By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 October 2015
YATES – The Town of Yates continues to work on a survey of town residents about the wind turbine issue in the community, Town Councilman Wes Bradley said today.
Save Ontario Shores, a citizens’ group opposed to large-scale turbines, sent a survey to residents this week. That survey didn’t clearly say which entity was doing the survey.
John Riggi, SOS president, said the organization moved to do the survey because the town effort has been slow.
“One reason we’re doing the survey is because the town hasn’t done anything,” Riggi said this morning.
SOS hired an accounting firm, Lumsden & McCormick LLP of Buffalo, to collect the surveys, collate results and provide the results to the residents of Yates. The surveys are due back Oct. 16 and results will be shared during a 7 p.m. Oct. 19 meeting at White Birch Golf Course.
Bradley said the town has formed a three-person committee to work on the survey. Bradley represents the Town Board, with Taylor Quarles, development manager for Apex, and Richard Pucher, from SOS, all on the committee to form questions and develop a process for the survey. The group meets again on Tuesday.
“It’s inclusive, it’s transparent but it will take some time,” Bradley said today. “The accuracy is more important than the speed.”
His goal is to have a survey with objective results that can be viewed as accurate and unbiased data by the NYS Siting Board, if Apex advances the project with 60 to 68 wind turbines. The Siting Board will give the final say on the project covering Yates and the neighboring Town of Somerset.
“One-sided efforts lack credibility,” Bradley said. “We want a survey that will be viewed as an objective measure by the New York State Siting Board, should we ever get to that point.”
Bradley didn’t want to issue a timetable on the town survey because of the uncertainties with reaching a consensus with three different entities.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 9 October 2015
ALBION – Joey Schoeberlein, an Albion third-grader, aims the hose at targets with some help from Albion firefighter Beau Piskorowski during a program today outside the elementary school as part of Fire Prevention Week.
Piskorowski and a third-grade student spray water at targets. The house with the fake flames was built by Andrew Cheverie for his Eagle Scout project last year. This was the first time it was used for Fire Prevention Week at the school.
Andrew Cheverie, right, also built this stop that allows students to practice "Stay Low and Go" in case of a fire. Students first checked to see if the door was hot. When it wasn't hot, they opened it and crawled under the pretend flames.
Levi Coughlin, a kindergartner, stays low under the flames.
Albion firefighters James Fisher, left, and Rob Conner gave students tours of the fire trucks.
Ryan Woolston, a Carlton firefighter, showed students the rescue boat used by the Carlton Fire Department.
Staff Reports Posted 9 October 2015
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, joined by Vice President Gore, on Thursday announced four major actions to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across New York State.
These nation-leading environmental and clean energy initiatives will help New York homes, businesses and universities invest in clean energy, drive economic growth across the state, and protect the environment.
“Climate change is an issue of society’s sustainability – and to deny that climate change is real is to deny reason,” Cuomo said. “Today, New York is stepping up. We are demonstrating the leadership and focus that this issue demands. We are joining together and committing ourselves to tackling climate change and showing the nation what is possible. Now it is up to world leaders to follow suit.”
Former Vice President Al Gore, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, a dedicated environmentalist and Nobel Prize winner, for decades has been a leading advocate in efforts to combat climate change and joined Governor Cuomo to announce these new actions.
"The leadership shown by Governor Cuomo and New York State to make bold emissions reductions commitments is vital to solving the climate crisis,” said Former Vice President Al Gore. “On the eve of the Paris climate negotiations, New York's efforts to reduce emissions and join with others like California, Quebec, and Ontario to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy send a strong signal to world leaders: local, regional, and state governments are taking climate action now."
Under 2 MOU
Governor Cuomo signed the Under 2 MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), an agreement between states, provinces and cities worldwide to affirm their commitment to help keep the earth’s average temperature from increasing 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, as measured against pre-industrial levels.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change determined that global warming must be kept below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 to avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, such as significant sea level rise that would inundate nations and coastlines around the world, create prolonged pervasive and extreme weather, cause mega-droughts, and lead to food scarcity.
New York has already committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions envisioned by the Under 2 MOU. Earlier this year, as part of the 2015 State Energy Plan, New York set the most aggressive target in the nation to reduce emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 (80 by 50).
To achieve these reductions, New York has launched one of the most comprehensive and transformative clean energy agendas in the nation through Reforming the Energy Vision.
As world leaders gather in Paris this December for the United Nations climate negotiations, New York is proving that reducing emissions can be done and should be done. World leaders must follow suit and commit to the same emissions reductions, Cuomo said.
North American Carbon Market
New York and the other northeast regional greenhouse gas cap and trade states have demonstrated that carbon markets are a powerful tool for reducing the pollution that is contributing to climate change. Therefore, in order to maximize impact of proven strategies, New York State will engage its partners in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and California, Quebec and Ontario to explore the possibility of linking the successful carbon markets.
Connecting these markets would be more cost-effective and stable, thereby supporting clean energy and driving international carbon emission reductions. New York State will also engage other states and provinces to build a broader carbon market and further drive an international discussion that encourages government action on carbon emissions.
Solar Power for 150,000 Homes and Businesses by 2020
In 2013 Governor Cuomo dedicated $1 billion to the New York solar industry through the NY SUN Initiative. Since then, the State has committed $270 million and supported the deployment of solar across 30,000 homes and businesses.
Building on this progress, the governor announced a commitment to bring solar to 150,000 more homes and businesses by 2020. For the first time ever, commercial projects will be able to share the power they generate on their properties with surrounding community members through the Governor’s Shared Renewables program.
Renewable Energy at Every SUNY Campus by 2020
The Governor also announced will State University of New York (SUNY), the nation’s largest statewide public university system, will install renewable energy, including solar and other technologies, at each of its 64 campuses by 2020. This commitment builds on SUNY’s existing goals of improving its energy efficiency performance by 20 percent and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.
The Governor challenged private colleges and universities to join SUNY in their commitment. To support public and private schools investing in solar, the New York Power Authority will provide new tools and resources to evaluate, manage, and contract solar lease agreements with private sector partners.
In addition, New York State will invest in clean, renewable power across all of its public buildings and facilities, expanding upon its ambitious energy efficiency objectives.
“New York is once again serving as a national role model, turning bold ideas into action as Governor Cuomo takes the lead on efforts to address climate change," said Richard Kauffman, chairman of Energy & Finance for New York State. "Under these commitments made today and as part of the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision plan, New York is on a firm path to reach our clean energy and environment goals by building a clean, resilient and affordable energy system.”
Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is designed to build a cleaner, more affordable and resilient energy system for all New Yorkers through a combination of new energy policies, state-wide initiatives and regulatory reforms.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 8 October 2015
KNOWLESVILLE – John Steier and his son Evan haul tires on the new fitness trail at the 4-H Fairgrounds, which opened today to the public.
The Steiers and other particpants in the Albion Running Club jogged the course and tried the six stations, doing push ups, dips and other maneuvers while completing the half-mile fitness trail.
Pam Coville and her husband Mark bend down and flip tires, one of the challenges on the fitness trail.
The Running Club kicked in $450 towards the trail, which is open to the public and includes signs showing how to attempt the activities along the course.
Brian Krieger does push-ups at one of the stops.
The project includes many recycled items, including the poles used for the signs. Many old farm tires are utilized as part of the stations.
Runners get in some exercise on the course.
Staff Reports Posted 8 October 2015
YATES – A group of concerned Yates citizens has decided to finance and conduct a formal survey of the Town of Yates regarding the proposed Apex Lighthouse Wind project in Yates, Save Ontario Shores announced.
SOS, a citizens group that opposes the turbine project in Yates and Somerset, announced today that residents will receive a survey in the next few days from Lumsden & McCormick, LLP, which SOS said is an impartial accounting firm in Buffalo.
The citizens group said the survey is needed to detail the will of the citizens in Yates. The Town Board has discussed doing a survey, but SOS said that survey hasn’t materialized.
Lumsden & McCormick will be collecting all surveys, collating results and providing those results to the residents of Yates, the Yates Town Board, the Orleans County Legislature, the Somerset Town Board, the Niagara County Legislature, and the NYS Public Service Commission.
The surveys are being sent to the property owners on the official tax rolls of the Town of Yates. Each survey is confidentially tabulated and impartially controlled to ensure accuracy and validity, SOS said in an email today.
The questions were developed by several Yates residents. Surveys are due back by Oct. 16 and will be opened and tabulated by Lumsden & McCormick at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 19.
The results will be made public at the conclusion of the tabulating process during the Oct. 19 meeting at White Birch Golf Club.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 8 October 2015
HOLLEY – I’ve heard about how the canal used to go near the Public Square in Holley and how remnants of the original canal remain. On Tuesday, after seeing the Tugboat Urger in Holley, I went for a walk on Holley’s trail system to see if I could find any signs of the original canal.
I didn’t find any stone walls or old artifacts from the original canal. But I did see a blue heron perched in a tree.
This branch hangs out over the canal in Holley, just west of the Bennetts Corners Road canal bridge. Holley has a trail system that goes from its canal park into the woods by the waterfalls and to the Public Square.
Get too close to the heron, and it will take off in flight.
The canal allows many close encounters with wildlife, from deer, ducks, birds, fish, turtles and more.
Looking down from the path on the south side of the canal there is what I think is a waste weir, where water is drained from the canal.
I think this water feeds Sandy Creek which cuts through the woods. I was looking for old canal remnants, but came up empty.
This is a good size culvert you don't normally see in a wooded area.
Here is another look at the culvert with the zoom lens.
Follow the trail by Sandy Creek and you discover the top of the Holley Waterfalls.
You have options on the Holley walking trail – left or right?
I headed back to the path by the canal and met my friend, the heron. It had moved down a little closer to the canal bridge.
Once again, you get too close and it takes off flying.
If anyone wants to show me where the canal walls are from the original canal, send me an email and we can work out a time to go see it. (email@example.com)
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 October 2015
MEDINA – Projects that have been months and years in the making both became public this week when Pride Pak presented its site plan for a new vegetable processing and distribution plant in Medina and the first tenant committed to a new high-tech factory in the Town of Alabama.
Both sites will be big users of Medina’s sewer plant, a great economic development resource that has operated under capacity for years.
“It’s a banner week for economic development in western Orleans,” Medina Mayor Andrew Meier said. “Medina’s water and wastewater is a big winner.”
The two plants will generate big revenue for Medina’s water and sewer funds. Deputy Mayor Mike Sidari said that should help to at least stave off water and sewer increases for village residents. The revenue should also allow the village to maintain and improve its infrastructure, Meier said.
Other communities trying to lure big companies often don’t have sewer capacity ready for big companies. Medina’s sewer and water resources were among the assets that brought Pride Pak to the community. It will build a new 62,000-square-foot facility on Maple Ridge Ridge, with room to expand in the future.
Pride Pak will have 85 to 100 employees as part of the first phase. Construction should start next month, pending final approvals on the site plan from the Village Planning Board, and other local and state permits.
The company expects to start construction next month on the new vegetable processing facility, a site that will likely be expanded in phases and could see 200 employees at full build-out.
A Massachusetts company, 1366 Technologies, will build a 130,000-square-foot manufacturing site just south of the Town of Shelby in Genesee County. The facility will go in a farm field off Lewiston Road on Crosby Road.
The company will make silicon carbon wafers, a key component in solar panels. It will make a $100 million investment in the first phase of the project, and expects to expand quickly. It will have 600 full-time employees in phase 1 and could employ 1,000 at full build-out.
The state is committing $33 million for infrastructure for the STAMP site in the Town of Alabama. A sewer main will run to the site, connecting to Medina’s system. Meier said the route for the sewer main hasn’t yet been determined.
Photos by Kristina Gabalski Posted 8 October 2015
KNOWLESVILLE – A new fitness trail has opened at the 4-H Fairgrounds on Route 31 in Knowlesville. There will be an opening ceremony today at 6 p.m. with the Albion Running Club, where runners and walkers will then try the course.
“We see people come and walk the grounds all the time and thought this would be a nice addition,” Orleans County 4-H Educator Robert Batt said.
The half-mile trail includes six stations with various exercises/activities. The project is sponsored by the Running Club.
The public is invited to attend the grand opening and also to come out and make use of the trail at any time.
“4-Hers will also be able to use the trail before meetings,” Batt said.
The project includes a number of recycled items. Batt said the poles used for the signs are made from recycled tires and have been repurposed from a former exhibit on the fairgrounds. Additionally, old agricultural tires are used as part of the stations. At Station #1, for example, the tires are used for a triceps dip.
“The project is green and environmentally friendly,” Batt observed. “It’s super exciting.”
Photos by Kristina Gabalski Posted 8 October 2015
KNOWLESVLLE – Orleans County 4-H’ers and 4-H Educator Robert Batt (at the hood) work to put the finishing touches on a car being washed as part of a 4-H Open House held Wednesday.
October 4-10 marks National 4-H Week and locally Orleans County 4-H held an open house outside the Education Building on the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds to celebrate.
Free car washes were provided by 4-Hers for volunteers; non-volunteers could also participate for a goodwill donation. Popcorn was provided as part of the event and there were free T-shirts and other surprises for those who stopped in.
One family traveled from Kendall during the festivities to sign up for 4-H. As of Wednesday, six new families joined during 4-H Week. A newly formed goat club with seven members held its first meeting this week, Batt said.
Current enrollment in Orleans County 4-H now stands at 442.
Cuomo, officials say new company at STAMP will elevate region, Upstate
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 October 2015
BATAVIA – The announcement today by 1366 Technologies that it will build a new high-tech manufacturing plant in the Town of Alabama, employing 600 people in phase one of what could be a $700 million build-out, is more evidence Upstate New York is poised for the future, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
“Today is a game-changer,” he told more than 300 people at Genesee Community College in Batavia, when he made the announcement the first tenant committed to the STAMP site.
Upstate communities for years – decades – were too focused on the past and legacy manufacturing companies that employed locals for generations. Many of those companies left town.
“Too much discussion used to be about what we did, what we used to be,” Cuomo told a crowd in a packed Stuart Steiner Theatre. “There was very little talk about the future.”
Cuomo said transformational projects are under way across Upstate. Today’s STAMP announcement follows SolarCity’s efforts to build a solar manufacturing plant in Buffalo with 3,000 workers; an announcement in July that Rochester won a nationwide competition for a photonics hub; and General Electric’s decision to return to Utica to package silicon carbide power blocks.
Cuomo said he has been prioritizing Upstate for 4 ½ years.
“You can feel the energy change,” he said.
Cuomo praised the Genesee County Economic Development Center, in particular CEO Steve Hyde, for pushing STAMP over the past 10 years, for acquiring land and building support locally, in the region and state for the project, and then bringing 1366 Technologies to the area.
“Steve Hyde has been working on this for 10 years and it came home to roost,” Cuomo said today.
Communities will need leaders with vision and tenacity as the chart the futures of cities, counties and regions. Cuomo said the state wants to be a partner in a stronger Upstate for years to come.
“The future isn’t just going to happen,” the governor said. “The future is what you make of it.”
He said many communities around the state, and outside New York are working hard to bring in businesses.
“It’s a competitive world out there,” he told more than 300 people at GCC.
The STAMP project falls between Rochester and Buffalo, and the political and economic development leaders from both communities pushed for state resources to bring infrastructure to the 1,250-acre STAMP site, just south of the Orleans County line.
The leader of the state economic development agency said Upstate has “a history of neglect” that has changed under the Cuomo administration.
“This is an opportunity for next-generation jobs for communities, for regions and for families that have been long forgotten,” said Howard Zemsky, president and CEO of Empire State Development. “The governor has put us and Upstate New York first.”
1366 Technologies expects to start construction on the 130,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the spring with the goal to be operational in 2017.
The company plans to grow in stages from its initial $100 million investment to $700 million at full build-out. The company will serve as “an anchor tenant” for the park and its presence will raise the profile of the site, helping economic development leaders in negotiations to bring more companies to STAMP.
1366 Technologies would use 105 acres of the 1,250-acre site, leaving plenty of room for other high-tech companies.
“We could put 10-12 more in like this,” said Mark Peterson, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, the economic development arm for the Rochester region.
He praised the partnership between Buffalo and Rochester in advancing the STAMP site.
“This begins to change the dynamic between the two cities to create a major metropolitan hub,” he said.
The site could potentially have 10,000 workers at STAMP, with a spinoff of another 50,000 jobs through supply contractors, transportation and other support businesses.
Steve Hyde, leader of the Genesee County EDC, sees businesses setting up in Medina and Orleans County that would work with STAMP companies.
It will be a big lift for the area, providing lots of good opportunities.
“This is really about our kids,” Hyde said. “This will create thousands of high-paying jobs for our kids.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 October 2015
BATAVIA – A Massachusetts company that revolutionized manufacturing silicon carbon wafers – considered “the heart” of solar panels – looked at 300 sites for what could be a $700 million factory.
1366 Technologies picked a farm field near a swamp for the project.
The site off Lewiston Road on Crosby Road is “perfect” for the producing high efficiency multi-crystalline wafers, company leaders said today during an announcement about the project with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and leaders from the Western New York and Finger Lakes region.
1366 Technologies needs a lot of room, and access to major utilities with water, electric, natural gas, as well as access to a highly skilled workforce.
“There is a tremendous talent pool in the region,” said Frank van Mierlo, chief executive officer of 1366 Technologies, which is based in Bedford, Mass. “If you want to change the world, you need talented people.”
The site in the Town of Alabama is close to major gas lines, is only a few miles from the State Thruway, and can tap the labor markets in Rochester and Buffalo. It will also use sewer from the Village of Medina as the company occupies 105 acres of the STAMP site, a 1,250-acre park for high-tech manufacturing.
1366 Technologies also is within the 30-mile radius of the Niagara Falls Power Project, where companies are eligible for low-cost renewable power. 1366 Technologies was approved for up to 8.5 megawatts of hydropower.
The cheaper electricity, with no CO2 emissions, appealed to 1366 Technologies, van Mierlo said.
The company has a new way of manufacturing silicon wafers at 50 percent of the cost of its closest competitor, van Mierlo said. The company forecasts it will produce 600 million high-performance silicon wafers a year, enough to power 360,000 American homes.
At full capacity, the company says it will create more than 1,000 new full-time jobs for the region.
The company runs a site in Bedford, Mass., but the new plant in Genesee County will allow it to go commercial scale. Van Mierlo said his goal is to produce solar at less cost than coal. The company’s manufacturing breakthroughs, as well as other improvements in the solar industry, could drive solar costs down to 5 cents per kilowatt hour, cheaper than coal.
The state put together a package of incentives for $56.3 million. With local incentives, the company could receive $97 million over 10 years if it has a full build-out on the $700 million manufacturing facility. Phase 1 will be $100 million from the company.
Some of those incentives are discounts on property taxes. The land has been low-production farmland.
In the next 10 to 15 years, the STAMP site could attract a dozen companies and become one of the “semi-conductor and nanotechnology centers in the world,” said Joseph Morelle, a Rochester state assemblyman who spoke during today’s announcement. He is also one of the leaders of the State Assembly.
"I think innovation and entrepreneurship is what rebuilding the state is all about," he said.
Staff Reports Posted 7 October 2015
BATAVIA – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 1366 Technologies, a manufacturer of technologies for the solar energy industry, will establish its first large commercial Direct Wafer production plant and significantly grow its workforce at the high-tech Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in Alabama, Genesee County.
Construction of the $700 million manufacturing facility will require two phases during which the company will create at least 600 new, full-time jobs over the next five years. 1366 expects to eventually create more than 1,000 new jobs in Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region.
“This $700 million investment is an enormous vote of confidence in the Upstate economy and sends the message that there is opportunity in every corner of this state.” Governor Cuomo said. “Today’s announcement is an example of how we are combining this region’s natural strengths with our vision to develop New York’s entrepreneurial future and make the Empire State a true leader in developing the clean energy technologies of tomorrow. I am proud to continue building on Upstate’s economic resurgence and I am pleased to have 1366 helping us lead the way forward.”
1366 Technologies develops and manufactures high performance silicon wafers, the building block of solar cells and the most expensive component of a solar panel. The company’s revolutionary Direct Wafer technology transforms how the wafers are made and replaces a decades-old, expensive and wasteful manufacturing process with one elegant step. The result slashes the cost of a wafer by 50 percent.
As a “drop-in” replacement for conventional wafers, 1366 Technologies makes it easy for cell and module manufacturers to strip out costs without adding complexity.
“We couldn’t be more proud to partner with the State of New York and contribute to the Finger Lakes Region’s vibrant future,” said 1366 Technologies CEO Frank van Mierlo. “Governor Cuomo and his administration recognize the opportunity advanced manufacturing brings to New York and to the United States. Innovation, like ours, is at the heart of economic growth and jobs. Thanks to his strategic vision and support, we will bring both to Upstate New York.”
1366 Technologies will build a 3GW wafer facility with a methodical phased approach, starting with a 250MW facility. Over the course of the multi-phase project, 1366 will invest approximately $700 million, including a $100 million initial investment, becoming the largest economic development project in the history of Genesee County.
In order to encourage 1366 Technologies to establish its new manufacturing operations in the Finger Lakes region, the Governor’s administration put forth a competitive and attractive New York State incentive package of up to $56.3 million and up to 8.5 megawatts of low-cost hydropower, which includes estimated benefits and savings available through as-of-right and performance-based programs. State agencies providing incentives and support include Empire State Development (ESD); New York Power Authority (NYPA); New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).
ESD’s incentives are tied directly to the creation of at least 600 new jobs, and the grant portion of the package will be used specifically for establishing infrastructure and constructing the initial 130,000 square foot facility, which 1366 Technologies will lease for the next decade.
The Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) site is part of New York’s High Tech Corridor and is the state’s second shovel-ready mega site (1,250 acres) designed to attract large companies including semiconductor, display/ imaging, photovoltaics, optics/ photonics, and bio-manufacturing firms.
The site is located within the New York Power Authority’s low cost hydropower zone and is serviced by redundant, highly reliable power. Located just five miles north of the New York State Thruway on exit 48A, the site has access to a bi-region population of 2.1 million people.
The STAMP site has been validated as a regional priority project by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and is supported by regional business and labor organizations, as well as regional colleges and universities.
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, issued this statement about the project.
“I would like to thank the governor’s office, 1366 Technologies, Empire State Development, Genesee County ESD and the multitude of other agencies that collaborated to bring this project to Western New York,” Hawley said. “This is a historic day in the development of Western New York’s economy and a major victory for all the counties in my district. 1366 Technologies is revolutionizing the solar industry and has committed to creating more than 1,000 new jobs for local college graduates looking to work in the technology and energy industries.
“The future of New York’s economy lies in growing our manufacturing and technology sectors, and I am proud to see my district and Western New York as a whole receive such a large investment," Hawley said. "I look forward to working with 1366 Technologies in the future and finding other ways to attract similar companies to our region.”
Orleans Hub will have more later about today's annoucement.
Provided photo Posted 7 October 2015
ALBION – Rick Heise of Albion, center, won a Buffalo Bills package through the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern. Heise is pictured with Laverne Bates, GOMOC executive director, and Mary Grace Demarse, treasurer for the agency.
Heise won two tickets to last Sunday’s Bills game versus the New York Giants. The seats were 12 rows up at the center line of Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Ministry of Concern raised $2,000 through the raffle that included the two seats at the 50-yard-line, plus a Bills jacket, hat, shirt, golf balls, signed pictures and a year’s subscription to Sports Illustrated.
“Thanks to all who throughout the summer bought chances to win the Bills Basket in support of the Ministry of Concern program that provides emergency services to assist families living in poverty, used furniture as needed and a creative children’s E3Team program, that provides events focused on Energy, Encouragement and Empowerment and the positive influence of a great team of coaches,” Bates said.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 October 2015
ALBION – Three people, including two with lengthy criminal histories, were arraigned in Orleans County Court this week.
Charles A. Verstreate, 46, of Rochester is in Orleans County Jail on $100,000 bail. He was arrested on Aug. 11, following an undercover buy operation of oxycodone pills by the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.
Verstreate was charged with one count each of criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, both felonies.
He has seven prior felonies, 17 prior misdemeanor crimes and twice has failed to appear at court appearances, District Attorney Joe Cardone said when Verstreate made his first court appearance in August.
Judge James Punch set bail at $100,000 for Verstreate due to his “profoundly serious criminal history.”
• Bennie Coger, 63, of Medina was arraigned on 2 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the 3rd degree, and 2 counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in 3rd degree.
The judge set bail at $25,000 for Coger, who is currently on state parole due to two prior felonies.
• Stuart J. Rodden, 25, of Medina was arraigned for driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree.
Rodden was charged on Aug. 7 following the investigation of a motor vehicle accident with an unregistered dirtbike on South Lyndonville Road (Route 63) in the Town of Ridgeway. Rodden posted $2,500 bail in Town Court. Judge Punch is keeping the bail at $2,500.
Urger proves popular with fourth-graders
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 7 October 2015
HOLLEY – The historic Urger, a tugboat from 1901, was in Holley on Tuesday as part of its state-wide educational mission. The tugboat was a working vessel on the canal, hauling machinery, dredges and scows on the canal system for 60 years until the boat was retired from services in the 1980s.
The boat was built in 1901 in Ferrysburg, Michigan, and was a commercial shipping vessel in Michigan before joining the canal fleet in the 1920s.
In 1991, the Urger got new life as a “Teaching Tug.” It visits canal communities from early May until late October, educating children and adults about the canal system, which opened in 1825.
Fourth-graders from School No. 2 in Rochester visit the boat on Tuesday morning. Holley students stopped by in the afternoon before Urger headed to Brockport.
The Rochester students used to tour the Mary Jemison boat until it retired two years ago.
When the lift bridge went up in Holley, the cameras and Smart Phones came out to capture the sights and sounds of the century-old bridge.
A modern boat passes by Urger and the lift bridge, heading east towards Brockport on Tuesday.
Students were welcome to tour the boat and see a small kitchen, a bathroom and the sleeping quarters for the crew.
A crew of four lives on the boat from early May until late October, sharing New York State history with a focus on the how the canal, completed in 1825, turned NY into an economic powerhouse for business, and breathing life into many small towns along the canal.
"They learn how important the canal was to New York State, and how important it could be," said Mike Byrnes, a deckhand on the Urger.
He lives in Waterford near Albany and has spent 13 seasons on Urger.
"The fourth-graders are a lot of fun," he said.
The Urger captain sounded the horn on top of the boat. It has a light sound, like a whistle, and a deeper signal. The fourth-graders enjoyed the loud, low noise the most.
There isn't much in the way of fancy technology at the helm of the boat. The captain uses a wheel and bell that rings in the engine room.
The Urger is 75 feet long and weighs 83.7 tons. The engine weighs 19.5 tons. It is a 1944 Atlas Imperial engine that was surplus from World War II. It replaced a steam engine.
The Urger is shown in this photo looking under the lift bridge in Holley.
Mike Pelletier, the engineer on the boat, is in his second season with Urger. The Newark resident said it has been eye-opening serving on the vessel and seeing the canal communities.
He gave Holley high marks for developing a nice park with amenities by the canal for boaters, and also for lots of signage pointing them to businesses and other services nearby.
"This has been a very educational adventure," Pelletier said. "There is so much to the canal and not just for boaters. It's beautiful now for walkers, runners and cyclists (who use the towpath)."
Pelletier said more canal towns should work on signage for boaters, directing them to restaurants, local businesses, libraries and other services. He'd also like to see more displays by the canal about local communities' histories, giving visitors a historical snapshot about the town or village.
"The towns and villages need to incorporate it more," he said. "Before I had this job I was as guilty as anyone of taking the canal for granted.
The Urger will be in Brockport the next few days before heading to Spencerport on Oct. 13. Click here to see the schedule and a contact number for local schools to get on the Urger agenda for 2016. The Urger crew urged local schools to arrange tours for next year.
Copyright Albion-Holley Pennysaver, Inc.