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Glenwood Lake is popular for people who enjoy the great outdoors

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 August 2020 at 9:48 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – Casey Burch, 10, of Gasport is fishing on Thursday evening at Glenwood Lake with her family.

Her grandfather, Leon Green, said Glenwood is a nice spot to catch black bass, walleye, catfish, suckers – “mostly everything.”

This group of kayakers was out on Glenwood Lake in a class run by the Orleans County YMCA. The five-week class meets on Thursday at 6 p.m. Thursday was the first week of the class. They will be at different bodies of water in Medina.

These buddies were out on the lake, enjoying the sunshine and weather.

The forecast for the next few days includes a mostly sunny day today with a high of 78, followed a high near 80 and sunny on Saturday, and high of 85 and sunny on Sunday.

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Group removes debris from Oak Orchard Creek

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 July 2020 at 1:13 pm

Provided photos

RIDGEWAY – Brenden Zukowski, a member of the Oak Orchard Creekers, hauls debris he pulled from the Oak Orchard Creek on Monday.

A group from the Creekers pulled out tires and garbage from the creek, between Slade Road and Townline Road. The creek has become very popular with kayakers.

These Oak Orchard Creek members are pictured with some of the debris they hauled out of the creek on Monday. Pictured from left include Jesse Sponaugle, Brenden Zukowski and Dewey Cox, all of Medina.

Chewy Lee, Richy Lamont and Mike Brendlinger also are members who helped with the cleanup. They and others hunt of trash usually at least once a week. They have put garbage cans along the creek to encourage people to not litter in the water.

Lee started the group and wants to make the creek more inviting to the public.

“The motivation comes from the amount of glass and trash we see all over the side of the river and in the river,” Lee said. “We hold on to our boats and snorkel for glass and trash. We fill our canoes up with trash and float them down to a spot to unload. Any items that are lost we try to return to the owner.”

Jesse Sponaugle found this phone in the creek. One of the iPhones fished out of the water by the group was only two weeks old and still worked. It was returned the owner who donated trash bags for the cleanups.

The Creekers pictures of many of the items they find on their Facebook page. That could include glasses, googles, Smartphones, driver’s licenses, fishing poles and lawn chairs.

The group welcomes more volunteers. Click here to be directed to their Facebook page.

“We have taken several truck loads out of the river and are getting a lot of thanks from the community,” Lee said. “We all grew up on the creek and if we want big changes we need big efforts.”

Dewey Cox pulled this large plastic pipe out of the water.

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2,500 to 3,000 partake in Fair Food Fest

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 July 2020 at 11:18 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – Carl Aldinger cooks French fries and chicken fingers on Sunday at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

He works in the Morrell’s Potato House Fries food booth, one of the eight food vendors that were at the fairgrounds from Friday through Sunday.

About 2,500 to 3,000 people stopped by for the “Fair Food Fest,” said Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, which owns the fairgrounds.

The Extension wanted to give people a taste of the fair because the week-long event in late July has been cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event was take-out only with no tables to sit down and eat. People had to return to their vehicles with their food.

Batt said many of the fair food vendors have had nearly all of their events cancelled this year. The Extension wanted to give the vendors a chance to make some money during a tough economic time for them.

Scott Kolassa of Churchville runs a taffy, candy apple, cotton candy and fudge booth, as well as a lemonade stand. He suggested the fair food fest.

“It was nice to see the familiar faces and old friends,” he said.

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Crusaders cancel motorcycle racing season in Medina

Photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from June 16, 2018 shows young riders during a training class at the Crusaders Motorcycle Club. The Crusaders hold clinics for riders, ages 4 to 8, at the race track on Culvert Road. The class provides riders with basic riding/racing skills. They are taught what all the different colored flags represent, how to watch for the green race light and to practice their starting skills.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 July 2020 at 11:32 am

Dirt track on Culvert Road has hosted races since 1957

MEDINA – The Crusaders Motorcycle Club announced today the dirt track on Culvert Road won’t be hosting any races this year.

The season usually goes from June through August with races on some Sundays. Club leaders were hoping they could host some races before the summer was over, but they made the announcement today there won’t be any competitions at the track.

The club has been in frequent contact with the local Health Department and leaders of the Finger Lakes Region about hosting races. The Crusaders draw several hundred people for their races.

“Our number one priority has always been safety and the cost and liability is too great for us to take the chance and race with the number of racers and spectators that we get at the track,” Brandi DiMatteo, one of the club leaders, posted on the Crusaders Facebook page this morning. “We have decided that all parking spots and seasons passes will just roll over for next year, if for whatever reason you would like your money back – please reach out to us.”

The Crusaders have hosted motorcycle races since 1957.

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Results for Republican Committee races in Murray, Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 July 2020 at 5:24 pm

The Orleans County Board of Elections counted absentee ballots today for the Republican Committee races in the towns of Murray and Ridgeway.

This reports shows the in-person voting, plus the absentees, followed by the total.

In Murray, there are primaries for three of the districts, with three candidates seeking two positions in District 3, District 5 and District 6.

District 3

Kerri Neale: 28 in-person, 22 absentees for 50 total.

Kathleen Case: 17 in-person, 19 absentees for 36 total.

Anthony Peone: 18 in-person, 13 absentees for 31 total.

District 5

Lynn Wood: 41 in-person, 12 absentees for 53 total.

Cynthia Oliver: 42 in-person, 11 absentees for 53 total.

Ronald Vendetti: 12 in-person, 3 absentees for 15 total.

District 6

Adam R. Moore: 47 in-person, 23 absentees for 70 total.

Kellie Gregoire: 35 in-person, 20 absentees for 55 total.

Robert Miller: 25 in-person, 19 absentees for 44 total.

In Ridgeway, there are three candidates for two positions from District 2.

Virginia Nicholson: 24 in-person, 28 absentees for 52 total.

Ayesha Kreutz: 16 in-person, 28 absentees for 44 total.

David Stalker: 22 in-person, 7 absentees for 29 total.

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Hometown Hero banners in Medina for first time include a Civil War soldier

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Patty Blackburn stands in Rotary Park holding a picture of her great-grandfather Henry Waters, a Civil War veteran whose banner hangs on East Center Street at the four corners in Medina.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 29 June 2020 at 10:07 am

Henry Waters Jr., after serving under General Grant, returned to Medina and became a community leader

MEDINA – Patty Blackburn is very proud of her ancestry, especially her great-grandfather who served in the Civil War. Last year she was looking at the banners which had been hung throughout Medina paying tribute to veterans from Medina who have served their country, and realized there were no veterans from the Civil War.

Patty Blackburn of Medina holds a pin which belonged to her great-grandfather Henry Waters, who served in the Civil War. He is the first Civil War soldier to be honored on a banner in downtown Medina.

Mary Woodruff, a Ridgeway town councilwoman, coordinated the effort to get the banners in Medina. There are 107 banners of veterans so far, with more expected next year.

“I thought it was such an honorable thing for Mary Woodruff to do,” Blackburn said. “When I realized there were no soldiers from the Civil War I asked if she would like one. I had been looking at this picture of Henry on my wall all my life. He had it made for his wife when he went to war.”

Blackburn took down the picture of her great-grandfather Henry Waters Jr., gathered up his memorabilia and called Woodruff.

Blackburn said Henry was 25 when he bought a $40 Sharps rifle and went to war. He served with the 151st New York Volunteers under General Grant and the Grand Army of the Republic. Henry was in the honor guard when General Lee left the court house at Appomattox after surrendering.

“The men were told to be 100 percent respectful to Lee,” Blackburn said. “Lee had gone to the court house alone, because he didn’t want his men to be humiliated.”

Henry served at many battles of the Civil War, including Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Third Winchester and Appomattox. He was separated from Federal service in Washington, D.C. on June 26, 1865.

Henry was born on April 11, 1837 in Palmyra, one year after the Alamo, Blackburn explained. His parents were one of the early settlers of Ridge Road. His father Henry first went to Batavia in 1828 and after looking about the section for a week, he returned home where he decided to remain, as land in the Holland tract was too expensive considering the amount of work which would have to be done to prepare it for cultivation.

Then in the fall of 1829, Henry was attracted to a group of pioneers traveling from Connecticut and he joined them, traveling with them to Batavia. At this point he learned of a former acquaintance who had taken up land northwest of what is now Albion, and Henry decided to pay him a visit and look at land there.

He set forth upon his horse and made good time until he reached the Alabama swamp, where he became confused and decided to return to Batavia. His next attempt was in the company of Uri Moore, who at the time was in Batavia conducting business at the Holland Land Office. Henry rode with Moore as far as his hotel in Medina, where he stayed the night, continuing to Ridgeway the next day.

Henry returned to Palmyra to get his family, sending them on the canal. He and his son Henry Jr. then rode on horses and drove a team of oxen hitched to a wagon loaded with essentials. Their new home was the large cobblestone house at the corner of Ridge Road and Oak Orchard River Road. Blackburn said there was a general store on the first floor.

This cobblestone house at the corner of Ridge Road and Oak Orchard River Road at Oak Orchard on the Ridge is the ancestral home of Patty Blackburn of Medina. Her great-grandfather Henry Waters Jr., who lived there, is the first Civil War soldier to be memorialized on one of the banners hanging throughout downtown Medina.

Henry Jr. went to school at Oak Orchard on the Ridge and was very attentive, except for several days one spring when high water washed out the log bridge on Oak Orchard Creek. His father was one of the settlers who went to Rochester and insisted upon an improved road through the flats, and succeeded in getting a log bottom road, which was a vast improvement.

Provided photos: Alonzo Waters is a great-uncle of Patty Blackburn of Medina. He served in the 308th Field Artillery 78th Division during World War I. Blackburn’s great-grandfather was in the Civil War, and she has had his picture put on one of the banners paying tribute to veterans, which line the streets downtown.

Gilbert Howell, a colonel who served in the War of 1812 in the local area, took up the land on the corner of Ridge Road, south of the Waters’ property. Howell did considerable work for Henry in exchange for help in building his first buildings.

Henry Jr. married Triphene Achilles, daughter of Alfred Achilles, who took up 149 acres adjoining Henry in 1837. Henry purchased land adjoining his parents, where he lived all his life. He died Oct. 30, 1903.

Henry Jr. had a son Frank, who served the town of Ridgeway as supervisor from 1908 to 1911, and was chosen chairman of the board in 1910. He was elected to the Assembly in 1910 and re-elected in 1911. Information provided by Blackburn states Frank purchased the 20-room brick home on Ridge Road near his boyhood home, which he named “Riverside.” Blackburn said she thought his boyhood home was the large cobblestone home on the corner of Ridge Road and Oak Orchard River Road, but she had never heard it referred to as “Riverside.”

No one can confirm there was a brick home, and it is believed it is a reference to the cobblestone home, as there is no information available about a second 20-room home in the area. However, William Mesler, who has lived across the road for 70 years, said the back of the cobblestone home was partly brick.

Mesler also provided information about having talked to Jennie Beals, who lived in the hollow near the creek and told him there used to be a tunnel running from her house to the cobblestone house which was part of the Underground Railroad. Mesler then said a member of the Waters family years ago lived in a big house on Oak Orchard Creek Road, north of the cobblestone house, but he didn’t know which Waters.

Patty Blackburn’s cousin Robert Waters also served his county as a member of the Army during World War II.

Former Orleans County historian Bill Lattin checked an 1813 atlas in his possession and came up with the following information.

The Honorable Frank Waters (Frank Jr.’s father) purchased 26 acres at Oak Orchard Village on Ridge Road. It consisted of 10 acres of apple trees, five acres of peach trees and 2 acres of pear trees. Crops raised were wheat, corn and potatoes, which thrived because of a good well and the creek nearby.

It also describes a “commodious farm mansion of 20 rooms built of stone,” (obviously referring to Riverside) and a grain barn, storage house, tenant house and cooper shop.

Henry Waters Jr. isn’t the only veteran in Blackburn’s past who served his country. Her parents were Lewis and Dorothy Waters. Lewis was a brother of Alonzo Waters,  noted publisher of the Medina Journal Register, Harold Waters and Viola Waters. Alonzo served with the 308th Field Artillery 78th Division during World War I. Alonzo’s son was the late Robert Waters, pillar of the Medina community who also became publisher of the Medina Journal Register. Robert served with U.S. Army during World War II.

Blackburn thinks it would be appropriate for the next round of banners to include Alonzo and Robert.

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Republicans vote for committee members in Murray, Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 June 2020 at 11:22 pm

Republicans in Murray and Ridgeway voted in primaries for their committee members. Absentee ballots will be counted on July 1. The Board of Elections didn’t have a breakdown on how many were received so far for each district.

• In Ridgeway, there are three candidates for two positions with District 2 on the Ridgeway Republican Committee. The candidates include Virginia Nicholson, David Stalker and Ayesha Kreutz.

Nicholson leads with 24 votes, followed by 22 for Stalker, and 16 for Kreutz.

• In Murray, there are primaries for three of the districts, with three candidates seeking two positions in District 3, District 5 and District 6.

In District 3, the candidates include Kathleen Case, Anthony Peone and Kerri Neale. Neale leads with 28 votes, followed by 18 for Peone and 17 for Case.

In District 5, the candidates include Lynn Wood, Cynthia Oliver and Ronald Vendetti. Oliver has 42, followed by 41 for Wood and 12 for Vendetti.

In District 6, the candidates include Kellie Gregoire, Robert Miller and Adam R. Moore. Moore leads with 47, followed by 35 for Gregoire and 25 for Miller.

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Father’s Day chicken barbecue sells out fast in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 June 2020 at 1:56 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – The firemen’s sauce is added to chicken during today’s barbecue at the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company.

The 800 chicken dinners sold out fast in the drive-through event. They were all gone by 11:44 a.m.

Ricky Tuohey, a Ridgeway firefighter, helps serve the chicken barbecues today.

The event was scheduled to start at 11 a.m., but the fire company started to serve the meals around 10 a.m. due to a lineup of vehicles.

Deputy Fire Chief Jason Bessel, left, and Fire Chief  Pat Kelly work in the fire pits with the last batch of chicken. Firefighters arrived at 6 a.m. to start cooking the chicken.

Bessel and Kelly said the fire company has lost about $10,000 with cancelled fundraisers during the Covid-19 pandemic, including a gun and money raffle in May.

The fire company expects to make about $2,000 from today’s chicken barbecue. Kelly and the fire company also wanted to keep the event going, which has been a Father’s Day tradition the past 49 years.

Today’s chicken barbecue was drive-through only. Usually many people prefer to eat the meals inside the fire hall. But the fire hall remains closed to big crowds. The state currently has limited social gatherings to no more than 25 people.

Joleen Bessel, left, and Valerie Busch add bottles of water to the meals.

This group works on the dinners in the kitchen. Henry Charache scoops the beans into the meal container. Tracey Hendrick, center, is president of the auxiliary and April Fearby, right, is vice president. They had three lines going during the busiest time.

Justin McAdoo wheels some of the meals to a truck bay, where they were picked up in a drive-through lane. Some of the children of the firefighters hitched a ride in the bottom of the cart.

Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson helped take the orders.

Kristin McAdoo, first assistant chief for the Ridgeway, collects the money.

Ridgeway’s next big fundraiser will be a gun and cash raffle on Oct. 9.

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Camp Rainbow will take this year off due to Covid-19

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 June 2020 at 9:23 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Dakota Morris of Holley swings at Camp Rainbow in Ridgeway in this photo from August 2015. Camp Rainbow is owned and operated by the Arc of Genesee Orleans

RIDGEWAY – Camp Rainbow is taking the summer off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The site on Townline Road is owned and operated by the Arc of Genesee Orleans. The summer day camp was founded in 1970. It serves children with and without disabilities.

After careful deliberation and review of the guidance available, Arc officials determined that the safety of our campers and staff would remain a concern if camp were to open.

Arc managers also decided that the free-spirited, close-knit experience of summer camp could not be achieved during social distancing. Camp Rainbow was scheduled for July 6 through Aug. 7.

“It just wouldn’t be fun or safe,” said Jenifer Batt, camp director. “Campers would have to wear masks in the summer heat. We would have to keep everybody 6 feet apart during activities.”  Camp Rainbow serves children ages 5-21, offering programming that helps campers develop and maintain communication and social skills, fitness, creativity, and leadership.

The postponement is especially unfortunate with Camp Rainbow celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer. Families and funders have been notified of the change for this summer.

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Knowlesville Airport will get new life, with flying lessons

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 31 May 2020 at 9:52 am

John Follman buys airport that was created by Felstead family

Photo by Ginny Kropf: John Follman of Kenyonville stands next to his Ercoupe which he keeps at Knowlesville Airport on Taylor Hill Road. He recently bought the airport from Ron Felstead, whose father Herb developed the runway shortly after purchasing the small farm from Charles Curtain in the 1940s.

KNOWLESVILLE – A quaint runway carved out of a farm field will continue to see flying activity after the recent purchase by a former Air Force pilot and soon-to-be-retired captain for Southwest Airlines.

John Follman of Kenyonville has purchased the property known as Knowlesville Airport and owned by the family of Herb Felstead since the end of World War II.

The runway was developed by Herb, who grew up on a farm north of Knowlesville and became fascinated with airplanes the first time he was hoeing in the garden as a child and saw a plane fly over.

Herb soloed in the early 1940s out of the old Medina Airport on Marshall Road, but World War II broke out and civilian flying was not allowed. As soon as the war ended, Herb went back to flying, got his private pilot’s license in 1946 and bought a Piper Cub, according to son Ron Felstead of Medina, who is also a pilot.

“Dad’s hobby became my career field,” said Ron, who learned to fly at Genesee County Airport in Batavia and soloed in 1957.

Provided photos: Knowlesville Airport was a beehive of activity during its peak years as shown is this picture provided by Ron Felstead, whose father Herb built the airport.

Although Herb loved flying, he was also a good mechanic and that became his career field. He operated a repair shop on Route 31 at the end of Knowlesville Road, until he retired and sold it to Allan Kropf for a Ziebart Rustproofing shop.

Herb and his wife Irene purchased the small farm on Taylor Hill Road from Charles Curtain with the intention of building a runway, according to Ron. The late Zeke Royal of Culvert Road, who was Ron’s first flight school student, helped Herb build the runway and put up one of the first hangars.

Ron’s brother Gary also became a commercial pilot, flying F106s with the Montana National Guard for 20 years, advancing to squadron commander flying F16s.

John Follman, the new owner of Knowlesville Airport, is shown here with an AIM-17 missile being tested on the F-16s which he flew out of Niagara Falls Air Force Base. Follman is now a captain for Southwest Airlines, and plans to teach flying at Knowlesville when he retires in September.

Ron’s son Keith became a pilot, soloing on his 16th birthday in December 1984. His dad was his flight instructor.

Ron had received his commercial pilot’s license and began giving flight instruction in 1962 at Cornell University in an ROTC training program with the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force. He soloed Gary during that time.

After two years, Ron went to work at Page Airways in Rochester doing charter corporate flights and giving flying lessons. He next gave flying lessons at Edison Tech and Occupational Center in Rochester. Between flying at Page Airways and Edison Tech Ron was  a flight instructor at Genesee County Airport and an FAA pilot examiner for four years.

After Herb died in 1986, Ron acquired the airport. While he was honored to care for the airport and carry on his father’s tradition, he said it was a lot of work. It was sometimes difficult to keep the runway mowed, a job which he enjoyed, but which required five to six hours, while still holding down his job and teaching flying.

In its peak years of operation, Knowlesville Airport was home to 14 hangars. In the mid 1990s, Governor Pataki used the airport to land in his helicopter when he came to Orleans County to announce funds for the towpath trail in Knowlesville. Ron said he couldn’t believe it when the governor’s office called and asked if they could land there. Ron asked if they realized it was a short, grass field, and was told the governor would be arriving in a helicopter.

Ron wasn’t too optimistic when he decided to put the airport up for sale.

“I didn’t think there’d be many people out there looking to buy an airport,” he said. “But I was thrilled when I heard from John. I couldn’t be happier to have someone carry on what my father started.”

John Follman, left, is shown with Jon Weiss, a check airman for Southwest Airlines and classmate of Follman’s from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Follman was completing his work for upgrade to captain. They both served together in the 10th Squadron at the Air Force Academy.

Follman, who has an illustrious career as a pilot, was born in Ithaca in 1955. His family moved to Pine Hill in 1964, when his father, who worked for Farm Bureau, was transferred to Orleans County. John attended fourth grade at Albion Grammar School, then his family moved to Kenyonville in 1965 and he graduated from Lyndonville Central School in 1973

“In high school, someone once said to me that I had to decide what I wanted to do after graduation, or I’d end up flipping hamburgers all my life,” John said.

Perhaps John inherited his love of flying from his father John Sr., who learned to fly from Ron. John Sr. had bought a Stinson with Doug Lockwood and used to take his son John flying over Lake Ontario.

After high school John was accepted at the Air Force Academy Prep School, where the first plane he flew was a T41, the Air Force version of a Cessna 172. He graduated in 1978 and came home to marry his high school sweetheart Yvonne Strickland.

In June 1978, Follman went for pilot training at Williams Air Force Base in Phoenix. He was in the first class of the fiscal year 1980, graduating in October 1979. He stayed there to take pilot instructor training in the spring of 1980. He became an instructor on the Northrup T38 for three years.

By then he and Yvonne had two children and he went to Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas, where he flew the RF-4C fighter. Next came three years (1984 – 1987) at Zweibrücken Air Base in Germany, which is now closed. When he came home, they were looking for pilots at Niagara Falls Air Force Base, which was flying F4C and D Phantom jets. He also flew air defense versions of the ADF16, and ended flying KC135s refueling aircraft, including the Stealth.

When Follman retired as a lieutenant colonel from the 107th National Guard Refueling Wing in January 2000, he went to work for the former Northwest Airlines, flying DC9s with them for seven years. In December 2006, he went to work for Southwest, where he will retire, effective September 30.

This is Knowlesville Airport on Taylor Hill Road (Townline Road) looking to the west. Herb Felstead lived on the property and ran an auto repair shop on Route 31 at the end of Knowlesville Road. He built the airport, which at one time housed 14 hangars. The airport is about to see new life with the recent purchase by commercial pilot John Follman of Kenyonville, who plans to give flying lessons from there and Gaines Valley.

He learned Knowlesville Airport was for sale when he attended a wedding where he met the grandson of the late Dwight “Buzz” Hill, whose home was next to the Felstead property.

“Jeremy Hill asked me if I knew the airport was for sale,” Follman said. “This was a Saturday and on Sunday I called realtor Jeanne Whipple and told her I was interested. I made an offer and after some negotiating, Ron and I made a deal.”

This is the first time the airport won’t be owned by a Felstead, Follman said.

Follman owns an Ercoupe 415C, which he keeps at Knowlesville Airport, and a Cessna 150, which he keeps at Gaines Valley Airport and will use to give flying lessons.

He plans to use both airports for his flight instruction, doing classroom work at Gaines Valley and utilizing Knowlesville Airport for “engine out” exercises, touch and goes, and pattern entry.

He is thrilled to be able to keep planes flying at Knowlesville Airport.

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Firefighters give new recruit a big surprise on 16th birthday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 April 2020 at 10:03 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – A brigade of fire trucks heads down Knowlesville Road at about 5 p.m. today to surprise Justin McAdoo on his 16th birthday.

(Click here to see a video of the fire trucks going past McAdoo’s home.)

Justin McAdoo is surprised by the processional of fire trucks from Ridgeway, Lyndonville, Shelby and East Shelby. His mother, Kristin McAdoo, is the first assistant chief for the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. Justin’s father Ken and grandfather Don Marchner are both past chiefs for Ridgeway.

Justin has looked forward to joining the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company for many years. When he turned 16, he intended to fill out the application and join.

But the fire company has been on pause with no regular meetings, per orders from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to attempt to avoid gatherings of people.

Justin also wanted to start driving today but the DMV is limited right now. Justin, like all students, also has been out of school for five weeks and counting due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A fire truck has a birthday greeting for Justin, using his nickname Buford.

Pat Kelly, the Ridgeway fire chief, said Justin has been around the fire hall and firefighters for many years.

“He’s been a diehard fire buff,” Kelly said. “He wanted to join the fire department but couldn’t. Everything is on hold. We wanted to help make the day special and give him some incentive to get through these tough times.”

Tyler Luckman climbs out of a Ridgeway fire truck that included a birthday greeting for McAdoo.

Justin McAdoo said he is appreciated the effort to give him a surprise on his birthday.

Don Marchner, Justin’s grandfather, hands Justin an application to the join the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company.

Justin filled it out. He said he wants to be a career firefighter. He looks forward to taking the basic firefighting class once the classes start again.

Don Marcher administers the oath of office to Justin. That was also a surprise for Justin. He was told he would have to wait until after the pandemic to be accepted into the department. But the fire company held a quick meeting outside the fire hall and accepted Justin as a member.

Marchner said he was thrilled to administer the oath to his grandson.

“I feel good to have three generations involved now,” Marchner said. “He has had a love of fire trucks since he was a young shaver.”

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Carlton, Ridgeway town offices closed to public

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 March 2020 at 12:09 pm

Ridgeway and Carlton town offices are closed to the public until further notice.

Any tax payments in Carlton can be made online though the link provided on the town website.

Any other payments can be made by using the drop box located in the zoning enforcer’s door.  Please put any payments in an envelope with a name and phone number. If there are any questions or concerns please call the Town Hall at 585-682-4358.

In Ridgeway, the Town Court will be closed to the to the public in cooperation with the directive sent by Governor Cuomo, said Town Supervisor Brian Napoli.

The Town Board’s regular meeting today will go on as scheduled.

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Small congregation at Jeddo keeps the faith

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Peggy Wright of Medina preaches to a congregation of three at the Jeddo Chapel on Route 104. The supporters are determined to keep the church going, in spite of a declining membership.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 23 February 2020 at 9:34 am

3 steady attendees are committed to keeping open a church that dates back nearly two centuries

The Jeddo Chapel on Ridge Road has a sign out front inviting people to service and coffee hour, but rarely are there more than three there.

MEDINA – A tiny church in Jeddo has been part of the Jeddo community for 183 years, and although it struggles, devoted followers are determined to keep it going.

Officially called the Jeddo Community Chapel, the church is simply known as “Jeddo Chapel,” and while it once was a thriving congregation and hub of the community, it now opens its doors every Sunday to a congregation of three – maybe 10 on a special day.

Peggy Wright of Medina, who started attending the church in 1998, has been preaching the sermon for the past several years.

Attendees on a recent Sunday were Rob Johnson of County Line Road, Chris Craft who lives across the road, and Terry Mahnke of West Shelby Road. All three have families who formerly attended the church, and it is in their memories the three attend now.

Johnson started attending the church after moving back to the area five years ago. His great-great-grandfather Truman Johnson used to attend and was superintendent of the Sunday School for 50 years.

“He used to come to church on his sleigh, picking up kids along the way,” Johnson said.

Craft’s father was a Mason, and in November it will be 100 years since the family moved from Barker to their home across the street, where they started attending the Jeddo Chapel. The Masons played a big part in the history of the church, at one time giving them their lodge. Craft still lives across the street, and even though he also belongs to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Medina, Craft volunteers to turn the heat on each Sunday at Jeddo Chapel.

Three people who regularly attend the Jeddo Chapel are, from left, Chris Craft, who lives across the road; Rob Johnson of County Line Road; and Terry Mahnke of West Shelby Road. The families of all three attended the church in the past.

Mahnke’s mother used to attend the Jeddo church. Mahnke started coming because she had become acquainted with Wright when her daughter Hannah attended Wright’s pre-school.

“Hannah encouraged me,” Mahnke said. “She would come home from pre-school and ask me why we didn’t go to church.”

Wright said she began attending the church after her family became dissatisfied with the pastor of their former church.

“We were looking for a church, and as we had lived on County Line Road, we knew a lot of people who attended the Jeddo Chapel,” Wright said. “And their beliefs fell in line with mine.”

The pastor at that time was away a lot and asked Wright to fill in for him. The parishioners liked the way she preached, even though she has no official training.

The Rev. Richard Heitzenrater eventually took over, and when he left it was voted in April 2011 to close the church, as so many members were no longer attending.

The Rev. David Horner, however, who lived down the street, was married to the former Emily Bird, whose parents were faithful supporters of the church. The Rev. Horner had promised Emily’s father Horace he would make sure the Chapel never closed its doors.

“As I had been filling in on and off, Pastor Horner asked if I would be willing to assume the position of preacher,” Wright said.

Even though he has moved out of state, the Rev. Horner still supports the church.

Another parishioner, Duane Swann, offered to be organist, and for a while they had a handful of followers, which included Craft and the late MaryAnn Davis.

Wright and her small congregation are hoping to spur a revival, but they know it won’t be the first. In a record of its history, the church has undergone several revivals.

After a recent Sunday service, those in attendance had lunch in the small dining room.  Clockwise from left are Rob Johnson, pastor Peg Wright, Chris Craft and guest Allan Kropf.

The earliest recollections of religious meetings in Jeddo are in 1837, when a Sunday School was organized in the Jeddo School House and the pastor of Johnson Creek Baptist Church began holding evening meetings in the school house. These continued until the people of the community felt a better place should be provided for worship.

The building was originally owned by the Good Templars Lodge, who offered it to the Johnson Creek Baptist Church, if they do the work to make the building suitable for the Lodge to meet. In the spring of 1887, work was begun and everyone in the community turned out to help dig out the basement and make a more substantial foundation for the building.

Farmers brought their teams and wagons and drew the stones that made the wall for the church. The stones came from an old abandoned Free Will Baptist Church which stood on Fruit Avenue, on the farm later owned by Paul Blackburn. The land on which the Johnson Creek Baptist Church stood had been purchased by the Good Templars from Josiah Payne, who lived next door. The Templars then deeded it to the Johnson Creek Baptist Church.

The Good Templars were given a lease of 99 years on the hall and could use it when it was not in use by the church.

Also about this time, the Jeddo Chapel Society was formed. The ladies agreed to pay all of the church expenses, including repairs, janitor, fuel and lights. They did so until the early 1950s.

In 1888, Mrs. William Bird’s sister Nellie Clark started a Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, which continued for 50 years. The women helped paper the chapel and bought the first carpet. When the time came for seats, Almer J. Brown donated red oak logs from his farm, which became the Bird farm. Will Bird was working for Brown at the time and drew the logs to Middleport to be sawed. He brought the lumber back to John Singleton’s wagon shop, the brick building next door, which later was Brewer’s Store.


‘Although our numbers have gradually decreased, we still feel the Lord wants us to continue worshiping him at this locality. Once again, we are praying for a revival that will reach our neighbors and beyond, and we will once again see the pews in this beloved church filled.’ – Peggy Wright, preacher at Jeddo Chapel


Gus Smith, who lived across the street where the Crafts now live, made the black walnut book racks now in use and put them on the pews. The organ is the one that was brought from the Sunday School which met in the Jeddo School House. In 1895, Mrs. Truman Johnson became organist, and then pianist. She continued for more than 50 years. (Rob Johnson explained that every generation of his family had a Truman, and he has a brother Truman today).

It was a long time before the church had a bell. For years the Good Templars and the Christian Endeavor Society had socials to raise money for the Bell Fund. It was eventually purchased with an additional gift from Josiah Payne.

The history of the church was compiled by William Bird’s wife Sarah.

“This chapel means so much to me, for I have been interested in it for 70 years,” she wrote in 1957. “How well I remember 70 years ago when it was dedicated,” she said. “I trust the future generations will take the interest, not only in keeping the building in repairs, but also assisting in the church services.”

Wright said the Jeddo Chapel continued to grow many years after as the community’s residents sacrificed, labored and gave their all. She said the community’s heart was in Jeddo Chapel and a need was soon evident for expansion. As in the past, Josiah Payne came to their rescue, and in February 1923 he deeded the land under the present kitchen to the Chapel. No one remembers who built the kitchen, Wright said, but the fact remains that the cooperative efforts of the Jeddo community made it possible.

In the spring of 1954, the Chapel was almost sold again and its doors closed, as was the school house. However, people worked and sacrificed as before, Wright said. An organ was purchased in 1959 and paid for in full in 1960. Carpet was installed, a furnace was put in and many more activities prevailed. Although enthusiasm continued and people gave their best, the Jeddo Chapel was once again instructed to close its books on April 22, 1961 and seek a more efficient means of existence within the Hartland Baptist structure.

The church bell may have been stilled, but in the hearts of Jeddo residents, the spirit had not died. For in the summer of 1974, a handful of Christian pioneers reorganized the Chapel’s Sunday School. By winter of 1974-75, worship had resumed with 15 charter members and incorporation as a full recognized American Baptist Church. They were received into membership of the American Baptist Churches of the Niagara Frontier on Feb. 8, 1975.

Wright said she is happy to lead worship at the tiny church. She researches her sermon each week and prints a weekly program. She said she spends some time every day working on something for the church. They have no organist or pianist any more, but Wright bravely leads the few in singing the hymns.

She takes no regular salary, and she said expenses are paid out of the collections taken each week. If there is anything left over after the bills are paid, that is her salary.

“Although our numbers have gradually decreased, we still feel the Lord wants us to continue worshiping him at this locality,” Wright said. “Once again, we are praying for a revival that will reach our neighbors and beyond, and we will once again see the pews in this beloved church filled.

The members are contemplating having a dinner at the church in the near future, in hopes the public will come and develop an interest in their congregation.

Worship is at 10 a.m. Sunday, and the church would welcome any visitors.

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Barre, Ridgeway seek moratorium on battery storage facilities for solar

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2020 at 10:35 am

The towns of Barre and Ridgeway are seeking a six-month moratorium on applications to construct battery storage facilities for solar projects.

The Orleans County Planning will review the requests during its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 27) in Conference Room C, County Administration Building, on Route 31.

The County Planning Board makes recommendations to the towns on zoning and land use requests.

Barre and Ridgeway are seeking a moratorium so the towns can review their zoning and perhaps update the regulations.

The Planning Board on Feb. 27 also will review the site plan for a beauty salon in Ridgeway at 3930 Salt Works Road in the Light Industrial District.

Planners will also make a recommendation for Yates to either approve or deny an area variance, the site plan and a special use permit for  a telecommunications tower at 1200 County Line Road in the Agricultural/Residential District.

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New lotto winner, 30, is cancer survivor, mom of 3

Photos by Tom Rivers: Nichole Williams and her husband Rusty hold a ceremonial check for $1 million this afternoon at the Crosby’s in Elba, where the winning ticket was purchased on Jan. 11.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 February 2020 at 3:22 pm

ELBA — A Knowlesville woman who recently fought cancer said a $1 million winning lottery ticket will pay off medical bills and help her start a college or career fund for her three children.

Nichole Williams, 30, was introduced today as a lotto winner by New York Lottery personality Yolanda Vega. Williams didn’t actually buy the winning scratch-off ticket from the Triple Double 777 Red Hot game.

It was given to her by a friend from Pembroke for Williams’ 30th birthday. She celebrated with family and friends on Jan. 11 at the VFW in Medina. Williams said she had only bought two lottery tickets in her life – both duds.

Her friend bought her four tickets for her birthday. Williams scratched them off the next day at her home in Knowlesville. The first two weren’t winners. On the third one, Williams won $5 and that made her happy.

Nichole Williams celebrates winning the big prize with New York Lottery personality Yolanda Vega.

When she scratched off the fourth ticket, she was confused. She isn’t familiar with the scratch-off games. The rules said if you get a row of three symbols that all match, you win the prize next to the symbols. Williams scratched off three lightning bolts. Next to those symbols it said, “JACKPOT 1 million.”

She looked at the ticket, flipping it over several times, for about 20 minutes. Finally, she called her father, an Orleans County deputy sheriff and frequent lottery player. She asked him if he thought she had won.

Her father wasn’t familiar with the game, but he thought it sounded like a winner. She went to see him and he checked the game’s rules. They felt more convinced the ticket was a jackpot winner.

Williams took the ticket to the Crosby’s in Albion and received confirmation it won the biggest prize. The next day she went to the Lottery’s office in Buffalo to claim the jackpot.

“It’s definitely a blessing,” Williams told reporters today. “It’s definitely a huge weight lifted off my shoulders that I can provide college for my kids or if they don’t want to go to college we can put it towards a tech school or whatever else they want to do.”

Nichole Williams is interviewed by Yolanda Vega. Williams works at the Orchard Manor Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina and plans to continue in the job.

Williams and her husband Rusty have three children, ages 5, 7 and 11. About a year ago in January she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. After seven surgeries she was declared in remission. But that wasn’t before going into septic shock.

She appreciates the care she received at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo. She decided to pursue a career helping patients.

Williams is currently working at the Orchard Manor Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina. She is a unit assistant and expects to be a certified nursing assistant in about month. She has no plans to stop working.

“I love my job,” she said. “I love taking care of the residents there.”

Her husband is a truck driver. They were living in Maryland before moving to Orleans County about three years ago to be closer to family and much more affordable housing. They said it was too costly to raise a family in Maryland.

Williams accepted a lump sum of $537,440. She is grateful for her friend buying the lottery ticket. Williams offered the friend some of the winnings, but the friend refused, telling Williams she deserves it.

“I told them right away,” she said about calling her friend to share the news. “They were extremely happy for me.”

(Click here to see a video of Nichole Williams with Yolanda Vega at Crosby’s in Elba.)

Williams’ winning ticket shows three lightning bolts in the top right line, followed by “JACKPOT” as the prize.

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