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Fireworks are big exclamation point on the Fourth in Lyndonville

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 July 2018 at 12:30 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – It was another spectacular fireworks show at Lyndonville to cap the Fourth of July celebration. The show by Young Explosives lit up the sky and unleashed many loud booms.

The Lyndonville show at about 40 minutes is considered one of the biggest in Western New York. The Lyndonville Lions Club, led by member Wes Bradley, raises money throughout the year for the big show.

Michael DiGivoanni of Syracuse and his daughters, Marra and Madelena, get a Chinese lantern ready for takeoff. The family is from Syracuse and camps in Waterport during the Fourth of July holiday.

DiGivoanni said he has been bringing his family to the Lyndoville fireworks for about seven years.

“This is easily the best live fireworks show I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Fireworks were sent in several directions from a spot just past the Lyndonville ballfields.

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

Alex Doval, 14, of Medina enjoyed playing with sparklers before the fireworks show.

The fireworks draw several thousand people to Lyndonville. This was the 44th annual Independence Day celebration in Lyndonville put on by the Lions Club.

The Who Dats performed for three hours before the fireworks show. The band includes Ed Hilfiker on guitar, John Borello on guitar, Marty Hobbs on bass, lead singer Lonnie Froman and drummer Aaron Robinson.

There were long lines for the concessions,

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Veterans remind crowd of sacrifice of soldiers at Lyndonville parade

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 July 2018 at 8:19 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Members of the American Legion and VFW posts in Medina brought a flag-draped casket in today’s Independence Day parade in Lyndonville.

The veterans debuted the display during the Memorial Day parade in Medina. The veterans wanted the parade crowd to know that “freedom isn’t free” and Independence Day wouldn’t be possible without the sacrifice of veterans.

The veterans did a 21-gun salute on Main Street.

Thomas J. Walders, a member of the Medina VFW, plays “Taps” with the Honor Guard.

Carl Boyle, a member of the American Legion in Lyndonville, pauses on Main Street to salute while “Taps” was played.

Jack Miles, left, and Earl Schmidt were in the parade promoting a veterans’ medical transportation service. They stepped outside their vehicles to salute at “Taps.”

The crowd gave the veterans an extended applause, the longest and loudest appreciation during the parade.

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5 need treatment at Lyndonville parade due to heat, including woman in cardiac arrest

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 July 2018 at 3:35 pm

Barker firefighter provides CPR to save woman

Photo by Tom Rivers: These kids spray water from the top of a Middleport fire truck to provide some relief to the crowd in the sweltering heat. The temperature rose from 90 at noon to 93 by the end of the parade more than an hour later.

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville parade had to be stopped at least twice today to make room for ambulances and rescue vehicles to treat people effected by the heat.

One woman went into cardiac arrest near the end of the parade when the temperature was 93 degrees. A Barker firefighter was in the parade and saw the woman on Main Street near Johnson Creek.

The firefighter provided CPR and likely saved the woman’s life. She was taken by ambulance.

Lyndonville Fire Chief Ben Bane didn’t know the Barker firefighter’s name. Bane praised the quick action from the firefighter.

Four others were also treated after either fainting or being severely dehydrated. One of those people was taken by ambulance.

Firefighters offered water and tried to help people cool down, Bane said.

He said there have been hot parades before, but he doesn’t recall people needing emergency assistance during the event.

“This is the first time I remember stopping the parade for so many calls,” he said.

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Lyndonville will throw biggest July 4th party in county

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 July 2018 at 5:43 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Joslynn Bull of Barker, the Miss New York State High School Rodeo Queen for 2017-2018, was among the many parade participants on July 4, 2017 in Lyndonville.

LYNDONVILLE – The Village of Lyndonville is ready to host Orleans County biggest Fourth of July party.

The Lions Club is taking the lead in its 44th annual Independence Day Celebration in Lyndonville.

The club’s 35 members are involved in organizing and running the event.

“It’s so nice to see Lyndonville come to life,” said Ann Marie Holland, the Lions Club president. “It’s rather amazing. It’s really a small group of people who complete the undertaking tomorrow.”

Club members have been raising money for the big bash on Wednesday, and have been particularly busy in recent days ordering food, setting up tents and parking barriers. Tomorrow the Lions Club will be busy all day, cooking hot dogs and the chicken barbecue dinners, organizing the parade and other events. Club members also get to take out the garbage.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser,” Holland said. “We use the money for the medical loan closet, eyeglasses and other community service projects.”

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 50 vendors.

• Parade at noon.

• 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. Only 500 tickets available and they will be sold during festival.

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

• Fireworks at 10 p.m.

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50 graduates recognized at Lyndonville commencement

Staff Reports Posted 23 June 2018 at 3:41 pm

Photos by Jennifer Merkel of Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES 2

LYNDONVILLE – The new graduates at Lyndonville Central School toss their caps after commencement Friday evening.

Lyndonville celebrated its 78th commencement exercises and honored 50 graduates. The ceremony took place in the Stroyan Auditorium.

Class of 2018 Valedictorian Paige Gardner, left, and Salutatorian Mercedes Benedict led the class in academics.

Angela Wachob and Ariane Wachob lend their voices to the singing of the National Anthem to begin the ceremony.

Salutatorian Mercedes Benedict began her speech expressing thanks to all of the important people in her life.

Christopher Clark II, Miranda Lembcke and Reese Ledford were part of a performance of “Have it All” by Jason Mraz.

Valedictorian Paige Gardner addresses her peers and audience members during the ceremony.

Photos courtesy of Amy Lewis

Darren Wilson of the Lyndonville Area Foundation congratulates Brody Brown for winning the Directors Award and scholarship.

David Cook presents Mariah Grabowski the Trevor T. Cook Memorial Scholarship on behalf of his son who was a decorated Marine sergeant killed in a training accident.

Superintendent Jason Smith congratulates Josephine Joy. Smith also addressed the Class of 2018. “Put your best effort into everything. You can persevere if you put your mind to it. Stay hungry, stay humble.” He shared the story of how the Brooklyn Bridge was built. He used this analogy to reinforce how dreams that seem impossible can become real with drive. Do not be defeated by circumstances, he said. Overcome challenges to achieve success. He gave each graduate a small replica of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The graduates move their tassels to signify the end of their high school careers and start of the next chapter in their lives.

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Robin Hill in Lyndonville hosts Summer Solstice Soiree

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Beth Gee Carpenter of Lyndonville, left, helps Jan Heideman of Medina choose postcards at Carpenter’s booth on the grounds of Robin Hill Estate during the Summer Solstice Soiree Wednesday afternoon, sponsored by the Cobblestone Society.

Posted 21 June 2018 at 9:00 am

Hundreds of rare plants and trees, such as these, line the paths through Robin Hill Estate in Lyndonville, where on Wednesday afternoon the Cobblestone Society Museum held a Summer Solstice Soiree.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

LYNDONVILLE – Picture peaceful grounds, hundreds of rare plants and trees, a sunlit afternoon and soft music coming from the shade and you have the setting for Wednesday’s Summer Solstice Soiree at Robin Hill Estate.

This is the second year for the event, sponsored by the Cobblestone Society, and the first time it was held at Robin Hill Nature Preserve, the 40-acre Lyndonville estate of the late Will Smith.

After a very successful event last year in the gardens of Leroy and Shirley Neeper of Medina, the Cobblestone Society decided to have this year’s garden party at Robin Hill, which proved to be a perfect location with its collection of trees, shrubs and flowers.

Half dozen or so vendors were scattered among the trees, including artists, crafters, photographers and others.

A table in the midst of it all was full of hors d’oeuvres and samplings of wine, while in the shade of nearby trees, Mike Grammatico of Batavia, a former Albion music teacher, played the saxophone.

Beth Gee Carpenter of Lyndonville had a booth with her photographs, artwork, postcards and note pads.

“I’m always looking for new venues to sell my work,” she said. “I come here to take pictures and it’s wonderful to be able to take part in an event like this in my local community.”

Robin Hill was developed by Will Smith, the founder of Lyndonville Canning Company. He and his wife Mary, son George and daughter Marion designed and built the manor house of Medina sandstone. They were enthusiastic bird watchers and mushroom hunters, and Marion banded Monarch butterflies for years.

Will and Mary were traveling in northern Pennsylvania one spring in the 1940s when they saw hillsides full of shad trees in blossom north of Williamsport. Will spotted one tree with pink flowers in the midst of the white ones, climbed the hill and took cuttings of the pink shad.

Mary Zangerle of Medina, with her 8-month-old granddaughter Marian, checks out the yard art at the Summer Solstice Soiree at the Robin Hill Estate.

The first of Robin Hill’s shads are planted to the north and south of the manor house. They thrive in urban environments and can be trimmed to bush size or allowed to grow tall. They are even farmed for their berries in Canada .

Over the years, Smith’s plantings would become famous, such as the Dawn Redwood, the prehistoric ancestor of the Giant Sequoia.

Three such redwoods at Robin Hill are offshoots of a stand of Dawn Redwoods, estimated to be 6,000 years old, which was discovered in Mongolia in early 1930. One of its discoverers was a friend of Smith’s and sent Will a cone with some seeds. Thanks to the fertile conditions of the Lake Plains, three of these redwoods thrive at Robin Hill, along with some contemporary sequoias.

The 80-foot tall Dawn Redwood next to the North Pond on the estate is thought to be the oldest in the Western Hemisphere .

Today, Robin Hill is the home of Doug and Valerie Pratt, son and granddaughter of Larry and Charlotte Smith Pratt.

Other trees and shrubs include linden, a Gingko tree, a Franklinia bush, sycamores, beech, witch hazel, Carolina silverbell, Japanese Umbrella pine, a multi-trunk European larch and Japanese maples.

The grounds are available for weddings, photography and other events – to anyone who loves and respects nature.

With this successful event over, the Cobblestone Society is moving forward with plans for its next fundraiser, the annual Historic Trades Fair on June 30.

Hibiscus bushes bloom on the grounds of Robin Hill Estate in Lyndonville, which was the site of the Cobblestone Society’s second annual Summer Solstice Soiree Wednesday afternoon.

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Retired Teachers’ Association presents grant to Lyndonville teacher

Posted 21 June 2018 at 7:40 am

Provided photo: Georgia Thomas of Medina, left, president of the Orleans County Retired Teachers Association, presented a grant to Aimee Chaffee of Lyndonville Middle School on Wednesday.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

LYNDONVILLE – A Lyndonville Middle School teacher has been rewarded for her dedication to education with a grant from the Central Western Zone of New York State Retired Teachers’ Association.

Aimee Chaffee is the Orleans County winner of a $150 grant from the Central Western Zone.

Orleans County Retired Teachers’ Association president Georgia Thomas of Medina announced Chaffee as the winner at Lyndonville Central School on Wednesday.

Chaffee is AVID coordinator at Lyndonville, Dean of Students, Leo Club Adviser and, in her words, an “AVID” teacher. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a college readiness program with academic rigor at Lyndonville.

The Barrie Fleegel Memorial Active Educator Grant is named for Fleegel, who began his teaching career as a science teacher in 1955. He moved up to high school principal in 1971 and two years later became superintendent of Marion Schools. Upon retirement, he became a member of the New York State Retired Teachers’ Association and served as president of the Wayne County branch, then president of the Central Western Zone and senior vice president of NYSRTA.

Fleegel recognized that educators who were continuing their education needed recognition and monetary help, and thus the grant was created by the Central Western Zone in his honor.

According to Ann Czajkowski, chair of the CWZ grant program, Chaffee will receive her check when proof is received that she has completed a graduate level course during 2018.

Next year, CWZ educators will be eligible to apply for the New York State Retired Teachers’ grant of $1,000. CWZ educators are eligible for grants every other year, Czajkowski said.

(Editor’s note: This story was updated from an earlier version that said the grant for Chaffee was for $1,000.)

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Lyndonville band plays world premiere of new composition at elementary concert

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2018 at 7:34 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville Elementary band teacher John Bailey, front left, is pictured with composer Robert Grice of Florida on Thursday evening before the band’s spring concert.

Grice wrote a new composition – “Industrial Revolution: The Rise of a Nation” – that was performed for the first time by the Lyndonville band.

Bailey last year was the first winner of Lyndonville’s Educator of the Year, which came with a $1,000 award for Bailey to use at his discretion to promote education. He wanted to have a new song written for the band.

He reached out to Grice, who has 140 published works. Grice also worked 30 years as a school band teacher. Click here for more on Grice.

Grice thought about Lyndonville and Western New York, and the region’s role in the Industrial Revolution and the country’s growing economic power about two centuries ago. He wrote parts for the percussionists to sound like factories working. He is hopeful the composition will catch on with more bands.

Whenever it’s performed again, the music should indicate it had its world premiere in Lyndonville, NY.

John Bailey, the Lyndonville band teacher, said he and the students are thrilled to be the first group to play the composition.

“It’s really cool,” he said before the concert. “We get to do a world premiere.”

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Lyndonville vets give 2,300 faded flags a proper disposal

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 June 2018 at 10:43 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Steve Goodrich, commander of the Houseman-Tanner American Legion Post 1603, puts faded and torn flags in a pig roaster this evening, when the flags were retired and given a proper disposal at Lynhaven Cemetery.

“I’d rather see a bare flag pole than one with a flag that is ripped or tore up,” Goodrich said.

Three veterans from the American Legion – Joe Hausler, Carl Boyle and Steve Goodrich – burned 2,300 of the American flags. Most of them have been collected the past five years. They are typically the flags the veterans put out just before Memorial Day at about 500 graves for veterans. They usually become faded or ripped by about Veterans’ Day in November.

Goodrich holds a flag he has kept for 23 years. It was flown in South Carolina at the Naval Hospital Beaufort. He was given the flag on his last day of active duty. He served in the Navy for 10 years.

Goodrich said the flag became faded in the center and the seams ripped. He said the flag should have been retired a few years ago but he couldn’t bear to part with it.

“There is a time to let go,” he said. “Now is the time.”

Carl Boyle gives these flags a dignified disposal.

Joe Hausler retires some of the flags, which were “destroyed with honor.”

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David Bellavia, Lyndonville grad, speaks to Top 10 in Class of 2018

Staff Reports Posted 14 June 2018 at 8:16 am

Provided photos

LYNDONVILLE – David Bellavia, of graduate of the Class of 1994 in Lyndonville, addressed Lyndonville’s Top 10 students during a Lyndonville Lion’s Club meeting on Wednesday. Bellavia is a distinguished veteran, author, and radio show host.

John Riggi, a member of the Lions Club, is at left. The event was at the White Birch Golf Course.

Bellavia, an Iraq War veteran, wrote a book that detailed his experiences as a staff sergeant in the second battle of Fallujah. He wrote House to House with John R. Bruning, describing the efforts of front line forces in urban combat against insurgents. Bellavia was part of a campaign that took the heavily fortified city. He was recognized with a Silver Star.

In 2005, Bellavia was inducted into the New York Veterans’ Hall of Fame.

He has been active in politics, twice running for Congress.

Bellavia now works as a radio talk show host and as an advocate for veterans in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

He grew up in Lyndonville as son of local dentist Bill Bellavia. He performed in the high school musicals, including a lead role of Jack in Lyndonville’s production of Into The Woods.

Lyndonville’s top 10 graduates for 2018 include Mercedes Benedict, Brody Brown, Heaven Flood, Paige Gardner, Mariah Grabowski, Skyler Lear, Miranda Lembcke, Cassie Maynard, Taylor Paniccia and Kennedy Smelski.

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