News from Buffalo and Western New York
Without a doubt it has been a struggle for the shelter both financially and in terms of space. Our message now and into the future will continue to be: we have many fantastic animals in our facility that would make a wonderful addition to your life. There is nothing further from the truth. We also have some dogs in our facility, frankly put that don’t make suitable pets. With limited staffing and space, it is difficult for us to rehabilitate these animals.
These are dogs that have come in from dangerous dog cases that have been involved in multiple attacks on humans or have killed other animals.
If no foster homes or rescues step forward, we are faced with a difficult decision. So, what do you do with a dog that would just as soon kill a human than live with one? Does it sit in a shelter until it dies because we do not have the manpower to rehabilitate the dog and in the meantime it is taking up a kennel for a dog that comes in that may be perfectly adoptable and friendly? Or do we place him in a home and hope for the best? Is that even a responsible solution? These are serious questions that we have not been able to answer.
For a small shelter that basically had to start from the bottom and build up, we have accomplished a lot in a small amount of time, but the real problem remains: this facility is too small for the county we serve. Our municipal contracts obligate us to take dogs and our mission obligates us to take the 14 cats that came in on Friday that all have upper respiratory infections from a woman who was hospitalized. This could not have happened at a worse time; a time when we didn’t have a single cage open and have pneumonia in the building because of over-crowding.
Despite lack of space, cats continue to be dropped off in boxes at our front gate or six boxes of “donations” are set in the lobby that start meowing and scratching to get out.
These are all true stories. We have owners come in with cats and when we tell them we don’t have any open cages, but we can add them to the waiting list they drop the cat and run out the door.
A lot is expected of an animal shelter and when we fall short of those sometimes impossible expectations, we are accused of not caring or not doing our jobs. We are doing our jobs by not killing 70 percent of the animals that come into the building.
We did our jobs last year at a deficit in excessive of $171,000. Despite a sizable deficit, we still hear from some that we are “just in it for the money.” Money is important because money is what pays our bills and those bills come from caring for the animals in our facility. We continue to provide for them even though our shelter is bursting at the seams and even though it is very costly to do so.
Last year, it cost the shelter $902,000 to keep our doors open and we brought $731,000 in. There was no profit made. Some will read this and be upset that the message is so blunt and so real, but our situation here is very real and we live it every day. Our staff are the ones who try to find additional places to house animals when someone leaves us a very special “donation” of seven cats or when the dogs just keep coming in.
We have a long term plan to get out of the dog control business and we are in the process of working with the City of Niagara Falls to assist them in the transition right now, but there will not be relief over night. That relief will come two or three years down the road.
We are seeking additional revenue sources to support our mission, but our biggest obstacle right now is the number of animals that require our care and attention. In the meantime, we need your help in getting the word out that the shelter has many wonderful animals needing homes and many others that require time, patience and rehabilitation. As it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to support its local animal shelter.
Spread the word: The Niagara County SPCA is not on the verge of crisis — we are in the middle of one that hasn’t ended since May 2012. We need your support today, tomorrow and always.
If you are looking for a canine or feline friend, there is no better time than now. Local rescues: we have an open door policy. Stop in and see if you can help us out. To those rescues that go out of state and pull animals: consider the animals in your community shelter as well. If this sounds like a desperate plea, it’s because it is. Overpopulation in this shelter is real and ever present.
Individuals sometimes accuse shelter employees of being lazy for choosing euthanasia as an option before exploring other avenues, but we have not done that and we don’t want that even as a last resort.
Your community shelter is in trouble. We need your help! Please spread the word.
Now until Dec. 31, we want to help our animals find a home for the holidays. All adoption fees will be waived for animals 6 months and older.
We will also bring in the new year with new adoption prices: Adult dogs 6 months and older $110; Puppies $225; senior dogs (10 years and older) fee waived; varying adoption fees for small breed, fees vary for pure breed and exotic animals; kittens $100; cats 6 months to 3 years $60; and cats 3 years and older fee waived.
Amy Lewis, Executive Director of the Niagara County SPCA
All of the suspects have been indicted on one or more charges of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance (B-Felony) and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (B-Felony).
These arrests stem from a year-long investigation by Detective Kevin Newman and his fellow investigators at the Niagara County Drug Task Force of suspected drug dealing in the City of Lockport Impact Zone.
As of 10 a.m. Nov. 26, eight suspects have been arrested in Lockport with many more arrests expected in the next few days. Prior to the sweep it was discovered that at least two suspects are incarcerated on unrelated charges, one in the Niagara County Jail and the other in Albion State Correctional Facility.
As of this time, the following suspected drug dealers have been arrested:
Nathaniel Carson. Jr., 23, 285 Clinton St., was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Ashley Boyer, 27, 616 West Ave., was charged with two counts of two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. She also faces a violation of parole charge.
Curtis McCoy, 51, 268 Garden St., was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Jerome Drake (also known as Jerone Drake), 36, 260 N. Transit St., was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Anderson Davis, Jr., 20, arrested at the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Terrance Hardy, 29, arrested at the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Latasha Ford, 32, incarcerated in the Niagara County Jail on unrelated charges, was charged with one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Jeanine Burton, 23, incarcerated at Albion State Correctional Facility on unrelated charges, was charged with one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
The City of Lockport police were summoned to the intersection of Pine and Genesee Streets at 5:55 p.m. Nov. 16 for a shooting.
The shooting victim, Kevon L. Sykes, 23, City of Buffalo was treated and released from ECMC on Nov. 16. The investigation revealed the victim had engaged in a verbal exchange with another male, which escalated to his being shot as he ran away from the perpetrator.
Lockport police crime scene unit has collected forensic and ballistic evidence from the crime scene and the investigation is continuing.
Kevin P. Kage, 26, 207 N. Gravel Road, Apt. Upper, Medina was charged with fifth-degree possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of marijuana Nov. 21.
Police were traveling through the City Center parking lot and observed a vehicle running with steamed up windows.
Kage, Antonio Chavez, 24, 318 West Ave., Medina and Nicholas R. Radka, 20, Salt Works Road, Medina were found to be smoking marijuana in public view.
When their vehicle was approached the smell of marijuana could be detected. A glass pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana was observed on the driver’s side floor.
When asked if there was more marijuana, Kage allegedly handed the officer a glass jar containing a green leafy matter.
A search of the vehicle revealed two plastic jars that contained a white powdery substance.
Radka stated those items were his and the powder was “crushed hydros.”
Radka and Chavez were also charged with fifth-degree possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Dartanian O. Hill, 19, 70 Harvey Ave., Apt. 5, Lockport was charged with second-degree attempted burglary and fourth-degree criminal mischief Nov. 22.
Patrol responded to a report of a burglary in progress.
While in route to the location, police were advised Hill was one of the parties attempting to gain access.
Upon arrival, patrol found the door to the apartment was visibly damaged and could hear several parties inside.
While outside the door, patrol could hear someone saying “Dartanian.”
Police were able to gain access through the door and once inside, the parties were ordered to the ground.
The victim stated he was inside his apartment when he heard someone kicking at his door.
Dillon Q. Kane, 19, 126 Cottage St., Lockport was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Nov. 23.
Patrol observed a vehicle being operated by Phillip Crenshaw, who police had previous knowledge did not have a valid license.
A traffic stop was initiated and while interviewing Crenshaw and several other parties in the vehicle, an odor similar to that of marijuana was detected.
Several passengers reportedly had glassy blood shot eyes. They consented to a search and police found a clear plastic baggie containing a green leafy vegetable matter.
The baggie was found near the area where Kane was seated. Kane stated it belonged to him.
Cedrick J. Luke, 17, 72 Charlotte St., Lockport was charged Sunday with second-degree attempted burglary and fourth-degree criminal mischief.
Patrol responded to Charlotte Street for a report of a burglary in progress. Patrol observed two male suspects attempting to break into a residence.
One of the suspects was wearing a red hoodie and the other was wearing a dark jacket.
As patrol approached the residence, the parties ran. The suspect wearing a dark jacket was taken into custody at 80 Charlotte St. and the suspect wearing a red hoodie was taken into custody at 72 Charlotte St.
Brandon A. Brott, 17, 72 Charlotte St., Lockport was also charged with second-degree attempted burglary and fourth-degree criminal mischief.
Over the last several months there have been repeated entries into the former Norton Labs building located at 519 Mill St., Lockport.
Monday at 2:37 p.m. police received intelligence that two men were at the rear of the building.
Lockport police were on scene by 2:38 p.m. and noticed footprints in the snow leading to a boarded up entry point, which was not secure.
LPD set up a perimeter and requested Niagara County Sheriff’s Department to dispatch a K9 unit. Following the extensive search of the building two men were located hiding inside.
Ryan J. Milstead, 24, of Washington Street, Lockport and Nicholas A. Cousins, 20, of Jackson Street, Lockport were both charged with third-degree burglary and criminal possession of burglary tools.
All 12 rooms in the Bond-Hawley House will be decorated in 19th-century holiday style and will be open for tours. The nostalgic atmosphere of Christmas in a c.1823 family home attracted national attention in 2012. Early American Life magazine featured an article and photo spread on the house, emphasizing the appeal of the large Bond family’s Christmas celebrations in canal-era days.
Co-curators Becky and Gloria Pittler will include all elements of holiday décor in the National Register historic house/museum. Guided tours of all three floors will be given during the event.
Randy Andropolis and friends will perform Christmas music and carols. Fest visitors can also enjoy delicious holiday cookies and hot mulled cider as they socialize and enjoy the festive music and setting.
Children can find special activities just for them in the library while grown-ups tour the rest of the house. All tours and events are open to the public, and families with children age 8 and up are encouraged to attend. Donations are accepted.
Start your holiday season with the History Center and enjoy all the traditions of an authentic 19th-century Christmas. Plan to be at the Bond-Hawley House, 143 Ontario St. in Lockport to share a “Winter’s Fest Eve.” For information, please call the History Center at 434-7433.
The Bond-Hawley House will also be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays through December until Dec. 21.
Tours for groups of eight or more can be arranged by appointment at 434-7433 for a small admission fee.
“The idea was to get a little bit of money to invest in my son’s college education — he’s 30 now,” Buhr said.
Their hobby expanded from a row of trees to six to eight acres and up to 3,500 to 4,000 trees of different sizes and eight varieties.
The Buhrs offer familiar trees such as Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir and Concolor Fir, as well as the uncommon Cenaan Fir, the China native Meyer Spruce which is similar to the Blue Spruce, a Western grown citrus smelling Grand Fir, the Korean Fir and the Blue Spruce.
“What separates us from others in the area is the variety of selection and the fact that we offer the services of cutting the tree and bringing it up and if (customers) want it bailed to their vehicle,” Tim said.
The Buhr’s provide saws for customers who want to cut their own tree, or they will cut the trees for them and bring them up with a trailer as well as assist people with the loading of the trees onto their vehicle.
“Some people just want the experience of going out and cutting their own tree,” said Deb. “A lot of families come and walk out and enjoy seeing the variety of trees that are out there.”
Tim Buhr’s Christmas Trees farm, a family friendly business, is family ran between Buhr, Deb and their son Ryan.
The three of them make the rounds around the farm trimming and shaping trees as well as pricing them.
Trees are marked between $30 to $70 based on the size and quality of the tree. Tax is included in the mark-up. Most of the trees are in the $45 range.
Sizes of trees range from table top trees to 14 foot trees.
“One year a man came by saying he wanted to have a bigger tree than his neighbor,” Buhr said.
So he then took him out to the field where they cut a tree down and measured it out to 18 feet.
“It was so long we had to tie the tip of the tree up so it would be off the ground,” he said.
The Buhrs are on their second rotation of trees and have 500 plus trees ready to be cut down. They will be open for business the day after Thanksgiving.
Hours of operation for the farm are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Monday and 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
“At night it’s all lit up out here,” said Deb. “So it’s all old fashioned … very Christmassy.”
The Buhr’s pride themselves on the customer relationships they create with the families that come each year.
“There are people who come ever since we started doing this,” Buhr said. “Their kids are grown up … they came out when they were 12 years old and now they are 25. Most of them are married and have a family, so we have another generation starting to come.”
The Buhrs are working on getting the word about the farm.
“Each year it’s growing,” Buhr said. “Right now it’s word of mouth. People have come in and their comments have been, ‘your prices are excellent and the trees are great.’”
Tim Buhr’s Christmas Trees is located at 6771 N. Canal Road, Lockport. For more information you can call Buhr at 628-4289.
Beginning in 2005, Christmasville was created by the former executive director of the Lancaster Opera House, Thomas Kamierczak. During that time, Dawn Gaczewski, who is now the village’s special events director, worked along side Kamierczak in helping to bring Christmasville to life.
In 2008, she fully took over Christmasville for a little while, bringing in a musical light show. It wasn’t until this summer she was officially named the special events director and Gaczewski was back to coordinate one of her favorite events.
“I think the Village of Lancaster is offering a family tradition to Western New York,” remarked Gaczewski. “Whereas, when we were children, our parents took us to see the AM&A’s animated windows or to Niagara Falls Festival of Lights. This tradition stuck in our hearts as children and became part of our joy of the season. It made us proud of our community. The Village of Lancaster continues this tradition so that we can hand down that spirit and joy to our children. I’ve tried to combine both the animations and the lights and sounds of the festival of lights in one package.”
There are more than 20 storefronts decorated this year. Including 12 vintage AM&A’s Twas the Night before Christmas figurines, put in sequence with story boards starting at Mastercraft Upholstery and going north down Central Avenue. Some animations extend to Lancaster Travel at the corner of Central and Pleasant avenues. The displays continue on the other side of Central Avenue, beginning with Eddie Ryan’s, continuing south down Central Avenue and down West Main Street. Victorian and new animations have also been added to this year’s event.
At 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov.30, the largest fire truck parade in Western New York will start the festivities. The parade consists of more than 100 emergency vehicles from four counties participating. The annual Tree Lighting ceremony will be held directly after the parade with surprises and entertainment for the rest of the evening, said Gaczewski.
“I’ve added more food and activities for the evening so there will always be something to see or do,” she added.
Christmasville runs to Jan. 1. The animated windows light up from 6 to 11 p.m. and the music light show is from 5 to 10 p.m. every hour, every day.
This year, Gaczewski put together two different musical light shows to include Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mannheim Steamroller, David Foster Orchestra and Alan Silvestri Orchestra.
“The musical light show makes Christmasville unique,” remarked Gaczewski. “As you stroll through the streets looking at the vintage and new animations, the lights come alive and twinkle, fade and dance to your favorite holiday music.”
Christmasville will also bring the Lancaster community together to experience an extended moment of sonic peace and immersion during the winter season from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, the village will be hosting “Unsilent night.”
Created by Composer Phil Kline, Unsilent Night is a free outdoor participatory sound sculpture of many individual parts, recorded on cassettes, CDs and mp3s, and played through a roving swarm of boom boxes carried through city, town, and village streets every December.
People are asked to bring their own boom boxes and drift peacefully through a cloud of sound, which is different from every listener’s perspective. Since 1992, this 45-minute work has grown into a worldwide annual communal event that has become an essential part of many winter holiday celebrations.
Those who participate will be asked to download free music from the village’s website or bring a CD player. Free CD’s will also we offered. Participants will then walk at 7 p.m. playing this music.
“This walk will be a musical tribute to the season and we will walk in memory of our loved ones,” commented Gaczewski.
There will be food offered as well as other vendors. Any proceeds from the evening will benefit Hospice.
For more information about Christmasville visit www.lancastervillage.org
Jenna Neumaier, Steven Neumaier, Sarah Lewandowski, Andrew Phibbs, Victoria Richel, Bradley Bedell, Andrea Dressler, Alyssa Dzik, Tessa Adamec, Benjamin King, Lindsey Dressler, Stephen Mellen, Katerina Schlabig, Walter Hoag, Raymond Zheng, Stephanie Tranquilli, Austin Crosby, Zachary Winkel, Mitchell Carleton, Benjamin Closson, Kristen Bull, Kayla Mansell, Zachary Wagner, Sarah Poremba, Molly Minko, Kaitlin Joyce, Cassandra Rohrdanz, Jeffrey Krakowiak, Jacob Nowark, Bridget O'Leary, Gabriella Folsom, Shawn Vacanti, Connor Fuller, Amy Bucklaew, Abigail Wesolowski, Thomas Michel, Mackenzie Donner, Mitchell Francemone, Therese Losardo, Kailey Czyz, Kyle Thomson, Sarah Falzone, Claire Donofrio, Megan Schneider, Taylor Dwigun, Kayla Conaway, Anna Donnelly, Belle Stewart, Andrea Manns, Dana Porzio, Zachery Gammel, Alexander Enright, Benjamin Monti, Madeleine Friedman, Molly Gawron, Renae Marten, McKenna Cartonia, Maxwell Castiglione, Emily Martin, Crystal Chan, Michael Goss, Taylor Tracy, Joseph Zogaria, Zachary Paquette, Matthew Aquiline, Melpomeni Kesidis, Anthony Jreige, Antonino LaGambina, Elaina Trudell, Marisa Marinelli, Meaghan Geary, Ryan Myers, Taylor Szczepankiewicz, Alex Kostek, Julia Martin, Ashley Len, Brenna Courtney, Ryan Szczecinski, Andrew Grossman, Ryan Mock, Charley Kight, Rebecca Chilelli, Gabriella Castricone, Courtney Rieman, Corrine Smith, Griffin Murray, Joseph Pesany Jr, Kelly Feuerstein, Jenna Hagen, Mackenzie Mahony, Lindsey Bruso, Kaylee Mrozek, Taylor Billings, Tabitha Rath, Ashley Grazen, Nicole Fleming, Nicole Ritter, Diana Franzone, Haley Harrington, Garrett Hyla, Michelle Parkhurst, Matthew Buehler, Nathan Wyse, Courtney Kennedy, Tyler Nosbisch, Morgan Minko, Hannah Gleason, Trevor Wyse, Brianna Colucci, Jenna Pecky, Cassandra Davern, Madison Pauly, Gina Graziani, Sarah Folster, Winter Barry, Hannah Maciejewski, Eric Ahl III, Nicholas Burns, Zachary Kuntz, Allison Rehm, Victoria Hyde, Michael Scarpello, Brittany Rudd, Katherine Duman, Marissa Tracy, Bryce Kazmierczak, Morgan Rozek, Cassandra Carney, Gina Foley, Jenna Schlager, Jarod Kessler, Kaleigh Ross, Emily Cassel, Jordan Hussar, Sarah Wilcox, Kendall Decaire, Brianna Mieth, Alyssa Aquino, Pawel Smistek, Kailyn Moffe, McKenna Hamill, Kaylee Wilson, Madeline Hawthorn, William Holtermann, Henry Bojanowski, Morgan Heist, Samantha Jaworowicz, Allison Schuman, Jay Baumann, Anna Hansen, Alisha Gajkowski, Caitlin Smith, Kylie Knibloe, Olivia Potts, Alex Konst, Edward Hornung, Samantha Sawyer, Alec Karcher, Mathieu Rachiele, Patrick Norris, Alexa Mediak, Joseph Zagarrio, Brittany Carlino, Alexander Damiani, Emily Ziemba, Jonathan Ruggiero, Cale Klembczyk, Joshua Baker, Alfredo Gallo, Savannah Cornelius, Justin Lederhouse, Shawn Otto, Madison Minko, Taylor Czarniak, Kaleigh Scroger, Aubrey Billittier, Mallory Grahnert, Nicholas Scully, Rachel O'Brien, Samantha Renaud, Hannah Nagowski, Michaela Senay, Jessica Parry, Elyse Kuhn, Ryan Johnson, Tatiana Suhr, Brittany Abel, Connor Strusienski, Cameron Webber, Victoria Conklin, Taylor Ignaszak, Anna Orlando, Matthew Suchyna, Samantha Sherry, Zachary McKenzie, Connor Schultz, Matthew Tryjankowski, Erica Stoeckl, Nicholas Trent, Hannah Switzer, Kenneth Rudz, James Walters, Andrea Billen, Alexandra Hoegel, Julia Borkowski, Ostap Tkalich, Zachary Strasser, Morgan Stekl, Alyssa Fronckowiak, Samuel Lewandowski, Chelsea Davis, Jane Konieczko, Riley Lucarelli, Sabrina Puglisi, Allissa Galenski, Sydney Lyons, Matthew Minchen, Jason Czuprynski, Olivia Kucharski, Colin Kistner, Ashlee-Nicole Ruda, Christian Tredo, Justin Collins, Christopher Stojanovski, Austin Kuznik, Bryana Fridmann, Dante Walsh, Victoria Marth, Samantha Klein, Kyle Koch, Morgan Siller, Brandon Voight, Amanda O'Bara, Ryan Eleczko, Cara Marrano, Brandon Schoenhardt, Caitlin Kennedy, Amanda Fries, Elizabeth Friol, Devin Suarez.
Daniel Buscaglia, Kelly Fellner, Allison Kotas, Brian Cornell, Christopher Stein, Connor Carrow, Rachel Gillett, David Peita, Jordan Testa, Brandon Ruffner, Andrew Pasek, Adam Fijas, Hannah Szretter, Dominic Occhino, Khrystyna Sobko, Joanna Budzynski, Ashley Plotnicki, Camrey Whyle, Katherine Hamlin, Ashley Andrews, Katelyn Cefali, Anna Willis, Marissa Maggiore, Brooke Nola, Sarah Nowark, Taylor Kreil, Madison Malkowski, Sean Rembecki, Lauren Smith, Corey Werner, Kira Sweet, Kayleen Schill, Niki Tshulos, Megan Keller, Kyle Bobeck, Kara Paradowski, Tyler Kowalewski, Maria Pacos, Rachel Sudyn, Lindsey Levan, Brianne Nightingale, Emily Weber, Sarah Winkle, Samuel Young, Timothy Molik, Nicole Orwat, Francesca Walker, Mason Jaroslawsky, Megan Gulczewski, Katy Jargiello, Emily Kerl, Alexis Bueme, Julia Rudz, Nicole Thurnherr, Olivia Gervan, Jason Nicpon, Aurora Scott, Collin Reformat, Michael Weng, Dominic Stutz, Cory Cherven, Allison Gorski, Jamie Zaccaria, Jordan Clemons, Alexis Maida, Alison Pierpaoli, Joseph Santoro Jr, Brian Tusznio, Karlie Schiffler, Andrew Helenbrook, Erin O'Shei, Sophia Kesidis, Daniel Zahlhas, Anna Quillen, Sydney Aldrich, Isabella Scozzaro, Haley Brunstad, Nicholas Marschner, Brandon Eckert, Odell Sanchez, Cayleigh Scia, Nicole Sobus, Hannah Kalmeyer, Alissandria Gandy, Jaskarn Singh, Paige Harrington, Amy Sczepanski, Kylee Mclaughlin, Alexandra Brainard, Marissa Dalio, Jessica Jones, Rachael Deakin, Joseph Dombrowski, Caelie Marcussen, Katelynn Budzich, Corally Wolters, Ellisse Walleshauser, Dante Vattimo, Mya Priester, Juliana Smith, Nathan Adamec, Eden Woland, Eric Emser, Alyssa Glenn, Trevor Wilson, Jenna Miori, John Madsen, Alyssa Lipinski, Drayton Ader, Julianna Schlabig, Kevin Loftus, Yousef Abdulrahman, Emily Klimczak, Jacob Gozdziak, Braden Kwasniewski, Jacob O'Neil, Brandon Bauer, Spencer Wybieracki, Tyler Leonardi, Emmitt Horvatits, Erin Weber, Abbegail Molino, Colin Smith, Tabitha Wechter, Anthony Brown, Alexander Loewer, Christina Nunn, David Wolanin, Salvatore Giangreco-Marotta, Katlyn Snow, Ashlee Szmak, Erika Filipski, Margaretmary Neumann, Kathryn DiPirro, Cassidy Shevlin, Nicholas Cumbo, Annaliese Ziemann, Kenneth Horbett, Alexandria Dirschberger, Miranda McCusker, Nicholas Stoyer, Molly Preston, Sarah Haslinger, Christina Stasiuk, Kelsey Callea, Hannah Danielski, Chloe Jowdy, Carson Valley, Brett Lorrens, Joshua Engelhardt, Joshua Schafer, Easton Warnke, Lauren Konczal, Madeline Weakland, Donald Horbett, Luka Opacic, Emily Thompson, Brandon Habschied, Ryan Goddard, Alexander Chmielewski, Zoe Kelly, Domenic Caetano, Matthew Lapiana, Kristen Romano, Morgan Foster, Julie Au, Rachel Nendza, Alexia Kaplan, Mackenzie Szefel, Alyssa Kenyon, Karly Klostermann, Alyssa Babinger, Glenn Stever, Justin Hinsken, Taylor Juzdowski, Ryan Blatto, Hannah Schmahl, Kevin Walter, Jessica Dauer, Nicholas Doering, Vito Fulciniti, Ryan Bieger, Claire Smith, Lauren Davis, Patrick Uhteg Jr, Richard Fowler, Olivia George, Zachary Rosati, Marina Zosh, Domenic Monti, Jared Gorenflo, Jakob Krauze, Lindsay Kasprzyk, Valerie D'Agostino, Brandon Bishop, Danielle Gabamonte, Samuel Haefner, Tyler Curry, Hayden Kuzma, Nathan Milligan, Joseph Molea, Madelyn Bondanza, Alexi Achtyl, Abigail Ludwig, Anthony Gallo, Heather Velie, Anthony DeAngelis, Devin Dixon, Mason Mastrangelo, Lauren Urban, Julia Colvin, Aaliyah Staufenberger, Eric Koeth, Gina Nowak, Briandra Mercado, Christina Miller, Alexis Dahn, Paul Sokolowski, Angelo Bordieri, Laura Pacanowski, Lucas Buckley, Jenelle Piatt, Samuel Ptak, Joshua Velez, Arianna Pandolfino, Noah Steele, Meghan Wehner, Anthony Brinda, Joseph Marino, Samantha Marranca, Tenaya Chaney, Tyree Clark, Donamarie Slisz, Heidi Roselle, Zachary Holland, Connor Dillon, Celina Gregory, David Farace, Kaitlyn Norsen.
More than 300 third-graders from the Lockport City School District and DeSales Catholic School decorated pumpkins this past Halloween. The winning pumpkins were selected after the community voted for their favorites at participating downtown Lockport businesses, where the pumpkins were on display.
As the grand prize winners, Kavaya and Allen each received new bicycles and helmets, generously donated by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. In addition, every third-grade class received a free pizza party courtesy of Papa Leo’s in Lockport, for participating in the contest. Pumpkins were generously donated by Niagara Produce of Lockport and the contest was sponsored by Key Bank.
Bowmansville Past Chief Robert J. MacPeek installed Chief Lawniczak assisted by Past Chief Bill MacPeek and Honorary Bowmansville member Art Domino, retired commissioner of Emergency Services of Erie County.
Other officers installed for the year 2014 included Randy Rider, 1st vice president; John Kolb, 2nd vice president; Brett Rider, director; Greg Butcher, director; Peter Casey, secretary; Michael Wutz, treasurer; Tom Whiting, financial secretary; and William Reuman, Sgt.. at arms.
The Erie County Fire Chiefs Mutual Aid Organization represents the fire chiefs and line officers of the 94 volunteer fire companies and departments in Erie County.
Ashley Alessandra, Anne Fortman, Colin Myers, Jacob Fijas, Matthew Poremba, Matthew Zuzze, Joseph Carleton, Megan Rzeszut, Tyler Bonafede, Nicholas Rydzynski, Olivia Streit, Austin Mueller, Michael Kleinfelder, Christina Buscaglia, Maxwell Vogel, Kyle Rydzynski, Courtney Drozdowski, Cortlynn Cartonia, Bryan Rudd, Samantha Lang, Eric Szczecinski, Rachel MacDavid, Kyle Ruffner, Dominic Buttino, Sarah Collins, Laura Jeziorski, Nathaniel Watt, Michael Spengler, Ethan Schwach, Kevin Colafranceschi, Ryan Stekl, Kaitlyn Mohn, Amanda McNally, Ryan Becht, Briana Stribing, Rachel Heidenreich, Melissa Olejniczak, Jenna Lorusso, Megan Ulbrich, Emily Young, Nicholas Scapillato, McKenzie Kuehlewind, Christa Carr, Erin Kotas, Matthew Tobolski, Alexis Oczowinski, Kristen Vero, Alexander Stojanovski, Carissa Braun, Gretchen Throm, Lauren Hooven, Alexander Juhasz, Kyler Lehrbach, Thane Wilcox, Kaitlyn Sodaro, April Henry, Hannah Kisker, Noah Maciejewski, Amanda Fox-Schurkus, Colton Wright, Hannah Wawrowski, Emily DeAngelis, Chelsea Cantie, Danielle Koepf, Joelle Szuniewicz, Madeline Warmus, Sarah Abdulrahman, Emma Santoro, Samuel Carwile, Jamie Burdick, Catherine Meyer, Jesse Yale, Elizabeth Tryjankowski, Nicole Filipski, Nathan Riexinger, Christian Farkas, Megan Hardy, Allison Reinig, Maria Faltisko, Jessica Miller, Brett Kaska, Dylan Schulmerich, Katie Kajtoch, Kaitlyn Waclawek, Sarah Ryszka, Stephanie Gervan, Rebecca Hoelzl, James Zeiger, Courtney Budzinski, Lyndsey Richards, Alexandra Davis, Marissa Mastrangelo, Carmelo Cimato, Chelsea Barbaro, Elizabeth Goss, Maximilian Burgio, Megan Warrington, Alexandra Zygaj, Emily Beckman, Miranda Rozek, Adam Pomietlarz, Taylor Metzger, Emily Pericozzi, William Hineman, Kathryn Sherry, Stacey Peterson, Sarah Johnson, Rachel Wilcox, Yan Yee Kwok, Victoria Debbins, Erin Michaels, Alexander Braun, Tyler Winkowski, Julia Lyons, Kelsey Montondo, Olivia Reeb, Haley McCrossan, Allison Urkewich, Matthew Ryberg, Marissa Pillitteri, Autumn Phillips, Miranda Neyerlin, Emilie Kirsten, Konrad Zielinski, Victoria Moll, Connor Schill, Zachery Marston, Keelen Kubicki, Justina Wolanin, Benjamin Reid, Kaitlin Kasprzyk, Kathryn Harlock, Eva Noonan, Eric Zimpfer, Shawn Ciesiulka, Miranda Ciraolo, Kevin Barbera, Kelly Reeb, Kimberly Corrie, Kayla Akromas, John Allan, Thomas Kurowski, Alexis Ruggiero, Jaclyn O'Leary, Austin Stroh, Cathryn Piersa, Summer Durkin, Spencer Blizzard, Jessica Nunn, Alana Becker, Brandon Webber, Mitchell Fuller, Jacob Alessi, Hannah Reimer, Jamie Mruk, Emily Manhard, Alexa English, Courtney Ross, Michael Ziolo, Dean Kostorowski, Devan Fischer, Emily White, Jacquelyn Miller, Paige Marki, Wyatt Watson, Jamie Moore, Megan Holton, Dominic Santoro, Jacob Kaczor, Meghan Curr, Julie Dolegala, Bryan Kross, Alivia Gnagnarelli, Kaylie Bauer, Hannah Nowicki, Alex Kerl, James Kuczmarski, Joshua Klostermann, Kyle Nunn, Jillian Pepke, Julia Klembczyk, Maggie Speyer, Leah Maute, Hannah Mackey, Margaret Chatham, Mitchel Ryberg, Jon Andreessen, Nicolette Schiffmacher, Alexander Schilling, Brittany Beamish, Victoria Schlabig, Lucas Maciejewski, Allison Stewart, Addisyn Thuerck, Christopher Zosh, Garrett Marafino, Alaina Benzin, Katherine Cisneros, Andrew Staszkiw, Brooke Donnelly, Jacqueline Bouchane, Alexis Odenbach, Kayla McCall, Kayla Bicknell, Catherine Mailloux, Paige Halter, Joseph Hardy, Hannah Evenhouse, Victoria Everett, Justin Siwa, Alexander Kaiser, Ashley Schiffler, Kristin Schuhmann, Bryan Wagner, Sarah Saba, Jessica Hale, Carlee Stechenfinger, Alexa Mitola, Jessica Danebrock, Jared Miller, Matthew Szymanski, Bailey Kuzma, Tyler Jaruszewski, John Shamrock, Mason Velletta, Luke Izydorczak, Antonia Tigani, Devan Kistner, Alyssa Kane, Heather Teichmann, Taylor Koepf, Joshua Grazen, Caitlin Cherven, Madison Mendofik, Domenic Vero, Brandon Sicurella, Katelyn Sinicki, Christina Morrow, Thomas West, Christopher Holtyn, Natalie Nadolny, Jillian Mazurek, Christopher Klimek, Natalie Sherry, Katie Fiorella, Kara Orlowski, Nicole Badhorn, Anthony DeYoung, Jessica Pappas, Christopher Watson, Dominique Logronio, Alicia Bauer, Kristin Fanara.
Kelly Brown, Caroline Waringa, Lucas Loecher, Alyssa Kostecky, Nicole Gorski, Conor Sullivan, Matthew Devic, Lydia Hyla, Amanda Whelan, Michael Niewiemski, Benjamin Russ, Patrick Swiatek, Joseph Preziuso, Stacy Fleming, Isabelle Peck, Derek Clark, Abigail Kovalick, Lucas Kessler, Alec Sczepanski, Eric Kulbacki, Julia Sortisio, Andrew Fellner, Alan Pomietlarz, Wesley Watson, Luke Borkowski, Kaitlin Surdej, Megan Prentice, Kendall Owczarzak, Erin Sciortino, Sean Loftus, Jacob Urbanski, Lauren Budzich, Austin Crowe, Mason Scherer, Luke Lanza, Brooke Delaney, Bradley Belote, Jordan Smith, Courtney Bondanza, Rebecca Thrush, Amanda Klimek, Daniel Emerson, Danielle Giroux, Rachel Lewandowski, Emily Ast, Luke McCoy, Glenn Post, Kayci Hauser, Emily Czechowski, Evan Helenbrook, Elena Allwang-Armitage, Miranda Paradowski, Rossella Giangreco-Marotta, Lauren Kowalczewski, Lauren Conaway, Ryan Fenske, Melanie Augustynek, Amanda Conaway, Cassandra Schwach, Jordan Bauth, Shayla Stuart, Melissa Mercado, Elizabeth Eaton, Elliott Pater, Preston Hamill, Joseph Mescall, Grace Nadig, Maria Mazuca, Tyler Lis, Madeline Norton, Jordan Cialone, Abigail Bordieri, Esra Abdulrahman, Erica Kilgore, Brandon Buscaglia, Madelyn Rossi, Vincent Scozzaro, Claire Greene, Nicholas Myers, Colton Johnson, Nicole Bless, Daniel Chowaniec, Sarah Kirschner, Claire Emerson, Lauren Wiatrowski, Jacquelyn Gajewski, Sarah Gaczewski, Amy Bui, Brian Pacos, Chelsea Dantonio, Eric Adolf, Anne Schick, Jessica Sheppard, Emily Machlowski, Jenna Rouse, Ethan Bruening, Kayley Babinger, Taylor Thormahlen, Matthew Palumbo, Alex Jagodzinski, Jacob Doyle, Luke Heary, Leanne Stirling, Abigail Thompson, Eliza Phillips, Justin Knauf, Tyler Bueme, Juliana Meyer, Alexa Gallo, Kristen Jakubowski, Emily Krzemien, John Draves, Klarice Addeo, Victoria Dalio, Collin Kowalski, Michael McDonnell, Zachary Burdzy, Marissa DiRienzo, Anthony Roncone, Hannah Prenoveau, Gabriella Farace, Brian Jandzinski, Andrew Schroer, Melissa Lubey, Elena Kilgore, Maria Rocka, Joseph Chudy, Megan Reukauf, Gretchen Mann, Larissakate Robinson, Maria Pericozzi, Alexander Mieth, Edward Eardley, Sarah Ptak, Tyler Murphy, Ryan Stuber, Jeffrey Tobolski, Grace Gabriel, Brandon Fox, Nicholas Helda, Joseph LaPiana, Aleysha Marino, Molly Dunbar, Kayla Malkowski, Aaron Wesolowski, Jennifer Zahlhas, Alexis Sorrentino, Ryan Alsop, Giancarlo Simonetta, Daniel McHale, Rachel Brogan, Zachary Kaplan, Samantha Latello, Sean Dimmig, Hanna Josker, Alexander Lynch, Jordan Leonard, Michael Walker, Joseph Dimmig, Breann Zabawa, Christina Sipior, Brooke Tryjankowski, Stephanie Mazur, Ryan Blunt, Maura Colby, Matthew Manns, Domenica Kingsland, Rachel Filipski, Colleen Wilkie, Nathaniel Vanaskie, Jerod Macholz, Nicole Marandola, Natali Ninova, Rachel Handley, Peter Fronckowiak, Bradley Trent, Tyler Witt, Olivia Taneff, Grace Sementilli, Jordan Kincanon, Morgan Mann, Madison Dobbs, Amanda Pepe, Victoria Laratonda, Abigail Barron, Justin Pepe, Ryan Lukowski, Victoria Allen, Ryan Wheeler, Christian Meara, Casey Harrington, Collin Serwinowski, James Szefler III, Emily Kenline, Connor Campese, Kelsey Barrett, Victoria Dombrowski, Jessica Minchen, Anthony Cottrell, Timothy Sherry, Paige Iannello, Kerry Young, James Adams, Elizabeth Jernigan, Bailee Behringer, Abigail Fridmann, Rachel Holtermann, Sierra Kiszewski, Jacob Dubel, Peter Myhalenko, Courtney Gabamonte, Robert Dougherty, Jenna Suhr, Madison Rozler, Brooke Kazmierczak, Kelsey Kaminski, Jason Glauser, Gabrielle Gaczewski, Briona Luthart, Michael Kania, Tiffany Cycon, Michael Pawlak Jr, Trevor Zink, Zachery Kellerman, Jessica Hopkins, Jeffrey Marinaccio, Alexander Luksch, Allison Mazur, Taylor Zaccarine, Emilie Crane, Ryan Ritter, Madison Powers, Zachary Geisendorfer, Melissa Mazurkiewicz, Terry Scouras, Alexander Ferraccio, Gretta Geisen, Salvatore Lauricella III, Ethan Napieralski, Paul Sobolewski, Paige Molea, Joshua Hendel, Ian Shelly, Zachary Bojanowski.
Visitors can enjoy free hot chocolate, tea, and coffee, and there will be free open skate until 9 p.m. Also, there will be caroling and Santa will arrive by a fire truck parade.
On Thursday, Nov. 21, Parents for Quality Education held an informational meeting at the Lancaster Municipal Building to inform parents about the affects of Common Core State Standards, standards that parents say do not give them any say to their children’s education.
The meeting included two presenters Eric Mihelbergel, founder of NYSAPE.org, a statewide organization of education advocacy groups, and Dr. Mark Garrison, professor of education research and policy at D’Youville College.
“Parents need to be aware and educated on the ruinous effects that a nationalized curriculum and excessive testing will have on our children for generations to come,” said Heidi Indelicato, a Lancaster parent of three boys and meeting organizer.
The Common Core curriculum was developed in 2010 by the National Governors Associations and the Council of Chief State School Officers to bring uniformity to public school curriculum across the United States and implementation began last year in New York State.
Since then, parents around the state have voiced opposition, arguing that the Common Core Standards were developed as a means of competing for federal grants and not as a way to enhance the quality of education. Furthermore, some education experts say, the curriculum was implemented in an inappropriate fashion, the homework is confusing and the testing is excessive and developmentally inappropriate, especially for younger children.
“The issue is actually a governance change and it is taking place fast,” remarked Dr. Garrison. “So, whether or not Common Core is good, we lost control over our children’s education, whether or not high state testing is good we don’t control it, and whether or not that data is really going to help our child get personalized learning we lost control of it.”
Recently, the Lancaster Board of Education passed a resolution to support the New York State Educational Conference Board’s Five Point Plan, which are build understanding; invest in professional development; ensure adequate funding; assess the concerns with student testing; and establish a process of ongoing review and refinement.
“We are here because we are very concerned about the current education,” remarked Indelicato. “I think we’re concerned about what’s going on in our own homes.”
Mihelbergel, who has two little girls, 8 and 11 years old in the Ken-Ton School District, said more than a year ago, his daughters started coming home from school telling him they were taking bubble tests in gym, art, and music.
“I thought this was very peculiar,” said Mihelbergel. “I didn’t understand it and so I started asking questions.”
With the extreme amount of tests his children were taking, which didn’t make any sense to him as a parent, Mihelbergel made the decision for his children to refuse the New York State Tests.
“Every time I question myself if I’m doing the right thing or not I refer to the question, ‘What’s best for my kids,’” remarked Mihelbergel.
Mihelbergel explained there has been this picture painted on how poorly the education in the United States is performing and the solution they have been given is Common Core.
“The Common Core consists of many things, but one of biggest concerns for parents, and the way I got into investigating this, is the extreme number of tests that are students are given,” said Mihelbergel.
Common Core focuses on a lot of English Language Art (ELA) and math, said Mihelbergel, adding those subjects are important, but it is excluding so many other important things for children to learn, because of the intense focus on state tests and ELA and Math.
Furthermore, these tests are used to evaluate teachers and evaluate schools.
“They want to remove teachers who don’t receive good test grades and reward teachers that do get good test grades,” remarked Mihelbergel. “This has been a serious issue for me, because it just doesn’t work. It is a false evaluation system.”
Parents also say standardized testing takes up approximately 25 percent of their children’s academic school year and excessive testing forces teachers to “teach to the test” instead of nurturing higher order thinking skills.
“They tell us that teachers aren’t supposed to teach to the test, but what are they supposed to do when they are getting evaluated by these tests,” said Indelicato. “They have too.”
Mihelbergel said another problem, which isn’t talked about enough, is the amount of money it is costing and the amount of money school districts are spending on this system that is not funded by the state.
“It is enormous,” he said. “School districts that are receiving certain grants from the state or the federal government that are supposed to cover implementation of Common Core and such are really just covering a very small percentage of what schools districts are spending on implementing these programs.”
Mihelbergel said he started looking at who is driving the Common Core bus. He found a large amount of money is coming from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Broad Family, and The Walton’s, just to name a few.
Another point Mihelbergel made was excessive testing is creating corruption among schools. Some schools are cheating on test scoring to get better evaluations. For instance, in 2011 it was reported the Atlanta Public School System was found to be altering test grades.
“So, all this has made me pretty frustrated,” said Mihelbergel. “I keep asking myself ‘is this best for my kids? Is this best for everybody kids?’ And the answer I always continually come up with is ‘no.’”
Another concern focused on during the meeting was inBloom, an educational technology database company, which stores student’s information.
Mihelbergel said what parents can do for their children is write to their school administrators informing them their child will be scored as a “refusal,” with a final score of 999 and a standard achieved code of 96, on all state testing including ELA, math, science.
Parents for Quality Education also encourage parents to write or email New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King Jr., write to New York State Gov. Cuomo, and attend school board meetings and state education forums.
“Most parents don’t realize that this has been going on for years,” remarked Mihelbergel. “I told my superintendent if I would have known about it then I would have protested then the same as I’m going to protest it now, just because it has been going on doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.”
Indelicato said she promised her eight-year-old son, who cried himself to sleep many times last year, she would never stop fighting this until it is resolved.
“He’s a smart a little boy, but he has to work for his grades,” she explained. “He was coming along and all of a sudden test prep started in January and he forgot about the regular curriculum. We went from multiplication math facts to division math facts to fractions to reducing fractions all in about a month and a half and it was ridiculous. He was confused. He just needed a little bit of time and this curriculum does not dictate time.”
Indelicato added her other son does just find with it, but it limits his future.
“It narrows him,” remarked Indelicato. “It doesn’t prepare him for a four-year college university. It prepares him for a two-year. How can we say that this curriculum, this assessment, and nationalizing our kids and one-size fit approach is good? My children will never take these tests, because they’re invalid and inaccurate.”
For more information visit www.NYSAPE.org.
The Santa’s Workshop and Holiday Craft Sale has been held on the first Saturday of December by the Senior Center the past 15 years.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 7, at the Senior Center, located on 110 Goundry St.
The Santa’s Workshop welcomes children to come and purchase gifts for their friends and family for $1 per gift. There will be a variety of gifts children can purchase for parents, grandparents, siblings and other family friends.
Some of the gifts children can purchase include things such as small toys, stuffed animals, gloves, perfume, donated jewelry and more.
Volunteers from the Senior Center will then wrap the gifts the children purchase for free.
The Holiday Craft Sale will feature homemade items from about several different local vendors. The items for sale will include items such as scarves, hats, ornaments and more. The prices for these items will vary.
“One of the things I really like about this event is that it is intergenerational,” said Pam Hogan, the Recreational and Senior Coordinator for North Tonawanda. “There are seniors, parents and children coming together in a safe and fun environment. It is a very family friendly event and the seniors enjoy spending time with the kids.”
In addition to the workshop and craft sale, the Senior Center will also be providing refreshments to those in attendance. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cookies will be offered to guests free of charge.
For more information about the event contact Pam Hogan at 695-8582.
This year’s theme was “Our World, Our Future” and art teacher Amanda Alvarez worked with the seventh-grade, with about 120 students participating in the contest.
The winners were Haley Kugler, selected first over all, Alina Prozapas received second and Joshua Pusateri took third.
At the Nov. 4 Starpoint Central School District, the winners were announced and explained their posters to board members and others in attendance.
Kugler chose a fitting charity to donate a gift in her name made by the Pendleton Lions. That charity started at the St. Paul Lutheran Church located at 435 Old Falls Blvd. North Tonawanda by Deborah Tyler. It is called the Buffalo Burrito Project.
The Buffalo Burrito Project meets on the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of each month year-round to prepare homemade bean and rice burritos and lunch bags to be delivered to the homeless, poor and working poor living on the streets of Buffalo.
The Drew’s Heart Foundation was established by Brian and Colleen Roth in honor of their young son Andrew Roth who passed away from a rare heart condition.
The donated AED’s have already been placed in patrol cars and are available for immediate use. In many instances a police officer is the first to arrive on the scene for a medical emergency. For someone experiencing cardiac arrest, minutes count and early medical intervention can mean the difference between life and death.
Having police officers equipped with AED’s — which cost about $2,000 per unit — augments the already impressive life saving skills provided by the paramedics of the Lockport Fire Department and adds yet another layer of protection to the citizens of our community.
The Drew’s Heart Foundation (drewsheart.com/foundation.html) has also provided AED’s to Lockport Little Loop Football program, Olcott Beach Carousel Park and continues to accept donations that will allow the foundation to supply these life-saving devices to others in our community.
This worthwhile foundation also sponsors blood drives, provides scholarships and donates toys and books to pre-school programs across Niagara County.
Donations to Drew’s Heart Foundation can be made through the Lockport Schools Federal Credit Union, 360 South Transit St. in Lockport.