Patriot Guard remembers fallen soldier from Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 27 July 2015
KNOWLESVILLE – Rob Podlaski, a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, presents of a portrait of the Jason Johnston to his mother, Jenny Johnston, during opening ceremonies at the Orleans County 4-H Fair this evening.


Specialist Jason Johnston was 24 when he was killed in Afghanistan in the War on Terror on Dec. 26, 2009. Johnston was on his second deployment. He was also a paratrooper.


He completed a 13-month-deployment in 2008 and left again for the war-torn country in October 2009. He was killed by a roadside bomb the day after Christmas.

Jenny Johnston holds the portrait of her son, Jason Johnston.


He was the first soldier from Albion killed in combat since Rick Engle was killed in Vietnam on Feb. 2, 1968.

The Patriot Guard Riders wanted Johnston’s family to know his sacrifice – their sacrifice – hasn’t been forgotten, Podlaski said.


The Patriot Guard presented a remembrance portrait to Johnston’s mother and sister, Heather Johnston, this evening. Heather accepted the portrait on behalf of Brad Johnston, her and Jason's father.

State Sen. Rob Ortt, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, meets Jenny and Heather Johnston after the Patriot Guard presentation. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, right, also greets the family.


Ortt said "Gold Star" families deserve the community's utmost respect.


"We owe a debt of gratitude for what he sacrificed," Hawley said about Johnston.

The Patriot Guard joined local veterans during opening ceremonies for the fair.

About 30 members of the Patriot Guard attended the presentation in honor of Jason Johnston.

The Patriot Guard salutes during the opening ceremony.


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Albion man with lengthy criminal history gets state prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 July 2015
ALBION – An Albion man with a criminal history going back 40 years was sentenced to 2 ½ years in state prison today, the maximum after he pleaded guilty on May 18 to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

John B. Lang, Jr., 56, has been in the Orleans County Jail on $20,000 bail since early December, when he was arrested for selling hydrocodone. Lang was living at 175 North Main St., Apt. 16.

Lang has a lengthy history of misdemeanor crimes, but this is his first felony.

His attorney, Dominic Saraceno, asked that Lang not be sentenced to state prison. Lang may have undiagnosed mental health problems, including a bipolar disorder, as well as physical ailments from when he was hit by an RV, Saraceno told County Court Judge James Punch.

Lang apologized in court.

“I’m sorry, your honor,” Lang said. “It won’t happen again.”

The judge gave Lang the maximum sentence, took away his driver’s license for 6 months and also required him to pay $560 in restitution for the buy money used by the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

“You are a long-term criminal, and I’m giving you the maximum,” Punch said.


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Biden, Cuomo announce $110M in federal funds for photonics in Rochester

NY also commits $250M to initiative expected to have ripple effect in Upstate economy

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office Posted 27 July 2015

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined today by Vice President Joe Biden to announce that New York has been selected by the Department of Defense to lead a prestigious, multi-state Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation.


The selection is part of a White House initiative to secure the United States’ global leadership in emerging technology research, development, and manufacturing.


Photonics harnesses the power of light to move data at great speeds, and the research done at the new Institute will integrate photonics components to revolutionize computer chips, making them faster, smaller, and more reliable with a wide range of applications, including medical technology, defense, telecommunications, the Internet, and information technology.


A $110 million federal grant awarded to the SUNY Polytechnic-led “American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics” will support a high-tech consortium with business operations, a company incubator and accelerator, workforce training, and board of directors headquartered in Rochester.


Total public and private investment in the Photonic Institute will exceed $600 million, including more than $250 million by New York State to equip, install, and make operational a state-of-the-art photonics prototyping operation. The institute’s work will create and support thousands of advanced research and manufacturing jobs across Upstate and the United States and lead to major advances within a wide range of practical applications.


“New York has always been a leader when it comes to thinking big about what tomorrow holds – and today in Rochester, we’re seeing an even brighter vision for what the future will be,” Cuomo said. “This announcement is proof that the best is yet to come for New York’s high-tech industries. We’ve turned our economy around, we’re making the investments to keep it going, and this new Institute is another example of how Rochester is the vision for the economy of the future. I thank President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Ash Carter for recognizing New York’s potential and joining us to make this announcement possible.”


Establishing this first-ever photonics consortium will create a New York-led national infrastructure that is widely accessible and financially self-sustaining. It is designed to scale into the future; ensuring innovation is based on new technology developed in the United States.


Additional operations will be headquartered at the SUNY Polytechnic Albany NanoTech Campus in addition to the business headquarters in Rochester, leading to the attraction of thousands of high tech jobs to the Rochester area and across Upstate.


"A new tech era officially begins in Rochester today. By combining the academic and research resources of the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute, with the hundreds of New York photonics companies; Rochester is now well-positioned to lead the way in this cutting-edge industry,” said U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer.


The Photonics Institute consists of more than 50 companies, 20 universities, 33 community colleges, and 16 non-profit organizations across 20 states including California and Massachusetts.


Advanced photonics research will be centered at the SUNY Poly nanotechnology megaplex in Albany, SUNY Poly’s Canal Ponds and Smart Technology and Commercialization facilities in Rochester and Canandaigua, the University of Rochester, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. In addition to the Department of Defense, the Institute will work closely with government partners, including the Departments of Energy and Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.


In order to maximize job creation and economic growth there was a strong focus on recruiting small and medium sized businesses, as well as start-ups. Resources will also be used for workforce training initiatives with the consortium’s community college partners and other programs including K-12 to help meet the growing demand in photonics and STEM-enabled careers.


"Headquartering a multi-state photonics center in the city of Rochester is a once-in-a-generation win for New York State and a testament to SUNY's capacity to advance cutting-edge technologies and foster innovation," said State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "We look forward to partnering with our colleagues in higher education, government, and the private sector on this initiative, which will ensure that our students and faculty remain at the forefront of innovation in New York and across the country."


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Today’s Fair Schedule (July 27, 2015)

Photo by Tom Rivers
These goats are ready to greet the public at the Orleans County 4-H Fair this week.

Daily Feature: New for 2015 the Orleans County Flower Show sponsored by Orleans County Master Gardeners. Display located in the Lartz Exhibit Building, daily
presentations to be at 6 p.m.


Daily Feature: Meet Micheal Keene Author of five books on hidden history of New York in the Lartz Building, 3 to 9 p.m.

8 a.m. Senior Council Stand opens

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Commercial Exhibits in Place

9 a.m. Walk/ Trot Horse Show and Cloverbud Horse Show - Carlos Marcello Arena

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Orleans County Master Gardener Flower Show Entries accepted - Lartz Building

10 a.m. Market Auction Weigh-In

10 a.m. Llama and Alpaca Show (classes 1-42) - Show Arena

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Common Garden Vegetables, Market Packages, Cut Flowers, Indoor Gardening, Fruits and Nuts, Plant Collection (Preserved and Scrapbook), Landscape Pictures and Plants, Experiments, Horticulture Methods judged - Trolley Building

11 a.m. Field crops judged - Trolley Building

1 to 3 p.m. Group Exhibits, Food Preservation, Baked Goods and Visual Arts judged. Trolley Building

2:30 p.m. Goat Fitting Contest - Knights Building

3 p.m. Fair Official Meeting - Fair Office

4 p.m. Paid per car admission begins: Special Opening Day $2 price

5:45 p.m. Opening Ceremony, Presentation of Colors by Orleans County Veterans. Flag Pole Garden

6 to 10 p.m. Midway Rides of Utica $10.00 unlimited ride wristbands opening day special pricing - Midway

6 p.m. Dog Show Grooming and Handling /Showmanship, Classes 1-4 and C1 - Show Arena

6 p.m. Leader’s Pie Stand Opens

6 p.m. 4-H Clothing Revue: The Design is Mine Stage

6 - 9 p.m. Live Broadcast with 89.1 The Point. Fair Office Portico.

6 p.m. Orleans County 4-H Fair Bucket of Junk Contest Judging - Lartz Building

6 p.m. Master Gardener Presentation: Floral Design Basics - Lartz Building

6 to 8 p.m. P.Raising Kids Children’s Activity Center with face painting, crafts and art projects. Trolley Building

6:30 p.m. Pork Chop Review - Performing pigs and family fun sponsored by Tompkins Bank of Castile - Lawn South of the Knights Building

6:30 p.m. 4-H Bake Sale. Blue ribbon baked goods available for a limited time - Trolley Building

6:30 p.m. Trolley Building Youth Exhibits Open - Trolley Building

7 p.m. Talent Show - Stage

7 p.m. Swine Show - Swine Pavilion

8:30 p.m. Pork Chop Review - Performing pigs and family fun
Sponsored by Tompkins Bank of Castile - Lawn South of the Knights Building

9 p.m. $1,000 Karaoke Contest - Stage

10 p.m. Buildings Close


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Animals, 4-H’ers arrive for fair week

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 27 July 2015
KNOLWESVILLE – The livestock, 4-H’ers and many vendors have arrived and are ready for a busy week at the Orleans County 4-H Fair, which starts today and runs until Saturday night.


The top photo shows Joseph Cecchini, 11, of Medina cleaning a cow this morning at a new wash rack.

The wash rack was a popular place to be this morning. The new wash rack replaces a wooden one. There is also a concrete floor and better drainage.


"It's way better," Nicky Farruggia, 16, of Holley said about the new wash rack. In past years, she had to stand in mud to clean her cows.

Zack Farruggia, 17, of Holley cleans a cow this morning. Zack and four of his siblings will be showing animals at the fair this week, including the Dairy Show at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

Kelsey Evoy, 19, of Medina cleaned out her horse stall as part of the morning chore routine.

Owen Shaw (left), 10, of Kent had his rabbit, Raven, out to play this morning, to the delight of Aiden Gerling, 4, of Lyndonville. The rabbits are in the Wachob Building, which has a new concrete floor.

The 4-H Senior Council Stand opened at 8 a.m. and James White, a candidate for County Legislature, was inside cooking pancakes. He is pictured with Brandon Stewart, a 4-H member from Spencerport.


White is dating Kristen Marciszewski of Lyndonville. Her mother Dawn Marciszewski helps manage the morning crew of volunteers at the stand.


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Orleans sees biggest unemployment drop outside NYC in past year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 July 2015
The unemployment rate in Orleans County for June fell to 6.1 percent, down a full 1.0 percent from the 7.1 in June 2014.

That drop was biggest reduction in New York State outside of New York City, according to data from the State Department of Labor.

The 6.1 percent rate is slightly above the 6.0 percent rate in Orleans for May. In June, the county had 17,400 people working, up from 16,900 in June 2014. The number of people on unemployment dropped from 1,300 to 1,100 during that time, according to the Department of Labor.

Nationally the unemployment rate dropped from 6.3 percent in June 2014 to 5.5 percent last month. In New York, the state rate fell from 6.2 percent to 5.3 percent during that year.

In Western New York, Orleans has the highest unemployment rate. Other rates for June include: Genesee, 4.5 percent; Chautauqua, 6.0; Cattaraugus, 5.8; Erie, 5.2; Niagara, 5.6; Wyoming, 4.9; Monroe, 5.1; and Livingston, 5.3.


To see more on the Department of Labor report, click here.


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Medina native commands Navy repair facility in Japan

Provided photo

Capt. Garret Farman relieves Capt. Michael Ballou as 28th commanding officer of the U.S. Navy repair facility in Japan. The Ship Repair Facility Japan Regional Maintenance Center provides ship maintenance and modernization to Pacific Fleet Type Commanders using advanced industrial techniques to keep the Seventh Fleet operationally ready. Photo by Michelle Bridges, Ship Repair Facility Japan Regional Maintenance Center Public Affairs.


By Alicia Akashi, SRF-JRMC Public Affairs Posted 27 July 2015
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Captain Garrett Farman relieved Captain Michael Ballou as U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) Yokosuka’s commanding officer at a change of command ceremony on July 10.

SRF-JRMC is a full-service ship repair facility providing maintenance, modernization, docking, fly-away and emergency repairs for U.S. Navy vessels. The SRF-JRMC mission is to “Keep the Seventh Fleet Operationally Ready.”

Captain Farman is the son of Robert and Patricia Farman of Medina. A 1986 graduate of Medina High School, Captain Farman attended the University of Rochester, earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.


He was commissioned through the University of Rochester Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program in 1990. He was awarded a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School in 2000.

Captain Farman is an Engineering Duty Officer involved with the design, acquisition, construction, repair, maintenance, conversion, overhaul and disposal of ships, submarines, aircraft carriers and the systems on those platforms.


For more on Captain Farman, click here.


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Governor signs expanded law for people with disabilities

Legislation, passed on 25th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act, is first for Sen. Ortt

Staff Reports Posted 26 July 2015
ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo today signed two pieces of legislation that strengthen the state’s support of people with disabilities.


The legislation was sponsored by State Sen. Rob Ortt and is his first legislation to become law since he replaced George Maziarz in th Senate on Jan. 1. Ortt serves as chairman of the Senate's Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.


He said the legislation is important to military members, and important to those in the disabled community.


"It ensures that the state’s laws and programs for people with developmental disabilities are better equipped to support those individuals in military families," Ortt said in a message posted on his Facebook page. "This legislation shows our members of the Armed Forces that they are not forgotten. This signing coincides with today’s 25th anniversary of the ADA, which makes it all the more special. I am honored to be able to help give back to those who protect and serve our nation, as well as support individuals with developmental disabilities."


The two pieces of legislation signed into law today by the governor are: A.136-A/S.1405 – This law codifies protections for people with disabilities who are refused access to places of public accommodation (such as hotels, restaurants, retail stores, recreation or entertainment venues and hospitals).


The law clarifies that it is discriminatory for an operator – public or private – to refuse to remove certain architectural or communication barriers in these spaces. It also eliminates an exception for the barrier removal requirement for public libraries.


S.5630-A/A.7766-A – This law directs the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to examine state laws and regulations pertaining to military family members and suggest any necessary improvements to make those laws and regulations better serve the families of people with developmental disabilities.


The law also directs OPWDD to study this issue in consultation with the Division of Military and Naval Affairs and the State Education Department.


Cuomo today also signed a proclamation marking the 25th anniversary of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act.


“Today, New York is continuing to protect the rights and liberties of people with disabilities,” Cuomo saids. “These two pieces of legislation build on our administration’s support for people with disabilities and make New York a better place to live and work for communities across the state. I am proud to honor the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and look forward to furthering the cause of equality for all people.”


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Latest Players’ production brings laughs with ‘Spelling Bee’

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 July 2015
MEDINA – Michael Flanagan plays Leaf Coneybear, one of the characters in the Lake Plains Players' production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Leaf comes from a large family of former hippies and makes his own clothes.


The local theater group performed the musical on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Leonard Oakes Estate Winery on Ridge Road in Medina.


This is the first time the Players performed a full-length musical during the summer. The group also performs a musical in the fall. Adding a musical to summer gives the Players a chance to include teachers and college students, who are not available for the fall show.

Julie Patel portrays Olive Ostrovsky, one of six contestants in the spelling bee. Patel is singing, "My Friend, the Dictionary."

Anthony Giambrone, center, portrays Douglas Panch, the school vice principal and a spelling bee judge. Panch is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti (right), the spelling bee moderator played by Rebecca Witty.

Anthony Giambrone (Douglas Panch) asks one of the contestants a word to spell.

Joe Kuzmierczak plays Chip Tolentino, a Boy Scout who won the 24th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He is back to defend his title.


Gabrielle Montgomery directed this LPP production, her first solo job as a director. The cast of nine performers rehearsed three days a week after Memorial Day and then stepped it up to five days a week the past two weeks.


"It's a funny and very relatable show," Montgomery said. "Even though it's funny, there's a lot of heart in it."

Some of the cast members include from left: Joe Kusmierczak (Chip Tolentino), Julie Patel (Olive Ostrovsky), Michael Flanagan (Leaf Coneybear), Sarah Hill (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre), Eric Glynn (William Barfée), Danielle White (Marcy Park) and Rebecca Witty (Rona Lisa Peretti).

Sarah Hill portrays Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre and spells a word during the bee.

About 75 people attended Saturday's performance of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery.


For more on the Lake Plains Players, click here.


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Musicians, community band together for a better Bullard Park

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 July 2015
ALBION – Nine bands performed in the second annual "Rock the Park" fund-raiser for Bullard Park on Saturday, including the band driVen. Mike "Thunder" Warren, right, and Dylan DeSmit are pictured performing with that band under the main pavilion at Bullard.


DeSmit and Zach Burgess helped line up the bands for Saturday. The event also included 53 vendors and a festival-like atmosphere.

Tyler Dixon, 5, of Barre Center has fun with a bubble gun.

Two bounce houses and a big slide were popular with kids.

Jonathan Judd, 11, gets ready to hit the target at the dunk tank. His mother, Tracy Judd-LaGalbo, was among the many volunteers who took a turn in the tank with all proceeds going to the park.

Kara Pitcher of Middleport was one of 53 vendors at the park on Saturday. She owns Legendary Dog Treats. Besides selling dog treats, she also sold dog feeders designed by her father, Danny Pitcher.


Annette Tamul of Albion organized the vendors. She has many contacts among vendors because she sells wickless waxes and warmers.


Tamul was living in South Carolina and moved back to Albion about three years ago. She noticed how much of the old playground equipment had been removed due to safety issues, without new equipment being added.


"We have all of this space to utilize," Tamul said about the park.


The village has twice tried for state grants and been denied. It is trying again this year for park upgrades, including a new splash pad. In the meantime, Tamul said the community needs to try to raise funds to improve the popular spot on Route 31.

The band Zero closed out the music festival on Saturday with Zack Burgess, center, as the lead singer. Dylan DeSmit, left, is on lead guitar and vocals, and Brad Maxon on bass. Dan Ryan plays the drums.


The first "Rock the Park" was at the Elks Club last year. Organizers wanted to move the event to Bullard this time and add more activities.

Zero performs under the main pavilion.

Dylan DeSmit played with three bands at Rock the Park on Saturday: Delano Steele, driVen, and Zero.


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