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Albion businesses have many activities today for Hometown Holiday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2016 at 10:32 am

Santa will make appearance at old Swan Library

File photo by Tom Rivers: Mrs. Claus is pictured here during Hometown Holiday in December 2013. She will be back at Knight’s Pride today from noon to 3 p.m.

File photo by Tom Rivers: Mrs. Claus is pictured here during Hometown Holiday in December 2013. She will be back at Knight’s Pride today from noon to 3 p.m.

ALBION – The Albion Merchants Association has many activities planned today for the fifth annual Hometown Holiday.

Children can make ornaments (at MMIM), make reindeer dust (at Lynne Marie Hair Boutique), play holiday games, write letters to Santa and eat cookies.

Mrs. Claus will be at Knight’s Pride from noon to 3 p.m. and Santa will be available to meet youngsters at the old Swan Library from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

The activities are all free go from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (although not all locations will be participating the full six hours).

Here is a list of some participants: SnL Sweet Escapes, cookie decorating; Digital Ink Arts, holiday games; Tease, cookies and hot cocoa; Xpress Fitness & tanning, reindeer raffle; Hazy Jade Gift Shop, Santa hand print art; Uptown Browsery, snowman ornament; Olde Dogge Inn, pine cone ornament; Downtown Browsery, letter to Santa; and Save-A-Lot, coloring contest.

There will also be an elf hunt, where people can win a ticket for the reindeer raffle if they find an elf. The Merchants also have a 12 Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt.

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2 injured in 3-car crash on 104 in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 September 2016 at 3:59 pm

090416_accident1

RIDGEWAY – Two people were taken by ambulance to hospitals following an accident with three vehicles this afternoon on Route 104, between Knowlesville and Culvert roads. The top photo shows firefighters working to cut the battery after the driver had been removed from the vehicle.

The driver was eastbound on 104 and turned to go into the driveway at a house where a bride and her bridesmaids were getting ready. The driver pulled in front on a pickup headed westbound, according to an Orleans County sheriff’s deputy.

090416_accident2

These trucks collided after the driver of the pickup truck at left attempted to avoid a vehicle that crossed into the westbound lane suddenly at 1:15 p.m. A passenger in the vehicle at left was taken by ambulance. A deputy at the scene said none of the injuries were serious.

Wine walk at nature preserve is popular at Lyndonville

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 August 2016 at 6:47 pm

Wine Walk at Robin Hill Nature Preserve

LYNDONVILLE – The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce put on its first wine walk on Thursday at the Robin Hill Nature Preserve in Lyndonville.

The Chamber was expecting about 25 people for the event and nearly 100 showed up to sample wine, mead and Steampunk Cider from four stops and explore the 45-acre nature preserve.

Bryan McGraw of 810 Meadworks

Bryan DeGraw, left, of 810 Meadworks in Medina serves samples of mead to Emily Cebula of Lyndonville, her daughter Margaret Mink of Rochester, and Margaret’s husband Josh Mink.

Cebula said she has long admired the Robin Hill property, which includes 250 varieties of trees on Platten Road in Lyndonville.

Robin Hill

William and Mary Smith built this Medina sandstone house from 1948 to 1952.

Today, Doug Pratt lives in the house created by his grandparents. Pratt has created the Robin Hill Foundation with an educational mission. He has opened the property up to colleges, and also the community.

The pond at Robin Hill

William Smith planted a variety of trees to attract birds to the property.

Robin Hill

William and Mary Smith created the site after their daughter Lucille died from Scarlet Fever at age 19. They named it Robin Hill.

Lauren Stack of Leonard Oakes

Lauren Stack, a server from the Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina, serves Riesling to Donna Merritt and her daughter Melissa Ryczek, both of Holley.

Jerod Thurber, a manager at Leonard Oakes, said Robin Hill is a great setting for events, including wine tastings. Thurber and DeGraw are both on the Chamber’s board of directors. Thurber said he expects the wine walk will return next year at Robin Hill.

Thurber is so enamored with Robin Hill, he built his home on the edge of the property.

“It is a valuable asset,” he said about the preserve. “We need to figure out how to promote it and make sure it’s here forever.”

Clarence Pratt's grave

Robin Hill includes the grave for Clarence Pratt, a World War II soldier.

 

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Murray pushes ‘No Parking’ on Lynch Road near school

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 10 August 2016 at 6:17 pm

MURRAY – Those attending events at Holley Central School may soon see “No Parking” signs along Lynch Road near the entrance to the Middle School/High School.

Murray Town Board members Tuesday evening continued their discussion of on-road parking in the town and charged town attorney Jeff Martin with the task beginning the process of placing “No Parking” signs on the north side of Lynch Road outside the Middle School/High School and also at the Lynch Road/ Rt. 237 intersection.

Residents of Lynch Road have complained to the board regarding dozens of vehicles which typically park along the road during events at the school when the main parking lot off Lynch Road fills up.  They expressed concerns over safety and cars which end up parked in their yards.

Murray Supervisor John Morriss reported that he and Councilman Paul Hendel recently met with Holley Village Board members regarding the issue.  Most of the south side of Lynch Road is in the village.

Morriss said the Village Board was also expected to discuss the issue at its meeting Tuesday evening.

“Paul and I discussed it,” Morriss said of putting up ‘No Parking’ signs. “We felt that regardless of what the village wants to do, we want to do something to help the people” who live on Lynch Road.

“We need to try to do something,” Hendel said. “We’ve got to take the first step.”

Martin, the town attorney, advised that the town should be the enforcement agency regarding the parking ban and Code Enforcement/Zoning Officer Ron Vendetti said he would be able to enforce the restrictions.

Martin said he would prepare a draft for a workshop meeting planned for Sept. 7 and noted a public hearing would be needed in the process.

Lynch Road resident Doug Piedemonte thanked board members for looking into the situation.  He reminded the board that there are 140 additional parking spaces on the Holley School campus near the old bus garage and said he felt people will begin parking there and things should then, “fall into place.”

Town Board members and Vendetti also discussed parking along roadways outside of businesses. Vendetti has asked that “No Parking” signs be placed outside the Murray Superette and Tuesday night added A & M Auto, which he said has had 33 violations since the June workshop meeting on the parking issue.

Vendetti noted that some businesses have “taken extraordinary measures” to direct customers to off-street parking. “If people want no signs, they must take matters into their own hands and police themselves,” he said. “We need to move ahead and fix the problem before somebody gets killed.”

 

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Gaines Town Board gives thanks for work on historical markers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 August 2016 at 6:13 pm
Provided photo

Provided photo

GAINES – The Gaines Town Board on Tuesday recognized the efforts of Clarendon Town Historian Melissa Ierlan for giving many historical markers in Orleans County a fresh look.

She has restored the paint on numerous historical markers in Gaines, and others in the county, including one just outside Orleans for the mucklands in Genesee County.

Pictured, from left: Al Capurso, Gaines town historian; Melissa Ierlan; and Carol Culhane, Gaines town supervisor.

Gilbert marker

Photos by Tom Rivers

Ierlan repainted this marker on Ridge Road, next to the Gaines Carlton Community Church, for pioneer settler Elizabeth Gilbert. The marker had flaked off paint and was getting hard to read to motorists on Route 104.

Gilbert marker

She also repainted a marker for a cobblestone house on Ridge Road near the Cobblestone Museum.

Farmers say turbines would be big economic benefit to community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 August 2016 at 8:00 am

Apex plans to take people on tours of other wind farms to hear directly from landowners, government officials

Ben Martin with Lydia and Adeline

Photos by Tom Rivers – Ben Martin walks through a barn with his daughters Lydia (in his arms) and Adeline during a tour of the farm with other supporters of the Lighthouse Wind project on Wednesday. Ben and his brother are partners and sixth-generation owners of a dairy farm on Lower Lake Road in Somerset. Karlis Povisils, vice president of development for Apex, is at left.

SOMERSET – It’s been a tough year for Atwater Farms, a dairy that dates back to 1852. Milk prices are low for farmers, and the drought conditions have hurt yields for feed for the cows.

Ben Atwater and his brother Seth are partners at Atwater Farms, sixth-generation owners of a farm that milks 1,020 cows.

They also are supporters of Lighthouse Wind. They have signed a lease with Apex Clean Energy to have turbines on their land.

Ben Atwater, 39, says the farm wouldn’t get rich by having turbines, but the revenue would certainly help, and be reliable income in a tough year like 2016.

“If we can get a little bit of money in the down years it would help sustain us long-term,” he said on Wednesday, when his farm hosted a tour and pig roast for supporters of Lighthouse Wind.

Lighthouse wind sign

Atwater Farms on Lower Lake Road near the Golden Hill State Park keeps a sign in the farm’s front yard in support of the Lighthouse Wind project.

Apex has leases with many of the dairies and larger land owners between Route 18 and Lower Lake Road in Somerset. Atwater’s neighbor Charlie Lyndacker has a meteorological tower on his property. That MET tower has confirmed a strong wind presence for the project, said Karlis Povisils, vice president of development for Apex.

The company is going through the permitting process with New York, which Apex officials believe will take another 1 ½ to 2 years. The company would like to erect nearly 70 turbines in the towns of Yates and Somerset, with the turbines generating 201 megawatts of electricity.

Lyndacker and his father, Elmer, are from Lowville in the North Country. They go back home often, transporting heifers and dairy animals. They saw wind turbines go up in the Tug Hill region, resulting in an economic boost for that area.

“Tug Hill had more or less been abandoned,” the elder Lyndacker said. “The windmills have been a godsend to them.”

Elmer Lyndacker and Susan Atwater

Elmer Lyndacker rides with Susan Atwater on a tour of the Atwater dairy farm on Wednesday evening.

Elmer Lyndacker said Lighthouse Wind has resulted in strained neighbor relations. Yards on Route 18 and the side roads show many signs either in support or against the project.

Officials in both Yates and Somerset have formally opposed Lighthouse Wind, and county and state officials, as well as Congressman Chris Collins oppose it. Collins says it could endanger the area’s chances of keeping the military base at Niagara Falls.

Other detractors worry the turbines, which would peak at over 600 feet, would harm wildlife, property values and disrupt the peacefulness in the rural countryside.

“It’s like a Civil War in Somerset,” Lyndaker said. “I hope it goes through. I have no objection to them.”

Willard Martucci of Yates is an outspoken supporter of the project, even though he doesn’t have a lease with the company. Martucci has a trucking company. In a busy year, he has five employees. This year he has three.

“We need jobs,” he said at Wednesday’s gathering at Atwater’s. “There is nothing here.”

Martucci and his wife Carol told about 50 people at the Atwater event they were camping in Laramie, Wyoming, with nearly 200 wind turbines nearby. They didn’t hear them.

“You could hear the sound of the wind, just like here,” Martucci said. “(The turbines) boosted their economy, and they were thankful. That’s what we need here.”

Gary Thering owns a 102-acre farm on Millers Road in Yates. He has cows, corn, fruit and hay at his farm.

He would like to have a turbine on his land. He said the turbines take up about a half-acre. He would gladly give that up for the steady revenue from a turbine.

“Your land is a resource and you have to get as much out of it as you can, and still take care of the land,” Thering said.

He came up with the words for a banner that Apex has been displaying at the county fairs in Orleans and Niagara counties: “Providing Energy from a breath of Fresh Air.”

Thering said the turbine project would be a lift to the local economy, and would also mean less burning of fossil fuels.

Apex sign

Apex is giving out signs in support of Lighthouse Wind, urging the community and state to “Harvest The Wind” and say “Yes” to the project.

Apex also said it will follow a suggestion from Howard Pierce, a Lighthouse Wind supporter from Yates, to take people on tours of other wind farms so they can hear directly from landowners, residents and government officials about the projects. Apex said it will reach out to communities in the North Country, where several projects have been built and are under development in northern New York.

“People often ask me, ‘What does a wind turbine look like and sound like,'” Taylor Quarles, development manager for Apex, told the group at Atwater. “I say, ‘Go see one.'”

Quarles said visiting communities with wind turbines will provide “a more real-world experience” and let local residents speak directly with people affected by projects.

Quarles and Apex officials took questions from supporters on Wednesday. They were asked if there is a decommissioning plan for the turbines.

Quarles said the leases with landowners make provisions for removing the turbines, which he said are expected to have a useful life of 30 years. If Apex secures a permit for the project from the state, one stipulation includes a plan and funds for removing turbines. The company needs to have a decommissioning bond from a third party for removing turbines and restoring the land, Quarles said.

“There is absolutely no way, after 30 years, a wind turbine will sit there rusting or be left with a town or landowner to deal with,” Quarles responded to the question.

Apex also will need to work out agreements with municipalities for restoring roads after the construction.

“We know we’re going to have to pay for what we take out of the roads,” said Povisils, vice president of development for Apex.

Apex meeting

About 50 people who support the Lighthouse Wind project gathered at Atwater Farms in Somerset to hear from Apex officials on Wednesday evening.

Apex was asked what happens if another company acquires the Lighthouse project. Quarles said the leases and permit standards would pass to a new company, should Apex sell it. The company built five projects last year and did sell one, although Apex is the operator and contact for lease holders.

Quarles said he expects Apex will be the owner and operator for its projects in New York. The company is ramping up its presence in New York and the Northeast, adding employees and planning investments.

New York has set a goal for having 50 percent of the power in the state be provided by clean energy sources by 2030. That would be about double the current percentage from clean energy. That goal, announced Aug. 1 by the New York State Public Service Commission, makes New York fertile ground for wind energy projects, said Dan Fitzgerald, senior director of development for Apex in the northeast.

The state also has a strong agricultural sector, and farmers tend to be supportive of wind energy projects around the country, Povisils said.

“In New York wind energy is compatible with agriculture,” he said. “It helps diversify their income. (The turbines) aren’t susceptible to weather and prices.”

Quarles said Wednesday’s pig roast (from a pig Apex bought at the 4-H market auction in Orleans County) was intended to thank landowners and supporters for backing the project. Quarles said the company wouldn’t be able to advance the project without leases from landowners.

“We’re a private company,” he said. “We’re not taking land through eminent domain.”

The project’s target area runs near Route 18 from north of Lyndonville to the Somerset coal plant.

Atwater, the dairy farmer, said the project has been controversial. But he thinks the community will support Lighthouse Wind if the turbines are built. He said they will become an accepted part of the landscape.

“I think after they’re up a couple of years they will be just like utility poles,” he said.

 

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Repairs nearly complete on Medina water tank

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 August 2016 at 5:15 pm

Repairs to Medina water tank

MEDINA – Andy Eaton with DN Tanks applies the second coat of paint on Medina’s 3-million-gallon water tank today.

DN Tank has painted the tank, and also made several repairs, with more to be done. The water tank was built in 1959 on Route 31A.

The Village Board in April accepted a $899,850 bid from DN Tanks for the work. The company is based in Wakefield, Mass.

Repairs to Medina water tank

The big tank had interior cracks that were identified in a previous inspection when the tank was full of water.

The village opted to repair the tank rather than build a new one. The upgrades are expected to give the water tank at least another 20 years of useful.

Repairs to Medina water tank

DN Tanks workers said they have been working on the tank improvements for about 10 weeks. They are trying to have the project done by Aug. 19.

Bower says many campaign goals have been met at Sheriff’s Office

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 August 2016 at 2:41 pm
Randy Bower

Photo by Tom Rivers – Sheriff Randy Bower talks with deputies and members of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office last week when Jim DeFilipps was recognized at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds as NY Deputy of the Year.

ALBION – Sheriff Randy Bower was elected last November with some bold initiatives, including drug treatment services for inmates in the County Jail.

Bower said the Sheriff’s Office has met many of his goals in his six months of office, including a new Sheriffs Transition Addiction Management Program (STAMP), which provides inmates with drug and mental health counseling. Inmates approved for the program also receive Vivitrol, a drug that helps block opiate cravings.

Bower went over some of the highlights of his first six months in office in a report last week to the Orleans County Legislature.

• The Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division K9 Unit to have a drug-sniffing dog come through the jail to search for drugs. Bower said it has made the jail safer and been a deterrent for people trying to smuggle in contraband.

• In the first months of the year, deputies have made 526 traffic stops, served 501 papers, responded to 317 motor vehicle accidents and 167 alarms, executed 57 warrants, and responded to 18 assaults, 45 burglaries, 106 larcenies, 116 calls for harassment or aggravated harassment, and 61 overdoses or psychiatric calls.

• The Sheriff’s Office has pushed to bring a “STOP DWI” traveling display to local school districts. The display includes victim statements, personal items from crashes, newspaper clippings and aftermath accounts.

Michael Mele and Sue Cory

Provided photo – Chief Deputy Michael Mele and Holley Principal Sue Cory are pictured with the STOP DWI “Courage to Serve” traveling display at the Holley school in April.

• The Sheriff’s Office has collected more than 1,000 pounds of prescription narcotics during drug take-back days. There is a drug take-back bin in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office and Bower said he wants drug take-back collections sites to also be available at the Albion, Holley and Medina police departments.

• The Sheriff’s Office has boosted participation in community events, including DWI crash simulations at local school districts during prom and graduation season.

• The Orleans County Marine Division added patrols along the Erie Canal, using an $8,000 state grant. The Marine Division also patrols 24 miles of Lake Ontario shoreline and Lake Alice.

• On June 15, the Sheriff’s Office and County Highway Department erected a roadside sign on Gaines Basin Road in memory of Deputy David Whittier, who was struck by a drunk driver on the road. He died on Sept. 8, 1989. Bower said Whittier is believed to be the only Orleans County deputy to die in the line of duty.

Sign for Deputy David Whittier

Photo by Tom Rivers – This sign was installed on Gaines Basin Road, about a quarter mile south of Route 104. The marker is a memorial for Deputy David Whittier, who was fatally injured here in 1989.

• The Sheriff’s Office added a part-time animal control officer, Ariel Strickland, to help with a high call volume, Bower said. Starting June 1, the county assumed animal control duties in the Village of Medina.

• Bower, in his campaign for sheriff, wanted public safety dispatchers to have access to school cameras in case of an emergency inside schools. Medina has partnered with dispatch to allow access to its cameras, and Bower said he is working to have all school districts in agreement by the start of the new school year.

“The men and woman of the Sheriff’s Department have really stepped it up,” Bower told county legislators in highlighting the initiatives.

The sheriff has other goals including establishment of a K9 service to be led by Deputy Jeff Cole. Bower also said he is pursuing grant funding for a bomb-sniffing dog.

Bower has also reached out to the faith community and has about a dozen chaplains, from a diversity of faiths and denominations, available to assist staff on calls.

“A lot has happened and we’re excited about some of the new programs being developed,” said David Callard, Legislature chairman.

Kendall school sees progress on many fronts

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 5 August 2016 at 1:58 pm
Kendall school under construction

Photo by Kristina Gabalski – Work continues this summer on the Kendall Jr./Sr. High School as part of Phase Two of the Kendall Central School Capital Project.

KENDALL – Members of the Kendall Board of Education held their regular meeting Wednesday evening in the Jr./Sr. High School cafeteria. The board normally meets in the school’s library but work is well underway on Phase Two of the district’s capital project which includes renovations to the science wing and the main office.

Kendall Superintendent Julie Christensen reported that work is slightly behind as there has been a delay in the delivery of new cabinetry for the science wing, but the district continues to plan an open house celebration for Sept. 1 when residents can come and see the completed Phase Two work.

The district held a similar open house last year at the close of Phase 1, and like last year, this year’s celebration will include the Sports Boosters’ Chicken BBQ, root beer floats from the PTSA and music provided by student ensembles.

Those attending Wednesday’s meeting were also given updates on several issues facing the district.

Christensen reported on a meeting held July 25 about the closing of the First Niagara Bank in Holley. Officials from the Kendall and Holley school districts, towns of Clarendon, Kendall and Murray, and Holley village attended the session.

“We are encouraging KeyBank to reconsider,” Christensen said.  If the branch closes as slated in October, the school districts and municipalities as well as residents who use the branch will have to travel 6 miles farther east to Brockport for banking. Christensen said officials have contacted state legislators regarding the planned closing.

Kendall BOE President Nadine Hanlon reported on the July 18 workshop held by school board members, administrators and other officials from both the Holley and Kendall school districts.

“We had great conversations,” Hanlon said. “We discussed all kinds of sharing of services. We are moving ahead…. I was pleased with the meeting and we will meet again.”

Christensen said the districts discussed sharing services in three areas:  instructional enrichment, such as summer programs;  non-instructional, such as transportation and sharing supplies; and extracurricular, such as 4-H programming and marching band.

One member of the audience asked Christensen if wrestling had been discussed. The district superintendent said it had been. She noted that the sport is declining in student participation and Kendall currently has few wrestlers. She explained that discussions over combined sports teams (the districts fielded a combined baseball team this past spring) are a challenge because the starting of  a combined sport that may take away from another well-established sport.

“It’s challenge to balance,” Christensen said.

She said many opportunities exist for “behind the scenes” sharing between the districts, particularly by increasing purchasing power for supplies.

Hanlon also reported on the effort to reduce the speed limit on Rt. 18/Roosevelt Highway in front of the Jr./Sr. High School, which currently is 50 miles per hour. Christensen was able to research the effort in 1998 to reduce the limit from 55 to 50 miles per hour and Hanlon said the district has now sent a letter to Kendall Highway Superintendent Warren Kruger.

In order for a study to be done by the State Department of Transportation, the request must go through Kruger, Hanlon explained.  Letters in support of the change from Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower and the Kendall Fire Chief have also been presented to Superintendent Kruger, Hanlon said.

She added that she requested the Orleans County Department of Transportation to paint crosswalks in front of the Elementary School on Rt. 237, as the road there is being re-paved.

Board members entered executive session at the end of the meeting to interview three candidates for the school board seat recently vacated by board vice-president Chris Gerken. Christensen said the board will make its choice at the next regular board meeting scheduled for Aug. 24.

Veteran school leader will serve as interim superintendent for Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 August 2016 at 3:17 pm
Tom Cox

Tom Cox

MEDINA – The Medina Board of Education hired Tom Cox t serve as interim school district superintendent. Cox has served as interim school leader for several local districts, including Lyndonville in 2011.

The board named Cox as interim school superintendent on Thursday evening. He will provide temporary leadership for the district while it works with Dr, Clark Godshall, superintendent of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES, to fill the position.

“Tom has had a long career in education in New York State,” said Wendi Pencille, the board president. “He has held numerous interim superintendent positions since he retired.”

Medina lost its leader on June 23 with the death of Jeff Evoy, who had served as district superintendent for about five years.

A former music teacher and baseball coach, Cox has served in many positions including assistant superintendent, elementary, middle and high school principal and deputy superintendent in many districts. He has served as a school administrator at Wayne Central, Canandaigua Academy, Marion, Ganada, Starpoint, Honeoye Falls-Lima, Warsaw, East Irondequoit and other districts.