Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Catch me on "Niagara's Talking" on Friday December 2nd during the 11:00 hour on WLVL 1340 (streaming online at wlvl.com). Donna Pieszala and I will talk about a wide variety of topics including the Wage Theft Prevention Act, the weaknesses in NY's tax cap, Congress's new way to (mis)calculate inflation, and the private cemetery issue in Royalton.

Monday, November 28, 2011


The Town of Royalton Historical Society will be holding it's Annual Christmas Luncheon on Saturday, December 3rd at 1:00. It will be held at Town Hall, 5316 Royalton Center Rd, Middleport. Everyone is invited and asked to bring a dish to pass. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jennifer Bieber at 716-735-7335.


Light up Gasport & Christmas Party

Free Fun for the Whole Family

When: Sunday, December 11, 2011
Place: Gasport Firehall
Time: 4:00pm

Festivities will include: Santa Claus, Music, Caroling, Decorating and Lighting of Community Christmas Tree, Basket Raffle, Hot Chocolate, Christmas Cookies, Apple Cider and Back by popular demand…..Sleigh rides!!!!!!!

All proceeds go to the Gasport Beautification Committee to help support this event and decorating of Main St. Gasport.

For more information about this committee please contact committee member Debbie Babcock at 772-2902

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Gardens By the Mill is having their holiday open house today from 11:00 to 5:00 and on Sunday from 11:00 to 4:00. Located at 8443 Slayton Settlement Road (just west of the intersection with Quaker Road), they will have cookies and beverages and holiday ornaments.

They sell home decor, gifts, tea, cards, candles and soaps and can be followed on Facebook at:



Here is a list of tree farms in Gasport that sell Christmas trees. As more information about other vendors becomes available, I'll add them to the list.

Rickard Nursery: They are selling trees from their Checker Tavern Road location (not their retail oulet behind the Yellow Goose). Their tree farm is located on Checker Tavern Road between Wheeler Rd. and Elicott Rd. Hours are Friday-Saturday-Sunday
10:00am to Dark.

Bucolo Greenhouse and Farm: Located at the corner of Slayton Settlement and Orangeport Roads, they are open Monday - Friday noon to 7:00 and then on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 - 4:00. They also sell wreaths.

Merrell's Evergreeen Acres: They can be found at 3573 Wruck Road and are open every Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 - 5:00 until sold out.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Thank you to everyone who frequents this site, submits news and events, and acts on some of the issues mentioned here that effect our community. You make this site all the worthwhile.

May you have a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the special times had with your families today.


In a recent post I mentioned the peanut butter and jelly drive. The Royalton Town Hall has been added to the list of sites where your donations can be dropped off.


Phyllis A. (Zimmerman) George, formerly of Rice and Ennis, Texas, entered into eternal rest on Monday, November 21, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. She had been residing with her son in Garland, Texas.

She was born on January 16, 1932 in Lockport, New York, the daughter of the late Frederick A. and Elida (Arns) Zimmerman. She resided in Gasport, New York in her early life and was a graduate of the Royalton-Hartland Central School, class of 1952.

Phyllis enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where she met and married her husband, William George, who has predeceased her. She worked in the electronics industry for several years and trained new workers in the job program. She was affiliated with Anthony Drive Baptist Church of Ennis, Texas.

She is survived by her children: son, James Frederick (Sheri) George of Garland, Texas; daughter, Vicki Lynn (Willie) Young of Rice, Texas; four grandchildren, Lisa (Jack) Gifford, William Thomas (Dusty) Young, John (LeAnn) Young, and Billy (Sara) Young; seven great grandchildren; sister, Norma Z. Wollenberg of Gasport, New York; and a nephew, Bryan K. Wollenberg of Middleton, New York. She was preceded in death by her son, David Allen.

Graveside services are scheduled at 1 P.M. on Friday, November 25, 2011 at Rice Cemetery, Dresden Road, exit 242 from I 45, Rice, Texas with Brother Eddie Ricks, officiating.

To view an obituary or sign the guest book, please visit www.bozemitchellmckibbin.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


On occasion I've run obituaries on this site. Starting tomorrow I will post every Gasport-related obituary (current and former residents) on this site as they are made available, pulling together the death notices from the internet both here and around the world.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Friday December 2nd will be the final 100-Mile Radius of 2011 for Becker Farms. The meal begins at 6:30.

Reservations are required along with a valid credit card number to hold the reservation. To make reservations email chris.beckerfarms@gmail.com or call 716-772-2211. Please arrive 10 minutes prior to start.

At the dinner you will be greeted by Owner Melinda Vizcarra and Head Chef Amanda Vizcarra. There will be a brief program welcoming you to the farm and inviting you to experience the taste of local agriculture.

The December menu features...

Tuscan soup with sausage, kale and pinto beans

Brussel sprout salad with bacon, apple, and cranberries

Antipasti with Italian meats, cheese, pickled veg and bread served with roasted garlic

Braciole served with creamy polenta

Mini dessert sampler with cannoli, cream puffs, eclairs, biscotti, and walnut pie

Cost is $55.00 per person including tax & gratuity

Menu subject to change availability of the produce.


Hartland United Methodist Church, 8017 Ridge Road, Gasport, will hold a free weekly supper at the church each Wednesday during the Advent season. Advent is the period beginning four weeks before Christmas and marks the coming of Christ into the world.

The suppers will consist of a half sandwich, a bowl of soup, a beverage and dessert. These suppers are for anyone in the community who would like to share both food and fellowship. Scheduled dates are Nov. 30, and Dec. 7, 14 and 21 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Food will be prepared and served by church members and other volunteers.

For more information, call 772-2376.


Farming is an important facet of Gaport's past, present and future. Agriculture may account for 90% of the economic activity within our community. The world's most important industry is facing a threat, though, from the Department of Labor.

My column for this week's newspapers identifies that threat and let's you know how we can beat it. Please take the time to participate in the public comment session mentioned in the column (it expires next week).

Here's the column....

Changes to child labor laws hurt farmers
By Bob Confer
The Tonawanda News

Farming is not a job. It’s a lifestyle. The job is never done, and it’s never easy; it takes a special soul to work the long, hard days during the planting and harvesting seasons or live the vacation-free existence that comes with animal husbandry. At the same time, it’s the most important industry on the planet, and farmers will tell you it’s the most fulfilling: Besides raising a family, there is little on Earth more rewarding than tending the soil and growing from it — and raising on it — valuable nourishment for others.

To prepare someone for that intense lifestyle you need to start young and introduce teens to the work ethic and investment of self that are necessary to develop a love affair with farming. Youth have long been able to participate in agricultural work but that could change soon. The Obama administration has unveiled a series of proposed revisions to child labor law specific to farming. Citing provisions that have remained virtually untouched since 1970, the administration felt compelled to modernize them. That act of modernization will irreparably harm farming’s future by destroying its very foundation — the youth who should represent tomorrow’s workforce and farm owners.

Under the new rules, the Department of Labor would end most child labor exemptions that currently exist in farming by denying work to anyone under the age of 16, unless the farm is owned by their parents and one of the parents is directly overseeing their work.

Furthermore, most 14- and 15-year-old workers would be prevented from operating any tractor, all-terrain vehicle, milking machine, or lawn mower. Now, exemptions exist that allow them to operate such equipment given they complete a 24 hour safety course, typically provided by the private sector via farm bureaus or through public-private Cooperative Extension offices. The proposed rules would create and require a 90-hour course that could only be taught through government-run secondary and/or vocational schools. This would add another layer of federal bureaucracy to local school districts; increase the cost to taxpayers associated with the wages, benefits and pensions for the newfound teaching positions; or, more likely, deprive thousands of youth of farming opportunity because their local schools — or any one within reasonable commute — will be unable to provide them the necessary training.

Adding even more hassle, untrained youth will not be allowed in the proximity of any motorized device during their course of work, meaning that young farm workers could not be anywhere near an elevator, or even a wagon pulled behind a tractor, preventing them from baling hay or loading and unloading barns, even though they are nowhere near the controls.

The insanity of the standards doesn’t end there. Everyone under the age of 18 will be strictly prohibited from any and all acts of animal husbandry. They won’t be able to corral and herd cattle, pigs or poultry. They won’t be allowed to brand, breed, treat or raise animals. They’d be denied access to stockyards, cattle auctions, and feed lots. They can’t pitch manure or feed chickens or cows.

They’ll have to wait until adulthood to do any of those tasks. Even Future Farmers of America and 4-H won’t be able to give teenagers the experience they need to be productive rural adults. Because of the limitations proposed by the DOL, those organizations will become mostly obsolete, legally unable to provide the animal rearing experience that has produced many a fine farmer for decades.

Fortunately, there is a chance to stop these proposals from becoming law. The DOL is currently accepting comments regarding their proposals. The deadline, which was originally Nov. 1, has been moved to Dec. 1 due to the initial criticisms and concerns that were certain to befall such laws. Referencing RIN 1235-AA06 and docket ID WHD-2011-0001, submit your comments electronically at www.regulations.gov/ or by mail at: Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S- 3502, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.

Public participation in this decision-making process is a must. If left unabated, the executive branch will pass these rules. If we allow it to eliminate the important agricultural lessons from one’s formative years, we will rob our youth of the building blocks necessary for a lifetime of farming: An appreciation for nature, the creation of an old-fashioned work ethic, an irreplaceable knowledge base and the development of high moral character that comes with living of, on and for the Earth.

Monday, November 21, 2011


On Wednesday November 23rd (Thanksgiving Eve) Durf and the Terry's Corners Vol. Fire Co., Inc., will be hosting a Summer Sizzler reunion. Doors open at 6pm. Jonesie and the Crusiers will play starting at 8 pm. Prior to that, Mark Beckstien of White Bird Productions will present a video of 25 years of film, photos, and music from the Sizzler. The bar will be open.


Local residents should listen to WLVL AM every day for the best in local news and local talk. Donna Pieszala's talk show, Niagara's Talking, is a "must listen" every weekday (except Wednesdays) from 11:00 to 1:00. Listen on-air at 1340 AM or online at www.wlvl.com

Be sure to tune in this Tuesday for sure at 12:00 when Donna's guest will be Tim Durfy (Durf!). He'll be talking about the grand opening celebration of the Terry's Corners fire hall and Wednesday's Summer Sizzler reunion and retrospective to be held at the fire hall on Wednesday night.

Then, on Tuesday, December 6th at noon, Donna will interview Royalton town supervisor Dick Lang and Tom Fleckenstien about the wind project in Royalton.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


"Like" one of the coolest Facebook pages to come down the pike in recent memory. Jesse Bieber has created a page for the Royalton Historical Society, chock full of old-time photos and Jesse's historical perspective. Check it out here:



The Buffalo News is reporting about a burglary that occurred in Gasport...

An Orangeport Road woman told sheriff’s deputies on Friday that someone stole nearly $2,500 worth of electronic gadgets from her home the day before.

The theft occurred between noon and 5:30 p. m. while the victim was out, deputies said, but there was no sign of forced entry to the home.

Read the details here:


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Deer season has been open for a few weeks now with archery hunters out and about. But, they are a minority in hunting circles.

The day that most hunters consider the "real" Opening Day --- the first day of shotgun season for deer --- is this Saturday. So, the farm lanes and road sides of Gasports will be filled with parked vehicles all weekend, and in the coming weeks, as hunters are out in the fields and woods attempting to fill their freezers.


Thanksgiving Eve is one of the biggest party/bar nights of the year...many people return to their hometowns for family get-togethers and the Wednesday before the big dinner represents a great time to catch up with old friends.

Becker Brewing Company at Becker Farms will be hosting a Thanksgiving Eve party on Wednesday the 23rd from 8:00 PM to 11:30 PM. There will be beer, wine, and food along with live music by Dave Stockton and Pocket Change.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Royalton's private cemetery law -- which will severely impede family cemeteries on local farms -- was passed last night by a vote of 3 to 2. Budde, Lang and Bragg voted for it and Bieber and Rehwaldt voted against it. The one thing that was changed was the "fee." It was changed from $10,000.00 down to $2500.00.


Mary Cedeno sent along this message about her ongoing investigation into the library tax...

We have continued our research and have discovered discrepancies between the laws that were used to levy the Library tax, and how it was actually done. If readers would like to read the laws for themselves, they can check them out at this link:


They should pay particular attention to 259 (1)(a) and 259(1)(b) . We still contend that 259 (1)(b) was what the Library was supposed to use...and they used 259(1)(a)...In any case, neither of the laws were followed correctly.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


The town board of Royalton meets Monday night at the town hall. The action starts at 7:00 with public hearing that addresses the following...

Local Law to override the 2% tax levy limit and Public hearing on the Preliminary Budget for 2012


Special District Assessments

Pursuant to Section 198 of the New York State Town Law, the Town Board has opted to enforce various unpaid accounts for water, sewer, refuse another unpaid town services as indicated below, by placing a lien upon the real property for which such services were provided.

Total Unpaid Water $81,672.86
Total Unpaid Sewer $10,370.84
Total Unpaid Refuse $ 0.00
Total Town Charges $ 1344.20
Grand Total $93,387.90

Special Benefit Assessment Roll
Royalton Water District:
Water District With Improvements $250/unit
Water District Without Improvements $50/unit
Unimproved District With Water $10/unit
Unimproved District Without Water $1.00/unit
Royalton Refuse District $182.82/unit

2011 Town of Royalton Town Budget
Amounts to be raised by taxation are as follows:
Royalton Water District $583,690.00
Royalton Sewer District $155,930.00
Royalton Refuse District $445,532.00
Gasport Lighting District $15,500.00
Royalton Fire Protection $438,804.00
Drainage Fund $143,111.00

Pursuant to Section 108 of the New York State Town Law, the proposed salaries of the Town Officers are hereby specified:

Supervisor (1) $16,000.00
Town Board Members (4) $24,000.00 ($6000 each)
Town Justice (2) $34,800.00 ($17,400 each)
Town Clerk (1) $45,241.00
Superintendent of Highways (1) $57,155.00
Tax Collector (1) $6,367.00

Further Notice is given that pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 495, the Exemption Report that shows the total assessed value on the final assessment roll that was used in the budgetary process that is exempt from taxation is on file with the Preliminary 2012 Budget.

The Town Board of the Town of Royalton will hear any person in favor of or against the Preliminary Budget as filed with the Town Clerk. All parties in interest and citizens will be heard at the public hearings to be held is aforesaid.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The Buffalo News is reporting...

A Gasport man was arrested Thursday on burglary and other charges for allegedly being the main actor in extensive damage at the 24-hour Middleport Sher-Wash laundry on Telegraph Road early Tuesday.

Thomas N. Sullivan, 22, was jailed in lieu of $2,000 cash or $4,000 property bail following his arraignment in Town Court on charges of third-degree burglary, felony criminal mischief, third-degree grand larceny and endangering the welfare of a child.

Read the rest of the article to discover just what he did....



The Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive is underway in Niagara County. Check out their efforts at:


This is their 2nd annual drive to collect PB&J for hungry children and families. Collection will continue till December 3rd, after which they'll begin to distribute the goods to local food pantries.

They need your help! Donate what you can. But know they do not accept money...only peanut butter, jelly or fluff.

Collection sites in Gasport are:

The Chop Shop
Niagara Metals
Schwab’s Market
Porter Agency
NES (New England Seafood)
Hartland Bible Church


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that pursuant to Local Law Number 1 for the year 2001 entitled An Amendment to the Winter Parking Law of the Town of Royalton which was adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Royalton on the 12th day of March 2001 be advised as follows:


It shall be unlawful for any person to park any vehicle on a Town Highway and/or right of way within the Town of Royalton between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. from November 1st of any year to April 1st of the year immediately following.

A copy of Local Law No. 2, 2001 can be viewed in the Town of Royalton Town Clerks Office, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, New York 14105 during regular business hours.

Terry Nieman
Superintendent of Highways
Town of Royalton


The Town of Royalton Historical Society will be holding their meeting on Saturday, November 19th at 1:00. The meeting will be held at Town Hall, 5613 Royalton Center Rd, Middleport. This month will be a very special occasion...we will be celebrating the 100th birthday of Gerry Radamaker Reynolds and Eunice Hernberger's 97th birthday.

Cake and punch will be provided. All are welcome! There is no need for presents; your presence will be enough of a gift for both of them. Come and celebrate these 2 amazing woman!

Any questions or if you need more information, please contact Historical Society President, Jennifer Bieber at 716-735-7335.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Be sure to grab a copy of Tuesday's Lockport Union Sun and Journal. An Olcott resident wrote a scathing letter about Dick Lang and the town of Royalton's windmill project.


Yesterday's Buffalo News reported the following...

The tax rate is expected to remain steady in a preliminary $3.2 million town budget proposed for 2012, which will be discussed in a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday Nov. 10 in Town Hall.

Town officials are recommending the tax rate remain at $2.41 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, according to Deputy Town Supervisor William R. "Ross" Annable.

The proposed $3.2 million town budget for 2012 represents a $220,000 increase in spending over the current budget and an increase of $71,000 on estimated revenues of $1,733,578.

Read the details here:


Sunday, November 6, 2011


The Christmas Cupboard makes its appearance soon. The crafters will hold their 26th annual craft show at the Hartland Bible Church on West Avenue in Gasport on Nov. 18th (9:30 to 9:00 pm) and Nov. 19th (9:30 to 6:00pm). For sale will be hand crafted items for home and holiday decorating; baked good; jams and jellies. Free admission.


The Sunday Buffalo News looks at the electoral races across Niagara County and the uncontested races faced by the newest leaders of Royalton and Hartland.

The article makes note that Jennifer Bieber will be Royalton's first female supervisor:

Royalton’s Jennifer H. Bieber is backed by the Republican, Democratic, Conservative and Independence parties. She has served as Supervisor Richard J. Lang’s deputy for three of her past four years on the Town Board. Lang has served as town supervisor for the past four years but declined to seek a third term in office.

Bieber, 41, is a facility assistant for Verizon, where she has worked for 21 years.

About her new, two-year post, she said, “I love it. I’ve lived here my whole life and I love our town. This is a way of giving back to the community. I think it’s good to be involved and I like the problem-solving. It’s very exciting.”

The article also notes that Hartland will see a change of leadership, from father to son...

In neighboring Hartland, William R. “Ross” Annable will succeed his father, William A. “Bill” Annable as supervisor for the next four years, in what should be a smooth transition. Ross Annable carries the backing of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties. He has served as deputy town supervisor for the past year and was unopposed in his bid for a four-year term on the Town Board two years ago. His father has served as town supervisor since 1978.

Annable, 54, is retired from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and is police chief of Barker.

“I’ve lived in Hartland a long time and our family has roots here,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time seeing how the town is run. It’s a great place to live and I want to continue those traditions we have here.

Read the entire article online:


Saturday, November 5, 2011


Terry's Corners Volunteer Fire Company will be having their 52nd annual turkey party and meat raffle on Saturday, November 12th at 6:00 at the fire hall. There will be hams, turkeys and prime ribs. There will be rip tickets, booze and free refreshments available at this event.


Town of Royalton
Notice of Public Hearings

Please Take Notice that the Town Board of the Town of Royalton will hold separate public hearings on the matters referenced herein at the Town Hall, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, New York, on the 14th day of November, 2011, beginning at 7:00 PM (local time); said public hearings shall be as follows:

Special District Assessments
Pursuant to Section 198 of the New York State Town Law, the Town Board has opted to enforce various unpaid accounts for water, sewer, refuse another unpaid town services as indicated below, by placing a lien upon the real property for which such services were provided.

Total Unpaid Water $81,672.86
Total Unpaid Sewer $10,370.84
Total Unpaid Refuse $ 0.00
Total Town Charges $ 1344.20
Grand Total $93,387.90

Special Benefit Assessment Roll
Royalton Water District:
Water District With Improvements $250/unit
Water District Without Improvements $50/unit
Unimproved District With Water $10/unit
Unimproved District Without Water $1.00/unit
Royalton Refuse District $182.82/unit

2011 Town of Royalton Town Budget
Amounts to be raised by taxation are as follows:
Royalton Water District $583,690.00
Royalton Sewer District $155,930.00
Royalton Refuse District $445,532.00
Gasport Lighting District $15,500.00
Royalton Fire Protection $438,804.00
Drainage Fund $143,111.00

Pursuant to Section 108 of the New York State Town Law, the proposed salaries of the Town Officers are hereby specified:

Supervisor (1) $16,000.00
Town Board Members (4) $24,000.00 ($6000 each)
Town Justice (2) $34,800.00 ($17,400 each)
Town Clerk (1) $45,241.00
Superintendent of Highways (1) $57,155.00
Tax Collector (1) $6,367.00

Further Notice is given that pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 495, the Exemption Report that shows the total assessed value on the final assessment roll that was used in the budgetary process that is exempt from taxation is on file with the Preliminary 2012 Budget.

The Town Board of the Town of Royalton will hear any person in favor of or against the Preliminary Budget as filed with the Town Clerk. All parties in interest and citizens will be heard at the public hearings to be held is aforesaid.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


The Zion Lutheran Church is heading into its 100th year of worship this upcoming Sunday. So, there's no better time to learn about this important part of our community and its spiritual leader, Pastor Rod Klinzing, one of the nicest gentlemen you'll ever meet.

We asked Pastor Rod a few questions about the year-long celebration and where the Church has been and is going. It's an insightful and entertaining interview!

Here it is...

On November 6th you’ll kick-off a year-long celebration of the Church’s 100th year. What will take place on the 6th?

The 100th Anniversary Committee selected this Sunday, November 6th, as the perfect time to kick off a year-long celebration of Zion Lutheran Church’s one hundred years of ministry in Gasport.

Several of our members have been working hard the past few years to put together a Memorial Garden located in the front lawn of the church to honor the “saints” of Zion who have played such an important role in our lives. And so, as we conclude our 10:30am worship service on this All Saints Sunday, we will gather at the monument and the baptismal font in the garden to dedicate this Memorial Garden to the glory of God and to honor the Zion saints who have gone before us.

Memorial coins have been printed and inscribed with the names of all those saints and we hope to see as many family members and friends as possible come to this dedication to deposit those coins into the baptismal font.

Beneath the font, encased in cement, is a vault that will hold those coins forever! Coins of future saints will also be deposited and their memories held in our hearts till we meet again!

What sort of events will take place over the next 12 months?

Over the next twelve months we will live celebrate and live out our theme, “One Hundred Years of Sharing God’s Love.” Each Sunday service will include a hymn that celebrates God’s love for us – a love we share with others. The childrens choir will sing a monthly song focusing on love.

Many of our annual events – the Sunday School Christmas Program, Over Seventy Dinner, Mid-Winter Picnic, etc. – will reflect back on our one hundred years as a congregation.

A very special Confirmation Sunday is being planned in June, a memory book is being published, a CD is being produced – just to name a very few items that will make this coming year special.

Perhaps one of the most significant items to mention is that we want to remember our roots as a farming community and as a church that began as one serving that community. We will do a year-long fund drive for a program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America called God’s Global Barnyard. We will raise funds to establish a farm in one or more of over sixty countries around the world where people are living in poverty, including our own United States. As an example, chicks are ten for $10; ducks are $20; pigs are $30; cows are $500. The sky is the limit!

Of course, we will conclude our year-long celebration next October with a special worship service at church followed by a dinner at the Gasport Fire Hall.

Can you give us a quick history of the Church?

Zion’s humble beginnings go back to the Mill District School on East Slayton Settlement Road in 1912. A small group of German farmers got tired of hitching up the horses and buggies and making the trek to Wolcottsville every Sunday, so they asked the Rev. John Knuebel of Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville to come up here to lead them in worship on Sunday afternoons. He did so for the outrageous salary of one dollar a service! And, of course, the service was in German! The names of the founding families were Becker, Coulson, Dettbarn, Schlegel, Wollenberg, and Wruck.

On May 11, 1915 the congregation was officially incorporated as “Evangelical Lutheran Zion’s Church”. Shortly thereafter a church building erected in 1878 on Central Avenue in Gasport was purchased from the German Evangelical Society, whose congregation was merging with one in Lockport, for the sum of $1000. That building is still in use, having gone through several renovations and additions in the years since. For those who might be interested, I believe the purchase price would be slightly higher now!

For much of its history, Zion shared its pastor with other neighboring Lutheran congregations. In addition to Pastor Kneubel we have Theophilus Berner, John Stender, Theodore Kuehner, Herman Ewald, Paul Nemeschy, and Carl Scheidt. On October 27, 1968 the congregation extended a call to its first full-time resident pastor, Raymond Ideus, who served until December 1981. I came on board as pastor on July 1, 1982 and am looking forward to celebrating my 30th year with Zion during their 100th anniversary celebration!

How many parishioners now call the Church home?

Over 530 people call Zion their home. I would be more precise, but that one church mouse and its family keeps scooting back and forth between us and Covenant United Church of Christ. (At least they know how to avoid the neighborhood cats!)

Tell us a little about the Sunday services and some of the other activities offered by the Church...

We offer two services each Sunday morning: 8am for the early risers and 10:30am for everybody who wants breakfast at the Talk of the Town before worshiping! Sunday school for all ages is held between the services.

Currently we have an active Youth Group that meets several times a month for fun and games and service to the church and community.

WELCA is our Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America group that provides the congregation with many social activities.

WHO is our Women Helping Others group that strives to meet the needs of groups and individuals in our immediate eastern Niagara area.

GOHL – Gasport’s Own Healthy Lifestyles – is a small but dedicated group that meets weekly for learning and support.

A Thursday Night Fellowship Group meets to sing, laugh, and pray together for an hour – mostly laughing!

Yoga and Zumba classes are also a part of the life around here.

And our congregational Thrivent Financial for Lutherans group is very active and supportive of community activities.

How many of those 100 years have you been the Pastor at the Church? What sort of memories do you have from your first days as a part of the Zion Lutheran community?

As mentioned before, of the 100 years of Zion’s existence, I have been blessed with being a part of it for nearly 30 years now. My wife, Janice, along with our six children consider this our home. No, I will not give up my allegiance to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I have enjoyed rooting for the Bills and Sabres. I have also immensely enjoyed – and almost come to tears – with the blessing that few other pastors experience: baptizing the babies of babies I baptized! To be in one place long enough to share in all the joys and all the sorrows of so many families is truly a blessing that is beyond explanation. I feel both privileged and honored to be given the gift of this call by God in one place for so long!

Now that we have established that my confirmation students call me old, what are some of my favorite memories of when I first came to Zion?

It wouldn’t be coming here on a late weekend in March of 1982 to interview with the Call Committee of Zion – only to wake up at the Lockport Motel to about a foot of fresh snow outside, especially since we left Columbus, Ohio behind with its 65 degree temperatures, would it? It wouldn’t be Leola Mietz calling up one morning to ask, “Would you and Janice like some apples for your family, pastor?” and coming home later in the afternoon to find ten bushels of the sweet, juicy things on the front porch, would it? It wouldn’t be balloons being released into the air as we celebrated our 75th anniversary as a congregation and dedicated our new front entrance on the same warm afternoon, would it? Or runs along the canal to raise money to send kids to summer camp at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center? Or “Ten Bags of Doom” unleashed on my head to raise more money to send those kids to camp? Or scores of members gathering around families who have lost loved ones to tragic accidents or illness? Or singing Christmas carols in the barn at Becker Farms on Christmas Eve – and then coming to the 11pm service later that night to sing those same songs by candlelight?

By the grace of God those memories will keep on coming! And by the grace of God, Zion will continue to be a beacon of light and love to the world around it!


The 6th annual Roy-Hart alumni basketball game will take place Wednesday, November 23rd at 7:00 at the high school gym. Tickets are $3/adults, $1/students. There will be prizes and basket raffles! All proceeds benefit Roy-Hart sports. If alumni are interested in playing, email Rick DeWaters at: bostonrick123@yahoo.com



PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Town Board of the Town of Royalton, New York, will hold a public hearing on November 14, 2011, at the Royalton Town Hall, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, NY, 14105, at 7:15 PM as follows:

A Local Law allowing the Town to override the 2% tax levy limit.

Persons wishing to appear at the hearing(s) may do so in person or by attorney or other representation. Communications in writing in relation thereto may be filed with the Town Clerk, or at such hearing.


On Saturday November 12th the Gasport Lions Club will host a pork roast dinner and basket raffle at the Gasport Fire Hall, from 4 pm to 7 pm. Basket drawings start at 6:30, and you do not have to be present to win. Cost is $8.00 adults, $5.00 for children 11 and under.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Gasport's most popular annual dinner takes places this Saturday, November 5th.

The Covenant Church on Main Street is hosting its annual donation dinner. Pay as much as you'd like for turkey and all the fixings...it's the church's way of funding its operations. The dinner runs from 3:30 until gone (usually 7:00). Takeout is available. The meal will be prepared by churchfolk and served by Boy Scout Troop 18.

The dinner is preceeded by the annual bazaar from 10:00 to 6:00. A luncheon will be served from 11:30 to 2:00.


The Butcher Shop in the Lincoln Square Plaza in Lockport is selling thanksgiving turkeys raised by Britt Farms on Route 104 in Gasport. These birds are all-natural, hormone-free, and always fresh, never frozen. Orders must be placed by November 16th. Call the Butcher Shop at 434.1006.


Terry's Corners annual gun raffle is this Sunday, November 6th at the fire hall. The festivities start at noon. Tickets may NOT be available at the door as this event has been known to sell out. To get your tickets stop by Durf's (MJ Autocare).


The Niagara section of Sunday's Buffalo News featured an interview with town supervisor Dick Lang. Here's a sample...

ROYALTON—Richard J. Lang is retiring in December as Royalton supervisor after four years at the helm of this town of 7,600 and two years on the Town Board.

“I never wanted to make a career out of this,” he said.

He will be succeeded by Councilwoman Jennifer Bieber, who is unopposed in her bid for the top post in the Nov. 8 election.

Lang, 70, retired after 34 years as a state Department of Environmental Conservation officer but has kept very busy with a variety of interests, from wrestling—yes, he still wrestles—to farming.

Many in the area know your name from your association with wrestling, and you were honored this fall by the Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, based in Oklahoma. Tell us about that.

We went to Syracuse, where I received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” on Sept. 18. I started coaching at Royalton-Hartland High School in 1978 for 10 years, before going to Newfane High School, where I coached another 19 years. I retired from coaching in 2007. My teams earned 17 Niagara-Orleans titles, and we had two state titles. I still wrestle with the high school kids and volunteer as coach. I have also been selling wrestling equipment for the past 20 years. I go to the little kids’ tournaments and set up a booth.

You grew up in Orchard Park. How did you happen to settle in Royalton, and how long have you had a farm?

When I became a conservation officer with the DEC, I had to move to Niagara County and live around the Lockport area. We moved here in 1969—I have 75 acres, it’s more of a play farm, really. I grow a variety of wetland seeds—I’ve been doing that for 20 years. These are seeds that can be planted in or on the borders of wetlands. I also show chickens— Blue Cochin bantams and Buff Brahma bantams. I’ve been doing it since 1951, when I was 10 years old.

How did you get involved in politics?

When I ran for the Town Board, that was the first time I got involved in politics. It was something I had always wanted to do, to be involved in some form of town government, for a period of time.

Read the entire interview here: