Albion spikers romp in Class B2 semis

Photo by Cheryl Wertman
Albion's Chanyce Powell tries to spike the ball against the block attempt of East Aurora's Maddie McLaughline (10) and Kayla Norton (8) during the host Purple Eagles sectional semifinal win over the Blue Devils this evening.


By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 October 2014

Rebounding quickly from an 8-1 deficit at the outset, No. 2 seed Albion romped to a 25-18, 25-14, 25-6 victory over visiting No. 3 East Aurora this evening in the Section VI Class B2 semifinals.

Kelsee Soule had 13 spiking kills and 9 digs, Chanyce Powell 9 kills and 3 aces, Meghan Hurley 16 assists, 3 aces and 2 kills and Olivia Neidert 10 assists to lead the way for Albion which will face either No. 1 Depew or No .4 Cheektowaga in the B2 title match next Tuesday at Lockport at 8 p.m.

Breaking away from a 17-17 deadlock, Albion regained the lead for good in the opening set as Powell served up points 18-20 registering aces for both points 19 and 20.

Mallory Broda then quickly closed out the set by serving up points 22-25 as Soule registered kills to polish off points 23 and 25.

Keeping the momentum, Albion used two big scoring runs to key the second set win. Hurley served up points 3-8, a run which featured two kills and a block by Powell, and Ashley Bocach scored points 16-21.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman
Olivia Neidert serves up a point for the Purple Eagles.

The Purple Eagles wasted little time in closing out the win by rolling to a 25-6 win in the third set. Powell served up points 5-10, a run which featured kills by Aleah Foos and Soule; Neidert scored points 13-18, a run capped off by a kill by Soule, and Bocach served up points 20-23, a run started with a kill by Soule and finished with a block by Powell.

Another kill by Powell polished off point 24 and Morgan Ferris followed up by serving an ace for the st and match winner.

Albion is now 18-1 overall on the season.


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Bundle up for Halloween

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 30 October 2014
The moon is out tonight and tomorrow the costumed characters will be roaming the streets.


Dressing up for Halloween might require an extra layer of clothing on Friday. Temperatures are forecast for a high of 48 degrees with a chance of showers. Temperatures are forecast to fall to a low of 41 on Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.

I stopped by Mount Albion Cemetery today to grab a few photos of the leaves.

The Mount Albion crew is aggressive in getting the leaves out. I wished I had stopped by a couple days ago before this lane was mostly emptied of leaves. Looks like there are more to fall.

The temperatures will be cooler this weekend with highs of 43 on Saturday and 42 on Sunday.


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GCASA films anti-gambling commercial

Provided photo
An anti-gambling commercial was filmed Tuesday in Albion in front of Fischer’s News Stand. The group includes, from left: Paul Figlow, film director from Figlow Productions; Carol Pritchard, Albion High School senior; Alise Pangrazio, GCC student; Phil Ricci, Batavia resident; and Paul Suleski, GCASA intern.


Staff Reports Posted 30 October 2014
ALBION – The Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse filmed a commercial in Albion on Tuesday that is intended to get families talking about gambling. (The video is expected to be released through YouTube next month.)

GCASA received funding from the New York Council on Problem Gambling for 2014 to increase the number of parents who are committed to talking to their children about the dangers associated with underage gambling, said Pat Crowley, project director for Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition.

“This year the focus of the project is getting parents to talk to their children about problem gambling,” she said.

She said fewer than half of parents discuss gambling issues with their children, and research shows that only 13 percent believe their children gamble for money.

“As with many challenging issues for youth, it is important for parents to talk about gambling,” Crowley said. “It is important for parents to examine their own attitudes and habits around gambling and make sure you are modeling healthy behaviors.”


Gambling has become more accepted than ever before as a pastime, not only for adults but also for youth. Crowley wants parents to about gambling to prevent serious addiction problems.

For more information regarding problem gambling contact GCASA at 585-589-0055 in Albion or 585-343-1124 in Batavia or you can reach the NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY.


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Sheriff honors long-time volunteer with jail ministry team

Provided photo from Orleans County Sheriff's Department Posted 30 October 2014
ALBION – Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess recognized members of the correctional services faith-based ministry during a luncheon on Oct. 17.


David H. Ferris has been ministering to inmates since 1986. He received a plaque from the sheriff, in recognition of his “28 Years of Dedicated and Faithful Service to the Sheriff’s Office and the County of Orleans.” While Ferris is planning to “scale back” his ministry, he has no intention of retiring completely from this unselfish calling.

Seated from left: Mrs. Ben Harris, Rev. Ella Mae Hawkins, Dave Ferris and Mrs. Dawn King.

Standing from left: Sheriff Hess, Rev. Leroy Hawkins, Rev. Ben Harris, Rev. Richard Allis, Rev. Neil Samborski, Rev. Charles Barkowski, Mr. Dylan Parfitt, Rev. Dan Thurber, Rev. Don Snyder and Rev. Tim Lindsay (Jail Chaplain and Ministry Coordinator).


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IJC member agrees lake plan is flawed

File photo by Tom Rivers
This photo was taken in October 2013 from a sailboat on Lake Ontario.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 October 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – One of the members of a binational board charged with managing the water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River system believes a proposal backed by the majority of the board will result in flooding on the southshore.

Frank Sciremammano, a professor of mechanical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, has voiced his concerns about Plan 2014 and what he sees as an unfair burden put on southshore property owners.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea and I’ve been fighting it,” Sciremammano said Wednesday when he was in Orleans County. He has been hired as a consultant to help six southshore counties come out with a dredging and harbor maintenance plan.


Sciremammano said the International Joint Commission, which is tasked with regulating the water levels, should ensure that no one group or geographic area bears a disproportionate loss. The new plan would concentrate damage to the south shore of the lake, he said.

“Quebec said no more damage so the damage and flooding will shift to the southshore,” Sciremammano said.

Orleans and other southshore counties are trying to thwart the plan. It has been approved by the IJC, but needs the backing from both countries.

“Where it goes, no one knows,” Sciremammano said.

For more on the IJC, click here.


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Before it was Extension office, building was home for Burrows family

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 30 October 2014
ALBION – In this picture from circa 1890 we see members of the Lorenzo Burrows Jr. family posed in front of their residence on Main Street in Albion.

Seated in the little surrey with fringe on top is Lynn Moore Burrows (1884-1944). The ponies hitched to this were named Dot and Dime.

For many years this house was the offices for Cornell Cooperative Extension next to the Post Office.


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Villages set trick-or-treating hours

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 30 October 2014
People in costume cross East Center Street on Friday during Beggar’s Night in Medina. The village of Medina has set 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for trick-or-treating hours on Halloween, which is Friday.

Medina also is limiting trick-or-treating to children 12 and younger, and advises people to only knock on doors of homes with their outdoor lights on. Residents wishing to participate in Halloween are asked to have their porch lights on at 5:30 p.m. to indicate participation.

Albion has set trick-or-treating hours from 5 to 8 p.m. and Lyndonville will have trick-or-treating from 6 to 8 p.m.

If any other towns or villages have established hours for trick-or-treating, they are welcome to send that information to


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Counties may buy dredging equipment to ensure harbors stay open

File photo
The dredging barge is near the breakwall at the end of the Oak Orchard channel when the harbor was dredged in August for the first time in 10 years.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 October 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – For much of the last five years Orleans County officials waited and begged to have the Oak Orchard Harbor dredged of silt and sediment. The harbor was finally dredged in August, when federal funds from Superstorm Sandy were directed to the Oak Orchard Harbor.

Congress hasn’t set aside money on a regular basis to clean out recreational harbors like the Oak Orchard. During low lake level years boats can run aground in the harbor. That happened to the Oak Orchard in 2012.

A clogged harbor makes the county’s fishing and recreational boating industries vulnerable. The harbor generates $7,087,101 in economic activity for the county, resulting in 117 direct and indirect jobs. It also yields $283,484 in sales tax revenue for the county with the same sales tax for the state, according to a consultant, Frank Sciremammano of FES Environmental and Marine Consultants.

Sciremammano has worked with six southshore counties on a plan for regular harbor maintenance and dredging. The Army Corps of Engineers has been dredging the Genesee River and the Port of Oswego, which are both commercial harbors, but the recreational harbors have languished.

Photo by Tom Rivers
Frank Sciremammano, a consultant for the southshore counties with a dredging plan, discusses scenarios for keeping 19 harbors open during a meeting Wednesday at the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension. Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller, left, and Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey attended the session.

To ensure regular dredging, Sciremammano is suggesting the counties form an authority or local development corporation that would buy dredging equipment, apply for dredging permits and get the work done.

The Army Corps would still do the Genesee River and Oswego, but the other 17 harbors would be handled by the counties.

That plan would require $522,403 annually with the Orleans County share at $23,655. Sciremammano suggested counties pay half of the costs out of county budgets with increased boater registration fees covering the other half. Vessels up to 16 feet would pay $3.13 more a year for its boater fee, while boats 17 to 26 feet would pay $10.42 more and boats over 26 feet would pay $15.63 annually.

“I don’t think it’s excessive,” Sciremammano told about a dozen officials during a meeting about the dredging plan. “I think boaters wouldn’t mind paying it if they knew their harbor would be open.”

Orleans and Niagara officials have already started pursuing help from the federal government for the upfront costs of purchasing equipment. Buying a suction dredge, a barge with a shovel or crane, plus a scow to haul away the sediment could cost about $1.2 million.

The counties could pursue buying the equipment, or they could opt to manage the permits and hire contractors for the work, but that would be at a higher cost about $650,000 to $900,000 annually, rather than the $522,403 if the authority or LDC did the work.

The total economic impact of the 19 harbors is $94 million and supports 1,350 jobs, according to the report.

The Genesee River and Oswego should have annual dredging, but other harbors, such as Oak Orchard, need to be done about once every six years, Sciremammano said. If the counties owned the equipment or hired contractors that schedule could be accelerated if needed.

The southshore counties have been working on the dredging plan since 2010. The state Department of State provided a $35,000 grant for the project, with Wayne Hale of Orleans County taking the lead in the effort.

“We want a sustainable maintenance plan for the harbors,” said Hale, the county’s tourism and planning director.

There will be another meeting about the dredging plan at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the Sodus Point Village Hall.

“The goal is for a sustainable ongoing plan that we can count on,” Sciremammano said. “We’re trying to head those problems off.”


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Albion booters bow in Class B1 final

Photo by Cheryl Wertman
Albion's Connor McQuillan (8) tries to get the ball away from East Aurora's Sean Conroy (20) during the Purple Eagles loss to the Blue Devils this evening in the B1 championship game at Hamburg. Albion's Jacob Squicciarini moves in on the play.


By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 29 October 2014

Exploding for four quick goals in the first 14 minutes, top seeded East Aurora went on to defeat No. 10 Albion 6-0 this evening in the Section VI Class B1 championship game at Hamburg.

East Aurora wasted little time in taking the lead as Harrison Fay scored just 2:35 in.

The Blue Devils then quickly broke the game wide open as Noah Thomson tallied at 8:11, Eric Roetzer at 12:13 and Bryce Schiltz at 14:12 to make it 4-0.

East Aurora upped the advantage to 5-0 by halftime.

Devin Gaylord and Morgan Seielstad shared the goaltending duties for Albion.


The Purple Eagles advanced to their first ever sectional championship game by defeating No. 7 Burgard 7-0 in the opening round, No. 2 Bennett 2-1 in overtime in the quarterfinals and No. 2 Medina/Lyndonville 1-0 in double overtime in the semifinals.

East Aurora will now face Class B2 champion Wilson for the Section VI Class B berth in the state playoffs.

Wilson nipped Falconer/Cassadaga Valley 1-0 in overtime to claim the B2 title as Cesar Carlin scored seven minutes into the first overtime period off an assist from Zach Sarratori.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman
Albion's Daniel Beam (21) battles with East Aurora's Max Kilijanski (17) for control of the ball.


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Kendall nipped in PK shootout in semis

Photo by Cheryl Wertman
Kendall's Will Condo (18) heads the ball away from Keshequa's Jack Mann (20) during the Eagles Class C2 semifinal loss to the Indians this evening at Spencerport.

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 29 October 2014

In a marathon battle, No. 4 seed Keshequa nipped No. 1 Kendall 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout this evening in a Section V Class C2 semifinal game at Spencerport.

Deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time, the two teams then battled to a scoreless draw through two 15 minute overtime periods setting the stage for the deciding penalty kick shootout.

Each team scored on four of five shots in the first round of penalty kicks as Jake Adams, Will Condo, Cody Travis and Justin Barrett took turns tallying for Kendall.

Keshequa then opened the second round of penalty kicks with a goal and this time Kendall was unable to match the tally earning the Indians the narrow win.

Keshequa had grabbed a 1-0 lead on a goal by Tim Fanaro with 9:53 to go in the first half.

Kendall goalie Riley Reis made several good saves in the opening half to keep the Indians from scoring again including a big stop of a line shot from close range.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman
Kendall's Sage Summers (12) battles to keep the ball away from Keshequa's Tim Fanaro (11).


Kendall did battle back to knot the contest at 1-1 when Condo scored just 6:38 into the second half. On the play, Condo, after firing an initial shot which the Keshequa goalie was unable to hold onto, alertly rammed home the rebound shot for the equalizer.

Reis made a key sliding save early in the half to keep the Indians from tallying again.

Later in the half Kendall just missed on a direct kick attempt and had another shot sail just high. Then in the overtime, the Eagles had a shot rattle off the post setting the stage for the deciding penalty kick shootout.

Kendall finishes the season at 15-0-4 while Keshequa advances to C2 finals with a 16-2-1 record.


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Albion crowd braves rain and distance to cheer on team

Photo by Cheryl Wertman Posted 29 October 2014
HAMBURG – Albion fans braved the cold and some rain showers to come and cheer on their Albion boys soccer team at Hamburg tonight. Albion lost 6-0 against top-seeded East Aurora for the Section VI Class B1 title.

Albion knocked off the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds to advance to the finals. Orleans Hub will have more coverage of tonight’s game.


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Holley given $5K grant to bolster preservation efforts

Old School, Public Square eyed for historic district

Photos by Tom Rivers
Tania Werbizky, regional director of technical and grant programs for the Preservation League of New York, discusses a $5,000 grant with Holley Mayor John Kenney while the two stand in front of the old Holley High School. The League is giving Holley the grant to help with its application to get a cluster of about 40 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2014
HOLLEY – Wayne Goodman drove into Holley this afternoon from Rochester. He passed through the mid to late 19th century buildings in the Public Square and then saw churches made of Medina sandstone.

The old Holley High School is a dominant presence at the corner of routes 31 and 237, and many grand residential homes are nearby.

“You have a beautiful village here,” Goodman, executive director for the Landmark Society of Western New York, said at presentation today when the village received a $5,000 grant.

That money will pay a consultant, Bero Architecture of Rochester, to help Holley with its application to be included on the state and national registers of historic places. Bero will help with the research, writing and compilation of the application that could include 40 buildings in the Public Square and surrounding neighborhoods.

Wayne Goodman, executive director of the Landmark Society of Western New York, said Holley has many historic resources that are worthy of recognition at the state and national levels. He is pictured with Mayor John Kenney.

Goodman said Holley is deserving of the recognition. It’s historic sites are largely intact and they remain from the canal’s heyday in the 1800s.

“So many communities strive to achieve the power of place and Holley has that,” Goodman said while standing next to the old Holley High School.

The school was built in 1930 and has been vacant for about 20 years. Mayor John Kenney said several developers have eyed the site for senior apartments.

If the school is included on the state and national registers, a developers could access up to 40 percent of the project’s rehab costs in tax credits. That could be a difference in getting the building restored and back as a contributing asset to the community, bringing tax base and jobs to the village, Goodman said.

“This is another step in the revitalization process,” Kenney said.

The old Holley High School is not beyond saving, preservation officials said today. The Landmark Society named the school one of its "Five to Revive" last year, trying to draw attention and resources to the site.

Tania Werbizky, regional director of technical and grant programs for the Preservation League of New York, presented Kenney with the $5,000 ceremonial check this afternoon. She said the grants were competitively selected.

Holley stood out as a canal town with enviable historic resources, she said. The Preservation League also was impressed with recent improvements to the commercial district in the Public Square, and the village’s commitment to bringing back the old school.

“We think Holley is primed to take advantage of this program,” Werbizky said about the tax credits from the state and national registers. “We’d love to come back for a ribbon-cutting in the near future.”

Holley's Public Square includes many commercial sites from the mid to late 1800s.

The school closed in 1975. Kenney, a retired Holley teacher, started his career working out of the building. Village Trustee Kevin Lynch and County Legislator John DeFillipps were both in the Class of 1975, the last to graduate from the school.
Lynch marveled at the school’s solid condition, despite years of neglect.

The building may have many broken windows, and the front columns may be gone, but the Landmark Society has seen buildings in far worse shape be rehabilitated, said Larry Francer, associate director of preservation for the Landmark Society.

“We see nothing here but potential,” said Caitlin Meives, preservation planner for the Landmark Society.


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Medina couple aims to scare on Halloween

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 29 October 2014
MEDINA – Bill Beach and his fiancé Linda Postle have turned their backyard into a graveyard. Their carriage house is full of skeletons, witches and scary clowns.

They will open up their displays to the community on Halloween. It will be their fourth time welcoming people to their haunted house at 341 East Oak Orchard St. They team with their neighbors, Rich and Lisa Kenward, and other cast and crew for the production.

“Every year it grows,” Postle said.

The carriage house has some characters up high.

Postle started having a Halloween display a few years ago when she lived on Culvert Road out in the country. Her neighbors liked it, but Postle said there weren’t too many trick-or-treaters out there.

There is a big crowd of children in the village on Halloween. She and Beach wear costumes when they greet the visitors and welcome them to see the ghoulish display in the backyard and carriage house. They don’t try to scare little kids, but they admitted they like to push it with the teen-agers. Some high school kids run down the driveway, dropping their candy because of the fright.

“People come in by the carloads,” Beach said. “People when they leave here they say, Excellent, excellent job.’”

New this year includes skeletons playing cards at a bar.

Postle has a series of grave markers with the names of famous horror stars, including Freddy Kruger, Jason Vorhees, Carrie White and Michael Myers.

She smiled as she looked out on the lawn of characters.

“It breaks up the monotony in life,” she said.


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Holley lumberyard made deliveries in 1920

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 29 October 2014
HOLLEY – The forerunner of the present day Stockham Lumber Co. in Holley was the N.L. Cole Lumberyard on Geddes Street.

This was owned by Nerville L. Cole, who later owned a lumberyard on West Avenue in Albion.

Our photo from around 1920 shows Cole’s delivery truck with hard rubber tires on wooden spokes. Products advertised on the building include: lumber, coal, wood, fertilizers, mason’s materials, cedar posts and builder’s hardware.


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Gun law an issue in State Senate campaign

Destino faults Ortt for ‘simplistic message’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2014
When Rob Ortt goes on the campaign trail, his first order of business tends to be railing against the SAFE Act, the state’s controversial gun control law passed in January 2013.

Ortt says he will work for the law’s repeal if he is elected state senator.

“We need someone who will go to Albany and fight for your Constitutional rights,” Ortt told about 300 people Friday at the Orleans County Fall Republican Rally. “ We need someone to fight for your second amendment rights which are under attack by this governor and his administration in Albany.”

Rob Ortt


Ortt, the North Tonawanda mayor, notes he has an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association and SCOPE (Shooters Committee On Political Education) and has been endorsed by the NY State Rifle and Pistol Association.


He criticized his opponent, Johnny Destino, for having his SCOPE rating downgraded from an A to a C-minus. SCOPE made that decision after Destino voiced support for some SAFE Act provisions and aligned himself with pro-SAFE Act politicians.

“It is a clear conflict of interest for Johnny Destino to enthusiastically accept the endorsement of pro-SAFE Act officials, while telling us he supports the Constitution, and resulted in SCOPE lowering his rating to a C-," said John Peracciny, Co-Chairman of Niagara County SCOPE.

Ortt’s campaign issued a press release about Destino’s downgraded rating with the comments from the SCOPE official.

Destino says he would have voted against the SAFE Act mainly because of the legislative process, where the law was passed without a proper vetting.

However, he sees merits in some of the legislation, such as enhanced penalties for shooting first responders and for bringing weapons onto school property illegally.

“That entire campaign has been, ‘The SAFE Act is bad, vote for me,’” Destino said about Ortt. “He says his first act as senator would be to sign the bill repealing the SAFE Act. It is going nowhere. I find it offensive that they present a simplistic message.”

Destino, the Democratic endorsed candidate, faulted the Senate Republicans for not standing in the way of the SAFE Act and Common Core, legislation Ortt opposes and has made his top rallying cries on the campaign trail.

“Nothing happened in New York State for the last 50 years without the Senate Republicans going along,” Destino said. “This is another instance where Common Core came along, the state accepted the Race to the Top funds and pushed it through without getting it right.”


Ortt and Destino both say teachers and parents need more input in Common Core. Destino, an attorney in Niagara Falls, is a member of the Boards of Education for Niagara Falls and the Orleans-Niagara BOCES. He said the state botched the implementation of Common Core.

“They mandated that teachers test their students on Common Core curriculum before the curriculum was even in place,” he said. “This requires a foresight that a lot of our career politicians have lost. They’re looking to rush to the next piece of legislation so they can pat themselves on the back without understanding the impact it will have on children, educators and local school boards.”


Ortt said Common Core should be repealed.

“It has been implemented wrong,” he told Republicans at the rally on Friday. “It is a big government, one size fits all solution and it was done without parental involvement and without teacher involvement. I’m all for standards. I think we need standards. But we need standards that make sense.”

The two candidates both want more state funding directed to rural school districts.

“We need to make sure less funding goes downstate and more funding comes upstate, especially for the rural schools,” Ortt said.


Destino said the state cut funding to rural districts, trying to force them to draw down on their fund balances. It has weakened the financial position of districts, and forced many to reduce staff and programs.

He said he would be a strong advocate for public schools, pressing the state on its mandate to provide a free and equitable education.


Ortt, a combat veteran, has the endorsement of Unshackle Upstate and other pro-business groups. He said easing the tax burden on businesses and getting more low-cost power to companies can help the local economy.

He also said farmers tell him they worry about a bill in Albany that would force them to pay overtime wages to farmworkers after 40 hours of work a week. That bill has passed the Assembly, but hasn’t been approved in the State Senate.

“This is obviously introduced by somebody who has never been on a farm or talked to a farmer,” he said. “The day this bill passes they will put their property up for sale. They surely won’t pass it on to their children. You can’t grow crops on Wall Street so I don’t know where they think they will get the stuff from.”

The Republicans have a narrow advantage in the Senate. If the Senate goes into Democrat control, Ortt said downstate Democrats will approve the farm legislation, and other job-killing regulations and burdens for upstate New York.

Destino said the Republican majority in the Senate has largely gone along with the Democrats. He thinks local legislators shouldn’t demonize the Democrats, especially Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The governor has directed state resources to lift the Western New York economy, especially the “Buffalo Billion.” Destino said the success of that initiative should lead to more attention from Cuomo and the state.

Destino wants to see added state resources directed to Orleans and Niagara counties, which wrestle with high unemployment and high taxes.

“You can’t cut off all ties to the governor who is the first one in 40 years to put serious investment into the Western New York economy,” Destino said. “I think that level of cooperation that we see in Erie County with Mayor Brown (of Buffalo), Sen. Tim Kennedy, Assemblyman Sean Ryan is really transforming the landscape of the local economy in Buffalo. In Niagara County and Orleans County we need to really push for the Buffalo Billion program to germinate and help revive what’s really been a down economy for the better part of two decades.”


The low-cost electricity from the Niagara Power Project could be a bigger asset to the region, Destino said. He would like to develop a local grid so all businesses and residents would benefit from reduced energy costs.

He would also push for Broadband in the rural communities, so residents and school districts aren’t at a disadvantage to well-connected peers.


Ortt and Destino will debate today at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Earl Brydges Library, 1425 Main St., Niagara Falls. The are vying to succeed George Maziarz, who is retiring as senator for the 62nd District.


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Hawley will have town hall meeting at Heritage Estates this evening

Press Release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley Posted 29 October 2014

ALBION – State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) is holding a town hall meeting for his constituents at 5:30 p.m. today at Heritage Estates, Lot 95 off Brown Street in Albion.


Hawley invites his constituents to come out and ask questions about any state of local issue that concerns them. Hawley frequently holds town halls across his district to make sure that the people his represents have as much access to him as possible and to give them the opportunity to provide their input of the direction of the area.

“One of my responsibilities as an elected official is to keep my constituents informed on state and local issues that affect them,” Hawley said. “Town halls like these are one way to do that. I invite every one of my constituents to come out and discuss whatever is on their minds. I am here to listen and work with them to make Western New York a great place to live and work.”


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Film by Albion woman debuts next month

Romantic comedy is GCC student’s Honors Project

Provided photo
Rhonda Parker of Albion is pictured by the poster for her film, “Friends Don’t Let Friends - Date Friends”

Press Release, GCC Posted 29 October 2014
ALBION – Rhonda Parker has been making films since she was 17 years old, but much of her life is invested in a full-length feature she's just completed as part of an Honors Program project at Genesee Community College.

The movie, "Friends Don't Let Friends - Date Friends" will debut Nov. 7 at a VIP dinner and a movie night at the Bald Eagle Bistro, 1033 S. Lakeland Beach Rd. in Kendall. The event starts at 7 p.m. and seating is limited to 50. For more information on that event and other screenings, click here.

Parker is a paralegal and communications/media arts student at GCC. She expects to graduate in December 2014. Besides being an Honors Program student, she's been a blogger for the College and also won an essay contest sponsored by The Historical Society of the New York Courts, about which Professor Charles Scruggs said “Her acerbic wit, frequently on display in class, is used to good effect in her written work.”

That wit is evident in “Friends...” which Parker describes as a “highly fictionalized account of actual events.” The main character, played by former GCC student Amelia Favata of Canandaigua, is a version of Parker herself.

“It’s a very timeless story based on people I hung out with in my youth,” Parker said.

Though Parker has written and produced a number of short films, and appeared as a “Walmart mom” in a commercial, this is the first time she held auditions for a movie.

“It broke my heart to turn people away,” she said. Several current and former GCC students appear in the film. They shot the film over seven weekends at locations in and around Parker’s hometown of Albion.


Because it is an Honors Program project, she was able to utilize equipment from GCC including camera, tripod and lights. Her husband, Mark Parker, completed editing the film at their home with Sony Vegas Pro software. “He’s the editor and I’m the editor-in-chief,” Parker explains. “He’s the doer, and I’m the thinker.”

Parker has been thinking a lot about how to get the word out about her film.

“My goal is to have everyone in America see this movie,” she said. Beyond the dinner and a movie debut, she has lined up a number of additional screenings, including Nov. 8 at Pullman Memorial Universalist Church (where a wedding was filmed) and Nov. 9 at GCC in Batavia.


The Honors Program at GCC encourages independent, creative and interdisciplinary study through academic work of depth, originality and quality. Parker is more than pleased with her Honors experience and the film overall.

“It’s like watching your dreams come true right in front of your eyes,” she said. She hopes the film’s success leads to more moviemaking for her.

“That’s exactly what I want to do. I have a lot of scripts in my head.”


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Contractors busy at Bent's replacing decayed timber

Provided photo
Contractors are replacing decayed timber and replacing it with steel beams at the southeast corner of the Bent’s Opera House in Medina.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2014
MEDINA – The rotted wooden beams in the southeast corner of the Bent’s Opera House are being replaced with steel beams, which will strengthen the building and stop the sagging at that corner of the historic structure.

The opera house was built during the Civil War in 1864. The Orleans Renaissance Group owns the site and moved to replace the rotted wood after an engineering assessment last year showed the work was critical.

The main structural support timbers had decayed due to water infiltration. The ORG secured a $100,000 emergency loan from the Preservation League of New York State for the project.

Photo by Tom Rivers

The Bent's Opera House is a landmark on Main Street in Medina. This photo was taken from Friday.


The original wooden beam also decayed due to water infiltration. ORG will replace the decayed section of the wood beam with new steel. Once the steel is in, a mason will remortar the stone wall.

ORG will reconstruct the missing masonry walls from footers below the basement up to the beam that supports the second- and third-story stone façade. The projects should be done by the end of the year.


ORG will also have a contractor use new mortar to rebuild and repoint some of the existing stone. The projects could be done by the end of the year.


ORG has plans for Phase 2 at Bent’s. That will include restoration of the original three storefronts using decorative cast-iron columns and cornice. The Village Planning Board in August approved a certificate of appropriateness for that work.


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Art gallery welcomes musicians for reception

Photos by Peggy Barringer Posted 28 October 2014
ALBION – Al Capurso and his son Dan, members of the band “Of the Bear,” perform during a reception Saturday at the Marti’s on Main art gallery in Albion.


The two were there during a closing reception for a show by Arthur Barnes' exhibit, “Musicians in Black, White and Grey.” Barnes said that the closing reception was “a musical celebration of the show” with several musicians dropping by to play on a Saturday afternoon.

Arthur Barnes looks on during Of the Bear's performance.

Guests enjoy an afternoon of music at the gallery.


Gallery owner Kim Muscarella said that the October exhibit for Arthur Barnes and Jen Scott is being extended through the month of November. Those interested in viewing the artwork may contact her at 585-589-6715 to set up a time to stop by.


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Local officials largely absent when U.S. senators visit Orleans

Photo by Tom Rivers
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand addresses the media on Monday during a stop at the Iroquois Job Corps Center in Medina.


Editorial by Tom Rivers Posted 28 October 2014
Kirsten Gillibrand was in Orleans County on Monday morning, visiting the Iroquois Job Corps Center, a program that she said teaches at-risk youth valuable skills and prepares them for the workforce.

Gillibrand is one of 100 U.S. senators. She is a powerful government official. Often when the Congressman comes to town, or even the local assemblyman or state senator for an event, you’ll see other local officials – a mayor, town supervisor or county legislator.

These events give the local officials a chance to speak, even if only for a minute, about a pressing local issue. When Gillibrand came to the Job Corps, there wasn’t a local elected official there to greet her or to press a cause except for Skip Draper, the Shelby town supervisor. He happens to work at the Job Corps.

Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the Orleans Economic Development Agency, is on the Job Corps advisory board. She heard about Gillibrand’s visit and stopped by. She spoke with a Gillibrand aide about some local development projects in the county.

I wondered where the local officials were. I don’t recall seeing any when Gillibrand came to town last Nov. 25 to visit the community kitchen at the Eastern Orleans Community Center in Holley.

I asked County Legislature Chairman David Callard about the lack of local presence at the Gillibrand visits. He said he didn’t know about it until after the fact.

“There was no notice,” he said. “Much of what they do is last minute.”

Callard said most of seven legislators have other jobs and commitments that make it difficult to juggle their schedule at the last second.

He has attended many of Sen. Charles Schumer’s events. Schumer tries to visit each of the 62 counties in the state at least once a year since he took office in January 1999. In one visit to Albion, he met with county officials in the Legislature Chambers. Callard said that may have been unprecedented. It was definitely appreciated.

“In my book he’s extraordinary,” Callard said about Schumer.

Photo by Tom Rivers

Sen. Charles Schumer speaks in front of the former Diaz Chemical on Aug. 14. He is joined by from left: Holley Mayor John Kenney, Village Trustee Kevin Lynch, Village Trustee Skip Carpenter, and county legislators John DeFillipps and Ken DeRoller.

Schumer’s office tries to give the local communities a few days advance notice of when he will be in town. He was at Holley on Aug. 14 and village officials and two legislators were there when he visited to talk about Diaz Chemical and the need for more federal funding to finish cleanup of the site.


But even that lineup of local officials seemed kind of light. I'd like to see more local officials, including the state assemblyman and state senator, when the U.S. senator comes to town. I don't recall seeing State Assemblyman Steve Hawley or State Sen. George Maziarz at a Schumer appearance. I often seem them with Congressman Chris Collins when he stops by.

Gillibrand's office sent out an advisory on Friday to media members that she would be in town on Monday. I don’t want to fault her for not getting the word out, if that's the case.


The local officials should talk with her staff and the county leaders should have a “response team” of county, town and village leaders that can spring into action on short notice. It would be good to have the local state legislators appear at the some of these events with the U.S. senators.

We shouldn’t take for granted that the U.S. senators will be frequent visitors around here. Callard noted that Schumer’s predecessor, Al D’Amato, rarely stopped by and even he didn’t give local officials much notice.

I wondered what Callard would have told Gillibrand if he was given a few minutes to press some issues. He said he would have noted the Oak Orchard Harbor was recently dredged by the Army Corps of Engineers for the first time in a decade. The harbor is critical to the county’s recreational and fishing industries, and Orleans officials anxiously waited for it to be dredged. Schumer used money for the Sandy cleanup to get the harbor dredged. Callard said the federal government needs to follow a systematic schedule for harbor maintenance.

He worries about a new plan for regulating Lake Ontario water levels. An international board is proposing the biggest change to the lake level regulations in a half century. Callard fears the southshore counties will see more erosion, lost backyards and property damage. He would have asked Gillibrand to fight for a plan that protects the southshore.

He would have pressed for Broadband Internet coverage in rural counties, such as Orleans. The county has many gaps and that puts residents and businesses at a disadvantage.

Callard also would have asked Gillibrand to press Congress about so-called “zombie houses,” homes that have been foreclosed on but sit in limbo with no clear owner. The properties often sit vacant for years, falling into disrepair and dragging down a neighborhood.

Callard would like to see legislation requiring banks to have banks at least assign a contact person to the vacant houses so they can’t just languish. In some cases, communities aren’t sure which bank owns a site because the mortgages often change hands.

If the sites could be resold and improved it would help villages, in particular, by boosting their assessments and population bases, Callard said.


I hope the next time Gillibrand or Schumer stops by, Callard makes his case to them personally.


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Holley pursues $8.9 million capitol project

File photo by Tom Rivers
Holley Central School celebrated a $32 million renovation, including a new addition, in September 2013. The district is now eyeing $8.9 million in other improvements.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 October 2014
HOLLEY – The dust has settled on about $32 million of school improvements at Holley Central School. But more work needs to be done and the district is ready to pursue “nuts and bolts” on improvements that weren’t part of a recent capitol project, said Robert D’Angelo, the district superintendent.

The Board of Education last week voted to put an $8.9 million capitol project to the community for a vote on Dec. 9. The project includes roof top HVAC units, windows, radiators, flooring and exterior doors. The district also wants to improve the student drop-off area and the playground at the elementary school and move the tennis courts.

The district already has $2.5 million set aside in a capital reserve account to cover the local share of the project, which will be mostly paid for from the state. Waiting on this project also allowed Holley to access additional state funds for capital projects, school officials said.

“In essence, when all is said and done, the community will receive almost $40 million of capital project work at zero local tax impact,” D’Angelo said.

D’Angelo expects the projects in the capital plan will make the district more efficient and reduce energy costs. The work would likely be completed in 2016 and 2017.


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Farmers Market nears end of 10th season

Photos by Tom Rivers
Dennis Stymus looks over his display of vegetables on Saturday at the Orleans County Farmers Market, which is in its final week of the season this week.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 October 2014
ALBION – A farmers market will conclude its 10th season this week with a show of appreciation for the loyal customers.

The Orleans County Farmers Market has been setting up in Albion on Saturday morning for 10 years. The market also has been in Medina for eight years.

“Even if the weather is bad we have a very broad customer base,” said Ann Nice of Nice Farms, who also serves as market coordinator, planning some special events during the season.

The Orleans County Farmers Market meets on Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m. in the Erie Canal Basin off East Center Street and on Saturdays in Albion from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Save-A-Lot parking lot, 320 West Ave.

Jerome Pawlak, owner of Save-A-Lot, said the market has been an asset for the community.

“They have a nice selection of product and they’re good neighbors,” he said. “They definitely have a following here.”

Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina will offer wine tastings at the market on Thursday. Nice Farms also will offer samples of different types of fruit.

Ken and Ann Nice of Knowlesville have been with the market since it started in Albion.


Nice Farms and Stymus Farms also plan to donate produce to food kitchens in Medina and Albion following the market days this week. The vendors at the two sites are collecting nonperishable donations from the public that will be given to local food pantries.

The market has been a boost for Dennis Stymus. He has expanded his operation in Barre. He has seven greenhouses along Maple Avenue. Stymus also goes to markets in Williamsville and Batavia, and many of his market customers also come to the farm stand by the home farm in Barre.

“It’s close to home,” he said about the markets in Albion and Medina. “This is our base.”

Like Sytmus, Nice Farms has grown its market presence since joining the sites in Albion and Medina. Ann and Ken Nice’s daughter-in-law Jennifer goes to Le Roy and two markets in Batavia. Many of those customers also come to Nice Farms' stand in Knowlesville.

There are three vendors currently at the Albion and Medina markets, with Renko’s Meat Processing of Kendall joining Nice and Stymus.

“It’s taken a few years but we’ve been able to build up our base for a nice small-town market,” Nice said.


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Sheriff offers Halloween safety tips

Press Release, Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 28 October 2014

ALBION – As Halloween 2014 approaches, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office would like parents and children to follow these important safety tips:


• Attend organized Halloween events or programs in your community.

• If children go door-to-door “Trick or Treating,” they should stay within your neighborhood and only go homes of people known to you. Do not go to houses that are un-lighted and never enter a stranger’s home.


• Children “Trick or Treating” should travel in groups or be accompanied a parent, relative, or trusted friend. Younger children should always be accompanied by an adult.

• Children should only accept treats that are wrapped or packaged. Parents should examine all treats before allowing their child to consume them.

• Children should wear flame-retardant costumes. Costumes should be light in color or at least have reflective tape on them. Children should also carry a flashlight. Make sure that your child’s Halloween mask does not obstruct his or her vision.

• Sex Offenders are not required to stay at home on Halloween night unless it is a condition of their Parole or Probation. Registered Sex Offenders residing in Orleans County are listed on the Sheriff’s Office website.


If you suspect that any of your child’s treats have been tampered with, call 9-1-1 and report it. Save the un-eaten portion of the treat along with whatever object(s) you find so it can be examined by the responding officer. Tampering with any consumer product is a violation of both federal and state laws.

Also – Please instruct your children that damaging another person’s property or causing them injury, however slight, is a CRIME – not a prank!

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office extends our very best wishes to everyone for a Safe and Happy Halloween!


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