To promote local apple industry, World’s Largest Pie featured in 1929

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 23 September 2014
In 1929 these men stood in the world’s largest pie tin at the Orleans County Fair in Albion. The World’s Largest Pie (apple) was conceived by Charles Howard in order to promote the apple industry and visitation to the fair.

Pictured, from left, include: Howard Olds, superintendent of the Agriculture Society; Myron Babbitt, treasurer of the Agriculture Society; William McKenna, village trustee; the baker of the pie (not named); J.W. Cramer, village trustee; Daniel Hanley, Albion mayor; L.S. Higley, Orleans County sheriff; Fred Wolf; Eugene Mahoney, village clerk; and Warner Thompson, village treasurer.

The pie tin appears on rails where it was to be used in baking.


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Donors help Arc put new fence at Camp Rainbow

Provided photo

Camp Rainbow has a new fence around its swimming pool.


Staff reports Posted 23 September 2014
RIDGEWAY – The Arc of Orleans County used generous donations to replace the fence around the pool at Camp Rainbow.


The Orleans County Foundation provided $4,000, while the J.M. McDonald Foundation and George W. Hagerman Estate both provided $5,000 towards the project, which will also include some tree removal, said Darlene Golson, Arc community relations manager.


Camp is a five-week summer day camp at 2272 Townline Rd., open to children with or without disabilities.


“We had been looking for funding for this project for several years and it all came together in 2014,” Golson said. “The American Fence Company from Tonawanda did a great job ensuring that we met all code requirements as well as making it look beautiful.”


“We are truly grateful to the community residents, businesses, and foundations that support Camp Rainbow,” she said. “We couldn’t run this program without your support and generosity.”


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Medina students don’t have to pay for band uniforms

MEDINA – An article Sunday on the Orleans Hub reported that some Medina students get help paying for their marching band uniforms. The uniforms are provided, according to the Medina Marching Band Boosters. The Boosters also provide scholarships for students and help raise money for the annual spring trip.


Attorney tells judge County Task Force violates due process

Unit operates out of DA’s office, which then prosecutes
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 September 2014
ALBION – An attorney for an Albion man facing numerous drug charges is questioning whether his due process rights have been violated because he was arrested by a task force that operates out of the District Attorney’s Office, which is now prosecuting him.

Shirley Gorman represents Joseph James, an inmate in the county jail. James, 33, was arrested along with 15 others on April 1 following a six-month investigation into the sale and distribution of illegal drugs in the village of Albion, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force reported.

Gorman says the Task Force in Orleans differs from those in other counties, which operate outside of the DA’s Office as independent units. Gorman made her statements in court on Monday during an appearance with James.

“My position is the Drug Task Force violates due process and a fair trial,” she told Orleans County Court Judge James Punch. He set a hearing for Nov. 5 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on that and other issues raised by Gorman.

“This would be legally unprecedented,” Punch told her in court on Monday.

The Task Force works under the supervision of the DA’s Office, but the Task Force has independence is investigating its cases, First Assistant DA Susan Howard told the judge.

The Task Force includes officers from the Holley, Albion and Medina police departments, as well as the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department. A board of directors oversees the Task Force. They include the three village mayors, county legislators and law enforcement officials.

Howard said the arrests by task force members actually come from one of the village police departments or the Sheriff’s Department.

In other counties, the DA’s Office will work with a task force after the charges have been brought, but not while a case is being developed, Gorman said.

“The DA’s Office is creating the crime,” Gorman said. “It’s not the action of a police department. It’s a task force run by the DA’s Office.”

She also alleged prosecutorial misconduct because the confidential informant in the case against James was observed on tape telling a police officer, “I have to tell you I used some.” Gorman said the informant ingested cocaine without any apparent repercussions from the task force or DA’s Office.

Howard said the informants often will ingest materials that resemble illegal drugs, but aren’t necessarily cocaine or another narcotic.

She noted the office willingly turned over videos to Gorman.

“We’re not trying to hide anything,” Howard responded in court.

Punch said he wants to hear more on the informant’s actions as well as other issues raised by Gorman.

“All of these things need to be developed at the hearing,” he said.


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Peaceful protest before U.S. launches airstrikes

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 22 September 2014
ALBION – Before the United States launched air strikes tonight against ISIS in Syria, a few people held a peaceful protest at the edge of the Courthouse Lawn near Main Street this afternoon.

Diana Dudley, top photo, holds up a sign stating her feelings about the military intervention.

Dennis Seekins also held a sign against the military involvement. Lee Richards (right), pastor of the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church and his wife Louise Wu also joined the demonstrators.

The U.S. military launched air strikes against the Islamic State in the northeastern Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s self-declared capital. The U.S. was planning to attack as many as 20 Islamic State targets in the operation, according to the Associated Press.


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Rochester man gets 5 years in prison for bringing heroin to Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2014
ALBION – A Rochester man who admitted he brought heroin to Albion last November with the intent to sell it was sentenced today to 5 years in state prison, plus three years of post-release supervision.

Terry Holmes, 32, pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. As a second felony offender, he faced a maximum 3 ½ to 9 years in state prison.

Holmes and another Rochester man were arrested in November after a vehicle stop at 167 South Main St.

In other cases in county court:

• A Holley man admitted to aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Enrique Fierro, 34, was charged on May 17 after a traffic stop at 1:30 a.m. on Route 31 in the town of Murray. He faces a maximum sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 1.

• Melissa A. Warren, 28, admitted she had cocaine on March 5 with the intent to sell it. The former Albion resident now lives in Batavia.

She pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and faces a maximum sentence of up to 2 ½ years in state prison when she is sentenced on Dec. 22.

• Cheryl A. Poole, 51, of Carlton also pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. She admitted she had prescription medication that was a controlled substance. She said she sold it from her home on March 13.

As a second felony offender she faces a maximum of 1 ½ to 4 years in state prison.

• Stephen W. Miles, 51, admitted he had a prescription narcotic, tramadol, and intended to sell it on March 26 from his room in Albion at 175 North Main St., Room No. 12.

He pleaded guilty to CPCS in the 5th degree and faces a maximum sentence to 2 ½ years in state prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 22.

• A Holley man was sentenced to jail for a year after violating probation. Chester Sherman, 55, was charged with felony driving while intoxicated in Genesee County in 2011.

He has failed to report to probation appointments, driven without a license, registered a motorcycle without telling probation and has been observed drinking alcohol, Orleans County Court Judge James Punch said.

Sherman will serve an intermittent sentence, reporting to the jail at 9 a.m. Sundays and leaving at 6 p.m. on Mondays for the next year.


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Volunteers collect 1,769 pounds of trash from local waterways

Press release, Orleans County Soil and Water Conservation District
Posted 22 September 2014
ALBION – This past Saturday 15 volunteers from Orleans County participated in the American Littoral Society’s annual New York State Shoreline and Beach Cleanup.
These volunteers collected, recorded and removed more than 900 items of trash weighing 1,769 pounds from our local waterways over the course of three hours. That equates to more than 61 pounds per person.


The enthusiastic volunteers convened at 9 a.m. at Bullard Park for instructions and introductions before dispersing to assigned locations.


Groups tackled trash at locations along Lake Alice and the Erie Canal. At noon everyone reconvened back at Bullard Park to weigh the 17 bags of trash collected along with various items such as a rug and over 20 discarded tires.


Every item collected, down to the last cigarette butt, was recorded and categorized on data sheets that were then sent to the American Littoral Society for statistical analysis along with data submitted by all the groups participating across the country. This allows them to observe and track trends in sources of trash. In Orleans County, over half of the items collected were from food and beverage items.


Along with concerned citizens, volunteers participating in the cleanup represented 4-H and local high school students. This event was sponsored locally by the Orleans County Water Quality Coordinating Committee in conjunction with the Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District.


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Clarendon man gets 5 years in state prison for burglaries

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2014
ALBION – A 19-year-old Clarendon man was sentenced to five years in state prison for his role in multiple burglaries in eastern Orleans County.

Benjamin Odeychuk of Holley Byron Road was arrested in March along with Victor Odeychuk, 17, of Holley and Louis D. Monacelli, 17, of Brockport.

The younger two have pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and will be sentenced on Oct. 6. Benjamin Odeychuk was already on probation when the burglaries occurred. He has a prior charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance for using painkillers.

Odeychuk apologized in court for the burglaries. He admitted he broke into four houses and faces a combined restitution of $2,528.

“I’m very sorry for what I did,” Odeychuk told Orleans County Court Judge James Punch during sentencing this afternoon. “You’re supposed to feel safe in your home. I violated that.”

Odeychuk could have been sentenced to up to seven years in state prison. His attorney Larry Koss asked that Odeychuk be given probation or perhaps a sentence in the local jail.

But Punch said Odeychuk already “failed miserably” on probation. The judge said Odeychuk “continuously invaded one home after another to supply your drug habit.”

Odeychuk also faces three years of post-release supervision following his time in prison. Punch also issued orders of protection for the victims of the crimes.


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Nursing Home LDC meets Thursday for first time since February

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2014
ALBION – The three-person local development corporation that was formed to sell the county-owned nursing home will meet Thursday for the first time since Feb. 6, the day the nursing home was sold to Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services LLC for $7.8 million.

The sale isn’t final until the state Department of Health gives the final OK. That is expected before Dec. 31, said Russell Martino, chairman of the Orleans County Health Facilities Corporation.

The County Legislature voted in 2012 to transfer the nursing home, The Villages of Orleans, to the Health Facilities Corporation. That group then worked with a firm, Marcus and Millichap’s National Senior Housing Group in Chicago, that specializes in nursing home sales.

The LDC board of Russell Martino, Richard DeCarlo Sr. and Richard Moy on Feb. 6 accepted the $7.8 million bid from of Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services LLC. That company also recently purchased three Catholic Health facilities in Buffalo.

The $7.8 million will more than offset the remaining debt following a renovation of the nursing home about five years ago. County officials also say the sale will relieve the county from taxpayer subsidies for the operating deficits at the site, deficits officials feared would grow to $2 million or more annually.

The public meeting Thursday will be at the at Health Department’s building, 14012 Route 31 West. The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m.

“This is just to catch up on where we are,” Martino said about the meeting.


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Chamber celebrates business successes, residents who give back to Orleans

Photos by Tom Rivers
Brad MacDonald, vice president at Brunner International, accepts the “Business of the Year” award from Chamber Executive Director Kathy Blackburn and a citation from Barry Flansburg, a representative for State Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

Bruce Krenning of Albion was recognized for “Lifetime Achievement” for his years of volunteer service. Krenning is the current board chairman for Orleans Community Health and has served as vice president of New York Farm Bureau and on the Albion and Lyndonville boards of education.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2014
GAINES – Some of Orleans County leading businesses and citizens were recognized during an awards dinner on Saturday, and several testified that they have overcome challenges to contribute to the local community.

Brunner International five years ago put on an addition only to have the economy be gripped in a recession. Brunner had to scale back from five days of three shifts a week to only one shift for three days a week.

Brunner weathered the recession, and is expanding again, with a new addition currently under construction. The company expects to grow from 390 employees to 450 that make axle shafts and brakes for the trucking industry. Brunner was named “Business of the Year” by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.

Brad MacDonald, the company vice president, said the award and expansion wouldn’t be possible without dedicated and skilled employees. Brunner faces competition in its industry from China and other countries with lower costs of doing business.

“There aren’t too many heavy manufacturers left in the United States,” MacDonald said. "We're very proud to say we make a product that is American made."

The Chamber recognized two residents with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Marcia Tuohey was a successful entrepreneur before she entered local politics and was the first woman elected to serve as Medina mayor and then the first woman elected to the Orleans County Legislature. She served 10 years as Legislature chairwoman.

Craig Tuohey, right, accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award with his brother Carl on behalf of their mother, Marcia Tuohey.

“She was a woman who never accepted that glass ceilings existed in the business or the political arena,” said her friend Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the Orleans Economic Development Agency. “If she thought it existed she took a sledgehammer to it.”

Tuohey was 84 when she died at home on Aug. 7. She set a high standard in local government and in her businesses, Barone said, which included a construction company, rehabbing houses, a manufactured housing park and a restaurant.

“She was full of drive, dedication and determination,” Tuohey’s son Craig said Saturday during the awards dinner at Tillman’s Village Inn. “She loved this county.”

Bruce Krenning started a farming career after graduating from Cornell University. He was an orchard manager for George Lamont before Krenning started his own farm. Krenning Orchards was decimated by a hail storm on Labor Day in 1998. Krenning was forced to go out of business.

He had already served on the boards of education for Lyndonville and Albion. But after the storm and the loss of his business, Krenning said he wrestled with self worth.

“I thought after the hail storm that life was over and nobody would want me,” Krenning said. “But that’s not true. I’ve had opportunities with great boards.”

Krenning didn’t stay down long after the storm. He was elected vice president of the New York Farm Bureau, a state-wide organization with 30,000 members, and helped get crop insurance approved at the federal level for fruit and vegetable farms.

He is currently chairman of the board for Orleans Community Health/Medina Memorial Hospital. He will retire in a few months as an insurance agent with the Southcott Agency. He is active with the Orleans Renaissance Group and wants to help with the restoration of the Bent’s Opera House in Medina.

J.J. Heideman, owner of BAD-AsH-BBQ, accepts the award for “New Business of the Year.”

The Chamber also recognized J.J. Heideman as “New Business of the Year” for BAD-AsH-BBQ. Heideman has brought an innovative style to the food business, taking his food business on location. He has an “unstoppable work ethic,” the Chamber said.

Heideman thanked the community for its support. He dedicated the award to his mother.

“This is awesome,” he said. “I never dreamed it would come to this.”

A building that had been vacant for nearly a decade found new life the past year as Fairhaven Treasures. Ray and Linda Burke, owners of the building at the corner of routes 98 and 104, upgraded the house from 1834 with help from many volunteers. The Burkes were recognized with the “Phoenix Award.”

The site sells high-end crafts and art, and is available for concerts and other events.

Greg Piedmonte, the purchasing manager for Precision Packaging Products, accepts the “Entrepreneurial Excellence” award on behalf of the Holley company.

The Chamber honored Precision Packaging Products in Holley for “Entrepreneurial Excellence.” The company has grown from 30 to 35 employees when it moved to Holley in 2003 to the current workforce of 115. It also has made many innovations in the plastic packaging market for food companies.

Lake Ontario Fruit, a packing and storing facility on Ridge Road in Gaines, was recognized as “Agricultural Business of the Year.” The company has invested $7 million since 2008 in additions for storage and a new high-tech packing line. Lake Ontario Fruit packs 1.1 million bushels of fresh apples each year.

“We’re a vessel for the growers in Orleans County,” said John Russell, managing partner for the business. “This is one of the best apple-growing regions in the world. We’ll continue to invest in the county. We’ll continue to invest in our facility and we’ll continue to invest in the future of Orleans County agriculture.”

The Chamber also recognized two residents with community service awards. Anni Skowneski works as case manager for Community of Orleans & Genesee, assisting many families in crisis. She praised the Community Action team, including her boss Annette Finch and her predecessor Joni Dix for being great role models.

Ken DeRoller of Kendall was recognized for his years of service to the Kendall Lions Club, and his service on local Planning Boards, the Orleans Economic Development Agency and now as county legislator.

DeRoller said he always wanted to give back to the community, and he first did so as a volunteer firefighter. When that role became too physically taxing, he switched to service on the boards and through connecting with residents and other local officials.

“Orleans County is a great place to live,” he said. “I enjoy being here.”

Lisa Ireland, former executive director of the United Way of Orleans County, was given a special recognition award from the Chamber and its executive director Kathy Blackburn, right.

The Chamber also issued a surprise special recognition award to Lisa Ireland, the outgoing director of the United Way of Orleans County. She was the first director of the United Way when the eastern and western Orleans chapters merged about three years ago.

She also worked as executive director for the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern and community relations director for Hospice of Orleans. She is leaving the United Way to work as director of donor relations and scholarships for the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“We consider ourselves lucky to work with such a powerful voice for our community,” said Kathy Blackburn, Chamber executive director.

Ireland said she agonized about taking the RIT job because she wants to stay invested in her home county. In her new role she wants to help more Orleans County residents have a shot at attending a prestigious college like RIT.

She thanked the business community for supporting the United Way, which directs money to 20 local agencies.

“We’re not a huge county, but we have huge hearts,” she said.


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Molly the dog will keep close watch on girl with epilepsy

Photos by Tom Rivers
Molly, a 3-month-old black lab, snuggles with Abby Ferris, 6, who has epilepsy and suffers from unpredictable seizures. Molly will be trained to watch for the seizures and to alert Abby’s parents or an adult.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2014
CARLTON – The seizures started with Abby Ferris was she was 2, often striking at night. In the four years since then she has had about 30 seizures. They are unpredictable.

Abby, now 6, has epilepsy. Her parents, Kristin and Todd Ferris, keep a watchful eye on her, afraid to keep her out of sight in case of a seizure. They don’t let Abby sleep alone or go play by herself for very long.

Abby should soon be able to have more independence because the family purchased a seizure response dog, a black lab named Molly. The dog is just 12 weeks old but has already begun some basic training. Molly will be trained to observe Abby for seizures. If Abby is having one, the dog will be trained to go paw at Mr. or Mrs. Ferris.

“I want her to be a normal kid to be able to sleep in her own bed and go play on her own,” Mrs. Ferris said.

Abby Ferris is pictured with her parents, Kristin and Todd Ferris, and Abby’s seizure response dog, Molly.

Abby is very much an active 6-year-old, dancing at Gotta Dance by Miss Amy, jumping on a trampoline and riding a Barbie Car in the backyard.

There is a good chance she will outgrow epilepsy, a neurological disorder. Her seizures can be long, often more than 5 minutes. The family has medication at home if there is an extended seizure.

Mr. Ferris is a long-time Carlton firefighter, a former chief who led the department for 8 years. If Abby has a seizure, he can administer her medication and then check her pupils, muscle strength and equalization – the strength of her left and right sides of the body. Mrs. Ferris also worked in a doctor’s office.

Abby drives her battery-charged Barbie car in her backyard in Carlton.

The couple has learned not to panic when their daughter has a seizure.
However, they said they feel always on alert that their daughter could lose consciousness from a seizure. It’s particularly worrisome at night if she were to have a seizure and vomit. If she were alone, she could choke to death.

“It’s a guessing game. It’s so unpredictable,” Mrs. Ferris said.

Molly, the seizure response dog, gives the family some peace of mind, as well as providing an energetic playmate for Abby.

The family is working with Laura Gates from Gates Dog Training in Ransomville to have Molly become a trained seizure response dog. That training could cost $5,000 to $7,000.

Abby Ferris enjoys jumping on the trampoline.

The family is teaming with the Orr family in Albion for a fund-raiser on Oct. 25 to help pay for the costs of medical dogs.

Tyler Orr, 9, has juvenile diabetes. He was diagnosed almost two years ago. He has unpredictable seizures. His medical dog will be trained to detect a drop or spike in blood sugar levels. Tyler was featured in an Orleans Hub article on Aug. 3: "Family seeks medical dog for son with diabetes."

Iva McKenna and Country Lane Veterinary Services in Barre are organizing the spaghetti dinner and basket raffle. For more information about tickets or to donate a basket, call Country Lane at 589-9835.


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Holley rededicates refurbished fountain

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 21 September 2014
HOLLEY – Village officials rededicated a fountain that was first installed in the Public Square 100 years ago.

The Salisbury Fountain was originally given to the village by Mrs. Abraham Salisbury. According to a plaque, it was “Presented through the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.”

The fountain was taken apart and refurbished with K.M. Verhagen doing much of the restoration work. The fountain was disassembled and sandblasted. New stainless hardware was installed and broken casting was welded. It was also cleaned, primed, and repainted. The detailing was done by local artist Howard Barry.

Rosa Maria Scroope, 2, and Marcus Vinca, 3, both of Holley delight in the water trickling from the rebuilt fountain in downtown Holley.


Village Historian Marsha DeFillipps praised the efforts to spruce up and repair the fountain.


"They did a beautiful job," she said following a dedication ceremony on Saturday.

The village used $15,000 in state funds to pay for the fixes to the village landmark.


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Clarendon unveils marker for historic cemetery

Community makes push to restore chapel

Photos by Tom Rivers

Melissa Ierlan, the Clarendon town historian, unveils a historical marker this afternoon for Hillside Cemetery, which last year was named to National Register of Historic Places.

Clarendon Town Supervisor Richard Moy said the town supports the effort to restore the chapel, which was built in 1894 from local Medina sandstone.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 September 2014
HOLLEY – A year ago the U.S. Department of Interior gave lofty status to Hillside Cemetery by placing it on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today a historical marker was unveiled to highlight that recognition. A grant from the William Pomeroy Foundation paid the $1,280 cost for the marker.

The Holley and Clarendon community held an open house celebration for the chapel at the cemetery and Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin gave a tour of the chapel and cemetery. Town officials and the Clarendon Historical Society also urged the community to help restore the chapel, which needs a new roof, wooden window frames, some mortar repointing and repainting inside.

The chapel was open for tours today as part of a celebration for the site being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The town is seeking a state grant to help with the $225,000 overall project. Town Historian Melissa Ierlan and Clarendon Historical Society member Erin Anheier are leading the effort to restore the chapel. They worked on the grant application and also the National Register nomination.

“The community owes them a big debt of gratitude,” said Richard Moy, Clarendon town supervisor.

Erin Anheier tells the community the chapel and cemetery are a "treasure."

The town has owned Hillside Cemetery since the Hillside Cemetery Association disbanded about a decade ago. The cemetery is located at the corner of Route 237 and South Holley Road.

The cemetery opened in 1866 and was designed in the 19th century “Rural Cemetery Movement.” That is on the eastern side of the cemetery where the gravesides are dug into the side of the hill.

The 20th century “Lawn Style” approach is seen in the western portion. The cemetery has many beautiful gravestones that are works of art, Anheier said.
“We’re here to celebrate the historic treasure in our midst,” Anheier said when addressing about 50 people today.

Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin leads a tour of Hillside Cemetery. He is pictured with a crowd outside the chapel. This photo was taken from the inside of the chapel, looking through one of the windows.

The chapel was built in 1894. It remains much like its original state with no alterations inside. However, the roof needs to be replaced and wooden window frames are rotting.

Anheier and Ierlan want the chapel to again be available for funerals. The site also has fine acoustics for concerts. Amy Harris played her flute during a reception this afternoon inside the chapel.

Melissa Ierlan, the town historian, leads a tour of the mortuary chamber, which has room for 48 caskets. The space continues to be used to store some caskets during the winter when the ground is frozen.

This picture was taken looking up from the mortuary chambers to the stairs leading to the main chapel room.


The National Register listing should boost the town’s chances for securing funding for the chapel restoration. The Historical Society and town would like to use the building for community events in the future.

Donations of more than $1,000 will be recognized with a plaque in the restored chapel. Donations can be sent to the Clarendon Historical Society Chapel Fund, P.O. Box 124, Clarendon, NY, 14429.

For more information, call the Town Hall at 585-638-6371 ext. 104 or email

Amy Harris plays her flute during a reception today inside the chapel at Hillside Cemetery.


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