Monday, July 30, 2012

Gail Seiler Kohler RIP

Clarence alumna ('70) Gail Seiler Kohler passed away June 28, 2012. Rest in peace.

KOHLER - Gail R., R.N. (nee Seiler) July 28, 2012, daughter of the late Robert G. and Ruth M. Seiler; beloved sister of Jeff (Sandra), Scott, Greg (Tina), and Susan Seiler; loving aunt of Sam and Robert Seiler; dear goddaughter of Shirl Rosengart; beloved owner of late Labrador Retrievers KC, Princess, Quaker, Dottie, Guinness and Winston. A memorial visitation will be Tuesday 3-8 PM at SHEPARD BROS. FUNERAL HOME, 10690 Main Street, Clarence, NY. A private funeral was held. Memorials may be made to SPCA of Erie County. Gail was a longtime employee of Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

Charles Cashmore RIP

Clarence alumnus ('66) Charles Cashmore passed away on July 27, 2012. Rest in peace.

CASHMORE - Charles R. July 27, 2012, dearest father of Lindsay (Mario) Seggio and Matthew F. Cashmore; devoted son of Laura (nee Lanthier) and the late Robert C. Cashmore; dear brother of Curtis (Janis) and Chris (Patty) Cashmore; former husband of Jill Northway. The family will be present on Sunday from 7-9 PM and Monday from 3-7 PM at the (Harris Hill Chapel) AMIGONE FUNERAL HOME INC., 8440 Main Street (near Harris Hill Rd.), where a Memorial Service will follow at 7 PM. Friends invited. Flowers are gratefully declined. If desired, memorials may be made to the S.P.C.A. serving Erie County. Please share your condolences at

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Remembering Jerry Gorman / Walk to Defeat ALS 2012

It was 4 years ago today that Clarence alumnus ('74) Jerry Gorman passed from this world to the next. ALS  had taken its deadly toll yet again. I would say "rest in peace", but even from the other side he is urging anyone even remotely connected with him to stay involved in the Walk to Defeat ALS! For those unfamiliar with the disease:

"Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed."

Yet the brain remains totally active, totally cognizant of the here and now, just helpless to do anything about it. No blissful unawareness here.

I was only in contact with Jerry as the end drew near, yet I can say with near certainty that his main concern was not for himself, but the suffering his family was going through as they stood by helplessly, praying for some kind of last minute miracle medical breakthrough.

Jerry also wanted people to become aware of ALS and its seemingly random strikes into families everywhere. He wanted people to know that they are still searching for a cure, or even a way to alleviate the devastating symptoms. He wanted so desperately for other families not to go through what his own has.

Jerry was asking that we support the Walk to Defeat ALS.

Jerry's sister Rose again is the captain for Jerry's Journey, one team among many at this years Walk to Defeat ALS on August 4th in Delaware Park. She is also the co-chair (along with Diane Piegza). From her walk page (where you can donate, if you will):
"He was so brave when he faced ALS.  He didn't complain nor did he pity himself.  Jerry was out partying at Thursday in the Square shortly before he died.  He wanted to live his life to the fullest for as long as he could. He took the bull by the horns and tried to do what he could for his friends and his family to help all of us deal with his illness.  Then he took up the cause for those who were afflicted with ALS and those who were not yet diagnosed.  He fought hard and never gave up.  He cheered us all on while we tried to raise money for our walk team and he was sending us all emails till the very end to bring it home! 
We need to bring it home again this year.  Please help us continue Jerry's Journey.  Anything and I mean ANYTHING you can do to help is greatly appreciated. I was lucky to have been able to tell him what he meant to me. He was my hero, my big brother, my protector. I always looked up to him and idolized him and I will never forget him.  I ask you to never forget him as well!"
Please donate!! Or join the team!!  Do it for Jerry and for all those who have passed before from this dread disease and will continue to do so before they find a cure ...he would have done it for you!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Old vs New - The Saga of the Peace Bridge Houses

My grandmothers were about the same age, but led different lifestyles and had opposite opinions when it came to the subject of old versus new.

On one side of the family, that grandmother enjoyed rescuing antiques and refinishing them to their former glory. Interestingly enough,that grandfather enjoyed emerging technologies and they had an early color television., even though they were not wealthy. They respected the role of their past, but were not adverse to looking towards the future.

On the other side, my paternal grandfather was very, very frugal. This translated into that grandmother using a wood-burning stove into the 1970's. While it may horrify those into all things rustic, as soon as that grandfather died, grandma threw out that stove, along with the wringer washer, and other way out-dated appliances.  They represented "old", and she was eager to move on. No nostalgia there, because for her, it had not been an option.

Sometimes it seems that the current and long standing debate about the Peace Bridge area and the houses that have been left to rot is a lot like that...those who see beauty in things and places that have existed before the current generation (or early in one's own life), and those who have nothing but scorn for all things that are not shiny new, like they had been forced to wear second hand or homemade clothes growing up and are now hell bent on being consumers of the new, no matter what the price in heritage or real dollars.

All of that brings me to the saga of the Peace Bridge houses. I totally get that people outside the City may not care, either because it's not their backyard, or because thinking about anything city related brings stress (real or imagined). What I don't understand is outright hostility by some. If they're in the construction industry and are hoping jobs come their way instead of to out of state companies (as is likely), they have a stake in this, but most don't.

Let me reframe this in a manner that the people along Route 219 or anywhere near the airport already understand. Say that you live in a house that is located somewhere in the vicinity of a thruway or an airport or whatever, that may have had some distant disadvantages, but the pluses outweighed them. Everything could even have been peachy-keen with no storm clouds in sight, for that matter. Suddenly a government entity comes sniffing around.

This here "Authority" has decided to build, expand, or do something that will drastically alter the complexion of your neighborhood. The home that has been in the family for generations, or the historical treasure that you have lovingly restored, or the dream new build, or the merely comfortable home that you have come to love, is threatened. What now?

Selling out to the powers that be is probably not even an offered option. Selling it anyone at all is now problematic. The disruption, pollution, and what have you will now destroy your neighborhood and there's not a whole lot you can do about it but protest, and try to force people to listen and to imagine that it can happen to them...because it can.

Government can use eminent domain or the stealth approach, where it buys out properties that are in the way and proceeds through outright demolition or allowing decrepitation until some neighbors buckle under the stress, but the results are the same. The process can take many years, and for just as many years the interested parties keep going at it, while those on the "outside" roll their eyes and call out seemingly oppositional terms like "obstructionists" and "economic development", like they think preservation and progress can't go hand in hand.

In a (very large) nutshell, that's what the conflict about the Peace Bridge houses is about (that, and taxpayer dollars being used for private gain aka the Duty-Free store). This picture, which I just blatantly borrowed from Facebook, is version of the undercover proposed plans. Notice the Hutchinson Chapel being rendered inaccessible:

To quote from the Campaign 4 Greater Buffalo "There are alternatives. The neighborhood can be restored, the Peace Bridge can have more inspection booths and smoother flow, and everything can be linked to an enhanced waterfront and rebuilt Porter Avenue."

Where does it stop?  It CAN happen to you.

Rally for Prospect Hill (name of Peace Bridge area) Part II tonight at the Armory Restaurant (a former silent movie house until 1916), 311 Connecticut Street 6-7:30pm...come, listen, and learn!