceremony at 12 p.m.
   The phrase "paddles up" is derived from a longstanding Native American custom. When approaching camp canoe paddles were pointed skyward signifying that the traveler comes in peace and is seeking permission to land for food and rest. In some cultures the upward pointed paddle also symbolizes the start of a long journey.
   The first 100 paddle powered boaters to register will receive a free "Paddles Up Niagara 2007" t-shirt. All on water participants will be required to register and complete the necessary waiver forms. Boat crews must wear a US Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Device and the condition of each participating canoe and kayak will be checked to insure that it can safely transit the Paddles Up Niagara water trail.
   All of the day's activities are free including registration for Paddles Up Niagara, the exception is a Lunch Fund Raiser & Tour of the Historic River Lea Site, a prepaid donation of $10 is required, normal State Park entrance fees will apply. Upon entering Beaver Island State Park, participants should take the first right toward the Sledding Hill or Little Beaver for parking and launching.
   To receive or download registration forms for Paddles Up Niagara or for more information regarding the Niagara River Greenway Commission, visit the website or call the NRGC office at 716-773-5361.

Digital Photographing of Properties to Begin - June 2007

   In the ongoing effort to improve the quality of the property records, the Town of Grand Island along with the contractor, GAR Associates, will begin the task of taking digital photographs of properties located within the Town. This project is part of an Information Technology grant program sponsored by the New York State Office of Real Property Services.
   Assessor David Unmack announces that beginning in June authorized staff will be working from the public right of way. If properties cannot be photographed from the public right of way, GAR Staff will be accessing the property via the driveway. All GAR Staff will carry photo ID badges issued from the Assessor’s Office and will also have a GAR Associates sign on the side of the vehicle or on the dash board. The Town Assessment Office and the Police Department have a vehicle list of all project staff members.
   If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Assessor’s office @773-9600 ext. 648.

Beetles Battle Purple Loosestrife at Veterans Park - June 2007

Shown from left are Chris Pennuto, Paul Leuchner, Mary Cooke, Sarah Kroten, Percival Williams, Maddy Mankowski, Kallan McMillan, Sarah Ramsperger, Dorothy Westhafer. The adults are Town of Grand Island Conservation Commission members. Mrs. Cooke serves as the Commission's Town Board Liaison. Kallan McMillan, daughter of Chris Pennuto and her friends volunteered to help release the beetles.
Jodi Robinson Photos - Click for larger view

   Some members of the Grand Island Conservation Commission helped disperse thousands of beetles on the morning of Saturday, June 9th to destroy the purple loosestrife that is located at Veteran's Park. Purple loosestrife is a tall, perennial forb that can grow up to 10 feet in height. It is easily distinguished by the abundant, showy spikes of purple flowers that occur at the tops of the plants. The opposite or whorled leaves are dark green and lance-shaped. Purple loosestrife is a serious invader of many types of wetlands, including wet meadows, prairie potholes, river and stream banks, lake shores, tidal and non-tidal marshes, and ditches. It can quickly form dense stands that displace native vegetation. Purple loosestrife can spread very rapidly due to its prolific seed production; one plant can produce as many as 2-3 million seeds per year. Purple loosestrife is native to Europe and Asia. It was first introduced into America in the early 1800s for ornamental and medicinal purposes. It has also been used as a nectar plant for bee-keeping.
   Adult loosestrife beetles are very good fliers and they can easily find new patches of purple loosestrife on which to feed and reproduce. Loosestrife beetle adults are known to disperse 2-4 miles a year. The hope for the commission is to eradicate the loosestrife and allow native plants to re-establish themselves in the wetlands.

Buffalo Dream Factory Comes To Grand Island - June 2007

   The Buffalo Dream Factory is coming to Tops on Grand Island for a fundraising event. They will be here on Friday, June 15 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and again on Saturday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. People can purchase tickets to the Family Fun Fair to be held Saturday, June 23 at the Broadway Driving Range & Miniature Golf located in Depew. You can purchase tickets to win a bicycle, tricycle, Blue Jays tickets, and a family portrait sitting. Also, there will be 25 or more baskets for a Chinese auction that can be won. Many of these baskets were donated by Grand Island businesses. Please stop by Tops on June 15-16 to see what you can win and help out our fundraising cause.
   Dream factory was started by one man, Charles Henault, in 1980 in the State of Kentucky. Today there are more than 30 chapters in 14 states in the US. The Buffalo Dream Factory started in March 2006 and has completed two dreams come true to date. This all volunteer organization does get things done. Its purpose is to make dreams come true for local critically and chronically ill children between the ages of 3 to 18. The next child to have a dream come true is the granddaughter of Grand Island residents. She and her family who live in Lewiston will be going in early July to Disney World as her dream choice. If you can't attend the Tops fundraiser and would like to purchase event tickets for your kids or for further Buffalo Dream Factory information please call 773-9781.

“BluesRoot Concert for Dollars for Scholars” - June 2007

   BluesRoot, international recording act with Grand Island roots, has teamed up with the Grand Island Chapter of Dollars for Scholars to raise money for scholarships for deserving local students.
   BluesRoot will perform in a special “BluesRoot Concert for Dollars for Scholars” on Friday, June 29, 2007 at the Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort and Conference Center. The event will be held in the Settlement Room and run from 7:30 10:30 p.m.. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Prizes will be awarded during the performance for the best ‘50’s style outfit, and other categories as well. Tickets are $20 for admission. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.
   Tickets, and ticket reservations, for the “BluesRoot Concert for Dollars for Scholars” are available from: Grand Island Chamber of Commerce (773-3651); Grand Island Dollars for Scholars Chapter President, James Sharpe (553-1100); and BluesRoot Entertainment, a division of JDM Promotions, LLC (631-2043).
   Dollars for Scholars, a program of Scholarship America, is a national grassroots network of more than 1,200 community-based, volunteer driven scholarship foundations in cities, towns and neighborhoods throughout the United States. In 2005, Dollars for Scholars chapters awarded almost $29 million in scholarships to over 35,000 students. Scholarship America is the nation’s largest, nonprofit, private sector scholarship and educational support organization, and has distributed more than $1 billion to over one million students since 1958.
   The Grand Island Chapter of Dollars for Scholars is made up of 15 directors and officers. James Sharpe, Grand Island Dollars Chapter President said, “The Grand Island Dollars for Scholars chapter hopes to award at least $2,000 in scholarships to local students in the first year. The number of scholarships will increase as additional funds are raised.”
   Scholarships are awarded based on the following guidelines: personal data/academic performance, extra curricular activities, work experience, community service, extenuating circumstances/need, and teacher reference.
   Sharpe said, “We’re enthused to have BluesRoot as a fundraising partner, and look forward to a fun evening of family friendly music entertainment.”
   BluesRoot consists of two veteran musicians and Grand Island residents, John D. Moore and Arthur Borgeson. The retired businessmen grew up, and played music, in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. Today, they perform the foundation blues, rockabilly and rock and roll songs from that era, and pay historical tribute to that Golden Era of American music as well.
   Moore explained, “We give audiences a little bit of Carl Perkins, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, and a whole lot more. Our shows include historical insight into the songs and the performers. Even our own songs borrow from that deep well of early American rock and roll.”
   BluesRoot has a CD comprised of original Americana sounding songs in international distribution. Several songs off their “Live. Real. In the moment” CD are receiving airplay on over 370 traditional “brick and mortar” and streaming, internet radio stations across North America and Europe. The group has also been featured on Mark Kerr’s Blues Nation and Delta Blues, in Music Industry Magazine and on Jazz Today. One of the songs on the BluesRoot CD, “Hold tight mama” recently finished 24th out of 502 entries on an American Idol online Sony sponsored competition. They have been asked to enter a second competition.
   Moore is the singer/songwriter of the duo. He plays acoustic electric rhythm guitar and harmonica as well. Borgeson provides backing vocals and lead guitar. The duo expands to a trio from time to time adding various veteran 1960’s era bass players to the mix.
   Moore said, “We are enthused about the opportunity to help provide educational assistance for the youth of our home community. Dollars for Scholars is a great organization supporting a great cause. We pledge to deliver a great show as well!”
   For more information call John at 631-2043 or Jim at 553-1100.

Blood Drive - June 2007

   An American Red Cross blood drive will be held from 1-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1841 Road.

Hoyt Announces Re-opening Of GI Bridge Sidewalk - June 2007

   Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo, Grand Island) announced the re-opening last Friday of the sidewalk on the north Grand Island bridge, which had been closed due to a rehabilitation project.
   Hoyt said, “As soon as this issue was brought to my attention by members of Quality Quest I immediately reached out to the Thruway Authority who responded in a matter of hours that the sidewalk would be reopened Friday morning.”
   Hoyt met the previous evening with members of Quality Quest to discuss various issues of concern to members, including the closed sidewalk. The bridge had been closed due to construction, forcing pedestrians and cyclists to cross several ramps through quick-moving traffic to reach the sidewalk on the other bridge.
   Hoyt continued, “I will continue to work with Quality Quest and others to address the issues that are important to Island residents to improve the quality of life on the island.”
   Sam Hoyt represents the 144th Assembly District.

Thousands Of Bettles To Battle Loosestrife - June 2007

   The Grand Island Conservation Commission will enlist the help of thousands of beetles to battle an invasive plant species on town property. This is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, June 9 in Veterans Park.
   The Commission will obtain 2000 loosestrife beetles for release in a large stand of purple loosestrife located within Veterans Park. The beetles (Galerucella sp.) are native to Europe and have been introduced into at least 16 states in the United States. The adults and larvae eat the invasive plant, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicara). This plant is found in many locations on Grand Island, generally occurring in wetlands, drainage ditches, along the river’s edge, or in other moist soil areas. The plant out competes many native wet-soil plants and forms dense monoculture stands. Although it looks pretty when in bloom, it provides little wildlife benefit. For example, it is not a useful plant for bird nesting nor does it provide seeds that birds or other wildlife consume. Thus, there is a desire to control the spread of this plant on the Island to allow native wetland plants an opportunity to recolonize areas currently infested with loosestrife. The Commission opted not to use herbicides to control the loosestrife since chemicals can be environmentally harmful, are potentially expensive, and are a short-term solution. Loosestrife-eating beetles provide a safe, long-term, and plant-specific biological control of the pest plant.
   Prior to the introduction of loosestrife-eating beetles in the U.S., the beetles were tested on over 50 potential host plants and were found to prefer purple loosestrife over any other plant. At least one close relative of purple loosestrife, winged loosestrife (L. alatum) was a possible host when purple loosestrife was unavailable. The beetles are considered host-specific, which is a good trait for an introduced organism. The entire life cycle of the loosestrife beetles is connected to purple loosestrife. Adults mate in the early spring, after feeding for several days on loosestrife foliage. Females lay their eggs on the plant’s leaves and stems, generally between May and July. The larvae hatch 7-10 days later and feed on developing shoots and leaves of the plant. After feeding for several weeks, the larvae crawl down the plant into the soil where they overwinter. The following spring, new adults emerge to begin the cycle again. Sometimes, two hatches can occur if conditions are right. It can take a couple to several years for the beetle population to reach a high enough density to control a large stand of purple loosestrife. As the beetles begin to reduce the host plants, adults migrate to new patches. If the beetles eliminate all the loosestrife plants (the desired outcome), they will die since they have no other plants which they can consume. Once the loosestrife begins to die back, native plants then have the opportunity to re-establish.
   For more information on the beetle release contact Chris Pennuto, member of the GI Conservation Commission. Information on purple loosestrife and loosestrife-eating beetles and weevils can be found on the web at and

Update Below
Mainland Fire Companies Assist Island
Firefighters With River Oaks Drive House Fire - June 2007

Dan McMahon Photos - Click for larger view
   The Grand Island Fire Company, with assistance from several mainland fire companies, responded to a working fire at 216 River Oaks Drive at 2:52 a.m. Friday, June 1, 2007. Homeowners Alan and Stacey Murzynowski were awoken by the barking of their dog and the smoke detectors.
   First responders reported heavy smoke inside the two-and-one-half story, unoccupied structure. Rear deck fire with extension into the home was confirmed. Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher established River Oaks command. Heavy smoke and fire on the second floor, attic fully involved and heavy extension to the roof was further reported by firefighters. Firefighters switched to an exterior mode using 2 1/2 inch lines. A fire pit on a back deck was the apparent cause of the devestating fire. Neighbors at 206 River Oaks Drive had evacuated themselves.
   The following is from a Buffalo News article of June 1st.

"Responding firefighters, Erie County sheriff's deputies and State Police troopers reported that the homeowner, Alan Murzynowski, 44, fled from the house but attempted to go back inside.

"He repeatedly failed to comply with the requests of the firefighters and the police officers," Erie County Sheriff's Patrol Chief Dennis Rankin said. "We finally struggled with him, a fight ensued, and he had to be subdued."

Murzynowski was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors: obstructing a firefighting operation, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest, police said."

   An unidentified Sheridan Park firefighter sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
   Fire companies assisting the GIFC were Town of Tonawanda, Sheridan Park, Brighton, Kenmore and the City of Tonawanda.
   Squad 10, the GIFC's Ladies Auxiliary, was called to the hall at 3:56 a.m. to provide food and beverages for the firefighters.
   Chief Butcher reported the fire under control at 4:06 a.m. and out at 4:22 a.m. Damage was estimated at $400,000 ($250,000 to structure, $150,000 to contents).

News Update Below
Middle School Teacher Arrested - May 2007

    A Veronica E. Connor Middle School teacher was arrested by New York State Police on Wednesday, May 30, 2007. See "Buffalo News Story 5/31/07."
   See "Buffalo News Update 6/1/07."
   See "WKBW News On Line 5/31/07."

Soldiers Of War Data Available Back To 1607 - May 2007

   According to the Buffalo News, 5/25/07, has unveiled over 90,000,000 war records. See story.

MVA On Bedell At Lang Blvd. - May 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to a two-car motor vehicle accident at 6:50 a.m. Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at Bedell and Lang Blvd. FI-1 Chuck Berlinger reported both vehicles were heavily damaged, with one in a ditch. One patient was transported to DeGraff Memorial Hospital by Twin City Ambulance and one person signed off. The Erie County Sheriff's Department also responded to the call. Grand Island Fire Company was back in service at 7:16 a.m. Details may be added to this story as they become available.

MVA On South Bridge - May 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to a one-car motor vehicle accident on the south bound South Grand Island Bridge at 4:03 p.m. Monday, May 21, 2007. The Fire Company treated one patient for head, neck and back injuries. One patient was transported to Degraff Memorial Hospital by Twin City Ambulance and six people signed off. The Fire Company returned in service at 4:32 p.m. Details may be added to this story as they become available.

Boat Fire At Anchor Marine - May 2007

Jeff Stange Photos - Click for larger view
   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to boat on fire in Storage Building #5 at Anchor Marine, 1501 Ferry Road at 5:47 p.m. Sunday, May 20, 2007. Fire Chief Greg Butcher assumed incident command. Assistant Chief Kevin Koch and 1st Assistant Chief Matthew Osinski also responded. The fire in the lower deck cabin of the 36' boat was contained to the boat with no extensions to the building. An ambulance was requested at the scene as a precautionary measure. Damage was estimated at $20,000 by Fire Chief Butcher. The Grand Island Fire Company was back service at 7:01 p.m. More details may be added to this story as they become available. Photos to be added.

Fire At Buffalo Launch Club Causes $25,000 Damage - May 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to an automatic fire alarm at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road at 11:28 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2007. Fire Investigator 1 Chuck Berlinger, who took control of the incident command, reported smoke coming from the second floor, deemed the call a working fire and requested a FAST team to assist the GIFC. Firefighters found water coming from the side of the building, apparently from an automatic sprinkler system. Sheridan Park Volunteer Fire Company was called for additional manpower and the City of Tonawanda was dispatched to main Grand Island Fire Headquarters. Firefighters located the source as a dryer fire, extinguished the fire and began ventilating at 11:49 p.m. at which time the off Island fire companies were put back in service. A rescue unit responded as a precaution and a Twin City Ambulance also responded to the scene. Grand Island firefighters began overhaul and ventilation procedures. Niagara Mohawk and National Fuel were requested to respond to the Buffalo Launch Club. Fire Investigator Michael DeMartin set damaged at $100,000. All Grand Island firefighters were back in service at 12:43 a.m.
   Details may be added to this story as they become available.

MVA at Baseline/Staley - May 2007

   A motor vehicle accident at the corner of Staley and Baseline roads at 4:14 p.m. Friday, May 18, 2007 sent one person to the Erie County Medical Center. The Grand Island Fire Company responded to the request for emergency medical services, evaluated patients and returned in service at 5 p.m. Deputy Fire Chief Kevin M. Koch was in charge of the call. Details may be added to this story as they become available.

WKBW Channel 7 Reports Drug Abuse In Island Schools - May 2007

   WKBW Channel 7's 11 p.m. newscast on Tuesday, May 15, 2007, televised a editorial piece on drug abuse in the Grand Island schools. See "WKBW Channel 7 News". The clip runs for a period of approximately five minutes before focusing on the Grand Island segment.

Blood Drive - May 2007

   An American Red Cross blood drive will be held from 1-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 22 at the Fire Headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road.

East River MVA Sends One Person To Hospital - May 2007

   A two-car motor vehicle accident on East River Road between Fix and Broadway sent one person to the hospital. The Grand Island Fire Company responded to the call at 10:33 p.m. Monday, May 14, 2007 when it was reported that one car had hit a tree in front of 903 East River Road. Fire Company EMS personnel evaluated three patients with two signing off. Fire Chief Greg Butcher was in charge of the call which was turned over to the Erie County Sheriff's Department. The GIFC returned in service at 10:58 p.m. Details may be added to this story as they become available.

Postage Rates 41 Cents - May 2007

   Postage for first-class cards or letters (one ounce) rose to 41 cents today (May 14, 2007) .

MVA, Parkway at Carl Road - May 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company received multiple calls to respond to the corner of Beaver Island Parkway and Carl Road for a two-car motor vehicle accident at 5:10 p.m. Saturday, May 12, 2007. The GIFC evaluated three patients, all declining further medical attention. The Erie County Sheriff's Department reponded to the call and the Fire Company turned the call over to the County at 5:20 p.m. Grand Island Fire Police handled traffic and Chief Greg Butcher was in charge of the call.

Brush Fires Keep Fire Co. Busy - May 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to a field fire at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at the playground between Tracey and Cardinal lanes. This alarm was followed by another at 3:58 p.m. Tuesday when the Fire Company received a report of a brush fire next to Mallwitz's Island Lanes at 1887 Whitehaven Road. First responders discovered a pile of rubbish on fire with what appeared to be a brand new boat in the middle of the blaze. The boat was removed before any real damage occurred and the Fire Company contained the fire to a 100' X 50' area. The fire was declared out at 4:32 p.m. State Police were investigating the incident that seemed to be suspicious in nature.

Sue Glogowski Family Benefit - 2007

   The Sue Glogowski Family Benefit is being held from 4-9 p.m. Saturday, June 2 at the VFW Post 9249, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. Sue has worked side by side with her brother, Rick (the Veggie Man) at the VFW for many summers. For more information, see "Sue Glogowski Benefit."

Home Depot Donates 25 American Elms To Veterans Park - April 2007

(left) Joe Padlog, unidentified ladies, and Councilman Gary Roesch.
(right) Home Depot Employees Scott McCormick, Amy Cupido, Robert Herrod with Councilwoman Mary Cooke

Pete Eodice of Home Depot, Islander Barbara Berry, Recreation Director Linda Tufillaro, Liz Holton of Home Depot and Supervisor McMahon

Jodi Robinson Photos - Click for larger view
   "The Home Depot Foundation believes that trees aren't just "nice" things to have, but that they are essential to a supportive, healthy community." Eleven Western New York Home Depot Stores donated 25 American Elm trees (each) to different area communities. Grand Island's Veterans Park was a recipient and with help from town officials, Recreation Department employees, Home Depot volunteers, members of the Commission on the Conservation of the Environment, Quality Quest and local garden clubs, planting was done on Friday, April 27, 2007. "This is the first step in what we hope will be a very significant effort to Re-Tree Grand Island," Supervisor Peter McMahon said. View Map Of Veterans Park

Fareway, Fix, Baseline Neighborhood Assoc. Fund Raiser - April 2007

   A fundraising event, "Not In My Backyard, Backyard Party" will help to raise green for green space. The event being held from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, May 20, 2007 in the Holiday Inn, Grand Island (Under the Tent) is being sponsored by the Fareway, Fix, Baseline Neighborhood Association (A Not-For-Profit Organization). Donations is $1 with all proceeds to go for the legal defense to protect and preserve wetlands located on a 28-acre parcel near a N. Y. State Wetlands on Grand Island, New York.
   Featured will be special guest Paul Schnell of the Institute for Environmental Learning and his Northern Bald Eagle "Liberty." Paul will also have Barred Owl, a rare Peregrine Falcon and a Screech Owl, and his presentation is entitled "Birds of Prey, and the Importance of Wetlands." The presentation will be presented at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.
   Fundraising activities will include photos with "Liberty" and the other raptors, a Chinese Auction, and raffle of two "Luxury Suite" Sabres tickets for a next season game. Free face painting and a "Rock and Mineral Sale Table will be available for the kids. There will also be a special auction of artwork by renown local wildlife artist Len Rusin.
   Several conservation and nature groups will provide informational displays. "Come and have fun for a good cause with family friendly activities," a spokesman for the Association said. Food and beverages will be available for sale.

Boating Classes - 2007

   The Niagara Power Squadron will sponsor public boating classes for those looking to learn the rules of the road. Those taking the classes will receive a NYS boating certificate and a NYS PWC certificate. They will also receive reduced insurance rates upon completion. The dates are :
• May 1, 3 ,8, and 10 - 7-9 p.m. - Anchor Marina, 1501 Ferry Road, Grand Island
• May 19th and July 14th - 8:30-5 p.m. - Summit Mall Community Room
• June 12, 14, 19, and 21 - 7-9 p.m. -Weaver Motorsports, 3400 Niagara Falls Blvd.
   Call 773-2140 after 5 p.m. for information.

Ransom Road House Fire - April 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to an alarm of fire at the Quasto residence at 355 Ransom Road, Grand Island at 6:08 p.m. Thursday, April 26, 2007. First volunteers on the scene reported a wooden structure with heavy smoke showing from the dwelling. Deputy Chief Koch arrived and assumed incident command and declared a working fire. GI Engine 4 arrived and interior crews led by Assistant Chief Matt Osinski brought the fire under control within 10 minutes. Extensive over haul was done by the GIFC. Crews from Sheridan Park were dispatched as a FAST team and City of Tonawanda was called to stand by at Fire Headquarters.
    The two occupants of the house were treated for burns by Fire Company paramedics and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for evaluation.
   Damage was listed at approximately $50,000 to the structure and $25,000 to the contents. The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical but is still under investigation by the GIFC and Erie County Fire Investigators. A total of 27 firefighters responded to the scene. "Crews did an outstanding job of a quick knock down to prevent further damage," Deputy Koch said.

Charity Dodge Ball Tournament Benefits Ashley Carminati - April 2007

   A charity Dodge Ball Tournament will benefit Ashley Carminati who is recuperating from a bone marrow transplant. Open to anyone over 14 and taking place at 7 a.m. Saturday, April 28, 2007 at the Grand Island High School. Five-man teams may compete at $25 per team. All captains are asked to contact with team information so a roster may be put together.

What Is Dollars for Scholars? - April 2007

   Grand Island Dollars for Scholars is the local chapter of a national, not-for-profit volunteer organization that develops funds and awards scholarships to deserving students. The goal is to help students who live on Grand Island meet the high costs of post-secondary education. Each Dollars for Scholars Chapter works with hundreds of colleges and schools to maximize the value of their scholarships and reduce students' reliance on loans.
Why is Dollars for Scholars important?
Through Dollars for Scholars, we have the opportunity to provide both encouragement and financial support for local students. Hundreds of colleges have agreed as "Collegiate Partners" to accept these awards towards better meeting students' needs or reducing loans; many colleges have also agreed to match Dollars for Scholars awards. How are scholarship funds raised? Funds come from the generous support of local businesses, service organizations and individuals. Students and the entire community show their support by becoming involved in various types of fundraising activities. All money raised by the Grand Island Chapter Dollars for Scholars goes to assist Grand Island students. Now you can nurture the bright young minds of our community through Grand Island Dollars for Scholars by sending local students the powerful message that their community believes in them and wants to help them succeed If you wish to consider establishing a permanent endowed scholarship, or for further information about our program, please contact Joanne Kud at 310-9140. For more information, see "Dollars For Scholars" for the May 7th Pizza Hut Fundraiser.

Hoyt Announces ESDC Grant For Grand Island Gateway Project - April 2007

   Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo, Grand Island) announced the approval of up to $97,500 from the Empire State Development Corporation for the Grand Island Gateway project.
   Hoyt said, “This grant will provide critical funding to help move this project forward, which will create and retain jobs for Island residents and help strengthen the local economy.”
   The Gateway project at Long and Bedell roads will be a multi-tenant business and technology park. The adjacency to the I-190 and the proximity to the US/Canadian border will make this project location highly attractive for local businesses.
   Hoyt continued, “This project is consistent with the Island’s master plan, and contributes to the number of available sites for business expansion and attraction, and will increase the Town’s property tax revenues. I know that this project is a priority for Supervisor McMahon, and I am pleased to be able to help secure the funding necessary to make this project a reality.”

Fire Company Responds To Sighting Of Man On Ice Flow - April 2007

Jeff Stange Photos - Click for larger view
    The Grand Island Fire Company received a request for assistance from the Erie County Sheriff's Department at 3:02 p.m. Saturday, April 21, 2007 for the rescue of a man sighted on an ice flow, and floating down river under the north Grand Island Bridge. The caller who reported this, was driving over the bridge. An ambulance was requested at the Sandy Beach Yacht Club, the incident command post. The border patrol, Niagara Parks Police, and a Sheriff's Department helicopter responded to the scene. A Fire Company volunteer spoke with a man in a kayak who said he had the kayak on an ice flow but never left his craft. The kayaker who had no life jackets on board, was requested to come off the river and it was assumed, after a complete search of the area, that he was the person reported by the driver on the north bridge. The GIFC was back in service at 3:26 p.m.

Niagara River Greenway Commission Appoints Isle Resident - April 2007

   Island resident Rob Belue has been appointed Executive Director of the Niagara River Greenway Commission. See "Rob Belue" for the Buffalo News story.

Island Resident Arrested - April 2007

   An Island resident was arrested Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007 in regard to an incident at Mount St. Mary's Hospital, Lewiston. See April 19, 2007 "Buffalo News Story" or "Niagara Gazette Story" by Aaron Besecker for more information.

Tonawanda Landfill Review Meeting - April 2007

    Island residents are invited to a Tonawanda Landfill Review Meeting from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, 2007 in the Tonawanda City High School. This meeting and the subject matter has been brought to the attention of the residents of Grand Island by Elsa Bondar, a member of the League of Women Voters, due to the landfill's proximity to Grand Island. See "Tonawanda Landfill" for more information.

Ice Flows At Complete Standstill Across East River - April 2007

Jeff Stange Photo - Click for larger view received several calls Saturday morning, April 14, 2007 with residents reporting the highly unusual ice flows totally backed up on the east side of the east Niagara River. "At a complete standstill" is how the callers described the heavy ice, previously moving down the river due to the removal of the ice boom earlier in the week. The ice jam seemed to be anywhere down river from Ransom Road. photographer Jeff Stange took the photo at Ransom Road looking over to what may be the Tonawanda Medical Center.
   March 5, 1998 is the earliest the boom has been removed since its inauguration in the winter of 1964-65 and the latest removal date is May 3, 1971.
   To curtail the costly shoreline damage that was almost always a yearly occurrence, the ice boom was designed to eliminate the amount of Lake ice moving into the Niagara River. For more information, see "Boom Days! Site" and "Spree Magazine photos."

Wow Weekend!
Isle Events Very Well Attended - April 2007

   Publisher Reg Schopp extends his appreciation to the community for the fantastic support of the past weekend's events on Grand Island. "Thank You Grand Island for coming out in support of the Ashley Carminati Fundraiser, The Rod & Gun Club Spring Fling and the "Before Beaver Island State Park" photo display," Schopp said. Not only did those events draw overwhelming attendance, the talented kids who worked so hard preparing for their presentation of "The Adventures Of Robin Hood" at St. Stephen's were treated to big crowds on Friday and Sunday. Yes, the Sabres put a bit of a damper on Saturday's attendance, but the crowd that came was fantastic. It was such a great show that those who attended on Friday or Saturday, actually came back again to see it on Sunday.
   A story and photos regarding the town's Preservation Board photo display, "Before Beaver Island State Park," will be featured in the Thursday, April 19th edition of The display will be moved to the town hall in May 2007.

Blood Drive - April 2007

   An American Red Cross blood drive will be held from 1-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1841 Whitehaven Road.

Hoyt Reminds Residents To Apply For STAR TAX Exemption -
Don't Miss Out On Tax Savings - April 2007

   Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo, Grand Island) reminds all Grand Island residents to apply for a School Tax Relief (STAR) exemption. This important program helps working families and seniors save more of their hard-earned money.
   Hoyt said, “The STAR tax program provides a great savings for all homeowners and I encourage all Grand Island residents to apply for it. This year, the budget includes a significant increase in STAR tax rebates targeted for middle-class families as well as increased benefits for seniors.”
   Grand Island residents have until May 1, 2007 to file for the tax exemption. STAR tax exemptions are available to all owner occupied primary residences, regardless of age or income. Seniors who meet certain income limits are also eligible for an enhanced tax reduction. The STAR tax program works by exempting a portion of the value of the home from calculation of school taxes. For basic STAR this exemption is $30,000 and for enhanced STAR it is $56,800: for most homeowners this results in several hundred dollars of school tax savings.
   Under the newly enacted program, residents meeting the income guidelines will be eligible for an enhanced rebate to be provided through a rebate check in addition to the regular STAR benefit provided through a reduction in the homeowner's property tax bill. Homeowners must file for the STAR rebate to be eligible for the additional property tax rebate program.
   Grand Island residents who are interested in applying should contact the Town assessor’s office 773-9600 ext 648 to request an application.
   Hoyt continued, “I encourage all Grand Island residents to apply for STAR and see how this program can help you save money. Year after year I have fought to continue this important program that generates real savings against rising property taxes, and this year’s enhancements will mean even more savings to New York homeowners.”

GI Fire Company Responds To Praxair Fire in Town of Tonawanda - April 2007

   April 6, 2007 . . .The Grand Island Fire Company was called to respond to a fire at the Praxair Technical Center in the Town of Tonawanda on Thursday morning, April 5, 2007. Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher is quoted in the Tonawanda News article of Friday, April 6, 2007. Click "Praxair Fire" for story by Daniel Pye.

Hoyt Announces $1.5 Million Increase For Grand Island Public Schools - April 2007

   April 5, 2007 . . .Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo, Grand Island) announced today that the state budget contains a $1,526,212 increase in school aid for the Grand Island Public Schools. The school district received a total of $16,567,511 in state aid.
   Hoyt said, "This is great news for Grand Island's school children. Hopefully this increase in school aid will help avert property tax increases and allow the Grand Island schools to continue reforming and enhancing its programs. This increase represents real progress towards providing our schools with the tools and the funding they need to provide our children with the best quality education possible."
   Hoyt has led the charge both for increased funding for public schools as well as increased fiscal accountability. He has introduced legislation designed to reform the state's school aid funding formula as well as legislation that would increase safety in our children's schools.
   Hoyt concluded, "The Legislature worked hard to pass an on-time budget for the third year in a row, which will enable the Grand Island School District to accurately project resources and establish corresponding budgets for the upcoming year. This prevents our educators from having to be fortune tellers and lets them focus on what's really important: educating our children."
   Sam Hoyt represents the 144th Assembly District.

Island Resident Pleads Guilty In Drug Arrest - March 2007

   A Grand Island man who was said to be the head of a cocaine sales operation, pleaded guilty to charges. Click "Cocaine Sales Operation" for the March 28, 2007 Buffalo News story.

Share Your Easter Church Services With The Community - 2007

      Grand Island churches may submit information on their Easter Week services for posting at on Thursday, April 5th, free of charge. Email to: as soon as possible.

Fire Co. Responds To Alarm At McDonald's Restaurant - March 2007

Grand Island Fire Company received two calls for an alarm of fire at MacDonald's Restaurant, 2231 Grand Island Blvd. at 1:04 p.m. Monday, March 26, 2007. The building, said to be filling with smoke, was evacuated. Firefighters reported an electrical panel fire with no visible fire and requested National Grid to respond to the scene. Grand Island Fire Company returned in service at 1:54 p.m.

Isle Resident To Serve 6-Month Prison Term - March 2007

   Island resident Alice Gerard will begin serving her third federal prison on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 with no regrets. Click "Alice Gerard" for the March 20, 2007 Buffalo News story by News Staff Reporter Dan Herbeck.

Blood Drive - March 2007

   An American Red Cross blood drive will be held from 1-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 at the Fire Headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road.

Paddles Up Niagara 2007

2006 photo by Lyn Laman - Click for larger view
   Paddles Up Niagara 2007 will take place Saturday, July 28th in Beaver Island State Park. Planning is still underway, however, the 2007 event will begin at the Little Beaver Island launch site (same location as last year). Instead of heading down the west river channel, participants will proceed through the Little Beaver Island lagoon entering the Niagara River in the vicinity of the Beaver Island Marina. At this point, participants will paddle eastward along the Grand Island shoreline passing the beach at Beaver Island then round the Island's southeast tip entering the east channel of the Niagara River. The group will then proceed downstream to the East River Marsh restoration area where they will reverse course and paddle back to the original launch point.
   Paddles Up 2007 chairman Paul Leuchner said the course is shorter but offers more scenic variety and protection from the prevailing southwesterly winds. "Another benefit is that the course provides an opportunity to observe some of the environmental restoration work that has gone on in the upper Niagara River," he said. Leuchner also chaired the first Paddles Up Niagara in 2006 that drew at least 140 boats, and more are expected in July.
   At the end of the event, participants will pack up their gear and proceed to a designated parking area where those who have signed up for a picnic will be shuttled over to the grounds at River Lea. "There will be a fee for the picnic," Leuchner said. Click "Niagara River Greenway Commission web page" where additional information will be posted from time to time.

Motor Vehicle Accident At Baseline/Whitehaven - March 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to the corner of Baseline and Whitehaven roads at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, 2007 for a report of a two-car motor vehicle accident. Two patients were evaluated, with one signing off and one extricated from a vehicle and transported to the Erie County Medical Center. Grand Island Fire Co. was back in service at 9:53 p.m. Details may be added to this story as they become available.

Turn Your Clocks Ahead - March 2007

   Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday morning, March 11th at 2 a.m. Be sure to turn your clocks ahead on Saturday evening and don't forget to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors!

America's Safe Boating Course - March 2007

   The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 3-5 of Grand Island will sponsor an America's Safe Boating Course from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 31, 2007 in Connor Middle School, 1100 Ransom Road. For registration and information, call 632-7353 or 694-2856.

Sheriff's Deputy Gives Description of Suspected Prowler - March 2007

   Detective Dennis Fitzgibbons of the Erie County Sheriff's Department has provided the community with a description of a suspected prowler, recently spotted in a backyard in the 2000 block of Stony Point Road. The suspect is a white male, olive complexion, mid to late 30s, black hair, approximately 6 feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds. The man was wearing a full-length black, down jacket. The ripped jacket hood may be blood-stained.
   The resident on Stony Point spotted the prowler, proceeded to inspect the situation and was bitten by the intruder. According to Detective Fitzgibbons, the intruder may have suffered a nose injury. Earlier on the day of the incident the family dog began acting strangely and around 1 a.m., the prowler was seen standing behind a tree in the backyard.
   Anyone with information about the incident is asked to all the Erie County Sheriff's Detective Bureau, 858-7755.

Civil Service Exam Announcements - March 2007

   The following are Erie County exam announcements for April 28, 2007. Exams will be given on April 28, 2007.
Civil Service Exams
Telephone Operator
Assistant Administrator - Resident Services
Buyer - Schools
Buyer - Civil Service Exam
Hospital Social Worker
Human Resources Specialist - Erie Co. Medical Center

Free "Community First Aid & Safety" Training - March 2007

   The Border Community SERVICE of Niagara University will sponsor American Red Cross “Community First Aid & Safety” training at Grand Island Fire Hall, 2275 Baseline Road from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on three consecutive Thursdays, March 8, 15, and 22. This course consists of three parts: Adult CPR with AED Skills, Infant & Child CPR, and First Aid Basics. It’s great supplemental training for CERT-trained individuals.
   Enrollment in this class is limited to 24 individuals who are not currently certified in these topics. Several Grand Island CERT members may find that their one year ARC CPR certifications (Adult and Infant & Child) have expired but not their First Aid Basics certification. They are welcome to attend just the two needed training sessions. "They should let us know that they won’t attend the First Aid Basics course when they call (205-0070) to enroll," a spokesman for the classes said this week.
   For enrollment and information, call 205-0070 or email to at your earliest convenience.

Arrest Made In Love Road Robbery - March 2007

   March 1, 2007 . . . The Erie County Sheriff's Office and Amherst Police Dept. have announced the break up of a daytime burglary ring with the arrest and indictment of a 31-year-old Buffalo man who has been charged with numerous counts of burglary, grand larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property; (all felonies) in connection with a summer burglary spree which ended with the suspect's apprehension in early September 2006.
   Colin Moar of Bird Avenue, Buffalo (who is on probation for previous crimes) is expected to be arraigned within the next several days. He is accused of five residential burglaries including: Old Falls Blvd. in the Town of Amherst; Pound Road in the Town of Elma; Hunts Corner Road in the Town of Newstead; Heather Drive in the Town of Clarence; and Love Road in the Town of Grand Island.
   As a result of Moar's arrest, two search warrants were executed in the City of Buffalo and numerous stolen items including laptop computers, jewelry and electronics were recovered.
   Police describe Moar's acts as brazen because he would kick in the doors of his victims in broad daylight. In one instance in Clarence, an elderly woman was startled when Moar kicked in her mudroom door while she was home.
   Amherst detectives assisted Detectives Alan Rozansky and Dennis Fitzgibbons fro the Erie County Sheriff's Office n solving the case.

Total Lunar Eclipse - March 2007

   A total lunar eclipse, visible from parts of all seven continents, including the eastern half of the United States will take place on Saturday, March 3, 2007. Click "" for complete information.

Huge Colonial Drive Snowman - Feb. 2007

Click for larger view

   This huge snowman is the talk of Colonial Drive East. It is supposedly lit up at night and worth taking a ride by - unless he's already waving good bye (now don't you cry) - he'll be back again someday!!

Snowmobile Roll-over Causes Minor Injury - February 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to the Stony Point Extension, under the South Grand Island Bridge at 1:55 p.m. Saturday, February 24, 2007 for a report of a snowmobile roll-over. The wife of a Grand Island Fire Company volunteer was evaluated and found to be not seriously hurt. Grand Island Fire Co. was back in service at 2:15 p.m. Details may be added to this story as they become available.

Two Injuried In Head-on MVA In Front Of Wilson Farms - February 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company received a request for EMS units at 7:43 p.m. Thursday, February 22, 2007 when a motor vehicle accident occurred at 1787 Love Road in front of Wilson Farms. Two vehicles were involved in the head-on crash and two patients with neck and back pain were evaluated by Fire Company medics. Injured and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital by ambulance were Tanya Seal, 32, of Stony Point Road, and Lisa Boulder, 42, of Fairview Court. Grand Island Fire Company was back in service at 8:18 p.m. Fire Company Captain Donald Portik was in charge of call. The Grand Island Police Department investigated the collision.

Alpha Course XII Coming To Grand Island - February 2007

   An Alpha Course XII begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, 2007 in the hospitality room at St. Stephen's R.C. Church, and continues for 10 Tuesday evenings. Alpha is a non-denominational spiritual renewal program for anyone interested in learning more about the Christian faith. There is a $5.00 book fee. A simple meal is provided each evening. To register, call Virginia Mariani at 774-2719.
   Alpha is a 10-week, 15-session practical introduction to the Christian faith, designed primarily for non-churchgoers and new Christians. It is an opportunity for adults of all backgrounds to explore the meaning of life in a safe, fun and non-threatening atmosphere. It began in London more than 25 years ago and is now running successfully all over the world. Thousands of churches in virtually all denominations, are regularly offering courses.
   Are you a new parishioner? Are you asking, "What's next?" Do you want to brush up on the basics? Re-kindle your faith? Have you unanswered questions such as, 'How do I deal with guilt?' 'What is the point of my life?' 'What happens when I die?'? Alpha is for anyone wanting to grow in the love and knowledge of God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Adults of all ages are welcome.
   Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Do you know what the Holy Spirit does? Are you assured of your salvation? Do you have a friend whom you would like to have a closer relationship with God? Is God tugging at you to come? Not sure? Try the first two sessions. There is no obligation. Come and explore the meaning of life.
   Each evening of Alpha begins with a meal, followed by worship and continues with a video presentation such as 'Who is Jesus?', 'Why did Jesus die?', 'Why and How Should I Read the Bible?' and 'How Can I Overcome Evil?' and ends with small group sharing. The small groups provide a chance to discuss issues raised during the talks. Alpha is non-denominational.
   These are some comments we received from those who participated: "This program affected me profoundly. It impressed upon me the love of my Lord, opened my heart and mind, and gave me the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I did not believe it could happen to me." Another, "It filled a void I was looking for. I feel complete." And, "Before I was guilt ridden. Now I am at peace." "Before this program, I did not understand the role of the Holy Spirit in my life and that He has always been with me." "The language of the videos is sensible, simple, and truthful. I feel I can tell others now."
   "For as long as I can remember, through my childhood, teens, and adult years, I have asked questions. One question I constantly asked myself was 'Do I believe in God?' I had no answer and it bothered me. By the end of the third Alpha evening I had come to a few realizations that were truly stunning for me. I knew that Jesus died for me and that I could never 'sit on the fence again."
   Click "" for further information.

NYS Thruway's New 65 MPH Speed Limit - February 2007

   The New York State Thruway Authority board of trustees voted Wednesday, January 17, 2007 to change the speed limit on the Grand Island section of the Thruway from 55 to 65 mph. The new speed limit conforms with the Niagara Falls portion of the highway. This new speed limit applies from milepost 15.6 to 20.2 northbound and from milepost 19.9 to 15.3 southbound, which is about a five-mile stretch. The new speed limit does not apply to the Grand Island bridges. According to Greg Butcher, chief of the Grand Island Fire Company, whose Emergency Medical Services squad responds to injury accidents on the Thruway, there has not been any increase in accidents on the Island's stretch of the state highway.

Peanut Butter Removed From Tops Market Shelves - February 2007

   Peter Pan Peanut Butter has been removed from the grocery shelves in Tops Market on Grand Island Blvd. as of Thursday, February 15, 2007. The brand along with Great Value brand, is being recalled due to a link to a salmonella outbreak. Jars of Peter Pan peanut butter, coded beginning with numbers "2111" on the lid are being recalled. Jars with this code could be tainted and must be discarded. Diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps may occur from bacterial infection from the two brands of tainted peanut butter.

Recovery Inc. Information Session - February 2007

   A Recovery, Inc. Information Session to learn about self-help methods to improve your mental health will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 24, 2007 in the Grand Island Memorial Library meeting room. Those attending may drop in at any time between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. There is no fee and light refreshments will be offered.
   "You Are Not Alone!" If you have problems with stress, anxiety, nervous symptoms like rapid pulse or shortness of breath, depression, obsessive/compulsive habits, sleep issues, fears, or even anger management, please consider joining local members of Recovery, Inc., for information about the Recovery method.
   Recovery, Inc. is a non-profit, international self-help organization that promotes ways to overcome nervous fears/symptoms and emotional problems. It was begun by Dr. Abraham Low, a neuropsychiatrist, in the 1930s, based on his years of research with his own patients. Meetings are held on Grand Island weekly and in many other locations in Western New York. At these sessions, members read a chapter from Dr. Low's book, Mental Health Through Will Training and give/hear examples of how they or others have used the self-help techniques to improve their mental health. After, there is time for informal conversations and encouragement from other members. There are no fees to attend meetings, but contributions are collected.
   At this information session on February 24, you will be able to learn more, take home literature, and ask questions. Current Grand Island Recovery, Inc. members will be there to talk to you and explain more about how they have learned to deal with mental health issues that previously had greatly impacted their lives.

MVA In Front Of Post Office Sends One To Hospital - February 2007

   A motor vehicle accident in front of the Grand Island Post Office, 2391 Baseline Road caused one patient complaining of neck and back pain, to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. Two other occupants of the vehicles were evaluated by Grand Island Fire Company personnel and signed off. The GIFC responded to the call at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, February 15, 2007 and was back in service around 5:05 p.m. More information may be added to this story as it becomes available.

Bill Aydelotte Benefit Photos - Feb. 2007

(left) Rod Passarelli, Bill, and his mother, Paula Aydelotte;
B.A. bowling!
Rod Passarelli, Karen Raepple, Bill Buckley, Meg and Stan Pietras and Jay Raepple.
Mel E. Passarelli Photos - Click for larger view

   A benefit held Monday evening, February 5, 2007 for Bill Aydelotte at the Island Lanes drew a tremendous crowd of 300+ friends and family of Bill and Nancy Aydelotte, several traveling across the country to be there for "B.A."

Canadian Rescued From River, Arrested For Illegal Entry & Sent Back To Canada - February 2007

    Wayne E. Kingwell, rescued from a rubber raft near the Grand Island shore line by State Police and Grand Island Fire Company personnel on Monday, February 5, 2007, will be sent back to Canada following a short stay in jail and an appearance in Federal court on Wednesday, February 7 where he gave a guilty plea to illegally entering the United States. See "2/8/07 Buffalo News Story" by News reporter Dan Herbeck. See also Boater Rescued From Niagara River."

Bridge Reconstruction Committee Addresses South Bridge Rehabilitation - February 2007

   Assemblyman Sam Hoyt (D – Buffalo, Grand Island), Town Supervisor Peter McMahon and County Legislator Michele Iannello hosted the first meeting of the Grand Island Bridge Reconstruction Committee on Friday, February 2, at the Town Hall. Joining Hoyt, McMahon and Iannello were representatives from New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA), New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), representatives from the Grand Island Town Board, Traffic Safety Advisory Board, Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Advisory Board, and members from the community. The committee was formed by Assemblyman Hoyt and Supervisor McMahon to address Grand Island residents’ concerns about the upcoming construction project to re-deck the northbound South Grand Island Bridge in 2008. The committee will work with the Thruway Authority for the duration of the project to create solutions to alleviate increased traffic tensions that may occur throughout the reconstruction process.
   Hoyt said, “As construction on the bridges is expected to create significant inconveniences to Grand Island residents, it is imperative that we minimize further distress as much as possible. I think we got off to a productive start at Friday’s meeting and were able to present the goals and expectations of the committee as well as start the dialogue regarding balancing the needs of the community and construction demands.”
   McMahon added, “A similar committee was formed the last time that the NYS Thruway Authority made major repairs to the Grand Island Bridge decks. The original committee was convened by Sam Hoyt’s father. It made a number of suggestions to the Thruway which were implemented, resulting in a significant reduction in inconvenience to Island residents and businesses. The volume of traffic today is considerably heavier than in the 1980s. This makes the committee all the more imperative.”
   Among the topics discussed on Friday were the Grand Island tolls. During the reconstruction process, one of the issues that the committee will be looking very closely at is the present traffic congestion caused by the tolls and evaluating the impact of their removal or relocation in order to alleviate traffic tension and to eliminate the financial burden on residents of Grand Island. Since 1999 Hoyt has introduced legislation every session which would eliminate the Grand Island tolls. At the suggestion of Erie County Legislator Michele Iannello, one of the main goals of this committee will be to work closely with the Thruway Authority to help relieve the traffic congestion caused by the tolls and search for alternatives to the current toll collection process.
   Iannello said, “Providing relief to the traffic congestion caused by the tolls for the taxpayers of Grand Island is my highest priority. I am confident that through this process and with the cooperation of the Thruway Authority we will be able to accomplish that goal.”
   Hoyt concluded, “The work of this committee will be integral to the success of the reconstruction project on the South Grand Island Bridge. I am appreciative that both Grand Island representatives and the Thruway Authority have agreed to come together early in the design phase of the project.”

Beaver Island Sledding Hill Temporarily Closed - February 2007

   State Park officials closed the Beaver Island State Park sledding hill temporarily over the past weekend, as announced on Monday, February 5, 2007. The closing was due to safety concerns including icy conditions and severe cold and wind chills, officials said. Part of the disc golf course was also closed. All other activities in the park are open. For park information, call 773-3271 or visit

MVAs Tie Up South Bound Bridge - February 2007

   A total of 19 cars and a tractor trailer were involved in four separate chain reaction accidents on the south bound, South Grand Island Bridge. The Grand Island Fire Company received a call for EMS units at 9:19 a.m. Tuesday, February 6, 2007. The cause of multiple crashes was due to glare off the bridge. One patient was extricated from a vehicle and transported to a local hospital by ambulance. A second patient was transported to a hospital for chest pain. The Grand Island Fire Company EMS personnel was assisted by Town of Tonawanda paramedics. There were approximately 30 sign-offs. Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher was in charge of the call.
    More details as they become available.

Defective Fireplace Damages Warner Drive Home - February 2007

   What was reported to be a fire in the fireplace at 3341 Warner Drive at 1:39 p.m. Saturday, February 3, 2007, caused an estimated $500 in damages to the home of Mark Huffnagle. The Grand Island Fire Company under the direction of Assistant Fire Chief Chris Soluri proceeded with an investigation and removed flooring and walls from a portion of a second floor bedroom and checked for extension. The cause was determined to be a defective fireplace and improper venting. Grand Island Fire Company was back in service at about 2:30 p.m. The Grand Island Fire Company responded to seven calls on Saturday.

Occupant In Rubber Raft Rescued In Niagara River - February 2007

   Grand Island firefighters were called to recover a rubber raft stuck in ice and moving downstream in the Niagara River in the area of 1600 East River Road at 7:26 a.m. Monday, February 5, 2007. First responders reported one person on the raft. The Fire Company evaluated the patient after recovering the individual at 7:38 a.m. The Coast Guard, Park Police and the North Tonawanda Police were notified that the unoccupied raft was still moving down river. Temperature was 0 degrees with a wind-chill of minus 20. The patient, accompanied by the Border Patrol and State Police, was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and treated for exposure. Grand Island Fire Company was back in service at about 8:06 a.m.

Hoyt - $1 Million More For Island Schools - February 2007

   Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo, Grand Island) announced that the Governor's state budget proposal contains an unprecedented 1 Million dollar total aid increase for the Grand Island School District. The increase represents a seven percent increase in state aid from last year.
   Hoyt said, "This is the best kind of news for Grand Island school children and their parents. Hopefully this increase in aid will help to avert property tax increases and allow our Grand Island schools to continue enhancing their programs. This increase marks a real commitment by the new Governor to provide our children with the best quality education possible."
   Hoyt has lead the charge for increased funding for public schools and increased fiscal accountability. He has introduced legislation designed to reform the state's school aid funding formula as well as legislation that would increase safety in our children's schools.
   Hoyt concluded, "Eliot Spitzer promised to deliver for Western New York and is determined to provide aid so that our schools succeed. He's speaking our language and is coming through on his promises - and that is good news for Grand Island."

Blood Drive - February 2007

   An American Red Cross blood drive will be held from 1-7 p.m. Tuesday, February 13 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1841 Whitehaven Road.

Benefit For Bill Aydelotte - February 2007

   Friends of Billy "BA" Aydelotte are inviting the community to a surprise benefit at 9 p.m. Monday, February 5th at Island Lanes. The evening will feature a Chinese auction, raffles, pizza and wings and more. A cash bar will be available. Donations will be accepted. Baskets and other raffle items may be brought to the event before 9 p.m.

Report of Sidway School Fire Proves To Be False Alarm - January 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company dispatcher received two calls reporting a fire at the Charlotte Sidway Elementary School, 2541 Baseline Road at 8:20 p.m. Monday, January 22, 2007. Fire Chief Greg Butcher arrived on location at 8:21 p.m., reported nothing showing and proceeded with an investigation of the building. Several engines responded, however firefighters confirmed that steam from the boiler stack caused passers-by to call in the alarm. Grand Island Fire Company was back in service at 8:28 p.m.

Senator Thompson Supports Rus Thompson's Bridge Toll Elimination Campaign - January 2007

   Island resident Rus Thompson met with newly elected Senator Antoine Thompson on Friday, January 19, 2007 and was given 100% support by the Senator in Rus Thompson's effort to eliminate the tolls at the Grand Island bridges. According to Islander Thompson, Senator Thompson has sent out letters to the Governor, Assembly, Senate and the Thruway Authority requesting their support and an invitation to a meeting to be held on the Island in February.

Monday's Ice Causes Multiple Weather-Related Incidents - January 2007

Buckhorn Park - Jodi Robinson Photos - Click for larger view

East River - Jodi Robinson Photos - Click for larger view

Baseline near East River - Jodi Robinson Photos - Click for larger view

   Members of the Grand Island Fire Company had a very busy day on Monday, January 15, 2007 due to a bout of freezing rain moving into the area. Extremely slippery road conditions caused multiple auto accidents on the south Grand Island Bridge. The GIFC was also called to several locations on the Island for fallen trees across roadways and downed power lines. For a more in depth story by Fire Company Information Officer Ray Pauley, click "Firefighters Handle Multiple Emergencies During Ice storm."

Niagara Greenway Meeting Draws Nearly 100 Residents - January 2007

   A Niagara River Greenway Commission presentation on the proposed Greenway's impact on Grand Island, including some possible projects for consideration, took place on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 in the Golden Age Center on Whitehaven Road. According to an article in the January 1, 2007 edition of the Buffalo News "The 14-member Greenway Commission, with representatives from across the Buffalo Niagara region, was created by Pataki to draft a Niagara River Greenway Plan, envisioned by the governor's legislation as an "interconnected system of trails and parks" from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The Greenway Plan will guide the spending of millions of dollars from relicensing settlements made with the New York Power Authority, which is applying to operate the Niagara Power Project for another 50 years."
   "I was very pleased with the number of people who turned out for the meeting," Supervisor Peter A. McMahon said. "We had over 90 people in attendance. The briefing included the basics of the Niagara River Greenway Plan along with a list of some potential projects which involve Grand Island or the Niagara River immediately around the Island," the supervisor said.
   "It was great to see the interest of about 100 Island residents at the overview presentation put on by the Greenway Commission," Councilman Dick Crawford said. "The conceptual projects that the town has included in the plan would greatly enhance additional recreational facilities both passive and active. With 25 miles of shoreline, the town's participation in this plan for future acquisition of land and money to build will serve generations with enhanced recreational and educational facilities on the Island."
   For Councilwoman Mary Cooke's overview of the Tuesday evening meeting that included a PowerPoint presentation describing the mission and goals of the Greenway, click "Cooke Overview."

New Group Home On Baseline Nears Completion - Jan. 2007

Jodi Robinson Photo - Click for larger view

   This new group home, just north of the present Heritage Centers Residence at 1360 Baseline Road, is expected to be ready for occupancy in the spring of this year.

Attention Class Reunion Planners - Jan. 2007
   We will create and host a page at for your class with information about your reunion. What better way to connect with Classmates. Send us your news releases and we will post them on our front page with a link to your class reunion page. Email Preferred to, Fax: 716-773-1019, Snail Mail,or Drop Off to:
GIECOM.NET Office, 1871 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, NY 14072. Click for the "Class Reunions Page"

MVA At West River and Staley - January 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company EMS units responded to a motor vehicle accident at the corner of West River and Staley roads at 1:38 p.m. Thursday, January 11, 2007. The incident involved two cars and required extrication of one occupant, Sharon Szczerbiak , 52, of Bedell Road, who was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital by ambulance. Don Russell, 50, of 66th Street, Niagara Falls, the driver of the other vehicle, signed off. The GIFC was back in service at 2:04 p.m.

Grand Island Schools Closed Monday - 2007

   Grand Island schools will be closed Monday, January 15, 2007 in observance of Martin Luther King's Birthday.

No One Injured In Head-on MVA At Whitehaven and Baseline Roads - January 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company EMS received a report of a two-car motor vehicle accident at the corner of Baseline and Whitehaven roads at 1:17 p.m. Monday, January 8, 2007. The incident was described as a head-on accident. An ambulance was dispatched to the scene, however the occupants denied injuries. GIFC was back in service at 1:45 p.m. More information may be added to this story as it becomes available.

Invitrogen Grand Island/Make-A-Wish Benefit 5K Run/Walk - 2007

   The Invitrogen Grand Island/Make-A-Wish Benefit 5K Run/Walk will take place at 10 a.m. May 12, 2007. The 5K (Pending USTAF Certified course) will start at 3175 Staley Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072. For further information, contact Mark Aquino, 716-774-3095 or email to

Niagara Greenway's Impact On Island - January 2007

   A presentation about the proposed Greenway's impact on Grand Island, including some possible projects for consideration, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 9, 2007 in the Golden Age Center, Nike Base, 3278 Whitehaven Road.

MVA At Love and Baseline Roads - January 2007

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to a request for its EMS squad at the corner of Baseline and Love roads for a reported one-car motor vehicle accident at 6:50 p.m. Thursday, January 4, 2007. One patient was assessed and transported to DeGraff Hospital. It was unknown just where the actual accident occurred. Grand Island Fire Company returned in service at 7:24 p.m. More information may be added to this story as it becomes available.

Niagara Business Network to Meet Tuesday, January 9th - 2007

   Niagara Business Network will meet from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at the Niagara Sailing Club, 3619 East River Road when presenters will be Jodi Spurback – Chiropractor, and Lynn Kuligowski of Guardian/Berkshire. The Niagara Business Network is a group of local area business owners and employees who meet twice a month to do just that - network and pass business referrals to one another. Two members per meeting give a presentation on their business, so those attending can learn more about one another. "Our policy is only 1 member per business category, thus avoiding conflicts of interest," a Network spokesman said. Meetings are held every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Niagara Sailing Club. For further information contact Theresa Winder at 775-0206. For a list of current members click "As well as generating business for one another, we generate friendships & have fun!"

Fire Engines Respond To Accidental Nursing Home Alarm - 2007

   Grand Island Fire Company volunteers responded to 2850 Grand Island Blvd., Riverwood Health Care Center at 12:14 p.m. Thursday, January 4, 2007. The Company received an automatic fire alarm alert for the building. Firefighters investigated and found that a contractor had accidently tripped the alarm. Grand Island returned in service at 12:19 p.m.

Victory Staffing Continues To Recruit For Positions - 2007

   Victory Staffing, as announced by the Grand Island Town Clerk's Office, will be recruiting at Grand Island Town Hall at 10 a.m. Tuesday, January 9, 2007 for positions on and around Grand Island, N.Y. Click
Victory Staffing for complete information and positions available.

Testing To Cause Power Interruptions In Ransom Road Area - 2007

   National Grid has announced that on Wednesday, January 10 starting at about 8:30 a.m. the company will be conducting testing of its facilities in the Ransom Road area. The interruptions are anticipated to last from 20 seconds to no more than a few minutes and customers may experience more than one interruption. National Grid anticipates the testing to be completed that morning.
   Listed below are the areas that may be affected:
Ransom Road between Stony Point and Tracey Lane
Tracey Lane (including Sandra Street, Laurie Lane, & Park Lane)
Park Lane (including Sandpiper Lane and Blue Jay Lane)
Stony Point Road North (including Majestic Woods) to East River Road
Queens Drive
Old Carriage House Road (including Jamestown Road & Regency Drive)
Cardinal Lane
Amy Drive (including Saw mill & Independence Lane)
Bedell Road between Colonial Drive & Stony Point
Colonial Drive & Driftwood Drive
Veteran's Park Drive (including the Grand Island Public Library & Town Park)
   National Grid apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause the Town of Grand Island; "however, it is necessary that we conduct this testing on our system," a spokesman said this week.

HEAP Information - 2007
Corrected Date - Thursday, February 1st

    Erie County 10th District Legislator Michele Iannello has announced that residents will be able to apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) through a session from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, February 1st at the Golden Age Center at the NIKE Base, 3278 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. The first 80 applicants at each session are guaranteed assistance if they meet the eligibility criteria. No appointment is necessary. Applicants will need to bring identification for each member of the household, (license, birth certificate, or Social Security card); proof of monthly income for all household members, shut off notices if applicable, bank statements, stocks, IRA’s or 401K’s, and current utility bills.
   Monthly income ceilings are as follows:
      Family of 1 - $1,764
      Family of 2 - $2,307
      Family of 3 - $2,850
      Family of 4 - $3,393
      Family of 5 - $3,936
   For further information, call Legislator Iannello’s office at 858-6757.

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