Tonawanda News

June 29, 2013

TUCKER: Sad farewell to Grace Church

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Signs of the times.

It’s a sad time when a church — of whatever denomination — has to close for lack of parishioners. Several in North Tonawanda have closed including my home church of Ascension. However, the closing and selling of Grace Lutheran Church adjacent to the Farmers’ Market on Robinson Street and Payne Avenue, came as a real shock. Grace Church has been the 107 years, has a wonderful outreach program, fine ministers and once a month sold the best chowder around. My in-laws and many members of the family were parishioners and many buried from the church. Not sure who or what entity purchased it, but hopefully it’s beauty, inside and out, won’t be changed. A sad time.


On a slightly different note, the Twin Cities Community Outreach, otherwise known as TCCO, is looking for a talented art student, preferably college-level, who might be interested in volunteering to paint a wall-sized drawing of the TCCO logo in the building’s foyer.

The great thing about this for the artist is using the project as part of his or her resume. Deadline for applying is July 20. TCCO houses Meals On Wheels, the NT Food Pantry and the Clothes Closet. If you’ve never been there, it’s at 100 Ridge Road, off Payne Avenue, North Tonawanda, across from Memorial Pool.

Call Greg Lureman at 545-5954 or email him at for more information.


It you graduated from Tonawanda High School 50 or more years ago, don’t miss the Golden Warriors picnic reunion from 1 to 6 p.m. July 14 at Firemen’s Park on Two Mile Creek Road.

Beverly Rasch said the committee is still searching for graduates who want to renew acquaintances. If you’re interested, call Beverly at 773-6333.


In response to the article last week praising the Fishing Derby in Tonawanda, Ron Wacker sent this very sad and apalling note:

Ron wrote: “I am always thrilled to hear about Fishing Derbys and such for kids. They are a great way of keeping family values. I have been a member of the “4th At Riverside” at Riverside Park in Buffalo. We are the American side of the Friendship Festival, although we have been in existence since 1954. It has gotten almost impossible for us to do things anymore because of fees, permits and insurances levied upon us by Buffalo, Erie County and the state. This year, after more than 20 years, we were forced to cancel our Kids Fishing Contest. We hold it at the foot of Ontario Street. Erie County got this park from the city some years ago. This year, the county decided we need a $1000,000 insurance policy at a cost of $500 for three hours. The person who ran this contest is elderly, has cancer and is on oxygen. This year we were notified he could not take his golf cart down there. There is always danger when kids fish in the river. However, kids will be fishing there for many months. Actually, there is more security when we are there. We can be very thankful that the Tonawandas still have things like Fishing Derbys.”

Ron added that the Tonawandas are fortunate to have the City of Tonawanda own Niawanda Park and is so cooperative with great events like this.


Pastor Charlie Hobbs called to say that on the Fourth of July, he, former mayor Paul Rumbold and Dale Evans will read the Declaration of Independence at 2 p.m. at his home, 1541 Ruie Road, North Tonawanda. In addition, he has a bell at his home from the former Forest Avenue Christian Church in Buffalo, the last church he served. He invites anyone who wishes to ring the bell in celebration of our nation’s birthday to stop by and ring it as long as he or she wants. All invited.

And by the way, be sure to fly your American Flag.

Sugar ‘n Jazz will present a July 4th concert at 7 p.m. at Niawanda Park, followed by fireworks shot from Tonawanda Island. One of my favorite summer events!


If you want to know all that’s happening in the Twin Cities for the summer (and there’s plenty) stop by the News and pick up the Chamber of Commerce’s Community Calendar and Visitors Guide. It’s free and chocked full of events and festivities.


A gentleman called and left a message about the danger and possible injuries from the low cement curb barricades that are in every parking lot to stop cars. We’ve all seen them, just six or eight inches high, about three feet or so long. Anyway, he said he’d tripped over one and although not injured, wondered why they aren’t painted bright yellow or orange. The next day, I stopped at Bon-Ton and its cement “curbs” were painted yellow and black. Great idea as the gray cement ones often blend in with the cement streets — an accident waiting to happen.

And speaking of Bon-Ton (and other women’s clothing stores) are the styles just plain ugly or should anyone over 40 just dress like someone 25 and younger. My old clothes look better every day!


Happy Birthday America. Enjoy the day.

Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email