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Woman, 80, dies in fire in Yates this morning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 October 2019 at 8:57 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

YATES – A woman, 80, died this morning in a fire at her home on Route 18, Orleans County Undersheriff Chris Bourke said at the scene.

Firefighters and deputies were dispatched to the house at 4:54 a.m. The house was full of thick black smoke. The fire appears to have started in the rear of the house.

The woman likely died of smoke inhalation. She was on the phone with an Orleans County dispatcher, trying to get out of the house, when she likely passed away.

The woman’s name isn’t being released, pending family notifications.

Deputies arrived to the scene on Route 18, just west of Breeze and Foss roads, nine minutes after the 911 call. The doors were locked. One deputy injured his hand, breaking the glass on a  door to gain entry. That isn’t a serious injury, Bourke said.

About 50 firefighters responded to the call from Lyndonville, Carlton, Ridgeway, Shelby, Middleport and Medina.

Orleans County and state fire investigators are on scene to determine the cause of the fire. Dale Banker, the Emergency Management Office coordinator for the county, said he expects the Yates highway department will be on the scene later today to help tear down the house.

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250 attend candlelight walk in honor of Brooke Allen, Ricky Forder

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 October 2019 at 9:23 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – A mourner holds a candle outside Bill’s Sub Shop while a procession passes on Main Street at about 7:30 this evening.

About 250 people attended the candlelight walk in honor of Brooke Allen, 21, and Ricky Forder, 20, two recent Lyndonville graduates who were killed in a car accident on Oct. 10 on their way to work at Lake Ridge Fruit, an apple packing facility on Route 104 in Gaines.

The group walks down Main Street. They had an escort in a sheriff’s patrol car driven by Deputy John Doyle.

The walk began at the school on Housel Avenue and then proceeded to the baseball field on Lake Ave. Many brought their own candles and balloons.

“It ripples through the whole community,” one of the mourners said of the tragic deaths.

Amanda Howell, second from right in front, is Brooke’s mother. Howell thanked the community for its support since the car accident.

“I don’t have the words to express,” she said. “Thank you. Thank you.”

Brooke graduated from Lyndonville in 2016. Among her survivors is a 1-year-old son, River.

“She was one of the sweetest people you ever knew,” said her friend, Meghan Gapa, 28, of Lyndonville. “She could also be sassy and tell it like it is.”

Forder graduated from Lyndonville in 2018. He played on the school’s basketball and baseball teams. He enjoyed making his friends and family happy, going fishing and dancing to music.

This candle is outside Bill’s Sub Shop on Main Street.

Wes Bradley, a member of the Lyndonville Fire Department, helped direct traffic. He removed his hat and stood at attention out of respect when the mourners walked by.

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Services this week for 2 Lyndonville grads killed in car accident on Thursday

Staff Reports Posted 14 October 2019 at 6:12 pm

Brooke Allen

Calling hours and funeral services are set for two Lyndonville graduates who were killed in a car accident last Thursday on their way to work at Lake Ridge Fruit, an apple packing facility on Route 104.

Brooke Allen, 21, was driving when she struck a deer at 6:49 a.m. on Route 104. The car swerved, hit a guardrail and landed upside down in Beardsley Creek in about 5-foot-deep water.

Allen and her passenger, Richard “Ricky” Forder, were both pronounced dead at the scene.

Allen graduated from Lyndonville in 2016. Among her survivors is a 1-year-old son, River.

Richard Forder

Relatives and friends may call on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. at Oak Orchard Assembly of God Church, 12111 Ridge Rd., Medina, where her funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday with the Rev. Andy Sass officiating. Burial will follow immediately at Lynhaven Cemetery.

Memorials for Brooke may be made to the family for the loving care and support of her son.

Ricky Forder graduated from Lyndonville in 2018. He played on the school’s basketball and baseball teams. He enjoyed spending time with friends and family, going fishing, and dancing to music.

Ricky’s relatives and friends may call from 1 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Christopher Mitchell Funeral Home, 21 West Ave., Albion. His funeral service will be from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday at the funeral home.

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Lyndonville church will host Autumn Festival this Saturday

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 9 October 2019 at 8:56 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Lyndonville United Methodist Church Pastor Olga Gonzalez and member Ruth Hedges display some of the items which will be available during the church’s fourth annual Harvest Festival on Oct. 12.

LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville United Methodist Church’s pastor, Olga Gonzalez, is anxiously awaiting the church’s fourth annual Autumn Festival this Saturday.

Gonzalez began serving as pastor at the Lyndonville church July 1, 2018. She had heard such nice things last year about the festival and was looking forward to it, when she realized she would be in Cuba on a mission trip.

“Now I want to invite all the people this year to come and shop,” she said.

The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature homemade baked goods, a room full of craft items and fresh produce on the lawn, said organizer Ruth Hedges.

Many donated gift certificates and baskets will be up for bids during a silent auction, which will end at 1:30 p.m.

Hedges urges everyone who attends to “think Christmas presents, while helping the church as well.”

Lunch will be available, consisting of beef on weck or Salen’s hot dogs with macaroni salad, baked beans and a beverage. There will also be cups of chili.

Other activities include face painting for children and shopping in the church’s thrift store.

Resales Thrift Store opened on March 31 and will be open during the Autumn Festival. The store has had an outpouring of support from the surrounding community, both with donations and customers, Hedges said.

The store could always use more volunteers. It is open 15 hours a week, she said, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Anyone interested in helping can call Hedges at (585) 866-9133 or by e-mail at

The Harvest Festival is just one of many activities and programs which the church is sponsoring.

The church this past Monday began a six-week study of Adam Hamilton’s book Creed: What Christians Believe and Why. Used in conjunction with a six-session DVD, the book explores the Apostles’ Creed and Foundational Christian truths, such as the purpose of life. The group meets from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Wesley Lounge upstairs, led by Anne Hyndman. The study is open to anyone. Those planning to attend are asked to contact the church office to make sure they have enough books.

Darcy Brabon has organized Lyndonville Youth Serving Seniors, a group of youngsters who want to help seniors in the Lyndonville area. In September, the group went to the Lyndonville cemetery and cleaned the headstones of veterans. Each month they will work on a new project, such as raking leaves for people or taking paper products to those who might need help making cards. This group is looking for new ideas on who or how to help seniors. It is open to any young person who would like to participate.

The church will still continue to have its Mini Mall for children during the Lyndonville Christmas celebration on Dec. 7. Festivities will be relocated to the Fellowship Hall this year, so Hope Resales may remain open in the basement.

Divorce Care meetings led by Sharon Allen continue to run periodically throughout the year, when interest is shown. Help, hope and healing are offered through this support group which meets weekly.

Anyone interested in any of the church’s projects may contact the church office at (585) 765-9313.

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Lyndonville showed lots of school spirit during homecoming

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 October 2019 at 4:01 pm

Photos courtesy of Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville school district celebrated homecoming last week. The homecoming court was recognized during a pep rally on Friday afternoon. Pictured from left include: Ethan Bowie, Evan Horn, Mario Fidanza (king), Faith Chaffee, Kaci Wittmeyer, Megan Krisher (queen), Kaylee Nesbitt, Prezli Silversmith, Tessa Heideman (princess), Nathan Dillenbeck (prince), Jacob Corser and Russel Stephens.

The junior-senior high school had a float parade on Friday. The seventh- and eighth-graders had an orange and black theme.

High schoolers decorated their floats to different movie themes.

Ninth-graders had a “Grease” theme for their float.

Sophomores decorated to the “Up” movie.

Juniors decorated a float to “Toy Story.”

Seniors had a theme of “Finding Dory.”

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Library displays story walk in Lyndonville park

Posted 3 October 2019 at 3:12 pm

Photos courtesy of Yates Community Library: Lyndonville first-graders on Monday check out the new story walk at Veterans Memorial Park.

Press Release, Yates Community Library

LYNDONVILLE – The Yates Community Library has found a way to reinforce and promote literacy outdoors at the scenic Veterans Memorial Park, which is right beside the library in downtown Lyndonville.

A reproduced children’s story has its pages spaced out along the park’s pathway. The story that was chosen is a great interactive sing-along and dance story. There are instructions at the beginning of the walk to show how to play the story and music on a cell phone, to enjoy as the children walk along.

This week, the first-graders at Lyndonville Central School took a mini field trip to the park to enjoy the story, and were then welcomed inside the library for seasonal stories and music with librarian, Emily Cebula.

The story walk will be on display until mid-October, and then in the spring and summer months ahead for families to enjoy. The library is grateful to the Lyndonville Department of Public Works crew for its assistance in setting up the story walk.

Emily Cebula, director of Yates Community Library, reads a story to first-graders after they saw the story walk.

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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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