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Thursday, July 20, 2017

ALERT: Heavy rain, weather warnings in effect throughout WNY

All WNY News     Thursday, July 20, 2017    


The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for much of Western New York and a Tornado Warning for portions of Erie, Wyoming and Cattaraugus counties.

Additionally the Buffalo Police Department warns that viaducts at Clinton & Babcock and Fillmore & Howard are filling with high levels of water. Traffic could be diverted in those areas.

The Severe Thunderstorm Warning  is in effect for Western Wayne County, Northeastern Erie County, Northern Livingston County, Eastern Niagara County, Orleans County, Monroe County, Genesee County and Western Ontario County.

NOTE: Story edited at 1:25 p.m. to add information from BPD.

Today's forecast: Cloudy with a high near 79 -- rain likely later

All WNY News     Thursday, July 20, 2017    

The National Weather Service calls for mostly cloudy skies today with a high near 79. Showers and thunderstorms likely this evening and overnight with a low around 67.

Friday will be mostly sunny with a high near 83 and a low around 66. Saturday, there's a chance of showers with a high near 81 and a low around 68. Sunday, showers are likely and possibly a thunderstorm with a high near 80 and a low around 66.

Monday, there's a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high near 77 and a low around 62. Tuesday will be mostly sunny with a high near 76 and a low around 61. Wednesday will be sunny with a high near 79.


All WNY News     Thursday, July 20, 2017    

The town of Lockport is blessed with some exceptional trails. The most recent addition to that embarrassment of riches – the Lytle Nature Preserve – is far and away the least utilized.  

Maybe it’s because it’s literally sandwiched between the town’s two most popular trails, the Erie Canal towpath (a.k.a “the Canalway Trail”) and the Lockport Nature Trail.

Or, maybe it’s because it’s relatively new and, in turn, relatively unknown.

Let’s hope this column takes the trail into the known and people enjoy a jaunt on this splendid trail.

The history of the Preserve 

The 111-acre site was donated to the town in 2008 by William and Celeste Lytle. William, a retired lumberman who owned Ridegwood Lumber, had purchased the property with the intent of raising beef cattle. After scrapping that idea, the Lytles had the vision of giving the land to the town under a conservation easement through the Western New York Land Conservancy, ensuring public access to grasslands, wetlands, and forest that offer prime habitat to a variety of plants and animals.

It took a few years to go from raw land to a navigable experience for the masses.

In 2010, the town applied for Niagara Greenway funding, which it received in 2011, to make the Preserve accessible to the neighboring Canalway trail. The reasoning was that the Canalway trail had no access to natural lands despite bordering dozens of miles of prime forest and field. This would connect it to nature.

The $95,000 in Greenway money was invested in the expansion of the Canalway’s parking lot (which doubles as the Lytle Preserve’s parking), the creation of paved access and the construction of a boardwalk. Development of those various niceties began in late-2012 and continued into 2016 through efforts of Lockport highway crews and volunteers.

Getting there

The Lytle Nature Preserve is easy to get to.

If you are coming from out of town, take Route 78 north through the city of Lockport. After going through Lockport’s Lowertown section, you will pass the very popular hamburger stand, Reid’s. After doing so, you will come upon a lighted intersection (with a Crosby’s gas station at the corner). Turn right onto Old Niagara Road.

Approximately a quarter mile down that road, take your second left, which will be North Canal Road. Then, within a couple hundred feet, turn right onto on access road that will take you to a nice parking lot next to the Canal. This twenty-car lot is where most Canalway Trail hikers start and where you will start your hike into the Preserve.

To do so, walk back down that access road you just drove in and cross the street where you will see some nice signage welcoming you to the Preserve.

From blacktop to boardwalk

The first quarter mile of your hike is a rather fancy way to start a nature hike.

Upon passing the welcome sign you will walk down a nicely blacktopped trail towards a small wetland of approximately 8 acres in size. 

Once there, a perfectly-built boardwalk will keep you above that swampy ground. The wetland won’t give you a view of a pond or marsh. Instead, it is an almost jungle-like mass of reeds that you’ll be passing through.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have a chance to see some critters. On our recent hike, the reeds were full of red-winged blackbirds and swamp and song sparrows.


Once getting through the marsh, the path remains flat, is covered in nicely groomed gravel, and is well-maintained. Ken Horvath is a part-time town employee and volunteer who handles the brunt of the trail maintenance and he keeps the grass along this portion of the trail cut short so hikers and joggers need not worry about ticks.

Upon entering this section, your views open up to impressive grasslands of perhaps 60 acres to 75 in size. 

Native wild grasses had been planted in these grasslands (which are harvested in alternation by the way), affording an excellent home to field sparrows, northern harriers (marsh hawks), bluebirds and the always interesting bobolink, an uncommon member of the blackbird family that has a strange bubbling call and sports colors in reverse to that of most birds (a white back and a black breast).

When hiking, take a breather and listen for that wonderful bird and keep your eyes peeled for other creatures. We saw some evidence of coyotes in this section (the tell-tale hair-filled scat), so bring your binoculars. It wouldn’t be unexpected if winter hikers would see snowy owls here.

Into the woods       

The blacktop-boardwalk-stone section is perfect for walkers and joggers of any age and skill level. It is so flat and so well maintained that young parents can push a stroller through there with no problem. On our hike there we even saw some bicyclists from the Canalway trail using that stretch.

Those trail conditions change once you get into the woods. The lengthy loop of trails in the forest are soft and muddy in a few spots, but for the most part they are in very good shape. Those wet areas don’t allow the weed cutting machines to get in there often, so you will encounter some stretches in the lower areas with weeds that are shin to knee high. I was really surprised they weren’t trampled by visitors, which, I guess, speaks to the low number of hikers using the full length of the trail.

To me, the wooded portion is a normal hiking trail. But, those who prefer the civilized Canalway trail or were spoiled by the first couple of sections might be turned off by the wildness, especially if they are wearing shorts.

Press on. Horvath and others have done a bang-up job in putting a trail system in place in the forest.  

When you come to the entrance of the woods, don’t be put off by the “Posted. No Hunting” sign. You’re not entering private property. That’s just the town’s way of telling hunters they can’t pursue game in the Preserve.

The first portion of the wooded hike is in some lowlands of young-growth trees dominated by ashes (which might cause it to look like a skeletonized ghost town in a few years as the emerald ash borers take up residence). In this section we encountered song sparrows, yellow warblers, catbirds, cardinals, and orioles.

The second portion is on some slightly higher and much-drier terrain with some older trees with more diversity. Here, we saw deer, woodpeckers of various species, jays, and wood thrushes. Any place you can hear the flute-like calls of the thrush is a good place – they are a bird is serious decline all across the country.

As you get into the higher section, you will encounter very little undergrowth because of the sun-blocking canopy of the larger trees. So, to help you navigate the trail, there are orange ribbons tied to many trees.

This is a loop trail in the woods, so it will take you back to where you entered, unless you choose to exit in two other locations which will allow you to walk at the edge of the grasslands along the forest.         

I suggest you stay on the trails, especially when you exit the forest. Don’t explore the high grasses. When traipsing through grasslands it is too easy to step on songbird nests and ruin the environment. There are more than enough trails to keep you engaged with the wildlife.

In closing…

The entire hike across the Lytle Preserve from start to finish took us 50 minutes as we took it at a leisurely nature-watching pace with our 5 year-old daughter leading the way and my 3-month-old strapped to my chest – this was his first nature hike.

Visiting the Lytle Nature Preserve offers a nice respite from city life (the city of Lockport is literally just around the corner) and it gives canal walkers a change of pace from the sterile sameness of the canal towpath.

Let’s hope that more people start to use this wonderful trail and experience the wildness that the Lytles so wisely thought that the whole world deserved. This is a gem truly worth exploring on the Niagara Frontier.   

+Bob Confer is a Gasport resident. His column, Exploring the Niagara Frontier, is published every Thursday on All WNY News.

Obituaries published July 19, 2017

All WNY News     Thursday, July 20, 2017    
Here are links to the obituaries published by All WNY News on July 19, 2017.

All WNY News publishes obituary notices from area funeral homes free of charge. To submit a notice, email

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Park hit wins it for Wings

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    

The Rochester Red Wings rallied for a 7-6 win over the Charlotte Knights Wednesday night at Frontier Field. The Wings host Toledo Thursday night at 7:05 p.m., on the annual Christmas in July promotion.

Charlotte got off to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Cody Asche hit a two-run home run off Wings starting pitcher Justin Haley.

Kennys Vargas led off the bottom of the second inning by hitting a line drive home run to right center field off Knights starting pitcher Carson Fulmer to make the score 2-1. It was Vargas' fourth home run with the Red Wings this season.

In the top of the fourth inning, Danny Hayes homered to extend the Charlotte lead to 3-1.

Haley went 4.1 innings giving up six hits, five earned runs, two walks and four strikeouts, as part of his rehab assignment from the Twins. He threw 84 pitches (54 strikes) before handing the ball off to Mason Melotakis.

Melotakis inherited runners on first and second with one out in the top of the fifth inning. He gave up an RBI single to Rob Brantley, followed by a passed ball that scored Rymer Liriano to give the Knights a 5-1 lead.

ByungHo Park hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut the Knights lead to 5-2. It was Park's sixth home run of the season.

Fulmer pitched 6.0 innings giving up two earned runs, four hits, four walks and four strikeouts on 89 pitches (52 strikes).

Drew Rucinski came in relief but let up a run on a Rob Brantley single that drove in Liriano to make the score 6-2 Charlotte.

Edgar Corcino led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a single, which extended his hit streak to seven games. Mitch Garver followed with a towering two-run home run to make the score 6-4. It was Garver's 13th home run this season.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Wings put together a scoring bid after one-out hits by Park and Tommy Field. Niko Goodrum drilled a single to bring home both runners, tying the game at 6-6.

Alan Busenitz came on in relief for the top of the ninth inning, getting three quick outs.

The Wings put two runners on with none out in the bottom of the ninth against Bobby Parnell. Matt Hague lined out to center, and Parnell went to a full count on Vargas before getting a pop out. That's when Park drilled an 0-1 pitch to the gap in left-center, bringing Shuck home and capping the comeback win.

Bisons fall to Columbus after fielding errors, 5-4

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    

The Herd dropped their last of a three-game series with Columbus, 5-4, on Friday night at Huntington Park after a pair of fielding errors with the game tied in the ninth.

Clippers left fielder Daniel Robertson lead the charge for the victors, reaching first base with a line drive single and then got into scoring position at second after a throwing error by Michael Saunders. On the ensuing at bat Josh Wilson batted a pitch over to Gregorio Petit at short and Petit failed to connect on his throw, allowing Robertson to reach home plate.

Columbus tied the game up at four runs in the bottom of the seventh with Bisons pitcher Andrew Case on the mound. Ronny Rodriguez found himself ahead in the count 2-0 before sending a pitch deep to right-center field for his tenth home run of the season.

Trailing in the early stages of the game, the Clippers used consistent scoring to get back into the game. Richie Shaffer grabbed the Clippers their first lead of night with a solo home run to right field. The homer was the outfielder's twenty-first of the season.

The Bisons had a lead in the seventh inning with Andrew Guillotte on second base after hitting a line drive ball to center field. Trailing 3-2, Jon Berti grabbed his second home run of the season after batting a pitch deep towards right field to give the Herd a one run advantage.

Also of note was Raffy Lopez continuing his scoring touch of the past three days. Sitting in the designated hitter slot, Lopez took the first pitch he saw from Shawn Morimando and blasted it towards right field for his twelfth home run of the season-breaking a tie with Mike Ohlman for most homers this season with the Bisons.

The Herd had a total of five pitchers step out on the mound throughout the day. Murphy Smith was given the starting nod on short rest and went for three innings and gave up one run. The next five innings saw appearances from Joe Smith, John Stilson, and Case with each of them allowing a run. Griffin Glaude (L, 0-1) closed the game out with a non-earned run under his watch.

Even though they lost, the Bisons claim the series after winning the two previous games with the Clippers. The Herd will continue their road trip with a four-game series with Louisville on Thursday. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will have Luis Santos (3-7, 3.79 ERA) on the mound for the Bisons and the Bats will have Tyler Mahle (1-3, 3.54 ERA) pitching at the start of the game.

BISONS NOTES: Raffy Lopez's home run is his third in three days while also batting 5-12 in that span…This is the first series win for the Bisons sine their home stand with Lehigh Valley in June…Cesar Valdez was originally scheduled to start in tonight's game, but was called up to Toronto…Andrew Case was assigned to the Bisons and made his Triple-A debut tonight. He had just spent time playing for Toronto's Double-A affiliate New Hampshire.

Timothy Sweet -- July 7, 2017

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    
Timothy Sweet entered into rest on July 7, 2017.  Beloved son of Eleanore (Feist) and the late Frederick Sweet; dear brother of Cindy Sweet, Karen (Ricky) Kieffer and the late Pamela Sweet; dear uncle of Stephanie Kieffer; companion of the late Wendy Gibson; also survived by his co-workers at Lowes. There will be no prior visitation. Private services were held at Glenwood Mausoleum, Lockport. Donations to Hospice of Buffalo would be appreciated by the family. Arrangements by Taylor and Reynolds Funeral Home at 70 Niagara Street, Lockport, NY.

PODCAST: ThinkSoJoe Show for July 19, 2017

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    

Brian and Dan return to the show after a week off with music from Chosen OnesTokyo MonstersSkinbound, and Whiskey Reverb

Barrie H. McKinney -- July 18, 2017

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    
Visitation, Lombardo Funeral Home, 899 Niagara Falls Blvd, Amherst, NY on Saturday, July 22nd from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm. Funeral to follow on Sunday at 1 pm.

Westley Carr -- July 14, 2017

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    
Gathering in Westley's memory, Moot Center, 292 High Street, Buffalo, NY - 12 noon - 1 pm, funeral to follow at 1 pm.

Marga Seal Richmond -- July 14, 2017

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    
Service incomplete

Eddie C. Bridges -- July 13, 2017

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    
BRIDGES - Eddie C. Of Buffalo, entered into rest July 13, 2017. Relatives and friends may visit Greater Works Christian Fellowship, 210 Southampton St., Buffalo on Friday from 11 AM - 12 noon where the funeral service will immediately follow. Interment St. Matthew's Cemetery.

Pauline D. Fortier -- July 16, 2017

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    
FORTIER - Pauline D. (nee Durrell) of Buffalo, entered into rest July 16, 2017; devoted mother of Sandra (Gail) Kemp, Randall (Kelli) Fortier, Lois Gaynor and Beth (Kevin) McGowan; cherished grandmother of 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She was an accomplished artist, avid gardener, liked yard sales, rummage sales and auctions, especially when she was visiting her mother in Maine. She was a big supporter of Goodwill, animal shelter and the Salvation Army. She wanted to give a special thanks to her friends Wendy Bachmann, John and Corey Shuster and the nurses and social workers from Hospice who helped her over the past six months.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a gathering in Pauline's memory at LOMBARDO FUNERAL HOME (City Chapel) 102 Linwood Ave., near Summer, on Thursday from 2-4 PM.

Berrie H. McKinney -- July 18, 2017

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    
Visitation, Lombardo Funeral Home, 899 Niagara Falls Blvd, Amherst, NY on Saturday, July 22nd from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm. Funeral to follow on Sunday at 1 pm.

Rasheed A. Cole -- July 16, 2017

All WNY News     Wednesday, July 19, 2017    
Services, Saturday, July 22nd, Lombardo Funeral Home, 899 Niagara Falls Blvd, Amherst, NY, time to be announced. Entombment Forest Lawn Cemetery.

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