The Year in Review - A Recap of the Year 2000

The Year in Review - A Recap of the Year 2000

We greeted the year 2000 with a great deal of uncertainty not knowing if that dreaded Y2K bug would wreak havoc with the world’s computers. But January 1 came and went and all was well...we could still surf the internet.

As we look back on this first year of the new millennium, what are the events we will remember? The saga of Elian Gonzalez, the Mets versus Yankees Subway Series, the ongoing presidential election fiasco? Perhaps. Or, will we remember the local events that, while not as sensational, impacted the lives of our neighbors and friends? The fire that destroyed Hilton’s Canning Street Square including the beloved Craft-Antique Co-op, the visit from the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall, the closing of the Spencerport Jubilee grocery store, or the SUNY Brockport Golden Eagles undefeated football season. Take a look back at the local events that made this historic year 2000 a year to remember.


•Caitlin Marie Fronkowiak was Lakeside Memorial Hospital’s millennium baby. Parents Debra Arataro and Jerry Fronkowiak welcomed the baby at 8:19 a.m. on January 1, 2000.

•The Brockport Central School District’s new administration building opened just southwest of Ginther Elementary School, freeing up space in the high school for a growing student population.

•Hilton Central School District welcomed new district Superintendent John Cooper. He spent his first two weeks on the job getting to know students and staff.

•The Chili Town Board voted 3-2 to eliminate the position of Parks and Recreation Director Ron Fodge in spite of over 200 protestors accusing the board and Supervisor Stephen Hendershott of political wrongdoing.

•The Churchville-Chili School District voted in favor of a $30.9 million building and renovation project to upgrade the district’s schools.

•It was a very snowy January, as snow fell nearly every day causing problems for area road crews.


•Gala performances over three days marked the opening of SUNY Brockport’s new dance theater and studios in the college’s preserved and renewed Hartwell Hall.

•Hamlin Ambulance celebrated 50 years of volunteerism.

•LeRoy attorney Bob Fussell published his first novel “Human-itis B, Family at War.” Some of the novel’s action takes place at SUNY Brockport.

•On February 8 the New York State Board of Regents granted a charter to Hamlin Library. The new library was expected to open in late spring.

•Richard Ambeau, the longest serving fire chief in Gates, was honored for his 50 years of service to the Gates Chili Fire Department.

•Jeannie Nielsen, assistant principal of the Churchville Elementary School, retired after 33 years with the district.

•There was controversy in Bergen and Sweden over a power line that Bergen wanted to construct from the Niagara Mohawk main lines on Fourth Section Road down West Sweden Road through the Village of Bergen. Construction of the lines would have required easements from all property owners along the route. Some residents felt bullied and harassed by Bergen village representatives attempting to secure the easements.


•Gina Tojek was named Spencerport Village Administrator March 1 after the village board of trustees passed two new local laws establishing the position and its residency requirements (the administrator doesn’t have to live in the village or even Monroe County as long as they live in a neighboring county).

•Century old stained glass windows were removed from the First Congregational Church, The White Church, in Spencerport. The windows were taken to Stained Glass Resources’ Pittsburgh facility for repair and restoration. The project was funded by the estate donation of the late Clark Kunes. The restored windows were returned to the White Church in July.

•Voters in the Spencerport School District gave their approval on a $46.9 million building and renovation project, including the addition of classrooms, construction of a new elementary school and a new athletic field.

•The Bank of Castile celebrated the opening of its Chili branch and donated $500 to the Gates Chili Lions Club Chili Playground Fund.

•The Spencerport Post Office on South Union Street closed on Saturday, March 25, after more than 30 years at that location. The post office reopened on Monday, March 27, at a newly constructed facility at 11 Amity Street. The official ribbon-cutting wasn’t held until September.


•Trimmer Road in Spencerport was designated a POW-MIA Memorial Highway.

•Station #2 of the Brockport Volunteer Fire Department was officially activated on April 2. It was the first station to be located in the Town of Clarkson. It was officially dedicated on September 9 during the Clarkson Good Neighbor Day festivities.

•The Hilton community was devastated by the loss of Canning Street Square which was completely destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of April 8. The building was an area attraction that housed the Craft-Antique Co-op, The Greenery, Impeccable Baskets, Bo’z Cards and Collectibles, The Village Photographer and more. The fire occurred three weeks after the Co-op celebrated its 10th Anniversary, and just two days after the Grand Opening of Hair Envy, also located in the building.

•Pettis Pools and Patios was honored by AQUA Magazine as one of the Top 100 businesses in the spa and pool industry.

•The second annual Max’s Mardi Gras Parade was held April 29 in the Village of Brockport.


•Brockport adopted a third party billing system for its ambulance service to go into effect on July 1. Under the new system, commercial ambulances bill the village for services and Brockport contracted with Med-Ex, who will seek reimbursement from both Medicare and insurance companies.

•Kendall businessman Kevin Noon offered to donate 37 acres of land to the Kendall Central School District for use in expanding athletic playing fields and construction of a new bus garage. The donation was contingent on voter approval of funds necessary to build the garage and playing fields.

•Volunteers were tending to 25,000 Chinook salmon and 5,000 Steelhead trout as part of the pen-rearing project at Sandy Creek. Volunteers hoped that by raising the fingerlings in Sandy Creek, the fish would return to the area to spawn in three years.

•Hubbard Park was re-opened. It was the first park to be completed in the joint venture between the Town of Chili and the Chili Lions Club.

•Reverend G. Rheanolte LeBarbour retired from the ministry. He had served as pastor of Hilton Baptist Church since 1980.

•The Spencerport Chamber of Commerce inducted the first six high school juniors and seniors into their new Youth Hall of Fame. Those inducted were Katherine Burel, Amy Knight, Scott Ellsworth, Andrew Peer, Kimberly Goddard and Scott Tronolone.


•James Green, the Spencerport Central School District’s representative to the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Board of Education, retired having served a total of 40 years as a school board member.

•Hilton Agway closed as part of the Agway Company’s decision to close many company owned stores in favor of having independent dealers of Agway products.

•Spencerport High School business teacher Mike Blackwell was named the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year by the Greece Wal-Mart store.

•The Seymour Building was dedicated to the department of public works crew that helped with the restoration and preservation of the building. The Village of Brockport moved its municipal offices into the first floor of the building.

•The Daisy House Adult Home for senior citizens needing help with daily living, but not needing nursing care, opened. What sets Daisy House apart from other facilities is that it is located in a private home with only five bedrooms, and its focus is on promoting socialization.


•In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall went on display for one week at the Ferris Goodridge Post 330 of the American Legion in Spencerport.

•Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse celebrated its 125th Anniversary with a full weekend of events.

•The new Hamlin Public Library opened on July 10.

•Rita Reber Carney published the book “Me and My One-Room Schoolhouse,” an account of growing up in rural Riga and attending District #5 School which was located on Attridge Road in Riga.

•The Town of Clarendon gave permission for the construction of a memorial gazebo on the east lawn of the Town Hall. The project was partially funded through a Buy-A-Brick program. A groundbreaking for the Clarendon Memorial Gazebo was held in September.

•Spencerport Lions Club elected Kathy Hare as the first female president in the club’s 45-year history.

•The Churchville Village Board passed the “Action Awareness Plan” to address the village’s recent problems with vandalism by encouraging witnesses to report any such activity.

•Pavilion State Bank opened its North Chili branch.

•Volunteers built the first phase of a new handicapped accessible playground at Utica and Holley Streets in Brockport.


•The Village of Spencerport celebrated the dedication of the Lester Merz Memorial Park on August 13. The park, which was funded by an endowment from the village’s former mayor, includes a large clock and a picnic pavilion alongside the canal.

•The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was searching for information about the murder of 83 year-old Parma resident Jean McAllister, who was bludgeoned to death in her home.

•First Bible Baptist Church and the Town of Greece celebrated the Grand Opening of the Grace and Truth Sports Park on North Greece Road.

•The Garland Methodist Church celebrated its 175th Anniversary.

•U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and Holley Mayor Bud Passarell participated in the dedication and ribbon cutting for Holley’s Canal Park. The park’s nature trail was officially named in Cuomo’s honor.

•The Cobblestone Society in Childs celebrated its 40th Anniversary year with a new addition to their collection – a 1909 Monroe County Board of Elections voting booth which was donated to the group by the Town of Hamlin.

•Spencerport Village Administrator Gina Tojek resigned just four months after being named to the new position during which she endured public protest and debate over her appointment and salary.

•Monroe County submitted legislation for a New York State Thruway exit in Chili. Many Chili residents vehemently opposed the proposition.


•The Bergen Volunteer Fire Department secured funding from the state, the community and local industry Agrilink Foods to purchase a thermal camera to assist in rescues.

•The Hilton Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of two local laws enabling the village to form its own gas and electric utilities pending voter approval on November 14.

•Little League Baseball Commissioner Chris Daily was honored for his 18 years of service to the little league and his commitment to the more than 7,635 players he presided over during his career.

•The 15 year-old wooden playground equipment at Spencerport’s Pineway Ponds Park was demolished. New metal playground equipment went up beginning the next week.

•The Roberts Wesleyan College-Community Orchestra celebrated their 15th year by performing a free concert.

•Hilton celebrated the fall apple harvest with their 20th Annual Apple Fest.

•The Sweden Senior Center held an open house to show off the new addition to their building as well as to celebrate the center’s 20th Anniversary. The 2,816 square foot addition was required in order to accommodate the diverse interests of area seniors.


•Churchville Trustees decided to have a retention pond in the Black Watch Hills development on South Main Street filled in and made into a detention pond after neighbors complained that the pond had degenerated into a stagnant mosquito-breeding pool of mud. Work on the project was not scheduled to begin until the summer of 2001.

•Tim Rowe took over as interim Supervisor in Riga following Ron Horton’s resignation from the post. Horton was charged with indecent exposure for urinating in a public park and had pled guilty to the charge. In a letter to the editor, Horton said, “My departure as town supervisor was an attempt to avoid embarassment on the part of my family...and not an admission of guilt.”

•Construction was ongoing at most of the Brockport Central Schools as part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation project.

•The Chili Art Group celebrated its 40th Anniversary, and to show their appreciation to the Town of Chili and its residents, group members worked on a Millennium Quilt Project. The artists in the group each did paintings in their own style that depicted a part of Chili’s history. The picture were then mounted together in a frame and placed on permanent display at the Chili Public Library.

•Capen Hose Fire Company was in the process of raising funds to restore its 1905 building which is home to one of Brockport’s five fire companies and well as a firefighters museum.

•The William Maher Memorial Lodge at the new park on Sanford Road in Riga was dedicated on October 25. Maher served on the town’s recreation commission until his death in 1995.


•The SUNY Brockport Golden Eagles football team finished their season undefeated for the first time in school history. The Golden Eagles were also selected to host the NCAA Division III Tournament playoff game Thanksgiving weekend.

•Hundreds of migrating Monarch butterflies washed up on the beach at Troutberg just west of Hamlin Beach. It is believed that the butterflies were killed by a sudden drop in temperature.

•Seven months after being destroyed by fire, the Craft-Antique Co-op announced it plans to re-open at the old Ruby Gordon Furniture building at 3200 Ridge Road West, next to Max Pies Carpet. Renovations on the building began in early November as vendors hoped to re-open soon.

•Spencerport Jubilee grocery store announced that it was going out of business and closed its doors on November 15 leaving the village of Spencerport without a grocery store for the first time in many decades. Village residents were left wondering where they would shop.

•Three Spencerport firefighters – Bill Hallinan, Ray Young and Matt Palermo – were recognized for their bravery while responding to a fatal house fire on Brower Road in Ogden in August.

•For the first time ever, the Erie Canal was being “strategically dewatered” by having canal water controllably drained into area streams and creeks to support the region’s sport fishing.

•The Spencerport Board of Education named Phillip Langton as the district’s new superintendent on November 21. Langton, currently superintendent at Manchester-Shortsville (Red Jacket) Central Schools, is expected to assume his new position by the beginning of February. Langton replaces Dr. Richard Timbs, who is now district superintendent for Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.


•Construction began on a new 30,000 square foot facility on West Ridge Road for Spencerport Building Materials Inc. The company opened in 1971 and its current expansion project is to allow room for more specialty retail items.

•Grand Opening celebrations were held for two new businesses on Spencerport’s main street – Evelyn’s Ambry women’s clothing store and Union St. Primitives craft and antique store – during the village’s annual Christmas on the Canal festivities.

•SUNY Brockport women’s soccer coach Joan Schockow, who led her team to the semifinals of both the SUNYAC and ECAC Upstate New York tournaments, was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas New York/Northeast Coach of the Year for 2000.

•In response to the Monroe County Water Authority raising water rates in the Town of Sweden for the second time in two years, the town announced increased water rates beginning January 1, 2001. In 2000, the Town of Sweden, which provides the distribution of the water, did not pass on the rate increase to consumers. In 2001, Sweden will pass the eight cents per thousand gallon increase on plus an additional seven cents per thousand gallons to cover last year's increase. The new water rate will be $2.65 per thousand gallons and $19.88 per thousand cubic feet.

•History was made in Hamlin on December 9 when Ryan and Erin Moses lit the tree at the town's first annual tree lighting ceremony sponsored by The Friends of the Hamlin Public Library.

•Basel's Restaurant, on Ridge Road, was destroyed by fire December 10. It took firefighters about an hour Sunday night, beginning at 9:40 p.m. to bring the blaze under control. The fire rekindled Monday morning at about 4 a.m. It took firefighters about an hour and a half to bring the second blaze under control. The restaurant was closed at the time of both fires and no one was injured. Owner George Sidou plans to rebuild as soon as possible