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Barre goes to polls on Tuesday to vote about new firehall

Rendering courtesy of Barre Fire District: Barre residents will vote from 3 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday whether the Fire District can borrow $2.5 million for a new fire hall that would also have space for a community center that could be used as a Red Cross relief center during an emergency.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 April 2017 at 9:32 am

BARRE – Residents in Barre will ead to polls from 3 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday to decide whether the Barre Fire District can borrow $2.5 million for a new fire hall that would also serve as a community center.

Residents can vote at the current fire hall at 4709 Oak Orchard Rd. That building, a former schoolhouse with an addition, has served as the firehall since 1960.

Barre fire officials say the building is too small for today’s fire trucks. The building also needs an overhaul to meet today’s codes.

Photo by Tom Rivers: The current fire hall for the Barre Volunteer Fire Company was built as an addition to a schoolhouse in 1960. Firefighters say the site is cramped and many modern fire trucks are too long or tall to fit inside and have to be retrofitted to squeeze into the Barre firehall.

The $2.5 million project would give the Barre Volunteer Fire Company much needed space for fire trucks and the new building would also have a community room with space for 140 people.

The Barre Fire District tried to get the public’s support for a new fire hall on June 4, 2014, but the proposition to borrow $1.4 million was voted down, 249-114.

Fire District officials heard from many residents that they wanted a community center to be part of the project, and not just a facility to keep fire trucks, said Mark Farone, one of the commissioners for the Fire District.

The addition of a community center should increase the chances for the project to receive state and federal funding, Farone said. The building would be a designated Red Cross shelter with a full kitchen, four bathrooms total, and a laundry machine.

The space could also be rented to community organizations such as churches, the Red Cross, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Fire District leaders say the current firehall is outdated for a modern fire department. The four bays in the firehall have doors that are 10 feet tall. Many of the modern fire trucks are 10 feet, 2 inches tall. Barre had to have its most recent fire truck special ordered so it was 9 feet, 6 inches in height. That made the truck more costly, adding about $100,000 to the cost, Farone said.

When some departments fill in for Barre because Barre firefighters are on a call, the other departments often can’t fit their fire trucks inside the Barre firehall.

The fire trucks are bigger these days because manufacturers have combined two trucks into one, such as Barre’s new pumper-rescue truck. Combining the trucks means Barre doesn’t need two crews to go with a truck, just one. Dual-purpose trucks helps with the manpower issues many volunteer fire companies are facing.

The new facility would have five bays and have more space for the trucks and equipment.

The Fire District is the taxing authority for the Fire Company. The fire company provides the personnel, and the fire district finances the trucks and equipment. The current firehall is owned by the Fire Company. The new one, if approved by residents, would be owned by the Fire District.

The district currently pays an annual fee to the Fire Company for using the old firehall. That payment would instead be used as the debt payment for the $2.5 million facility, which would be paid over 30 years.

The annual debt payment is expected to be about what the Fire District is currently paying the Fire Company. (The Fire Company’s members would decide the fate of the old firehall. It could be put up for sale and could be used as an auto repair garage or for another business, past chief Jerry Bentley said.)

The Fire District needs voter approval before it can proceed with likely grants for the project, as well as construction bids. There are currently low-interest rates for borrowing, and a lender would agree to a 30-year arrangement for a new building, said Barry Flansburg, the Fire District secretary/treasurer.

If the project is voted down, Flansburg fears firefighters will be stuck trying to upgrade the current building,, without a low-interest loan stretched over three decades. Instead, it would likely take a loan to be paid in a short-term loan. That could actually result in a higher annual cost for taxpayers, while firefighters are still tied to an undersized facility, Flansburg said.

The Fire District has the land secured for the project. Keeler Construction owns the vacant land, north of the current fire hall.

If the project passes on Tuesday, Flansburg said design, approvals and permits would take about six months. Construction could start in the spring of 2018.

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200-plus attend Mark Twain event at Albion church
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 April 2017 at 9:01 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Mike Randall performs as Mark Twain at the First Presbyterian Church of Albion on Saturday evening. About 225 people attended the 2-hour event.

Randall, the chief meteorologist for WKBW-TV in Buffalo, has been portraying Twain for more than 40 years and has done more than 2,000 performances.

Saturday’s event was a benefit to support the church’s projects.

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Scouts were out picking up trash on Earth Day
Staff Reports Posted 24 April 2017 at 7:42 am

Provided photos

These Girl Scouts in Troop 84101 picked up trash along the towpath in Albion on Saturday, filling several garbage bags. They are pictured near the Brown Street bridge.

The Girl Scouts head east from Brown Street, looking for garbage along the towpath.

This is group of Scouts from Pack and Troop 164 of Albion helped with the annual Lion’s Club yard clean-up Saturday morning. They spent the Earth Day morning working at eight different houses with members from the Albion Lion’s Club. Together they raked leaves, cleaned out flower gardens and picked up sticks and debris from the winter and recent wind storm.

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Temperatures will climb this week, hitting 82 on Thursday
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 April 2017 at 11:24 pm

POINT BREEZE – A fishermen walks along the western pier of the Oak Orchard Harbor this evening.

After a chilly last week, with lots of rain, the National Weather Service in Buffalo said temperatures will be on the rise this week in Orleans County.

The highs include 54 and sunny on Monday, 62 with showers likely on Tuesday, 74 and sunny on Wednesday, 82 and mostly sunny on Thursday, 62 and mostly sunny on Friday and 62 with a chance for showers on Saturday.

A boat passes through the harbor as the sun sets at Point Breeze.

Kimberly Palmer on Byron and Jeff Price of Batavia watch the sun set while they sit at the end of the eastern pier at the Oak Orchard Harbor.

Palmer and Price said it was a “perfect” evening to come to Point Breeze.

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Governor directs state agencies to prepare for possible flooding on Lake Ontario

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lake Ontario is close to houses and the road on Park Road in Carlton in this photo taken on Thursday.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 April 2017 at 11:57 am

Many lakeside communities, including in Orleans County, declare states of emergency

Press Release, Gov. Cuomo’s Office

Governor Cuomo today has directed state agencies to assist local communities in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, and Wayne counties for possible flooding issues due to rising water levels on Lake Ontario and is urging all residents in the region to prepare for flooding.

At the Governor’s direction, sandbags have already been deployed to the region and have been filled to be ready for placement in lower elevation areas.

In some areas, sandbags have been pre-positioned in locations that have previously experienced flooding in the past few days and weeks. Other state assets have been staged at the regional stockpile in Monroe County.

Currently, there have been no reported significant issues in the region, however out of an abundance of caution, communities are preparing for additional lake rises.

“After significant rain and runoff, we are seeing the waters on Lake Ontario rise to higher than normal levels,” Governor Cuomo said. “While there is no current danger to residents in the surrounding areas, I am directing state agencies to assist our local officials and for those who live in the area to prepare for potential flooding and stay tuned to local weather forecasts.”

Lake Ontario is currently 18 inches above average for this time of year according to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and expectations are that the level will continue to rise into May. The Army Corps of Engineers attributed the high water levels to higher-than-usual rates of precipitation and runoff.

About 40 percent of the lake water comes from local runoff and precipitation, with the remainder flowing in through the Niagara River.  To offset the rising levels, the Corps has increased outflow at the Moses-Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River between Massena and Cornwall, Ontario, throughout the past week.

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management has been in constant communication with county emergency management officials in the region.  A conference call has been conducted with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, FEMA, Exelon, and the counties in the region to discuss any effects to the nuclear power plants and there are no concerns that potential flooding would impact the plants.

DHSES has deployed one sandbag filler and 60,000 sandbags to Niagara County, 30,000 sandbags to Orleans County, one sandbag filler to Monroe County, one sandbag filler and 30,000 sandbags to Wayne County, 13,000 sandbags to the Town of Huron (Wayne), and 12,000 sandbags to the Town of Wolcott (Wayne).

Additionally, two high axle vehicles have been pre-positioned at the Chili Stockpile along with two Zodiac boats, and two additional sandbag fillers which have been moved from the Montgomery and Binghamton stockpiles. Two additional sand bag fillers have been moved to the Oriskany Stockpile from the Queensbury and JFK stockpiles along with 50,000 sandbags. The Stockpile in Chili is also fully stocked with generators, light towers, and barriers, for use throughout the potentially impacted areas.

All State Police assets, including 4x4s, high axle vehicles and boats are ready for deployment as needed. Troopers have been instructed to remain on high alert and to closely monitor flood prone areas for rising waters while on patrol.

The creeks and streams that feed Lake Ontario are also high. This photo from Thursday shows the submerged docks at Captain’s Cove in Carlton.

Local States of Emergency have been issued in the following localities:

Niagara County

Orleans County

Wayne County

Town of Wilson (Niagara County)

Town of Somerset (Niagara County)

Town of Porter (Niagara County)

Town of Newfane (Niagara County)

Town of Carlton (Orleans County)

Town of Kendall (Orleans County)

Town of Yates (Orleans County)

Town of Huron (Wayne County)

Town of Ontario (Wayne County

Town of Williamson (Wayne County)

Village of Sodus Point (Wayne County)

Special State of Emergency orders for all Wayne County bays and harbors; Sodus Bay, Port Bay, East Bay, Blind Sodus Bay, Pultneyville Harbor and Bear Creek Harbor. No wake, idle speed only. (Wayne County)

A local State of Emergency allows the issuing local chief executive to exercise powers and authorities to bring the emergency situation under control.  By declaring a state of emergency, the local chief executive may issue emergency orders that they deem necessary in order to preserve life and property, such as road closures or evacuation orders.

The New York State Department of Transportation is actively preparing for high water by readying equipment and staff who will conduct flood watches, monitor bridges as water rises, and respond as needed. DOT crews have been actively working to clear culverts and drainage basins to help ensure they flow freely. The NYSDOT has 3,835 operators and supervisors statewide and is ready to respond with 1,413 large dump trucks, 325 loaders, 74 excavators, 18 graders, 10 bucket trucks, 17 vacuum trucks with sewer jets, 6 trailer mounted sewer jets, 12 water tankers, 13 water pumps, and 4 bulldozers.

The New York State Thruway Authority is monitoring for potential flooding the region and are ready to deploy additional staffing and equipment to assist with any flooding issues as they develop.

In preparation for severe weather and flooding, New York State Parks continues to actively monitor the situation and has directed the Park Police and park personnel to take appropriate action to prepare for possible flooding at State Park facilities including clearing culverts and drainage areas and preparing equipment that may be necessary to respond to flood-related issues.

The best way to receive official emergency information, which can change quickly, is to subscribe to NY-ALERT (www.nyalert.gov) the state’s free, customizable, all-hazards notification system.

Governor Cuomo urged boaters on Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River to be aware of floating debris such as logs and other items that can be encountered during spring run-off conditions and high water and to pay special attention to the following safety information:

Flood Safety Preparedness:

Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry. Develop and practice a family escape plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.

Program emergency numbers into the phones of each household member.

Make an itemized list – as well as potential photo and video documentation – of all valuables, including furnishings, clothing, and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.

Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine, first aid supplies, and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.

Have a plan for your pets.

Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries, and emergency cooking equipment available.

Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.

Find out how the location of your property relates to possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.

Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.

Check your insurance coverage. Homeowners’ insurance policies generally do not cover flood damages. Only flood insurance can protect your home against flood damages. You can purchase flood insurance whether or not you live in a mapped flood zone.

Travel Precautions during a Flood:

During flash flooding, your vehicle can be the biggest danger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.

Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.

Driving through 6 inches of standing water can cause cars to lose control and stall.

Do not underestimate the destructive power of fast-moving water. A foot of rushing water can carry away a small car and it takes just two feet of fast-moving flood water to carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-up trucks. Water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.

Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.

If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

Flood Safety During a Flood:

Monitor the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather Radio or your local radio and TV station broadcasts for information.

If local officials advise evacuation, do so promptly. If you are directed to a specific location, go there.

Know where shelters are located.

As a precaution prior to any flood, check basement drains to make sure they are clear and energized wires are off the floor. If flooding of a home or business has already occurred, contact your utility companies to have electricity and natural gas service turned off. In the event of flooding, never attempt to turn off electricity and natural gas service. Stay out of flooded basements. Energized wiring or outlets below the water line may pose a hazard; natural gas service in a flooded basement may also pose a danger.

Bring outside possessions, including lawn furniture, garbage cans, and other movable objects, inside the house, or tie them down securely.

If there is time, move essential items and furniture to upper floors in the house.

Disconnect electrical appliances that cannot be moved. DO NOT touch them if you are wet or standing in water.

Secure your home by locking all doors and windows.

More safety tips for staying safe before, during, and after floods and other storms can be found on the DHSES website: www.dhses.ny.gov.

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Medina will plant 83 trees this year
Posted 23 April 2017 at 9:12 am

File photos by Tom Rivers: Elementary students from Medina help plant trees in State Street Park during the Arbor Day celebration a year ago. Medina planted 71 trees in 2016.

Press Release, Medina Tree Board

MEDINA – Arbor Day 2017 will mark the tenth year in a row that the Village of Medina has been awarded the Tree City USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The award honors Medina’s commitment to community forestry.

Overall, this year Medina will plant 83 trees, mostly along areas of Eagle and Pearl Streets with additional plantings throughout the village.

This year the village will also plant several trees from citizens’ sponsored tree requests.

“Each year, we receive more and more applications from citizens looking to plant trees on the right-of-way in front of their home.,” said Chris Busch, Medina’s Tree Board Chairman.

“For $180, the village will plant an approved tree, sponsored by a citizen (provided the site/tree meet criteria).”

Applications for citizen- sponsored tree plantings are available on the village’s Municipal Tree Board website.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, and the USDA Forest Service. Tree City USA is a national designations.

Medina’s annual Arbor Day Celebration will held 9 a.m. this Friday at Rotary Park in Medina’s Downtown Historic District. Hundreds of school children from Oak Orchard School and Wise Intermediate School are anticipated to be in attendance.

Mayor Mike Sidari poses with elementary students after planting trees at State Street Park on April 29, 2016.

Nicole Goyette, Arbor Day Coordinator for the village and Creative Studies Teacher with the Medina Central School District, is quick to tell of the many benefits of planting urban trees.

“Medina’s students are very aware of the benefits provided by village trees. They know that trees reduce carbon dioxide and other air pollutants; they know that trees capture storm-water, lower summer air temperatures, and- most importantly- make our village a beautiful place to live. They are very excited for Arbor Day!”

Recent studies indicate a row of mature street trees has been shown to increase property values up to 18%.

Mayor Mike Sidari will read the annual Arbor Day Proclamation, declaring April 28, 2017 as Arbor Day in Medina. The Tree Board will also be awarding two “Friends of the Urban Forest” awards to citizens or groups who have gone above and beyond to support forestry in Medina.

This year, a large number of the 83 trees being planted were made possible for the second year in a row through a generous gift from Candlelight Cabinetry in Lockport and Kitchen World in Williamsville. Medina resident Robert Sanderson is vice president of marketing and a managing partner at Candlelight Cabinetry. He is a big fan of Medina’s tree program. Several of the trees being planted are representative of the hardwoods used by the company in their cabinet making operations. Those trees include maple and oak.

“The Tree Board is again thrilled with Bob’s generous support from Candlelight and Kitchen World,” said Busch. “Bob is a huge believer in what we do and it makes perfect sense to have such a great woodworking company sponsor tree plantings. The cost of trees has risen exponentially over the past few years, and we are extremely grateful for the support.”

The Sanderson family definitely have a stake in the Medina area. Three generations of the Sanderson family have lived in Medina for over 100 years. Randal Sanderson is the proprietor of Kitchen World on Transit Road in Williamsville and his father, Bob Sanderson, is majority owner of Candlelight Cabinetry manufacturing in Lockport.

Arbor Day is celebrated in Medina and across New York State on the last Friday in April. For additional information about the Medina Municipal Tree Board, how a community member can plant a tree, tree memorials, tree planting/growing tips, and other tree related information, visit the Municipal Tree Board’s website by clicking here or by contacting the Village Building Department at 798-0770.

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Man who died in skydiving accident was experienced skydiving instructor
Posted 23 April 2017 at 7:31 am

Press Release, Orleans County Undersheriff Chris Bourke

BARRE – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a skydiving accident on Saturday evening in the Town of Barre, which claimed the life of a Rochester man.

Undersheriff Christopher M. Bourke reports that at 7:23 p.m., the Orleans County Sheriff’s 911 Center received a call of a man down in a field off the Pask Road. C.O.V.A. Ambulance, Barre Fire Company and the Clarendon Fire Company Off Road Unit responded to the area.

The male victim was located approximately ¾ of a mile south of Pask Road in an open field. The 30-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene by Orleans County Coroner Rocky Sidari. (Victim not identified at this time pending notification of family members.)

The initial investigation indicated that the victim was an experienced skydiving instructor with over 700 civilian jumps. Witnesses report that the victim and another skydiver, both members of the WNY Sky Diving Club, left the Pine Hill Airport and made what is referred to as a “Sport Jump”  at about 7 p.m. The second sky diver, upon arriving on the ground, could not locate the victim and immediately began a search for the victim. The jump plane took off from Pine Hill Airport to assist in the search.

At this time, the cause of the accident is unknown. The Sheriff’s Office is working with the F.A.A. and the Monroe County Medical Examiners’ Office in an attempt to determine the facts leading up to this tragic event.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the New York State Police, Barre Fire Company and the Clarendon Fire Company.

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Wilson tops Medina in Evoy Scholarship game
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 22 April 2017 at 10:06 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Owen Frasier slides into second as Wilson shortstop Jackson Rotella gets set to apply the tag. The action took place during the Lakemen’s win over the Mustangs this evening at Vets Park in the inaugural Jeff Evoy Memorial Scholarship game.

A big six run fourth inning scoring burst keyed Wilson to an 11-5 victory over Medina in the inaugural Jeff Evoy Memorial Scholarship baseball game at Vets Park this evening.

Trailing 4-3, Wilson moved on top to stay in the decisive frame as a three-run homer by John Bender capped off the six run uprising.

Singles by Steve Frerichs and Tanner Seeley, along with a sacrifice fly by Jonah Miller, plated the first three runs as a double by Justin Daul and a single by Matt Daul set up the threat.

Medina’s Brett Riemer gets congratulations from Coach Don Baker as he rounds third base after hitting a two-run homer.

The Lakemen later tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the sixth on a double by Jackson Rotella and a triple by Connor Seeley.

Medina had grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning on a double by Brett Riemer and a fielders choice play off the bat of Nate Sherman.  A double by Alex Allis also helped key that scoring burst.

Wilson rallied into a 3-2 lead in the third on a two-run triple by Jackson Rotella and an error.

Medina moved back on top for what proved to be the last time at 4-3 in the home half of the third on a two-run homer by Riemer.

The Mustangs then got runners to second and third after a hit batter, a single by Sherman and a sacrifice bunt by Trevor Luthart but Wilson hurler Nate Fox got out the jam with a clutch inning ending strikeout stranding Medina runners at second and third.

Fox allowed 7 hits and struck out 7 in six innings of work. Bender came on to hurl the seventh inning and gave up 1 hit and 1 walk and struck out 3.

Rotella and Tanner Seeley both had a pair of hits on the evening as did Riemer, Sherman and Allis for the Mustangs.

Wilson is now 4-0 and Medina 1-3 in N-O competition.


Special game honors former superintendent
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 22 April 2017 at 9:58 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Mrs. Maureen Evoy and her children Kelsey and Sean threw out the ceremonial first pitches this evening at the inaugural Jeff Evoy Memorial Baseball game between Medina and Wilson at Vets Park. The contest honored  the former Medina superintendent who passed away last year and raised funds for a scholarship in his memory. Prior to coming to Medina Evoy taught and coached at Albion and served as a principal at Pembroke.

The Evoy family is surrounded here by former colleagues and friends of Jeff Evoy from Medina, Albion and Pembroke and the Medina and Wilson teams prior to the start of this evening’s Evoy Memorial Scholarship game from Medina. The contest was also a special one for Wilson as Lakemen Coach Mark Kurtz was a life long friend of Evoy’s.


Skydiver killed in Barre
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 April 2017 at 9:45 pm

BARRE – One person died in a skydiving accident near Pine Hill Airport at about 7:30 this evening.

Crews were dispatched to an area near Pine Hill and Pask roads in Barre to respond to a skydiver who was in an orchard.

No other information is available at this time.

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‘Run for Wayne’ honors memory of Albion music teacher
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 April 2017 at 5:12 pm

Wayne Burlison continues to inspire community

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Lisa Burlison, wife of the late Wayne Burlison, welcomes runners and other participants in the third annual Run for Wayne today. She is joined by the couple’s son, Adam, and family friend Marsha Rivers and the Rev. Randy LeBaron, pastor of the Albion Free Methodist Church.

Rivers encouraged Burlison to sign up for his first race. He went on the run marathons and help start the Albion Running Club.

Burlison died at age 36 from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

Adam Burlison gets ready to cut the string holding the balloons. Mark Moore, the race director, is at right.

The race started at 12:01 p.m. on Clarendon Road by the Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School, where Mr. Burlison was a band teacher.

“Run for Wayne” started at 12:01 in recognition of Hebrews 12:1 as one of Burlison’s favorite Bible verses. The verse states: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

There where about 75 runners and walkers in the race today. Proceeds are being used towards a second memorial scholarship in Burlison’s memory, as well as to help develop a running/walking trail at Bullard Park.

Mary Martin, left, finishes the race with her friend Sarah Meister. Martin, 21, was one of Burlison’s students.

“He taught me how to play the jazz drums and got me into running,” Martin said.

Ed Russell, 75, of East Amherst is close to the finish line. Russell ran a 5K in the morning in Williamsville, “Run Forest Run!”

Last year Russell ran 185 races. He wants to run at least 100 this year.

Evan Steier of Albion had the fastest time overall in the Run for Wayne at 19:12. Lindon Morici of Albion was the fastest woman at 20:17 for the 3.17-mile course, which is slightly longer than a 5K. The 3.17-mile course represents the 3 months and 17 days that Burlison lived his diagnosis of Stage 4 colon cancer.

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Volunteers pick up trash along canal on Earth Day
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 April 2017 at 3:35 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Dominic Burton and Isaac Neidert (in back) were among the volunteers out today picking up trash along the Erie Canal. Dominic and Isaac are shown just west of Main Street in Albion.

They helped with the cleanup organized by the Albion Betterment Committee.

There were about 100 canal cleanups in the state today, including three others in Orleans County. The Sons of the American Legion and Medina Lions Club each picked up garbage along the canal in Medina. In Holley, the Masonic Lodge from Kendall picked up trash along the canal.

This group worked on cleaning up the towpath in Albion. They are pictured between the lift bridges in Albion.

Gary Kent, one of the directors for the Albion Betterment Committee, joins other volunteers in the cleanup this morning.

(Anyone with photos of the cleanups efforts in Medina or Holley is welcome to email them to news@orleanshub.com.)

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In 1882, big fire damaged several Albion storefronts
By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 22 April 2017 at 7:55 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Vol. 3, Issue 17

ALBION – On Friday, January 13, 1882 at 9 o’clock in the evening, occupants of properties located along West Bank Street in Albion noticed the odor of smoke coming from an unknown source. When neighbors discovered smoke billowing out of F. C. Parchert’s millinery and fancy goods business, they sounded the fire alarm.

Quickly arriving on scene, fireman forced open the door to find a pile of paper boxes ablaze. The stifling smoke made it impossible to remain within the store for even a short period of time and despite efforts to carry in extinguishers, the fire had already spread up the partition walls.

Hart Hose No. 3’s engine arrived on scene with slight delay, as the horses were not stabled nearby. Upon the company’s arrival, the fire had worked its way up the walls and burst through the roof. No. 3’s engine worked tirelessly for seven hours, providing steady streams into the early hours of the morning; another engine on scene broke down shortly after its arrival.

Wind conditions remained favorable as nearby merchants feared for their buildings and merchandise. It was expected by those fire companies on scene that the lack of wind and presence of Proctor’s brick block to the north at Beaver Alley would curtail the fire. Instead, flames leaped to the north, setting the wooden skylight of Wolsley Russell’s photography studio ablaze, stretching through the interior, and threatening façades along West Bank and Main.

As the Swan Block was surrounded on both sides firemen sought to contain the fire, dousing the Proctor and English blocks near Beaver Alley and wetting down the east side of Main Street. Soon after the Swan Block caught fire and firemen carried hose around West Bank in an effort to prevent the fire from spreading further westward. Sparks and embers rained down upon buildings along the eastern side of Main Street as gusts of winds blew in from the west.

Medina fire companies arrived shortly after midnight and several engines were sent by special train from Rochester to provide mutual aid. Although the men found it unnecessary to unload the engines, the firemen from Rochester were greeted by hearty cheers from Albion’s companies. As the fire progressed, walls collapsed and brought down burnt wood and bricks upon nearby telegraph poles, snapping the lines like string.

The total loss of the fire was estimated at $151,000, roughly $3.8 million today, with approximately $95,000 of that covered by insurance. The heaviest loss was suffered by George H. Sickels who not only suffered a staggering $40,000 loss of his buildings, but another $40,000 relating to his dry goods store. William Swan’s block was a loss of $11,000, while F.A. and D.B. Day lost their buildings at a combined total of $5,000. Other merchants, such as George Waterman who operated a hardware store out of his block along the east side of Main Street, lost considerable merchandise due to water damage and theft. As the engines pumped water onto those buildings, the pressure broke windows, providing an opportunity for nearby observers to grab merchandise.

The presence of fireworks, chemicals, liquor, and kerosene within the businesses added to the ferocity of the fire. Visitors from Rochester claimed that the flames could be seen from the western outskirts of the city and embers travelled as far as Caroline Street, carried by the sudden gusts of winds. The dramatic circumstances of the fire led to numerous injuries among firemen and bystanders alike.

Albert S. Warner, foreman of the Young American Hook & Ladder Company sprained his ankle amidst the commotion and refused to leave the scene; he directed his company under the physical support of two men. Dean Currie, whose second floor office was on fire, fell down a flight of stairs in the Swan Block and sprained his wrist. Charles Hilbert, an employee of George Ough, had his collarbone broken when a fire engine knocked him into the canal.

Perhaps the most interesting story of that evening was the presence of a cat, which appeared upon a smoldering pile of bricks in front of Sickels’ Block; the feline painfully meandered towards the intersection of Bank and Main. Belonging to William Hawes, whose confectionary store was destroyed by the fire, bystanders were perplexed as to how the cat survived the conflagration.

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Candidates step forward to run for Board of Education
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2017 at 9:05 pm

Medina seeks to reduce board seats from 9 to 7

Candidates have come forward to run for volunteer positions on the Board of Education.

The five local districts had a candidate filing deadline on Monday. They will be on the ballot during the May 16 annual budget votes and elections.

Medina also is seeking to reduce the number of positions on its board from nine to seven. If the proposition passes, the board would remain at nine seats in the 2017-18 school year, with the reduction taking effect beginning July 1, 2018.

• ALBION – There are three candidates running for two five-year seats on the board. Wayne Wadhams, Kathy Harling and incumbent Marlene Seielstad are all running. Dean Dibley decided not to seek another term on the board.

• HOLLEY – There are two open seats and both incumbents – Robin Silvis and Sal DeLuca – are seeking re-election to three-year terms. Andrea Newman also is seeking election to the BOE.

• KENDALL – Lisa Levett and Jason ReQua are running for two spots on the board. There is one five-year term and another to fill about a year on the board, from May 17, 2017 to June 30, 2018. The latter term is to fill the spot vacated when Martin Goodenbery moved out of the district. Levett is currently on the board, filling a different vacancy created when Chris Gerken resigned.

• LYNDONVILLE – Two people – Penny Barry and Darren Wilson – are running for two open seats. Susan Hrovat isn’t seeking re-election to her spot on the board, and Michelle Dillenbeck resigned from her seat last month. One of the open seats is for three years and the other is to fill the remainder of Dillenbeck’s term, which runs to June 30, 2018.

• MEDINA – In Medina, four people are running for three open seats, including incumbents Dave Sevenski and Bill Keppler. Mary Hare and Arlene Pawlaczyk are also running. Chris Keller isn’t seeking re-election.

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Medina school district continues trend of reducing taxes
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2017 at 5:22 pm

MEDINA – The Board of Education this week adopted a $36,620,793 budget, which represents a 2.42 percent spending increase or $866,961 more than the $35,753,832 in 2016-17.

However, the district is proposing a 0.22 percent tax decrease, down from $8,660,915 to $8,641,861, or $19,054 less in taxes.

The district has steadily been reducing taxes in recent years. The 2013-14 budget had a $9,135,636 tax levy. Medina has now reduced school taxes by $493,775 in four years, a 5.4 percent decrease.

Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said Medina hasn’t sacrificed programs or its fund balances to chip away at the tax levy.

The district will continue all of its programs in 2017-18. It is keeping the shared services agreement with Lyndonville for some sports and extracurricular programs. Next year, the districts will add a new shared sport: girls varsity soccer.

The 2017-18 budget includes about $550,000 more in Foundation Aid from the state. The proposed district budget includes staffing cuts through attrition – 2 elementary teachers, a special education teacher, one classroom aide and one clerical position.

The district will have a public hearing on the budget at 6:30 p.m. on May 9 at the district office. The vote will be from noon to 8 p.m. on May 16 at the district office.

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