Sunday, September 28, 2008


Closed for Summer construction, Orangeport Road is now open for traffic.

I was kinda unimpressed on my first trip down it. The road was widened by a few feet, that was it. I know many people who were hoping they were going to do something with the deep ditches...ditches that they fear will take someone's life in a winter driving accident. That said, I don't think it was worth the $600,000 in taxpayer money.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


In response to the recent rash of burglaries around the village, a group of Gasport residents is forming a neighborhood watch group. They will hold their first meeting at 7:00 PM on October 15th at the town hall on Royalton Center Rd. The public is welcome to attend.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Don't forget...Troop 18 will be holding its annual Chowder sale this weekend...

Saturday September 27th at the Covenant United Church of Christ on Main Street. Serving begins at 9:30AM until sold out – come early!

$16 per Gallon - $15 with your own Gallon container.

$5 for Quarts

Homemade Baked Goods available also

Come early, come hungry!


The Buffalo News reports...

Overheated mower blamed for fire in storage barn

An overheated lawnmower is blamed for a fire that destroyed a small storage barn Thursday morning on Gasport Road.

Paul Drajem, 49, of 5074 Gasport Road, told Niagara County sheriff’s deputies that he was mowing with his riding lawnmower and was having problems with it overheating. Drajem said he put the mower back into a wooden shed behind his house and went to the store. He said he returned 15 minutes later, just after 11:30 a. m., and found the shed totally engulfed in flames, said deputies. Drajem was unable to put the fire out and the Terrys Corners Volunteer Fire Department responded.

The shed and its contents, which included the lawnmower, lawn tools and two sets of tires and rims, were declared a total loss, deputies said. Also damaged was the siding on Drajem’s garage, said deputies. Assisting at the scene was Gasport Volunteer Fire Department.


I received the following e-mail in response to the post about regulating wood furnaces....


On January 1, 2003 the New York State, Department of State, Division of Code Enforcement and Administration issued a Technical Bulletin to "clarify to what extent outdoor wood boilers for heating buildings are regulated by the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code." I have attached a copy of the Technical Bulletin for your review. The Technical Bulletin was issued over 5 years ago. The Hamlet of Gasport should have an established permitting process for outdoor wood furnaces, based upon the Technical Bulletin.

The Technical Bulletin clearly defines the requirements on how an "outdoor wood boiler" can be installed in New York State. The outdoor wood furnace must be listed and labeled for outdoor installation otherwise it cannot be installed within New York State.

The location of the furnace on a person's property is a zoning issue because the Uniform Codes do not address the location of an outdoor appliance on a property, only the listing requirements for clearance to combustibles. The Technical Bulletin is still valid today as demonstrated by the memo issued by the New York State, Department of State, Division of Code Enforcement and Administration on June 27, 2007.


I would like to invite you to review: . Here you will be able to review US EPA reports relative to the outdoor wood furnace industry, air dispersion modeling, a guide to creating responsible regulations, a sample ordinance and other important information on the outdoor wood furnace industry.

The outdoor wood furnace industry is exempt from 60 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 40, Subpart AAA, which apply to the indoor wood stove industry. The NSPS (New Source Performance Standards) was developed for an entirely different class of wood burning appliances (indoor wood stoves), and imposed limits were rigorously derived from demonstrated emission control technologies for that class of appliance.

In 1998, the US EPA published testing of two outdoor wood furnaces which is attached. EPA report 600/SR-98/017 states that, "Compared to a wide range of residential heating options, these furnaces' emissions were of the same order as other stick wood burning appliances." The US EPA bases their finding on a test done on a Central Boiler outdoor furnace, which is furnace B in their report. Comparing EPA report 600/SR-98/017 to EPA report 600/SR-00/100 shows that particulate emissions from a properly operated outdoor wood furnace are similar to indoor wood stoves.

The US EPA did not regulate outdoor wood furnaces in 1998 for several reasons. One of the reasons is the size of the outdoor wood furnace industry. The outdoor wood furnace industry makes up a very small percentage of the wood heating industry and because tests showed that the emissions were comparable to other wood heating appliances, the US EPA did not regulate. Roughly 44 Million (44,000,000) indoor wood heating appliances including fireplaces, fireplace inserts, indoor certified and uncertified woodstoves (most of which are uncertified 75-80%), indoor wood furnaces, barrel stoves, etc. dominate the wood heating industry compared to approximately 220,000 outdoor wood furnaces. Outdoor wood furnaces make up approximately .004% of the wood heating appliance industry.

Outdoor wood furnaces are not a new source of emissions. Many times outdoor wood furnaces are installed to replace multiple indoor uncertified wood heating appliances such as fireplaces and uncertified indoor wood stoves.

On January 29, 2007, the US EPA announced a voluntary emission reduction program for the outdoor wood furnace industry. This is the first program that has ever been developed and made available for this class of wood heating appliance. The EPA OWHH (Outdoor Wood-fired Hydronic Heater) Phase 1 Program includes a test method (Test Method 28 OWHH) and an emissions limit that must be met in order to participate in the program. The Outdoor Wood-fired Hydronic Heaters that meet the program requirements will be referred to as “Program Compliant” and they will receive a permanent “qualifying label” and “hang tag”.

Within the next couple of months there will be the EPA OHH (Outdoor Hydronic Heater) Phase 2 Program that will include ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) E2618 - a recently passed standard that will allow for "automatically fueled heating appliances" such as outdoor wood-pellet furnaces and indoor pellet boilers to be tested for emissions and efficiency. The name change between the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Programs will occur because of the addition of "automatically fueled" heating appliances.

Two very important issues should be considered when looking at outdoor wood furnaces.

1.) SAFETY: In 1983/1984 when home heating costs rose dramatically, home fires caused by indoor wood stoves also rose dramatically because of the increased use of wood to help supplement home heating. By taking away the safe choice of an outdoor wood furnace, indoor wood burning would again increase the risk of home fires that could result in millions of dollars of property loss. Outdoor wood furnaces remove the threat of devastating chimney fires and the dangerous carbon monoxide buildup or oxygen depletion associated with burning wood indoors. There is a reason that insurance companies have a "rider" policy for indoor wood burning. Over the period from 1980-1998, indoor wood burning was responsible for 1,541,800 fires; $1.024 billion dollars in property loss; and 3,275 deaths (The (NFPA) National Fire Protection Association Fire Analysis and Research, U.S. Home heating Fire Patterns, June 2001).

2.) EMISSIONS: Burning wood has environmental advantages over fossil fuels because heating with wood is "carbon neutral". Wood is a renewable energy source, which, when burned results in no net CO2 increase. CO2 is part of the natural plant-growth cycle and occurs naturally when trees are allowed to rot on the forest floor. Fossil Fuels, when burned, release CO2 which otherwise would stay trapped in the earth. Wood, when burned produces less sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrous oxides (NOX) than fossil fuels - EPA emission document AP-42.

Another reason to consider responsible regulations regarding outdoor furnaces is because of other products that have been made available to consumers looking for alternatives to foreign oil and fossil fuels. Also manufactured are units which use wood pellets or corn.


The Wellsville Daily Reporter has this story about a trio of bungling criminals, one of them from Gasport...

Three charged after check dropped at robbery site

Three people wound up in jail after bungling an alleged robbery in New York's Allegany County. Amity, N.Y.-based state police said the three from Niagara County near Buffalo drove more than 90 miles to rural Andover, broke into a home and stole several long guns.

On the way out, troopers said one of the three dropped a commissary check issued to him from the Niagara County jail just before his release on other charges. To make matters worse, they ran out of gas on their way back home. And who did they flag down for help? An off-duty trooper.

On Wednesday, troopers brought in two of the men for arraignment to Andover, N.Y., for the June 29 incident. The two were in the Niagara County jail on other charges.

In Andover court Wednesday, Shawn K. Pittler, 20, of 131 Chestnut St., Lockport, and Casey D. Hayes, 19, of 4663 Gasport Road, Gasport, were charged with second-degree burglary.

The third person involved in the incident, Kayla Rowling, 17, of Medina, N.Y., was charged with second-degree burglary in August and sent to the Allegany County jail.

They were arraigned in front of Andover Justice James Ames and jailed on $50,000 bail.



Bill Hilts' fishing hotline has this to say about Gasport this week:

The Erie Canal bass action continues to be be good around Gasport according to Craig Wagner of Lockport and Steve Brauen of Gasport. The caught 33 bass in under three hours of fishing this week, all on bubblegum colored plastic worms.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


If you haven't been to Royalton Ravine Park in a while you'll be stunned at what's happening.

The fishing pond has been completely drained and there is a crew on site with heavy equipment building a new pond where the old one once was.

I think this is great! Judging by what they've done, the new pond will be much deeper (maybe 8 ft. in spots) and much larger (over 1.5 times the size of the old pond). This will create a better fishery and therefore a better place to get kids hooked on fishing.

I'll post some photos here in the coming days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The Buffalo News reports on today's legal proceedings...

Ex-elementary teacher could face eight years in prison after felony DWI plea

Marcy L. Cole, the former Lockport elementary school teacher whose series of drunken driving arrests contributed to her losing her job, pleaded guilty to two felonies today in Niagara County Court. Cole, 35, of Gasport, admitted two felony counts of driving while intoxicated and could face as long as eight years in state prison. Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza scheduled sentencing for Nov. 6. Cole had faced an 11-count indictment that included three DWI incidents; she had already pleaded guilty to a fourth DWI, a misdemeanor, last year.

Today's plea bargain closes her case. Cole is in the Niagara County Jail without bail pending sentencing.

In January, fourth-grade students reported Cole appeared drunk in the classroom, leading to her suspension and eventual resignation from the Lockport City School District.



WIVB news filmed a story about Saddle Up For Roswell held this past Saturday. Watch the video here:

If you have a slower internet connection, you can read the abbreviated text version of the story here:


The town of Royalton will have a public meeting to discuss its master plan this Wednesday at the town hall. From 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM a video will be aired. Thereafter, a open forum will be held to collect feedback and ideas.

Monday, September 22, 2008


The town board is having a public hearing in October about outdoor wood burners. We don't need a ban on them. Times are tough, oil and gas are expensive...if someone wants to burn wood to save money, so be it. People have homes to heat and mouths to feed.

This AP article highlights what other towns in NY are doing...

Localities outlaw, limit wood furnaces

ALBANY — As outdoor wood furnaces catch on with homeowners looking to escape high heating bills, they’re running afoul with more town and village officials worried about smoked-out neighbors. The units, also called outdoor wood boilers, are becoming a common sight along rural roads. They look like sheds or outhouses with chimneys on top, but actually circulate water into homes for heating systems or hot water. Owners love them because they can avoid buying heating oil, though local officials worried about downwind neighbors have been restricting their use.

“Right now, we feel they’re too inefficient and they’re impacting everybody,” East Fishkill Supervisor John Hickman said. The Hudson Valley town late last month adopted regulations on outdoor furnace operations just as two Adirondack villages passed similar local laws: Tupper Lake banned new outdoor furnaces, and Saranac Lake set its own usage regulations. The municipalities joined about 50 other towns, cities, villages and counties across the state that regulate or ban outdoor furnaces.

An estimated 14,500 outdoor boilers were sold in this state from 1999 to last year, and 188,500 were sold nationwide, with the bulk of those sales in recent years, according to the State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s office. Ken Decker of Decker Heating & Construction said he has sold more than 200 this year — more than double last year’s sales — from his store just west of the Adirondack Park.

Prices vary depending on the manufacturer, but installed costs of $7,000 to $10,000 are common. The cost of firewood varies widely by region, though users who cut their own can recoup their investment in a matter of years. Consider that the U. S. Energy Information Administration predicts the average heating oil bill in the Northeast this winter will be about $2,600.

Jon Wilder, of Blue Arrow Farm southeast of Albany, said he and his family can collect enough wood for a winter over a few weekends in the fall. “I get done with my three weeks of work, and I look out my window and say, ‘There’s my winter heat,’ ” said Wilder, who also sells the outdoor boilers.

Decker and Wilder both stressed that smoke is not an issue as long as the boiler is stoked with dry, seasoned wood. They said problems occur when people burn cardboard or other trash.
Drifting smoke is becoming an issue as the outdoor units multiply. Paul J. Miller, deputy director of Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, said the problem is becoming more acute as their popularity spreads from very rural areas to villages and other densely populated regions.

Miller said the outdoor boilers can put out a thousand more times fine particulate matter per hour than gas-or oil-fired furnaces. The smoke can be especially hazardous to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions, he said.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has a voluntary program that encourages manufacturers to sell cleaner-burning units, but no mandatory federal standards apply.

In New York, a bill to establish statewide regulations has not made it to a floor vote, leaving the matter a local issue. Municipalities that set regulations typically will try to mitigate the smoke problem by enforcing minimum lot sizes, mandatory setbacks and chimney heights. Others, like Tupper Lake, opt for a ban.



Troop 18 will be holding its annual Chowder sale....

Saturday September 27th
Covenant United Church of Christ
4449 Main Street – Gasport

Serving begins at 9:30AM until sold out – come early!

$16 per Gallon - $15 with your own Gallon container
$5 for Quarts

Homemade Baked Goods available also

Come early, come hungry!

Friday, September 19, 2008


If you've got a child in the fourth grade at Gasport, he or she will get a lowdown on Gasport wildlife from yours truly.

Later today I'll be spending an hour with the students educating them on the habitat/food/homes/tracks/dropping of the local animals they're studying. On Wednesday I'm taking them all on a nature hike at the Ravine Park.

This is all done as a way to help them find those critters so their upcoming reports might have some real-life observations in them.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


The New York State Police in Lockport in conjunction with area law enforcement agencies is currently investigating a series of burglaries and larcenies in and around Gasport, NY. The thefts have been occurring since August 2008 and occur mostly during night time hours.

The burglaries included the theft of computer equipment, fishing equipment, golfing equipment, New York State inspection stickers, automotive diagnostic equipment, a 1979 Harley Davidson motorcycle, a Mongoose bicycle, jewelry and money.

The Niagara County Sheriff's Department recovered two bicycles from an attempted burglary at the Gasport Marina on Telegraph Road. A younger looking white male was seen running from the scene.

Anyone with information concerning these thefts is asked to contact Inv. Thomas Gibbons at the State Police in Lockport at 716-434-5588.


WLVL and the Lockport Journal have been reporting today about a birthday party held at Lockport's Dale Association yesterday which celebrated all of Niagara County's 100-year old residents.

The US&J's article talks about each of the four women in attendance, including Mrs. Whitwell who taught my dad in elementray school and was "old" back then...

Helen Whitwell, taught school 35 years in Lockport and Gasport. In 1930, she started a public/private school for families who were not happy with the Lockport schools. She and her husband helped build the Dale Association. His grandparents had a tavern on Ridge Road that was visited by Marquis de Lafayette, who ate in the kitchen with the family.

Her secret? “She drinks goat milk every day,” said her daughter, Doris Whitwell. “She has for years and years.”


The Lockport US&J reports on this weekend's event at the Equestrian Center...

GASPORT: Olympian to take part in Saddle Up for Roswell

Olympian Darren Chiacchia, 42, a Springville native who learned to ride at Chestnut Ridge Equestrian Center as a teen, will return Saturday to take part in the third annual Saddle Up for Roswell fundraiser. Chiacchia earned a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics and was a strong candidate for the 2008 Olympics when he was seriously injured in a spill in mid-March. His horse hit a jump and somersaulted, falling on the rider. Chiacchia was in a coma for 42 days and had severe head and chest trauma.

“He’s riding and competing again, and it’s nothing short of remarkable,” said Sue Williams, owner of the Equestrian Center on Chestnut Ridge Road. “His horse misjudged the fence. It’s a risk you take in the sport. It’s very sad. He was a good candidate for Olympics this summer.”

The rider used daily rehabilitation, physical therapy, tennis, swimming and a personal trainer to be able to return to riding.Chiacchia was eager to help out with the fundraiser, Williams said. He is expected to sign autographs and provide instruction to riders and talk about safety issues. “I’ve known Darren since he was 16,” Williams said. “He started competing with my husband and was a working student when he was a kid.”

As a teen, Chiacchia had the opportunity to ride Abdullah, the Olympic gold medal winning stallion and sire at Chestnut Ridge. Chiacchia, who spends his summers in Springville and winters in Ocala, Fla., is working on the Knox Farm State Park project. The park’s 633 acres near East Aurora are home to several species of farm animals including horses, sheep, goats, llamas and chickens.

At Saddle Up, riders will perform in dressage, stadium jumping and cross country in the Harvest Horse Trials and Dressage Show. In its first two years, Saddle Up for Roswell raised more than $25,000 to benefit the Roswell Park .Chestnut Ridge Equestrian Center will have a basket auction, and there will be a refreshment stand and pony rides. Admission is free.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A Roswell Park fundraiser is taking place in Gasport this Saturday.

Saddle Up For Roswell and Harvest horse Trials & Dressage will be held Saturday, September 20th at the Chestnut Ridge Equestrian Center starting at 8am (rain or shine).

For more information call 772-2707 or 439-0721 or register online on at Roswell's website:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The Business First ranking of schools is a good tool, but not a great one. How does Roy-Hart compare against the rest of the state? And, how efficient is the district?

That information can be found at the state-run website where report cards are issued for all schools.

The New York State Report Cards provide enrollment, demographic, attendance, suspension, dropout, teacher, assessment, accountability, graduation rate, post-graduate plan, career and technical education, and fiscal data for public and charter schools, districts, and the State. For each reporting year, a companion database containing statewide data in many of the above areas is also provided for statistical analysis purposes.

To see Roy-Hart's report cards (they are extensive documents), go here:


Last week the village welcomed a visit by Paul and Emy Stuve. The couple is in the middle of an awesome boating trip, touring the Eastern US on their 40 ft. sailboat via the 7,500 mile Great Loop. They made a pit stop here and sampled our local delicacy...a Canalside beef on weck.

Read about their trip through the area in their blog:


My friend John Restaino hosts a Niagara Falls-based talk radio show, aptly called The John Restaino Show, every weekday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM on WJJL 1440 AM.

I will be his in-studio guest for the entire hour this Thursday, September 18th. Between his Left views, my Right views, and his army of unique callers, the show is always exciting.

Be sure to tune in!


Becker Farms' famous Pumpkin Fiesta takes place every Saturday and Sunday now through October. It's chock full of activities. For a complete list go here:


Becker Farms has its annual Concord Grape Stomp Challenge this Saturday the 20th. Their website says:

Come to Vizcarra Vineyards for a good ol' Grape Stomp Contest! Get your team of six together for a stomp off you'll never forget. Call today to sign up for the event (772.2211). Spots are going fast for this fun-filled event. Registration starts at 1pm. Event begins at 2pm. $15.00 per person. Receive a commemorative t-shirt. Winners receive a free case of wine!!

For more info visit:

Monday, September 15, 2008


The LA Times has a web page where you can share your memories and thoughts of Chris. The link is here:


1988 Roy-Hart grad and former Gasport resident Chris Aiken was one of the 26 people who died in the horrific commuter train collision that took place in Los Angeles on Friday.

The Los Angeles Times wrote this about Chris...

Chris Aiken, 38, Thousand Oaks
Stepfather of twins was pursuing a degree.

Chris Aiken, 38, had recently embarked on a new chapter in his life, and it was a happy time.

He got married in November and became stepfather to twin girls Samantha and Katie, 15.

And he went back to college, as a history student, to obtain the degree he never got as a young man.

He was riding Metrolink 111 on Friday evening from his job at Aramark in Glendale to his home in Thousand Oaks.

Aiken was born and raised in the upstate New York town of Gasport. He came to California after high school and met his first wife, Sandi. That marriage didn't last, but the two stayed friends. He married his second wife, Sharon, on Nov. 10.

His mother, Donna Aiken, said he fell in love not only with his wife but also with being a father to her two children. He loved spending time with his friends, hiking and being by the ocean. He was also passionate about the Buffalo Bills.

"He just loved life," his mother said. "And those two girls just meant the world to him."

In addition to his wife, stepdaughters and mother, Aiken is survived by his adoptive father Roy; brothers Heath and Shaun Aiken; grandmothers Patte Griffiths and Agnew Aiken; and his biological father, Ted Berry.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The state-required hunter safety training course for new hunters will take place at the Hartland Conservationists Club, 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM Monday. Parts 2 and 3 will be Wednesday and Friday. The class size is limited to the first 30 students. Register at the first class or by phone. You must attend all classes. For more information, contact Walt Whitenight at 778-5288.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


The NOAA has issued a flood watch four our region...



New York history blogger Richard Palmer wrote a blog post yesterday about a re-introduced history book that has a Gasport spin. Says Richard's blog entry at The Crooked Lake Review...

The long out of print book, "Looking Back So That We May Move Ahead," has been republished by the Niagara County Historical Society. It was originally written by Alexis Mueller Jr. in 1975 to commemorate the the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Erie Canal. Although many histories of the canal were published before or since, this one has been much sought after because of its massive collection of facts and readability, and many rare illustrations.

He goes on to write....

...used as a fresh reference was an unpublished manuscript by Paul Murphy, a retired Buffalo Fire Department captain, who spent his boyhood close to the canal near Gasport. As a young man he recorded what he saw during construction of the canal.

The book is also replete with interesting recollections of the days of canal building. Canal workers received $12 a month, and subsisted on pork, flour, biscuits, bread and whiskey. The book also concisely shows how communities such as Lockport sprang up from huddles of log huts into fashionable cities and towns that exist to this day along the canal system. The richly-illustrated book sells for for $11.95 plus $4 shipping and handling. For further information go to:

The book is undoubtedly a good read. So is Richard's blog (which he shares with other authors) at:


It's good to see something meaningful and positive has been done with this ongoing saga. Locking her up -- and getting her the help she needs -- is the only way to keep people safe. The community does not the burden of death on its conscience were she to ever kill someone in a DWI.

The US&J reports....

COURTS: Bail is revoked for former teacher

A former city elementary school teacher facing her fourth driving while intoxicated charge had her bail revoked Friday. Marcy L. Cole, 35, of Main Street, Gasport, had been out on $10,000 bail since pleading not guilty in July to an 11-count indictment in Niagara County Court.

Assistant District Attorney Theodore Brenner filed a motion to have Cole’s bail revoked after she reportedly had another brush with the law last month. Assistant District Attorney Susan Bjornholm said Cole tested positive twice for alcohol during an Aug. 27 visit from her probation officer.

The following day, Cole was allegedly involved in a domestic incident with her boyfriend. On Aug. 29, deputies were called to West Avenue in Gasport, where they reportedly found Cole sitting by the side of the road, crying and apparently intoxicated. She told deputies she’d had a fight with her boyfriend, and they transported her home, the report said.

Cole’s attorney, Thomas Scirto, acknowledged Cole had a relapse, but said she has made strides to improve her life, obtaining a job and attending self-help meetings. “This truly is an isolated incident,” Scirto said. “She’s done a number of positive things. She’s working towards finding a way to get back on track. It’s a difficult progress.”

Bjornholm argued that Cole was difficult for probation officers to deal with. Cole was ordered to be on electronic home monitoring at her last court appearance, but she had asked her probation officer for alternatives so she could get out of a bad domestic situation, Bjornholm said. In one incident, Cole allegedly traveled to Grand Island, after her probation officer told her not to go, Bjornholm said.“The probation officer is unable to control her,” Bjornholm said. “They believe she’s a danger not only to herself, but to everyone else out there. ...This is a case that really begs for bail to be revoked.”

Sperrazza agreed, and Cole was taken into custody and led from the courtroom. Sperrazza requested Cole be linked with the Treatment Alternatives to Street Crimes program while at the Niagara County Jail. “I’m going to keep her safe and sober,” Sperrazza said. “She’s out of control.”

Cole is facing an 11-count indictment with charges stemming from three DWI arrests since October 2007 in the towns of Lockport and Royalton. She has already pleaded guilty in Lockport Town Court to a DWI charge from an April 18, 2007, traffic stop. Cole taught fourth grade at Roy B. Kelley Elementary School until January, when she was pulled from the classroom after parents and teachers reportedly complained about her conduct. The school board accepted her resignation in June.

Cole’s trial is scheduled for Nov. 17, but Sperrazza said the date may be moved up to sometime in October.


Friday, September 12, 2008


The Terry's Corners Vol Fire Company's "THE WORLD'S BEST GUN RAFFLE"

Grand Prize: 2009 Kawasaki Mule 610 4X4 Utility Vehicle

12 Guns From Gander Mountain

5 $100.00 Cash Prizes

1 Pink Remington Youth 870 20 ga.

1 Compound Bow Package

20 Prizes For $20.00

FREE Party for TICKET HOLDERS ONLY; November 9th NOON - 4PM

Procedes Go For the Purchase Of A New Building!!!!

All Tickets First come First Served

Mail Payment To:
Jeff Baes
4011 Wruck Rd
Gasport NY 14067

Checks Payable To: Terry's Corners Vol Fire Company Inc.


The deleted topic about class sizes sparked a conversation and people want more. So, let's continue it. I saved the comments and have put them in the comment section. Fire away!


I've always known there were scumbag burglars out there who targeted people who were attending funerals and wakes. Only a deviant would target someone already dealing with significant loss in their lives. Well, WLVL's John Raymond reports that such a thing happened in our fair town...

A 55 year old Gasport woman telling Sheriff's deputies burglars took an estimated $3,500 worth of jewlery from her home Thursday while she was attending her father's wake at a Middleport funeral home. She said she got home at 4:30 and found it in total disarray....dresser drawers in herbedroom had been opened and others in the living room were pulled out and jewelry and silver were taken. Deputies said entry was made by prying open a back window.

What is this world coming to?


Earlier today I posted an e-mail forwarded to me about a local resident's concerns over the size of Roy-Hart's fifth grade classes. It was forwarded to me by a reader who was well-intentioned in her ways because the original e-mail said " I ask that you forward this to all fifth grade parents you know in our district." The forwarder thought she was doing her part to get the word out. You can't blame her: It's an issue of concern to many people.

Well, the original sender (who was left anonymous in the initial post) commented with the following: "The original message sent to the Life and Times in Gasport NY was not to appear on this website or I would have sent it myself."

So be it. The post has been removed.

And now the policy shall be: No forwarded e-mails (as well-intentioned as they may be) will be accepted as newsworthy items. Original senders only.


A report on the 9/11 event at the Gasport Marina...

9/11: Area residents mark the seventh anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001

With songs, flags and moments of silence and reflection, residents marked the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Thursday.

In the afternoon, Absolut Care of Gasport held its seventh annual Sept. 11 memorial at the Gasport Marina. The program was expanded this year to include student musicians from the Royalton-Hartland School District, as well as the Niagara County Bicentennial Committee.

Absolut Care’s community liaison Helen Feron said she was glad to see the students get involved. “It’s seven years, already. A lot of these kids won’t remember where they were or how they felt,” she said. “I think this helps to keep that alive, because it should never be forgotten.”

To honor the county’s bicentennial, each organization participating in the event had a display about its history. At the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department table, it was a “then and now” approach, with pictures of deputies from decades ago placed next to pictures of deputies today. The Terry’s Corners Fire Department brought its yellow 1942 fire truck.

“I think 9/11 brought to everyone’s attention how important our first responders are in our own communities,” said David Denny, Absolut Care administrator. “I think it’s important they get recognized for it. Most of them are volunteers, they don’t even get paid for it.”

Absolut Care also remembered its residents who have passed away this year, displaying their names and dropping a flower into the canal for each one. “Many of these folks listed here, they’re heroes to their families, and to us,” Feron said. “We’ve had the privilege of serving them during their stay with us, and we feel it’s important to honor them and remember them.”

State Trooper Rebecca Gibbons was staffing the New York State Police table at the marina, featuring photos of troopers in action throughout the years. Gibbons said she was pleased to see community members gathering to remember Sept. 11. “We want to be here to remember the people that lost their lives to save others,” Gibbons said. “I think it’s important to remember, too, the people who maybe aren’t law enforcement, but who risked their lives that day, and lost their lives that day, to help another person.”

Niagara County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy James Voutour said he thought the event was a nice way to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the defense of others. “That’s the beauty of America,” he said. “Really, freedom doesn’t have any price. Whatever it takes to keep our citizens free, that’s what we do.”

Overall, the theme of the afternoon could be summed up in one phrase: Never forget.

“I think it’s important for all the communities to remember that it was the worst terrorist attack on our soil in history,” Denny said. “I think it’s important we don’t lose sight of that.”



Bill Hilt's Niagara Fishing Report has nothing but good to say about bass fishing in Gasport this week:

The Erie Canal bass fishing has also been good according to a trio of bassers hitting the waters between Gasport and Middleport. Tom Crosby of Pendleton, Craig Wagner of Lockport and Steve Brauen of Gasport caught some 25 smallmouth earlier in the week on rubber worms in bubblegum and cinnamon color patterns. They also lost a few that were probably big pike, based on the what happened to their line.


The US&J reports....

ROY-HART: Residents discuss ideal successor to Bona

What residents in the Royalton-Hartland School District want in a new superintendent probably could be summed up in three words: a good relationship. The Board of Education held a public forum prior to its regular meeting Thursday. It was to give residents a chance to share some thoughts about what characteristics the district should consider while searching for a new superintendent. Current Superintendent Paul Bona will retire in June at the conclusion of the 2008-09 school year.

Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Clark Godshall met with residents and the school board. Godshall is serving as search consultant for Roy-Hart, and finding a superintendent is something he has done 27 times before.“My goal is to find the best candidate for your superintendent,” Godshall said. “The board wants a very open, open process.”

To help start off the conversation, Godshall provided each attendee with a yellow worksheet with three questions. The first was: What are the three most essential experiential considerations in hiring a superintendent? Residents answered experience in administration, creating a budget or other business affairs and experience in the classroom.

Question No. 2 was what are the three most essential professional or personal characteristics that should be found in a candidate? Popular answers from residents included: Someone who’s approachable and a good communicator; and someone who is visible to the community and is accessible to everyone. Residents said knowledge of the fiscal constraints of the district was also important, and residency in the district was preferred. Godshall said it was better to say it was preferred than to mandate it, because to do so turns away a lot of qualified candidates.“It cuts the number in half,” he said.

The third question for residents: What do you think is the single greatest need in the district. Answers ranged from more electives and advanced placement courses in the high school to class sizes and a better working relationship between the district and the community.

Resident Patt Fagan said community input is always important and liked the transparency that has characterized the process of finding a superintendent so far.“It’s a small village; it is critical to have the school do well,” she said.

Middleport Mayor Julie Maedl attended the meeting and said community input was important because the school is important to the community.“It’s a hometown school, so it has to be community-minded,” she said. “This should really speed the process and bring in the right candidate.”

Godshall said the superintendent position is already listed and has generated very good interest levels, with at least four inquiries from veteran superintendents. The job will be listed with every state’s education department to advertise the position nationally.

There is a second community forum planned for 10 a.m. Saturday in the high school auditorium, 54 State St., Middleport.

In the regular school board meeting, class sizes were a major topic of conversation. The board met Wednesday to discuss the issue, but did not have updated enrollment figures for each of the schools, so the members did not act. One of the concerns was in the high school, where there was a physics class with 27 students and a chemistry class with 28 students. Bona said the district wants to add a section of physics and a section of chemistry to reduce class size.

Fifth-grade enrollment, currently at 113 students, was also brought up. There were four teachers, and the district wants to add a fifth teacher at the fifth-grade level. Currently, there is a fifth class, but is staffed with a substitute teacher. Kindergarten class sizes are also a matter of concern for some parents. As of Thursday’s meeting, there were 118 kids in kindergarten and five teachers, making average class size close to 24. Part of the problem was late registrations, which caused enrollments to increase above what figures were last week. Board President Patricia Riegle asked district administrators to come up with new up-to-date enrollment figures so the board could make decisions about enrollment concerns.



The Lockport Journal reports....

ROYALTON: Drainage problems discussed at Town Board meeting

The town is considering a drainage law, and the problem was personalized by a Riddle Road man at Monday night’s public hearing. The resident, Michael Thompson, addressed the board and told of a neighbor who raised his land level and cut off the drainage for his property which has been flooded.

“I lost my property. He stole my property. He stole my yard,” he said. “It backs up on my property. I haven’t been able to use my property for a year. I lost all my crops.”

The father of six feels that the neighbor is in violation of a law, but Royalton does not have a drainage law.

Supervisor Richard Lang said: “It’s a drainage problem where people are blocking draining ditches. The ditches get plugged up. We will work out a drainage law.”Absent a town drainage law, the only advisory information is on a building permit. “The guy got an attorney and said, ‘We didn’t do anything wrong.’ We’ve been researching it and researching it,” Lang said. “I thought we could do something with the DEC (state Department of Environmental Conservation), and they said we don’t have any jurisdiction.”

Other agencies have not been able to help, claiming it’s a town matter. The board was sympathetic and set another public hearing for Oct. 20 at the town hall.

“It’s a shame we can’t help him now,” said board member Brad Rehwaldt.

“It’s a problem combatting people with more money than you,” Thompson said. “I can’t afford a lawyer.”

“Without a town law, I don’t see any recourse,” said Lang, who hopes a new law is in effect by the end of the year. “We don’t want to rush it. We want to get it right. It’s not complicated. I’ve researched other towns and taken portions of their law.”

In other board news the board will have a public hearing on outside wood burners at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


Business First magazine of Buffalo has been issuing press releases all week as a lead-in to its annual school rankings tome.

Roy-Hart wound up with some really disgusting grades:

186th of of 289 elementary schools

109th out of 211 middle schools

79th out of 128 high schools

See the lists here:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


There will be yet another very popular lawn tractor pull this Saturday, September 13th, in Gasport. It will take place at 1:00 PM at the the Hartland Historical Society grounds at the old schoolhouse at Carmen and Seaman Roads. The pits open at noon. This race is courtesy of the Western New York Lawn Tractor Pullers Association.

Bring an appetite as there will be burgers, dogs, chowder.

This is part of the Hartland Fall Festival running 10:00 to 5:00 on Saturday and Sunday.


Congressional District 26 (Democrats): Alice Kryzan

State Senate District 62 (Republicans): George Maziarz

State Senate District 62 (Conservatives): George Maziarz

State Assembly District 142 (Republicans): Jane Corwin

Royalton Town Council (Republicans): Dan Bragg

Monday, September 8, 2008


GOP primary for Royalton board pits two vying for one-year term

ROYALTON — A Republican primary will pit newcomer Mary A. Cedeno — a registered Democrat — against Republican Daniel R. Bragg for a one-year Town Board term in Royalton on Tuesday.

But Cedeno said she is a Democrat on paper, alone, and “as a fiscal conservative, the Republican Party is where I belong.” To that end, Cedeno said she filed the necessary paperwork to switch her affiliation earlier this year, but election law dictates that it will not become complete until after the November general election.

In the meantime, Cedeno will face Bragg for a one-year term on the Town Board, with the blessing of the Niagara County Republican Party.

When Richard Lang became town supervisor in January, he had two years left in his Town Board term. The board appointed former Councilman Lee Criswell to fill the first year, but the second year is now up for election.

Bragg, 53, is currently serving the second year of his second three-year term on the Royalton- Hartland Board of Education. He manages Stan-dish- Jones Building Supply Co. in Gasport and lives on Washington Avenue in Gasport. In a five-way race for three Town Board seats last November, Bragg finished fourth. Bragg said, “The Royalton Republican Committee endorsed me, but the county Republicans authorized Mary to run in the primary. That’s fine. . . . Let the people decide.”

Bragg said “the current board needs to create a vision. They’re working on a master plan right now and need to set goals within that vision and stay on target. I can see down the road what’s coming,” he said. “Look at the state budget. This is just the first wave of budget cuts and there’s more to come. We need to manage our money — we should always know where we are today [with town finances] and where we will be tomorrow. Obviously, the taxpayers are strained — everybody knows this stuff. We need to demonstrate management of money.”

Cedeno, 44, lives on Lincoln Avenue Extension and is a project administrator for URS Corp., an environmental engineering firm, for whom she has worked for seven years. She said she first became interested in local government two years ago, when the town levied whopping tax hikes in order to straighten out town finances. The town budget raised taxes by 266 percent in the Village of Middleport and by 67 percent elsewhere in town. “That got my attention,” she said. “I started attending all of the board meetings because I wanted to see how the money was being spent and I started asking questions and making suggestions.”

Cedeno said Lang asked her to submit her resume to be considered to serve the first year of the two remaining years he had on the Town Board. The Town Board chose Criswell but appointed Cedeno to fill an opening on the Planning Board in February. “With the town completing a master plan, this is a very important time for this community,” she said. “We need to set this up and follow it. I believe I’ve had a positive impact on the Planning Board.”

As to the duties of a town councilwoman, she said, “Spending must be planned long-term. There must be budgeting. We need to try and cut back on spending and that’s difficult because costs are going up, but we have to plan for that, as well.”

Polls in Royalton will be open from noon to 9 p. m. Tuesday, and the town’s six voting districts have been consolidated into three sites — Terry’s Corners Fire Hall at 7801 Chestnut Ridge Road, Gasport; Middleport Fire Hall, 28 Main St.; and Wolcottsville Fire Hall, 6337 Wolcottsville Road, Akron.


Sunday, September 7, 2008


More often than not, primary elections are just the act of going through the motions.

In most years, there’s very little drama and the September elections seem almost meaningless. It’s rare that primaries are hotly-contested. But, this year has been unlike any other. There are a bevy of action-packed primaries – full of attack ads and electioneering – that finally come to a head this Tuesday.

Gasporters are not a loss for races to vote in. They are:

Congressional District 26 (Democrats): Jack Davis, Jon Powers, Alice Kryzan

State Senate District 62 (Republicans): George Maziarz, Brian Grear

State Senate District 62 (Conservatives): George Maziarz, Don Hobel

State Assembly District 142 (Republicans): Mike Cole, Lenny Roberto, Jeff Bono, Jane Corwin

Royalton Town Council (Republicans): Dan Bragg, Mary Cedeno

The polls are open from noon to 9:00. But be aware….there’s a good chance that your polling site changed. Royalton now has only three places to vote: Terry’s Corners Fire Hall, Middleport Fire Hall, and Wolcotsville Fire Hall. If you’d like to know where to vote call the Board of Elections at 716.438.4040. You can also find your site by logging into

This change in polling locations is a direct result of Niagara County meeting the Help America To Vote Act (HAVA) which came about after the Florida fiasco in the Bush-Gore election. Niagara County, like the rest of the US, had to buy (with help from Uncle Sam) new technology to eliminate supposedly antiquated systems. Next year we’ll start using the Sequoia Image Cast Machines. The act of voting with these small machines will require lots of space, hence the move to spacious fire halls. This is because the voter needs to sit down and fill out a paper ballot and then run it through the machine.

This year we’re still using lever machines. The change in locations was done this year to make the transition to the new methods a little bit smoother. There are two headaches that come with the technology….one, the new polling site and two, the technology itself. So, the Board of Elections made a wise decision to address them in separate years, tempering the chaos.

To learn a little about the Sequoia machines, go to:

Make sure you vote this Tuesday. It's your duty as a good citizen!

Friday, September 5, 2008


The Lockport Union Sun and Journal has an article in today's paper that discusses Lockport councilman John Lombardi backing Brian Grear over George Maziarz in the Senate race. The article also mentions Royalton's Bob Johnston doing the same...

Bob Johnston, chairman of the Republican Party’s committee in the Town of Royalton, joined Lombardi in endorsing Grear on Thursday. He said he, too, has grown dissatisfied with the current party leadership under Wojtaszek. Johnston said he believed Grear deserved the nomination over the party’s endorsed candidate for the sheriff’s race, Niagara Falls Police Chief of Detectives Ernest Palmer. Instead, Johnston said, Wojtaszek and Maziarz pushed Palmer as the preferred candidate, despite support for Grear among many committee members. Both he and Lombardi also cited the 142nd Assembly District race as another example of the party leaders overstepping their bounds, noting that Wojtaszek is throwing support behind challenger Jane Corwin, even though many rank-and-file committee members preferred incumbent Mike Cole.

Like Lombardi, Johnston said he got the message that his continued support of Grear was not appreciated by party bosses, who asked for his resignation as the town party’s chairman.

“They said if I don’t step down, the county wouldn’t give the town any support,” Johnston said. “I told them to tell them ‘I’m not leaving; I’m here to stay.’ ”

To read the entire article, visit this link:

The Buffalo News also made note of this. Here's the excerpt....

Johnson said his problems with the GOP leaders date back to Grear’s unsuccessful 2005 campaign for sheriff, in which he obtained the GOP ballot line and Johnson and his committee wanted to actively back him.

“Henry and George didn’t want him to have it. They wouldn’t do anything for him,” Johnson said. “Henry and George wanted me to resign. They said they wouldn’t do anything for the town as long as I’m there. I told them, ‘It’s too bad. I’m going to stay here as long as the people want me.’”

Johnson charged that in 2007, Wojtaszek tried to get him to drop Daniel Bragg from the Republican ticket for Town Board and replace him with James Budde, a registered Democrat. Johnson refused, but Budde was elected. This year, Bragg is running again, but Wojtaszek authorized another Democrat, Mary Cedeno, to face him in a GOP primary.

Wojtaszek denied ever talking to Johnson about Bragg. “I have a very good relationship with Dan Bragg,” he said.

Johnson said he also argued with Wojtaszek this year over the 142nd Assembly race, in which Johnson wanted to circulate nominating petitions for incumbent Michael Cole, while Wojtaszek was backing Jane Corwin.


Thursday, September 4, 2008


The town of Royalton's minutes from the August council meeting are now available online at:;/content/Minutes/View/78

Among the topics:

* Term extensions as a public referendum

* Allowing the town to accept credit card payments

* Setting Gasport Road's speed limit at 45 mph

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Your Middle Class STAR checks will be in the mail soon.

It's money, so that's a good thing.

But, beyond the greenbacks, the whole thing stinks.

New York State legislators are so dirty - and think that we're so ignorant - that they budgeted...yes, budgeted...for our Middle Class STAR property tax rebates. It's not that the state experienced a windfall and is giving you back the excess. They purposely planned for this gimmick, basically "borrowing" your money by force and then giving it back to you at a later date.

It's a mind game, one that's supposed to win your vote. The legislators know that many voters are sheep and the incumbents will be rewarded for the STAR rebates by those sheep who will vote for those legislators who supposedly did them good.

To guarantee this, the checks will arrive in October, just in time for the November election.

What you can expect to receive in Gasport?

Royalton residents:

If the 2006 combined incomes of the resident property owner and spouse is up to $90,000: $428.09

If the 2006 combined income of the resident property owner and spouse is over $90,000 and up to $150,000: $321.07

Hartland Residents:

You receive $445.48 and $334.11 respectively for those same ranges.

To read more ire, check out my 2006 column about the same:


The Roy Hart School district will hold two meetings to gather public input as the search for a new schoolsuperintendent begins. Paul Bona will step down at the end of June and Doctor Clark Godschall has been hired to conduct the search. The meetings will be held at 6pm September 11 and at 10am September 13 in the High School Auditorium.


On September 11th, Absolut Care of Gasport will sponsor the seventh-annual 9/11 Memorial on the Canal at the Gasport Marina on Telegraph Road.

The event is meant to honor those lost in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the members of local law enforcement agencies and emergency first responders.

Local emergency response units have been invited to prepare a display chronicling the history of each organization’s development and service in the community, including photo displays, historical information and vehicle demonstrations. The displays will be set up in the parking lot area at 3 p.m.

The memorial program will start at 4 p.m. and will include music, speakers, a blessing and a floral tribute on the canal. Students from Royalton-Hartland schools, community leaders and area clergy will participate. The event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The Royalton Historical Society meets this Thursday at 7:30 PM at the town hall. The public is welcome to attend. This month's topic: Bob Wattam talks about "Medical Quackery, Past and Present."


The Lockport US&J reports....

Deputies find marijuana plants in cooler

Sheriff’s deputies investigating possible trespassers in Gasport late Sunday reportedly found two marijuana plants growing in a cooler. A Main Street man reported two suspicious teens on his property about 11:26 p.m. As deputies responded, the resident chased the teens to the canal banks, where deputies caught up with all of them, the report said.

The teens reportedly said they were in the backyard looking for a cell phone clip they lost days before. Deputies reportedly did not believe the teens, because they did not have a flashlight. Deputies walked through the area where the teens had been and found a water cooler with two marijuana plants growing in it, the report said.

One of the teens admitted to bringing the plants to the woods. The plants were confiscated as evidence, and the case was forwarded to the Niagara County Drug Task Force, the report said.