Notable events of the past year
Highs and lows of 2012
•More than 250 townspeople attended the inauguration day ceremony at the Buffalo Launch Club to see the swearing-in ceremonies of elected officials, including the first woman supervisor in town history, Mary Cooke. Cooke's elevation from councilwoman to supervisor created an opening on the board, which was unfilled for three weeks until the board broke a stalemate and appointed Chris Aronica. Aronica then defeated Shelia Ferrentino, a member of the Planning Board in November.
•Superintendent of Grand Island Schools Robert Christmann announced his retirement effective Oct. 1. He accepted a position as executive director of the Western New York Educational Service Council, which is associated with the graduate school of education at the University at Buffalo. The council provides support services to school administrators and boards of education throughout Western New York. Christmann stayed on until December, when the school board ended his interim status. School Board President David Goris commented that in his 5-1/2 years with Grand Island, Christmann "has provided tremendous leadership ... . He has moved the district forward and is recognized throughout New York state. We are very proud to have had Bob in leadership service."
•The Grand Island Town Board asked residents to conserve water during a six-week period of a dry summer. The board praised residents for their cooperation in answering the voluntary request. Cooke said that the town wasn't able to refill the town water tank on Whitehaven Road, "and we were losing ground until we started the voluntary restriction." She noted that a threefold approach of water conservation, increasing pump capacity at the town water tank, and buying a little bit more water from Niagara County Water District worked. "We are grateful to Grand Island residents for their attention to the recent restrictions, and their responsive actions of being conservative and thoughtful with their water use," said Cooke after the advisory was lifted.
•Grand Island resident Corey McGowan's plan to improve the Grand Island Plaza's Baseline Road facing side ended in both an artistic and entertainment success, with a mural showcasing Grand Island's history and community painted by Terry Klaaren and volunteer artists, and unveiled at the hugely popular Taste of Grand Island Fall Festival on Oct. 13.
•Grand Island opened a new "gateway" at a ribbon-cutting for the new Fisherman's Landing on East River Road. Town and state government officials gathered to formally open the landing, which sits in the shadows of the South Grand Island Bridge. The project turned an abandoned wastewater treatment facility into public access to the waterfront. The event concluded a project years in the making. Town Supervisor Mary Cooke said wastewater treatment began in 1938 and the site continued operations into the 1980s.