Friday, February 26, 2010


WLVL reports the following....

The Roy-Hart School Board voted Thursday night to close the High School Fitness Center to the public effective March 12. The 11 members will get refunds. The Board took the action because of falling revenues. The Center will stay open during the day for students.


This weekend you'll see a sight along the Erie Canal that you're not used to seeing during the frigid, snowbound winter months: Runners -- 43 in total -- competing against one another and Mother Nature on the towpath.

Long-distance runners from across the US and as far away as the UK will be converging on our area for a 100-mile run on February 27 and 28. Called the "Beast of Burden 100 Miler and 24 Ultra Marathon," it is an event organized by Lockport runner Sam Pasceri that will have runners go from Widewaters in Lockport to Middleport and back...twice.

This will be a gruelling event! 100 miles is tough. 100 miles in arctic weather...that's even tougher!

For more information, go to


Due to the snow and wind classes are canceled today at Roy-Hart

Sunday, February 21, 2010


From the pages of the Buffalo News...

GASPORT—Niagara County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 39-year-old man late Friday after spotting him riding a damaged snowmobile without a helmet.

The deputies were investigating a report of a snowmobile accident in the area of Ridge and Hartland roads shortly before midnight and spotted the damaged machine, with broken tree branches sprouting from its undercarriage, being driven on the shoulder of the road a short distance away.

Upon stopping and interviewing the driver, he admitted to having flipped the vehicle but said it was ““no big deal,” according to reports. He displayed signs of intoxication and was later found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.22 percent, nearly three times the legal limit.

Shawn T. Wilson, of Orangeport Road, was charged with operating a snowmobile while intoxicated and at an imprudent speed, leaving the scene of an accident and an equipment violation


Saturday, February 20, 2010


The folks at the Hartland Bible Church sent along some information about an upcoming event at the Church on West Ave. in the hamlet...

Award winning actor, Hunter Barnes, will present his highly acclaimed performance of the “Gospel of Mark” at Hartland Bible Church of Gasport on March 27 at 6:30 PM. With a few simple props, Hunter unleashes the words of the “first” Gospel into a captivating drama. Come hear the Gospel story like you have never heard it before. The event is free of charge to all who attend and a free will offering will be taken to support Compassion International’s Haitian Relief Fund. More information about the performance is available by calling Hartland Bible Church at (716)772-6115 or by visiting Hunter’s website at Come join HBC as we welcome Hunter Barnes and have your mind and heart provoked by the humor, emotion, and absolute force of this account of the life of Jesus the Son of God.

They also noted they are in the planning process for several large community events hosted at the church like car shows, chicken BBQ's, large comedian acts, and many youth activities as well.

For more information go to


There will be an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the Hartland Fire Hall on Sunday the 21st from 8:00 to 1:00. Homefries, sausage, eggs and beverages will be provided. Cost is $7/adults, $4/kids aged 3 - 10 and free for kids under 3.


A Gasport woman charged with stabbing her boyfriend to death Christmas morning pleaded not guilty to manslaughter Thursday in Niagara County Court.

Gwendolyn Garcia, 31, 8464 Ridge Road, was originally charged with second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon after she allegedly stabbed Randy Whitney, 38, her boyfriend of five years, in the chest with a steak knife.

Garcia is due back in county court at 1:30 p.m. April 15 for a pre-trial hearing.

Read the entire article here:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Today's Lockport Union Sun and Journal looks at some Gasport residents who don't care for Niagara Metals coming to town...

The Coalition for Clean Environment & Preservation of the Royalton Watershed hopes to block the Niagara Falls-based company from putting the scrapyard at the site of the closed LaFarge plant, 8720 Rochester Road. The group has spoken to a lawyer about its concerns.

“In actual reality, it is simply a junkyard,” according to the coalition that is concerned the introduction of contaminants at the watershed of Eighteenmile Creek will spill into neighborhood creeks and eventually Lake Ontario. “The town board has completely disregarded these environmental histories of our community.”

The article notes who are members of the Coalition...

LaFarge butts against the 10-acre property of Norman Wolcott on Telegraph Road. Glenn Whitmore, who lives on rental property on Mirror Lake, and Wolcott are the spokesmen for the coalition.

“My property is across railroad tracks, west of LaFarge,” said Wolcott, a Harrison retiree, who has lived on Telegraph Road since 1977. LaFarge was operating at the time he moved in.

“I could hear them and see them, once in awhile,” Wolcott said of LaFarge. “They weren’t dealing with pollutants.”

Among the dissenters are the owners of the villages's greatest attraction of the mid-1900s...

Tony Bermudez, who owns Mirror Lake with his wife, Barbara, attended the town board meeting and the zoning board meeting where the application was approved. Mirror Lake was once a popular summer spot for tennis, swimming, boating and picnics.

The coalition met Feb. 10 with a lawyer. “We feel that it is not going to benefit homeowners to have a scrapyard, junkyard place in the area,” Bermudez said. “We are concerned there will be a lot more traffic on Route 31 near the school bus garage. There will be eventual water run-off and contaminants along the railroad tracks. It will overflow into tributaries of Eighteenmile Creek.”

The article is lengthy and informative and it addresses what will happen at the site as well as the town board's appreciation for Niagara Metals.

Read it here:

Monday, February 15, 2010


The ongoing crime spree that has victimized Gasport over the past two-plus years was taken to another level this weekend as WLVL has reported on air at 1340 AM and online at

Two convenience stores on the Eastern end of the County were targeted by armed robbers over the weekend.

The most recent happened just after 10:30 last night at Chapman's Food Market in Hartland. The night cashier says two young white males came in at closing time and threatened her with a black handgun. They demanded cash and then fled on foot in an unknown direction. Deputies are not saying how much was taken.

The first robbery took place just after 9:30 Saturday night at the Yellow Goose on Telegraph Road in Royalton. The clerk said she was cleaning the coffee area when a white male came in wearing a ski mask. He said, "don't make this any harder than it has to be," and pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at her. He told her to put the money in a black bag, which she did, and he left and walked around the corner of the store and went out of sight. Deputies found footprints leading to 7960 Telegraph Road where it appeared the man got into a car parked alongside the road. They found a cigarette butt in the snow nearby. The man was described as being about 5 foot 10 and weighed about 170 pounds. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with black gloves. About $300 was taken.


The Gasport, Hartland, Middleport Community Watch Group led by James Solomon will meet this Saturday the 20th from 10:00 AM to noon at the Hartland Town Hall.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


The Buffalo News reports on the status of Gwendolyn Garcia who stabbed to death Randy Whitney at the Hartland Hotel a month and a half ago...

Gwendolyn Garcia, who is charged with stabbing her boyfriend to death Christmas morning in Hartland, called 911 to report the incident and was guided through an attempt to save the victim’s life, the arresting officer said Friday.

Although neither attorney in the case would confirm it, that fact may have played a role in a Niagara County grand jury’s decision to downgrade a murder charge against Garcia to first-degree manslaughter.

The article goes on to explain the difference between the two...

Second-degree murder, which is what Garcia originally was charged with, is defined as intentional killing and carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

First-degree manslaughter is causing someone’s death while only intending to cause serious injury. The sentence for that is limited to 25 years.

The News also made note of Whitney's background....

(Officer) Weidel confirmed that there was a history of domestic violence reports against Whitney, who was a Rochester-area native.

“The majority of them were in Monroe County. They were just complaints, didn’t rise to the level of arrests,” Weidel said.

Read the entire story online -- complete with interviews with police and lawyers and analysis of what's next -- at:


"Hungry For More" is a blog at the Buffalo News that focuses on food and drink in WNY. On Saturday the blogger reported on the adventures of Gasport's Amanda Vizcarra...

Four Niagara County Community College culinary students are in Schenectady today representing the Buffalo area at the New York State qualifier for a student-level Iron Chef-type competition.

Representing the local chapter of the American Culinary Federation, Amanda Vizcarra of Gasport, Christy Zippier of Grand Island, Greg Madole of Lockport and Nathan Gatti of Williamsville have been practicing twice a week for the past four months. (Vizcarra, the manager of Vizcarra Vineyards in Gasport, has more experience than some culinary students, running a series of well received "100-mile radius" dinners last year after her Family's Becker Farm.)

They'll produce four portions of four dishes: seafood, salad, entrée, and dessert, all with the clock ticking. They'll also demonstrate classic knife cutting skills under the scrutiny of accredited culinary judges from around the Northeast. If they win, the team advances to the regional contest in Hershey, Penn. in March.


Saturday, February 13, 2010


Friday's Lockport Union Sun and Journal focused on this financial situation which has hit our district...

MIDDLEPORT — Like so many school districts across New York, the Royalton-Hartland School District has some work to do with its 2010-11 budget. With the spending plan in its present form, Roy-Hart officials need to make up about $1 million, thanks in part to a 20 percent cut in state aid.

Superintendent Kevin MacDonald unveiled the first draft of the proposed spending plan to the school board Thursday. As things stand, Roy-Hart’s budget would be $23,127,484, a 1.27 percent decrease from this school year’s budget. Problem is, the anticipated revenue is $22,125,370, a projected gap of $1,002,114. That includes using $300,000 from reserve accounts and keeping the tax levy — the taxpayer’s portion of the budget — the same as this year at about $8 million.

MacDonald said the state aid cut is about 7 percent of Roy-Hart’s budget and works out to about $1,035 less per student.

“This is based on information we have today,” MacDonald said. “There’s our revenue, there’s our problem.”

Roy-Hart would lose $1.5 million in state aid under Gov. David Paterson’s proposed budget, MacDonald said. The reason is that when it was determining how much aid a district gets, the state did not see Roy-Hart as a “high need” district, as it was last year. Business Administrator Kelly Griffith said Roy-Hart was moved up from a high need to a average need district, hence the cut in aid. And that wasn’t because Roy-Hart suddenly became wealthier.

“We realized it wasn’t that Roy-Hart was getting wealthier, we think it was that other districts were doing more poorly, quicker,” Griffith said.

Check out the rest of the article online which continues the budget discussion and looks at the future of the fitness centers at Roy-Hart:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Vizcarra Vineyards of Gasport and the other wineries on the Niagara Wine Trail are hosting a special event this weekend. Here's their news release...

February 12 - 14: Be Mine with Wine

Spend the weekend with your sweetheart sampling chocolates paired with wine at each winery.

Tickets good for all three days and includes a wine tasting at each winery, a commemorative wine glass from your starting winery and chocolates at each winery.

$20/person pre-sale online; $25/person at the door.

For more information visit:

Sunday, February 7, 2010


This website has constantly discussed the heightened levels of burglaries and break-ins in the Gasport region. One young man, James Solomon, is doing something about it. You'll be really impressed about Mr. Solomon after reading Bill Wolcott's article about him...

HARTLAND — Starting a neighborhood watch is a difficult task for anyone, according to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department.

Consider a 17-year-old freshman at St. Mary’s for the Deaf taking on the task in the rural communities of Hartland, Middleport and Gasport.

James Solomon, who was declared functionally deaf as an infant and has a speech impairment, is doing the job.

The Stone Road resident has set up a Web site, printed business cards, made professional signs and brings in speakers for his monthly meetings at the Hartland Town Hall on Ridge Road.

“It’s a big undertaking,” Chief Deputy Steven Preisch said at the Saturday morning meeting. “In our society, people are so busy; it’s not until they are victims that they come to be involved. It’s tough to get people involved.”

There is much more to the column. Read it in its entirety online at:

It should be noted that online is the only place to read the entire article because the piece starts on Page 1 of the paper, directs you to page 5A for the second half, and it's nowhere to be found on that page or the rest of the newspaper.


The Lockport Union Sun and Journal's Bill Wolcott stopped by Winterfest and wrote a nice front page article about it...

GASPORT — Winterfest 2010 drew bundles of kids and their parents to a mid-winter party Saturday a the Royalton-Hartland Elementary School.

The parking lot was full and the hallways were bustling with young families going from venue to venue. Many children had their faces painted, carried balloons. They wore firefighters’ caps on their heads and snowflake stamps on their wrists.

Outside, there was snowshoeing and sno-gusta mini golf. The Fiddlesticks played Stephen Foster songs in the auditorium and children bounced around in the gymnasium. Crafters showed off their wares in the A, B and C Wings of the school

About 40 volunteers and several community groups made the first Winterfest a success. Helen Feron of Absolut Care hopes to make it an annual event. She estimated attendance between 650 and 700.

The rest of the article, featuring interviews with organizers and kids, can be read online at:


I was unable to attend Winterfest as I was working on Saturday, but my mom was in attendance as a part of the ambulance crew and she said it was awesome. She was impressed by all the activities -- indoors and outdoors -- and thought it was a great family event.

If you took your family there you should comment on the event on the Winterfest Facebook page:

Please let the organizers know how much you appreciated their hard work in setting up Winterfest, an event that hopefully is here to stay.

Here are some pics from Winterfest, showing the clowns and the Snowgusta golf course...

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Friday, February 5, 2010


On a couple of occasions this website was instrumental in connecting long-separated friends and schoolmates who once lived in Gasport.

Today I received such a request for help from Sheala Lyons in Ireland. If you are the person she is looking for (or you know of the person) please email me at and I will share her contact info with you. Here's her message...

My name is Sheala and I am trying to trace a long lost pen pal (my fault) who lived in Gasport New York in the 1950s. Her name was Judy Luedemann. She married and had one daughter. She would have known me as Sheala Whiting and I lived in London. I have seen her name on the'Class Mates' web site, but I cannot contact her as I would need to register. I would really love to hear from her.

06 February 2010 update: I had two people email me to say that Judy has moved to the state of Washington. I will provide the information to Sheala. I know she will appreciate your help!


I came home last night to an eerie sight: My lawn was littered with dozens of dead starlings. I don't know what exactly caused their deaths, whether they got into some bad food or were purposely poisoned, but I am leaning towards the latter.

Starlings are a pest, an invasive specie brought to the US in the 1800's to fill the world with all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays (seriously). They have become one of the most abundant birds in agricultural and urban America and have been harmful to the populations of other cavity dwellers (like bluebirds). The USDA has poisoned them on many occasions in an effort to assist dairy farmers in getting rid of these birds which frequent barnyards, stealing feed meant for cows and pooping in the feed, making cows and calves sick.

I've been told that another person in Royalton found numerous dead starlings recently and the rumor is the USDA was poisoning the birds in town. I left a message with the local agencies in hopes of getting down to the cause of this mass die-off.


Boy Scout Troop 23 of Middleport will be holding their semi-annual Can and Bottle drive on February 13th from 9am-1pm at the Scout House (located next to Holy Cross Lutheran Church) on Route 31 in Middleport. Drop off your returnable cans and bottles and help support your local Boy Scout Troop. All funds raised help Boy Scouts pay for Summer Camp and also equipment for the Troop.


There's been an early morning barn fire in Gasport and a section of Root Road is closed for the morning commute because of it. More to follow.

7:00 AM Update: The fire occurred at 4073 Root Road and was reported by a neighbor at 5:30 AM. Four fire departments are on scene (Gasport, Hartland, Terry's Corners, Middleport). The owners estimates $50,000 in property loss within the structure.


The Town Of Royalton Winterfest 2010 will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2010, from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM at the Royalton Hartland Elementary School.

This family friendly event will offer activities for children/families both inside the school and outside (weather permitting) on the school grounds.

Indoor activities include: Chinese Auction and raffles, Bounce House and games, Child ID kits, Craft Fair, Vendors, Clowns, Musical Entertainment, Magician and Food.

Outdoor (snow) activities include: Snogusta Mini Golf, Snow Shoeing and Sno-saic.

Admission is $3.00 for anyone 10 years of age and over (price includes 25 Chinese Auction tickets) and includes all activities. Children under 10 are free.

Parking will be available in the school lots and at Hartland Bible Church (shuttle service from the church lot will be provided).

This event is sponsored by Sigma Motors, Middleport Family Health Center, Absolut Care of Gasport, The Royalton-Hartland Business and Professional Association and the Lockport-Union Sun and Journal.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Royalton-Hartland will be taking on Starpoint and Wilson on Thursday night's installment of Scholastic Bowl. The competition begins at 5:30 and can be heard at 1340 AM or online at

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Every spring the Niagara County Soil & water Conservation District sells DEC-raised saplings for local residents to plant for use in conservation projects and lawns. Last year alone, over 60,100 trees were distributed across the county.

It's a really great program for two reasons...

1) It gives you access to many different species of trees and shrubs suitable for a wide variety of soil. So, there's trees available for any conservation project you may have like creating a hedgerow, planting foodstuff for birds & mammals, starting a woodlot, stifling erosion, improving your lawn and more.

2) It's cheap. You could never buy these types and amounts of trees from a local nursery without paying an arm and a leg. These trees are a great buy.

The order form is available here:


The minutes from the town of Royalton's annual organizational meeting held in January are now available on the town website. This meeting focused on appointments, designations, salaries, policy, and appropriations for fire districts. Check out the minutes here:;/content/Minutes/View/119

The regular board meeting minutes are also available. It was a meeting that focused on things like excavator bids, cemetery pricing, and sharing an assessor with Hartland:;/content/Minutes/View/120

Monday, February 1, 2010


A $1.22 million contract for the rebuild of two bridges over Johnson Creek is expected to be awarded Tuesday by the Niagara County Legislature. Yarussi Construction was the low bidder for the work on Drum and Seaman roads. The repairs will be fully-funded by stimulus money. The County's application for stimulus funds (March 2009) showed an estimated price tag of $2,073,000 for the project.