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More photos from Fourth of July in Lyndonville

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 July 2017 at 11:40 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville was the place to be on the Fourth of July in Orleans County, with activities and entertainment from morning to night.

The day is highlighted by a parade and fireworks, but included much more, including the WNY Garden Tractor Pull. The top photo shows Bill Tesch of Barker competing. The tractors are modified with powerful engines to pull a weight transfer sled that weighs 7,000 to 9,000 pounds. It gets heavier as it moves farther down the track.

Frank Burkett of Grand Island competes with his tractor, “Sweet Pea,” in the tractor pull.

Lonnie Froman, lead singer for the band The Who Dats, entertained a crowd for three hours before the fireworks.

Zach Shaffer and the March Time Marchers practice before the parade. A spot by LynOaken Farms served as a staging area for the marching bands.

About 1,500 plastic ducks were dropped into Johnson Creek for the duck race, which is a fundraiser for Hospice of Orleans.

Lloyd Denniston, left, and his father John retrieve the ducks from Johnson Creek.

Ann Marie Holland, president of the Lyndonville Lions Club, waves to the crowd on Main Street. The Lions Club has organized the festival the past 43 years.

The Lyndonville Central School marching band performed patriotic music in the parade. The band rehearsed the week after school was let out for the summer.

The Middleport Fire Department was one of many fire departments in the parade.

The day was capped with a 40-minute fireworks show beginning at 10 p.m.

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Politicians can’t resist Lyndonville parade

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 July 2017 at 9:55 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville Fourth of July Parade has become a can’t miss for politicians and aspiring elected officials. Tuesday’s parade included many candidates for public office, including Orleans County Legislator Don Allport of Gaines. He faces a challenge this year from Al Capurso.

Capurso rode in the parade in a car driven by his son, Kenny.

State Sen. Rob Ortt passes out candy to kids on Main Street.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley has a bucket full of candy to pass out to children.

Ed Houseknecht and his supporters promote his campaign for Shelby town supervisor.

Gerry Zinkievich, left, is running for Shelby town councilwoman and Wendi Pencille is challenging Houseknecht for Shelby town supervisor.

Karen Kaiser, left, has a team of supporters out in her campaign for Ridgeway town clerk.

Kim DeFrank, right, is running for Orleans County treasurer.

Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower acknowledges friends in the crowd.

Paul Lauricella rides a tractor with signs opposing wind turbines and the SAFE Act. He is running for Yates Town Board.

Bruce Schmidt, the Gaines town justice and former Orleans County Republican Party chairman, rode a Corvette in the parade.

Save Ontario Shores, a group opposed to a large-scale wind turbine project in Yates and Somerset, also was in the parade with its message against the project by Apex Clean Energy.

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Fireworks cap off festive celebration in Lyndonville

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 July 2017 at 7:08 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – The village of Lyndonville was packed for the fireworks show behind the school on Tuesday night. Young Explosives put on a 40-minute show capped by an exciting finale with bursts of light and booming noises.

The Lyndonville Lions Club has put on the Fourth of July event for the past 43 years. The fireworks show is one of the biggest in Western New York.

Many people brought lawn chairs and set up on the school softball and baseball fields to watch the spectacle in the sky.

This display is part of the fireworks finale.

Shaun Kelly of Kent lights a Chinese lantern and prepares to let it fly just before the fireworks.

Shaun Kelly and other family members release five Chinese lanterns. The family does it in memory of Shaun’s nephew, Trenton Nelson, who died at age 16 on June 2, 2015 after being fatally stabbed in Rochester.

These three siblings from Barker let go of a Chinese lantern, which function as small hot air balloons. The group includes, from left: Brent Johnson, 13; Natalie Reglina, 15; and Neila Johnson, 9.

Julio Doval, 12, of Medina has fun with sparklers.

This group enjoys glow sticks and accessories. Most of these kids are the grandchildren of Jim and Debbie Schmitt of Lyndonville. The Schmitts have been coming to the Lyndonville Fourth of July festival for more than 40 years. They were musicians in the second annual festival, and enjoyed the community so much they moved to Lyndonville.

Marty Hobbs and the Who Dats performed in concert for three hours before the fireworks.

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Lyndonville parade celebrates Red, White and Blue

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 July 2017 at 7:18 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Members of the Lyndonville Central School marching band perform on main Street during the annual Fourth of July Parade in Lyndonville.

The parade featured many patriotic floats from community organizations.

Stanley Thurber, clutching a POW/MIA flag, rode in a 1960 Impala owned by Cecil Livingston of Medina.

Randall Bane dressed as Uncle Sam while carrying a message, “In God We Trust.” The button on his hat thanks veterans in the Butts-Clark American Legion Post for their service.

A local Girl Scout has her face decorated for Independence Day. She is on a float with other Girl Scouts.

Jake Stinson carries his daughter Amber in the parade. Stinson was in the parade promoting his business, Turf Pro.

The Lyndonville Fire Department marches down Maple Avenue near the beginning of the parade route.

Cobble the Mouse from the Cobblestone Museum waves flags to the crowd along Main Street.

The Lyndonville Class of 1982 had a Christmas themed float. They tossed a generous supply of candy to kids along the parade route.

This llama joined 4-H kids in promoting the 100th anniversary of the 4-H program and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

This costumed bald eagle joined the Knights of Columbus and St. Joan of Arc.

This group from the Knights of Columbus and St. Joan of Arc were celebrating freedom, including the 14th Amendment from 1868 which granted citizenship to people born and naturalized in the United States, including former slaves recently freed. (Bob Golden is holding that sign. Greg Dugan is dressed as Uncle Sam.)

There were many fire trucks from Orleans and Niagara counties in the parade.

The crowd stands at attention for the Honor Guard.

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Delano Steele kicks off Yates library summer concert series

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 July 2017 at 10:51 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – The rock band Delano Steele performed this evening at Veterans Park in Lyndonville to start the Yates Community Library’s concert series.

The band members include, from left: Kyle Worgo on bass guitar and lead vocals, Dylan DeSmit on lead guitar and lead vocals, Ross Burgess on lead guitar, and Alex DeSmit on drums.

(The Barker Community Band was supposed to start the series a week but the concert was cancelled due to rain. The Barker group has been rescheduled for July 24.)

The library has seven concerts scheduled at Veterans Park. The library’s concert series – “More Than Just Books” – has been a summer staple in Lyndonville for about 20 years. The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council provides funding for the series.

Kyle Worgo, left, and Dylan DeSmit perform the band’s original song, “Alcohol and Cigarettes.” Delano Steele includes musicians from Albion and Lyndonville. The band is named for a road in Barre.

Delano Steele has recorded a CD, “Shake the Ground,” and is working on a second album. The band plays hard rock, metal and soft rock.

Ross Burgess plays the lead guitar.

Alex DeSmit is a high-energy drummer for the band.

The bands all play at Veterans Park next to the waterfalls on Johnson Creek.

The concert lineup for the rest of the season includes:

• July 10 (7 p.m.) – David Stockton & Pocket Change: 30th anniversary of this versatile group.

• July 17 (6:30 p.m.) – Old Hippies: Bill and Kay McDonald take the audience back in time.

• July 24: (7 p.m.) – Barker Community Band, playing marches, show tunes, Armed Forces Salute.

• July 31 (6:30 p.m.) – The C.D.R. Trio, playing Blues & Rock.

• Aug. 14 (6:30 p.m.) – Blue Sky, playing contemporary country.

• Aug. 28 (6 p.m.) – Dounya, featuring the Huzair family

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Lyndonville will host big July Fourth bash

File photos by Tom Rivers: A man sits back on the school campus and enjoys the fireworks show on July 4, 2014. Young Explosives will be back for the fireworks show on Tuesday night.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 July 2017 at 10:09 am

LYNDONVILLE – Orleans County’s smallest village will host a big July Fourth bash on Tuesday. The all-day event in Lyndonville is highlighted by a patriotic parade at noon and a fireworks display at about 10 p.m.

The Lyndonville Lions Club is the lead organizer of the Independence Day celebration. The Lions have been putting on the event for 43 years.

“Every single member works on the Fourth of July,” said Lynne Johnson, who just ended two years as president of the Lions Club.

About 30 Lions Club members are busy throughout the year working on the event. They also have help from other community volunteers, as well as the village and town.

“Because everybody is involved in Lyndonville in community service we don’t seem to ever be lacking,” Johnson said. “It all comes together. It’s like the Amish raising a barn. The community comes together and helps each other. There is a lot of blood and sweat that goes into the event, but everybody has fun.”

Volunteers are setting up tents this morning and prepping for a busy Tuesday. There was some last-second scrambling to find enough grills, but Johnson said it’s shaping up to be a great day, including with the weather forecast.

Faith Bible Baptist Church in Medina made this patriotic float, “Old Glory,” in last year’s parade. This year the parade has a theme, “Symbols of Freedom.”

Some highlights in the schedule include:

• The festival opens at 10 a.m. with a bounce house for kids from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the front lawn of the school.

• Arts & Crafts Show from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school front lawn with more than 60 vendors.

• Chicken barbecues with baked beans & salt potatoes from 1 to 5 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

• Concert by Gates Keystone Club Police Pipes & Drums, 1:30 p.m.

• WNY Garden Tractor Pull  from 1 to 4 p.m. on Housel Avenue.

• The Hospice of Orleans Duck Race starts at 3 p.m. in Johnson Creek. About 1,400 ducks have been sold already. Hospice has 2,500 total with the top prize, $500.

• The Who Dats in concert at High School Parking Lot from 7 p.m. until the fireworks.

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Lyndonville celebrates 63 graduates at commencement

Staff Reports Posted 24 June 2017 at 8:54 am

Photos courtesy of Tracey Lewis

LYNDONVILLE – The 63 graduates in the Class of 2017 toss their caps following commencement on Friday at the school.

The ceremony was held at Stroyan Auditorium on Housel Avenue. After the program, the graduates met on the soccer field to toss their caps.

The class is pictured at the auditorium at the beginning of the program.

Jessica Smith, Lyndonville’s valedictorian, addresses her classmates and the crowd on Friday. Smith is headed to Rochester Institute of Technology to major in film animation.

Dawson Joy hugs teacher Robin Boyle after he was presented with the Fred Large Scholarship, which is named in honor of Boyle’s father, a retired coach and teacher at Lyndonville.

Dr. Aaron Slack, high school principal, announces the names of the graduates while they received their diplomas.

Ted Lewis, president of the Board of Education, and Jason Smith (right), the district superintendent, present the diplomas to the graduates.

Salma Huzair and her classmates get ready to sing the alma mater.

Brooke Kiefer and her classmates sing the alma mater to close out commencement.

Ted Lewis, president of the Lyndonville Board of Education, is pictured with his daughter Aubrey, one of the graduates this year for Lyndonville.

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Lyndonville teacher wins ‘Better Beginnings’ state award

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2017 at 1:58 pm

Photos courtesy of Leylah Huzair: John Bailey, a Lyndonville elementary band teacher, was presented with the Helen Bach Moss Memorial Better Beginnings Award during last week’s band concert. The award is given the by the New York State Education Department.

LYNDONVILLE – A Lyndonville elementary school teacher who last week won the school district’s first-ever “Educator of the Year” award has added another prestigious honor.

John Bailey was recognized with a state “Better Beginnings Award” during last Thursday’s elementary concert.

Bailey, 27, is finishing his fifth year at Lyndonville. He is a high-energy teacher, inspiring students of all backgrounds and skill levels to work hard in band, and in other classes and activities at Lyndonville.

Bailey pushes his students to excel, with a nurturing approach. He uses that same style as the JV girls softball coach, helping the team to win games with skills, and not looking for scapegoats in defeat.

Bailey last year worked with Best to start a marching band for the annual Fourth of July Parade. There are nearly 100 students in the band. Working with that group extends the school year for Bailey. Other teachers are happily enjoying summer vacation while he is getting students ready for the parade.

Elementary Principal Dr. Elissa Smith nominated Bailey for the Helen Bach Moss Memorial Better Beginnings Award presented by the New York State Education Department.

The spirit of the award is that better beginnings make stronger completions. The honor recognizes teachers who are skilled at engaging young minds and developing nurturing relationships with elementary school students.

Dr. Michael Moss, founder of the award, attended the Lyndonville concert and presented Bailey with a plaque.

“This achievement speaks to the powerful impact that a teacher like you can have on education,” Dr. Moss told Bailey.

John Bailey is pictured with Dr. Michael Moss, left, and Dr. Elissa Good, principal of the elementary school and Bailey’s nominator for the award, which includes a $1,000 stipend. The award was created to honor Helen Bach Moss, a young educator who died suddenly in 1988, after touching the lives of many people.

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Elementary music teacher named Lyndonville’s first ‘Educator of the Year’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2017 at 8:36 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: John Bailey was recognized during Monday’s Board of Education meeting as Lyndonville’s Educator of the Year. The district plans to make it an annual award.

LYNDONVILLE – The school district presented its first “Educator of the Year” award on Monday and selected an elementary school music teacher who is beloved by his students and respected by his colleagues.

John Bailey, 27, is finishing his fifth year at Lyndonville. He is a high-energy teacher, inspiring students of all backgrounds and skill levels to work hard in band, and in other classes and activities at Lyndonville.

“He has a unique ability to connect with students,” said Kristina Best, the high school band teacher. “He is very caring.”

Best was among three nominators for Bailey to receive the Educator of the Year. She said Bailey’s work in elementary school has helped the high school program to take off, with high schoolers playing collegiate and professional level music.

Bailey pushes his students to excel, with a nurturing approach. He uses that same style as the JV girls softball coach, helping the team to win games with skills, and not looking for scapegoats in defeat.

Bailey last year worked with Best to start a marching band for the annual Fourth of July Parade. There are nearly 100 students in the band. Working with that group extends the school year for Bailey. Other teachers are happily enjoying summer vacation while he is getting students ready for the parade.

Leif Isaacson, a senior at Lyndonville, said Bailey strives to get the best out of students.

John Bailey is shown last year working with the newly formed marching band while it practiced for the Fourth of July parade.

“Mr. Bailey also has a heart of gold and is committed not only to teaching what is necessary for his class, but also important life skills,” Isaacson said in a letter supporting Bailey for the award. “It doesn’t matter what kind of home you come from, or what the rest of your day has been like, because when you walk into Mr. Bailey’s room, all of that goes away and you become his student. He is a true mentor to his students.”

Jacob Corser, another student, also submitted a nomination for Bailey, calling him an “exceptional band teacher.”

“Mr. Bailey is encouraging all of his students to be the best they can be and we all love him,” Corser said.

Bailey said he wants to bridge the gap between athletics, academics and music. He feels he has done that as a coach, music teacher and educator.

“I’m humbled and incredibly honored to receive this award,” Bailey said at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

He praised his colleagues in the music department, Best and Jennifer Neroni-Trupo, for their support and dedication to students.

“I wouldn’t look good if I wasn’t surrounded by incredible people,” he said. “This is a special place to be.”

Bailey, who grew up in Pembroke, stays busy outside of school, directing the Batavia Concert Band and the Pembroke-Corfu Community Band.

He said he is impressed by the Lyndonville school district, with students pushing themselves to do their best in athletics, the music program, the Academic Decathlon which competed in nationals in Wisconsin. The district has a strong team in place with administrators, teachers and parents striving to support students, Bailey said.

“I’ve really fallen in love with Lyndonville,” Bailey said after the BOE meeting. “It’s the most tightknit community I’ve seen. The district is passionate about well-rounded students.”

The Educator of the year award includes $1,000 for Bailey to use in the music department. He said he would pursue having an original piece of music written for Lyndonville.

The Board of Education on Monday also approved tenure for two teachers.  Jennifer Neroni-Trupo is a music teacher and director of the school’s drama program. She was praised by Principal Aaron Slack for pushing her students to excel and participate in the music program. She also leads the annual musical, which includes students from Medina.

“Jen has great people-management skills,” Slack said. “She has brought the two districts together with the musical program.”

Joe Suhr, a high school social studies teacher, also was approved for tenure. He has shown “a clear ability to build relationships with students” while engaging them in lively class lessons, Slack said. “He’s made history come alive for his students.”

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DWI crash simulation sends powerful warning to not drink and drive

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 June 2017 at 12:22 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Kim Bow, an administrative assistant at Lyndonville Central School, portrays a grieving mother this morning during a DWI crash simulation at the school. She is led from the crash scene by Deputy Tory Tooley.

The school has been doing the simulation before prom and graduation party season for several years, trying to send an important reminder to students to not drink and drive.

Lyndonville and Medina firefighters volunteered in the simulation today, using extrication tools to pull students out of the vehicles.

“We know this would devastate our community just to have one accident,” Lee Dillenbeck, the school’s athletic director and dean of students.

About 200 students watched first responders work to help students in the vehicles. The students wore makeup to appear bloodied. Three students were put on stretchers and put in ambulances. Two students had blankets placed on them to signify their deaths.

Ken Strickland, an investigator with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, explains to students why firefighters are using different tools to extricate the students. Strickland said first responders see many fatal accidents from drunk driving in Orleans County.

“Some of these people take months to recover,” Strickland said. “Some of them never get over their injuries.”

Strickland said students that drink alcohol, even one beer, can impair their ability to drive and have tragic consequences.

“Everybody will have some guilt that they will carry the rest of their lives,” Strickland said.

Natalie Allen is one of the students who volunteered to be a victim in a crash this morning. She is carried from the car to a stretcher.

Another student, Kelsi Spada, is led by stretcher to an ambulance.

Jason Smith, the school district superintendent, thanked the volunteers during today’s simulation.

“We want to keep the message strong and send an important reminder,” he said.

Lyndonville has its prom on Friday night at the White Birch. Then there will be many graduation parties this summer.

After the simulation, students attended a presentation by Justin A. Randall Jr. and his aide, Julie Flanagan.

Randle was 21 in 1982 when he was involved in a serious car accident while driving drunk. He has been in a wheelchair since 1982, can’t communicate with his voice and lives in a community residence staffed by the state in Mount Morris.

Randle was a star athlete at Cal-Mum in Livingston, leading the football and basketball teams. He also was one of the region’s top tennis players.

Randle, an “All-American kid,” played youth sports and had lots of friends at Cal-Mum.

He now communicates with his eyes, through a beeper and with special software where he can write out messages.

He told students, “To think before you drive or ride.”

Flanagan said a drunk driving conviction can also keep them from jobs, getting loans an scholarships, as well as costing them several thousand dollars in fines and legal fees.

She urged students to resist peer pressure to drink alcohol. They don’t need alcohol to have a good time, she said.

“How do you protect yourself?” she asked. “You do not drink and drive a vehicle. You do not ride in a vehicle with someone who has had a drink.”

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