Friday, January 30, 2009


From the Lockport Union Sun & Journal...

The Royalton-Hartland Board of Education is looking over the first draft of the proposed 2009-10 budget, which has a 12.59 percent increase in the tax levy.

Superintendent Paul Bona made his first budget presentation to the board Thursday night. The proposed $23,702,342 budget is an increase of 1.23 percent from the current school year budget. Bona said the budget was being planned with the governor’s exact proposed state aid numbers in mind.

The proposed federal economic stimulus may not be enough help. Bona said he felt most of the stimulus money would head toward larger or poverty school districts. With the stimulus up for a vote in U.S. Senate next week, Bona said he couldn’t count on it, because nothing is definite. According to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Roy-Hart would get $600,000.

To help with the revenue, Bona said $1 million would be coming from the fund balance and $200,000 from a reserve account. After state aid, the rest of the budget would be coming from the tax levy, the amount of budget revenue that comes from taxpayers. Bona said compared to some other districts in the state, Roy-Hart was in a better spot. “Some other districts are facing 20 to 30 percent (increase in tax levy),” he said.

The proposed contingency budget has a tax levy increase of about 19.53 percent. A contingency budget is enacted if the public votes down a proposed budget.

To help the district with the financial difficulty, the board laid off seven school monitors Thursday. The seven positions, together the equivalent of five full-time positions, were removed from the proposed budget, along with the two reading recovery teaching positions. The elimination of the school monitor positions will save Roy-Hart between $20,000 to $30,000, Bona said.

The board is planning to have a budget workshop Thursday.

In other district news, School Board President Patricia Riegle asked Bona for a detailed update on the $8.3 million facilities project. At the next board meeting on Feb. 26, Bona said he would have the update and the architect, McKenna and Associates, present. Voters approved the project a year ago.

Riegle said there wasn’t an update yet in the district’s superintendent search. But once Bona’s replacement is found, the board will host a special meeting.

“Once the final decision is made, we’ll invite everyone and introduce that person at that time,” she said.The final three candidates are Joseph Hochreiter, deputy superintendent of the Elmira City School District; Thomas Manko, superintendent of the York Central School District; and Kevin MacDonald, assistant superintendent of the Orleans/Niagara Board Of Cooperative Educational Services.



BUFFALO — The sentencing of a Somerset man who prosecutors said helped his cousin terrorize his business competitors was adjourned Wednesday.

James “Jamie” Soha was found guilty in federal court in December 2007 on charges of arson, racketeering conspiracy and aiding and abetting his cousin, David Cain Jr., who was sentenced earlier this month to 55 years in prison. Cain, one-time owner of Dave’s Tree Service in Royalton, was found guilty of using violence and intimidation against his business competitors from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. During his sentencing, Cain was ordered to pay $599.330.45 in restitution, split between nine victims.

Soha’s sentencing was adjourned until Feb. 27 after his defense attorneys filed a last-minute motion, court clerks said.

Cain’s mother, Ann Cain, convicted of witness tampering, was originally scheduled for sentencing today, but her case has been adjourned until March 2.

Cain’s brother, Chris Cain, 36, of Barker, convicted of several charges including arson and racketeering, had his sentencing postponed earlier this month. He will be sentenced Feb. 23.

All will appear before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


All of Royalton-Hartland's afternoon and evening activities have been cancelled because of the snow.


ROYALTON: Woman charged with attempted murder
Staff Reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

A Royalton woman was charged with attempted murder after she allegedly tried to kill another person following a lengthy domestic incident. Deborah A. Kozody, 49, 5324 Royalton Center Road, was charged Tuesday with one count of second-degree attempted murder.

The arrest came after an investigation into a domestic incident involving Kozody and another person, though authorities did not say whether that person was male or female. The victim was an adult family member, the report said. The alleged incident took place about 7:36 a.m. Tuesday, after a domestic incident that reportedly escalated over a 24-hour period. Kozody allegedly tried to suffocate the victim.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the home after a call from a concerned third party, the report said. The victim did sustain injuries, but did not require hospitalization, the report said. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the incident.

Kozody was arraigned Tuesday in Royalton Town Court and held in lieu of $50,000 bail. She remains at the Niagara County Jail pending a medical evaluation and a future court appearance.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Early last week the Lockport Union Sun and Journal reported on a special event that will be held at Becker Farms tomorrow. Check it out....

The public is invited to come to Vizcarra Vineyards next week for a bit of wine, some tasty morsels and a quick introduction to 28 small businesses in the Royalton-Hartland area. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28, Vizcarra Vineyards, Quaker Road, will host a free Wednesday at the Winery mixer with Gasport and Middleport-based goods and services providers.

The “speed marketing” event, a take-off on the speed dating concept, has representatives of each business talking quickly to members of the public about what they offer and why they’re worth a shopping trip off the beaten path.

“It’s important for people to support local businesses, and if you don’t know what’s out there you can’t do it,” said Helen Feron, a member of the Royalton-Hartland Business and Professional Association that’s co-sponsoring the event with her local employer, Absolut Care.

“In small towns especially, small business is the bread and butter of our neighbors.”

The mixer works like this: Every participating business staffs a station and, as visitors come in, they pick one and listen to the pitch. Every two minutes, a bell is rung, indicating the visitors should move onto another station and listen to another pitch. Hitting every business in the room should take less than an hour, Association member Patt Fagan said.

“The advice we’re giving (business representatives) is, ‘have your elevator speech ready.’ In the time it takes to ride an elevator, you should be able to say who you are, what you sell or do and why you’re the best at it,” she said. “It’s going to be loud and it’s going to be wild.”

Twenty-four stations are reserved by businesses including Maedl’s Woodcrafts, Standish-Jones Hardware, The Gift Garden, Hard Rock Stables, Middleport Tractor, Lockport Home Medical, Absolut Care, Eclectic Acres grooming and kenneling, Serenity salon, Canal Country Inn and Pampered Chef executive Vonda Westcott.

Four dining establishments — Darryl’s Place, Pizza Place II, Alternative Grounds and The Basket Factory, all of Middleport — will introduce themselves by serving free samples of their fare. Vizcarra Vineyards is doing free wine tastings; a cash bar will be set up as well. Vendors are encouraged, but not required, to offer product giveaways, discount coupons, price lists and other take-away literature.

It’s the association’s first-ever speed marketing event and Fagan says business owners are excited for the opportunity to strut their stuff. Stations were booked so rapidly after the event was announced, organizers ran out of room and had to turn some businesses away.

“If it goes over well, I can see it becoming an annual event,” she said.

Feron says Absolut Care, a corporation, encourages its facilities to do business with their host communities. On numerous occasions, she said, the Gasport facility has found the local “little guy” is price competitive with — or better than — big-box retailers.“Just because it’s small doesn’t mean it’s going to be more expensive,” she said. “Plus, the customer service usually is superior because they want you to come back. ... It’s great to have large retail outlets to frequent in Lockport and Erie County, but it’s amazing what you can find right in your own backyard, too.”

What: Wednesday at the Winery, a “speed marketing” event
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28
Where: Vizcarra Vineyards (Becker Farms), 3724 Quaker Road, Gasport
Admission: Free
Features: Food, wine and quick intros to 28 Royalton/Hartland-based small businesses


The Royalton town board's minutes from their January 12th meeting are available online. They are quite extensive since it was an organizational meeting, covering everything from appointments to salaries to fire contracts to investing and buying. You can check it out here:;/content/Minutes/View/95

Monday, January 26, 2009


I ended the January poll with a few days to go. That's because I think we should focus on something timely...who will our new superintendent be?

Last week, stakeholders and community members got to meet with the three candidates. And, on Friday evening, the school board picked their man. "Mum" is the word because they won't make the official announcement until all the contractural issues are finalized.

So, I thought it would be nice to conduct this survey while we're awaiting the answer from the district.

Will their choice match public sentiment? We'll see!


55 people voted in the January poll, which asked what they thought about Paul Bona's legacy at Roy-Hart. The results don't look good...

Great: 5%
Above: 7%
Average: 18%
Below: 16%
Poor: 52%

Sunday, January 25, 2009


If you live along the Canal, you know that snowmobiling on the towpath is a common occurrence...despite it being illegal.

There's a movement afoot to make it legal from Day Road in Lockport to Marshall Road in Medina.

But, there's a hang-up in Middleport as the Buffalo News reported on Thursday...

Middleport Mayor Julie Maedl said Wednesday that she opposes the idea, although her board hasn’t voted on it, and the director of New York State Canal Corp. said that all municipalities along a route must support it.

Carmella R. Mantello said the canal corporation wants to see year-round use of the waterway, so it created a pilot program 11 years ago to allow snowmobiles to use canal property if local governments agree.

Five such permits have been granted, including approvals for clubs in Pendleton and Medina, Mantello said, and the canal corporation board may soon make the pilot program permanent with the same rules.

“We want all the local communities to be on board,” she said.

Gary Broderick of Shawnee Sno-Chiefs, who is also vice president of the New York State Snowmobile Association, is pushing for a 13-mile trail from Day Road to Marshall Road outside Medina.

He said the Niagara and Orleans county legislatures have passed resolutions of support, and Lockport Supervisor Marc R. Smith said the Town Board will probably follow suit at its Feb. 4 meeting.

Maedl said she could not recall anyone approaching Middleport about it, although Broderick said he had already learned of her opposition. He also said the canal corporation sent him a rejection letter even before an application had been made, but Mantello could not confirm that.

Maedl said Middleport rejected a snowmobile trail plan along the canal 10 years ago. “There are people walking on that canal bank yearround,” she said. Maedl also said that it might set a precedent for all-terrain vehicles on the towpath, which she opposes. Maedl, who lives right along the canal, said that before she got cable television, there used to be so many snowmobilers that they would create interference with TV reception, and they would park all over the sidewalks heading to Middleport’s bars. She said the trail “is not policed the way it ought to be.”

Broderick acknowledged that some snowmobilers use the canal towpath illegally now. “One percenters,” he called them. “They make us all look bad.”

Broderick said that if the towpath were legalized as a trail, a speed limit could be set — he suggested 25 mph — and state troopers, environmental conservation officers and state parks police could enforce it.

He also said the Snowmobile Association carries a $1 million liability insurance policy that would protect municipalities and landowners along the route.


The Lockport Union Sun and Journal also had a lengthy story about this. You can read it here:

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Highlights from the Lockport US&J's article about superintendent candidate Thomas Manko...

Thomas Manko is looking for the next challenge.

“You get to a point where you say, ‘What’s next,’ ” he said. “I’m looking for an organization that’s bigger, has more resources and is in a good position to take the next step toward greatness.”

Manko is the third and final candidate in the search for the next superintendent of the Royalton-Hartland School District. Current Superintendent Paul Bona is retiring June 30 after 10 years at the district’s helm. Like the first two candidates before him, Manko met with various groups of staff, faculty and students before meeting with the community Friday.

What brought Manko to Roy-Hart was research and a chance to take the district to that next step.

“I found a school district that has very good scores,” he said. “And this represents the challenges I’m looking for in my career.”

Asked about some challenges Roy-Hart faces, Manko said he wants the district to offer more professional in-service training sessions for faculty and staff. Also, Manko wasn’t the only one looking for challenges at Roy-Hart.

“I’ve heard there’s a strong push for more higher level courses for students in the high school,” Manko said. “They were very clear about that. They want more challenges.”

Some challenges facing most school districts are the current state economic climate and declining enrollment. Manko said he’s kept in touch with state legislators, seeing what kind of funds are possible for districts. Relocating resources can also be a solution, too, Manko said.

“Maybe you don’t cut here, but move something,” he said. “Sometimes you make cuts. You don’t do it lightly, unilaterally. Maybe cut supplies and materials, ask people to do more with less.”

Read the entire article here:


Highlights from the US&J article about superintendent candidate Kevin MacDonald...

When asked what he thought the strength of the Royalton-Hartland School District was, Kevin MacDonald said one word.


MacDonald, Roy-Hart’s second candidate for the superintendent position, met with community members Thursday night. Currently the assistant superintendent at Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services, MacDonald said the strength of the district was in its students, staff, parents and the community.

“I think the human capital of the district is absolutely a strength,” MacDonald said. “Why I applied here is the size of the district. I think it lends itself to be more personal. It allows the superintendent to be out and to get to know the kids.”

During his time at BOCES, MacDonald said he became more involved with financial decisions and budgets. Making tough financial decisions is something MacDonald said he has been doing at BOCES and something that’ll have to be done at Roy-Hart.

“Those types of experiences prepare you for the next level,” MacDonald said.

One way to help with any financial burden a district might face is collaboration with community-based organizations, MacDonald said. His experience with BOCES, as well as his relationships with other organizations and districts, could be a benefit for Roy-Hart, he added.

What would he do if he started as superintendent tomorrow?

“Walk around,” he said. “Get to know people. Learn what’s revered, what people are most proud of. Listen to people to try and hear their concerns. Then from those items and working with the board, get into goal setting and find out what’s beneficial for the district.”

To read the entire article, visit this webpage...


A few months ago FEMA introduced a new series of maps indicating what they believe to be the flood zones in New York. These designations will affect homeowners and business owners whose homes and buildings are found in the zones by increasing their insurance rates.

Are you one of the folks who now finds their home in a flood zone?

To find out if you are, go to the Niagara County page on FEMA's website to explore the interactive maps:

The usual culprits are shown on the map (waters like Red Creek and Johnsons Creek), but there are some new additions like their feeder streams, an extensive area between Orangeport and Hartland Roads, Red Creek as it runs through the hamlet of Gasport and more!

If you are in an affected area I strongly suggest you attend a (lengthy) public meeting on Monday, February 2nd from 4:00 to 8:00 at the Public Training Facility, 5574 Niagara Street Ext., Lockport.

The DEC and FEMA will be there to talk about the maps, the national flood insurance program, building standards, and insurance ratings and premiums.


On January 12th, Judge Richard Arcara sentenced Barker native David Cain, Jr. to 55 years in federal prison on multiple counts of arson, extortion, and racketeering. So ended a drama that began in 2000 and affected many families in the area…especially those of his competitors in the local tree service industry.

The Department of Justice notes of these experiences in its news release here:

Among those affected by the acts was Gasport resident Dan Gollus, of Dan’s Tree Service. Dan faced years of intimidation from Cain and, in one of the more well-known events from this saga, had his plane burned in one of the arsons for which Cain was convicted.

Dan expressed interest in sharing his story with the community at large, so I recently interviewed him…

CONFER: Between the acts committed against you and the court proceedings, this has gone on for years. You must be relieved that it has finally come to an end...

It is a relief that we are finally seeing some closure but I can honestly say that others along with myself do not feel this is all over and we can move on. There are several of this group that are still free that we were unable to get a conviction on. Those of us involved still have to worry although we have been told that "they" are being watched very closely and law-enforcement is satisfied that we are safe from further trouble.

CONFER: Very few of us know what it's like to go through a federal court case. How was that process?

The Federal trial was actually quite interesting and very thorough. It lasted for quite a while with over 80 witnesses for the prosecution being called and not one for the defense. This took a very long time but I was not able to attend most of it because I was called late in the trial and you can't "set in" until you have been called. It was heard before Federal Judge Arcara in Buffalo and we had to go to Buffalo several times. I'm glad it is over, very taxing and wearying.

CONFER: Does Cain have any chance with his appeals?

As for his appeals, we have been told on good authority that he has very slim to no chance of making any headway although Cain has had 4 years to spend in the prison law library and is well versed in clogging the courts with technicalities and motions. He is not in any way remorseful, only looking for ways to overturn his convictions of which there are about 20.

CONFER: We've all read about the harassment and violence that befell you and the police officers. What other acts happened that went unreported by the newspapers?

As for the things that were not reported and involved intimidation and life threatening situations, I can only tell of a few. If I were to tell all of it, we would be talking a whole book. A small sample is, I was run off the road twice by a large logging truck just weeks after being told "he" was going to mess me up real good and kill me. Needless to say as I saw the truck coming at me I thought, “my God here it comes.” I can tell about these incidents only because there are 2 police reports to the incidents. I also have suspicion my plane engine was tampered with before it was burned. It suddenly developed a case of badly sticking valves and took much work to fix. I was told by the FBI that they were involved in the shipping of stolen 4-wheelers and snowmobiles out-of-state and many other things I can't even relate at this time. Very intimidating and not all of the players are behind bars

CONFER: Has your business survived all this trauma and stress?

As for my business suffering, yes there are many ways that has happened. I have been mistaken for him many times which is a real slap in the face. He has stolen jobs from me for instance. The customer was told I had fallen and broken my back and he was sent to do the job by me and they were to pay him. Rumors spread about me. There was outright face-to-face intimidation as I was bidding on a job. I don't mind fair competition, in fact welcome it, but his way was: “don't even dare bid on it.” Many of my competitors wouldn't even bid if they found out he had been to the job. There are many, many other examples of all of this and it is exactly what Cain wanted.

CONFER: Most importantly, how have YOU weathered all this trauma and stress?

I have weathered all this surprisingly well with the help of my Susie sticking by my side (although it has caused severe stress between us from time to time), the support of many dear friends, and I firmly believe God has given me strength to endure. I was made aware that Cain wanted me to give up and leave town as one of our competitors did. I'm too old and weathered to be chased out of my town and community that I love. I have many good friends at the local airport and we share a common bond of flying which has helped immensely. All in all I am beginning to regain my happiness and a smile does cross my face often. I am not happy he is in prison. I only have a deep sadness that it came to this for, you see, before I knew what kind of monster he was I befriended him as a fellow tree-man and actually took him up in my plane twice! Very sad I feel when I think of it and the waste he has made of his life.

Friday, January 23, 2009


January 24 & 25: Caribbean Vacation

Shake off those "winter blues" and celebrate Caribbean style this weekend! Each winery will be set in a different Caribbean island theme. Your $20 ticket includes a wine tasting at each winery, a commemorative wine glass, and a chance to win a great prize - a $2,000 gift certificate for your own vacation, sponsored by Liberty Travel!

Simply visit each participating winery during the event and turn in your completed ticket at your last winery to enter for your chance to win the grand prize. All wineries must be visited and marked appropriately for entries to be valid to win.

The following wineries will be participating in the event: Eveningside Vineyards, Freedom Run, Honeymoon Trail, Leonard Oakes, Marjim Manor, Niagara Landing, Schulze Vineyard & Winery, Spring Lake Winery, Vizcarra Vineyards and Warm Lake Estate.

For more info visit

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


On this website we gave everyone a chance to "meet" the three candidates for the superintendents post at Roy-Hart. This week, you get to meet these guys in person. The first meeting was held last night and here are some highlights from the Lockport US&J's article about Joseph Hochreiter...

Joseph Hochreiter believes being involved in the community is very important for a superintendent.

“There’s a difference between being visible and being involved,” Hochreiter said.

Hochreiter said he applied only to Roy-Hart, after talking to a number of local people to find out about the area. He said you don’t just apply to be superintendent, you have to fit in with the community.

“It has to be a good fit — it works both ways,” Hochreiter said. “It sets a tone and a standard that the superintendent believes in the system so much he’s going to be a part of it.”

Hochreiter said his experience would help him if he were to become superintendent. In his current position, Hochreiter is the No. 2 guy in Elmira, a district with more than 7,000 kids and 13 schools. Because of the size of the district, Hochreiter has had to help out the superintendent in a number of ways. Since he has been in Elmira, Hochreiter said student scores have never been higher. The graduation rate is up, and the dropout rate is down.

“I’m more than prepared in terms of experience,” he said. “In terms of working with staff and community. That job has prepared me more than enough.”

During the forum, Hochreiter was asked a question related to the school budget and alternative funding. Hochreiter said Elmira, a financially strapped district, was able to find funding through county funding and aid through the Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The BOCES aid led to a program that gives after-school tutoring to students at risk of failing. It saved the district tens of thousands of dollars in summer school costs, Hochreiter said.

To read the article in its entirety, go here:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


An abbreviated version of a story from Sunday's Buffalo News....

Deal’s approval would resurrect Gasport church

ROYALTON — A closed Catholic church in Gasport could get a new life if a deal to sell the building is finalized. The Parish Council at St. John the Baptist in Lockport has accepted a bid from Hartland Bible Church to purchase the St. Mary Church building on West Avenue in Gasport. The building has been vacant since St. Mary’s merged with St. John the Baptist Church last year.

Hartland Bible Church has been looking for a new facility to replace its Johnson Creek Road church for several years and had considered constructing a new building, said the Rev. Lowell Gypson, pastor. The closure of St. Mary’s presented a new opportunity for the Hartland Bible congregation. If the sale goes through, the new location would allow Hartland Bible to more than double the attendance at its Sunday services, Gypson said. The St. Mary’s building can seat about 475. Hartland Bible is currently located in a smaller church that was built in the 1800s.

Gypson said the sale has not yet been finalized and church leaders do not know when they will be able to begin to hold services at the new location.


Monday, January 19, 2009


A message from Diane Grosslinger, Youth Advisor at Zion Lutheran Church...and my aunt :)...

The Zion Youth Group is participating in a Scavenger Hunt throughout the hamlet of Gasport from noon – 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 31st to collect canned goods for the Gasport Food Pantry located at Zion Lutheran Church, 4447 Central Avenue, Gasport, NY.

This collection is part of a nationwide Service Blitz, where we are joining thousands of other young people across the country simultaneously the Saturday before the Souper Bowl, doing various charity works in our communities.

This is all part of the “Souper Bowl of Caring” which is set for Sunday, February 1st. The Souper Bowl is a simple effort to “love the Lord our God..and love our neighbors” by encouraging people to give one dollar each as they leave worship on, or near, Super Bowl Sunday. Every penny collected is sent directly to the soup kitchen, food bank or other charity of each group’s choice.

The “Souper Bowl” is a partnership of people responding to God’s gracious love by loving their neighbors.

The “Souper Bowl” not only began in a Senior High Youth Fellowship; it also enables young people to see that, by God’s grace, they can make a difference in the world. So that our young people might learn, we prefer that young people be involved in the collection of funds and in the decision making as to where the funds are sent.

In an age when division and dissention tear at the fabric of our land, the “Souper Bowl” illustrates the wonderful possibilities that exist when we move beyond ourselves and work together in partnership with others.

This simple yet significant effort empowers us to help one another while reflecting our own blessings.

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please contact the Zion Food Pantry by leaving a message at the church at 772-2277. We would be happy to assist you with a supply of food and necessities from our Food Pantry.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


A local scout leader shares this message with us...

It's that time of year again...

When girls are traveling the neighborhood asking you the familiar phrase "Would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?"

So if Thin Mints are your thing, be on the lookout for girls dressed in various shades of blue, green, beige or brown selling that annual treat.

The cookie sale starts today and runs through March. The cookies will start arriving in town during the first week of March, and should be available for purchase throughout the month of March.

You might want to know why you should pre-order from your favorite scout, instead of just purchasing them outside the grocery store. Here's why: youcan keep your money local and guarantee your favorite flavor. Due to newproduct sale rules, booth sales will be limited and those ever popular ThinMints, Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties will be the first to sellout.

And, if you're watching your waistline, but still want to support scouting,consider making a cash donation to send cookies to our men and womenoverseas or those staying in the local Veteran's hospitals.

When you purchase cookies from your local scout, $2.18 of the $3.00 box goesto your local troop and Girl Scouts of Western New York. The national organization does not receive any direct profit from cookie sales. This enables local girls to do lots of fun stuff like camping, hiking, serviceprojects, science projects and fantastic trips. Girl Scouts is not just crafts anymore.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Jim Haslett, who once lived in Gasport and owned the Double Nickle Ranch in town, was denied the KC Chiefs coaching job today, following a season when he went 2-10 as the Rams interim head coach. He is now in the running for the defensive coordinator position at Green Bay.


The community will have a chance to meet with the three Royalton-Hartland superintendent candidates next week.

Dr. Clark Godshall of BOCES, who has overseen the entire process, is making each candidate available on their own for some quality one-on-one time with the public. These meetings will begin at 6:00, not 5:30 as previously announced and they'll be held in the High School media center.

The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday the 20th: Joseph Hochreiter

Thursday the 22nd: Kevin MacDonald

Friday the 23rd: Thomas Manko


Sure, it's 2 degrees outside and Summer is a long ways away, but you better start planning now for your Summer events (reunions, picnics, etc) if you plan on using Veterans Park in the village. Weekends fill up in a hurry there. As of January 1st the town is accepting reservations for the facility.

For complete information go to this webpage:


LARCENY: An employee of Gasport Auto Sales on Rochester Road reported Wednesday that overnight, someone stole a 6-foot, yellow snow plow from the bed of a pickup truck parked in front of the business. The plow is worth about $2,800. Deputies found several footprints in the snow, and a single long black hair was found in the same area, the report said.

Thursday, January 15, 2009



January 13, 2009


BUFFALO, N.Y. - United States Attorney Terrance P. Flynn announces that yesterday afternoon, January 12, 2008, Chief U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara sentenced David Cain, Jr., 38, formerly of Barker, New York, and currently in federal custody, to 55 years in prison. Cain had been found guilty of sixteen felony counts by a U.S. District Court jury on December 7, 2007 following a seven (7) week trial in front of Judge Arcara.

In its verdict, the jury had found the defendant guilty of seven arsons, five extortions under the federal Hobbs Act, three counts of witness tampering, tampering with physical evidence, racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. Cain, Jr.’s convictions on three of the arsons (the April 17, 2001 insurance fraud arson of Cain, Jr.s’ storage garage, 8101 Telegraph Road, Gasport, the February 26, 2002 arson of the building housing Bracey’s Tree Service, 6161 McKee Street, Newfane and the July 9 2004 arson of an airplane and its hangar at the Royalton Airport, 4855 Mackey Road, Roylton) subjected Cain, Jr. to mandatory consecutive sentences totaling 55 years, which will keep the defendant in federal prison until he is nearly 90. Judge Arcara sentenced Cain to five years in prison on each of the other twelve (12) counts of conviction and ordered those five year prison terms to be served concurrently.

During the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony M. Bruce and Charles B. Wydysh presented evidence that demonstrated that Cain, Jr., who owned Dave’s Tree Service in Barker, New York, recruited and directed a group of men to commit arsons at and vandalize and steal the equipment of several competing tree services and logging businesses in an effort to put these competitors out of business, either through the intimidation the property destruction carried with it or by destroying the trucks and equipment his competitors needed to carry on their businesses.

Proof was also presented in which showed that when the investigation focused on Cain, Jr., he made a number of efforts to get witnesses that had been subpoenaed by the government to lie to investigators and to the federal grand jury.

Also convicted in the trial were Cain, Jr.’s younger brother, Chris, who will be sentenced next Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 and Cain, Jr’s cousin, Jamie Soha, who will be sentenced on January 28, 2009. Both of these men face substantial prison sentences for arsons they involved themselves in, while Chris Cain also faces a sentence for his role in an armed home invasion robbery where a seventy year old woman was bound with electrical cord and held at gunpoint while her house was ransacked and over $20,000 and seven guns were stolen. Additionally, Ann Cain, David Cain, Jr.’s and Chris Cain’s mother, faces sentencing on January 29, 2009 for tampering with a witness to an arson.

The investigation that led to the convictions was the result of the efforts of multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional task force consisting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge David DeJoe, the Niagara County Sheriffs Department under the direction of former Sheriff Thomas Beilein, the Orleans County Sheriffs Department under the direction of Sheriff Scott D. Hess, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Laurie Bennett.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Cornell Cooperative Extension in Western New York is offering a beginner farm course from 9 a. m. to 3 p. m. Saturday and Jan. 31 at the Niagara County 4-H Training Center, 4487 Lake Ave.

Topics include Agriculture 101, Soils, Selecting an Enterprise, Records and Taxes. Those interested can call 433-8839, Ext. 221. Registration for the course is $100.

Another course called “Exploring the Small Farm Dream: Is Starting an Agricultural Business Right for You” will take place from 6 to 9 p. m. Feb. 26, March 5 and 12, and April 2.

The interactive workshop costs $95. Call 433-8839, Ext. 221, for an application or access it on the Internet at Deadline to register for this course is Feb. 9.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Tonight: Scattered snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 6. Wind chill values as low as -5. Breezy, with a west wind 20 to 23 mph decreasing to between 11 and 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday: Scattered snow showers before 11am, then a chance for flurries, and then scattered snow showers again after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 11. Wind chill values as low as -6. West wind between 6 and 9 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Wednesday Night: Snow likely, mainly after 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 4. Wind chill values as low as -10. Southeast wind at 8 mph becoming north. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Thursday: A chance of snow. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 5. Wind chill values as low as -14. North wind between 10 and 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Thursday Night: A slight chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around -1. North wind 6 to 10 mph becoming southwest. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Friday: A chance of snow showers. Partly sunny and cold, with a high near 8. Chance of precipitation is 30%.


A tree terror story with Gasport roots came to a head yesterday as Channel 4 news reports...

Day of reckoning forlogger
Ringleader behind criminal acts

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Law enforcers called them the "Backwoods Sopranos." David Cain, Junior was the ringleader behind criminal acts to cut competing tree surgeons out of the business. The day of reckoning came Monday.

David Cain of Somerset was convicted last month of bringing down a reign of terror on his rivals in the Niagara and Orleans County logging and tree cutting business. Cain's rivals accused accused him of making death threats, and using violence, including arson, to try to eliminate the competition. Cain went as far as burning the personal vehicle of a Niagara County sheriff's deputy, and destroying trucks and other tree-cutting equipment of rival loggers, including Keith Kent of Kent Forestry.

Orleans County logger Keith Kent said, "Pickup truck burned, every tire on every piece of equipment in my yard slashed, radiators taken out."

Cain, for his part, tried to turn the tables on prosecutors and government witnesses, claiming he was the victim of his tree-cutting rivals. But Federal Judge Richard Arcara was not moved, and sentenced David Cain to 55 years in federal prison, on arson, extortion, and racketeering counts.

News 4's Al Vaughters asked, "In your opinion, this is still a long way from being over?"

Cain's attorney Daniel Henry said, "Oh yes, I think so. There are a number of issues here, that I think are important, that are going to be addressed at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. So I think we have not heard the end of this case."

Some in law enforcement likened David Cain and his family to a rural version of televisions "Sopranos."

Cain's brother Christopher, and a cousin are set for sentencing later this month, for their part in this reign of terror. And Cain's mother was convicted of witness tampering, linked to another court proceeding in 2006.

See the news video here:

Monday, January 12, 2009


ROYALTON — Roger White, one of Niagara County’s leading dairy farmers, thinks there’s a future in his livelihood. Farming 1,200 acres of land and milking 600 cows on Mountain Road, White and his wife, Beth, are in charge of Gasport View Dairy, a farm White’s father, Raymond, bought in 1945.

White’s son, Scott, now has joined in the business, and White, 58, even has a grandson, Emory Seefeldt, 5, who declared, “I’m going to stay here every day and all night.”

“My grandson told me I can’t retire,” White said.

Five barns, 10 employees and eight tractors also are part of the operation, which is all dairy; the cropland is used only to grow feed for the herd.

White and his wife recently were honored by Cornell Cooperative Extension with its Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, recognizing activity in farm and nonfarm organizations. He has been a director of the Niagara Milk Producers Cooperative and the later Upstate-Niagara Co-Op, and now is director of O-ATKA Milk Processing Co. in Batavia, a subsidiary of Upstate-Niagara.

We visited the farm a few days ago and got Roger White’s views on farming’s present and future. (His wife also joined in the conversation, and some of her comments also are below.)

Milk prices paid to farmers vary a little, but somehow they never seem to rise that much, and as time goes on you lose more and more ground to inflation. Is that still the case?

I’d say yes. There was a spike last year, a world shortage of milk, and the price to the dairy farmer went up to $22 [per 100 pounds of milk; a gallon of milk equals 8.6 pounds]. They’re forecasting between $13 and $14 for January and February. We’ve got milk slips downstairs; my dad started milking in 1960, and they were getting $3.60 a hundred.

What’s the average milk production for one of your cows?

I think right now it’s about 23,000 pounds a year. That’s through a 305-day lactation. We’re on what they call 2X milking [milking each cow twice a day]. We’ve got what you call a double-10 parlor; you milk 10 cows on a side. The latest technology now is a completely automatic milker, robotics. The president of the co-op, who lives in Lyons, just put in four of them. Each one is good for 50 cows. The cows go into it by themselves. You might build three of these, and then you build a barn for 150 head. It’s an entirely new concept. The cow needs to relieve herself just like a person needs to relieve himself. That cow’s udder fills up with milk, and she wants to relieve it. A cow will learn after a while to go to it to be milked.

How much forage do you think you go through in a year?

You’re feeding them 80 pounds a day of forage, said Beth, which would be haylage, corn silage, dry hay, and then we’re feeding them an additional 30 days of the high-moisture corn and the concentrate. . . . [using a calculator] Twenty and a half tons [per cow per year].

We have a nutritionist, said Roger, who comes out from Cargill [a feed company] and figures out a ration. Between the haylage and the corn silage that you have, they figure out what the nutrient value of it is, what the cow requires for so much milk, and then they add the concentrates, the corns and the high-moisture corns. It’s a lot different than it used to be. We try to feed them consistently every day. They don’t like change.

Are these Holsteins, mostly?

Mostly. They give the most milk. If you were going for butterfat or protein, you’d probably go with a Jersey herd.

Is there a long-term future in dairy farming?

I think so, yes. That’s why our son, when he graduated from high school, he went to Alfred State [College] and took two years of animal science. Now Scott’s come home to the farm. I think there’s a future in the dairy business. People are going to need to have food. Milk is a very good product.

What do you do for manure control?

We have two slurry-stores. You see that one blue tank out there? That one holds a million gallons, and we’ve got another one that holds 400,000 gallons. That holds it for about six months. We spread it in the spring and the fall. The State of New York says that if you have over 300 cows, you have to get a CAFO [confined animal feeding operation permit].

Beth said, Anyone having more than that many cows, you have to keep records of where you put the manure, how much manure you’ve got, and you have to do things with a consultant, who says, “OK, you have 100 cows that produce X amount of manure, you need X amount of storage.” And they check your fields and say, “This one’s got a slope on it, so you can’t spread that during the spring so it runs off into the stream.”

You have to come up with a nutrient management plan . . ., said Roger, where you’re going to put these nutrients that you have, what crops you’re going to grow and what nutrient each crop can use. Then they tell you what you can spread and when you can spread. We try to put it in in the spring as far as corn, just before planting, and you’re going to get most of your nutrients out of that. We cut our fertilizer costs, hopefully, by using the manure. With fertilizer costs escalating like they have the last year, it makes the manure a lot more valuable. The faster you can get that into the ground, the more value you’re going to have. The odor you smell with manure is usually the nitrogen that’s leaching off. If we can capture that . . . the next step we’re going to do is get an injector for the back of the spreader.

How long does it take to spread a million gallons of manure?

It depends on how far you’re hauling it. I’d say in the spring of the year, in a 12-hour day you could probably spread 200,000 gallons. Our spreader holds 7,000 gallons. We have one person spreading manure first thing in the morning, and we’ll have somebody following him with either a disk or a chisel plow to work it in.

Is it pretty much mandatory that you have to have a big herd to survive today in the dairy business?

No. There’s fellows that have got 50 cows that are making it work. If your debt load is low, you can probably do that.


Sunday, January 11, 2009


CONFER: Please tell us a little about yourself and your experience in the field of education.

I was born and lived in Syracuse for the first four years of my life; and grew up in Brockport, NY. I graduated from Niagara University with a degree in Inclusive Education. While at Niagara I had the opportunity to serve as Captain of the Men’s Division I Tennis Team for two years and be named an NCAA Division I Academic All-American. I also completed my Master’s Degree at Niagara in Educational Administration. Currently, I am writing my Dissertation to complete my Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Rochester.

I have been blessed with relevant and rigorous experiences in Education. Both parents being educators, I knew as a middle schooler, that I had a passion to share, teach and guide young people. This prompted me to begin giving percussion lessons to young musicians in the Brockport area as I progressed through High School years. The basement was converted to a Percussion studio where I gave over a dozen lessons to students each week. It was this same passion that led me to my certification in Special Education, Elementary Education and Social Studies at Niagara. Throughout my college summers I was employed by the Monroe 2 – Orleans BOCES as a Special Education Aide for their Summer Programs and eventually as a classroom teacher. I began my teaching career at Greece Olympia High School, outside of Rochester before moving to the Dansville Central School District as a Middle School Assistant Principal and shortly thereafter High School Principal. I served in this post until April 2006 before moving to the Elmira City School District as the Deputy Superintendent of Schools. Beyond these experiences, however, have been many mentors and supports that have helped shape my philosophy, vision and fueled my career path. One such individual is Dr. Bill Daggett, President of the International Center for Leadership in Education – ICLE ( ). I have been fortunate to be a part of his organization’s research, implementation of reform efforts and use of data to change outcomes for students in some of the nation’s toughest, poorest school systems. I have attended and presented at multiple conferences and worked with schools in 15 different states on their personal school reform planning and visioning. Without a doubt, these experiences have helped me personally and professionally work with communities and staffs in reforming and reinventing schools by accessing best practices from the nation’s top performing schools.

CONFER: How would you describe your style of leadership…both in the school and in the community?

Collaborative, consensus-building and data-driven. In my current and previous posts, I have built trust-worthy relationships with stakeholders and modeled these characteristics. Be it meeting with Teacher-Leaders, working with a group of Principals or representing the District in the community, I stand and consistently model these characteristics. My current position demands that I spend significant time in schools working with Administrators and Teachers reviewing data, setting school targets, developing school-specific strategic plans and leading programmatic updates on district initiatives. At the core of these discussions and decisions lies my commitment to moving forward by identifying and adapting work of effective schools nationally in tackling problems we are battling locally. I firmly believe that these characteristics, combined with the relationships I have forged in the schools have supported the outstanding academic and programmatic gains Elmira has made in three short years. Few districts in the State have demonstrated such significant growth in a three-year window as Elmira has.

As a resident of Elmira, I proudly serve on numerous community committees and boards. In my current post, and certainly as a Superintendent, I believe it is vitally important to not only live where you work but become involved in where you live. To this end, I have continued to play an active role in the Rotary Club and will be named to its Board of Directors later this Spring. I also serve on the YMCA and United Way Leadership Boards developing programs, identifying support mechanisms and championing the service they provide our young people and community at-large. One of the most important public initiatives I remain involved with is Pipeline for Progress (P4P), ( an organization aimed to recruit and retain young professionals to the Twin Tiers and Southern Tier of New York. I have worked with this organization for the better part of two years working with our high school students and area business and industry to highlight the local workforce needs, salary potential and affordable cost of living in the region. Moreover, P4P has partnered with similar organizations in Rochester, Buffalo and Albany to identify strategies to confront the growing “Brain Drain” in upstate New York. Lastly, I serve on the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Education Roundtable, a group of business, industry and education officials working together to bridge the gap between school curriculum and the demands of the real world. In short, by the end of 2009, nearly all of the high school teachers in Chemung County – over 350 teachers – will have attended a business tour in a local company to immerse in the demands and needs to tomorrow’s workforce. A tour of the facility and discussion with the company HR office led to a catered lunch and guest speaker from the Chamber of Commerce speaking to the local industrial needs and desired qualities in the workforce. The afternoon of these tours was capped with a lesson plan and assessment development process challenging teachers to apply their learning from the morning to providing more relevant student experiences while meeting the increasing demands of the State Standards.

CONFER: What attracted you to the Royalton-Hartland District?

Before applying for the position and even being selected for an initial interview in December with the Board of Education, I have spent considerable time in the area speaking with residents, business owners, elected officials and neighboring administrators. Personally, I find it important that I have a sense of the demands and needs the community place on the district and what skills and characteristics they desire in a Superintendent. This position is about fit; that I am a fit for the District and that the District and community are a fit for me. I plan to relocate and live within the District, making this fit more important for me. This is imperative as Roy-Hart will not just be my employer, it will be my new home. To this end I have spoken to parents to understand their experiences with the District and what they are looking for out of their Superintendent. All of this feedback has reassured me that I am good fit to meet these needs and challenges and that Roy-Hart is a great fit for me to make my new home.

I believe there lies a great opportunity for Roy-Hart to become a signature district in not only Niagara County and Western New York, but New York State and beyond. My experiences in Dansville and Elmira have led to State and National recognition regarding student achievement, teacher leadership and strategic planning processes. Elmira schools have presented at national conferences in Washington, DC and Orlando and been recognized in Albany by the State Education Department. We are in the planning process of our two Middle Schools will playing host to dozens of teachers in October 2009 when the State Middle Schools Conference heads to Watkins Glen, NY, 30 miles north of Elmira. These successes and experiences coupled with an already high achieving Roy-Hart can begin a conversation about continuous improvement and breakthrough performance. Roy-Hart’s success on grade-level assessments and SAT assessments speaks volumes of the leadership in the schools and creative staff to push students to both higher and deeper levels of understanding. The role of the next Superintendent is to continue this success and add to it, based on the new Superintendent’s experience in increasing outcomes, developing unique programs and support teacher-leadership. At first I believed; now I know that Roy-Hart is poised for such dialogue and leadership from their next leader.

CONFER: What do you see as Roy-Hart’s greatest strengths?

It is without a doubt that the community, business leaders, elected officials and parents believe Roy-Hart is a community-minded District. Specifically, meaningful parent involvement is evident in the schools, the Board is committed to increasing outcomes for students, and families support the District in regards to programming and extra-curricular activities. This universal understanding that student’s achievement is directly linked to opportunities after crossing the graduation stage is paramount in continuous improvement. The right ingredients for creating and sustaining a highly effective District are evident in Roy-Hart: increasing achievement scores; community support; an acknowledgement and understanding that the needs and skills of today’s students to compete in a changing economy and workforce look far different from those that we armed with. This recognition is imperative to ensure that the next Superintendent continues this momentum and build Roy-Hart students ready to compete for their future, not our past.

CONFER: What do you see as Roy-Hart’s greatest weaknesses?

All schools are facing troublesome news regarding funding; Roy-Hart will be in the same predicament as nearly every other District. This is not a weakness however; this is an opportunity. I see the funding gap(s) as an opportunity to review program data, identify educational and organizational priorities with the community – not solely the Board, an opportunity to build a multi-year strategic plan, and an opportunity to truly seek and embrace reinvention strategies that high achieving schools are endorsing in the wake of the funding gaps. The “greatest weakness” perhaps is the urgency to create a comprehensive strategic plan, coupled with internal mechanisms to measure effectiveness of program(s) and efficiency of how dollars are allocated to support such programs. All districts are faced with making decisions on programming and staffing; having a well-developed and well-communicated roadmap with credible and substantial data to make the most appropriate decisions becomes a challenge if this information has not been widely documented. A staple of our reinvention efforts in Elmira was the process of creating such a roadmap for the District. I invite you to visit,, to learn more about our planning process as well as view our strategic plan for 2008-2009 at

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The Lockport US&J reports...

The saga continues for two Royalton-Hartland students whose wishes to play basketball are now in the hands of the New York State Education Department.

Twin juniors Jenna and Kim Harrington are currently attending high school at Roy-Hart but are not allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities. The issue began when the girls’ father, Kevin Harrington, tried to enroll the girls in November after moving to Gasport. The move was unsuccessful at first, and Harrington appealed to the state. The state education department ruled in favor of the girls attending Roy-Hart at the end of December.

The girls played basketball at Lockport High School, which Harrington believes might be part of the problem.“They don’t want my girls to play basketball,” Harrington said.

Harrington signed an agreement dated Dec. 12 that said Jenna and Kim could attend Roy-Hart but could not participate in sports or extracurricular activities. But the statement also said if the state commissioner sided with Harrington over the girls being allowed to attend, then the girls would be treated like any other student, including being allowed to participate in extracurricular activities.

Superintendent Paul Bona said the issue is the permanent residency of the girls, and the decision is up to the state education commissioner Richard Mills.“That’s the issue before the commissioner,” Bona said. “The board is waiting for the decision.”

The Harringtons attended Thursday’s Board of Education meeting, but did not get a chance to speak, as no public forum was allowed during the meeting. There is no law requiring public bodies to allow the general public a chance to speak, although the girl’s mother Bev Harrington was given a chance to speak to the board in executive session.


Thursday, January 8, 2009


Tractors are a part of life in Gasport and this week the law got a little tougher on them. On January 1st it became state law that tractors driving on public roads need to have their lights on for one half hour after sunrise and one half hour before sunset every day, as well as in adverse visual conditions, including rain, fog and snow.


The 2009 season of Scholastic Bowl started this week on WLVL. This competition pits the best and brightest students of various local schools against one another in a general knowledge trivia contest. The show airs at 5:30 PM on 1340 AM or live online at

Roy-Hart will appear on these dates:



WLVL reports....

A Royalton man says about $23,000 worth of tools and equipment were taken from his garage between 6 pm Tuesday and 2 am Wednesday. The victim lives on Kayner Road. He told Sheriff's deputies he got home to find his garage door open. The missing items included a Snap-on tool box containing about $20,000 worth of tools. He said a $700 air hose and air tools were gone along with a generator, air compressor, drill, and three chainsaws.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


CONFER: Please tell us a little about yourself and your experience in the field of education

MACDONALD: I was born and raised in Lockport, attended the Lockport City Schools, and graduated from Lockport Senior High. I continued my education at SUNY Fredonia for my undergraduate degree, earned a Masters Degree from Buffalo State College, and my administrative certification from Niagara University. I have taken a few courses toward my Doctorate at D’Youville College.

I am entering my 16th year in the field. I have gained experience at each level beginning as a teacher and assistant principal in Lewiston–Porter CSD, JSHS Principal in Roy-Hart, Director of Alternative Education at Erie 1 BOCES, and Assistant Superintendent with Orleans/Niagara BOCES. I consider myself fortunate to have a career that has allowed me to stay “home” and advance in my professional goals, and raise a family where my kids are close to their grandparents, aunts and uncles.

CONFER: How would you describe your style of leadership…both in the school and in the community?

MACDONALD: Perhaps the best description of me is hard working, honest, and approachable. I think the best description of my leadership style is “situational leadership” as defined by Ken Blanchard. I try to adapt my style to meet the needs of the people I’m working with, and the goal we are trying to accomplish. The foundation for my leadership style is based on three principles: listening, honesty, and relationships. These principles guide me professionally and personally, in the organization, and in the community. When followed, I believe these principles can lead to the respectful treatment of people, disagreement without dysfunction, and an environment that we would be proud to have our children model.

In the community, I lead by example by being involved. I have been and continue to be involved as a volunteer with a number of community organizations. In 2001 I was one of the founding members of the Towpath Optimist Club, and assisted in organizing a student chapter (Leo Club) in the Roy-Hart JSHS. Currently I am on the Board of Directors of Leadership Niagara as the Vice-Chair. I serve on the Niagara County Workforce Investment Board, the Niagara County Comprehensive Economic Development Committee, Niagara Frontier Industrial Education Council, and the Committee for Identifying and Developing Educational Leaders (CIDEL). Finally, I am very involved in coaching youth hockey for the Wheatfield Blades Youth Hockey Organization, and sit on the board as the Assistant Treasurer.

CONFER: What do you see as Roy-Hart’s greatest strengths? What attracted you to the Royalton-Hartland District?

MACDONALD: Serving as the Jr./Sr. High School Principal eight years ago provided some insight to the people in the district. In the time I was here, and since leaving, I have always maintained that the people (staff, students, parents, community members) we very supportive of their schools, and the schools were a source of pride. In recent years the District has continued to advance academically as it is meeting or exceeding state benchmarks in the 3-8 assessment programs. In the last year Roy-Hart students had the highest average SAT scores in Niagara County. I know Roy-Hart offers a well rounded education and has been recognized for their music programs, theatrical productions, and various sports teams throughout the years.

The size of the district lends itself to taking a personalized approach to the Superintendency. As the Superintendent I plan to spend time at extra-curricular events that will allow me to build relationships with staff, students, and community members on a professional and personal level. Finally, I have grown up personally and professionally in Niagara County, and hope to be able to continue my career locally. I believe the relationships and networks I have built will allow me to hit the ground running as the next Superintendent, and make a difference for our future generations.

CONFER: What do you see as Roy-Hart’s greatest weaknesses?

MACDONALD: In the face of state aid reductions, and economic uncertainty for a few years to follow, the greatest challenge is providing a quality education that the community will value and support. While some difficult decisions will lie ahead, strong leadership by the Board of Education and the Superintendent, built on a foundation of honest and open communications with the various district stakeholders, will ensure that quality educational programs in the Royalton–Hartland CSD continue to thrive.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Arnie Wolfe writes us about Troop 23's fundraiser...

Can & Bottle Drive to benefit Boy Scout Troop 23 of Middleport

Drop-off refundable containers at Scout House on Rt. 31, Sat. February 7th 9:00 am - 1:00 pm or any Monday evening from 6:30:8:00. Pick-up can be arranged by calling 716-799-4768

The Middleport Boy Scouts plan on using the funds to purchase a new trailer and camping supplies 5 cents at a time. The boys will receive a full 5 cents direct from a NYS certified recycling center for their efforts. Sorting of containers will be done on site by the boys but pre-sorting will be gratefully accepted.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


The Royalton Historical Society meets this Thursday at 1:30 PM at the Royalton Town Hall.

Friday, January 2, 2009


CONFER: Please tell us a little about yourself and your experience in the field of education.

MANKO: This year is my 31st in public education. My first experience was as an education intern out of Colgate University’s MAT program in secondary social studies for one-half year in Greenwich, Ct. which led to my employment by that school district for two years as a full-time secondary social studies teacher with assignments in American History, Sociology, and Human Communities. Teaching was followed by acceptance into Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Administration with a graduate assistantship where I completed my MPA and began doctoral studies in Educational Administration and Leadership.

An education administration internship at East Syracuse-Minoa Central School was followed by an assistant principalship in the Career and Technical Education Program at the Oswego County BOCES in Mexico, New York for 3 ½ years. This led to a middle school principalship at Cato-Meridian Central School for 8 ½ years which included duties as the district’s CSE chair for 6 years. I was appointed to my first superintendency at New York Mills Union Free School District in 1993 followed by my current position as York Central School District superintendent in 2000. This is my twenty-eighth year in administration with sixteen of those years serving communities as their superintendent of schools.

With respect to my formal education, I received a Regents Diploma from Cuba Central School District in Cuba, NY, a BA in Political Science from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, an MAT in Secondary Social Studies from Colgate University, and an MPA in Public Administration from Syracuse University where I have also pursued doctoral studies in Educational Administration and Leadership.

My wife, Janet, and I are proud of our three sons who are now pursuing their own career paths from oldest to youngest in music, graphic arts, and education respectively.

CONFER: How would you describe your style of leadership … both in the school and in the community?

MANKO: A strong work ethic, good cheer and collegiality create an atmosphere within which most objectives may be achieved. I hold myself accountable as a role model to provide the best educational opportunities possible for children and ask the same of faculty and staff. We are entrusted by the community to educate their children and have been given the resources to do the best job possible. Decisions should be based upon clear data and sound research while keeping local school district and community norms and values in mind. Team work, creative problem solving, and effective communication are paramount to achievement and success.

As a member of a local Kiwanis Club, I find the collegiality most valuable and club support of the various community institutions a trade mark of distinction. All club members work well together in both assigned and voluntary roles. Fundraising activities such as chicken bar-be-cues, Fourth of July Field Days, Election Night Ham Dinners, and the Letchworth Park Columbus Day Weekend October Festivals keep the Kiwanis visible and proactive within the community.

Membership and leadership in such community activities such as the Livingston County Business Education Alliance, Livingston County Chamber of Commerce, and the Genesee Livingston Orleans Wyoming (GLOW) Workforce Investment Board (WIB) have provided opportunities to contribute to the larger community. It was an honor to chair the 2006 Livingston County United Way Campaign.

Similarly, my role as Chair of the Chief School Officers (CSO) Legislative Committee for Genesee Valley BOCES has enabled me to network with our state and federal legislators which has been most useful in terms of commentary about legislation and financial issues that effect public education.

It is also important to me to attend many school activities: concerts, plays, musicals, and athletic and extracurricular events. A former athlete and extracurricular activity participant in both high school and college, I know how important it was to me when adults made a special effort to get to know me through activities outside the classroom. These special connections made the student-teacher, child-adult bonds more meaningful.

CONFER: What attracted you to the Royalton-Hartland District?

MANKO: Throughout the course of my current work Royalton-Hartland has been cited by various people as a school district of accomplishment and with much potential. As an adjunct faculty in 2003 for the SUNY Oswego Superintendent’s Development Program, I came to know several cohort members who were current or former employees of the Royalton-Hartland School District. Their commentary indicated a progressive school district which was proactive in creating the capacity within the faculty to teach the seven learning standards through professional in-service, sharing best practices and collegial encouragement.

When the position of superintendent vacancy was announced, I remembered these observations and through use of the internet and personal contacts verified that the district remains in much the same regard. Student assessment data indicates achievement in gr 3-8 English Language Arts and mathematics while Regents results are at or above the state averages and dual credit program participation has increased. Every transition offers prospects for change and the new superintendent will have the opportunity to collaborate with the Board of Education, faculty, staff, and community to make a strong school district that much more effective.

CONFER: What do you see as Royalton-Hartland’s greatest strengths?

MANKO: Royalton-Hartland is a school-community who focuses upon providing all students with the opportunities to achieve their goals. The academic program appears to be grounded upon sound research and good teaching practice. Extracurricular activities offer a wide variety of enrichment opportunities that enable students to pursue their academic, athletic, artistic, and other creative talents. Faculty and support staff take pride in their roles and responsibilities as they contribute to children’s achievements, and parental partnerships with the school are expected and encouraged.

CONFER: What do you see as Royalton-Hartland’s greatest weaknesses?

MANKO: Relative to strengths there are areas in need of improvement. In order to continue to provide vigorous academic and extracurricular programs, the district is faced with the same poor economy as are all other school districts within New York State. Given the real prospect of reductions in state aid for the next several years, Royalton-Hartland would do well to develop a long range plan to minimize the effect that this will have upon the quality of education. Making these choices have the potential to be difficult but if the mission is to provide a quality education for all children then the choices will become evident in the context of collegial conversation and planning. Balancing educational quality within reasonable financial parameters is possible and necessary.

In concert with the Board of Education the District Office must continue to provide leadership in these turbulent times, look for economies, and encourage all employees and the community to work together to ensure quality instruction for the children. Effective and transparent communication based upon team work, creative problem solving, strong work ethic, data analysis and knowledge about the school and community’s values and norms will be instrumental in creating a message that people will want to listen to and leadership that they will trust.

The more meaningful the Royalton-Hartland educational experience is for graduates the greater likelihood that alumni will settle in the community and contribute to its vitality. In partnership with business, industry and cultural institutions, the school district plays a key role in attracting young adults to the community.


During the third week of January the community will get a chance to meet each of the three remaining candidates for the superintendent position at Roy-Hart. Being that these sessions run from 5:30 to 6:15, it might be difficult for many concerned parents to attend the sessions, especially if they don't leave work till 5:00 PM. In order to give those individuals a chance to see what the candidates have to say, I have conducted interviews with the three men. I will post the interviews on this site as they arrive.

For the Royalton-Hartland residents who can attend the meet-and-greets, these interviews will give them substance to work from in development of their questions for the meetings. I have asked each candidate the same questions, making comparisons a easy task.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


From the pages of the Lockport Union Sun & Journal...

A Checkered Tavern Road man reported Monday that he received a threatening message on his computer from his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend. The message reportedly said, “You are a (expletive) dead kid ... so you better hope you have all the luck in the world that I don’t find you, cuz ur not gonna have a face.” The man did not wish to press charges, but wanted the incident documented.


With resolutions flying everywhere on this first day of 2009, I thought bit might be fitting to set some goals for the year for this website. So, here's what you're going to see...

More interviews: I plan to have at least two interviews a month regarding issues in the news, history, tourism, business, Roy-Hart and more

More photos: Most of the time it seems like this site is all text and no pictures. I plan to post more photos over the year so snowbirds and former residents have a little bit of their hometown to admire

More tourism articles: In hopes of attracting more visitors to our fair town, and to educate folks on what you can do here, I plan to have a series of "touristy" articles about Gasport. Stories along the lines of hiking Royalton Ravine Park, canoeing the Canal, skiing the towpath, restaurant/bar reviews, experiencing the haunted hayride at Beckers or sampling wines at Vizacarra Vineyards.