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North Tonawanda Common Council celebrates its future and its past

NORTH TONAWANDA – The North Tonawanda Common Council chamber was filled to standing room only Tuesday as students from North Tonawanda High School, who had spent the day shadowing city leaders as part of Student Government Day, took seats on the dais to run the regular meeting of the council.

But parents, other students and teachers at the meeting also had a chance to meet Helen W. Allen, who celebrated her 107th birthday last week Monday.

Allen, who was born on Webster Street, was recognized with a proclamation as the city’s oldest resident. She was also given the city’s centennial silver coin.

A collective gasp went through the crowd as her age was announced, then applause, and finally a chorus of “Happy Birthday.” Allen laughed at all the attention..

“It’s all just so wonderful,” she said as people snapped photos.

Mayor Arthur G. Pappas asked what her secret was.

“I really don’t have any,” she replied. “Just live each day as it comes along, good or bad.”

The student-run council also did some actual government business, as they echoed votes of the leaders who stood behind them.

The council approved a bid of $283,800 to CIR Electric Construction Corp. of Buffalo to install emergency stand–by power generators for four sewage pump stations.

City Engineer Dale W. Marshall told the council that the improvements will allow them to continue pumping during power outages.

The four pump stations are at 1333 Nash Road, East Avenue at the corner of Payne Avenue, 371 Ward Road and 187 Division St.

The council also approved an agreement extending the construction budget into 2015 in order to finish inspection on the rehabilitation of the Durkee Memorial Bridge, which is expected to be completed by April.

In addition, it approved a negative environmental assessment, the first step forward in a planned ten–foot wide, 6,000-foot bike path extension from Payne Avenue to Mayor’s Park. The work is expected to be completed in the summer.

Before the meeting ended, students thanked the council.

Sophomore Abigail Giambra said she spent the day looking at pot holes with Council President Phillip “Russ” Rizzo in the First Ward.

“They’re everywhere,” she said.

Senior Will Alvarado, who also is the North Tonawanda High School student council president, stood in as clerk-treasurer for Daniel Quinn and thanked the council and all the city officials for welcoming them.

“I believe there were 19 of us who came out today,” said Alvarado. “And I want to thank all of you for allowing us scrungy little teenagers to sit here.”

email: nfischer@buffnews.com