Photo by Kristina Gabalski: One of the homes effected by a leak from Diaz Chemical sits on the northwest corner of the South Main Street/Jackson Street intersection. During Monday’s meeting of the Village of Holley Development Corporation, President Dan Schiavone said the home is appraised at $62,500 with lead clean-up is expected to cost $3,400.
By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 30 August 2016
HOLLEY – Members of the Village of Holley Development Corporation have given approval for VHDC President Dan Schiavone to sign an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency which would transfer ownership of the eight “Diaz homes” in the village from the EPA to the VHDC.
VHDC members met Monday evening at the Village Hall to discuss two significant changes in the agreement. The two parties have been at an impasse for nearly a year over terms regarding lead abatement.
“After months and months of not hearing (from the EPA),” Schiavone said the EPA now has told him they have been looking into situation and the latest agreement offered includes a 90 percent/10 percent split on the sale of the homes. That means 90 percent of the sale price goes to the EPA and only 10 percent goes to the VHDC.
Initially, the VHDC had hoped to receive much more on the home sales. A previous agreement had included a 50/50 split with the EPA.
“The 90/10 percent split is awful,” Schiavone said. “The LDC isn’t going to make any money for future projects.” He noted that fees and closing costs are not subject to the split.
“We thought we would have a nice chunk of change,” he said. “We will be lucky to get ($5,000-$7,000). That will not take us very far.”
He said the EPA explained that the 90/10 split is how the agency handles agreements between the federal and state governments. In the case of the Diaz homes, the VHDC is “acting on behalf of the state,” Schiavone said.
“The best we can get on the sales is 10 percent.”
The federal agency has been caretaker of the former Diaz site since the company declared bankruptcy in June 2003, following a chemical leak in the community on January 2002.
“We will grumble, but we will sign the MOA,” Schiavone said about the agreement. He recounted efforts the committee has made to come to a more favorable agreement including contacting Sen. Charles Schumer who assisted in their efforts.
Schiavone said the EPA is “anxious to get out of paying for the properties. They have been pinned down for code violations and have had about enough.”
But he said he feels the VHDC will not be able to make further progress with negotiations. The local LDC was formed to get the properties sold and back on the tax rolls.
“We need to get the project moving forward again,” Schiavone said.
On the lead abatement issue, the agreement requires lead clean-up completed by a certified contractor. Those who purchase the homes would be responsible for having the clean-up work completed. Documentation of certified clean-up must then be provided to the village code enforcement officer before a certificate of occupancy is issued.
Schiavone said the EPA will disclose its reports on contamination levels in the homes as well as the estimated cost of lead clean-up to prospective buyers. Schiavone said the EPA told him that once the agreement is signed, ownership of the properties would be ready for transfer in six weeks.
“In federal government talk that means three months,” Schiavone mused. The VHDC will also assume responsibility for maintenance of the properties as soon as the agreement is signed by all three parties involved – the VHDC, the Village of Holley and the EPA.
Those in attendance at Monday’s meeting, including Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty, discussed the possibility that the village could provide mowing for the properties. The agreement further stipulates that the EPA must approve of the final sale price of the homes.
VHDC member Krista Wiley expressed concern over the stipulation and requested Schiavone inquire if a time deadline could be placed on the EPA to respond to a written notice of a final sale price. She said she also worries that the VHDC might get stuck with the properties if the EPA “doesn’t agree with the price.”
“I think there is potential in all the properties,” Schiavone said. He agreed to discuss the possibility of setting a time limit for the EPA to respond the the sale price. Schiavone said the committee would meet again once the quit claim deeds are on the way.
“Then we will have to decide how to sell the homes,” he said. The committee has a real estate attorney to provide guidance and has discussed auction, RFPs, listing with a real estate agent, or a mix of methods as possibilities.
Press Release, Oak Orchard Elementary School Posted 30 August 2016
MEDINA – Oak Orchard Elementary, under the direction of new Principal Julie Webber, is ready to welcome students on Wednesday, September 7th for a full day.
There will be new procedures in place as students are dismissed from school at 2:20 p.m. Buses will continue to load students in the loop in front of the school. Anyone wishing to pick up their child at the end of the school day will be required to send in a note to the main office on the morning of the pickup stating the full name of the adult picking up the child.
The adult will park, enter the building at 2:25, and show photo identification to sign out the child. In the past, parents were able to pick up students in the front loop prior to bus departures. From now on, cars will not be permitted in the front loop during arrival or dismissal.
“The purpose for this change is ensure the safety of all students and streamline the dismissal process to maximize valuable instructional time for students,” Webber said. “Detailed information is included on the website and will be available to families at the Back to School/Open House night on Tuesday, September 6th at 6 p.m.”
Provided photos: Kara Bentley of the Barre Volunteer Fire Company portrays a trapped firefighter in a grain bin during a training exercise Aug. 20 at Carlton.
Staff Reports Posted 30 August 2016
ALBION – Orleans County firefighters and some local area farmers had the opportunity to attend a training involving the rescue of a person trapped in a grain bin.
The training on Aug. 20 was provided by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety with sponsorships by The Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America, Farm Credit East, New York Farm Bureau Member Services and The Evans Insurance Agency.
NECASAG Director Dan Neenan was the course instructor. Orleans County firefighters attended from Albion, Barre, Carlton, East Shelby, Fancher-Hulberton-Murray, Holley, Kendall and Shelby.
They participated along with representatives from Orleans County Emergency Management and Elba Fire Department.
Following a short slide presentation, the participants spent the rest of the morning performing the hands-on rescue evolutions in victim removal and safe methods to lower the grain level in the bin.
The evolutions were completed using grain rescue equipment purchased by Carlton. This was to ensure that local responders were familiar with the tools available to them in the county.
Firefighters worked in pairs in the grain bin simulator to free victims who were trapped waist deep in corn. The rescue tool allows responders to build a wall around the victim. The grain entrapping the victim can then be removed from inside the wall which facilitates the victim’s removal.
The firefighters in the bin were assisted by other responders who handed them equipment as well as offering advice and encouragement. All firefighters entering the bin wore full body harnesses and were secured to the frame of the simulator. The grain depth is also maintained at a level that will not allow an adult to be submerged.
Responders also received training in the proper size and location to cut vents in the side of a grain bin to safely lower the grain level in the bin. Lowering the level assists with victim location and removal.
Jim Panek of Panek Farms in Albion arranged steel bin sections for cutting. Andrew Niederhofer, the Carlton fire chief, arranged corn from Lynn-ette Farms to be in the grain bin.
The training is provided by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety and is the first in a series of safety trainings for the WNY region through a grant received by Erie County on behalf of the WNY Region. Sessions were held in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Niagara, Orleans, Steuben and Wyoming counties between Aug. 4-20.
Dan Neenan, an instructor with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, discusses grain bin safety and rescue during an Aug. 20 trainign class at the Carlton Recreation Hall.
Carlton firefighter Ben Diltz, front, is cutting, and Carlton Lt. Justin Niederhofer and firefighter Tom Niehaus are observing during the training drill.
Firefighters from several departments in Orleans County attended the training.
ALBION — In July the Albion Police Department launched a new “Caught Doing Good” program where police officers would ticket kids who were spotted doing good deeds in the community.
The tickets are actually coupons for free ice cream. The Albion Betterment Committee is paying for the frozen treat. Initially the program teamed with The Frosty Bucket on Main Street. But that business has since closed. Now the coupons are redeemable at Cone Zone, a popular stop on Route 31 across from the Albion Central School campus.
The tickets are good for a $3 ice cream, with the Betterment Committee paying $2 and the Cone Zone, owned by Karen and Chris Kinter, covering the rest.
Pictured include, from left: Chris Kinter, ABC directors Joe Gehl and Gary Kent, Lt. David Mogle of the Albion Police Department, and ABC director Gary Derwick.
The Betterment Committee and Police Department hope the tickets will build trust in the community for police among children and teens. Police leaders say officers have their own discretion in recognizing kids. It won’t be used for kids who help police in investigations, Police Chief Roland Nenni said.
‘It will be one of the most physically and emotionally challenging things I’ve ever done.’ – Wendy Cannon
Photo by Tom Rivers: T.J. and Wendy Cannon have been training and raising money for a 50-mile walk Sept. 9-11 in a benefit for people battling Multiple Sclerosis. Mrs. Cannon was diagnosed with the condition almost 17 years ago.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2016
WATERPORT – A decade ago Wendy Cannon was so debilitated by multiple sclerosis she was wheelchair bound. That lasted about a month.
Treatment and medication, as well as her determined spirit, got her back on her feet.
Cannon is thankful she has been able to continue working as an occupational therapist. She is grateful she made it to her son’s recent graduation from high school.
She wants to help others with MS, and improve her odds in battling a disease where the cause is unknown. That’s whey she and her husband T.J. are planning to walk 50 miles on Sept. 9-11 in Cape Cod in a MS Challenge Walk.
They have been raising money and training for the long walk. They are about halfway towards the $3,000 goal.
“I’m excited about it,” Cannon said at her home this evening on Knight’s Lane off Oak Orchard River Road. “It will be one of the most physically and emotionally challenging things I’ve ever done.”
Cannon, 45, was stricken with MS when she was 28. It was a cold winter day and she had been playing with her son, then 3. Her lips, the left side of her scalp and her left arm felt numb. She thought she might have frostbite. Doctors diagnosed her with a disease that afflicts women far more than men.
The Challenge Walk will raise money for research and treatment, and to assist people fighting the disease.
“Who knows, the $3,000 we raise might find the cure for MS,” said Mr. Cannon.
He works as a technician for Respiratory Services of WNY. He has been training with his wife, going on long walks, including 7 miles on Sunday.
The couple has had a wine tasting, kayak race and tupperware party to raise money for the challenge. They have been collecting pop cans and water bottles as well. Some of their friends and neighbors leave bags of bottles for them, which adds up towards the $3,000 goal. They also have an online giving option. (Click here for more information.)
She expects the MS Challenge Walk will be a highlight as she and her husband walk 20 miles on Sept. 9, followed by another 20 miles and 10 miles the final day.
“It’s much more for the camaraderie and being with other people and sharing stories,” she said.
She works for HCR Homecare and provides occupational therapy to many people fighting MS. Cannon said the disease can leave many people bed-ridden. She still has some bad days, where it is hard to move and keep her balance. But she keeps moving.
She gets up at 4:30 and goes to Fast Fitness in Medina to work out for at least an hour. She wants to run again. She ran the Albion Strawberry Festival 5K in 2013 when she felt like she was in her peak shape. For now, she is focused on the 50 miles over 3 days.
Cannon has a sister in Connecticut who will be at the MS Challenge. Some of her friends in Waterport also plan on going to root on the Cannons. Western New York doesn’t have a Challenge Walk. That’s why the Cannons are going to Cape Cod.
Mrs. Cannon said there is a candlelight service as part of the Challenge. She has watched the video and it brings her to tears. Mrs. Cannon has been in clinical trials with treatment. She hopes to slow the disease’s progression. She said she is focused on quality of life, not quantity of days.
“I don’t have a bucket list,” she said. “I try to live each day to the fullest.”
Provided photos: State Sen. Robert Ortt, center, is pictured with Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower, left, and District Attorney Joe Cardone.
Staff Reports Posted 29 August 2016
ALBION – State Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) stopped in Orleans County today to deliver three checks for $40,000 in state funding to support public safety efforts and educational programs in Orleans County. He also presented a check for $15,000 for a museum in Spencerport.
During a check presentation ceremony in Orleans County, Ortt presented the Sheriff’s Office with a $10,000 check, and the District Attorney’s Office with $15,000. The funds will be used to purchase new equipment for public protection efforts, Ortt’s office said.
Additionally, Senator Ortt presented the Medina Railroad Museum with a $15,000 check to paint two railroad passenger dining cars.
The railcars will be used to educate the public about the historic 20th Century Limited express passenger train that operated on the former New York Central Railroad. The dining cars are expected to be open to the public this winter.
Ortt also announced $15,000 in Monroe County for the Spencerport Deport and Canal Museum, a site that helps tell the story of the Erie Canal.
The money can be used to assist with educational services and programming, purchasing materials, renovations, operations, or events that serve the community.
Ortt, right, is pictured at the Medina Railroad Museum with, from left: Spencerport Deport and Canal Museum President Ted Rauber; Spencerport Deport and Canal Museum Director Nora Venezky; Medina Railroad Museum Board President Rick Henn; and Medina Railroad Museum Director/Founder Martin Phelps.
Thomas Torpey sentenced to 1 ½ to 3 years for smuggling painkillers into women’s prison at Albion
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2016
ALBION – A Rochester man who was released in 2008 after spending 23 years in prison for second-degree murder is going back to prison for smuggling painkillers into the Albion Correctional Facility.
Thomas Torpey, 69, was sentenced to 1 ½ to 3 years in state prison this afternoon by Orleans County Court Judge James Punch.
Torpey was arrested on Aug. 23, 2015 by State Police. He admitted to bringing drugs to the women’s prison for Ashley Sizemore, who is serving a 42-month sentence for an arson in February 2014 at the Spencerport residence of a former Irondequoit police officer.
Sizemore, 32, was Torpey’s girlfriend. Torpey’s attorney Nathan Pace said today that Torpey has stayed out of trouble since being released from Attica Correctional Facility in 2008, except for bringing the painkillers to Sizemore.
Pace said she was begging Torpey for the medication. Pace said Torpey “has the worst criminal record imaginable,” but had made a change since being released eight years ago.
Torpey, a former bodyguard for a Mafia crime boss, was convicted of second-degree murder in 1985 for ordering the killing of a rival mobster in December 1981. Torpey declined to speak during his sentencing this afternoon in Orleans County Court.
“You certainly have a long criminal career,” Punch told Torpey. “What a bad way to go out.”
The judge urged Torpey to serve the sentence and then commit to obeying the law when he is released.
“You’ve certainly had quite a life of violating other people’s rights,” the judge said.
ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board has backed a proposed six-month moratorium on applications for industrial solar energy generation facilities in two towns.
Gaines and Kendall want time to update their zoning ordinances for large-scale solar projects, those encompassing more than a half-acre of land. The moratorium does not apply to solar projects for homes.
The Planning Board also suggested the towns allow solar projects at farms because the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets considers solar that does not exceed 110 percent of a farm’s electrical needs to be on-farm equipment, which is allowable in an agricultural district.
In other action, the Planning Board last Thursday:
The Lonowood Art Company in Albion designed the sign for El Sol Nace.
• Backed a freestanding sign for a tortilla-making business on Route 31 in Albion. Gabriel Rodriguez is constructing a new building for El Sol Nace, a business on Route 31 that will sell tortilla, work boots, cowboy boots and also handle money transactions, such as wiring funds.
Planners already approved the site plan for the building, but the freestanding sign wasn’t in the original application. The sign would be nearly 4 feet by 7 feet at 439 West Ave.
Planners said the new sign should not be placed in a way that obstructs sight lines from vehicles attempting to exit the property. It also needs to be set back at least 15 feet from the front property line and 5 feet from the side property line, which is the village sign ordinance.
• Recommended the Town of Shelby issue a permit for Jonathan R. Daniels of Waterport to operate a motor vehicle repair shop at 11352 Maple Ridge Rd. Daniels will use a structure that has been home to a motor vehicle repair shop for several decades on Route 31A in the Hamlet District.
This map shows the northern portion of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, along with the proposed Protection Overlay District.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2016
SHELBY – The Shelby Town Board is looking to establish a “Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District” that would ban mining and other uses the town doesn’t think are compatible near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.
The Town Board will have a public hearing on the local law at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7 at the Town Hall on Salt Works Road. Shelby is proposing the district as a 3,000-foot buffer from the refuge border. The district would include 227 parcels or 3,821 acres. Of that land, 3,638 are enrolled in the agricultural district. (Click here to download a pdf map of the overlay district.)
The Town Board is looking to establish the the local law after the state Department of Environmental Conservation ruled on July 27 that Frontier Stone won’t need to go to adjudication to resolve any “substantive or significant” environmental issues with a proposed 215-acre quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road.
In his ruling, Administrative Law Judge D. Scott Bassinson said DEC officials can now work towards issuing a permit for the project following completion of the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
Shelby Town Supervisor Skip Draper said the town doesn’t want a quarry so close to the wildlife refuge. Many residents have spoken against the project during DEC hearings. Establishing the Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District would establish a new level of regulation to protect natural resources.
The district would ban blasting, mining, junk yards, kennels, airports, motor vehicle repair shops, outdoor commercial recreation areas and telecommunication facilities.
The district also proposed banning agricultural product processing and distribution facilities, but the Orleans County Planning Board last Thursday said those uses should likely be allowed because of the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law. Otherwise, the Planning Board backed the local law.
Frontier Stone is proposing the new quarry and would like to provide lime and some services for the farm community. The proposed quarry would be established in four phases, over 75 years, with 11.6 acres mined in the first 11 years.
Frontier Stone, on its website (click here), says the local law if adopted would “significantly restrict” property rights in Shelby, limit how property can be used, and hinder the ability to sell property for an economic benefit in the future.
Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Historian Matt Ballard leads a tour of Mount Albion Cemetery on Sunday evening. Ballard is pictured at the grave of Lorenzo Burrows, who established a bank in Albion, served as the county treasurer and was the state’s comptroller from 1856 to 1857. He also ran unsuccessfully for governor. About 40 people attended the tour on Sunday.
Staff Reports Posted 29 August 2016
ALBION – The first-ever Orleans County Heritage Festival is less than two weeks away – Sept. 9-11. The festival will focus on four themes – Agriculture, Transportation, Historic Gems and Historic Cemeteries.
One of the four themes emphasized this year is Historic Cemeteries. Participating cemeteries include: Beechwood and Greenwood in Kendall, Boxwood in Medina, Hillside in Holley, Mt. Albion and Union Cemetery at Watt Farms – both in Albion.
Beechwood Cemetery on Woodchuck Alley in Kendall was established in 1828.
Cemeteries are a rich source of local history and culture, if people take the time to appreciate them, said Derek Maxfield, a history professor at Genesee Community College and one of the chief organizers of the Heritage Festival. The cemetery art contained on the many grave stones contain information about families, military service and values. The symbols and iconography give us a window into the culture of the time, he said.
Several of the participating cemeteries this year will give people the opportunity to learn more about these wonderful outdoor museums, Maxfield.
At Boxwood Cemetery in Medina, Village Historian Todd Bensley will lead tours on Saturday (Sept. 10) and Sunday (Sept. 11) beginning at noon and 2 p.m. There is no admission charge.
Mt. Albion will also feature cemetery tours led by former Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin. Tours will be led on Saturday (Sept. 10) from 3 to 5 p.m. and will begin every half hour from the chapel. There is no admission charge.
The chapel at Hillside Cemetery in Holley/Clarendon will be open for tours on Sept. 10. The cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
At Hillside Cemetery in Holley visitors can take a self-guided tour on Sept. 10 of the remarkable Gothic Revival chapel built in 1894 and cemetery from 9 to 11 a.m. – beginning from the chapel, and/or go on a “Ghost Walk” in the evening.
Established in 1866, the cemetery has a split personality. The older section of the cemetery reflects the romantic era of antebellum America and Guilded Age of the late 19th century. The newer section reflects the Lawn Cemetery style of the twentieth century.
The Clarendon Historical Society began raising money a few years ago in an effort to preserve the beautiful chapel at Hillside Cemetery.
The “Ghost Walk” on Saturday (Sept. 10) will benefit the restoration fund. Walks will begin from the chapel at 7 and 8 p.m. Admission is $10 per person. Among the fascinating “ghosts” will be Carl Akeley, the famed taxidermist, who will be portrayed by Tom Rivers, editor of the Orleans Hub. Also featured will be Francis Cole, who was a POW for 29 months during World War II, and Jewell Buckman who had the distinction of being the first local soldier killed in World War I.
The cemeteries in Kendall, Beechwood and Greenwood will feature self-guided tours from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday (Sept. 10) as will Union Cemetery at Watt Farms in Albion. A brochure will be available at the Watt Farms Market which will highlight the graves of veterans of the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
Folks interested in American death ways will want to check out events and exhibits at Genesee Community College’s Albion campus center. “Death, Mourning and Justice in Orleans County” will feature a recreated wake in a Victorian parlor. A beautiful glass casket from the late 19th century will be on display.
Matt Bullard stops at the Pullman family grave at Mount Albion on Sunday. James Lewis Pullman, father of sleeping car magnate George Pullman, is buried at Albion’s historic cemetery.
There will also be two public lectures at the Albion campus: at 11 a.m. Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone will speak on famous crimes and murders. Lattin, the retired historian, at noon will talk about Victorian memorials featuring human hair. There is no admission charge for any GCC events or exhibits.
Visitors who wish to take advantage of the great opportunities afforded by the Heritage Festival should begin by procuring a festival brochure, which is available at all participating organizations and from GCC campus centers in Albion and Medina. A list of participating organizations is available at the festival website (click here).
Once the brochure is in hand, participants are encouraged to visit at least three locations to be eligible for prizes. As guests visit each location, they will be provided with a colored ribbon. Once they collect three ribbons of any color, they are eligible for a collectable button featuring artwork that reflects the four themes.
They also become eligible for a drawing for prizes. For more information about the Orleans County Heritage Festival go to orleansnyheritage.com or contact Derek Maxfield at email@example.com.