Monday, December 31, 2007


A few week's back I drove by the former Piatkowski's butcher shop on Route 104 and saw new signage out front for the European Meat Market. I thought this was a wholesaler selling only to distributors, but, lo and behold, they sell a variety of meats direct to the consumer. Judging by this write up in the Journal-Register, it's worth a visit:


Those who attended Gasport Elementary School probably remember Jack Beedon, who taught sixth grade there from 1964 to 1997. He's a good guy, I always remember him being an entertaining and informative educator. He lives in Orleans County (where he serves as a county legislator) and there's a great article about him in the Medina Journal Register. Read it here:

Sunday, December 30, 2007


The Royalton Historical Society is meeting this Thursday, January 3 at 1:30 PM at the town hall. The public is welcome. Guest speakers will be Jim and Sally Wagner, talking about their trip to Europe.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


The Erie Canal has defined Gasport's history and is still key to the area today. There's a lot happening on the Canal all across the state and there is a newpaper, New York Canal Times, that looks at news and events from the entire Canal system. It is available online at:


The Buffalo News ran a story a few days back about Royalton's new government for 2008...

2008 ushers in change on the heels of turmoil
By Teresa Sharp

ROYALTON — Tuesday marks a changing of the guard in the Town of Royalton. That’s the day a new supervisor and three new board members will be sworn in after a tumultuous year.

The four officials were voted in to office after the town struggled to get its financial house in order, levying whopping tax hikes to do so. This year’s town budget raised the town tax by 266 percent in the Village of Middleport and by 67 percent elsewhere in the town. Town officials insisted it was necessary to restore town finances.

In contrast, the $5 million budget for 2008 includes a tax rate hike of 2 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation (to $2.07) in Middleport and 20 cents per $1,000 (to $3.67) for residents of the town outside the village.

“I’m happy with our [2008] budget,” said Town Board member Richard J. Lang, who will become the new supervisor. “I’m satisfied that it’s a good budget. We worked very hard on it.
“But we have to learn how to operate the town government within a declining tax base,” he said. “We have to be fiscally responsible and watch our pennies. And I want citizen input on looking for ways to keep our costs down while we continue the services we render.” Lang moves to a full, two-year term in the supervisor’s office. He defeated incumbent and fellow Republican Calvin W. Rhoney.

The new year also will signal a complete overhaul of the Town Board, when newcomers Jennifer H. Bieber, Bradley L. Rehwaldt and James G. Budde take office. Incumbents Lee Criswell and A. Robert Stahl did not seek re-election, and the third opening was created when Rhoney was appointed supervisor and left his Town Board seat, which wasn’t immediately filled. A decision has not yet been made on filling the fourth seat, belonging to Lang, who had two years left on the board.

Longtime Royalton resident Molly McGirr said she appreciates Lang’s fiscal conservatism. She said she became active in his campaign for supervisor because she finds him “honest and forthcoming.”

“He’s willing to listen to everybody and consider other options, and he doesn’t believe in just spending money willy-nilly,” said McGirr, a retiree. “He’s a breath of fresh air.”

Lang, 66, retired in 2003 after 34 years as an officer with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. He was elected to the Town Board in November 2005. He and his wife, Gretchen, moved to Royalton in 1969 and live on Hollenbeck Road. They have two grown sons and seven grandchildren.

He said getting involved in town government is something he always planned to do in retirement. “I wanted to be involved in making decisions for Royalton,” Lang said. “I’m very excited about being supervisor, and I’ve got some ideas. Because I’m retired, I want to establish some regular office hours at Town Hall where I’ll be available to the citizens,” he said. “I want to hold monthly meetings with department heads and develop a list for shortand long-term goals. I want to get more use from our town Web site and try and establish a more open and friendly government for the citizens,” Lang added.

Lang said creating a master plan for this rural town of 7,700 residents is a top priority. The town hired Wendel Duchscherer in September to help with the project. A master plan previously created in 1972 was never officially adopted.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Many people, in an effort to kill time in the winter months and help Mother Nature, maintain bird feeding stations. Some folks put up one feeder while others put up multiple feeders for mixed seeds, niger, and suet.

Well, you can do that and help Science at the same time.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology maintains a major annual affair called Project Feedrwatch where over the winter months you record the species and numbers of birds at your feeder. This aids them in tracking bird populations and the advanacement of bird diseases. An amateur naturalist, I've particpated in the program for the last eight years or so. To join the helpful program visit this website:

This is a great year to take part in the program. Winter has been pretty snowy and cold, so our little feathered friends are looking for some grub and I've heard reports that certain northern species which have seen so few of in recent years (like redpolls and evening grosbeaks) are making one of their cyclical visits to the US.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Yesterday the Niagara County legislature issued it's 2008 budget with most of the county taxpayers seeing their rates (per $1,000 assessed value) dropping. In Gasport, it depends on what side of Slayton Settlement Road you live on: Hartland residents will see their county taxes drop 4% to $7.81 while Royalton's tax rate will go up by 6% to $9.34.

Read about it in the Buffalo News:


The City of Lockport's official Christmas tree was just put up...and it's from Gasport, courtesy of Tony Majka. Here's the Lockport US&J's story...

Mayor Michael Tucker and state Sen. George Maziarz were on hand Tuesday to mark the season as a 20-foot-tall, Christmas-decorated evergreen tree was erected at the southeast end of Canal Street. The City of Lockport obtained the tree from Maziarz, who got it from Royalton resident Tony Majka. According to Maziarz, Majka called his office a few weeks ago and offered the tree to any organization that could use it, saying he had to cut it down but didn’t want to see it immediately destroyed. Maziarz called Tucker and offered it to the city.

“Tony’s generosity really is the hallmark of what this season is about,” Maziarz said. “This tree nicely adorns the Canal Street area here in Lockport, which is looking better and better every day.” Tucker thanked Majka and said he’d accept the gift on behalf of all city residents.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Now that deer season is done, snowmobile trails "maintained" by the NYS Snowmobile Association, local clubs and NYS parks department are open to snowmobile traffic. One trail even cuts through the heart of rural Gasport. See the State's map here:

Alot of snowmobilers break the law and ride their machines on the Erie Canal towpath, stopping for libations and grub at the Canalside Inn on Main Street.

Monday, December 17, 2007


The storm forecasted for Sunday was kind of a letdown. The weathermen had us getting almost two feet of snow and blizzard-like conditions. We got a foot of snow and, yes, it was windy and snow drifted about, but the roads are wide open now. I'm out and about before 5:00 AM and the roads were in very good shape...the crews did an awesome job overnight.

Roy-Hart remains open but the city schools across Niagara County (NT, NF, Lockport) are closed for Monday. Why, I really don't know. I can hear Don Cherry in my head right now saying, "what a bunch of wimps."

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Terry's Corners Fire Company is holding a Christmas auction at their hall today, December 15th, starting at 11:00 AM. Admission is free and you can bid on a multitude of gifts for everyone, items ranging from tools to toys to household items.


The weather forecasts are making it sound like a major snowstorm will hit Gasport on Sunday. Starting at 10 PM Saturday and lasting through 7 AM Monday, we'll be under a winter storm warning. They say we'll be dumped on by 14 to 22 inches of snow and will experience near-blizzard conditions with winds between 20 mph and 30 mph. If that happens I'll be sure to take pictures and post them on this site.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Earlier this year I had the pleasure of reading the book "Gasport Girl". It's an enjoyable read and I strongly suggest Gasport residents get a copy to get a feel for the village's history during the World War II era.

The book is a memoir of sorts by Jean Lang who used to write for the Henrietta (NY) Post. She gives accounts of the summers and holidays of her youth that were spent with her grandparents in Gasport.

To buy this informative and entertaining book go to this website:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Anyone 30 and older who went to Gasport Elementary School no doubt remembers Mr. McCormick, the gym teacher. Sadly, he passed away on Sunday. He was 82.

Mr. McCormick was just like the Hollywood stereotype of a gym teacher, a strapping athlete and ball of fire who ran intense warmups like you were on a sports team but always made the games themselves fun and competitive. He would even participate in the games and I can remember the joy of seeing him whip the ball around in Chinese Warball (dodgeball). One trick he could do which still amazes me to this day: he could throw a football underhand with a spiral and accuracy. Every time my friends and I get together to play ball someone always mentions that ability.

Mr. McCormick taught swimming and was also a coach for basketball and track & field. He was great all-around nice guy.

Viewing hours are Wednesday 7 to 9 PM and Thursday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 at Lange Funeral Home in Lockport. You can leave his family a message of sympathy at

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Every December since 1992 I've hosted a football game that has become an over-hyped event to the participants. The players always look forward to Mudbowl and the bragging rights that come with victory and big plays. This year's Mudbowl XVI will take place this Saturday, the 15th at noon at the soccer field at the Gasport school. For the third year in a row it will be a flag football game (we're getting too old for tackle), but still remains exciting. For more information visit:

Monday, December 10, 2007


My newspaper column this week touches on an issue near and dear to many Gasporters: subisidies. It might rankle some feathers locally but I decided to rail against subsidies that are used on corn that is dedicated for ethanol. You can read it at:


Saturday, December 8, 2007


Even friendly Gasport is not free of the ills of society. One of our businessmen was convicted of racketeering last night in federal court. Here is the abridged version of the Buffalo News story...

Niagara man convicted of racketeering charges
By Dan Herbeck

Niagara County businessman David R. Cain Jr. and two family members were convicted late Friday of running a violent gang that threatened, bullied and attacked business people in rural areas of Niagara and Orleans counties.

After a hard-fought racketeering trial in federal court, Cain was convicted of 17 felony charges that, according to prosecutors, will put him behind bars for a minimum of 50 years. His brother, Christopher, and cousin, James Soha, were convicted of five felonies each. Authorities said they face mandatory prison terms of at least 10 years each.

The convictions brought jubilant reactions from prosecutors and Niagara County police officials, who had feared the worst if Cain was put back on the street. In recent years, police said, David Cain had brazenly threatened a judge, two prosecutors, a detective and many witnesses. He had even burned the private car of a Niagara County sheriff’s deputy in the driveway of the deputy’s home.

In racketeering charges filed in 2006, federal agents accused David Cain Jr. of organizing and running a gang of criminals who threatened, vandalized and attacked Cain’s business rivals. His brother and cousin were accused of helping him. Cain was determined to run the largest tree-trimming and logging business in Niagara and Orleans counties, and he decided to accomplish his goal by driving others out of business, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce said.

Loggers and tree-trimmers who competed with Cain lost tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and vehicles in a series of arsons and vandalism incidents, Bruce said. According to police, Cain and his associates committed many violent acts that intimidated people in rural communities such as Newfane, Yates, Medina, Barker and Hartland.

“To me, these people are nothing but desperadoes,” said Niagara County Sheriff Thomas A. Beilein. “They threatened and intimidated honest business people and showed no respect for the law at all.”

Among the victims who testified were Dan Gollus, who ran a Lockport tree-trimming business, and Keith Kent, a logger from Orleans County. Kent testified that Cain and his henchmen nearly put him out of business after he and Cain had a falling-out over a proposed $40,000 lumber deal. After vandalism attacks that destroyed a truck and other equipment, Kent said, Cain screamed threats and insults at him one day in 2003. One of Cain’s alleged henchmen testified that he tried to ram a bulldozer into Kent’s house, but the vehicle ran out of gas before it could reach the building.

Gollus said Cain threatened to kill him and twice ran him off the road while driving a huge logging truck. One day after a disagreement with Cain in July 2004, Gollus testified, his beloved 1949-vintage airplane erupted in flames inside its hangar in Royalton. The uninsured plane was a total loss.

At another fire scene, at a tree-trimming business in Newfane, prosecutors said that Cain Jr., Soha and others ignited 100 cords of firewood and 30 tons of wood pellets. The February 2002 fire destroyed two dump trucks and caused flames that soared so high they could be seen in Buffalo, 40 miles away.

David Cain operated a treetrimming and logging business in Gasport and a junkyard in Middleport before he was jailed after his grand jury indictment.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Earlier this week I made note of Gasport's 1800's oil well. Royalton historian Jesse Bieber sent me a photo of it to share with all. Here's the really neat pic! This well used to stand where the village park (near the lift bridge) is now.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


The town of Hartland is having a hearing about fire protection on the 13th. Here's the legal notice:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


The Roy-Hart school board is on a drive to lower the speed limit on Route 31 in front of the elementary school in Gasport, as the Lockport Union Sun and Journal reports...

At a Nov. 29 school board meeting, the board announced that the district sent a request to the state Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit. Currently the limit is 55 mph. The change, if approved, will take some time. The department sent a letter back to the district confirming it had received the request.“They look at traffic patterns, traffic count, history and other things,” said Roy-Hart Superintendent Paul Bona. “This is a formula they use to determine if the speed should be lowered.”

The elementary school has about 550 students; this is an enrollment increase over previous years, because of the addition of universal pre-kindergarten. There are four classes, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Bona said the school wasn’t the only reason the limit should be lowered: The surrounding area has also seen an increase in traffic.

To read the entire article, go here:

Monday, December 3, 2007


Last night I heard a lonesome train whistle in Gasport, something that will become increasingly more common.

The train traffic going through the village is on the rise since Medina's brand-spanking-new ethanol plant started operations on November 29th.

Some look at trains as a nuisance. I look at them as a nicety...trains are a vital part of American history and commerce and the increased traffic means there are good things happening in the local economy.

Read about the plant here:

Saturday, December 1, 2007


The New York Times has started to archive on the web their papers from long ago. Here's a nifty news article from August 10, 1883 about the discovery of oil in Gasport...

Friday, November 30, 2007


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

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

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

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

To read it in its entirety, go here:

Thursday, November 29, 2007


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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


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

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

and (26 pages)

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007


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

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

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


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

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

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

Saturday, November 24, 2007


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

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

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


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

Friday, November 23, 2007


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

Thursday, November 22, 2007


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


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

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


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

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

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

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

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


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

Chiropractor one of few to get insurance backing

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

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

Read the article in its entirety here:

Sunday, November 18, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 17, 2007


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

Lockwood, Belva (Ann) (1830–1917)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Friday, November 16, 2007


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

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

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

Read the article in its entirety here:


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

Thursday, November 15, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


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


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

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

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

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


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

Monday, November 12, 2007


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

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

Thursday, November 8, 2007


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

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


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


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

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


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

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


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

Army captain receives Purple Heart
By April Amadon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 19, 2007


Here's one for the X-Files...

The local news media reports that a farmer on Quaker Road found five of his cattle dead. Because he has not changed his herd or had a sick cow in years he believes they were poisoned. Adding to his claim, his friend overheard two guys talking about the dead cows at a local store before the community knew about it.



The Covenant United Church of Christ on Main St. will have its annual turkey dinner on Saturday, November 3rd, starting at 3:30. This great meal is donation-based, so pay what you'd like. It's always a great meal, cooked by the Church members and served by Boy Scout Troop 18.

Monday, October 15, 2007


On Sunday the Buffalo Diocese's bishop Edward Kmiec announced his latest plans for downsizing and streamlining churches in his district. Among the closings slated to occur: St. Mary's, Gasport's ONLY catholic church.

The church will merge with St. John the Baptist of Lockport, with the buildings and property in Gasport never being used again. It is unknown exactly when this will occur. The complete closings and merging list can be read at the Diocese website here:

This is tragic. Gasport is a loving, close-knit community and the Catholics in it have always relied on St. Mary's not only as the venue to share their religion but also as an outlet to positively affect the community with fundraisers, dinners, outreach, clothing drives, food drives, scout meetings, and more.

This sort of thing, though well-intentioned, further adds to the erosion of small town America.


The Roy-Hart school district is planning to expand and renovate its properties. Read here:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Many people don't know that Gasport produced one of the more popular action stars of the mid-1900's, Warren Hull, who appeared in many movie serials. Here's the Wikipedia entry about him:


Boating on the Erie Canal will end on November 1st this year, NOT November 15th as usual. The NYS Canal Corporation says drought condtions in the Mohawk Valley have required this endeavor as a means to conserve water.

So, get out and enjoy Gasport's signature body of water!


The Royalton-Hartland school system is offering basketball to the elemntary school students. The program starts October 30th and the kids must sign up by this Friday. Read about it in detail here:

Saturday, October 6, 2007


The Roy-Hart Rams football team has been atrocious in recent years. Despite trying their darnedest, the team hasn't won in what seems like five years and rarely have they even been in the game...30(+) to 6 scores being common.

Well, that changed last night as the Rams won!

Read about it here:

Friday, October 5, 2007


The town of Royalton is in the planning stages of its 2008 budget. Writes the Lockport Union Sun and Journal...

The town board is getting its first look at a 2008 spending plan that appears almost ordinary.

Supervisor Cal Rhoney on Wednesday released copies of the tentative budget showing a roughly 2 percent increase in year-over-year spending. Given the fiscal tumult of the last couple years, and the inescapable knowledge that the town is significantly in debt, he said, “I think it’s an excellent budget.”

To read the article in its entirety, go here:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Tens of thousands of people from across Western New York will be descending upon Gasport over the next month. During every weekend of October Becker Farms is hosting their wildly-popular Pumpkin Fiesta and Hautanted Hayride. For complete information about these always-entertaining, good family fun visit Becker Farms' website at:

Monday, September 24, 2007


I am a member of this year's Leadership Niagara class. On Thursday we toured 5 agricultural establishments across Niagara County including two in Gasport....Becker Farms and Gasport View Dairy. At Beckers the class heard about agri-tourism and sampled wines. At the dairy farm the class got to see cows, the milking process, and manure up close and personal.

It was a great experience for the LN class, most being "cityfolk" and never experiencing farm life. The Vizcarra's and Whites were GREAT hosts.

The Lockport US&J covered the day here (with an emphasis on the morning's start-up that featured discussions about ag trends)...


Gasport got its name from coal gas that bubbled out of springs that were destroyed during the digging of the Erie Canal. Despite their destruction, some gas still remains.

The village portion of Red Creek that runs from the old reservoir to the Canal still has some bubbles in it here and there.

The best spot to see where we got our moniker is in the stony stream that runs through my family's farm on Slayton Settlement Road. There is a sizable area that has gas bubbling continuously in the water (see the top photo). It never stops. The area smells strongly like methane. Rumor has it hobos used to stick pipes in this spot and create eternal flames to cook on.

This year has been a dry summer, so the water is quite low in the stream. This has created an interesting situation...some of the bubble spots are now above water and there the earth is rumbling, hissing, and regurgitating gas, leaving piles of white minerals (see bottom photo).

Sunday, September 23, 2007


A couple of weeks ago I had moderated the town of Royalton's candidate debates at the town hall. All in all it was a good evening of civics, representing democratic values in a republic style of government. A full house (well over 100 people) stuck around for three hours of Q&A with the candidates running for town supervisor (2), highway superintendent (3), and the town council (5). These folks turned out in droves because the town is at a crossroads in its history: this year we saw a major tax increase and the town leadership received a somewhat damning report from the NYS Comptroller's office.

The primary elections were held this past Tuesday and the Lockport Union Sun and Journal offered this report:


For the past few years I've maintained a webpage that lists all of the Gasport-related websites. These sites cover everything from businesses to schools town offices to destinations. The page gets over 90 hits a month (all from general Gasport searches on Google and Yahoo). Check it out at:

If I missed any please shoot me an e-mail at


Whenever I tell other Western New Yorkers that I live in Gasport many of them say, "oh, God's Country. It's beautiful out there!"

That says a lot. People everywhere have respect and love for our quaint community.

Rural Gasport is a very special place, that rare piece of Small Town America. Gasport is home to truly great people, a bountiful agricultural landscape, small businesses that exemplify the American Dream, and a rich history centered around the Erie Canal.

It's a community that I love calling "home" and one that I will always call "home".

So, I thought it best that I share my love for Gasport and enlighten people about this wonderful place. This blog will serve as a website for anything and everything, events, commentary, stories, history, share with everyone the "what's happening" in our great community.

Residents: This site should keep you informed about events and newsworthy goings-on about town

Snowbirds and other "migrants": You can consider this your hometown "newspaper"

Out of towners: I hope you learn a lot about Gasport and pay us a visit. You'll love it out here.