Monday, June 30, 2008


The Buffalo News reports.......

Tree service truck stolen from construction site

ROYALTON — A flatbed truck with a dump box on the back was stolen from a Dale Road construction site sometime overnight, sheriff’s deputies said Sunday. The 1989 Ford, belonging to the Cutting Edge Tree Service of Mill Road, had been left at the scene Saturday night with the keys inside, deputies said. The stolen vehicle was valued at $6,500.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


This e-mail was sent to us by one of our readers who is concerned about the size of the classes at Roy-Hart.....

FIFTH GRADE: The board would not confirm or deny the rumor of dropping down to 4 teachers. Enrollment is 104(not sure how they came up with this number, more kids than pictured in the yearbook), 26 students per class with 4 teachers. Personally I thought 24, 25 students was acceptable, I think 26 is pushing it. Pass the word onto parents who have children entering fifth grade.

My focus is on Kindergarten class sizes. We now have 114 kids registered, class sizes of 23. I need parents to come to the meeting and voice their opinions on smaller class sizes. Please let Kindegarten parents know of the issue. If we can get parents to attend the summer meetings we are more likely to get what we want. When our fifth graders were in Kindergarten we had 18 to 19 in a class. That was ideal. If we could get the approval of one more teacher, class size would be 19.

Last night, Patti Reigle approached us and asked what we thought of half day Kindergarten classes with 11 in each class as opposed to whole day classes with 22 to a class. Meetings are the 2nd and 4th Thursday every month at 7:00 in the high school. This month there is a meeting on July 1st as well (not sure if I can make this one) - I believe it is a reorganization meeting for the BOE members which is open to the public. Agenda items usually are posted on the Roy-Hart Website under Board of Education.

Please forward this to anyone you know with kids in the school district.


Friday, June 27, 2008


Friday July 4th 2008 at Royalton Ravine Park

2 pm.- sold out Chicken BBQ- pre-sale is guaranteed 2-4
Pre- Sale tickets will be available at area merchants, Talk of The Town, Jamesport Tap, Canal side, Maria's, Chop's Shop, Standish Jones and Green leafs.

Pre-sale $7.50 Walk-up $8.00 BBQ includes ½ Chicken, salt potatoes, roll, applesauce, Brownie and soda. Pre-sale ticket also includes parking.

4 pm. -Parade, starts at St. Mary's Church on Telegraph and West Ave. Anyone wishing to participate please call 772-2635 or 772-5480, or you may just show up. If you are just going to show up please arrive at a reasonable time, as there are many participants.

5-8pm. - Children's games. $5.00 wristband includes: games, bounce houses, craft tent, Petting Zoo, and Glow necklace.

5pm-10:30 - Music by: Last Call, "Jonsie" and The Fire Crackers and The Red house band

5-11pm. Shuttle Bus- from Gasport Fire hall to the Ravine Park. $1.00 Donation per-person to help support the Fireworks.

Dusk- Niagara Counties #1 Fireworks display

Thursday, June 26, 2008


The Roy-Hart school board meets tonight at 7:00 at the high school aud.

The agenda can be downloaded here:

Items of note on the agenda include the retirements of Regina Brown, Margaret Allen, Deborah Poelma, and Chris Walker.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


In case you missed his message in the comment section of the article about Main Street's burnt home.....


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The Lockport Union Sun & Journal reports....

Roy-Hart's top 2: Staines is valedictorian; Zayac, salutatorian

Cole Staines and Jason Zayac left their calculus exam a couple of weeks ago breathing a sigh of relief. “That test was one of the hardest I’ve ever taken,” Staines said. Zayac agreed, but they both finished the test after spending a little more time than they anticipated.

For Staines and Zayac, meeting an academic challenge is nothing new: Staines is the Royalton-Hartland High School Class of 2008 valedictorian. Zayac is the class salutatorian. Graduation is at 7 p.m. Saturday at the school, 54 State St., Middleport. Both said family and friends were proud of their accomplishment.

“They’re proud of me and happy,” Zayac said.

“They randomly bring it up to people,” Staines said.

While in school, Staines was active in cross country, swimming, tennis and the school musicals. He said he has been involved with tennis and musicals since he was a freshman, he quit swimming so he could have more time with the musicals. He ran cross country as a junior and senior. He said his favorite subject was math.“Until today,” he joked. Staines said he plans to attend the University at Buffalo in the fall for biomedical sciences.

Zayac was also involved with cross country, plus he ran track, served as senior class president and belonged to the National Honor Society. He also is active with the youth group at Covenant United Church of Christ in Gasport. Zayac said he plans to attend the University of Rochester for biology and pre-medical. He would like to get into dentistry, something he was exposed to at an Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services program. “I took it at Allied Health,” Zayac said. “I really liked it.”

He added math and science, especially physics, were among his favorite subjects, and that the teachers he had were nice and pleasant. What he said was tricky was balancing academics with extra curricular activities.“Sometimes it is hard organizing,” Zayac said. “It’s non-stop, but I enjoy it.”

Zayac said his brother, Adam, also was salutatorian of his graduating class.

What Staines said he would miss the most about high school was the people and the familiarity students have with one another in a small town. “It’s the last chance we have to be together,” he said.


Monday, June 23, 2008


The Gasport Lions will be conducting eye screening at the Royalton-Hartland Elementary School on June 24th from 9:00am til 3:00pm and June 25th and 26th from 9:00am til Noon.

Friday, June 20, 2008


This news release was sent out by Congressman Reynolds office in 2005....

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."

Well, that money is finally being put to use.

Construction begins on Monday at which time Orangeport will become a one-lane road. This project will last through the Summer.


Two weeks to go to the Royalton Fourth of July. Here's information....;/content/CommunityGroups/View/2

Thursday, June 19, 2008


The 13th annual fly-in (and drive-in) pancake breakfast will take place this Sunday, June 22nd at the Royalton Airport. The event runs from 8:00 to noon. Cost is $7/adults and $3 for kids under 12. There will be a bake sale, haz-mat demos, and airplane rides.


From today's US&J.....

Merger Mass will be celebrated Saturday

Parishioners of St. Mary’s of Gasport, merging with St. John the Baptist on Chestnut Street, will be greeted by some familiar faces when they attend the first Mass of the merged churches at 5 p.m. Saturday. The statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist have been moved to the walls at the Chestnut Street Church. “They were taken down on Sunday,” said Debbie Brown, the president of St. John’s Pastoral Council and head of the Liturgy Committee. “The statues will be a permanent reminder. St. Mary’s parishioners will be greeted with a joint Mass and made to feel welcome. We are celebrating the first day or the merger.”

Debbie Brown was a parishioner at the Gasport church for 20 years and is a member of the Diocesan Commission. Her husband, Kevin, is the president of St. Mary’s Pastoral Council and head of the Liturgy Committee in Gasport. St. Mary’s will officially merge into Lockport’s biggest Catholic Church on the date, June 21, decreed by Bishop Edward Kmiec of the Diocese of Buffalo. The buildings and property in Gasport will no longer be used.

Debbie Brown noted there was some negative response to the merger in Gasport. “People didn’t understand what was happening,” she said. “My heart aches, too. I will miss it, but there were very good reasons. It’s a good thing. We are one.”

The statues are in place. Other holy items from Gasport will be brought to the altar at the processional service at 5 p.m. Saturday. Those include holy oils, a processional cross and sacramental books. All are welcome to a reception after Mass and the Rev. James A. Waite, pastor of St. John’s, hopes the event will be like a wedding celebration. The Rev. Joseph P. Badding of St. Mary’s and St. Stephen’s of Middleport will take part in the services at St. John’s. St. Stephen’s is merging with St. Mary’s of Medina to form a single parish, using both sites.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The Lockport Union Sun & Journal has a regular section named "What's Your Problem?" in which readers contact the newspaper regarding bad roads, unsafe buildings and similar things. Gasport was featured in today's edition:

WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM: Gasport house damaged in fire is still standing

GASPORT — A Main Street house in Gasport that was heavily damaged by a fire in February is a nasty sight for residents. A resident called the Union-Sun & Journal and said the house burned in February and still hasn’t been demolished. It’s unsightly, smells bad and animals are living in the structure, the caller said. The house has an enormous hole where the roof is falling in and the windows are currently boarded up.

Thomas Arlington, assessor for the Town of Royalton where Gasport is located, said the town is aware of the problem and is working on it. Arlington heads the department of assessment, building inspection and zoning enforcement. The problem, he said, is finding the homeowner. “We just talked about it,” Arlington said. “We’re trying to locate the owner, and we have sent two letters to him. We don’t know where he is.”

Arlington said the homeowner has spoken to the town in the past about it and seemed willing to either find a buyer or have the house demolished. He added there is a notice on the building. In order for the house to be demolished by the town, a hearing has to be held, and the town would pay for the demolition. Arlington said the town would rather have the owner voluntarily have it demolished. “We’re working on it and keeping after it,” he said.

The two-story house caught on fire Feb. 13; no one was in the house at the time the blaze started. Although no one was hurt, two dogs were reportedly killed. The house was fully engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived, and smoke could be seen for miles away. Fire police closed off the nearby intersection with Route 31 as firefighters worked for more than an hour to put the fire out.



The Lockport US & J reports on last nights court activities....

COURTS: Lockport teacher Marcy Cole faces fourth DWI charge

ROYALTON — The City of Lockport elementary school teacher facing her fourth charge of driving while intoxicated pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Royalton Town Court. Marcy L. Cole, 35, 4444 Main St., Gasport, was charged Monday evening with felony DWI, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, criminal impersonation, resisting arrest and following too closely.

Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Dunn stopped Cole on Rochester Road about 5:30 p.m. Monday after dispatch received a report that Cole, whose driver’s license has been revoked, was seen driving her Chevrolet Trailblazer in Gasport.Cole allegedly told Dunn her name was Melissa Mancino, giving two different spellings for the name. When Dunn asked her to get out of the car, she allegedly turned on the ignition and tried to lock the doors. Dunn and a Middleport police officer were able to get Cole out of the car and handcuff her, the report said. Deputies reportedly found an unopened 1.75-liter bottle of Rikaloff Vodka inside a brown bag in Cole’s purse. At the sheriff’s department, Cole allegedly refused to take a breath test, though she denied refusing the test in court Tuesday.

“I was more than willing on the condition my attorney was there,” Cole told Justice Margaret Raduns. “They would not let me call my attorney, nor would they call him for me.”

When deputies explained Cole’s Miranda rights, she allegedly would not acknowledge she understood them, instead saying repeatedly, “I don’t care.”

This is the fourth DWI case in 14 months for Cole, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI in Lockport Town Court in October. She has a case pending in the Town of Lockport and another pending in Royalton. Cole’s license was revoked in October after her guilty plea.

Raduns chastised Cole during Tuesday’s appearance, reminding her that she was not supposed to be on the road.“More than once I’ve told you that,” Raduns said.

Cole is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail and is due again in court Thursday. Her attorney, Thomas Scirto, said it’s too soon to predict how the new charges will affect her pending cases. “Of course it’s going to have some effect on the other two charges that were pending,” Scirto said. “What that might be, it’s far too early to tell.”

Cole, a fourth-grade teacher at Roy B. Kelley Elementary School, was pulled from the classroom in January after teachers and parents reportedly complained about her conduct in the classroom. She remains on paid leave. Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone said the district was “shocked” to hear of Cole’s new arrest.“We were dismayed, and we were upset,” Carbone said. “We want the community to know we take this situation very seriously.”

Gail Niparts, president of the teachers union, said she could not comment specifically on what sort of disciplinary action could be taken against Cole, but said tenured teachers are governed by the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, otherwise known as the Taylor Law. The Taylor Law guarantees confidentiality, Niparts said.“I can assure you that all of (Cole’s) rights have been followed, following the Taylor Law,” she said. “Generally speaking, it’s confidential information while it’s being investigated or all the facts are being put together.”

Carbone said the district is conducting “appropriate business and actions regarding the issue. There are legal matters that need to be attended to, there are personnel matters that need to be attended to, but first there are students t be taken into consideration,” she said. “First and foremost is the safety and well-being of the students. Unless we feel it is safe, that teacher will not be returning to the classroom.”


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The Lockport US&J reports on this ongoing saga....

Teacher faces fourth DWI charge

The City of Lockport elementary school teacher who has been charged three times with driving while intoxicated was arrested again Monday evening, this time accused of struggling with officers during a traffic stop.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Marcy L. Cole, 35, of Main Street, Gasport, about 6 p.m. after a traffic stop on Route 31 in Gasport. Cole was charged with felony DWI, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and following too closely. It was the fourth DWI arrest since April 2007 for Cole, a fourth-grade teacher at Roy B. Kelley who was pulled from the classroom in January.

Cole reportedly refused a breath test and was arraigned Monday night in Royalton Town Court. The sheriff’s department received a call about 5:30 p.m. from a man in Gasport who said he saw Cole get into her 2004 maroon Chevrolet Trailblazer and drive away south on Main Street. “This gentleman that called knew Marcy Cole and knew that she’d had prior DWI arrests and was revoked for DWI,” Chief Deputy James Voutour said.

The sheriff’s department dispatched cars to the area. Deputy Mike Dunn spotted Cole’s vehicle headed east on Route 31. Dunn passed Cole and saw she was following closely to the car in front of her. He turned around and executed a traffic stop near Bolton Road. Cole pulled over and turned the vehicle off. Voutour said during the interview, Cole gave Dunn a false name.“He asked for the spelling of the name and it was to him given different ways each time,” Voutour said. “He knew ... Mrs. Cole was not who she said she was.”

Dunn, who was assisted by an officer from the Middleport Police Department, reportedly smelled alcohol on Cole’s breath and asked her to get out and perform field sobriety tests. She allegedly turned the keys, turning the vehicle on. Dunn reached in the window and was able to remove the keys from the ignition, and a struggle ensued, according to reports.The incident was captured on the patrol car’s dashboard camera, which Voutour watched shortly after Cole’s arrest. “Both officers struggled with her, while the door was opened. She attempted to lock the doors,” Voutour said. “They eventually got her out of the vehicle down into the road, again with passing traffic, and they were able to handcuff her on the roadway.”

Voutour said the struggle lasted about 30 seconds, during which time traffic was going by at normal speed.“I watched numerous cars drive by during the short struggle,” he said. “It was really dangerous for the officers.”

Cole’s license was revoked in the fall. She pleaded guilty in November in Lockport Town Court to misdemeanor DWI in connection with an April 18, 2007, traffic stop. In October, she was charged with DWI, speeding and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after a traffic stop on Gasport Road in Royalton. That case is pending in Royalton Town Court. Also pending is another DWI case in Lockport Town Court, stemming from a Jan. 10 arrest on Day Road.

Cole’s multiple arrests have been frustrating for area law enforcement officials, Voutour said.“We will continue to arrest her. We will continue to put together the best case we can,” he said. “And after that, its really out of our hands, it’s up to the judicial system to make sure she stops driving.”

Assistant District Attorney Ted Brenner, who was at the sheriff’s department Monday evening, said he had no comment about the case .The sheriff’s department has received several complaints in the past couple of weeks that Cole was seen driving. Voutour said the man who called Monday night should be commended.“Who knows what could have happened tonight?” he said. “We all know the tragedies of DWI accidents. ... This is four times. How many times did she not get caught?”


Monday, June 16, 2008


From today's Medina Journal-Register....

St. Mary’s in Gasport says goodbye

GASPORT — One hundred and fifty years of celebration at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church came to a close Sunday morning. It was a day of mourning, remembrance and hope for what lies ahead. What was started by a group of faithful parishioners ended the same way — every pew was filled to capacity with member’s past and present for the final Mass of the parish’s existence. As part of the diocese’s “Journey in Faith and Grace,” St. Mary’s will officially merge with Lockport’s St. John the Baptist next week.

The two and a half hour ceremony concluded with the transfer of property to St. John’s trustees and the removal of the sacred oils. Royalton-Hartland graduate Sarah Heuer and her family lead the solemn procession carrying the Oil of the Sick. Parishioners carrying the Oil of the Catechumens, used for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and marriage, followed close behind.

“Let us remember the times we gathered in joy and sorrow,” said the Rev. Joseph Badding, the weight of the day’s significance etched on his face. Serving with him were the Rev. James Waite with St. John’s and the Rev. Francis Skupien, pastor at St. Mary’s for 17 years. “This church building has been a place of blessing for us. ... There are many memories that we hold close to our hearts. This is not the end; there are new beginnings.”

St. Mary’s in Gasport began in 1858 on $800 donated by local families and a plot of land on East Avenue donated by resident Michael Brady. Together, they built a modest 30- by 40-foot building for weekly services. The parish steadily grew and improvements were made on the original building. Priests were shared with the neighboring communities of Barker, Newfane and Middleport until the first pastor, Msgr. Arnold Schneider, was appointed in 1968. In the years that followed, Skupien and the Rev. James Streng served the Gasport community, as well.

The closing of St. Mary’s marks the first time in a decade the church will be separated from St. Stephen’s in Middleport. That parish will soon merge with Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s in Medina to form Holy Trinity. A final mass of celebration will take place at 8:30 a.m. July 6.

Parishioners at both St. Stephen’s and St. Mary’s became a close knit community through the unique family education program “Generations in Faith,” Badding said. Many members of St. Stephen’s attended the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s to pay their final respects. Among the families present were the Dauphin’s, the Rausch’s, the Anderson’s, the Brown’s, the Donnelly’s and the Szklany’s. Two St. Mary’s parishioners involved in the construction of the current church building, Claire and Edith Winters, received a special anointment.

Cathy Miller, one of St. Mary’s newest parishioners, spoke of the kindness she has received from the church community. She attended Sunday Mass there for the first time in December — more than 30 years since her last — unsure of where it would lead. “I looked around this church and I felt peace for the first time in a long time,” she told the congregation. “I would not have come back the second week if you had not welcomed me the first week. We need to take this with us wherever we go.”

Skupien spoke with similar optimism, reminding teary parishioners that the restructuring will allow Catholics at both churches to merge their gifts and talents. When he was the pastor at St. Mary’s, there was always someone willing to help, he said.“You folks are the church,” he said.

“Walls are down and we’re trying to redefine who we are,” Badding said. “There’s going to be new ways of gathering as Catholics. The mission of Christ is more important than preserving who we are. ... It’s about doing the will of God. ... Whatever we are called to do, we will do.”

In honor of St. Mary’s, two pieces of art work will make their way to St. John’s sanctuary for the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday celebrating the official coming together — a piece of St. John the Baptist baptizing Jesus and a piece of Mother Mary holding the Eucharistic Body of Christ in her lap. A dinner reception will follow the celebratory Mass at St. John’s, Waite said. His hope is that both parishes will “grow together as a single community of family and faith.”

“Love conquers all things,” Badding said. In the last moments of the closing ceremony, parishioners were invited — one by one — to trace their hands over the altar’s cross. The Father’s Day brunch in the basement social hall afterwards was filled with conversation and laughter as they took time to reflect on their good fortune.


Saturday, June 14, 2008


A few weeks back one of the readers of this blog sent us an e-mail with her concerns about the size of the kindergarten classes at Roy-Hart. That issue, which you read here first, was in the local press on Friday...

ROY-HART: Kindergarten class sizes concern some parents

Royalton-Hartland School District could be seeing an increase in kindergarten enrollment, and that has some parents worried about classroom sizes.As of right now, the district is projecting 108 kindergartners to be enrolled in the fall of this year. Currently, there are five kindergarten teachers in the district. Class sizes would average about 22 students per class, and a few residents at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting voiced concerns they had about how a larger class size would affect the students.

Resident Heidi Wolf said she had a daughter who was heading into kindergarten in the fall, and another daughter who is in first grade.“I have a daughter who is in first grade who did benefit from a smaller class size,” Wolf said. “She needed a little extra help when she was in kindergarten, and she was able to get that. I’m concerned my little one won’t get that next year.”

Don DiBenedetto of Gasport said he had a daughter who was also going into kindergarten in the fall. He asked the board what it would do to keep the class size small, saying other schools in the state average a lower number than 22 students per kindergarten class. “Most of the schools in this area, this year have been at 20 or less,” he said. “The state average is, I believe, 19.9.”

DiBenedetto presented the board with a petition signed by community members who were concerned about the class sizes. Three other residents also commented to the board about the kindergarten class sizes.

Board President Patricia Riegle addressed the residents during the first public forum. She said the total kindergarten enrollment as of the meeting was at 108 students, but that could change daily. It is a concern and it is being taken into consideration, she said. “There has been conversation, and there will continue to be conversation,” Riegle said. “I can only ask you to be patient with us a little bit longer. It’s very early; we’re trying to close out one year and open up a new one. Let us see what does happen.” She added hiring was probably not done yet, and positions would be filled as needed.

Letters telling parents who their child’s kindergarten teacher is are sent out in June. Superintendent Paul Bona said he would allow the kindergarten class assignments to be sent as normal, based on five teachers. Bona said the assignments were tentative and could change in August, if the district sees a need to add a class.



The Buffalo News reports....

Royalton woman pleads guilty in fraud case

A Royalton woman who operated a service to victims of traumatic brain injuries pleaded guilty Wednesday in Niagara County Court to fraudulently billing the state $323,000 for Medicaid reimbursements for services that were never provided.

Diane Fernandez, 53, of Chestnut Ridge Road, was president of TBI Services, which provided home hygiene services, shopping and other assistance to brain-injury patients. A joint investigation by the state attorney general’s office and the office of the Medicaid Inspector general found that company employees were directed to create records reflecting fictitious service calls.

Fernandez pleaded guilty to second- degree offering a false instrument for filing, and her company entered a formal plea to fourth-degree grand larceny. State officials said full restitution will be part of the sentence that will be imposed by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza on Aug. 28. The thefts occurred in 2005 and 2006


Friday, June 13, 2008


WKBW's Eyewitness News reports the following today....

It started out as a quiet ride home for Scott Jurek on route 77 in Royalton, but right around 5 o'clock on Sunday evening that all changed.

A pick-up truck came by in the other direction and Jurek described what happened next.

"Just as he's passing by me, as he's out of sight, all of a sudden my windshield explodes." he said.

Jurek says someone threw a full plastic soda bottle out the window and hit his jeep. He was going 55 miles an hour. The bottle hit so hard that the frame dented and the wind shield shattered.

"The amount of glass. It'd be the equivalent of taking a whole handful of rocks or sand and throwing it at ya." said Jurek. Jurek was wearing sun glasses, so nothing got in his eyes, and he was able keep control of the vehicle.

"I mean this piece of plastic. If you push on it you can see there's not much there that piece of plastic saved my life."

Jurek caught a glimpse of the vehicle. He saw 3 people in a gray or green pick-up with a single cab. The model year he believes was in the mid 90's. State Police are now investigating and there is evidence. "I was able to pick the bottle up out of the street. It was damaged but intact, and it's in forensics right now. They're to run finger prints on it. So, hopefully were able to get some kind of a match." said Jurek.

He and state police want to know who did it. Aside from some cuts from the glass, Jurek was ok. But he knows it could have been a lot worse. "This is a little bit more than mischief. This is attempted murder as far as I was concerned." said Jurek.

If you have any information on what happened, State Police want to hear from you. Their phone number is 434-5588.



With the recent arrest of an alleged sex offender, people are asking, how do we know how many sex offenders there are in my town?

Check it out here:

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


Many locals burn firewood. Be careful now with these new restrictions:

NY bans shipping firewood in effort to stop harmful insects

Conservation officials have banned hauling, importing or selling untreated firewood in New York in an effort to stop the spread of tree-killing insects. The Department of Environmental Conservation said Wednesday the emergency regulations are effective immediately for 90 days. They prohibit importing out-of-state firewood unless treated to eliminate invasive insect species, fungi and pathogens. Transporting any untreated firewood within the state is limited to less than 50 miles. "These invasive pests and diseases have a damaging effect, not only on the environment but also the economy," DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said. "One of the easiest and most common ways for these pests to spread is by the unintentional transportation of infested firewood."

The Sirex woodwasp - native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa - kills pines and sometimes other conifers by introducing a toxic mucus and fungus when the female lays her eggs through the bark and into the sapwood. It has been found in 28 counties in the state, DEC spokesman Yancey Roy said. The Emerald Ash Borer, native to China, has destroyed an estimated 20 million ash trees nationally since the beetle was noticed in Michigan five years ago and has been found as far east as Pennsylvania. The Asian Longhorned Beetle, which appeared in the New York metropolitan area in 1996, has larvae that bore into trees and feed on healthy wood until emerging as adult beetles to eat twigs and leaves. Some 17 species of hardwoods are vulnerable, including four varieties of maples, elm, birch, poplar, willow, ash and sycamore.


Thursday, June 12, 2008


Jenneifer Bieber sent us this news release for a benefit to support one of Royalton's best, Bob Stahl.....

In Support and Friendship of Bob and Shirley Stahl

Many of you may be aware, last year Bob was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

What is ALS?

It's a progressive, disabling and fatal disease. It's a progressive wasting away of certain nerve cells of the brain and spinal column which control motor muscles. With time, walking, speaking, eating, swallowing and breathing become more and more difficult. Only 1 to 2 people per 100,000 develop this disease each year.

Bob's main issue at this time is walking. His legs just won't carry him where he needs to go. The Stahl family has a need for handicap home renovations. Shirley is struggling on her own to get him around the house for the most basic needs we all take for granted every day. We have already received some donations of time to work on this project but we still have to pay for the supplies.

Bob was the founding owner of Stahl Bros. Milk Hauling as well as a dairy farmer for many years. He served on the board of directors of Niagara Milk Co-op for 15 years as well as on his church council for 12 years, 6 of those years as President. He is an exempt member of the Wolcottsville and Terry's Corners fire hall. He was also a member of the Bergholtz Insurance Company for 15 years. He was a member of Farm Bureau and Committee member of the ASC office. Bob also served as a councilman for the Town of Royalton for 12 years.

He has always done his civic duty and given back to his community in many, many ways. Now we have the chance to give back to him.

A spaghetti dinner fund-raiser will be held on Sunday, July 20th from noon-5 at the Wolcottsville Fire Hall. Tickets are 10.00 for ages 12 and up; ages 6-11 are 5.00 and children 5 and under eat for free. There will also be a special 20.00 ticket that includes one dinner and a chance at 10 items valued at 100.00 or more. We will also have a 50/50 drawing and a large basket auction.

We are looking for any type of donations people are willing to give, whether it's your time, money, raffle items or food supplies for the spaghetti dinner. Please feel free to contact any committee member to pick up your donations. Monetary donations can be made through the Bank of Akron, 46 Main St, Akron, NY 14001.

Committee members are Carson and Cindy Kelley, 542-4755; Jesse and Jennifer Bieber, 735-7335; Gretchen Bruning, 433-0308; Cathy Bergquiest, 542-9824; John Villella, 772-2548; Gretchen and Dick Lang, 433-7748; Donna VanBuren, 434-3059; Jim Bugenhagen, 772-2668; Cheri Smith, 434-6435.


The Lockport US&J reports....

CRIME: Gasport man accused of child porn charges

A Gasport man was indicted Monday in federal court on charges that he possessed child pornography. Jason Willis, 36, was charged Monday with unlawful possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography that had been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce by means of a computer, U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn announced Wednesday.

The charges followed a search warrant on Willis’ computer, signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Schroeder Jr. and executed by agents from the FBI.According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles B. Wydysh, the Regional Computer Forensic Library searched the computer and reportedly found numerous child pornography images and files. Willis allegedly traded in those files over the Internet. The charges of receipt and distribution each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, with a minimum of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.The possession charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

Wydysh will handle the trail of the case.

The case was part of Project Safe Childhood, created by the U.S. Attorney General in 2006 to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The project brings together federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute people who possess or distribute child pornography.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


WLVL 1340 AM reports this afternoon that Gasport resident Jason Willis, 36, was charged by the feds for receiving, distributing, and possessing child porn. The FBI found that he had 1,000 images on his computer. He'll get 5 to 20 for distributing and 10 for possession.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Mark Zimmerman sends along this message about this great baseball league for handicapped youth & adults....

Challenger Sports Baseball League

Wednesday June 11, 2008 at Hartland Town Park

Game starts at 6:30

Pizza following the game. Please Come and join the fun. We have 100 players 4 games and 8 teams.

Challenger is nothing with out your support!

For information e-mail Mark at:


This Sunday, June 15th is Becker Farms' annual Strawberry Extravaganza.

It starts at 10:00 with the Community Church Service at the Pavilion, put on by the Gasport Ministerium. All are welcome.

Celebrate the strawberry harvest down on the farm with pony rides and hayrides and a walk around the farm. Pet the animals at the petting zoo. Play at the playground and listen to live music and pick-your-own or purchase already-picked strawberries.

The Gasport Lions Club is serving up a BBQ at the event as well: complete dinners include dessert and non-alcoholic beverages and they will be served from 11:00am until sold out.

Cost: Chicken Dinner $8.00, Chicken and Ribs $9.00, Just Ribs $10.00

For more information:


The fourth of July celebration has quickly become Gasport's defining moment every year, the action-packed event bringing together the community and drawing in people from all over WNY.

July 4th is less than a month away and planning is well underway. Pam Schmitt, of the Fourth of July committee, has sent us the schedule of events:

Friday July 4th 2008 at Royalton Ravine Park

2 pm. till sold out: Chicken BBQ- pre-sale is guaranteed 2-4. Pre- Sale tickets will be available at area merchants, Talk of The Town, Jamesport Tap, Canalside, Maria’s, Chop’s Shop, Standish Jones and Greenliefs. Pre-sale $7.50 Walk-up $8.00 BBQ includes ½ Chicken, salt potatoes, roll, applesauce, Brownie and soda. Pre-sale ticket also includes parking.

4 pm. -Parade, starts at St. Mary’s Church on Telegraph and West Ave. Anyone wishing to participate please call 772-2635 or 772-8450, or you may just show up. If you are just going to show up please arrive at a reasonable time, as there are many participants.

5-8pm. – Children’s games. $5.00 wristband includes: games, bounce houses, craft tent, Petting Zoo, and Glow necklace.

5pm-10:30 – Music by: Last Call, “Jonsie” and The Fire Crackers and The Red house band

5-11pm. Shuttle Bus- from Gasport Fire hall to the Ravine Park. $1.00 Donation per-person to help support the Fireworks.

Strong Man Contest- Time to be announced.

Dusk- Niagara Counties #1 Fireworks display

Also there will be Food Vendors and Craft Vendors. Anyone wishing to vend crafts please contact Pam Schmitt at 772-5480 to reserve your spot.

Parking is very limited this year, you may want to consider the shuttle bus.

Pam would also like to thank those who make the event possible. It succeeds only because of the months of hard work of the committee and the donations brought in from the community.

There is a thermometer sign at the corner of Route 31 and Main Street that shows how many dollars have been received. If it wasn't for the donations, the event would not happen. To donate, visit any of the local Gasport merchants. Most have donation cans to put your money into.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


The Town of Royalton Recreation program is holding a registration session at the Town Hall this Wednesday, June 11th from 4:00 to 6:00.

The rec program is open to Royalton residents aged 5 - 15 (as of July 1st). It will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays (from 9:00 to 3:00) at Vet's Park in the village and it will last till August 8th. Cost is $5 and there will be other fees throughout the summer for field trips.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


The Gasport Beautification Committee is sponsoring their annual Adopt a Barrel contest. If interested in participating, you will be assigned one of the 20 wooden barrels placed on Main Street and along the Erie Canal. As the "owner" of that barrel you'll be required to purchase your own flowers and dirt and you'll have to maintain the barrel through Labor Day.

There will be two stages of judging for the contest. The winner during the July 4th week will get $50 and the winner of Labor Day's judging will get $100.

If interested, please call Debbie Bush at 772.2665.

This is a great contest: not only is it competitive, but it makes Gasport much more beautiful in the process.


Gasport's newest business is White Pines Nursery, it having just opened a few weeks ago. The nursery is a division of Rickard's Nursery which is located off-the-beaten-path on Checkered Tavern Road. This new, high-traffic location will definitely increase their sales: the nursery is located on Telegraph Road just behind the Yellow Goose on Route 31. You can't miss it.

They sell shade trees, plants, and flowers and are open Monday - Saturday, 9:00 to 7:00 and on Sunday from 9:00 to 5:00.

Friday, June 6, 2008


The Hartland Historical Society is hosting an antique car show from 9:00 AM To 5:00 PM Saturday, June 7th. It will be held at the cobblestone schoolhouse at Carmen & Seaman Roads. Food and beverages will be sold and there will also be a garden tractor pull (yes, lawnmowers).

I've been asked when the "tractor" pull starts. I've found out that it begins at 1:00 sharp!

Monday, June 2, 2008


ROYALTON — Investigators are probing a Saturday afternoon incident in which a boy was shot through the upper thigh with a .22-caliber rifle, apparently while handing the weapon to his father.

Niagara County sheriff’s deputies said the two were shooting the rifle near a creek on their Mountain Road property just after noon. When they finished, they both climbed aboard an all-terrain vehicle to ride back to the house. When the boy handed the gun to his father, it accidentally discharged, striking the boy in the right thigh.

The bullet exited out the back of the boy’s leg, deputies said. He was taken to Medina Memorial Hospital for treatment, and investigators notified the state Child Abuse Hotline as a precautionary measure. An investigation into the incident is continuing.



A Royalton youth was shot Saturday.

He and his father were shooting rifles off Mountain Road. When the boy handed the rifle to his father it fired, sending a .22 bullet through his upper thigh.

The investigation is continuing.


Sunday, June 8 is Kids Day at Becker Farms.

Come out to the country and enjoy the luxuries of farm living. Pick your own strawberries (weather permitting) and feed the animals. Enjoy pony rides and hay rides from 11am-4pm. Bakery, homemade fudge, ice cream, gift shop, and much, much more. Free balloons for kids under 12. Free Entertainment for kids by "Evergreen." Hot dogs and hamburgers served at "The Dog House." Vizcarra Vineyards will also be open with over 15 fruit and grape wines! No cover charge.

For more information visit

Sunday, June 1, 2008


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)

Now, here's the thing. The ideas are great but unless we all get together and do something collectively it will be just another document. Nothing more nothing less. It's supposed to be a road map for success, a guide to a better tomorrow for the community. Some of the concepts are being worked on. Many are not and we need people to spearhead them.

I was thinking today that we've got some great groups and community organizations that we need to bring together periodically to advance this initiative. I was pondering a Gasport Stakeholders Committee of sorts that could facilitate this and act upon the strategic plan. If people are game for it, I'd like to start such a thing this Fall and Winter with monthly meetings. It gives us all something to do when the days are shorter and there's not much to do.

Best case scenario, the committee would be open to everyone (making it more than a committee per se) with representation of the following:

* The town of Royalton
* The town of Hartland
* Niagara County Legislature
* The Canal Authority
* Local churches
* The Lions Club
* The Gasport Beautification Committee
* The Fourth of July organizers
* The school district
* The Boy Scouts
* Our EMS/fire services
* Local businesses
* Most importantly: Average Joes and Janes...the lifeblood of Gasport

Who's in this with me?


Today's Greater Niagara Newspapers is running a story about the shortage of farm workers in Niagara County. No doubt is has affected a few Gasport farms, but the article does note that it has not affected Becker Farms....

AGRICULTURE: Local farms, wineries feel effects of a labor shortage

Local farms and wineries are having a problem with finding labor — the result of immigration issues and a shrinking pool of migrant workers. Jim Bittner of Singer Farms in Appleton said his farm is doing OK for now, but is making changes to compensate for the cost of the missing labor. He had to cut back on growing cherries and peaches because there isn’t enough help to pick them. Labor comprises about 50 percent of the costs of growing cherries and peaches.

“We’re nervous as heck. We barely made it last year with enough help,” Bittner said. “It’s more a fear of the unknown. We’re hoping Washington, D.C., gets serious about it.”

Bittner said his biggest labor need is when the apples are in season, which is about the first two weeks of September. The problem with growing fresh produce is the fruit has to be picked at a certain time. And there just aren’t enough hands to pick. “We made a decision in January not to plant as much,” Bittner said. “A lot of fresh market produce has to be picked in a timely fashion. Otherwise it turns too ripe or not ripe enough.” He added Singer will be growing blueberries, as well as tart cherries, that can be picked by machines, not workers.

Some farms are doing fine, despite the labor shortage. One of these is Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards in Gasport. Owner Oscar Vizcarra said because the farm and vineyard don’t do a lot of wholesale business, the labor need isn’t as great. “We’re very fortunate,” he said. “The in-house labor is minimal. But it is always a concern, a seasonal dilemma, even in our way of business. Someone still has to harvest the crops.”

Vizcarra said he doesn’t see as many migrant workers in the area as there have been in the past. He added that there is a small group of Mexicans laborers who come to work on the farm. They usually return because they like it at Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards, Vizcarra said. “We treat them with respect and humility,” he said. “We appreciate them. It is hard work.”

The lack of farm labor is drawing the government’s interest, but nothing has been done yet. According to a New York Farm Bureau news release, Congress shot down a bill proposed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Larry Craig, R-Idaho, on May 20. The bill would have provided emergency relief to the nation’s current agriculture labor shortage. The bureau said it was “extremely disappointed in the failure of Congress, once again, to come up with an immigration reform measure that addresses the pressing labor needs of agriculture in New York and across the nation.”

The Emergency Agriculture Relief Act would have granted temporary, limited immigration status for experienced farm workers who would then be required to continue to work in American agriculture for the next five years. The bill also aimed to fix the H-2A program, which many farmers in New York rely on to legally bring temporary foreign workers in. The bill would have streamlined the process for an employer to more quickly obtain government approval.

“Without immigration reform, New York farmers will stop producing fruits, vegetables, and dairy, all of which require and need an adequate labor force, turning instead to the typical row crops that can be grown with mechanical planting and harvesting equipment, like corn and soybeans,” the Bureau said in the news release. “New York will lose the significant diversity of our agricultural production, and the proud heritage of our state’s farm families in producing locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy for our state and nation.”



The Hartland Historical Society is hosting an antique car show from 9:00 AM To 5:00 PM Saturday, June 7th. It will be held at the cobblestone schoolhouse at Carmen & Seaman Roads. Food and beverages will be sold and there will also be a garden tractor pull (yes, lawnmowers).


When Gasport's strategic plan was introduced this year, it was determined that the key to the area's economic development was tourism centered around the Erie Canal. Along those lines, if you have a tourism-related business (B&B, restaurant, marina, farm, etc) or are planning to start one, New York Canal Times reports of a workshop...

Hospitality Workshops for Canal Community Businesses & Museums

The Western Erie Canal Alliance is pleased to present a Tourism Development & Training Initiative Program designed for businesses and museums located in Erie Canal communities. The Erie Canal is becoming one of the most exciting new destinations in New York State and the Western Erie Canal Alliance wants businesses to benefit from these visitors.

The Five Lakes Consulting Group, presenting the workshops, offers over 30 years of tourism and small business experience. Businesses will gain from their knowledge of the area and understanding of the visitor experience. Western Erie Canal Alliance appreciates the sensitivity of operating a small business and the difficulty in being away from that business for any length of time but the benefits will be well worth the investment.

The workshops are being offered in several different areas, Lockport –June 11 and Medina-June 18. You are welcome to attend any program that fits your schedule. The Owner/Mgr workshops are a six (6) hour program offering an understanding of the canal’s attributes and how you can tap into that visitor market to grow your bottom line. The Frontline Staff workshop is two (2) hours and impresses on your staff how important their role is in the overall visitor experience.

Please contact Joan Delaro at 585-546-7029 x32 or email for details and reservations.