Friday, November 30, 2007


The Royalton-Hartland facilities project was (in my opinion, justifiably) shot down by the voters a couple of weeks ago. So, last night the school board introduced a revised plan, costing almost half as much as the old one. Here's a snippet from the Lockport Union Sun & Journal's story about it:

The $8.3 million cost of the new project, up for a vote Jan. 17, is less than the first project, which was voted down last month by residents. The money is available through state aid and will carry no cost to residents, unlike the old project which required a tax increase of 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

The new project will be missing some of the additions from the first proposal, such as a new field house for athletics and physical education. A few residents did not like that.“It’s sad it was voted down, and it is a fallacy to think the field house was a luxury,” said Dave Huntington of Gasport. “There is a small gym, and it is a mistake to take it off the table. It is not a luxury, it is a necessity.”

The project will keep the 10 new classroom additions to the elementary school for Orleans/Niagara BOCES. Superintendent Paul Bona said the classrooms would cost the district nothing and be fully “self contained.” BOCES would have its own people and be paying for separate utilities. The project also will keep all of the regular repair and maintenance items for the elementary, middle and high schools. Updating science and some art rooms are also part of the new proposal.

To read it in its entirety, go here:

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Here's an interesting webpage about a Gasporter - the late John O'Neill - who was a great pilot back in WWII against the Japs. Good stuff:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


As many of you know, the town of Royalton has been working in conjunction with Camoin Associates in the creation of a strategic plan for Gasport, with a focus on economic development. The development of this initiative is a major moment in Gasport's history as it sets the gameplan for - and expectations of - what Gasport can become. Carmen and Juliana from Camoin will introduce this plan to the community at large at the Royalton Town Meeting on December 10th.

In the meantime, you can have a sneak peek at the strategic plan. The documents are available for downloading (in PDF format) here: (23 pages)

and (26 pages)

Please take a look at them. Your input is a valuable part of this process (and Gasport's tomorrow). If you have any concerns or comments, please e-mail them to Carmen Lorentz at:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The 22nd annual Christmas Cupboard craft show is this weekend, Fiday, November 30 through Sunday, December 2. Times are 9:30 to 9:00 Friday, 9:30 to 5:00 Saturday and 9:30 to 4:00 Sunday. This event will take place at St. Mary's Catholic Church on West Ave.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007


New York State and the Department of the Interior have announced the availability of $600,000 in funding to protect private grasslands. The area of concern covers the Eastern half of Niagara County, so if you have a field/pasture in Gasport that you'd like to maintain for at-risk creatures, visit the DEC website here:

Here's what they are trying to save (from the DEC site):

Habitat loss and degradation have resulted in sharp declines in grassland bird populations in New York since 1966, according to the 2nd New York State Breeding Bird Atlas (BBS) survey data. Affected species (with percent annual change) include Henslow's Sparrow (-14.7 %), Grasshopper Sparrow (-9.0 %), Vesper Sparrow (-8.5 %), Upland Sandpiper (-6.3 %), Horned Lark (-5.1 %), Eastern Meadowlark (- 5.0 %), Savannah Sparrow (-2.4 %), Northern Harrier (-2.5 %), and Bobolink (-0.3 %). The net result has been an astounding 80-99 % decline in abundance of each species in just four decades. These species, specially Henslow's Sparrow, Upland Sandpiper, Grasshopper Sparrow, Short-eared Owl and Eastern Meadowlark are area-dependent species, meaning that they need large unbroken expanses of grasslands to thrive and reproduce. How much grassland habitat do these species need? The answer to this question is unclear and appears to depend on several other factors such as location, shape, surrounding habitats, and vegetative composition. However, as a general rule, grasslands need to be at least ten acres in size to offer appropriate habitat for at-risk grassland birds in New York.


Yesterday the wife and I went to "Always Christmas" at Standish-Jones Hardware. For as often as I go to S-J I never ventured upstairs to the Christmas shop until yesterday. I was impressed.

For those who have never been there, the whole second floor of Standish-Jones is a Christmas-themed store all year long (hence "Always Christmas"). It's really quite the sizable layout and they have an impressive amount of anything and everything Xmas...ornaments, lighting, scenes, candles, villages, tree accessories, wrappings and more. It's worth a stop while on your holiday travels.

For those who are out of town and unfamiliar with Standish-Jones and want to know how to get to there, the store is located in the heart of the village. If travelling from Route 31, turn north onto Main St (Gasport's traffic light). Just before you would cross the lift bridge, turn right onto Telegraph Road (at the Canalside Inn), take your next right (Central Ave.). Standish Jones is just across the railroad tracks. There is more than enough parking in the stone lot at the intersection adjaecent to the store.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Starting this Tuesday Gasport's first ever Holiday Mitten Tree Gift Drive begins.

There will be an 8-ft. tall Christmas tree at the corner of Main St. and Route 31 on which will be placed cardboard mittens with the age and gender of needy Gasport kids. To help these kids have a wonderful Christmas, you are to take a mitten, buy a gift and then drop it off (unwrapped), with the mitten attached, at the Gasport elementary school or Absolut Care before December 7th.

This great program is possible thanks to: the Gasport Lions Club, Absolut Care, Becker Farms, and the Gasport school.


With current board member Richard Lang being voted in to the supervisor position there's now an opening on the board. This position will be board-appointed and the newly elected board will select the individual whose term will run through the 2008 calendar year. All interested parties should submit a resume to the town hall. The deadline for submission is December 3rd.

Friday, November 23, 2007


While other people were out shopping on the day after Thanksgiving I was out in the woods, fulfilling my second amendment rights and filling my freezer...

Thursday, November 22, 2007


A few random flakes have fallen here and there in the past week, but Thanksgiving Day saw the first real and measurable snowfall of the season in Gasport. Jack Frost is back....


The town of Royalton's board adopted its 2008 budget, to the tune of $5.1 million. This will causes property taxes in the town to rise by almost 6%. That's significant (twice the rate of inflation) but not even remotely close to the nightmare we saw last year (67% increase).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Black bears are in the move in Western and Central New York. Populated Monroe County, never a haven for bears, has been inundated with sightings and captures this year. Last month a bear was caught in Braddock's Bay, another was seen a few times on the Brockport College campus, yet another was caught and tagged with a transmitter (which he subsequently broke).

It is not a stretch to say this very sudden exodus will continue and soon put bears near Gasport.

Orleans County is vastly rural, offering these transient bears a great home area. The Alabama Swamps are prime real estate for them. So, they could call that and Royalton's Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area their home and before you know it...they are in our backyards.

I will bodly predict a Niagara County sighting occurring by the end of 2008.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Below is a news release from Congressman Tom Reynolds office from October of 2005. Does anyone know when this work will occur? I have heard nothing about it.

Today, Congressman Thomas Reynolds (R-Clarence) announced $680,000 in funding for the reconstruction of Orangeport Road. The road was used as a detour during the rehabilitation of the Gasport Lift Bridge.

"Orangeport Road will be entirely reconstructed from Slayton Settlement Road to Route 31," Reynolds said. "With widened lanes, stabilized shoulders for pedestrians and bicyclists, and better drainage, the overall condition of Orangeport Road will be much improved."

The construction will also help create jobs for the local economy as well as improve resident's access between Route 31 and Slayton Settlement Road.

"I am glad that I can help residents more easily travel to their jobs and get their weekend errands done," added Congressman Reynolds. "Also of importance is that this funding will help create jobs for the local community."


Gasport Chiropractic was recently featured in an article in the Greater Niagara Newspapers:

Chiropractor one of few to get insurance backing

Gasport is a small town, but it’s the site of some big news in the field of chiropractic care.

Today, Dr. Aaron Pazik of Gasport Chiropractic & Wellness will become one of the first chiropractors in Niagara County in two years to be accepted by BlueCross, BlueShield and Univera. Most chiropractic care isn’t covered by health insurance companies.“It’s a huge benefit to people in this area,” Pazik said. “I’m also the only one east of Lockport in the whole county.”

Read the article in its entirety here:

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Congratulations to Gasport farmers Gary & Sue McCollum. Saw this in today's Buffalo News...

Gary and Susanne McCollum of Gasport were recently honored as the 2007 4-H Distinguished Award Winners at the annual meeting and dinner of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County.

The McCollums, who own and operate a dairy farm, have been long-term supporters of and leaders in the Niagara County 4-H program. They were both active as youth members of the Orangeport Rangers 4-H Club and have continued their love and support of 4-H throughout their lives. The McCollums’ 4-H tradition continues today with their grandchildren.

The McCollum family has given financial support to the 4-H program, has donated equipment for dairy exhibitors and donated straw for animal bedding at the fair, even in years when the straw crop was poor. They also have been ready and willing to help out on short notice, contributing the use of farm equipment and operators to prepare the tractor pull area at the fairgrounds.

The McCollums also are active in the Holstein Association, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, the Western New York Land Conservancy and the American Farmland Trust. They were also instrumental in forming the Committee to Save Farmland and were successful in preventing the loss of prime Niagara County farmland to a railroad right-of-way.

A plaque with the McCollum coat of arms will be on permanent display in the auditorium of the 4-H Training Center at 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


The mass hysteria that surrounds Hillary Clinton would like everyone to believe that she's the first woman to run for President. Wrong! It's been done a Gasport native no less! The first woman to appear on the presidential ballot (back in 1884) was Belva Lockwood.
Here's her history from

Lockwood, Belva (Ann) (1830–1917)

Lawyer and activist. Born Belva Ann Bennett on October 24, 1830, in Royalton, New York. Active in the women’s rights and peace movements, Belva Lockwood fought hard for the right to become the first woman to argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. As a teenager, Lockwood married Uriah McNall. At the age of 22, Lockwood lost her husband and was left to care for their daughter alone.

Belva Lockwood worked as a teacher as a means of supporting herself and her daughter. She also sought to improve her own education, graduating from Genessee College in 1857 with a bachelor’s degree.

In 1865, Lockwood moved to Washington, D.C., where she became active in the fight for equal rights for women. Painfully aware that women made less money than men doing the same job, Lockwood lobbied for a bill that would give federal employees the same salaries, no matter their gender. The measure passed, and she decided on a career in the law. Also around this time she met and married Dr. Ezekiel Lockwood.

Denied entry into law school because she was a woman, Belva Lockwood studied privately with a member of the administration of the National University Law School and earned a law degree in 1873. As a lawyer, she continued to break gender-related obstacles. At the time, women were not allowed to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court. Lockwood tried twice to remove this restriction. In 1879, she got Congress to pass a law that allowed her appear in front of the highest court in the nation.

As part of her work for women’s rights, Belva Lockwood ran for president of the United States in 1884 and again in 1888 as the Equal Rights Party candidate. She told voters that she would improve the rights of women and minorities. While not a serious contender in either race, Lockwood helped inform a wide audience about issues important to her.

In addition to women’s rights, Belva Lockwood worked on peace efforts and minority rights. She served as a delegate to several peace conferences in Europe in 1880s and 1890s. In one of her most famous cases, she appeared in front of the Supreme Court on behalf of the Cherokee people regarding money owed to them from the U.S. government. In 1906, Lockwood won a $5 million award for her clients.

Throughout her life, Belva Lockwood spoke out on important issues, such as equal rights, minority rights, and suffrage, and fought hard as a force for social change. She died on May 19, 1917, in Washington, DC


Waterfalls are destinations. Whether the falls are big or small people love them and travel for miles to see them. We have two of them in Gasport and one fellow, Scott Ensminger, who runs a website that looks at all the waterfalls in WNY has reviewed both of them. To read his thoughts, follow the links below...

Otto Dam and Falls (Red Creek at Slayton Settlement Rd)...

Friday, November 16, 2007


Last night the citizens of our school district we're able to vote their opinion on expansion. Some snippets from the Lockport Union Sun and Journal...

The 2007 Royalton-Hartland Central School District Facilities Project is dead.

Residents voted 385-331 against the renovation and expansion project that would have raised taxes approximately 17 cents more per $1,000 of assessed value. The total cost for the project would have been about $15 million, with most being covered by state aid. The amount after the aid would be about $1.4 million, which is the amount that residents would be responsible for and paying through the tax increase. Superintendent Paul Bona said the district will try to find out what parts of the project residents did not like.

Read the article in its entirety here:


A heard a rumor again this week. It's probably the umpteenth time I've heard it. Some people think Tri-Town Ambulance's headquarters on Route 104 was built with taxpayer money. To nip that rumor in the bud once and for all: The facility (built two years ago) was NOT funded with state grants, federal grants or any sort of taxpayer money. It was purchased using Tri-Town's own funds acquired from their ambulatory services. The only grant money that was aquired for anything facility-related was dedicated to the generators.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


On Wednesday night I and approximately two dozen concerned/caring citizens attended a workshop concerning the development of a strategic plan for Gasport. This workshop was facilitated by professional economists Juliana Pyron and Carmen Lorentz of Camoin and Associates, an economic development agency. These two did a great job in preparing the necessary information & action plans and facilitating the event, which was stage two of a three-step process.

In Part One, conducted over the past few months, they had met with this group, sent out surveys to residents, had some one-on-one interviews, and met with elected officials in an attempt to glean from people in the community their expectations for Gasport’s future.

From this brainstorming endeavor they pooled together the best and most commonly declared concerns for what occurred on Wednesday…a narrowing-down of the alternatives for Gasport’s future. All in attendance were able to vote for their priorities amongst the many that were in a variety of categories like economic development, tourism, marketing, and quality of place.

During the next meeting…December 10th at the Royalton Town Hall…Juliana and Carmen will share the results, which will then define the path we as a community should take.

From all that has occurred it has been determined that the key to Gasport’s future is tourism, whether it’s based on the Erie Canal, the wine trail, or agri-tourism. I’m looking forward to seeing how all of the attendees ranked the action items necessary to get us to success in that realm. This really is an exciting process...we’re talking about Gasport’s tomorrow!

One thing that came out of Camion’s minds was a “brand” for Gasport, a slogan that makes Gasport identifiable. I like what they chose, it’s quite fitting….

“Gasport, the smallest and most charming place on the Erie Canal”


Deer season has been open for a few weeks now with archery hunters out and about. But, they are a minority...the day that most hunters consider the real Opening Day --- the first day of shotgun season for deer --- is this Saturday. So, the farm lanes and road sides of Gasports will be filled with parked vehicles all weekend as hunters are out in the fields and woods attempting to fill their freezers.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Gasport residents are blessed in that we don't have the "light pollution" so common to other areas. At night we can go out in the fields and actually see stars. The folks in places like Buffalo and its suburbs aren't that lucky.

Take advantage of it and check out the comet in our nighttime sky.

Last month Comet Holmes suddenly became visible to the naked eye...a VERY rare occurrence. The comet had a flare-up, meaning the ice that is coming off of it is reflecting the sun as it vaporizes. The comet is only 2 miles in size but its coma (the dust and gas surrounding it) is half the size of the sun!

To see the comet look at the Perseus constellation. The best way to find teh constellation is to use a planisphere. If you don't have one, go out before midnight and face the Big Dipper (low in the northern sky). Move your head to "1:00" and then crane it upwards as far back as your head can go. You will see a fuzzy dot in the sky. Look at it through binoculars....the difference between clarity and size versus the naked eye is significant. It's an impressive sight.

Do this soon as the scene may peter-out today, tomorrow or in weeks.


Royalton residents are not alone in their paying of higher taxes. The Buffalo News ran this story this past weekend...

Hartland budget has 10.1% hike in tax rate
By Teresa Sharp

Under the 2008 spending plan adopted Thursday by the Hartland Town Board, taxpayers will see a 46-cent tax rate hike per $1,000 of assessed valuation next year — the largest increase the town has seen in the 29 years Supervisor William Annable has been in office.

The hike translates into a 10.1 percent increase in the tax rate.

In Hartland, taxes will rise from the current $4.57 to $5.03 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in the town’s $2.7 million budget, Annable said, for a variety of reasons.

“We’ve been trying to update our water system and install automatic meters so we don’t have to go out and read them,” he said, “and that raised the water district tax from $1.80 to $2.20 per $1,000.”

It’s a one-time increase, Annable said, “and that was one of the biggest reasons for the hike.”
The supervisor said he was disappointed in the rate, “but I ran the numbers several times, and this is what I came up with.

“Maybe we should have done this in small increments over time instead of a big increase like this,” he said.

The town cut taxes 21 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation last year.

“I call this a bare-bones budget,” Annable said. “It doesn’t get any easier. There’s no place to get extra money from.”

The board unanimously approved the budget, which also includes a 3 percent, across-the board pay increase for town employees.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Two of Gasport's best celebrated milestone birthdays on Monday the 12th. Eunice Hernberger and Gerry Reynolds are key members of the Royatlton Historical Society, Eunice organizing their monthly programs and Gerry editing and typing the newsletter. Eunice turned 93 and Gerry turned 96! If you see these lovely ladies, wish them a happy belated birthday!


While you are voting "yea" or "nay" on the school expansion the district will be hosting a family fun night at the high school. See the informational postcard below.

Roy-Hart does it all the an activity like this on an election night. I really don't care for it. It's dirty, almost like influencing the outcome by pushing school pride. This same tactic was grossly apparent in the last budget vote when the Teachers Union served pizza to everyone. How do you think they wanted people to vote?

Can you imagine such behavior at a regular political election? The offending party --democrat or republican -- or candidate would be in really hot water.

Family fun nights are great....just have them on a non-voting night!


The Royalton-Hartland School District is holding a vote for facilities expansion this Thursday, November 15th at the high school from noon to 9:00 PM. In order to vote you need to have lived in the district for 30 days. Click the image below to enlarge it and read details about the project and its cost:

Monday, November 12, 2007


Town planners and Camoin and Associates will hold the second of three public workshops at the Gasport Fire Hall, Wednesday, November 14th, at 7:00pm. The strategic plan will address economic growth and development of the community. The purpose will be to finalize a vision and a list of potential revitalization actions for the Hamlet of Gasport. Please take this opportunity to help shape the future of Gasport.

Click the image below to see the flier....

Thursday, November 8, 2007


This is big news for all of the farmers (the heart and soul) of Royalton and Hartland: At last night's meeting the Niagara County Legislature passed a much-need Right-To-Farm bill. Here's a snippet from the Greater Niagara Newspapers....

The right-to-farm law, introduced by Legislature Vice Chairman Bill Ross, C-Wheatfield, was created in response to concerns from farmers...who receive complaints from nonfarming neighbors who do not approve of smelly livestock or noisy farming equipment. Under the new proposal, farmers and nonfarmers will be afforded the opportunity to have disputes resolved by the county’s Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board. The law also requires individuals wishing to purchase property near farmland to acknowledge the presence of farming activities and waive their rights to object to them. In addition, the law gives farmers added protection from having to pay for costly legal expenses in civil cases where the courts rule in their favor.


There's a community-wide food drive taking place now through November 18th. This will benefit the Gasport Ministerium, a food pantry run by the churches of the village. You can drop off your donations at the elementary school and Absolut Care.


The Terry's Corners Fire Company is having its 48th annual turkey party this Saturday, November 10th, starting at 7:00 PM in the fire hall. Admission is free, as are the beer, soda, and snacks. Their will be raffles galore for turkeys, prime ribes, booze, baskets, and hams.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Without a doubt this was the most hotly-contested election cycle in Royalton's history. After the state comptroller's office brought to light numerous issues of psuedo-corruption and property taxes rose by over 70% people wanted a change and many wanted to make a difference. The town now has a new leadership in place following yesterday's elections. The winners are:

Dick Lang, town supervisor
Jennifer Bieber, town council
Brad Rehwaldt, town council
Jim Budde, town council

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Here's a story for the Lockport Union Sun and Journal, recognizing Ian Perry....

Army captain receives Purple Heart
By April Amadon

It’s the kind of phone call a parent never wants to get.

When the phone rang at William and Teresa Perry’s Gasport home in late April, their son, Army Capt. Ian Perry, on the other end. Ian was calling from his hospital bed with some grim news. Ian, on his second tour of duty in Iraq, had been seriously wounded during a rocket attack on his forward operating base. The blast severed an artery and cut into a nerve bundle in his right arm and left him without the use of one of his eyes.The injuries were severe enough that Army chaplains had given Ian his last rites. Fortunately, he recovered enough to make the phone call to his parents.“(He said) he had a bad day,” William recalled.

Ian — attached to the 10th Mountain Division, Second Brigade, 1/15 Field Artillery, based at Fort Drum — has received treatment and rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.Ian was awarded the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars at a ceremony Oct. 26.

“We’re very, very proud of him,” Teresa said, though both Ian’s parents said the pride they feel pales in comparison with the relief they feel at having him back safe.“No matter what the injuries were, we were just so happy that he was going to be alive,” Teresa said.“We’re really relieved he’s OK,” William said. “Walter Reed has done miracles.”

Through physical therapy, Ian has regained some use of his arm, and he’s being treated for the injury to his eye.Teresa said the ordeal has brought the family closer together. Ian, a 1998 graduate of Royalton-Hartland High School, is the grandson of Vivian Pietroboni of Middleport and Joseph Perry of Barker, and his brother, Jeremiah, lives in Tucson, Ariz.

The army flew in Ian’s wife, Gilda, of Beni, Bolivia, to be by his side. He’s currently living at Mologne House at WRAMC as an outpatient.

Teresa said the family has received a lot of encouragement from the community.“He gets letters from people across the country praying for him,” Teresa said. “There’s a lot of support here for the families and the soldiers.”