Save Ontario Shores says latest survey shows stronger opposition to turbines by lake

Posted 27 October 2020 at 2:29 pm

Press Release, Save Ontario Shores

YATES – Local opposition to a proposed industrial wind turbine project in the towns of Somerset and Yates has increased significantly according to a new survey commissioned by Save Ontario Shores.

• 83% of the residents who participated in the survey in late August and early September said they were opposed to the Lighthouse Wind project, which calls for the construction in the two Lake Ontario shoreline communities of 47 turbines that would be 600 feet or taller. Including 240-foot long blades.

In 2015, the Town of Somerset’s survey showed that 67% of respondents were opposed to the project; SOS’s survey in Yates that year showed 78% were opposed.

“After five years, any lingering doubts about the level of opposition to this project has evaporated,” said SOS President Pam Atwater. “Governor Cuomo and project developer Apex should look very closely at these survey results and acknowledge that the project is not acceptable to our communities.”

In latest survey, 2,148 surveys were mailed to Somerset and Yates residents; 31% were returned to the Buffalo accounting firm Lumsden & McCormick, LLP, which tabulated the results. The survey margin of error is +/- 3%.

• The respondents also said they opposed industrial wind projects in the Great Lakes because of the negative impact it will have on fishing and boating (78% concerned); the legacy pollutants (chemicals remaining in the environment long after they were first brought into use – 78% concerned); and the number of birds and bats that would be killed by industrial wind turbine blades operating in the lake (84% concerned).

“Enough is enough! Each town, not the state, should decide for itself how best to contribute to a more sustainable future that is in harmony with the values and character of each community,” said Town of Yates Supervisor Jim Simon. “Our town is working with local farmers on the possibility of a renewable energy biodigester to convert cow manure into biogas. This initiative is proof that a community can contribute to the governor’s renewable energy goals while staying true to its rural character and residents’ desires.”

“Our town as well as all towns should be able to decide what is best for our community and residents, not the state,” said Town of Somerset Supervisor Jeff Dewart. “There is an 1,800-acre industrial site in Somerset that is closed. It would be a good place to put a solar farm and a data center, along with a multi-use site including a park for our town. This would demonstrate that our community is contributing to the governor’s renewable goals.”

• An overwhelming number, 89%, oppose legislation approved early this year by New York State giving Albany substantial power to rapidly review, evaluate and permit the siting of industrial wind turbine and solar energy projects with decreased opportunity for public or local municipality input.

Recent studies have estimated that using industrial wind and solar projects to meet the governor’s renewable energy goals will require hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Upstate New York, which currently produces 88% of its electricity from zero emissions generation (largely hydro-electric and nuclear). Downstate uses 70% fossil fuel generated electricity. 88% of the survey participants said Upstate New York was being asked to bear an unfair burden in order to meet the governor’s energy goals.

This survey is released as Governor Cuomo’s renewable siting office has draft regulations and standards that when finalized will decrease citizen and municipal voices and options, will lighten requirements for developers and speed up the siting process for projects so large that they will change the character of a region. Out-of-state developers profit at the expense of rural communities, rural habitat and wildlife in Upstate New York that is already saturated with zero emissions electricity.

“This is not just an assault on local rule – it’s an all-out declaration of war by the governor,” said Yates Town Board Member John Riggi.

• 86% of the respondents support establishing local moratoriums to study and develop standards for battery storage safety and transmission line construction before any new industrial wind and solar projects are constructed.

“We are calling on Governor Cuomo to explore alternative ways to reach statewide climate goals, and not force massive industrialization on communities like Somerset and Yates whose residents clearly do not want them and whose environment, economy and community character would be harmed by them,” Atwater said. “He should be developing an energy policy that brings together New Yorkers, not one that tears communities apart.”

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Lyndonville teacher honored by Brockport State College for work with student-teachers

Posted 27 October 2020 at 10:31 am

Press Release, Lyndonville Central School

Provided photo: Katy Franks holds the plaque she awarded by Brockport State College.

LYNDONVILLE – Katy Franks, a special education teacher for Lyndonville Central School District, was honored with a teacher educator award from Brockport State College.

She received Brockport’s Marguerite Hare Browne/Gerald L. Browne School-Based Teacher Educator Award (grades 7-12) for her outstanding dedication to SUNY students.

“Lyndonville Central School is proud to have Katy Franks as a teacher and a mentor to future educators,” said Lyndonville Superintendent Jason Smith. “She has worked for the district for over 15 years and is a true asset to our team.”

Franks is an exceptional school-based teacher educator who supports 7-12 teacher candidates enrolled in SUNY Brockport’s teacher certification program in the Department of Education and Human Development. To be nominated for this award, Franks demonstrated an exemplary performance as a teacher and has provided numerous opportunities for SUNY Brockport student-teachers to gain valuable experience working with students.

Although Franks is not “technically each (Brockport) student’s teacher of record, she is amazing and invests deeply in ensuring our adolescent level students placed at Lyndonville get rich experiences working with students with disabilities throughout their student-teaching,” stated Allison Wright of Brockport State College.

Franks is “very professional and always willing to go above and beyond,” said her previous direct supervisor, Anne Marie Holland. “She is a great role model for student teachers, field placements and for the new teachers she has mentored over the years.”

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National Grid planning power outage for hour tomorrow night in Lyndonville

Staff Reports Posted 22 October 2020 at 8:47 pm

LYNDONVILLE – National Grid has a planned outage for about an hour from 11:59 p.m. Friday until about 1 a.m. Saturday, the Orleans County Emergency Management Office announced today.

There are approximately 1,800 customers affected by this event in the village and surrounding towns, the EMO said.

The outage is for required station tests at the station located off of North Main Street and Railroad Avenue in the Village of Lyndonville.

The affected customers are in the entire Village of Lyndonville, the Town of Yates and parts of Ridgeway.

All customers have been forwarded a previously recorded phone message of the planned outage.

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Lyndonville Lions will continue pumpkin carving contest

Posted 22 October 2020 at 8:38 pm

This year’s event will be drive-through and carve at your home

Press Release, Lyndonville Lions Club

LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville Central School students K-6th grade can look forward to another year of pumpkin carving presented by the Lyndonville Lions Club.

The Lyndonville Lions Club is holding its annual Rick Callard Pumpkin Carving Contest between 10 a.m. and noon this Saturday.  The event will be held at the Lyndonville Fire Hall on Main Street.

However this year’s contest will be a little bit different. Due to current Covid-19 restrictions on gathering, this year’s event will be drive-through, touch-free only.

The Lyndonville Lions Club will be handing out free pumpkins plus a complimentary goodie bag to each Lyndonville school child up to age 12 present in your vehicle. A Lions Club member will place each pumpkin and goodie bag in your vehicle for you to ensure a safe touch-free environment for everyone.

While we anticipate having plenty on hand, both pumpkins and goodie bag quantities are limited and will be given out on a first-come-first-served basis until they are gone – so you are encouraged to show up early!

We invite you to bring your child or children to pick up your complimentary pumpkin and decorate it in the safety, convenience and comfort of your home.  On the night of Saturday, October 24th, we encourage you to share your child’s pumpkin carving and creations with us on our Lyndonville Lion’s Facebook page.

The Lyndonville Lions Club wishes everyone a fun safe Halloween and we look forward to seeing you this Saturday.

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Lyndonville Sports Boosters donate 2 flag poles to district

Posted 19 October 2020 at 12:36 pm

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.

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Lyndonville celebrates School Board Recognition Week

Posted 19 October 2020 at 8:55 am

Provided photo: Members of the Lyndonville Board of Education include, front row, from left: Susan Hrovat and Kristin Nicholson. Back row: Steven Vann, Vernon Fonda, Jerod Thurber, Harold Suhr and Ted Lewis.

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.

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Thrift shop in Lyndonville inundated with Christmas decorations

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Ruth Hedges is dwarfed among a sea of Christmas decorations which have been donation to the Lyndonville United Methodist Church. They have received so many decorations they have had to partition off part of their Fellowship Hall to display just a portion of them. The community is invited to visit the church’s Hope Resales Thrift Shop and shop for holiday decorations of all kinds.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 October 2020 at 10:41 am

LYNDONVILLE – Christmas may be a couple of months away, but at the United Methodist Church in Lyndonville, it looks like Christmas is already here.

The church has recently received an abundance of Christmas decorations – so many, in fact, they don’t have room to display them.

Ruth Hedges is heading up a sale of Christmas decorations of all kinds at Hope Resales. The merchandise is set up in the church’s fellowship hall and may be purchased during regular hours Hope Resales is open.

Ruth Hedges, who was instrumental in starting the churches thrift shop, Hope Resales, said they are struggling to find room to put all the decorations – all beautiful and some unique.

The donations started coming in right after the thrift shop was allowed to reopen during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think people must have had time to clean out their houses during the pandemic, because the donations began to pour in,” Hedges said.

While church volunteers don’t know where to display all the items, Hedges said they are also grateful for a community which supports their Hope Resales Thrift Store.

Hope Resales opened March 30, 2019 and the church was planning a big one-year celebration for the end of March this year, when they had to close. Ruth and her husband Doug had come back from Florida on a Thursday to get ready for the celebration, and on Saturday they closed the store.

On a positive note, the church used that time to renovate their space in the church’s basement. They painted the floors and shelving and bought new racks, which gave the store a more organized look, Hedges said.

Support for the thrift shop has been overwhelming, and they have so many donations of merchandise, they could use more room.

Then the problem arose of where to display the tons of Christmas decorations which started coming in.

An end of the fellowship hall upstairs in the church was finally partitioned off and tables set up and filled with candles, figurines, Santas, stockings, dolls, tree toppers, ornaments, china and more. The floor is lined with tubs of Christmas lights, garlands and wreaths. More boxes line the hall, which have not yet been unpacked.

An assortment of angel tree toppers fills a table in the Fellowship Hall of the Lyndonville United Methodist Church. The church has recently received donations of so many Christmas decorations, they don’t have room to display them.

The Christmas decorations are on sale during regular hours of Hope Resales, which are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Hours may change after the end of October, Hedges said.

Customers should enter through the basement entrance of Hope Resales on the north side of the building.

Hedges also wants the public to know they have an assortment of good winter coats in many sizes. They have also acquired nursing scrubs, a selection of XXX men’s clothing, Beanie Babies with tags on, Halloween costumes and a large collection of Barbie dolls.

Hedges would like to expand the thrift shop with more crafting items and yarns.

To entice shoppers, Hedges has begun putting together gift baskets on different themes. One is a scrapbooking basket with more than $100 worth of related merchandise in it.

Profits from the thrift shop are divided half to the church and the other half to local and global missions.

In keeping with Health Department regulations during the pandemic, customers are required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. A limit of three will be allowed in a room at one time, unless members of the same family.

The Lyndonville United Methodist Church is located at 102 North Main St. More information is available on their Facebook page.

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Lyndonville High is starting an Athletic Hall of Fame

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 29 September 2020 at 9:08 am

The outstanding athletic accomplishments of Lyndonville High student athletes will be honored in a very special way in the future as the school is forming an Athletic Hall of Fame.

“We have a pretty rich athletic tradition here and this is a great way to honor the outstanding accomplishments of our former athletes,” said Athletic Director Jim Zeliff. “I’m really excited about it. It will give inspiration and incentive to our current athletes and it will also drum up interest in the community.”

Zeliff noted that the purpose of the Hall of Fame is “to highlight those who have made a positive impact on the Lyndonville Athletic program and maintain relationships, history, and tradition within the school community.”

A committee will be formed to select the inductees and it is planned to have up to 10 inductees the first year, up to five the second and up to three each year after that.

There are four categories for selection including as an athlete, a team, a coach and a special contributor/supporter/fan.

Nominations can be submitted to Zeliff and a nomination form is available on the school’s website. The deadline for nominations this year is March 1, 2021 and the inductees will be announced in May.

Lyndonville schools cancelled today due to power outage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 September 2020 at 7:55 am

LYNDONVILLE – The school district won’t be having classes today due to a power outage caused by a transformer fire.

National Grid is reporting 1,790 customers are without electricity in Orleans County. The company estimates power will be restored at about 9:30 a.m.

Lyndonville’s combined team practices hosted by Medina are still on for today. Transportation from Lyndonville will be available. Athletes should be at the school for a 3 p.m. departure time. A return trip will be provided as well, said Jason Smith, Lyndonville district superintendent.

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Lyndonville honors Educator of the Year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 September 2020 at 11:16 am

Provided photo: Jerod Thurber congratulates his wife Bliss Thurber after she was honored last week as Lyndonville’s Educator of the Year for 2019-20. She was announced last June as the district’s top educator but the recognition was delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Mr. Thurber in July joined the Lyndonville Board of Education.

LYNDONVILLE – The school district last week gave overdue recognition to the Educator of the Year from 2019-20, and also recognized retiring staff.

The district normally recognizes the top educator and retirees during a Board of Education meeting in June. But the district was meeting remotely back then. It has returned to in-person meetings.

Bliss Thurber, a sixth grade teacher, was honored as Educator of the Year. District officials said she is “creative, talented, dedicated and committed, all while having high expectations for her students.”

She also has been a leader in the district in utilizing technology to connect with students. Thurber also serves as co-leader of the AVID program for grades kindergarten through 6.

She received a plaque and a $1,000 district grant to be used for an educational initiative or project.

RETIREES – The district also recognized four staff members are retiring: Diane Thurber, clerical; Nikki Robison, teacher aid; Kathy Payne, a long-time bus driver; and Dave Balcer, director of Buildings and Grounds.

Balcer was known for his customer service approach to all members of our community, as well as the great pride he had for the school buildings and grounds, said Jason Smith, the district superintendent.

Robison was known for her innate problem solving ability, behind the scenes dedication, and her ability to connect with all students to instill positive and productive relationship.

Thurber held several positions in the district before her clerical assignment. She was known for her quick and out-of-the-box thinking, commitment to students, and overall wonderful efficiency, Smith said.

Payne was dedicated to students for many years as a bus driver.

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Lyndonville welcomes back first group of students for in-person learning

Posted 9 September 2020 at 3:43 pm

Photos courtesy of Lyndonville Central School: This group of students settles into a classroom where the desks are spaced at least 6 feet apart.

Press Release, Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville Central School welcomed back a portion of their students to campus today. Students in grades 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12 were greeted with warm welcomes from staff and administration.

Throughout the next two days the remainder of the students who selected in-person learning will return to campus.

Mitzi Fredericks, an aide with the school district, checks the Thermal Scan, which can show students with temperatures at 100 degrees or more. Those students will be then be checked with non-contact thermometers to see if they are at 100 or more degrees. If they are, they will be sent home.

“The district is looking forward to the 2020-21 school year and has worked diligently to ensure the health and well-being of our students,” said Superintendent Jason Smith.

While the school has two body thermal scans stationed at the main entrances and non-contact thermometers to assess student and staff temperature, the district reminds families to check their child’s temperature before coming to school. If a student’s temperature is greater than 100 degrees and/or exhibits Covid-19 symptoms he/she must remain home.

To ensure social distancing, Lyndonville is utilizing the Main Street elementary school for PreK and grades 5 and 6. Classrooms and a lunch area have been set up for these students. To reinforce safety procedures, district administration are hosting classroom meetings to discuss the importance of proper hygiene, masks and social distancing.

“All of us have a role in keeping our schools safe and preventing the spread of Covid-19,” Smith said. “Together we can work to keep our district healthy and open.”

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Q&A: School superintendent ready to start new year after ‘unreal’ 6 months

Photos by Tom Rivers: Jason Smith is pictured in a high school Spanish classroom were desks have been spaced apart to allow for social distancing. Classrooms will be limited to 12 to 15 students in person to start the school, with teachers working with some students remotely as well. The district has had 15 percent of the students opt for remote learning.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 September 2020 at 8:59 am

Jason Smith and Lyndonville district welcome back students today

Classrooms are stocked with hand sanitizer, masks and cleaning products.

LYNDONVILLE – Jason Smith has served as Lyndonville’s superintendent of schools since December 2011. The superintendent and district will begin welcoming back students today for a new school year. Lyndonville is staggering the grade levels this week before all grades come back next week for in-person classroom learning each school day.

Lyndonville is able to offer all students the option for in-person learning each day, rather than a hybrid approach like many districts where students come in to school for classes two or three days a week with the other days remotely at home.

Lyndonville, which has 630 students in grades PreK to 12, can accommodate all students with social distancing guidelines in place. The district has three grade levels at the elementary school, which is being used again after closing after the 2011-12 school year.

This year the district will have PreK and grades 5 and 6 in the elementary school.

The district has many new protocols in place to reopen during the Covid-19 pandemic, including taking students’ temperatures, spreading out desks, having students wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible, and making hand sanitizer available.

Jason Smith was interviewed last week in his office at Lyndonville Central School on Housel Avenue.

The district has signs and decals throughout the hallways, classrooms and campus, urging people to maintain social distancing and wear masks.

Question: This is your 26th year in education. (Smith started his career in 1994 as a social studies teacher in Albion.) How radically different is this start of the school year?

Answer: It has been a radical start, going back to March. I was telling the families when I did the reopening meetings, I began tongue in cheek by saying I’m a history teacher by trade. We’re learning this as we go.

I’m basically saying I am committed to learning about this and making changes, but understand I was brought up as a history teacher.

March 13 was the last day we had students here. It was unreal because on March 14th I started talking with the superintendents in the county and Paul Pettit (the public health director in Orleans County) and we all closed that day. It was a Saturday.

It was almost like when I was at Albion (as a social studies teacher) and we watched the towers come down in New York City (on Sept. 11, 2001). I watched with eighth-graders in the cafeteria hallway. Standing next to me was Joe Martillotta (another social studies teacher).

March 14th was another surreal moment. It took about four hours from 1 to 5 to get everything done that I needed to get done. Then my wife and I went out to dinner for the last time for a while. Then I went back to work that night and had a call with my administrators. It was very much like I can’t believe this is happening.

It’s been six months. It’s definitely been out of the ordinary. I’ve had many calls with superintendents in Orleans County and also in the Niagara-Orleans BOCES.

There has been a lot of communication, a lot of problem solving and working to meet the new challenges. There has been a lot of pieces to put together.

The district has two thermal scanners that doing rapid screens as students enter the hallways in the main building. That scanner will identify students who may have temperatures at 100 degrees or more. Those students will then be checked individually with infrared touchless thermometers. If they have a temp of 100 degrees or more, they will have to go home.

Question: Last year there was such abruptness with the schools closing and the switch to remote learning. This year I know Lyndonville is starting with the option of in-person learning all five days of the school week. At least you know what you’re getting into at the start of the school year.

Answer: We do have about 15 percent or about 80 students who have opted to do remote only, even though we are offering full person instruction. We are offering the remote instruction to our families.

But the other piece is if we get switched to remote by force or by choice, we wanted to make sure we had a better plan in place. As we developed our plan for reopening, we wanted to make sure we had plans for full in-person which we’re doing, hybrid or full remote.

If we have to go full remote, we wanted to make sure we have enough devices and that there are expectations for teachers, students and families for what it looks like.

For example, last year from March, April, May and June, we were on pass-fail. There wasn’t traditional grading because of the challenges we had. But this year, anyone who is on remote, whether they chose it or were on it by force, it’s going to be regular grading and feedback with tests.

We’ve upped our game and everybody needs to up their game and understand it’s going to be graded, whether you are here or not. That is one of the lessons we learned.

We learned to do mobile hotspots. We actually started planning on March 12th in anticipation of what could happen. We had started that inner game plan a couple days before not knowing it would go on for the rest of the year.

Question: Do you have a sense of the percentage of kids that need the mobile hotspots?

Answer: We purchased 40 of them. The ones that we purchased work very well with a Verizon signal.

When Aaron Slack (high school principal) and I drove around the whole district during the graduation parade, oftentimes our phones died because there wasn’t a Verizon signal out on this road or that road.

So there is a strong need (for mobile hotspots). Our school board is committed to having better high-speed internet. We want to engage in the political process to open up broadband.

We opened up the campus here in the library and later on we placed two hotspots at the White Birch and the Oak Orchard Assembly of God.

So obviously the need is strong. It is definitely a handicap for us.

Jason Smith is shown in the cafeteria at the elementary school, where there will be clear dividers in place at the lunch tables. The school building gave the district the option to shift two grade levels, fifth and sixth, from Housel Avenue to free up more space and reduce the number of people in the main school building.

Question: Are the two hotspots still there at the White Birch and the church?

Answer: They won’t be there right to start. We’re going to monitor it and see how it goes. They didn’t get a lot of use last year. It was a cost for us to have them. We will monitor it. People can still use this campus. They can use the Yates library. The students will have access to Chromebooks, too.

Question: People might wonder what has been the hardest part of being a superintendent during the pandemic?

Answer: Just the changing rules. The changing regulations. The communication from the state and making sure I get that communication out to the staff and the parents.

I think one of the new normals for us is we’ve all had to up our communication game. I’ve used all of our systems. I’ve become much more proficient with it. I’ve got the calls out, the texts out, links, all kinds of stuff and getting the website updated.

Those have been some of the challenges, getting as much information out as much as we can.

Question: You function as the chief communication person?

Answer: I do a lot of it or I have someone else do it but I have my hands on the button all the time. We have our website set up with all the alerts on there. I have a great staff, too, and we have BOCES service that helps us out. But if it’s an immediate need I’ll get it up there.

Certainly we miss our students. While we weren’t open since March, I saw one of our students at the EZ Shop. We just kind of smiled at each other and had a prolonged hello because we just missed seeing each other. You miss the hustle the bustle of students and staff in school. So that’s been hard.

And just the unknown and not knowing, and all the planning.

Mary Kurz, the school nurse, holds one of the infrared touchless thermometers.

Question: The fall sports starting on Sept. 21 is confusing with some sports able to go and others not.

Answer: The practices can start on the 21st. The frustrating part for all of us has been we’ve been able to have youth sports with contact but now there seems to be conflicting guidance. Our infection rate in our state is lower than other states, yet those states with higher (infection) rates are able to play football. Why can’t we do that or something similar here?

That’s been a frustrating part.

But we are excited to get the athletics back and again do that in a smart manner. The guidance says maybe two spectators per child and we’ll have to decide how we’ll manage that and keep the density down.

Question: Two spectators per kid that will be a hard deal.

Answer: That will be tough. Some of what is being tossed around is do we give each child two passes? We’re also going to try to livestream some of the events. If people can’t come in person they could watch it on YouTube. We’re going to look at a service for that.

The elementary school last year was used for an expanded PreK program after being closed since 2012. This year it will have PreK, fifth and sixth grades.

Question: If you didn’t have the elementary school option, would you have been forced to do the hybrid without in-person each day for everyone?

Answer: It would have been tight. By having classes there we’ve opened up space here so we can have spillover rooms. So it was definitely to our advantage to have that building. We’re even able to feed students over there.

It definitely made the process easier knowing that we had that space over there.

Question: In terms of a silver lining, I have to think the kids will be really happy to see each other and they will value in-person friendships.

Answer: Yes, we saw how quickly it all ended last March.

Another challenge we had going back to June was graduation. It was one big task at a time. In March and April it was getting the meals out and the technology out.

In May and June we started having talks about graduation, which is a huge event.

We kind of took a breath and waited for guidance from the state about reopening the schools. We formed a committee, and had that going on the last two weeks in July. Ultimately I did nine presentations, one to the board, six to parents and two to teachers.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed, trying to keep up with the federal laws and the state laws. You want to balance parent needs, student needs and staff needs.

Question: I’m guessing you haven’t had much of a break personally since March?

Answer: Me, no. I had a vacation I was going to take over Memorial Day weekend but it was cancelled.

I will say this, I try to give myself so downtime because the job can be so demanding. During the shutdown I was looking at emails 24-7 trying to keep up with what parents and staff needed, what students needed. I was in constant contact with the administrators. It wasn’t until July when I took every other Friday off. That’s what I was able to do. The idea of taking a week off, for one, where are you going to go? Every place I wanted to go was quarantined.

So you try to balance it out and keep your Sundays free. The job is challenging enough and you add (Covid) to it, it’s another 25 layers.

Question: What else would you like to say?

Answer: It’s been a good process, we’ve learned and we’ve grown as administrators, as staff, as teachers. We’ve all learned.

There are some things we will keep on doing when this (Covid) is done. For example I used to have to drive to Sanborn once a month for a meeting (with the Niagara-Orleans superintendents). Do I have to do that anymore when we can do the same thing online? It saves money. It saves time. It saves gas to do things here. Why do I have to drive there when every Tuesday I’ve been doing Zoom meetings with the superintendents, although there is value to meeting in person, but maybe we’ll do it once every three months in person.

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Bench for 2 Lyndonville grads sends message that ‘life is precious’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 September 2020 at 11:42 am

Provided photo

LYNDONVILLE – This bench was added to the Lyndonville school campus last Thursday by the Lyndonville Sports Boosters. It is in memory of Brooke Allen and Richard Forder.

They passed in a car accident on Oct. 10, 2019 on their way to work at Lake Ridge Fruit, an apple packing facility on Route 104 in Gaines.

Brooke’s mother Mandi Howell is seated at left next to Brooke’s name on the bench. Christine McIntyre Miller (Richy’s mom) is sitting to the right next to his name.

Others pictured are family members and Lyndonville Sports Boosters members. The Boosters wanted the bench to remind the two families of the everlasting love and support the school and community has for them. The bench is also a visual reminder for Lyndonville students that life is precious and that Brooke and Richy will live on in our hearts forever.

Allen, 21, was a 2016 Lyndonville graduate. She loved the outdoors. She was in band and chorus, played volleyball and attended Orleans-Niagara BOCES for cosmetology. She was a devoted mother to her son, River.

Forder, 20, a 2018 Lyndonville graduate, enjoyed fishing and spending time with his nephews. He was a key player on Lyndonville’s playoff basketball teams.

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Lyndonville’s staff gather for first time since mid-March to prep for new school year

Provided photos: Jason Smith, Lyndonville Central School superintendent, greets teachers during a staff development day.

Posted 1 September 2020 at 9:06 pm

Press Release, Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – It has been almost six months since the staff from Lyndonville Central School District have been all together on campus.

Donned with masks and sitting an acceptable distance apart, staff members listened to the new procedures and policies that are in place for the 2020-21 school year.

Superintendent Jason Smith welcomed new and returning staff during today’s staff development day. The district nurse discussed the importance of proper handwashing, mask wearing and overall hygiene reminders.

Signs have also been placed throughout the building to remind staff and students of these policies and to encourage social distancing whenever possible. While Covid-19 continues to be a concern and the district will maintain ongoing health and safety precautions, Smith encouraged staff to not change their focus.

“Our focus will continue to be our students and our mission, values and core beliefs,” he said.

Christine Merle spoke about the importance of social and emotional learning.

Smith presented staff with a small bag of coffee beans. He explained that when an egg is added to boiling water it will harden. A carrot will do the opposite and become soft.

The coffee beans, however, will make coffee. Each of these items faced the same adversity, the boiling water, but each reacted differently. He encouraged everyone to be like the coffee bean; when things are at their worst, get better and change the situation. This year may be difficult but with the right attitude, 2020-21 can be great.

During the meeting many new staff members were welcomed to the district, including Kevin Czaja, the district’s new Director of Facilities. Staff awards were given to eight employees for earning tenure, and Years of Service awards were given, including an award of 35 years to Sandra Kosiorek.

This year’s keynote speaker, Christine Merle, focused on building resilience through self-care and discussed the importance of social and emotional learning. After lunch, staff members attended breakout sessions to continue learning with Merle and had additional training on remote learning practices.

The district looks forward to welcoming students back next week. Students will have a staggered start but by the end of the week all grades will be on campus together five days a week.

Although the majority of students will be on-campus for learning, some families have selected to go fully remote.

“We look forward to working with all of our students again,” Smith said. “Whether on campus or learning remote, we will provide a high standard of education for each of our students.”

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Lyndonville has new bench in memory of 2 recent graduates

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 August 2020 at 3:40 pm

Provided photo

LYNDONVILLE – This bench arrived on Thursday and is in front of the Lyndonville school on Housel Avenue. The Lyndonville Sports Boosters paid for the bench in memory of Brooke Allen and Richard Forder.

They died in a car accident on Oct. 10, 2019 on their way to work at Lake Ridge Fruit, an apple packing facility on Route 104 in Gaines.

Allen, 21, was a 2016 Lyndonville graduate. She loved the outdoors. She was in band and chorus, played volleyball and attended Orleans-Niagara BOCES for cosmetology. She was a devoted mother to her son, River.

Forder, 20, a 2018 Lyndonville graduate, enjoyed fishing and spending time with his nephews. He was a key player on Lyndonville’s playoff basketball teams.

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