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Carlton home badly damaged in fire

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 June 2016 at 11:26 am

CARLTON – A home on Sawyer Road was badly damaged in a fire this afternoon.

The house at 1523 Sawyer Rd. is owned by Lee Kruger. It was built in 2007. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at about 4 p.m.

Kruger and his family were able to get out of the house safely.

Firefighters from Carlton, Kendall, Albion, Medina and Lyndonville were at the scene, as well as the county emergency management office, fire investigators and the Red Cross. The fire devoured the roof of the house.

Firefighters work together to get water on the blaze.

These firefighters are at the back of the house, where the air was filled with smoke.

Firefighters have multiple hoses going to put out the fire.

A Carlton firefighter connects two hoses to reach the back of the house.

These firefighters get the thick hose in better position to battle the fire on Sawyer Road, just north of Route 18.

County honors firefighters, departments with most training hours

Staff Reports Posted 19 May 2016 at 12:00 am

Provided photo

ALBION – The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company was honored on Monday for attaining the most training hours for both fire and EMS training.

The top photo shows, from left: Dale Banker, emergency management coordinator for Orleans County; Jerry Lewis, state fire instructor; and Shelby Fire Chief Andy Benz.

Shelby Volunteer Fire Company was recognized during the Fire Chief’s Association Meeting. Shelby firefighters completed 1,782.5 hours for fire service and 1,110 hours for Emergency Medical Services training between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016. Shelby led all departments in the county in both categories.

Provided photo

File photo by Tom Rivers

Provided photo

Dale Banker and Jerry Lewis recognize John Miller III and Lori Miller, both of Shelby, for each each completing more than 200 hours of training. Their names are now on a plaque that hangs in the classroom at the Emergency Management Office on West Countyhouse Road. John Miller III also received the award for highest individual EMS training time with 240 hours.

Ben Diltz of the Carlton Fire Department puts on the turnout gear, a multi-step task that needed to be done properly in less than 2 minutes as part of a basic firefighting course. He is pictured on May 16, 2015. Diltz had the most fire training hours for an individual with 189 hours.

County Legislators John DeFillipps, second from left, and Bill Eick, right, hold the Fire and EMS Plaques that will hang in the Legislative Chambers at the County Clerks’ Building.  These plaques recognize the top agency for fire and EMS training each year.

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Lord’s House celebrates 10 years of ministry in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2016 at 10:00 am
Reverend Eddie English

Photos by Tom Rivers-The Rev. Eddie English, pastor of The Lord’s House in Waterport, and his wife Rose greet church attendees on Sunday following a church service.

WATERPORT – A congregation that started a decade ago remains committed and optimistic in serving God and helping the Orleans County community.

The Rev. Eddie English, pastor of The Lord’s House, is grateful for the church’s first 10 years, and the way many people have stepped forward to work with the church, particularly with renovations of a former United Methodist building in Waterport.

The Lord’s House started a decade ago when English and his wife Rose succeeded Ella Mae and Le Roy Hawkins, who ran the Faith Power Mission next to their home on Root Road in Barre.

English said he prayed about the church’s future, and felt led to bring The Lord’s House to storefront on East Bank Street in Albion. The Lord’s House opened in downtown Albion in 2007, with prayer meetings, Bible studies and Sunday church services.

Rose and Eddie English

Rose and Eddie English are pictured outside The Lord’s House at 2038 Eagle Harbor Rd. The church acquired the former United Methodist building in Waterport at an auction in 2011.

The Lord’s House was cramped on East Bank Street in Albion. Eddie English felt God leading the congregation to a bigger building, a former United Methodist site in Waterport, a church building that had been vacant for 20 years.

English attended the county’s tax auction, when properties with several years of back taxes are put up for sale. It was May 2011, and The Lord’s House bought the building for $500, plus $2,500 in back taxes.

The building was in disrepair, in need of major repairs. English was called a fool by some in the community. Some church members also were skeptical about moving to a building out on the country that needed so much work.

English, with help from church members and some local residents, worked diligently to make the building ready for worship services. They painted, upgraded electric and plumbing, and put in a new bathroom, an outside ramp, a new pulpit and other improvements.

Eddie English in The Lord's House

Eddie English stands in the sanctuary of The Lord’s House in this photo taken looking out from the pulpit with an open Bible.

Eddie and Rose English believe the efforts to redeem a building that was left to rot is a metaphor for how God can transform any life, including people scorned by society.

“When people come here they will feel love,” English said. “Here it is God led. We hope people will see what is going on and that we’re progressing.”

There are about 30 regulars for Sunday services, but English said that sometimes grows to 60 when farmworkers, including many Jamaicans, are in the area working at fruit and vegetable farms. The church plans to take the Jamaicans up on their offer to help with building repairs, play in the worship band and help as ushers. English uses a church van to pick up many of the farmworkers and some other church attendees.

English said there is a lot of work remaining. He wants to create a fellowship hall in the basement and also a room for people to do homework, or check the Internet.

The building could use more fresh paint to improve the looks.

“People see a lot of work has been done,” English said. “We’re bringing back something that was dead. It was an eyesore.”

Willie Graham

Willie Graham, an elder at The Lord’s House, speaks from the pulpit this past Sunday.

English felt called to the ministry about a decade ago. He had a full-time job as a head cook at the Margaret House, a child care center at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He had been a deacon for about 25 years at the Royal Church of God in Christ in Carlton, where his brothers-in-law, William Morrell Washington and Mark Washington, are leaders.

When they started the church, Mrs. English was working as a public relations executive for the RIT Inn and Conference Center. She now serves as administrator for The Lord’s House. The couple has been married for 38 years and has three grown children.

Their daughter Angela heads up the youth ministry, including a liturgical dance team that has performed in Tampa, Fla. at a conference for the Church of God in Christ denomination. The dancers regularly are part of the church service at The Lord’s House.

Olivia Peterson

Olivia Peterson, 7, practices as part of the liturgical dance team following church on Sunday. Her grandfather is the church pastor.

English admits the church restoration hasn’t always been easy. He has sometimes doubted himself and the call to take on the project. When he feels low, he said God comes through. One time a stranger showed up and handed him $2,000 to help with a new furnace.

Other donations and help have arrived including a Henrietta church that gave The Lord’s House a pulpit, communion table, sliding doors and a refrigerator. English said the gifts, often unsolicited, strengthen his resolve and faith.

“I have learned so much as I have taken this journey,” he said Sunday. “Sometimes I didn’t know which way to turn and the burden became heavy. Every time I wanted to throw up my hands and quit, a still small voice told me, ‘I cleaned you up and now I want you to clean up this church.'”

Eddie English

Eddie English preaches on Sunday.

Some of the church members who were originally skeptical of the move to take on the Waterport church now praise English, and thank you for following that vision, and for being so committed.

“We had a small membership, and some people didn’t think we could do it,” English said. “People wanted to take a chance, but there was fear. By faith we’re trying to be a light in the community.

The church has Sunday School from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m., followed by worship from 10:30 to about noon.

Eddie and Rose English are often at the church on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the evenings. They said they would welcome a chance to give residents a tour of the building on those days, or on a Sunday.

The church has a Facebook page (click here) with more information.

OONA gets thanks for playground donation at Marine Park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2016 at 12:00 am

Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller, left, reads a “Special Recognition” Award that was presented last week to members of the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association, which donated $3,249 for a swing set at the County Marine Park.

The donation is part of an effort to relocate and upgrade the playground at the park. OONA members also put on a summer concert series at the park, and lead other efforts to promote the Point Breeze community.

The new playground equipment should be installed soon. “We’re waiting for the ground to firm up,” said Jim Bensley, the county’s director of planning and development. He also oversees the Marine Park on Route 98.

Melissa Ierlan receives Special Recognition Award

Orleans County Legislature Chairman David Callard, left, and Legislator John DeFilipps congratulate Melissa Ierlan of Clarendon for receiving a “Special Recognition” Award for repainting 15 historical markers in the county. Ierlan started by redoing all four in Clarendon, and now has given a facelift to many others in Orleans County, including one outside Orleans in Elba.

First week in May declared Western New York Armed Forces Week

County legislators also issued a proclamation declaring May 1-7 as “Western New York Armed Forces Week.” Pictured, from left: Former Legislator Frank Berger who is active in veterans’ causes, Legislator Bill Eick, Legislator Fred Miller, and Earl Schmitt, director of the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency.

Fire departments provide fun at open houses

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

CARLTON – Albion firefighter James Fisher joins Caden Woolston and his sister Ava Woolston during an open house today at the Carlton Volunteer Fire Company.

Carlton let children use water hoses to hit targets, and welcomed kids to ride fire trucks and meet firefighters. Caden and Ava’s father Ryan Woolston is second lieutenant with Carlton.

Carlton hosted an open house today at the recreation hall on Route 98 as part of Recruit NY, a state-wide effort to boost membership in fire departments.Carlton firefighters also did an extrication demonstration.

Lily Eggleston, 5, of Albion has a big smile after riding in a Carlton fire truck.

Carlton firefighter Ryan Woolston shows a flashlight to twin brothers Weston Ernst, left, and Wyatt Ernst, both age 3. They are joined by Valerie Niederhofer, secretary of the Carlton Volunteer Fire Company.

Fancher-Hulberton-Murray also hosted an open house today as well as yesterday. here, FHM firefighter Ray Keffer assists a girl in climbing down a ladder of a trailer from the Hilton Fire District.

That trailer has a smoke simulator and firefighters could use the trailer to discuss the dangers of unattended stoves, overloaded extension cords and other household fire hazards.

Kali Keffer, an FHM junior firefighter, joins children in a safety drill inside the trailer from Hilton.

FHM firefighters Debbie Fiorito, left, and Mark Mallet do an extrication drill as part of today’s open house.

Music teacher honored for outstanding work by RPO

Staff Reports Posted 19 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Kelly Follman

ROCHESTER – A Waterport woman who teaches music in the City of Rochester was one of four teachers honored last week by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for outstanding work in the classroom.

Kelly Follman is an instrumental and vocal teacher at Francis Parker School #23 in the Rochester City School District. Follman directs the Compass Choir and two bands, as well as directs and produces two elementary musicals each year.

She holds the position of Eastman Pathways program liaison between the city school district and the Eastman School of Music. This year, she is a recipient of the RCSD Board of Education “Yes We Can” Award for her work with children in urban education, specifically at Francis Parker School.

Follman is a woodwind specialist who performs in area pit orchestras and serves as costumer for community theater productions. She passionately believes that children in the city of Rochester should have access to the same music-making opportunities as their peers in surrounding communities, and works diligently to achieve this, according to a news release from the RPO.

Photo: RPO

The four teachers recognized by the RPO include, from left: Kathleen Sullivan of Pine Brooke Elementary School at Greece Central School District; Kelly Follman of Francis Parker School #23 in Rochester City School District; Brian Bohrer of Rush-Henrietta High School; and William Baldwin, Twelve Corners Middle School in Brighton Central School District.

She was recognized last Thursday during the 28th annual RPO Musicians’ Awards for Outstanding Music Educators. Founded in 1988, the Awards program works to strengthen the relationship between area music educators and the musicians of the RPO.

The awards commend those teaches who have shown both educational and musical excellence and who recognize the positive influence they have on musicians and audiences of the future. Administrators, educators, parents and students submit nominations that are then reviewed by a committee comprised of community educators and RPO musicians.

“We want to see how they engage students in the classroom, and how they are creating an atmosphere of excitement toward music,” explains Anna Steltenpohl, chair of the Awards committee and RPO oboe and English horn player. “We want to see how they are bringing music alive.”

For more on the awards, click here.

Carlton’s new assessments include big jumps for ag land

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 April 2016 at 9:00 am
Sunset in Carlton

Photo by Tom Rivers – Beef cattle are pictured on Tuesday as the sun sets on Route 98 in Carlton.

CARLTON – The Town of Carlton mailed out nearly 2,400 letters with property assessments to landowners in mid-March. This was the first town-wide reassessment in six years, and the data shows big increases in farmland.

Town Assessor Gene Massey said those landowners shouldn’t be alarmed because the taxable value will likely go down to small increases when ag exemptions are factored in. He bases assessments on comparable sales, and he said farmland has been selling for high prices. The last two sales in Carlton include farmland at nearly $8,000 an acre and another one at $6,500 per acre.

Carlton was mired in controversy when it attempted a town-wide reassessment three years ago. Residents were outraged when some properties saw big increases, and others didn’t. Residents questioned the fairness of the town’s assessing.

The Town Board voted to freeze assessments at 2012 levels and not use the 2013 numbers, unless there was new construction and other property improvements.

Carlton hired a consultant, GAR Associates Inc., to visit every property in town and make note of swimming pools, additions, sheds, garages and exterior property improvements. Carlton also appointed Gene Massey the new assessor. He also works as Kendall’s assessor.

Massey said the reassessments show small changes for old-style homes, ranches and most other houses.

Overall, the town’s tax base grew 7.3 percent or by $14,089,207 (from $192,067,296 in 2015 to $206,156,503).

However, he said farmland has nearly doubled in assessed value. Poorer quality farmland with clay was assessed at $1,000 an acre in Carlton and Kendall last year, but the new assessments push the value to $1,600 in Kendall and $1,800 in Carlton. Higher quality soil, such as sandy loam, jumped in assessed value from $1,400 an acre in Carlton to $2,600.

One Carlton farmer, Robert VanWuyckhuyse, said his ag land increased 77 percent, or by $89,000, with the latest assessment. That will make it difficult for Lee Farms, a beef operation on Sawyer Road, to stay in business, he said.

VanWuyckhuyse said he has hired an attorney to contest the big hike in his assessment.

Carlton Town Board members declined to discuss the assessments in public on Tuesday. Town Supervisor Gayle Ashbery said residents should first meet with Massey for his rationale on their assessments. If they contest the valuation, they can file a grievance and go before the Board of Assessment Review on May 25.

Ashbery said she has heard few complaints about the new assessments.

“I am very confident in Gene’s work,” she said about Massey after the meeting on Tuesday.

DEC bans open burning until mid-May

Staff Reports Posted 15 March 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Barre firefighters Richard Barnard, right, and Amanda Dixon work to put out a brush fire last May 3 in Barre. The fire in a brush pile on Route 98 quickly spread to a nearby hedgerow and scorched about a quarter acre of land.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a burn ban beginning on Wednesday through May 14 for towns with fewer than 20,000 people.

Without snow cover, the state is at a high risk for wild fires in the coming weeks.

The DEC has advised that all open burning is prohibited in New York with several exceptions including the following:

Campfires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width or diameter are allowed.

Small cooking fires are allowed.

Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished.

Only charcoal or clean, untreated or unpainted wood can be burned.

Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires are allowed.

For more on the open burning ban, click here.

Carlton firefighters Tom Niehaus, left, and Chyenne Tackley man the hose while knocking down a brush fire on Route 98 on Aug. 29 near the Ricci Meadows Golf Course.

Carlton firefighters celebrate 75 years of service to community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 March 2016 at 8:00 am

CARLTON – Chyenne Tackley accepts the Chief’s Award from Andrew Niederhofer, fire chief of the Carlton Volunteer Volunteer Company, on Saturday during an annual banquet that also included recognition of the fire company’s 75th anniversary.

Tackley serves as the fire company’s chief mechanic. He fixes many of the fire trucks and keeps other equipment working. He also organizes the equipment and keeps it inspected.

“He is a real asset,” Niederhofer said.

Dwayne Tinkous, left, receives the President’s Award. He is pictured with Andrew Niederhofer, fire chief.

Tinkous was praised for helping the fire company secure about $100,000 in grants for a new hurst tool, and equipment to fight brush fires. He also helped organize the 75th annual banquet on Saturday.

The Carlton Fire Company officially formed on Oct. 21, 1940 in Waterport by founding members George Banker, Norman Barry and Lyman Clark.

“During the fire company’s 75-year career, it has saved countless lives, protected the general welfare of the community, and strengthened the bond between Orleans County residents through numerous fundraisers, local events and charitable endeavors,” according to a proclamation from State Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

James E. Keller, center, was recognized for 50 years of service to the fire company. He is pictured with his grandson Thomas Niehous, left, and son-in-law Dale Niehous.

Glenn Woolston also was recognized as a 50-year member. He is pictured with his grandson, Ryan Woolston, who is a second lieutenant with the fire company.

Howard Watts, right, from the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company presented a plaque in honor of the Carlton Volunteer Fire Company’s 75 years. Kevin Dann, in back, is the Holley fire chief and he also presented a plaque in honor of Carlton’s milestone anniversary.

Jon DeYoung, the Clarendon fire chief, presents a plaque to Niederhofer in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Carlton Volunteer Fire Company.

Richard Brackenbury, left, and Ben Diltz, right, were recognized with jackets for responding to the most calls in 2015. They both responded to 151 calls, or 57.9 percent of the 261 total. They are pictured with 1st Assistant Chief Dwayne Tinkous and Fire Chief Andrew Niederhofer.

The fire company also recognized Les Tabor for selling the most chicken barbecue tickets. Tabor sold about 250 tickets. He has led the fire company in chicken barbecue ticket sales for the past 35 years.

Kurt Van Wycke also was recognized for selling the most gun raffle tickets with 109. Dale Niehous was close in second place with 98 tickets sold.

Niederhofer said the gun raffle raises about $11,000 for the fire company, and other fundraisers bring the total to about $20,000. That’s money the fire company doesn’t have to seek in additional property taxes, Niederhofer said.

Niederhofer also recognized four firefighters for 25 years of service, including Gary Van Wycke, left, and David Bertsch. Don Cooper and Greg Juhrs also have 25 years of service.

The banquet included a memorial display of helmets worn by past firefighters.

Firefighters put out chimney fire in Carlton

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 March 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers
CARLTON – Firefighters were called to a chimney fire at about 1 p.m. today at 1988 Kent Rd. The home is owned by Mike Dugan.

Firefighters from Carlton and Kendall are on the roof of the house. They unclogged the chimney.