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Letters to the editor for the week of Aug. 16, 2012

Fond farewell to Highland Garden Shop

Editor, The Sun

As we ride to the Fair this August and down South Park, it will be sad to note this will be the final year we will ride past the famous Highland Garden Center. A place the Southtowns residents have driven by for years, since most of us were very young. We would see that famous Statue of Liberty out front or endless rows of bird baths or statues that adorn the yard and wonder what’s behind those gates?

Many years ago I shopped for a statue for my parents and only at Highland Gardens was the Saint to be found. Ahead to the 90s, was I not to become friends with Delia Becker, the present owner of the shop. I learned so much history about the shop from Delia and I imagine there is so much more if those gnomes could only talk. Her dad, Dominick Visone, worked on statues in almost all the churches in Western New York, and his artwork adorned gardens all over the city. He was a master artist.

What most people don’t know of this little treasure is the generosity of this family, the Visone-Beckers are always there to donate to fundraisers throughout the area, and their statues are often given to those whose events and charities make a difference to so many.

So as Delia turns out the lights and empties out the garden, it will be a sadder trip to the Fair next year. No more color garden balls, or ornate fountains. Blasdell and South Park will be losing another piece of history. Good luck Delia, I am glad I got my head planter and BVM when I did. Thank you for the memories.

Mary Anne Dains

Thank you to Ray Helmicki for a great concert

Editor, The Sun

The Hamburg community, and especially all local veterans, owe a big thank you to Ray Helmicki for presenting another great concert in Memorial Park on Sunday, Aug. 12. For the third year in a row, Ray has brought the stellar Beatles and British Invasion group The BBC Band to the Village of Hamburg for an evening of top notch music in honor of all veterans and those in the military.

Ray takes on this responsibility completely on his own, raising money for the band, printing posters and taking care of all the logistics himself. He does a spectacular job, and deserves our thanks as well as our support for next year’s concert.

The large crowd witnessed an extremely talented band give a spectacular three-hour performance. I know the band enjoyed playing for such an appreciative and festive crowd.

As a veteran, I want to personally thank Ray for his tremendous efforts on behalf of all veterans, their families and the community.

Jim Koelmel




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