By Terry Duffy
It was an appreciation for the past and present, and optimism for the future, as the Youngstown Business and Professional Association got "down to business" with its annual membership meeting, held Tuesday at the Mug and Musket Tavern.
Seen as setting the timetable for 2017, the evening led off with a $1,500 check presentation by Niagara County Legislator Clyde Burmaster to the YBPA. Funding will go toward repair of the YBPA webcam on the lower Niagara at the Youngstown Yacht Club for the upcoming season.
"We are very fortunate here to have Legislator Clyde Burmaster," commented YBPA secretary Mark Butera. "He has a little presentation we are just thrilled about. This is a wonderful surprise for everybody."
As he took the microphone, Burmaster quipped, "Back probably three, four months ago, Cheryl (Butera) told me that the business association had a problem." He told attendees of a bug with the YBPA webcam. "I asked Santa Claus to look favorably on the association. I went to bat. I was able to get $1,500 for a new camera. It makes me happy to be able to do this for this community."
Accepting the check, the Buteras offered YBPA's appreciation. Mark Butera told Burmaster and the crowd, "This is our business association, and we are thankful to you for this. We are keeping Youngstown on the map here."
Butera then spoke of late Youngstown Mayor Neil Riordan's earlier efforts in getting the webcam installed, and the ongoing cooperation that exists with the YYC and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce in helping to keep it in operation. He spoke of how WIVB-TV Channel 4 typically utilizes the webcam on its weathercasts.
"The (Youngstown) Yacht Club is the location; they have been on board for this webcam since the beginning. (The late Mayor) Neil Riordan was one of the founders for it. The Yacht Club hosts it and the Niagara River Region Chamber hosts our website and the webcam. It's a cooperative effort by a lot of people, a lot or organizations that we're all very thankful for," Butera said to wide applause.
The session went on to include remarks offered by a number of YBPA's 75 members who were in attendance that night.
Tom Tower offered insight on the area's farming traditions; new YBPA member Pat Stack of the bar/restaurant Somewhere spoke of the benefits of the new customer driving service in northern Niagara offered by Designated Drivers of Buffalo; Rita Rolf of the Youngstown Free Library discussed library updates for 2017, community involvement and the values of membership; and Old Fort Niagara's Bob Emerson and the Youngstown Lions' Dick Allen discussed their organizations' activities and plans for 2017.
Still others who briefly offered remarks were Sales and Marketing Manager Christina Crane of the Niagara River Region Chamber, Paula Milligan of the Niagara County SPCA, Michael and Sandra Tuck of Sanger Farms and Bakery, and Youngstown VFW spokesman John MacArthur.
All spoke of plans for 2017 and how they look forward to working with YBPA to make the year a success for Youngstown.
"Winter's soon over; here comes spring," proclaimed YBPA President Cheryl Butera, as she went on to detail a host of major happenings the association has in planning for the year ahead. That included YBPA board nominations, selecting a business honoree for the upcoming Chamber Gala, considering YBPA enhancement grants and planning for the 2017 YBPA brochure.
Leading off will be the sixth annual O'Riordan St. Patrick's Parade, taking place at noon Saturday, March 18, on Main Street. And others in the YBPA pipeline for '17 include the Beginning of Summer Street Dance and Car Show in June, the Falkner Park Free Friday Night Concerts throughout the summer, and the Youngstown Arts and Music Festival in the fall.
"We have an exciting year ahead of us; stay tuned," Cheryl Butera said to applause by the membership as the meeting closed.