Route 31 bridge in Knowlesville to reopen on Friday, Nov. 12

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 November 2021 at 8:44 am

KNOWLESVILLE – The Route 31 bridge in Knowlesville near the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds is scheduled to reopen at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12.

The bridge has been closed since May 11 for what was expected to be a six-week project for bridge deck repairs, joint replacement and slab reconstruction.

But unexpected delays led to the bridge being closed for about six months. Once construction started, the bridge needed additional materials to ensure the project’s success, officials from the state Department of Transportation said back in July. Those materials needed to be manufactured.

Paul Attoma, Engineer-In-Charge for the state Department of Transportation, on Friday notified local officials of the bridge’s reopening. The bridge is over the Fall Road Railroad.

Church continues 44-year tradition of making apple butter

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 5 October 2021 at 7:47 am

Bushels of apples turned into tasty treat in labor of love

Photos by Ginny Kropf: From left, Tracie Wilson, Amber Castrechino and Raychelle Clayton stir the apple butter during their three-hour shift at the Knowlesville Fellowship Hall.

KNOWLESVILLE – Making apple butter for the United Methodist Church of the Abundant Harvest, formerly known as the Knowlesville United Methodist Church, has been a tradition for more than 44 years and one which several dedicated church members are not about to let die.

Last weekend, a crew of volunteers, for whom the task is a labor of love, began the tedious job of making apple butter.

The first step is peeling the apples – eight bushels of them for this year’s one 35-gallon kettle of apple butter. Sylvia Armer was one of the eight volunteers who said they began peeling at 8 a.m. and didn’t finish until 4 p.m.

Tracie Wilson dumps apples into the kettle while Amber Castrechino stirs the mixture, which became apple butter after nearly two days of cooking. Making apple butter is a 44-year tradition for the former Knowlesville United Methodist Church, now Abundant Harvest. It will be sold Oct. 16 during the Apple Festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Then a fire is built and the kettle filled with 30 gallons of cider to start the process. It is brought to a boil, after adding some margarine to keep it from boiling over. Then it’s time to start adding apples by a pre-measured bag at a time.

Every year since they’ve been making apple butter, Haylett Farms has donated every apple, even when they cooked five kettles full and needed 40 bushel of apples. They use three varieties – MacIntosh, Cortland and 20 Ounce.

Making apple butter is a science and one which can’t be learned from a recipe book. The idea to first make apple butter came from members Roy and Sarah Walter, whose family lived in Pennsylvania, along with relatives of Dawn Seitzer-Parker.

Sarah said one year, “Let’s make some apple butter, and I’ll bring my family from Pennsylvania to help.”

Dawn, a daughter of the late Butch and Charlene Seitzer, began helping when she was a little girl, and now her son Joshua is the next generation to help, along with his dad Chuck Parker.

Dawn said her grandparents in Williamsport, Pa. went to a church that made 20 kettles a year.

The Knowlesville church used to make five, using two kettles owned by church members and others they borrowed. When they made the apple butter at their church, most of it was sold out of Bessie Pritchard’s garage. She was a hairdresser who lived just down the street from the church.

When the church bought the former Ridgeway Firemen’s Recreation Hall in 1998, they decided to have an Apple Festival, which evolved into a pie sale and craft vendors.

Dawn’s grandma had become the official taste tester for the apple butter, and as years went by, she began teaching Dawn how to judge when the apple butter was ready.

It takes nearly two days to cook the apples down, during which time it has to be stirred continuously so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Volunteers, three at a time, take three-hour turns stirring the kettle. Dawn said her grandma told her early on not to depend upon a recipe.

“A recipe can’t teach you the correct way to make apple butter,” she said. “Some year the apples may be tarter and other years they might be sweeter. The weather also determines how much water is in the apples. If it is wet and damp, it takes longer to cook the apples down.”

“Some days we have been done at 1:30 on the second day and other years it might be 5:30,” Dawn said.

After the apples have cooked for nearly two days, a spoonful would be put on a plate and taken in to Dawn’s grandma, who would draw a spoon through it. If juice ran into the middle, it was not done. Her grandma called it “crying,” Dawn said.

Dawn Seitzer-Parker takes a break during preparations for the 45th year of making apple butter at the Knowlesville Fellowship Hall.

Then Dawn became the designated taster, and it is now her job to draw the spoon through the apple butter to see if it “cries.”

Dawn’s husband Chuck shared the importance of keeping the fire just right. Someone has to keep throwing logs on the fire, to make sure the apple mixture keeps boiling.

“It should be steaming all the time,” Chuck said. “That means the water is cooking out. But you have to be careful the fire doesn’t get too hot and burn the apples.”

Among the volunteers who stepped up to stir the pot in three-hour shifts were Tracie Wilson, Matthew and Raychelle Clayton, Amber Castrechino, the Seitzer-Parkers and sisters Pat and Rocky Andrews.

The apple butter this year was made in memory of Wilson’s daughter, who was killed in an accident last year.

This year’s Apple Festival is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Knowlesville Fellowship Hall on Knowlesville Road. In addition to apple butter, there will be Kutter’s cheese, homemade pies from the Fellowship kitchen and 21 vendors.

Food available for purchase will be beef on weck, salt potatoes, macaroni salad, Waldorf salad and pie. Free coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be available.

In addition to the festival, the apple butter will be sold in the Downtown Browsery and in the Autumn Harvest Pie Shop, which is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.

Newly constructed Route 104 bridge opens on Saturday in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2021 at 2:41 pm

RIDGEWAY – A new bridge on Route 104 over the Oak Orchard Creek will open on Saturday, the state Department of Transportation announced today.

That section of Route 104 has been closed to traffic since late April. The previous bridge that was built in 1954 was removed and a new multi-girder bridge was put in its place.

This project features wider bridge openings, improved guide rails, upgraded shoulders and a sidewalk, the DOT said.

Union Concrete and Construction Corp. of West Seneca was the general contractor on the project. The $2.65 million bridge replacement is 80 percent funded by the federal government with the state paying the other 20 percent. The new bridge is expected to last 75 years.

At small Knowlesville cemetery, about quarter of burials were for children

Posted 16 August 2021 at 1:25 pm

Last recorded burials at site were in 1906

“Illuminating Orleans” – Vol. 1, No. 19

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

This double-sided stone commemorates Anna Smith who died in 1859. She was 1 year old. The inscription reads ”Our little Anna.”

KNOWLESVILLE – Nestled at the rear of several homes in the hamlet of Knowlesville lies the Knowlesville Cemetery, unobtrusively gliding through time.

It is a small cemetery, about three-quarters of an acre, with some 300 recorded burials. The plot of land originally belonged to the Stevens family, and indeed, the oldest stone is that of Jesse Stevens, dated 1826. The last recorded burials were in 1906, those of Malissa Foote and Caroline Bristol.

Cemeteries honor families, each stone was deliberately purchased and inscribed to record the passing of a family member. The earliest stones at Knowlesville, from the 1820s and 1830s, are simple, upright slabs, with basic information – name, date of death, age.

Henry Sawyer died in 1854 at the age of 16. The inscription at the base of the stone reads: “Don’t worry, it’s all right, Henry.” We can imagine the dying boy bravely reassuring his parents, his words etched in their hearts.

They are made of fieldstone and would have been inscribed by a local mason. Later stones are more elaborate, with rounded or curved tops. They generally feature a religious image at the top, a symbol for mourning (willow tree) or the afterlife (finger pointing upwards). Name, birth and death date, or specific age at death are recorded in the center. There is frequently an inscription at the bottom, this was either sentimental or religious.

Of the three hundred souls buried at Knowlesville, almost a quarter are children. There was a noticeable spike in child mortality between 1840 and 1850. Some families lost more than one child: the Banister family lost John, aged 10 months in 1838; Sarah, aged 7 in 1840; Frances, aged 11, also in 1840; and Cynthia, aged 18, in 1841.

William Knowles (1790-1871, for whom Knowlesville was named in 1826 in recognition of his role in the inception and development of the village, is buried at the Knowlesville Cemetery. He was an early land purchaser, having moved to the area in 1815 from Berkshire County, Mass. in 1815.

William Knowles

He built an ashery in 1816. The Erie Canal went through his land. He organized the first shipment of wheat on the newly opened Canal and built a warehouse. The impact of the Canal on shipping costs and shipping times was obvious from the very beginning. Prior to the Canal, sending wheat to Albany would cost $100 and take a month. A shipment to New York on the Canal would take ten days and cost $5.

With the advent of the Canal, Oak Orchard ceased to be a hub of activity as trade moved to Knowlesville. Soon it was bustling, with stores, blacksmith shops, a cooperage, hotels, taverns and five doctors.

William Knowles funded the construction of the first school in the locality. He was a founding member of the Presbyterian Church. At first, services were held at his home. He funded half the cost for the construction of the first Presbyterian Church and was a Deacon and ruling member for over forty years. He did not have children of his own, but he and his wife took in and educated eight children.

The Orleans County Historical Association hosted a tour of this cemetery on August 8. The Association’s next cemetery tour will be at the Hillside Cemetery, 4065 Holley Byron Rd. in Holley on Sunday, August 22 at 6 p.m. This tour will be preceded by a 15-minute concert on the mortuary chapel’s reed organ, played by Scott Schmidt. There is no charge. A goodwill offering would be appreciated.

4-Hers plant fairy garden in memory of Gail Culver at Fairgrounds

Posted 6 August 2021 at 4:03 pm

Photos courtesy of Kristina Gabalski: Charlotte (left) and Makenzie McGrath pose in the Fairy Garden they created in memory of their “Aunt Gail.”

By Kristina Gabalski, 4-H Program Coordinator in Orleans County

KNOWLESVILLE – Something “magical” is now located just outside the classroom entrance to the Education Center on the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Gail Culver

It is a fairy garden planted recently by Orleans County 4-Hers to honor the memory of Gail Culver, a long-time volunteer at Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension. Gail, a life-long resident of East Shelby, passed away in April of 2020.

Gail served Orleans County CCE for over 40 years in many ways – as a 4-H club leader, Master Gardener, member of the Fair Board and member of the Orleans CCE Board of Directors. She also worked at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County for many years.

Robyn Watts, her cousin, and Robyn’s grandchildren, including Makenzie, Jackson, and Charlotte McGrath – ages 13, 11 and 9, all of Medina, were always very close to Gail and wanted a way to keep her memory alive.

“She loved the fair,” Robyn Watts said. “She would bring my kids and then my grandkids. My children and grandchildren always called her ‘Aunt Gail.’ She was my children’s 4-H club leader and then started the Abundant Harvest 4-H Club with me.”

Watts explained that Gail had an extensive fairy garden outside the front of her own home.

“It had lights and houses and was built around a tree,” Watts said. “She loved fairy gardens. I think she found them to be magical.”

Back when Gail’s health began to fail, her son, Dan, asked Robyn’s grandchildren to help tend her home fairy garden. They cleaned it up and installed new lights, Watts said. After Gail’s death, her house was sold.

“The fairy garden was so important to her,” Watts said. “Her fairy garden accessories were given to Makenzie to do with what she wanted.”

It was decided a memorial garden for Gail on the fairgrounds she loved so much would be a wonderful way to make use of the materials. The idea was brought before the 4-H Family and Consumer Science Program Development Committee, of which Gail was also a former member, and was unanimously approved. The garden was planted just prior to the start of the 4-H Fair, which was held last week.

All the fairy garden accessories – houses, fairies, etc. – belonged to Gail Culver and used to be at her home garden in East Shelby.

“First, we put down weed-suppressing fabric, planted the plants and then placed mulch and fairy garden accessories (which belonged to Gail),” Makenzie McGrath explained.  “We didn’t really have a plan, we put items down as we went.”

Makenzie has many happy memories of participating in 4-H with her “Aunt Gail” who encouraged both Makenzie and her siblings and taught them so much.

“She was very active in 4-H,” Makenzie remembered. “She helped us with our own fairy gardens.”

Her younger sister, Charlotte, also helped with the fairy garden installation.

“My favorite thing in the garden is the big tree stump,” she said.  The big tree stump is a planter made especially for fairy gardens.

The 4-Hers had some help installing the garden from Orleans County CCE Master Gardener Deanna Poczciwinski of Barker. Poczciwinski provided some of the plants and guidance as well as help in getting everything planted and placed.

Robyn Watts said the family and members of the Abundant Harvest 4-H Club will work to maintain the garden. It currently includes succulents and evergreen shrubs along with annual flowering plants.

“We will work to replace the annuals with more perennials next year,” Watts said.

The Abundant Harvest 4-H Club will maintain the garden in the future.

Knowlesville lift bridge currently can’t go up due to mechanical issue

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 August 2021 at 1:44 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – The lift bridge in Knowlesville currently is inoperable due to a mechanical issue that has the bridge in the down position.

That means vessels can’t pass “until further notice,” the Canal Corp. advised boaters at about noon today.

The Canal Corp. said it will be providing updates about the situation through the “Notice to Mariners” notification program at www.canals.ny.gov.

UPDATE: The State Canal Corp. reported at 4:20 p.m. the bridge was repaired and back in operation.

Planning Board backs Albion business expansion, solar project in Kendall, new storage tank for Helena

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 July 2021 at 9:31 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday evening voted in support of an Albion business expansion, a 5-megawatt solar project in Kendall, a new tank for Helena Agri-Enterprises, and two new ponds in Ridgeway.

• RS Automation expansion – In Albion, the County Planning Board recommended Albion officials approve the site plan for a 9,000-square-foot addition to RS Automation at 4015 Oak Orchard Rd. Rick Stacey, owner of the manufacturing company, said RS is growing at its Route 98 facility.

“We definitely need the space,” he told Planning Board members.

• Kendall solar project – In Kendall, the board recommended approval for a site plan and special use permit for a solar project at 1771 West Kendall Rd., which is south of the intersection of West Kendall and Carr roads.

DG New York CS LLC from Juno Beach, Fla., is developer of the project on land owned by Thomas Munzert. DG would use 34 acres of the site, with the solar panels on a single-axis tracking system. That will allow them to slowly rotate and follow the sun during the daylight.

The project was reviewed by the board in January, but it was up for review again when there was a change in the location of the access road and some of the panels.

There will be a 7-foot-high perimeter fence, and there will be 98 trees planted, spaced every 12 feet. Those trees include 25 Black Hills Spruce, 39 Norway Spruce, and 24 Scotch Pine.

The construction project will take 4 ½ months, company officials told the Planning Board.

• New storage tank for Helena Agri-Enterprises – The board recommended Ridgeway officials approve the site plan for a 73-foot diameter by 32-foot high tank storage for chemical bulk storage at 3956 Allis Rd.

Helena wants to add the storage tank for liquid fertilizer called urea ammonium. The non-flammable chemical is produced by combining urea, nitric acid and ammonia.

The product is in demand for farmers, especially in the spring planting season and also for “side dressing,” applying fertilizer between the rows of growing crops.

Helena will have a “double tank” or a tank within a tank to store the product, said John Ivison, branch manager of Helena’s location in Ridgeway.

• Two ponds in Ridgeway – The Planning Board recommended Ridgeway approve the site plans and issue permits for two ponds that would both be less than an acre in size.

Kirk Nice is proposing to construct a 40,000-square-foot pond to support farm irrigation at 3025 Knowlesville Rd.

Gregory Heitzenrater is proposing a 10,000-square-foot pond for recreational purposes at 2901 County Line Rd.

Route 31 bridge in Knowlesville will be closed until September

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 July 2021 at 8:53 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – The bridge over the railroad tracks on Route 31 near the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds isn’t expected to reopen to traffic until September.

The bridge was closed on May 11 and was expected to be shut down for about six weeks to accommodate construction that includes bridge deck repairs, joint replacement and slab reconstruction to enhance safety.

“During the course of construction it was determined the bridge required additional materials to ensure the project’s success,” said Jordan Guerrein, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. “Those are currently being manufactured and the bridge is now expected to re-open to traffic in September.”

A signed detour will remain in place for motorists to use Route 98, Route 31A, Route 63 and Route 31. Local roads near the bridge also remain accessible during construction.

Rubber duck race at campground proves popular fundraiser for Ridgeway Fire Company

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 July 2021 at 8:01 am

Provided photos

RIDGEWAY – About 150 people watched the rubber duck race on Saturday afternoon on Jeddo Creek at the Medina/Wildwood Lake KOA on Countyline Road in Ridgeway.

People pay $5 for each rubber duck in the race. The local KOA was able to donate $640 to the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. The event was part of a first responders’ appreciation weekend at the campground. There was also a parade of fire trucks on Saturday morning, and first responders were welcome to camp at a discounted rate.

The campground has put on the race for about a dozen years and the proceeds this year are being donated to the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. In the past some of the funds have gone to KOA Care Camps and Camp Good Days.

Campground welcomes parade of fire trucks for first responders’ appreciation weekend

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 July 2021 at 3:56 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – Rob and Rachel Kaiser, owners of the Medina/Wildwood Lake KOA on Countyline Road in Ridgeway, lead a procession of fire trucks through the campground this morning. It was part of a first responders’ appreciation weekend.

The Kaisers own the lead fire truck, which used to be owned by the airport in Hartford, Conn. The Kaisers give kids rides in the fire truck on most Saturdays during the season, which this year runs from April 30 to Oct. 11.

These kids follow the loud procession on their bikes. The fire trucks had their sirens going. An Orleans County deputy sheriff also joined in the parade. Click here to see a video.

As part of first responders’ appreciation weekend there will be a camping discount for first responders. There will also be a rubber duck race this afternoon on Jeddo Creek with proceeds going to the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. That is expected to be about $600.

Rob and Rachel Kaiser are pictured with their fire truck after the parade. They have owned the campground north of Ridge Road on Countyline Road for 18 years. Last year they had a record year during the Covid-19 pandemic with many people looking for a getaway at a campground close to home.

They have nearly 350 sites at the campground and have two heated swimming pools, a jumping pillow, game room, on-site winery, peddle boats, a water slide and lots of other activities. On many days there are 1,300 or more people on site.

“It’s good family bonding here,” Mr. Kaiser said. “We create memories.”

The Kaisers donated to each of the fire departments that attended today’s parade around the campgrounds. Many of the campers stopped to wave to the firefighters, or to cover their ears from the loud sirens.

Tony Panzica of California takes a video of the procession. Panzica is a Tonawanda native in the area to see family. He said he is impressed by the campground, including how it handled the big downpour from two days ago.

He and his wife Patty said they are enjoyed seeing the small towns in Western New York and Orleans County.

“I’m just floored by this area,” Panzica said. “It’s so beautiful.”

After 14-plus months and many long lines of cars, food distribution program ends

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 June 2021 at 2:47 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – Volunteers were busy this morning at the parking lot of the Ridgeway fire hall, packing boxes of produce, crackers, tortilla wraps, macaroni and cheese and other food.

Donna Poore, second from left, is coordinator of the food pantry at the Calvary Tabernacle Church in Medina. She led a team of volunteers this morning from the church, other food pantries in Medina and a group of employees from the Iroquois Job Corps.

Today was the last scheduled food distribution. Since April 2020, at least 300 boxes of food were available at distributions that have been in Albion, Ridgeway, Knowlesville (4-H Fairgrounds) and occasionally at Holley and Clarendon. The program was funded through the federal Department of Agriculture.

But the USDA announced the “Families Food Box Program” program wouldn’t be continuing. The program has had five rounds and delivered 157.1 million boxes of fresh produce, milk, dairy and cooked meats to Americans across the country since last April.

There was a long line of vehicles down Horan Road leading to the fire hall. This photo was taken at about 8 this morning. Many of the vehicles started to line up by 6 a.m.

Two local senior citizens were the first two vehicles to arrive. They waited more than two hours for the distribution to start.

The first woman was from Albion. She went to a distribution event about once a month.

“It has been very helpful for me being on a fixed income, especially with the cost of food and gas and everything going up,” she said.

She said she is an early riser and didn’t mind getting in line early. The weather is warmer now and the sun comes up earlier, compared to the winter.

The Office for the Aging in Orleans County, Community Action of Orleans & Genesee, the Calvary Tabernacle Church in Medina and Cornell Cooperative Extension all took the lead running different distributions. Residents can still go to local pantries if they need food.

A Lyndonville senior citizen estimated the value of food was often about $75 at the distributions. She would arrive early and crochet. She would talk with a friend who was also in line using her speaker phone.

“This was a great thing,” she said about the distributions. “It helped a lot of people, and not just the senior citizens. There are so many people who ended up without a job. I hope for the younger families they can find a way to keep it going.”

Curt Strickland, one of the volunteers this morning, eyes all the boxes of food and tries to help determine how much each vehicle should get. The volunteers had to rebox many of the items, with an assortment of Romaine lettuce, Brussels Sprouts, crackers, oranges, tortilla wraps, macaroni and cheese, and other food.

Before the distribution started, the group paused for a prayer.

Mike Jagger, one of the volunteers from Calvary, said the church was grateful to be a part of the distributions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s just helping people,” he said.

In observance of Juneteenth, 4-Hers plant Freedom Garden

Posted 23 June 2021 at 3:38 pm

Provided photos: 4-H Senior Council members Hugh and Joanie Gabalski (left side) and Grace Gregoire (right side) plant a Freedom Garden in observance of Juneteenth. Heritage variety vegetable seeds were included as well as red-colored flowers.

Press Release, Orleans County 4-H Program

KNOWLESVILLE – Members of the Orleans County 4-H Senior Council observed Juneteenth recently by planting a Freedom Garden outside the Education Center on the 4-H Fairgrounds. “The Freedom Garden includes edible plants that would have been an important food source for freed slaves,” explained Kristina Gabalski, 4-H Program Coordinator at Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension. “We also included red flowers because the color red is such an important part of the celebration of Juneteenth. It symbolizes the suffering and bloodshed of the slaves during their bondage.”

The Freedom Garden is located outside the classroom entrance to the Education Center. 4-Hers planted heritage varieties of vegetables including California Blackeye Pea cowpeas, Morris Heading collards, Dorinny Sweet corn and Sugar Baby watermelon.

“The cowpeas have a direct link to Africa,” Gabalski said. “According to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, they were domesticated about 5,000 years ago in the savannas of sub-Sharan Africa and would have been a very familiar crop to freed slaves.”

The garden should be growing vigorously by the time the 4-H Fair takes place in late July, Gabalski said.

The finished garden is located around the flagpole outside the classroom entrance to the Education Center.

Last scheduled food distribution is Friday at Ridgeway fire hall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 June 2021 at 10:52 am

RIDGEWAY – The final scheduled food distribution will be this Friday beginning at about 8:30 a.m. at the Ridgeway fire hall at 11392 Ridge Rd., Medina.

The entrance will be on Horan Road and the line will be facing north (facing Ridge Road). Exit will be on to Ridge Road. People are asked to not block driveways. The distribution won’t start before 8 a.m.

The Office for the Aging, Community Action of Orleans & Genesee and Calvary Tabernacle Church in Medina and the Cornell Cooperative Extension have worked together to coordinate the distributions since April 2020.

“ We want to thank Foodlink and all the hosting sites – Community Action of Genesee & Orleans, Calvary Cupboard of Medina, and Cornell Cooperative Extension – for holding these events,” said Melissa Blanar, director of the Office for the Aging. “We could not have these events without the wonderful volunteers over the last 14 months that assisted with the distribution of the food boxes. If people are in need of food after these distributions end please contact your local food pantry for assistance.”

Rick and Ron’s looks to rebuild, appreciates community support after fire

Posted 29 May 2021 at 2:41 pm

Press Release, Rick & Ron’s Auto Sales

Photo by Tom Rivers: A massive fire on May 22 destroyed the repair garage and sales office for Rick & Ron’s Auto Sales at 11205 Ridge Rd.

RIDGEWAY – As many of you may already know, a week ago on Saturday, Rick and Ron’s Auto Sales suffered a complete loss of both its repair garage and sales office after a devastating fire tore through it.

Rick & Ron’s on Ridge Road has been a member of the Medina business community for more than 40 years.

We are grateful that each member of our team made it out without any serious injuries, and we would like to thank the numerous volunteer firefighters who responded.

Now that the smoke has cleared, our team has already begun the process of demolition, which we hope to have completed by the end of next week. Once done, we will promptly move on to preparing the site for our new building so that we can continue our long tradition of serving customers from all over Western New York.

In the meantime, we have set up a temporary office on site and have partially restored services to meet our customers’ needs. We will continue to operate during our normal business hours, but at a slightly limited capacity, throughout the construction process.

We thank our customers and the Medina community for all their support and patience during this time of transition to a new beginning for Rick and Ron’s Auto Sales.

Rick & Ron’s fire deemed accidental; 4 buildings damaged

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 May 2021 at 1:15 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: A fire Saturday afternoon caused extensive damage to Rick & Ron’s Auto Sales at 11205 Ridge Rd.

RIDGEWAY – Orleans County fire investigators have determined a massive fire on Saturday at Rick & Ron’s Auto Sales was accidental.

“They were working on a car’s evaporation system and the gas fumes ignited while a worker was using a drill,” said Justin Niederhofer, deputy director of the Orleans County Emergency Management Office.

There isn’t an estimate yet on the damages. The fire damaged four buildings with the main office suffering extensive damages and a garage/workshop a total loss. Two buildings that were the neighbors also had minor damage.

In addition to the structures, six vehicles also damaged with three owned by Rick & Ron’s.

The family who lives next door received Red Cross assistance so they could stay elsewhere for one to two nights so their home could ventilate, Niederhofer said today.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at about 3:20 p.m. on Saturday. There were flames were shooting out of windows in the garage/workshop and explosions could be heard.