Provided photo: (From left) Teacher Sue Lindke, Elaina Smith (Lyndonville), Brianna Sawyer (Albion) and teacher Anne Carnahan are shown at a recent event at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center. Smith won first in the fantasy competition and Sawyer served as her model.
Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES
MEDINA – Students in Anne Carnahan’s and Sue Lindke’s Cosmetology Program at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center put on a very impressive runway show recently.
The students in both the classes were tasked with two looks – the juniors had to create an evening hairstyle and the seniors had the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild with a fantasy look, including hair and makeup.
Local hairstylists judged the competition and then the students with their models walked down the runway to the appreciation of their family, friends and schoolmates who were in attendance.
The winners are:
1st Place – Stylist Elaina Smith (Lyndonville) and her model Brianna Sawyer (Albion) with their zombie mermaid theme.
2nd Place – Stylist Angela Wachob (Lyndonville) with her model Carter Fritton (Royalton Hartland) with their space elves theme.
3rd Place – Stylist Heaven Flood (Lyndonville) and her model Kaylie Skellon (Albion).
1st Place – Stylist Lexus Waite (Royalton-Hartland) and her model Tzyviah Ward-Bratton (Lockport).
2nd Place – Stylist Karina Gotay (Lockport) and model Tatjaana Bachiller (Lockport).
3rd Place – Stylist Allison Lemke (Medina) and model Alexia McDonald (Lockport).
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, and State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, both are faulting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to restore voting rights to individuals on parole.
The governor said the action will allow 35,000 people to vote who are currently on parole.
“It is unconscionable to deny voting rights to New Yorkers who have paid their debt and have re-entered society,” Cuomo said on Wednesday. “This reform will reduce disenfranchisement and will help restore justice and fairness to our democratic process. Withholding or delaying voting rights diminishes our democracy.”
Assemblyman Hawley issued this statement today:
“The governor is so desperate to appeal to the radical left as his election approaches that he has now granted conditional pardons to roughly 35,000 convicts on parole, a shameful move that flies in the face of every law-abiding citizen who has done the right thing and followed the law.
“Despite the governor’s radical interpretation, paying your debt to society and earning back the ability to exercise our most cherished right, voting, should not be granted until a felon is completely off parole and has been rehabilitated.
“It is obvious Gov. Cuomo will go to great lengths to win an election but I never thought it would involve pandering to rapists, murderers and arsonists. This governor seems to be fonder of helping inmates and convicted felons instead of hardworking, law-abiding citizens.”
Sen. Ortt issued this statement:
“The Governor’s executive order allows convicted criminals, including those who have committed violent offenses, to vote, before they have paid their debt to society. His willingness to bypass the legislature shows he’s more interested in politics than good policy. Equally troubling is the Governor blatantly lying about Republicans blocking legislation that was never proposed. Sadly, this represents nothing more than additional pandering for votes from a governor who is moving further and further to the left – disregarding law and facts.”
Photo by Tom Rivers: Karl Driesel is pictured in December 2016 at Orleans Millworks, a business he opened in Kendall in July 2016.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 April 2018 at 3:41 pm
KENDALL – The Class of 2018 will hear from a Kendall graduate who was working as a college professor when he decided to devote himself fully to running a business in his hometown.
Karl Driesel, 32, opened Orleans Millworks in July 2016. He was working out of his home until committing to building a new 5,884-square-foot shop and showroom at 1750 Kendall Rd. He also was commuting to Morrisville State College, making a 2 ½-hour trip two to three times a week. He taught in the wood science department and showed students how to make cabinets. Driesel graduated from Morrisville State College, earning degrees in wood products technology and business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship.
Driesel has been chosen by the Senior Class to give the commencement address on June 22. The Board of Education also gave its approval on Wednesday to have Driesel address students at graduation.
Driesel grew up in the community and was an Eagle Scout. He runs the sound for many school events and also lets students use his parking lot to prepare their floats during the homecoming parade.
“It’s nice to have a hometown guy,” said Nadine Hanlon, president of the Board of Education.
Carol D’Agostino, the high school principal, said Driesel is well known among the students.
“He loves Kendall and we love him,” she told the Board of Education.
KENDALL – When district residents go to the polls on may 15 to vote on the school budget and a candidate for the Board of Education, they will also decide the fate of a proposed $14.5 million capital project.
Voting will be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the elementary school gym.
Kendall school leaders say they already have the local share for the work in a capital reserve fund so there wouldn’t be a local tax increase if the project is approved.
The project follows a series of other improvements at the district campus in recent years.
The project would include addressing health, safety and code issues as well as preservation of infrastructure and enhancement of the instructional environment.
The scope of the capital project includes:
• Proposed improvements to the Elementary School include improving ventilation on the second floor of the quad and auditorium; renovation of the multi-purpose room for technology, agriculture and consumer science programs; replacement of the original gym bleachers and the gym floor, renovation of locker rooms, and a re-design of the cafeteria and serving line.
• Improvements proposed for the Jr./Sr. High School include renovation of the art, technology and music rooms which would address accessibility, storage and ventilation; replacement of gym floors and bleachers; renovation of the girls’ locker room; renovation of music practice rooms; renovation o the lavatory in the arts hall; update of the public access system; ventilation in the office and gym; improving light and sound and providing fly space for set productions in the auditorium; addition of a vestibule at the entrance to the art and music wing.
• Site improvements could include lighting and traffic flow at the Elementary School front loop; improvement of traffic flow at the Jr./Sr. High School bus loop; drainage in the athletic fields, addition of bathrooms and storage by the track and sidewalks from the High School cafe to the tennis courts.
• The bus garage is in need of roof repairs, an update to the fuel system and outside lighting as well as improvements to the water line. The old bus garage behind the Elementary School is in need of replacement windows and doors, Julie Christensen, district superintendent, said at a January community meeting about the project.
If approved by district voters, the construction could begin in 2019 and be completed by 2020.
Detailed plans and design work will not begin until the project is approved, Christensen said.
Michael O’Rielly, commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, and Congressman Chris Collins, R-Clarence, have issued a statement, saying New York State needs to stop diverting the 9-1-1 fee from its intended purpose.
“The State of New York knows better than most the importance of 9-1-1. When disaster strikes, New Yorkers depend on a fully functional, responsive 9-1-1 emergency communications system. And, after the September 11, 2001 attack, it was the New York firefighters and police officers who called on Congress to provide dedicated spectrum to public safety and additional funds to migrate these systems to next generation 9-1-1, which will allow public safety officials to receive real time location information, live video feeds, and much more.
“Ironically, the very funding that New York and many others fought for in Congress as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act is not available to New York. That is because a provision in the law prevents states that divert 9-1-1 fees collected from consumers on their phone bills for other purposes from receiving these federal funds. The thought being, if the state is not prioritizing it’s 9-1-1 system, the federal government should not contribute its scarce funding that would allow for more diversion.
“Unfortunately, New York has been found by the Federal Communications Commission to be a diverter of 9-1-1 fees every year since the Commission began collecting this information in 2009. Each state is responsible for its own 9-1-1 system, which typically includes public service answering points (PSAPs), otherwise known as the 9-1-1 call center, and personnel. States fund these services through a fee on consumers’ phone bills. According to data provided to the Commission, the average 9-1-1 fee from wireline services is $1 per line per month and the average 9-1-1 fee on wireless phone bills is $0.92 per line per month. In New York, the state collects $1.20 for each mobile device – one of the highest in the nation.
“Each year the Commission submits information on state 9-1-1 fee diversion practices to Congress. The goal being that this name and shame role of the federal government will pressure states to prioritize 9-1-1 funding and ensure that money they collect from their consumers is going where it should be going. This approach appears to have led to recent successes in states like Rhode Island and New Jersey – both of which are considering legislation to end their fee diversion practices. Perhaps New York did not like this notoriety because this year the state refused to even submit data to the FCC. Despite this, the Commission found in its Report to Congress that based on sufficient public record information and the state’s previous history, it still could conclude that New York diverts funds for non-public safety uses. In fact, under state law, New York diverts approximately 41 percent to its General Fund. And, according to state tax records, in 2016, New York collected more than $185 million from the state’s 9-1-1 fee, but only dedicated $10 million in support of the state’s PSAPs.
“Unfortunately, this practice has real world consequences for the citizens of New York. The Associated Press recently reported that New York is the only northeastern state with serious service gaps in rural areas, which is of particular concern for many parts of Western New York. This article also estimated that the state needed $2.2 billion to fully upgrade the state’s 9-1-1 system. With a shortfall like this, one must wonder why the state would risk falling further behind by prioritizing funding for the General Fund rather than 9-1-1 services.
“On Friday, we will travel to the Niagara County Emergency Management Office to see firsthand the great work that they do to respond to the emergency needs of Western New Yorkers and how New York’s 9-1-1 fee diversion practices are affecting PSAPs in rural areas. Our message will be clear: New York’s diversionary tactics must stop. If the state doesn’t act, we will have to explore ideas at the federal level to bring an end to this practice once and for all.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 April 2018 at 10:40 am
KENDALL – The school district has trauma and grief counselors available today and Friday following the death of Richard J. Gilman Jr., 14, and his mother, Joan C. Gilman. They were discovered Wednesday evening in an upstairs bedroom, deceased after a propane gas leak at 2245 Center Rd.
The Sheriff’s Office said that electrical power had been turned off at the duplex a few days ago and a portable generator was being used along with some propane powered appliances, Undersheriff Chris Bourke said.
“It is with great sadness that I share the news of the sudden death of one of our students, Richard (RJ) Gilman Jr., and his mother, Joan,” Julie Christensen, superintendent of Kendall Central School, said in a statement on the district website. “RJ was a ninth grade student at Kendall Junior/Senior High School (JSHS). He displayed an infectious sense of humor and an endearing personality.”
Counselors will be at the school today and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. If people need support after these hours, they are encouraged to contact the Orleans County Mental Health Care and Crisis Hotline at 585-344-4400.
“Each one of us copes with loss and grief differently,” Christensen said.
The district also has posted strategies to cope with loss (click here).
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 April 2018 at 8:16 am
District won’t be increasing taxes in 2018-19
KENDALL – The Board of Education approved a $17,367,477 school budget on Wednesday that will go before voters on May 15.
The budget reduces spending and doesn’t increase taxes. It also includes $100,000 for a school resource officer. Kendall will keep its security staff and wants to have a deputy from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office devoted to the school.
Julie Christensen, the district superintendent, said Kendall is seeking $50,000 in state funding to help offset the cost of the resource officer. If the district doesn’t receive the grant, Christensen said school officials still plan to have a deputy working full-time out of the district. Kendall will be the second district in Orleans County with a full-time resource officer. Medina contracts with the Medina Police Department to have an officer assigned to the school district.
Overall spending in the Kendall budget is down from $17,415,783 in 2017-18. The tax levy, what the district collects in taxes, will remain the same at $4,715,842. However, the tax rate will decrease from $17.04 to $17.02 per $1,000 of assessed property due to a boost in the tax base.
Kendall’s spending is down because it has less costs with BOCES next year, and also will be spending less in transportation.
In addition to the school resource officer, Kendall is adding a Lego team in the FIRST Lego League (there will be an information meeting May 10 at 6 p.m.). The Lego teams use robotics to program a robot to do tasks. Kendall also has added a trap shooting team this spring.
Christensen and the Board of Education will go over the budget during a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on May 2 at the Kendall Jr/Sr High School Library.
Press Release, Orleans County Undersheriff Chris Bourke
KENDALL – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the circumstances involving the death of a mother and her son in the Town of Kendall.
Orleans County Undersheriff Christopher Bourke reported that Wednesday at 7:27 p.m., the 911 Center in Albion received a report of a propane gas leak at 2245 Center Rd. The Kendall Fire Department was dispatched and upon arrival discovered two bodies in an upstairs bedroom.
The deceased individuals were identified as Joan C. Gilman, 38, and her son Richard J. Gilman Jr., 14. The Sheriff’s Office learned that the electrical power had been turned off at the duplex a few days ago and a portable generator was being used along with some propane powered appliances during this period of time.
Both victims were transported to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office will continue the investigation and piece together the chain of events that led up to this tragedy.
Assisting the Sheriff’s Office in this investigation are the Kendall Fire Department, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force, the New York State Police Forensic Identification Unit, Town of Kendall Code Enforcement, investigators from the New York State Academy of Fire Science and the Orleans County Coroner’s Office.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2018 at 5:28 pm
File photo by Tom Rivers: Medina will build a campus access road, linking Oak Orchard and Wise schools, that will run where this playground stands by the elementary school. The playground will be removed and a new one put on the other side of the school.
MEDINA – The school district will open bids on May 2-3 from contractors on a capital project that is estimated at $32,588,000 for a slew of improvements at all three school buildings, the bus garage, and Vet’s Park. There would also be a new access road between Oak Orchard Elementary School and Clifford Wise Middle School.
The district last year did an overhaul of Vet’s Park. More work is planned for the park as part of the next phase of the capital project.
The district had a public referendum on Dec. 21, 2016 for two propositions. District residents approved, by a 367-45 vote, spending $1,425,000 to allow for an expansion at Vet’s Park by acquiring 1.6 acres of land south of the park, adding permanent bleachers, more lighting, a new press box in the bleacher system, new fencing and additional synthetic turf in the current press box location.
Proposition 1 also passed, 372-43, and includes $32,588,000. That proposition is the focus for contractors right now. They are preparing their proposals. There was a walk-through this afternoon for contractors to review the buildings and grounds.
Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said the size and scope of the project has numerous contractors interested from Buffalo and Rochester. That should result in very competitive bidding, he told the Board of Education on Tuesday.
“There are a ton of builders interested so that’s a good thing,” he said. “The project can guarantee 2 years of work for people, because some of the work will be continuous.”
The State Education Department still needs to approve a building permit for the project. Kruzynski said that was expect last month, and then earlier this month. He has been assured by state Education officials it will be granted.
Here is a breakdown of project estimated at $32,588,000:
• Health, Safety and Code Compliance – $7,691,000
The district will replace aging bus lifts, upgrade the fire alarm systems, door hardware and toilets.
The roof, ceiling panels and wall panels will all be upgraded at the swimming pool.
Windows and a generator will be replaced at Oak Orchard Elementary School. Those windows are more than a half century old.
The project expenses are broken out to $3,637,300 at the elementary school, $2,562,400 at the middle school, $892,800 at high school, $561,500 at bus garage and $7,000 at concession stand.
• HVAC – $13,596,300
All three school buildings, as well as the bus garage, will have HVAC totally overhauled with $4,728,200 planned for the high school, $4,115,200 at the middle school, $4,103,000 at the elementary school and $649,900 for the bus garage.
The district also will add air-conditioning for the high, middle and elementary schools at $285,600 per building or $856,800 total. The HVAC and air conditioning projects will be funded 98 percent by the state, school officials said when discussing the project just before the public vote.
The boilers are all about 25 years old and are nearing the end of the their useful lives. If the district tried to fix a boiler or install air-conditioning outside of a capital project, Medina would have to pay 100 percent of the costs.
• Information Technology – $380,000
The district wants to move the network operations center from the basement of the district office to Oak Orchard Elementary School.
The project will also add fiber optics to handle future needs as Medina moves to more electronic devices and on-line testing.
• Academics/Programs at High School – $2,408,900
The project will include upgraded science rooms, renovations in library (by knocking out a wall and expanding to a next-door computer lab), replacing windows and renovating toilet facilities.
A pole barn will also be built for storage for marching band equipment (so no longer have to rent at Olde Pickle Factory).
The gym bleachers will be renovated, and JV softball and baseball fields will be upgraded. There also will be renovations in Ag Classroom and greenhouse.
The high school opened about 25 years ago and needs some work, especially with HVAC and to meet new state codes and technology needs, Kruzynski said.
This map of the campus shows where the new access road and parking lot (in white) would go, shifting some traffic from West Oak Orchard Street.
• Academics/Programs at Middle School – $1,028,000
The project includes renovations to the auditorium with stage floor, carpet, houselighting, some lighting and sound, and also some toilet renovations.
• Academics/Programs at Elementary School – $2,085,600
The project includes auditorium renovations – carpet, seating, general, and improvements to toilets, new drinking fountains, classroom storage units with sinks, upgrades to the playground, and provisions to abate hazardous materials if any are found inside walls during the construction project.
• Site work for track – $896,000
The track has already been resurfaced six times and the state won’t pay for another resurfacing but will aid a reconstruction of the site. The rebuilt track will have six lanes, event area, a scoreboard, and fencing and paving.
• Site work for road from elementary to middle school – $3,012,700
A campus road will be constructed between Oak Orchard Elementary and Wise Middle School for bus traffic. The road will be heavy duty for buses.
The project includes demolition, removal and grading, as well as new sidewalks, stormwater management, parking and road lighting, removal of playground and construction of a new one for younger elementary-age students, and restored landscaping.
A new parking lot with room for 70-75 vehicles also will be added.
‘It is unconscionable to deny voting rights to New Yorkers who have paid their debt and have re-entered society.’ – Gov. Cuomo
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order to restore voting rights to individuals on parole. This reform will restore the right to vote upon release from incarceration and reverse disenfranchisement for thousands of New Yorkers.
Parole voting restrictions have a disproportionate impact on New Yorkers of color, with African Americans and Hispanic New Yorkers comprising 71 percent of the population so disenfranchised. Civic engagement is linked to reduced recidivism and this action will promote access to the democratic process and improve public safety for all New Yorkers. The executive order is available here.
“I am issuing an executive order giving parolees the right to vote,” Cuomo said. “It is unconscionable to deny voting rights to New Yorkers who have paid their debt and have re-entered society. This reform will reduce disenfranchisement and will help restore justice and fairness to our democratic process. Withholding or delaying voting rights diminishes our democracy.”
This executive action will reverse New York’s current disenfranchisement of individuals released from prison who are under post-release community supervision. New York joins 14 other states and the District of Columbia that restore the right to vote upon release from incarceration. There are roughly 35,000 individuals currently on parole in New York who cannot vote. These individuals are participants in society at large, despite the limitations placed on them by parole conditions. They work, pay taxes, and support their families, and they should be permitted to express their opinions about the choices facing their communities through their votes, just as all citizens do.
Additionally, the current law keeping people on parole supervision from voting is internally inconsistent with New York’s approach to voting for people serving sentences of probation. People on probation never lose the right to vote, but many county election officials are unclear about the distinction between those on parole and those on probation, often resulting in illegal disenfranchisement. A 2006 Brennan Center study reported that one-third of all New York counties incorrectly barred people on probation from registering to vote, while another third of all counties illegally made individuals show proof of their voter eligibility status.
Photos by Tom Rivers: The Albion Marching Band performs during the Memorial Day parade last May.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2018 at 11:56 am
ALBION – The Albion music program has made it 11 straight years of being recognized on a national list of schools with outstanding music programs.
The North American Music Merchants has its annual lists of school districts that are “Best Communities for Music Education.” Albion is one of 583 districts to be recognized nationally, and the only one in Orleans County.
The NAMM organization gives out the award to recognize districts that make music a priority, especially in an era of tight school budgets and packed student schedules.
“The schools and districts we recognize this year – both new and repeat honorees – represent a diverse group of urban, rural and suburban districts and demographics,” said Mary Luehrsen of The NAMM Foundation. “Along with a strong commitment to music education, there are two common traits that each program shares: consistent funding that anchors music education as part of the core curriculum and music programs that are located in communities where music education is viewed as a jewel of the school system. Parents, administrators and community members are proud of these local music programs and attend them regularly.”
Only about 4 percent of school districts in the country are on the current list, which NAMM started 19 years ago. Albion has now made it 11 straight years. Holley has previously been recognized by NAMM.
Victor Benjovsky portrays Jesus in Albion High School’s production of Godspell, which was performed March 23-24. The district does four musicals each year, with two by both the high school and middle school drama programs.
Albion runs an active music program in the elementary, middle and high schools. The high school puts on two full-scale musical and students also perform in several different instrumental and choral groups. In all, high school musicians perform numerous times during the school year. The Jazz Band Cabaret (April 21 at 6 and 8 p.m.) is next on busy schedule of music events.
The middle school puts on two musicals each year, and its students perform with the marching and jazz bands. Elementary music teachers lead students in performances throughout the year.
Research studies continue to demonstrate the physical, cognitive and social benefits of music making. Students who are involved in a school-based music program are not only more likely to graduate high school and attend college, the NAMM Foundation stated.
Students, with even only a few years of musical training early in life, also are better able to process sound, even later in life. Social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills and learning how to give and receive constructive criticism, NAMM said in announcing the schools on the list.
Some upcoming music events by Albion students include:
May 12: Marching Band @ Lilac Festival Parade
May 16: 5th grade Chorus/Band Concert
May 19: Marching Band @ Seneca Falls Pageant of Bands
May 23: Grades 3 & 4 Chorus/Band Concert
May 28: Marching Band @ Albion’s Memorial Day Parade
May 31: HS Talent Showcase
June 5: MS Band/Chorus Concert
June 6: HS Band Concert
June 7: HS Chorus Concert
June 9: Marching Band @ Strawberry Festival
(All concerts are at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Auditorium unless otherwise noted)
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2018 at 10:55 am
Photo by Tom Rivers: The Holley Elementary School is pictured recently on North Main Street.
HOLLEY – The Holley Board of Education on Monday approved a $25,210,000 school budget that will go before voters on May 15.
The budget represents a 2.0 percent tax increase, with the tax levy going from $6,968,766 to $7,108,141.
The budget maintains the current programs in the district, said Sharon Zacher, the assistant superintendent for business.
Holley is reducing overall staff by 2.5 full-time equivalent positions, with two of those positions to be abolished through attrition.
The district’s enrollment is projected to hold steady, going from 997 in 2017-18 to 995 next school year.
The May 15 vote will include a proposition to approve the purchase of two school buses and a sport utility vehicle for replacement purposes during the 2018-2019 school year.
Eligible residents, 18 and older, will also vote on funding for Community Free Library.
There is also an election for the Board of Education. There are five candidates running for three positions, including incumbents – Mark Porter, Anne Winkley and Melissa Ierlan. Nancy Manard MacPhee and Anne Smith also are running for three-year terms on the board.
As part of this year’s budget passed on March 31, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced on Tuesday that new regulations have been put in place to increase flexibility in Lake Ontario’s relief program.
“Residents and businesses across Lake Ontario’s shoreline are still struggling to recover after Lake Ontario’s historic flooding last year, and I am proud to announce that we fought diligently in this year’s budget to free up funding to allow the recovery process to continue,” Hawley said. “A total of $12.5 million will be sent to homeowners in Cayuga, Monroe and Wayne counties and $4 million has been allocated to homeowners in Orleans County for flood recovery efforts.”
Hawley was one of the first state officials to tour the flooding along Lake Ontario’s shoreline firsthand and was instrumental in fighting for a state relief package as part of last year’s end of session agreement.
“I will continue to fight for more funding and financial flexibility throughout the duration of session to see that all affected residents receive the aid they so desperately deserve,” Hawley continued. “Please feel free to contact my office for more information or questions on this program, and know that I am with you every step of the way.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2018 at 7:49 am
Jim Baker battled freezing rain, hypothermia to finish in 3:45
Photos courtesy of Jim Baker: Jim Baker, 55, of Kendall is pictured near the start of the Boston Marathon. He toured the city with his family over the weekend before the prestigious race on Monday.
BOSTON – Jim Baker’s second try running the Boston Marathon felt like redemption, and euphoria despite 26.2 miles in cold rain and wind.
Baker, 55, of Kendall ran the prestigious marathon on Monday and finished in 3 hours, 45 minutes.
“What a great feeling,” he said Tuesday evening. “I really enjoyed it this time.”
He ran the race two years ago and was a minute shy of 5 hours. That day it was hot and humid and Baker said he was in distress quickly into the race and had to struggle to get to the finish line.
The soreness and the slower-than-expected time two years was more than a tough day of running. Baker found his times didn’t rebound in races after that marathon. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with colon cancer.
Baker had surgery to remove a plum-size tumor. He started chemotherapy in June 2016. After seven months of treatment, his doctors declared him cancer-free on Jan. 13, 2017.
Baker kept running during chemo. It wasn’t his usual 8-minute mile pace. It was much slower, but he kept going, fighting nausea.
When he completed his treatments, he set a goal to qualify again for Boston and have a better experience there on race day.
Last Sept. 17, when he was 54, he finished the Rochester marathon in 3 hours, 35 minutes. That was 5 minutes faster than he needed to qualify for Boston. Baker has been training all winter, with some long runs at 18 to 20 miles.
He was ready for Boston. But Monday the weather was horrible, with hard rain throughout the race and temperatures in the 30s. There were giant puddles throughout the course that soaked sneakers.
Jim Baker was in good spirits at mile 18 of the Boston Marathon despite running in the freezing cold.
Baker felt good, really good during the first half of the race. He reached the halfway point in 1:45:05, which had him on pace for a 3:30 marathon. But the cold weather took a toll. At the 15-mile mark Baker started to cramp from the hypothermia. Many runners had to leave the course for medical treatment.
But Baker pushed onward.
The crowd still came out despite the onslaught of rain, and they were loud along the course. Baker said they lifted his spirits and helped keep him going. His wife Stacey and their daughter Megan also were there cheering him on. His son Kyle and many of his friends followed his progress on-line. The Boston Marathon posts updates on a runner’s times about every 3 miles. Baker was slowing down a little after the halfway mark but was still posting a good time, much faster than the race in 2016.
Before the final right turn, Baker could hear the roar of the crowd.
“It was so cool,” he said. “I have to give the crowd credit.”
He crossed the finish line in 3:45:25, an 8:36 pace per mile.
He was drenched when it was over and suffering from hypothermia. He didn’t stop shaking until an hour and half after crossing the finish line.
He met up with many of his running friends from the Rochester area when it was over. Baker said he has made many good buddies since he started running 11 years ago when he was 44. He works as a chemist for Kodak. He would go for walks during lunch breaks at work more than a decade ago, but Baker said that walking didn’t do anything to chip away at his extra pounds. He initially couldn’t run more than 200 yards without stopping. But he didn’t give up.
Conquering 2 miles while running was a milestone. He ran his first race at a 10K (6.2 miles) and enjoyed the energy and people at the races. He signed up for more races and joined the Bagel Bunch, a running group in Greece.
Jim Baker enjoys a post-race celebration with Jason McElwain, another Rochester area runner. The two often went on training runs together as part of the Bagel Bunch. McElwain is one of the Rochester’s top long distance runners. He ran Boston in 3:10:28.
He wants to lower his time at Boston next year. He would like to run the race when the weather is ideal, about 50 degrees without punishing rain. Two years ago it was way too hot, and Monday was a freezing deluge.
“It’s been either end of the extremes,” he said. “I’d like a 50-degree day and I’d like to do a 3:25.”
Despite the difficult conditions on Monday, Baker said he will cherish the memory.
“The first time I did it, it was a disaster,” he said about the race two years ago. “But I will remember this one because I had so much fun with it. I just want to improve on it.”
Baker’s upcoming running calendar includes the Shoreline Half Marathon on July 14 in Hamlin, the Metro 10 race in Albion (a 10-miler on Aug. 18) and the Rochester marathon in September.
Baker is an Albion native. He has lost 40 pounds since he started running. He credits the sport with saving his life. Running made him more in tune with his body. When he was running slower than his usual pace two years ago, he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with cancer. He had no other warning signs. He had no loss of appetite.
He was able to have the tumor removed and completed chemo before the cancer spread.
He wasn’t the only local finisher at Boston. Roger Bolton of Albion finished in 3:20:48 and Evan Dumrese, a Scottsville resident who grew up in Albion, completed the course in 3:25:33. Mike Conn, an Albion native and graduate of the Class of 1985, finished the Boston Marathon in 3:31:32. Conn currently lives in Rochester.