Orleans legislator featured in national government magazine

File Photo
Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson speaks at a Veterans Day service on Nov. 11, 2013


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 December 2014

Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson is featured in a Q & A for the American City & County, a national magazine that has been the voice of state and local government since 1909.


Her interview was posted to the magazine’s web site on Wednesday. She talks about the Niagara Orleans Regional Alliance. She is co-chair of the two-county alliance with Niagara County. That group has fought a plan for regulating Lake Ontario and has pushed for expanding broadband Internet access in rural spots of the two counties.


Johnson said her most rewarding time as legislator is attending the Top 10 graduate dinner in Orleans County. The most challenging time has been the three times she has witnessed the return of a local soldier killed in either a training accident or in combat.

“All three times the streets have been lined with residents paying their respects,” she tells American City & County. “The volunteer fire departments draped the American flag using ladder trucks, high over the main intersection. These soldiers were proud to serve the country they loved. Even those who didn’t know these soldiers say their deaths are a reminder of what all American soldiers do and the sacrifices they make.”

She offers these tips to be an effective elected official: “Be a good listener, attend all meetings, and do your homework.”

To see the full interview, click here.


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Albion police investigating numerous larcenies and burglaries

Press Release, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni Posted 19 December 2014
ALBION – The Albion Police Department is currently investigating numerous larcenies and burglaries from vehicles and buildings. These crimes are occurring from late evening to the early morning hours.


Vehicles and buildings are being entered and a wide variety of items have been stolen. The crimes have been limited to unlocked vehicles and buildings.
Residents are strongly encouraged to lock vehicles, garages, sheds and other outbuildings. Residents are also asked to call 911 immediately when they see or hear something suspicious.

The Albion Police Department has developed persons of interest in the cases and has collected evidence. The Albion Police Department has been assisted in the investigation by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine.


The Office of Air and Marine has provided the Albion Police Department with personnel utilizing extremely expensive and technologically advanced equipment to aid in the investigation.


Anyone with information regarding the crimes is asked to call the Albion Police Department at 585-589-5627.


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Nayman bought 27 gift baskets for friends before he died

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 December 2014
ALBION – Fran Nayman had an annual holiday tradition: He would buy baskets full of jams, jellies, apple butter, salad dressings and other goodies from Watt Farms Country Market.

He did it again this year, paying for 27 of the baskets. They are at Watt Farms, paid for and waiting to be picked up at 3121 Oak Orchard Rd.

Nayman died in a fire on Friday at his small engine repair shop. He was 76.

Watt Farms doesn’t know where the gift baskets were destined. Karen Watt said Nayman would typically buy 25 to 30 gift baskets each holiday season for friends.

She would like people who normally received the baskets from Nayman to stop by the farm market on Route 98. The farm market will close for the season after Monday. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until then. For more information, call Watt Farms at (585) 589-8000.


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Albion dedicated new water treatment plant in 1963

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 18 December 2014
WATERPORT – This snapshot was taken in September 1963 at the dedication of the water treatment plant on the Wilson Road in the Town of Carlton.


Using the old Albion bandstand for a stage, we see Mayor John D. Robinson giving a speech. A number of dignitaries are seated behind him including Assemblyman Alonzo Waters of Medina in the light-colored coat.


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Travel writer highlights small-town charm in Medina

File photos by Tom Rivers
Schwenk’s Wine Cellars in Kent pours wine in the basement of the Bent’s Opera House during the Wine About Winter event last Feb. 1. Medina finds itself in the center of the expanded Niagara Wine Trail.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 December 2014
MEDINA – The Medina community is getting a lot of love today on a travel website – www.Vagabondish.com – for Medina’s historic and lively business district, nearby wineries, and other attractions.

Mike Richard, founding editor of Vagabondish, wrote up a feature on Medina, giving readers 7 reasons to visit the community. Vagabondish has nearly 200,000 followers on Twitter.

Medina’s downtown core is “packed with history, beautiful architecture, friendly people, and a smattering of small town shops. It’s easy to wile away half a day exploring Main Street alone,” Richard writes.

As small cities, such as Buffalo, make a resurgence in drawing visitors, Richard sees potential in small towns like Medina that have a wealth of historical assets and small-town charm.

He highlighted the downtown business district, Mayor Andrew Meier and his many roles (lawyer, entrepreneur, church organist, hotelier and historian), the Civil War-era Bent’s Opera House, the fast-growing Niagara Wine Trail and nearby wineries (including Leonard Oakes Estate Winery and 810 Meadworks), and the upscale restaurant Zambistro.

This is the wine rack in the Boiler 54, an entertainment venue in the back of the former R.H. Newell Shirt Factory in Medina. A travel writer highlighted the repurposed Newell building in an article published today.

Kathleen Rooney, a public relations professional, helped arrange Richard’s visit. Rooney lives in Buffalo and has owned a downtown building in Medina the past two years.

She said Richard’s article is “a real valentine to the village.” She noted Medina has been drawing more attention as a destination with publicity in Western New York media outlets. The report on Vagabondish should draw more attention to the community.

“Medina is a gem,” Rooney said. “There are so few places that have been left intact.”

She grew up in Lockport and large chunks of the city’s business district were demolished during Urban Renewal. Medina rejected the wrecking ball in the 1960s and 1970s.

The community also has appeal as a culinary and agri-tourism destination, she said. The Niagara Wine Trail runs through Medina and some of fruit and vegetables by top restaurants in the region are grown in the area.


"After only one day, we were sad to leave Medina," Richard said in concluding his report. "It’s a rare destination that’s managed to embrace its historical roots and small town charm, while still looking to the future. All while staying largely off the tourist radar. Which is to say: get there before everyone else does."


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Weather Service warns of freezing drizzle

Staff Reports Posted 18 December 2014
A winter weather advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. today when the area is expected to be hit with freezing drizzle, the National Weather Service in Buffalo reports.

The weather advisory includes Orleans County and parts of western, central and northern New York.

The freezing drizzle and light snow could create some slick spots on untreated surfaces, the Weather Service said.


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Dissolution foes step up effort in Medina

Photos by Tom Rivers
There will soon be about 250 signs out in Medina, urging village residents not to support dissolving the village government on Jan. 20. This sign is on East Center Street.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 December 2014
MEDINA – Dissolution opponents are stepping up their efforts to sway village residents not to support a dissolution vote on Jan. 20, saying the village will lose critical services and won’t see promised tax savings.

About 20 people, many of them village employees, met to distribute yard signs and talk strategy on Tuesday night at the Knights of Columbus. The group said they expect to soon have 250 signs out against dissolution.

They will be going door to door, and may put out a mass mailer.

Cindy Troy, president of the CSEA union for Orleans County employees, was at the meeting in Medina. She wants to see the village government stay intact.

“You can lose the things that make you identifiable as a community,” she said. “The Village of Medina could lose control over things they hold dear. They have a density of population. They have needs the people in the country do not.”

She worries if the dissolution goes through, other local villages will follow.

“We as a whole community need to be concerned about this,” she said about the dissolution vote. “Medina won’t be the last to look at it.”

A second anti-dissolution sign also has been put out.

A dissolution plan put together by a committee with help of a consultant suggested many of the village services be taken over the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway. The committee also proposed a new debt district, two lighting districts, a water/sewer local development corporation, and a new fire district. Ridgeway would take over a town police force that would be contracted to include Shelby, according to the committee’s report.

Mike Maak, a Medina firefighter, said there is no guarantee the town officials would put that plan in place. He is among the dissolution opponents.

The dissolution plan sees $277,000 in cost savings and $541,000 in additional state aid for $818,000 in overall benefit. But with combined budgets of more than $10 million, the $277,000 is seen as a small amount in operational savings.

Village Trustees Mike Sidari and Marguerite Sherman both oppose the dissolution. Sidari is running a Facebook page – “Medina, This Village Matters.” Sidari also is helping to get anti-dissolution signs to residents. He said some of the signs have been stolen or damaged.

Sidari and Maak both would like to see the village push for other revenue without disrupting the village government and services. They want to see Medina press for more state aid and county sales tax dollars. Maak said the village should work to become a city, which would significantly boost its state aid and also spare village residents from paying town taxes.

The state hasn’t allowed a new city since the 1950s. Medina Mayor Andrew Meier sees little chance in the state approving Medina as a city, and the county has shown no openness to giving more local sales tax to villages.

Dissolution is one way to secure more state aid, and also run a more efficient local government, said Meier, who is part of the “One Medina” group that would ultimately like to see the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway merge into one town – “Medina.”

“One Medina” has had many signs out for months. The group also has a Facebook page with Dean Bellack and Meier fielding questions from the community, and trying to provide them with answers.

Meier sees dissolution as a way for village residents to shape their destination, without pleading for aid from the county and state, assistance that Meier thinks is unlikely to materialize if the village government remains. The state is providing incentives for dissolution, but gives very little to villages for “Aid and Incentives to Municipalities.” Most villages get less than $10 per person in AIM funding, while the state gives most cities at least $100 per person.

Maak thinks the county and state could be swayed to share revenue with the village.

“We haven’t tried,” he said about that effort. “With dissolution, we’re cutting our nose off to spite our face.”

Owen Toale, a former village trustee, believes the village and towns of Shelby and Ridgeway could reach sizable tax savings by sharing services and consolidating services. He faulted the village for setting a dissolution vote while there was still the prospect of shared services for the trio of municipalities.

“One Medina pushed for the vote while they were still in the middle of the (shared services) process,” Toale said. “That to me is poor.”

He is helping to get out the anti-dissolution signs.

“I’m interested in helping my village,” said Toale, a retired newspaper publisher.


Many village residents have been called in the past two weeks by PAF Opinion Research in Albany. The firm asks a series of questions about dissolution, seeking residents’ opinions.

Meier and “One Medina” say PAF makes many misleading statements. The firm, in a taped phone call to a local resident, says it was hired by “one of the larger unions in the state.” CSEA has denied hiring the firm. Orleans Hub hasn’t been able to verify who hired the firm.

In phone calls to village residents, PAF tells villagers that they will lose their local police. The service might be picked up by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, but response times will more than double. PAF attributes that claim to Meier.

The mayor said he never said that. He was on the Dissolution Committee that recommends a town-wide police force.

PAF makes a number of claims about the future of the village in a dissolution goes forward. The firm tells villagers there won’t be any tax savings if the village government dissolves.

“In villages that voted to dissolve themselves, the promised property tax savings never happened,” a survey worker told a village resident in a phone call. “Does hearing this make you lean against dissolving Medina or for dissolving Medina?”

A CSEA representative said the union didn’t put out the phone messages. However, the union said it knows about the phone calls and sees them as a way to gauge public opinion, and not influence village residents with their vote.


Meier has decried the calls as "push polling," an attempt to intimidate and confuse residents into voting against dissolution.


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Long-time board member for Community Action honored

Provided Photo Posted 18 December 2014
ALBION – Mike Paduchak was honored for more than 40 years of service on the board of directors for Community Action of Orleans & Genesee.

Paduchak served as the board chairman for several years in the 1980s. Monday was his last meeting as a member of the board. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley stopped by the meeting at Hoag Library to present a citation, expressing appreciation for Paduchak’s service.

A World War II veteran, Paduchak also served as Kendall town supervisor and was a member of the former Orleans County Board of Supervisors.

His daughter, Nadine Hanlon, also serves on the board for Community Action.


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Medina man accused of burglary allegedly threatened witness in court

2 others arraigned for crimes at County Court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2014
ALBION – A Medina man who has been in jail on $125,000 bail for allegedly being part of a burglary now faces an additional charge of intimidating a witness.

Jason Wills, 28, of Church Street in Medina was arraigned on the new charge on Monday in front of Orleans County Court Judge James Punch.

Wills is one of four people who have been charged with breaking into a house in Albion on East State Street on May 19. The defendants allegedly also caused property damage and attacked one of the residents, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

One of the accused, Stormy Osby, 18, of Medina pleaded guilty. In court, she said Wills was involved in the break-in. Wills was in court at the time and allegedly threatened Osby.

Wills already faced charges of second-degree burglary, criminal mischief in the fourth degree and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child for the alleged crime.

His attorney Zachary Mauer asked Punch to reduce bail from $125,000 on Monday. Mauer said Wills never entered the house during the burglary. Wills is also a life-long resident who has always appeared for his court dates, Mauer said.

Given the additional charge, Punch said he would keep bail at $125,000. The judge said he would likely have to recuse himself from the intimidation charge because the crime allegedly happened in the courtroom in front of Punch. The judge said he didn’t hear Wills make the alleged threat.


In other cases:

• A Byron man was arraigned for second-degree assault after allegedly striking a victim in the head with a bottle on Sept. 14 in the Town of Murray.

Gregory Vogt, 27, of Cook Road was given a day to post $1,500 bail or else report to the jail.

“This was a completely unprovoked attack on the victim,” said Assistant District Attorney Susan Howard.

The judge issued an order of protection for the victim in the case.

• Phillip Barsonti was arraigned for violating his Probation after allegedly pushing and shoving someone in the Town of Barre on Nov. 11.

Barsonti, 33, no address available, was charged with second-degree harassment and second-degree criminal contempt. The judge increased Barsonti’s bail from $500 set in the Barre court to $2,500.


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Albion's ag class gets pointers in 1938

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 17 December 2014
ALBION – In this vintage photo from 1938 we see an Albion High School agriculture class out in the field inspecting a fruit tree.

Left to right: Douglas Strickland, Floyd Stymus, Joe Sheeler, Bill Boyce, Hamilton Anderson, Norm Lacey, Royce Poelma, Jay Buckland, John Carr, Bill Ferris, John Dahlquist, William Baccaccio, George Kirby, Merton Belson, Dan Sheeler, Roger Van Aernum, Lee Ward, and Frank Christopher.


The Ag teacher was William Sherman. Info on the back of this snapshot indicates it was taken by “Edwin V. Quagliana, 28 W. Bank St., Albion, NY.” Also included is “1938 Ag Class in North Orchard Bill Sherman Teacher.”


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Albion doctor has license revoked

Dr. Jamal Janania worked at Albion Urgent Care Center
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2014
ALBION – A doctor who joined a new Albion healthcare site when it opened in November 2012 has had his medical license revoked by the state Department of Health.

Dr. Jamal Janania no longer works for Orleans Community Health and its Albion Urgent Care site, OCH officials said today. They said they would not comment further on the matter.

Janania had his medical license revoked last month after state DOH officials deemed he was guilty of professional misconduct for fraudulent practice, filing a false report, and violations of education law.

Janania has had a license in New York since Nov. 2, 2009. He began work at the Carthage Area Hospital in June 2009. He was twice suspended for failure to complete patient records. He was terminated from Carthage on Sept. 7, 2011 for record keeping, tardiness and absences, according to the DOH report on Janania. (Click here to see the report.)

He then worked at Mountain Medical Services in northern New York from January 2012 to May 2012 and was terminated for record keeping, “and time and attendance issues,” the DOH said.

He also sought a medical license in Kansas in 2006 but was denied in March 2008 for failure to meet licensing requirements, the DOH said.

When Janania sought work at Lewis County General Hospital on April 30, 2012, and then at Oswego Hospital on June 11, 2012, he did not disclose his past terminations, nor did he reveal his medical license application had been denied in Kansas, according to the DOH. Janania also was licensed to practice medicine in Florida in 2012.

When he applied to Orleans Community Health in October 2012, he disclosed in his application he had prior employment suspensions, but did not disclose he had been terminated.

In a hearing with DOH officials, Janania said he was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder in 2005, and that ADD affected his record keeping. He said the ADD did not affect his performance in practicing medicine.

The DOH also faulted Janania for not disclosing he had a license in Florida in his job applications in 2012. He called that an “oversight,” according to the DOH report.

The DOH hearing committee ruled that Janania committed fraudulent practice. “(Janania) intentionally and repeatedly misrepresented and concealed information from potential employers in an effort to mislead them about his professional history and qualifications.”

The doctor was found to have filed a false report based on lies in his employment history on job applications, the DOH said.

Janania was found guilty of violations in education law for failing to disclose his employment terminations and the reasons for those dismissals when he applied for other jobs.

The DOH committee said misrepresentations in a job application “brings into question his reliability in matters more directly related to patient care.” The committee also said poor record keeping is poor patient care.


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Cuomo, NY will ban fracking

Collins says governor denies state ‘a tremendous economic opportunity’
Staff Reports Posted 17 December 2014
New York is banning hydro-fracking due to concerns about the environmental impact of the controversial way to drill for natural gas.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the leader of Department of Environmental Conservation and the state’s Health Commissioner announced the ban today following a study of the environmental and health impacts.

Congressman Chris Collins released statement soon after the state announcement. Collins said prohibiting fracking will deprive the state of much-needed jobs.

“Governor Cuomo has just denied the people of New York a tremendous economic opportunity in order to appease far left environmentalists for his own political gain,” Collins said. “The Governor continues to hide behind Albany bureaucrats and controversial scientific studies to stand against hardworking New Yorkers who deserve the job opportunities and economic growth fracking has clearly produced in other states, including neighboring Pennsylvania. This is a sad day for the future of the economy in Upstate New York.”


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Nayman inspired many with determination

Fire victim was active in local politics, Main Street presence for half century

Fran Nayman is pictured in 1978 when he was Albion town supervisor and a member of the Orleans County Board of Supervisors.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2014
ALBION – He battled a stroke and other health scares, but Fran Nayman wouldn’t let those issues keep him down. He stayed committed to his customers and his community.

“The things he dealt with would have broken most people,” said Nayman’s friend Gary Kent. “He just pushed himself and kept going. He amazed me.”

Nayman was 76 when he died Friday in a fire at his shop. Nayman’s, a small engine repair business, was a presence on Main Street since 1959.

Nayman was active in local politics, serving as a village trustee, Albion town supervisor and an Orleans County legislator. He had been out of public office for about three decades, but Nayman stayed supportive in the background, encouraging candidates and offering advice and money for their campaigns.

That’s how Kent became close with Nayman, beginning in 2001 when Kent made his first run for public office. Kent grew to admire Nayman, especially his iron will. Nayman committed to physical therapy to improve his health so he could come back home after stays in an assisted living facility and also the county nursing home.

“It was a testament to his endurance,” Kent said.

Nayman graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology and retired as a engineer at RG & E. At Nayman's, he fixed small engines for lawnmowers, snowblowers and other equipment.

Even when he was limited to a wheelchair, he had friends drop him off at his shop so he could work.

“He died doing what he wanted to do,” Kent said. “There’s where he wanted to be.”

Nayman was a life-long bachelor. He quietly supported many civic causes and organizations, Kent said.

“His death is a big loss for Albion,” Kent said. “He could be counted on for a lot of things. He had a gruff exterior, but he was like a cupcake inside.”

Jeanne Crane, the Orleans County Democratic Party chairwoman, said Nayman took out many ads supporting Democratic candidates. He also opposed the sale of the county nursing home and took out ads stating his opinion on that sale.

His shop was in a prominent spot on Main Street and let both Democratic and Republican candidates put their campaign signs on his property.

He might disagree with local officials, but Crane said Nayman always took the high road.

“He was opinionated but I never saw him get angry,” she said. “He was so even-tempered.”

Crane worked with Nayman for about four decades in local politics, trying to build the Democratic Party. Nayman told Democrats they only had a chance at winning if they were committed to public service and a zealous campaign.

“He always used to say, ‘If you’re going to run, you need the desire to win or else you’re not going to win,’” Crane said.

Even as he struggled in recent years, Nayman sent Crane birthday cards and called at least monthly to check in on the Democratic doings. He wanted the party to be thinking early about fielding candidates for local elections.

“He was someone who was always in the background,” Crane said. “He was always there for us.”

Brad London sold Nayman his ads for The Lake Country Pennysaver. Nayman regularly took out ads in recent years, letting the community to know he was still in business.

“He was always optimistic about serving his customers,” London said. “I really looked up to him. He had a determination and drive.”


Nayman always ran a holiday ad in The Pennysaver, thanking his customers.


"The friendships we've made throughout the years have been our greatest pride," the ad would state. "Holiday greetings and thanks to all."

To see Nayman’s obituary, click here.


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Albion student wins county oratorical contest

Provided Photo Posted 17 December 2014
ALBION – Meredith Patterson of Albion won the Orleans County American Legion Oratorical Contest on Saturday. She is pictured with Steve Goodrich, left, of Lyndonville who is the county Legion commander. Brandon Nunnery, right, of the Lyndonville Post serves as chairman of the oratorical contest.

Patterson won the 77th American Legion Orleans County Oratorical Competition. She competed against students from the other school districts in the county.

Participants delivered an 8- to 10-minute speech without notes about the Constitution.

Patterson will now advance to a regional competition in January.


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Report says Orleans County peaked in 1969

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2014
A report from The Washington Post about the vanishing Middle Class says Orleans County peaked in 1969.

“Why America’s Middle Class is Lost” was published on Dec. 12 by The Washington Post. The story includes a database on the median household income in 3,139 counties across the United States. Orleans is one of 210 counties, or less than 7 percent of the country, that reached its inflation-adjusted peak in 1969.

About half of the counties in New York state hit their median household peak in 1969. That includes seven out of the eight Western New York counties. Wyoming County was the only one to hit its peak after 1969. Wyoming hit it in 1999 with a median household income of $55,668.

Orleans households had an inflation-adjusted median income of $56,963 in 1969, according to the database that used information from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.


In Orleans, the median household income between 2009 to 2013 was down to $48,502, according to the American Community Survey.

The Washington Post says the median household incomes have fallen in many areas in the country due to the exodus of higher-paying manufacturing jobs and other positions.

“Make no mistake: The American middle class is in trouble,” according to Post article written by Jim Tankersley. “That trouble started decades ago, well before the 2008 financial crisis, and it is rooted in shifts far more complicated than the simple tax-and-spend debates that dominate economic policymaking in Washington.”

Tankersley says a smaller share of Americans are reaping the benefits of an expanding economy.

To see the article and the database of counties, click here.


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