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Contractor making repairs to roof on Lyndonville school

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 September 2017 at 5:03 pm

Provided photos

LYNDONVILLE – Workers from the Elmer Davis roofing company have been working on the roof at Lyndonville Central School.

The company is repairing part of the roof that was damaged during the March wind storm. The school district is also replacing part of the roof as part of a capital project.

Elmer Davis is the low bidder for the work at $548,000. Jason Smith, district superintendent, said the work should be complete in late fall.

Photo by Tom Rivers: The materials for the roof replacement were in place by the school in this photo taken on Sept. 2.

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250 attend vigil after tragic deaths of Megan Dix, Bill Carpenter

Photos by Tom Rivers: Megan Dix’s brother Don Duncanson, left, and brother-in-law Charlie Dix thank the community for their outpouring of support after Megan was killed on Aug. 25 in a random act of violence. "The support is more than any of us could have imagined," Dix told the group.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 September 2017 at 8:15 am

‘This shows what we’re about about. We’re all family here, blood or not blood. We have to take care of our own.’ – John Belson, Lyndonville mayor

LYNDONVILLE – About 250 people attended a candlelight vigil in Lyndonville on Saturday night in honor of Megan Dix and Bill Carpenter.

Megan was shot while taking her lunch break at a small parking lot near Lowe’s, where she worked in Brockport.

Megan is the youngest of eight siblings. She and her husband, Chris, have an 8-year-old son, CJ. Saturday would have been Megan’s 34th birthday.

Bill died in a motorcycle accident a week ago on Sunday morning after hitting a deer at about 6:30 in the morning. Carpenter, 60, was popular in the community. He played in many bands, was active at the Yates Baptist Church and worked as a corrections officer after 26 years at Kodak.

Both Megan and Bill were called sharing examples for the community, people devoted to their families and neighbors. Dan Thurber, pastor of the Oak Orchard Assembly of God, urged the mourners to follow the life example of Megan and Bill.

The group gathered first by the school and then walked to Lynhaven Cemetery by Megan’s grave. Then the mourners walked by candlelight to the baseball field on South Avenue, where they released balloons, some saying “Happy Birthday” because Saturday was Megan’s 34th birthday.

The vigil was organized by Jessica Skowneski, who attended school with Megan and was friends with Bill’s family. Skowneski said the two deaths have been hard on the small town, where so many are closely connected.

“This has been tragic for our community,” Skowneski said.

The mourners stopped by Megan Dix’s grave. Her father David Duncanson said the big show of support and the many testimonials of Megan’s goodness have helped the family with their “incredible pain.” Mr. Duncanson wept saying that Saturday was his daughter’s 34th birthday. The group then sang “Happy Birthday” to Megan.

“I know what a great person she was and it really helps that everyone also knew that,” Mr. Duncanson told the group.

Megan’s husband, Chris Dix, also thanked the community for opening their hearts to the family. He thanked them for their prayers.

The Rev. Dan Thurber, pastor of Oak Orchard Assembly of God, said it was standing-room-only for the funeral services for Megan Dix and Bill Carpenter, which shows their deep impact on the community.

Megan worked at Lowe’s and many of her co-workers were at her funeral. There was a long line of corrections officers at Bill’s service.

“They were both so well respected,” Thurber said.

Elizabeth Carpenter, Bill’s wife, said the Carpenters share a pain with Megan’s family with the loss of a young adult. Bill’s son Zack was only 30 when he was murdered May 10, 2013, in New Orleans. Zack helped build a skatepark in New Orleans. He was killed by an 18-year-old he met at the park.

Elizabeth said she appreciated the community rallying behind the Carpenter family in the past week.

“The only way I could get it is with the community support, the church support and most of all God,” she said.

Bill was a popular local musician. Several people said, “Rock on, Bill,” for the man who played keyboards, guitar and sang lead vocals for Jonesie and the Rattlers, and other local bands.

The mourners gather at Lynhaven Cemetery. They observed a moment of silence.

John Belson, the Lyndonville mayor, was among the mourners at the vigil. He thanked the community for their continued show of support.

“This shows what we’re about about,” Belson said. “We’re all family here, blood or not blood. We have to take care of our own.”

The vigil included a walk down Main Street from Housel Avenue to South Avenue.

At the baseball field, more than a dozen balloons were released. Several people also sang along to”Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts.

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Lyndonville wins best-tasting tap water for NY at State Fair

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 August 2017 at 4:15 pm

SYRACUSE – The Village of Lyndonville’s public water supply was named the best-tasting tap water in New York after winning the contest at the State Fair today.

Lyndonville won the Orleans County contest during the Strawberry Festival in June and on Aug. 12 won the western regional competition at the Rochester Public Market.

Lyndonville, which uses water from Lake Ontario, squared off against other regional winners at the State Fair today, including the Village of Canton from the northern region, City of Albany from the capital region, New York City Department of Environmental Protection from the metro, and Bolton Point from the central region.

This is the 31st year that the Tap Water Taste Contest has been held in New York State. The contest goal is to inform the general public about the value and quality of public drinking water through a fun, non-scientific competition, according to the Water and Wastewater Education and Outreach Committee, which manages the event.

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NYS teacher of the year will address Lyndonville community on Aug. 30

Posted 26 August 2017 at 8:14 am

Press Release, Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville Central School District invites all parents and community members for a presentation at  6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 30, by Greg Ahlquist.

Ahlquist is a Webster Central School District social studies teacher who was honored as the 2013 New York State Teacher of the Year. He will speak about the growth mindset and how it is important to encourage students to take risks and accept new challenges, learn from criticism, find lessons and inspiration in other people’s success, and persist in the face of setbacks.

Each and every year, Lyndonville Central School District aims to encourage students to achieve their best in academics and extracurricular activities. The district supports its students as they grow into young adults and begin to navigate their paths towards their futures. Throughout this school year, LCSD will increase its focus on nurturing the further growth of students.

Students have always been encouraged to set goals for themselves but this year, they are challenged to set the bar even higher. Whether it is taking an advanced placement course, trying a new instrument or acting on their athletic pursuits, students should set new, higher goals for themselves.

“Lyndonville Central School District aims to develop intelligent, well-rounded students by providing them a variety of opportunities to explore while getting their education,” said Superintendent Jason Smith. “Our students have a plethora of courses, activities and opportunities right here in our building that will challenge them and build their knowledge and experiences.”

“Our students may go on to a two-year college, a four-year college or even straight into careers, but it is important that we set high expectations of them while they are young students so they can grow and excel at whatever they do beyond graduation,” added Smith.

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Yates tells Apex current MET tower needs to be removed

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 August 2017 at 8:14 am

Board is expected to vote on second MET tower next month

YATES – The Town of Yates notified Apex Clean Energy on Thursday that it needs to remove a meteorological tower because it is no longer in compliance.

Apex in the summer of 2015 erected a 197-foot-high MET tower on land owned by Donna Bane. The tower is on part of a 65-acre lot at the southwest corner of Lakeshore and Marshall roads.

The permit was good for two years and that time frame has expired, Town Supervisor Jim Simon said.

Apex was notified at 6:29 p.m. on Thursday that the tower was out of compliance.

Taylor Quarles, Apex project manager, hadn’t seen the letter last evening when he attended the Town Board meeting.

“If there is a problem, we’ll correct it,” he said when asked by a reporter.

Apex is trying to have a second MET tower constructed in Yates.

The town held a public hearing on Thursday for that application, with speakers for and against the tower at the northeast corner of West Yates Center Road and Route 269.

Yates has had a moratorium on new MET towers for a year. Simon said the Town Board will vote on the application during its September board meeting.

Apex has proposed the Lighthouse Wind project with 50-60 turbines about 600 feet high in Yates and Somerset.

The MET towers provide data on wind strength and consistency. Apex has three MET towers in Somerset.

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Apex says 2020 is target date for construction of turbine projects in Orleans

Photos by Tom Rivers: Taylor Quarles, project manager for Lighthouse Wind in Orleans and Niagara counties, speaks to about 170 people on Tuesday evening during a dinner at The Gallagher in Medina.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 August 2017 at 8:21 am

MEDINA – Two large-scale wind turbine projects in Orleans County are both on target for construction in 2020, Apex Clean Energy officials told supporters this week.

The company had a dinner for 170 people at The Gallagher, a barn that is an events center in Medina.

“Look at the strength of community in this room for people in Orleans County who support wind energy in Orleans County,” Taylor Quarles, project manager for Lighthouse Wind, told the group.

The company has been working on Lighthouse Wind in Yates and Somerset for several years. Apex expects it will submit its application to a state siting board this winter.

The application will be subject to public hearings. Quarles said that process could take a year with construction of 50-60 turbines expected to start in 2020.

The 50-60 turbines are down from the 70 that were originally proposed for the project, which has met strong resistance from many community members who say the 600-foot-plus turbines are “too big, too close” in the rural community.

The turbines are mainly proposed for north of the village of Lyndonville, going west about 12 miles into Somerset.

Apex last year also announced it was working on a project in Barre called Heritage Wind. That project hasn’t met much opposition.

Ben Yazman, project developer for Apex, said the company has 7,500 acres under lease with 50 landowners in Barre.

The company will be working on the preliminary scoping document this fall to identify concerns with the project, and will be working on its responses.

He said the project could start construction in 2020. The project could generate $1.6 million in tax revenues annually for the Barre community, Apex said.

Both projects have been years in the making.

“A project becomes a reality through hundreds even thousands of conversations,” Quarles said.

He thanked many of the supporters for talking with their neighbors and some detractors about the projects.

Apex said the crowd of 170 people at the dinner on Tuesday is representative of the strong community support for the projects in Orleans County.

There are 25 wind farms in New York, with several in Wyoming County. Quarles and Yazman have encouraged people to see the turbines in Wyoming County, and talk to the residents and town officials there.

“Their success is a credit to our industry,” Yazman said. “They’re our best advertisers, so to speak.”

Howard Pierce of Yates is a vocal supporter for the Lighthouse project. He helped organize a tour on May 5 to Sheldon, Wyoming County.

Sheldon town officials shared how their wind energy project has had a dramatic effect in eliminating town taxes, bringing in $474,000 in annual revenue for the Town of Sheldon, Pierce said.

The project has been an economic boost for the rural town, Pierce told the crowd at the dinner.

“You go by the convenience stores and they are busy,” he said.

In Wyoming County, the turbines peak at about 400 feet, about 200 feet shorter than the ones proposed for the Lighthouse project.

Apex officials were asked about the claim by some elected officials, including Congressman Chris Collins and State Sen. Rob Ortt, that the Lighthouse turbines would jeopardize the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls.

Collins has introduced the “Protection of Military Airfields from Wind Turbine Encroachment Act” in an effort to ensure that any new wind turbines located within a 40-mile radius of a military installation will be ineligible for renewable energy tax credits.

Quarles said the base itself hasn’t objected to Lighthouse Wind. The base is transitioning to a new mission with refueler planes over 10,000 feet in the air.

He said many military bases in the United States have large-scale turbines closer than the ones proposed for Lighthouse Wind, which are 25 miles from the base at the far western end of the project in Somerset.

The Yates Town Board meets this evening for a public hearing at 7 p.m. at Town Hall for a proposed meteorological tower for Apex.

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Shakespeare makes return to Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 August 2017 at 8:09 am

Romeo & Juliet performed in Lyndonville with show today at Oak Orchard Lighthouse

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – A 14-member cast from Shake on the Lake performed Romeo & Juliet on Tuesday evening behind the Yates Community Library.

The top photo shows Zach Lusk (Romeo) and Larissa Jeanniton (Juliet).

Shake on the Lake is on an eight-county tour performing Shakespeare’s play with a modern twist.

Shake on the Lake will be performing the show this evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Oak Orchard Lighthouse at Point Breeze. (A group of Lyndonville students will be performing ahead the show at 6 p.m.) Admission is free.

The play tells the story of forbidden love between the two main characters.

Vinny Mraz plays Benvolio in the famous play. A crowd watched the show on the lawn behind the library.

Shake on the Lake is performing 15 shows on the tour, which ends Aug. 12 at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

About half of the cast returned from last summer’s tour. Most of the cast members are professionals.

Matt Duncan plays the musician, or “The Big Dripper,” singing several Elvis tunes during the show. This is his fourth season with Shake on the Lake, which is based in Wyoming County.

This signs directs people to the play which was performed behind the library by Johnson Creek. Today’s performance will be by the shore of Lake Ontario at the Oak Orchard Lighthouse.

The crowd broke out in laughter many times during the show.

Courtney Bennett-Baker plays Gregory in this sword-fighting scene.

Before the show by Shake on the Lake, seven Lyndonville students performed for about a half hour. They worked with Shake on the Lake in theater workshops in may, and then on Monday and Tuesday. These students include, from left: Brian Cunningham, Hayden Arlington, Sawyer Wilson, Qasim Huzair, Salma Huzair and Tamara Huzair. Leif Issacson also was in the cast of “Groundlings.”

The Lyndonville Area Foundation provided funding for the youth acting workshop and also for the Shake on the Lake performance on Tuesday in Lyndonville.

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Shake on the Lake returns for 2 performances this week in Orleans

File photos by Tom Rivers: Performers from Shake on the Lake perform Shakespeare July 31, 2016 at the Orleans County Marine Park. The travelling troupe, based in Wyoming County, will be back in Orleans County this week, partnering with Lyndonville drama students.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 August 2017 at 10:52 pm

LYNDONVILLE – A theater troupe known as Shake on the Lake will be performing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet twice this week in Orleans County as part of a tour in Western New York.

The group will be performing in Lyndonville at Veterans Park next to the library on Tuesday and then in Carlton on Wednesday at the Oak Orchard Lighthouse on Route 98. The actors will use the lighthouse as their stage. Boaters will be able to watch that performance from their vessels.

Both performances start at 6:30 p.m. and are free to the public. They two shows will include Lyndonville drama students who were in a theater workshop in early May with Josh Rice, one of the Shake on the Lake leaders.

The Lyndonville Area Foundation provided funding for Shake on the Lake to team with local students in performing Shakespeare on May 5 at Lyndonville Central School, and then for the two performances this week.

Josh Rice leads theater workshop with Lyndonville students in early May. They will be part of the performance sin Orleans County this week.

Shake on the Lake started in 2011 with a goal to bring Shakespeare to rural Western New York. The group is based in Silver Lake, Wyoming County, and includes professional actors.

Last summer Shake on the Lake toured in five counties, including a July 31 performance at the Orleans County Marine Park at Point Breeze.

This year’s season kicked off on July 27 in Geneseo and concludes Aug. 12 at at the Niagara Falls Air Force Base.

This season’s show features the story of forbidden love between Romeo and Juliet, but includes some modern twists.

For more on Shake on the Lake, click here.

(Editor’s Note: This article was updated to note the location for Wednesday’s show is at the Oak Orchard Lighthouse and not the Orleans County Marine Park.)

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Nearly 200 students perform in Summer Music Fest

Photos by Tom Rivers: These trumpet players rehearse on Thursday for their Summer Music Fest concert later that evening in Lyndonville. These musicians include from left: Jason Anstey of Albion, Will Rousch of Medina, Justin Higgins of Lyndonville and Benjamin O’Connor of Albion.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 July 2017 at 10:49 am

Albion, Lyndonville and Medina again put on concert

LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville hosted the Summer Music Fest this week which included 162 students from Albion, Lyndonville and Medina.

This is the fourth time the three schools have collaborated on the music festival and included the most students so far, up from 147 last year. Students had full days rehearsing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, before another rehearsal and the concert last evening.

The students will perform again on Sept. 15 as part of the Orleans County Heritage Festival. Several of the songs, such as “Over There,” have origins during World War I.

John Bailey, a Lyndonville band director, leads the combined ensemble during rehearsal on Thursday afternoon.

The music fest was a chance for students to keep their singing and instrument skills sharp, while also connecting with friends and kids from other local districts.

“They experience a fun way to play music together,” said Jeanette Sheliga, instrumental teacher at Medina. “These kids are from smaller districts so this gives them an opportunity to play in larger ensembles.”

She noted that Lyndonville and Medina share some programs, such as the musical, as well as athletic teams. The connections made in the elementary level may help them “cross district lines in shared programs when they are older.”

Students entering grades 5 through 7 were chosen to participate by their music teachers.

The two bands were directed by the elementary band teachers from the three districts: Jeanette Sheliga, Medina; Lindsey Fix, Albion; and John Bailey, Lyndonville. Chorus directors were Kathy Bleiler-Dick, Medina; Anna Atwater of Albion; and Jennifer Neroni-Trupo, Lyndonville.

Gabe Mark of Medina is one of the percussionists in the combined band.

The combined ensemble plays “Over There” during a rehearsal on Thursday. Lyndonville students wore orange, Medina students wore blue and Albion musicians had on purple shirts.

S’Koi Sanders-Smith of Albion plays the clarinet.

This group of trumpet players hits the right notes during rehearsal.

John Bailey of Lyndonville directs the band during rehearsal. “This looks awesome from my point of view,” Bailey told the students.

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NY approves $315K for Lyndonville schools to improve connectivity, technology

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 July 2017 at 1:57 pm

LYNDONVILLE – The state Education Department has approved phase two of a technology plan at Lyndonville Central School.

After approving $133,000 for interactive classroom whiteboards about a year ago, the state has given its OK to $315,600 for “connectivity” at the district. The new routers, network improvements, switches, wireless access points, and classrooms hardwired for computers will allow the district to have the computer infrastructure in place for phase three, when Lyndonville adds laptops, desktop computers, computer servers and more white boards.

“We don’t want to purchase more equipment and not have the infrastructure to support it,” said Jason Smith, the district superintendent.

The projects are funded with the $733,000 allocated for Lyndonville as part of a $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, which was passed by NY voters in 2014.

Lyndonville’s has held public hearings on its technology plans, and submitted the plans to the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that Lyndonville’s phase two for connectivity was part of $103.2 million approved for 154 Smart School Investment Plans.

The technology upgrades will modernize classrooms across New York and equip students with the skills they need to thrive in the global economy, Cuomo said.

“By investing in modern technology for classrooms across the state, we expand educational opportunity, increase student engagement, boost achievement, and close the digital divide,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding equips students with the skills and technology they need to succeed in the modern economy and build a stronger New York for all.”

Smith said Lyndonville is using Google Classroom, where teachers post assignments online and students can then submit research papers and other school projects.

The district plans to visit other schools to see how they have implemented laptops and other technology in the classroom.

Lyndonville is waiting on state approval for phase three of the technology plan, which includes the laptops for student use.

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