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Oak Orchard Health buys OTB site, 2 other properties on Route 31

Photo by Tom Rivers: The former Off-Track Betting parlor at 317 West Ave. in Albion, as well as the green house at left, were acquired by Oak Orchard Health, which runs a healthcare site next door.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 October 2016 at 11:20 am

ALBION – Oak Orchard Health is looking to expand healthcare services in Orleans County, including dental and possibly vision and behavioral health, after acquiring three sites on Route 31 in Albion.

Oak Orchard purchased the former Off-Track Betting Corp. site at 317 West Avenue, as well as a next-door house, and a vacant parcel. The sites are next to Oak Orchard’s existing Albion health care site.

“We know there is a great need in Orleans County for health services and we look forward to filling some of that need,” said Jim Cummings, chief executive officer for Oak Orchard.

Oak Orchard, a Federally Qualified Health Center, will work on securing financing for a new site on the newly acquired properties. The current site is cramped. A bigger new building would allow Oak Orchard to add medical professionals and will become the main healthcare site for Oak Orchard in Albion, Cummings said.

The existing site may become the site for vision, dental and behavioral health services, Cummings said. Oak Orchard will work with the Orleans County Health Department and State Department of Health to assess services that could be provided by Oak Orchard.

The green house by the OTB will be torn down, Cummings said. The OTB parlor, which is set back from the road, may stay and be used for storage and for Oak Orchard’s maintenance staff. The new building might go in front of the OTB building.

Oak Orchard will work with an architect for the new building. If the financing, and state and local approvals fall into place, Cummings said the new site could be ready in about two years.

“We’re moving on our plan for more medical space,” he said. “That is our broad-based goal because the needs in Orleans are significant for health and dental.”

Oak Orchard is marking its 50th anniversary in the community this year. Oak Orchard was originally founded by the University of Rochester in 1966 to provide health care for migrant farmworkers. Oak Orchard has expanded to an integrated health center with services for all community members. Oak Orchard has sites in Albion, Lyndonville, Brockport, Warsaw and Hornell, as well as a mobile dental unit.

Oak Orchard Health recently received a perfect score during an operational site visit by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health and Services Administration’s Bureau of Primary Health Care.

Oak Orchard successfully fulfilled all 19 program requirements – an accomplishment that places Oak Orchard Health among a very small number of community health centers nationally to achieve this score, Cummings said.

The health center was measured on clinical, quality, financial, and operational performance and practices during the in-depth review. The operational site visit results provide a comprehensive assessment of the health center’s compliance and performance status.

“An operational site visit that results with no negative findings is very rare and a testament to the dedication put forth each day at Oak Orchard Health,” Cummings said. “I am proud of our team and its successful efforts to deliver high quality health care to our community.”

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Holy Family Parish in Albion will have a ‘Blue Mass’ for first responders on Sunday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2016 at 9:23 am

ALBION – Police officers and first responders from throughout Orleans County are welcome to a “Blue Mass” at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (Holy Family Parish).

The Albion Knights of Columbus Council 1330 is sponsoring this Mass, and encourages police officers, firefighters, medics, coroners, correctional officers and other first responders to attend.

“The Knights would like to take this opportunity to demonstrate their respect and gratitude for all that have and for those currently serving through the offering of this Mass,” said Greg Dugan, the grand knight. “In addition, we remember our fallen who have given their lives protecting us.”

The Knights of Columbus Color Corp and The Gates Keystone Club (Pipers and Drums) will be participating and the Rev. Richard Csizmar will serve as celebrant and homilist.

First responders are urged to arrive a half hour before the Mass and gather outside the church for a solemn processional inside St. Joseph’s on West Park Street.

Following the service there will be a reception at the top floor of the Lyceum next door.

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Jim Babcock’s friends take delight in roasting him

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 October 2016 at 9:35 am


GAINES – Jim Babcock was roasted on Saturday during a benefit at Tillman’s Village Inn. About 100 people attended the event, which was a fund-raiser for The Salmon Children’s Foundation. That foundation has raised about $15,000 for Albion High School graduates in scholarships in memory of Nicholas Kovaleski.

This photo shows Phyl Contestable, “The Reverend Mother,” picking on Babcock, a local contractor and owner of Jim Babcock Construction. The Reverend Mother said Babcock was a handful for the nuns when he attended Catholic school in Albion.


Marcy Downey plays Ernestine, a telephone operator, during the roast of Babcock. Downey pretended to get a call from a motorist who discovered Babcock, who battles narcolepsy, asleep in his truck by the side of the road. Jim Salmon is at left. He served as host of the roast.


Steve Babcock shared some silly childhood stories of his brother to the delight of the crowd.


Amy Sidari took a turn roasting Babcock and showed a photo of Babcock dressed as a woman during a fund-raiser at the Cabaret at Studio B. Babcock has also portrayed Sony Bono in a variety show at the Cabaret.


Josie Waverly is dressed as Dolly Parton. Waverly performed a spoof of the Parton song, “9 to 5,” in describing a kitchen repair gone wrong.


Kelly Kovaleski, mother of the late Nicholas Kovaleski, said her son had a good sense of humor and would have enjoyed the roast of Babcock.

The Kovaleski family has launched the “Live With Purpose” organization to help high schoolers set goals, make positive choices and utilize their talents. Kelly and her husband Jay will debut their interactive workshop for the community at Holy Family Parish on Oct. 26 from 7 to 8 p.m. Click here for more information.

Nicholas Kovaleski was remarkably determined, even as a teenager, working towards his goals in football, swimming and tennis, and giving of himself by helping at home and through Boy Scouts. Nicholas adopted “Live with Purpose” as his motto when he was 11.

He was courageous in his fight against leukemia. Nicholas was just 15 when he died from the disease on June 29, 2011.


Babcock thanked the crowd and participants for the roast on Saturday.

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Grandmother battling cancer serves as honorary captain for Albion youth football team

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 October 2016 at 5:48 pm


ALBION – Nancy Neri of Albion is led on to the football field at Bullard Park in Albion today by her grandson, Luqman Cornick. Neri served as honorary captain for the Albion varsity youth football game today. Her husband Scott is behind Luqman.

Neri has battled cancer the past four years. It started as breast cancer and spread to her brain.

The team, led by head coach Shawn Callicutt, wanted to recognize Neri for her many faithful years along the sideline, cheering on her grandson and other Albion youth football players.


The Albion and Roy-Hart captains shakes hands before the coin toss at their game this afternoon.


Nancy Neri shows the players the coin before the toss.


Neri flips the coin into the air before the varsity game today featuring mostly seventh- and eighth-graders.

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Albion library welcomes kids for Halloween fun

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 October 2016 at 4:52 pm


ALBION – Gavin Hughes, 5, of Medina paints a pumpkin at Hoag Library today as part of “Halloween Fun Day” at the library. Children were welcome to paint pumpkins, color Halloween masks and drink apple cider.

Gavin and his family stopped in Albion to see the new children’s playground at the elementary school, and then had fun at the library.


About 50 children painted pumpkins, which were donated by Panek’s Pumpkin Patch in Albion. Kirby Farms donated the apple cider.


These teens helped out at the event and then painted some pumpkins. They include, from left: Kirsten Struble, John McGuire III and Meghan McDonnell.

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Firefighters give prevention tips to elementary students

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 October 2016 at 12:19 pm


ALBION – Volunteers from the Albion and Barre fire departments are spending several hours at the Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School today, teaching students about fire prevention. The top photo shows Evan Love, a second grader in Mrs. Lisa Burlison’s class, aiming a fire hose at targets. Barre firefighter Brian Bentley provides some guidance for Evan.


Students spray water at targets. The house with the fake flames was built by Andrew Cheverie for his Eagle Scout project in 2014.


Misael Hernandez-Buzard, a second-grader, sprays water at the targets.


Andrew Cheverie leads students in another simulation. Students have to feel the door handle and door to see if they are hot. After they open the door, the students get low to move under the smoke.


One students quickly gets through the smoke simulator. Andrew Cheverie is in back.


Rob Conner, an Albion firefighter, discusses the ladder truck used by the Albion Fire Department.


Albion firefighter Beau Piskorowski tells pre-kindergartners about some of the gauges and equipment on a fire truck.

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Albion celebrates opening of new playground at elementary school

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 October 2016 at 11:47 am


ALBION – Elementary students at Albion are in a celebratory mood today because a new playground has opened. (It’s also Fire Prevention Week and students are getting a chance to spray water at targets and do other simulations.)

The new playground is in a farm theme. Students voted on three theme possibilities last year and the farm overwhelmingly defeated a woodlands theme and also a purple-and-white colored playground with a spaceship.

Albion also opened a new playground on the other side of the school two years ago. The playground that opened today has more equipment geared towards younger students, although some of the bigger equipment can be used by children up to age 12.

There are about 900 students in the Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School in grades prekindergarten through 5. School leaders like having two playgrounds because one can easily become crowded.


Each class sent two representatives to cut a ribbon at the playground this morning. The elementary band also played “Old Macdonald Had a Farm” over the loud speaker.


Each class will get 15 minutes on the playground today. Both playgrounds at the elementary school are open to the community after school, and on weekends and holidays.


Students climb on boxes that look like hay bales. The playground has several climbing challenges and other equipment to help with balance and fitness.


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Girl Scout drops off treats with special meaning for police officers

Provided photo: Albion Police Officer Dan Baase, left, and Sgt. David Mogle are pictured with Sarah Bassinett after she stopped by the police station today.

Posted 13 October 2016 at 5:14 pm

101316_candylistPress Release, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni

ALBION – The Albion Police Department was honored today to be visited by Sarah Bassinett of Girl Scout Troop 82259. Sarah dropped off “Survival Kits for Law Enforcement Officers.”

In the white bags, that were closed with a cut out of a badge and blue ribbon, were various candies. On the bag was a list of the candies with its specific meaning towards law enforcement.

For example, the Life Saver in the bag was to remind law enforcement officers of how many times they have saved a life.

The Laffy Taffy in the bag was to remind officers that laughter is a great stress reliever.

The Albion Police Department would like to thank Sarah for the thoughtfulness of bringing the bags to the police departments.

Police officers do their jobs day in and day out with the understanding that they do not need or want recognition. However, when someone like Sarah makes a point to come to the police station and show police officers that she cares it means a great deal to us.

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Local contractor will be roasted in benefit for children’s foundation

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 October 2016 at 3:43 pm
Jim Babcock

Jim Babcock

ALBION – Jim Babcock said he has thick skin and can handle the jokes coming Saturday, at his expense.

“They definitely have a lot to talk about with me,” Babcock said. “I think it will be a good time for everyone else, I don’t know about me.”

Babcock will be “roasted” during a benefit at Tillman’s Village Inn. Proceeds for the roast go to the The Salmon Children’s Foundation, which has directed nearly $15,000 to a scholarship for Albion students in memory of Nicholas Kovaleski.

The Foundation also supports other causes, including The Open Door Mission in Rochester, Camp Good Days, Holy Childhood in Rochester and other children fighting illnesses.

Jim Salmon of Barre is host of the roast, as well as a home repair clinic on WHAM 1180. Salmon works as a home inspector.

He started the roast last year with Doug Bower, an Albion plumber and guest on the Home Repair Clinic, the first target of an evening of jokes.

File photo by Tom Rivers: Doug Bower lets out a big laugh last Oct. 24 when he was roasted by Jim Salmon during a benefit at Tillman’s Village Inn. Bower, a plumber in Albion, is co-host of the WHAM Home Repair Clinic with Salmon. Saturday the roast will feature local contractor, Jim Babcock.

File photo by Tom Rivers: Doug Bower lets out a big laugh last Oct. 24 when he was roasted by Jim Salmon during a benefit at Tillman’s Village Inn. Bower, a plumber in Albion, is co-host of the WHAM Home Repair Clinic with Salmon. Saturday the roast will feature local contractor, Jim Babcock.

Babcock has worked as a local contractor for nearly 40 years. He has owned his own business, Jim Babcock Construction, since 1996.

He has appeared in variety shows at the Cabaret at Studio B run by Amy Sidari, and helped with the annual Hometown Christmas show to benefit the scholarship fund in memory of Nicholas Kovaleski.

Salmon said roasting Bower last October drew a capacity crowd to the Village Inn and proved a fun evening of entertainment. He said several people eagerly offered to help roast Babcock.

The public has already purchased 90 tickets for the Babcock roast and more are spots are available by calling the Village Inn at (585) 589-9151.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Salmon said. “Everyone agreed there is enough good material on Jimmy.”

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Teachers who fought cancer serve as honorary captains at Albion home finale

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 October 2016 at 10:20 pm


ALBION – The Albion boys varsity soccer team recognized three teachers and the middle school librarian as honorary captains during today’s home finale against Medina. The four all have battled breast cancer.

This photo shows from left: Jodi Shaffer, middle school librarian; senior Joe Madejski; Kelly Wadhams, elementary school teacher; senior Owen Foos (in back); Dawn Arnold, elementary school teacher; senior Donato Rosario; Kim Toombs, middle school teacher; and senior Nick Reed.

The Albion boys varsity soccer team is wearing pink socks for home games this month to highlight breast cancer awareness month.

The team also sold cookies with a pink ribbon design in the frosting, and pink ribbons to raise funds for breast cancer research during today’s home game. There were also informational displays at the field.

For game highlights, check Local Sports.