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Huge turnout in Ridgeway for benefit to aid Megan Dix’s family

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 October 2017 at 8:54 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lori Panek, Megan Dix’s aunt, and Randi Rushing, Megan’s cousin, check the winning bids on some of the 300 gift baskets up for auction on Saturday at a benefit for Megan Dix’s family.

RIDGEWAY – There was a massive turnout on Saturday at the benefit to support Megan Dix’s family. More than 1,500 chicken barbecue dinners were sold, 300 gift baskets were raffled off, as well as 60 large items and a dozen “mega” items valued at $600 or more.

The benefit raised $42,000 for the family of Megan Dix, who was murdered on Aug. 25 while taking a lunch break in Brockport, not far from where she worked at Lowe’s.

The benefit on Saturday started at 1 p.m. at the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. Not long after noon people were descending upon the rec hall on Ridge Road.

“It has just been tremendous,” Charlie Dix, Megan’s brother in law, said about the community response.

These balloons help symbolize a community in grief after Megan Dix was shot and killed on Aug. 25.

At times, it felt like the entire Lyndonville community was in the rec hall on Saturday.

Megan, 33, is the youngest of eight siblings. She and her husband, Chris, have an 8-year-old son, CJ.

Charlie Dix said the benefit on Saturday brought some focus back to the grieving family.

Megan’s accused murderer, Holly Colino, has been dominating the headlines with some of her bizarre behavior, including online rants before the Aug. 25 shooting and then a series of graffiti at the East Rochester community where she grew up. A Monroe County Court judge last week ordered a mental competency exam for Colino.

The gift baskets up for auction are spread out on tables at the fire hall. Volunteers spent Friday unloading a tractor trailer that was filled with donated items in the days and weeks leading up to the benefit. Bobbi Houseman took the lead in organizing those items.

Cathy Buckland, a friend of Megan and Chris Dix, serves pizza at the benefit. In addition to the pizza, 1,550 chicken barbecue dinners were sold.

Arianna Dailey of Batavia, left, holds balloons that have the attention of Annalee Erdle, 1 1/2, of Lyndonville. Annalee is held by Chelsea Silversmith of Lyndonville. Annalee’s mother, Alyssa Erdle, is in back at right.

Some of the attendees check the list of auctioned items to see if they had the winning bid. The benefit started at 1 p.m. and continued until 10 p.m.

Shawn Whittier served as DJ at the event.

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6,000 surveys being sent to residents in western Orleans

Provided photo: The elected officials from the western Orleans County municipalities are working together on a comprehensive plan and survey. Pictured, from left, include Medina Mayor Michael Sidari, Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli and Yates Town Supervisor Jim Simon. The Town of Shelby and Village of Lyndonville also are part of the effort.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 July 2017 at 7:41 am

Residents asked to assess quality of life issues, rank priorities for community development

Residents in Western Orleans County are urged to fill out a survey asking them to rank priorities in the community and give their views on other quality of life issues.

The towns of Ridgeway, Shelby and Yates, as well as the villages of Medina and Lyndonville are working together on a comprehensive plan for the western end of the county.

The surveys are being sent out to about 6,000 households and landowners. They are asked to complete the questionnaire by Aug. 4.

“The survey is a critical step in the update of the Western Orleans Comprehensive Plan,” said Yates Town Supervisor Jim Simon, chairman of the committee responsible for revising the comprehensive plan. “It is through our stakeholders – the residents and landowners receiving the survey – that we gain insight into their values and priorities for formulating public policies affecting quality-of-life issues for the next 10 to 15 years.”

The eight-page survey seeks input on many issues, including economic development, youth programs, where people shop,  views on development (heavy industrial, commercial, residential and light industrial), condition of streets and sidewalks, drug abuse in community, affordable housing, walkability of communities, public safety and many other topics.

Residents in western Orleans County were last surveyed in 2002 when a comprehensive plan for the five municipalities was prepared.

“My fellow chief elected officials and I strongly encourage all to complete and return the survey,” Simon said. “The greater the response rate, the more the results represent the entire community.”

The survey can be dropped off at any one of 17 different locations in western Orleans County, all of which are listed on the first page of the survey form. Additional survey forms can be obtained at any town or village clerk’s office in western Orleans County.

“Those who participate in the survey do so anonymously,” Simon said, “and the collective results will be presented publicly and reported in both the Comprehensive Plan and on-line.” Questions about the survey can be directed to the Orleans County Department of Planning and Development, which is assisting in the preparation of the Comprehensive Plan, at (585) 589-3198.

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Knowlesville lift bridge will close for 10 days for repairs

Staff Reports Posted 17 June 2017 at 11:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: The lift bridge in Knowlesville, already limited to one lane and a 6-ton weight limit, will close for about 10 days for some repairs.

KNOWLESVILLE – The lift bridge that carries Knowlesville Road over the Erie Canal will temporarily close to traffic on Tuesday for approximately 10 days through June 30, the state Department of Transportation has advised local officials.

A detour will not be posted. Culvert Road is to the west and Presbyterian Road is to the east.

Bridge maintenance crews will be replacing concrete approach slab and doing some minor steel work.

The bridge, which was built in 1910, has had a weight restriction and is limited to one lane.

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Firefighters contain Lyndonville fire to back bedroom

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2017 at 1:57 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – A fire in the back bedroom of a house on Route 63 was contained to that room due to a quick response from firefighters, said David Hydock, deputy fire coordinator for Orleans County.

Firefighters were dispatched to a house fire at 12:16 p.m. at 2274 Lyndonville Rd. when smoke was observed coming out of the back of the house from the top floor. The house, owned by Wade Patterson, is located in the Town of Ridgeway.

Damage was mostly limited to the back bedroom, with additional smoke and water damage, Hydock said.

Firefighters from Lyndonville, Medina and Ridgeway responded to the scene.

Adam Wengrzycki, a Medina firefighter, pulls off shingles and checks for hot spots in the attic. There weren’t any hot spots up high.

Firefighters run hoses into the house so water could be sprayed on the upstairs bedroom.

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East Scott Road bridge officially reopens on Wednesday

Staff Reports Posted 21 October 2016 at 5:48 pm


Provided photo

RIDGEWAY – The East Scott Road Bridge will officially reopen on Wednesday following a ribbon-cutting celebration at 11 a.m.

Union Concrete and Construction Corporation in West Seneca has worked on replacing the county-owned bridge. The company submitted the low bid for the project at $724,346.

The new bridge replaces one from 1936.

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Chris Caldwell feels the love during benefit on Sunday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 October 2016 at 9:18 am


Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – Chris Caldwell smiles at his son Jackson, 9, during a benefit Sunday at the Ridgeway Fire Hall for Caldwell, who was critically injured on Sept. 7, 2015. That day Caldwell was walking along Harrison Road in Shelby when he was hit from behind by a drunk driver.

Caldwell has suffered a brain injury, had his left leg amputated after infection set in, and suffered numerous broken bones.


More than 100 people turned out for the benefit, where they bid on about 100 gift baskets and other items, including two bikes. The event raised $4,200 with proceeds going towards Caldwell’s medical expenses. This photo was taken near the end of the benefit when many had left.

One of the attendees on Sunday was a paramedic who helped Caldwell after the accident. First responders weren’t optimistic he would survive after he was struck that day. He was flown by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center, where doctors also were grim in predicting Caldwell’s future.

Caldwell’s family and friends praise him for his upbeat attitude as he takes physical therapy and does daily exercises. Caldwell, who had worked a decade as a heavy equipment operator in construction, said he appreciated seeing so many friends on Sunday.


Jonathan Doherty of Albion attended the benefit and wished Caldwell well in his recovery. Doherty was busy in the weeks leading up to the benefit collecting donations for the basket raffle.


Chris Caldwell is pictured with his sons: Christopher, 13; and Jackson, 9.

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2 injured in 3-car crash on 104 in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 September 2016 at 3:59 pm


RIDGEWAY – Two people were taken by ambulance to hospitals following an accident with three vehicles this afternoon on Route 104, between Knowlesville and Culvert roads. The top photo shows firefighters working to cut the battery after the driver had been removed from the vehicle.

The driver was eastbound on 104 and turned to go into the driveway at a house where a bride and her bridesmaids were getting ready. The driver pulled in front on a pickup headed westbound, according to an Orleans County sheriff’s deputy.


These trucks collided after the driver of the pickup truck at left attempted to avoid a vehicle that crossed into the westbound lane suddenly at 1:15 p.m. A passenger in the vehicle at left was taken by ambulance. A deputy at the scene said none of the injuries were serious.

Volunteers celebrate finishing Circle of Love Memorial Garden

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 July 2016 at 12:00 am

Vince Iorio, pastor of the Calvary Tabernacle Church in Medina, shares a prayer during a dedication event this morning for the Circle of Love Memorial Garden.

There are 32 memorial plaques on this stone garden wall. The plaques are $75 each and there is room for many more.

One of five benches at the garden is a memorial for Michelle Stanton Jones.

After work on the garden slowed last year, these three women pushed to finish the project. They include, from left: Carol Bellack, Andrea Walton and Jenn Thom.

They have also formed The Medina Memorial Garden 501c3, a non-profit group to manage the site, and accept funds and spend money for improvements.

The women credited Dayton Hausman for coming up with the idea of the garden, and praised many of the early volunteers who did a lot of work in creating the space.

Jenn Thom, right, thanks volunteers for their work on the garden. The angel was donated by Lynn Stanley in honor of her son. Thom said the garden will need perpetual care, pulling weeds and watering flowers, among many tasks.

Besides the birdhouse, the perimeter of the garden includes solar-powered lights. The centerpiece of a stone circle has a heart in the center.

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1,000-plus attend motorcycle races in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 July 2016 at 11:00 am

Crusaders Motorcycle Club ‘Day at the Races’ honors the late Les Washbon and Pat Blount

RIDGEWAY – Jeremy Higgins is congratulated for winning the $500 grand prize in the “Dash for Cash” today at the Crusaders Motorcycle Club on Culvert Road in Ridgeway.

Higgins of Bergen is the reigning track champion. He is pictured with friends and family of Pat Blount and Les Washbon. Today’s race day served as a memorial for the two men who were mainstays at the track.

Blount helped many riders in the pits. He was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way to work in April 1998. Washbon was a nationally ranked dirt track race. He worked at Dunlap as a racing tire technician. He died last Oct. 30, 2015, at age 54. He raced at the Crusaders track for many years.

Jeremy Higgins is a blur as he speeds around the dirt track.

This pack of racers in the 50 cc class competes in the finals. The trio includes, from left: Kyle Brett, No. 4, of Albion, age 8; Alexis Van Ameron, No. 16, of Holley, age 8; and Brody Hazel, No. 41, of Lyndonville, age 6.

Jackson McGrath of Medina races on the top straightaway of the track next to a cornfield. The Crusaders have been racing at the site since 1957. Next Sunday is the last race of the year with a rain date scheduled for July 31. Today was the biggest racing event of the season, drawing more than 1,000 spectators.

These racing buddies chat during intermission in the pits before the finals start this afternoon. The group includes, from left: Landen Kawczak from near Albany, Josh Shear from near Albany and Kyle Lonnen of Albion.

The Van Ameron brothers, Evan (left), 16; and Kyle, 11, pose for a quick picture before the finals started. The brothers from Albion have been racing since they were 5.

These racers are lined for the start of the finals in the 85 cc class. They include, from left: Kyle Van Ameron of Albion, age 11; Christian Silversmith of Medina, age 14; and Theo Storrs of Penfield, age 12.

Andy Morrison waves the checkered flag as a racer crosses the finish line.

Some young racers take their positions in one of the finals today.

Spencer Burley of Spencerport, age 9, takes first place in the 65 cc class.

Jeff Hartrich from Harley-Davidson in North Tonawanda addresses the crowd during intermission today. Harley-Davidson was one of Les Washbon’s sponsors when he raced.

“He got my boys involved in dirt track racing,” Hartrich said. “He was a wonderful, wonderful guy. We all miss him.”

Les Washbon’s racing bike was parked in the field by the track during today’s races. Washbon was a long-time competitor at the Crusaders.

For more on the Crusaders, click here.

Crusaders give young riders safety tips

Staff Reports Posted 6 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Provided photos

RIDGEWAY – The Crusaders Motorcycle Club held a free training session on Saturday for riders, ages 4 to 8. Brad Hazel and Austin Luczak, two local professional riders, joined volunteers from the Crusaders and riders’ family members in the training session at the Crusaders’ course on Culvert Road.

This class provided young riders with basic riding/racing skills. The 10 participants were taught what all the different colored flags represent, how to watch for the green race light and to practice their starting skills. They learned how to maneuver around the corners. By the end of the day all the riders were picking up their speed and increasing their riding skills.