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Foundation for International Cooperation

Regional Contacts - Niagara Frontier, NY.

The Niagara Frontier Chapter has 16 active members. We live in the Metropolitan Buffalo area, about 25 miles from Niagara Falls, New York.

From the Fall 2015 NewsNotes

The chapter has had two outings this Fall. Wilma Shanley's sister led us on a three hour tour of Old Fort Niagara where she is a docent. It was after school had started so we had the place almost to ourselves. The fort's history goes back to the French and Indian Wars. It has been occupied by the British, the French and the Americans. Each has left its mark. The State Park Service has done a remarkable job of restoration in the last few years. Anyone planning a trip to Niagara Falls might consider this for an interesting add on.
For a number of years now we have taken an "international" trip to Niagara-on the-Lake to see a play and walk the beautiful flower- lined streets. This fall the play was "Sweet Charity". We reserve tickets when they first go on sale in January. If any of you would like to join us next fall, just let us know. We will probably pick a musical again.

From the Summer 2015 NewsNotes

Our February get-together featured a famous Buffalo fish fry followed by a performance of the Hound of Baskerville. In March a group of us worked on the flower bouquet sale for Hospice, our annual outreach activity. We will soon plan our spring Soup Supper and welcome back our snow birds who fly to Florida each year.
Of the 12 (so far!) FICers on the upcoming Danube trip, seven will be from our chapter.
We look forward to our October visit to Niagara-on-the Lake.

From the Winter 2015 NewsNotes

In August. the chapter explored the dozens of grain elevators on the Buffalo River. Our narrators for the two hour boat ride gave us a wonderful history of the days when Buffalo was in its glory and the river was filled with ships carrying wheat from the midwest.

The Buffalo River is much in the news these days. What is said to be the one of the largest solar panel factories in the world is being built on a bend in the river just beyond the last elevator. The river is being dredged and landscaping is going in on the shoreline.

Governor Cuomo has pledged a billion dollars to revitalize Western New York and much of that is going into this area. Buffalo is experiencing a rebirth. (1500 people went skating down town one day last week on a refrigerated section of the Erie Canal where it empties into Lake Erie. The rink is three times the size of the one at Rockefeller Center in New York City!)

When Mary Spradlin led the trip to China in 2002 we visited Sun Yat-Sen University in Guagzhou. The arrangements for lunch and a tour had been made by Eileen Yang although she had to be out of town that day. Over the years she and the Fopeanos have kept in touch by email. This September Eileen and her husband, Dong Min Liu, made a trip to the U.S. Mary Spradlin met them in Chicago and they stayed with the Fopeanos in Clarence, New York.

Eileen is an executive dean in the Investment Research Center of the Sun Yat-Sen University, Shenzhen Institute. She and her husband are interested in keeping a relationship going with FIC. Eileen is a graduate of Rutgers University and has a U.S passport. We hope to see them at a future FIC meeting.

Western New York was in the news again for a record setting snow storm. Some areas of Buffalo got as little as a foot but seven feet were recorded nearby. It looks like fun unless you have to shovel it.


(October 2014)

We gathered at the home of Ron and Lynn Lomanto in windmill country near Varrisburg NY for a pot luck fish fry with fish Ron caught in Lake Erie. Lynn is a member of a folk song group that has been entertaining in nursing homes and other local venues for a number of years. They seemed to have as much fun performing for us as we did listening. (Lynn is on the left, playing guitar)

(June, 2014)
The Hospice Spring Bouquet Sale has been the chapter outreach activity for 25 years. This spring, at the Buffalo General Hospital, our group sold 47 bouquets and12 vases. That was a small part of the $340,000 raised from the sale of 31,000 bouquets.
We look forward to a summer gathering and the October performance of Cabaret at the Niagara-on-the-Lake , Ontario Shaw Festival.

(January, 2014)
In response to a request by the Niagara Frontier Chapter, the Small World Fund made a generous gift to Vive, a local Buffalo organization which the chapter has supported. Vive provides a temporary home and legal advice for people seeking asylum in Canada or the U.S. It is the largest organization of its kind on the U.S. Canadian border.
The Piotrowskis hosted our summer dinner with lots of good things to eat. In July we visited Greycliff, the Frank Lloyd Wright house on Lake Erie. Our "international " trip took us to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see Guys and Dolls.

June 26, 2013...Summer potluck at Dan and Mary Ann Piotrowski's home. Lots of good food. Voted to make contribution to Vive, Inc.

April 4, 2012...Open World delegates Drs. Andrey Rachin and Konstantin Yakunin share info on Smolensk, Russia

July 2011...A good turn out for dinner on the shore of Lake Erie.

December 8, 2010. Our Christmas party was held in the Gardener's Cottage of the Darwin Marrtin complex designed by Frank Lloyd Wtight. Kathy Dolan is a docent for the complex and won the opportunity to have the party there in a drawing. She and two friends stayed overnight. No reports of ghosts.  Photo by Anne Gavin

Niagara Frontier
Happy Anniversary!

By Ethel Fopeano

Twenty-five years ago a new chapter of FIC, the Niagara Frontier Chapter, was formed in the Buffalo area.
Dan and Maryanne Piotrowski, Bob and Darlene Harris and John and Ethel Fopeano met with Dave and Irene Horst to begin the new group. Since then, others have joined but the nucleus has remained the same. Sixteen present members will gather in July for a festive dinner to celebrate this anniversary.
The group has had many interesting activities over the years. Some are international; we visited Toronto in Canada, the Shakespeare Festival and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. We hosted visitors from France, Finland and Russia, and entertained guests from Ecuador, China, Japan, Korea, Ukraine and Australia. Members of our group have participated in FIC trips to China, Israel, Russia, Egypt, Malta, Iceland, India, South America, London, the British Isles, Mexico, Spain, Nova Scotia, Australia and New Zealand, Ecuador and the Galapagos. Danube and Russian cruises, and also many domestic tours.

We have hosted two national FIC Annual Meetings. Other activities include trips to Falling Waters near Pittsburgh, Seneca Falls and the Women's Rights National Historical Park, the Wine Trail, a canoe trip, and cultural activities at the University of Buffalo such as India Night. We held Great Decisions discussions for a number of years. International projects include a school in Afghanistan, Cows for Kenya and a women's incentive program in Nicaragua. We have supported local projects such as food pantries, the Ladies of Charity, and the annual Hospice Flower Bouquet Sale.
We are a comparatively small group. We have gained some new members and lost some. (And we miss them!) Thanks to our loyal members, we hope to keep going for a while longer!


We were hosts for the 1998 national meeting of FIC which was attended by 49 out-of-town members. We found home stays for all of them.
We have been visited by individuals or groups from France, Russia, Finland, New Zealand and India. A number of us were hosts for Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Ecuadorian graduate students studying at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Olena Kuznyetsova and Olha Chuyeva visit with members of the Niagara Frontier Chapter.  Olena and Olha are education administrators in the Ukraine, selected by the Library of Congress "Open World" program which is coordinated locally by the International Institute of Buffalo.(April 19, 2010)

We meet again in Dave and Wilma Shanley's back yard for our annual summer picnic. (August 09)

April 29, 2009, Bob Poczik spoke to the local group on his experiences in Japan. A fitting topic for those going to Japan this fall.

August 20, 2008 picnic in Wilma and Dave Shanley's garden. Plans made to host Board Meeing in October.

Niagara Frontier group photo

Recently, Darlene Harris, chairman of our chapter steering committee, hosted a summer picnic at her home for members of our group and guests to honor Father Nicholas Obiero from Kenya. He is pictured in the back row of this group photo. Fr. Nicholas. a Passionist priest, was studying at Loyola University in Chicago. He told us about his work with young people. He spoke of the devastation of AIDS on his family, his country and Africa. In June he return to to Kenya and is in charge of the program for students in the last year of their preparation for the priesthood.


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