Friday, January 30, 2015


The weekly agricultural newspaper "Country Folks" did a story about New York State Agricultural Society’s 183rd annual meeting and how business diversification is good for farmers.

Becker Farms was featured prominently in the panel discussion and in the newspaper report.

Among the good news was this: "In May, it will open Press Vineyard Retreat, which it describes as “high-end” stylish cabins that can accommodate wedding guests."

Read the article here:


Zachary Bright is a Gasport resident who recently celebrated his 25th birthday at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where he is undergoing cancer treatment. He was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer back in September. This is the third time that he has had to fight cancer, having beaten Ewing's Sarcoma at ages 9 and 11.

His uncle Steve Wall has started a fundraising campaign for Zach and his family to help with all of the expenses that come with such a fight.

You can donate here:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


In a newspaper column a few months back I wrote about all of the good things going on at Royalton-Hartland. Last week, the Union Sun and Journal reported on more good news in the school district as it is developing new endeavors with a laser focus on college & career readiness.

Read the article about the P16 Initiative here:


Former Roy-Hart teacher Lynn Fusco has been selected as the next superintendent of Erie 1 BOCES. Here's the report at the Buffalo News:

Monday, January 26, 2015


Last week the Niagara County Legislature recognized Gasport's Jack McQueen --- the 92 year-old volunteer! A well-deserved honor for Jack.

Here's the report from the Union Sun & Journal:

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Wilbert H. Rhinehart passed away suddenly Saturday January 24, 2015. “Wil” was born in Lockport August 3, 1929, the son of Colonel E. and Annabelle Robertson.

“Wil” started out selling magazines in front of Harrison Radiator. He raised chickens in the city of Lockport and worked at various store from selling shoes to small mom and pop grocery stores. He took a sled to collect bottles for cash. “Wil” grew up during the depression and knew the value of a dollar. He also enjoyed his employment at the Gascoyn Dairy. He also sold fertilizer while farming at his family homestead and in 1957 W.H. Rhinehart began in Middleport.

Wilbert and his late wife Joan VanDusen Rhinehart who passed away September 10, 2010, purchased the Resseguie's Feed Mill in Middleport in 1973 where he enjoyed many hours talking to and advising many farmers in the area. He also loved telling stories about his childhood and the many Sunday trips with his wife taking them miles to look at farmland. “Wil” was very proud and happy his son and grandson were following his footsteps in the store. He loved and enjoyed his grandchildren and great grandchildren and with much anticipation the arrival of two more great grandsons this coming spring.

“Wil” is the father of Wayne H. “Butch (Lori) Rhinehart, Cynthia (Brian) Waters and the late Cathy and Charlotte Rhinehart; grandfather of Jill R. Goodenough, Dr. Ingrid (Gibran) Rhinehart, Eric (Tracey) Waters, Denielle (Jared) Ander, Lindsey (Brett) Doebler, Janelle H. Dewart and Brett (Heather) Rhinhart; great grandfather of Taylor, Gwenna, Jacob, Peyton, Alayna, Sidney, Lorin, Andrew, Jase,Troy, Sawyer, Devin and Belle. Wilbert is also the brother of Forrest (Janice) Rhinehart, Alice Mae (the late Edward) Hall and the late Ethel (the late Paul) Meyers; also nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends may call Thursday January 29th from 6-8 PM and Friday January 30th from 2-4 and 6-8 PM in Prudden and Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., Lockport, NY. Funeral services will be held Saturday January 31 at 2 PM in the Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 75 East Ave, Lockport, NY 14094 Memorials to the Emmanuel Church or the Middleport United Methodist Church, 5-9 Park Ave. Middleport, NY 14105 would be appreciated by the family, A Masonic service by the members of the Charlottesville Lodge 73 will be held Friday evening at 7:30 PM.


The Niagara County Sheriff's Office has identified the deceased driver in yesterday's accident in Royalton as 85 year old Wilbur Rhinehart of Lockport, NY. The driver of the other vehicle was identified as 39 year old James Zak of the Town of Royalton. Mr. Zak remains at the Erie County Medical center in critical condition.


An article in Sunday's Buffalo News looks at Karen Drumm and her Mountain Road business -- Harmony Dog Training:


Winterfest 2015, presented by the Gasport Lions Club, will take place on Saturday, February 7th, from 11:00 am till 3:00pm at Royalton-Hartland Elementary School.

Tickets are $2.00 and will be sold at the door. Children 10 years and under are FREE!!

Events schedule:

11:00-2:15 Basket Auction: Silent Auction, all tickets must be submitted in library by 2:15 -live drawing starts @2:30pm

11:30 Nickel City Reptiles & Exotics with Jeff Musial

11:00-3:00 House of Bounce – Bounce Houses

12:30-2:30 Mr. Paul the Great Balloon Guy

1:00-3:00 Paths, Peaks, & Paddles- snow shoeing-weather permitting

Noon-2:30 Siberian Husky Club-Dog Sled Demonstrations

12:30-2:30 Hartland Carriage rides

Ongoing events: 11:00-3:00:

Face painting & crafts for kids

Niagara Orleans District of the Masonic Lodge “Safety ID Program” “MSID” for all ages

Irish Dancers with Brooke & Erica Little

Food Vendors:

Alternative Grounds

Chops Shop Pizzeria

MPB CafĂ©’

Schwab’s Farm Market

For more information or inquiries about becoming a vendor, visit the Gasport Lions website at:

Saturday, January 24, 2015


On January 24th, 2015 the Niagara County Sheriff's Office received multiple 911 calls reporting an injury accident in front of 8242 Akron Road in the Town of Royalton. Upon arrival of emergency crews it was determined that one adult male in the north bound vehicle was unresponsive and pronounced deceased on scene. The investigation revealed that the south bound vehicle slid into the path of the north bound vehicle.

The adult driver of the south bound vehicle was transported to the Eastern Niagara Lockport Hospital. Shortly after arriving at Eastern Niagara Lockport Hospital that driver was then transported to the Erie county Medical Center for his injuries. The investigation is continuing by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

The name of the deceased occupant is being withheld at this time pending the notification of the family


This weekend you'll see a sight along the Erie Canal that you're not used to seeing during the frigid winter: Runners -- and many of them -- competing against one another and Mother Nature on the towpath.

Long-distance runners from across Western New York and places far away will be converging on our area for a 100-mile run on January 24th and 25th. Called the "Beast of Burden" it is an event organized by Lockport runner Sam Pasceri that will have runners go from Widewaters in Lockport to Middleport and back...twice.

This will be a grueling event! 100 miles is tough. 100 miles in arctic weather...that's even tougher!

Saturday's high is forecasted to be 32 degrees...with overnight lows of 15..and a high of 16 on Sunday.

For more information, go to


Yesterday, Senator Charles Schumer chose Gasport for his "New York Town of the Day" social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter. It's nice to see my neighbors -- New Royal Orchards -- highlighted. They're good people.

Here's the photo and caption he posted:

Niagara County orchards like Newroyal Orchards in Gasport always have fresh, crisp apples - perfect for ciders, pies and bringing to the teacher.

Friday, January 23, 2015


The members of the Royalton Hartland Book Club chose "Summerland", a best-seller by Elin Hilderbrand, for discussion at their Monday, January 26 meeting at 7 p.m. in the upstairs Community Room at the library, located at 9 Vernon Street in Middleport.

The story that takes place on a hot summer's night, changes the lives of four teens forever when they are involved in a deadly car crash. In the aftermath, the surviving teens deal with the emotional damage caused by the tragedy, as well as a number of lingering questions about what really happened that night. Secrets unfold and the power of honesty and family bring healing.

Interested residents and prospective new members are always welcome to attend any of the meetings of the Royalton Hartland Book Club. During the meeting, the members choose the book that they will discuss at the following meeting and a wide variety of genres are always considered.

For more information about the Royalton Hartland Book Club and the library's other programs please call the library at (716) 735-3281. Additional details can be found online at the library's website at .

Monday, January 19, 2015


The Royalton-Hartland Community Library is searching for a library director. Details on the job opening can be found here:

Friday, January 16, 2015


As part of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2014-2015 Community Spotlight program, Royalton-Hartland High School Chorus and Orchestra will perform prior to the Orchestra’s M&T Bank Classics Concert performance entitled Happy Birthday Mozart on Saturday, January 24th.

Royalton-Hartland High School will take the stage at 7:15 pm in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall.  This trip is made possible, in part, through grants from the Kenan Arts Council Arts in Education program and the Royalton-Hartland Music Parents Club.

The Community Spotlight program was founded in 1995 as a way to showcase the musical talent of Western New York’s students. The program is supported by the generous sponsorship of Bank of America.

All student performers will receive a free ticket to the concert and their families will also receive discounted tickets to the BPO performance immediately following. All Community Spotlight performances are 30 minutes in length and begin 45 minutes prior to the BPO concert.

Tickets for this M&T Bank Classics Concert are on sale now. Deep discounts are available for children, seniors and groups as well as friends and families of Royalton-Hartland High School. Just mention the Royalton-Hartland High School Chorus or Orchestra when you call to order tickets. 

Tickets can be purchased on-line at or, at all outlets or at the Buffalo Philharmonic box office located at 370 Pennsylvania Avenue. For more information or to purchase tickets by phone call (716) 885-5000 or toll-free, (800) 699-3168.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Royalton-Hartland student Evan Kindron is a volunteer at the Middleport Fire Company and he is also a student in Eric Farrell’s Welding program at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center.
  When the Welding teaching assistant John Gailie asked if anyone would volunteer to help out his fire company in Cambria with a project, he jumped at the chance. 
The Cambria Volunteer Fire Company recently purchased a pickup that they wanted to convert from a residential vehicle to an emergency vehicle and needed a back rack for it.  “We are going to use the vehicle for police and fire services when we need to block off roads or let people know to slow down,” says Mr. Gailie.  “The back rack will allow us to put a light bar on the top so people in front of us or behind us can see it and be aware that there is a situation.  We will also be hauling cones and generators and it will protect the window from being damaged.” 
Evan designed the rack, using the Auto CAD program after getting the dimensions from measuring the truck.  He cut out the pieces and welded together so it would be a customized fit for the vehicle.  He had students in Mike Schultz’s Diesel Mechanics program paint it and a classmate designed the Cambria Fire Department sign that was attached. 
“Our department was so grateful to Evan for volunteering his time to do this that our Fire Chief Shawn McIntyre invited him to the station and made him an honorary member of the company,” says Mr. Gailie.  “All our members gave him a standing ovation for the awesome job he did and were just so impressed that the class donated the materials for him to make this rack for them.  It saved the department hundreds of dollars.” 

Saturday, January 10, 2015


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has announced plans to implement its Corrective Measure Alternative remedy (CMA 9), using State funds, on residential properties in the historic Air Deposition 1 and Culvert 105 Study Areas in the Village of Middleport.  FMC will not participate in this phase of the remediation and does not support NYSDEC’s unilateral action.

The NYSDEC remedy involves the removal of vegetation, excavation and replacement of soils, and restoration of some foliage at residential properties in the Village of Middleport. 

FMC recommends implementation of CMA 3, a remediation that would satisfy NYSDEC’s stated objectives and create less disruption to the community than NYSDEC’s CMA 9.  FMC remains willing to implement CMA 3.  CMA 3 was recommended by FMC with community support and is also representative of FMC’s long-standing commitment to protect human health, safety, and the environment. 

The principal difference between CMA 3 and CMA 9 is the amount of disruption and intrusion CMA 9 will cause over CMA 3.  Studies show NYSDEC’s CMA 9 will provide no meaningful public health benefit over CMA 3, while its construction work and increased truck traffic will be more disruptive to the community.   FMC remains ready to implement CMA 3 in the Village of Middleport, which would negate the need for NYSDEC to seek State funds to implement CMA 9.

Eight remediation alternatives were developed under an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) that has guided the investigation and development of Middleport remedial plans for 23 years.  NYSDEC, however, selected a ninth alternative that does not comply with the AOC.  Therefore, FMC entered into litigation with NYSDEC and the United States Environmental Protection Agency over NYSDEC’s failure to follow the AOC.  Those lawsuits are ongoing and have not yet been resolved.  FMC is disappointed that NYSDEC is moving forward with remediation while FMC and NYSDEC are in litigation over the level of remediation that NYSDEC now intends to impose on the community.   

FMC representatives are available to talk to residents affected by NYSDEC’s actions at FMC’s Community Office at 8 South Vernon Street in Middleport.  However, FMC will not be conducting this remediation and all specific questions on the remediation work will be referred to NYSDEC.

Friday, January 9, 2015



The New York Department of Environmental Conservation announced today that they are launching this month the design phase for cleanup of residential and business areas adjacent to and near the FMC Superfund site.

You can download the DEC's notice here:


Every spring the Niagara County Soil & water Conservation District sells DEC-raised saplings for local residents to plant for use in conservation projects and lawns. Over 60,000 trees are distributed across the county on an annual basis. The trees will be available in late April.

It's a really great program for two reasons...

1) It gives you access to many different species of trees and shrubs suitable for a wide variety of soil. So, there are trees available for any conservation project you may have like creating a hedgerow, planting foodstuff for birds & mammals, starting a woodlot, stifling erosion, improving your lawn and more.

2) It's cheap. You could never buy these types and amounts of trees from a local nursery without paying an arm and a leg. These trees are a great buy.

The order form is available here:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Royalton-Hartland's start is delayed 1 hour today due to the quick snow band passing through the area this morning.

Monday, January 5, 2015


Roy-Hart Middle School is having a spaghetti dinner on Thursday, January 8th from 4:00-7:00. Dinners cost $8 and include all-you-can-eat spaghetti, meatballs, salad, Italian bread, dessert, and unlimited beverages. Children 7 and under eat for free. A small amount of tickets will be available at the door. Pre-sale is preferred. Call Mrs. Opanashuk at 716.735.2000 x 7067 or buy your tickets from any eighth grade student. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Mrs. Kilpatrick, who was a music teacher at Roy-Hart, passed away on December 30th. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Her obituary...

Mary Helen Kilpatrick, 82, of the Town of Pavilion, NY passed away at her home, on December 30, 2014 from Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), resulting from a severe immune deficiency, arising from various treatments she had undergone.

Since 2003, Mary Helen fought courageous battles with three different forms of cancer, each in turn ending in remission. In 2009 a fall severely damaged her left ankle, which could not be repaired through surgery, thus resulting in her being wheelchair bound.

Mary Helen Kilpatrick was born April 19, 1932 at Sayre, PA, the daughter of the late Homer B. Rutherford and Mary T. (Stiles) Rutherford. She graduated from Amherst High School, Amherst, NY in 1950 and from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 1954 with a BS Degree in Music Education. Mary Helen taught vocal music first at Cassadaga Valley Central School, Sinclairville, NY, then at Lancaster Central School, Lancaster, NY and later at Royalton-Hartland Central School, Middleport, NY.

While at Royalton-Hartland, Mary Helen assisted in the school musical productions, first in staging, then in leading the pit orchestra. She also did the same for several Middleport Rotary Musicals and the Lake Plains Players. Mary Helen was a founding member of the Middleport Community Choir.

She was very active in the former St. Stephen's Catholic Church while living in Middleport, NY. Serving as choir director and helped in the development of several parish ministries. For 36 years she played French horn in the Amherst (NY) Symphony Orchestra. On April 28, 2002, Mary Helen was among some 40 others who were honored with the "Lay Award of St. Joseph the Worker" by Bishop Henry J. Mansell at the Diocesan Cathedral in Buffalo, NY for their outstanding and dedicated service to the Church over many years.

In 2002, Mary Helen and her Husband, Bob, built a retirement home in the LeRoy-Pavilion (NY) area. Here as a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church, LeRoy, NY she sang in the choir and again developed two parish ministries. Mary Helen had a special interest in gardening, growing roses and various spring and summer flowers. She maintained a year around bird feeder to attract various birds in season and was very knowledgeable of the many types that visited. She was an active participant in the Covington Daylighters, a craft group, until her recent illness.

She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Robert T., four children; Kathryn Anne (Laurence) Symenow of Winchester, VA, Geoffrey Robert (Catherine) Lewis of Reston, VA, Dion Andrew (Lisa) Lewis of Amherst, NH. These three were raised by the Kilpatrick's (Uncle & Aunt) upon the sudden death of their parents, Gordon and Mary Elizabeth (Kilpatrick) Lewis in an automobile accident, and Margaret Mary (Douglas) Thater of LeRoy, NY. Also surviving are eleven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. Also surviving is a sister, Janet Fuller and a niece, Katherine R. Fuller, both of Maryland, and another sister, Margaret Traynor Rutherford of Greene, NY.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 11:00 AM at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, St. Peter's Site, 44 Lake Street, LeRoy, NY. Interment will be in St. Francis Cemetery, LeRoy.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in the form of mass cards