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WHERE WE LIVE / A town-by-town digest of what's happening in our communities

Amherst

The Amherst Central school board has agreed to consider a resolution to require elementary school students who live within one-quarter mile of school to walk to and from their school. A voter referendum on the issue is required for the changes to take effect beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year.

"We know that the budget development process for the 2013-2014 school year is going to be every bit as tough as it was for this year," said Superintendent Laura K. Chabe, in a statement. "We are trying to be as proactive as we can. Every dollar we save can be used to preserve vital instructional programs for our children."

The board will receive the resolution at its Oct. 2 meeting. A district press release stated that the matter will come before voters at a special referendum held Nov. 28.

Also likely to be voted on in November is the district's $23 million capital project designed to address building safety issues and improve the technology infrastructure of all four school buildings

Also this week:

• Supervisor Barry Weinstein is returning to the Town Board on Monday after having undergone skin cancer surgery on Wednesday to remove a group of cancerous cells from his nose. "The dermatologist says he thinks that he got it all," Weinstein said.

The Town Board will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville. The meeting will be preceded by a work session at 3 p.m.

Among the topics for discussion, as previously reported, is a proposed raise for most elected town officials.

The News will run a live blog of the evening meeting at www.buffalonews.com

• The Williamsville Village Board will meet 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.

***

Aurora

Christmas decorating in downtown East Aurora this year could get interesting.

Village Trustee Peter Mercurio has been named to lead a new Christmas Committee gearing up to tackle the challenge of new decorations in the village.

He said he is taking the assignment seriously – although he is having some fun with it.

"What's our budget? $1.9 million?" he asked.

Trustee Patrick Shea looked over at Mercurio and told him to "start sewing up your Santa suit."

The village's real Christmas decorating budget is $5,000 for Main Street, according to Village Administrator Bryan Gazda. Another $2,500 could be available toward a community Christmas tree, which is no longer allowed at the village traffic circle because of safety concerns at roundabouts cited by the state Department of Transportation.

Aesthetics became a real issue last year after new light poles along the newly-redone Main Street limited the size of decorative banners and seasonal flags that the village was able to put up.

There also was a fair share of grumbling about the LED plastic light-up snowflakes, some of which malfunctioned and looked less than classy, some thought.

Mercurio said he plans to soon meet with a six-member Christmas Committee to get ideas.

"I think it would be neat to come up with something artsy and creative – but yet not plastic, plug-in, blinking snowflakes – that are a good investment of taxpayer money that we can re-use."

Gazda said, however, that the huge evergreen tree adjacent to the Aurora Town Hall on the Roycroft campus might work out for a community tree that could be lit.

"It could be just a festive thing, with lights. To me, it should be uptown in the center of the village, someplace where it can be enjoyed," Gazda said.

Also this week:

• The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the Southside Municipal Center, 300 Gleed Ave.

***

Buffalo

The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, the city's control board, will meet at 1 p.m. Monday in the first-floor conference room of the Market Arcade complex at 617 Main St.

Beforehand, the board's Audit, Finance and Budget Committee will meet at 12:30 p.m. in the same location.

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 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 Water Board will meet at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Room 502 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.

***

Cheektowaga

The annual Jill Farrar-Mattice Memorial 5K Run/Pump and Run will be held Saturday morning at the fallen state trooper's alma mater, Cleveland Hill High School.

Farrar-Mattice, a Cheektowaga native, was a 1996 graduate of Cleveland Hill. She died in the line of duty during a January 2010 crash while returning to her Oneonta State Police barracks from her assignment as a school resource officer. Farrar-Mattice was 31.

A portion of the proceeds from the charity event this year will benefit the Jill Farrar-Mattice Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is awarded to a Cleveland Hill High School student interested in careers in law enforcement and criminal justice.

"Jill was deeply loved by those she served as a resource officer, and through the scholarship, both her memory and her positive impact on the lives of young people will continue on," according to organizers of the event.

The run will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday from the Cleveland Hill Middle/High School rear parking lot.

Also this week:

• The Maryvale School Board will hold a regular meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at 1050 Maryvale Drive.

• The Town Board will hold a 6 p.m. Tuesday work session in the council office conference room at Cheektowaga Town Hall, 3301 Broadway.

• The Cheektowaga School Board will hold a regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the board room at Cheektowaga Central High School, 3600 Union Road.

• It is homecoming week in the Cheektowaga Central School District. The Powder Puff and Bonfire event will be held at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at the school's football field. The homecoming parade will begin at 5:45 p.m. Friday and be followed by the Warriors varsity football team hosting Dunkirk High School at 7 p.m. Then, the high school's homecoming dance will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the 3600 Union Road school gym.

• The Cheektowaga Senior Center will host a new member coffee hour at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the conference room at the center, 3349 Broadway. Those eligible for membership – Cheektowaga residents 60 and older – are invited to visit the center and learn about the activities, programs and services it offers.

• The Cheektowaga Alliance for Healthy Communities Healthy Youth is encouraging parents to make "family dinners" a regular daily household routine. There's no better time to start than Monday – Family Day – a national effort designed "to promote parental engagement, through family dinners, as an effective way to reduce substance abuse among children and teens." "Family Day" is designed as "a day to eat dinner with your children," the alliance states, citing research by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University that finds "the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs."

***

Clarence

The Meet in the Center Fall Fest will take place 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Goodrich and Clarence Center roads. The event will include live music, food, hayrides and artisan vendors. The event is presented by the Meet in the Center Merchants Association. For more information, call 866-1100.

Also this week:

• A Planning Board Executive Committee meeting will be at 9 a.m. Monday at Town Hall.

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

• The Clarence Chamber of Commerce will have "AM Networking" at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Gianni Mazia's, 10325 Main St. The guest speaker is Bruce Fowler of the Family Chocolate Shoppe, talking about holiday gifts.

• The Town Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, following a 6 p.m. work session. Gabe's Collision is seeking a special exception use permit to proceed with development of an automotive sales, collision and service shop at 5817 Transit Road. The Planning Board, by a 6-1 vote in early August, recommended not issuing the permit to Gabe's. Also, Cimato Bros. Construction is requesting a clearing, filling and grading permit to allow for pond and road grading prior to development plan approval for the Woodland Hills subdivision, on Greiner Road, east of Harris Hill Road.

• Clarence Recreation's Archery Challenge will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Main Street Town Park, 10405 Main St.

• Saturday is the first day of the Clarence Hollow Farmers' Market Scarecrow Contest on Main Street. The contest will run to Oct. 13.

• Diamond Alpacas of Clarence, at 8485 Wolcott Road, invites visitors to "meet the alpacas" next weekend, as part of National Alpaca Farm Days. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sept. 30.

***

Grand Island

The School Board will meet in executive session at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the District Offices, 1100 Ransom Road. The agenda includes the contract for the interim superintendent and the environmental study for the proposed new transportation center.

The regular business meeting has been rescheduled to Oct. 1.

Also this week:

• The Grand Island Public Library, 1715 Bedell Road, is holding adult computer classes from 10 a.m. to noon every Friday, starting this week with a basic computer class. Space is limited and registration is required. For more information or to register call the library at 773-7124.

***

Hamburg

Hamburg's Hometown Heroes banner project is seeking applicants for a second set of banners to be hung on village streets.

The next set will be hung on utility poles along Buffalo Street for one year, starting next April. This year, 32 local veterans and service men and women had their photos and names on the banners.

To be eligible, an applicant must have been in an active war zone since Sept. 11, 2001. All branches of the military are represented. Each banner costs $125, and after one year, it is taken down and given to the family as a keepsake.

Applications are available in Village Hall and Town Hall, and organizers hope to add another 10 banners along Main Street next year. If a soldier is chosen, a photo is his or her uniform is required. For more information call 863-5880 or email GJant@aol.com. Donations may be sent to Hamburg Hometown Heroes Banner Project, an account through M&T Bank.

Also this week:

• The Town Board will hold a work session at 6 p.m. Monday in Conference Room No. 1, followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m. in the court room in Town Hall, 6100 South Park Ave.

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

• The Blasdell Farmer's Market will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday in Ilio DiPaolo's parking lot at South Park and Miller avenues.

• The Hamburg Farmer's Market is open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the municipal parking lot.

***

Orchard Park

The air has come out of the inflatable water equipment known as Quaker Splash in Orchard Park, but the hot air surrounding it has not.

The town used about $24,000 from the land deposit fund, which is earmarked for recreation, to buy the play equipment for Green Lake this year, and expected to recoup the money in two years from fees charged to use the equipment. Resident David Schuster, a frequent critic of the board and the Quaker Splash, complained to the board last week that his request for a complete breakdown of revenues and expenses for the equipment was lacking in detail.

He said he was told revenues are $11,366, with no breakdown on the number of season and day passes, and expenses were $10,888. The expenses appear to be the payroll for lifeguards and do not appear to include the cost of life jackets or the cost of the equipment, he said.

Councilman David Kaczor said the Recreation Department is very successful, and while a few people continue to complain about Quaker Splash, most do not.

"Yes, it is true that the splash park is not making the type of revenue that it was intended to do. But overall, if you look at the big picture, it's covering the cost of the employees that are working, plus making a profit," Kaczor said. Kaczor said the rec department has been a great revenue generator for the town.

Also this week:

• The Village Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the municipal building, 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 building. The board plans to go into executive session to discuss salaries for the coming year for non-union employees and department heads.

***

Lackawanna

Lackawanna will be getting a new playground – thanks in part to a national non-profit organization and the Buffalo Bills.

Baker Victory Services, in conjunction with ChildPro, has been awarded a grant from the Bills and KaBOOM! to build a new playground near the Our Lady of Victory School at Ridge Road and South Park Avenue.

Volunteers will construct the playground at a community build day scheduled for Oct. 23.

The National Football League and United Way Hometown Huddle partnership also is part of the collaboration.

The NFL's "Play 60" initiative encourages youth to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.

KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., has been helping communities build playgrounds since 1995 and has assisted in constructing more than 2,000 playgrounds around the country.

Also this week:

Anyone interested in taking an open competitive exam to become a Lackawanna police officer may file an application. The deadline is Oct. 3 and the exam date is Nov. 17.

Exam results will be used to determine an eligibility list in filling future vacancies in the city's police department.

Candidates must be legal residents of Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming, Cattaraugus or Chautauqua County for at least four months immediately preceding the date of examination.

Preference in appointment will be given to successful candidates who have been legal residents of Lackawanna for at least four months immediately preceding the examination date and are residents of Lackawanna at the time of appointment.

There is a $25 application fee. Application forms are available at the Lackawanna Civil Service Commission Office, Room 213, City Hall, 714 Ridge Road, Lackawanna.

***

Lancaster

Expect plenty of teenage skateboarders and bicyclists, their parents and their allies at Monday's Lancaster Village Board meeting.

The board could vote Monday to set a public hearing on a proposed ban on skateboarding on sidewalks in the village's central business district. A public hearing is required before the Village Board can approve the ban.

Village Attorney Arthur A. Herdzik has been researching and drafting legislation since the Sept. 10 board meeting.

Half a dozen downtown merchants complained at that meeting about teenagers who loiter and perform tricks on their BMX bikes and skateboards outside their businesses, intimidating customers and causing damage to store and village property.

In response, members of the Village Board directed Herdzik to draft a ban, which he has submitted to the village's clerk-treasurer. Violations of the ban could lead to fines or possible – though not likely – jail time.

While Village Board members made a point to say that not all of the teens are causing trouble, no one from the audience spoke on the teens' behalf.

Since that meeting, Dan Prichard, the owner of Sirens Skateshop on Central Avenue, said he was closing his store after 13 months in business and the teen bicyclists and skateboarders and their defenders vowed to attend Monday's board meeting.

The session begins at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 5423 Broadway.
Also this week:

• The School Board meets at 7 p.m. Monday in John A. Sciole Elementary School, 86 Alys Drive East, Depew.

• Members of the Town Board on Monday evening will conduct inspections of the four fire companies that provide fire protection within the town. The board members will visit the Bowmansville, Millgrove, Town Line and Twin District companies beginning at 6 p.m.

• Members of the public have a chance over the next week to bid on artwork produced by the residents of the Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Lancaster.

About 50 pieces of art – most watercolor paintings and acrylic on canvas – produced by residents over the past few months will be auctioned off through a silent auction through Oct. 1, said Jillian Skibinski, the facility's activity director. Proceeds of the auction benefit the Harris Hill resident council.

The artwork will be displayed in the facility's lobby and main hallway until Oct. 1 and the public can view the works during regular visiting hours, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. An opening reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the facility, 2699 Wehrle Drive.

***

Southern Erie County

The Elma Town Board last week approved its annual agreement with Elma, Marilla and Wales Soccer and EMW Little League Football for each to receive a yearly stipend of $5,000.

The board also announced the town will apply for a Justice Court Assistance Program grant that would be used for a desktop computer, bulletproof window for the clerk, a keyboard drawer, bookshelves and chairs in the amount of $5,369.38.

Also this week:

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

• The Eden Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall.

• The Eden Conservation Board will met at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 2795 E. Church St.

• The Eden Town Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall. The Marilla Town Board will hold a work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the upper floor meeting room of Town Hall, 1740 Two Rod Road.

• A public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Senior Citizens Center, 3007 Bowen Road. regarding the widening of Bullis Road in Elma. The issue is focused on a safety issue raised by local residents who are concerned about trucks going in and out of Seasonal Landscaping site.

• The Elma Town Board will hold a budget meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, 1600 Bowen Road. The meeting will be followed by a work session at 6 p.m. and a "meet and greet" at 7 p.m. with Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard.

• The Wales Town Board will hold a special budget meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Wales Community Center, 1234 Big Tree Road. A work session will follow the budget meeting.

***

City of Tonawanda

A regular meeting of the School Board will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the library media center at Tonawanda High/Middle School, 600 Fletcher St.

The board is expected to develop a timeline for its proposed community task force that will research the future of the district.

***

Town of Tonawanda

The town's 2012 environmental speaker series continues this week on the topic of "The ABCs and One Two Threes" of the town's curbside collection and recycling program.

The program begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the community room of the Philip Sheridan Building, 3200 Elmwood Ave.

Guest speaker is Joseph Beaumont, a sanitation supervisor with the town's Highway Department. He will explain what can and cannot go into the orange recycle bins, as well as what other waste materials will be picked up by the town, provided they're properly packaged and placed curbside.

The presentation is sponsored by the Tonawanda Town Board and the town's Commission for Conservation of the Environment.

Also this week:

• The Town Board meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers at the municipal building, 2919 Delaware Ave. A work session begins at 4 in the second-floor conference room.

• The Kenmore Planning Board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in room 15 [the mayor's office] in the municipal building.

• The Kenmore Farmer's Market is open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday on the Municipal Green, between Delaware Avenue and Delaware Road. Weekly market hours continue through the end of October.

***

West Seneca

The rescheduled public hearing on a proposed local law restricting residents to keep no more than four cats per household in the town will be held at 7 p.m. Monday during a regular meeting of the Town Board in Town Hall, 1250 Union Road.

Initially advertised for Sept. 10, this public hearing was postponed until Monday for legal reasons, town officials said.

The law, which limits the number of cats kept in households, requires that cats "shall be kept in an appropriate manner and under control, in a clean, properly ventilated, wholesome, sanitary condition and free from offensive odors."

It further mandates that "[a]ll accumulation or collection of manure and other refuse derived from the keeping of cats must be disposed of in an appropriate and sanitary manner."

Supervisor Sheila M. Meegan believes such an ordinance is required in town as a quality of life issue. Meegan said last month she was inundated with complaints from residents in several West Seneca neighborhoods who reported as many as 30 or more cats being harbored by a single household.

The cats would often climb on the awnings of nearby homes and leave waste behind, she said.

Also this week:

• It's homecoming week for West Seneca West Senior High School. Included in the week's planned special events is a flag football game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the high school. There will be a parent education opportunity called "Out of the Darkness" – a discussion on teen depression and suicide awareness – from 5:30-6:15 p.m. Thursday at the high school, 3330 Seneca St. The panel discussion and Q&A period will be followed by the school's open house event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Included at that open house will be a Mental Health Resource Fair that will take place in the front lobby from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

• The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a 7 p.m. Wednesday meeting at town hall. Included on the agenda is a request from Matthew J. Stachowiak for the review of a variance allowing for live music at an establishment at 2339 Union Road.

***

Kenmore-Tonawanda / Bythe numbers

Enrollment (K-12): 7,774

*2010-11

***

PER PUPIL EXPENDITURES*:

General Education: $9,401
Special Education: $18,106
Total Expenditures: $17,209

*2009-10

***

ATTENDANCE*:

Attendance rate: 94%
Suspension rate: 5%

*2009-10

***

PERFORMANCE*:

% at or above Level 3

ELA Grade 4: 59
ELA Grade 8: 52
Math Grade 4: 78
Math Grade 8: 69

*2010-11

***

Demographics (%)

87% white
7% black
4% Hispanic
1% Asian

***

Graduation rate: 80.9%

*2011-12

***

LUNCH SUBSIDY*:

Free lunch: 25%
Reduced lunch: 10%

*2010-11

***

SPECIAL EDUCATION: 15.1%

LIMITED ENGLISH: 1%

Source: NewYork State Department of Education