Today’s Fair Schedule (July 22, 2014)

Photos by Tom Rivers
A boy walks across an airborne maze, one of the carnival rides at the Orleans County 4-H Fair on Monday. Midway Rides of Utica is providing the entertainment.


8 am: Senior Council Stand Opens


9:30 am: English Horse Show - Carlos Marcello Arena


9:30 am: Dog Show (Classes 5-22 and C3) - Show Arena


10 am: $5 Admission per car starts


10 am: All Buildings Open


10 am: Horticulture I.D. Contest - Center Stage


12 pm: Leader’s Pie Stand Opens


12 pm to 4 pm: Rabbit and Cavy Showmanship - Wachob Pavilion


1 pm: Story Time: Sponsored by Albion Community Library - Trolley Building


2 pm: Rabbit and Cavy Knowledge Contest - Wachob Pavilion

Don Stirk, center, of Albion joins other veterans at the opening ceremony Monday for the Orleans County 4-H Fair.


3 pm: Story Time Sponsored by Albion Community Library - Trolley Building


3 pm to 10 pm: Midway Rides of Utica $20 unlimited ride - wristbands - Midway


4 pm to 8:30 pm: Master Gardener - Lawn of Education Center


4:30 pm: Airplay Jugglers - Stage


5 pm: Beef Showmanship and Show - Show Arena


5 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


6 pm: Registration Ends for Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Fair Office


6 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


6 pm: Rabbit and Cavy Costume Class and Cloverbud Show - Wachob Pavilion


6:15 pm: Rabbit and Cavy Show - Wachob Pavilion


6:30 pm: Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Pedal Tractor Course: Fair Office


6:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building

Jack Cecchini, 8, of Medina competes as a Clover Bud in the Swine Show. His grandmother Maureen Beach is at right.


7 pm to 8:30 pm: Local Entertainment Variety Acts - Stage


7 pm: Spanish/English Story Time: Sponsored by Albion Community Library - Trolley Building


8:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


9 pm: $1,000 Karaoke Challenge - Stage


10 pm: Buildings Close


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Fair provides stage to showcase talents

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 22 July 2014

KNOWLESVILLE – Whether showing pigs or performing dance, the Orleans County 4-H Fair provided a venue for displaying talent on Monday evening.


In the top photo, Justine Laverty performs to “Monster High” with other members from the Dance Theater in Medina. The group finished second in the 12 and under category at the Talent Show and advanced the State Fair.

The Swine Show drew a crowd on Monday evening. Rylie Lear, 14, of Waterport won the junior showman and then was reserve champ in the master showman event.

This trio from Lisa’s Dance Boutique in Holley dances to “Rollover Beethoven.” The dancers include, from left: Olivia Amoroso, Kamryn Berner and Emilie Weinbeck.

This group from the Dance Theater in Medina finished second in the 13 and over category during Monday’s Talent Show at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. Dominique Hughes, left, is joined by Abby Jones and Danielle Metz in performing “Ultimate Grand Supreme.” They qualified for the State Fair.

Jayne Bannister of Point Breeze won the master showman title after taking the award a year ago at the fair.

Jayden Neal of Albion competes in the junior showman event.


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Candidate says he has experience to be effective advocate for area

Photo by Tom Rivers
Robert Ortt, the North Tonawanda mayor who is running for State Senate, stops by the Republican booth at the Orleans County Fair on Monday evening and chats with Nancy Spychalski, left, and Kathy Case.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 22 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Robert Ortt stopped by the Orleans County 4-H Fair on Monday. He will be back on Thursday for the chicken barbecue. He said local residents can expect to see him in Orleans often.

“You’ll be sick of seeing me because I’ll be here so much,” he said Monday evening while talking with people next to the Republican Party booth.

Ortt, 35, is running for the State Senate. He stepped in and was endorsed by Republican Party leaders in three counties after George Maziarz’s sudden announcement last week that he wouldn’t seek re-election.

Ortt has been North Tonawanda’s mayor the past 4 ½ years. He served in the National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan from March to December 2008. Prior to being elected mayor, he served as the city’s treasurer and then clerk-treasurer.


Those experiences as a leader would make him an effective advocate for the area, whether seeking state resources for local communities or pushing to repeal unpopular and unconstitutional laws such as the SAFE Act, Ortt said.

At the Orleans Fair he signed a pledge to work to repeal the SAFE Act. He met with local leaders of the Shooters Committee for Political Education and then signed the pledge.

Maziarz signed a bill to repeal the SAFE Act. Ortt said he would do the same and would also try to work with other state legislators, including Democrats, to build support to oppose the law.

“This isn’t an issue that will just go away,” Ortt said. “In Orleans and Niagara there are a number of sportsmen. It’s a very important issue to them. There are a number of law-abiding gun owners.”

Republicans in the State Senate currently have a small majority and Gov. Cuomo has made wresting the Chamber to Democratic control a priority for this November’s election. Ortt said if the Senate switches to Democratic control, the SAFE Act will stand.

“We want to keep the Senate in Republican hands so we have a shot at repealing it,” he said. “There are some Democrats out there, hopefully, they would be for repealing it especially because of the way it was passed. It left a bad taste in a lot of folks’ mouths.”

The law was passed without public hearings.

His experience as mayor of a city of about 30,000 people shows him how the impact of state mandates, and their impact on local government budgets, he said. The mandates, without state funds to pay for them, is the prime driver for property taxes at the local level, Ortt said.

“Unfunded mandates that come out of Albany and are passed down to localities,” he said. “These unfunded mandates are a major reason there are high property taxes in Upstate New York.”

Localities need more options and discretion for providing state-mandated services, and more resources to implement the programs, he said. Otherwise it will be difficult to reduce the property taxes.

“The state needs to tackle local government issues,” Ortt said. “A better environment for local governments would bring down taxes.”


New York Power Authority and the state also should use more low-cost hydropower to keep and attract businesses for Western New York, and profits from the power plant should also be used to reduce electricity rates in the region, Ortt said.

“We need more low-cost power to provide jobs,” he said. “It’s a huge incentive for providing jobs.”

Ortt faces a Sept. 9 primary against Gia Arnold of Holley. She will be at a booth at the fair all week. She would like to have a series of debates with Ortt in the 62nd District, which includes all of Orleans and Niagara counties, as well as the towns of Sweden and Ogden in Monroe County.

Arnold said defeating Cuomo, who has a big lead in the polls over Rob Astorino, would be the best way to repeal the SAFE Act.

“Realistically you need Gov. Cuomo out of office and you have to build support from the other legislators,” she said.

Arnold, 24, knows she is viewed as a long-shot candidate but she and her supporters have been encouraged by recent upset defeats of incumbent Republicans, including Eric Cantor, the House majority leader from Virginia.

When Cantor lost in June, Arnold said her inbox filled with messages from her supporters.

“People told me, ‘You can do it, too,’” she said.


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Big crowds for opening day at Fair

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 21 July 2013
KNOWLESVILLE – Orleans County 4-H Fair officials usually expect to ease into the Fair week with a relatively quiet Monday.

But good-size crowds were out this evening, enjoying nice sunshine without really hot summer weather. Fair leaders were happy to see the seats filled for the talent show and some lines at the concession stands.

In the top photo, two children get ready to head down the Fun Slide as the sun sets in the background.

The opening ceremony included a presentation of Colors by veterans, including from left: Jim Freas of Medina, Kevin Truesdell of Medina and Ron Ayrault of Holley.

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins addressed the opening ceremony crowd. He said county fairs “are certainly a part of our great Western New York tradition.”

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Jim Bays, first deputy commissioner for the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, also spoke during opening ceremonies. They commended the Cornell Cooperative Extension staff and volunteers for their work in planning the fair, which runs until Saturday night.


CCE program director Jennifer Wagester is at left followed by volunteers Gary Blackburn, Pete Toenniessen, John DeFilipps, Ed Neal (CCE president) and Michele Bokman.

The opening day included the Swine Show. Here, Blake Houseman, 2 1/2, of Gasport climbs up on the fence to get a better look at the action.

The talent show was also on the center stage. Allie Amoroso of Brockport performed a jazz solo to “Looking Good – Feeling Gorgeous.” She finished fifth and qualified for the State Fair.


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4-H clubs show off crafting skills

Photos by Sue Cook
This acrylic painting “A Vase of Flowers” by Rachel Gregoire, 14, of the Rabbit Raisers Club won both a blue ribbon and was selected for the state fair.


By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 21 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – The Trolley Building at the 4-H Fairgrounds opened today to showcase the crafts that many 4-H’ers created.

Judging took place on Saturday and Sunday to allow the kids in animal groups to focus on their animals throughout the rest of the week. Ribbons have already been awarded.

This “Summer Celebration Brunch for Two” table setting won a blue ribbon and was selected for state fair. The display was made by Maggie Gabalski, 17, of the Rabbit Raisers club.


The brunch that is meant to be served on this setting includes several items such as blueberry muffins with blueberry ginger jam and almond poundcake with peach lavender glaze. The meal is meant to feature garden-fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Instead of the more traditional crafts, the Gregoire family in Murray chose to set up a display of their own trapping-related crafts used for making pelts. The long wood pieces are stretcher boards used for stretching the hides of animals and were made by the kids in the club.


“Basically after you harvest the animal and you skin it out, you have to dry the thing before you can possibly tan it or sell it,” Rachel Gregoire said about the boards. “Depending on the animals, you have to put it on different ways.”


Her group doesn't traditionally set up a display of this nature, but this year the Gregoire family set out the boards they made, along with examples of pelts, books and old tools used in the trade.

“My dad grew up trapping and my mom grew up on a dairy and fruit farm, so she did some hunting,” Rachel said. “Her brothers did a lot of hunting. I've been doing this my whole life.”

This stunning dress made by Lauren Becht, 14, of the Adventurers Club, was among the items chosen for the Court of Honor.


Claire Wachob, a 4-H Leader for the Lyndonville Mongrels, says a lot of the traditional handmade crafts associated with 4-H are not dying out or becoming unpopular. She even reuses old crafts for new groups of kids.


“We have quite a few artists in our club,” Wachob said. “They do a lot of wood crafts and ceramics, too. We choose mainly what they love doing. Not everyone likes to be a farmer and garden, but these kids like to paint.”


“We usually go back to the things that they really enjoy doing,” she continued. “I have accumulated all these records and I’ll pull one out and they’ll get excited. We can still do them; they don’t grow old. 4-H is based on the children and their needs, desires and interests.”


She added that 4-H is so popular and families find it so worthwhile that they make it a long-term family thing.

“It is a club where kids grow up to be parents, and the first thing they do is have their kids join a 4-H club,” Wachob said. “Like in mine, we have three generations.”

The Adventurers Club recycled beach towels and turned them in to fun aprons. This apron won a blue ribbon and was made by 6-year-old Matthew Mathes of the Adventurers Club.

Many of the items that won selection for state fair were grouped together on the back wall. The selection includes everything from skirts to snowman hats to plastic bag Muppet heads.


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2 injured in ATV accident in Yates

Press release, New York State Police Posted 21 July 2014

LYNDONVILLE – Two people were injured in an ATV accident at about 11:37 p.m. on Saturday.


Troopers from the State Police in Albion responded to an Orleans County Sheriff’s Office dispatch of an ATV accident on Lake Shore Road in the Town of Yates.

Investigation shows that the operator Derrick A. Harmer, 44, of Lyndonville was traveling westbound on Lake Shore Road at a high rate of speed and lost control of the ATV on wet roads.


The ATV overturned and came to rest right side up in the opposite lane. Both operator and passenger Laura A. Harmer, 49, of Lyndonville, were ejected from the ATV with neither wearing a helmet.

Derrick Harmer suffered head injuries and was transported by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center and is currently listed in critical condition.

Laura Harmer was transported to Medina Memorial Hospital by Medina Ambulance and later transported by Mercy Flight to ECMC. She has been treated and released.

Derrick Harmer has been charged with ATV Violations with other charges pending.


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2 sentenced to Orleans County Jail

Judge gives some jail time for Medina man with cancer
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 21 July 2014
ALBION – Two people were sentenced to Orleans County Jail today.

A Medina man battling cancer was sentenced to four months of an intermittent sentence in jail. Kimberly C. Dillon, 57, of State Street will be allowed out of jail from Wednesday at noon to Friday at noon so we can receive weekly cancer treatments in Rochester.

Dillon admitted he sold hydrocodone from his house on Nov. 25, 2013. He pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. He faced a maximum of six months in jail as part of his plea offer. He told Orleans County Court Judge James Punch that time in jail “is going to kill me.”

Punch said he could have given Dillon straight time in jail.

“I have to consider the people you are going to slowly kill by the spread of drugs,” Punch said. “You’re lucky you’re not in state prison.”

The judge also sentenced an Appleton woman to six months in jail for stealing a horse trailer from Lynn-Ette and Sons farm in Kent.

Dawn Papazian pleaded guilty to grand larceny. She apologized to the Roberts family and said she was fighting depression when she committed the crime.

She has paid restitution. However, she isn’t sure what happened to some of the contents in the trailer, her attorney Nathan Pace told the court.

“I am hoping to prove I’m a better person than that,” she told the judge.

Punch gave her time in jail. Punch said being “in a dark place,” to quote Papazian, isn’t an excuse for committing a crime.

“The victims work hard for their property,” he said. “It meant a lot to them.”


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Creatures – great and small – get prepped for show ring

Photos by Sue Cook
Antonio Farruggia washes Lady for showing by wetting her down and then scrubbing her with a brush.


By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 21 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Judging at the 4-H Fair is already under way and most animals are already prepared for the week ahead.

Marilyn Munzert warms up Wild Rose Bizarre. Behind her Riley Seielstad rides Edna. Munzert is a 4-H leader for the Bits and Pieces Club.


Wild Rose Bizarre needed to be acclimated to the fair situation. Munzert explained that horses are fight-or-flight animals, but often choose flight. The movements of the people in the judging booth and the fairgrounds were startling the horse. After a little while, Wild Rose Bizarre was able to stand right next to the judging booth without getting upset.


“You can't simulate a fair situation without going to the actual fair,” Munzert explained.

These baby rabbits belonging to 4-H Leader Barb Kurzowski cuddle up for a nap while their mother sneaks away for a bite to eat.

The white goats, Princess and Bella, stood and shouted to American Honey, the dark brown goat laying down, until she stood up and talked back to them. The goats were brought by Natalie Mrzywka of Nic-Nat Farms for the Busy Bees Club.

Emily Fearby’s hens got to be neighbors and shared a conversation with each other.

Penny gets a good brushing from Jamie Scheiber, a member of the Wrangler 4-H club. Penny and the other Wrangler llamas will participate in an obstacle course event, a pack class and general showing.


Leader Kristin Flint brought three kids with five llamas. The llamas belong to her and the kids in her club meet regularly to care for the animals and help train them. Flint says that she personally uses the llamas on hikes to hold packs. This helps offer additional training for the pack class event.


Flint also explained that spitting isn't as common as people think. “Llamas spit at each other for dominance,” she said. Llamas can be taught that spitting at humans doesn't work the same way.

Trevor Bentley brushes Tanto in the cow barn. Tanto is a male that will be used for showing all week and then is being sold in Saturday's meat auction.

Owen Shaw holds is black mini rex rabbit after clipping its nails.


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Blue Cross decision to drop Medicaid program concerns Hawley

Press release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley Posted 21 July 2014

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) is deeply concerned with the announcement by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York that it is withdrawing from Medicaid programs in six Western New York counties, including Orleans County.


The company cited $40 million in losses over the past three years as justification for the move. Hawley encourages any constituents who currently have a managed care program with Blue Cross Blue Shield to transition to another provider before their coverage ceases on October 31, 2014.

“The decision of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York to withdraw from Medicaid programs is major news to anyone who receives care from this program,” Hawley said. “Fortunately, there are other managed care plan providers in Western New York ready to enlist those who lose their coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield. My office is ready and available to help anyone affected to find a new health care provider. If you have been affected, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance.”


To reach Hawley’s office in Albion, call 585-589-5780.


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Today’s Fair Schedule (July 21, 2014)

Photos by Tom Rivers

A cow bellows this morning at the wash rack at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds in Knowlesville.


Opening Day
Special Event: $2 Paid per car admission beginning 4 pm

Special Event: Midway Rides of Utica $10 unlimited ride wristband - 6 pm to 10 pm


By 12 pm: Dairy cattle received, must be in by noon - Dairy Cattle Barn

8 am: Senior Council Stand opens


8 am to 3 pm: Commercial Exhibits in Place


9:30 am: Walk/ Trot Horse Show and Cloverbud Horse Show - Carlos Marcello Arena


10 am: Market Auction Weigh-In


10 am: Llama and Alpaca Show (classes 1-42) - Show Arena


10 am to 12 pm: Common Garden Vegetables, Market Packages, Cut Flowers, Indoor Gardening, Fruits and Nuts, Plant Collection (Preserved and Scrapbook), Landscape Pictures and Plants, Experiments, Horticulture Methods judged - Trolley Building


11 am: Field crops judged - Trolley Building


1 pm to 3 pm: Group Exhibits, Food Preservation, Baked Goods and Visual Arts judged - Trolley Building


2:30 pm: Goat Fitting Contest - Knights Building


4 pm: Paid per car admission begins: Special Opening Day - $2 price


4 pm – 7 pm: 89.1 The Point Radio Remote - Fair Office Portico

Kaitlin Zwifka of Albion is pictured with Sundance this morning while doing her chores.


5:45 pm: Opening Ceremony, Presentation of Colors by Orleans - County Veterans - Flag Pole Garden


6 pm: Dog Show Grooming and Handling /Showmanship, Classes 1 -4 and C1 - Show Arena


6 pm: Leader’s Pie Stand Opens


6 pm: 2014 4-H Clothing Revue: Amaze Yourself in 4-H - Stage


6 pm: Orleans County 4-H Fair Bucket of Junk Contest Judging - Lartz Building


6:30 pm: 4-H Bake Sale. Blue ribbon baked goods available for a limited time. - Trolley Building


6:30 pm: Trolley Building Youth Exhibits Open - Trolley Building


6:30 - 8:30 pm: Master Gardener - Lawn of Education Center


7 pm: Talent Show - Stage


7 pm: Swine Show - Swine Pavilion


9 pm: $1000 Karaoke Contest - Stage


9 pm: 4-H Exhibitor Only Event - Show Arena


10 pm: Buildings Close


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Fair starts with lots of chores

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 21 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – The 4-H’ers have arrived at the fairgrounds in Knowlesville with a menagerie of animals: horses, rabbits, cows, poultry, pigs, goats and many other creatures.

It’s not all fun and games. This morning the animals had their cages and stalls cleaned, while bigger livestock were washed.


In the top photo, Faith Woody, 11, of Albion dumps dirty sawdust from her horse’s stall. Faith will be competing in some of the horse shows this week. “I’m happy it’s fair week because I get to hang out with my friends.”

Jenny McKenna, 19, of Barre cleans a dairy animal this morning, giving Jack Cecchini, 8, and his sister Jenna, 3, of Medina some tips. This is Jenny’s last time showing at 4-H and Jack’s debut. “It’s bittersweet, being my last year,” Jenny said. “Being able to teach them the ropes makes it fun and worthwhile.”

Amelia Sidonio, 12, of Holley cleans out a cage for one of the three rabbits she is showing at the fair this week.

Kaitlin Zwifka, 14, of Albion cleans Sundance’s stall, one of two horses she will be riding at the fair. She will be competing four days this week.

Janie Schutz, 18, of Waterport blow dries a heifer, one of three she and her sister Rylie Lear, 14, brought to the fair. They also brought a calf. The sisters slept on hay bales in the barn last night.


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‘Fury in Murray’ draws high-powered tractors

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 20 July 2014
MURRAY – Brad Fisher drives 'Back N Black' in the Heavy Super Stock class, juiced-up tractors with multiple engines. About 50 competitors vied in today’s Murray Tractor Pull on Groth Road, pulling a 40,000-pound sled along a dirt track. About 1,000 people attended the event, which is sanctioned by Empire State Pullers.

One of the spectators plugs his ears during the modified class, which had very loud tractors.

Lloyd Christ drives his Heavy Super Stock tractor, ‘It’s Only Money,’ into a trailer after competing today. Christ built the course for the tractor pulling event on Groth Road about 15 years ago.


His son Scott and grandson Travis both compete in tractor pulling.

Roy Metz and ‘Mid-Life Crisis’ roar down the track in Murray. This picture was taken through the window in the announcer’s stand.

John Duggan competes with ‘Road Runner’ in the modified class. He won the class on Sunday.

A spectator gets close to action to get a picture of the modified tractor.

Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Company members Terry Miller, left, and Fire Chief Joe Morlino work in the concessions stand. Proceeds from the event are shared with FHM, the Holley Ambulance Squad and the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Holley.

Henry Everman of Avon helps his wife Sharon line up a modified tractor in today’s competition. Mrs. Everman finished second in the class. Her husband won the Heavy Super Stock class.

Dave Witkowski and 'Smokin' Joe' get ready to race down the track, while leaving a trail of dark smoke.


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Big fun at old-fashioned day

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 20 July 2014
SHELBY – Brandon and Brylee Christiaansen of Medina peek through the cutouts of carnival characters at today’s Old Tyme Day celebration at the East Shelby Community Bible Church. The two are smiling at their parents, Brian and Lisa Christiaansen.

A big crowd turned out today for the annual celebration, when more a few thousand people are treated to pie, hot dogs, horse-drawn wagon rides and other old-fashioned fun – all for a suggested donation of a penny.

Jacob Klotzbach, 22, of Batavia aims a gum ball through a sling shot and tries to hit a giant Goliath.

Lilah Mordell, 4, of Oakfield rides a horse led by Ashley Covel of the town of Alabama.

Abby Shaw, one of Santa’s helpers, poses with the Jolly Ole’ Elf at the Old Tyme Celebration. Santa was happy to pose for photos.

Doug Fairbanks of Forestville leads two draft horses in a wagon ride.

Rylen Michaels, 8, of Batavia works with Tim Trombley at the blacksmith shop.

Sadie Pask, 9 months old, is held by her mother Heidi, who was singing with a church group. Sadie’s grandfather, Erik Olsen, is pastor of the East Shelby Community Bible Church.

Another group, including Erik Olsen at left, sings during one of the musical performances during today’s celebration.

The church lined some of the roads by the festival grounds with a series of sayings, including this one. All of the quotes ended with Burma-Shave. The company was famous about a century ago for its roadside advertising.


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Autistic teen who wandered from home is located, unharmed

Press release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 20 July 2014
MEDINA – A Medina teenager who suffers from autism and a bi-polar disorder was located and returned home safely last night after being missing for close to an hour.

Deputies were called by the boy’s family after he wandered off into a wooded area that’s part of a 100-acre parcel of land in the Town of Ridgeway.

Environmental Conservation Law Enforcement joined the search as well as firefighters from Ridgeway, Albion and Lyndonville.

Deputy T.C. Marano and the boy’s father located the youth at around 6:40 p.m. He was uninjured and returned home without further incident.


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Buffalo will celebrate 150th birthday of first lady with Medina roots

A historical marker stands in Medina at the corner of Main and Eagle streets, noting Folsom attended Medina High School and lived in the house with her grandmother in the mid-1870s.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 20 July 2014
BUFFALO – The first lady from Medina turns 150 on Monday and Buffalo is marking the occasion with a party and unveiling of an exhibit in honor of Frances Folsom Cleveland.

She was born in Buffalo on July 21, 1864, and moved to Medina in the mid-1870s after he father was killed in a carriage accident. Oscar Folsom was good friends with Grover Cleveland. The two were law partners. When Mr. Folsom died, Cleveland was administrator of his estate.

Cleveland served as U.S. president from 1885 to 1889 and again from 1893 to 1897. In 1886, he married Folsom in a ceremony at the White House. She was 21, the youngest First Lady ever.

Folsom Cleveland in her offical White House portrait

“She was young, beautiful, smart, stylish, glamorous, kind and very popular with the American people,” Mark D. Evans, a retired librarian and historian, told The Buffalo News. “Arguably, she was the most popular first lady ever. Reporters and photographers would climb trees and rooftops to get scoops on where she was going and what she was doing.”

Evans is loaning about 200 pieces of Folsom memorabilia that will be displayed in the federal courthouse. The exhibit will include portraits, photographs, plaques, textiles, badges, ribbons, china, glass, trays, spoons, and commercial advertising depicting Folsom. Her personal alligator skin card case with her initials F.F.C. will be also on display.

The exhibit, presented by the Buffalo Presidential Center, opens on Monday and runs through Sept. 3. Monday’s kick-off is an invitation-only event.


Folsom and Cleveland had five children, including three daughters while he was president. Their grandson, George Cleveland, is scheduled to speak at Monday's opening of the exhibit.

One of the new interpretive panels in downtown Medina also highlights Frances Folsom and Groveland Cleveland and their connection to Medina.


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Charlie Nesbitt didn’t seek State Senate seat

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 20 July 2014
ALBION – Former State Assemblyman Charlie Nesbitt didn’t actively pursue George Maziarz’s seat in the State Senate after Maziarz sudden announcement last Sunday night that he wouldn’t seek re-election.

Nesbitt served in the State Assembly for 13 years before stepping down in 2005 after being Republican leader of the minority conference. He was appointed president of the State Tax Appeals Tribunal and continues to work as one of its three commissioners.

Nesbitt’s name was tossed out to a Committee on Vacancies that met last week and backed North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt for the Republican endorsement for the 62nd Senate District.

“As long as we had a good candidate I wasn’t seeking it,” Nesbitt said.

And Ortt, a mayor for 4 ½ years, is a strong candidate, Nesbitt said.

“He has a good background and I’ve heard good things about him,” Nesbitt said. “He is a veteran and a CEO.”

Ortt, 35, served as the city’s treasurer and then clerk-treasurer before being elected mayor. Ortt enlisted in the National Guard on October 2001 after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He served a tour in Afghanistan from March to December 2008. Prior to working in city hall, Ortt was a personal financial analyst with Primerica Financial Services.

Gia Arnold, 24, of Holley has forced a GOP primary for Sept. 9. She also is working to be on the November ballot under the Libertarian Party.

The Republicans have a narrow edge in the Senate, and Democrats, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, want to see the power shift to Democrats after the November election.

Maziarz’s seat represents most of Niagara, all of Orleans and the western portion of Monroe. The Democrats have endorsed Niagara Falls attorney Johnny Destino, who lost a Republican Primary to Maziarz in 2012 and has switched parties to run as a Democrat this time.

Destino could see his chances for election improved if both Arnold and Ortt are in the ballot in November, splitting some of the Republican and Conservative bases.

Maziarz in his announcement on Sunday said the job was taking a toll with all the back and forth to Albany and his Senate district. Federal investigators are also looking into his campaign fund and have identified tens of thousands of dollars in unitemized and unreported checks.

Nesbitt worked closely with Maziarz in the State Legislature and said Maziarz had a reputation as one of the hard-working legislators in Albany with his work in the state capitol and in his home district. Nesbitt said the constant commutes and demands of the positions make it hard on legislators and their families.

“He really did a fine job,” Nesbitt said. “He worked as hard as anyone in politics.”


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