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Kendall Community Band plays many favorites at Christmas concert
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2017 at 10:37 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Lori Cyr, director of the Kendall Community Band, passes out bells so the audience could participate while the band played “Jingle Bells” during a concert at Hoag Library this evening.

The Kendall Community Band played many holiday classics during an hour-long Christmas concert.

Many of the band members wore Santa hats during the concert. These musicians include, front to back, Paul Rider on clarinet, Don Bishop on tenor sax, and Mike Metcalf on tuba.

The band played the following selections: Yankee Fanfare, Joyous Christmas Spirit, Hogan’s Heroes March, Christmas from the ’50s, Fantasia on an Irish Hymn, All I Want For Christmas Is You, An American Christmas Portrait, Fantasy on ‘The Minstrel Boy’, Grease!, American Christmas Festival and We Need A Little Christmas.

Kay Metcalf plays the clarinet and Skip Scroger plays the trumpet.

The band started five years ago for Kendall’s 200th anniversary celebration and has continued with musicians from throughout the county and western Monroe.

The band welcomes more members. For more information on the band, click here for its Facebook page.

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Medina middle schoolers donates to Angel Tree families
Posted 14 December 2017 at 5:59 pm

Provided photo: Medina students Camryn Eick, left, and Marah Ritzenthaler are pictured with advisor, Kristen Armenia.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – Every year, staff at Clifford Wise Middle/Intermediate School donates gifts for their Angel Tree that benefits several families with children in the Medina School District.

This year the Jr. FFA decided to help out. With the guidance of their advisor, Kristen Armenia, they wrote to the makers of some of their favorite products.

“In addition to those presents we like to send home hygiene products to the families,” Armenia said.  “The students wrote letters to the companies that manufacture hygiene products, and asked them for donations. They were so excited when they received toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, body wash and body cream donated.”

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CRFS, United Way donate toys to Community Action
Posted 14 December 2017 at 5:46 pm

Provided photo by Community Action

ALBION – CRFS recently did a toy drive at the Albion company. Those toys were given to the United Way of Orleans County, which then donated them to Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. Community Action will be giving toys to more than 200 families from donations from the community.

Pictured include from left: Dave Cook, President of United Way; Michelle Figueroa, caseworker for Community Action; Ed Fancher, Executive Director of Community Action; Kaitlyn Delamarter, Executive Director of United Way; and Jackie Gardner, incoming president of United Way.

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Albion man faces sexual abuse charges
Posted 14 December 2017 at 5:15 pm

Rome Santiago allegedly committed crime while on duty with Arc of Genesee Orleans

Press Release, Undersheriff Chris Bourke

Rome A. Santiago

ALBION – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday arrested an Albion man on sex abuse charges. Rome A. Santiago, 39, of East State Street in Albion has been charged with sexual abuse in the third degree.

Santiago is employed by the Arc of Genesee Orleans. The alleged inappropriate and unwanted contact took place with an adult client during outings in the Orleans and Genesee County area.

The Arc of Genesee Orleans assisted and fully cooperated with the Sheriff’s Office during this investigation.

Santiago was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Albion Court on Dec. 20 at 9 a.m.

The investigation was conducted by Investigator K. Strickland, Undersheriff Christopher Bourke, and assisted by Lyndonville Police Officer William Larkin.

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Nearly half of department leaders in county government are women
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2017 at 10:27 am

Percentage is much higher than women serving in elected roles

Photos by Tom Rivers: Melissa Blanar, director of the Orleans County Office for the Aging, speaks to senior citizens on Wednesday about the Yellow Dot and Vial of Life programs that include information about emergency contact numbers and medical histories. Blanar is one of 12 women leading a county department.

ALBION – In Orleans County, only 3 of the 15 elected officials for county positions are women. That 20 percent rate mirrors the state-wide average of 21.7 percent. (There are 257 women in county elected positions out of 1,187 total, according to the New York State Association of Counties.)

However, the Orleans County government’s leadership has a much higher percentage of women in leadership roles. The county has 26 department heads and women are serving in 12 of those jobs or 46 percent of the total.

John DeFilipps, chairman of the County Legislature, said the county looks at the qualifications when picking a department head. Women often are the top candidates for the job.

He noted the recent hiring of Joanne Best as the county’s public defender. She succeeds Sandy Church, who was elected county judge. Best stood out among many qualified applicants, DeFilipps said.

The management team members for the county government who are women include:

Nadine Hanlon, clerk of the Legislature; Karen Lake-Maynard, county clerk; Janice Grabowski and Kathleen Case, election commissioners; Lynne Menz, tourism director; Kelly Kiebala, Job Development director; Melissa Blanar, Office for the Aging director; Lucille Welch, Probation director; Joanne Best, public defender; Dawn Allen, director of Real Property Tax Services; Kimberly DeFrank, county treasurer; and Jocelyn Sikorsky, Youth Bureau director.

The management team members who are men include:

Gerald Gray, county high and buildings and grounds superintendent; Chuck Nesbitt, county chief administrative officer; Edwin Moss, director of computer services; David Schubel, county attorney; Joe Cardone, district attorney; Dale Banker, Emergency Management director; Matt Ballard, county historian; Mark O’Brien, director of Mental Health Department; Jack Welch, personnel/self insurance director; James Bensley, director of the Planning Department; Paul Pettit, director of Public Health; Randy Bower, sheriff; Tom Kuryla, director of Department of Social Services; and Earl Schmidt, director of Veterans Service Agency.

Legislator Lynne Johnson, pictured during a County Legislature meeting in January, is the only woman on the seven-member Legislature.

“When we interview department heads, it’s a very intense interview,” said Lynne Johnson, a county legislator. “We go by qualifications and the best candidate for the job. It has nothing to do with female versus male.”

Johnson is the only woman on the County Legislature, which includes seven members. Since the Legislature replaced the former Board of Supervisors nearly 40 years, only two women have been elected to the body: Johnson and Marcia Tuohey.

Johnson said local politics can be difficult.

“Thin-skinned can not be part of your makeup when you run for an elected position,” she said.

She said the local political parties would welcome more women as candidates.

“It’s open for anyone to run,” Johnson said. “I would hope anybody who wants to throw their hat in the ring does. It has nothing to do with your sex or color of your skin.”

Johnson said the county has been fortunate to have many dedicated and qualified department heads.

“For a small county we’ve done extremely well with the department heads we have,” she said. “We’ve had the cream of the crop turn out.”

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Sheriff, assemblyman help spread the word about Yellow Dot Program

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley presented the Yellow Dot Program to a group of senior citizens on Wednesday at the

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2017 at 9:16 am

ALBION – Senior citizens are encouraged to put a yellow dot sticker on their vehicles. That sticker alerts first responders that there is a yellow sheet in the glove department of the vehicle detailing medical conditions and emergency contact numbers. The yellow sheet also lists medications taken by the driver.

The Yellow Dot Program is a project through the New York State Sheriffs’ Association. The program is intended to help emergency responders provide prompt care if there is an accident.

Sheriff Randy Bower encourages people to sign up for the program. The Sheriff’s Office also worked with several residents to sign up for the program during the Orleans County 4-H Fair.

“This is huge when it comes to an emergency,” Bower told senior citizens on Wednesday at the Albion Academy Apartments. “This helps us help you.”

The yellow dot sticker lets emergency responders know there is information in the glove box about the driver’s medical conditions.

The forms are available at the Sheriff’s Office at the Orleans County Public Safety Building and also through the Office for the Aging.

The program is similar to the Vial of Life program through the OFA, where a list of emergency contact information, medical conditions and medication is kept on a refrigerator.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley discusses the Yellow Dot Program with seniors. He also passed out pamphlets with safety tips for senior citizens.

Hawley will be in Corfu today to discuss the Yellow Dot Program. He will be joined by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department at 12:30 p.m. at the Corfu United Presbyterian Church, 63 Alleghany Rd.

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Governor proposes mandatory surrender of firearms for domestic abusers
Posted 14 December 2017 at 7:55 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled the first proposal of the 2018 State of the State: remove all firearms from those who commit domestic violence crimes.

Given the inextricable link between domestic violence and lethal gun violence, this legislation will require all domestic violence crime convictions, including misdemeanors, to result in the immediate removal of all fire arms and will add measures to keep firearms out of the hands of those who commit domestic violence with the goal of preventing additional tragedies.

“This year will be remembered as the year of reckoning, when both the tragedy of mass shootings and cultural and institutional harassment of women became impossible to ignore,” Governor Cuomo said. “Building on the Women’s Equality Agenda, we are continuing our mission for progressive values and women’s rights with this legislation to target the unquestionable relationship between domestic violence and gun violence.”

Under Governor Cuomo, New York has passed the strongest gun control laws in the nation. However, New York does not have sufficient laws in place that automatically mandate removing all types of firearms from individuals involved in domestic violence—an issue we know is closely tied to gun violence and gun violence deaths. In nine of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in United States history, including Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, the shooter had an existing record of committing violence against women, threatening violence against women, or harassing or disparaging women.

In addition, when an abusive partner is permitted to access firearms, the risk that the other partner will be killed increases fivefold. In 2016, firearms were used in 25 domestic homicides in New York.

This proposal builds on legislation previously advanced by Assemblymember Amy Paulin, Senator Diane Savino and other members of the legislature.

New York law prohibits the possession of firearms for individuals convicted of felony or “serious” offenses. However, this excludes certain misdemeanor offenses involving domestic violence, such as assault and battery crimes or strangulation. To ensure that all domestic violence offenders are held to the same standard, Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to include all domestic violence misdemeanors on the list of prohibited offenses.

Currently, New York State requires surrender of hand guns for either (1) an order of protection issued by a judge or (2) a firearm license suspension/revocation due to a felony or “serious” offense conviction or a mental health disqualification by a health professional. However, this surrender does not always apply to long guns, such as rifles and shotguns.  To correct this loophole, Governor Cuomo will be proposing legislation to apply the same surrender procedures to long guns.

Currently, judges issue orders of protection in domestic violence cases after an individual is arrested, but before they are convicted. These orders result in the suspension of firearm licenses.

However, these orders are issued at the judges’ discretion and may not be occur in every domestic violence case. To ensure consistency, the State proposes legislation requiring that all judges mandate the surrender of all firearms – hand guns and long guns – and suspend any firearm license until the case is resolved.

Sheriff’s Office establishes tip line
Posted 13 December 2017 at 9:54 pm

Press Release, Sheriff Randy Bower

ALBION – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office has established a Confidential Tip Line. It can be reached by dialing (585) 283-4960.

Anyone with information about criminal activity, including those who wish to remain anonymous, may call this number and provide information to the Sheriff’s Office. This service will enable tipsters to give information without the threat of retaliation. This is especially important with the ever-growing opiate epidemic.

After hearing a short recording, an anonymous message can be left.

All information is considered confidential. Please provide as much detail as possible. It is helpful to know if the information you provide is from your direct knowledge, or is something you’ve heard or may believe to be true.

Keep in mind, that anonymous information may limit our ability to investigate. Because of this, please consider providing contact information when using the tip line.

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Medina PD welcomes donations for K-9 vehicle
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2017 at 8:14 pm

File photo by Cheryl Wertman: Lt. Todd Draper and Kye, the Medina Police Department’s K-9, are pictured in January 2014 when they met children attended a local basketball game.

MEDINA – The Medina Police Department is trying to get a new vehicle for its K-9 handler and dog.

The current vehicle is from 2008 with 120,000 miles. The department welcomes donations, and will give a stuffed animal of a K-9 dog that resembles Kye for every donation at $20 or more. The stuffed animal shows a dog wearing a police vest.

Kye is a Belgian Malinois that works each day with his partner/handler Sgt. Todd Draper. Kye joined the department in 2012.

The dog’s main duties are tracking, drug detection, building searches and criminal apprehension.

“Hopefully many of you have met Kye during public events, school visits, or demonstrations,” Police Chief Chad Kenward and Lt. Draper wrote in a fund-raising appeal to the community. “He has become a well known member of our Department and is quite popular with citizens of all ages.”

Kenward and Draper said the Police Department has reached out to businesses and community members for donations, and wants to extend the opportunity to everyone to help with the new vehicle. (Kenward and Draper said the stuffed animal of Kye would make a nice Christmas present.)

Any donated funds will be deposited directly into the K-9 fund and only be used for expenses associated with the K-9 program, Kenward said. Cash or check will be accepted, receipts will be given for all donations.  Checks can be made out to the “Medina Police Department K-9 Fund.”  Donations can be made at the Medina Police Department, 600 Main St., or at the the Village Clerk’s Office, 119 Park Ave., or by speaking to Lt. Todd Draper.

For more information, call the Police Department at (585) 798-5602.

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State approves grants for Orleans to better capitalize on canal

Photos by Tom Rivers: A waterfront planning grant will look for ways to make the canal a better attraction to draw more visitors and economic activity to the downtown. This photo from August shows the Lois McClure boat docked in Medina's Canal Basin.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2017 at 2:41 pm

Funding also approved for water and sewer efficiency study in county

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $755 million statewide for economic and infrastructure projects throughout the state.

Orleans County was approved for three grants, all studies or planning initiatives to better utilize local assets.

The three grants in Orleans total $149,500. The projects funded include:

• $62,000 to Orleans County for a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program

The county will work with the Villages of Albion and Holley and the Towns of Shelby, Ridgeway, Albion, Gaines, and Murray for 24 miles of Erie Canal waterfront. The LWRP will create a regional vision for capitalizing on community assets, spark strategic capital investment in downtown areas, develop proposed land and water uses and identify projects to advance revitalization, according to the funding announcement.

 $50,000 to Orleans County for Water and Sewer Efficiency Study

 One of the Village of Albion’s water storage tanks is pictured on Route 98 in the Town of Gaines.

Orleans County will assess the feasibility of a regional water system leveraging the water treatment plant in the Village of Albion, serving the Village and the Towns of Albion, Barre, Carlton, Gaines, Murray and Ridgeway.

A regional system will allow for the consolidation of water meter reading, water billing, and potentially water distribution system repairs while creating capacity to serve new communities and new business.

• $37,500 to Village of Medina for Local Waterfront Revitalization Program

The Village of Medina will prepare a waterfront revitalization plan to identify appropriate land and water uses, projects, and public enhancements along its Erie Canal waterfront. The plan will build on the Village’s commitment to canal and downtown revitalization, and address issues related to the lack of waterfront access, poor connectivity between the waterfront and downtown, and limited availability of water-related recreational opportunities.

Orleans County is in the Finger Lakes Region which was approved for $63.9 million to support 110 projects.

Village of Albion officials applied for a Main Street grant to help building owners with renovation projects, but that grant wasn’t approved for funding.

A full list of the 2017 Regional Economic Development Council grants is available by clicking here.

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Albion swimmers will be part of invitational Saturday to raise funds to fight childhood cancer
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2017 at 11:57 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Albion swim coaches Jay Kovaleski, left, and Carlos Burroughs will lead the swim team during a “Laps for Life” swimming invitational on Saturday at the Webster Aquatic Center.

ALBION – The Albion swim teams will be part of the seventh annual “Laps for Life” invitational on Saturday. There will be eight schools participating with a goal to raise $2,500 for Make Some Noise, a pediatric cancer research foundation.

Laps for Life has been held at Spencerport but is moving to the Webster Aquatic Center on Saturday.

“It’s kids raising money for other kids,” said Jay Kovaleski, the assistant varsity swim coach at Albion.

Jay and his wife, Kelly, are leaders of Make Some Noise in Western New York.

Their son Nicholas Kovaleski battled leukemia and passed away at age 15 on June 29, 2011. Nicholas excelled at football, swimming and tennis when he was a student at Albion.

His father said there is a family network among swimmers, including from other schools. Laps for Life builds on those strong connections, he said.

The swimmers raise money through T-shirts and concessions sales, as well as sponsorships.

Albion swim team is led by head coach Carlos Burroughs. His daughter, Lauren, is married to Kovaleski’s son, Thomas.

Kovaleski said more research funding and attention needs to go to childhood cancers. About 50 children a week die of cancer in the United States, making it the leading cause of death for children in the country.

Make Some Noise said only 3 percent of cancer research funding goes to kids’ cancer research.

For more information on Make Some Noise, click here.

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Students collect 475 jars of PB&J for local pantries

Provided photo: The Orleans Career and Technical Education held a peanut butter and jelly drive for local food pantries. The following are pictured, from left: PB&J Drive volunteer Kenny Allore, Steven Pollock (Newfane), Kyson Bellan (Medina), Jose Galvan (Newfane), Malik Abdulghani (Lockport), Zachary Waters (Royalton-Hartland), Matt Steves (Royalton-Hartland), Gavyn Samanka (Royalton-Hartland) and Elijah Sones (Medina).

Posted 13 December 2017 at 11:14 am

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Students and staff at the Orleans Career and Technical Education really brought it for the 8th annual Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive.

The drive helps local food pantries fill their shelves with kid-friendly food like peanut butter, jelly and marshmallow fluff. It has become a tradition for the Orleans/Niagara BOCES center when math teacher Sarah Gebhard asked the students at the center if they would like to help out.  Since then it has become a fall community project.

This year a friendly class competition ended up collecting 475 jars to donate to local pantries – a record for the center.  A special shout out goes to Eric Farrell’s junior Welding class and Matt Anastasi’s senior Building Trades class who brought in the highest totals.

“Every year I am amazed at the generosity of these teenagers here at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center,” said school counselor Kara Kirk. “I am very proud of all of them.”

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Medina FFA students create gifts from llama, alpaca wool for annual citrus sale

Provided photo: Medina FFA members, from left, include Shianne Sullinger, Madison Bielak, George Schlegel, Alden Cayea and Alexandra White.

Posted 13 December 2017 at 10:24 am

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – The FFA students have been hard at work making useful, organic dryer balls out of the wool from their farm’s llamas and alpacas. The dryer balls reduce drying time by absorbing the moisture from laundry and are a natural alternative to chemical filled dryer sheets and softener.

“We harvested the fiber here, we dry-felted it, used pantyhose to help keep the shape and put in the washing machine and they are ready to use in place of dryer sheets,” said Todd Eick, FFA advisor.

“People can even put essential oils on them to fragrance their laundry,” he said. “They last indefinitely and will absorb the moisture out of the clothes and help your dryer run better. We are putting them in our sampler box from our citrus sale, so anyone who ordered one will get a pair as one of the items. It is time consuming process, but it’s pretty cool for the kids to make.”

Mr. Eick says now that the students can see the finished project, they are excited and come right into class and get started immediately.  The students are hoping that everyone will enjoy their natural, earth-friendly, handmade gift.

Pick up for ordered citrus, nuts, cheese and jerky is December 18-21 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. behind Medina High School at the Agriculture Shop. Customers who ordered cider can pick up on Dec. 19 from noon to 7 p.m., December 20-21 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Dec. 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s first come, first serve and everything goes.

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Weather Channel warns of extreme cold today in Orleans County
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2017 at 9:31 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The Nativity scene by St. Peter Lutheran Church in Medina is pictured on Tuesday after a few inches of snow fell in Orleans County.

The temperature has dropped today, with a high of 20 and a low of 14. Those temperatures, combined with 15 mile-per-hour winds, prompted The Weather Channel to issue an extreme cold alert for Orleans County. The wind chill is 0 degree.

A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 1 p.m. today in Orleans County.

Culvert Road in Ridgeway, just north of the canal, is pictured on Tuesday afternoon.

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Holley picks engineering firm for water, sidewalk projects
By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 13 December 2017 at 8:05 am

HOLLEY – Village Board members on Tuesday evening authorized Mayor Brian Sorochty to sign engineering agreements pertaining to the village’s upcoming sidewalk and water improvements projects.

The village will contract with Wendel Engineering of Williamsville for both projects. Wendel will act as an engineering consultant for the sidewalk reconstruction project.

For the water improvements project, Sorochty will sign an Owner Engineer Agreement with Wendel for the Water System Improvements Grant.

The village will pay Wendel $167,675 for its work on the water system improvement project. Chatfield Engineering also submitted a proposal to the village at a cost of $189,430.

Sorochty said the village was not required to request proposals for the engineering work on the water project, but, “we had two very qualified engineers and we felt it was in the best interest of village residents to put out a request for proposals,” he explained.

The sidewalk and water projects, “mirror each other exactly,” Sorochty noted, and having the same engineering firm for both will create, “both practical and operational savings.”  He said Wendel is, “supremely qualified to do the work.”

The village received a TAP grant of $1.78 million to construct curbs and sidewalks that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Additionally, the village received nearly $1.3 million from the state for upgrades to the water system through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, as well as the Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program.

In other business Tuesday, trustees approved spending $25,950 for the purchase of a transformer by the municipal electric department.

The purchase is being made for the thermal treatment of contaminated soil and water at the former Diaz site in the village. Sorochty said the village will be reimbursed by the Diaz site bursar for the purchase.  Once the remediation work is done, the transformer will become the village’s asset, the mayor said.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the remediation project.

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