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Friday, November 28, 2014

Richard A. Nolan of Newfane, NY husband of Rose Coyle Nolan entered into rest Wednesday, November 26, 2014 in Eastern Niagara Hospital, Lockport, NY.

He was born in Johnstown, PA January 19, 1953, the son of the late Louis and Mary Richardson Nolan. Richard was a veteran of the US Air Force. They moved from Johnstown, PA to Newfane, NY in 1977. He worked for Nuttal Gear in Wheatfield for 17 years as a machine operator. Richard enjoyed fishing, working on cars, helping others out when every they needed it and spending quality time with his grandchildren.

Father of Richard L. (Ashley) Nolan, Lawrence S. Nolan both of Newfane, Denise (Will) Wittcop of Barker, Francis Swanson of Newfane, and the late Ted Swanson. Brother of Kay Madigan, Pat Diehl both of Johnstown, PA, Gary Nolan of California and the late Leeann Nolan. Also survived by 13 grandchildren and several great grandchildren.

No prior visitation. A Memorial Service will be held at RUTLAND-CORWIN FUNERAL HOME, INC. 2670 Main St. Newfane, NY SATURDAY, December 6, 2014 at 1:00 PM.

Please visit to send a condolence to the family.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proclaimed Saturday (Nov. 29) as “Small Business Saturday” in New York State to encourage all New Yorkers to support their local businesses. Small Business Saturday celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners and encourages shoppers to visit local companies at the beginning of the busy holiday shopping season. Small businesses account for the vast majority of companies and support millions of jobs in New York State.

“Small businesses are not only an important part of New York’s economy, they are the lifeblood of our communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “Their success is our success and with the holiday shopping season upon us, I encourage all New Yorkers to buy local and support their neighborhood small businesses.”

The small business sector contributes significantly to the framework of New York’s economy, accounting for 98 percent of all businesses in the state and employing more than 40 percent of its private sector workforce. New York State has more than 516,000 small business proprietors that employ more than 3 million people.

The Governor’s proclamation can be viewed here.

“Small businesses are truly the backbone of our state’s economy and deserve to be supported year-round and celebrated on Small Business Saturday,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we have worked tirelessly to improve the business climate and help companies grow, which has resulted in new jobs and new small businesses, and further strengthened our economic recovery.”

“Small businesses play a critical role in growing our state’s economy,” said State Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera. “When we support local small businesses, that money goes back to our own communities. I encourage everyone to shop local on Small Business Saturday and support small businesses near them year round.”

Whether a business is just starting up, expanding, or looking to fill a few vacancies, New York State Business Service Team members are available to help businesses:

  • List their jobs;
  • Find the right candidates;
  • Access hiring and training incentives;
  • Obtain business tax credits and incentives;
  • Secure business capital;
  • Learn about small business training and counseling;
  • Become Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) certified;
  • Access HR services and technical assistance; and
  • Find layoff aversion resources.

More information about New York State programs and assistance available to small businesses, is available via Empire State Development here and the Department of Labor here.

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Terry's Corners volunteers use the jaws of life to get into this car on Rochester Road Thursday afternoon. (PHOTOS BY STEPHEN M. WALLACE / CONTRIBUTOR)


A male from this van was taken to ENH-Lockport after the crash.
Even before the snow fell on Thursday, area roads proved dangerous to local drivers.

Terry's Corners volunteers were called to a two-vehicle accident scene just before 3 p.m., where the jaws of life were necessary to extract an injured female from her vehicle, who was then taken by ambulance to ECMC. A small dog was also rescued from the car.

A male from the other vehicle — a van — was taken to Eastern Niagara Hospital-Lockport.

The road was closed for about an hour after the accident.

About an hour later, a young female self got out of her own car after rolling it on Murphy Road in Newfane. According to emergency responders, she was traveling south on Murphy Road when the she left the road, rolling the car and spinning it to face the wrong direction.

Miller Hose transported the girl to ENH-Lockport.

Patient conditions have not been made available for either accident.

The young woman who was driving this car got out on her own, according to emergency responders. She was taken to ENH-Lockport after the crash.

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When leading nature hikes it is invariably asked of me: “what books do you suggest for learning about local plants and animals?”

It’s a good question, as there are just so many — I might even say “too many” — field guides on the market and trying to figure out which one (or ones) to buy can be confusing and expensive.

So, for this week’s column I will answer that question.

It comes at a good time, too, because the books I suggest here can also answer this seasonal question: “What do you get a nature lover for Christmas?”

Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife

North American Wildlife is a comprehensive guide 
to animals, plants, and fungi. (CONTRIBUTED 
If I had to suggest one book to the budding naturalist, or even the experienced one, it’s a no-brainer: Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife.

This book is my Bible. I refer to it all the time, peruse it regularly, have multiple copies and travel with it. I can’t imagine there being a more perfect book.

It’s a 576-page tome first printed in 1982 that features a whopping 2,000 plants, animals, and fungi in full color. Although it claims “North American” in the title, the focus of the book is on the United States and Canada. It does not look at Mexican plants and animals or those of the Caribbean.

It’s touted as “the equivalent of an entire shelf of nature guides in a single volume.” They’re right. It is divided into the following sections: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, mollusks, insects, other invertebrates, trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, other non-flowering plants, and mushrooms. So, it has all the bases covered.

It does a good job of being pretty comprehensive. It identifies at least 90 mammals and 250 species of birds. Its largest section features almost 800 wildflowers. And, the depth of its mushroom section is always a treat.

What I really like about it is that it’s a very informative read, something unusual amongst its peers.

Many field guides point out just the identifying characteristics of wildlife. That can be fairly boring. North American Wildlife does that, but it also goes well beyond that, offering interesting insights and trivia about the various species. You’re constantly learning and intrigued whenever you open it.

It’s not written as a pithy science book, either. The writers didn’t opt for deep terminology or dull prose. Instead, it’s all written in terms and format that the layman can understand and enjoy.

Does it have its weaknesses? Sure, it does. As an example, it doesn’t present enough shorebirds and it emphasizes saltwater fish to the detriment of freshwater fish.

But, overall, it’s a very strong nature guide.

And, best of all, it’s a steal. If you look online you will see prices for the softcover and hardcover versions (I suggest the latter as you will give the book a beating over its lifetime) starting at $11 and averaging $15 to $20. You can’t go wrong at that price.

Golden Guides

Even though they date back to the 1950s, Golden Guides remain quite useful.
Golden Guides from Golden Books — the same folks who brought us the Poky Little Puppy — have been a mainstay of nature libraries since the early 1950s.

They are pocket-sized, little books (4” x 6” and not even a half-inch think) typically in the range of 150 pages that each address a specific aspect of wildlife, plants or geology. There have been dozens of various titles over the years, many discontinued, but the standbys like Flowers, Insects, and Rocks and Minerals remain in the latest (2001) re-release of the series, which is the same 1950s content with contemporary covers.

The books were historically affordable. In the 1990s they were $2.95 or $3.95 each. Now, they come in at $6.95, which may be pricey for some of the titles. One that immediately comes to mind is “Birds.” It highlights only 130 of the most common birds and is lacking in thoroughness as it depicts only the showy males (and not the females) and does little to describe their calls.

On the other hand, many of the other guides are worth the money. Fossils is an exceptional piece about natural history that shows many fossils that you’ll find along the Niagara Escarpment. Spiders and their kin highlights a couple of hundred arthropods – most field guides of such thoroughness would cost three times the amount. Old reliable texts like Reptiles and Amphibians, Mammals, and Trees show good enough numbers of their respective subjects that they would be the only field guides you would need for them.

With their size, these booklets make great stocking stuffers.

You can find them at most book stores or online. I would even suggest checking out eBay where you can find single editions or whole libraries on the cheap.

I was surprised to discover that while checking out eBay, Golden Guides had produced one called Hallucinogenic Plants in the 1970s. I can only imagine why that one didn’t last – if it’s an informative as their other books, it probably put many a druggie on the path to getting his fix.

Bob Confer lives in rural Gasport where his 1950s sensibilities match up pretty well with the Golden Guides. Follow him on Twitter @bobconfer or email him at

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The National Weather Service calls for a slight chance of snow showers today with a high near 28 and a low around 24.

Saturday, there's a chance of snow showers before noon, then a chance of rain showers with a high near 41. Overnight, there's a chance of showers with a low around 38. Sunday brings a chance of showers with a high near 55 and a low around 36. Monday, rain and snow showers are likely with a high near 39 and a low around 23.

Tuesday will be partly sunny with a high and low both near 32. Wednesday, there's a chance of showers with a high near 41 and a low around 28. Thursday, there's a chance of snow showers with a high near 38.

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Somehow the driver of this vehicle walked away after their car got tree'd while trying to come down the Day Road hill in Wrights Corners. (PHOTOS BY STEPHEN M. WALLACE / CONTRIBUTOR)


The driver of this pickup truck reportedly took the curve on Bowmiller 
Road a little too fast, ending up unintentionally off-roading. 
Niagara County Sheriff's deputies and area fire departments responded to numerous car accidents and reports of vehicles off the road tonight.

While South Lockport volunteers were responding to an accident on Robinson Road by Bear Ridge Road that required five ambulances, Wrights Corners volunteers were addressing a car that came down the Day Road hill, unable to maintain itself on the road, and ending up partially off the ground, its rear end up a tree. Fortunately, the driver walked away.

Fire crews and NCSO had to park at the top of the hill and walk down the slick road to the accident scene.

Shortly thereafter, on Bowmiller Road, the driver of a pickup truck took the curve a little too fast for the slippery road and ended up in the ditch.  It was just one of dozens of cars off the road in East Niagara this evening.

Cambria-Wilson Road and Lower Mountain were shut down as a number of cars slid off the road and got stuck on the hill. Lockport police officers shut Cold Springs Road off to traffic as cars had been sliding down the hill.

On the other end of the county, the northbound north Grand Island Bridge was closed to traffic for hours as emergency crews attended to a pileup involving dozens of cars.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014
Fire crews had little chance to save this barn on Wruck Road in the Town of Hartland as the structure was said to be fully engulfed already on their arrival. (PHOTOS BY STEPHEN M. WALLACE / CONTRIBUTOR)


Firefighters from Wrights Corners Fire Co. came to assist with the blaze.
HARTLAND — A fire destroyed a barn this afternoon on Wruck Road.

Observers said they called 911 immediately and then watched as flames consumed the barn. Before emergency responders could even get to the blaze at 3876 Wruck Road, the barn was fully consumed and explosions — believed to be coming from propane tanks in the barn — could be heard.

Neighbors had reported that animals were in the barn and the homeowners were not home. There has been no word, however, on the fate of the animals.

The fire was so intense that it started melting the side of a house right next to a huge propane cylinder.

Once on the scene, Gasport command wasted no time in calling for assistance from Hartland and Middleport fire companies in order to protect the other structures, including the home and another barn.

A full engine crew from Wrights Corners that was clearing the Niagara County Jail was also brought into the scene to help assist the other departments.

A damage estimate was not immediately available.

The fire was so hot that the siding on this home started to melt. 

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