Tonawanda News

August 17, 2013

TUCKER: Towns grow old with us

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Getting Old

Ken-Ton is an aging community, Dan Wiles, director of the Ken-Ton Meals on Wheels, explained at a recent meeting of the Erie-Niagara Sunrise Exchange Club. Dan headed the Town’s Youth, Parks and Recreation Department for 13 years, then after finding retirement “boring,” had a call asking him to head the Meals on Wheels. He said when he started his new job, he tried out every job just to know what his 200 volunteers do. He had some new ideas, one of which is “Adopt-a-Day” for $99 for businesses that want to help and also get their name out in the community. One of the points he made is how “old” this area is. Kenmore, the Town and City of Tonawanda are pretty much filled out.

“Young couples don’t want to buy homes with small lots, so they go further out, buy large properties, then later come back for the lower taxes and good services.”

It’s tough even for cities and towns to grow old.


Rod Rowland emailed that he disagreed with last week’s column saying that students are not dumber than in the past.

Ron wrote: “I believe that technology is dumbing us down. For instance, as a substitute, I have walked into a high school math class and have seen kids ask for a calculator to literally multiply 4 by 3. Those are the better students. The lesser student sees a sub and simply shuts down. On another occasion, I got annoyed at a student who had to go get a calculator to divide 108 by 2. This student was a special ed student and I wound up getting taken to task, called down to the principal for that. On another occasion, perhaps the best student in the class, stayed after to finish up a test, and I noticed (she wrote) 4 squared equals 16. Many people do not have phone numbers committed to memory anymore, they just have them stored in their cell phones.”

All this, in my opinion, doesn’t prove the point of “dumber.” Whose fault is it that the students don’t know multiplication, long division, spelling and grammar? The teachers? Not completely. They are at the mercy of administration and the state which by continually coming down with new ways of doing things, changing the rules from year to year, make it more than difficult for teachers who just want to teach. And of course, blame can be put on the shoulders of parents who don’t insist their children are respectful, dress appropriately for learning, are on time for school, do their homework — and the list goes on. The daughter of a friend is now in her late 30s and an elementary school teacher. She teaches only classes up to fourth-grade. Why? Because when she was in second grade the state mandated that spelling not be taught the usual way, but phonetically — the latest trend at that time. She said that nearly all her friends from her class are now poor spellers. When she was in fourth-grade, the state reinstated spelling by memorization. Too late to redo.

Fun event

Next Sunday, Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in North Tonawanda will honor the feast day of its patron saint at an event, that even the saint would enjoy. Mass at the grotto, then a parish event with theme tray raffles, lot of kids’ events and a chicken barbecue. The event ends with a mega-mania drawing. Head for Oliver Street.

Hero banners

A few months ago, North Tonawanda saw its first Hometown Hero banner hung on Payne Ave. The first, honoring LCPL Timothy G. Serwinowski who was killed in action, came about because his mother Sally Urban thought it would be a wonderful way to pay tribute to servicemen and women who are currently active in military, live in North Tonawanda and graduated from NTHS. Since then, 12 other families have joined in honoring their loved ones. Sometimes, though the cost to the family, $200, might be out of reach. However, two North Tonawanda residents are each willing to pay for a banner for someone who cannot afford to take part in the project. If you think you qualify, call city hall. It’s a tremendous undertaking. Congratulations to Sally for getting it going.


A while ago I attended one of the best weddings ever. The couple were, themselves, full of fun and made the reception the same. What struck me most was the wonderful thank you card, written by the groom and signed by both, that made my day. It was full of thanks for past friendship and several other personal notes. Keep up the good work!