The Bright Side: 10 Best ‘Feel Good’ Stories of 2016

LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Livingston County residents will never forget how 2016 felt like one tragic blow after another. Many felt that unprecedented murder, disaster, drought and loss seemed to repeatedly stain the county without rhyme or reason.

But we residents have not forgotten the bright side. Here are 10 times that the bright side of 2016’s news lit the region on the

Sun Beat

Coyote Moon Winery . BLACK FRIDAY 24th 4to 7


Chichester Delivers, Qualifies for Olympic Trials with Jacksonville Half Marathon Performance. On Jan. 3, Livingston County native, Mount Morris resident and SUNY Geneseo Alumnus Tim Chichester qualified for the Olympic Trials at the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon. Chichester 1:04:56 half time, meeting the qualifications by 4 seconds after 13.1 miles.

‘Memphis Belle’ Returns Home to National Warplane Museum in Geneseo. On Feb. 18, the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo accepted a flying piece of military and cinematic history with open arms. The ‘Movie Memphis Belle’ famously appeared on the big screen portraying the first B-17 bomber to survive 25 missions. She gracefully landed on the grass runway in Geneseo, which the Museum carefully cleared from deep under snow. The Belle is currently undergoing several major maintenance procedures but the plan is to have her back in the skies before long to honor the nation’s veterans. See our exclusive video package on the arrival at the link above. The new arrival comes at a time when the Museum is ramping up activities and hosting events every month in addition to their nationally-acclaimed summer airshow.

Avon’s Outpouring at Duffy’s Raises Over $6,400 for Mom Fighting Cancer. Starting in April, Avon rallied around a struggling family to raise money for Pam and Casey Edwards and their three daughters, Allison, Emily and Vanessa with several community events. Soccer and euchre tournaments that served as hosts for 50/50 raffles and smaller fundraisers were not only a beautiful display of community love but were a lot of fun to boot.

Dansville Police Revive Overdosing Man Who Fell from Tractor. On April 28, Dansville Police Officer Shannon Griese saved the life of a man in North Dansville who fell from a tractor in his yard and stopped breathing due to a drug overdose. Griese, in conjunction with Dansville EMS, administered a dose of Narcan, which improved the man’s condition and let him sit up and start breathing on his own. Livingston County Sheriff’s Office Captain Norm Zeh later sent an email thanking Griese for his quick, effective action on scene.

WATCH: Hiker Nudges Black Rattlesnake from Letchworth State Park Road. On May 23, Ken Wallace, who has maybe walked more of Letchworth State Park than anyone alive, bumped into a black-phase timber rattlesnake sunning itself in the road. Not one to abandon a naive wild creature to be prematurely killed by a passing car, Wallace gently nudged the fierce-looking snake off into the weeds. The kicker was that he recorded the whole thing on video, available at the above link.

Geneseo’s Euro Café Serves Polish Food in Double the Space. On Aug. 31, we reported that business partners Margaret Zdzieszynski and Krystyna Skrzypek’s dream had come true and their restaurant, previously a tiny pocket in Geneseo’s Main Street, was expanding to a new Main Street location with double the space. The expansion came just two and a half years after the pair began pouring their hearts and souls into making the traditional meals and baked goods of Poland, their birth country. Patrons from across and beyond Livingston County continue to pack the restaurant and enjoy their unique, delicious dishes.

Honeoye Falls-Lima Wins Nation’s Highest Honor. On Nov. 8, the Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District announced that it was chosen as the recipient of the prestigious 2016 National Blue Ribbon Award. This is considered the most prestigious award that a school can achieve in the United States. The National Blue Ribbon School Award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes winning schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Drought Reveals Letchworth’s ‘Hidden Indian.’ on Oct. 3, Letchworth State Park visitor Ann Liberatore noticed a legendary but seldom-seen watcher in the waters of the Middle Falls. She snapped a clear-as-day photo of the ‘Hidden Indian,’ a rock shelf that has an uncanny resemblance to a human face. It is very rarely seen as the waters roar over it, but this year’s drought dropped water levels so low that it was exposed for just awhile. No one knows when it will be seen again.

Smitten Internet Finds Letchworth’s Mystery Couple to Deliver Candid Pics. On Oct. 15, photographer Melody Jett happened to be taking some nature photos on a pier at Letchworth’s Trout Pond when she saw a young man suddenly pop the question to his girlfriend on a neighboring pier. She took some touching shots but didn’t have a way to let the distant couple know that she had captured their moment, let alone pass along the photos to them. Enter the internet. Over the next few hours, the photos and Jett’s posts spread like wildfire through dozens of Facebook profiles and group pages, passionately hunting for the young lovers. Within 24 hours, the internet put the Buffalo couple, Matthew Lucarelli and his fiancée, Jackie Krajacic, in touch with Jett.

Avon Football Star Signs Pro Contract. On Dec. 16, we published our sports reporter Ken Sherwood’s exclusive Q and A with Avon native and rising football star Brandon Fuentes, who signed a contract with the High Country Grizzlies of the National Arena League.