Head for the Relay For Life TODAY!!

What more can I say? We really, really, need you to come on down for the chicken barbecue, food, fun and amazing ceremonies!!  See you there!

   Families looking for fun and entertainment this weekend need look no further than the Emmet Belknap Middle School track. The eighth local American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life offers something for everyone, and the whole community is invited. The carnival theme celebrates “The Year of the Child” and there’ll be clowns, jugglers and plenty of fun. Anyone may register the day of the Relay for $10 to get a tee shirt, but registration is not necessary. Admission to the Relay and entertainment is free and everyone is welcome. There is bleacher seating, or bring your lawn chairs for the festivities.

            Registered teams will be setting up tent sites early in the morning and scheduled entertainment begins at 2 p.m. with a free bounce house, petting zoo, balloons, face painting and children’s crafts. Children’s games with prizes can be played with tickets purchased at $5 for 16 and pony rides can be enjoyed at nominal charge. A special children’s area will be set up on the football field.

            A Memory Basket and Chinese auction will run through the day, as well as many side raffles by teams. Lap tracker necklaces will be available for purchase and a bead added for each lap made, with special mile marker beads.

            On stage at 2 p.m. are the Red House Guitar Kids. They will be followed at 3 p.m. by the Newfane Choral Group and at 3:30, vocals by Danielle Kremzien and Friends. At 4 p.m. the Ridgewood Bible Mimes bring back their entertaining show, followed by trackside juggling demos by The Gravity Pirates, returning to Lockport after a stellar performance at the Exchange Club Circus in February. Pirates Jeff Pollock, Greg Pollock, Tim Lovering and Kyle Fultz will be on site for juggling feats during the evening as well.

            Official Opening Ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. with a welcome by Mayor Michael Tucker and others, and the National Anthem will be sung by Kathy and Brian Dick and sons Evan, Spencer and Austin. Kathy is a member of the Lake Plains Players and young Spencer is a previous RFL Honorary Survivor. A special balloon release kicks off the Survivor’s Lap, when five honorary child survivors with circus clown escorts lead over 150 survivors in the first lap around the track. They will be followed by the Caregiver Lap and Parade of Teams, with a special performance by the Lockport Community Band.

             The CRS Band takes the stage at 7 p.m. and performs until the Luminaria Ceremony at 10 p.m. when hundreds of candle-lit Luminaria bags are placed along the track edge to light the way for walkers who will do laps all night, in solidarity with those who battle cancer around the clock. Relay attendees are asked to bring a candle to carry in the Luminaria Lap, which is led by bagpiper John Smith. Candles will also be sold at the food building and Luminaria bags will be available on site. The First Baptist Church of Lockport will perform during the ceremony. At midnight, a Fight Back ceremony invites attendees to take an active stand against cancer.

            Registered walkers and teams will have wristbands allowing them to stay past 1 a.m. to enjoy Karaoke, special themed laps and fun to share through the night until closing ceremonies at 6 a.m. At midnight, a Fight Back ceremony invites attendees to take an active stand against cancer.

            Registered walkers and teams will have wristbands allowing them to stay past 1 a.m. to enjoy Karaoke, special themed laps and fun to share through the night until closing ceremonies at 6 a.m. LCTV20 will be providing a live, 12 hour feed of the relay for home viewers.

            A Barker Lions chicken barbecue served at 4 p.m. offers a half chicken, potato salad, applesauce, roll and butter and Cosmic Brownie for $7. Food and beverages will be available throughout the Relay, including hot dogs, Molinaro’s pizza, walk-away tacos, nachos and cheese, cotton candy, fried dough, sno-cones, hot popcorn and candy. At 8 p.m. a chef from Danny Sheehan’s Steak House will be cooking steak sandwiches. All proceeds from food and activities benefit the American Cancer Society. This year’s Relay hopes to push the eight year total over one million dollars.


Come join the Relay for Life party!

Coming to the Relay For Life on Saturday? Registration opens at 11 a.m., teams wil be settled in their sites and the entertainment and activities begin at 2 p.m. Everone is invited, admission is free, so grab a lawn chair and join us!

Schedule of Events:


*        2:00pm                  Welcome

*        2:05 – 3:00             Red House Guitar Kids

*        3:00 – 3:25            Newfane Choral Group

*        3:30 – 4:00            Danielle Krzemien and friends

*        4:00 – 4:45            Ridgewood Bible Church MIMES

*        5:00 – 5:45            Gravity Pirate Jugglers (Trackside)

*        6:00pm-7:00pm   OPENING CEREMONY (STAGE)

·          Pledge of Allegiance

·          National Anthem – Brian and Kathy Dick and boys; Evan, Spencer, and Austin

·          Speakers: Marianne Currie-Hall, Mayor Tucker, Ryan Wertman, Connie Cox- Survivor mom, Jane Dent

·          Kamilah Robison – Poem

·          Pastor Foster – Opening Prayer

·          DeWitt Clinton Elementary Chorus

·          “Our Rainbow of Hope” Balloon Ceremony

Survivor Lap

Caregiver Lap

Parade of Teams  “Lockport Community Band”

*        7:00 – 9:45            CRS Band

*        10:00 – 10:45LUMINARIA CEREMONY

Moment of Silence

Bagpiper – John Smith (Trackside)

First Baptist Church of Lockport Choir

Poem Candle lighting ceremony

Bagpiper – John Smith  (one lap with candles lit)

*        12:00am – 12:45amFIGHT BACK CEREMONY

*        1:00                        KAROKE

*        Throughout the night – themed laps; backwards lap; holding hands lap; sidestep lap; smile lap; skip lap; kiddie hop lap;

*        6:00am-6:30amCLOSING CEREMONY

Food availability:

4 p.m. Barker Lions BBQ- ½ chicken, potato salad, applesauce, roll& butter, brownie, $7.

At the sports shack- nachos and cheese, lots of candy, plus Molinaro’s pizza, walk-away tacos, pop, water


At Quality tent- hot dogs, hamburgers (alone or meal deals), strawberry shortcake, pop, Cotton candy, popcorn, fried dough and sno-cones! 


Kid’s area:

face painting, balloons, crafts, bounce house, petting zoo all free. Carnival games for prizes- tickets are $5 for 16. Pony rides for nominal fee. 

More games and fun!

See you there!


Happy “Every Man Who Cares About Kids” Day!

With so many things going on in our community, I neglected to say “Happy Father’s Day” in my Chatterbox column on Tuesday. How could I forget? Blame the aging brain matter.

I love fathers. Mine was a great dad and grandpa until he died at the age of 67. He would really have enjoyed the great-grandchildren now and I still keep the candy jar full for every child who wanders in, just as he did. A blue-collar Bethlehem Steelworker who also delivered sides of beef and parked cars to make ends meet, my Dad was a man of few words (I got the chatty gene from my Mom) but what he had to say was always important. I miss him and I strive each day to make him proud.

While we each only have one real, biological father, there are many men out there who step in to take on the business of fathering our children, all of them, and it should be theirs day, too. There are adoptive fathers, men who think parenthood is so precious that they seek out a child in need of love and stability. There are stepfathers who take on a lot of extra baggage, especially in this world of blended families, and genuinely try to be nurturing. Father Jim at St. Pats may never have married but he has lots of little children in the parish who adore him, and grown-up kids who look to him for advice and comfort. We can’t forget the coaches of every imaginable sport, or the scout and youth group leaders who help to build the character of our kids. Teachers, too! For every crummy one, there are hundreds who go the extra mile to inspire and motivate our children beyond the class curriculum.

Think about the neighbor who taught your son to fish or helped your daughter deliver girl scout cookies. Many people who may have no kids of their own care deeply about helping to raise the next generation to be good and honorable people. Let’s hear it for the uncles, cousins, brothers, neighbors, coaches, teachers, leaders and others who really care about kids! With all the poor examples being displayed by celebrity and sports figures, our children need positive role models who really believe in them and their future! That’s what fatherhood is about.

Deep-fried Oreos, too?

Yep. As if the call of funnel cakes wasn’t enough! My sister and I took a drive to the Goodie Barn today to get a funnel cake hot from the fryer and it was just heavenly! Crispy squiggles of fried batter with powdered sugar is real comfort food! They also have deep fried Oreos, and Fried Ice Cream! If you’re not into gourmet apples, popcorn, pretzels, chocolate, snow cones, kiddy candy or sweet stuff, grab a hot dog or nachos and cheese! Hot items are cooked to order so if you’re in a hurry, call ahead. You can sit on one of the four tall stools at the counter and inhale the heavenly aromas. You’ll love it here!

Funnel cakes, anyone?

The new Goodie Barn at 2926 Quaker Rd. near Route 104 added funnel cakes to their menu of treats! Kim and Mike brought snow-cones, gourmet popcorn, etc. to the Barker Farmer’s Market on Thursday and were a big hit. Little martial artists, from George’s Karate School across the street, paraded through the park on a snow-cone break. Too cute! I got a chocolate covered frozen banana to celebrate the opening of the market and it was thawed by the end of market but oh, so yummy! 

How wonderfully decadent it will be to get a funnel cake miles away from a carnival!!! While Kim tells me they will venture into chocolate syrup and fruit toppings, I think a freshly fried squiggle of dough with a sprinkle of powdered sugar is just perfect! They’re open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wed. through Sunday and you’ll find goodies galore! Call 807-2988

It’s Flag Day! Thank you, Bernard John Cigrand~

   TODAY IS FLAG DAY! No one symbol has greater meaning for Americans, and the world, than our stars and stripes. Who can forget images of Old Glory being raised at Iwo Jima or the NY Trade Center? It is a symbol of our endurance and determination that transcends all the politics and problems in America. It is the one thing we can all embrace from any political or ideological vantage point.  Fly it freely, proudly. It has been fashioned by the dreams of our forefathers and spun with the blood and sweat of heroes who have defended her at home and across the world. It’s just a piece of cloth, it’s true, but it is woven of the hearts of a nation united. Respect it.

      While searchin the web for the exact words used to commission the flag in 1777, I came across Bernard  John Cigrand and realized that he is the one responsible for our annual celebration of Flag Day. See, you learn something new every day.


     “The “Stars and Stripes,” the official National symbol of the United States of America was authorized by congress on that Saturday of June 14, 1777 in the fifth item of the days agenda. The entry in the journal of the Continental Congress 1774-1789 Vol. Vlll 1777 reads “Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be Thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
   In Waubeka, Wisconsin, in 1885 Bernard John Cigrand a nineteen year old school teacher in a one room school placed a 10” 38 star flag in an inkwell and had his students write essays on what the flag meant to them. He called June 14th the flag’s birthday. Stony Hill Schoolis now a historical site. From that day on Bernard J. Cigrand dedicated himself to inspire not only his students but also all Americans in the real meaning and majesty of our flag.” (Thanks to the Natinal Flag Day Website, where you can see a photo of Stony Hill School.)

    One young man, 123 years ago, started this glorious tradition of marching bands, parades and waving flags! Thanks, Bernie!     

Winning kids tell it like it is!

            I love words and the power they yield to convey emotions!! Each year the American Federation of Women’s Clubs holds a Creative Writing Contest for school children and for adults. Our local Avon Study Club, as part of the federation, solicits entries from our Barker School children and club members, to be judged at levels from Western New York to the National. I was honored to have a piece I wrote several years ago go all the way to take the top prize, so I know how special those certificates of recognition are. It means that someone has read your thoughts or ideas and liked them!

            Former school-teacher Karen Davis, current Avon Club president, works with Mrs. Briggs at BCS and gets our entries on track and we had about 30 entries this year. Karen called me with the good news that e have two WNY winners here in Barker School! I can mention their names in my Chatterbox, but I really wanted to share their entries because they convey personal emotions so well. Ever wonder what’s on the mind of the average 8 to 12 year old? These may surprise you.

            Congratulations to Elizabeth and Kamilah and thank you to Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Briggs and BCS staff and all who support and promote creative writing! Congratulations also to the parents of these young ladies; nice job! So much of media is fleeting, but words are immortal.


First Place winner, Division 1

By Elizabeth Trombley

Grade 3  Pratt Elementary, Barker




Mom, Merry Christmas! Make all your dreams come true.

Every time Christmas comes I think of you and you are the soul in my life.

Roses are sweet and you are too.

You are the one I look up to and you are the one I love.

Realize that I love you, and that’s why I wrote this poem because I love you.

You are the Mom that gave me life,

                but you look like a diamond in the shimmering light.


Christmas night I will pray for a long lasting mother, that will love and never stop.

Hanukkah is a time I love to spend all hours with you. That’s how much I love you.

Receive this message that I write,

                 Because you are the diamond that is being bright in my life.


I am thankful for my mom because I could not live without her.

Santa is watching and I have been doing some things, but I want to stop,

                And I am sorry for that.

The poem I’m writing is all about you. That’s what I’m doing because, I love you!

Mommy, you are the special one. I love you more than Marty, our dog.

After we put the ornaments up I hug you and you hug me.

Santa is coming and I want to ask him for a diamond necklace for Christmas,

So I can give it to you.


Third Place Winner, Division 2

By Kamilah  Robison

Grade 5  Barker Middle School



I can make a difference by helping people see the good in a bad time.

Even if my friends are sad I can help them be extremely happy.


Don’t mask your tears

Don’t hold it in

Don’t put on a smile to keep back the tears.


It’s okay.


Some people say I understand even if it is not true.

I may not understand your pain but I know how it feels to hurt.


It’s okay, you’ll get through.


Why, you ask, and how, too?


It’s simply cause we’re all here for you!