Sunday, August 31, 2008

ROY-HART RAMS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

9/5 JFK 7:30 p.m.

9/12 AKRON 7:30 p.m.

9/19 NIAGARA CATHOLIC 7 p.m.

9/26 at Wilson 7 p.m.

10/3 at Gowanda 7 p.m.

10/10 CLEVELAND HILL 7:30 p.m.

10/18 at Nichols 2 p.m.

ERIE CANAL PHOTO CONTEST

Entries are now being accepted for the 2008 Erie Canalway Photo Contest. Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit prints and digital images through September 15, 2008. Winners will be announced in October and the top 12 winning photos will be displayed in the 2009 Erie Canalway calendar, with special recognition going to first, second, and third-place in each of four contest categories.

2008 Photo Contest Categories:

Category 1: For the Fun of It...The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor offers fun for all ages, including cycling, boating, walking, festivals, fishing, and more. Capture people in action enjoying the Canalway Corridor.

Category 2: Canal Culture...Photograph what makes canal towns unique, including art and music, signs, hometown hospitality, and other community connections to the canal.Category 3: Historic Architecture and Engineering MarvelsCapture the distinctive architecture, engineering marvels, and canal structures of historic downtowns and along the water.

Category 4: The Nature of the Canal...Photograph the landscapes, wildlife, and plants of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Photos must be taken within the boundaries of the National Heritage Corridor, which is comprised of the Erie, Oswego, Cayuga/Seneca, and Champlain Canals and surrounding communities.

Deadline for entries is September 15, 2008.

For information and entry forms visit:

http://www.eriecanalway.org/photocontest.asp

Saturday, August 30, 2008

MARCY COLE VS. THE COPS (AGAIN.....)

From the Lockport Union Sun & Journal...

GASPORT: Former teacher has another encounter with the law

GASPORT — The former fourth-grade teacher currently facing her fourth charge of driving while intoxicated in 14 months has had another brush with the law. Marcy L. Cole, 35, of Main Street, Gasport, is not facing any new charges in connection with an incident in Gasport on Wednesday night.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to West Avenue for a report that a woman had flagged down a passing motorist asking for assistance. The motorist, an East Avenue man, told deputies Cole told him she had been beaten up by her boyfriend. Cole reportedly asked that the man take her home. The man said when he told Cole he was employed by a local law enforcement agency, she refused to get in his car.

When deputies arrived, Cole was reportedly sitting by the side of the road in the grass, visibly upset, disheveled and crying, with a strong odor of alcoholic beverage on her person, the report said. Cole reportedly told deputies her name was Melissa, but would not provide a last name.

When deputies asked for her boyfriend’s name, she allegedly said, “You know who the (expletive) I am. Everyone knows who the (expletive) I am. You guys are a bunch of (expletives) and are out to get me.”

Cole reportedly had a bruise on her elbow but refused medical treatment, asking deputies to take her home. Deputies told her to stand up and walk to the patrol car, and Cole reportedly requested the deputy “sit down with her in the grass for a while," the report said.

Deputies told her to get into the patrol car so they could take her home, and she got up, the report said. She reportedly stumbled on the way to the patrol car, falling into the car’s side mirror, bending it back. She allegedly told deputies she would let them take her home, saying, “That would be OK. Do you want to come in and go upstairs with me?”

Deputies brought Cole home, and when she got out of the patrol car she reportedly extended her arms, requesting a hug. When the deputy said no, Cole then requested a handshake, which the deputy gave, the report said. Cole allegedly went up the stairs to her apartment, saying, “You guys are a bunch of (expletives).”

Cole was arraigned last month in Niagara County Court on an 11-count indictment, including: three counts of felony driving while intoxicated, two counts of first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, endangering the welfare of a child, following too closely, speeding, resisting arrest, second-degree criminal impersonation and a taillight violation. The charges bring together three separate DWI cases from Royalton and the Town of Lockport.

Cole’s most recent arrest, on June 16, yielded her fourth DWI charge in 14 months. Cole, who is out on $10,000 bail, will be required to wear an monitoring device on her ankle as a condition of her release.

She had been a fourth-grade teacher at Roy B. Kelley Elementary School until January, when she was suspended with pay. The Lockport school board accepted her resignation in June.


Source: http://www.lockportjournal.com/local/local_story_242215623.html

ELSIE PASSES AWAY

One of Gasport's oldest and most-recognizable citizens - someone who was always there for the community - passed away on Thursday. Here's Sherrie-Bream Funeral Home's obituary about Elsie Eccher, who was 91....

Elsie Harriet (nee Otto) Eccher, age 91, of Gasport, died on Thursday, August 28, 2008 at her home. Born September 12, 1916 in Gasport, she was the daughter of the late Howard and Jenny (nee Castle) Otto.

She graduated from Gasport High School in 1934 and from the Nursing School of the University of Rochester in 1938, where she worked for several years. She married William Eccher in 1940 and lived in Ferndale, Pennsylvania from 1945 until 1977, where she reared her two sons and helped with many nieces, nephews, and foster children. She had also worked for many years in the familyowned Jeep dealership as a bookkeeper and secretary. She generously donated her nursing skills to sick and injured friends and relatives, including helping some terminally ill people to stay at home. She volunteered in polio immunization and blood donation clinics.

Since 1978, Elsie lived with her sister, Loraine Otto, in the ancestral home in Gasport, with occasional visits to her grandsons in Maine. She was a lifelong member of the Gasport Covenant United Church of Christ singing in their choir, teaching Sunday school and contributing in many ways to the life of the church. She read books to children at the elementary school and was a member ofthe Gasport Historical Society.

She was predeceased by her parents and husband. She is survived by her sister, Loraine Otto, her son James Eccher, Esq., of Ferndale, PA and her son Dr. Stephen Eccher and his wife Cynthia of Waterville, ME. She leaves two grandsons: Dr. Matthew Eccher and his wife, Dr. Jenice Robinson of Hershey, PA, and Daniel Eccher and his wife Dr. Brigid Mullally of Oakland, ME, and two great-grandchildren: Jonathan and Meredith Eccher-Mullally.

Elsie was a kind, loving and generous person. She will be sadly missed by many friends and relatives and her devoted circle of care givers: Donna Rice, Larry Steimer, Terri Bedford, Susan Clute, Sharon Gibson, Bonnie Hanssen, and Geneva Johnson.

Family and friends are invited to the Sherrie-Bream Funeral Home, 4521 Main Street, Gasport for visitation on Friday from 6-8 pm. Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 11:00 am at the Covenant United Church of Christ, 4449 Gasport Road, Gasport with the Reverend Jackie Thompson officiating.

Interment will be in Ferndale, PA. Memorial donations may be made to the Covenant United Church of Christ or to Niagara Hospice would be appreciated. The family would also like to thank the staffs of Lockport Memorial Hospital and Odd Fellow and Rebekah Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, Inc., for their care.

AN EMOTIONAL VICTORY FOR THE GASPORT WEBSITE

A few weeks back, a woman who once lived in Gasport asked that I put out a message to help her find a friend she had not seen or heard from since their days at Roy-Hart Jr. High almost 20 years ago.

Well, this week, I was able to reconnect them, much to their delight.

In the past, something like this might take years - especially with one living in Ogdensburg and the other in NYC - but modern technology makes thing like this somewhat easy.

So, if you, too, would like to find a former Gasport resident, let me know and I'll post a message here. It works.

Friday, August 29, 2008

GASPORT WOMAN GETS PROBATION FOR MEDICAID FRAUD

The Buffalo News reports....

Probation ordered in Medicaid fraud

A woman whose home health care company defrauded the state of $323,000 in Medicaid reimbursements avoided jail time Thursday in Niagara County Court. Diane Fernandez, 53, of Chestnut Ridge Road, was placed on three years’ probation so she can continue to support her four children and make restitution payments, Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza said. The longest jail term she could have received was one year.

Fernandez had pleaded guilty June 11 to second-degree offering a false instrument for filing, while her company, TBI Services, entered a plea to fourth-degree grand larceny. Sperrazza gave the company an unconditional discharge. TBI Services “is defunct, has no assets,” defense attorney Charles Steinman said. “It would be futile in nature for the court to impose any fine.”

The company was set up to provide home care and personal assistance, such as shopping, to those with brain injuries. Sperrazza said she received dozens of letters supporting Fernandez. “She did actually provide amazing service, but on the money side of it, she got greedy,” the judge said.

A joint investigation by the state attorney general’s office and the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General found that during 2005 and 2006, TBI employees were directed to create records of fictitious service calls so Medicaid could be billed for them. Sperrazza called it “thievery.”

“Some of the people who wrote these heartwrenching letters don’t realize that. They see you as this Joan of Arc figure,” the judge told Fernandez. “You were stealing, pure and simple.”

Fernandez and the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Gary Baldauf of the Buffalo Medicaid fraud unit, declined to comment on the sentencing. Baldauf said in court that Fernandez had agreed to release $250,754.89 that the state Health Department was holding for her company to be released as part of the restitution, leaving her owing the state $72,700.11.

Sperrazza ordered Fernandez to repay at least $1,000 a month. A probation officer had recommended a $4,400 monthly payment, but Sperrazza said with four children and a husband and a $40,000-a-year job, such a payment level would merely set Fernandez up for a probation violation.

Source: http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/niagaracounty/story/425988.html

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

BONA'S RETIREMENT

Today's US&J features this article about Roy-Hart's superintendent...

ROY-HART: Bona to retire June 30, 2009

When the upcoming school year ends, Paul Bona will ride off into the sunset and retire from his post as Royalton-Hartland School District superintendent. Bona announced Tuesday he will be retiring at the end of the 2008-09 school year, after serving as superintendent at Roy-Hart for more than 10 years.

Hired in February 1998, Bona said he has planning on retirement for years. He wanted to do it in 2008 when his son graduated from Roy-Hart, but the district asked him to return for the upcoming school year. “I was supposed to retire last June, and they asked me to stay on a little while longer,” he said. The school board and Bona negotiated an additional year to the contract.

Bona said he has been in the education field for 38 years, and at the end of the school year he’ll be ready for what’s next in his life. “I have other things I want to do,” he said. “I’ve put my time into education. It’s time to move on.”

Before coming to Roy-Hart, Bona spent about 10 years as superintendent at Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School District in Elizabethtown, N.Y. Bona said improved academic programs and the district’s financial stability were among Roy-Hart’s accomplishments that he was proud of during his tenure. “The quality of the educational programs improved dramatically,” Bona said. “We have been recognized locally, regionally and as well as at the state level for the achievements of our students.”

The finances of the district are in order, Bona said, including a state audit that said Roy-Hart was in excellent condition. The district has also faced several years of external auditing that have found the district has maintained its finances well. Roy-Hart has also seen a number of infrastructure improvements while Bona has served as superintendent. Among them a sports complex behind the Middleport district campus, removal of the arsenic-tainted soil, new fields at the elementary school and the renovating of all three schools in the district. Roy-Hart residents passed an $8.3 million capital project in January that will provide maintenance and repairs to all three schools in the district and provide an addition that will house an Orleans/Niagara BOCES program in the elementary school. The project included upgrades to the high school science and art rooms, new generators and regular maintenance items to Roy-Hart Elementary, Middle and High Schools.

Bona said he will miss two things about being superintendent at Roy-Hart. When asked he answered quickly with two words. “The students,” Bona said. “Our whole reason for being there. Not seeing them on a daily basis. Of course working with an excellent and very competent faculty and staff.”

As far the future is concerned, Bona said there were a number of things out there for him. He said possibly he would get into education consulting, but there were also family businesses to focus on. Bona’s last day will be June 30, 2009, according to a statement released by the school district.


Source: http://www.lockportjournal.com/local/local_story_240013545.html

ROYALTON ACCEPTING BIDS FOR SCHOOL DRAINAGE PROJECT

Town of Royalton, New York
Owner

Sealed bids for furnishing and delivery of materials to be incorporated into the project and to furnish all labor, equipment, and tools for the Emerson Place Storm Sewer Installation Project in the Town of Royalton will be received by the Town of Royalton, the Owner, until Tuesday September 9, 2008 at the Town of Royalton, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, NY 14105 until 11:00 AM and then at said office publicly opened and read aloud.

Copies of the proposed Contract Documents, Plans, Specifications and Instructions to Bidders may be examined at the Town Clerk’s Office and at the office of the Engineer. TVGA CONSULTANTS. One Thousand Maple Road, Elma, NY 14059. Copies may be secured from TVGA upon payment of $50.00 per set of documents which shall be in the form of two (2) checks each for one-half of the deposit. Checks shall be made payable to Town of Royalton.

The envelopes containing the bids must be sealed and addressed to Town of Royalton, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, NY 14105 and must be designated as “Bids for Emerson Place Storm Sewer Installation Project”.

Any bids not delivered in person shall be mailed to the Town of Royalton, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, New York 14105.

Any bidder returning such Plans and Specifications in good condition within 30 days following the award of the Contract or the rejection of the bids, will be refunded the full amount of the deposit. Similarly non-bidders will be refunded one-half the deposit. Material suppliers and anyone returning the Plans and Specifications before the bid opening will also be classed as non-bidders. Any bidders requesting more than one (1) set of Plans and Specifications may purchase the excess, but it is understood that they are not returnable.

The Town of Royalton is an exempt organization under the Tax law and is exempt from payment of Sales and Compensating Use Taxes on materials which are to be incorporated into the project and which are to be separately sold by the Contractor to the Owner prior to incorporation into the project, pursuant to the provisions of the Contract. These taxes are not to be included in the bid.

The Owner reserves the right to waive any informalities or to reject any or all bids.

Each bid must be accompanied by a non-collusive certification and a certified check of the bidder in the amount of 5% of the bid (made payable to the Owner) or a bid bond prepared on the form of bid bond acceptable to the Owner, duly executed by the bidder as principal and having as surety thereon a surety company approved by the Owner in the amount of 5% of the bid. Such checks or bid bonds will be returned to all except the three lowest bidders promptly after the opening of bids, and the remaining checks or bid bonds will be returned promptly after the Owner and the accepted bidder have executed the Contract, or if no award has been made within 60 days of bid opening, upon demand of the bidder at any time thereafter, so long as he has not been notified of the acceptance of his bid.

Marie Little, Town Clerk
Town of Royalton, New York

#L07513942
August 26, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

BONA TO RETIRE

Royalton Hartland School superintendent Paul Bona has announced that he plans to retire at the end of June. More to follow....

LOOKING FOR INFO ABOUT COL. TERRY

I received this e-mail...

"I have been trying to find out information about who I believe is named Colonel Terry. I think he was the person that Terry's Corners was named after. I have tried to Google it and have no luck at all."

If you can help him, send him an e-mail to: harold24915@yahoo.com

Monday, August 25, 2008

SPACE STATION FLY-BYS


The International Space Station will be passing over Gasport a few times over the coming days.

It's a unique sight and much more visible than you'd imagine: the upcoming sightings will range from -1 to -2.7 magnitude. A -1 magnitude object is as bright as the brightest star. -2 magnitude objects are as bright as planets.

Here's where and when to look:

August 27th: 5:57 AM, SSW

Aug 29th: 5:18 AM, SSW

Aug 30th: 5:44 AM, WSW

Aug 31st: 4:39 AM, ESE

Sept 1st: 5:06 AM, WNW

These passovers last only two minutes at a time, so keep your eyes peeled.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

COYOTES ON THE DECLINE

For a decade or so ending in early 2007 the sound of coyotes calling one another was a very common sound in Gasport's darkness. This is no longer the case.

For the past year the town has been silent. It seems that except for just a few of them, the coyotes are gone. The evidence can be seen, as well, in their food chain: rabbit populations are on the rise and I've been seeing quite a few woodchucks, a critter that was almost eliminated locally by the once-common canines.

Is this a result of a natural population fluctuation? Or, has the band of coyote hunters who go from block-to-block all winter been that effective?


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SUMMER IS UDDERLY FINISHED

Gasport's popular ice cream destination, Udder Delights, has closed for the season.

Monday, August 18, 2008

CATHOLIC KIDS RALLY THIS WEEKEND

A Catholic Youth Rally for Niagara and Orleans County teenagers will be held on Saturday August 23rd from 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM at the former St. Mary’s Church on West Ave. The event is for youth in grades 7 to 12.

The day includes: music, “Amazing Bible Race”, Can-Jam, Volleyball, a Spaghetti dinner, a speaker and an outdoor mass. The night will end with a bonfire.

For more information or questions call (716) 735-3520.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

ANY OPINIONS ON THE HARTLAND MOTEL?

I received the following in an e-mail today....

"Coming to your area on vacation from Gettysburg in September. Looking for information about the Hartland Motel. Is it a place that you can recommend? I like small family owned and run motels. My main concerns are cleanliness, comfort and friendly owners."

I am unable to answer his question. I've never heard anything....good or bad...about the Motel.

If you've ever had friends and family stay there, please send me an e-mail regarding what they thought so I can share it with our future visitor. My e-mail is bobconfer@juno.com

HUNTING LICENSES GO ON SALE MONDAY

Hunting and fishing licenses for the 2008-2009 season go on sale Monday, August 18th. There is typically a rush in the first week of sales as people try to get Deer Management Permits (doe permits) before they're gone. Be aware that Region 9 (in which Gasport lies) will have less doe permits available this year.

The town hall is open from 8:00 to 4:00. If you can't make it during those hours, there's always Wal-Mart or the NY DEC via 1-86-NYDECALS. Good luck in getting your tags!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

BO KNOWS BOXING

An article from the Lockport US&J....

LOCAL BOXING: Bilicki named Ring 44 ‘Man of the Year’
Gasport man known for historic memorabilia collection

GASPORT — You can almost hear Bo Bilicki’s deep voice singing backups each time his cell phone goes off and the “Rocky Theme” plays. The song is more than a special ring tone to the Dale Road man, it’s his way of life. Boxing is, after all, at the core of Bilicki’s heart and soul, and his lifetime of work, though outside of the ring, has been in some ways more significant than the careers in the ring he celebrates.

But typically, Bilicki, 54, known in local boxing circles as an extremely gracious and modest local fight historian, will accept tonight’s prestigious award as Buffalo Veteran Boxers Association Ring 44 “2008 Man of the Year” in stride. The 12th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner is slated for 6-11 p.m. at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, 6461 Transit Road, Depew.

“I’m honored they’ve even considered me for this award,” Bilicki said. “It’s great, but it’s awkward too. I’m used to giving people things, not accepting them.”

What began as a hobby more than a quarter century ago has evolved into one of the most celebrated and sought-after collections of Western New York boxing memorabilia ever comprised. Bilicki’s attic is a virtual local boxing museum, featuring thousands of photographs, posters and articles that feature local boxing greats from the last century, including Lockportians Jimmy Duffy, Tony Ventura, Dick Loadman and Tommy Hicks. The artifacts aren’t just part of some extravagant collection, however, as Bilicki periodically takes the items out and showcases them at various venues, making new friends and fans where ever he travels with them.

“Bo is a very modest person and low-keyed guy, but his dedication to boxing and the tremendous leadership by example that he provides as a long time member of Ring 44 is a great continuance of the prestige that he and previous award winners contribute to the history of the prize,” said Jack Green, Ring 44 president.

Bilicki has been a boxing fan since his childhood when he used to watch Gillette Friday Night Fights. He soon began collecting any boxing memorabilia he could find, beginning with one of his favorites, autographed items by Max Schmeling.Among his biggest passions is collecting and preserving the history of fighters from the Lockport area. His displays include impressive 1912 original posters of Duffy and pictures and programs from the Hall of Fame careers of Hicks and Ventura.

“Boxing people are a special breed of people who have a great deal of respect for one another,” Bilicki said. “What gives me the most satisfaction is the appreciation of people when I repair a photo of their fighter or I do a collage of a family’s fight history or just give someone a piece of fighting history that interests them.”

Boxers slated for induction into the hall tonight include welterweight Rocky Cudney. Others to be inducted are lightweights Harris Blake and Bobby McQuillar, welterweight Gene Poirer and middleweight Neal River, all deceased. Buffalo’s Wendy Casey will be honored as “Amateur Boxer of the Year.” Among those expected to attend tonight’s Hall of Fame dinner is former Welterweight champion of the world Carmen Basilio and former heavyweight contender Baby Joe Mesi.

Source:

http://www.lockportjournal.com/sports/local_story_227223323.html?keyword=topstory

Friday, August 15, 2008

MORE GASPORT BLOGGINGS

One of the "must reads" for me every week in the newspaper is Lynnmarie Donner's Towpath Partyline column in which she writes about anything and everything Gasport/Middleport. As a part of its online presence, the Lockport Union Sun & Journal offers blogs by their writers. Lynnmarie has one that you should check out daily. It's like an enxtension of her column. Here's the link:

http://lynnemarieseveryday.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

C.E.R.T. COURSE AVAILABLE IN ROYALTON

Town councilwoman Jennifer Bieber sent us an e-mail about a great program she plans to offer at the town hall....

For those of you who aren't familiar with CERT training, it is a Community Emergency Response Team. I am working on getting a training course at our town hall, to include Hartland and the Village of Middleport. Training is 100% free and is offered to all residence ages 16 and older. I think it is an amazing opportunity to be able to volunteer and help a neighbor or community in need. I have posted information on the town website under the public safety section. Please take a moment to check it out and look at the CERT handout pdf file that lists all the training they do. It also gives you the time requirements. If you are interested, please sign up on line, we are limited to about 50 people. I have included the link on the website for applications. Please spread the word if you know others who would be interested. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me or email me.

Jennifer's e-mail address is: jenniferbieber@rochester.rr.com

The time commitment to this class would be 1 day a week in the evening for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, for 8 weeks. The final, simulated disaster drill usually takes place on a Saturday.

For info about the CERT training visit:

http://www.niagara.edu/bordercommunityservice/

To register, visit:

http://www.niagara.edu/bordercommunityservice/online-registration.htm

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

BICYCLISTS STOPPING BY GASPORT

A couple of bicyclists biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine will be making a pass through Gasport this weekend. You can check out their "Portland To Portland" blog here:

http://pedal4produce.blogspot.com/2008/08/want-to-send-us-something.html

Say "hi" and welcome them to our fair town if you see them!

A WILD ACCIDENT IN GASPORT

Last night there was horrible accident in Gasport. Luckily, no one died.

Two women were driving down 31 near the Yellow Goose when a pick-up truck with four men came right at them, head-on...the truck was passing another vehicle on a solid line. The car was thrown off the road by the collision and it took emergency personnel up to a half hour to get the poor women out.

The jackasses in the truck took off immediately after impact, but luckily a fireman responding to the scene saw the damaged vehicle driving down the road and followed them to Sandpit Road where the cops caught two of them. I don't know if the other two were caught.

I'll assume they were one of three: young kids, drunk, or Mexicans.

More to follow as details come out.

RECAP OF LAST NIGHT'S TOWN MEETING

The Lockport US&J offers this report....

ROYALTON — Residents will be given another chance to extend the terms of key town officials to four years from two in the November election. Townspeople voted against the measure in 2004, and the current town board has decided to put the question on the ballot again this year. Separate propositions will seek voters’ permission to increase the terms of the supervisor, tax collector, town clerk and highway superintendent.

A public hearing on the proposal drew some outspoken critics Monday night. “I’m against it,” said Molly McGirr, who described herself as a voter who cares. “We’ve had problems with the supervisor in the past. We didn’t care for the way he didn’t keep the books. And we had a lot of problems in the town. The oversight of the supervisor is so important and the only (people) to do that are the voters.”

Councilman James Budde noted that he doesn’t have a horse in this race, since council members already have four-year terms, but feels the voters should get a chance to decide.

Deputy Supervisor Jennifer Bieber concurred. “It’s not a decision I should be making,” she said. “It’s a decision to go to the voters. If they don’t want it, so be it. The option should be theirs.” Bieber noted, however, that the positions of the town clerk and tax collector are better served with continuity. She said most clerks in the state have four-year terms.“Your clerk is pretty consistent and it’s a job that’s very regulated,” Bieber said. “She has specific things she has to do and she can’t do. The tax collector is also very regulated.” Bieber added she thinks it will be up to the supervisor, tax collector, town clerk and highway superintendent to campaign to extend their own terms.

Al Wroblewski of Royalton Center Road doesn’t favor increased terms of office.“If you’re doing your job, you’ll be re-elected. It should not be on the ballot.”

McGirr insisted oversight comes from the voting booth.“If the supervisor is not honest and forthright, we don’t know that until we discover them. The only way to get rid of him is to vote him out of office. I don’t want him sitting there for four years making trouble. ... The last four years, it reinforced the reason for turning it down.”

In other town business:

Bieber reported that copies of the annual Financial Report Update Document for the 2007 fiscal year have become available to the town. The 123-page AUD will be available through the town’s Web site, TownofRoyalton.org; and paper copies will be available at the town hall for $10.The town has been criticized by auditors for its bookkeeping procedures. “We had so much trouble this year. We’re just getting our AUD in August,” Bieber said. “Really, we’re not in that bad of shape, thankfully.”

Dennis Kalbfleish complained that some ditches in the town have not be cleaned in 30 years and asked about eminent domain. He said he’s been trying to get the main line ditch cleaned from Chestnut Ridge Road through several farm properties to the reservoir on Freeman Road, but not all affected landowners will consent to the cleaning.

“We have to go around to our neighbors and con them into it,” Kalbfleish said. “As a taxpayer, I don’t think I should have to go to my neighbors to sign petitions. If he doesn’t want to do it, we’ve got a problem.”

Royalton is a relatively flat town and drainage is a major concern with all the rain this summer. Farmers can’t harvest hay because the fields are too wet.

“He has a ditch he needs cleaned out,” Bieber said. “It would be nice if everybody was neighborly. We want the water to flow right. We get people who are opposed and don’t want to sign an easement.”

Kalbfleish said the ditch on one side of the road has not been cleaned in 35 years and he suspects the other side has never been cleaned.“I’ve got hay I can’t get off my fields,” he said. “I buried a tractor. The ground is too soft to cut hay. It’s grown up and died off.”


Source: http://www.lockportjournal.com/local/local_story_225102654.html

Monday, August 11, 2008

ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT FOR NATIONAL GUARD DONATIONS

Absolut Care of Gasport is collecting donations for the 27th Brigade's Humanitarian Support Mission for Afghani Orphans. This drive ends this Friday, the 15th.
You can drop off your donations at Absolut's lobby. Items they are looking for are....

For the Afghani kids: school supplies, kids' clothes

For the 27th Brigade: Personal hygiene items (small size), ready-to-eat foods, reading material

MOTORCYCLE STOLEN

From the Buffalo News....

GASPORT — A Harley-Davidson motorcycle valued at $13,000 was stolen from an unlocked garage on Rochester Road between Thursday and Sunday while the owner was out of town, Niagara County sheriff’s deputies said Sunday. A black DOT motorcycle helmet also was taken. Other valuables inside the garage were left untouched, deputies said.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

PUBLIC HEARING TOMORROW ON TERM LIMITS

The Buffalo News reports....

The Royalton Town Board will hold a public hearing at 7:15 p. m. Monday to consider lengthening the terms of office for the town supervisor and three other elected officials from two to four years.The board will also consider extending the terms of the town clerk, highway superintendent and tax collector.

After gathering public input, if the board adopts a local law changing the terms, the matter will go to a referendum during the Nov. 4 general election.

“The newer members of our board suggested this,” said Supervisor Richard J. Lang. “I understand both sides of it. Some would like the supervisor and others to run every two years and be accountable. Others believe in a four-year term because with a two-year term, by the time you get familiar with the position, it’s time to run for office again.” Lang defeated incumbent Supervisor Calvin W. Rhoney last fall for a two-year term.

Town Clerk Marie Little said a similar proposal to extend the terms of office was voted down in 2004. The elected offices of the Town Board and town justices already carry four-year terms in Royalton. Supervisors with two-year terms lead the majority of towns across Niagara County. In addition to Royalton, they include Lockport, Wilson, Newfane, Somerset, Lewiston, Wheatfield and Pendleton. Supervisors in the towns of Niagara, Cambria, Porter and Hartland serve four-year terms.

Last November, voters in the towns of Lockport and Wilson defeated similar propositions to lengthen terms of office for the supervisor post.

Source:
http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/niagaracounty/story/411471.html

BOB TRUAX HAS PASSED AWAY

Bob Truax was a well-liked and highly-respected individual who was always involved in serving the community. He did a lot of good for Gasport. Bob passed away on Thursday. Here's the obituary from Sherrie-Bream's website:

Robert Edward Truax, age 78, of Gasport, entered into rest on Thursday, August 7, 2008 at Lockport Memorial Hospital. Born February 21, 1930 in Lockport, he was the son of the late: Perry R. and Mary A. (nee Snediker) Truax.

Robert was married to Ida Mae "Cindy" Miller on August 18, 1956. They had been married for 52 years. Bob worked as a pipe fitter for Local #129, Plumbers and Steamfitters of Niagara Falls, NY retiring after 40 years. He had also worked at Niagara Textile in Lockport. He served his country in the US Army from October 1, 1948 until June 13, 1952. He spent 44 months in Germany with the U.S. Constabulary Troopers and was discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Bob was a member of the Royalton United Methodist Church where he served asTrustee, past master of the Gasport Masonic Lodge #787, past patron of Gasport Eastern Star #153, past president of the Royalton Historical Society, member of the Hartland Historical Society, Member of the American Legion Post #410, Local Union #129 retirees club and the U.S. Constabulary Association. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He also enjoyed playing golf and bowling.

Bob had lived in Gasport all of his life. Loving husband of: Cindy Truax. Dear father of: Lance (Kathy) Truax of Sebring, FL, Wayne (Patty) Truax of Lockport and Lisa (James) Murphy of Newfane. Grandfather of: Shane (Heather) Truax, Tara Truax, Jennifer, Jay and Joel Murphy, Theresa and Christopher Baker and Kimberly Truax. Great-grandfather of: Madysen Truax and Brooke Truax. Brother of: Jeanette (Egbert)Hamminga of Olcott, Harold (Ann) Truax of Lockport, Richard Truax of Rochester, Norman (Barbara) Truax of Lockport and the late: Dorothy (Leonard) McCabe, Ruth (Michael) Delplatoand Kenneth Truax. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Family and friends are invited to attend visitation at the Sherrie-Bream Funeral Home, 4521 Main Street, Gasport on Saturday from 7-9 pm and Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9 pm. Funeral Services will be held on Monday at the funeral home on at 11:00 am with the Reverend Bob Franke officiating. Interment will be in Acacia Park Cemetery, N. Tonawanda, NY. Memorials appreciated to: Opportunities Unlimited.

Friday, August 8, 2008

ROY-HART GETS A NEW PRINCIPAL

The Buffalo News reports....

Board hires principal, OKs three-year contract

The Royalton- Hartland School Board hired a new principal to run Royalton-Hartland Middle School and approved a three-year labor pact with the district’s secretarial and clerks union during a special session Tuesday night.

School Superintendent Paul J. Bona Jr. said the board hired John Fucina, an assistant middle school principal from the Lake Shore School District, to head the middle school at an annual salary of about $85,000. Fucina replaces Jarad Taft, who left that post to become an elementary principal in the Lackawanna School District in Erie County, Bona said. Taft had been an assistant principal and a principal at Royalton-Hartland Middle School for the past three years.

The board also gave the nod to a new contract with Royalton-Hartland Civil Service Employees Association that will give the district’s 10 secretaries and clerks a $1 per hour raise in each of the next three years. In return, the union has agreed to have its members pay 20 percent of their health insurance premiums, Bona said.

Source: http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/niagaracounty/story/408318.html

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

ROYALTON'S JULY MINUTES

The RoyaltonTown Council's July minutes can now be found online:

http://townofroyalton.org/content/MinuteCategories/View/9:field=minutes;/content/Minutes/View/74

Among the items of interest was this:

PUBLIC HEARING FOR CHANGE IN TERM LIMITS
Resolved to call for a Public Hearing on Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7:15 PM to hear and consider the change of term limits from two (2) year terms to four (4) year terms for the Supervisor, Town Clerk, Highway Superintendent, and the Tax Collector. Attorney Thomas Brandt presented the proposed Local Law forms for this resolution to the Town Board Members. This issue will go before the voters in the November 2008 General Election.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

GASPORT MAN RULES THE DIRT TRACK

Motorsports website WhoWon.com reports on Gasport resident Don Barnes....

Barnes on the Brink of Major Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Series Success

WEEDSPORT, N.Y. -- When a DIRTcar Championship Series event comes to your home track, its easy to get caught up in the excitement of formulating lap strategy, speculating about track conditions and ultimately envisioning that elusive trip to victory lane.

Don Barnes is certainly looking forward to a return visit by the Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship trail to his weekly hangout on the Genesee County Fairgrounds, yet the Gasport, New York driver has only one thought in mind. And its the same one he harbors every time he pulls into the pits no matter what the occasion.

“Just be consistent and smooth,” said Barnes, who turned 37 last week, and is fresh off his first career triumph in tour competition at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on July 3. “I never really look too far ahead, just take one race at a time. Hopefully, I’ll get some better luck this year and things will work out a bit better.”

“I usually wait until hot laps and the heats to put together a plan. After that my driving style is actually determined by the track that day, whether I need to be more aggressive or run conservative. I’ll settle for wherever I can finish, as long as I gave it my best shot,” noted Barnes, as he prepared for round three of the 2008 Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Series shootout slated for Genesee Speedway on Saturday, August 2.

After missing from the schedule last season, Genesee is back on the Mr. DIRTcar Championship trail. That bodes well for Barnes, although two-time reigning Mr. DIRTcar points king Pete Stefanski is also the defending track champion at the Batavia, New York oval and triumphed the last time the tour was in town in 2006.

“I’ve definitely watched (Pete) a lot and learned from running behind him, but I told him someday it will be my time to get by for the win,” revealed Barnes, who has already taken a pair of checkered flags this year at Genesee; ironically four-time winner Stefanski settled for second both nights. Western New York standout Stefanski once again tops the track standings followed by Mike Martin (3 wins) with Barnes holding down third --- his final ranking at Genesee in 2007.

“Pete’s a veteran and I try to run just as smooth and be as consistent as he is. He’s definitely a talent and been around awhile so he knows what it takes. I feel I’m getting close to that point as well. The key to Genesee lately has been patience on a slick track but I think being cautious running with the laps cars will be the biggest challenge on Saturday,” said Barnes, who finished eighth two years ago at Genesee when the event was held in September.

A life-long race fan with his roots taking hold around the area dirt track circuit, Barnes launched his own career in 1997 competing in the Street Stock division at nearby Ransomville Speedway. Despite witnessing the exploits of Big-Block Modified stars like brothers Alan and Danny Johnson during his infant years, he remained a staunch supporter of the full-fender ranks where he has since emerged as a solid contender during the newest millennium.

“I’m very content running a Pro Stock today, for me its an economical class and I have no plans to land an open-wheel ride,” declared Barnes, who was first introduced to stock car racing by his Newfane High School football teammates, the Kramp brothers. Ten years later, his no. 28 Original Pizza Logs-Action Race Parts & Fabrication-backed Pontiac GTO/Black Widow is recognized as one of the cars to beat in the Mr. DIRTcar title chase. “I always wanted to work on something and be able tweak things myself as I’ve been raised around the dirt tracks my whole life.”

“I’m a firm believer in the crate (motor) program. Power is costly, its still the chassis set-up that’s most important as you have to get through the corners to make a difference. To keep this division going there should be just one set of rules and freeze them. And with so many stock classes out there it would be nice to combine a few and make it easier for drivers to move up from the entry level,” Barnes figured.

Barnes has quickly made his way through the stock ranks, placing 27th in the final overall 2005 Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock standings before blossoming into a tour regular during the ’06 (11th-place, 2 top-10s) and ’07 (5th, 1 top-5) short-track campaigns. He opened the 2008 Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series with a 16th-place finish in a borrowed ride at Can-Am Motorsports Park in April before posting the memorable win at Rolling Wheels to kick off July.

“I’m looking forward to Genesee but I also can’t wait to get back to some other tracks too, I pretty much like them all when I’m running well,” added Barnes, who is employed as a Concrete Finisher Foreman for the Signature Design Group based in Amherst, New York. “I’ll be at all the Canadian shows and the banking at Cornwall makes it one of my favorites right now. The super wide sloped turns make Fulton another fun place to get around and Rolling Wheels is a great track that fits the way I like to drive. I can’t wait to get back to Canandaigua, it’s a real challenging layout but there’s obviously nothing like the Syracuse Mile. The next couple months will be filled with as much travel as racing so it can’t get much better than that.”

Source: http://www.whowon.com/sResults.asp?SanctionID=204&StoryID=254544

ROY-HART MENTIONED AT THE LOVE CANAL ANNIVERSARY

This e-mail was sent to us by Julianne Rizzo....

Sue Hughes, former Roy-Hart Board Of Education VP, delivered a brief speech in Niagara Falls tonight as Lois Gibbs and her Center for Health, Environment and Justice presented the "Four Love Canals of Today" in our region. Middleport's FMC pesticides and landfill are listed along with the rolling of molten uranium at Bethlehem Steel for the Manhattan Project...CWM Landfill in Porter, and West Valley. Below is text from the big Love Canal 30th Anniversary Observance tonight in Niagara Falls, attended by activists along with Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, State Senator Antoine Thompson, and Assembly members Francine Delmonte and Crystal Peoples:

Sue Hughes' Remarks:

Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the unprecedented decision by the NYS Department of Health, to declare a state of emergency at Love Canal. Those of you who lived through this nightmare, had no way of knowing, you would soon become the poster children for thousands of communities across the county. You showed us that together we can move mountains.

The small community of Middleport NY gives the impression of a picture perfect town. Visitors, take a step back in time to a simpler life in this quaint canal side Village. Last year, Business Week Magazine, chose this community from a pool of applicants as the 11th best place in the country to raise kids. The criteria used for this was a combination of schools, cost of living, recreational activities and crime rateĆ¢€¦ But what Business Week didn't know was, there's an elephant in the center of town. That elephant is FMC, one of the largest chemical companies in the world. No where on the application does it ask if you have a class II hazardous waste facility in the center of town. It also doesn't ask, if the community has been in a constant state of environmental investigation and remediation, for the last 25 years with no completion date in sight.

FMC purchased its Middleport facility from the former Niagara Sprayer in 1943. They expanded it to become a major production and research facility of pesticides and various chemical products for residential, commercial and military use.

In 1946, they conveyed most of a 20-acre site, previously used for pesticide manufacturing and testing, to the Royalton Hartland Central School District for $1. This parcel of land is just 100 feet from the current FMC plant site. The deed that conveyed the property states that FMC has the right to cause dust, fumes and by-products resulting from present or future operations to drift over and become deposited on the premises in perpetuity. This property is still occupied by the school district and houses grades 5 - 12 from the surrounding 78 square miles.

Although the exact location is still unknown, Agents Orange and Purple were formulated and tested for the Department of Defense, on several acres of land near the plant. The facility was responsible for several massive wildlife kills in the 60's and 70's due to its disposal practices. In 1975 it was responsible for one of the largest bird kills on record, resulting thousands of birds literally falling from the sky, after drinking from one of the company's wastewater ponds. In 1984 just weeks before the Bhopal India disaster that killed thousands, a spill of the same chemical caused the evacuation of the adjacent school. Dozens of students and teachers were treated by rescue workers and local hospitals. The companies list of accidents is extensive and continual. As recently as 2005 a demolition project rained contaminated dust on students outside for gym class.
In 2006, the school District underwent a vapor intrusion assessment. CHE's Stephen Lester reviewed the results and shared his impressions with me. I'd like to share with you his thoughts, about how the regulatory agencies used an outdated and unrealistic approach to interpret these tests, that no weight was given to the compounded affect of the multiple VOC's present, and that a single testing could not possibly give an accurate snapshot of what is actually occurring with the contaminated ground water under the schoolyard. Unfortunately, I can't. Within hours of receiving Stephens key points of concern, the school board was strongly encouraged to accept the agencies findings without question. If we continued to rock the boat, we could find ourselves in enough regulatory red tape that the financial implications could bankrupt the district. I was directed to stop all outside communications regarding the issue or risk being removed from the school board.

The powers that be in New York State had spoken, this school was safe!

In March of this year, FMC applied for authorization to build an above ground Corrective Action Management Unit or CAMU, on their site. This landfill will hold soil and debris from ongoing interim remedial work. This type of patchwork clean up will continue for properties, deemed too contaminated to wait for a final remedial plan, as directed by the 1991 RCRA order of consent. I'm normally a huge fan of polluters taking back their own waste, but in this case, the waste would be stored 100 feet from the school athletic fields. These same athletic fields were remediated less than 10 years ago due to extensive arsenic contamination. Records indicate the contamination was due to air deposition and surface water runoff, and yet the schoolyard continues to be located down hill and down wind of the proposed landfill. Our main focus in the next few months will be to stop this CAMU from being constructed. How can anyone justify land filling contaminated debris, considered to be a public health threat, this close to a schoolyard? At what point does the State step up and say no, we won't allow this risk with our children? Haven't we learned that landfills and schools don't mix?

New York State needs to take a stand for these children. Send a clear message that their health and safety is the top priority?

Communities across the country are prohibiting sex offenders from living within 1000 feet of schools. Drug possession within 1000 feet of a school is a felony. Bringing a weapon of any kind onto school grounds is a felony. We fingerprint and run criminal background checks on all school employees. We require parental notification of pesticide applications. And yet, if you have a federally regulated facility, you can build a landfill with a politically correct name, to hold material too hazardous to leave in place, 100 feet from a schoolyard!