Fawn found nestled in Albion yard

Photo by Joe Martillotta Posted 24 May 2015
ALBION – Joe Martillotta was out mowing his lawn on North Main Street in Albion on Friday when he discovered a fawn nestled in the bushes.

Martillotta said he was tempted to pet the baby deer but he didn’t want its mother to reject it. The fawn eventually got up and took off running.

Martillotta said he will keep an eye out for the fawn and hopes to watch it mature throughout the year.


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Family of Medina’s lone Medal of Honor recipient will attend Memorial Day events

John E. Butts’ family will present his dog tags to community

John E. Butts


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2015
MEDINA – John E. Butts remains a source of price in the Medina community more than 70 years after his death. Butts is the lone Medal of Honor recipient from Medina.


He sacrificed himself in Normandy in World War II, advancing on the enemy to distract them so his battalion could advance. Butts had already been wounded, but pressed on, leading a platoon.


“Once more he was struck, but by grim determination and sheer courage continued to crawl ahead,” his Medal of Honor citation reads. “When within 10 yards of his objective, he was killed by direct fire. By his superb courage, unflinching valor and inspiring actions, 2LT BUTTS enabled his platoon to take a formidable strong point and contributed greatly to the success of his battalion's mission.”


Butts was one of five brothers to serve in World War II. He died in Normandy on June 23, 1944. His body came home in 1948 and he is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Medina.

The American Legion Post and a village park bear his name. There is a display of his medals at the local library. On Monday, following the Memorial Day parade, some of Butts’ family members will present his dog tags to the community during a service at State Street Park.


Several of Butts’ nieces and nephews are getting together for a reunion in Medina this weekend before they present his dog tags on Monday. The relatives are from South Carolina, Ohio, Michigan and California.

They are coming together for the first time since they were kids. The reunion came about after a Dutch television journalist/historian sought more information on Butts for a TV documentary following the 9th Infantry's campaign from D-Day to WWII's conclusion. Butts was featured in a segment in the series.


The parade in Medina starts at 11 a.m. at the Olde Pickle Factoryon Park Avenue and ends at State Street Park with the ceremony at the park starting at about noon.


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Driver who went airborne taken by Mercy Flight following crash in Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 23 May 2015 7:00 p.m.
ALBION – The driver of Hummer going at a high rate of speed hit another vehicle on Route 98 near the 5 corners and then went airborne, flipping in the air at least once, before hitting a tree and coming to a stop near an embankment.

This vehicle was hit by the Hummer. The driver appeared uninjured and was talking with Orleans County deputies at the scene.

The driver of the Hummer survived the crash and was taken by Mercy Flight helicopter after being extricated by Albion firefighters. The accident was just south of Bacon Road near the intersection with Route 279.

Albion firefighters and personnel from Central Orleans Voluneer Ambulance work to get the driver extricated from the Hummer. He was transported by COVA to a landing zone for Mercy Flight at the Christian Missionary Alliance Church. Dale Banker, director of Emergency Management for Orleans County, is pictured in red.


Shelly Smith has lived at the 5 corners for 14 years. She said there are typically two serious accidents at the intersection each year. Many of those vehicles have ended up in her yard.

She saw the accident today, and watched the Hummer go airborne and flip over at least once in the air. The vehicle bounced into a tree, ripping the bark off about 20 feet up the tree.

“I have never seen anything like it,” she said.

Pieces of the Hummer were all over her yard.

“This is the worst I have ever seen,” she said. “I’ve never seen a car catapult.”

This photo shows where the Hummer took some of the bark off a tree.


The accident remains under investigation. The name of the driver of Hummer hasn't been released. He was conversing with COVA personnel and Albion firefighters at the scene.

Mercy Flight takes off by the Christian Missionary Alliance Church.


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Orleans County residents made the ultimate sacrifice

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 23 May 2015

A day to remember those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice over the last 239 years, Memorial Day serves as an occasion for each and every citizen to reflect on the freedoms that we enjoy.


“Decoration Day,” as it was called, has its roots in the Civil War when loved ones decorated the graves of their dearly departed soldiers. Today, we continue that tradition by adorning the graves of our veterans with flowers and flags.


Over the next four years we will commemorate the passing of the centennial of the First World War. A horrific and deadly conflict that was said to be “the war to end all wars,” took the lives of several dozen Orleans County citizens over the course of 19 months. Our families sent over 1,000 young men to face the horrors of war and upon their return, the physical and emotional scars would remain for the rest of their lives.


This photograph depicts Company F of the 108th Infantry. Originally believed to be a 1917 image showing men preparing for their departure from the Medina railroad station.


Instead, the image appears to show the men of Company F upon their return to Orleans County at the conclusion of the war. With medals pinned to their chests, the soldiers paraded along the streets of Medina amidst a crowd of teary-eyed onlookers lining the roads adorned with flags and patriotic bunting.


The Battle of St. Quentin Canal was still fresh in their minds – the day Medina’s own Company F broke the Hindenburg Line. Orleans County lost 12 men that day, September 29, 1918, including James Clark, William Collins, Frank Bloom, Walter Gaylord, Cecil Green, Albert Coon, Walter Lindke, Fred Hellert, Leon Clark, Alex Wilson, Egbert Sheret, and James Sheret.


Capt. John S. Thompson recalled the bravery each man from Company F exhibited as they went over the top at 5:50 a.m. that Sunday morning. They sang cheerful melodies as they advanced to the front line and continued to carry their tune as they advanced on the German line. Such heroism should forever be remembered.


The Orleans County Department of History continues to accept contributions of photographs, both originals and duplicates, as well as documents, records, and other items relating to the history of the area.


If you have materials you would like to share, please contact Matthew Ballard at Matt.Ballard@orleanscountyny.gov or 585-589-4174. In conjunction with “The Lost Generation” exhibition set to open at the Cobblestone Museum in early July, the Department of History is working towards assembling a detailed record of Orleans County’s 20th century military history and needs help from the community.


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Orleans County, every village and town see dip in population

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2015

Orleans County and all of its villages and towns have seen their populations dip since the 2010 Census, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The county as a whole is down from 42,883 in 2010 to 41,984 in 2014, a 2.1 percent decrease.

The villages all lost people with Medina seeing the greatest loss, a drop of 201 people or 3.3 percent of its population from 2010. Holley dropped by 3.0 percent, Lyndonville by 1.2 percent and Albion by 0.8 percent, according to the Census Bureau.


Municipality 2010 2014
Albion (village) 6,056 6,007
Holley (village) 1,811 1,756
Lyndonville (village)


Medina (village) 6,065 5,864
Albion (town) 8,468 8,431
Barre 2,025 1,954
Carlton 2,994 2,945
Clarendon 3,648 3,586
Gaines 3,378 3,288
Kendall 2,724 2,672
Murray 4,988 4,839
Ridgeway 6,780 6,596
Shelby 5,319 5,181
Yates 2,559 2,492
Orleans County 42,883 41,984

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau. The 2014 numbers are estimates.)

The 10 towns, including the portions outside the villages, all went down with Barre seeing the biggest loss, a drop of 3.5 percent.

Murray is down 3.0 percent, Ridgeway and Gaines by 2.7 percent, and Shelby and Yates both by 2.6 percent. Ridgeway saw the biggest drop in people with 184 fewer residents since 2010.

Kendall shrunk by 1.9 percent, Clarendon by 1.7 percent, and Carlton at 1.6 percent. Albion saw the smallest decline at 0.4 percent.


The much-maligned villages aren’t solely responsible for dragging down the town populations. The towns with villages all saw losses outside the villages as well.


Albion, outside the village, was down from 3,808 to 3,777. In Gaines, the outside-village population declined 1,982 to 1,935.


Murray saw its population outside the village drop from 3,177 to 3,083, and Ridgeway decreased from 3,337 to 3,269 outside the village.

Shelby, outside the village, dropped from 2,697 to 2,644 and Yates outside-village is down 1,721 to 1,680.

The eight counties in Western New York all saw population declines in the four years except Erie County, which grew 0.4 percent from 919,040 to 922,835.

Here are how the other WNY counties fared:

• Cattaraugus: 80,317 to 78,600, down 2.1 percent;
• Chautauqua: 134,905 to 132,053, down 2.1 percent;
• Genesee: 60,079 to 59,162, down 1.5 percent;
• Livingston: 65,393 to 64,586, down 1.2 percent;
• Niagara: 216,469 to 213,525, down 1.4 percent;
• Wyoming: 42,155 to 41,188, down 2.3 percent.


For more information on the latest population estimates from the Census, click here.


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Early morning fire damages Medina laundromat

Provided photos
Firefighters work to put out a fire in Washboard Willy’s on Starr Street in Medina early this morning.

Staff Reports Posted 23 May 2015
MEDINA – A fire early this morning at the Washboard Willy’s laundromat caused an estimated $50,000 damage to the building and $25,000 to equipment, Medina Fire Department officials said.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 2:22 a.m. The building at the corner of Starr Street and Main Street was filled with smoke with fire coming out of the roof, said Steve Cooley, Fire Department public information officer.

Chief Todd Zinkievich requested mutual aid from the Ridgeway Fire Department to the scene along with an engine from East Shelby to stand by at the Medina firehouse.


While interior crews completed primary searches and fire attack, additional crews laddered the roof to perform ventilation operations, Cooley said.

The fire was knocked down and under control within 30 minutes from time of dispatch.


The cause of the fire appears to be nonintentional at this time but remains under investigation by department investigators. There were no firefighter injuries reported, Cooley said.


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Flower lovers will have chance to shine at fair

Photo by Kristina Gabalski
Master Gardener volunteer Amanda Mrzywka is helping to organize the first-ever Flower Show at the 2015 Orleans County 4-H Fair.


By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 22 May 2015

KNOWLESVILLE – Something new and fun is planned for flower lovers at the annual Orleans County 4-H Fair in July.


For the first time, the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program and 4-H Youth Development are sponsoring a Flower Show, which will be held in the Lartz Building on the fairgrounds.


There are Open and Junior Divisions and everyone is welcome to enter.


The show will take place throughout the week of fair, from July 27 to Aug. 1. Judging of exhibits is set for Monday afternoon to kick off the fair. Following judging, the exhibits will be on display all week next to the Master Gardener booth.


“We are so excited to be having our first annual flower show here at Orleans County 4-H Fair,” said Master Gardener volunteer Amanda Mrzywka, who is helping to organize the event. “There is a class for everyone. We hope that this is a success and we are excited to see everyone’s creative flair. They can let their minds go wild. The more creative, the better.”


There are ten categories for entries: Cut flower bouquet (single or multiple stems); kissing ball design; miniature gardens or fairy gardens; dried flower or dried flower bouquets; edible container arrangement; foliage or flowering houseplants; made for the shade; bountiful baskets; pedestal or regular urns for sun; painting or drawing of a flower garden.


Plants must predominate – no artificial plant material is permitted in an exhibit. Exhibits must remain on the fairgrounds during the entire fair and exhibitors must keep entries in show condition.


“Plant material must be kept fresh and/or watered as needed. Unsightly or wilted plant material must be replaced,” general rules state.


Entries may be made individually, as groups/ organizations, or as businesses. Up to three entries may be submitted per individual per class. Groups or businesses may submit one entry per class. 4-H youth may elect to show as Open, but may not exceed three entries per class total.

Pre-registration is due 4:30 p.m. on July 20. Entries can be dropped off at the Lartz Building on Sunday, July 26, from 4 to 7 p.m. or on July 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition to the Flower Show, a variety of programs will be held each evening (except Wednesday) at 6 p.m. by Master Gardeners and local gardening clubs.


On Wednesday evening, July 29, a Fresh Bouquet Competition is planned and open to the public beginning at 6 p.m. The entry fee is $10. Register the week of fair at the fair office.


More information including rules, entry cards and registration forms is available online by clicking here (then click on fair tab) or at the Cooperative Extension at the fairgrounds, 12690 State Rt. 31.


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State Police will step up enforcement on distracted and impaired driving this weekend

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office Posted 22 May 2015
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced that State Police and local law enforcement across New York State will be increasing patrols to combat impaired and distracted driving this Memorial Day weekend from Friday to Monday.

“Ensuring the safety of motorists and passengers on New York roadways is top priority of this administration and driving under the influence or while distracted will simply will not be tolerated,” Cuomo said. “I urge all motorists to be safe this Memorial Day weekend and to exercise caution when getting behind the wheel.”

Drivers can expect to see sobriety checkpoints and more troopers on major highways during this holiday weekend. Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles as part of this crackdown in order to more easily identify motorists who are violating the law.

CITE vehicles allow Troopers to better observe driving violations. These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

“As we remember the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation, we encourage all motorists to drive safely,” said State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico. “We are reminding motorists to buckle up, obey speed limits, and put down any electronic devices when behind the wheel.”

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, drunk driving kills more than 10,000 people every year.


On Memorial Day weekend in 2014 State Troopers arrested more than 235 people for DWI and issued more than 12,000 tickets.


This targeted enforcement effort is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and STOP-DWI, a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program that allows participating counties to qualify for the return of all fines collected for alcohol and other drug-related traffic offenses.


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Communities plan Memorial Day events in Orleans County

File photo
The Holley-Kendall Marching Band was part of last year’s parade in Holley on Memorial Day.

Staff Reports Posted 22 May 2015
The community will honor veterans with parades and services throughout Orleans County on Monday.


In Albion, a parade begins at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Main and State streets. The parade will go south on Main Street before turning east on Route 31 and ending at the front lawn of the Albion Middle School, where a service will follow the parade.

In Holley, a ceremony begins at 9 a.m. at the American Legion with a parade following at about 9:45. The parade will go from the Legion and continue to the VFW on Veterans Drive. After the VFW, veterans will lay wreaths at Holley cemeteries.

In Lyndonville, a parade begins at 9 a.m. on Lake Avenue at the parking lot of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and continues to Main Street where it ends by the library at the Village Park.

In Medina, a parade begins at 11 a.m. on Park Avenue by the Olde Pickle Factory. It continues to State Street Park where a ceremony will follow. Both the VFW and American Legion will serve lunch following the ceremony.


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In celebrating Carl Akeley, a call to preserve natural world

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 22 May 2015
HOLLEY – The Clarendon Historical Society threw another birthday for the community’s most famous son, Carl Akeley, on Wednesday. The top photo shows a comic book image of Akeley fighting with leopard in Africa.

Akeley survived and managed to kill the leopard in Africa. Akeley was a world renown taxidermist and inventor. He was instrumental in creating the first national park in Africa.

Provided photo
Carl Akeley is pictured with a leopard in Africa that he killed with his bare hands after it attacked him.


Last year the Historical Society celebrated Akeley’s 150th birthday with 150 people turning out for the party, which featured a presentation by the author of a book about Akeley’s life.

Jay Kirk wrote “Kingdom Under Glass,” a book that traced Akeley’s upbringing on Hinds Road in Clarendon, when he started “stuffing” birds and small animals, to his ground-breaking advances in taxidermy and his adventures in Africa.


The 151st party featured another prominent Akeley enthusiast, Stephen Quinn. He worked in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals, where many of Akeley’s elephants, lions, rhinos and gorillas are displayed in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History.

Steven Quinn addresses about 100 people on Wednesday at Holley Junior-Senior High School, sharing photos and insights from a trip to Africa, retracing Carl Akeley’s trips to the continent from 1921 to 1926.


Quinn said the mountain gorillas are threatened, losing habitat and suffering attacks from predators and illnesses. The gorilla pictured has a nose fungus, Quinn said.

“The natural world is to be cherished,” Quinn said. “We’re accountable to the natural world.”


Quinn is recently retired from the American Museum of Natural History. He said the Akeley Hall “is truly a magnificent place.”

Quinn wanted to retrace Akeley’s route in the eastern Congo, where Akeley and his team visited from 1921 to 1926, bringing back paintings, photographs, and specimens collected in the field nearly a century ago.

Akeley became a passionate advocate for the mountain gorillas and other wildlife, and pushed for a national park in the area.

Quinn in his presentation also highlighted the work of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Program, which provides care to sick gorillas, cleaning and suturing cuts and providing medicine.

“The work they do is truly wonderful,” Quinn said. “They work they do wouldn’t be possible without Carl Akeley, who gave his life and is responsible for the first national park in Africa.”


Akeley was on his fifth trip to the Congo in 1926 when he died of fever. He is buried in Africa, just miles from where he encountered his first gorilla.

The taxidermist community is working to raise money for monument for Akeley at Hillside Cemetery in Holley. For more information on that project, click here.


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Guest conductor says marching band ‘best prevention program there is’

Mike Dreyfus, a substance abuse counselor, says band teaches commitment and discipline

Mike Dreyfus

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2015
MEDINA — Mike Dreyfus has watched the Medina Mustangs perform hundreds of times. He still gets caught up in the emotion of the music and choreography of seeing 100-plus kids performing in unison.

“I still feel smitten by it all,” Dreyfus said. “I still get goose bumps when they hit on impact.”

Dreyfus has been an active band booster for nearly two decades. He won a guest conductor contest and will lead the marching band on Monday’s parade that begins at 11 a.m. The band will go from the former Fisher-Price on Park Avenue to Main Street and then to State Street Park. It’s about a 2-mile route.

Community members paid $1 to vote for one of five guest conductors. Dreyfus emerged the winner. He has been an active fund-raiser and vocal cheerleader for the band.

His son Kip joined as an eighth grader and graduated in 2003. Mike and his wife Kathy have stayed band enthusiasts even after their son graduated.

“In band there is a sense of family,” Dreyfus said. “It’s a giant trust exercise.”

No one sits the bench in band, Dreyfus said, and boys and girls share leadership roles.

“These guys and gals are friends,” Dreyfus said. “Everybody is equal. It’s positive competition and it’s gender neutral.”

File photo

The Medina Mustang Band is pictured in last year's Memorial Day parade.

Dreyfus sees other benefits with a demanding program such as the band. He has worked 40 years with people who struggle to be law-abiding citizens in his roles as probation officer for 20 years and then as a substance abuse counselor for two decades.

The band connects students to the community, teaching them discipline and drawing them away from temptations with drugs and alcohol.

“It is the best prevention program there is,” Dreyfus said. “I’ve seen the value of this whole program for the kids involved. The band program screws the kids’ heads on straight. It teaches them commitment. It teaches discipline and focus.”

Dreyfus played football in high school and college. He admitted he’s a little nervous about leading the band on Memorial Day.

“I know nothing about this,” he said about conducting. “The only thing I play is the stereo.”


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Glorious sunset out in the country

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 21 May 2015
BARRE – It was a sensational sunset this evening in West Barre. I forgot to make note of which road is in this picture. It was near West Barre Road and Bragg Schoolhouse Road.


It will be a little chilly on Friday before it warms up for the Memorial Day weekend. The National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 56 on Friday with an overnight low of 36. The Weather Service warns there could be spots with frost on Friday night through Saturday morning.

Saturday is forecast for a high of 64 and a low of 49, followed by a high of 74 on Sunday with a low of 56. On Memorial Day, the temperatures could reach 76, but there is a chance of thunderstorms.


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Report: Albion and Medina among top 20 best small towns in NY

Photo by Tom Rivers
Main Street in Medina is pictured this afternoon with a banner, American flag and hanging basket. Medina is ranked No. 18 in a report of best towns to raise a family in New York.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2015
The Medina and Albion communities both are in the top 20 of best towns to raise a family in New York, according to a report from Niche.

Niche has an on-line database that determines the ranking, using public education, safety, housing, community involvement and access to family necessities including grocery stores and libraries. Those factors measure how good an area is for families, Niche states.

Medina was ranked 18th overall of the best towns, which doesn’t include suburbs and cities with more than 100,000 people. Albion was ranked 20th.

Mount Hope Town in Orange County was the top ranked community in New York. East Aurora, at No. 3, was the highest ranked in Western New York with Geneseo at No. 5, Fredonia at No. 8 and Batavia at No. 17.

To see the report and the data on Medina and Albion, click here.

File photo by Peggy Barringer
Peggy Barringer took this photo on Jan. 15, 2014, of the moon looming over the Orleans County Courthouse and the County Clerks Building in Albion. Courthouse Square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


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Trailer burns in wooded area of Yates

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 21 May 2015 4:25 p.m.
YATES – A trailer in a wooded area along Marshall Road in the Town of Yates burned this afternoon.

The owner of the trailer was working with a power saw. He hit a nail and suspects a spark caught the insulation on fire. It quickly spread at 1867 Marshall Rd.

The trailer was mostly collapsed when firefighters from Lyndonville and Medina arrived on scene soon after the dispatch call went out at 1:30 p.m.

The trailer was not being in lived in. The owner was trying to make improvements so it could be used as a camp during the summer.

Firefighters work together to take down the last remaining wall of the trailer.

“It’s nice and peaceful,” said the owner, who asked that his name not be used.

He tried to put the fire out himself with a hose, but it spread too fast. Firefighters were able keep the fire from moving to the nearby woods, said Adam Ehrenreich, a captain with the Lyndonville Fire Department.

Lyndonville firefighter Steve Bane Jr. tries to put out any remaining hot spots from the fire.


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NY will suspend road and bridge construction over holiday weekend

Press Release, Gov. Cuomo’s Office Posted 21 May 2015
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced that road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended from 6 a.m. on Friday to 6 a.m. on Tuesday in order to accommodate travelers during the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend. Some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs.


“Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, so starting Friday the state will be temporarily halting most major construction projects in order to make things easier for travelers,” Cuomo said. “By suspending the majority of construction work through Monday, we will help to ease congestion and reduce traffic delays as much as possible. I encourage all drivers to be safe, keep your eyes on the road and enjoy the holiday.”


The construction suspension is in keeping with Cuomo’s Drivers First program, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work.


“Once again we are strictly limiting construction activities so that the many New Yorkers who are heading out to visit family, friends or any of the great tourist destinations New York State has to offer will not be inconvenienced by road work along the way,” said NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald.


AAA predicts that of the more than 37 million people traveling more than 50 miles from home this weekend, an estimated 33 million of them will be traveling by car. This Memorial Day weekend is expected to have the highest travel volume of the past 10 years.


Travelers are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before departing. The free service allows users to check road conditions or link to air and transit information.


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Community Action joins Red Nose Day to highlight child poverty

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 21 May 2015
ALBION – Staff and volunteers at Community Action of Orleans & Genesee are wearing red noses today as part of an effort to raise awareness for child poverty.

“We wanted to support the cause,” said Anni Skowneski, case manager at Community Action. “We wanted to raise awareness for child poverty, which is something we work with every day.”


The people pictured include, front: Kim Miller. Second row, from left: Wendy Hinkley, Andrea Severson, Anni Skonewski and Heidi Wyant. Back row: Barb Kiefer, Pam Wadhams, Carol Berray, Bonnie Malakie, Amy Lester, Freddie Stewart, Mary Guzik and Cathy Brien.

People throughout the world are participating in “Red Nose Day.” For more information, click here.

Orleans County is seeing an increase in the number of people in poverty. Orleans went from 4,731 or 11.6 percent of its population in 2000 to 5,194 or 13.0 percent in 2013, according to the Census.


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Credit Union celebrates 50th anniversary

Photos by Tom Rivers
The Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union has grown fro its early days as the Liptons Federal Credit Union. The credit union moved to this site on West Avenue last summer, following extensive renovations to a former health care site. The credit union has a charter for all of Orleans County.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2015
ALBION – A credit union celebrating its 50th anniversary this year was started by employees at Liptons in Albion. That company left town more than three decades ago, but the credit union has stayed and grown.

The former Liptons Federal Credit Union served employees of that company on East Avenue, across from the current McDonalds. Some banks wouldn’t lend money to the employees so they put their money together, loaning it so people could buy cars, fix up their houses and pursue other projects.

That credit union went through some name changes as it merged with two other credit unions in the Albion area. It was most recently the Central Orleans Credit Union until the name was changed about a decade ago to the Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union.

Today the credit union has a charter to serve all of Orleans County, including people who live outside Orleans but who work and attend church in the county.

The Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union used to rent space at this building next to COVA.

A year ago, the credit union moved from a historic building at 239 South Main St., a building next to COVA and the Arnold Gregory Memorial Complex.

The credit union moved into a one-story former health care site at 299 West Ave. The building has been renovated with a drive-through window added.

The more accessible and modern facility has boosted traffic and customers for the credit union, said Nancy Zielonko, the credit union manager.

She is one of four full-time employees for the site. She started at the credit union in 1992, when the organization had about $2 million in assets. That has grown to $8.5 million now.

“We’re basically a full-service bank,” Zielonko said.

The credit union has checking and savings accounts, and can loan money for cars, home improvement projects and other projects. The credit union can also initiative mortgages, working with a larger parent organization through the credit union association.

The team of employees at Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union include, from left: Teresa Radka, Audrey Christopher, Chris Ranallo-Hoffmeister and Nancy Zielonko.

The Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union has a local board of directors headed by Wayne Hale, the retired director of planning and tourism for Orleans County.


Zielonko said a progressive board and dedicated employees have allowed the credit union to expand services and make the move to its own building on West Avenue. The organization had been renting on South Main Street.

The four employees combined have 81 years of service at the credit union. Zielonko has worked there for 23 years and head teller Audrey Christopher has 22 years of service. Teresa Radka has 20 years as a loan officer and Chris Ranallo-Hoffmeister, the assistant manager, has worked there for nearly 16 years.

Zielonko said the credit union will work with people who may need to rebuild their credit. The organization offers checking accounts and other services without minimum balances and per-check fees. She said the traditional banks are profit driven.

“We’ve helped a lot of people,” Zielonko said. “We loan old school. You’re not just a credit score.”

The local credit union has 2,800 members. The organization has its annual meeting today at 3 p.m. It will also be promoting its 50th anniversary.

For more information, click here.


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NY bans birds from county and state fairs this year

Move made to protect against avian flu

File photo by Tom Rivers
These turkeys were part of last year’s meat auction at the 4-H Fair in Knowlesville. The state has banned turkeys, ducks and other fowl from fairs this year.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2015
KNOWLESVILLE – The annual 4-H Fair in late July will be missing some mainstays – turkeys, chickens, ducks, peacocks and other fowl.

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has banned the birds from all county fairs and the state fair this year. Richard Ball, state agriculture commissioner, issued the order on Tuesday, saying the state needs to be proactive in fighting the potential spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

“Avian influenza has not yet been detected in New York State, but it is a very serious threat to poultry and all breeds of fowl and is continuing to spread,” Ball said on Tuesday. “Despite the efforts of the best poultry health experts in North America, we do not fully understand the cause of the rapid spread of this virus. This commonsense step will help limit the spread of the influenza to other farms and chickens.”

Orleans County had 126 entries in fowl events in last year’s fair from 27 kids in the 4-H program. The news from the state is disappointing to the 4-H’ers, but the kids will still work to educate the public about poultry, said Cara Wachob, the poultry superintendent along with her husband Jim.

“It’s definitely a disappointment, but we want to do our part to stop the spread of avian flu in New York State,” she said.

Robert Batt, the 4-H educator in Orleans County, said kids in the poultry program may do photography displays of their chickens, turkeys and other fowl. They may also have other educational displays about the birds.

Batt said the ban is the first he’s experienced in a 4-H career going back about two decades. He understands the need to safeguard the poultry industry.

“It’s absolutely a safety thing,” he said.

Wachob said the local 4-H’ers will put some of the energy they would have used in preparing the birds for the fair into educational displays about the industry and poultry sicence.

The ban covers all breeds of fowl, including chickens, pigeons, turkeys, pheasants, guinea fowl, bantam poultry, geese, and ducks. Exhibitors who have already registered fowl for the 2015 New York State Fair will be contacted and will receive a refund of their entry fees.

“This is a disappointment to us as well as to fairgoers and our exhibitors, who look forward to this competition every year,” said Troy Waffner, acting fair director. “But we believe people understand that we are stewards of the animals in our care and I know they understand that we’re doing what’s best for everyone, and especially for the birds.”

The State Fair has already made plans to fill the space in the Poultry Barn normally used for displaying chickens with rabbits and cavies, and the daily rooster crowing contest will be replaced by a rabbit hopping demonstration on seven days.

While the current strains of avian influenza circulating in the Midwest are extraordinarily deadly to birds, experts stress that the H5N2 and H5N8 strains are not a threat to humans. Chicken and eggs are safe to eat, the Department of Ag and Markets advised.


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For final concert, Albion elementary chorus teacher picks cowboy classics

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 20 May 2015
ALBION – Linda Logan, a music teacher in Albion for 34 years, directed her final concert this evening, leading 117 students in the third and fourth grade chorus.

Logan and many of her students wore western and cowboy outfits. The sang folk song and cowboy medleys, including “Shoo Fly,” “Old Dan Tucker,” “Home on the Range,” “Git Along Little Doggies,” Grandma’s Feather Bed” and others.

“These are songs every kid should know,” she said before the concert.


Logan said she tried to pick fun songs throughout the year. She thanked her students and their parents, many of whom she taught a generation ago.


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Local state legislators collect about $15K annually for travel expenses, per diems

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 May 2015
Local state legislators collect about $15,000 a year for their travel and per diem allotments for their work in Albany, according to a report from the State Comptroller’s Office.

Lawmakers can collect up to $172 per day for travel, lodging and food expenses.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, received $14,487 in 2013, $15,429 in 2014 and $7,391 for the first quarter for 2015, according to the comptroller’s report.
That’s a little less than Jane Corwin, R-Clarence, who received $17,321.68 in 2013, $16,914.85 in 2014 and $5,943 so far in 2015. (Hawley represents most of Orleans County in the Assembly with Corwin's district including the Town of Shelby.)

Former State Assemblyman William Scarborough had the most in per diem expenses with $28,438 in 2013.

Scarborough of Queens pleaded guilty to grand larceny on May 7. A federal indictment accused him of receiving $40,000 for fraudulent state travel vouchers submitted during a four-year period ending in 2012. He has resigned from the Assembly.

In the State Senate, former Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, received $17,745 in 2013 and $14,928 in 2014. Maziarz didn’t seek re-election in 2015. His successor, Rob Ortt of North Tonawanda, has received $7,040 so far in 2015.

John Sampson of Brooklyn recorded the highest per diem reimbursements in the Senate with $24,517 in 2013.

For more on the report, click here.


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Boy Scouts will honor Bob and Eric Brown

File photo by Tom Rivers
Eric Brown, right, and his son Harrison served as starters at the Pinewood Derby in Albion in March 2014.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 May 2015
BATAVIA — Two brothers in Carlton, who have worked together for years at a fruit farm and running an agri-tourism retail store, will be honored next week by the Iroquois Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Bob and Eric Brown run Orchard Dale Fruit Farm. For more than three decades, the Brown family also ran Brown’s Berry Patch before deciding to close that retail operation this year.

Eric has been an active Scout leader. His two sons, Harrison and Jeffrey, are Boy Scouts.

The family has hosted many Scouts over the years at events at Brown’s Berry Patch, giving them wagon rides and letting them get a taste of farm life.

Bob and Eric will both be presented with “Distinguished Citizen” awards from Orleans County as part of the 40th annual Boypower dinner on May 28 at Genesee Community College.

“Bob and Eric are both being recognized for their years of community service,” said Jim McMullen, the Scout executive for the five-county Council. “They’ve done a tremendous amount to support the local economy with their businesses and they’ve boosted the quality of life in Orleans County.”

That Boypower dinner is a fundraiser for the Iroquois Trail Council. For more information, click here.

Distinguished citizens will also be honored from Genesee, Livingston, Wyoming and Niagara counties. The featured speaker will be Gale A. Buchanan, a leader in the field of scientific agricultural research and former chief scientist for the United States Department of Agriculture.


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Holley’s Top 10 recognized by Board of Education

Photo by Kristina Gabalaski

Holley Middle School/High School Principal Susan Cory (middle) poses with Class of 2015 valedictorian Emily Radford (left) and salutatorian Nicole Boyle (right). Members of the Holley Class of 2015 Top Ten were honored during the School Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening with the Soaring to New Heights Awards.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 20 May 2015

HOLLEY – The Holley Central Middle School/High School was a bustle of activity Tuesday evening during the annual school budget vote. In addition to voting, several other events were held including a concert and the monthly School Board of Education meeting.


The Holley Central School Music Department held its annual chicken barbecue in the Middle School/High School Dining Hall and elementary music students presented their Band and Chorus Spring Concert.


The Holley PTSA held a free ice cream social between 4-6 p.m. in the foyer, where voting was taking place and the Scholastic Book Fair was open into the evening.


During the Board of Education meeting, Holley's Top Ten graduating seniors were recognized with the Board's monthly “Soaring to New Heights Award.” That recognition goes to people for giving of their time and abilities to benefit Holley schools.


Emily Radford is the valedictorian and Nicole Boyle is salutatorian. Other Top 10 include Jessica Skehan, Taylor DeSimone, Leah Baker, Tessa McArthur, Mikayla Hargreaves, Jade Underwood, Cole Quiter and Andrew Rowley.


“I’m really proud of this group,” Board President Brenda Swanger told the students. “I feel thrilled for all of you.”


Also during the meeting, Superintendent Robert D'Angelo and board members discussed the reorganization of the district's Building and Grounds Department.


D'Angelo received permission from the Board to move the B-Shift Coordinator position out of the organizational chart and create the position of Director of Facilities.


Board member Sal DeLuca, Jr. expressed concerns that the buildings currently are “... not being taken care of as they should be taken care of,” and proposed that a Director of Facilities once hired, should have input on how the Buildings and Grounds Department is organized and run.


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