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Church in Knowlesville serves 416 fish fry dinners

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 February 2018 at 9:13 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – The United Methodist Church of the Abundant Harvest in Knowlesville served 416 fish fry dinners today, the start of a weekly event during the Lenten season.

The top photo shows Jeff Smith, right, and Glen Busch in the “Fish Hut” where they cooked the fish and French fries.

The church created the Fish Hut behind its fellowship hall on Knowlesville Road. Busch said the fish fry dinners are an important fundraiser for the church, which has church buildings in Knowlesville and Millville.

Danielle Higgins was busy in the kitchen with other church volunteers late this afternoon, when the fellowship hall was crowded with people.

Beverly Paul tended to the desserts.

The dinners drew a big crowd to the church’s fellowship hall. The dinners include batter dipped fish, French fries or baked potato, coleslaw or applesauce, New England Clam Chowder or Italian Wedding Soup or Manhattan Clam Chowder, homemade style dessert and a beverage.

The church will be serving the dinners every Friday through March 30.

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Retiring Ridgeway Town Clerk praised for 23 years of service to residents

Photos by Tom Rivers: Barbara Klatt is pictured Tuesday at the Ridgeway Town Hall, where she has served as town clerk for nearly 23 years. She is retiring on Dec. 31.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 November 2017 at 8:57 am

RIDGEWAY – Barbara Klatt is retiring is Ridgeway town clerk on Dec. 31. On Tuesday, many town residents stopped by Town Hall to congratulate her on her career, and to thank her for her service.

“We always came out of here with results,” said resident Mark Eaton. “Everything was taken care of.”

His wife Pat said Klatt has been an ideal person serving as town clerk. She is friendly with the public and can handle the many duties with the job.

“She is a really nice person and I’ve always enjoyed talking with her,” Mrs. Eaton said. “She does a real nice job.”

A celebration cake for the town clerk included a smiling image of Klatt.

Klatt has served as town clerk for nearly 23 years. The job became increasingly complicated as the town added water districts and the state demanded more with reporting for hunting and fishing licenses, and other transactions.

“Barb has fantastic knowledge and experience,” said Brian Napoli, the town supervisor the past 12 years. “It has been a pleasure to work with her. She is insightful and funny, just a wonderful lady.”

Karen Kaiser, the deputy town clerk, was elected to succeed Klatt.

“She is highly educated in all aspects of town clerk,” Kaiser said. “She knows the right thing and she is a nice person who always has the best interest of the town at heart.”

Klatt isn’t coasting into retirement. She has one more tax billing cycle to get through. She will help prepare 3,200 tax bills next month. They all need to be sorted, and some are sent to escrow accounts and there are third party notifications. (Kaiser gets to do the 1,200 water bills in January for 13 water districts.)

Klatt said computers have helped the town clerk do the many tasks. When she started, hunting and fishing licenses were done by hand or with a typewriter. Now they go into a state database. (Klatt said the state website can be temperamental.)

The town clerk’s office also handles about 900 dog licenses a year, and numerous records – death certificates, marriage licenses and birth certificates. The clerk gives out the license for charitable gaming, handles payroll processing for several town departments, and attends the Town Board meetings and keeps the minutes.

Klatt said she is grateful for the opportunity.

“I loved serving the people of Ridgeway,” Klatt said. “The people were the reason I kept going. There was a lot of laughter. They brought so many stories with them.”

There was an open house at the Town Hall on Tuesday, where residents were urged to stop by and see Klatt. She also received citations or commendations for her service from Congressman Chris Collins, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and the Orleans County Legislature.

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DOT closing Knowlesville lift bridge for winter

Posted 16 November 2017 at 9:52 am

File photo: The Knowlesville lift bridge, which has been reduced to one-lane traffic with a 6-ton weight limit, is be closed for the winter.

Press Release, NYS Department of Transportation

RIDGEWAY – The New York State Department of Transportation today announced that the bridge carrying Knowlesville Road over the Erie Canal in the town of Ridgeway will close to all traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians, for the winter months beginning today. The road is expected to reopen by the end of February 2018.

A recent bridge inspection and engineering analysis identified the need to close the bridge immediately for steel repairs. A previously scheduled repair project to fix the steel beams carrying the bridge over the Canal is scheduled to begin on November 27.

The truss-style movable bridge, built in 1910, is posted with a maximum weight of six tons. Upon completion of the repairs, the bridge is expected to reopen to all legal loads.

Approximately 1,100 vehicles use this canal crossing daily.

No official detour will be posted. Culvert Road passing under the canal is approximately 1.5 miles to the west, and the Presbyterian Road bridge is less than two miles to the east.

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Huge turnout in Ridgeway for benefit to aid Megan Dix’s family

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 October 2017 at 8:54 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lori Panek, Megan Dix’s aunt, and Randi Rushing, Megan’s cousin, check the winning bids on some of the 300 gift baskets up for auction on Saturday at a benefit for Megan Dix’s family.

RIDGEWAY – There was a massive turnout on Saturday at the benefit to support Megan Dix’s family. More than 1,500 chicken barbecue dinners were sold, 300 gift baskets were raffled off, as well as 60 large items and a dozen “mega” items valued at $600 or more.

The benefit raised $42,000 for the family of Megan Dix, who was murdered on Aug. 25 while taking a lunch break in Brockport, not far from where she worked at Lowe’s.

The benefit on Saturday started at 1 p.m. at the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. Not long after noon people were descending upon the rec hall on Ridge Road.

“It has just been tremendous,” Charlie Dix, Megan’s brother in law, said about the community response.

These balloons help symbolize a community in grief after Megan Dix was shot and killed on Aug. 25.

At times, it felt like the entire Lyndonville community was in the rec hall on Saturday.

Megan, 33, is the youngest of eight siblings. She and her husband, Chris, have an 8-year-old son, CJ.

Charlie Dix said the benefit on Saturday brought some focus back to the grieving family.

Megan’s accused murderer, Holly Colino, has been dominating the headlines with some of her bizarre behavior, including online rants before the Aug. 25 shooting and then a series of graffiti at the East Rochester community where she grew up. A Monroe County Court judge last week ordered a mental competency exam for Colino.

The gift baskets up for auction are spread out on tables at the fire hall. Volunteers spent Friday unloading a tractor trailer that was filled with donated items in the days and weeks leading up to the benefit. Bobbi Houseman took the lead in organizing those items.

Cathy Buckland, a friend of Megan and Chris Dix, serves pizza at the benefit. In addition to the pizza, 1,550 chicken barbecue dinners were sold.

Arianna Dailey of Batavia, left, holds balloons that have the attention of Annalee Erdle, 1 1/2, of Lyndonville. Annalee is held by Chelsea Silversmith of Lyndonville. Annalee’s mother, Alyssa Erdle, is in back at right.

Some of the attendees check the list of auctioned items to see if they had the winning bid. The benefit started at 1 p.m. and continued until 10 p.m.

Shawn Whittier served as DJ at the event.

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6,000 surveys being sent to residents in western Orleans

Provided photo: The elected officials from the western Orleans County municipalities are working together on a comprehensive plan and survey. Pictured, from left, include Medina Mayor Michael Sidari, Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli and Yates Town Supervisor Jim Simon. The Town of Shelby and Village of Lyndonville also are part of the effort.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 July 2017 at 7:41 am

Residents asked to assess quality of life issues, rank priorities for community development

Residents in Western Orleans County are urged to fill out a survey asking them to rank priorities in the community and give their views on other quality of life issues.

The towns of Ridgeway, Shelby and Yates, as well as the villages of Medina and Lyndonville are working together on a comprehensive plan for the western end of the county.

The surveys are being sent out to about 6,000 households and landowners. They are asked to complete the questionnaire by Aug. 4.

“The survey is a critical step in the update of the Western Orleans Comprehensive Plan,” said Yates Town Supervisor Jim Simon, chairman of the committee responsible for revising the comprehensive plan. “It is through our stakeholders – the residents and landowners receiving the survey – that we gain insight into their values and priorities for formulating public policies affecting quality-of-life issues for the next 10 to 15 years.”

The eight-page survey seeks input on many issues, including economic development, youth programs, where people shop,  views on development (heavy industrial, commercial, residential and light industrial), condition of streets and sidewalks, drug abuse in community, affordable housing, walkability of communities, public safety and many other topics.

Residents in western Orleans County were last surveyed in 2002 when a comprehensive plan for the five municipalities was prepared.

“My fellow chief elected officials and I strongly encourage all to complete and return the survey,” Simon said. “The greater the response rate, the more the results represent the entire community.”

The survey can be dropped off at any one of 17 different locations in western Orleans County, all of which are listed on the first page of the survey form. Additional survey forms can be obtained at any town or village clerk’s office in western Orleans County.

“Those who participate in the survey do so anonymously,” Simon said, “and the collective results will be presented publicly and reported in both the Comprehensive Plan and on-line.” Questions about the survey can be directed to the Orleans County Department of Planning and Development, which is assisting in the preparation of the Comprehensive Plan, at (585) 589-3198.

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Knowlesville lift bridge will close for 10 days for repairs

Staff Reports Posted 17 June 2017 at 11:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: The lift bridge in Knowlesville, already limited to one lane and a 6-ton weight limit, will close for about 10 days for some repairs.

KNOWLESVILLE – The lift bridge that carries Knowlesville Road over the Erie Canal will temporarily close to traffic on Tuesday for approximately 10 days through June 30, the state Department of Transportation has advised local officials.

A detour will not be posted. Culvert Road is to the west and Presbyterian Road is to the east.

Bridge maintenance crews will be replacing concrete approach slab and doing some minor steel work.

The bridge, which was built in 1910, has had a weight restriction and is limited to one lane.

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Firefighters contain Lyndonville fire to back bedroom

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2017 at 1:57 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – A fire in the back bedroom of a house on Route 63 was contained to that room due to a quick response from firefighters, said David Hydock, deputy fire coordinator for Orleans County.

Firefighters were dispatched to a house fire at 12:16 p.m. at 2274 Lyndonville Rd. when smoke was observed coming out of the back of the house from the top floor. The house, owned by Wade Patterson, is located in the Town of Ridgeway.

Damage was mostly limited to the back bedroom, with additional smoke and water damage, Hydock said.

Firefighters from Lyndonville, Medina and Ridgeway responded to the scene.

Adam Wengrzycki, a Medina firefighter, pulls off shingles and checks for hot spots in the attic. There weren’t any hot spots up high.

Firefighters run hoses into the house so water could be sprayed on the upstairs bedroom.

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East Scott Road bridge officially reopens on Wednesday

Staff Reports Posted 21 October 2016 at 5:48 pm


Provided photo

RIDGEWAY – The East Scott Road Bridge will officially reopen on Wednesday following a ribbon-cutting celebration at 11 a.m.

Union Concrete and Construction Corporation in West Seneca has worked on replacing the county-owned bridge. The company submitted the low bid for the project at $724,346.

The new bridge replaces one from 1936.

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Chris Caldwell feels the love during benefit on Sunday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 October 2016 at 9:18 am


Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – Chris Caldwell smiles at his son Jackson, 9, during a benefit Sunday at the Ridgeway Fire Hall for Caldwell, who was critically injured on Sept. 7, 2015. That day Caldwell was walking along Harrison Road in Shelby when he was hit from behind by a drunk driver.

Caldwell has suffered a brain injury, had his left leg amputated after infection set in, and suffered numerous broken bones.


More than 100 people turned out for the benefit, where they bid on about 100 gift baskets and other items, including two bikes. The event raised $4,200 with proceeds going towards Caldwell’s medical expenses. This photo was taken near the end of the benefit when many had left.

One of the attendees on Sunday was a paramedic who helped Caldwell after the accident. First responders weren’t optimistic he would survive after he was struck that day. He was flown by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center, where doctors also were grim in predicting Caldwell’s future.

Caldwell’s family and friends praise him for his upbeat attitude as he takes physical therapy and does daily exercises. Caldwell, who had worked a decade as a heavy equipment operator in construction, said he appreciated seeing so many friends on Sunday.


Jonathan Doherty of Albion attended the benefit and wished Caldwell well in his recovery. Doherty was busy in the weeks leading up to the benefit collecting donations for the basket raffle.


Chris Caldwell is pictured with his sons: Christopher, 13; and Jackson, 9.

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2 injured in 3-car crash on 104 in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 September 2016 at 3:59 pm


RIDGEWAY – Two people were taken by ambulance to hospitals following an accident with three vehicles this afternoon on Route 104, between Knowlesville and Culvert roads. The top photo shows firefighters working to cut the battery after the driver had been removed from the vehicle.

The driver was eastbound on 104 and turned to go into the driveway at a house where a bride and her bridesmaids were getting ready. The driver pulled in front on a pickup headed westbound, according to an Orleans County sheriff’s deputy.


These trucks collided after the driver of the pickup truck at left attempted to avoid a vehicle that crossed into the westbound lane suddenly at 1:15 p.m. A passenger in the vehicle at left was taken by ambulance. A deputy at the scene said none of the injuries were serious.

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