by Susan Mikula Campbell
The Wheatfield Town Board said "so long" to one of its own on Monday as it honored Councilman Kenneth Retzlaff.
As board patriarch, Retzlaff had introduced his fellow councilmen as well as Town Supervisor Bob Cliffe to their board jobs and was sent off from his final meeting with their fond memories and a standing ovation from both his fellows and the audience.
Retzlaff, a quiet spoken Wheatfield farmer, has served on the Town Board for 32 years, the last 16 as deputy supervisor.
Retzlaff had decided to retire this year, and his nephew Randy Retzlaff ran for and won his uncle's seat.
Councilman Larry Helwig, who has worked with Kenny Retzlaff on the board for 22 years, described him as "the man who had the compassion on the board."
"I really learned a lot from Kenny," Helwig said.
"He's always been positive," agreed Councilman Gil Doucet, chuckling over the memory of visiting the Retzlaff farm with a question for Retzlaff. "He stopped milking the cows to talk to me."
Councilman Art Gerbec also remarked on Retzlaff's advice, "You said above all things be honest with people. Treat them like you would want to be treated yourself."
Cliffe presented a proclamation whose whereases included mention of Retzlaff's long service, and his work as chairman of the Master Plan Committee and in forming the Disaster Plan Committee.
Cliffe commented that he has the greatest respect for Retzlaff, who "doesn't talk a whole lot," but concluded, "If I had to ask for a father, you'd be it."
In other matters:
•The old Summit Park Mall may still rise again. Cliffe said that after receiving calls about the possible sale of the mall, he contacted mall owner Jim Anthony, who told him nothing had been signed and sealed yet. Two Toronto firms have been looking into the possibility of purchasing the mall, and one has spent considerable time here checking out the property and meeting with the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. Cliffe said the town is really looking forward to the day the mall reopens.
•The board approved a $20,000 one-year contract with the SPCA of Niagara County for dog control, about a $3,500 increase from the current year. The town may have to look at other possibilities for collecting stray dogs next year.
"They (the SPCA) are basically telling us they may not be in the dog control business in 2015," Cliffe said.
•The board approved a certificate of incorporation for the Wheatfield Local Development Corp. and authorized attorney Robert O'Toole to file it and the names of its initial board of directors with the secretary of state.
Cliffe said the filing is part of the approval process for the new group.
O'Toole said the Wheatfield Local Development Corp. will be seeking grant funding, promoting business in the town and working with businesses interested in locating here.
"This is really an outstanding list of initial directors," he said.
The directors include Cliffe, a management expert; Helwig, a computer expert; Lawrence D. Witul, retired assistant director of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency; Richard W. Muscatello, town Planning Board chairman; businessman William Wagner, chairman of the town's Business Development Focus Group; Joshua P. Heim, a community banking specialist at M&T Bank; Dawn I. Gilliam, chief financial officer at Calamar; Sharon DiPasquale of Niagara's Choice Federal Credit Union; and Victor Montalbo, chief financial officer of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.
•Gerbec noted new Councilman Randy Retzlaff already has agreed to fill in to chair the town's Agricultural Committee, while the group's current chairman is on leave of absence. A new chairman for the Drainage Committee is being sought.
•Tim Zuber, town engineer, reported the Planning Board met Dec. 4 and reviewed a sketch plan for a proposed 80-bed assisted living and 34-bed memory care facility proposed for the town's Woodlands Corporate Center.
•The Wheatfield Seniors Christmas dance was snowed out Saturday. A new date is being planned.
•Cliffe presented the Town Board's meeting dates for 2014. He noted that because of holidays, the usual second and fourth Mondays of the month for meetings doesn't always work. The schedule includes meetings on Jan. 6 and 27, Feb. 10 and 24, March 10 and 24; April 14 and 28; May 12; June 2 and 23; July 14 and 28; Aug. 11 and 25; Sept. 8 and 22; Oct. 6 and 20; Nov. 3 (with budget hearing) and 24; Dec. 8 and 22.
•The next Town Board meeting will be Jan. 6, with the annual reorganization meeting at 7 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.