Albion scouts end a long tradition with paper drive

Photos by Sue Cook
Nathan Olmstead takes papers from Cole Spierdowis to put into the truck.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 20 September 2014
ALBION - After 30 years, Albion Boy Scout Troop 164 is ending their monthly paper collection.


Every third Saturday, the Boy Scouts would collect newspapers from businesses and citizens in the Save-A-Lot parking lot, then makie collection stops to get large quantities. A large 18-wheeler would come from Pennsylvania to take their paper and put it to use as insulation for houses and animal bedding.


“It started in 1984," said Troop Leader Jonathan Doherty. "Troop 167 started it, then it was Troop 48, then Troop 60, now 164, but it ends today.”

Troop Leader Jonathan Doherty helps with carts while the boys load the trucks.


The collection has come to an end due to the busy schedule that the Boy Scouts have in their own lives. Many are unable to make time on Saturdays due to commitments to family activities, sports and other functions. The troop of about 40 ranges from age 10 to 18, though most of the scouts are 11 years old.


“We just can't get help on Saturdays," Doherty said. "We can only get a couple to help. It's sad, but what can you do? We're going to do two big fundraisers for the year, so that way there's money for the activities.”


Troop Leader Karen Williams added, “It's sad to see the paper drive go because it's been going on over 30 years. It's a sure sign of the electronic age and people's lives getting busier where they just don't have time to spread themselves out for volunteer work.”

From left: Nathan Olmstead, Cole Spierdowis and Sammy Williams load papers on the last day of the paper drive.


The troop is currently uncertain if they will continue their pop bottle collection. They are considering having an account at a local redemption center to allow the public to drop off bottles any time.


return to top of page


Red Cross provides aid to family after Albion fire

Photos by Tom Rivers
A fire this morning on Phipps Road ruined most of a home, forcing a family with five young children to seek temporary shelter.

By Tom Rivers Posted 19 September 2014
ALBION – A family with five children lost most of their possessions after their home was badly damaged in a fire today at 13576 Phipps Rd.

Lisa and Christopher McGuire lived at the house with their five children as well as Mrs. McGuire’s aunt. No one was hurt in the fire, but they lost nearly all of their material belongings, said the couple’s niece, Chelsea Christopher.

The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter for the family at Dollinger’s Motel. Christopher is seeking clothing donations, as well as diapers, wipes and food. People are welcome to contact her at 585-590-1246 by text or through her Facebook page if they want to help.

The fire started in a stove and spread through the house, with flames reaching the second floor.


return to top of page


Stove fire spreads at Albion home on Phipps Road

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 19 September 2014 11:38 a.m.
ALBION – A stove fire spread at an Albion home late this morning, causing extensive damage to the house at 13576 Phipps Rd.

The dispatch call first went out at 10:24 a.m. and several mutual aid calls were issued after that.

Albion, Barre and Fancher-Hulberton-Murray firefighters were soon on the scene. No additional information is available.


return to top of page


‘Rebuild Bullard’ seeks support for spray park, playground upgrade

Provided photos
The Village of Perry opened a spray park in June. The biggest piece resembles a giant serpent. Village lore says a serpent once lived in nearby Silver Lake. Spray parks or splash pads can include characters that play up community history.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 September 2014
ALBION – The Albion Recreation Committee and the Lions Club are brainstorming how to make a spray park and new playground equipment a reality for the community at Bullard Park.

The groups met with a representative from Parkitects on Wednesday to discuss options for a spray park. Those could vary from the most basic model at $66,000 to splash pads that top over $200,000. In Albion’s case that price wouldn’t include the cost of building a new bathroom with a changing area close by. That would be an additional expense.

“It would set us apart and be an attraction,” Recreation Committee member Mike Beach said about the spray park.

He takes his two sons to spray parks in Olcott and Spencerport. The project in Albion would be a draw for local families, and Beach said it would also bring people into Albion, giving the local economy a boost.

The community needs to find a way to fund the project for it to happen. The Lions Club has pledged $10,000 towards it. A concert last month raised about $2,000 for Bullard Park.

Bill Robinson, the Lions Club president, wants to hire a grantwriter to pursue funding from the state and other sources.

Kim Remley, a Recreation Committee member, said grants will likely be the difference-maker in whether the project moves forward.

The Village of Perry in Wyoming County opened a new spray park in June that cost $156,000. New bathrooms pushed the total cost to about $230,000, Remley said.

The Albion group also wants to put in new playground equipment that would be different than the new playground that opened last spring at elementary school. The group will work on cost estimates with Parkitects or another playground provider.

In the meantime, village officials will try to reach out to neighboring towns and the county to help fund the project that would be open to children outside the village.

The next “Rebuild Bullard” committee meeting will be 7 p.m. on Oct. 15 at Hoag Library.


Rebuild Bullard also has a Facebook page. Click here for more information.


return to top of page


Residents speak against landfill in Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers
About 125 people attended a public hearing about a landfill, and whether a permit should be transferred to Richard Penfold, at Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Holley this evening. Many held signs showing their opposition to landfills in Albion.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 September 2014
MURRAY – Albion and Orleans County have had their fill as a garbage dump, Ted Scharping, a former town supervisor, said during a public hearing this evening.

Scharping was elected to the Town Board in November 1995 to fight Waste Management’s effort to build a new 200-foot-high landfill, dwarfing two existing landfills in the community. The town passed anti-landfilling laws that were upheld in court and prevented Waste Management’s project.

But Scharping said the community still suffers from a landfill legacy.

“The wounds are extensive – still,” Scharping said during a hearing attended by about 125 people at Hickory Ridge Golf Course. “We saw what the dump, an illegally run dump, did to our village. We suffered for years – environmentally, visually, quiet enjoyment and most importantly with property values.”

The issue won’t go away, even though Waste Management was denied a permit from the Town Board and laws were passed to prevent another landfill.

Waste Management, although denied by the town, secured a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Richard Penfold of Orchard Park claims he has ownership of that state permit. The DEC isn’t convinced and denied his request to renew that permit, saying he didn’t have legal standing.

Penfold has appealed that decision, and that was the focus of the public hearing this evening and a DEC issues conference on Wednesday, beginning at 10 a.m. at Hickory Ridge. Lawyers for Penfold, the DEC and Stop Polluting Orleans County will all address a DEC administrative law judge.

Kim Remley, chairwoman of Stop Polluting Orleans County, says Richard Penfold doesn’t have the right to take a state Department of Environmental Conservation permit for a landfill in Albion.

Kim Remley, chairwoman of SPOC, stuck to the issue at hand, whether Penfold has the right to the Waste Management permit. She said he hasn’t satisfied the DEC, and there isn’t a paper trail showing he secured the permit from Waste Management, former site owner Irene Smith, or the bankrupt estate of the Orleans Sanitary Landfill, which operated in Albion until running afoul of the law and going bankrupt in the early 1990s.

Scharping said the community suffered when John and Irene Smith ran OSL, and were fined for taking in too much garbage. The local property values haven’t recovered, with a downward trend especially in the village, said Scharping, long-time real estate broker.

“Any bribes – that’s what I call tipping fees and offers of free garbage – will not compensate for the loss of real property values,” he said. “People in the whole county could be harmed by 5, 10 or 20 percent.”

Another former town supervisor, Judith Koehler, also spoke during the public hearing and told the DEC that the town created a Canal Overlay District in 2002 which forbade landfill development along the canal.


The town and village also worked together on updating a comprehensive plan for land use and development priorities for the community. That plan, adopted in 2012, included a community survey where 75 percent of residents said they “very strongly” or “strongly” opposed more landfills in Albion.

Michael Bonafede said Richard Penfold has acted contrary to his words from a public meeting about two years ago, when he said then he wouldn’t pursue a landfill in the community if residents opposed the project. Bonafede said the community has worked hard to promote heritage tourism and other business in the town.

Michael Bonafede, a former Albion Board of Education president, has been a vocal critic of landfill expansion in Albion. He recalled an Oct. 23, 2012 meeting when Penfold presented his plan for assuming Waste Management’s permit and seeking local approval for the project.

Penfold said then he wouldn’t pursue the project without support from town officials and the community. Bonafede said there hasn’t been support for the project.

“Mr. Penfold said then he just wanted to make a presentation and if we weren’t interested he would go home,” Bonafede said. “Go home.”

The community has worked hard since Waste Management’s proposal in the mid-1990s to chart a new path, promoting heritage tourism, a world-class fishery and other projects that build a “vital wholesome community,” Bonafede said.

He highlighted the renovations of the former Citizens National Bank on Main Street and the former Albion Grammar School, both fully occupied. The community is trying to promote attractions along the Route 98 corridor, from Albion to Lake Ontario.


Albion has been recognized for its efforts by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Point Breeze last year won the Ultimate Fishing Town.

“We don’t want the stink, the noise and the heavy trucks going down Main Street and shaking our historic buildings,” Bonafede said.

Other residents – Marilyn Miller, Terry Wilbert, Andrew Remley, John Andrews and Susan Smith – spoke against allowing the landfill in Albion.

“I would encourage him (Penfold) to expend his effort to change the zoning in Orchard Park so he can build a landfill in his own backyard,” Andrews said.

Amy Hope Witryol, a former State Senate candidate who lives in Niagara County, has watched landfill operators come into Niagara County, only to become much bigger operations later on.

Penfold, during the Oct. 23, 2012 meeting, said he would run an Albion landfill that would take in 400,000 to 500,000 tons of garbage annually, which is down from the 690,000 tons approved by the DEC for Waste Management.

Witryol warned Penfold's landfill could later become a much bigger operation, perhaps selling out to a larger company.

She said rural Orleans is “spectacularly beautiful” and residents should continue their effort to keep out a landfill.

“It would shatter this county in my view,” she said about a new landfill. “You can’t put Humpty’s Dump back together again.”


return to top of page


Community Action takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

Photos by Sue Cook
Anni Skowneski takes the plunge first as ice water is dumped over her head.


By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 13 September 2014
ALBION – In the last few months, people worldwide have been doing the Ice Bucket Challenge and today Community Action in Orleans County got in on the action.


The Ice Bucket Challenge is a viral marketing campaign for the ALS Association to raise awareness of ALS, a lethal neurodegenerative disorder also called Lou Gehrig's disease. The challenge involves a person filling up a bucket with ice water, they get someone to film them, then they challenge other people to do it followed by dumping the water over their head. A person can opt out by donating money.


It's become very popular to make a video of the challenge and still donate money to the cause. Several celebrities have joined in the challenge including Liam Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. As of Friday, the ALS Association has raised $112.4 million dollars which will go toward patient care and research.


“We had this brainstorm that we would gather as many staff together as possible to do this Ice Bucket Challenge,” said Annette Finch, director of community services for Community Action. “We felt that being in the community and being community-minded, we should do something for another charity.”

Theresa Price reacts after the ice bucket is dumped on her head.

On a chilly Saturday morning 10 employees from Community Action in Albion took the challenge together. (Click here to see the video.) The group challenged all other Orleans County transportation services to do do it, too, and lined up in front of a Community Action bus during the challenge to drive the point home.


“This is just to show awareness of ALS and how severe it can be,” said Theresa Price, a Head Start employee. “A couple years ago I didn't know what it was until I did a walk with my niece. She explained it to me and what it is. This is to show awareness and get it out there how serious this is.”

Community Action will be making a donation to ALS through the Community Action Angels in Action fund in the near future, though they have not determined an amount yet. Many of the participants will also donate on their own as well.


“I'm very proud of the staff for coming out on a cold, rainy Saturday to do this for charity,” Finch said. “That's what we're all about here.”

The group raises their arms and lets out a victory cry after completing the challenge together.


return to top of page


Invasive plant latest challenge with Albion bridge project

Japanese Knotweed will be sprayed to prevent spread
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 September 2014
ALBION – There is a new challenge for removing the Clarendon Street Bridge in Albion: an invasive plant known as Japanese Knotweed.

The project can’t go forward until the plant is under control, Mayor Dean London said.
The village will team with the Orleans County Highway Department to spray the plant, limiting its growth and hopefully killing it. The plant, which resembles bamboo, crowds out native species.

If the village didn’t spray the plant, it would have to bury it six feet under ground at a cost of $150,000, London said, citing a report prepared for the village and state Department of Transportation.

The village will spray the plant before construction starts, and needs to commit to spraying the Japanese Knotweed for two years. The village will be reimbursed by DOT for its time and expense in fighting the invasive plant, London said.

The bridge removal will likely happen next year. The village opted against replacing the bridge after construction costs jumped by $600,000. The street will be blocked off near the railroad once the bridge is removed. Village officials say they will pursue an at-grade crossing in the future so the street can be open.


return to top of page


Many trees come down in Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 11 September 2014
ALBION – Crews have been busy the past few weeks removing towering maple trees in the village of Albion. National Grid identified the trees as a hazard.

Many trees have been taken down, including this one at the corner of West Academy and West Bank streets by the former Albion Grammar School.

A crew takes down big branches on another tree by the former school.

Here is a close-up of another tree that was taken down in front of the former school, which is now used for senior apartments and also for services for senior citizens and developmentally disabled residents.


return to top of page


Albion may run Elba’s sewer plant

Village already does work for Holley
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 September 2014
ALBION – The village could add another municipal contract for providing sewer services, which will bring in revenue for the village and also help a neighboring community meet standards for providing the service.

The village of Albion may take over managing Elba’s sewer plant and a water well on Oct. 10. The contract proposal calls for Albion to be paid $34,320 for the work.

The village would do the job with its existing three-person sewer crew. Rick Albright, the sewer plant chief operator, would assume most of the extra work. He is in a salaried position.

Albright said Elba is just looking for a one-year deal. The community expects to hook into a sewer and water district, Batavia North, in about a year.

The Camden Group currently provides sewer services for Elba, but the company has given notice it will discontinue working with Elba on Oct.10, Albright told the Village Board on Wednesday.

Village Attorney John Gavenda wants to review the contract. It’s a little different from the agreement with Holley, which started on June 1. Albion is paid $63,000 annually to provide the personnel for running the sewer plant. In Holley, Albion doesn’t have to work with Holley’s water system.

The agreement with Holley cut that village’s sewer costs by $30,000 in an annual operating expenses. The Holley agreement was initially for three years but Albright said Holley wants to extend the deal to five years.

Albright said he sees a talented workforce in the village that could be used in other communities, helping those municipalities while bringing in revenue for the village.

“We could expand village services,” he told the Village Board on Wednesday. “The sky is the limit. How far do you want us to go?”


return to top of page


Albion debates how to limit ‘perpetual garage sales’

Proposal to limit to 3 days a week fails
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 September 2014
ALBION – The Village Board wants to stop some residents from having “perpetual” garage sales, saying the daily sales aren’t fair to some neighbors, other businesses and can be unsightly.

But the five-member board isn’t sure how to best solve the problem with legislation. During a public hearing on Wednesday, one resident there shouldn’t be any restrictions on garage sales while another urged the board to rein in the sales.

“These sales have graduated to boats, cars, motorcycles, tread mills and furniture,” the resident said. “They’re really out of the scope of what a true garage sale is.”

The board considered a proposal to limit the sales to no more than Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Trustees Eileen Banker and Pete Sidari voted for it, but the proposal failed to reach a majority.

Banker said residents with frequent sales don’t pay sales tax or property taxes for a commercial building for their merchandise. That isn’t fair to other businesses paying the tax and keeping up a storefront, she said.

Sidari said most residents with garage sales only have them once or twice a year. But he said there are at least two sites that have items are their lawns for many days at a time.

“We have to do something,” he said. “It’s an eyesore.”

Trustee Stan Farone is reluctant to pass legislation on the issue.

“I can’t see putting restrictions on everybody else over two people,” he said.

Trustee Gary Katsanis wants the village to keep working on proposals. The proposal on Wednesday “introduces too many gray areas,” he said.

Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti has presented several options for the Village Board to consider. Vendetti would like residents to register their sales at no cost. That way the village could track them and make sure people aren’t exceeded three days at a time.

He suggested limiting the hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the merchandise to be removed from front lawns after the third day of the sale.

Mayor Dean London wants the board to look at proposals in other communities. In the short term, he said the State Department of Taxation and Finance should be notified of the perpetual garage sales. London said those residents should be collecting sales tax because of the frequency of their sales.


return to top of page


Albion PD issues 72 traffic tickets during opening week of school

Press release, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni Posted 10 September 2014
ALBION – The Albion Police Department recently conducted a three-day Speed Enforcement Detail in the School Speed Zone on East Avenue.

The Police Department conducted the detail during the opening week for the Albion Central School on Sept. 3-5. The Albion Police Department received a $5,040 grant from the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to participate in the statewide Police Traffic Services Program.

The goal of this grant is to increase seatbelt usage and reduce speeding, and aggressive, distracted and other dangerous driving behaviors in an effort to reduce serious injury and death from traffic crashes.

During the opening week of school Albion Police Officers issued 72 Uniform Traffic Tickets for various Vehicle & Traffic Law violations including the following:

63 – Speeding in School Zone Tickets;
3 – Uninspected Motor Vehicles;
2 – Aggravated Unlicensed Operator 3rd Degree;
1 – Unregistered Motor Vehicle;
1 – Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle;
1 – Seatbelt Violation;
1 – Stop Lamp Violation.

The main factors that cause fatalities in motor vehicle accidents continues to be speeding, not wearing seatbelts and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The safety of our streets continues to be among the top goals of the Albion Police Department. We will continue to strive to make our community safe.


return to top of page


Albion approves contract with school custodians

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 September 2014
ALBION – The Board of Education approved a four-year contract with its custodians and maintenance workers on Monday, an agreement that gives the workers 3 percent raises annually but also makes them pay more towards their health insurance.

The workers in the CSEA union had been without a contract since June 30. The workers are cleaners, custodians and maintenance workers. The union members are scheduled to vote on the contract on Sept. 10.

They will see their share of health insurance costs rise from 10 to 15 percent as part of the contract. They also will need more unused sick days to earn healthcare coverage after they retire.

The previous contract required 20 unused sick days to be eligible for a year of health insurance coverage in retirement. The new contract will require 25 unused sick days to earn a year of health insurance. (Retirees pay 15 percent of the health insurance cost.)

The district has its teachers under contract and is trying to reach an agreement with the union representing support staff – aides, building secretaries, physical therapists and registered nurses in the schools. That group has been without a contract for more than two years.


return to top of page


200 turn out to support gun shop owner, protest SAFE Act

Photos by Tom Rivers
Joe Mesler, president of the Second Amendment Coalition of Western New York, tells 200 people they need to hold elected officials accountable and demand they protect Constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment. He urged gun owners to vote.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 September 2014
ALBION – About 200 people attended a rally outside the Albion Gun Shop this evening with the group vocal in denouncing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and calling for him to be ousted from office in this election.

The gun owners were urged to register to vote and cast their ballots on Nov. 4. Mattie Zarpentine, a regional coordinator for the New York Revolution, said only 20 percent of gun owners vote. But if they go to the polls in droves, Zarpentine said they can more than offset the votes from New York City, which tend to go to Cuomo and other Democratic Party candidates.

Mattie Zarpentine of Holley addresses the pro-gun crowd in Albion.

“We could outvote New York City if we support Constitutionally minded candidates,” Zarpentine told a crowd gathered on a closed-off Hamilton Street in front of the Albion Gun Shop.

The rally was scheduled after the Albion Gun Shop was visited by the State Police in late August and told to turn over its records of customers who purchased an AR-15 gun with a bullet button feature. Police contended that feature violated the spirit of the SAFE Act, a controversial gun control measure passed in January 2013.

Joe Palumbo, owner of the Albion Gun Shop, thanks the group for its support.

Joe Palumbo, owner of the gun shop, reluctantly turned over the names of 164 customers who bought the gun since the SAFE Act was passed. He also has been filling the bullet buttons with epoxy, which police say will now meet the SAFE Act standards.

He thanked his customers and many supporters in pro-gun groups for backing him and his business since news broke about his customer records being turned over to the State Police. Palumbo said he was advised by his attorney not to say too much because of potential litgation with the issue.

His attorney, James D. Tresmond of Buffalo, released a statement that was read by Steve Aldstadt, state president of SCOPE, the Shooters Committee on Political Education. Tresmond has already filed several lawsuits challenging the SAFE Act. He contends the law is unconstitutional with “arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.”

Steve Alstadt, president of SCOPE in New York, urges gun owners to vote Andrew Cuomo out of office.

Tresmond said the “prospects look good” in court for the SAFE Act challenges.
“We have only begun to fight,” he said in his statement.

SCOPE is funding some of the court fights, and the organization also is promoting gun owners to vote, especially on Nov. 4, Alstadt said.

“That will be New York’s recall election,” he said.

Joe Mesler is president of the Second Amendment Coalition in Western New York, a group that formed five days after the SAFE Act passed. Mesler said he fears the governor and State Legislature will continue to infringe on gun owners’ rights.

About 200 people attended a rally outside the Albion Gun Shop on Hamilton Street this evening. The rally was planned after State Police demanded gun shop owner Joe Palumbo turn over his records for customers who purchased the AR-15 gun with a bullet button feature.

He urged the group to be ever vigilant with their state elected officials. He urged them to go to Albany, attend local functions by state legislators and ask them a lot of questions – while demanding answers.

Many of the state legislators in WNY are Republicans who voted against the SAFE Act. But Mesler said most of them have backed provisions in the state budget for enforcing the SAFE Act. He has challenged legislators for supporting state funds to enforce unconstitutional laws.

Steve Hawley voices his displeasure with the SAFE Act.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said he wants to repeal the SAFE Act but downstate legislators won’t let that legislation come to a vote. Hawley favors dividing Upstate New York from New York City, creating two separate states.


Hawley said the SAFE Act was passed near midnight without a proper vetting from the Legislature and the public.

The law has numerous gray areas and was poorly crafted, Hawley said. He faulted Cuomo and the majority of the Legislature for hastily approving the legislation after a school shooting in Connecticut. Cuomo played on the emotions of the public, Hawley said.


"Shame on you, governor," Hawley said.

Robert Ortt, a candidate for the State Senate, also addresses the crowd and states his support for repealing the SAFE Act.

Ortt is running for State Senate in the 62nd District, in the spot currently held by George Maziarz, who isn't seeking re-election. Ortt, the North Tonawanda mayor, served a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He said he will work to repeal the SAFE Act.

He worries that the State Senate, the remaining legislative body with a Republican majority, could be overtaken by Democrats. That would give that downstate-dominated party full control of the Legislature and perhaps the governor’s office. If that happens, Ortt said more freedoms could be lost to an overzealous Legislature and governor.

Mark Glogowski, a candidate for State Assembly, takes a turn with the bullhorn.

Another candidate for the State Legislature, Mark Glogowski of Hamlin, is running as a Libertarian against Steve Hawley. Glogowski said he favors less intrusive gun laws. He doesn’t think guns should be registered. If voters gave strong support to a Libertarian candidate it would send “shcok waves” to Albany, Glogowski said.

“How about making a statement with your vote?” he said.

Nick Nersinger of Barre holds a sign he made stating his displeasure with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s gun control laws.

“I’m against the SAFE Act,” he said. "On Election Day I will be voting against Gov. Cuomo and I hope the rest of New York State does as well. No one has the right to take away those freedoms.”


return to top of page


Hawley and Albion FD host car seat check on Saturday

Press release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley Posted 8 September 2014
ALBION – Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) will be hosting a free car seat safety check at the Albion Fire Hall this Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. The fire hall is located at 108 North Platt.

“As a father, I can tell you there’s nothing more important about your car than the kids riding in the backseat,” Hawley said. “I would encourage all parents to come down to our car seat check and ensure that their children are as safe as they can be."


return to top of page


Hawley says Albion Gun Shop victim of ‘unconstitutional infringement’

Press release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley Posted 4 September 2014
ALBION – State Assemblyman Steve Hawley released this statement following reports that Albion Gun Shop owner Joe Palumbo was told by the State Police to turn over records of customers who purchased AR-15 guns.

“Any bill that is rushed through the Legislature in the middle of the night without enough time to be read or debated is going to have serious problems, and that’s what we are seeing now with the SAFE Act. The SAFE Act is so poorly written that nobody knows exactly what constitutes a so-called ‘assault weapon’ under the law.

“The Albion Gun Shop is the latest victim of this unconstitutional infringement on law-abiding citizens. This particular case is absurd because the shop’s owner was previously told his weapons were in compliance with the SAFE Act and now is being told the opposite. Now, he could face serious legal consequences.

“I voted against the SAFE Act because of situations exactly like this – the Albion Gun Shop did everything they could to be in compliance with the law, but still unintentionally went against it with serious consequences to their business. I stand with the Albion Gun Shop and will continue to push for the SAFE Act to be repealed.”


return to top of page


DA says no charges will be filed against Albion Gun Shop, customers

However, guns with bullet buttons will need to be modified
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 September 2014
ALBION – Orleans County’s district attorney says Joe Palumbo, owner of the Albion Gun Shop, and 164 customers who purchased AR-15 guns don’t need to worry about facing charges for violating the SAFE Act, the state’s gun control measure approved in January 2013.

Palumbo has been worried since Thursday when the State Police demanded he turn over records of customers who purchased the AR-15. State police believe the gun, which requires a tool to release a bullet button, violated the SAFE Act. Police wanted a list of customers who bought it from Palumbo and he reluctantly turned over his records.

The issue has ignited a firestorm among Second Amendment supports and gun rights advocates. They are planning a rally 6 p.m. on Monday outside Palumbo’s store at 203 Hamilton St.

Joe Cardone, the county DA, believes a solution has been brokered where gun owners and Palumbo will be in compliance with the law without anyone being arrested.

The bullet buttons can simply be filled with epoxy, rendering them useless. Gun owners will have to crack open their AR-15 guns to reload.

“Putting epoxy where the bullet button is will make the feature unusable,” Cardone said this afternoon. “It is a simple and quick modification.”

Palumbo said many customers have been bringing in their guns and voluntarily having Palumbo fill the bullet buttons with epoxy since news broke the state police acquired the store’s records. Palumbo said it takes about five minutes to fill the holes with epoxy.

“I’ve been doing them all day,” he said at about 2:30 p.m. today.

He spoke with Cardone about the solution to complying with the SAFE Act. Palumbo said he wants the state police to put that in writing so he and his customers don’t have to worry about being charged with a crime under the SAFE Act.

“I’d totally be open to that,” he said about the solution using epoxy for the bullet buttons. “But I want it to be in writing. Right now nothing has been set in stone.”


return to top of page


Albion Gun Shop in SAFE Act crosshairs

Second Amendment groups will rally after gun shop’s records demanded by police

Photos by Tom Rivers
Joe Palumbo, owner of the Albion Gun Shop, had some of his records seized by state police on Thursday, igniting a firestorm among Second Amendment rights groups.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 September 2014
ALBION – Gun rights' activists are planning a rally Monday outside the Albion Gun Shop after state police told shop owner Joe Palumbo to turn over a list of customers who purchased an AR-15 with a bullet button.

Palumbo reluctantly complied with the request, turning over 164 names of people who bought the gun since the SAFE Act passed in January 2013.

Palumbo believed the guns, which require a tool to release a detachable magazine, were legal under the SAFE Act. But the State Police told him on Thursday those guns were illegal.

“We were told they were legal and then it changed,” Palumbo said. “I don’t want to go to jail and I don’t want my customers to go to jail. Hopefully we can stay in business for 50 years.”

The situation has infuriated many pro-gun groups and drawn media attention from outside the area. Several groups, including SCOPE and New York Revolution, are planning a rally outside the gun shop at 6 p.m. on Monday.

Palumbo opened the Albion Gun Shop two years ago on Hamilton Street at a former shoe store and equipment rental business.

Palumbo said the AR-15’s are the most popular gun he sells. People use them for hunting, shooting targets and vermin that plague their homes and farms.

He and his attorney are hoping to negotiate an amicable conclusion with the State Police, and Palumbo said the state needs to specify what is and isn’t legal.

“Right now there is a gray area that is 2 miles long,” he said. “New York State doesn’t define what a detachable magazine is.”

Palumbo, 29, grew up in Brockport and opened the Albion Gun Shop two years ago. He said Albion and Orleans County have been an ideal location for the gun shop with local officials and most law enforcement in support of the right to bear arms.

“This is about as pro-gun of a county as you can get,” he said.

Every village and town elected board, as well as the County Legislature, last year passed formal resolutions stating their opposition to the SAFE Act and calling for its repeal.

Palumbo said his phone has been ringing near constantly since the State Police visited his store on Thursday, giving him 24 hours to turn over the records. He said many of his customers and other gun rights’ supporters worry that the police are violating the privacy of gun owners.

“It’s been a tough few days,” Palumbo said. “I can’t sleep or eat. I don’t know what will happen with the store.”


return to top of page


Albion man hospitalized after accident in Barre this morning

Press release, Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 3 September 2014

BARRE – An Albion man is hospitalized following a 2-vehicle crash this morning in the Town of Barre.

The incident occurred at about 5:20 a.m. at the intersection of West Lee Road (State Route 31A) and Eagle Harbor Road.

Albert T. Witt, 69, was operating a 2000 Dodge Caravan, travelling south on Eagle Harbor Road when he attempted to cross Route 31A. Witt’s vehicle entered the intersection without yielding right-of-way and crossed into the path of a westbound tractor-trailer car-carrier and a collision subsequently occurred.

Witt, the sole occupant, was trapped in the wreckage for about 30 minutes before being extricated by Barre firefighters. He was flown to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester by Mercy Flight helicopter.

The truck/trailer is owned by Ladue Auto Transport located in Hamlin. It was operated by Robert S. Jiacobbe, 30, of Hilton. Jiacobbe was the sole occupant of the truck and was not injured. At the time of the incident, the truck was transporting seven vehicles on the carrier. None of those vehicles were damaged as a result of the collision.

The incident was investigated by Deputy K.J. Colonna, assisted by Deputy J.A. DeFilipps and Trooper G.W. Radford of the Albion barracks. Albion firefighters and personnel from Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance also assisted at the scene.


return to top of page


DEC will have hearing Sept. 16 for Albion landfill

Developer wants WM permit transferred to new company

File photo by Tom Rivers
This photo from last July shows the former McKenna and Orleans Sanitary landfills next to the Erie Canal in Albion, between Densmore and Transit roads.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2014
HOLLEY – Richard Penfold is not giving up on his push to open a new landfill in Albion. In April he was rejected by the Department of Environmental Conservation to renew a landfill permit from 11 years ago.

Penfold is challenging that decision and there will be a legislative hearing at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 at Hickory Ridge Golf and Country Club with an issues conference to follow the next day beginning 10 a.m. Hickory Ridge is located at 15816 Lynch Rd.

DEC Administrative Law Judge D. Scott Bassinson will conduct the hearing on whether Penfold and his new company, Albion Recycling & Recovery LLC, can renew the permit. Penfold has worked in recent years to try to take ownership of the site and have a state permit approved for Waste Management of New York transferred to Albion Recycling & Recovery.

The DEC, however, decided Penfold didn’t have “the legal capacity” to renew the permit originally approved for Waste Management, according to a letter on April 9 to town officials from Scott Sheeley, the regional permit administrator for the DEC.

Waste Management received a permit from the DEC in 2003 for a new 78-acre landfill in Albion along the Erie Canal. The landfill would be between Densmore and Transit roads on the east side of town. Waste Management was unable to get a permit from the Albion Town Board for the project despite offering a host community benefits package that would have cut town taxes and offered other perks for residents.

Even if Penfold secures the DEC permit, he still would need approval from the Town Board, which has been adamant in stating its opposition to additional landfills.

Penfold has said he would offer the town a host community benefits package that would cut taxes, offer residents free garbage pickup, create jobs and also care for two existing landfills.

Stop Polluting Orleans County has opposed any new landfills in Albion. The group’s attorney, Gary Abraham, will speak at the hearing. SPOC has stated the site by the two existing landfills would be bad for the community, drawing garbage truck traffic by the schools, hurting tourism efforts, and putting a 200-foot-high mound of trash in an environmentally sensitive area. If the landfill ever leaked, SPOC worries the contamination would be difficult to track given the presence of two other landfills.

To see the full DEC notice on the hearing, click here. That notice has information on where residents can submit written comments about the issue.


return to top of page