Shelby sees tax savings for village if town takes over Medina highway work

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2014
SHELBY – Town Supervisor Skip Draper sees tax savings for village residents if the Town of Shelby assumes plowing and street maintenance duties from the village.

Draper presented his numbers this evening during a joint session between elected boards for Shelby, Ridgeway and the Village of Medina.

Draper believes villagers could see their tax rate drop by $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed property for those in Shelby, while other Shelby residents would see a tax increase of 45 cents per $1,000.

“If there is a message here it’s that this is very doable,” Draper said after the meeting.


The village currently has five personnel dedicated to street maintenance and plowing. The village has about 50 miles of streets and 30 percent are in the town of Shelby and 70 percent in Ridgeway.

Draper, after talking with Shelby Town Highway Superintendent Mike Fuller, said the Shelby portion of village streets could be handled with an additional full-time worker throughout the year and a part-time seasonal employee for the winter.

Those two workers would cost about $90,000 for salary and benefits. The town would also have to add a 6-wheel dump truck with a plow and add a plow to an existing 1-ton pickup. Draper said that estimated $172,689 cost could be bonded over 10 years at a cost of about $18,000 annually.

The town would see $108,676 in added expense, but that would be reduced to $94,636 due to $14,040 in state highway revenue for plowing and sanding inside the village. Every $15,000 represents about 7 cents on the tax rate in Shelby. The $94,636 would raise Shelby’s overall tax rate by 45 cents.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier thought Draper budgeted too low by not accounting for road salt and other expenses. Draper said he didn’t include Christmas lights, banners, trees and watering.

“Those numbers don’t seem very believable,” Meier said following the meeting. “We’re talking about taking over major services in the village.”

Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli didn’t have a comparable proposal prepared but he said it stands to reason Ridgeway would have to add two full-time workers and seasonal staff given the workload would be about twice as much for Ridgeway compared to Shelby.

If Ridgeway adds two and Shelby one that would be a net reduction of two full-time workers from the current village personnel assigned to the work.

A highway consultant, Tom Lowe, looked at the needed manpower for the two towns in a recent study. If Shelby and Ridgeway assume village highway work, Lowe suggested five workers for the two towns to do village roads, Meier said.

The three boards set Oct. 6 for the next meeting to discuss the issue. Meier said it will likely take hundreds of hours of work to fully analyze the issue and prepare a takeover for the towns to handle village highway work. But first the towns need to be specific about what they’re proposing to take over, Meier said.

Draper would like to see the towns work at taking over all non-emergency services from the village. That would bring down the taxes in the village and eliminate duplication of services between the village and the two towns.

He would like to see an agreement in place before the village budget is approved by May 1, 2015. He thinks the towns could be plowing village streets in the following winter.


Meier favors a dissolution plan that he said spells out in great detail how some village services, including plowing and street maintenance, should be taken over by the towns. Some village residents are circulating petitions to bring dissolution to a public referendum.


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DEC will have hearing Sept. 16 for Albion landfill

Developer wants WM permit transferred to new company

File photo by Tom Rivers
This photo from last July shows the former McKenna and Orleans Sanitary landfills next to the Erie Canal in Albion, between Densmore and Transit roads.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2014
HOLLEY – Richard Penfold is not giving up on his push to open a new landfill in Albion. In April he was rejected by the Department of Environmental Conservation to renew a landfill permit from 11 years ago.

Penfold is challenging that decision and there will be a legislative hearing at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 at Hickory Ridge Golf and Country Club with an issues conference to follow the next day beginning 10 a.m. Hickory Ridge is located at 15816 Lynch Rd.

DEC Administrative Law Judge D. Scott Bassinson will conduct the hearing on whether Penfold and his new company, Albion Recycling & Recovery LLC, can renew the permit. Penfold has worked in recent years to try to take ownership of the site and have a state permit approved for Waste Management of New York transferred to Albion Recycling & Recovery.

The DEC, however, decided Penfold didn’t have “the legal capacity” to renew the permit originally approved for Waste Management, according to a letter on April 9 to town officials from Scott Sheeley, the regional permit administrator for the DEC.

Waste Management received a permit from the DEC in 2003 for a new 78-acre landfill in Albion along the Erie Canal. The landfill would be between Densmore and Transit roads on the east side of town. Waste Management was unable to get a permit from the Albion Town Board for the project despite offering a host community benefits package that would have cut town taxes and offered other perks for residents.

Even if Penfold secures the DEC permit, he still would need approval from the Town Board, which has been adamant in stating its opposition to additional landfills.

Penfold has said he would offer the town a host community benefits package that would cut taxes, offer residents free garbage pickup, create jobs and also care for two existing landfills.

Stop Polluting Orleans County has opposed any new landfills in Albion. The group’s attorney, Gary Abraham, will speak at the hearing. SPOC has stated the site by the two existing landfills would be bad for the community, drawing garbage truck traffic by the schools, hurting tourism efforts, and putting a 200-foot-high mound of trash in an environmentally sensitive area. If the landfill ever leaked, SPOC worries the contamination would be difficult to track given the presence of two other landfills.

To see the full DEC notice on the hearing, click here. That notice has information on where residents can submit written comments about the issue.


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Our Sandstone Heritage

In Great Depression, CCC workers built Hamlin Beach State Park
Park features numerous Medina sandstone structures, drinking fountains and fire pits

Photos by Tom Rivers
Most of the drinking fountains at the sprawling park in Hamlin are made of Medina sandstone, including the steps by the fountains.

The Bathhouse is one of several large Medina sandstone structures at Hamlin Beach State Park.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2014
HAMLIN – Just outside Orleans County to the east sits Hamlin Beach State Park. It is a major draw every summer for people seeking sun on the beaches and shade in the park’s trees.

This park is also a tremendous showcase of Medina sandstone. There are at least six large sandstone buildings – a bath house, shelters, a snack bar and bathrooms – as well as numerous fire pits, drinking fountains, walls, stair ways and benches made from the local stone.

The park was nominated for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame for the first class last year. It didn’t make the final cut, but I’ve heard people talk about all of the sandstone at this park. I stopped by on Labor Day with my family.

Many of the sandstone churches, houses and government structures in the region were built by immigrants in the mid-1800s to early 1900s. The sandstone industry slowed down by 1930.

But with the country in the grips of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservations Corps was established. About 2 million people were put to work, including about 1,200 people at Hamlin from June 1935 to August 1941.


The CCC workers were paid $30 a month. They could keep $5 and $25 was sent home to their families. There were about 1,600 CCC camps in the country. They were part of FDR's "New Deal."


The Hamlin structures don’t have all the fancy stonework that we see in many of the local sandstone churches, but the CCC put up buildings that have endured for eight decades and counting.

The CCC worked on the park for about six years. Besides quarrying stone, cutting it and building structures at the park, the CCC reclaimed swampland on the east of the park.

This post card shows some of the young men lined up at the CCC camp in Hamlin. The camp had a capacity for 200 CCC workers.

After the CCC completed its work at the park, its camp was used as a Prisoner of War camp for German soldiers during the latter part of World War II. The site housed up to 336 German prisoners who worked for local farms and food processing plants in the Hamlin area. The camp was dismantled after the war, although remnants of the buildings, including sandstone steps, remain.

The Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park is working to develop a history trail at the camp site. Click here for more information.


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Medina lowers ISO, which should reduce insurance rates for community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2014
MEDINA – The village’s ISO score dropped a point in the latest review by Insurance Services Office, and that reduction should mean lower insurance costs for properties in the village, especially for commercial and industrial sites, Medina Fire Department officials said.

The community had an ISO score of 6, but it was upgraded to a 5 in the latest review. The lower the score, the better the community’s fire protection, water mains, code enforcement and emergency communications, said Jonathan Higgins, a captain with Medina FD.

The community was rated a 6 for ISO in 1996, the last time it was changed until the recent review. Since ’96, the Fire Department has gone from six to 13 full-time staff. That has improved response times and resulted in more immediate manpower for fire calls, Higgins said.

The village in the past two decades has also completed several infrastructure projects improving water mains, including a multi-million-dollar project on Main Street about a decade ago.

The village also has a full-time code enforcement officer with Martin Busch, “who can respond every day,” Higgins said.

He expects many homeowners should receive small discounts on their insurance, but that depends on whether their provider utilizes the ISO ratings. He said the owners of larger industrial sites should see the biggest benefit with the new rating.

Many rural communities with volunteer fire departments have ratings of 6 or 7, Higgins said. Cities, which tend to have more paid staff, have lower scores. Higgins, a former City of Batavia firefighter, said that community has an ISO of 3.

For more on ISO, click here.


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Kendall boys soccer raises money to fight breast cancer

Provided photo Posted 2 September 2014
KENDALL – The Kendall Boys Varsity Soccer Team raised $100 to fight breast cancer by selling bracelets highlighting the disease. Team members presented a check to Orleans Community Health.

Pictured, from left, include Richie Swift; Cindy Perry, director of Health Education, Wellness and Outreach Department; Will Condo; Alex Sutphen, Kendall Boys Varsity Soccer Team Captain; and Lori Condo, President, Kendall Sports Boosters.

Orleans Community Health’s Community Partners offers programs for breast cancer patients and survivors. The soccer team plans to raise money again in October at Senior Night.


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Rotary Club adds members in Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 2 September 2014
ALBION – The Albion Rotary Club added two new members last week. In the top photo, Bill Gajewski receives his Rotary pin from Cindy Perry, a past president.


Gajewski works as administrator for the Orleans Community Health’s Urgent Care Center in Albion. Perry was Gajewski’s Rotary sponsor. She works with Gajewski as the director of Health Education, Wellness and Outreach for Orleans Community Health.

Carol Murphy also was welcomed into Rotary. She works in sales at the Don Davis Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership. She is welcomed by her sponsor, Brad Shelp at left, who also works in sales at Don Davis. District Governor Jack Amico of West Seneca led the induction ceremony for the Rotary Club.


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Former county jail was fine Medina sandstone structure

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 1 September 2014
ALBION – In this post card from around 1905 we see the Orleans County Jail and Sheriff’s residence. Taken from Platt Street, the County Courthouse appears in the righthand background.

Built in 1903, it was a fine example of Medina sandstone construction. In 1971 it was demolished to make way for the present county jail.


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Holley man, 38, rescued in Lake Ontario

Press release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 1 September 2014
CARLTON – A Holley man had to be rescued this afternoon while swimming in Lake Ontario.

Sean M. Bemont, 38, was boating with his wife Elena, 35, about 1 mile north of Wilson Road in the Town of Carlton. Bemont decided to take a swim and at some point he and the boat began drifting apart.

He was attempting to swim back to the boat when he experienced a medical problem. Elena Bemont, who is not savvy to the operation of the vessel, called 9-1-1 as the boat was drifting farther away from her husband.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Marine Unit responded to the area. Deputies Erin Fuller and Jim Burke rescued Bemont from the water. He was not wearing a PFD.

Deputy Fuller transported Bemont to the State Boat Launch on Oak Orchard River, where he was treated by personnel from Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance and released. Deputy Burke drove Bemont’s boat back to its dock at Wiley’s Marina, also on Oak Orchard River.


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Resurrected carriage step was a labor of love

Step bears name of Danolds, who were friends with George Pullman and influential Universalists

Photos by Tom Rivers

David Heminway is pictured with his grandson Nathaniel Metzler, 8, on a carriage step that Heminway dug up and reset last year. He also repositioned the hitching posts and sandstone sidewalk panels.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 September 2014
EAGLE HARBOR – Most of the carriage step had disappeared into the soil. David Heminway saw the tops of letters on the step but wasn’t sure what it said because the majority of the stone was buried.

Last year Heminway set about unearthing the step. It was in his front yard in Eagle Harbor. Heminway and his wife Joanne bought a house in 2006 at 3209 Eagle Harbor-Waterport Rd. It took about two years of work before they could move in. The house wasn’t original at the site. The first house burned down more than a century ago. That original house was owned by the Danolds family.

When Heminway dug down to see what was on the carriage step, he recognized the Danolds name. Heminway, a machinist for the state Canal Corp., also has been an active volunteer the past 20 years for the Cobblestone Society and Museum. In the Cobblestone Church there is a Danolds Room, dedicated to Charles and Mary Jane Danolds.

Mrs. Danolds suggested the Cobblestone Universalist Church name its building “The Church of the Good Shepherd.”

Her husband was friends with George Pullman. In the 1850s, when the canal was enlarged, Danolds had a contract to expand the canal and he hired Pullman to move some of the houses that were in the way of the expansion.

Pullman was also a local furniture maker. He would move to Chicago and become a titan of industry with railroad sleeping cars.

Danolds kept up a friendship with Pullman and while the two were vacationing in the Thousand Islands in 1890, Danolds made a pitch for Pullman to help build a new Universalist Church in Albion. Pullman agreed as long as the locals would commit some of their own funds to the project.

The new church opened in 1895 as a memorial to Pullman’s parents, James Lewis Pullman and Emily Caroline Pullman.

Pullman was one of the great industrialists of the 19th Century, but Danolds was no slouch. He ran a mill in Eagle Harbor, where he ground wheat into flour, said Bill Lattin, Orleans County historian.

These portraits of Mary Jane and Charles Danolds hang in the Cobblestone Church in Childs.

Danolds also owned the Cobblestone Inn, sold horses to the Union during the Civil War, worked to enlarge the canal and was a key leader of the local Universalist Church.

“He was a real entrepreneur in his own time,” Lattin said.

The Danolds carriage step, once prominent in front of the Danolds homestead, gradually sank to the point only the top was visible.

Heminway decided to reset a sandstone sidewalk and two hitching posts last year. He also brought up the carriage step and hired Mike Jessmer to fix the sandstone steps by the house.

Heminway worked on the project for about six months. It was a lot of work. The carriage step weighs about 1,500 pounds. The sidewalk panels are also very heavy. He used a tractor with a fork lift to move them. He set the carriage step on about 2 feet of crusher run stone. That should prevent the step from sinking in the future.

David Heminway and his grandson Nathaniel Metzler pose the carriage step in front of Heminway's house on Eagle Harbor-Waterport Road.

He considered move the hitching posts, carriage step and sidewalk panels closer to the house. He didn’t want to have to mow around a bunch of obstacles, but decided they wouldn’t look right back by the house.

“I think they belong out front where they are,” he said.

Heminway made the sure the hitching posts and carriage step were set far back enough out of the right of way by the the road. He didn’t want to be told he would have to move them again someday.

He is happy to have the step fully visible, and is pleased to have an artifact from a prominent community member from generations ago.

The step shows the talent of the stone carvers from that era with the inscription of “DANOLDS” and detailing on the front. The stone also has two steps where many of the carriage blocks were one-step stones.

Heminway is pleased to have the artifacts from the horse-and-buggy era in his front lawn.

“They’re not making any more carriage steps,” he said.

Lattin praised the Heminways for bringing a historical asset back to the local landscape.

“I thought it was great that they resurrected it,” Lattin said.


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Farmworker killed in accident at Kirby Farms

Press release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 1 September 2014
ALBION – A migrant worker is dead following a farm accident late Friday afternoon in the Town of Albion, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess said today.

The incident occurred at Kirby Farms in the 3400 block of Densmore Road. It was reported to 9-1-1 shortly before 6 p.m. A work crew employed by Root Brothers Farms of Albion was “on loan” to Kirby’s and was irrigating a field of tomato plants.

The victim, tentatively identified as Luis D. Larios-Hernandez (age unknown), was standing next to a parked farm truck when a second truck (also parked and un-occupied) rolled down a slight incline and struck the victim, pinning him between the two vehicles.


Larios-Hernandez was transported by Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance to Strong West Emergency in Brockport, where he was pronounced dead at 7:24 p.m.

He was a seasonal worker residing at Root Brothers Farms in the Town of Barre.

The incident investigation was conducted by Deputy T.C. Marano and Lieutenant C.M. Bourke. The follow-up investigation includes the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, the United States Border Patrol, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


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Medina says goodbye to Vince Cardone

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 1 Septembert 2014
MEDINA – The marquee at Medina Theatre says, “Farewell Vince,” in honor of the prominent local attorney and entrepreneur Vince Cardone. He bought the theater in 1975. The site reopened last year following renovations and continues to operated by his family as a bar, restaurant and entertainment venue.

Mr. Cardone died on Aug. 23 at age 93. He was a life-long Medina resident and World War II veteran. He worked five decades as a lawyer and owned many local properties.


He and his wife, Rose, raised six children, including Joe Cardone, the Orleans County district attorney; the Honorable Kathleen Cardone, a U.S. district judge in El Paso; and Rosalind Lind, Renee Cardone, Dominic Cardone and Michael Cardone.

A mass in celebration of Vince Cardone’s life was held on Friday at St. Mary's Catholic Church.


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Summer going out with blaze of glory

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 31 August 2014

It was another gorgeous sunset this evening as summer winds down with school only a few days from opening for a new year. The top photo shows the sun setting over Lake Ontario near the Golden Hill State Park in Barker.

The 30 Mile Point Lighthouse, built in 1875, is a focal point of the state park just across the Orleans County line in Niagara County.

This photo shows Atwater Farms, a dairy farm in Barker near the Golden Hill State Park.


The weather looks good for most of Labor Day. The National Weather Service in Buffalo is forecasting a chance of thunderstorms with a high of 82 degrees.


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