Retrospective of 2016: people (January through June)

Restrospective of 2016: Today is the beginning of part three of a three-day retrospective of 2016. The focus is on people, and the pictures are from January through June.
On the first of January, people who had been elected (or re-elected) to local office were sworn in. I went to the swearing-in ceremony to take photographs for the Island Dispatch.

Front row: Pattie Frentzel (town clerk), Sybil Kennedy (town justice), and Beverly Kinney (town board member).
Back row: Nathan McMurray (town supervisor) and Mike Madigan (town board member)

Nathan McMurray and his son.

On January 6th, Father Earle King was given the title of “honorary canon,” along with four others. They received their titles at Saint Paul Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Buffalo. 

The priests who were honored with this title were The Rev. Jerre Feagin, The Very Rev. Earle King, the Very Rev. Colleen O’Connor, the Very Rev. Gloria Payne-Carter, and the Very Rev. Barbara Price.

Father Earle and Bishop William Franklin (aka “Bishop Bill”)

Tom Thompson, a Grand Island farmer, shows the plaque that the New York State farm bureau gave him when they honored him in 2015 for his contribution to agriculture.

Keith Tripi, a Grand Island farmer, addressed the energy and environment committee of the Erie County Legislature.

On January 17th, Allie and Dave participated in a skit at Saint Martin in the Fields church. The story that was being acted out was the wedding at Cana. Allie and Dave played the role of the bride and groom. 

Teacher appreciation luncheon, sponsored by the Huth Road Elementary School PTA.

Father Isaac Ihiasota, formerly the rector of Saint Stephen’s Church in Niagara Falls. He was the guest priest at St. Martin’s on January 31st. He spoke about fear. “The opposite of faith is not doubt, but fear… fear can blind us and put us in chains.”
“Do not be afraid,” said Father Isaac.


I went on February 2nd with people from the Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board and a few others to walk along Spicer Creek at River Oaks golf course. The manager of the golf course is looking to solve the soil erosion issue.

On February 6th, I was in Cleveland, visiting my friends Maria Smith and Charlie Hurst. Maria (on the left) is an attorney. She was speaking at a community organizing event. She said that the community lawyering style uses the legal system as a tool for people to empower themselves. Nozomi Ikuta, on the right, is pastor of Denison Avenue United Church of Christ. She describes the church as humble and that people gather in the kitchen.

Joyce Robinson works as a volunteer coordinator. She is a veteran and she was homeless for fourteen months. She said, about being homeless, “You lose every tangible thing and a part of yourself. It’s hard to get that back.” She has had a place of her own for a year now. 

This is Brenda. She is a member of North Presbyterian Church. (Charlie Hurst is the pastor of that church) She is pure delight. She sings, dances, draws, paints, and writes poetry. Brenda had made this painting to remember a man named Leo, who passed away at the age of 52. He had been a mental health worker until he became too ill to work.

Karen Keefe, freelance journalist and former editor of the Island Dispatch

This is Father Tom Roman of Saint Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Grand Island. He was the speaker in the first of five weekly Lenten luncheons, sponsored by the Grand Island Minsterium. The theme of the Lenten luncheons was fear. Father Tom’s topic was the fear that we are not good enough for God and for other people. We don’t see in ourselves the things that God sees in us. “We are created to be amazingly beautiful,” Father Tom said.

Gravitational Bull, a father and son team of jugglers, performed at Grand Island Memorial Library on February 19th.

The Rev. Sung Ho Lee, pictured with his wife, Jung Lee, is pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church. His presentation at the second Lenten luncheon was on fear of the future. He told us that, although we don’t know our future, God does, and God has plans for us.

This is Doctor Birdd, who taught children at Huth Road Elementary School about plants by becoming a very large plant.

This is Gretchen, who celebrated her twentieth birthday on February 29th.


Father Earle King of Saint Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church was the third speaker in the Lenten Luncheon series. He spoke about the fear of death.

During Lent, we visited four houses of worship in Western New York. They were the Islamic Center of the Niagara Frontier, Temple Beth El, Saint John African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Saint George Antiochean Orthodox Church. Picture above are Rabbi Ellen Franke, Adam DePriest, and Mary Santilla, who introduced us to Temple Beth El.

Larry Austin, editor of the Island Dispatch.

Raida Pimienta was one of two speakers at the World Day of Prayer, which was held at Island Presbyterian Church. She is originally from Cuba, which was the country featured in this year’s World Day of Prayer. She talked about life in Cuba, especially education, medical care, and religious life. She now lives in Buffalo, where she works as a Spanish translator and a teacher. She invited everyone to visit Cuba.

Santiago Masferrer, the owner of El Buen Amigo, a fair trade store, was originally from Chile. He talked about the brutal Pinochet dictatorship and about his own imprisonment. In 1975, he came to the United States, where he was given political asylum. He and his family live in Buffalo. He said that he tries to live his Christian values in his store and his daily life.

Vicar David Sivecz of Saint Timothy Lutheran Church talked about the fear of change. He talked about change in Biblical times (Jesus calling the fishermen to follow him, which meant that they were taken away from all that was familiar to them) and he talked about change in his own life. He said that he was working at embracing change. He was at Saint Timothy only temporarily, until the church hired a permanent pastor. He has since moved on.

Alicia and Joseph practice a song.

Storyteller Gretchen Murray Sepik brings history to life. She told the story of Mary Jemison to children at Huth Road Elementary School. Mary Jemison was born on a ship of Irish parents. She and her family were captured by Shawnee and the French during the French and Indian wars. She never saw her family again. She was given to the Senecas, with whom she spent the rest of her life. They adopted her and, eventually, she became known as Dehgewanus, “the white woman of the Genesee.” She has many descendants among the Senecas.

Carla Cline, pastor of Island Presbyterian Church, spoke at the last Lenten luncheon. She talked about our fear that God will not provide us with what we need.

Sue from the Zumba class at Grand Island Dance Center celebrates her birthday with the Zumba group.

A group of pastors at the ecumenical Good Friday service, held at Saint Stephen Roman Catholic church.

Easter at Saint Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church.

Dave Porter suggests to Allie Boron that they get photographed together, just the two of them. He surprises her by proposing marriage in front of many cameras.


Town Board member Beverly Kinney, Fahim Mojowalla (co-owner of the Island Ship Center, aka the “Spa of Shipping,” with his wife Seema), and Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray celebrate the grand opening of the expansion of the Island Ship Center on April 6th.

Presidential primary day was on April 19th. Here are my fellow election inspectors: Fred (bee keeper), Richard (who also likes bees), and Toni (a retired history teacher). They were a great group to work with. It was a good day, despite the oddly bizarre selection of candidates on the ballot.

Father Earle, the baby whisperer, baptizes a very calm child.

Jean and Paul Leiner and their daughter Betsy celebrate Jean and Paul’s 50th wedding anniversary.

Jean and Mary Stewart, a photographer for Isle de Grande, an online Grand Island news publication.


Music teacher Christine Clendening of Sidway Elementary School and composer Carolyn Laskay, who wrote a song called “My Grand Island.” It was performed by the students at Kaegebein Elementary School.

Author Brian Castner visited the Grand Island Memorial Library Book Club to talk about his book, The Long Walk. It’s about his experiences as a bomb disposal expert during the Iraq war and about how he adjusted to civilian life after leaving the military.

Author Sandra Block was the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Friends of the Grand Island Memorial Library. She talked about her books, Little Black Lies and The Girl Without a Name, that feature the neurology resident, Zoe Goldman, who is very tall and has ADHD and is really a great character.


Dance recital time! This is the Heist family.

This is me, preparing for my debut as a tap dancer.

In June, I did part of the De-incarceration walk, organized by Buddy Bell of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. This is Maya Evans, from England.

Maya and Sabia enjoying some relaxation time.

For several days, we stayed at a state park in Illinois. When we weren’t walking, we were relaxing outdoors. This is Jim and his instrument.

Here is Barbara Hoffman, a retired music teacher, who brought her guitar and led us all in a singing session. 

Here we are with the signs that we carried on the walk.

At a library in Illinois, Brian Terrell talked about how prisons are toxic and about how solitary confinement is considered torture by the international community. People are not meant to be isolated and, after fifteen days of solitary confinement, people begin to suffer psychological damage.

Kathy Kelly and a very young friend.

Sabia Rigby

Irene and her three daughters came from Colorado to do interviews, take pictures, and document part of our walk. This is one of Irene’s daughters with a special friend.

Ash and his wife Sarah arrived on a rainy day to bring us lunch, which we ate under a tarp.

Sarah brought a great variety of food.

Ash and his son Leaf.

Brian at the still-being-renovated Administrative United States Penitentiary Thomson (a super max), which he said will hold inmates in indefinite solitary confinement.

Buddy Bell speaks

A few of the young people who came to stand for human rights across the street from Thomson’s big prison.

Razia Ahmed, one of the walkers, speaks about human rights violations in her native Pakistan and here.

Sabia Rigby speaks.

A few weeks later, I was at Riverside-Salem Environmental Chapel in Grand Island for the “Music in the Woods” performance. Here is Nan Hoffman singing.

Carol Alt enjoys the music.

Kathy DeLoughry sings.

This is Vicki Ross. She is the executive director of the Western New York Peace Center. She is reading and enjoying the music.

Jon Rieley-Goddard, one of the co-pastors at Riverside-Salem, is very relaxed as he listens to the music. 

Val Niederhoffer smiles happily at some of her favorite music.

Suzanne Tompkins listens intently.

Lee Tetkowski listens intently.

Chuck Culhane offers a toast.

Tomorrow: conclusion of the Retrospective of 2016.

2 thoughts on “Retrospective of 2016: people (January through June)”

  1. Very nice retrospective on the year. You are a worthy documentarian, Alice, with interesting experiences that inform your perspective. Thanks for including my "mug" in the cavalcade!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top