We appreciate input from our readers, and we publish letters to the editor without charge. While open speech and responsibility are encouraged, comments may be rejected if they are purely a personal attack, offensive or repetitive. Comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Orleans Hub. Although care is taken to moderate comments, we have no control over how they are interpreted and we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of comments and the rationality of the opinions expressed. We reserve the right to edit letters for content and brevity. Please limit the length of your letter (we suggest no more than 500 words) and provide your name, telephone number, mailing address and a verifiable email address for verification purposes. Letters should be emailed to email@example.com.
Albion artist creates painting for the memorial at the National Warplane Museum
GENESEO – An Albion artist has been chosen to do a painting of a Vietnamese lady which will accompany a historic airplane recently acquired from the Smithsonian by the National Warplane Museum.
Carol Culhane’s career has focused extensively on artwork to support veterans, mostly because her husband Gerald is a Vietnam veteran.
The museum’s recently acquired C-130 has been named “Saigon Lady,” and will be the centerpiece of a memorial help the Warplane Museum tell the stories of veterans from throughout Western New York, including Orleans County, who served in Vietnam during the war and the Southeast Asian Americans who built a new life for their families in America.
This memorial will be one of the first of its kind in the country, according to information from the National Warplane Museum.
An Albion native and decorated Vietnam helicopter pilot Charlie Nesbitt is excited to hear about the new memorial. Nesbitt received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism in flying missions with Special Forces in Laos and Cambodia. He served from May 1968 to May 1969.
“The National Warplane Museum is a great supporter of keeping the history of aviation alive,” Nesbitt said. “The C-130 is one of the most important aircraft used in Vietnam. It was used to fly low over the runway and drop supplies for places under attack. A number of them were shot down. The museum has focused on World War II, and now it’s a perfectly wonderful thing they are going to recognize the veterans from the Vietnam War.”
It is also interesting to note that Carol Culhane’s first artistic endeavor was when Nesbitt first got into politics in the 1970s and asked her if she could paint him some campaign signs for his run for Barre councilman.
The name “Saigon Lady” was chosen for the Museum’s C-130 because of the plane’s unique history. It was the last plane to fly out of Saigon on April 3, 1975, before the city fell to the North Vietnamese. It’s pilot, Lt. Pham Quang Khiem, was able to fly his family of 10, along with more than 50 refugees, to Singapore and eventual freedom in the United States.
Khiem and his family, who now live in Ohio, visited the National Warplane Museum, where a special ceremony took place on Oct. 7.
Also attending was Gerald’s cousin Barry Culhane who was instrumental in creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Rochester and is on the steering committee of the National Warplane Museum’s memorial.
The ceremony included an introduction by the Warplane Museum’s volunteer Larry Jones, and museum founder Austin Wadsworth.
Jones told the small crowd, “If you like history and if you like airplanes, this is the place to be.”
“This C-130 is an icon from 1972 – 1975 in Vietnam,” he said. “It is a story of defense and courage and the vision of the museum’s Don Wilson and Ray Ingram who learned the Smithsonian was about to release some of its aircraft, and set to work to acquire this plane.
The C-130 Saigon Lady was, until recently, part of the Smithsonian’s collection.
Crowded airplane takes family, refugees from war zone
What makes Saigon Lady so remarkable is the story behind it, Jones said.
Khiem told the story in his own words.
First, history of the C-130 provided by the Warplane Museum states the “Herkys,” as they were known, were a valuable asset to the Vietnamese Air Force. They were the largest and heaviest load-carrying aircraft in the VNAF inventory. As the enemy advanced southward, the C-130s were used in the evacuation of northern cities. At 11 p.m. on the night before Da Nang fell to the enemy, Khiem and his squadron flew one of the last resupply missions into the city.
“As soon as we landed and taxied to the ramp, an Army Republic of Vietnam major jumped into the aircraft to assure himself of a seat. I knew that thousands of people in the terminal would rush the airplane after seeing this, so I kicked him off. As it was, the ramp was filled with refugees almost immediately anyway. I shouted to them to let me offload my 20,000 pounds of cargo and then I could take about 200 of them. As soon as the cargo was off the plane, people rushed on and we couldn’t stop them.
“The loadmaster called on the intercom and said he could not close the ramp because of the people on it,” Khiem said. “I told him to hang on, then hit the brakes. That jammed them in tight enough to allow him to close the ramp. I had to jump on the brakes three times. As soon as we got to cruising altitude, I got out of my seat to take a look back in the cabin. There were people hanging on the paratroop static line cables and no one was sitting down. When we offloaded at Tan Son Nhut, we did an actual head count of 350 people.”
The aircraft was designed to carry 90 people.
“The flight and panic I saw in Da Nang got me to thinking it looks like the same thing is going to happen in Saigon. I will have to take a C-130 and get my family out.”
Khiem is quick to explain he did not intend to “steal” an aircraft, just borrow it.
Some of the C-130s flew bombing missions to destroy aircraft left behind. The C-130s were loaded with 55-gallon drums of gasoline or napalm and then dropped on VNAF aircraft abandoned on the ramps.
(Nesbitt interjected here that when he was in Vietnam, these air strips were still actively being used.)
On April 2, 1975, Khiem hitched a ride into Phan Rang on a C-130, hoping to locate his younger brother, who was an airman in the headquarters there. He had hoped to take him back to Saigon to be with the rest of family, but Khiem could not locate him.
“We were lucky though,” Khiem said. “He showed up at my parents’ home in Saigon five minutes before our escape. On the flight back to Saigon, I thought to myself, ‘If Phan Rang is lost, it won’t be long before the Communists are in Saigon.’ It was time to plan my escape.”
There was a lot of talk among other pilots of stealing a C-130 and getting their families out. But Khiem never said a word about it to anyone in his squadron.
“Headquarters must have considered the possibility of that happening, though, because they ordered the airplanes to be fueled with only enough gas to accomplish their missions. If you were going to Phan Rang, they gave you just enough gas, plus a small reserve, to get there. You would have to refuel there in order to get back to Saigon.”
Khiem realized a problem would be finding someone to help him escape.
“One of my best friends, Major Nguyen Huu Canh, was in the VNAF in our sister squadron. We had been friends a long time and we discussed the possibility of getting out. I knew once a pilot managed to steal an airplane and escape, the VNAF would tighten security, making further escapes impossible. I told my friend if we are not number one to escape, there will never be number two.”
The Major’s family was in DaLat and he wanted to get them to Saigon. But on April 2, DaLat was overrun by the communists and he lost contact with them. After that, he was willing to go along with anything Khiem planned.
“On April 3, all the C-130s were used on bombing missions. I was number one standby on the mission, but I needed time to tell my family what I had planned. I went to the Squadron Operations officer and told him I didn’t feel good, so he agreed to drop me to the bottom of the list. That gave me a chance to run home for lunch. I took my brother aside and told him what I had planned. I asked him to take charge of the family and keep them close to home.
“If they heard from me, they were to go immediately to the Long Thanh Airport, which was about 17 miles southeast of Saigon. Long Thanh was a former U.S. Army airbase, on which I had landed several times during training. It had been closed since the U.S. withdrawal in 1973 and was deserted.
“When I got back to the airport, I waited for something to happen. At 3 o’clock, my friend Major Canh called to say he had been assigned to a food resupply mission to Phan Rang. Actually, another pilot had been assigned to the mission, but he complained he had already flown two missions that day and was tired, so my friend volunteered to take his place. I ran home and told my family to leave for Long Thanh immediately.
“But we had another problem. Since we were in different squadrons, we would not ordinarily fly together. In fact, I could not even get into his squadron area.
“Once again we were lucky. The airplane he was supposed to take had mechanical problems and his squadron borrowed one of our airplanes – Hercules CF 460 (Saigon Lady). I met him at the airplane. Now the problem was getting rid of his co-pilot. We told him that I would be glad to take his place in order to fly with my friend, and to look for my missing brother. He was only too happy to take the rest of the day off, especially since he had a date. I warned him not to go back to the squadron since they might not like our switching places without authorization.
“These missions had become so routine that we could take off within minutes, and that created another problem for my plan. The 17 miles to Long Thanh was on a rough country road and I knew my family could not get there before 4 p.m. I also knew once we took off, timing would be essential. We couldn’t land at Long Thanh and wait around for them to show up. A C-130 landing on an abandoned airstrip would raise an alarm, and the rest of the crew would know right away what we were doing.
“I had to delay takeoff somehow, so I made sure I got to the airplane before the flight engineer. I pulled several circuit breakers that would not normally pop by themselves, and I knew they would be hard to spot. The flight engineer finally spotted the popped breakers and we cranked the engines at 3:30. I am sure the crew was wondering what had gotten into the pilot, since each checklist was read and re-read thoroughly. I delayed as long as I could, but we were still rolling before 4 p.m.
“In all my calculation about where we would go, the problem of fuel had always been on my mind. I did not think we would have more than an hour and a half of fuel on board, which would have only been enough to get us to Thailand, and that was not far enough to ensure our safety. But getting this airplane was an opportunity we could not pass up, no matter what the outcome.
“The first thing I did when I got out to the airplane was flip the master switch on to check the fuel level. My heart leapt into my throat when I saw the tanks were full. The line crewman must have anticipated my surprise, because he apologized, explaining he had taken a smoke break while fueling the airplane and forgot about the new rule regarding rationing. He begged me not to turn him in. Of course, I gave him a stern look and told him not to ever let it happen again, and then told him to forget about it. With a full load of fuel, we could fly all the way to Singapore.
“My friend was still despondent about the loss of his family, but he didn’t care where we went as long as it was out of the country.
“Right after takeoff, I turned off all the radios and the transponder. Then I turned on the intercom and said, ‘What’s the matter with them anyway? Why are they sending us to Long Thanh to pick up those people.’ Now the crew knew we were going to Long Thanh, but they thought we had been sent there by headquarters. I told my friend we had to slow down, saying if we fly slow, maybe they will think it is a helicopter on their radar screen. As we began to circle the airport, I looked down and tried to spot my family.
“The place was deserted and I got a sinking feeling. The next time around, I searched the country road for them and there they were. Five little cars about a half mile from the airport. I knew my brother had briefed the family to run onto the airport as soon as they saw the ramp come down. When the ramp was open, I asked the loadmaster to offload the cargo, which was 20,000 pounds of dry rice. So far they didn’t suspect anything, but I knew I couldn’t take them out of the country without letting them know what I was doing.
“As soon as my family was on board, I said, ‘Gentlemen, I have to tell you that this aircraft will not go back to Saigon any more. We are leaving the country. Anyone who does not want to go is free to leave now.’ The flight engineer unhooked his seatbelt and headset and got halfway out of his seat, then sat back down and said he would go with us. The number one loadmaster, who was a 10-year VNAF veteran, must have thought we were defecting to the North Vietnamese, because he got off as quickly as he could.
“Once we were off, we headed out to sea at tree-top level. As soon as we got over the sea, we dropped down to 50 feet above sea level so we wouldn’t be picked up on radar. I mean, we were low. After an hour of skimming the wave tops, I realized we were over international waters and we climbed to 16,000 feet and set a course directly for Singapore.”
A new life in the United States
They landed at 7 p.m. – 56 refugees from the war – and announced they were “illegal” and wanted asylum. The airport had closed at 5 p.m. and the person who dealt with such people couldn’t be found. Finally at about 1 a.m. 20 trucks filled with police surrounded the airplane and Khiem and his passengers surrendered, explaining they would like political asylum in Singapore.
No one knew what to do with them, so Khiem suggested the airport give them charts and fuel to fly to Australia and they would leave. That seemed like a good idea to airport personnel, until the matter of paying for the fuel came up. They would only accept U.S. currency, and the passengers only had about $400 of the $5,000 needed.
“Fortunately, they were sympathetic,” Khiem said. “They must have had an idea how the war would end. They billeted us in what was like a jail, and then treated us as heroes. We were there 19 days, then a bus came and took us to a resort island. We had beds to sleep in, not the floor any more. The next day we were flown to Guam. We were on our way to a new life in the United States.”
Khiem had managed to get his entire family out, with the exception of his youngest brother, who was in the Army. After the Communists took over, he was sent to a re-education camp for two years of brainwashing. In September 1991, just three months before their father passed away, Khiem’s brother and his family were reunited with the rest of the family, after 16 years apart.
Khiem’s love for America had begun when he attended the language school at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas in November 1969 as a Vietnamese Air Force cadet. He received his basic pilot training at Randolph Air Force Base, then moved on to Keesler Air Force Base. Eventually, he was assigned to fly transport aircraft and was pilot in command of C-123K aircraft, before moving up to the C-130.
His family of 10 included five brothers, all of them in the military during the war. Three of his brothers were in the VNAF and his oldest brother was the chief training officer for the 62nd wing of the VNAF at Nha Trang. It was a family that believed in their country and was willing to fight to save it – almost to the bitter end.
“What I’ve dreamed for the last 45 years is thanking the U.S. for accepting my family,” Khiem said.
The next day after he and his family were taken out of Singapore, the USAF claimed the C-130 and flew it to South Korea. It was flown there for several years, then flown to the U.S. to be used by the Coast Guard. It’s final flight was to the museum at Dulles. When it was released to the National Warplane Museum, a crew disassembled it and transported the wings and fuselage by truck to Geneseo, where it has been reassembled.
After settling his family in America, Captain Khiem began flying for American Airlines, and retired about seven years ago from U.S. Air. He is rated to fly the Boeing 727-100/200, 737-200/300/400 and AirBus 319/320/321.
His friend Major Nguyen Huu Canh is presently flying for an oil drilling company in Houston.
Khiem has been to the National Warplane Museum several times during the past year to see his C-130. He is eagerly supporting their mission to restore his plane, physically and financially, Wadsworth said.
Kendall avenged a season opening double overtime loss (4-3) by blanking previously unbeaten visiting rival Holley 2-0 this evening in a Genesee Region League boys soccer game.
Zach Barrett scored what proved to be the game winning goal in the first half off a corner kick by Tory Raufeisen .
The Eagles later got a big insurance goal as Hayden VanDusen tallied on a penalty kick shot in the second half.
Michael Sammons earned the shutout in goal.
“That was a big win for us,” said Kendall Coach Rich Esposito.
Kendall evened its record at 3-3 while Holley is 5-1.
Medina gained its first win of the Niagara-Orleans League field hockey season this afternoon by downing host Wilson 4-2.
Lydia Fox, Penelope Schalck and Alexandria Strong each had a goal and an assist for the Mustangs as Abi Blount also had a goal and FaithAnn Vanderwalker an assist.
Medina is now 1-3-1 and Wilson 2-4.
Akron 11, Newfane 0
Front-running Akron stayed undefeated at 6-0 with a 11-0 win over host Newfane.
Madison Brege had three goals for Akron as Lacey Berghorn, Olivia McClaine and Sophia Jones each had two and Lydia Blueyer and Isabella Smith one each.
The loss drops Newfane to 1-4.
Roy-Hart 4, Kenmore 0
Roy-Hart evened its N-O record at 3-3 with a 4-0 win at Kenmore (1-3-1) as Justine Lavery, Claire Halstead and Cheyenne Stilwell all contributed goals.
Avenging a season opening loss (4-1) Roy-Hart blanked visiting Akron 2-0 this afternoon to take over sole possession of first place atop the Niagara-Orleans League boys soccer standings.
Roy-Hart improves to 5-1 while Akron slips into the runner-up spot at 4-2.
Aidan Bligh scored what proved to be the game winning goal for Roy-Hart on a line drive shot with eight minutes to go in the first half.
The Rams later got a huge insurance goal when Peter Martillotta tallied on a direct kick with 14 minutes to go in the second half.
Brad Voelker, who earned the shutout in goal, made a big diving stop earlier in the second half when the Rams were still clinging to a slender 1-0 lead.
Medina/Lyndonville 3, Wilson 0
Making it two wins in a row after a slow 0-3 start to the league season, Medina/Lyndonville blanked host Wilson 3-0 as all the scoring took place in the second half.
Jacob Corser scored what proved to be the game winning goal for the Mustangs two minutes into the second half.
Nate Dillenbeck then put a lock on the goal when he scored twice, the first coming on a rebound shot with 15 minutes to go and the second off a turnover with 10 minutes remaining.
Zach Fike earned the shutout in goal as the quartet of Russ Stephens, Anthony Moule, Alex Barry and Jack Whipple anchored the Mustangs defense.
The Lakemen are now 3-3 and the Mustangs 2-2 in N-O action.
Newfane 7, Albion 0.
Newfane evened its N-O record at 3-3 with a 7-0 win over visiting Albion which slips to 0-6.
County also has 13 more recoveries
Orleans County has eight more confirmed cases of Covid-19 since Friday, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments is reporting this afternoon.
The new positive cases are residents in Albion, Kent and Murray. None of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
The new cases are in the following age groups: one in the 0-19 age range, two in their 30s, one in the 40s, three in their 50s and one in the 60s.
Orleans has now had 352 people test positive for Covid-19 since March. Thirteen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation, the Health Departments reported.
Orleans also has 10 new individuals on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
Genesee County doesn’t have any new positive cases of Covid-19, maintaining a total of 345 positive cases since March.
The county is reporting new recoveries and those people and have been released from mandatory isolation.
Genesee has 8 new individuals on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
To see an online map of confirmed cases in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, click here. There are currently 37 active cases in the three counties with nine in Orleans, 13 in Genesee and 15 in Wyoming.
ALBION – Oak Orchard Health now has medical staff working three days a week out of the Orleans County Mental Health Building on Route 31, next to the County Administration Building.
Oak Orchard will have a physician’s assistant and a medical doctor available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., depending on the number of patients.
Oak Orchard Health is partnering with the Orleans County Mental Health to bring primary care services to the county’s behavioral health patients. Oak Orchard’s new office in the Mental Health building makes it convenient for patients to get the medical care they could be missing.
“Good physical health and mental health go hand in hand,” said Mary Ann Pettibon, CEO of Oak Orchard Health. “This comprehensive approach to care is needed in the community and we’re pleased to collaborate with the Orleans County Mental Health Department. So often these patients don’t have a primary care physician and haven’t been receiving the kind of medical care they need.”
To make an appointment with Oak Orchard, call (585) 589-5613.
Photos and article courtesy of Lyndonville Central School
LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville school district would like to thank our Sports Boosters for donating two 25-foot-high flag poles that have been placed between our athletic fields.
We would also like to thank the Town of Yates and Village of Lyndonville for their assistance with installation and thank graduate Reggie Cichocki for the donation of the concrete bases.
Your generosity is greatly appreciated, and the flags (which are flying at half-mast per NYS) are a beautiful addition to our campus, according to a message from Jason Smith, the district superintendent, and James Zeliff, the district’s athletic director.
KNOWLESVILLE – Local Scouting leaders will be at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds on Saturday to discuss the program and connect children to packs or troops in their community.
Most local schools aren’t having traditional open houses this fall with community organizations allowed inside to meet the public due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The local scouting leaders decided to have several packs and troops do a joint open house this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. This will be a sign-up opportunity for boys and girls in grades kindergarten through 12.
Scouting leaders from several local packs and troops will be there on Saturday to answer questions and to help children get started on the Scouting Trail.
There will also be displays, games and a sign-up table for each unit in the county.
The local leaders participating on Saturday include:
Cub Scouts are for elementary youth. In Orleans County, the packs include: Albion, Pack 3164 Cubmaster Ben Metcalf – 585-489-2969; West Barre, Pack 3175 Cubmaster Bert Mathes – 585-331-1514; Medina, Pack 3028 Cubmaster Alicia Vanderwalker – 716-989-7381; Medina, Pack 3035 Cubmaster John Dieter – 716-570-9977.
The BSA Troops serve youths ages 11 through 17. In Orleans County, Saturday’s participants include Albion, Troop 164 Scoutmaster Dan Flanagan – 716-251-9180; West Barre, Troop 175 Scoutmaster Mary Barry – 585-489-0922; Medina, Troop 28 Scoutmaster Tim Miller – 585-590-1367; Medina, Troop 35 Scoutmaster John Dieter – 716-570-9977.
“If, for some reason you can’t make it on Saturday, you can still call any of these leaders to find out the time and place for their next meeting so you can get your son or daughter registered in this great program,” said Jess Merkel, senior scout executive for the Iroquois Trail Council.
He said the Boy Scouts prepares young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
“Your son or daughter will experience a great time in Scouting while learning lifelong lessons which will help them in the areas of character building, citizenship, personal fitness and leadership skills,” Merkel said. “There’s no time like the present to get involved with your child in a program that provides fun and adventure with a purpose.”
Sal DeLuca honored for service in food program during spring closure
HOLLEY – The school recognized Sal DeLuca with the “Soaring to New Heights” award for his volunteer service preparing meals for students during the school closure last spring.
The district gives the Soaring to New Heights award each month to deserving students and adults who go above and beyond expectations, and lend their skills and abilities to help others. DeLuca last spring helped regularly with all aspects of the emergency food service.
The school district during its Sept. 21 meeting also recognized five Holley faculty and staff members who recently retired.
The group includes Accounts Payable Clerk Buffie Gleason, MS/HS science teacher Dan Burke, elementary cafeteria aide Janine Kraatz, MS/HS school nurse Donna Lenz and MS/HS special education teacher Lynnette Short.
The Board of Education also recognized four Holley teachers and two administrators for attaining tenure.
Teachers Zachary Busch, Crystal Elliott, Mark Hill and Carrie Rebis completed the four-year process to become tenured teachers for the district.
Assistant Elementary School Principal Tim Artessa and Director of Special Programs Stephanie Sanchez also received tenure.
I just read Dirk Lammes post stating he’s running for the Town of Murray Highway Superintendent position in the General Election on November 3rd.
His opponent, Jim DeFilipps, is an honored Orleans County deputy sheriff. He is an exemplary law enforcement official and by my own personal experience a good person.
While I know and respect both of these men my vote will be for Dirk Lammes because he is the most experienced and best qualified for this position. If there was an emergency or a water main bursts at 2 am. and you were without water, who would you want on the job?
Dirk has the experience to step into this job and we’re fortunate to have a person with his level of experience running for this position. This shouldn’t be turned into a popularity contest.
Press Release, Lyndonville Central School
LYNDONVILLE – The New York State School Boards Association recognizes October 19-23, 2020 as School Board Recognition Week.
Lyndonville Central School District will join with all public school districts across the state to celebrate and honor local board members for their commitment and dedication to Lyndonville and its students.
“I would like to thank and recognize our Board of Education for their continued dedication and commitment to our district and our students,” said Superintendent Jason Smith.
The key work of school boards is to raise student achievement by:
- Creating a shared vision for the future of education
- Setting the direction of the school district to achieve the highest student performance
- Providing accountability for student achievement results
- Developing a budget that aligns district resources to improve achievement
- Supporting a healthy school district culture for students and staff
Lyndonville’s Board of Education and their years of service are as follows: Theodore Lewis, President, 11 years; and Susan Hrovat, Vice President, 9 years.
Trustees: Vernon Fonda, 1 year; Kristin Nicolson, 1 year; Harold Suhr, 7 years; Jerod Thurber, 5 months; and Steven Vann, 2 years.
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today on Sunday that ski resorts can reopen with 50 percent indoor capacity and with strict health and safety protocols under state-issued guidance starting Friday, November 6.
“Scientists have told us the virus is going to become more aggressive in the fall, and right now, we are all feeling Covid-fatigue, but our micro-cluster strategy is a smart, data-driven and less disruptive strategy to get us through this season. And so far, the data shows the micro-cluster strategy is working to bring infection rates down in our red zone areas,” Governor Cuomo said. “Beginning next month, ski resorts will be allowed to reopen with limited indoor capacity, which will allow New Yorkers to have some outdoor activity this winter without having to quarantine when they come back.”
State guidance on the reopening of ski resorts includes the following precautions:
- Masks required at all times, except when eating/drinking or skiing.
- Social distancing between parties required at all times.
- Restrict gondolas/lifts to members of the same party.
- Limit ski lessons to no more than 10 people.
- Thorough cleaning and disinfection of shared/rented equipment.
- Shuttles, food & beverage, retail service must conform to state-issued guidance.
- Reduce outdoor capacity on mountain by 25% during “peak” days or if multiple trails are closed due to unseasonable conditions.
‘People just loved her. She had the most joyous laugh.’
MEDINA – Rochelle Horner hugs Destiny Satkowski during a candelight vigil this evening at State Street Park in honor of Cheyenne Farewell, who is Horner’s daughter and a close friend of Satkowski.
Cheyenne was shot and killed at about 12:20 a.m. Saturday during a Halloween party on Niagara Street in Lockport. Five others were wounded by gun shots including two current Medina High School students.
“People just loved her,” said Satkowski, who graduated with Farewell in 2018. “She didn’t care what color you were, who you liked or where you were from. She treated everyone the same. She was a friend you could caught on. She had the most joyous laugh.”
Satkowski played soccer with Farewell, and said Cheyenne was a big reason when Destiny started playing. Destiny continues to play soccer at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.
Horner in the top photo is wearing her daughter’s red soccer jacket from Medina.
Horner and Cheyenne’s father, Jeff Farewell, both thanked the community for the support and for all the love they showed Cheyenne over the years.
Horner said her daughter connected her to so many of her friends, making her feel like she has many daughters and sons in Medina.
Lockport police are looking for information in the crime, where two people approached a metal door of a garage and one of them opened fire on the closed door. They two they took off running and haven’t been apprehended. Anyone with information is asked to contact Lockport police detectives at (716) 433-7700, or the confidential tip line (716) 439-6707.
Mark Sanders, pastor of the Refuge Temple in Lockport, said the crime was an act of cowardice. He asked God to bring justice for the family. He urged anyone with information about the crime to reach out to the police.
Sanders said he has spoken with teens at the party and they are devastated by the loss of Cheyenne and the carnage they witnessed.
“These kids have experienced something no kid should ever have to experience,” he told the group at the vigil. “They have experienced something no adult should ever experience.”
‘These weren’t troubled kids or bad kids – they were just kids having a good time. Right now they are broken over nonsense, ignorance and cowardice.’
Sanders urged the Medina community to continue to support Cheyenne’s family in the years ahead.
The kids at the party don’t bear fault for what happened, Sanders said.
“These weren’t troubled kids or bad kids – they were just kids having a good time,” he said. “Right now they are broken over nonsense, ignorance and cowardice.”
Cheyenne was a student at Brockport State College, where she was studying to become a therapist and writer. She was open about her mental health struggles in the past.
She wanted to break down those barriers and urged more people to talk about mental health and get help, Satkowski said.
Anastasia Smith, another 2018 Medina graduate, said Cheyenne shared about fighting depression and was a strong advocate for wellness.
She was very accepting of others, and if they made mistakes she didn’t cast judgement on them.
“Cheyenne was a completely radiant person,” said Smith, 19, an English major at Saint Bonaventure University. “She lit up every room she went into. She loved everybody and wanted the best for everyone.”
Smith said she Farewell stayed in touch through Snapchat and text messages. She was very encouraging to others and would find time for everyone.
“When she smiled at you it was like the Sun,” Smith said.
She wants to see the perpetrators brought to justice very soon.
“It was a totally senseless crime,” Smith said. “There was no motivation. They just went there to hurt people.”
Mark Kruzynski, the Medina district superintendent, said grief counselors will be at the school district on Monday, including counselors from other districts and BOCES to support students and recent graduates.
He was grateful to see the big turnout at the vigil.
“This is where they can connect with each other and lean on each other,” Kruzynski said. “That’s why something like this is so important.”
First place in the Niagara-Orleans League boys and girls soccer standings will be on the line early this week and Roy-Hart teams will be involved in both.
On Monday Roy-Hart will host Akron at 4:30 p.m. in a key meeting of 4-1 teams for the N-O boys soccer lead. The Tigers handed the Rams their only loss to date by a 4-1 margin in the season opener.
On Tuesday, Roy-Hart will entertain Wilson at 6:30 p.m. in a key meeting of 4-0 teams for the N-O girls soccer lead.
Rivals Holley and Kendall will also meet early this week in Genesee Region League boys and first soccer action.
On Monday undefeated (5-0) Holley will visit 2-3 Kendall in a boys game at 7 p.m.
On Tuesday the 4-1 Holley girls squad will host Kendall (1-3) at 7 p.m.
Boys Soccer: Medina/Lyndonville at Wilson, Akron at Roy-Hart, Albion at Newfane, 4:30 p.m.; Holley at Kendall, 7 p.m.
Field Hockey: Medina at Wilson, Newfane at Akron, 4:30 p.m.; Roy-Hart at Kenmore, 6 p.m.
Girls Soccer: Newfane at Akron, 4:30 p.m.; Alexander at Lyndonville/Medina, 5 p.m.; Barker at Albion, Wilson at Roy-Hart, 6:30 p.m.; Kendall at Holley, 7 p.m.
Field Hockey: Newfane at Barker, 4:30 p.m.; Kenmore at Akron, 5 p.m.; Roy-Hart at Medina, 7 p.m.
Cross-Country: Roy-Hart and Barker at Medina, Akron and Wilson at Newfane, 5 p.m.
Boys Soccer: Holley at Attica, Medina/Lyndonville at Newfane, Wilson at Akron, 4:30 p.m.; Roy-Hart at Albion, 6:30 p.m.; Kendall at Wheatland-Chili, 7 p.m.
Girls Soccer: Barker at Wilson, Roy-Hart at Akron, Albion at Newfane, 4:30 p.m.; Lyndonville/Medina at Notre Dame, 5 p.m.; Byron-Bergen at Kendall, Wheatland-Chili at Holley, 7 p.m.
Field Hockey: Kenmore at Roy-Hart, Akron at Newfane, 4:30 p.m.; Wilson at Medina, 7 p.m.
Boys Soccer: Albion at Akron, 4:30 p.m.; Roy-Hart at Medina/Lyndonville, Newfane at Wilson, 6:30 p.m.
Field Hockey: Wilson at Roy-Hart, 4:30 p.m.
Girls Soccer: Wilson at Akron, Barker at Newfane, 10 a.m.; Kendall vs. Oakfield-Alabama/Elba at Elba, 12 p.m.; Roy-Hart at Albion, 6:30 p.m.; Holley at Byron-Bergen, Lyndonville/Medina at Wheatland-Chili, 7 p.m.
Field Hockey: Barker at Medina, Kenmore at Newfane, 10 a.m.
Cross-Country: Medina and Newfane at Albion, Barker at Wilson, Akron at Roy-Hart, 11 a.m.
Boys Soccer: Akron 4-1, Roy-Hart 4-1, Wilson 3-1, Newfane 2-3, Medina/Lyndonville 1-3, Albion 0-5
Girls Soccer: Roy-Hart 4-0, Wilson 4-0, Akron 2-2, Albion 1-3, Newfane 1-3, Barker 0-4
Field Hockey: Akron 5-0, Barker 4-1, Roy-Hart 2-3, Wilson 2-3, Kenmore 1-2-1, Newfane 1-3, Medina 0-3-1
Boys Cross-Country: Medina 2-0, Newfane 2-0, Barker 2-1, Albion 2-2, Akron 1-2, Wilson 1-2, Roy-Hart 0-3
Girls Cross-Country: Akron 3-0, Newfane 2-0, Wilson 2-1, Medina 1-1, Barker 1-2, Albion 1-3, Roy-Hart 0-3
Boys Soccer: Holley 5-0, Attica 4-1, Byron-Bergen 2-3, Kendall 2-3, Wheatland-Chili 2-3, Pembroke 0-5
Girls Division 1 Soccer: Holley 4-1, Wheatland-Chili 4-1, Byron-Bergen 3-2, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba 2-2, Kendall 1-3
Girls Division 2 Soccer: Notre Dame 3-2, Alexander 2-3, Lyndonville/Medina 2-3, Pembroke 2-3, Attica 1-4
MEDINA – It was several years ago Jenn Thom realized there weren’t a lot of resources available for veterans in Orleans County, and she wanted to do something to help.
That prompted her to organize the first Operation Honor 5K. The first year, proceeds of $3,000 went to the Warrior House near West Shelby, and last year she donated $4,000 to the Orleans County Joint Veterans Council in Albion for a new van.
Thom is still deciding on where to donate the proceeds of this year’s race, scheduled Nov. 14 in Medina, with the start at Junior Wilson Club on Bates Road. Thom said the VFW and American Legion can always use money and she may use the proceeds to help them.
Albion artist Carol Culhane will be selling her ornaments, paying tribute to all branches of the military. They are $10 and she will autograph them free of charge. Her Gold Star Mother and Purple Heart ornaments she gives away free.
Thom’s vision is to grow the event and create a fund to help veterans and their families, similar to what the Knights-Kaderli Fund does for cancer patients. Thom said if anyone knows of a veteran or his family who needs financial help, they can call her.
Thom’s desire to help veterans comes from the fact her friend Sarah Surdell’s husband is a veteran and Thom’s boyfriend is a veteran.
Information on signing up for the race can be found on the event’s Facebook page, or anyone can call Thom at her office at (585) 532-6900 to register for the race or make a donation.
Registration the day of the race will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Junior Wilson’s, followed by the race at 11 a.m.
There have been between 40 and 50 runners in the past, and 20 have already signed up for this year. Thom said she knows there might not be as many participants this year with the Covid pandemic.
“I also know donations from businesses will probably be less because they just don’t have it, and I understand that,” Thom said.