Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

March 19, 2014

Newfane hospital finding public support

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NEWFANE — The fight is on to save Eastern Niagara Hospital’s Newfane facility from a perceived threat of closure.

There’s a two-pronged movement in support of the Newfane hospital, led by community members who are using everything from social media to business signs to spread the word. There’s even an online petition that’s been signed by 156 people as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.

A Facebook group of more than 1,400 people has sprung up. More than 200 attended a Monday night meeting where local supervisors and community leaders from Newfane, Cambria, Wilson and Somerset met to discuss how to save the hospital from a feared closing.

And for those who are supporting the hospital, the mission is simple, according to Debbie Bartenstein.

“Our role is to show why this hospital needs to be maintained,” she said. “We can’t let sentiment get in the way, even though it tugs at the heart strings.”

On the government’s end, local leaders are looking for a way to preserve the William Street site.

Newfane Supervisor Timothy R. Horanburg called for the rescue of the Newfane hospital, as well as a change in Eastern Niagara Hospital management.

In front of a standing room-only crowd Monday night at Town Hall, Horanburg read a letter he wrote to Niagara County residents explaining the situation with the Eastern Niagara Hospital’s Newfane site, formerly known as Inter-Community Memorial Hospital.

Eastern Niagara CEO Clare Haar has made some “horrible, irresponsible financial decisions,” Horanburg charged.

“There needs to be a change in management and we need it now,” he said. “Make the board of directors wake up and do the right thing.”

Horanburg said residents will have a chance to speak at a public meeting to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Miller Hose Volunteer Fire Co. hall, 6161 McKee St.

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