Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Readers of the Buffalo News are familiar with longtime dining columnist Janice Okun, who has made a career out of dining in restaurants throughout Western New York. Last week, the News ran her review of Middleport's Basket Factory.

The column closed out, as many do, with her suggestions for how the restaurant can improve the experience. The usually hard-to-please Okun also offered this advice to the diners, suggesting they have dessert in Gasport instead...

And here, by the way, is an alternate dessert suggestion: Follow Route 31 (aka Rochester Road) west to Udder Delights at 7694 Rochester Road, which is in Gasport. It’s an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with a very short season. It makes my heart sing, this place.

How long has it been since you ate a sundae with real whipped cream on it? (Not to mention a Maraschino cherry on top.)

To read the entire review of the Basket Factory, go here:


Durf's Tire and MJ Auto Care on Route 31 is having its summer open house today - rain or shine -from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM.

The event will feature Carl Russo of 97 Rock, stock cars (including Eric Greenleif's), and dragsters.

There will also be a car wash, hot dogs and popcorn.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Becker Farms has developed their own line of beers, a perfect compliment to Vizcarra Vineyards' wines. This new endeavor - Becker Brewing Company - will have its grand opening on Friday, August 28th from 6:00 to 10:00 on the farm, complete with a chicken BBQ and live music.

Their menu of beers can be seen here:

Monday, July 27, 2009


Just to alleviate any confusion or shock with the last post about the passing of Carol Genet, be aware that there are two Carol Genets in Gasport. The Carol Genet who delivers mail and is an active community volunteer through the Gasport fire department is still alive.


Carol Genet entered into rest on Saturday, July 25, 2009 at her lifetime Royalton Center residence, under the care of her family and Niagara Hospice. Born January 22, 1933 in Royalton, NY, she was the daughter of Leland and Lucille (Morehouse) Mann. Carol was President of the graduating class of 1949 of Royalton Hartland Central School and also was the class Salutatorian. She also was a 1950 graduate and Valedictorian of the St. Joseph's Business School in Lockport. Carol married Albert K. Genet on July 10, 1954 in Trinity Lutheran Church, Lockport. Her loving husband of 54 1/2 years, Albert, passed away on January 11, 2009.

An elected official for 32 years, Carol was the dedicated Town of Royalton Town Clerk from 1975 until her retirement in 2002. She was a member of the Royalton Republican Committee and Secretary of the Niagara County Republican Committee for 12 years. Carol also was a member of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Middleport, several historical societies including Royalton, Bergholtz and Ridgeway, Canada Historical Societies. She enjoyed reading especially about history, watching football on TV, traveling around the United States and spending time with family.

Was the dear mother of Joanne (David) Haseley of Middleport, Ellen (Christopher) Baxter of the United Kingdom and the late Mark Genet; sister of Sandra (Ron) Haigler of Raleigh, NC and the late Marilyn Rakoczynski. Also surviving are four step-grandchildren and two step great-grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Friends and family are invited to attend visitation on Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 PM at Prudden and Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee Street, Lockport, and Thursday morning 10 to 11 AM in the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 133 Telegraph Road, Middleport, NY 14105. Funeral services will be held at 11 AM on Thursday at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, followed by interment at Royalton Mountain Ridge Cemetery. The Reverend David S. Triplett will officiate.

Memorials to the church or Niagara Hospice, 4675 Sunset Drive, Lockport, NY 14094 would be appreciated by the family. Please visit for online condolences.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Kevin Shanley, after years in the Roy-Hart school district, accepted the superintendent's role at Cuba-Rushford. The vacancy that was left in the high school principal's position was filled this week: The board voted 7-0 for the hire of Michael Murphy who had vice-principal gigs at Hoover Middle School and Kenmore West High School. He starts on August 17th.

Friday, July 24, 2009


There will be a chicken barbecue this Sunday, July 26th from 11:00 till 2:00 at the Covenant United Church of Christ on Main Street in the hamlet. It features Wendell Silsby's popular recipe. Cost is $8 and it's done as a drive-thru or pick-up.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Gasport’s newest Eagle Scout was recognized in an official ceremony last week at the Covenant Church on Main Street. Matt Baptiste became one of a minority of Boy Scouts to attain the highest rank in Scouting (only 4% ever do).

Matt is a member of BSA Troop 18 and has been since joining the troop at 11 years of age. Over that time he has been on numerous camping trips and assisted in numerous community service projects while earning 35 merit badges (a scout needs only 21 for Eagle).

What separates Eagles from other scouts is their project. Matt organized a work crew that painted the dozen historical markers found throughout the town of Royalton. Those signs had become faded throughout the years. He and his fellow scouts touched them up with the blue and yellow recognized as the Erie Canal colors. The signs look brand new and are real eye catchers! You can see them at places like the Orangeport Cemetery or the site of the Gasport Academy.

Over 125 people attended the ceremony, including his family who travelled from the Carolinas and local officials Jane Corwin, Dick Lang, and Jennifer Bieber.

It was great to see Matt recognized for his efforts and his award. He’s a good kid and great citizen.


Regarding the aforementioned accident...

It was one of the more horrific accidents in recent memory for Gasport.

Suprisingly, passer-bys and locals felt compelled to see the carnage.

When listening to the police scanner I heard firemen in the background having to yell at and push away gawkers. Things got so bad that medical and fire personnel had to put up tarps to fashion a wall closing-off the area because there were so many onlookers, even some who had camera in hand.

That's exteremely disapponting. A man's life was taken and some folks found morbid enjoyment in seeing the carnage. It's a sad commentary on the state of humanity....and not something I would have expected in Gasport.


The Niagara County Sheriff's Office has reported that the motorcycle involved in last week's accident that took the life of its driver -- Brian Hill of Lockport -- was stolen. An East Amherst man had reported the cycle stolen on June 23rd.


Last week the Buffalo News ran a nice lengthy article about dining on local produce. The article focused on Becker Farms and it's 100-mile meals. Check out the article here:


The Roy-Hart school board meets tonight, July 23rd, at 7:00 in the high school's media center. The agenda can be downloaded here:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Due to some past comments anonymously posted on this blog that have been perceived by someone to be libelous, the commenting function has been disabled. I don't have the time nor patience to allow the commenting tool to continue even with moderating in effect. It can be too time-consuming and too much of a hassle if it's a subject with multiple comments done as a real-time conversation.

It's unfortunate. This site had offered your average Gasport resident and Roy-Hart parent a chance to share thoughts with others on issues in the community. My word of advice, if you now want to share your concerns, voice them at a school board or town council meeting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


The Lockport Journal reports on an accident that occurred last night...

A motorcyclist was killed Tuesday night on Ridge Road in the Town of Hartland when the motorcycle hit an oncoming car head-on, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office confirmed early Wednesday. The sheriff's office responded to a 911 call about 8:20 p.m. of an accident at 7575 Ridge Road, according to reports. Deputies reported that the motorcycle was traveling westbound on Ridge Road at a high rate of speed when it crossed the center line into the eastbound lane and hit the car. The motorcycle driver was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene, deputies said.

Read the entire article here:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The Erie Canal Derby comes to a close this Sunday, so get out there are try to catch the biggest fish...or a tagged one.

The current leader board can be seen here:

I was pleased to hear that a Gasport resident, Colin Campbell, caught the $150 tagged fish that was sponsored by Confer Plastics!


Last week saw the passing of one of Gasport's best citizens. Here's what the Lockport Union Sun and Journal had to say about her:

GASPORT: Niagarans mourn passing of Lucille Britt

Lucille L. Britt, a woman of many “firsts” in local political and community circles, died Tuesday. Britt, 71, was well known around Niagara County for the years she served the Republican Party — and voters of all stripes. In 1987, she became the first, and still is the only, woman GOP commissioner of the Niagara County Board of Elections. She served in the post through 1999. That appointment topped a list of groundbreaking achievements by a woman in local politics. Britt also was the first chairwoman of the Niagara County GOP committee, on an interim basis, in 1985-86; as well as the first woman chair of the Hartland GOP and Republican Towns committees.

In the mid-1970s, the mother of two girls and two boys organized the first Gasport girls’ softball league. She said at the time she was inspired by the belief girls should have the same opportunities as boys.

According to Britt’s daughter, Pamela Moriarty, she got involved in politics out of desire to see all people treated equally and well. Britt was a teacher’s aide at Gasport Elementary School in the mid-1970s and early ’80s when her son, Christopher, was a student and was classified as “learning disabled.” She was determined to see her son treated like any other student, and see him graduate with his class and a standard diploma; she butted heads with the education bureaucracy to make it happen — and she prevailed.

“My mother treated everybody well, treated everybody like they’re special,” Moriarty said. “She was very concerned about people with handicaps of all kinds — physical, emotional, financial. ... She was an advocate for anybody who was having a hard time. That’s why she got involved in politics.”

Britt’s stint as an election commissioner cemented her reputation as a hard-working, fair-minded person with high standards, according to those who knew her. She worked for the Republican party but served every voter, official and candidate with equal commitment, said Jerald Wolfgang, a former county GOP chairman. In her regime, outreach to local schools about the elections process was the norm; and after her departure from the board, Britt remained in the game on election nights, providing expert commentary about polling results on WLVL-AM.

“Lucille was a spectacular, energetic individual who was always concerned about her family and the people of Niagara County. She was very gracious,” Wolfgang said. “She was a woman of her word, too. You always knew what side she was on, because she always told the truth.”

Definitely, concurred veteran county Legislator Dennis Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls. “Lucille was an excellent election commissioner. She was always fair with both sides, very knowledgeable, honest and respectable.”

Britt’s friend, Margie Swan, said, “Niagara County has lost one of their best citizens. ... She was everybody’s person. A super person, a super friend, always there to help people, whether she knew them or not. ‘Well loved’ is how I’d describe her.”



This article ran in the Lockport US&J about 3 weeks ago...

ROY-HART: Bona to retire after 40 years in education

During his time as Royalton-Hartland superintendent, Paul Bona may not have always gotten along with the adults. But it was the kids who mattered to him the most.

“I’ve always stayed focused on the reason for my existence,” Bona said. “And that’s the children.”

After 39 years in the field of education as a teacher, administrator and superintendent, Bona will retire Tuesday. The day has been coming, since Bona announced almost a year ago he would retire at the conclusion of the 2008-09 school year. The original plan was to retire last year, but Bona stayed on for another year.

Bona’s career began as a accounting and business teacher in the Auburn Enlarged City School District, where he stayed for about 12 years. During that time, he was also teaching micro and macro economic theory at Auburn Community College. Later, Bona served a year of interning as assistant superintendent for finance at the Auburn district. He then went on to become the director of occupational education at Cayuga-Onondaga Board of Cooperative Services and then eventually assistant superintendent at the Poland Central School District in Poland, N.Y. Bona rose to deputy superintendent at Poland afterwards, later becoming superintendent of schools at Elizabethtown-Lewis School District for 11 years. Finally, he landed in Roy-Hart as superintendent.

When Bona came to Roy-Hart, beginning Feb. 17, 1998, there was a major concern with the district’s finances. Before his arrival, Roy-Hart had seen some hard times, including a number of contingency budgets, which is what takes place when voters shoot down a proposed budget.

“There was a perceived lack of confidence in the financial management of the district,” Bona said. “The community has been supportive, we’ve only had one contingent budget in the last 11 years.”

Roy-Hart Board of Education President Patricia Riegle said the district was appreciative of Bona and his 11 years of service. Bona had a good rapport with staff, faculty and was very open with the school board. “He was straight and open with us, gave us good and bad news, we knew where he stood,” Riegle said. “It’s very unusual for someone to stay in this position as long as he has.”

Board member William Howell echoed Riegle’s comment, saying Bona helped steer Roy-Hart through some tough financial storms. Serving on the board for five years, Howell said he has seen the district improve its financial health under Bona and he added that the district’s finances should keep getting better. “Financially, we’re in good condition,” Howell said. “And that’ll continue through the people he’s trained. Over the course of his time here, the district has turned around and people are working together.”

Board member-elect Sue Hughes agreed with Howell. Prior to being elected this spring, Hughes served on the Board of Education for four years. “To stabilize the district financially, especially in this economy, is a huge accomplishment,” Hughes said.

Recently, a state audit said Roy-Hart was in excellent condition. The district has also faced several years of external auditing that found the district has maintained its finances well. Roy-Hart has also seen a number of infrastructure improvements while Bona has served as superintendent. Among them, a sports complex behind the Middleport district campus, removal of the arsenic-tainted soil, new fields at the elementary school and the renovating of all three schools in the district. Roy-Hart residents passed an $8.3 million capital project in January 2008 that will provide maintenance and repairs to all three schools in the district and provide an addition that will house an Orleans/Niagara BOCES program in the elementary school. The project included upgrades to the high school science and art rooms, new generators and regular maintenance items to Roy-Hart Elementary, Middle and High schools.

But it’s not just the finances or structural improvements, but the accomplishments of the student body, Bona says he has enjoyed seeing in the past 11 years. The district has a graduation rate of 85 percent, and improving state test scores in math and English language arts that continue to rise. “Four years ago, I was invited down to New York City,” Bona said. “We were recognized as one of the few high-achieving, gap-closing schools, at all levels — elementary, middle and high school. I believe Roy-Hart has succeeded over the last decade because of the faculty and staff here, with the support of the board and the community. It is a total team effort that has gained recognition for the district.”

But for Bona, retirement doesn’t mean he won’t stay busy. He plans to spend time with the family, his wife, Mary, and children Christina, Maria and Christopher. And there’s always the family business, CMC Auto Sales on West Avenue.

While he hasn’t always made the popular decisions, Bona said he feels he has done so in the interest of the students. Bona’s “reason for existence,” as he calls it, was his main motivation throughout his career. “I see and hear of people who don’t like their job and I wonder what that feels like,” Bona said.


Sunday, July 12, 2009


Yesterday, boat traffic was suspended in the Gasport section of the Erie Canal as divers went looking for a body. Here's what the Niagara Gazette reports...

City and state police, along with the Niagara County Sheriffs Department, searched in vain nine hours for a possible drowning victim in the Erie Barge Canal from Exchange Street to the Matt Murphy Way Bridge.

According to a fisherman, a man 50 to 60 years old, went into the water near the Exchange Street Bridge about 8 a.m. Saturday and then declined a help line thrown his way.

The North Adams Street bridge was closed to automobile traffic and the canal was shut down between the Gasport lift bridge and Lock 34 in Lockport because there were divers in the water.

“We can’t have any boat traffic when there are divers around,” said Canal Superintendent Mike Andrews, who was overlooking the search from the Adams Street Bridge. “I don’t think there’s an awful lot of traffic waiting right now, fortunately.”

The water is about 12-feet deep at the Adams Street Bridge and there was a relatively strong current east.

To read the entire article, go here:


I just got back to town from vacation. Over the next few days I'll be posting the news that occurred while I was gone.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Saturday, July 4th and Sunday July 5th: Town of Royalton community-wide garage sale from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at various locations throughout the area. To see the complete list of houses, go here:;/content/LocalEvents/View/29

Saturday, July 4th: 7th Annual Royalton Fourth of July

1:00 until sold out: Chicken BBQ
3:30: Parade, starting at the Hartland Bible Church (formerly St. Mary's)
5:00 until 8:00: Kid's Zone with games, bounce houses, a craft tent and a petting zoo
5:00 to 6:00: Music by Last Call
6:30 to 8:30: Music by Urban Renewal
9:00 to 11:00: Music by Red House
Dusk: Fireworks

Tuesday, July 7th to Sunday, July 19th: 19th annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby. Get out and fish the Canal and win cash and prizes including a boat, motor, and trailer and a $2,500 tagged fish. Divisions for 7 fish species. Entry fees are: 14 and under $6.00, adults $11.00, family $21.00. For information visit:

Thursday, July 16th: 100-mile radius meal at Becker Farms. One in a series of farm meals based on agricultural products grown on the farms in the immediate area. For more information:

Sunday, July 26th: Another 100-mile radius meal


From the pages of the Lockport US&J...

Royalton-Hartland’s school board president and vice president are returning. Patricia Riegle was re-elected Wednesday as board president. She is beginning her seventh year on the board and sixth as president. Daniel Bragg was re-elected vice president, also at Wednesday’s annual reorganization meeting. Riegle was re-elected to a three-year term on the school board in May, and resident Susan Hughes won the other board seat, which was vacated by Joseph Czach. New Superintendent Kevin MacDonald officially began his term Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Here's the Lockport Journal's update on the situation:

A child struck by a car while riding his bike is in critical condition after an accident about 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to state police reports. The 11-year old boy, whose name was not released, was riding his bike south on Cottage Road when he attempted to cross over Chestnut Ridge Road and was struck, according to reports. Police said the boy crossed into the path of a Nissan Maxima driven by Karita Cumberland, 19, of Gasport. Cumberland was not injured, according to reports.

Witnesses reportedly said the child was bleeding from the head and was lying on the ground, not moving. Crews from the City of Lockport and Tri-Town fire companies responded to the scene, along with sheriff’s deputies. State police said the boy was taken by Mercy Flight to Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, where he was listed in critical condition.

The investigation is ongoing.




Public Hearing #1 - Adoption of Local Law approving the Town of Royalton Master Plan - 7:00 PM

Public Hearing #2 - Amendments to Town of Royalton Water and Sewer Rules & Regulations - 7:15 PM

Public Hearing Number 1


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Town Board of the Town of Royalton, New York, will hold a public hearing on July 13, 2009, at 7:00 PM, at the Royalton Town Hall, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, NY, 14105, on the Town of Royalton's proposed Master Plan, and adoption of a local law approving the Master Plan.

The proposed Master Plan is composed of an introduction, inventory of existing conditions, goals and objectives, findings and recommendations, implementation, and environmental review. The proposed Master Plan is open to inspection at the office of the Town Clerk of the Town Royalton, New York, and may also be viewed on the Town's website located at Persons wishing to appear at the hearing may do so in person or by attorney or other representation.

PLEASE TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that the environmental significance of the proposed Master Plan will be reviewed by said Board incident to said hearing.

Communications in writing in relation thereto may be filed with the Board, or at such hearing.

By order of the Town of Royalton Town Board dated June 8, 2009.
Marie L. Little, RMC,
Royalton Town Clerk

Public Hearing Number 2


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Town Board of the Town of Royalton, New York, will hold a public hearing on July 13, 2009, at 7:15 PM, at the Royalton Town Hall, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, NY, 14105, to hear and consider amendments to the Town's water and sewer rules and regulations, and adoption of a local law approving same.

A copy of the amended rules and regulations is open to inspection at the office of the Town Clerk of the Town Royalton, New York. Persons wishing to appear at the hearing may do so in person or by attorney or other representation.

PLEASE TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that the environmental significance of the proposed amendments will be reviewed by said Board incident to said hearing.

Communications in writing in relation thereto may be filed with the Board, or at such hearing.

By order of the Town of Royalton Town Board dated June 8, 2009.
Marie L. Little, RMC,
Royalton Town Clerk