Tonawanda News

September 7, 2013

TUCKER: Don't fret over the trees

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Wondering

Several emails and phone calls this past week questioned why North Tonawanda took down the trees on Webster Street between Tremont and Sweeney streets.

An email to Mayor Ortt brought a speedy reply, explaining the situation (which, by the way, was in a recent story by our own Mike Regan)

The mayor answered that “the Webster Street Green Infrastructure Improvements project will provide aesthetic, economic and environmental enhancements to the Webster Street business district. Using grant funds from the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation, the city will remove the existing trees and planter boxes on Webster and install bio-retention “Filterra” units in their place.

“These units will have smaller trees set into the sidewalk that better fit our downtown aesthetic. The purpose of these units will be to collect the polluted storm water run-off from Webster Street and filter it in a “green”, environmentally sustainable way.

“Project construction will begin in September and run into November. The grant funding total is $574,500.

 “As they will be city trees, the city will be responsible. The trees will be far less maintenance than the flowers/planters. There should be sufficient ground water/rainwater to sustain them on a regular basis. The city does not water the trees currently. These may require some additional care, but as I said, much less than the planters/flowers which are being removed.”

Since I ended my email with a note about the horrific signal at Main and Thompson and hoping he could evoke some change there, he ended his email in a humorous reply: “Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get back to ridding the city of annoying traffic signals.”

Way to go, mayor.

Vietnam madness

Last week I visited the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 77 museum on Main Street in Tonawanda — my first.

Joe Pasek of Tonawanda and a Vietnam veteran, stopped off at the News a week or so ago to see if the paper would do a story on the Town Hall meeting for Vietnam veterans and their families on Sept. 14.

If you have never stopped in at the museum, be sure to put it on your list of things to do. It is full of pictures, maps, uniforms, framed certificates, a reminder of a war that the government wants to forget. A group of friendly veterans are there to show you around.

Almost all the men I talked to suffer the effects of Agent Orange, a herbicide sprayed over millions of acres in Vietnam to kill foliage. The government said it was safe for humans — what a horrendous lie.

Anyway, Joe showed me a framed map of Vietnam, above which is a saying: “If you were here from 1964 to 1975, it was not for a vacation.”

The Town Hall meeting will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 14 in Room K-100 in the Kittinger Building at Erie Community College, North Campus, Main Street and Youngs Road, Williamsville and all are invited, including our politicians, many of which if they are interested at all, will probably send a representative. Sad, sad, sad.


Stopping by Dash’s Market last week in search of a box of cereal, what was offered but a line of “Barbara’s” cereals. All my favorites were there, shredded wheat, raisin bran and others. Now, how could I resist trying cereal with my name on it? It tasted great, hardly any difference from more well-known brands. Just fun to see my name on the box.


Robert Starr had an interesting query last week.

Robert emailed: “With the emphasis on “being green” and “go green,” I am having a hard time finding a recycling center that accepts styrofoam and, more explicitly, styrofoam containers (washed out of course). This material is NOT biodegradable and will sit in our landfills for an eternity, when it can have a useful life if recycled and reused. With all the items out there being recycled, why isn’t this particular one? Again, not being biodegradable is the main reason and burning it is a toxic health risk. Is there someone out there with some knowledge about this? If so, I would request that you contact me.”

Okay, can anyone answer his question or have any ideas on the subject? Contact me by phone or email and I’ll gladly pass on the information.

Beauty spot

The house at 50 Grove St. in Tonawanda has been a work in progress for a couple of years. This summer, they restored the south side of the house including a beautiful wood panel. Coming from the Town, the beauty of the home in such a soft yellow with green trim and the magnificent look of this side of the house, gives you a glimpse of what it, and others on the street, must have looked like in the early 1900s. Can’t wait for the other side to be completed Hope there’ll be an open house and tour.

There’s beauty in my backyard, which certainly cannot compare with the Grove Street home, but we sure enjoy. A hibiscus plant, which was inadvertently cut down for two years, this year rose with a vengeance and has amazing white flowers, 12-inches across. A nearby hisbiscus with pink flowers cannot compare in size but also adds to the joy of a garden.

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