Thursday, January 31, 2008


The original post for Veteran's Park quickly left the front page earlier this month when Roy-Hart had the lockdown incident. So, here it is again for those who missed it...

Sure, it's 12 degrees outside and Summer is a long ways away, but you better start planning now for your Summer events (reunions, picnics, etc) if you plan on using Veterans Park in the village. Weekends fill up in a hurry there. As of this week the town is now accepting reservations for the facility. For complete information go to this webpage:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Snowbirds are probably wondering just why are the schools closed in Gasport. WBEN reports on the weather:

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - A powerful weather front has moved into the Western New York area overnight, plunging temperatures from the 50's into the 20's in a matter of an hour, and sending rip-roaring winds across the region. The National Weather Service has issued a high wind WARNING for the entire area until 6-this evening. There is also a lakeshore flood ADVISORY for Erie and Chautauqua counties until noon, and a winter weather ADVISORY for WNY until 1pm.

The powerful winds have led to power outages across the entire region--more than 55,000 electric customers are without lights this morning: National Grid is working on restoring power to some 39,000 customers in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, Chatauqua and Genesee counties, and New York State Electric and Gas is reporting about 16,000 outages.

Overnight rain turned to snow and is making road surfaces greasy--salters and plows are out, but strong winds are making it difficult to keep up with conditions, especially on roads not heavily travelled.

Powerful winds of 30 to 40-miles-an-hour are blowing across the region, gusts of around 60-miles an hour, ripping power lines out and making the temperature feel about 10-degrees below zero.

There are dozens of school closings this morning.


Due to the high winds and associated power outages, classes have been cancelled today (Wednesday, January 30th) for the Royalton-Hartland School District.

Monday, January 28, 2008


With apologies to Red Creek, the Erie Canal is the most important waterway in Gasport. It made us who we are and is a key tourism and recreation destination. Its future is now up in the air after the State Comptroller's damning report about the State Thruway Authority. Here's an abbreviated version of The Buffalo News article...

Shifting of canal cost stirs concern
By Dan Herbeck

Two major questions were raised Sunday about a proposal by New York’s comptroller to take responsibility for the state canal system away from the Thruway Authority. According to lawmakers, the move would cut the authority’s annual expenses by $80 million, but the proposal faces two difficult questions:

• Would such a change be legal?
• How would the state continue to finance the cost of maintaining, developing and promoting the historic 524-mile canal system?

“Whether you take the canal away from the Thruway Authority or not, you still have an $80 million expense that has to be paid,” said State Sen. George D. Maziarz, RNewfane. “Any way you pay for it, the canal system has to remain a priority. It’s one of the crown jewels of our history and our tourism industry, especially in Western New York.”

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli admitted he doesn’t know how the state would finance the canal move during a Buffalo news conference about the Thruway Authority’s financial practices. DiNapoli said several options — including privatization of parts of the canal system and asking the federal government to take it over — should be considered. “There are a lot of questions here, and it’s not going to be a quick overnight solution,” Di- Napoli said.

The comptroller said the state needs to closely examine all the Thruway Authority’s spending — including canal expenses — before moving forward with toll hikes that have been proposed for this year, 2009 and 2010.

Tolls already rose by 10 percent Jan. 6, and the other proposed hikes are projected to cost motorists an additional $520 million over a five-year period, DiNapoli said. Criticizing the agency’s financial practices, DiNapoli said the authority needs to perform “a comprehensive, top-to-bottom analysis” of its operations before hitting motorists with toll increases.

DiNapoli suggests removing the canal system from the Thruway Authority’s operations is one cost-cutting measure that could help the authority avoid toll hikes. But he admitted that he doesn’t know how the state would pay for the canal system if it were taken away from the Thruway Authority. DiNapoli was surrounded by nine state legislators and one federal lawmaker — Rep. Brian M. Higgins, D-Buffalo — as he announced his audit results, his opposition to toll hikes and his proposal to remove the canal system from Thruway Authority control.

Three of the lawmakers who attended Sunday’s news conference said they are thankful that DiNapoli raised the canal issue for discussion. But all three — Maziarz, Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, D-Niagara Falls; and State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew — said it is also important to make sure the canal system remains a high state priority.

Both Maziarz and DelMonte said DiNapoli’s canal system proposal could face some major legal hurdles. Both noted that the canal system was transferred from the state Department of Transportation to the Thruway Authority in 1992, after the transfer was approved by voters in a statewide referendum.

“You might need to have another state referendum to take it away from the Thruway Authority,” Maziarz said. “There are a lot of legal questions you’d have to look at.”

As comptroller, DiNapoli has the right to suggest such a move but no power to enact it, lawmakers said.

Funding the upkeep and operations of the canal system is an issue that lawmakers will have to deal with, whether Di- Napoli’s suggestion is followed or not, DelMonte said.

“It’s not like we’re going to shut down the canal system,” she said. “It’s there, and it’s an asset we need to maintain.”

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Heard a call today on the police scanner for an accident in front of the old Udder Delights. It was a new one for me: car-turkey.

I wonder who won?

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Gasport has produced some folks of wide renown…Belva Lockwood, the first woman to run for president and Warren Hull, a leading action star of the 1940’s. It’s been a while since we’ve had an honest-to-goodness celebrity hail from Gasport.

That may soon change.

Brian Wheat, a 27 year old Gasport native, and his Buffalo-based band Groggy Darlin’ have been raising quite a few eyebrows in the music circles of WNY (and beyond). You know a musician is good when other musicians tell people that his concerts are a “must-see”.

A skilled musician, singer, and songwriter, Brian has a master’s control of his brand of music, a sort of modernized folk, old-school country and alternative country. Of all the local bands, Brian Wheat and Groggy Darlin’ far and away seem to be the group with the greatest chance of hitting it big….their music is that unique and polished…as well as widely-appreciated with fan bases in Chicago and NYC.

In 2007 Brian’s CD “Where Have You Been” was released to much acclaim. Buffalo News music critic Jeff Miers had nothing but kind words to say:

"Sparse in instrumentation, earthy in production, the record boasts much of the breathy intimacy displayed by the new vanguard in acoustic alternative music--Iron & Wine comes immediately to mind as a reference point. But in its detailed, subtly ornate arrangements, it avoids the sleepy, aloof, occasionally flat-out boring tendencies of some of the "nu-acoustic" artists. Part of the reason for this is the onion-like layering of the entire presentation--the songs themselves, the savvy production ethic, the striking, stark artwork and album packaging. Most markedly, that multilayering of meaning can be found in Wheat's lyric-writing, which is provocative and poetic without being too precious about it. Balancing such detailed, well-honed lyrics against musical arrangements that both support and elevate their sentiments is one of the great battles of record-making. Many a good record has one or the other. Only the great ones manage both."

How did such a gifted musician come from Gasport? Well, Life and Times in Gasport, New York shot a half dozen questions his way so everyone can get a feel for what makes him tick.

1) You and your band Groggy Darlin' play an interesting and varied style. How would you best describe your music?

I think we are working hard to make quality music that people can genuinely connect with, lyrically and musically. As far as the sounds of it; I do think it has a very Northeastern US sound to it. I feel that the climate of the region is very much reflected in the music. There is a feel to the record that parallels the changing seasons; a little grey and somber, a little country road and golden hayfield, windows down type of feeling, etc. (people have said it sounds like a "grey upstate Sunday afternoon").

Also, on the album we are using traditionally bluegrass, acoustic, country instrumentation (i.e. Acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin) but creating a sound that is influenced by modern music and many of the bands I've been interested in over time, from NOFX to Neil Diamond. I think this is a reason that fans of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, as well as newer bands like Iron and Wine and M. Ward can both enjoy the tunes equally.

2) Finding people skilled in and committed to such styles was no doubt a difficult task. How did you and your band get together?

Well, I originally was performing as a solo act. Later, I met Mark Longolucco (drums) and Peter Williams (Bass) at an arts collective that we would all visit for open mics. Later we brought on Peter Gerace (Electric Guitar) because he is an amazing player and we were looking for added texture and ability to recreate the album's in the live setting. Peter G was a co-worker of Peter Williams' (at Twin Village Music, Lancaster) for some time. That's how we got'em.

3) How do you see the future for you and your music?

The whole experience has been a series of small goals. First I wanted to write some songs and perform them. Next I wanted to produce an album, and so on. At this point I am consistently meeting goals I have set for myself and developing new ones as we go. The next major goal for me would be touring. I find traveling to be the source of much of my inspiration and to be able to both travel and play music would be very fulfilling for me. Another goal of mine would be to see some more of the music make its way to film. I really enjoy film and think that the marriage of music and film is a powerful one. We have done a couple of different things with film and I'd love to continue to see this facet of my work develop.

Also, a goal of the band's is to play Conan O'Brien and Letterman. ;-)

4) You have awesome artistic abilities. How did you develop your natural talents into such impressive musical skills?

I honestly must attribute much of my musical ability and success as a performer to my music teachers and drama instructor at Gasport Elementary and Roy-Hart. Mrs. Pease and Mrs. Blumrick taught me very much about playing and performing music at an age where I think learning these things well is crucial to their prevalence and development through later times in life. Of course, a great deal of practice and dedication to constantly improving my abilities and knowing that one can always improve in some way, have also helped me to be at the level I am today.

5) You've been around the world and found personal and musical growth through exploration. Tell us about your adventures...

At a very young age I was encouraged to recognize and be part of the vast unknown that existed just outside the boundaries of our town. I have spent much time in many places doing just that. The first trip I took, and the most important one in my mind, was a trip across the continental US with the now defunct Troop 86 Boy Scout troop. This was my first taste of serious travel. Since then I have never viewed anything in the same light and have been afflicted by the need to experience new people/places whenever I can.

Through my studies I visited Tasmania, Australia for a semester of school, and visited a few surrounding countries on my return trip. I also visited friends in Spain and Brussells for a few months when I finished my Masters degree.

In my mind this is certainly a testament to the impressionability of young minds and the need to foster the inquisitive nature of the child in positive and meaningful ways. This is why I have also pursued a career in teaching. I'm currently teaching middle school science and forensic science at Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School, in Buffalo.

6) As much as the diversity of the world contributes to your music I'm sure your Gasport roots have done so as well. How did growing up in small town America impact who you are as a person and musician?

Aside from the specific examples I have already mentioned, I think that the sense of community and closeness of our town has been the most positive influence on me. I saw it in the lives my grandparents led, the lives my parents and their friends lead and see it now in the paths that I am choosing. It boils down to a quality of life thing, I think. I have come to realize that being part of a community and working together and for yourself and each other gives great quality to life. I am not sure if my thoughts would be the same if I did not grow up in a place like Gasport.

If you can, get out to one of Brian’s concerts. Here’s the current list:

If you want to learn more about him and hear some of his music, visit these websites:

Thursday, January 24, 2008


The Roy-Hart High School drama club will present their rendition of "Night of the Living Dead" this Friday, January 25th at 7:00 at the High School auditorium. Costs is $4.


From the Lockport Union Sun and Journal...

BOYS SWIMMING: Rams junior Jon Beabout builds for a better future
By John D’Onofrio Greater Niagara Newspapers

Jon Beabout doesn’t just break records. He obliterates them.

He doesn’t get good grades. He gets the best grades.

And he doesn’t just show people the way by example, he holds the door open for them and guides them towards the right path.

Beabout, 16, the son of Walter and Sue Beabout of Gasport, is much more than a top-ranked swimmer in Western New York and Royalton-Hartland Rams’ 500-yard freestyle record holder, he’s a leader in every sense of the word.

At home as the elder sibling, in church, in the classroom or in the pool, Beabout’s big interest has always been helping others, said Rams boys and girls varsity swim head coach Bruce Matthews. “In the pool just today, he did some stroke work with kids who really needed the help,” Matthews said after practice on Wednesday. “And the thing is, it doesn’t take away from how hard he trains. This is his sport. This is what he does. He comes from a great swimming family. His mother, Sue, is a coach behind the scenes.”

As a freshman two years ago, Beabout broke Mark Natemeier’s 1994 Roy-Hart record of 5:23.20 in the 500 freestyle. Since then, Beabout has broken his own mark in the 500 several times — five times this year alone. His school 500 record currently stands at 5:07.57.

“Mark sent me a congratulatory letter when I broke his record, which was nice,” Beabout said.

Beabout said he also hopes to break the school’s 200 freestyle record — and needs to swim just .06 of a second faster to do it. That record remains 1:51.70, set by Cory Donahue in 1991. Beabout swam a 1:51.75 earlier this season.

“Jon’s goal this year is to qualify for the state meet in either the 200 or 500,” said Matthews, whose boys team is currently 9-0 in the Niagara-Orleans League.

While averaging nearly 100 in the classroom and despite spending so much time in the pool swimming, Beabout also finds a lot of time teaching others as a dedicated and enthusiastic youth leader at Ridgewood Bible Church on Rt. 104. He also serves as a camp counselor in the JIM Club, a Christian leadership program, where he annually serves as a counselor for one month each summer.

“I’ve always liked to impress on others younger than me the knowledge that I have and love to see others do well. I want them to be leaders in their churches, at home and in school — to be strong Christian leaders,” Beabout said.

Jon’s parents have been coaches and volunteers at Roy-Hart and as leaders of the Lockport Sea Lions Swim Club for the past 10 years. It’s there that Jon got his competitive start at the age of 7. Today, besides his school and the Sea Lions, Jon competes as a member of the Clarence Swim Club. Besides Matthews and his parents, Beabout credited his club coach, Russ Samson, with his successes in the sport. Jon has twin younger brothers, Josh and Jason, 14. He is the grandson of Bob and Anne Maynard of Wellsboro, Pa., and the late Ed and Neva Beabout.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Stephenville, Texas has been all over the news, here in the US and abroad, because of a supposed UFO sighting earlier this week.

There was one in Gasport back in '68 as this Niagara Gazette archive says:

"Strange Lights' Seen at Gasport"
January 22, 1968; Pg. 10

GASPORT -- Niagara County sheriffs deputies were summoned late Saturday and early Sunday to investigate "strange lights," reportedly observed near here.

The first call came from Donald A. Perry, of 3760 Quaker Road, Gasport, who said that his 11 year-old daughter, Lindy, looked out a window and saw a "whitish light, like a ball of light" falling at about 9 p.m. Saturday in the Quaker-Slayton Settlement Road area between this community and the City of Lockport.

Eugene F. Naish, of 3716 Hartland Road, here, called deputies about midnight and said that he had seen a yellowish light about 9 p.m. Saturday in the same general area.

He said that he was working at a dance at the Gasport Fire Hall and saw the light when he stepped outside for some fresh air. He said he first thought it was a light on a snowmobile on a hill.

He told deputies he and another member of the fire company checked the area but could find no trace of snowmobile tracks.


Local Christian rock band Common Vessel will play its last concert ever (one of its members is moving) on Friday the 25th at 7:00 PM in the Elementary School auditorium. The concert is free but a collection will be taken to support Buffalo City Mission.

For information about the band, visit:

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Boy Scout Troop 18 has been a pillar of the Gasport community for over 60 years now. Hundreds of boys have gone through the program and learned important leadership skills and gained a community service mindset that they carry with them their whole lives.

Today, more than ever, local youth need the Scouting program. Kids are bombarded by bad influences from media and peers and many kids never go outdoors (the staple of the Boy Scout program) because they're too enamored with video games, the internet, and TV.

Boy Scout Troop 18 meets every Wednesday at the Covenant Church on Main Street from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM. The boys go on monthly campouts, regular field trips, and summer camp vacations. You're welcome to bring your son to a meeting to check it out.

For more info about the troop visit


The town of Royalton's planning board is holding a public hearing on the 23rd at 7:30 PM in the town hall. The topic of discussion will be the application for a 10 lot subdivision that could be built near the intersection of Hollenbeck and East High.


As the Lockport Journal reports, youth from around the country will be decending on the area this summer to help those in need. I remember these kids helped a Gasport woman a couple of years ago...

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Workcamp returns

Teens from across the country will flock to Lockport next summer as part of the Erie Canal Reach Workcamp.

Jim Haid of St. John’s Outreach, who acts as co-sponsor and coordinator, said organizers of the workcamp are excited to return to eastern Niagara County after taking a year off.

“Everyone said, ‘How about we have a summer off and catch our breath?’” he said. “Not that the need went away at all.” The camp, to be held from June 30 to July 4, brings teens from church groups and other organizations together to work on homes and improvement projects throughout the community. This includes roofing, painting, building wheelchair ramps and handrails, installing gutters, building porches and other projects.

The teens each pay $380 to take the trip. They will sleep in classrooms at Lockport High School, eating in the cafeteria there and playing in the gym during their time off. The workcamp hires LHS staff to help out, so the school district does not cover any of the cost, Haid said.“They are gracious enough to allow us to use their building,” he said.

The camp includes about 400 volunteers, including high school students and their adult leaders. There are also about 100 local volunteers helping out. The teens will be split up into crews of six, with one adult leader each, to do work at one site for the entire week.

Haid said they are accepting applications from local residents who need work done on their homes. The residents must be unable to do the work themselves and unable to afford to pay someone else to do the work, Haid said. Homeowners can be anywhere in eastern Niagara County. Every year, the group receives more than 100 applications, he said. “We wean those out,” he said. “We try and have enough work at one home that will last one week. We don’t want to have a crew move from house to house.”

The teens will then spend the bulk of their days at the site, meeting the residents and building friendships.

“What it boils down to is the relationship between the kids and the homeowner,” Haid said. “Obviously the work is important, but the relationship is just as important.”

The residents — many of whom are seniors — benefit from not only the work, but also the contact with the teens.

Haid said he admires the teens for their dedication to community service.“It’s amazing for these guys to do that, to take a week of their time, of their valuable summer vacation, and pay to help somebody,” he said. Anyone interested in applying to be part of the program should call Haid at 433-5252. All applications must be received by Feb. 1, 2008.

Friday, January 18, 2008


From the Lockport US&J...

Royalton-Hartland School District is getting a face-lift.

Residents passed an $8.3 million capital building project by a 329-174 vote Thursday. Aside from maintenance and repairs to all three schools in the district, the project will provide an addition that will house an Orleans/Niagara BOCES program in the elementary school.

“We are very pleased that the community supported the project,” said Superintendent Paul Bona. “And a great thank you to our community.”

The project includes upgrades to the high school science and art rooms, new generators and regular maintenance items to Roy-Hart Elementary, Middle and High Schools.

The facilities project will be done in two phases. The first is the BOCES addition, maintenance and improvements to be made to the elementary school. The second phase is maintenance and improvements to the middle and high schools.

Bona said the district will immediately draw up plans and specifications. The plans for the project have to be approved by the state education department, which would take about 12 to 14 weeks.

“We hope to break ground in the summer,” he said.

To help speed things along, each phase will be sent separately to the state education department. That way, the district can begin work on the first phase as the second is being approved. Both phases have to be approved by the state by June 30 in order for the district to receive state EXCEL building aid.

The reason for the addition is that BOCES needed a place for its elementary students, and housing them there would bring some financial advantage to the school district. The $8.3 million project won’t cost residents anything, because of the BOCES and EXCEL aid. BOCES will pay the construction, equipment and utilities costs and would use their own people as staff. If they use Roy-Hart staff, they would pay for them, too. The BOCES students would be contained in the 10-classroom wing. A separate entrance to the addition would be built on Emerson Place, which borders the school.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Every spring the Niagara County Soil & water Conservation District sells DEC-raised saplings for local residents to plant for use in conservation projects and lawns. Last year alone, over 57,000 trees were distributed across the county. Heck, I planted over 200 trees on our spread last year.

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

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

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

The order form is available here:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The City of Lockport had a tense standoff situation on Monday. There was a Gasport connection to the drama (in bold below), as the Lockport Union Sun and Journal reports....

LOCKPORT: Armed standoff ends peacefully
By April Amadon, Niagara Newspapers

A tense situation ended with a peaceful resolution Monday as an apparently suicidal man held police in a standoff near a city elementary school. Michael A. Huntington, 42, 167 Olcott St., is now in police custody and facing several charges after a two-hour standoff on Olcott Street.

The incident began about 9:50 a.m., when city police responded to a home on Market Street for a report of a stolen car. A woman there said Huntington had told her he was contemplating suicide and had stolen her car.

Huntington then drove to a friend’s home on Quaker Road in Gasport. He did not go inside, but reportedly called his friend from his cell phone and told her he was thinking about killing himself.

The woman at the Quaker Road home told sheriff’s deputies she was talking on the phone with Huntington when she heard a gunshot. Sheriff’s investigators are trying to determine from which direction that shot was fired and if anything was struck.

Huntington drove away toward the City of Lockport. Meanwhile, a bulletin was issued to local law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the stolen car.About 10:15 a.m., Lockport Police Officer Brian LeBere saw Huntington driving west on Olcott Street and attempted a traffic stop.

Huntington’s car sped up and struck a tree in front of 167 Olcott St. Although that is Huntington’s listed address, Lockport Police Chief Eggert said he had recently been evicted from the building.

Huntington reportedly got out of the car and displayed the shotgun. Despite LeBere’s requests to drop the gun, Huntington allegedly placed himself between two parked cars and held the gun to his head.

Across the street, neighbor JoAnne Ciraza looked outside and saw Huntington leaning up against a car, the shotgun pressed to his head. “It seemed like a TV show,” she said. “I thought he was going to commit suicide.”

More officers arrived, soon joined by New York State troopers and sheriff’s deputies, who isolated Huntington and set up a perimeter, cordoning off nearby streets. Nearby neighbors were evacuated from the area. Ciraza said she was contacted by phone by a law enforcement officer, who told her to leave the house from the back door and go toward Dolan Park. The incident occurred two blocks from DeWitt Clinton Elementary School close to dismissal time. The school was placed in lockdown mode.

State Police Investigator James Thompson, a hostage negotiator, responded to the scene to talk with Huntington.Sheriff’s Capt. Steven Preisch said the situation was potentially a “worst-case scenario” for the negotiator.“It was a face-to-face confrontation, not from a house to a telephone,” he said. “Obviously, with an armed suspect, being outside, it just really complicated it.”

During the standoff, Huntington tried to go inside the house once but was ordered by officers to back away, Eggert said. Several times, Huntington used his cell phone to call people from the scene, allegedly threatening them, according to Eggert.

Deputies brought the Quaker Road woman to the scene during the incident, Preisch said.“She did get on the PA and talk with (Huntington),” he said.

About 12:15 p.m., after nearly two hours of negotiation, Huntington unloaded the shotgun and dropped it. Officers moved in and took him into custody.Eggert said the situation represented “a really outstanding bit of inter-agency cooperation.”

“We were able to meld three departments together to solve this,” he said. “It takes a lot of skill, a lot of bravery to stand within 30 yards of a man with a loaded shotgun and talk to him. Our hats are off to the hostage negotiators, they did a good job on this.”


From the Buffalo News...

A trash collection schedule change, due to a new contract with a different company, has some residents here confused, according to town officials. Supervisor William Annable said Allied Waste was the lowest bidder and was awarded a three-year contract for trash pickup that began Jan. 1. The company is picking up trash and recycling on the streets west of Johnson Creek Road on Tuesdays and on the streets east of, and including, Johnson Creek Road on Fridays. The exceptions are Mill and Asher streets, which are Friday pickups. There will no longer be discarded tire pickups.


Save your bottles and cans for a local drive that will benefit one of the local scout troops. Click the image below to see the full-size flier..


For those of you new to the site, we have available for download the Gasport Strategic Plan prepared by Camoin and Associates with help from countless people in the community. This plan, adopted by the town of Royalton at December's board meeting, sets the tone for Gasport's future, laying out where we should be and some thoughts on how to get there.

The documents are available for downloading (in PDF format) here: (23 pages)

and (26 pages)

Monday, January 14, 2008


Here's a news release from the Roy-Hart school district website....

Thanks to the efforts of our very own Mrs. Deanna McCarthy, Elementary school Secretary and Susan Hatch of Gasport Yellow Goose (located at 7953 Rochester Road.) Royalton Hartland elementary school has been awarded a $500.00 Exxon/Mobil Educational Alliance grant of the "Character Counts" program.

The money will be used to purchase character education items to help RHES promote strong character traits in our students. Funded by the Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Exxon/Mobil Educational Alliance program is designed to provide Mobil retailers like Yellow Goose with an opportunity to invest in the future of their community through educational grants to neighborhood schools.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


It's been mentioned here before that increased train traffic is a good thing. Busy rails mean the local economy has something happening in it. On top of that, trains are a nicety, harkening back to a bygone era.

Some people, though, disagree (under certain circumstances) and have commented on this site or sent e-mails to me about it. Most folks don't seem to mind the activity during the day but the blaring train horn at night while they're sleeping gets under their skin. That's understandable.

During the day you need the horn because the visual cues are limited. In the darkness of night, one would think the engineer could cut back on the horn because car drivers have the visual cue of the train's headlights when they come to an intersection.

Well, if you're one of the affected who's had their sleep disturbed, send a kind letter of concern to the rail company that operates this line (known as the Falls Road)....

Genessee Valley Transportation Co.
1 Mill St., Suite 101
Batavia, NY 14020


This week you have your chance (again) to make your voice heard about expanding the Gasport school. The polls are open from noon to 9:00 at the Royalton Hartland High School in Middleport. Complete info on what this project entails can be found throughout Life and Times in Gasport.


From the Buffalo News...

HARTLAND — A kitchen grease fire caused an estimated $15,000 damage Friday to a home at 8405 Ridge Road, Niagara County sheriff’s deputies said. Firefighters from Hartland and Gasport arrived at the scene at 5:59 p.m. A pan containing cooking oil overheated and triggered the fire, which extensively damaged the kitchen, authorities said.


Defining the borders of what constitutes Gasport is not an easy task. Sure, it's a small town, but where does it begin and end? Everyone has their own concept:

1) Is it only the hamlet itself?
2) Is it the "772" telephone district?
3) Is it the 14067 area code?
4) Is it the Gasport portion of the Roy-Hart district when we had two elementary schools?

It is confusing. Well, to make it easy and to identify what this website focuses on, I prefer to identify what the USGS considers Gasport in their mapping of the United States. You can see the map here:

Some people may not like the boundaries because they might have a favorite of the four factors mentioned above and the map includes points that don't jive with them. But, alas, for the sake of consistency this site will serve as the "online newspaper" for that area clearly defined in the map. The one recurring deviation from that: articles about the high school, because, after all, it affects all Gasport families.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Gasport Elementary will be hosting a parenting workshop on the evening of the 23rd. For details visit this website:

Note that you must register by this coming Monday.


Scott Leffler hosts the talk show Dialog on 1340 AM WLVL. On the 4th his show focused on, among other things, the lockdown situation at Roy-Hart. Scott has posted a podcast of the show online. You can listen to it by right clicking the link below to download it to your desktop:

Friday, January 11, 2008


People are always asking, how do we know how many sex offenders there are in my town? Well, there's four of them according to the NYS database for level 2 & 3 designees. Check it out here:

All you need to do is enter "14067" in the zip code query.



Last night the school district held their informational meeting that focused on the school expansion that is set for vote next Thursday. There were quite a few people with concerns about the project which includes four new classrooms for the standard elementary school students and a new wing at that school specifically for BOCES students. The Lockport Union Sun & Journal reports...

Roy-Hart explains BOCES wing

MIDDLEPORT — With a new facilities project vote on the horizon, the Royalton-Hartland Board of Education attempted to answer some questions residents had about an addition to the elementary school that will house Orleans/ Niagara BOCES students.

Clark Godshall, Orleans/Niagara BOCES district superintendent, gave a presentation at Thursday’s meeting about the proposed addition. The facilities project will be broken down in two phases, the first being the BOCES addition, maintenance and improvements made to the elementary school. The second phase will be maintenance and improvements made to the middle and high schools. The reason for the addition is that BOCES needed a place for its elementary students, and housing them would bring some financial advantage for a school district, officials explained.

“Our lease is over; other districts want the opportunity to get their funds back,” Godshall said. “There are some advantages: BOCES will pay you money over 10 years.”Godshall said BOCES will pay in advance over the next decade to use the addition. The reason? “We need the space,” he said. According to the presentation, BOCES would pay the costs for construction, equipment, utilities costs and would use their own people as staff. If they used Roy-Hart staff, they would pay for them, too. The BOCES students would be contained to the wing, and a separate entrance to the addition would be built on Emerson Place, which runs around the school.

The $8.3 million project, up for a vote Jan. 17, wouldn’t cost residents anything, because of BOCES and the EXCEL state aid. Some residents did question what happens when BOCES decides to leave after the lease was up in 10 years.

“We find a place we like, we stay there,” Godshall said.Roy-Hart Superintendent Paul Bona said BOCES has never left a site on their own. The only time they leave is if they need space and the lease is up. The lease that BOCES and Roy-Hart would sign could be renewed. Godshall added that the worst-case scenario would be BOCES moving students who are scattered around Niagara County to the Roy-Hart site.

There was a reoccurring concern among residents who attended the meeting. Their comments centered on the affect the addition might have on the Gasport area and Emerson Place, where the entrance would be.

“I’m very concerned about the water and sewers,” said Gasport resident Nancy Conti. “I’m concerned about the small hamlet of Gasport handling such a large construction area. All of a sudden, that small hamlet that everyone enjoyed is going to be much busier and not so small anymore.”

Flooding had been a problem for the residents near the elementary school because of poor drainage, they said. There are existing plans, that are a part of the Facilities Project, that would fix the problem, according to John McKenna of McKenna Associates. McKenna is the architectural firm that would be in charge of the project.

A reason for the “rush” to vote, Bona said was because the state aid, or EXCEL aid, is only available for the 2007-08 school year and will run out June 30. The district wants to maximize the amount of aid it can receive, and this is the first time it has ever been offered. It may not be available again for a while, due to New York state’s poor financial situation, the district said.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Following an unusual 65 degree day on Tuesday, Gasport's weather returned to normal as a cold front came through. From that passage, the area was buffeted by some pretty consistent winds of 25 to 35 mph that started on Tuesday night and lasted into Wednesday, ending around noon. When the true front came through (around 4:30 AM Wednesday) we saw some of the strongest winds in a couple of years. For a good forty-minutes winds exceeded 45 mph with peak gusts recorded in excess of 70 mph! Surprisingly, most everyone escaped major damage. There were many, many limbs and twigs down, but driving about I saw no trees down and almost no structural damage.

The only tragedy in town: a Graham Road farming family saw their new barn completely collapse and cause a half-million dollars of hardship. The Lockport Union Sun & Journal reports:

At J.J. Dairy Farm, 5073 Graham Road, the new barn, which was completed last week, collapsed, damaging a fertilizer wagon, combine, haybine and hay merger. The machinery was twisted and dented.“We had a new barn; it’s in twigs now,” said Terrie Smith, who estimated the damage at $500,000.

Thirteen calves, about a month old, jumped out their hutches and one was injured. There were 30 uninjured older calves in the white barn which was left standing. J.J. Dairy, which has been operated by twin brothers, Joe and Jim Smith, for 15 years, milks about 350 cows.

Joe Smith found a power line down, laying across the calf hutches. The volunteer fire company pulled the meter to shut off power to the back barn. The Smiths, who have three children, did not lose power in the house, which had no damage.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


The Buffalo News ran a story today about the various Niagara school districts and their EXCEL funds. Here's an abbreviated version with a focus on Roy Hart...

Eighteen months ago, the state allotted Niagara County’s 10 public school districts $14.3 million in special state money to help upgrade their school buildings.

By 2009, that seed money — given under the Expanding Our Children’s Education and Learning, or EXCEL program — will most likely have triggered $162.4 million in capital improvement projects, possibly more.

And the improvements will come with little or no impact on school property tax rates.

“The EXCEL aid, for the first time in history as far as I’m aware, can be used to pay the local share [of capital project costs],” said Royalton-Hartland School Superintendent Paul J. Bona. “This is a first-time golden opportunity that’s never been made available to us before.”

Bona said the state usually reimburses Roy-Hart for 88.5 percent of project costs, while district property owners are left to fund 11.5 percent of the tab. He said the EXCEL aid is changing all that for this round of capital improvements by covering the entire local share.

“You always had to have matching funds from the taxpayers [previously],“ he said.

Bona can speak to how difficult it is to fund a capital project if property taxes are part of the mix. On Nov. 15, by a 52-vote margin, Roy-Hart voters killed a proposed $15 million capital project to improve district schools that would have increased the property tax rate by 17 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation.

“So what I did was come back to the board with another proposed capital project for $8.3 million with a zero percent increase in the tax levy,” Bona said. “We’re holding a public vote on it from noon to 9 p.m. Jan. 17 in the Royalton-Hartland High School gymnasium.”

The district has scheduled a public information meeting on the proposed project at 7 p.m. Thursday in the high school auditorium on State Street in Middleport.

If the proposal passes, Bona said the district’s $510,172 EXCEL allocation assures property owners the will not have to pony up the local share.

“This project will allow us to upgrade facilities and take care of all the maintenance work the district is responsible for but has not been able to do,” he said. “You have to maintain your facilities, and this is a way of getting all that done at no extra cost to property owners.”
Bona said the new proposal will allow the district to upgrade all the science labs in the high school.

“They are all 50 years old,” he said. “We’ll upgrade the technology infrastructure in all three school buildings,” so they can handle all current and new technologies. “All three schools will get new emergency generators and we will be upgrading all the doors and windows that need to be repaired or replaced,” in addition to a lot of other work.

Four new classrooms would be added to the Royalton-Hartland Elementary School in Gasport along with a new, 10-classroom special education wing that will be operated by the Orleans- Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services


The Gasport area will see four road projects this year and next. Here are some snippets from a Buffalo News article about them...

Niagara County’s schedule of road and bridge reconstruction projects for 2008 is sparse, but many projects are on the drawing board for 2009.

This year’s projects include repaving Orangeport Road in Royalton between Route 31 and Slayton Settlement Road, and reconstruction of the Pearson Road Bridge over Jeddo Creek in Hartland, according to Richard W. Eakin, deputy public works commissioner for engineering. The Orangeport Road project is estimated to cost $850,000 and the Pearson Road job, which involves replacing a 33-foot wooden bridge, is tabbed for $604,000. Neither project has been bid yet.

Eakin said the county made no conscious decision to have a limited program this year; it’s just how the design timetables worked out.

However, more projects are to be designed this year, for construction in 2009: new bridges to replace wooden ones on Drum and Seaman roads in Hartland, a combined project estimated to cost $1.9 million.


After the Roy Hart voters turned down the intended facilities expansion a couple of month ago, the powers that be went back to the drawing board and pared down some of the projects. The school will hold a public meeting this Thursday, January 10th at 7:00 PM at the high school auditorium to talk about the new plan, just in time for a public vote on the 17th.

Friday, January 4, 2008


WLVL's Doug Young interviewed Roy-Hart high school principal Kevin Shanley earlier today about yesterday's incident and the science of a lockdown. The ten-minute interview is available as a download at WLVL's website. Right-click the link below to save it to your desktop...


Yesterday it was mentioned that you should book Veterans Park now to ensure you have the place when need it for a reunion or picnic this Summer. The same holds true for Royalton Ravine Park. For info on doing so, go here:


The towns have issued their legal notices saying they just can't wait to take your hard-earned money from ya...


Here's the report from the Lockport Union Sun & Journal...

MIDDLEPORT: Gun threat prompts Roy-Hart lockdown
By April Amadon/Union-Sun & Journal

MIDDLEPORT — An alleged threat overheard in the Royalton-Hartland Senior High School cafeteria led to a lockdown at the school Thursday, and three students are now facing misdemeanor charges.

Niagara County Sheriff Tom Beilein said a student told her mother Thursday that she overheard three students, all boys under the age of 16, in the lunchroom earlier this week discussing a plan to bring guns to school.“They were threatening to bring firearms into the school and shoot people,” Beilein said. Middleport Police Chief John Swick said the girl’s mother called 911 to report the threat early Thursday.

The sheriff’s department notified Principal Kevin Shanley about 6:30 a.m. Because of the nature of the threat, administrators decided to put the school under lockdown. Most of the school’s 480 students had already boarded their buses. When they arrived at the school, they were sent to their first-period classes, where they remained until the lockdown was lifted.

Meanwhile, the three students were apprehended before they left for school. Two of them were picked up at their homes, and the third was picked up by Swick at his bus stop. Swick described the third boy as “very cooperative.” The three boys, whose names have not been released because they are minors, have been charged with falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor.

The lockdown at the school lasted two hours. “The lockdown was kind of a precautionary measure to just make sure that no other students were involved and there was nothing in the building that would be a harm to anyone,” Shanley said. Shanley said the school has an emergency drill plan for such a situation.

Several law enforcement agencies were at the school, including both Erie and Niagara county sheriff’s deputies, Middleport police, New York state troopers and NFTA police. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Department bomb-sniffing dogs searched the school but did not find anything, Beilein said. Deputies also searched the homes of the three boys and confiscated a paintball gun and an air rifle, but no other weapons were found.

“At this point, (the threat) apparently was just basic talk, discussion,” Swick said. “That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have been or would not have been (serious). There certainly were some things said that were inappropriate that could have very well been taken as an actual threat.”

Beilein said the girl did the right thing by coming forward.“I give the young lady credit for doing that, and the parent credit, too, for reporting the incident and standing by and making sure that her daughter cooperated with the law enforcement,” he said. The three boys involved in the incident will have their cases sent to family court, Beilein said.“This is a classic case of some very angry students, or at least one very angry student who managed to enlist the loyalty of a friend,” he said.

Shanley said he was appreciative of all the law enforcement agencies who worked quickly with the school to make sure students were safe.

Threats like this aren’t common in the district, and Swick said they will always be taken seriously.“Unfortunately, stuff like this isn’t always looked at as being serious, but it is,” Swick said. “There’s no joking about it, especially after different things that have happened around the country.”

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Two Charged In Alleged School Shooting Threat
Thursday, January 3, 2008 07:09 PM - WBEN Newsroom

Middleport, NY (WBEN) - Niagara County Sheriff's Deputies arrested three Royalton Hartland High School students, charging two of them, after another student overheard a discussion of possible shootings.

Sheriff Tom Beilein tells NewsRadio 930 WBEN the student's parents told them what the student heard. The parents then contacted police. Two of the three students who allegedly talked of shooting people at the school were arrested before reaching school grounds. Beilein says the third was apprehended at the school.

Beilein says a search conducted at the school found no firearms. The school was in lockdown during the search.

He says one of the teens was described as an "angry young man." Two of the teens have been charged with falsely reporting an incident for discussing the matter in public causing alarm. The investigation continues, but Beilein says the third teen involved will likely not face charges.


I just heard superintendent Paul Bona and Shanley on WLVL. They would not say what kind of threat it was...bombs? shoot 'em up?...only that it was a "violent act".


Here's some hot news from WBEN. As more comes to the press I'll post it here....

Three Arrested In Alleged School PlotThursday, January 3, 2008 02:09 PM - WBEN Newsroom

Middleport, NY (WBEN) - Royalton-Hartland High School was briefly in lockdown Thursday morning after school officials say there was an alleged threat. Three students were apprehended before arriving at the school, says principal Kevin Shanley. Shanley tells NewsRadio 930 WBEN the school was notified by authorities about the threat this morning. He says students were immediately ushered into their first period class and the lockdown began. Shanley says that was handled smoothly. The exact nature of the threat has not been disclosed.


Last year I started an alumni initiative for Boy Scout Troop 18. We had a banquet to celebrate the troop's 60th anniversary and issued our first ever alumni newsletter. I'm looking for Troop 18 alumni from around the world to whom I can send 2008's newsletter. If you are a former member of the troop, or know somone who was, shoot me an e-mail at


Sure, it's 12 degrees outside and Summer is a long ways away, but you better start planning now for your Summer events (reunions, picnics, etc) if you plan on using Veterans Park in the village. Weekends fill up in a hurry there. As of this week the town is now accepting reservations for the facility. For complete information go to this webpage: