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Medina will plant 83 trees this year

Posted 23 April 2017 at 9:12 am

File photos by Tom Rivers: Elementary students from Medina help plant trees in State Street Park during the Arbor Day celebration a year ago. Medina planted 71 trees in 2016.

Press Release, Medina Tree Board

MEDINA – Arbor Day 2017 will mark the tenth year in a row that the Village of Medina has been awarded the Tree City USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The award honors Medina’s commitment to community forestry.

Overall, this year Medina will plant 83 trees, mostly along areas of Eagle and Pearl Streets with additional plantings throughout the village.

This year the village will also plant several trees from citizens’ sponsored tree requests.

“Each year, we receive more and more applications from citizens looking to plant trees on the right-of-way in front of their home.,” said Chris Busch, Medina’s Tree Board Chairman.

“For $180, the village will plant an approved tree, sponsored by a citizen (provided the site/tree meet criteria).”

Applications for citizen- sponsored tree plantings are available on the village’s Municipal Tree Board website.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, and the USDA Forest Service. Tree City USA is a national designations.

Medina’s annual Arbor Day Celebration will held 9 a.m. this Friday at Rotary Park in Medina’s Downtown Historic District. Hundreds of school children from Oak Orchard School and Wise Intermediate School are anticipated to be in attendance.

Mayor Mike Sidari poses with elementary students after planting trees at State Street Park on April 29, 2016.

Nicole Goyette, Arbor Day Coordinator for the village and Creative Studies Teacher with the Medina Central School District, is quick to tell of the many benefits of planting urban trees.

“Medina’s students are very aware of the benefits provided by village trees. They know that trees reduce carbon dioxide and other air pollutants; they know that trees capture storm-water, lower summer air temperatures, and- most importantly- make our village a beautiful place to live. They are very excited for Arbor Day!”

Recent studies indicate a row of mature street trees has been shown to increase property values up to 18%.

Mayor Mike Sidari will read the annual Arbor Day Proclamation, declaring April 28, 2017 as Arbor Day in Medina. The Tree Board will also be awarding two “Friends of the Urban Forest” awards to citizens or groups who have gone above and beyond to support forestry in Medina.

This year, a large number of the 83 trees being planted were made possible for the second year in a row through a generous gift from Candlelight Cabinetry in Lockport and Kitchen World in Williamsville. Medina resident Robert Sanderson is vice president of marketing and a managing partner at Candlelight Cabinetry. He is a big fan of Medina’s tree program. Several of the trees being planted are representative of the hardwoods used by the company in their cabinet making operations. Those trees include maple and oak.

“The Tree Board is again thrilled with Bob’s generous support from Candlelight and Kitchen World,” said Busch. “Bob is a huge believer in what we do and it makes perfect sense to have such a great woodworking company sponsor tree plantings. The cost of trees has risen exponentially over the past few years, and we are extremely grateful for the support.”

The Sanderson family definitely have a stake in the Medina area. Three generations of the Sanderson family have lived in Medina for over 100 years. Randal Sanderson is the proprietor of Kitchen World on Transit Road in Williamsville and his father, Bob Sanderson, is majority owner of Candlelight Cabinetry manufacturing in Lockport.

Arbor Day is celebrated in Medina and across New York State on the last Friday in April. For additional information about the Medina Municipal Tree Board, how a community member can plant a tree, tree memorials, tree planting/growing tips, and other tree related information, visit the Municipal Tree Board’s website by clicking here or by contacting the Village Building Department at 798-0770.

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Volunteers pick up trash along canal on Earth Day

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 April 2017 at 3:35 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Dominic Burton and Isaac Neidert (in back) were among the volunteers out today picking up trash along the Erie Canal. Dominic and Isaac are shown just west of Main Street in Albion.

They helped with the cleanup organized by the Albion Betterment Committee.

There were about 100 canal cleanups in the state today, including three others in Orleans County. The Sons of the American Legion and Medina Lions Club each picked up garbage along the canal in Medina. In Holley, the Masonic Lodge from Kendall picked up trash along the canal.

This group worked on cleaning up the towpath in Albion. They are pictured between the lift bridges in Albion.

Gary Kent, one of the directors for the Albion Betterment Committee, joins other volunteers in the cleanup this morning.

(Anyone with photos of the cleanups efforts in Medina or Holley is welcome to email them to

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Candidates step forward to run for Board of Education

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2017 at 9:05 pm

Medina seeks to reduce board seats from 9 to 7

Candidates have come forward to run for volunteer positions on the Board of Education.

The five local districts had a candidate filing deadline on Monday. They will be on the ballot during the May 16 annual budget votes and elections.

Medina also is seeking to reduce the number of positions on its board from nine to seven. If the proposition passes, the board would remain at nine seats in the 2017-18 school year, with the reduction taking effect beginning July 1, 2018.

• ALBION – There are three candidates running for two five-year seats on the board. Wayne Wadhams, Kathy Harling and incumbent Marlene Seielstad are all running. Dean Dibley decided not to seek another term on the board.

• HOLLEY – There are two open seats and both incumbents – Robin Silvis and Sal DeLuca – are seeking re-election to three-year terms. Andrea Newman also is seeking election to the BOE.

• KENDALL – Lisa Levett and Jason ReQua are running for two spots on the board. There is one five-year term and another to fill about a year on the board, from May 17, 2017 to June 30, 2018. The latter term is to fill the spot vacated when Martin Goodenbery moved out of the district. Levett is currently on the board, filling a different vacancy created when Chris Gerken resigned.

• LYNDONVILLE – Two people – Penny Barry and Darren Wilson – are running for two open seats. Susan Hrovat isn’t seeking re-election to her spot on the board, and Michelle Dillenbeck resigned from her seat last month. One of the open seats is for three years and the other is to fill the remainder of Dillenbeck’s term, which runs to June 30, 2018.

• MEDINA – In Medina, four people are running for three open seats, including incumbents Dave Sevenski and Bill Keppler. Mary Hare and Arlene Pawlaczyk are also running. Chris Keller isn’t seeking re-election.

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Medina school district continues trend of reducing taxes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2017 at 5:22 pm

MEDINA – The Board of Education this week adopted a $36,620,793 budget, which represents a 2.42 percent spending increase or $866,961 more than the $35,753,832 in 2016-17.

However, the district is proposing a 0.22 percent tax decrease, down from $8,660,915 to $8,641,861, or $19,054 less in taxes.

The district has steadily been reducing taxes in recent years. The 2013-14 budget had a $9,135,636 tax levy. Medina has now reduced school taxes by $493,775 in four years, a 5.4 percent decrease.

Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said Medina hasn’t sacrificed programs or its fund balances to chip away at the tax levy.

The district will continue all of its programs in 2017-18. It is keeping the shared services agreement with Lyndonville for some sports and extracurricular programs. Next year, the districts will add a new shared sport: girls varsity soccer.

The 2017-18 budget includes about $550,000 more in Foundation Aid from the state. The proposed district budget includes staffing cuts through attrition – 2 elementary teachers, a special education teacher, one classroom aide and one clerical position.

The district will have a public hearing on the budget at 6:30 p.m. on May 9 at the district office. The vote will be from noon to 8 p.m. on May 16 at the district office.

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Animals, big and small, celebrated by Medina FFA

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2017 at 2:01 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Cora Payne introduces a group to a Morgan horse named “D.C.” during today’s Animal Appreciation Day.

The Medina FFA puts on the event each year. The day started with 42 animals, but another was added when a chick hatched in the morning.

FFA member Alyssa Root holds a tortoise.

These ducks were among the menagerie of creatures that were featured on Animal Appreciation Day.

Kennedy and Mason Eick brought in their dog “Buddy,” a Shih Tzu. The two kids are the children of Todd Eick, the FFA advisor.

Hannah Dhow, an FFA member, shows these U.K. Shetland ponies.

Madison Bielak meets the llamas.

These pigs took a break from meeting so many students.

The tortoise was a popular stop. The turtle is pictured with Kala Schrader, left, and Alissa Blount.

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Orleans drops in latest county health rankings

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2017 at 9:44 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Some kids shoot baskets on a warm March 24, 2015 at the basketball courts in Lyndonville.

Orleans County ranks 48th in overall health outcomes out of 62 counties in New York.

The county had been gradually moving up in the county rankings, from 52nd in 2013, to 49th in 2014, to 47th in 2015 and then 44th last year.

The report for “Health Outcomes” measures rates of premature death, low-birthweight babies and days of poor physical and mental health, as well as percentages of residents considered in poor or fair health (14 percent in Orleans, which is better than state average of 16 percent).

However, Orleans ranks 58th worst overall for premature death. It is 42nd for quality of life, the two factors that make up the ranking for health outcomes.

Saratoga County was the top-ranked county for health outcomes with the Bronx rated 62nd, the worst.

The County Health Rankings are compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The County Health Rankings are a snapshot of the health of each county. The rankings for New York State are out of the 62 counties. There are five main categories and the factors that make up each category are measured and ranked.

Health Outcomes measures “Today’s Health” and includes length of life, premature death, sickness, mental health and low birth weight.

• “Health Factors” looks at tomorrow’s health and includes health behaviors: adult smoking, adult obesity, food environment index, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted disease and teen births.

Orleans ranked 55th in Health Factors and exceeded state averages for adult smoking (18 percent vs. 15 percent), adult obesity (29 percent vs. 25 percent), excessive drinking (19 percent vs. 18 percent), and teen births (29 per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19, compared to 21 in NY).

• “Clinical Care” considers uninsured, primary care physicians, dentists, mental health providers, preventable hospital stays, diabetic monitoring, and mammography screening.

Orleans rated 60th in this category, nearly the worst in the state despite having a better rate on uninsured, 9 percent, versus 10 percent state-wide. Orleans does poorly in the report with 1 primary physician for every 10,500 people, compared to 1,200:1 statewide, and one dentist for every 4,620 people, compared to 1,270:1 in the state.

Orleans also has 1 mental health provider for every 2,190 people, compared to a 420:1 ratio in the state.

• “Social and Economic Factors” includes high school graduation, some college, unemployment, children in poverty, social associations, children in single-parent households, violent crime and injury deaths.

Orleans ranked 51st. Its unemployment rate, 6.5 percent, topped the state average of 5.3 percent. The county has 23 percent of children in poverty, above the 22 percent rate statewide. There are 39 percent of children in single-family households in Orleans, which tops the 35 percent average statewide.

• Orleans does its best in the category measuring “Physical Environment.” That includes air pollution, drinking water violations, severe housing problems, driving alone to work, and long commute – driving alone.

Orleans is ranked 22nd overall for this category. It didn’t have any drinking water violations and its percentage of residents facing severe housig problems, 15 percent, is better than the state average of 24 percent.

The county exceeds the state average for percentage of people driving alone to work, 83 percent compared to 53 percent statewide.

This year’s Rankings also introduce a new measure focused on young people, those 16 to 24, who are not in school or working. About 4.9 million young people in the U.S. — 1 out of 8 — fall into this category. Rates of youth disconnection are higher in rural counties (21.6 percent), particularly those in the South and West, than in urban ones (13.7 percent).

“Young adults who are not in school or working represent untapped potential in our communities and our nation that we can’t afford to waste,” said Paul Pettit. “Communities addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, and education can make a difference creating opportunities for all youth and young adults. The County Health Rankings are an important springboard for conversations on how to do just that.”

To see the report on Orleans, click here.

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Albion Village Board tries to contain tax increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2017 at 6:57 am

ALBION – The Village Board has been working on the 2017-18 budget, trying to contain a tax increase for property owners.

During a public hearing on the budget last week, the tax rate was at $17.85 per $1,000 of assessed property. That would be up 19 cents or 1.1 percent from the current $17.66 rate.

“We’re still working on the budget,” said Deputy Mayor Eileen Banker. “We still have more work to do.”

The board has until April 30 to adopt the budget, which runs from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018.

The tentative budget presented at the public hearing called for a 3.4 percent increase in the tax levy from $2,487,946 to $2,572,865. That means the village would collect $84,919 more in taxes.

The budget showed a $6,732,740 total for all funds: $3,787,558 in the General Fund, $1,617,300 in the Water Fund, and $1,327,881 in the Sewer Fund.

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Orleans declares state of emergency for lakeshore towns

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lake Ontario pounds the shoreline near the Yates-Carlton townline at about 10:30 this morning.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 April 2017 at 5:48 pm

ALBION – David Callard, chairman of the Orleans County legislature, has declared a state of emergency in the lakeshore towns of Yates, Carlton and Kendall.

The lake levels are about 2 feet higher than normal. Water is already starting to flood some areas, and endangering property.

“This state of emergency has been declared due to preparedness measures being taken in anticipation of the Lake Ontario water level continually rising into late spring and becoming a long term hazard,” Callard said in the declaration, which went into effect at 2 p.m. “Presently the water level continues to rise and there has been minimal flooding impacting low lying areas based on wind direction and water levels. There is presently no immediate public safety threat, the situation will continually be monitored and orders will be executed based on the circumstances at the time of concern.”

Local officials check the lakeshore communities. They fear Park Road (shown here) could be washed out by tomorrow. These officials include, from left: Murray Highway Superintendent Ed Morgan, County Legislator Fred Miller and Carlton Highway Superintendent David Krull.

Orleans is the third county to declare a state of emergency from Lake Ontario. Wayne County was the first on Wednesday, followed by Niagara County.

In Orleans, the declaration is in effect until rescinded.

Callard also issued an emergency order, limiting boats to operating at an idle speed to cause no wake within 500 feet of the shoreline.

“This order is for the safety of boaters and residences along the lake,” Callard stated in his declaration.

The Orleans County Highway Department delivered 32 tons of sand to the Carlton Highway Department today. The county also took loads to Kendall and Yates highway departments.

Orleans County delivered sand to the three town highway departments. There will be 30,000 sand bags picked up Friday from the State Emergency Management in Chili. Those sand bags will need to be filled. They can be used by homeowners to help protect their property, said Dale Banker, the county’s emergency management director.

“We’re getting things in place in case this gets worse,” Banker said. “We’re hearing the lake could go up another 11 inches.”

The water is up at the Oak Orchard River near The Bridges in Carlton, with many of the docks now submerged from the water.

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High waters worry officials, lakeshore landowners in Orleans

Photos by Tom Rivers: David Krull, Carlton town highway superintendent, stands near the shore of Lake Ontario, where the water is about 2 feet higher than normal. Krull said homes, cottages and land are in danger of the rising lake.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 April 2017 at 3:01 pm

CARLTON – At Captain’s Cove marina today, Sheila Schlichter worried as water went above docks and reached the marina at The Bridges.

“The water is right up to the building,” Schlichter, Captain’s Cove manager, said about 11 a.m. today.

She was checking a boat to make sure it didn’t drift away. It was still tied to the dock.

Most of Captain Cove’s docks are under water.

Sheila Schlichter, Captain’s Cove manager, looks out and sees docks submerged from the water. “The water is right up to the building,” Schlichter,

The county has 24 miles of shoreline along Lake Ontario. Some areas are vulnerable to water levels that are about 2 feet higher than normal, and rising.

“It’s going to be horrible,” said Fred Miller, an Orleans County legislator. “We’re going to lose our land.”

He was out surveying the shoreline late this morning with representatives from Congressman Chris Collins. They were joined by Carlton Highway Superintendent David Krull, Murray Highway Superintendent Ed Morgan, and County Legislator John DeFillipps.

The county has been worried about a new plan for regulating the lake levels. The International Joint Commission, which includes representatives from the U.S. and Canada, gained final approval for the plan last year, despite the objections from many south shore communities. The officials in Orleans and on the southshore worried the new IJC plan would result in bigger swings in higher and lower lake levels. Miller said the fear is now coming true.

“This is serious,” he said about the high waters. “Even if it’s minor damage, it could be thousands of dollars.”

The water is getting close to Park Road in Carlton. Officials expect the road could be washed out by tomorrow as the lake rises and the waves get bigger.

Wayne and Niagara counties have already declared states of emergency because of Lake Ontario’s high water level, which has damaged property and flooded some areas by the lake.

Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower last week said boaters need to stay at least 500 feet from shore to avoid creating more waves to the vulnerable shoreline.

The Army Corps of Engineers said the level of Lake Ontario is 18 inches higher than the long-term average for April, with a further rise of 11 inches forecast by mid-May, The Buffalo News reported today.

Waves are pounding against the shoreline in this spot near the Yates-Carlton townline.

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Holley mayor identifies locations for new sidewalks

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 20 April 2017 at 11:36 am

Project will be phased in over 3 to 4 years

HOLLEY – Mayor Brian Sorochty is thrilled with the announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday that the village has been approved for a $1,780,000 state grant to construct curbs and sidewalks that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We are very happy and excited,” Brian Sorochty said. “This is a big one for us to win.”

He thanked the village’s grantwriter, J. O’Connell & Associates for the firm’s work on the grant application.

Sorochty said the village has been discussing how to repair/replace sidewalks for quite some time.

The grant will allow the village to replace about one-third of the sidewalks in the village, he said. That includes sidewalk along Rt. 237 – both north and south of Rt. 31 to the village limits, as well as Geddes Street from Rt. 237 to the Public Square, and all sidewalks north of Rt. 31 and east Rt. 237 – the northeast quadrant of the village.

“That will be a huge amount of new sidewalk that is code compliant and ADA compliant with ramps at intersections,” Sorochty said.

The program phases the improvements out over a three or four year span, he said.The first year will include engineering and planning work and then construction will be completed in phases over a couple of years.

The village Department of Public Works will be completing much of the work and the phases will help to complete the project in, “manageable chunks,” Sorochty said.

As part of the grant application process, residents were asked to submit letters, explaining their need for safer walkability in the village. Those letters were an important part of the village receiving the grant.

“It made a big difference,” the mayor said. “We need the new sidewalk… the current infrastructure has been in poor shape for years.”

Connie Nenni was one of the village trustees who pushed for Holley to apply for the grant.

“I am beyond excited about the village receiving the TAP grant for sidewalks,” Nenni said. “It is such a great thing not only for the village but for the entire community. Many people that do not live in the village use the village to walk or run or trick-or-treat. It will be a huge benefit to so many.”

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