Before it used Lake Ontario, Albion’s water plant was next to canal

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 30 September 2014
ALBION – In this picture from the 1950s we see the Albion municipal water system, pumping station and treatment plant which was located just west of the village, north of the Erie Canal.

Pools of water are being aired here for purification. This came from wells and Otter Creek before the present water treatment plant on Lake Ontario opened in the early 1960s.

The original Albion Water Works Co. was organized in 1887 with water being distributed for domestic use in the fall of 1888. An iron standpipe (water tower) was part of this system and was located on South Main Street and Allen Road. A second standpipe was added in the mid-1930s.

Laverne Kimball was the plant superintendent when our photo was taken. He and his wife Iva lived in the two-story brick residence that appears in the background.


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Lockout lifted at Holley after stabbing at Brockport college

Staff reports Posted 30 September 2014
BROCKPORT – Holley Central School had heightened security this morning after a Brockport student was stabbed at about 9 a.m. and the suspect fled on a bicycle.


Holley was in lockout from about 10:30 a.m. until the precautionary measure was lifted at about noon.

The suspect in the stabbing is believed to have headed east on a bicycle and was seen at Northampton Park, the direction opposite of Holley from Brockport.

The student stabbed has been identified as David Medina of Rochester. He went into surgery and is in stable condition at Strong Memorial Hospital, Time Warner Cable News is reporting.

Police are looking for a suspect described as a black male with a thin build, 5-foot 7-inches tall, wearing a black jacket.

Anyone with information about the suspect is urged to call 911.


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Owner seeks buyer to continue Curvin’s

Photo by Tom Rivers
John Grimes believes Curvin’s News on Main Street in Medina can be a profitable business. He wants to retire and sell the business after operating it the past 19 years.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2014
MEDINA – It looked like Curvin’s News was closing about a month ago, but owner John Grimes is giving the store more life – but not for long.

Grimes has owned and operated the business the past 19 years. He wants to retire and is looking for a buyer for the business.

“I’m old and out of ideas,” he said. “If someone has an idea they could make a decent amount of business. I think things could be done to make it more profitable.”

Grines is asking $50,000 “or reasonable offer” for Curvin’s, which has been a part of Medina for nearly a century.

Grimes thought he had a buyer for the business but that didn’t come to fruition. He is also trying to sell the next-door video store.

Grimes ran the businesses with his wife Barb. She died on Feb. 12, 2012 at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Grimes said he has struggled to run the businesses without his wife.

He nearly shut down the business two years ago after a former employee stole about $65,000 worth of lottery tickets.

Curvin’s has long been a popular gathering place for residents. Grimes is hopeful a buyer will step forward and there will be a new generation of Curvin’s for the community.

He welcomes prospective buyers to give him a call at 798-4745 or stop by the store at 540 Main St.


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5 historic sites on 98 join for ‘Museum Crawl’ on Saturday

Provided photo
Three of the five museum leaders are pictured for the Museum Crawl from Batavia to Point Breeze on Saturday. Pictured, from left, include Amy Vlack from the Elba Historical Society Museum, Jeff Donahue from the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia, and Sarah Karas from The Cobblestone Museum.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2014
Five historic sites along Route 98, from Batavia to Point Breeze, are joining for their first “Museum Crawl” on Saturday. Participants can buy one ticket for $5 and get access to all five sites.

The museums all tell an American story, from the birthplace of Western New York at the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia to sites that showcase architecture, home life, agriculture, a schoolhouse and even outhouses from more than a century ago.

“I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to partner with some of the local historical organizations in our community,” said Sarah Karas, co-director of the Cobblestone Museum. “It is a great way to support each other.”

The Cobblestone Museum includes several historic structures. The museum has been declared a National Historic Landmark. The Holland Land Office Museum also has that lofty designation.

The DAR House in Albion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That site will be included on the Museum Crawl, and so will the Elba Historical Society Museum and Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum.

Photo by Tom Rivers

The Cobblestone Museum is a National Historic Landmark, the only site in Orleans County with that status from the U.S. Departent of the Interior.

Karas highlighted some of the features from each site:

• The Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum, completed in 2010, is the first lighthouse built on the Great Lakes in 100 years.

• The Cobblestone Museum preserves the unique cobblestone masonry style and life during the 1800s.

• The Orleans County Chapter DAR House is a Greek revival building with period furnishings and contains early Orleans County artifacts.

• The Elba Historical Society Museum is full of local artifacts and information, including the designation as the location of the first rural mail route in the country.

• The Holland Land Office Museum, which occupies the historic Holland Land Office Company Building, contains a rich history of how Western New York was settled.


“Each museum brings their own unique charm to the tour,” Karas said. “None of them are the same, so you will be learning something new at each one.”

The crawl runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, with the exception of the DAR House, which will be open from 12:30 to 5 p.m. for the event. (The DAR House will be open at 11:30 a.m. for a presentation on the Clarendon Historical Society and Cobblestone Museum’s efforts to restore a red fox that was stuffed 134 years ago by famed taxidermist Carl Akeley when he was only 16. The Cobblestone Museum owns the Akeley fox.)

Photo by Tom Rivers

The DAR House, at the corner of Route 98 and Linwood Avenue, will be open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Museum Crawl.


"This will be a great opportunity to learn about local history," said Diane Palmer, vice regent for the DAR and also a board member for the Cobblestone Museum. "People can stop by places they may have intended to visit but haven't taken the time."


The Cobblestone Museum is also hosting children’s author Cynthia Cotten for a book signing. Her book “Window Across Time” will be available for purchase at the museum. Cotton lives along the canal in Lockport. Her book spans almost two centuries, and consists of eight stories linked together by a cobblestone house in a fictional small town on the Erie Canal. Through the eyes of the young people who live there, readers get a look inside (or a window to) both large and small moments in the history of the house, Western New York and the United States.


Passbooks for the Crawl are $5 per person or $10 per family. They can be purchased pre-sale or day of the event at each museum and two local participating businesses: Bindings Bookstore in Albion and Chap’s Diner in Elba.


Participants will have their passbook stamped at each museum. Once all five stamps are collected, a certificate will be given that can be redeemed at one of the five local restaurants offering special promotions for Crawl participants. The restaurants participating this year include Oliver’s Candies, Chap’s Diner, The Crooked Door, Tillman’s Village Inn and the Black North. Crawl finishers will also be entered to win a souvenir basket from each museum.


The museums can be visited in any order at any time throughout the day. However, organizers suggest starting at either the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum or the Holland Land Office Museum and working your way through the museums in a linear fashion.

“It is a great way to get out and support your local museums, culture, and history while also having a good time.,” Karas said. “We hope to expand it out next year to make it even bigger and better.”


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Medina ghost-hunting group reveals findings

Photos by Sue Cook

Joey Robinson, left, explains the audio clip they are playing. Matt Roeseler operates the laptop and Brian Bogan provides extra information.


By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 30 September 2014

MEDINA – The Medina Area Paranormal Society (MAPS) revealed their ghost-hunt findings at a talk at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library last night for more than 75 people.

The group conducted investigations at three locations in Medina: the Greek Revival at 107 Pearl Street, NAPA Auto Parts and the Medina Historical Society.


Catherine Cooper is the director of the Lee-Whedon Library and is a board member of the Medina Historical Society. She invited the MAPS group to reveal their findings to the public to generate interest in the history and because the Halloween season is approaching. MAPS was invited to each location because the owners of each location were experiencing something they believed to be paranormal.


The Historical Society has hosted cemetery tours and ghost walks, with the events drawing good-size crowds. Cooper said there is community interest in the paranormal.


MAPS originally started in 2008 with seven members, when the group members were in high school. As time went on and graduation approached, they disbanded. In 2013, Joey Robinson and Matt Roeseler decided to reform the group and included Brian Bogan and Scott Barber in the four-person team.


“These guys got interested in doing their own research here locally so we asked them last year to speak,” Cooper said. “They've done more research this year and so we invited them back. We like the fact that there are young people interested in investigating the past and they're using new technology to support their interests. They're very professional.”


MAPS was inspired by watching the television show “Ghost Hunters” and uses similar equipment to conduct their own investigations. They use tape recorders, flashlights, temperature gauges, a camera and K-II meters, which measure electromagnetic fields.


They have also made some of their own equipment such as a full-spectrum camera, which captures non-visible light; an electromagnetic field generator, which is thought to possibly energize spirits; and a ghost box.


Roeseler explained the ghost box, saying, “There's a lot of different variations of it, but we've got a radio that scans through the stations really quickly. I put it in a foil box so it cuts down on the actual voices coming through so it's more white noise and more validation.”


The Medina Historical Society welcomed MAPS back into its building at 406 West Ave. for a second time. The museum was built in 1841 and belonged to the Merritt family. It was turned into the Town of Ridgeway building and eventually became a museum.


“I'm sure over time people have died there because it was a home and people tended to die at home in the past,” Cooper said. “I think the reason that the Historical Society might be haunted is that we have a collection of items that were of personal use and personal interest and had attachment to people that have gone on. I can only surmise.”

Provided photo
A strange mist was captured in the front room of the Medina Historical Society, across the hall from the war room. Their K-II electromagnetic meter was stating they had a high reading and this was photographed at the same time.


“At the Historical Society, some of the members would be very skeptical and others would be believers,” Cooper said. “Of the believers, a few of the board members attest to having seen a person in the kitchen.”


MAPS also investigated the NAPA Auto Parts building. It was constructed in the 1830s and held a jail cell in the basement. There were also more upper apartments, but a fire destroyed them. At least one death has occurred in the building, but possibly more.


“The owner has the upstairs apartment,” Joey Robinson said. “We validated some of the stuff he's heard go on there, like he says he hears knocks all the time and these unexplained footsteps.”


The Greek Revival building on Pearl Street was constructed in the 1850s and served as a rooming house for a while. There was a murder at the location in the 1980s.

MAPS captured electronic voice phenomena (EVPs) at all three locations. EVPs are voices of supposed spirits captured on a recording device that can be heard during playbacks. Many of the recordings are cryptic in nature because the voices are quiet and words can't always be heard clearly.


Some of the more distinct recordings this year included children's laughter at the Historical Society and a male voice at NAPA that is possibly saying, “What have I got in my pocket?” The Greek Revival produced an EVP of male voice saying “hey” and another of a little girl saying “matches” in response to the members trying to find matches in the room.

The audience listens intently to the clips, trying to determine what is being said in them.


Other sounds the group recorded are footsteps and banging. All the evidence is scrutinized and people may interpret the evidence differently. Much of it can be left to personal interpretation and some people may be highly skeptical of it.


The group works hard to find scientific explanations that may disprove the evidence as well. They have disproved some experiences as light from car headlights, sounds from plumbing or exterior noise. Exposed electrical wiring can even create an electromagnetic field that can cause the brain to send signals to make a person feel like they are being watched or even experiencing something paranormal.


“People can contact us,” said Robinson. “If someone calls and says they have something in their house, we'll come and investigate their house. As of right now, we've done commercial business areas and the museum, but we're willing to branch out and do other places around here. We like it enough we'll probably be doing this for a little while, so wherever it goes, it goes.”


To contact MAPS, visit the group's Facebook page by clicking here.


Historical Society members also welcome people to join them on the last Monday of every month at the Lee-Whedon Library to learn more about local history.


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Several are sentenced to jail or prison for drug crimes

Medina man, 74, gets a year in county jail
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 September 2014
ALBION – Orleans County Court Judge James Punch sentenced several drug criminals to either county jail or state prison today, including a 74-year-old Medina man.

Angel Gonzalez of Ricky Place pleaded guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. He faced a maximum of 2 ½ years in state prison. His attorney, Nathan Pace, asked the judge to keep Gonzalez out of jail or prison due to his age and declining health.

Punch said he doesn’t like to use a defendant’s illness as a reason for avoiding jail. If a defendant is well enough to commit a crime, the judge said the defendant should be able to serve time behind bars.

Gonzalez admitted to selling hydrocodone, his prescribed medication for pain relief, to make money. He has a “disturbing criminal history,” Punch said.

“I don’t think probation is appropriate,” the judge said in handing down a sentence of one year in jail and one year of post-release supervision.

In other cases:

• A former resident of West Park Street in Albion was sentenced to a year in state prison with a recommendation from Judge Punch for shock camp.

Tyriek Johnson, 26, now lives in Fairport. He is a first-time offender. He could have been sentenced to up to 9 years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third and fifth degrees.

Johnson has his own business and has been respectful in court, his attorney Matthew Parrinello told the judge.

In a previous court appearance, Johnson said he was trying to sell cocaine in Albion on March 14, 2013. He said he was driving on Platt and Ingersoll streets, looking to sell the drug.

Johnson apologized to his family for getting into trouble with the law. He asked the judge for leniency.

“You were heavily involved in the drug trade around here,” Punch told Johnson. “You need to learn some discipline. You made the community a worse place by spreading these toxic substances around here.”

• Michael Nellist, 35, of East Center Street in Medina was sentenced to the maximum 1 ½ years in state prison for selling marijuana. He has prior drug and driving while intoxicated charges, the District Attorney’s Office noted.

Nellist has twice been on probation. He was also ordered to pay $1,020 in restitution to the Orleans County Major Felony Crime task Force, money it used for drug buys.

“You have a long record,” Punch said. “You’ve been given breaks in the past but did not take advantage of them.”


• A Rochester man was sentenced to three years in state prison. Luke Lawhorn, 27, was arrested on March 6 following a year-long investigation in the sale and distribution of crack cocaine from Rochester to Orleans County.

Lawhorn was only days away from graduating from the Monroe County Drug Court when he was arrested in March.

He apologized to his family and to the community during his sentencing today.

The district attorney requested state prison for Lawhorn, who continued to sell drugs even while in Drug Court, Cardone said.

The judge also ordered Lawhorn to pay back $480 to the Task Force.


• A Medina resident was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in state prison for burglary. Levy Hill, 42, admitted he used a brick to break a window at the Kwik Fill in Medina on Sept. 7, 2013. After he broke the window, he reached his hand in and grabbed some merchandise from the business on Pearl Street.


He is a second felony offender. He was also ordered to pay $1,353 in restitution.


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Batavia man, 35, admits having sex with girl, 14

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 September 2014
ALBION – A Batavia man admitted in Orleans County Court that he had sex with a 14-year-old girl on Dec. 28, 2013.

Christopher Bucci, 35, of Galloway Road pleaded guilty to attempted rape in the second degree. The crime carries a maximum sentence of 1 ½ to 4 years in state prison.

Bucci will be sentenced at 2 p.m. on Jan. 5.

In another case in County Court today, Debra Unell, 52, of Medina pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, which carries a maximum sentence of 2 ½ years in state.

She admitted in court to trying to sell cocaine in Medina. She will be sentenced at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 22.


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FFA and 4th-graders harvest squash from Albion’s land lab

Provided photos Posted 29 September 2014
ALBION – Albion FFA students and about 150 fourth-graders ventured out to the Land Lab on district property today to harvest squash. Last spring, FFA members and all of the then third-graders planted a squash seed in the Land Lab with the goal to harvest the squash the following school year when they were in fourth grade.

Anni Skowneski, case manager for Community Action of Orleans & Genesee, talks with students about how some of the produce will go to a food pantry for needy families in the community. Some of the students will go to the food pantry to help distribute the produce.

“This gives the kids a chance to give back to the community and show them that even though we only planted a seed and harvested the crop that it can make all the difference in someone’s life who doesn't have much,” said Sara Millspaugh, FFA president. “This was a great experience for the students to take part in. This is something that they will always remember.”

Adam Krenning, FFA advisor and agricultural teacher, talks with students about growing food.


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