BY RICK PFEIFFER
It’s not the first time that vandals have struck the memorial for Jennifer Bolender, but this time may have been the worst.
Sometime between April and last week, someone appears to have taken a hammer or similar tool and used it to try to pry off or smash a marble memorial plaque that marks the spot where Jennifer died. Her mother, Tina Balsano, couldn’t believe what she saw.
“It’s frustrating,” Balsano said, standing next to the damaged memorial. “I was aggravated and just shocked. There’s some sick individuals out there.”
The plaque is attached to the wall of a LaSalle Expressway overpass. The walkway, where prosecutors said Bolender was “slaughtered” by three other teenagers in 2002, has been named the Jennifer Bolender Memorial Overpass by the state Department of Transportation.
“It helps us to remember her,” Balsano said wistfully.
In addition to the plaque, flower arrangements, stuffed toys and notes hang on a fence that encloses the overpass. The freshness of the flowers on Thursday afternoon was a testament that many still come to the memorial.
“It’s nice that her friends still come here and do this,” Balsano said. “It makes you feel good, knowing that people liked her and remember her.”
Balsano, who has moved from the Falls since her daughter’s death, said she went to see the memorial on a visit to the Falls in April.
“Everything was fine then,” she said.
Back in the Falls for another visit, earlier in August, she decided to again come to the memorial. Jennifer, 16 at the time of her death, would have turned 20 years old on Aug. 10.
“I didn’t come up then,” Balsano said. “I didn’t come up on her birthday because I came up to talk to her and remember the good times. I don’t like to remember the bad things, it reminds you of the sick individuals who did this.”
BY RICK PFEIFFER
- Local News
- Falls finest recognized during city hall ceremony What a difference a year can make in the life of a Falls police officer.
- Depetris will get new lawyer in attempted murder case Timothy Depetris will get a new lawyer and then decide if he wants to change his guilty plea to attempted murder and other charges stemming from the shooting of his brother-in-law.
- Falls Planning Board OKs plan to sell of vacant fire hall A vacant North End fire hall is one step closer to being renovated and returned to the tax rolls.
- 'Coffee with a Cop' event being held May 2
- District outlines cuts|Niagara-Wheatfield budget plan cuts six elementary school positions, $88K from athletics Residents finally know what's being cut in the proposed 2014-15 Niagara-Wheatfield School District budget. And after severe cuts to staff and programs the previous two years, there was little left for district administrators to identify as chopping block material.
- Police investigating fire that destroyed City of Tonawanda home City of Tonawanda police officers are investigating a rapidly spreading fire that destroyed a single-family ranch home on Wednesday morning, authorities said.
Police hunting for illegal dumpers in Love Canal area
It as sure a sign of spring in the Cataract City as the return of robins and tourists.
- Schumer confident Buffalo Bills will stay in town U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is confident that the Buffalo Bills will remain in Western New York, the region the team has called home for 54 years.
- State budget includes $9M for projects at Niagara Falls State Park Niagara Falls State Park will receive the largest chunk of revenue dedicated to parks improvements in Western New York under the new state budget.
- Lew-Port board sets 2014-15 proposed budget at $41.2M Lewiston-Porter school board members made it official Tuesday, agreeing a $41.2 million budget proposal for 2014-15 is the best plan for all involved, including residents.
- More Local News Headlines