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

Amherst

For anyone wondering whether the Village of Williamsville is still considering merging its water system with Erie County Water Authority, the answer is yes.

Currently, the village water rate is $4.87 per 1,000 gallons, compared with $2.96 for the rest of Amherst, which has its water system controlled by the county water authority. In recent years, village trustees have vacillated over whether to have the county authority take over the village water system. This past week, the board met with water authority officials to see if a merger may still be realistic.

Mayor Brian Kulpa said the current board is determined to arrive at a decision by the end of the year.

"It's put-up-or-shut-up time," Kulpa said. "Either we have to continue to go down this path and pursue a consolidation, or we're not going to do that."

The village would need to borrow about $3 million to fix its water lines and replace water meters before a water authority takeover would be possible, Kulpa said, but based on last week's conversation with authority representatives, it may be possible to adjust the loan payback terms to make a small but immediate rate reduction to residents possible.

The board must update some figures before meeting with the water authority again, Kulpa said.

The Village Board will meet again for its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Village Hall, 5565 Main St. The meeting will be preceded by a work session at 6 p.m.

In other developments in the town, the former nine-hole Evergreen Golf Course is still on track to be developed as "Evergreen Landing" -- even though residents in West Amherst have seen no activity to date.

Jeffery Palumbo, a lawyer whose family has an ownership stake in the property, said he hopes the Amherst Planning Board will grant final subdivision approval this week.

The family then will sell 66 acres to developer Anthony Cimato for the construction of 198 homes. The family originally planned to set aside 18 acres for apartments but changed its mind, he said. The homes would range from 1,800 square feet to up to 4,000 square feet for waterfront homes with private docks along the canal, Palumbo said.

Ground clearing would begin next month, with home construction starting in late fall or early spring, he said. The entire subdivision is expected to be built in phases over the next eight to 10 years.

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Aurora

The Aurora Theatre is kicking off the Fisher-Price Summer Family Film Series at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The family film series has been a popular Western New York event during summer break and is free at the theater at 673 Main St.

This summer, the series will be hosted by Fisher-Price Little People characters Eddie and Sony Lee. The characters will meet and greet guests as they arrive before each show. Guests also will be treated to the showing of Fisher-Price animated shorts before each film and will receive a coupon to the Fisher-Price Toy Store on Girard Avenue.

The scheduled movies include "Rio" on Wednesday; "Mr. Popper's Penguins" on July 3; "Despicable Me" on July 11; "Hugo" on July 18; "King Fu Panda 2" on July 25: "Puss in Boots" on Aug. 1; "Happy Feet 2" on Aug. 8; and "Dolphin Tale" on Aug. 15.

Knox Farm State Park will feature the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in a fundraising performance for improvements to the park at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. The concert will take place adjacent to the Main House, also known as the Knox Mansion. Lawn seats are free.

Also this week:

*The Town Board meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of Town Hall, 300 Gleed Ave.

*The Beth Lynne Hoskins animal cruelty trial continues at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday in Aurora Town Court, the second-floor courtroom of East Aurora Village Hall at Main and Paine streets.

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Buffalo

The Common Council will meet in regular session at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Also this week:

*The Common Council will hold its premeeting caucus at 2 p.m. Monday in Room 1417 of City Hall.

*The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. will meet at noon Tuesday in the Erie County Industrial Development Agency offices at 143 Genesee St.

*The Parking Board will meet at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Room 901 of City Hall.

*The Commission on Citizens Rights and Community Relations will meet at noon Wednesday in Room 1417 of City Hall.

*The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency will meet at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Room 209 of City Hall.

*The Preservation Board will meet at 3 p.m. Thursday in Room 901 of City Hall.

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Cheektowaga

The Town Board will meet in a work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 3301 Broadway.

***

Clarence

Day in the Park activities will get under way at Town Park, 10405 Main St., at 2 p.m. Saturday and will wrap up with a 20-minute fireworks show starting at 9:45 p.m.

Activities include: "I Got It," bounce houses, laser tag and extreme racing, magicians, ponies, puppets, family games, balloon animals, a clown show, face painting, fire safety and State Police demonstrations, Pride Martial Arts, and music.

The Clarence Lions Club is the host organization this year. Day in the Park, which draws thousands of visitors, is also a major fundraiser for a number of the town's nonprofit groups.

This year's Day in the Park includes a street hockey tournament for the first time. Call 759-1127 for details on the tournament.

Also this week:

*A Planning Board executive meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in Town Hall.

*The Youth Board will meet at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday at 10510 Main St.

*The Town Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, following a 6 p.m. work session.

The board will hold a public hearing on whether to extend the town's Greenprint program, which was approved by voters in 2002 and is set to expire this year. The program involves buying undeveloped properties or their development rights, to preserve as green space.

And Harris Hill Commons is proposing an open-space design subdivision, consisting of about 70 lots on 62 acres, on vacant land on the west side of Harris Hill Road between Sheridan Drive and Greiner Road. Formation of a sewer district is considered the principal issue for the project. If it is referred to the Planning Board, that step would initiate a formal review of the project.

*The annual meeting of the Clarence Senior Center's board of directors will be 1:15 p.m. Thursday, at 4600 Thompson Road. A strawberry social will follow. Members are invited to attend and are asked to contact the office if they plan to do so.

*The Clarence Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting for Paula's Donuts on Thursday at 8560 Main St. The event is 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with the ribbon-cutting at 6 p.m.

*Terry Buchwald will perform his Tribute to Elvis, a free concert at 6:45 p.m. Thursday on the patio of the Brothers of Mercy Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 10570 Bergtold Road. Guests are asked to bring a blanket or lawn chair.

*Brush pickup is scheduled to end Friday and will resume in September.

***

Evans

A nonprofit organization representing Southtowns communities is working to develop a "Southtowns Farm Trail" to showcase area farms, farm products and businesses online.

The Southtowns Community Enhancement Coalition hopes to market the area's agri-tourism business more online through the use of blogs, websites, digital maps and e-newsletters in hopes of attracting more visitors to this part of Western New York.

The coalition represents the towns of Brant, Concord, Eden, Evans, North Collins and the villages of Angola, Farnham and North Collins.

"Our rural corner of the county has a wealth of natural resources, parks and beaches, historic sites and small-town appeal that we can really showcase using online tools," said Eden Supervisor Glenn Nellis, who serves as president of the coalition.

The coalition, with funding assistance from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, recently sent out questionnaires to more than 40 farms and related businesses to determine interest in the farm trail.

Southtowns farms or agriculture-related businesses interested in being included can contact Lori Szewczyk at 549-3915.

Also this week:

*The Town Board will hold a work session at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, 8787 Erie Road.

*A town Planning Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall.

*The Summer Lawn Concert Series continues at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the William G. Houston Gazebo in Angola's Centennial Park. This week's concert features the Formula Band, billed as Buffalo's Best Italian Band. The rain location will be at the nearby New Angola Theater, 72 N. Main St.

*"Movie Night in the Park" will be held Thursday at Town Park, 8965 Lakeshore Road. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to watch a movie on the inflatable screen. Activities begin at 7 p.m. with a bounce house for the kids. The movie begins at dusk. Food is available for purchase.

The movie will be postponed if there is inclement weather.

***

Grand Island

After five years spent plugging away at the Grand Island municipal code, the Town Board has completed its revisions of the entire general codification. The code is a collection of the town's laws, ordinances and certain resolutions.

The revisions are available for review in hard copy at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road, and online in a searchable format at www.grand-island.ny.us.

The public is invited to review the code and voice any concerns about it at a public hearing scheduled for 8 p.m. on July 16. The board will then vote on whether to adopt the code into local law.

*The Board of Education last week approved an agreement with the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District for the shared services of Jack Burns, Grand Island's transportation director.

The agreement, which runs Aug. 1 to June 30, 2013, has each district paying 50 percent -- or $75,992 -- of the $151,985 salary and benefits package for Burns, who will remain an employee of the Grand Island district.

Ken-Ton's transportation director, John O'Connor, is retiring. Both districts will save money under the arrangement, which the Ken-Ton board approved two weeks ago. Akron and Clarence school districts also share a transportation director.

Also this week:

*The commencement ceremony for graduates of Grand Island Senior High School will be held at 2 p.m. today at Artpark, 450 S. Fourth St., Lewiston.

*A fundraiser to benefit the election campaign of town council member Christopher Aronica will be held Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Grand Island Holiday Inn, 100 Whitehaven Road.

*The School Board will hold a special meeting at 6;15 p.m. Tuesday in the second-floor computer room at Sidway Elementary School on Baseline Road. The purpose is to discuss tentative plans to update and expand the transportation center located behind the school with adjacent property owners.

*The Grand Island Senior High School Class of 1992 will celebrate its 20-year class reunion Friday at 6 p.m. at the Niagara Falls Conference Center, 101 Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls. For more information, email Kim Schopp at Kim@raru.com.

*St. Stephen's youth group ministry will hold a "junk in the trunk" sale Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the church's front parking lot, 2100 Baseline Road. Parking spaces can be purchased from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for $15 apiece. Those purchasing a space may sell items from their trunk, or set up a table to display used goods. The public is invited to browse the sale and purchase items.

***

Hamburg

Town Board members will be catching up on items that would have been approved during their meeting two weeks ago. The meeting had to be canceled for lack of a quorum after Councilman Joseph Collins left the work session before the regular meeting, saying he felt ill. Since Supervisor Steve Walters was out of town, there was only one member of the three-member board, Councilwoman Amy Ziegler, left for the meeting.

The meeting will be conducted at 7 p.m. Monday in the courtroom in Town Hall, 6100 South Park Ave. A work session will take place at 6 p.m. Monday in Conference Room 1.

Also this week:

*The village Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Village Hall, 100 Main St.

*State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, will speak at a lunch sponsored by the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Woodlawn Beach State Park Pavilion, 3580 Lakeshore Road.

Grisanti represents the 60th District, which is being redrawn and will include Hamburg. For more information and to register, visit the chamber's website at www.hamburg-chamber.org or call 649-7917.

*For those interested in music, the Hamburg Village Band is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday for the Concerts in the Park in Memorial Park, Lake and Union streets. The rain site is Union-Pleasant Elementary School's auditorium.

*The farmers market will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the village parking lot.

***

Lackawanna

A $458,752 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will allow the Lackawanna Fire Department to add four new firefighters and potentially cut down on spiraling overtime costs in the department.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response grant will pay salaries and benefits of four firefighters for two years, enabling the department to get closer to the recommended amount of personnel at the scene of a fire.

Currently, the National Fire Protection Association calls for 14 firefighters to operate at the scene of a fire for safety reasons. The Lackawanna Fire Department operates with eight. The additional personnel will allow for a safer response and reduce injuries due to fatigue at the scene of a fire, according to Fire Chief Ralph Galanti.

Galanti said the extra manpower also will improve the department's response to fire and first aid calls.

Overtime costs are expected to exceed $200,000 for the 2011-12 budget year. But city officials anticipate being able to reduce those expenses dramatically by keeping staffing levels above the minimum more often.

The grant does not require that the city retain the additional personnel beyond two years.

Also this week:

*The board of the Global Concepts Charter School will gather for its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the school cafeteria, 1001 Ridge Road. The board's annual meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

***

Lancaster

After a year of leading an effort to name Lancaster's new public safety building after retired Police Chief Gary F. Stoldt, organizer Lukas D. Montanino is pulling the plug on the campaign.

Montanino said a coalition of hundreds of Lancaster residents backed putting Stoldt's name on the town's law-enforcement complex, which soon will be built on Pavement Road.

A Facebook page devoted to the effort has 155 members, and Montanino said town and police officials had informally told him they were supportive of the idea.

But Montanino on Friday sent an open letter to Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli saying he respects Fudoli's opposition to putting the names of private citizens on buildings.

"Many of us were unaware that namings are reserved for fallen officers and military personnel. Our group will not be bringing any recommendations to the board moving forward and will disband," Montanino wrote.

He encouraged Fudoli and the Town Board to consider naming the building after Lancaster Patrolman Leo Bajerski, who was fatally shot by a suspect on Oct. 31, 1933.

Stoldt, who retired in 2010 after 45 years with the department, did not encourage the naming campaign, Montanino said, and probably is glad the effort is ending.

"He didn't want this from the beginning," Montanino told The News.

Also this week:

*The Village Board meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the Municipal Building, 5423 Broadway.

*The School Board meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the district offices, 177 Central Ave.

*The Lancaster-Depew Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition will celebrate its fifth anniversary during a community picnic and meeting Thursday.

The event runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lancaster Youth Bureau, 200 Oxford Ave., and starts off with a hot dog roast.

At 6:30, adults in attendance can listen to a panel discussion on underage drinking and drug use, while a magician will entertain their children.

Anyone interested in attending must call Lisa Johnson at 683-4444, Ext. 206, by Monday to register.

***

Newstead

The Town Board will meet in a regular session at 8 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 5 Clarence Center Road. A work session will precede the meeting at 7:15 p.m.

***

Orchard Park

Orchard Park Central School District's assistant superintendent for curriculum and pupil services is retiring at the end of the month.

Dennis Fitscher will step down after more than 35 years with the district.

He started with the district in 1976, teaching a program he developed called "Learning Experience" at South Davis Elementary. He also taught first grade for 10 years at Ellicott Elementary, Baker Road Elementary and Eggert Elementary. Fitscher moved to the Middle School in 1986, where he taught sixth-grade science.

He was named an assistant principal at the Middle School in 2000, and two years later he became principal at Ellicott Elementary. He was named assistant superintendent in 2005.

Fitscher was instrumental in the district's redistricting, revising the policy manual and creating and implementing the Comprehensive District Education Plan.

Orchard Park High School Educational Outreach has collected gently used school supplies during the annual locker clean-out days at Orchard Park schools to donate to students in Orchard Park and to students in rural school districts in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan, through special U.S. Military Units.

The initiative in Kandahar is coordinated by Army Maj. Brady Sexton, a 1991 graduate of Orchard Park High School and the son of retired high school physical education teacher Carole Dwyer. The outreach program was started in the late 1990s by teacher Niki Gernold to provide students with the opportunity to learn about different groups of people in the Buffalo area and around the world by working with members of these communities in support of local and international service projects.

Also this week:

*The Village Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the municipal center, 4295 S. Buffalo St.

*The Town Board will conduct a work session at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the supervisor's conference room in the municipal center.

***

Southern Erie County

The Boston Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 8500 Boston State Road.

Also this week:

*The Eden Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the second floor conference room in Town Hall, 2795 E. Church St.

*The Eden Conservation Board will meet at 7:30 p.m Tuesday in the supervisor's office in Town Hall.

*The Eden Town Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the courtroom in Town Hall.

*The Eden Drainage Committee will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the second floor conference room on Town Hall.

*The Marilla Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 1740 Two Rod Road to discuss proposed street layout changes to the town code for future subdivisions. Jason Engels of Cardinal Design has been invited to discuss Farmland Protection.

*The Wales Town Board will meet for a work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Emery Road Courthouse in South Wales.

***

City of Tonawanda

The Common Council will hold an informal meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 200 Niagara St., to discuss issues related to waste management and other issues that may come before lawmakers.

***

Town of Tonawanda

Day two of the second annual Dog Days of Kenmore kicks off at noon today in Mang Park, with an afternoon filled with activities and demonstrations for and by man's best friend.

A blessing of the animals will take place at 1:30 p.m.

Demonstrations are scheduled in agility (12:30, 1:30 and 3 p.m.) and nose work training (12:45, 1:45 and 3:30 p.m.), and the Kenmore Fire Department will be showing off its new life-saving equipment for pets. Tank, the town's police dog and his handler, Officer Brent Costello, also will give demonstrations.

A series of contests -- dog/owner look-alike, coolest trick and best dog costume -- begins at 2:15 p.m. Contestants can sign up on site.

The event, sponsored by Kenmore Village Improvement Society, also will feature dozens of vendors and exhibitors, as well as food and live music.

Also this week:

*Starting Monday, Decatur Road will be closed to traffic between Parkhurst Boulevard and Montrose Avenue, for a road reconstruction project. The road is expected to reopen Friday.

*The Kenmore Planning Board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the mayor's office at the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave.

*Kenmore Police Headquarters, at 2395 Elmwood Ave., is participating in a 24-hour prescription drug drop-box program, in coordination with the state Department of Health. Unwanted or unneeded drugs may be left in the box in the lobby; no disclosures are required, and the program assures complete anonymity.

***

West Seneca

The issue is chickens and West Seneca is one of a growing number of communities having to deal with them.

The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall to review a variance approved in December 2011 for Dennis Sullivan for property located on Orchard Park Road for raising seven chickens.

Officials in Amherst and the cities of Buffalo and North Tonawanda have been asked to consider updating or adding laws that would allow for residents to raise chickens.

Also this week:

*The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 1250 Union Road.

***

Town of Aurora / By the numbers

Total population: 13,782

AGE:

Median: 45.3
Percent under 5: 4.5
Percentunder 18: 22.8
Percent over 65: 18.1

***

Population by sex:

51.9% female
48.1 male

***

Population by race:

98% white
1% Hispanic
0.6% Asian
0.3%

***

HOUSING:

Total units: 5,843
Percentage vacant: 6
Percent owner occupied: 80.5
Percent renter occupied: 19.5

***

HOUSEHOLDS:

Total: 5,493
Average size: 2.44
Percent with husband-wife: 57
Percent with husband-wife and kids under 18: 23.6
Percent with single fathers: 1.5
Percent with single mothers: 4.3

Source: 2010 Census