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

Amherst

Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa will deliver the village's first ever "State of the Village" speech on Monday to give residents an overview of the major projects being undertaken by local leaders. Kulpa said he doesn't want the presentation to be "pompous" in any way, but he does want village residents to have better access to information.

"We haven't done a great job with communicating, in general," he said. "We haven't done a good job of collecting where we are at year's end and reporting it back to the community."

He hopes Monday's State of the Village report helps change that.

The speech and multimedia presentation will be given at 7 p.m. in the village Meeting House, 5658 Main St. Kulpa said he intends to touch on the status of the historic Williamsville Water Mill, the village's "Picture Main Street" initiative, and water consolidation plans, among other topics.

Residents also will have the opportunity to submit questions during a question-and-answer period with the village trustees. For those unable to attend the meeting, a live feed of the speech will be available at www.facebook.com/PictureMainSt

"I'm hoping people walk away from this saying, ‘Oh, the village has a lot of irons in the fire, and I want to know more about it,' " Kulpa said. "I'm hoping we can just get genuine feedback."

The Williamsville Village Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Village Hall, 5565 Main St., prior to the State of the Village address. The meeting will be preceded by a work session at 5:30.

Also this week:

• The Williamsville Central School District has been named to the third annual College Board Advanced Placement Honor Roll, placing it in the top 3 percent of districts nationwide.

The designation is earned for increasing access to Advanced Placement coursework while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of three or higher on AP exams. The AP program enables high school students to take college-level classes and earn college credits.

Williamsville is among 32 districts across New York, and three locally (including Hamburg and Holland), to earn the honor. It is the first year Williamsville has been named to the list.

Williamsville offers 20 AP courses at its three high schools. In the past five years, the number of Williamsville students taking AP classes grew by 18 percent. In 2012, students took 1,952 exams and earned a score of three or higher on 1,576 of them, according to the district.

The complete third Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found at press.collegeboard.org

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Aurora

Christmas festivities are beginning to perk in East Aurora.

The Community Advent Chorale is presenting a performance of Handel's Messiah, with professional soloists and a chamber orchestra under the direction of Gregory White. The 90-member chorale comprises singers from across Western New York. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, Main and Center streets. A free will offering will be collected.

Also on Saturday, the Walk-In Closet is hosting a winter wonderland with an in-store Santa Claus and elves from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free pictures with Santa and hot cocoa and donuts will be offered. Horse-drawn sleigh rides will be offered up and down Main Street from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Prima Oliva, which sells olive oils and vinegars, is co-sponsor of the sleigh ride event.

The Roycroft Winter Festival also will be held next weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in East Aurora Middle School, where 35 artisans will display and sell their handcrafted wares. Holiday music and food will be available. The Roycrofters-At-Large Association is sponsoring the event.

Also this week:

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

***

Buffalo

Panera Bread will ask for approval of its plans for a new restaurant in the Elmwood Village during what will be a busy Zoning Board of Appeals meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Room 901 of City Hall.

Though the restaurant is taking over an existing structure, at 765 Elmwood Ave., zoning in the district does not allow a floor area of greater than 2,500 square feet.

The board will also review plans for a one-story addition at Nektar restaurant at 451 Elmwood Ave., which will be the new home of Ambrosia, which is moving one-half block south. Nektar will close.

The board will also hear from an Adams Street man who would like to sell firearms out of his home, and about plans for PUSH Buffalo's West Side housing project.

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 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Erie County Industrial Development Agency offices at 143 Genesee St.

• The Council will meet in regular session at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.

***

Cheektowaga

Got your garbage tote yet?

If not, it's coming. But, if you're one of the estimated 10,000-plus residents who already did, keep it on the sidelines until the week of Dec. 17.

Town Board members reported last week that several residents already have begun using the new totes to put out their garbage. However, until all of the 31,000 new totes are distributed and the town's refuse trucks are retrofitted, residents should continue putting out their regular garbage receptacles.

Town officials announced that Rehrig Pacific began delivering the new 65- and 95-gallon totes on Nov. 7. Each day, including Saturday, about 800 to 1,000 are delivered throughout the town.

The town has allotted one 95-gallon tote per single-family home and two per multi-unit. A handful of residents turned out for last Monday's board meeting to complain about the latter telling the board that one tote should be allocated for each unit in a multi-dwelling property.

The 65-gallon totes were being delivered to patio homes, condominiums and townhouses as well as mobile homes.

Starting Dec. 3, residents will be able to buy additional totes for $45 (95-gallon) and $40 (65-gallon), according to the town. Those totes can be purchased through the Town Clerk's Office.

Town officials said residents wishing to exchange their tote for another of a different size may do so on or after March 1.

Also this week:

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

• A financial aid informational seminar for parents of Cleveland Hill High School juniors and seniors will be held in the high school's auditorium, 105 Mapleview Road, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A financial aid representative from the University of Buffalo will be present at the seminar for discussion on the financial aid application process including: how to apply, TAP and Pell grants, student and parent loans as well as changes to state and federal regulations. For more information, contact the Student Support Center at 836-7200, Ext. 8440.

• Parents of juniors and seniors at Depew High School are invited to attend a financial aid information presentation from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the high school library media center, 5201 S. Transit Road. Sponsored by the Depew High School Counseling Department, the guest speaker at the event will be Daniel M. Tramuta, associate vice president for Enrollment Services at SUNY Fredonia and president of the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association. Numerous topics are expected to be discussed including defining financial aid and financial need as well as addressing the categories, types and sources of aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Register for the presentation by calling 686-5073.

• A new member coffee hour will be held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the conference room of the Cheektowaga Senior Center, 3349 Broadway. Cheektowaga residents 60 and over who are interested in learning more about the center are invited to attend.

• A series of workshops to help Cleveland Hill middle school girls and their mothers explore a variety of issues including healthy relationships, self-esteem, understanding anger and assertiveness will be part of the "Chat About That" workshop at 6:30 p.m. Thursday from the Family Resource Center, 3660 Harlem Road. To register, call Gloria Valley at 836-7200, Ext. 8363.

• John F. Kennedy High School's drama club presents a production of "The Night I Died at the Palace Theatre" at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the 305 Cayuga Creek Road school. Tickets will be available at the door. Adults are $10. Tickets are $5 for students; 3 and under are free. For more information, call 891-6407.

• "An Old-Fashioned Family Christmas" is an opportunity for residents to take a break with family by making crafts, taking sleigh rides, reading stories, eating snacks, singing Christmas carols and visiting Santa Claus. It will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Alexander Community Center, 275 Alexander Ave. There is an $8 fee per person. Also on Friday will be a public skate from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Recreation Center in Town Park. There, donations of new gloves, hats and scarves can also be made to the "Gift of Warmth Collection."

• Getting into the holiday spirit will continue next weekend with a pair of events. "Breakfast with Santa" will be held by the Cheektowaga YES program from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Alexander Community Center. There is a $9 fee per person. Then, from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Dartwood Community Center, 222 Autumnwood Drive, kids ages 5 to 12 are invited to "Santa's Workshop." Children can get help making four separate holiday projects for gift giving or decorating. There is an $8 fee.

***

Clarence

A Holiday Tree Lighting, presented by the Youth Bureau and the Recreation Department, is set for 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight at the Town Park Clubhouse, 10405 Main St.

From 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., children can write a letter to Santa, visit his toy shop and deliver the letters at the "post office." Cookies and hot chocolate will be served starting at 6 p.m., a "special guest" will visit at 6:15 p.m. The lighting will be at 6:45 p.m. The cost is $1 per child.

Also this week:

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

• The Clarence Industrial Development Agency will host a Small Business Seminar at 6 p.m. Monday at the Town Hall auditorium. The seminar will cover topics such as grant money available through the state; low-cost health insurance; training programs available through Erie Community College; and an overview of town and Clarence IDA programs. Call 741-8935 for details.

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

• The Erie County Clerk's Office will host a "Passports on the Move" outreach 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Eastern Hills Mall, just outside the customer service booth between Macy's and Bon-Ton. Applications will be accepted until 6:45 p.m. Appointments are required and can be made by contacting the clerk's office at 858-8865. Passport applications, a list of all required documents and a schedule of fees is available by visiting www.erie.gov/clerk and clicking the Passport icon.

• The Town Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall, following a 6 p.m. work session. On the agenda is an "overlay" zone, as recommended by the Planning Board, for new multifamily housing projects in the town. The proposed overlay zone would limit multifamily residential uses to Commercial, Restricted Business and Traditional Neighborhood District zones with a zoning overlay district. A public hearing would have to be scheduled to consider adopting the proposed overlay zone.

• Brush pickup in town is scheduled to end for the year on Friday.

• The Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Co., 8630 Main St., is preparing to host a baby sitter education course from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 8. The course, which includes a free lunch, is limited to the first 100 registered 12- to 16-year-olds. RSVP by Saturday at clarencebabysitting@hotmail.com. Donations from the Clarence Area Volunteer Firefighters' golf tournament allow Harris Hill VFC to provide the service free to participants. The course will cover fire safety, fire extinguisher training and carbon monoxide. The American Heart Association Family and Friends CPR, automated external defibrillator and first aid training will also be taught. State Police will also make a presentation.

***

Grand Island

The School Related Professionals Union of the Grand Island School District will vote on a tentative new three-year contract Dec. 6 that is retroactive to July 1.

Union president Linda Lichtenthal, a bus driver and cafeteria monitor, gave a presentation at Monday's School Board meeting about all the support workers. Included are employees working in transportation, buildings and grounds and school cafeterias as well as custodial, clerical, technical support, library and nursing staffers.

Board President David Goris said the union's members "cover A to Z and are critical to the district's success."

Also this week:

• A 10-minute PowerPoint preview of the proposed $6.3 million transportation center behind Sidway Elementary School can be seen on the school district's website: www.k12.ginet.org. The district referendum on the project is Dec. 18.

• Friday is the deadline for submitting a request to the Grand Island School District to serve on a committee that will recommend to the Board of Education individuals for whom the high school auditorium might be named.

The panel is expected to meet three to four times in January and February of next year.
Persons interested in serving on the committee should contact Janet Schuster, district clerk, at 773-9901, or email jschuster@k12.ginet.org.

***

Hamburg

Flooding at the town's Eighteen Mile Creek Golf Course is expected to improve with the construction of bypass channels and a berm near the 15th tee next spring.

The 40-year-old course, built on a flood plain, has had its share of flooding over the years, with perhaps the worst occurring in August 2009.

The engineering firm Wendel performed a flood mitigation study, and designed the channels and berm. The town used a $21,000 payment for damages from the flood from the state Office of Emergency Management to help pay the $29,800 cost for designing work. The remainder of the cost was paid out of the golf course enterprise fund.

Town crews will construct 2,250 feet of flood bypass channels across portions of the golf course, in order to provide contained relief routes for excess creek flows to follow during extreme storm events. A 3- to 4-foot high berm will be built around the perimeter of the 15th tee, fairway and green.

The work is to be done in phases, and likely will start at the third and eighth holes.

Also this week:

• A free children's matinee will be shown at 1 p.m. today as part of Hamburgh Holidays celebrations.

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

• The village Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Village Hall, 100 Main St.
• Blasdell village officials will light a Christmas tree at 6 p.m. Saturday at LaBelle Avenue and Lake Street, followed by a party in Village Hall, 121 Miriam Ave.

• The annual lighting of the star in the village of Hamburg will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday. It can be seen from the municipal parking lot behind Main Street.

• The Snowball Winter Gala Fundraiser for Hamburgh Holidays will take place at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Wanakah Country Club.

***

Lackawanna

The School Board is asking city residents to approve $475,000 in bonds for improvements to the McKinley School Building at 245 South Shore Blvd.

The building, which hasn't been used as a school in years, houses the district's administrative operations.

The board voted in October to seek the bond approval in a special election.

The bond would pay for reconstruction of a hallway that connects the main building to an annex; replacement of the building's fire alarm system; and the purchase and installation of an emergency electrical generator.

The bond won't affect the school district's tax rate because New York state is expected to reimburse most of the district's costs over the life of the bond, which will extend no more than 15 years, according to district administrators.

The vote is scheduled for noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 4 at Bocce Court, 175 Madison Ave., in the 1st Ward; Queen of Angels Hall, 144 Warsaw St., in the 2nd Ward; McKinley School, 245 South Shore Blvd. (Orchard Place entrance), in the 3rd Ward; and Lackawanna Senior High School, 550 Martin Road, in the 4th Ward.

The special election also includes two other propositions.

One of them would authorize the Board of Education to sell the site of the former Roosevelt School at 170 Odell St. The 210-foot-by-210-foot parcel has been empty since the school was demolished.

The other proposition would liquidate $10,831.97 from a capital reserve fund that was established in 1974 and apply the money to the district's general fund, per section 3651 of state education law.

***

Lancaster

Members of the Town Board and town Planning Board decided in a joint meeting last Monday that a proposed development of senior apartments on Transit Road, south of Michael Anthony Lane, would not harm the environment.

Regent Development plans to build 112 apartments on nine acres in the third phase of its Park Lane Apartments development. The company originally intended to construct five, 16-unit buildings, and filed documents to that effect with the town, but later decided to expand the project to seven buildings.

The two previous phases of the Park Lane Apartments have about 20 buildings and 250 total units, said David Huck of Regent Development, the project developer and contractor. Those apartments serve tenants of all ages, while this third phase would serve seniors who want to live independently in apartments, Huck said.

The Town Board still must sign off on the project, valued at $8 million to $10 million, but Huck said he hopes construction could begin within 30 days and could be completed by late summer 2013.

Also this week:

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

• The Hull Family Home and Farmstead will hold a Christmas tea on Saturday.

The tea will be held in a 19th-century Victorian home and will be served by women in period dress. Attendees will dine on tea sandwiches, scones, muffins and petit desserts. There are three seatings at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., and the home is located at 5976 Genesee St.

The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children 10 and younger, though the event is not recommended for the youngest children. For reservations, call 741-7032.

***

Orchard Park

Holiday in the Park will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Orchard Park Library and train depot. The family event features holiday arts and crafts, horse and carriage rides, food, tree decorating, a visit from Santa, snowman contest, story time with Mrs. Claus, tree-lighting, and wreath sale.

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.

• The School Board will meet at 8 a.m. Friday in the administration building, 3330 Baker Road. The board plans to adopt the Annual Professional Performance Review, the teacher evaluation plan.

***

Southern Erie County

The Wales Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a work session followed by a special board meeting in the community center, 1234 Big Tree Road. The board plans to discuss the recommendations of the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding a special-use permit amendment request from Auctions International. for a variance to allow more square footage.

Also this week:

• The Boston Planning Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 8500 Boston State Road.

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

• The Elma Town Board will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, 1600 Bowen Road.

• The Elma Conservation Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall.

• The Marilla Town Board will hold a work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the community center at 1740 Two Rod Road to discuss a special-use permit for events and festivals held on town property. A discussion will be held on whether to turn the water districts over to the Erie County Water Authority.

• The Eden Conservation Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the supervisor's office on the second floor of Town Hall, 2795 E. Church St.

***

Town of Tonawanda

The Ken-Ton School District is continuing its winning ways in developing healthy eating and exercise options for its students.

This month, grants of $4,000 each were awarded to the Charles A. Lindbergh and Thomas Jefferson elementary schools by Fuel Up to Play 60, a program sponsored by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League that encourages the availability and consumption of nutritious foods and 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

"I am very proud of both schools for having won the Fuel Up to Play 60 grant," School Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro said in a statement. "For the second year in a row, it shows the commitment we have to stressing healthy lifestyles for our youth."

Last year, Thomas A. Edison Elementary School won a $2,500 grant in a cooking show challenge by creating a healthy breakfast parfait inspired by a character in a children's book.

Proceeds of the grants are used to enhance efforts of the district's Food Service, Health Services and Physical Education departments.

Also this week:

• The Kenmore Planning Board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the mayor's office at the municipal building, 2919 Delaware Ave.

• A candlelight vigil in memory of Jocelyn B. Elberson, a town resident who was among two people killed by a motorcycle Nov. 11 while walking along the Amherst bike path, begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Kenney Field, Colvin Boulevard and Brighton Road.

***

West Seneca

It's been a big week for the West Seneca West Marching Band with more to come this week.

The three-time state champion marching band will take their instruments and musical prowess to Canada Saturday to march in the Santa Claus Parade in Port Colborne, Ont.

Last Thursday, the band's drum major, 17-year-old West senior Kristen Keane marched along with more than 180 other musicians from across the country in Macy's Great American Marching Band during the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

The band, led by John Blickwedehl, has made a recent appearance at the Liberty Bowl football game in Memphis, Tenn., and is also invited to march in the 2014 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.

The marching band's 2009-11 run as state champions came to an end this year after the band was elevated to a higher class level, but band members said they're relishing the challenge to again climb up to the top of the heap.

Also this week:

• The School Board will hold a 6 p.m. Monday workshop meeting in the boardroom of West Elementary School, 1397 Orchard Park Road.

***

Depew District / By the numbers

Enrollment (K-12): 2,016

*2010-11

***

Demographics (%)

92% white

3% black

2% Hispanic

2% Asian

***

Graduation rate: 76.7%

*2011-12

***

PER PUPIL EXPENDITURES*:

General Education: $9,307

Special Education: $22,383

Total Expenditures: $17,557

*2009-10

***

ATTENDANCE*:

Attendance rate: 95%

Suspension rate: 4%

*2009-10

***

PERFORMANCE*: % at or above Level 3

ELA Grade 4: 75

ELA Grade 8: 47

Math Grade 4: 89

Math Grade 8: 64

*2010-11

LUNCH SUBSIDY*:

Free lunch: 28%

Reduced lunch: 13%

*2010-11

***

SPECIAL EDUCATION: 14.2%

*2011-12

Source: NewYork State Department of Education