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FFA food drive keeps getting bigger

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 December 2017 at 9:07 pm

From 3,000 pounds in 2010, food drive has grown each year

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – FFA students including Natalie DiCureia, a senior, were at the school at 7 this morning to load 50-pound bags of cabbage and other heavy boxes of produce on to a tractor trailer.

The FFA collected 35,000 pounds on food that was delivered to Community Action on East State Street in Albion.

The 35,000 pound sis a new record for the FFA, passing the 33,000 pounds in 2016.

Since the first drive in 2010 with 3,000, the food drive has grown each year to 9,000 pounds in 2011, 17,000 the following year and 19,000 in December 2013. The FFA reached 27,000 pounds in 2014 and reached 30,000 for the first time in 2015.

Squash awaits being packed in smaller boxes during this morning’s food drive. FFA students reached out to farmers and they responded with donations.

FFA members Harrison Brown and Rylie Lear took the lead in contacting farmers.

Barry Flansburg, a member of the FFA Alumni, was among several graduates to pitch in this morning.

FFA students Bryce Pritchard, left, and Justin Robinson stack the produce on the tractor trailer outside the ag shop at Charles D’Amico High School.

FFA students Alexis Bentley and Melissa Robinson sort apples into crates.

These Albion graduates from 2017 – Emilie Barleben, left, and Emily Blanchard – returned to help with the big effort this morning.

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Albion FFA food drive hits 35,000 pounds

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 December 2017 at 11:40 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Karli Henchen of the Albion FFA passes cans of sweet corn this morning when the FFA and community members unloaded 35,000 pounds of food donated by local farmers.

The Albion FFA has been organizing the food drive for about a decade and the 35,000 pounds set a new record.

FFA members were up early today packing up the produce, which was stacked on a tractor trailer owned by Panek Farms.

The food was delivered to Community Action on East State Street. The food was divvied up among eight for pantries in the county.

“This means the world to us,” said Annette Finch, director of community services for the agency. “I don’t have enough words to say what these young people have done for our community.”

Adam Krenning, the Albion FFA advisor, tosses a bag of potatoes to volunteers. Kenning said farmers continue to generous to the annual drive.

The following donated to the effort:

Triple G Farms – Potatoes

Root Brothers – Cabbage

Kludt Brothers – Squash

Nesbitt Fruit Farm – Apples

Orchard Dale Fruit Farm – Apples

Kreher’s – Eggs

Martin Farms – Squash

Jeff Partyka – Apples

CY Farms – Onions

Starowitz Farms – Cabbage

Torrey Farms – Onions and Potatoes

Panek Family Farm – Green Beans and Corn

Robert Colby/ Colby Farms – Potatoes and Cabbage

Bittner Singer Orchards – Apples

Orleans County Farm Bureau- Hams

Mortellaro and Sons – Onions

Costanzo’s Bakery/ Dale Root – Bread

Adam Kirby – Apples

Navarra’s Greenhouses – Crates

Call Farms – Potatoes

Barry Flansburg, left, assists the FFA this morning. Garrett Derisley, the FFA president (center), passes a box of apples to Emilie Barleben, last year’s president. She is home on break from college and wanted to help this morning.

A line of volunteers, including Assemblyman Steve Hawley, unload the the boxes.

Orleans Hub will post more pictures later today of the food drive.

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Firefighters, churches team for annual toy drive in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 December 2017 at 11:14 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Members of the Medina Area Association of Churches are pictured at the United Methodist Church this morning with some of the toys and food that were headed to local families and senior citizens.

Sylvia Riviere, front left, has led the drive the past seven years. Sue Metzo, front right, also is a long-time leader of the effort. MAAC has been leading the annual drive for about four decades.

In back are Pastor Tony Hipes of the United Methodist Church, Donna Johnson, Pat Howell and David Riviere.

Local firefighters put out about 30 red barrels about a month ago in the community and residents and businesses donated toys, food and clothes. The MAAC put together packages for 112 families including 150 children. There were also 43 senior citizens that received meals, including a ham. (Last year the holiday drive served 107 families.)

Firefighters from Medina, Ridgeway, Shelby and East Shelby delivered the gifts and food this morning. Mike Fuller from East Shelby carries one of the big boxes. The United Methodist Church, the former Apple Grove, served as the packing and distribution headquarters for the drive.

Medina firefighter Jacob Crooks checks the list for his deliveries. Firefighters said they welcomed the chance to deliver the packages to local families and senior citizens.

Medina firefighters Bob Urtel, left, and Jonathan Higgins carry boxes to an ambulance. The Medina Fire Department delivered the boxes from three ambulances.

Ridgeway, Shelby and East Shelby brought rescue trucks to carry the boxes to local families.

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Medina police officer talks about benefits of K9 during visit with law enforcement students

Posted 15 December 2017 at 12:45 pm

Provided photo: Lieutenant Todd Draper and Kye join Security and Law Enforcement students at the Orleans Career and Technical Ed Center.

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Medina Police Department Lt. Todd Draper and his K9 partner, Kye, recently stopped in to the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center. The purpose of his visit was to spend time with the Security and Law Enforcement students in Steve Browning’s and Dudley Gilbert’s classes.

Lieutenant Draper talked to the students about what it is like to work with his K9 partner – a Belgian Malinois – and the bond he has with him.

“I have had Kye since he was one year old when the police department brought him over from Holland,” Draper told the students. “He is seven years old now and not only do we work together, we live together.”

Drpaer told the classes that when he was offered his promotion to lieutenant he would not accept it if Kye was not part of the package.  He appreciates that the Medina Police Department honored his request.

“When he is ready to retire, I am hoping the department lets me purchase him,” Draper said about Kye. “The usual deal is that for a dollar they will transfer ownership to me.”

Belgian Malinois are used as a working dog whose tasks include detection of odors such as explosives, accelerants and narcotics, tracking humans and search and rescue mission.

“This is the breed the Seals used when they went after Osama Bin Laden,” Lieutenant Draper told the students.

He said Kye is trained for narcotics detection and he uses positive reinforcement to keep him on task.

“He has a toy that smells like drugs, so in actuality he is looking for his toy when we are out searching,” he said. “When he finds drugs I reward him for his work.”

He told the students that you never cross train a police dog because when he finds something, you don’t know what he is detecting. He also said that they work with other states to get drugs for the K9 to smell and get accustomed to.

“Drugs are made differently in each area, so it is helpful to expose the dogs to different narcotics.”

He and Kye gave a demonstration on how he locates drugs and how he is used to takedown a suspect, with Mr. Browning volunteering in that role.

He said that Kye’s heightened abilities prove to be a great asset to law enforcement work.

“He has a great sense of smell which is about 1,000 times stronger than ours and great vision,” Draper said. “He is also very athletic. He can jump over a six foot wall.”

Kye is also very social and a great draw to getting the community to interact with him,” Draper said.

“Usually when I am walking through an event alone, I won’t get a lot of eye contact or people talking to me,” he said. “When I have Kye with me everyone comes up to us and wants to pet him and interact with us.  He is a great public relations tool. I really could not ask for a better or more loyal partner.”

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Results from survey in western Orleans show desire for better streets and jobs

Staff Reports Posted 15 December 2017 at 9:50 am

More than 700 residents and landowners in western Orleans County responded to a lengthy survey covering everything from transportation to housing to inter-municipal cooperation.

Those results are now available for download and review on the Orleans County webpage and will be used to inform the Comprehensive Planning Process. (Click here to see results of the survey.)

The survey asked 93 questions and included responses from residents in the villages of Lyndonville and Medina, and the towns of Yates, Shelby and Ridgeway.

Among the uses most encouraged by survey respondents were farmers’ markets and groceries, followed closely by light industrial and/or manufacturing enterprises. Job creation efforts were ranked as “very important” to develop and/or improve among 80 percent of respondents.

Oft-cited concerns were a lack of well-paying jobs in the area as well as a lack of jobs for skilled laborers. On a positive note, when asked their most serious concern regarding their homes, 64 percent of respondents indicated they were satisfied with their current residence.

During the creation of the Western Orleans Comprehensive Plan in 1999, a similar survey was distributed. A notable change in the intervening years is a marked increase in residents’ concerns regarding the conditions of streets and roads – a 14 percentage point increase in respondents considering their condition to be a “very serious problem.”

A committee of western Orleans elected officials and residents met Wednesday. The group is working with the Orleans County Department of Planning and Development to update the Comprehensive Plan. Those changes will be the focus of public meetings in the future.

The survey and updated plan also can be used to bolster grant applications for sidewalks and other infrastructure.

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Gaines will have ribbon-cutting on Monday for Town Hall improvements

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 December 2017 at 9:32 am

GAINES – The Town of Gaines will celebrate a series of Town Hall improvements at 10 a.m. Monday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

State Sen. Rob Ortt is scheduled to attend the event. Ortt secured a $75,000 state grant that covered most of the recent improvements – new insulation, siding, windows and doors, which all improve the energy efficiency in the building.

Klips Construction did the work after submitting the low bid of $83,445. That included a handicapped accessibility ramp and door on the front of the building. Klips also added a front enclosure by the main entrance of the Town Hall on Ridge Road.

The town in recent years also improved security of the building through funding from the state Justice Court Assistance Program (JCAP).

The public is welcome to attend the ribbon cutting on Monday.

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Kendall Community Band plays many favorites at Christmas concert

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2017 at 10:37 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Lori Cyr, director of the Kendall Community Band, passes out bells so the audience could participate while the band played “Jingle Bells” during a concert at Hoag Library this evening.

The Kendall Community Band played many holiday classics during an hour-long Christmas concert.

Many of the band members wore Santa hats during the concert. These musicians include, front to back, Paul Rider on clarinet, Don Bishop on tenor sax, and Mike Metcalf on tuba.

The band played the following selections: Yankee Fanfare, Joyous Christmas Spirit, Hogan’s Heroes March, Christmas from the ’50s, Fantasia on an Irish Hymn, All I Want For Christmas Is You, An American Christmas Portrait, Fantasy on ‘The Minstrel Boy’, Grease!, American Christmas Festival and We Need A Little Christmas.

Kay Metcalf plays the clarinet and Skip Scroger plays the trumpet.

The band started five years ago for Kendall’s 200th anniversary celebration and has continued with musicians from throughout the county and western Monroe.

The band welcomes more members. For more information on the band, click here for its Facebook page.

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Nearly half of department leaders in county government are women

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2017 at 10:27 am

Percentage is much higher than women serving in elected roles

Photos by Tom Rivers: Melissa Blanar, director of the Orleans County Office for the Aging, speaks to senior citizens on Wednesday about the Yellow Dot and Vial of Life programs that include information about emergency contact numbers and medical histories. Blanar is one of 12 women leading a county department.

ALBION – In Orleans County, only 3 of the 15 elected officials for county positions are women. That 20 percent rate mirrors the state-wide average of 21.7 percent. (There are 257 women in county elected positions out of 1,187 total, according to the New York State Association of Counties.)

However, the Orleans County government’s leadership has a much higher percentage of women in leadership roles. The county has 26 department heads and women are serving in 12 of those jobs or 46 percent of the total.

John DeFilipps, chairman of the County Legislature, said the county looks at the qualifications when picking a department head. Women often are the top candidates for the job.

He noted the recent hiring of Joanne Best as the county’s public defender. She succeeds Sandy Church, who was elected county judge. Best stood out among many qualified applicants, DeFilipps said.

The management team members for the county government who are women include:

Nadine Hanlon, clerk of the Legislature; Karen Lake-Maynard, county clerk; Janice Grabowski and Kathleen Case, election commissioners; Lynne Menz, tourism director; Kelly Kiebala, Job Development director; Melissa Blanar, Office for the Aging director; Lucille Welch, Probation director; Joanne Best, public defender; Dawn Allen, director of Real Property Tax Services; Kimberly DeFrank, county treasurer; and Jocelyn Sikorsky, Youth Bureau director.

The management team members who are men include:

Gerald Gray, county high and buildings and grounds superintendent; Chuck Nesbitt, county chief administrative officer; Edwin Moss, director of computer services; David Schubel, county attorney; Joe Cardone, district attorney; Dale Banker, Emergency Management director; Matt Ballard, county historian; Mark O’Brien, director of Mental Health Department; Jack Welch, personnel/self insurance director; James Bensley, director of the Planning Department; Paul Pettit, director of Public Health; Randy Bower, sheriff; Tom Kuryla, director of Department of Social Services; and Earl Schmidt, director of Veterans Service Agency.

Legislator Lynne Johnson, pictured during a County Legislature meeting in January, is the only woman on the seven-member Legislature.

“When we interview department heads, it’s a very intense interview,” said Lynne Johnson, a county legislator. “We go by qualifications and the best candidate for the job. It has nothing to do with female versus male.”

Johnson is the only woman on the County Legislature, which includes seven members. Since the Legislature replaced the former Board of Supervisors nearly 40 years, only two women have been elected to the body: Johnson and Marcia Tuohey.

Johnson said local politics can be difficult.

“Thin-skinned can not be part of your makeup when you run for an elected position,” she said.

She said the local political parties would welcome more women as candidates.

“It’s open for anyone to run,” Johnson said. “I would hope anybody who wants to throw their hat in the ring does. It has nothing to do with your sex or color of your skin.”

Johnson said the county has been fortunate to have many dedicated and qualified department heads.

“For a small county we’ve done extremely well with the department heads we have,” she said. “We’ve had the cream of the crop turn out.”

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Sheriff, assemblyman help spread the word about Yellow Dot Program

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley presented the Yellow Dot Program to a group of senior citizens on Wednesday at the

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2017 at 9:16 am

ALBION – Senior citizens are encouraged to put a yellow dot sticker on their vehicles. That sticker alerts first responders that there is a yellow sheet in the glove department of the vehicle detailing medical conditions and emergency contact numbers. The yellow sheet also lists medications taken by the driver.

The Yellow Dot Program is a project through the New York State Sheriffs’ Association. The program is intended to help emergency responders provide prompt care if there is an accident.

Sheriff Randy Bower encourages people to sign up for the program. The Sheriff’s Office also worked with several residents to sign up for the program during the Orleans County 4-H Fair.

“This is huge when it comes to an emergency,” Bower told senior citizens on Wednesday at the Albion Academy Apartments. “This helps us help you.”

The yellow dot sticker lets emergency responders know there is information in the glove box about the driver’s medical conditions.

The forms are available at the Sheriff’s Office at the Orleans County Public Safety Building and also through the Office for the Aging.

The program is similar to the Vial of Life program through the OFA, where a list of emergency contact information, medical conditions and medication is kept on a refrigerator.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley discusses the Yellow Dot Program with seniors. He also passed out pamphlets with safety tips for senior citizens.

Hawley will be in Corfu today to discuss the Yellow Dot Program. He will be joined by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department at 12:30 p.m. at the Corfu United Presbyterian Church, 63 Alleghany Rd.

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Sheriff’s Office establishes tip line

Posted 13 December 2017 at 9:54 pm

Press Release, Sheriff Randy Bower

ALBION – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office has established a Confidential Tip Line. It can be reached by dialing (585) 283-4960.

Anyone with information about criminal activity, including those who wish to remain anonymous, may call this number and provide information to the Sheriff’s Office. This service will enable tipsters to give information without the threat of retaliation. This is especially important with the ever-growing opiate epidemic.

After hearing a short recording, an anonymous message can be left.

All information is considered confidential. Please provide as much detail as possible. It is helpful to know if the information you provide is from your direct knowledge, or is something you’ve heard or may believe to be true.

Keep in mind, that anonymous information may limit our ability to investigate. Because of this, please consider providing contact information when using the tip line.

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