Sunday, March 31, 2013


The Sunday edition of the Buffalo News features an excellent article that looks at the history and successes of Becker Farms. When you consider everything they do at Becker Farms, it's no wonder that they've made Gasport a premier autumn destination for Western New Yorkers --- there are 40,000 visitors to the farm every fall according to the article!

Read it here:


The Gasport Beautification Committee is having a" Free Movie Night" for the community during Spring Break. They will be showing the original "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" on Wednesday, April 3rd at the Gasport Fire Company. Doors open at 6:00 pm and the movie will start at 6:30pm. They will have many items for sale at their snack bar, including a special family pack, 12 items for $10.00.


The town of Hartland is looking to transition to a bi-weekly modified recycling program similar to the new one being utilized by their neighbors in Royalton. The town board will hold an informational session at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday, April 3rd at the town hall to discuss this with residents.

Friday, March 29, 2013


The Middleport Community Choirs are hosting a Spaghetti Dinner with SONG! on Saturday, April 13 from 5-7 pm at the Cataract Lodge Hall, 20 Main St. Middleport.

Tickets - $8:50 for adults, $5.00 for children 5-12, Under 5 free.

Dinner includes Spaghetti, Meatballs, Bread, Salad, Beverage and Dessert.

Music features Kevin Clark on piano and a singing serving staff.

Proceeds to benefit the Middleport Community Choirs.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


There’s something for every young movie lover this spring break at the Royalton Hartland Community Library. From Monday, April 1 through Thursday, April 4 at 2 p.m., a different and popular movie will be shown in the Community Meeting Room, upstairs at the library at 9 Vernon Street in Middleport.

On Monday, children can catch the wonderful works of a group of heroes with extraordinary abilities as they fight evil and save the world.  On Tuesday, if a tiger and a young boy on a life raft float your boat, then stop by and catch up on the spectacular use of some special effects. Wednesday’s selection is a complete surprise but the kids are sure to love it, and they will really “dig” the last movie in the spring break series that launched the career of Shia LaBeouf, the young star of Transformers .

Everyone is invited to attend these free movie showings that are sure to keep your child entertained through the week.

For more information about the spring break movies, call the library at 735-3281 or visit them at 9 Vernon St., Middleport NY. The schedule of movies to be shown is on the library’s website at


In January we reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2013-2014 state budget showed an increase in school aid of 4.08% or $10,096,234.

The Senate's school budget, which is likely to be adopted by the Assembly as well, came out this week and shows a 7.1% increase in aid. Under the Legislature's plan, we will be receiving $10,360,283.

Based on percentage alone (not dollars), Roy-Hart's 7.1% is the highest in Niagara County and the sixth highest in all of WNY.


Crime seems to happen in waves in Gasport. It can be quite for a while, and then it gets busy. Consider the following reports from just the past 6 days....

The US&J reported that during this past weekend cars were burglarized on Ridge Road and Gasport Road and attempts were made to get into even more cars...

The Buffalo News reports that an 86 year-old Telegraph Road woman was robbed over the weekend. Someone broke into her house and stole her purse with $870 in cash and lottery winnings:


According to the Lockport Union Sun and Journal, Royalton-Hartland has taken the first step toward finding a new superintendent. Tuesday night Board of Education members appointed Clark Godshall, the Orleans/Niagara BOCES superintendent, as superintendent search consultant.

Read the US&J's report here:

When last this happened, this blogger conducted interviews with the 3 finalists and shared their interviews here. I will do the same as the new batch of candidates become known so you can get a feel for who our next school leader might be.


The slow start to spring is great news to farmers as WIVB TV 4 reports (with an appearance by the folks at Becker Farms)...

Saturday, March 23, 2013



Royalton-Hartland will be searching for a new superintendent after the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership announced yesterday that Kevin MacDonald has been selected as their next superintendent. Here is the Partnership's official news release....

The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership Board has named Kevin MacDonald as the organization’s next District Superintendent, with a starting date of July 1, 2013, pending his appointment at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s Board of Education meeting on March 27.

"I believe my career has prepared me well to serve as the District Superintendent for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. As the superintendent at Royalton-Hartland Central School District for the past four years, I experienced many of the same issues that face the GVEP component school districts - issues such as diminishing resources and student enrollments with increasing academic demands and state mandates. I will lead this BOCES and support the districts by advocating for and developing effective solutions and services that address identified district needs," said Kevin MacDonald.

"I have a healthy respect for the stellar reputation the Partnership has built over the last decade and I expect to continue this culture along with a tremendous faith in our future. I am very excited to begin charting the future with the GVEP Board of Education and all the stakeholders in our region," stated MacDonald.

Betty Lapp, GVEP Board President, stated, “Our Board of Education is confident that Kevin MacDonald understands the relationship between BOCES and our component districts from both sides, and is capable of leading us through the issues we face in our region. The search process was rigorous and the Board of Education truly values the input we received from our various stakeholder groups, including component superintendents, as well as staff and community members, who met with the candidates to help us make a final decision.”

Kevin MacDonald is currently the superintendent of the Royalton-Hartland Central School District where he has served for the past four years. Prior to that, he served as assistant superintendent of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES from 2002 – 2009. Mr. MacDonald has held several academic posts, including director of alternative education at Erie 1 BOCES in 2001 to 2002, and principal of the junior/senior high school at Royalton-Hartland CSD from 1998 to 2001. He is a Board Member of the New York StateRural Schools Association, a member of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, and the Association for Career and Technical Education, among others.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


This Saturday, March 23 from 4-6 PM,  the Girl Scouts will be having a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at Hartland Bible Church on West Ave. in the hamlet. Tickets are $7/adult, $5/children under 10, $20 for a family of 4. Proceeds will help fund the Belvadear Girl Scout Encampment.

Friday, March 15, 2013


The Gasport Lions Club will be hosting their annual Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 30th at noon at Veterans Park in the hamlet.



The Town of Royalton and Town of Lockport Historical Society's will be holding a joint meeting at the Lockport Town Hall, located at 6560 Dysinger Rd on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM.

They will not have a guest speaker. This meeting is to discuss where and when their joint group will be meeting in the future as well as discussion on future programs and membership issues. Light refreshments will be served.

Please attend and help their leadership find ways to ensure that the two groups continue to thrive and fulfill their mission of providing education and preserving our heritage. All are welcome.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Jennifer Bieber at 716-735-7335.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Gasport residents: If it is clear or partly cloudy this weekend, make it a point to look for Comet Pan-STARRS. A lot of people gave up on the spectacle because it was slow to become visible around here and we have perpetually cloudy skies. Tonight it was clear and I saw it with the naked eye (and it was more impressive through binoculars). An awesome sight. There is only a brief window to look for it, 15 minutes max. You have to look at sunset. I got outside at 7:20 and it was gone by 7:30! Look due west. It is low in the horizon, too: Put your fist out at arm's length...the comet will be only 3 fingers above the horizon!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


In a recent post on this blog I told Gasport residents to keep an eye out for dead starlings as a poisoning campaign was underway.

I wrote about this issue for this week's column in the Greater Niagara Newspapers. Here it is....

By Bob Confer

In incidents that seem to have become rites of winter throughout the northeast, rural residents living within a couple of miles of large dairy farms were recently subjected to an odd, even frightening, sight – starlings literally falling out of the sky and dying before them. When the carnage concluded, homeowners found dozens of the birds dead in their lawns. This columnist picked up an even ten dozen from his.

At first blush, some might think that a deadly contagious illness overtook the avian community. Others might believe it’s another sign from an angry god that followed once in a lifetime blizzards in the northeast and meteors exploding over Russia. 

Their deaths were caused by none of the above.

Instead, the birds expired due to an application of a chemical agent known as “Starlicide.”  This compound is produced by Purina (which some may find strangely hypocritical given the company’s basis in animal health) and it is the most effective tool  -- maybe the only effective tool -- in controlling this most onerous of birds. Upon consuming feed tainted with Starlicide, starlings slowly expire over a 24 to 36 period as their organs congest.

As unsettling of a sight as hundreds of dying and dead birds may be to the average person, it’s a welcome sight to farmers, aviators and nature lovers. They are all affected by this invasive species, brought to our shores in the 1890s when fans of William Shakespeare made the ill-advised decision to release every bird mentioned in his plays to the Americas (the very same reason we are inundated with English/house sparrows). The starlings multiplied and took over the skies, being just as much at home in the Big City as they are in farm country. It is estimated that there are over 200 million of them in the US. You can’t find an American who is unfamiliar with these black birds that have green and purple iridescent tips on their feathers. 

Farmers are certainly familiar with them. The birds congregate in feedlots by the thousands, stealing feed and defecating in animal food which spreads disease, including transmissible gastroenteritis virus which can be deadly to young swine. It is estimated that starlings are responsible for $800 million in agricultural losses every single year – almost 3 times as much as the much-reviled boll weevil is in modern times. So, with no other options left to contain the birds and prevent the damages, the farmers and USDA regularly poison the birds every winter when they gather in the greatest concentrations (thus making a mass kill easier).

Similar campaigns occur around airports. There, the colonizing birds can prove to be deadly when traveling in large flocks and into the paths of aircraft, getting stuck in their jets or gumming up their propellers. Starlings were the known culprits in the infamous 1960 Boston crash of Flight 375 that killed over 60 people and remains to this day as the single worst bird strike in history. Many more starling events have followed over the years, including a late-1990s crash that killed 34 people in the Netherlands. 

Even bird lovers savor the demise of this feathered fiend. Starlings are a scourge upon native species, especially fellow cavity-dwellers. Take our beloved state bird, the bluebird, for example. That beautiful creature was nearly wiped out in New York because of starlings. If not for the efforts of birders and volunteers throughout the Empire State, they would have been; they countered the overpopulation of the aggressive starlings by erecting bluebird-specific birdhouses throughout the state. Because of that, the bluebird has become common once again over the course of my life. Eradicate the starlings and we might see similar success stories with other birds like the rarely-seen redheaded woodpecker.  

Taking all of that into consideration, and knowing that the poisoned birds are no threat to you, your pets, or predators, you should accept the mass deaths of starlings with open arms; that is, after you’ve taken the time to pick up their corpses. We would be better served by more mass poisonings of them each winter for this simple reason: the only good starling is a dead starling. 

Monday, March 11, 2013


WGRZ TV 2 offers this great report on 10 year old Zoey Haynes of Gasport and her efforts to raise money for Stone's Buddies, which is a program for chronically ill children at the Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo. Way to go, Zoey!


Roy-Hart 8th grader Beatrice Bacon put up one heck of a fight in the Western New York Spelling Bee that saw her in a 50 round final against Madeline McCoy of Grace LEAH Home School. Madeline ultimately won, but Beatrice made Roy-Hart proud as she beat some of the very best students in WNY by spelling words like “horologium”.

Read about Beatrice's adventures here:

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Palm Sunday worship, March 24th: Conducted during the 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services

Good Friday, March 29th:
Community cross-walk through Gasport. Meet at the Covenant Church at 3:00 p.m....then, at 7:00 p.m. there will be the Good Friday evening worship at Zion

Easter Sunday, March 31st: Sunrise service at 7:00 a.m...Easter morning pancake breakfast from 8:00 a.m. till 9:00 a.m....Easter resurrection worship at 10:30 a.m.

Friday, March 8, 2013


The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (Genesee Valley BOCES) Board has named three finalists for the organization’s next District Superintendent. All three finalists are sitting superintendents.

Betty Lapp, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership Board President, said she is pleased with the high quality of the candidate pool and especially excited about the potential the three finalists have to offer.

“Selecting the best superintendent for GVEP is the Board’s top prioritiy,” Lapp said. “With such a strong pool and Commissioner King’s recent approval of the finalist candidates, we have that opportunity. We look forward to the upcoming opportunities for the finalists to meet with our various stakeholders, as well as the open forums with the public.”

The three finalists are Mr. Kenneth J. Ellison, Mr. Kevin MacDonald, and Dr. Theresa L. Pulos.

Mr. Kenneth J. Ellison is the superintendent of the Pavilion Central School District. He has served 26 years in the district, including nine years as a special education teacher, seventeen years as an administrator, with the past four years as superintendent.

Mr. Kevin MacDonald is the superintendent of the Royalton-Hartland Central School District where he has served for the past four years. Prior to that, he served as assistant superintendent of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES from 2002 – 2009. Mr. MacDonald has held several academic posts, including director of alternative education at Erie 1 BOCES in 2001 to 2002, and principal of the junior/senior high school at Royalton-Hartland CSD from 1998 to 2001.

Dr. Theresa L. Pulos is the superintendent of the Clyde-Savannah Central School District where she has served since 2009. Prior to that, Dr. Pulos served as principal in the Webster Central School district from 2001-2009, and she also served prior to that in the Brighton Central School District as assistant principal, 1998-2001, and as a speech-language therapist from 1980-1998.

The three candidates will have full-day visits and various interviews with committees at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership on:

            Tuesday, March 12               Dr. Theresa Pulos
            Thursday, March 14             Mr. Kenneth J. Ellison
            Friday, March 15                  Mr. Kevin MacDonald

Mr. Daniel White, Monroe #1 BOCES district superintendent, who is acting as search consultant, said the Board has developed and implemented a process that will help determine the best candidate

“This is a rigorous search process,” White said. “Finalists are interviewed by the consultant, the GVEP Board, SED Commissioner John King, component superintendents, several stakeholder groups, a community forum, and concludes with the Board meeting to make a final decision.”


Thursday, March 7, 2013


The hamlet of Gasport is now without a gas station/convenience store. The Yellow Goose closed earlier this week, marking the first time in decades that such an establishment has not occupied the site (Yellow Goose was preceded by Mesmer's). There is no word about any suitors for the site. Outside of the hamlet itself you still have Drum Oil, Snell's and Olears for gasoline in Gasport.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


March and April means that there will be signs of spring showing in the reading selections that will be shared at the Royalton Hartland Community Library’s Pre-school Story Hours.

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. Children love the activities, discussion and the children’s book selections with different themes that are read at each session.

The upcoming topics include Color My World on March 14; Kings and Queens on March 21; Ready to Go on March 28; Here Comes Peter Cottontail on April 4; DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Me on April 11; Frogs on April 18; Singing  in the Rain on April 25.

For a list of upcoming Story Hour Topics or for more information call the library at 735-3281 or check them online at the library’s website at

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


On Wednesday, March 6, 2013, Jerry Farnham -- a representative from Assemblywoman Jane Corwin's office -- will be at the Royalton Town Hall between the times of 10:00 AM - Noon. Please feel free to come out with concerns or questions you might have. The town hall is located at 5316 Royalton Center Rd, Middleport.


The Book Club at the Royalton Hartland Community Library will be talking about the heart-wrenching story told in “The Silver Boat” at their March 11 meeting at 7 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room at the library, 9 Vernon Street in Middleport.

“The Silver Boat” is written by the New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice, and it takes place in Martha’s Vineyard where, after their mother’s death, three sisters have come to say good-by to their family’s beach house. After a discovery of a cache of old letters, the sisters begin their journey not only to Ireland, but through their relationships and their family in all its flawed complexity.

“The Silver Boat” tackles the hard process of letting go and readers enjoy a look at Rice’s portrayal of some true-to-life sisters, their warm childhood memories of life at the beach and even a bit of passionate love.

Anyone interested in discussing the book or joining the Book Club can come to the March 11, or any of the monthly meetings that are held at the library. The topics for the future Book Club meetings at the Royalton Hartland Community Library are posted online at and on the library’s Facebook page.

For more information, readers can also call the library at 735-3281.

Monday, March 4, 2013


If you missed Roy-Hart's recent appearance on WGRZ TV's It's Academic, you can watch the entire episode below...


A Royalton-Hartland High School senior has been named to Business First's 2013 All-Western New York Academic Team. Eddy Pfeil has qualified for this year's list of the 100 most outstanding high school seniors in the eight-county region.

Winners were chosen for their records of academic excellence, school leadership and community involvement. The top 25 were named to the First Team, 25 runners-up to the Second Team, and another 50 to the Special Mention list. Eddy made the Special Mention list.

"This is an extremely exclusive award," said Jack Connors, president and publisher of Business First. "There are roughly 20,000 seniors in Western New York's high schools, and we've selected only 100 for this year's Academic Team. That's the upper one-half of one percent. They're truly the best and brightest students anywhere in our region."

Schools throughout the eight-county area were asked to nominate their smartest and most accomplished students for consideration by an eight-member committee, which included six admissions directors at area colleges and two Business First editors. A total of 121 schools responded with 437 nominees. (Each school was limited to four candidates.)

The complete list of 100 honorees -- along with their photos and profiles -- will be published in Business First's 2013-2014 Guide to Western New York Schools, which will hit newsstands on June 14.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


The committee responsible for Royalton's 4th of July Celebration are having a planning meeting at the Gasport Fire Hall on March 14th at 7pm. At this meeting they will discuss the day's events and schedules. They are always looking for volunteers to help out. If you can't attend the meeting, but would like to help, contact Jeff Brown at 772-7454 or

Friday, March 1, 2013


Lawrence W. Steimer, age 86, entered into rest on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the Absolut of Gasport. Born August 12, 1926 in Gasport, NY, Larry is the son of the late George and Mable (Dettmer) Steimer.

Larry married Elisabeth Stolt July 7, 1951 at the Gasport Congregational May 22, 1994. Together they opened and shared their home with 14 youth and were very proud of their accomplishments. Larry served his country during WWII overseas in the Army. He served from Nov. 1944 through August 1946. After being honorably discharged he finished his high school education at Royalton Hartland School.

After graduation in 1947 he continued his education at Goldwater Memorial Hospital and City Hospital in New York City receiving his NYS Practical Nurse's License. He then returned to Gasport and became owner and operator of Hillcrest and Hilltop Nursing Homes. In 1966 he saw his dream come true when he built and opened his NEW 83 bed "Hilltop Nursing Home, now The Absolut Nursing Home, on Lincoln Dr. in Gasport.

Larry's legacy is that he was involved "everywhere." He was active in many organizations: Covenant United Church of Christ, a member for over 50 years serving as Deacon, Sunday School Teacher and always ready for craft night for bazaar workshops with his wooden cutouts to be painted or stained. He was a life member, over 50 years, at Gasport Chemical Hose, Life member of the American Legion Post #1253, serving as past Post Commander; charter member of Gasport Lions Club and his favorite, past president for many years of the Royalton Historical Society.

His proudest accomplishment was being one of the founding fathers of organizing Gasport's Boy Scout Troop 18 in 1946, still a very active troop today. Larry served as Scout Master, Explorer advisor and Skipper of the ship for over 20 years.

He also was involved with the Sun Shine Guys and Gals 4-H club for many years. His love for horses gave him great pleasure. He opened the Steimer Argent Stables and provided therapeutic horseback riding programs for handicapped children. He even taught blind children how to water and downhill ski as well; with equipment he designed and made by his Amish friends. He was also known to get the bride to the church on time in his beautifully refurbished Landau Carriage and Postilion horses.

Larry is survived by his sister: Ruth Ann O'Stewart of Florida. He was predeceased by his wife, Elisabeth and his brothers: George (Lorraine) and Robert (Erma) Steimer. He survived by several nieces, nephews and close friends from both the Gasport and Amish communities.

Family and friends are invited to attend visitation at the Sherrie-Bream Funeral Home, 4521 Main St. Gasport on Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 5 to 7 pm. The American Legion Post #1253 will assemble at the funeral home at 7 pm on Saturday evening. Funeral Service will be held on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at Covenant United Church of Christ, 4449 Main St. Gasport at 3 pm. Interment will be at Hartland Central Cemetery at the convenience of the family.

Memorials appreciated to Covenant United Church of Christ, the American Heart Association or a charity of one's choice.

Sign the guestbook and view the photo gallery here:


On Sunday, March 10th, Covenant United Church of Christ will be hosting a free family movie matinee - Veggie Tales Battle of Jericho - at 1:00 pm. Free popcorn and drinks will be provided.


There will by a UNYTS Blood drive at the Zion Lutheran Church this Sunday, March 3rd, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please consider donating. Walk-ins welcomed. All donors will be entered into a drawing for a pair of Buffalo Sabres tickets.


The Professing Christ Rodeo Association (PCRA) will be having another rodeo in Gasport this coming Sunday, March 3rd. Start Time is 1:00 pm, when Cowboy Church leads off the festivities.

Admission is $7 at the door. Kids 7 years and under are free.

The rodeo will be held at Seventeen Forever Farms at 4575 Royalton Center Rd.

Events include bull riding, barrel racing, breakaway pen roping and team penning.

Their Facebook event page can be found here:


Today's Lockport paper is reporting that budget cuts are on tap at Roy-Hart...

In its current form, Royalton-Hartland’s 2013-14 budget features a 3 percent rise in the tax levy and a $37,000 cut in spending.

The $22 million budget comes with another spending reduction for the school district. Doing more with less is something Roy-Hart has done for a few years now, officials said Thursday.

Read the details in the article here:

In its current form, Royalton-Hartland’s 2013-14 budget features a 3 percent rise in the tax levy and a $37,000 cut in spending.
The $22 million budget comes with another spending reduction for the school district. Doing more with less is something Roy-Hart has done for a few years now, officials said Thursday. For the current school year, Roy-Hart will spend $500,000 or 2 percent less than it did in 2011-12.
Read the article in its entirety here: