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Lyndonville Foundation gives $65K towards repairs of dam

Provided photos – Lyndonville Area Foundation leaders presented the check for $65,000 to Lyndonville officals. Pictured, from left, include: Kathy Bogan (Attorney, Village of Lyndonville), Kim Kenyon (Village Trustee), Danny Woodward (Deputy Mayor), John Belson (Mayor), Doug Hedges (Treasurer, Lyndonville Area Foundation), Darren Wilson (Village Trustee) and Andrew Cousins (Village Trustee).

Posted 12 September 2019 at 6:22 pm

Press Release, Lyndonville Area Foundation

LYNDONVILLE – At its recent September meeting, the Lyndonville Village Board was presented with a check for $65,000 from the Lyndonville Area Foundation towards the cost of repairs and renovations on the Village of Lyndonville’s dam.

The village faced with significant costs to repair and ultimately replace flood gates and other structural deterioration to the north side of the Johnson Creek dam in Lyndonville.

As a result of the deterioration a portion of the adjacent school grounds were subsequently undermined and sunken in presenting a significant potential for collapse and possible injury for anyone in the area. For the past year, this sunken portion has been fenced off by the village.

The repaired portion of the dam was necessary for effective flood control, drainage and the ultimate integrity of the overall dam structure. Primary funding came about through efforts by Senator Robert Ortt and his office which procured the first $100,000 for repairs.

With the additional $65,000 contribution from the Lyndonville Area Foundation, the Village Board was able to budget the smaller remaining amount of the project’s total cost.

The dam and waterfall are the centerpiece of the Village and a draw for both fishermen, visitors and local residents alike.

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Chamber’s wine walk attracts 100 to nature preserve in Lyndonville

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2019 at 12:20 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – David Bittner and his wife Krys McCarthy of Lyndonville were among 100 people who attended a wine walk on Thursday evening at the Robin Hill Nature Preserve in Lyndonville. Tricia Daluisio of 810 Meadworks gives them a sample of mead.

810 Meadworks was one of three wineries or meaderies at the event organized by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.

Bittner and McCarthy have lived in Lyndonville for 9 years and welcomed the chance to see the 45-acre nature preserve which includes 250 varieties of trees on Platten Road.

The Chuck Wagon, a food truck operated by 39 Problems in Albion, served food at the wine walk.

Valerie Pratt offered tours of the 45-acre nature preserve. She lives at the site with her father, Doug Pratt. She is pictured with a dawn redwood and metasequoia.

William and Mary Smith, Doug’s grandparents, built a Medina sandstone house from 1948 to 1952 at the property, and developed the nature preserve.

A group gathers at the wine-tasting stop by Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, where Kelly Kiebala, left, offered tastings from the winery on Ridge Road in Medina.

Paul Schwenk of Schwenk Wine Cellars in Kent serves wine at the Chamber event.

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Legion in Lyndonville looking to replace trolley car used by veterans for parades

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 August 2019 at 2:39 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Members of the American Legion in Lyndonville ride on a trailer and wave to the crowd during the Fourth of July parade on July 4, 2015.

LYNDONVILLE – Veterans in Lyndonville are raising money to replace a trolley car used in parades. The current trolley car has become unserviceable, said Steve Goodrich, commander of the American Legion Houseman-Tanner Post 1603 in Lyndonville.

The post will be holding a yard sale on Friday, Aug. 30, and possibly the next day.

“We are raising monies to replace the old trolley car used in local parades,” Goodrich said. “The new one will also be ADA handicapped accessible. It will be much lower and easier for our older veterans to use.”

The trolley car will also have space for wheelchairs and scooters, and a ramp will be included.

The yard sale will be at 11517 Roosevelt Highway in Lyndonville. The Legion welcomes donated items to be sold during this event.

People wanting to donate should call Joseph Hausler at 585-967-2934. The items can be dropped off at the location or the Legion can arrange to pick them up by Aug. 28.

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Lyndonville picks ‘The Beloved Wild’ for community read

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 August 2019 at 8:10 am

Melissa Ostrom’s book focused on pioneers who settled in WNY

Photos by Tom Rivers: Emily Cebula, director of the Yates Community Library, holds a copy of The Beloved Wild, which is featured in a community reading project.

LYNDONVILLE – A book by an Orleans County author will be featured in a community reading effort in Lyndonville.

Melissa Ostrom of Holley wrote The Beloved Wild, which was published by Macmillan in March 2018. It honors the courage and resourcefulness of pioneer settlers in Orleans County and Western New York.

“They will feel like they themselves are traveling into this territory, going from New England to Batavia and then into our territory,” said Emily Cebula, director of the Yates Community Library.

Melissa Ostrom’s book will be featured for the first time in a community reading effort.

Ostrom, in the fictional account, brings life to pioneer characters. The pioneers were typically just teen-agers when they set out from New England to brave a hard journey by wagon, through dense forests, to get to Orleans County and Western New York.

There wasn’t a map. The pioneers followed markings on trees as they made their way west. The pioneer settlers tamed the land, and built homes and farms in the frontier. The obstacles were many – sickness, uninvited strangers, alcoholism, abuse.

Ostrom, a former Kendall high school English teacher, writes about those challenges and the indomitable spirit of pioneer settlers.

The book has earned some lofty recognition, including a 2019 Amelia Bloomer selection by the American Library Association. The Amelia Bloomer Project creates an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers. The Beloved Wild also is a Junior Library Guild selection.

Cebula said the book is a chance to vividly imagine life in Orleans County two centuries ago, and to be inspired by those pioneer settlers.

Ostrom will be speaking at the community library in Lyndonville  at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 9, and again at 7 p.m. on Sept. 12. The latter event is part of the 4thannual Orleans County Heritage Festival.

Ostrom will also be meeting with Lyndonville students that week. Robert Smith, a Lyndonville native working on redeveloping part of the downtown, paid for copies of The Beloved Wild to be given to students.

Ostrom said she is “super excited” the Lyndonville community will be reading the book. This is the first time The Beloved Wild is featured in a community read, although Ostrom said many book clubs have picked the novel.

This is the second community reading effort in Lyndonville where the author of the book will meet residents and answer questions.

The debut “Lyndonville Reads” featured The Queen of the Bremen by Marlies Adams DiFante of Rochester. The book is her memoir of travelling from Naples at age 5 to Nazi Germany during World War II. Her family left to see her mother’s ailing father. They expected to be gone three months. It turned into seven years of struggling to stay alive.

Ostrom this spring also had her second book published by Macmillan. Unleaving highlights the courage and resilience of a 19-year-old sexual assault victim. That book will be featured in the upcoming school year by high school classes in Holley and Brockport.

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Lyndonville man who has battled cancer will hike in Iceland for multiple myeloma research

Photo by Tom Rivers: John Klatt has his hiking gear on in this photo on Townline Road, where he lives not far from the farm where he grew up on Alps Road. He heads to Iceland next week for a fundraiser for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2019 at 11:36 am

LYNDONVILLE – A Lyndonville man who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma three years ago will do rigorous hiking next week in Iceland to raise funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

John Klatt, 66, is a retired Lutheran pastor and served congregations for 35 years in the Thousand Islands, Western New York and Herkimer. He grew up on a farm on Alps Road and graduated from Lyndonville in 1971.

Provided photos: John Klatt and his sister Mary Schlabach participated in a training hike on the Shortoff Trail in Asheville, NC.

Three years ago he moved close to home and was working on renovating a house on Townline Road with his wife, Bonnie.

He was feeling over-tired and realized he fractured 10 vertebrae in his back due to the multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of the blood plasma that weakens the bones.

He endured chemotherapy and a stem cell treatment. He hasn’t had any active cancer the past two years.

Klatt is thankful for the treatments at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. He has raised nearly $8,000 which he said will aid in more research for people battling multiple myeloma. (Click here for more information on Klatt’s fundraising page).

“Roswell was a life-saver,” he said at his home in Lyndonville. “I received great treatments. It was just what I needed.”

Multiple myeloma is currently an incurable blood cancer. Klatt said his treatments have made the myeloma manageable.

He walked on a treadmill to help in his recovery. He also finished many of the projects around his house.

John Klatt and about 10 others headed to Iceland spent a day bonding and hiking on a training hike on the Shortoff Trail in Asheville, NC.

Klatt has long enjoyed walking and hiking, going on journeys in the Adirondacks, Appalachians and Catskills.

He was thumbing through the CURE magazine, when he read about the opportunity to hike in Iceland. His sister, Mary Schlabach, and 10 others will join him. All have been affected by multiple myeloma as survivors, caregivers or loved ones of those with the disease.

“I am honored that one of those participating on the 12-person team to Iceland will be my sister Mary Schlabach who was one of my caregivers following my stem cell transplant in 2016,” Klatt said.

Klatt and the other hikers will trek for five days of challenging and spectacular hiking. The hike is often called “Fire and Ice.” Hikers on a single will cross lava fields and volcanoes, and then be by stunning glaciers.

Klatt and the hikers have prepared for 7 to 8 hours of daily hiking, going about 6 to 8 miles each day. They will be staying in mountain huts.

The event is organized by Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma in a collaboration between CURE Media Group, GSK and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Since its creation in 2016, MM4MM has raised nearly $2.5 million, which 100 percent going directly to cancer research.

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Donation will pay for wreaths at veterans’ graves in Yates for many years to come

Provided photo: members of the Lyndonville Area Foundation’s Board of Directors from left include Lynne Johnson, Jim Simon, Virginia Hughes, Anne-Marie Holland, Jason Smith, Anna Stelianou (donor for wreath program), Darren D. Wilson, Rita Wolfe, Dave Cook, Doug Hedges and Beckie Feller.

Posted 29 July 2019 at 5:33 pm

Press Release, Lyndonville Area Foundation

LYNDONVILLE – At the Lyndonville Area Foundation’s annual July meeting, its Board of Directors were presented with a significant monetary gift from Lyndonville resident Anna Stelianou.

Accompanying Ms. Stelianou at the meeting was Mr. Steve Goodrich, Commander of Houseman-Tanner VFW Post 1603 of Lyndonville.

Ms. Stelianou’s donation will enable the Foundation to fund memorial wreaths to be placed upon each military veteran gravesite within the Town of Yates on an annual basis. There are approximately 400 gravesites – each painstakingly identified and mapped out by Mr. Goodrich. After the first wreath purchases later this year, Ms. Stelianou’s substantial  donation allows the Foundation to invest the remainder and thus continue to purchase the wreaths each year into perpetuity. The wreaths will be purchased through the Houseman-Tanner Post and the “Wreaths Across America” program.

The gift by Ms. Stelianou to the Lyndonville Area Foundation was made in the memory of her parents, Konstantina and Ary Stelianou, who arrived in Lyndonville in the early 1920s as immigrants from the small island of Lemnos, Greece. The Stelianous set up business with a small store serving lunches, candy and ice cream. By 1933 they had six boys and a baby girl, all living in a small apartment above the store.

As Ms. Stelianou relates, “The Depression was on and I’m sure they had a difficult time. I have an idea there were a lot of community members helping them.” She adds, “Many thanks for all those who made my parents feel welcome in this new world and in helping them achieve the American Dream.”

Her donation was also made in memory of Ms. Stelianou’s five older brothers – all of whom were veterans of either WWII or the Korean War.

“When Steve Goodrich emailed me regarding this donation and shared a little of Anna’s background, quite honestly, I was floored,” said Darren D. Wilson, president of the Foundation. “I know Steve was, too.”

Speaking to her brothers service to our country, Mr. Goodrich reminded us, “We are immensely humbled by this gift, but it is we who cannot repay the debt.”

The “Wreaths Across America” program takes place on Dec. 14. Beginning in September, Mr. Goodrich will be reaching out via Facebook and other outlets seeking volunteers to assist himself and members of the Houseman-Tanner Post to lay the wreaths at each gravesite.

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LynOaken Farms celebrates 100 years in business

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 July 2019 at 2:38 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – A fruit farm that started in 1919 in Lyndonville celebrated 100 years in business on Sunday with a party at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, 10609 Ridge Rd.

Leonard Oakes began LynOaken Farms. The Oakes family started the winery 11 years ago and named it in honor of the farm’s founder.

Members and some employees of the Oakes family gathered for a photo under the pavilion at the winery, which also includes a retail store and U-pick operation.

From left include: Dan Thurber, Diane Thurber, Jerod Thurber, Jonathan Oakes, Chris Oakes, Steve Songer, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Darelyn Songer, Linda Oakes, Darrel Oakes, Wendy Oakes Wilson, Wanda Oakes, Jeff Oakes, Dawn Oakes and Katie Oakes.

Hawley presented the family with a proclamation in recognition of a century in business.

Wendy Oakes Wilson, general manager of LynOaken and the winery, thanks the farming community, LynOaken employees and industry specialists for helping the farm to succeed the past century. About 150 people attended the celebration.

There will be a party open to the community on Aug. 7 at the winery, featuring a large birthday cake and musician Dave Viterna.

The Who Dats performed at Sunday’s party. Pictured include drummer Aaron Robinson and guitarist John Borrello.

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Lyndonville among 50 schools in national initiative on rural education

Posted 22 July 2019 at 12:23 pm

Press Release, Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville Central School District is joining 50 rural schools as a part of the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN), an initiative of the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University.

Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, the district will have the opportunity to apply the Proving Ground model of evidence-based improvement to address chronic absenteeism, college readiness, and college enrollment.

“We are proud that Lyndonville has long been recognized as a leader in finding new ways to support our students,” says Jason Smith, Lyndonville Central School District Superintendent. “This new partnership with the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks is yet another valuable resource for our educational community can tap. We will also be able to learn from successes in other rural districts and share with them the extraordinary efforts our students and staff put forth every day.”

NCRERN will produce tools for identifying students most at risk for absenteeism and being unprepared for college as well as change management resources designed to guide rural schools in addressing chronic absenteeism, college readiness, and college enrollment. Throughout the five years, the Center’s member districts will collaborate on shared challenges, learning from each other to guide future work on school improvement.

“The network brings together our expertise in strategic management and analytics and our partners’ expertise in supporting rural students,” says Bi Vuong, Proving Ground director and NCRERN interim director. “We are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with districts committed to learning with us and sharing their expertise with each other.”

Applicants were chosen based on alignment between the district’s strategic goals and the work of the Center, capacity to utilize data for decision making, commitment to continuous improvement practices, and geographic distribution. The following districts from New York will join the rural education center: Andover, Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Broadalbin-Perth, Canastota, Cato- Meridian, Crown Point, Fallsburg, Fredonia, Gouverneur, Gowanda, Greenville, Hammondsport, Harpursville, LaFayette, Lyndonville, Mexico, Monticello, Pulaski, Randolph, Salmon River, Sandy Creek, Sharon Springs, Sherman, Susquehanna Valley, Taconic Hills, Thousand Islands, Unadilla Valley, Webutuck, Wells, and Windsor.

“The districts selected to be part of the National Center for Rural Education Research Network deserve congratulations,” said Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Anita Murphy. “Their selection represents a uniquely valuable opportunity for them to bring the power of evidence and the Proving Ground improvement model to bear on some of the most pressing issues facing rural districts including chronic absenteeism and college readiness and enrollment. I look forward to learning alongside our districts as they work to improve student outcomes together.”

Funding: The Institute of Education Sciences is awarding $10 million to support the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN); it is being cost shared by IES (91%) and the Center of Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University and its partners, New York and Ohio (9%).

About NCRERN leadership: Thomas J. Kane is an economist and Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR). Douglas O. Staiger is the John French Professor in Economics at Dartmouth College. Christopher Avery is the Roy E. Larsen Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Bi Vuong, Proving Ground Director (CEPR), will act as interim director of the Center.

About the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University: The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University seeks to transform education through quality research and evidence. CEPR and its partners believe all students will learn and thrive when education leaders make decisions using facts and findings, rather than untested assumptions. Learn more at

About Proving Ground: Proving Ground, a CEPR initiative, works to make evidence-gathering and evidence-use an intuitive part of how education agencies conduct their daily work. Proving Ground utilizes a continuous improvement framework to help agencies rapidly identify and test solutions to specific challenges. Learn more at

About the Institute of Education Sciences: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent and non-partisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Their mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public. Learn more at

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‘Jam4John’ on July 20 will help Lyndonville man in fight with Hodgkin lymphoma

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 July 2019 at 10:39 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: John Torsell-Isaascon is halfway through his chemo treatment for stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma. He is pictured with his girlfriend of five years, Amanda Blackburn. The chemo has shrunk the cancer and the Torsell-Isaacson is optimistic for a full recovery.

MEDINA – John Torsell-Isaascon, 24, is thankful for a big support system that has rallied around him while he fights stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma.

Torsell-Isaascon of Lyndonville was diagnosed with the cancer in early April and started chemotherapy on April 29. He has completed six of the 12 treatments, and gained 30 pounds.

Torsell-Isaascon’s weight had plunged before his diagnosis. The cancer was absorbing the nutrients.

Now that the cancer has shrunk significantly, Torsell-Isaascon has been able to regain the lost pounds. He is up to 160.

Many of friends and family are planning a big fundraiser next Saturday, July 20, for Torsell-Isaascon at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery on Ridge Road. The “Jam4John” from 4 to 9 p.m. includes music, food, prizes and many baskets up for auction.

“It’s really humbling,” Torsell-Isaascon said Friday at the Shirt Factory Café, where he joined his girlfriend Amanda Blackburn for lunch. “I’ve learned to accept help. I’m so grateful. I can’t begin to express my gratitude.”

The Oakes family is hosting the benefit for Torsell-Isaascon. He has worked for the family the past three years in the apple packing line at LynOaken Farms and also a truck driver, delivering apples to grocery stores in New York State.

Torsell-Isaascon had a lump under his right arm that prompted him to go to the doctor. He was diagnosed with the advanced Hodgkin lymphoma, which is curable with chemotherapy.

His girlfriend Amanda Blackburn is in her last year at Niagara University, pursuing a degree in nursing. She has been key in helping to understand the cancer and tackle the treatments at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo. Torsell-Isaascon goes every two weeks for chemo.

“It’s a huge curveball, but we’re staying positive,” Amanda said.

The two met about five years after a soccer game at Lyndonville. John was waiting to pick up a sibling. Amanda was coming from volleyball practice. They started talking and became friends.

Torsell-Isaascon comes from a big family with 12 siblings. His is the second oldest.

His mother, Deborah Isaacson, has been working on the benfit, with lots of help from Gretchen Albone, Christie Mombrea and Mandee Heinsler. Wendy Oakes Wilson from LynOaken has also been supportive in the Jam4John, where Torsell-Isaascon hopes to join the musical performers.

The Knights-Kaderli Fund, which assist Orleans County families fighting cancer, also has helped Torsell-Isaascon.

Tickets to the Jam4John provide admission to music and food, as well as a chance to win a 50-inch Smart TV. There are many items at the basket auction, included signed merchandise from Buffalo Sabres and Bills players.

Tickets are available at Automotive Solutions at 11197 Ridge Rd., Medina, and Signature Styles, 1610 North Lyndonville Rd., Lyndonville. Click here to see the Jam4John Facebook page.

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Contractors expanding parking lot at Lyndonville school district

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2019 at 3:32 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Contractors are busy this summer with a capital project at the Lyndonville school district, including an expanded parking lot with a separate drop-off from the bus loop.

Lyndonville had a ground-breaking ceremony on Jan. 2 for the $10.7 million capital project. The work was approved by voters, 106-19, on Feb. 13, 2017.

Lyndonville has already completed two components of the project, with a section of a new roof put on in 2017 and new LED lights put in the gym.

This year contractors have been creating two classrooms above the library in the elementary section of the school. In addition to the two new classrooms, there will be mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades.

The pavement has been pulled out in front of the school with a new surface coming later this summer.

Other work to be done includes:

• Air-conditioning in 95 percent of the school campus

• A revamped and upgraded kitchen, serving and dining area

• Major improvements to the locker rooms

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