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DEC has plan, but no money for cleanup in Medina at former Abex

Photos by Tom Rivers: Charlotte Theobald, an environmental engineer with the state Department of Environmental Transportation, goes over a plan for remediating 9.5 vacant acres of the former Abex manufacturing facility in Medina. Theobald discusses the plan with Jim Whipple, chief executive officer of the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 February 2018 at 1:28 pm

MEDINA – The state Department of Environmental Conservation said it was a significant milestone to have an accepted remediation plan for 9.5 acres of vacant land that was contaminated by the manufacturing processes at the former Abex, at the corner of Bates Road and Route 31.

The DEC did soil borings, well water samples and other tests on the land and developed a cleanup plan.

The DEC is proposing excavating and hauling away 5,700 cubic yards of soil to a permitted landfill. The plan calls for bringing in a foot of cover over the 9.5 acres which could be soil, crusher-run or recycled concrete. If pavement is installed or some other impervious cover, less than a foot of cover material may be accepted, the DEC said.

The estimated cleanup is about $5 million. The DEC doesn’t have that budgeted. The agency would be willing to work with developers if private funds paid for the cleanup. There would be tax credits available for a developer for working on a brownfield site, the DEC said.

The DEC also would be open to allowing sections of the site be remediated, rather than the entire 9.5 acres at once, DEC leaders said during an informational meeting on Wednesday evening at the Ridgeway Town Hall.

“I think we could do it in pieces,” Charlotte Theobald, an environmental engineer with the DEC, said during the meeting. 

The site is next to the current Brunner, which has done several expansions at the former plant. The 9.5 acres is just east of the plant in a wooded area.

Jim Whipple, chief executive officer of the Orleans Economic Development Agency, thanked the DEC for doing the cleanup study and plan. The project has been in the works for more than a decade.

Whipple said the land is an asset, with potential for a parking lot of perhaps a storage warehouse.

The site’s contamination doesn’t pose a high-priority threat to warrant Superfund dollars, the DEC said. That means the cleanup costs will likely be borne by a developer with perhaps help from a local government.

Eamonn O’Neil from the State Department of Health said the cleanup plan meets the standards for protecting public health.

Theobald of the DEC went over the site history during the meeting on Wednesday.

The former Abex foundry was constructed in the early 1950s. Prior to development the parcels were undeveloped woodland and tilled farmland. Lagoons were used to collect wash water from the foundry process as well as storm water discharge.

The former foundry and manufacturing facility used foundry sands for the casting of metal parts. Foundry sands and waste have been identified across the site and within the settling lagoons. Settled foundry sands in the lagoons was reclaimed for reuse at the former foundry facility by staging adjacent to lagoons or were collected for disposal.

Several Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments were conducted on the site and the adjoining Brunner parcel from 1990 to 2008, the DEC said. The Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments indicated the disposal of remaining foundry sand inventory on site, accumulation of sediment in two of the lagoons, reclaimed foundry sand was staged near the lagoons, and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) concentrations in foundry sand disposal area exceeded state standards and guidance values.

The DEC is accepting written comments about the proposed remedial action plan for 45 days, from Feb. 2 through March 19. For more information, click here.

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Fairgrounds will host professional wrestling event on April 28
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 February 2018 at 10:39 am

Provided photos: The promotion for the upcoming event at the Fairgrounds includes Albion native Kevin (Lockwood) Blackwood, back left, and Medina native Gavin Glass, front right.

East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company will run event as fundraiser

KNOWLESVILLE – The Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds will host several professional wrestlers in matches on April 28 in a fundraiser for the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

Gavin Glass

The lineup includes a former WWE star Gangrel and current Impact Wrestling star Braxton Sutter. Albion native Kevin (Lockwood) Blackwood and Medina native Gavin Glass also will be wrestling, as well as several others.

Empire State Wrestling is organizing the event. The ESW features independent pro wrestlers from the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Ryan McPherson of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company pushed to bring the event to Orleans County. McPherson took his grandfather, David Green, to a match. Green is a longtime East Shelby firefighter and the retired Orleans County sheriff. Green was very impressed by the ESW wrestlers.

“It’s unbelievable to me the athleticism these guys have,” Green said today. “They are professionals wrestlers. They haven’t made it to the big time but it’s just like you see on TV.”

The April 28 event will be from 5 to 9 p.m., with six or seven matches from 6 to 9 p.m. East Shelby firefighters and volunteers will be selling refreshments.

The event is currently planned for the Lartz Building but could move to the bigger horse barn, depending on ticket sales. For more information on tickets, click here.

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Sponsored Post
Posted 23 February 2018 at 9:27 am

Link to Medina Family Medicine website

High wind watch in effect for Sunday
Staff Reports Posted 23 February 2018 at 9:26 am

Winds could gust to up to 50 to 60 miles an hour on Sunday in Orleans County, the National Weather Service in Buffalo said.

A high wind watch is in effect for Orleans, Niagara, Genesee and Erie counties from Sunday morning through the evening.

There will be southwest winds from 25 to 35 miles per hour with the stronger gusts.

“Strong to damaging winds possible,” the Weather Service said. “Shallow rooted trees may be downed more easily with the recently thawed and saturated soil conditions. Travel may become hazardous for high profile vehicles.”

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Medina at home tonight; Lyndonville on the road Saturday in sectional quarterfinals
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 23 February 2018 at 7:56 am

No. 3 seed Medina will begin Section VI boys basketball playoff competition by hosting No. 6 Dunkirk at 7 this evening in a Class B1 quarterfinal.

The victor will face the winner of the No. 7 City Honors vs. No. 2 Olean game in the semifinals on February 28 at Buffalo State College.

No. 4 Newfane will host No. 13 Fredonia in another B1 quarterfinal at 7 this evening. The victor will face the winner of the No. 9 CSAT vs. No. 1 Lackawanna game in the semis on February 27 at Buffalo State.

In Section V Class D1 boys quarterfinal round competition, No. 13 Lyndonville will visit No. 5 Mt. Morris at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Tigers advanced by upending No. 4 HAC 58-57 in the prequarterfinals.

In girls Section V Class D1 quarterfinals No. 7 Lyndonville visits No. 2 Fillmore and No. 8 Kendall travels to No. 1 Wheatland-Chili this evening at 7.

DEC will hold State of Lake Ontario Fisheries meetings
Posted 22 February 2018 at 8:16 pm

Press Release, DEC

The public will have the opportunity to learn about the state of Lake Ontario fisheries at public meetings held in Niagara, Monroe, and Oswego counties in March, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

“Lake Ontario and its tributaries provide world-class angling opportunities that are generating substantial economic benefits to dozens of towns and cities along the lake,” Commissioner Seggos said. “The State of Lake Ontario meetings provide an excellent opportunity for everyone interested in the lake to interact with the scientists who study and manage its fisheries.”

Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout, salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch, and panfish. New York’s Lake Ontario waters comprise more than 2.7 million acres.

A recent statewide angler survey estimated more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and major tributaries. The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million annually to local economies.

The meeting dates and locations are:

• Monday, March 12: 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus (Student Alumni Union – Room 1250), Rochester, Monroe County. The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.

• Wednesday, March 14: 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport, Niagara County. The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.

• Thursday, March 15: 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Pulaski High School auditorium, 4624 Salina St., Pulaski, Oswego County. The meeting is co-hosted by the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association.

Staff from DEC, the United States Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will make a number of presentations, including updates on the status of trout and salmon fisheries in the lake and its tributaries, forage fish, and stocking programs. The meetings will provide ample time at the end of the scheduled program for the audience to interact with the presenters. Information about DEC’s Lake Ontario fisheries assessment programs can be found on DEC’s website.

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Sheriffs’ Association wants state to pay for armed police at all schools in NY
Staff Reports Posted 22 February 2018 at 3:31 pm

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association today called upon the State Legislature to include in the 2018 State Budget sufficient funding to provide at least one armed school resource officer at every grade school and high school in the state.

Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower said he backs the effort. In Orleans County, only Medina has a school resource officer. The district contracts with the Medina Police Department to have a full-time officer dedicated to the schools during the school year. Holley and Kendall both have security guards.

“This will be an expensive undertaking,” said Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts, President of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association. “But we owe it to our children, and their parents, to provide a safe place for education to take place.”

There are about 4,750 public schools and nearly 2,000 private schools educating students in grades K through 12 in the state. The Sheriffs’ Association estimates that the cost of this proposal would be roughly equivalent to that of adding one teacher to each of these schools.

“We spend many millions of dollars to protect a relatively small number of judges across the state, as we should. Surely we can also find the money to protect our most defenseless people – the children we send off to school each day,” Sheriff Virts said in a press release from the Sheriffs’ Association.

School resource officers (SROs) provide an armed police presence while building relationships with the school community.

“The relationship of trust formed with the students often allows the SRO to gain critical timely information and intervene before an issue becomes an incident,” Sheriff Virts said.

The number of SROs has dropped in recent years due to the lack of local funding. Some schools already have SROs that are funded by the school district, the county government, or both.

“The only way to assure that every student has the protection of an armed officer in close proximity is for the state to provide a reliable funding stream for SROs,” Sheriff Virts said. “Many school districts and local governments are unable to do it due to tax caps and limited funding sources.”

Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy is a strong advocate for SROs in his county.

“Sadly, many times when law enforcement arrives at the scene of a school shooting, everything is over and all the police officers can do is help the survivors,” he said. “With an armed officer on duty in the school, such an attack may be deterred, or at least terminated quickly and hopefully without loss of life.”

Sheriffs across the state work with their local school districts to “harden” schools as targets. This includes advising schools on hardware and protocol changes to better control access to school buildings, installing security cameras, conducting “lockdown” exercises, and providing “active shooter” self-defense training to school staff and students. Many schools are enrolled in the Sheriffs’ Association’s Rapid Responder program, which allows those responding to a school emergency immediate electronic access to critical information on the school’s layout and infrastructure, staffing and student personnel.

“All of these preparations are important,” Sheriff Murphy said, “but the most important thing we can do is to get an armed deputy or police officer into every school immediately.”

The Sheriffs’ Association acknowledges that there are many ways to approach this issue. Each school district and law enforcement agency would have to figure out what works best in that district. Some have indicated a preference for stationing an armed security officer at a single school entry point. Others, including Sheriff Murphy and Warren County Sheriff Bud York, support the use of retired law enforcement officers as an economical way of getting well-trained armed officers into schools.

“Any of these would be better than nothing,” said Sheriff Virts. “Most Sheriffs feel the best solution is to assign active deputy sheriffs or other active police officers to the schools as SROs who would have the freedom to move about the campus, ‘network’ with students and staff, and either head off an incident before it happens or at least be there on scene to immediately respond.”

Bower, the Orleans County sheriff, said the county sheriffs will be going to Albany next month to lobby state legislators on the issue.

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Medina native opens Chick-fil-A near Syracuse with big crowd lined up
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 February 2018 at 11:20 am

Photo courtesy of Andrew Szatkowski: Medina native Jimmer Szatkowski speaks during a grand opening celebration this morning for a new Chick-fil-A in Cicero, near Syracuse. Szatkowski’s brother Andrew of Medina made the trip for the restaurant’s kick off.

The Chick-fil-A opened at 6:30 this morning and there were more than 150 people waiting in line by 6 in the morning, according to a report from the Syracuse Post-Standard.

The new Chick-fil-A is the first in Upstate New York. Jimmer Szatkowski worked 20 years with IBM as a supply chain executive. He decided to make a career change and left Raleigh, NC and returned to upstate to work on opening the Chick-fil-A.

Szatkowski told the Post-Standard he was drawn to Chick-fil-A’s focus on community service. Chick-fil-A has a custom of awarding its first 100 customers a free meal each week for a year.

Of the first 100 this morning, Szatkowski randomly selected some of the customers and they spent the morning helping at the Samaritan Center, Syracuse’s biggest soup kitchen, and the Francis House, a home for people with a terminal illness.

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NY joins 3 other states in ‘gun safety’ coalition
Posted 22 February 2018 at 11:03 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo today announced the formation of the new “States for Gun Safety” coalition to combat gun violence.

In the face of repeated federal inaction, the coalition will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding to better share information and tackle this devastating epidemic through a comprehensive, regional approach. The coalition will advance a multi-pronged effort that will create a multi-state database to supplement the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, trace and intercept guns that are used in crimes as well as guns transported across state borders and launch the nation’s first Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium that will study the issue across multiple disciplines to better inform policy makers nationwide.

“Here in New York, we’re proud to be home to the nation’s strongest gun safety law,” Cuomo said. “However, the federal government’s continued inaction on this issue has not only allowed the epidemic of gun violence to spread, but it has actually prevented the laws like the SAFE Act from being fully effective. Rather than wait for the federal government to come to its senses and pass responsible gun safety legislation, New York is joining with New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island to take matters into our own hands. Not only will this groundbreaking partnership take new steps to prevent illegal guns from crossing state lines, but by forming the nation’s first Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium, we will be able to better inform policymakers nationwide on how to keep their communities safe.”

As part of the coalition, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island will share information about individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm within each state. By sharing this information, states can more effectively prevent certain individuals from purchasing a gun, obtaining a weapon and/or getting a gun permit.

The agreement, in accordance with federal and state privacy protections, will provide state law enforcement agencies with details on the firearm purchase or permit denials for those who are disqualified. People may be disqualified from owning a firearm for several reasons, including an arrest warrant, order of protection, debilitating mental health condition, or criminal history.

New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island will direct their law enforcement intelligence centers to work cooperatively to trace the use of out-of-state guns in crimes and share information in order to intercept criminals transporting illegal guns across state borders. The four state fusion centers that will jointly share information under this agreement are the New York State Intelligence Center, the Connecticut Intelligence Center, New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center, and the Rhode Island State Fusion Center.

The four states will also designate institutions of higher education to partner and create the nation’s first Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium. The consortium will be comprised of dedicated public health, social welfare, public policy, and criminal justice experts who will share and examine data to better inform policymakers nationwide. This groundbreaking consortium will fill the void left by the federal government’s 1996 ban on the use of federal funds to study gun violence which has obstructed research efforts across the nation, including at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.

The multi-state coalition builds on years of progress spearheaded by Governor Cuomo to combat gun violence in New York, according to the Governor’s news release. Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook, Democrats and Republicans came together in New York to pass the nation’s strongest gun safety law in 2013. The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, more commonly known as the NY SAFE Act, banned the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines and helps keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill, all the while safeguarding the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Cuomo has put forth new legislation as part of the 2018 State of the State which will remove all firearms from those who commit domestic violence crimes. Given the inextricable link between domestic violence and lethal gun violence, this legislation will require all firearms be removed from those convicted of domestic violence crimes, including misdemeanors.  It will also add measures to keep firearms out of the hands of those who commit domestic violence with the goal of preventing additional tragedies.

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‘Run for Wayne’ will be Colon Cancer Awareness 5K run and walk
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 February 2018 at 9:08 am

File photos by Tom Rivers: Adam Burlison gets ready to cut the string holding the balloons during the Run for Wayne last April. Mark Moore, the race director, is at right. Adam is the son of the late Wayne Burlison.

ALBION – The fourth annual Run for Wayne, which honors the memory of Wayne Burlison, will return on March 24 as a 5-kilometer run and walk in Albion.

The race, however, will now be formally called “Wayne A. Burlison-Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Run and Walk.”

Burlison was a popular Albion elementary music teacher who also promoted running and fitness in the community. He was 36 when he passed away from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

The Albion Running Club has organized three “Run for Wayne” events, with the proceeds going towards a scholarship given to graduating seniors and also to a walking trail to be constructed at Bullard Park.

The Running Club is teaming with Oak Orchard Health with the Wayne A. Burlison-Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Run and Walk. Both groups want to raise awareness about colon cancer as the third-leading cause of death by cancer for men and women. Colon cancer is preventable or treatable with the proper knowledge, resources, and early detection.

“We want to unite our voices and educate others while remembering the legacy of a much-loved man,” the Running Club said in an announcement about the race.

The course for the race starts on Clarendon Road by the elementary school and heads to Mount Albion Cemetery before ending at the school’s parking lot.

There will be post-race snacks, overall male and female winners’ prizes, and top 3 winners in 10-year age groups. Each registered participant will also get a runner’s cap with a logo.

Proceeds from the race will go to scholarships in Burlison’s name and towards the walking trail at Bullard.

For more on the event, click here.

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Governor wants to strengthen disciplinary process for prison employees
Posted 22 February 2018 at 8:12 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the 30-day amendments to the Executive Budget proposal will include legislation that with strengthen the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s ability to discipline employees who have jeopardized the safety and security of their co-workers, inmates and parolees by committing serious acts of misconduct.

Not only will the bill grant the Commissioner the ability to terminate employees for crimes committed while executing official duties, but it will streamline Departmental procedures to prevent bad actors from being promoted or hired in the first place. This is the second consecutive year that the administration has pushed for changes to the Department’s disciplinary process.

“New York’s correction officers work day in and day out ensure the security of our communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “The current system, however, makes it difficult to hold bad actors fully accountable. The bottom line is that those who break the law and abuse their positions of power must be held responsible for their misconduct, and this proposal will help to ensure accountability and promote safety in the correctional system.”

Under the current process, anytime an employee is alleged to have committed a serious act of misconduct, the Department and the employee engage in an arbitration process which can sometimes be problematic and cumbersome. In these cases, an independent arbiter makes the final determination with regards to discipline.

Many times these decisions do not hold the employee fully accountable for their actions in the eyes of the Department or the general public. For example, a correction officer was once found to have used excessive force on an inmate in a wheel chair who had no use of his legs. The act resulted in a fractured eye socket and broken ribs.  While the Department sought discipline and requested termination, the arbitrator found the employee not guilty and returned him to duty.

In order to strengthen the Department’s ability to hold bad actors accountable, this legislation grants the Commissioner a greater ability to discipline those who have been found to have committed acts of serious misconduct, similar to authority provided to other law enforcement agencies, including the New York State Police. Additionally, this legislation updates the Department’s hiring practices to ensure that individuals who do not meet strict criteria are not hired to begin with.

Specifically, the proposal:

• Strengthens Employee Disciplinary Process – Under the Governor’s proposal, the arbiter would issue a disciplinary recommendation, however the Commissioner would make the final determination in certain cases involving acts of serious misconduct.

These acts include:

• The excessive use of force;

• The false reporting regarding one or more acts of excessive use of force;

• The failure to report an excessive use of force occurrence;

• The use or possession of controlled substances;

• The introduction of controlled substances into a department facility;

• Or an inappropriate sexual relationship or contact with an inmate or a parolee.

• Strengthens and Streamlines Hiring – Along with removing duplicative language from the law which has complicated the hiring process, the legislation lays out the minimum requirements for being hired as a correction officer, institution safety officer, parole officer and warrant and transfer officer.

Additionally, the legislation states that no individual with a felony conviction may be hired and gives the Commissioner discretion regarding misdemeanor convictions and the moral character of applicants. Existing civil service employees who have been disciplined would also be removed from any promotional list they may currently be on.

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Tops files for bankruptcy, with no changes expected at stores

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Tops store in Albion on West Avenue is pictured today. Tops also has another store in Orleans County in Medina.

Posted 21 February 2018 at 5:12 pm

Press Release, Tops Markets

WILLIAMSVILLE – Tops Markets, LLC today announced that it is pursuing a financial restructuring in order to eliminate a substantial portion of debt from the company’s balance sheet and position Tops for long-term success.

Tops stores across the company’s portfolio in Upstate New York, Northern Pennsylvania and Vermont are continuing to serve customers with no impact to day-to-day operations. The company fully expects operations to continue as normal throughout this financial restructuring process.

“Tops has built strong market share and our stores continue to distinguish themselves by offering quality products at affordable prices with superior customer service,” said Frank Curci, Chief Executive Officer of Tops. “We believe the financing that we received from our noteholders is a vote of confidence in our business. Our operations are strong and we have an outstanding network of stores and a talented team to support them. We are now undertaking a financial restructuring, through which we expect to substantially reduce our debt and achieve long-term financial flexibility. This will enable us to invest further in our stores, create an even more exceptional shopping experience for our customers and compete more effectively in today’s highly competitive and evolving market.”

To implement the financial restructuring, the Company today elected to file for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Tops is working cooperatively with certain holders of more than 65% of its Senior Secured Notes due 2022 and is continuing constructive discussions.

Tops has received a commitment for a $125 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) term loan financing facility from certain noteholders and a $140 million DIP asset based revolving loan from Bank of America, N.A., which are expected to support the company’s continued operations during the court- supervised restructuring process.

“We are continuing to provide our customers the convenience, savings and friendly service that they expect from us,” Curci said. “Our priorities, values and commitments to our customers and our communities will not change. On behalf of everyone at Tops, we thank our customers for their continued support and look forward to ensuring that their every need is met. I also want to thank our 14,262 employees and associates for their continued hard work and dedication.”

The company has filed a number of customary motions seeking court authorization to continue to support its business operations during the court-supervised restructuring process, including the continued payment of employee wages and benefits without interruption. The company intends to pay vendors and suppliers in full under normal terms for goods and services provided after the filing date of February 21, 2018. Tops expects to receive court approval for all of these requests.

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Rite Aid stores in Albion, Medina begin transition on Thursday to Walgreens

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Rite Aid store in Albion is pictured today. The pharmacy will begin transitioning to a Walgreens after 5 p.m. on Thursday at the Albion and Medina stores.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2018 at 3:46 pm

Changeover expected to take up to 2 years

The transition starts on Thursday for two Rite Aid stores in Orleans County which will become Walgreens. That process won’t happen overnight.

It starts with the pharmacies at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The pharmacies will close at 5 p.m. Usually they stay open until 9 p.m. on Thursday.

They are expected to open as Walgreens pharmacies on Friday. Walgreens will work on fully changing over both stores in a process that could take two years with changing the signs and other branding and integration. One change in the future for the two local stores will be an extra hour each day of being open for business. Walgreens doesn’t close until 10 p.m.

Walgreens states on its website the pharmacies will have a seamless transition, keeping the same employees.

“The staff you know and trust will remain,” the company says. (Click here for more information from Walgreens.)

The Albion store was originally an Eckerd when it was built about 15 years ago at 10 East Ave. Medina’s store is located at 1422 South Main St.

Last year Walgreens agreed to buy more than 1,900 Rite Aid stores and three distribution centers for $4.4 billion. This year, the first stores have started to switch over to Walgreens.

The new owner doesn’t have a presence in Orleans County, although Walgreens in June 2007 received final approval from local planning officials for a new store in Albion.

Walgreens was planning on a 13,667-square-foot store that would have required demolishing the Sugar Creek gas station, the former Wiggly Jiggly’s English Pub and Chia Sen Buffet.

The Albion project never moved forward. The Sugar Creek gas station closed and is currently vacant. Wiggly Jiggly’s also closed and that space is now a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Chia Sen remains in that plaza.

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Browsery expands to third storefront in downtown Albion
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2018 at 1:26 pm

After 14 years, group now has 34 vendors

Photos by Tom Rivers: Some of the vendors in the Browsery, pictured through the archway leading to their expanded storefront, include from left: Maureen Bennett, Elizabeth Penafiel, Erik Sinkora, Scott Sackett, Kim Remley and Lucy Sackett.

ALBION – The Browsery has expanded again, moving into a third Albion storefront in the downtown, and growing to 34 vendors.

The original Downtown Browsery opened at 14 East Bank St. in 2004 with 13 vendors. Four years ago the Uptown Browsery opened at 118 North Main St. Last month, the Browsery expanded north on Main Street. The two Uptown storefronts are connected with an archway that was used back when the site was a Landauer’s Department Store.

The archway was reopened by building owners Michael Bonafede and Judith Koehler as part of the Browsery expansion.

The Browsery will hold a grand opening soon with specials, said Maureen Bennett, a member of the Browsery’s board of directors and one of the vendors since 2009.

Bennett sells farmhouse décor and antiques. She has a full-time job at the school district. The Browsery’s model works for the vendors. They all chip in for the rent and in providing manpower, at least 10 hours a month, to keep the sites open.

“People who are starting out in business can’t afford their own storefront,” Bennett said. “This gives them a slice of it. We all take turns in the store.”

The vendors sell vintage collectibles, antiques, upcycled furniture and other items.

Elizabeth Penafiel has been a vendor for four years, selling crocheted items, baby clothes, bibs, hats and dog collars.

Lucy and Scott Sackett sell birdhouses and other collectibles. They are among the original group of vendors that have been with the Browsery all 14 years. Kim Remley, Linda Hollenbeck and Karen Appleman also are originals.

Erik Sinkora of Lyndonville has been selling alpaca apparel for five years with the Browsery.

The Uptown Browsery last month expanded into the Pratt Works site on North Main Street.

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After record-high temps on Tuesday, a big plunge today
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2018 at 10:37 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: This fish with a patriotic design is displayed in front of the Wilson Town Hall in Niagara County. The fish was painted in 2011 by Renee Farley and Stephanie Purgarich. It’s part of a Schooling Fish art project by the Wilson school district in 2011. Schooling Fish was a service-learning project, with students and recent Wilson graduates painting the fish that are displayed in the community. Students worked with local historians to tell some of the stories of Wilson’s history with the designs on the fish. For more on Schooling Fish, click here.

After record-high temperatures on Tuesday, with highs in the mid-60s to low-70s in the Buffalo and Rochester region, the temperatures are taking a big dive today.

At 10:30 a.m., the temperature was already down to 39 degrees in Albion. It will fall to 28 overnight.

Thursday there is a chance for snow between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. The temperature will reach a high of 35 on Thursday, followed by highs of 46 on Friday, 44 on Saturday and 52 on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

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