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Hail and wind on Friday ruined big chunk of apple crop in Knowlesville

Photo courtesy of Adam Krenning: The powerful winds on Friday evening around 6:30 snapped apple trees that were in a trellis system on Howlett Road. Toussaint Farms, which owns the orchard in the photo, estimates it lost 1,500 apple trees of very popular varieties, including Honeycrisp, Gala and SnapDragon.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 August 2019 at 1:45 pm

Photos courtesy of Kenny Haylett: These apples already started to rot on Monday, three days after being bruised and sliced by hail in Knowlesville. Kenny Haylett, the orchard manager for Haylett Enterprises, took the photo.

KNOWLESVILLE – A storm Friday evening felt like a tornado in the Knowlesville area and decimated many apple orchards due to the hail and high winds.

The storm caused the most damage between routes 31 and 18, with the area between Knowlesville and Kenyonville roads hit the hardest.

“It’s pretty sickening,” said Kenny Haylett, an orchard manager of a farm that had about 80 acres of apples destroyed. “We put all the time and effort and money into the growing the crop, and in two minutes it’s all gone.”

Haylett said the farm has about 120 other acres that are still good. The winds knocked many apples on the ground, while the hail bruised and cut the fruit. Three days after the storm the apples were already turning to rot on Monday.

The farm can’t just leave the orchards strewn with fallen apples “or else the rodents will come in,” Haylett said.

The storm hit in a narrow band. Haylett was on Knowlesville-Eagle Harbor Road when the heavy rain hit. On that road, it wasn’t very destructive. But on Howlett Road the storm took down trees. A barn fell over and a roof was blown off in Knowlesville.

Steve Nesbitt II said Nesbitt Farms had 50 acres of apples destroyed by the hail. Nesbitt was in Gaines when the storm hit.

“It was just a little bit of rain in Gaines,” he said. “In Knowlesville, it was terrible, a whole different world.”

Jeff Toussaint, owner of Toussaint Farms, said the high winds snapped 1,500 of his trees which were weighed down with nearly full grown apples.

Kenny Haylett holds an apple on Friday, soon after it was hit by hail. Three days later the apples were turning to rot.

Toussaint lost about 1 ½ to 2 acres of apple trees, and they were popular varieties such as Honeycrisp, SnapDragon and Gala. They were planted in high-density orchards with the trees held up in a trellis system.

But that wasn’t a match for the winds on Friday.

“A wicked narrow band came through,” Toussaint said. “The winds were unbelievable.”

Toussaint planted those trees in 2010 through 2013. They were just hitting peak production. Now he has to start over in that block on Howlett Road. “They were some of our most valuable apples,” he said. “It will be a number of years before it gets back.”

Toussaint said all of his acres were damaged on Howlett Road while 2/3 were affected on Culvert Road. The crop near Route 31 is fine, he said.

Toussaint said the growers “will now go into salvage mode and hope crop insurance kicks in.”

Haylett said the crop insurance is far less than selling the fruit at the market price.

The farmers also said Nice Farms was hit hard by the hail.

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On wedding day, couple visits fair where they met as 4-H’ers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 July 2019 at 7:04 pm

Chantelle Kidney and Zack Blackburn first noticed each other at 4-H Senior Council Stand

Photos by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – Zack Blackburn and Chantelle Kidney stopped at the Orleans County 4-H Fair today after their wedding. They made sure to get a photo with a steer.

Blackburn, 23, was a member of the Beef Club seven years ago when Kidney, 21, showed sheep at the fair. They started dated on July 27, 2012. Three years ago they were engaged on July 27. Blackburn asked Kidney to marry him in the sheep barn.

The newly married Mr. and Mrs. Blackburn walk at the fairgrounds this afternoon. They are joined by their flower girls, Hollee Cook, left, and Mable Bruning, right.

The couple makes their way through the sheep barn. Maid of honor Emma Ambrose, another former 4-H’er, helps Kidney with her dress.

Chantelle Kidney walks into the 4-H Senior Council Stand. Blackburn and Kidney met at the fair while they were working in the 4-H Senior Council Stand, selling refreshments. Blackburn said he first noticed Kidney’s barn boots “and her cute little smile.”

Kidney works as an EMT for COVA in Albion, while Blackburn is a pipe layer for a company in Rochester. They are both active in the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company.

The wedding party poses for a picture at the 4-H Senior Council Stand.

Mr. and Mrs. Blackburn saw their relationship start and blossom at the fair. Megan Blackburn, the groom’s sister, is at left.

They were married earlier in the afternoon in an outdoor ceremony on Fruit Avenue in Medina. After the wedding they headed to the fairgrounds just before 5 p.m.

Chantelle’s mother, Cindy Kidney, expected the fair would be part of the couple’s big day.

“I’m surprised they didn’t get married here,” she said.

Zack Blackburn wanted a wedding picture to include a steer. One of his groomsman, Paul Suraf, meets the big animal after Blackburn led it out of the barn.

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Blood drive in honor of Ridgeway firefighter results in 59 pints

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2019 at 10:01 pm

Provided photos: The American Red Cross sets up for a blood drive today at the Ridgeway Fire Hall.

RIDGEWAY – A blood drive today in honor of Ridgeway firefighter Glen Busch II resulted in 59 pints of blood. That came from 47 donors, including 12 who were double-red givers.

This is the second blood drive in honor of Busch. The first one on Nov. 30 included about 70 donors.

Busch, 36, has been promoting the blood drives. He said he is thankful for donors because he needed 178 blood transfusions last year while battling serious health issues.

Busch has mostly recovered from a splenic artery aneurysm, a stroke, a pulmonary embolism and a collapsed lung.

The blood drives at Ridgeway included many donors who are firefighters, and also members of the Crusaders Motorcycle Club. That club has its races on Culvert Road in Ridgeway. The season opens on Sunday.

Busch returned to work in February as a social welfare examiner for the Orleans County Department of Social Services. His wife Valerie works at Baxter Healthcare in Medina and also is an active Ridgeway firefighter.

This sign promotes today’s blood drive in honor of Glen Busch II.

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Blood drive Friday at Ridgeway will honor firefighter who survived health scare

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 May 2019 at 6:43 pm

Glen Busch II needed 178 transfusions after emergency surgeries

File photo by Tom Rivers: Glen Busch II and Valerie Childs, who is now his wife, are shown in January 2016 when both were honored for their service to the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. Busch received the President’s Award and Childs was presented with the Chief’s Award.

RIDGEWAY – There will be a second blood drive this Friday in honor of Glen Busch II, a Ridgeway firefighter who survived a serious health scare in 2018.

Busch, 36, has mostly recovered from a splenic artery aneurysm, a stroke, a pulmonary embolism and a collapsed lung.

He estimates he is about 90 percent recovered and continues to rebuild his stamina. On Thursday, he gets a physical and he expects to be cleared to return for fire calls with the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. He won’t be back as an interior firefighter, but Busch said he expects to be given the OK for exterior firefighting.

On Friday, from noon to 7 p.m. at the Ridgeway fire hall there will be a blood drive. The first blood drive in his honor on Nov. 30 resulted in about 70 donors, many were firefighters who hadn’t given blood before or hadn’t attended a blood drive in many years.

Busch said he is more comfortable in the background, but is willing to help promote Friday’s blood drive.

He needed 178 units of blood during his surgeries. He was hospitalized for about seven weeks, beginning on Sept. 14. Then he was in rehab for three weeks before coming home the day before Thanksgiving.

Busch and his wife Valerie then faced a tragedy. Their son, Hudson, was born on Nov. 30 without a pulse.

Busch said the community was been very supportive during his serious illness and then with the loss of his son.

That’s why he wants to return to being an active firefighter, and promote the blood drive.

“I’m thankful for the community, to my fellow firefighters, my coworkers at DSS, my church family and the Crusaders (Motorcycle Club),” he said. “Everyone has stepped up and I want to do my part.”

Busch returned to work in February as a social welfare examiner for the Orleans County Department of Social Services. His wife works at Baxter Healthcare in Medina.

Blood donors can sign up online at or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins also are welcome. The firehall is located at 11392 Ridge Rd., Medina.

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Marshall Road reopens in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 May 2019 at 11:13 am

RIDGEWAY – Marshall Road has been reopened to traffic after being closed for about five weeks.

The road is still in need of repairs, but some patchwork has been done by the Ridgeway Highway Department and State Canal Corp.

The town and state agency are discussing how additional repairs will be done, town officials said.

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Knowlesville lift bridge will close May 7-8 for repairs

Staff Reports Posted 4 May 2019 at 9:15 am

KNOWLESVILLE – The New York State Canal Corporation announced the Knowlesville Lift Bridge in Ridgeway will be closed on May 7-8 for repairs to the bridge’s lifting system.

Crews will replace electrical cables to the bridge, which carries traffic over the Erie Canal. During the project, a signed detour will be posted, using Eagle Harbor-Knowlesville Road, W. Barre-Eagle Harbor Road and Telegraph Road.

This work will not affect the Erie Canalway Trail, said Steven Gosset, manager of public relations for the New York Power Authority, which oversees the canal system.

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500 attend benefit for Terry Weaver in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2019 at 8:24 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – Terry Weaver and his sister Kim Lockwood are in good spirits during a benefit on Saturday in his honor at the Ridgeway Fire Hall.

Weaver, a US Air Force veteran, has worked 30 years in corrections, including as a sergeant at the Orleans County Jail. He is fighting stage 4 lung cancer and also had a brain tumor removed in January.

Weaver was a in great spirits on Saturday, and shocked by the big crowd at the fire hall.

“I’m kind of a loner,” he said. “I’m not the most outgoing guy in the room.”

His family and friends wanted to raise money to help with co-pays for medical bills and other expenses. Lockwood said the benefit raised $14,000.

There were 200 baskets up for raffle, and other big ticket items. Lockwood said the community was generous in helping her brother.

Weaver, 54, lives in Shelby. He has never smoked and said he has been a “workout junkie.” He started having bad headaches and would blackout late last year, when he was diagnosed with the brain tumor.

He had two surgeries in January to remove that mass and he feels fortunate he didn’t lose his memory or suffer ill-effects from that surgery. He is currently taking chemo to fight the lung cancer.

Members of McAdoo family and Ridgeway Ladies Auxiliary served up more than 300 spaghetti dinners on Saturday. Michelle Lechner serves the salads while Donna Lockwood, Bonnie Gill and Nick McAdoo work on the spaghetti.

Lynn Starr works as a cook at the jail. She has known Weaver for several years. She helped secure many of the food donations for the meal on Saturday. She said Weaver is well liked by his coworkers at the jail.

“Terry is a top-of-the-line guy,” Starr said. “He is always good natured.”

Weaver would typically work major holidays so his co-workers with young families could be home with their children.

“He is a wonderful man,” said his sister, Debra Regan. “He is a special human being who doesn’t deserve this – nobody does.”

Eagle Creek was one of the three bands to perform during the benefit. From left include Nick Salvatore, Gary Tarr and Dick Brant. The Dave Viterna Group and The Who Dats also performed.

Eagle Creek entertains the crowd at the Ridgeway Fire Hall.

A large contingent from the Orleans County Sheriff’s office attended the benefit to support Weaver.

“As you can see everybody loves Terry,” said Sheriff Randy Bower. “To see this support is just overwhelming.”

The benefit on Saturday was from 2 to 7 p.m. Weaver appeared at 2:30 p.m. and stayed the entire time, despite fighting exhaustion from his chemo. The room was energized by Weaver’s presence, Bower said.

“When he showed up, it lifted everybody up,” Bower said. “Hopefully we lifted him up, too.”

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Ridgeway fire hall hosting benefit today for jail sergeant with lung cancer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 April 2019 at 8:50 am

Terry Weaver

RIDGEWAY — A big crowd is expected today for a benefit at the Ridgeway Fire Hall for Terry Weaver, who has a 30-year career in law enforcement.

Weaver, a sergeant at the Orleans County Jail, is fighting stage 4 lung cancer. He also has had two brain surgeries to remove a mass.

“My brother is the quiet one,” said his sister Kim Lockwood. “He worked his butt off and was always there to lend a hand to others when needed.”

The community has contributed 200 baskets to be raffled off today during the benefit. Lockwood said 360 spaghetti dinner tickets have already been sold for the dinner from 2 to 7 p.m.

In addition to the basket raffles, there are 11 “big ticket” items and a 50/50 raffle, she said.

The event will include performances by the bands Dave Viterna Group, The Who Dats and Eagle Creek.

Lockwood urged people to stop by. There is no cover charge.

“We want people to come in and love my brother up,” she said.

The firehall is located at 11392 Ridge Rd.

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Marshall Road in Ridgeway closed to traffic

Staff Reports Posted 15 April 2019 at 10:48 am

RIDGEWAY – Marshall Road is closed until further notice due to road conditions, the Town of Ridgeway announced.

The road remains open to residents who live on Marshall. Town officials will be on a conference call with the state Department of Transportation soon to get an update on when the road will be repaired and reopened.

The town put out the announcement today after the road was already closed and signs were in place about the closure. However, many motorists are continuing to use the road and turn around in residents’ driveways, town officials said.

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Ridgeway highway superintendent to retire on March 31

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 February 2019 at 1:36 pm

Mark Goheen

RIDGEWAY – Mark Goheen, the Ridgeway highway superintendent for the past 9-plus years, will be retiring on March 31.

His letter of resignation was accepted by the Town Board on Tuesday evening. The board is seeking applications for an interim highway superintendent who serve in the role for nine months, beginning April 1.

The highway superintendent will be on the November ballot for the remaining two years of Goheen’s term. Goheen has served in the job since Jan. 1, 2010, and was elected three times to four-year terms.

Goheen said he is retiring so he can spend more time with family, especially his granddaughter. He put off the retirement until after the winter, when the department is its busiest due to snow plowing.

“It has been a great job,” he said today. “I’ve learned a lot. People don’t realize what highway superintendents do and town employees do.”

Besides snow plowing and road maintenance, the Ridgeway Highway Department also oversees a water system and five cemeteries. The highway department is responsible for burials in those cemeteries, as well as maintenance.

Goheen praised the department’s four other full-time employees for their dedication.

Ridgeway is expected to soon post an ad seeking applicants for interim highway superintendent.

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