By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2016
ALBION – Four people were arraigned in Orleans County Court today, facing felony charges.
A Rochester man, Trevis Baker, was arraigned on five counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Baker, 38, allegedly sold heroin and cocaine to an informant from Orleans County between March 15 to March 24.
District Attorney Joe Cardone said Baker has an extensive criminal history.
Judge James Punch set bail for Baker at $150,000.
Other arraignments include:
David M. Mitchell, 27, was arraigned on first-degree promoting prison contraband. Mitchell, an inmate in the Orleans Correctional Facility in Albion, allegedly sharpened two instruments to use as weapons in the prison. Those weapons were confiscated on Feb. 22. He has prior felony convictions. Judge Punch set bail at $75,000.
An Albion man was arraigned for fourth-degree grand larceny after he allegedly stole six chainsaws from a Waterport fruit farm, his employer at the time. Dustin Herzog, 27, was on probation when he allegedly stole the chain saws. Punch set bail for Herzog at $2,500.
Brandie Sumeriski, 21, of Albion was arraigned for violating her probation for second-degree criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. She has been charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in January and again in April. In March she was charged with third-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment. She faces other violations of her probation. The judge released her on her own recognizance today.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 2 May 2016
ALBION - Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller, left, reads a "Special Recognition" Award that was presented last week to members of the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association, which donated $3,249 for a swing set at the County Marine Park.
The donation is part of an effort to relocate and upgrade the playground at the park. OONA members also put on a summer concert series at the park, and lead other efforts to promote the Point Breeze community.
The new playground equipment should be installed soon. "We're waiting for the ground to firm up," said Jim Bensley, the county's director of planning and development. He also oversees the Marine Park on Route 98.
Orleans County Legislature Chairman David Callard, left, and Legislator John DeFilipps congratulate Melissa Ierlan of Clarendon for receiving a "Special Recognition" Award for repainting 15 historical markers in the county. Ierlan started by redoing all four in Clarendon, and now has given a facelift to many others in Orleans County, including one outside Orleans in Elba.
County legislators also issued a proclamation declaring May 1-7 as "Western New York Armed Forces Week." Pictured, from left: Former Legislator Frank Berger who is active in veterans' causes, Legislator Bill Eick, Legislator Fred Miller, and Earl Schmitt, director of the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2016
MEDINA - The school district's budget for 2016-17 reduces taxes for the fourth straight year.
The Board of Education approved a $35,825,184 budget that goes before district voters on May 17. The budget is up about $1 million from the $34,802,870 in 2015-16.
The state has boosted aid by nearly $900,000 and Medina is tapping some of its reserve funds to lower taxes in 2016-17, Mark Kruzynski, the district's business administrator, said.
"We're in a great spot with our reserves and we're going to use some," he said this morning.
The new state budget boosts aid to Medina from $23,769,997 to $24,860,152. That increase is a big factor in Medina's ability to cut taxes by 1.3 percent, from $8,774,760 to $8,660,915.
The budget keeps all existing programs and also boosts the gifted and talented offerings.
Voting will be from noon to 8 p.m. on May 17 at the District Office.
The vote includes the Board of Education election. There are six people running for three three-year terms, including incumbents Lori Draper and Wendi Pencille.
Retired Medina school administrator Alberta Suozzi also is running for the board along with Timothy Dunham, Virginia Nicholson and Brenda Lindsay. (Draper and Pencille are seeking re-election and John McCarthy opted against seeking another term.)
By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 2 May 2016
HOLLEY – The Community Free Library in Holley was a popular destination Friday evening as the fifth annual "Raise a Glass for Reading" was held from 7-9 p.m.
The event raises funds to support the library's Summer Reading Program and features wine and beer tastings from local wineries and breweries, a farmer’s market and products from local entrepreneurs.
“Some people were here ten minutes early,” Library Director Sandra Shaw said. “All are happy.” She said the event gets people together, and for some groups of friends, the annual event has become a “ladies night out.”
The theme for the upcoming Summer Reading Program is, "On your mark, get set....read," and focuses on the Summer Olympics, fitness and nutrition.
Shaw said the Raise a Glass event has raised $1,500 a year for the program. “That’s great for a small community,” she said.
Wineries, farms and businesses featured change a bit from year to year, she explained, so that a larger number of vendors can take part.
“Orleans County has got wonderful farms,” she observed.
Library Board President Barb Kerns said vendors appreciate taking part as much as patrons enjoy the tasting. “We got notes from the Niagara Wine Trail thanking us for featuring them,” she said of last year’s tasting.
Even New York State has also expressed its gratitude after the library submits its paperwork for holding the farmer's market. Kerns says they appreciate that the library provides an opportunity to showcase local agricultural products.
This year's wine vendors included A Gust of Sun Winery and Vineyard in Spencerport and Five Sons Winery and RG Brewery in Brockport, with returning favorites Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina and Schulze Vineyard and Winery in Burt. The Farmers' Market featured maple products from Nice Family Farms in Albion and jellies, jams, annual bedding plants and vegetable plants, and crafts from Brightly's Farm Market in Hamlin.
Jenn Fraiser of Brightly’s said the business opened last August. “We're glad to be here,” she said of the Raise a Glass event.
Also featured Friday evening were entrepreneurs, Mrs. C's Apothecary with lotions and herbal products, and Sue Johnson's Susi's Hot Sauce.
By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 2 May 2016
HOLLEY – Geometry and construction, a course that will be offered at Holley High School in the 2016-2017 school year, could provide some exciting challenges for students as they learn geometry through hands on projects.
Holley Middle School/High School Principal Susan Cory reported to Board of Education members during last week's meeting that 15 students have registered for the class so far.
She showed a video about Second Wind Cottages, which constructs housing for the homeless in Ithaca, and announced that work is underway to see if students in the class can construct one of the cottages. The cottages help homeless men regain their health, create stability in their lives, and build relationships, the video explained.
“It’s an exciting prospect,” Cory told school board members. She noted the class will be instructional (students will take the Geometry Regents at the end of the year) and also provide an opportunity for community service by “doing something for someone else.”
Some supplies could be donated by Home Depot, Cory explained, but the cottages cost about $12,000 to construct and she is not yet sure what part of the expense Second Wind would cover.
Holley Technology teacher Tim Rogers will be one of the instructors for the class. He was presented with the Soaring to New Heights Award during Tuesday evening's meeting. Rogers was recognized, in particular, for his work with the Holley Tech Wars team which competed recently at GCC. Rogers said the annual event is “great fun.”
School Board President Brenda Swanger said Rogers is an asset to the district. “The parents are so proud of their children, thank you,” she said.
Photos by Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2016
ALBION – Motorcyclists held a rally on Sunday in front of the Orleans County Courthouse to remind the public to be careful and look out for motorcycles. Chuck Persons, president of the Orleans County chapter of ABATE, addresses the group that gathered in the rain in front of the courthouse.
There are about 100 members of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education in Orleans County. The group promotes driver safety among its members, and tries to educate other motorists to be extra vigilant in sharing the road with motorcyclists.
State Sen. Robert Ortt thanked motorcyclists for many of the causes they support, including the Patriot Guard, where they provide an escort and presence for a member of the military killed in the line of duty. Motorcyclists also raise funds for many important causes, including Camp Rainbow in Orleans County.
“I want to thank all of you who are big supporters of our veterans,” Ortt said. “That’s what separates many of you from the general public.”
Ed Morgan, right, represents State Assemblyman Steve Hawley at the rally. Morgan and Ortt both said the new state budget includes a big state investment in roads and bridges that should improve safety of motorcyclists and other drivers.
After the rally outside the courthouse, motorcycle riders took off on a ride to the Vets Club in Medina. The awareness ride is usually 50 miles throughout the county, but was shortened to 10 miles on Sunday due to the rain.
Albion students lead effort to honor John Frost
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2016
ALBION – A Civil War veteran who raised five children in Orleans County and sold coal for a living was buried in the older St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Brown Road in 1915, more than a century ago.
Last year, the Holy Family Parish was going through records at the cemetery and realized that John Frost never had a headstone. County Historian Matt Ballard, a member of the parish and also the Knights of Columbus, shared the story with Tim Archer, a service learning teacher at Albion Central School. Archer looks for community projects where 140 seventh graders can learn local history and also address a need.
The students wanted Frost to have a headstone. They worked with the Veterans Service Agency in Orleans and Niagara counties to secure a headstone for Frost. The marble stone was unveiled on Saturday during a service at the cemetery.
Archer said the government officials in the Washington, D.C. Monuments Office moved quickly to process and approve the request before the school year ended. He thanked Tony Navarra from the Holy Family Parish for setting the stone in the historic cemetery.
Seventh-grader Leeanna Montanarella shares John Frost’s biography. Frost was born in England on June 22, 1836. At age 13 he left for the United States with his father John and brother Edward on the Northumberland. They arrived in New York City on April 18, 1850 and moved to South Barre. In 1860, Frost was working as a farmer. He enlisted in the Union Army in his mid-20s and served three years.
Frost had the rank of musician, which was just below corporal and just above private. In the Civil War, musicians were relied upon to entertain troops, position troops in battle and stir them on to victory.
Frost, according to the 1880 Census, was married to Margaret Cusack and had five children, ages 14, 11, 9, 6 and 4.
Bryne Dysard, an Albion seventh grader, reads Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address – “With malice towards none, with charity for all” – from March 4, 1865.
Students Kyle Lonnen and Noah Rowlett unveil the headstone while teacher Tim Archer watches at St. Joseph’s Cemetery.
Knights of Columbus members Bob Ballard, left, and Casimer Pruski, both past grand knights, present a grave marker, noting that Frost served in the Civil War for the Union, at his grave during Saturday’s ceremony.
This grave marker was given by the K of C to recognize Frost’s service for the Union.
Matt Ballard, a member of the Knights of Columbus and the county historian, thanked Albion students for working to recognize John Frost. “It is a great honor and privilege to congratulate Mr. Archer and his students on a job well done, their noble task is appreciated by all who cherish the liberties provided by the sacrifices of those who passed before us.”
Ballard said Frost had “quietly passed into the annals of history, forgotten for decades” until Albion students pushed to have him recognized.
“The commitment of our youth to the cause of historic preservation fuels the fire and the desire to share that history with the greater community,” Ballard said.
Three seventh graders play Taps, including, from left: Kailey Merrill, Lauren Wehling and Ashley Ames.
Tim Archer and the seventh graders are pictured with the new headstone for John Frost.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 1 May 2016
KNOWLSEVILLE – Brian Armison of Centerville in Allegany County competes with his team of powerful horses in Saturday’s “Pull of Champions” at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.
This was the third year the Fairgrounds hosted the horse pull for the New York State Horse Pullers Association. About 25 teams of horses, including many of the top teams from the U.S. and Canada, competed in the event, which kicks off the horse-pulling season.
Armison is on the board of directors for the NYS Horse Pullers Association. The association used to hold the “Pull of Champions” at the state fairgrounds in Syracuse. It was moved to Knowlesville in 2014 through the efforts of horse pull competitor Nick Nesbitt of Waterport as well as the support of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County.
Armison said the Fairgrounds in Knowlesville has proven a good fit providing a more central location for horse pulling teams, as well as a supportive host. He praised 4-Hers for selling food and the Extension staff for maintaining a nice dirt track.
“They’re super accommodating,” Armison said. “They even send us a thank you note.”
A team owned by Dennis Weinberger from Reading, Michigan, captured first place in the lightweight division. Weinbegrer, in black hat, also won the title in 2015 at “The Pull of Champions.” He said the horses need strength and stamina to compete at such a high level. His team won by pulling a dynamometer, 16 feet, 7 inches when the dynamometer was weighed down with an additional 4,400 pounds. The dynamometer, in the final pulls, can simulate 160,000 pounds.
Danny Smith from Cummington, Massachusetts, gets a horse ready for competition. This horse was part of a team of two that combined weighed less than 3,425 pounds. There were 25 teams competing in either the lightweight division (3,425 pounds or less), or the heavyweights for teams that exceed 3,425 pounds.
Charlie Blanchard of Winchester, New Hampshire, puts the harnessing equipment on his horse. He is partners with Danny Smith of Massachusetts.
Josh Wickum of Menomonie, Wisc., leads his team in the finals of the lightweight division. Wickum’s team finished second overall in the division.
4-H kids and volunteers sold food and other concessions at the pull. This photo shows Gail Ebbs and 4-Her Jordan Boccacci selling cotton candy.
The Armison Brothers from Centerville – Caleb, left, and Chris, right – get their team ready for the pull. The brothers, who are Brian Armison’s nephews, just jogged the horses as a warmup for the pull.
About 800 people attended the horse pulls on Saturday. The crowd size and numbers of teams continues to grow with the event since it was moved to the 4-H fairgrounds in Knowlesville.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2016
ALBION – Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Charles Howard, one of Albion’s most prominent residents. Howard was a farmer and toymaker who started a Santa Claus School in 1937 on Phipps Road in Albion.
He played Santa in the Macy’s televised parades for about 20 years. He established standards for how Santas should look and act with children, principles that are still taught today to Santas around the world.
Howard expanded his school into Christmas Park, a destination for the community that remains a cherished memory for many local residents. After Howard’s death in 1966, the school was moved to Michigan. Today it is in Midland, Mich., and still bears Howard’s name.
A committee in Albion has been working for more than a year on a memorial for Howard. The Village Board last week agreed to make Waterman Park, a half block south of the Erie Canal, available for a bronze statue of Howard as Santa Claus. The park will likely include interpretative panels, murals and other displays about Howard and Santa Claus.
The committee will now work on designs of the statue and park, hoping to have them ready for the community at the Strawberry Festival in June.
“I’m excited about it,” Mayor Dean London said on Wednesday when the board voted to back the effort.
The Albion Betterment Committee is taking the lead in a fund-raising campaign that could be about $100,000.
The group was determined to have a site for Howard on Main Street, seeing a statue as a boost for other downtown businesses.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 March 2016
ALBION – Three people were recognized as Heritage Heroes on Friday for efforts to preserve and promote local history. In addition, two other Orleans County residents were given special awards for their heritage efforts.
Genesee Community College recognized the third class of Heritage heroes on Friday during an awards reception at GCC in Albion. The college first recognized Heritage Heroes in 2014 as part of GCC’s Civil War Encampment. The 150th anniversary of the Civil War has passed and GCC no longer hosts the encampment.
But GCC plans to continue to recognize Heritage Heroes, said Jim Simon, GCC dean of the campus centers in Albion and Medina, and Derek Maxfield, GCC history professor. They also announced plans for a new Orleans County Heritage Festival on Sept. 9-11 featuring historic sites and attractions around the county.
Simon and Maxfield both said the county is fortunate to have many energetic citizens working to preserve historic sites and share stories of pioneer residents and others from many generations ago.
The Heritage Heroes recognized for 2016 include:
Al Capurso is a retired case manager for the Department of Social Services, Probation and Mental Health. He worked there for 24 years. He also owned the Bait Barn shop by his home on Route 279.
Since retiring he has tackled many local projects, including new historical markers at the Courthouse Square for the first pioneer settler and also one by a cobblestone schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road. Capurso has led efforts to save that cobblestone building, with volunteers repairing windows and paying to have a new roof put on the site, which could become a meeting house and building used to display historic artifacts.
Capurso also gained government approvals to have a local stream named Gilbert Creek in honor of pioneer settler Elizabeth Gilbert. Capurso said many community members have stepped forward to help preserve the former schoolhouse.
Peg Wiley and her husband Richard moved to Point Breeze in 2002 to run their business, Wiley’s Riverside Marina. Mrs. Wiley soon became involved in community projects, including leading the effort to build a replica of the Oak Orchard Lighthouse that was toppled in 1916 during a wind storm.
Wiley helped raise $300,000 for the new lighthouse, which was completed in 2010 and now serves as an iconic symbol for the county featured in tourism guides. The lighthouse also includes a small museum telling the history of the original lighthouse.
The project helped inspire other community fund-raising efforts for a new public library in Albion, a new Education Center at the 4-H Fairgrounds and the new Hospice residence in Albion.
“The lighthouse was built by the community,” Wiley said at the awards program. “The community became empowered. They believed they could do it.”
Wiley said many people helped with the project, including the late Cheryl Staines, who served as treasurer of the project. Staines died on Friday after battling cancer.
“We couldn’t have done it without her,” Wiley said.
Tim Archer is the service learning teacher at Albion, working with seventh graders. He has led them on several historic preservation efforts in Albion and beyond.
They have cleaned up the Prisoner of War Camp from World War II in Hamlin, and are working to have a historic marker at Hillside Cemetery in Holley for Charles Herbert Taylor, the only known resident of the county killed in the battle of Gettysburg.
Archer and Albion students cleaned up the cemetery at the former County Alms House on County House Road in Albion, resetting stones, clearing brush, researching the names of residents and erecting a memorial in their honor.
Archer said he has 140 students each year to work on projects. The students are determined and feel pride in the efforts.
“They need to take ownership of their community,” he said.
The Heritage Heroes program this year included two new awards to recognize municipal historians, who were excluded from previous Heritage Hero recognition. Maxfield said the Heritage Hero Committee wanted to recognize municipal historians, who he said are “unsung heroes,” often working long hours for little pay.
The committee created the C.W. “Bill” Lattin Award for Excellence in Municipal History in honor of Lattin, the county’s historian for nearly four decades. He also led the Cobblestone Society Museum for about 40 years.
Melissa Ierlan is first recipient. She works as Clarendon’s historian and code enforcement officer. She also is active in the Clarendon Historical Society and has spearheaded efforts to save the chapel at Hillside Cemetery.
Ierlan has also repainted 15 historic markers in the county (including one in Elba for the mucklands). She scrapes the paint off the markers and meticulously repaints them, projects that take several days. She has volunteers who help re-weld some of the markers.
Lattin said Ierlan has a can-do attitude. He compared her to former Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton.
“Melissa is supercharged,” Lattin said. “She sees things to do and does them.”
The Committee also created the Robert E. Waters Award for Lifetime Achievement in honor of the late Waters, a newspaper publisher who was active in many community causes. Waters was in the inaugural Heritage Heroes class.
Delia Robinson is the first recipient of the award. She served as a Gaines town historian for more than three decades, writing books on cobblestone buildings, Gaines history and contributions of women to the county’s history.
Robinson was influential in many historical markers being placed in the county, noting efforts by women. She continues to give monthly historical talks at Hoag Library.
“You never know all of the history,” Robinson said. “History is never done. There’s always something to find out.”
By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 30 April 2016
Taken on October 13, 1927, these five men headed one of the largest raids on an illegal liquor manufacturing operation in Orleans County. Pictured from left to right are NYS Trooper J. P. Fisher, Undersheriff Lawrence Higley, Sheriff Ross Hollenbeck, Deputy Matthew McGlen, and NYS Trooper B. L. DeBrine; the plate on the motorcycle shows that the men were stationed at the Troop A barracks in Batavia.
Just after midnight on the 13th of October, police surrounded the abandoned canning factory once owned by Thomas Page at the corner of King Street and West Avenue. Upon entering the building they located one the largest alcohol stills ever seen in the area, allowing for the manufacture of over 5,000 gallons of moonshine liquor. Also seized was a truck carrying 205 gallons of alcohol stored in 5 gallon cans, which was to be shipped to Rochester that night.
Giuseppe Gagliano, Tony Gagliano, Joseph Mineo, James Mineo, and Joseph Lomeo all of Utica were taken into custody and arraigned in front of U.S. Commissioner Cyrus Phillips at Rochester. The men refused to provide any information about the illegal operation but claimed that they were hired by Charles Day of Rochester, a man they had never met before, to operate the still. All five were released from custody on $10,000 bail each.
Federal officers estimated the seizure of equipment in excess of $50,000 and the total value of the liquor and raw materials at nearly $200,000, roughly $3.5 million today.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before the abandoned canning factory became the central location for another large distilling operation when federal officers in cooperation with local police raided the site in October of 1930. At that point, the still inside was capable of manufacturing over 1,000 gallons of alcohol each day and multiple storage vats were discovered alongside the 5,000 gallon still. Moonshiners were shipping the alcohol by truck to Buffalo where it was loaded on railcars and distributed throughout the region.
Lawrence Higley would later serve as Orleans County Sheriff and Matthew McGlen eventually found himself working for the federal government as a U.S. Customs and Border Agent. Naturally, this raid was quite the notch in their belts.
Planners support gun shop in Clarendon
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2016
Three municipalities in Orleans County plan to enact six-month moratoriums on mobile home construction outside of mobile home parks.
Location has generally been limited to mobile home parks, but new state legislation allows construction of manufactured outside of designated mobile home parks as long as a manufactured home “is aesthetically similar to site-built single-family homes in a residential district,” and is deemed a single-family home by the local government’s zoning law, according to the state legislation.
The villages of Albion and Holley, and the Town of Murray want a six-month moratorium on mobile home construction outside designated parks so those municipalities can work on amending their zoning ordinances. The Orleans County Planning Board backed those efforts by the three municipalities.
The Planning Board on Thursday also recommended the Town of Clarendon approve a permit for a home occupation at 4257 Hindsburg Rd., which is in a residential/agricultural district.
Erin Neale wants to operate a firearms sales business from the site. He sold firearms from the site from 1999 to 2009. He wants to reopen the business with the same setup.
The gun shop would be set back about 500 feet from Hindsburg Road in a detached structure east of Neale’s house. In addition to selling rifles, pistols and shotguns, Neale plans to sell black powder, ammunition and accessories.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2016
ALBION – Bank of America is adding a drive-through ATM in Albion. The new feature won’t be at the bank’s site. It will be across from Bank of America at Dunkin Donuts.
The Orleans County Planning Board supported the project during its meeting on Thursday. The ATM will be at the southeast corner of the Donut Donuts lot near the entrance by Platt Street. It will have room for three vehicles, will be lighted and will have a monument sign noting the ATM.
Bank of America doesn’t have room for a drive-through ATM at its site, said Ron Vendetti, village code enforcement officer.
The bank will continue to run a walk-up ATM at its Main Street location.
The project needs two variances, and the County Planning Board recommended Albion approve both. The village code requires room for five vehicles in a drive-through, but this proposed ATM has room for three vehicles. Planners said the ATM “is not expected to be a substantial traffic generator.” The walk-up ATM at the bank also will ease some pressure on the drive-through ATM, planners said.
The village code allows one freestanding sign per commercial property and this will have two with the Bank of America ATM and Dunkin Donuts.
Planners said the new sign noting ATM should be located in a way that doesn’t obstruct sight lines for vehicles attempting to exit the property.
Students join in tree planting at State Street Park
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 29 April 2016
MEDINA – The Village of Medina celebrated Arbor Day today with help from students from Oak Orchard Elementary School. The village held a tree-planting celebration at State Street Park.
The village has planted about 1,500 trees in the past 15 years. This Arbor Day marks the ninth 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.
Medina is planted 71 trees this spring, mostly along areas of West Center Street with additional plantings on West Avenue, Gwinn Street and State Street Park.
Aidyn Jackson, a Medina first-grader, puts the final shovel of dirt on a flowering pear tree at State Street Park. The village planted six flowering pear trees along the park's perimeter.
This first grade class poses for a picture in front a newly planted tree.
Dan Doctor, the Oak Orchard principal, gets a picture of students by a new tree. Doctor told the kids to "Say Trees!" when he took the picture.
Medina Mayor Michael Sidari is pictured with Tree Board Chairman Chris Busch on a stage during the Arbor Day celebration. Sidari said saplings will go to be tall trees. He told students to return to the park often as adults and take pride in the new trees.
The mayor also read a proclamation about Arbor Day.
Sidari and Busch presented a "Friend of the Urban Forest Award" to Bob Sanderson, a Medina resident who donated $5,700 to plant many of the new trees. Sanderson owns Candlelight Cabinetry and Kitchen World in Lockport, employing 230 people. The company uses lots of wood, and Sanderson said the business is committed to planting new trees through several "Tree Hugger Initiatives." Sanderson said Medina is becoming known as "the town that plants all of the trees."
Medina third-graders Garrett Koch, center, and Elizabeth Thompson read a poem about Arbor Day. hey are joined by teacher Nicole Goyette.
Mayor Sidari poses with elementary students after planting trees at State Street Park.
Staff Reports Posted 29 April 2016
Orleans County residents can dispose of unused prescription medication, sharps and pet medications on Saturday at three drop-off sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The goal of this event is to provide a safe disposal method that will prevent the contamination of the water supply and most importantly decrease the likelihood of theft and abuse of prescription medications. Upon completion of this event all collected medication will be destroyed in the presence of law enforcement officers at a designated incineration facility, said Sheriff Randy Bower.
“This is a great opportunity for the public to surrender unwanted and/or expired medications for safe and proper disposal,” Bower said. “Events such as these have dramatically reduced the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse, as well as increasing awareness of this critical public health issue.”
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative includes the following sites in Orleans County:
• Orleans County Public Safety Building – 13925 State Route 31 – Albion
• Holley Fire Department – 7 Thomas Street – Holley
• Medina Fire Department – 600 Main Street – Medina
The Public Safety Building also has a collection box that is available five days a week during regular business hours.
Saturday’s collection is a collaborative effort with the U.S. Department of Justice – Drug Enforcement Administration, the Orleans County Health Department, and the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 April 2016
YATES – The Orleans County Planning Board is supporting the Town of Yates in revising a nearly decade-old local law on wind energy facilities.
The previous town ordinance from 2008 caps the height of turbines at 420 feet. Apex Clean Energy wants to build up to 71 turbines in Yates and Somerset that would be between 490 to 620 feet in height to the top of the turbine blade.
Yates isn’t proposing a height restriction with the new law, but instead would require setbacks from residences, roads, municipal boundaries and other public use areas 4.5 times the turbine height. With turbines at 620 feet, the setbacks would need to be more than a half mile.
“This would effectively be a ban on turbines,” Dan Fitzgerald, project manager for Apex Clean Energy, told the County Planning Board on Thursday.
Apex submitted 13 pages of comments about the local law.
Jim Simon, the Yates town supervisor, said town officials aren’t trying to ban turbines.
“This law wasn’t written for a developer,” Simon said. “This law is written for our town and for our people.”
The Planning Board said the new regulations are more rigorous than the 2008 law, as they should be because the latest-generation of utility-scale turbines “rise to much greater heights than those envisioned when Yates’ current law was adopted.”
The bigger turbines involve deeper foundations, longer shadows, farther ice throws, greater visibility, and more reasons to analyze potential impacts on birds and wildlife, the Planning Board said.
“It’s still evolving,” said Planning Board member Gary Daum, a Yates resident. “It’s about people and innovation and new things.”
The revised Yates law expands the findings section from 10 to 24 items, with the developer required to analyze ambient sound, background sound, weighted sound pressures, shadow flicker and tower height, and many other issues.
The town also will require a transportation plan for construction of turbines to assess potential damage to local roads and bridges, and mitigation of traffic congestion with movement of turbine materials.
Yates also will require developers with wind energy facilities to complete reports and analysis from the projects on groundwater, geotechnical, flora/fauna, cultural/historical/architectural/, wildlife, blade throw, stray voltage and aviation.
Planners noted that the strength of the local laws for wind turbines is currently unsettled given that the state leads the process through Article 10, with a state siting board voting on the projects.
Yates also is seeking a six-month moratorium on wind energy conversion systems. That moratorium will give the town time to pass its revised law and also incorporate revisions into the Yates-Carlton-Kendall Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, as well as the town’s comprehensive plan.
Apex officials said they thought their project should be grandfathered in and not be subject to the moratorium. Apex has been meeting with landowners in Yates about the project for 22 months, said Taylor Quarles, development manager.
Apex hasn’t submitted a formal application for its project. It is seeking a second meteorological tower to assess wind strength. That tower wouldn’t be able to go up until after the moratorium.
Kendall and Holley also will meet to discuss shared services
By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 28 April 2016
HOLLEY – Members of the Holley Board of Education were updated during their regular meeting Tuesday evening regarding the status of the old Holley High School building in the village.
School district attorney Jeff Martin informed board members about recent efforts by Home Leasing, LLC of Rochester to acquire the building, which was constructed in the 1931 and was last used by the district in 1975. Home Leasing wants to turn it into senior housing with 26-30 units.
Martin explained that a major obstacle – sorting out title issues – may be overcome with recent news that, "Orleans County will get involved."
The county will likely foreclose on the property, Martin explained, and that would facilitate cleaning up title issues.
“It would be a benefit to the whole community,” Martin said of the possible development of the building.
The old Holley High School does contain asbestos, Martin noted. It has sat unused since the early 1990s when Lift Tech Systems, which had owned and utilized the building, declared bankruptcy. The owner of the property died suddenly following that, Martin said. The building has been off the tax rolls for several years.
Martin said he attended a meeting in March regarding the school and was asked to see if school board members were receptive to moving forward with the possible development. He explained that a 15-year PILOT agreement may be offered to developers, which would mean that tax revenue would again be generated from the site.
“It's a win-win situation,” Martin said, and noted the Orleans Economic Development Agency would likely be involved due to the expense of renovations. He said much time still needs to go into developers acquiring the property and renovation work. “It could take a couple of years,” Martin said.
School Board members expressed their approval of the process moving forward.
In other business, Superintendent Robert D'Angelo reported that he had recently been contacted by Kendall Central School Superintendent Julie Christensen, who requested a joint meeting of both boards, superintendents, high school principals and business officials be held sometime this summer. The meeting would be to, "discuss shared services across the board... it would not be restricted to athletics,” D'Angelo said.
The districts agreed this spring to field a combined baseball team, and D'Angelo noted that agreement is working well. He said Tuesday evening football and wrestling have been mentioned as other sports where the districts could form a merged team.
Currently, Kendall does not have a football team.
He said both districts/school boards sitting down at one table will be, "a positive thing for both of us. I look forward to meeting with Kendall during the summer. There are so many things we can do for students in the classroom if we join forces. They are just a hop, skip and a jump away. It's definitely an advancement for us and them.”
“It would benefit both districts,” school board vice-president Robin Silvis said.
“In the long term I see us sharing a lot of different things,” board member John Heise said.
Additionally, Superintendent D'Angelo said Holley is meeting on Friday with its counterparts in the Pembroke Central School District to talk about football.
“I will not let the distance interfere with our kids having a good program,” he said.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 April 2016
BARRE – Town Supervisor Mark Chamberlain said he is just learning this week about Apex Clean Energy’s new plan for a 200 Megawatt wind energy project focused in Barre and stretching into Elba, Albion and other neighboring communities.
Apex made the announcement on Wednesday. The company sent a letter to Barre town officials earlier this week, requesting a meeting to discuss the project.
Chamberlain said he hadn’t heard any talk of the project until this week.
“This is the first that the community has heard of it,” he said this afternoon. “This has all come very quickly and very fast.”
Barre was considered for a wind energy project about a decade ago, but the developer backed off after concerns turbines would be sited too close to the Pine Hill Airport.
Chamberlain said the Apex project appears to be away from the airport, with the new focus apparently in southeastern Barre.
Apex is proposing a project in Yates and Somerset that would include up to 71 turbines that would peak at 620 feet high. Those turbines are about 200 feet taller than the ones proposed in Barre a decade ago. Apex hasn't detailed the size of Barre turbines.
There is a big change, compared to a decade ago, with the new “Heritage Wind” project proposed for Barre: the Article 10 process. That gives the majority of the siting power to state officials.
“It takes town input out of it,” Chamberlain said.
Apex said today it will have many public meetings with officials and residents in Barre, Albion and the rest of the project area.
“This is a process that has just begun, and we are reaching out to various stakeholders simultaneously, including officials with the Town of Barre, the Town and Village of Albion, Orleans County, and many others,” said Cat Mosely, Public Affairs manager for Apex.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 28 April 2016 3:00 p.m.
RIDGEWAY – The driver of this Chevrolet S-10 pickup escaped serious injury after an accident on Marshall Road, just north of the Erie Canal, today at about 1 p.m.
A state trooper at the scene said the driver, a man about age 25, was travelling south on Marshall Road when he fell asleep, drove off the shoulder of the road and struck a tree stump.
The truck overturned and caught on fire.
Ridgeway firefighters, including Don Marchner (back to camera), put out fire with the truck. The driver was able to crawl out of the vehicle and get a safe distance from the wreck.
The driver had injuries to both feet and was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester by the Medina Fire Department.
The driver hit the stump in the lower right and then overturned the pickup. Lyons Collision in Medina removed the vehicle.
By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 28 April 2016
HOLLEY – Village Board members on Wednesday evening adopted a $1.14 million budget for the general fund, which increases the tax rate increase 63 cents to $15.44 per $1,000 of assessed property. That’s an increase of 4.45 percent.
The Water Fund appropriation is $395,612 and the Sewer Fund appropriation is $157,650. The appropriation for the Department of Public Works is down 0.4 percent while the appropriation for the Village Police Department rises 17.4 percent. The employee benefit appropriation is down 36.5 percent.
The 2016/17 amount of the budget to be raised by taxes is $820,799, which is up 4.5 percent or $35,001 from $785,798 in the 2015/16 budget.
Trustees considered several options - from using $60,850 in Appropriated Fund Balance to keep the tax rate the same, to using no Fund Balance which would have raised the tax rate $1.14.
The option agreed upon added $10,000 to contingency and utilized $27,380 from Fund Balance. This option brings the anticipated Fund Balance after the new budget to $100,000. The 2016/17 budget was adopted by a unanimous vote.
Holley Mayor John Kenney, Jr., said work on the budget began last November and village leaders tried diligently to find savings wherever possible, despite the increasing costs of retirement and health insurance.
“The supervisors were good about addressing the needs of the village,” the mayor noted. “All services are maintained.”
Kenney encouraged village residents to get out and vote in the upcoming village election which will be held in June. Two trustee seats and the mayor are up for election.
Copyright Albion-Holley Pennysaver, Inc.