Saturday, September 12, 2009


There have been many questions raised about whether the downsizing of our Town Board is in the best interest of our community. In our continuing efforts to be informed taxpayers, Alden Residents for Responsible Growth took your questions and went to the people with the answers - Supervisor Ronald Smith, the Board of Elections, and Kevin Gaughan’s website. Here are facts and figures we received.

The structure of our town government remains as it has since becoming a first class town in the mid 1960’s. The Town Board is comprised of an elected Supervisor and four elected Councilman positions; all of these offices are part time positions.

Over the past decade, the town tax has remained relatively stable, in fact, the general town tax and general lighting tax are less today than they were in the year 2000. The Highway tax has increased the greatest amount largely due to increase in fuel and road salt costs over the past few years.

Question: How much does each council member get paid?
The maximum cost is $23,038. This includes salary, optional health insurance (which they also contribute toward) and New York State mandated retirement coverage. The Supervisor and three out of the four council members did not take their raise for 2009. One member does not take the health insurance and three do not participate in the retirement system.

Question: What are the responsibilities of the two council positions that could be eliminated if we vote to downsize (beside attending meetings)?
Deputy Supervisor, NEST representative, refuse/recycling, building maintenance, capital improvements, sewers, contract/purchasing, disaster coordinator, senior citizens liason, finance and audit, environmental commission, Historical Society liason, cemeteries committee.

Question: Who will perform these duties if we downsize?
In a community such as Alden, the elimination of two Council positions will have a direct impact on the delivery of services. These duties may either be curtailed, transferred to a full time Town Supervisor, other Council members, existing staff, or necessitate the hiring of additional staff or outside contractors since there are only five full time positions at the Town Hall. Any of these options would reduce or eliminate any potential cost savings. It is also conceivable that the downsizing proposal, would result in tax increases as service delivery responsibilities are transferred to other providers.

Question: Do they receive benefits after they leave office?
No, the town does not offer paid, lifetime insurance or sick time buyout.

Question: Why was Tuesday, September 29 chosen instead of Primary Day?
Under Town Law, the Town was required to schedule a referendum vote no later than 75 days after the filing of the petition. According to the Erie County Board of Elections, only voters participating in an organized Party Primary Election are permitted in the polling place.

Question: Is the Town Board restricting our voice by only having one polling place?
The added expense for this vote, was not figured into this years budget. They are trying to keep the cost to a minimum. Taxpayers will lose two voices if the downsizing occurs.

Question: Will downsizing reduce my property taxes?
Perhaps. The elimination of two members, with service reductions, would represent a tax savings for the average property owner of $18.00 per year. The average residential assessment in the Town of Alden is $72,300, which represents a full market value of $141,700. If additional staff is needed, or a full time supervisor (currently part time) to maintain service delivery, any tax savings would be lost.

Question: Would the Supervisor position remain part time?
It may have to go to full time to take on some of the responsibilities of the Councilmen (which would require a larger salary).

Question: Will downsizing create jobs?
Yes, the Town Board would have to hire people to do the work of the two eliminated Council people and/or divide up the responsibilities between the remaining two. With added responsibilities, comes added pay.

Question: When would the downsizing take effect?
January 2012. There wouldn’t be any Town Council members on the ballot in November 2011.

Question: With a three member board, what would constitute a majority?
A majority would be two out of three members. Two individuals will decide Town tax levies, laws, programs, projects, and raises. Under the Open Meeting Law, anytime a majority of a Board is present, a public meeting is constituted and the public must be notified. Any meeting with staff where two Board members were present, would constitute a public event and a vote could be taken.

Question: Will downsizing increase citizens voices within our Town government?
Citizens are always encouraged to take an active roll in their government. Town residents (both volunteer and paid) are currently serving on the planning board, zoning board of appeal, master plan committee, and ethics committee. It’s up to each citizen to get more involved.

Question: Didn’t the Town Board already vote to downsize the Board?
They downsized the planning board from seven members to five; not the Town Board. This reduction will save the taxpayers $1,432.00 per year.

Question: Are there other ways the Town can save money?
Yes. A few examples: revised fire protection contract, revised highway arbitration proceedings, revised health insurance program, reduction in number of take home vehicles, and town planning board size reduction has saved the taxpayers $50,185.00 over the last few years. The Town, Village, and School work together as much as possible. One central fueling station allows for bulk purchases, which reduces costs. The Village and Town recently received a NY State Government Efficiency Grant to study ways to save all residents tax dollars.

Question: Is the downsizing idea being proposed to the Federal, State, and County governments?
You could contact your representatives to find out. They are listed in the government section of the phone book.

We hope this information has been helpful. Please remember to vote on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm at the Town Hall, 3311 Wende Rd. Absentee ballots are available at the Town Hall. Every vote counts!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Report on Meet the Candidates Night

On Wed, March 11 ARRG sponsored Meet the Candidates Night for the three open positions for Village Trustee. There are five people running for these positions.
The evening was in a Question and Answer format with each candidate given equal time to answer each question. Each candidate seemed sincere and thoughtful, with a true and honest desire to help the community, and a love for their village.

Topics discussed included
a) making the Village a walkable community
b) the Town & Village Master Plans and working together
c) communication with local businesses, Chamber of Commerce
d) speed limits
e) sidewalk repair
f) sign restrictions

There were only a few citizens in attendence, and most of them were town residents, not village. So what do we assume from this?

a) That nearly everyone in the Village is perfectly happy with the way everything is being taken care of? We suppose that could be a GOOD thing.

b) Or that no one cares? That would be a BAD thing.

Remember to get out and vote on Wed, March 18. If you are a village resident, and you don't vote...shame on you! Voting for local government is probably the most
important voting you can do.

We hope to have a video of the Candidates Night on our weblog soon, and/or

Just because you're in a booth, doesn't mean you should be voting in the dark.
It's important to know who you are voting for.

Update on Tractor Supply

Their soft opening has been re-scheduled for June 27. Before they can start preparing the store to suit their needs, and receive supplies, the building
management(Redstone) must first, by NYS Law remove the asbestos. So let's
hope Redstone gets moving soon!

If all goes as planned you should start to see some action there around

TS will again have a job fair in Alden, but if in the meantime you'd like to
get in your application, you can go on-line or visit any
other local store (Batavia, Lockport, Geneseo, Springville).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The Alden Chamber of Commerce is again this year looking for nominations for Person of the Year, to be honored in May. Someone has suggested that Dr Lebowitz who is retiring after his 50 years of service in Alden. We encourage you to contact the Chamber at 937-6177 and ask for an nomination application whetherit be for Dr Lebowitz or anyone else.


WED, MARCH 11 7PM-9PM AT THE ACTS BEACON CAFE There are five people running for three open positions on the Village Board,with elections to be held on March 18. Whether you live in the town or thevillage, who the decision makers are in the Village is important to everyone! The evening will consist of timed question and answer format, and we encourageeveryone to come with their inquiries to the prospective candidates. There is no admission fee, no rsvp required.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


The Monroe County Department of Planning and Development Land Use Decision-Making Training Program is designed especially for new and returning municipal board members; each workshop earns members of planning boards and zoning boards of appeals 2.5 credit hours.

Although this is in Monroe County, it is open to members of other areas in NYS.

Click to link NY Planning Federation for valuable information

Workshops (registration is $25 per workshop)

1. Thursday, March 5: Introduction to Planning and Zoning

2. Thursday, March 12: Introduction of the NYS Environmental Quality Review Act

3. Thursday, March 19: Introduction to Land Use Law, Part 1

4. Monday, March 23: Healthy Ways – A Holistic Approach to Community Design

5. Thursday, April 2: Introduction to Land Use Law, Part 2

6. Tuesday, April 7: Transportation Considerations

7. Monday, April 13: Reviewing Site Plans

8. Thursday, May 7: Retail Planning for Sustainable Development

Dinner and registration begin at 5:30 and the workshops run from 6-8:30 pm. For more information, please contact Kathy Mahns at 585-753-2038.

Add'l info re water district proposal

Further to report listed earlier regarding water district controversy:

From Bob Wohglemuth:

"Looks like the Town has included schools, fire companies, cemeteries, churches, gas line company, etc assessments in the calculations. If they are unable to charge the tax exempt properties this would make cost higher to individuals."

Friday, February 27, 2009


Several ARRG members attended the Workshop sponsored by the American Farmland Trust, WNY Land Conservancy and Cornell Cooperative Extension on Feb 24 in East Aurora, where the subject to Development Rights was explained in detail.

This workshop was designed for farmers, community leaders, grant writers, town planners, town attorneys, appraisers and anyone with an interest in farmland protection. It provided a comprehensive review of the process for creating successful Purchase of Development Rights projects and programs in our community. Scheduled program leaders were Patricia Szarpa, Diane Held and Jason Engel.

The group were recipients of many supporting materials which we can share with any interested parties. The group was educated on the importance of saving prime farmland, since it is dissappearing at an alarming rate. (NO FARMS-NO FOOD)

There were no Town of Alden officials, planners, grant writers, attorneys or appraisers in attendence.


Dear Neighbors,
I've written and printed this item for you as an aid in helping you consider some approaches to solving water issues which have worked for me. This article is also on hand at the Alden Library, and online at under WD#5, and at a Yahoo discussion group hosted by AldenWatchDog: . ~eric. Here goes:

The first rule of country living is BE SURE YOU HAVE RELIABLE WATER, BEFORE YOU LOCATE. If you've already moved in, and don't have reliable water, all is not lost. There are some easy and relatively inexpensive things that can be done to improve your water situation without having to call upon government to deliver an inferior product to your home, taken from the seriously contaminated Lake Erie. (Government will tell you it is wholesome, but common sense will tell you it is filled with industrial wastes and nastiness. Are you aware that sewage treatment plants routinely discharge excess untreated sewage mingled with storm surge directly into the Great Lakes whenever there is flooding?)

The first questions to ask will help define the problem. (It can't be solved until it is understood.) What are the issues at my site? From there, various basic low-tech approaches can be deployed.

MINERALS. I have no respect for "softeners" and will not discuss them here. There are other, simpler ways to reduce hardness, or mineral content from water. Two powerful approaches include various uses of activated charcoal, and magnets.

When I moved to Alden, our farmhouse had terribly stinky water that stained everything red or black. My wife wouldn't do laundry at home. (We learned later that we did not have adequate supply, either.)

My brother used to sell softeners for one of the leading firms. Rather than calling the softener people I researched some facts with Cornell and Rodale. (This is when I acquired my aversion to softeners, which I had never liked, as the feel in the shower was too slippery.) I learned that charcoal is an excellent mineral and flavor/odor corrector. But later I learned it is also a poor sediment filter. I hired Bill and Pete Blair of Blair's Hardware and Plumbing in Townline to install some hardware for me. (The firm is now run by Bill's family.)

The Blairs put in a large charcoal filter which stands about 4 feet tall. And they installed a backwash timer which flushes the charcoal filter in reverse, into my septic system every third day. Before they installed the system, which includes an 80-gallon holding tank, I bought some very powerful ceramic ring (disk) magnets with one-inch holes in them from Edmund Scientific. They are coated with epoxy paint. When the Blairs came to install the tank, I had them put the supply line to the tank through the donut holes of the magnets to form a very powerful magnetic field at the entrance to the tank.

They also installed a chlorinator. I no longer use this device, as about a year later I learned that chlorine is a very nasty chemical which forms some very unhealthy compounds from the dead corpses of all those little critters it kills. (Erie County Water Authority always uses chlorine because they know there is mucho ugly bacteria in the lake.) But good bacteria is necessary to keep your gut cleaned out properly. Waging chemical warfare against all bacteria is not wise. I trust the water locked into the rocks for thousands of years, more than I care for the water flushed into the lake last week. I no longer use my chlorinator. I disconnected it in 1990.

When I learned that a charcoal filter would eventually clog because it isn't a good sediment filter, I cut a 9-inch sediment filter into the system ahead of the charcoal filter. It uses a 5-micron polypropylene bobbin to remove junk that would otherwise clog the big charcoal filter, and sediment would also adversely affect my domestic hotwater heater. I change these 9-inch filters 4 times per year, by holiday: Groundhog Day, Mothers Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day. They're not expensive. Be sure not to use cotton filters, as they will provide a rotting medium for bacteria to feed on, and breed. The best filter housing will be clear plastic, so you can see the condition of the bobbin.

The water here at the outdoor spigot still comes out that famous Alden black, but indoors it is clear and odorless and very nice. We have no problem with laundry. I've never had to change the charcoal filter. My AquaStar tankless water heater has been running flawlessly for nearly ten years. I had gone through several tanks before I gave up on that approach, and went tankless. But I also quit using a hot water tank to conserve energy, and I'm able to take an unlimited shower with the tankless system. It uses propane, and only comes on when we call for hot water. Very sensible.) I did burn out a well pump once, during drought, because it kept calling for water that wasn't there. I will discuss that next.

SUPPLY. All water comes from the heavens. (Doesn't everything?) If you are having supply problems, this should be an obvious fact. But it took me 19 years to wake up. Periodically, we have a dry summer, and prior to my awakening, we had always run out . Our area gets over 3 feet of precipitation per year. When rain is scarce, we shouldn't waste what we get. I finally realized this, and did something easy and basic to capture the rain before it ran off. Simply stated, I ran the downspout through an underground pvc pipe, over near the shallow well. Next, I dug a pit near the well, but NOT directly into the well. (As I'm on a gravel farm, I didn't need to add gravel to the pit, but this should be done, if needed, to allow the flow from your roof to absorb all of the water into the ground during heavy rain.) Then I took a bag of harwood charcoal and "activated" it. This means that I pulverized it, and put the entire 25-pound bag into the pit. This will captivate any rainborn contaminates and sequester them in the charcoal while they deteriorate, rather than allowing them to leach quickly into your well. Carbon is an amazing compound in this regard. Its capacity to purify is huge.

You would be amazed at how much water you can capture off a roof. A calculation can be done to figure out how many gallons can be recovered for each downspout. Even though we had an extremely dry summer two years ago, we did not run out of water that year, which was the first time during such a dry spell since we moved here! I credit the downspout with recharging the well. (This approach may meet with differing results depending on the depth of your well. Water has a mind of its own, and it heeds substrata and gravity out of sight.)

If your well is deep, a cistern could be joined to a downspout. Such a device could be made of plastic or concrete, and buried. It can become a supplement to your well, or it could become the sole source of your water. One woman I shared this with was squeamish, as she said "birds poop on my roof." Well, dear lady, do seagulls respect your water supply over Lake Erie? Industry doesn't either! Remember, water from the sky has been distilled. Yes, it picks up some chemicals and junk as it falls; but it is a much cleaner source than the lake.

I have several wells at home. But the best well is shallow. It was dug by hand by real men over a hundred years ago, and lined with large river rocks. The well is about 15 feet deep, and about 3-4 feet in diameter. I've actually crawled down into the well to replace a foot valve, with the guidance of my friend Gordon Glauser, of Alden -- another plumber who is very knowledgeable about country water. He stayed above ground to be sure I could get out of the well again. (I didn't know Gordon when I first moved here.) He showed me how to replace the valve, and helped me improve my plumbing skills.

Gordon also taught me about having the proper shut-off valve on a well pump. An earlier plumber, before we moved here, had put the wrong switch on our well pump. It didn't have a low-water trip switch, as well-pumps should. So when we were away, the backwash came on by timer, and continued to call for water when the level was low. The result was that the pump ran, and ran, until it fried. So I bought an irrigation-style pump which keeps a pocket of water always inside to cool the motor. This way it can't burn out, even if the right switch were to fail to trip.

Another approach to supply issues is to consider drilling a wider well. A 12-inch well, instead of the usual 6-inch well, usually will yield much more water. Bill Frey at Frey Well Drilling, or Ken Frey at Reserve Gas, both in Alden, are experts with substantial experience in these matters. A new well will cost significantly less than paying $1000 per year for 35 years. If your current well is not keeping up with your demands, consider an expanded hole, or maybe some fracking. My cousin in Orchard Park had Frey frak his well, and now has a very adequate supply. (It didn't happen the next day, but it did get good results. He wondered if he would have to move, the water was so scarce. Now he's happy.)

While I am not a professional plumber, I do have substantial hands-on experience with supply issues. I care about my neighbors, and am willing to help any who are struggling with water issues. I can share my experience and even some of my time. However, I would rather not share $1000 per year of my retirement income to deliver tainted water to my neighbors via Erie County Water Authority. (Did you know that a manager at ECWA ordered scientists to cover up the discovery of e-coli bacteria at a school! I have the clipping from Buffalo News in my file.) Really folks, there is a better solution to our water situation in Alden than forcing everybody to spend over $10,500,000 to drink a bad product. Remember: when an area imports too much water everyday from the lake, dumping it into the septic system in their backyards, drainage problems ensue, and sewer districts come next, with huge costs attached.

I care too much for my neighbors, and I can't afford to pay, to see you go this route. But I'm very willing to help you solve your water challenges, now that I've solved my own. So, please don't do anything hasty about the new water district. Call me. I would be glad to help you.

Sincerely, Eric Chaffee, Cayuga Creek Road, Alden NY 937-9995

Saturday, February 21, 2009


As you already know, Tractor Supply is confirmed to open in the Alden Village Plaza soon. And when it gets here, please visit it often, and tell the manager how glad you are that they are here!

But ARRG isn't sitting on it's laurels (where are laurels, anyway?). We immediately contacted several other stores, who we had contacted over a year ago, and informed them of Tractor Supply's positive attitude toward Alden, and encouraged them to take a second look at us.

Here's where you come in....if you know of other stores that you'd like to see help fill the plaza, please get the address of their headquarters and contact us with the information.

A special thanks to the SCOUTS committee of the ARRG who volunteered their time several months ago preparing a marketing kit to encourage new businesses to come to our area. Obviously it worked!


There are three open positions for Village Trustee at this year's upcoming election, on March 18,
and there are five people running for these positions. ARRG again this year, will host a Meet the Candidates Night, currently scheduled for Wednesday March 11 (revised) at 7pm. This event is another scheduled activity of community service hosted by ARRG. There will be an organized question and answer period, where all applicants will be given fair and equal opportunity to respond to questions fielded by the community.

Don't go to the voting booth again this year without a clear understanding of who you are voting for. Think about what's important to you, and come to the meeting, and ask your questions! You should be getting what your taxes dollars are paying for!

Any questions? Just contact us.

Running for office are (in alphabetical order) Al Farrell, Mike Manicki, Ted Mezydlo, Mike Retzlaff, Dan Warmus


ACTS (on Church St) will be hosting a Trivia Night on Fri, Feb 27 at 7:30pm. Admission is $1.
See the Alden Advertiser or contact ACTS 937-7881 for more information.


American Farmland Trust, WNY Land Conservancy and Cornell Cooperative Extension are presenting a Purchase of Development Rights Workshop on February 24, 7-9pm in the Farm and Home Center, 2nd Floor, 21 S. Grove St., East Aurora.

Reservations need to be made at 716-687-1225 or email

Light refreshments will be served. This workshop is designed for farmers, community leaders, grant writers, town planners, town attorneys, appraisers and anyone with an interest in farmland protection. This workshop provides a comprehensive review of the process for creating successful Purchase of Development Rights projects and programs in your community. Scheduled program leaders are Patricia Szarpa, Diane Held and Jason Engel.

ps Will any of Alden's community leaders, grant writers, town planners, town attorneys, attend???


Thanks to the generous donations from many ARRG members and friends, the ARRG was able to sponsor FOUR baskets at last weekend's Alden Winterfest. All proceeds go toward the funding of next year's winterfest. Two of the four baskets are shown in the photos below. Congratulations to the winners, and THANKS to the donors!

Winners: Annie McCoy, Nicole Czelusta, Millie Wisniewski, Laura Loehr

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Representatives from Tractor Supply will be at the Village Hall, on Broadway on Monday, and Tuesday, Feb 2 and 3 from 8am-4pm accepting employment applications. There will be part time and full time positions available in all departments. Stop by and welcome Tractor Supply to the neighborhood! Their website is They expect to open in a few months after some minor repairs and adjustments are made to the plaza. WELCOME!!


ARRG is again this year participating in the popular basket raffle during Alden's Winterfest on February 13 and 14. Stop by the Village Hall and make your choices! Last year there were about 50 baskets, were several hundred dollars! The prize winners of each basket will be announced at the Snowball Dance on Saturday night, and you don't have to be present to win.

ARRG has received some donations from members already, but we're always glad to accept more items. ARRG members, Clarissa Harison has donated 2 hr maximum in home feng shui/geomancy evaluation (to evaluate the health and vitality of the home and land) which is a $100 value) and Tammy Sigurdson has donated a professional decorated cake. Please contact us ASAP if you have something to contribute. Gift certificates, samples of your products, etc
are all great gift ideas. Proceeds raised from the baskets are used to fund other community events and projects. Contact us at


One of the attractions at Alden's Winterfest will be a chainsaw carving demonstration (weather permitting) from 12pm-3pm behind the Community Center in the Village Park by ARRG member Ross Miller.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Here is the latest on the Tractor Supply issue (in the former Ames Plaza) as confirmed to us by the Village Building Inspector. He has received the request for building permit, and is reviewing the request and checking it to see that it meets with the village code. It goes to the Village Planning Board for review and they make a recommendation to the Village Board as to whether or not to approve this project. The next Planning Board Meeting is next week Wednesday January 21 at 7:30pm at the Village Hall. (Where they may or my not have questions, or requests that go back to Tractor Supply before making their decision.)

We all know that everything must be done to ensure that this project goes forward, and in a timely fashion. We all know the importance of revitalizing the old Ames Plaza ESPECIALLY now in these terrible economic times.

We need you to do several things (AT LEAST one of them)and do them very quickly! Please try to attend the Planning Board meeting. Although the public is not expected to be allowed to speak at the meeting (unless invited), just your attendence sends a message. You can also always speak to the members either before or after the meeting. Or you can all them prior. Planning Board members are:
David Metz (Chair), Susan DeWitt (Vice Chair), Charles Airey, Douglas Henry, Noel Harris, and Paul Werner

We encourage you to also do the same at any of the regularly scheduled Village Board meetings (after all, the decision is ultimately theirs to make). There is "business from the floor" on the agenda at every meeting, and we encourage you to make it a point at the time to express your support of this project.

Visit the Village website at for more information, including the names of the Village Trustees. You can contact ALL of them!

If you are unable to attend either of these, or IN ADDITION, please write a letter addressed to Mayor Richard Kegler expressing your sincere support of this project, sighting the importance of working together with Tractor Supply, and that this could open the door to additional businesses in this plaza.

We proven how power a large influx of letters can be...prove it again!!!

A few issues that need to be solved is the limited parking that will now occur, due to the fact that Tractor Supply has applied to put some of their produce outside in a fenced in area, and the issue of snow removal, which was usually stored in the area where the enclosure is scheduled to be. The ARRG has volunteered that each member will visit the plaza once a week in the winter, and put a shovelful or two in the trunks of their cars or backs of their trucks and haul it home, if needed.

We encourage you to send us your comments about the proposed project and share your thoughts with others!


"You guys are doing a wonderful job, please keep up the good work!!!!!!!! We need you - some of us are unable for whatever reason to do what you are doing, so thanks a MILLION for filling in for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Feel free to post, if you want..) Thanks, Nancy"

MODERATOR RESPONSE; THANKS NANCY! Comments like yours are very much appreciated. The core group and a few other very dedicated members are still spending several hours of their lives continuing to be involved in order to be aware of what's happening. All of us help in many different ways. Some help with their time, and/or expertise, others with monetary funds. Example: Our post office box costs $100 a year. To distribute a mailing to our members when there is an important town meeting costs approximately $250. Soooooo, if ever anyone wants to know how they can help, we're always very glad to accept your support, no matter what it is.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Have you got a business, or a sideline, or a hobby?
Just let us know, and we'll tell the others.
Our mission statement is to support local businesses, merchants, etc.

If you do sewing in your home for others, you make your own maple syrup,
you do snow plowing, you do chainsaw carving, etc.

Also, if you're looking for something, let us know and we'll put the word out.


There are three positions on the Village Board that are expiring in March 2009.

What better way to steer the future of the village of Alden into the direction you'd like to see it go, than to be one of the decision makers. Qualifications are that you are a village resident, at least 18 years old. You do not need to be a property owner.

Just visit Betty Kegler (Village Clerk) now, to obtain a petition. Let us know if you're throwing your hat into the ring, and we'll share the good news with our members.

Public Hearing on Windmill Law, Tues, Jan 20

Please plan to attend the Town Hall on Wende Rd on Tues, Jan 20 at 7pm.
Public hearing on the Windmill Law.
For a complete review of the proposed law as it is now,

This could quite possibly be your last chance.
There have been many changes to the proposed law already,
and unless you have any comments otherwise, it's most likely to be passed as is.

If you think that government has taken too much control over the little guy,
then this just might be another example.

The proposed law begins with "to promote windmill energy", yet preceeds
to include numerous regulations.

We encourage you to attend, state your opinion (either pro or con)

Winterfest, Fri Feb 13,14

Check out the Alden Advertiser, and for details on all of the exciting activities and events that will be happening. Even if you hate the cold, please plan to attend at least ONE event. Come and see the results of what happens when you SAVE ALDEN! It's events like this that make Alden what it is...Smalltown USA.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2nd Masterplan Public Input Meeting

Here is our video of the second public input meeting .
You will most likely need to pause the video
once it starts for several minutes to allow
it to "buffer" (or download ahead)to allow
smooth playback. If you are having trouble
viewing this video please contact us at

Saturday, November 22, 2008


With the Holiday Season approaching, and the economy the way it is, it's more important than ever to save gas, time, and money by shopping with Alden's local merchants. Anybody who ever said that there is "no place to shop in Alden" wasn't looking very hard. There are over 100 independently owned businesses in Alden, and they are all depending on you! Why not make it a goal to do all of your Christmas shopping this season in Alden? Here are some examples of some unique gifts available right here in your home town. If you are a merchant and would like us to add an interesting product of yours to this sight, just let us know.

The Alden Pharmacy has some terrific "Alden" tee shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps, and coffee mugs. And as a bonus, the shirts were made in the USA!

Added The Village Deli also wants you to know that they are selling a variety of gift baskets, all made from local Buffalo products.

Buy Local This Holiday Season

Any Alden Merchant who would like to advertise a unique product for sale that would make a great Christmas gift should contact us, and we'll post it at no charge on this site. Our mission statement is to support local independent Alden Merchants because every dollar spent locally gets recirculated back into the community! BE VOCAL and BUY LOCAL. One just suggestion is stopping at the new EA Wireless (across from the bank) Ben is the manager, and he specifically moved to Alden (from Holland) to become part of the community. He told us that he's got a Blue-Tooth right here for just $39.99. Don't spend the time or money driving out of town, when it's available here!

Shop Alden This Christmas-You can Do it!!!

The Alden Historical Society also has some really neat ideas available for sale this Christmas. Especially if you have out-of-town family or friends, who've moved away, think of these Alden items. They are open on Saturdays from 10am-2pm, or by appointment. Items include old Neelands milk bottles, Landmark Collectibles, tiles, commemorative books, stationary, and more. And you'll be helping one of Alden's most cherished non-profit organizations at the same time!

More Christmas Ideas....

No place to buy boots in Alden? WRONG! Agway has LOTS of boots. And bird seed and supplies. And rock salt. And deer alerts for your car. And how about a rain barrel? Help save the environment. He has them for just $100! Many other places are $129 and up over $200! And take a look at You can order anything in that catalog by Thursday, have it delivered to Agway by Monday!

Whudda Thunk It?

Maybe the prize for the most unique Holiday Gift goes to Henry's Candy for the Chocolate Covered TWINKIES! Or for that especially hard-to-find person, get their sugar free candy!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


THE 2ND PUBLIC FOCUS MEETING OF THE MASTER PLAN WILL BE HELD ON TUES, NOV 18 AT THE VILLAGE HALL, ON BROADWAY @ 6:30PM. This meeting is the follow up to your comments presented at the previously held meeting where you stressed your concerns and hopeful vision of the future of Alden. The committee has had additional meetings since then, where your comments, and their opinions were reviewed. The culmination of these meetings is on the agenda for this meeting on the 18th. Not all committee members agree with all points in the plan, with some even dismissing many of your concerns. It is IMPERATIVE that you all attend this meeting to RE-ENFORCE your conviction that your concerns as taxpaying citizens have equal validity to that of any others. The written proposal will be posted on the town website soon ( and . We ask that you review this proposal prior to attending the meeting, to better prepare your comments.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Be sure to stop at the ARRG booth tomorrow at the Farmer's Market and enter the FREE drawing to win one of the following items, donated by local merchants!



(gift item)
(oil change)



(gift item)

(1/4 sheet cake or $20 off full cake)


WAGNER’S AGWAY (50 tee shirts)



Be sure to stop at the ARRG booth tomorrow at the Farmer's Market and enter the FREE drawing to win one of the following items, donated by local merchants!



(gift item)
(oil change)



(gift item)

(1/4 sheet cake or $20 off full cake)


WAGNER’S AGWAY (50 tee shirts)


Saturday, August 23, 2008


ALDEN, NY (Where a SMALL Town is like a BIG family)

Note several events occurring in the new few weeks:

Tuesday, August 26 Master Plan Committee Meeting (open to the public, for observation only). We hope that many of you will continue to attend these public meetings to clearly send a message to the town officials that we are watching and concerned about Alden's future. Time is 7:00pm at the TOWN Hall on Wende Rd.

Tuesday, September 2 Regular Town Board Meeting & Public Hearing on the proposed Windmill Law. NOTE: THIS IS A DATE CHANGE DUE TO THE HOLIDAY, AND WAS
and the TOWN Hall on Wende Rd.

For more information on how important green (alternative) energy is, click on this link,
provided by Eric Chaffee, entitled "In Germany, ruddy-cheeked farmers achieve (Green) energy independence Since investors first approached farmers in Freiamt about installing windmills in the 1990s, the humble village has become a green-energy hub. Today, it produces 17 percent more power than it needs."

And other great website about being green

And did you see this in last week's Buffalo News about Oles' Farm in Alden?
Write and tell us what your thoughts are on this.

"Promised Land is another great CSA
As a physician concerned about the health and nutrition of our community, as well as a member of community supported agriculture, I was very pleased to see The News’ recent coverage of local farms and CSA. I often recommend to my patients, colleagues and friends that they consider purchasing a share from a local farmer. The produce is the freshest possible, ensuring optimal nutrition and taste. The environmental impact is low and the positive impact on the local economy is high. My own family enjoys the bounty from a CSA located in Alden called Promised Land ( ). It has been a wonderful experience to be on a first-name basis with the members of the Oles family who grow our food. It has also been extremely educational for our children to see where their food comes from and to enjoy a wide variety of new healthy foods that are grown locally without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. It is my hope that more Western New Yorkers will support Promised Land and the other CSAs in our region. Joseph Cronin, M. D. Amherst "

Saturday, Sept 6-Merchants Association is sponsoring a prelude to the Art Show and Chicken BBQ with a WINE & ART SHOW at LaPaloma's on Saturday night 7-9pm, tickets are $10 each. Good idea.

Sunday, Sept 7-Art Show and Chicken BBQ- rain or shine. Come out and support the community.

Monday, Sept 8-Town Board Work Session 7pm at the Town Hall, Wende Rd.

Wednesday, Sept 10-Planning Board Meeting 7pm (note date change from Tuesday,
due to a conflict) Want to know what's going on in Alden? Concerned about our future?
Attend a Planning Board meeting.

"There's no place to shop in Alden" was a cry of those who wanted a Walmart Supercenter several months ago. That statement couldn't be farther from the truth. Let's create a list of the items that you can buy in Alden. Send us some samples of things that you have purchased from a business right here in our town. Many things will surprise you! Some of our members have already told us they've recently purchased the following items. Please share yours with us too!

"I recently purchased a refrigerator from Sitzman's. I called around to other stores,
and Sitzman's had the best price!"

"I just bought a freezer full of frozen fruits and vegetables from Agway. It'll save me
tons of money vs buying in smaller quantities from Tops, and I feel better that I've
supported a local independent vendor".

"I bought some BEAUTIFUL watches from the Alden Pharmacy for my family
for Christmas gifts. I even bought one for myself. And I also bought several
of the Alden items; my favorite being the Pink Alden sweatshirts."

"I make it a point to stop at the Farmer's Market to support local vendors. I just
wish more of them were from Alden" Editors comment: We've heard comments
from some Alden vendors, that they wish the Market would be located more
in the center of the village so that they wouldn't have to hire extra employees
to be stationed at the market, or pay to have a booth, when they are already paying
rent for their own establishments. Perhaps the Chamber might consider experimenting
with this idea.

"I buy my potatoes from Aldinger's Farm over on Cary Rd. There's something about buying
direct from the farm, and talking with Naomi and Gerald that makes me feel good."

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Comprehensive Master Plan

Here is our video of the first public input meeting .
Next meeting of the Master Plan Committee is Tues, August 26,
the public is welcome as observers only.
The public is welcome to attend all meetings,
but only welcome to speak at specific ones.
You will most likely need to pause the video
once it starts for several minutes to allow
it to "buffer" (or download ahead)to allow
smooth playback. If you are having trouble
viewing this video please contact us at

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Want to cut your gasoline charges in half?
Sign up at and find someone who you can share a ride with to and from work.
You can also send us your needs, and we'll post them for you here on our weblog.

Example: Coleen Czechowski drives from Alden to Lewiston, 3 days @ week. Work hours are from 9-5pm. She's willing to drive (drop off along the way
in Grand Island or Niagara Falls) and split the gas costs. She promises not to sing in the car.


We are happy to announce that some ARRG members have been chosen to be on the Master Plan Committee!!

including Michele Hoffman, Gerald Aldinger, and Paul Loehr.

Also on this committee are:
Ron Smith, Bill Weber, Beth Downing, Rick Savage, Chris Gust, Ralph Witt,
Bruce Sitzman, someone from the school (to be announced), someone from the county (to be announced), and Colleen Rogers (aka secretary to Ron Smith)

It has yet to be determined whether the meetings will be open to the public; and we will report our findings. This will be a year long commitment by these people, and we are grateful (especially to the ARRG members) who are volunteering their time and energy
to protect our interests. The project is overseen by Wendell Duchsherer Engineers.

If you wish to send your comments and suggestions to us, we'll forward them to the ARRG committee members. Or contact them directly.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Special thanks to all who attended the Meet the Candidates Night on Wed, March 5 at the Beacon Cafe. ALL of the Mayoral Candidates and Trustee Candidates were in attendance, and they fielded questions from the audience for 90 minutes. It was truly an educational evening, and we are lucky to have so many people interested in working for us. Although it was clear that each has their own ideas and plans for our future, they all agreed
that they love Alden and that our town and village is most definitely a very special community.

Topics covered included Kevin Gaughan's presentation on Smaller Government, the Ames Plaza situation, sidewalks, crosswalks, taxes, local vs state govt, etc. Those citizens who attended the event will be going to the poles, having been educated on many issues.

This was another Community Event that ARRG was proud to sponsor to show our POSITIVE position in town and village. Although this is a Village Election, many citizens from the Town were also in attendance, since actions in the Village ultimately affect the live of ALL residents of Alden.

This event was held at the Beacon Cafe. And they serve a mean cup of hot chocolate! Their staff was energetic and enthusiastic. The facility was perfect for this program. Mark your calendars for their Dessert Auction on Saturday March 22. Over 30 homemade dessert items will be raffled. You can buy 25 tickets for $5 from 9:30am onward. Then the dessert winners will be selected from 11:30am-12noon. Just think, you won't have to bake any pies for Easter Sunday!!

Another unique event to support our BE VOCAL AND BUY LOCAL theme is the
Frozen Food Sale at Wagner's Agway. Stop by Wagner's on or before March 18 and
complete your order for fantastic deals on bulk frozen foods (fruits, vegetables, desserts, beverages, appetizers, and breads). The items will be available for pick up on Tuesday, April 1. This offer won't be available again until August.

And congratulations to the new Village Market Deli, opened last Saturday. Stop by and be sure to tell the owners that you are members of the ARRG!

Last week, one of our core members bought a major appliance at Sitzman's Maytag. They were the best deal, beating out all of those other national chains.

Have you seen the BEAUTIFUL PINK ALDEN SWEATSHIRTS at the Alden Pharmacy?
They're so CUTE!

Who says "There's no place to shop in Alden."? They aren't looking! If you have scored a neat purchase from a local merchant, please share the details with us. If every citizen spent just $10 more a month in Alden (instead of going out of town), we'd circulate an extra $1 million dollars back into our community each year

Friday, February 29, 2008


What a BUSY BUSY time the next few days will be. We are looking forward to seeing you wherever and whenever possible! YOU can make a difference in Alden's future!
But first...we're in need of a stop watch for Wednesday's Meet the
Candidates Night, if you have one we can borrow....PLEASE let us know ASAP!! Thanks!!!

Master Plan Volunteers: The Town is accepting applications for volunteers to help with the Master Plan. This is your chance to help
guide the future of Alden. Submit your application to Supervisor Smith today!!!


(formerly Country Pride Deli) in the Village. The new owners are proud to be community activists, and hope that you will support them! Stop by on Saturday and tell them you are members of ARRG!! (Be Vocal and BUY LOCAL!!!)

Monday, March 3-7:00pm
Kevin Gaughan speaks on Downsizing Local Governments
Town of Alden (TOWN HALL, WENDE RD)
Gaughan discusses the findings of his recently published study that reveals Erie County as having more elected officials for its population than any other like-size community in the nation. The study is available at

Beacon Cafe, Church St 7-9pm
Question and answer timed format. Come and ask what the candidates
see for the future of Alden. Village Election day is March 18.

Thur, March 6, Village Board Meeting 7:30pm
Stay informed with what the Village Board is doing. Not everything that happens gets printed in the paper. ALL citizens can attend (not closed to
village residents only).

Friday, February 15, 2008


Community Groups Can Now Schedule His Downsizing Presentation

Town of Alden (TOWN HALL, WENDE RD), Monday, March 3, at 7:00 pm

Buffalo, NY - Continuing his effort to persuade each of Erie County's 45 local governments to eliminate 2 elected positions, Kevin Gaughan enters the third month of his tour of local municipalities by scheduling 8 stops in the coming weeks.

At each presentation, Gaughan discusses the findings of his recently published study that reveals Erie County as having more elected officials for its population than any other like-size community in the nation. The study is available at

Gaughan's study was conducted in collaboration with students from the SUNY at Buffalo School of Law, and was supported by the John R. Oishei Foundation, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, and the Paul W. Koessler Foundation.

Monday, February 11, 2008


On Wednesday, March 5th, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm, the ARRG is sponsoring a Meet the Candidates Night for the open position of Mayor and Trustee in the Village of Alden. ALL residents (both town and village) are encouraged to attend.

Although only village residents will be voting, the TOWN residents should also be there to ask questions about what the mayoral and trustee candidates positions are on things that
also effect town residents; items such as the old Ames Plaza, and other future development plans, the Fire Department, etc.

This PUBLIC meeting will be held at the Beacon Cafe on Church St. There is no admission fee, no rsvp required, and the Beacon will have refreshments made available for purchase. This is another opportunity to show the community that ARRG members (that's YOU) are concerned about RESPONSIBLE GROWTH


Take note of today's article in the Buffalo News below, regarding the development of our Master Plan. Supervisor Smith is asking for volunteers, and we hope that you will answer his call. Let us know if you do! We hope that he's really sincere in asking for our assistance; after all, ARRG members can be "OPEN-MINDED" too!

Citizen input sought as state grant propels master plan
By Melanie D. Larsen SUBURBAN CORRESPONDENT (Buffalo News)
Updated: 02/11/08 6:48 AM

The Town of Alden is moving forward with an update of its master plan, thanks to funding from the state’s community development block grant fund.

While only certain municipalities are awarded the grant funds each year based on need and the merits of a proposed project, Town Supervisor Ronald L. Smith said, the town was awarded a $45,000 grant, and it will use $15,000 from the town’s matching fund.

The $15,000 from the town, Smith said, has “minimally” increased taxes from the 2008 budget and is budgeted for 2009.

With the grant funding now in place, Smith said, the town is able to begin putting out requests for proposals to find a planning consultant to help the town with a blueprint to govern decisions about planning and development.

In addition, Smith said, the town will ask residents to serve on a community planning committee.

“We are looking at a citizen-participation plan where we can meet and where the public can come in and give input about what the future of Alden should look like in about 20 years — 2029,” Smith said. “We want people who can have an open mind and think about others’ opinions in the Town of Alden.”

Bill Weber, a member of the Town Board who also serves on the Economic Development Committee, said the town wants about 11 people for the planning committee and will be advertising the positions in the near future.

According to Weber, the group will consist of citizen volunteers, as well as two board members and Town Engineer Mike Metzger.

Smith said the committee will look at not only the aesthetics of the town, but at issues the town has discussed, such as the town’s Right to Farm Law and the future of commercial and industrial development.

“Nothing is on the table in either the town or the village,” Smith said of the possibility of another big-box proposal similar to the town’s recent struggle with proposed Wal-Mart developer Frank Russo. “Russo could come back at any point. He has that ability; the ball is really in his court.”

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Hello ARRG Members

Just ONE of the items we've been working on is the formation of a networking marketplace to be posted on our weblog. The idea has sprung from our BE VOCAL and BUY LOCAL theme. Many of us have been concentrating on spending MORE of our hard earned dollars with local Alden businesses, because "what goes around, comes around." One of our members even did ALL of her Christmas shopping in Alden this year!

Or sticking with the "one hand washes the other theme", this marketplace would also be available for those who have a "talent" they'd like to share with others, or for those who need help with something, or have something to give away or trade.

It would work this way:

a) If you have a PROFESSION and would like the other members to know what you do, just ask us to post it on the blog, and which form of contact (phone, email) you wish them to use to reach you. (There is NO CHARGE for this service, we just ask that you keep us updated if there are any changes).

Example: Coleen Czechowski is a travel agent! You can reach her at 937-7669

B) Or if you have a TALENT, and just want to share your knowledge with others if needed.

Example: You know how to make quilts, and somebody else would love to learn, they could contact you!


Example: Coleen Czechowski is looking for somebody who either sells fences, or knows
how to install them, contact her at 937-7669

Example: 1)You are looking for a player piano, you can post it on our blog.
2)You just had a tree fall in your yard, and want to know if somebody
has a chain saw you can borrow, or rent.

The Genesee Valley Pennysaver has something similar to this and it's called "Who Knows...."
We're looking for a "catchy name" for this too, and would like your suggestions.

So send us your talents, professions, needs, wants, etc, and we'll get this thing started!
Alden is FULL of talented people; this we discovered over that past two years as we
put our heads together and made a success of our first cause. We have so much talent and so many resources here in Alden; why with a little effort we could be our own COUNTRY!
Just kidding.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Below is a message forwarded from ARRG member Jim Guarino. This is a second in a series of communications that we're sending to you, to keep you informed, and hopefully involved. Most of these messages will be written by Jim, and sometimes with some editing by the ARRG Core Members. We encourage you to read them thoroughly, and act as you did this past year. Please contact Jim directly for more information, or to offer assistance.
The Core Members of the ARRG

Note from the Editors:
P.S. There is a recipient on this email list, although claims allegiance to the ARRG, has been forwarding our messages to those who have a different opinion than us as to the future vision of Alden. Be it known, that our views are not private. And hardly anything that is sent over the internet can ever be expected to remain private. We publically declare our positions, and so forwarding them to "the other side" really is no threat to us. Our positions are often posted too, on our blog, so ANYONE has access to this information.

Dear Alden Advertiser,
I am submitting this “Letter to the Editor” for publication.

James M. Guarino
13899 North Road
Alden, NY 14004

Dear Editor,

I attended an Alden Town Planning Board meeting last spring, when this question was asked “How much farmland is in the Town of Alden?” The only record available in the Town Hall shows only those parcels that receive an agricultural tax levy, but they do not show small farms as my own, which do not meet all of the criteria. I contacted the USDA in East Aurora, and they provided a map of the Town, showing those properties that were enrolled in USDA crop programs in the last several years. From that map, crop land in the Town is currently estimated at 5400 acres. I shared this information with the Planning Board and the Town Board. The Planning Board Chairman indicated that the amount of farm land as shown, may portray that Alden is too rural to bring business and industry to the Town.

At the Sept 11th Planning Board meeting, the Chairman made a comment that farmland is land “that is just waiting to be developed”. All of the research and reports that I have seen from the Farm Bureau, USDA, NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, Erie-Niagara Storm Water Coalition and several independent study groups, strongly suggest that farmland is a precious resource that should be protected from development. For at least 10 years, with the farmland at Sandridge and Broadway in mind, I have asked the Town Board: “What are you doing to preserve farmland?” Despite assurances that farmland and open space are important to the Town, we have ended up with no positive action to date, Periwinkle subdivision, smaller lot sizes, more commercial zoning and now this proposed rezone.

Also present at the Sept 11th meeting, were Mr. and Mrs. Martin, owners of the farm to be rezoned for the proposed Wal-Mart. Mrs. Martin made a presentation as to how good their cropland is for growing crops, and how important it is for the stewards of that crop land to maintain proper drainage and proper farming practices. Mr. Martin read several news articles on how current tax laws do not allow for the financial risk of farming, and how a poor crop year can make taxes a real burden. I agree with their statements, but I do not agree with their solution. A better solution would be to aggressively pursue farmland protection programs as Marilla and Amherst have done.

James M. Guarino

Happy New Year to the ARRG members!

Yes, we've been silent for a few months; taking a much overdue and needed break after the eighteen month fight against the proposed rezoning project. But the Alden Residents for RESPONSIBLE GROWTH lives on, "to serve and protect" it's concerned citizens.

You may have been reading in the papers of another situation involving responsible growth that is knocking at our doorstep. One of our most strongest and deligent ARRG members, Jim Guarino is leading the charge on this one.

Jim (and a band of Alden's farmers) are looking to the future at two important issues, the Right to Farm Law, and the Farm Protection Act. We'll be forwarding additional emails and posting on our blog ( with news explaining both of these.

The first question you will ask yourself is, "What does this have to do with me; I'm not a farmer." This has EVERYTHING to do with you! Just like the Russo/Martin Farm issue, we need to protect our farmland, and the farmer's right to operate his business. Failure to do so, will turn Alden into another Amherst or Cheektowaga.

You all did such a great job at protecting us from the Big Box last time, we hope that you'll keep up the good work! We have other towns contacting us, asking "How did you do it?" We tell them it was the PEOPLE of Alden, specifically the ARRG members, who attended meetings, wrote letters, put up signs, gave donations! YOU are responsible for Saving Alden, and YOU will be responsible too, if you fail to act now to help keep big development out of Alden.

So watch for more information coming soon. In the meantime, if you want to know more, please contact Jim Guarino at 937-6618 or

Mark your calendars to attend future town board meetings. Citizens like you are keeping an eye on our local government. A few hours of your time, just once or twice a month, will be a BIG help! . The town board doesn't feel pressured when only a handful of people protest. They admit it that they need to see more people in order to feel that an issue is important to its' citizens.

(Board meetings every Monday night, Planning Board is the 2nd Tuesday of each month). Please check the town website ( frequently for
updated information.

PS The Town board is forming a committee to work on the Town's Master Plan, and they are taking applications from citizens. Please contact Supervisor Ron Smith and volunteer. He is quoted as saying they are looking for people who are "open-minded", so be sure to tell him that you are one of them

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanks to all who attended our Victory Celebration (sort of)!!

We'd like to extend a thanks to all our members who were able to attend our meeting at the Whistle Stop on November 17th. We’d also like to extend a special thanks to Doug and Terry Becker of the Whistle Stop for providing the space for our meeting and excellent food for our guests.

Although fewer people were able to attend than we had hoped (due to the impending Holiday season), we are happy to report, we (also) managed to raise $50 for Meals on Wheels and several bags of non perishable food for the Alden Marilla Food Pantry. We were made aware, that the Lions Club is in desperate need of turkeys this year for families in need. You may have seen their article in the Alden Advertiser. In years past, Tops has offered a program where you could use your bonus points toward a free turkey. They are not offering this program this year. The Lions Club is hoping to collect 100 turkeys (up 20 from last year). We encourage those who can afford to give to these worthy organizations during this Christmas season to please do so.

Highlights of the meeting were:
Reports on the Russo rezone - as you know, Mr. Russo withdrew his rezone application three hours before the Town Board was to vote NO on the rezone (as per the planning boards recommendation). Had the board voted no, Mr. Russo would not be able to re-submit another rezone application for one year, but since he withdrew his application, he can come back at any time!

We also discussed the difficulties we've encountered in trying to fill the old Ames Plaza. The only solution we can see is for the Village to get tough with Redstone Development and "encourage" them to sell the plaza to someone. There have been two companies that have shown an interest in purchasing the plaza, but Redstone Development, declined both offers. Until Redstone's feet are held to the proverbial fire, it seems nothing will change and they'll continue to use the mostly vacant plaza for a tax write-off.

It was noted that, the Village Board has not followed through on a single suggestion that the Partners for a Livable Western New York gave to the Village during their visit this summer. The emphasis was on how they can make the Village more "user friendly" which will in turn, generate more economic growth by encouraging people to stop and shop instead of driving right through. Even the free option of asking the state to re-stripe Rt. 20 to narrow it (to slow traffic so people can actually see the businesses they are passing) and to include a bike lane with several cross walks (with signage to indicate it is state law to stop for pedestrians) was never pursued. As one member of the PLWNY said, on the walk, "I've never been here before.... Do you realize you live in one of the last Mayberry's in Erie County? You've got to protect it while you still can." The PLWNY is made up of lawyers, planners, architects, builder/developer, traffic engineers, public officials, etc. They do these neighborhood walks free of charge! Can you imagine what the Village would have had to pay for this service?

We also discussed the activity reports from the Economic Development Committee which we obtained through The Freedom of Information Law, that indicate the active wooing of Wal-Mart to locate behind the current Tops off of Slade Drive along with mixed use housing. They indicate an ongoing effort to bring the giant retailer to Alden. The EDC is made up of representatives from the Town and Village of Alden, the Chamber of Commerce, Alden Central School, and members at large. The chairperson of the EDC is Ian McPherson from Clarence. The first three organizations pay his salary and he is appointed annually.

Jim Guarino updated everyone on the Right To Farm Law that we're hoping the Town will consider. The easiest way to explain it is to give you an example. The new subdivision off of Three Rod Rd. near Broadway is called the Periwinkle Subdivison. Farmland borders two sides of the 35 home subdivision. If the law was passed, the owners of these homes could not complain when the Aldinger's spread manure or dig up the soil and dust flies into the air. Other towns have found the need to adopt this law since more and more farmland is turning into subdivisions.

The highlight of the meeting was a lively and informative presentation (that was) given by Mark Cassel entitled "Alden 2020". It started by reminding us of the less desirable projects our Town has seen in the past and took us up to the present. The major focus of the presentation however, was about sustainable growth and what poorly planned growth can lead to with regard to increased taxes and the decline of our quality of life for a small town like ours.

Everyone was reminded that we need to continue to attend Town and Village board and planning board meetings to keep up with new requests that come in. We would appreciate you sending your notes from the meetings you attend to us, so we can share them with the rest of ARRG. You can e-mail them to Thank you very much!

Thanks again to those who've supported us in the past and continue to support us in our stated goal of ensuring "responsible growth" for our beloved Town of Alden.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007



The reason you haven't seen any mention of the counts from the write-ins in the newspapers or TV is because the procedure for counting them doesn't happen instantly. Firstly, last night at the close of the election, the roll of paper is removed from the machine at each poling place, and the workers (with observers from the Republican, Democrat parties, and assigned members of the ARRG) were present to manually count the votes. Then the rolls of paper are shipped downtown to the headquarters for a second count and validation. So the "official" count won't be published for about one week.

The polling place workers were overwhelmed with the questions and requests for assistance required by all of you!!! They said they've NEVER had SO MANY write-ins before! So THANK YOU again for your "write-in".

A very special THANK YOU to all of you who voted for our 3 ARRG members who were running for open positions last night. Although neither of them won, they were all successful for at least "stirring up the pot".

We've ALL learned a lot in the past 16 months, including much about politics. For example, neither the Board of Elections, nor the Town Hall, nor the media is responsible for announcing in advance what positions are up for election. It is up to the citizens to find out this information in advance. The elected or appointed positions' terms (dates) are not posted on the Town website either. We'd like to see this changed.



Don't let the dark, the cold, or the snow, keep you away. We're on a roll, and we need to keep the pressure up, to change some laws, to keep out the "Big Box", or all of our efforts will have been in vain.

On the agenda Tuesday night, ARRG member, Jim Guarino is presenting his very timely "Right to Farm Law" to the Planning Board (remember them?). Like with the Russo/Martin Rezoning Issue, public pressure helped to make the right decision by the board (although they'd never admit that was the reason, but that's ok).

There's going to be nothing on TV but re-runs anyway, so plan on attending this Planning Board meeting. What better live entertainment is there!!

1-4PM. Whistle Stop Restaurant, Exchange St.

We'll be celebrating the Russo/Martin request for Rezone Withdrawal and congratulating our ARRG members for all of their hard work, including those who attempted to secure political offices.

We'll be informing you of "what's next". There is still a lot happening in Alden with regard to the future with a presentation by ARRG Member Mark Casell (Route 20 in 2020) and Jim Guarino will be reviewing the right to farm law.

There is no admission fee, but if you can bring a canned good to be donated to the Alden/Marilla Food Bank, it would be greatly appreciated. Refreshments (snacks/soft drinks/coffee) will be provided).

Please plan to spend just a few hours with your new friends!


ps. No word yet on the Open Planning Board Position.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I attended 2 presentations this week on farmland protection.

The 1st. was a workshop on applying for a grant ($25K) to review and change the master plan objectives in regards to agriculture. I believe that Alden and Marilla will be making a joint application.

The 2nd. was a presentation on preserving open space and farming through zoning changes.
A major point was made that most current zoning allows a "death by a thousand cuts" approach. This means of course, that by allowing numerous small subdivisions of farm land, the value of the remaining fields for modern farming is reduced with small irregular parcels, limited farm machinery access, neighbor complaints, etc.

In the coming months, as Alden begins to review the Master Plan, I plan on inserting myself into the discussion as much as possible, and I will keep you apprised of any action.
Continuing vocal support of the citizens (ARRG) will be needed if we are to avoid becoming Cheektowaga or Lancaster.

I have included a revised "manifesto" of my farmland protection ideas, which closely follow the presentations of this week.

Revised 10/26/07
Farmland Protection

Ideas to protect farmland, encourage farm families to pass the farm
to the next generation, discourage farm land conversion, and maintain
the rural character of the Town of Alden
1. Pass the local Right to Farm Law, and include a local farmer represented complaint review board, so that Alden farmers can conduct their businesses without nuisance complaints.
2. Change the minimum frontage on house lots outside of high density areas, back to 300' instead of 200', and limit the depth to 200’. (My idea was to limit how many houses could be built on a given frontage. After last night’s presentation, I now believe that the lot size should be limited to 200’ X 200’
3. Change the depth of commercial zoning in agricultural areas to 300' instead of 500', and limit the total build-out to less than 50% of the total commercial zoning area.
4. Limit the total number of subdivisions from the original farm (beginning in 1960), to two or three, per 50 contiguous acres, regardless of total frontage.
5. Require that any multi-home development (more than one), or commercial development over 5 acres, that will convert soil type I or II, from farmland, woodland or meadow, provide a substantial payment (100% of the development value of the converted land), to be held by the Town, and used to purchase development rights of other farmland, woodland or open land in the Town, especially those with type I or II soil.
6. Limit new-build housing connections to public water, to discourage farmland conversion.
Allow resident farmland owners, to operate non-farm businesses to supplement farm income, on farmstead property, so as to keep part time and full time farms in operation, provided that there shall be no future subdivision of the farm property. A single additional one family residence per each 50 contiguous acres, would be allowed for an immediate family member, with the maximum of 5 acres per each house-lot.
James M. Guarino
13899 North Road

Which positions are available on the Town Council on Election Day?

Since Michele Hoffman (ARRG member) has announced that she is a write-in candidate for the one of the two open positions, we have had many inquiries as to who's current positions are open.

The answer is Arlene Cooke and Ron Snyder. Until now, these people were running unopposed and therefore, that's probably why you hadn't seen any articles in the paper about it. (But probably will soon.) Whether they got 500 votes or only 5, they both still would have been renewed in their positions.

Now the math gets a little trickier. The top two voter-getters get the two open positions. Please see Michele's instructions in the post below for comments and instructions on how to write in your ballot in the election booth.

This is a perfect example of democracy in action.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Well Folks,
What a roller coaster ride we have been on for the past 15 months; with the past few days being no exception. And the ride doesn't appear over either. We'll review some of the most recent events, and look ahead to the future.

Tuesday, October 9-Planning Board voted to recommend that the Town Board NOT rezone the Martin Farm (five present attendees voted unanimously, absentee members (Sanok & DeWitt) did not vote.

Monday, October 15-We were advised, immediately following the Planning Board vote, that the Town Board would vote on this day. So we emailed our members. Then on Monday morning we were advised that the vote would be postponed in order that the Board could discuss possible litigation, and other details. So we emailed our members again. Then at approximately 3pm on this same day, we were advised that the Board just received a letter from Russo Developers advising of their decision to withdraw their request to rezone the property.

Our apologies for the constant change; however, as you can see, this is beyond our control. Due to YAHOO limited mass-mailing restrictions within a 24 hour period, there wasn't enough time to "get the latest word out". Here is a perfect example of why you should be at as many meetings as possible, because you never know what can happen.

So, did we win????
Well, yes and no. We won this first battle, but the war isn't over. Because Russo withdrew his request to rezone the property, he can resubmit his request at anytime. If he had waited for the board to vote, and it was turned down, he would have had to wait at least one year to resubmit. And remember that he has said all along that he will build on the first 500 foot frontage that has been zoned commercial since 1997. Albeit, not a super-center.

Yes, we won, in that the ARRG has taken a position in the community and proven that we are a force not to be ignored. Members are now actively involved in numerous governmental activities and committees which will steer the future of the town in the right direction; a town run BY the People, and FOR the People. Examples:

1) Town Board Establishes Windmill Committee (copied with permission from Alden Advertiser/Vikki G Weisbeck)
Any resident of Alden who has ever considered harvesting the sky for energy may want to thank (ARRG members) James Guarino and Eric Chaffee (and Sheldon resident) Mark Moore for their research and input they have been providing to the Town Board on the proposed windmill law. Without their input, the law may have been adopted as is, without proper professional opinions and research.

On their own time, these residents have taken the initiative to review the law and critique its wording. Chaffee, who has a working residential windmill on Cayuga Creek, and Guarino have presented to the town in writing, areas of the proposed law that may be too harsh or impractical for residents who merely desire an alternate energy source. In addition, some of the requirements are unnecessary according to Chaffee.

Chaffee and Guarino have been at several meetings to present their findings and offered to assist the town with the language in the law. Moore is concerned with town wording the law property to keep commercial wind farms from popping up everywhere in Alden.

Supervisor Ronald Smith, who agreed there are some issues with the law, suggested that a committee be formed that would include interested residents, a board members, and the town engineer. The committee's task would be to review all aspects of the proposed law and to come up with ways to allow residential windmills in areas with adequate space while protecting the town from commercial wind mill farms. Once the law is fine tuned it will be presented to the board.

The Town Board approved the formation of a Windmill Citizen Advisory Committee at it meeting on October 15. Anyone wishing to participate in this committee should call the Town Clerk or Jim.

2) Right-to-Farm-Law Revisited (portions below are copied from the Alden Advertiser with permission from Vikki G Weisbeck, author)

ARRG member, James Guarino addressed the Board at the October 10 work session requesting that they review the Right to Farm Law. This issue was brought up before, but the Planning Board determined that the town law would only duplicate the state and county law.

Guarino, explained to the Board members that this is not correct, in that neither the county nor the state would provide any personnel to solve matters of dispute. He recommended that our Town Law would include the creation of a local review board, with farmer representation (among others) to address complaints and attempt to resolve any nuisance issues by determining if the practice in question is standard and accepted farming methods.

Jim pointed out that these complaints will likely to become more frequent as subdivisions become more common in our area. He added that even some farms which have been inactive for years, may become active again with the advent of the new demand for corn production for ethanol.

This law would provide farmers as well as families with livestock (horses, chickens, etc) for their own personal consumption. The law would cover the entire town, not just agricultural districts.

This law will (along with the state and county) recognize the importance of agriculture, that standard practices include odors, dust, noise, etc, and that farmers should be allowed to conduct their business without the threat of nuisance litigation. This protection would help avoid nuisance complaints from new residents who may not appreciate the entire rural experience and doesn't expect the reality that goes along with the view.

Jim explained that several towns in WNY (including Marilla) have passed their own individual RTF Law and all have expressed their pleasure that they did. He also explained that some communities have met with their local real estate agents and now these agents include a notice to their home buyers that they must be aware that they are moving to a farming community and that the farmers have a right to operate their businesses.

Jim has formed the Alden Right to Farm Committee, and has volunteered these members for the advisory committee, including John Oles, Gerald Aldinger and Jim Foss. Others are welcome to volunteer by contacting Jim.

Supervisor Smith explained that when the Planning Board originally recommended AGAINST the law, they may not have had all of the information and input that was now being presented, and certainly made no mention of a volunteer advisory committee, to take the burden off of the Town Board.

For a local law to be approved it must go first to the Planning Board, so Supervisor Smith is now sending this issue back to the Planning Board with this new information. Guarino will be added to the agenda for the next Planning Board meeting, Tuesday November 13. Please plan to attend this meeting, and support our local farmers, which will ultimately SAVE ALDEN.

For more information on the County RTF Law, visit
For more information from the Erie County Farm Bureau, visit

3. Open position on the Planning Board

At the October 10 Work Session, Planning Board Chairman, Ralph Witt announced his recommendation of Gary Wagner to the open Planning Board position left vacant by the untimely death of Russell Savage. Several in attendance at the meeting, and over the next few days, expressed their displeasure with the process for choosing a candidate for the position.

There were at least three or four ARRG members who had volunteered for this position, and none of which were ever contacted by anyone at the Town Hall with any questions, or requests for interviews. When asked several weeks ago as to the qualifications, the response was "that there are no qualifications"; however when the announcement was made of Witt's recommendation, it was explained that this person "had the most qualifications".

Thanks to several of you who took the time to express your displeasure in the method of the selection, Supervisor Smith postponed their decision, and revisited the candidates' submissions.

It should be noted that a Planning Board position (of which there are seven) is a SEVEN year term (appointed) with one new member being renewed (re-appointed) each year. When a Planning Board member's term is complete, she or he is simply reappointed, without the public given the opportunity to apply for the position or without publication of this person's voting or attendance record, nor are their credentials made public.

Hopefully, after careful review, the Town Board will elect someone from the ARRG to the open position on the Planning Board. If not, then we need to be ever more vigilant in the decision put before them. It was also pointed out to the Board, that there is currently no one on the PB representing the agricultural field, helping to balance out the spectrum of the members.


The Town Board has two positions open this year and the top two vote-getters will win those seats. You have the option of voting for one or two candidates. Voting ONLY for Michele will ensure a larger margin between her and the opponents


"We have won the first fight, but there will be more. Since Mr. Russo withdrew his rezone application, he can come back with another proposal at any time. If the Town Board would have voted no, he wouldn't be able to for a minimum of 12 months. We need a "big box" law that limits the size of stores. Remember, the first 500 feet of the farm is already zoned commercial. Let's change that too." -Michele Hoffman
Why a "write-"in vote?
"With a "write-in" vote, my only obligation is to the taxpayer, not to any political party. All registered Town and Village residents are eligible to "write-in" regardless of party affiliation." -Michele Hoffman

How to write-in your voteAfter you close the curtain in the voting booth, you will see the line that lists the offices (County Judge, County Executive, County Legislator, Town Justice, Town Councilman, etc.) Above these offices, you will see a horizontal row of numbered slides. There is one slide for each office column. Behind these slides - inside the machine - is a roll of paper on which you can, by raising the slide, write in a candidate's name. Please write in, Michele Hoffman behind one of the two slides over Town Councilman.

You are allowed to take paper, and a pen or pencil in with you. If you need assistance, you can either take someone in with you, or ask one of the Inspectors to assist you. The Inspectors can lower the booth for you too. Let them know before you go into the booth. There should already be a pencil in every booth, in case you forget to take one with you. There is a sample sheet on the wall at each polling place that you can view before you go into the voting booth.

To learn more about Michele, visit her weblog at
Michele has a few signs still available for display in front yards. Please contact her at 937-9046 if you can show your support by posting a sign in your yard.

The ARRG has recently learned of a new direction being taken in the controversial Broadway rezoning and possible "Big Box" development.

We’ve recently obtained the monthly Director’s reports from Economic Development Committee (which is comprised of two representatives each from the Town and Village Boards, Chamber of Commerce, one business owner, one resident, two individuals with economic development skills, and the School Superintenden) through the Freedom of Information Law from April 2004 to May 2007. There were several months "missing" with no explanation, including June-Sept, 2007. (Meetings are not open to the public, in case you were wondering).

The purpose of our inquiry was to find out what they have been doing to try to fill the Ames Plaza, because we have a Scouts Committee who are concentrating on this effort, and wanted to reinforce whatever potential businesses they might have contacted previously.

However, these reports revealed much more than what we had anticipated. It was revealed first off, that it was the Economic Development Committee who repeatedly approached Wal-mart (for over one year) to come to Alden.

But most alarming news was that even PRIOR to Russo presenting his request to rezone the Martin Farm and to bring "Big Box" to the community, there were ongoing discussions with Wal-mart to be a part of the "mixed land use design of traditional neighborhood concept with a city/village square to supplement the area" in the southwest quadrant of the Village, from Slade Drive (behind Tops) with nearly 300 acres, East to Exchange Street. This real estate has been accumulated under the ownership of one individual over the past few years. (This is approximately three times the size of the Russo/Martin Farm). This project is to have "diversified housing types, in conjunction with anticipated village needs".

This new direction should be considered interesting to the vocal Alden population that has been asking for rejuvenation of the existing historic Alden Village business district, as well as focusing development efforts to area of Alden identified in the Village's Comprehensive Plan.

What concerns us however, is the secrecy with which these discussions have been held. Not in public meetings. At this time, so little of the specifics are known that we have been unable to form an opinion of the project. Other then the natural suspicion as to the legality of or the reasoning behind the private meetings and denial of any knowledge by persons named in these reports. These reports are public domain, and therefore if you would like to know more information, please contact us.

The ARRG will now shift focus to ensure that the site plans for the proposal include building size and design consistent with the desires of the Alden community, inclusion of green space and protection of the identified wetlands. This is also a step in the right direction in establishing the importance of Alden's valuable resources; namely it's people!

We'll keep you posted as more information is obtained. In the meantime, we suggest that you switch your focus to attending VILLAGE meetings and asking THEM questions, since this new project is within the Village limits. In light of this newly obtained information, it now becomes clear to us why the Mayor and the other village officials' canned response when questioned about the activities behind Tops, and "the Tubes on Exchange St" and their lack of concern about the Russo/Martin project was always "We are not at liberty to discuss it at this time."

And NOW...Assemblyman Cole wants to meet YOU!
On Thursday, October 25 from 6-8pm Assemblyman Cole will be at the Alden Town Hall to discuss suggestions or concerns relating to New York State, Western New York, and Erie County. "By bringing state government to the people and sharing ideas about a better New York, we can overcome obstacles and achieve great things together".

How ironic are these words, coming from him NOW! We couldn't help but notice how Assemblyman Cole was conspicuously absent and silent during the past fifteen months during our Russo/Martin rezoning issue.

In April of this year, he introduced two amendments at his Assembly Minority conference to "improve the business climate for small businesses in NYS." This legislation was aimed to attract new ventures to the state by eliminating burdensome taxes and making it more affordable for current small businesses to operate.

Ironic, that in his own home town, maneuvers were in place (prior to his departure from the Alden Town Board and arrival in Albany) to encourage Big Box Development, which ultimately serves to destroy the small businessman.

One must question his almost immediate return to Alden for a Public Meeting after the hotly contested issue of the rezone decision is complete just days earlier. Did his family connection with the Planning Board Chairman, who most obviously was in favor of this project, play a roll in his lack of participation in this issue? Or was his lack of participation due to his (possible) roll in the acquisition of Wal-mart to the "Village Project" that we now are aware of? These are questions that you could ask of Assemblyman Cole when you attend his public meeting this Thursday, October 25 from 6 to 8pm.

The Town Board shall hold a public hearing on the proposed budget and Special District Budget on November 5 at 7:35pm and 7:45pm at the Town Hall on Wende Rd. The budget will show proposed changes, alterations and revisions. At such a hearing, any person may be heard in favor of or against the special district budget as compiled or for or against any item(s) therein contained. Citizens have the right to provide written and oral comments and ask questions concerning the special district budget and the entire budget and the relationships of entitlement funds.

Handicapped citizens or senior citizens who require assistance in attending said public hearings, or in furnishing comments and suggestions, should contact the Town Clerk Dorothy Bycina.

Citizens are entitled to review the proposed budget PRIOR to the November 5 meeting, by visiting the town hall during regular business hours, and requesting to review the proposal.

November 5 is also the Regular Town Board Meeting, which will immediately follow these public hearings.

We're off the hook, for now....
We got lucky this time with the Martin/Russo issue, but just look at our neighbors who aren't so fortunate as us. This is why we have to stick together and keep working on what's around the next corner...
Rite Aid sues over denial of permit in Elma (Oct 20, 2007)
In reversal, Board OKs Tim Hortons Lancaster (Oct 20, 2007)


The ARRG members have established their position in the community with their tireless participation in the recent opposition to the rezoning request at Broadway and Four Rod. Hundreds of citizens came together with a variety of knowledge and skills for one common goal; namely RESPONSIBLE growth.

Andrew Carnegie said, "Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results" and we applaud the successful efforts of the ARRG members for their teamwork, determination, sincerity, and vigilance for the past fifteen months. Some were able to help more than others, but every signature, every letter you wrote, every phone call you made, every sign in your yard, every meeting you attended, every dollar you donated, all added up to success.

We encourage everyone to continue your volunteerism, ensuring a bright future for Alden; one that abounds with RESPONSIBLE growth, while maintaining the individual character of our community.

(Watch for announcement date of an ARRG member meeting coming soon. You deserve a chance to get together to talk about what we've all be doing, and what we can do in the future).