Even if you've lived in Amherst for many years, chances are you know only a fraction of all there is to know about this town's history and community gems. Beyond your local library and neighborhood park, there's still a wealth of offerings worth exploring.
And the best way to get a good primer in Amherst 101 is to turn on your TV at 5 p.m. April 15 and watch WNED. With help from a veritable horde of enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers, WNED will be premiering the hourlong program, "Our Town: Amherst."
Taped in the fall, the program was compiled from the work of camcorder-wielding amateurs. It promotes Amherst with an impressive display of knowledge and heart.
During the film's 17 short segments, local resident experts -- young and old -- recount everything from the history of Main Street to the wealth of visual and performing in arts around town. The documentary explores the "villes" of Amherst, parks and recreation, the Village of Williamsville, the Amherst Symphony, even the dog park, among other topics.
Also this week:
*The Williamsville Village Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Village Hall, 5565 Main St. The meeting will include public hearings on the proposed 2012-13 budget. The hearings also will include comments on the debt service fund and Glen Park activities fund budgets. The meeting will also be preceded by a work session at 6 p.m.
*The Amherst Lions Club will hold its annual Treasure Sale from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The sale will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church, 711 Niagara Falls Blvd., with proceeds benefiting programs providing assistance for the visually and hearing impaired.
*There is no Amherst Town Board meeting or work session scheduled this week. The next regular meeting will be held April 16.
East Aurora Mayor Allan Kasprzak and Trustees Randy West, Ernest Scheer and Patrick Shea were officially sworn into new terms on the Village Board last week. Kasprzak reappointed Trustee Libby Weberg as deputy mayor.
Continuing as village administrator are Bryan Gazda and Joyce Jezewski as village clerk/treasurer.
The board held its public hearing on the 2012-13 village budget and expects to adopt the spending plan during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. April 16.
The Roycroft Campus will be buzzing with activity centered around the recently reconstructed Power House, which will be the focus of a grand opening kickoff at 7 p.m. April 20.
The community is invited to join in the Power House party. Festivities will include live music, a cash bar and tours of the newly reconstructed building.
An open house is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. April 21. It will include tours of the facility, which will be used for educational purposes, upcoming classes and workshops, as well as the opportunity for people to explore the option of renting the power house for special events.
The "new" Power House has retained the exterior-look of its original design, but contains a 2012 industrial interior. The interior history of the building is recalled in the large scale murals taken from original photographs, markings on the cement floor, signifying its original layout and usage, and a concrete corner that used to be the location of the coal bunker.
For additional information about the Power House reopening, contact the Roycroft Campus Corp. at 655-0261 or go to www.roycroftcampuscorporation.com.
Also this week:
*The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of Town Hall, 300 Gleed Ave.
A public hearing on a developer's proposal to buy 50 city-owned parcels in order to build 17 townhomes will be held Tuesday afternoon in City Hall.
The city's Office of Strategic Planning is recommending that St. John Community Development Corp. become the designated developer for the properties for a one-year period.
The properties are in the Fruit Belt neighborhood, on Maple, Carlton, Mulberry, Locust, Lemon, Rose, Peach and Grape streets. They have a fair market value of $80,500, according to a memo to the Council from Brendan R. Mehaffy, executive director of the Office of Strategic Planning.
The Council's Community Development Committee will hold the hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.
Also this week:
*The Planning Board will meet at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday in Room 901 in City Hall.
*The Council's Civil Service Committee will meet at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.
*The Council's Finance Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.
*The Council's Legislation Committee will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.
*A public forum regarding the City of Buffalo's ongoing efforts to revamp its zoning code, dubbed the Green Code, will be held Tuesday at the Erie Community College City Campus. City representatives, as well as representatives of the city's consulting firm, Camiros, will be on hand. Sign-in for the meeting starts at 6:15 p.m., with a presentation and discussion scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
*The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency will meet at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Room 209 of City Hall.
The Town Board will meet in a work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 3301 Broadway.
Also this week:
*The sixth and final informational sessions for residents to learn more about the town's plan to have large, plastic garbage totes at Cheektowaga curbs sometime in 2012 is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in the second-floor conference room, Alexander Building, 275 Alexander St.
Cheektowaga is poised to join the towns of Amherst and Tonawanda as well as the City of Buffalo in requiring its residents to cart out their weekly unwanted refuse in sealable totes. The overall project is expected to cost Cheektowaga from $1.2 million to $1.5 million to implement.
The town's annual Fishing Derby will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Town Park, 10405 Main St. Registration will be at 8:30 a.m.
The catch-and-release event is for children 15 and under. Trophies will be awarded for largest, smallest and most caught.
Also this week:
*The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall. On the agenda is Affordable Senior Housing Opportunities of New York's request for a variance to build a 125-unit senior housing complex at 8040 Roll Road. The developer is seeking a smaller variance than the one the ZBA turned down in January.
*The Clarence Hollow Farmers' Market will hold its annual preseason market vendor meeting on Tuesday at the Town Park Clubhouse, 10405 Main St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the meeting starting at 7 p.m. Refreshments and a light buffet will be served. Anyone interested in becoming a market vendor or volunteer can attend or contact market manager Cheryl Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday.
*The Ethics Board will meet at 8:55 a.m. Wednesday at Town Hall.
*The Town Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall, following a 6 p.m. work session. A public hearing will be held to consider designating the primary residence and barn at 4765 Ransom Road as local historic landmarks.
Another public hearing will be held to consider a request for a temporary conditional permit for a landscape business with outside storage of equipment and materials at 9200 Wehrle Drive.
Rock the Barn will ask the Town Board for a special event permit for this year's edition of the fundraising concert, scheduled for July 20 and 21 at 9015 Main St.
*An opening reception for "Un-Theme!: The No. 1 Art Show About Nothing," will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the McGee Art Gallery, 10931 Main St. The show features work by several artists and runs through May 20. Call 481-8737 for details.
Petitions for Lake Shore School Board elections must be filed by 5 p.m. April 16 at the district clerk's office in Lake Shore Senior High School, 959 Beach Road.
Two seats for three-year terms on the School Board are up for grabs this year. The terns of Richard Vogan and Jennifer Wackowski both expire this year.
Voting on the board seats, along with the proposed school budget for 2012-2013, is from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 15 at the high school.
Also this week:
*The Town Board will hold a work session at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, 8787 Erie Road.
Get ready for some "Monkey Business" this week at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road.
The library will host Carmen Presti, who runs the Primate Sanctuary in Niagara Falls with his wife, Christie. He will be bringing some monkeys from the sanctuary to the library for two educational shows Wednesday at 1:45 and 3 p.m.
The Primate Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that houses primates, monkeys and exotic birds that are no longer wanted.
The program is free, thanks to proceeds from the 2011 Rare Affair Library System Gala.
Space is limited and registration is required. To register, or for more information, call the library at 773-7124. Children 5 and younger wishing to attend the show must be accompanied by an adult.
*Grand Island High School used a $500 grant to buy sports-related books this year for the library through the Leslie Morris Book Project.
The annual bequest was established by Dr. Sharon Cramer in 2010 in honor of her late husband, Leslie R. Morris, who was library director at a number of colleges including Niagara University. Each year, the grant is used at a different Grand Island school. Next year's grant will go to Sidway Elementary. Morris was a Grand Island resident.
High school librarian Rachael Grabek explained at last Monday's School Board meeting attended by Cramer -- that students used quotes from biographies of sports figures as "life lessons."
A list of the available books is on her Web page at the district's website www.k12.ginet.org.
*The School Board has approved a per diem of $500 on an as-needed basis for Loraine Ingrasci, who retired March 31 as assistant superintendent for business and finance.
The measure was approved because her replacement, Joseph Giarrizzo, business and finance administrator for the Tonawanda City School District, can't start until May 21.
Giarrizzo, also a former financial services director for the Niagara Falls School District and former president of the Niagara Falls School Board, has a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's in education from Niagara University and a master's in business administration from Canisius College.
Also this week:
*The Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the first-floor conference room of the Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road.
*St. Stephen's Parish Players will present "The Sound of Music," a musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
The church will hold four performances: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., plus a Saturday matinee at 1 p.m.
The show will take place in the St. Stephen School Cafeteria, 2080 Baseline Road.
Tickets are $7, and can be purchased at DeSignet International, 1869 Whitehaven Road, or through Kim Kalman. Call Kalman at 465-5574 or e-mail email@example.com.
A public information session on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, its causes and prevention through the proper use of detectors, will be conducted at 6 p.m. April 17 in Blasdell Village Hall, 121 Miriam Ave.
Mayor Michael Petrie said Blasdell volunteer firefighters often receive calls for possible carbon monoxide poisoning, and when they arrive there is no detector or one that is improperly installed.
Carbon monoxide detectors will be distributed at the conclusion of the public information session, which is being conducted by the village in conjunction with the Amanda Hansen Foundation and National Fuel.
Also this week:
*The Town Board will conduct a work session at 6 p.m. Monday followed by a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 6100 South Park Ave.
*The village Historic Preservation Commission will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Village Hall, 100 Main St.
*The village Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Village Hall.
*The village Architectural Review Committee will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Village Hall.
*The village Environmental Conservation Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Village Hall.
*The village Traffic Safety Committee will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in Village Hall.
The sale of two city-owned vehicles in Lackawanna will be put off until members of the City Council get more information on how much the vehicles are worth.
The council voted, 4-0, to table a measure that would have allowed the city's commissioner of public works to sell a 2008 Ford Escape and a 2010 Ford Ranger.
Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski wants to use proceeds from the sale of the Escape toward new playground equipment and money from the sale of the Ranger toward the purchase of two new vehicles.
City Council President Henry Pirowski said he wanted more information before approving the measure.
Third Ward Councilman Francis Kulczyk questioned whether the city would risk losing a state discount on the purchase of new vehicles if the council delayed taking action.
But Pirowski said the council would take up the issue again on April 16.
"Two weeks I don't think is going to make a difference. I just would like to know specifics," he said.
In other Lackawanna news, completed applications and a nonrefundable $100 filing fee are due by 4 p.m. April 21 in Lackawanna City Hall for anyone interested in a master electrician or master plumber license.
An exam for the license is required.
Applications may be picked up and returned to the Engineers Office, Room 311, City Hall, 714 Ridge Road, Lackawanna.
Town officials say the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system has expressed a willingness to reimburse the town for some of the cost of new wiring work performed this spring at the Lancaster Public Library.
The town, which owns the building at 5466 Broadway, paid $36,000 to replace carpeting and another $18,000 for electrical and data wiring at the branch, which reopened last week after closing for two weeks for the renovations.
Some of the wiring was done at the request of system officials to accommodate future security upgrades, so Town Board members want the system to help pay for that work.
Board member Donna G. Stempniak said she discussed this request late last month with Jim Stelzle, the Lancaster branch's director, and Mary Jean Jakubowski, the system director.
Stempniak told the Town Board last Monday that the library officials said the system should be able to dip into leftover grant money to reimburse the town for some of the $18,000.
"It looks pretty good" that the town will get some money back, she said.
Also this week:
*The Village Board is meeting at 7 p.m. Monday and is expected to vote on the village's 2012-13 budget, following a public hearing on the plan at 7:15.
The tentative $7.2 million village budget raises spending from the current year by 1.6 percent, largely driven by increased costs for employee raises and benefits.
The property tax rate would rise by 2.15 percent, to nearly $9.76 per $1,000 of assessed value, though board members are trying to cut spending to bring the tax-rate increase below 2 percent.
At the rate included in the tentative budget, the owner of a $150,000 home in the village would pay $30.87 more next year in village property taxes than in the current year.
The meeting in the Municipal Building, 5423 Broadway, is preceded by the board's annual organizational meeting at 6:30 p.m.
*The Lancaster Industrial Development Agency board will meet at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 21 Central Ave.
*The village Historic Preservation Commission meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Municipal Building.
Orchard Park High School raised about $9,800 in this year's Bald for Bucks campaign to benefit cancer research and patient care programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. More than 25 students raised pledges, and then got their heads shaved for the cause.
The school has raised more than $50,000 over the past seven years in the Bald for Bucks campaign.
The nation's first president will be the subject of an address at Monday's meeting of the Orchard Park Historical Society.
Mary Jane Bolo will talk on "George Washington: Why Did They Call Him His Excellency?" The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. in the meeting room in the municipal building, 4295 S. Buffalo St.
Also this week:
*The town Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the municipal center, 4295 S. Buffalo St.
*The Village Board will meet at 8 p.m. Monday in the municipal center.
*The town Recreation Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal center.
*The town Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the municipal center.
Southern Erie County
The Elma Town Board will hold a work session at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, 1600 Bowen Road.
On the agenda will be an annual end-of-year report from the town's accounting firm Drescher & Malecki.
Also this week:
*The Boston Planning Board will hold a work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday followed by a regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 8500 Boston State Road.
*The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Town Hall.
*The Eden Town Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, 2795 E. Church St.
*The Elma Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Town Hall, 1600 Bowen Road.
*The Marilla Town Board will meet in a work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 1740 Two Rod Road. The board will discuss painting the town's water tower.
*The board also will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall to hold a public hearing on a local law that would call for limiting parking near a fire hydrant to a minimum of 15 feet.
At the same meeting, the board will consider a resolution regarding the annual Car Show, scheduled for July 28 and 29. The state Department of Transportation must approve the closingof the main road in town during the show.
*The Wales Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Community Center, 12345 Big Tree Road. On the agenda will be the update of a noise level sound study done by CRA Engineering firm for the proposed National Fuel compressor Station on Reiter Road.
Town of Tonawanda
The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board last week approved a $147.78 million spending plan for 2012-13 that closed a $12.5 million budget gap and will cost the average homeowner about $96 more per year.
The proposal, which will go before voters May 15, reduced 47 instructional staff positions and 28 support staff positions. Spending is up by less than .4 percent over the current year and some sports and instructional programs will be reduced or eliminated.
"Even though the challenge before us was daunting and difficult, we stood strong and faced this massive budget deficit head-on," Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro said in a prepared statement.
The cuts and reductions were largely the result of diminished state aid. The district said the aid has been reduced by $9.3 million since the 2008-09 school year. The current aid level is about what it was in 2006-07.
Voters last week approved two measures that will save the district more than $1 million next year: the sale of a former elementary school and a change in the requirements for busing eligibility.
Also this week:
*The Town Board meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers at the municipal building, 2919 Delaware Ave. A public work session begins at 4 in the second-floor conference room.
*The annual Trade and Service Show, sponsored by the Town of Tonawanda Senior Citizens Center, is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at 291 Ensminger Road. Vendors will be present to provide information and answer questions, and health screenings will be performed. Admission is free, and refreshments will be provided.
The Planning Board this week could decide the fate of a construction company that wants to rezone about six acres of residential property along Clinton Street.
The board considered the request from EdBauer Construction Co. at its last meeting but held off on a decision until its meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall, 1250 Union Road.
EdBauer wants to change the property classification at 2735 Clinton St. from residential to commercial to provide for "a warehouse and storage of construction-related equipment and materials." Neighboring residents turned out at the last meeting to oppose the change.
The board also could act on a site plan for the proposed new facility for the SPCA Serving Erie County at 300 Harlem Road. Developers are finalizing engineering plans for the project.
Town of Alden / By the numbers
Total population: 10,865
Percent under 5: 3.4
Percent under 18: 17.2
Percent over 65: 15.8
Population by sex:
Population by race
Total units: 3,507
Percentage vacant: 4.6
Percentowner occupied: 83
Percent renter occupied: 17
Average size: 2.53
Percent with husband-wife: 59.3
Percent with husband-wife and kids under 18: 21.2
Percent with single fathers: 1.6
Percent with single mothers: 4.9
Source: 2010 Census