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Where we live; A town-by-town digest of what's happening in our communities

Amherst

The Village of Williamsville has adopted a new four-year contract with its sole union.

The new agreement provides numerous village concessions to Public Works Department employees, including an 8 percent raise over the life of the contract, in exchange for employees transferring over to a new high deductible health insurance plan that carries lower premiums.

The Village Board approved a new contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union last week. AFSCME Local 1783-c represents 15 village public works employees. The contract will run from June 1, 2012 to May 31, 2016.

Highlights of the new contract include:

*2 percent wage increases each year over the course of the four-year contract.

*Increases in bonus pay to employees based on length of service, $100 increases in annual clothing allowances, the addition of a half-day holiday on Christmas Eve, and an increase in on-call pay for employees during snow season.

*A $1,000 increase to $3,500 in health insurance opt-out payments to employees who don't take the village health insurance.

*Transfer to a new high deductible health insurance plan that will lower premiums to the town. Under the high deductible plan, the insurance company begins covering major medical costs only after the employee meets the deductible of $1,500 for a single person or $3,000 for a family.

Under the new contract arrangement, the village will cover the first 75 percent of an employee's total deductible amount, with the employee contributing the remaining 25 percent and responsible for future co-pays.

Village Administrators Lynda Juul said that while union employee wages will increase by about $15,200 next year, that cost will be offset by estimated insurance savings at least $16,400. Savings are slight in the short-term, she said, but "we're looking at limiting future health insurance increases."

"Ideally, down the road, this is going to help control future increase in health insurance costs," she said.

Also this week:

*The Town Board will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 5583 Main St. The meeting will be preceded by a work session at 3 p.m.

***

Aurora

The dogs are coming to Knox Farm State Park this summer to perform.

Town of Aurora officials are considering a big canine event for the park, featuring a two-day agility event Aug. 4 and 5.

Parks & Recreation Director Peggy Cooke recommended the idea, backing up plans submitted by a South Wales resident. The plans identify "Up and Over Dog Sports," which is part of the North American Dog Agility Council. The event would be held in the vicinity of the equestrian center at the park.

Also this week:

*The East Aurora Village Board meets at 7 p.m. Monday in Village Hall, Main and Paine streets.

*The East Aurora School Board meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the library of the Middle School, 430 Main St.

*The nonjury criminal trial of Beth Lynne Hoskins, the Aurora horse owner accused of neglect in an animal cruelty case involving her Morgan horses, continues at 4:15 p.m. Thursday in Aurora Town Court, housed in the second floor meeting room of Village Hall, Main and Paine streets.

***

Buffalo

The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority on Monday will hold its last scheduled meeting before it takes on "advisory" status.

The city's control board will meet at 1 p.m. in the first-floor conference room of the Market Arcade complex at 617 Main St. The board's Audit, Finance and Budget Committee will meet at 12:30 p.m. in the same location.

The control board voted last week to go from "hard" to "soft" status on July 1. The move gives the city more freedom to handle its own finances.

Also this week:

*The Planning Board will meet at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday in Room 901 of City Hall.

*The Common 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 Community Development Committee will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.

*The Council's Legislation Committee will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.

*The Council's Claims Committee will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Council Chambers.

***

Cheektowaga

It'll be a festive week in town with a host of activities at the 4th annual Cheektowaga Crabapple Festival Friday through Sunday at Cheektowaga Town Park.

The event kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday with music and a cruise night and will be followed by full days of activities on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday will be dedicated as a "Kid's Day at the Park," with numerous special events by the town's Youth & Recreation Department, including a Little Miss Crabapple Pageant as well as face painting, pony rides, a clown and other activities.

Various athletic tournaments -- soccer, kickball and softball -- are scheduled to be held Saturday morning at the town park as part of the festival.

The Taste of Cheektowaga will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and music will be played in the park from early afternoon through the evening.

On Sunday, there will be events at the War of 1812 Cemetery on Aero Drive starting at noon. A parade and ceremonies commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 will be held. Then, there will be a concert at 6:45 p.m. at the Cheektowaga Town Park amphitheater followed by fireworks at dusk.

Also this week:

*The Town Board will meet at 6:45 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at Cheektowaga Town Hall, 3301 Broadway.

*The town's Conservation Advisory Council will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in the council office conference room at Cheektowaga Town Hall.

*A senior safety initiative designed to help seniors learn about Internet safety, credit card security and avoiding scams will be held at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Cheektowaga Senior Center, 3349 Broadway. Representatives from the state Attorney General's Office and Cheektowaga Police will be on hand to talk to seniors. The event is free and open to the public.

*The Cleveland Hill School Board will hold a regular meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the district offices, 105 Mapleview Road.

*The Cheektowaga-Sloan Union Free School District Board of Education will hold a 6:30 p.m. Monday meeting at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, 166 Halstead Ave.

*Three districts in town -- Cheektowaga Central, Maryvale and Cheektowaga-Sloan -- will hold their proms on Friday evening. Central students will be at Kotecki's in West Seneca. Those in Maryvale will be at the Fox Valley Country Club in Lancaster. The Cheektowaga-Sloan prom will be off the school campus, according to the district's website.

*The Depew Union Free School District Class of 2012 will be invited to a pre-commencement banquet Thursday at Depew High School, 5201 S. Transit Road.

***

Clarence

The Town Board will talk about a 128-unit apartment project proposed for Wehrle Drive, east of Transit Road, when it holds a work session at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Town Hall.

The board last month heard a presentation of the idea from Ashley Companies and Metzger Civil Engineering but did not take action on it.

The Wednesday meeting agenda also includes a review of the town's Greenprint program, which acquires land or the development rights to land in order to preserve it.

Also this week:

*The Clarence Chamber of Commerce's Golf Classic will be Monday at Arrowhead Golf Club at 12292 Clarence Center Road in Akron. Registration and a light lunch are at noon, followed by a shotgun scramble that start at 1 p.m. Call 631-3888 for details.

*The Erie County Sheriff's Office will hold a town hall-style meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at Town Hall. It will include information about the Sheriff's Office and staff, as well as Clarence crime trends and statistics.

*Four individuals -- Donna Stiglmeier, Christopher Hans, Jim Marshall and Thomas Coseo -- will be inducted into the Clarence High School Wall of Fame on Monday. The induction will take place in conjunction with the Senior Awards program at 7 p.m., followed by the unveiling of the wall plaques in the front foyer about 7:25 p.m. A reception in the school library will follow. The event is open to the public.

*The Planning Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall, following a 6:30 p.m. work session. The developer of the Spaulding Green subdivision is requesting development plan approval for the project's fifth phase.

*The Clarence Concert Association's third annual Music and Wine event will be 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the Town Park Clubhouse, 10405 Main St. Call 759-6428 for ticket information.

*The Clarence Senior Center Flea Market and Baked Goods Sale will be 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at 4600 Thompson Road. Donated items will be accepted through Thursday. Call 633-5138 for more information.

*Pianist Joe Mohan will perform at a concert of sacred and secular music at Clarence United Methodist Church, 7 p.m. Saturday at 10205 Greiner Road. The concert will benefit the church's Henderson Settlement mission trip in August. Also performing will be cellist Julie Sonne and guest vocalist Jay Louis-Dref.

***

Grand Island

Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, R-Lewiston and Erie County Clerk Christopher Jacobs joined Town Supervisor Mary Cooke and other Town Board members Friday to raise awareness about the impending closure of the E-ZPass walk-in center on Grand Island Boulevard.

The site is the only place locally where users without Internet access or the use of a credit card can physically have money reloaded to their E-ZPass accounts. Once it is closed, the only remaining walk-in centers will be in the New York City area.

State Sen. Mark Grisanti released a statment about the closing.

"It is obvious that the bureaucrats at the Thruway Authority have failed to grasp the unique geographic and logistical characteristics affecting the residents of Grand Island," Grisanti said. "While we would love if the NYSTA would remove the tolls all together, Grand Island residents who must pay daily tolls at the very least deserve the convenience of having a readily available E-ZPass service center."

E-ZPass can still be initially purchased on Grand Island at Wilson Farms and Tops.

The local center, along with ones in Albany and Syracuse, are slated to close next week in a move said to trim $1 million from the state's annual budget.

All three politicians have pushed to keep the facility open long enough to come up with a solution for local residents who rely on the walk-in center's services.

Also this week:

*The Town Board will meet Monday in Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, for a workshop at 6:30 p.m. and will hold its regular meeting at 8:00 p.m.

*The School Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Middle School Little Theater, 1100 Ransom Road. The board is expected to review schematics for the $51.4 million capital project.

*The 2012 Relay for Life will be held Friday at Grand Island High School's Masters Field. The gates open at 2:30 p.m. with kickoff at 6:30 p.m. There is also a luminaria ceremony at 9:30 p.m. The event ends at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. Walkers, some of whom camp out overnight, get pledges that benefit the American Cancer Society. For details, visit www.relayforlife.org/grandislandny.

Screening for children attending kindergarten at Sidway Elementary School in the fall continues through Thursday by appointment through the school district office at 773-8800 or Sidway at 773-8870.

The one-hour screening process involves the child spending about 20 minutes each with a reading specialist, speech therapist and the school nurse. Parents must supply a record of their child's physical exam and immunizations.

A child turning 5 years old on or before Dec. 1 is eligible to be registered for kindergarten for the 2012-13 school year.

***

Hamburg

Filtered telescopes will be available at the Penn Dixie site starting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to view the transit of Venus at a free special program viewing the sun.

Venus will cross the face of the Sun shortly after 6 p.m. and be viewed until the sun sets. Venus will appear as a black dot about 1/3 2 of the solar diameter. The Penn Dixie site is at 4050 North St., Hamburg.

The Wednesday evening Concerts in the Park series starts with the Hamburg Village Band at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Memorial Park at Lake and Union streets. The rain site is Union-Pleasant Elementary School.

The Farmer's Market will open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the municipal parking lot in the village. Imagine Hamburg will sponsor music from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Also this week:

*The Village Board will conduct a work session at 5:30 p.m. Monday, followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m. in Village Hall, 100 Main St.

*The town Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7 p.m Tuesday in Room 7B in Town Hall, 6100 South Park Ave.

*The town Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Room 7B in Town Hall. The board will discuss the Willow Woods subdivision on Taylor Road and an apartment complex on Lake Avenue east of South Park Avenue.

*The Blasdell Village Board will conduct a work session at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Village Hall, 121 Miriam Ave., followed by a regular meeting at 6 p.m.

*The Frontier School Board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the gymnasium of the Frontier Learning Center on Southwestern Boulevard.

***

Lackawanna

In the market for some fire-fighting equipment?

The City of Lackawanna has a pair of American LaFrance pumpers for sale and is accepting sealed bids through Friday.

The caveat is the pumpers can't be used for fighting fires anymore. While both pumpers are in good condition, they are no longer compliant with National Fire Protection Association standards due to their age.

The 1975 pumper, with a 500-gallon water tank and 1,500 gallons-per-minute pump, has 32,624 miles and 1,076 engine hours. The 1976 pumper of the same size has 60,416 miles. Neither pumper comes with any equipment.

However, the city's fire department also is selling 16 lengths of 4-inch hose and other equipment as a separate package.

Bids must be received in the city clerk's office, room 215 of City Hall, 714 Ridge Road, by 10:45 a.m. Friday.

Also this week:

*The City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers in City Hall -- the first session to include newly appointed 2nd Ward Councilwoman Rebecca Darch.

A full agenda includes a request by citizen Danielle Huber to address the council regarding the Bethlehem Steel Administration building, which is being considered for demolition.

*The City Council will hold a work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski's proposed 2012-13 operating budget. The session will be in council chambers in City Hall.

***

Lancaster

An investigation into an April 23 sanitary sewer clog in the Village of Lancaster initially blamed on illegally dumped cooking grease has not produced evidence fingering one culprit, Mayor William G. Cansdale Jr. said last week.

Cansdale said crews from Kandey Co. used a video camera to explore the length of sanitary sewer where the clog occurred and determined several factors led to the blockage.

"There's no one cause for the problem," he said in an interview.

Crews had worked into the night to prevent flooding of residents' basements on several streets that sit between Broadway and Cayuga Creek behind the Lancaster Municipal Building.

The sanitary sewer main in question runs about 30 feet down one side of Cayuga Creek, underneath the creek and up the other side, Cansdale said.

Workers found cooking grease blocking the sewer, but other items were found as well, the mayor said, including a volleyball net and a rotary phone.

One problem is there's an unsecured manhole cover allowing anyone to dump items into the sewer, Cansdale said. Another issue is this length of sewer hasn't been cleaned out in a long time.

Cansdale said he visited nearby restaurants that could have been a source of the cooking grease and he's confident, based on what he was shown and told, that they weren't the source of the cooking grease.

"They're conforming to the village ordinance," he said.

Cansdale added that the manhole cover will be secured and he and village employees are developing a maintenance plan for the sewer to prevent future clogs.

Also this week:

*The Town Board meets at 8 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 21 Central Ave, when the board is set to approve the five members of a new Board of Ethics for the town.

The proposed members -- each Town Board member selected one Ethics Board member -- are: the Rev. Christopher Baldwin, Brenda Jankowski, Lucas Montanino, Daniel Steck and Richard Amoroso.

The board also will hold two public hearings, beginning at 8:15, on a special-use permit requested for a used-vehicle lot and on a change to the town's vehicle and traffic ordinance affecting Sussex Lane.

A Town Board work session precedes the full board meeting at 7.

At 6:30 p.m. the members of the Town Board and Planning Board will meet to review the environmental impact of a proposed subdivision of single-family homes on St. Anthony Street.

***

Orchard Park

The town Conservation Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal center, 4295 S. Buffalo St., to review the revised landscape plan for the proposed medical complex planned by Krog Corp. on Big Tree Road east of Route 219. There will be no meeting of the Architectural Overlay District this month.

Also this week:

*The village Planning Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal center.

*The town Planning Board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the basement conference room to consider the site plan for the medical complex planned by Krog Corp.

*The Town Board will conduct a work session at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the supervisor's conference room in the municipal center, followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m. in the court room.

***

Southern Erie County

Author and railroad historian Paul Pietrak will speak about the history of the Pennsylvania, Buffalo & Susquehanna and Springville & Sardinia Railroads at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Sardinia Meeting House, 12070 Savage Road.

The event is sponsored by the Sardinia Historical Society.

Pietrak has authored a number of books and is considered the foremost expert on Western New York railroad history.

The regular historical society monthly meeting starts at 6 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information call 572-2966.

Also this week:

*The Boston Town Board will meet to review its agenda at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and conduct a regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Town Hall, 8500 Boston State Road.

*The Boston Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall.

*The Concord Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 86 Franklin St.

*The Marilla Conservation Advisory Board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall, 1740 Two Rod Road.

***

Town of Tonawanda

Details about new eligibility requirements for student busing in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District are available online.

In April, voters approved a proposition that's expected to save the district an estimated $315,000 a year.

Walking requirements were reinstated for elementary students who live less than a half-mile from their schools. Eligibility for busing for middle school students was increased from 1.2 to 1.5 miles; for high school students, it went from 1.5 to 1.8 miles.

District residents should visit www.kenton.k12.ny.us. Under "Headlines," they'll find information on the new limits, how mileage is computed and maps depicting the newly expanded "walker" zones surrounding each school.

If parents cannot determine where their house falls within the new zones, they should call whatever school their children will attend in the 2012-13 school year. If eligibility remains unknown after calling the schools, parents may call the transportation department at 874-8611.

Letters indicating bus stop locations and pickup times will be mailed in late August to qualified households.

Also this week:

*The Town Board meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave., Kenmore. A work session begins at 4 p.m. in the conference room.

*The Kenmore Village Board meets at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building. A work session begins at 6:30 p.m. in the mayor's office.

*Hoover Elementary School, 199 Thorncliff Road, presents its annual spring concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Hoover Complex Auditorium. Performing are the grades four and five band, chorus and orchestra. A second performance is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Wednesday in the same location.

***

West Seneca

Noted children's book author Susan Stevens Crummel will visit Allendale Elementary School Monday to visit with students.

The longtime teacher in the Fort Worth, Tex., area has won numerous awards for her children's literature. Stevens Crummel is the author of "Help Me, Mr. Mutt!," which was named one of Time Magazine's Top 10 Children's Books of 2008.

She also authored "The Great Fuzz Frenzy," "Cook-a-Doodle-Doo!" as well as "And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon," which all won awards.

Stevens Crummel's visit to Allendale is part of a special event for the school. Students at Allendale were able to pre-purchase books to be signed by the author, school officials announced.

Also this week:

*An art exhibit by Tom Dalbo will open Thursday and run through July 8 at the Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center, 2001 Union Road. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.

*The School Board will hold a 5:30 p.m. Monday meeting in the West Senior High School auditorium, 3330 Seneca St. The event will begin with a retiree recognition ceremony to be followed by the regular meeting of the school board.

***

Town of North Collins / By the numbers

Total population

3,523

***

Population by sex

50.4% female

49.6% male

***

Population by race

96.5% white

2.3% Hispanic

0.3% black

***

AGE:

Median: 42.1

Percent under 5: 5.4

Percent under 18: 23.4

Percent over 65: 14.5

***

HOUSING:

Total units: 1,508

Percentage vacant: 9.3

Percent owner occupied: 81.1

Percent renter occupied: 18.9

***

HOUSEHOLDS:

Total: 1,368

Average size: 2.56

Percent with husband-wife: 56.4

Percent with husband-wife and kids under 18: 21.7

Percent with single fathers: 2.1

Percent with single mothers: 5