Feature Stories May 2013
Hilton dash will raise funds for home building in Nicaragua
The “Dash for Nicaragua,” a 5K Run/Walk planned for Sunday, June 9 at the Parma Town Park, will raise money for supplies to help Hilton High School students build homes for families in El Sauce, Nicaragua.
Michele Ariola, a Spanish teacher and International Club advisor at Hilton High School, says a group from the high school including herself and nine students will travel to Nicaragua this summer to build two homes for families in El Sauce currently living in very poor housing conditions. Some of Ariola’s family members and Hilton High School Principal Brian Bartalo and Patti Sullivan from the district’s IT Department will also be part of the group.
“The 5K is a fundraiser with the aim of raising money for supplies needed to build two homes,” Ariola says. The homes are simple but sturdy structures consisting of four brick walls with dirt floors, she explains.
Two thousand dollars is needed for each home, Ariola says, and emphasizes that the money raised goes directly for supplies - the students are paying for their travel expenses on their own.
“One hundred percent of the donations go directly to the cause,” she says. “The funds are used to buy bricks and mortar for the homes as well as pay local masons in El Sauce to work with us.”
The house-building effort is part of Project 4 Walls - a Rochester based volunteer organization. After representatives from Project 4 Walls visited Hilton High School in October 2011, students and staff expressed an interest in getting involved and Principal Bartalo organized a drive to collect school supplies to send to El Sauce. Bartalo, himself, volunteered in Nicaragua in the early 1990s while a teacher at Merton Williams.
The growing bond between Hilton and El Sauce is further strengthened by 2006 Hilton graduate Ashley Sullivan, who has been living in Nicaragua since January 2012. She is the daughter of Patti Sullivan and has been teaching English in an elementary school. She will be back in Hilton in mid-June for a summer job and will return to Nicaragua with the Hilton High School group August 4 for the house building project.
Ariola says earlier this year, fundraisers she organized raised $4,500 to build a preschool in San Fernando, a community that neighbors El Sauce.
“There will be an ‘inauguration’ of the school while we are there, August 4 through 13,” Ariola says.
She says she expects the trip will have a tremendous impact on the students. “Although they hear about poverty in other countries around the world, it often doesn’t hit home until they experience it first-hand,” Ariola says. “I know that my first experience in Latin America had a life-changing effect on me. It changed my whole perspective on what is important in life. I’m hoping that they will see that giving to others can bring a person as much joy as receiving.”
Because families receiving the homes work alongside students, friendships will develop, Ariola explains. “Volunteers often have a strong desire to return to the country both to see friends they made as well as provide additional assistance to the community there. The people who benefit from the work are so grateful for what has been done for them. Their new home, which is simply a one room brick structure with a dirt floor, will protect them from the elements and provide security for them,” she says. “I know that personally, I developed a great admiration for the people I met while traveling in Latin America. These people, who generally have very little, are so generous and friendly. So many are content with the simple lifestyle they lead.”
The “Dash for Nicaragua” begins at 5 p.m. on June 9 on the cross country trails at the Parma Town Park on Route 259. Registration deadline is May 24. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children ten and under.
Completed registration forms can be sent to M. Ariola, Hilton High School, 400 East Avenue, Hilton, NY 14468. Checks should be made payable to Hilton HS International Club - El Sauce.
Forms are available on Ariola’s school website. The direct link is: http://schoolcenter.hilton.k12.ny.us/education/components/docmgr/default.php?section detailid=33317&. Or go to the Hilton Central School website at www.hilton.k12.ny.us/ and click on the following links: Class websites list; High School Websites; Languages Other Than English, Senora Michele Ariola-Spanish; Walk/Run for Nicaragua Info.
“Stone Soup Auction” meets goal for support of canal mural
A successful “Stone Soup Auction” was held on Friday, May 3, as part of the “Low Bridge, High Water” celebration of the canal opening. The auction, which has a history of supporting public art in Brockport, this time supported a mural to appear on the outside wall of the Village Maintenance Building on East Avenue. The mural will depict an historical scene of canal construction related to the canal’s reconfiguration as the Barge Canal, the Brockport section of which was completed in 1914-15. The grand image will honor the area residents who physically labored on the canal construction.
With about 90 people attending the auction at Brockport High School, $5,570 was collected after expenses. It more than covers the funds needed to match a grant of $2,843 from the Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester.
Sixty-seven items were auctioned off, including a North African dinner for eight. A necklace created by Alicia Fink, valued at $500, was raffled off and received $780 in ticket sales with Deanna Shifton the winner.
“We are grateful to all the donors and those who attended,” Alicia Fink said, one of the event organizers. “We are happy and we were exhausted. This is a long process, with a lot of work at the end. We think we have a good system which we will be happy to pass on to someone younger to continue the tradition of an art auction in Brockport.”
Artist gives peek on mural possibilities
by Kristina Gabalski
Those attending one of the Low Bridge, High Water Canal opening events in Brockport got a special first peek at what the historic mural planned for the Department of Public Works building might look like (see sketch).
Local artist Stacey Kirby presented her first sketch via a Power Point® presentation during a talk at the Seymour Library, Thursday, May 2.
The sketch had a “scrap book” feel with a weathered-wood style background over which was placed a number of items including an antique-looking map showing the path of the canal through the state. Post card scenes featuring the canal in Brockport and items like an apple and dry beans - both important agricultural exports from the village - are also featured.
Kirby will come up with three different final design options and it will be up to a committee to decide which one, or which combination or more than one, will be used. The mural will be painted on boards and sealed to protect it from moisture. The mural will be installed on the DPW building this fall.
The theme of the mural will be the reconfiguration of the canal which took place between 1905 and 1918. The work helped to accommodate boats that ran with mechanical power and included the installation of the two lift bridges on Main Street and Park Avenue in the village, which are still in use.
Kirby said she considers the reconfiguration project the “apex of the Industrial Revolution.”
She has painted a number of murals in local towns and villages, many along the Erie Canal. Communities that have commissioned her work include Middleport, Holley, Henpeck Park in Greece and the Orleans Community Hospital in Medina. Kirby works to keep all the paintings in perfect condition.
“I get involved in each community and learn about their history,” Kirby explained while she showed slides of her previous works. “It’s very educational to do these paintings,” she said.
by Leisa Strabel
Whenever a tree is removed, another one must be planted. That was the policy of 20-year Village of Brockport Mayor James Stull during his tenure 1973-1993. On April 26, Arbor Day 2013, the Village honored that policy and the man by planting a tree in Stull’s memory at Remembrance Park. The former mayor had passed away earlier in the year.
Remembrance Park (in the triangle on Park Avenue) is a fitting location for a tree in his memory, feels Stull’s widow, Neala. “It’s close to the family business (Stull Lumber) and close to where his father and grandfather lived on South Street.”
“He had a deep and abiding love for the village,” Neala continued. “He always wanted it to be the best it could be ... in every way.”
Stull passed that torch on to the mayor who followed him into office, Mary Ann Thorpe. “Jim appointed me to the village board when there was a vacancy. He became my mentor and my friend. I knew nothing about village government but Jim instilled in me the importance of putting the people of this community first. Quality of life was primary.”
The Stull family had been in Brockport for several generations and owned a prominent village business when Jim became mayor at the age of 27. “He was always available to the public and village staff at the lumber yard,” Thorpe said. “The store was his second office.”
Stull’s time in office was also known for fiscal prudence and a focus on the care of infrastructure and village services, Thorpe said. “He ran a really tight ship.”
When Stull was interviewed by this newspaper upon his retirement as mayor in 1993, he noted the biggest changes during his tenure as the loss of industry as a local employer and important component of the tax base; and the decrease in state and federal revenue sharing.
He was most proud of the renovation of the downtown business district and expansion and improvement of village parks during his administration. One of his pet projects was completed shortly after he left office – the South Avenue extension to Owens Road.
In 2008, Stull was honored by the Towns of Sweden and Clarkson for his commitment to recreation by the dedication of The James H. Stull Conference Room, located at the Sweden/Clarkson Community Center.
The three communities – Brockport, Sweden and Clarkson had developed one of the first intermunicipal agreements in Monroe County establishing the Joint Recreation Commission. For 40 years, the commission developed, organized and operated recreational programming for the community; Stull was mayor of the Village for half the commission’s life span.
“It’s not hard to figure out that without Jim’s support, the recreation commission could not have existed, succeeded, flourished,” said then-Sweden Supervisor Nat O. Lester, III in 2008. “There surely must have been tight budget years during his 20-year term when it was tempting to cut the recreation budget. But he didn’t. He allowed, even encouraged the recreation program to grow each year.”
Stull’s retirement as mayor in 1993 wasn’t a true retirement. He continued to operate Stull Lumber and was involved in various community activities. He was a doting grandfather to a growing family and a fixture in daily village life. The tree at Remembrance Park will serve not only as a memorial to Stull but as a reminder to future generations of Brockport residents to work together to make Brockport a quality place to live.
NOTE: The Village of Brockport’s Tree Board is accepting donations on behalf of Jim’s family and friends that wish to honor his legacy with this living memorial and the dedication plaque that will accompany the tree. Checks can be mailed to the Village of Brockport Tree Fund, 49 State Street, Brockport, NY, 14420, made payable to the “Village of Brockport Tree Fund,” note “Jim Stull” in the memo line. Cash donations can be given to Leslie Morelli at the Village Hall, 49 State Street, Brockport.
Photos by Walter Horylev
Volunteers work in village during Day of Caring
The Tenth Annual Pat Chapman Day of Caring held on Saturday, May 11 was declared a success despite the misty weather. Over 160 volunteers from Spencerport Central School District, local churches, Boy Scout troops and the Rotary Club showed up at the Spencerport Exempts Club early Saturday morning. Breakfast was provided by local businesses, Tim Horton’s, McDonalds and Tops.
The many volunteers worked hard at mulching gardens, planting flowers in various locations and cleaning up along the canal and in the plaza amongst other projects.
Their hard work can be seen when stopping at the Village Office to pay an electric bill, sitting at the Gazebo enjoying a concert, walking along the canal trail and other areas within the Village of Spencerport.
USO Volunteer of the Quarter no stranger to commuting in name of service
Suzy Hicks has been awarded USO Volunteer of the Quarter for the United States.
Hicks regularly drives from Rochester to the USO center on Fort Drum near Watertown for volunteer shifts.
“Suzy’s dedication to the military community and improving the morale of those around her is evident in every aspect of her volunteerism,” USO Fort Drum Director Karen Clark wrote in Hicks’ nomination form. “Even though Suzy resides and goes to college in Rochester ... she manages to find the time to help out in the center.”
Hicks spent eight years in the US Army as a Military Police soldier and served four tours in Iraq. She was awarded the Bronze Star and the Combat Action Badge.
She is a 1997 Spencerport graduate and currently attends the Rochester Institute of Technology.
“Perhaps the most rewarding mission that I have had the opportunity to be a part of is Here When They Land,” Hicks said. As a USO volunteer, I am able to be one of the first people to welcome our brave heroes back from deployment. After a long journey back to the states, these soldiers are always happy to see us with our fresh hot coffee and snacks. It is an honor to personally welcome home and thank our troops for a job well done. I can’t think of a better organization to be a part of.”
by Joe Reinschmidt
In 1944, as WWII raged on, young Ogden resident Leonard Windhauser was prepared to quit high school and join the U.S. Navy. The recruiter asked him if he had taken physics in school yet. Leonard said no, and was told he wouldn’t be accepted. Apparently the Navy wanted their recruits to understand why ships floated.
Leonard, also called Lenny, finished his senior year while also working 40 hour weeks on the evening shift at the Antonelli Munitions plant on Big Ridge Road, where WEMOCO is now located. Still desiring to serve, he enlisted in the U.S. Merchant Marine in July 1945. Leonard served honorably on a number of ships until his discharge in February 1947. The personnel were known as Merchant Seaman or Merchant Mariners.
Merchant Marine ships are privately owned and operated with civilian crews but work under contract with various government agencies and in wartime can virtually be conscripted to provide essential transport for military services. For the Mariners, a stint on a ship could be a single voyage or they might remain on the same ship for multiple trips. Each time they are released from duty on a ship they receive a document certifying their service. Leonard saved each of those documents that he received.
Sometime after his return home, knowing that Merchant Mariners had been granted some military veteran benefits, and discharge in hand, he inquired about them at the Ogden Town Hall. Yes, indeed there were benefits, he was told, but to file for anything you needed your DD 214 form, a document that he, like most other veterans, wasn’t given upon discharge, and had never even heard of.
Lenny’s first effort was to contact the War Department which was the agency from which he had received his certification of service on his last ship. He included a copy of their document as well as other service records. About a year later he received a response that they had searched all the way back to 1941, despite the fact he had provided his enlistment date of July 1945, but had not yet found any trace of his service.
As time passed, he was caught up in the demands of a job and obligations of a home, a wife and family. Since he had made the effort, he kept hoping that a DD 214 would eventually arrive. Every so often there were reminders that Merchant Mariners were being recognized for their wartime service, such as being allowed to join veteran’s organizations. He applied for that in 1988 only to be told six months later that the person, (an Adjutant) he had contacted was no longer with the Legion.
After seeing a magazine article in 1990 noting that a 1989 law granted veteran status to Merchant Seaman he went to the Veterans’ Administration who gave him contact information for the Coast Guard. He again submitted numerous copies of documents and received a post card acknowledging their receipt and that his request would be processed as soon as possible. Eventually they wrote, but noted that while they could verify some of his service, they had no jurisdiction over “Army Transport” ships and therefore could not verify any service he had on them.
In 1991, Leonard wrote to then-Congressman John LaFalce, who responded by letter and later a phone call giving him further contacts. Despite all, no DD 214 ever came.
Sometime later, Leonard read in Assembly Bill Reilich’s newsletter that certain military medals could now be awarded to Merchant Seaman. He went straight to the Assemblyman’s office with his portfolio of papers. He made it clear, he wasn’t looking for a medal, just a DD 214. A helpful staffer listened to his story, made copies of all his documents (“for free”) and promised action on his situation.
In July 2012, the long desired DD 214 was authorized by the Coast Guard, but a fee of $30 was required to produce it. Lenny sent the money and on September 7, 2012 received the document. On September 10, he took the DD 214 along with other documents to the Town Hall and applied for the exemption. However, that DD 214 only verified that he served during war time, but not that he was in a combat situation. Therefore he wasn’t eligible for the full 25 percent property tax reduction but was told he could get a 15 percent reduction.
By now you must realize Leonard isn’t a quitter. Further contacts were made and this year on March 25 he received the second DD 214 that verifies he indeed served in combat area. He provided that document but on April 29, 2013 he received a Notice of Denial of benefits from the Assessor’s Office. On May 2 Lenny received another letter saying he would actually receive a 10 percent exemption but not the 15 percent that was already on the tentative tax roll. (At some stores they call that a rollback). The reasoning was that they determined he had served during the “Cold War” period, not in combat.
Lenny’s research showed that in 1988 Congress granted Merchant Seaman the status of military veterans to those who sailed between December 7, 1941 and December 15, 1945. On November 11, 1998 President Clinton signed a measure extending the cutoff date to December 31, 1946, the same as the armed services veterans. Why wasn’t that effective for him? He decided to call Assemblyman Reilich’s office again. He explained the situation to the same staffer and again she promised to pursue it. Soon she called back with the answer that although there was a federal standard set, each state had to adopt it also. The New York Legislature never adopted it. Having that assurance, he accepts the status quo and is happy he lived long enough to see it resolved. At that he reminisced a bit about his older brother, a WWII soldier who died in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.
Note: Some information about the service of the Merchant Marines that Leonard had gathered. Ships sunk - 1,500. Mariners killed - 8,651. Mariners wounded - over 11,000.
The end of the WWII combat wasn’t the end of casualties. There remained the task of clearing the various waters of mines. A Retired Warrant Officer noted in an article he wrote, that from August 1945 until December 1946 there were 48 ships that were sunk or damaged by striking mines. December 31, 1946 was considered to be the end of that combat period.
On Saturday, April 27, Village of Churchville Mayor Nancy Steedman, Deputy Mayor Don Suter, and Trustee Scott Cullen, joined by Lions Club members, dedicated an oak tree to the Churchville-Chili Class of 1969 in the Community Memorial Park.
Class members; Shari (Robinson) Harrison, Margo (Boothe) Ludolph and Maha Atma Kaur Oesterly (Carolyn Fyke) unveiled the plaque that reads ‘As we go on in life, our roots remain here.” This plaque will be mounted on a rock from Churchville’s Black Creek now placed next to the oak tree. All Churchville-Chili graduating classes are encouraged to add their class to the rock with a donation to the Community Memorial Park.
Two Lakeside Beikirch Care Center residents receive honors for their art work
by Doug Hickerson
Two residents of Lakeside Beikirch Care Center have been honored for their art work by LeadingAge New York, stating to each in an award letter, “The judges recognized your creativity and talent.” Betty C. Eksten and Julia Gibbs each had a painting selected from 230 state-wide entries to be included among only 70 paintings in a traveling exhibit. The paintings will be on display at the organization’s offices in Latham, N.Y. and will appear at its conferences in May, September and November this year.
In addition to being selected for the traveling exhibit, Betty Eksten’s painting received a Merit Award.
“I was born with a paint brush and have been painting all my life,” said 94 year old Betty. She has done original paintings in all media, with horses and dogs a prominent theme. Her works have been exhibited in many major cities, including Rochester. She has taught art at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery. Several decades ago, she took photos in Sibley’s photo studio and supervised young women in hand coloring sepia photos, the only color photos at the time.
“She has been quite a well-known artist in the Rochester area for years,” said Betty’s daughter, Jeanne Maxwell, visiting during a recent interview. Betty used to teach and paint with friends at her dining room table. Now, many of them come to Beikirch each week to paint and learn from her.
Betty also has bred and trained horses for the race track and for jumping, another skill she says came to her naturally. And, she has used the same talent breeding and training German Shepherds, including many champions, contributing some for training as seeing-eye dogs. Betty also has conducted dog obedience classes in the local area.
Julia Gibbs just finished her painting “Geisha Girl” (see photo) hours before the interview. Why the oriental theme? “I try to do an around the world type thing,” she said about the variety of paintings in her room, including Egyptian and African images. The painting which won recognition by LeadingAge New York was a “double image of Cleopatra,” Julia said. About the African painting in her room, she said, “I had a vision of doing a black woman, then I got more visions and it is like a collage,” a technique she has never used before.
Julia paints whenever she gets the inspiration, using craft paint on a framed canvas. “I keep myself busy,” she said about her sewing, crocheting, singing and playing instruments. She also uses her artistic talent to help decorate the Care Center for holiday events such as 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Christmas. At Christmastime 2011, Julia handcrafted over 100 holiday cards to show appreciation to the staff and residents at Beikirch.
LeadingAge New York, founded in 1961, represents more than 600 public not-for-profit continuing care providers in the state, including nursing homes and similar institutions. They employ 150,000 professionals serving more than 500,000 New Yorkers annually. Nursing Home Week just ended, running May 12 through May 18.
(Note: The winning paintings by both artists are in the traveling exhibit and not available for this story. The photo shows each artist with another one of her favorite paintings).
Photos by Dianne Hickerson
Memorial Day events planned for Hilton community
Memorial Day events in Hilton will begin with a ceremony May 27 at the Parma Union Cemetery at 8 a.m. followed by a similar ceremony at the Parma Town Hall. The Memorial Day Parade will form at 9:30 a.m. at Hilton High School. The parade will kick off at 10 a.m. and proceed west on East Avenue finishing at the Veterans Memorial at the Community Center, where there will be a short ceremony.
This year, as in the past, there will be free hot dogs plus several musical selections from local musical talents.
Brockport Veterans Club holds Day of Remembrance
The Brockport Area Veterans Club will hold a Memorial Day of Remembrance and Celebration at 222 West Avenue, Brockport on Saturday, May 25 starting at 11 a.m.
The public is invited to honor and remember those men and women who have paid the ultimate in the nation’s military. After the ceremony, which will include local service organizations, there will be a concert, with music provided by the Brockport High School Band. The Sons of the American Legion will have their annual take-out/eat-in chicken barbecue, hots and hamburgers from noon until gone.
The public is also invited to a short military service at 9 a.m. at the High Street Cemetery and at 9:30 a.m. at the Morgan Manning Monument on Main Street.
Spencerport Firemen's Parade line-up back on Lyell
The Spencerport Volunteer Firemen’s Association annual parade will be lining up back at our traditional route along Lyell Avenue in the village. It was relocated last year due to the construction work on Lyell Avenue. This year and for years to come it will be back on Lyell Avenue. We will be starting at the corner of Coolidge Avenue and continuing down Lyell to Union Street, turning north on Union, continuing through downtown and up to the carnival grounds at 1 Firemen’s Park. This is a correction to our first ad that ran last week in the Westside News. The next ads will be corrected. Thank you and we hope to see all of you again this year. Please come and enjoy.
A primer: Paddling Adirondack waters
by Christian Woodard
When I was twelve, my dad rented two yellow kayaks from the DEC campground at Lake Eaton.
Crossing the lake, we heard jetskis, powerboats and their radios. But along the far bay’s narrow margins, where Eastern White Cedar overhung the shallow water, we were suddenly alone. We stroked through swishing water lilies and pickerelweed, chasing up schools of shiners.
In three hours, I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve been all over the lakes and rivers of the North Country -- from steep whitewater to marathon courses -- and there’s still nothing better than floating a small lake with your family. While the Adirondacks are famous for ambitious canoe loops, like those of the St. Regis Canoe Area or the Whitney Wilderness, there is accessible water everywhere in the park.
You don’t need specialized gear or a month of vacation time. Nearly every Adirondack town has a paddling outfitter that rents boats. And, if you leave Spencerport after breakfast, you can eat lunch at the Lake Eaton boat launch.
The drive north is an ascending pilgrimage from the Ontario floodplain to the piedmont of our state’s largest mountains. Of course, you’ll cross all sorts of pleasant flatwater along the way, but the streams of the Adirondacks are something else entirely.
North Country rivers smell of conifers, moss, and ferny humidity. They are stained the color of strong tea by decomposing hemlocks, and their character is as varied as the park they traverse. They rise high on granitic peaks, seeping from small tarns out through raucous cascades and into the sedate reaches of the foothills.
On a good day of paddling in the Adirondacks, you can feel the weeds and the wilderness yet. It’s a place where the musk of beaver and fox, an osprey’s shrill whistle, and the sip of feeding trout outweigh the urgent press of modernity. And it’s practically in our backyard.
Recently, I met my dad near Little Tupper Lake. We set up on an island campsite and hauled out a few smallmouth for dinner. Less than four hours from home, we’d crossed a lake, slipped up an intimate stream, and camped on a secluded pond. We weren’t paddling the yellow rental kayaks anymore, but we would have loved it even if we were in tractor tires.
At the end of the weekend, we smelled like woodsmoke and sunscreen. Back in the parking lot, I tried to fit a pile of bass into a very small cooler.
“I remember being up here every day at work,” my dad said. “I can’t wait until we’re here again.” I leaned on the lid and struggled to click it closed.
“Next time, let’s remember a bigger cooler.”
When you go:
Bring a few liters of water, some sunscreen, and at this time of year, some bug repellent. Wear a Type III or Type V PFD, and choose a route and boat appropriate to your skill level. All of the sections below are suitable for beginning paddlers, though you’ll want to assess weather conditions for yourself. If it’s a windy day, be cautious on the bigger lakes (Long, Saranac, and Little Tupper), and choose a more sheltered section if necessary.
Christian’s Top Five
in the Central Adirondacks:
Lake Eaton: I took my first paddle strokes here as a kid, and it has a special place in my heart. Good views of Owl’s Head mountain, which you can hike from the far side of the lake. Rent a boat at the campground, or bring your own.
Lower Bog River: Park at the stone arch bridge on Route 421. Put in above the cascade into Tupper Lake. A flatwater paddle 2 miles upstream brings you to the Round Lake Outlet confluence, where there’s a nice campsite. There’s good fishing through this whole stretch, and it’s short enough for an easy afternoon. Keep an eye out for the iron ring in a midstream boulder from an old logging chain-up.
Lower Saranac Lake: From Ampersand Bay, take a short trip down the lake to stop at the cliffs on Bluff Island. Beautiful views of the High Peaks, and easy paddling into Upper Saranac, Kiwassa and Oseetah Lakes. St. Regis Canoe in Saranac Lake offers a shuttle for a daylong loop trip, including passage through historic locks on the Saranac River.
Little Tupper Lake: From the DEC Headquarters, Little Tupper offers 7 miles of flat, non-motorized boat access, with a link to Round Pond and Rock Pond on either end. This is a great area to stay for a few nights and explore the many primitive campsites on the lake and its islands.
Long Lake to Tupper Lake: This is the classic Adirondack paddling trip, and before reliable roads was the fastest and straightest highway in the region. Starting in Long Lake, there are broad views of the Seward Range to the North. The lake narrows at its northern tip to become the Raquette River, swerving through a series of oxbows out to Raquette Pond and Tupper Lake. This trip is often paddled as an overnight, with good camping at the north end of Long Lake and around Raquette Falls (includes a portage of 1.25 miles around the falls).
The Upper Hudson: This reach of the Hudson is not technically open yet, but it deserves a space on the list. The state purchased the tract surrounding it last year, but the Gooley Club retains exclusive rights to the land until October 1, 2013. It’s 12 miles of class II and flatwater through isolated wilderness. Put in near Newcomb, and take out north of Indian Lake. The nearby Essex Chain of Lakes will open at the same time.
Local opportunities for paddlers include: Oatka Creek, Black Creek, Braddock Bay, Erie Canal, Genesee River.
Note: Christian Woodard, a Spencerport native, will write about hiking opportunities for the Westside News Inc. Autumn Guide to be delivered September 8.
Many more foster children join our family
by Joe Reinschmidt
Steve Z. was just the beginning of foster care children. Many more were to make their home here for at least a while over the next 20 years. By and large, they were not bad children, rather just victims of poor family circumstances fueled by the Depression. Sam S. was about 12 and the oldest child in his family which was struggling to survive because of a father who did little to provide for them. Sam felt it was his duty to help his mother and siblings so he stole groceries for them and was caught doing it. Social Services visited the home, learned of the situation and Sam along with his brother, Mauro, were placed in my parents’ care.
Although from the city they took to the farm like ducks to water, learning what it was like to care for animals, till the soil, plant and harvest food, and enjoy a stable family life. After they were here a while they dared to make a request. It went something like: “Mrs. Reinschmidt, we love your German cooking but we do miss our mother’s Italian food.”
And so it was that the Reinschmidts started eating spaghetti and meatballs, pasta wa zool (Anna’s terminology), dandelion leaf and burdock stalks.
Everyone had to pitch in and help with the farm and household chores. Discipline was administered as required but never extreme. At that time there was no indoor plumbing in the house. Heat was provided from a wood burning stove in the dining room and a cook stove in the kitchen. The rooms the children slept in upstairs had no heat or electricity. It would never be considered acceptable as a foster home today, but the social workers then literally begged Joe and Anna to take more kids. They did, and by the time the last one left in 1954 there had been 30 or more with us for varying periods of time. Sometimes there were three or four here at once.
There are other stories and events related to those children but that will have to wait for another time. The bonds that were created lingered long after they left. Joe and Anna were often asked to join some of their family events, such as the occasion of Mauro’s daughter’s wedding in 1973 where this picture was taken. Joe had died in 1970 but Anna was invited, and went. She was 71 at the time.
Low Bridge, High Water 189th opening of the Erie Canal
The official 189th opening ceremony for the Erie Canal and the NYS Canal System took place as part of the Low Bridge, High Water festival in Brockport Saturday, May 4. The festival was a five-day event from Wednesday, May 1 to Sunday, May 5.
The events on Saturday, the highlight of the festival, started in Spencerport with the Village-to-Village Spring Challenge hosted by Rochester Community Inclusive Rowing. Spencerport Mayor Joyce Lobene was there to cheer on the scullers as they launched their boats into the recently filled Erie Canal. Brian Stratton, Director for the NYS Canal Corporation, along with other canal and local dignitaries were also there in Spencerport to board the tugboat DeWitt Clinton and follow the race to its finish in Brockport.
The DeWitt Clinton was named after DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828), often referred to as the “Father of the Erie Canal.”
The Challenge is a timed boat race for Men’s and Women’s Singles along with Doubles racing for the fastest time in their event. Entries came from New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada. The oldest entrant in the race was Richard Kendall (age 83) of the College Boat Club from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He finished first in his event. The race started at 10:30 a.m. in Spencerport and finished at 11:58 a.m. in Brockport.
The DeWitt Clinton, as it arrived at the Brockport Welcome Center in Harvester Park to officially open the Erie Canal with all its dignitaries on board, was greeted by canal music played by William Hullfish and The Golden Eagle String Band, all the race spectators, and people there for the official 189th opening ceremony of the Erie Canal and the NYS Canal System.
Margay Blackman, Brockport Village Trustee and Low Bridge, High Water Committee Chair, led the opening ceremony. In his comments, Brian Stratton, Director for the NYS Canal Corporation, said, “the canals are a focus of recreation and tourism and generate nearly $380 million annually for the upstate New York economy.” Bill Andrews, Village Trustee & Village Historian Emeritus, also commented about the canal. The dignitaries then went on to cut the ribbon that officially opened the Erie Canal for the 189th time.
After the ribbon cutting, Brockport Mayor Maria Connie Castañeda presented awards to the 4th grade 2013 poster contest winners from the Fred Hill School, Brockport: 1st place, Morgan Monnier, 2nd place, Gisela Allen, and 3rd place, Mia Monnier. The opening ceremony ended with awards presented to Village-to-Village Regatta winners by John Bernfield from the rowing group.
Saturday’s events ended with The Barge Charge 5K Fun Run that started at Corbett Park and ran along the canal. All proceeds from the race benefit The Wounded Warrior Project and Brockport Food Shelf. And finally, “A Taste of Brockport” was held to highlight local food and music. The festival wrapped up on Sunday, May 5.
Photos by David Knox
Bergen Idol competition to offer larger prizes
Triple-O Mechanical will sponsor this year’s Bergen Idol competition. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Town of Bergen as well as the fourth year for the annual Bergen Idol event.
Triple-O Mechanical president and owner Luke Giannone was happy to take on the sponsorship of the competition offering a larger cash prize incentive for hopeful Idol contestants. Giannone is a resident and local business owner in the Town of Bergen eager to support and give back to his community. This year’s cash prize award has increased to $300 for first place, $150 for second place, and $50 for third place in both the adult and junior divisions.
The Bergen Idol competition welcomes back to the judges panel Mayor of the Village of Bergen Ralph Marsocci, as well as music therapist and local community music instructor Sonya Catalino. Byron-Bergen Central School District Superintendent Casey Kosiorek will also join the panel as this year’s featured guest judge.
Auditions for the Bergen Idol competition will be held on Thursday, May 30 at 6 p.m. at the Bergen Public Library, located at 13 South Lake Avenue in the Village of Bergen. The Bergen Idol competition will be held on Saturday, June 8 at 3 p.m. at the Bergen Park Festival. The festival offers vendors, food, music and events for the entire family.
For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 585-414-8031.
Provided information and photo
by Kristina Gabalski
A very special guest was able to visit the former CCC/WWII POW Camp at Hamlin Beach State Park Thursday, May 2.
Thirty-two year old Andreas Anschutz of Pforzheim, Germany - the grandson of Gottfried Schulze, a former German prisoner of war who lived at the Hamlin camp from August of 1944 until January of 1946 - took a detour from a bus tour of the East coast and Canada to visit the camp as well as see Hamlin Beach State Park and the warehouse at the Duffy Mott canning factory where his grandfather worked for 80 cents a day.
“This is amazing,” Andreas said when he arrived at the site. He was given the grand tour by CCC/POW camp volunteer Ed Evans, who has spear-headed the effort to clear the site and make it accessible to the public.
Evans has made contact with two former German “guests of the U.S. Government,” who stayed at the Hamlin camp, one of them being Gottfried and the other Heinrich Willert. Both men are in their late eighties and met each other for the first time recently thanks to the help of Evans. Both were at Hamlin at the same time during WWII and even lived near each other in Germany for years, but had never formally met. Gottfried has sent several artifacts (as well as memoirs) to Hamlin that will displayed in a future museum planned for the site.
Andreas was able to see the site of the barracks where his grandfather slept, the mess hall where he ate and even the remains of the camp’s latrine.
“The only thing that would be more exciting,” Evans said of Andreas’ visit, “would be to have Andreas’ grandfather here.”
Evans showed Andreas various artifacts gleaned from the top of the soil at the site, including small milk bottles, government issue forks, beer bottles (prisoners were allowed to buy two bottles per day), and a white porcelain cereal bowl in perfect condition.
“It’s a phenomenal find,” Evans told Andreas, and explained that since the POWs were the last people on the site, it’s very likely his grandfather at some time might have used that very same bowl for his breakfast.
Evans also shared historical photos of the camp which are part of a presentation he gives to local grade school students.
“I talk about Gottfried all the time,” Evans told Andreas. He had been to talk with Hilton Central students the day before Andreas’ visit and Evans said the students all wished they could come and meet Andreas.
Evans explained to Andreas how his grandfather helped solve a mystery regarding gunfire heard one night in the camp from one of the watchtowers.
Local residents remember hearing the shots, but there was no account as to what exactly happened.
“It was not a POW who managed to get into the tower,” Evans said. “It was an American G.I. who went berzerk.”
No one was injured in the event, Evans explained, and the prisoners were never in danger, but thanks to Gottfried, “It’s no longer a guess,” Evans said, as to what happened.
Before touring the camp, Andreas was given lunch in the shelter in Area #1 of the state park provided by the Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park. He was presented with a Resolution of Appreciation from the Hamlin Town Board by Supervisor Thomas Breslawski to hand deliver to his grandfather upon his return to Germany. The resolution expresses gratitude to Gottfried for all he has done to provide information about the camp, especially regarding its many mysteries.
Mary Smith, the author of Remembering Hamlin: 1802-2002, presented an autographed copy of her book, donated by Supervisor Breslawski, to Andreas.
After his tour of the CCC/POW camp, Andreas said it was very moving to be able to stand on the very same spot where his grandfather spent one-and-a-half years of his life so long ago and so far from home.
“It’s a great pleasure for me,” he said, and thanked Evans for his efforts in organizing and facilitating the visit.
The tour was a combined effort of the CCC/POW camp volunteers, the State Park staff, the Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park and Supervisor Breslawski.
Andreas also brought Evans a very special relic of the camp from his grandfather - a fancy calf-skin wallet he had purchased at the Hamlin POW camp store and treasured for decades. Inside Gottfried included some “camp money” which looks like raffle tickets and a generous donation.
Evans was very moved by the gift - which is in pristine condition.
“He doesn’t owe me anything,” Evans said, “I owe him so much ... I appreciate him so much.”
“After 70 years it is in such good shape,” Andreas noted. “My grandfather sent it back to Ed so it would be back in its (original) place.”
Evans told Andreas that the prisoners were well cared for and that the U.S. military “worked to make their stay comfortable.” Many prisoners went out to work on local farms and, like Gottfried, in local canning factories. During the especially harsh winter of 1945, they dug out parts of the City of Rochester and bagged coal to distribute to people in their homes.
Gottfried enjoyed his work at Duffy Mott, Evans said, and local residents also enjoyed the company of the POWs, often coming to the camp to watch the prisoners play “real soccer games.”
Evans was able to take Andreas to the Duffy Mott warehouse where his grandfather worked and Andreas enjoyed dinner at the Hamlin Station Restaurant with Evans and his wife, Sue, before being taken back to Niagara Falls to meet up with his tour group.
Evans noted the visit is likely the closest they will ever come to having a former resident of the POW camp at the site.
Photo by Kristina Gabalski
Riding the cool conference bike
by Ray Duncan
What, you may ask, is a “Conference Bike?”
Take a look at the photo. This is a “Conference Bike.” Imported from Germany, it has seven seats and seven sets of pedals. A total of only 350 such bikes are found in the world. One person steers and pedals; the other six riders hold on to the metal ring in the middle and pedal. Everyone chats and enjoys each other’s company - in other words they hold a conference while biking.
The people in the picture, left, are (l to r): Ray Duncan (Chairperson, Walk! Bike! Brockport! Action Group), Dr. Lauren Lieberman (founder and director of Brockport’s Camp Abilities), Ute Duncan and Rosie Rich. They are preparing to bike from Brockport to Spencerport and back on Saturday, May 4 as part of Brockport’s First Annual “Low Bridge, High Water” celebration of the annual opening of the Erie Canal. The purpose of the ride was to accompany the Regatta racing from Spencerport to Brockport. Village Trustee Margay Blackman organized the festival.
Three other participants on the ride to Spencerport joined the quartet of riders: John Maier, Emory Morris and Tiffany Mitrakos (one of Dr. Lieberman’s graduate students). Octabio Furtado (a grad student, funded by the government of Brazil to study with Dr. Lieberman) came along on his own bicycle.
The Dorthea Haus Foundation awarded a $14,500 grant to make it possible for Dr. Lieberman to acquire the bike. She will use it in her Brockport Camp Abilities program. Camp Abilities is a one-week developmental sports camp for children and teens who are blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind. This year’s dates for Camp Abilities in Brockport are June 23 through 29. (See Camp Abilities website: http://www.campabilitiesbrockport.org/
Dr. Lieberman is a professor at The College at Brockport in the area of Adapted Physical Education where she serves as Undergraduate Coordinator of the Adapted Physical Education Concentration. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate classes, she supervises practicum experiences at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She is fluent in sign language and is a national leader of physical education and sport programs for youth who are deaf and frequently lectures and instructs worldwide.
So here is what happened on the 7-person Conference Bike Ride to Spencerport and back on the Canal towpath. Other riders and hikers dropped their jaws and shouted, “Wow!” “Oh my God!” or “What the heck is that?” Fire engine trucks and police cars stopped on the road beside the towpath, stuck smart phones out their windows and snapped off photos.
In Adams Basin a group of riders helped maneuver the heavy bike around posts blocking the canal path from large vehicle entry. The photo of the helping hands is included here.
The best part of the ride happened when we returned to Brockport. Dr. Lieberman took us to a SUNY-College at Brockport’s athletic field. There, some of her graduate students had joined staff members of the Rochester Rookies Wheelchair Team to work with children with Spina Bifida. It came as a surprise when the Rochester Rookies Wheelchair Team presented Dr. Lieberman with an award for outstanding work with wheelchair-bound children. The photo below shows Gregg Chalmers, Coach of Rochester Rookies, and JoAnn Armstrong, Founder of the Program and Co-Coach, presenting the award to Dr. Lieberman. Gregg Chalmers’ son, Ryan, is currently pushing his wheelchair across America. Check out his website: http://pushacrossamerica.org/
The youngest of the children, Shay, got to ride around the track, seated on the lap of Maebh Barry, a Dr. Lieberman graduate student from Ireland.
What a wonderful day on the Conference Bike - experiencing the historic Village of Brockport, the Canal and our university.
An altogether uplifting day riding the “way cool" Conference Bike!
Volunteers undertake many Hamlin Beach projects on I Love My Park Day
The second annual I Love My Park Day at Hamlin Beach State Park was held Saturday, May 4 at Area 3 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Linda Rabjohn, chairperson of this event, reported that over one hundred volunteers turned out to participate in the numerous projects throughout the park.
The volunteers coming from Monroe, Orleans, and other neighboring counties, were assigned to projects led by members of the Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park. Volunteers from Lakeshore Luxuries worked on the horse shoe pit renovation project; those from Target prepared and planted one of the four butterfly gardens in Area 3; Tops Friendly Market volunteers planted over 300 trees in Area 1. Volunteers from Home Depot constructed a stage canopy support bench. In addition, local Scouts from Hamlin and Holley along with their parents planted trees in the park nursery. Monroe County Young Democrats helped clean up the CCC/POW site. Two members of the Friends group built two planter boxes placed next to the information kiosk.
Members of the Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park provided leadership for each project as well as worked alongside of the volunteers. All materials, plants, food, and water were donated by several generous and civic businesses in the area.
Provided information and photo
Lilac dedicated to Len Hawley
Grande’Ville Senior Living Community in Rochester has dedicated a lilac bush to Len Hawley, a long time musician in the Rochester area who recently passed away.
Len, a dedicated musician, has been entertaining the residents at Grande’Ville since its opening in 1974, bringing all who listen great joy. The dedication ceremony took place on April 22 in the Grande’Ville Courtyard with his daughter, Felice DiLullo and son, Joe J. DiPassio, Jr. in attendance. Family and friends took turns adding dirt as the lilac bush was planted.
The Town of Ogden appointed a Wellness Team about three years ago to help employees become healthier. The Team has generated a multitude of creative ideas for contests, as well as monthly educational Lunch ‘n Learns.
This last project involved losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight over eight weeks, encouraging all who participated to donate as many pounds of food to the local Ecumenical sponsored Food Shelf as was lost or two pounds each week for those who maintained their weight. On Friday, May 3, well over 200 pounds of food was contributed to the local food shelf.
Some of the participants include: (standing from l to r): Bill Baker, Sherri Foley, Cathy Wilson, Lee Lauer, Kathy Alvito, Gay Lenhard, Valerie Thomas; bottom row: Marcia Davis, Malene Case, Jan Dennis, Lynn Bianchi.
On Saturday, April 13, Cub Scouts from Pack 92 of Spencerport and their families participated in the annual Boy Scout Association ‘Park Cleanup Day’.
These Scouts braved the cold spring air to collect garbage and debris in and around Pineway Ponds Park in the Town of Ogden.
Visits Brockport Rotary
Cindy Gibbons accepts a club banner from President Doug Clare after her stint as the evening’s speaker. Cindy was the Club’s first woman member, first female president and Ziti Dinner originator.
An active Rotarian, she and her husband have lived near Chicago for the past 10 years. She was in town on business for her company, Spectrum Sportswear, and ended up becoming impromptu speaker. All enjoyed her stories from the past as well as her current work for Rotary with exchange students.
Organizers report that thanks to the efforts of the many who participated in the Hilton CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, May 5, more than $4,000 was contributed to support the hunger-fighting efforts of Church World Service, both here at home and around the world.
The local Hilton Food Shelf will receive approximately $1,000 to aid the fellow residents of Hilton in need. The funds raised here in Hilton and in CROP Hunger Walks across the U.S. make a difference in the lives of people around the world. Tina and Mike Zebulske coordinated the walk.
Only three days into the 2013 Canal season, this paddle boat traveled west on the Erie Canal. Spencerport Mayor Joyce Lobene provided this photo taken as the vessel passed through the village on May 3. She said the boat had traveled from the Alexanadria Bay area.
Get Growing #3
Red Lily Leaf Beetles voracious munchers
by Kristina Gabalski
Last year proved to be a devastating one for my hardy lilies - particularly the Asiatic varieties upon which I rely heavily for color both in the perennial beds and in the vase during that late spring/early summer gap when the peonies and roses are finishing up and cone flowers and daisies are just beginning.
2012 provided a double whammy - first the roller-coster warmth and then hard- freeze/wet snow combination which really seemed to stunt them and kept them from blooming; second, there was the unwelcome arrival in my garden of the Lily Leaf Beetle.
As it is with so many pests, the Lily Leaf Beetle was accidentally introduced into this continent through Montreal, Quebec in 1943. It was discovered in Massachusetts in 1992 and last year had spread throughout New England and New York State.
This small, bright red beetle has an incredible appetite for lily foliage. I should have responded immediately last year when I first saw the beetles, but I didn’t and they devoured leaves and laid eggs which then hatched. That’s when things got really disgusting.
During the adult and juvenile phases, the beetles can quickly do extensive damage to hardy lilies, with Asiatic varieties being the most vulnerable.
I spotted them again this year at the same time the lilies began to emerge from the ground and was determined to take quick and decisive action.
The beetle itself is red on top and black underneath, about one-half inch long with long antennae. They lay their egg masses - which are red-orange to brown in color on the underside of the lily leaves.
The greatest and grossest part of the damage is done by the larvae which hatch from eggs in just one-two weeks.
Hundreds can hatch at one time and they quickly begin eating lily leaves, buds, flowers and stems.
Here’s the disgusting part - the larvae disguise themselves by piling their excrement on top of their little bodies. They look like soft, brownish/black masses on the plant and not surprisingly, are yucky to touch.
The larvae will gorge for two to three weeks and then pupate in the soil, emerging as adult beetles 16-22 days later and continue to feed until fall. They overwinter in the soil or in plant debris.
The bright red color makes them easy to spot and holes in lily leaves are also tell-tale signs of infestation. The yucky poop-covered larvae are easy to see on the leaves. When I saw that last year, I knew I had made a big mistake in not going after the adult beetles.
Don’t wait around when you realize the beetles have invaded your garden.
The bugs, themselves, are very quick-moving and as soon as they sense danger, drop to the ground and lie on their backs, making them hard to see.
I have been successful in handpicking some of the beetles this spring - making sure to stab them with a fingernail. Their outsides are very hard and it is difficult to crush them or squish them.
You can also hold a jar of soapy water beneath them and nudge them off the plant and into the water.
If you find egg masses on the undersides of leaves, remove the entire leaf and drop it in soapy water. The eggs are also hard and can be difficult to crush.
The disgusting larvae can be hand-picked - if you can stomach that - wearing latex or nitrile gloves. The leaf can also be picked off and placed in soapy water just as with the eggs.
According to www.gardeners.com, there are a couple of pesticides which can be helpful. Neem oil - a botanical insecticide - will kill the larvae and repel adults. Spinosad, which is derived from soil-dwelling bacterium, has been shown to control the beetles if used regularly and as soon as you see them.
In addition to hand-picking, I have used the Spinosad to great effect. I have gone for days without seeing any beetles after spraying the plants and my lilies are growing well, suffering only some minor initial damage.
I inspect the plants everyday at different times and have only come across one or two beetles since treating with Spinosad, and have removed those by hand.
Do look carefully - sometimes the beetles hide down deep in the crevice between the young leaf and the stem. I think it’s also important not to let your guard down, even if it appears the beetles are gone. Stay vigilant throughout the season.
The Lily Leaf Beetles prefer lilies (daylilies are not affected), but will also chow down on lily-of-the-valley, Solomon’s seal, potato, flowering tobacco, hollyhock and hosta. I have not seen them on anything other than my hardy lilies, but did note some hollyhock damage in plants situated near the lilies.
I’m looking forward to enjoying my lilies again this year. They have always been one of the easiest, most dependable and most impressive perennials to grow. I guess I’ll just have to work a little harder now to keep it that way. It’s certainly worth the effort.
International recording artist coming to Kendall
Holly Kay, Classical Pop and Christian vocalist, is scheduled to perform at the Kendall Memorial Day Celebration through the courtesy of Rising Starz Music UK and Wonderdog Productions.
Her first CD, “My Moment,” is due to be released in early June. Her second CD, “Call to Worship,” is currently in production.
She will be singing “To Believe” by Matthew Evancho in honor of our United States Military Veterans.
Originally from upstate New York, Holly Kay has performed on stages all over the United States.
Civil War Encampment includes parade, historic reenactment
When reenactor Simon Taylor saw how many people had gathered to watch elements of Civil War history parade through downtown Medina Saturday morning, April 27, he was “shocked.” Taylor, playing Captain Erwin Bowen from New York’s 28th Infantry Unit, accepted a sword during the parade from Bowen’s great-great granddaughter. The moment commemorated the actual send-off local soldiers received back in 1861. “It’s very obvious this community cares about its history,” Taylor said.
GCC History Professor Derek Maxfield, one of the lead organizers of the Civil War Encampment at GCC’s Medina Campus Center, agrees. “I’ve never seen a community rally around something quite the way the folks in Medina have,” he said. He estimates at least 2,500 people attended the weekend’s events, from the parade, to the battles, to the Cotillion Ball Saturday night. “How could I not be pleased with how everything went?” Maxfield said. “The parade went off without a hitch. The weather cooperated very well. We had a wonderful Cotillion Ball. Praise is rolling in from all quarters. I feel like it was fantastic.”
Visitors had a chance to experience a variety of historic elements throughout the weekend, but there’s no doubt the parade was a distinct highlight. Many were moved by the moment when Mary Zimmerman Robinson handed Capt. Taylor her great-great grandfather’s sword. “It was beautiful,” said Maxfield. “Many people came up to me later and said how touched they were by the parade and the sword ceremony.” The ceremony took place in front of Bents Opera Hall at the four corners of downtown Medina. Bents Hall was completed the year the Civil War ended.
This is the second year GCC has put on a Civil War Encampment and it continues to grow. “By Saturday, we had already exceeded our numbers from last year,” said Maxfield. “We’ve already begun planning for next year.” The event will be held in April again next year at the Medina Campus Center.
Photographs by Walter Horylev
Pick the right plant for the right spot
by Kristina Gabalski
Frustrated by purchasing beautiful plants at the garden center only to find that after you’ve got them home and planted, they fail to thrive or are hit by disease?
It can be easy to fall in love with plants that just aren’t happy where you plant them, so it’s worth it to take some time in advance to learn what plants will be happy in your yard before you go ahead and make a purchase.
On Saturday, May 11 from 9:30 a.m. until noon, the Rochester Civic Garden Center is presenting, “Planting the Fittest: Survival in the Darwinian Garden,” a master-class lecture by Karen Bussolini - a photographer/author of gardening books and articles.
The lecture will be held at Warner Castle, 5 Castle Park in Rochester, at the corner of Mt. Hope Avenue.
Bussolini has a long-time interest in eco-friendly gardening and her lecture will focus on exploring adaptations plants have developed that help them survive many different challenges. She will then discuss how to use these principals when gardening at home.
The lecture “is really timely,” RCGC Executive Director Christine Froehlich says. “After a long winter, all of us are raring to go buy plants. The question is which ones are we going to buy? Karen’s lecture will cover the many facets of plant survival and how to choose varieties that will flourish.”
Froehlich notes the lecture is great for anyone, whether they are new to gardening, a new homeowner or an experienced gardener.
“Everyone has had the experience of trying to make something grow where it doesn’t want to grow,” she says.
Bussolini’s lecture is based on her latest book, The Naturescaping Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Bringing Nature to Your Backyard, which explores how plants arrange themselves in nature and how to use those observations to develop strategies for encouraging plants to survive beautifully in your garden.
Bussolini will bring her books to the lecture. “They are excellent, hands-on, how-to books,” Froehlich says, “with everything you could want to know about what to buy and which to plant. It’s about looking at nature and how plants naturally want to arrange themselves. It’s about using your eyes and paying attention.”
The class will include inspiring slides and the opportunity for questions and discussion. There will also be plants (provided by a Rochester-area garden and design center) allowing participants to see first-hand examples of what Bussolini discusses.
There is a $25 registration fee for the lecture. Register by going on-line at www.rcgc.org or call RCGC at 473-5130.
Family Fun Day at Higbie’s
Higbie Farm Supplies Inc., on Union Street in North Chili and owned by Rob and Terry Harris, celebrated their annual Family Fun Day on Saturday, April 27.
Hundreds of people from the community, adults and children, attended Family Fun Day and came to see all the farm animals that customers of Higbie’s brought to share. There were three customer families that raise and brought Alpacas (a long-haired domesticated South American mammal related to the llama) for all to see. Other customers brought baby lambs, goats, pigs, chicks and ducks to put on display. The Monroe County Dairy Princess and her Court were also there to talk about the benefits of dairy products.
The Black Creek Wildlife Station, Inc. from Churchville and the Ladue Wildlife Center from Brockport displayed owls that had been rehabilitated. These groups are committed to the care and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. The intent of these rescue groups is to release rehabilitated wildlife back into their natural habitat.
Horse rides were provided for children by the City View Equestrian Show who in addition sold carrot treats for the horses with the proceeds to benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
One of the main attractions of the morning was Mickey the Belgian, a large draft horse weighing over 2,000 lbs. His owner, Jennifer Rogers, had Mickey perform tricks, kiss people in the crowd, and ate treats from people walking past.
Rob Harris said that Family Fun Day (also known as Chick Days) has been going on for more than ten years and was started when some of the customers thought it would be a good idea to get together with their animals and pets for all in the community to enjoy. Each year the event has gotten larger and larger and all that come enjoy the fun and have a great time.
Photos by David Knox
Puppy Love: the 2013 Hilton Apple Fest Photo Contest
The Hilton Apple Fest invites entries of photo(s) for this year’s photo contest, Puppy Love. They are seeking photos that show the cuteness of dogs and puppies in whatever moments a proud pet owner can appreciate - fun and cuddly photos that highlight the diversity of dogs and pups at their finest, their lowest, their wettest, their shamefulness, and furriest moments all apply, according to contest organizers.
Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places based on Kid’s, Teen and Adult divisions. The winning entries will each receive an award ribbon, a cash prize, and also be featured online. All entries will be on display at the Hilton Apple Fest on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6 and then at the Parma Public Library throughout the month of October.
Submit entries at the Parma Public Library, the Hilton Family Pharmacy, or mail to: Hilton Apple Fest Photo Contest; PO Box 1; Hilton, NY 14468. All submissions must be received no later than Monday, September 30.
All entries become the property of Hilton Apple Fest and must be 8 x 10 inches with a backer board for protection and display purposes. Photos must be original work. Entry fees may apply and proceeds help support donations in the Hilton community throughout the year.
Details about this year’s festival and the complete photo contest rules are available online at www.hiltonapplefest.org and the Hilton Apple Fest Facebook page. Questions may be directed to 392-7773 or email@example.com.
by Kristina Gabalski
Seeds - one of the most basic components of gardening - are remarkable and amazing. I’ve heard seeds referred to as symbolic of progress one makes in the spiritual life. Just as the seed has to die to itself in order to start new life, one must die to self to progress toward the new life of eternity.
My Webster’s dictionary defines seeds as the grains of ripened ovules of plants used for sowing. That definition certainly doesn’t do much to create any interest or excitement about seeds.
What does generate excitement are the packages that have been arriving steadily over the past couple of weeks - packages stuffed with seeds I ordered for this year’s vegetable garden. Some are the regulars that I plant every year - corn, bush beans, lettuce, winter and summer squash, pumpkins and gourds. Others I’m experimenting with for the first time - a cut flower kale, Swiss chard, melons, an ornamental corn called “Strubbes Orange” and a pumpkin called “Mr. Fugly.”
When we think of seeds, we mostly think of planting them, but we also eat a lot of seeds - some of the most nutritious food you can find. Some seeds like peas and corn, we eat in an immature state, others like nuts and whole grains, we eat when they are mature and dried. Popcorn is a yummy whole-grain snack.
Seeds, especially from flowers, are an important food source for the birds, as well.
I typically don’t cut back perennials like coneflowers and rudbeckia in the fall because the birds love to snack on the seeds. Now, as I have been removing old coneflower stems as part of my spring clean-up, I see that the seed heads have been picked clean of most of the seed. We have plenty of bird feeders, but the Goldfinches, in particular, love perching on the coneflower seed heads all winter and eating the seed.
I also like the fact that the rudbeckia and coneflowers self-sow freely. I know this can be a nuisance for some gardeners, but I like the little “volunteers” or, “points of light” that help to fill in the blank spots and create the natural, cottage garden feel that I love.
The pumpkins and gourds I grow for autumn decorating can result in some unusual and interesting fruits when they re-seed themselves the following year. Each spring, seed that remains from rotten, unharvested gourds sprouts in the vegetable beds and I have a horrible time forcing myself to pull these “weeds.” I’ve often made the mistake of letting these volunteers take over an area. I always like to leave a few of these little plants because they often bear fruit quite heavily.
Last year, for example, a self-sowed gourd vine did quite well growing among my sunflowers. The fruits were the size of a small pumpkin, dark green and covered with fabulous warts. The first time I spotted one I thought it was some kind of toad or other creature and jumped with fright. I was delighted to find it was a gourd unlike any I had ever seen. These gourds had personality to spare and after harvest turned to a soft orange color.
My sunflowers also self-sow. I harvest many for bouquets, but there are always plenty left for the birds who distribute the seed around the garden. I have to be disciplined about weeding out most of these as they, too, will quickly take over large portions of the garden.
One of my favorite plants to grow from seed is amaranth. It VERY aggressively self-sows. It’s fluffy burgundy and golden seed heads which I covet for late season flower arrangements, produce huge amounts of seed. I used to plant amaranth in my large vegetable beds with other plants, but found they started to take over from self-sowing. These miniscule seeds can produce very large plants and I now isolate the amaranth in its own raised bed. Harvesting most of the seed heads also helps to keep the amaranth in check.
I do save a few of my seeds - broom corn, calendula, rudbeckia. I’m noticing more and more gardening catalogs offering attractive seed saving envelopes for saving your own seed.
If you would like to share some of your seed bounty, the Monroe Branch of the Rochester Public Library located at 809 Monroe Ave., between the YMCA and RT. 490, this spring is starting its own seed borrowing bank.
You can donate seed (either from your garden, or extra packages you purchase) by dropping them off at the children’s room at the library.
Children’s Librarian Mary Clare Scheg says the library will then “lend” packets out to patrons who can plant the seeds and, if possible, harvest some of the seed to return to the seed borrowing bank for people to use next year.
“We’re starting out small,” she notes, “testing the waters to gauge community interest.” Scheg adds that the library is now setting up an area for the seed bank which will include drawers in which to store packets.
“We will keep a log to see who takes seed and who is interested,” she says.
Joe’s stories - old, new, mostly true
Joe and Anna decide to become foster parents
by Joe Reinschmidt
Although I was an only child, I definitely didn’t grow up lonely. Around 1934-35 Joe and Anna decided to try having foster children of whom there were many available due to the effect the Depression had on many families. Also, perhaps, they thought they would never have children of their own since none had arrived after seven years of marriage.
The first foster child was a 14 or 15 year old boy named Steve Z. who for unknown reasons was always known as Mike. Steve was here when I was born, and all the rest of his life insisted that we were brothers. Sadly, I didn’t feel as strongly about that as he did and only realized the significance of it later in my life. I believe Mike left school to join the Civilian Conservation Corps but always stayed in touch with us. As the US entered WWII he joined the Army and opted for the 82 Airborne. My Dad often joked that Mike only did that because the training was longer and he hoped the war would be over by then. It wasn’t and he made a number of jumps into enemy territory. Joe and Anna had very mixed emotions since they each had three brothers who were in the German military. How tragic it might be if Mike was to confront one of them.
After landing in southern Italy, Mike’s unit spent quite a bit of time working their way up to Germany and when he arrived there the war was winding down. He wrote regularly so they knew he had survived, but it would take many months before they would learn anything about the fate of their families. The talk now turned to when Mike would come home. In my child’s mind I was sure his unit would come marching down our road and when they came to our place Mike would peel off the column and say, “I’m home,” never mind that he had a wife in Rochester who he married while on leave a few years earlier. When he did return he went to her home, of course, but the very next day he came here to see his other family. They visited often until both Joe and Anna had passed away.
This is part six of a series. Previously printed articles are available in Archives February 24, 2013
Summer program teaches children story of the nation’s founding
by Terra Osterling
The last week of June includes both the first days of summer vacation and the prelude to the nation’s birthday – Independence Day. This year, children ages five through 12 can participate in Churchville’s first Patriot Days at the Riga Town Park. The weeklong program begins June 24 and introduces children to the founding of the United States of America.
Teresa Wood, also known as the “History Houses” Doll House Lady, is the local Patriot Days organizer. Last Independence Day, Wood and her family decided to read the Declaration of Independence as part of their celebration. “We thought about what it really meant, and what it felt like at the time of our country’s founding,” says Wood about their first time reading the historic document beginning to end. She pondered how to teach to children the story of the nation’s founding in a way that is both fun and educational, as she does with History Houses.
“America was, and is, the greatest idea of all time: Can mankind rule ourselves? Yes, we can,” Wood says about the country’s founding era and what is commonly called the American Experiment.
Wood met Yvonne Donnelly, Executive Director of the Constitutional Champions Foundation – the Pittsford-based not-for-profit that developed the program – and purchased the Patriot Days curriculum. The Foundation’s mission is to promote patriotism through American history education.
Patriot Days focuses on key scenes from the Revolutionary era: Boston, Valley Forge, Lexington, Yorktown and Philadelphia. Participants, grouped by age, visit six 20 minute stations, learning, making crafts, enjoying snacks, and playing games such as the Minute Man Relay.
Participants will also re-enact the Boston Tea Party, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River (a kiddie pool filled with ice and water).
While making root beer, wearing white powdered wigs, and eating popcorn with milk and sugar (colonial breakfast cereal), Patriot Days participants will also learn basic concepts such as separation of powers and taxation without representation. Crafts include a three corner hat, a Poor Richard’s Almanac, and a feather pen.
Each day begins with a supervised sign-in. Activities will be held both indoors and outdoors, rain or shine. Opening ceremonies each day involve flag etiquette, the singing of the National Anthem, and a prayer led by local pastors.
“I want them to know what our founders sacrificed,” says Wood of one program goal, “ – their lives, their liberty, and their fortunes.”
A family picnic is scheduled for the final day, featuring a visit from the country’s Founders, both men and women.
To keep registration costs low, Patriot Days will be volunteer-run by more than 30 adults and teens from all over the area. Many of Wood’s dedicated volunteer organizers are retired teachers.
The community has been very supportive, says Wood. The American Legion Harvey C. Noone Post 954 in Churchville, and Chili Post 1830 are sponsors. Roberts Wesleyan College Community Theatre is loaning prop muskets, two prop cannons, and “King George’s” throne. One hundred pocket Constitutions have been donated, and ANG Market, Pontillo’s and Slice Pizza Co. are supporting the family picnic. Donation and sponsorship opportunities are still available.
Patriot Days will be held 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. June 24 through 28, at the Riga Town Park, 6475 Buffalo Road. Registration forms are available at the Churchville and Bergen Public Libraries, and through the Town of Riga Recreation Department. For fees and other information, contact Teresa Wood at 585-293-3124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It all started when I was seven years old. We were at a well-known local garden store so my mother could purchase annual flowers when I spotted them: Red and white candy-striped petunias. I was delighted with their bold appeal and fell in love. I wanted to take them home, plant them, and care for them in a garden spot that was all my own.
I don’t remember how successful that first attempt at gardening was, but the process of taking a patch of earth, planting something and watching it grow has not yet grown old. My early efforts at my childhood home in the Village of Bergen focused on charming annual flowers and then expanded to vegetable gardening. When I was eight, we grew our first crop of pumpkins and had a big enough harvest to sell some at a little street-side stand (consisting of a child-sized picnic table) on our front lawn.
Gardening is compulsive for me. Perhaps it is genetics. Like many folks in Western New York, I come from a long line of farmers/growers/gardeners. My maternal great-grandfather, Halsey Wilcox, owned “Rose Lawn” farm in Bergen which was listed in the Genesee County Atlas as one of the county’s finest farms. Halsey was known as a horticulturalist and in addition to those namesake roses, he grew and developed many varieties of fruit. My maternal grandfather, Ransom I. Page, Sr., farmed in Bethany, Genesee County, growing apples which were exported to England and Europe. One hundred years ago now, my paternal grandfather, Gilbert Greene, ran a farm for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chicago which was similar to the famous Boys Town in Nebraska - a place where troubled young men were taught farming skills.
Some people wonder why anyone would bother to grow their own vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. It can be a lot of work and it carries it’s share of challenges and disappointments - but my backyard garden is so much more than a garden. It’s a sanctuary filled with natural beauty, bird song and butterflies. It’s a destination for quiet walks and simple, everyday picnics and celebrations. It’s a larder bursting with nutritious, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables that can go from the warm sunshine and good earth to the table in moments. It’s a science lab for hands-on observation and experimentation. It’s a classroom where one can learn about everything from design, problem-solving and pollination to composting and the life-cycle of the Monarch butterfly. It’s a gymnasium/fitness center where one can get a total body workout without the trainer or club fees. It’s a flower shop in spring and summer and a wonderful place to find delightful, natural decorations for the autumn and Christmas holidays. For Al Gore types, it’s a carbon-offsets paradise.
Everyday is different. The sun angle subtly changes as the year passes, sometimes casting sunshine, other times casting shadow. There are always surprises (some good, some not-so-good), and new things to learn.
With our five senses now constantly bombarded by noise and virtual reality via the ever-expanding universe of electronics and technology, combined with an incessant appetite for frivolous entertainment, the backyard garden offers something many have forgotten they truly need and even desire: Wholesome, productive recreation, the peaceful and comforting sounds of nature, and real-time, hands-on actual reality.
I look forward to heading-out into the backyard garden with readers via this column.
Spring is here and despite its typical long-awaited and mercilessly drawn-out arrival here in Western New York, there’s already much happening in my own backyard.
Early flowering bulbs like bright blue Glory-of-the-Snow (see photo) with their cheery star-like blossoms and petite, happy Tete-A-Tete daffodils are blooming. They bring the colors of the intense blue sky and warm yellow sun down to earth and into our garden beds. It can be difficult later in the season to find that true-blue color in flower blossoms and it is so pretty to see it with the intense yellows and pure whites of early spring blooms. Both Glory-of-the-Snow and Tete-A-Tete make darling mini bouquets for the dinner table and what a thrill to bring flowers inside so early in the spring.
A recent walk around the garden also turned up some more of nature’s early risers. My oriental poppies are sending up their unmistakeable dark-green and fluffy textured foliage. The chives are growing in the herb garden - a wonderful addition to spring dishes and such a bright splash of color on top of your baked potato. Right now, they look like grass - but I did notice some early flower buds among the green. My rhubarb - one of my first crops to be harvested - is showing its unique early growth that looks like little, bright pink “fists” pushing up out of the soil. I was also delighted to discover some new tulips coming up in a spot where I totally forgot I had planted them. What a surprise, but that’s OK, gardening truly is the hobby that keeps on giving!
Note: This is the first of a series to be printed through November twice per month.
Photograph by Kristina Gabalski