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Orleans Legislature presses state, federal governments for more job training funds

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2017 at 5:15 pm

ALBION – There are currently 225 full-time jobs open in the county, from entry level to more high-tech positions, said David Callard, the chairman of the Orleans County Legislature.

Many good jobs go unfilled in the county because the job demands don’t match the available skill sets, Callard said.

The County Legislature last week urged the state and federal governments to invest in job training, to help unemployed or underemployed Americans boost their skills to fill needs in the economy.

Callard worries Orleans County will miss out on attracting new businesses and expansions because business leaders may not have confidence there are enough skilled workers locally to do the jobs.

“There are 225 full-time jobs available and we’re having trouble filling them for whatever reason,” Callard said. “We need a trained workforce to have businesses come.”

The Legislature approved a resolution last week seeking more federal funds for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The county used $100,000 in those funds last year to train 50 residents for skills in demand locally.

The Legislature is asking Congressman Chris Collins, R-Clarence, and U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to fight any funding cuts in this job training program.

The County Legislature also passed a resolution asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to fund a state-wide workforce strategy to ensure a pipeline of qualified workers for businesses.

The state should invest in more job training , weighing local, regional and state priorities, the Legislature said. That may include investments in community colleges, adult basic education and other worker training.

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Orleans has one of biggest population declines among NY counties since 2010

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2017 at 11:13 am

The population is down in New York in the latest population estimates form the Census Bureau, which shows declines in 46 out of 62 counties.  Orleans County has one of the steepest drops, according to the data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Orleans County had 42,883 people in the 2010 Census. It is down by 1,538 residents to 41,345, based on the 2016 population estimates. That drop of 3.57 percent ranks as the 55th most out of 62 counties.

The biggest population losses have been in upstate rural areas: Hamilton (down 6.22%), Delaware (5.12%), Tioga (4.48%) and Schoharie (down 4.36%).

The net migration for Orleans was down 1,497 since 2010. The Census reports that 1,762 people left the county and only 265 moved in since 2010. The change in natural increase (the difference between the number of deaths and births) was also down by 41 people.

In Western New York, only two counties saw population increases: Erie and Monroe, which are the largest counties in the region.

Monroe, which includes Rochester, was up 0.45 percent or by 3,325 people, while Erie County, which includes Buffalo, increased by 1,916 people or by 0.21 percent.

The smaller, rural counties in WNY all decreased in population since 2010. They include, from highest percentage of loss:

• Chautauqua, down 4.00 percent or by 5,400;

• Allegany, down 3.76 percent or by 1,842;

• Orleans, a decline of 3.57 percent or 1,538;

• Cattaraugus, a drop of 3.32 percent or 2,666;

• Wyoming, down 3.25 percent or by 1,371;

• Genesee, a decline of 2.43 percent or 1,462;

• Niagara, down 2.18 percent or 4,729;

• Livingston, down by 1.47 percent or by 960.

The Empire Center has an analysis of the latest population estimates, which show an overall decline in the state. The losses upstate were more than the gains in the New York City area. Click here for more information.

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Students on Kendall’s Code of Conduct Committee suggest end to banning hats in school

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 26 March 2017 at 1:55 pm

School will look to add more healthy options at ‘Eagle’s Nest’

Photo by Kristina Gabalski: Ninth grade students Skylar Ammerman and Garrett Sheffield present to Kendall Board of Education members during a public hearing on the Code of Conduct.

KENDALL – The Kendall Board of Education is currently considering annual updates to the district’s Code of Conduct. During the board’s regular meeting on Wednesday, board members heard from two students who have been part of a committee preparing recommendations.

“We love to have student support,” Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Principal Carol D’Agostino said.

Garret Sheffield and Skylar Ammerman, both ninth-graders, are student members of the Code of Conduct Committee.

“They volunteered,” D’Agostino said of the students. “They had ideas for making the code stronger.”

During their presentation, which was part of a public hearing on the Code of Conduct, Sheffield and Ammerman said they felt the code’s ban on students wearing hats during the school day should be removed.

“We think it’s a great way to express yourself,” they said regarding hats. “We know that some people feel headwear can be offensive, but we feel students should have the right to express who they really are.”

They also said they felt the “Eagle’s Nest” – an in-school cafe which provides beverages and snacks before and after school hours – should provide more nutritious flavored waters and juice drinks instead of coffee drinks and sodas.

The students also felt they should be able to use their phones for calls during lunch periods.

D’Agostino reported to board members following the public hearing regarding the changes that have been proposed in the code. She said the committee worked to reflect student input in the process and that there is still some work to be done.

“There will be no hats,” D’Agostino said regarding headwear, but efforts will be made provide more healthy options at the Eagle’s Nest.

“We will strive to be more health conscious,” she said.

Board President Nadine Hanlon noted that the in-school cafe was created to give students choices for snacks outside of school hours as an alternative to walking to a convenience store.

In other business, board members approved the creation of a library club. Jr./Sr. High School librarian Alicia Charland told the Orleans Hub she hopes to create a “maker space” in the library for students. The maker space allows for student creativity through up-cycling and recycling projects. It is a space for participants to create something and explore their interests.

Charland said she already has two sewing machines which have been donated for the program.

D’Agostino commended Charland for her enthusiasm.

“She has so many ideas about how to get kids excited about reading, we are blessed to have her,” D’Agostino told board members.

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Kendall innovation committee focusing on community improvements

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 25 March 2017 at 2:09 pm

KENDALL – Members of the Kendall Community Innovation Advisory Committee (KCIAC) provided members of the town board with an update on their work and areas of focus during the Town Board’s regular meeting this week.

KCIAC Chairman Glen Spellan provided council members with a list of focus items.

“We’ve been meeting for nearly two years,” he said and explained that the committee would like to take a greater interest in what is happening during Town Board meetings.

The list of focus items includes the clean up of the four corners; maintenance of the Lake Ontario State Parkway; extension of water lines; sewers within the hamlet; the Kendall marina and Lake Ontario water levels; connecting the community Pavilion, Kendall Central School athletic fields, the town hall property and Kendall Fireman’s field with walkways and trails as well as providing an all-season pavilion for community use; the Cottages at Troutburg; and the Kendall Post Office.

Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller is a Kendall resident and member of the KCIAC.  He noted the Kendall Post Office window service hours are very limited. There is no window service after 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.

“The Kendall Central School District is our biggest employer and school is still open at that time,” he said.  The committee hopes to open up conversation regarding postal service and ensuring the U.S. Post Office in Kendall remains open, DeRoller said.

Kendall Supervisor Tony Cammarata said the Town Board would review the committee’s focus list during a work session. He said he uses a “traffic light” scenario to prioritize goals.

“Green lights are for things that we should keep doing the way we are doing; yellow lights are for things we are doing, but could improve; and red lights are for things we are not doing or what we are doing and should stop altogether,” he explained.

The KCIAC includes members from the community who meet monthly to discuss, evaluate and list proposed community improvements with the goal of improving the quality of life in the Town of Kendall.

In other business Tuesday, Town Board members accepted a $4,098 grant from the state Justice Court Assistance Program. Councilwoman Barb Flow said the funds will be used to purchase a new automatic electronic defibrillator and new cabinet case for the foyer in the town hall.  Council members approved spending $1,111.99 of the grant on the new defibrillator.

Flow said the new cabinet will have plexiglass doors and replace a glass-door cabinet. She said the plexiglass will be a safer option.

Council members also passed a resolution extending the town’s moratorium on industrial solar energy facilities.  The local law will give the Planning Board additional time with creating a code for industrial solar energy facilities.  The local law extends the moratorium up to 6 additional months, but Cammarata said the Planning Board will likely  not need that entire time to finish its work.

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Kendall starts community reading project

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Librarian Alicia Charland, second from left, leads a discussion of the book, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, during the first Kendall Reads event Thursday evening at Kendall Jr./Sr. High School. Refreshments were also part of the evening.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 25 March 2017 at 10:49 am

A book display at the Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Library featuring this year’s Kendall Reads book selection as well as the 2017 Rochester Reads book selection and books with related topics.

KENDALL – Many great things grow from small seeds, and that may also prove to be so for the Kendall Reads community reading program, which is just getting its start.

Community members gathered at the Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Library on Thursday evening to review the book chosen for the first-time event:  The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary Pearson.

Librarian Alicia Charland said she based the program on the Rochester Reads program in Monroe County, initiated by Writers & Books, a non-profit literary center.

The Kendall program has the same goal as the Rochester program: to encourage people to connect to others through literary reading and discussion and through the shared experience of literature.

This year’s Rochester Reads event includes local libraries, colleges and senior centers.

“This is just the beginning,” Charland told adult participants who gathered for the book discussion Thursday.

Kendall students were also welcomed to read the book and will have their discussion during school hours. Charland hopes Kendall Reads will truly become a multi-generational event.  She and participants discussed a number of questions regarding the book and how it affected them.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox is set in the near future in America and explores bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity, including where to draw the line with fast developing technological medical advances.

The book’s main character, 17-year old Jenna, awakes from a coma with no memory of her former life.  She is told her name is Jenna Fox and her parents show her movies of her past, but Jenna questions if she is really the same girl she sees on the screen.

“I like books that raise ethical questions and that make me think,” Charland said.

She hopes the annual program will grow each year.

“It’s all about getting people together and talking about the same book,” she said.

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Orleans Youth Board wants to honor outstanding youth

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2017 at 9:46 am

2 adults also will be recognized for service to kids

ALBION – The Orleans County Youth Bureau seeks nominations of outstanding youths, and also adults who volunteer and work in careers on behalf of youths.

The nominations are due March 31, and the award-winners will be recognized on May 11 during the 35th annual Youth Recognition Banquet.

The Youth Bureau wants to recognize youths for community service or for their “extraordinary role” within their families. Examples of eligible youth award winners might be someone who helps developmentally disabled students at school, serving as a tutor or volunteer “hugger” at the Special Olympics. The Youth Bureau also has recognized youths for part-time jobs after school to help their family pay the bills.

The Youth Bureau wants to recognize community service where school credit isn’t given. Nominees must live in Orleans County and be ages 14 to 21.

Nomination forms are on the Youth Bureau website. Click here for more information.

The Helen R. Brinsmaid Memorial Youth Worker Award goes to a paid professional who works with youths, including administrators, caseworkers, counselors, school personnel, juvenile justice workers and others that work with youth and families.

The Eileen Heye Adult Volunteer Award goes to an adult volunteer who is a role model for youths and gives of his or her time to better the life of a child.

For more information contact the Youth Bureau at 585-344-3960.

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Marina plans improvements in Kendall, including restaurant by the lake

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2017 at 9:21 am

ALBION – The Bald Eagle Marina, a site with grand plans about a decade ago, will see some dramatic improvements this year.

A restaurant planned for the second story of the clubhouse will finally be finished this year with the restaurant to open at the site at Lakeland Beach Drive.

The marina has a new owner, John Tsyupa of Webster. He is committed to making the site a destination, including dredging the harbor to bring in larger boats.

The Orleans County Planning Board approved the site plan for the marina in 2007. Many of the improvements a decade ago haven’t been completed.

The new owner is amending the site plan, and it went before the Planning Board on Thursday evening, gaining unanimous approval.

“We’d love to see the business flourish because it has been in an up and down state,” said Dan Strong, a Planning Board member and code enforcement officer.

The new owner has proposed some changes to the original plan put forward in 2007. The parking spaces will be reduced by 14 from the original plan of 264. The 250 is still more than enough to meet the town code of 187 for the site, town officials said.

A 20-by-30-foot structure originally proposed for the wastewater treatment plant has been eliminated with the wastewater equipment now to be located within an existing 100-by-200-foot structure to the west.

The final site plan amendment includes a 25-by-40-foot open pavilion on the westerly side of the peninsula at the marina.

In other referrals, the Planning Board:

• Recommended the Town of Carlton approve a special use permit for Sue and Cyril Fetzner, who want to start the Lake Country Barn for outdoor weddings and other events at 1678 Oak Orchard Rd.

The Fetzners would have tents for the events, and would be working with a caterer for food and beverage services.

The Fetzners are hoping to start in June. Most of the events are expected to be on weekends, with music and bar activities ending by 10 p.m. and all people off the site by midnight.

The Fetzners won’t be using the barn on site for weddings or events. The barn provides a rustic feel, which Mrs. Fetzner said is currently popular for weddings.

• Backed the Town of Kendall’s push to extend a moratorium another six months for industrial solar energy projects in the town.

The town is working to address large-scale solar projects. The town’s zoning ordinance currently doesn’t address industrial-scale solar projects.

The Town Board received draft zoning regulations for large-scale solar on Tuesday. The town would like additional to determine how to best site the projects in Kendall, including height exemptions, access, and what zoning districts would allow the projects.

• Recommended the Town of Shelby approve a site plan and special use permit for a farm pond at 11205 West Shelby Rd., where Haleigh Clarke wants a duck pond that would be approximately 50 by 50 feet and 12 to 15 feet deep.

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Dollar General in Kendall approved by County Planning Board

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2017 at 10:17 pm

Courtesy of Orleans County Department of Planning and Development: The proposed 9,100-square-foot store in Kendall could look like this, according to this image submitted to the Town of Kendall.

KENDALL – The Orleans County Planning Board, in its second look at the site plan for a Dollar General in Kendall, gave its support to the project this evening.

The Planning Board last month voted against the project because the application was missing a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan for how stormwater will be handled.

That plan was in the application this time, and the application was unanimously approved. The project needs a final vote by the Town of Kendall Planning Board.

The 9,100-square-foot store on Route 18 would be near the Kendall Road (Route 237) intersection, across the road from Greenwood Cemetery.

Primax Properties/Bohler Engineering MA of Albany is developer of the project. The store will have 36 parking spaces at 1873 Kendall Rd., on land currently owned by Walter Steffen.

The stormwater management plan includes a pocket wetland in the northeast portion of the site, multiple dry swales located near the perimeter of the parcel, and some storm drains.

The application was unchanged from last month, except for the stormwater drainage plan.

“Nothing has changed, there is just more detail,” said Dan Strong, a Planning Board member and code enforcement officer.

Andrew Kludt, the Kendall Planning Board chairman, said the town would like to see sidewalks leading to the store, but that isn’t part of the Dollar General application.

He praised the developer for altering the design from the typical Dollar General.

“I like that it has a barn look,” Kludt said.

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‘Beauty and the Beast’ comes to Lyndonville stage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2017 at 10:40 am

Show features 100 students from Lyndonville and Medina

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Jadiel Flores Medina plays the Beast, shown here chastising Belle (Natalie Allen) soon after she arrived in his castle.

Lyndonville and Medina students are working together on their sixth musical with Beauty and the Beast. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday at Lyndonville’s Stroyan Auditorium, 25 Housel Ave.

The two schools have a shared drama program, beginning in 2012. Jennifer Nerone-Trupo, the show’s director, said the arrangement has worked well for the two schools, allowing for bigger casts and more ambitious shows.

“I knew I had the kids who could pull off these parts,” she said about the many charismatic characters in Beauty and the Beast. “This is a great show that features many students.”

Thomas Bummer plays Gaston, a vain, egotistical, narcissistic, ultra-masculine villain determined to marry Belle, who declines the offer. Gaston is shown here with five “Silly Girls” played by Sophia Cardone, Emily Green, Maisie Griffin, Cora Payne and Layna Vitoria.

Belle (Natalie Allen) is shocked to see her father Maurice (William Bellan) being held in a dungeon by the Beast. Belle offers to take her father’s place.

Two of the Beast’s servants include Cogsworth (Leif Isaacson) and Lumière (Christian Hahn). Cogsworth is a tightly wound, enchanted stuffy mantle clock and head of the Beast’s castle. Lumière is suave, French, and a debonair enchanted candelabra.

Babette (Madison Holland) is a flirtatious maid turned into a feather duster.

Mrs. Potts (Sierra Blanar) is the head of the kitchen turned into a tea pot. Chip (Jacob Corser) is her son who has been turned into a teacup.

Brian Cunningham plays LeFou, Gaston’s bumbling sidekick.

These dancers are high-energy inside the tavern, where Gaston announces he will go after the Beast.

Belle (Natalie Allen) sulks in the guest room and bemoans her situation, trapped in the castle. Mrs. Potts (Sierra Blanar) and Madame de la Grande Bouche (Alissa Blount), an operatic wardrobe, attempt to cheer her up.

The cast performs “Be Our Guest” to make Belle feel welcome.

“Be Our Guest” is one of the show’s biggest numbers. The cast includes 58 students. There are also 20 students in the pit orchestra, 17 on stage crew, and five working the lights and sound.

Lumière (Christian Hahn) treats Belle (Natalie Allen) are part of the “Be Our Guest” scene. He would also give Belle a tour of the castle, which leads to the forbidden West Wing. Belle sees the mysterious rose floating in a bell jar, and she reaches out to touch it. Before she can, the Beast stops her and orders her to get out accidentally shoving her in the process. Fearing for her life, Belle flees from the castle.

The Beast is mournful after Belle leaves the castle. He would soon redeem himself, saving her from wolves in the woods. He needs Belle to fall in love with him to break a spell so he can return to being human again.

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Vote today on health care bill in Congress, with Cuomo predicting doom if it passes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2017 at 9:46 am

County Legislature, Congressman Collins say it would be big cut in property taxes

Today is the big vote in the House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a new health care plan backed by President Donald Trump and many Republicans in Congress.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has been adamantly opposing the plan, saying it will result in a $7 billion hit to the state.

He also said reduced funding to hospitals will decimate the healthcare system. Medina Memorial Hospital would face $569,762 in cuts with the new Trump-backed healthcare plan, Cuomo said, citing analysis by the New York State Department of Health.

The healthcare proposal includes an amendment from Congressman Chris Collins that would relieve upstate counties from paying towards Medicaid, shifting about $2.3 billion to the state.

David Callard

The Orleans County Legislature voted unanimously to support the “Collins Amendment” in the American Health Care Act on Wednesday, saying it would provide significant tax relief, cutting the county tax rate in half.

“This would be a tremendous boost to the counties,” said Legislature Chairman David Callard. “We appreciate the initiative of our congressman.”

Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer, said counties have been opposing the local contribution to Medicaid for a half century. Nesbitt noted nearly all states don’t require a local share for Medicaid.

“This is significant and something after 50 years of fighting we’d be glad to support,” Nesbitt said during Wednesday’s Legislature meeting.

Cuomo has issued several press releases in recent days, warning of dire consequences to hospitals, and tax hikes in the state.

“The radical conservative ideology in Washington has declared war on New York with legislation that will devastate hospitals across the state and hurt New Yorkers,” Cuomo said on Wednesday. “These massive cuts will cripple our hospitals and ravage the health care services on which New Yorkers rely, with $7.8 million in cuts to hospitals in the 27th District alone. I urge members of the community to call their member of Congress and demand that they vote ‘no’ on this unconscionable piece of legislation.”

Callard said he believes the state can absorb the tax shift in Medicaid by reducing some of the benefits in the $60 billion annual Medicaid program.

Collins also urged Cuomo to rein in some of Medicaid’s costs. Collins faulted Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul for their resistance to the health care plan that would cut property taxes.

“Governor Cuomo and his sidekick are using doomsday predictions to scare everyday New Yorkers into allowing Albany to continue taxing them to death,” Collins said in a statement. “It’s absolutely disgusting the Governor would threaten the middle class with a tax increase, while holding a $14 billion taxpayer funded slush fund in his back pocket. As I have said before, if this Governor can’t find 1.5% to save in his budget, I am more than willing to find it for him.”

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley also chastised Cuomo for his pushback on the Medicaid funding shift.

“Gov. Cuomo’s shameless threat to New York families is absolutely offensive,” Hawley said. “New York State needs to join the rest of the nation and pay for Medicaid instead of leveraging the program on the backs of homeowners and local governments. We have an obligation to cover our most vulnerable but not in a ‘cradle to grave’ fashion by which our state offers more ‘optional’ benefits than any other state which increases the cost dramatically. We should be encouraging people and businesses to come here for the job opportunities and not because we promise these taxpayer-funded handouts.”

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