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Grant application OK'd in effort to save Seneca chief's burial site

Elma Town Historian Robert Newton may have his longtime wish granted as the Town Board has agreed to apply for a state grant to preserve a 20-acre site on Ostrander Road as the burial site of Seneca Chief Big Kettle.

Big Kettle served as the chief of the Buffalo Creek Reservation after Red Jacket died.

Newton told the board at its work session Wednesday that his great-grandfather was a Seneca and Big Kettle asked to be buried at the site. According to Newton, he obliged the chief. Newton said he believes he is the only family member left who knows the location of the burial site.

It was never marked, in order to keep its location safe, but recently a Native American group also has found where the chief was buried.

Newton, working with an archaeological conservancy, is seeking a state grant to cover the expense of a land conservancy with the site owner, who would be allowed to continue farming the acreage but would never be allowed to develop it.

Connie Miner, a grant writer for Elma and other municipalities, who was present at the meeting, said the grant Newton was seeking was pulled by the state as of last Friday due to a revamping of the grant application process.

Later, Supervisor Dennis Powers said he wasn't worried about the money because he believed the Archaeological Society Fund, with 23,000 members, would cover the cost of the Newton Hopper Village Site Preservation.

In other matters, Brian Young, developer of a senior citizen rental apartment project on Bowen Road, now ready for construction, showed the board plans for another venture. He plans to move his landscaping business from Southwestern Boulevard to an 11-acre site on Bullis Road near Pound Road. He said he has sold his buildings on Southwestern to the West Seneca School District and needs to be out by next June.

He said the Bullis Road site already meets the zoning standards. He would have a main office, green houses and a retail facility on site. Colorado spruces eventually would hide the buildings.

Parking would be in front. He would like to strip the site this winter and build a retaining pond, finishing in the spring. He was advised to talk to the building inspector and plan on attending the next Planning Board meeting in September.

After a public hearing, the board passed a local law allowing a conservation easement for a wetlands area on New Bullis Road.

Local Eagle Scout Stephen Mc Cormick of Troop 409 was presented with a town resolution honoring him for his work with a West Seneca church that has an older congregation. Stephen organized a project to landscape the church and build a shed and an emergency exit needed for the church to pass a building inspection.

The board also:

*Declared a 1985 Highway Department dump truck surplus, along with two extra copiers to be sold at Auctions International.

*Approved a resolution to apply for a grant for an audio system for the courts.

*The board will resume its winter schedule in September. It will hold regular meetings at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 and 21, and a work session at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14.

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