Saturday, June 30, 2012


The Erie Canal Derby, run by Gasport's Steve Harrington, begins on Independence Day and lasts until Sunday, July 15th.
Get out and fish the Canal and compete to win some $20,000 in cash and prizes including a boat, motor, and trailer and a $2,500 tagged fish. There are divisions for 7 fish species and two categories for each -- adult and children...making it the perfect family event. Entry fees are: 14 and under $7.00, adults $12.00, family $22.00.

For information visit:

As a long time supporter of the event I can attest to Steve's passion in making the Derby an awesome one. He one's of Niagara's good guys and he really cares about using the event to highlight an underutilized fishery and to get families outdoors and kids hooked on fishing. If a kid makes a splash in the derby, he or she will be an outdoorsperson for life. I can still remember the first fish I ever caught...a northern pike in the Canal, back when I was 7 or 8 years old. I haven't stopped fishing since.

For those looking to wet a line in the Erie Canal Derby here's an article I wrote a few year's back about fishing the waterway...

From the 12 August 2005 New York Outdoor News

By Bob Confer
More often than not, the lack of accessibility to fishable water is cited as the key reason why many people don’t fish on a regular basis. But, there exists a body of water in New York State which can readily smash this misconception. It traverses the state for some 350 miles, is connected to over 170 more miles of networked waterways, supports hundreds of miles of adjoining trails, and is within 25 miles of 80% of the upstate population. This accessible, marvelous water way is none other than the Erie Canal.

The most famed portion of the 524-mile New York State Canal System, the Erie Canal was opened in 1825, serving as that century’s key trade route, opening up the West to settlement and economic development. It sped the flow of resources from the Midwest to the Atlantic and within 15 years of its opening made New York City the busiest port in the America’s, moving more goods than Boston, Baltimore and New Orleans combined.

With its economic boom long since gone thanks to rail, roads, and air, the Canal has made a comfortable transformation to a recreational destination. Numerous towns dot the waterway, many of which tout the Canal’s uniqueness and their own historical quaintness. Boats of all types and sizes frequent the Canal. Hikers, bikers, and joggers have made the adjoining trail system a very popular stop. The Canal is now managed by the New York State Thruway Authority, an organization that has made a concerted effort to market the waterway both nationally and internationally.

Despite the Canal’s recreational uses being well-known and well-advertised, one of the greatest recreational pursuits of all-time – fishing – has become an afterthought. The Canal is perceived by many anglers to be a dirty waterway, devoid of all but rough fish. It is also looked upon as a poor angling choice due to its artificial and uniform channel-like appearance. Adding further to this stigma is the fact the Canal is drawn down or dewatered every winter, which tends to make one believe a healthy fishery could not be sustained.

Such stereotypes are unfounded. Michael Wilkinson, Senior Aquatic Biologist for the Department of Environmental Conservation says, "although the Canal does not appear "overly" fishy in some sections it does provide fishing opportunities…smallmouth bass, rock bass, and sheepshead are quite common." You will also find a smattering of largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike and crappies throughout the Canal. Furthermore, being that it is book-ended by the Upper Niagara River and the Hudson River, and fed by numerous waters in between, the Canal has become home to any number of fish that frequent those waters. So, the occasional hook-up with trout, salmon, or even muskellunge is not out of the question.

More than just quantity, the Canal produces quality as well. For proof, one need look no further than the leader board in 2004’s Erie Canal Derby, an family-style event that has been going on since 1991. Last year, anglers in Niagara and Orleans county caught a 4 pound smallmouth bass, a 5 pound pike, and an 8 pound walleye; all decent fish no matter the water!

Not only do you have an endless supply of fish to chase, you have a nearly endless means by which to do so. Totally unlike the situation with most bodies of water within our borders, the land-based angler has an incredible amount of access. The entire canal system supports over 240 miles of trails, including the continuous 100-mile long Heritage Trail that runs through Western New York. Entrance to these trails can be had at any number of bridges in the 200 villages, hamlets and cities that border the Canal. A good portion of the shoreline along these trails is tree-free, affording the chance to cast to your heart’s content. Such ease of accessibility coupled with a rather refined environment – many of the trails are of well-maintained soft gravel – makes a trip to the Canal a great place to get youngsters into fishing. This is further proved by the founding tenets of the aforementioned Erie Canal Fishing Derby. When asked about this increasingly popular derby, founder Steve Harrington said, "Just about anywhere you go there is plenty of accessibility to fish the Canal because of its banks. Whether young or old, disabled or handicapped, you can fish and have fun." He added that the Canal’s accessibility and the derby "brings families together, getting them to do something together for enjoyment".

Much more than just a shoreline fishing destination, boating can be another peaceful means by which to fish the Erie Canal. It is navigable May through October and there are over 80 public and private marinas throughout the state. A pass is required by all motorized boats and there are certain periods when the Canal is open for business, giving larger boats the chance to navigate through the locks and under lift bridges. So, before hitting the water make sure to do some research via the Thruway Authority’s website,

Getting to the fish is easy. Catching the fish is just as easy. Much of the canal’s fairly uniform shoreline is supported by large rocks that were deposited by those who toiled in the Canal’s construction. These rocks provide shelter to very healthy populations of crayfish and minnows that ultimately end up supporting the upper end of the aquatic food chain. Therefore, to catch the Canal’s gamefish bounty it is imperative that you offer an attractive presentation in such rocks, and there are no better lures for this task than soft plastic twisters and crankbaits.

The old stand-by of many a tacklebox - 3" white twisters - work wonders in the Canal. They can be slowly bounced among the rocks, getting into the cracks and crevices where the crayfish hide and the bass and walleyes hunt. Hang-ups will be numerous, as is always the case when jigging in rocks, but break–offs will be minimal. By walking upstream or downstream it is very easy to dislodge your jig.

Small, crayfish-hued crankbaits work equally as well in the Canal. The best method is to walk the shoreline and cast downstream - parallel to the shore - retrieving the crankbait rapidly and bouncing it off the rocks in five feet of water or less. This method will produce smallmouths all day and walleyes at dawn and dusk.

Other methods work quite well, too. In the dog days of Summer, small surface lures cast in the shallows prove quite effective on bass in the evening. Live worms and minnows jigged amongst the rocks or besides structural walls under bridges, docks and guard gates has produced many a decent fish. Spinners cast along the shoreline are great at catching bass, but, beware, they are more apt to snag as compared to the more buoyant crankbaits.

The Erie Canal is truly an asset to New York State. It helped make us what we are, one of the most powerful economies in the world. It offers unlimited recreational potential and historical value. And, it is home to a very diverse, very exciting, and very accessible fishery, one that will please everyone, from the youngest of anglers to the most-experienced of outdoorsmen. So, get out and enjoy what the Erie Canal has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Summer Reading Program Is a Dream

Activities Every Thursday at Royalton Hartland Community Library

Not only will the Summer Reading Program at the Royalton Hartland Community Library offer your children some fun things to do and see this summer, but they will learn a lot too.

This summer’s theme is “A Summer Night’s Dream” and every Thursday will bring the wonders of the natural world into focus with activities for elementary aged children and story hours for the pre-schoolers with reading selections to feed the imagination and pique curiosity. All programs take place at the library, 9 Vernon Street in Middleport.

Program Fun and Activities for Children Grades K-4

Since dreams happen at night, the first program on July 5 at 7 p.m. is Creatures of the Night, and the topic is simply batty! July 12 will feature a Pajamarama with Wendy Jones at 7 p.m. The dreaming continues with Wondermakers on July 19 at 2 p.m. and Charlie and Checkers, an entertaining duo that will make you smile, on July 26 at 2 p.m.

Professor Klutzo will begin the August schedule with his zany science activities at 2 p.m. on August 2, setting the stage for the ups and downs of gravity on August 9 at 7 p.m. when juggling is our topic with Gravitational Bull. And since a campfire should be a part of everyone’s summertime, the Summer Program ends on August 16 at 7 p.m. with Rick Merritt’s Traveling Campfire.

Story Hours For Ages 2-6

All Summer Story Hours for children 2-6 years of age will be offered weekly beginning on Thursday, July 5 through Thursday, August 9 at 11:30 a.m. The program kicks off on July 5 with Follow Your Dreams that features story selections that encourage children to explore what they would like to be when they grow up. Future programs include Sweet Dreams on July 12, Creatures of the Night on July 19, Fantasy Fun and Fairy Tales on July 26. Tall Tales will be told August 2, followed by Shivery Tales of Ghosts, Goblins and Monsters on August 9.

These programs, funded by a Grigg-Lewis Grant and sponsored by the NIOGA Library System, promise to be fun as well as educational, and children and families are encouraged to attend.

The Royalton Hartland Community Library provides residents a wide variety of programs and materials that can be found on the library’s website at . For more information or to register, call the library at 735-3281.


Just yesterday on WLVL's "Niagara's Talking" host Donna Pieszala and I were talking about how disappointing it is that local schools no longer focus on farming. Then, out of pure coincidence, that matter came up at last night's school board meeting thanks to the efforts of Zack Blackburn.

So says the Lockport paper...

The district is considering a Future Farmers of America club, a youth agricultural education program Roy-Hart offered just a few years ago. Members of FFA develop leadership and career skills while competing in various events, often at state or regional conventions.

The article also notes some bad news, something in line with recent postings on this blog...

....Board President Patricia Riegle addressed a concern of parents about a large group of students who failed the trigonometry Regents exam. There were also a number of Roy-Hart kids who failed the trigonometry Regents exam last year. Parents said review sessions were not offered last year either.

Read the entire excellent article -- which goes into detail about both issues -- here:

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Barker Chocolate Box needs 250 votes to be entered in the program to get considered for a $250,000 grant for this Niagara County small business before June 30.

That is because Barker Chocolate Box is one of the small businesses all over the country hoping to be chosen for Chase and LivingSocial “Mission: Small BusinessSM,” grant program offering up to $3 million to small business owners. Chase and LivingSocial also obtained the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help announce the program and drive small business engagement and participation.

The program, which will award up to 12 individual grants of $250,000, was developed to provide small businesses with capital and innovative marketing resources needed to make a positive impact on their business.

Barker Chocolate Box was required to answer questions about why their business is unique, to outline a proposed plan for utilizing the grant to grow their business and describe how the business is involved with its community.

And now, Cindy Jex, owner of Barker Chocolate Box, is offering a $50 gift certificate for any chocolate candies from her business to anyone who votes online. “I am opening my brick and mortar shop this fall, and I want to grow my business, hire more local folks and bring people to this area. I would like to tie in the wonderful traffic on the Niagara Wine Trail and my products at my shop and this grant would be used to make that happen,” says Jex, a who was born and raised in Lockport and has resided in Barker for many years.

“Small businesses are invaluable to the growth of our economy, and the ‘Mission: Small Business’ grant program is designed to provide small businesses with the solutions they need to grow and thrive,” said Richard Quigley, president, Business Card, Chase. “The program aims to find innovative small business owners and provide them with the capital to help execute a business plan for growth.

Everyone can get involved by clicking the “Support” button at and voting for Barker Chocolate Box. The voting period is open through June 30, 2012. Grant recipients will be selected by a panel of small business experts, but to be considered, each business needs 250 votes.

Cindy loves to see her fans and friends vote for her local small business online at To vote, go the bottom right of the page, sign in, enter Barker Chocolate Box in the box on the bottom of the page, and cast your vote. Voters can email Cindy Jex to say that they have voted at with their vote number, and they will be registered to win $50 worth of delicious homemade chocolates of their choice.


WYRK's John LaMond has selected Hartland as his volunteer fire company of the week and here's what he wrote at WYRK's website (

Since I will be off from work tomorrow, I decided to push up my weekly feature by one day. Congratulations to this week’s Volunteer Fire Company of the Week: The Hartland Volunteer Fire Company of Gasport, N.Y.

Member Peter Scarborough tells us their story:

We are the “baby” Fire Company in Niagara County, having been formed in 1970. Through two years of dedicated work by a group of concerned citizens of the Town of Hartland, the Fire Company was officially formed in September, 1970. Running with loaned and purchased, used equipment, and without a real Fire Hall, we began serving the residents of a part of the Town. By 1972, we had built our Fire Hall on Ridge Road, that is still in use today, with two additions. In 1977 we purchased our first new pumper, an American LaFrance. We currently have two class A pumpers, a large rescue truck, a small rescue truck, and a grass fire truck. We run fire, rescue, and EMS calls (in conjunction with Tri-Town Ambulance). From humble beginnings, we have progressed to a well trained, well equipped member of the Emergency Services community. The photo I have chosen shows our ‘unofficial’ logo, The Ridgerunner.

If you would like to nominate your volunteer fire company to be honored on, please email a photo or photos, plus a short history of your fire company to

God Bless all of our hometown heroes for the amazing work they do.


The U.S. Olympic Committee has approved USA Wrestling’s nomination of Lou Rosselli as a volunteer Olympic Coach for men’s freestyle at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

He will serve alongside National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones of Colorado Springs, Colo. as Olympic coaches for the men’s freestyle team.

BIOGRAPHY: Lou Rosselli, Columbus, Ohio

Lou Rosselli of Columbus, Ohio, an Olympian as an athlete and a past World Team coach, has been named as an Olympic coach in men’s freestyle wrestling for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

Rosselli is a personal coach for 2012 U.S. Olympian Tervel Dlagnev of the Sunkist Kids (120 kg), who trains under him at the Ohio Regional Training Center. Dlagnev was a 2009 World bronze medalist.

Rosselli served as a 2011 U.S. World Team Coach in Istanbul, Turkey, which finished third in the team standings, led by World champion Jordan Burroughs and World medalist Jake Varner.

Rosselli also served as a 2007 U.S. World Team Coach, helping lead the United States to a fourth place finish, led by World bronze medalist Daniel Cormier. He also served as a World Team Coach for the 2006 U.S. Freestyle World Team, which placed third as a team at the 2006 World Championships in Guangzhou, China. The team featured four individual medalists, including World champion Bill Zadick.

He was the assistant coach of the 2005 U.S. World University Games Team, which placed third in the team standings with three individual gold medalists in Izmir, Turkey. He also coached the 2010 U.S. World University Championships team in Torino, Italy. He was also a coach for the U.S. team at the 2009 Pan American Championships. Rosselli has also coached a number of other U.S. teams on international tours.

Rosselli was named 2007 Terry McCann Freestyle Coach of the Year by USA Wrestling.

He is the coach at the Ohio Regional Training Center in Columbus, Ohio, one of the nation’s top training centers for international freestyle wrestlers. The Ohio RTC has produced a number of U.S. World Team members and national team members in recent years.

Rosselli serves as a club coach with the New York Athletic Club, one of the world's most successful wrestling clubs.

Rosselli serves as the Associate Head Coach at The Ohio State University, working on the staff with head coach Tom Ryan. He has been with the Buckeyes for five seasons, and has been Associate Head Coach for the last two. With Rosselli a key part of the coaching staff, the Buckeyes placed second at the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Championships as a team. He was named 2009 NWCA Assistant Coach of the Year.

Previously, he served 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Edinboro Univ., eight years as a full-time assistant and three years as a volunteer assistant. Rosselli has helped build the Scotsmen into a nationally competitive program on the Div. I level. He is considered one of the nation's most talented assistant wrestling coaches.

Rosselli competed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., at 114.5 pounds. His quest for an Olympic medal was cut short when he broke his arm during a victory and had to withdraw from competition.

Rosselli was a 1997 World Cup champion, and won a silver medal at the 1998 Pan American Championships. He won U.S. National freestyle titles three times (1995, 1996, 1999) and was second in the 1998 U.S. Nationals. Rosselli was also a University Nationals freestyle champion in 1994.

Rosselli placed third at the 1993 NCAA Championships and was fourth in the 1991 NCAA Championships for Edinboro Univ. Rosselli was selected the Outstanding Wrestler at both the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament and the Eastern Wrestling League Championships in 1993. In 2004, Rosselli was inducted into the Edinboro University Athletic Hall of Fame.

A native of Middleport, N.Y., Rosselli was a two-time New York state champion at Royalton-Hartland High School, in addition to finishing second once and third once.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Tonight the DEC and the state Health Department will hold a public meeting on the DEC's plan (with FMC funding) to further remediate the tainted soil from 181 properties (including the schools) in Middleport. The meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Middleport Fire Hall, 28 Main St.

Download all applicable documents here:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


The Royalton 4th of July Committee has been hard at working planning this year's festivities which continue the excellence that they've given our community over the years.

Here's what's on tap for Independence Day.....

1pm Park and Parking Opens

2pm Shuttles from Terry's Corners Fire Hall and Gasport Fire Hall Start

2pm Gasport Lion's Club Chicken Bar-B-Q

2pm Food Vendors Open

3pm Parade. Starts at the Hartland Bible Church on West Ave.

4pm- 5pm "21 Skidoo" a dixie land band

5pm - 8pm Kid's Games $5 donation includes climbing wall

5pm - 8pm Nashville Recording Artist, Singer-Songwriter "Amanda Nagurney"

8:15pm - 9:30pm "Last Call"

9:45pm- 11pm "Red House"

Fireworks at dusk (approximately 10pm)

Bus ride is a $1 donation


The commitee is always looking for help the day of and July 5th. Anyone willing to donate time and/or money please contact Jeff Brown at or

Royalton 4th of July Committee
4457 Central Ave.
Gasport, NY 14067

Saturday, June 23, 2012


The annual Fly-in (and drive-in) Breakfast at the Royalton Airport will take place tomorrow, Sunday, June 24th from 8:00 till noon. It's all-you-can eat pancakes, sausage and eggs. Cost is $7 for adults and $3 for kids. There will also be a bake sale.

There will be plenty of parking on site and there will be plane rides available.

This event is sponsored by the Gasport Masons and proceeds will benefit the Masonic scholarships and other charities.


106 students of Royalton-Hartland will close the book on one stage of their lives and move on to the adventures of adulthood today when the school's graduation takes place at 7:00 PM tonight in the front lawn of the high school. Congratulations to the graduates and best of luck in all that you do in work, college, and life.

Friday, June 22, 2012


The ever-popular and always-entertaining Royalton Fourth of July celebration is fast approaching. This event would not be possible without the financial support of the community, and the committee is looking for donors to guarantee the success of the celebration this year and into the future.

You can download the Fourth of July committee's request and donation form here:


Free Community Dinner!

Wednesday, June 27th; 5:00 – 6:30 PM

Middleport United Methodist Church at the corner of Park Avenue and Vernon Street

Oven-baked Chicken Barbeque
Baked Beans
Ice Cream Cups

All are welcome

Activities will be provided for children.

Disclaimer: Menu subject to change


Hands On Help With New Technologies Available

Open Access Session July 10 – Help With A Real Person

Have a burning question about your computer? Afraid to download a book to your eReader? Does your smartphone make you feel like a dummy?

Don’t worry! Help is on its way during the free Open Access session at the Royalton Hartland Community Library on Tuesday, July 10 from 10 AM to 1 PM.

Open Access refers to time on a computer with a trainer, and you can take advantage of the upcoming session at the library at 9 Vernon Street in Middleport.

Sarah Taylor, an e-Mobile trainer and Librarian with the NIOGA Library System, will be at the library to answer your questions and show you how to get to know your electronic devices a bit better on an individual, walk-in basis during Open Access.

You can come with your Kindle, Nook, iPad, flash drive or other computer equipment (including your charging cords) and ask Sarah questions about them, or she can show you how they operate. She will also have three iPads with her for the Open Access session so that people can play around with them and get more comfortable with how they work.

Residents can get help on a wide range of computer topics from transferring digital photos to a flash drive, discussing the pros/cons of Facebook, or to find better search strategies on the Internet at this free session. Taylor will also be able to demonstrate how to download ebooks so that residents can enjoy the books that the NIOGA system has on their Nook, Kindle, iPad or even their computer.

Open Access and the NIOGA Library System’s BTOP Express E-mobile unit is funded by the New York State Library through grant funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunication and Information Administration in order to expand computer access in public libraries across New York.

The Royalton Hartland Community Library periodically offers sessions like Open Access and residents are encouraged to check the library’s website at for program information or you can call the library at 735-3281.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


The Buffalo News reports on 2 thefts of equipment on Hollenbeck Road and Humphrey Road...


The Buffalo News reports the following...

Another round of soil excavations is being proposed for the village, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced this week.

The DEC’s plan calls for removing soil contaminated with arsenic from 181 properties, including the Royalton-Hartland Central School campus.
The source of the arsenic is the FMC Corp. agricultural chemical plant. FMC is paying the entire cost of the cleanup.

Read the entire article -- which looks at the pollution issue and the public comment period -- here:

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Friday's edition of Business First -- Buffalo's weekly for businesses and non-profits -- featured its annual schools report, a giant insert that analyzes and ranks Western New York school districts in various categories.

Most of the ratings are not subjective as the Business First staff uses readily-accessible educational and demographic data.

Roy-Hart, once again, made a poor showing in the report. Of the 97 school districts in WNY, we came in at #62, which puts us in the 36.5% percentile (last year Royalton-Hartland was 52nd).  Of Niagara County schools, we are just 9th out of 10, the only school district performing worse than ours was Niagara Falls.

In terms of English & Languages, Roy-Hart got 2 out of 5 stars on their scale, as we placed 50th out of 97 school districts.

For mathematics, Roy-Hart received 2 out of 5 stars, as we placed 56th out of 97. 

In terms of Science, Roy-Hart got 3 out of 5 stars on their scale, as we placed 47th out of 97. 

Social Studies was a disaster as we received 1 out of 5 stars, as Roy-Hart was 80 out of 97 districts.

The Business First staff places an emphasis on graduating with advanced designations. Looking at that statistic, Roy-Hart ranks a paltry 80th in WNY with just 27.7% of graduates receiving advanced designations.

The above results do not match the assumptions gleaned from teacher experience as Roy-Hart's teacher's are in the top half. They are ranked 38th in WNY in regard to experience. On top of that, our teacher's rank as the 40th most-compensated lot in WNY.

All of the above contributes to the Achievement Index, which compares a school's academic ranks against its socioeconomic climate. Roy-Hart sits in the BOTTOM 5,  at 93rd. That means that our students are major underachievers as they should be performing at a higher rate based on family income, etc. That 93rd ranking is absolutely horrible considering our district sports the 31st best quality of life in WNY.

On a somewhat positive note, Roy-Hart ranks 15th overall in terms of cost effectiveness, (comparing academic score and spending)  spending $14,187 per pupil. BUT, before you go saying we need to spend more money to get better results, realize the following:

1) Williamsville is the best district year-in, year-out in Western New York and they spend $14,444 per pupil, not much more than we do.

2) Nationally, the average spent per pupil is in public schools is $11,463. So, we are already spending 24% above the rest of the nation for so-so results.

3) Looking beyond the world of public schools, DeSales has far better academics than Roy-Hart at one-third the cost.

If you want to see how the rest of the local districts compare to us, grab a copy of the Business First report at work, or buy a copy on local newsstands.

What everyone in the community needs to do is start a conversation and identify what WE are doing wrong. Yes, WE....parents are as much to blame as the teachers and the system itself as so clearly identified in the achievement index. Our district's kids are underachievers!!

The school, the parents, the local residents and the students need to work together to identify our  district's flaws and then put a system in place to correct our homes as much as in our classrooms!

If we don't, Roy-Hart will continue to be a laughing stock and our children, grandchildren, and neighbors will suffer because of it.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Every season has its particular sounds and with summer upon us, “The Sounds of Summer” will be the theme for the reading selections at the Royalton Hartland Community Library’s June 21 Pre-school Story Hour.

Pre-school Story Hour is held every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the library, 9 Vernon Street in Middleport in the upstairs meeting room. Children aged 2, 3 and 4 are invited to attend and enjoy this great introduction to the world of books.

The theme for the June 14, which was Flag Day, was “Splish Spalsh, It’s Bath Time.” The children enjoyed books on that topic and ended the session with a mini-parade to show off the red, white and blue for Flag Day. For a list of upcoming Story Hour Topics or for more information call the library at 735-3281.


Thursday, June 14, 2012


The Town of Royalton Historical Society Picnic will be held on Monday, June 18th at 6PM. Please note the location will be the Old Historic Pomeroy Schoolhouse, located at Lower Mountain and Leete Roads in the Town of Lockport. Royalton will be having a joint picnic with The Town of Lockport Historical Society. The Town of Royalton will be holding a brief meeting to elect officers for our 2012-2013 year. The guest speaker will be 91 year old Norm Nicholas. He is a war veteran and will be sharing his stories.

All are welcome! Please bring a friend and a dish to pass. Hot dogs and beverages will be provided by the Town of Lockport Society and paper products will be provided by Royalton.

Come and enjoy the fellowship and the joining together of the societies' wonderful groups of people. If you have any questions, please call Jennifer Bieber, 716-735-7335.


Yesterday on its opinion page CNN posted an article by Amitai Etzioni regarding the need to "talk back to your doctor." Accompanying the article is a slideshow entitled "appointments in the old days." Click on slide #5, the caption of which reads "A teenage boy is vaccinated against smallpox by a doctor and a county health nurse in Gasport, New York, in 1938."

I'm curious....does anyone recognize this fellow?

The article can be read here:

Editor's Note (15 June 2012): A reader emailed me to say the young man in the photo may be Arnold Hess.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Keep an eye open in the local hedgerows and forest edges. I just ate my first mulberries of the season, about 2 weeks earlier than usual.


The Buffalo News reports on a guilty plea by a Gasport resident who pilfered from his former employer:


The good folks at Niagara Frontier Publications are reporting the following...

Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine presented local winemaker Vizcarra Vineyards at Becker Farms with its prestigious Best Fruit and Best of Class for White Fruit Wines awards, as well as a gold medal, at the 2012 U.S. National Wine Competition in April.

Read the entire article here:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Yesterday the State Education Department (SED) released high school graduation rates for the 2007 cohort (students who entered 9th grade in 2007) who theoretically should have graduated in 2011. These data show that New York’s overall graduation rate continues to rise slowly over time.

Well, at Royalton-Hartland it didn't.

Looking at my post blog posts, the statistic for 2010 graduation was 88%.

According to the stats released yesterday, for those who graduated in June of 2011 the 4-year graduation rate was a pitiful 82% at Royalton-Hartland. Taking into consideration those who needed summer school to make it into the workplace, the graduation rate rose to 86.6% by August 2011.


The County is upgrading the radio system utilized by police, fire and ambulance services and that upgrade requires new radios and new radio towers for their repeater system. Among the 7 sites that will get a tower is Terry's Corners. It will be 180 ft. tall.

Read about the radio system here:


The Erie Canal as it flows through the Gasport area is incredibly tame in terms of its users and abusers. The level of traffic is really nothing exceptional and there are almost no abuses (other than a few people here and there who may exceed the speed limit on an open stretch). It certainly doesn't merit marine patrol, but it will be getting it as reported by the Buffalo News yesterday...

The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office has received a $30,000 state grant to fund police patrols on the Erie Canal this summer.

R.W. Groneman, public information officer for the State Canal Corp., said the agency passed out a total of $188,000 last month to all counties that contain canals to pay for patrols.

Regarding the boats.... is light enough to be quickly hauled on a trailer to a site east of Lockport to be launched without having to take time going through the canal locks at Lockport.

The canal patrols won’t occur every day. “We’ll focus on weekends, holidays, special events,” Beatty said.

Read the article here:

Thursday, June 7, 2012


On May 20, 2012 New York State Police at Fredonia received a phone call from a local citizen regarding a wanted felon. The caller had recently watched an episode of America’s Most Wanted and believed that one of the wanted subjects from the T.V. show was living in the Town of Arkwright area.

The wanted man’s name was Joseph W. Chapman; he was wanted for Escape from the McKean County Jail in the State of Pennsylvania. Chapman had escaped in July of 2007. There were also a number of warrants from the State of Pennsylvania for Chapman for Sexual Assault of a Child and Rape. The caller provided the NYSP with an address and the name of “Joshua Thompkins”. Tprs. Dennis Gould and M.J. Cully interviewed “Joshua Thompkins” who denied that he was Joseph W. Chapman. After an extensive investigation involving the F.B.I, United States Marshal Services and the Dunkirk Police Department it was confirmed that “Joshua Thompkins” was the wanted felon Joseph W. Chapman. Chapman was arrested as a Fugitive from Justice, arraigned and committed to the Chautauqua County Jail. Law Enforcement Authorities in Pennsylvania were advised.

On May 22, 2012 Joseph Chapman aka “Joshua Thompkins” was transferred back to the State of Pennsylvania and is currently secured in the McKean County Jail. New York State Police are continuing the investigation into Joseph Chapman’s activities during the time he was living and working in western New York. The investigation revealed that Joseph Chapman aka “Joshua Thompkins” was living and working in East Amherst, Depew, Gasport and Newfane prior to moving to Chautauqua County in the Fall of 2011. His employment included construction worker, handy man and security.

Anyone with information regarding Joseph Chapman aka “Joshua Thompkin’s” activities since May of 2007 please contact New York State Police at (716) 665-3113.

America’s Most Wanted will be airing an updated segment on Friday June 8th at 9:00PM on the Lifetime Network.


Becker Farms is proud to open Becker Beer Garden.

Open to the public on Saturday nights from 7 to last call in the evening. The laid back, relaxed atmosphere will be the perfect place to kick back with friends after a long work week.

Becker Beer Garden features both indoor and outdoor seating, a bonfire, Beergaritas, wine and beer by the glass and Pizza by the slice by Gasport's own Petunias Pizzeria.

Make Becker Beer Garden your new local watering hole to enjoy the country side while sipping on your own hometown beer and wines.

They hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Salt & Light Festival

June 9th & 10th, 2012

Address:8590 Rochester Road, Rt. 31, Gasport, NY 14067, Near Bolton Road


Bring a lawn Chair for Concert

Saturday June 9th.

A fun-filled non-alcoholic day for the entire family. from 9 to 5:00 on Saturday, 8590 Rochester Road, Rt. 31, Gasport. Featuring music from 11:00 am from various artists. Headliner Elvis Wade, #1 Tribute artist of Elvis Presley performing live on stage at 2:45-5:00 p.m. with the Boonesfarm band, Hitman Horns and a the Middleport Community Choir directed by Ric Jones

Saturday from noon until sold out Chiavetta Chicken Barbecue, Tickets on premises for $8.

Also featuring: Huge yard sale, Bake sale, hot dogs, hamburgs, beef on wick, Flea market tables, Bounce houses, dunk tank, games, prizes, Chinese Auction, Informational booths. Sponge Bob, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Dora the Explorer, Perry Platterpus, Hello Kitty

Sunday June 10th 10:30am and again at 5 pm

Elvis Wade and Sandy Posey sing Gospel

For further info call Marilyn 716-957-2561



Saturday, June 2, 2012


Today's Tonawanda News reports the following....

...brewers in New York state could be in for some rough financial waters. Due to the loss of a tax exemption earlier this year, many brewers will see a jump in state taxes. Some could see a tax increase ranging from $10,000 for the smallest brewers to $1 million for the larger ones.

Oscar Vizcarra, owner of Vizcarra Vineyards and Becker Farms in Gasport, which includes Becker Brewing Co., said the loss of the exemption hurts. He estimated the effect on the Becker brewery would be around $20,000.

“That’s someone’s job or a major piece of equipment,” Vizcarra said. “It affects the bottom line.”

Read the article -- about what has happened and what could happen with this tax -- online at:

Friday, June 1, 2012


Ann Cain has stage 4 cancer and there will be a fundraiser to help cover her medical costs this Saturday, June 2nd, from 2 till 8 at the Gasport fire hall.

The pasta dinner is $8/adult, $5/kids aged 6 to 12. Kids 5 and under eat free. Eat-in or take-out.

There will be a basket auction and live auctions. Some of the available items are: a $500 gift card for Mills Jewelers, a night stay at Barton Hill, a wooden swing, a grill, and a Jose Canseco autographed baseball.


Congratulations to Royalton-Hartland's Liam Greeson and Taylor Flynn.

They’re 2 of the 100 members of Business First’s 2012 All-Western New York Academic Team, the best and brightest of this year’s graduating class. Schools across the eight-county region were invited to nominate their smartest and most accomplished seniors for evaluation by a nine-member panel of editors and college admissions directors. A total of 117 schools responded, submitting 415 names for consideration. Both figures are record highs for the Academic Team program, which was launched in 2008.

Greeson was selected for the 25-member First Team and Flynn was 1 of 50 on the Special Mention list.