Sunday, April 29, 2012


In May, the legacy of New York State’s Erie Canal and Hudson River will lure adventurers Richard Harpham and Glenn Charles to kayak an epic 500 miles from Buffalo’s Historic Erie Canal Harbor on May 1 to the Statue of Liberty at the end of the month. I LOVE NEW YORK, invited world-renowned kayaker, Richard Harpham, from the U.K. to make history while chronicling the dynamic locations along the Erie Canal and its 35 locks, before reaching Albany and joining the Hudson River. The trip continues south on the Hudson River to their iconic final destination -- the Statue of Liberty.

The journey is called ‘New York State’s Spare Seat Kayak Expedition’ as both Harpham and Charles will kayak the route in double seated kayaks, inviting members of the public and media to join them along the way. The month-long expedition will highlight the heritage, culture, wildlife, landmarks, and activities along the route. With a dedicated website with social media feeds, the public will be able to follow Harpham, Charles and all those that join them every stroke of the way. You can follow them across New York State on the Spare Seat Blog where they'll be posting daily updates. 

Residents and visitors are encouraged to cheer on the expeditioners and take advantage of the many events taking place along the route. Harpham and Charles will meet the communities, host talks, coach about kayaking and attend community events to promote New York state waterways. Experience the rich history, hometown hospitality, and numerous attractions of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Hudson River Valley Greenway. 

The adventurers will be kayaking through Gasport early Wednesday morning. They will be leaving Widewaters around 7:00 AM Wednesday, which should put them in downtown Gasport no later than 7:45 AM.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


There will be a chicken barbecue this coming Wednesday, May 2nd from 3:30 to 6:30 at Absolut Care of Gasport. This is drive-thru/take-out service only (and please enter from Gasport Road). A dinner is $9. Call 772.2631 to pre-order.

This event is sponsored by Absolut and the Roy-Hart Elementary PTA. Proceeds benefit the Absolut resident holiday fund and the elementary school.


Pulling at Your Heart-Strings – Use Your Head

You may have received your mailer today from the “Friends” of the Middleport Library.  Funny how we never heard anything from the Library or it’s “Friends” last year when they secretly had that election in June to get into our pockets.  It appears now the people in charge of that private corporation library have proven to us what is truly in their hearts.  Instead of putting their money into an Educational Campaign, which NYS Education Library Development instructs, they immediately ran to their lawyers to try to get a “stay” and yet again, attempt to disenfranchise you and me from our vote.  So, I’m not surprised, just disappointed.

My very first experience with this library was when I walked in and spoke to the Director of the Library after I received my bill in September.  I explained to her, if the library had simply ran the educational campaign they were supposed to run, got the word out to the ENTIRE community about the vote…and the vote passed, then I wouldn’t even be there to inquire what the heck happened back in June 2011.  At that point, she agreed with me, stating, “you’re right, we didn’t do it right”. 

And now, less than a year later…here we are again.  They have hired their lawyers to try to get a “stay” on the proposition.  To keep you and me from our votes once again. 

The Library claims they did everything “legally” for last year’s vote.  We have yet to actually hear from anyone how they figure that.  The School District Policy 1630 calls for voting machines to be used, the only exception is for an emergency.  And IF paper ballots are used, then a voter log must also be used.  The vote in June was by paper ballot, at the library. voter log…no machine.  District Policy 1650 specifies that anyone submitting a proposition for a ballot must submit it with a petition signed by 25 district voters or 5% the number who voted in the last annual election (whichever  is greater).  The Library submitted NO petition signatures. 

When the community approached the Library Board at their meeting in September, we were told, there would be no debate, no question and answer, you may have 10 minutes to speak.  They used a watch to time us, and would not answer any questions, but simply sat there smiling at us.  This is what we can expect from the people who have not even ASKED your permission to take your hard earned money, but instead held a secret vote to take it from you.

We would be better served by people who understood that our Republic is only as strong as it is because of the laws we have in place; and that those laws are there for a reason, it’s the spirit of the law that should be followed….not simply the “letter”. 

A few people in the community, probably egged on by the “friends”, wrote heart-felt letters to the editor exclaiming their pride and joy at being able to use all the “free” resources of the library.  Someone needs to explain to these people that just because THEY didn’t pay for it does not make it FREE.  Someone paid, and continues to pay, someone like me and you.           

As for the Library closing if they don’t get the money, I don’t believe it.  The Library, which is chartered for the Village of Middleport, could use a municipal vote (Chapter 414) to obtain funding from the chartered area.  The threat of closing is nothing more than that, a threat.

We are not anti-library.  On the contrary, I use my library card all the time….through electronic book downloads.  The only time I was in the library was to obtain the card.  That was a nice sunny, chilly Saturday afternoon.  I would like to say I was surprised to find the library empty…but I wasn’t.   As has been discussed previously, all the local libraries are underutilized.

So we have to wonder why we are asked to pay for more library buildings, and the employees they require to run them.  It might interest you to learn that there is a bill in the NY Senate to give NY State retirement benefits to Association Library workers.  The Middleport Library is an Association Library, which means it is a private corporation.  This bill would provide tax-payer funded retirement benefits to employees of a private corporation.  Although I have been assured by various State officials that the bill is still in committee….it won’t go anywhere, etc…I know that bills can become law quickly, without much fanfare, much like the library vote last year.  So you can understand how I could barely believe my eyes as I read the bill (A574-2011). 

When the NY Tolls went in, they claimed that it was only until the road was paid for. The first section of the Thruway opened in 1954, and we are still paying…but not the original 10 cents or whatever it was, the tolls have increased to pay for personnel and materials, to what they are now and with no end in sight.

With the Middleport Library attempting to become a “district” library, do you really think they can maintain that title with the tiny little building they currently reside in, on a side street with no parking?   They are positioning themselves to become a district library and obtain “sustainable funding” by taking it out of the pocket of the taxpayer.  They will then claim the need to “grow their building and their personnel to accommodate the District”. 

The school district taxpayers are already more than accommodated by all the other libraries in the area, thanks anyway.  If you have ever been frustrated over the fact that you have no control over your taxes, you should know that you now have control.  To use it, vote YES to REPEAL the Library tax, not because you don’t care about libraries, but because there are five more within 12 miles; and enough is enough.

P.S.  Anyone with a computer and internet connection can find this information regarding the Thruway and the pending legislation (A574-2011) without ever stepping foot in the library.

- Mary Cedeno, 

Lockport NY


The Erie Canal usually opens for boat traffic on May 1st, but because of the early spring, the Canal Authority is giving boaters a few extra days. The Erie Canal's bridges and locks all go into operation today, Saturday, April 28th. Enjoy the water!

Friday, April 27, 2012


I'll be the guest for 2 hours today (Friday, April 27th) on "Niagara's Talking" on WLVL from 11 am till 1 pm. Listen on air at 1340 AM, online at

Today I'd like to talk about the retraction of the farm rule and how that is a fine example of how we can defeat onerous regulations. There are too many callers to the station who believe that there's nothing we can do when it comes to government other than complain and roll with the punches. There's much more that we can do as proven here! In regard to that, I'll probably talk about the "4 E's" of good civics. Also, I'd like to do a teaser for next week's column blasting Yahoo! in Lockport. And, as usual, we'll talk about whatever the callers would like...which is everything!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I just received an email from the US Department of Labor that they are withdrawing the proposed rules that would have changed the laws affecting teens working on farms. This is my biggest victory to date from my columns and I thank everyone who submitted comments to the federal government prior to the closure of the public comment period last November. Countless news outlets have reported on these rules in 2012, but you know what...they were too late! But, I wasn't and neither were you. Working together we defeated these rules. 
If you missed my column that had spread around the internet like wildfire, here it is:
Here's the Department of Labor's news release...

Labor Department statement on withdrawal of proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor today issued the following statement regarding the withdrawal of a proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations:

"The Obama administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations. The Obama administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations.

"As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations.

"The decision to withdraw this rule – including provisions to define the 'parental exemption' – was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.
"Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders – such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H – to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices."


The Collins for Congress campaign sent around the following email this afternoon...

Town of Hartland Supervisor Ross Annable has endorsed Chris Collins for New York’s 27th Congressional District.  Supervisor Annable is also the Chair of Hartland's Republican Committee.  Annable's endorsement comes as Collins continues to gain support from Republican leaders in Niagara County.  Earlier this week, Collins was endorsed by Town of Lockport Supervisor Marc Smith and the Town of Lewiston Republican Committee.
“I want to thank Supervisor Annable for his support and confidence in my candidacy," said Collins.  "As I work my way around the 27th Congressional District, people tell me they are worried about their children and grandchildren's ability to realize the American Dream.  That's because our leaders in Washington are failing us.  Instead of rebuilding our economy and working to create economic opportunity, Washington seems to be working against hardworking taxpayers. When I'm elected to Congress, I will fight every day to reduce the size of government, cut runaway spending, reinvigorate our economy, and protect taxpayers."     
A private sector leader that has created and saved hundreds of good paying, local jobs, Collins served as Erie County Executive from 2008 - 2011.  As County Executive, Collins turned around the near bankrupt county by cutting the size of government by nearly 25% and reducing the county's dept burden by more than $120 million.  Collins is running for Congress to help bring fiscal sanity to Washington, DC so we can get our country's economy moving again.
“Cutting spending and creating jobs are the most important issues to the residents of Hartland and all across the 27th Congressional District," said Supervisor Annable.  "Chris Collins has proven he knows how to do both and that's why I fully endorse his candidacy.  We need someone with Chris' background representing us in Congress.  Someone who can stand up to the Washington insiders who continue to waste our hard-earned tax dollars and find new ways to strangle economic growth and prosperity." 
Collins was also recently endorsed by the New York State Conservative Party.  Collins lives in Clarence with his wife Mary.  He has three children and three grandchildren.


Mary P. Collins, Chair of the Friends of the Library for the Middleport Free Library, points out her group’s tag line on the yard signs that the group is using to get the word out about the importance of a “NO” vote on Proposition #2 on the May 15 ballot at Roy-Hart, that will keep library funding in place.

The Friends of the Library are working hard to let the Royalton-Hartland School District residents know about the upcoming May 15 vote on Proposition #2 that would remove funding for the Middleport Free Library. They are mailing residents a two-page flyer about the vote, handing out reminder handbills and door hangers as well as posting yard signs throughout the whole school district. “The wording of Proposition #2 is very confusing, but it’s important that people know that to keep the library funded and open, they need to vote “no”,” said Mary P. Collins, Chair of the Friends of the Library.

“We have a large number of volunteers and the number is growing,” said Collins. “It’s been overwhelming, and we are elated to have so much help to get the word out.”

This volunteer group, that began nearly 12 years ago to advocate for the library, thought that Royalton-Hartland residents should be aware of the importance of the upcoming vote on Proposition #2. The importance of the vote was what motivated The Friends of the Library to put some of their resources into letting voters know that their “no” vote will keep the funding for the library in place.

The Friends of the Library’s 25 members, joined by dozens of residents from Middleport, Gasport, and from the Towns of Royalton and Hartland, began to get the word out about the importance of everyone’s vote this week.

The vote takes place on Tuesday, May 15 from 12 Noon to 8 PM at the Royalton-Hartland Senior High School Gym. Absentee Ballots can be obtained from the District Office by calling 735-2000, Ext. 2318, and The Friends of the Library have been encouraging residents who will be away for the vote to call for their application for an Absentee Ballot.

The Middleport Free Library has been serving the residents of the Royalton-Hartland School District for 83 years, and recently celebrated with a Birthday Party to mark the milestone. About 100 people attend the event that included short presentations by Carolyn Wagner, President of the Board of Trustees and Senator George Maziarz as well as recognition for Virginia Frasier, age 93, and Noelle LaFountaine, age 16 months, the oldest and youngest library patrons present at the celebration.

Circulation numbers for 2011 show that 31, 295 books, periodicals, AV and other materials have made the Middleport Free Library a popular place, which is perhaps why there is so much support from volunteers for this information campaign about the vote on May 15.

For details about the work of The Friends of the Middleport Library, Mary P. Collins can be reached by leaving at message at 735-3281. For more information about the upcoming vote on Proposition #2, contact Rose Bernard at the Middleport Free Library at 735-3281.




Joe Derda of Hartland sent along these great pics showing workers replacing the railroad crossing signs in the hamlet yesterday. Click on the photos to enlarge.


On this website we post submissions from our readers, sort of like a letter to the editor. In this letter, Judy Hill shares her thoughts about the library vote...

Liberty and Justice for All--Not!

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." According to Webster's Dictionary, the meaning of the word Republic is, "a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law." The Middleport Library trustees recite the Pledge of Allegiance before every board meeting, and yet they are determined to take the vote away from Royalton Hartland School District voters for the second time in less than a year! The first time was June 2011, when trustees of the village library pretended their library was a District library, and they held a funding vote separate from the School budget vote to levy an additional tax of $103,000 on the entire School District. A large portion of the tax is intended for pay raises. The library trustees pretended they were a taxing authority, but they are a private corporation. Friends of the library received a notice by mail about the vote, but District residents did not and were not even aware that this vote took place. The vote was taken by paper ballot at the library without a voter sign-in log. This all conflicts with District by-laws.

After receiving their School tax bill, concerned District taxpayers conducted extensive research on library funding procedures using NYS government and NYS Education Department websites. Information was also taken from the Handbook for Library Trustees of NYS, Chapter on Ethics. Comparing the Middleport library vote to other library votes, revealed so many abnormalities that a group of taxpayers sent complaint letters to the Attorney General's Public Integrity Bureau who is supposed to work with the NYS Comptroller on these type of issues. Senator George Maziarz was also informed, and he sent a letter to the Commissioner of Education. While we waited (and are still waiting) for our elected officials and representatives to do their job on behalf of the taxpayers, we proceeded to gather signatures to get our vote back. The only way to get our vote regarding library funding was to follow the law and submit a new proposition with signatures. The Board of Education accepted our new proposition and placed it on the May 15 ballot. Now the library trustees are attempting to prevent District residents from voting on our new proposition. It does not get much worse than this for taxpayers and voters! Our voting rights are being stripped away by a private corporation.

If our new proposition stays on the ballot, voting "yes" on it will not close the Middleport library. The library has endowment funds as well as donations and many friends who could donate their time. Voting "yes" will correct a great injustice that was inflicted upon the residents/taxpayers/voters of the Royalton Hartland School District. Our nation stands for liberty and justice for ALL--not just for the friends of the library. The rest of the "body of citizens" want our vote that we are entitled to!

Judy Hill

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Royalton-Hartland graduate John Swick has accepted the position of K-12 principal at the Town of Webb UFSD effective July 1. The Town of Webb is located in the Adirondacks (Old Forge).

The Adirondack Express reports the following... 

“I have always wanted to be the principal of a small district where I could move in and become a part of the community. I grew up in the small town of Middleport in Niagara County and have always loved the small town way of life and sense of community. Coming right out of my Educational Leadership Masters Program at St. John Fisher College, I want to be a leader in the district that all stakeholders can relate to and connect with,” said Swick by email.

Swick will be coming to us as a new administrator from Brockport Central School where he is currently employed as a middle level math teacher.

He is certified to teach students with disabilities mathematics 7-12, students with disabilities 1-6 and mathematics 7-12.

He has also been a summer school principal in the Greece Central School District. Swick has attended St. John Fisher College in Rochester for his Masters in Science in Educational Leadership and Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester for his undergraduate.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Rick DeWaters, president of the Sports Boosters, has sent along this message....

Hello everyone.

As you know, the 3rd Annual Sports Boosters Dinner/Auction event is fast approaching and will take place on Sat. May 5 at the Middleport Fire Hall. Doors open at 4 PM to begin the Chinese Auction bidding; the bar opens at 5; and dinner is served beginning at 6 PM. The Last Call band will provide music entertainment throughout the evening. A live auction will take place later on. All proceeds benefit Roy-Hart sports programs and students. Tickets are $25 each. If you need some and can't find them, give me a call (716-531-0046) ASAP.

If you can donate auction-able items of any sort, including gift certificates, coupons, sports memorabilia, etc., please respond to this email. We would be ever so grateful to you. Also we will graciously receive items for the dinner desert table; if you can bring something for the table, please help us out. Thanks.

Response to ticket selling/purchasing has been very, very slow. We have plenty left, including Raffle Tickets for the 42" HDTV : $5 each or three for $10. The impending school district budget for 2012-13, if passed, seems to pose no "significant" threat to the continuation of sports programs in the district. There is a very minimal and certainly affordable tax increase being proposed, and if approved, most of the district's curent school year programs and services will remain in tact for the most part. Many of our sports programs, while not being cut from the budget, will operate on "bare bones" for the most part. The purchase of new equipment, uniforms, and much-needed sports facilities up-dates will most likely not be present in the new budget. The R-H Sports Booster Club expects to be called upon during the 2012-13 school year to provide the afore-mentioned so-called un-budgeted items. For example, many of our sports teams' tattered and discolored uniforms need to be replaced. The equipment storage shed that houses football and field hockey equipment needs refurbishing. The track team's pole vault and high jump pits are crumbling and need to be repaired and replaced. There simply is not enough district money to pay for all of this!

We hope to be able to continue our fundraising efforts to help pay for what is needed by our sports programs and students. We need your help and participation to make this happen. You can do this by purchasing tickets to and attending events that we sponsor. If you can give just a little to help fill the financial gap so that our students can continue to have the necessities, this is all we ask. If you can find just a little bit of time in your busy schedules, to work an event (concessions, benefits, dinners, etc.), we will stand so much to gain for our students. Giving financially and volunteering time does not come easy in these busy and difficult economic times, that's for sure. But the only way to pick up the slack left by financially strapped school budgets is for everyone to step up and give what they can.

We hope you can give a little something for sports and students in the R-H district. Give me a call any time to discuss any matters that concern you. Please pass along this information to your neighbors and friends. Buy a ticket! Get involved with Sports Boosters!

I'll see you at the game!

Rick DeWaters

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Today's Buffalo News reports on a request from Hartland...

Hartland is seeking $219,000, plus $25,000, for Greenway signs and a Greenway promotional kiosk. The latter would be installed in Hartland Town Park, where the town plans a $444,370 improvement project.

Additions would include lights for a ball diamond, a recreational trail, a new pavilion, a basketball court and a roller rink.

Read more about the Greenway Fund and who will make the decision about the award (and when)...

Friday, April 20, 2012


This Saturday, April 21st, as a part of the state-wide Recruit NY endeavor, Terry's Corners will have an open house from 11:00 till 4:00. Among the events...











From the pages of the Lockport paper...

The Middleport Free Library will be appealing to the state education commissioner the decision to put its tax levy on the May school ballot.

Royalton-Hartland Superintendent Kevin MacDonald said the district was served legal papers from the library on Thursday morning. Roy-Hart has three business days to respond, which MacDonald said it will do by Monday.

“We’re in the process of doing so,” MacDonald said. “And we’ll go from there.”

MacDonald said the library is also asking for a stay on the May 15 vote. The tax levy would be removed from the ballot if state education commissioner John King were to grant the stay. MacDonald was unsure when Roy-Hart would hear a response from the commissioner’s office.

Read the rest of the article here:


The Metro Community News offers this interesting report...

It started as a bet between two friends and ended with results that changed both of their lives for the better.

Twenty weeks ago, Kyle Brent and Dominick Ciliberto made a bet. The two friends would go out for lunch each day.

“We were both at a point where we wanted to loose weight,” said Brent.

He said he remembered telling Ciliberto one day, “Put your money where your mouth is.” And the next day the two agreed to compete in a weight loss competition, where the prize was $1,000. That money would go to the winner’s charity of choice.

“I was getting to the point where I didn’t want to make the jump to the next jean size,” said Brent. “The bet was motivation.”

For the first 10 weeks of the competition the two would weigh-in weekly. However, they didn’t for the last 10-weeks, leaving how much each had lost a mystery to the other person.

“That’s what it took,” said Ciliberto. “A little competition between the two of us.”

The two were amazed by the results when they weighed in last week. On April 13, the two got onto the scale in front of family and friends. Ciliberto learned he had lost a total of 49 pounds or 20.84 percent of his body weight. Brent went next, learning he had lost 51 pounds or 20.3 percent of his body weight.

Though it was a close competition, Ciliberto was victorious. Brent presented Ciliberto with a check for $1,000 to be donated to his charity of choice, the Ronald McDonald House. Ciliberto returned the gesture, by donating $500 to Brent’s charity, Relay for Life.

Read the rest of the article here:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Travelers recently presented its prestigious Agent of the Year Award to 19 of its top Personal Insurance independent insurance agents. The agents selected for this award, who work in communities throughout the country, are recognized for their high achievements in their lines of business. They are specifically chosen for achieving long-term profitable growth for their agencies, dedication to high-quality customer service and for their commitment to Travelers.

The honorees accepted the award at Travelers' annual Personal Insurance leadership conference for its top independent agents and brokers.

"The Agent of the Year award recognizes business leaders for their proven ability to attain the highest standards of success in our industry through hard work, commitment and the responsibility to do it right," said Greg Toczydlowski, President of Personal Insurance for Travelers. "We're proud of their accomplishments and truly value the partnership we've developed with them."

One of those 19 was Jeff Baker of Seaway Insurance in Gasport.



The Middleport Free Library (soon to be named Royalton Hartland Community Library) has a new website. It can be found here:

Monday, April 16, 2012


It started with a lively request in a letter written in 1929 and grew into what has provided 83 years of service to the Royalton-Hartland community.

At that time, Marjorie Reynolds, a Middleport resident and member of the Middleport Study Club, wrote a letter to Albany stating, “The people of our town are fully alive to the crying need of a library.”

She must have anticipated the current need for a community library as local residents continue to use the library for a wide variety of services.

“In 2011, the Middleport Free Library had a circulation of 31,295 for books, AV materials, periodicals and other materials, and we have more than 3,100 patrons with library cards” said Library Director Rose Bernard. “We are very busy with so many clubs and group meetings here as well as people using our free computer, WiFi and Internet services.”

To mark the 83rd year of service to the Royalton-Hartland community, there will be a “Happy Birthday to the Library” celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the library, 9 Vernon St., Middleport. There will be a special birthday cake and everyone in the community is invited to attend to share cake and memories. At 1:15 p.m., the Friends of the Library will cut the cake, sing happy birthday and show off some of the library’s history in a special display, in addition to all the services the Middleport Free Library has to offer residents now.

Read more about the special event and the Library here:

Friday, April 13, 2012


A press release from Charles Schumer's office...

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the NY Thruway Authority has heeded his call and will open up the Erie Canal approximately one week ahead of schedule, ensuring that berry farmers have sufficient water to irrigate their crops and prevent further cold weather-induced damage. Berry farmers throughout Western New York have struggled in recent weeks after warm weather accelerated their crops blooming time, only to have exposed berries frozen and damaged when temperatures dropped back to more seasonal levels. Last week, Schumer urged the Thruway Authority to open the canal ahead of schedule, providing much needed water to irrigate berry crops. Today, Schumer announced that Thruway officials have confirmed that the canal will open on April 15th or 16th, one week ahead of schedule.

“The early sunshine and warm weather might have made it nice to be outdoors, but it spelled trouble for farmers across the state,” said Schumer. “In order to protect our berry farmers that have already suffered this season, they need access to Erie Canal water as quickly as possible to help irrigate their crops and fend off even greater damage. I’m pleased that the Thruway authority is going to make that possible, and open the canal ahead of schedule so that we can get our farmers the tools they need to produce great crops.”

Senator Schumer was contacted by Hurd Orchards in Orleans County, which has relied on using water from the Erie Canal to spray down crops to protect them from frost damage. Orleans County area farmers that employ this frost prevention technique cannot operate any frost protection without the Canal being filled with water. With the unusual spring weather having an impact on many larger crops such as apples, small fruit crops such as raspberries, blackberries and strawberries need to be saved in order to maintain the viability of area farms this season. Opening the Canal early will be a great relief to Orleans County farmers who have come to depend on the water this season more than ever.

Editor's Note: The Canal is open for boating on May 1st. By "open" in his press release Schumer refers to the filling of the Canal and the available extraction of water by overflows and irrigation pipes.


I took a ride out on 104 last night to discover that Harris Farm Market is open for the season and serving ice cream. Dig In!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


The State issued their annual bridge report last week that includes the “NYS Condition Rating”. The NYS Department of Transportation defines a deficient bridge as one with a State condition rating less than 5.0.

By their standards, what bridges in Gasport/Royalton/Hartland are structurally-deficient?

Some are obvious, some aren't.

In Hartland we have...

The Carmen Road bridge over Johnson Creek at 4.19
The Johnson Creek Road bridge over Mud Creek at 4.79
The Mill Road bridge over Johnson Creek at 2.81
The Townline Road bridge over Johnson Creek at 4.65

In Royalton we have...

The Route 77 bridge over Red Creek at 4.58
The Route 93 bridge over Tonawanda Creek at 4.81
The Ditch Road bridge over Black Creek at 4.82
The Gasport Road bridge over Red Creek at 4.11
The Griswold Street bridge over Mud Creek at 4.41
The Riddle Road bridge over Mud Creek at 4.93
The Slayton Settlement Road bridge over Red Creek at 4.21
The Wruck Road bridge over the Erie Canal 3.39

Monday, April 9, 2012


The town council of Royalton meets tonight at 7:00 at town hall with an agenda as follows:


April 9, 2012

•1. Open Meeting - Moment of Silence in Honor of Town Justice Margaret Raduns
•2. Additions or corrections of the minutes as presented
•3. Public Comment - Agenda Items Only
•4. Communications / Petitions

New Business

•Ø Resolution to accept the Supervisors Report for March 2012 as submitted.

•Ø Resolution to adopt the following: Pursuant to Subdivision 5 of Section 103 of the General Municipal Law, for reasons of efficiency and economy, there is a need for standardization and purchase of a particular type of equipment in the Town of Royalton. To whit, Neptune Water Meters. The Town of Royalton has used Neptune Water Meters, which are enabled with radio remote readers, in its existing municipal water supply system. In order to continue to take advantage of the savings provided by standardized radio remote readers, the Town Board, by a 3/5 or greater vote, hereby, RESOLVES that the appropriate Town officer may award purchase contracts for the Neptune Water Meters in excess of the monetary threshold fixed for purchase contracts under section 103 of the General Municipal Law to the lowest responsible bidder furnishing the required security after advertisement for sealed bids.

•Ø Resolved to authorize Dan Morse, Water/Sewer Superintendent, to purchase a new 2012 Ford F-150XL Pick-Up Truck at a cost not to exceed the state bid price of $22,766.11. (This item was budgeted for purchase in the 2012 budget.)

•Ø Resolution to accept for filing the new liquor license application for the Terry's Corners Volunteer Fire Company.

•Ø Resolution to accept Erica Hudson as a Junior Member of the Wolcottsville Volunteer Fire Company.

•Ø Resolution to accept Gary Sloniker as an active and EMS member of the Wolcottsville Volunteer Fire Company.

•Ø Resolution to set the date for the Town of Royalton Board of Assessment Review on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 from 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM.

•Ø Resolution to authorize TVGA, Town Engineers, to prepare a Map, Plan, and Report for the Water Project on Freeman Road. The estimated cost of this project is not to exceed $582,000.00.

•Ø Resolution to schedule a Public Hearing on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM regarding SEQR for the water project on Freeman Road.

•Ø Resolution to schedule a Public Hearing on Monday, May 14, 2012, to hear and consider the information pertaining Local Law No. 1 for the year 2012 entitled "Recycling Law for the Town of Royalton". This hearing will take place immediately following the first public hearing scheduled for that evening.

•Ø Resolved to authorize the transfer from the Highway checking account to the Highway Fund Money Market account in the amount of $235,000.00.

•Ø Resolution to advertise for bids for work to be done in the two (2) town-owned cemeteries. Bid specifications for this position will be drawn up by the town board members.

•Ø Resolution to appoint Joe Moran for the position of Recreation Director for the Town of Royalton Recreation Program.

•Ø Resolution to appoint Jennifer Gillings to the Recreation Committee to assist with interviews for the Town of Royalton Recreation Program.

•Ø Resolution to adopt the following:

Whereas, there is a vacancy in one of the Town Justice offices created by the untimely passing of Town Justice Margaret Raduns; and

Whereas, there are surplus funds in the Town Justice line due to Justice Raduns' passing; and

Whereas, Town Justice Bass has temporarily assumed the duties and responsibilities of the vacant Town Justice office; and

Whereas, the Town desires that Justice Bass continue to assume said duties and responsibilities through December 31, 2012 and be paid commensurate with that responsibility;

Now, Therefore, it is hereby RESOLVED that for the remainder of the 2012 year only, Justice Bass's salary shall be increased by the amount of surplus funds in the Town Justice line that is created by the vacancy in that office.

•Ø Any additional items that need to come before the board at this time.

•Ø Resolution for permission to pay the bills.

Public Comment - Good and Welfare of the Community

Adjournment - Motion to Adjourn

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Stephen Wallace wrote a recap -- and provided photos -- for today's field fire in Gasport for 1st Responder Broadcast Network.

Among the more disconcerting findings noted in his report: "The pile was filled with tires, shingles and even propane cylinders that posed a hidden hazard to the firefighters."

Hopefully the offending soul is slapped with a hefty fine.

Check out his report here:


The highest-ranking enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler, visited Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan this week to take stock of his soldiers’ morale and collect feedback to take back to Washington D.C. U.S.

Among those fortunate to meet him was Army Sgt. Jessica Utley from Gasport. In the photo here she earns a coin from Chandler by explaining to him the proper definition of corrective training.

Chandler spoke for 20 minutes, then fielded questions for over an hour from soldiers dealing with a range of issues from the new physical fitness test to a proposed new tattoo policy.

Read about his visit here:


Today there was a brush/grass fire on Chestnut Ridge Road that needed attention from Terry's Corners Fire Company and their grass trucks. The grass fire actually started from the property owner burning shingles (which is against the law, no matter the time of year)!

This is not the first grass fire in the area, there have been quite a few in eastern Niagara County of late, a result of our warm, dry spring.

Property owners, be aware this is not the best time of the year to burn brush and that the DEC has a brush burning ban in effect as their March press release indicates:

All residential brush burning is prohibited in smaller communities during the state's historically high fire-risk period from March 16 through May 14, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens reminded New Yorkers today.

"This time of year has the most risk of fires and the risk is even greater this year due to the extremely mild winter we've seen across the state," Commissioner Martens said. "Since the open burning regulation passed in 2009, there have been fewer fires reported in New York state. In an effort to protect the health and safety of our children, families and our natural environment, we remind residents that brush burning is banned statewide beginning this week."

In 2009, New York toughened restrictions on open burning to reduce harmful air pollutants and help prevent wildfires. While the burn ban regulation allows residential brush burning for most of the year in towns with a populations of less than 20,000, it prohibits open burning in all communities during early spring when the bulk of New York's wildfires typically occur. The state regulation prohibits the burning of garbage at all times and in all places.

Several factors enable wildfires to start easily and spread quickly at this time, including the lack of green vegetation, abundance of available fuels such as dry grass and leaves, warm temperatures and wind.

Open burning is the largest single cause of wildfires in New York state. Data from DEC's Forest Protection Division shows that debris burning accounted for about 36 percent of wildfires in the state between 1985 and 2009, which is more than twice the next most-cited cause. In addition, from 2000 to 2009 New York's fire departments responded to an average of 2,300 wildfires each year from March 16 to May 14. That represents about 46 percent of all wildfires for the year.

Fire department data for 2010 and 2011 indicated a 26 percent reduction in wildfires during the burn ban period for those years when compared to the previous 10 years (2000-2009). In addition, 86 percent of all communities across the state had a reduction of wildfires compared with the previous five years.

Some towns are designated "fire towns" primarily in and around the Adirondack Park and Catskill Park. Under the Environmental Conservation Law, open burning is prohibited in these municipalities without a written permit from DEC. Open burning is prohibited at any time in these municipalities. To find out whether a town is a designated "Fire Town" and/or to obtain a permit, parties should contact a DEC regional office. For a directory of the DEC Regional Offices, visit the DEC website.

Violators of the open burning state regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC's website.


There will be a gun show at the Hartland Fire Hall on Route 104 on April 14th and 15th, from 9:00 till 4:00. Admission is $5 and kids under 12 are free. Buy, sell, or trade. Tables are still available, call 716.735.7045 if interested.

Friday, April 6, 2012


The Lockport paper reports on what could have been a horrible accident with a school bus...

Colleen L. Smith, 49, 6884 East High St., Lockport was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, driving on the shoulders, driving while ability impaired by drugs and failure to keep right Tuesday. At 8:38 a.m, the sheriff’s patrol was dispatched to Chestnut Ridge Road for a reckless driver. According to the report, the blue Chevy Trailblazer was crossing into oncoming traffic and had just missed a collision with a school bus.

Read the rest of the article here:


Last night I spoke to the Royalton Historical Society about interesting springtime plants and wildflowers that can be found in the Gasport area. Among them was the Mayapple, a plant you will recognize from it's massive umbrella like colonies and the dainty white flowers that become a fruit, the Mayapple itself. That "apple" is edible for only a brief period of time, and besides that it is poisonous, as are all other parts of the plant. Its poison is so powerful that it and related plants were once thought magical.

The Mayapple is also known as the Mandrake. That name -- and the alleged magical powers -- led into me noting that's what inspired the name of the comic strip and associated movie character Mandrake the Magician. Jesse Bieber, the town historian, was in attendance and said that Gasport's own Warren Hull played Mandrake in a 1939 serial, something I didn't know. That was quite interesting, as the topic du juor came back full circle to Gasport.


March's warm weather was a real treat to many Western New Yorkers, but the return to more seasonal weather of late has proven to be disastrous to agri-business as WIVB News 4 Buffalo reports...

An early spring, and successive hard freezes have decimated western New York's so-called "stone fruits."

Becker Farms owner Oscar Vizcarra said, "The commercial crop, as we know it, is already basically gone in this particular area."

Becker Farms in Gasport has already lost about two-thirds of its cherry buds, making this the worst season in all of Vizcarra's 35 years of growing.

"I've never seen anything like that. We are, like, three to four weeks ahead of schedule. It's very uncharted territory," he said.

Watch the TV news report here:

Overnight freezing destroys cherry crop:

Thursday, April 5, 2012


My Retirement Matters, a financial education workshop

You can retire, but only you can make it happen. And it all starts with planning. Attend this workshop to gain confidence and clarify your vision for how you want your retirement to be. Review retirement trends and consider what your income and expenses may be. Most important, identify action steps you can take now to make your retirement happen.

- Wednesday, April 18, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

- Zion Lutheran Church, 4447 Central Avenue, Gasport, NY 14067

- Free workshop, no registration fee. Refreshments will be served.

- For more information, or to RSVP contact Paula Travis at 716-471-6446 or by email at

- Sponsored by Niagara Falls Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Presented by: Steve Brauen, Financial Advisor.

“Open to everyone. Bring a friend!”


The Schedule of Easter events at Zion Lutheran Church is as follows:

On Friday, they will have their Crosswalk through Gasport which begins at 3 pm at Covenant United Church of Christ on Main Street.

The Good Friday evening service is at Zion at 7 pm with the theme, "Faces in the Shadow of the Cross."

Easter Sunday will see a sunrise service at 7:00 am followed by breakfast at 8:00. The regular worship service will be at 10:30 am.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


The Middleport Free Library has initiated the process for interested parties to apply to be a trustee of the library. The trustee package can be found online now (sans petition) and at the library starting tomorrow. The package features a questionnaire and some background info on duties and policy. The petition is due May 5th.

Download the package here in PDF format:

Monday, April 2, 2012


Town of Royalton Historical Society will be hosting this month's meeting, teaming up with the Town of Lockport Historical Society. The April Meeting will be held at the Royalton Town Hall, 5316 Royatlon Center Rd, Middleport on this Thursday, April 5th at 7:00 p.m. . The program will be Mr. Bob Confer, educating the group on Springtime Wildflowers of Royalton. He will be talking about the most interesting plants that appear in the town in April and May.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Royalton's Historical Society President, Jennifer Bieber at 716 735-7335. Meetings are open to the public! Please come join us!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


The Gasport Lions Club will be hosting their annual Easter egg hunt this coming Saturday, April 7th at 11:00 a.m. at Veterans park in the hamlet.