By HOWARD BALABAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Medina Journal-Register — POINT BREEZE — Members of the World Fishing Network visited Point Breeze on Wednesday morning to present the spoils of victory.
The small community within the Town of Carlton recently won the title of Ultimate Fishing Town, and all that goes with it.
“This proves that great things do indeed come in small packages,” said Mike Waterhouse, Orleans County Sportfishing Coordinator, to a crowd of people on hand for an award ceremony.
“It really says something that out of over 700 towns, Point Breeze is number one,” he said.
Both state and county officials were on hand for the festive announcement. Representative Steve Hawley said one of his fondest memories was of fishing on Lake Ontario with his son, and he called Point Breeze a Western New York treasure. Orleans County Legislature Chairman Dave Callard said he was thrilled to have the title within the county limits.
“We’ll work towards keeping that title, and we’ll look to add embellishments to what we have here,” Callard said.
State Sen. George Maziarz said he felt doubly lucky because Olcott won the title last year, and that community is also in his district. Regarding Point Breeze’s win, Maziarz said it was a great way to enhance community pride.
“It really takes a combined effort to win something like this, and with the award I’m sure you’ll make this an even more beautiful spot,” he said.
WFN’s Mariko Izumi presented Point Breeze with a $25,000 and a trophy. She said seeing a small community snag such an honor was not too shocking.
“I grew up around anglers, and so it’s not surprising to see such a supportive and enthusiastic bunch,” she said.
Izumi said the proximity of Olcott and Point Breeze was merely a coincidence. (In fact, several people mentioned that up until the last minute of voting this year, Cape Hatteras held the lead.) She said the awarded money has gone toward conservation efforts in the past.
Sharon Narburgh, Point Breeze’s original nominator, said she had some friends in Niagara County who helped her start a grassroots campaign to help Point Breeze on the path to victory.
“Once we got going we had people voting from all over,” she grinned. Narburgh did note, however, that WFN is not carried on Time Warner, and she planned on looking into that.
Meanwhile, Carlton’s elected leadership could not stop smiling Wednesday morning.
“This was a concerted effort for our community,” said Deputy Supervisor Joyce Harris. “Everyone pitched in.”
Harris specifically mentioned the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association and she thanked Gene and Joey Haines for the use of their home for the award ceremony. She explained how one person could vote up to four times per day, and how Narburgh made sure to call her every so often to see if she voted.
The win made it worth it, she said, because “$25,000 toward promoting fishing is big.”
Carlton Supervisor Gail Ashbery said the win is “fantastic” because tourism plays a large role in Carlton’s economy. Now, with Point Breeze on the national map, more people are bound to show up.
The community, though, she said is “very tight-knit, and when we get involved with a project, we go full steam ahead.”
Ashbery said she was “ecstatic” about the recognition for Point Breeze, and she said in the coming weeks and months ahead a committee will be formed to gather community input so a decision can be made on how to best put the $25,000 to use.
“I can’t wait to see what gets done,” she said.