Announcements & Articles

“Zoupetella”, hosted by Sue and Paul Zeppetella on November 12, 2012, was a “zuper” success.

posted Apr 1, 2013, 4:33 AM by Tracy Panczyszyn

 All interested members brought their favorite homemade soups to Gene and Joey’s very big cottage. Additional members came to be part of the tastings. There were approximately fourteen different soups to choose from, as well as a large variety of desserts. Paul also provided a perfect Italian bread which he purchased from a friend who owns a bakery in the city.

Every time an individual chose a new soup they had to move to a different table. It was an enjoyable and easy way to meet new friends. Jo Anne Camann added to the excitement by providing an international soup puzzle. Tables had to identify the countries from which a variety of soups originated. The weather also cooperated as it was a rainy and windy evening, just perfect for a bowl of yummy soup!

Sue also purchased a variety of kitchen related items and wrapped them up for door prizes. There was a great deal of interest in the contents of each package as they somehow related to making soup in your own kitchen. It all was delicious and a fun event.

Oak Orchard Lighthouse

posted May 20, 2012, 3:43 PM by Tracy Panczyszyn   [ updated May 20, 2012, 3:56 PM ]

Built by Community Determination

Finally, the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Memorial Walkway has been installed at the lighthouse site at the harbor.  Installed by Monarch Lawn & Landscape, Brockport, NY., foundation work was donated by  Dave Tufts.  It's a lovely walk about to remind us of our history, our heritage and the 'Circle of Life'. 

Trustees and committee members of the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum continue to raise monies to fund the Walkway and Children's Peace Garden, to be finished this summer,  and eventually, the compass rose.   The entire project exceeded cost expectations originally quoted by the engineer and architect by tens of thousands of dollars, so at this end of the project we are really feeling the financial crunch.

Personalized bricks are now $75 each.  You may order  in the following ways:  To order via internet, go to:

  1. Download the Brick Order Form on the “Support” page and mail it in with your payment of $75,
  2. via PayPal, go to the Gift Shop to place your order, or
  3.  stop in at the lighthouse to pick up an order form. 

We're always looking for more volunteers to act as docents to hold the lighthouse open.  From all accounts, people visit the lighthouse all days of the week.  We had more than 2600 visitors sign our guest book last season with limited open hours. So far, we have coverage on Friday evenings, Saturday, Sunday, and some Thursday afternoons.  If you are interested in meeting people from all around the world and would like to work at the lighthouse, please give a call, or send an e-mail to:  Dick – 682-4383;; or Peg – 585-749-7050;

Please mark your calendars for our summer events:

  • Oak Orchard Lighthouse Day, August 4, 2012
  • Annual Oak Orchard Lighthouse Dinner:  Summer Swing ( a 1940's theme), August 18, 2012

Thank you for your support over these years.  Please come, and walk the walk.  See you at the lighthouse! 

Submitted by Peg Wiley

Erosion and Lake Levels

posted May 9, 2012, 7:02 PM by Tracy Panczyszyn   [ updated May 20, 2012, 3:24 PM ]

OONA Hosts New York State DEC Representatives at Monthly Meeting

On Monday, May 14th, the OONA held a membership meeting at Point Breeze in Carlton.  Following its regular business meeting, OONA members, nonmembers from Point Breeze and surrounding communities, and local/state representatives from the towns of Carlton and Yates, and Orleans County, were invited to join in a presentation by representatives from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).  Nearly 100 people were on hand to hear background information on, and the status of, many initiatives that have significant impact on the Lake Ontario shoreline, its tributaries and its residents (South Shore “Riparians“).

In attendance were Jim Ward representing State Senator George D. Maziarz, Eileen Banker representing Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, for the Town of Carlton were Supervisor Gayle Ashbery, and Board Member Jim Shoemaker; and representing the Town of Yates were Supervisor John Belson and Council Member Stephen Freeman. 

The special guest speakers from NYSDEC were:  Sue McCormick, Chief, Coastal Erosion Management Section, NYSDEC Central Office in Albany, along with her assistant, Matt Chlebus; Raymond Yacuzzo, an active boater from the Oak Orchard Yacht Club, and Special Assistant to the Commissioner, NYSDEC Region 8 Office in Avon; and Donald Zelazny, Great Lakes Program Coordinator, NYSDEC Region 9 Office in Buffalo.

Those in attendance learned more about the St. Lawrence Seaway International Joint Commission’s (IJC) latest proposals to regulate Lake Ontario water levels.  They learned the IJC is conducting public hearings locally to better inform residents and to receive vital input to help lead to the best informed decision on lake level management, scheduled to be made by the end of 2012.  Donald Zelazny, DEC Buffalo, who has remained close to the IJC’s process over the last 10 years, encouraged all to attend at least one of these hearings, either in Olcott at the Fire Company, 7PM on Tuesday, June 5th, in Hilton at Quest Elementary School, 7PM on Wednesday, June 6th, or in Williamson at Williamson High School Auditorium, 7PM on Thursday, June 7th. 

They also learned that regardless of the outcome of the IJC’s proposal, scientists predict Lake Ontario to continue to be on the rise, with highs and lows along the way based on “mother nature” and “climate change”.  This generated very interesting discussion on shoreline protection from erosion, facilitated by Sue McCormick, DEC Albany.  She gave an overview of the types of erosion protection, the permitting process, and the use of reputable, experienced engineers and construction companies for design and installation of adequate shoreline protection, with a 30-year life.  Sue reminded all that the permitting process itself will take at least 6 months!  She announced that NYSDEC has contracted to have an extensive survey made of shoreline protection along Lake Ontario’s South Shore, which will commence within the next few months.  Property owners should receive notification of this process in the near future.

Another vital aspect of our lake and waterways is the navigability of our rivers, the vital links to Lake Ontario for recreational and commercial use.  Raymond Yacuzzo, NYSDEC Avon, talked about the misuse of Federal funds over the years, funds designated for harbor and waterway maintenance, resulting in most rivers of the Great Lakes, including Lake Ontario, to not be properly dredged.  Currently, there are Congressional committees working to finalize legislation that recognizes the need to include small harbors like Oak Orchard, Olcott, and Wilson under the same maintenance plan as larger commercial harbors, and force harbor tax revenues to be expended properly on dredging plans and other maintenance activities to keep our waterways navigable.  All were encouraged to communicate with their state and federal representatives to solicit their support for enactment of the legislation necessary to ensure our rivers continue to thrive.  Ray noted that the dredging issue could become even more serious if IJC proposals are enacted that will create higher high-water levels, and lower low-water levels.

The OONA was pleased by the large turnout of concerned citizens and was very appreciative to the representatives from NYSDEC for their information and experience.  For more information on the St. Lawrence Seaway Joint International Commission, go to   For more information on OONA as well as draft letters to representatives regarding harbor maintenance, and contacts for NYSDEC on lake shore issues, go to

Submitted by Frank Panczyszyn

1st OONA Road Rally a Success!

posted May 16, 2011, 3:00 PM by Lynne Menz   [ updated May 16, 2011, 3:07 PM ]

Contributed by JoAnne Camann:
In spite of the RAIN, 32  intrepid people participated in the Road Rally yesterday (5/15/11)!  Thanks to all who showed up, supported this activity and made it so much fun.
Congratulations to "Team PT Breeze" - Ed, Kim and Jack Bellnier  - who had the winning score.  All the teams did well  - it was very competitive!!!!
We would like to thank the Haines for once again opening their home to us for the post rally party.  What would we do without their generosity and hospitality?!
Thanks to the Brown's Berry Patch for donating ice cream cone coupons for all participants, and to Eileen at Brown's for her willingness to give out "OON's" and to Jessica for arranging it for us.
Thanks also to Steve Gramiak for providing chicken and beef and all the trimmings at a very reasonable cost to OONA. 
We had a great time too and hope it becomes an annual tradition for OONA.
Bill and JoAnne & Bill Camann
2011 Road Rally planners
PS  There are still quite a number of "OON" stones available at the Yates Town Park!

Oak Orchard Watershed Protection Alliance, 4/13/2011

posted Apr 23, 2011, 5:10 AM by Lynne Menz

Tracy and Frank Panczyszyn attended a meeting of Oak Orchard Watershed Protection Alliance on April 13th, 2011, at the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension. In attendance were representatives of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Orleans County Pure Waters, NYS DEC, SUNY Brockport, US Gypsum, and Center for Environmental Protection (CEI). Most of this meeting was a presentation by CEI and NYS DEC on a study being prepared by CEI regarding the sources of excessive nutrients, especially phosphorus, in the Upper Oak Orchard Watershed, leading to impaired water quality, including algae bloom, weeds, and slime. The Upper Oak Orchard Watershed is south of Medina, north of I90, and west of Clarendon. It includes wetlands, farmland (crops and cattle), and most of the mucklands. The communities included in this area are Alabama, Oakfield, Elba, Barre, and Shelby. The largest single industry within this area with a significant discharge is US Gypsum.

The National Clean Water Act requires each state to identify waters within its boundaries not meeting water quality standards. Seven Water Sheds have been identified from the Niagara River to the St Lawrence, with Upper Oak Orchard as one of those watersheds. The Lower Oak Orchard Watershed, which includes Oak Orchard Creek north to Lake Ontario and tributaries east of the creek to Albion and Kendall, IS NOT one of the seven watersheds on the list to be studied. The most recent studies completed by CEI were the Upper and Lower Black Creek Watersheds. The purpose of the study is to quantify the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) of pollutants causing violation of applicable state and national water standards, identify sources of the pollutants, and recommend water quality improvement strategies for the watersheds.

It had been determined that phosphorus was a major pollutant in the Upper Oak Orchard Watershed. Data to quantify levels of phosphorus is difficult to come by, but studies made over the last few years indicate average levels of phosphorus measured at Shelby Center, representing 95% of the watershed outflow, is nearly 5 times greater than what is considered an acceptable standard. The estimate of phosphorus levels in the Black Creek Watersheds are already at, or only slightly higher than, the acceptable standard.

Based on computer modeling developed by CEI, the estimated sources of phosphorus into the Upper Oak Orchard Watershed are: 54% farm animals (animal waste from dairy farms), 21% point source (waste treatment facilities, US Gypsum), 10% cropland (crop fertilizer and phosphorus generated naturally by mucklands), 6% ground water (?), 4% tile drainage (?), 3% hay and pasture lands (fertilizer), 2% septic systems. CEI has made assumptions on how potential improvement strategies might impact the output of phosphorus from these sources, with an estimated result still 2 ½ times greater than the acceptable standard. An "unofficial" statement made by one of the presenters was that the total amount of phosphorus discharging into Lake Ontario is greater from Oak Orchard Creek than that from the Genesee River. Also, that the total amount of phosphorus found in the Lower Oak Orchard Watershed (OONA’s back yard) is extremely high, but since water flows are relatively high, the concentration of phosphorus (which is the Clean Water Act’s measurable standard) is lower than that standard. It is assumed that the large percentage of phosphorus in the Lower Watershed is generated in the Upper Watershed.

The report on this study is now in the draft stage, pending review by DEC, and will be available for public review and comment around September, 2011. The purpose of this presentation to the Alliance was to brief on the purpose and progress of the study and to solicit input from knowledgeable and interested parties. Some of the inputs made by those in attendance may lead to "tweaking" the computer model to lesson the impact of US Gypsum, increase the impact of naturally generated phosphorus from the mucklands, and add caution to the study on the significant impact of dairy farms.

An Update from Wayne Hale, County Planning and Tourism

posted Mar 9, 2011, 8:36 AM by Lynne Menz   [ updated Mar 9, 2011, 8:40 AM ]

One area of the Vision Plan I’m working on is the bicycle trail.  Last November Orleans County Tourism sponsored a workshop lead by Harvey Botzman of Rochester and author of several bicycle touring books; see   There will be up to 3 trails in the Point Breeze area, designated on a county bicycling map, following public roads (no signage at this time).  We’re digitizing the trails in our Geographic Information System now and this spring Harvey and I will tour each trail looking for any safety issues, rating condition, etc.  Our contracted ad designer will prepare the county map and I anticipate that for each trail a separate ‘cue sheet’ will be developed.  These are black & white trail maps indicating attractions and services on each. 

Regarding dredging, I attended a Corps of Engineers teleconference among Great Lakes harbors Feb. 10 and small harbor dredging in the future again is bleak.  Congress has not passed an appropriations bill for FY11 and will likely operate under Continuing Resolutions the rest of the year, with funding no greater than in FY10.  Funding for recreational harbor dredging is extremely doubtful.  Neither the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) Reform bills (S.3213, H.R.4844) or the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) passed.   These bills had specific provisions for dredging Lake Ontario small harbors.  And even though the Corps of Engineers lists Oak Orchard in need of dredging in 2011,there are no dredging projects funded for New York (even commercial harbors) in the president’s FY12 budget.

We’ll continue to work through the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition and support letters to our senators and representatives requesting they collectively support 1)a specific lump sum add for their harbors in the 2012 Appropriation, and 2)a 2011 WRDA that firewalls the HMTF and ensures the taxes collected each year are used 100% to maintain our federal harbors. 

The group of counties along Lake Ontario is beginning work on a Regional Dredging Plan for small harbors (federal and non-federal). The Plan is funded by a $35,000 NYS Dept. of State grant.  Our department has taken the lead and we kicked-off the project March 8 with a conference call among the partners and NYSDOS.  A Project Advisory Committee will be formed, and shortly an RFP will be issued to retain a consultant to: review existing channel data and conditions; evaluate dredging technology, costs and material disposal;  analyze economic impact of the harbors; and identify potential funding mechanisms.  A public participation element will gather local input throughout the planning process. The Plan will be presented to our state and federal representatives as our regional priorities for funding. 

Wayne Hale, Jr., Director
Orleans County Planning Dept.

Pen Rearing Project

posted Apr 13, 2010, 7:46 AM by Lynne Menz   [ updated Apr 16, 2010, 1:58 PM ]

The Oak Orchard pen-rearing project began in 1998 to help enhance fishing success from this long-standing prestigious port on Lake Ontario. Once started, the program was soon assessed by the DEC for success. Through their survey process it was determined that survival of pen reared fish as compared to the direct stocking process was improved by 4-1. Also this process improves the homing instinct of these fish to return to the Oak Orchard River.

This year's project has already begun with the construction of the net pens at Lake Breeze Marina on Saturday, April 3rd. Some time next week (week of April 18th) we will be receiving 105,000 Chinook salmon fingerlings and 14,000 Steelhead yearlings delivered to Lake Breeze Marina to be placed in these pens for our care. The process will take between 3-4 weeks to complete in which time we will be feeding the fish 4-5 times a day and cleaning the pens 2 times a week, helping the fish to grow and imprint on the Oak Orchard River. What we do this year and next will help secure the success of the Oak Orchard area for the near future and beyond.

If you are interested in helping with this project, the most important task is fish feeding. Please contact Lake Breeze Marina after April 19th at 682-3995 to sign up to help.
~Robert Songin, Pen Rearing Chairman
Update (4/16/10):  We will be receiving 105,000 Salmon fingerling and 14,000 Steelhead yearlings this coming Monday the 19th of April at 12:30PM at Lake Breeze Marina. If you have never seen this before come by and give us a hand. Also at that time anyone interested in feeding fish over the next few weeks can signup at the Lake Breeze office to take a time. It is easy to do and only takes 5 min.

Migration Celebration Raises over $600 for Paws!

posted Apr 1, 2010, 5:58 AM by Lynne Menz   [ updated Apr 2, 2010, 5:30 AM ]

Feathers were flying as 75 runners and waddlers flocked to Point Breeze on the first day of spring to celebrate the 1st annual Migration Celebration & Running of the Birds 5K Fun Run and Waddle. Several feathered friends were in attendance including Mother Goose, a very large chicken, a flock of "Freebirds", a Cardinal, a Bluebird and a few hot Chicks. The official "pace nest" featured parrot Robyn Tufts and chickadee Brandon Brown. Runners were greeted on the first wing of the race by bagpiper Roger "Buzz" Cox.

The celebration was the first event of the season organized by the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association. They teamed up with Healthy Communities Capacity Building Project of Orleans County and Albion High School Physical Education Teacher and Track Coach Mark Hryvniak to organize the Fun Run. $626.73 in proceeds was raised for Paws of Orleans County to help control the feral cat population. Event Coordinator, Lynne Menz, (left) presented the check to Paws representative, Yvonne Waterhouse (right).

The first place runners awarded in the Women's division were:

1) Trisha Byler: 17:40
2) Kimberly Mills: 17:59
3) Grace Rich: 20:09
4) Anna Rich: 20:14
5) Rebecca Atwell: 21:07

The first place runners awarded in the Men's division were:

1) David Rapplayea: 15:29
2) Bryan Deibel: 15:30
3) Theiron Sheik: 16:10
4) Joshua Platt: 16:57
5) Zach Nielans: 17:55

Click here to view the race results in PDF format. (Also listed on our Documentation page.)

The "Best Bird in Show" was awarded to "chickadee" Brandon Brown, 10, of Alexander, NY.

The celebration continued at the Black North with an outstanding performance by local musicians, The Blind Leading the Blind. Besides the event organizers, the contributors included Road ID, Lynne Menz Designs, Black North Inn, Lighthouse Restaurant, Captains Cove Resort, 4 C’s Marina, LARD Associates, DA Tufts Construction, Stasko Insurance, Genesee Feeds, MMHCS Community Partners, Sports Graphics, Fleet Feet Rochester, Brown’s Berry Patch, Xpress Fitness, Little Ceasar’s Pizza, Orleans Transit Service, OC Cornell Cooperative Extension, Point Breeze Yacht Club and the Orleans County Bluebird Society. Face painting was offered by Lynne Gambel and performance by "the Blind Leading the Blind". THANK YOU, CONTRIBUTORS & VOLUNTEERS!
Enjoy the following photos by contributors Ben Jones, Dave Yong, Michelle Stanton Jones, Robyn Tufts & Lynne Menz.
 Stay tuned for the Fall of 2010 Celebration and the Salmon Run!

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