Tonawanda News

December 1, 2012

It's the little things that count

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Ron Wacker is really happy, to say the least. He’s been bugging state and local officials for a long time to put a left turn signal at Wheatfield Street.

“The other day, I was waiting behind another car waiting for traffic to clear to make a left turn, when the car in front of me turned left. I couldn’t believe there was a left turn arrow. Can’t tell you how happy I am,” he laughed.

Ron has worked very hard to get this done. Now, he can start on any number of other trouble spots. Go for it, Ron!


Perhaps today’s column should be called “Pinochle Players Unite.”

After last week’s column about not being able to find pinochle cards, lo and behold on Sunday morning, Monsignor Wetter presented me with two decks of pinochle cards, blessed of course. A great gift.

Then Joy Heinrich sent an email saying that Walgreens has Bicycle playing cards for pinochle at the North Tonawanda store on Payne Avenue.She even said they are in the toy isle, at the back of the row where there’s a whole display of playing cards.

“Have fun playing cards!,” Joy wrote. She also noted pinochle cards are available online, but, as she said, “you’ll pay postage.”

Then, who should weigh in on the cards, but Peter Gfroerer.

“As computer illiterate as I am,” Peter emailed, “a 10-second Google ‘pinochle cards’ search produced all kinds of information. Walmart has them for $1.79 a deck. My father carried four or five decks in his car at all times. Maybe you should do the same.”

Don’t think so, Peter, but I can tell you my sisters are happy campers knowing we’ll be playing with a clean — and not stacked — deck. Come join us any time.


Doesn’t anyone have yarn? It seems hard to believe that no one has answered the call for yarn. It can be picked up at your home or you drop it off at DeGraff Memorial Hospital or the VFW in Tonawanda — or here at the News. Yes, it’s Christmas time and everyone’s busy, but how long does it take to put unused yarn in a bag? It’s something your grandchildren can do.


Even though Small Business Saturday was last weekend, one wonders how many really shopped locally. Last week, driving down Payne Avenue, a new digital marquee style sign on Marinelli Jewelers caught my eye. Owner Gary Marinelli said the idea came from his customers who said because of the store’s location, it sometimes goes unnoticed. Not anymore! The sign says it all. And Christmas is a great time to stop by and check out some unusual jewelry items.


Don’t you hate it when your car gives you a message? Yesterday, mine alerted me to “low tire pressure.” So it was off to Dunn Tire in Tonawanda where my car received its last four tires. In about five minutes, the pressure was checked and corrected with the explanation that, “Y’know, it’s cold weather, check the pressure.”


Frank S. Sommers, a true City of Tonawanda native, died this past week. His expertise on basketball, learned from being captain of the Tonawanda High School team and from playing on other teams, was so evident when one of his sons and one of ours played on the same team in high school. I’d sit next to Frank to learn about the game and, given his comments, yell at the referees. He was always proud of Tonawanda and gave 30 years of his life as owner and operatior of Frank’s Barber Shop on Young Street. We have a movie of Frank giving our youngest son his first haircut, snipping the blond curls while our son cried. He cut all our kids’ hair and they all enjoyed going to his shop with their dad — and coming home with all kinds of Tonawanda news. His gardens were always so beautiful, a hobby he really enjoyed. He and his wife, Tess, traveled and were committed to their six children and grandchildren. Great family.

A phone message earlier this week came from a gentleman who asked if his friend, Bill Bush, a lifelong resident of North Tonawanda, could be mentioned for all the good he did. Although I never met Bill, a little research showed that he founded Bush Trucking & Landscaping Inc. on Sweeney Street in North Tonawanda in 1956, a company which continues to operate today in Tonawanda. “Bill should have a tribute,” the caller said. “He donated to the needy, often picking up homeless and taking them to breakfast or for a meal, he was a trustee of Salem Church and a member of Sikora American Legion Post. A great guy.”

Condolences to both families.

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