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Fire damages house on Countyline Road in Ridgeway
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 September 2019 at 6:56 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – A house was badly damaged by fire this afternoon at 3157 Niagara-Orleans Countyline Rd.

The fire was complicated by an arcing wire on the house. Firefighters weren’t able to spray water on the blaze until electricity was turned off. That was about a 45-minute wait.

Several fire departments responded to the call, including Medina, Ridgeway, Shelby and Lyndonville. They were dispatched to the scene at 3:48 p.m.

Don Marchner of the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company, left, and Mike Heideman of the Lyndonville Fire Department get the hose spread out on Countyline Road.

No additional information is available.

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During Sheriff’s Week deputies will eat lunch at elementary schools
Posted 20 September 2019 at 2:57 pm

Press Release, Sheriff Randy Bower

NYS Sheriffs’ Association and Sheriff Randy Bower are announcing the week of September 22 through September 28 as “Sheriff’s Week” in New York.

Activities scheduled for Sheriff’s week in Orleans County include

• Lunch with a Deputy Sheriff and students at elementary schools.

• Village and Town Park clean up detail by the inmates of the Orleans County Jail.

Today’s sheriffs are proud of the rich history of their office. It is one of the oldest institutions in America, dating back to Biblical times. The modern Office of Sheriff in the United States descends from a 1,000-year-old English tradition: a “shire-reeve” (shire-keeper) is the oldest appointment of the English crown.

Because county governments were typically the first established units of government in newly settled American territories, sheriffs were among the first elected public officials in an area and thus developed a leading role in local law enforcement.

Most sheriffs are elected every four years. It is this election process that makes the Office of Sheriff unique to all of law enforcement. These elections make most of the 3,085 county sheriffs throughout the United States directly accountable to the people they serve.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department strives …

• To Serve and Protect the citizens of Orleans County

• To provide a safe and secure jail, providing necessary treatment to better prepare inmates to reenter society

• To be visible and accessible

• To maintain peace and order in Orleans County

• To provide professional public safety dispatching

• To properly receive and execute all legal and civil processes referred to the Office of the Sheriff

• To deliver effective law enforcement services to all citizens of Orleans County

• To Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States of America

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Sponsored Post
Posted 20 September 2019 at 2:00 pm

Link to Lake Country Pennysaver online edition

Local dirt bike racer recovering from injuries after bad crash in Illinois
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 September 2019 at 12:42 pm

Jeremy Higgins is one of top racers at Crusaders Motorcycle Club

File photos by Tom Rivers: Jeremy Higgins accepts the trophy for rider of the year in 2015 for the Crusaders Motorcycle Club. He received the award during the club’s annual dinner on Feb. 20, 2016.

One of the top riders at the Crusaders Motorcycle Club in Ridgeway was severely injured on Labor Day during a race at the Springfield Mile in Springfield, Illinois.

Jeremy Higgins, 27, suffered a traumatic brain injury after a crash at the track on Sept. 2. He is it at Illinois hospital and is making progress, breathing without a ventilator, sitting up in bed and standing by his hospital bed, his wife Amber posted on Facebook.

Higgins grew up in Bergen and lives in Batavia. He has raced at the Crusaders track on Culvert Road since he was a young boy. He was named the track’s champ in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“He’s a really great guy,” Rhonda Waters said about Higgins. “He’s a great ambassador for the kids. The kids really look up to him.”

Higgins races with the Waters Autobody Racing team based in Albion and owned by David and Rhonda Waters.

Higgins has raced professionally for about a decade and competed on many weekends in the American Flat Rack Series, which includes races at 18 different tracks around the country. He won the race in Virginia the week before his accident.

Jeremy Higgins is congratulated for winning the $500 grand prize in the “Dash for Cash” on July 10, 2016 at the Crusaders Motorcycle Club on Culvert Road in Ridgeway. Higgins of Bergen is the reigning track champion. He is pictured with friends and family of Pat Blount and Les Washbon. The race that day served as a memorial for the two men who were mainstays at the track.

“He has been competing at the highest level in country,” said Mrs. Waters. “This is like competing at NASCAR.”

Higgins got off to a bad start in the Sept. 2 race. He rounded the first turn and was picking up speed when he was sandwiched between the wall and another rider. Higgins clipped the back tire of a racing bike and then crashed his Kawasaki twin cylinder. He was likely going more than 100 miles an hour at Springfield, which is considered one of the fastest tracks in the country where riders often reach 120 to 130 mph.

The racing and motorcycle community have rallied to support Higgins and his family, selling T-shirts and stickers for Higgins and collecting funds online (click here).

Western New York Harley-Davidson dealers also are doing a benefit on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Stan’s Harley-Davidson in Batavia. That event will include a silent auction, 50/50 drawings, and a basket raffle. (Higgins used to work as a mechanic for Harv’s Harley-Davidson in Macedon.)

The Iron Smoke Distillery in Airport also is hosting a benefit for Higgins on Nov. 3.

“This is what the bike community does, we’re a close knit family,” Waters said. “Jeremy is loved. He really is loved.”

Jeremy Higgins is a blur as he speeds around the Crusaders dirt track on July 10, 2016. He has raced at the Ridgeway track for more than 20 years.

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Albion hardware store has many mementoes from the old days
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 September 2019 at 10:26 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The True Value Family Hardware store in downtown Albion has many posters nailed to the side delivery door. Those posters highlight concerts and other performances in the community during the 1950s.

Fred Miller, owner of the store the past 33 years, has kept the posters up. They have become a little tattered over the years from the being pelted with wind and snow when Miller needs to open the door.

He never considered removing them. He likes the old posters and other metal signs and mementoes from generations ago.

Miller is closing the hardware store. He expects it will be open about two more weeks.


This poster advertises a musical “Rotary in Farce” by the Albion Rotary Club on Feb. 15-16, 1956. The Rotary Club used to do musicals as a fundraiser for the Rotary Community Fund.

This poster advertises a Christmas concert by the Albion Community Chorus on Dec. 22, 1954. The concert benefitted the Orleans County Cancer Fund.

This poster advertises the Fly-In Breakfast at Pine Hill Airport. The breakfast was $2.50 on Oct. 1, 1978. That event still continues and has been going on for more than 50 years.

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Group of retired teachers celebrates association’s 45th anniversary
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 20 September 2019 at 8:26 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Those in attendance at the Sept. 12 meeting of Orleans County Retired Teachers Association are pictured during a break in the meeting. Seated, from left, are president Frank Berger, co-presidents of Central Zone Retired Teachers Association Robyn Ballard and Mary Ellen Morgan, Eileen Wuethrick of Kent and Joan McClure of Geneva, with the New York State Health Insurance Initiative. Standing are Gene Czajkowski of Barker, Georgia Thomas of Medina, Nancy Walker of Kent, Gail Johnson of Albion, Ann Czajkowski of Barker, Ruth Smith of Appleton, Penny Nice of Albion, Charlene Smith of Medina and Barb Dunham of Medina.

KNOWLESVILLE – Orleans County Retired Teachers Association met Sept. 12 at Knowlesville Fellowship Hall, with 16 in attendance. The meeting also celebrated the organization’s 45th anniversary.

Frank Berger of Medina presides over the September meeting of Orleans County Retired Teachers Association.

Guests included Robyn Ballard and Mary Ellen Morgan, co-presidents of the Central Western Zone Retired Teachers Association, and Joan McClure of Geneva with New York State Health Insurance Initiative.

President Frank Berger opened the meeting and asked those in attendance to share what they had taught, how long they taught and how long they have been retired.

Berger, who taught shop at Medina High School for 30 years, first served as president of OCRTA 26 years ago.

Berger was among those who adamantly opposed the group’s decision to disband two years ago. When they discovered disbanding was not specifically spelled out in their bylaws and they must follow Robert’s Rules of Order Revised, they dropped the idea and decided to continue meeting.

They have 100 names on the roster, but average attendance at meetings is 15 to 18. Membership is open to all educators, including teachers, teachers’ assistants, principals, superintendents, counselors, therapists and their spouses who retired from or live in Orleans County.

Officers were elected for 2019/2020. They are Frank Berger, president; Georgia Thomas, vice president; Nancy Walker, recording secretary; Gail Johnson, corresponding secretary; Ann Czajkowski, treasurer; legislation, Frank Berger; membership, Gary and Grace Kent; friendly service, Eileen Wuethrich; community service, Barb Filipiak; audit and budget, Jeff Annable; health care, Ruth Smith; and bylaws and parliament, Kay VanNostrand.

Robyn Ballard, co-president of Central Western Zone Retired Teachers Association, said the new president of NYSRTA, has started an initiative to officially change the name to Retired Educators of New York State.

Gene and Ann Czajkowski of Barker, Gary and Grace Kent of Albion, Ruth Smith of Appleton and Barb Dunham of Medina look over information handed out at the meeting of Orleans County Retired Teachers Association.

Joan McClure with the New York State Health Insurance Initiative stated that health insurance for retired teachers is being cut back, piece by piece in the Ontario County school district where her husband worked. She said New York State United Teachers Union, which they are all members of, was not willing to help go after her husband’s school district for the 100 percent paid health insurance premiums promised in writing at the time of his retirement. She is surveying the 10 Central Western Zone counties to find out if others have run into the same problem.

“We’ve been paying into it and it is doing nothing for retirees,” she said.

Czajkowski said each school district negotiates its own teacher contract, and Orleans County retirees had very little health insurance after retirement.

“We were able to convert unused accumulated sick time to cover premiums for a few years, and the could opt to get the COBRA, paying lower group rate premiums,” Czajkowski said. “We never had vision or dental coverage.”

After a break for lunch, served by the ladies of the Knowlesville Abundant Harvest Methodist Church, guest speaker Don Snyder talked about Recovery Hope Begins Here.

The next meeting will be in April.

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Medina Lions prep for Scarecrow Fest on Oct. 5 at Forrestel Farms
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 20 September 2019 at 8:07 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Pictured from left include Billy Roman (seated), Sherry Wheatley, Mary Herbert, Ann McElwee, Carol Bellack and Charlene Walsh. They set up a scarecrow at Forrestel Farms, where the 12th annual Scarecrow Fest will take place Oct. 5.

MEDINA – The 12th annual Scarecrow Fest in Medina will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 5 at Forrestel Farm and Riding Camp.

The event continues to grow in popularity and features, and this year will enjoy the honor of being celebrated along with Mary Herbert’s 40th anniversary of running the family farm camp.

The fest will have all its old features, along with some new ones, including a flea market this year. Anyone wishing to reserve a spot may call organizer Sherry Wheatley at (585) 735-5135.

The Scarecrow Fest was an idea pitched to Medina Lions 11 years ago by Wheatley. The event has become an annual fundraiser for the Lions, who turn all the profits back into programs for the community.

The Scarecrow Fest has taken place in several locations, including the Canal Basin, Roberts Farm Market, Wise Junior High School and the YMCA. But organizers say Forrestel Farm is the perfect place.

“This is the coolest place,” Wheatley said. “We’re on the farm, with horses and lots of space. This is where it needs to be. And if it rains, we can have it in the barns.”

Forrestel owner Mary Herbert is thrilled to host the event. She is also a member of Lions, and while she doesn’t have a lot of time to donate to the club, hosting the Scarecrow Fest is one way she can contribute, she said.

Recently, Wheatley and fellow Lions members Ann McElwee, Carol Bellack, Charlene Walsh and Billy Roman visited Forrestel Farms to talk about the Scarecrow Fest.

Wheatley said it is the Lions’ goal to add something new every year.

Roman said a lot of organizations are involved in making the Scarecrow Fest a success.

“Everything is donated,” Wheatley said.

First, Wheatley’s mother Pauline Lanning of Albion cuts several hundred heads out of sheets and sews them. They are taken to Medina High School’s Art Department to have faces painted on them. Lyndonville High School’s Art Department will also be asked to help this year, Wheatley said.

Wheatley visits the MAAC Thrift Shop and Lyndonville’s Thrift Shop where she collects old clothing, sheets and accessories (ties, scarves, hats, etc.).

“T” posts for bodies are donated and cut by Iroquois Job Corps’ Carpentry Class. Straw is donated by Phil Keppler of Medina and Ed Neal of Albion.

Orleans 4-H clubs are bringing animals this year.

Cost for each child is $10. After selecting a standing or sitting T post, children choose their head from the large selection clipped on baling twine. Then they go the accessories area and choose ties, scarves or hats.

Straw is dumped into a large pile, and Wheatley said a highlight of the day is watching children, moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas, aunts and uncles thrashing in the straw.

Another favorite activity is having braids added to their scarecrow. Wheatley said they take three pair of old panty hose (also donated by the thrift shops) and stretch them, one by one, over the scarecrow’s head. That gives them three legs on each side, which are then braided.

“Kids just love this,” Wheatley said.

There will be games and children can “milk” a fake cow.

Food will also be available. The Boy Scouts will have corn chowder and chili. The Lions will be cooking hot dogs and hamburgers, and Kim Smith of Lyndonville will be selling cupcakes, cookies and other desserts.

Forrestel Farm and Riding Camp is located at 11380 Main St., Medina (Shelby Center).

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2 dogs graduate from canine training at Albion Correctional
Staff Reports Posted 19 September 2019 at 3:18 pm

Provided photo

ALBION — Inmates, staff and administrators at Albion Correctional Facility are pictured last month during the second graduation program for a canine training program.

Kathy Smith and Ariel Strickland, who are both animal control officers for Orleans County, also attended the graduation.

Two dogs from the Orleans County Animal Shelter — Maverick (a beagle) and Mateo (a hound) – were trained by inmates at the prison. The two dogs arrived at the animal shelter on May 14.

Maverick and Mateo then spent about 12 weeks at the correctional facility with two teams of three inmates. They cared for and trained the dogs, under the supervision of a community volunteer, Tom Ryan. He received his professional trainer certification through the National K-9 School for Dog Trainers in Columbus, Ohio.

During the 12 weeks, the two dogs learned obedience training and socialization skills, making them suitable for adoption.

Since the graduation, two more dogs arrived on Sept. 4 for handlers to work with and prepare for adoption to their forever homes.

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Several facing sex crime charges in County Court
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2019 at 2:52 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Court docket this morning included several cases involving charges of sex abuse against children.

An Albion man appeared in court to have his bail set by Judge Sanford Church. Jarred Hodgins, 31, faces three counts of second-degree rape and two counts of second-degree criminal sex act.

Hodgins allegedly had sexual intercourse with an underage female in Carlton. He has two prior felonies involving drug charges.

“The charges in this case are completely contrary to anything he has been arrested for in the past,” said Joanne Best, the public defender.

She asked Church to set bail at $500, so Hodgins could afford it and continue to work at his job.

Church instead set bail at $20,000.

• An Albion man faces up to 10 years in state prison as part of a plea offer from District Attorney Joe Cardone.

Herbert Sewar, 54, faces first-degree course of sexual conduct for allegedly having sex with an underage female from 2005 to 2010. Sewar was given time to consider the plea.

• An 18-year-old man from Ridgeway pleaded guilty to attempted rape in the first degree and could face up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

The man could be eligible for youthful offender, which would seal his record. His name also shouldn’t be published.

The man today in court admitted to having sex with a 12-year-old girl. He will be sentenced on Nov. 25. He remains in jail on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

• A 19-year-old man from Lyndonville pleaded guilty to attempted rape in the second degree. The man was 18 when he said he had sex with a 14-year-old girl.

The judge could give him youthful offender status and seal his record.

The man faces a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 25. He remains free on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

• In another case, the judge set bail at $5,000 for Dennis S. Biaselli, 45, of Albion.

He was charged after a car accident on Tuesday morning, when he struck a utility pole on Zig Zag Road. He allegedly fled the scene but then returned to get his car.

Biaselli faces charges of felony driving while intoxicated, felony aggravated unlicensed operation, no license, leaving the scene of a property damage crash and using a car without a court-ordered Interlock device.

Biaselli has two prior felonies and 11 prior misdemeanors, Cardone said.

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Construction starts on new Medina playground, with splash pad to follow
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2019 at 11:49 am

Provided photos

The new playground is starting to take shape at Pine Street Park.

MEDINA – Construction has started on a new playground at the Pine Street Park in Medina, with a splash and butterfly discovery garden to follow.

“This will be a beautiful addition to our village and a place for children to play and explore,” said Nicole Goyette, a member of the Pine Street Park Project Committee that also includes Tom Hungerford, Bob Sanderson and Maureen Sanderson.

Donations are covering the cost of the project. The committee is accepting funds to cover the remaining expenses with the project. Donations can be sent to the Orleans Renaissance Group, Pine Street Park Project, P.O. Box 543, Medina NY 14103.

The park improvements are costing about $200,000.

The five elements for the splash pad are about $46,750. The splash pad will be 30 feet in diameter and water will circulate out to water plants and trees.

The committee is working the Buffalo company, Parkitects, on the project. Ben Frasier, a Lyndonville native, works for Parkitects and is assisting with the initiative.

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Nearly 40 artists featured in this weekend’s GO Art! open studio tour
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2019 at 9:19 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Jim Fiegel of Albion is one of the featured artists in this weekend’s open art studio. He will be showing his work at 614 Moore St. He creates abstract paintings using a combination of acrylic, enamel, and water-based paint. He paints on Plexiglass and his paintings are curved. He also creates his own wooden frames and has LED lights behind the Plexiglass.

The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council will be highlighting about 40 artists this weekend with an open studio tour.

The event features 18 Orleans County artists on Saturday, and then Genesee County artists on Sunday.

Many of the artists will be painting on location, either at art studios, businesses or other public venues. GO Art! encourages people to go on a driving tour to see the local artists. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days.

Maps and additional information about each artist can be can be found on the GO Art! website by clicking here.

The Orleans County artists and the locations include:

• Chris Manaseri, 14504 Lakeshore Rd., Kent

• Shirley Nigro, 4688 Oak Orchard Rd., Barre

• Idris Salih, 24 East Bank St., Albion

• Renee C. Swanson, 810 Meadworks/Hart House Hotel, 113 West Center St., Medina

• Christy Valsente, 76 S. Main St., Holley

• Judy Wenrich, 229 North Main St., Albion

• Janet Root, 1213 Center Rd., Kendall

• Arthur Barnes, 12389 Maple Ridge Rd., Medina

• Jim Fiegel, 614 Moore St. #A, Albion

• Connie Mosher, 229 North Main St., Albion

• Kim Muscarella, 229 North Main St., Albion

• Chris Versteeg, 229 North Main St., Albion

• Albion NY Rocks, 4688 Oak Orchard Rd., Barre

• Ninandré Bogue, 810 Meadworks/Hart House Hotel, 113 West Center St., Medina

• Colleen Ware, 4688 Oak Orchard Rd., Barre

• Joan Barton, 4688 Oak Orchard Rd., Barre

• Deborah Wilson, 4688 Oak Orchard Rd., Barre

• Lori Laine, 4688 Oak Orchard Rd., Barre

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Governor kicks off education campaign on new Red Flag Law
Posted 19 September 2019 at 8:28 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has launched a statewide education campaign on New York’s new Red Flag gun safety law.

The Governor on Wednesday at Farmingdale State College hosted the first of three conferences to help teachers, school administrators and parent representatives understand the new law and how to use it to keep schools safe.

The law, part of the nation’s strongest gun laws, establishes a new civil procedure that allows a concerned family member, school official or member of law enforcement to obtain a court order – known as an Extreme Risk Protection Order – to remove and keep guns away from individuals who pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or others.

This court order specifically prohibits a person from purchasing or possessing a firearm, rifle or shotgun while the order is in effect. The new law became effective August 24, 2019. Additional conferences are planned for later this fall in Manhattan and Albany.

The Governor also launched a call center and a new website offering information and links to step-by-step instructions about how to apply for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. The call center will be staffed by individuals trained to answer inquiries from family members, police and educators. These staff members will have access to extensive resources and contact information for local law enforcement, school officials, the court system, and mental health agencies to ensure callers are referred to the appropriate services. The call center, which is now open, can be reached at 877-NYS-0101 and will be operated Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“This common-sense gun safety measure can save lives and today is about understanding how to use it,” Governor Cuomo said. “When we get to a point as a society where we are designing schools in anticipation of an active shooter scenario, something is seriously wrong. Here in New York we have passed the strongest gun protection laws in the nation to keep people safe, and they work. With the Red Flag law, we are empowering educators and parents who believe an individual may be dangerous to themselves or others to take action for the safety of their community.”

Extreme Risk Protection Order

An Extreme Risk Protection Order, or ERPO, may only be issued by the Supreme Court of the county where the subject lives upon the sworn application of a police officer, district attorney, family or household member, or principal or another qualified school official designated by the principal.

Warning Signs

Some of the following characteristics may indicate an individual’s near term risk for violent behavior against oneself or others:

• Making threats of violence

• Taking steps towards enabling violent threats

• A history of perpetrating violence

• Bringing a weapon to school

• Recent intensification of anger and impulsiveness

Taking Action

If educators or parents fear a child poses an immediate risk to themselves or others, they should:

• Involve law enforcement. While statute allows school officials to apply directly to the court for an ERPO, schools should contact local law enforcement with relevant information.

• Take immediate measures to protect yourself or others. In the case of a threat of violence, call 911.

• Alert authorities to notify any intended target of violence.

• Consult with school authorities or call law enforcement to determine if an ERPO is appropriate.

The Application

The ERPO application and all supporting documents are available on the Office of Court Administration’s (OCA) website (click here):

The application must include facts supporting the request for an ERPO. The legal standard the court will apply is probable cause.

Possible facts to check off on the application include:

• Threats or acts of violence

• Violations or alleged violations of an order of protection

• Pending charge or conviction for an offense involving the use of a weapon

• Reckless use or display of a gun

• Any history of violating an ERPO

• Recent or ongoing substance abuse  (within 6 months)

• Recent acquisition of a gun, ammunition or deadly weapon (within 6 months).

Issuance of an ERPO

• A temporary ERPO may be issued immediately upon the submission of an application, if the court determines there is probable cause to believe the person is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to anyone.

• If the court issues a temporary ERPO, it must hold a hearing within 3-6 business days to determine whether to issue a final ERPO.

• Final ERPOs are effective for up to 1 year, after which they may be renewed

• Whenever an ERPO is issued (temporary or final), the court must suspend any firearm license issued to the subject of an ERPO.

• The issuing court may order police to search for guns in the subjects possession, including those located within a residence.

Coordination and Safeguards

• The issuing court must notify and produce copies of the ERPO to the New York State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), local law enforcement, and local firearm licensing officers.

• DCJS is required to immediately report the issuance of ERPO to the FBI for entry into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This will prevent respondent from purchasing guns while the order is in effect.

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Ale in Autumn cancelled in downtown Medina
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2019 at 8:08 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Rosenkrans created this sign to welcome the Ale in Autumn crowd on Sept. 30, 2017. The event started in 2009 and usually included about 24 beer-tasting stops.

MEDINA – A popular event in downtown Medina, the annual Ale in Autumn, has been cancelled on Sept. 28, “due to unforeseen circumstances,” said the Medina Business Association.

Ale in Autumn started in 2009. About 700 people typically buy tickets to sample beer at 24 locations in the downtown.

“While this pains us greatly, it is unavoidable at this moment in time,” the MBA said in a statement about the cancellation. “We do, however, plan to continue the event next year when these issues have been resolved. We also plan to continue with Wine About Winter in February of 2020. All ticket sales will be refunded promptly. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we resolve this matter, and we look forward to a bigger and better event in the Fall of 2020.”

When the Medina Business Association first started Ale in Autumn in 2009, the organization hoped an event with beer tastings would bring in a few outsiders and get more locals to visit Medina merchants.

Ale and Autumn has done far more than that. It quickly sells out and creates a buzz on Main Street.

Businesses welcome the chance to serve as a tasting location because that means hundreds of people will come inside the stores.

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Ortt says state often fails to appoint local reps to Siting Board for energy projects
Posted 18 September 2019 at 7:54 pm

Local state senator sponsors legislation requiring local reps on Siting Board in order to have quorum

Press release, State Sen. Rob Ortt

Photo by Tom Rivers: State Sen. Rob Ortt speaks last week during a forum about health impacts from wind turbines at Erie County Community College.

CALEDONIA – Today, Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) joined Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R-Caledonia) to oppose New York’s handling of proposed Article X projects across the state.

Due to Gov. Cuomo and the energy policy his administration has laid out for the state, small and rural communities across upstate and Western New York will be forced to contend with state implemented solar and wind energy production facilities.

New York State’s Article X law allows the governor and his administration to bypass requirements for local representation on these state energy projects and proceed with siting board planning without any input from local residents or officials.

In New York State, the Leader of the Senate Majority, Speaker of the Assembly, and governor all have the ability to appoint representatives to energy project siting boards from a list submitted to them by the local representatives in the locations where they are proposed. However, Article X states that should the governor, Leader of the Senate and Speaker of the Assembly fail to select local representatives from the submitted list of candidates, the project may move forward absent of any local representation.

As of May 2019, in 19 out of 25 ad hoc eligible projects across the state, the governor, leader, and speaker have all failed to appoint a full slate of local representation to the project’s board.

Because of this systemic failure of state leaders (Gov. Cuomo, Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie) to appoint local representatives, Sen. Ortt and Assemblywoman Byrnes have joined forces to sponsor legislation requiring local representation on these Article X siting boards.

Senate Bill 6338 (A8311), which is sponsored by Sen. Ortt and co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Byrnes, would require local ad hoc selections to be appointed to energy project siting boards in order to constitute a quorum. Currently, a quorum may be formed without these local appointees.

Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) said, “Local representation is vital for these projects, yet to date, Gov. Cuomo, Speaker Heastie and Leader Stewart-Cousins have failed to do their duties as legislative leaders by neglecting to select local members for project siting boards. When Democrats took full control of the state legislature, they made a promise that we would be one state and the interests of all New York’s residents would be looked after. Unfortunately, these words ring hollow as they continually fail to do their jobs and appoint local members to these upstate and Western New York energy project siting boards.”

Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R-Caledonia) said, “The hypocrisy we’re seeing from the Democrat leadership in Albany is shameful and undercuts the idea of a representative democracy. By failing to appoint local community members to siting boards, they’re leaving our communities in the dark. Our communities have a right to participate in the decision making process and I am proud to sponsor legislation that ensures that the Democrat leadership does their job.”

Senator Pat Gallivan (R-Elma) said, “It is imperative that Article X siting boards include local and regional membership and I am disappointed that legislative leaders and the governor have failed to act on the recommendations of community representatives. This legislation will ensure that local voices are heard and have direct input in the decision making process, as state law intended.”

Sen. Pam Helming (R-Canandaigua) said, “Local input is critical to the success of any project, especially those that could fundamentally change the character of a community. This legislative proposal is about restoring transparency and protecting the rights of local residents and communities. All too often we see projects move forward before important questions from neighbors have been addressed. We owe it to taxpayers to project their rights and property values by restoring transparency and accountability in the permitting process. I appreciate the leadership of Senator Ortt and Assemblywoman Byrnes on this important issue and look forward to working with them both on behalf of our region.”

Senator Rich Funke (R-Fairport) said, “While I strongly support renewable energy I also believe just as strongly in ensuring that local communities have a say in any projects that may impact their municipality. Article X includes a process for local appointees but unfortunately, the Governor and the Senate and Assembly Majorities have thus far ignored their responsibilities under the law. I call on Governor Cuomo to act immediately and make local appointments to the siting board so that the voice of my constituents and that of my colleagues can be heard.”

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Clarendon woman again collecting socks to be given to homeless
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 September 2019 at 3:22 pm

Tammi Bale delivered 1,583 pairs to Open Door Mission in 2018

Provided photo: Tammi Bale, left, of Clarendon is pictured on Nov. 26 last year when she delivered 1,583 pairs of new socks to the Open Door Mission in Rochester.

Tammi Bale has kicked off her fourth annual “Just Socks, Ma” program. She collects socks in honor of her late son, Robert, and gives them to a homeless shelter in Rochester.

Last year just after Thanksgiving she delivered 1,583 pairs of new socks to the Open Door Mission in Rochester.

Bale collects the socks in honor of her son, Robert Bale. He had a good job as a HVAC technician, often working 50 hours a week. He also had a secret addiction. He used heroin. His family didn’t know it, nor did his roommate or close friends. On March 10, 2016, he had a fatal overdose at age 28.

Robert was a hard-working young man who didn’t want to burden other people, even at Christmas, his mother said. When Tammi Bale asked her son what he wanted for a present, he responded: “Just socks, Ma.”

She has collection boxes for the socks at several locations in Orleans and Monroe counties.

In Orleans they are at Dustin’s Pizzeria in Holley, Avanti Pizza in Albion and Tim Hortons in Albion.

In Monroe County, the drop-off sites for socks include: Galaxy Auto Parts, 4974 W Ridge Rd., Spencerport; Cam’s Pizzeria, 336 East Ave., Rochester; Snuggery’s, 380 S Union St., Spencerport; and ROCovery Fitness, 1035 Dewey Ave., Rochester.

The boxes will be out until Nov. 19.

Bale will also accept socks at a collection box on her porch at Thomas Estates, 327 Sunset Drive, Clarendon.

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