By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 January 2019 at 10:06 am
James O. White
MEDINA – A Lockport man was charged on Tuesday with manslaughter for allegedly providing the drugs in a fatal overdose of a Medina man.
Police arrested James O. White, 27, of Porter Street and charged him with one count of manslaughter in the second degree (a Class C felony) and two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree (Class B felonies).
The charges follow a lengthy investigation by the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force, with assistance by the Medina Police Department and the Niagara County Drug Task Force.
White allegedly provided a lethal combination of heroin and fentanyl to Wade Sargent who died on March 25, 2017. Sargent, who was 22 at the time, was found unresponsive at a residence in the village of Medina.
Investigators processed evidence located at the scene including baggies containing a powdery substance which were submitted to and analyzed by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department Forensic Laboratory and found to contain heroin and fentanyl, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force said today.
A forensic examination was completed on Sargent’s cellphone by the Task Force and numerous text messages were recovered connecting White to the death of Wade Sargent, the Task Force said.
White was arraigned in the Shelby Town Court by Town Justice Dawn Keppler, who committed White to the Orleans County Jail on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond. White is to return to the Shelby Town Court on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Further arrests and charges are pending in this investigation, said Joe Sacco, supervising investigator for the Task Force.
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 23 January 2019 at 9:12 am
Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Rashawn Bloom and his Mustangs teammates will host the annual Gary Gross Memorial Wrestling Tournament on Saturday.
With the largest field of competitors to date scheduled to compete, Medina will host the fourth annual Gary Gross Memorial Wrestling Tournament on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.
The tournament honors the memory of the father of Medina Coach Eric Gross who was a very active long time supporter of the Mustangs wrestling program.
Joining Medina in the large 14 team field will be wrestlers from Albion, Lyndonville, Roy-Hart, Lockport, Akron, Wilson, Lew-Port, Attica/Batavia, Alexander, Avon/Geneseo, Gilead, Churchville-Chili and Keshequa.
“It’s the largest tournament we’ve had,” said Coach Gross.
Medina’s Colby Petrie is a defending tournament champion.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 January 2019 at 8:42 am
The series Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven and Other Miracles includes a story from a Holley resident.
HOLLEY – David Hull of Holley is featured again in the latest book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
Hull, a retired preschool teacher, has stories in about 20 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. The Chicken Soup for the Soul series started about 25 years ago and now includes more than 250 titles. It has sold more than 100 million copies.
The latest book in the series, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven and Other Miracles, includes a story – “Angels in the Attic” – by Hull. He writes about moving into an old farmhouse in upstate New York and having a former resident of the house, Vicki, stop by. She said she grew up in the house with her siblings. She reminisced to Hull about birthday parties, backyard campouts and chasing fireflies near the gully.
Hull welcomed Vicki to stop by the house anytime. She would soon die from a brain tumor.
Following her death, it seemed a guardian angel was in the house, including during a powerful storm when Hull heard a voice warning him of a storm. He was watching the storm from his bedroom and moved to the basement. Then a pine tree fell, crashing into his bedroom.
File photo: David Hull, a retired preschool teacher, is has a story in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul book.
“If I had been standing there by the window when it happened, I’m sure I would have been crushed along with my dresser and nightstand,” Hull writes.
Each of the Chicken Soup books includes 101 stories that tend to be three to four pages for each article.
Hull, 59, checked the Chicken Soup website about seven years ago, and sent in a story. It was accepted. Although he has now been included in about 20 of the books, Hull said some of his stories didn’t make the final cut.
Hull studied English in college and earned a degree in education. He worked 28 years as a teacher at the Brockport Child Development Center at Brockport State College. He retired four years ago.
In Messages from Heaven and Other Miracles, many of the writers have lost parents, friends, siblings, even children. The writers share stories about how they have been comforted by messages and signs from their loved ones.
“Messages from heaven and miracles come to us in a variety of surprising and comforting ways,” according to the publisher’s description of the book. “They come to us in dreams or in signs, from people we know and love, and from perfect strangers. And sometimes we’re even visited by an angel. However we receive these messages, or experience these miracles, we are reminded that love never dies.”
Photo by Tom Rivers: A hydrant in Albion is buried in snow today. Local fire departments urge people to keep hydrants clear of ice and snow so firefighters can see the hydrants and access them easily if there is an emergency.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 January 2019 at 4:44 pm
The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a winter weather advisory for Wednesday from 2 a.m. until 2 p.m. for Orleans and Western New York.
Freezing rain is expected with total ice accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch and winds gusting as high as 40 mph.
“Plan on slippery road conditions,” the Weather Service said. “The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute.”
After freezing rain tonight, there will be rain in the morning and then a high of 42. Thursday is forecast for a high of 32 with scattered flurries, a high near 20 on Friday with a chance of snow showers, and a high near 16 on Saturday.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 January 2019 at 4:19 pm
Photos courtesy of Barker Trustee Seanna Corwin-Bradley: This photo from today shows the Barker police station, which is also being used for the village office after a fire Sunday night.
BARKER – The Barker Village Board will be meeting at 7 p.m. daily until further notice, and welcomes residents to attend the sessions and share their concerns.
The meetings will be at the police station, which is serving as the temporary site for the village office after a fire Sunday night destroyed the village office and also the public library.
Barker village officials issued this statement this afternoon:
The Village of Barker Board of Trustees will be holding nightly meetings at 7 pm at the Barker Police Station at 1697 East Ave, Barker. The meetings will be open to the public and we encourage any residents with questions or concerns to attend. The meetings will be occurring until further notice.
Should any residents need Notary Services, please email Trustee Corwin-Bradley at Seanna.Bradley@gmail.com to set up a time for Notarial services until Clerk-Treasurer Amanda Detschner can obtain a new Notary stamp.
Our temporary Village Hall is now operational at the Barker Police Station at 1697 East Ave., should you need any assistance; our phone number has been forwarded to the Police Station and is 795-3777.
Again, thank you to our Village residents and community members for all of your assistance and support. It has been an emotional, overwhelming and overall excruciating 48 hours, but the spirit of Barker is alive and well and we can’t thank you all enough.
Mayor Aaron Nellist
Deputy Mayor Greg Kerth
Clerk-Treasurer Amanda Detschner
Trustee Seanna Corwin-Bradley
Trustee Jim Baker
Trustee Benjamin Seward
This photo shows the former library and village office after the fire.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 January 2019 at 12:46 pm
GoFundMe: This photo from Sunday night shows the smoky ruins of the Barker Public Library and also the Barker village offices.
BARKER – An online fundraiser has been established to raise money for the Barker Public Library, which was destroyed in a fire on Sunday night.
The library and the village offices, which share a building, are a total loss from a fire that broke out just before midnight.
“Our beloved Barker Public Library burned to the ground last night,” Julie Obermiller write on a GoFundMe on Monday. “It was a monument to what a community can accomplish, and we are feeling helpless and lost. Our Children’s Room was the result of hard work and determination by the community and was our pride and joy.”
The village offices are temporarily at the police station. Barker library patrons are urged to use other libraries in the three-county Nioga system. The Barker library is working to have a bookdrop set up in the community.
“Whatever else happens in the rebuilding, there will be so much to replace so we are starting here,” Obermiller said. “All funds will go toward the project as needed. We also lost our Barker Village Hall and our historic train station. As we reel from the shock, let’s add a note of hope by showing how much our little library meant to us!”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 January 2019 at 12:28 pm
MURRAY – Three people had minor injuries and were transported by Monroe Ambulance this morning to hospitals in the Rochester area after an accident on Ridge Road.
A school bus and a car were stopped on Ridge Road at about 8:10 a.m., when the car was hit from behind by a pickup truck, said Harris Reed, the Holley fire chief.
No additional information is available.
This is the 44th call for the Fire Department so far this year, far more than this time a year ago, Reed said.
UPDATED at 4:53 p.m.: This was actually a three-vehicle accident. There were two vehicles waiting behind the school bus when the pickup hit the Nissan, which then hit another car. The driver of that car was able to steer in the other lane to avoid the school bus, that driver told the Orleans Hub.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 January 2019 at 11:57 am
HOLLEY – A new historical marker will be erected this spring on South Main Street in Holley at the former home of Chauncey Robinson, who was an abolitionist who opened his home to hide escaped slaves as part of the Underground Railroad.
The county, Orleans County Historical Association and two local donors are sharing the cost for the marker at 35 South Main, west of Geddes Street.
Local historians have long suspected there were houses in Orleans County on the Underground Railroad, which was a secret network of trails and homes. But there wasn’t documentation to back it up, until Clarendon Historian Melissa Ierlan found a letter from Robinson’s grandson.
In the lengthy letter, the grandson details visiting his grandfather, who took him up to the second floor of the back side of the house. The grandfather pulled back a curtain, and there was a group of escaped slaves on beds.
“It’s pretty unusual to find descriptions like that,” said Matt Ballard, the county historian and president of the Orleans County Historical Association.
More research showed that Robinson was in fact an outspoken abolitionist,.
The Orleans County Historical Association considered other sites for a marker, but decided on Robinson and his work with the Underground Railroad. Ballard said this will be the second historical marker in Orleans County about African-American history. Medina in April 2015 unveiled a marker on Main Street in recognition of two speeches delivered in the community by Frederick Douglass, a leading abolitionist. Ballard likes how the Holley marker highlights a local resident advocating for escaped slaves.
“This is more a man who lived in the community who was well respected and was participating in the Underground Railroad,” Ballard said today. “There has been a lot of speculation and rumor with the Underground Railroad, but no written documentation.”
Ballard wants to see markers recognize underrepresented groups in the county’s history, and also bring attention to overlooked and unappreciated sites.
The Holley marker will be two-sided with one side highlighting Robinson and the Underground Railroad, and the other side noted the work of Ezra Brainerd, who built Robinson’s home and oversaw construction of the canal embankment over Sandy Creek, “which was a major undertaking,” Ballard said.
The Historical Association is considering other spots for historical markers in the future, including:
• The childhood home of Henry A. Spencer on Chamberlain Street in Albion. Spencer was the first African-American student at University of Rochester, a pall bearer for Frederick Douglass’s funeral, a member of Frederick Douglass Memorial Committee, and secretary for the NYS Assembly.
• Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church on Brown Street in Albion, the first Polish rural mission church outside of Buffalo, and center of Albion’s Polonia.
• George Pullman’s home on East State Street in the Village of Albion
• Silas Mainville Burroughs’ home at State Street Park in Medina. S.M. Burroughs Sr. was a NYS Assemblyman and a congressman. S.M. Burroughs Jr. was founder of Burroughs Wellcome & Co., now GlaxoSmithKline.
• Carlyon Calamity in the Town of Carlton on Yates-Carlton Townline, This is the site of a railroad accident on R.W.&O. Railroad, causing deaths of 17 passengers.
• Stangeland property on Norway Road in Kendall, the site of Andreas Stangeland home. Stangeland traveled with Cleng Peerson in 1824 to select land for Sloopers, and remained with Norwegians as Peerson traveled westward.
• Bidelman’s Tannery on Ridge Road near Rt. 279 in Gaines, which was originally Mather’s Tannery. Masons allegedly stopped at site while transporting the kidnapped William Morgan to Lewiston.
• Brady’s Quarry on Butts Road near the canal in Albion. The site allegedly provided sandstone for the Capitol Building in Albany. (Historians need to confirm location.)
• Sgt. Isaac Hawkins home near Glenwood & Ryan streets in Medina. Hawkins, an African-American, was a member of 54th Massachusetts Infantry. He was captured at Battle of Olustee, a prisoner at Andersonville, and buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
• Lake Alice in Carlton, a man-made lake that was constructed by Western New York Utilities Co. in 1917. The company purchased over 50 parcels of property and relocated buildings to create reservoir.
• Wilson Hanging at Courthouse Square in Albion, the site of only public execution in Orleans County.
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 January 2019 at 9:36 am
Provided photo: Hank Parker is a popular host of an outdoor show and is a member of three halls of fame for fishing, hunting and the outdoors.
MEDINA – Merle Fredericks has two passions in his life – bowhunting and sharing his love of Jesus Christ.
In 1992 he found a way to combine those passions when he joined Christian Bowhunters of America.
In 2003, he founded a local chapter of Christian Bowhunters of America, called the Bow Bending Believers. He is currently executive director of CBA on the national level and serves as chairman of the CBA board of directors.
In addition, he has chaired the local chapter since its inception. John Curtin of Medina is vice chairman, Fredericks’ wife Mitzi (who is also a bow hunter) is chapter secretary and Jeff Robinson of Lyndonville is treasurer.
It has become customary for several years for the local group to sponsor a dinner with a noted speaker. This year, the 15th annual dinner and seminar will take place Feb. 1 at Oak Orchard Assembly of God, 12111 Ridge Rd., and will feature Hank Parker, host of Hank Parker’s Outdoor Magazine and co-host of Hank Parker’s Flesh and Blood.
There are 400 tickets available. Fredericks anticipates the event will be a sellout. For more information, call Fredericks at (585) 765-2839.
Parker is well-known in the hunting and fishing world. He has a love for bow hunting and has completed the wild turkey Royal Slam and has harvested many Pope and Young whitetail deer and elk. In 2005, Parker and his two sons began televising their hunts. Both his shows are currently airing on the Outdoor Channel.
Over the years, he has been honored by being inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame and the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame. Parker also loves sharing his testimony of what the Lord has done in his life, Fredericks said.
Parker joins a long list of speakers from all over the country, who present an outdoor-themed program and then conclude with a gospel message. These have included Dan Fitzgerald, Charles Alsheimer, Jimmy Sites, Russell Thornberry and the very popular Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the seminar will begin at 7 p.m.
The evening will feature free door prizes, a free ladder tree stand giveaway, free venison smoked sausages and jerky, a taxidermist, Pope and Young scoring booth and raffles.
In addition to the annual dinner, the Bow Bending Believers hosts a youth event in the summer (last year at the YMCA in Medina) to teach kids how to shoot archery equipment; and an annual 3D shoot in late September at the Yates Carlton Sportsmen’s Club in Lyndonville.
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 January 2019 at 7:40 am
Provided photo: Composer Steve Shewan of West Shelby recently won two national choral composition contests. Most recently, he flew to Minneapolis for the “Vocal Essence” premiere of his The Little Cradle Rocks Tonight.
WEST SHELBY – With a father who directed the Roberts Wesleyan Chorale for more than 30 years and his mother who conducted children’s choirs, Stephen Shewan comes by his musical talent naturally.
His father Robert once conducted the Orleans All-County Choir in Lyndonville, Shewan said.
His brother Paul is currently conductor of the Roberts Wesleyan Band and Choir and plays trumpet in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
“Music is a family trade,” Shewan said. “My whole life I knew I was going to do something with music.”
Shewan, who grew up in the Rochester area and now lives in West Shelby, got his bachelor of science in music education at Roberts Wesleyan, his master’s at Ithaca College with an emphasis in French horn and piano and a doctorate in composition at the Eastman School of Music. He is honored to recently win several prestigious awards for his chorale compositions.
One award was the 2018 first-place winner of the Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition at North Dakota State University’s Challey School of Music. The competition honors the legacy and traditions of noted choral composer and longtime NDSU choral conductor Edwin Fissinger.
Shewan won the award for his composition of “Mother Goose Gems” set to music.
He was inspired for the piece from a book of nursery rhymes he picked up at the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina.
“I wrote the six short movements for my mom, who was an elementary choral director,” Shewan said about his mother, who passed away in 2007.
On Dec. 1, Shewan flew to Minneapolis for the “Vocal Essence” premiere of The Little Cradle Rocks Tonight. In March he will travel to North Dakota to hear the North Dakota State University perform Mother Goose Gems, which will be published by Pavane Music Company as part of the Jo Ann Miller Choral Series.
Another of Shewan’s choral pieces, Silent Night, won the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay’s 2016 Christmas Carol Contest.
“I write a lot of Christmas music,” Shewan said.
The Genesee Chorale, under the direction of Ric Jones of Medina, has performed one of his pieces. Shewan just finished a piece for wind ensemble which premiered a week ago by the Williamsville East Wind Ensemble.
Shewan has also composed music for orchestra, string quartet, chamber ensembles, symphonic band, solo voice, choir and piano. His music has been performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, U.S. Army Strings, Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, Vrije Univeriteit Amsterdam Choir and numerous other musical groups across the United States, Europe and Australia.
His music has been broadcast on more than 200 radio stations in America.
Shewan continues to teach in Williamsville and said today’s kids are as nice as any.
“How fortunate I am to get paid to teach these kids a subject I love,” Shewan said.
He added he loves living in the country, having moved with his wife Ruth to the former Jay Brackett home when he got the job at Williamsville.
As the sponsor of the State Contracts Sunlight Act, one of the first procurement reform bills in Albany, Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,I,C,Ref-Lockport) said that with the governor’s now apparent support for reforming the process, there is hope that substantial reforms will happen this year to protect any taxpayer-funded investment made, through the budget or other legislation, in economic development.
“Since I first took office, I have been fighting for this necessary procurement reform,” said Norris. “Corruption contained in the Buffalo Billion scandal was completely unacceptable, but the most important thing going forward is to allow for a more open and transparent process and stopping any further fraud and abuse. If the governor is finally ready to get on board to enact substantial reforms, I will do everything I can to support that effort because the people of our state work too hard and are taxed too much to see their money wasted on projects and potential jobs that never materialize.”
Norris’ State Contract Sunlight Act would require the state comptroller and attorney general, who oversee and approve any state contracts, to accept public comment before authorizing them and compile a public, searchable database of all contracts so we know where our hardworking taxpayer dollars are being spent and any concerns from the public can be addressed before enactment.
Norris is also a proud sponsor of the Public Officers Accountability Act, which would require the full disclosure of all elected official outside income, place term limits on legislative leaders, and create a more transparent legislative process.
In the presentation of his 2019 Executive Budget, Cuomo outlined his plan to address these procurement matters. His plan includes measures that Norris has been advocating for since he took office, including directing Empire State Development to create its own publicly accessible online database of projects getting state benefits and returning certain powers to the comptroller including the authority to pre-audit any SUNY, CUNY and Office of General Services contracts worth more than $250,000.
Procurement reform is critical to assure that our taxpayers dollars are being spent in an open transparent manner, free from any political conflicts and ensuring that the number of promised jobs being created are in fact established and retained. I am pleased to support these first steps by the Governor to promote this objective, and encourage my colleagues in the State Legislature to consider a complete database of all agency contracts and other reforms as mentioned above, in this legislative session and budget negotiations.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2019 at 5:30 pm
Photos by Tom Rivers
ROCHESTER – The City of Rochester last year unveiled 13 statues in honor of Frederick Douglass during the 200th anniversary of his birth.
These photos of one of the Douglass statues were taken on Jan. 8. This is at 300 Alexander St., which is near the site of Douglass’s first home in Rochester at 297 Alexander St.
File photo by Tom Rivers: The original bronze statue at Highland Park was created by Stanley Edwards and is up high on a pedestal.
These statues are very similar to the one at Highland Park in Rochester. That statue, unveiled in 1899, was the first statue erected in the country in honor of an African-American.
Douglass was born a slave in Maryland in 1818. He escaped the South at age 21 and moved to Rochester in 1847. He stayed for 25 years.
The human rights advocate was a prominent speaker, editor and author, taking on many causes, including women’s suffrage. (He attended the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls in 1848, the only African American male present, and delivered a speech that helped sway support for the suffrage resolution.)
“At any rate, seeing that the male government of the world have failed, it can do no harm to try the experiment of a government by man and woman united…” Douglass said then.
The monument at Highland Park includes excerpts from other famous Douglass speeches:
• “The best defense of free American institution is the hearts of the American people themselves.”
• “One with God is a majority.”
• “I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity.”
• “Men do not live by bread alone; so with nations, they are not saved by art, but by honesty, not by gilded splendors of wealth but by the hidden treasure of manly virtue, not by the multitudinous gratification of the flesh, but by the celestial guidance of the spirit.”
• “I know of no soil better adapted to the growth of reform than American soil. I know of no country where the conditions for effecting great changes in the settled order of things, for the development of right ideas of liberty and humanity are more favorable than here in these United States.”
The new statues of Douglass were created by Rochester sculptor Olivia Kim. The statues are placed at sites around the city that are significant in Douglass’s life and his work as an abolitionist.
Douglass, as a crusader, made Rochester a focal point of the abolitionist movement. He published the North Star newspaper in Rochester and coordinated Underground Railroad efforts in the area.
Frederick Douglass was one of the most famous Americans during the 19th Century.
Douglass lived in the city until an unexplained fire at his home. He then moved to Washington where he worked for the Garfield and Harrison administrations.
He died in 1895 and Rochester moved to honor him with the bronze statue. It was created by sculptor Stanley Edwards, who used Douglass’s son Charles as a model.
When it was unveiled in 1899 in front of New York Central Train Station, it was the first statue dedicated to a black man. The dedication ceremony for the Douglass memorial was attended by 10,000 people, including Theodore Roosevelt, who was then New York’s governor.
The statue was moved to Highland Park in 1941. Rochester officials didn’t think the spot by the train station at the corner of St. Paul Street and Central Avenue was a fitting location for one of the city’s most respected residents. That site was noisy and grimy.
The new statues were part of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration. The project aimed to better connect Douglass to the community, to bring him down to the ground where more people could interact with the statues.
Kim, the artist who created the new sculptures, softened Douglass’s stern look and tried to present him in a more relaxed pose.
Kim used the hands of Kenneth B. Morris Jr., the great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass, as a model for the new Douglass statues.
This new Douglass statue is at 300 Alexander St.
You can see new Douglass statues at:
• 25 East Main St., where Douglass published The North Star
• 42 Favor St., the former site of the AME Zion Church which is the original site where Douglass published his newspaper and also a stop on the Underground Railroad
A historical marker was erected last year across from 300 Alexander St., where there is a new Frederick Douglass statue.
• 999 South Ave., the site of the Douglass family farm (now a school)
• 50 Plymouth Avenue North, formerly the Central Presbyterian Church and now Hochstein School of Music and Dance, where mourners gathered for Douglass’s funeral
• The intersection of Central Avenue and St. Paul Street, where the original statue from 1899 was located before moving to Highland Park
• Corinthian Street, where Douglass delivered his renown Fourth of July speech
• 300 Alexander Street, near the site of Douglass’s first home in Rochester at 297 Alexander St.
• Intersection of Alexander Street and Tracy Street, which was the site of the Seward School attended by Douglass’s children.
• Kelsey’s Landing in Maplewood Park – Underground Railroad departure point
• 1133 Mount Hope Ave. at Mt. Hope Cemetery, burial site for Douglass and his family membes
• Washington Square Park which is the site of the Civil War “Soldiers and Sailors” monument
• University of Rochester Rush Rhees Library, which commemorates Douglass’s work in Rochester
• SUNY Rochester Educational Opportunity Center for The College at Brockport on Chestnut Street, which celebrates Douglass’s commitment to education
Medina unveiled a historical marker for Douglass on Main Street in April 2015.
The Orleans Renaissance Group and Village of Medina on April 25, 2015 unveiled a historical marker in honor of Douglass on Main Street, in front of the Knights of Columbus.
The historical marker unveiled today on Main Street in Medina highlights two speeches he gave in Medina.
In 1849, Douglass delivered a speech in Medina at the former Methodist Episcopal Church on Main Street (the current Fuller block, home of Main Street Appliance). He also visited Medina in 1869 and gave a celebratory address for Emancipation entitled “We are not yet quite free.” That event on Aug. 3 was attended by African-Americans from throughout the state.
During the marker’s unveiling on April 25, 2015, Chris Busch, the ORG chairman, addressed the group with these closing comments:
“Let these words here, cast in iron, now and for all time, give us pause to remember our intrepid and beloved countryman, Frederick Douglass, and our forebears who stood with him in the cause of freedom and emancipation, in dark and dangerous times, when few had the courage to do so. Let us with this marker never forget their courage, and solemnly pledge to preserve their legacy for all generations.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2019 at 3:50 pm
BARKER – A fire destroyed the Barker Village Office and the public library last night. Mayor Aaron Nellist has told The Buffalo News the village has insurance and will rebuild. The village will temporarily use the police station for the village offices. The Barker library has urged patrons to use other libraries in the Nioga system in Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties. Their library cards are good at those libraries, too. The library is working to have a bookdrop in Barker.
The village issued this statement this afternoon:
“Around midnight, Monday January 21st we were notified that the Barker Village Hall and Barker Public Library were being consumed by a fire. The building and the contents of the building are a total loss. At this point an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire. The Village of Barker would like to emphasize that our services will not be disrupted and will continue as usual; this includes police services, snow removal and refuse.
“The Clerk-Treasurer’s office will be moved to the Barker Police Station at 1697 East Ave and will operate during usual business hours beginning tomorrow, Tuesday January 22nd from 9-12 and 1-4 pm.
“The Village of Barker would like to thank the Barker Fire Department and all the other local fire departments who assisted in containing the fire. It will take some time and a lot of effort, but we are confident that the support from our residents and community will get us all through the rebuilding process.”
Photos by Tom Rivers: These Hands 4 Hope volunteers were out in 15-degree weather Saturday outside the Hoag Library. They include, from left: Kevin Lemcke, Lurando Mata, Jack Burris, Darrell Burgio, Dan Conrad and Thom Jennings.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2019 at 11:44 am
ALBION – On Saturday, with temperatures in the teens and wind blowing in their face, volunteers were ready to give out food, clothes, kind words and prayers.
The Hands 4 Hope ministry has been doing it for three years. Jack Burris and a team of volunteers have been consistent going to four different locations each month.
Inside the van, the Hands 4 Hope team takes prayer requests. This group includes, from left: Kevin Lemcke, Pat Murray, Ron LaGamba and Jack Burris.
They give out about 20 “shares” or bags of food each week, and have tables set up with free clothes. Burris has repurposed a red delivery truck into the base for the ministry. People can go inside the truck and are welcome to share a prayer request.
The truck has been dubbed “Clifford” and has become a frequent sight in the community, even appearing in Medina’s Parade of Lights.
Burris, owner of a carpet cleaning business, modelled Hands 4 Hope after the Care-A-Van Ministries in Batavia.
“We’ve become a family,” Burris said about the Hands 4 Hope volunteers and the people they serve. “It’s not an us-and-them thing, it’s a we thing. We’ve definitely built a community.”
On Saturday, in the bitter cold, about 10 volunteers were outside the Hoag Library at Hands 4 Hope. They distributed 22 bags of food, which also included toilet paper, dish soap and other supplies.
An anonymous benefactor funded the effort until very recently. Now community donations keep it going. Burris said people continue to step forward to support the ministry, whether with donations or by helping as volunteers.
“I definitely enjoy the heck out of it,” he said. “I feel blessed.”
Hands 4 Hope has tables out with clothes that are available for free.
Hands 4 Hope is in Medina the first Saturday each month at Orient and Starr streets. That site has been busier since the MAAC Clothing Depot opened across the street.
The second Saturday, Hands 4 Hope is at Holley in the Public Square, usually parking in front of the former bank.
The third and fourth Saturdays are in Albion, at the Hoag Library parking lot the third Saturday and over on Lydun Drive the fourth Saturday. When there’s a fifth Saturday, Hands 4 Hope usually takes the day off.
The ministry averaged 88 shares a month of food in 2018, which was up from about 80 in 2017.
Burris said Hands 4 Hope has been buying in bulk to stretch out its dollars. It has been operating on the Christ Church in Albion’s liability insurance. Christ Church runs the Community Kitchen on Fridays at Albion.
About six months after Hands 4 Hope started, The Orleans County Democratic Committee donated coats and clothes. Now, many people have donated winter jackets, pants, shirts and other clothing.
“The clothes are huge,” Burris said.
People have donated tables and clothing bins as well, and Aggie Recco leads the effort to organize the clothes.
Some of Burris’s customers in his cleaning business know about Hands 4 Hope and they have donated clothes and luggage. The suitcases are a hot commodity because Burris said there are many people who don’t have their own place to live. They have most of their belongings in suitcases, and they stay temporarily on other peoples’ couches.
Pat Murray writes down a prayer concern.
Burris said a core of volunteers have been with the ministry since soon after the first Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Darrell Burgio, Thom Jennings, Kevin Lemcke, Brian Stewart, Ron LaGamba and others all help the ministry happen, helping to pack food, set up tables and be an encouraging presence to people who stop by the red truck.
Jennings said he can relate to people who are struggling to pay their bills. He was a single father with young children about two decades ago. He said Hands 4 Hope doesn’t look down on anyone who stops by the truck. There isn’t any paperwork to fill with income criteria.
“In the beginning, people were super suspicious and then they realize there is no catch,” Jennings said. “A lot of people come up to the truck and they appreciate all the blessings in their life.”
People have asked for prayers, sometimes for a different job or a health concern. They often come back, weeks or month later, with good news to share.
“I respect and appreciate the power of prayer,” Jennings said. “It lets you know you are not alone.”
The prayers are all kept confidential. And the ministry remains an act of faith, without a firm plan for keeping it sustainable long-term.
“Everything is put in the hands of God,” Jennings said.
To make a donation, send to Hands 4 Hope, P.O. Box 495, Albion NY 14411.
The red van, “Clifford,” visits four locations each month. On Saturday, Hands 4 Hope was outside Hoag Library from 10:30 a.m. to noon.