Swan sale finally closed today

United Way is first tenant in historic building since it was vacated by library

File photo by Tom Rivers
The sale of the former Swan Library at 4 North Main St. closed today.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 August 2015
ALBION – More than six months after the board of trustees at Hoag Library approved an offer for the former Swan Library, the sale finally closed today.

The Hoag Library of the Swan Library Association sold the former mansion to Chad Fabry of Structuresmart Home Inspection. Fabry bought the building for $53,000.

The library moved out of the building in June 2012 to move to a new site with about 2 ½ times the space and much more parking.


The Swan building was constructed in 1851. Fabry wants to make the 6,000-square-foot building available for professional offices.

He has secured the first tenant for the building: the United Way of Orleans County.

“That’s a terrific anchor tenant,” he said today. “We’re super excited about the building. We’re excited about populating it with quality tenants.”

The $53,000 price included another $64 for the monthly garbage fee over the past four months ($16 a month).


The library agreed to pay $2,203 in closing costs, with the more costly items a survey for $600, legal fees for $500, $450 to redate the abstract, $300 to Farm Credit East for a release fee, and $212 for deed stamps.

Library President Kevin Doherty said the net proceeds of the sale, $50,861, will be used to pay down the mortgage debt owed to Farm Credit.


Fabry lives in Holley. He said he sees lots of potential in Albion, especially with the historic downtown buildings and many fine stately homes.


“It’s a beautiful town with a lot of beautiful architecture,” he said.


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Deer processing business in Gaines has Planning Board support

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 August 2015
GAINES – A husband and wife in Gaines have the Orleans County Planning Board’s approval for a deer processing business at their home on East Bacon Road.

Douglas and Jennifer Ashbery are working to operate “Deer Done Right” from a new pole barn. They would take venison meat and turn it into hot dogs, sausage and other meat products.

County planners on Thursday recommended the Town of Gaines approve a special use permit for the business at 14444 East Bacon Rd., which is in a Residential/Agricultural District.

The Ashberys said they expect the business will be open from October through February.

In other action, the Planning Board:

• Supported the site plan and special use permit for a pole barn and other improvements to an existing auto repair business in Murray.

George Berg, owner of George’s Fancher Road Service, is planning to add a 3-by-30 foot structure to the south side of his motor vehicle repair shop. He also is planning to add two overhead doors to the site at 3213 Fancher Rd., which is in a Residential/Agricultural District.

• Backed the Town of Clarendon’s amendments to its zoning ordinance, including text requiring seasonal permits for trailers, travel campers and recreational vehicles. The current zoning doesn’t include those vehicles, which creates an opportunity for unlimited overnight occupancy, town officials said.

Clarendon wants to limit overnight occupancy in those vehicles to no more than 30 days a year.


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Gallagher barn in Medina will become event site

Jenna and Martin Bruning see location as popular spot for weddings and parties

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 28 August 2015
MEDINA — One of the area's most iconic barns has been a landmark on North Gravel Road for about 150 years.


The barn, with large painted letters WM J. GALLAGHER FARMS, will find new life as a events center for weddings, parties and other special events.


Jenna and Martin Bruning have been working to clean up the property, including the landscape and the building in recent months. They have two weddings booked for next year. They have a lot more work to do, but they see the site as a destination for the area.


The couple grew up on dairy farms. Jenna's parents, Mike and Cyndi Van LieShout, own a dairy farm in Barre. Martin grew up on a dairy in Waterport. The couple was married in a barn at the Van Lieshhout farm.


"We were married in a barn and it was beautiful," Mrs. Bruning said on Thursday during an open house at the site.

The barn will be repainted to match the original colors of white with green trim.


The Orleans County Planning Board recommended the Village of Medina approve the site plan and a special use permit for the Brunings to operate the business.


Planning Board member Joe Sidonio said the project is a way to bring a new use into a historic agrcultural property, while drawing more people to the community.


The property is in the village on the north side. The Brunings said the project has the potential "to provide a grand entrance into the village."

Medina community members take a tour inside the Gallagher barn on Thursday.


The barn has a rustic look with a lot of space that the Brunings believe will be popular for weddings and other events.


The barn dates back to the Civil War era.


The Brunings plan to call the site "The Gallagher" and hope to have it available for events in June.

The property includes this stately brick house that the Brunings said would also be available for dinner parties and other events.

"The house is a monument of Medina and a gorgeous compliment to the setting," Mrs. Bruning said.


The Gallagher is close to the canal, and the Brunings expect visitors to The Gallagher will enjoy other spots in Medina.

The couple both have full-time jobs with Mr. Bruning working as a milk truck driver and Mrs. Bruning serving as a district manager for Aldi.


They have had help from friends and family with clearing brush, redoing masonry work, installing new support poles and tackling many other projects.

The Medina Historical Society has this portrait of William J. Gallagher, who was known as a local eccentric, a businessman who liked to portray a clown.


Mrs. Bruning said she has heard stories about Mr. Gallagher from community members.


Gallagher, former owner of the Gallagher property, is pictured hamming it up for the camera as a clown in the 1930s. Gallagher appears to be missing his front teeth in the photo and his hair is wild. He has a wide grin and expressive eyes.


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Chamber names annual business award winners

Hinspergers declared ‘Business of the Year’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 August 2015
MEDINA – A Medina company that makes pool covers and other durable plastic products has been named Business of the Year for 2015 by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.


Hinspergers Poly Industries employs about 60 people at 430 West Oak Orchard St. The Canada-based company opened a manufacturing site in Medina in 2002 and has steadily grown since then.


Hinspergers will be recognized during the Chamber’s annual awards banquet on Sept. 18 at Tillman’s Village Inn. The celebration goes from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

The chamber will also honor the following:

• Small Business of the Year: Erie Way Tree Farm of Holley.

• New Business of the Year: 810 Meadworks of Medina.

• Agricultural Business of the Year: Circle R Fruit Farm in Kent.

• Phoenix Award: a lily and a sparrow in Medina.

• Community Service Award: Barb Flow of Kendall.

• Business Person of the Year: Lora Partyka of Kendall.

• Lifetime Achievement Award: Bob Waters of Medina.


The award program is open to the public. For more information, call the Chamber at (585) 589-7727.


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Church will move out of old Medina HS to a new building

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 August 2015
ALBION – The Cavalry Tabernacle Church, which has owned the former Medina High School for the past 20 years, is looking to leave the site on 324 Catherine St. for a new building to be constructed on Maple Ridge Road.

The church would like to start construction on some of the site work this fall with the building to go up next year. Pastor Vince Iorio said the church would like to move in next fall, 2016. The congregation is still raising funds for the entire project.

Cavalry Tabernacle has the old school for sale for $150,000.

“We’re looking for buyers,” Iorio said after Thursday’s Orleans County Planning Board meeting.

The church wants to build a 9,306-square-foot building on Maple Ridge Road near Salt Works Road in the General Business District. The wood-framed structure would be on a 34-acre parcel. About 3 acres would be disturbed with the project, which would include a parking lot for 58 vehicles.

The church would have a stormwater retention pond on the property.

The Orleans County Planning Board voted for the project on Thursday and recommended Shelby officials OK the new construction. Shelby should require lighting for the project that would “minimize any ambient light pollution on neighboring residences,” county planners said.

Iorio said there are no immediate plans for much of the other vacant land owned bythe church, but some of it could perhaps be used as ball fields in the future.


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Drennan supporters say he has experience, commitment to excel as sheriff

Photos by Tom Rivers
Tom Drennan greets some of his supporters, including Michael Hanlon at left, during a chicken barbecue dinner this evening at the Elks’ Club in Albion. Drennan, the current chief deputy at the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, is running for sheriff and faces a Republican Primary on Sept. 10 against Randy Bower.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2015
ALBION – Tom Drennan’s supporters showed up in force today to buy chicken barbecue dinners and lend support for the chief deputy seeking to become the next county sheriff.

Drennan has worked 23 years for the Sheriff’s Office, starting as a road patrol deputy in September 1992. He has been promoted to lieutenant, criminal investigator, major and chief deputy.

He is running a campaign with a message that “Experience Matters.” He faces Randy Bower in a Republican Primary on Sept. 10. Drennan has the Republican Party endorsement. Former Medina police investigator Don Organisciak has the Democratic Party endorsement for the Nov. 3 election.

Drennan’s supporters include a who’s who of local law enforcement leaders, including District Attorney Joe Cardone. The DA says he can’t endorse a candidate, but he said Drennan would be an asset for the county as sheriff.

“I've worked with Tom for 23 years,” Cardone said. “There hasn’t been a major investigation he hasn’t been involved with. He brings years and years of experience and good judgment to the job.”

Tom Drennan was out directing traffic on Route 98 during the 10-mile race in Albion, the debut of the Metro 10 that included about 400 runners.

David Green, a retired sheriff, served in that role for 20 years as a Democrat. Green is now the vice chairman of the Democratic Party and has taken some heat from Democrats for backing Drennan.

Green said he has known Drennan since he was a young boy. Green was friends with Drennan’s parents, the late Jack and Helen Drennan.

“I have known him and his family for 50 years,” Green said at the Drennan benefit this evening.

Green was sheriff when Drennan was hired 23 years ago. Green said Drennan has received many promotions and completed numerous training classes, developing contacts in the law enforcement community.

“The other two (Bower and Organisciak) are both good guys,” Green said. “But I think Tom is the best prepared. He’s worked hard to get to this point.”

Four members of the civilian staff at the Sheriff’s Office, who all work with Tom Drennan, serve up chicken barbecue dinners. The group includes, from left: Sandy Wolfe, Nicole Spohr, Debbie Hughson and Allison Lavigne. Karen Narburgh also is pictured at the end of the line. The group served 700 dinners today.


Allison Lavigne works as civilian staff in the office with Drennan. She and her civilian co-workers helped serve the chicken dinners today. They support Drennan to lead the Sheriff's Office.


"He's one of the most honest and respectful people I've ever met," Lavigne said. "I believe he has the county's best interest at heart. It's not personal for him. He's thinking of the county."


Rocky Sidari, a former Albion fire chief, has 25 years with the Fire Department. He also started as a county cornorer in January, and he said Drennan has been helpful since Sidari started the new job.


"Whenever we had a serious fire, he's been there," Sidari said. "He's dedicated and professional. It doesn't matter the call, he'll jump in. Honestly, I think he'd be one of the best sheriffs we've ever had."


Drennan greeted people at the Elks door during the benefit. He said he's pleased with the campaign and the encouragement from the community.


"The support has been awesome," he said. "It's been a lot of hard work, but it's been enjoyable."


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DA seeks law in Orleans for pawn shops, scrap yards to ID merchandise

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2015
ALBION – Orleans County is considering a local law that would require pawn shops to wait 2 weeks before selling merchandise.

The legislation would also make pawn shops and scrap yards photograph merchandise purchased second-hand and keep records on who sold them the items. The shops also would be required to check photo identification from people selling merchandise.

The merchandise would be listed on a web site, LeadsOnline.com, and law enforcement would have access to the site, to see if any of the items match descriptions of stolen property.

District Attorney Joe Cardone presented the proposal to the County Legislature on Wednesday. He was joined by County Attorney David Schubel and Chief Deputy Tom Drennan of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

Cardone said drug criminals will often steal others’ property, and then take those items to pawn shops to cash in and feed their drug addictions.

The 2-week waiting period at pawn shops will give police time to recover the items. Sometimes people who have property stolen may not realize it or report it right away, Cardone said.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office has been using LeadsOnline.com and was able to locate missing property for Orleans County residents, whose belongings were taken to pawn shops and scrap yards in Rochester.

“We’ve had a lot of success,” Drennan told county legislators. “In the 30-day trial we’ve solved some burglaries.”

The law would require second-hand dealers to get a license through the Sheriff’s Office or registration through from the District Attorney’s Office. It wouldn’t apply to garage sales, charitable entities or local firearms dealers.

The Legislature will likely have a public hearing on the proposal next month before it considers approving the local law.


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Kendall’s new recreation director looks to grow program

Photo by Kristina Gabalski
Newly appointed Kendall Recreation Director Michelle Werth is ready to get to work in her office at the Town Hall.


By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 27 August 2015

KENDALL – Kendall's new recreation director is well prepared for the job.


Kendall native Michelle Werth graduated from Kendall High School in 1994 after growing up playing rec. sports. She has coached teams, served as a recreation commissioner since 2010, and she has three young boys currently involved in the Kendall recreation program.


“I have now transitioned into this role,” she says of her new position.


Her children, ages 9, 6 and 4, "all play soccer, baseball and basketball.”


Werth took over the position Aug. 1 with the retirement of long-time director, Barb Flow.


“I’m nervous and excited about taking this on,” she says, and adds that she is happy Flow is nearby for guidance and advice.


“Barb has been great,” she says. “I can call her anytime.”


Flow is still a presence at the Town Hall. She was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Town Board, effective Aug. 1.


The Kendall recreation year just came to a close and Werth says this is a great time to start fresh. She says she has several ideas for the department including
looking into programming for kids that goes beyond sports, “perhaps a Lego camp or a kids craft night,” she says.


She would also like to see youth who participate in the recreational sports program reach out and become involved in service projects to engage them further in their community.


The entire Rec. Department should have a greater presence in the community, Werth explains. She envisions the department serving as a place where people
who work on events like Home Grown Days and the Scarecrow Festival can come and work together.


She would also like to see more girls become involved in sports programs.


Additionally, Werth says she would like to have recreation commissioners more involved in programming including both sports and community programs, with certain commissioners focusing on the area of their expertise.


A greater presence on-line is also a priority and Werth says she is looking at recreation departments in nearby communities to “see what other towns do.”


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County approves deal to collect TVs and other “e-waste”

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2015
ALBION – Orleans County residents will soon have three drop-off sites for televisions and other “e-waste.”

Garbage crews stopped picking up the televisions on Jan. 1, and residents instead have been discarding many of the TVs into ditches and along country roads.

Legislature Chairman David Callard said about 500 have been picked up by highway crews this year.

The Legislature on Wednesday approved a deal with Sunnking Incorporated of Brockport to pick up and dispose of cathode ray tube televisions, monitors, computers, peripheral devices and other household electronics.

The company will be paid $14,782 annually for the service, effective Aug. 26.

“This is a plan in the interim while the state gets its act together,” said Chuck Nesbitt, the county chief administrative officer.

Residents will be able to drop the household electronics at the Murray Town Hall, Orleans County Highway Department in Albion, and Shelby Town Hall.

The state on Jan. 1 began banning curbside disposal of older TVs with cathode-ray technology. Many residents have upgraded from those televisions, switching to popular flat screens. Many of the older TVs have been dumped in ditches along rural roads.

Manufacturers were supposed to take back older TVs, but the state capped the amount of discarded material companies have to accept each year. Manufacturers have been hitting that cap midway through the year.

“The issue is exacerbated by the fact that electronics currently sold today are much lighter than the obsolete CRT devices that make up about 70 percent of the weight of e-scrap generated, which are cost intensive to responsibly manage,” according to a resolution passed by the County Legislature and other local municipalities.


“As a result, many local governments across the state have grappled with the burden to fund or cease e-scrap collection, which has been particularly difficult in rural communities that do not benefit from retail collectors or economies of scale,” according to the resolution.

The County Legislature and other local municipalities are asking Gov. Cuomo, the State Legislature and State Department of Environmental Conservation to work towards a long-term solution for electronic waste recycling for both urban and rural areas.

“We’re excited to get this under control,” Callard said on Wednesday, when the county announced the plan. “It’s a commendable program.”


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Orleans Legislature wants survey before weighing in on wind project

Photos by Tom Rivers
David Callard, chairman of the Orleans County Legislature, says he doesn’t like a siting board determining if the wind project will happen in Yates and Somerset. He wants to hear from Yates residents in “bona fide survey” before the Legislature takes a public stance on the project.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2015
ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature, under pressure to publicly renounce a wind energy project in Yates and Somerset, will wait to see the results of a survey of residents, Legislature Chairman David Callard said Wednesday.

He addressed the issue after several residents and members of the Save Ontario Shores citizen group spoke against the project that could bring 60 to 70 turbines, peaking at 570 feet tall, to the two towns.

“They would be far more detrimental to the health and safety than any financial benefit,” said Yates resident Cynthia Hellert.

Deb Holt, a resident of Murray, said the big turbines are in a major migratory bird path. She worries about the impact on birds, wildlife, and also with nearby residents due to shadow flicker and low-frequency sound.

The Somerset Town Board and Niagara County Legislature have both gone on record opposing the project by Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville, Va. Those boards voted following a survey of Somerset residents that showed strong opposition to the project.

Yates officials announced on Aug. 13 the town would survey residents about the project and would establish a committee including a representative from the Town Board, Apex and Save Ontario Shores.

“We’re waiting on a bona fide survey from Yates so we can see what the people say,” Callard said. “We want to find out what people say before we make a determination.”

Yates resident Cynthia Hellert speaks against a proposed wind energy project during Wednesday's Orleans County Legislature meeting.


Callard said Yates has the more direct role in the project. He didn’t want to “tell the town what to do” just like he doesn’t like it when the state dictates how the county should respond to an issue.

Although the Legislature hasn’t formally weighed in on the project, Callard noted the Legislature has been consistent in supporting home rule, the right for a local community to welcome or oppose a project.

The state has taken home rule away with the wind turbine project by giving a state siting board the final vote on the project, Callard said. That seven-member board only includes two representatives from the local community, he said, giving the local towns a minority vote.

Besides the two local representatives on the siting committee, the seven-member group is chaired by the state Department of Public Service and includes the leaders of four other state departments: Department of Environmental Conservation, NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), Empire State Development and the Department of Health.

“It’s tilted to the state,” Callard said.

Apex officials are working on a scoping documents that identify potential issues in 41 categories, including health and safety issues, state and local law compliance, wildlife and numerous other issues. The company told town officials on Aug. 13 the document could be ready within two months.

Agnes LaPorte of Somerset urged Orleans officials to push back strong against the project.

“In Somerset we’re constantly bombarded with this windmill thing,” LaPorte said.

Some of the Somerset landowners are refusing to lease land for the turbines, which LaPorte said will push more turbines to Yates and Orleans County.

“They will come to your area,” she said. “It will destroy the area.”

Callard said Niagara County and Somerset officials welcomed Apex, assuming the community would want the project. Then the survey results came out.

“They did a 180 when they realized the people were against it,” Callard said.


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